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Sunday, May 26, 2013

I Should Be So Lucky

All right. So, one of the things that I promised to do this year in my blog was to cut back on the pop culture and insert more personal stories. To share my goals and dreams, confess my biggest fears, and finding it within myself to talk about personal details that up until now, I've been afraid to talk about.

Today's blog entry happens to be one of those instances. I chose the Sunday Jukebox to debut this new format because I believe that everyone in the world has a song playlist that reminds them of things. Some songs are associated with personal memories such as a wedding, or their first dance. Some songs remind you of someone very special. And, in the case of today's song, the lyrics tell the tale of your own life story.

So, here's how the set-up of today's Sunday Jukebox will work. I'm going to start by introducing the artist who sings the song. Then I'll post the video of the song along with the necessary info (date released, peak position, etc.). I'll offer up a couple of paragraphs about how the song was recorded, which will include some trivia about the recording process.

And, to kick this entry off, I'll be talking about how the song relates to my own life. Why I can identify with the song completely. And, what, if anything, I've learned about myself from listening to this song. I will warn you...sometimes when I talk about personal accounts, I tend to ramble on. And, I'll let it be known right now. I know a lot of you will disagree with my take on things. At the same time, I know some will also be compassionate, and maybe take comfort in the fact that they aren't alone in feeling this way.

So, enough babbling. On with today's Sunday Jukebox entry. And, as it so happens, the artist is one that I've talked about in this blog before. I remember doing one entry on her and her sister in June 2011. I also did another piece on this singer from the Land Down Under in February 2012. Funnily enough, the piece I did in 2012 was done a couple of days before Valentine's Day, and the song was all about the concept of “love at first sight”. In a weird twist of fate, today's topic also deals with the subject of love, and this entry is being posted two days before our songbird turns 45 years of age.

Yes, today we're going to be doing a blog entry on Kylie Minogue, who if any of you have been reading this blog regularly, you know that I find her absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, she's an absolutely gorgeous woman that I have no chance in hell of dating, but a guy can always dream, can't he?

And the song that I've chosen is one that is quite meaningful for Kylie, as it was one of her very first hits. Go on. Have a listen.

ARTIST: Kylie Minogue
SONG: I Should Be So Lucky
ALBUM: Kylie
DATE RELEASED: December 29, 1987

NOTE: The song actually did much better overseas, landing the #1 position in the UK, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, and Kylie's native Australia.

So, here's the story behind “I Should Be So Lucky”.

In 1987, Kylie was still hard at work playing the role of Charlene Mitchell Robinson on the Australian soap opera, “Neighbours”. At a charity event, some of the Neighbours cast members performed classic songs for an audience, and Kylie decided to entertain the crowd by performing a cover version of Little Eva's “Loco-Motion”. That performance would help propel Kylie into a music career, as “Loco-Motion” became an instant hit in Australia.

(In North America, the single would not be released until 1988.)

Later that year, after the success of “Loco-Motion” in Australia, Kylie had secured a meeting with Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman to record a new single. This was a big deal for Kylie as the team of Stock/Aitken/Waterman had been responsible for giving Dead or Alive, Samantha Fox, and Bananarama huge success in their native UK.

There was just one teensy problem. The three men completely forgot that Kylie was flying out to meet them at their London, England recording studios, and when Kylie arrived, they had no song to give her!

It was to their good fortune that Kylie was a patient person. While she waited in the lobby outside the recording studio for approximately three-quarters of an hour, the trio frantically scrambled to come up with some impromptu lyrics for her to sing. It was Mike Stock who came up with the idea for the single. He figured that someone like Kylie who was a beloved soap actress in Australia, and who had the beauty and skills necessary to become a huge star one day would have one flaw in life. And, in the case of “I Should Be So Lucky”, Stock came up with the hypothetical theory that Kylie's flaw was the fact that she was unlucky in love.

INTERESTING FACT: Although Kylie's happily in a relationship with model Andres Velencoso now, Kylie's love life seemed to mirror the lyrics penned in her first big single. Her previous relationships have included her former Neighbours co-star Jason Donovan, the late Michael Hutchence, former frontman of INXS, and actor Olivier Martinez (who is currently involved with Halle Berry).

Long story short, “I Should Be So Lucky” was the one single that really seemed to catapult Kylie Minogue into super-stardom. She was immediately signed on to a four-album contract with Stock/Aitken/Waterman and Mushroom Records, and the first of those four albums, “Kylie”, was released in the summer of 1988. The same year the song began charting and her first album hit store shelves, Kylie left “Neighbours” to pursue a full-time music career...and as of May 2013, Kylie's released eleven albums with a twelfth one due out later this year. And, while Kylie's not quite as well known here in North America, in Australia and the UK, Kylie is as much a household name as Cher and Madonna.

So, that's the first two parts of what I have promised that you would find in this blog entry. You've been introduced to the song, and you've learned some interesting facts about it.

Now comes the hard part for me. How I plan to use this song and link it to my own personal account. But, you know, I look at revealing new information to people like pulling off a Band-Aid. If you hem and haw about it and pull the bandage off as slowly as possible, it hurts like heck, and causes you so much discomfort. At the same time, if you yank it off quickly in one go, the sting will be more severe, but only for a second.

So, I tried to apply that analogy to my own confession for today, and I figured that the fast, direct approach is the best way to go. So, here goes.

Like the Kylie Minogue song...I haven't been so lucky in love myself. And, it's my own damn fault!

Wow. That was a lot easier than I thought. Now I have to explain why this is the case.

Okay, so here's the skinny on yours truly. I just turned thirty-two years old. And, in my thirty-two years, I have not had so much as a significant romantic relationship that has lasted.

I just want to reiterate something though. I have been on a few dates, and contrary to my previous admission just seconds earlier, I do know a lot more about the birds and the bees than you might think. And, my lack of a relationship has nothing to do with the questioning of my own sexuality. While I'm sure most of us have questioned our orientations at some point in our lives, I do know who I am, and what qualities I would look for in pursuing a romantic relationship with members of the opposite sex.

It's just that the problem with my being in a lack of's all on my shoulders. And, it took me this long to realize it.

I guess I should explain why this has been the case. And, keep in mind that what I am about to say is probably the most candid I've ever been in this entire blog series thus far. But in order for all of you to understand my feelings better (and for me to move one step closer to complete freedom from the shackles that have held me down all this time), I need to explain things.

I don't think I can or really should go into complete detail over what I really saw, nor am I going to name names or out people, because that's not what this blog is all about. But what I can tell you is that a lot of the relationships that I have witnessed in my childhood were toxic, destructive, and dysfunctional. Mind you, most of these relationships were centered more within my extended family, but that isn't the point. When you're a child, and you see two people who are supposed to claim that they love each other call each other nasty names, slam doors all throughout the house, and even resorting to a couple of physical attacks, it clouds your opinion of what a “fairy-tale romance” is supposed to be. Believe it or not, I was so exposed to some of these dysfunctional couplings that I had a completely warped view on what love really was.

Whenever I would watch television shows or films, I would always look at the couples who showed genuine affection towards each other, filled with hugs, kisses, and cuddles, and I would kind of stare at them blankly, because it was imagery that I wasn't used to seeing. Their display of what love was contrasted with the definition of love that I had been shown myself. And, it really left me quite conflicted as to which way was the right way for so long.

I mean, when I was a kid, I couldn't always make the claim that I knew the difference between right and wrong because a lot of kids have trouble making that distinction during the first few years of life. It's a common step in growing older and gaining more maturity in the process, and as we all well know, some people seem to do this better than others. But, when it came to the subject of love, I was so confused at how love was supposed to be that I simply told myself one day that I would never allow myself to fall in love with anyone.

And, that's basically what's happened.

Oh, sure, I did keep my heart open a little bit through my pre-teen and teenage years, but over time, that opening closed a little bit more with each passing day until I got to a point in my life where I wasn't letting any love inside at all.

And, I'm more than certain that a lot of people who know me very well have probably seen signs of this in action, not really understanding the motivation behind my actions...until now.

I mean, let's face it. Everyone in the world probably knows all about my absolute disgust with Valentine's Day. I was the kind of person who poked fun at its very existence from the get-go. And, why wouldn't I? It was a day where we somehow associate the tradition of love and romance with someone who was locked in a tower, stoned, and beheaded. Ain't that a lovely symbol of romance and passion?

To me, Valentine's Day was always the one day of the year in which guys gave girls chocolates so that six months later, the girls would have the excuse to dump their boyfriends for making them fat. A rather cynical and closed-minded view, I'll admit...but that was how I felt because I didn't have someone to share the day with. I didn't have anyone to love, nor did I have anyone to love me...

...because my own view of love and romance was so horribly skewered.

I also was one who used to make fun of those romance novels. Any book with the words “Harlequin Super Romance” was fair game as far as I was concerned. From the overembellished covers of a scantily clad woman throwing herself at a man who strangely resembled the “I Can't Believe It's Not Butter” guy, to the graphically detailed scenes of love and passion inside the pages of said books, it took everything in me not to respond with biting sarcasm, or to keep my gag reflex in check.

At the same time though, as someone who loves writing, I find that romance is one of the hardest things to write about, and I think the reason why I tended to poke fun at Harlequin romance stories was because I was a smidgen bit jealous that those writers could make writing about love, sex, and passion look so easy, while I couldn't even make my stories about love seem even remotely believable...

...mainly because of the lack of experience that I had in said subject.

Of course, I made these facts well known. I talked about how much I despised Valentine's Day at every opportunity, and I talked about how I hated romance novels, and I talked about how I hoped that on an episode of the Bachelor, one of the Bachelorettes would take control of the limousine after they were cut loose from the show and back it up over her former suitor and the other women still in the running...

...nah...that's too violent even for me. How about if when the bachelor offers the lady a rose, she promptly eats it, thorns and all. That'd be entertaining.

But you know what? All that talk about my hate of all things to do with red hearts, roses in bloom and cutesy-poo teddy bears with heart shaped noses and paws...that did nothing for me. If anything, it probably kept the wall that I had built up around my heart reinforced, which meant that it kept all future romance possibilities out of reach.

And, again, it's my own fault.

I guess when it all boils down to it, I guess I've put in a lot of effort over the years as to why I would NOT make the perfect other half for someone else. My closed heart, along with my sarcastic attitude regarding love mixed with a splash of self-deprecating humour made me the perfect person to star in that television show called “The Undateables”. It's true what they say, you know...attitude is everything, and you only get one chance to make a good impression on someone. I certainly don't believe that I made really great impressions on any potential love interests that may have presented themselves over the last few years.

And, that's because my overall attitude on love has been conflicted, to say the least.

Because of the dysfunctional relationships that I was exposed to in my early childhood, I was afraid to fall in love with someone else. What if I started to yell at them the same way that the dysfunctional couple did? What if I started to abuse them? I didn't want to put anyone through that same pain, so I decided that I would avoid that pain by not getting involved with women in a romantic fashion.

I mean, let's face it. All the signs were there. I had the low self-worth. I had the feelings of insecurity. I had the feeling that I wasn't being heard. All of these traits are common things associated with people who find themselves trapped in a loveless and/or abusive relationship. And, I guess there was a part of me that initially felt that I didn't deserve to have the experience of falling in love with someone fully and completely, getting emotionally and physically attached to them, proposing to them, getting married to them, and starting a family with them. I didn't want that because I was mistakenly lead to believe that all relationships were doomed to be as dysfunctional as the ones that littered the landscape of my extended family.

It took a long, long time for me to take the needle off of that depressing record and flip the script to a newer, more positive way of thinking. Rather than focusing about how horrible a partner that I would be to someone else based on the unhealthy relationships of other people, I would instead focus on the kind of partner that I would not want in my own life. I guess one blessing to having bore witness to so many destructive “romances” in my extended family is the idea that I'm not the person who is willing to settle for just anyone. I don't believe in casual sexual encounters just to get the experience, nor do I believe in getting involved with a person who has a toxic attitude. So, maybe instead of looking at certain family members and their screwed-up views on love and romance as a curse, I should instead look at them as a blessing.

And, I can honestly say that while I'm not quite there yet, I am opening up my heart a little bit more to the possibility that there is someone out there in the world who will love me for me, and who I will love for who they are. And, if that means stepping out of my comfort zone and finding a way to overcome the warped values concerning love that I carried with me for years, I guess that's what I'll have to do.  And, maybe then, I can find myself lucky in love one day.

Betcha never expected a Kylie Minogue single to bring forth such candid views, eh?

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