Love, of course, inspired the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done. I was 15, in the middle of my first real heartbreak sob, and I decided to take a photo of my face. I wanted to have a tangible reminder of how shitty it all was. I took the pic lying on my bed with a DISPOSABLE CAMERA, the photos from which I had DEVELOPED at Walgreens. This was in the early aughts before selfies were SELFIES, and it still makes me cringe. I even hung it on my bedroom wall!
That brings me to the corner of the MEL parking lot, where last week we debated (over cigarettes like a bunch of angsty teens): Does heartbreak get less or more painful as you get older? Less, one male coworker said: The first cut is the deepest, duh. More, I argued. My evidence: That selfie didn’t prevent my heart from being shattered in deeper, more complex ways over the last decade-plus.
Far from it.
A fun fact that no one tells you about getting older is you somehow discover more and more opportunities for emotional devastation. The Heartbreak Issue, which launches today and runs through Valentine’s Day, demonstrates that your fellow humans are far from the only thing that can smash your heart into a million pieces. There’s also the job that ends with a security guard walking you off the premises; the luscious blond locks that start to fall out of your head at age 38 (or sadder still, earlier). Maybe it’s an apartment, your favorite TV show or a space probe. Everyone who Lives Life Fully will eventually learn the cold, hard truth: The potential for longing, resentment, anger and desperation really is endless (and often, faceless).
Lest you think our Valentine’s Day gift to you is all dead flowers, I’ve found there’s an upside to stalking your ex’s Facebook page 10 times a day. Once you waddle your way through a swamp of pain and regret, things get… different. Sometimes even better! Maybe you get a revenge six-pack, or a second wedding that’s chiller than the first (and filled with way more love). Maybe you just learn to eat and sleep again, which post-heartbreak can be an accomplishment worthy of an award. Most importantly, you’ll realize it’s gonna take a lot more than something as temporary as a broken heart to kill you.
– Alana Hope Levinson, Deputy Editor