Earsnag: Katy Perry’s “By the Grace of God”

“Wasn’t gonna let love take me out that way.”

Goosebumps gathered on my skin upon hearing this song for the first time on YouTube. Yeah, YouTube. You know it’s a damn good song when chills seize your body just by listening to a track on the Internet.

“I thank my sister for keeping my head above the water, when the truth was like swallowing sand. Now, every morning, hope there is no more mourning. Oh, I can finally see myself again.”

What I love about this song is the exposure, the vulnerability. The lyrics are so personal. Perry has indicated that she wrote the song, and I don’t doubt it for a second. The entire track emits raw, wholehearted sentiment.

Perry and her ex-husband, Russell Brand (Katy could do a million times better), divorced in 2012. The lyrics of “By the Grace of God” are based on her post-breakup experience.

“Thought I wasn’t enough. Found I wasn’t so tough, laying on the bathroom floor.”

And haven’t most of us been here? That kind of breakup that takes your breath away. I remember waking up from sleep and forgetting, and feeling okay and maybe even happy for that second in oblivion, and then it’d hit, like Muhammad Ali had just socked me in the gut. And I’d have this permanent, gnawing hollowness in the core of my stomach until I slept again.

I thought it’d never go away. The phrase “time heals all wounds” pissed me off considerably, because I thought the person who coined that phrase was just someone with a big mouth, someone who’d never fallen in love.

But time did heal and I let go. I was okay and I was happy again. But I’ll never forget that cloud of darkness that accompanies a young, broken heart.

“By the Grace of God” is relatable. It’s mature, it’s affecting, and it’s tender. It’s Katy in her most vulnerable condition — it’s us in our most vulnerable conditions. And nobody will ever understand that like we do.

“By the grace of God, I picked myself back up. I put one foot in front of the other and I looked in the mirror, and decided to stay.”

The best part of the song is the intertwining inspiration. While the lyrics express a deep grief, “By the Grace of God” is hopeful. There’s something we can take away from it: no matter how low we’ve sunk, it’s always worth staying. Because it’s just not right to let love or heartbreak or any other high hurdle take us out that way.

Check out Katy Perry’s new album, Prism, available on iTunes.