Musical Monday: Show Some Emotion by Joan Armatrading
One of the Moms from church taught me this exercise to shake things up a bit when your kid is so angry neither of you can find a way out. “Okay, everybody, make an angry face, make a sad face, make a surprised face, make a happy face…” It nearly always works. The song, "Show Some Emotion" by Joan Armatrading, is sort of like that for me. When you’re really upset, there’s nothing like being reminded of the many emotional states that are available.
Aren’t grief and hysterical laughter so often side-by-side, each on the other’s heels? Both on the edge. Remembering the wheel of feelings can bring you back to center.
“Show Some Emotion” is really valuable for reminding us all our feelings are valid and real, which is a big emphasis in kids’ culture stuff these days. (When I was a kid, I was usually told to “stop being angry.” Absurd!) Somewhere I have started a playlist of alternative songs for little kids. The Cure’s “Friday I’m in love” introduces the days of the week, this song runs through the emotions, Mack the Knife is in for its condescending tone and what toddler doesn’t love sharks? There’s others, but who knows if I’ll ever uncover the list. It’s not a priority now, Shortie’s past suggestion, confidently making her own taste and scene.
I have always loved this song. Joan Armatrading was timeless, a hero to hippie and punk alike at my college. My friends and I sung her songs, melancholy when biking home at night, or rejoicing while we did dishes together. In this serious, joyful, generous song, which emotional expression is me?
“Some people hurting
Someone choking up inside
Some poor souls dying
Too proud to say
They got no place to lie
And there’s people
If they hear a joke
Can’t keep the laugh
Out of their eye…”
When I hear her sing that last line, I know Joan Armatrading has met me somewhere, that she’s teasing me to get back to it in just a little bit. And I start to breathe again in the corner of that smile.
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