I am not a pretty girl. I was never the girl in school whom everyone fancied, far from it. But I've never been without a partner and I get on better with men than with women, generally.
I find myself out of place beside women who dress up all the time, wear full make-up to take their kids to toddler groups and who shop at Avoca, White Stuff and pretty much anywhere in Victoria Square.
I frequent charity shops, I buy tops to rip up and start again with, my hair is never perfectly coloured but looks like I've stuck my head in a bucket of paint, I wear dark eye make-up and bright lipstick some days, other times I can go for a week without putting on any make-up and either way I still feel that I'm Tracie.
My formative teenage years were spent listening to metal bands. Generally filled with men these bands appealed to my sense of wanting to be aggressive, of having political leanings and of being pissed off at the world.
They taught me to love loud music, but I didn't like all the groupies - dumb looking blondes who carried beer and were there to flash their bras. A few months ago I rented out a DVD about the History of Thrash Metal. Was interesting, full of profiles of Anthrax, Metallica, Pantera and the like. No women were featured until the 47th minute of a 2.5 hour DVD and in total there were only about 4 women who spoke during the film - all of them were talking about what the men were doing or how they looked.
I admit to not being musical. I can't play any instrument and really have no desire to. I remember years ago seeing Skunk Anansie on TV and Skin was shouting to the crowd for girls to pick up guitars and play. I loved her and still admire her a lot. Her look, her talent and her ease.
I still listen to a lot of the same music now that I listened to as a 15 year old and I still believe that my appearance and my self-view is down to who I looked up to when I was younger.
L7 were a big influence on me, I first heard them in 2000, which ironically was the year they disbanded. I loved their sense of sisterhood, their disheveled appearances and how they could rock rock rock! The live video (from 1992) is poorly filmed, but Diet Pill is a great song.
One of the greatest loves of my teenage years was the band My Ruin. I loved them. Loved the bones of the singer Tairrie B and even dyed my hair black and blonde to mimic her look in her previous group Tura Satana. Now when I look at them I'm slightly dubious, but at the time I spent pretty much my entire teen years in my room wishing I had her voice. We saw them in Dublin when I was around 20 and I remember how Tairrie just was part of the crowd, drinking at the bar and was so down-to-earth. She shouts like a whisky-soaked sailor, but really knows how to accessorise.
Towards the latter part of my teen years Andrew introduced me to Ani Difranco a feminist singer, more folky more contemplative and not so made up as Tairrie, nor as old school as Donita et al in L7. We went to Dublin to see Ani in concert when Adam was a year old, our first overnight away from him and she was great. I think we were one of about 4 straight couples there, as she's somewhat of a gay icon... but she really has a super voice and appeals to my hippy leanings.
I love all these women, I love all the men in the metal bands I listen to. Basically I love anyone who has talents I don't have and who can get out publicly the feelings I have inside.
I don't want to be in a rock band, but I like to dance around my living room as if I were on stage.
I'm not ugly, I'm just not a dolly-bird. I'm dramatic but living a simple life. I am many different things at many different times.