Thursday, January 22, 2009

What Defines You?

Listening to Kelly Clarkson’s newest single My Life Would Suck Without You on repeat over the last week has forced me to ponder a few introspective questions. If you’ve heard the song than you should get where I’m coming from and if not, stop everything you’re doing right now and go listen to it here. No really. Stop. Click. Listen. Then return. I’ll wait.

. . .

You’re welcome.

Now as I was saying, no one would ever question my undying love and adoration for Miss American Idol herself, however the lyrics of this song seem to beg a major question.

How much of ourselves are defined by the person we’re with?

This song implies that our self-worth is in direct correlation to who we are with. Proportionally, if you find yourself without someone does that mean you are worthless, nothing, or inconsequential?

Carrie Bradshaw would be appalled.

Lines such as “I’m nothing without you” seen here and in countless other pop/country/emo tortured love songs, give the impression that our lives are meaningless without someone else in it. That until we find that one elusive soul mate our lives will forever drone on in a fog of worthlessness and monotony. That it is up to someone else to make us complete.

What the eff is that about?

I get that it’s overdramatized for the song. I get that Ms. Clarkson likely didn’t even write it. And I get that most of us don’t take the message literally. However, I can’t help but think that this ideology reverberates with some of us from time to time. Particularly when we’re in between relationships. Beaten down, heart-broken and alone. It’s easy to feel like you’re life really does “suck”.

But I think the important thing here is to remember that while love and happiness are inextricably linked, that LOVE doesn’t necessarily have to come from a significant other. First and foremost it should come FROM yourself TO yourself. You must learn how to love you and who you are as an individual before anyone else can successfully love you as well.

Who you are as a person is NOT defined by the man you come home to every night or the woman on your arm. No more so than you are defined by the clothes you wear or the car you drive. Strip it all away and what you’re left with, raw and naked and vulnerable, that’s you. And that’s enough.

You are someone. You are significant. And most importantly you are complete.

Adding a boyfriend or girlfriend to the equation admittedly may enhance or compliment who you are but it does not solidify you’re existence. And being head over heels in love with yourself (in a non-narcissistic ego-maniacal sort of way) with confidence radiating from your pores, it’s highly likely you’ll have plenty of plus ones to choose from should you wish.

My point is: YOU are important with or without someone else. And don’t let anyone else (even Doll face Clarkson) tell you any different.

Now excuse me, I’m going to go drive around the city blasting this song with the windows down and singing these incredibly misguided and delusional lyrics at the top of my lungs. What? I never said it wasn’t catchy.


Wendy said...

I definitely agree with you, it is catchy!

And it's just ridiculous to think someone else could define a person. I'm not saying that that "defining" person's opinion doesn't matter but to define a person? No, thanks.

Katie said...

Completely agree with you about the sentiment behind what you wrote (don't know if the song is catchy - I haven't heard it, and I'm at work, dammit!!)

I have fallen into the trap of thinking "I'm nothing without you" ... especially after I've broken up with someone. Thankfully, a few months later, I come out of it thinking "What did I ever see in you" ;)

Anonymous said...

This post had me laughing out loud and doing some seriously introspective thinking at the same time. I'm pretty sure that's a sign of some fabulous writing :)

I agree with you completely. I have a friend who is making this mistake right now (her relationship is her life) and it's scary to think about.

insomniaclolita said...

Thats my thoughts when I listened to this song too, I personally really dont like it. It sounds so cheesy and dependable.

Princess Pointful said...

Amen lady.
It always saddens me when people feel so useless and down on themselves because they are single, or devote their entire lives to bad relationships because somehow being "alone" is worse.

PoisonIvy068 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PoisonIvy068 said...

i must bf enhances myself but he is not the center of it...

lol..your more than welcome to take some of the ideas!! : )

Emily said...

Wendy - I know what you mean. It's ludicrous!! lol

Katie - Boo for work. They don't let you use headphones? And I agree with the retrospective sentiment on relationships. Nine times out of ten you look back and think "Umm...what was I on to stay with YOU for so long?!?" lol

Jacqueline - Thank you so much love. You are too sweet. And I remember your post about that friend of yours. I have a similar one as well and it's sad to watch but even worse knowing there's nothing you can do that will actually make them change. Ughh.

Insomniac Lolita - GASP! You don't?? Ah well, to each his own. I know not everyone shares my unhealthy affinity for tweeny pop music. C'est la vie.

Princess Pointful - I've got friends like that as well. It's so sad watching them squander their worth away on people who could care less.

PoisonIvy - Mine as well!! Go figure! And I more than likely will be stealing a few of those ideas. I wasn't kidding. lol

Margarita said...

The song itself is alright, the message behind it is a little demeaning to ourselves. ITA with your stance that we ARE enough... but don't we all go through that stage after a crazy scenario that we feel that we aren't enough?

Becca the Brit! said...

Ahh Emily, what a wonderful post! I completely agree with your sentiments - abso-freakin-lutely. Your boyfriend/girlfriend should compliment, NOT complete you.

There's a little message for you in response to your comment on my blog :0) x

Emily said...

Margarita - yea, i think that that's a natural part of heart break. the loneliness and seeming inadequacy that comes with rejection. but the important part is to not dwell on it. don't let it overcome you. while it's ok to mope about for a day or two, i don't think we should let it become our whole life, ya know? and emerge from it knowing that we are ok on our own. it's not the end of the world.

becca - thanks so much hun. and in response to your message, i'm looking forward to an exciting monday now. lol

jeanette nicole* said...

I absolutely LOVE Kelly, but this song leaves a lot to be desired for me, to be honest. The lyrics turned me off initially, but that damn bassline is so reminscent of Since U Been Gone and I can't stop tapping my feet to it, haha!

I agree with this post 100%. No one should define themselves by the presence of another. I know too many people who get caught up in being defined in terms of their sig other or children and they have no real sense of self. Shame on it all!

Emily said...

jeanette nicole - i could'nt have said it better myself :]

Anonymous said...

Although I havent heard the song (and I don't plan to - sorry @:) ), your message is excellent - it really is!

I know so many people who could simplify their lives by probably reading the simple message which you are trying to pass. Unfortunately... people don't listen...

Shannon said...

Amen sister, and damn if that song isn't catchy.

Bird* said...

LOVE this.

Kristan said...

Yeah, I was listening to the lyrics today and thinking, MAN, what a bad message for young girls and women who are her fans. [shakes head] Like you said, I know it's just a song and sometimes you feel that way (like right after breaking up) and it makes you feel better to hear your one-of-a-kind no-one-could-possibly-understand-me heartbreak immortalized in a pop song. But still.

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