So around the Maine Trip during Labor Day weekend, I mentioned having a certain song nearly memorized. I have memorized it. Part of it voluntarily, but most of it through a form of hypnosis called “the radio.” I have decided to break this song down, try to figure out what it really means. At the end of the process, I realized I let the song get the best of me. In the spirit of almighty cliches, you live and learn.
Big Girls Don’t Cry
Right off, I fear this song will be laden with clichés. Is Fergie trying to convince herself not to cry? Is she a big girl? Also, I feel when I do cry, Fergie is reprimanding me, in a very condescending way. “Oh, May, why are you crying? You’re a big girl now.” And, who made the rule about big girls not crying? An impatient mother? Is Fergie living out some childhood issues? Does Fergie cry a lot? Don’t worry, every cloud has a silver lining; make lemonade from lemons; it’s spilt milk – don’t cry, because, you know, you’re a big girl. I’m surprised she didn’t use any of those, but wait and see what she managed to cut-and-paste in the word jumble disguised as a “song.” Are you shocked we haven’t even gotten to the actual lyrics? Also, if she did actually use the image of spilt milk, I would have been more impressed with her combining metaphors. But no, she had to try too hard.
The smell of your skin lingers on me now
You’re probably on your flight back to your home town
I need some shelter of my own protection baby
To be with myself and Center, Clarity
Okay, I’m a little grossed out here. Does she smell like spilt milk? And, if the boyfriend is already on a plane, then isn’t she by herself? Can’t she get her shelter then? And what kind of protection does she need? Is he abusive? Is there a hailstorm? She probably doesn’t know who she is or what she wants. She seems extremely disoriented, because she’s speaking in sentence fragments. OR, are those her friends’ names, Center, Clarity, Peace, and Serenity? If so, she just contradicted herself again, because then she wouldn’t be by herself. OR, maybe they’re her other personalities. I have no idea. For all I know, the boyfriend could be a figment of her imagination. Also, what are the thoughts connecting the boyfriend who’s gone and her realizing she needs shelter? I get the association of the scent of spilt milk to the boyfriend, but with the rest of the stanza is a huge disconnect.
I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you
It’s personal, myself and I
We’ve got some straightening out to do
And I’m gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket
But I’ve got to get a move on with my life
It’s time to be a big girl now
And big girls don’t cry
Is she actually communicating this to the guy? Because the guy is on that plane wondering what he’s done wrong. But if the guy has listened to the rest of the chorus, his and my suspicions of her schizophrenia have been confirmed. Never mind the bad grammar/usage. She’s treating herself as two individuals: “Myself” and “I.” But, she might as well continue with the “we”: we’re gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket. At least that’s a little bit closer to subject-pronoun agreement. Why couldn’t she use “her”? That’s perfectly acceptable. “We’ve got to get a move on with our lives.” Is she in love with herself? Does she also need to break up with herself? Which one of her is going to get the blanket? Does that excuse the other one to cry? But that wouldn’t be allowed, if both Fergies are big girls, right? Does she at least get a glass of milk?
The path that I’m walking
I must go alone
I must take the baby steps ’til I’m full grown, full grown
Fairytales don’t always have a happy ending, do they?
And I foresee the dark ahead if I stay
Okay, we’ve determined she’s not entirely alone, because she’s with “herself and her,” and quite possibly with Center, Clarity, Peace, and Serenity. Man, I wish I had friends with those names. She compares herself to a baby, and here, the milk image would work! Plus, I’m concerned: How long will she be taking little steps? Is she (Are they) aware how much longer it will take to get from place to place? For all their sakes, I hope “full grown” comes soon. Ooh, look. She’s actually challenging a cliché! Do you wonder what fairytales she’s read? Hmm, seems like someone slipped her a volume of Grimm’s before he took off on that plane. Throughout this song, I’m confused. I don’t understand what her motivation is to stand on her own two (four?) feet. Plus, when you’re taking baby steps, isn’t your mom or some other guardian there to guide you? Is that why her own specter is with her, as well as the ones with the hippie-like names? If Fergie’s accomplished anything, she has baffled me. Was her relationship a fairytale? If so, why did the boyfriend leave? And why does she foresee the dark if she stays? Is she standing in her own shadow? Wouldn’t be implausible. Isn’t it okay for her to stay since the boyfriend left? That kind of implies the boyfriend was a source of hope. At least I feel better here for the boyfriend, because it really seems this has nothing to do with him at all. I’m glad he decided to go back to his hometown. He should have sung this song. But with nothing about big girls not crying. And no multiple personalities. And no tired clichés or random sentence fragments.
Like the little school mate in the school yard
We’ll play jacks and UNO cards
I’ll be your best friend and you’ll be mine Valentine
Yes you can hold my hand if you want to
‘Cause I want to hold yours too
We’ll be playmates and lovers and share our secret worlds
Oh dear, what is this part of the song even about? The only way this remotely makes sense is if she’s talking to one of her personalities. Who would have thought Fergie could hurt my brain?! Okay, she’s gone from being a baby to an elementary school child. No sequence anywhere to be found about getting to this point. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve given up on singular/plural agreement – this is past salvageable. Also, I have never seen jacks and UNO cards being played in the same vicinity. Again with the randomness. Maybe I’m too old. How about “We’ll play jacks and racing cars”? or “We’ll play ‘Guitar Hero’ and ‘DDR’”! Sheesh, if you’re going to create a “period piece,” use toys that were invented around the same time. Jacks are centuries older than UNO cards, and I always went from playing jacks to hopscotch or marbles or kickball or Red Rover. Jacks was during recess. OUTSIDE. You play UNO – inside – when you’re tired of hearts or rummy or even Monopoly. Yeah, that kind of juxtaposition jars my noggin. Also? You can’t really hold hands and play jacks (or UNO) at the same time. PLEASE STOP HAPHAZARDLY SYNTAXING. PLEASE. Um, and, I don’t know I ever used the word lover in elementary school. Then again, I’m not Fergie.
But it’s time for me to go home
It’s getting late, dark outside
I need to be with myself and Center, Clarity
Here’s some interesting continuity with darkness. “If she stays,” she’ll see the dark. Bravo, Fergie! Way to bring it full-circle, sort of. How is it you never cried as a baby or a child and you can’t justify crying as an adult? Go home! Get out of the darkness! Go be with your transcendental (imaginary?) posse and drink lots of milk! Ugh, too bad this song ends with the chorus. I’m just going to have to be reprimanded condescendingly. I can’t help it. I don’t want to dignify this song with tears, but that’s what grotesquely ridiculous things do: they make me cry. I would explain the irony of this situation, but Fergie would only use it against me, just like she did with this song.