It's no secret that I've been going through a break-up. Learning to deal with that unexpected blow has been a big part of my fall. In times like these, where I'm searching for meaning and closure, I've turned to my music. One album, in particular, has been huge in helping me make sense: "Sing to Me Instead" by Ben Platt.
It is quite possible that the reason why I gravitated toward Platt's music so much is that he is the first artist I've genuinely connected with; his musical theatre roots and his identity as a gay man influenced his music so much on this album.
5. Denial - "Better"
"I don't feel like we're done here / You got a lock on the things I want / I'm a lost lonely one here who's addicted to holding on…"
The idea that something is over without any warning is hard to stomach in any scenario. Forming a connection with someone and then immediately having that connection severed can be one of the most heartbreaking experiences for a human to undergo.
"Better" is about consistently trying to repair that connection. That person you've connected with is like a drug; once you've had it, you can't just walk away so easily. A period of denial usually follows where you can't see a world where it's truly over. You want to call, text, do whatever you possibly can to reach out to them. I don't recommend doing it of course unless you want to risk coming off as a crazy ex.
But trust me, that feeling of attachment is okay to feel. Especially if that person was your security blanket; but it's important to know that you were your own person before them and you will continue to be your own person long after they are a distant memory.
4. Anger - "New"
"Boy I used to throw a party over every little thing you'd do / Never going back / Never going back to that / heartsick little lover boy who went and lost himself in you…"
"New" takes the listener on a journey of that post-denial phase where you want nothing more than to trash talk the person who has caused you this pain. Usually in this stage, you delete them off of all social media and try your best to pretend that they just don't exist. I tried that. It didn't really work.
This idea that you feel invincible and that they are the one with the problem (maybe in your case, that is the truth) usually only lasts for a little. I got through my anger phase rather quickly, mostly just because I am not someone who holds grudges well, especially when it is against people that I care about.
It's okay to feel angry, to want to punch something. Maybe just don't punch your ex. That will probably only make things worse. Channel your anger into something.
3. Bargaining - "Grow As We Go"
"I don't think you have to leave / If to change is what you need / You can change right next to me / When you're high I'll take the lows / You can ebb and I can flow / And we'll take it slow / and grow as we go…"
This is the phase that follows anger where you quickly re-add them on all social media in an attempt to win them back. Usually in the movies, this is the moment when the character wanting their ex back says something along the lines of "If I could just talk to them, I could make them understand that we are meant to be".
I definitely went through this phase. It's a hard thing to fathom that it's over. You want to do everything in your power to make sure that nothing is left unsaid. Oftentimes you don't get the opportunity to get that closure, but when you do, it's hard to know when to draw the line.
2. Depression - "Bad Habit"
"You always said that I'd come back to you again / because everybody needs a friend [...] bad habit, I know, but I'm needing you right now…"
Perhaps the longest period in the five stages of grief: depression.
"Bad Habit" is probably my favorite song on Platt's album; I sang it a cabaret over the summer, right when my relationship was just starting. It's not easy to see what I mean when I say "Bad Habit" fits the category of depression. For me, depression is that endless cycle of returning to the thing that made you feel like this in the first place. You may acknowledge that it's unhealthy for you, but yet you can't rid yourself of it.
It's like a dark tunnel. There's no end visibly in sight. Do you keep walking in search of the light, or do you just stay put? Why put in all of that effort if there's no point?
1. Acceptance - "Older"
"When you are younger / you'll wish you're older / Then when you're older / you'll wish for time to turn around / Don't let your wonder turn into closure / When you get older / when you get older…"
It might be helpful to also consider acceptance as an acknowledgment of some sorts. It doesn't necessarily mean that you've accepted that the break-up is the reality, but you've acknowledged what that person did for you. You live and learn from every relationship, every interaction you make with someone.
This song (and the music video that was made) is so beautiful. It tells a story of someone reflecting upon a conversation with someone older, wiser, of a different generation. The gist: you can sit around, feeling sorry for yourself and for what has occurred, or you can move forward. Take all of the rubble that has found its way around you and make something beautiful out of it.
Maybe my analysis of all of these songs are wrong. Maybe I'm completely off. So, Ben Platt, if you're reading this: first, hello, and second, your music is so beautiful and lends itself to so many different interpretations.
Music allows us a catharsis.
I hope my analysis of these songs can provide comfort to you as you cope with whatever you are coping with. Reach out to friends, go on walks, enjoy the world around you.
This moment too shall pass.