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  • Joanna.Live

Tom Keifer (of Cinderella) Self-Respect & Pulling a Runner

I love Cinderella because of their bluesy sound ("Nobody's Fool" and "Bad Seamstress Blues" being favorite tunes), but also because the lyrics (mostly written by frontman Tom Keifer) are more sophisticated than many of those from the glam/hair metal era. Keifer is a prolific songwriter who has a knack for telling stories through his songs.

For example, check out these lyrics from "The Way Life Goes" from the solo album of the same name:

Bobby comes from the wrong side of the tracks

Cool as he was you know he just couldn't seem to relax

A couple of reds and a bottle of wine

Smoking a joint now he's doing fine

Bobby comes from the wrong side of the tracks

Peggy's as good as a Catholic girl can be

Bob looked at her said "God made you just for me"

She lit up a smoke said "I disagree

A U and I don't make a W-E"

To everyone's surprise it was true love eternally

Unfortunately, fans aren't going to be able to experience Cinderella in the future, but Keifer has a great solo band, #keiferband, where he still plays some Cinderella hits. Be sure to check out the solo albums Rise and The Way Life Goes, which are chock full of Keifer's rich, raspy sound.

I listen to Cinderella's "Nobody's Fool" while I'm boxing at the gym and it always makes me think of a quote that Keifer stated during an interview in 2019: “I’ve always been of a mindset that when I walk on stage I want to give my best and my all to the audience, to the fans. Even going back to the early tours with Cinderella, I was always stone cold sober on stage. I enjoy what I do too much. The high is walking on that stage knowing that you’re performing at your best level. That’s the kick for me, knowing that you can walk off stage and say, ‘I did my best, and that’s what I gave the audience.’”

This quote demonstrates Keifer's self-respect and commitment to himself and his craft. He thinks highly of himself (which he should) and doesn't do anything damaging (particularly getting smashed) before going onstage because this would decrease his value in his eyes. I have immense respect for this tactic because we should all honor ourselves first; when we do so, it makes it easier to honor others.

While I'm hitting the heavy bag at the gym, and thinking of Keifer's quote above and the lyrics to "Nobody's Fool," my mind flits around to situations where I, and other people in my world, haven't exhibited much self-respect in the past, and then I'll reflect on some recent occurrences during which I've demonstrated tremendous honor and commitment to myself.

Here's one personal example:

I was at a party where I met a man with whom I really connected. He shared a lot of personal information, which was surprising to me since he is a celebrity and values discretion. This man was, and still is, going through a tremendously difficult situation and was at a loss as to how to navigate it. We spent a long time discussing his life, the situation, and the steps he would need to take to improve the situation. I had a lot of empathy for him because I know what it is like to feel as if life is steamrolling over you and that you're barely clinging on for dear life.

As the evening wore on, it became apparent that this man expected me to behave like the women who came before me who apparently were quite easily charmed out of their knickers. At first, I deflected his advances with humor. When that wasn't effective, I explained that I was not interested in jumping into the sack with someone I didn't know, celebrity or not. I explained that I realized that he was used to women saying yes to him 99 percent of the time, but that I fell into the minority one percent and was not going to be reduced to a notch on some guy's belt. My worth and value are far greater than this, and I have standards that I don't compromise for anyone.

This man definitely deserved a gold star for persistence because the advances did not abate. My patience finally wore thin as I was frustrated that he was not hearing me, and thus not respecting me. Enough was enough. I excused myself by saying that I was going to the ladies room and would return in a couple of minutes, but I left the gathering and drove home instead. Yep, I pulled a runner. I wonder how long Romeo sat there waiting for me to return.

I have learned to be a forgiving person and not allow a person's mistakes to completely negate their positive attributes in my eyes. Human beings are complex creatures who are not all good or all bad, and we all make a mess of situations at times. I know that I surely have. Therefore, I can't write this guy off as being a total wanker, especially given his strong attributes. What I can do is show him that I'm deserving of respect by not accepting his behavior, and if he can't see that then I don't need to waste my time.

My advice to you is not to be afraid to walk away from people who do not show you respect because if you continue to accept their disrespect, you are not honoring yourself. And when you don't honor yourself, you are going to have more difficulty learning from others and thus evolving into a better person.

Here are some steps that I've incorporated to help enhance my self-respect:

  1. Setting boundaries. This has always been a tough one for me because I grew up in an abusive home where some boundaries were muddled and not clearly defined while others were outrageously and unnecessarily harsh. It has taken a lot of work for me to learn how to set and maintain boundaries, but it has been totally worth the effort because it has enabled me to have healthier relationships.

  2. Avoiding negative self-talk. The human mind is programmed towards the negative because this is what kept early man alive. Our ancestors focused on overcoming negative outcomes to maintain survival, but today most of us don't have to physically fight to stay alive. It takes effort to perceive ourselves and our circumstances in a positive light, but I know that once I started doing this, my life became exponentially easier.

  3. Meditating daily to control emotions. In case you've been living in a cave, there is copious research that supports the myriad physiological, psychological, and emotional benefits of practicing meditation. Meditating daily has not only enhanced my physical health (which is important as a cancer survivor who has multiple sclerosis [both illnesses are in remission]), but it has helped me level out my emotions and become more stable.

  4. Trying to do the right thing on a consistent basis. Let's face it, some days it is hard as f*** to do the right thing. Doing the right thing is not typically the easiest route to take, and humans like for things to be easy. Society constantly teaches us right from wrong and most of us learned these basics in kindergarten (and places of worship, if that applies), so none of us can say that we don't know what's right and what's wrong. The issue occurs when we permit our ego to cloud our judgment and lead us down the wrong path, and then we allow our ego to rule us even more by making rationalizations for our poor choices.

When you have self-respect, you see the value in cultivating good habits just as Tom Keifer has done. And look at where that has gotten him...a decades-long career of bringing joy to millions of people that allows him to exercise his creativity and build relationships with really cool people.


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