Despite going through the beginning of a break-up almost 6 months ago, heartbreak is something still very raw for me. In my experience, heartbreak is a heavy weight, but it does get lighter, leaving only scars as a reminder.
As much as I’m a total advocate for being unapologetically open and transparent with feelings and emotions, heartbreak has been a difficult issue to talk about sometimes, as it reveals the most vulnerable self.
But now, 6 months on, I can honestly say that what once was a crippling burden on my heart is transforming into a tender wound. If touched, it does sting. But on the whole, I’m repairing and recovering.
My break-up has become a key part of my identity, so to have a blog without addressing it would be to hide one of the most authentic parts of myself. I want to document, share, and reflect upon this experience – but to do so in one post alone would not suffice. This is where I introduce a series I’m going to start: Heartbreak to Healing. I want to cover the many elements of heartbreak, but most importantly, the healing process that follows.
So in the first part of this series, I want to discuss what became the soundtrack to my experience, and how music was crucial in that part of my life.
The dialogue of break-ups amongst friends and families is usually confined within the realms of clichés, such as ‘time is a healer’, or ‘you’ll get over it soon.’ People are often scared to dive into the depths of emotion that heartbreak can evoke, so we simply don’t. It’s easier to talk about how a ‘future you’ will be better – but it’s too detached from the loss within the present moment for us to be able to gain any comfort, despite the positive intentions. The present grieving self cannot see beyond the now. But that’s okay, because the process from heartbreak to healing is not a linear one, and it can only happen when emotions are expressed rather than repressed.
For me, finding the right way to express and explore my emotions required a combination of mediums: poetry, books, articles, podcasts. One of the most significant during this time? Music.
Perhaps it’s our tendency to act as if moments of our life are scenes from a movie, or perhaps it’s just because music holds our attention in an easier way than books and articles. Either way, I believe that music can help our headspace by disrupting the jumbled dialogue in our minds, allowing us to be fully absorbed and present.
Emotions are tricky and complex, and sometimes when you hear music that is able to pin-point your state of mind, it offers a sense of solace… there’s a reason the ‘Broken Heart’ Spotify playlist currently has 1,262,183 followers.
So for 3 months, I made a slot in my daily 4 hour commute to my internship everyday to find some time to listen to music, allowing my grief to be felt. Yes, this did mean some awkward cries on busy commutes with Taylor Swift echoing in my ear (I know, I’m a walking cliché), but for me, it was necessary to help make sense of my journey from heartbroken to healing. And now I reveal a playlist I created that helped me along this journey:
I’ve tried to create some form of chronological order, but it’s difficult when the motions of heartbreak are cyclical and always changing.
The playlist begins with sombre tones; songs that embody pure loss and grief. Landfill by Daughter seemed the perfect fit for the beginning, as it covers those initial gut-wrenching feelings, where you lose any sense of self, direction and worth. The playlist progresses to covering feelings of denial, waiting for a return, and longing, summarised in some of these lyrics:
Nina Nesbitt – The Hardest Part
I keep you in my mind even though you’ve gone
Holding on to nothing’s easier than letting go
Alice Boman – Waiting
I want you more than I need you
I need you so bad
Are you coming back?
Paramore – Tell Me How
Of all the weapons you fight with
Your silence is the most violent
These moods are soon followed by anger, bitterness, and confusion:
Daughter – Love
Did she make your heart beat faster than I could?
Did she give you what you hoped for?
Ruth B. – Mixed Signals
I don’t know why I love you
I don’t know why I stay
I don’t know if its worth the pain
Astrid S – I Don’t Wanna Know
Long days and late nights can’t keep you off my mind
But are you feeling the same?
The heartbreak stages come to an end with Statues by Nina Nesbitt, acknowleding that this person is no longer who you used to know, followed by Let It Go by Rhodes and Birdy, which explores the strength of letting go.
The healing begins with ‘The Lights’ by Luke Thompson. To me this symbolises the light that exists beyond the darkness of heartbreak (I’m getting GCSE English Lit flashbacks right now), which then follows on to songs about moving on from the scars and rebuilding yourself.
Foxes – Scar
You cut me deep, it hurts to feel
It’s taking time, but wounds, they heal
Now you’re just a scar, a story I tell
Birdy – Wild Horses
I will survive and be the one who’s stronger
I will not beg you to stay
I will move on and you should know I mean it
And of course, how could you have a healing playlist without including New Rules? Speaks for itself (all hail Dua Lipa).
The playlist ends with ‘Beauty’ by Vincente M. This is the most peaceful song on the playlist, with only a piano and no lyrics. I think this song captures the essence of the whole process of heartbreak to healing perfectly. It has a bittersweet feel – the tone is soft and enchanting, but the piano adds a certain melancholy mood. It embodies the motions of sadness that come when acknowledging that what once was a very happy time in your life is over, whilst exploring the essence of something so beautiful too. Because there is also beauty in this new period of your life, but a different kind of beauty – the beauty of defining a new identity beyond the heartbreak.