Damn You, Katy Perry!

Posted: August 11, 2014 in In Transition
Tags: , ,

I felt charged, inspired, motivated.

This is not typically how I feel before or during my early morning pool workouts.  What gives?  I tried to put my finger on it. I woke as groggy-eyed as I always do that particular morning, and I had the same banana and travel mug of instant coffee on the drive to the pool as I always do.  In fact, my whole morning routine had been pretty much the same and, yet, I felt awesome; totally ready to giv’ er.

Then it hit me, the in-house muzac stereo in the pool that morning was playing ‘Roar’  by Katy Perry.

Oh snap!  I instantly wanted to die.

Mere words cannot express how disappointed I was with myself.  I wanted to instantly regenerate myself into a second body just so I could kick my own ass.  I looked around nervously to see if anybody else had witnessed my shame, specifically, me bopping my head along in time with the chorus in full-on rock mode.

God.

Shoot.  Me.  Now.

Believe me, being a devout manly-man’s AC/DC kind of guy, I wanted to really, really dislike Katy Perry and, in truth, I actually thought I did.  So discovering that I was not only enjoying, but actually being inspired by a Katy Perry song was really, really  disturbing.

But let’s look at the evidence:

“You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake your ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now”

When you finally manage to forget the cupcake-breasts and daisy duke short-shorts for a minute, these lyrics are pretty poignant from a motivational perspective.  But it gets worse, or better, depending on how you wish to look at it:

“I got the eye of the tiger, the fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Louder, louder than a lion
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar”

See what I mean?  That’s a pretty empowering message don’t you think?  Okay, so maybe I don’t ‘dance’ so much as I ‘kick ass’ but, hey, the sentiment is still pretty much the same.  Definitely an inspiring message that I can get behind that.  Most definitely a message I’d like my step-daughter to embrace some day.

At the very leas,t it’s nothing less inspiring than what I might otherwise get all pumped to during, say, ‘Thunderstruck’, one of my favorite go-to tough guy anthems:

“I was caught in the middle of a railroad track
I looked round, and I knew there was no turning back
My mind raced, and I thought what could I do
And I knew there was no help, no help from you
Sound of the drums beating in my heart
The thunder of guns tore me apart
You’ve been…
…Thunderstruck”

Sure Katy doesn’t have the same rocking drum beat and punchy guitar licks, but it still has that same message of survival, determination and that whole ‘never quit’ philosophy I think is important for endurance-type sports.

But, regardless, I still didn’t want to admit to myself that I was actually enjoying a Katy Perry song so I decided to check out the video thinking that it would be all rainbows, fluff and girly nonsense allowing me to get back on track with hating it but, shit, nope.  No luck there either.  Instead, YouTube showed me endless images of cancer patients singing with frail voices and absolute sincerity, Down-Syndrome sufferers rising above it all and, hell, other real tear-jerker type stuff.  Suddenly being a big tough guy triathlete was pretty miniscule in the grand scheme of things.

These people in the videos are real champions and whatever I accomplished in the pool that morning was insignificant to what they were currently dealing with.  And that in itself is pretty fucking inspiring.  These are fighters.  Whatever the eye of the tiger is, they’ve got it.  These are people whose souls have withstood the crushing blows of cancer, even if their bodies are crumbling.  These are people with a zeal for life who refuse to sit in the background, even though society has not offered them any alternatives.  They have spent their precious lives roaring louder than lions, even if their vocal chords can’t produce more than whispers.

Damn you, Katy Perry!

So a weakened woman in an abusive relationship might listen to ‘Roar’  and be reminded that she is more than her manipulative spouse declares her to be.  A dying patient might hear this song and exult in the declaration that they will not go down without a fight, and that even if the illness steals their body, their soul will not be defeated.  And this former fat-guy-gone-triathlete can take on challenges that would otherwise have destroyed him just a few short years ago…with confidence.

So what is the essence of a good motivation song?  A good motivational song inspires the resilient spirit in those who have a hidden reserve of strength left in their bones.  It rallies that fighting instinct and lights a fire to drive you continually onward despite what obstacles lay in your path.  So it’s not really about the ball-clenching rock factor, but the overlaying message to keep pushing forward no matter what, and maybe my unconsciousness was ready and willing to accept this fact, even if my balls were not.

So while I might not exactly sing ‘Roar’  out loud at the top of my lungs before a big event any time soon, I won’t instantly shy away from hearing it periodically in my future playlists.  Having said that, I’m certainly not going to give up my AC/DC anytime soon either.  But, I will consider my world a little more expanded having now accepted ‘Roar’ into my vault of inspirational anthems.

So without further adieu, here it is in all motivational grandeur.  So rock on wit’ your bad selves.

You’re welcome.

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