When I Am King
Wake up without a care. You’re head’s not heavy, your conscience clear.
There’s a certain perfection in a pop song. Three verses and a chorus, three chords and a dream. They’re little poems I can recite from memory ten or twenty years after the first time I hear them.
The first time I heard the folk pop masterpiece that is When I Am King, I was floundering. I was buried under the weight of a thousand expectations and shames. I was twenty two, and I was about to be divorced in an ugly breakup from the man I’d married at eighteen as much to escape my childhood as because I loved him.
Sins are all forgiven here, yours and mine.
I’d come of age with a self imposed belief that I wanted to Do Things with my life but with a crippling anxiety disorder and the belief I had to Do those Things alone. All I knew was that I’d done it all wrong—I knew because I told myself and I knew because others told me so. I saw my choices debated by those around me and discarded as poor. I listened to my husband tell me I was worthless because we were both so young we didn’t know anything but the nastiness of the families we’d come from.
Fear is gone without a trace. It’s the perfect time and the perfect place.
I was two people, I sometimes said, the one who wants to do what she thinks is best and the one who wants to do what everyone else thinks is best. All I ever did was steer the way felt the least frightening at the time. I didn’t realize what I’ve learned now: every “bad” decision I made led me to right here, right now, where I’m the most happy and comfortable I could be. And every decision I made because someone else thought I should ended in heartbreak (for them as much as me).
No question now. You know which road your taking.
When I Am King became my anthem, my proud banner to hold before me as I charged away from the expectations and the shoulds and finally started forging my own path. I got hurt. I gave things up. I made choices no one in my life agreed with. I had no way of knowing whether everything would be okay.
Lights all green, the radio plays just the perfect song.
Forging my own path has been difficult and frightening and full of thorns but it has been mine. When I am king, we’ll all get to choose for ourselves. We’ll be able to set aside what our parents say, what society says, and what those who might judge will tell us about how our lives should look. We won’t wait for approval to forge into the unknown. We’ll go, knowing that we have our own backs and that bad things happen and that it’s okay. We’ll risk it all, over and over, because at the end of the day we will get to be the kings in our stories.
The boy will always get the girl when I am king.
I carry it with me. The world will sing when I am king.