Make your own kind of music, sing your own special song, even if nobody else sings along.
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 Even a subtle deviation from these arbitrary unpublished ‘rules’ is a catastrophe.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: