Something to prove and nothing to lose
I wanted for so many years to not want to be famous. The artists (musicians, poets, actors) I respected were reluctant spotlight subjects, reticent to share; I could never respect the talentless heiress famous for being famous. When I was twenty (almost exactly ten years ago) I picked the name Unwoman in solidarity with an imagined underground rebel community I *wanted* to be a part of. I was a TMI-spewer and wannabe troublemaker. Then I met my future exhusband who, while acting outwardly supportive, somehow made me feel like all my dreams were petty and worthless. I would like to blame 9/11 for our relationship. I clung. I chased the red flags it took me years to see. Eventually I became cloistered and embodied the Protestant work ethic. I worked for other people. Dayjob, and family -- a child I loved like a best friend, for whom I was not allowed maternal feelings and who was ripped from me bitterly, as punishment, without even a goodbye, when I decided to reclaim my body. The partner irretrievably in debt even while making three times my salary, who would never, ever admit he was wrong about anything. His goal was that I recognize my passions as merely a hobby and behave like a decent American wife and save my body just for him.
(In case you can't tell, I am still recovering from that horrible divorce and the ways I was muzzled. I was not allowed to tell my story. He made me feel guilt like no one should feel, and still it was not enough, yet as soon as he found my replacement just a few months after I finally decisively left (the girl I tried on wedding dresses with, an exfriend without even the decency to tell me -- come on girls, chicks before dicks, right?!) he acted like he'd won some great prize yet somehow I was just as guilty and cruel as when he'd told me I ruined his life as I walked out the door. But there are no winners in divorce, just survivors.)
I worry that everything I do is because I have something to prove. Then I wonder at my motivations from the beginning. But really, isn't it only natural that I'm compelled to *communicate* with other people through my music? Isn't that the point, to connect to people with my songs the way that songs have touched me? "Don't forget the songs that made you cry, and the songs that saved your life?"
All of this is to say, I probably need your help more than I've said before. I need more people listening to me, knowing who I am. I desperately need respect for what I put into this. So that is my confession, that I'm a little bit desperate. I went into this thing ten years ago, guns blazing, full of hope, and that hope was promptly and justly crushed as I didn't know what the hell I was doing as a self-published musician, or who I was and what I wanted, or that my desire for serious romance was a hindrance, and now I'm trying the same exact thing and just counting on the idea that I'm ten years better than I was then because even in the darkest years of my slightly terrorized domestic existence I kept playing and writing and producing. Thank you, thank you, me of the past for sticking with it. (But, uh, honey, couldn't you have been just a little firmer or better disciplined or more willing to say no?)
This is not friends-only because I don't want any secrets. I want to be transparent about my weaknesses or humanity or whatever it is that makes me want what I don't have. (Hello, wikileaks, I have learned from your example on a tiny individual scale.) How else could anyone learn from my mistakes?
I plan to put together a list of ways you folks can help me (with getting other gigs and such; I am not quite yet making enough money to afford San Francisco rent), in the next few weeks, but for now, just including a song on a mixtape once in a while, or talking about a song of mine that you like on facebook or twitter is all I ask. This link, http://unwoman.bandcamp.com/, and the fact that the three albums on the top row are free (pay-what-you-want), should be a good start.