Audio Recording, bittersweet, Songs

Song: “Gold Star”

“Gold Star”

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Behind the Song

Some songs start with me strumming chords; some start with me humming a melody; some start with a single line that pops in my head.

But other songs start with an idea: “I want to write a song about this.” A relationship. A feeling. A stage of growth.

Today’s song started life as an idea: How the desire to be celebrated can motivate behavior.

Applause. Praise. A shiny gold star. I loved getting those things.

The story I’ve long told to myself, about myself, is that I am special. But, inevitably, something happens to show that I am not. Then what am I?

Although I didn’t plan it at the time, this song expresses a skill found in Acceptance and Committtment Therapy known as the “Self pivot” (Or “transcendental self” or “self in context.”) In a nutshell, the pivot encourages us to look at the stories we tell about ourselves. The theory goes that we develop these stories to earn a place in the groups we find ourselves.

That story might be one about how we are a victim, and so need to be cared for. Or how we are special, and should be celebrated. Or somewhere in between.

But by unpacking that story, we can dig a little deeper into who we are.

You can download this song (along with five other songs inspired by the other skills in ACT) on my “Hexaflex EP,” available at Bandcamp here.

Just a tang of bitterness, 60% dark

Lyrics

In Kindergarten class I learned to fly
teacher's top drawer held the passport to my high.
A sheet of gold stars for when we shined
sorting left from right, finding words that rhymed.

I wanna earn that gold star
so they'll see what I'm made of
'cause when I earn that gold star
I will be loved

Goofing with the glue, dripping runny white snot
Ben and Gus giggled, teacher did not.
But I won her too when I stood up to recite
the Pledge of Allegiance and got every word right.

Oh, how I love my gold star
come and see what I'm made of
as long as I've got my gold star
I will be loved

Feeling kind of played
like a puppet on a string
singing for my supper
like a jester to a king
I'm on top now
but the tide can turn fast
I wanna find a way to make it last

On my fifth sheet of paper botching Superman's 'S'
five minutes into recess I'm the only one left.
I see the kids outside, laughing, playing tag
it's not a game I'll win, but I've got legs
so I might as well join them and go play.

I don't need this gold star
to know what I'm made of
'cause underneath this gold star
I'm made of love
you're made of love
every single one of us
is made of love

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