I’ve known it my whole life. You could look at my family and think that it’s environmental. I mean, how could I not turn out different being raised by the people I was raised by? But you can also look at my genetics and figure that I’m different by nature. How could I not be different given my DNA?
It’s hard being different sometimes. People make fun of you. Sometimes it’s a side comment in the car, maybe it’s an eye roll. Sometimes they whisper about you to someone else, sometimes they flat out laugh in your face. Even people you know that love you unconditionally will even jump in.
Being different isn’t a choice. I could no more change what makes me different than I can change that I’m a mom. Ok, maybe that’s too drastic. I could hide what makes me different, but it would be like not experiencing something that brings me joy because other people think it’s weird. And that’s just wrong.
So I just have to be out and proud about it. You might not respect me anymore after I say this, but I have to be who I am.
I love Barry Manilow.
There. I said it. I do. I mean seriously? The man is the KING of the power ballad. He can actually sing, even now, at almost 70 years old. And the lyrics? Come on, the lyrics are heartfelt and real and touching and – ok I’ll give you Copacabana is just weird and I Write the Songs is sort of ego-y, but for the most part, you know I’m right. Or maybe you don’t. I mean, I am only 36, and Barry is more for my mother’s generation than mine. Sure, I listen to just about everything – country, pop, R&B, classical, broadway, so the leap to cheesy old pop isn’t exactly one that spans the Grand Canyon.
I went to see him once in concert with my parents and my ex-husband. My ex-husband is a musician, who idolizes the likes of the Beatles, Elton John, Billy Joel – artists who could sing and told stories with their songs. A singer and piano player himself, I knew he was skeptical when we walked into Universal Amphitheater that day. But he even said, after it was over, “wow, he didn’t miss a note!” Around us were posters of the King of Kitsch himself, declaring “Admit it, you know all the words.”
And I do. Thanks to years of 78s spinning on my parents’ always turning turntable, I do know all the words. I can recognize a Barry song in 2.6 seconds. Some even still make me cry.
So there you have it.
I am no longer going to apologize for it. Blame environment, blame genetics, it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t change the facts.
Listen. Tell me it doesn’t move you. Ok, don’t tell me. Just don’t laugh at me the next time you catch me singing it in the car.