Link Love Wednesday: Heartache and Coconut Chicken Bites

HeartbreakGood evening, and happy December! Blogging has been a bit slow here at So It Must Be True in the last month, but life has been good. Outcomes for my fantasy football team may have taken a turn for the worst in the past few weeks, but the holidays are almost here and it’s time for celebration. What are your plans? Any fun holiday parties in the works? Share what you’re most looking forward to this season in the comments section below. As always, enjoy this week’s batch of Link Love!

What are some fun links and interesting articles you’ve come across this week?

Your Breakup Kit: 10 Songs to Ease the Pain

I will surviveAlthough Valentine’s Day is in a couple of days, some couples are not basking in the rays of relationship bliss. For those currently in the middle of breakups, mid-February is an especially difficult time to process your feelings, as the entire country glamorizes the idea of proving your worth to society based on whether anyone was willing to hold your hand in public on that day. So to help you all out, I’m bringing in a few song favorites and links – some sad, some upbeat – that could help cheer you up.

And yes, most of these are very mainstream songs. Enjoy!

Sad Songs for Wallowing in Self-Pity

Sometimes it’s your party and you can cry if you want to. This list is for the people who just don’t want to get out of bed, the heartbroken ones who keep replaying “what if?” scenarios in their minds, the people who need to let themselves feel the heartbreak a little bit longer.

1. Almost Lover – A Fine Frenzy (song).
The lyrics “You sang me Spanish lullabies, the sweetest sadness in your eyes,” always stick in my head when I hear this song! The artist sings goodbye to a significant other that almost was.

2. California King Bed – Rihanna (song).
I’m not the biggest Rihanna fan, but I wish this song had gotten more airtime when it first came out. This super sad song is all about a relationship at its end, being torn apart by emotional distance.

3. The Reason Why – Rachael Yamagata (song).
This song is not really about a romantic breakup, but more about the artist’s breakup with her band and journey into working a solo act. Beautiful piano accompaniment with lyrics that you can totally apply to your own heartbreak.

4. Set Fire to the Rain – Adele (song).
To be fair, every song by Adele is a breakup song. Set Fire to the Rain in particular always resonated with me as one of the sadder ones – although I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from her soon!

5. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley (song).
This is my favorite cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and I think it has such a profound sadness to it. After all, Shrek and Fiona listened to it when they parted ways in the first Shrek movie, didn’t they? If it’s good enough for Shrek, it’s good enough for any of us.

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Empowering Songs for Your Inner Warrior

Sometimes, we don’t want to host our own pity parties — instead, we want to move past the heartbreak and feel the freedom of a bad relationship shed. These songs reflect the strength we might embody when we overcome a difficult situation.

1. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor (song).
How can you not love this song and immediately start dancing when it comes on? I Will Survive is the pre-Single Ladies anthem for single ladies everywhere.

2. Picture to Burn – Taylor Swift (song).
Make as many jokes about Taylor Swift’s relationship status as you’d like, but this song – with its original country charm that many of her newer songs lack – easily gives We Are Never Getting Back Together a run for its money. Spiteful, yes, but totally fun to listen to!

3. I Look So Good – Jessie James (song).
In this song, the artist sings about all of the good things the breakup has done for her – including a boost of confidence! Definitely gives the breakup a more positive spin.

4. Miss Me – Andy Grammer (song).
I’ll admit that this one is a little sadder than the others, but the song does lean toward the sentiment that your significant other will miss you when you’re gone. For the still-sad-but-leaning-toward-empowered ones, this song provides hope of a happier tomorrow.

5. Happily Never After – Pussycat Dolls (song).
This song is all about leaving an unhealthy relationship for good and knowing what you deserve – a very uplifting way to start anew.

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What are your favorite breakup songs? What songs have helped you get through some of your toughest moments?

It All Makes Sense Now: Living So The Words Have Meaning

Taylor SwiftWhen my best friend and I were in high school and our earlier years of college, we constantly compared the boys in our lives to the boys in Taylor Swift songs. From the guys who were perfect in every way who simply didn’t notice us to the guys from whom we had drifted apart, we loved rocking out to T. Swift’s music in the car because we knew that, at any time, we could relate to at least something on her album.

Music often has the power to bring us back to a single moment in time, reminding us of the emotions — both good and bad — that came along with it. But little do we realize that those pivotal moments in our lives are exactly what give the lyrics their meaning. If we hadn’t met that one person, been in a particular place at a particular time, or experienced heartbreak, we wouldn’t truly comprehend those life events about which the songs were written in the first place.

musicAfter one break-up, I was listening to a few old favorites of mine, and one song – an older song written in some sort of extended metaphor that has been covered by probably a hundred artists since its inception – began to play. It was a song I’d always thought was beautiful, but I was never really sure why. This time, I felt an intense sadness as I meditated on a few key lyrics, as I realized, I finally know what he’s singing about. In a strange way, this simple realization made me feel that much more connected to the artist, the song and even to the world.

It goes like this: you can read The Perks of Being a Wallflower and think that you know what it means to be “infinite,” but eventually you will end up in a situation that actually makes you feel infinite, and suddenly you have a greater appreciation and understanding of the book itself.

It is important to take that leap of faith and live so that the words have meaning. (Tweet this!) It might not turn out the way you had hoped – it might sting – but you owe it to yourself to enter relationships honestly and to remain open to unfamiliar opportunities.

The Margin of Error: Surviving in a Cynical World

“Maybe 99 of 100 people will disappoint you. But I don’t know, I think you find the magic of the world in the margin of error.” – Hart of Dixie

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The other night, as I sat down to watch my latest guilty pleasure show, Hart of Dixie, I was pleasantly surprised by the heartwarming turn of events (as I seem to be every week). For those who are unfamiliar with the show, Rachel Bilson stars as the cynical and often impersonal Zoe Hart, a New York City-trained doctor who winds up in Bluebell, Alabama. In this week’s episode, Zoe must suspend disbelief when even science gives her a 99 percent chance of being right about a diagnosis that the rest of the town disputes.

Zoe claims that the leftover one percent stands for mere margin of error rather than admitting that sometimes people will prove her wrong. The episode is all about having faith in other people and not letting our past experiences cloud all of our judgments in the future.

Too many of us become jaded in order to protect ourselves from heartbreak and disappointment. If we freeze the world out, we are less likely to be hurt. But we freeze the world out, we close ourselves off to some of the most fulfilling relationships we never knew we had.

Blind trust is a bad thing, but I’m a firm believer in cautious trust — letting others in gradually, allowing them to prove their trustworthiness over time. Ultimately, others will hurt you, but as Lavon Hayes (one of the characters on Hart of Dixie) says, the magic of the world comes in that margin of error, the 1 percent who surprise you and renew your faith in friendship and love and kindness. As difficult as it may be, sometimes we need to shut out our own cynical thoughts and remind ourselves of why the world is so beautiful.

Innocence Versus Hope

“Thank you, Little Queen. Then you must teach my daughter this same lesson. How to lose your innocence but not your hope. How to laugh forever.” – Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club

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After finally finishing The Joy Luck Club (which readers will know I have been working on for a while, as evidenced by my posts here and here), I found that I related to the novel on many levels, one of which I actually noticed in between chapters. At the start of each section of the book, Amy Tan includes little italicized anecdotes that provide insight into the section itself. Her last section, “Queen Mother of the Western Skies,” begins with the vignette of a grandmother and her infant grandchild. The grandmother observes the baby and speaks to her, admiring her laughter and reflecting upon her own life experiences.

The grandmother longs for the days when she was “once so free and innocent.” However, after becoming more exposed to the hardships of life, the grandmother becomes hardened by these experiences, and then teaches her daughter to “shed her innocence so she would not be hurt as well.”

Ultimately, the grandmother discusses the happy medium of “how to lose your innocence but not your hope,” and after reading this passage, I couldn’t help but wonder if this is the answer we’ve all been looking for. As we grow up, we find that our lives don’t always turn out as expected, and that people can disappoint us in more ways than one. After a certain number of disappointments, we begin to regret ever trusting in those people and situations we had always counted on, and may start to become cynical. We might not let ourselves get as excited as we would normally want to be, because there is always that nagging voice in the back of our heads, telling us that things might not work out. The internship interview we just completed? Yeah, it went well, but there’s certainly a chance that we screwed up that last question or that someone else had a prettier resume. The boy in sociology class who seems interested? Sure, things seem promising, but he probably only likes sorority girls, anyway. We create our protective barriers because we can’t stand the idea of getting hurt, especially in a world that is completely chaotic and unpredictable.

After two years in college, I have definitely learned a lot about how much I can trust in others, and when I need to be wary around new people and situations. This is important, because it keeps me from repeating the same mistakes and allows me to learn something new every day. However, this loss of “innocence” does not mean I have to be completely negative any time an exciting new opportunity arises; I can still keep my “hope.” I have learned that to have hope in all situations is not a naive trait, but rather a characteristic that keeps us young and vibrant.

In other words, while it is important to have some protective barriers in order to keep out some of the bad, it is equally important to allow in the good as well. We can learn from every experience, regardless of its outcome, and being hopeful can help us get through some of the more difficult ones.

The Story Of Us: Just Another Transition

While listening to Taylor Swift’s more recent single The Story of Us, I couldn’t help but think about how relationships (whether platonic or romantic) tend to come in stages. In the song, Swift sings about a once-iconic relationship that ended badly. She begins with the idea that the “story of us” is this effortless love story that she and her boyfriend will be telling their grandchildren, but then reveals that she and the former love of her life are no longer on good terms. Soon, that “story of us” becomes the story of how “I was losing my mind when I saw you here,” not about how sparks flew when they first met.

The lyrics and theme of The Story of Us reminded me that our relationships are constantly in a state of transition, and so are the stories we tell about the people in our lives. The guy you met in your bio class and instantly connected with might soon become the guy who took you on the perfect date, then the boyfriend everyone envies you for having, then the boyfriend who cheated on you with that girl down the hall, and finally the ex you run into on a plane and hardly speak to. All relationships begin and end differently, but most of them will have their beginnings and endings, and your perspective will certainly differ depending on the point you are at in that relationship.

It is important to accept that things are always going to change in some way. (Tweet this!) Even if you do find the love of your life, chances are your relationship will hit some bumps or adapt to the way you start to grow up. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everything in your life can become a learning experience, a story you share with your friends and your children in the years to come, even if the story manifests itself differently at different points in your life. One day, your life might feel like a bad teen soap opera; the next, like a page out of an introspective Sarah Dessen novel; and maybe even one day like a really poignant memoir that gets all the glowing reviews.

“The story of us” could be, as T. Swift puts it, a “tragedy.” It could also turn into a comedy a few months or years down the line, when we finally start to ask ourselves, “What was I thinking?” Maybe the lessons learned in one relationship will help us recognize when we’ve actually found our perfect match in another, and will lead us to that happily ever after. Or maybe what we take away from a failed relationship will lead us to a greater understanding of ourselves.

Bottom line: Change can be good. Without it, we wouldn’t survive. The stories we tell about our life experiences will constantly be in a state of transition, because we ourselves are in that same state of transition, and we have to be prepared for the curveballs life will throw at us. Taylor Swift’s love story with so-and-so might be over, but that doesn’t mean that you have to look at your own ended relationships as tragedies. Look at them as transitions, and embrace the change as the catalyst that will lead to better things.

Heartbreak and The Latin Deli

“And the heart, like a well-constructed little boat, will resume its course toward hope.” – Judith Ortiz Cofer, “To a Daughter I Cannot Console,” The Latin Deli

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Today in my Women in Literature class, as we broke into groups to discuss our latest anthology The Latin Deli, I couldn’t help but become drawn to its poem called “To a Daughter I Cannot Console.” Although I’m not by any means a fan of poetry, the works of Judith Ortiz Cofer really caught my attention, especially because of the real life situations and relationships that her book brings to light. In this particular poem, a woman (the speaker of the poem) tries to take care of her heartbroken teenage daughter. The speaker tries to explain to her daughter that things will be all right in the end, but naturally, the daughter does not believe this because of the pain she is currently going through.

Of course, when the speaker tries to remember the boy who broke her own heart at sixteen, she can barely even recall his face. Ultimately, she realizes that while “the storm surging within will abate – like all acts of God,” her daughter is still too young to realize this, and will have to undergo those hard feelings herself. As difficult as it is to watch her daughter endure such a disappointment, the speaker recognizes that her daughter will have to learn from life experience rather than merely a mother’s calming words.

The significant things in our lives are always changing. (Tweet this!) The things that are important to us on one day aren’t always the same things that are important to us a year later. When I look back at my high school experience, for example, I realize that the boy who broke my heart in a Spiderman costume right before Homecoming has become just a memory, a random story I’ve told a few friends in college (you can’t make these things up).

In other words, all of us have — at one point or another — been that sixteen-year-old girl, inconsolable over someone or something that has hurt us. But after the wounds have healed, we begin to forget that they were ever really there in the first place. We take on the role of the mother in the poem, optimistic that the passage of time will make everything better.

Therefore, when things haven’t gone our way, we have to keep on moving like that “well-constructed little boat,” and remind ourselves that soon enough, many of our disappointments will disintegrate into the stories we rarely think to tell.