Iryna Byelyayeva
Bedroom mirror, Melbourne, 2015

It never goes the way you think it will. It’s never the album you thought would get you through the hard times, or the songs you expected would lull you into contentment. While I had grown up hearing Fleetwood Mac on the radio, I properly fell in love with Rumours in 2013, when travelling around Europe by myself. I had hours to kill on the train rides and the scenery was too good to cover up with a book so I would sit and stare out the window and take in every word of the bitter and soulful music.

I even messaged my then-boyfriend which song I would turn to depending on how we broke up:

–  if he broke up with me, it would be Go Your Own Way

–  if I broke up with him, it would be Songbird

–  if he left me for another girl, it would be Silver Spring.

However, our breakup did not go how I thought it would and this piece, surprisingly for me, is not about any of these songs.

Fast-forward to the beginning of 2015 and the relationship has finally run its course. One night, a couple of months after the breakup, I was home alone, getting ready to go to a friend’s birthday. While I wasn’t entirely over the breakup I was beginning to accept that we had made a very solid decision. Nevertheless, it was scary because a huge part of my life was now over and I wasn’t sure how to successfully move onto the next and, as far as I’m aware, there aren’t any highly-praised guidebooks for that sort of thing.

That’s when Landslide began to play on my stereo. Looking at myself in the mirror, listening to Stevie Nicks’ melancholy, yet hopeful, poetry, I noticed that I had already begun to change in ways I hadn’t expected. Sure, I looked the same but something was still noticeably different. I realised that I hadn’t properly observed myself in a long time because life gets rushed and you forget that you exist outside of yourself. Now, I was really looking, and I was seeing someone older, less soft. Stevie says time makes you bolder, even children get older, and I’m getting older too. That was exactly what I needed to hear (Stevie always knows what to say, that’s what makes her magical): that a couple more months would bring more change, then a couple more would make things okay and then finally, at some point, it would become good even. No matter what I looked like, I was still a child and that was alright.

More importantly, in some versions of the song, Stevie follows up her pertinent question Can I handle the seasons of my life? with a sad, quiet I don’t know. Man, if Stevie Nicks doesn’t know then I’m definitely nowhere close to finding an answer.

I had never really listened to Landslide properly before, but that night, as I was trying to sum up the courage to go be fun and social and wondering where my life was taking me, through her song Stevie felt like a mother, a friend and an emotional guardian angel. I was in front of an older version of myself – one who wore makeup and a beautiful shawl and heels and couldn’t remember how she got to be this version and didn’t know what she would be like in the future. For the first time that felt like the right thing. You’re not supposed to know. You’re supposed to let the landslide take you down wherever it wants.

Time passed, as it tends to do, and I was lucky enough to see my emotional guardian angel live. Fleetwood Mac rocked Rod Laver Arena last November. Lindsey Buckingham jumped around as though age doesn’t exist during his guitar solo in Go Your Own Way. Christine McVie sat alone on the stage, romancing us with her piano, singing Songbird. But I was waiting for Landslide. And then it came, and went; it wasn’t the song I needed anymore. It sort of passed me by in the concert. We had had our time and now it could go off to help someone else and I would be free to be surprised by the next chapter of my life and the song that would correspond with it.


© Iryna Byelyayeva.

Iryna studies Literature and Creative Writing at Melbourne University. She spends a third of her time writing bad, sassy poetry, a third listening to old records and drinking tea and another third analyzing pop culture.