This week’s topic for Twisted Mix-tape Tuesday is Songs That Made Me Who I am. I interpret this to mean songs that describe me. Music was always something I used as a coping mechanism growing up because it served as an escape for me, mostly, but once in awhile a song would resonate because it validated my feelings during a time when most of the adults in my life thought I was full of crap or what I thought was not really all that important.
And then people wonder why I have mental illness.
Without further adieu, here is my list:
1. Daughter-Pearl Jam
This song came out when I was in my early 20s and the first time I ever heard it, my initial thought was, “Holy Crap, someone gets it.” At the time, I’d been seeing a therapist for the first time in my life. I was poking at wounds that were still raw, which meant I was An Angry Young Woman during most of my 20s. The lyrics not only validated my feelings, but that validation empowered me:
don’t call me daughter, not fit to
the picture kept will remind me
don’t call me…
she holds the hand that holds her down
she will… rise above…
2. Born This Way-Lady Gaga
I picked this song because it’s a reflection of the acceptance I have for others, my empathy and my open-mindedness and I consider it a moral victory that I have all of these qualities when I was in a household where one parent was openly bigoted and prejudice in front of us kids.
While some may not agree with me, I believe that people are born into their sexual orientation and do not choose it. Forgive me if the next part makes me sound like the straight person who drops that they know gay people in to the conversation, but they still don’t get it, but out of every single LGBTQ person I have ever known in my life, and there are quite a few, I have yet to meet one who said they chose to be gay. And if you’ve ever witnessed the struggle and the persecution someone experiences after they come out, you honestly cannot say that someone would willingly choose to go through that.
Regardless of who we are, we have had to learn how to accept ourselves for who we are and we have things about us that we are afraid to reveal because it might be something that costs us a relationship. For some people, it’s their sexual orientation. For others, it’s spiritual beliefs/religion, political affiliation, or a life decision. For me personally, it was the decision to be open about my mental illness. We’ve all been in closets and we’ve all had to come to a place where we could first be comfortable with who we are before we came out of those closets.
This song was not released until I hit my early 40s, but I’m sure if it had been around thirty years ago, I would have related to it then, too. And yes, I kind of like Lady Gaga. She may have the outrageous outfits, but she has the musical chops to back it up.
3. Oh, Bondage! Up Yours-X-Ray Specs
I chose this song for my list because it’s a reflection of my rebelliousness and determination that I will not let others control me or put me down because I’m female. I didn’t have a lot of strong female role models growing up, so I turned to music at a time when, in my opinion, was the best time to be a ‘tween. Consider the opening line:
Some people think that little girls should be seen and not heard
But I say, OH BONDAGE! UP YOURS!
4. I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll-Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
I had a girl crush on Joan Jett back when I was twelve. Joan Jett was the strong female example I was so desperately searching for in my life. She didn’t let the “boys” keep her from doing what she wanted. The lyrics of some of her songs exuded female toughness and a message of “screw you, asshole. I’m not putting up with your shit.” Her music told me that it okay for me to stand up for myself and to be a strong person. Even though it would be awhile until I was to the point in my life where I had enough assertiveness to actually do this, Joan Jett told twelve-year-old Kathy Baker that girls can be strong, stand up for themselves and be whatever they wanted to be. Joan Jett had a very big influence on my becoming a feminist.
The early 80s was, IMHO, the best time to be a ‘tween girl because we had the best ‘tween role models, musically speaking. This will be the subject of a future Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday.
5. Make Your Own Kind of Music-Mama Cass
I thought I should pick a song from my childhood. I was four years old when Mama Cass passed away. My only recollection of her was that she was on an episode of Scooby Doo, when the show was going through its’ guest star phase. Along with Mama Cass, the Harlem Globetrotters (the originals with Curly and Meadowlark Lemon), Sonny & Cher and Davy Jones brought their animated forms and voices to help Scooby and the gang solve that episode’s mystery.
I was and I am a huge advocate of being true to yourself. This song reflects that view. I do remember the song, but I didn’t actually learn or hear or understand the lyrics until I was older. I can appreciate the meaning now because it’s true: you will not be happy unless you are true to your real self.
Next week’s topic will be Songs that are from Soundtracks. Should be an interesting week to come up with five of them.