I feel the beating of my heart in a terrible way tonight.
This hasn’t happened for awhile. I don’t remember when the madness last showed up. But the physical beating of my heart seems loud. It’s as though something powerful were contained within the walls of my heart — thrashing around, trying to break out, ready to explode.
For weeks now — maybe months — I’ve been so firm. So logical. So focused. And then this insane compulsion suddenly returned in a form that threatens to overwhelm me. Again.
It’s not a heart attack. At least not the physical kind. It’s something different. An inner attack which is emotional rather than physical. But in some ways it seems even more dangerous than a heart attack.
I can’t possibly still have love for her. That wouldn’t make any sense. She doesn’t love me. And it’s been years. It shouldn’t matter. And yet this obsession — this need, this hunger, this longing — returns against my will and leaves me feeling powerless to stop the overwhelming tides which rush over me.
Romantic love is a peculiar form of insanity, but it can be emotional salvation as well. When it forces its way into your heart, it’s impossible to say whether it’s a path that leads to heaven or to hell. Even when it saves us, though, it’s still irrational.
And even though I want — with all of my being — to hate this irrational feeling, I know very well how much I need it.
None of this is a new thought for me. I’ve gone through periods when I felt compelled to write about it frequently. Here’s a random example from a few years ago, when I said that love is part obsession, part reality and part madness. (I just read that again. It’s all still true tonight.)
Love and madness are remarkably similar — and it seems that it’s hard to find intense love without a corresponding bit of madness to go along with it. A touch of insanity might seem like a high price to pay for experiencing the intensity of love, but if they have to go hand in hand — and I think they do — I’d rather deal with some bit of madness and feel intense love than to live in complete sober sanity and fail to experience the loving connection with another person that makes me feel more alive than anything else.
I wrote something many years ago — which I can’t find right now — that touches on the experience of walking the line between sanity and madness. For a long time, I’ve seen myself as someone who lives on a razor-thin line that runs between the two.
If I’m too far on the side of sober sanity, I don’t feel alive. I don’t feel the intensity of love, creativity, beauty and truth which I crave. I know not to go too far toward the madness, though, because I know it would destroy me.
For months, I’ve been completely on the side of sober sanity. Too far, in fact. Tonight, something has pulled me back to the very edge of that powerful and scary line. I don’t know how. I don’t want to go too far, but I also don’t want to pull back to the safety of numbness.
I know this line represents where my best life is. I know that walking this thin line is where I’m happiest and most productive and most creative. I know all of that — in both my head and my heart.
But while this crazy beating in my chest seems to bang out a tempo that the whole world should be able to hear, I also know it’s a line I can’t walk alone. Not forever.
It’s sheer madness that’s brought me to this point again. I didn’t see it coming. But I’m back out here on this razor-thin edge one more time — and I’m waiting for the right soul to join me.