- Lizzo – En Love
- M.I.A. – Fire Fire
- Little Esther – I’m a Bad, Bad Girl
- The Last Shadow Puppets – Bad Habits
- Rilo Kiley – Portions for Foxes
- Worriers – Unwritten
- Colleen Green – Whatever I Want
- The I Don’t Cares – Just a Phase
- Thurston Moore – Psychic Hearts
- The Kills – Fuck the People
- Pixies – Holiday Song
- Dum Dum Girls – There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
- EL VY – Need a Friend
- The Cars – Dangerous Type
- The Make-Up – White Belts
- The Mo-Dettes – White Mice
- Thee Headcoatees – Ça Plane Pour Moi
- Huggy Bear – Pansy Twist
- Bikini Kill – I Like Fucking
- Mika Miko – Sex
- Dresden Dolls – Dirty Business
- Screaming Females – Triumph
(+ a bonus track that isn’t on the playlist: Jolie Holland – Springtime Can Kill You)
It is springtime, and springtime can kill you (just like it did poor me). The light is clearer and hangs on longer in the sky each day, the birds are all singing riotous songs in the treetops. A few days ago, it was seventy degrees; I drank iced coffee and resisted the urge to cut the sleeves off all my t-shirts. It is springtime, and I am so damn restless I’m about ready to tear my skin off. I can’t focus on anything. I pick up a book, read a few pages, put it down again. I start a poem, write a few lines, quit. My notebooks are full of Jenny Holzer-esque truisms that I write in all caps. YOU WILL GET SO TIRED OF WEIGHING THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES. SOMETIMES YOU WILL BE READY TO SAY “FUCK IT” AND FOLLOW YR HEART. BE A DRUNKEN SLUT. STOP THINKING. IT’S SO TIRING. TRUST YR STUPID FUCKING HEART.
I just want to trust my stupid fucking heart. Or maybe I just want something that makes my stupid heart beat faster.
I am so tired of weighing the potential consequences. When I was younger, I usually leapt into things without caring what the result would be. (And now I can’t believe I didn’t put that Shivvers song on this playlist: when I was younger, when I was younger, when I was younger.) I went for what felt good, or even bad, as long as I was feeling something. As long as it made me feel alive. But there were enough adverse consequences that I began to grow afraid. I was often on the verge of eviction, because I did things like spending my rent money on road trips. I hurt people. I disappointed people. Friends and family started telling me that I was wasting my life.
…some might say that you and I have wasted our lives so far. Yes, we have had our hearts broken more than most. (We’ve broken some hearts, too.) We’ve had brushes with the law; and we’ve dealt with pregnancy scares and unemployment and spent many mornings too hungover to even move. But we have also experienced so much poetry, seen so much beauty, received so much love. We have had more fun in our short lives than most people ever get to have; so how could we ever consider it a waste?
-from something I wrote in 2006
Maybe I still want to waste my life, if wasting my life is what it takes to feel alive. To paraphrase Dazed & Confused, a movie I watched over and over when I felt those first reckless, restless stirrings in my teenage body: I need some good old, worthwhile, visceral experience. I want to go out into the wild, twisting night, want to take drugs, get laid, maybe get in a fight. Except I don’t do drugs anymore and I don’t get in fights anymore and no, I won’t spend all my rent money on a road trip. There are certain things I’m not willing to risk, and that’s for the best. But I am tired of worrying about what other people think; tired of not doing what I want to do because it might hurt or disappoint someone in my life. I don’t want to hurt anyone, of course not, but it’s my life and it’s springtime and my heart is saying go. I want to fuck. I want to dance. I want to smash it up. I want sudden intense connections with interesting strangers. I want to take long drives in search of coffee and trouble. (Remembering that spring so long ago when I drove the seven hours from Chicago to St. Louis just to get coffee at a Waffle House.) I want to rip my tights, walk along the train tracks, get my boots all covered in good mud. I want, I want, I want. No, I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I am tired of not being myself. And I’m bad news, baby, I’m bad news.
I’m just a traveling girl with a wild mane of wavy red hair, holes in my tights, all my clothes smelling of smoke. I can roll a cigarette while driving down the freeway at eighty miles an hour. I can get drunk as shit and get two hours of sleep and drive from one town to another, then do it all again the next night. I can find my way anywhere. I can get lost anywhere.
-from something I wrote in 2007
I dye my hair red again every spring. No matter what other colors I might dye it the rest of the year, in spring I metamorphose back into a redhead. I was born with red hair but it faded to a drab brown when I hit puberty, some shitty twist of fate, so I became a bottle redhead. Red hair is fiery, brazen, witchy. (Redheads used to be burnt at the stake as witches, because it was believed they had magic powers.) Red is the color of anger and lust, love and rage. The color of blood and lipstick and my stupid, wildly beating heart. Girls like me are meant to have red hair.
It’s springtime, and I’m a wild redheaded girl for life. So take me out tonight. Take me anywhere, I don’t care, I don’t care. Take me to where the rough edges of the night meet the back alleys. Take me to the rooftops and fire escapes of your town. Take me to all-nite diners, where we can get coffee-buzzed and plot to take over the world. Let’s walk around. Let’s drive too fast on backroads. I don’t need your love, I just need a friend.
I still want all the same old dumb shit I’ve always wanted. Spontaneous adventures, crushes, mix tapes. Music I can feel in my guts, in my bones, whether it’s hip-hop or the punk rocks. Sneaky eyes and sleeveless t-shirts. Sex and danger. In the immortal words of Henry Rollins: I want to fuck on the floor and break shit. Yeah, I like fucking. I’m always restless, and next to wandering, sex is one of the few things that eases my restlessness. And I believe in the radical possibilities of pleasure, babe. I do, I do, I do.
I’ve lost some friends because I’ve failed to grow up properly. These friends used to be just like me (you fuckers used to be just like me), but they went straight. I don’t mean straight as in heterosexual, I mean straight as in normal. They became capital-G Grown Ups. They got advanced degrees and nine-to-fives and stopped making zines and got their tattoos removed. I’m an adult, too. I have a kid, and a writing career; I pay my bills instead of going on ill-advised road trips, I don’t go on benders or do drugs anymore. But I also haven’t given up crushes or adventure or art or punk; I’m still making zines and giving myself stick ’n’ poke tattoos. I’ve still got that steel-toed spark and that teenage j.d. twitch. Maybe they’re bitter because they thought growing up meant giving all that up.
We can have all of it! We can be mamas and healers and have love and morals and sweetness and good things in our lives, but we don’t have to give up the rest—we can also be wild punk rock goddesses of destruction and fuck and fight and drink and smoke and swear and make mad art, goddamnit!
-from something I wrote in 2013
I should’ve known something was up the last time I saw M.—before she decided she hated me, when I still thought we’d be friends for life—when she said: “I’m over Amanda Palmer. It’s not cute to tell young girls that it’s okay to be fucked-up.” That stunned me, because she was once a fucked-up girl, just like me. She and I used to listen to Dresden Dolls albums and talk about how eerily close to our own lives they were, how it was like AFP had looked into our souls and made songs out of them. But maybe that’s the other thing. It’s not just that M. and the others gave up their former passions. They also regret that they ever lived that way. They regret the days of chronic unemployment and ill-advised road trips, the crazy-mad love affairs, the all-nite diner marathons, the epic meals we made from what we found in dumpsters. And I don’t. No matter how I’ve changed, or how many of those things I don’t want anymore, I could never ever regret those days. They made me who I am, and they gave me so many stories to tell. To all the ones who thought they knew me best, a test to prove your prowess. Who was mine in ’99? I want last names, and current status.
No, I don’t want to wind up on the verge of eviction, or have my electricity shut off. I don’t want to hurt anyone. But it is springtime, and I am so tired of weighing the potential consequences. And I’m just a redheaded restless punk rock goddess of destruction for life, and I still want all that shit that makes my stupid, reckless heart beat faster. Loud music, caffeine, adventure, sex. If you’re like me, you’re feeling the same way. So:
WHO CARES WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK. STOP THINKING. IT’S SO TIRING. TRUST YR STUPID FUCKING HEART.
Get out, get out of your house.