I Wanna Be A Riot Grrrl

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I was never in a band, it was one of those things that passed me by (much like the talent needed to be in a band), but I always had daydreams of being a frontwoman for a band. I’m definitely an extrovert (this is something that is not fashionable to admit these days, but hey, without us extroverts you introverts just wouldn’t be as cool), and always thought I had the personality to bring a certain je ne sais quoi to a band. Spunk. Brashness. Kickybootness.

I started university in Australia in the mid-90s, and quickly became involved in the student union movement in Melbourne. Lots of great music came out of this movement, and I was exposed to some great bands, but the Riot Grrrl tunes just totally appealed to me. I was an angry teenager, I was an even angrier end-of-teenager-years teenager, and the raw power of this music was perfect for me. 

I’ve recently created a new playlist on Deezer of my favourite Riot Grrrl bands and songs. I totally would have been a Riot Grrl. I was born a little late for it to be something that I could really embrace (was just beginning my teens in the early 90s) but the attitude, music and lyrics really resonated with me. They still do.

Does it make me feel younger? A little. Does it remind me that this angry and rawness is still deep inside me? Absolutely.

Allow me, dear reader, to share with you some of my favourite Riot Grrrl tunes.

Daily Prompt: We Got the Beat

Instructions For A Bad Day

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This video is just amazing. We often forget that everyone has bad days, everyone feels like they’ve hit rock bottom – and it’s okay.

It reminded me of this poem by Andrea Dorfman about being alone.

We need more things like this in the world. A global network should help us help ourselves and each other more.

Bloggie Bloggerson

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I’ve had a blog before. Updated it regularly. Then I stopped. Why? Fuck knows. Why am I starting again now? Because of this post. But more on that later.

I recently discovered the author Sam Sykes after a friend of mine raved about his books. I bought one and started reading. I then did what anyone would do – I Googled him. Oh, look, a Twitter account. As someone who is quite active on Twitter I really appreciate people who not only use social media to promote themselves professionally, but also use it to be snarky, funny, humble and awesome. My first interaction with Sam was (surprise-surprise) around games. He was charmingly amusing in his replies, and I enjoyed his witty ripostes. I’m always wary of tweeting famous people, for fear of coming across as a lame-ass fangirl (I’ll never forget the literal flailing that occurred when Tom Holland replied to me once on Twitter. Guys, seriously, I was FREAKING. OUT.), but hey, if I make a dick of myself I can always just delete it and they’ll never know it existed and won’t think I’m a weirdo, right? Right?

Anyhoo, Sam posted a great blog in response to Penny Arcade Gabe’s blog regarding bullying (and how it can turn the victim into a complete asshole). It got me thinking, particularly about how the teasing I got when I was younger has shaped me in later life, so I replied.

I wasn’t bullied a lot when I was younger. It was there, of course, but not as bad as a lot of other kids had it. I was the “weirdo”, the “lesbo”, the “freak”, the “goth”, the “povvo” (Aussie slang for a poor person). Where most other kids would have rebuffed all this teasing, I embraced it, and used that as a weapon against those who tried to hurt me.

The weirdo became weirder. The “lesbo” would flirt more openly with the girls at school. The freak would do things to keep the other kids on their toes. The goth put on more black. The povvo dressed so grungy it bordered on being the inspiration for Mugatu’s Derelicte campaign.

Thing is, all this bravado, it didn’t help. It made me, at first, angry, then so depressed I started creating a world for myself in my head. I won’t go into details, but I got sick. Very sick.

Once I came through the other side, rather than being angry with them, I wanted to help them and since then, I’ve gone out of my way to be overly nice to people, to help them with their problems and concerns – sometimes to the detriment of my own health, safety and happiness. I am so desperate for other people to be happy, to not feel pain, to not be hurt by anyone around them. I let people use me. I know it’s happening, I know it will hurt, but I still let it happen. Because for a brief moment, I’ve managed to make someone feel good.

Thinking about it, I think I am an asshole, to be honest. To myself.

This blog post isn’t a means for me to go into more detail about my younger life. Sam’s blog, my reply and more importantly his reaction to it are what prompted me to start writing again.

This blog post is just to say thank you.