Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Reasons why Songza's "Exuberance!" playlist may or may not be a good choice for childbirth

I happen to be a fan of Songza. If you don't care to click on the link, know that it's basically a music website full of playlists put together by DJ's, musicologists, and a bunch of other people who just plain know music. You can select playlists by genre, time of day, or even mood! It's kind of awesome and now you totally want to click on the link if you didn't. A friend of mine introduced me to the site, and since trying it out I have not looked back.

Now same said friend (that phrase just made me think of Right Said Fred...ha) also happens to be pregnant. This is why I have baby on the brain. Not all the time, and not in a scary "I-need-to-be-pregnant-now-my-biological-clock-is-ticking-so-loud-it-keeps-me-up-at-night" kind of way, thank goodness! No, I'm just very aware of her pregnancy, so the closer we get to her due date the more I think about it. (And yes, "we" because the child is obviously a community baby. We, the community, will be there for the fun stuff.)

So anywho! This morning when I read a Huffington Post article about five playlists that will get you through anything, I thought about her current situation and events to come. Because "anything" includes childbirth. That's a big promise Huffington Post lady! I didn't listen to all five, but the "Exuberance!" one caught my eye. I imagined how it might work for what comes after the baby finally makes her first appearance.

I listened to the entire playlist and jotted down the first thing that came to mind as I heard them subsequently researched each one in-depth so as to understand the true meaning behind it and how it might apply to the emotions and events experienced by parents and child postpartum.

So without further ado, the 11 songs of the Exuberance! playlist:

What A Feeling! by Irene Cara: This song is all about running around with baby high over your head. Maybe kind of switching to an under the armpit football tuck because you kind of feel like you need a free arm to do a Rocky pose wherein you shove your fist into the air triumphantly. This song will let the world know that you are super excited that you really "can have it all." Interpretive dance is also another great way to go with it.

Boogie Shoes by KC & The Sunshine Band: And suddenly the moment has become the thing of one of JD's fantasies on an episode of Scrubs. Momma is rocking those hospital socks and the baby puts on some tiny little boogie shoes and does the moonwalk. Because everyone is born with the ability to do a moonwalk. We just forget because we don't practice. Tut, tut. Also, I'm pretty sure there's a disco ball in the background. And if you're having a girl, the first line, "Girl, to be with you is my favorite thing" just killed it. Also appropriate line Daddy to Mommy. So if you can imagine the emotions after birth being something like this, the playlist is definitely looking up for you.

Celebration by Kool & the Gang: Baloons falling from the ceiling. A soul train line through the hospital. You decide that Kool with a "K" is actually a really good baby name. I mean, it could be the drugs, but you're willing to take a gamble and get the birth certificate people in the room. Stat.

Joyride by Roxette: To play when you're getting ready to take the baby home. Even better if you have a baby girl. Who cares if you can't get that car seat in the right way? They'll let you go just because they can tell that you plan to have an awesome time on that ride home. Trust me, you blast "Highway to Hell" and they're not letting you get behind that wheel. Save it for when you're out of earshot.

Stompa by Serena Ryder: I think this works for ignoring the fact that you just bore this super expensive thing into being. She says something about having too many bills to pay. Though I am partial to the idea that it could really be about getting over postpartum pain in some kind of holistic new age fashion wherein you clap your hands and stomp your feet to get past it. Quote: "All that pain you feel. I can prove it's not real." If you end up having a C-section, I would not recommend this method, but if not, hey, why not give it a go?

1999 by Prince: Because people won't believe that you're really happy unless you equate your celebratory level to that of a party that's happening at the end of the world. Now, this could backfire on you if it leads the baby care people to believe that you're going to party so hard that it leads to playing fast and loose with your kid's life. "I'm gonna raise this kid like it's the end of the world" is not a good message. Because that either spells out neglect or full-on post-apocalyptic warrior child. Yikes.

ABC by Jackson 5: This is a way to let your doctors and nurses know that you're dedicated to education. It expresses that you know your ABC's and 123's, so they know that you're qualified to teach. You can even use the song to go as far as to mention that these things are "easy." Plus, it says that you're going to teach her "how to sing about it", so you care about the arts and extra-curricular activities. This song is a promise to try and raise a well-rounded child.

Little Bird by Annie Lenox: Yeah, not the best song for a joyous event. This one is actually pretty depressing. You probably don't care to purposely equate your new child to a burden and talk about wanting to fly away. I mean, I get it as a "I'm gonna find my strength and get better" thing, but not really feeling the "exuberance." So, no.

We Built This City by Starship: Lends itself to the idea that you may or may not be planning to use your child to rebuild civilization on a foundation of rock and roll. This baby was born to be wild and you're not afraid to let the world know. You'll be entering said baby into politics on a rock-and-roll platform. Also may cause the nursing staff to question whether or not you understand exactly what it was that got you in this situation wherein you are now the brand new owner of your very own human. (Owner in a very non-slave way. That stuff's illegal, people.)

Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac: Now I love me some Fleetwood Mac, but this may not be the way to go. Because you'd rather the medical staff not think that you're telling your baby or significant other that loving them is not the right thing to do. It's a break-up song. So, great music, just uh, ignore the words if you choose it for this particular event.

We're Here For A Good Time (Not a Long Time) by Trooper: This one is obviously the best for talking about the hospital visit. You're saying, "Hey, you or our insurance carriers are gonna kick us out of this hospital after a day or so, so let's party it up! Raise a glass, and spill some out for my homies." This may not go over so well with hospital staff, so be ready for some raised eyebrows above those face masks. But as long as you give them an invite to join the party, things should be cool.

Walking On Sunshine by Katrina & the Waves: All is right with the world! You've just witnessed the miracle of life. You can't go wrong with this song as a way to express joy. It's just not possible. You hear that intro and you have to start bopping your head and dancing around. Congratulations! If this song isn't about those highest of highs in life like becoming a parent for the first time, then I don't know what it's for.

So that's what I got. Just my feelings. Maybe you completely agree with me. That's awesome. Maybe you think I have no idea what I'm talking about and we're in complete opposition. It's cool, you're the one creating a human being. Unless you're like me and just take interest in whatever train one of your best friends happens to be hopping on. Then you're wrong, you're just wrong. So just go ahead and sit there in your wrongness and be wrong.

Now if you decide to listen to the playlist but then realize that you don't want one, that's okay, because there's a lovely little "skip" option that you can use a couple of times before Songza says, "No! You will enjoy my music. I chose it and I am all knowing."

Because Songza is kind of a music genius. And that's the problem with any kind of genius. They get all kinds of huffy when you disagree. Petulant because they don't get their way. So if you do use this playlist for childbirth and happen to end up raising a genius child, just make sure that they become better a better tempered genius than Songza.

But if all else fails, then you could send the kid to work for Songza where they can create the perfect playlist for childbirth that no one will ever question so they never have to be sullen and snarky. That could work.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

This is my soapbox. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

This is my race/ethnicity/culture/gender soapbox.

If you don't like the looks of it feel free to leave now. No judgment. No hard feelings. I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes. I'm not looking for anyone's opinion. I'm just frustrated and need to get it out. And I have every right to do that because this is my blog and nobody is being forced to read it.

So here it goes.

I am a lot of things. And I am those things for a multitude of reasons. Over the course of my 24 years I have known, felt, and experienced events and phenomena that have molded me into the person I am. I have known love. I have known loss. I have felt heartache, loneliness, and hurt, but also amazing happiness, friendship, and healing. I am a representation of lessons learned. I am a variety of values that have adhered to my soul, and I am a struggle to become a better person. I am bad decisions and dumb luck. I am failure and success.

I love my heritage. I love that my great-grandfather was a personal servant to Pancho Villa. I love that one of my great-grandmothers came over from Spain, while another was of the Chichimeca peoples. I love that I am a mix of those cultures. I love stories that have been passed down and the history that runs through my veins. I love that I live in a bi-lingual household. I love that a weekly dinner menu pretty much always includes things like tacos and carne guisada. I love that I can tan easily!

But while my culture is a part of my identity, my identity is not my culture. Those words are not synonymous. I am not fully defined by my genetic make-up, nor am I completely defined by the struggle or successes of my ancestors. It is not amazing that I can do something because I am a Hispanic woman. Along the same frame of thought, I do not do anything in spite of the fact that I am a Hispanic woman.

What I do is about me. The person that I was raised to be. The person that I have decided to be. What I do and who I am is the result of moments of worry and struggle; the consequence of newfound courage and the acknowledgement of comfort. I am a product of circumstance. I am a network of an infinite number of miniscule decisions and huge life-changing stances. I am split-second determinations and agonizing debate. I am saved by grace and redeemed by love. I am caring and quirky. I am generous and silly, but also selfish and straitlaced. I'm empathic and positive, and I'm stubborn and insecure. I get scared and I get sad. I'm emotional and care to a fault, but I'm good with people and believe I may be stronger than I know. I yearn for adventure, and I err on the side of caution. I am so much more than I think I am, both good and bad. I'm a work in progress.

My parents never told me I would have to try harder because of the color of my skin. I was never taught that being a woman made life more difficult. I was never told that people would treat me differently because I happen to have a permanent tan. And I think I'm the better for it. I'm thankful for that. For not having those fears engrained in me. I am better for not believing that something I cannot change is an automatic obstacle in my life. 

I absolutely detest when people blame one of those outside forces as the cause of their every injustice. I don't care which race/ethnicity/gender you are, it's annoying and stupid. Yes, sometimes those things are a factor, but guess what? That's sometimes. Not all the time. You don't get to use it as a scapegoat for every problem in your life. I know that discrimination and racism exist, but if I allowed that truth to rule my decision-making processes or the opinion I hold of my personal being, I couldn't respect myself. And when other people do that it makes me respect them less.

Look at yourself first! I'm willing to bet that most things that happen to you are more a product of your own actions than the color of your skin. So the bad things happen because of what you look like, but the good things happen because of who you are? Flawed thinking. And if you think good things happen because of your race or ethnicity, gender or culture? Well, that might be worse. Have a little pride. Stop making excuses, because it's pathetic.

If I don't land some job, it'll be because my skills weren't strong enough. It'll be because I didn't interview well. It will be because someone else was a better fit due to their skills and strengths, or because it just wasn't meant to be. It won't be because my skin is brown and my last name hard to pronounce. If someone doesn't like me, let me take another look at the situation to see what happened. Let me examine my attitude and behavior, or their personal circumstance before blaming any animosity on something as trivial as an outside feature.

What's amazing to me is that the people who I so often see putting focus on blaming gender or race are the same people I see asking others to look past their physical attributes to see the person inside. If you want that from others, why can't you do it for yourself?

I'm a Hispanic woman, but if you were to ask me how I identify myself those two things would not be the first items named. They are important, yes, and they are high on the list. I am happy that I am both of those things because they are wonderful parts of my life. They are very much a part of me and I wouldn't change them for the world. But I don't have any control over those things, and I am able to take more pride in the identity that I have carved out for myself alongside those genetic truths. And I get to be everything that I am because I don't limit myself to them.

Love everything about yourself. Appreciate and respect and pay homage to your roots and the people that came before you. Embrace your gender identity. But don't let one thing define you. And don't let it become a crutch in your life -- because you should be better than that.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Emergency Temporal Shift...of the creative variety.

Most days I have a tab open on my computer for this blog. There's a nice, fresh, empty post waiting here for me just in case lightning strikes and I suddenly have an idea.

It doesn't usually happen.

I don't know where my motivation went.

Well, I have an idea, but I don't want to get into that. Partly because even though I don't think it's too big a problem anymore, whenever I try to write about it things get all confusing and I get overwhelmed and can't handle it and who are you to judge me??


But I have another theory that I'm undergoing some kind of emergency temporal shift wherein the time I devote to certain creative efforts has shifted into another realm. Yeah? Yeah? Yep. Made that work. Except the emergency thing. Unless the emergency part stems from my slightly crippling inability to write about my current state of emotional duress.

Yeah, that works.

But I do know that it's not an emergency temporal shift because I'm a Dalek who is scared of The Doctor. Because well, I'm not a Dalek, and also trust me, I am not scared of The Doctor. How could I be? He's adorable. And even when he's scary it's much more of a turn-on than anything else.

(Did I just share too much? I just shared too much. I don't care.)

Exhibits A, B, and C...

(And yes, 10 is MY doctor. I really liked 9, I've grown to really appreciate 11, and I'm going back to decipher my feelings regarding 1-8, but I fell in love with 10.)

But no, my creativity was temporarily funneled into pretending that I know how to paint.

Exhibits D, E, F, G, and H...

And I have been told that these are better than I think, so when I say "pretending" know that it's more of a product of low self-esteem than anything else. I'm not fishing, I just have a (probably) unhealthy amount of self-doubt in regards to some things. I don't take physical compliments well either for that matter. I would get all kinds of weird when that guy I dated whose name I never tell you used the descriptive "hot."

But that's another story. And probably a bit of insight. But that's for another day...that may never come.

Anywho! I'm going to go with the idea that all of my creative energy has been thrown into my newfound "art" and I simply don't have it in me to write like I should. Though I can still spin an excuse like a mother.

Once upon a time I was kind of funny, but now I'm merely artistic. It's a totally different experience. My brilliance really is a burden, y'all. I believe my brain is protecting me from an overload by switching my focus and channeling my energies for me. It's all very scientific. Trust me, I'm in no way science-minded or a doctor.

But congratulations to me! I just pretty much wrote a post about how I have nothing to post about. I deserve a medal. Or a trophy. Maybe from these people, because they're awesome.

Friday, July 12, 2013

relatable tv truths

JD: I don't think people are meant to be by themselves...Nothing sucks more than feeling all alone no matter how many people are around.    - Scrubs
Charlotte: The thing is...there are some things people don't admit because
they just don't like the way it sounds...
Carrie: I'm lonely. I am. The loneliness is palpable.   - Sex and the City

I can't seem to put my thoughts together, so I'll let JD and Carrie do it for me.