Updated: Feb 11
By: Shavonne R. Healy
“After you reach a certain level of talent, quite a few have that talent. The deciding factor is ambition or as I see it, how much you really need. The need to be loved or to be proud of yourself. And I guess that’s what ambition is. It’s not all a quest for position or money maybe it’s for love, lots of love” - Janis Joplin
Did you ever wonder what motivated the people we think are extraordinary to do the very thing that made them so extraordinary?
In the opening of the 2015 documentary “Janis: Little Girl Blue”, an interviewer asks the 1960s rock legend Janis Joplin “why do you sing?” In her response, Janis describes the good feelings she gets from singing and how “music is created from and as its happening creates feelings”. The first time I heard Janis Joplin was when her version of “Cry Baby” appeared in the 1989 film “Look Who’s Talking”. Her emotions bled through her music and she sang with her entire soul. I was young at the time and did not fully understand Love, but I knew that it was Love that was making her sing like that.
Reflection gives us the opportunity to find meaning in life’s experiences. It could be looking back at an event that happened years ago or perhaps looking back on someone else’s life to discover meaning or purpose beneficial to you. There is no rock I will not look under to find GOD’s answers to life’s journey, but there are those moments when I am just absolutely stuck! It is during times like this when I turn to music to help heal or uplift my spirit. I have a great Love for music, all kinds of music, but I especially love soulful singers like Janis. As a woman, I can relate to some of her pain.
Janis Joplin was a fragile soul having grown up being bullied by her peers. While in college, a fraternity nominated Janis to be the university’s “ugliest man”. You can imagine the hurt and pain Janis endured as she lived her short life struggling to free herself from love’s ball and chain. So, how did this woman with all the odds against her become one of the greatest female rock singers of all time? Her ambition. And as Janis was a unique soul so were her inspirations. Her ambition was for Love. The need to give Love and receive Love. She was happiest when she was on stage singing her heart out to the thousands of
fans that loved her back. Such an inspirational story.
One thing that amazed me the most about Janis (besides everything about her) was her age. She was only 27 years old when she was found dead in a Hollywood motel room. It was, presumably, an overdose of heroin that took her young life. Everything I ever read or watched about her leaves me to believe that she died lonely and yearning for Love. I think about how terrible that is and how I know that there are so many women that at times, or all the time, feel like Janis did when she died. It also makes me think about GOD’s love and how blessed we are to have it. I pray that Janis died having faith in GOD’s deep love for her.
When you find yourself “stuck” questioning your life’s purpose, ask yourself why you began this journey in the first place. As Christians we are driven by the Love of GOD so make your life fit His values. We can do anything we put our hearts to, in Christ.
“On stage, I make love to 25,000 different people, then I go home alone.” Janis Joplin
Shavonne R. Healy, MSDH, RDH, ICP is a graduate of the University of Bridgeport: Fones School of Dental Hygiene and founder of A Higher Learning, LLC. She is a member of the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries, the International Federation of Dental Hygienists, served as a delegate for the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, and Immediate Past President of the District of Columbia Dental Hygienists’ Association. She is the founder of A Higher Learning, LLC, co-founder of RDH Innovations, LLC, and Dental Implants Uncovered Facebook Study Group. Shavonne was celebrated as one of Dimension of Dental Hygiene’s Top 6 Dental Hygienists You Should Know for Clinical Practice in 2019. With a background as Implant Care Practitioner in Oral Surgery, Shavonne has cultivated a pathway for dental hygienists to work intraprofessional alongside Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.