Monday, January 26, 2009

Whether or Not You Ever Show Up


It was my dream to find a man to take care of me. Like a princess, deep inside, that's what I wanted.

But as I discovered, the trouble with that is: when you allow someone to take care of you, they also want to control you. Taking care of you and controlling you are the two sides of that coin.

This has been on my mind lately, as I face being single again. If I ever start looking again, I won't be looking for the same thing at all.

Ani di Franco sings about this in her song, "Not a Pretty Girl."

I am not a pretty girl.
That is not what I do.
I ain't no damsel in distress,
And I don't need to be rescued.

So put me down, punk.
Maybe you'd prefer a maiden fair.
Isn't there a kitten
Stuck up a tree somewhere?

I am not an angry girl,
But it seems like I've got everyone fooled.
Every time I say something they find hard to hear,
They chalk it up to my anger,
Never to their own fear.

Imagine you're a girl,
Just trying to finally come clean
Knowing full well they'd prefer you were dirty
And smiling.

Well, I am sorry
I am not a maiden fair,
And I am not a kitten
Stuck up a tree somewhere.

Generally my generation
Wouldn't be caught dead working for the man.
And generally I agree with them,
But the trouble is
You have to have yourself an alternate plan.

I have earned my disillusionment.
I have been working all of my life.
I am a patriot.
I have been fighting the good fight.

What if there are no damsels in distress?
What if I knew that and I called your bluff?
Don't you think every kitten
Figures out how to get down,
Whether or not you ever show up?

I am not a pretty girl.
I don't want to be a pretty girl.
No, I want to be more than a pretty girl.
Ani Difranco, obviously much more than a pretty girl.

9 comments:

Kristen said...

Dear Indie,

The Lyrics remind me of Alanis Morrissett (sp?): I'll have to check into her.

Anyway, AMEN to your post tonight: You have earned the right to question and to dare! So, keep the questions rising and the daring bold, and the courage will gather as a force yet untold as You!!!

I'm in your corner :)
With Love,
Kristen

Indie said...

Yikes, at least one of my friends will be very alarmed that I am quoting anything that reminds anyone of Alanis Morrisette!

Just want to clarify that I am no man-hater (quite the opposite!). Just a woman realizing the down side to something that might seem like a luxury.

We all need to be able to stand on our own two feet, and rely on one another equally.

Kato said...

"We all need to be able to stand on our own two feet"

That's why I have a problem with Barbie; even with shoes on, she can't do it.

Not sure if your previous post elicited this current sentiment, but I'll second Kristen's "amen". It's time for some new fairy tales to be written, eh?

Kato said...

I also double the "yikes" at Ms. Morrisette (whose only lyric I can recall is a repeated "it's not fair"): you should check out some Bessie Smith for a smile, though.

Indie said...

Kato wrote: "That's why I have a problem with Barbie; even with shoes on, she can't do it."

Too funny! Barbie provides no end of amusement. In one of my communications textbooks, an essay made the claim that she is a transvestite and the best argument ever for the constructedness of femininity. (Evidence: propensity for boas, spangles and pink; broad shoulders, narrow hips and height)

Yes, let's rewrite a few fairy tales, but let's be gentle with Barbie. I still have my Barbies in a storage, they still inspire fond feelings, and if I come across them, and it's entirely possible I'll sit down and play with them awhile.

Bessie Smith, ok! Thanks for the suggestions!

Kristen said...

Funny, I've never thought of Morrisette as a "man-hater." I have always thought of her as owning her place with herself. Hmm. . . . I'll have to think on that ;) Anyway, sorry for the Yikes!

Lots of Love to You,
Kristen

Indie said...

No, I never thought of her that way either, Kristen. Morissette's just sort of a bad-ass who doesn't cater to men; some guys find her strident, some find her gutsy.

But one of my good guy friends (who reads this blog sometimes) is pretty bitter about her lyrics and their effect on one of his exes.

But I'm not sure which song he's talking about. Maybe it's "You Ought To Know"; those lyrics are pretty harsh:

"And I'm here, to remind you/Of the mess you left when you went away/It's not fair, to deny me/Of the cross I bear that you gave to me/ You Ought to know."

Kato said...

Ooh! That's the one!

In the genre of "you hurt me and I'm not over it" music, I prefer PJ Harvey's edgy, raw stuff or else really self-indulgent misery like Billie Holliday.

And Barbie's not evil, just impossible (you've read the study on her unsurvivable anatomy) and exists chiefly to sell related merchandise. Since you pointed out the Transvestite archetype, I'm a little more intrigued with "her" as a cultural icon. I just wish they'd issue a fiftieth anniversary edition of the doll that actually looked fifty...

For what it's worth, my sister and I always cross-dressed Ken.

Indie said...

Kato, yes, I remember her impossible proportions when translated to human terms. But I still think constructible femininity is the lesson she's really imparting to young girls.

Moot point anyway, because now they play with Bratz (as far as I know).

I just checked out PJ Harvey; she's pretty cool--- dark, but cool.

And Billie Holiday--- I just have no words. I just listened to "Solitude."