Music can feed the soul and impact your mood. Think about all the ways music is used, if only in the background, to create an emotional effect. Go to any massage therapist’s office or spa and listen for that relaxing spa music or those nature sounds that you may not even notice initially.
There’s a reason they aren’t blaring heavy metal. Sounds can relax us, excite us, allow us to release anger and tension, help us cry and grieve, and inspire us.
Of course the sounds are often only half the story when we consider modern music; there are also those oh so influential lyrics. Songwriting can tell a story, validate our experiences, and inspire us with anthems.
I am a huge fan of Alicia Keys, particularly for her musical talent including composition and songwriting. It’s hard to write about only one of her songs because so many are inspirational, but in honor of woman’s history month and in keeping the spirit of that month strong any day of the year, I want to focus on her song, Superwoman.
If you don’t know it, expect serious inspiration and truth about the challenges women face and the strength we have to power through. Seriously, if you don’t know it, stop here and go listen wherever you listen to music. And if you do know it, go listen again!
If there were a theme song for this practice, Superwoman might be it.
“…Nothing seems complete. I stand up and I’m searching for the better part of me.”
Exactly. How many times in life do we go through struggles and feel some piece of us is missing? We’ve lost our center. We feel overwhelmed and can’t seem to find our footing. Yet, do not despair.
Her word choice in the very next phrase is simple but so important—I stand up. An action is taken, a strong action. We rise up and find our strength—our better part; and tapping into our strengths is what allows us to persevere in the challenging times.
“Gotta find the strength in me. Cause I am a Superwoman. Yes I am.”
Writing and reading the lyric almost doesn’t do it justice because listening to the emphasis Alicia Keys places on each word in this phrasing is what is so inspiring.
I. am. a Super-woman.
She repeats this chorus to inspire and educate us. It needs to be the chorus; it needs to be repeated because we have to be reminded, especially when we’re struggling. How many times do we feel like a phony or imposter; as if we really aren’t the put together person people might think we are at work, school, PTA, socially, or in houses of worship? But no. These are the lies our negative thoughts can feed us when we’re overwhelmed. Who is a Superwoman? I. am.
She anticipates your next thought. Me? A Superwoman? No, not me. I’m a mess half the time. I’m stressed. I’m overwhelmed. I’m just an ordinary woman. Don’t worry, Ms. Keys knows how you feel.
“Even when I’m a mess. I still put on a vest. With an S on my chest. Oh Yes.”
So, guess what? You don’t have to be perfect. You can be real. A real woman with stress, issues, conflicts, and exhaustion. But you still have to stand up. Get dressed. And carry on. And that makes you not ordinary, but phenomenal.
And you do, don’t you? You have a headache but you get dressed and go to work anyway. You need a few more hours sleep but you take care of your kids, your family, and your obligations anyway. Maybe you’re muddling through, but you’re still doing it. This is your super power.
There may be times in life where maybe you really want to get up and keep going, but it’s just too heavy. That’s okay too. That’s when we use our super powers to ask for help. If you need to reach out to family, friends, colleagues, or a therapist, do it.
Humans are social beings. We are meant to lean on each other and support each other. That doesn’t make you any less super; I’d argue it makes you super courageous. Asking for help when you’re not at your best is one of the hardest things to do. The strength, courage, and humility required is tremendous.
So, if you’re doing good enough on your own, carry on. If you’re needing help, reach out “for all my women” “fighting for better days to come.”