Sunday, February 17, 2019


I remember my mother's riposte to my heart-broken ass my freshman year of college spring break: well this is how you made Jack feel. Jack was my highschool boyfriend, and my mother's entire assertion was riddled with problematic comparisons of generically distinct fruits.

I'm not sure if she was trying to give me a lesson in empathy, but I felt (and I was, objectively, correct) that it was a monumentally unjust response to my crushed little heart bleeding all over the front seat of our Toyota Sienna, as it had bled all over the floor tiles of Lewis Hall, the green grass of South Quad, and the pages of my journal in the previous months.

Heartbreak is such a terrible, terrible disappointment.

But it is different than having expectations crushed. Heartbreak is something genuine affection, plus time. If you have been truly seen, for a second, by someone you also saw as beautiful, and then they decide that this seeing no longer holds, or their vision changes, or some factors disrupt sightlines and the image splinters, then this is heartbreak.

Heartbreak is fomented by returning the moment of truth: the date on the beach, the letter that oozes divinity, the rainy morning in bed. It is easy to torture yourself in heartbreak: you simply return to those moments and try to square them with the new reality: which has rendered those old realities sterile and impotent: you have no use for these moments now. They are bricks lying on the ground, which you can no longer use in your project of building.

I think heartbreak makes you both more and less kind towards those experiencing heartbreak. You know, on one hand, that you can (I think?) move on (they tell me you can, and I think the world can become more than simply a glass box that I wash each morning and night with my tears, but I am not yet quite convinced that it will be true this time). I think it also makes you kinder when disappointing others' expectations. But also recognizing that what they are upset about are simply that: the disappointment of their own expectations rather than some claim they had on you.

Hearbreak can make you both witheringly untouched by disappointments of a less-severe pitch and wiltingly empathetic toward disappointment of all stripes.

Because heartbreak is such a terrible, terrible disappointment.

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