By: Devin Riggs, Regular Contributor
During the month of March we celebrate women who have made great strides for our gender with Women’s History Month. We highlight female achievement in science, technology, politics, and so much more. We talk about women who have paved the way for others. We talk about strong, fierce, and outspoken women. We talk about the women who create change on a grand scale with tenacity and determination, fighting for every inch.
While there are many incredible women I look up to and who are doing marvelous things, I’d like to focus on one particularly beautiful and soulful musical artist.
Some may say that Kelly Clarkson is just a pop star with a big voice who won a talent show at age 19, but to me she is very much a woman to celebrate, not just for her strong will and persistence but also for her vulnerability and gentle kindness.
Kelly has been my role model since I was twelve years old. Her music carried me through the angst and drama of my young adult life. She was there through my first heartbreak. She is my anchor as the waves of depression sweep over me, attempting to capsize me. She reminds me of my sisters, with her spunk and drive, her humor and tough-shelled yet gentle heart.
More than anything Kelly has taught me about the things that matter.
Be confident in your own body
Body confidence is a hard thing to master, especially if you live in the spotlight of the media. No matter her weight, Kelly always rocks what she’s got. And if you have a problem with that, she doesn’t care. Her recent response to harsh comments about her weight was classy and spot on. She doesn’t give into the pressures of fitting the cookie cutter image of what a pop star is apparently supposed to be. She doesn’t need anyone else’s approval except her own. She’s got more important things to worry about (like her adorable new baby!)
Fight for what you believe in
Kelly has made a name for herself in terms of her open and honest opinions. She has very famously fought for creative control of her music projects, despite backlash. She doesn’t back down and she doesn’t compromise herself. She is brave and relentless, staying true to who she is 100% of the time. You can count on Kelly to tell you what she thinks. Whether it’s about the current state of the industry or personal experiences of love and heartbreak, she’s up front and honest.
It’s okay to be vulnerable, to expose yourself to the world.
It’s not about being strong always. It’s not pretending to be strong. It’s about bouncing back. It’s about pushing yourself to get better. It’s about being kind to yourself. Strength is a process. Kelly is known for her feisty attitude but one of my favorite things is how soft she can be. She doesn’t shy away from the tragedies of life. She is open about her struggles, especially in her music. “Irvine,” the last track on My December is simply haunting and beautiful. Its mere existence has reminded me many times that I am not alone in my moments of weakness. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is a sign of inner strength.
Be Kind, Give Back.
While she lived in Texas, Kelly had an animal rescue ranch where she provided care for many animals in need of a good home (all of which were placed before she moved to Nashville). She consistently makes an effort to give back through charity concerts and programs like Musicians on Call that provide music to patients in healthcare facilities.
My favorite quote about Kelly came from a roundtable discussion on Chelsea Lately where someone said, “There are two kinds of people in this world. Kelly Clarkson fans and liars.”
She is pretty awesome in my opinion, but biases aside, Kelly and I both know she’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and you know what? She’s totally okay with that. And that’s just another reason I love her.
What do you love most about your role models?
Devin has a degree in education with a focus in English. She is working to publish her first collection of poetry while also learning the art of patience. Her passions include Doctor Who, penguins, hats and scarves, potatoes, dancing, photography, and making people happy. She believes in the healing powers of music, spending time in the great outdoors, and a good night sleep.