For as long as I can remember, I’ve gravitated to music that is big. Ballads, big female voices, dramatic crescendos, swells…think Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, lately a little bit of Lady Gaga. BIG. Songs that fill a room and might leave you crying in a puddle on the floor at the same time. Throughout the years, I’ve found myself drifting away, but always returning to a song, or finding new ones, to put on repeat. When my kids were young, I’d blast it in the car, we’d all be singing along and then…I’d turn it off…catching them mid-song each time…and then we’d laugh and laugh. But even today, they know the words to all the songs. You’re welcome.
The songs I’ve put on repeat over the years have changed, again, Celine Dion is always a leader, but there’s always been one. Lately, This is me, by Kesha has been on the playlist. It’s from The Greatest Showman movie, which, I literally only saw last night. I’ve caught the song, here and there, mainly at women’s events, not surprisingly. It has all my required elements, big swells, compelling lyrics, a dramatic finish. I can’t get enough of it. For the first time, I’ve decided to call a song my anthem.
Anthem’s are nothing new. They arise to provide people with an anchor, something to hold tight, to rally around in unity or in protest at times. But an anthem defined is “an uplifting song identified with a particular group…or cause.” This is me rallies for the underdog, the marginalized, those who are cast aside. While that’s not my story, my heart hurts for people who are overlooked, or marginalized for being who they are.
Maybe it’s because of my own beginnings. As a child with a prosthetic leg, you stand out. Before you think I’m going down a traumatic tale, I’m not. But, you stand out. People look at you, other kids, adults. And they ask questions. Today, I roll with all of it, but as a child, or a young teen, all you want to do is fit in, and you don’t.
I wish I could understand the component of human psyche that explains why some people struggle to be in proximity with different. We are all different, to varying degrees, some of our differences are simply visible. But whether internal or external, different is only different. It’s nothing else. It’s not less.
That’s what I notice, the tendency to hone in on less, to pinpoint the difference and label it as bad, or wrong, or weird. This can be viewed as a form of deflecting, we judge in others what we are uncomfortable or unhappy with in ourselves.
My heart breaks for people who find themselves in the margins. I could say “because I’ve been there,” but only from the standpoint that I know the feeling of having people stare. I’ve been fortunate to have people remind me I’m loved, but that’s not always the case. That is where my heart hurts. Maybe that’s why I love an anthem. It’s a rallying point. This is me was a rallying point in the movie for the sideshow, people who were in the circus solely for their difference. Even then, despite the draw, they were kept in the shadows, until they weren’t.
The song, my anthem, embraces the individual, just as they are. Just as God created them, created you, created me. Will you be bold enough today to do the same?