Joining the Broken Hearts Club is so cliché until you get offered membership yourself. Alright, “offered” is a euphemism. No one ever “offers” you entrance to the Broken Hearts Club. There’s no VIP entrance, no golden ticket. You get pushed in there without any say in the matter. Like court-ordered rehab.
“Hi, my name is … and my heart has been broken for… three months?”
Your introduction ends with the punctuation of one who doesn’t understand what they’re doing or how they got there. The Broken Hearts Club recognizes your insecurity. Cue the scattered applause.
Looking around the room, everyone you know is here. Friends, family, acquaintances. No one you know is actually immune to heartache but because there’s no 12-Step Program for romantic fulfillment or happiness, everyone’s using different methods to cope. In one corner, the cynics gather to deny they’ve ever experienced love in the first place. In another, the criers overshare details of every past relationship because it just hurts so good.
You’ve got a foot in each corner because like everyone else here, you oscillate between a denial that true affection exists and a hope that endearment conquers all obstacles of distance, disagreement, and “dating other people.”
But just because we’re in this club now doesn’t mean we haven’t ushered others in ourselves. We’ve hurt others just as many times as we’ve been hurt. It’s like playing Hot Potato with the pain of being left behind and this time, it’s our turn to suffer the abuse. How did we get here? How did I get here? I would like to think that I’m better than this. I wanted an adventurous soul. I wanted a protean wit. But really, I just wanted someone to split that last piece of pie with. It seemed simple, but now I’m here.
We plot invisible charts on virtual graph paper hoping our dissection of pros and cons will lead to a defensible answer. In the process, we become unkind and careless of our own wants. And when it boils down to the one question of “is this worth it?” answering “no” seems more crushing than courageous.
It’s not like we haven’t prepared for pain. In the back of my mind, I’ve always thought “If I swathe my heart in enough gauze, enough cotton, I won’t feel a thing if someone drops it.” But as everyone in the Broken Hearts Club knows, covering an open injury may protect against infection but it ultimately does nothing to heal the wound. Gashes must meet air to seal on their own. Scabs must form without being picked. There are chances of minimal to moderate scarring, but these are the risks of falling in the first place.
So remember this if you ever find yourself reaching under your own skin: if you can muscle through the muddled drones of jealousy and anger, your efforts will give way to the dulcet drumbeat of your own mammalian heart. It echoes — quiet enough to be kept to yourself but loud enough so you hear it though the stupor you succumb to as you fall fast asleep: be brave, be brave, be brave.