Yesterday, I had to have my beloved cat, Samantha, euthanized. My heart is in pieces right now. My crazy Samantha (we nicknamed her “Psycho Kitty”) was defiant, but sweet. This queen ran the household, and would snuggle with me when the house was nice and quiet. She was my first pet and we spent almost 12 years together. She’s been with me through many life changes: moving 4 times, meeting my life partner, going through my mother’s death, being abandoned by friends, and much more. I didn’t realize how sick she was until yesterday morning. Her painful meows were unbearable and she was in a lot of pain. The vet explained a couple of options, but there was no guarantee that she would get better, and Samantha was clearly suffering. As difficult as it was, the vet confirmed that euthanasia was the best decision. I’m heartbroken, but now my Psycho Kitty rests in peace.
My dear Samantha,
I will miss you , your craziness, and your demands to rule our castle. I love you. Thank you for adding so much joy, comfort, and happiness to my life.
Yesterday, I attended my niece’s graduation from kindergarten. I have never been to a graduation where the graduates were so small! I almost died from cuteness overload! Absolutely adorable. Since I knew that I would be around kids, I kept my outfit simple and comfortable. It’s a good thing I did that, ’cause my niece pulled me in to dance with her and her fellow graduates!
Here’s what I wore. Like I mentioned, I didn’t want anything too fussy. It’s also getting more hot and humid, so just the basics would do. However, I did add a little flair to my shoes with shoe clips purchased on Ebay:
Here’s my simple makeup. This is basically my “summer-face”. I prefer keeping my makeup light for when I wear glasses, which are a must for anything involving education (ha ha):
Below my signature are a few more pictures of my niece’s graduation. I had so much fun! I enjoyed seeing these little ones graduate, sing and dance. And there were colors galore! Be sure to check out the brightly colored cupcakes. I seriously wanted to enroll at this school!
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of the American Civil Rights movement. No outfit or makeup post today. Just a short post to honor this great man. Because without the fearless men and women of the Civil Rights movement, this would still be the reality:
JFK and MLK photos via Photobucket.
But instead, this is my reality:
Obama photo via Photobucket. Dance photo courtesy of Toscana Photography.
Unfortunately, racism is still alive and well. We have come a long way, but our job is not done. We need to keep spreading love and joy around the world, regardless of one’s skin color. Let’s do our part to make the world a less racist and more loving place. Remember, before race, color, religion, gender and class, we’re all human beings first.
Maya Angelou photos via Photobucket. The great American poet and author, Maya Angelou, passed away 2 days ago at the age of 86. She used the power of words to bring healing to many people. One of these people was my mother. Suffering from an abusive childhood, Ms. Angelou’s words, along with The Bible, brought my mother peace and comfort. Her favorite book was I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.
Not only did Maya Angelou write about the black experience in America, she also had a way of understanding the human condition. My favorite poem from Maya Angelou is “Phenomenal Woman”, written in 1978. This poem brought me solace in a world that harbors a hatred of women – especially women of color and those of us who don’t fit the standard Westernized, white-is-right, fat-is-horrible, beauty ideal.
In honor of, not only Maya Angelou, but to all the amazing, beautiful, fierce women in my life, I’m sharing her wonderful poem with all of you. The accompanying photos are some of the phenomenal women who have been a big part of my life.
(In the photo galleries, you can click on or scroll your cursor over each photo for more information.)
by Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
I cried a little bit, writing this post. I am very lucky to have so many beautiful, talented, and truly awesome women touch my life. I hopethis poem brings you peace, love and happiness, just like it does for me. I also hope that I’m doing my part to bring love, light and creativity to all whom I come into contact with.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – interview from the July issue of Beautifully SaidMagazine, 2012
If you’re not familiar with this amazing woman, you can go to her official website. Her life was too vast and extraordinary for this blog to do it justice.
This is your day. You are a mother – the hardest job in the world! This is the day we celebrate all mothers – those that are still with us and those who still live with us, even though they have now gone.
This post will be pretty short. There’s just not much to say, except that I love and miss my mother. Terribly. This is a difficult day for me and just posting this blog post took a lot of mental effort. But it’s nothing compared to what my mother has given me all through my life.
In an earlier post, I had mentioned that I was still in grief after losing my Mom to pancreatic cancer on August 15, 2012. That was the absolute worst. But I’m not the only one dealing with the pain. My life partner, C, lost his mother on this day in 2012. This day is also my mother’s birthday. She would have turned 60.
A couple of weeks ago, some friends and I went to an art exhibit and burlesque show, Countdown to Yuri’s Night at Astro Pop Events in DC. But before that, we hung out on the National Mall to see the cherry blossoms, while they were still in bloom. Since we took so many pictures, I’ve created separate posts for the Countdown to Yuri’s event.
Here’s how I did my makeup. I wore pink and crystal bindis to celebrate the cherry blossoms:
As you can see I haven’t written a blog post in the past 2 weeks. I have clinical depression and it got really bad – worse than it has been for a long time. A lot of people think goths wear black because we’re depressed. This is not true, of course. For me, it’s the complete opposite. When my depression hits hard, I put absolutely no effort into my appearance – no makeup, sloppy clothes, lethargy and a feeling of emptiness. I shower and somewhat do my hair and that alone takes effort.
So, yeah. I’m putting it out there in the blogosphere: I struggle with clinical depression. And on top of this, I’m still in grief.
On August 15, 2012 my sweet mother passed away from pancreatic cancer. I’m still devastated. I’ve been in tears all week now. I need an emotional break, but since I don’t have vacation time right now it’s not doable. Before the 20th century, it used to be common to mourn for the dead for however long it took. It’s a shame that we are not allowed to properly grieve anymore. We’re told to just “get over it already”. Everything’s too fast, too superficial, and there seems to be no breathing room. This can take a huge toll on the mind, body and spirit.
Are you struggling with a mental illness? Here are things that I try to do to help control my depression. Keep in mind, that while it’s not needed, I do take medication. For me, it has helped tremendously. These are not some “happy pills” that people smugly disparage. For me, it’s the difference between feeling normal and being close to suicide.
1. Talk it out with your “go to” people. These are the people who you feel comfortable talking to and who won’t judge you. For me, it’s my sister and my best friend. These could be people also dealing with depression and/or who love you know matter what. Not everyone can (or should) pour their guts out on Facebook, but for me it has helped tremendously. I’m lucky that I have people to comfort me when I feel confused, sad, and angry.
2. Seek professional help. There is absolutely no shame in getting the help that you need. Talking to someone who is not biased in any way can do wonders. If you have a therapist and you’re not happy with them, for whatever reason, it is your prerogative to find someone who you feel comfortable talking to. Keep trying until there’s a good fit between you and your therapist.
3. Cut out the things that make you unhappy. Focus on the things that do make you happy. This is easier said than done, but it’s worth it to try. For example, I hate watching the news. Not only is the news in the US completely biased, there’s only so many sad stories I can take. And no, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. When 9/11 hit and the tsunami and nuclear disaster hit in Fukushima, Japan I knew about it. You can control the news stories you watch, especially with the Internet.
4. Whatever you do, remember that this will pass. This is the hardest thing to do for me. These past 2 weeks felt like it would never end. But alas, it has passed and I’m ready to move on.
When I’m in a dark mindset, there are a few things that help ease my pain. Here are the things that make me happy:
1. Listening to cathartic music. For me it’s usually heavy metal (particularly doom metal) and old school rap (pre-2000s). Many people think that this type of music adds to my depression. I can see why they would think that, but believe it or not, I find this music cathartic. Since I can’t lash out against this world, I’ll listen to people who can. This really helps me when I’m at work, trying to release the sadness.
2. Belly dancing. It is virtually impossible to stay sad and angry around massive amounts of glitter, sequins, beautiful dancers, and hip-shaking music. Believe me, I’ve walked into many a class in a pissed off mood. It never lasts long and I’m so happy that it doesn’t.
3. Watching drag queens. More bling, more makeup, more artistry. My type of scene! Here’s a video of some runway looks from Season 5 of Logo TV’s Rupaul’s Drag Race:
4. Watching cute, furry animals. While I like looking at non-furry animals, as well (especially elephants) there’s nothing more squee-worthy than baby animals. Here’s a clip from Animal Planet’s Too Cute (yes, this is an actual TV show). Prepare to die from cuteness overload:
5. Working on my blog. Some people blog as a business, while others blog for personal reasons. I’m in the latter category. Blogging for me is like writing a public journal. I get to write out my feelings and post photos that make me happy. I’m also able to spread my message and connect with others who may struggle with depression. If I can help just one person, then it’s all worth it.
How do you deal with depression? Feel free to share in the comments.
“When you are abnormal, first the normal ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, but then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi (paraphrased)
I love strange people. I identify with strange people because I am strange. My friends are strange. Weirdness feeds my soul. Normalcy depresses me.
Weirdness makes me feel alive. Normalcy makes me feel like my mother. My mother didn’t understand weirdness, while I thought being normal was overrated.
I remember when I was a very small child living in New Mexico, my family attended a very small Seventh-Day Adventist church. My mother had just converted to the faith by my godmother, Aunt Z.D. Aunt Z.D. was around 80 years old at the time and so were almost all of the other church-goers. My mother was the youngest adult there; my sister and I were the only children.
There was this old couple that went to church there, Brother and Sister Lawrence. She played piano and he played the accordion. I thought the accordion was the coolest thing I had ever seen and heard in my young life. I was just fascinated by this weird instrument. It had keys like a piano, but it also had small buttons and bellows.
Another time, when I was in 3rd grade, there was some sort of school assembly we had to go to. I don’t remember what the assembly was about but there was this guy there who played music in an odd way. First he played the wine glasses; then he played the SAW! I was blown away by this man’s talents. I didn’t even know that it was possible to play music from glasses and construction tools.
There will always be a special place in my heart for the strange. Strange people are individuals. We find joy and beauty in different things. We also feel pain about situations that most people just brush off. We don’t have to like the same things or even agree on what’s beautiful. But I will always appreciate that we march to the beat of our own drum. It took me YEARS to appreciate the beautifully odd. These are my people.
Please note that I mean strange, I mean it in the sense of quirkiness – not psychotic. There is a big difference between the “quirky strange” and “psycho strange”. Thinking outside of the box is grand; but if it hurts other people then that’s just being an asshole. Strange is no excuse for causing others pain.
I have made a decision: I will start going my creative/artist/stage name, Dasia Denise, which is also my legal first and middle name.
I used to hate – HATE HATE HATE – my first name! As a child, people would screw my first name up all of the time. Usually, people would get it after a few times. But sometimes people seemed to REF– USE to say my name right. I always knew from the scrunched up, confused look on a new teacher’s face that she had reached my name. And it’s not even that hard to pronounce, once you know how to say it.
Dasia : /dah-SEE-uh/ – Greek origin. Means “gift of God”.
Denise : /deh-NEES; duh-NEES/ – French. From the Latin Dionysos or Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.