How to Follow Your Heart, Even When it’s Hard

Everyone has expectations of who they should be. With the media feeding us images of perfect bodies, personalities and lives, we often find ourselves trying to emulate perfection. The American Dream emerged for this very reason — white picket fences and stable careers as a smiling family out of a tableau waits on the doorstep. For me, my heart comes with expectations. The idea of it being the organ with clarity and giver of life is projected onto me.

But when others say “follow your heart,” its purpose falls short. How do I lead with something so reckless and hesitant? Instead of hearing the truth, I find myself stumbling over lies to cover up my heart’s impractical urges. When my heart is put on display, I cower behind a good story and “laugh at others naïveté” instead of acknowledging my jealousy at their boldness. “Growing Grayer” introduces the reality of this decision-making and shows that making the right choice isn’t always an easy feat. Expectations contrast reality and sometimes getting lost in daydreams leaves us caught between the two worlds.

[Read Related: Unlucky in Love? Here’s How One Brown Girl Learned to Open Her Heart]

Growing Grayer

Heart is made to heal, to hold
unwieldy proclamations
turn corners rounded

Heart is made for saturday afternoons
no need for five things to see and touch and hear and taste and
you empty its contents
— hauls of windowsill raindrops and a single goldfish hidden in salt crystals from first grade —
and finally

mine chokes before it sings
still trapped behind metal years later
bird caged

(once i opened the roof hatch
stepped onto chipped shingles
took in the illusory wind
and jumped
the air was Heartless)

flight leads to broken wings

when Heart finally whistles a tune
dissonance rings

it’s learned to spin tales out of iron pirate
(the stories become alibis)
laughs in others naïveté
somersaults through stormy wednesdays
just to prove
it can

but when Heart’s name is in lights
it’s skirted with red yellow big to
and followed by dilaurentis

its protective shield is wearing thin

more crowded your Heart
the quicker you nosedive

[Read Related: Knowing Yourself Doesn’t Just Help Matters of the Heart]

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By Kashvi Ramani

Kashvi Ramani is a writer, actress, songwriter, and singer from Northern Virginia. She has been writing songs, poetry, scripts, and … Read more ›