Remember that silly Ally McBeal TV show from the 90s? In one episode, Ally’s therapist asks her to identify her personal theme song. Well, she picks one and it puts a spring in her step and a sparkle in her eye and inspired me to do the same thing. At the time, I was also a single career girl in my 20s, equally confused and misdirected (though with a bit more junk in the trunk). As such, I proudly picked Pat Benetar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” a song which trumpets a woman’s toughness despite the usual disappointments (heartache, fear, insecurity). Here I was, trying to be tough in a world where commitment and stability and integrity seemed as elusive as a good paying job as a social worker. So I’d walk along and sing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and dare the world to bring it. Bring it on. I was tough, rough, and ready. Or so I thought.
Three years later I was pregnant with twins with a boyfriend of five months. The twins and I were a family. A family who eventually started over without the man, with the love and support of my wonderful family. Since then I’ve learned that one should never beg the universe to bring it on. That’s just foolhardy hubris.
On the other hand, all of the posturing gave way (through a crucible of sleepless nights, and a million ear infections) to something deeper and tougher than a dare. If I had a song to choose today, it would be something more like the classical music I played growing up. A dreamy piece I used to play called “The Syrinx” by Claude Debussy. It’s haunting and gorgeous and melodious. And you never know, after listening, how it will turn out. When you play the piece you are asking rather than telling the universe to reveal its beauty. The challenge and toughness is all underneath. A river of strength greater than any youthful dare.