Every time I listen to this song I well up. I do not show my emotions that much as I’ve had to be strong. But this song gets me every time, especially when I watch it on youtube with the lyrics as above.
The reason it gets me is because it was my sisters’ favourite song. She is dead now, eventually murdered by her boyfriend, but before that she was taken into care, abused, and spat out by a social care system that quite frankly let us all down.
Hazel was in the newspaper around the time that Cyndi Lauper released this song. I remember the article well “101 Scars” Hazel had used a pseudo name “Danielle” and it was written by an up-and-coming journo Tina Weaver, she was the one that exposed Michael Jackson for his relationship with boys. I remember catching up with her decades later when she was an editor of a leading newspaper and she remembered.
Hazel would sit in her room cutting herself to pieces, she had scores of little fury animals, everyone was unaware of the hurt, anger and trauma she was going through. No one knew what to do. Every other day we would be at an A&E, with doctors and nurses not understanding what would drive a 14-year-old child to such despair.
But every day she would be playing this song in her bedroom. You with the sad eyes – “I can see your true colors shining through” her eyes were sad and they remained that way.
I was close to my sister and we planned on changing the care system together so that children would not have to go through what we had to endure, and so that when they left the system they would have better lives and fulfil their dreams, that was our promise to each other, but Hazel was broken, she suffered so much, she lost her children and eventually lost her life.
Before she left, we were at a funeral for another who had had a hard life too. “I feel like I will be next.” Hazel said “I do not want to die.” she added. Hazel was not in a good place, but all I could say was “Don’t be silly we are going to change the care system together” She would say “I have the heart you have the brains we can do this together”
It’s like the Wizard of Oz – we are on the yellow brick road, we are all different and we all need each other. Reflecting it was the last real conversation we had before the anger got the best of her.
But as I listen to this song, I hang on every word and remember what we wanted to do and it gives me strength and connection. This song is timeless and beautiful like a rainbow.
I only just realised that the original verse that Billy Steinberg wrote for this song, but not used was;
‘You’ve got a long list with so many choices, a ventriloquist with so many voices, and your friends in high places say where the pieces fit, you’ve got too many faces in your makeup kit, but I see your true colors shining through,’
It’s quite relevant in England right now because the chair of the independent review of the Children’s Social Care System Josh MacAllister is getting so much criticism for not being independent and people are saying his friends in “high places who are saying where the pieces fit,” and he is therefore not appropriate to lead a review of such importance.
However could it be that people are not seeing Josh’s “true colors shining through” I’ve got no clue. But I know the care experienced community know what it is like to be judged and labelled by things that are written about them and it is not nice.
I know that that this song will give him strength, it gave my sister strength, and it gives me strength. So I hope he sees this. We all want to change the care system and it does not matter how it’s done, as long as our children suffer no more and they have a better life after care.
For those of faith know that God has a plan for us all. And those of no faith, know that everything happens for a reason, whether it is quantum entanglement, or law of attraction or gritted determination,
We are all hurting but if you are able, please join me and my late sister in our ambition to change the care system.
Whether Josh is able or not, at least open your hearts to the opportunity that he can bring us together. If he chairs this review and helps us pull off the systematic change that our fallen deserve much quicker. Is it not worth 12 months and a bit of faith when we have been waiting generations?
Please don’t think that this is our only chance to change the care system. But it is a good opportunity.