a timeline of heartbreak

Bouguereau, visipix.com

Last night I wrote about the loss of innocence–something that can surprisingly still happen at my age. This morning I woke thinking back to my first loss, and the ensuing ones after–wondering if a timeline might reveal something–about who I am and how I want to be.

In selecting my history, I discovered that it was hard to distinguish between the loss of innocence and simple heartbreak. As I traveled through time, the searing heartache of the past week returned–climaxing at the defining loss of my life (large-texted below), and smoldering where it ended–in the excruciating initiation in which I find myself now.

It’s embarrassing to admit my innocence here–the shock that my writing is incendiary; the hurt of being thought selfish when I come from a place of healing, devotion and love; the unfairness of being labeled arrogant because I’m willing to teach and to lead, despite self doubt.

In my ever need to be “savior,” it kills me to be assigned “villain.” And so it is, that another layer of innocence is seared away, and what is left is the cold reminder that I am not the apple in everyone’s eye, no matter how “good” I try to be. Duh.

This sobering truth offers a precious freedom–not defined by what others perceive–whether with praise or condemnation; but at a  painful cost–the death of illusion.

In my heartbreak timeline below, you’ll find the loss of pets, the hurt of betrayal, and the shock of mortality–just as you might in your own. My loss of innocence is also shaped by being misunderstood, and that is a layer that I’m quite ready to burn.

My Timeline of Heartbreak

Pet turtle died

New classmates pinched me

Watching my mother labor

Next-door neighbor’s father died of a heart attack in his sleep

My aunt didn’t show up for our special date

Schoolmate’s family died in a house fire

My inability to bring my sister’s decapitated rabbit back to life

Licorice’s kitten killed by a truck

Licorice disappeared

Best friend’s sister tried to commit suicide

Soldier Blue at the drive-in

My mother drinking in the middle of the day

Falling asleep to the sound of my parents screaming

I ran away from home (a few blocks) and no one came to find me

Breaking my arm and no one caring

The Viet Nam War on TV

My mother’s tears when we left Colorado

My mother’s banishment

Adjusting to a new school and a new home without a mother

My father getting drunk

My best friend’s stepfather molesting her

~The accident that took my grandmother’s life~

Stealing/drinking a beer at summer camp/facing being expelled

Roots, the mini-series

Love=lovemaking=unwanted pregnancy

Extended family affairs/divorces/remarriages

The dissolution of my own family

Graduation Day

Loss of intimacy with my father

Loss of family home

Siblings separated by my mother’s drinking

Loss of access to siblings

First love betrayal

Strength labeled as bitchiness

Recurring rejection by life partner

A misunderstanding with a dear friend

First real job

Work focus mistaken as snobbery

Sibling relationship strife due to faith differences

Learning that love doesn’t always make the difference

My best friend getting drunk on our wedding night

Visiting my mother at Rehab

Loosing sense of identity when slide show summed up life: “Hero Child”

Operation Desert Shield, televised

Love=Marriage=Miscarriage

Burning out as a teacher

Carefully planned homebirth=emergency C-Section

First playgroup

My brother-in-law’s 1st affair

Relationship breaks with new family

Loss of Mother

Recurring relationship breaks with sibling

9/11

Our Nation’s response to 9/11

Getting a Mini-van

Removal of the rose colored glasses on my childhood

The murder at the Co-op

The disappearance of roads after the flood

Realizing that my family was fractured

~Doubting my life’s work…

(Your turn.)

Kelly Salasin, Imbolc, 2012

a gift for you in the loss of your own innocence

for Brigid’s Day

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