Sunday, March 30, 2008

Whistling Away

Me and my mom, on the fridge

I've had the good fortune in my lifetime to have made friends with more than a few strong willed, strong headed, and strong shouldered women; women that aren't afraid to laugh out loud at a good, old-fashioned dirty joke, cry with you when you're grieving beyond words, who can manage to change a tire in a pinch, converse about everything from Basra to Blahnik, Barack to bikini waxing, all while looking smoking hot in a saucy black cocktail dress, while juggling a glass of champagne in one hand, and a New York City dirty water hot dog in the other.

I suppose I gravitate towards strong women because I was raised by one; my mom, Barbara, is a powerhouse, and she taught me to stand up for myself, to be a strong, smart, and sassy woman, too. I remember when I was around seven or eight years old, I came home from elementary school one day at lunchtime, bawling my eyes out. I'm fuzzy as to what the fuss what all about; I had been bullied by someone, or perhaps pushed, or something frightfully "real-life" that happens to us all eventually, startling us out of our innocence. Well, my mom listened to me whimper on for a few minutes, then she sat me down in the living room, took out the record (yes, an actual record) from The King and I, plopped it on the record player, placed the needle on song number 2, and played I Whistle A Happy Tune for me on full volume. We listened to the song together, and afterwards she told me that whenever I felt afraid, I should play that song in my head, and it would give me courage. And, it's funny, because my mother was right; I went back to school that day, head held high, without fear. And, the next day, too, and the day after that. What I didn't realize then (because of course at seven years old one simply doesn't have the vocabulary or life experience to articulate such things) was that my mother was teaching me one of the secret tools a strong woman needs to navigate her way through life; a great poker face. A face that despite the nonsense that the universe sometimes throws your way, never once glistens with even the slightest trace of sweat, or quivers under the scrutiny of the starkest, most fluorescent bulb; that"What Me Worry?" face that shows the world that you can't be frazzled, or flummoxed, or flustered quite that easily.

But if you do happen to get frazzled, or flummoxed on occasion, that's fine. Because when you surround yourself with good, strong headed, and strong-shouldered women in life, they'll always be there to hug you, to listen to you, and to remind you to keep whistling away.

I Whistle A Happy Tune

Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect
I'm afraid.

While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows
I'm afraid.

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear I fool myself as well!

I whistle a happy tune
And ev'ry single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I'm not afraid.

Make believe you're brave
And the trick will take you far.
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

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