Tag Archives: lizzo

Fear Isn’t a Reason to Quit

In “Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute to Be Scared,” Caroline Paul writes about being one of the first women in the San Francisco Fire Department.

“I expected people to question whether I had the physical ability to do the job (even though I was a 5-foot-10, 150-pound ex-college athlete). What I didn’t expect was the question I heard more than any other: ‘Aren’t you scared?’”

Read the rest of Paul’s piece in The New York Times here.

As Paul points out, women are raised to be afraid, of well, many things. Things that are gross, things that could hurt us, things that are physically intimidating, etc. Some fear is healthy, of course. Fear keeps us from acting completely irrationally or taking unnecessary risks.

But what about risks that are scary because we could possibly fail? Possibly be humiliated? I mean, let’s be real. What the hell is scarier than failure? Paul writes,

“When a girl learns that the chance of skinning her knee is an acceptable reason not to attempt the fire pole, she learns to avoid activities outside her comfort zone.”

Here lies the problem. As Paul states,

“We think our daughters are more fragile, both physically and emotionally, than our sons.”

When we treat young girls as more fragile, they come to think of themselves that way. They are less likely to take risks because they might bruise their knees or their egos. Paul writes,

“When girls become women, this fear manifests as deference and timid decision making.”

I fear failure, probably a little too much. It has made me timid in my decision making, opting to stay the course, and wait for better things to come along.

It’s not like parents raised me to be this timid girl. My mother raised me to a feminist. To have opinions. To try new things. I mean, my parents let me travel to another continent (without them) when I was in junior high.

Did they treat me different than my brothers? Yes. Some different treatment is necessary. Girls have to learn how to navigate the world we live in, after all. And that’s the point really.

Girls need to learn to look fear in the eye and try it anyway, knowing they might tumble, bloody their knees, and fail. Failure builds character. It makes us stronger. It makes us brave. Paul writes,

“When I worked as a firefighter, I was often scared. Of course I was. So were the men. But fear wasn’t a reason to quit. I put my fear where it belonged, behind my feelings of focus, confidence and courage. Then I headed, with my crew, into the burning building.”

I was talking to a friend of mine about this piece. My friend has two daughters. Her take was she doesn’t want to raise her girls to be fearless, she wants to raise them to be smart and brave.

Sounds good to me. We could use more smart and BRAVE women out there in the world.

So this week, I thought I would try something different. I created a Spotify Playlist. It is my Fearless Mix. You may recognize a lot of these songs from earlier posts. 🙂


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

P.O.S Is (Not) Ruining My Life

I first saw P.O.S perform, when he opened for Cursive. It was May 2009, and I had moved to Minneapolis a few months before.

P.O.S had just put out the album Never Better. But I didn’t know this. I didn’t know who P.O.S was yet.

I had discovered The Current, a public radio station that plays an insane mix of independent music, classics, and local bands. So I was hearing his songs, though I didn’t know that yet either.

There is a line from “Savion Glover” where P.O.S raps, “Get your A.C. Slater on.” I remember hearing this line on the radio, and wondering who this rapper was. But as the next song played, this thought passed from my head.

Man Man was slated to open for Cursive. (I still have the tour poster hanging on my wall with Man Man’s name printed below Cursive’s.)

For some reason, the band couldn’t play. Before the show, The Current announced that an unnamed artist would replace Man Man. (Unnamed due to legal reasons with the label.)

So there I was, crushed into the crowd at First Avenue, the venue that would soon become my favorite place to see a show. And there he was, P.O.S up on stage.

I have a confession. As much as I like going to see shows, I don’t get into a band/musician if I am hearing their music live first. I like to be at least a bit familiar with the music, before I see a band perform. It makes it easier for me to access, I guess.

But then P.O.S started spitting rhymes. He was clever. He was funny. He was political. And he was punk as fuck.

I was hooked, and this show served as my introduction to the Minneapolis hip hop scene. For those of you that don’t know, Minneapolis has one of the best hip hop scenes in the country.

Soon, I would learn about the rest of Doomtree crew and fall hard for Dessa. And then Brother Ali. And Atmosphere. And most recently, GRRL PRTY and Lizzo.

Seeing P.O.S on stage that night was my gateway drug. And I am happiest when I get another fix. Luckily for me, he plays a lot of shows around here.

Tonight he is playing with the oh-so-fun GRRL PRTY and Mixed Blood Majority at First Avenue.

So if you’re at First Avenue, I’ll be the girl bobbing her head up and down, dancing until the sweat drips down my back, and mouthing all the words to my favorite P.O.S songs.

This week’s video is “Optimist” by P.O.S, which is off the Never Better record. It is a fun video, my friends. Enjoy.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Things You Need to Know About Music Festivals that I learned at Bon Iver’s Eaux Claire Fest

Last weekend, I attended the inaugural Eaux Claire Fest in Eau Claire, WI. (We are all just assuming at this point there will be another one.) The festival was the brainchild of Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon and co-curator Aaron Dessner of The National.

They planned a music festival with various genres of music, as well as art and video installations. They wanted to feature a variety of independent creators. And it was a success.

Art installation near the entrance. Photo by Steph Williams

Art installation near the entrance. Photo by Steph Williams

THERE WAS SO MUCH GOOD MUSIC. Really, I can’t state this enough. I saw The Lone Bellow, Low, Sturgill Simpson, The National, Spoon, Doomtree, Tallest Man on Earth, Policia, Indigo Girls, Sufjan Stevens, and Bon Iver. And I could’ve seen more. I ended up missing Lizzo, who always puts on an amazing show. But I’ve seen her before, and I will see her again.

The National at Eaux Claire Fest. Photo by Steph Williams.

The National at Eaux Claire Fest. Photo by Steph Williams

Doomtree at Eaux Claire Fest. Photo by Steph Williams

Doomtree at Eaux Claire Fest. Photo by Steph Williams

I’ve attended a fair amount of music festivals, and I’ve gone camping many times. This was my first time combining the two experiences, and I have to say, I was nervous. Here are the things I learned.

  1. Keep hydrated. And I mean water, not beer. This seems like a duh, but believe me, when that much amazing music is going on, it is easy to forget. Also if you are constantly sweating, like I was, you are going to need a lot of water. And beer doesn’t count. I mean drink beer, yes, but you are going to need water too. This is part of the reason I missed Lizzo. I was dehydrated and exhausted about halfway through The National. I had to sit Lizzo out.
  1. Bring snacks. Trail mix, beef jerky, whatever. Food for your gulliver. I didn’t bring food on Friday because there was supposed to be a plethora of food trucks. Well, there wasn’t that many. By the time I was ready to eat, so was everyone else. The lines were long. So I waited. Not the best idea. When I went back, the lines were shorter, but places were out of food. I ended up with a popsicle. Not exactly what I had in mind.
  1. Sunscreen like a boss. Thirty-three years of being an extremely pale lady prepared me for this. Apply sunscreen frequently because you are going to be out in the sun pretty much all the time. Nothing is worse than a horrible sunburn on your second day of an outdoor music festival.
  1. Wear lightweight clothing and comfortable shoes. You are going to be in the sun, so there is no getting around sweating. Try to get as much airflow to your body as you can with lightweight, breathable clothing. At the Eaux Claire Fest, we were out in an open field, but there were patches of concrete in front of the stages. Concrete is hard to stand on for any length of time, so by the end of the first day, my dogs were barking. The second day, I wore shoes with better arch support, and I sat down more.
  1. Get a good tent, or have a backup plan if it rains. I have a pretty cheap tent. The night before I left, my brother told me you can coat the walls of your tent with silicon to help rainproof it. I did not run out and buy silicon. I maybe should have. Friday night, we woke up to a torrential downpour. The tent was leaking. If it rained, I had planned to sleep in the back of my car. My seats fold down, and you can lie pretty comfortably in the back. Well, I could anyway. Steph’s legs were a little too long to be totally comfortable. So yeah, maybe think about spending a little more money on a tent.
  1. Embrace the filth that is part of the festival experience. You are going to get dirty. There will be mud. There will be sweating. You will most likely be covered in sweat and mud. So will everyone else. Don’t let it ruin your fun.
  1. See as many bands as you can, but remember to take breaks too. The second day of the festival we didn’t head in until the early evening because there weren’t any bands that we just had to see. I was also tired from the day before and waking up in the middle of the night. We actually had a great time just chilling with some new friends at the campsite that day. And I had much more energy to see Sufjan and Bon Iver that night. It was my first time seeing both bands, and I was not disappointed. For me, Sufjan was the highlight of the show.
Ashley, Nick, Me, and Steph. Photo by Steph Williams

Ashley, Nick, Me, and Steph. Photo by Steph Williams

This week’s video is a live performance of “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens. This is the song he closed with, and it is one of my favorites.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,