You know what’s a curse put on the human brain? The fact that we remember people’s birthdays that are no longer relevant in our lives.
I have a lot of dear friends whose birthdays are in July. It was really selfish of me to openly tell them last year that I wanted the month to be over as quick as possible. Why did I have a vendetta against July?
Simple, a boy ruined it.
The year before, I had a really exciting dating experience. (Yes, the one that inspired the creation of this blog.) And last year, I was working through a mix of sadness and anger over how it ended. Ultimately, I realized it ended because we were using each other as distractions from our issues, a classic summer fling dilemma. But I got angry because he dared to compare me to his ex as we called it off.
Look, I don’t know how to tell y’all this, but you don’t simply tell a girl who’s struggled with years of self-esteem issues that. Not if you ever want to be friends with them.
Despite those words that cut like a knife, I really did want to be friends with him after the break-up. So much so that I was willing to pretend like I hadn’t been hurt. I thought it was gonna be easy to transition to being friends with him. But after hanging out with him just one time, I felt like that insecure high school version of me all over again. And I promised that past version of myself that I would never put my future self in a position to feel like that again.
So then, in the middle of me trying to deal with my grief through even more distractions, the pandemic hit. As tempted as I was to reach out, I didn’t because I realized that I’d been hurt and was holding a lot of anger towards him. To me, it no longer made sense for me to reach out to rekindle a friendship. Our paths weren’t gonna cross again and it just didn’t make sense for me to make an effort, especially if he wasn’t going to. In other words, the damage was done and I remembered that friendships are a two way street.
Since then, I’ve gone through all the emotions and arrived at the place where I’ve forgiven him in my heart. I’ve also made the executive decision to still want the best for him, even though I don’t want him in my life anymore. Life’s really too fucking short to hold onto grudges. Literally millions of people have died in the past year with grudges left in their hearts.
So where does that leave me now? Just a year too late to truly stew in Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour. Lol I had my moments with it though. No, where I’m at now is honoring the fact that I learned the purpose of anger through this and found some really good music along the way.
Breakups are never fun, even if you saw the end at the beginning. It sucks to go through all the complicated emotions. But the process of growth you go through after it makes you stronger in the end. Yeah, it takes longer to heal than you realize but trust me, a future version of yourself will thank you for going through it.
I made this playlist to basically say I’m not bitter anymore, just incredibly petty. What do I mean by petty? Just look closely at the song titles of the first few songs lol. That’s what I call unfortunate inspiration. All pettiness aside, these songs helped me process the sadness, anger, bitterness and eventual acceptance I felt about it all — in a really cool, badass kinda way. Hope it helps you if you find yourself going through a breakup. You’ll be ok, even if it takes a literal pandemic to heal from it.
To the boy I referenced in this post, I’m sorry for the many times I said something I didn’t mean or did something to hurt you while we were seeing each other. I’m aware of the fact that I caused you hurt too. Also sorry for ghosting you. I really hope you’re doing better and I hope you can understand why I can’t be your friend. Hope you have a great birthday.
P.S. I still hate golf and will probably never listen to your favorite band again. Sorry, the statute of limitations on pettiness runs at least a couple more months, I don’t make the rules. 🤷🏽♀️
“It’s cool, that’s what I tell him. No rules in breakable heaven, but ooh whoa, it’s a cruel summer with you…”– Cruel Summer, Taylor Swift
“Back when we were still changing for the better, wanting was enough. For me it was enough, to live for the hope of it all…so much for summer love and saying us ’cause you weren’t mine to lose…”– August, Taylor Swift
Sadness — August and Cruel Summer – Taylor Swift – First of all, I could literally make an entire playlist using Taylor Swift songs to tell the story of the relationship. But I want to highlight these two songs from the several there are here. I was furious when I first heard them because they personify the crushing sadness I carried for months. It’s like Taylor literally stalked me and/or stole my diary to write these two stupid brilliant songs. I still cringe when I listen to these songs because they make the pain feel so fresh. Cruel Summer came out in the tail end of the experience and it perfectly captured the clingy, anxious excitement I felt towards this guy as I saw it all ending. And then August came out literally two days before his birthday last year and it felt like a fucking punch to my gut. It made me so uncomfortable to listen to it because I would see memories of us playing in my head like it was a music video. I felt haunted by it all but you know what, they are such well-written and produced songs. So I’m mad, but with mad respect.
“I beat it like a dead horse, I beat it like a drum. Oh, I stayed with you too long, skipping like a record but I sang along, a shitty, never-ending song…”-Dead Horse, Hayley Williams
Anger — Dead Horse – Hayley Williams – When this song came out, I felt like I got permission to be angry. Petals for Armor as a whole helped me get through 2020 and was just full of space for me to sit in all these uncomfortable emotions. This song just reminds me of mid-quarantine when I realized “I was the other woman.” It sucked to realize that. Folks, if the person you’re dating keeps bringing up their ex, they are not over them and you’re dating someone who’s emotionally unavailable. You’re allowed to be angry, just don’t stay there too long. Beat it like a dead horse and move on.
“I used to cry over you, baby. I’ve wasted all this time…”– Icy, Kim Petras
Bitterness — Icy – Kim Petras — I was bitter for a really long time about the situation. More so than I was sad or angry, weirdly enough. When I first heard this song, I found an avenue to process the darkness I was carrying. I was no longer sad, but actively trying to avoid the anger and bitterness that had festered. Unfortunately, it was unavoidable and I had to lean into it in order to get past it. Looking back now, I realize that it was hard to tell when the anger turned to bitterness. It definitely didn’t happen overnight, but the way I perceived the difference was that I wasn’t getting mad at anything new. I felt just indignant about the fact that I felt like I had wasted time in that situation. I kept remembering the interactions I deemed as bad and kept getting mad at them again as if past me knew any better. It’s like picking at a scab — you know it bleeds every time you pick at it but you can’t stop.
(Disclaimer: I do not support that Kim worked with Kesha’s abuser on this song. Still in awe that a-hole has a career.)
“Bet you rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark…”– Writer in the Dark, Lorde
Pettiness — Writer in the Dark – Lorde – Listening to this song made me feel powerful. I’ve always believed in the power of words and I’m aware of the fact that wielding words is such a powerful gift. This song made me feel comfortable to process all of it, including the pettiness, in my songwriting. And y’all, I’ve written many petty songs about this whole thing. Maybe they’ll see the light of day soon. But for now, I’m letting all these phenomenal writers tell the story of how I learned to refuse to let a man dictate my worth ever again.
“Should be given the right to carry on. I’m still thinking about how much I need you but you really want somebody else. You’re not the one, guess you’re not the one…”– You’re Not the One, Sky Ferreira
Acceptance — You’re Not the One – Sky Ferreira – I want to perform this song with a live band; it fucking rocks. There’s an almost effervescent coolness to this song, especially as Sky sings the chorus. Unlike a lot of other rock breakup songs, the lyrics are sung like they’re more matter of fact, like it’s a sure thought in her mind that the “you” in the song is not the one. It was refreshing to hear that and it helped me get to a place of acceptance with the situation. It was ok that he wanted his ex more than me. I had the right to carry on. He was not the one.