borrowed words.

February 26, 2018

A self-portrait from a week-day afternoon. And this:

Welcome to the end of being alone inside your mind
You’re tethered to another and you’re worried all the time
You always know the melody but you never heard it rhyme
She’s fair and she is quiet, Lord, she doesn’t look like me
She made me love the morning, she’s a holiday at sea
The New York streets are busy as they always used to be
But I am the mother of Evangeline

The first things that she took from me were selfishness and sleep
She broke a thousand heirlooms I was never meant to keep
She filled my life with color, canceled plans, and trashed my car
But none of that was ever who we are
Outside of my windows are the mountains and the snow
I hold you while you’re sleeping and I wish that I could go
All my rowdy friends are out accomplishing their dreams
But I am the mother of Evangeline

And they’ve still got their morning paper and their coffee and their time
And they still enjoy their evenings with the skeptics and the wine
Oh, but all the wonders I have seen, I will see a second time
From inside of the ages through your eyes

You are not an accident where no one thought it through
The world has stood against us, made us mean to fight for you
And when we chose your name we knew that you’d fight the power too
You’re nothing short of magical and beautiful to me
Oh, I’ll never hit the big time without you
So they can keep their treasure and their ties to the machine
‘Cause I am the mother of Evangeline

They can keep their treasure and their ties to the machine
‘Cause I am the mother of Evangeline
Ooh, ooh


From Brandi Carlile’s song The Mother, from her new album By The Way, I Forgive You.

You can watch the official video here, or this live version which includes this by way of introduction: “…The thing about being a mother is that it is a nightmare and it’s also really amazing. And it’s both things and nobody ever tells you that shit. They tell you it’s one thing. They tell you ‘You’ve never known love until you’ve had a child. And, ‘There’s no greater honor than being a parent,’ and that’s true but it’s also really lame and like a hard thing to do sometimes. So basically, I wouldn’t be my own artist and my own songwriter if I didn’t write a song about the truth of the beauty and the terror of being a mother…”.

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  • Reply Amelia Brown February 26, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Absolutely stunning; both the photograph and the words.

    • Reply Claire February 26, 2018 at 11:21 pm

      I’ve loved Brandi Carlile since I first saw her perform at a sweet little zoo concert in Seattle over 10 years ago. To this day, seeing her walk into a stage gives me shivers. Her voice and her goodness are beautiful.

  • Reply Sarah February 26, 2018 at 10:05 am

    I had a daughter in July – named Evangeline after my late mother. These lyrics just hit me so hard <3

  • Reply Sarah February 26, 2018 at 10:17 am

    So beautiful. My daughter’s middle name is Evangeline <3

  • Reply Lori February 26, 2018 at 10:55 am

    I love Brandi and this song is so beautiful… she sang a little bit of it at a concert I went to a couple years back so I’m so happy the album is finally out!

  • Reply anna maria February 26, 2018 at 10:57 am

    beautiful post, the portrait & the words. happy monday 🙂

  • Reply Annie February 26, 2018 at 11:06 am

    I’m listening to her album as I work this morning. It is so beautiful. And I come here to see you think so too 🙂

  • Reply Nicole February 26, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Oh man after the morning I had with my 3 year old melting down over a lollipop and being 36 weeks pregnant I really needed to read this. Thanks Erin!

  • Reply Doe February 26, 2018 at 11:35 am


  • Reply Shannon February 26, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Oh…what beautiful lyrics. I needed this today.

  • Reply Shannon February 26, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    I love that whole album- I’ve had it on constant repeat for the last two weeks. This is one of my very favorite Brandi Carlile songs.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 26, 2018 at 12:03 pm


  • Reply Jay February 26, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    A hauntingly beautiful voice. Stunning photo of you, Erin. Is Borrowed Words a new series?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 26, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      Trying it on for size in 2018!

  • Reply Laura February 26, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Love the tension and joy in this piece.

  • Reply laura February 26, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    I can’t listen to this song the whole way through without a liiiiiitle tear!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 26, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      Same. (And obviously have to swap in ‘Faye Josephine’.)

  • Reply Sonja February 26, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    This song has been on repeat since her album came out. I love how she introduces her name below; as Evangeline means “bearer of good news.” Should a daughter join our trio Evangeline might be the perfect name for her.
    You are not an accident where no one thought it through
    The world has stood against us, made us mean to fight for you
    And when we chose your name we knew that you’d fight the power too

  • Reply kathryn February 26, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you for posting this! Something I needed to hear lately. The 3 year old tantrum, sassy, battle phase is no joke!

  • Reply Aino February 26, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    So beautiful – Love this new series Erin!

  • Reply Natalie February 26, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you. I really needed this today, as I struggle to remain unruffled by my toddler’s emotional shenanigans. That first verse hit me hard.

  • Reply Anna February 26, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    So timely… I was weeping over this song this morning. Love her. Love the real-ness and tenderness of this song.

  • Reply Clare February 26, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Holy smokes. Can’t tell you what timing brought me to see this! Thank you, thank you. Another reason I know I can’t banish the internet for good (though Lord knows I’d like to…)- the serendipitous sharing that goes on in these communities of motherhood. Thanks, Erin! And thank you for this space!

  • Reply Paulina February 26, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Beautiful and so true.

  • Reply Joanna February 26, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    I like this new series “borrowed words”.
    Love your self portrait. It’s beautiful. Stunning.

  • Reply Victoria February 26, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    And just in case you’re not aware Erin, Brandi is on tour right now and will be at The Beacon in NYC in April. This 56 year-old mom from Texas just started firming up plans last night to get tickets for one of her shows that weekend. I could not believe when I saw this blog post today. I take it as a sign from the universe! Love her music so much and love your blog. Thanks for all you do.

  • Reply Kelly February 26, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    Gah, I love this so fully

  • Reply Katharine February 27, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Loving Borrowed Words.

    I remember asking my sister, two months after my son was born, when I would stop mourning my old life. She replied that I should tell her if I ever reached that point, because four years in and with another one (joyfully) on the way, she still hadn’t.

    I still get envious every time I read about a “morning routine” that involves any kind of slowness and peace! But I also wouldn’t give up my morning toddler snuggles to go back to that. I love that there are spaces where parents can admit that both these feelings coexist, and that’s okay.

  • Reply Naurnie February 27, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Love that you posted this, friend.

  • Reply Katie February 28, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Oy. Am a first-time-mama to a sweet, solemn little boy who will turn 3 weeks old on Friday. . . so the lyrics to this song (as well as the music video for the song itself) reduced me to a puddle on the floor. Beautiful.

  • Reply Rebecca March 1, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    I really love this song. I’ve been listening to her new album on repeat!

  • Reply Bri March 6, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    So real and raw and brings me to tears every time. It’s beautiful and incredibly relatable and just want I needed. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Reply Amir Najam Sethit March 29, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Nice. I love your post.

  • Reply Mairead Travins March 29, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Oh thank you, thank you for introducing me to this wonderful artist – I’m a huge live music fan (and my husband is a musician), and you know when you haven’t had a truly new to you music find in a while and then you’re like YES. Well anyway, I’m newly pregnant with our second child and feeling sick pretty much all the time, and I sat and watched both versions of this video and bawled my goddamn eyes out (in a good way).

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