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If you only have half – you can keep it.

September 16, 2010
John Mayer performing at the Crossroads Guitar...

John Mayer. Looking awesome (*sarcasm*). Image via Wikipedia

OK. So. This one starts with a lame-ass confession.

Sometimes… I like lame-ass pop music. Like John Mayer. There. I said it. Ok? I know, lame. But, hey, it’s not like I like all his stuff. Sometimes he’s one whiny bastard. Sometimes he’s not (for example…)


I like a lot of cool stuff too ya know!

Anyways. The point of this post is not to lament my [sometimes damnit!] terrible taste in music. I just had to make that confession to explain what I actually want to say.


Which actually starts out like this:

I was listening to the radio in the car the other day and John Mayer’s new one, Half of My Heart, came on. I hummed along for awhile, la-di-da, until I started paying a bit more attention.

And I realized… it’s bullshit like this that is part of our problem.

“Oh, half of my heart’s got a grip on the situation
Half of my heart takes time
Half of my heart’s got a right mind to tell you
That I can’t keep loving you (can’t keep loving you)
Oh, with half of my heart
…”

See, seems to me that a lot of people find this song, and many like it, very romantic.

But… hello. It’s not.

“Your faith is strong
But I can only fall short for so long
Down the road, later on
You will hate that I never gave more to you
Than half of my heart…”

Look. I’m not here to pick apart this song. Really, I swear. It’s just that this is a good example of how we sometimes get all fucked up.

Because shit like this sounds good to us. Shit like this appeals to us.

Here’s something I wrote to a friend, a long time ago:

“But I think we romanticize the ‘pushing away’ to be … afraid of falling for us, when really it might be… simply afraid of what we are feeling for them. Maybe. I don’t know…I just think that we often overanalyze these things when they are so simple, mainly because we’re actually making excuses. Trust me, I’m not good at this either. But I have learned the hard way that sometimes, you gotta take it at face value.”


Why do we romanticize these things?

Why is it that, when people say things to us, we listen to what we want to hear, and ignore the part that’s important?


For example: “Oh, baby, you know I’m just not really emotionally available right now. I’m a little fucked up. But… you’re so amazing. I feel so strongly for you – it scares me. I just don’t know if I can do this…”

IMPORTANT STUFF: I am not emotionally available and I am fucked up. I don’t know if I can do this.


SHIT WE HEAR: Oh… baby… you’re amazingI feel so strongly for you… so strongly it scares me…

And that’s what latch on to – the shit we hear. The important stuff? Yeah… about that… We decide it’s not important. We decide this tragically dramatic ridiculous bullshit scenario is somehow… tragically romantic. Something we want.


WHY IS THAT ROMANTIC. Why the FUCK would you want someone like that?

What the F is wrong with us sometimes?

Coming back to Mr. Mayer and his lyrics, for example:

“Half of my heart
is a shotgun wedding to a bride with a paper ring
And half of my heart
is the part of a man who’s never really loved anything.”

So… the latter half is clearly the “bad” half… but the other half? Wants a shotgun wedding? Do you even know what that is? You want a wedding where her daddy holds a shotgun to your back because you knocked her up?


Oh. Sorry forgot to do this….. *Swwwoooooonnnnnn*.

Furthermore, pretend we all know John Mayer and his life/relationships are accurately portrayed in the media. What do you suppose he did to the chick (pick any of them) whom he loved with half his heart?

(Although… I actually have no idea what the media is saying about John Mayer right now. Is he in the media? What a terrible example. But you get my drift).


And, of course, ol’ John wouldn’t be the first slightly narcissistic rock star to be slightly unable to see how his lyrics aren’t really an accurate portrayal of how he treats people/lives his life (*ahem*Amos Lee – sorry, Simone! – I actually know about that one).

Here’s the deal. I think we find the song romantic because we think this dude is going to change because he just loves us so damn much and we are so damn awesome.

In addition, if our experiences are any indication, anyone want to bet that the “but…” part of the statement (i.e. the part we hang on to like a fucking pitbull) is added on there simply to make us feel better about ourselves? In some lame attempt at salve on a wound? So that we don’t realize how bad this is, until the other person can make an escape?

Because this douchebag/coward feels the need to add that little dangling “but…” so that he/she can seem less like an asshole right in this moment? Regardless of if, in the end, it keeps us hanging on and fucks us up even more? Because they’re long gone by then. Let’s be honest.

The reality is, if someone has to tell you they’re only able to use half their heart (and they don’t mean that literally) then… don’t think it’s romantic. And if they tells you they really really wants to learn to use the other half?


Let his actions speak louder than his words.

Isn’t that what we’ve learned? Over and over again?

I don’t really understand this – and that’s not to say I’m immune. Quite the contrary. I don’t understand it in myself, either.  But… why is it so hard to walk away from some people that are so clearly… wrong?

Something else I wrote, long long ago…

When is it that your heart finally gets it? When is it that it finally starts listening to your head? When does it stop ignoring every rational bit of evidence? I keep thinking that this is over, that this is done. That I get it. That it’s the last fucking straw. Another piece of evidence as to why this was so wrong. As to why I should walk. No. As to why I should run and never look back. And I think I’ve moved on and then… nope. Not quite. What the fuck. My heart keeps telling me that it’s been paying attention this whole time but then… its so obvious that is hasn’t been listening AT ALL. …

And maybe it is just time… that I can’t force it. That maybe it just has to… forget.


Hmm. Maybe it’s because there is something romantically tragic about this person… maybe they’re the emotional equivalent of a bird of paradise, in that their emotional state is so ridiculously unhealthy, maybe it means something about their fitness?


See, female birds don’t look like this. BUT female birds do find longer tails more attractive. Even though longer, flashier tails = easier to see and eat. So – longer tails are, hence, also tragic.

Neither is going to last very long. Get in while you can, ladies.

Or maybe I am really reaching here. Reaaallllyyyy… But I’d like a rational explanation.

Well. Maybe part of the appeal of an emotionally unavailable/fucked up person is being able to say “look – I was able to change this emotionally unavailable/fucked up person. They love me THAT MUCH. I am THAT AWESOME”. As in… “hey, you know this dude here who never loved anyone? Well, guess what kiddos, he loves ME.” …. kind of like an emotional badge, instead of a long-ridiculous-tail badge.

But both are ridiculous. Both are gonna get someone fucked up (one physically, one emotionally).

Because… well, something else I wrote as advice:

DON’T make apologies or try to explain away your feelings because here is the thing – the person who deserves those feelings from you, won’t make you apologize for them. Or feel bad about them. Ever. They will be as excited about them as you are.

Mmmm-hmmmm. Because what the fuck do you want a fucked up person for? Wouldn’t you rather have someone who isn’t fucked up and someone who recognizes how awesome you are right off the fucking bat?

In yoga, we bow after meditation, in part to symbolize the importance of placing your head below your heart. However, sometimes, I think we need to remember the importance of keeping your head above your heart.

Sorry. Not romantic at all. But important.

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2010 3:18 pm

    On an opposite note, there’s this new song out by some pop-tart and I initially liked the beat, and then I listened to the chorus, which goes like this: “A day without you is like a year without rain.” I couldn’t believe this was the chorus. If I had a boyfriend and a day without him felt like a year without rain, I think he should probably be afraid for his life. What a horrible song.

    On another note, I met a nice guy who just had quadruple bypass surgery, and he said he might really be able to love me with all his heart. After reading your post, I know understand he’s just another typical guy who can’t commit. I mean, he basically only has half or at best three quarters of a heart, and he’s trying to love me with that lump of swiss cheese? Absolutely not.

    • September 16, 2010 6:39 pm

      technically, he still has all of his heart, just a few veins and arteries that supply the blood to it have been rerouted. Still… part of it might be dead tissue from long term lack of blood flow… which kinda makes him part dead, or vampire or something, maybe… did he stare at your neck a lot? 😉

    • September 17, 2010 9:22 am

      OMG lyrics, especially pop songs, are effing hilarious when you actually pay attention.

      That being said, I always expect people to think of me as the rain. That the world is a parched and dry place until I arrive. I only hang out with people who know I am that awesome. Hello.

      And am I reading this right? You dated a vampire?? Was he beautiful? Is that all you ever talked about?? Was it really like the rain was gone when he left??? WOW. Now that sounds AMAZING!

      But, yeah, who wants swiss cheese heart? That’s like, totally, half ass.

    • Gilbert Lowell permalink
      September 21, 2010 7:21 am

      Quadruple bypass surgery : human = tail feather extensions : bird-of-paradise

      You know, speaking of non-human animals, do they have it all figured out? Perhaps many species in the past actually evolved more complex language and then went extinct due to their inability to surpass the miscommunications and get down to mating and successfully rearing offspring. Perhaps all those that survive do so because their entire linguistic repertoire consists of, “I’M SO SEXY AND THIS IS MY TERRITORY,” and “OMG DANGER!” and their relationships are judged entirely on actions. No fuzzy half-hearted words. Just the we-got-busy-and-now-i’m-feeding-the-babies-with-you sort of bond. It’s trust at the basic, stripped-down, need-to-know level. The males and females may sneak out for their own food and flings but they still provide what is necessary for their relationship. They’re happy, their genes will go on.

      **DISCLAIMER** All animals referenced in this comment are k-selected species. Oh, and they are presumed to care solely about successfully raising offspring to reproductive age. This may in fact differ from a significant proportion of human relationships.

      • September 26, 2010 10:52 am

        I donno… I think the hey-we-got-busy-and-now-I’m-feeding-the-babies-with-you might define more human relationships than we’d like to admit (*cough cough* whew something caught in my throat there… *ahem*). However, while this might equate happiness for other animals, doesn’t always equate it for people.

        Why do we get so screwy with all the emotions? Geez.

    • September 26, 2010 10:53 am

      Heard Chris Brown’s “Forever” on the radio recently…

      “All you gotta do is watch me!
      Look what I can do with my feet!”

      Ok buddy. Then again, written for a gum commercial so…

  2. September 16, 2010 6:43 pm

    I couldn’t agree with this post more. I’ve been victim to the half hearted lover more times than I can count. Now, I’m that person. Hey, if men can do it, why can’t I? It seems to work so well for them, I always got suckered into it.

    • September 17, 2010 9:30 am

      You know what the difference is, though? I would bet that you’re far more clear and upfront about things than they ever were. WTF is it with people being completely incapable of being honest sometimes? And wtf is it with being so fucking cowardly you say things to keep people hanging on, when you already know you can’t/won’t be any different?

      And yes – we always get suckered into it! That’s what I don’t get. We can’t help it, and I don’t know why. I’d like to. You’re fucked up! Why do I like you!

  3. September 16, 2010 10:52 pm

    So, you’ve taught me to hold out for someone willing to give me more than half a heart. I wish I were better at fractions.

    • September 17, 2010 9:35 am

      But you don’t need to be good at fractions – that’s the whole point! We all deserve WHOLES – not someone who left 1/5 of their heart with their last GF, 1/8 of it is still with Mom, and 1/2 is unavailable/MIA. There should never be math involved to figure out if what’s leftover is enough!

      And, see? This is where “casual dating” (if you can pull it off) comes in. In theory, anyway, casual dating means you can still get laid, while you’re waiting for a Whole Heart Person. Half, and even One Quarter Heart People can still be good in bed (of course, this also means disconnecting your Whole Heart from your Vagina, which is not always possible for all people, not matter how much heart they have – sometimes your Mostly Heart lives there, but you should probably try and get her to move).

  4. September 17, 2010 1:09 pm

    So if you have no heart left so to speak of, I wonder what that song would sound like, how that would go over telling a guy? I mean, how exactly do I get them to fall for me like I would fall for them when they pull their usual bullshit? I mean, if I had at least half a heart, that leaves them something to hope for, and hope is a real bitch. I haven’t figured out how this will work with no heart. Maybe I should go the vampire route? I mean, if neither of us has a working heart, at least we’re on equal ground to start with right? Jerk better at least sparkle though, I don’t want one of those grungy looking true blood vampires either!

    • September 18, 2010 3:33 pm

      Not sure why we’re such suckers for this and why guys can walk away so easily. Typically, anyway – obviously it can work both ways.

      I am with you on the vampire route – at least you can start off on the same page. Yes – there should be some sparkle. BUT, as we’ve learned, the sparkle can lie lie lie and the sparkle may not mean much. Cowardice apparently trumps sparkle every time. So far, anyway.

      I think the True Blood Vamps are h-o-t. Maybe I like them dark and broody…

      • September 18, 2010 7:25 pm

        My experience is guys that sparkle, gay, totally gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I sure don’t want to get my hopes up. I think I’ll just find a normal guy and throw glitter on him and yell “sparkle dammit!” then jump him like the cold hard sexy vampire I’m imagining in my mind.

      • September 26, 2010 10:56 am

        HA HA!

        Ok, first, perhaps “sparkle” is a vague term that brings to mind many things for many people… we use it more in terms of trying reallyreallyreallyreally hard to impress someone.

        That being said, I think I personally prefer the gay sparkle. The other kind… who knows if you can trust that.

        But, finally – YES throw glitter. Demand sparkle. Jump sexy vampire anyway.

        HA HA HA!

  5. Sarah permalink
    September 17, 2010 3:39 pm

    You make me think of The stranger song by Leonard Cohen. I like it very much, since I first listened to it years ago. It’s the first occasion I had to think that way about who I was. I was 17 or 18 years old at the time. I was that sort of broken, fucked up person who sometimes used that hook, that “but… you’re so amazing…” thing. Let’s play my redemption together, girl ! Most of the time though, I didn’t really believe in what I was trying to do, so the girl then saw the hook for what it was and didn’t want to play the game anymore. I was a little too conscious to let myself act this way without thinking about it. Only by deliberately using alcohol or drugs, could the fucked up part overcome the smart part in me and have “our” wicked way (yeah, that much ambiguity).
    I was too aware of it to not stop having any relationship at all, some seven years ago. That was purgatory after hell. And in my book, there’s love and, in a much different way than in hell, sex, in heaven. It’s just that it always happens then with someone that I can trust and that can trust me. The latter depends on me, and given my past, is the most important to me. I must be someone that can be trusted, cause life isn’t worth it otherwise. How to trust anybody else otherwise?
    I think that it’s only when we’re emotionally available to ourselves, that we’re emotionally available for others. So to me, that man you heard on the radio is in fact saying he’s not entirely available to himself. And that’s seems true, not because he says it, but because he uses it carelessly for the others involved. Narcissistic ? Definitely.
    Why do we fall for it ? Well, we naturally tend to love (yeah, that’s pretty much an hypothesis, that’s mine, anyway). And if we fall for it, it’s because somehow deep inside we believe that the relationship may lead somewhere. It could. If the other didn’t so profoundly ignore her/his feelings, wasn’t so hurt, there could be a relationship. I’m sure of it. I was once the other. This stranger.
    One week ago, I started to take only half the dose of hormones and androgens blockers I take everyday. Soon, I’ll stop taking them. It feels better being a male now that I know I don’t have to be that sort of man.

    • September 30, 2010 8:34 am

      PS congratulations on making a new life decision and good luck in your next step in life! Growth and change in good ways are always awesome! Discovering yourself is always awesome!

  6. September 26, 2010 11:05 am

    Abso-friggin’-lutely. We can only start with ourselves, make ourselves someone who can be trusted, who can be emotional. We can’t do that for another person – even though, goddamn do we try sometimes!

    I think that is a big part of the problem – understanding that this other person cannot be trusted, can’t even trust him/herself. Can’t follow through, can’t feel… won’t follow through, won’t feel. Either way. But bottom line? Has a lot of growing up to do. May need some therapy. Don’t be the doormat while they’re figuring that out – and, for fuck’s sake, run for the hills if they don’t point-blank want to figure that out or won’t even admit or acknowledge the problem. OR, EVEN WORSE, and yet so often the case, they will (as you so eloquently put it once) put the emotional work on someone else! Make the other person the “crazy” one! YIKES!!!

    And yes – I do admit that our tendency is to “love”… but that word becomes something to ambiguous and encompassing. To me, I love specific people. I only come to love you when I know you. However, I think that, often, our tendency is to just want companionship, want touch, want partners, want “love” in the physical/emotional intimacy sense. And this has nothing to do with a specific person. Thus – some of us can end things, or act like they don’t care about things, so easily. Because they just needed that “love” fix – but didn’t actually love the person. Does that make sense?

    BUT if you can pay attention to the person, and be an emotionally whole and trustworthy person, than YES – the relationship happens. If in fact the two people are compatible. The problem is, we hold out hope that someone will be this way, and thus – the relationship, when it’s so clear they’re not.

  7. François (a.k.a. Sarah) permalink
    September 28, 2010 5:24 pm

    Yes, they put the emotional work on the other. They can’t feel responsible, because they don’t know that the problem comes from them. They don’t want to feel responsible, as they don’t want to know there’s a problem with them. If they knew, they would change (and I’m talking about why they love with half their heart). I think unsecure people fear change. That’s how psychology works, to me. It’s something about themselves that is ignored (deliberately or not) that fucks people up. And most people don’t really mind about their problem as they seem normal. Through other’s eyes, they are normal. Hence they feel so, they are comforted in that “feeling normal”. In a world where emotions are somewhat taboo, unemotional people seem normal.
    The thing is that we have to learn to feel real quick who the other person is, what that person is made of. Love is a really simple thing. It’s people’s insecurities that makes them hard to get really in touch with, hard to really meet. They usually present a mask. That makes love a complicated thing in relationships. Talking from a mask to another mask, I mean. And if you try to see what’s under the mask, people get angry and say that you don’t play the game. Too bad. In the games I like, all players win.
    Talking about it as a game, reminds me of something I read: Take two people used to often play a game, with strict rules they think they know well. Arrives then a third person who teaches them a possible use of the rules that will always make the first to play, the winner. The game has then become pointless. They’ll always know the winner from the beginning. We want people who know well enough the rules (read: who tried to see all the possibilities offered by the rules) of that societal game to make it pointless. And I agree, to run from the ones that clinch to the rules of their own game like to the bars of their birdcage is the only thing to do. They only look for someone playing a similar game. That’s most people’s idea of compatibility. In real life though, when you learn well the rules, the game doesn’t become pointless. It expands itself. Really, it’s the size of life and it’s not really a game.
    I agree with you about the existence of ‘love fix’ thing. Somewhat though it seems to me like loving with half a heart. It never did really fix anything for me, anyway. It’s like a drug. After the fix, you’ve got nothing left, except maybe an emotional wreck, that is, the other person. The most emotionally involved of the two is always hurt by the less emotionally involved one. I’ve experienced both sides, and hated as much hurting as being hurt. It is beneficial for the less emotionally involved person, because it’s good and healthy to feel loved and give some in return. However, it’s at the price of the emotional balance of the other. That may make the other person reinforce their mask, complexify it. It’s like stealing them a little something, a little of themselves. Each time I thought we agreed it was only a short lived relationship, well, it happened that the woman thought she could convince me that it was worth going on. And I think it’s not because of the trophy, the ‘I was the one who changed him’ thing. It was just hope to be loved in return. They should have run. Like I should have when I was the most involved one. Ok, that’s not so clear, then: if each time one of us had run, none of us would have ever fucked. And that would have been too bad…
    I think the word ‘love’ encompasses not so many things. As I said before, love is simple. It’s at the root of things. It is what some make of it that makes relationships complicated. When the emotional involvement is important enough from both sides, ie when both are naturally secure, at ease with themselves, then love comes unadulterated, and the commitment to each other is possible. I think that is true compatibility. And by commitment, I don’t mean that marriage thing, I mean simply being happy to turn The Switch on for that person. Yeah. That switch.

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