As I vacation for 10 more days in the large American state of Texas, I thought it’d be a great idea to combine my recent milestone of graduating from high school and my current time I’m spending in Texas, to write a blog post about how the original American Idol helped me through all the difficult times and tribulations I endured during my time in high school. In case you’re wondering, yes, Kelly Clarkson is from Texas. Warning: the contents of this blog may include feels and a broken-hearted boy. May the nostalgia begin.
In grade nine I was very much a loner. I didn’t talk to anyone, I sat by myself at lunch, and I used to always think the universe had it out for me, not to mention thinking that everyone at my school hated me (don’t ask). And with those negative thoughts, I felt like I didn’t need anyone else by my side and that I was perfectly fine fending for myself. I felt as though I didn’t need moral support. And this is where ‘Miss Independent’ comes in. The song first came out in 2003 just after she won American Idol rightfully so. The smash hit is featured on both her debut album Thankful, and her following album Breakaway. The song is about a girl who avoids rejection by not letting any man get too close. She takes care of herself without anyone’s help and has pride in her independence, but emotionally, it takes a toll on her. Finally, she finds love and realizes how much better life can be with someone else, especially for support. This song helped and relates to me because I too was shielding myself from everyone else around me and filling my mind with negative thoughts. I thought I was perfectly fine on my own until I discovered I have depression and luckily had someone in my corner to help me A.S.A.P. This helped me learn that it’s okay to be open to help, from anyone. I can now be both ‘Miss Independent’ and open to others who offer.
In the same year, I learned that even the people you trust the most will stab you in the back as easy as cutting a piece of pie. Someone who I’ve known since 2014 tricked me into thinking I could trust them to not only be my best friend but also respect my wishes. They failed to do both those things. They went behind my back and turned something that was very important to me all about them and their needs. I succeeded to understand where they were coming from, but I failed to understand their actions. I realized they were not my true friend so I made a hard call and let them go. One of Kelly’s most famous songs ‘Because of You’ is one that fits with this situation very well. Although the song is about her parents and sung in a different perspective, there are lyrics in said song that speak to me in a personal level, given the situation I was in. “Because of you, I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me. Because of you, I am afraid.”
Come sophomore year, everything was good in the beginning. For the first half of first semester I had found my new best friend, developed a stronger friendship with someone I had already met in freshman year and was already fond of, traveled to Disney World with my Mom for my sixteenth birthday, and found out my history teacher used to be my sister’s history teacher (crazy town, I know!!!). December of 2015 came, and that’s when everything changed for me. Shit hit the fan, it seemed like my life had just been in a major collision, and knew from that particular change in my life, nothing would ever be the same again. I officially came out as bisexual. I lost two people in my life, I gained a new best friend, and those who really loved me supported me when I needed them the most. It was an experience of loss and gain but in the end I achieved my goal: I came out to my crush. Although it felt like I had lost everything when coming out, I had actually gained so much. Strength, guidance and love. It felt like I had gotten part of the old me back. I found happiness, strength and power again. Around this whole period, the two songs that empowered me and that I related to the most by Kelly was ‘Piece by Piece’ and ‘Stronger’. ‘Piece by Piece’ I related to in terms of the feeling and message of the song, and that was abandonment. That was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through: someone you thought was your best friend leaving you like a piece of trash. ‘Stronger’ has always been one of my favourite anthems to jam to and boost my mood, but in this particular time in my life, the song helped remind me that as much as all those bad things that happened hurt me, they didn’t kill me, and that’s what’s made me stronger. The power of making it through a dark storm is quite remarkable, and Kelly Clarkson reminded me of that.
I walked into Grade 11 feeling like prepared for anything this school year was gonna throw at me because at this point I thought I had seen the worst of the worst. Although Grade 11 wasn’t anything special, crazy or dramatic, I did turn 17, and I focused on truly embracing my pride as a newly bisexual. I auditioned to say a motivational speech at my school’s annual Christmas talent show. Due to my sexuality, I was rejected and was not given the right to say my speech. To my surprise, a lot of people, including my super supportive friends, were baffled when I told them I didn’t make the auditions and even offered to protest. I put my supporters to rest and reassured them that my time will come eventually. Grade 11 was actually one of my proudest times in high school. After all the heartache I had gone through in both freshman and sophomore year, I finally reached a place in my life of happiness and strength. I was finally happy again, and I celebrated that. The song that was on repeat in this time period was Heartbeat Song. This empowering tune came just in time for me, in 2015, and made me happier about my decision to come out and to put myself out there. Heartbeat Song was the lead single off of Kelly Clarkson’s seventh studio album Piece by Piece. The song made me feel good to be happy again. It felt good to be in my own skin again. Happy, confident, and full of life. Nothing but happiness and bliss. Even to this day Heartbeat Song has a special place in my heart and continues to strengthen my mood and empower me. “This is my heartbeat song and I’m gonna play it. Been so long I forgot how to turn it up all night long.”
You’d think it was all said and done right? Hardships, the passing of loved ones, coming out literally in the middle of high school, and attempting to speak my truth in front of the whole school only to be denied. Turns out there was one more thing left Kelly had to help me through: breakup. Just a day before I was going to “prom-pose” to my boyfriend, I woke up to a message from him saying that he wanted to end things, I was too much for him, and I apparently had too many issues. When I asked him to further explain himself and give reasoning, he disregarded me for IKEA (you don’t wanna know…). Just months prior to the breakup, Kelly released a brand new album, Meaning of Life, from her brand new record label .The second single to come from her eighth studio album was ‘I Don’t Think About You’. The song is about having the strength to carry on even after someone you used to love has done you wrong. Even though what they did was horrible and the scar they have left can never be healed, you keep a positive mindset and your head on your shoulders. This song is the very reason why I got over my ex as easily as I did. The lyrics of the song empowered me to carry on and to reassure myself that I am not the negative things he said I am. ‘I Don’t Think About You’ helped me be proud of who I’ve become as a person and how far I’ve come.
At the end of the day, it was Kelly Clarkson who was one of the very few people who helped me through high school. Songs like ‘Invincible’, ‘Stronger’, ‘Miss Independent’, and ‘I Don’t Think About You’, and so many more, helped me through the toughest of times in my high school career. Both her upbeat anthems and slow ballads have empowered me when I seemed to lose all hope that things could get better. In my darkest times, Kelly Clarkson sang to my heart through her music, telling me that I’m invincible, what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, and that I should be proud of the person I’ve become. Thank you Kelly for all that you have done for me these past 4 years. Your music has lifted me up in ways I could never imagine. Thank you for the continuous music, for the empowerment and strength. I think it’s safe to say I’m on Team Kelly.