Lady Nobody: on Being a Song

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Illustration by Catalina Estrada.

This is a little awkward for me because I swore to God – and myself – I would never write about my own music. But this time it’s for a good cause – maybe even a couple good ones. So I’m going to be talking about my song Lady Nobody. This is without a doubt the most special song I’ve ever written, both for the way in which it happened and for its meaning, obviously. So that’s what I’m going to try to do in this essay: I’ll talk about the magical way in which it wrote itself and about what it means to me. If you’d like, you can listen to it here, before reading and here are the lyrics:

Lady nobody
hiding in your room
Lady nobody
living inside your doom

Lady nobody
guilty of your pain
Lady nobody
always the one to blame

Oh oh oh…

You are free, finally
You can breathe, can’t you see, you are free

Lady nobody
crying out your tears
Lady nobody
life is led by fear

Lady nobody
a story for every bruise
Lady nobody
there is no excuse

Oh oh oh…

You are free, finally
You can breathe, can’t you see, you are free

So, what came first? The title. I remember writing the two words – lady, nobody – on my Blackberry notepad. Just that. I left it at that and then went on to write something else, some other attempt at ‘title-writing’. It didn’t mean much back then.

After a few months, I found myself being out of school for a quarter, during which I had time to just let ideas marinate and sink in. And then it happened. It was exactly as magical and mystical as I remembered it. I sat down and words literally flowed in the right manner, at a steady pace and with a plan. My mind immediately went back to those two words on my phone and I wrote them on top of a blank page on my notebook. The rest was easy, I finally knew who she was, what her place and mission were. Lady Nobody was every abused woman I had read and heard about. The ease with which the song happened balanced the amazing weight it had meaning-wise.

Lady Nobody was born inside of me a long time ago. When I lived in Barcelona I watched the news every single day – a bad habit I have since then lost fortunately – and I remember the disappointment and frustration I would feel watching how every day one woman – or more – would die because her current or ex partner thought she was seeing somebody else, or wearing a skirt that was too short, or because she had talked back to him…or simply because she had uttered a word. That to me was, and is, unacceptable, disgusting, enraging. Every woman who was beaten or died in the attempt of making her voice heard became an amazingly powerful symbol which grew and grew inside of me. I couldn’t stand the thought of hearing about another dead or barely-alive woman. It was something that really hit me, more than I’ve seen it hit other people, for some reason.

Either way, years passed, more women got beaten, stabbed, shot but I couldn’t find the right words to express all my rage and all my empathy for them. That is probably one of the most frustrating artistic processes; you can try and write pages and pages, but sometimes, you’re just not ready for your own words yet. However, Lady Nobody had already been born. I just needed to see her better in my mind. As elegant and graceful as you can imagine but equally denied in terms of her own identity, she was obliterated, made invisible, torn, stripped of her individuality and personality. All women and none at the same time.

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Finally, the day that Lady Nobody flowed out of me, I finally became her in a matter of instants. I was her, something had clicked. I could see her sad eyes and frail appearance; I could feel the fear she felt for her own life, her sense of desperation and entrapment, her physical and emotional pain, her exhaustion, the polluted air she was breathing. The corner of her room where she’d take refuge, the light she’d leave on at night, the concealer she’d use to cover her bruises. And I could see a huge broken heart. I could also feel how brave she was, trying to fight for her right to have a voice. Such a heroine against such a monster. But the key is, I could feel her relief after all, her sense of freedom and how all the pain had proven to be useful to liberate herself, to wake others up, to provide awareness. Lady Nobody had finally attained her freedom; she had been able to speak up with her chin held high. And she had done it through me.

Lady Nobody still doesn’t have a face in my mind but I can hear her firm voice in spite of the abuse she’s had to endure – she is a faceless lady but she is not voiceless. Despite her apparent powerlessness, she is amazingly powerful.

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2 thoughts on “Lady Nobody: on Being a Song

  1. Wow. You are a gifted writer, Jade. And writing this song was truly an amazing process… I believe you will write other songs that will flow from your inner being in a similar way. Thank you for feeling, caring and sharing this story. I want to hear MORE.

  2. thena, thank you so much for reading. i’m so happy you enjoyed it. it really was amazing to write this song and i’m excited for what’s to come. thank you for your support, i wouldn’t have done a lot of things without it.

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