By Katherine Taylor

The other night as I was walking my dog I noticed a girl swinging in the little park near my house. She looked around fifteen or sixteen, and was shuffling her Converses in the dirt while obsessively checking her phone. I could tell she’d been crying, but was trying very hard to look like she hadn’t been crying. All evidence suggested that she was out there dealing with teenage heartache, most likely hoping the person she loved would send some sign they loved her too. I stood there for moment contemplating and realizing that not that long ago I was that girl. I wanted to say something to her, offer her some form of reassurance that heartache doesn’t last forever, and despite what she may believe the world will keep spinning if that person doesn’t love her back.

More than that though I wish I could tell her (and myself) a truth that doesn’t exist. I wish I could say that getting your heart broken gets easier, that as you grow-up you stop feeling insecure or afraid. I wish I could say there’s some magic age where you have life figured out and will never again sit in swing and cry, willing someone to love you back. I wish I could say having your heartbroken is a one and done deal.

But the truth is life will your break your heart a million times over. It will break the first time you love someone who can’t love you back, it will break the first time someone loves you who you can’t love back. It will break when your best friend forgets your birthday, when you lose a pet, and the first time you trust someone with a real secret and they don’t keep it. Your heart will break when the world takes someone very dear from you and realize you must go on without them. It will break when you don’t get the job, when you learn love isn’t always enough to make a relationship work, and when you’re forced to grieve someone who is still alive. Life will break your heart again and again; that’s just part of the package deal.

Heartache is unavoidable, and it’s a pain like no other, but it’s raw and human, and even beautiful in it’s own right. Each time it breaks is a new chance to reset it, making it stronger, wiser and more compassionate. The cracks are there to serve as a road map of markers of time, but also to let the light in. Avoiding heartache means shutting out the world and the light. I think the best any of us can do is to keep choosing light. Perhaps our hearts were made to be prisms.

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