Being Alone with Kacey Musgraves
On loving solitude
Tweets come to me now in the form of screenshots shared in friends' Instagram stories. The recent one that stuck with me was from Tim Urban's account, which shared info about stars and the universe that I don't even know if it's scientifically accurate but it moved me, so isn't that all that matters? Nicki Minaj would certainly agree! The tweet is as follows: "The last stars will die out 120 trillion years from now (at most) followed by 10^106 years of just black holes. Condensed, that's like the universe starting with 1 second of stars and then a billion billion billion billion billion billion billion years of just black holes. Stars are basically the immediate after-effects of the Big Bang. A one-second sizzle of brightness before settling into an essentially endless era of darkness. We live in that one bright second." He shared the tweet with the caption "hug someone" which would normally induce an eye roll from me, but as a hazy gloom has hung over Los Angeles for the past few weeks and I'm slowly earning back the serotonin I lost during a Mexico City vacation (notes on that and recommendations coming to paid subscribers soon), it hit me in the heart.
A heart which has been filled with the pangs of loneliness as the pandemic creeps on. The tight bonds formed with close friends and acquaintances during the pod era of the pandemic have mostly been severed as people have sought to return to work, travel, busier social lives, and lives as fully independent people. I'm also in the midst of a move, realizing that the space I craved during the pandemic now feels all-encompassing and frequent trips to NYC have reminded me that I crave a much smaller place to live in that a house that resides in the hills. My best friend has already moved out pre a prolonged New York trip, and so I have been having mostly Dracula vibes, feeling haunted in a large and empty home as fog surrounds my windows in the early mornings and lingers till sunset.
I wasn't particularly moved by Kacey Musgraves' latest album, her divorce opus star-crossed, when I first heard it. It was fine. I respected it more than I enjoyed it and it didn't have the dizzying highs of Golden Hour. The album began to click more as I drove through that fog back to my vampire crypt in the hills. On Golden Hour, Kacey asked what it was like to feel happy and sad at the same time, but star-crossed is more about what it's like to be sad and vaguely remember what it was like to be happy once. It's not about depression, it's about an empty feeling. A pang. Loneliness. Yearning for something that you once had that made you feel euphoric. Nothing exemplifies that more than the beautifully rendered song "camera roll," which explores what it's like to scroll through your camera at photos of better times, despite the fact that they make you sad.
Lest you think I'm wallowing in sadness. It's Drake season, which means you must immerse yourself in vibes and sadness. Drake always likes to remind you that he HAS NO FRIENDS (despite an array of features on every album) and that EVERYONE HATES HIM. But that's also because he's a Scorpio and they're emotional terrorists (like my mother). Leos like to play the part of being under attack constantly, so I always vibe with a Drake album. And 40's chilly production always conjures up equal emotions of braggadocio and loneliness.
It's a reminder that loneliness doesn't always have to be a bad thing. It can be a moment of reflection. It can be what you need to remind yourself that you enjoy your own company, when so much of your identity has been wrapped up in others'. And it's not permanent. As Kacey sings, "there is a light." Mine happens to be a man that I adore who lives miles away at the moment. But only for the moment. So until then, solitude is an unexpected gift.
The first installment in “23 Essays on Pedro Almodóvar” arrives this weekend for paid subscribers!