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.
“Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.” — Emmett F. Fields
I am not evil. I am not angry. I am not lost, nor am I broken. I just don’t believe in the supernatural – no gods, no goddesses, no leprechauns, and no fairies. I am an atheist.
Like many Americans, I grew up in a Christian household – Seventh-Day Adventist, to be exact. There were things that I hated about church and one was that being a Christian and going to church didn’t seem to make a difference. At all.
One of my earliest memories was me, my sister and my mother (who was talked about mercilessly by the “sweet” Christian folk) going to Mt. Olive SDA Church in Hillsboro, TX. Since we lived in Keene, TX we had to drive 40 minutes to go to church. I didn’t understand why we would do this, when there was a church that was a 10-minute walk from our house.
I asked my mother one day why we did this. “Oh,” she said, “I’m not allowed in that church.”
“They don’t let black people in that church.”
What. The. Fuck?! In 1983, my devout, Christian mother was not allowed to set foot inside of a Christian church. Again, WTF?!
I was confused on why this was just accepted. Where was the outrage? Why was this not a big deal? No one seemed to be too bothered by this, but my mother being a divorced woman was shameful. Really?! Of course, the blame wasn’t with religion but with the people. Still, I could never get comfortable with such nasty, racist beliefs. While racism is not only confined to the church, it just wasn’t convincing being told that “God is love” while also being called “nigger” every other day – by Christians. God loves me, but you don’t? Just because I have brown skin? There was a serious disconnect there. I was 10 years old at this time.
It was also made clear to me that questions were bad. Terrible! While my mother accepted my questions, the church did not. As Seventh-Day Adventists, we believed that the seventh day (Saturday) was made holy and that it should be a day of rest – a belief adopted from Judaism. But why did I have to wake up early, put on a fussy dress, and go to one of the most dull places ever? I found it to be an utter waste of time.
“I thought this was a day of rest?”, I’d argue. I just wanted to sleep in. Why was this frowned upon? “You can’t just sleep the Sabbath away,” Mom said.
Why the hell not? That made absolutely no sense. And to me, church was worse than school. It’s like working on your day off. I was already a Seventh-Day Adventist. I already believed in God. Why on earth do I need to congregate with people older than my mother, who wanted to flap their lips all day about things I didn’t understand? I just wanted to sleep, love God, and draw. At least my schoolmates, who worshiped on Sundays, got to watch TV, play video games, and do whatever they wanted after church. Not us. We couldn’t do anything “secular” from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. I never looked forward to the Sabbath.
Unlike what some people think, I didn’t immediately switch from Christianity to atheism. First, I was a Christian, but didn’t go to church. After all, if God was all knowing, He knew that I loved Him whether or not my butt rested on a church pew. Then, I was spiritual, but not religious. Then, I started to study other religions. I liked a lot of what I had read (particularly Wicca) but these beliefs didn’t make sense to me, either.
Then I questioned why I believed in God. I would talk to him, but he didn’t answer back; I never heard his voice. I never saw him, never saw his face. I realized that I believed in God because that was what I was taught; I believed simply based on hearsay. Once I came to that realization, at the age of 36, I accepted that I was an atheist.
I don’t go around wearing my atheism on my sleeve, but there’s a reason I’m writing this. I’m writing this because there are atheists of color (not just black) that think we are alone. We are not – it just feels that way. And as risky as it can be to come out as an atheist, it’s even worse in communities of color. The Christian religion is entrenched in the black community. Being an open, black atheist is akin to denying your blackness. So, not only am I an amoral scumbag for not believing in a god, but I’m also not proud of being black, which is ridiculous!
So, to my fellow atheists and other freethinkers (especially those of color), you may not feel the need to (or cannot) come out as an atheist. But just know that you are not alone. We’re few in number, but we’re not alone. And just because we’re in the minority, doesn’t make it wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a atheist. I don’t care what anyone tells you – no one is born religious. Religion has to be taught.
Here are a few links to atheism in general and to black atheism in particular. I’ve also included a short YouTube video below.
“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.