Friday, September 14, 2012

Kids' Stuff

When I was 8 years old, these were my lifelong goals: have a "greatest hits" album and be a famous artist. At the time, I was listening to a lot of Frankie Valli (received from Santa, as requested) and Mary Cassatt was my favorite artist. I dreamed of living in France and Whitney Houston was teaching me to sing via her self-titled album.  I wrote my first song, "Baby Blue," and recorded it over and over again, labeling each tape "Nikki Rice's Greatest Hits."

A few years later, I discovered Dr. Demento and decided being a radio host wouldn't be so bad, nor would being an author. I was still into the fame game, but maturing, and I was already beginning to understand the difference between high art and low art. The low was much more appealing to me. I understood the concept of sex far too well, and I read a lot of Judy Blume. I recorded obscene radio shows with my closest friends and wondered why all the boys were calling them and not me. I was in love with writing on my typewriter, which I found to be much more sincere than writing on my computer.

From there I got into making radio shows, watching Beavis & Butthead, and cracking obscene jokes in the company of my closest friends... jokes no one but me fully understood.  I loved watching game shows and playing Gin with my grandma.  I discovered Alanis Morissette and Pearl Jam, but listened to Weird Al just as much.  When I was slightly older, I became obsessed with showing all of my friends my two favorite movies - it was like a rite of passage I inflicted upon all of them - Teen Witch and Welcome to the Dollhouse. If you got those movies, you got me.

And then I found Erykah Badu, and she changed my life. I started singing soul and wearing ankhs. I believed that if I was nice to others, good things would come to me. I asked for a Bible and a cross necklace for Christmas and I got them both. I wore the cross (made of real gold and diamonds) only once or twice, but read my Bible every night. I ended up skimming over a lot, and it just didn't make sense to me as anything more than a moral tale that was 100's of pages too long.

I wanted to live in Vegas. It was my favorite place in the whole world and I talked about it with anyone who would listen. I knew Fremont Street before it was an "experience" and I was so familiar with the city that my parents let me take a cab around town, unaccompanied, starting at the age of 12. I felt like that town "got me," and when I came home I was pompous and self-absorbed and insecure as fuuuuck. I was the last person I knew to get their first kiss, and I stopped competing for top grades because I knew I could never be the best (therefore, why be anything?). I tried out for a choir solo and got it. It was the greatest accomplishment of my life, up until that point in time.

Then I became depressed, went to therapy, went on medication, and met a boy. The rest is history.

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