Thursday, July 30, 2009

growing up.

it's funny, now that i have this place to write and muse and ramble, i've been laying in bed thinking about things to write about, and all these diary-type thoughts keep popping up, things that have no rhyme or reason but just keep coming up in my dome (as j calls it). and i mean, i think this blog is mostly going to be about my life as a mama who's in the radio business and what happens when those two worlds collide. but the thought of being able to get some diary-worthy stuff out of my head is really appealing, so every once in a while, you just might have to bear with me. just skip to the next entry if emotional purging isn't your thing.

i was not the happiest teenager in the world. there was a lot of turmoil in my family, stuff that almost every teenager seems to deal with in one form or another. i was a generally happy, positive kid but once i hit the teen years, i got pissed. i mean, i definitely had a lot of fun, too, but deep down, i was PISSED. insecure as all get-out, partly thanks to the serious boobs i got in 8th grade and how that changed the way people dealt with me; also, i was confused and scared and mad. and then more things happened (things that don't happen to every teenager, thank god) and i sort of just burrowed down deeper inside of the pissed-off-ness. the thing was, i wasn't surly or mad or mean on the outside. and probably, most kids during those years aren't. but on the inside? yikes.

music was the one thing that felt rock-solid to me, really steady, even loyal, and it was something i could be fiercely loyal to right back. i went from loving madonna and kid 'n' play to slayer and death angel and bad religion. well, i take that back - i never stopped loving madonna and kid 'n' play, but i loved slayer WAY more all of a sudden. which, now that i'm a mom, i can feel how that must have scared the crap out of my sweet mama. sheesh - it's hard to even think about. anyhow, when i was 16, my high school sweetheart made me a mix-tape (remember those?) full of descendents, black flag, misfits, bad religion, and big drill car songs. and we lived in manhattan beach while pennywise was just starting out in next-door hermosa beach, so we'd go to house parties and pennywise would be the ones playing in the backyard. and then i was almost 17 and i'd found it - punk rock. i thought that was IT - i clearly remember thinking i would NEVER like any other kind of music besides punk rock - that was IT! i was usually the only girl tagging along to go to the shows at the country club in reseda or the palladium or all the other random spots we went to. once i met my pal angie, that changed - she'd go to all the shows with me. but the girlfriends i grew up with weren't into it, which in retrospect makes perfect sense, so i flew solo a lot. which was fine with me.

then i went to college and thought i was still super pissed (as pissed off as a UC irvine anteater can be) and i started wearing doc martens and creepers and lots of black, and i dyed my hair every color of the rainbow (save yourself the trouble, i'll tell you right now: neon orange? not a good look) and started collecting tattoos. i'm cringing a little as i type this.

i'm rambling, so here's my point: what i know now is that i think i WANTED way more to be a punk, and what that meant as far as being a part of a scene or a tribe, than i actually felt like a punk on the inside. i wanted it, but i wasn't really it. and wow, i went there! for years! my first commercial radio shows were punk rock specialty shows. i dated a mohawked lead singer named "scooter" who lived in a spider-infested basement. i actively recruited tinnitus at countless shows. i collected seven-inches, got drunk and cut my own hair off, traveled with the warped tour, read everything henry rollins ever published, even went straight-edge for a year! i totally TRIED. but now that i can look back on those years and see them for what they really were, i know that i never truly FELT it. i wanted it SO badly - i wanted desperately to be part of a scene, to feel part of a group that was different than everyone else (at least back in the late 80s and early 90s, they still were), to be able to claim as my own something that my parents knew nothing about, something that scared people who weren't into it. i LOVED that.

but then i turned 26, had an identity crisis, went through a bad breakup, and got into a period of serious soul-searching. it was way more hardcore than any punk show i'd even been to (keep in mind, however, that i never saw gg allin live), and way deeper than anything i'd accomplished with therapy. and i realized my truth: that wannabe punk is not who i am. i am that happy, positive, super dorky and proud of it person i'd always been. i'd just been angry and searching for so long that i forgot who i really was. and once i figured that out, wow. it's like i got comfortable in my own skin again. i could stop trying to be something and just be. and i did, and i'm still doing it today, and i'll always be grateful for being 26 and what that meant to me. ready for the cliche: it set me free, that realization. ahhh life.

a little P.S.: when lars from rancid came to the station a couple weeks ago, we were laughing about how when i'd interviewed him almost 10 years ago, i had to cut it short because he had been SO "punk rock" - so foul-mouthed that i couldn't air it. and then we started showing each other cell phone pictures of our kids, and i couldn't help but tripping out a little. because he seems like he's still there, you know? he is never going to let go of that kinda rude, kinda belligerent, kinda immature "punkness". and i'm sure he's older than me, and i'm 36. and granted, my theory about bands is that they totally and completely enable endless extended adolescence. but with lars, though, i wonder. maybe that IS who he is? maybe it is him, he is that, a punker, and if that's what feels like HIM to himself, then that's ALL good. but i'll tell you what: hanging out in the studio that day, it just reminded me how grateful i am that i'm not there anymore. i really believe "to each his own", y'know? as long as it is you and you are it, celebrate that. i do, now. and my hope for f is that she is always able to do that, always, that she never veers away from being true to herself and what feels good to her. makes my heart hurt just thinking about her ever going through some of the stuff i went through. does every parent feel this way? probably. ahhh, life!

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