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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complaints

Thanks tips…

I remember when I was studying for my MSW, I had a professor who was a real stickler about people who state the obvious. He taught the Capstone course, which was basically about tying together all of the skills and methods we learned during our program to solve problems. The class required writing a lot of papers rather than passing tests. Not surprisingly, I excelled, because I like writing more than taking tests. I got an A in the class, while a few of my friends struggled to pass it. I remember the professor was very harsh about grading the papers and would mercilessly take off points for those who “stated the obvious”.

Years later, I’m sitting here thinking about that class I took seventeen years ago and how this professor, whom I recall was not popular with my colleagues, would talk about how we should avoid stating the obvious. Why was it such a big deal to him? Probably because time is a precious commodity and stating the obvious is a waste of time. There’s no need to say or write something as a point if people already know and understand it to be a given. This professor had been both a licensed professional counselor and a social worker– he had master’s degrees in both disciplines, as well as a Ph.D. in social work. He was also an Army veteran. I can imagine that he was very busy. Reading master’s level papers full of poorly written drivel, particularly when the analyses contained mostly obvious points that everybody already knows, was probably extremely irritating for him. And so, to teach his students what not to do, he graded very harshly and took off massive points for “stating the obvious”. Hopefully, a lot of his students quickly learned a valuable lesson.

By the way, although my colleagues didn’t like Dr. W., I enjoyed his class very much. I even liked the weekly papers. I found them challenging and even kind of fun. Basically, he would give us narratives of a client we might be working with and we had to come up with a plan for them. I seem to recall that we’d also trade our papers and have our colleagues read our plans and offer comments on whether or not the plans were viable.

This topic comes up this morning, which has gotten off to a somewhat rocky start. I had trouble sleeping last night, so I was up earlier than usual. I did my normal Tuesday morning chore of cleaning the bathrooms. Then I read some comments left for me on Facebook that stated the obvious.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t ever work as a “ground zero” social worker with individual clients. I don’t have a lot of patience for some things. A few days ago, I posted a picture of a glass of non alcoholic beer I had at a sushi restaurant. A friend of mine, who knows of my love for beer, wrote, “Don’t they send people to prison for that sort of thing in Germany?”

I responded that this was the only kind of beer they had available at the restaurant. It was actually not bad at all. I could barely tell it wasn’t the usual leaded version of beer. I probably ought to drink more of it.

But then… days later, I got this comment from someone else who wrote: “Near-beer or table beer, with minimal alcohol, is widely available in Europe, mainly but not exclusively, for children.”

I don’t know why, but this comment irritated me. First of all, I’m not sure what it had to do with the subject at hand. We weren’t discussing the availability of non-alcoholic beer in Europe. The first comment came from a friend who follows my travels and knows I really enjoy beer and wine. He was making a joke about my choice to drink non-alcoholic beer. What the hell does the availability of “near beer” in Europe have to do with anything?

Secondly, the comment was posted days later, after the discussion had already died. I wondered what prompted the guy to chime in, especially since his comment didn’t seem to have much to do with anything except to inform us of something kind of obvious. I mean, I’ve been living in Europe for several years this time, and I lived here a few times before this latest stint. I know there’s near beer here– just like I know there’s a telephone. So, I guess, I’m just sitting here scratching my head.

I probably should have ignored the comment, but I chose not to. Instead, I wrote “Thanks for the tip.” Remember, I have kind of a low threshold for annoyance.

That led me to wonder if someone had posted “Thanks for the tip” on Urban Dictionary. I find that a lot of times, when I’m being snarky or sarcastic and I leave a comment to that effect, someone has already posted a hilarious definition of my comment in Urban Dictionary. Surprisingly enough, this time no one posted “Thanks for the tip.” However, someone did post “Thanks tips”. I hadn’t heard of it before this morning, but now I’m informed, and I’m sharing my new knowledge with all of you.

Maybe what happened wasn’t really someone stating the obvious, per se. Maybe it was more akin to “chiming”. I wrote a post about that phenomenon on my old blog. It’s basically when someone butts into a conversation on social media, particularly when they haven’t read other comments. The end result is that their comment is non-sensical, has already been stated (and usually more than once), or is completely irrelevant.

Although social media is different than talking to someone face to face, I tend to see unrelated comments in a Facebook thread the way I might see someone butting into a private conversation. For instance, say you’re having a discussion with a friend. You’re in public, but the chat is just between you and the other person. Suddenly, another person comes up and offers an opinion or a comment that has little to do with your conversation. He or she kind of smiles at you and acts as if you should appreciate their input, even if it’s irrelevant, inappropriate, and/or pointless and stupid.

I will admit, I probably notice these things a lot more than other people do. And I will admit that most of it probably shouldn’t faze me as much as it does. I probably should call myself the “oversensitive” housewife, because I am sensitive about a lot of things that probably shouldn’t annoy me as much as they do. But everybody has their quirks. I have a couple of friends who suffer from misophonia, which is a condition that causes people to become annoyed or even enraged by certain sounds. A lot of people with misophonia can’t stand the sound of people eating, or babies crying. Actually, now that I think about it, I probably have a touch of that myself. I can’t deal with really off key singing, although I don’t get annoyed when people chew loudly. People who don’t have that condition might not be able to understand it or empathize with people who have it because it’s beyond their comprehension. However, just because you don’t have it, doesn’t mean it’s not a real thing.

Anyway… just thought I’d share this today. If anyone’s wondering, yes, I do feel sort of bad when I get irritated about these things and write about them. I know from experience that sometimes people’s feelings are hurt when I vent like this. If it helps anyone to know this, I’m sure I’d be upset if I read anyone’s thoughts about the many things I do that are irritating. But, because I know I’d be upset, I make a point of not searching out other people’s thoughts about me. They’re none of my business, and reading them is not likely to lead to anything good. On the other hand, I’m sure people can relate to today’s gripe. At the very least, they’re the kind of people who would post snarky definitions on Urban Dictionary.

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This bugs me…

This morning, as I was celebrating the fact that Bill gets to come home even earlier– as in today, instead of tomorrow, I went to RfM to see if anyone had posted anything interesting. Near the top of the list of posts was one called “My take on Donnie and Marie.” I apologize in advance, because this is going to make me sound even more hyper anal retentive than usual. But, before I even opened the thread, I was annoyed. Why? Because the person who wrote this post misspelled Donny Osmond’s name.

It bugs me when people misspell other people’s names, especially if the person is famous. Maybe it’s because I am a writer– in the sense that I write every day and majored in English– and proofreading and editing are a big part of that process. There’s something really lazy about misspelling a person’s name, particularly a common first name, like Donny. And when the person is famous, it’s especially annoying to me.

Maybe this is akin to people who get irritated when other people chew loudly. I have a couple of friends who suffer from misophonia, which is “select sound sensitivity syndrome” (try saying that four times fast!). A lot of times, people who have misophonia can’t stand certain sounds and, in my experience, most of these people don’t like the sound of someone else chewing. I can’t say that I enjoy the sound of a person chewing, but it probably doesn’t irritate me as much as off-key singing does.

What is even more annoying is when a person misspells a person’s name and then continues to misspell it. Oftentimes, when you correct the person, they get exasperated and claim it doesn’t matter. I think spelling matters, especially when it’s a person’s name. A person’s name is one of the most important things about them. These details matter. I’m always disappointed when someone says, “It’s no big deal. We know what was meant.”

I encountered that attitude a few months ago when I got involved in a discussion about HIPAA. People kept spelling it “HIPPA”. When I finally said something, people not only said it didn’t matter, but others actually told me I was wrong. I knew I wasn’t wrong and proved it, only to have the group owner say that “we all know what was meant.” But what if HIPPA stands for something else? A quick Google tells me that at this point, it doesn’t. In fact, if you search for HIPPA, you’ll get a suggestion for HIPAA. Instead of taking a minute to check this, people just insist that I’m wrong.

No one likes to be caught in a mistake, even though everybody makes them. I don’t like it any more than another person does. However, I think when that happens, it’s better to just swallow your pride and learn the lesson. That way, you don’t look uninformed and no one will feel the need to correct you.

Anal retentive Bree sewing on a button for the shrink…

When it comes to names, though, I think spelling is especially important. A person’s name is a very personal thing. Donny Osmond probably doesn’t pay attention to people who spell his name Donnie. I don’t care enough about this issue or that person’s thread to go back and correct the spelling. It’s just that whenever I see it, it sticks out like a sore thumb. I’m reminded of an early episode of Desperate Housewives, when Bree Van de Kamp was visiting her therapist. She sees that he has a loose button on his jacket and insists on mending it right then and there because it was bugging her.

Power struggle between Bree and Rex’s mom.

Same as when her husband, Rex, dies suddenly. Rex’s mother insists on burying him in a school tie that looks ridiculous. Bree is compelled to change the tie. Actually, the scene is kind of funny, since Bree is easily able to pull Rex to an almost sitting position. I would have expected him to be stiff as a board by that point.

Bree switches out Rex’s tie.

Maybe I have a little Bree in me, although I’m not nearly as polished as she is, and I’m not as uptight about certain things like whether or not there’s dog hair in the door jamb. I am uptight about other things, like spelling, grammar, diction, and pitch. I’d probably be better off if I were a more relaxed person, but it’s not really in my nature. I’m probably a product of my environment and upbringing, just like everyone is.

Well, hopefully Bill will be home by late afternoon. I look forward to seeing him again and hope we can salvage the weekend before he has to work another seven day week.

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