Anna, Brains, and Church: SKILL
TO ACHIEVE A LEVEL
OF SKILL IN ANYTHING
YOU HAVE TO STAND ON
A PILLAR OF HARD WORK.
OH, I JUST
TALENT & I HARD
These bother me sometimes.
We all start as literal useless babies. No one gets a magic ticket that makes them better at anything. If someone says they “never practice” it’s probably because they like doing the skill and see it as a fun use of their time instead of “practice”.
I will qualify this a small but I think important amount, because what it is is actually complicated:
Some people’s brains and nervous systems are wired for better hand-eye coordination. Some people’s brains and nervous systems are wired for better pattern recognition. Or translations of audio input. Or whatever.
What this does is combine with @jelloapocalypse‘s EXTREMELY WELL-OBSERVED COMMENT (If someone says they “never practice” it’s probably because they like doing the skill and see it as a fun use of their time instead of “practice”.) in a way that can be both invisible and give this kind of person a massive leg up while being really discouraging to someone who doesn’t have that wiring.
It doesn’t get to the actual original comic’s level of “oh I just started here”. But let’s take two people called Riley and Kennedy, and we’ll do singing, since that’s what I teach.
Riley and Kennedy have exactly the same kind of background: parents who listen to the radio sometimes, the usual social stuff around popular music of whatever genre, etc, but no formal training. Neither of them sings in a church choir, neither of them falls into a formal disability category, whatever.
The first time Riley shows up in my studio and we sing a really simple song I use as a diagnostic, she gets it mostly right. She can follow the tune; she can hear pitch, and it takes very little work for her to chivvy her voice into matching that pitch as long as there’s not something pulling her off. (In other words: as long as I’m singing the same notes as her and playing them on the piano, and as long a she can hear both herself and those notes).
For Riley the lesson is really fun and validating and she goes home and sings along to her own music for a while and comes back next week with six songs she wants to try learning. And most of her lessons are like that: pretty easy positive feedback. That means Riley “practices” a lot in exactly the way @jelloapocalypse describes, even if she doesn’t think she’s actually practicing (that is, sitting down to sing the songs we’re working on together in a systematic way) at all.
In contrast, the first time Kennedy comes to my studio, she struggles. It’s harder for her to hear the difference between notes, and it’s much harder for her to make her voice actually match the pitch she wants to sing at. When we pull out the diagnostic tune, she mostly manages to drone a few clusters of semi-tones, and while she can hear that she’s Off, it’s actually very hard for her to tell HOW she’s off, or what she should do to correct it.
In most cases, for Kennedy, lessons - and in fact the overall experience of singing - is not fun. It’s not validating. It’s a whole process of Not Being Good, of Doing Things Wrong, and given the way humans are often in casual situations being laughed at. When Kennedy goes home she doesn’t sing along with any music she plays: she keeps her lips pressed together and at best enjoys other people singing (and maybe feels envious and demeaned because she can’t do it).
Now the thing is, the practical “skill” difference for Riley and Kennedy here at the beginning is minimal. But the Rileys will tend (if they like what they’re doing) to ROCKET UP THE SKILL LEVEL, because of the “practice is fun so it’s just the thing I do” - because there is always a bunch of validation and positive reinforcement in the act of doing whatever it is, be it doodling or singing or math.
The Kennedys won’t. In fact if they’re not lucky enough to have a good teacher, and one who can put a lot of this into perspective for them, they will tend to be inhibited. The worst time is when a Riley and a Kennedy are friends and sign up to learn together, and Riley takes off and Kennedy’s left sitting there feeling like she’s somehow Deeply Flawed.
And in fact the whole Doctrine of “It’s Just About How Hard You Work” will in and of itself become part of what inhibits them, because they will watch the Rileys - and even the Annas, Anna in this metaphor being the Totally Normal Student who never really exists - grasp things faster than they do, even if they ARE working hard. And this will HAPPEN. They will watch this reality happen in front of them … and then people say to them “oh, it’s all about how hard you work, dear.” And it’s like being gaslit. (Well, to be fair: it IS being gaslit, just without malice intended on the part of the people doing it.)
And that message is horribly horribly toxic: here Kennedy is, and she IS working hard, but she’s still not progressing as fast as Riley or Anna no matter what she does! But it’s All About Hard Work, right? So that must mean that no matter how hard she THINKS she’s working, she’s actually just lazy, or doesn’t want it enough. It’s clearly a moral flaw in her.
I actually have, personally, really good luck with teaching the Kennedys because I literally have this conversation with them when they come to my studio. I actually outright tell them: firstly, anyone who has working vocal chords can sing. Anyone who has working vocal chords and the ability to distinguish audio pitch can even sing on key in tune! But some people have an easy time learning this and some people have a hard time, and sometimes which it is has some relationship to, say, “early exposure to music” or whatever but sometimes it seems to be utterly fucking random - pure luck of the draw.
You CAN SING. The capability is there. And if you want to we will find out how to make it happen. It might not happen as fast as for some other person, it might take more work, it might take more care, but that’s okay: that’s not your fault, that doesn’t mean you’re NOT working hard, but it does mean that here at the beginning we do things like recalibrate victories, we make your progress about YOU, not about Riley or Anna.
But I’m also not going to gaslight you or make you feel like you’re either delusional or somehow especially So Terrible You Don’t Fit In The Rest Of The World: sure, I’ve got some Riley-types who walk in here, noodle around, and we go on to Art Songs. They exist.
So what? Tall people exist. People with broad shoulders exist. People with dark hair exist. Physical embodiment and neurology hand out luck of the genetic roulette with no interest in outcomes. If you’re born blonde, it’s always going to take more work for you to have brown hair than someone born with brown hair, but much like dyeing your hair to match what you want, we can train the muscles of your voice and the neural pathways for hearing to do what you want.
The differences between Rileys and Kennedys are very small. If Riley didn’t discover she liked singing and Kennedy worked at it for years then no, Riley would not “start out” as good as Kennedy is after those years. And you can be Riley and if you DON’T do the fucking work, the Annas of the world especially will blast past you and leave you in the dust.
But on the other hand the Rileys get this wonderful cycle of positive reinforcement that does often start from a place of their coincidental physical embodiment giving them a slight leg up. And pretending that’s not the case does a big disservice to the Kennedys.
We just absolutely do need to reframe that for what it is (a tiny fundamental difference and then a HELL OF A LOT OF “this is fun so I practice more so I get more validation so I -” and more or less no moral meaning at all), what it doesn’t mean, and how to compensate for it.
America, Ass, and Bad: Music
ee q eers of the music world celebrate their rise to the
top of the charts -and ther newfound industry power
By dames Patrick Herman. Photographed by Elig-FEs
s Lauryn Hills Grammy sweep last
February proved, America is, offi.
cially, a hip-hop nation. And after
two decades under male leadership,
women now rule. Just ask rap
kingpin Sean "Puffy" Combs
"Female MCs always had it so
hard-no respect-it was like thcy was livin' in Siberia,
he says. "But it made 'em strong. Now their shit's so hot,
they dont needa mike to be heard." In fact, soon every
one will be hearing the new albums from hip-hop
queens Mary J. Blige, Aaliyah, Lil' Kim, Missy
"Misdemeanor" Elliott, and Da Brat, all friends as well
as frequent collaborators. They're even making plans to
take their act-The Bitch Tour-on the road with a
funky twist on Lilith Fair, coming to a sold-out stadium
near you. But dont call them divas (except perhaps for
Ms. Blige, who cited personal drama at the last minute
and was unable to attend the photo shoot).
Mary J. Blige, 28. Claim to fame: The queen of hip-hop
soul. There's something about Mary: "Hip-hop plays a
big part in my music. I've always been sample-orient
ed-Barry White, Isaac Hayes. The strcets is gonna be
happy with my record. You'll cry to it, dance to it, fuck to
it. I've done a lot of love songs. Most of'em are about
how fucked up women are treated. It's good to know my
music helps people. Im goin' through it, too-the same
tears, the same black eye, the same stomachachc and
I'm gonna get us through it. I'm at such a place now,
such a peace, I cannot be knocked down. Im Mary the
lone woman. Mmm-hmmm," What becomes a diva
most: "Someone who got through tough times and paid
dues, like Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin. Good God,
those were war storics they had to tell. Men wanted to
rule them and treat them like shit, and they got through
it." The Mary Jane girls: "People expect us to be com-
petitive, but I didn't give Lauryn Hill her career-that
was somethin' she worked for. And she didn't give me
my career. Why should I think about competition if
she got somethin' she could contribute to my project?
I cannot be jealous. It's wasted energy. Ijust did a duet
with the Queen of Soul herself, Miss Aretha Franklin
I keep quiet when the veterans are in the room-and
honey, she is a veteran. When I came out of the booth,
she said, 'That was very nice.' And then she went in
Power players (from
eft): Aaliyah, Lil Kim, Missy
and Da Brat. Not pictured
the booth and killed me.
FOR CAADEY CURRY MANAGEMENT MAKEUP BY NONKA FOR TE CEBCRAHMARTIN AGENCY.
MSSY VAR DyCH NA POTTER FOR a NAS 00LL HOUSE NY, MAKEUP UY CF0G FER ELL 8RAT
aliyah, 20. Claim to fame: The R&B Lolita is now filming Joel
Silvers Romeo Must Die for Warner Bros. Ready for her close-up:
I want people to look at me as a full-on entertainer, not just as a
singer or a dancer. It's taking my career to another level and
showing every side of me." Foxy lady: "My mom will say, 'There is some-
thing about her that was always sexy.' My image isnt a put-on. When
you listen to me and hear the smooth tones--that's what I'm givin' off.
As a child, I didn't notice. Now Im in tune with it. It can definitely be
a power, and I use it to my advantage." Fierce competition: "People
try to bring negativity my way, especially with Brandy and
Monica. If Im competing with anybody, I'm competing with
myselfto be original." What becomes a diva most: "Oh,
that word. The Websters definition is an opera singer who
has a lot of range, but that's changed over time. Now a
diva is a bitch. Were not all bitchy. Its just a myth thatš
not goin' anywhere. If you're gonna describe somebody,
call her a queen.I shows
issy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, 27. Claim to fame: record business is male-dominated, and when yo're not bein'
The female Pufly" runs her own record label, taken as seriously as you should, you gotta go in there screamin
the Gold Mind, Inc; she rapped for a Gap TV because they'll walk all over you. And the word can be positive:
ad campaign. Talkin' bout a revolution: "Fe IfIbe like, 'Thats a baaad bitch,' you know that means dope.
males are takin' over. We droppin' our albums We gotta stop thinkin of it as bein' negative, 'cause it's gonna
at the same time to make that point clear, so when we do our be used regardless. Men call us that when they're intimidated.
Bitch Tour itll be obvious. It took a strong female like Lauryn Female bonding: "Instcad of compcting, we help out and en
to be successful and open doors. Now everybody else can fall in hance cach other. When I see another female artist, we always
line." Bitch, bitch, bitch: "My first single's called Shes a Bitch.' show cach other love-we just so happy that we broke that bar-
That doesn't have to be your everyday personality. But the
rier down of us not ein' able to do as much as the men."
a Brat, 25. Claim to fame: Runs her own record label, Thowin'
Tantrums Entertainment; she is the first female rapper to have a
platinum record. She's the one: "Before me, people didnt know
how to market a female rap artist. I laid the path in the way
Queen Latifah and MC Lyte did for me. But you need to grow
in this industry. I want to produce, act, and direct -get my hands in every
thing. I got an cye and an car for good talent." Birds of a feather: "My friends
all stick together. There's only a handful of us women in the industry with
labels-theres not enough of us to be bickerin'. We're like the dream team. Its
all about unity, havin' a strong support system. Were mature adults and we
know the value of friendship. Nothin' should come between two friends-
friends are forever, men aint." To each her own: "I got the tomboy thing goini
on, and I can still be sexy. Missy's futuristic you dont know what she's gonna
do next. Kim is like the madam-diva type-raunchy and nasty. Shell shoot
your ass. Mary's sultry and spiritual and soulful, the ghetto queen of R&B
Aaliyahs funky, she represents the teenagers. Shell make you party with her.
We all are supa dupa fresh, and we gotta hold hands and rock together."
il' Kim, 24. Claim to fame: The girlfriend
of the late Notus B.I.G. runs her own
label, Queen Bee Records. She's come a
long way, baby: "Im really proud of my
new album. My favorite lyrics 'A queen is not a
queen because she has failed/ But a queen is a
queen because failure has not stopped her..../
Women are taking over for the new millen
nium.' Like Puffy said, we dont need a mike
anymore. We bein' heard. Its our era." What
becomes a diva most: People love to use the word
diva. I like queen better. A queen knows it all but doesnt let
you know it right off. She's good-spirited and righteous.
She's the boss: "With Queen Bee, I call the shots. I want
my label to be the female version of Bad Boy. Me and Puffy
may be family, but at the end of the day, I'm gonna do
what I have to do. I'm also working on Bad Girl Films-
ever since I did Sheš AllThat, Miramax has been offering me
lots of things." In the company of women: "Were all
characters. Brats the southern street girl who needs to be
wild. Aaliyah's the pretty-girl type, the sexy artist that's un-
touchable. Missy's like a cartoon and you love to watch
her, shes so cute. Mary, you love to watch for her
rength. Mary's the girl you can identify with. And
me, Im like a little Mary. Lauryn's getting what she
deserves. Her success made me work harder. Now
we all know a hip-hop woman can make it."O
lil’ kim, aaliyah, missy elliott, da brat photographed by elfie semotan for the august 1999 issue of elle magazine.
4chan, England, and Fucking: transboy-yatasophiethedragonsl... Follow
August 12th 2016, 3:05:09 am-4 hours ago
SOCIAL MEDA EXRLAINED
FACEOoK UkE DONUTS
I EAT DONUTS
INSTAGRAM HERE'S A VINTAGE
TWHO EATS DONUTS
Tumblr: #this fucking donut #can we talk about this fucking donut for a minute
#can we #because on this donut #the sprinkles just comfortably melt into the
icing #you can tell that they are so perfecty in tune with each other #and
they've come so far from when the sprinkles just sort of sat on top #barely
touching for fear of rejection #just ugh I can't #otp: comfortably melting
4chan: here's a picture of someone putting their dick in a donut
reddit: that donut needs to go back into the kitchen and make me a sandwich.
academia.edu: Here is a pdf of the seminar paper I wrote about the
erotics/poetics/semiotics/science of donut eating
deviantArt:l did not steal this donut.I traced it so now it's mine
It got better
Fanfic.net: The donut is the setting for a high school AU, were two sprinkles
meet and realise they have more in common than they ever thought possible
however, the mean chocolate sauce has caught wind of their secret
relationship. Will they be able to make it together before it's too late? M for a
lemon flavoured donut.
This has officially become one of my favorite posts.
I JUST REBLOGGED BUT FANFIC MADE IT PERFECT
Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with: The Internet.
archiveofourown.org: Graphic Depictions of Gluten, doughut/sprinkles
doughnut/glaze, doughnut/sprinkles/glaze, doughnut- character, sprinkles
character, glaze-character, dsg threesome, first time, morning doughnuts, AU-
doughnutverse, omg i don't even know, knotting
Buzzfeed: 8 Donuts whose secret ingredients will shock you
best post on this website
9gag, Bodies , and Clothes: 4 Reasons It's Perfectly Fine
To Masturbate Daily
1. When we masturbate, we get to
know our bodies and our minds
By masturbation, we learn about what turns us on.
Mentally, we can tune in to our fantasies to
understand the types of things that turn us on
While masturbating, do we fantasize about being
dominated or being watched? These are clues
which help us understand what makes us tick, and
in turn, we can begin to understand how to get our
needs met by a partner. Individuals who are having
issues with arousal or orgasm can benefit greatly
from masturbation and self love, getting to know
ur body techniques.
Ladies, if you are having trouble masturbating
also suggest experimenting with some toys. Using
a vibrator, for example, is a common way for
women to learn to achieve orgasm. Investing in a
vibrator may be something you want to add into
your sexual repertoire. Getting familiar with your
body through the use of a vibrator is also a good
way to know what you like, and can be a fun and
exciting thing to introduce to partner sex, as well
2. Masturbation has health
Masturbation can relieve tension and stress and
can help with the inability to sleep. There is
evidence that the chemicals released during
orgasm can heal depression.
orgasm can heal
Also, there is a study that suggests that women
who masturbate are more likely to be concerned
with their sexual health and visit the gynecologist
more often. I'm not sure if this last one is
altogether true, but I can see the correlation since
women who masturbate may be more in-tune with
their bodies, and thus, visit the gynecologist more
3. Indulging in yourself can make
you a sexier person.
The concept that a sexually active woman need not
masturbate is actually a fallacy. Sex with a partner is
great and masturbation is great, too. Why deprive
yourself of one because you have the other? It just
doesn't make sense
Would you deprive yourself of cake just because
you had ice cream? Nope, I didn't think so. In Italy
they eat pizza before they eat pasta. Get my drift? A
little indulgence in developing your sexu
epertoire will make you a sexier person all around
4. Mutual masturbation in partner
sex play is great.
Mutual masturbation takes the focus away from the
need to please each other and can help couples
recognize the value of self-pleasure and self-care
within a relationship. Not to mention, it helps us
get to know each other just a little bit better
Knowing what you like and how to please yourself
will make you a better lover, but can be a turn on to
a partner, as well. Masturbation is also a great way
to avoid risk or worry about pregnancies and STDs.
So, go ahead and get to know yourself a little
Sbetter! Ditch your clothes, take a bath, look at
yourself naked in the mirror, put on something
sexy and/or just go ahead and touch yourself. You'll
be glad you did
Dont feel guilty to masturbate daily ;)