“32 Flavors”

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m a girl who has a lot of feels. I end up taking on what others are feeling or going through. I end up spending a lot of time in my own head thinking about my own feelings, about what I’m going through. Yet it still catches me by surprise sometimes. Particularly when it happens in the most unlikely place. For example, I was at a ‘Bux this morning staring – again – at an empty WordPress screen, chatting with a friend, and a song I haven’t thought about in close to ten years came on over the ‘Bux Muzak station. “32 Flavors” by Ani Difranco. It’s not too much of an exaggeration that I haven’t thought of this song since maybe 2010, but that made no difference in feeling like I’d been punched in the face when I heard the song this morning.

What’s a little bemusing to me about feeling punched in the face is that the song is an incredibly empowering song. Think about it:

“and god help you if you are an ugly girl
course too pretty is also your doom
cause everyone harbors a secret hatred
for the prettiest girl in the room
and god help you if you are a phoenix
and you dare to rise up from the ash
a thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
while you are just flying back

I’m not trying to give my life meaning
by demeaning you
and I would like to state for the record
I did everything that I could do
I’m not saying that I’m a saint
I just don’t want to live that way
no, I will never be a saint
but I will always say

squint your eyes and look closer
I’m not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some
And I’m beyond your peripheral vision
So you might want to turn your head
Cause someday you might find you’re starving
and eating all of the words you said”

This song, while with an incredible Eff Off/Don’t Be a Dick message, reminds me so vividly of a particularly rough time. It’s that association that had me on the verge of tears in a public spot with a friend. What I’m trying to do today though, instead of thinking about the time the song brings me back to, is to think about the positive message wrapped up in the lyrics. Don’t apologize for being who you are. Be pretty, don’t. Wear makeup, don’t. Wear hip fashions, don’t. Whatever. We’re all living our lives. So long as we’re trying to live our lives to the best of our abilities there’s nothing to be apologetic about. We shouldn’t have to, we shouldn’t be asked to change ourselves because of what you want or expect us to be.

Go forth, friends (particularly ladies). Follow your dreams. There’s no reason to be apologetic about doing so. No reason to be apologetic about attaining them. About asking for help along the way. You’ve all helped me to be here. You’ve all helped me think I deserve to be here. Let’s kiss off the people who think we need to be here some way other than how and who we are.

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