Friday, September 30, 2011

Ground Control to Major Tom. Black Goth Hair.

First I have to quote this from the comment wellroundedtype2 left on this post:

You are an astronaut of sorts, and others will follow. You allow all sorts of new channels to flow.

I have been chewing on that and first what a beautiful thing to say thank you.

Now I have to tell you how wonderful and amazing to me it is that someone who doesn't know me personally could sum up so many of my core values in two small sentences.

In my world over the years I have often thought (my deep inside thoughts, I don't normally say these things out loud but fuck it) that I have done a lot of spelunking in the universe, all alone like an astronaut.

Well not an astronaut precisely, rather like some Space Cowgirl all alone in the universe discovering shit.

What I'm going to talk to y'all about today in Black Goth entry #2 is hair.

Now when I was a wee BabyBat there were not (again, this is a running theme) Black folks I could look around and see with crazy hair. Maybe the odd Black lady with ash blond hair but nothing like I wanted.

Now I have done many colors and sadly don't have photos of all of them but let me show you some of my favorites.

For Black folks your first (and in my head best if you like to change it up) option is wigs. I've owned many.

Wait let's start smaller than that. Fake ponytails.

I have been a lover and rocker of fake ponytails for almost 18 years. This one (I think this pic is about 8-9 years old)
Photobucket

I made that ponytails with some cheap weave hair. You can put all your hair into a bun or two buns, then wrap the weave tracks around, pin them down securely and don't whip your hair back and forth too much.

Um..okay a lot of the following pictures are old scanned in pictures that I don't have dates for. We'll go one by one.

This look was when I had purple hair that was relaxed and I wore it in big loose curls kind of Marilyn Monroe ish. This picture was taken in Pioneer square outside of the now long gone Catwalk club after a Fetish Fashion show.


Black folks, purple hair is beautiful but very hard to maintain especially if you have relaxed hair. You have to constantly battle dryness and breakage from the processes and frankly unless you're hair is very short I don't recommend it.

Next up after a disasterous run of ugly braids I made Uniballer cut my hair. Well I started and he helped and it resulted in my favorite hair ever. The Bright Purple Butch Brush cut.


Again, relaxed hair with purple dye. Super beautiful. I felt amazingly sexy but in the long run the up keep was awful.

This shot is one of my favorite wigs ever. This was a plain black bob cut wig I purchased at a wig store here in Seattle. To make wigs look a bit more natural you can soak them in a mix of apple cider vinegar and water to take some of the shine down. You can also rough them up a bit with combing/brushing to give them a more realistic appearance if you're going for realness.

Personally I don't give a damn about realness if I'm wearing fake hair. I just don't.


You can also incorporate head wraps into your aesthetic. This is something I only figured out in adulthood but I do really love a sleek black wrap with a gothy outfit.

There are tons of ways to wear a head wrap. I only have mastered a few but this was my earliest look with a headwrap:


Another view:


Over the years and the many hair styles I've learned that if I want to emulate a particular look and it involves things that my hair just does not do or should not do, when in doubt try a wig first.

In these days of having all the tutorials and learning tools you could ever want I really suggest my young Black Goth homies that you learn how to braid. Learn how to attach a temporary weave. Lean to dye weave hair. IF you want to learn something from your own aging cranky ass old Goth learn that.

At 34 I'm bored with my hair and frustrated because there are so many things I never learned. Learn them.

These days my hair is natural and I've been wearing it in buns. I've finally sort of figured out how to wear an afropuff-


Be glad (I almost typed young Padawans) my homies that you have all these styling resources at your fingertips.

That being what it is I am going to be bleaching some Bride of Frankenstein style white streaks at the temples in my hair.

Why?

Because I want to.


Next week I'll get more into some of the things I used to deal with when I was rocking my crazy hair or extensions.

This fluff brought to you by me missing being a Dye Hard and having a jones to change up my hair.
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fatty is gettin it.

Oh my darlings.

I'm not feeling super hot (THANKS EARS YOU ARE JERKS) but, I have a new reader sexytimes question.

Ready?

So our friend whom we'll call HotBooty has a new boyfriend. She said that it has been a while since she's had a boyfriend and a longer time since she's had a lot of sex.

Basically, her new lover spends a lot of time not only looking at her/loving her body like she is Mother Fucking Christmas(find all entries about that phrase there) but also he is behaving like she is Mother Fucking Christmas and it is to totally sum up what she said, freaking her shit right out.

First thing Ms. HotBooty you're fine. You are not a crazed super freak. Feeling freaked out by your lovers interest is unfortunately totally normal.

Here's the thing. Fat women (yes I'm talking specifically about fat women) have not only the usual bullshit about sexuality thrust upon us but we also exist in this weird place. People believe we're easy yet unfuckable, we're so awful and ugly that we should be thankful to be assaulted but on the other hand some drunk dude at some point will probably want us so we should be happy about that too.

It's a huge bind to be in. Even if you joyfully reject all that, it's still there.

So yes Ms. HotBooty I can see why you are freaked out.

The short answer to your dilemma is to look at your partner and say, fuck you're awesome and get on that.

The longer answer is more complicated.

First thing you need to fess up to your partner. Now be prepared for hurt feelings. Yes, your partner knowing that the way he looks at you upsets you will probably hurt his feelings.

I know because I've been there.

The thing is in your disbelief of his desire and enjoyment of your physical body you are in essence not trusting him. Have a sit down with yourself and be honest.

Do you think he is a liar? Do you believe that there is something inherently wrong with him? Is he a jerk?

If the answer to those questions is no, you need to work on learning to trust that he knows exactly what he is doing.

In your letter you indicated to me that you've been together for a while. Does he usually treat you well? When he says Hi Ms. Hotbooty and smiles at you does it feel good?

Are the answers yes?

I am going to assume the answers are yes and I want you to take that yes and hold on to it. Understand that when you two are naked and he's beside himself with wanting to touch you all over and he's looking at you like you are Mother Fucking Christmas, you are okay. He's not doing anything weird or tricky.

Understand that this lingering doubt you have is a by product of being in our society. We are trained to insert self loathing into everything in some measure.

The way to get through it is hard. You have to be vigilant. Think of those doubts as to the level of his desire for you as evil things that are seriously trying to cock block.

You don't want it.

You don't need it.

And furthermore you do not deserve it.

You my darling wonderful Ms. Hotbooty deserve this wonderful partner who looks at you in all your delicious nakedness like Mother Fucking Christmas.

You don't have to question it. If you need to hear it here it is.

You have the permission of the Dowager Empress of All Fatassia (Shannon) to frolic and enjoy your lover with impunity. You have the permission of the Dowager Empress of All Fatassia to have as much sex with your partner or whomever else you want to whenever you want to without feeling like it must be some kind of trap.

Your partner thinks you are hot. Go with that.

Now Ms. HotBooty you have homework. I want you the next time you catch your boyfriend looking at you like you're Mother Fucking Christmas to look back at him and smile. It doesn't matter if you're blushing or feeling like OH SHIT HE'S LOOKING. Do it anyway. It has been written so shall it be done.

When he asks thank you for what, if he asks that is. Tell him thank you for making me feel beautiful right now.

After that I want you two to enjoy each other. Have sex, take a nap, have a cuddle, go get some cupcakes. Just enjoy each other.

Remember Ms. Hotbooty what you have with your boyfriend is a precious and wonderful thing and he is a precious and wonderful being. Enjoy each other, cherish each other and be kind to each other.

Trust each other.

There are a lot of folks who are still waiting to experience what you have and what you have is from my point of view (that is without knowing all the things) pretty fucking awesome.

Now go forth Ms. Hotbooty and do your thing. Be nice to yourself. Don't get angry if you find yourself doubting again, remember it takes time to change any belief we have even if it's a damaging one.

Also if you do your homework and it's awesome feel free to report back.

Now my homies, do you all have any advice for Ms. Hotbooty? Support? Commiseration? Have at it my darlings.

If you have your own sexytimes or whatever kind of question (any kind of advice you may need) head over to my form here and ask away.

Next week book updates (I'm kinda struggling y'all), another installment about being an aging Black Goth. I'll tackle hair. WITH pictures..

And remember you can get my blog here via your kindle for a dollar a month. The super cheap way to support your local Nudiemuse. Find that here. Even if you don't subscribe feel free to drop in some key words or give it a thumbs up.

Homo Out
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blackness and Gothness. Post 1- aesthetics.

There was a conversation over on tumblr that sparked a need for me to talk about being an Aging Black Goth. So this is the first post.

Now I am 34 and about 15 years ago when I started to really get more into my Gothness as an aesthetic remember that I had no internets. There was no googles. No youtubes. No online solidarity nothing.

When I made a conscious decision to delve more into my long standing goth leanings I discovered a lot of things. The obvious of course was that every image and icon I had to look at was thin, white, pale with straight hair.

It's important here to say that regardless of how much my personal self image comes from inside myself, I am also a very visually oriented person. At that time it was very important to me to have things and people to look at and be inspired by.

I knew how to basically do a cat eye liner. I did a lot of that but beyond that I had no references.

As I mentioned in previous entries about Alt/Gothness I used to be very into Alt culture. I bought (totes NSFW) Blueblood at every chance. I read Gothic Beauty. I consumed Alt print media even if it didn't directly involve fashion. Tattoo magazines, horror magazines, literary magazines.

At that time I never saw a Goth of color for the most part. I recall Blueblood may have had a few non-white models at the time but largely my life was devoid of brown people.

One of the big problems I had at the time involved Nice White People trying to give me style advice.

For instance, picture yours truly heading to the goth shop because I'd read about a pressed powder that was lovely and sparkly. I arrive and find that it comes in super white, kinda white and slightly tan white. Clerk looks at me as if I was asking to slip into the Shroud of Turin.

It took me quite a while to realize that not one of the gothy make up companies or alt make up companies at the time had any face make up appropriate for a brown person. Being that I have for years been very into supporting indie things and the Alt community it was a really hard awful lesson to learn.

Not one.

I remember asking the advice of an elder goth and I got nothing.

Radio silence.

Worse yet, another elder goth who I was trying to be friends with actually recommended ways in which I could pale out my complexion and "refine" it.

Seriously.

I remember being so hurt and I didn't really have the language at that age or coping skills to explain to anyone or even myself just how fucked up that was.

For a few years when I was very into dressing super Gothy and I wore a shitload of Lip Service, Eternal Love etc, I remember that stores I shopped at a lot and spent a lot of money in, I was often treated like a tourist.

When I say "like a tourist" what I mean is that inside any niche store, say a fat girl store when someone who doesn't look like they shop there walks in, it's that snotty we're not going to make an effort thing.

Eventually I stopped shopping locally as much as possible. I started changing my aesthetic and did a lot more DIY and clothes surgery because I just got tired of that.

I spent a lot of time feeling not directly excluded but not really included. And this goes beyond the notorious Seattle Freeze and speaks more to situations where I would be all dressed up and would be getting major side eye until I was uncomfortable and would leave or just not go in the first place.

As a young person of color at that age who was very visibly trying to fly her freak flag proudly life was fucking hard sometimes.

There were layers of difficulty. There was of course the fact that I lived here in Seattle where in many neighborhoods seeing a person of color is cause for alarm (yes sarcasm there), the next layer was that I did not dress "like a Black person" according to both Black folks and white folks.

I became very fond of wearing some Grunge Era Courtney Love level smeared eyeliner. I can't tell you how many times I was "confronted" by strangers.For some reason my apparent non Blackness made people really angry.

On the flip side of that I had a lot of people who heavily exoticized me to the point where I stopped feeling like a pretty human girl and felt like some kind of exhibit.

The cumulative result of feeling either hated or like some weird art exhibit caused me to withdraw from the local scene for the most part.

When I was of age I had a few friends with whom I would go to fashion shows or club nights but I was pretty shy and reticent about really engaging and looking back that makes me really unhappy.

Now that I'm older I am fine with how other people treat me when I don't appear to fit into their mold of what blackness is or isn't. In some ways I do feel like I was part of the early movement of Black folks flying their freak flags.

I'll end on a good note.

I remember once while I was rocking what I deemed my Trashy Goth look. Imagine, black and burgundy asymmetrical bob cut wig, layers of two-three in not so great condition slips, big platform combat boots, major eye liner and carrying a big ugly purse.

I was in Capital Hill waiting for the #7 bus and a young Black woman walked up to me and grilled me about my style and where she too could find these things.

Next time I saw her around she was rocking the fuck out of her Lip Service clothes and she thanked me for being weird and Black and beautiful.

Those few and far between moments like that didn't make it entirely better but they helped.

And now that I am officially an Aging Goth, I can look back and feel like maybe I did contribute a little bit and that's okay.
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Monday, September 12, 2011

To Alt or well not to.

A friend of mine asked me out of the blue not long ago what happened to my love of all things Alt.

A simple but deep and apparently cutting question because I've been brooding on it for a week.

Here's the thing.

Once upon a time I was an Alt of all flavors lover. Alt fashion, Alt porn, Alt photography and art. If it was weird or different I loved it.

Unfortunately to be frank, Alt is pretty ruined for me.

Despite a lot of lip service from labels (Lip Service I'm looking at you) to porn sites that I used to enjoy everything looks the same.

There are very cute thin White ladies who give or take different hair colors or piercings tend to fall into similar categories.

As I've gotten older I simply don't have the taste to look through hundreds of pictures of essentially (I'm talking as far as looks go) the same women.

I'm tired of supporting X Alt. indie thing and never seeing any return or anything I can relate to or enjoy.

I have removed a lot of Alt/indie types from my blog roll. I don't follow Alt designers or Alt magazines anymore because frankly I don't feel welcome.

There are very very few Alt related anything around where I feel comfortable. I hate that I'm relegated to buying a pin or a tote bag because no one seems to ever be able to make things in plus sizes.

Yes, some people are more polite about it than others but bottom line is I don't like that position. I don't like being told that on the one hand YAY DIVERSITY and never seeing that.

I will say yes there are more Alt models etc of color. I will also say that a large percentage of those I've seen conform to the same body type and style. Long straight hair, very thin etc etc.

I have to be honest that I find it exhausting to have to search so hard for something that is relevant to me.

No not just relevant, interesting to me.

I've seen enough Thin pretty White Ladies to last me a fucking life time.

The Alternative in Alt is just not there for me and a large number of Alt related things don't seem interested in moving past this one idea of what pretty is.

I've decided it's just not worth my time or money.

While I may find X magazine interesting and an awesome idea I"m not going to buy it because there's nothing there for me or anyone like me.

I'll give you a concrete example.

I used to be a rabid Gothic Beauty Magazine reader. Way back when I subscribed and I quite often tried to support their retailers.

Looking at some of their fashion advertisers, there is maybe one that I could purchase clothing from. One.

Further more, some of the designers they've featured (Louise Black comes to mine) wouldn't even hear of making larger sizes.

So why would I continue to waste my money?

...........

Exactly I won't.

I have spent the majority of my life overlooking my own invisibility in various scenes and it's fucking exhausting.

Do you know how awful and tiring it is to go into the Goth shop and only be able to buy lipstick or nail polish? Not for lack of funds but because the Goth shop only caters to mainstream sized people?

Do you know how many times I've opted not to buy a band tshirt or artist tshirt because yes I am a big fat fatty and I don't like wearing mens shirts?

Do you know how frustrating it is to want to buy a fancy dress outfit and be unable to because every indie designer or company you like stops at a small size 12?

Do you know how frustrating it is when someone says oh but look we're diverse here's a Black Girl and the Black Girl in effect looks just like every other girl? That in many ways it's worse that yes there's Black Girls but those Black Girls have been molded into such a Eurocentric point of view it's almost worse that they are included?

At 34 years old I'm just done with the lip service.

I'm done with hearing one thing and seeing another.

I'm done with trying so hard to support something I thought was cool because I had hope only to see that well it's not so cool and no I can't play along.

In my mind Alt or Alternative doesn't mean putting a few tattoos or funny colored hair on someone who could be a mainstream model and calling it fancy.

In my mind Alt or Alternative means that it is an alternative to the mainstream in things other than just name.

It means- rather it should mean a different standard of beauty and embracing that standard of beauty.

So yeah.

In case you're among those I don't support anymore it's not entirely personal. I just don't have the time nor do I have the patience. I don't have enough resources to keep supporting things I can't really participate in or support places where I don't feel comfortable.

So that's that.

If you want my (and other folks like me) support, understand that things like race and fatness are not out of the realm of Alt things. We live intersectional lives and trying to keep our lives partitioned is exhausting. Trying to overlook fat hate or casual racism can be awful.

Okay that's all my darlings. I'm hard at work.

Homo Out.
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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Under my Skin.

There are a shit load of things that I have learned not to let under my skin. Names I've been called by strangers and "friends", getting my stories rejected, jackholes being shitty on the internet and still there are a few things that crawl right up my butt and annoy the fuck out of me.

Recently in a (now deleted) conversation on facebook I made a comment to the effect that I am a fat woman who does not like some fashion tid bit. I don't even remember what it was but, what pissed me off were the slew of women telling me OMG DON'T CALL URSELF FAT UR BEAUTIFUL.

I got rude.

I admit it.

Look fuck off.

If there is one thing I hate above almost everything else it is someone trying to "make me feel better" by completly disregarding anything I say. At first I responded that I self identify as a fat person and it is not a pejorative, it just is. I can say that I Shannon am a fat lady just as I can say X person is a fat person and in the context I am using it, I am not making a value judgement. In this context it is a descriptor, it is an identity I have claimed for myself.

The thing about this behavior that makes me angry is the assumption that I am not capable of making up my own mind or thinking about something. I have a similar reaction to anyone who thinks an opinion I have is knee jerk because maybe I didn't explain all the reasons I have a certain opinion. Yes sometimes I can say things that seem flip or unexplained. I am not generally one to be all like RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAY, but I am one to be pissed off when I am disrepected enough to be thought of as essentially being unable to think about things critically or make decisions for myself.

I do not appreciate the attitude that I must be ignorant to hold X opinion or to identify with X thing and thus it is X's job to educate me on why I shouldn't feel a particular way. This is a big part of the reason why I don't identify with feminism anymore. Back to the facebook bullshittery. Basically it came down to me saying you know what yes I am fucking beautiful and yes I am fucking fat and if you cannot deal with it how about you stop commenting or learn to read my reasoning behind using that word. If all you want to do is preach your own self hating language keep right on stepping. It got deleted after that.

Now if you have a predilection towards trying to explain people out of their opinions here is how to go about doing so.
I'll use the fb thing as an example.

Shannon: I'm a fat lady blablablabla

Mystery person X: Oh why do you say you are fat?

Shannon: Because I am a fat person..blablabla self identifying blablabla not a pejorative

Person X: That's an interesting view point... Now at this point two things could happen scenario 1. Person X: Can you tell me more about your opinion about being a fat lady?

Shannon: SURE..fat blablabla FA...blablalba YAY FATASS...

Or scenario B in which I lose my shit:

Person X: That's so awful that you think you're fat I think you're beautiful..blablabla..self esteem..blablabla...weightloss...blablabla

Shannon: *Brain gets full of fuck, proceeds to lose her shit*

The thing is that no matter how much you can't understand, can't see from another point of view, or disagree trying to explain another persons ideas and thoughts away as being knee jerk or whatever it is, is just not awesome.

This is especially not awesome when it comes to how people self identify and talk about themselves. Trying to disagree with them or talk them out of it can be so much more harmful than simply saying, oh I'm interested in what you have to say about being X. You may not ever get it, you may think it's stupid, you may think their way of self identifying is just...too out there for you but it's okay.

YES, yes my homies it is okay to disagree with how and why people say things. Disagreeing does not however give you cause or the right to change them though. No matter what movement you're involved in, how popular a blogger someone is, how much more educated about something someone is it is okay to disagree.

And homies who get disagreed with, it is okay to have people not agree with X about you. That doesn't have to mean the end of a friendship, it doesn't mean you have to argue with them or change their minds. Sometimes we have to know when to say well we don't agree and that's that. Unfortunately too often, especially among people into social justice too many things become deal breakers.

I find the trend of saying well, X doesn't agree with X thing so now we aren't friends/I won't read them ever again/we (as in the collective We who agree on X topic) are going to publicly talk shit about them until they agree all just goes too far. I have seen too many We groups decide to discount everything someone has said or written because they didn't acquiesce to whatever thing the We disagreed with.

I can't get down with that. I don't suggest that having hard limits with people is bad. It's not. I have them. What I am suggesting is that sometimes rather than going right for the unfollow/unfriend/never talk to again mode, maybe figure out how to exist together in a social circle whilst disagreeing.

I suggest that rather than going for someone guns blazing with your homies as back up, just disagree and call it a day.

Or rather than going in with the CHANGE YOUR MIND OR ELSE mentality, go in with a hey, X thing you said really hurt me in X way and it was not okay with me. Could you not do that around me again.

At this point you can go on with your relationship with that person without butting heads, you can decide to limit your interaction with that person or you can hash it out. At the end of the day it comes down to this.

If you claim to be a feminist, size or fat positive, etc once you presume that someone does not have a thought process behind what they say even if you mightily disagree; doesn't help your cause.

You could be talking to someone like me who might see that you have good intentions but your intentions are screwed up by showing disrespect. And yes it is disrespectful to assume that someone has not thought about something. Granted they may have not thought about it but you won't know until you ask. And telling is not asking.

Now my darlings. The essay book is like 98% done being written. I need to have an IM date with my editor to discuss how I'm going to proceed but it'll be awesome.

Also you can catch new experimental horror fiction by me here at Death Head Grin.

Lastly the fund drive continues details at ChipIn (which I continue to find embarrassing).

One last thing. You have homework. What style of Clarks or Dansko shoes do y'all wear? I have zappos credit from a boot disaster and I've been looking. Suggestions for things preferably in black or shiny black and not actual clogs. Homo Out.
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