Stop Telling Ariana Grande That She Needs to Take a Break
Her new album is about to drop.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from Ariana Grande’s recent hit singles, it’s that she’s stronger than ever before. “I've got so much love / Got so much patience / I've learned from the pain / I turned out amazing” she sings in “Thank U, Next,” a song that quickly broke the internet, as well as the record for most views in 24 hours on YouTube. Both strength and growth are evident in her recent music, including “Imagine” and “7 Rings,” two more songs that will be included on her upcoming album released on February 8. And yet, despite the messages clearly portrayed in the bops, fans of the pop queen are insisting she take a break.
Tweets in the last week have included sentiments like “hey I love you a lot. pls take a nice break after tour,” “take a break pls for us,” and “can u pls take a break? ur working too much!” As Grande releases additional music, more and more of her fans on social media have been telling her she needs to stop.
No doubt, 2018 was a rollercoaster ride for Grande as she’s discussed before, and her life as a celebrity has been heavily documented, even scrutinized. While accepting the Billboard music award for Woman of the Year in December, she said, “I wanna say that I find it interesting that this has been one of the best years of my career and like the worst of my life...It’s been a very conflicting [year].” Among the difficulties she’s faced this year are her breakup with longtime boyfriend Mac Miller in May, his sudden passing in September, her whirlwind romance with and breakup from Pete Davidson, and dealing with trauma from the Manchester arena bombing that occurred at her concert in 2017. Meanwhile, Grande released her album Sweetener in August and announced last week that, within six months of that, she’ll be putting out another.
So, yes, she’s been busy. And while fans — also known as Arianators — are appreciative of the music she’s released, many are using social media to tell her to slow down; saying she needs a break to rest, heal and grow; even imploring her to step back from her career. “I think she [needs a break] because she’s been through a lot of bad situations and it affected me so I’m pretty sure it affected her,” Twitter user @itsbadgur1 tells InStyle. “She’s doing great, she’s living in her best life now, [but] I want her to take a break from working really hard.” Karla, who runs the fan account @Iovewithinari, said, “I think she needs to take a break because of hate on her, everything she does is getting a lot of hate.”
These comments may very well have begun with good intentions, but the message they push is questionable. Some call this “concern trolling,” or using the language of truly caring for someone to sling insults. To use “I’m worried about her” language to point out that she’s getting hated on online; or to insinuate that she isn’t aware of or in control of the demands of her career. Why does Ariana Grande, a 25-year-old adult, need to be told to take a break?
To put it simply, she doesn’t. Grande is a grown woman and, quite frankly, can make her own decisions for herself. She is the only one who can choose the best self-care practices for her, as well as when she needs to take a step back from social media or her work. But the issue with these comments from fans goes further than that. Grande has dealt with and continues to experience trauma. Taking a step back from her career may not be the answer for her, specifically. Creating and performing music may very well be Grande’s coping mechanism.
“Everyone deals with trauma in a different way and it’s important to allow the person who’s affected the space to address the trauma in whatever way is best for them,” says Dolores Cimini, a licensed psychologist and director of the Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research at the University at Albany, SUNY. “For some, it’s seeking support from a therapist or friend. For some, it would be engaging in things they enjoy doing. In her case, it sounds like it’s music. And for some, it may be taking a break. But we really are not in a position to make a judgment about what’s best for Ariana Grande because we’re not in her shoes.”
In fact, criticism on Grande’s choice to throw herself into the studio — coming from fans, or friends and family — can backfire and cause Grande more harm than good, according to Cimini. “Criticism of how a person who’s traumatized addresses their critical situation can be very injurious to the person potentially. It’s really important for people who are on the outside observing the situation not to prejudge, not to make quick judgments on what she has decided to do. She will find a path and heal from her trauma and we need to trust that she knows what’s best for her own life,” Cimini said.
If Grande chooses to continue to write and release songs instead of taking time off, that is completely up to her discretion — and likely, it is a healthy step for her. Although many tell Grande to take a break because of how appreciative they are of her efforts to please fans, we have to accept that she may be writing and releasing music to please herself. It’s not always about us...despite how personal a relationship Grande’s made with fans. Whatever your motives may be, unless you’re in a position where you personally know Ari and understand her health, trauma, and mental health care needs — like her family and doctors do — please refrain from telling her what to do and allow her to heal on her own time and in her own way.