Messy Hearts Club: Daijah

I was sitting in my living room, tossing handfuls of freshly popped popcorn into my mouth. It took a couple of tries to not burn it. Too many times I put the kernels in the flat silver pan and ended up with smoke, charred and dense popcorn. I played with the flames, the coconut oil ratio, jostling the pan to and fro. And finally, a huge pot for me and all of my roommates. Each of us grew up in a different part of the globe and had completely different childhood experiences. The notion that we can find common ground, that any human actually can find connection, when we all live in our own separate worlds is astonishing to me.

I asked, "what is something that everybody, I mean everybody, has in common?"

I got a reply, "Love. and then more importantly, loss."

I reached out to my then-roommate Daijah first, and asked her to tell me about her first heartbreak.

all interviews & photos by me

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So I want to explore heartbreak, that full body ache.

Umm, oh shit, I have a cigarette in my hair. Okay, I feel like I’m in therapy right now.

So there’ve been a few points in my life... I think the first one was when my parents split up for the first time. My dad kicked my mom out. I never thought I was going to see her again. I wrote her cards even, sitting on the floor scribbling away. "Mom, please come back, I'm sorry if I did anything that made you sad," in crayon on card stock. My dad was crying on my shoulder, at four. I had to grow up really fast.

You remember it that vividly at four?

It is my first memory. Which is kind of awful. But it’s made me who I am. My two people who were solid rocks had turned to mush. I had to stand on my own.

I’d like to say I’ve had heartbreak over boys. But really that’s just disappointment. When I have that full body ache, it’s because I’m confused in my own life. Which is really hard to overcome. You can’t really pinpoint what it is that’s wrong.

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Yeah, it’s not as obvious as my boyfriend and I aren’t together anymore and that’s making me sad.

Exactly. There's no second party there. Because I had to practically raise myself, I’ve been more focused on being there for myself. I know how to be my mom, I know how to be my dad, but I don't really know how to be me yet. I hurt myself more because of that. I feel like I’ve experienced heart ache with myself more than anything, and I’ve had to take a step back and realize that I’ll be okay.

How do you get over heartbreak, or can you ever truly?

Oh yeah, definitely. I feel like there’s moments of happiness in those times. Until you're alone and you question it again. You have to become an outsider to yourself in order to see what’s really happening. Learn to evaluate the situation from someone else’s perspective that’s still your own. Then once you figure out these issues are so small. Things sort themselves out. The best thing to do is spend time with people who you have mutual love with. Genuine people.

But yeah, of course you can.

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Are you scared for heartbreak with a guy after what you saw with your parents?

That’s something that’s frightening. If I get married with children and lose someone I love, and have to deal with my children at the same time. Yeah, it’s scary, but that’s why it’s so great. Love isn't worth it unless you have something to lose.

I hope one day I have something that would hurt that badly if I lost it.