A Mixtape to All The Boys I Ever Loved


Originally uploaded: 18th November 2018


Different people have different mediums of communicating how they feel. My way of understanding how I feel is through writing and music. Music, for me, perfectly encapsulates that emotion. I will repeatedly listen to a song if it describes my current state of emotion, especially if those feelings are to do with a boy. So with five songs let me introduce you to all the boys I ever loved (Okay, love is way too strong of a word more like intensely liked but anyway).


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We Find Love, Daniel Caesar

When I met no. 1 I was still fairly young and naïve in my thinking, everything was rose tinted gold and cookie cutter perfect. No. 1 was the opposite of everything I was taught to look for and I think that’s what attracted me. The most unlikely of people to meet yet we just got along really well and vibed on a level that meant nothing else mattered.“We knew we'd come around/This thing called love comes crashing down now/ Pieces all on the ground/ What once was lost cannot be found out”. But it came to the point where we, no wait me, I had to decide what happened next and we wanted different things. He respected my choice (not that it really impacted him - no shade let’s just say there were others which is expected at uni so) and, although it was necessary, it stung. “I see you walking out that door/ Wonder why it took you so long”


Tabacco and Champagne, Myself


Tabacco & Champagne is actually a song that I wrote myself about no.2 because there was no other way to describe how he made me feel. “Wild highs and crashing lows/Hiding behind a smiling ghost/ Tabacco and champagne/ I don't even know your name”. There were all these heightened senses and emotions that conflicted with each other and created this storm. Fun fact this guy was actually my first kiss and because of that parts of me felt obligated to him but mostly I was just chasing after the new feelings that I was experiencing. All I wanted to do was test the boundaries and see how close I could get to the edge of the cliff without falling. He provided and appealed to my vanity and because I knew what he wanted from me I exploited it to my advantage. This story and this song doesn’t paint me in a positive light but I will, hands raised in surrender, come out and say I was trash and I treated this guy like he was beneath me. “I woke up before you that day/ Held the knife to your throat as you lay/ But Heaven knows I’ve been hurt/ Heaven knows I’ve done worse.”

I was far from a saint.


How to Mend a Broken Heart, Al Green 

This is the one I dread talking about the most. So I won't talk about it much. 

Promising guy. 


I was fully exposed and vulnerable with him.

He left.


I tried to deal with it, I tried to rise above it and hold my head up high but in the night, surrounded by hundreds of swaying bodies and neon lights, I couldn’t mask it.


I could lie and say I was drunk with emotion but I knew. I knew. I intentionally used to feel because I couldn’t feel; I was emotionally numb. But in the night, feeling pain was a relief. It's okay that time taught me a lot, he taught me a lot.


Whipped Cream, Ari Lennox

This guy came into my life right after guy no.3 so when it started to work out I thought that God was somehow rewarding me. I’d trained myself to see the red lights and be more cautious, less naïve, less of a hopeless romantic but with this guy I never saw red. I was able to be myself and be really relaxed with this guy. In the beginning, it was organic and natural and whenever I talked to him he was very present; he was able to make me feel like I was the only person in the world that mattered.


I never asked much from this guy because I was constantly trying to prepare myself for the worst. And it is because of that mindset that I ignored the little things that he did.Yet even after knowing for a really long time that he would never understand me, it took me a really long time to leave.  


With this song, I was first attracted to the beat, obsessed with the groove in the guitar but I listened because of the words. I found myself screaming out the words not truly understanding until after I decided to shut the door why they resonated with me.“Unrequited/ admit it/ you were never mine at all”. Funny because I remember asking a friend ‘why didn’t I realise he had rejected me from the start?’ It’s sad but liberating. 


Another Lifetime, NAO

Guy no. 5 is a unicorn. I'd never met a guy who I actually liked as a person. That sounds weird, I know, but normally my attraction is based on flirtatious banter, obligation or validation but with this guy I could and can name attributes about him that I liked. Unlike the other guys, I could never make him conform to my Prince Charming mould, he has always been his own person in his own lane. To me he was terrifying and amazing, I was uncomfortably relaxed by him because he didn't fit my hopeless romantic cycle. He sounds great, right? So what happened? Amongst other things simply put: timing. When I met him, which was so unexpected, I was mentally and emotionally going through some stuff; I needed time to re-evaluate and so I needed to walk away from certain people and situations. And unfortunately that meant him too. It's weird because normally when walking away from certain people I run into other people, replacing old with new. But like I said before he never followed my pattern and over the summer God really exposed some things to me that I needed to confront by myself. Referring to THE FADER, NAO’s Another Lifetime is about 'finding peace' with the end of a relationship. However, I interpreted it in a different way because in another lifetime things would have been different and it would have been amazing. But in this moment, in this reality I had to choose myself.


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I found some really amazing artists but I also learnt some things about myself that I needed to confront. We are not exempt from pain and grief and heartbreak. We must accept, embrace and confront them so that they do not consume us. Writing and music became my way of working through emotions that don’t make sense to me instead of confronting the guys the emotions came with. To each guy I do wish you happiness and you were vessels used to teach me a lot about myself; painful lessons that exposed deep rooted insecurities but it allowed me to be more aware of myself. It still hurts, especially the rejection, but it will not hinder me anymore.