My Signature Song: 'She Used To Be Mine' By Sara Bareilles

Oct 19, 2019
Originally published on October 19, 2019 11:08 am
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for 32-year-old Ashley Syruws to share her signature song. It's helped her through one of the hardest stretches of her life. The song - "She Used To Be Mine." by Sara Bareilles.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE USED TO BE MINE")

SARA BAREILLES: (Singing) It's not simple to say that most days I don't recognize me.

SIMON: Ashley Syruws is from upstate New York. After college, she drove west out to San Diego. Then after a while, she came back east, where she got married. Life with her then husband was good until she got pregnant, and he was not interested.

ASHLEY SYRUWS: I went to appointments alone. I was putting my kid's bedroom together alone, so it got really hard. Then my son was born, and it kind of got worse at that point.

SIMON: Syruws says he verbally abused her.

SYRUWS: I was in a place where I was sheltering myself. I didn't want to be around my friends. I didn't want to be around my family. I just wanted to be at home with my son, and that was it.

SIMON: One day, she was driving home from work.

SYRUWS: I specifically remember the spot - Shawnee and Mapleton Road - listening to the radio. And there was a segment discussing this show that was released in Broadway that Sara Bareilles wrote all the music for.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: "Waitress" tells the story of Jenna, who waits tables at a diner, is stuck in a stifling, abusive marriage and yearns for a better life. Then she learns she's pregnant.

SYRUWS: It just clicked with me. I was very intrigued at that point and decided to download the album. And then I found "She Used To Be Mine."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE USED TO BE MINE")

BAREILLES: (Singing) She's imperfect, but she tries. She is good, but she lies. She is hard on herself. She is broken and won't ask for help.

SYRUWS: I listened to it, and I was just - I honestly did cry because it was just - everything I needed was right there. So I used that song as therapy. Every single day I would listen to it, and I would remind myself the way that you are right now is not the way that you've always been.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE USED TO BE MINE")

BAREILLES: (Singing) And you're not what I asked for. If I'm honest, I know I would give it all back for a chance to start over and rewrite an ending or two.

SYRUWS: The person that I was when I decided when I graduated college I was just going to drive across the country, there was none of that person left. And how was I going to raise a kid to be happy and to feel love if I didn't feel that way? So that was the song I listened to every single day until I finally decided that I have had enough, and I moved out of my house.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE USED TO BE MINE")

BAREILLES: (Singing) ...To bring back the fire in her eyes that's been gone but used to be mine.

SYRUWS: I'm not going to pretend that life is roses now. It's certainly hard as a single mom. But we bought a house, me and my son did. We're always playing. We're always having fun, whereas that was never the case before. And it's just amazing the change in just a few years.

(SOUNDBITE OF SARA BAREILLES SONG, "SHE USED TO BE MINE")

SYRUWS: He doesn't know this song so much. That's something I will wait and save for when he's older. But if he ever asks me what happened, then that's the first thing I'm going to tell him is this was the song that helped me through it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE USED TO BE MINE")

BAREILLES: (Singing) But she used to be mine.

SIMON: Ashley Syruws sharing her signature song, "She Used To Be Mine" by Sara Bareilles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.