beyonce-knowels-net-worth-1024x768In honor of Beyonce’s 32nd birthday today, I decided to make a list of all the reasons Beyonce conjures feelings inside me, a grown woman (“I’m a grown woman … I do whatever I want!”), not unlike my giddy, fawning, admiring, disproportionate reaction to Debbie Gibson when I was 12.

Here, why Beyonce matters to me, and many grown women like me:

1. At least from the outside, she seems to have the most enviable relationship in history. She supports her man in life and song (“Ladies, if you love your man, show him you the flyest/Grind up on it, girl, show him how you ride it”), yet still manages to hold her own against one of the most powerful, hyper-masculine rappers ever. (She basically shuts that whole thing down in “Upgrade U”: “I know you be’s the block but I’m the lights that keep the streets on,” she begins, before engaging in essentially a song-length rap battle/love fest with her husband.) She basically has the ideal we’re all looking for in 2013: a best friend and equally mega-powerful partner. ’03 Bonnie and Clyde 4-eva.

2. Her dancing. Going to a dance class where we learn pop-star routines has (seriously) changed my life, most notably through our Beyonce phase in the spring and early summer. (I like to call it “Beyoncercize.”) It’s not just a workout; it’s not even just a fun workout. Learning her Sasha Fierce moves and owning them as we practice throughout the hour does something to a woman. You feel like Beyonce when you’re done. I don’t think that’s happened to me in quite the same way with other stars’ routines. I think it’s in the hips. (Or maybe in acting out lines like, “I got a cute face and my booty’s so fat.”)

3. Then there’s the strut, always worth emulating:



4. And finally, the shoulders-back, pop-the-hip stance — which I find is her most everyday-practical move, even if it doesn’t look terribly practical here:



5. What all of this adds up to is the most important part of Beyonce-ism: She has a way of cultivating otherworldly confidence, but more to the point, she has a magical ability to share it with her fans. She wants you to be as Beyonce as she is. She has a startlingly touching and sincere way of convincing you she’s aware of how lucky she is and truly grateful for her life. She hopes to pass a little bit of it along to each one of us, if only for 3 minutes on our iPod during our morning run or a few hours on a Saturday night at her concert. I was shocked, and a little embarrassed, that I cried when she appeared on stage before me at Barclays Center in Brooklyn last month. But now I know: It’s because I want at least a little bit of her spirit in my life, and she wants to give it to me.

Here’s a little Beyonce spirit for your day: