August 6, 2008
Some elements of the human experience are universal. Traffic stinks. Parking is impossible. Saikhnaa hits the snooze button on the alarm repeatedly so that she can squeeze out 10 more minutes of sleep before she has to wake up for work.
So maybe that’s why my coworkers, feeling kindly and motherly and seeing that I am not hideous and perhaps pitying my single status, are offering to find me a nice Mongolian husband. I find it so endearing. Of course, it’s all in good fun and they are not serious about it. It’s funny to me because hooking up with a Mongol is the very last thing I’d want out of this trip.
You see, part of the reason why I came to Mongolia was to mend a Broken Heart.
There, I finally said it.
I’ve never been one to kiss and tell but the combination of distance and the impersonal nature of blogging makes me feel safe and slightly reckless.
A few months ago, I became fixated on the idea of Mongolia. I thought of Mongolia for two reasons: 1) I felt like a nomad, scared and restless, and 2) Mongolia was the subject of a long-standing joke between me and a certain Someone. Somehow, I equated Mongolia’s green pastures and blue sky with closure.
I know – it seems dramatic, drastic, and slightly crazy. When you love someone like that, you lose all sense of where you begin and where the other person ends. 16 months ago, we broke each other and we both haven’t been the same since. For a long time, I was afraid that I’d never be whole again. But sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find redemption.
All this time, Mongolia stood as the pinnacle of recovery. I thought that if I could only get there, if I could walk among the crowds as another nameless human being, it would mean that I was ok. Now I’m here and my insides still ache. But I’m not as weak as I thought.
It’s not a matter of getting over someone. It’s a matter of finding oneself. Growing up is realizing and accepting that the one you love might not be the one for you. Sometimes happiness is giving up something precious for something even better.
I know myself now and my head is back on straight. Today I want to make sure that I can be the best person possible if I ever put myself out there again. What gave me the jumpstart was reading a passage written by a Buddhist monk. He writes about the Western concept of a soulmate. Instead of searching long and hard for that certain Someone, why not cultivate the amazing relationships that are already present in our lives, with our sisters and mothers and fathers and classmates and neighbors?
So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been leaving little pieces of my heart with family and friends and baristas and Mongolian coworkers. Maybe it’s merely a quantitative strategy – if you spread yourself amongst many, a single person can’t hurt you so badly. But I think it’s because life can’t be dictated, constrained, or controlled by a single person, unless that person is yourself. I believe in sacrifice and commitment but I also believe in maintaining my own unique identity and living a separate, fulfilling life for ME.
So what do you do when you’ve lost the love of your life? What do you do when you’ve lost all that old self-confidence? What do you do when you’ve lost that promise for the future?
You do the only thing you can do – you move forward.