Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why I Love Beyonce

I'm a mom, so maybe it should bother me. But on Sunday night, the only ten minutes of the Superbowl I watched were those of Beyonce doing what she does best, and I loved every glorious minute of it. And when my three year old came in the room because she heard "Mommy's song" and asked what she was doing and wearing, I just said that she is singing on stage and wearing a costume. She smiled, danced a little, and went back to play. 

I watched that performance again today, because I have to tell you, I couldn't remember the "gyrating" and other things some lamented about. And I guess they were there, but it was just a Beyonce performance, exactly what I was expecting.





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Beyonce and I have been friends for a long time. When she was a member of Destiny's Child, we would spend time on the elliptical at the gym each night after long, stress-filled days at work. For the person who grew up shunning all things athletic, I felt strong for the first time as I would increase inclines and track my time. I wasn't worried about numbers on a scale or measurements on a tape measure. But I was proud of myself as I allowed myself to feel for the first time like a woman. If Beyonce, who at the time shocked people for not having that stick skinny body everyone wanted, could strut and dance proudly, then I could too. I thought for the first time that I could love my body, curves and all.

And when I was the new, young, district manager, and the world looked down on me and I was subjected to backstabbing and gossip, Beyonce and her girls rallied our group of stores and we would sing, "I'm a Survivor" as we pumped out stock from the back room, audited paperwork, and did floor sets. And years later, when my rankings went up and I was helping give leadership training to people in the business the same length of time that I had been alive, Beyonce was whispering and singing in my ear the whole time.

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It's something I feel like I shouldn't admit. We are part of a society that values women based on how we look. We set up unrealistic and arbitrary standards as to what makes a woman beautiful, attractive, and the right weight and size. And it is wrong. It is hurtful. It is destructive. And I don't want that for my three beautiful girls. I will break anyone who tries to judge them or define them.

I am supposed to say something here about learning to love myself as I am. That is the strong thing to do. To accept myself and show my girls that I am proud of who I am on the outside. 

But I'm not, and here is where I'm probably going to lose you.

Don't get me wrong, I know my intrinsic worth and value have nothing to do with what size my jeans are. But the jeans that I am wearing? They don't feel like mine. These are the jeans of a tired mom who has three very young children and hasn't made time to go to the gym. Who didn't take good care of herself during the last pregnancy and never lost any of that weight. These are jeans that I have never worn before. And I am done with them.

For the strong women who are owning their bodies and working it out, I am standing up, giving you a slow clap. I am so proud of you. But for me, here in this moment, the strongest, most honest thing I can do is to say I want to change and that I am not comfortable in my own skin.

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So I take my girls to the gym with me, and they get to play while I hit the elliptical. And when my girls ask what I am doing, I tell them I am exercising so I can stay active and healthy and be strong.

I pick out my machine, the one out of close to 50 that I like best, and I plug in my iPhone and hit play. And Beyonce sings to me. I get lost in her words, her music, and my tired mom legs get stronger and go faster. I think about my jeans. I think about the jeans I used to wear, and just when discouragement and fatigue start to set in, I think of Beyonce dancing and it makes me smile. And I work a little harder, go a little faster, and try not to sing out loud, "All the Single Ladies."


******

I don't know what you saw on Sunday night, when you saw Beyonce perform. But I know what I saw. I saw a woman who is proud of herself, her talent, and her body. 

When it comes down to it, when I see Beyonce, I don't think sex. I think woman, artist, entrepreneur, wife, and mom. And that's something I hope my girls think about me too someday.




Many thanks to some of the amazing women who have shared their perspectives on Beyonce and her performance this week: Suzannah, Joy, and Alyssa.

13 comments:

  1. I am glad you are working out again! Great for you!!


    Beyonce...mmm...I'll leave that one quietly alone :-)

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  2. YES! Gosh I love this - and - I have my own {vulnerable} post ruminating myself so...you are definitely not alone, my friend.

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  3. Thanks so much for the shout out! I love me some Beyonce too! And I think it's sad that Christian culture would create an environment that would make you feel bad about that.

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  4. I appreciate your perspective on this so much and it is exactly why we must create communities where all voices can be heard. We must rise above the water-cooler, sound byte world of words we live in and have conversations with each other. That is the only way we are going to begin to understand folks who may think differently than ourselves. There needs to be room for your perspective. Then, when we've all listened, we can rise above it all, together.

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  5. I like this post for lots of reasons, Brenna. It is honest, first of all. Second, it is not about the culture, and shoulds or should nots, it is about you and your experience.


    I have read some decent things in this discussion over the last few days. But often, the question I am left with is whether it is worth it. Is throwing all this emotional energy and writing towards something like a half time show going to fix the problems we are frustrated about? Often, I get pulled down into a hole, losing valuable time that I meant to be spending on something else. I like where you took it. I don't feel drained. I feel like I connected with someone's story.


    And boy do I hear you on the jeans thing. I always feel uncertain about that line. I want to be confident no matter what I look like, but I also want to feel healthy and strong. Sometimes a little bit of discomfort is what we need to help us get off our butts. And a little Beyonce ;)

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  6. Well said Holly! We need all perspectives and our friend Brenna here just shared hers. Love that!

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  7. Girl, I could feel your heart racing writing this one. My heart rate got up and I lost a few pounds just reading it. Not because I was disagreeing with you, because I wasn't, but because you were telling your story, your perspective, your life, in the only way that matters- transparently, bare, honestly, naked (yes I said naked bc I am learning to like naked). I am so proud of you my friend, so proud. From now on when I hear Beyonce I am going to think of you and your girls!

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  8. I. love. this. I remember watching her and feeling her strength and confidence, and that made me want that. And I love your honesty about body image struggles.

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  9. brenna, i love this and i resonate. fabulous writing here. i'm cheering you on--and i want in, too. xo

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  10. Brenna, lovely post. Made me see Beyonce's performance in a different light. It's great to be inspired by another person and to do the healthy activities that cause you to SOAR!

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  11. Hooray for you—for not blindly accepting what everyone else sees, AND for not hiding what you see!

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  12. Brenna this gave me goosebumps! You are such an amazing person, writer and mother. I love your line of thinking and these words are just spot on perfect. I say go you! And Go Beyonce for that matter.


    I love watching God's kids do the things he created them to do. And whether you like her outfit or not, you can't deny that God gave her that gift.

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  13. Brenna, this is not what I expected - in a good, refreshing way. I'll
    be totally honest here and say, this is not what I saw when I watched
    Beyonce perform. And that's why I'm so grateful for your perspective,
    your story, your bare honesty. I'm looking at her totally different
    now, and that shows some great writing, friend.

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