Back when I still lived in Hawaii, my fiancé Jon told me that he went to see a psychic and she said I had a black heart. Black heart, black aura, black soul… I can’t remember which exactly, only that it was all black and fucked up and almost doomed from the start.
“Everything comes a little harder for you than anyone else, she said,” Jon continued, like he was talking about the weather. “It won’t be easy for you in life, because you came from such darkness.”
In hindsight, he almost seemed happy about this reading.
This was the guy who would leave me breathtaking poetry on my windshield after work at the library, but then refuse to be my date to any event. I remember having to attend this end-of-year party with the University of Hawaii newspaper staff alone, wearing my mom’s black velvet, floor-length gown, the one studded with fake rhinestones, watching couples go up and dance. Jon was at his house with his mom’s 500 cats, not doing anything. It didn’t matter how much I begged, he wouldn’t be seen in public with me. I don’t remember exactly why. But I’m the one with a black heart. Okay.
No wonder we broke up.
I heard later that it’s kind of uncool to read people like that. You’re not supposed to bring up someone’s death or negative energy. The way Jon relayed it, I must’ve been the human version of Satan, back here to make up for the countless innocent lives I slayed (like his).
And yet, I suppose some part of me believes it to be true.
I have a kind of Savior complex. I am also an easy mark for sweet-talking con artists. Despite my badass reputation, I’m really quite naive deep down inside. I will believe almost anything if you present it in the kindest of terms — until I wake up, shake the fairy dust off, and look for the exit.
In a way, I’ve been a mark for cons all my life. I grew up with the best, after all.
My mom ran a black market in our village. That takes the mind of a con.
My dad conned my mom into marrying him after he fell in love with her at first sight. He threatened to kill himself if she wouldn’t. My mom conned my dad into taking on two of her bastard kids as his own, since he was effectively her ticket out.
My brother relied on his natural charisma and popularity to con his own way through life, using people left and right until the school of hard knocks leveled the playing ground somewhat most recently.
On my bad days, I’m convinced I got conned into marrying my husband, who really never fell in love with me but needed a constant companion on his way out of Hawaii and back on the Mainland. (He told me so early into our one-year courtship and right after we married. I was never his type and he was afraid he wasn’t attracted to me.)
All of that was okay because… friendship.
“Wish I could be
jagged in your apathy.
I cannot shut myself in.
Fold up, cold girl.
Wish I could hang a sign, says, ‘Too jaded, do not disturb.’
But the windows are open and goddamned this front door, I cannot keep it closed.
You could walk right in, and ruin my Theatre, and walk right out again.” -Marit Peters
As for friends, I tend to attract raging Narcissists, sorry.
Yet, I’m driven by this need to extend myself anyway, like the perfect co-dependent my parents raised me to be, so that I could be their trophy in public and their whipping post in private. (Alas, I failed on both counts.)
I’ve never truly fallen in love and been loved in return. I’ve never been swept off my feet; I’ve always seen it coming, weighing the pros and cons like an accountant with her ledger. I could count on my hand the few times a man looked at me with stars in his eyes. Maybe one day, I’ll tell you about it
Of course, all of this must be my fault. I’m not feminine enough. I’m not charming enough. I lack personality, a big enough ass, I don’t know, whatever it is that makes us interesting, attractive humans… I don’t have it.
I grew up learning to be prepared for any kind of attention, good or bad. It was my only means of survival — to avoid being blindsided, surprised. And that includes using kindness to balance out the inflictions of senseless, random cruelty.
So I try like hell to make up for whatever it is I lack by making sacrifices, for acceptance, leftover love, to prove you wrong, Jon. When I’m scared, when I’ve been hurt, when I’m lonely, my first course of action is to reach out and take care of someone else, whether it’s extending words of encouragement or acting with generosity.
That’s my black heart, ha ha.