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Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 | 9 comments

Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday: What I Am

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

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. :)

Kathy Kramer

Kathy Kramer has words in her head, so she writes them down. Kiki Dee had words in her head, but she only just said them. Kathy has other things in her head that aren’t so great, but that’s what the medication is for.

Kathy is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Plains Magazine and eFiction Magazine. Kathy is originally from Wisconsin but her mid-life crisis prompted her to move to South Dakota because she can’t be like other people and do normal mid-life crisis things like dress inappropriately for her age, get Botox or chase after younger men. No. Kathy has to be different.

When Kathy isn’t writing her author bio in the third person, she likes to make things, she likes to read books, and she likes to go outside. Kathy lives with her husband, whom she refers to in these pages as The Hubby or D.

Kathy also likes to hang out on Twitter a lot, especially during football games. Kathy is a Green Bay Packers fan and has been since she was born. She is also a contributor to NFL, as a writer about the Green Bay Packers.


  1. I love this list so much, and your Mama Cass song sent me down a time tunnel of memories, that had me YouTubing Sammy Davis, and feeling a little sad that I quit smoking and will never get to smoke on TV and have that be OK.
    Although I digress. I love the way you tied these songs together, it really was perfect and I must say I love the girl power point of view. It’s not done in some cuckoo feminist way, it’s just done right. Thank you!

    • Thanks. :)

  2. my favorite list

    eclectic, and it ahs x-ray spex & Joan , also, I see who you are. Well done, cheesehead, well done, indeed

    • Thanks. I’m not sure if I should call you Georgia Peach because you’re too much of a rebel to act like a peach.

  3. I’m reading your post while sitting next to my husband who is a Packers and Pearl Jam super fan. He demanded that I follow you. :)
    Aside from that, great list. I love how you framed the songs in terms of your history and beliefs.

    • Your husband has good taste. Thanks. :)

  4. Mama Cass. Aw hellz yeah. I love her. She was the Queen.

  5. I love the entire list, especially the Joan Jett song! I used to enjoy rocking with this one at sports occasions!

    • About seven years ago, when I was still in Wisconsin, I got to see her live at Waterfest in Oshkosh and for the entire time she was playing, I felt like a twelve-year old girl again. It was awesome because she puts on a really good show and I got to see my idol!

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