Say what you want about mainstream pop (because for some reason nowadays it’s bad for something to be “popular”)—it’s overplayed, overrated and “nothing like the underground”—I may have been born in the nineties but when it comes to my taste in music I’m no hipster. (I can’t get into stoner reggae, I don’t want to marry Marcus Mumford, and the closest thing I’ve bought to a vinyl record was my fuzzy pink angora Lana Del Rey sweater from H&M last winter).
Some of the world’s biggest pop songs align directly with some of the greatest memories of my life; my mother constantly singing along to Creed’s “Arms Wide Open” in the car as well as putting it upon herself to play that for the father-daughter dance at my quincenera. Or the time she went blasting Lenny Kravitz “Lady” inappropriately through our well behaved Arizona suburb in fifth grade, resulting in a passerby high-schooler head banging and raising a “rock on” sign in response. There were my sister and her friend’s always singing along to Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera as they did their makeup in the mirror before going out for the night, while I would sulk in my bedroom next door wishing I was old enough to tag along. Also, my brother introducing the family to Maroon 5’s CLASSIC “Songs About Jane” way before radio abused the hell out of “This Love” (but does that song REALLY ever get old?)
There’s a complete difference, however, in being able to evoke a single memory compared to an entire aura of existence. Enter Beyoncé and her latest song “Grown Woman” which from my first listen evoked the entirety of my adolescence in its mere five minutes of play time. With the help of Timbaland and his infectious beat making—who proved in this production that there is an existence outside the Justin Timberlake atmosphere—Beyoncé tells the story of her successes, and how it all started when she was just a little girl.
“I remember being young and so brave, I knew what I needed, I was spending all my nights and days, laid back, daydreaming”
Daydreaming–if there was ever a word that described more perfectly how I passed time while growing up. Going to bed was always something I looked forward to when I was young due to the fact it meant as soon as my head hit the sheets I could close my eyes and imagine anything and everything I desired---my favorite scenario always being to imagine the future. High school… college… my future career (which at the time was coincidentally hopes of being a pop star). I even fantasized about my future husband and family….which for the sake of journalism I’ll admit I had hoped would be Clay Aiken or Jesse McCartney. (Note: when mom says your tastes will mature as you get older—she’s right). All embarrassing crushes aside, I was a goal-oriented gal growing up. Whoever and whatever I wanted to be, I proudly shared it with whoever I came across—never ashamed of my wants and never taking anyone’s doubts in me, seriously.
Then flash forward to a decade later, to now:
“Look at me, I'm a big girl now, said I'm gonna do something, told the world imma paint this town--now bitches, I run this”
A little boastful—yet true. I, along with any other adolescent girl who had more than an ounce of self-confidence growing up—was always the one to say I’m going to do “this that and more” and it wasn’t until I was sitting in my car, bobbing my head along to this song that I realized that the aforementioned verse was completely right. I thought back to all of my accomplishments in this past year and how many I without noticing checked off whilst naturally living my life. No need for 12 step plans, obsessive horoscope dissecting or “four year” maps for me. Somehow I managed to accomplish more than even I expected to in my first year of “adulthood” and magically it was all from merely believing in myself? (Maybe being raised on Disney and their positive and life pursuing anthems isn’t the worst parenting move possible).
A second realization, whilst sitting in the same car (a black Honda civic for you automobile aficionados) was the words of the title being sung and played over and over in my head, each time, opening my eyes to a newer and brighter realization.
I’m a grown woman.
(No matter what my mother and boyfriend think.)
I can do WHATEVER I want.
So why have I been sitting on my ass for so long?!
Instantly I hit the books—literally—a blank journal—and started writing my new set of goals I wanted to accomplish within this next year. It’s an exercise I and I’m positive countless others have done before—but the difference between then and now was that this time I believed what I wrote down was truly going to get done. Our time in this world is short, and though most of us can’t find a way to make millions by being a beast booty shaker like Bey, we know within ourselves what we want to be remembered for after our time here is up—it’s time to get out and showcase ourselves. “Grown Woman” makes every girl out there believe she’s a star—but it’s a state of mind that shouldn’t end when the song does.
It’s so easy to lament and loathe about adulthood—but even with the woes of responsibility, bills and like HAVING to work--comes the ultimate reward and satisfaction of having control. One can play the blame game of why they are the way they are all that they want—the fact of the matter is that we all have complete power over the path our lives take and how we walk through it---aimlessly without direction, or like Beyoncé, “with a vengeance”.
–article by BIANCA BETANCOURT