The first time a girl broke my heart, I cried for a summer straight.

This was around the time Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” suffocated the radio waves—a gentle but fleeting consolation for the sharp pain in my chest. With all heartbreak, there’s a sense of irrevocable doom that enters your life as that person makes their exit. For me, a certified sensitive gal™, this one felt like death.

It wasn’t that it was more painful or essentially more real than the times I’d been heartbroken by boys­—it fucking sucks no matter who’s doing the breaking. But the confusion that came along with it followed me everywhere. To class, back to my dorm, to unpredictable­ but much-needed girls’ nights out…Wherever I went, my baffled grief was sure to be only a couple steps behind, waiting for the perfect moment to present itself in the form of tearful outbursts and blubbering explanations to my ill­-prepared friends. Nothing had made me question my identity as much as this heartbreak did. I had to finally accept that my sexuality was becoming more complex than it was in high school.

Suddenly, I didn’t know who I was.

Like lots of girls, I’d become comfortable with categorizing my experiences with other girls as something frivolous—nothing that would amount to anything of substance. The way I viewed girl­-on-­girl love was an exemplification of how our society invalidates any love or sexual experience that doesn’t align with dogmatic, heteronormative standards. That summer, I had to face my own internalized feelings of fear (not to mention shame) when it came to feeling things­—extraordinary things at that—for other girls.

One thing I noticed between binge-watching badly ­directed Netflix films and countless crying spells were how many love songs were about girls loving boys and vice versa. As if it wasn’t enough that I was confused as HELL about my sexual identity; now music, the ONE thing that always made me feel better, wasn’t resonating with me at all.

I know how difficult it can be to navigate the blurred lines surrounding sexual identity, so I made a queer-friendly, mostly gender­-neutral mix for any Rooks out there whose hearts are feeling bruised this summer. Hang in there, QTs! And remember: Heartbreak won’t kill ya—even when it feels like it could.

Illustrations by Lola Nova.

Illustrations by Lola Nova.