Singing my own song

Make your own kind of music, sing your own special song, even if nobody else sings along.

notes

If you were a film, what would be your theme song? The title of mine is the same as the post because I ‘sing my own song’.

My thirteen year old granddaughter goes into ‘meltdown’ if her hair is wrong on a school day. Until the end of last term it had to be dead straight and not even a tiny bit ‘bouffy’ (full). Bouffy hair was apparently one of the biggest no-nos among her peers. At the start of this term she needed waves in her hair. She HAD to have waves. Without waves what was the point? But now we’re back to poker-straight. Thus is the fickle world of the teenager.

She tells me too, how important it is to have the right kind of trousers (too wide in the leg is considered the worst kind of crime), shoes must be lace-ups like everyone else wears. Then there’s the right style of bag (whatever happened to satchels?) and the right kind of coat (not too long, not too short) always assuming that it’s OK to wear a coat. For the past few weeks it hasn’t been so some days she’s shivered in a blazer;  the list goes on….and on. Even a subtle deviation from these arbitrary unpublished ‘rules’ is a catastrophe.   The pressure from other girls is strong, competition fierce and woe betide (haha, am I the only one who uses that old fashioned expression nowadays?) anyone who doesn’t meet the stringent criteria.  Who’d be a teenage girl today? Not me for sure. Social media makes matters worse – but I’ll move on quickly because you really do not want me to get started on that one!

Anyhow, the point I’m making is that at such a tender age many of us (my own daughter excluded – she was always one on her own) are desperate to conform whereas by the time we have been around for a while and confidence has grown, this need begins to diminish. In my twenties I felt pressure to be a ‘perfect’ mother and to get child-rearing right. Mostly I didn’t, at least not according to the books. I read them, of course but then just went on instinct because my offspring hadn’t read the rules! In my thirties and forties I became more my own person and in my fifties  went off to university at a time when most were slowly drifting towards ‘winding down’. “Rather you than me,” said some. “You must be mad,” others suggested. Complex psychological forces may be at work here but I don’t know enough about them to say more, except perhaps to mention that as a child I always felt that I disappointed my mother because I was never quite good enough so maybe subconsciously I felt I had something to prove.  My brother and I were too often compared to Mum’s friends’ (seemingly perfect) children.

‘Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you  are”,(Brene).  

One of the greatest freedoms in getting older is that I no longer feel a need to conform. I simply don’t care if other people don’t approve, or think some of the things I do strange. So long as I’m hurting no-one, I don’t need anyone’s approval to just be me.  I’m making my own kind of music.

I’ve always loved the Mama Cass version:

But Paloma faith’s version currently used in the Skoda car version is pretty good too:

 

 

 

14 comments

  1. What a great question! I’ve reflected on what my theme song might be and I’m still not sure, although I’ve had a few suggestions made when I was younger!! My youngest son has alawys ‘sung his own song’; not always the easiest thing to do. I love the fact that these days I really don’t care what other people think – apart from those I love – there’ s a wonderful feeling about this. I guess it comes from having more confidence. I’m off now to spend some more time thinking of my potential theme song…perhaps it should be ‘ Je ne regrette rien’?

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  2. Great entry, thank you.

    I always think of the lines
    “Don’t worry that it’s not good enough
    For anyone else to hear
    Just sing . . .
    SIng a song”

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  3. I’ll have to have a longish think about this, Eloise. I don’t have my own song. But I have always danced to the beat of a different drummer. And it hasn’t been easy. It is way easier to confirm.

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  4. Great post, Eloise! My mother was someone who sang her own song; it made me uncomfortable for awhile, when I was growing up. My daughter, too, sings her own song, and it pleases me to see her doing so. I like to think that I, too, sing my own song, although, at times, I feel a bit uncomfortable doing so! 🙂

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  5. I have no idea what my theme song would be, perhaps something wonderful from opera! Well, aim high (and I don’t mean ‘top C’!), say I!
    What happened to school uniform? We all had to dress in an identical uniform when I was at grammar school, and yes, woe betide anyone who pushed up the sleeves of their cardigans or jumpers or blazers in order to look what to day we’d call “cool”. Our headmistress said we weren’t washer-women, there was no need to shove up our sleeves in that untidy way! Similarly we had to wear hats. Imagine the outcry from both pupils (aka today’s “students” regardless of age) and parents alike would make of that! But it did mean that we had to conform and fashion was all but eliminated. Mind you, there were girls who looked “cool” in uniform and those who just looked a frightful mess, and the clothes were exactly the same! And no such things as buying just a navy skirt or just a white shirt, they had to come from the school uniform supplier so they really were all identical, apart from their size. I managed to get away with wearing a navy coat from Jaeger (definitely not the supplier!) as my parents had insisted I had a ‘good’ coat, as few pupils – sorry, students – wore coats, only their navy blue gaberdine raincoat. Oh, the awful smell in the cloakroom when they were all wet after we’d gone to school in the rain! And what happened to wellington boots? We wore those and changed our shoes when we got to school, no walking around in wet trainers all day long. Trainers? They hadn’t even been invented. I don’t think we fussed over our hair in those dim and distant days of my youth as much as young women do today. But as I say, some girls looks “cool” regardless, others looked a fright. It’s not always what you wear but how you wear it, isn’t it? Even school uniform!

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    • A rigid school uniform certainly does away with fashion problems in schools. We wore bowler type hats and gabardine macs too. A Jaeger school coat – very posh! You’re right – it’s not always what you wear – it’s how you wear it.

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