Sorry for once again luring you in with a kind of misleading post title.
I heard the Mary Lambert song “Secrets” in the car en route to the beach from DC a few weeks ago and reacted to the first line and the only one I caught at the time, “I’ve got bipolar disorder,” in the way to which I have recently found myself defaulting: with an (un)healthy mix of righteousness and indignation. “She better actually have bipolar disorder,” I said angrily to my husband and sister-in-law, who had the distinct privilege of witnessing my rant. “I mean, otherwise she’s an incredibly insensitive human being. Incredibly. Insensitive.”
My assumption, of course, was that the only way that the singer of this extremely catchy tune had a mental illness was if “horrible lack of common sense” is in the DSM-V. In my defence, the fact that we were listening to a mainstream radio station made this a pretty reasonable conjecture. Outlets of popular culture generally aren’t known for embracing the reclamation of psychiatric conditions.
After I had Googled it and listened carefully, however, I realized that I could identity with all but like fifteen words (as always, I’m allowed to be as self-centred and egotistical as I want since this is my blog), and I’m obviously not the only person for whom a variation of that’s true. The thing is, Lambert appeals to a different demographic here than does the typical spectrum of pop songs about blurring lines/being fancy/even something so innocuous as boom clapping while also reaching a wider audience, and this has the powerful potential to effect shifts in attitude. By relatively lightly addressing a whole slew of issues—sexuality, body image, family dysfunction (don’t worry Mom and Dad, I’ll stop there), etc.— she further expands the number of people who might feel some affinity with her or take comfort in her take-home messages:
They tell us from the time we’re young
To hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
I know I’m not the only one who spent so long
Attempting to be someone else
Well I’m over it
And, of course:
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are
This is all my opinion, clearly, so take it with a grain of whatever you want.
Plus, as stated, “Secrets” is seriously catchy. So catchy that I added it to my current rotation of ten songs (listening to a short playlist on repeat is my usual habit, which drives my husband crazy).
I’ll also mention that I was very, very close to indulging in the annoying exercise of dissecting additional lyrics out of context, but in the interest of not losing readers and giving you extra incentive to download the damn song, I practiced some self-restraint. I think I deserve to be praised for that.
In sum: listen to “Secrets” and think about what it means to move towards honesty and acceptance, whether about your own “stuff” or about someone else’s. Then delete “Blurred Lines” from iTunes because c’mon.