The Power of Music: Our Night with Lizzo

Turn up the music, turn down the lights
I got a feelin’ I’m gon’ be alright
Okay (okay), alright
It’s about damn time

On Sunday, my daughter and I attended a Lizzo concert in downtown Sacramento. It was a combined birthday present for us both and it was life-changing.

We got to the arena five hours before showtime and were lucky enough to be number 35 and 36 in line. The fans we stood beside became our friends as we waited in excitement to be let into the arena. I’d never done pit tickets before and didn’t know what to expect, but our new friends took us under their wing and walked us through the ropes.

Once inside, we got a spot on the barricade—right beside the stage! My daughter and I kept turning to each other in disbelief. It was more than we could have hoped for.

Lizzo’s DJ opened the show followed by the gorgeous Latto. One of her songs featured protest signs and we chanted “My Body, My Choice” as a crowd. The energy felt incredible.

Then, the moment came. When Lizzo took the stage in a striking purple sparkling outfit, my daughter and I cried. She is more than a performer to us, she’s a symbol of how to love your body. She’s a role model. She stands for self-love in the biggest way possible. We were starstruck! We danced, sang along at the top of our lungs, and laughed. We felt free and beautiful. We felt her magic.

When Lizzo appeared in a stunning silver robe and removed it to sing Naked to the crowd, it brought up some big feelings. I’ve had such a hard time loving my plus-sized body, but she made me believe I could. She made me believe I deserve it. We all do. What a gift!

Let down my guard, undo my robe
I’m standing here, don’t need no clothes
I’m naked
Love how you look at me naked
Come make this body feel sacred
I’m a big girl, don’t you waste it, naked

The most powerful moment of the night, for us, was when Lizzo played the song Special. This song is an anthem in our house and has played a major role in my daughter’s mental health journey. It’s a mantra and a call to self-love. We play it on the dark days as a beacon of light. We cling to it when times are hard. To hear Lizzo sing it mere feet from us was transformative. My daughter and I sobbed beside each other feeling the weight of the last few years, the bigness of what we’ve been through together, and the love we share.

In case nobody told you today
You’re special
In case nobody made you believe
You’re special
Well, I will always love you the same
You’re special
I’m so glad that you’re still with us
Broken, but damn, you’re still perfect

At one point during the song, Lizzo saw my girl sobbing and they had a moment. She gave my girl love. Directly. Life can be so hard, but that moment was pure and utter magic. I can’t thank Lizzo enough for seeing her, for her powerful music, and for making me believe in the good of people. Here’s a bit of the song for you to enjoy:

It’s been a few days since the concert and honestly, I still feel transformed. My body feels somehow more comfortable. More like my home. I wore tighter clothes the last few days and didn’t hide my arms. I felt more peaceful about my body. More in love with it. This morning I even caught my reflection in the back door while watering and thought I looked pretty. I snapped this picture so I can remember this feeling.

If you are reading this today, consider it partly a love letter to you. Yes, you. I know it’s hard to love our bodies when they don’t look like we think they “should.” But it’s okay. It really is. You can work on yourself and love yourself. You can be happy with your body right now. Please, be kind to you today. We all need you here. One more time, all together:

You’re special
I’m so glad that you’re still with us
Broken, but damn, you’re still perfect

poetry: dancing girl

sadness takes residence inside my bones
sometimes. it drives tiny sharp stakes 
deep into marrow before releasing
its large grey tent. i don’t notice
until the fires start and thick smoke
takes my breath away. no. not again.

reaction isn’t quick—no flashing lights 
or loud sirens. instead, i silently wait 
for dancing girl to wake. press needle
onto vinyl. stretch. sing. call. dreamily
she’ll arrive amid bubbles, swirls, golden
light. sadness doesn’t stand a chance.

Note: I don’t always remember the power of movement, but once the music starts my body does. This poem and photos were created as part of the “What Moves You?” challenge. Thank you Michele Lee of My Inspired Life for your continued support of my healing journey. I can’t wait to read all the moving posts.

poetry: transmogrify me

i’ve been to this beach before
but i’m thinking of that one
time when i cried into the wind 
begging spirits to save my trapped
soul and something answered. not mermaid

goddesses wrapped in shimmery light, but
a sea hag draped in foggy 
sadness. “you want out?” she hissed
through cracked lips. i nodded feeling
the air leave my lungs. slippery

quick, an eel through water, my
knees buckled as knarled hands placed 
a rotted seaweed crown upon my 
matted hair. “i deserve nothing but
pain,” i managed to say. manic

laughter roaring with the waves, calling
me a liar. red-bearded pirates
pointed rusty blades at my pale
neck. i ran. and ran. for
years. and years. jellyfish growing fat

within my belly. sharp spiny barnacles
grow under my breasts and between 
my thick thighs. ice forming heavy
around my heart, protecting soft
starfish memories from spilling. but now

oh now

my seaweed crown is slipping. walking
in my old footsteps, i sing
“you are special” under my breath
wondering if i believe. a lilting
voice joins mine and I follow

into a narrow rocky cave. here
a siren gently whispers seashell songs
which vibrate through my body, rocking
me like golden sunset waves. warm
fingers find my face. “you are 

loved,” she sings. “time to forgive
yourself.” salty tears fall from hazel
eyes as slimy seaweed slips onto
the cold sandy ground. i see 
not her beautiful garments nor her

phosphorescent glow, but feel her spinning 
me around. and around. strong hands 
pluck hardened crusty foulers from
my body and smashes them hard onto 
the uneven stone walls. powder turns 

powerful. light burns brighter. i shudder
as the foggy vines the sea 
witch weaved deep within me unwind
faster. and faster. healing. releasing. forgiving.
without a word, the siren leaves.

lavender flowers fall around me. “goodbye”
i say under the golden sky.
four sandpipers watch me walk across
the beach. lighter. they don’t run
but i do. time starts again.

sandpiper friends.

my cave.

the view looking out from the inside of the cave. do you see the siren?

Note: I celebrated my birthday today by spending hours wandering the beach taking photos and writing poetry. I hope you enjoy this poem of healing and that it helps you too.

The song I was singing is “Special” by Lizzo. Watch the music video. It will do your heart some good.

Poetry: hi, mom

he climbs tall swaying trees
all the way to the top. i eat
handfuls of unsalted almonds
with bites of banana while reading
book after book. sun-kissed, my
toes press into the soft green
grass. freckled shoulders out. “hi 
mom,” he calls. i wave back
all smiles. my naive trust
easily covers fear. i lean into

full moons, rainbow wishes, fairy
protectors. i believe my love
will shield him from harm. but
it doesn’t. once. and then twice.
i drink sugary coffee in hospital
rooms while staring at tiny bright
screens. shoulders slumped. “hi
mom,” he calls beneath many
bloody bandages. with a fake
smile i tell him everything will

be okay. home. darkness. healing
comes. i sneak candy nightly
hoping it will shrink fear. it 
doesn’t. my body swells. aches. 
i pull away from everyone. hiding
panic with manic activity. secretly
building giant blame barriers. “hi
mom,” he calls but i don’t hear
him. i don’t want to. walls protect
right? but i am lonely in my padded

cell. sunshine bursts through swaying
trees. they miss him too. but fear
stopped the climbing. we circle
each other arguing. forgetting nose
kisses but not bloody faces. time
moves so fast. too fast. his blue cap 
and gown sits on my dresser. “hi
mom,” he says. i listen. we eat
seedy crackers while our shoulders
touch. can trust regrow after fear?

Note: I’m attempting to use poetry as part of my healing process. I will return to short stories and the Shoebox Poetry series soon. Thank you for reading and supporting me during this transition time. It’s long overdue.

Poetry: Softness

my body does not understand
reacting with sharp vibrant stabs
singing fight or flight ballads
—do or die chorus numbers
where kids say teary goodbyes
under too-far-away stars
under wet weeping willow trees
under rich dark black soil
under sadness turned into madness
—my wounded heart finally stops

no, I tell the flowers
that’s not the real story
not yet anyway, not now
—curving pink petals nod agreement
where hummingbirds take small sips
under muted late February sun
under thick cotton candy clouds
under pale white peach blossoms
under folded tissue paper cranes
—my healing heart grows stronger

Poetry: Inside the House

through multi-colored glass
down simple carpet floors
white walls turn brass
tears transform into doors

shadow trees grow there
lightening flowers do too
whispers come for repair
howling monsters to spew

creaking boards hold ache
light bulbs illuminate pain
rafters rattle and shake
trauma flows like rain

lose yourself, my child
within safe caring walls
connect with inner wild
listen to phoenix’s calls

for inside healing house
nothing stays for long
come in quiet mouse
leave brave lion strong

*This poem was inspired by a comment left on my blog by Grounded African and is dedicated to everyone attempting to enter a building like this to heal and connect in therapy, especially my darling daughter. May you find your way through the dark.

Poetry: Roots

*trigger warning: mentions self harm

Cover her new scars
with your hand. Softly
remind her of monkey 
bars—how she magically

turned fear into calloused 
palms. It all seemed
simple then, tending those 
wounds. Band-aids, hugs, mommy

kisses. But you can’t 
help the same way—
palms have grown. Stars
have shifted. Instead, tell

her about rooted madness—
about pulling yourself free 
from ancient bloody soil
with trembling fingers. How

hope once flowed away
from you as fast
as a river, but
you didn’t drown. You

survived. Give her crystal
pools of fresh moon 
water, whirling seed pod
wings. Give her permission

to root herself differently—
for her path doesn’t
have to resemble grandmother’s
or great-grandmother’s or

anyone. Kiss her wounds
still. Let her sink
deep into your safe
ground and fall into

your familiar warmth. Sing
honey songs—bumble bee
whispers, fairy wings. Believe
her. Touch her scars

with sacred knowing fingers—
remind her not all
scars are visible. Wrap
her in thick layers

so strong she can
stand in any soil—
firmly rooted. For when 
harsh cold winter winds

bring hoards of lying
fanged monsters to roar
and rage and tear—
she’ll hear your voice

reminding her of small
hands on monkey bars—
how she magically turned
fear into calloused palms.

  • My daughter gave me permission to share this very personal poem.
  • “Roots” is inspired by “Whipping” by K.D. Harryman