It was 1997, I was hearing this song on the radio every day. Bitch by Meredith Brooks was released as the lead single of her album ‘Blurring the Edges’. She made music at least until 2007.
My god, 1997 was a banger year! tub thumping was also released that year. All the girls were singing it. Our English wasn’t that good, but we understood what ‘bitch’ meant. It still is a powerful song! Look at what she says:
Yesterday I cried You must have been relieved to see the softer side I can understand how you'd be so confused I don't envy you I'm a little bit of everything all rolled into one I'm a bitch, I'm a lover I'm a child, I'm a mother I'm a sinner, I'm a saint I do not feel ashamed I'm your Hell, I'm your dream I'm nothing in between You know you wouldn't want it any other way
Now you might think Stoics would disapprove of this display of emotion? And you would be wrong. That is the stoic (with a small letter s) interpretation of stoicism (philosophical, or calm, self controlled, unemotional, repressing emotion) and nothing at all like the ancient and modern tradition. The Stoics (like the Cynics, another misunderstood group) said we had to strive for happiness (Eudaimonia), and happiness comes from living your life according to virtue: Wisdom, Justice, Courage and Temperance (self-control).
And Temperance (self-control), means that you do not repress your emotions, and you also do not let them control you completely, you recognize emotions for the powerful energy that they are. And as you see those emotions in yourself, you see them in others as well. Meredith (and co-writer Shelly Peiken) write about accepting all the parts of someone, accepting that you have strong emotions. And there is definitely wisdom in that.
Another thing the writer tell us is that you have to accept them as they are they will not change. You are not entitled to her:
So take me as I am This may mean you'll have to be a stronger man Rest assured that when I start to make you nervous And I'm going to extremes Tomorrow I will change and today won't mean a thing
She is like the rest of the world, not under your control, and the song tells us that.
I am absolutely looking for more meaning in this song, than the authors intended. I want to practice a Stoic viewpoint and this is lovely material.
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