I must admit I’m a little late to the party. I am 50 years old and did not come of age in the time of Beyoncé.
I know who she is, of course, but I have not been a fan or follower. That all changed this past weekend after I took my initiation rites at the Rose Bowl stadium in California. I am now a full-fledged devotee.
I called my bestie Susan on Thursday—crying, drowning in a pit of self-loathing over a fight I had with my boyfriend. I felt like he spoke harshly to me. That he didn’t respect me. The fight triggered my feelings of low self-esteem. I am dedicated to my creativity right now, having just finished publishing my first book. Because of this, my finances are as low as they can go and I am dependent on my boyfriend and random gifts from God. The fight, over the mundane domestic issue of my lack of tidiness, left me feeling trapped by my lack of cashish. I can’t afford to rent my own sanctuary right now, where I can strew my books, paper and art supplies wherever I want to. I felt like my boyfriend was trying to constrain my inner artist.
When my back is against the wall and I feel like my choices are fight or flight, I always prefer flight. Susan talked me down, as she always does. She assured me that things really are okay, that I am on the right path. My book will sell, money will flow and my boyfriend loves me. She counseled me to pick up my papers from the living room, take some deep breaths, and not to make any radical moves.
Then she added, “If I fly you down here to L.A. and buy tickets, will you come see Beyoncé with me for my 50th birthday?”
“Hell, yeah!” I said. Flight it will be.
She scored Beyoncé tickets and two days later, my broke ass self was on a plane to L.A. Pre-show, Susan and I lay in her bed and watched Lemonade. Then we threw on some eye glitter, sprayed tinted dry shampoo over our gray roots, pulled on some sexy boots and made the pilgrimage to the Rose Bowl.
We walked through a tunnel, and I saw the light. There she was—the Goddess Beyoncé. She was about 1,000 feet tall on the screen and bathed in white light. I was transfixed.
Using music, light, video projection, dance and voice she led us on a journey. From darkness to light, pain to pleasure, weakness to strength.
By day, the Rose Bowl is a place where men grunt and play their games, but that night the Rose Bowl was sacred space, a Goddess temple with Beyoncé as the head Amazonian Priestess.
Beyoncé invoked the elements—fire (lots of fire), earth, air and amazingly even water. I’m a practitioner of kirtan (Indian devotional chanting), but I’ve never been to a kirtan like this. 60,000 people chanting empowering affirmations together: “I’m flawless,” “I’m a survivor.”
Beyoncé took us to a place where the female is strong, very strong. We were women around the fire. Dancing, singing and sweating our collective prayers. Purging our pain and heartbreak, and remembering our inner fire. We were reminded that our beauty and strength comes from within, even while feasting with our eyes on exquisite faces and bodies.
She was Kali. She was Durga. Fire, water, destruction and creation. But no Hindu goddess ever shook her booty like this.
What are we worshiping in this temple? Commerce? Money? Sex? I don’t think so. Beyoncé managed to facilitate the experience. It was about her, but not about her. It was about me, and the 59,000 other people who were there.
She channeled the experience in a way that left me feeling like I am a powerful 1,000-foot tall Goddess, too. That I can make my dreams come true. That, in fact, my dreams are coming true.
Just to be in a room with a woman who has such a large vision of, and for, herself is a blessing. Beyoncé is one of the world’s most artistically and financially successful women. Touch me Bey, let some of that rub off on me. I think it just did.
My friend Susan and I have passed together through the fire of fifty years old. It’s all been there on the journey. Love, betrayal, birth, beauty, wealth, sickness and super human strength. We’ve danced and laughed and cried and screamed through it all. We’ve lit shit on fire and swam in the deep ocean. We are women, after all. Beyoncé said it during the show, “I am you and you are me.”
I needed this pilgrimage to Beyoncé’s goddess temple. The high priestess reminded me that I am hot, sexy, strong and successful. That my unique dreams for myself are good dreams, valid dreams, achievable dreams. That I am as powerful as I want to make myself.
Author: Andrea Dean
Editor: Sara Kärpänen