the divorce playlist, part 5

phase five:  reclaiming my femininity

What music makes you feel like a sensual, womanly and feminine…like taking a bath, putting on your best lingerie and buying flowers — all just for yourself?

See phase one, phase two, phase three and phase four

if I had an anthem…

I’ve probably written enough about Bob Schneider so that you know by now I think Lovely Creatures is the perfect combination of songs to nurse one’s heart through a divorce. There’s the heartbreaking Changing Your Mind, the bitter Realness of Space, the romantic and hopeful 40 Dogs, the jaunty Till Somebody Catches a Feeling and the poignant Bicycle vs. Car…and more.

But what if I had a song of my own that defined where I’m at in life? What might that be? I know what it used to be — I listened to this song over and over in my late twenties, and I’ve recently re-discovered At This Point In My Life by Tracy Chapman. In a word, it’s all about redemption.

Here are the lyrics; they might give you an idea of why this song so resonates with me:

“…At this point in my life, I’ve done so many things wrong, don’t know if I can do right
If you put your faith in me, I hope I won’t let you down
If you give me a chance I’ll try…

You see it’s been a hard road, the road I’m traveling on
And if I take your hand, I might lead you down the path to ruin
I’ve had a hard life, I’m just saying it so you’ll understand
That right now, right now, I’m doing the best I can
At this point in my life

At this point in my life, although I’ve mostly walked in the shadows,
I’m still searching for the light
Won’t you put your faith in me
We both know that’s what matters
If you give me a chance I’ll try

You see I’ve been climbing stairs, but mostly stumbling down
I’ve been reaching high, always losing ground
You see I’ve conquered hills, but I still have mountains to climb
And right now, right now I’m doing the best I can
At this point in my life

Before we take a step, before we walk down that path,
Before I make any promises, before you have regrets,
Before we talk commitment, let me tell you ’bout my past —
What I’ve seen and what I’ve done, things I’d like to forget
At this point in my life

At this point in my life, I’d like to live as if only love mattered,
As if redemption was in sight,
As if the search to live honestly is all that anyone needs,
No matter if you find it.

You see when I’ve touched the sky, Earth’s gravity has pulled me down
But now I’ve reconciled that in this world
Birds and angels get the wings to fly
If you can believe in this heart of mine,
Oh, if you can give it a try,
Then I’ll reach inside and find and give you  all the sweetness that I have
At this point in my life…”

Let me be clear:  In the scheme of things, I truly don’t believe that I’ve had a difficult life — that’s not the part I relate to. It’s the sheer humility of acknowledging that I have a past; I have failed at relationships and I want to do better, try harder. It’s the hopefulness, the possibility — in her words, “to live as if only love mattered, as if redemption was in sight…as if the search to live honestly is all that anyone needs, no matter if you find it.”

And someday, when I meet my match, I’m going to reach inside, find and give him all the sweetness that I have!

the divorce playlist, part 4

phase four:  freedom / victory / celebration

So maybe you’re not ready to date yet, but you’re feeling better about yourself and the direction you’re headed. You’re happy more often than not, maybe even triumphant that you’ve come this far, and you’ve found the kind of songs that make you feel like dancing in the kitchen:

the divorce playlist, part 3

phase three:  hope, or songs for turning the corner

Rather than try to come up with a lot of songs that matched my mood in this particular phase of “recovery,” I wanted to write a few thoughts about why I so love these two so much. These are the kind of songs that balance precariously atop the fence rail separating mournfulness from hope.

Bob repeatedly sings, “It’s not the end of everything, it’s just the end of everything you know.” I once texted this sentiment to a friend who was going through a divorce. He responded, “Wait, was that supposed to make me feel better?”

Good question. While on the surface, the thought of everything we know ending seems scary, but it can also be tremendously hopeful. When what you’ve known is heartache and unhappiness, it’s nice to believe that there’s a world of unknown people, experiences and even feelings that have the potential to be sweeter and more beautiful than even the best memories. Considering the vast pool of everything, I’m willing to bet that my knowledge and direct experience is fairly limited — like the notion that we only use 5 – 10% of our brain power. I take great comfort in the idea of what I don’t know — or use — and its possibility. I’m holding out hope that what’s to come and what I will create is going to be a sight more blissful than what I’ve put behind me.

As for the second of these, I love Paul Thorn’s hang dog, glass-half-empty way of expressing the small improvements and minimal progress along the road to recovery from heartbreak:  “I have a good day every now and then; I count my blessings on one hand. I start believing the sun will shine again…” I love the way he lets the listener know just how awful things got with “I ain’t missed a day of work in two whole weeks now. I didn’t drink last night. Looked at your picture and shed just one tear before I turned out the light.” Somehow through the bleak funkiness of this tune, Thorn manages a mournful hopefulness, which is just what I need when I’m feeling that bad myself.

What songs let you know you’re not alone in your misery and give you hope?

See phase one and phase two.