15 Terrible Early-90’s Songs Suburban Kids Listened to in The Back of Our Friends’ Moms’ Minivans and Have Tried to Block Out Since

90’s nostalgia has been upon us for awhile, and, much like Ren Faire attendees would rather ignore the fact that the Medieval era would’ve been torturous to endure, those screaming about how much they “LOVE 90’s music!!!” rarely look objectively at the decade. Y’see, kids, kids, pop music went on a strange tangent in those years between the 80’s and the Britney/Christina/boy band invasion of ’98, and thanks to our parents’ determination to follow the stars of yore during their respective descents into Snoozeville (see: Rod Stewart, Elton John), a horrible vanilla phase emerged in the undercurrent of the adult contemporary genre. A huuuge chunk of 90’s musical culture includes this wave of hostile Caucasian Americana-brand mediocrity which permeated suburban life via carpool lane radio and The Weather Channel. It’s in our best interest to remember this dark side so we aren’t doomed to repeat it.

All I’m saying is: Thank God for “The Bodyguard” Soundtrack breaking through to the Mom-pop stations and keeping it interesting. We miss you, Whitney. 

Anyway, a healthy life is about balance, so to offer a counterweight to the glory of 90’s hip hop/rap/alternative/R&B/riot grrrl/grunge, I’ve curated some of the worst pop hits from 1990-95. I’m not going to bash many of the era’s heavy-hitters (Celine, Michael Bolton, Kenny G,) even though they were also responsible for some heavy-duty earsores (looking at you too, Madonna). Instead, let’s explore those subtle-yet-pervasive hits that we’ve all tried very hard to blot out in the years since.

FUN FACT: I’d never seen the videos to any of these songs, because, as the oldest of four kids in a pretty conservative family, I didn’t have any exposure to MTV until after Kurt Cobain was dead. So I first experienced these as I put this post together – a real treat!

As a warm-up, here’s
Aaron Neville’s Cotton Commercial

Ready now? Let’s do this!


How Do You Talk to an Angel – The Heights

I’M COMING IN HOT!!! Yeah, I said it, 90210 fans!! NOW WHAT WHAT NOW?!!?!?
No, but seriously, y’guys. Give this another listen with our now-adult perspectives and tell me it’s a good song with a straight face. If you can, you’re a sociopath, no questions asked.
Also, I’m not going to get into the whole Gin Blossoms/BoDeans/Rembrandts/Spin Doctors soft-altrock thing any further than this. Promise.

All for Love – Sting, Rod Stewart, & Bryan Adams (from “The Three Musketeers” Soundtrack)

Alright, to avenge 90210 Fans, here I am stepping on my own toes because I definitely liked this song and absolutely harmonized the shit out of it together with my BFF just this summer when she visited my place. And it. Is. The. Worst.


Soldier of Love – Donny Osmond


Alright, CONFESSION: I didn’t know Donny Osmond sang this until just now. Again, my pop culture knowledge has a lot of blind spots from that era (Ex: I just watched both “Total Recall” and “Basic Instinct”  for the first time just this week. Yeah, really.) But true to form, he continues to be not at all “rock’n’roll”, no matter how hard he’s working that Jordan Knight-knockoff look.

Good for Me – Amy Grant

Whenever people my age whine that “music these days has just gotten soo baaaad. I miss the good old days when pop music was great!!”, my brain immediately thinks of Amy Grant and Billy Ocean as evidence to the contrary.
You guys, Amy Grant was awful. (BUZZKILL ALERT: There’s a ton of scientific reasoning why everyone believes the music that came out during their adolescent years was the best. It correlates with your pubescent hormones and the imprinting of the feelings the music gave you at that time in your life holding significant value and meaning, exactly like your first love. This is why you’re not as amazed by new music when you’re an adult and why your parents hated what you were listening to when you were a teen. The music wasn’t better; you were just hormonal. Sorry ’bout it.) “Good For Me” is particularly cheesy, although “Baby, Baby” is a close second.

Anything by Jon Secada. Just anything.

There was a span of about a year where this guy was everywhere and honestly, all his tracks sound like clones of each other. In fact, until I went hunting for his videos on YouTube just now, I didn’t realize I know at least 5 songss of his because I was convinced it was just the same two played over and over. Also, I remember always wondering whether or not his music was secular or if he was Trojan-horsing a Jesus message on all of us, which was a super common thing back in those days, as evidenced by…

Michael W. Smith – I Will Be Here For You

Christian crossover artists were all over contemporary charts at the time (see: Amy Grant) and Michael W. Smith was the guy your parents were happy for you to listen to because you’d probably hear his stuff at the “contemporary service” on Sunday, too!

Faithful – Go West


I’m cackling at the idea of any of you curiously clicking this link to give this a first listen because JEE. ZUSS. I forgot how terrible this song was. Oh man. I’m so sorry.

The Heart of the Matter – Don Henley

I really thought this song was called “Forgiveness” until just now when I Googled it to find the video. Who cares. Garbage.

I Want to Be Rich – Calloway

I may’ve learned a little American Sign Language through Girl Scouts and private study and then taught myself how to sign this entire song for fun… just in case you were wondering what my personal brand was during this time in my life.

Would I Lie to You – Charles & Eddie

I keep finding these and thinking “Oh WAAAAOOWW… THIS one has to be the worst…” until I get to the next one on my list, but honestly, this one is Top 3. I don’t usually believe in superlatives, but this song makes me blush and cringe in a way I’m not comfortable with.

Life is a Highway – Tom Cochrane or anybody else who covers it

And to answer the follow-up question: No, none of the covers of this are good, either.

Peter Cetera’s Varied Number-One-Ranked Experiments in Increasingly Mind-Numbing Sounds


Remember that thing I said about our parents aging stars of yore? Yeeeaahh…

Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting

It’s all just starting to sound the same, right?

Right Here Right Now – Jesus Jones

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhnnnnnn……

That Springsteen Song from Jerry Maguire

Maaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-wuh!!!!

HONORABLE MENTION: I Know – Dionne Farris

Alright, this wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great, either. It was a track that was a little more of what the adults would embarrassingly dub “funky”, but was pretty tame and middle-of-the-road by all accounts. I’m including it on this list because it seems to be THE SONG we all heard repeatedly and we all knew and when we sang along to it when it was on the radio at any given moment for about 2 years, our moms didn’t give us a hard time about it. Kind of like Des’ree but without a memorable voice.

…And yes, I DID have that one Des’ree album on cassette. And I DID listen to it when I went for a rollerblading cardio session every day during the summer… when I wasn’t listening to the “Batman Forever” soundtrack.

Never Forget

Stories I Like to Tell*: Part I

When I got married, I hyphenated my last name, which seemed logical/natural to me. Our daughter’s surname was also hyphenated because we weren’t married when we had her, and my husband never put up a fuss about it, but for some reason, he got a little weird about me hyphenating my own.

Our conversations went as follows:
Him: I’m not mad, really. I just wish you would take my name.
Me: …But, I am taking your name.
Him: But, I mean, just my name.
Me: I’m not taking anyone else’s name…
Him: You know what I mean! Why don’t you get rid of your last name?
Me: Why don’t you get rid of yours?
Him: Because it isn’t tradition!
Me: We’ve just had a kid out of wedlock and aren’t inviting anyone to our wedding; why would we start adhering to tradition now?
Him: ::huffs:: I don’t know!
Me: [kind of playfully, but mostly smarmily] Well, at this point, two of the three of your family members have the last name “Pardue-Schultz”; realistically, you should change yours. You’re in the minority here.
Him: :::siiiiggggh:::

And that was the end of that.
I thought.

Two and a half years later, we’d moved to another state, bought a house, settled into jobs, etc. I’d had a cat, Benny, since the year before I even met my husband, and we’d acquired another, Sunny, just after we’d gotten married (but that’s a story for another S.I.L.T.T. entry) that both desperately needed check-ups. My husband made the appointment, and when I got to the vet, I was greeted by a clerk asking “And this appointment is for Sunny and Benny Schultz?”
Me: … I’m sorry. What?
Her: Sunny Schultz and Benny Schultz? The man who called wanted them registered as that.
Me: ::::siiiiiigh:::

I texted my beloved from the exam room while I was waiting for the vet.
Me: Really? You gave the cats your surname?
Him: And now I’m in the majority. 🙂

————————————————
*The aforementioned spouse has pointed out that there are a series of stories that I like to tell repeatedly to friends (a fact that made me very self-conscious while re-watching “I *heart* Huckabees” and saw Jude Law realize that retelling a story is what gives him a false sense of power… I digress.) while he rolls his eyes and laughs at my predictability. I thought I’d share here on the record.

Things I’m a Hypocrite About: An Ongoing Exposé

Principle: I think chasing trends and fashion is the most wasteful, superficial manifestation of this consumer culture we’ve created.
Hypocrisy: I enthusiastically watch to see what Rihanna is going to stun us with next… And I follow about 50 drag queens on Insta just to admire their selfie creations. (@PhiPhiOhara is doing #365DaysofDrag, a look per day for a year, and it is quite literally amazing.)

Principle: Capital punishment is morally wrong, barbaric, outdated, and terrifyingly flawed. Enough is enough.
Hypocrisy: If someone is convicted of child abuse (especially sexual), that person should be hurled into a shark tank on a celebrity-hosted Pay-Per-View event and we should send all the proceeds directly to the public education system.

Principle: It is absolutely none of my business what anyone does in his or her bedroom and I’m sick of it being public discussion.
Hypocrisy: I am disgusted by this grey-walls-in-the-boudoir vogue and will quietly judge it all day long. Call it “classy” all you want; all I see is a resignation to boredom. I didn’t know vanilla came in grey.

Principle: The pendulum swing back to small businesses and DIY lifestyles is exactly what we need to get America back from this ubiquitous, sweeping corporate culture that creates indentured servants out of small-town workers!
Hypocrisy: …But Starbucks is the only place in town that can do a dairy-free/soy-free/low-sugar mocha… And I just want a part-time gig from a company that isn’t on the brink of collapse due to financial issues for a change.

Principle: “Oh, I haven’t seen that commercial; I don’t really watch TV.” is something I catch myself saying a bunch. And believing.
Hypocrisy:  I’ve religiously followed “It’s Always Sunny…”, “Broad City”, “Archer”, “Baskets”, “New Girl”, and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” every season since their respective inceptions via streaming services… oh, and “Snapped”, which terrifies my husband.

Principle: Kids are the worst. My anxiety skyrockets being around more than three of them at once. And why are we even still producing them? Humanity is having a serious overpopulation issue that could easily be curbed if we pumped the brakes on procreation.
Hypocrisy: Have you met my daughter?! SHE’S MADE OF MAGIC AND SUNSHINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here, let me give you ample opportunity to observe her general awesomeness via varied social media platforms. It won’t get old.

Principle: It’s important that we all express how we feel and stand up for our beliefs no matter what!
Hypocrisy: … Unless you honestly believe God doesn’t want you to share, interact, or coexist with anyone different than you. Then you should shut the fuck up and take a seat.

Principle: Namaste. I recognize that the Divine in you is the Divine in me, too. We are all one, and we are all manifestations of a Higher Power, interacting on a physical plane.
Hypocrisy: This is just something I want to believe but don’t yet. I can only see the Divine in the very few people who are extraordinarily kind, generous, selfless, forgiving, creative, or otherwise inspirational. For the most part, I just see secular, regular, messed up (sometimes REALLY awful) people. That doesn’t mean it’s reality; it’s just what I can observe. I should work on that.

Principle: I genuinely don’t believe in marriage; it’s an antiquated institution that isn’t based on practicality anymore aside from tax benefits. Monogamy isn’t natural and that’s not a terrible thing. Attempting to put rules and arbitrary expectations on human nature just causes way more heartache than anyone deserves. I’m not anti-marriage; I just don’t advocate it if asked (which I’m not, usually)… And I don’t at all get this obsession with weddings in our culture, but that’s another issue…
Hypocrisy: I’ve been married and monogamous for almost 8 years. And, despite a rocky start, the last couple years have been improbably, almost annoyingly ideal. I’ve even considered renewing our vows. ::shrug:: I dunno, guys.

Principle: The sugar-addicted American diet has made us so depressed, obese, and unhealthy that we have become fat little caricatures/laughingstocks to the rest of the world. Eat more vegetables!! Stop eating garbage and then piling on medications to treat the ailments that this Western diet causes! It’s costing us a fortune in insurance costs to tackle everyone’s issues that could easily be treated by consuming less sugar and empty calories. Take control of your health, people!!!!!!
Hypocrisy: I have spent $52 on the boxes of Girl Scout cookies I have singlehandedly consumed from my daughter’s inventory in the last 6 weeks. They’re $4 per box. I have also checked a dozen grocery stores in my area in anticipation of the arrival of Ben & Jerry’s Dairy Free collection. Also, summer is approaching, which I often refer to as “Cheerwine Season”.

Principle: Can we all quit telling each other what to wear and what not to wear already!?!
Hypocrisy: White people shouldn’t wear cornrows. Stop it.

Post-Recovery Recovery

Apparently, spending two months barely mobile after an 18-month Effexor-induced weight-gain-and-lethargy/fatigue spree is a very efficient way to turn yourself into an 80-year-old practically overnight. Couple that with my system freaking out and craving ALLTHECARBSRIGHTNOW during withdrawal and my body is just a complete disaster at the moment, which is unfortunate because my mind is the calmest, most content and optimistic it has been in almost two decades.

That’s a first.

Obviously, I’ve been conscious of how my body was derailing in the last while, but I made up my mind at the beginning that figuring out an end to my psychiatric woes was far more important than freaking out over weight gain; I’ve lost this 50 lbs before when I had my daughter. No sweat. Now that my brain is feeling healthy and fantastic, and I’m eager to get my life back on track, I was all, “Alright! Let’s cut some calories and get to exercising! Game ooonn!” However, I wasn’t prepared for how unbelievably far gone I actually am at this juncture.

First of all, after being on a carb bender for the last two months (seriously, withdrawal is the worst. No wonder heroin addicts get fat in rehab…) my body was like, “Oh WHOA, dude; you’re not just gonna stop all this immediately.” So, while I’ve cut out bread and pasta, I’m still eating nonstop just so I don’t start feeling like I’m going to puke/faint/implode. This week’s goal is just to eat something fresh and natural (and preferably raw) when I’m craving food (which is literally still on the hour, pretty much) and not even worrying about caloric intake just yet. This feels ridiculous. I’ve never had cravings like this, even when I was pregnant…

Secondly, my muscular capabilities are nil. I’m doing about a 20-minute mile these days, and by the end of the second one, I’m exhausted. I’ve been increasingly active around the house, but by the end of the day, my feet and legs are aching from carrying all this extra weight when they’re barely used to working more than 40 minutes a day in 5-minute spurts. The fatigue and musculoskeletal aches and pains from withdrawal are gone, but now my body is having to remember what it’s like to generate its own power and it is crrreaking back to life.
I’m not even going to discuss upper body strength. Just don’t ask me to help carry your groceries inside.

Look, I realize that this could be worse – I could be in physical therapy from a car accident or recovering from cancer or paralyzed for life – but I still feel completely wrecked physically from an ailment that isn’t even addressed by doctors (SSRI withdrawal) after being put on these meds that wreaked havoc on every aspect of my life for a couple years, and I’m trying really, really hard not to be fucking pissed about it. Because I know that this is a lot more useless whining, but having to recover from what I thought/was supposed to be “recovery” is complete and utter horseshit.

Well, at least I can honestly state from experience that I would definitely rather be sane/happy and physically screwed up than skinny and mentally wrecked because, in the last 5 years, I have seen both extremes.
Mirth absolutely is all about how healthy your mind is; that’s where one’s paradise or hell exist.

Only took me 20 years, but that cliché totally checks out!

My Most Spectacular Failure: A True Fable

In honor of the LPGA U.S. Open starting today, I thought I’d share the story of the time I singlehandedly cost my high school the 1997 State Championship women’s golf title. It is a doooozy of spectacular proportions and is an ideal parable for both the perils of making expectations about other people and the beauty of perspective.

The public high school where I spent my freshman and sophomore years was brand new at the time and happened to have among us two of the best female players in the state; we just needed a third player to qualify as a team, and because my father made his career developing golf courses and I’d grown up in Pinehurst (the original self-proclaimed “Golf Capital of the World” outside of, you know, Scotland), the organizer was adamant that I’d make a perfect candidate. Said organizer was also my volleyball coach, which was a sport in which I was admittedly pretty awesome, so she straight-up refused to believe me when I said, “I really, really can’t play golf, Coach. Seriously, this is a terrible idea” and, I assume, just thought I was being modest. She was convinced that I could go out there and “hold [my] own” since I’d been raised in a golfing family, and so, after her relentless begging for almost a month, I acquiesced.

I’ll keep this short: The three of us traveled four hours from Myrtle Beach (the other self-proclaimed “Golf Capital of the World”) across the state to the tournament, which was held in even-more-out-in-the-middle-of-Nowheresville, SC. The two girls on the team scored the best in the entire state, and we were an easy choice to take the whole thing, even if I shot an outlandish 120.

I shot 154.

I couldn’t stop laughing; it was too absurd… and then laughing about how unashamed I was about the whole thing.

Alright, wait.
I legitimately had done my best out there because I didn’t want to make a mockery of the thing deliberately. I was raised with manners, for God’s sake. And integrity.
Also, I felt genuinely sorry for the other two girls who were maybe hoping this whole thing would be a beautiful underdog story that would put our sparkling new high school on the map and possibly help them catch the eye of scouts for potential collegiate golf careers. But I’m not sure how they felt about it, really, because they made sure to never speak to me again.

However, the look of shock and horror that slowly crept across Coach’s face as she watched my swiftly-unraveling game was the funniest thing to happen on a golf course short of Bill Murray mumbling about a Cinderella story. I even told a few friends about the catastrophic ridiculousness of my game with a shrug and the honest assessment that, “I DID say it was a bad idea…”

What’s most interesting to me all these years later is this: At the time, I was of the age where I was shamed very, very easily.
Call me “overweight”? I’ll be a wreck of tears and starvation for a month.
Fart in mixed company? Not going to show my face for the next hour.
But grandly, publicly, comically botching a state championship in front of hundreds of people in a sport I absolutely don’t care about? Hilarious.

..and easily dismissed, too. This was something that not only never bothered me, but that I quickly forgot about. Telling people I played golf in a state title tournament is one of those pieces of personal trivia I reserve for games of “Two Truths and a Lie”, and people always assume that that’s the lie.

So there are two lessons here, really:
1) Shame and embarrassment are all relative to what we put value on and our individual perceptions of what “failure” actually means.
2) Don’t make assumptions on a person just because of their lifestyle’s circumstances.

Oh, and 3) I cannot effing play golf. So don’t ask.

NOTE: My sincere apologies to Katie B. and Serena (Selena?), wherever they are, who probably never found this whole thing as hilarious as I, but who never once said anything negative about it to me like total class acts. It would’ve been a real honor to play with you had I actually been playing golf that day.

Like a Cracked-Out Born-Again.

Since this epiphany of self-validation, I have been blasting through every day, clutching the reins of my life and spurring myself onward like a cracked-out born-again Christian. I’m finding the sources of all my ancient fears and shame, tackling them to the floor, pinning them down with my new boundaries and self-assurance, and then leaping up to run out the door, forever free of their threats. I’ve been finding all my old nemeses, figuratively pointing at them and bellowing, “YOU!” and then taking the time to calmly, rationally explain to them why what they did hurt me and what exact measures I’m taking to no longer tolerate it.  I’m doing so in a way that says, “I love you and I want us to be happy when we’re around each other, so I’m letting you know I’m no longer acknowledging these dysfunctional cycles or behaviors because I want to eradicate this ongoing drama from our relationship forever. I’m not mad; you’re welcome to believe or do whatever you want to do, but I’m not going to cooperate with it.” and then I’m hugging them and being optimistic when I walk away after shutting it down. I got inner peace like Gandhi, mother@#$%ers!!! WOOOO!!!

I’m on some sort of loving rampage.

My husband has been worried that I’m digging up garbage out of the past for no reason, but I’m trying to explain to him that the things I’m dealing with are things that started a long time ago and instilled beliefs and habits in me that I have carried with me/been a slave to every single day since then. By me revisiting those sources, making peace with them, and stating my intentions for changing my responses in the future, I’m paving a bright, pretty outlook for my life (and, subsequentially, my little family’s life). And it’s working! Every day I wake up with less weight on my shoulders and less concern or anxiety with how I’m going to deal with those ancient obstacles that I’ve now obliterated.

I can’t believe it’s all over. All the years and years of untangling the knot and going to therapy and figuring out where all this came from; it’s all done. All the questions are answered and everything I sought to know is SO MUCH BETTER than I ever thought they could be. All the answers about why I hated myself and why I constantly did things to derail my success and why my body shut down with psychotic anxiety when I was about to succeed are SO MUCH BETTER than I could’ve anticipated. This person I’ve uncovered after a literal decade of digging through the rubble is so much cooler than I thought! I’m so happy I worked to recover her and wake up to this life I have right now.

I feel like I’ve spent the last 17-ish years underwater, detached from everything in my life and unable to see who I am or how/that I affected everyone around me. Up until these last couple weeks, I seriously thought I was just an amorphous blob of a being who was here to entertain people who bothered to pay me any attention; I never knew I had any impact on anyone in my life – positive or negative. Now I see that, not only did I, but I didn’t completely fuck it up all the time! I managed to make a bunch of really, really stellar friends in people who are just amazing to know and have in my corner!

I had no idea, when I started talking to a therapist the morning after somehow messing up an attempt to murder myself, that it could have turned out like this. I so, so desperately want everyone who is hurting to know that this is waiting for them at the end of the abuse and the addiction and the pain and the psychosis. I feel like I am on a non-stop drug that makes everything feel full of love and everything look and taste and feel so wonderful. Even the things that are shitty and awful about life don’t feel oppressive and fatalistic anymore; they seem like something I have the power to work to change without it threatening to tear me apart. I’m able to deal with confrontation with a feeling of invincibility at the realization that nobody’s reactions to anything have anything to do with me; they all have to do with each person and their choices about how they perceive and react to the world.

Dear Lord, I’ve never felt so light in my life. I had no idea this was possible, but it is. It isn’t going away; it isn’t coming and going in waves like mood swings or manic spells. I am still able to feel pain through compassion or loss of relationships, but I have the capacity to objectively work toward happiness and coexistence with people around me, and to improve my relationships with everyone, no matter how emotionally close.

All I can be is grateful. All I can do is share this. <3

When Being “Colorblind” Fails Me

Well, here’s a fun story about my blatant naivete to start off our week!

So, I have a few friends who are having some big events going on- one is celebrating her wedding with a big celebration after being married for about a year and a half; one is pregnant for the first time; another just celebrated her 21st birthday; another is wrapping up her last year being my daughter’s teacher. So, I found this amazing ancient Ayurvedic/Hindu skin treatment called “Ubtan” that was made from chickpea flour and spices to increase blood flow to the skin and create a beautiful, healthy glow in Indian brides, who would cover their bodies with it every day for 40 days before their wedding. I thought it would be a glorious way to celebrate my friends in their times of change, so I took myself to this magnificent Indian market in Raleigh and bought the ingredients necessary – tumeric powder, chickpea flour, sandalwood powder, fenugreek powder (for this specific concoction) to be mixed with whatever the user wants as a base, like honey, lime juice, rose water, avocado, yogurt, milk, or anything else mooshy and edible.
I got home, mixed the stuff, put it in mason jars with instructions and mailed them off, only handing one to the husband of the pregnant gal when I ran into him at the bakery last Friday (when we were both missing her yoga class… oooops.)

I saved a little extra for myself and decided to indulge myself in a little ancient beauty therapy for Mother’s Day. I applied a little to my skin and soaked it in through steamed, open pores. Deeelightful. Until I washed it off my skin and noticed that I looked yellow… jaundiced, even. I mean, my skin felt incredible and was full of vitality and rejuvenation and supple…ness? and good things. It was just effing yellow.

And thaaat’s when I realized that this particular treatment was designed to give brown gals a healthy glow, because yellow will only slightly lighten the skin of someone with dark pigmentation. On pasty whiteys like myself, it only acts as a stain because, essentially, I am a blank canvas.

Luckily, only one of the girls I sent it to is white like me. The others are darker in tone than I am and I think they’ll be okay, although I’m sending a warning anyway. Heh. My bad.

Next time, everybody’s just getting a card, dammit.

The Luxury of Gloom: A To-Do List

It was recently brought to my attention that wallowing in misery/depression is something that originated with and is perpetuated by white people. (Incidentally, this was highlighted in a book entitled, “I’m Down”, which is authored by a white woman who was raised by a father who very, very badly wanted to be black. She has a lot of insights like this; I recommend her writing.) After taking a half second to be offended (because White People Really Like Being Offended), I laughed and realized how amazingly talented I am at embracing gloominess and really milking it for all its worth.

Today is gloomy! I plan to enjoy it to its fullest!
Here’s my list of planned activities:
~ Don floor-length duster
~ Drink entirely too much coffee
~ Listen to gloomy, surrealistic music (Mazzy Star, Sigur Ros, Fever Ray, Gorillaz’ self-titled album, Pixies b-sides …maaaaybe G.G. Allin)
~ Write short story that inflicts moral despair upon the reader
~ Visit Edvard Munch exhibit… again
~ Watch passing humanity from coffee shop window; write poems about observed characters
~ Listen to a lot of Billie Holliday, Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald (especially “Black Coffee”, “Good Morning Heartache”, etc.)
~ Wear cabernet-colored lipstick; let it peek out under a large brown hat.
~ Write letter to a famous mass murderer
~ Drape heavy scarves over all the lamps in household
~ Read Harlan Ellison, Chuck Palahniuk, H.P. Lovecraft short stories, or John Waters essays (in case I want to lighten the mood a little)
~ Heavy incense
~ Watch “Metropolis” again

BONUS POINTS:
~ Sketch maudlin self-portrait and leave it on a community bulletin board
~ Cry about humanity, catch tears in jar, mail jar to orphan
~ Eat nothing, stare into mirror, write about the agony endured through this exercise
~ Swath entire body in dark cloth
~ Perform angry haiku at local coffee house poetry slam
~ Take forlorn, sepia-toned self-portraiture of myself in stark surroundings
~ Offer vial of blood/interpretive dance as payment for charcoal pencils
~ Don a half-veil
~ Speak solely in Emily Dickinson-ian cadences/quotes
~ Consume a package of clove cigarettes
~ Ask a homeless man to slow dance on a street corner
~ Bleed onto a garment; mail to old lover
~ Bang out “Karma Police” on an out-of-tune piano (There’s one I found in a rotted-out farmhouse on a rural highway near where I live that’s ideal.)
~ Bury used sage in backyard and say prayer to current waning Harvest Moon, thanking it for enabling [relative] loss and providing exploration into the very real human feeling of [safe, first-world] discontent

I just turned your lemons into limoncello, Betch.

Oh, heeeey, Crazy Mind!

Y’know, I was using all that sudden, unexpected mania you’ve been hurling at me recently to fire off an angry missive to you about it late last night until I realized you might actually be really impressed with how innovatively I’ve upcycled your spiteful curveballs. So I thought I’d share, ’cause I’m actually quite proud of my results and you know how I like to talk it out with you when we’ve been at odds. Have a seat.

See, originally, I was admittedly pretty pissed at you for throwing in such an underhanded game-changer this far into our relationship. I thought we had a decent arrangement going; after years of torment, you let me settle into a “normal” life and only drag your crippling depression out once a year just to, I dunno, prove you still can or something. And, sure, I’d acquired enough tools in my belt to handle your inevitable arrivals and just kind of wait them out without getting all self-loath-y and self-destructive, which may have pissed you off a little, but you brought out some new tricks of your own to up your efficiency (like this year when you introduced your new “drooling on myself unconsciously while staring into the middle distance and, thus, taking my self-confidence down a peg or two” app. Quite effective at rattling my sense of sanity. Good work on your part.) so I just thought we’d continue like that for forever. I’d accepted that as a highly probable life path and was cool with working around it so that we could interact without it turning into a downward spiral again. But I guess my implementing active recovery on you these last few years and not bothering to toy with the idea of self-harm ever again must’ve pissed you off something fierce.

And, I gotta hand it to you, springing an abrupt series of mania on me was a damned genius plan on your part. Seriously, not only is it the polar opposite of what I’m well-adjusted to and prepared for but it completely manipulated my strengths and my penchant for ongoing recovery so that my manic episodes were spent obsessing about how to right past wrongs and address old, unanswered questions and other “Step 9” motives we all know I worry about too much when I’m leveled off. So, not only did I have this crazy super-energy keeping me up all night and this unusual sense of overblown confidence (which, apparently, is a symptom of mania I was not aware of) but I also had you using my good intentions and deeply-rooted beliefs in daily recovery practices as fuel AND justification for my resulting actions. Well played, indeed!

Unfortunately, however, your plan kind of backfired on you, ultimately. Oh, sure, I spent a handful of sleepless nights hammering out massive emails to people in my past to whom I felt deserved an apology (but who, in reality, probably never needed or wanted one or even remembered the original problem) and, with my good intentions squarely before me, I made sure to really delve into the topics at hand on all emotional, personal, psychological and philosophical levels for what I thought would be the benefit of the reader. After these emails came an exchange with an old friend with whom I’d had a brief… fling? (we never really defined it) that ended abruptly and from whom I’d kind of always wanted to know what happened, during which I continued my oversharing, babbling rhetoric. And even after that, there was the completely irrational overreaction to a friend’s response on a debate in freaking Facebook that caused me to panic and send her 7 text messages apologizing for any inadvertent insult I may have delivered while expressing disagreement. Naturally, after each of these instances, I would step back and think, “WHOAWHATTHEFUCKAMIDOING!??!” and feel genuine fear at my inability to stop these impulses that seemed so necessary and imperative while I was implementing them. And then there was the terror of trying to control myself at night by just lying down and trying to breathe while my brain whirred with worry and the desire to get up and remedy things (friendships, messy dishes, touch-up paint jobs… didn’t matter) and my body wouldn’t lie still and I had this constant urge to just start screaming. Oh yeah, your plan was fucking effective; it scared the shit out of me with the idea that there was a new type of Crazy going on and you were somehow evolving along with my recovery, it destroyed my moods during the days when I was delirious from insomnia, it made me mortified when I revisited the crazed messages I’d been sending out, it made me stop trusting myself… you did well.

But, again, it didn’t work. I’d lie and say that I hate to crush your hopes because I know you worked really hard on all this and had a lot of hopes for it but, really, I do like to gloat about crushing your intentions.

See, unfortunately, the people to whom I sent my blathering volumes of hopeful reconciliation turned out to be genuinely chill and understanding and responded with casual appreciation for me having broached the subject. (And NONE of them sounded terrified by my overzealous rambling.) So that part turned out to be nothing but beneficial and did, incidentally, help in my overall recovery. Thanks!

Also, my deteriorating demeanor finally pushed my husband to be honest with me about how my depression has been affecting him and our marriage negatively (a big deal for him) and we sat down and made a game plan for how I could better manage his generosity and kindness without sapping him of energy or neglecting his needs. And that lead to us having one of those big happy talks about why we love each other and what we appreciate in each other as people and how genuinely happy we are to be together. And then we had a freaking amazing two-person bedroom party (seriously, it was in the Top 2 or 3 ever.) And now I’m all motivated to shift my focus and work harder on managing myself in terms of my role as a family member as opposed to just someone with depression. So thanks for that, too!

Oh yeah! And then! When I posted something publicly to vent about how your little week-o-fuckery was making me a walking social disaster, my friends came out of the woodwork to tell me that that’s actually something THEY LIKE in my character (in moderation, of course.) And, during all this, when I went to whine on my blog (to God, specifically) with self-centered pity about how rough I’ve been having it in the spiritual/emotional department (which, by the way, disgusts myself and is kind of painfully redundant when you look at everything I’ve written here over the years) people still came out to send good vibes and wish me well. I know! Craziness, right!?

Ohohoh! And I lost that ten pounds (and change) I’ve been freaking out about since January because I’ve been weirdly not hungry but have been loaded with energy. THANKS A BUNCH!

So, I guess what I’m really, ultimately trying to say here, Crazy Mind of Mine, is FUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCK YOOOOOOOOOOOU.

Gleefully still alive in every possible sense,

L P-S

Friday Confessional: P.S.

Oh yeah! I forgot the big one that I have to resist the urge to blurt at least a couple times a year to various people!

~ ::stomps foot:: ::whines:: NNnnnoooooooo-wah! I don’t waaaannna match your elevated vocal pitch to greet you and then pretend to be friendly and listen to what you’ve been “up to” for the next five minutes just because we visited the same cluster of buildings for a few years about a decade ago. You never even made eye contact with me then and neither did the friends of yours that I don’t wanna hear all about eiiittheerrrrr-ah! Go awaaaay… I’m still weird and unpopular and subscribing to crazy hippie ideals; you won’t like me any more now than you did then. I promise. Seriously. Let’s just save our time? Please?