When they’re not playing keys as a part of Kississippi’s live band, or supporting people going through the process of transition with the non-profit they started called No More Dysphoria, Nicolle Maroulis is releasing music as Hit Like a Girl—utilizing the cathartic emotional release of pop-punk songwriting to vent nagging mental health concerns ranging from dysphoria to exes.
Following last month’s single, which shares a name with Maroulis’ non-profit, HLAG is sharing “It’s Not Me,” a five-minute build-up which details the intricacies of a serious relationship gone south. “Everyone’s got that ‘big ex,’” Maroulis clarifies of the song’s origins. “You know which one I’m talking about. The ex that had the biggest impact on you, the one that maybe you thought was “the one,” the person you thought you might even marry someday.”
Most of the songs written for this outlet are about this ex, Maroulis notes, with this particular song about the deterioration of their mental health after feeling they weren’t enough for that particular s/o. “I’m watching everything crumble to pieces, and my mental health slowly decreases” are the opening lyrics to the track, setting up an emotional climax that slowly builds over the next few minutes.
Stream the track below, and read Maroulis’ full story behind the track. Also make sure to catch HLAG on tour this fall with Nervous Dater—full dates below—where proceeds from their shows will benefit locals in need of help with their transition, before Maroulis rejoins Kississippi to open for Mannequin Pussy in December.
“It’s Not Me” is about (you guessed it) a failed relationship, but I’d like to think it’s not just a regular, cliche “break up song.” Everyone’s got that “big ex,” you know which one I’m talking about. The ex that had the biggest impact on you, the one that maybe you thought was “the one,” the person you thought you might even marry someday. Before I started this band, I was with that person who I thought was it for me (a lot of Hit Like a Girl songs are about this person).
Right before Hit Like a Girl took off, I was living with this person outside of Tampa, Florida and we were trying to establish our lives together. This was hard to do on our own, of course, so we lived in a small apartment with her mother. Without getting too into it, the relationship basically ended because I spent more time writing the album What Makes Love Last than spending time with her, and we argued, and things just didn’t work out. She broke up with me, and I moved back home to New Jersey.
A year later we started talking on the phone and catching up, and something she said to me on the phone one night stuck with me. She was saying how maybe things would have been different for us if we had our own little house together, a backyard for her dog to run around in, a garden, etc. I didn’t really think any of those things mattered because I thought having each other was enough, and I started to feel like maybe I wasn’t enough of a person for her or for anyone, and I felt my mental health start to deteriorate after that. A lot of the lyrics in the song reflect this very specifically.
“I’m watching everything crumble to pieces, and my mental health slowly decreases.” — Literally about the depression following the breakup.
“The wind it hurts my face, and I can’t keep up with the city pace. I’m missing you and the life we had planned. Wishing for those diamonds in the sand.” — This line is specifically about leaving Florida and missing it for the “hustle and bustle” of this New Jersey/New York city area.
“In exactly a year from now I’m gonna call you because that’s the last thing that you asked me to do. When I look in the crowd and I don’t see your face I immediately regret always putting you in 2nd place.” — This is about how on the phone I asked her if we could ever get back together and she said “call me in a year from now,” and about how I chose pursuing music over our relationship.
Sometimes I still wonder if I made the right choice: sacrificing this person who I thought was meant for me to pursue my dreams of writing and performing music. I like to think that if she was right for me, she’d have stuck by me instead of dumping me, but of course those lingering thoughts of “what if” will always be there.
HLAG / Nervous Dater Tour Dates
11/5 The Bends – St. Petersburg, FL w/ Nervous Dater
11/6 The Falcon – Orlando, FL w/ Nervous Dater
11/7 The Bark – Tallahassee, FL w/ Nervous Dater
11/8 Macs Basement – Atlanta, GA w/ Nervous Dater
11/9 Fleetwood’s – Asheville, NC w/ Nervous Dater
11/10 Space Litter Records – Richmond, VA w/ Nervous Dater
11/22 Asbury Park Brewery – Asbury Park, NJ w/ Macseal
12/20 Asbury Park Brewery – Asbury Park, NJ w/ Bogues
12/3-12/19 I’ll be playing in Kississippi with Mannequin Pussy >:)