Being More Lulu

Lately I’ve been feeling a great heaviness.
Sub-optimal health and the general post-Brexit, peri-Covid world has left me feeling like life is a struggle, work is hard to come by and that people around me are not ok.

It’s now become a habitual way of thinking for me.
Part of my personality feels safe planning for the next potential catastrophe.
Focussing on the pain in the world has become a pattern.

And yet there is another part of me longing for wholeness, joy, hope, fun.
It doesn’t believe the hype.
It knows that there is always life and light sitting alongside darkness and death.

I heard Lulu on the radio this morning. Lulu became a teenage performing star in the 60’s and has been a household name for people living in the UK for more than one generation.

I don’t know her personally but I feel a certain affinity with her as a shorter than average Scottish woman called Marie, who loves to perform and has a penchant for hats.
She has had a full and challenging life.
Whenever I’ve seen footage of her she has always presented herself as bubbly, slightly cheeky and full of joie de vivre.
And at 74 she still does.

As I listened to her speak her energy was infectious and I reflected on how the more lively, fun-loving aspects of my own personality are feeling uncomfortably squashed down at the moment.
I don’t like it. It’s not the way I want to be in the world.

Often this shows up as an anxiety to do things “the right way” in different areas of my life.
Surely at 55 I am too old to still be operating out of a mindset I developed as young child, I tell myself, and yet I find myself needing some help to behave in a different way.

Then I had an idea. Maybe I should be more Lulu.

Maybe I could consciously choose to approach life more in the way that I perceive (rightly or wrongly) that Lulu does.
The truth is I don’t know the details of her life .
What inspires me is the energy I associate with her.
Some might say that I am projecting on to her aspects of myself that I value but which I’m not currently living out. Maybe I am.

I decided what I needed was a song I could play to help me access my inner Lulu and so I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon listening to just some of her back catalogue of music.
“To sir with love” is the song I most associate her with. I love it. It makes me cry though.
“Relight my fire” with Take That is pure genius and a dance floor classic.

The song that most channels the version of Lulu that makes me want to be more like her, is “The boat that I row” written by Neil Diamond.
I love the tune and the words make me want to personify the version of myself who knows who I am and what I want and who I want to have alongside me.

Here are the words:

I don’t have a lot but with me that’s fine
What ever I got well I know it’s mine
I don’t go around with the local crowd
I don’t dig what’s in so I guess I’m out

I’m saying these things so you know me baby
So you understand what I’m all about:

The boat that I row won’t cross no ocean
The boat that I row won’t get me there soon
But I’ve got the love if you’ve got the notion
The boat that I row is big enough for two (me and you)

There ain’t no man alive can tell me what to say
I choose my own side and I like it that way
I don’t worry about all the things I’m not
There’s only one thing I want that I ain’t got

You know that I’m thinking about you baby
You better know before you come along…

The boat that I row won’t cross no ocean
The boat that I row won’t get me there soon
But I’ve got the love if you’ve got the notion
The boat that I row is big enough for two (me and you)

After getting my body moving and singing along to this I’ve definitely decided that for a spell I’m going to have a go at being more Lulu.

I want to try a lighter, more optimistic way of approaching the inevitable challenges that will continue to present themselves in my life.
I’m now choose to embrace joy, cultivate fun and enjoy laughter anyway, not just for myself but for the people around me.

In my work I want to reaffirm my mission to keep telling women’s stories about sexuality which emphasise joy and pleasure and the life-giving aspects of that side of life.
I will never deny the darker side but I will resist the oppression of those narratives which keep me and other women from feeling free to enjoy life in every area possible.

It might become slightly annoying for some people around me at times but that’s ok I can live with that.

Lulu is not for everybody.
Is being more Lulu something for you?

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