10 Life Lessons Shirley Manson Has Taught Me

There’s no doubt that Garbage frontwoman, Shirley Manson, is a queen in her own right. The singer has been one of my biggest inspirations ever since I was about 14 years-old. At an age that is riddled with self-doubt and low self-esteem, Shirley, through her music, taught me how to be strong; to stand up for myself in times of injustice and to never be afraid to be exactly who I am. At almost 28, things certainly have changed since then but my love for Manson hasn’t faltered – it only grows stronger as she continues to dole out wisdom and honesty so poignantly, whether through song, interviews or just through social media. With her in this world, I feel like I’m not alone and that is something I will carry with me forever.

Manson is currently gearing up for the release of Garbage’s sixth studio album, Strange Little Birds, on June 10. In honor of the big day (only one week away!!) I thought I’d share the 10 lessons that Shirley Manson has taught me over the years.

10. Don’t fake it – admit you’re lost and take it from there.

One thing we hear a lot is, “Fake it til’ you make it,” and while that notion can be true at times, it’s never ideal. When Shirley first started out with Garbage, she had never written a song in her life but she pulled through and now her songs touch millions of fans worldwide. It’s okay to admit you’re a rookie. In fact, there’s a little bit of a rookie in all of us no matter how successful we are.

9. Success means nothing unless you are confident with who you are.

You could be the most successful person on the planet with every materialistic thing you could possibly need, but if you’re not happy with who you are, what good is any of it? Shirley recently admitted that during the height of Garbage in the 90’s, she was so unhappy and that she couldn’t feel proud of all of her success. Self-love is so important and the sooner we realize this, the better off we’ll all be.

8. Strength is always within you.

There are days when I feel like I just want to go to sleep and never wake up but Shirley has reminded me time and time again that there’s always a little spark in you that keeps you going. It may take a while to find it, but it’s always there.

7. It’s OK to be outspoken about the things that matter to you.

Shirley is no stranger to brutal honesty. If you follow her on her personal Facebook page or on Twitter, you’ll find that she never holds back on the things that fire her up. The best part is, while sharing her thoughts and opinions on big issues, she’s not an a-hole about it – something our society needs to learn! She’s always well-spoken and respectful and it has definitely rubbed off on me.

6. It does not matter how scared you are. Do it anyway.

There are going to be things in life that scare us out of our wits but more times than not, those are the things we need to push through in order to be the best version of ourselves.

5. A big laugh is contagious.

Have you ever heard this woman laugh? It is the most contagious thing in the world and I love her for it. I’ve even had people tell me I laugh just like her which is both crazy and quite an honor.

4. It is possible to be a strong woman who is also sensitive.

It’s important to be strong; to back up your opinions, values and ideals. But it is also absolutely okay to be soft, loving and warm. That, to me, is the ultimate woman. Sometimes we crave connection but when that trust is broken, it’s hard not to put your guard up. Be the light that others miss out on.

3. True love is sacred but it also radiates.

Shirley’s marriage to Garbage sound engineer/guitar tech, Billy Bush, is the sweetest thing you will ever witness. I admire how she keeps her relationship private but you can still see how much their love radiates off of her. If that’s not true relationship goals, nothing is! In “If I Lost You,” off of Strange Little Birds, Manson gives us a taste of what love is like for her as common insecurities run wild.

2. There’s always something to learn from every situation.

Whether good or bad, there’s always something to take away from every situation. We just need to look at the big picture and realize that everything is just a lesson. Sure, that can get annoying at times but the sooner we tune in, the more prepared we’ll be when we’re faced with the rough stuff.

1. The trick is to keep breathing. Always.

It all started with one song to save my life. “The Trick Is To Keep Breathing,” off of the band’s sophomore record, Version 2.0, pretty much saved my life back in middle school and it continues to serve the same (if not bigger) purpose today. Whenever I feel like I can’t deal with life, I turn on that song and I breathe. “I won’t be the one who’s going to let you down,” Manson sings and her promise has remained true all these years later.

Oh yeah and you reading this? You’re a queen! Always remember that!

Pre-order Strange Little Birds here.