My Heart is Not a Scimitar

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Crescent Moon Necklace

Between the sun and the moon, I’ve always favored the latter, and the shape and symbolism of the crescent moon has historically featured in my writing. I wrote this poem nearly ten years ago:

Waxing Poetic
May 2004

Do not love me yet, for I
Am still a slender moon,
A scimitar about the heart—
Too sharp to touch too soon.

Before you speak, I need to grow
More full in starry light.
I want to smile upon the earth
And rule my patch of night.

I have to know what roads and fields
Will lie in my domain
And dull my brand-new ecstasies
With sophomoric pain.

I need to stay with these small stars,
So cold and bright as me,
That I might learn from wishfulness
And see what I should be.

For then, when I’m a silver bowl
And know what I can hold,
Well, perhaps, we could try love
If I am not too bold.

I think, though, now that I’ve had ten years to mull over this poem, that one doesn’t need to be whole and unbroken to have or deserve love. Language that includes words like “should” or “deserve” skews our perception of what it means to love and be loving. I recently spoke with a dear friend, and his philosophy is this:

Love is a choice. One cannot control one’s feelings, but love and loving is a choice. “I fell in love” isn’t the best term, because it makes it sound like it’s beyond your control. Instead, we should say “I am loving,” because it is continuous and active.

I slept on our conversation, and while I do think that falling in love is beyond one’s control, I understand what he means by love as a choice. There’s a point before the fall when you choose to be open or closed to possibility, and I feel this is true for all kinds of love–platonic and familial too, not just romantic.

“I am loving” is such an interesting way for him to put it. One cannot be loving if one is not open, and whole or broken, the choice is there. He gave me a lot to think about, especially because he opened this conversation by commenting on how much he respects my relationship, that it is mature in a way that is rare for couples my age. In the midst of this transition period in my life (nothing like a one-way ticket to really carpe diem), I find that deep, meaningful conversations like this help to soothe my anxieties. It may be strange to say so, but exercising emotional intelligence nourishes my soul.

Maybe this blog post sounds hokey, especially after months of silence, but as I go from interview to interview (oh hai transition period), I realize what I’m most proud of is my sense of self. Professional development goes hand-in-hand with personal growth, and I’d be selling myself short if I only acknowledged the work skills I learned over the years. The intangibles–like empathy, thoughtfulness, and gratitude–are just as important.

Knowing and understanding yourself gives you a strong, stable foundation in and of yourself. It helps you figure out what you want and what you need, how to communicate and engage with others, and how to love and be loving. How to be fearless and open even if you’re a slender crescent of a moon.

Midnight ramblings, I know, but still. How appropriate that tonight’s moon is a waxing crescent.