Monday, September 22, 2014

Kenny's Story - In His Own Words

I discovered Tori's music in high school. I was an avid poster on the Bjork messaged board (the 4um) and many people had been posting about Tori. This was around 2006 so Beekeeper was the talk of the town (with generally negative things said). Late in 2006 when my aunt who got me into a lot of the music I listen to today (and who is also gay) was living in a tent in our living room (seriously), I dug through her book of CDs and saw Tales of a Librarian. I gave it a listen and was captivated from the beginning notes of Precious Things. I went out and bought Choirgirl next because that was on sale at the local Virgin Records store. Listened to that album until it was unlistenable and bought another copy eventually. I still remember when American Doll Posse tracks started coming out (Big Wheel and BoC) and how I had never been that excited for an album release ever before. All during this time I was discovering who I was and my sexuality. Fast forward to the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008: I fell in love with a boy, eventually lost my virginity to him, yaddy yadda. A week after we had sex, he kicked me to the curb (my birthday, actually, 18th) and I found out I was just a number to him, 13 to be exact. A Sorta Fairytale helped me realize how stupid it was to love him from the get go and helped me realize that I knew all the warning signs were there from the beginning but chose to ignore them. 1000 Oceans also helped me let go of him. When my grandpa died, Your Cloud made consoled me. I wrote a poem about him inspired by Your Cloud. Fast forward to the beginning of 2012: I've been with my current boyfriend for almost 2 years at this point but he breaks up with me shortly after the new year. I had never been so heartbroken and sad in my entire life. I couldn't eat or sleep for days, and could sometimes hold down Jamba Juice (but nothing else). I went to counseling to get over the sadness and to address the issues he had with me that led to the breakup (I was incredibly clingy and insecure). Holly, Ivy, and Rose got me through that terrible period, especially the line "He waits for her to find the heart he left behind; he prays she'll find her way to be his bride someday" because I just sat and hoped he would come around and want to try again. We've now been together for 4 and a half years and our love is so strange and awesome. He is the love of my life. Since then, Tori's music has served to make me feel better about myself, empowered, and to enjoy life more. Bliss has always haunted me since first listening to Tales of a Librarian and has been a support system from day 1, especially through the breakup with my current boyfriend in 2012 ("maybe we're a bliss of another kind"). Drive All Night also haunted me since I first heard it; I request it in Oakland this tour and finally got to hear it in Miami! Even though I requested the song a while back, I was so grateful and felt like she was answering my request. I'm so lucky to have discovered Tori's music and to have been lucky enough to meet her and tell her about how her music helped me and how I played her music on my radio show (which I did for my MA thesis in linguistics in grad school, about Native American language revitalization). We chatted about languages and Native Americans and she was genuinely engaged, said she would love to learn Cherokee but that it would take so much effort. I told her not to give up!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Heidi's Story

To follow is the story that Heidi told me, in her own words:

Okay so I'll start... I was raised by my step dad. Who was my child molester for 10+ years.. When I was a teen, he decided to steal a CD case from someone's unlocked car and gave me LE and UTP out of it... SATY was my, and still is my safety zone... My sanity... Tori has helped me maintain my head and the thoughts within it for 20 years.... I don't share this with you because I think it's a memorable story, but because I have the same story as a million others out there who Tori has helped escape and cope with their reality... Silent all those years... It wasn't easy... But fuck! It's hard to hear your own voice a lot of the time! Thankfully Tori hears us when we hear her and for that I am forever indebted to her..

Friday, September 5, 2014

He Said "You're Really an Ugly Girl"

How many of us are guilty of it?  Trying desperately to impress someone else?  We have the best of intentions.  We try and look and BE our best.  But does our self-esteem hinge on what someone else thinks? As social creatures, a lot of the time it does.  How many of us put on makeup and fix our hair for ourselves? We do it so we look good to others.  (Personally, I have been know to do it just to stay home on occasion. So I won't say no one does.)  When that backfires, it's a huge blow to our self-esteem.  Can you imagine being told straight out that you're really an ugly girl?

As I mentioned in my Silent All These Years post, I have put on over one hundred pounds because of the medication I have to take to keep my sanity.  I am a (cringe) size eighteen.  I eat healthy and I walk everywhere I go, so I get plenty of exercise.  I know I'm doing all I can to get the weight back off and that it happens to be the meds.  Abilify is documented to cause excessive weight gain in some.  Still, it hurts like hell to be called a cow or a pig, which I have been by some insensitive pricks.  My self-esteem takes a major hit when that happens, even though I have a good sense of self-esteem.

So what can one do to get away from our sense of self-worth hinging on what others think?  If I ever figure that out, I will tell you.  I do know some ways to improve self-esteem.  This one is a challenge, and I'd like everyone to try it: make a list of twenty good things about yourself.  I made it to twelve and that was with the help of my friends.  As I mentioned, I have a good sense of self-esteem, but this is a difficult one to do.  I'll even start you out, you are unique.  There's only one you in the world.  Even if you happen to be an identical twin, there's no one who thinks exactly the way you do, no one who shares your unique fingerprint.  (and it's true that while twins share DNA, they have different fingerprints.)

So how many did you get?  I hope you were able to come up with twenty.  Now, keep that list, and whenever you get a blow, refer back to it.  You are not really an ugly girl (or guy), you are beautiful because you are you!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Silent All These Years - My Story

When I first heard the lyrics, "Sometimes I hear my voice and it's been here, silent all these years", it really sparked something in me.  Yes, I DO have a voice, and yes, it has been silent far too long.

Let me explain.  I grew up the daughter of a schizophrenic father and a mother who made it very clear to me that I was never wanted and should be seen and not heard.  When I was about nine, my family was in a restaurant having dinner when my ears started buzzing, I couldn't breathe, and my chest hurt.  I was having my first panic attack.  I was never a happy child, except when I was in the woods around our house.  As I grew, the panic attacks became more frequent and severe, the depression deepened.

My father recognized the symptoms of depression and anxiety, but I always said no.  I wasn't crazy, I didn't have anything wrong with me.  I wasn't my father.  I refused treatment.  I struggled through life never being able to really accomplish anything.  I finally came to the place where I was housebound and suicidal.  My life was an utter misery, and I wanted out.

That's when I picked up a copy of Spin Magazine and read an interview with Tori.  She was discussing Boys For Pele, and her love of faeries.  I have always been more than a little obsessed with the faery folk, and I thought I really needed to give this girl a listen.  Somehow I picked up a copy of Little Earthquakes.  That's when I heard those lyrics.  I also heard "Me and a Gun" and looked Tori up online, found that she had, in fact, been the victim of a sexual assault that she had not only survived, but had the courage to write about and put it out there for the whole world.

I looked back over some of the pieces I had written myself and knew I would never have the courage to share with anyone, pieces about the utter despair I lived in every day.  I did indeed have a voice, it had been sneaking out in all those musings.  I knew, despite my earlier protests that there was something very wrong here.  I thought that if Tori had the courage to go public, so could I.  I got diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder and started medication for them.

It was a long road.  It took ten years or more to find a combination of medications that worked.  The ones that did put over one hundred pounds of extra weight on me.  But for the first time in my life, I didn't want to die.  The extra hundred pounds is not a fair trade off, but you can't imagine what it's like to be symptom free after forty years.

I am now in college, something I was unable to do right out of high school, and have a 3.64 GPA.  I was accepted to every university I applied to.  What am I studying?  Psychology.  My goal is to help children like myself, who have problems and don't know what the fuck is wrong with them or where to turn.

I hope that sharing my story, as deeply personal as it is, will inspire some to share their own stories, or maybe just realize that we all have problems, and maybe, if we try, we can solve them.


If you are on this page, you are probably looking for the Tori-related blog that used to be here.  I am not that girl, but I would like to do something similar.  I have a Tori story, I think many of us do.  Anyone interested in sharing theirs, please contact me at  You may remain anonymous.  I would just like to gather up all the Tori stories out there and put them together as part of my sociology thesis on Tori's music and its imapct upon her EWFs.