Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On confidence.

Sometimes I think my greatest accomplishment in life so far has been making the majority of people around me believe that I'm much more "together" and able to do things than I actually am.

It always amazes me when someone gives me a task, wants me around, or just leaves me to fend for myself, saying "I know you can handle it, and that you'll do a good job." (And trust me, I know the difference between someone honestly meaning it and someone trying to get out of doing something.) I feel like I *never* know what the hell I'm doing, but I try to be a good sport about it, I guess...

My method is to either behave with total smiling confidence ("Never let 'em see you sweat, kid!") or joking, apologetic, over-exaggerated self-deprecation. Oddly enough, both methods are generally received in the same manner--smiles and acceptance of me. Granted, I know that sometimes people are lying through their teeth when they force out a "You're doing just fine! I don't hate you!", but I also know when that is happening and can handle it. Even when I don't know what the hell I'm doing, I know I'm going to try my best. Even if I've noticed I don't really even have to try my best for people to believe I am. Still, I do my best (...most of the time), because I'm also horrid at getting away with anything. I spent most of my childhood not even trying to get away with misbehavior, because no matter what I always got caught. I also spent most of my childhood terrified of my mother, because she's just that good.

In any case, my theory is that confidence (not the arrogant or cocky kind of confidence, either) and a strong sense of humor can take you a long way, even when deep down (or even just below the surface...) you're absolutely panic-stricken. Because in reality, most people are too wrapped up in their own fear of their own inadequacies being discovered to look below the surface to search out yours. And confidence is something that if you fake it enough, it may eventually sink in a little. Before you know it, when you know someone has tried to get the best of you, that confidence coupled with the aforementioned sense of humor keeps it from ever getting close to causing too much damage.

*coughs* ...Says the chick taking anti-depressants (but taking anti-depressants confidently, with panache). 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My evolution of taste--in music, that is.

So it's been a while since I posted anything new... again. Sorry about that.

Moving on!

I've always been a big fan of music. Yeah, I know, most people are big fans of music, and it has played a major effect on many a person throughout different phases of their lives. Especially the teenage years. But I'm not here to talk about most people right now, I'm focusing on myself for this particular post, and if you're reading this then so are you. Eat it. You can get back to focusing on yourself or whoever else you feel like thinking about after you're finished reading my ramblings.

--Random interjection--Just had to put out there that I just now saw on TV an old clip where three men were chasing a seal around an office. It was flopping around on a desk, then flopped off. End of clip. I'm just minding my own business, then look up, and *seal*. I love this planet, and The Marx Brothers.

As I was saying. I've always been a big fan of music. It has played a major effect on me throughout my life. :)  I popped my concert cherry at a very young age when The Mom took me to a Restless Heart concert. After that it was a while, but over time I went to quite a few country concerts with the family, then rock concerts with friends. I've been to about 12 concert events (one was a 3-day festival) that I can think of, and counting up the bands that I've seen at those events is more thought than I'm willing to put into this right now. But I know I'd very much like to increase that number. I used to sing (and dance...) along to the 21 Jump Street theme song, and according to The Mom I answered Jeopardy! questions about theme songs to my favorite shows. Unlike some, I enjoyed music classes in elementary school, and in middle school surprised everyone--including myself--when I tried out for a solo part for one of our Christmas concerts. I totally got a solo, and rocked it. In 7th grade I tried out for a spot in the high school choir, and got it. I loved singing so much, and was good enough at it, some of my friends would have me sing songs for them any time we were hanging out. I loved it. I was devastated when we moved and the high school I started at didn't have a choir.

In middle school I also graduated from the country and classic rock that my family listened to into the boy-band/"grown-up" Mickey Mouse Clubbers era of pop music. I was too late for New Kids On The Block, but just in time for Backstreet Boys, and even then I was enough of a "hipster" to be skeptical when N'Sync came out, because "Clearly, they sound just like Backstreet!" I even briefly loved Hanson. Le sigh. Note: These fascinations only lasted through their first go-round of singles, but that's still hardly acceptable. However, I also listened to a lot of the other stuff that was on the radio, mostly that awesome selection of mid-to-late 90s alternative music. I was relentlessly tortured by people with better taste in music, but why? They didn't give anyone else a hard time. I was terrified of a goth-ish older kid that happened to ride the bus with me (we lived in a rural area) who wore all black, listened to Marilyn Manson and filed his fingernails to a point. For some reason he took particular pleasure in shocking me and giving me a hard time. (And I'm not just being all "Oooh, he wore black, he's scary," he actually did extremely creepy and inappropriate things around me, leading to my terror.) But again, why me? Were they trying to speed up my inevitable musical evolution?

It took a while, but it happened. First, though, I had to be introduced. Oddly enough, the song that broke the spell was Three Doors Down's "Kryptonite," and it all started over a radio battle with a then-step-brother. See, it's one of those songs that played on the mix stations that play a little bit of everything current and on the rock stations. I would sit in the living room, generally on the computer (Our family was still rocking the MS-DOS at that point!! We were ALWAYS way behind everyone in tech, until I moved out of course.) listening to the radio or whatever I felt like putting in the 6-disc CD changer. So then at some point The Step Brother would come in, change it to the local rock station, then inevitably leave the room. I'd get up and change it back, then he'd come back in, repeat repeat repeat.

Then I noticed that my new favorite song "Kryptonite" was playing more on his station than mine, so I started leaving it alone to wait for it to play again, because you KNOW that when a song is popular it's in heavy rotation. (Does anyone still do that??) Or I'd flip back and forth myself until I heard it on one, then put it on the other until I heard it there. Because I'm obsessive like that, and radio stations are predictable like that. Eventually I found that I was actually listening to and liking a whole lot more of the songs on the rock station than the ones on the mix station. For me, history was made.

After briefly dabbling in DMX and Dr. Dre, and inevitably Eminem and a whole bunch of really random stuff, I settled more firmly in the "rock" category, getting progressively harder the older I got... Incidentally around the same rate the symptoms of depression started showing up. Listening to A Perfect Circle definitely provided a muse for a number of art projects of mine. Then there was the Dashboard Confessional stage, but that's a whole 'nother story. I still like a wide range of random, but for the most part it's alternative, rock, metal, and punk. The only stipulation I have is that I like some sort of melody in there somewhere. I don't really like to listen to only screaming/growling all the time. I need some actual sort of singing, even if it isn't the best voice doing it, and even if it's not in every song of theirs. I really don't like much rap or R&B, and although I was raised on country I can't listen to too much of it at once anymore.

I've gone through some downright sickening musical phases, but all-in-all I'm happy with where I ended up. Even if every Bruno Mars song makes me smile, so does every Operation Ivy and Mushroomhead song. So to The Step-Brother who I hated for reasons I may never publicize, thank you for the radio battles. And to that creepy kid whose name I remember but will not use here--I've loved Marilyn Manson for years now. I hope you stopped tormenting others, and didn't end up in jail.