lana del rey.


How Her Music Defined My Decade

It feels like a lifetime transpired between 2010 to 2020. From a little girl – to a teenager – to the young woman I am today: I had so many “firsts” during this time period. My first time in high school, my first time playing tennis, my first kiss, my first job, my first time in college, my first time driving a car, my first boyfriend, my first time drinking, my first heartbreak…. and so on.

As 2019 comes to an end, I’m putting aside time to reflect on this decade. I’ve learned so many things & grown in so many ways. As a young adult, I look back to 2010 + see a little 13 year old girl – it’s crazy to realize that that little girl is still a part of me today. This decade was a symbolic coming of age for me as I transitioned into womanhood physically, mentally, emotional and spiritually.


The music I spend my time with directly mirrors those life changes and the emotions I am feeling. Music has always been sacred to me. It is the air I breathe, it is how I best express myself + how I feel the energy of the world in the most authentic way. Everything is intentional.

I spent the majority of the past ten years with the lyrics + melodies of Lana Del Rey. She was named my ‘Spotify Wrapped’ artist of the decade & there couldn’t be more truth to that. I will be discussing a song from each of her albums + how the meaning of the lyrics spoke to me. Her music was with me for certain times when I was bursting with happiness + other times where I could feel my heartbreaking. Lana, thank you for the music.

Born to Die (2012)

Song: Ride

This album is my ride or die. These songs hold a special place in my heart + symbolize some of my happiest (+ emotionally intense) years.Ride is a song that spoke to the freedom in me. The intense yearning for freedom that I struggle with + that overwhelms me from time to time.

I’m tired of feeling like I’m fucking crazy

I’m tired of driving ’til I see stars in my eyes

All I’ve got to keep myself sane, baby

So I just ride, I just ride

Maybe it’s the Pisces in me but I’m a dreamer at heart. I fantasize constantly about leaving everything & running away… to a country, a new town, a new place. Part of the escapism comes from the internal battles I fight as well as the sense of freedom + independence. I don’t like people telling me what to do. I desire the space to be completely at peace – to be completely who I am.

My favorite line of the song (& scene in the music video) is when she sings “I’m tired of feeling like I’m fucking crazy”. This sentence gives me goosebumps every. single. time. I am a highly emotional being & I struggle with mental health issues on top of that. Adding to that, I spent years in an abusive relationship where I was told I was ‘crazy’, where I was emotionally manipulated & where my freedom/independence was taken away from me. This song speaks to that time + place in my life.

I just ride.

Ultraviolence (2014)

Song: Ultraviolence

This song is a continuation of my back + forth fight between honoring my freedom/independence & feeling trapped in an abusive relationship. My mental illness was manipulated and on the other hand, I completely lost myself. I was naïve & found myself in some intense relationships that were fueled by extremes.

Jim raised me up, he hurt me but it felt like true love

Jim taught me that, loving him was never enough

Anyone who has been in a similar situation will most likely have a reaction to this verse. The shame, the memories, the love, the brokenness, the want, the need. It is out of control. I loved hard. I trusted deeply. I fought for the people I cared about… but that was all taken away from me, twisted and used as fire to burn out my light, to make me feel small, to forget who I was. All of this hurt and in the same second, I was still deeply in love – but love was never enough.

Honeymoon (2015)

Burnt Norton – Interlude

This is not a song but an Interlude in her Album Honeymoon. The Interlude features Lana reading an excerpt from Burnt Norton which is No. 1 of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. Words are important to me, that is part of the reason music takes up such a space in my heart, the lyrics help me to understand the world around me.

This album came out in the midst of my obsession over poetry. I started reading poetry to heal and cope with my broken heart. I had read T.S. Eliot prior but this Interlude peaked my interest and I spent a lot of time dissecting and studying the Four Quartets. I even did a graphic design project on this poem – it spoke to my heart and soul. It is still one of my all-time favorite poems and I hold it near + dear to my heart.

humankind cannot bear very much reality

t.s. eliot

Lust for Life (2017)

Song: “In My Feelings”

Sobbin’ in my cup of coffee

‘Cause I fell for another loser

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a Pisces but this song title alone just speaks to me as a person. I am highly emotional and often find myself in an internal battle between good + evil, right + wrong, yes or no. The toxic relationships that keep appearing in my life leave me feeling lost and trapped – two things that unsettle me the most.

If you haven’t heard of the app, The Pattern, I HIGHLY recommend you check it out immediately. It is an eye opening app that communicates your personality in an honest and real way – yes, even the horrible character traits you want to run away from and the things you fail to admit you struggle with. The snippet below from my Pattern is spot-on with addressing the reality of the relationship issues I keep facing again and again and again.

Norman Fucking Rockwell! (2019)

Song: “Happiness is a Butterfly”

In the past year, butterflies keep coming into my life. Whether it’s seeing them frequently or noticing them being mentioned everywhere, I’ve taken it as a spiritual message. I’ve been on a new spiritual path the past couple of years & I am healing + growing in ways I never thought possible. I am finding my way back to myself.

Happiness is a butterfly

We should catch it while dancing

I lose myself in the music, baby

Every day is a lullaby

Try to catch it like lightning

I sing it into my music, I’m crazy

The butterfly omen is known to be symbolic of rebirth and renewal – transition. Since I am in the midst of a deep change in my soul, this song resonated with me in many ways. The search for happiness brings with it many obstacles and in order to move forward – you must make peace with your past. To me, this song symbolizes the yearning for happiness, the steps taken forward + backward, & the prayers for a new life of abundance.

Lana, thank you for your words & your songs. Thank you for communicating in ways that I struggle to and communicating emotions + feelings that are hard to put into words. Thank you for awakening my sensuality, my freedom and my peace.

Here is to a new decade, a new time, a new space. Here is to growth & countless breakthroughs. Here is to living, loving and learning. Here is to freedom. Here is to healing. Here is to peace. 🦋

thank you for reading. peace & love – kendall