It’s been some time since I was in High School, but I remember not always feeling as though I fit in. It ended up not being a bad thing, since I got very used to being alone, especially since I grew up in a house full of boys. I was the oldest and didn’t have a whole lot in common with my brothers at the time. Spending days on end in my room allowed a ton of time for reading and writing, both things that had a huge impact on the person I am today. Don’t get me wrong, I did find an awesome niche of friends, and we did have a TON of fun, but I always enjoyed my time alone. An introvert to the core, what I distinctly remember feeling in High School, was nervousness at my attempts to push the envelope, a quality (and feeling) I never outgrew if I’m being honest.
I was an 80’s girl, and liked to flirt with the edgy end of things. I loved my big hair, of course who didn’t, but I also loved coming up with ways to “wear” the latest fashions, by using what I already had and improvising. There wasn’t any money in our household for the latest trends, so it worked out that I was able to emulate strong females like: Madonna, Janet Jackson, Linda Ronstadt, and the GoGo’s relatively easily. By pulling your hair up with a scrap of lace, wearing oversized sweaters that fell off one shoulder, and layering all your jewelry at once, you “made a statement.” What was great about the look was that it was easy to do, even if you were broke…and I was.
I also loved wearing men’s suits (thank you Shania and Salvation Army) and if all the girls in school were wearing Scarlett O’Hara hoop dresses to prom, I was wearing something that looked more like what Princess Leia wore in her opening scene in Star Wars (I recall it was $20 on a clearance rack). To me, that is what the 80’s were all about, trying on different versions of yourself and seeing what fit. It is honestly no different than what goes on today, although one of the key differences is that we didn’t post our journey on Social Media.
What makes this next song on the Soundtrack of my Life so cool, is it came to me by way of Twitter. You have heard me say before, I am not a fan of Country (although the number of Country songs on my Soundtrack would make you think otherwise), so in my youth I would have probably have never found this artist on my own. But in this day and age, there is so much available to us, and ways to connect to other cultures and people from all over the world through our social platforms. I tapped into this particular artist’s feed through a writing friend who was sharing his love of one of her songs. I had a listen, loved her energy, and started following her journey.
I have always been an observer, and while the dots I connect don’t always make sense to others, it is through writing that I find a way to describe what I see and feel. The people who inspire me not only fill my social media feed, but also my creative well, and it is always the best feeling to see someone’s hard work pay off and their dreams come true. The sheer amount of talent out in this world takes my breath away and makes me believe anything is possible. When someone I know shares the music that inspires them, I always try to give it a listen, which always does a couple of things. It allows me to understand the heart of the person I am friends with a tiny bit better, and it exposes me to music, culture and art that I might not have otherwise experienced. A win, win, in my mind.
This song would have empowered the 13-year-old version of myself, something that I think many can relate with. Everyone’s journey is their own, and the choices they make mold the person they become, but if the road traveled could be made easier by embracing “sense of self” a tiny bit sooner, I feel the path would be less rocky. A lot of the music I listened had that power, sung by women who were breaking the “norms” by injecting themselves into a “man’s” world. Some of the music I have touched on through these essays, but there were other women as well, in film, school, and in the workforce who had the same impact. Their ambition, drive, no-nonsense attitude, and fearlessness is something that I admire, and attempt to emulate in my own journey.
The fearlessness is something I struggle with, even today, but hearing songs like this, which make a statement about something so profound as being yourself, makes me proud to be part of such an amazing creative community. So don’t let fear hold you back…write, paint, sculpt, act, dance the thing, and do it in a way that feels right to you! At the end of the day, we all need to find the right path for ourselves, especially since I would imagine none of us would be very good at being anybody else. 🙂
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