Music & tradition

Some of the things I’ve been thinking about the past few days, and have unloaded here, have gotten me thinking about this other idea I had about a year ago. And I’d like to see if I can make some sense out of this, if these two are related, or if I’m just grasping at straws (strings?) here.

One of the points of disagreement lately has been about the importance of traditions. A bit of history about me: I grew up in a household that didn’t have terribly many traditions. We celebrated all the major holidays, but a “light” version of celebration. Usually that entailed going over to visit a set of grandparents (only the one set, as I got older, since my maternal grandparents died when I was 6). Easter we had a little egg hunt, July 4th we would go watch fireworks, Thanksgiving we had turkey, and Christmas we did presents. But that was really it. And the family that was present was myself, my father, his parents, my aunt, my uncle (once he came into the picture, I was 12 or so), my 2 younger cousins, and my older cousin and her longtime boyfriend (they were together for 6 or 8 years before they got married). So 10 people at most. None of this aunts and uncles and cousins for days business. None of the visiting more than one house per day.

As I got older, the desire to see specific family members waned, but it was always outweighed by the desire to see other family members, plus the fact that my father said that it was important. They all lived about an hour away, so it’s not like we saw each other all the time. He made it a point that we go visit his parents once a month(ish). I know I didn’t talk to them much outside of those visits, and I don’t think he did either. So I see the importance of staying in touch and catching up. Keep in mind, this was also mostly pre-cell phones and at the beginnings of the internet. And my grandparents lived in a rural town and didn’t even have cable, let alone a computer. They didn’t really keep up with technology. (No fault here, just a fact.)

I guess part of the reason I don’t see a ton of importance in us now spending holidays together with H’s (husband’s) parents is that we see them and talk to them way more frequently than I ever did my grandparents. So the primary reason for my “family get-togethers” growing up being catching up doesn’t really apply here. We aren’t so out of touch that it’s necessary. It’s not that I don’t want to see them, it’s that I don’t feel I NEED to see them.

And this I think is the root of the problem. M (mother-in-law) at least DOES feel that need to actually see us. She doesn’t believe phone calls, texting, and fb is a substitute. I realize that none of that is the same, and I’m not saying it is, but for me, it’s enough. It helps fill the gaps and makes me at least feel connected enough that I’m not completely out of touch.

Now, how does music fit in with all this?

About a year ago, I put up a rather rambly fb status that ended with the following idea:

“All of this culminates into: I don’t understand why I don’t seem more people rockin out to their tunes in the gym, in the car, walking down the sidewalk, wherever. It’s all earbuds-in-straight-face-focused. Are people just doing it internally, or do the vast majority just have ‘buds in to help tune out the world?”

M replied to my post, and one of her points was:

“3: (now don’t get your panties in a wad) Today’s music, while is okay, for some reason doesn’t have meaning. By this I refer to the fact that the lyrics don’t grab your attention by referencing to the things that happen in life (unless your listen to some rap music) or the beat in the music doesn’t keep your attention. I have tried to listen and hear what today’s music has to offer and find very few artists capture my attention with their songs”

I of course had to respond to this specifically, because this is a point that really bugs me. There is SO MUCH music out there. With the internet and services like YouTube, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and others, it is easier than ever for amateur musicians to get their stuff out there. And we’re getting to a point now where it’s not that we’re making new genres of music, but people are combining them to make amazing sounds. There is all kinds of talent out there if you just look for it. In fact, there are plenty of artists covering older music, or doing a “revival” of older styles/sounds.

I don’t understand being stuck with the same old music, and only listening to that stuff over and over again. Heck, there’s music I listened to 10 or 15 years ago that yeah, it’s still good music, but I don’t have a desire to listen to it all the time. I love finding new stuff. Heck, it was one of H’s friends who gave me some dubstep artists to listen to that eventually lead me to my current favorite musicians (Celldweller & Blue Stahli). There are some songs I will always love. But if I try to listen to a whole album, I’ll get bored partway through. Not because I don’t like the music, but because I’ve heard it a zillion times before.

So how are these connected?

It goes back to the concept of being stuck in time. This inability to see that what currently exists may actually be better than what was.

Once again… Grace Hopper: “Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, “We’ve always done it this way.” I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.”


Traditions are for those stuck in the past and can’t deal with change.

A couple days ago, my father-in-law came over, we’ll call him F, to sit and chat with husband, H. At some point in time, F brings up the fact that mother-in-law, M, is hopping mad at H. H asks why? And this leads us down a rabbit-hole-discussion of disaster. F brings up a couple points I see as valid, a couple that I do not.

One of the things I see as not valid, is that M is mad that *we* are not having Easter dinner at *our* house this year. So, first off, we don’t have holidays at our house. M is the hostess-extraordinaire. She loves throwing parties and having people over. By default, we assume that all holiday meals will be at their house. Secondly, part of the reason I said no what I was either misinformed, misunderstood, or H was misinformed about the reasons why M wanted us to host dinner. What H repeated to me made it seem like F & M were not getting along well with one of their mutual friends, who is always invited over for holidays, and wanted an excuse to not invite mutual friend over. I said, that’s dumb, why would *we* not invite mutual friend over as well? I dunno what’s going on with them, but I’m not going to help them play some petty / passive-aggressive game. Fuck that. However, it seems that maybe the reason is that they’re having various parts of the house painted, so things are all in confusion, and cooking in their kitchen is not possible. Ok… well… if I’d know THAT a week ago, I might’ve said “yeah sure whatever we can have dinner here.”

This lead into a discussion about “traditions” and F asking why H & I don’t seem to care about them. So H went on to explain that their traditions are not things that are particularly enjoyable for either of us. I don’t HATE them, don’t get me wrong. I do like the idea of getting together on holidays, but it doesn’t need to be this long, involved, all-day thing. But his point is more… It’s a day like any other day, to us. Most holidays are religious, so for both of us, there’s no meaning to them. Easter Sunday = Zombie Jesus Day. Christmas = Saturnalia. Thanksgiving = Try Not To Burn The House Down Day. We’re both atheists, so literally any religious holiday I couldn’t care less about, other than hey it’s a free day off of work!

So then F goes on to say that it isn’t so much about the holiday itself, but rather about the sense of family, community, and belonging that is associated with holidays. Ok, maybe some people are ok with pretending to like family members on special occasions because it is “expected” of them, but that shit doesn’t fly for me. Especially not when others don’t even make an attempt to engage me in conversation, leading me to believe that they wouldn’t even notice if I wasn’t there. That’s not community, that’s not belonging. That’s tolerating other people because it is the socially accepted thing to do, and how DARE you break that boundary. So again, fuck that shit. I’m not going to tolerate shitty people because “society” thinks I should. I’m not going to put my own mental health in danger and stress myself out by being in a situation that I don’t like simply to please somebody whose opinion I don’t care about anyway.

And unfortunately, it took me so long to write this on Saturday, that it extended into Sunday and now I have a sort of off-shoot of this conversation to dwell on. M decided to take to fb to rant about our opinions on holidays and “family time”. You know, without mentioning any names, being totally passive-aggressive about it. Yeah, I get it, this post in  and of itself is a bit passive-aggressive, but look, my therapy appointment isn’t until Thursday and I gotta figure out how to not be pissed off for the rest of the week. Anyway. So up goes this post complaining about how “younger folks” don’t seem to value “family time” anymore and how “did we lose the importance of just being together on a special day?” Oh, and let’s not forget the complaint about how communication just SHOULDN’T be done by text message, but someone else never calls either, and that “family time” should be spent “catching up”, but then when we finally all get together, as soon as there is 2 seconds of silence, somebody has to pipe in with a sarcastic “woo hoo the excitement!”

So let’s go in order.

  1. Younger folks – Frikkin’ ageism pisses me off to no end.
  2. Family time – I try to reach out to you, you don’t ever seem to want to get back in touch with me. I dunno what you want.
  3. Special day – It’s Easter. That’s a dumb religious holiday. I’m not religious, therefore it is not special. So we get together the day before, or next weekend. It’s not like we NEVER see you. So, what’s the big deal?
  4. Texting – Half the time when I call, you either don’t answer the phone, or are running errands and can’t take time out to talk. So, I text, because I know you’ll read it and get back to me at your convenience. But, if I ask you to call me, and then you don’t, well…
  5. Catching up – Since we live in a very connected time with social media and cell phones, catching up isn’t quite what it used to be. And, you all are much chattier than my family ever was, so it’s not like there’s tons of stuff that happens in the few days we don’t talk, versus a whole month that it would be when I was growing up.
  6. Woo hoo, excitement! – Look, you bitch we never talk or get together, and then when we DO finally get together and there’s a lull in the conversation, you try to get a jab in that we aren’t interesting enough for you? The fuck??


I don’t get it. ALL OF THIS ASIDE. I tried to be above this, and I sent a “happy easter” text message (despite this going against the verboten texting clause) because I knew she was going to be at the buffet / casino, and probably wouldn’t hear her phone. I also included a “hey let’s all try to get together for dinner next weekend” because ok, she wants to spend time together, let’s try to spend time together.

And I get nothing.

Not a word.

Not even an acknowledgement when they stopped in for a few minutes to say hi that she received my text.

How. How do I deal with someone that states, to others, that she wants a relationship with me, but whenever I try, I get nothing. And when I don’t try, I get passive-aggressive shit on fb. (Or, she complains to other people like H or F, and then I sometimes hear about that.)

I’m not sorry I’m not some little cookie cutter individual that conforms to whatever your twisted ideal of a daughter is. I’m not sorry for who I am, what I say, or what I believe (or don’t believe). I’m not sorry I’m not stuck in the past, upholding traditions simply for the sake of “we’ve always done it this way.”

I REFUSE to feel bad about how I feel.

Political self-characterization

I have a fair percentage of in-laws or friends of in-laws that would classify themselves as conservatives or republicans. Or if not outright either of those choices, definitely NOT a liberal. As a result, I end up seeing a healthy dose of some of the crazy shit these people believe over on phaseborg. 

Without exception, these people are clear & proud supporters of 45. Most have extreme dislike for 44. 

Here’s what I don’t get about these people.

Avid supporters of 45. Believe that O was too harsh on businesses, and can’t wait for some of his (or not his, they aren’t really good at knowing who did what) regulations to get repealed. Regulations that were put in place to protect workers. Let me repeat that, because it’s important. Regulations put in place to protect the workers. 

And yet, despite apparently desiring less protection for workers, one loses their job with no real reason given, but works in an at-will state, so no real reason needs to be given, and goes on a tear about how dare companies not treat their employees with respect, and why isn’t there loyalty anymore, and employees are just trying to do what’s best for the company even if it costs them more money.

I just want to reach out and say, do you realize how incompatible and inconsistent your views are? You can’t say, let businesses have more freedom in one breath, and then condemn them for having too much freedom in the next. That doesn’t work. And honestly makes you look like a bit of an idiot.