Emmy the Great and the Necessity of Heartbreak

Not to be dramatic, but it is the duty of every person to experience some extent of romantic tragedy by the time you’re twenty. Well, not really, but it certainly helps to make you feel more experienced, like you know the depth of strangeness and sadness one can sink to. God, I remember being twenty, and then twenty-one and they were truly tumultuous years – maybe because I wanted to love and be loved quite desperately, maybe because all I met were the wrong boy but I meant to make the best of what was presented to me (and besides, university in Singapore is such a drag, ‘specially the sensible bullshit, like law school). There is a line, from the Slow Club’s “It Doesn’t Always Have to Be Beautiful” that encapsulates it – “waiting never felt like waiting when waiting was with you”, and I think that if that describes your early adult relationships, then you’re about par for the course.

And there is something to be said, no really, the first time you’re ravaged by love, or the aftermath of it. I remember sitting on the bus, reading Richard Siken’s Crush and crying openly  (“…Your name like/a song I sing to myself, your name like a box/where I keep my love, your name like a nest/in the tree of love, your name like a boat in the/sea of love — O now we’re in the sea of love!”). Hollowed out, mouthing the words of Emmy the Great’s Canopies and Grapes (“Spend some time out to resuscitate my soul/Take up smoking and drink carrot juice and grow/Teach the mattress to expel you from its folds/Then dry my eyes and keep on walking til the motion makes me strong/Until one day i realise I don’t remember that you’re gone/We’ll be strangers/who were lovers/I’ll recover/It’s so weird how time goes on”) over and over again until they are true, until I’m over you, who ever you have been or will be to me, there is a me and a you and here is what separates us forever.

I swear if anything happens relationship-wise here on out I will be destroyed, more than I have ever been before, and that is something to say when every relationship I have ever had before now has ended in substantial, ruinous misery for just under a year thereafter, where I take pride in being functional and literally nothing else. Love once and fiercely, and do it again, and again. It is not a weakness, to go to dark, intensely personal and lonely places, or to put yourself in a position where that becomes a very real possibility.

It is a bold thing, to meet someone and hand over your life saying, at least to yourself, this person is worth getting fucked up over. Whatever happens here on out, this is something worth feeling dredged through the very worst of life (drama begets drama in the realm of love and desire), and this is something I won’t regret, not really, when I can’t eat for days or emerge from my room without being forcibly dragged out by people who love you really. Would it be love, if it wasn’t worth being fucked up over? If you do not feel this in your bones, then what does it mean to be loved by you, are you simply a past-time? Yes you will recover, yes you will meet someone infinitely better for you in that you will enjoy your time together without the malice you require to knowingly hurt each other, and you will look back on the long months crying so hard your cheekbones hurt, reading poetry on public transport as you do more of the same (read: crying till your cheekbones hurt, but silently this time), but more than anything you will know this – I have gotten so fucked up for loving something that would never work so much that I broke down as a person, and now that I have met someone who thrills me, and makes me laugh, and wants to make me happy enough to never be cruel, I refuse to fuck it up.