How I Lost $500,000 for Love

She spent a fortune to ease her guilt at being “the other woman.” But in the end, cash couldn’t fix what was broken

by Aryn Kyle
losing money for love image
Photograph: Illustrated by Juliette Borda

Three years later, I’m 35 and still far from recovered. Recovery is incremental. You can’t simply make a declaration to live more consciously or choose more carefully or consume more responsibly. The work is delicate and deliberate and difficult, and it happens so gradually that without your even noticing, the events from which you’re recovering begin to seem fragmented, dreamlike and very far away: that time I blew through half a million dollars and ended up with a black leather sofa; that time we went to Amsterdam; that time we made a wrong turn and saw a house we thought we could not live without.

I recently sold my third book, but I no longer think of money as a magical power or cure-all. It’s a tool, nothing more, something that, with care and caution, will buy me only enough time to write the next one. I’ve learned that real power comes not from what you can buy for people but from how honest you can be with them. There is magic in healing, and it has nothing to do with gifts or trinkets. It comes, instead, from straightforwardness, from sincerity, from vulnerability, from the capacity to stand, empty-handed, before the people you love and admit, I made a mistake, and from the willingness to say, free of agenda or expectation, I’m sorry. 

Aryn Kyle's latest book is Boys and Girls Like You and Me

Next: Spending to Piss Off My Father

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First published in the March 2013 issue

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