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My Heart is Like Paper

Such a simple thing, learning that I matter.

Dearest Doodle Soupsters,

The title of the artwork above comes from the lyrics of “Such A Simple Thing” by Ray LaMontagne …

“Tell me what your heart wants, such a simple thing. My heart is like paper, yours is like a flame.

I can't make you see if you don’t by now. I’ll get through these changes somehow, somehow.

Take it if you want it. I’m so tired, I just don’t care. Can’t you see how much you hurt me? It’s like I wasn’t there.

There’s something about a song that expresses a thing in words that’s beyond words. There’s something about saying something aloud that takes it beyond this swirling vortex in your brain.

What you do when you’re just not ready to express the thing? I guess, I paint. I draw. I walk around, around, around. I try take breaks from thinking about the thing.

I don’t know.

What does it mean to not be ready for something?

Argh! There are just so many things I’m trying to express in words right now and all I can write is “the thing” and “something.” What is that?

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know!

And isn’t it strange how it just keeps boomeranging back like a ding, ding, ding, pay attention to the thing, the something? It’s okay to feel confused. It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to feel uncertain and to acknowledge uncertainty. I know all this and still ding, ding, ding, figure it now! Now! That’s what it feels like in my brain.

Tell me what your heart wants, such a simple thing.

What does my heart want?

  • A break from the aching

  • To ache freely

  • Peace

My heart wants me to stop telling myself what I don’t deserve.

My heart wants less negotiation and more embracing.

My heart wants to feel, without having to check off all these prerequisites.

My heart wants to feel light like a single blank sheet of paper set down on a field of tall grass, swept off on a breeze, floating somewhere, carefree, warm, new.

Yet, just as much, my heart doesn't want to be new because all these cracks and aches and swelling … oh how I’ve fought for this precious space to be able to finally thaw … and the thawing hurts! And it’s so easy (isn’t it?) to throw a pair of rose-colored glasses over my eyes and tell myself, I’m a fool for healing, for remembering, for being honest with myself.

I’m tired of words and I’m tired of wordlessness too.

The artworks I’ve been making in my In the raw series — it’s allowing me to express something I don’t have words for yet. And I still feel impatient. I want the words because I want to understand what I’m feeling. And another part of me wants to skip over that part because sometimes, expressing our feelings is really difficult, confusing, and painful.

I tell myself it should be such a simple thing — to be able to feel and express those feelings. And still, my grief, my heart, refuses to be rushed, hurried into talking. So many times I was hurried into talking and wasn’t able to express myself in time. Wasn’t able to speak up in time. Wasn’t able to feel safe enough to ask for help in time. Stop! Stop! Why couldn’t I make them stop?

The thoughts that keep me up at night: Would it have changed anything if I yelled a little louder? If I told this person or that person? If I could have just remembered a little sooner? If I could have just tried a littler harder.

Yet, I know, I know … this is all a way to delay what I need to accept … that people do bad things, very, very, very bad things and I don’t understand it … that blaming myself won’t change the facts … that I do matter and I always mattered and it hurts that I had to tell myself I didn’t matter in order to adapt to being treated like I didn’t matter.

And now, I remember, how “Such A Simple Thing” begins,

“Tell me what you're feeling, I can take the pain. Tell me that you mean it, that you won’t leave again.”

I’m afraid to accept that I matter because it’s hard to trust that I don’t need that adaptation anymore, that the people in my life want me to feel that I matter, that they don’t need or want me to tell myself that I don’t matter, that they don’t want to get away with treating me badly, that I won’t be left alone again.

So this is me again, trying my best to name my feelings, trying my best to work through this messy web of emotion in past, present, future … and this is me learning that I matter.

Listening to my heart,

Nicole Sylvia Javorsky


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