On Comfort: Chicken Soup, Chocolate Cake, and Ani

This week has been full of paradox: sunshine and non-stop rain, feeling stuck while also feeling propelled forward, feeling exhausted and also feeling energized, weather warm enough to not need a jacket and needing a jacket, enjoying my favorite feminist musician and being annoyed by the douchy white guy behind me. Instead of getting frustrated, I’ve been trying to accept the contradictions. Embrace all the things that are opposite but true at the same time.

I did double duty and frontloaded my week by making two things in one night. Who am I?!

***
The craving for something brothy and healthy struck again. M requested a chicken soup of some kind, so I pulled out an oldie but goodie: Immunity Soup from the January 2017 issue of Cooking Light. (I was actually looking for a spring vegetable chicken soup, but had to settle for this one this time around.) Indeed, another soup that purports to boost your immunity. It certainly can't hurt.

When the weather is 70 degrees one day, and cold enough to snow the next day, it feels like my body is constantly trying to find its bearings. Am I warm? Am I cold? Do I need to wear 4 layers and wool socks today or can I show off this cat print short-sleeve shirt I just got? Am I feverish or is it allergies? Am I achy from sickness or am I sore from yoga? It’s impossible to tell these days.

***
This soup starts out with your favorite soup base layers: a tablespoon or two of oil heated in a Dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed pot), then diced onion, sliced carrots and celery tossed in. I used olive oil, but you might use whatever you’ve got — vegetable oil, canola oil, whatever. The sizzle of the veggies as they hit that oil is so satisfying, along with that continual sizzle as they cook gently, getting soft and releasing their juices (*insert a sly Nigella look here*) into the pot.

Chicken Soup_step 1.jpg

As I chopped and diced and minced the veggies, I decided to turn on some of my favorite Ani DiFranco tunes. Ani has been a part of my life since I was 16 or 17. I don’t actually know how many times I’ve seen her live. Her music has been formative for me in so many ways — politically, emotionally, artistically, interpersonally, worldview-ally. Her music was friend to me through hard times, and was, at times, one of the few things to get me through whatever darkness I was in.

***
Next comes the pound of sliced mushrooms (I got pre-sliced ones this time around, though I usually don’t mind buying a pound or so of them in bulk and washing/drying/slicing them myself) and 10 entire cloves of garlic, minced. I may have thrown in an extra 2 or 3 cloves because however much garlic a recipe calls for, it usually isn’t enough for me.

Toss these into the pot, and let the mushrooms release their moisture. Savor that sharp smell of the garlic and let it fill your kitchen. I mean, you don’t really have a choice.

Chicken Soup_step 2.jpg

I sang along to every single Ani song that came into my kitchen that afternoon, though I haven’t listened to many of them for years. I haven’t forgotten the airiness of Both Hands or the clipped turns of Swan Dive and those lines about pulling out your tampon and splashing around in shark-infested waters. The ambitious moodiness of Gravel (“I stood out on the porch, thinking ‘Fight, fight, fight at all costs’/ Instead, I let you in, just like I’ve always done/ and I sat you down/ and offered you a beer” and “Maybe you can keep me from being happy/but you’re not going to stop me from having fun”). The raw anger and anguish of Dilate.

***
Next come the chickpeas, the broth, the thyme, and the bay leaves. Stir, and bring it all to a boil. Once it begins to boil, throw in two pounds of uncooked chicken breast, along with some salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Turn the heat down, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes.

Chicken soup_step 3.jpg

The very first time I saw Ani perform live, I burst into tears as soon as she stepped onto stage. The song she started that show with was “Shy.” I started crying and didn’t stop until 20 or 30 minutes later. The sobbing was uncontrollable; I didn’t know it was coming and when it came, it hit me like freight train.

That trend would continue every time I saw Ani, and it seemed that she always opened with a song that was particularly meaningful for me in the moment.

***
As I started making the frosting for Nigella’s Dark and Sumptuous Chocolate Cake, I could feel the sobs building in my chest as I sang along to Fire Door. I still knew every word and belted them out along with her as I combined water, espresso powder, cocoa, brown sugar, and butter in a saucepan, heated, and stirred.

ChocCake_step 1.jpg

These songs felt like a homecoming. They felt like being able to finally breathe big and full in a completely safe space.

***
And then something happened. It occurred to me, as I was mixing the dry ingredients for the cake and checking on the soup, that I was a different person listening to these songs. The songs that got me through my adolescence and early and mid-twenties were still gorgeous and clever and everything that I remembered them to be — but I understood each song differently. I was hearing each song through ears of wisdom? Experience? Through a body and mind and heart that had finally found dry land after weathering storm after storm in a shitty, disintegrating lifeboat? I related to each song completely differently. It’s like… looking back and realizing that when I was in my teens and twenties, I thought I knew what Ani was talking about. And now, in my early 30s, I see that I actually didn’t know shit back then, but I do now.

I guess that’s just part of being a human. Growing up. Maturing.

ChocCake_step 2.jpg

***
The Ani concert was the centerpiece of my week. Everything revolved around it. I braced myself for the tears and the swells of emotion.

I was excited, for sure. But this time around, the sobs stayed put wherever they were hiding out. Ani opened with Names and Dates and Times, a song that I actually don't know all the words to (*gasp*). She played Napoleon and Shameless and Anticipate and To The Teeth and Hypnotized and My I.Q. and Not a Pretty Girl. She played a lot of newer stuff that I didn’t know.

ChocCake_step 3.jpg

The crowd was also different from any other Ani show I’ve been to. The Ani shows I’ve been to have been attended by mostly women and women-identified people. Dudes in the audience have been few and far between. In between songs, people shout things at her, like, “We love you, Ani!” The audience usually sings along so loudly that she has to stop at least once and tell everyone to stop so she can hear herself play.

At this show, some things were the same. Audience members kept yelling “We love you, Ani!” People recited My I.Q. along with her so loudly that she had to stop in the middle and say, “Oh, honey, you have to let me do this one.”

But a lot of things were different. Someone yelled, “I love you, Annie!” (Ani responded, “It’s Ah-ni, but thank you, I feel the love anyway.”) Men were everywhere. A drunk-off-his-ass douchebag know-it-all guy sat behind us and talked loudly over Gracie and Rachel, the opening act, and then continued his tone-deaf, useless commentary during Ani’s performance. When Ani sang, “I’m gonna take all my friends/ and I'm gonna move to Canada/ and we’re gonna die of old age,” he shouted, “Yeah! Let’s go!” (I stopped myself from turning around and saying, “You’re not invited, bro.”) Some people got up to leave immediately after Ani finished the main set, not realizing there’s a thing called an encore because you should and will never get enough of being in the same room with her.  

***
After the show, I stopped by the merch table to buy a t-shirt. When I made my way through the crowd, made eye contact with the merch table person and bought my shirt, I had apparently “cut” in front of a group of (white) women. After we left, M told me about all the passive aggressive shade they had thrown in my direction while I was buying my shirt.

One woman had said, “WELL. You know what happens when you ASSUME…”

Yes. I do know what happens. I get to buy my Ani t-shirt before you.

(Also: like, please. There are no lines at merch tables. You see your opening, you get in there and buy your shirt before they sell out of your size. It’s not hard. How many times in my 32 years have I waited politely for everyone to go before me, and when I finally get to the front, the t-shirt I want is sold out of my size. Sorry, not sorry. Get yours. I'm gettin' mine. Like Ani says in 32 Flavors, "I'm not between you and your ambition." What a metaphor/analogy this shit is in so many ways.)

***
After the soup simmers, covered, for about 30-35 minutes, you place the chicken on a cutting board, shred it, and dump it back into the pot. You take a bunch of kale, rip it into smaller pieces and stir it into the soup. You let it all simmer for another 5 minutes or so. It’s done when that kale is wilted just a little bit.

Chicken soup_step 4.jpg

***
Now, this cake. Nigella’s instructions tell you to make the frosting first because it needs time to cool. She says that the time it takes to make the cake, bake it, and let it cool, is the perfect amount of time to let the frosting cool. I’ll be honest — I had my doubts. When I couldn’t wait any longer to finish the cake, I took a look at the frosting and shook my head. “Nigella, I don’t know about this. This frosting seems a little stiff.” But I gave it a stir and poured it over the cake.

It was perfect.

On Nigella’s instruction, I joyously decorated with chopped pistachios. No edible rose petals or edible flowers even, but just the pistachios were perfect.

(Baking notes: Nigella's recipe is vegan -- she uses coconut butter and coconut oil. I, however, love regular butter too much to go vegan, so I used regular unsalted butter and canola oil for this recipe, and it turned out just as dreamy.)

ChocCake_step 5.jpg

***
This week seems to have been all about comfort — the food and music of it. Chicken soup, chocolate cake, Ani. They all came as I remembered them, but with twists. Chicken soup with mushrooms, chickpeas, and chili pepper flakes. Chocolate cake with espresso and salty, savory pistachios on top. Ani with the same good songs (as well as new ones), a wiser me, and a weirder crowd.  

It’s good to go home. To bring your older, wiser self there. To love the same things, and to love how they’ve changed. To love the same things, and love them differently.

Ani sings in Good, Bad, Ugly, "Strangers are exciting/ Their mystery never ends/ But there's nothing like looking at your own history/ in the faces of your friends." It feels a little bit like that, but...different.

***
I'll end this week's Friday Bites with some vintage Ani. Happy eating, happy cooking, happy being, y'all. 


This week's recipes:

A Study of Sadness Through '80s Pop

It’s probably safe to say that I was born with at least two things in my blood: exhaustion and melancholy. 

I’ve always been a good sleeper. I’ve always been able to fall asleep fairly quickly, whether it’s nap time or bed time. Once I’m asleep, I can sleep through tornado sirens, typhoons, neighbor noises, M’s snoring, you name it. If allowed, I will always be able to sleep for at least 10 hours. In a perfect world, I would be able to wake up on my own around 11am, no matter how early I went to bed the night before. If you ask me how I’m doing, my answer will probably always be some version of “I’m tired/exhausted,” whether I’m obvious about it or not.  

These things have been true for as long as I can remember. 

I’m not here to write about perpetual exhaustion though. Not today. 

Today, I’m writing about melancholy. 

***

Merriam-Webster (yes, I’m doing it. I’m looking up words in the damn dictionary for this.) defines melancholy as simply, “a depression of spirits” and “a pensive mood.” 

That seems like an understatement, but an accurate one, for this thing I’ve lived with my whole life. 

***

When I was thinking about writing this essay, I mulled over the word that would most accurately express this feeling. 

I thought about depression. When I was in grad school, I remember watching a commercial for some kind of anti-depressant, where they listed off some symptoms of depression. I was only half-listening, but when I heard, “Have you lost interest in the things that used to excite you?” something clicked. I thought, hey, that’s me. I can’t remember the other things in the commercial that I identified with, but the mirror that 30 seconds held up to me was important. It was important for me to be able to name this wild, sad thing that was living in my body. It was important for me to be able to recognize why I felt so out of control, that juggling the pressures of grad school and being thrown into an academic teaching life and just life in general were taking a toll on me. 

Looking back on it, I should have seen a therapist in grad school. But I didn’t. Instead, I thought, Okay. So maybe I’m a little bit depressed. Now I know. And I adjusted. And I got to a better place. Was that the best way to deal with what I was going through? Probably not, but that's what I did. 

More recently, I read Chrissy Teigen’s essay in Glamour about having postpartum depression. It’s a fantastic read. It’s well-written, funny, and so, so real. I clearly do not have postpartum depression, and postpartum depression deserves its own platform and its own conversation. But I found myself resonating with so much of what she was describing that I thought, oh shit. It’s happening again. I’m depressed. Why didn’t I see it before? Of course I’m depressed. Why wouldn’t I be?

I still have a lot to figure out when it comes to my depression. Do I have a functional depression? Do I have Depression Lite (TM)? Does everyone have some degree of depression? Wouldn’t it be weird if I didn’t have some degree of depression with all the shit happening in the world and in my life? 

But depression is not the feeling that I’ve lived with my whole life that I’m trying to write about. 

***

Then I thought about ennui

When I first heard the concept of ennui in my British Literature After 1800 class in undergrad, I was elated. I finally had a name for that feeling I’d had for 19 years that was a lethal combo of restlessness and boredom. 

For those who aren’t familiar, ennui is a French term that means “a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction.” Our English word “annoy” comes from ennui. It’s a word associated with the general attitude in the aftermath of the French revolution. It’s associated with youth and a sense of world weariness and jadedness. It can also be associated with a boredom and weariness that comes from living a life of privilege and “ease.” (Think Ryan Philippe’s character in Cruel Intentions — he’s the pinnacle of ennui. See also: any character in a Jean-Luc Godard film. See also: Monica Vitti’s character in L’Avventura.)

Of course I would feel ennui as a teenager. How could I not? I lived in a small town where there was nothing to do on a Friday night except go hang out at Wal-Mart or spend an hour in Blockbuster trying to figure out what movie to watch. Of course I would feel restless and bored and a relentless itch to do something or be anywhere else. 

However, that feeling has evolved in me. I still get restless, and I still get that relentless itch to do something or be anywhere else. But I would no longer call it ennui. 

Though I love ennui, and I love art that’s imbued with it, it is not the feeling I’ve lived with my whole life. 

***

And then I considered nostalgia. The longing for a past time, for the “good old days" (as if good old days ever existed, especially for anyone who is not white, not cisgender, not heterosexual, etc.).  

My preferred aesthetic, fashion-wise and music-wise and film-wise, is the ‘80s. I was only alive for half that decade, but god, do I love it. When I was a DJ for my college radio station, I would turn up my favorite ‘80s jams, sit in that tiny room, and wish so hard that music still sounded like that. 

It seems like we’re experiencing some kind of cultural nostalgia. We’re remaking movies that should never be remade, but not because they’re bad movies. Movies like The Karate Kid are so good because they tell good stories, but they’re also good because they are of their time. Karate Kid couldn’t be made in any other era. Just like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Just like The Crow. Just like Footloose. You can’t remake these movies successfully. 

Except Footloose. That remake was fun.  

Just kidding. That remake was pretty terrible. 

Nostalgia, though, is wistful. It’s yearning for a time that we remember fondly, that we think of without remembering the dark edges and the pain. (Not to mention the racism, the sexism, the xenophobia, the invisibility of queer and trans folks.) 

It’s wishing to go back to a time that never existed. 

***

And then, because I have a George Michael Pandora station, and it is basically the only thing I listen to these days, this song popped up: 

Weird ponytails and mullets aside, this song was my #1 favorite song of all time. (This was back when I had only experienced about 20 years of life, and could still maintain Top 5 lists with earnest and accuracy.)  

That song could remain at that #1 spot, if I still kept Top 5 lists. 

***

Hearing “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” that day awakened the melancholy. A depression of spirits. A pensive mood. It felt like coming home after a long day and curling up in bed with all my fluffiest pillows and blankets. 

Feeling that was a relief. Or a release. Or both. 

It’s strange to think that melancholy is this to me — something resembling home. That a feeling could be so comforting. 

***

When I was in undergrad, I was obscenely busy, but I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning, listening to bands like The Smiths and writing and sometimes crying. What did I write? Who knows. (It was before I had fully accepted that I was a writer, so I probably wrote long journal entries and love letters that never got sent to boys who weren't worth the attention.) 

What I do know was that when I listened to the music, it felt like there was finally a home for all the sadness that lived in me. When I first heard “How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths, it felt like climbing into the coziest bed I could ever imagine, in a room that understood me without even needing to ask what was wrong.  

***

When I got to grad school, I gradually turned off my melancholy. I couldn’t afford to keep it around because I needed to get things done. I needed to be an adult — I had to teach, grade papers, write papers, write poems, write lesson plans, etc. There was no time to curl up in the cozy bed in the room that melancholy laid out for me.

And even though I was in a creative writing program, there was no room for feelings. (Ironically.) There was no room for me and all my stuff in this new life, and so, to survive, I eventually stopped listening to the songs that felt like home. 

***

I should say that my comfort only comes when it’s coupled with the music. Melancholy on its own is unsatisfying. It’s wholly unhomey. Melancholy experienced through music and film and art is the comfort. 

When art triggers something lonely in you. Triggers the loneliness in you. Connects to your lonely self.  

That is comfort. 

***

Maybe the relief also comes from feeling something other than panic, rage, stress, exhaustion. To feel anything else other than those things feels like a luxury these days. 

***

In “High Fidelity,” Nick Hornby writes, “Which came first — the music or the misery?” Are we miserable because we listen to sad music? Or does the sad music come because we are miserable? When I first read “High Fidelity,” I envisioned the answer was a mobius strip of sadness and music, one inextricable from the other. 

But now, when I think about melancholy and its containers, I think I actually have an answer. The sad, good music doesn’t come unless there is melancholy — or misery, as Nick Hornby says. 

I can’t just sit around and be pensive. It has to come out somehow. It has to express itself, whether it’s through the things that I actually write, or the things that I listen to. 

Music is kind of like fashion. We put on a particular outfit and we do our make-up in a particular way because it’s a way to express ourselves. Similarly, if we listen to music because we love it, we listen to the music that says all the things that we wish we could say, or didn’t know that we needed to say until now. 

That’s why mix tapes and mix CDs are such labors of love — each song is carefully chosen, the order is thought out. Every time someone gets a mix tape, they’re getting a little piece of the giver. The mix tape says all the things we’re too shy to say. They tell a story we didn’t know we wanted to tell until we started putting all the pieces together. 

***

(I once had a relationship where we expressed all our feelings and serious thoughts about “us” through song lyrics only. It was like we never spoke to each other — we only spoke to the music. It was wildly unhealthy and I don’t recommend it. If you must communicate your feelings in song lyrics, I advise that you do so with moderation. Try to use your own words in addition to the music. Use the music as a supplement, not the main vehicle. You'll be much better off.)

***

When I first started this essay a couple weeks ago, it felt so necessary. I wrote and re-wrote everything up until this point with urgency and laser focus. I accumulated a list of my favorite ‘80s songs that awakened the melancholy within. It felt so important that I parse out the things I felt, to name them and distinguish them from the other.

And then I left it for an entire week. I didn’t look at it. It was more than the regular letting-a-piece-breathe break. I straight up avoided it. When I thought of how urgently I wrote this, I felt a little embarrassed. I worried that, when I re-opened the document, all of this would just amount to nothing. I worried that everything I wrote would be another Cones of Dunshire situation. I thought, god, is this even anything worth reading? 

I don’t know if it’s anything worth reading, but I do know this now: it is worth writing.

Maybe it’s all a spectrum. The depression, the nostalgia, the ennui, the melancholy. All different shades of sadness. 

(In my Googling, I found this article, which opens up a whole new vocabulary and can of worms, so I’m not even going to talk about it. But if you’re still reading at this point, and you're interested, you should click on the link.)

Maybe what I was really born with is exhaustion and Sadness. (Yes, with a capital letter.) Some days it’s ennui. Some days it’s nostalgia. Some days it’s melancholy. Some days it’s depression. 

I don’t have any answers. 

What I do have, though, is music.

A Kind of Ode to Surviving

I am tired. 

***

I woke up with Bikini Kill in my head this morning.

I woke up this morning feeling like I'd only gotten three hours of sleep. The feeling that you've completed a REM cycle, but not enough of them. And I realized that since January 20th, I haven't really gotten a good night's sleep. 

***

I woke up this morning wanting comfort, something familiar. Something shrill, gritty, something that could express my anxiety and anger and exhaustion and 'tude because I'm too fucking tired today. 

I've been trying to be kind to myself this week. I'm behind on so many things. I'm behind on #52essays2017, and I'm embarrassingly behind on my 33 Days of Horror project. I get so ambitious. For some, writing an essay or a post a week is completely feasible. They do it and they don't have trouble doing it. They do it on time. 

That is clearly not me. But I'm trying though. And I'm trying to be kind to myself. Keep in perspective all the plates I have spinning, and tell myself that it's okay for me to write in my Passion Planner that my focus for this week is "Rest and Recovery." That my personal to-do list for this week is "Write Essay #4" and "Mail package." That's it. (My professional to-do list is much longer. Maybe that's the trade-off.)

***

I marched in two protests in the space of 8 days. I seriously contemplated stocking up on poster board because there is no end in sight.

I've started a bunch of books but haven’t finished any of them because I can't figure out what I'm in the mood for. 

I'm not in the mood for any particular tv show, but I've found comfort in watching WWE with M because it feels cathartic to watch some people beat the hell out of each other with no investment in the outcome. Because I know it's not real. The stress put on the bodies in the ring is real, but the drama isn't. For some reason, that comforts me. 

Before going to a No Ban, No Wall protest, I made New Jersey Crumb Buns. The recipe is in the latest issue of Cook's Country, and when I decided to give it a try, I didn't realize that I would be making protest signs while I waited for the dough to rise.

Crumb buns and protest signs. #resistancebaker #NoBanNoWall

A photo posted by medusaironbox (@medusaironbox) on

***

I'm no good at cooking up a snappy, hard-hitting protest sign. I think too much about it. I want it to perfectly express my sentiments. I'm too much a poet when it comes to the protest sign, I think. M's is perfect -- his is the pink one. It's simple and unequivocally true.

Mine is the green one. Aside from the fucked up "C" in "country," it is inaccurate. This country was actually built by the violent colonization and genocide of the people who already lived here. It was built by people who were kidnapped, put on a boat, brought here, and forced into slavery.  

I thought of that when I was halfway through outlining my letters with a Sharpie. 

***

My mother immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines. My father worked long hours, so in those first few years, it was my mom and me, all day, every day. My mom and me and her friends -- all Filipina immigrants. Though I grew up in rural Nevada, I spent more time with immigrants than I did with white folks.

I never learned Tagalog or Ilocano. I would sit with my mom and her friends and just listen. I never needed to know what was being said, but I took everything in -- every gesture, intonation, eye roll, wrist flick, hair flip, laugh. 

I look back on my childhood and see so much that's familiar and comfortable, so much that I'm nostalgic for. And so much that is untranslated. Unknowable. 

***

A friend saw my Instagram post of my protest signs and crumb buns, and she gently and kindly called me in on my inaccuracy. And I’m thankful for it. 

When I made my protest sign, I didn’t intend to erase our history of genocide, colonization, and slavery. When I made my protest sign, I was thinking of my mother and all of her friends and the people I grew up with. 

***

In the grand scheme of things, the sign I made is not the biggest deal. But I hate to think that I was careless with my words. That with one sentence, I could erase the complexity of history. And that that sentence would be something that I held up at a protest, a place that I believe, at its best, should honor and reflect intersectionality and complexity. 

No one will remember my sign, and anyone who did notice it has most likely and hopefully moved on. And I’m still here, trying not to beat myself up, trying not to be embarrassed. 

This is what I mean some days when I say I’m trying to be kind to myself.

***

I started this essay two weeks ago. Since I started it, I’ve been traveling and working and not diving too deep into social media, trying to keep my head above water. I’ve been surviving, trying to keep myself at a baseline of care. Keeping myself fed, doing yoga when I can, seeing friends because I know I need to, keeping my energy reserves at just full enough to get by. 

I don’t know where to end this. I just know that I’m tired (it’s only been three and a half fucking weeks of this administration), and I’m emotionally curling up next to all the things that give me comfort. 

And I’m trying to get back on my feet. I’ll get there.

For now, though, I'm going to let this essay be what it is: messy, raw, trying to find itself, not quite getting there. And I'm going to let it go so I can move on to the next thing. 

Hump Day Finds: Lady Lamb

I know there are more important things happening in the world, and I should be working on essay 4 of #52essays2017, but I need a break. (Don't we all? Jesus.) 

So I'm here today to spread the good word of Lady Lamb.  

I know zero about her other than the fact that she's been getting me through some of these darker days. Usually, when times get tough, I head straight for the Ace of Base, the George Michael, the '80s and '90s jams that drown out anything but the feeling of a warm, fuzzy nostalgia for a time that probably never existed. 

These days, though, Lady Lamb is where I'm choosing to rest my head. 

I love that this song starts off by taking your hand and then running off into a dark forest without letting go. There are moments that let you catch your breath, but it ends the same way it began -- by running into the darkness.

What I love about "Spat Out Spit" is that it sneaks up on you. Not until she gets to the silence (rest? I don't know any music vocabulary) in the middle of the song and starts singing "Was I born wild? Have I been asleep this whole damn time?" do you realize that you've got a lump in your throat, and you, too, are feeling a little feral. 

The first thing I noticed about Lady Lamb was that her voice sounds a little Feist-y. (Like Feist. YOU know.) But it becomes clear very quickly that Lady Lamb is not the gentle, whimsical Feist

***
There's a Twitter account that just tweets Lady Lamb lyrics. M came across it when the account retweeted one of M's tweets about Lady Lamb. We couldn't figure out if it was a bot or a real person who's just obsessed with her lyrics (and her?), but there's definitely a tweet slipped in there about a Sunday plan to get drunk in a car with their ex-girlfriend, see Lady Lamb, cry hysterically for 2 hours, and go to bed feeling lighter. 

Honestly, no judgment. If Twitter had been around when I was in high school or college, that is probably something I would have tweeted, almost verbatim. Except I would have been alone for all of it -- no ex, no friends, no Lady Lamb. Just me, crying hysterically for 2 hours and then going to bed. (Seriously, no pity. I'm fine.)

This song is gorgeous, but I honestly just want to talk about this jacket she's wearing. I would throw down some serious cash for that jacket and add to my collection of varsity jackets that M doesn't think I need. (Please.)

I'm going to leave you with Lady Lamb's entire KEXP performance. It's well worth the 30 minutes, so just sit your ass down, focus, and listen. This will help you get through your day today, I promise. 

(Also, Lady Lamb is touring the country and playing in people's actual living rooms.)

(Oh my god, she also wrote a manifesto to go along with her latest album, Tender Warriors Club. A woman after my own heart.)

(And this t-shirt! Maybe I need to start my own Twitter account so I can just gush about Lady Lamb in real time, whenever and wherever.)

Hump Day Finds: Mitski

I don't know how your Wednesday is going. Maybe you're thinking, UGH, it's only WEDNESDAY?! You might be thinking, I'm so tired, I don't care, I just want to go back to bed. Maybe you're thinking neither of these things because Wednesday isn't a mile marker in your week because you love your life and it doesn't matter what day it is. Or, alternately, Wednesday isn't a mile marker in your week because this is your longest work week and Wednesday isn't actually the middle of it, and you actually have no idea what day it is.

I have been all of the people I mentioned above. Whatever the case, I know that I always need an extra little something on Wednesdays, whether it's a boost of energy or something with a little bit of attitude to get me over the energetic hump of the week. 

This week, Mitski is everything to me. While venturing down a Youtube rabbit hole together recently, M said, "Ooh, play Mitski. I think you'll like her." Like her? I LOVE HER. (Warning: this video is borderline NSFW for a typical workplace, I think?)  

Y'all. If my poems were songs, I think I'd want them to be Mitski songs.

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Listen. I'm not a music critic, I'm not a music snob. I will never pretend that I'm up-to-date in all the cool new music. Generally, I join the party 6 months to 2 years late. I will never claim to "discover" anyone like I'm Christopher Columbus or something. Having said that, I'll just say some facts about Mitski that I found on her Bandcamp page and her website. "Townie" is off her 2014 album called "Bury Me At Makeout Creek." (Isn't that an amazing title?!) She has a new album coming out in June called "Puberty 2." 

And her performances? Good lord. What follows was my introduction to Mitski. I don't think I even moved during this entire performance. 

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And after hearing her talk in this Audiotree session, I'm completely in love.  

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What I love about Mitski: to me, she has elements of Rachael Yamagata's self-deprecation and Bjork's ovaries-out vocals. I love her discordance and distortion and the sweetness of her voice and melodies that weave under and over all the noise. I love that she sings at the top of her lungs INTO her guitar. I love that she talks about centering women, people of color and trans folks in the music industry. Her lyrics are heart punches. I don't even know how to articulate all the other things I love about her because they're music things.  

I'll leave you all with her latest single. Happy Wednesday, friends. I hope you love Mitski as much as I do, and let her carry you through your day.