Dear Pink, or should I call you Alecia?
You don’t really know me, not much any way, not unless you count the few minutes last night that we met in a back hallway in the Fiserv Forum as you hugged my little girl, Thea, who is not so little any more, and told her about your own experiences with bullying and how we could not let them win.
I was Mama, the woman who stood there with tears in her eyes, not quite sure that the scene that unfolded in front of her was real. Not quite sure how we went from sitting in a seat waiting for you to come onstage, fulfilling one of our bucket list items together, to standing here in your presence. Trying to decide in that moment whether we deserved to be here with you, you who have given so much of yourself to the world already. You who fight for the under dog. You who say the words that so many of us want to but sometimes don’t have the courage to. Yet here we were, living out a dream, neither one of us had ever contemplated.
You saw my tweet celebrating that the bullies had not won. That we were going to use your concert as a way to celebrate that no matter what words they flung at Thea, no matter how hard they pushed, how hard they hit, how many times they chanted all of those ugly things, they would not win. That they did not win.
And so you gave us the most valuable thing you have; your time, and for those few minutes, you changed our lives, cementing a course we had already begun, but gave us the push to keep going. You saw us in our quietest but biggest moment of reclaiming. You saw us face those words that had kept us awake for so many nights. You saw the tears of what it feels like as a parent to not be able to defend your child, to not be able to make your child believe what you shout loudly all the time, you saw the love that we have for our children and how we would do anything to build them up.
But what you didn’t see last night after you gave us your time, was how Thea reacted. How at first, she couldn’t believe it. Neither of us could. After all, who would think that a tweet would lead us to hugs and talks to you? How we kept telling ourselves that this was real, that this had happened, that you were exactly what we thought you would be – passionate, caring, real.
But what you didn’t see last night, was my little girl, who like I said is not so little anymore, feel like she was truly somebody worthy. Feel like the past year, with all of its anger and tears was no longer her year, was no longer her defining moment. Was no longer the story she was writing.
What you didn’t see last night was when you talked about Thea on stage and then sang the song we had yelled at the top of our lungs so many times at home, that Thea had tears in her eyes. My girl, who does not cry unless she is hurt badly or very tired, stood their singing along with you from section 116, row 14, seat 1, screaming your words back at you, telling you that she believed it too.
Because that’s what meeting you did for her. It allowed her to believe that the words were meant for her. That all those times we sang “…change the voices in your head, make them like you instead…” we meant it. That those words were real and true and everything I , as her mother, wanted her to believe.
So when you sang, “Pretty, pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel, you are less than, less than perfect…” Thea reached for my hand, squeezed and then turned toward the world and sang. She knew the words were hers but sang loudly for the rest of the world to hear them as well. For all those kids who need those words. For all of the adults, including me, her mama, who needs them too.
So dear Pink, thank you. Not just for making the embers of what Thea is turn into a fire. Not just for giving us your time. Not just for being you and fighting for us all. But for telling Thea that what the bullies had tried to make her believe was simply not true. For allowing Thea to take a moment to tell you how she admires you. For telling Thea that she was beautiful.
And for giving me the reminder that we can all be more like you. That as a teacher, I get to tell the kids that are in my care every day, how amazing they are. How much they matter to the world. How with every moment I am with them, I can be like you, and help them see the beauty within themselves.
This morning as I drove Thea to school, she was unusually quiet. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she was so sad it was all over. That the night before had ended. But I realized that in that moment that she was wrong and I told her so.
I told her, “This is not the end, this is the beginning, your journey forward has just begun.”
And her smile came back and I dropped her off and I swear she floated as she walked.
So dear Pink, thank you. From one mama to another, thank you for what you did last night. Thank you for fighting for us all. Thank you for putting yourself out there so little girls, and not so little girls, can remember what it means to be unapologetically amazing. And for us who have been around a while to remember it too. We can be the light that shines on others. We can be the arms that reach out. We can keep going even when it burns because like we sang with you just last night, “…just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try…”
So that’s what we will do, keep trying. Keep believing. Keep living. Keep knowing that we are not broken, just bent…