Monday, July 22, 2013

A Call for the Brokenhearted - guest post by Annie McEwen

It will be two years this August since I had my heart broken. My boyfriend came home from a summer away and without warning told me he was through, packed up all his things, including the bed we shared, and drove away from an exceptionally solid, three-year relationship. I remember the first thing I did after he left was hurl a heavy roll of duct tape as hard as I could across the room, making a giant dent in the wall. Our wall. No, wait. 

I had never been so confused, so lost. In the preceding three years I had often been soothed by the firm belief that even if I had no idea where my career was going, or where I wanted to live, or who I wanted to be, at least I could count on the fact that he would be there. He had been my anchor, and when he cut free, I felt the great violent heave of the world around me. And I was terrified.

My instinct was to armour myself so no one would ever be able to hurt me like that again. For months I worked to add layers to a thick shell I could curl up inside to keep myself safe. I saw no way out and wanted no way out.

But slowly, somehow without me even noticing, one of the worst things that had ever happened to me started to become one of the most interesting, the most life-giving. I began to connect more deeply with those around me who had had similar experiences. I began to recognize how extraordinarily brave it was to have one's heart open enough to be damaged by another. And I began to realize that losing my anchor and having my heart broken might just be a precious gift.

I'm sharing my story with you because I would like to hear yours. I have recently been awarded a grant from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council to make a radio documentary about broken hearts. I'm interested in your stories about the rotten end of love, the death of desire, the loss of a loved one—and how these experiences changed you. What is your life like post-heartbreak? Who have you become? What happens when a soul loses that by which it is defined? What do we do with the energy we once invested so heavily in another?

I am looking for willing participants, those ready to speak honestly and bravely about their experiences with heartbreak. Your experience does not have to, like mine, have been a life-giving one. Perhaps you are still curled up in your hard shell. Or perhaps you never felt the need to build a shell in the first place.

Jonathan Goldstein, writer and producer of the CBC Radio show Wiretap, once wrote (here—, “The eyes are not the window to the soul. The radio is.” I've chosen the medium of radio to explore this topic because I have learned that stories matter, indeed, they are at the heart of all things, and that nothing captures human life more intimately than the voice.

If this sounds like something you'd like to be a part of, please send me an email at I look forward to hearing your stories.

-Annie McEwen

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