A few years ago my heart broke for the final time.
Being a reckless, passionate, and melodramatic woman, it never occurred to me that a heart can only be broken x number of times before it’s just done being broken ever again.
Had I known there were a quota, I like to think I would have been far stingier with some of the devastations in which I invested myself. I can see now that a couple of them were a complete waste. Especially towards the end, there.
“You have only three left,” it would have been nice to tally. “Is the gun-toting egomaniac really someone deserving of your emotional collapse, or would you prefer to select a candidate over whom absolute ruin might be more fulfilling?”
Life being short, I might have gone with the gun-toting egomaniac anyway. But I wasn’t even given that choice, which seems unfair.
It just seems like someone, some concerned professional who made my development her life’s work, and whose every word was for me like gospel, should have warned me this was coming.
I mean, where was that person? Where was that warning?
“You failed,” I want to tell her, before pinning a murder on her. “A miranda right could have done a better job than you did.”
Instead, I was left to harbor my resentment alone, denied every single personality trait to which I’d previously committed myself without reserve.
I was the woman who was born to have her heart broken; I was bound to that identity. Without it, who was I?
It was a difficult winter, to say the least. Sprawled out on my bed, my soul totally at ease. Not even listening to Lana del Rey on repeat. Not even sitting in front of my mirror with heavy eyeliner on, watching myself cry.
And as the even-tempered days turned into weeks, I was just like, “Oh God, now what? Use my brain or something?”
Two solutions came to me at that pinnacle time.
One was to throw myself into a high-powered career with such ballsy determination and skill as to inspire raw fear in both my colleagues and superiors. Just as a way to fill the void, make it through those long days.
The second was to become an unrepentant seductress. And in so doing, perhaps be able to keep a small pulse on the heartbreak I had previously held so dear.
Before its actual manifestation, I assumed this might be more challenging than it proved. I guess I somehow overlooked that I live in a female body.
And of course, I heretofore had no experience in how enticing a woman not perched on the precipice of disaster is. (The timing of my education in such a matter was unfortunate — Miranda’s fault again, no doubt.)
The development of this new persona has provided an undeniable outlet of sorts. I’ve acquired what I consider an elaborate collection of lingerie, for example. I revel in men’s sexual competence far more than my heart-shackled self was able to, she being more of a giver than receiver.
But the initial goal of vicariously experiencing heartbreak has proven fruitless.
In watching men fall, I find no grace. Only concern.
“This might be one of your last chances at this kind of drama,” I tell them. “So consider carefully. Am I really an adequate vessel?”
Predictably, they assure me I am.
“Why would you even say that?” they want to know.
After feeling their warm breath on my neck, or watching them accomplish great deeds in the world, or reading a particularly clever line they’ve sent me by text, I generally plead the fifth.
For all I know, they’ll be better off for it.