By Caleigh Horan
There aren’t enough words in the English language to explain the range of emotions I experienced whilst in the presence that is Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor, better known by her stage name, Lorde. This concert was a highly-anticipated one for me, as I spent the majority of last summer pouring over Melodrama, her sophomore slam-dunk. That being said, I was eagerly waiting to lose my mind during fast-paced bops like Green Light and Perfect Places and to shed a few tears to the heart-wrenching Writer In the Dark and Liability. While all of these scenarios did occur on this twisted Friday night, the moment that struck me the deepest was found in an old friend.
Ribs is a song that I’ve resonated with for almost five years now, with its angsty tones of teenage bliss. As I’ve gotten older, its lyrics have held onto me like my favorite sweater, warm and familiar. While Lorde explained that she had written this song after a weekend with friends when she was sixteen years old, I thought about how I felt hearing this song for the first time around the same age. Back then, Ribs encapsulated the impending fears about the future that served as a backdrop for my high school experience. I wondered what my sixteen year-old self would think of me now, at 21, three quarters done with undergrad on the brink of my dreams. Would she be proud of me? All of these thoughts danced around my brain as the expected synth beat of the song was replaced by a slow, emotional piano. As the song descended into the chanting of “I want it back,” I thought about the moments from my past that I longed for: the simplicity of a lazy Sunday afternoon spent listening to records, the comfort of a home-cooked meal shared with family, the weightlessness of youth.
But the more I reminisced, the more I understood that I have found these things I long for in different forms. Simplicity now comes in the form of a long walk across campus on a chilly Spring afternoon. Home-cooked meals are currently the product of my crock-pot experiments shared over FaceTime with my mom. And I still feel weightless, in a way that I could have never dreamed. I have built a life for myself here at school, one that I am proud to live. As messy and emotional and chaotic that can be on a daily basis, I am happy.
The lyric that always stood out to the most to me in Ribs was, “you’re the only friend I need”. As I screamed these words in unison with Lorde, tears streaming down my face, I noticed that both of my hands were over my heart, and the lyric took on an entirely new meaning. I had always associated the friend in the lyric with one of my friends throughout life, one I absolutely could not do without. In that moment, I realized that the only friend that I absolutely cannot do without is myself. So yes, it is really, really scary getting old. These days it feels as though time is a train that I am perpetually thousands of feet behind. But with each day that passes, my legs get a little stronger, my mind focuses a little harder, and my heart opens a little wider. I remind myself that these are the good kind of growing pains, and I laugh until my ribs get tired.