family, memories, musings

“Little lady”– my big fat ass…

Yesterday, I went on SingSnap.com because I felt like singing a few pop songs. SingSnap has gone through a major overhaul since December 2020. Adobe Flash was retired, so the owner of the site had to completely revamp the system. It’s still a bit wonky, so I don’t find myself wanting to participate there as much as I used to. Every day, they put up a list of “featured songs”. If you sing those songs, it’s more likely someone will watch or listen to your videos and leave comments. Of course, the whole song catalog is also open to those who pay for a membership. It’s just less likely that anyone will comment.

The new site has changed the way users can find the featured songs. It used to be that a person could just choose certain genres and see the lists of songs that way. Now, they’ve made it so you have to wade through many pages, and they don’t always put all of the available versions of a song up. So one of the featured songs may not be the best version available.

I had some trouble finding songs to do yesterday, which is unusual for me. I have eclectic tastes. But I did finally find a few selections. I sang a few songs, briefly finding myself irked that one commenter kept calling me “little lady”. I’m sure he meant no harm, but I find it grating when someone who doesn’t know me calls me cutesy pet names. At the same time, I was genuinely thankful for the comments he left, which were definitely positive, even if I haven’t been a “little lady” in many years.

I mean, if the guy knew me personally, I don’t think he’d see me as a “little lady”. I’m definitely not “little” or “dainty” in any sense of the word, unless you’re talking about my height, hands, ears, or feet, which are kind of “little” (especially my ears). I’m also not that ladylike. I typically use language that would make a truck driver blush. I also fart, belch, and take massive beer dumps in the mornings. Sorry… it’s the truth. So if that guy actually knew me, he’d probably think I’m not much of a “little lady”. However, I was born with a singing voice that sounds kind of sweet and feminine. Maybe that’s why some people (mostly men) on SingSnap call me things like “kiddo” (cringe) or whatever.

I was about to click off the site yesterday when I noticed a Gershwin duet that was open. I don’t often complete duets because I can’t bear to listen to off key singing if I’m not in a bar or something. Finding a good partner on SingSnap often involves listening to some pretty bad singing that, for me, is not pleasant to listen to. I was cursed with “absolute pitch“, which makes me unusually sensitive when things are off key. Some people have a condition called “misophonia” and can’t stand to listen to people chewing loudly or smacking their gum. I don’t know that I have “misophonia”, but I do know that bad singing is like nails on a chalkboard for me, so I can’t stand to search for talent on SingSnap. Just writing “nails on a chalkboard” makes me cringe and grind my teeth as I think about how that sounds!

However, there are some legitimately good singers on SingSnap, and I happened to find one yesterday on the first try. When I find someone who can sing well, I like to pair up. So that’s what I did… and, in fact, this duet was rather unusual, since it featured me on camera. I HATE being on video. I don’t like the way I look on camera, and most days, I don’t have on any makeup or even wear a bra. That was the case yesterday. I decided to do a video, though, because the guy who presented the male half of the duet had done such a charming job, reacting to the lyrics. It seemed wrong to just do audio.

Maybe I could have put on a bra and fixed my face and hair… but I decided to just put myself out there, as/is… I really enjoyed singing with this guy, Eric, although I couldn’t bear to practice the song until it was just right. I’ve also never heard the recorded version that featured Frank Sinatra and Natalie Cole, so I was winging it. I played the duet for Bill, who got visibly moved… but even though I wasn’t watching the video and cringing at the way I look on camera, I was mentally critiquing myself. It strikes me this morning that maybe I shouldn’t be doing so much of that. Incidentally, I used a screen shot of our duet as today’s featured photo, but it makes me cringe to look at it. I’m all flushed because it was hot and I was a bit sweaty. I do have an air conditioner in my office, but I don’t like to run it when I record things. It’s pretty loud.

But hell, I’ll bet most of the people watching the video wouldn’t be offended by it. I was having fun. No, it’s not perfect or ready for a record company, but it was a few minutes of me doing something that is healing for me and brings me joy. I was letting it all hang out, not so focused on self-critique. I was able to share it with my friend, Andrew, who is also on SingSnap. A few others viewed it and if they had negative comments, they kindly kept them to themselves.

So why am I so hypercritical of myself? I think I was trained to be hypercritical by growing up in a family system that was focused a lot on image and what other people think. Many problems were “swept under the rug” in the name of avoiding conflict. Conflict would inevitably arise anyway, often after people had been drinking… and well, I remember a lot of fights, especially within my immediate family. I don’t like fights today, and go out of my way to avoid them, because it takes me a long time to recover from them. I was criticized a lot, though, and I think I internalized much of the criticism.

I am not a perfectionist about most things. I don’t keep an immaculate house, although contrary to what my ex landlady thinks, I’m not a filthy person, either. I don’t turn myself out dressed to the nines, nor do I put on a false persona of who I am. What you get is what you see, most of the time. But I can be a perfectionist about some things, like making music or writing blog posts. Even on a karaoke site, which is supposed to be fun, I can’t bear to put up recordings that aren’t close to being perfectly done. And I don’t do videos much, because I get too self-conscious about my looks and it throws me off. Putting up a duet video with me on camera was kind of a big deal. It was such a big deal that I shared the video on Facebook and tagged Andrew, who might be one of a few people I knew would appreciate it.

I grew up in a system where people were constantly telling me what was wrong about me and rarely offering positive feedback. My parents often disapproved of me for being loud, obnoxious, opinionated, and obstinate. My mom openly and very frankly told me that her friends didn’t want to hang out with her because I was such a terror. My dad would get angry with me for being outspoken about things. As I aged, we didn’t get along very well because he seemed to think I’m an asshole… and the feeling was mutual. At least I never slapped him or gave him enraged beatings when I got mad at him, though. I know he loved me, and I loved him, but he was very critical of me and didn’t seem to cherish me.

Other people would criticize me for all manner of reasons. I got bullied at school, and it wasn’t until we’d lived in Gloucester awhile before some of my peers started to accept me more. It was hurtful, and it made growing up difficult and painful, although I was fortunate enough to find some good people who were kind to me. Unfortunately, I also found “The Home of the Whopper“, a man who was kind and paid attention to me, but also showed me porn when I was about ten years old. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that a lot of people don’t like me. Even supposed loved ones don’t seem to like me that much. Or, at least that’s how it seems to me. There was a time when I would try to appease people who didn’t like me for who I am, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that those people would never understand or appreciate the effort. It’s not worth it in the long run to try to be someone I’m not, and frankly, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with who I authentically am.

The one person who cherishes me is my husband, Bill, which is a wonderful thing. But it would have been nice to have had that when I was growing up. Knowing how loving and kind Bill is makes me very protective of him and intolerant toward people who mistreat him. That’s why I was so angry at his daughters for so long. I understood on an intellectual level why they were so estranged. But the one contact he had from them, back in 2006, were awful letters that their mother forced them to write and practically dictated to them. In older daughter’s letter, she wrote that she wanted an “every day daddy”. She claimed that #3 was her “everyday daddy”, and he helped her when she was “stressed out”. We later discovered that her claim that #3 was a good dad to her was utterly false. It was just another one of Ex’s facades.

Really, what I wanted to tell older daughter was that I had an everyday daddy, and it was definitely not what it was cracked up to be. My father owned his own business and ran it out of our home. My mom also worked out of our house. Consequently, I had an unusual amount of time with both of my parents. They weren’t, and aren’t, bad people, but they always treated me like an imposition. My mom told me she hadn’t wanted me, and my dad was often disappointed in me. He didn’t protect me, either. My sisters treated me like I was incompetent or a brat, or they would chastise me for things like the way I laugh, my humor, or the way I looked. They didn’t appreciate me for who I am and told me so often. They made it clear that they wished I would change, even though I’m not a bad person. I’m just “different”, I guess… as we all are.

But what older daughter didn’t know is that she has a wonderful “everyday daddy”, and all she ever had to do was reach out to him, especially since she’s an adult now. Given a chance, Bill would have cherished his daughters and loved and protected them. He would have supported them in following their dreams and given them opportunities to grow. He is a wonderful dad and the best husband I could have ever asked for. He loves me for exactly who I am, and I’m pretty certain he loves his daughters in the same way. It’s too bad that only one of them recognizes that and is ready to accept what he can give them. But such is life.

Maybe I should just be grateful that my parents valued me enough to raise me to adulthood and support me enough that I was able to find the right partner in life. Because if they had just shitcanned me at 18, I’d probably be a completely different person. I probably never would have joined SingSnap, either, because I might not have ever learned to sing (I started in college) and I might not have had the time or the money to hang out online all the time. I might be waiting tables or struggling through community college… or maybe I would have had kids and be dealing with completely different problems.

I probably should just be happy to have Bill, instead of falling down this rabbit hole of self-absorption, ruminating about things I can’t change. I’m naturally kind of a free spirit, and people have told me that I shouldn’t be that way. But I can’t help it. So sometimes, I’ll record myself on camera with no bra or makeup and put it out to the masses. And people will think I’m loud, obnoxious, opinionated, or whatever else… Not everyone will like or appreciate what I do or who I am. But at least some people do… and I am fortunate enough to have one man who definitely does. I saw it in his eyes and heard it in his voice as he saw his “little lady” with a big fat ass singing braless and makeupless on SingSnap this morning. He definitely doesn’t expect me to be perfect… he loves me for being the mess I am and for sharing life with him.

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communication, complaints, condescending twatbags

There’s a reason I do things the way I do…

A few days ago, I uploaded a new video to YouTube. It was my version of an old Judy Collins song called “Someday Soon”. I just woke up and decided I wanted to sing it. It was on the brain, I guess.

I didn’t really share it much. I have a few reasons why I don’t like to share my videos. For one thing, they’re mostly music videos, although sometimes I share dog or travel videos, too. People tend to be skeptical of music videos. They figure they’ll suck. Or, worse, they WON’T suck. I’ve found that a lot of “friends” aren’t all that supportive, particularly when it comes to musical people. I’d much rather share my music stuff with strangers, rather than friends or family, who are quicker to either be critical or jealous.

By the way… I know it sounds shitty to assume that any people are jealous of me. It’s not that I think everyone is. There are just a few people who, I think, are the type of person to issue backhanded comments that are based on their own insecurities. I also think a lot of people are annoyed when I share music videos, much like some are annoyed by my blog. So I prefer to let people find the stuff themselves, because they were looking for it or stumbled across it by chance.

Anyway, the other day, I got a comment from someone. It was a guy whose channel I recently subscribed to. I had genuinely enjoyed his video about what to do as a renter when your German landlord tells you you have to move out because he or a family member wants to move into your home. I’ve heard that it’s actually pretty hard to evict people here, so one way German landlords reclaim their property is to claim that they themselves want to use it. This is called Eigenbedarf, and it’s legal… but depending on how long you’ve lived in a place, the requirement for notice can be anywhere from 90 days to a year.

This guy happens to be a fellow American living in Bavaria. He has an engaging channel and his videos feature him on camera quite prominently. He goes to a lot of trouble for his videos. I suspect he makes money from them.

I, on the other hand, don’t really put that much into my videos. I generally use pictures and videos to set to music, which is really what my focus is. I make the music to focus on the vocals and, to a much lesser extent, my fledgling guitar skills. I do NOT like to be on camera. I get very self-conscious. I feel like I have to put on makeup, get dressed, wear a bra, etc., and I just don’t wanna. Also, I use Garage Band or a similar program to make the videos. I’m sure there is a way to record myself on video, but I don’t really want to, so I haven’t explored how.

Yup… let me do me. Thank you.

So the guy from Bavaria watched my video, complimented my vocals, and then said something along the lines of, “Can I make a simple suggestion? We would like to see who’s singing!”

He had posted the comment, then deleted it, which had the effect of sending me a private email. So there was no way I could respond with an explanation. That was annoying. What was also annoying was that, yet again, some guy was telling me how to run my YouTube channel. I get that they do it in a spirit of being “helpful”– and they probably think I need and appreciate the help. But there’s a reason why I do things the way I do. I know it’s not conventional to substitute photos of unrelated things on videos rather than show off my own fine middle-aged and makeup free mug, but that’s the way I prefer to do it. I’m not that cute, and I don’t want to be on camera. My appearance isn’t the point of the videos, anyway. Also, I like the idea of people being able to multi-task… play the video for the music and do something else, rather than watch the video for my weird ass facial expressions.

Someone else– another guy– once tried to tell me how often to share my videos. He said I should only share one every week or so, because posting more is a “waste of time”. I thought to myself– dude… how do you know what my goals are? My channel, much like my blogs, are more for me than for anyone else. I don’t do this stuff for money. I share things in case people find them useful or relatable. The music videos are purely because I enjoy making music and I like to share it, especially with others who like what I like. But I don’t necessarily need help. If I needed it, I would ask for it. I don’t actually care that much if my YouTube channel isn’t popular. I use it to make videos for my blogs, and to make music for myself, not to become the next big thing. The ship has sailed. 😉

Unsolicited advice is a pet peeve of mine. I try not to offer it myself, although I don’t always succeed. When I do offer it, I often apologize for doing so, because I think offering unsolicited advice has the potential to be insulting. Does this guy really think it’s never occurred to me to sing on camera? Of course it has… Just like I always wanted to be a mother and once considered adoption, but determined it wasn’t for me. I don’t need to be told that there are kids in foster care who need homes… I know that. I have my reasons for not wanting to adopt a child, even if I had always wanted to be a mom. Now, of course, I think I’m glad I’m not a mom. Especially in these strange times we’re living in.

I also recently got a comment on this blog that kind of set me on edge. Someone wrote to me from the comment page. The reason? She had read an old post I wrote about Michelle Duggar’s “modernized” hairdo. In that post, I had written that it looked like Michelle had liked it. Of course, I don’t know if she liked it or not… although she did very quickly go back to the 80s era permed hair look she usually sports. My suspicion was that JimBob hadn’t liked the new do, especially since Bill Gothard had supposedly told his followers that women should have long, curly hair. It was a tongue in cheek comment anyway, but someone apparently was disturbed that I thought Michelle had liked the hairstyle. So she wrote to me to “correct” my opinion.

It wasn’t a big deal, in the grand scheme of things. Of course, neither was that post… It was written two years before the most current Duggar drama. It was a silly post, and not really all that important. But someone took it seriously enough to send me a rather lengthy comment– “correction”– of my opinion. I responded with a quick thanks for reading and validation. For all I know, she’s right, and Michelle Duggar hated the new hairdo more than Boob did. In any case, who cares? I don’t think we’ll ever know where the truth lies, but it’s not that important, anyway.

In any case, I don’t think I’ll be making videos that show me on camera. I think even if I were really skinny and a lot younger, I wouldn’t want to be on camera. It’s just not something I care to do. I guess I should appreciate that the guy cared enough to comment… It does kind of bother me, though, that he felt like I needed that kind of guidance. Like I said, there’s a reason I do things the way I do. I don’t need help from the overly helpful. But if I ever do need help, I know how to ask for it.

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