- Decide what you want and be unfiltered and honest with yourself about that answer.
- Learn the difference between impulse and gut instincts.
- Follow your instincts, even if it seems impossible or illogical, and be weary of falling prey to the expectations of others.
- Absorb your life. Do not function on auto-pilot or go through the motions. Pay close attention to the events that happen, the people you meet and the things you see and hear. This is key to learning lessons, being wiser and appreciating blessings. There might be a pattern in all the little details that give you an answer to life’s puzzling questions.
This quote in particular struck a chord because just a few weeks ago, I was asking a dear friend of mine, who’s a theology student, how he undoubtedly knows what route God wants him to take. In the past, I felt that God guided me with my instincts, but currently, I don’t have any strong senses in any direction. My friend suggested I start a journal and be sure to write down even small details and search for a pattern. Speaking of God, if you’ve followed Beyonce’s career, you know that spirituality and faith has always been an integral facet of her life. I am still so in awe of how connected she is to her God and senses him everywhere. Even though I grew up in a conservative Christian household, I’ve always struggled to consistently sense the presence of God in an overwhelming way, but enough about me.
“I don’t know why I’m so fortunate and so blessed… my mom always told me that my grandmother was in the church lighting candles and praying for her and I am a result of my grandmother’s prayers. My mother prays for me all the time and I pray for my daughter all the time. God is real and God lives inside of me and inside of all of us and it doesn’t matter where I am, I know that and I feel it…it’s a tingling. It’s love. I feel it when I look at my child and I feel it when I look at my husband. It’s God.”
“I felt like God was giving me the chance to assist in a miracle…My baby was born out of a conflict in my life and that struggle had to be settled. If I hadn’t have gone through the pain, if I hadn’t had gone down the path, I’d probably be touring right now or shooting videos or editing a TV special. There’s no drum-roll or trumpet that goes off when you make the biggest decisions in your life. Sometimes, you don’t even know that you’ve made them.”
On the entertainment side of things, I just loved all of Beyonce’s commentary on her own music and the state of the industry. It’s really a double-edged sword as a pop-artist; commerciality gives you access to the world, but it often ends up being a stifling agent that defeats your purpose for wanting to reach a wider audience. “I felt like I had been so commercially successful; it wasn’t enough. There’s something really stressful about having to keep up with that. There’s something really crippling; you can’t express yourself. I don’t want to have to sing about the same thing for 10 more years. I want to be able to sing about how much I hate myself that day if that’s how I feel” (Check out my perspective on Beyonce’s discography here).
“People don’t make albums anymore…they just try to sell a bunch of little, quick singles; then they burn out and they put out a new one…people don’t even listen to a body of work anymore.”
Now that she has the household name, I’m beyond glad to see her at a place where she plans to make it more about quality versus quantity (which is why “4” and “Dangerously in Love” are my favorite albums). There are more than enough successful examples of artists who matched quality and quantity, but industry heads act like you have to choose. Oh, by the way, there’s a clip where she’s relived to get the approval of record label executives after an album preview meeting. I wanted to vomit. It makes me sick that some artists give their time, talent, heart and soul into a creation, only to have a small panel of people (who may or may not match the fan demographic) decide if it’s “good enough” for the masses. Who knows what musical gems never made it to a store shelf.
This quote was everything and I completely agree with it. Prior to the documentary airing, I had a huge debate with a friend who said she had a hard time relating to Beyonce` and her music because she wasn’t porous and doesn’t reveal enough about her personal life. I angrily replied “She doesn’t owe you her business. Her job is to sing and perform well; which she does. You want to connect and relate? Listen to lyrics. That’s what they’re written for. Feel the emotions in the melody and rhythm.” I say all the time that I don’t want to know a lot about an artist personally because they might put a bad taste in my mouth and it would make it hard for me to enjoy them after. Sometimes, it presents a discussion of moral dilemma that deviates from music all together: “Oh, you like Kanye West? How can you support a guy known for being an egotistical butthole?”
On another music-related note, I’ve always observed and appreciated the amount of effort Beyonce` puts into her performances (this woman has a hand in everything from musical arrangements to stage set), but even more-so now. Seeing first-hand how stressful and labor intensive just one performance is, I wondered if Beyonce` can actually enjoy being on stage. This reminds me, there was a fascinating moment during her “Next Chapter” OWN interview where Oprah advises Beyonce`, as a fellow workaholic, to indeed soak up and enjoy her life because she regrets not taking time to do so.
Lastly, one of my favorite parts that I wanted to highlight was the feministic tangent Beyonce` went on. One of the many reasons I love Beyonce` is because she has made female empowerment her platform, arguably more than any of the current chart-toppers. This time, she was specifically talking about a symbolic performance of “Run the World (Girls),” her 1st since deciding to manage herself and with child: “I’m always thinking about women and what we need to hear. It’s difficult being a woman; there’s so much pressure. We need that support and that escape sometimes…Women have to work much harder to make it in this world. It really pisses me off that women don’t get the same opportunities as men do or money, for that matter…let’s face it, money gives men the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define our values and to define what’s sexy and what’s feminine and that’s bullshit. At the end of the day it’s not about equal rights, it’s about how we think. We have to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves.” At first I raised an eyebrow to her statement that it’s not about equality, but the more I contemplated, the more I understood what she was getting at. We won’t truly arrive at equality until we alter our perspectives on gender and how we view ourselves in relation.
There are several things that make Beyonce’s life vastly different from the average American’s and the unique situations that lead to her period of reflection and change may be indicators of that, but at the helm is a life cycle we all will encounter. It’s just a matter of when and if we get to the other end of the crossroad.
“…My goal was trusting myself and my goal was growth. I believe I had to go through my miscarriage and I believe I had to go through owning my own company and managing myself. It’s that constant battle and ultimately, your independence comes from you knowing who you are and you being happy with yourself.”