What puts a smile on your face and makes you feel at home? Maybe it’s a familiar meal, scent, or piece of clothing. For me, in 2017, it was a song. I had recently moved to Boston for graduate school, straight off six years in West Africa and I was miserable. The people were cold, and the weather was colder. I was deep in the throes of reverse culture shock and fighting a body that, with undiagnosed lipedema, I considered enemy number one. In Liberia my clothes had literally been tailor-made and suddenly, back in the United States, I couldn’t seem to fit my exploding upper arms and thighs into even the ugliest clothes at Goodwill.
To boost my spirits on the frigid walk to school each morning I created a playlist called “I am strong” and blasted it while wishing I was anywhere else, in any other body. Particula by Major Lazer & DJ Maphorisa was the far and away most played track on the list. Not only does it feature cameos from some of Africa’s most well-loved modern musicians, but the beats demand to be danced to, and the fashions are the stuff of style dreams. If I closed my eyes and channeled equatorial sun, I could almost smell the now so distance mix of pepper dust and dried meat in the outdoor market or see the smiling faces of children gathered to dance on my porch. Passersby on the sidewalk couldn’t tell, but I was transported.
The lyrics start out smooth and cool.
They told me everybody’sMajor Lazer & DJ Maphorisa, “Particula”
15 minutes in a different time zone
And since I have it at the moment
You’re the one I wanna shine my light on
Get your life, get your life, little mama
Won’t you get your life on
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It then progresses to some of my all-time favorite song lyrics, including “ain’t nothing cooler than the wrong moves when you do them to the right song.” Let me tell you, nothing I did in 2017 felt cool or seemed right but I could get through it with Particula as the soundtrack. I hope, on this Music Monday, it feels like the right song for whatever new and awkward thing you are brave enough to try.
The song continues almost immediately with “nobody’s trying to bring sand to the beach” which always sets me off and puts me in my groove. What a great reminder to bring something new and different… which is exactly what you are when you show up as you. And just at the moment Particula has you wondering if it’s safe to do that, it launches into a refrain that’s perfect for Sturdy Women everywhere.
I like you, girl, in particularMajor Lazer & DJ Maphorisa, “Particula”
You in particular
I like your waist in particular
The video then launches into one of the best dance sequences I’ve seen, complete with a Dance Dance Revolution battle and a synchronized performance with plastic drink crates. If you can watch it without tapping your foot, bobbing your head, or jumping out of your chair… check your pulse.
So, my question to you, Sturdy reader, is could you dare to love your waist—your body—in particular? What can you bring to the beach today that isn’t sand? Could you allow yourself to do the wrong moves and trust your heart will sing the right song? Imagine the colorful, funky, perfect dance party that would break out in your soul if you allowed yourself to feel at home here and now, exactly as you are. Press play below and invite it in with Particula.