Obviously I can't answer that question in one post; it would take a book to put all the pieces together that make me tick. And even then one book probably wouldn't do it. I'd be one of those people who feels compelled to release a new memoir every ten years. What was the name of that recent autobiography or album retrospective? The Best So Far? (Yeah, that would be me and my tremendous ego suitably referencing a Robbie Williams album.)
Or I'd have a blog to share it all as it happened. Oh, wait....
So, anyway, here is a little piece of what the Bitchin' Wife was like in the old days and maybe a teensy bit of insight into how I got to the person I am today.
Remember this thing?
The world's first iPod, er, I mean Walkman! I had some other lamer version before the one pictured, but it wasn't half as sweet as this bright-yellow, size of large-ish pocket dictionary, clip to my belt, water-proof tape player.
I went through at least two, maybe three of these puppies before giving up going out in public with it (damn the too expensive DiscMan for making my yellow box o' boogie passé!!)
One of the best things (and worst, too) about growing up on a farm is the solitude. I was the youngest by four years, so by the time I reached 7th grade I was essentially an only child. Because my mom went back to school about that time and was gone a lot, it was really just me and my dad most of the time. My dad, despite his many fantastic qualities, is not super chatty and at the obnoxious age of 14, I certainly didn't want to hang out with him any more that he wanted to hang out with me. So, when my dad was milking the cows and shielded from any aural input beyond the ticking of sucking of the milkers and the roar of the vacuum system that transfered the milk from the parlour to the tank, I could be as loud as I wanted to be without a sould to hear me.
I wore my Walkman everywhere, singing my heart out as I went. I hayed the fields, singing over the whir of the tedder machine and the grinding of gears. I fed the calves, crooning my way down the line of fuzzy little babies in hutches. I put on my barn boots and waded through the springs in the hollows, all while singing and daydreaming about the day that I would be off the farm and leading a glamorous life of fame and wealth, surrounded by friends and lackies all the time. I really was convinced that somehow I was destined for stardom. (This led to a particularly egregious essay titled "I'm a Star" that I used as part of my package to apply to college. Lordy, I am so happy that I do NOT have a copy of that lying around... *cringe*)
Of course, those plans never came to fruition. Which is fine. I mean, I'm only 37, I still have years to pull this off, right?
One thing that makes me sad now, though, is the fact that having people around all the time totally complicates the ability to sing everywhere one goes! I mean, certainly I can still cut loose in the car and in the house... but what about those Snow White moments in the garden? What about singin' it the hills that are alive with music??
I still miss being able to sing outside at the top of my lungs. Every time I walk across the cow pasture to pick up the kids from school I give a look all around, making sure there aren't any other moms walking nearby, and will sing a bit. But never as loud as I can. Or as loud as I want to.
One of the main reasons I stopped using my Walkman in college and still rarely listen to my iPod when out and about is because it is just too difficult to walk around with songs in my ears, filling up my heart (hey, laugh if you will, but those music lovers out there know what I mean), and then welling up in my throat. Not being able to express that feeling in any way save changing the rhythm of my walk is just too difficult; I just can't keep that kind of thing in. (And I think we've all seen that crazy person who sings along with their iPod, totally out loud, and they don't even realize they are doing it.... and you may completely understand how someone might make that mistake, but that does not make it any less cringe-worthy.)
Now imagine a chunky farm girl with a terrible haircut (I had one foray into 80's poufy hair and 1986 was the year, my mother did not take one picture of me during that hideous time, so I have no photograph to help you out visually), dressed in a giant scrubby old coat of her dad's, black rubber barn boots, and a burning desire to turn into a skinny Whitney Houston, strutting across a stage in a skimpy, sparkly gown in front of an adoring audience.... (Or imagine me today, trying to sing this 80's treacle-fest without sounding as sheepish as I feel. If you want to hear exactly why i never pursued that career in singing, you can go here. The high note at the end killed me! That, and the interruption by Animal to build him a marble maze.)