A few months ago, at the suggestion of my wife, I went to see the movie Here Comes The Boom. It stars Kevin James, Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler. It's the story of a high school biology teacher who enters the world of mixed martial arts in an effort to save his school's music program (yay music!). Before the fights, each fighter chooses a song to play as they enter the arena. When Kevin James's character starts out his MMA career, the song he enters to is "Boom" by P.O.D. and that is the inspiration for this post.
Immediately after the movie, I downloaded "Boom." After listening to it a couple of times, I looked up the lyrics. I soon realized the power some of those lyrics have on my psychology. I found resonance in those words with an image of myself I work to maintain. I'll explain that shortly.
Like most humans, I have intense periods of self doubt and fits of little to no self confidence. The reasons are not uncommon...relationship with my parents, early life experiences, highly capable yet classic underachiever...
I've been immersing myself in the writings of Eckhart Tolle and working with a great therapist to get that all sorted.
So I have figured out over the years that when I listen to songs that contain lyrics that support this image I emulate, I get, as we used to say, "psyched up."
Those of you that have seen Rocky will know what I mean. It's hard to listen to "Gonna Fly Now" without picturing Rocky running through the streets of Philadelphia with a crowd of people running after him, cheering him on and at the climax of the song (thinking about the high trumpet line makes my cheeks hurt!) he reaches the top of the stairs and jumps up and down in celebration.
That is the kind of imagery that gets me going!
To be fair, sometimes my psychology shifts to a sort of feigned narcissism. My psychologist wife assures me that I am not truly narcissistic, but at times I do a pretty good impression.
This is evident in my resonance with songs like "Gimme The Prize" from the movie Highlander.
Here I am, I am the master of your destiny, I am the one, the only one, I am the god of kingdom come, Gimme the prize! Just gimme the prize!"
Do I REALLY think I am the master of someone's destiny? Do I view myself as the one, the only one?
Of course not!
But...these lyrics evoke feelings of power, strength and control. That is what resonates with me...that is what I feel like I am lacking at times.
Some of the other songs that have supported my emulated image are songs like "Bounce" by Bon Jovi:
This ain't no game, I play it hard, Kicked around, cut, stitched and scarred. I'll take the hit, but not the fall, I know no fear, still standing tall
"Good Suspicion" by Pacemaker Jane shares:
It's a wide wonder that you don't see All the stored up, saved up potential me I got a right mind to let myself go Show you what I can do, make sure you know...
There is a particularly moving spoken part in Steve Vai's "The Audienece is Listening":
I am fearless in my heart They will always see that in my eyes I am the Passion; I am the Warfare I will never stop Always constant, accurate and intense
Which brings me to "Boom"...
...say they know me though 'Cause I be puttin' in work Commit my life to rebirth Well respected 'cause that's my word...
Later in the song:
...and when it's time to handle business then we know what to do Me and my crew we stay true, old school or new Many were called but the chosen are few...
This has been the rally cry for my masters writing.
You see, I've never had to work for much in my life. As I said earlier, for a long time, I was a classic underachiever. I was happy to just get by in school. I usually pick up on things fairly quickly without much effort.
There are three things I can think of that I have truly had to put effort into in my life so far...my guitar recitals for my undergrad, the courtship of my wife and my masters writing.
With my masters, I must admit I have surprised myself. This underachiever has put hours and hours of work into this project every week for the past few months. That may sound like basic procedure for graduate work, but for me, it's a big deal.
The line "...'Cause I be puttin' in work, commit my life to rebirth, well respected 'cause that's my word..." describes my feelings about this process so well. I HAVE been putting in work, and remember, that's a pleasant surprise for this procrastinating underachiever. I have committed my life to rebirth...refusing to be bound by the past and the ways I used to do things. Well respected 'cause that's my word...I surprised my therapist three short weeks ago with barely an outline of my paper, I committed to having a rough draft of my paper submitted to my adviser by February 1.
I finished that draft four days early.
Finally, after close to four decades in this lifetime, I feel like I am coming into my power. I feel like I can accomplish the goals I set for myself, instead of staying small and fading away.
My experience as a music therapist teaches me the power music has in changing mood and psychology. I am grateful for the knowledge of how to affect this change in my own life.
Next time you find yourself using music in a similar way, ask yourself what emotions does the music bring up for you? What do you identify with? I feel like I am ready to be unleashed on the world...to be a powerful agent of positive change.
"Boom! Here comes the boom! Ready or not, how you like me now?"