My grandparents died before I was born and, while growing up, I always felt that loss as a tangible pain. As I've gotten older, it has become more and more of a priority to learn about the ancestors I never knew. I don't want stories of them to die out. I want to be able to pass them on to my children, so that they can pass them on to their children.
So, I made a little film about them and my journey of learning and recording as much about them as I can find.
Check it out, and let me know what you think!
If you're a Weekly Playlist To lover, you have probably noticed that I have a thing for old music. Like, really old music. Like, 1920s-1950s. Not music from the 80s, which, even though 37 years ago feels like forever ago (I definitely wasn't born yet), I don't consider old.
I'm an old music snob.
So this week I decided it might be fun to try something new. Despite my self-diagnosed snobbery, I also love the more current tunes. Typically I don't believe that ranking things ever works - I'm a fan of the "my favorite things exist in tiers, not ranks" philosophy - but hey, why not try?
The following playlist is comprised of one old song paired with a comparable-ish new song, all under the umbrella of ~love~. I'll tell you which one I think is better for each pair, and I would love to know which ones you prefer, too!
Maybe I could even get one comment? Just one? Yeah, yeah, you're right. That's way too crazy.
Without further ado, let the love song battle of the ages BEGIN.
(Oh, right-- and the whole playlist can be listened to here!)
I WALK THE LINE - Johnny Cash
JOHNNY & JUNE - Heidi Newfield
This one isn't even fair. There was no way I was picking anything over Johnny Cash. Although Newfield's song is a cute little modern interpretation of the greatest love story of all time (Johnny Cash and June Carter-- just look it up) the real deal will always surpass the store brand.
BUTTON UP YOUR OVERCOAT - Ruth Etting
CRAZY IN LOVE - Beyoncé
This one was a bit tougher than the previous. Beyoncé, despite being rather contemporary, is totally classic. If I had inserted a more recent Beyoncé song, like one off of Lemonade, this battle of the ages would've totally gone to her. But as it is, "Button Up Your Overcoat" is just too freaking cute. I mean, "Wear your flannel underwear / When you climb a tree"? I don't understand it but I love it.
AS TIME GOES BY - Dooley Wilson
RIGHT THRU ME - Nicki Minaj
I made this too hard on myself. Now I have to pick between one of my all-time favorite songs, which is also my parent's wedding song and the song from goddamn Casablanca, and Nicki Minaj. I feel so guilty right now. I love Nicki. But "As Time Goes By" is truly timeless and romantic and beautiful and I just, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
A SUNDAY KIND OF LOVE - Ella Fitzgerald
EARNED IT - The Weeknd
I did this to myself. God, I love both of these songs. This is why I go by the tier method! It's too impossible to choose! First of all, this was a weird coupling on my part. What is similar about this songs? On one hand, Ella Fitzgerald. On the other hand, "Earned It" is so hot. You know you agree with me. Girl Unaffiliated is a no-judgment blog. I might have to use my one pass on this one (I'm writing this so I can change the rules ok).
CHEEK TO CHEEK - Fred Astaire
R U MINE? - Arctic Monkeys
Remember before, when I said that I'm an old song snob but I also like current music? Well, I'm questioning everything now because, so far, I have only picked the old song counterpart and I'm about to do it again. So, yeah, this one was easy. "Cheek to Cheek" all the way. Although "R U Mine" is preferred in certain contexts, I think overwhelmingly I would choose the former first.
BUONA SERA - Louis Prima
RADAR DETECTOR - Darwin Deez
How did I not see this coming? Again, I'm choosing the first song. "Buona Sera" just gets me hyped. "Radar Detector" is super cute, though. I also recommend that one.
IT HAD TO BE YOU - Billie Holiday
SOMEONE LIKE YOU - Adele
I wonder how many weddings use Adele songs for the ceremony/first dance without really realizing that they're more like break-up songs. With that said, this one seems obvious since "It Had to Be You" is so much more romantic. At the very least, it's not totally heart-wrenching.
YOU'VE REALLY GOT A HOLD ON ME - Smokey Robinson
LOVE ON THE BRAIN - Rihanna
I actually quite like "Love On The Brain" so this song fisticuffs is tough. Oh, man, I would really like to pick a newer song at least once throughout this whole thing, but I can lie to neither myself nor my readers! It's Smokey Robinson all the way.
I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU - The Flamingos
FADE INTO YOU - Mazzy Star
Hmm. Hmm. I think I might actually be a little unpredictable here and go for "Fade Into You." It's definitely a little bit of an unusual love song, but, for me personally, quite a bit more realistic: "I think it's strange you never knew" is the title of the memoir I could write about my romantic mishaps.
Well, here we are. I picked all of the old songs, barring the one I needed to use my pass for and the very last battle. So actually not all but whatever, I'm rounding up. I'm just such a little old-souled hopeless romantic. Here I am. This is me. Am I proud? No. Am I ashamed? Also no. What can you do?
Don't forget to take a listen to the entire playlist here and let me know which song you would pick!
Believe it or not, vulnerable, in my mind, is synonymous to confident. So if that one Demi Lovato song got stuck in your head as soon as you read the title of today's post, you're not wrong.
Certain emotions get a really bad rap. If you think about them all carefully (hurt, anger, fear, etc.), they all have one thing in common: vulnerability. Throughout my wild, wacky, horrific, humiliating, life-affirming, heartbreaking, wonderful life experiences, I've found that people are scared to death of being vulnerable. I only know this, not because of what they were like when they were vulnerable, but because of their reactions when I let myself be vulnerable.
I need another word besides "vulnerable." I'm repeating it too much and it's starting to look weird.
In fact, I just discovered a major source of the problem I'm describing while I was Googling synonyms. Here are the synonyms Google lists for vulnerable: helpless. Defenseless. Weak.
Vulnerability is not a weakness, just like kindness is not a weakness. Rather, it is pure power. Think about all of the times you felt strongly about something but didn't say it out loud. Or express it through tears, or through wild gesticulations and general flailing. Think about all of the times you took a piece of you, judged it, and then stuffed it down the disposal and flipped the switch. If doing the opposite is weakness, is easier, why don't people do that more? Why is bottling up one's emotions basically a freakin' epidemic if that's the strongest, most challenging option?!
News flash: humankind likes instant gratification. Humankind likes simple. Vulnerability is neither.
It takes strength to let your emotions out. It takes strength to accept whatever feelings, emotions, or sensations hit you, and to not be afraid of revealing them to the world. Because here's the crux of the problem. Vulnerability forces you to be 100% authentic. That legitimately scares the crap out of people! To be 100% authentic, to see 100% authenticity in other people. It's weird.
Does this stem from society's expectation of every individual to fit in? Perhaps. Really, it doesn't matter where it comes from, because that's not going away. All that matters is how you react.
I find I'm happiest when I'm not judging my emotions or my (admitted penchant for) vulnerability. And when I'm not judging myself, I find it easier to not judge other people, either. It's a win-win.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is cry more, okay?! I'm sick of feeling like the only person who cries in public!
Last month, I turned 21.
I wouldn't normally think that this was that big of a deal. I mean, age is a just a number and all that. But this year feels significant. Different.
For one thing, I have just one year of college left before I graduate. And I honestly can't wait to do just that. I'm done with the psuedo-summer camp weirdness. I'm done living in the middle of nowhere. And I'm really done with people whose priorities are the exact opposite of mine.
I will miss the classes, though. I really do like class, and discussions, and theses. But I don't like getting up early for class, so. Silver lining.
Aside from being totally done with the college thing, I moved to Manhattan this summer for my first big-girl, real-life job too! After one day here I was already like, do I have to go back to school in the fall? And now that I'm settled into my internship (my documentary filmmaking internship! I can't believe it myself!), I feel like I could stay here, doing this, forever.
I guess that's a good thing, since I know what I want to do and where I want to be after graduation. But, man, I'm really dreading the months of school in between.
I've always known that I would freakin' love being an adult. And I really do. I don't have all of the responsibilities of adulthood yet, but I'm thinking about those things. And, strange as it may seem, I'm looking forward to them.
I don't care if that's weird. I'm discovering that a large part of adulthood is knowing that you're weird, accepting those parts of you, and embracing them as truly the best bits.
Although my day-to-day life is so unfamiliar now, it doesn't feel strange or uncomfortable. It feels right, and real. I didn't realize how unreal high school and parts of college felt. How inconsequential. Now that I'm doing things that I care about, with people that I care about, in this incredible place that I love from the deepest, most bizarre crevices of my odd little heart, all that crap from the past doesn't matter.
What's more important than family, passion, and loving who you are and where you are? The answer is literally nothing. Not boys, not selfish jerks, not flabs and jiggles, not cool hair and white sneakers.
With all that said, I'm still having a hard time accepting going back to school in the fall. It was my first love, once. New York City may be the place I want to grow old with, but college definitely helped me become the kind of person who thrives here. I just need to keep reminding myself of that, I think. Maybe I only think that I'm ready to move on, but there are a couple of lessons I have left to learn. Yeah, I like that. Yeah.