Revisiting Her Side of the Story: Esmé Patterson at TEDxMileHigh (Full Transcript)

Well, hi everybody. My name is Esmé Patterson, and I’m here to tell another side of the story.

Alright? Her side of the story. So, he actually explained a lot of it, so I’m a little bit off the hook. But the first tune I’m going to play is from the perspective of “Lola” by the Kinks. You laugh, but, you know, Lola wasn’t laughing. I’m serious, you know.

I think it’s really important to include the voice of a transwoman in a discussion of songs, from her perspective. This is a song called “Oh, let’s dance.” (Electric guitar music) I like to sit alone and drink champagne. If you sit beside me, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you my name. Oh, let’s dance. You like the way I walk. And I like how shy you are. If you press in closer, I’ll tell you my name. Oh, let’s dance. I keep no secrets. What you see is what you get. If you’d like to, baby, I make you. Yeah, I make a man. Don’t make me sit alone and drink champagne. If you press in closer, I’ll tell you my name. Oh, let’s dance. Thank you.

Alright, the next song is the perspective of Billie Jean, by Michael Jackson. A great song, a song I love, but the lyrics always really bothered me. I don’t know if I’m alone in that. So, this is what I think Billie Jean would have to say. I think she’s got a right to wheel the bed of righteous anger. (Electric guitar music) Well, what do you call a woman when she’s lying in your bed? Yeah, what do you call a woman when she’s lying in your bed? If you make love, ain’t she your lover? If you make love, ain’t she your lover? And ain’t I? Ain’t I your lover? Ain’t I? Ain’t I?

Well, what makes a lover from a woman that you’ve had? Yeah, what makes a lover from a woman that you’ve had? Do you want her heart, or just her body instead? Do you want her heart, or just her body instead? Ain’t I? Ain’t I your lover? Ain’t I? Ain’t I? But the act of loving can create another. It’s easy to forget. The act of loving is meant to create another. It feels good, so we forget. You’re going to call me what you want but let him call you Father. Yeah, call me what you want. Let him call you his Father. But ain’t I? Honey, ain’t I your lover? Ain’t I? Ain’t I?

So, what do you call a woman when she’s lying in your bed? Yeah, what do you call a woman when she’s lying in your bed? If you make love, ain’t she your lover? If you make love, ain’t she your lover? And ain’t I? Ain’t I? Ain’t I? Ain’t I? Ain’t I? Thank you… Thank you so much.

Alright, I’ve got one more song tonight, and this collection of songs has — I’ve been accused of it being an angry album, because some of the songs are angry. But my goal with this collection of songs was to humanize these characters, to make them real women that have a range of emotions. And anger is one of them, but we all feel many emotions. So, this last song is the response to Bob Dylan’s song “To Ramona,” and this is how I think Ramona would feel. It’s a bit of a wistful, kind of nostalgic remembrance of an old love. This song is called “Wild Flower.”

(Electric guitar music) Back then, I was changing like the weather. Back when I let you kiss my lips, and I let you see my tears. I sat down to write you this letter. Because maybe you’re not crying, baby. And I’m nowhere near; I went down to the South, to escape the crowd. They all talk so loud, saying nothing at all. The fever of youth, it keeps the mind so clean. We get hungry, we get reckless, we get drunk on our thoughts. We see right and wrong, and nothing in between. We borrow to buy what can never be bought.

So, I went down to the South, to escape the crowd. They all talk so loud, saying nothing at all. And a wild flower dies, just like a rose in a glass. But one bends back to earth. And one’s thrown in the trash. So, I wrote you this letter. I am just trying to sing. You said maybe, some day, that you might need me. But honey, if some day ever happened to be today. Well, why don’t you come down here and see me? I went down to the South, to escape the crowd. They all talk so loud, saying nothing at all. Saying nothing at all. Oh, they’re saying nothing at all. Thank you.

 


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