Back in December of 2017 my girlfriend of about two and half years, and I broke up, rather abruptly and somewhat unexpectedly. I’ll never forget that day. I went to a café a few blocks away from our apartment for a couple hours so she could move her things out of the apartment we were sharing together. I sat in a state of shock alone, drinking a cappuccino, as waves of grief, confusion, sadness and a tiny bit of relief that months of arguing had come to an end, washed over me.
I got a message from my now ex saying she was sorry things didn’t work out and that all her things were out of my place and that it was “safe” to go back. I went back to my place and opened the door to a now half empty apartment. A row of empty clothes hangers lined half of the closet, where a few hours earlier my girlfriend’s clothes were. All of her trinkets, photos and “girly” things that she spent months decorating our apartment with were now gone. There was a palpable sense of loneliness in the air, in my now sparsely decorated apartment.
As I sat on my un-made bed, my acoustic guitar laid next to me, out of its case. I picked up my guitar and I played with a sense of intensity and purpose that I hadn’t felt in years. I played guitar as if my sanity and emotional well being depended on it. I played for about four to five hours straight. The more I played the better I felt. It felt as if I was “exhaling” my grief with each note I played. The phrases and ideas I played that night felt imbued with a sense of meaning and power I hadn’t felt in a long time. It’s hard to put into words exactly. All I know is by the end of the night, I had a strange sense of peace about things. I wasn’t over the breakup obviously, but I went to bed with a knowing that I would get through this experience and that, as they say, “this too shall pass”.
Over the next few months, I returned to playing music with a vengeance. I regularly practiced guitar for several hours each day. Something I hadn’t done in many years. I played out every chance I could and developed a tangible sense of momentum, not just with songwriting, which I had never abandoned, but with my guitar playing and overall musicianship. This sense of progress and forward movement really helped me get through the next few months. It gave me something to focus on and channel my energy towards. It kept me busy and occupied. Whenever I had a free moment, or a feeling of boredom or loneliness, I would pick up my guitar and get lost in hours of improvisation and practice.
The great thing about music, is that it will never leave you. It’s there in the good times. It’s there in the bad times. No matter where you are in life, or what you’re going through, if you’ve been blessed with a passion and gift of playing music, it’s always there.
About six months after my ex and I broke up, I met my now girlfriend, Shantal, who is hands down, without question, the most stunning and beautiful woman I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending my time with. As my good friend Francisco always says, “Life has a funny way of working itself out”.
John Mayer is one of my favorite contemporary artists. He’s both an amazing guitarist and songwriter. He writes great, catchy pop songs and also has the ability play long, extended, improvised guitar solos with “The Dead & Company”. He’s also really funny, witty and I’m going to say it, pretty damn handsome. It’s true, I have a bit of a man crush on John Mayer.
Here’s John Mayer on a recent podcast explaining how whenever things are difficult in his life he always returns to his love of music. He describes playing the guitar as “hammering out the dents” in his psyche. I love that description.
Whether it’s getting through a break up, making sense of the world around us, or simply celebrating the good times, music and our passion for music has the ability to help us transcend the ups and downs we go through in life. Music has the power to both save our lives and help save the lives of others.
Here’s a song I wrote during my months as a single man in early 2018, about my ex-girlfriend. This one, as always, was produced by Gary Gray. We just signed this one to a publishing/licensing deal a few days ago.