Bleeding Hearts With Regina Spektor

There’s a new Regina Spektor album on the way and I am excited about that. Her latest song Bleeding Heart has a curious melancholy to it. If you listen to each verse it tells the story of someone who, for so long, has been lonely and angry. They’ve been stuck at the back of the class, ignored at the dance, wishing for connection with others but getting rejection instead. So they get bitter, start drinking and wall themselves up in their “prison-like home”, brooding on their memories and hating on the world of judgemental, unfriendly people. “It’s you versus everyone else.” Regina sings on that someday they’ll grow up, forget the pain and move on. That is until they see “a sad pair of eyes…and up will come back all the hurt.” All they’ve repressed and suppressed will come flooding back and even though they want to help they’ll move on because their life has been tough enough, “cause you won the war so it’s not your turn but everything inside still burns.” And they douse that fire with more drink, thinking on the refrain: “never never mind bleeding heart, bleeding heart, never mind your bleeding heart.” But everything changes in the final verse.

How long must I wait till you learn that it’s not too late,
How long must I cry till you know that you really tried,
How long must I try till you learn that dreaming’s hard,
How long must I dream till you heal your bleeding heart,
Never mind your bleeding heart.
And that’s just it, we should always mind our bleeding hearts. Because they’re right there, in our chests, all the time. To not get to know our hearts is like having a smart phone without any apps or only playing Goldeneye on the N64 (as good as that game is) – we’re severely underusing this fantastic piece of technology.  Just like a smart phone, the heart is fragile, prone to breaking and bleeding, and it can be very tough to experience this. What we tend to do though is try and ignore the times when we are hurt and upset. Much simpler to brush these issues aside, pretend we’re ‘fine’ and move on. It’s all that keeping calm and carrying on rubbish, the stiff upper lip bullshit and all the other ways we try to condition and cajole ourselves out of having feelings as we pretend that not being invited to the party didn’t upset us or all those other times we’ve been forgotten and ignored haven’t hurt us. But those things do hurt and their effects do add up and we can’t hide behind seeming indifference and bitterness for too long.
Fortunately, as Spektor in her endless wisdom, already knows, it’s not too late to recognise we are human: fallible, fragile and oh so incomplete. It’s never too late to have another go at being human, to try getting in touch with our emotions and recognising our feelings. We can also acknowledge that we have really tried even if we don’t think we have. We can be kinder to our past selves because they were the ones that got us here and without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. Sure, we might not have always used the best tools or made the best decisions but we did try and that’s something we can keep on doing and maybe now we can do it with better tools and not make the same mistakes. And dreaming is hard, it’s dangerous to want things you might not get and to hope for the best in such seemingly hopeless times. Far easier to wall ourselves up in cynicism and prison-like homes. But isn’t that life of passivity, denial and fear much worse than one of wanting, striving and dreaming? And in amongst the making up for lost time, the trying and the dreaming well maybe, just maybe, our precious bleeding hearts will heal. So, yes, always mind your bleeding heart.

How To Do Heartbreak With Regina Spektor

Have you ever been in love? Have you ever fallen for someone so hard that they’re all you can think about? You see their face in every flower, their eyes in stars above, and all sorts of other overblown romantic things. But then has this wonderful experience been marred by heartbreak? That horrible time after the affair when those loveable things they do – like leave the toilet seat up, leave the sponge in days old washing up water, make endless snarky comments at your expense whilst forgetting to praise you – just stop being loveable. Heart break can be tough especially when you’ve really loved someone but I think wonderful, singer-songwriter Regina Spektor has some great tips on getting over that ex-love of your life. Here’s How…

It’s clear Regina was deeply in love with whoever she’s no longer going out with: “How can I forget your love, How can I never see you again…How can I begin again, How can I try to love someone new?” Yup, I think smitten is an understatement. All she does is think about them to the point that she can’t imagine ever dating someone else. It’s a sad song with a haunting melody and whilst it’s clear a part of Spektor wants to meet this person again, perhaps with the intention of rekindling their affair, there’s also a part of her that wants to move on.

“Time can come and take away the pain but I just want my memories to remain.” Like the best of agony aunts she recognises that time really is the best healer and the more temporally distant we are from someone we’ve cared for the easier it is for our hearts to heal. And the second bit is really fascinating – she’s not saying she wants to forget, she’s saying she wants to keep the memories of her past lover. Now, this could be her desperate attempt to not let go – maybe she checks their facebook profile regularly when really she should have defriended them long ago, or maybe she listens to their songs online (assuming they’re a singer like Spektor). This is something so many of us do as we try to hold on to things that have passed and social media makes doing it way too easy. However, there is an alternative interpretation. Her not wanting to forget could be an acknowledgement that a love as powerful as theirs won’t simply just go away. Our memories of places, faces, smells and sounds are deeply interwoven with our feelings and emotions. Emotionally intense experiences, good or bad, are more memorable than that average burger you ate last week or that mediocre movie you saw a while ago. So maybe Spektor recognises that an experience as emotionally charged as true love is bound to leave a deep impression on her neural networks – maybe she’s not in denial because she can’t deny the potency of the experience.

“There’s not one moment I’d erase,” she sings, “You are a guest here now.” And this is the bit I really like and the bit that helps me live with my own heart breaks. Rather than try to force her ex-love from her mind, rather than live in denial and pretend this stuff never happened, Spektor lets them stay in her memory and her heart. Not necessarily in a desperate, clingy sort of way but in a way that acknowledges the huge role they played in her life. So, they’re a guest, not unwelcome but not given the best room either. And perhaps, slowly over time Spektor can move on…until the next guest turns up unannounced. Date, anyone?