'A Twist of Elephant Skin' by Jina Wallwork
I will open my heart time and time again. With every word of love, I add a twist of elephant skin. I know the consequences and pain that can be inflicted, when I share the love that I feel. I'd like to say that I am prepared for any reaction but it is never true. My skin has grown thick and difficult to penetrate but my heart is always vulnerable. I know what love is; I know that my heart cannot be protected. It is designed to break, so I can learn how much love I am capable of giving. A large heart is always prone to pain and suffering. When broken into pieces it can love through a small section. We can choose to love through a single beat, rather than risk a heart that is whole. To love through a single piece would be so much easier. However, if my heart is incomplete then so am I. Lessened by my inability to give myself completely, I would be a fraction of who I am now.
I look at my heart and it is still whole despite its experiences of attempted mutilation. My heart is strong and I have no desire for it to change. It can experience pain and suffering but I will not allow it to break. I like the person who I am, when my heart is whole. I feel proud that I will not compromise my feelings and risk hurting another. My heart will not break and it will not change. I am whole and that is important. I believe that it is a good aim in life, to be the best that you can be. It is something that allows space for all of your strengths and weaknesses. I would measure success, by how much love I am capable of giving. I don't see how it could be understood in any other way. Everything is pushed into insignificance, when it comes against the importance of love. You need to ask how much love you are capable of giving, because the answer will reveal how much love you can be. Sometimes we need others to break our hearts so we can have an excuse for not risking a heart that is whole and complete. In reality other people cannot break your heart. They cannot shatter the core of your being; your heart is a part of you. It can only be broken from within.
I no longer wish to play this game, where my heart is attacked and then I allow it to break in order to minimize the pain. Give me all that you have, every cruel word and thoughtless act. I will not change who I am. Aim for my heart and attempt to break it because you do not have that power. I may cry and become filled with sorrow. At times the pain may feel all consuming. I will allow myself to experience it, without it changing who I am.
'A Twist of Elephant Skin' (detail) by Jina Wallwork