i’m a meredith brooks song

In ALL, BREAKUPS & BREAKTHROUGHS, MUSIC by Stephanie Klein46 Comments

Me07 I’ve been listening to Meredith Brooks’s "Bitch" on repeat today. It’s not that I think I’m a bitch or that I’m one of those women who takes some kind of pride and power in calling herself a bitch, as if it’s something to rise to, a quality worth respecting. Like saying you’re a republican. Yes, I believe in giving, in doing, in donating, in helping. This is not a post about what we do. It’s about an attitude that makes us feel like we can accomplish anything, with honey, or so be it, vinegar. It’s powerful. Makes you want to dab some vagina behind your ears and go sit at a hotel bar. I’m a sinner and a saint, can wear black lace or pull a white hermes scarf through my hair. I can be beligerent and grab a guy by the little jack horner at a bar, tell him he bores me, tell him I’d fuck him if he weren’t wearing those uglyass loafers. I can vamp it up or play at polite and priss, handwritten thank you notes on ecru stationery. I am a hell and a dream, a mess of a finger painting, a shitty dancer who doesn’t give a shit. I get what I want and give it good. I can’t think of a more empowering song.

There are plenty of nice people in the world. They should go be nice elsewhere. Life’s too short for nice. Meredith, with all due respect, the song needs a slight update. We need a song with the very same "fuck off, this is me" attitude, but it needs to be about living our own lives, on our terms, and you’ve gotta call it "Brave." There’s actually nothing more exciting and intriguing.

I’m still the kind of girl who’ll wear a shirt that says "It’s all about me." NOTHING pisses people off more than that sentiment. Someone who’s not going to settle, who’s going to get her way, put her needs first. Someone who believes her own needs and wants are just as important as everyone else’s, except she’s, ultimately, the only one responsible for making sure hers are met, and dammit, that is exactly what I’m going to do. Watch the fuck out.

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UPDATE

My questions and answers post will be addressed, as there are still outstanding questions for me to answer. Yes, I will update today. The problem is that I’m on deadline today. So after I’ve handed in my outline, I will answer a bunch of those questions! A promise is a promise. As for this post…

Ever just feel so agreeable, so willing to do what others want that you forgot to even consider what you wanted? I got to a place where I was so busy trying to please everyone that I stopped pleasing me. It’s why I cranked up Meredith and channeled my old self, the single girl I was in her one bedroom apartment, who wore a shirt embracing the power of her own wants. Sometimes I need reminders to stand up for myself and what I believe, especially when I know others aren’t going to like it.

I once had a co-worker who told me when he was in situations where he didn’t know what to do, he’d ask himself, "What would Stephanie do?" I was blown away and quite flattered that he thought that way about me, since I always considered myself indecisive and not strong enough. But now, when I don’t know what to do, I don’t ask what would this one do or that one? I ask, what would I have done back when I was fed up with all the bullshit? I ask my former self, and I can only hope that one day in the future I’ll be doing the same thing, remembering that time I stood up and did what was hard but what was honest. And I hope that time I’m remembering is NOW.

Comments

  1. Heh. I feel the same way about the song – I love the message behind it, just hate the whole "I'm a bitch" thing. I'm not a bitch. I'm strong, sassy, independent, opinionated and willing to piss people off if need be. Being a strong woman doesn't make you a bitch (just ask Hillary) and it knocks us all down a peg when a song that's about our duality uses "bitch" to describe something that's so much more.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Exactly. It's why I'm campaigning for a "Brave" theme song for Straight Up and Dirty.

  2. Excellent post. I think if more women were to live their lives like this we'd be a much happier gender.
    Great picture.

    This doesnt have much to do with the blog, but it reminded me of this song:


    Being in Total Control of Herself as Saffire says in Bitch With a Bad Attitude. I don't think this is the version that has her saying it, nonetheless when I heard the version that had her saying what it stood for, I liked the sound of it. Bitch is so universal now though, it's not really an insult anymore. Heh. You'd still probably like the song.

  3. I doubt underground rap would work with the show, but I couldn't help but think of "Lady Don't Tek No" by Latyrx.

  4. I love that song for the same reason I love "Bad Girlfriend" by Theory of a Deadman and "Crazy Bitch" by Buckcherry. I'm not that girl, the girl in the songs, but I like that there is a little bit of that in me. It's the power of a woman, and it rocks. Great post!

  5. i always thought the bitch song was so cheesy and i would roll my eyes when drunk fat chicks would blast it at this one fave dive bar I used to love. It was a pain beyond drinking well liquor.

    You can be 'nice' and temper that with toughness (not bitchy – there is a difference) I think. Bitchy is just an asshole who is rude, not tough. There is a way to get something done without being completely anti social. It's relative I think. Nice is too often equated with doormat. To me it's someone who thinks thinks through and has the class not to be crass or brusque when asking for something they need.

    What inspired this salvo? Some hate email? Phil pissed you off? A shitty Austin driver (there are plenty..so…)
    Please tell me you didn't wear that shirt in public. It's like something the sullen teenagers skulk around in at Highland Mall.

  6. The pic looks like you in 5 years and with blonde hair as if you are the person then jaded by all the current opportunitities. Hopefully since it's not current it's not at all the case…..btw nice people are good. I'm a nice person so I stand up for us all. !!! Besides I believe you are a nice person at your core even if you don't want to admit it. I mean come on, you're a mother, wife and love to cook. You're a nice girl admit it. :) It's not so bad…..

  7. Pic doesn't look like you. Eyes, eyebrows, shape of face? I did a double take.
    Anyway this sounds like something's pissed you off big time.
    PS, the questions a few posts back that you were going to answer? Are you done answering them and leaving some unanswered?

  8. Now does that vagina dab trick realy works? I really wonder. Maybe it's all in the feeling you get when you do it, making you more confident.

    Anyhow, I always thought the Brooks' song was an updated version of Whitney Houston's "I'm every woman", kinda like: 'I'm everything you could ever want baby' aimed at guys. Since she sings it to a guy. So I don't like it. My interpretation then.
    And you look good in black.

  9. i'd say life is too short to not be nice, to make an effort to be kind, whenever you can. life is too short to be inauthentic, or to not try to explore, grow, improve and istead sat "this is how i am, deal with it!". you can know you're smart without having to establish how smart that is to others, know you're attractive without having to get confirmation of your looks from others, know you're great without having to have that validated by other. it's important to value yourself and your needs, but just like thinking you're smart or kind or great or whatever, i think it's important to temper all those thoughts and drives with some self inquiry. is my need more important than thiers? why do i think that? is what i'm doing really the best option? because, especially for a bold person, 9 out of 10 folks won't give you feedback.

  10. How about Des'ree and You Gotta Be? It's very old now, but the feel-good rating is high.

  11. My personal kittle anthem is "Bossy" by Kelis. It goes a little somethin' like this:

    You don't have to love me, you don't even have to like me, but you will respect me. You know why? Cuz I'm a boss! I'm bossy, I'm the b*tch you love to hate, I'm the chick that's raised the stakes.

    Thanks for the great post, Stephanie. It made it a little easier to brave the 25 degree weather this morning :) ox

  12. I am completely with you, Feisty is MUCH more fun than NICE, who wants to be nice…yawn. Be brave, be bold, put it out there, go for broke that's what I say. We're pretty good at the whole sarcasm thing over here and so with my friends being 'nice' to each other generally involves taking the piss out of each other and generally being mean. It's much more fun that way.

    p.s clearly you are busy, work aside you have twins to deal with! but is there any chance you think you will respond to the outstanding questions or should I give up scrolling already!?

  13. my boyfriend and i fought lately and my response to what he was saying to me sounded very similar to this post. i'm so sick of men (and many women for that matter) thinking i'm a bitch because i'm outspoken and tough. if it was a man who acted like i do he would not be criticized. just because a woman isn't always timid and "nice" doen't mean she's a bitch, it means she doesn't want to get walked over.

  14. I totally recognize and respect the sentiment. But at the same time, I can't help but wonder–who is it that you think you're fighting against? Is it really that hard for any woman to do the things you say you want to do? Yeah, I've insulted strangers in bars and worn incredible underwear under shitty old jeans, but it's not because I'm out to prove anything to anyone about who I am and who I can be.

    Obviously, you're a blogger. You feel a need to broadcast to the world in a way that us non-bloggers don't. But I'm not pissed off at your t-shirt because I think women ought to put the needs of others ahead of their own–I'm rolling my eyes at your t-shirt because you're a grown-ass woman talking like a bratty teenage girl. If I thought you actually didn't care what people think about what you say and the way you act…I'd be a little more interested in listening to your anthem. As it stands, this isn't much more than Girl Power on steroids.

  15. This would ring much more true if you didn't post the details of every argument with your husband during which you cower in the corner like a frightened animal.

  16. Brave, really? Do you really believe that? This post reads to me as pretty needy, show-offy, searching for an identity, but not brave. To me, brave is about being whoever you are, without having to wear a teenybopper t-shirt or chant the tag-line of a song to prove it.

    I know some, perhaps many, will find this post empowering and inspirational, and we're all entitled to our opinions. But it made me cringe a little bit for you, as if your'e trying way to hard to fit an image.

  17. I remember when you first posted that picture, when you lived in your apartment in NYC. I understood here when you wrote, "I'm STILL the kind of girl who'll wear…" to mean that you might not wear it now, but you WOULD because the sentiment is the same. Brave means being yourself no matter what, but especially when you're scared. We all need reminders that that's what we should be doing, being brave, "living out loud" as you say. Sometimes we need to listen to a song on repeat for that reminder, and sometimes, like me, we need to click over to your blog and hit refresh, hoping you'll tell the people who post about "teenybopper t-shirts" to "go scratch." They've clearly missed the message…. which is sometimes we all need a little help getting back into a position of power… and sometimes it takes a song, a t-shirt, or the words of your favorite blogger. THANK YOU!

  18. Good blog… I wonder so often, because I have these sentiments in my head… that I want to best I won't settle.. then life makes you feel guilty for it or little voices tell you you aren't good enough for it.
    I don't know…sometimes I wonder if people who think to much, analyze too much, care too much can ever be happy for more then 5 minutes.

    Keep sharing the pain… you Rock.

  19. Good blog… I wonder so often, because I have these sentiments in my head… that I want to best I won't settle.. then life makes you feel guilty for it or little voices tell you you aren't good enough for it.
    I don't know…sometimes I wonder if people who think to much, analyze too much, care too much can ever be happy for more then 5 minutes.

    Keep sharing the pain… you Rock.

  20. I never got an answer about Abbi's eye colour, and was it from Phil, as yours are velvet brown? It was my first post so I don't know where to look for the answers to questions posted to you. Is it at the end of the post? So does one keep checking back?

    FROM SK: I am responding to the questions in the comment section of that post. One by one, under the actual question. But to answer your question here and now, both Phil and my father have light blue eyes (though Phil's are more gray. My dad's are clearly blue, like Abigail's). And thank you for describing brown as "velvet" instead of "doody."

  21. when i need the pick-me-up you get from that song, i watch my skydiving video. it was more than 5 years ago, but still makes me feel like i can kick some ass.

  22. i love this post!
    i always strive to live my own life in an open, honest and free way. BUT! sometimes i can get greedy to the point where im so determined to get what i want and do what i want that people accuse me "does it always have to be about you, cristina?". i dont think this is the message you were tying to convey with this post, but wanted to share my experience.

  23. All I know is this reminds me of my daughter-in-law, and I can tell you, it is a God-damned pain in the ass. It is not just about you.

    I was actually hoping for the blow by blow description of what you were cooking for dinner on Thursday…….and I didn't want to revisit your scents behind your ears or the time you plucked every hair on your you-know-what. Anyways, hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving….what are we thankful for?

  24. Amen Carol. Meredith is not the only one in need of a slight update.

    This schtick is just tired.

  25. Hmmmm. Maybe I need to blast some Meredith too…. I'm under deadlines, my house is a mess and somehow I still end up staying up way too late because that's how late my fiance is staying up. And if there was ever a day to blast a song that begins "I hate the world today" it would be the day of a girlie-bits inspection (tomorrow)!

  26. I'm going to be hard on you because I know you can take it. So sorry if I sound mean.

    I know you're accomplished in the writing field, today. You have a beautiful home, beautiful children, a caring husband. You write

    "Someone who believes her own needs and wants are just as important as everyone else's, except she's, ultimately, the only one responsible for making sure hers are met, and dammit, that is exactly what I'm going to do."

    My question is this, what needs have you set that are very challenging, that defy what you are, that set you up to try something completely different? I ask, because those are the needs that are usually the most rewarding for me. What about learning a new language? What about enrolling in a class? What about doing something with Phil, that's important for Phil? What about traveling to a different place, internationally, with your children?

    I guess I just want to know, if besides writing, decorating, shopping, being a mother, and a wife, you have any additional needs that you want to meet.

  27. Great post! I can relate. I think of and go through the same thought processes. Sometimes…..we have needs that can't be described, can't be addressed, can't be found. But they are there. Slowly chipping away at your inner soul.

  28. Sorry, gotta tell you that yes, the t-shirt sentiment DOES piss me off but not because I resent women putting their own needs first. It pisses me off because I have worked with a ton of women over the years who, though they didn't wear the shirt, said with every breath and self-centred action that their needs were more important than everyone else's. Yes, go ahead and be the queen of the world in your own solar system, but when you have to work, interact with others, remember that empathy, kindness and interest in others goes a lot farther than shoving yourself to the front of the line and yelling "It's all about me- deal with it!'

  29. This is exactly where I am right now…had to print this one out to keep on the front page of my agenda! Great pic! I have to admit that I once received a metal cut out of the saying "It's All About Me!" from my sister. I immediately had a hint of feeling crushed that she saw me as so selfish. I have come to realize though that centering MY life around ME is exactly what I should have been doing all along. Now I proudly display it and dare anyone to comment on it—damn right it's all about ME! We have to be who we are before we can be of benefit to anybody else!!!

  30. i think one of the problems with the statement "it's all about me", which make it so polarizing, is that "it's all about me" is not a universally good statement. it's not like "brush your teeth" or "give peace a chance". we all know people, and many of the above comments reflect this, who live "it's all about me" and are selfish, narcassistic, and destructive. they are blatantly ll about me and do whatever they want, believe thier needs and feelings are the most important ones out there and are right because they feel them. this attitude is in part responsible for our current economic meltdown.

    but of course, there are other folks who always sacrificed, who do not put thier happiness anywhere on thier list of priorities, who spend years spinning thier wheels trying to make everyone happy and in the end make themselves miserable and live in dispair. for them, yes, life needs to be more about them, and that may mean saying "it's all about me" to et them there. and for people who are discriminated against, whos stories and voices have been shut out, yes, things should be more about them, as well.

    and so you have really different people who make themselves the focus of thier lives, some of them for the good and some of them for the ill. i think an important distinction is that for the difficult, self-obsessed people, they haven't realized that things about them are about them, and the rest, not so much. and not a lot is about us. for the folks, among who i once cunted myself, who are starting to see that yes, life is about them, that what they want and need is just as valid and vital as what any other adult needs, "it's all about me" can be a great mantra, but only for a while.

    once you see yourself as a human being, full and valuable, and have trust in your needs, choices, and you ability to communicate them, then you can chill out and stop talking about yourself so damn much. if you need to assert yourself, you will. if someone in your life missed or misplace the memo that you are valueable and your needs best be recognized, you will tell them, because you know who you are. but why tell them about you and what you want, all the time? then you're making it all about you, and it's not. for me, one of the great realizations was that so little is about me. what it, i'll take care of, but mostly, it's about them.

    so we can say 'it's all about me" because it's a free country, and we say it for a variety of reasons, but why we say it speaks more to the truth of the situation, of the person's heart, than a t shirt or plaque.

  31. I have no problem with the sentiment, exactly. I can see how it can come across as immature and I can see how it can be dangerous. I can also see it as a defense mechanism for a variety of reasons. But what I cannot forgive is that people are raving about that song. It was irritating in 1997 as a pseudo-feminist rally cry and it is irritating now.

  32. I really don't get you. That's OK; I don't need to get you, but not getting you makes it difficult to read about you.

    I guess I'm one of those people who is bothered by your sentiment. I am ALL for taking good care of ourselves, whether that means making time for meditation, facials, exercise, career, friends, etc. But your words seem hollow and self-centered in an unhealthy way.

    Yes, each of us is as important as the next person, but no one person is more important than another. To think you are more important than your children, your friends, your husband, your family–it's just really unattractive. You should know better by now and the fact that you don't makes me a little embarrassed for you.

    FROM SK: The fact is you secure your own oxygen mask before helping those around you. No one said our own needs are more important than those around us, but it is, at the end of the day, we who are responsible for our own selves and happiness–no one else. It is up to us to be our greatest champion.

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