Monday, 5 December 2011

Music Monday: I Am What I Am

A song that I doubt needs too much introduction today.  Famous as something of a gay anthem, it was originally written for the musical La Cage aux Folles and has subsequently been recorded by Gloria Gaynor, Shirley Bassey and John Barrowman, amongst others.  But don't worry, I haven't suddenly become a raging Barrowman fan.  I'm posting this because Gay Abandon sung it in their concert on Saturday and it's been stuck in my head ever since.  Their arrangement is more pared-down and therefore more moving than this somewhat overblown version.  No matter, because it's the lyrics that count.  Reproduced below, it's clear why the song became a gay anthem (not least because it's sung by a gay character in the show and is unequivocally about being out and proud) but I also think it can resonate regardless of sexual orientation.  I spent so much time in my teens and twenties trying to fit myself into what I thought other's wanted me to be.  One of my favourite things about being in my thirties (actually, it might be my only favourite thing about my thirties) is that I now have the self-assurance to say (and mean), "I am what I am, and what I am needs no excuses".

I am what I am
I am my own special creation.
So come take a look,
Give me the hook or the ovation.
It's my world that I want to take a little pride in,
My world, and it's not a place I have to hide in.
Life's not worth a damn,
'Til you can say, "Hey world, I am what I am."
I am what I am,
I don't want praise, I don't want pity.
I bang my own drum,
Some think it's noise, I think it's pretty.
And so what, if I love each feather and each spangle,
Why not try to see things from a diff'rent angle?
Your life is a sham 'til you can shout out loud
I am what I am!
I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses.
I deal my own deck
Sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuces.
There's one life, and there's no return and no deposit;
One life, so it's time to open up your closet.
Life's not worth a damn 'til you can say,
"Hey world, I am what I am!"

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