I was planning on spending the day painting in the (new) studio. But we got snow, so it was outside we went to shovel. There was freezing rain and a drop in temperatures predicted, so we wanted to get it cleared out before snow turned into frozen chunks of ice everywhere we couldn’t get rid of until spring. This is going to be a cold winter, I think.
Being outside in a snowstorm in New England is probably the closest we reserved people get to friendliness (at least around here). Dudes out shoveling and/or snowblowing their driveways. Then there’s me and the spouse. Back before I married him and lived here (about four years), it was me shoveling among all the guys (who didn’t talk to me much). When the man showed up and started shoveling, they started being sociable.
This dynamic made me think about being a female in traditionally male activities. That’s been a theme in my life – both in the business world and in music. I was in the military, so that’s one. Computers, that’s another one. But those are things where it’s about what you know, so I felt like that was easier.
But being a DJ for as long as I have, I’ve seen it change. Since I’m not super-girly nor am I eye candy, it was strange. There was a period where it was trendy to have a girl DJ, and then it went to Paris Hilton and every other famous person being a “DJ.” Through it all, I’ve continued being the best I can at what I do and it’s worked out for me. I used to rant about computer DJs, and how easy it’s made things, but I don’t anymore. Now I realize that knowledge, library and technique are all incredibly important, and although you can fake it, there’s no substitute for really knowing your skill.
I got mad skills, kid. I’m also a female. Being weird, I’ve never really cared (most of the time, but not always) about what girls are “supposed” to do. It still comes up sometimes, but I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with being who I am, gender roles be damned. Sure, sometimes I get those moments of “I should be wearing makeup and more girly clothes because other women do it” – the conditioning is STRONG. But I’ve gone through those phases enough times to ride it out and avoid the trip to the makeup counter that results in a depleted bank account and stuff I’ll probably use twice before I throw it out because it’s past its expiration date. The same goes for being a DJ – there was a period where I was asked to do one of those “girl DJ” tours, but I refused to change my musical style to be something I wasn’t. I’m not a prop and I’m not a decoration. Maybe musical decoration, which is kind of what I do, but not because you need a certain type of person behind that computer or mixer or turntables (yes, I can do all those things).
The people I’ve seen who sell out to pay the bills or to get some degree of fame never are happy with where they end up. There isn’t enough fame in doing that to make up for doing something you’re not enjoying. Most of the time they don’t get very far, anyway, and then they’ve compromised for not very much.
Chasing fame. That’s not something I want to do. I’ve known people who had a degree of fame and it honestly looks like a lot of work and loss of privacy. I understand the desire for fame, I just don’t have it. I’d rather be respected in my small circle for what I do, maybe have some people outside my circle have favorable impressions of me and my work. I want to do more work, to make more music and to share it with other people. Maybe it’s part of that New England born and raised (with the added 1/4 Finn) that makes me this way – I want to know the people I actually know (not just acquainted with in some superficial way) and want them to say that they know me and I’m a good person who’s good at what I do. Whether that’s shoveling my street, making a mix or a recording or riding my motorcycle, it doesn’t matter. I just want to be appreciated for what I do and who I actually am as a person.
All that said, my husband just started playing “The Safety Dance” video from Men Without Hats on the TV. He looked at me and said “deal with it.”
** You need to know me to know how tongue-in-cheek that last declaration should be, given the context. Then again, if you know me, you’re laughing already. Miss you, friends. Looking forward to knowing you, friends I haven’t met yet.