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My Cycle of Outrageous Heartbreak


Like many people who just found out about George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict, I’m feeling a flood of emotions. Sadness, rage, disbelief with a depressing side of not surprised (I gave up on our system long-ago). More than anything, like all of you activist souls, I feel called to action. Shouting from the rooftops, rallying in Union Square (#HoodiesUp), primal screams in the woods. My energy needs to move. Anger needs to flow from my heart into the world.

When you’re a sensitive soul who views the world in terms of justice and injustice, cases like Trayvon Martin (or insert Troy Davis, Oscar Grant, Malala Yousafzai, and the list goes on…and on…and on) create a groundswell of intense tears, what feels like physical pain and nausea, and either a sensation of your throat closing up, or the need to scream without abandon.

That feeling, that indescribable confluence of emotions, what I’m feeling right now, is the essence of what I like to call Rebel Passion. Our words aren’t good enough to capture it, though we try. Our music comes close to translating it, but still falls a bit short. I’ve seen some murals that mirror it back, but those are few and far between, and still miss a certain palpable fire. I love this Rebel Passion. I wouldn’t be me without it.

I also know, that the downside of this quality, is the deep and cavernous sadness that will take its place after the anger has moved. I’ll be left with a stunning sense of heartbreak and extreme helplessness. I’ve been through this cycle many times now. It’s becoming a familiar friend. It’s my cycle of outrageous heartbreak, and I’d be hard-pressed to find a social-change-fighter out there who doesn’t have one of their own, though each probably looks a little different.

There have been hours and days where, if I could have fit, I would have hid under my bed rather than face the depth of my sadness for the world we live in. Thankfully, I have enough of a community that I am eventually always pulled out of myself and into the warm loving arms of fellow companions in the struggle. Never underestimate the necessity of these pillars.

Here we are. Phase 1: Outrage. Phase 2: Action. Phase 3: Sadness.

And then comes…Phase 4: Love.

When I allow myself to sit in the sadness, really stew in it’s depth, love eventually emerges. This phase of the Outrageous Heartbreak Cycle is my favorite lover. It’s the one I wait for late at night.  Like a slow wave rolling in from the ocean, I wait for it to wash over my body and seep into my pores. It always comes, and brings me back to my true Purpose.

So, as I continue to breathe now, I wait in quiet observation of what my heart needs. Trayvon Martin will float through my dreams tonight, along with his family, and Marissa Alexander. I will move through my cycle, in a twisted non-linear arc, looping back through each phase as needed. And I’ll do it with pride and knowing, having faith that my Outrage, Action, Sadness, and Love, are some of the best parts of who I am. I was born with the Rebel Passion, and thank the Universe for that.

For those of you reading this, that can relate in any way, I am right here with you, virtually holding your hand tonight as we write the next phase of Trayvon’s legacy. Your Rebel Passion makes you an icon, so love yourself the same way you love your greatest hero. Because I love you that way.

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