Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Is THAT Me!????

When I was knee-high to a grasshopper, my mama used to record us on a silver, portable cassette player. My big brother and I would belt out church songs, and little ditties we'd been taught.
"I'm Popeye the sailor man
I live in a garbage can
I eat all the junk
and smell like a skunk

Strangely, my three year old voice was much lower and huskier than my six year old brothers. My mom still has the tape. I can be heard shrieking "I WANT TO HEAR THE GIRL. MAKE THE GIRL COME BACK!" I'm referring to myself. Mom would play back the audio and I'd delight in hearing my own voice.

When it came to recording my voice, I had about has much patience as a cop in a doughnut shop. I wanted to hear the girl. Now. "But Monica", Mom would say, "you have to talk first to make the girl come." Not understanding the mechanics of recording THEN playing, the whole tape is full of me shouting for "THE GIRL."

The recording incidents must have traumatized me.. for I can't stomach hearing my recorded voice. It's on par with accidentally farting in public. Except instead of bellowing "It wasn't me!" I'm shouting incredulously "Is that me?" I sound normal in my own head.. but when my voice is played back to me I hate "THE GIRL." She's so annoying. How can my husband make it through the day without backhanding that annoying bitch?

So you can imagine my panic when The Surge decided I was to sing a ditty on his Christmas album. I flap my lips around the apartment all day long.. I have a number of made-up tunes involving Max, The Surge and various other strange word creations. But when those Bielanko brothers stuck that microphone in front of my face I could hear the tremors in my voice. My mouth went on strike, turning Sahara on me and my throat clicked when I swallowed. My top lip even began twitching! No, not in a cool Elvis-like way.. in a freak-girl-that-needs-medication kind of way. Nonetheless, we recorded the sucker.. You can hear the results for yourself on Marah's A CHRISTMAS KIND OF TOWN. I skip the song every time I listen to the CD, of course. I'd rather listen to nails on a chalkboard.

Point is, today my "Is That Me" syndrome morphed into something new and hideously improved. A friend of mine sent me a link to her SXSW pictures from last weekend. I'm happily perusing the pics... and then IT happened. For your benefit, I'll re-live the excruciating thought process for you as I clicked through the photos.

"Cute pic... Another good one.. Cute.. Artsy.. Cool pic! Oh that's a good one of Dave... Awww, look how cute Julie looks.. There's The Surge! Oh, that one's hot. Who's that schlumpy girl with the big forehead standing next to my husband? Why, THAT'S ME! No, it can't be! Is that me? What the fuck? Why are my tits resting on the waistband of my jeans? Do I slouch THAT much? Mother of god that giant, shining forehead rivals Tyra Banks endless noggin. Must. Cut. Bangs. Immediately. Why hasn't anyone said anything? I HATE that girl! Look at her! She's so annoying. She thinks she's so cute and she's a big chubby fucker! I am filled with more shock and awe then Iraq in the early days.

And here I am closing in on 29. My Myspace profile already says I'm 29, those fuckers. Can't I live out the last of my year without that website jumping the gun? I've got two more days dammit! I've got to go now. It's time for another Crying Game shower session where I clutch fistfuls of thigh flesh and sink slowly into the tub, tears mingling with water.

Reader Comments (26)

I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who makes up little songs about pets and things... and no I will not sing them for anyone!
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTracy
After I heard your voice for the first time at the end of one of the Charlie videos, my first reaction was holy shit, Monika has such a beautiful, sexy voice. I started to write this as my comment but then found it to be really superficial of me considering what Charlie had just been saying about his life.

Please stop with the fatty bullshit. You couldn't get fat if you tried. You should savour your gorgeous body now.....if you ever have babies, then you can really start to complain!(God only knows how bloody Heidi Klum looks so fantastic still) I can really see you in 10 years from now looking back at photos of yourself and going "Oh my God, look how bloody hot I was! Why didn't I just love it and flaunt it!" There are so many "ugly" buggers in this world who would LOVE to look like you.
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen
I just read my comment again and I hope I don't sound like one of those awful preaching bastards that tell the blog host what they should be writing, feeling and thinking. Your description of your photo is hilarious and I just wanted to say you're gorgeous and make you feel better.
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen
Niedlchen.. of course half the reason I posted the damn blog was so you all would tell me how fantastic and young I look. I was virtually begging for it.. Thanks for complying.
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
happy birthday! two days.
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkasey
"....virtually begging for it" is good.
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen
I have the same fear of my voice! I never leave a vm for my boyfriend b/c I am the one who left the greeting, and I can't bear to hear my own voice! I HATE IT!! I will say that I did watch the vid of you and Max, ADORABLE, and your voice is CUTE! You sound like you are from Utah (I got family there!)! There is nothing wrong with your voice, it sounds great! Ok and you are skinny, blonde, gorgeous, hot rocker husband, what more could you want??? LOL I will trade ya places?? :)
I will be 28 this year and I sure thought I would be somewhere different then where I am now! Oh well!
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Watch out big forehead is the precursor to Barry Bonds' head.

"tits resting on the waistband of my jeans."

That made me chuckle!

As is always the case, I'm reminded of a particular event in my life. My ex wife, in the last week of our union, saw a rather frumpy picture of herself at a family picnic that we had just gone to. Of course that picture became her, "I don't want to be that person anymore" excuse to leave.

Of course it WAS my fault.

And Monica...Besides the fact that you are indeed, "still hot," I wouldn't start worrying about how you look at 29.

There will be plenty of time in the future to REALLY worry.
Joe, lately I'm looking as forward to your new name each day as I am to Monica's posts. Monica, I know everyone has those things about themselves they hate, and we never see what everyone else sees, but like Joe said, save the worry for when its justified. Right now you're far from being justified.
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSloopy
Thanks Sloopy! At heart, I have a good sense of the absurd.

One note about that moniker. I went to this music convention a while back...probably 5-6 years, and was cattle herded into a meet-and-greet, photo snap session with...(let's out girlish sigh...Harry Connick). Not that I gave a rat's ass about Harry; he was just another drunken stop that night for conventioneer, me.

Point is, I had that bloated, unhappily married, drunk man at the convention with his boss, look when that photo was snapped.

Now it hangs in my boss' office. Harry look's great, my boss looks mafia-cool, and I...have a face that is shaped like a grapefruit.

I blame it on Harry.

BTW: When my ex said that she didn't want to be the person in that photo anymore, I didn't say: "stop eating value meals at McDonald's every day, or try not working 75 hours a week with the guy you're cheating with."

Thought about it, though.
You have more restraint than me, my good man.. You shoulda said it.

Incidentally - your comment is reprentative of why I frikkin' love this blog. These little glimpses into all your lives make me so happy (and sad, as the case may be).. To just relate to other folks is amazing and reassuring... And - just when I get to feelin' sorry for myself for workin' overnights or whatever the case may be... you drop a comment like the above, reminding me I'm pretty lucky in love and life thus far (knock on wood)
March 25, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonica
Can totally relate to how you're feeling. Sometimes I go through life thinking I look okay and then I see a picture and nearly die of horror. Am I really that fat?! I recently had a pic snaped with one of my fave musicians. I was so excited to have had this pic taken. I thought I'd want to plater it everywhere. Until I saw it. My double chin. My giant arms. The gap in my shirt where it pulls too tightly across my chest (damn back fat/bra buldge!). I must lose a kagillion pounds and then find a way to get a new pic with said musician. Don't care what he looks like in the pic, but I want to look good!

P.S. Happy Birthday!!! I hope you have some wonderful self-care pampering type of plans.
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
I think that's the point, Monica.

You are the walking, talking, writing, every-person. To be able to express that, and have others' who feel the same way, be motivated to contribute, is a testament to your ability as a writer.

I don't fuckin' care about imagery.

Gimme some truth.

Grapefruit-shaped bloat'o head
Oh, Monica. When I met you at SXSW, I thought to myself, 'Wow, she looks even skinnier in person' and, even though your pictures are beautiful, much prettier. I just turned 39 and within the last few years I have had things happening with my hips and thighs that were so foreign before. Since I am a single girl, my friends are all about your age now, so it seems I am always finding fault with my looks compared to theirs, but when I get carded and they don't, I revel in the fact that although I may be 39, I look damn good for my age. What's funny is that when I was your age, I also thought I never looked quite good enough, but now I think, 'what I would do to look like I did then'.
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercynthia
"I don't fuckin' care about imagery."

A-fucking-men. Although Monica is great at imagery too, what draws me to this blog is her balls out honesty, the funny way she has of expressing the crazy stuff we all deal with and think about. Doesn't matter how good anyone looks, we all have a certain part of us that we'd like to chop off. *cough* saddlebags, jiggly fucking saddlebags. So I totally feel you girl.
March 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
when i looked at your pictures from austin, i cringed at the sign of my own face. there's a reason we like to be behind a camera and only publicly reveal pictures we've taken of ourselves...i don't know what it is, but it has something to do with egocentric insecurities that we can only understand between one another, yet have the capacity to fake beyond everyone else's understanding. and thanks for saying i looked cute when i know i didn't.
March 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterT
"I am filled with more shock and awe then Iraq in the early days." That may be the best sentence I've read all week.

As for your "bad" photos, nobody likes what they look like in pictures. Except maybe celebrities who've been airbrushed within an inch of their lives and even then I'm sure they find something to bitch about. Come on tough girl, show us the photo that has you crying in the shower.
March 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJib
I also absolutely hate to hear myself on a recording... I hate my voice, and I don't think it sounds like me... but then it does if I'm hearing it, right?! I dunno. It's something that just makes me cringe... Whenever I leave my outgoing voicemail message, I seriously have to redo it like 20 times, until my voice doesn't sound as annoying as it could.
March 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChristar
Oh god! The horror of recording an outgoing message. I have sometimes spent an hour deleting, changing the emphasis on certain words, it's a nightmare. Does anyone actually like their recorded voice?
March 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
Going out on a limb for something or someone is more beautiful than any picture could possibly capture.

You bring more inspiration in 1 sentence than most bring in a whole book.

And your a hottie to boot!
March 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGreen Id Girl
Are you hitting on me? Because I could be into that.
March 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
Beware folks..check your username before you post.. It's doing that weird thing again where it uses the name of the last person that posted. Do you think it's trying to take over, terminator style?
March 26, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonica
Monica, your so silly!!! I'm more into brunettes!
Like the one in the pictures @ McCabe's that I have yet to see!
"T" you are a hottie, too!! And way too sassy for your own good!

March 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGreen Id Girl
Bad photos are why God created PhotoShop.

Funny thing about the internet is that you can fall in like with someone without ever having seen a photo or ever having heard their voice.

Monica, I fell in love with your words the first time I read them... although NOW I'm waiting for your book to come out on tape so I can her "the girl".
March 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStFarmer
happy birthday!
March 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte
Dammit, hear, even.
March 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStFarmer

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