Written by Bernadette Pello | Livingstone Academy | KNOW Tampa

There have been moments, hours or even days when I feel completely defeated as though I am fighting an uphill battle. When this happens, as a means of encouraging myself, I listen to music. In fact, my play list is entitled “Toughen Up”. Most of us have songs that when we hear them motivate us and make us feel like a super hero. My toughen up song list is very eclectic and covers a few decades of songs. I have Fighter (Christina Aguilera) and Hit Me with Your Best Shot. (Pat Benatar) These two songs make me feel like Wonder Woman. The songs make me want to move into a fighting stance and say “I dare you to try to stop me from succeeding. I will be victorious!” Follow that up with “Can’t Knock Me Down” (Pretty Panther) and Alicia Keys belting out “Girl on Fire”. Please do not waste your time throwing those obstacles at me! It will be a waste of your time and energy, after all, I am “Titanium”.

My list would not be complete without my all-time favorite, Billy Joel. Hearing “My Life” and “Big Shot” remind me that I have an inborn “New York-ness in me. You may tell me I am not qualified to do what I want or that my dreams are out of reach, but I will not hear you. I am after all, Perfect according to Pink and Beautiful, per Francesca Battistelli.

I have to admit, out of these great and inspiring songs, the song that shoots adrenaline into my veins is probably older that many of you reading this article. It may be old school but the message still rings clearer than a bell.

In 1970, Helen Reddy wrote a song that she would perform in 1972 called, “ I am Woman”. It became the anthem for women everywhere seeking equality and respect and it celebrated women being empowered. Listen to the lyrics.

You can bend but never break me
Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

I wish I had written that! It’s not just the music, it’s quite literally the words. Words empower and when blended with a great beat, it can help us overcome the hardest days. On those days when you feel like everything you touch does not turn to gold (Yes, Midas Touch is on my list), listen to what motivates you to run longer, push harder and grow exponentially! Sometimes that will be actual music and other times it will be words that are music to your ears and soul.

When I had one those days recently where it seemed as though I could not even spell my name correctly, our son reminded me that I am remarkable (He is 27) He said mom, “You can do anything you want to do and you always succeed.” It was just what I needed to hear. Maybe those years when he saw me work countless hours, always doing more than was expected, trying to learn more and making sacrifices, he was learning as well.

So, as Helen said:
Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

Ladies, who out there can sing? It is not me. If I could, I would remake that song. Kings and Queens (Ava Max) remind me that other woman need to be reminded of these facts. There are numerous women out there, working hard to achieve, just like you. Encourage them just as I am encouraging you. You are a strong, invincible women. I hope to hear you roar this year!



Bernadette Pello
Livingstone Academy

Bernadette Pello is the President of Livingstone Schools, Inc. – private schools for students with learning disabilities. She also co-owns the Pasta Monsta Food Truck. Bernadette is very active in community issues.