Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Love for Gwen Stefani Exposed

This morning, I received the following Facebook wall post from a friend:
"Anywhoo, there is a cute video of your girl Gwen on When I saw her and heard what she said it made me think of you and how you guys sort of seem a like....check it out, you'll see what I mean (hopefully).

I went to and viewed the video. It was Gwen Stefani when she was young talking about her dreams while super gluing an outfit she was going to wear on stage. She got every wish. She wanted to be famous and tour the world. She accomplished it. She even got her beautiful rockstar husband and her adorable little baby she sang about in her songs all the time. Who wouldn't want that dream?

I fell in love with Gwen Stefani when I was 12. I saw No Doubt performing on the Video Music Awards pre-show back in 1996. I remember being in my parent's bedroom watching the awards with my dad and thinking: "That is what I want to be when I grow up. Who is this?" I was enraptured and just flat out amazed. Who was this?

My memory about where I purchased "Tragic Kingdom" is kind of fuzzy. I could have been in NYC while visiting my brother and his mom or it could have been at Best Buy in my hometown. I don't remember. It was a weird time in my life. I was in 7th grade, beginning the teenage years, dealing with becoming a woman, dealing with a lot of stuff with my family . . .and you know, all that stuff.

I listened to that CD everyday after school. I was a "Gwenabee", as we were called, and I wanted to be just like this amazing 26-year-old woman because I felt like I WAS just like her. I'm sure thousands of girls (and boys!) felt this same way about her; I cannot claim the rights to this. I was a chubby little black girl from the suburbs of DC . . .I was clearly not "like" her, but I was.

I would sing my heart out to lyrics about heartache and saving the world. I would perform for the imaginary thousands of people who came to see me. My mom would barge in on me and laugh. I even had "Spiderwebs" on my answering machine. All my friends loved it. I was so cool.

I cannot explain my love and admiration for Gwen and her life. I cannot, nor will I try. But I am just so moved by the fact that she got everything she wanted. I don't particularly love her solo stuff, but I love No Doubt and I love her.

I remember listening to "Sixteen" on repeat the day I turned 16-years-old. Ironically, No Doubt was performing in concert near me that SAME FUCKING DAY! My mom wouldn't let me go because she didn't know the people I would be going with. I cried. I sat in my room and listened to the song over and over again. The irony. (I'm still sad just thinking about it.) The song was so true for me about the awkwardness of being 16 and not being allowed to do what I wanted. I was such an angsty teenager.

When I was 18, I finally got the chance to see No Doubt in concert. The date was October 18, 2002, to be exact. And I was in FRONT FUCKING ROW. It was amazingamazingamazing. It was in Philly and I was a freshman in college. It was a beautiful moment. Just hearing them do sound check from outside the arena before the show forced tears to form . . .

"I used to listen to these songs everyday!" I exclaimed to my new friend, and fellow No Doubt/Gwen worshipper, Vicky. She smiled. She got it.

We managed to get in the front row and I CRIED just when the intro music started. Before they even came out from under the stage, the tears started pouring and I turned to Vicky, and just hugged her and said: "I'm crying. Holy shit. I can't stop." When I saw them, it felt unreal. I'm tearing up right now writing this.

The concert was amazing. Just . . .words don't even fit. I remember standing right below Tom, the guitar player, and him just looking down at me and smiling. I was in my own world, singing along to every word. He must have seen the bliss radiating from me. His smile was so gentle and kind. I got his guitar pick, which reminds me every time because I don’t have any pictures to remind me. Just my memories.

Stephen, the trumpet player, and I kept smiling and dancing with each other from far away. Such positivity. I didn't get to interact with Adrian or Tony, but that's okay.

And then GWEN! She sang to me during "Hey Baby" and I sang back to her. She sang to me a couple of other times, but I don't remember. It was so fucking amazing. Have I said that enough? The 12-year-old in me was just bursting at the seams. It was one of the best nights of my life.

So back to the video of a young Gwen. When I asked my friend WHY she thought I reminded her of Gwen, she responded with:
"You guys are alike in the way you think about being famous. Like, it's something that you know is going to come at your cross road but you also have a back up plan that will still give you happiness. Although, you feel confident that you are going to set your mark on the world She's has the vibe about her that just reminds me of's hard to explain. The way she talks too...she's soft spoken like you sometimes. You are really soft spoken on the phone sometimes, espeically when you first answer and I'm the exact opposite LMAO I'm a hot mess."

So maybe I am like her, after all. I haven’t seen her persona offstage very much, but I guess we are alike.

Every single day I ask myself: what am I doing? Where am I going? How will I accomplish my dreams? What ARE my dreams? Maybe I need to write them down. Maybe I need to speak them out loud. Maybe someone needs to videotape me answering these questions so someone, like me, can see it years from now and say: “Wow, she got everything she wanted. Maybe I can, too. I want to be just like her.”

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