Ask a Badass

Ask a Badass is an advice column answered by history’s hidden badasses, writing as they see their whole lives and our modern world.

Veronica Franco

The Poetic Courtesan answers:

[Real Name Omitted]

Veronica Franco

Dear Badass,

Dear Badass,

My girlfriend leave me.

[Real Name Omitted]

Dear [Real Name Omitted],

Let me go, foolish ideas and useless hopes,

blind, senseless, and insatiable desire

I am so very sorry your girlfriend left you. There is more that I can say to you, but I suspect what you wish most to hear is this. The pain of losing the one you treasure is real and cruel. Your letter was so brief, merely a line. And yet, in it, you sketch the grief most common to mankind and most personal to the one experiencing it.

Let me be, sweet memories, you rough corroded

chain; even now my heart unburdens herself,

Many in your situation write the long sad story of their breakup. They painstakingly detail each step towards the brink. Some are convinced that they are living some horrible mistake. Surely, soon, the beloved will realize her error. Some write in the hopes that the columnist will join the chorus of their darkest rage, insulting and demeaning the source of their anguish. My hope for you lies in the fact that you showed yourself to be neither.

And you, my poor and weary soul, with dignity

Begin to rebuild your mind and peace.

When the full weight of grief first hits, you can feel powerless as against a raging storm, buffeted and broken. Even grief is mortal; like everything beneath heaven, your sorrow has its season. Do not seek to shorten it, but do not draw it out either. Let yourself grieve your lost relationship and find peace in your goodbye. You will find yourself turning your face towards the next season that life brings to you.

Light and free you’ll walk with ease

away from hurt and onto a safer path.

When you find your spirit begins to lighten – and only then—you should see if a lesson lies nestled in the story of your now past sorrow. We are tiny craft on a large sea, propelled by desire and guided only by our hearts. If we fail to adjust our course after each misadventure, we are destined to keep roughing through the same choppy waves.

May you find your way to the peaceful serenity of a vast lagoon.

Veronica Franco


About Veronica Franco

Born in 1546 in Venice to a father who was a citizen and a mother who’d been a well-known courtesan. Died impoverished in 1591 in Venice of causes unknown. Veronica Franco was a Venetian poet who published several books of poetry and letters and was at the center of Venice’s cultural elite. She was a high-class courtesan in a city that was famous for them and supported a large household through her work. She famously defended herself against the Inquisition but appears to have spent the last few years of her life in poverty.

You can read more about her at Mezzo Cammin.

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