Everyone has a soundtrack to life; whether it be a very particular genre of music that filters through your Apple ear buds on the regular, the reverberation of family bellowing from all corners of the house, or maybe the clicky sound the keyboard makes as you record the daily happenings of your weird world to publish online. Either way, soundtracks don’t just exist in the movies, we all have one in some form or another.
For many of us, there is a very specific soundtrack for very specific occasions or feelings. You know what I’m saying. We all have that song that we rock out to when we’re so overwhelmingly happy; or that sad song that we listen to in the dark while pathetically and quite dramatically singing along between sobs (oh come on, we’ve ALL done it). Maybe you have a drunk song. I do. Dating back to my freshman year of college, regardless of where I am or what I’m drinking, when Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing comes on, I will undoubtedly yell This is my jam! and obnoxiously scream the lyrics to the rest of the song. If/when drinking in another state and this song begins to play, I will make a point of telling everyone that I’m from Detroit. Even though good ol’ suburban Northville doesn’t exactly count as Detroit…when in that drunky pants state of mind, I refuse to stop believing that there’s any difference at all.
There are also those songs that, when listened to, instantly jolt you back to different times in your life; the soundtrack of an era, if you will. For example, every time I hear Billy Joel, I think of New York City. The first time I ever visited that glorious metropolis, I was about 14 years old and my Dad got our family front row, center tickets to see “Movin’ Out”. When I hear Sarah Bareilles, I’m jolted back to how innocently happy I was in college. The Beatles fill almost every memory I have of the house I grew up in. Oh, and when I hear pretty much any Britney Spears song, I think of the time my 3 best girlfriends and I made a “Lucky” music video back in middle school. (Let it be known that we made 4 identical versions of the video, each of us portraying Britney once, of course, to be fair.)
Music has always had a strong presence in my life. That’s probably why I’ve always been a dancing fool. I certainly won’t allow any of that to change. No-sir-ee-bub.
One day, I believe I will look back at this particular time in my life (I’ll call it The Time I was in my Mid-Twenties and I Kinda Starting Getting my Sheeet Together and Doing Cool Stuff Like Writing Blogs and Being a Functional Not-Exactly-Starving-Anymore Artist); and I believe I will recognize the soundtrack of this era to be fantastically eclectic. However, I’m also pretty sure that one artist will stand out among the rest.
And that artist is Beyonce.
Over the past year, she, well, her creative persona (yeah, I said it) has been an oddly tenacious force in my life. It’s true. I love her. Oh so much. Honestly, people, think about it. Homegirl is beautiful and an uncommonly talented dancer and diva vocalist. Her videos rock the casbah, her songs make you want to shake your tail feather; and on top of everything, she is a successful, strong woman, unafraid to preach some feminist ideals through her art. I simply love her.
I have, on more than one occasion, been caught dancing when I thought no one was looking. Recently, in fact, a customer at the juice bar caught me throwing my hands up to the line “so throw your hands up” in Beyonce’s Single Ladies. And let’s just say that I certainly committed to the move. I even threw my head back and sang along. I was in the back of the house, but in clear view of the counter from the doorway that separates the front from the back. His only response was a chuckle and an I saw that.
I listen to Beyonce and something takes over me. I know my love for B got me lookin’ so crazy right now, but I absolutely cannot listen to her music without singing and dancing and diva-ing along. I suddenly become completely unaware of any audience I may have and I get back in touch with my strong, fearlessly feminine side. Her work helps trigger a sense of security from within. Oh yes, my friends, this is true.
I had new headshots taken by the fabulous Kellyn Uhl sometime mid-summer. Kellyn went to theatre school with my sister and she was (is) a captivating performer in addition to being a very talented photographer . Needless to say, I had (have) a mega-professional crush on her; and this, in turn, made me quite nervous to have her take my picture over and over for a couple hours out in the middle of downtown Royal Oak. You know, a place with lots of people waltzing about the town, what seems like all the time. Oy, the insecurities. So to counteract my lacking confidence, I carefully applied a hearty coat of candy apple red lipstick and turned the dial to 11 on Beyonce’s 4 while driving over.
I was about half way through a driving performance of her song Countdown (a performance which I was fully committed to), when I stopped for a red light. I continued dancing around, mouthing along, flirting with the imaginary camera following my every move for a moment. Then I looked up at the van I was parked behind. A group of what I can only assume were convicts in orange jumpsuits had their faces pressed against the back windows, pointing and laughing and applauding me. My complexion instantly matched the color of my lipstick. I froze for a moment, but then I started laughing along with them. Ah well, they already saw me, might as well go on with the show! I continued shoulder dancing, flipping my hair about and singing along. I let the confidence live on. It was worth it.
Sometimes it seems a bit silly that I love her as much as I do. She’s a pop star after all. But as soon as I start to judge the admiration, I just stop. What’s really silly is to second-guess a source of self-confidence. And at this Mid-Twenties and I’ve Kinda Started Getting my Sheeet Together and I’m Doing Cool Stuff Like Writing Blogs and Being a Functional Not-Exactly-Starving-Anymore Artist time in my life, I’m embracing my quirks, and drawing inspiration from just about anywhere because I recognize how important it is to do so. And how much I owe it to myself.
Beyonce will forever be the soundtrack for the time I found success in my individuality. And I’d like to think that, eventually, I’ll harness this feeling so it becomes an every day, all the time kind of feeling. A force in my life, really. And, right about then, I’ll realize the soundtrack will have changed to capture the next step along the journey.
I can only guess how the song will go. But you can bet I’ll be dancing along.