Why I Mourn a Famous Musician I’ve Never Met

I have to admit that I was caught off-guard by my own reaction to Prince’s death and I’m still processing everything, because he and his music had an effect on my life, especially during my teenage years. Now, I’m seeing that it was more than I even realized. The people and things that affect you and shape your life do so in a way that goes much deeper than just “music” or “image”, especially when you’re in your early teens and you’re becoming more aware of the world around you and learning, probably for the first time, that ambiguity is the norm and that the world doesn’t work in terms of absolutes. The world around you is what it is and what it wants to be. It’s shaped by the sum of our individual actions. No matter how much we want the world and life to fit into a tidy little cubbyhole or category, it won’t and the more you try and force it into a place where it doesn’t belong, the more grief you get. Not to mention you’ve just wasted a lot of time and energy on something so futile.

It wasn’t just the music, although, his music was an important part of it. I’m a square peg. I’ve always been the square peg. I grew up in an environment where those around me, namely my father, tried to force me into that “round hole”, no matter how much damage it caused and they were stubborn enough and insecure enough to keep trying to ram me into a place where I did not belong. They did it because it made *them* feel better about themselves. Strong, smart women were a threat. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, growing up, all the things that girls didn’t do or couldn’t do (even when it ran counter to what I was seeing when I turned on TV or opened up a book.) It’s easier to try to deal with the “threat” because it’s less scary than dealing with things like feelings and emotions. It was easier to make me doubt myself than it was for him to face his own self-doubts.

Prince was someone who defied labels and in a way, let me know that it was not only okay to be that square peg, but I didn’t have to go into that round hole, either. Of course, it would take me a long time (and a ton of bad decisions later) to truly realize this. The music was also an escape–and Prince’s material was one of the ingredients in the salve for all the invisible bruises I had.

I learned that ambiguity is something to be embraced, not feared, because we won’t find out who we truly are unless we become fearless and ask questions and explore and poke at things. And then we have to remain fearless because there will be people who will not like that you are asking questions and some will even try to stop you. But you still have to be fearless because you will not find out who you truly are and what you are meant to be if you don’t ask or poke at the hornets’ nest.

I can see now that in a subtle and roundabout way, Prince also let me know that it was okay to be a girl and that I was not inferior because I possessed two X chromosomes.  The fact that he had female musicians in his various bands spoke much louder to that than all the lingerie-clad proteges he had back in the day.  The lingerie-wearing proteges are long gone, but Princes’ using female musicians in his band still remain.

I also mourn because he embodied what music really is. Music is more than melodies and harmonies. It’s more than a hook or a bridge. It’s more than just an abstract art, a form of expression, or a commodity. Music can be a lot of things, but bottom line, music is joy. Pure, unadulterated joy. Prince’s genius was in the live performance. You can listen to his stuff, but in order to see exactly how much of a genius he was, you had to watch him perform live. Watch and see the joy on his face and in how he carries himself.

That is what music is all about. Joy.

I am only realizing all of these things now. That’s the beauty of how someone affects your life–you don’t realize it until they’re no longer here. It’s human nature to take things for granted–especially our culture. In fact, one of the sociological criteria for something to be a part of our culture is that it is taken for granted.

These artists, these people who create things that bring me joy, especially those who gave me something to hang onto during some of the darkest and crappiest times of my life, will have my eternal gratitude.



New Meds and other Sundries

I haven’t posted in awhile. Busy with school. I’ve discovered that I like chemistry after all. I remember not liking it and not wanting to take it in high school because in junior high, we had to do A/B work if we wanted an A or a B in the class. I was so against this on principle, I wouldn’t do it and so I got C’s. I was against it because I felt that I should be graded on the basic class work and that my grade shouldn’t be based upon doing all this extra work and extra credit. Extra credit should be a choice.

Plus there was algebra, which I hated then and was not good at and, deep down, was afraid of and had convinced myself that I was no good at it. This was all because the teacher I had then was an asshole.

I conquered my math demons last year. While I had to take remedial algebra (for no credits) and then College Algebra, and I only got a C in College Algebra, I’m happy with it. I won the math battle.


Anyway, now for the meds saga. For background, see this post.  Long story short, I kept taking the prozac. I saw my doctor this past Friday and told her what happened. I’m doing better  than I was a month ago, and I know that some of it is because I started school and have more structure in my day. I’ve got my attention/focus issues sorted out and I went back on Vyvanse, which I haven’t taken in over a year. I was on that first, then switched to Concerta, which didn’t really do much for me. I wanted to get the old meds out of my system and then see how well I could manage my ADHD without meds. This was so I could get a base point. I am doing better managing some aspects of my attention and sticking to task, but I still need the meds for the other part I can’t manage.

One of the good side effects of this medication is weight loss. I have a confession to make. When I went off the ADHD meds, I gained at least 50 pounds. I’m flirting with weighing 200 lbs and I’m not liking this. It’s harder to find clothes that look nice and fit. I don’t like being winded. On the flip side, I do like the fact that my boobs are HUGE now.  As much as I try and get up and move, I haven’t been able to lose the weight or maintain where I’m at. I know some of this is due to age.

I will probably lose a bunch of weight after I’m on the meds for a bit. I’m hoping that I don’t lose too much in the beginning because I bought a dress for my son’s wedding and it would suck if it were too big for me to wear. Best case scenario is that I won’t have to wear the spanx I bought to wear with it. I do have a back-up dress. I’m hoping I don’t need it. It’s a nice dress, but it’s black and I don’t want to wear a black dress to my son’s wedding. I genuinely like my future daughter-in-law and I do not want people to think I’m pulling some attention whoring stunt by wearing a black dress.  Even so, if it comes to it, I’ll let her know what’s going on and why.

Right now, I swear, I could go run laps around the apartment complex and still not calm down.

I haven’t done a song of the day in awhile, so I’ll do one.

Today is opening day for the NFL and the Packers-Bears game is being nationally televised.  The Packers are in Chicago, so when they score, we won’t be hearing any Bang on the Drum. Today’s song is Bang on the Drum. I plan on firing this up whenever Green Bay scores.


40 Years

As I start my third semester of college this week, I was reminded that it’s been 40 years since I started Kindergarten.

Also, 40 years ago, they’re saying, Bruce Springsteen’s  Born to Run was released.

I don’t have much to say today, mostly because I’m tired and my brain is tired. I have Chemistry this semester. It’s going to be a lot of work.

Today’s post is just a song.


Tramps like us…baby, we were born to run…

Anxiety Spoils All the Fun

This is a post where I basically bitch about how I find it annoying when other people overreact to something, because their overreacting is also an anxiety trigger for me. Consider this your trigger warning.

Yesterday, during a preseason football game, Packers WR Jordy Nelson went down with a knee injury. As I type this post, they have not yet confirmed all the speculation that he tore his ACL.  While I’ve been fortunate to have never had this type of injury, I have torn other ligaments and messed up an ankle more than once. Yes, it hurts. A lot. I’ve also broken bones. That hurts even worse. So I do not dismiss what happened to him or his injury as something to be taken lightly.

However, Jordy Nelson’s predicament has spawned a meme, complete with its own graphic. I can’t begin to tell you how many “Pray for Jordy” memes have shown up in my various social media feeds in the past 18 hours or so.

It’s annoying because it’s people overreacting simply because of who that person is.

Let’s get real for a moment. Jordy Nelson hurt his knee. He wasn’t knocked unconscious. They did not bring out a backboard nor did they carry him off the field on a stretcher. He’s not paralyzed from the neck down and won’t spend the rest of his days in a wheelchair.

He may have torn a ligament.

I hope that Jordy Nelson gets well soon and that things aren’t as bad as they could be.  Whatever happens, I know that Jordy is going to handle this situation a lot better than some people.

Other people overreacting is actually an anxiety trigger for me. I have an anxiety disorder.  Triggers aren’t good things.   I have no control over how other people react to things. I only have control over how I react to things. When the situation calls for it, I have to remove myself from the situation before things escalate.

Permit me to offer a bit of advice: If you’re seriously upset about this and wringing your hands and/or gnashing your teeth because of an event over which you have no control, it might be a good idea to step back and remove yourself from the situation for a bit. Focus on the positive. A few examples of the positives are:

  • The Packers’ season isn’t over. It hasn’t even begun yet.
  • The Packers are very deep at wide receiver, unlike other teams, who consistently tend to place the fate of their entire team on the shoulders of one player (I’m looking at you, Minnesota Vikings).
  • Someone will step up to fill the void.
  • The Packers made it to Super Bowl 45 with 16 players on IR, including more than one starter.

And yes, I know that some people who read this will get annoyed because they think I’m telling them how to act. Act how you want. I’m just telling you that how you’re currently acting is annoying to me and probably to other people, too.

I didn’t do a song yesterday, mainly because I was seriously crabby. Today is the first day of the fall semester. I think I’m still technically a freshman, but I have to check Web Advisor to see how many credit hours I actually have. I’m taking 13 credits this semester and it looks like the most intense class of what I have taken will be Chemistry/Chemistry Lab. My son is getting married in October. I’m already feeling the stress and it’s still August.

Today’s song is Get Nervous by Pat Benatar.




Bad Moods & Hormones

I’m in a situation where everything from my plugged up ears, to my hormones, my hot flashes, and basically everything else have collided into a perfect storm of bitchiness.

I had to get off of Twitter because my current mood means that I have zero patience for Game Day Twitter.

My ears really need to pop and I can’t make them pop. It’s annoying.

D is content to sleep most of the morning and then spend all day with his models.

I feel like screaming.

Irritability is a part of anxiety, depression, and the transition to menopause. I’ve given up on trying to find the root cause of my irritability. It makes me cranky to do so.