Most years, the traditions of the Easter season are a surprise to me. Like a weird life-spanning amnesiac experience, I had somehow forgotten about Ash Wednesday, along with not eating meat on Fridays, and that I am supposed to give something up for forty days.
When I realized the Christian season of Lent had already begun, I scrambled for something to give up that I hadn’t already used in the time I was living unaware. Usually, it ends up being something I don’t really use anyway and I don’t even remember what it was that I gave up by the time Easter arrives.
These numerous sad attempts inspired me to really go for gold this year. I decided to give up something that was important to me, start on time and actually go the full 40 days. What could I give up that would really mean something? Something that would change my day-to-day life with notable effect? Something I elect to use everyday, but don’t fundamentally need?
After a lot of deliberation, I chose to give up Beyonce.
Now, for many people, this probably isn’t a large sacrifice. But, for those true Yonce fans out there, you know that this was an audacious endeavor.
I would say I have been a full card-carrying member of the Beyhive for about six years. I’ve watched her Super Bowl Halftime Show Performance more times than I can count and I “Ring the Alarm” when I find out there’s been yet another surprise release. I saw the Formation World Tour two times and found myself holding back tears both times. The announcement that she was having twins gave me hope that 2017 could still be a beautiful year.
In my eyes, Beyonce is “Flawless” and “Irreplaceable.” Some might say that I’m “Crazy in Love” with her work and I hope I stay that way until the “End of Time.”
I don’t consciously choose to listen to a Beyonce song every day, but her music is a huge part of my library and almost all of my playlists have at least one, if not many appearances by her. I found myself skipping songs a lot in the middle of my runs and hesitating to just put my music on shuffle.
Friends gave me weird looks when I heard the opening strains of a track from the Queen and immediately covered my ears and asked them to change it. I was running a countdown in my head from the moment Lent began. But, I made it the full 40 days with only one song making it to my ears.
That song was “Naughty Girl” and it was playing at Landmark Americana when I was eating dinner there. I instinctively covered my ears, then realized that I didn’t have any control over the situation — I was not about to sit there with my hands over my ears for three-and-a-half minutes.
The 40 days without my favorite musician was definitely a test of my self discipline and went better than I initially expected. I felt a little bit duller, I wasn’t “Feeling Myself” as much as I usually do. Singing along to most songs from Mrs. Carter is like reciting a bunch of self affirmations, and it really does affect my mood. I never hit that point where you feel like you’ve gone long enough without something that you don’t need it anymore.
The first few days, I really wanted to hear “Shining,” her recent release with DJ Khaled and her husband Jay Z. It was still fresh material and it was hard to give up the shiny new toy. I found myself seriously craving some songs. But it wasn’t the mainstream hits, it was the deep cuts that I really wanted to hear. I found myself humming “Mine,” “Ring Off” and “Pray You Catch Me” a couple times. I woke up one day with “Lose My Breath,” a real throwback from the days of Destiny’s Child, stuck in my head. Her collaboration with Naughty Boy, “Runnin (Lose It All)” was also dearly missed.
However, there was a bright side to my suffering. I ended up taking this time to bring a lot of new music into my life. I listened to a lot of Kehlani, Daya and Little Mix. I also tried out new music from Stormzy, Zara Larsson and Marian Hill. I got really into Betty Who’s new album “The Valley” which I highly recommend to any fan of true pop music. New releases from the likes of Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj and Lorde were also very helpful in distracting me from the void I had created in my library.
What was the first song I chose after my forty day withdrawal? That would be the remix of “Standing on The Sun” from the platinum re-release of her self titled album. It’s got that combination of ballad and summery-island beats, with Yonce serving some bars. Now, excuse me while I watch “Lemonade,” “Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream” and her Grammy performance of “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles.”