I missed the memo about pretending to be Tina Turner.
A few years ago, Oprah did this thing where she lived out the dream of singing on stage with Tina Turner. Oprah wore Tina Turner wigs and it was wonderfully goofy. I suppose when you’re Oprah, you can get away with this kind of stuff, but for an uptight white woman like me, pretending to be Tina Turner is a fairly ridiculous proposition.
But today in Zumba class, the instructor busted out “Proud Mary” for the grand finale. And even though I was already an exhausted, sweaty heap, I enthusiastically shook what my mama gave me. I channelled Tina and pretended that I was wearing some crazy sexy costume and that I had Tina’s wicked legs. And for those few minutes, in my own mind at least, I was a supernova of kinetic energy.
So here’s what I think I’ve figured out…it’s not so ridiculous to pretend to be Tina Turner. One of the reasons that we’ve made Tina Turner into Tina Turner is so we can put her in a white hot spotlight and then enjoy the glow. The world needs accountants and electricians, doctors and street sweepers, and maybe even a few lawyers. But as we go about doing all of our jobs which collectively keep the world humming along, we put aside that tiny part of ourselves that wants to be explosively creative, to be insanely fabulous and super sexy, to sing, to dance, to be adored and admired by everybody. So Tina Turner exists so we can experience all of that vicariously for just a few minutes now and again.
Shaking a tail feather in Zumba class isn’t going to lengthen my legs or improve my dismal singing voice. Reality is reality, after all. Joan Cusack said it best:
But I can still pretend. Memo received.