I have to go back a little bit to get this story into the record.
To give you the appropriate context, you need to know that I adore Mary Lambert in every way I can think of. She’s a gifted musician, songwriter, poet, and blogger. She is a lesbian that makes me proud to be a lesbian, and a plus-size girl that makes me proud to be a plus-size girl. She speaks for those whole lives are scarred by trauma. And so on, and so on…. I just love her to bits!
I found out a few months in advance that she was coming to make her first LA appearance September 27th. (She is based in Seattle) Now, to further understand how deep this runs, you have to know that, as soon as I discovered her, I bought all of her songs, a tee shirt, a poster, and her book of poetry immediately. I’ve never done anything like that before. I just found myself listening to, and reading her words, and saying…
“YES, this is my story! This is my heart! This is my brokenness, and how I think love feels, and what loss is like! Yes Yes Yes!”
Over the weeks leading up to the concert, I found someone to go with, that fell through… and I really didn’t have any success finding anyone else. I might have been a little more comfortable having someone along, but the benefit of going alone is that you can really experience it through your own lens.
I arrived at the venue in Hollywood about an hour before the show (30 minutes before doors opened.) I was the second in line, and I felt very glad that I was not the first (but even more glad not to be behind dozens of people.) The person who was first was a real character. She’d driven in from Phoenix to be there. Melissa was her name, and Melissa had a really amazing collection of celebrity autographs tattooed on her body. She was there to add Mary Lambert to her collection.
A bit of time passed, and I awkwardly stood, listening to Melissa’s tales of collecting autographs (read stalking celebrities.) At a few points, the door opened and the staff poked their heads out to survey the slowly growing crowd. Then Mary Lambert herself came out to re-park her car. On returning to the club, she stopped at the line and told us all she was very excited, and thanked us for being there.
Not long after that, the doors opened. The venue probably accommodated two hundred people. Not huge, but not playing to a coffee shop. Tickets had sold out a couple of weeks prior, so that must have felt good. She mentioned this fact at a few points during her show.
The performance was stellar! I had assumed, based on her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards that she would be sort of quiet and unassuming. I was completely wrong! She was charming, and witty, and also, hilarious! She told jokes and stories that were delightfully self-deprecating, and others which seemed to acknowledge (correctly) that almost anyone in the room would be delighted to sleep with her.
The music was wonderful, and was only made imperfect by the irritating woman at the table next to me, who continually tried to engage Mary in conversation. It worked okay in between songs, and there was a gracious attempt to satisfy this woman’s need for attention, but she was so drunk and/or self-important that she persisted with her questions even through a couple of songs. I am also sorry to report that she repeatedly made mention of the fact that she was from Dallas. I cringed for the Texans I left behind.
Mary’s curtain call was what I think is her signature work to date, “I Know Girls (Bodylove)” I cried even harder than I had been already. She was very well received, and I have no doubt at all that she will make the trip again based on the love we gave her.
I waited after the performance, as she graciously met everyone in attendance. She was sweet, and gave me a very satisfying amount of her time. She asked my name, told me to call her “Mary” she remembered seeing me in line before the show and noticed that I was wearing her tee shirt. We had a hug, and a picture, and I was on my way.
Even now, weeks later, I still feel like I am in the afterglow of that night. And, that’s no accident. There are lots of things in my life right now that are working together to perpetuate those wonderful feelings.
Be well, my loves!
I Know Girls
I know girls who are trying to fit into the social norm
Like squeezing into last year’s prom dress
I know girls who are low rise, mac eyeshadow
And binge drinking
I know girls that wonder if they’re disaster
And sexy enough to fit in
I know girls who are fleeing bombs
From the mosques of their skin
Playing Russian roulette with death
It’s never easy to accept
That our bodies are fallible and flawed
But when do we draw the line?
When the knife hits the skin?
Isn’t it the same thing as purging
Because we’re so obsessed with death
Some women just have more guts than others
The funny thing is women like us don’t shoot
We swallow pills, still wanting to be beautiful at the morgue
Still proceeding to put on make-up
Still hoping that the mortician finds us fuckable and attractive
We might as well be buried with our shoes
And handbags and scarves, girls
We flirt with death every time we etch a new tally mark
Into our skin
I know how to split my wrists like a battlefield too
But the time has come for us to
Reclaim our bodies
Our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral
Offering this fuckdom as a pathetic means to say
“I only know how to exist when I’m wanted”
Girls like us are hardly ever wanted you know
We’re used up and sad and drunk and
Perpetually waiting by the phone for someone to pick up
And tell us that we did good
You did good
(I know I am because I said am, my body is home)
So try this
Take your hands over your bumpy lovebody naked
And remember the first time you touched someone
With the sole purpose of learning all of them
Touched them because the light was pretty on them
And the dust in the sunlight danced the way your heart did
Touch yourself with a purpose
Your body is the most beautiful royal
Fathers and uncles are not claiming your knife anymore
Are not your razor, no
Put the sharpness back
Lay your hands flat and feel the surface of scarred skin
I once touched a tree with charred limbs
The stump was still breathing
But the tops were just ashy remains
I wonder what it’s like to come back from that
Sometimes I feel a forest fire erupting from my wrists
And the smoke signals sent out are the most beautiful things
I’ve ever seen
Love your body the way your mother loved your baby feet
And brother, arm wrapping shoulders, and remember
This is important
You are worth more than who you fuck
You are worth more than a waistline
You are worth more than any naked body could proclaim
In the shadows, more than a man’s whim
Or your father’s mistake
You are no less valuable as a size 16, than a size 4
You are no less valuable as a 32a than a 36c
Your sexiness is defined
By concentric circles within your wood
You are a goddamn tree stump with leaves sprouting out