Of Backstreet Boys and crippling insecurity

Confession Time: I’ve been binge listening to the Backstreet Boys’ entire body of work. For those keeping score at home that’s 18+ years since their first album was released in the US. Not that I’m a BSB hipster or anything *looks around all shifty like*. I do owe them a debt of gratitude. “Everybody” is what got me into dance in the first place. I had a VHS (yes, I’m that old) of a behind the scenes of the production of “Everybody” and “As Long As You Love Me”. Each section, of course, culminated with the video itself. I literally stood in front of the TV with the remote in my hand for days and taught myself the choreography for “Everybody”. After driving my mother nuts, she put me in dance classes. The rest was history.

In the process of going through the songs, it hit me how wildly unhealthy most of them are. It’s not 50 Shades of Grey unhealthy, but sets up ridiculous expectations of what relationships should be. When you’re thirteen, it doesn’t really sink in. “As Long As You Love Me” immediately leaps to mind. Moral of the story? I don’t care if you’re a felon wanted by state and federal authorities, it’s no big as long as you’re head over heels for me. *facepalm* Other messages include “I dumped you like a year ago, but I want you back now so I’m going to stalk you either by phone or in person” or “You dumped me, but that’s cool. I’ll still stalk you in person or over the phone”. There’s the handful of “I’m a total douche, but you keep me around anyway” or “I cheated on you, but I’m totally sorry and you’ll totally take me back. Right?”. It’s not a case of I wouldn’t let my daughter listen to their music because ultimately it’s what sells and I’ll take that over pimping hoes and capping homies. Just sayin’.

It is, however, a little insidious. I found myself starting to think some of it was okay. That’s romantic, right? No, Emily, it’s not. Tell your thirteen year old self to get her shit together. Their music spoke to a thirteen year old girl who had very little common ground with her peers. Being into one of the biggest pop groups in the world was something that bridged the gap just a tiny bit. Other girls liked them, so I wasn’t *that* weird. I did, however, steadfastly hide my Butch Walker and Goo Goo Dolls albums. That negated the normal that my BSB habit brought me. They also did put on epic concerts. I believe their show at the Georgia Dome during the Millennium tour still holds the record for largest indoor concert ever. I was there and witnessed all the pomp and circumstance. For the longest time on Facebook under my dad’s interests he had “Whatever my daughter are into”. Thanks Dad. 😀

It took me a long time to learn to let my freak flag fly. I wish I could tell my thirteen year old self that it’s okay. It’s okay to be weird and different. It’s the weird and different people who make a real impression in life. Be into something because you like it, not simply to fit in. Even if it’s “over” and you still like it, own it. If it’s “in” and you actually are into it, go for it. If it’s something that causes people to give you the side eye, fuck ’em. Of course, she wouldn’t believe me, but it might have stuck with her a little bit. There are still days that my thirty year old self just wants to fit in. Then I remember that normal people scare me. I know I’ve said it a thousand times before, but it bears repeating. I stand out regardless of what I’m wearing or how many tattoos I have. I’m the kind of person who walks into a room and the record screeches to a halt. People I haven’t spoken to in years remember me. Sooner or later, when you know you literally can’t disappear into the crowd, you learn how to embrace it rather than fight it. Thirteen year old Emily didn’t quite have it figured out yet, but she got there, Backstreet Boys or no Backstreet Boys.


P.S. If AJ showed up at my door and asked me to have sex with him, I’d do it. No more risk of statutory rape!

P.P. S. If you’re into N*SYNC we can’t be friends any more. Ever. You’re dead to me.


Of lessons learned and sunburns

Confession time: I didn’t make it through Bonnaroo.

It was a drug festival briefly interrupted by music. I don’t know about you, fair readers, but I hear “music festival” and think that bands will be playing more or less all day. Right? Wrong! We got there Wednesday night and the music didn’t start until Thursday afternoon around 2.  The schedule was sparse at best until Friday late afternoon and early evening. It was the same deal every day. Music would start around 3p and go until 1 or 2 in the morning. What’s wrong with starting acts at 10a? Or even 11a? It was ridiculous to have to kill what amounted to an entire work day before the music even started. Wasn’t that the whole point of this event in the first place? When we were able to see a band, the sound was frequently so bad all we could hear was the bass. I know enough sound engineering to know it doesn’t have to be poor quality. Maybe the band doesn’t want the audience to hear them singing? I understand an outdoor event has different requirements for acoustics. Several of the bands were playing in a “tent” which was a metal structure built like a barn without the doors. The energy of the crowd really sucked. Cake was the perfect example. They were trying to get the crowd amped up and failing miserably. By yesterday afternoon, we said “fuck it”, packed up our stuff, and drove off.

In spite of the fact the music didn’t start until the afternoon, we never got to sleep past 8a. Our neighbors would get up, start blasting music between 730 & 8, then start the day with Miller Lite and bong hits. I’m not an idiot. I knew there would be plenty of smoking of substances, both legal & illegal. I didn’t expect it to be an omnipresent smell. I HATE the smell of pot. I’m all for it being legal. I’m all for people getting as high as they want. Just don’t do it around me because I’ll barf on your shoes. Unless you want me to barf on your shoes, in which case we have a whole different set of issues. I can’t count the number of times we had to get up and move only to be assaulted by the smell 15 minutes later. I’ll have the smell of dirty hippie in my hair for days. This was ignoring the completely they charged to use the showers, the bathrooms were a step below those in Gitmo, the food was mediocre & seriously overpriced, and for all their hooting and honking about how eco-friendly the event was supposed to be, trash was literally strewn all over the ground. How hard is it to throw out your food containers when you have to get up anyway?

There were a few positive notes. We found a new comedian we really like in the form of Brad Williams. We walked well over the 10,000 step a day goal set by the pedometer, and learned a new joke:

What does a hippie say when you try & get him off your couch? Namaste.

I learned that if I want to attend a music festival, I’ll pick one that allows me to come and go as I please. There are plenty of 1 & 2 day events around here. If I’m really looking for new sound, I’ll hit up Pandora or Spotify. It was over $1000 for each of us down the drain, but we know better than to waste that much again.


Of pretty little boxes and your lovely author

The game on Facebook about random facts has inspired me. Some are obvious, some are less obvious. Some are funny, some are just strange. Since I love lists, a bunch of random facts about yours truly.

*I have visible tattoos and dress like a vintage pin up or Audrey Hepburn which confuses the hell out of people.

*I drink green smoothies in the morning and finish off my day with brie and baguette.

*I’m just as comfortable at a shooting range as I am at a cocktail party.

*Sparkles are mandatory but mascara is negotiable. I’ll wear sparkly bunny ears with jeans and cowboy boots.

*I work in financial services but never had any interest in math or economics.

*I’ll use pet names, even if I’m not your biggest fan. Though I think that’s more Southern than anything. Ten seconds later, I’ll be swearing up a blue streak.

*I’m open minded about social issues, but have irrational dislikes for things like other states. If I have a say, I’ll never set foot in Ohio.

*If I’m listening to music with any regularity, I’m not reading as much. If I’m reading high brow non-fiction or fiction, I’m listening to trashy pop music. If I’m reading mindless beach books, I’m listening to esoteric indie bands I found off Butch Walker’s Twitter feed. It’s a closed system.

*If I like you, I’ll fall all over you with hugs and kisses. If I don’t like you, you try to touch me and you’ll draw back a bloody stump.

*I like the theory of travel, but the actual act is less fun. I hate long flights and car trips. If I could teleport, I’d be all over going to New Zealand. Taking 24 hours to get there in reality? No thanks.

*I love comic book movies, but I could count the number of comics I’ve actually read on one hand.

*I love college football and went to a school that didn’t have a football team (or men, for that matter).

*I can take or leave yoga and circus classes, but don’t take away my ballet classes.

*My wild phase never involved illegal drugs. I’ve never even tried marijuana.

*I’m afraid of heights, but only indoors.

*I have about 3 unfinished novels saved on my laptop.

Nobody fits into a pretty little box. Run with it.