When this song first came out many people took it to be about one specific topic. Trigger warning: this post will talk about loss, miscarriage, and other types of grief.
As someone who has spent about two years making specific work about grief, this song felt very important lyrically. Sometimes music is all we have when we are going through pain. The last month or two I have been in a very dark place – and music felt like a lifeline. I hope if you have gone through personal loss, within yourself or with someone else, that you find healing in something.
No words appear before me in the aftermath
I never understood how people could be speechless after an event because I typically use words as a source of healing. However, there have been select moments in my recent days where I simply had nothing to say. After something hurts you, or you hurt yourself, so deeply, there aren’t any amount of words stated that make sense of anything. All you have is deep pain – and you somehow have to work through it.
Salt streams out my eyes and into my ears
Crying on your back, allowing your tears to fall of out of your eyes and down your face, but since you are lying down the tears run down the sides of your face, into your ears, and onto the ground.
Every single thing I touch becomes sick with sadness
‘Cause it’s all over now, all out to sea
In these moments of complete pain, nothing around us is filled with joy. In the sense of loss I have felt this, but as someone who deals with chronic depression – I feel this more so in my everyday life. When I go through terrible episodes I can be around all of the people I love, they can be smiling, laughing, having fun, and in my heart I am happy to be around them, but in my head I don’t want to be there and I only remember the moments that make me hate the event that I am at. So although I think this song is intended for the discussion of loss, I actually can see this song about people losing themselves, too.
For the last 2 years I have been living outside of my body [sorry this is going to get personal]. I have traveled across the world, and on those trips I should have been so happy to be there. But the fact was I was ridden with anxiety, and I liked the idea of what I was doing, but when I look back I can only remember dread, and wanting to be home the entire time. I have made erratic choices, hurt people around me, and wanted to be the happy gal, but I’ve been the depressed sad gal, actually. So touching everything with sadness, and sending it out to sea, watching the thing you love be washed away and never to return to you again – is very relatable for loss or those of us dealing with mental health issues.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
You were bigger than the whole sky
You were more than just a short time
More than just a short time. When my friends and I heard this song [and then shortly after the internet voiced their opinions] the idea of miscarriage came up. Whether this song is about Taylor or a friend, it doesn’t really matter. The relatability of many people who had an idea of a child or person that was going to be apart of their life, but they never attained that life, is very high. Many people have been told their grief should be minimal for something that was never physical – or a physical bond – but the truth is we are allowed to grieve ideas of things that we had. Moments in life we have thought of that never came true, experiences that were taken from us.
And I’ve got a lot to pine about
pine about: to yearn intensely and persistently especially for something unattainable
I’ve got a lot to think about, to wonder about, to worry about
I’ve got a lot to live without
I’ve got a lot to get over – to move on from – to live without but
I’m never gonna meet
What could’ve been, would’ve been
What should’ve been you
It was hard for me to differentiate between this song and and would’ve, could’ve, should’ve because she put these words in two different songs.
But this is an idea of someone, a person, that was never met – either a loss – or if we relate it to mental health, a person that never got to exist due to trauma and experiences that took this life away from them. I can see it both ways.
Did some bird flap its wings over in Asia?
Did some force take you because I didn’t pray?
These are both lines in talking about guilt and if it had to do something with loss of spirituality or higher powers. Did this happen because I wasn’t religious? Was there a reason for this? Typically when we lose someone, the most common thing people say, which. they shouldn’t, is everything happens for a reason, but it doesn’t. Sometimes you go through loss and it just fucking sucks.
Every single thing to come has turned into ashes
‘Cause it’s all over, it’s not meant to be
So I’ll say words I don’t believe
This relates back to the first verse. Everything I touch turns into sadness, everything from that has died and turned into ashes. All the things I love never come to fruition, and I am left speechless in despair.
So it’s all over, it’s not meant to be, as others have said to me, and I don’t believe those words or that something is meant to be or not, but I’ll say it right now to make me feel okay.
Overall this song is pretty incredibly sad, but relatable for those dealing with pain or loss. I think it can also be a loss of a friendship or relationship that never got to blossom for its own reason. The type of loss is up for interpretation – but I want to remind all of you, that no loss is invalid to grieve. A miscarriage, a loss of a pet, an unable to grow relationship, a death of a human being you spent days or years with, the loss of a home, all of it means change in our day to day life – and change is incredibly hard for some of us.
Salt streams out my eyes and into my ears