Some days I want certain words etched on my skin, so much so that I fleetingly consider going to the nearest tattoo parlor and making these impulses permanent. Sort of like the impulse I have to buy tickets to my person, to bridge the distance, to solve all the problems that are leaving me walking around like an open, pulsating wound. For the past 4 months, the words I’ve wanted printed on me, expanding across my chest with every achy breath, are This Is What Heartbreak Feels Like Now. I’m a cliché who cries in empty conference rooms, makes desperate calls to friends full of hiccupping sobs and sad silence. Conveying hurt with words, even the ones I become temporarily fixated on stamping on my body, is ultimately fruitless. Even attempting is futile, ending with recycled sympathies because there is no way those around me can distinguish my hurt from a typical heartbreak. Adding depression, anxiety, and OCD to the mix doesn’t allow me to do the experience justice. I muddle through the days trying to find the words to pick out of a tangled web of thoughts and swelling emotions. I imagine finding some potent, clear phrases that bring me contentment and peace. I think about tattooing them to my left wrist, so I can glimpse at them when memories close in around me, sort of like glimpsing at your wristwatch when you anxiously want the time to pass more quickly.
In the past, before I ever loved someone this much, the words were always lyrics. I wanted tattoos of Haim lyrics and Van Morrison lyrics and even One Direction lyrics in defiance of everything I was told about being a girl. Even now, I still search for songs and melodies that reflect my own experience well enough to fill the hurting gap in my body, to make the isolation and sorrow feel less threatening and more beautiful. And so far, only one album has sung back to me “this is what heartbreak feels like now.” Wet’s ‘Don’t You’ is yet another addition to the wave of pop-synth indie outfits arising from Brooklyn. They wear norm core clothes, they tap springy beats out on a synth. But that voice — Kelly Zutrau’s languished yet sweet vocals, trilling through the saddest thoughts she’s ever thought. That’s spells Heartbreak to me now.
‘Don’t You’ isn’t full of metaphors or even poetic phrases. It’s a glimpse into the fear and desperation and hope that plague anyone who is really, really in love. The directness in Zutrau’s words feels raw and honest because it’s loaded with more complex feelings that can’t even be sculpted into sentences. When she doesn’t want someone to hurt her, she says so. When the love overwhelms her, leaving her desperate and weak, she says so. These words are all she has left, they are sparing and sometimes incomplete but plainly spell out her feelings. Love feels like a negotiation to me, with vulnerability being the main currency. Both she and I are spent and wounded, no matter how wonderful the experience was while it lasted.
Today, I am away from you. Today, time passed strangely. Today, I scare so easily. These days, I can’t take too much.
I want these words etched on my skin even though they will never be able to do my own heartbreak justice. This hurt is like a fingerprint without an identical twin. I’m going to stop trying to find the words that will finally bring me through to the other side of this hurt. Instead, I’ll let ‘Don’t You’ fill me up with its plainness and sorrow and joy. I’ll put my earbuds in, think of my person, and feel the hurt carve its way through me as it likes. This is what heartbreak feels like now.