HOW SOLANGE’S "CRANES IN THE SKY" CHANGED MY LIFE
On September 30th, Solange dropped her long-awaited album, A Seat at the Table, and fans fell in love instantly. The album itself was a full on dedication to the Black community that Solange says highlights “identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing.” With songs like “Don’t Touch My Hair,” “Mad,” “Where Do We Go,” and multiple cameos including one from Mama Tina, this album did nothing but deliver. And reflecting that was the #1 spot on the charts that week.
But there was one song for me that had me in awe from the moment I heard it: Cranes in the Sky.
The lyrics spoke to me because they were relatable. The lyrics told me that I was doing things to alleviate and lessen the unhappiness I had felt inside for a long time. Solange speaks the words:
I tried to drink it away
I tried to put one in the air
I tried to dance it away
I tried to change it with my hair
I ran my credit card bill up
Thought a new dress would make it better
I tried to work it away
But that just made me even sadder
2015 and the beginning of 2016 was probably the worst era of my life. I was slowly exiting my depression that I had been in since I was 14 years old, and then everyone I knew started to exit my life along with my depression, slowly but surely. I lost my grandmother in June of 2015. Then my “best friend” (at the time) and I got into a big blowout. Then my aunt and I came to blows and I ended up leaving. Then that same week, my then-boyfriend left me.
I was lost. I was hurt. I was mad. Everything I had knew as a “support” system had crashed down in shambles and there was nothing I could do about it. That same depression was reborn and it was stronger than ever, feeding off of the empty emotions that I carried.
But what do we all do when we’re mad? What do we do when we’re upset? What do we do when we’re in a state of depression? We buy those new UGGs that we think will make us feel good by maxing out our various accounts in the hopes that materialism will cure our depression. We try to cope in the various ways of attaining euphoria like smoking weed and drinking excessively. Then we pull moves like shave, dye, or change up our hair because on the outside we’re looking for something “new,” but on the inside we’re looking for ourselves. We go even as far as picking up extra hours on the clock at work, not because we need them, but because we have to constantly keep our minds from actually figuring out what it is that is making us unhappy.
I slept it away.
I sexed it away.
I ran it away.
Indeed, I sexed it away. I longed for attention in some type of manner. I used my sexuality as an escape from the emptiness and loneliness I refused to face. Any attention was good attention and if that’s how I could get it, that’s what it was gonna be. I set my standards low and made it a lifestyle. I was no longer a “ho” because of activism, instead a “whore” because of the low standards I set for myself. But it was all for nothing. These flings were what they were, meaningless and casual. Never to be taken serious and never to expect for someone to actually respect me.
All of these things work for some people. But for people like me, those things are only distractions for the moment. They never fully do it for me. I yearned for a cure to my disease I called depression. Because these habits Solange recites never did the trick, it not only turned those habits into addictions, but it also “made me even sadder.”
But I think it was the act of accountability in the song that made this song even more real for me. The idea of someone taking full responsibility for their actions spoke to me. We don’t see that everyday. We see excuse after excuse and it teaches the rest of us to continue the cycle. That song taught me a lesson of ownership. It teaches me that in all aspects, I am in control.
Away. Away. Away. Away. Away.
We see these “Aways” and ask ourselves what to they mean? That word is a lesson itself. It teaches us that we have the power. We have the power to push these feelings of pain, agony, and emptiness… away. With each away, Solange’s control on her pain got stronger, and the same applies to me and you.
Cranes in the Sky tells us that not even a crane in the sky should be able to block the vision we have for a healthy and positive self. I don’t need to indulge in overrated indulges. I just need to push them away. It’s a lesson we all should learn and that lesson changed me for the better.