The Wicked soundtrack is in heavy rotation at our house right now. Dancing Through Life and Popular are favorites, but Defying Gravity is the most requested song.
I have had the luxury of seeing Wicked on several occasions (I was able to take the girls before it left Chicago last week) and I have yet to make it through the Defying Gravity scene without crying.
The song is dramatic, full of emotion, and it’s also the first time that Elphaba, the main character, fully accepts herself. It’s when she declares to the world who she really is.
I don’t know if my daughters fully realize this, it’s hard to know how much of the story they understand at such a young age, but I know they feel the power of this song.
When my six-year-old listens to the song at home she feels the need to be “up high”, standing on a chair or on top of the couch – she needs to be BIG, because “it doesn’t feel right” to sing Defying Gravity while standing on the floor.
And when the girls sing it in the car, they can’t help but get super loud, they literally sing at the top of their lungs.
Regardless of how much of Elphaba’s story they understand, they fully understand that while singing this song she is BIG.
She is claiming her greatness, and also her mistakes. She finally realizes and accepts why she is here and what she is meant to do.
It’s a defining moment, an emotional declaration that inspires us to claim our own greatness. But in the real world we don’t get to fly above a stage and realize ourselves through song.
Our option is less dramatic, more everyday life. We get to take simple steps toward self awareness and self understanding – everyday choices that help us define who we are.
Like saying no to something we really don’t want to do, or fully admitting a mistake. By paying a heartfelt compliment or fully accepting one from somebody else. By scheduling time for ourselves rather than putting everything and everyone else first.
Or even bigger, saying yes to something that scares us – because it excites us more.
This looks easy on paper, but these are difficult things to do. These are the daily decisions – the decisions we often make on autopilot. But these are the decisions that need a lot more heart (what we want) and less head (what we think we should do).
Claiming ourselves through the little things is personally empowering, and it’s behavior that our children need to witness. Role modeling personal awareness and strength of character is a lot more effective than talking about it.
For ourselves and for our children we can practice self love and self acceptance rather than self depreciating behaviors. We can stand up on a chair every now and again and feel what it feels like to be BIG. Not in an effort to be bigger or better than others, but in an effort to be fully US.
And if you need help getting started, I know a song that might be helpful….turn it up, stand on your couch, or sing it loud in your car…..
So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky
As someone told me lately
Everyone deserves a chance to fly
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who ground me,
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am defying gravity…..
~lyrics by Stephen Schwartz