When you’re famous and your boyfriend beats the hell out of you, that’s a special kind of hurt. Blogs fill with speculation, pictures circulate on TMZ and people you will never even meet start offering you advice. All this happens instantly while you try to figure out how to walk away from your best friend who swears he just slipped. It’s all the hurt of getting beaten coupled with the knowledge that everyone, everyone knows.
It’s a special kind of hurt.
She could have crumbled into a ball. She could have taken up drugs and booze. She could have gone into hiding and been a fabulous fashion gargoyle in the privacy of her own home.
Jay-Z and Beyonce wouldn’t tolerate that for a minute. I imagine something like, “girl you are an artist…take this in and use it” came out of their mouths.
Instead, she rallied her troops and made a career-crowning pop album. The Special Kind of Hurt drips down between notes, like spent motor oil. The bruised face from TMZ has healed, and is now going to tell you everything. In lawsuit-unfriendly metaphors, of course. The Special Kind of Hurt is going to drip down on you in small, measured doses in a way that breaks your heart while also making you marvel at the honesty that is still possible in pop music.
All of this is why I didn’t simply slap this video into a YouTube link on Facebook. That’s fast food, and fine for keyboard cat videos, but I don’t want you to skim over this. I want you to roll it around in your mouth and get a good taste of it. Whether you swallow the wine is completely up to you, but you should at least check out the bitter undertones.
Listen to the whole thing. You have to let the song play as it will or you’ll miss the impact at the 4-minute mark. You will die a little, but it’s that kind of death that gets filled in with something productive. Pain is what makes us who we are, and joy keeps us going. Pain makes us evolve. Pain makes us stronger. Vulnerable. Open.
If she were standing next to me, I would turn to her and say, “you did it…you turned it into something good…and you’re killing me with it.”