Sunday, February 14, 2010


The year was 1991 and I was sitting in Kate's office at St. Martin's Press with a few other people.  It wasn't an official meeting, by any means.  Kate was having a personal crisis and we were there for moral support or, better yet, an answer to help her out of her quagmire.  Kate was my boss and also my friend.  She was also one of the nicest people I knew and was sincerely troubled.  I was ready to tackle this problem with my best psychological  prowess.  Bring it on.  She leans forward.  "So, one of my very best friends shares with me this weekend that she feels like her face is somewhat heart shaped and it bothers her.  She asks me if I've noticed that it's heart shaped.  The thing is this:  before she brought it up I had never noticed that it was heart shaped at all.  After she said that, I could see quite distinctly that it WAS heart shaped.  It was VERY heart shaped.  I couldn't stop looking at it.  I stopped seeing her face altogether.  It was just one big heart.  What am I going to do?"  Quagmire indeed. 

The room went silent.  No one had an answer for this.  The girl's face was shaped like a heart.  If she had kept her big mouth shut about it Kate would never have noticed it was shaped like a heart, but now all Kate could think about was a big ole heart where a face used to be.  How do you unring a bell?  One by one we all got up and left and Kate had to figure that one out all on her own.

As I walked back to my desk I was making a mental note to self.  {I was Bridget Jones before Bridges Jones existed, just so you know.}  Never confess something you dislike about yourself to anyone ever.  The only exceptions are your parents, since they are responsible for any defective genetic material you have in the first place, doctor, hair stylist, manicurist, pedicurist, and trainer.  And everyone but your parents are all on a need to know basis.  It never occurred to me that I might have already made this faux paus in my life and suffered the consequences.

As I was thinking about this story this morning, in anticipation of writing this blog, I flashed back to that fall break in college when Erica and I went to New York right after my parents decided to divorce.  It wasn't that my parents had this fantastic marriage and that I didn't know that they would divorce eventually.  I knew they would, but it was still a shock to the system.  Kind of like a loved one dying of old age.  You know it's going to happen and it's for the best but it still hurts.  Anyway, on this fall break we spent this afternoon hanging out and talking and I shared some of my "stuff" with her (i.e. confusion, loss, sorrow about my parents and their divorce) because I mistakenly thought we were college bffs.  I think that was me showing her my heart shaped face.  I was her good time friend and I showed her another side.  I showed the sad don't have it all together friend.  Once she saw that side she couldn't see good time friend anymore and so she shut the door and locked it because she couldn't bear to look at don't have it all together friend.  At the time, that really hurt.  However, I am so grateful that it turned out just like that.  It is because she shut and locked that door that so many other, better doors opened for me.

However, all that said, I still live by the rule.  I still don't go spouting off about the things I don't like about myself.  The thing is, if you like me, you may very well notice them all on your own, but you will be kind enough to never say a word about it, so I don't have to tell you.  And that, too, is heart shaped;  most people call it love.

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