I’m Still a Firework

I have been really considering, lately, what is up with my New Kids thing? I’ve rejected them for years, then, on a lark, I go to their concert and get hooked back into their world. Suddenly I’m following Donnie and Danny on Twitter, the rest on Instagram and looking up their personal lives online to figure out the juicy details. I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed, but certainly have a greater interest in them than seems appropriate for a 39 year old woman.
I also wrote about Katy Perry way back in February. I wrote about how I love her brand of self expression and wrote about how her music makes me want to move. Firework was the motivator for my first real run. It was with Katy Perry in my ear singing and telling me I could do it and I threw myself an unplanned challenge- to run for the duration of the song. I did and felt terrifically empowered after.
It niggles me, all this pop music making its way into my brain, infusing itself like a much needed and desired earworm.
Tonight when I walked into our living room, Bradley had started something playing on TV. I assumed it would be Star Wars related or a documentary as that is what he picks when he has his choice. I was surprised to see Katy Perry make her way across the screen and, while I did arm curls, crunches, and worked my various muscle families, I watched as Ms. Perry’s fans talked about how inspired they feel by her. They spoke to a feeling of acceptance, love and encouragement. They held her up as a bastion of the American Dream- if you can dream it, it’s possible.

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{Me at 17- I’m the one with the unzipped graduation gown. I had just lost about 80 pounds.}
Somewhere along the way, between exiting teenagerhood and the onset of middle age, I think I forgot about possibility and dreams. Instead, I settled into what was and what was supposed to be. I looked to the futures of my children as my own dreams. I looked for models of what fiancés did, what newlyweds, young parents, homeowners and college students did to guide my own life. I forgot about looking at what I wanted, I had already decided: Wife, Mom, Teacher- those titles were in the plan. Done, done and done- the planning was over. I didn’t need to dream or be inspired. I was an actualized adult without need of a pop star to guide and inspire me.
Cut to my daughter’s first year of life and one day I found myself driving down the road bawling my eyes out. Earlier, I had been laying on the floor while she climbed all over me and I felt like a boulder- huge and immobile. I could do little more than pick her up over my head, rolling over was a challenge and I could hardly get off the floor when she finally crawled away. It just felt like a compromise of life. When I left the house I turned on the radio and 100 Years came on, reminding me how precious life is, how very brief it is, how quickly my daughter would grow up and I couldn’t help but realize that I was piddling my life and her babyhood away by being morbidly obese. So I took action. The rest of the story is pretty obvious, but if you want the whole story you can visit here.
Tonight I sat there watching as Katy rose to fame, went on a concert tour, got married, divorced, awarded, dressed, undressed, made up and more. Throughout it all she kept talking about living the dream, living your best life, doing what is important. She gives creedence to being playful, romance and silliness. She kept saying she loves her fans, loves people and was so kind as she met them, included them in her shows and into her heart. The New Kids do the same thing- they tell their fans they couldn’t do it without us, that they love us Blockheads, they’re glad we came, they appreciate our dedication and we can be whatever we want. Even still- after 25 years.
We stop listening, as adults, to all of those voices that are out there telling us we are a firework. We buy into ‘reality’ and stop dreaming, instead settling for nights on the sofa in front of someone else’s imagined life. We let the young’ns take center stage and defer those ‘follow your dreams’ statements to them. Instead we get ‘live, laugh, love’ which is nice, but not very proactive. Not very fun. We forget that even though we are almost 40, we are still capable of changing. We are not limited to only living, laughing and loving. Dreams are still very much alive! We are still allowed to reach for the stars.
I think that is why I’m engaging with my cream-filled pop-star center. The last time I let myself buy into pop music I was 16, full of hopes and dreams. I was planning my life still, looking forward to following this path. Well, guess what? I reached the end of my path- I have my babies, the best husband, a wonderful career, a home, Im left wanting for nothing- and suddenly I find myself in the same place I was at 16. What next? I have a few choices, primarily to settle into my easy chair with the remote or to continue to live this life to the fullest. I’m sure you know which path I’m choosing to walk. Just like at 16, I’m still dreaming and making plans, thanks to my heart being reopened and I’m hearing the message. The Whisper
It seems ridiculous, but Katy and the New Kids are reinvigorating my sense of adventure and the belief in myself – it never left, necessarily, but it certainly faded. Adventure is still out there, my life has 50 years of possibility left, and I’m going to do it as healthily as possible.

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