In Which I Am Too Fucking Nice

I remember that for one birthday in college, my boyfriend at the time offered to take me to a nice restaurant of my choosing. I wanted to look beautiful for him, even though it was my birthday, so I wore heels. I never wear heels. I don’t even think I wore heels to prom. They are super uncomfortable and I am already tall. But I wore heels, and a dress and probably spent time doing my hair. And we walked up and down a main road looking for a good one, and because I wanted to please him and was trying to gauge his reaction the whole time, it took a few miles to pick.

During dinner I looked down and both of my heels were bleeding. Literally dripping blood all over the white carpet of the restaurant. On the way home I could barely walk. Some time later the same boyfriend told me that he’d rather see a girl wear sneakers with a dress than heels.

I have a very clear sense of right and wrong. If I witness something that I think to be un-just, I cannot ignore it. I can’t not intervene, or not offer to help, or not complain about it. I recently realized that a lot of people don’t have this problem, and that I don’t ever want to end up married to one of them. But when it comes to myself, or more specifically, to myself in love, I am willing to put up with almost anything. And I am very willing to ignore unjust circumstances.

I have lost weight for boyfriends. I have gained weight for boyfriends. I have cooked and cleaned for boyfriends when I wouldn’t even cook or clean for myself. I have spent the night laying awake while you snored, or the day in bed with you and missed work and class. I have gone to class for you. I have done drugs for you, drank for you, and illegally driven for you. I have poured orange juice into your mouth while you were having a seizure to save your life. I have given up my hobbies for you, I have changed my style for you, I have ignored everyone else for you. I have pretended to be so many things for you. I have let you push me down a flight of stairs and beat me up and pierce my ears.

And nothing that I do or put up with makes any difference. It doesn’t make you love me more, or make either of us better people.

Every day I have to ask myself if what I’m doing for you is what I really want. Because if I don’t struggle, the next time it’s my birthday I’ll end up with bloody feet again, and it’ll still be my fault.

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In Which I Use The Word “Formative” A Bunch

I remember the first song I ever finished writing. I think I was thirteen, and it was about murdering a girl that my crush liked.

Mainly what I remember about the song was that I finished it, a large feat for me, and therefore thought it was brilliant. I also remember that the lyrics had the word ‘photosynthesis’ in them. And that I printed them out and hid them in a drawer and my mother inevitably found them and asked if she “ought to be concerned” about my “graphic poem”.

I still feel fondness towards my “graphic poem”, because it is mine and no one helped me make it. When I was older and taking AP Music, people had to help me all the time with complicated equations and chorale-writing. And someone has to teach you how to learn an instrument, and when you’re little someone has to show you what music to like.

My older siblings gave me their music hand-me-downs, so I grew up listening to Ani Difranco and Jewel from my sister, and Iron Maiden and Mississippi John Hurt from my brother. And I loved them all and I consider them formative. I even consider that weird Soul Coughing album I found on my brother’s floor to be formative. But they were not mine.

When I was 14, I went to DC for a Youth Leadership conference, which is like a cross between model UN and summer camp. I made friends with a girl named Abby, and gave her my address so she could send me a care package after the conference. And she did, and inside of it was a mix CD that changed my life.

I have not spoken to Abby since, but I would like to publicly thank her for introducing me to such formative bands as Weezer, Broken Social Scene, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In honor of the first music I considered my own, I made a mix on 8tracks (surprise), which you can see here:

http://8tracks.com/lorax/formative-years

Notes:

1. The photo is one I took of myself as a 17 year old, but I included it because a) I took it in DC while I was visiting colleges b) “Anthems for a seventeen year old girl” was the Broken Social Scene song Abby included on my CD. I chose “Lover’s Spit” for the mix, though, because that song was in general more formative for me.

2. Yes, I opted to include a song from Bossanova rather than Doolittle.

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In Which I Hate On Calvinism pt 1

Let me tell you about how much I dislike Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Let me do it in bullet form.

1. Calvinism is irrelevant, because nobody cares about Soteriology. I don’t believe in Salvation because I don’t believe in hell, and I am an amillenialist.  Calvinism actually really digsuts me because of its preoccupation with destiny and sin, two things which seem both trivial and indulgent.

2. If we are claiming that Weber is right here, which I am not, he is either missing a large portion of Christianity (which also happens to be the part I put weight in), or Calvinism is not Christianity (debatable).

3. Weber claims in his book that protestant ethics essentially caused capitolism to erupt in North America. Yet I don’t think true Christianity can be fully practiced in a capitalist society. In fact, countercultural anarchism and radical socalism speak much more to my version of Christianity than any imposed ecomonic system could.

4. Here’s why: the message of Jesus as I understand it is one of radical welcome and compassion: overwhelming inclusion, egalitarianism, lifting up of the lowly, care for the poor, etc. Tell me again how capitalism, a ladder system in which someone MUST occupy the lowest rungs, is real Christian, Weber.

5. Weber is completely confusing a bunch of things. A) why a strong work ethic is important to Protestants B) the difference between Protestant virtue and secular virtue C) why virtue or work ethic even MATTERS to Calvinists who are all pre-destined anyway D) how Protestantism evolved in what was already a hierarchical serfdom/pre-capitalist society anyway and E) Everything. Protestantism did not erupt overnight in a vacuum and create capitolism as it’s ideal way of being. Protestantism places importance on work ethic as a) a way of maintaining enthusiasm for work that needs to get done for the common good and b)a way of placing God into an already existing class system. Secular Capitalists engage with this because a strong work ethic can be turned into productivity and thus easily confused with individualism and greed.

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In Which I Don’t Quote Gnarls Barkley

I feel weird about writing this, which is exactly why I need to.

One of my real crutches in the quest for self-identity has been a little music sharing website called 8tracks.  I have always been pretty confident in is my taste in music- I know what I like and what I don’t, and I keep up on new shit pretty well. So you can imagine why it can be cathartic to make a mix proclaiming “this is me” and watch as people listen (or don’t). Sometimes I make mixes just for me, so I can capture a particular moment in the soundtrack to my life, and then realize that nothing that is on the internet is ever just for me. I could line up songs in itunes and play them over and over again in my room alone “for me”. I make mixes for me and then put them on the internet so you can see that I know who I am and hopefully you will like it (or in this case “love” it, since you can click a little heart next to my mix).

Or sometimes I make mixes “for you”, a specific you, and hope you’ll see them. Or a general you, and hope someone sees it, a lot of someones.

There is a good side to 8tracks, which is that I get to explore new music and “meet” new “people”; like the 30 year old Canadian man I exchanged messages with for months. 8tracks is a social network, but in the sense that it only does the initial connecting. This Canadian guy and I began talking solely on the basis of liking each other’s taste in music and perhaps thinking the other’s lone profile picture was attractive. I liked the idea that we were just two people in different places, both using music to dwell on (or forget) our loneliness. But of course after realizing that I was never going to drive to Canada (I don’t even drive at all) to meet a 30 year stranger old I had met on the internet, things fizzled out.

But Canadian man did make a few mixes that really helped me out. His mix about dating websites, which included the song “Who Cares” by Gnarls Barkley, made me relax into the insignificance of failed internet romances. And his mix for rainy days helped me enjoy a stormy afternoon.

I guess the point of this is simply to “name” (as we say in my Christian intern program) the fact that I am constantly seeking both recognition from and a connection with others, specifically men who hang out on the internet all day. 8tracks is just a handy way for me to do that while listening to music, which frankly I was going to do anyway.

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O/N/D Shows

O20: Pains Of Being Pure At Heart @ Paradise
O23: High On Fire  @ Middle East

N1: Blonde Redhead @ Paradise
N3: Land Of Talk @ TT The Bears
N5: Les Savy Fav @ Royale

Comment to join

 

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I Am

I did not ever contemplate as a child that relationships as an adult would not be easily defined.

You dated someone who eventually was your boyfriend, who you would eventually marry and who would eventually be your prince charming and your One and your other half.
When you grow up you encounter so many different types of needs you weren’t aware even existed.
I have a need for love, yes, and I have a need for sex. But sometimes I have a need for love and sex, or just one, or for sex and cuddling or love and cuddling or love and tacos and sex.
Occasionally I just want someone to be there for me, or more accurately, for someone to be aware that I am hurt and to comfort me. Sometimes I want to be needed but mainly I want to need someone. There are times when I think I cannot go on because part of me is missing, and times when I imagine the freedom that comes when relationships go.
It is possible to love someone so intensely and simultaneously hate their guts.
It is possible not to marry your soul mate.
These are things I could not have imagined as a six year old, or even perhaps as an eighteen year old.
These are things I still have trouble with now.

When people talk about self-realization I always draw a blank. Nothing in my life has been particularly hard. Nobody raped or murdered me, nobody I am close to has died, I have always been reasonably wealthy and healthy. I know small things about me. I have always known that I get annoyed easily when people are complacent, ignorant, or bossy. I have always known that I am a little bit different from everyone else, that I like the number 8 and the color green.
But I do not think I have ever known myself well.

So for now this is where I am going to attempt to learn myself.

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