Top Five Break-up Songs – Anthems for the Newly Single

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So, I am kind of strange. I love break-up songs. Even when I’m in a relationship, there’s just something about them that gets to me in a way love songs just don’t. Well, as you guys may or may not know, I broke up with a guy about two weeks ago, and thus, have had no shame in induging. Which ones have I been blasting? Mostly, the following tunes (ranked randomly):

1.) Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1O5hxhrI6Y

I absolutely love this song. It’s short, but it expresses so much of the feelings that come with a break-up. It’s so beautifully acoustic and simple, and that kind of song just draws me right in. The only thing that irks me is the “be a man” line, but the other sentiments are so relatable, I can forgive it.

2.) The Puppini Sisters “I Will Survive” cover

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvpThS7zfQ8

Naturally, any list of break-up songs has to feature “I Will Survive” in some way or other. While I adore Gloria Gaynor’s original version to no end, The Puppini Sisters one has spoken to me slightly more. The tone is soft and vulnerable, growing into the strength and vocal harmony that makes their group so great, and adds another dimension to the lyrics. Their restyling and command of the song just gives me goosebumps!

3.) The Byrds – “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cuWjHoEB0Q

Another one that makes my dopamine levels go all silly, this one is a classic! The lyrics completely call the ex out on their shenanigans, while the music and vocals make it clear the speaker is going to move on and not be held back by their former partner. It’s a beautiful message, wonderfully presented!

4.) Train – 50 Ways to Say Goodbye

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Yes, this one has probably been on the radio just a tiny bit too much, but I love it anyway. But then, I probably hear the song entirely the wrong way. When I listen to this one, I don’t hear the guy’s sadness as much as I hear how much of a bad-ass this girl is. It sounds almost like he should be praising her because she’s the kind of person who would die in some dramatic way, like shark bite or lion attack. To me, it just sounds like the girl left him and then went on to be her amazing self and he can’t cope with that. Just my interpretation, but it peps me up, and hey, I love the instrumentals, too.

5.) Brandon Flowers “Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y0nvIu3PF0

From his solo album, Flamingo, which has so many good songs it was hard to decide on which to feature.  I love Flowers’ voice and these lyrics showcase it beautifully. He fills every line with emotion and it’s truly beautiful. I love it because it just feels so raw and unresolved, even at then end. Like the speaker was just expressing their hurt, not looking for any kind of resolution. To me, that’s extremely relatable. Others I’d suggest on the disc include “Was it Something I Said?” and “I Came Here to Get Over You”.

What are some of your favorite break-up tunes? Feel free to leave some in the commentary!

Thank You, Universe

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While Thanksgiving is approaching, lately I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude for my life I just can’t hold back until Turkey Day. Bear with me. I simply have to say thank you.

2013 has been, without a doubt, the best year of my life. My mother was recently married to a wonderful man I know will treat her the way she deserves for the rest of her days. My family moved to a beautiful new home with a gorgeous pond in the backyard and the kind of natural light that makes you look forward to early mornings.

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This year, I have faced many of my internal demons and come out stronger than ever. I have learned to accept myself in a way I never thought possible, and I can honestly say my self-esteem is the highest it has ever been.

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I’ve found my passion in ASL and I look forward to the day it upgrades from my class schedule to my career. My life is full of wonderful people I know I can count on, from coworkers to my closest friends. I am grateful for each one of you. I have a stable job I’ve held for years and, in this economy, that’s no small thing.

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And last but not least, I’ve finally found someone who appreciates and respects me. The relationship I’m in now is by far one of the best I’ve ever had. He knows who he is, and he’s wonderful. From our Skype dates to late-night Chipotle runs, there’s no one else I’d rather be with.

I am truly grateful for all the wonderful experiences I’m lucky enough to be living right now. I’ve been saying recently I wish I had a pause button so I could stop my life right like it is now. But why would I want to do that with a future that’s looking so bright?

 

School: Where I First Learned I Was Wrong

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School:

Where I First Learned I Was Wrong

            The first time I was shamed for same-sex attraction, I was seven years old. I was in second grade, and we were all headed outside for something or other, maybe recess or story time. Either way, it was a sunny, beautiful day. I was walking with my friend, Cassi, and I wanted to hold her hand. Apparently, she wanted to hold mine, too, because we did. With her tiny hand in my own, I felt happy. Proud, even. I liked her and it seemed she liked me back. I couldn’t stop smiling.

It didn’t last long, though. Mrs. Schmidt, our teacher, was quick to break it up. “I know you’re friends…” she disapproved, adding something about being ‘big girls now’ for extra shame. That was the last time Cassi and I ever held hands, but far from the last time someone told me my feelings were wrong. Growing up in southern churches, I got every indication who I was would take me to hell.

“God” hated that part of me, and it was something to hide and play down. Something to keep secret from relatives, to be dismissed as a phase whenever these feelings would surface. Never something to be acknowledged and certainly nothing to be celebrated. Who I was was sinful, and that “sin” had to be kept secret.

From one mouth to another, the message echoed – who I was was not okay. The more sure I became of myself, the more I felt I had to hide. As I found more of my truth, I had to tell more lies to keep it safe. It wasn’t easy, but the effort in keeping it tucked away was rewarded with approval from those around me, something that felt essential in my developmental years. It almost seemed worth it, hiding myself to feel moderately accepted. I always felt like I was holding back, though, holding my breath, and it took its toll on me.

I wasn’t doing anything wrong holding Cassi’s hand. At seven years old, I had no concept of sexual identity or stigma. I was just expressing how I felt for her – affection and attraction in the purest form. There was nothing wrong or sick about it. There was nothing to be corrected. In a southern, conservative school, though, it just couldn’t be allowed.

At such a young, malleable age, I was taught my feelings were wrong, just as I was discovering them. The fascinating things I was experiencing, the purest beginnings on my part of the ability to love another person were tainted. Tinged by a notion of wrongness almost as quickly as I had found them.

Adding to the confusion, any attraction to males I displayed was accepted and labeled ‘adorable’ or ‘cute’. It was fine – even encouraged – to show affection for a boy. Any intimacy of the same kind with a girl, though? Instant, overwhelming disapproval.

Growing up bisexual, I’ve been on the receiving end of these mixed signals all my life. Heck, I’m still getting them, some from the people closest to me. One thing has changed about it, though. I’m done letting it get to me. The labels, signals, defense mechanisms of the unenlightened no longer control how I feel about myself or who I love.

If I could go back to seven-year-old me, I would tell her this. I’d tell her some people just hate for no good reason, that there’s nothing wrong with her and to keep on keeping on. I wish I could go back in time and pat myself on the back for holding a cute girl’s hand. I’d tell her how great she is for expressing her feelings and to ignore her bigoted teachers. I’d make it clear that, while something is definitely wrong in this situation, it’s not her. That some people hold ideas about love and morality that just don’t add up. I’d tell her not to let their hate shame her into hiding. I’d tell her love is about being with who makes you happy, not who other people think you should be with. Most importantly, I’d make sure she knows she can hold whoever’s hand she wants.

-Alie Butler