A Few Notes on Heartbreak
What do prairie voles, Taylor Swift, cortisol, trauma, and seeking out awe have in common? Quite a lot, as it turns out.
“And maybe we got lost in translation/Maybe I asked for too much/But maybe this thing was a masterpiece 'til you tore it all up…”
-Taylor Swift, “All Too Well”
Heartbreak: if you’ve never been heartbroken, feel free to skip today’s missive, in honor of the re-recording of Taylor Swift’s genius breakup album, Red (which Rob Sheffield lovingly examines in the pages of Rolling Stone here, and which I’ve been listening to all weekend nonstop.)
For the other 99.99% of you, pull up a chair.
Why write about heartbreak in a publication aimed at spreading information about middle-aged women’s health? Because heartbreak, and the internal chemical turmoil it unleashes in the body, affects not just young lovers but all of us. Male and female. Young and old. Taylor Swift and the rest of us mortals. Even prairie voles, or so I learned while reading the brilliant Heartbreak, an upcoming part memoir/part scientific investigation by science writer Florence Williams, whose long-term marriage suddenly exploded after her husband fell in love with someone else, leaving her bereft and in search of answers and solutions for healing. The galleys of her book landed on my doorstep this past July, the same week that my four-year, post-marital cohabitation––my second marriage, by any other name––ended not with a whimper but with a heart-stopping bang.