Hello, dear SoulFlowers! You might be wondering, “What’s up with the title?” Or maybe not. A few months ago, a question was asked: “Can you be a goth without listening to goth music?” in which many of us answered. My answer was, “No”. A few other goths disagreed. After much discussion, another question started floating around YouTube:
“Okay. So how many bands do you need to listen to in order to be a goth?”
I think this is a good question and I have an answer, which you can see in this video:
In the second part of the video, I discuss goth fashion and how extreme you need to be to embrace the goth lifestyle. I won’t tell you here, but you can check out my answer in the video.
Do you agree with my answers in the video? Why or why not? Please share in the comments.
Black, female, and atheist. It’s a rarity to be all three here in the United States world and I decided to tell my story on video. We atheists are a lone breed – especially if you’re black; especially if you’re black AND female. I had already posted my story back in 2014, but I decided to make a video about it.
Seven years ago in 2009, I “came out” as an atheist before heading over to my mother’s house for Thanksgiving. Every year prior, each member of the family would say what they were thankful for and then, say a small prayer to thank God for everything in our lives. I didn’t want to spring this news over Thanksgiving dinner, so it was time to call my mother – a sweet woman, but VERY Christian. Her faith gave her joy and comfort, and she took it very seriously. I was really nervous, but I knew I had to tell her.
She wasn’t too happy about it. She was quite concerned, and worried about my “soul”. After much discussion and prayer, she finally accepted my atheism. But even before she died, my mother was convinced that God was real. “But he’s taking you away from us”, I said. “No, no, no. He’s not taking me away. You will see me again when Jesus comes to take us home.” I smiled at her and left it at that.
So, here’s a video of my story: how it feels to be black, female and atheist in a world of believers. I hope you enjoy hearing my story. TTFN!
Hello, lovelies. Yesterday’s outfit was inspired by August’s birth stone, Peridot. Although this birthstone is not as popular as some of the others, peridot is one of my favorite gemstones. The vivid, lime green is hard to resist and it looks great against black.
Peridots (along with diamonds) are the only gemstones that are not formed within the Earth’s crust. Peridots are formed from molten rock of the Earth’s upper crust, brought forth by the force of volcanoes and earthquakes. With it’s lime- to olive-green color, peridots represent late summer and early fall, when the leaves start to change from bright green to red, yellow, and then brown. Peridot was known as the “true Topaz” in ancient times, which comes from Topazos, named after Topazios Island in the Red Sea where the gem was first discovered. The Egyptians held a monopoly over Topazios Island and was mined exclusively for kings. “Peridot” comes from the Arabic word for “gem”, which is faridat. Today, Peridot is still the National Gemstone of Egypt.
PERIDOT INFO & SYMBOLISM
TITLE: The Extreme Gem
COLORS: Yellowish-green to olive green
MOHS SCALE HARDNESS: 7.0
ZODIAC SIGN: Libra (September 23 – October 22)
DEITY: Pele, Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes. Also honors Pax, Roman goddess of peace and prosperity, and Lakshmi, Hindu goddess of fortune and abundance.
DIVINATION: “Rely on luck and take a chance on a new offer or opportunity rather than holding back.”
CHAKRA: Heart (4)
HEALING PROPERTIES: Balances the endocrine system, supports the digestive system, and helps strengthen the eyes in relation to nearsightedness and astigmatism.
Here’s what I wore for Peridot. It’s still summer, so I wore clothing that is lightweight. All of my clothes were purchased on Amazon and Ebay.
Here’s my face. This green bindi is one of my favorite ones. The green is vivid and so pretty. Instead of eyeliner on my bottom lids, I applied 3 coats of mascara. I think I like this look and it’s good for an older face.
Below my signature is another OOTD video. I’m dancing a little bit in this video and I swear that I’m a better dancer than this! The focus was on the outfit and makeup, so I wasn’t too focused on what I was doing. Oh, wells.
“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” – Rita Mae Brown
In 2006, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I have been taking an anti-depressant (SSRI) since then and it has helped me to be more functional in life.
Or has it?
It’s been almost 10 years since my first diagnosis and although the anti-depressants have helped reduce my suicidal tendencies, I have not been functioning well lately. Actually, I was doing okay until 2012, the year my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She died 3 months later in August. I was barely hanging on, but was able to slowly continue on with my life, thanks to friends and family. But, perhaps dealing with their own grief, my aunt (my mother’s sister) and my cousin stopped speaking to me and my sister. The next year, one “friend” stopped speaking to me altogether. He relayed his hurt feelings through my best friend at the time, never giving me the chance to make it right. And then in 2014, my “best friend” dumped me and left me stranded, never speaking to me again (except for threats). No forgiveness. No benefit of the doubt. The end.
This experience of loss has left me feeling jaded, disillusioned, disposable, and absolutely disgusted with people. I’ve always been leery of (American) society, but I tried to get over myself and live my life. But the older I get, the more bullshit I see with the things we are taught. I have simply been brainwashed for the past 42 years and I’m angry about that. I’ve always felt this unease, like something’s not right, since my early twenties. But I (and everyone else) just chalked it up to being a young adult learning the rules of society. However, now that I look back and react to the expectations put on me by other people, I had and have every right to be angry.
I have a constant feeling that the life I am living is not natural. I can feel it. But now I feel trapped.
I came across an article by Martijn Schirp, co-founder of the website, High Existence, titled “Turning the Problem Around Mental Health in a Sick Society”. It talks about the over-diagnosis of mental illness, when a person can’t conform to the society in which they live. Is it mental illness or simply trying to cope with the bullshit?
A quote from the article [emphasis by the author]:
“Because what is a sick society? It is a society where the norm is more important than the people it should protect. It is a place where what is considered normal is decided by corporations that see people as means, not as ends. It is a place that always externalizes the problem. It’s never the system, the schools, the economic system or the structure of government. It’s you. You aren’t a symptom, you are the cause. But as we have seen, this is just one perspective on the situation.”
There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to work 40+ hours a week, with climbing the corporate ladder, or being perfectly fine with life ruled by money, profit margins, and “success” . But if that’s not how you choose to define your life, why is that seen as defective? What other options are there besides the “school-work-die-in-debt” paradigm?
So what is it that I want to do? Well, here’s what I don’t want to do:
“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” – Lloyd Dobler, from the movie, Say Anything
What I want to do is simplify my life, while I still have one. I am currently purging useless shit and it’ll take awhile – I’ve got a lot of shit to get rid of. Hopefully, as I get rid of the bullcrap (which includes not just objects, but also obligations, extreme negativity, unnecessary stress, etc.) I can focus more on my living environment, including my home, which is my sanctuary. I am not a person that does well with stress, especially on top of dealing with depression. And close friendships? Fine, if it happens. If not? Oh well.
In short, this year I need to focus on my health and not just my physical health, but also my mental health. Despite the stigma around mental illness (which is awful) I need to own my feelings and deal with them. Writing this blog post is one way to do it. If it makes people uncomfortable or annoyed then again, oh well. If writing helps my suicidal thoughts to subside, I’m going to do it. I may feel like dying, but I’m not ready to go yet.
Remember, you do not have to suffer alone. You don’t have to hide your illness to make others feel comfortable. If they’re “tired” of “dealing” with the existence of people affected with this disease, they can fuck right off. If you’re a sufferer, please know that you have an ally in me. No matter what people say, you have value as a human being. There has never, and never will be, anyone like you. Love yourself. Own your individuality.
Do you or someone you know struggle with mental illness? What methods do you use to cope?
Today is the first day of 2016 and I am ready for a big change. This is the second year I’m participating in Bat Fit, thanks to the lovely Franny at The Curious Professor Z. It’s nice to be part of a community (especially a goth community) that’s working to improve their health and well-being.
Last year started off well with my resolutions, but by summer they had all gone out the window. The only resolution that I was consistent in was improving my blog. I’m disappointed in myself, but I won’t let that stop me from trying again this year.
This year my health will be my top priority. I HAVE to work on my health. At age 42, my body isn’t as resilient as it once was and I need to work on my overall wellness. Even though I fell off the wagon with yoga, I did love to practice yoga and even for that short time, I noticed a difference in how I felt.
Here are 3 things that I’ll be working on this year:
1. Back to yoga. Last year, I started out taking hot Bikram yoga before changing course to hot Vinyasa yoga. Bikram yoga was okay; I felt a difference in my body. But the instructor at that particular studio was condescending and not very welcoming. I then switched to a different studio where they taught Vinyasa yoga. The rude Bikram yoga instructor ended up doing my a huge favor, because I absolutely LOVE hot Vinyasa yoga. Not only did my body feel better and increased my flexibility (something I desperately need), but it also helped me to sleep better and increase my water intake. Going to hot yoga without being fully hydrated is a bad idea. I also noticed that practicing yoga helped everything else fall into place.
2. Back to the drawing board. I mean this literally. I want to get back into drawing and I’m going to start slow. Since I’ve always drawn, this is an area where I come up with big ideas and not follow through. I need to be patient with myself and just start simply. The big ideas for a work of art will come naturally with practice.
3. Back to simplicity. My third goal is to simplify my life in general. I’m currently working on streamlining my wardrobe and getting rid of useless stuff. I did this 2 years ago, but I didn’t stick with it. This year, I want to simplify and stop buying more useless crap. I really do have enough stuff – more than enough.
One thing I noticed about blogging is, not only do I love to do it, but it also helps me to keep on top of things. Blogging is the only resolution that I kept from last year. Since I post themes every month (such as the OOTD posts inspired by birthstones), this will help me in tracking my progress in health and fitness. So you can expect to see more posts on healthy food, healthy drinks, and my journey in simplification.
Unless otherwise noted, all gifs and photos are from Photobucket.
I have been nominated for the Liebster award by Ramona, mistress of the awesome blog, Just Keep Brains! Thank you for nominating me, Ramona. My first blog award! Woo hoo! The Liebster award is given to new bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, and I am happy to participate.
1. Post the award on your blog.
2. Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.
3. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have fewer than 200 followers.
5. Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 11 questions.
11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME:
1. I was almost kidnapped as a baby.
2. I have piercings, but no tattoos. (At least, not yet. *wink*)
3. My 2 favorite shows on the air right now are Better Call Saul and Rupaul’s Drag Race.
4. There are 2 degrees of separation between me and President Barack Obama.
5. Belly dance is the only formal dance training that I’ve received. I started belly dance in September 2009, at the age of 36.
6. The older I get, the more squeamish I get watching violence. And I will NOT watch any film depicting torture – real or scripted.
7. I have one pet, a black cat named Samantha (her nickname is “Psycho Kitty”). She will turn 11 years old in June. That’s the equivalent of 64 human years!
8. I have not worn my natural hair color in over 20 years.
9. I’ve worn prescription eyeglasses since age 13.
10. It’s been 3 years since my last cigarette. I now vape.
11. My sweetheart and I have been together for 11 years – my longest romantic relationship.
RAMONA’S 11 QUESTIONS & MY ANSWERS:
1. Do you believe in spirit animals or a connection to animals in any way?
I don’t believe in spirit animals, but I do have a strong connection towards nature – especially the weather. If I did believe in spirit animals, mine would be a butterfly.
2. What was your favourite city you’ve been travelling to so far?
So far, it’s Nosara in Costa Rica, which is more of a resort town than a city. Beautiful country with nature galore!
3. If you could live as any creature in any time and any place you’d like, what would it look like?
I would be an intergalactic creature, with bright, green eyes that can shoot rays, skin that heals immediately if damaged, and small, black horns. The time would definitely be some time in the future, perhaps in the year 3015.
4. Why did you start blogging and are you still blogging about the same subject/s?
I started blogging as somewhat of an online journal. I also wanted to connect with other alternative people, especially those closer to my age. They’re not easy to find in real life. My blog started with mainly fashion and random thoughts I had about different subjects. Now I mainly blog on the gothic, bohemian style and tribal belly dance. I also want to use my blog to send joy out into the world.
5. How did you come up with your blog’s name?
I wanted a name that would incorporate my love of the gothic subculture and also of tribal belly dance. The “gothic” part is self-explanatory. The “soulflower” part ties into my boho, hippie style. I was going to name my blog, “The Queen Butterfly”, but that name was already being used for another blog.
6. Who is your favourite Villain?
Gus Fring, from Breaking Bad.
7. Favorite Season?
8. What are you afraid of – any phobia?
Spiders! I LOATHE spiders. 8 eyes, 8 legs, and the way they move. Yuck! They are the most “unnatural”, natural creatures living on this planet. This is one gothic lady who just can’t deal.
9. Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies?
Vampires. They’re the most stylish out of the three and they’re immortal.
10. Would you prefer a night at the club / a bar or on the couch or in nature?
On the couch. I love being in my head. I’m also kind of boring.
11. What would be your top wardrobe staple?
My black, 25-yard skirt. So pretty, so frilly, and oh, so comfortable. They come in every color imaginable and can look beautiful on all body types.
THE 11 BLOGGERS THAT I NOMINATE ARE:
**NOTE: Most of the blogs that I follow or know of have more than 200 followers. Sigh. That’s what happens when you’re late to the blogging party. Sorry, but I’m gonna have to cheat BIG TIME on this one. However, I’ve listed the blogs with under 200 followers first. Eternal Wynter is the last blog on my list that has under 200 followers, for sure.
Vampire Rose, The Aging Goth – I recently discovered this blog, created by Vampire Rose. She’s over 60, with great tips for us elder, gothic beauties.
Space Unicorn – This is an online diary and personal style blog of Lynoire, whom I was introduced to during Sophistique Noir’s Red & Black Week 2014. Lynoire describes herself as “a crafty geek girl from Hungary”. Cute blog.
Gothic Flamingo – Not only do I love the blog name, but this blog features some cool gothic art.
Little Corp Goth Girl – While a lot of gothic blogs are about art and fashion, Sylvie writes about her life as a married, goth mom who works in an office.
Eternal Wynter – Great photos on this blog. Dark, yet colorful. Enticing.
Hazy In AZ – I met Cliff on Facebook, through an old high school friend. Cliff has over 200 followers (271 as of now), but he’s an excellent writer and a real, chill guy. His blog is perfect reading when you want to chill out on a beautiful morning with a cup of coffee.
The Everyday Goth – I’ve been following Mary Rose’s blog for a couple of years now. She’s been on hiatus since February, but she has created a great blog. She may have more that 200 followers, since this blog started in 2011.
The Walrus Room – Not sure how many followers Sarah has (probably way over 200), but I love her style. I’ve been following her for a couple of years. Her photography skills are on point! Lots of useful fashion advice, also.
Nephilim Incorruptus – He’s a vlogger that I discovered on YouTube. He makes very intelligent videos about the goth subculture. I can watch his videos all day.
Jwlhyfer De Winter – Another vlogger that I’ve started following recently. She’s an elder goth with impeccable style, although she prefers to be described as “gothic”, not “goth”.
MY 11 QUESTIONS FOR THE NOMINEES:
1. When and why did you start blogging?
2. With MP3s and internet streaming, do you still buy CDs or DVDs?
3. How would you describe your style of dress?
4. What religion or philosophy do you ascribe to?
5. What are your favorite TV shows on the air right now?
6. What other hobbies do you participate in, besides blogging?
7. If you participate in the arts, which ones do you participate in? Are you a hobbyist or a professional?
8. If a movie was being made about your life, which actor/actress would play you?
This was super duper fun! Much love and many thanks to Ramona for the nomination. As I stated above, I wanted to use my blog to connect with other alternative people, and this was a great chance to do so. If you are nominated, be sure to pay it forward. It’s wonderful sharing the love, especially in these trying times. In the words of my “patron saint”, Rupaul:
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an Amen?”
It’s “Non-Fashion Week” here at my humble abode. Why? Because this week was frickin’ COLD! Monday started out okay. It was cold, but not too unbearable. My day on Monday even started with a solo jam session:
Then, the temperature dropped to a low of 12° F (-11° C) with about 2 inches of snow on Tuesday. It was also windy, making the temperature feel like 3° F (-16° C). I do NOT do freezing weather! Horrendous. Since Old Man Winter decided to hang around all week and every inch of my body was covered in triple layers (and I was still cold!), my fashion and makeup went out the window. I just wasn’t feeling it this week.
Here is my very boring “outfit”, luckily covered with a coat. The only thing fashionable in this pic are my Doc Martens. Since they’re tall with awesome traction, these are kind of my “snow boots”:
I do love nature and I’m working on getting in touch with it more, and part of that is accepting that Winter is just a cycle Mother Nature goes through. I actually don’t mind Winter itself. If I was able to hibernate like a bear, I would have no issues. But that’s just not possible at this time.
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.
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.