Every divorced woman needs to see the new Justin Bieber movie, Never Say Never.
In the words of two young Biebettes who momentarily pause in their Bieber-shrieking to talk to the cameras during the movie's opening, "He's such an inspiration ... he gives us hope."
And perhaps no one needs the Bieber brand of hope more than a divorcee about to celebrate Valentine's Day. That's because Justin Bieber reminds us what it's like to love, be loved and feel love. And from the moment he appears onscreen until the moment he fades from the 3D spotlight, you're feeling it.
Now, before the Atlanta screening of Never Say Never, I wouldn't have recognized a Justin Bieber song if it kissed me on the lips. No, not even "Baby."
Today I can't get those addictive beats out of my head. I'm tapping along, singing "U smile, I smile," while I'm making dinner, folding laundry and driving around with my 15-year-old son, much to his embarrassment.
I don't care. Like those BFFs in the movie, I got a shot of hope.
You say you didn't realize Justin Bieber is all about love? Heck, even the bling on his iconic hoodie is a sparkling heart. The point is, he wears it on his sleeve, ladies. Seriously, Justin Bieber and his fans even have their own sign language. Do this: form the letter "C" with your right hand. Now form the letter "C" with your left hand. Put your fingertips together and drop your thumbs slightly... it makes a heart, right? Now imagine that heart as a massive, crystal-covered metal chair -- the size of a small batting cage -- flying over an audience at Madison Square Garden, filmed in 3D, girls screaming at the singing sensation who is sitting inside. That's how Justin Bieber kicks off his Never Say Never concert: singing about love from the hugest heart you've ever seen.
And when he yells to the crowd, "There are always going to be people who say it will never happen... but don't stop believing!" you think he's talking directly to you, telling you to keep believing in yourself -- keep believing in love.
The Justin Bieber movie understands the way love makes us feel. (Give the producers a Swarovski-studded star.) Take the moment Justin picks a young, hysterical girl from the audience to be "the one." He pulls her up on stage and sits her down in a high-top stool so he can sing "One Less Lonely Girl" to her, and the girl is shakin' in her flip-flops. She is absolutely freaking out and I am crying and laughing and hyperventilating right along with her. I feel my heartbeat hammering, and then he shoots her a smile that will make you remember the first time your first crush smiled at you...
And suddenly I have become the oldest Bieberette in the world.
You may wonder why I, who was previously immune to Bieber Fever, was at the movie screening in the first place. My friend, Jan Smith, invited me. You may have heard of Jan -- she's the acclaimed national vocal coach who works with top recording artists like Usher, Rob Thomas, India.Arie, and Justin Bieber. They call her Mama J and for good reason. Jan's the movie's voice of reason, protecting Justin's voice and displaying a tough love that you'd want your child to have on the road if your child was the biggest teen sensation since Michael fronted the Jackson 5. (In an ironic side note, Jan introduced me to my ex-husband 20 years ago, and that relationship and its dissolution taught me more about love than I'd ever known.)
So there I am, my heart coming alive in a theater seat amidst the fervor of Bieber Fever. I know it sounds crazy and corny, but that's when it hit me: Never Say Never can help us through the challenge of our divorce, if we're just willing to believe. Because stripped down to its essentials -- without the music and dance moves and lights and costume changes -- this is a movie that reminds you to never give up on yourself. Never give up on hope. And never give up on love.
This movie shows us what our life could be, set to a killer hip-pop soundtrack.
And for all of us single parents raising children in this age of you-can-be-a-reality-TV-star-even-if-you-have-no-talent, this is a movie about a rising star's unbelievably hard work, long hours and determination, blended with optimism, support and faith. Kind of like a marriage. And a lot like the next step we are all taking, because post-divorce, we are learning to hope again, to define the dreams we want and shed the people and the thinking that would hold us back. Like Justin's amazing round-up of roadie-family, we are beginning to trust others and respect ourselves. And we are striving to love again -- our lives, ourselves, and maybe, someday, another partner.
So as you watch Never Say Never -- taking in the home movie clips, the on-the-road family, the leaps of faith -- let yourself remember that unrestrained, youthful exuberance, the feeling of loving love and believing that yes, it could happen to you.
You can make it happen again, if and when you're ready.
Never Say Never.