When asked to think of a person I would like to meet for dinner, my mind teems with possibilities. But for me the decision is simple. I would select the gifted vocalist and lyricist, Tori Amos.
At this moment in my life there are but two things I devote my ungoverned moments to - listening to music and pursuing my independent thoughts. Music has shaped my life probably more than anything else. I was brought up surrounded by the sounds of the bands of my father's youth like the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. And in my own adolescence I have found nothing as comforting and stress-relieving as time spent with music. In choosing Tori Amos I am not saying that historic figures like Amelia Earhart or Abraham Lincoln haven't inspired my life, but as a forthcoming woman, I find Tori Amos's spirit impressive at a time when I am shaping my own identity.
Identity has been hard sought for me in a world where women are, despite the women's movement, compelled to worship and value their bodies far more than their spirits. Women are faced every day with the struggle to balance their sexuality with their desires to conquer the world. And I suppose that at eighteen, I hold great respect for Tori Amos and her resilience. Her music does far more than merely leave its listener with a sense of entertainment. Tori Amos's lyrics of personal struggle command a listener to feel. To hear tales of adversity and subsequent survival is to realize that to have your sexuality violently stripped from you due to rape isn't the end. We live in a world where rape has become almost a norm and to know that this beautiful music comes from the heart of someone who was so violated has brought me odd strength. Her music motivates me to rise above the challenges.
Tori Amos may not have flown solo across the mighty Atlantic like Amelia Earhart or brought a nation through its bloodiest war like Lincoln, but she has made me strong and allowed me to see that while the world is replete with obstacles ever ready to rob women of their identities, one will always be able to transcend and make beautiful music. Now, if I could only convince her to sing with me, life would be complete. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.