Saturday, April 14, 2012

When I was a girl: I danced like Janet.

I think one of my key takeaways from graduate school was learning that I could adjust my perspective.
I learned the importance of identifying my core values and ensuring that my daily actions and future goals were in alignment with those values.

One of the 'tricks' I learned that really resonated with me was thinking about what made me happy as a child. What were the things I remember doing that made me smile, gave me energy and hope, even made me feel powerful?

When I was young, I dreamed LARGE. I sang loudly and confidently and danced, as they say, like no one was looking. I still feel this way today, but juggling real life financial and societal obligations and tons of other new adult things has made it harder to attack life with the same vigor.

In an attempt to capture the energetic, positive-thinking mentality of little Reinel, I have been taking small steps to connect with her on a daily basis.

The easiest and quickest path I've found is through listening to some of the artists I loved during that time- confident, beautiful, female role models like Mariah and Janet.

The songs below are some examples of tracks that have been surprisingly inspirational for me when in need of a pick-me-up. Never underestimate the power of music. Even if the lyrics don't hit me in any special way on a particular day, I always have a killer beat to dance to. And if you're dancing, you're probably happy.

Before Mariah started making videos with P. Diddy, I saw her as this beautiful, confident, down-to-earth woman with an angelic voice. My Aunt Debbie introduced me to the album, Emotions, and I can probably still sing all the lyrics to this day.  The key lyric from this track for me is: "If you believe in yourself enough and know what you want, you're gonna make it happen." Simple enough, right?

It was hard for me to pick one Janet video, I love them all and I probably should've chosen a video like Control to represent confidence or Rhythmn Nation to inspire positive thinking. Ultimately, I chose this one because it's my all-time favorite. The song and video go so well together- you just want to be one of Janet's friends hanging out with her in the scene. When I was a girl, Janet symbolized a strong, sexual, in control woman, who was still sweet and very good at what she did. I visualized myself obtaining this confidence I admired in my future work, relationships, and personal pursuits. Her music still makes me feel a connection to that woman, and always gets me groovin'.

I was introduced to Carole King by my mom. She would play her album, Tapestry, all the time when I was younger, so naturally, I know all the words. This song has popped into my head on several difficult mornings. "You've got to get up every morning, with a smile on your face and show the world, all the love in your heart." I can hear my mom singing along at the top of her lungs whenever it plays.

I have a growing list of music (new and old) that I am collecting for when I need a new perspective. Which ones get you thinking positively?


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