It’s been three years since SZA blessed our ear concha with her certified platinum album Ctrl… and fans and R&B critics alike are thirsting for more. Earlier this year a promising tweet sparked rumors of a 2020 release, and to fuel the suspense further I’ve had her entire discography on repeat.

Screenshot of SZA's response "I’d say the date me and punch jus discussed .. but that would stress me n build uneccesary pressure 🥺.. short answer is yes" to "are we getting anything this year ma’am i’m STARVING."
[Image Description: Screenshot of SZA’s response “I’d say the date me and punch jus discussed .. but that would stress me n build unnecessary pressure 🥺.. short answer is yes” to “are we getting anything this year ma’am i’m STARVING.”] Via Twitter
In the meantime, here are 13 signs that your love life resembles a SZA song (stay tuned for Ctrl 2 to determine whether they’re auspicious):

1. The perfect work-love life balance still seems like a picturesque myth.

From “petty dues” to “shitty news,” you find yourself constantly engulfed in the ropes of hustle culture – even if it means running on Broken Clocks in the ceaseless pursuit of perfection. 

2. You question your own emotional maturity and fear pushing your partner’s patience.

If you feel like your relationship parallels the cop-out Prom ending to a cliche teen rom-com, don’t fret; even SZA bodies these insecurities. 

3. You find yourself measuring your self-worth with your crush’s potential love interests.

Maybe you find yourself resonating more with the identity-fogged Drew Barrymore of the ’90s, and maybe it’s ok to feel “not more ladylike” in your soul-searching. Regardless of how intimidating “her mom jeans and her new Vans” are, it’s time to recognize your self-worth as independent of external factors. Yes, you are “warm enough.” 

4. You seek someone who can ground you with endless emotional reassurance.

Like SZA in Garden (Say It Like Dat), your emotions (and insecurities) run deeper than being “sensitive about havin’ no booty.” You crave emotional vulnerability in a relationship yet fear the consequences of baring all to a significant other. 

5. The “falling” part of “falling in love” scares you more than anything.

Being “down for the ride” is placing uninhibited trust in someone who could make or break your fall – which is easier sung than done.

6. Still, you’re capable of being your own cheerleader.

If a cheer chant was an SZA song, this would be it. Even in the face of massive disappointment, nobody says “Go, Gina, go Gina” better than you do.

7. You have no qualms getting even with a cheater.

Step 1: “Let me tell you a secret/I’ve been secretly banging your homeboy.”
Step 2: “Oh no, she didn’t, ooh yes, I did/Oh no, she didn’t, I’ll do it again.”

8. You’re ambivalent to, or even emboldened by, being “the other woman.”

You’re not afraid to challenge patriarchal dating norms like SZA, who repackages the side hoe position as a part-time job that she’s got “covered for the weekend.”

9. You romanticize the past based on old relationships.

Perhaps in fear of closing out a decade with personal purpose, you mentally keep yourself “stuck in them 20 somethings.” 

10. When necessary, you’re not afraid to “Skrrt skrrt” farewell on someone who’s playing games.

You’ve got places to see, things to go to, and plenty more people to do… you see your time as too precious to “cry over spilled milk.”

11. “You could never trivialize” your sex life.

You believe in uplifting the vagina like Doves in the Wind, as emblems of peace and power instead of a means to commodify women’s bodies. 

12. Passive-aggressive communication styles really grind your gears.

You’re not a Normal Girl (but really, who is?), but you bounce back and forth deciding whether you’d want to be one. Moreover, you’d rather “pop your top” and face conflict head-on than let resentment for your partner fester within. 

13. Scratch “nice guys.” You have a thing for “gentle giants.”

Your schedule has no room for toxic masculinity – you need a “phoenix among feathers” willing to fly a relationship forwards with soft gusto.

Finding Love Galore in the current era can feel as hard as attempting to locate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in modern-day Iraq, but thankfully, each SZA song just gets it.

  • Shannon Zheng is a multidisciplinary artist and designer studying Art & Design and Philosophy at the University of Michigan. She is interested in channeling art as a form of intervention, whether it be through constructing visual narratives to promote social change or designing confrontationally through an activist lens.