Beautiful You

Sara Bareilles's book Sounds Like Me moved me to laugh and cry. It has messages every young woman needs to hear. It's fearfully honest. It's beautiful. It's brave. Every bit is absolutely spectacular - here are some highlights. 

Self-love: From the very first chapter, Sara tells of growing up and the process of finding her path and identity. One of the most weighty aspects of this narrative is the tale of how she used to despise her body, a process which began when other kids at school decided she was fat. She writes, “And as an adjective, the word is completely subjective. I see it get abused and misused all the time. I see magazines wrap it around strong, healthy bodies in ridicule. I see beautiful women among my friends and family do the same thing. One in particular, in my mirror, does it all the time.” Though she still struggles, as we all do, she sends a message of how important it is to love your body, your character, and your beautiful soul. 

Learning from heartbreak: Giving readers the story behind her popular and heart-wrenching song "Gravity", Sara Bareilles paints a story of a girl who felt she needed a man despite the pain he brought, weighted down by a pull she just couldn’t seem to break. The story ends with hope and recovery, as she writes, “Surrender is a healing sentiment to return to, and in the end, I’m glad that my heart was launched into the air by a careless kid, because I was gifted the opportunity of learning how to deal with it once it hit the ground.” 

Pressing on: The long-winded backdrop to her anti-love-song, "Love Song", is a testament to Sara’s development as a songwriter. “I had been so busy avoiding my own future I almost overlooked the fact that it was staring right back at me.” It is easy to see a path ahead and even lights to guide you, but turn the other way because you can’t believe you’ll ever make it. Sara is a testament that you can make it; just keep pressing forward. 

You are BEAUTIFUL: This is the biggest, boldest, and brightest message from Sara to her readers. Her chapter on the song "Beautiful Girl" (listen here right now) is made up of a series of letters written to each era of herself, from an innocent girl in elementary school to a beautiful woman on tour trying to learn to speak out and be herself. Moreover, it is a letter to each of us out there who may struggle with feeling quiet, insignificant, or even incapable of being loved. She is here to say to herself, to all of us, “I love you, my beautiful girl, and I hope that’s enough.” You are beautiful and loved, and you are enough. 

You’re not alone: “…None of us experience her music the same way, but the message that is communicated is overwhelmingly the same: that we are here for a purpose, we’re all stronger than we know, and we’re all meant to leave a legacy.” This is a message from Jessica Vicker who contemplated suicide but changed her mind through the message of Sara’s lyrics. Sara later wrote a song especially for a fans like Jessica, including the lyrics “Tonight you’re not alone at all. This is me sending out my satellite call.” Listen to it here

Being brave: Most of us have heard Sara Bareilles’s anthem of honesty and bravery, which she wrote for a friend struggling with identity. “I wanted to invite her to come out and stand with me and try the radical act of simply staying put. To tell the truth and trust whatever comes next is going to be okay.” All of us who have sang along to Sara’s song "Brave" on the radio or danced around in the streets (watch the video, it’s adorable) have stood in the shoes of this woman who was striving to be true the person bottled up inside. #IAmBraveEnough

Finding yourself: Sara Bareilles wrote the music and lyrics for a new musical called Waitress, with one song called "She Used to be Mine", about losing yourself in life and no longer recognizing the face in the mirror. Speaking of the show’s character, Sara writes, “She is talking about the person she used to be and how far away she feels from her, panicked that there is no way to get her back. I cried when I wrote it. I still cry when I hear it. It’s my song too.” In truth, it is a song for all of us. No matter where you are now, you are, as Sara says, beautiful.