A Letter to 2005

I found an old diary on a disc in an old box full of other pieces of nostalgia and since it is my birth month, I’ve decided to be a little self-indulgent. I’m going to write a letter to my younger self: you may learn something about your humble author.


Greetings, Amanda!

Who am I kidding, it’s 2005. You’d respond only to Aiko. You barely used your Western given name at all during those years. I am from the future: 13 years into the future, in fact. I found your diary. I wanted to address some of the concerns you had in that little novel. You filled page after page with feeling, with heart and with anxiety. Your diligence is admirable: the best I can do now is update a blog somewhat regularly.

Firstly, thank you for all for all the references you kept in your diary. You were very worried that I’d stop liking anime by the time I was older. I have good news for you: you’re still a huge anime fan. If anything, being older probably only made you a bigger otaku: nothing like a little bit of regular spare time and a bit of disposable income to fuel a raging anime addiction.

I hear you loud and clear. Back then, your family life was…something. I have some news about that. Be prepared to watch your relationships with your aunt completely flip upside down. Not everyone who is your enemy stays that way and your biggest allies may not remain that way. You were in so much pain back then and you felt so alone: things do improve. It isn’t always easy but things do improve. You do the thing you are best at: you build a family wherever you go.

You still cosplay: if anything, you may be better at it than you ever were back then. You still get harassed but things are getting better. You have an excellent set of bodyguards now.

You still write. You didn’t stop and I kept my promise to you that you would write for as long as you are able. It’s a little less fiction nowadays but don’t worry, that part of you hasn’t gone forever.

That boyfriend you kept writing about…well, he’s no good. You do move on and you do find other people who will come to mean the world to you: you get really close to happiness. You aren’t there yet, trust me, I’m doing my best but being secure and healthy is better than being in a string of toxic relationships.

Speaking of toxic relationships, your friends. I am sad to say that many of them didn’t make the cut. But you have built a network of friends that are very important to you and would never betray you. You found a family and you love them: you are not alone. You also are getting more comfortable with silence: I know back then that was scary but now it isn’t so bad.

The future is…well, there’s a lot more to do. But your interests sort have remained the same. You’re still the same Madame President you used to be: you panel now. You’re actually pretty good at it. You are an ally and a proud feminist (you get over some of that misogyny grilled into you).  You find words for the feelings you’ve had about yourself for years: they’re valid and they explain a lot.

I’m happy to say you do achieve your goal of being taller than Edward Elric: I’m 5’2’’ now. I’m quite proud of that, figured it would be good news for you, too.

You don’t get any less wonderful or weird as you get older. If anything, the older you get, the truer you are to yourself. So those worries you had about selling out and being your aunts, no need to worry.

You do join the Bruce Wayne Orphan’s Club. You’re handling it okay.

The current world is a scary place but so was 2005! But we’ve made tons of progress since 2005! We had an African-American president and he was great and almost had a woman president but we’re not going to talk about that. Same-sex marriage was legalized and it’s never been easier to be who you are…most of the time. You are as free and as liberated as you want to be.

And that’s a pretty hopeful vision of the future.

Little one, if I could put your mind at ease, I would. I remember feeling that helpless and scared. But you are so so strong. You are doing the best you can. You did the best you could even back then.

Thank you for this time capsule. Thank you for letting me see who I was back then and seeing who I am now.

Thank you for writing down even the mundane things like having lunch and the weather and what you were listening to.

I promise to take good care of this diary.

Sincerely,

A

Dear Kanye West

It seems we living the american dreamBut the people highest up got the lowest self esteemThe prettiest people do the ugliest thingsFor the road to riches and diamond rings.png

Let’s get a little mood music going, shall we?

Hello, Mr. West.
I’m sure you won’t read this (though I’d be certainly flattered if you did) but it felt appropriate to address you formally regardless. I’m a longtime fan. No, really. I still have the censored copy of your first album College Dropout that my aunts purchased for me under the condition that I accept the censored version that Walmart so graciously offered to us back in the mid-2000s.

I wanted to talk to you today about how important your album was to me and why it’s been so difficult to watch you go a little bit insane.

So when I was younger, back in high school, I loved your album. I loved Jesus Walks. I loved your message. And there’s a reason for that and it’s sort of personal. But I’m in the spirit to share, so I’ll do it. I’m culturally abandoned. I’m not very tied to my blackness. I was raised in a mostly white neighborhood and had very little of the struggles that the average African-American youth faced. I didn’t traditionally struggle with money. I faced very little racism. We lived in nice areas and I was smart, in a good school and was surrounded by mostly white people and had mostly white friends. I just simply did not have the experience of the “average” African-American youth in America.  And while my father’s taste in music was diverse, my aunts had less diverse tastes in music. And while I was being raised with my aunts, it was easy for me to get lost in a sea of J-Pop and heavy emo music.

And then College Dropout arrived.

Mr. West, your album was fantastic. It still is, I can’t and won’t take away the greatness of your album. By focusing on more universal struggles like inferiority and boosting those feelings that are inexorably tied to race, you helped me tap into my blackness: even if it was only for a moment. Songs like School Spirit and All Falls Down were emotional, raw, intense but still clever, humorous and authentic. Your rhymes addressed so many of my concerns and feelings with hip-hop and rap and while sure, they still were misogynistic and homophobic: I ate College Dropout up. And you even managed to tug at my Catholic heartstrings. Not too many African-Americans I knew back then were Catholic, hell, most of my friends weren’t Catholic. You, Mr. West, became like the Catholic friend I never knew I needed.  And when your next album: Graduation dropped, I was even more sold. Heartless seamlessly blended style and genre while Good Morning was literally my moodboard song for months.

And then it all seemed to go to hell. I’m empathetic to the loss of a parent. I understand that one can even go a little mad after someone you love dies. But, you Mr. West, Mr. Fresh… you went more than a little mad. You proclaimed to be a god over and over again. Which, by the way, one Catholic to another: isn’t in any of the catechisms. You hooked up with some strange hellbeast (though most know her as a Kim Kardashian). Procreated and continued to spout out racially divisive, culturally insensitive and outright outlandish nonsense from then onto now.

Your music has seemed to suffer as well. While there was always a healthy level of egotism in all your music, it was in the past, almost self-deprecating. Now, you think you’re a god-king. Now, you’ve alienated your friends and fanbase. I worry about you. I know facing mortality is difficult. I know being surrounded by people who either don’t get you or only valid you can be trying. I get that being creative, being a creator and being an icon must be exhausting. But I want you to know; I need you to know, that you were an important part of my teen years and that I’m grateful for that.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Amanda

A Letter to Idea Channel

Hello, Mr. Mike Rugnetta.

We’ve spoken on Twitter before. I’m a big fan, really. I’ve used countless PBS Idea Channel videos in blogs before. I’ve shared them with friends. I’ve commented on them in my panels. I have had real life discussions and talks about your videos and the theories posited by them.

I heard about you winding down and ending the channel.

I had lots of feelings about this.

I do agree that at times, the channel wasn’t always best. I’ve lovingly called it PBS Semantics Channel like everyone else. I have considered that you may be overthinking rather simple things. I may flat out disagree with a thesis you pose. But I’ve always appreciated the theories, discussion and you, the host.

I wanted to get my feelings out. I wanted to write this little letter to you. I want you to know that even though I am emotional over the end of an era and the loss of one more much needed voice in the muck and mire of the Internet: I’m mostly just grateful.

I’m thankful for the discussion. I’m thankful for the memories. I’m thankful for the videos.

Wherever the Internet may take you, I hope it’s a bright shiny place full of delicious content.

Thank you for the Discourse.

Yours truly,

Amanda

An Open Letter to Eiffel 65

I don’t know if you can hear me…or if you even care.
Why would you ever listen to a trance girl’s prayer?

Okay no more jokes. I’m serious. This letter is penned out of nothing but love and respect. I want to thank you for your 90s pop hit Blue. I want to thank you for introducing me to what would be one of my favorite songs and first experience with techno. I want to thank you for being one of the first songs I ever listened to that my family didn’t like or understood; you’ll be happy to know that I still sing in languages that my family doesn’t understand and listen to songs my family doesn’t like. I want to thank you for bringing me into a world full of House, Trance, Ambient, Drum and Bass. I also want to thank you on behalf of all the DJs that owe you for their success. Skrillex, Madeon, Zedd, Darude, Avicii, Basshunter, Calvin Harris, Cascada, Daft Punk, deadmau5, Yelle, Steve Aoki, Stromae and the so many more I’m not listing.

Thank you from all of them.

Thank you for Coachella. For Bonnaroo. For day raves, warehouse parties, industrial hangouts and sleazy night dances. Thank you for all of my glowsticks and bracelets that I’ve saved. Thank you for my bright colored skirts and shirts. Thank you for the raves I was “never at” and thank you for modern EDM culture. Thank you for all the disco naps and times I’ve had cake thrown at me and walked out of a club covered in glitter. Thank you for one of the most famous hooks in all of music history. Before Darude’s Scandinavian sandstorm and and the upbeat techno Doki Doki tones from Nihon there was Blue. Thank you for writing a song that started a genre. Thank you for all that you were and are now.

I want to thank you for the marvelous techno-filled life I get to have because of your song. I don’t think you get the credit you deserve for defining a generation and a musical genre.

Thank you.
Thank you.

Sincerely,
Amanda (A Reformed Rave Girl)

An Open Letter to The Angry Lady on the Bus

Dear Angry Woman on the Bus

Hello, you do not know me as an individual, nor I you but I have encountered you many times now. Each time we have met you have met me with the same sour stare.

Every single time I have seen you on the bus you have looked rather displeased with well…everyone. And I simply don’t know why.

Yes, I’m sure you have plenty of reasons to be dissatisfied. The bus was late again. I’m sure your day at work was just as long as mine was. It was hot today and very humid. 

My day was long, too. And I experienced the same atmospheric conditions you did. The bus was late for me, as well. Yet I do my best to at least appear content on my crowded bus trip. 

Yet no matter what day it is you give me the same angry stare.

You sit there shooting bitter glances at me and other bus patrons. There you remind, cross-armed and quiet, not moving, not flinching, just remaining like an angry, disappointed bump on a log.

I have no idea what I did to deserve your disapproval. If I did something to offend, I’d love to know so I can fix it. 

Until then, please relax. Have a candy bar or something. Watch a funny cat video. But generally, just chill out. 

Thanks,

Just Another Face on the Bus

Amanda. ❤