you are beautiful because you are here

Silly week 2 - February 9, 2016
Silly week 2 – February 9, 2016

Dear Internet,

Tuesday is post a silly picture day!  You can keep track on the page or over at my instagram.

When I published everything you f*cking need to know to be happy (but were afraid to ask) yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to start breaking down some of the things I struggle with.

Today, it’s compliments.

The battle that rages inside is when someone compliments me on anything – appearance, work, or whatever, I think they want something. Because when someone tells you something nice, there is a condition attached to that compliment.


Today is a good example. I take the silly picture and post it on my FB and instagram pages. People compliment how pretty I am.

What do they want?

I struggle to find a way to answer. I used to be self-deprecating about those compliments but then I started thinking people would take the self-deprecation for shilling. So I stopped the self-deprecation and started thanking them instead and by changing my verbal response, I am begin the long road of accepting myself.

The gratitude of thanking people started when TheBassist and I were dating. I would tell him how much I liked/loved/adored X,Y,Z. How very handsome he is (because he is). What a great body / body part / thing he did because I saw it to be true. I know others think/thought the same way about him. So what was the problem? (It’s inconceivable to me others might have self-hatred issues. Everyone else is awesome!)

He always said something along the lines of the years of self-hatred, it’s hard for him to accept the things that people see about him. He doesn’t see them in himself so why would others see them in him?

Thus, whenever you tell him something kind about himself (he’s handsome, wonderful bass player, fabulous intellect, etc) he says, “Thank you.” No qualifiers, no explanation, just two words. He’s learning to start loving himself.

Thank. You.

My self-loathing runs deep and as far as my view of my attractiveness or brilliance1, I don’t see it. That’s not entirely true — I know there are attractive features about myself physically (I have great breasts, my eyes are fabulous, my hair is pretty killer) and mentally (I enjoy and have conversational skills on many things, I can often make people laugh), but as an overall package? No. I don’t see it.

A couple of years ago before TheBassist came back, the implosion of my marriage to TheExHusband is simmering below the surface. One discussion was already under our belts about how unhappy I was in our marriage and the reasons why. He didn’t want to see a couples counselor. I felt stuck. It wasn’t as if I didn’t love him, but the pain of being married to him was getting to be unbearable and I could not conjure up a reasonable explanation to leave him.2

TheExHusband and I’s love life had already begun the decimation. He said some pretty awful things. I took those awful things to heart. I would silently cry when watching any kind of romantic shenanigans on TV or in movies. I wouldn’t leave my husband, I was relatively young, but then I saw the rest of my life being in a near sex-less marriage. Having passion? Hah. Hah. Hah.

Not long after that discussion, I flew out to California for a job interview. It was a last ditch effort on my part to see if I could get a job before I left my old place of employment (and before getting serious about the writing). An old friend, whom I’ve known since my days with ExFiance #2, lives about an hour away from my hotel. Old friend and I recently got in touch after not speaking for years. We agree to hang out when I’m in California to catch up, have dinner, the usual.

Now I haven’t seen old friend in over a decade at this point. I’ve aged, I’ve gained weight, and I’m nervous about seeing him because I’m already assuming he’s going to find me an ignorant, fat slob which only adds to my loaded self-esteem issues. I need everyone to like me even if I perceive myself to be an ignorant, fat slob.

We make plans for dinner, he gets in touch when he’s in the lobby, and here we go. I swallow the bile of my thoughts and proceed down stairs. As I turn the corner, he’s leaning up against one of the pillars.

He’s grown insanely hot. He’s tall. His intellect is amazing. He plays hockey and his body just simply rocks. The rush of lust confirms I was not dead in the desire department, but logically and reasonably, I knew I couldn’t act on those feelings. I made a commitment to TheExHusband. I gave him my word. Somehow I had to fix my marriage but now?

Now here was lust. Desire. I bathed in it.

So there is old friend and I’m tongue tied. I am lusting after him and yet the bile of hatred is now brimming because there is no fucking way he’s going to want to have dinner, let alone desire me.

What the fuck am I going to do?

We scamper across the Bay Area, I get slightly drunk, and we end the night on hugs. I knew if I didn’t not get the fuck out of there, I was going to make a move and not only was in that moment would I be fucking up my marriage (I gave my word) but I was also ruining the beginning of a close friendship, with the bonus of adding more to the hating of one’s self for being an ass. Besides. He probably didn’t see me with the same lust, so hey, this is all working out. Off to prep for the interview I go.

Cut ahead a few months when old friend and I are chatting online and the only thing I remember about that trip was, other than the fact I didn’t get the job, I had empirical proof I was not dried up. So I tell old friend, with much bravado, if I had stayed later that night or called him after my interview the following night for dinner, I would have made a massive pass towards him – hah hah hah. I am hilarious.

Except he tells me if I had, it wouldn’t have been turned down.

Shut the front door.

Turns out old friend has had a massive crush on me since the days when ExFiance #2 and I were together. ExFiance #2 knew about it, old friend’s wife knew about it, and they would tease him.

Me? No. Fucking. Idea.

(I always act surprised when I find out someone has even thinks I’m remotely attractive. As if I’m not worthy for that persons lust/desire/admiration or they are fulfilling some kind of fetish. When they tell me years later, I’m even more flabbergasted.)

Compliments and admiration are multiple edged sword: They give you the admiration you desire from people, they reaffirm the good work you’ve done on X, they make you feel good, but they can be intimidating as hell. These feelings negate the the admiration someone has just given you, whether you’re looking particularly nice that day, wrote a brilliant piece, or you did something kind for them.

We all want to feel good about ourself but it’s hard to accept this kindness especially for those of us who have years, nay decades, of self-hatred to chip through.

There are a couple of things we need to remember:

  • When we feel like shit about ourselves, remember these are just thoughts. They cannot hurt or harm you.
  • Having thoughts about X is a shared human emotion. When you’re not feeling particularly kind about yourself, someone else is having a similiar or exact thought about themselves that very moment. This is not to say you two should have a pity party but that
  • You’re not alone
  • You can be kind to yourself by being thankful for what you have. Once you can accept on being kind to yourself, you will be more receptive to people being kind to you

It will take a long time, no arbitrary date can be set, but anyone can forgive and love themselves. I know you can.

Today I am grateful for my readers, far and wide, who share with me their own struggles and dreams. Who feel my word resonate with them. Who find me funny, brilliant, or just a bit goofy. Who think I have much to give to this world and yes, who think I’m attractive.

Thank. You.


P.S. As I was writing this, and the second I hit publish, the very first thought in my mind was those reading were going to think I was shilling for compliments. This is why it’s important to ditch the self-hatred because it gets you no where.

1. I have a post on this very topic hanging out in the wings. I need to summon up the courage to post it.
2. He has seen a therapist, he is now on anti-depressants, and we’ve had long conversations about this period in our life and he’s very contrite. He’s not a bad guy – he was just in a terrible place.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2015,  2013

a music historiography of boyfriends past

Dear Internet,

Sirius/XM 1st Wave was rocking out today with their hour long Halloween mix, which I then was pumping through my stereo and singing along badly. Somehow this pushed me down the rabbit hole to generate a Spotify holiday playlist of (mostly) punk, pop, rap, ska, and other non Michael Buble artists. Tada! So below is 12.5 hours of holiday music to get you in the mood.

When TheExHusband and I returned to the cabin from our errand running this afternoon, and I had finished building the holiday playlist, this seemed like a damn fine time to import 100g (not including new stuff I’ve picked up recently) into iTunes so I can play my own shit at home without necessarily relying on Spotify or Amazon. It’s been so long since I’ve looked into this dark corner of my nas, I was truly clueless to what was hiding in there.

The lack of playing music at home  has nothing to do with not wanting to listen but the relative ease of using Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, and buying mp3s from Amazon/iTunes. Why should I pull up my mp3s of Elbow when I can stream all of their albums in Spotify? Why should I track down a CD when I can buy the digital album via Amazon?

Long live physical media. Physical media is dead.  (Except for vinyl. Shaun Cassidy for the win!)

When I was packing my stuff within the recent years, I found one of my old mix tapes (yes, on cassette), from 1992 or so? I would have been driving at that point (I got my license at 19) and more than likely driving the inherited mumsy’s old Cadillac Cimarron. So about ’92 or ’94ish? One side of the tape was “Manic” and the other was “Depressive.” Aren’t I clever? The tape is packed somewhere amongst the ruins of my material life thus the track listing is escaping me. That is probably the only physical evidence I have of my early music mixing youth.

Making mixed tapes, from cassette to CD to Spotify playlists, is part of my DNA. If I love you, platonically or romantically, you’re getting a mixed tape. I became more active in making said tapes when I made one for TheBassist in ’05:


(TheBassist confessed when we started dating last year that over time, as he swapped from computer to computer, he made sure a copy of that mix was always with him and he played it constantly during the last 10 years. You can imagine I was flattered like hell.)

TheEx and I would exchange mix tapes  during the course of our relationship:

For the first holiday with TheEx, I created a holiday mix, which I also gave to people who wanted a copy:

I know I’m definitely not alone in using music to convey my feelings. I once read somewhere those who use music to pontificate their emotions was due to their inability to vocally articulate said feelings themselves. Articulating feelings is not a problem for me as I have nearly 20 years of my life on the internet, but I use music to manage those feelings and it’s freeing. It’s much more satisfying to dance manically in one’s living room to a pounding beat over chewing thoughtfully on a pen after you scribe. Amirite?

Roping back to listening to 1stWave (or any station really), it’s been particularly hard these last few weeks and years. While I’m driving, I often find it difficult to listen to a particular tune without wanting to flip everything off or pound the steering wheel in fury or having tears well up. It’s not necessarily just the recent string of my lovers but how I associate music with people, places, and times.

(It doesn’t help TheEx and TheBassist are the same age so of course I bonded with them on the music of our youths, which is primarily played on 1stWave. The dicks.)

I was just outside. The stars are shining bright and the gods are talking to me through the tree tops again. I thought writing this would exorcise some of the feelings associated with these songs and I think I was wrong. It’s hard when nearly every memory is easily accessible via music and it all feels like yesterday. It’s been nearly 20 years when TheExHusband and I first dated, 10 years since I met TheBassist. Nine years since I met TheEx. Those three were, in various incarnations, my heart for a very long time. And now, now, all of that music is just a burning bright reminder of where I’m at now. I feel like I’ve been handed a big bag of memories and it’s up to me to sort through it all, donate some to charity and keep others. I forget at times they may be going through the same thing themselves, but fuck’em.

For the last ten years, I’ve been banging on about my life is High Fidelity. I am the female Rob, something I had in my dating profile long ago and what wooed TheEx to contact me. The following fourth wall monologue by Rob resonates how I often feel:

What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?

This post has been sitting in my drafts for a while I thought it would interesting to pull up the music from my exes and talk about the influence the songs (and them) had on my life. Memories at the push of a button.

TheExHusband (1997-1999, 2008-2014)
TheExHusband and I reconnected earlier in 2008 right after TheEx and I broke up. Seven to eight months later, we planned a get away weekend which we refer to as The Great Bang of 2008. We were glued to each other’s hip for nearly seven years and it’s hard to narrow just a few songs to encapsulate our relationship.

After we got married, I created a wedding mixtape and here is why those songs still resonate with me, about him, today:

Every couple has an “official” song, usually some Michael Buble remix or regurgitated emo bullshit. We have Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, a band we both gravitated to after hearing them on All Songs Considered. Lyrics can be found here and YouTube is here.

Granted, this is not a typical love song by a long shot but Idiot Wind is off of TheExHusband’s favorite Dylan album, Blood on the Tracks. This album was one we listened to on repeat on one of our second first dates back in 2008 and it is also one of our mutual favorite tracks.

“Intergalactic,” the single off of Hello Nasty by the Beastie Boys, was released in the summer of 1998, right when TheExHusband and I started dating the first time. According to him, I listened to Beastie Boys, Lords of Acid, Sarah Mclachlan, and Afghan Whigs nonstop during that period. Since I was not, for the sake of the story, sober for most of that period, I’ll take his word. In 2009, Justin bequeathed me an art poster based off of “Intergalactic.” I knew based on the first few lines of the song, and the history behind it in regards to us, had to go into the mix. Video is available here.

In the world of pop and rock music, one of the definitive albums that is still seen as the holy grail of influence is the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Any kind of music critic, if apparently worth his or her salt, will name check this album in their review at least ONCE, regardless of the song/album/band/genre they are reviewing. Most of my die-hard music friends also name check this album and agreed that yes, one should at least have Pet Sounds in their repertoire. For Christmas 2008, I indeed received Pet Sounds as a present from TheExHusband. “God Only Knows,” in stereo not analog, is included in the mix. Again, with the stupid still photos with musical background only available on YouTube or terribly edited live version, there is only lyrics, which are available here.

“The Sausage” is an obscure track sung by an obscure calypso artist, Baldhead Growler. It’s become an in-joke of sorts, where one of us will randomly start singing this song for no particular reason other than it’s fun and raunchy.

TheBassist (2004-2005, 2014-2015)
When TheBassist and I got back together, he gave me a run down of all the songs he had compiled over the years to express how he felt for me. This seemed like a good time to put together a playlist of songs that resonated and represented how we presently felt about the other.

Interpol’s second album, Antics, had just been released and we were both ga-ga for the band. We quickly proclaimed a particular Interpol song for the other. Mine is Slow Hands about him, his is Obstacle 1 about me. I once had a t-shirt that said, “She can read, she’s bad.”  Both songs come up, still, frequently on alternative stations and it should be no surprise they drag up a lot of feelings.

We thought the ultimate pinnacle of our relationship would be to see Interpol live. We never did go.

This song, by Elbow, is the tale of a female drug addict, but to me the song represents/ed what a twat TheBassist had been when he dumped me back in 2005. It still resonates today.

This song, and another one that is not on the list and is escaping my memory right now, is the best description of how he felt about me during all of those years. The yearning, the love, the everything broke my damned heart when I heard them for the first time.

Doves was/is a band that came along the same time as Elbow (they know each other in Madchester) and this song, which is apparently about nothing, was heavily played when TheBassist and I met the first go-round. It was also included on his 2005 mix tape.

TheEx (2006-2008)

If Interpol was TheBassist’s and I band, Bloc Party was mine and TheEx’s. We traveled often to see shows across Michigan and to Chicago. A Weekend In The City came out a month or two after we started dating and we caught their tour that summer and I still stand by my declaration it is one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

This particular song was chosen because there is a Brighton, MI, a city you pass on  I-96 as you travel to Detroit. We would crank this song up on high as we roared past because we were, more often than not, driving to Brighton for the weekend.

I’m a big fan of shoegaze and apparently I missed out on a lot of American bands who were the forefront of the movement during the early ’90s. The American Analog Set is one such band and this song was on one of the first CDs he made for me.

Snowden is a relatively little known indie band comprising of one guy but who has a backing band when he tours. TheEx got me hooked on him and when I was one of two up for a gig at AMG, I interviewed Snowden as my assignment for my interview. As you may have noticed, I did not get the job.

Another single TheEx put on of his earlier mix tapes. He must have known one day I was going to become a librarian.

Derrick (2004ish)
Derrick was an old co-worker of mine at UUNet, who I found out a few years after I left, had a big crush on me. That crush turned into a romance that didn’t last terribly long (six months or so?), but we parted on good terms. Within the last year or so, Derrick got in touch and mentioned he thought of me fondly and has been slightly kicking himself for letting me go after he was diagnosed with MS. We are super friendly with the other, BFFs on Facebook and all that rot.

Derrick is a huge ska/punk fan and every time I hear this song, I think of him.

Patrick (1996ish-2004ish)

Patrick and I knew each other forever (hence the 1996ish start date) but didn’t really start to date until around 2003 or so. We split for a number of reasons but still remain(ed) friendly. He’s married now. Within the last few years he said something along the lines that while he still loved me, he found it too hard to be friends. I get a happy birthday from him every year and that’s about it.

ExFiance #2 (1999-2002)

ExFiance #2 and I parted on good terms and were friendly for a number of years after the breakup. BUT since he’s been married (and has a family of his own), he’s been talking shit about me across the Internet. Why? I have no reason but I’ve had several of our mutual friends confess that what he was saying didn’t match up with how I actually was. Men.

Relationships may come and go, but I will always have my music. Just press play.


This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2001, 2001

Meijering at night.

Growing up, my mother installed a strange power relationship with food into our heads. I’ve never quite figured out where her ideas came from but essentially her idea was that less food in the house the better. Let me explain further: She would sometimes “forget” to go grocery shopping and or she would buy a few packages of hamburger, American cheese slices, saltines, and popcorn. For a family of four with eating habits for a family of six.

We’re large people and a bit on the tall side (I hover near 6′, Mumsy at 5’10” and brother at 7′. My now-ex step-father is about 6’1″.) While my mother is now borderline morbidly obese, my brother and I are just plain chubbeh. We could stand to lose a few pounds, but, we’re both fairly active (then and now) and are not sit at home stuffing our faces type people. We do, however, have large appetites.

It wasn’t that we were poor, Mumsy made a really good living as a home health care nurse (let’s just say, she neared six figures by the late ’90s in Michigan) and she certainly could afford to feed us, but, without fail, every week she would go grocery shopping and bring home the exact same items:
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