Me and Lady Gaga

Me and Lady Gaga

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Goodbye to Stress


Me and Lady Gaga

Stress and I have been best friends for a long time. As a result of befriending stress, I have had three wrecks, chronic pain, high blood pressure and headaches that paralyze me. My job as a hospice chaplain is hard, stressful and offers me little time to relax and care for myself.

I knew when I lay flat on my back in the hospital parking lot with three broken bones in my left ankle, something had to change.

I re-evaluated my work, my life goals, my schedule and my lack of self-care. I created a schedule that allowed me to have more time at home, more time to exercise and I began eating healthier.

Those were all good changes to combat stress. But the gift my daughters gave me was the best tool of all.

I am not a technology gadget kind of person and the Beatles were my favorite musical group growing up. So when I unwrapped the gift of an iPod full of music my girls selected for their fifty-something-year-old mother, I was surprised.

They explained that this gift of an iPod was to help me use music to calm myself down, energize me when working out, and keep me on an upbeat path. It took me a while to learn how to use it, but once I did, I was hooked!

Of all the songs they put on it, I somehow have gravitated to the music of Lady Gaga. I can’t figure out how this middle-aged, somewhat conservative woman from the South has found Lady Gaga’s sound so welcoming and invigorating. Yes, I don’t understand all the words, but when I hear “Bad Romance” come on, I step a bit faster on the treadmill. “Poker Face” makes me smile and “Born This Way” just makes me want to dance!

Music is certainly a tool for coping with stress and the little iPod I carry with me every day is a constant reminder of the love my girls have for me and my need to take time to tap my feet, clap my hands, roll my head and dance along this road of life. Music is a small thing that makes a big difference in my life. And while I may not wear meat as a dress, or balloons as a cover, I certainly do like the way I feel listening to Lady Gaga’s music. It transforms me from the reality of my world and allows me to escape just long enough to rid myself of toxic thoughts and feelings of stress.

I don’t understand why it works; I just understand that it does.

~ Malinda Dunlap Fillingim ~

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