I am slowly piecing together what will be my next studio album, doing some songwriting but also reviewing songs by other writers that I love. Tonight a dear friend sent me a sampling of her songs and there was one on particular that hit me right between the eyes. It is called “Concrete Shoes.” This song struck me because it so clearly defines how I feel right now. It talks about trying to get over loss, but feeling weighed down by a broken heart and concrete shoes.
When you lose people you love, I think it’s an accurate comparison to say it feels like you are walking around in “concrete shoes.” Even the simplest tasks just feel so heavy and hard. For me, every workout is a struggle right now. I have to talk myself into it because I know it is so important for my continued health. Every meal prep feels like I’m wading through my kitchen in slow motion, but I do it because I’ll have even more stress if I don’t. Getting motivated to work feels like climbing a mountain with no rope and harness, but I do it because people are counting on me. I desperately want to kick off these heavy shoes. They feel so unfamiliar and uncomfortable, but they seem to be the only pair that fit right now. It’s unrealistic to think that I could just slide right back into my proverbial flip flops so soon after losing two people that I love.
One of my favorite artists, Peter Gabriel, said he was intrigued by how people could use music as an “emotional toolkit.” There is comfort in hearing someone else put the feelings you can’t voice into words. In fact, I’ve been trying to listen to the saddest music I can find these days. Sounds crazy, right? It’s not. It’s a release. Just like my friend’s song put into words my current emotional state, other songs are helping me let the tears flow a bit. It’s hard keeping it together all the time!
If you are struggling with loss- and I know so many of you who have messaged me are indeed struggling too- I encourage you to turn to music to help you make some sense of what you are feeling. Just keep listening and listening until you have that ah-ha moment where it seems the artist is writing lyrics straight out of your heart. Feeling understood is difficult, especially after loss. Let the music slowly chip away at your own “concrete shoes.”
“I have nothing left to lose
Except this broken heart and these concrete shoes.” (Steff Mahan)