Listening to music wasn’t just an opportunity to think about boys. Actually, I’m not sure listening to music was ever about the boys. It was about me. Listening to music was introspective.
A chance to think about myself and my place in the world. My relationships and my self-concept. Listening to music gave me a chance to process events in my life and establish my identity. Though, apparently, my identity required maintenance.
This is not a new concept for me.
Many, many years ago I was sitting in a psychology class. A guest speaker was brought in who was somewhere in the process of gender reassignment. I was blown away. Up until that moment, I had honestly thought that all ‘the gays’ (and I still thought in those terms) were in California. I had never questioned the far-right rhetoric. For the longest time, I sat in that class, looking at the speaker, with my jaw hanging open. I just didn’t suspect that anyone outside of the Fox News image of the ‘good American’ could be in MY home state. As I sat there, confronted with the idea that ‘those people’ were REAL people, I realized that I knew nothing. “I need to get out more” just kept running through my head. Shortly after that class, I applied for AmeriCorps.
When I began AmeriCorps, I began by getting on an airplane (which I had done exactly two times – to DC on a field trip, and home from DC on that same field trip), flying to a city I’d never seen, thousands of miles from any place I’d even seen before, hoping that someone I’d never met would be at the airport to direct me. My team consisted of 5 girls just like me, two guys I did not at ALL understand, and one guy who was (!!!) bisexual! Hallelujah! The holy grail of the ‘others’! Turns out, most of my lessons learned that year were taught by the people I was serving, not those I served with. (I feel like there’s a spiritual lesson here that I haven’t really pulled through yet) But while learning about all of these people who were different than me, and while living with the people I was working with and working for, I began forming my own ideas. Slowly, those ideas built up into something more. A capable, independent woman.
After AmeriCorps, I moved to Denver. With no job, almost no savings, no help, no furniture, and only 2 acquaintances. I held my head high. My confidence was not ill-founded. When I walked down the street (because I didn’t have a car) I carried a sense of self.
Over the next few years, my objective measure of independence fluxuated. Sometimes I was unemployed or getting married or otherwise changing. My confidence in my own abilities would ebb and flow or wax and wane. And always, always, I could regain my status within my own estimation if I took a walk listening to the right tunes. Not a wandering amble through a park, but walking to take care of business. Getting somewhere. With every step. That would always bring back some chutspa. In the past, I attributed this to the walking, but now I think it might be tied more to the music.
The beat pushed my footsteps, my mood, and my confidence. The beat spurred me on.
We all know that confidence is tied to sexuality. And certainly motherhood has brought me into new realms of insecurity. Previously unheard of levels of questioning. I suppose we could simplify the whole thing by saying that music gives me confidence (borrow much?) and that confidence is tied to sexuality. But that’s just not sexy.
It’s true though that motherhood has affected my sexuality through my confidence. Which is strange. I’m not insecure in my parenting, I’m not insecure in my body, but somehow I wind up insecure as a new mother. I know I’m an excellent mother. But I question individual decisions. The little ones. But those must add up. I question my decisions in an attempt to better myself. Eventually, I was questioning my own worth. Questioning my intuition led to undermining my self-confidence.
And without a regular influx of confidence borrowed from the right artists, I was letting my levels get lower and lower.
I’d come up with an ending for this post, but I’ve already had to stop to feed the baby three times, and I really want to go curl up with my husband instead.