In my late teens and early twenties, along with classical music, I was obsessed with female singer-songwriters.
Not in an erotic way. I am certain that I never entertained the slightest sexual interest. I did not want to go to bed with them, I wanted to be one of them.
I was a closet transgender fan girl.
While I admired some of the other women, Joan Baez, for example, it was with Joni Mitchell that I felt the strongest connection.
Had anyone in my family been paying any attention at all–I think they found my feminine behavior so incomprehensible and embarrassing that they ignored me as much as possible–they might have thought my tastes were a bit odd, even worrying, considering that Joni’s songs had a strong feminine vibe, are often about romantic difficulties with men, and that many of her lyrics are about being a sad and lonely woman.
Goodness, I wonder why that resonated with me!
Until this afternoon, I don’t think I had listened to her album Blue all the way through since before I transitioned.
I was putting on music for a long afternoon at home giving my place a good Saturday housecleaning for the week, stripping my bed and washing my bedding, doing my laundry, sweeping and washing floors, wiping down surfaces, making candy as a gift for someone, and wrapping Christmas presents.
I started with Mitsuko Uchida playing Mozart–I own three of her albums–before I switched to a jazzy Caro Emerald album, then the original cast recording of “The Room Where it Happens” from the musical Hamilton–yes, full disclosure, I like show tunes!—and then I put on Blue.
It was as good as I remembered. No, that isn’t true. It’s better than I remember because I understand what she was singing about much more because I understand myself so much better.
Thank you, Joni, for making a girl too terrified to show herself feel less alone.