“If you’re gonna fly high without fear, You’re gonna have to learn to love the atmosphere, and you gotta learn to use those wings that you can’t see.” -Wings by Jimmy Buffett
In the major leagues, each player gets to choose the music playing as he walks up to the plate to bat. A player’s walk-up music says a lot about who they are. The song choice tells the crowd what gets him motivated. It’s a glimpse inside these men who generally are not allowed to show emotions other than anger.
When playing on their home field, these same men get the opportunity to be cheered by the crowd who adores them. With every swing of the bat they have their chance to be a hero and win the hearts of those who watch from the stands. However, you take the same result of the swing and transport it to an away game in front of a hostile crowd the reaction feels much different.
We all want a cheer squad and marching band to follow us around to celebrate each victory we achieve, right? Or would it be better to just not have an audience to our kicks in the ass? Maybe there is another way. We don’t need a booster club but a strong manager of our thoughts to play our walk-up music and our touchdown celebration song. Our manager becomes our battle cry in our head.
You will not impress the entire crowd. Sometimes you will play away games with everyone around you wishing and praying for you to fail. No band will play when you score, you must do your touchdown dance anyway. People will boo you. They will cheer when you fall. Your mind manager needs to practice enough to be prepared for those games, so that when you fall you get back up even to the chant of “You Suck!”
Maybe not caring what others think of you is too much at first. It’s hard to walk through life with blinders. Instead, when you hear your name in other people’s mouths, you hit the play button on your walk-up song. Or when you find yourself all alone to celebrate your daily victories, do your touchdown dance anyway.
I am a recovering people-pleaser. There was a time, I cared what every single person in the room thought, even the people in the hall right outside. I wanted everyone to be pleased so badly that I would sacrifice parts of me to achieve that. Everyone being happy was my homerun. I was the hamster on the wheel never gaining ground, because no matter what I did, it was never enough. I didn’t even know what I liked because I was so busy failing at figuring out what made everyone else happy. I felt bad all the time – epic failure, all day, every day.
There is a pull for women to be “helpers” and “caretakers”. We have been taught that it is admirable to take care of others. This isn’t false (claims the licensed therapist). Caring for others is a positive attribute, which can be a slippery slope into pleasing which can slide right into not even knowing what you like to drink. Mothers are HORRIBLE at this! We take care of everyone and forget to eat, or drink or shower. The flight attendants even have to remind us to get the oxygen down and put it on so we can breathe long enough to help our children flying with us. Thanks Captain Obvious! However you know there must have been some poor mother on a flight to somewhere masking up all her kids before she got some oxygen for herself and Flight Attendant Frank had to come assist her. Now we all get to sit through the demonstration every single time we fly. I’m certain a mother is the cause of the rest of the flying population being instructed how to take care of themselves first.
I had to try something different. I was pissed off and exhausted. I forced myself to figure out who I was and what I liked. I forced myself to be alone and find out what made me happy. I picked up books that I liked. I took long baths. I laughed and I cried while I read those books. That time was only for me. I went to lunch by myself. I went to movies by myself. I found out that I enjoyed being around me and that bought me freedom. I didn’t NEED anyone else. I started spending time with other people because I wanted to, not because I thought I had to. My plan A was me. If you wanted to come along for the ride, so be it, but this was my ship and I was the captain. You enjoying yourself was a bonus – not for me but for you.
I am not everyone’s cup of tea. Sometimes I am hard to handle. And today, that is okay because all I can be is me. Now, I hit my own play button. My walk-up song changes. My choice adapts to whatever I need for that time. If it’s been a rough few weeks at work, I may need some extra motivation to get there for the day. For a week straight, I listened to Miranda Lambert’s Pink Sunglasses with pink sunglassess on as I drove into work. It put me in a mindset to have a good day even when work was the last place I wanted to be.
My current walk-up song is Lizzo “Good As Hell”. I scream it in the car on the way to work EVERY day. Her words remind me that I have a choice. Even on the days when I don’t feel it, that song tells me “take a deep breath, time to focus on you.” Lizzo is the Webster’s definition of self-love. I am just trying to follow her lead. She motivates me to be amazing, so when it is time for me to approach the plate, Lizzo leads my way.
Music moves me. It is therapeutic to my soul. I’m not the most talented dancer, however when I am in my car, in the shower, grooving with my daughters or getting dressed and ready to go, I’m a ginger-J-lo. Everyone should have a celebratory playlist in their head and there should be one go-to song that makes you feel like you just scored the winning touchdown of the Super Bowl. Who better than Queen-B? “Run the World (Girls)” is my wake-up song on my alarm, my time-to-kick-some-ass song and my yes-I-did song. Beyonce reminds me how amazing it is to be a women. She hits all the wonderful things I can do from giving birth to earning my degree. This song is THE celebration of women song so of course this is my jam for when I score touchdowns!
Although my walk-up songs and touchdown songs adapt to what I need, the important thing is that I keep having them because there was a time in my life when I did not. There was a time I didn’t even know what songs would describe me. Today I could write an entire blog with playlists after playlists of my jams and what they mean to me. Stevie Nicks, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Brandi Carlile, Tom Petty, P!nk, Jimmy Buffett, Metallica, Outkast…again I could go on for days.
If you are reading this and you don’t have a walk-up song, stop what you are doing and figure it out right now! If it is a struggle, stop what you are doing and figure out who you are. What do you like? What is your favorite book? What’s your favorite meal? Have you ever been to the movies alone?
If not, why not? Chose a song and hit play.
Comment and let me know your walk-up song and touchdown celebration! I need some new additions to my playlist.
Photo Credit: Photography by Angela Gross