I love music. It’s constantly playing in my house. Whether I’m getting ready in the morning, cooking at night or cleaning on the weekends, something is always playing.
But it’s not just background noise, or a tempo to keep me motivated folding that third load of laundry. There’s something about the way music connects to our soul. I hate to say it, sometimes in a deeper way than just words on a page.
When I was basking in the glow of love, I played Maren Morris’ album GIRL on repeat. The songs, for the most part, were fun and sexy, and for a large part are about her relationship with her husband.
As I boarded a plane for a romantic vacation abroad with my boyfriend I kept playing two tracks on that album, “The Bones,” a song that suggests if a relationship is built on a solid foundation it can weather any storm, and “To Hell & Back,” which is about finding someone who loves and accepts you, skeletons and all.
I thought I had that, someone who accepted my flaws … someone I was going to build the foundation of a life with. But those were just songs, and neither of those things were true.
When that relationship crumbled and I was left brokenhearted in the middle of a driveway I learned there are some songs you aspire to and there are ones that you identify with on every level, as if they were written about you. As I drove home that morning, the joy of our vacation fading like warmth from the sun as it begins to set on a fall day, I turned on my phone and scrolled through my playlists until I found Maddie and Tae’s “Die from a Broken Heart.”
I’d like the song before. But I felt that song that night.
“How does he sleep at night?
Momma the nerve of this guy,
to leave me so easy,
am I gonna be all right?
I wanna kick myself for falling so hard.
Momma can you die from a broken heart?”
That was the question, was I going to be all right? How could this man tell me, in the same breath, that he didn’t love me, but that he had a good time on this vacation?
“Was it ever really real if he don’t feel like I feel?” they croon at the bridge. And at that point, I didn’t know how it could have been real if he wasn’t as devastated as I was.
In the following days, this was the only song I listened to. It played over and over again as I walked from room to room in my apartment, eyes red from crying so much there weren’t any tears left, taking down pictures of us, packing way his things in a box to be mailed to him.
I listened to other break up songs. A lot of Sara Bareilles. But nothing described my pain like this song did.
And then one day, it turned back into a song. I still identified with the song in a way that I never could have when it was first released, but I no longer questioned if I was going to be all right. Yes, in time I would be. And I wasn’t mad at myself for falling so hard, for falling in love. It had been an adventure with an unfortunate ending. I hadn’t died from my broken heart, it had mended itself back together again.
That’s the thing about music, sometimes the lyrics are so powerful it feels like it’s ripping out your heart and tearing it into a million little pieces. But the right melody can soothe your soul and help mend a broken heart.