Tears are STREAMING down my face as I drive down the highway. The stereo is turned up as high as it can go as Katy Perry’s new song Rise plays on YouTube (because I didn’t even have a chance to download it from iTunes yet). I played it over and over and over again. How does this woman do it???? First it was Firework (LOVE that song too), now this new song, just in time for the Olympics, is touching my soul so deep. How does SHE know how I feel???? If you haven’t seen the video that NBC has linked with this song on YouTube, and have only heard it on the radio, you NEED to watch the video. It really drives home the point I’m about to make.
With Firework, its like, you feel lost, drifting, but you’re really a firework! claim that…own it! Put yourself out there! Yeah, I got that, was very touched by it and for a while that was my jam. I even wrote out an excerpt of the song in a holiday card for my clients one year–loved it that much. But Rise takes my soul to a different level. Is it the song or is it my state of mind?
What Rise addresses that Firework doesn’t is that THE BEST OF THE BEST FAIL!!!! THEY FUCK UP!!! THEY TRAIN THEIR WHOLE LIVE AND FUCK IT UP, AT THE MOST CRUCIAL MOMENTS! And then they pick themselves up and do it again. Because they know that screwing up is part of finding out what you can really do. That going for something amazing (something that 99% of the world won’t do precisely because they are afraid of failing)practically GUARANTEES failure at some point.
Funny, because I was raised to believe that failure means, that you’re a fuck-up and you should try to avoid that as much as possible. It’s taken me a long time to finally come to the realization that THIS has been holding me back from so much. Not that I have failed–but that I have not tried the things I really want to do in fear of looking like a fool. Like this blog…I have wanted to do this for a long time, but I’ve been so scared of what other people think about what I have to say. Are they going to judge it? are they going to write me nasty comments because I have offended them? or are the going to misunderstand me, or am I just going to be too boring for people to care about???
So how does Katy Perry know these fears of failure, and the price of success on such a deep level that she can freaking touch my soul so deep??? What the hell do I have in common with a super pop star??
Let me go back for a second…
My husband gave me a gift this week. He dragged me to the pool on a very warm evening and taught me how to shoot a hoop. That was only part of the gift–hang with me. Normally, I hate to go to the pool with him because I suck at “playing” in the pool. I hate anything that requires hand/eye coordination, because I’ve always been really bad at it. So, when he asks me to play water bball with him, I cringe. He is a natural athlete–good at pretty much ANYTHING that requires any coordination. When I threw that ball of course I missed and the voices started: yeah, you suck. nobody wants to play with you because you never get a basket. You’re no good, blah, blah, blah!!! YUCK! Why do I subject myself to that shit!!! Brad is so patient. I think he secretly knew the crap convo that was starting in my head, so he gave me a little tip and my next throw made the basket! He said, didn’t anyone ever show you how to throw a ball? And, there, in the middle of the pool, I had a “moment”. You know–its like in a movie but in real life, where a flash from your past and from your core catches up with this moment in time and you have a freaking aha moment. It’s only a second, but it feels like a flashback that lasts for years. I suddenly was transported back to my childhood where I was taunted and felt like a loser because I didn’t have a freaking natural talent for throwing a ball. I realized in this moment that no one every taught me and just because I wasn’t good at something doesn’t mean I’m a fuck up or that I suck. Flash back to the pool: I realized in this moment that this is just for fun and that I can miss every time and it WONT FUCKING MATTER!!!!!! We are just having fun and I don’t need to be perfect!!! And, maybe I could even LAUGH about that and not take it so seriously!!
Going on 49 this week, I think a lot of us get in our heads too much and take shit too seriously. Sometimes we really suck the life out of everything because we are “THE mom” and have to BE the example. True. I’m not saying set a bad example, get drunk, do drugs and shit that you don’t want your kids doing. I am saying that sometimes as a mom I forget how to have fun, take risks that might make me look like a fool, at the expense of my family and helping them trust their own paths.
When Rise (and the YouTube video) was shared on Facebook, I heard a song that was like putting my aha moment into music and lyrics right there. The video clinched it–failure happens to EVERYONE! Even the best–people who are freaking GIFTED! AND that they are the best because they accept failing as part of the deal. They are willing to put themselves on the line.
Our culture teaches the opposite: don’t screw up because you’ll look stupid, won’t get into college, blah, blah, blah. It’s all bullshit. In the movie Wild, Cheryl Strayed (played by Reece Witherspoon) said maybe all this stuff had to happen to me for me to be in this place that I am now (or she said something like that–not a quote, but you get the idea). We are taught and we are still teaching that life works in a straight line: go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a good job, get married, yadda, yadda, yadda. But, we all know that that is totally false! Why do we set our kids up for unrealistic expectations of life. Life is messy–its about fucking up and learning from it, growing and evolving.
Katy Perry is human too, and I’m guessing she can write such soul-shaking, thoughtful, powerful songs because she has been down this road. It’s her gift to us. Some people will like it and some people won’t, but do you think she dwells on the haters? I’m guessing not. And neither will I anymore. Thanks Katy!!!