Oh this song.
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.
The world likes to put us in boxes. All of us, really. Categories, labels, columns with a big header. Something like this.
tattoos of scripture
politically right leaning
married, two kids, dog
good boy with an edge
But what happens when we don't fit the mold, the box, the everything in the column we've been labeled as? Sometimes it really messes with people. Sometimes people get angry and near offended that you don't fit the mold of what they expected.
I am absolutely one to raise my hand and say I do this too! I will meet a person and receive "enough" inputs that I start filling in the rest of the picture of who this person is. My ego takes over and I begin to think I really know them more than I actually do. What a disaster, right?
Clearly, I have lived this story and I think that's why this song has spoken to me for years. The songwriter herself, is a ridiculous creator, songwriter, and provocative storyteller, who has, I'm sure, been subject to not fitting the mold of what's wanted or expected. She writes in one of the verses:
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 past.
She names the complexity.
You may be saying, "So what, Becky?" Here's my so-what. I want to challenge us to observe and identify when we begin to fill in the gaps on our own. Consider to yourself: at what point do I stop listening to people and begin to write my own narrative about them? I want to challenge us to stop and choose to not assume. Choose to ask more questions. Choose to hear someone's stories of who they are, why they believe what they believe, and what got them to that place. Posturing ourselves with humble curiosity will undoubtedly lead to more fascinating and rich experiences with people.
And now, a cover song.