Golden's Sina Henrie on The Silver Lining of Heartbreak



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Sina Henrie is an actress and the Head of LA Community Development at Golden, a startup that makes giving back easier. They're currently in beta in Los Angeles, and they're aiming to make volunteering a more seamless experience for both the volunteers and the non-profits involved.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
"I fell in love with someone while modeling in Milan. He had dark curly hair, was pretty quirky and altogether nothing like the boys I dated back home in Germany, or the male models around me – he was different. We were dating long distance for a year and a half, during which I flew back to Milan to visit him in between jobs every other weekend. Eventually I decided to enroll in college and move to Milan. I rented a small room and was excited for this new chapter. But the day we hung my last bookshelf, he broke up with me. Looking back maybe I should thank him that he first helped me assemble all the furniture! It was completely out of the blue, but I later found out he had met someone else. School hadn’t started yet and of course not a single person I knew was in town (Everyone deserts Milan in the month of August). I have never felt so alone. I locked myself in my room for the next two weeks watching pirated recordings of U.S. TV shows in bed with takeout pizza, only leaving my cave to stock up on ice cream. How cliché of me, I know. First day of school I met two girls that convinced me to come out with them that evening. We were having a great time, and then towards the end of our night, I saw him across the bar with a girl. I could legitimately feel my heart break - an actual, physical pain in my chest that was so overwhelming I thought I was going to collapse."

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ADVICE SHE WOULD GIVE HER 20 YEAR OLD SELF
"Everything happens for a reason. You can’t see it now but it is absolutely necessary. Your life will not be the same if you don't move to Milan. You need to experience things as a single person in this amazing city in order to become the strongest version of yourself. And even though it is painful, one day you will be grateful for the experience, what you’ve learned from it, and who you will become as a result of it."

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
"I dated a guy on and off for a year. He was kind and loving and the first person I could see myself having a ‘real’ future with. I was part of his everyday life, we went on trips with his family and we were exclusive but there was just something in him that stopped him from putting a label on it. He wanted to have his cake and eat it, too. When I ended 'it' - the relationship he refused to call such - I was not myself for a really long time. I doubted myself. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t he love me? I felt flawed and unlovable. In the beginning I cried a lot. I hated coming home to my empty apartment and would break out in tears even when I went for a run. I generally felt very lost and bitter. Because of the nature of our relationship, I feel like I didn’t get my heart broken once, but over and over again. A convincing: 'I miss you, I love you, I am going crazy without you…' and I let him back into my life and everything was seemingly perfect… but then the same thing would happen and he didn’t want a relationship (again). I don’t know how many times that happened, but I was emotionally drained and hurt. My friends would not listen to anything relating to him anymore. Looking back I am not blaming him for hurting me. I should have taken responsibility to protect myself and my feelings. I should have drawn a clear line and valued myself enough to say no."

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THE SILVER LINING OF HEARTBREAK
"That heartbreak made me reevaluate my life. What was I missing? What was he giving me that I was lacking? And how could I provide this for myself rather than relying on him or any man? I would ask myself: 'What kind of person do I want to be?' And that became my focus. I questioned my relationships with everyone around me and subsequently chose to let those I deemed toxic go. I surrounded myself with new friends that were aligned with my true self and that brought the best out in me. I made sure that the positive relationships in my life got the attention they deserved. There is so much energy that goes into a breakup or a bad relationship: analyzing and complaining and crying and fighting. Redirecting that energy towards building new healthy friendships made such an immense impact in my life."

PEE WEE!
"Another big thing was spending time with my dog Pee Wee. Animals have such pure, unconditional love. I would go on long hikes with her – and by that I mean carried her most of it! She is always happy and everyone loves her. It sets the tone and made every interaction I had with strangers easy and light."

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HER BREAKUP VICE
"I went through a phase of going out a lot, drank more than I like and pretending to be okay. But eventually I realized that none of that was helping me - if anything, it was making it worse. And most importantly I didn’t like the person it made me."

DRAWING A LINE
"Once you get over the hurt and blaming each other, you can start to appreciate each other again for the person they are. But the history will always be there. Redefining the relationship can be hard – especially if there are new partners whose feelings might get hurt by that friendship. That being said: the Italian did a road trip through the U.S. with his brother and stayed with me in Los Angeles for a week last year and it was great to catch up. I am Facebook friends with old exes but nothing recent. It is important to get distance and to draw a clear line."

FAVORITE SONG ABOUT HEARTBREAK
"During the last breakup I kept listening to Sideways by Citizen Cope. I can’t say it is or even was my favorite heartbreak song but it felt very appropriate at the time."

MORE TO IT
"All my dating life I’ve always thought: That can’t be it. There must be more to it. I have such an immense amount of love to give and was desperate to find someone I can love. But equally strong was a sad need to prove to myself that I am lovable. It is hard to admit, but I kept dating guys that quite frankly didn’t deserve my time and it never turned into anything. Once I realized that the choices I made in regards to men were made by insecurity rather than by my heart, I stopped dating altogether for a while. Just as I did after the last heartbreak, I put the focus back on myself, my friends, my family and the things I care about. I basically cut out all the noise – I wasn’t going to date someone ‘just because’. The person would have to sweep me off my feet and be so exceptional that I wouldn’t be able to do anything but be with them. I started dating someone a few months ago and for the first time in my life I feel like I can love freely. Now I am just trying to follow the lessons I have learned. Most importantly I want to keep working on myself and the person I want to be."

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Photographed by Ellen Huerta.