Updated: Aug 24, 2019
You don’t know me and that is totally okay because I was lucky enough to be one of the 18 000 people attending your show in Antwerpen last night. I feel I got a look into the real you while spending those 2 hours together. That is why I am writing this letter.
Let me start by saying that I really love your music! I discovered it late (during your busy break after 21) but not too late since I had time while you were off having family time to make it part of my life. I travel a lot and I can remember how I felt in a certain city in Europe by remembering what album or song of yours I was listening to. So your mission of making music that becomes part of people’s lives has definitely succeeded for me.
What a beautiful life mission by the way and one that you have and are realising in such a big way! I hope you are very proud of that!
I discovered last night that what I love even more than your music is you. No need to worry, because I don’t mean that in a stalky way! You are not going to find me anywhere near your house and if I would by accident meet you on the street while you are still in Antwerpen I will just smile and walk on. I admire people like you from a safe distance.
Anyway, back to the core. Last night you said in the most casual of ways that sitting on a chair that is about this much too small for your bum, while pointing out he exact distance, is always a bit of an adventure. Anyone who has ever had a bum that is generally too big for small (or normal) chairs knows what that feels like. I do.
You talked about being too scared to say ‘yes’ the first time they asked you to compose the Bond theme song. Luckily they asked again and you felt ready then to give birth to Skyfall. You also shared about not being ready to come back till you wrote songs that were worthy of being on the new record and that took a while and a writing trip to LA. Last but not least you casually mentioned that from now on you are going to make music pure for the fun of it because you have nothing to proof anymore and that you are now a proper touring artist because you did 49 concerts in the UK, Ireland and Europe.
All those stories made it clear to me that you are like all of us, women, susceptible to the female shame triggers Dr. Brené Brown found through her shame research. No 1 body image and no 2 do it all and do it perfectly. Of course you should write a Bond theme song and another kick ass album while becoming a mother, planning a world tour and worrying about the size of your bum. Not! The fact that women, including you, still feel that pressure shows how susceptible we really are for the sky high expectations of women and where the need to defend ourselves and our choices, that are not in line with those expectations, comes from.
You are showing your true vulnerable self by admitting on stage that you also felt that pressure to perform and proof yourself. First of all it is clear you have done your shame work to such a degree you are not sucked back into the actual shame experience when you talk about it. Good for you! Even though they are not open shame wounds anymore, it is still brave with a capital B to share so openly about it with your audience.
I don’t know what opening up like that felt like from up on the stage but I do know what it created for me in the audience: connection. Even though my life is so much more average than yours, I also feel the pressure to perform and proof on a daily basis. And by age 39 I am very sure that bum of mine will stay a size that has an issue with small chairs for probably the rest of my life. The fact that I recognize my own struggle with shame in yours makes me feel seen and known on a very deep and personal level.
I am not sure you realise the impact your stories have and the kind of connection they create. They trigger looks between women who have never met before that say ‘me too’ and they make us stand closer to each other and sing out of key together. When I tripped over a wire, I was caught by friendly unknown hands
As much as I appreciate your attempts to make people feel seen and known at your concerts by talking to them on stage, taking selfies and following your curiosity, I wanted to let you know that the real connection, the kind that makes people catch you when you fall, comes from you sharing openly about your life and your struggles. You being brave & real and talking from your heart & experience and not from a script creates the real connection! That is what makes both your music and your concerts so special! I really wanted to let you know that!
I want to conclude with saying thank you for a truly memorable night and sharing that I really hope that you will continue to make music for the fun of it and to tell your real life stories. I look forward to discovering who you will be on ‘40’ and I will be there to celebrate that journey with you wether it is with 18 000 or 200 ‘me too’ people.