Never offer your heart to someone who eats hearts

In life, there is usually that one person that you remember one day many years later,  and sigh  and think out loud, “What would have happened if I’d have been brave enough to give us a chance?”

And you will never know the answer to that question because you never gave yourself the opportunity  to find out because you were scared; afraid that it wouldn’t work out and that you’d come out of it with a bleeding heart, but perhaps even more afraid that it could turn out like your dreams always played out. You were frightened out of your wits that he could be the right one, the one you would have babies with, celebrate the rest of your birthdays with, lie next to each night for the rest of your time alive, be accountable to as well as for. You were simply afraid that you weren’t good enough, or too young, or too full of other dreams – and so you pushed him away until he was backed up so far into a dark corner that all you could hear was that gnawing voice inside telling you what an idiot you were to let such a good thing go.

Letting bad things go isn’t all we humans do. Sometimes, we let the good things go because, ironically, we are so intently focused on the bad.

I am writing this one for the ladies who spend too much time with a lousy excuse of man who’s not treating you right; the man you are always calling and yet never getting so much as an SMS back from, the man who forgets about you until he needs something and coos you into submission with those three little words, the man who you love so much that you blind your eyes to his many failings, the man you sacrifice better suitors for because… because you love him and you don’t know how to stop.

This one is for you because I am going to speak from a little place inside me called truth. I am going to tell you that if you’ve been trapped in this kind of love rut for a week, a month, a year, a decade, a lifetime, it’s been too long honey! Don’t lose your worth to someone worthless. Don’t lower your expectations of love because you are with someone for whom love is shown in erratic deeds and hollow words instead of acts that don’t need statements to tell you what love is all about.

Don’t marry the one who you can feel on your inside isn’t quite Mr. Right, but happens to be Mr. Right Now. Time, time, time – yes it’s ticking! But it’s been ticking since the day you were born! Settling down with the wrong person won’t settle you down; it will just make you want time to go at the speed of light so you can finally escape the agony of being that caged bird whose wings can’t spread. Don’t for one jot of a moment think that you are into the business of changing people and that if something on him’s broken, you can fix it until it looks brand new. None of us can change another human being. Change comes from within … and only if a person wants to change.

I have never been married, but I sure have wasted my time on the unworthy; have invested love into a black hole that yielded nothing but echoing emptiness, have waited for promises of change that never materialised, all the while letting better options go by because I couldn’t help what my heart felt. If I could only turn off my feelings like a tap it would all be okay…

This one is for anyone else who identifies with this sequence of events because I know too many of you who are trapped and don’t know how to get out anymore. I know too many of you who convince yourselves that a slap in the face from your man can be justified, or that when he stands you up and makes you walk in the cold dark all by yourself it’s okay because he didn’t really mean it. Your tap, my dear friend, is in flood and there’s a river of lies collecting at your feet that’s slowly rising up to your ankles and then your knees and waist and chest until it will finally drown you.

You are that gem!

You’ve got to wade out of it and start to see yourself again. You aren’t cut glass; you are the purest form of diamond there is and when you don’t see that, you are selling yourself short by millions. As Lauryn Hill sang it, “Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem!”

Something compelled me to write this (at 4:37 am on a Monday morning!). Something told me someone had to hear this and snap out of a bad funk. Something told me that today, I can help stop some lovely, smart woman from asking herself that sad question, “What would have happened if I’d have been brave enough to give us a chance?”

Be good to yourself sister friend. Please please  think about giving that nurturing, thoughtful kind of love to yourself. Because woman, when you love, you love deeply. And any man who deserves that has to deserve you!

So here it is in plain talk: Be brave enough to let go!

And really, you do know when it’s time to let go…  your friends may try to console or advise you, you may read all the books you want to read about relationships, but we all come with an internal radar that tells us when we can no longer steer in a certain direction and need to change course.

You already know.

To those who are happily and crazily in love, I am wishing you even more of it this coming week. And to those who are miserable and clawing away at their walls, I am asking you to give your body some rest, your mind some peace, your heart some swathing from the cruel stabs and jabs of the heartless. Free yourself. Run. Let the racing wind evaporate your tears.

I leave you with this poem by Alice Walker, which I first wrote into my poetry book many years ago. It will give you strength.

Never offer your heart

to someone who eats hearts

who finds heartmeat


but not rare

who sucks the juices

drop by drop

and bloody-chinned


like a God.

Never offer your heart

to a heart gravy lover.

Your stewed, overseasoned

heart consumed

he will sop up your grief

with bread

and send it shuttling

from side to side

in his mouth

like bubblegum.


If you find yourself

in love

with a person

who eats hearts

these things

you must do.

Freeze your heart


Let him – next time

he examines your chest –

find your heart cold

flinty and unappetizing.

Refrain from kissing

lest he in revenge

dampen the spark

in your soul.


sail away to Africa

where holy women

await you

on the shore—

long having practiced the art

of replacing hearts

with God and Song.

Sail away to Africa

20 thoughts on “Never offer your heart to someone who eats hearts

  1. Worth waiting up for my love! So much truth here. To learn that art of letting go when it holding on hurts to much is something we can bequeth to our sisters, our daughters and all those who will come after us – the example of walking away. Some relationships are comfortable…they are like old shoes and we learn to not see the hole in it. But for many of us; no matter how comfortable the sure is… sometimes we change the way we walk and we change the paths we take – such that some ‘shoes’ just won’t cut it! Lolest…I think it is kinder to liken these ‘useless’ sort of men to old shoes than to resort to the mean name calling of referring to them as dogs which I find to be unpalatable….but I digress! Lovely read my dear…..


  2. great piece not only of writing prowess but a wonderful balance of threought and almost accurately a record of what affects our sisters the moments. God bless Fungayi


  3. this is so true. too often we find ourselves trapped in relationships because of what we think other people will say. we all to often think we are the best thing to have happened to him n forget that we are the best not to be treated like the worst. thanks for saying it like it is.
    ladies, when it dont feel right, get out of it, it wont ever be right! call upon another sister n get all the support u need


  4. Funny i am one of those who needed to hear these words. You know my story and he was finding his way back into my life, i let him. This last week was filled with agony and frustration, but we all know i deserve better. THanks i should show muself kindness and love as you have said, and that i will.


  5. Hi Fungai, it is a wonderful piece. I do love it. Can I ask your permission to post it on my blog too? I would love to share it:)


  6. Loved it Fungai. Been there. You are so right about all the things. Women love with all they have got. I wish women act like you have suggested. I really hope those women who are in this kind of a situation heed to you.

    Thanks a lot for sharing.


  7. I have a friend who’s going through something like this. Thank you for writing it. I’m sending it to her so she stays clear from that heart eater! Thank you!


  8. @Taff I think I’m that friend,,Lol but seriously its as if you are a prophetess or something. I saw my ex at church on Sunday. First of all how on earth can a heartbreaker dare to darken the walls of a church?! Hatred filled my heart and all the bad evil came back. Forgiveness is hard but letting go is hard enough. I always say I have ;lots of love to give the right man I just never realised I didnt love myself as much, Now I am going to fall deep in love with me. To attain a ridiculously high level of self worth. Thanks Fungi. I really appreciate


  9. i needed this so much and i didn’t even realise it. i’ve been settling for something mediocre just so i wouldn’t have to feel like i had no one.

    also, Russia is too far, Africa is calling!

    thank you for sharing.


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