Trying Too Hard

nuclear redAll you goth and alternative lovers out there, have you ever been told you’re “trying too hard”? I’ve been asked that a few times over the years, and it recently came up again. On Facebook, that bastion of meaningful conversation. :-/ To be fair, the conversation wasn’t totally useless. But there were the comments I’ve heard time and time again: “those people think fashion is a substitute for personality,” “they’re trying too hard to be different,” “they talk about individuality but they all look the same as each other.”

Back in my babybat days I took this stuff seriously. I worried that I was just trading in one conformity for another, I worried that I was trying too hard to be unique, I worried I wasn’t deep enough or cool enough to pull off alternative fashion. Like you have to earn the right to have purple hair or black jeans. The older I get, though, the less I worry about any of that and the more confident I get that I like what I like and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I made peace with the fact that we all strike our own balance between fitting in and standing out. I accepted the fact that by mainstream standards goths aren’t that cool anyway, so not being “cool enough to be a real goth” is the stupidest thing I could possibly worry about. I realized I was never trying at all to be unique, I just was a little different from most people I knew. Even when I tried to look like everyone else and act like everyone else in this super conservative Trump state, people could sense there was something different. And not one of my friends or neighbors was surprised when I went back to black.* The only one my “normal” act was fooling was me.

Funny thing is, the older I get the more I realize how much effort it takes to look exactly like everyone else. Constant diets and hair and manicures and makeup and shopping and microblading and cosmetic surgery all too look exactly like everyone else. I’ve always had “normal” friends who spent an hour or more curling their hair and putting on their “no makeup” makeup, who agonized over which color of boring sweater and skinny jeans to buy. (Or, now that I’m a suburban housewife, which expensive yoga pants to pretend you work out in.)

I spend a lot less time and money on my nuclear red hair and color coordinated (black and red) outfits. I spend a lot less effort just being myself than they spend being “normal,” and I seem a lot happier doing it. I’m amazed that I ever believed for one second that I was the one trying too hard.

If “normal” is who you are then do it. Love it and be happy. I have an evil twin (not literally, but we share our first name and a whole lot else) who looks like a stereotypical suburban mom. Why? Because she’s too busy being an awesome jazz musician to worry about what she’s wearing. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s who you are. But putting yourself through the wringer just to fit in with a bunch of other superficial, insecure barbie dolls? If you’re doing that, please don’t tell me I’m trying too hard. I’m just trying to be happy with who I am, and you can never try too hard at that. **

*Not one was surprised, but a whole lot of them vaguely disapproved and/or pray for my soul to this day. So it goes, so it goes.

**This rant has been mostly fueled by my kids’ fall school break and a tad too much vodka and coke. I promise, though, that I think the same things when I’m stone cold sober. In fact, I think the same things better and more clearly when I’m sober, I’m just usually too busy to write them down. 🙂

OOTD: Woodsy Witch

IMG_3914I haven’t done an outfit post in ages. That makes me a terrible goth and I must redeem myself. Luckily, my new witch skirt just arrived all the way from England. It’s quite heavy, so it should be nice and warm through the winter. It’s handmade from Corvus Corone and the colors represent the element of earth. There are also lovely skirts representing air, fire, and water and I would have them all if my budget allowed.

You’ll also notice the bright pink hair, a mixture of Special Effects Cupcake Pink and a bit of left over Cherry Bomb. It’s a vibrant hot pink and the color is lasting really well, but about two days after I did it I realized it’s just not me. Next time I bleach my roots I think I’ll go back to Nuclear Red.

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Blouse: Target

Skirt: Corvus Corone Fashion, through Etsy

Boots: Torrid

Goth (Stereo)Types and Why I Love Them All

A few posts ago I wrote about tarot, and I said I loved how each artist brings something new to the same set of symbols. That and some dreaming over dark mori girls (fall always puts me in a witchy, fairy tale mood) got me thinking about the Goth Stereotypes meme.

It’s been going around a long time, but on the off chance you’re not familiar here it is: visit the site for fun description of all the types.

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People sometimes act like these are hard and fast categories, like you have to pick one and be great at it. If that were the case I would clearly pick Geek Goth because it matches my blog title. But I would also be sad (and not in a fun way) to be limited like that. I am mighty and cannot be contained by one stereotype!

But seriously, I think there are two levels (at least) to stuff like this. On the one hand, it’s just fashion. I see nothing wrong with dressing like a rivethead while sipping fine wine and listening to Bach, or reading Wuthering Heights in your gothabilly pinup dress. On the other hand, I kind of do assume that a rivethead or a gothabilly will have a certain attitude and music taste, and I’d probably use that as a conversation starter.

In that sense, I pick Geek Goth because fantasy novels, cult classic movies, and music of all sorts really gets me going, and fashion comes farther down on the list for me. As a geek, it seems normal to love Sisters of Mercy and Tool and Vermillion Lies and Atrium Carceri and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. We’re pretty eclectic like that. Fashionwise, I’m the same way. I’ve worn and loved stompy Doc Martens, a Bettie Page pinup dress, swirly witch skirts and slick corpgoth slacks. I like it all. Or most of it, anyway.

Goth, like tarot, is a dark theme, and each goth brings something different to it. The types are just a loose map of common variations on the basic gothic theme. They can be useful for navigating this dark and beautiful world, but once you know your way around you don’t need the map so much.  I love to look at this “goth map” every once in a while and just reminisce about where I’ve been and where I’m headed. I think that’s the best use for it.

 

Should I Get Press On Nails?

I’ve never really worn fake nails. I’m a cheapskate, I work with my hands a lot, and my real nails grow pretty well already. But Dippy Cow fake nails have me reconsidering. This post is zero percent sponsored and I haven’t actually tried the nails, so this is not an endorsement. They’re just really tempting.

All the pictures are from the Dippy Cow Etsy shop–definitely visit to see the awesome. She makes all sorts, including pastels and glow-in-the-dark. The witchy black-and-nude ones change color with temperature.

They ship from the UK, so if I want some in time for Halloween I’d better get to ordering pretty soon, but I just can’t decide between my convenient natural fingernails or amazing pointy fake fingernails. What do you think? Should I take the chance?

OOTD: Quoth the Raven

IMG_3741Fall doesn’t really arrive here until October, but I’m already dreaming about it. As a kid I was so into summer, but it was probably the break from school I really loved. These days I’m more about fall. Cooler weather, falling leaves, Halloween, what’s not to love? I’m already dreaming about it, and dreaming kind of led to a new tunic/dress with flowy half-sleeves. I’m starting to really enjoy the unicorn hair (though my ends are a little fried) and I’m trying to figure out the right makeup for it. I’m going for the red-eyed consumptive look with the pale hair. It’s better in real life–the photos create an airbrush effect that washes it out–but it needs work. If I perfect it I’ll work on some better pictures.

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. I never know what to do with my face in photos. My natural expression looks mad or hard to most people, and I’m not good at projecting emotions with my face. I’m usually aiming for romantic or brooding and end up still looking vaguely angry. Which is funny because I’m usually pretty happy. The makeup photos are my best attempt at a nice smile.

What I’m wearing:

Dress: Bruno and Betty on Etsy

Shorts: Lineagewear leggings

Belt: eBay

Raven’s foot earrings: eBay

Necklace: Tangents and Tentacles, local craft fair, also on Etsy

Alice in Wonderland Pillows

I needed throw pillows. I have a bad habit of propping my feet up on the coffee table, and throw pillows make that more comfortable. Yes, I know, I could be classy and get an ottoman or a footstool or just put my feet on the floor where they belong, but I’m a rebel! I’m a spooky queen of the night and I put my feet where I please!

So right now I’m putting my feet on my brand new Alice in Wonderland pillow, delivered straight to my door by Cafepress.* I like Cafepress for stuff like this kind of basic stuff–their prices are pretty reasonable and I like browsing through all the designs for the perfect ones. The pillow inserts are a good amount of squishy and the cotton covers are pretty nice. they’re smooth and decently made, and the printing on all the covers is pretty crisp and looks like the online photos.

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I’m not sure why I had Alice on the brain, but it turns out Mr. Robot and I both have entirely different favorite quotes from it. Perfect. His favorite is the left, mine the right. I love that they had a design with the longer version of the quote.

 

While I was browsing I also saw a pair of skull and crossbones Christmas designs I just couldn’t live without. I only ordered the covers (planning to just put them on the regular pillows around Halloween) but Cafepress sent me complete pillows, so maybe they’ll live downstairs in the rec room instead. If you look, you can tell the skull Christmas tree isn’t quite centered properly. That’s a tiny bit sad but not bad enough to send it back. I figure the two extra inserts they sent makes up for it.

 

*As usual, this post is not sponsored in any way.

 

The Darkling Tag

Ooh, this one looks so fun! I read it on Septicemia’s blog and the Mad Magpie  and just had to copy them join in. I’ve been a bit down today and this (plus the lovely clouds outside) ought to cheer me right up.

  1. What is your favorite candle scent? Scented candles give my husband migraines, so officially my favorite is unscented. Unofficially, I like evergreen.
  2. Do you have a favorite book? Not just one, no. Don’t be silly. But I love Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits a whole lot. I tend to go through phases with authors, so I guess this is my David Wong phase. I had a Kurt Vonnegut phase in high school, a Haruki Murakami phase in and after college, a Roddy Doyle phase around the same time. I had a brief Shirley Jackson phase a few years ago. I never really grew out of my Neil Gaiman phase . . . I could go on, but there are a lot more questions to be answered.
  3. Are you a tea or coffee person? Coffee with real half-and-half and NO SUGAR! Or peppermint tea if I’m sad or sick.
  4. What is your favorite brand and color of lipstick? Currently, Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid in Red Punch. Kind of a scabby brick red that stays on well.
  5. What is your favorite perfume or cologne? Same problem as scented candles, so none. My conditioner smells like rosemary and mint, but that’s as good as I can smell without getting divorced. 😦
  6. Do you have a celebrity crush? Nope. Not really.
  7. If you had to give up the color black, what color would you choose instead? To decorate my house I’d choose red. Red, red, red. To wear I’d probably choose gray. Does gray count? If gray doesn’t count I’d probably choose red to wear, too.
  8. If you could change your name to a stereotypical 1990s/2000s goth name, what would it be? The gothic name generator gave me Entropy Striker, which is better than anything I ever came up with. I’m embarrassed to admit that I really had a cheesy goth name in the late ’90s, online at least. Once upon a time I was Shards of Glass. So dark!
  9. What are your top three tips for surviving hot weather while black clad? Billowy dresses, thin fabrics, and air conditioning. It gets to 100 degrees F (38 C) here pretty regularly, so I try to just stay in during the day and early evening.
  10. What song will always make you happy (doesn’t have to be a goth band)? Shreikback’s Nemesis does a pretty good job. I also secretly love the B-52s when I’m down.
  11. Are you active in the arts (ex. play and instrument, paint, write, etc.)? Not particularly. I write decently when I get around to it. I crochet and knit and I can sew a tiny bit.
  12. If you had a teacup/mug inscribed just for you, what would it say? It would say “We’re all mad here,” like the Cheshire Cat.
  13. What is your number one non-gothy hobby? I’m a really good cook. I love to look at cooking magazines and try new recipes.
  14. If you could be a supernatural creature, what would you be and why? This is a tough one, they’re all so cool. A sexy-but-deadly succubus. Or a cruel but beautiful fairy queen.
  15. What horror monster-based power would you have? I’d like to hypnotize people with my eyes the way Dracula does. That would be cool.
  16. Do you feel confident or comfortable interacting with other goths/gothy people? I have the same problems with everyone. I think there are goths like, an hour away from me but I’ve never bothered to find out for sure.
  17. Which is more important for a look: great hair or great makeup? I’m not great with either, but I admire people with great hair.
  18. Is there something you wish there was more of in your subculture? Book clubs. 🙂 That would make me finish rereading Wuthering Heights. But seriously, goths should take a cue from regular geeks–just relax and be more open.
  19. Care to share an embarrassing story relating to your “darkliness”? Isn’t it enough that I told you my ’90’s “goth name”? I’m almost sorry now that my website of dark poems no longer exists–I was such a goth cliche for a while.
  20. How are you at DIY? Not good. That’s why I save money and pay people on Etsy to DIY for me.
  21. Quickly describe your ideal wedding: If we could do it all over again we’d probably do the actual marriage as simply as possible, then throw a casual party afterward. Preferably a Halloween party.

True or False:

  • I love watching cheesy romance films: No I do not. Unless there are vampires involved.
  • I ALWAYS remember to wash off my makeup at night: Yes, I really do.
  • I sleep with plushies: Technically true. I have a Darth Vader tsum tsum I use as an arm pillow.
  • I wear non-black pjs most nights: False
  • I still listen to a boy band that had disbanded years ago: False. I’ll bite anyone who suggests differently.
  • I think Andrew Eldritch is overrated: False. Andrew Eldritch is correctly rated as pretty awesome.
  • I don’t like vampires: False
  • I don’t like clubs: True. Too old, don’t care.
  • I’m dating a goth/darkly-inclined person: False. I’m married to a total nerd.
  • I don’t enjoy graveyards: False. Graveyards are nice.
  • Blood makes me queasy: Mostly false
  • I’d sooner faint than pet a spider: True. I love looking but don’t want to touch.
  • I don’t like haunted houses: Like, actually haunted or commercial? We have a ton of Spook Alleys here and I just don’t care about them anymore. But actual historical haunted houses, those are cool.
  • I still browse Hot Topic’s clearance racks: Haven’t set foot in a Hot Topic for at least 10 years.
  • I’ve never read Dracula:  False. I’m up on my gothic classics.
  • I think “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is a long & boring song: True. Sorry. It’s fun to dance to, but I wouldn’t just sit and listen to it.

alice

 

OOTD: the Evil Peasant Look

IMG_3727On rare occasions I splurge and order custom-tailored clothes from eShakti.* Custom tailoring from that distance is not the most precise thing ever, but over time I’ve gotten better and better fit. I don’t know if I’m measuring better or they’re becoming more precise in their tailoring or what (maybe both?) but this latest order came out pretty perfectly.

I’m not feeling up to a full Show and Tell post, and I feel awkwardly materialistic showing off a bunch of stuff at once anyway, so I’ll just slowly unveil my sweet new stuff as I get around to actually wearing it. Today is a bit chilly so I went with this witchy half-sleeved dress. The embroidery reminds me just a bit of Romanian peasant blouses, which reminds me of Dracula. This dress makes me want to put on some Dark Ambient music and mix magic potions. Or maybe dance in the woods in the pale moonlight. Or possibly grab a pitchfork and storm a castle. Whatever. I can do all those things now that I have the right outfit. evil peasant

The “tree of life” necklace is from Etsy, but it’s old so I can’t remember the exact shop. Sorry.

*Sadly, I’m not famous in the slightest, so eShakti doesn’t sponsor me in any way. I had to pay money like a chump. 

Day 29: My Favorite Brands

There’s what I love to look at and what actually works with my life and budget. My favorite realistic brand these days is City Chic. Their stuff is decently made, fits me well and is basic without being totally boring.

City Chic

My favorite brand/designer to look at is Alexander McQueen, may his soul rest in peace. I love his dark, fantastical style. I don’t usually go in for haute couture but McQueen proves for me that fashion really can be art.

Alexander McQueen

Day 28: An Outfit I’m Ashamed Of?

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high school

I can’t think of one outfit I’m ashamed of or embarrassed by. I guess some people look back at old photos with a “what was I thinking?!!?!” attitude and some goth and alternative types are a bit embarrassed by their more “normal” pictures, but I don’t feel that way at all.

I, like most people, was really insecure about my looks when I was younger. I worried a lot that I wasn’t thin enough, not cool enough, didn’t fit in, didn’t stand out, whatever. I grew up before digital cameras so I don’t have a ton of pictures of those days, but when I look back now I wonder what I was so insecure about. I would still wear some of those outfits.

Since I don’t have any shame shots to post, I thought I’d show you

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college–I’m in the middle

what I looked like before I got so old and fat. Again, I came up before digital cameras, so these are pictures of actual photos I keep in a box in my basement. Apologies for the quality; these were the best I could do.

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I look like a hippie in this one. See my gothy looking friend? She’s all conservative and boring now. So sad.
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I kind of miss that jacket. And the hat. And my old Docs.