Life & Living

Ethnic Gothic

Sunday, May 22nd is World Goth Day.  It’s a wonderful day dedicated to being as goth as you want to be. When people think about goth’s they typically envision caucasian people. However, there are many of us who are not white.  I am mixed race and I have known many goths of various ethnicities.  Why does this matter?  It matters because diversity matters.  Within the goth scene there is great diversity in fashion and music tastes and it should be noted that there is diversity in racial backgrounds as well.

BUT! This post isn’t going to be a rant about people not acknowledging diversity.  I like to keep things light hearted around here and that’s a bit too heavy for me. Personally I have felt that the goth community has accepted me better than most other groups I have encountered regardless of race . This post is about how to embrace goth fashion and  a darker skin tone at the same time. This is about make-up!

Face

When I see videos of people playing with goth make-up the first thing they do is paint the persons face white to make them super pale.  If you already have fair skin this look can work for you.  If you have darker skin this technique con make you look crazy.  Just love the skin you’re in! Be proud of your natural skin tone.  This goes for all people! Take a trip to Sephora or any other retailer where they have artists on staff who can help you find the right product for your skin and match your shade.

Pro Tip: Wait to apply your face makeup until after your have completed your eyes.  Eye shadow can fall onto your cheek bones and ruin your look.  This way you can wipe off any excess on your cheeks or any mistakes without ruining the rest of your hard work.

Eyes

When it comes to spooky eyes the smoky technique is one of the best all purpose looks.  You can mix and match any colors you want using the same steps.  My advise is to work with your skin tone (and eye color) for the best effect.  I love sparkly metallic silver eye shadow, but my skin tone is too warm for it to look nice.  I tried for years to make it work and it just doesn’t.  I can use matte dark grey at best, but typically I go with purples or greens.  Colors the look good with my green eyes and can be found in warmer tones so they work with my skin.

Of course black eye liner works on basically everyone.  Have fun with wings or other designs as you see fit.  You can always wash it off and start over if you don’t like the look.  And don’t forget a good mascara.

A note on mascara for everyone, spider eyes are not a good look.  Maybe you don’t agree, but your look is much better if you don’t let it clump on your lashes.  One way to prevent this is not to pump your mascara wand.  If you need more product on the brush swirl the wand instead.  Pumping adds air into the tube and will dry out you mascara preventing it from applying neatly.  You can also you an eyelash comb after application to help separate your lashes. This handy tool comes with an eyebrow brush on the other side.

Lips

If you have gone big and dramatic with the eyes you need to add balance with your lips.  Black lipstick has come a long way since I first tried it in high school (I won’t tell you the year, but it wasn’t yesterday). It can work well on many people. However I think the contrast can often make teeth appear very yellow.  If you never smile or open your mouth this isn’t an issue.  But if you plan on speaking to anyone or having fun during your day you may be doing your smile a disservice.  My favorite look is blood red.  Kat Von D has the best shades of red I have found. I have also been known to use my black eyeliner as a lip liner and then blend it into the red for a slight ombre effect.

Nails

Nail art knows no limits when it comes to ethnicity.  Anyone can wear any style they want.  I have been an Essie girl for years.  The selection of colors is vast and always growing.  OPI is my back up if I’m looking for a specific color that I can’t find with Essie.  Get as creative as you want with designs or colors.  When it comes to shape or length, go with the most naturally attractive for your hands and fingers.  Make sure you go with something functional in your everyday life.  If you type a lot having super long stiletto pointed nails may not be the best….if you are know how to type 100 words a minute with the tips of your nails then rock them as long and pointy as you want.

Hair

Ethnic hair can be incredibly fun.  Not everyone needs to look like Morticia. If your hair is thick or curly you can be just as edgy and spooky as anyone else. It’s all about embracing who you are and your natural assets.  Of course if you want to make chemical changes to your hair their’s nothing wrong with that either.  It took me years to stop straitening my hair and embrace my curls.  I stopped because it was ruining my hair and was too much maintenance.  I do color my hair because I think its fun.

To boil everything down, be yourself and work with the natural shapes, colors and textures of the body you have.  Let your imagination run wild and have fun.  And always remember, you don’t have to fit into anyone else definition or label, be you.

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Frightening Friday

Today is Friday the 13th! For most this is just another day, but for many it is one of the most frightening days of the year.  Not just those who suffer from triskaidekaphobia or parakevidekatriaphobia, but also those who are superstitious without being phobic. The question some of us may be asking is: why?

Tradition

People grow up fearing what they are told is scary.  If you hear every Friday the 13th all your life that it’s a day of bad luck then you are likely to believe it.  The dark side of the day is mostly in our minds, or at least that’s the theory of Stuart Vyse, a professor of psychology at Connecticut College in New London.  If you think about it further that’s really how all culture is passed down through the generations.  Associating bad luck and fear with the number 13 and Friday the 13th is just one part of Western Culture which has been carried through the generations.

Western culture actively avoids the number by skipping it in high rise buildings when labeling the floors or (sometimes) in street addresses. The ever growing number of films dedicated to making this date scary hasn’t exactly helped anyone forget about this custom either.

Biblical Roots

There were 13 guests present at the Last Supper where Judas betrayed Jesus.  The Last Supper was on a Friday.  Merging the two statements gives us one reason for fearing the day.

Other theories with biblical origins also exist.  Some believe that Adam and Eve shared their first taste of forbidden fruit on a Friday. It’s also said that Abel was slain by Cain on Friday the 13th.

 Negative Associations

One of the largest factors contributing to the wide spread fear of Friday the 13th are the number of awful events (real or mythological) which have been associated with the date.

In Norse mythology there is a tale of a doomed dinner in Valhalla. 12 gods were assembled when Loki entered as the 13th member.  He convinced the blind god of darkness, Hoder, to shoot the goddess of joy and gladness, Balder, with an arrow laced with mistletoe. Balder died plunging the morning world into darkness.

King Philip IV of France torture the Knights Templar on Friday the 13th. Apparently he wanted the riches they were supposedly hiding. In Roman culture witches we said to gather in groups of 12 with the devil being the 13th guest.  Friday was once know as the hangman’s day in Britain. This was the day when most executions took place.  The gallows had exactly 13 steps.

Complete Numbers

According to the theory of numerology 12 is a complete number.  There are 12 signs in the zodiac, 12 apostles, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 months in the year, 12 gods of Olympus, the list goes on.  13 in comparison is not a complete number and therefore makes people uncomfortable.  For me it’s the opposite, 12 is a strange number for me and 13 makes perfect sense.  Maybe its from years of consciously embracing 13 and refusing to fear the number.  Now 12 is just awkward for me, it feels like it falls just short of the number comfortable 13.


The Ideal Family

Many have searched and searched to find the formula for creating the perfect family. There are numerous self help books and blog posts on the subject. Many psychological publications have advise on how to achieve this much desired familial bliss.  I’m very pleased to announce that I have found the ideal family whose example we should all follow.  I present to you: The Addams Family.

A Beautiful Marriage

 

If you have ever viewed the marriage of Gomez and Morticia in any of the available forms you will have noticed the intense love between them.  It’s clear that they are a shining example of strong love.  They are very affectionate with each other in all situations.  They are aligned when they parent their children.  They support each others desires and fetishes.  Each has their own interests and independence and they trust each other completely. Unlike typical sitcom marriages these two never belittle each other or complain about one another to their friends.  If anything they only discuss their love and concern for each others well being. And no one has ever accused either member of the pair of straying from the relationship.

Loving Parents

Pugsley and Wednesday (and later in the film series Pubert) are some of the luckiest children in entertainment. Their parents give them the love and support they need to be themselves without judgement. They give them rules and boundaries, but sometimes give in because they just want their children to be happy.  Both parents are also very involved in their children’s schooling.  They attend performances and monitor their readings.  In the first episode of the TV series they go to the school and meet with the principle and have the story of Hansel and Gretel removed from the reading list.  You may assume that the Brother’s Grimm story would be a favorite of the Addams but they have a very different perspective on the famous tale.  They are adamantly against the burning alive of a witch.  Which makes sense, witches are people too!  Bonus points to Gomez and Morticia for teaching tolerance to the school.

Caring Family

The Addams household includes the core nuclear family as many average American households do.  It also includes extended family members which is less commonly found in the US. Grandmama is a beloved mother of either Gomez or Morticia, it is never made clear. Despite not knowing exactly how she’s related she is still loved and given a home. She is respected regardless of her eccentricities and unusual cooking style and not treated as a burden or just some crazy old lady.

Uncle Fester is just as eccentric as anyone else in the clan.  Many people would judge an unmarried grown man living with his younger brother’s family and (maybe) his mother as a loser.  He is not treated like a mooch and is given the same love and respect as the rest of the family.

The family employs Lurch and Thing to help with the household. These two are treated just like family members.  They live in the home with everyone else and when (in the film The Addams Family) the family was thrown from their home, Lurch and Thing stayed to help the family get through hard times and come back together.

Humble

The Addams family is independently wealthy.  Their wealth is never fully spelled out, but it is clearly obvious from the vault of gold in the cellar and the fact that no one has a job.  You will notice that they never flaunt their riches.  You don’t see them spending money on fancy cars or shopping sprees. They send their children to public school. Morticia does much of her own gardening and makes her own clothes. She likely makes the children clothes too.  They have fancy possessions, but largely because they are family heirlooms, but because they go out and buy material goods. And I have not once seen them treat anyone as lower class because of their wealth.

Of course we have to remember that these are fictional people.  No family will ever be perfect or eternally happy. That’s just not the way life works.  There are also many different configurations of families, not just the average nuclear unit shown here. However, we can all still learn a few things about unconditional love, patience and acceptance from these characters.


Office Spooky

Even the dark and spooky among us need to earn a living. Whether you consider yourself goth, punk or part of any other alternative life style you still need to eat. You deserve to have a well paying career which you enjoy. Wearing exquisitely winged eyeliner or being covered in tattoos shouldn’t limit your employment opportunities.

In reality you can work anywhere you please.  If you want to be a lawyer or doctor or tattoo artist that’s what you should pursue. Unfortunately there is still a lot of prejudice in the working world towards people who are different.  You may need to do a lot of searching to find a workplace which is a good fit for you. There are some industries/careers that are more accepting than others.

Haunted Tour Guide

Almost every large city has some level of haunted history and a few walking tours to go with it. Having a tour guide in a top hat and tails or a flowing victorian gown adds to the atmosphere.

Photographer

Whether you are private, freelance, or in house many people expect photographers (and other creative types) to be eccentric and unusual.  Use these expectations to your advantage.  Nearly every industry you can think of needs a photographer at some point.  Food, clothing, people, products all need to be presented in a pleasing manor for advertising or other publications. The same idea applies to other areas of the film and entertainment industries.

Beauty & Music

The beauty, fashion and music industries are known for being open to all types of individuals.  Hair stylist, makeup artist, tattoo artist, musician are some of the more well known occupations.  Nearly every job in these industries, including those in corporate settings, allow you to show your tattoos and dress as you please.  However, the higher you climb the corporate latter the less you may be encouraged to express your spookiness. This will vary widely depending on the company.

Tech & Online

Many modern employers are embracing people who live alternative life styles. Some major companies include; Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Zappos.  Many smaller start up companies are also open to freedom of fashion expression.

Education

Depending on the school and area you might be able to find a teaching job which allows you to dress the way you like.  This requires some research to find a location which is accepting and you may not have one in your area. If you can’t find a school you can offer your services as a private tutor. If you chose to tutor children their parents may pass some judgement.  However as our generation grows up and has children of school age you may find less of this judgement. Or you can teach private lessons to adults.  Nearly any skill you have can be taught (art, music, foreign language) and you are likely to find at least a few people willing to pay you to learn.

Entrepreneur

That’s right, start your own business and make your own policies.  You’re smart and capable. Find something you’re passionate about, learn what you need to know to run a related business and go for it!  Of course I’m making it sound simple for the sake of this post.  It is a real challenge to start and run your own business.  It takes a lot of drive and dedication and you really need to know how to run a business or partner with someone who does.  However, my earlier statement still applies, you’re smart and capable.  With hard work you can do whatever you want.

Looking for even more alternative job options, check out this page by Mookychick.

 

 


Dream Weaver

Today is March 18th, World Sleep Day.  This day is dedicated to celebrating sleep and bringing awareness to the wide variety of sleep disorders from which many people suffer. This year WSD has launched the slogan “Good sleep is a reachable dream.” Which got me thinking about dreams in general.

There are numerous theories about why we dream.  Everything from dreams being a consequence of biological functions to dreams being the very reason why we sleep.  There are many who feel that dreams are the minds way of working through subconscious issues.  Others believe dreams are prophetic.

Just as interesting as theories about why we dream are the theories about the meanings behind the dreams. Understanding your dreams can be tricky and is extremely subjective.  What I find the most interesting when reading about dream symbols is that many of the scariest images can have unexpectedly happy meanings.

Affair

This symbol depends heavily on the individuals involved.  If, in your dream, you are having an affair with your current partner it is thought that this represents a new closeness in the relationship.

Being Chased

While most people find this feeling terrifying and see it as a sign of being threatened it can be viewed as incentive to face a problem that has been haunting you.

Cliff

Standing at the edge of a cliff may seem terrifying, but in your dreams it shouldn’t frighten you. It can mean an increased level of awareness or fresh point of view.

Death

Similar to the death card in a tarot deck meaning change, death in a dream is seen as a symbol of transition. One phase in life is ending and making way for a new phase.  Death can also be seen as a sign of encouragement to start a new endeavor.

 

 

Spiders

Spiders have a lot of great qualities.  Depending on the placement and activities of the spider in a dream it can be sending different messages. Spiders spinning webs may indicate a pending reward for hard work.  See one climbing a wall and your desires may soon be realized.  Sounds like good omens to me.

Join me in celebrating World Sleep Day by getting some great rest and having sweet dreams.


Very Superstitious

Many people, myself included, succumb to various superstitions.  Practices like avoiding walking under ladders or touching wood to prevent bad luck have a wide range of origins from religious beliefs to old world common sense (umbrellas used to be very hazardous to open indoors).  Here are some of the origins I find most interesting.

Salt

Salt has a long rich history is most cultures around the world.  You can find it in nearly every kitchen worldwide. It is has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries. Due to how expensive it was to the Romans the word salary was born. It seems obvious that spilling anything so expensive would be frown upon. There is more to the story than just the price.  Some cultures saw salt as a symbol of friendship and to spill it was to hurt that bond.  In DaVinci’s Last Supper painting Judas is shown having spilled salt.  This is likely where the idea that spilling salt was a bad omen.  So what do you do to combat a bad omen brought on by spilled salt? You throw a pinch over your left shoulder to blind the devil who lurks there.

I have also know people who refuse to take salt directly from another persons hand, it must be placed on the table first. Some believe that placing a salt shaker directly in someones hand means you will get into a fight with that person.  To others it is more serious meaning your relationship with that person will end completely.

Wood

Touching or knocking on wood to ward off bad luck is very common in the US and Europe. If wood is not available some people knock on their heads just in case.  Wood has been a sacred symbol to ancient religions since the beginning of time. Many of these religions believed that spirits lived in trees and touching or knocking on the trees would call upon them for protection. There is also a theory that the custom is tied to christians touching the crucifix when taking an oath or that the loud knocking should would scare off evil spirits.

Cats

Cats have been seen as both a good omen and a bad one.  The color associated with good or bad changes depending on the culture. Egyptians revered all cats of any color.  In Japan it is said to be lucky for a single woman to own a black cat.  In Great Britain black cats are considered so lucky that they are given as bribes. The idea that black cats are bad luck is likely to have started in the middle ages when people believed they were familiars or witches in disguise.  It was later believed that these cats were the devil and that if one crossed your path the devil was watching you.  I have a hard time believing the devil could hide behind such cuteness.

The Number 13

Triskaidekaphobia is the formal name for fear of the number 13.  It is so common to avoid the number 13 in the US that most high rise buildings do not have a 13 button in their elevators.  This is another superstition related to the last supper where there were 13 people seated at the table and Judas was the 13th to be seated. A similar situation happens in Norse mythology where Loki is the 13 member seated at a dinner between the gods and causes the death of the god Balder.

Hearses & Cemeteries

I have often felt like I should do something when seeing a hearse or passing a cemetery, but I couldn’t figure out what.  Perhaps it steams from hearing the old rhyme “never laugh when a hearse goes by or you will be the next to die”. Turns out that it’s common for people to touch a button when they see a hearse or hold their breath when passing a cemetery. Some believed that if you breathe near the dead you might inhale a soul. The most cautious in Victorian society would hold their breath and lift their feet when a hearse went by.  Perhaps that’s where the habit of touching a screw and lifting your feet when driving over railroad tracks originates.  Why people chose to touch or hold buttons is unclear.  However the origins of these superstitions are pretty obvious, people fear death.


Rest In Peace

There are an infinite number of ways to die, but only a few options for what happens to your body afterwards.  I have never been a fan of the idea of embalming and just letting my body lay in the ground forever. Thankfully there are some alternative options. You have probably heard of some options such as cryogenic freezing, being shot into space or becoming a tree….here are a few you may not have heard about.

Eternal Reef

The eternal reef is my preferred option.  The premise is simple, your body spends eternity supporting marine environments. Your body is cremated, mixed with cement, poured into a mold, and then placed in the ocean in an area where natural coral reefs have deteriorated. I can’t think of a better way for my body to spend eternity than to be surrounded by fish, coral, sea turtles and all the other critters that live in and around reefs.  The best part is that there is no need to buy a coffin, a headstone or have your body embalmed.  Plus you can save the cremated remains of a loved one (human or pets) and have them mixed with yours in the same structure.  I think that’s quite sweet.  If I could spend eternity watching sea turtles with my husband that would be my heaven.

And Vinyly

vinyl

And Vinyly will press your ashes into a unique vinyl record.   Multiple copies are given to your loved ones to share. If you like this option you need to plan in advance to create your personalized recording.  It can be your life sound track, a special message or just your natural pops and crackles (for about 12 minutes per side). They will take partial bodies or the whole thing (must be cremated in advance).  They also take pets. For an extra fee you can have your record distributed in select stores.  Lets just hope future generations hold on to record playing technology so they can listen to your life’s B side.

Life Gem

They say diamonds are forever, and now you can be too.  Have Life Gem turn your cremains into a one of a kind diamond.  There are various colors, cuts and settings available. These can also be made from a lock of hair.  Just in case you want to give that special someone a piece of yourself while you are still around to see them enjoy it.

Infinity Burial Suit

iwab_installation_sm

A suit I like to call the flesh eating mushroom death suit will return your body to the earth thanks to the specially cultivated infinity mushrooms. Created by artist and scientist JR Lee the suit blends fashion with living units. The mushrooms neutralize the toxins in your body and turn you into healthy nutrients for the earth.  Check out this Ted Talk to see the suit in motion.

A Work Of Art

There are a variety of artistic options for your final remains.  Nadine Jarvis is well known for making various pieces from human ashes.  I find the set of pencils the most interesting.  The average body can yield over 200 pencils, enough to last someone their life time.  The box comes with a built in sharpener so the shavings are saved and the box becomes an urn when the pencils are finished. Jarvis has also made bird feeders which nourish the birds and allow them to spread your remains far and wide.

Deciding what to do with your final remains is a tough decision.  With all the available options I’m sure you can find one that suits you best so you can live happily knowing you will rest in peace.