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Kathryn’s Korner: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 19 – Spring 2022

In the mid-1980s, Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” song was the leading fun-infused anthem of empowerment for girls and women. The joyful song’s catchy lyrics and upbeat tempo were a bubble-gum pop way of acknowledging our collective desire for experiencing the simplicity of just having fun. Cyndi sang it, and we all wanted it. FUN.

Taking it one beat further, long before Sarah Jessica Parker breathed life into Carrie Bradshaw as the lead woman-in-process character for the Sex in the City franchise, she led a cast of characters in the 1985 movie Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Its premise was centered on the main character’s journey of experiencing personal freedom through dancing. This was symbolically reinforced in the film as she transformed from being contained in a buttoned-up conservative school uniform to dancing her heart out on stage with her friends in ultra ‘80s fashion, a collection that has largely looped around to being currently fashionable again. 

In the movie, the teen lead character’s transformation wasn’t just about emerging from the containment we see from her outer appearance but also manifested by what was going on within her. Her coming of age realization included having to stand up for her right to experience her journey of joy, which was more expressive and exposed than the framing of her father’s will for her life. Wrapping a bow of feel-good completion on this coming-of-age film, we get to see the main character bopping across the stage to the beat of her inner rhythm of being free and having fun.

This movie is decades old, but the premise has been repeated time and time again. The narrative continues to be recycled with fresh new starlets amplifying the messages of another generation’s collective desire to break out of the containment of societal and/or familiar standards to experience the ultimate feeling of freedom of self. Why does this story continue to resonate? In my opinion, it’s because we can’t possibly absorb enough reminders of our birthright to experience the uncontained feel-good empowerment of joy — the simplicity of just having fun. 

But honestly, how often is “fun” our focus point and guiding force? After you read this, I hope the feeling of fun and joyfulness gets pushed to the top of your goal board, manifestation chart, mantra wheel, or whatever it is that keeps you on target for feeling the enjoyment of creating and performing music. The carefree soul-shining joy that got you to harmonize with the vibrations of musical goodness in the first place needs to be front and center. 

I can speak from experience about this no-fun zone because I lost my fun focus for a long, long time. It took a moment of clarity 11 years ago to wake me up from my dutiful daze and start having fun again on this joyful adventure we call life. My friend Jennifer Harris and I were standing in front of a karaoke club with a few other friends the night we gathered to celebrate her sister Allison’s birthday. Most of our group was inside starting to escalate the evening into some serious sing-along fun, and the sidewalk chat was directed at me to encourage me to get up there and sing. But all their encouragement, their “come on and sing, Kat” pom-pom pushing, left me in a self-deprecating, serious mode. 

“No, I don’t want to sing.”
“I don’t sing anymore.”
“I’m not good.”

Blah blah blah of the script I had convinced myself when I turned down the fun dial to zero. To give me grace, I was separated at the time. Within a week, I would decide things were not going to change, and it was time to get out of the barren desert landscape of my life circumstance I called marriage wrapped up in the illusion of the American dream.  

So, as they tried to coax me up to the stage, and I was deflecting with an “I suck” script, Jennifer wasn’t having it. In a matter of fact, get over yourself tone, she said, “This isn’t American Idol. It’s karaoke. Just have fun with it.”

Just have fun with it.
Just have fun with it.

Like a blast of loving energy, Jennifer’s “just have fun with it” activated me to get the heck over myself and get back to things being fun — starting that night. I walked back into the club, put my name on the list, and the next thing you know, I was dialed-up in full-on FUN mode.

While that was more than a decade ago, Jennifer’s five words still ring in my head. Just have fun with it. It’s a meter gauge for me. A few years ago, I even changed my language from saying “hard work” to “fun work” about all professional decisions I make. And yes, it’s fun to be super focused and detailed to the max manifesting art and building a company. Creating something that didn’t exist before it was planted as an idea in your mind is mega fun!

The last 11 years have been all about rediscovering my fun. Rediscovering me and that energy of a little girl who used to love writing songs and singing for her audience of dolls and stuffed animals. The vibration of fun that I knew then got edited out of the story. My life had become like that conservative school girl uniform — buttoned-up, contained, framed within someone else’s expectation. My womanhood had become all about meeting everyone else’s needs. 

The refocusing on fun helped me realize that no matter my age, the little girl within me was yearning for expression and freedom. She deserved it. She was worthy of it! The little girl within just wanted to have fun. She materialized first in my children’s books as a little girl, me, as Kathryn the Grape, my childhood nickname. Without attachment to the ego of being an “author” or any expectation of popularity, I started writing because I was being woken up every morning by a voice within to “get up and start writing Kathryn the Grape,” and that’s what I did. 

As I started creating and writing, my purpose gained clarity. I wanted to help children have the tools of self-love I wish I had as a child. I wanted adults to provide nuggets of self-loving goodness for themselves, too, as I had been acquiring for myself. That’s where it all started for me. Love is the heart center of everything I do. This creative journey has been 100% about cultivating sustainable self-love within to be able to authentically ripple love to others without attachment or expectation. It was in the writing and clarity that I discovered my inner “grapeness” of love — the love that was always inside me — and the little girl me and the grown woman me aligned with the fun me. 

What I learned is invaluable: self-love is the golden ticket to the mega-fun zone of life!

How do I know this? Because I’ve lived it. I’ve lived the polarity of life, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that the way to get back to you is by way of healing and transforming, believing and manifesting, and sharing and expanding. Life is a joyful adventure. It’s no coincidence that the seventh book in my seven-book Kathryn the Grape Affirmation Series has “joyful adventure” in the title. 

Fast forward, and my joyful adventure has materialized into many books and many songs and the pure soul-shining fun of performing here and there. The first time I headlined a major ticketed show was at the Belly Up in Solana Beach in January 2017. There I was, eight years after standing outside of a karaoke bar, singing and playing my guitar center stage with songs I wrote, funded, and owned — the result of many decisions focused on fun and fulfillment as my professional path was finally in alignment with my natural vibrancy. It was a dream-living night for me that was the materialization of so many years of self-doubt replaced with self-love.

That night I sang my heart out, and as I looked out at the crowd, there was Jennifer Harris — my karaoke club encourager — dancing and singing along as I just had fun with it.

May you focus on fun as you continue on your joyful adventure of life. Girl, just have fun with it.

Kathryn Cloward

Kathryn Cloward is a best-selling author, award-winning songwriter, and Contributing Editor to Guitar Girl Magazine. A prolific storyteller of simplification, Kathryn crafts complex topics into relatable stories, songs, and poetry. Known as “Kathryn the Grape” to her youngest fans, Kathryn is an engaging and authentic performer sharing her original songs with people of all ages. To date, she has written and released nine full-length albums including four children’s albums and five Kathryn Cloward albums.

Kathryn Clowardhttp://www.KathrynClowardMusic.com
Kathryn Cloward is a best-selling author, award-winning songwriter, and Contributing Editor to Guitar Girl Magazine. A prolific storyteller of simplification, Kathryn crafts complex topics into relatable stories, songs, and poetry. Known as “Kathryn the Grape” to her youngest fans, Kathryn is an engaging and authentic performer sharing her original songs with people of all ages. To date, she has written and released nine full-length albums including four children’s albums and five Kathryn Cloward albums.
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