Glenn Branca is Dead, but not in my heart

He was a crucial part of my growing up from obnoxious teenager to starry-eyed young adult. I had met a lot of musicians and actors but meeting him nearly made me faint. I Ardently loved him for what he did. I didn’t want to be a groupie, I wanted to sit at his feet and learn.

I don’t tell too many people this but when I did get to hang with him in person (I’d talked to him on the phone a few times before) (i’d also technically met him in person but at the time all I could get out of my mouth was “that was a great show” while staring) we talked about a lot of things and he told me he was managing a new band in New York. HE ASKED ME IF I WANTED TO MOVE TO NEW YORK TO BE IN THE BAND.

Sadly, at the time I had no desire nor means to move to New York, but I’ll never forget that My hero, Glenn Branca offered me a chance to be his protege. But I was intimidated. Yes, Me. I was so terrified by the notion of failing in his eyes that I said “oh wow, no, not right now… maybe in a year?” I said no because I wasn’t ready for that much change.

The band was named Rat At Rat R and I have two albums by them. I liked them but they never really took off. It doesn’t matter; Glenn Branca did a lot of work and I could have POSSIBLY worked with him. I could have massively changed my life by moving to NYC and joining some band he produced. But it just didn’t seem like a rational thing to do. and I was absolutely petrified at the notion of doing something with that much expectation. I was 17. I was just happy to be considered his “biggest fan…. possibly my only fan haha”

I’d written to him a few times after that and always received cordial replies. I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of the email I was using last time I emailed him.

But it doesn’t matter that much…. I let him know how important he was to me and that’s ALL that ever mattered to me when I met my heroes. Just to give them the validation and appreciation they had earned.

Oh Glenn… I hadn’t talked to you or even checked out your new work in a while but I will always love you. With all of my starry-eyed, hungry, girlish heart.

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so it begins again…

There comes a time when you are ready to get up into someone’s face and very carefully, very clearly, with all the gravitas possible, say to them “I have had enough of your sadistic shit and I’m not going to put up with it anymore”. I’m certain everyone has that point. Maybe most of you never get to that point. Maybe some of you get there far too often and begin to question your emotional stability. But everyone has that point, somewhere.

For most people, those of us who have a dollop of empathy in our psyche, that point can actually come on behalf of someone else. Perhaps you are an animal lover and have gotten there when you saw a defenseless creature being abused. Perhaps you have a special place for children and got there when you saw someone threatening a child. Maybe it a bit a nature – you couldn’t stand to see someone tromp on something that does nothing but bring joy and beautiful.

Whatever that place is, you are ready to take a blow for your anger. You are so upset, so incensed at seeing this injustice that you won’t even weigh the possibilities anymore. You won’t be worried about being hurt, you won’t care about who will be angry with you or mock you or write you up or whatever, you are just DONE with this crap and you aren’t going to take it anymore. When that moment comes, you will feel many things – fear, defiance and of course righteous indignation and anger. Maybe even a tiny delicious bit of a thrill, because there is a bit of exhilaration at finally reaching the end point and being free of the constraints of mundane decorum. It’s liberating – to use a cliche as it was intended.

This is normal and expected and probably accounts for at least half of the appeal of “good guys versus bad guys” stories. At least. In a way, it’s not even interesting to talk about.

What is interesting, however, is not even what that point is for different people, but how they measure that point, What makes them reach it. It’s not so much what is it that particular person holds so dear as to warrant this reaction – because we all have it in us, so we can all empathize with the turning moment which comes to define a “hero” – it’s how did this person get here? What were the stepping-stones to finally cross that line? And lastly, the question that consumes us becomes “once you cross that line, how far have you swung?”

Single Mom a la mode

its weird being single mom again. or rather I guess I should say its weird being a single mom who is *old*. No, I know 50 is not really that old but becoming a single mom is something I did in my youth- I was barely out of my 20s and it was perfectly acceptable for me to go dancing and partying and hooking up every night that my kids were gone. At my age, nobody would look sideways at me for doing the same now I suppose but it would feel different (it wouldn’t be new) and also its not what I want to do. I don’t have the same energy levels or good health that I did back then too so there’s that slowing me down.
WHat’s really different though, what really matters this time around is how I feel about everything else. WHen I was a single mom before, I cast aside the notion of companionship as some kind of luxury item I had no time or patience for. I couldn’t see much advantage to having a partner other than emotional and possibly financial. Eventually I decided to try again for both of those reasons and really not much else. I wanted certain things in life that are far easier to get when you have a decent partner. I also wanted a friend to come home to every night. It was something I had gotten used to with all my roommates and I wanted it again. My second foray into domestic bliss went even worse than my first. I suppose some of that was simply due to our different aims. I got what I wanted from teh arrangement but I had to deal with all the messy details that come with having a partner. I didn’t MIND the details themselves, but I did very much mind the person I ended up with. His version of love, partnership and commitment are very different than mine. So another attempt at partnership failed.

Looking at it now, I realize that what I want out of partnership at this point is a *very* different thing than what I wanted the first time I got married. Its very different than what I wanted the second time. Its very different than what I wanted the two times I entertained the notion but did not complete the act.

So this time around, being a single mom has a very different flavor than it did before I got married the second time. OBviously there’s a grave differnce in how parenting is for me as well: I’m a different age, in a different circumstance and have kids who are very different than they were back then. The world is somewhat different too but really not that much. Not enough that I can point to that as being part of what makes my experiencce feel so …odd.

I often wonder how odd I really am… how many other single moms are there out there who have grown kids AND a elementary age kid? How many are geeks? How many are bisexual? how many are monogamous? How many are starting a second career? How many have experience with chronic health issues?

Its not that I think I am so terribly unique (beyond the obvious) but that I wonder how this oddness keeps me from connecting.

When I was younger, it was easy for me to float through different cultures and subcultures – I was a retail store manager and wore a femme suit every day to work. I was a shooter girl in a strip club and rocked the “whore look” every night. I was a student and threw on whatever smelled reasonably fresh. I was a class mom and wore suburban blah-clothes. I was a weekend Goth and had a good collection of black dresses and boots. I was a baby butch and sometimes stepped out as a man.

Now I just want to find a group I can chat with and not worry about how I look, whether I have the right clothes or attitude. I just want to feel like I already am “there”
So every day I start over with what I’m going to present as.. am I femme? Butch? Tight-ass corporate? slightly slutty? Haphazard egghead? Wise crone? Ditzy student? know-it-all mom?

I don’t know… I wonder if all those years I drifted through groups I was wasting my time.. did nothing leave a mark on me? Why do I feel like i have no culture of my own?

I thought it would at least be parenthood… but that’s not working either… I’m older, uglier, more tired, less intense and less patient than every other parent I meet. Children are the only thing in my life that has never stopped being important to me yet I still don’t feel like I really fit in with other single moms….

…. who will I be tomorrow?

Single Mom A La Mode

its weird being single mom again. or rather I guess I should say its weird being a single mom who is *old*. No, I know 50 is not really that old but becoming a single mom is something I did in my youth- I was barely out of my 20s and it was perfectly acceptable for me to go dancing and partying and hooking up every night that my kids were gone. At my age, nobody would look sideways at me for doing the same now I suppose but it would feel different (it wouldn’t be new) and also its not what I want to do. I don’t have the same energy levels or good health that I did back then too so there’s that slowing me down.
WHat’s really different though, what really matters this time around is how I feel about everything else. WHen I was a single mom before, I cast aside the notion of companionship as some kind of luxury item I had no time or patience for. I couldn’t see much advantage to having a partner other than emotional and possibly financial. Eventually I decided to try again for both of those reasons and really not much else. I wanted certain things in life that are far easier to get when you have a decent partner. I also wanted a friend to come home to every night. It was something I had gotten used to with all my roommates and I wanted it again. My second foray into domestic bliss went even worse than my first. I suppose some of that was simply due to our different aims. I got what I wanted from teh arrangement but I had to deal with all the messy details that come with having a partner. I didn’t MIND the details themselves, but I did very much mind the person I ended up with. His version of love, partnership and commitment are very different than mine. So another attempt at partnership failed.

Looking at it now, I realize that what I want out of partnership at this point is a *very* different thing than what I wanted the first time I got married. Its very different than what I wanted the second time. Its very different than what I wanted the two times I entertained the notion but did not complete the act.

So this time around, being a single mom has a very different flavor than it did before I got married the second time. OBviously there’s a grave differnce in how parenting is for me as well: I’m a different age, in a different circumstance and have kids who are very different than they were back then. The world is somewhat different too but really not that much. Not enough that I can point to that as being part of what makes my experiencce feel so …odd.

I often wonder how odd I really am… how many other single moms are there out there who have grown kids AND a elementary age kid? How many are geeks? How many are bisexual? how many are monogamous? How many are starting a second career? How many have experience with chronic health issues?

Its not that I think I am so terribly unique (beyond the obvious) but that I wonder how this oddness keeps me from connecting.

When I was younger, it was easy for me to float through different cultures and subcultures – I was a retail store manager and wore a femme suit every day to work. I was a shooter girl in a strip club and rocked the “whore look” every night. I was a student and threw on whatever smelled reasonably fresh. I was a class mom and wore suburban blah-clothes. I was a weekend Goth and had a good collection of black dresses and boots. I was a baby butch and sometimes stepped out as a man.

Now I just want to find a group I can chat with and not worry about how I look, whether I have the right clothes or attitude. I just want to feel like I already am “there”
So every day I start over with what I’m going to present as.. am I femme? Butch? Tight-ass corporate? slightly slutty? Haphazard egghead? Wise crone? Ditzy student? know-it-all mom?

I don’t know… I wonder if all those years I drifted through groups I was wasting my time.. did nothing leave a mark on me? Why do I feel like i have no culture of my own?

I thought it would at least be parenthood… but that’s not working either… I’m older, uglier, more tired, less intense and less patient than every other parent I meet. Children are the only thing in my life that has never stopped being important to me yet I still don’t feel like I really fit in with other single moms….

…. who will I be tomorrow?

the differences are inside but important nonetheless

One thing I’ve been noticing more and more as I’ve gotten older is the divide between people who raise children and people who don’t. (This is absolutely no judgement or commentary on the value or worth of either group or their choices)

People not raising children seem to have this odd (to me) glamor attached to them and how they live. Many of them spend their free time doing fun things or romantic things or admirable things like vacations, road trips, going on dates, engaging in hobbies and charity work. It’s nice and fun to read about but its mostly a foreign thing for those of us raising children not because we can’t or don’t do those things but because we can’t or don’t structure our lives around those things. Our priorities are obviously different, as they should be. But what I’ve noticed more and more is a sort of shiny happiness that comes from the confidence of being kid-free. People who raise children are constantly questioning themselves, those around them and their purpose. People who raise children spend an enormous amount of energy just trying to believe they are “doing the right thing” which kid-free folks don’t have to spend even a nano-second worrying about. Not to say kid-free folks don’t have anxieties and worries and self-doubt, of course they do that’s the human condition, but people who raise children often mire themselves in the self-doubt of epic cultural proportions.

If you are kid-free and you feel unconfident, you worry about yourself, your image, your social standing -whatever metric you use to gauge your internal worth. You don’t spend any (or much, I guess) time worrying about any of those issues on behalf of another person. You do not wonder if people are judging you based on how you spoke to your best friend the other day. How your co-worker is dressed does not make you particularly embarrassed as a reflection upon your work ethic. Nothing that others do (with some exception for SigOths) really makes you lose sleep worrying about how YOU will be judged. Your self-doubt and recrimination revolves solely around your own actions and your own decisions on behalf of… you. Because of this, it seems as if kid-free folks spend far less time grinding away at the most mundane tasks of life with as much grim determination as people who raise children. We can both decide not ot clean our bathroom floor and it might bother you for a moment or two here or there, but you made your decision to do other things besides clean your bathroom floor and you go about your life. If I choose not to clean my bathroom floor it generally isn’t a matter of opting for something more fulfilling or interesting – it usually is a dire choice I make fully aware that I end up looking bad and will be judged by someone somewhere for being bad at a host of other aspects of my life: my parenting, my housekeeping and my dedication to being an adult in general. If a kid-free person forgets to pay the electric bill, that’s considered pretty flakey and roommates may be pretty ticked about it becuase its a huge inconvenience. If I forget to pay the electric bill, I could be investigated for being neglectful of my children’s needs.

This difference in emphasis puts the perspective of each class towards a very different schema in life. If I want to go to a party, or do some purely “grown-up fun” kind of thing, there’s planning, scheduling, and many avenues for guilt, anxiety and worry- not over the planning of the thing itself but of whether one is WORTHY of doing such a thing. Kid-free people rarely have to decide if going to do something fun is “okay” they generally have to decide if they can afford it with their time and money and maybe energy. Social standing, personal esteem do not really enter the picture.

For this reason, kid-free folks who embark on some minor event of frivolity often have a glow of absolute unfettered freedom that comes with recreational enjoyment being “the norm” rather than an unsual event one has earned the right to do. Because there is little to no social or cultural price to pay, kid-free folk seem to be enjoying life far more and more often than people raising children. This is not a bad thing, but it does create a divide between the two groups. Watching documentation of my kid-free friends traipsing off to yet another fun grown-up gathering full of adventure and self-actualization means I feel a gulf between us as basic citizens. They smile for the camera in a way I don’t think I’m even capable of without heavy planning and inebriants. The look of total immersion in their enjoyment is a look I doubt I will have for a very long time. And as a person who raises children, I do not bemoan that fact – I do raise children and thus everything I do in life, at least right now, has an impact on other people who are less capable of dealing with the ramifications of my decisions. Pictures of myself enjoying life sans kids are always more guarded, more careful and yet more desperate than pictures of kid-free folks.

still figuring things out on this intarwebby thing

i want to keep in touch with my friends. I want to hear what they have to say. I want to know what’s going on in their lives and how they feel and if anything is going on that they want me to be a part of.

That’s why Facebook is so important for me.

BUT…. its turned into a place of very little appeal now…. its

soapbox
ranty
snarky
scary
sad
and self-congratulating

None of which would be a big problem (gawd knows I am those things too) except those qualities have become the only times it is not superficial. All the news is sad and scary and angry-making. Or else its cute kitties and puppies. Once in a great while its inspiration-porn which is uncomfortable.

Mostly its just a daily outrage machine. Which isn’t to say the subjects brought up aren’t important but I can’t get behind the exhausting barrage of competing culture-wide problems.

I’m more interested in knowing how everyone’s doing but most of what I get is everyone hiding behind the liberal cause de jeur.

One of the reasons I still love Livejournal more than facebook is because when we were ALL on Livejournal we had more categories and thus we could be friends with more than one type of person. I was in political groups, social groups, parent groups etc
Not to say we didn’t get into arguments, dear gawd of course we did, but they happened mostly on the group pages. Most of us reserve our personal page for personal things. The political posts were not as frequent or common. Because when we posted to our page, we took our time, thought it out and assumed we were addressing all our close friends.

Facebook has gone beyond being a big cocktail party and turned into an sort of online state fair – everyone has a booth where they simultaniously sell their wares AND hawk their views AND hob-nob with friends and family. If you’re close you get to visit behind the booth and everyone plays musical booths all day long in some sort of complicated square dance that involves more steps and rules than I can keep up with.

I’m so tired. I just want to talk about how we’re all DOING. I don’t want to stand on a soapbox and scream any more (well, okay maybe every now and then?) I just want to explore each other and feel close again, not what was the latest violation of decency in the news today. I pretty much know all my friends and family’s political and social views.

Maybe that’s part of the problem – there’s nothing left to LEARN anymore.