They laugh `cause they know they’re untouchable
Not because what I said was wrong
It might be brave
I will live by my own policies
I will sleep with a clear conscience
I will sleep in peace
Maybe it sounds mean
But I really don’t think so
You asked for the truth and I told you”
― Sinéad O’Connor, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”
It’s been a month since the passing of Sinéad O’Connor and my heart still hurts, tears still come quickly. The teenage girl within me is raw and grateful and so very sad there will not be more truth from this audacious truthteller.
She burst onto the music scene with a fierce determination to be nothing but herself, a revolutionary act in a world that often demands conformity, especially from its female singers. I was gifted with Sinéad’s revolutionary spirit—a spirit that boldly proclaimed our right to be seen, heard, and loved for exactly who I was, right at a crucial time I needed it.
Her songs were anthems for me navigating the complexities of self-discovery in the late 80s, early 90s. As a Gen Xer, I vividly recall those nights spent singing Sinéad’s songs into the darkness, allowing her words to echo thoughts and emotions I struggled to express. Her lyrics inviting me to discard the mask; don’t appease the expectations of others.
Her courage to challenge authority and defy societal norms encouraged us to stand up for our beliefs and be true to our identities, even in the face of adversity. Our worthiness for love and respect was not contingent upon anyone else’s validation.
Sinéad’s legacy is not just in the notes she sang, but in the unapologetic and honest way she lived her life. She bore her vulnerabilities on the public stage, daring us to confront our own insecurities and find strength in our authenticity. Her resilience in the face of criticism demonstrated that the journey toward self-love and acceptance is not a linear path, but a tumultuous, beautiful endeavor.
Certain voices transcend; Sinéad has left an indelible mark on the world of music and on countless lives, including mine. As I revisit Sinéad’s music, the power of her voice and the honesty in her lyrics still pierce my soul, serving as a reminder that her message of love, self-respect, and authenticity endures. That I must continue my own fights against being pressed down by “them.” To break free and claim my right to self-expression always… with every breath.