[Getting Over a Break Up - A Step by Song Guide - Part 4 - "For Love's Sake" ]
I went through a devastating break-up a few years ago and wrote my way through it. That album, 3 AM, comes out June 10, 2016. This series is about how I got through that break up and the songs that came out of it. If you’re somewhere in the middle, hope this helps. Chin up.
Getting left behind is a deep, jagged cut. When someone decides “I’d rather be without you than with you,” there is a deafening loneliness and bone-chilling sadness left in the wake. It’s really hard not to believe you must have failed somehow for someone to be making that decision. But it’s not necessarily so. Sometimes people just can’t see past what they think they need and it’s actually not about you at all. It’s far easier to see that in hindsight than while you’re still icing the bruise of being dropped like a hot potato, but hang in there. Hindsight WILL come. You just gotta get to the hind first.
What to do in the meantime? Use that shit. Heartbreak and all its companion emotions can be powerful conduits for creativity (she says, on the eve of releasing her epic break-up album.) I’ll never forget the visit I had with my doctor the morning after I got kicked to the relationship curb. I had to drive to Texas to play some shows the next day and hadn’t really slept or eaten in about a week, so I went to see if he could help me pull my shit together enough to do that. The doc – a 60-ish Laurence Fishburn looking dude I’d ended up singing Sam Cooke songs with on my first visit a few years earlier - came in, gave me a hug, and launched into an EPIC monologue: “You’re gonna be OK. I know it hurts right now, but you’re still young, you’ve got plenty of time ahead of you. Right now you just write it all down. They may not be songs yet, but you just write it all down and later on you can shine ‘em up and turn ‘em into songs. This might be the best thing that ever happened for your career! People love heartbreak songs! Look at Adele! She went and got happy and wrote a bunch of happy songs and it didn’t do well. DON’T NOBODY WANNA HEAR THAT….” I swear he never even took a breath. I actually laughed, which I didn’t think was possible at the time. God love him for that. But his advice was spot on. And it’s the same advice I’ll give you, yet again. I know I’ve already said it six times, but it frickin’ helps so DO IT: Write. That. Shit. Down.
“Damn, Kira, why are you so hot on writing shit down??” Because even if you don’t write an album, you may find your way to a little light in the darkness that you won’t see until you put pen to paper. At least I didn’t. I found that I was able to see beyond my own heartbreak and loss, even if only for a moment at a time. But when I did, what I saw in him was a heart that had once been open to love but had since closed the door. I saw that other things had bumped love out of the top spot on his “what matters most in life” list. That made me tremendously sad – not just for me and the loss that I felt, but for that heart that I’d known and loved before the door slammed shut and the list changed. Sad, too, for the sake of love itself, which I know down to my toes that we ALL need.
Strangely, I found some comfort in knowing that though I’d lost the one I’d shared it with, I still had love at the top of MY list. This wasn't love's fault.
I actually found tenderness, compassion and a bit of grace in that thought, even through the sadness. It shifted me out of my own tragedy and into a place where sadness didn’t automatically equal hopelessness. Score one big one for the pen and paper.
Be grateful for grace whenever and however it shows up. Invite it in for tea. Sing Sam Cooke songs with it. And be grateful, too, for laughter in the midst of pain – it reminds you that you still have joy inside. Which, I promise, you do.