|Lady Gaga, Morrissey, Justin Tranter|
Let me introduce you to Enrique. He is an incredibly talented, motivated and intelligent fourteen year old who has survived some indescribably unimaginable circumstances which brought him and his younger brother Miguel into our home nearly six months ago.
This last week, for one of his classes, he was required to write an essay about himself and to describe an incident that has a lasting effect on who he has become. He chose to write about Lady Gaga and how her songs have helped him deal with bullying when he first came here (U.S.). I have never seen him so eager to communicate his ideas. He was actually excited about the topic because it truly interested him. However, his teacher did not agree with the topic since she felt it did not answer the prompt.
I was reminded of an interview with Morrissey in which he spoke about his school experience. One time a teacher asked the class to write about the most influential book and he decided to write about the dictionary. His teacher did not like it and put up a big fuss.
I am not meaning to say that his teacher is anything like Morrissey's. But I will say that format isn't everything. Content is far more important. As an English teacher, I can tell you with honesty that it is easy to forget what is most important for students to gain from a lesson or assignment.
From what I have observed, he has gained a love of writing and expressing emotions, some confidence and empowerment. Not to mention the value of self expression. Clearly this exceeds the objectives of the assignment!
I am including his essay in my blog since the way Enrique identifies with Lady Gaga is so similar to how many fans identify with Morrissy and his music.
Despite his seemingly angelic attributes, I am sure that Enrique will only be happy once he has killed his brother Miguel!
Lady GaGa and Me
When I first got here to the U.S. I was a joyful six grader just looking for friends. But it did not work that way. I was bullied, physically, and mentally everyday during P.E. and internalized my fear. Mother Monster’s (Lady GaGa) lyrics have value for me to uproar to bullies, and Lady GaGa went through the same hell as me. She has made me feel that I was not alone in this incident. Lady GaGa and I have so much in common, we both like to express ourselves in ways that people, just like us, don't understand. I, just like her, know who Judas is, I, just like her will be Bloody Mary, I, just like her love my Hair, and we were Born This Way. The essence of Lady GaGa and I are so much alike in ways that encourage both of us to finally be ourselves in the alienated world around us. And since both of us have been bullied, we really want to put a stop to it. That is why I choose to write about us.
What does not kill you makes you stronger. Lady GaGa has taught me that by facing my fears it will make me stronger and persevere. And that is what Judas is all about. Judas is an allusion for the Judas Iscariot in the Bible. He symbolizes betrayal, and fear. In her song Judas Lady GaGa says,” When he comes to me, I am ready” her message is to accept the fear and try to dominate it. Therefore my life relates so much with these lyrics that not even my atheist god can help me understand how Lady GaGa is "the one I cling to". And "I've learned love is like a brick, you can build a house or sink a dead body" there are so many ways to understand this, but my interpretation is that it is necessary to experience new things, and give them a positive perspective, rather than a negative perspective. Judas will always find his ways to betray Jesus, when "Judas kiss[es] me if offensed, Or wear[s] ear condom next time," it is necessary to block all the negative comments in life, which encourages me to be who I want to be, without Judas.
From Lady GaGa I have learned that once I have conquered my fears they are insignificant to look at them. And as these fears come along we see that they will always bring judgment with them."[I'll] dance, dance, dance With my hands, hands/Hands above my head/Dance together/Forgive him before he's dead/Because I won't cry for you I won't crucify the things you do" let fears see that they don't affect us in our lives. No matter how much fears hurt they are insignificant, but always with us, and this is why Bloody Mary, the song means so much in my life. In Bloody Mary the lyrics start by saying that Mary loves her fiancé, but by the end Mary says she is not in love with him. This "love" that we think is for us, might not be for us, because love is just like a mirror -- fix it if it is broken, but the crack in that reflection is still perceptible. The sculptor Michelangelo is mentioned in Bloody Mary because, "We are not just art for Michelangelo to carve. He can't rewrite the agro of my furied/Heart." For sculptors it is hard to avoid mistakes, as it is for us the mistakes come as commonly as the sculptors’ mistakes, but just try to live with joy, and be one with yourself.
Mothers teach their young to be strong, but Mother Monster has shown me how to physically stand up for myself. So many people like to look glamorous, and to express themselves with a hair style. In her song Hair, Mother Monster explains to her Little Monsters that we need to “…die as free as [our] hair”. There are so many judicious people out there that we want to show them that they are judgmental, and that they need to allow differences. "I’ve had enough/This is my prayer/That I’ll die living just as free as my hair I’ve had enough I’m not a freak I must keep fighting to stay cool on the streets" this phrase truly relates to me. I have been judged and bullied-and I just want to make an uproar to the bullies saying let karma do its job!! I remember when I had no friends at all and "Sometimes I want[ed] to rock on some highlights/Just because I want my friend[s] to think that I am dynamite. . ./I just want to be free, I just want to be me, And I want lots of friends that invite me to their parties" with boundless freedom to finally trust myself and have fun, with no prejudice. And this song is leading me to express my life by giving my hair some life -- some color -- and be myself.
Even though changing my hair color will not stop the bullies, it will help me gain confidence to stand up for myself. And no matter how I try to stop these bullies I will not be able to because they are cowards; they do not care how much agony they cause to so many individuals. I stand up for anyone, "No matter gay, straight or bi Lesbian, transgendered life I'm on the right track, baby I was born to survive/No matter black, white or beige/Chola or orient made I'm on the right track, baby I was born to be brave" this is why every person is Born This Way, because nobody should be offended by the actions and comments of others, because "god makes no mistakes". Lady GaGa tells us to "[Not] hide yourself in regret, Just love yourself and you're set" this is an exemplary example to not believe what others say, this also is another excellent example to be ourselves. The lyrics have so much influence on me that I believe in Her, Mother Monster, Lady GaGa. Shame does not terrorize me anymore.
|Enrique and Miguel|