she’s imperfect but she tries
she is good but she lies
she is hard on herself
she is broken and won’t ask for help
she is messy but she’s kind
she is lonely most of the time
she is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
she is gone but she used to be mine
She Used to be Mine by Sara Bareilles, written for the new Broadway show Waitress, all music done by the brilliant and amazing Sara herself.
i heard this song today* on the subway, a perfectly average day for me, and immediately started bawling. yes, on the subway. thank god i live in a city where much stranger things happen in public. i put on my sunglasses, changed subway cars, and sat down until the train declared we arrived at my stop, wiping my tears under my sunglasses and in shock that i reacted in such a way to a song. i’m not even one who cries, unless i’m PMS-ing or 5 glasses of wine deep. neither of which were the case. so what now? what about this song was making me break down?
i couldnt necesarily pinpoint a particular line of the song that tugged at my heartstrings. the song in general describes a woman who had an idea of how her life would go and how she thought it may look and how different it turned out to be. she begins the song being rather harsh on herself and expecting more and ends the song in a stronger more hopeful voice/tone, feeling more able to go after what it is she wants and reconnecting with the person she felt she lost.
she once had ambition, drive, hope, self respect, strength. the person singing this song didn’t feel attached to those descriptors as much anymore and only now feels like a shell of a person. some insight on the show, the protagonist makes mistakes she’s ashamed of, is in a relationship that’s horrible for her, and makes rash decisions to hopefully save her. although her specific story is one i doubt many people could connect to (unless they enter themselves into baking competitions to save them from affairs and abusive marriages), i’m sure many, if not all?, people could relate to the overarching themes of this song and show – disconnection to yourself and finding the StrEnGtH WiThiN to find a new path forward.
this song speaks to me as a portal into the intracies of how life tends to unfold. i know i have found myself this year reflecting on many different things and thinking like “how did i get here? how did that happen?” and i think we all have experienced those emotions and thoughts. i’ve lost jobs, i’ve walked away from jobs i’ve loved but were bad for me and questioned if it was a mistake. i’ve had opportunities come my way that i’ve rejected and i’ve wondered if i should have accepted. i’ve had relationships i’ve thought were “the one” and weren’t or had shorter relationships that i felt had legs but the feelings weren’t reciprocated.
we’re all human. whether youre 20, 35, 55, 70 – none of us have it figured out. sure we’ve learned lessons and seen things and experienced life in different capacities but nobody has all the answers. nobody knows what the eff they’re doing. i think what “She Used to be Mine” does / did for me was humanize the experience of loss and mistake making and flaws and fault. maybe i’m too hard on myself, and maybe i need to reconnect with a portion of hope i’ve lost, like the character in the song.
at the end of the song, she finds strength to keep going forward and to tap into the woman she was before and sometimes we all need to recenter ourselves. who am i, what do i want, am i in line with what i want to be and what i want to be doing. re-listening to the song, i now know what line makes me break down the most: “i would give it all back for a chance to start over and re-write an ending or two for the girl that i knew”. for me, i love this line because it speaks to that inner voice we all have that tells us whats right for us and whats wrong. it gives me hope and courage to continue listening to that voice and to remain optimistic about the beauty that is life. i know if i pay attention to my gut feelings about anything in my life, be it romantic / professional / personal, i’ll be doing the right thing because i’ll be trusting myself.
it’s true that nobody knows you and your needs better than you. i hope i won’t have to say that “she used to be mine” reverting to a past Ashli, especially if i keep following and listening to my innate feelings and reactions.
that’s the way to live life anyway right? who knows. none of us do.