Thursday, January 17, 2013

Encounters With My Own Kind

     Today, I went to the beach. It's the middle of January; most kids are back in school, everyone's gone back to work, and it's a little known fact that beaches are, in actuality, even nicer in the wintertime than the more prominently assumed summer. So, despite everyone here in Los Angeles complaining about the "big freeze" as some are calling the unusually low temperatures, I decided to go to the beach today.

     I had no problem finding parking; the place was empty. Parked the car, dragged the beach blanket that's twice bigger than I am out onto the sand rather close to the shoreline, and set up camp. I laid down, closed my eyes, and began absorbing vitamin D and proceeded to meditate/drift off to sleep as the sun warmed my face, the cries of the gulls and snowy plovers created my lullaby, and the rhythm of the waves crashing to the shore soon matched that of my heartbeat.

     I was like that for quite some time, without incident. As I said, there was no one really around too much. Maybe 100feet away, an old man was fishing in the surf, trying to catch the little surf perch. The lifeguard leaned against the old wooden rail with the blue paint chipping off, looking out on the horizon; perhaps wondering what the future held in store for him, maybe questioning his life choices, maybe searching, looking across the waves, thinking fondly of his long lost love in another country, far across the ocean. Or he could have been thinking "Should I get Taco Bell or El Pollo Loco after my shift...". It's nearly impossible to tell what kinds of things one ponders while one is wearing sunglasses.

     So there I was. Sleeping on the big blanket. Secure in the knowledge that the enigmatic lifeguard was near, and the old fisherman was off catching dinner for himself; otherwise, alone. I enjoyed that, being alone. It was nice. So it went like that for at least an hour.

     At this point, I had drifted to sleep. The wind playing with the tendrils of my hair, the warm glow of the sun on my face, it put me to sleep. So I was there, sleeping. I heard a faint sound behind me, the sound of a few people shuffling through the sand. I figured to myself  "Oh, a family has arrived. They're setting up camp behind me. That's fine." and went back to my sleepish state. I could hear snippets of whatever it was they were saying; sounded like they were speaking French. Interesting. I never looked back to see what they looked like; it really didn't occur to me to do that, for some reason. They were there, and it didn't bother me, so I went back to my meditational-sleep mode. Their voices were carried by the wind, carried far down the beach, away from my sun-warmed ears.

     A little while later, I was roused from my sleep when first, I heard many excited exclamations (in French) about something or other. Then, the tell-tale shuff-shuff-shuffling of people walking in sand. I just assumed they would be walking to the shoreline to dip their toes in the surf; I closed my eyes again. Well, the shuff-shuff-shuffling came to a halt, right at the edge of my blanket. What on earth could these people want... I very sleepily looked up to see what the matter was. What I saw was quite amusing to me.

seersucker boxers. picture this material, but in SPEEDO form.
     Three people. Apparently the people speaking French behind me were what appeared to be a mother and her two sons. Mother appeared to be maybe 50, but looked fabulous for her age, and was rocking a little black bikini. Two sons, one about 30, the other mid-twenties. Both sons were wearing seersucker speedos; one white and pale blue, the other white and some sort of reddish colour. The younger one, in the blue seersucker speedo, he was wearing some kind of straw hat fedora. I mused that this fashion must be big over in "The Motherland", because it was certainly odd garb to be wearing here. The younger one, the one in blue; he stepped forward a bit, and asked "parlez vous francais?"

     It took me a minute. I was still pretty much in sleep-mode, a bit groggy. And now I've got three French people asking me if I speak French. What on earth could they want... And why are they dressed like that...

     My well-thought out and supremely groggy response to his query? "Lo siento, solamente hablo espa├▒ol e ingl├ęs...." 

Blank stares all the way round. 

     Blue seersucker speedo boy seemed to be the spokesman for the group. He paused a moment, then said "English?" To which I only slightly more normally replied to with "Sure!".

     The three looked at each other and smiled, apparently greatly relieved to have established some form of communication. The mother rattled off something to the boys in French, which blue seersucker speedo son relayed to me, in very broken english. All three motioned emphatically toward the shoreline, indicating with pointed fingers a certain area of the ocean. Blue seersucker speedo said, with absolutely no confidence, "Ahhh... They are... whales?"

     I looked out to where they were indicating. A pod of dolphins was feeding not 20feet off the shoreline. I looked back up at the boy "Whales? Um no, those are dolphins... There's a pod of dolphins that feeds right off this shoreline every day. They're dolphins." The boy nodded his head, indicating that he understood at least some of what I said, then translated back to his mom and brother. A chorus of enlightened "ahhhhhhhh"s arose from the group. I smiled at them. They were greatly intrigued by the dolphin pod. After a minute or so of us all looking at the dolphins, I asked them, "So are y'all from France?" Mom and older brother nodded, and said "oui". Younger brother in blue seersucker speedo looked at me and asked "you? You are ahhh... from where?" I replied simply "Los Angeles". Again, the chorus of ahhhhhhhhhhh's arose. "Los Angeles" needs no translating into any language; a fact I'm rather proud of. 

     The mother then began speaking to the younger brother, quite rapidly. The younger brother seemed reluctant to comply with whatever it was she wanted him to ask me. The lovely little mother seemed very insistent upon having her question answered, though. The younger brother in the blue seersucker speedo and straw fedora turned slowly back around to face me. He looked apologetically in my eyes, and said "We would want to know... ahhh... You are French?" 

     This took me a while to understand. I thought it was just some more butchered English; a question that made sense to them but probably not to me. I repeated what I last said, "Ummm... I'm from Los Angeles... LA? Born there.". Confused looks on the boys' faces. The mother became more insistent; the younger boy turned again and asked "No, she wants know if you are french... Mother? Father? French?"  Oh... I understood now, I thought. "Oh! You want to know if I'm French?" The chorus of "oui!" rose up emphatically. I paused for a second, pondering the strangeness of it all. I replied "...Yes, I am French. I'm French Portuguese. How did you guess?" Blue seersucker speedo boy turned around and translated all that to mom. A flurry of fluid French words, motions made around the eyes, then the "turn around" signal was made, indicating that he should turn around and tell me. "She say you have French eyes and..." here he motioned to his cheekbones, apparently not knowing the English term for it. I filled in for him "cheeks? cheekbones?" "OUI!" I smiled at them, they were so very happy to be having a conversation, it seemed. At this point, red seersucker speedo boy stepped forward and spoke for the first time to me. "You appear very French... The eyes, the how you said? cheekbones! very French. We thought it so when first we saw you." 
This was intriguing, although not the first time someone has correctly identified my nationality. I replied with "Oh yeah? Thank you!" (not sure if it was INTENDED as a compliment, but I'm not sure what else to say in these situations). More French from mom. Both boys' faces reddened, both denied her request for translation. She insisted on having what she wanted said translated, so red seersucker speedo boy turned around and very reluctantly, very shyly said "our mother wishes to tell you you are most beautiful, and very French.". At this point, the three of us youngsters all turned red. The mom had a good laugh; we apparently must have looked funny, acting so awkward as we did. I turned directly to the mom, smiled, and said "oh, merci beaucoup..." They all applauded my attempt at french. I just sort of laughed it off and took a mock-bow. 
Then I guess they had asked all of the questions they had for me, complimented me to their satisfaction, and they decided to go back to their towels. I bid them "Have a great day, take care, now!", smiled, and waved. They smiled and waved to me, and blue seersucker speedo boy said "you take care now...!" in an obvious copy of what I had just said. 

     After the shuff-shuff-shuffling faded off into the distance along with the French conversations transpiring between the three, I smiled, closed my eyes and went back into sleep-mode. "you are most beautiful... very French..." those phrases echoed through my mind. What a sweet and well-intending mom. The poor boys, though. They had a bit of a hard time of it. Not only did they have to speak in broken English to me (which they were very self-conscious of), but the things they were having to translate were very awkward, indeed. I laughed slightly, and went back to sleep. 

     In this weird experience, I had some kind of bizarre kindred connection with my fellow French people. They accepted me as French, even though I'm from LA. That was really very nice of them, I will treasure their words and willingness to accept an American as their own always.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mistake

     When I was younger and just began working in the world, often times I'd stumble over my words, speak too softly, mumble, speak too fast, or just flat out say things that made no sense to normal people. This got me into trouble quite a few times with customers when I was first starting out working retail.

     The store that I worked at had a very strict no-pets-allowed policy that we were told rather emphatically to enforce. We sold food, and coffee and whatnots, so legally, we couldn't have animals in the store, except for service dogs. I always did a pretty decent job of enforcing that policy. Someone would walk into the store with a little dog (where I worked was a high-end neighborhood; most of our customers were the wealthy hollywood-wannabe types, with little dogs in their gucci bags and things like that), and I would politely but firmly tell them "Oh, I'm sorry, we can't have animals in the store... It's a legal issue with the state." and either they'd get really mad at me and I'd have to call the manager, or they'd simply comply and go away with their dog. Now, as I mentioned, the people that would typically try and bring little dogs into the store were the wealthy-types. Or they were the "natural" types of people, the ones that carry their children in slings around their bodies and only eat organic, gluten-free food and refuse to purchase anything produced in China. Back when I was working, there was a funny trend; there were these silly little harnesses that people could wear around their bodies, like the ones to carry babies, but instead, you could carry around your dog or cat. Many, many people tried to enter the store with these devices, carrying their little dogs (and once, a cat, I kid you  not), and I'd have to give them the speech about the legal issues and blah blah blah. This was a very, very common occurrence back then. I'm not entirely sure if that's still a popular thing that still goes on these days, but back then it was an epidemic.

     One night, I was working the register (most interesting things happened when I was at the register), and this lady comes into the store with one of those harnesses strapped to her chest. The store was pretty much dead, as usual (this was when the economy first really tanked), so I was the only one at the front of the place. So the lady comes strolling in with one of those harnesses with what appeared to be a black pug residing within. I tell her "Oh, I'm sorry, ma'am, but we can't allow animals in here... The state won't allow it because we sell food products..." She looked at me very oddly, and said "Alright..." and continued walking into the store. I could tell this was gonna be a tricky battle, she seemed stubborn; she had a lot of gall to just keep on marching into the store like that after I so politely-yet-firmly explained our policy to her! Thinking that maybe she didn't hear me, I told her again. "I'm really sorry, ma'am, but we really can't have animals in here... We'll get into a lot of trouble if we let it happen, I'm sorry but I'll have to ask you to leave your dog in the car." This time, a bewildered look from the lady. Silence. She grabbed a cart while still making eye contact with me in what was probably one of the most uncomfortable silent moments in my career. She began wheeling it into the store. This was getting out of hand; at this point she wasn't merely breaking the rules, she was disrespecting ME, after I had worked so hard to be respectful to her whilst explaining the store policies! And that look she was giving me, that wasn't going to fly.

     "Ma'am, please... I don't want any trouble, but we simply cannot allow dogs in here! If this continues I'm afraid I'll have to bring the manager..." I was still polite, of course, but getting ever firmer in my pleas and explanations. Now, things got really scary. The lady, who was previously about 20+ feet away from the counter walked over to me. She asked me "What on earth are you on about?!" Just as I was about to explain the policies for the 4th time, I took a good look at her silly harness.

    The thing I thought to be a black pug turned out to be a black infant. Human. She had a small human in that harness. Granted, this was the most hideous child I'd ever laid eyes on; something was the matter with its face, it was very wrinkled and quite grotesque. I found out later that she had got the child from Africa; a legitimate African orphan with a myriad of various problems, one of which was apparently having the appearance of a pug or very small shar-pei dog.

     I looked up at her face; she was really quite angry looking, and I can't honestly blame her, I'd made an idiot of myself, and quite literally called her precious child a dog, and told her to take "it" out of the store. I had no idea how I was gonna get out of this one. I began with a feeble attempt: "Oh, my stars, I'm so sorry... I really thought your baby was a dog, you see there's this funny trend where people wear similar harnesses as yours, but instead of carrying babies they carry dogs and cats, and well the store has quite a strict policy on these things... can't have animals running around, because of legal issues with the state; we'd be absolutely shut down, and none of us would want that, right? Right... Well there's really no problem, since this isn't a dog, it's a real live human baby, so please feel free to shop around, I'm terribly sorry for all this, I thought it was a black pug..." And so it went, run-on sentence after run-on sentence. My face grew redder and redder throughout this train-wreck of an apology, while her face grew more and more confused, and then eventually amused. She could tell that I was genuinely in distress over this hideous mistake, that I truly felt awful, and like a class-A idiot.

     Her face slowly broke out into a smile, a kind, gentle, understanding smile. Not a "I hate you, you called my precious human baby a dog and told me to go leave it in the car" evil grin, but a sweet, reassuring smile. She then said "Oh, that's alright, sunshine. We all make mistakes. I do suppose it would make sense, if you say that so many people come in wearing dogs around themselves as though they were humans! It's only our nature to assume these things. You should commend yourself for your dedication to keeping up company standards, though.". This did nothing, I still felt like scum. "Ma'am, I want to tell you that I am SO. SORRY for insinuating that your baby was a dog. My eyesight is not that great, and from afar, well..." To which her reply?

     "Oh, no, don't stress over it! It's an unexpected sight, I get a lot of questions about little Dalili here. People are naturally curious about how a white woman [with dreadlocks] would come by such a dark-skinned child. Well, I adopted little Dalili from ::such and such:: orphanage in ::such and such African country:: a year ago". She then explained to me all the various conditions her Dalili had; it was really sad, but I knew the baby was in good and loving hands with this eccentric white lady. (The lady was one of those naturalists; she had long white dreadlocks, and she only purchased organic foods from me, and was apparently an avid believer in the wear-your-baby-in-a-sling sort of parenting). For quite some time later on during her transaction, after she had shopped around and gotten her goods, we talked about adoption, and orphans, and she regaled me with her tales of her work overseas, helping the starving children in Africa, and how it had so impacted her and changed her life, that she decided to adopt an orphan baby. Of course the subject of my own domestic adoption came up, in which she was very interested. As the transaction ended, she encouraged me to adopt foreign, if ever I decide to have kids. She said it was the most rewarding thing she's ever done, was to take care of Dalili and get her back to health. She laughed ever so slightly, and stared down at Dalili's face, almost scrutinizingly. She then looked back up to me, smiled, and said "You're right; I can see the pug now" and had a good, jolly laugh on it. I joined her in laughter, and apologized yet again for my stupidity. The naturalistic woman said "hey, no worries sunshine. Life happens, yeah? We're all laughing now and that's all that matters. You meant well; you have a very kind soul". Then she smiled her kind and genuine smile, and we said goodbye,

     I never saw Kate or Dalili again. But I certainly will never forget the debacle I had gotten myself into. I was so endlessly grateful that it ended in the way it did, and not with me being yelled at for my insolence and possible racism. Through my stupidity, I had inadvertently made a friend. Further proof to me that all things work out for the best in the end. 

Deceived

     There was this one time when I was working retail. Well, there were many "this one time"s... but anyways. One time I was working the register, and this lady comes up to purchase whatever it was she was purchasing (I can't remember everything, you know). She was, to me anyway, quite obviously pregnant. Huge belly protruding, had that certain walk/swagger that pregnant women take on in the later months, seemed tired and worn out, hair done up messily in a do-rag type thing; all the usual signs. It was a quiet day, so it was just her and myself at the register. I decided to make small talk. It was a long transaction, because whatever it was she was buying, she was buying a lot of it. I asked her all the usual questions; if she found everything alright, how's your day, etc. Then I did a rather stupid thing. In some lapse of complete judgement, I asked her the dumbest question you can ever ask any stranger. Ever. I asked her "So, is it a boy or a girl? Or do you know?" and indicated towards her stomach.

     The look on this lady's face is something I'll never quite forget. Horror. Humiliation. Resentment. Anger. All of it, all rolled into one look on one face. Her reply after a few seconds of making this awful face?

"I'm not pregnant".

     Now, I sort of wish I could have seen MY face at this point, because I'm quite sure that it was ten times more expressive than the hideous expression this lady had just made. I was horrified. Instantly, I felt a wave of shock and a jolt of humiliation and remorse shoot straight to my heart. I just about wanted to melt under the counter. How could I have been so STUPID?! Well, she really did look pregnant, but still; that's not something you ask a STRANGER. Ever. And now I was gonna pay for it.

     At this stage in the game, I finally managed to regain some mite of composure, enough to stammer "I'm so sorry, ma'am... Are you sure?"

     Another winning line from the world's dumbest cashier. I was pretty close to reaching for my boxcutter to just commit seppuku right there on the spot; anything to escape this disgraceful situation I'd gotten myself into.  After I'd uttered that last line of brilliancy, I immediately realized that yet again, this was not something you say to anyone. Not strangers, not family, not friends, nobody. My hand flew to cover my mouth in embarrassment; what on earth had I gotten myself into here?! How could I be so continually idiotic? I tried again.

   "Oh, my stars... I'm so sorry, that's not what I meant at all... ::sigh:: I'm so so sorry, this is really just not going well for me, now is it..." I could feel my cheeks burning with the humiliation and sorrow for what I had just done to this poor, unassuming and non-pregnant woman.

     A few seconds went by. I was terrified; I thought she was going to cry. I thought I was going to cry. We stood there, me looking at her apologetically, her looking at me so hurt, so dejectedly...

     Then she burst out laughing. That's right, absolutely burst out laughing. Not a simple chuckle, not a small giggle; a big, beautiful, sassy, magnificently musical laugh that can only be produced by those people with excellent senses of humour and a great love of all things funny.

     Again, I wish I could have seen my face at this point. Confusion, most likely, and probably concern. I honestly thought that I had insulted her so badly that she had snapped, cracked; the poor woman had probably just absolutely snapped after battling obesity for 30+ years, probably had a childhood full of bullying for it, and here some cashier asks if she's pregnant? Yeah, i would crack, too. Instead of the usual crying or screaming kind of cracked, though, she was laughing.

     After this went on for some time, I very timidly asked her if everything was alright. Tears were now streaming down her face from laughing so hard. She slapped her hand onto my shoulder quite familiarly, and said to me:

     "Oh girl, I just messin' with ya! Of COURSE I'm pregnant! Due next week! BUT YOU SHOULDA SEEN THE LOOK ON YOUR FACE!". Another fit of laughter. Wheels were furiously turning in my head, in an attempt to process what had just transpired. Not...fat... Is...pregnant...

     It finally clicked, I had been tricked pretty hard by this sassy lady. She was the sweetest soul, though. Excellent sense of humour. I give her mad props for that; she truly got me good. Warm as a ray of sunshine, she just kept on laughing, and I eventually joined her. I told her "My gosh, you got me GOOD. I was so scared!" To which she replied "Oh sugar, I'm sorry I scared you and did that to you, but I just can't resist a good opportunity like that! Once in a lifetime, y'know?" To which I said "No, no, it's quite alright; I had it coming, asking a dumb question like that!". The transaction eventually ended, tears streaming down both our faces from the crazy laughing fit. I handed her the receipt, she thanked me so much with all the good old fashioned southern hospitality in the world.

     As she walked out the door, she turned back, grinned real big and jovially said to me "It's gon' be a boy; his name will be Joshua Ray!" I smiled bigger than I had in a long time, and said "Congratulations! It's a beautiful name! You take care of yourself, ok?" "Sho' thing, sugar, you do the same!"

     We both waved, and she left. When she was gone, I slumped back against the counter, and just sighed. Dodged a bullet there, Chibz. Then I fell into another fit of laughter about the whole incident, which still happens when I think back on it, even now.

    

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Heartbreak

What is heartbreak?

I think most people will agree that heartbreak is the state of emotional distress that occurs when one person deeply hurts, or "breaks the heart" of another person. Often, people will say "yes, he/she really broke my heart..." or "he/she is such a heartbreaker!".

I'd like to challenge this idea.

I don't think it's fair, or even really humanly appropriate, to allow or assign another human being the power to cause such emotional distress to another human being, at least not in the realm of "love". Why should someone else, equally vulnerable and weak as we are, be able to hold the power to destroy us emotionally by "breaking" our hearts? I don't want to live in a world where someone has that power over me. I don't want someone who is absolutely no better or worse than I am to be able to cause such destruction in my emotional life.

So what is heartbreak, really, then?

I would say that people don't break other people's hearts; people break their own hearts. When some person leaves another person, when some person cheats on their significant other, when some person tells another "it's not you, it's me...", when some person says "you're just not what I'm looking for", what's really happening there? We all assume that either that person is a jerk, or has commitment problems, or we may even say that they deserve better, and that's why they "moved on", that's why they broke the others heart.

What about the person who got their heart broken? What do we assume about them? Either they must have done something wrong, or they were too boring, or they deserve better than to be stuck with a jerk like that, or maybe even that they deserved to have their life left in shambles for being so weak. Either way, we assume that the person is, indeed, heartbroken. They're in pain. They're the victim. We sympathize with them, we empathize with them, we even pity them.

What if I were to suggest that the heartbroken person did it to themselves? What if we were to take the victimization process out of the entire ordeal. Then nobody's the "bad guy", nobody's the "victim", but everyone's on equal ground. Sure, the person that broke it off may legitimately be a jerk, they may have royally messed up with cheating, or lying, or any number of bad deeds. But maybe it was a good thing what they did. Maybe they did the other person a favor by leaving. Because, in reality, the "victim" is now free from living a life stuck with a jerk, or a cheater, or even simply someone that didn't truly love and appreciate them the way they deserve. The heartbreaker is no longer the bad guy.

So does that make the heartbroken "victim" the bad guy? What did they do so wrong to wreak this emotional havoc on themselves, then? Maybe they didn't do anything at all.

I'd like to postulate that people don't break other people's hearts, people break their own hearts. I believe that heartbreak occurs when someone fails to live up to someone else's standards. What happened with the two people where one cheated on the other? Why did the victim get hurt? It wasn't because the cheater has such human power to destroy another human being; the "victim" expected the person who cheated to be a decent person, and the cheater violated that expectation. What happened with the couple where one person decided to move on because "it just isn't working out"? One person expected the other to love them, in whatever way, and the other person failed to live up to that expectation. Heartbreak is about violated expectations.

Is it wrong to have expectations for other human beings? Absolutely not. It's wrong to have NO expectations for other people. But is it wrong to be so utterly destroyed when someone violates our human expectations? Yes; I would say it is. It's normal to be hurt when someone deceives us, intentionally hurts us, cheats on us, etc. But to go so far as to say your heart is broken? Why would you want anybody to have that power over you? What makes them so much better, so much more powerful than you that they have the RIGHT or ABILITY to break your heart? Absolutely nothing. Nobody should have that power over another human being. This transcends social class, race, religion, age, and everything else. We are all PEOPLE, equally fallen, equally made; nobody has the power to destroy anyone else emotionally. We as people shouldn't ALLOW anyone to do this to us. Temporary hurt is alright and healthy, but heartbreak is not. Once we realize that what we're feeling is simple betrayal of our human expectations, we can overcome that sickening fear that we're not good enough for that other person; we're no longer the victim. Would we really want it to work out with someone that cheats, someone that doesn't love or appreciate us as we deserve, someone that thinks they're better than us when in reality, they're nothing more or less than we are? Heartbreak is when we put all our eggs in one basket, all our trust in the ever-deceitful, ever-so-fallible human race, and we're inevitably crushed when reality crashes upon our heads and we're made to see that the person we thought was so perfect and magnificent and wonderful, well, that person is human, too. Heartbreak is NOT when one person is so much better than the other, and they decide to bring down their mighty foot and crush the heart of the weaker and lesser human.

So how should we cope with heartbreak? We need to realize that when we're so hurt by another human, that that's just the thing; it's another human. Of course they're going to mess up. Of course they'll betray our expectations. They're human. No one is so much higher than anyone else as to be able to transcend human nature and NOT hurt someone else. So when we feel like our hearts have been broken, we need to step back and analyze the situation, and understand that we're no lesser, and the person is no greater, than humanity in its very essence. We all make mistakes. We all hurt one another. Once we can come to terms with this, we can take rest in knowing that it isn't by some fault of our own that we find ourselves hurt, it's just "life", it's just humanity. Once we take away the power that we assign others to be able to hurt us so deeply, we can heal so much faster.

How can we PREVENT heartbreak? Some people will say it's inevitable. I would disagree; getting hurt is inevitable, but heartbreak is not. Everyone will get hurt by another person at some time; similarly, everyone will hurt another person as well. But heartbreak; that absolute and utter emotional destruction caused by putting all our faith in humans and being betrayed, that can be avoided. Simply don't put all of your hope, faith, and love into humanity. Why fully trust something so flawed, so weak, as humanity? You're setting yourself up for disappointment. So don't do it; don't put all your eggs in humanity's basket. I'm not suggesting that you close yourself off from humanity, that you never trust any person ever again. I'm just saying that we  shouldn't place such high expectations on people when it's impossible for anyone to live up to them all the time. Trust in something infallible, something not capable of deceit and cheating and failure. Something that won't, that can't, let you down. Put your faith in that first, and humanity second. For me, that something is God. To me, God is that infallible, loyal, eternally loving "something" that I put my trust in primarily. Once I came to understand that humans are humans, and that we're all equal, all in the same boat, it became so much easier to cope with my betrayed expectations. Nobody's the bad guy, nobody's the victim anymore. Everyone is equal, nobody's better or worse than anyone else anymore. We're all just humans, and once we realize that humans make mistakes, humans hurt other humans, then the blame and responsibility aspects of "heartbreak" can be removed, and we can heal much more adequately and quickly while taking solace in the Rock in our lives, the infallible, incapable-of-deceit Entity that will never betray us. For me, as I said, that Entity is God. There's nothing quite so amazing as being able to take peace and comfort from the One that created the universe, even when times seem impossibly hurtful, even when my heart feels so broken by the flaws of humanity. I would encourage anyone and everyone to try and seek Him in times of trouble. But at the very least, don't have such impossible expectations for humanity; we're all irrevocably flawed, we're all human. Don't let anyone break your heart; it's not their right, it's not even their ability.