“To wear your heart on your sleeve isn’t a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best.”
– Margaret Thatcher
Although I doubt if we were to meet Mags and I would have much to agree on, I did think for a long while this quote was a very good piece of advice to consider in life.
It’s not particularly normal – especially here in Britain – to express how we’re feeling inside. In fact it’s pretty ingrained in our minds to keep our problems and emotions to ourselves. It’s a sign of weakness to do otherwise.
Stiff upper lip and all that.
I decided after a very difficult year to keep my heart inside as our Maggie recommended. As Shakespeare’s Iago once said – if I was to “wear my heart upon my sleeve… For daws to peck at” I could be left very feeling vulnerable indeed.
But, one has to admit, it’s not very romantic is it?
The phrase itself comes from a rather dreamy notion. The origins apparently date back to the days of medieval jousting (there we go, the romance is restored already) where knights would don their lady’s favour – such as a ribbon or scarf – around their sleeve before they would commence battle to show the crowds their dedication to her. A bold way to display your feeling on the outside.
Recently I have found that no matter how hard I try to conceal my feelings, it does not feel natural. It doesn’t feel right to pretend my heart is not open and welcoming to all that comes its way. So I opened it up again and let my friends and loved ones back in.
Although it leaves me once again exposed to pain, since I’ve been more open with my heart, I’ve been more ready to welcome in happiness and joy too. And my laugh is louder than ever.
So from now on I’ll proudly leave my heart on my sleeve, so please be careful with it.