Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Original Hipster: Always There First

It all began in Kindergarten. I thought the song "Shake Your Booty" by KC & the Sunshine Band was really funny. I decided to be sassy and start singing it in front of my class at the end of a school day, figuring all the other kids knew the song and would think I was funny. Only one kid knew it and he sang it with me and we giggled and giggled and made everybody laugh. I remember walking away wondering why nobody else had ever heard that song before.

From that point on, I obsessed over the radio, rolling the dial up and down slowly and listening to every station. My likes and dislikes formed naturally, uninfluenced by anyone else. Then in 5th grade I discovered a couple kids that were just as bananas over Styx's "Too Much Time On My Hands" and AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds" as I was. How exciting to actually talk to my peers about something I liked and have them "get it!" That's when I started to receive confirmation and validation that I had damn good taste and a natural recognition for things that were "cool." I began to read music publications like Hit Parader, Circus & Creem magazines and confidently presented myself as a rock music know it all.
By middle school, I was so hungry for new music and had met a group of friends of the same mindset. One friend in particular, Mike, can be credited for turning me on to both Motley Crue and Metallica long before anyone in northern Indiana knew who they were. I eagerly lapped up anything he wanted to share with me. Guns N Roses, on the other hand was my own personal discovery during the summer of '87 and I spent the next 6 months or so telling everyone I knew that they had to check out this band because they were going to be the next big thing!! I was not only 2 steps ahead of my peers musically (thanks in part to Mike) but also fashion-wise as well.  As a matter of fact, it drove me absolutely insane whenever I would come to school with some cool new accessory or fashion statement that I had visualized mentally and agonizingly sought out for weeks or months (in the days before you could find something instantly via the internet) and a week later, several others were copying my style. I realize now that's a huge compliment but it pissed me off to no end. Be authentic! Be original! At least be creative enough to conceal your fucking sources!

I've been wearing either vibrant colors or feathers in my hair since pretty much forever. I have Bohemian and rebellious hippie blood, an endless inner battle going on inside me between being "natural" and trying to make myself look on the outside like I feel on the inside no matter what the cost. A few years back, both unnatural vibrant hair colors and hair feathers became all the rage. The world had caught up to me. I was thrilled at first. Then I looked around and noticed that everyone including their 9 year old daughter and 80 year old grandmother either had pink/blue/purple hair or feathers clipped in. Of course, I immediately went back to natural hair and wore my feathers only on special occasions. Here's a tip:  if it's cool with kids 12 and under, just stop because it's not cool anymore.

Flash back to the year 2000. I met these guys from a band called The Szuters. They were outstanding songwriters and dynamic performers and I was a massive supporter of their band. They eventually got a record deal, changed their name to Magna-Fi and toured with Ozzfest. At their CD release party, I had them sign a photograph for me. One of them wrote, "To Cari, always there before anyone else!" And that sums it up!!!  It took me a while to understand what he meant, but once I did, it felt great to have this acknowledgment.

Being "cool" or being a "hipster" or whatever they decide to call it in the next decade, is about attitude, not fashion. That's right, attitude. When I was a teenager, people who dressed the part just to fit in were called "posers." (That's how we mis-spelled it.) They had no authenticity and didn't really "get it." Every generation will have them.

So, why do I even care? What good does it do me or anyone?  
I wanted to be a leader but instead I got competitors. Now, I just want to be an example of a life lived with passionate integrity.  
And yet, I remain a paradox. 
I've spent my entire life searching for a place where I could fit in, be accepted and belong while at the same time fighting fiercely be different and set apart from average Joes. 
I am...the original hipster.

And I was "Here Before You." *wink*


Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Twins Are 18!

Eighteen years ago I was suffering. I've never experienced such unbearable pain, no painkiller pills could relieve the misery. I couldn't eat and was hallucinating. I did this to myself. I chose to have breast augmentation surgery.
In 1996, I was very young and naive and didn't know much about anything. What I did know was that I weighed 120 lbs, my chest measured 32" and my hips 38" which made shopping for any clothing a depressing, frustrating hassle. Nothing fit right, very few things were flattering and I spent lots money at alteration shops. It was time to make a change. I wanted to feel good about the way I looked. I went to a flashy doctor at a big facility in a big city, seemed like the smart choice. It was a Friday and there would be no staff on duty over the weekend. I stayed the night in a hotel. They did the surgery without drainage tubes, since no one would be there during the weekend to remove them. I didn't even know use of drainage tubes was common practice. My body had to absorb everything on it's own. They didn't prescribe Valium nor any anti-anxiety nor muscle relaxing medicine for me, which I later found was also commonplace for doctors to do. What's worse was that I wasn't told that I needed to take pain medicine immediately upon filling my prescription post surgery. I was so full of morphine when I left the facility that I didn't feel a thing when I was discharged and went straight to the hotel and fell asleep. I awoke like a startling nightmare to crushing searing pain and I vomited. From that point on for the next 2 weeks, it was impossible to get a handle on the pain. I was so sick and dehydrated. Some Chinese mushroom tea was the first thing I was able to keep down after 3 days. At night, I couldn't tell if I was asleep or awake. It looked like snakes were slithering down the curtain panels. It was the longest 2 weeks of my life. I did nothing but cry between intermittent napping.
In time, my body healed. It took me a nearly a year to get used to my new body parts. I was thrilled with the way I looked and at all my new clothing options! The pain eventually was forgotten. Looking back now, I realize that had I given birth to a baby that day, I would now have an adult child. I made the choice when I was 17 that I was not going to have children and I've never once regretted the decision. Instead I chose a life of freedom....and breast implants. Some may think it's vain, slutty or somehow just wrong but for me it was none of that. The relief of having a proportionate body is immeasurable. The elation I still feel to this day to have my body on the outside match with the femininity I feel on the inside is also immeasurable. Happy birthday to the twins, although getting them was worse than childbirth, I still consider it one of the best decisions of my life.