In a time when social media interaction often prevails over face-to-face conversations, it has become difficult to maintain healthy relationships with strong foundations, rooted in mutual dedication and respect for a partner’s individual aspirations. When you have known someone for many years and developed a powerful connection, unwavering devotion holds all the pieces in place, even during the worst of times. However, what happens when this bond is suddenly broken? Heartbreak is a predictable answer to this question. But for someone like myself who is working to turn my passion into a livelihood, the struggle in losing the love of my life for the love of music created an unimaginable impact.
Throughout the four years with my ex-girlfriend (it still doesn’t feel right typing that), I thought I did everything possible to balance the time put toward our relationship and my goals within the constantly evolving music business. For every article written and show attended, every moment with her provided peacefulness and assurance that no matter what was happening around us, everything would work out in the end because we had each other. But all she ever wanted was to be my first choice and the more progress I made, the more it seemed to her like our future took a backseat as hip-hop carved out a rapidly growing portion of my attention. I somehow failed to foresee the loss of such a special human connection due to the desire to find my path in an industry equally rewarding and cruel.
While there were other reasons the break-up occurred, several months of depression and sadness tormented my mind as I beat myself up, staring into blank white screens haunted over whether the demands of my musical endeavors wiped away a life with someone I was planning to grow old with. The responsibilities of a relationship, keeping up with never-ending releases from national/independent artists, playing my part in shining a light on Boston’s flourishing hip-hop scene and helping the artist I believe in the most (all while having a demanding 9-5 job) were overwhelming and never easy to manage, regardless of the gratification and sense of purpose it delivered. But ever since my relationship ended, there has been an emptiness in my heart I’ve attempted to fill with music and by perfecting my craft to the point where I would somehow escape my sorrows.
I gravitated toward artists such as The Weeknd, 6LACK, Drake and Kendrick Lamar, all of whom played various roles in serving as therapeutic outlets potentially capable of healing an open wound. The line that hit the hardest during this tough stretch came from Drake’s “From Time” on Nothing Was the Same when he reflects, ‘My mother is 66 and her favorite line to hit me with is who the fuck wants to be 70 and alone?’. My own mother shared the same sentiment and for good reason. The prospect of working endlessly for a few noteworthy bylines and just enough Twitter followers to keep my DMs busy, all to let the years fly by and end up alone, is a terrifying future. Respect from artists and my peers is gratifying and appreciated, but how can that ever replace being with the person you considered for so long as your best friend and soul mate? How can I replace experiencing a life fueled by passionate, caring love with analyzing music that merely depicts these emotions?
The answers to these questions have brought both distress and clarity. Despite the heartbreak and daily pressures to make a valuable impact with my work, I have gained a greater understanding of sacrifice and how it presents itself in unexpected ways. As Kendrick Lamar laments on “FEAR”, ‘At 27 my biggest fear was losing it all’ and it has been a grueling process to accept that some things are never certain, especially when it comes to relationships.
Only time will tell if the love that seems lost is gone forever. But throughout my struggle, the most important lesson learned is to never ignore your personal happiness and always take the time to appreciate your loved ones. Music has given me the support and courage to heal, but intensely immersing yourself in a labor of love is no substitute for the feeling of sharing your life and accomplishments with a person you couldn’t imagine living without.