Raised on the Radio – Kir from The Kir Corner With Harden My Heart

ROTR yoko with spots

We’re back. 

After months away at a new home, I have made the decision to bring Raised on the Radio back to My Skewed View. Breaking myself up into little tiny pieces was never really a good idea. And these wonderful friends of mine have so much to share, I’d like to share it with you.

The idea is, you don’t have to be a music writer to love music and want to write about it. Here I have created a safe space for anyone who wants to write about music to do it! If you want to write about music for one day, I’d love to hear from you too!

Harden My Heart

I remember the day in moments, so my guess it that most of the memory is wrong, but it was fall (or spring) and the room smelled like rain and formaldehyde.

We were dissecting cats.

My senior year AP Anatomy class was small, less than 15 students, and because of that we were afforded the privilege of a radio playing during our dissections and experiments. Milling around each other and brandishing small scalpels, we hummed the popular music of the year.

Quaterflash was never on my musical radar, I am quite sure I have never heard another song by the band. But as a child of the 70’s who still clung to the music of that era it was hard to believe I had also  become an 80’s teenager who was a sucker for a good rock ballad from Foreigner, Journey or Whitesnake. Jon Bon Jovi still seemed like a bad boy back then and it just so happened that on that particular afternoon I was between good Catholic boyfriends.

Harden My Heart was a smooth lyric; I identified with this girl done wrong waiting in the rain and finally having her say. It spoke to me on an emotional level even after I got the lyrics so wrong.

For years afterwards I would sing:

Gonna harden my heart

Gonna swallow my tea herbs.


For a good Catholic girl wasn’t that the best thing to do after a breakup? Swallow tea and write sad poetry no one would ever read while tending to my (first of many ) broken heart?

It was a long time before I remember being at a college party, drink in hand, belting out the hit song when I learned that I needed to swallow my tears. Elongate that syllable, but yes we would swallow our tears, not tea herbs.

I was struck silent, beer sloshing against red plastic, and I remember I started crying.

Ironic, right?

I cried for the loss of that lyric.

Of course, this sexy, strong woman wouldn’t be drinking Earl Grey and wearing her heart right out there on her sleeve. Any respectable girl of the 90’s wouldn’t make a mess of her makeup by crying for a guy like that. Instead she’d wipe her eyes, swallow all the bad feelings and close the door of her heart to him.


The lyric has stayed with me throughout my life. I will hear the song; like I did this morning on satellite radio and I will sing the words thinking about how drinking tea sounded like a good idea back then and still does.

When the world has its way with us and our feelings, we are taught to pull ourselves up and out of the hole, not wallow or reminisce for what could have been. Ruminating and brewing a cuppa is romantic but not realistic in our cynical world.

A harsh realization for a girl like me.

So I learned the lyrics and even trained myself to swallow my tears more often than not but I have never chose to harden my heart. (I hope I never do.)


About the Author:

Kir is a daydreamer and storyteller who loves books, TV, cupcakes and high heels. She also harbors a deep affection for Broadway musicals, NYC and romantic comedies.

When she’s not writing romantic fiction, parenting her 6 yr old twins or dreaming of shoe sales, Kir is working full time, with her fingers on her keyboard and her head in the clouds.

You can find her fiction over at Kirsten A Piccini and her personal blog, focusing on parenting and infertility, at The Kir Corner


 harden my heart





7 thoughts on “Raised on the Radio – Kir from The Kir Corner With Harden My Heart

  1. Tea herbs… I never thought it was that, but now you have given the song a whole new twist. Never harden your heart, Kir. That’s what makes you wonderful.

  2. “Tea herbs” – I love that! Totally singing that song in my head now.

    I love how we hold onto lyrics that mean so much to us – even when they’re wrong. By the way, your version is way better. Swallow my tears? No way!

  3. First the visual of beer sloshing against red plastic is like wow, I’m in a frat house (or high school) party back back then. Second, Tea Herbs? Awesome and love that this is how you got the lyrics wrong 😀

  4. I’m sure those tea herbs were bitter at the time. Still better than what most of us sang as the second line of “Blinded by the Light,” I suppose. 😉 You’re a jewel, Kir!

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