As much as Ariana Grande really wants to thank all her exes—really, genuinely, because “Thank U, Next” is not actually shady at all even though it sounds like it should be—she also recognizes that the person she should really thank is herself. “I met someone else, we havin’ better discussions,” she sings. “I know they say I move on too fast, but this one gon’ last, ’cause her name is Ari.” Ariana Grande’s ex-boyfriends (and ex-fiancé) may have taught her “love,” “patience,” and “pain,” but she doesn’t need to credit them with her personal growth. Ariana Grande does it herself.
“No drags.... no shade..... jus love, gratitude, acceptance, honesty, forgiveness ... and growth,” she tweeted Saturday. It’s an enviable, aspirational level of equanimity and confidence—and, judging by reactions to the song, it’s one that most of us have not yet reached. After one fan tweeted, “who is ariana’s therapist and are they accepting new clients,” Grande retweeted the post with a reply: “lmaoaoo this is funny as fuck but in all honesty therapy has saved my life so many times. if you’re afraid to ask for help, don’t be. u don’t have to be in constant pain & u can process trauma. i’ve got a lot of work to do but it’s a start to even be aware that it’s possible.” (At time of writing, her tweet had reached nearly 130,000 likes; the original had just surpassed 100,000.)
A quick search for “who is ariana grande’s therapist” doesn’t turn up much, as it happens. But Grande is an outspoken advocate of therapy and has been candid about her experiences with anxiety—and post-traumatic stress disorder, in the wake of the terrorist attack at her Manchester Arena concert last year. It’s a recurring theme in her music—Sweetener cuts “Breathin” and “Get Well Soon” both touch on it—and “Thank U, Next” is sort of like the culmination of that, an Ariana Grande who has, against the odds, come out the other side of a pretty horrific year and a half. She’s known to take time for herself—canceling public appearances and performances—in order to be her best self for her legions of adoring fans. (I’m not speaking as an Ariana stan, of course.)
“All this self love on my tl got me smilin. I love seein your beautiful faces,” Grande tweeted on Friday, in the midst of tweeting out the lyrics to “Thank U, Next.” Then, after the single was released Saturday night, she went on, “thank u ♡ for hearing me and for making me feel so not alone.”