Required watching for this post:
I have to say I'm rather impressed with Demi Lovato.
I recently noticed an odd trend in break-up songs. It typically is an anthem of how badass you are. You are free, independent, and will rise above the hurt. See Titanium, I Will Survive, Part of Me, Wide Awake, etc. From the lyrics, at first glance, it seems like Demi is saying the same thing. She will rise up "like a skyscraper" over all of this while the other party just "runs away" from it all.
But the performance and music video undermine that theme here. It is a raw, crying voice that carries out those lyrics. There is real hurt behind it all. Her first few lines talk about teardrops falling into her hands. There's a line about the guy making her feel like there's nothing left of her. This is not a triumph song. The video takes place in a desert. She walks over glass in bare feet. She is wearing just a few flowing robes, showing how vulnerable, although free, she is. This has cries of pain, emptiness, and the raw feeling of being left alone.
This isn't about how strong she is. It is more an anthem trying to psyche herself up. She is not a skyscraper in the clouds just yet. She is still trying to pick herself up and rise to the challenge. This is more about her repeating the lines to herself in an act of protest and self-affirmation; that while it all hurts now she can rise above it all.
Major kudos. Break-ups are messy. And it is OK to feel the pain. That doesn't diminish who you are. It isn't a measure of your worth or strength how long you have to grieve. The pain is real, it will hurt, and people suffer. We are fragile like paper and glass. We get torn up and broken, and that is OK. But at the same time we don't merely sit in the pain. We crawl our way out of the pit towards a different place. Pain turns into motivation to move. We set our sights on triumph. We try to walk out of that pain eventually. In the meantime though, it all still hurts.
Balancing these two aspects of pain and triumph into a single song is amazing in today's bland clean-cut pop version of love. Hm. That's it for today's random thoughts.
PS Browsing YouTube, another song of hers that does a remarkable job of mirroring real-life a bit is Heart Attack. I was just talking with a friend about how sometimes we cover up, scared that if we let the person we like know how much we like them we leave ourselves vulnerable. Demi in some ways gives us a lovely cutesy crush song. But she also does a remarkable job of showing how much we play defense in our scared world.
PPS I think we all do the self-affirmation part. We like to post and repeat quotes not because we're living them but because they give us a waypoint or beacon of where we'd like to get. Many of these posts on this blog giving "advice" are not just for you as a reader but also to pound into myself what needs to change. We envision the change we want to be. We acknowledge how short we fall. Then we get to walking.