“I see him sometimes and the look in his eyes

Is one of a man who’s lost treasures untold,

But my heart is gold, I took back my soul”

-Lauryn Hill, I Used To Love Him

I remember my first heartbreak like it was yesterday. I fell in love for the first time at the age of 16. Naive, vulnerable, tender. I fell hard and handed my heart over to a boy two years older than me. This was not the love of my life, but it was my first love. And it brought me to my knees.

Boy (as he shall be called for the purposes of this writing), sucked me in to his world. He made me feel pretty for the first time in my life. He made me feel smart, made me feel important. He would write me poems. He would play me songs that made him think of me. He would look at me in wonderment, always finding different ways to express his feelings for me. It was quite the ego stroke for a young girl.

I put him up on a pedestal. Young love tends to overdramatize and place importance where it is not deserved. It’s not a healthy thing, this love of the young. But it is all encompassing. It rules the world of star crossed lovers.

He would pick me up for school in the morning, his old Chevy Nova covered in black primer rumbling loudly in my the driveway of my childhood home. It was a “work in progress” he said. Then he would grab my hand, squeeze it tightly, exuberant and excited to be with me. His buoyancy was believable, it was contagious. Then one morning he didn’t show up. Didn’t call. Just didn’t show. No warning. Yesterday, on top of the world to call me his. Today, nothing.

I got a ride to school with a friend. I walked, each step heavier than the last, into the open courtyard where students congregated before class. I was immediately surrounded by my girlfriends. They informed me that Boy had showed up with his ex-girlfriend and she was proudly carrying with her a bouquet of roses. I felt like all the air had been sucked out of me. Vision blurry, I made my way to a pay phone as the first bell rang for class. Grateful that everyone was headed indoors, I shakily punched the buttons to call home. My mom picked up and before she could finish saying hello I dissolved. Sobbing uncontrollably. Words broken by the intake of air as I tried to tell her what happened.

She came immediately to pick me up. I will forever be grateful for her understanding. She didn’t minimize the pain I was feeling. She didn’t brush it off as a silly little romance. She didn’t insist that I stay at school. She knew I needed to talk to her and she would never let me down when I needed her.

She comforted me while I cried, she said all the appropriate things. She waited until I calmed down and started breathing normally before giving me the talk. She looked at me with determination, trying to give me strength with her words, willing me to absorb what she was about to say. She told me that I would not sulk, I wouldn’t wallow. She told me that I was strong, stronger than I knew. She told me that I would walk into school the next day and every day after with a smile on my face, laughter on my lips. She told me that I would show him, show myself, that I deserved better. Because I did. She told me that I was destined for great things. That this hurt but that I would get through it. She told me that I was destined for a great love one day. The kind of love that is written about, the stuff of the great songs. And I believed her. I always believed her.

I grieved for the next few days. I woke up from a deep exhausted sleep, the realization hitting me anew each morning, the reminder that my heart had been crushed. But I walked into school every day with a smile. I laughed with my friends. I hid my pain and loneliness behind a smile and a breezy walk. I could do this. I was almost a professional at hiding my true feelings. The whole school was abuzz with the drama of it all. I shrugged it off. I couldn’t be bothered with talk of it. Whatever. But inside, I’m dying.

He came back. He wanted me back. Against my mother’s advice, my sister’s advice- everyone’s advice- I took him back. But I never gave myself, my heart, over to him again. We dated for a few years, through his early years in the Marines. A long distance love fueled by passionate letters and quick visits on his brief leaves. This suited me. I could write about love. But I could never truly give it to him again. Eventually the intense burn of the long distance romance flickered. We were on again, off again. I was having fun with friends, I was planning for college. Then it was over. And I broke his heart.

At sixteen I learned what it was to have loved and lost. I learned to guard my feelings. I learned that I can be forgiving but my heart can’t. I can’t un-ring the bell of hurt and pain. I can go on, I can be strong, but I can never go back. Once forsaken, my heart is done. Never to be reclaimed by the one who tore it asunder. Self preservation? Cold? Smart? I truly don’t know. I just know that it is. It’s how I’m built. I know my limitations, if you want to call it that. But this heart is mine. I’ll do with it what I wish. And I wish to protect it. I will never let it be broken again.

“Cause there’s a this tune I found that makes me think of you somehow and I play it on repeat…”

-Arctic Monkeys, Do I Wanna Know

I used to love making mixed tapes. I would make them for myself and for my friends. The ultimate was when a guy would make one for me, that was the way to my teenage heart. The last mix tape I made was actually a mix-CD for a friend who’d just had her heart broken. I always believed (and still do) that music heals. It helps you purge your demons when you’re angry, it helps you sort out your pain when you are going through a break up. It feeds that crazy energy you feel when you’re falling for someone. So, for you, I have put together a mix tape. There’s something for everyone. Love songs, Lust songs, Songs about heartbreak and songs for songs for the anger and bitterness for love gone bad. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it helps you get through this holiday of chocolate hearts and roses and cheesy cards.

Love Songs:

Sideways -Citizen Cope  “These feelings won’t go away, they’ve been knocking me sideways…”   Lovesong -Adele  “Whenever I’m alone with you, you make me feel like I am free again”   Moondance -Van Morrison  “Can I just make some more romance with you, my love?”   Ain’t Nothing Like You -Blakroc  “Pure heart, you’re super cool, you’re live and elemental”   More Than Anything In This World  -Lenny Kravitz  “I  search the whole world, I want you to be my baby, baby…”  Little Wing -Jimi Hendrix  “When I’m sad she comes to me, with a thousand smile she gives to me free”   Like A Star -Corrine Bailey Rae  “You’ve got this look I can’t describe, you make me feel I’m alive”   Where Are You Going -Dave Matthews Band  “I do know where you go, that’s where I wanna be”   Afterglow -INXS  “Touch me and I will follow in your afterglow”   I Will Possess Your Heart -Death Cab for Cutie  “It’s like a book elegantly bound, but in a language you can’t read just yet”   A Girl Like You -The Smithereens  “I am yours and you are mine the way it should be”   Sirens – Pearl Jam “I pull you close, so much to lose, knowing that nothing lasts forever”   Running On Faith – Eric Clapton “Then we’d go running on faith, all of our dreams would come true, and our world would be right, when love comes over me and you..”

Lust Songs

Hush -Deep Purple “She’s got lovin’ like quicksand, only took one touch of my hand”        I Want Some More -Dan Auerbach “I’m just a kid in your walking candy store”       Mistify -INXS “Some silken moment, goes on forever”    Lessons In Love -Neon Trees “All day all night, I got the lights in my eyes, and I’m fallen’ for you”   Crush Crush Crush -Paramore “Rock and roll baby, don’t you know that we’re all alone now, give me something to sing about”    Straight On -Heart “I’ve got to play my hand, what the winner don’t know, the gambler understands”    Gypsy Eyes -Jimi Hendrix “Well I realize that I’ve been hypnotized, I love your gypsy eyes”    Blunderbuss -Jack White “Doin’ what two people need is never on the menu”   Love Is Strong -The Rolling Stones “Love is strong and you’re so sweet, and someday baby we’ve got to meet”   Come Together -Sons of the Sea “I’d wait around with you for worse or better, but our halcyon days are few, it’s now or never”   Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is -Jet “She’s a loaded gun in my shaken’ hands, Am I in hell or the promised land”   Girl Is On My Mind -The Black Keys “Hold me close to you, not one thing that I would not do, if you would hold me close to you”    Do I Wanna Know -Arctic Monkeys  “Simmer down and pucker up, I’m sorry to interrupt, it’s just I’m constantly on the cusp of trying to kiss you”    RU Mine? -Arctic Monkeys “I guess what I’m trying to say is I need the deep end, I keep imagining meeting, wished away entire lifetimes, unfair we’re not somewhere misbehavin’ for days”    I Want You (She’s So Heavy) -The Beatles  “I want you, I want you so bad, it’s driving me mad”    Your Touch -The Black Keys “And I’ll be good, like I should, waiting and such, misery I need your touch”

Songs for the Heartbroken

I Don’t Know Why -Stevie Wonder “I don’t know why I love you, but I love you baby”  All I Ever Wanted -Lenny Kravitz “Are we even? When I know I want you and baby you want me”    Old Love -Eric Clapton “It’s making me so angry, to know that the flame still burns, Why can’t I get over, know now that I’ll never learn”    Too Late -No Doubt “And in time it will end, and there really isn’t hope for the two of us, but right now I give in”    Baby Came Home -The Neighbourhood  “She left me alone and without, skin I could study about”    Why I’m Here -Oleander “I can’t love you anymore, I’m scared of the sound of it, and woman I just wanted more”    Gone -In Sync  “Been sittin’ here, can’t get you off my mind, I’ve tried my best to be a man and be strong”     Ex Factor -Lauryn Hill “It could all be so simple, but you’d rather make it hard, loving you is like a battle and we both end up with scars”    Too Afraid To Love You -The Black Keys “It’s heaven on earth in her embrace, a gentle touch and a smiling face. I’m just one wishing that I was a pair, with someone, oh somewhere”    Bell Bottom Blues -Derek and the Dominos “I don’t wanna lose this feelin’, and if I could choose a place to die it would be in your arms”

Songs For Love Gone Bad

Top Yourself -The Raconteurs “How you gonna do it alone when I don’t pick up my phone, I’ll give a dog a bone, but I’m not gonna stick around to help you”    Grounds for Divorce -Elbow “Doubt comes in on sticks but then he kicks like a horse”    Hell and Back -Airborne Toxic Event “I held on as long as I could possibly, my blind faith pushing me to my knees…”     Moneygrabber -Fitz and the Tantrums “Don’t come back anytime, I’ve already had your kind, this is your payback, Moneygrabber”    Hang Me Up To Dry -Cold War Kids “Now hang me up to dry, you’ve wrung me out too, too, too many times”  Hypocritical Kiss -Jack White “My temper got the best of me, and when I say that I mean I know that every single thing that I said was true”    Bittersweet Me -REM “I move across, candy floss, I move like a tank, I move across the room with a heart full of gloom, I’m stronger than you think”    The Best of You -Foo Fighters “I needed somewhere to hang my head without your noose, you gave me something I didn’t have, but had no use”    Don’t Gotta Work It Out -Fitz and the Tantrums “Baby, you’re gonna need the doctor’s care, to get you over me girl, look what you’ve done”  Hemorrhage -Fuel “Oh hold me now I feel contagious, Am I the only place that you’ve left to go?”    Out of the Black -Royal Blood “And I promised you, like you promised me, but those vows we made, we boxed them in for free”