When I was in grade school I was a poster child for perfection. At least appearance-wise. I had long golden blonde hair and this wonky, crooked smile. I could approach anyone and was fearless in my quest for adventure and new friends. I stood up to bullies and protected the underdogs around me. I loved school and schoolwork, I could play for endless hours with almost anyone of any age except of course the older girls who wanted to talk about boys. I was happy and carefree and moody and whiny and always worried that my friends would leave me like my father did. Or, rather, they would go away like my sister did. I don't think I mourned the leaving of my father. As an adult I sometimes think about it and get really pissed off about the whole deal but more on the surface in how it reads in regards to my mother, brother and sister. I was so young I like to think his absence specifically didn't affect me. He wasn't really ever home anyway from what I can remember. I know it did a number on me but I like to keep ny head in the clouds. Anywhoo, that's not what this post is about. This post is about how we evolve and change yet stay the same. You know what I mean?
All through grade school I was this poster child and then puberty hit, I became a teenager in age at least, if not attitude. All my friends around me moved onto more teen-aged things and I was left behind. I wanted to be left behind. All those unknown milestones of being thirteen and older scared the heck out of me. I dug my heels in and was determined to stay a child as long as I could. I refused to conform. I was an outcast anyway since we were a bit poor. I wore chunky, clunky god-awful glasses and was not able to get braces to fix the wonkiness of my teeth. My mom sewed most of my clothes and continued to trick me into liking vintage duds. It was all to get by as I was a welfare kid and she was disabled and couldn't work. I had no idea how dismal it all was and looking back I am newly in awe of her grace, humor and industry. So there I was in junior high lagging behind the valley girls in their esprit de corp and guess jeans. I became the "weird" girl in poodle skirts and saddle shoes or black witchy boots and pleather pants in a vintage three-quarter sleeved jacket with a scarf tied round my neck. While my grade school friends merged further and further away from me with their lockers plastered with pictures of Duran Duran and Depeche Mode, I covered my Pee-chee folders with Oingo Boingo lyrics and drawings of that Selector guy from all the ska bands. My musical tastes were honestly eclectic at best. I listened to everything from Elvis Presley, Harry Chapin, and Paul Simon, to Sparks, They Might Be Giants, The Specials and The Germs. I wore out my Jesus Christ Superstar album and would fall asleep at night to Pink Floyd's The Wall or a bit of Black Sabbath.
In high school, I developed a more bizarre sense of style and did my best to emulate Lucille Ball, Imogene Coco, Cyndi Lauper and Anne Margaret. I skipped around in black oversized Oingo Boingo t-shirts with ripped jeans and knee-high stoner-style mocassin boots or psychedelic mini a-line dresses and bloomers with crimped hair and combat boots. I once carried all my personal goods wrapped up in a bandana tied to a stick a la some sort of old school hobo only to be told the stick was too dangerous. My musical taste became a bit more forgiving and I added R.E.M and some other mainstream bands to my play list but I cheered more for our local bands like Redd Kross, Thelonious Monster, Mary's Danish, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and (L.A.)Guns N Roses. I wanted to study fashion, become an Alvin Ailey dancer, own my own dance club and write children's books.
After school I dabbled in a few college courses where I met the oddball artsy kids that felt like soul mates to me. We would drink coffee at The Pikme-Up or hang out at Bourgeoius Pig or Jabberjaw and shop at Monster or American Rag. We would hit Woolworth's for grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate malts. It was bliss. I still wanted to do fashion and dance but then I met my first serious boyfriend who introduced Syd Barret and Jimi Hendrix to my musical tastes. As the years trooped forward and my ears opened to the sounds of many more artists I found that I still preferred to cozy up to my old junior high favorites while courting the not-so-mainstream notes the indy folks out there.
Music is such a powerful tool. It can inspire and bring you back to good and bad times. It can make you weep with happiness and bring your blood pressure up in a not so good way (The Smashing Pumpkins does this to me). Music can influence your dress, your day, your smile. As I sit here and think about my fondness for the abynormal girl I have always been I cannot help but giggle at the variety of warbles coming from my tinny computer speakers. While I have been type, type, typing away I have paused to sing along to The Sweet's Ballroom Blitz. I have danced to disco by the Sylvers, crooned along off-key to Baby Don't You Cry and paused to blast World Destruction. Music, it is more valuable than diamonds or gold to me. I have recently discovered the addiction of the iTunes store and have a happy folder of oddball new tunes. If you are interested in my current playlist, gimme a shout cuz I got the fever...Boogie Fever that is.