I have a sign on my home office wall that says “Sing like no one can hear you”. To me, that’s the same as saying, “Don’t let anyone else decide how you feel for you.”
I’ve had a very hard time in my life living up to that sentiment but the older I get, the easier it’s becoming. In my youth, I was always just left of ‘cool’. Ok, I was down right dorky. I had pie crust feelings that were easily crushed by even the smallest of harsh words from my friends. It always seemed that the music I liked or the movies I liked or the way I liked to dress, were just not cool enough for the in crowd, and I got picked on a lot. I never understood why anyone else cared if the music I liked wasn’t the same that they liked, and because of this, they felt entitled to tease. I never picked on anyone else — that I know of — because they happened not to like what I liked, but it always seemed it was open season on me.
There were a couple of mean girls in particular at my school, who seemed to make it their lives’ ambition to beat on me at every opportunity. I never knew what I had done to offend them, other than existing in their universe. Their favorite excuse was to beat on me because I liked John Denver. Apparently that made me less than human in their assumption. But it wasn’t just school, there were other people in my life — extended family, neighborhood kids, even some of my ‘friends’ who seemed to take great delight in teasing me because I liked John Denver. I could not for the life of me figure out how it could possibly be their business. I should have been a little meaner I guess, and even though I could not stand most of the music of the day, absolutely HATED heavy metal, acid rock, or any loud for loud sake music, I would never ever tease anyone else for liking something they liked and I didn’t.
So, I found salvation in my headphones and learned to never tell anyone what I was listening to. I enjoy what I enjoy and no one else has the right to tell me I can’t. Yup, I still listen to John Denver. He’s on a mix with a lot of other singer songwriters of the seventies, as well as a real healthy dose of the Doors. (Ok, I admit that in my youth I didn’t listen to the Doors, and it took me until my 40s to have a real good appreciation of them — which I now do, and count them among my favorites). Add to this the fact that given the choice between Beatles or Monkees, and I’m gonna pick the Monkees every time.
Bad enough that I was a John Denver fan, but I was a Monkees fanatic as well.
And you know what?
I still am.
I’m 50 years old, and don’t give a damn anymore who knows, who cares, or who thinks I’m somehow sub-human for it, but I am not gonna lie, today, I’m heart broken over the death of Davy Jones. I feel it, the same way it hurt when John Denver died. And you know what else? I don’t care who knows.
I’m gonna sing like no one can hear me.