Why Kids Inc. was the best show ever

I'm not quite sure how it started this week-wait. I do know! OK. The song "We Built This City" has been stuck in my head for almost a week now, but instead of hearing Starship's version in my head, I had the Kids Incorporated version in my head. I could even see the particular scene they did for this song in my head.

That, of course, led me to YouTube. That, of course, led me to watching a ton of old Kids Inc. versions of 80's songs. (Of course, if you're not around my age, you may have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about and when you DO Google it, you'll think I'm nuts.) That, of course, led me to making the statement to one of my best friends that "Kids Incorporated was the best show ever made."

"OK-wait. You're serious," was her reply after a few emails.

Yes. I'm totally serious.

Long before The Black Eyed Peas, Fergie was Stacy. Before Mario Lopez was Slater, he was "drummer guy". And before Jennifer Love Hewitt was the Ghost Whisperer, she was Love. If you've never seen the show, it's about a kid band that hangs out that this diner called The P*lace and they perform. Think an 80's version of Glee.

Even as a young kid, I always felt different and like I didn't always fit in. I had friends, but I was always different. Kids somehow just know when you are different. At times, I was bullied and at other times, I was laughed at. When girls started talking about crushes on boys, wanted to wear make-up, and shop, I just never really understood. I'd rather be playing ball or drawing or reading. It's like I had friends, but I didn't really fit in with them. Part of me didn't mind, but another part of me just wanted so badly to fit in. And it was like, the harder I tried to fit in, the more I stood out. Or that's how it felt to me.

Now that I look back on things, a lot of things just make sense now.

I watched Kids Incorporated every day after school. (Usually followed by the Mickey Mouse Club.) I would make up stories, as if I was part of the show and in the band. Sometimes, when my brother was still young enough to be bribed into playing make believe, we would "play" Kids Inc. We killed at air guitar.

While the show was completely silly, I watched every episode that was ever made. Several times. That time each day was a time where I could escape and not have to think about fitting in because I could create my own space where I was the star of the show. So, the part of me that didn't mind about not really fitting in was because I had my own little place that I created where I did fit in. And while my brother would never admit it, those were some of our best times together.

Stacy grew up to be Fergie. "Drummer" grew up to be Slater. Love grew up to talk to ghosts. And me? Well, I grew up to be the lovely, amazing, wonderful, and geeky girl that you know me to be.

And that is why Kids Incorporated was the best show ever made.

Now. Does anyone know where I can buy the DVDs?

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The best song ever

Most people don't know that Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles had a solo career once upon a time. I love Sugarland a lot, but I LOVE Jennifer Nettles' solo music. This, to me? Is the best song ever written:

Story of Your Bones - Jennifer Nettles

It's been two long months since I took a good look in the mirror
And in that time I find these lines on my face have gotten clearer
It's time I reintroduced myself to the world
Show them what I'm all about
Even if it's just so they can chew me up, turn their heads, and spit me out.

These bones in my face are from my mother
These lips I use are from my father
And the nose that rests above them is from another man
Somewhere who didn't even bother

I wonder what would he say
If he knew I got up here and rambled on this way
Would he then be proud and make it known
That he was part of me and I was one of his own

It's been five long weeks since I've been able to kiss your face
And that always makes me question if this bullshit is worth it in the first place
'Cause I have to know the story of your bones
And I long to rove the map of your skin
And I'm tired of us both feeling loved yet alone
I want to feel where you've hurt, I want to taste where you've been

But what will they say
Will they still come and hear me when they know I love you this way
As I read you with my mouth and my finger tips
Like berries you color my hands, like wine you stain lips

It's been two long months since I took a good look in the mirror.

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Ten things of awesomeness

It's Saturday, and for once, I have a busy day, so I'm going random. Some of these things you may or may not know about me. Either way, I hope you enjoy.

1. I can play the mandolin by ear. I cannot read music even though I tried once to learn. I can't sing, but I can rap almost all of "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.

2. I can say all 50 states in alphabetical order in less than one minute.

3. I can throw a football better than most boys. When my brother played little league, I had to practice with my brother in the backyard for hours. Result? I'm pretty damn good at football.

4. My brain thinks in pictures. I see flashes of memories in my head all the time. Even when I want to write, I "see" what I want to write, then I translate it to words.

5. I'm scatterbrained. My mom can call me and tell me to bring her something when I come over, and five minutes later, I may forget about it. However, I remember the most random facts. Some of them all the way from when I was a kid.

6. One of my favorite things is that I once visited the set of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

7. I'm a romantic. I big one. I didn't always think I was. Laughed at people who were, so when I realized that I am a romantic, I couldn't believe it. Now, I think it's awesome.

8. I am a worrier to the core. I will think and think and think on something then worry about it long before I ever do it, but once I set my mind that I'm going to do said something, I do it. No turning back.

9. I am left-handed. Being a lefty is the best thing in the world.

10. I am constantly learning more and more about myself. It is the most bizarre and surreal yet amazing and wonderful thing in the world. When people tell me, "Don't ever change." I truly think, why not? Changing and evolving to become the most authentic versions of ourselves and better human beings is the best thing in the world, really. And despite me claiming to be half Vulcan (which I am), I truly want to be the best human being I can be.

The End. :)

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I'll love you forever, like you for always...

I can't remember how many times I heard the sentence, "The people you meet in college are the people who will be your friends for life."

Tell that to a shy, quiet girl who lived at home through college. Don't get me wrong, I did make a lot of friends in college, and I'm certain that if I needed any one of them, I could ask and they would be here for me in a heart beat. The thing is, though, I see on facebook how close some of them are, and I know, I just didn't make those bonds in college.

No. The friends I have made in the past five years are so are the friends that will be my friends for life. The ones here are people who truly get me down to the core. They love me for my geekiness and accept my quirky ways. I love them for that.

One thing, that I really love (in case you couldn't tell) is the internet. The internet re-connected me with a friend from grade school who has become one of my very best friends. It also gave me a space in the world to discover how much I like to write and am pretty good at it.

I never expected to meet people through my writing. People who matter. People who have completely touched and changed my life. I'm quite certain that without every single one of you have helped to shape and mold me through my journey. Some of you have shown me things about myself that I didn't know existed. Sometimes, people I least expect to make my day do.

Never underestimate the power you have to influence someone. So, when you guys tell me I'm awesome, please know that it's partly because of you.

Yes. Part of the reason I am so awesome is because of you awesome, beautiful, lovely, amazing people. And for that I am so very thankful.

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How nerd became awesome

Do you remember the time in your life when the words "nerd," "geek," or "dork" were bad things? And do you remember how all you ever wanted to do was avoid being one or all of those three things?

I was always pretty smart. Good grades just happened without much effort for me. I never studied for tests, wrote papers at that last second, and completed projects the day before they were due. I most always got A's. I actually liked the lectures my teachers gave. That's how I learned.

When someone called me a nerd because I was smart, my response was always, "I can't really help it. I never study." That seemed to be an acceptable response.

However, when someone called me a nerd or geek or dork because I liked things like Star Trek and space and books, I became self conscious. I read The Baby-sitter's Club way after all the other girls my age had stopped. I loved the stories so much that I had to know what happened next, even though it took me only a couple of hours to read through the book. I hid the fact that I still read them. (Sometimes I still read them.) When someone mentioned how stupid Star Trek was, I would laugh and agree. Secretly, I thought how I couldn't understand why Star Trek was stupid. I mean, come ON. Space is cool! No? Oh.

Even as an adult, I found myself not making it really known how much I loved science fiction. I had a friend or two at work who understood it, but I still felt different, and for some reason, that still wasn't OK.

One day, two of my friends at work were starting to listen to these things called podcasts. I was so sick of what the Bradys were up to on Days of Our Lives (I listened during work) that I said I would give them a try.

The first one I listened to was called Buzz Out Loud from CNET. There were two girls on the show and oh my god, they loved video games! I loved video games! And! They also love science fiction and talked about shows I loved. This was amazing to me! They called themselves geeks on purpose and loved it. I loved it. (Molly Wood and Veronica Belmont? THANK YOU.)

Listening to Buzz Out Loud (and the 20 or so podcasts about the show Lost) actually made me realize how much I had in common with the those two friends at work. We loved all of the same things. We shared a cubicle and it was a every day occurrence to walk by and see us trying something one of us had seen on the science channel. (Did you know that duct tape holds the world together? Seriously.)

People stopped by all the time to ask us what we were doing. They seemed to love it. We were cool. Being nerdy, dorky geeks was awesome.

So, in case you don't know. I am April, I love video games and space and Star Trek and science fiction and that is awesome.

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If I could buy him all the toys in the world, I would. I may do it anyway.

"He's here," is what my brother's text message to me said.

I replied with, "Congrats, Daddy!"

"When are you getting here. Hurry up," he texted back.

"I have one more hour of work," I responded back.

When I got to the hospital room where my brother was waiting to show me his new son, I had no idea what was about to happen to me. But in the exact moment that my brother placed that tiny little 4lb 9 oz human being in my arms, I knew what it meant to fall completely in love at first sight.

Now, at almost 3 years old, he can be a little pain in the ass.


I cringed the day he learned the word "NO!" When the word "Why?" followed "NO!", I thought my head was going to spin from the 2076 times I heard "why" in one day. Then a couple of Sundays ago when I picked him up, I heard "Are we there yet?" over and over and over until I finally I said, "Hey! Do you want to go to Target and pick out a toy?" JUST TO MAKE IT STOP. (No, really. A Sunday trip to Target is our thing.) And when he is in a bad mood, woo boy, just don't look at him. (I learned that one quick!) He steals my things and never gets tired of playing hide and seek.

Yet, he could care less about things like how much I weigh or who I love or that his daddy and I have a very strained relationship right now. All he knows is that I am his "Apul" and I love him so very much. Therefore, I have made it my mission in life to spoil him rotten. I take this mission very seriously.

After a bad day, when I walk in the door, and hear, "APUL!!!," then see his smile when he runs into my arms, he makes all the bad of the day melt away.

And I am happy.



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A Valentine's Day letter to myself

Dear April,

So, I see you have no Valentine this year. We're good at flying this holiday solo, huh? I know, I know. You're not feeling yourself right now. You're ready to spout off a lecture to me about how you've only had one Valentine and that Valentine was long distance (not to knock said Valentine, but that you would have just like to have been with said Valentine at the time), and you love all of that stupid Valentine's Day shit.

I know. I've heard this all before. I live it. I understand it. I feel it. I completely agree with you. Trust me, I do.

But, let me tell you something that I think you're missing right now. Don't give me that look, you know you're blinded by all the pinks and reds of this day. You know you are.

Hey. I love you.

You are really wonderful, and a lot of the time, you have no idea. People tell you this all the time and during times like this, you just don't want to listen. You're stubborn that way. You're lucky they love you a lot. It's a good thing I'm here, you know. I'm going to tell you some of the wonderful things about you. You can sit there with your arms crossed all you want, but I'm going to tell you anyway. You have to listen because I am you. (Ha!) Ready?

Your eyes. God. They are to die for. Not only are they the most brilliant of greens with these little flecks of gold, but also, when you look at someone, you don't just look at them. You look into them. It's like your searching inside of them to see how kindred their spirit is. Your eyes are also a window to the inside of you. A lot of the time people can look right at your eyes and know exactly what you're feeling. (Yeah, I know that's a pain in the ass sometimes.)

You are geeky and quirky and a lot like a kid in many ways, but you also have this old way about you. While you feel like you are experiencing life through a whole new set of eyes lately, you also have a wisdom that must come from your ancestors. You can be so serious with your thoughts sometimes. It's no wonder Mom calls you an "old soul".

You love to laugh, but more importantly, it gives you great joy to make others laugh and smile. You have an odd sense of humor sometimes, but you seem to just know how to make others laugh. You like to send silly notes or jokes just to say hi because you know that it could really brighten someone's day. The number one thing that makes you laugh most is making other people laugh.

I'm sorry, love, but you're a klutz. You have very little balance, and the floor just seems to jump up and trip you a lot. I know you're thinking, how is that good?! Well, it makes you cute and charming (or so you've been told).

You think that you are a coward most of the time, but you're really not. You are so brave. Only a brave woman could talk about her feelings in such a public way or post photos of her imperfect body to show the world how much she loves her imperfect body. It may take you a bit to think out your courage and plot your course of action, but please know, a coward, you are not.

The most important thing is this: Your heart is so big. You have a lot of feelings a lot of the time. Your brain and heart seem to be connected so you don't always just think things, but you feel what you're thinking. Sometimes, you feel like you may explode from all of the feelings you have, and while sometimes that doesn't feel good, I promise you it isn't a bad thing. Whomever wins your heart will be one lucky girl.

I know that this day is a hard day for you, and that's okay. It's almost over now, and tomorrow will be better. I hope I have reminded you of what a fantastic person you are. You have so much to give to this world. And I know that in time, you'll find the perfect girl for you and then every day can be Valentine's Day. You just have to trust that she's out there.

And for the times like today, I want you to look back at this letter and know that I am always with you.

Love,
April

PS. Your calves are hot.

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Just go talk to her, I thought... No. I can't.

The city I live in has exactly one gay club and one gay-friendly restaurant/bar. Many moons ago during the year that I had a roommate, my roommate's aunt, who is gay, wanted to go to the club and didn't have anyone to go with her. My roommate and I agreed we would go with her. While my roommate was kind of reluctant, secretly, I was kind of excited.

I am convinced that my ex-roommate took years off of my life. She would go through spells where she wouldn't talk to me for weeks, she would bring home random guys (one of said guys burst into my room in the middle of the night and caused me to start locking my bedroom door), and sometimes, in the middle of not talking to me, she would go out, then call me at 3 a.m. to come pick her up from whatever bar she was at. She also constantly accused me of being gay. Her ex-husband had convinced her that I was in love with her and was trying to get into her pants. That was not true; she was never anything more than a friend to me, but she was convinced of what he said. As someone who knew she was attracted to girls but didn't fully understand what that meant (because I didn't fit the description of what I knew as "gay", which was ignorant) and constantly being hounded about it, I denied it every single time she said something.

The night we went to the club, was an amazing experience for me. I had never been around so many gay people in my life, and while it was a bit of a shock to my sheltered self, I also felt oddly like this was normal. But also, I was so scared that my roommate would see how much I was enjoying myself. I was so nervous I could hear my heart beat in my head. It's a wonder I didn't explode from having so many feelings.

At one point, I saw a girl who was my basketball teammate in high school. It didn't surprise me that she was there, and I found myself watching her for a long time. I felt some sort of pull towards her. I wasn't sure why, but I really wanted to talk to her. Instead, I tried to make sure she never saw me.

I've been thinking a lot about that night at the club and now I understand what that pull was. I wanted to go to her and say, "Help me. I'm having so many feelings that I don't understand, and I need to talk. Can I talk to you?" Or something like that. Instead I was a coward. Instead, I stood there and watched her, then an older lady wearing Wranglers and a leather vest stumbled up to me, handed me a beer, almost fell into me, and burned me with her cigarette.

I often joke how that night scared me all the way to the back of the closet for many more years. Seriously, what scared me was a number of things, but it's more fun to say it was that night.

I wonder how my life may have been different if I had been brave enough to talk to my old friend. Would I have found the courage to come out sooner? Would that have been better? I'm not certain. That time of my life was mostly lived in fear, so I'm not sure that accepting my sexuality was something that I could have handled. Survival was key during those years, and I did what I had to do to just survive.

Regardless, my friend from high school is one of my heroes. I remember her as being one of the shy ones (like me), and she always was one of my favorite teammates. I know through the magic that is facebook, that she has a very happy life with her girlfriend here in this city. That makes me happy for her and gives me hope that I can maybe have the same thing one day. (If I stay here, that is.) I would love to talk with her still, but again I find myself being a coward. I guess old habits die hard.

Yeah, she's totally one of my heroes. Maybe one day, I'll tell her so.

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"It's who you are. Doesn't change anything."

I wrote this whole post last night based on a whole lot of feelings. Feelings about going against my nature and trying to put myself out there to make new friends with little success. While, I felt every feeling in that post and cried most of the evening, I decided to sit on the post and edit it tonight. This morning, I got a tiny (and I mean TINY) sign, that maybe things are paying off. So, while that post was true, I have decided to keep that post to myself for now. And after that tiny sign came another great thing, and that is what I want to share with you...

Actual text messages between me and my cousin, J. :

J: Have a question for you, if you're willing to hear it?

Me: OK

J: Have you known this about yourself for a while and sure this is what you want or is it an experimental thing? And I'm not trying to get too personal. (This made me giggle just a bit.)

Me: I've known. I didn't want to bring shame to the family so I tried to be straight. I failed.

J: You didn't fail. It's who you are. Doesn't change anything. When the time is right, our family can know. If it doesn't feel right, then they can wait. Don't ever feel ashamed.

Me: Thank you. I'm not anymore.

I should explain something about my cousin. A long time ago when I dreamed of getting married (OK, fine, I still dream of that sometimes.), my dad told me that if I ever tried to make him wear a tux, he wouldn't come to my wedding. I'm not sure, but he may have been serious. When I told J this he said, "Then I'LL walk you down the aisle."

When I tell people about my family, I say I grew up with three boys. J was one of those boys. He's like a big brother to me. When I was dealing with a bully in junior high school, J drove to my house, marched me down to the kid's house and asked the older boy what his problem was. It's a funny thing that after that, the boy's problem with me magically disappeared.

When I came out to him back in the fall, I asked, "Do you still love me?"

He said, "Of course I still love you."

This? Is my biggest fear when it comes to telling people I'm closest to. J and I were raised in a family whose beliefs are that being gay is sick, not acceptable, gross. Horrible words are used to refer to people like me on a regular basis. Hearing these words over and over my whole life makes it hard for me to use anything but the word "gay" to refer to myself. (Gay was never used.) While I know that the core of these beliefs is ignorance, it still hurts. Sometimes, it hurts a lot.

The second that J told me that he still loved me, I knew that it was going to be OK. And most of the fear left me. I know some people I am related to will not change, and that's a shame, but if they can't love me because of who I love, then they don't deserve me anyway.

"You're an awesome big brother," I told him today.

And he is.

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I'm a walking contradiction. While I love to draw, paint and read, I also love all things gadgets, science and even science fiction (I know). My animals (two dogs and two birds) are my heart, and if I could figure out how to legally own a giraffe, I would. That all said, I have my BS in Mathematics. :o)

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