Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Giving of Hearts

     I’ve told you, I believe, of my family’s experience in an abusive church, and of the faulty philosophies we picked up there. I’ve told you how easy it is to start feeling guilty about things that really aren’t that bad. Today I shall list another of those things. This one is special, though, because it’s the only thing that ever really got to me.

   See, my personality fit beautifully with the ideal. I was a girl who liked to stay home, cook, clean, and watch children. I like history and I read a lot. I was a good girl, so there were few things that I neglected and were thus made to feel guilty about. Anyway, this thing I’m talking about was the one thing that for the life of me I simply couldn't manage. The one thing that every girl was supposed to do or else dire consequences would ensue (hey, I’m a poet!).

   I am speaking, of course, of giving my heart to my parents.
    I’m sure you’re familiar with this idea. The Heart is a very big deal, and according to the rules I learned there, no girl is allowed at any time to be the possessor of her own heart. A definition would perhaps be helpful here. The way I see it, the heart that you are supposed to
give is more or less your own individuality. Your personality, your free will, your likes and dislikes, your affections, and other things that I forget right now all combine to make the heart. If you give your heart to somebody, he becomes the sole owner of all these things. Your likes and dislikes become similar to his, and your free will is engulfed in his desires. You do everything you are told, and like it. You love the possessor of your heart more than anyone else in the whole world. Generally, a girl’s heart is supposed to belong to her father until the very day of her wedding, upon which the father transfers ownership to her new husband, occasionally keeping parts of it for himself.

     I had a lot of trouble with this. I mean, I love my parents and all, but I always recognized that there was still a large part of me that I was keeping very much for myself. Guilt began to weave its insidious snares around my ankles. Why, I said to myself, can I not do this? Again, I love my parents, but I did not want to give them me. I wanted to stay myself, although one would think that with a personality like mine the opportunity of a trade or alteration would be leaped upon with glad cries of, “At last!” However, that is neither here nor there. The point is that I fretted about this. It bothered me, this desire to remain... remain what, exactly? Unchanged? Left alone? I just knew that I wanted to keep my personality the way it was, and I wanted to be in control of it myself, thank you very much.

     But it was wrong, wasn’t it? Individualism, after all, is the curse of America. It’s what makes us selfish and greedy, right? Plus, you’re just a girl, Andrea. You’re too stupid to know what to do with your heart. Far better to let you father have control of it, and he’ll find a nice man to give it to when you’re ready to be married. If you had control of your own heart, who knows what rash acts you may perpetrate? Why, you could even give it to a boy! (It’s interesting to note that we rarely used the phrase “fall in love.” Falling in love or having a crush was referred to almost solely as “giving your heart,” and it was generally viewed as a very unpleasant thing indeed) And heaven knows we must avoid that.

     I am relived to report that I am now able to view the vast array of gaping flaws in this system, most of which can be summarized in the phrase it’s downright creepy.

     I mean, really? In what universe does it make sense that no girl is ever allowed to be her own person? Why are we supposed to always shuttle our hearts back and forth between our dads and our husbands? Can’t they just stay fixed securely in our own chests? My heart is a vital organ. I don’t want other people messing around with it, not even my dad, who I love and trust a lot. This entire “giving your heart” thing is complete nonsense. In no circumstances should you relinquish your individuality or free will to another human being. Sure, when you’re young you do what your parents tell you to do, and when you’re married I’m sure there’s some level of adapting your personality to mesh better with the other person’s. But why do we have to give up our entire selves? I have one word to reply to this: Bah. I refuse. Even if I get married, I shall never give my heart to anyone. My heart will remain fixed in my chest where it belongs, thank you. I’m sure I’d love my husband, but I won’t give up being who I am. Or, more importantly, thinking for myself. Besides, if I got married, it would be to someone who wouldn’t ask me to do that. Also, he would love 24. A lot. And probably sound a bit like Liev Schrieber. Obscene wealth is, of course, a requirement also— but I stray from the subject again!

     In short, your heart is called your heart for a reason. God created you an individual. He gave you all your quirks and preferences. He gave you the capacity to think as a sentient being should. He made you who you are, not so that you could just give all that up to become whatever someone else wants you to be, but so you could use it! Individuality is neither a curse nor a sin. Free will is also something that really ought to be exercised with great frequency. Also, I’d like to note that if you don’t give your heart to someone, it does not mean you love them the less for it. We’re all people here. We shouldn’t be asking each other to give up our personalities. That’s just unpleasant and controlling.

     So, ladies (and, for that matter, gentlemen, though somehow it never really seems like you guys are affected the same way we are), one last word of advice. You are you. Your personality, your free will, and your heart are solely your own property. Don’t feel guilty for being who you are. (And especially do not feel guilty for thinking differently than your parents do.) Free will and free thought are super important. Your heart is your own. Keep it that way.


  1. Spot on. YOU have a very pretty heart that belongs to YOU.

    Nice post.

  2. "I hate this post and I hate you for writing it."

    I actually get that one occasionally;)

  3. Haha, Lewis, I can believe that.
    Also, thanks, Mrs. Kidwell. <3


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