Hearts and Teardrops: A Geography Lesson

Years ago, sitting in my English professor’s office, I found a curious wall map.

It was an outline of the United States, almost an empty canvas, divided only with states’ borders. Instead of cities, the painting was dotted with partial and broken hearts and teardrops like pushpins marking an emotional geography.

I asked my professor what the hearts and teardrops represented on the non-topographical map. He told me they were place marks for locations where hearts still lingered and tears still stained the people and relationships of the artist’s life.

It got me thinking as to where I would place my hearts and tears around the country. I have lived in the Midwest, East Coast, and now the West and Southwest. My personal geography, like the painting, has its share of both symbols marking my emotional terrain throughout the years, heartfelt emoticons that dot America’s landscape.

How many hearts and tears would there be for my 70-some years of living as my relationships changed: marriage, divorce, separation, and friendships that touched me, a mix of love and hurt, joy and sadness?

Some relationships, no matter where they happened, stay with me; others are gone and did not stand the test of time.

They represent some of the happiest and some of the most painful experiences of my life.

Nevertheless, my emotional geography is not a map I would change. My map is filled with geography lessons that are part of the journey I have known and shaped me into who I am.

Did I take the roads less traveled? Did I end up in places I never thought I would? Looking back, does it really matter? The detours were often the best parts of the trip.

I’m still traveling and expect I will add more hearts and tears along the way. What’s important are the experiences they represent, an exploration of life and love without boundaries.


Previously posted: https://justdoingmythingcom.blogspot.com

Erana Leiken

About the Author | Erana Leiken

Erana Leiken, principal of Tiger Marketing, is a marketing and PR consultant and freelance writer. She also teaches communication courses at the University of Phoenix. She is writing creative nonfiction and expanding her blog into a memoir. https://justdoingmythingcom.blogspot.com/

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