32 Autobiographical Snippets Bled From the Gnarly Scar Tissue of a Sappy 30 yr Old.
age 0) In the womb, (or maybe even before I was conceived) something in the universe embedded a glimmer of hope for humanity in my initial cell structure which made my whatever-I-had--or-was-at-the-time shiver in primal appreciation when I first felt (yes felt, not heard, I hadn't developed ears yet after all) Nina Simone sing Feelin' Good:
age 1) The only place I'd be willing to sleep as an infant was on my father's chest. That exceedingly devoted man stayed up late most nights, coddling my chubby little baby form and watching classic Dr. Who. As a result, this theme (and an alarmingly persistent proclivity for sleeping on hairy heart-rythmed pillows) will forever be imbued in my being.
age 2) I was a rambunctious but shy little thing at this stage. Still a difficult sleeper, clearly. My Dad had this ingeniously unique lullaby he'd play for me on cassette tapes at night time. Really it was just one of the only cassette tapes my dad owned aside from Sex Pistols and Judas Priest. I guess he figured this particular cassette was more fitting than the other two for nighty nights (and by goshkins was it ever the perfect choice... though in hndsight I wouldn't have objected to punk or metal either.) without further ado, the incidental lullaby was of course:
Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds:
age 3) I suddenly realized that all this time I had had an extremely loving extremely quiet mother in the background of my life. It was a breathtaking realization, that this timid, sweet, caring nurturer contained in her a glimmer of courage; of humor, even! She laughed with me, such joyous laughs. She is such a little woman, my mum, I think I'd already outgrown her in kilos by this time (just kidding, but only kind of) ... When she gives you a hug, my mum, she just melts right into you. I think she has buckets of tears weighing down her insides all the time because I often see them well up and come out... But oh the courage she has when she works herself up; what courage it takes to smile through tear-welling throatlumps. I know now. I know. it was at this age something horrible happened to me (the same that had happened to her as a child, but mine was not near as bad as hers) which wouldn't come back to bite me till my nightmares got out of hand years later... So I know now, but then I was cluelessly chipper. I remember twirling and dancing around the living room with my dear mum on a few occasions at this stage, to "I Have Confidence" from the Sound of Music:
age 4) A lot happened at 4. but I'll stick with the bare necessities: https://youtu.be/08NlhjpVFsU
age 5) to this day I still cannot express the fathomless feeling of exuberant idolatry this epic tune stirs up in my gut. I remember one day one of my dad's nerdy acquaintances came over and asked me who was my favorite, between Captain Kirk or Mr Spock. I just looked up wide eyed and panic stricken. A question! A grown-up asked me a question! ... but I didn't know the answer. My Dad shook his head sadly and muttered "I've failed as a father...we'll have to remedy that." it was that night that I was introduced to one of the first and greatest loves of my life. I was a trekkie to the core from that moment on. (oh and the answer to the question was Mr. Spock. all the way.)
age 6) I guess we're going to have to whip this list into shape (it's not too late..)... Devo gave me the impetus to get up and move, without which I could've all too easily spent my life as a pathetically-yearning-for-other-things couch potato.
age 7) It had to happen sooner or later. I pretended to be sick one day so I could stay home from school, and got taught something so much better than whatever they were going to teach me that day; I'm speaking of course of the event of a lifetime: being introduced to epic film scorer Ennio Morricone's music via Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns.
age 8) My beloved grandmother introduced me to the timeless joy of Luciano Pavarotti whilst cooking and cleaning one Sunday afternoon after church:
(okay I seriously have to shorten this or we'll be here for several millenia. from here on I'll just jot down a few associated memory engrams followed by the song... unless I can't help myself... yeah. sorry...)
age 9) Saint Seiya ost, "sad brothers" stayed with me through one harrowing night when I lost a baby pademelon I was trying to save the life of:
age 10) I was in the depths of despair one evening after I'd stayed up late reading Anne of Green Gables and the series was tragically over and there wasn't any more!... and I'd got my first period and everything seemed like the end of the world. it must've been just after my birthday because my dad had bought me my very first second-hand disc-man (portable CD player) and took me in to an old record shop which sold mostly vinyl and just had some CD's (pieces of new-age plastic junk to the store owner) in a bin by the door. I rummaged, picked out a couple of CD's, one of which was a Frank Sinatra collection called Nothing But The Best. Years later I couldn't decide which I liked better between the Sid Vicious version or the original, I seriously couldn't decide, but for most of my life this would become my favorite song of all time, in either format, for the way it soothed and stoked my visceral-aches and made me believe that everything would be alright again, that it's alright to do things my way:
age 11) The nightmares started recurring in a too-big way to ignore. Sleeping had always been touch and go for me anyway but now I was petrified of it. late one night I snuck out of the house, little transistor radio in my pocket (discman had broken then I guess), into an old dirt-floored shed in our backyard to sleep next to my pet sheep. I was sobbing into his wool thinking about how horrible life was. Right when I needed to hear it the most this Beatles song came crackling over the radio. when it ended my sheep let out a commiserating "baa" .. we both wanted to hear it again:
age 12) 50-min-long drives back and forth from the wildlife park (my first job, alongside my father) we listened to lots of great music. Eclectic tastes, my dad, like me. But I particularly remember Queen:
age 13) I got left alone with my awesome uncle for an evening, and as he awkwardly scrounged for some morsels of food to offer me (hand-rolled cigarette in his obviously-hadn't-bothered-eating-much-in-days mouth.) I said I wasn't hungry but he kept scrounging anyway... he inadvertently introduced me to Jimi Hendrix (playing in the background) as I stared around the squalidly unkempt and slightly weedy-smelling domain of an artist's heartbreak in abject admiration:
age 14) Got suddenly obsessed with romance in every way. Sitting on the rocky shores of Tasmania's north coast at sunset, casting longing glances out into the tumultuous waves, listening to Romeo and Juliet theme, composed by Nino Rota (this time via a fancy schmancy mp3 player discarded by a wealthy classmate because it had a scratch on it's screen):
age 15) I started chatting online to the young man I would eventually marry. on a clunky desktop keyboard left over from the dark ages and dial-up internet which was already obsolete enough that no-one bothered to try to fix it when it went out. By the grace of the gods it worked sometimes, and by their wrath sometimes it didn't. I remember it stopped working halfway through this glorious music which my then-heart-throb-now-husband had sent me. Requiem in D Minor by Mozart. I went crazy needing to hear the rest of it (literally, I think I might've gone quietly insane and stayed that way ever since):
age 16) my Mum, my darling sweetest-thing-on-earth Mum... she was crying to herself in the kitchen. She'd found out some months prior that my Dad was in love with another woman, that he'd left her. Broken vows. The tears in my eyes reflected hers; that pain in her heaving bossom... she crumpled on me as though she were dying (I had definitely outgrown her in size by then) and I held her, pretending to be the man she needed back. I was so much like him after all. It must've been so painful for her to look in my eyes. I did the only thing I could think of to do. I'd been an extreme Youtube-delver at that stage, so I had the situation well in hand. I rushed to the computer and looked up the song I knew she needed to hear. "I will survive" by Gloria Gaynor. Then we both did the smile-through-tears thing we women of this bloodline are evidently prime exhibitors of, and I twirled and danced with her again like the big old child I'll always be inside.
I can't do 17 without giving you two vivid memories in quick succession:
age 17 part a) oodles of time listening and re-listening to this song by myself while I hungered for the touch of the manchild on the other side of the planet whom I mentioned in age 15. Righteous Brothers's Unchained Melody:
age 17 part b) no rhyme or reason to this one, but perfection nonetheless; it just happened to be the song playing in the car radio while my nervously cold-fingered sweaty hand perused his warm masculine one. finally, finally, at long last I got to touch that overwhelmingly swoon-worthy demigod in person (I lost my virginity that night)...
Billy Joel's Piano Man:
age 18) On my birthday the one-and-only of my life was back on the other side of the planet again. I was lovesick and lonely so I started bonding big time with my wonderfully talented tattoo-artist older sister. I got drunk on Jack and Coke while she tattooed the requested lion's head on my thigh, with "property of then-heart-throb-now-husband's name" type-scripted in the mane (much to my sister's mildly feministic dismay)... We both loved this song, though. And she let me play it on repeat as the ink sunk in to my alcohol-muddled veins. "I'm eighteen" by Alice Cooper:
age 19) I dropped out of college and moved to the other side of the planet to reunite with and marry-the-heck-out-of the man who's name my thigh-lion guarded. Traveling from Hobart, Tasmania to St Louis, MO. Long plane flights. Lots to leave behind. My over-clingy sob-faced perpetually-looking-backwards self had to cling to something new now; something to look forward to. Of course, true to form, I found my future in the past, delving through the free songs available on the plane, I happened to find my destination more than a hundred years in the past as it happens. "Meet me in St Louis, Louis" by Billy Murray:
age 20) When I was first-time pregnant, living in a foreign country, working as a full-time hospital cleaner for 7 bucks and some decent health insurance per hour, the love of my life shattered my blood-pumping mechanism into a thousand cataclysmic shards. I've been trying to collect them and glue them back in ever since. I needed him so bad... I wept so hard trying to salvage the soul-scraps of who I thought he was. Crying, crying my heart out into too many un-hairy un-heart-rythmed pillows "stop! in the name of love" by the Supremes:
age 21) In an unfathomable display of reconciliation and solidarity, the man-shaped entity I was married to decided to be a real man, and a husband, and a father, after all. He sang this song to me and our newborn daughter when the three of us were alone in the hospital, and I bawled my eyes out, cradling this beautifully red-faced screamy life we'd somehow spawned together who now slumbered peacefully in my exhausted happy arms... "If I Didn't Care" by The Ink Spots:
age 22) breastfeeding and a newfound love for home-cooking in the previous year had made me both ravenous and eager to win my man's heart back through diligently abusing his stomach (and mine in the process.) As a result, at this stage of post-incubation I was immensely obese. I had to dig deep to find some interest to distract me from food; some idiot-proof method which could be carried out with a baby-in-tow. (I wasn't ready to go back to writing just yet. it was too much.) so I got myself an MP3 player and went on walks, carrying my daughter strapped to my chest and my dog's leash wrapped around my wrist, we'd walk, we three. Happy go lucky care free through horrid-weather walks. I'd walk and sweat and listen and think. Think of motivational things like Rocky Balboa's passionate punches at life... or ya'know, just Rocky Balboa's passion in general...
age 23) hard times. I'd lost about 60 or 70 lbs, renovated our first hovel, got preggers again and had our first son. Too much going on that year. Husband sick, lots of job changes, had to go back to work myself for the health insurance all through second half of pregnancy and breastfeeding. (it is so doggone hard to leave a newborn with somebody else.. the hardest thing. but you gotta do what you gotta do. Humans have lived through worse.) Listened to a lot of the local rock station K-SHE 95 on the drives to and from work. Lots of great great music I knew very well from my youtube delves years prior. Hard to single one out, but if I had to in the very moment I'm writing this, I'll pluck out Pink Floyd's "Time" as it brought back some nice memories of art college and for whatever reason I was caught off guard and pleasurably flabbergasted one early frosty morning when I heard those familiar chimes of it on this local American station.
age 24) I adored living vicariously with my younglings at this age. (still do. Who am I kidding?) The height of it was rediscovering and sharing with them this show I used to watch when I was little which is the best children's content ever devised by mortal imagination. I have to add the intro to Jim Henson's The Storyteller to this list. I simply have to:
age 25) Miscarriage...no words to describe the stark juxtaposition between that forever-agony-swelling loss and holding my cluelessly happily grinning life-living younglings on my knees at the same time. I made the gorgeously painful mistake of watching Dumbo with my two litluns the evening after I came home from the doctor's office, while I was still bleeding out the remains of the sibling they never knew. I don't think I've ever tried so hard to suppress an expression of emotional turmoil in my whole life. Such anguish... and yet simultaneously, such gratitude. The tears leaked out despite my best efforts. No matter what mood I'm in, (and I get in some pretty emotionless moods) I will never be able to witness this scene or hear this song with dry eyes ever again.
age 26) I got a wee bit mindsick(er) and realized I was an all-over-the-place manic-depressive lunatic, or at the very least an extreme oddball. My sister came back to visit me and since my husband detests my sister, and since she reciprocates with a fiery vengeance, it was decided that the best thing would be if I just went off with my sister for a few days to sight see and spend time with her. I was pregnant again, delightfully, and intent on being super cautious and super healthy, so I hesitated a little bit taking her up on the trip, yet my in laws offered to watch the first two younguns while I was gone and reminded me that it wasn't healthy to never get out or do anything ever, so after some more hesitating and extensive safety research about travelling while pregnant I eagerly accepted the opportunity to spend time with my dearly loved sister. It was on this trip I got torn asunder by own expectations of reasonableness on my husband's end all over again. He punished me for this inexcusable dereliction of motherly duty (while my kids were being happily spoiled and pampered and coddled by their caring, sensible and most-trustworthy-people-on-earth grandparents) by not returning a single call in the entire three days of nigh-on-a-hundred texts and calls I'd send into the echo-less void of him. Serendipitously, during one of these ill-fated call attempts, Blondie started playing over the stereo of the cool retro antique shop we were hanging around in. Oh how I swam, sank, paddled and drowned in this song. I'd heard it before but I hadn't felt it before. After it ended it kept on playing and playing in my head just as though it were still corporeally audible:
age 27) after enough time caving and simpering and "all-my-fault"ing with my ears tucked down and my tail between my legs in the pseudo-love cage (that place in which I am both housemaid and whore to the man-shaped thing whose name was still guarded by my thigh-lion... or is that too harsh? he's still a person after all... still my one and only... maybe I'm the one who's crazy for thinking he's changed?...) I'd mercifully managed to delude myself once more into blissful ignorance. One magical close-to-christmastime day my husband was snowed in, had to call off work, and we spent the day baking cookies and decorating with the kiddos; my husband played his favorite christmas tune from when he was a lad... and forever now it's our favorite too, me and the kids. The way he sang that song in his deep voice like Santa, the way he was making best-dad-ever memories in the minds of our litluns.. Whatever happens, it's our favorite christmas song from then on till we die:
age 28) ... I can't really type out all that happened in that year. so much. far too much. most importantly another miscarriage followed by an immediate new pregnancy during which I was stressed out over a host of other things (long drives, getting swindled, knowing but refusing to know that I would never be loved, illness, mortal every-day dread of a late-term stillbirth and a multitude of other various exacerbations) then my son lived. My son lived. I had four children. Life was full. Oh so full of so much meaning. There were no words when I was bottle-feeding my darling son my previously-pumped breastmilk. No words. Just music.
age 29) the next one speaks entirely for itself. Ruth Etting's rendition of "so is your old lady" I inwardly smiled to myself while doing the dishes to this one. Another serendipitous coincidence in my automatic youtube song recommendations:
age 30) right now? As I'm typing this? My lifelong semi-insomniac ass stayed up all night and day writing this. What do I feel... right now? All possible human emotions. Everything all at once.
All of the above and so so so so many more...
In then end, I'm just another one of the Animals... Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood: