I don’t know exactly who you need to break up with. But it is time.
I’m dreaming and wishing and hoping and praying and envisioning and manifesting a new beginning in our lives.
A hard stop to 2020. (Assuming I can make it past the election next week.)
1.Leon Bridges, River
My son George introduced me to this song. It is sublime and takes me to road trips. Driving down wide roads with only the center yellow line guiding. Radio playing. Windows down. Dogs hanging their heads our the back seat window. Smiling in the rear view mirror. Driving across the South in search of a Baptism. Driving until it doesn’t hurt anymore. George is in Maine for his first year of college and I feel his absence deep deep within. And we look at the same moon and we listen to the same Spotify. Back to that old sage advice, when you are hurting desperately, be like an animal in the forest and go to the water.
2. Sheryl Crow, Strong Enough
I’ve been singing this song with Sheryl since 1993- somehow knowing that I was strong. Having a sinking sensation that I would be too much. Haunted by the fleeting notion that I was lovable and unlovable mixed together. Who could be strong enough or man enough for these emotions and these thoughts?
3. Dua Lipa, New Rules
A good break up song has to slice through a lot of pain to gain the attention of the heartbroken. The pastels and dancing in this video distract me from tears. What better than women friends and sunshine by a pool to get over some asshole. “If you are under him, you ain’t getting over him.”
If 2020 was a merry go round, it would be condemned. Let’s get off.
A little louder.
“It’s always darkest before the dawn.”
Around 1998, We went to a Lyle Lovett concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. I would have been pregnant with our second. Aunt Mopsy babysat our little bitty AddyMae. Chad and I went out for a rare concert. We loved hearing live music. He knew I would know all the words and sing along and be tipsy on the melodies. I would love his blue eyes on me and his hands around me holding my swelling belly. The audience was standing and clapping for Lyle and I got on tiptoes and whispered in Walt’s ear. I know that back up singer. I think that’s Alison Krauss. I was over the moon. Cheeks flushed with love and music. The Ryman is more than words for me. And then to have these two beauties on stage overflowing the room with every right note. Cowboy boots. Flowy dress. Lipstick. Walt was impressed that I recognized her and I felt pride and confidence as I sang backup from my row at the Ryman.
11. CeeLo Green, Fuck You
When we first separated in 2016, This was my mantra (not the song but the words). I’m not kidding. It got me through. My brain and my heart and my whole being was barely surviving. I mean it. I was dragging the bottoms of the Earth. I was never a cusser. I was a goody goody in school and I was one of those -There are so many words in the world, we don’t need to use those tired old four letter words. So it is after I found out he had been cheating 7 years of our 19 year marriage and I couldn’t cope with “Tomorrow will be better” or “I am a strong woman” or “Karma will get him.” None of that worked. It didn’t even touch my injured self. Those long held beliefs in positive thinking did not put a dent in my pain. But yelling “Fuck you” made me feel half a percent better or at least it like I might live for one more minute.
12. Jann Arden, Insensitive
Music is soul food. Music is time travel. Music is a floating innertube. I knew these words in 1994. And to go back to lyrics embedded in my mind years before any marital tragedy, let me feel feelings and yet, be buoyed and protected by my untarnished younger self.
I’m one of the chosen few
Who went ahead and fell for you
I’m out of vogue, I’m out of touch
I fell too fast I feel too much
I thought that you might have some advice to give
On how to be insensitive
Entertain me, Queen. Let me yell out the words and laugh when I haven’t laughed in so long.
14. Dolly Parton, I’m Gone
Dolly, our MIRACLE WORKER. I’ll stop there because I don’t want to be sacreligious.
For those of you who feel hopeless and need more than some songs about heartbreak, I see you. Dolly has the power to save. Listen to more Dolly. This podcast is called Dolly Parton’s America.
15. Pink, So What
After we leave, we have to rebuild. This is what Pink is for. The reconstruction. Give me strength. Give me a fuck you rock star attitude. Show me the resurrection.
My childrens’ generation is amazing. They won’t take so much shit.
These won’t be the last tears because grief is cyclical and I am a cryer.
(I love how the Indigo Girls dressed like Southern politicians.)
Let’s dance around that dead relationship with weird make up and absurd hair dos.
God-I’m so invested that next week we will get to break up with 2020 and with the Trump presidency. And from the patriarchy. Please help us all.
Plus ONe. Bon Iver, Skinny Love
Because I’m a giver and singing it all out and leaving your words and heart on the table can be exactly what we need. Brene Brown said in her podcast- well I didn’t actually listen to this episode, but my true friend Cat told me about it. Apparently, we need to complete a stress cycle. We can’t just get stressed out and then drop it. We have to finish it out. We have to release the stress from our body. We gotta get rid of that tension and shit so we don’t absorb all the toxic stuff. Cat said Brene Brown said- that to get out of the stress cycle, we can move or sing or cry or scream. Or all of the above. Let’s do all of the above.
I love you. I hope you are reading because you need sustenance and that I am able to offer a minute of relief. Peace out. From the dining area of this 48 year old’s condo to your precious soul. Amen.
if you are interested in reading more of my heartbreak story start here with The Bathtub.
and if you think I have said too much read Mouth of The South