How to Break Your Own Heart

by Jessica Brookman in

FACT: If you don't learn your lesson, you will repeat it with increasing severity. This will happen until you learn or it kills you, literally or figuratively. 

I've always been kinda bad at school. But I'm still alive. Here's my advice...

To set the tone, a video sent to me by director, cinematographer and ginger-extraordinaire, Aaron Moorhead. It's from LA-based producer Tokimonsta feat. MNDR, and it's called "GO WITH IT" He did the vfx in it and he practically begged me to include it in a post. (It was SO embarrassing, guys, trust me.) But it's so timely and so #losangeles. It's just perfect for this post. If you like it, tell him. 

Shall we?

A few weeks ago, friend of mine posed these questions to me: 

Why do we (a certain breed of lady) do the "non-boyfriends" and the inevitable drama, despite our quite loud protests? Because we're subconsciously petrified of being bored? Because we believe that love might only be love if there's some major sacrifice, or trials to bear? Why do we end up with man-children that need so much maneuvering?

I'm simultaneously relieved and saddened to tell you that this girl also happens to be a well accomplished East Coast Google-alum, tech-goddess as well as a total fucking babe-a-tron. That is, unlike yours truly, she is a functioning member of society. 

Now, I am clearly far from the formidable expert on these topics...given that my love life frequently looks something like the cast of Arrested Development re-enacting A Midsummer Nights Dream. That is, there is a whole of lot of dysfunction. Some lust and intrigue. Plus, the occasional fairy and/or little person thrown in there for comic relief.

And, I've written about non-boyfriends and all of their crazy-making here multiple times, but I could hardly be trusted to take my own advice as of late. I keep getting myself into more (and more) trouble. This is all to say that I haven't been in a rush to answer this question.

But an emergent health situation forced me to confront my own mortality. Incidentally, it also forced me to confront what the fuck my problem is with dudes. The confluence has rendered me equal parts hormonally- and emotionally-imbalanced. 

So that seemed like my cue to bleed all over this post a little bit and see if any of you have a fucking tourniquet...

Self-portrait on what may go down as the worst day of my life. March, 2013. 

Self-portrait on what may go down as the worst day of my life. March, 2013. 

Since I can't speak for everyone, I'll tell you what I know about how these non-boyfriend dramas unfold...and you can tell me how much of a goddamn idiot I am afterwards in the comments if you want. But hopefully you may also be able to take a bit of it as it applies to you. 

On Being Polarizing. 

To your description, I'm not sure if I count as a "lady" or one "of a certain breed" but I can say that one of the salient features of whoever i am is that people tend to have very strong reactions to me. So, almost always, it's infatuation or disgust at first sight. 

This leaves two types of dudes: Definitely interested or Ambivalent-but-attracted dudes. At this point, timing becomes a factor... 

On Being Slow. 

I'm painfully slow, by most people's standards, to let new people into my life. And by life, I mean vagina and/or personal space. Anyway, the second a guy pushes too hard before I want him around, I will make sure he's not around. Probably by immediately proceeding to my car and driving to a non-adjacent state.

Being selective is not a bad thing, but it's also the back entrance to Limbo Land. It is exceptionally rare that a guy has the patience and/or confidence to wait on a woman that he wants once he decides he wants her. (Blame testosterone and/or over-indulgent mothers). 

In a perfect world, we'd be left with patient but definitely-interested dudes who made the effort to win us over. More frequently, it leaves ambivalent-but-attracted dudes who become our non-boyfriends. We find each other to possess a winning combination of non-chalance and pheromones.

This is the recipe for most of Fiona Apple's song lyrics, believe me. So what else? 

On Being Intense.

I am fucking intense. Additionally, I can say that I am attracted to intensity. It's less a matter of being scared to end up bored, as it is about not actually having the option. I don't know about you but I'm fairly certain the average suburban accountant, for example, is positively fucking terrified of me. The same goes for anyone blessed with a more-mild set of manners. 

And rightly so. Intensity terrifies precisely because it is greatly moving in some way. Whether intensity is emotional, physical, intellectual, or otherwise, we are all affected by it. I like being affected. It turns me on. It makes me hungry. It keeps me sharp. Therefore, I seek it. 

I am attracted to people who burn for something. But what this means is that all of my greatest lessons in love tend to occur next to an open flame. And I believe that takes us back to where I started. 

So...what's the lesson here? I don't know. Do I look like a fucking psychic to you? Sometimes you just can't help yourself. But you're reading this so it hasn't killed you yet. Maybe you just need to GO WITH IT.


Now, does anyone want to toast some marshmallows? I'll bring the matches.