There’s a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch, it’s bringing me out the dark
Finally I can see you crystal clear
Go ‘head and sell me out and I’ll lay your shit bare
See how I leave with every piece of you
Don’t underestimate the things that I will doâ€¦
Thus starts the opening lyrics of Adeleâ€™s addictive and â€œcanâ€™t get it out of my headâ€ song Rolling in the Deep. As far as Iâ€™m concerned nobody, no how, nowhere sings it better or with more passion. Her growls of pain echo through me as I tap along, bobbing my head in union to the tempo and female knowing of betrayal.
This morning on The Today show Aretha Franklin sang a cover of Rolling In The Deep, (http://www.today.com/video/today/56169922#56169922), and it stopped me in my tracks. Her growl was different than Adeleâ€™s, but no less powerful, and it got me to thinking about our voices. Not in the sound of them, per se, but in the use of them.
Aretha isnâ€™t trying to be anybody but Aretha as she sings. She brings her own style, cadence, and sass to the music chosenâ€¦even if that music is somebody elseâ€™s trademark. Considered a diva, Aretha doesnâ€™t apologize for wanting things the way she wants them. The Today Show hosts, Natalie and Tamron, were happy because when Aretha is in the house the studio is going to be warm. Too often they acquiesce to co-hosts Al and Willieâ€™s suited male heat, and freeze as the air conditioners blast overhead. But not today. Aretha hates cold air. Aretha wanted it warm. It was nearly tropical because Aretha said so. Too bad for Willie. Period.
Then I wondered if there is a similar word for diva in male terms. Why not? Why do women get so many of the negative descriptors? When weâ€™re viewed as powerful weâ€™re divas, drama queens, bitches, cunts, and so on. When men are viewed as powerful they are studs, muscular, rugged, successful, and competent.
The other day my husband was staring at me, but in a good way. Love glittered in his eyes. â€œDo you have any clue how much power you possess?â€ he said.
I arched an eyebrow. â€œMe? Power? Nah.â€ I meant it. Other people have power. I have …hope.
But now Iâ€™m wondering why I feel as I do. My husband sees power in me when I donâ€™t. Why do I ignore it, downplay it, and give it away? Why do women like Aretha fearlessly meet life on their terms and expect to get what they want? What soundtrack do they play in their heads that says, â€œScrew permission!â€ How about you? When do you feel most powerful, and what voices play in your mind that encourages you to be authentic?
But you played it
You played it
You played it
You played it to the beat.
Claudia Kittock says
What a thought provoking topic! Women and power?!?! I grew up being taught that possessing power was a bad thing, that ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’. It IS a word filled with so many layers of meaning.
I have spent my life teaching, which many would argue is a position of power, and yet I have never seen myself that way. I see myself as someone who introduces ideas and concepts, who punctures holes in long held beliefs, and who nudges people to think for themselves. Is that power? I don’t know.
I have spent other parts of my life raising children. I know that is a position of power and yet I was always mindful of that and tried to use my ‘influence’ to do the same thing I do as a teacher. I also know that whenever I used ‘power’ as a mother, I was out of all other options.
Oh, Gail, thank you for a wonderful topic and one I will think about for a long time. You nudged me today! Thank you!!
As a former “official” student of yours, Claudia, and as one who continues to learn from you woman to woman, friend to friend, I know where your heart is. Your voice is strong, and yet so is your ability to listen. As you stood in front of the classroom you did have power. You opened doors through mind challenges, psychological concepts, and real world stories. You judged what was good or not as good in your student’s work. You held us responsible in a culture that hands out to many passes and excuses. And, you always did it with compassion. I love your voice. Please continue to share it with the world.