When I’m sad and disappointed, I always tell myself that there are so many other people worse off than me. I should be grateful and happy for that.

And I know it’s true.

So, why doesn’t it work? Why do I still feel sad and disappointed?

I try to dissect my feelings to analyse them away. I imagine myself reaching for my heart, where bad feelings seem to congregate, throbbing and wanting to burst out of their prison, and I grab hold of it.

I grab hold of my heart and pull it out my chest and look at it.

It’s red and bloody and little. Yet it holds so much. So much disease and darkness and fear and pain.

I give it a squeeze. I put it under a running tap. I cut it in half. I slice it in pieces. I say, “Whatever’s in there, it’s just feelings. Intangible and invisible and nothing. So how could it possibly hurt me?”

It’s a nothing, my heart. Whatever’s in it, it’s nothing.

I put it away, in a corner of my room, in a shelf, in a box, wherever. I don’t want it anymore.

I dissociate myself from my feelings, from the pain, from the bad stuff. Because the heart, bearing all that hurt, isn’t in me anymore, therefore I’m not hurt.

I’m free! I’m fine! Life is absurd, anyway, so why let it bother me?

But I can still feel my heart inside me. It’s still there no matter how many times I take it out and put it away. It still provides safe harbour for my feelings, good and bad. It’s part of me and I can’t shed it.

So I get angry and I say to it, “You’re just an organ. A bloody, throbbing tool whose function is to keep me breathing and walking. Therefore you can’t hurt me.”

It’s silent. It continues to throb. And with every throb, hurt spreads out of it and travels in every direction until every part of my body is filled with the hurt, so that my body becomes weak and helpless.

I have removed so many hearts from me. There are so many hearts sitting around in shelves and boxes and bins. And yet it’s still in me, stubbornly beating away, wickedly gleeful.

Hah. You can’t get rid of me. I’m you as you’re me.

Defeated, I sit in silence and feel the pain, live with it.

Next time. Next time it’ll work and then it won’t hurt anymore.