Saturday, 31 December 2011

Bad Blogger

Seeing as getting the Auschwitz posts written and out on time has turned out to be a total pain in the arse, I've decided to post them together on Auschwitz Memorial Day instead. There are no excuses, I'm sorry, feel free to pelt me with rotten lettuce. 

So... things that have happened... well, I've had a poem published, which is nice; and I have an interview with the Samaritans on the 10th of January (although I have been warned that they often prefer volunteers to be 30+, so... we'll see). Also, according to three-year-old-cousin logic, I'm a digger. Thanks, Bradley. XD

Then there was 5:30ish today, when I came out as Ace to my Mum. I didn't plan to, but while the conversation was on a certain subject she asked me if I was a lesbian (which I'm not), and I just sort of... told her. I think everything's OK, though, which is good. She gave me the old "It might just be a phase", and made a semi-jokey comment about Grandchildren, but it could have been far worse. 

Well, that's pretty much everything. Have a happy New Year :)

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Day 21: What body mod do you have or have you considered?:

I have five piercings at the moment two in each ear and one nose. I did get a labret done when I was sixteen, but found it immensely irritating and took the bloody thing out after less than a day, which probably says a lot about me and my patience, sad to say. I've since concluded that I don't want any bits of metal in my mouth again, although a vertical labret isn't completely out of the question. The only other piercings I've considered are nape of the neck (although I'd imagine caring for that would be very difficult, especially seeing as I have long hair), and top of the ear (but I've decided to stick to wearing ear cuffs for the time being, which I personally think are nicer).

Tattoos wise... the only one I'm pretty sure I want is... well, the idea I have in my head is of a partial tattoo sleeve, ending a fair distance from my wrist so it can be covered if necessary, made up of little shooting stars in green, blue, purple and grey. I have briefly considered a few others, mainly fandom tattoos or ideological symbols, but right now I have no real plans to go ahead with any of them. 

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Asexuality and enthusiastic consent

I have started my Auschwitz two blog, so it's coming, I'm just taking some time out to briefly get on my soapbox about somthing that really, really annoys me.

The current definition of 'enthusiastic consent' (That when it comes to sex, yes should mean "YES!" as opposed to "not no") does indeed exclude asexual people, but so many people are fighting that from the wrong angle. The point you should be making is "Hey! There's more then one reason why someone might really, truly want to have sex! For instance, they may not be particularly into sex, but they really want to make their partner's day! Or maybe they don't like sex much, but genuinely want it because they really want a baby!"

That is, "Hey! There's more then one reason why someone might really, truly, honestly, genuinely want to have sex!"

Not "Hey! Sometimes people have to have sex they don't want, because otherwise their partner will leave them!"

That is just screwed up, and shouldn't be defended. If someone is having sex they don't want because they love their partner sooo much and don't want to lose him/her; or because they're in a relationship and sex is what adults do in relationships, so they'd better toughen up and get on with it... it's wrong. 

It's understandable and human, sure, but it's also wrong. 

Nobody should feel pressured into having sex they don't want. That applies to asexual people too. Nobody in the world has an orientation that makes it OK to tell hem that they really should consider having sex sometimes if they want a relationship.

I have seen threads on AVEN containing tactics designed to make sex bearable for aces who find it disgusting, painful, embarassing, or otherwise difficult. This is not, repeat not, OK.

I'm ace, and I agree with enthusiastic consent. It may need it's boundaries shifting slightly, but fundamentally it's a very good- no, very necessary idea, and one that I will defend.

As an important sideline... there is a difference between an asexual person who doesn't mind sex having it from time to time to please their partner; and a sex-aversive asexual person having sex they hate in order to placate their partner. One of these is perfectly OK. One of these is not. And it's time people realised that.

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Eurgh... it feels a bit weird doing one of these after that rant, but here goes. XD

Day 20: If you could dye your hair any colour, what colour would it be?:

Right from when I was ten or so years old, I wanted completely blue hair. It never quite happened, but I'm fine with that.

Well, OK, I would like to have hair that was 100% blue or green, but I've also long accepted that that isn't happening. I have too much hair, for one thing- it's incredibly thick, almost waist length, and I'm planning on growing it even longer. Blue and Green wash out quite quickly, and I'd never be able to afford the amount of hair dye needed to keep it all fully topped up. I'm also pretty wary of bleaching my entire head, for reasons that may be silly or may be sensible.

So right now, I have the next best thing. Most of my hair is dyed black, apart from a couple of strips at the very front, which are bleached and usually dyed blue, green, or both. I'd quite like to make those strips a bit thicker, but then again, growing them out until they're the same length as the rest of my hair (they're currently shorter) would probably do the trick just as well.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Mainstream Nightclub

The Friday before last, I went to a mainstream nightclub.

(Yeah, you can tell I've been meaning to blog about this for a while).

It was called Reflex, it played a mix of popular music from the 80's and 90's (some of which I liked, most of which I did not), there were mirror balls everywhere and a poledancing pole stuck off to one side. I went in because the group I was with at the time did.

At first I just felt awkward and self-conscious. It always is awkward, when you walk in somewhere and instantly feel out of place, especially if you're also slightly drunk and not feeling mentally at your best. I hung back, stayed glued firmly to the main body of the group, didn't go near the bar, and ducked away in a panic when the photographer turned up (which probably now means there's a photo containing six happy people and a mysterious disembodied leg just visible at the back). I did dance a bit, once or twice... when one of my friends grabbed my hands and started "doing the awkward shuffle", leaving me with no option.

Then my head cleared a bit, and I started to acclimatise, and I realised I had a choice. Either I could hang around at the back all evening with a face like a wet Wednesday, or I could try to join in.

Helped by the sudden appearance of a Dead or Alive song I actually quite like, I started dancing and jumping on my own. At first just to decent songs, then to all songs bar the worst. Random dance chains and spontaneous group hugs ensued. About two people kept going back to the bar for huge Jagermeisters with multiple straws, and everyone else rushed to use the extra straws to 'help' them finish their drink the very second they got back.

Within an hour I'd been on the pole. When everyone else in your group has been badgered into having a go on the thing by the metalhead (who liked the music least but was more enthusiastic than everyone else put together), your inner four year old just takes over and all you can think is how you wanna turn too. I wasn't especially elegant- I tripped over my own feet at least once- but that didn't matter. It was OK to look silly.

I had fun. I actually did. No, it wasn't my kind of place, but if you have to be somewhere that isn't 'you', being a good sport, sticking your tongue firmly in your cheek, and making the most of it is definitely the best thing you can do.

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Day 19: Share beauty advice and take a photo of your make up: 

**Bursts out laughing at the idea of me, someone who relates all too well to Katharine Whitehorn's Sluts I article, giving people beauty advice**

Anyway... to begin with, here's a photo of my eye makeup on the day I happened to remember that this question needed a photo. This was a college morning, I think I'd overslept slightly, and I didn't have time to do anything flashy, so it's pretty basic. And the lighting's not great, because I'm really no photographer. As for what I used... pencil eyeliner to do the basic outline around my eye, liquid eyeliner to draw the line, and plain 'glittery neutral' eyeshadow, which I applied to my eyelid then smudged around a bit.

So... beauty advice. I don't have much of it. I'm the sort of person who goes to sleep in their fiundation on a regular basis because I'm too tired to take it off. When it comes to makeup my general tactics are "play around with it a bit until you find something that looks decent". Nonethless, I'll try.

First, I'll buck the trend slightly, and say that it doesn't matter if your makeup isn't perfect. Obviously it's good to get it perfectly symmetrical and non-smudged, but it's really not the end of the world if it's not. Also, if you make a mistake whilst applying eyeliner, or find that you just can't get that bit right... improvise. Incorporate the mistake in, or change the design on the problem eye and be asymmetrical for the day.

If you like an eyeliner design... feel free to use it, even if it's cliched. I personally find tear dribbles absolutely awful and have no idea why anyone would want to look like they've been crying, but  at the same time, I understand that that's just my opinion. If you like tear dribbles, feel free to draw them on, and then tell me to go and do something unpleasant involving a porcupine. I'm not much better, anyway, with the cheesy little curliques I occasionally doodle around my eyes.


Ah, yes. This is probably a bit Captain Obvious, but if your hair dye is prone to bleeding, washing your hair gently, and in cold water rather than hot, will reduce the problem a lot. Oh, and bleach is good for removing hair dye stains from the bathroom door/tiles/sink/floor/wall.

... and, yeah. That's pretty much all I have.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Confessions of a Procrastinator

Good news: I'm alive!

Bad news: Auschwitz 2- the monolith  was meant to be up two days ago, and I have a half finished light hearted post that should have been up by the start of last week.

So, why aren't they?

Because I'm up to my eyeballs in Extended Project.

No, seriously. This is the 5000 word essay we were, in theory, supposed to start in January. For a multitude of reasons, some within my control, some not, I didn't start until the end of July.

I meant to use the Summer holidays to catch up with everyone else.

I didn't.

There are many things I can blame for this. Some of them are quite depressing, so for the sakes of this post I'll point the finger at and leave it there.

Now there's a fortnight to go before the final deadline and I've only written about 1000 words of my first draft. I should be nearly done by now, but I've got a way to go, and I'm starting to realise the next two weeks might consist of me working like a machine (possibly a slightly faulty one that gets stuck and crashes from time to time, mind you) for a few hours every day after college.

So, blogging is well and truly on the back burner for a bit, which is a bit of a bugger as I was planning to up my post count this month. I do have a day off on Thursday, though, so provided I decide to stay at home (well, my Dad's, which is where I am this week), I might be able to get my delayed posts up then, although one of them may as well be ancient history by that time. XD

No question today either. I would if the next one was a few-sentences thing, but it requires a photo and I'll need a few paragraphs to get across what I want to say, so... yeah. Not now.

Anyway, I'll be back... when I'm back, I suppose, which will hopefully be really soon. In the meantime, I'll let the spiders squat here for a while; they can put back all the nice cobwebs I so cruelly brushed away back in August.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Auschwitz: Part 1

As in, part 1 of the three other posts I can't attach a question to.

The Learning From Auschwitz project is an annual event made up of four parts: A pre-seminar in London, a one-day visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, a follow up seminar, and a project. Generally only two people per college get the chance to go, and after putting my name down, initially on a whim, I somehow found myself one of them.

I wasn't sure how to feel when I was told I was going. The two attendees are chosen by lottery, and I hadn't really expected my name to get pulled out.You can't really be excited because of what it is, and worrying about the practicalities, such as the 7AM flight to Poland on the 10th of November, and the fact that I'd need to travel to London twice, feels kind of... trivialising. When it's a place like Auschwitz, navigating the Underground and filling out paperwork seems a bit beside the point. I could say I was expecting it to be interesting, but that sounds limp somehow. I'm going to a place of mass-murder. How can I possibly describe that in a way that does the victims justice?

It'll be an Experience. That's all I can say at the moment.

Anyway, the first part, the pre-Seminar was last Wednesday. The Venue was about a five minute walk from Farringdon Station. It was buried into the side of an overpass, and would have been difficult to spot were it not for the stained glass windows. There were more people there than I'd expected- around 200. An entire planeful, more or less. Naturally, we got seated right at the back of the room, and as a result the first speaker, a man called Alex, was reduced to just a head bobbing about in front of the top half of a projection screen. His main job seemed to be to take us through proceedings, introducing everyone else and giving instructions. To start with he just gave us some background, telling us a bit about Auschwitz and what we'd be hearing about it over the course of the afternoon.

Then he handed over to a survivor. This was the second time in my life I've heard a Holocaust survivor speak, and the first one always sticks firmly in my mind. It had been in year 10, and our entire year group had been gathered in the hall to hear this man talk about his experiences as a young boy. Throughout the entire thing, everyone was silent. Silent, that is, not quiet. I don't mean quiet. I mean the kind of absolute silence that just never happens in schools. With us, there would always been someone talking, or moving, but not then. There was just... no noise, no teacher got up on an errand, no student lapsed in concentration even for a moment. Just... nothing, for over an hour. It was amazing.

This time round was similar, of course, but it didn't seem so out of the ordinary. The structure was different too. The first speaker, Joseph, had been linear, and talked about his experiencess in depth before asking for questions briefly at the end. This second one, Bob, told us in brief what had happened to him in the Jewish Ghettos and the two different camps he'd been held captive in, and then, after a brief break in which I made a dash for the liquid caffiene jug because I'd barely slept, spent far longer answering questions.

How this worked was one of the volunteers, Anna, wandered around, going over to anyone with their hand up and handing them the mic. Having come up with absolutely nothing to ask during the break, I suddenly got hit with inspiration and asked whether or not his experiences had had any lasting effect. Fortunately, he insisted they did not.

One of the things the LFA Project aims to do is to rehumanise the Holocaust. To remind the world that everyone involved, both victims and perpetrators, were people. They had names, they had lives prior to the war and many went back to those lives after it. We were shown photos of Holocaust victims before they became victims. A little boy on his first day at school. Two women on holiday, wearing fancy dress. We were told about a case where one of the camp commandants recognised a woman as being from the same part of Germany as him, and saved her life. Bob told us about his Wife, also a survivor, who was rescued by Nuns who were nominally outside the whole system. The entire point of this was to remind people that it wasn't straightforward, to take everything away from statistics and into names and choices.

After that, we split up into our assigned groups (Me and Chris, the other Itchener, were 10) and got taken through some of the finer details more thoroughly. It's probably worth mentioning here that the first sheet we were handed contained the first subject of discussion- an advert for "Auschwitz Experience Stag and Hen nights- bars, clubs... and a visit to the camp if you want to tick the culture box!" React to that however you like. I didn't know either. It sounded like something Chris Morris had made up, but we were all assured it was completely real. The mind boggles. Anyway, after that talk we were given lists of things it was reccomended we bring, and taken through the daily plan for Thursday, when we go to Poland. It turns out our destinations include some of the areas of the... more jarring areas of Auschwitz. The bunks. The Gas Chambers.

The Hair Room, where photography isn't permitted.

We were told here that nobody would force us to go into anywhere involving torture or death if we didn't want to. I know I will go in- I'm the type of person who always has to see- but I have no idea how I'll feel once I'm there, in a room where people were once murdered. Especially as my reactions to emotionally charged situations like that tend to be a bit unpredictable- sometimes I'll be in floods of tears, others I'll feel nothing.

I'll try and take a few photos for part two (which will probably be huge), but obviously not too many. I might have to take some voice recordings too, for my Journalism teacher, who seems to think it would be a good idea.

Clothes wise... I'll be toning everything down to go. It feels necessary. It appears I'll still be wearing my platform boots, though- I wasn't going to, but it soon became clear they were the better option, and the volunteer greenlit me.

Anyway, the Seminar rounded off with a typical closure, including more instructions and general anticipation.

It was a strange walk back to Farringdon Station.

So... I have no idea how I'm going to work out 'sleeping' between Wednesday and Thursday, seeing as I have to go to college as normal on the Wednesday but still be up at three to get to Gatwick, but I'll manage somehow. It'll be difficult- it already has been, what with us nearly getting lost on the London Underground- but it'll definitely be well worth it.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Autistics Speaking Day Post- Reasons I support Neurodiversity.

Neurodiversity, as a movement, isn't always taken seriously. I've heard everything from people calling it a joke to people calling it a cult. Many seem not to understand, completely mystified by why anyone would want to be 'proud' of a 'disease'. Others argue that it is all very well for people with Aspergers, ADHD, Tourettes and other so-called 'high-functioning' neurotypes to shout for acceptance rather than cure, but they have a child who can't speak, can't sleep, can't read and needs treatment. A lot of people just flat-out don't see it as a legitimate movement, or misunderstand horribly and think the whole point of ND is to take liberties and make neuroatypical people legally and socially untouchable.

I have a lot I wish I could say to these people. I have supported neurodiversity since I was thirteen years old.

I am a woman with mild Aspergers- mild to the point it took them around seven years of dithering to decide that I definitely had it. I can 'pass' reasonably well, and usually just come across as an eccentric NT. I wasn't bullied that badly at school, my family have never abused, discriminated against, or tried to cure me, I have had friends far more often than not and I have only been faced with institutional discrimination once, and that was a mild case. I am, technically speaking, one of the lucky ones- but after battling long periods of depression and very low self-esteem, I certainly don't feel lucky. Which begs the question... if I, one of the 'lucky' ones, can get hurt this badly, where does that leave people who had it worse than me?

I support neurodiversity for those people who had it worse and suffered horribly simply because they were different in a way other's couldn't understand; and I support neurodiversity for other like me, who got off likely in comparison and still had a rough ride.

I support neurodiversity because I am yet to meet a neuroatypical person who has not suffered from stereotyping, bullying, and discrimination at one stage or another, and I support neurodiversity because for many of these people, the discrimination has come from parents and teachers they should have been able to trust.

I support neurodiversity because the rate of mental illness amongst neuroatypical people, especially people on the autistic spectrum, is through the roof, and nobody seems to see it as an issue. Many professionals accept this as 'a natural part of autism', rather than looking for an external cause and trying to treat it, like they usually would with a neurotypical patient.

I support neurodiversity because I believe this high rate of mental illness is caused by the stress of trying to 'pass', and because the amount of pressure placed on people to pass is most likely damaging. Neuroatypical children are not taught to be themselves like neurotypical children are. They are taught to suppress themselves and be someone else, someone more likable, someone more sociable, someone less 'weird'. Neuroatypical children are taught, effectively, to be people pleasers, to place their self worth in how much other people like them, and in turn consider it a fault with themselves if someone does not like them. I support Neurodiversity because this is wrong.

I support neurodiversity because I believe there is space for a massive variety of people in society, and that including those who are different rather than trying to mould them into a prescribed 'norm' is the way forward.

I support neurodiversity because some of the treatments and medications given to neuroatypical children are unfair, have bad side effects, or are downright dangerous. Many children are harmed or denied a childhood by parents desperately trying to change them into something they're not.

I support neurodiversity because the ND movement challenges Autism Speaks, who contribute heavily to this by exploiting the fears of parents rather than offering them genuine help.

I support neurodiversity because neuroatypical people seldom get fair or accurate representations in the media. I know fictional Aspergers characters are virtually interchangeable, and in the media we are often described with patronising language such as 'weak', 'naive', and 'vulnerable'. To name some other examples, Dyslexia is often taken to extremes in fiction for the purposes of drama, Kanner's Autism is seldom depicted, and when it is, it's often in a plucky-heartstrings 'my tragic child' kind of storyline. Good luck finding a depiction of Tourettes that isn't a) focused exclusively on coprolalic tics and b) played for laughs. When the best you can hope for is for your neurotype to be featured in a supercrip storyline or article, or not be too stereotyped or infantilised, you know there's a problem.

I support neurodiversity because neuroatypical people are almost always shut out of decision-making that concerns them. If they get involved at all, it's to tell their story and then leave the important talks to the NTs. We seldom get the chance to suggest improvements or challenge the status quo, and when we do, we often find our input was unwelcome, far more so than if a parent or professor had said it. Even the UK's National Autistic Society, in most ways very good, is guilty of this.

I support Neurodiversity because the current system places 'looking normal' in front of the feelings, desires, personality and emotional wellbeing of the neuroatypical person.

I support neurodiversity because searching for cures takes away from searching for productive workarounds, alternative communication and learning methods, education, and support.

I support neurodiversity because so many neuroatypical children and adults have to battle and struggle when the vast majority of their peers do not.

I support neurodiversity because I care about equality and social justice in general. To me, being in favour of neurodiversity is as obvious a thing to do as being against racism.

And I will continue to support neurodiversity in the hope that with enough time and effort, eventually everything I've written in this post will simply go without saying.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Reading and Writing.

This is one of those spur-of-the-moment posts. It's not coming from good feelings, to be honest, but I'll try to keep it as light-hearted as possible.

When I think of my childhood, reading is one of the first things that come to mind. In primary, I was the books kid. I was the kid who learnt to read early and stayed ahead from there on in. I was the kid who found writing fun, and consistently got top grades in creative writing or English pieces. I was the kid who, in year two, would randomly walk out of the classroom the second the teacher's back was turned, run off down the corridor to the bookcase, plonk herself down on the floor and start reading. A couple of years later, I was the kid who'd have to be forcibly dragged out of the library, and who would take a book off a shelf whilst standing in the dinner queue, never getting deterred by the  fact that she'd have to grudgingly put it back after a minute or so when everyone moved forward. I was the kid who, in year six, would pull a book out of her bag and start reading in class whenever the work got too boring (and then get verbally bollocked into next week by the teacher).

Then, in year seven, I attempted to write books, some fact, some fiction, and, after religiously writing at least a page a night, I actually managed to finish one, although nothing ever came of it. I also regularly read the textbooks on teaching and disability in my school's Student Support area, because the vast majority of the fiction was so far below my level I just could not muster up any interest in it. In year eight, I submitted an autobiographical piece of writing to a child psychologist, who was writing a book about autism as seen from the perspective of children on the spectrum, and was happy to see it make the final cut. Around this time, I started doing patches of creative writing for fun.

When people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, my answer would always be some variation on 'writer'.

Now, I'm...

I can't exactly pin down when things changed, but they did. They did so damn much. I can only suppose that when I got... whatever I got... around the middle of year nine, and my motivation to work began to wane, my motivation to write did too. It's been so, so long now since I wrote bits of fiction just for the fun of it. I still have ideas, but they never seem to make it to paper like they used to. As for reading, well, there's been a couple of years now where it's taken me ages to get round to reading anything, and even longer to actually read it. I'm gradually getting better on that front, but considering reading used to be something I just did all the time, the fact that I've spent vast swathes of the last two or three years just 'not in the mood'... I just don't know how it happened.

My current environment hasn't helped. At least, with Wyvern, I had my English GCSE coursework (most pieces of which I got an A* for), and the school newspaper, which I wrote for multiple times over the course of the year. Even the final exam allowed me to be creative, and I actually had fun as I answered the final question with a surreal fantasy short story. Itchen? Nothing. I applied to write for the newsletter, but this time I just had no motivation, and ended up writing my entry at the absolute last minute. It didn't get included, probably because it was rushed, possibly because it wasn't suitable, and I never made an effort to get a second chance. I don't really have any creative subjects, either. Teaching To Exams is one of the biggest problems with the current education system, and English lang/lit is one of the worst casualties. You hardly ever get a chance to experiment or be creative on this course. Everything's about the exam, and the real objective seems to be learning to write what the examiner wants to read. It's dry, businesslike, and joyless.

I was supposed to be going on a creative writing course last July, but that fell through. My lack of organisation has a lot to answer for, really.

Anyway, today my best friend started talking to be about the novel she's randomly decided to write, and it struck me just how much I want to reverse whatever went wrong. The one thing I was naturally really good at and I've just... done next to nothing with it for two years or so. To be honest, writing is still what I really want to do as a career, no matter what other plans I make, and it's looking as though my feelings that I'd 'lost the knack' when it comes to writing might not be as accurate as I'd thought. Last week, my history teacher complimented me on my 'fluent' writing style. I almost died of shock. I had been convinced that I wasn't good at it anymore, it's starting to look like I might be wrong.

I am gradually turning things around. I have taken A level Journalism, even though it might never get me anywhere, because it's what I wanted (although it's turned out this first year will be all about Radio, and I won't actually get to write anything until next year). I have entered a poetry competition. For the first time in ages, I'm reading regularly for fun. However, the fact that I'm having to put effort into this at all is a bit of a downer, really.

The seven year old kid who used to sit in the corner of the class with a book in her hand, enjoy writing poems, and look forward to visits to the local library? I miss her. I want her back.        

Now, I did say I'd make this light-hearted, and I'm not sure I've managed that, so here's some fluff to finish off. I have a confession: I've been watching the Moomins, not out of nostalgia, but because that show is just too cute. And the artwork's pretty. And it has whimsical charm and blah blah blah. Basically, I watch it for the same reason a baby watches when you dangle a really shiny necklace in front of it's face. It's what I have instead of a lava lamp.

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The Goth Challenge- Day 18: Worst Hair Experience?: 

Oh, there's no question about this. My worst hairdo is late 2008 to mid 2010.

Right, to clarify, my hair is stupidly thick and naturally wavy, and it long ago decided that it wasn't going to take any orders from the likes of me. My hair does what it likes. I can tie it back or put it up, but it will battle styling products like no-one's business, it took serious cunning to get it to accept black dye rather than chuck half of it out during the first wash, and I'm yet to see straighteners have any effect on it besides 'horrible'.

When it's long, this doesn't matter, because long thick wavy hair looks nice. When my hair is long, like it is now, I see it as my best feature. No, the problems came when I, aged thirteen and deciding a change would be nice, decided to cut it down, in a couple of stages, from chest-length to chin-length.

It wasn't having that.

I'd hoped to straighten my newly short hair into a nice sleek bob. What I got, no matter how thorough I was with the straighteners, was the revolting, mud-eating twin of this:

Once or twice, I tried to solve the problem by adding a layer. All that did was give me Miss Hoolie with a slight edge of James May.

It took me a long time to realise that there was just no way my hair was going to look decent below shoulder length, and even once I'd decided to grow it back out, it took forever to get down to a good length, as though it was trying to punish me for getting uppity with it.

It couldn't hold off forever, though. (Excuse pyjamas, the wonderful background of Shower Screen, and fact that I had to pull a stupid trick with two mirrors to get my phone at the right angle).

(Once, when it was about shoulder length, I tried to backcomb it It stayed put for about half an hour before deciding that anti-gravity wasn't its cup of tea, ta very much, and falling back down).  

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Questions 14- 17

I have four posts coming up that I can't really attach questionnaire questions to. One because it's my official Autistics Speaking Day post, and three because they're, well, you'll see, but trust me when I say that tacking my witterings about the Goth subculture onto the bottom of them would be not only horribly out of place, but plain disrespectful.


Just call this post the Home for abandoned questions.

Day 14 – What was your best and worst DIY disaster?:
Worst- My tattered umbrella. I went a bit overboard, and it wasn't until I actually tried to walk around with it that I realised breaking bits of the frame instead of sticking to tearing the canvas probably wasn't such a great idea. The tears themselves don't look particularly good either- too clean. It wasn't a terrible effort, but it didn't come out how I'd hoped, and I fully intend to have another crack at the whip at some stage. 
Best- What I now refer to as simply 'the green thing'. It used to be a lime green long sleeved top, but over the Summer I dug it out of the wardrobe, cut off the sleeves and most of the trim, and after much deliberation, decided to cut large triangle shapes out of the sides, and a small diamond shape out of the back just below te neckline, and zigzagged the hem. I never imagined it to actually turn out alright- even as I was cutting it I wasn't sure what I was doing was really a good idea- but it has. It's a nightmare to put on, as it's basically nothing but strips of fabric, but it's turned out exactly how I wanted it to, if not better. 
I'm also proud of the fact that the first time I changed an entire set of buttons on a shirt, they came out perfectly in line and functional. Truth be told, I'd fully expected to cock up. 

Day 15- Your favourite or most expensive item in your wardrobe?: 

Most expensive? Easy enough, my current pair of boots cost £100-and-stupid, although to be fair, they're hopefully going to last me two or three years. Can't really choose a favourite though, partly because my taste in clothes jumps about a bit (I'm one of those whatever-Goths who won't stick with one style for more than five minutes at a time), and partly because I've found that my 'favourite' always seems to be whichever DIY attempt I've recently managed to pull off. 

I do have a pair of earrings I made out of two beads and some craft wire that look really nice, though. 

Day 16- What's the most casual you've ever dressed?: 

What... ever? In my life (or at least, my life after I was old enough to have some kind of personal style)? Well, when I was about ten, eleven, twelve I was quite tomboyish, and mostly stuck to jeans, trainers and an ordinary top, with no makeup and very little jewellery, so... probably something from that general time period. I feel I should probably post a photo of eleven year old tomboy-me, but I don't really have time right now to go rummaging around in search of a good example. I'll see if I can get my hands on one for the 'post a picture for every year/month you've been in the subculture' question. 

Day 17- Your favourite Goth brand?:  

I don't generally have much in the way of brand loyalty, but if to name the few that catch my eye more than most...

New Rock- ClicheClicheFuckingClicheOnAPenny-Farthing. But it's true, they have never failed me. 

Alchemy- I do believe I mentioned the way flicking through one of their catalogues turned me, for ten minutes, into a three year old visiting Toys R Us for the first time- at Christmas, after drinking an entire bottle of Sunny Delight. Again, Cliche, I know. But to be honest, I don't care. 

Also, I'm generally not the type to bother with expensive jewellery. The way I see it, why bother spending £50 on a ring, when you can pick up something just as nice for under a fiver at a Charity Shop or cheap mainstream shop, or in one of the little Hippy junk shops you find dotted around most major cities? So the fact that I'm impressed enough by Alchemy to consider spending £20 or more on one of their necklaces says a lot about them, I feel. 

And to bring this either down into the realm of the mallgoth or across to the Metal and Hard Rock subcultures, depending on your perspective... Spiral. Why? They have more T-shirts, jumpers and tops emblazoned with fantasy artwork than you could shake a stick at, and I love wearing fantasy art. I looked in my wardrobe a while ago, and discovered that almost  all of the T-shirts I'd bought from alt clothing shops during my babybat years (Oh, OK, I do still visit them from time to time) were by Spiral. I hadn't done that intentionally, I'd never paid any attention whatsoever to the label on the clothes I was buying, but it was clear that Spiral clothing had just kept catching my eye again and again, and I'd be lying if I said that had changed. The designs are pretty, and I'm enough of a geek to wear them in public. I regret nothing. 

Monday, 24 October 2011

Shamelessly plugging things.

Well, almost three weeks after ordering it, my top hat hasn't turned up. I've reordered using express delivery, which is a bit more expensive but I'm not running the risk of having this one go AWOL too, and once I'd done that, I messaged the company, which wasn't easy. There doesn't seem to be an adequately formal-but-friendly way of saying "I'd quite like to recieve some compensation, but i won't kick up a strop if this can't be done." It appears my message was coherent enough, though, because I've just had another email come through saying I've been fully reimbursed and my new order is on it's way. I'll go and thank them in a minute...

So, it looks like all's well that ends well, but I'm still not impressed, Royal Mail.

I'm also not impressed with you, Depressiveness. OK, maybe telling the Doctor that I thought I was over this lapse was like holding up a sign asking you to pop up the following morning all "Only joking, I'm still here!" but nonetheless... you are such a Motherfucker.

Speaking of aforementioned Doctor, it's looking like I've found one who's willing to take me seriously. Huzzah!

One of the footpaths behind my house couldn't actually be walked down due to overgrown bushes, so today, in full Responsible Citizen mode, I wandered off down there with some secateurs and a garden bag. I won the ensuing woman-vs-shrubbery battle, but suffered terrible wounds (well, I got scratched a bit and the secateurs rubbed some skin off my thumb) for my efforts.

Flipped through a friend's Alchemy Jewellery catalogue. Once I stopped making moon eyes long enough to engage my brain, I decided that if I ever win an insane amount on the premium bonds, I'll buy the entire contents.

Feeding the neighbour's cats this week... and just like the last time, I started off the stint by putting the food in the water bowl by mistake, and then spending the next ten minutes shamefacedly scooping it out and mopping the floor. **sigh**

Wait- what was I talking about again?

Oh, yeah. Radio shows!

I have a new Sunday morning routine. I set my alarm for just before Six in the morning, bully myself awake (and nip downstairs to make a cup of tea if I have time), turn on my computer, load up my Itunes, click on KUCI live streaming, and listen to the Black Cauldron and the Heart Beats Machine. Two radio shows, one directly after the other, that play a wide variety Goth, Darkwave, and Industrial music. The early start is because the station, KUCI, is based in California, which is a full 8 hours behind me in terms of time. It may be silly o'clock for me, but for the vast majority of the audience, it's evening or night.

OK, so the fact that I'm willingly getting up with the lark on a Sunday is making me seriously doubt my own sanity, and I am yet to perfect the art of not nodding off during the ad breaks and missing bits, but to be honest I think the effort's worth it. In just three weeks of listening, several bands and songs I hadn't been aware of previously crept into my radar.

(Unnecessary spammage just for the sake of proving my point in 3, 2, 1...)

Die Form: I hadn't heard of them prior to the Heart Beats Machine, but they caught my ear instantly. This particular song got downloaded almost straight away.

I'd listened to The Birthday Massacre casually for a while, but I hadn't come across this song before. I'm now hopelessly in love with it. 

Somehow, I'd managed to remain ignorant of Diary of Dreams' existence up until I heard them on the Black Cauldron. I'm pretty glad that's changed, because this band is awesome. 

Tired as I was when I first heard this song this morning, I fell in love with it instantly, and fully intend to check out the band properly sometime soon. 

Another find from this morning: I'm not usually a big fan of lyrics as misanthropic as these ones are, but I just couldn't help but like this song. It's catchy, it's funnier than it should be, it's original... I'll probably have this playing on a loop for a while, whether I like it or not. 

So, while I can't expect everyone to be as enthusiastic about this find as I am (let's face it, early starts on Sundays aren't fun), I will say that if anyone reading this is into goth music and finds themselves awake and at a loose end during the early hours of Sunday morning... tune in. These two shows are well worth a listen.

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Day 13 – What was your first band t-shirt?:

This is cliched as hell, but it was a Marilyn Manson one. It cost £Cheap. I soon found out why. 

Seriously, within a matter of months it was full of near-unreparable holes. Not fun. 

Friday, 14 October 2011


So... I turned eighteen today- well, technically yesterday now, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't finding it a bit strange. 30 hours ago I was legally a minor. Now I'm... not. And it's good, because I can vote and buy things and apply for jobs that require bar service, but something's telling me it might take a bit of getting used to.

My lack of organisation really showed through today. It may be my 18th, but I didn't organise anything (although that's partly because of the lack of places in Southampton I'm actually interested in going to), and my inability to come up with present ideas means I'm now the proud owner of enough jewellery to set up a small business. Not that I'm complaining. It's all nice jewellery. :)

And yes, I did buy a bottle of beer on the way home from college today, just for the novelty of it.

In other news, I'd like to congratulate VNV Nation on being the creators of the first and only song to successfully reduce me to a crying puddle on the floor. I don't tend to cry at songs, and on the rare occasion I do it's a couple of tears and that's it. One listen of VNV Nation's Illusion, however, and I found myself having to wipe off my eye makeup because it had run and smudged all over my face in the sudden floods. That song really hit home for me in at least three different ways, probably more. The lyrics could have been said by me.

After hearing this song, I remembered something I'd heard recently about VNV Nation playing in Southampton. Deciding it would be nice to go to a gig again, I rushed to Facebook to look up the date... only to find it to be the 11th of October. In other words, two days ago.



I still don't entirely know what I'm doing with this blog, to be honest. I keep worrying that I'm talking about myself too much, which is a bit silly really. Aren't blogs the best places for that?

More objective posts might be an idea though... Hmm, I'll see.

And now, Question twelve (answered on what appears to be day sixty-one. I'm not doing very well here, am I?)

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Day 12 – What's your gothic inspiration?:

In terms of how I dress, I don't really have one. I get inspiration for that from anywhere and everywhere, and I rarely take influence from the same person twice. In terms of everything else... well, it was Jillian Venters and her pony show that first made me feel as though the Gothic subculture might actually be open to me, so I'll definitely throw her name in. Reading Gothic Charm School was what made me shift mentally from "I sometimes think I might be Goth, but I don't do A and B, I listen to band X, and I havent done K, so I can't be" to "Actually... this seems to fit and I might as well go with it." Her attitude is pretty awesome, as well. 

Sometimes I get tempted to look to Emilie Autumn for tactical reasons. I'm an asexual Goth with a weird brain; she's an allegedly asexual Goth with a weird brain. It makes too much sense to just ignore. 

And I cant really call him a 'Gothic Inspiration' so much as a general living legend who happens to play Goth-friendly music... but Mana of Malice Mizer/Moi Dix Mois fame. I have a huge amount of admiration for this guy, mainly because of how he just does things his own way. He was the bandleader of one of the most creative and theatrical bands I've ever come across, and is now making a living out of a self-indulgent pet project, coupled with the entire brand of fashion he created. Also, he's an eccentric in Japan. He lives in one of the most pro-conformity nations in the world, and he doesn't conform. There are stories of him trying to get a job in 80's Tokyo whilst sporting green hair, there are photos of him just wandering down the road crossdressed. If you read an interview with him, it becomes clear that he definitely has his own way of seeing the world and has no desire to make his music anyone else's way. Also, he explicitly said that the Visual Kei scene was a mess, so he was going to turn to clock back- a.k.a, reclaim it, rather than run away from it, which is what a lot of other artists tend to do. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Question 10 is a juggernaut (Question 11 comes free).

Just realised that in the last post alone, I have sentences that jump around every tense in the English language and an 'it' with two Is. So careless! I really need to start proofreading my posts...


Day 10 – What do you hate and love about the subculture?:

Well, normally I don't make entire posts about individual questionnaire questions, but I feel I have enough to say about this one to break that rule.

Bad thing 1: Elitism: 

This probably goes without saying. We all know the types: The trigger-happy Self-Appointed Poseur Police who will take to task anyone who doesn't do things exactly the same way that they do; Playground bullies with no self-awareness who talk gleefully about how much fun it is to tear babybats to shreds, and then wonder why young people aren't joining the subculture; People who accuse emos of the same attention-seeking, faux-depressive, violent behaviour that Goths were accused of for years, and manage to not see the brain-breaking hypocrisy: People who take everything way too seriously and view liking non-Goth music and not wearing elaborate makeup every day as Treason.

You know. Idiots.

What anyone who gets hit with the 'poseur' stick has to remember is that just because the elitists see themselves as experts, it doesn't mean they actually are. In my experience, everyone has a different idea of what Goth is and isn't, and chances are the guy calling you a poseur has been accused of the same himself at some stage. You'll never please everyone, but you'll never displease everyone either.

It is worth saying that there are some things that people claim to be Goth, but aren't. The correct way to deal with this is by politely correcting them, not losing your temper as though they've just committed an act of treason.

Good thing 1: Appreciation of intelligence: 

What can I say, I love being part of a subculture where intelligence is encouraged. You're encouraged to read books, to think, to be creative, to do well in tasks you set yourself. Most people believe in basic manners, which is great. Also, as someone who has a natural tendency to use old fashioned, technical, or otherwise 'low frequency' words, sayings and phrasings in her everyday vocabulary, it's nice to have a subculture where that's not really frowned upon.

... and theres not much more I can say about that, so moving on...

Bad thing 2: Beauty standards (Or something to that effect, anyway...):

This is the big one, but despite this I'm having trouble putting it into words. I'm afriad this is one of those cases where I know what I mean... but can't quite nail down a decent explanation. It's all I'll be able to do to make this make sense, to be honest. If you're reading... good luck, because you'll need it.

Here's the long and short of it: I'm one of those social justice types who has a very left wing, very sociology-based, and very feminist view of society. Most Goths, as in most sections of society... don't, and occasionally I come across things that everyone else seems to be fine with, but which I see as problematic or can't relate to, and feel... I don't know, maybe a little cut off, or like a killjoy. Take Monster High Dolls. I first came across them on another forum, and the OP was complaining about them, for the same reasons people complain about Bratz dolls. Toys that teach little girls that looking sexy and getting guys are the most important things in the world, you know the drill. Anyway, I basically agreed with him/her- it's hard to not raise an eyebrow at a werewolf doll who's backstory includes her giggling about how she spends all day removing body hair, when the product is going to be sold to girls who aren't even in a position to shave yet. I wondered what the hell were the company had been thinking, and decided that these dolls weren't something I'd ever give a child.

Later on, I began to notice that a few other Goths were mentioning Monster High Dolls on their blogs, and they all thought they were the coolest things ever and wanted to buy one. I don't have any problems at all with the last bit- you can't object to an adult buying something to stick on the windowsill, but the former... I don't get it. Does nobody else see that there's something a little bit screwed up in society if dolls who exist solely to look sexy are being sold to six year olds?

Another example. The overuse of models. I surely can't be the only person who thinks professionally developed images featuring equally professional models are used to represent Goth too much, and is slightly worried that this is setting up a beauty standard? I mean, I don't object to people using models where it's appropriate, but a lot of the time they use them where they could just as easily have used... anyone. An elaborately dressed and perfectly airbrushed model. A plain Casual goth in jeans and a T-shirt. A bearded forty year old man. A fourteen year old girl who hasn't quite got the makeup down yet. All these people. A big group of people of various shapes and sizes, some elaborately dressed, some not. Some with perfect hair and makeup, some with no makeup or untidy hair. Some fat, some thin, some short, some tall... I suppose what I'm basically saying here is that I wish a much wider cross-section of the subculture was used on blogs and in videos. By using just the 'perfect people' in everything, whether it's necessary or not, you risk setting up a beauty standard that is difficult or impossible for many people to attain, and if that happens there's likely to be people, particularly younger people, being made to feel as though the way they look isn't good enough, or that they're letting the side down or failing miserably because they can't get their lipstick to go right. And that's a trap I'd quite like the Goth subculture to not fall into.

Good thing 2: The fun of it.

There's a reason I eventually caved in and self-identified as Goth. I love the music, for a start. I love Bauhaus. I love the Cure. I love the Cruxshadows more and more every day. I have what it takes to love Sopor Aeturnus and her lyrical weirdness, to the stage where I have, in the past, got Feralia Genitalia stuck in my head and worried I'd end up wandering around college singing under my breath about my genitals falling off.

I love doing DIY jobs on my clothes. Slashing an old T-shirt to bits, changing buttons, adding chains, making kitschy jewellery out of craft shop compartments or bits of stationery. I'm a womble these days. I pick things up in shops of all sorts, markets, the kitchen drawer, and wonder what I can do with them. I even caught myself looking at a bit of synthetic hair that had fallen out of my friend's Lady Gaga wig and wondering if I could make use of it (I couldn't, surprisingly enough :p).

I love the clothes.

I love things that tend to get written off as scary or strange. I love weird things mainly because they're weird. Hell, I found myself looking at Malice Mizer with flying saucer eyes the first time I came across them age fourteen, because I hadn't seen anything like them before, and I loved that.

Some people say Goth is a mindset, others don't, I'm personally on the fence. However, when I hear people define 'the Goth mindset', I can often relate to it very well. Seeing good things where others don't. Being introspective and interested in psychological matters. Being creative. Having at least a slight pretentious streak (although I do try to keep her quiet and out of bother).

There's a subculture where I can be a tea addict and like anachronisms, and that's OK. I can also use words like 'anachronism' without worrying everyone will think I'm some horrible snob.

I daresay a lot of people would have me down as a poser. I could never really get into the Sisters, I'm yet to go to a Goth club, and I've never read Poe outside an English lesson (not because I dislike his works, it's mainly because I prefer long books with complex plots to short stories. There's a lot to admire about Poe, but in a contest between him and the latest Discworld/China Mieville doorstopper/bit of Neil Gaiman bizarroness, or a book with more social commentary than the entire 1960's packed between it's pages, he comes off worse). I don't worry about that too much any more though, partly for the resons I detailed in my first point, partly because I know that Goth is just me. And I love it.

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As I've taken so bloody long to update yet again (it's hard to ignore the fact that my EPQ exists), I've decided to throw Question 11 in here as well.

Day 11- Is Goth a lifestyle for you?:

I'll say yes to this one, simply because there's never a day when I'm "Not a Goth". For that to happen, my entire set of likes and dislikes would have to radically change for a day. The way I see it, even when I'm sat in my pyjamas listening to/watching/reading something very un-gothy, I'm a Goth. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I don't think my brain likes tranquility.

Good news! I think I have the lapse under control at long last.

Bad news! My brain's being an overanalytical gitwizard instead.

It thinks I need to question my sexuality again. It thinks I need to question my sexuality because, well, people are always saying that depression and low self-esteem can cause sexual repression, and I have a background in both those things. It thinks I need to question my sexuality because, y'know, can I be so certain that the feelings I had during my relationship weren't really just because Adam was the wrong person for me? It thinks I need to question my sexuality because there's, like, some bloke on the internet who identified as ace at my age but suddenly developed sexual feelings at 21, and ohmigosh, what if I turn out to be the same?

It's fucking ridiculous.

Maybe this is fairly standard with asexuality. It is, after all, characterised by an absence of something, and therefore that little bit harder to nail down. There's a lot more misinformation around it, too. For one thing, the popular definition of asexuality is generally speaking a lot narrower than the asexual definition of asexuality, and it's sometimes hard not to let that have an effect. No matter how much you know it's OK to be asexual and want a relationship, if just as many people around you are telling you it's not, it can be difficult not to start calling things into question. It's also a lot harder to brush off 'you're just a late bloomer' type comments because logically, there's no real way you can be certain that's not the case. There are people in this world who feel nothing until their late teens or early twenties. Can you be sure identifying as ace before your eighteenth birthday isn't jumping the gun?

Mostly though, I think my worries are down to me. I know my mind. It attaches to the slightest uncertainty like a pitbull terrier and not let go until every microscopic shred of doubt is erased completely. Letting things alone to sort themselves out in time isn't something I've ever been very good at, and if I have any reason to doubt my sexuality, I'll triple and quadruple and octuple check, trying to bully myself into feeling sexual attraction in order to prove, yet again, that I don't have it.

I think my background is the big issue here. I have been bullied in my life, and from the age of about ten, some of the boys decided that the best way to bully me would be by sarcastically asking me out and feeling me up, the intention being making the idea that anyone could possibly be attracted to me completely ludicrous. In my mid teens, I got what I now strongly believe to be depression, which lowers sex drive.

Sometimes I wonder whether I internalised the bullying so much I walled up my sexual attraction as a response, and then had it depleted further by depression. All this depite the fact that:

A) Although it's never talked about, sexual bullying is more or less the go-to method for boys to bully girls. Every girl I know who has been bullied has been bullied in this manner at some stage, and none of them are asexual. They're all straight, or bi.

B) the bullying wasn't fun, but iit wasn't anywhere near serious enough to cause me to wall up parts of myself. I never got anything worse than a grope, and they were more annoying than anything else. I had a grand total of one legitimately horrible moment when I was around thirteen, but I think I was already questioning my sexuality by then.

C) I did internalise the bullying and begin to feel that I was a repulsive human being who would never have a relationship or sex. I panicked over this when I was around fifteen, seriously. But when I took a step backwards, I realised that the only reason for my panic was that I, in my depressive state, had managed to conflate 'having a boyfriend' and 'having sex' with 'being an adult'. I saw sex and relationships as rites of passage I had to go through in order to truly grow up. Once I realised this, I reassessed my motives, and realised that my screwed up associations were the only reason I had ever wanted sex in the first place. Without those associations, the appeal was... a minor curiosity to see what the fuss was about at some stage, but no more. I didn't want it. I had no desire for it. For the first time in a couple of years, I began to consider asexuality.

D) I haven't stopped considering asexuality since. In fact, it's been default.

E) If the bullying and depression made me wall up my sexual attraction... why do I still have romantic attraction? And why didn't I start to feel attracted to people again after getting into a serious relationship, proving the bullies wrong?

F) In mid year eleven, my depression decreased a lot, and since then most of my life has been either free or almost free of depression. And guess what? I have not, at any point, spontaneously developed sexual attraction.

Then, if you add to that:

G) I first came across the term 'asexual' when I was about twelve, and applied it to myself almost straight away. How I knew I don't know, as I wasn't even through puberty then, but I did. Before anything that could cause sexual repression had happened, I was questioning and leaning towards ace.

H) I dropped the 'asexual' label for a few years, but came back to it when I realised how much i didn't do and didn't want. I didn't have crushes. I had never searched for porn. Anything involving swapping body fluids seemed more awkward and yuck than anything else. If I hadn't known the word 'asexual', I would have been very confused from here on in.

I) As a child, I remember hearing my friends talk about boys they fancied. I, who didn't do this, told myself that it was OK to have crushes, and tried to force some. I latched onto any feeling, from mild affection for a person to hero-worship to actual romantic attraction (although I didn't know the word for it then) and called it a crush, honestly believing I was feeling the same as other people did. On reflection... it really wasn't.

J) Speaking of romantic attraction, the concept of it always existed in my mind. I knew romantic love and sexual attraction weren't the same, and I still sometimes struggle to understand why so many people are unable to mentally separate the two. The concept of physical attraction as separate also makes perfect sense to me, and in my experience that's something many sexual people get confused about.

K) 'Those' months with 'those' associations aside, when I imagined myself in a relationship, I didn't imagine sex. That hasn't changed.

L) My romantic attraction has no relation to the appearance of the person.

M) My relationship. Being in a relationship with a straight guy tends to make you realise just how ace you are.

N) I could easily go the rest of my life without sex. In fact, right now it's what I'd prefer.

O) Oh, and sexual attraction? I don't have it. I do seem to have little flickers of physical attraction, though, which I think is where some of the confusion stems from. I think I keep worrying if what I think is physical attraction is actually sexual, and using it to back up my insecurities. The more I think about it, the more I realise it's a load of bollocks.

Most importantly, though, is that I'm not willing to be an incomplete person until I'm twenty-five, refusing to give my orientation a name just on the offchance I one day turn out to have been wrong about it. Some people can postpone things like that, I can't. If in ten years time I find myself straight, or bi, or whatever... well, I'll cross that bridge then. Right now, and in all honesty most likely for good, I'm asexual, and that's all that has to matter.

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Day 9 – What genre of music do you dislike?: 

Country: Rap: Rn'B: Bubblegum pop. Yeah, stereotypical, I know. Mind you, outside that, I'm fairly versatile and listen to stuff from many different genres. I'm not one of those people who glues herself to one sub-subgenre of music and looks down on anyone who dares listen to to anything else. Oh, and I do also have a dislike for screamo, and that particular brand of Death Metal where it's just cookie monster vocals for five minutes. Cookie Monster vocals are fine in small doses, but if they're going throughout a whole song, I find it a bit annoying. 

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Upcoming Autistic Speaking Day and Surpise competitions.

Good news! I've been a responsible human being and ordered a nice shiny copy of Undoing Depression, which is meant to be one of the best self help books on the subject around. So I'm not intending to just sit and let this mood go where I'm 99.9% sure it's going. I'm in the arena with this one.

Unfortunately, my resolve of getting my arse in gear hasn't been going to well, as you can see. In all fairness though, I'm blaming college for this one.

Finding things to talk about is also proving slightly tricky. You see, I want to include a lot of non-ranty posts, but that isn't easy as my life's a bit uneventful at the moment and I don't have much I can witter about. So, for today, I thought I'd fall briefly back on Neurodiversity, and specifically, Autistics Speaking Day, which is coming up this October.

The day itself is a way away yet, but I, not wanting to get caught short, started thinking about what to write almost immediately. That wasn't an easy task, either. I've already written about several of the bigger issues, and I didn't really want to just shove an old blog post in their direction with a "Here you go, take this". I considered writing about my childhood. I considered filming myself stimming and portraying it in a positive light, until I realised you need a decent camera for that, and I don't have one.

In the end, I decided to go back to basics. I will be writing about why I support neurodiversity in the first place. This isn't as lazy as it sounds. In fact, I think it sort of has to be done. A lot of people view ND supporters as kooks, and I've seen the ND movement as a collective compared to all sorts- The Flat Earth Society, Indigo Children champions, people who want to give plants the vote... you name it, somebody thinks ND's worse than it. Now, obviously this is ridiculous and needs to change, and taking steps to convey just how important ND is and what it's real goals are is therefore something that needs to be done. In detail. Which I have every intention of doing. Yeah... I won't holding back on this one, people.

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Day 8: What are your worst and best experiences with non-Goths?

Best: I can't think of anything in particular, but my boots seem to get positive reactions, sometimes Oh-wow-those-are-epic very positive reactions, more often than not. I've had people compliment my hair pretty frequently, too. Plus one friend 

Worst: OK, this experience isn't so much bad as it is confusing, but it's more interesting than people shouting 'Emo!' at me from the other side of the road, so here we go:

Dress as you please day. Year 10. Most people who had been into alt clothing in year nine were, by this stage, returning to mainstream fashions, leaving me one of just two Babybats in the year. Needless to say, we stood out a bit more than we had done in previous years. Now, this other Babybat found his feet with Goth quicker than I did, and on this particular day, he was in Steampunk goggles and a full trenchcoat, while I was wearing a Marilyn Manson T shirt, brand name trousers, and... probably just one striped armwarmer (This is something that's never changed- I'll never wear a pair of gloves if I can just wear one). Mind you, l also had my New Rocks and beloved leather jacket, so swings and roundabouts.

So, to summarise the general situation; One fifteen year old was already well acquainted enough with Goth to take large amounts of inspiration from it; another wasn't quite so certain, and was still experimenting with the slightly more mainstream rock and metal subcultures. Not a newsworthy circumstance, really. Or so you'd think.

At Lunchtime, as I was going up the library steps, one of my friends caught up with me and this happened:

Him: (solemnly) I'm sorry, Louise, but Matt's won." 
Me: (pretending to not have guessed what he was on about) Won what?
Him: "You know, the Goth thing. Matt's better dressed up than you. 

Whether the other Goth ever got informed that, Congratulations, he'd won a Goth-off he'd had no idea he was involved in, and was 'dressed up', I don't know. But for me... I had no idea how to respond. I vaguely remember doing a lot of walking away in bafflement and not saying what I wanted to due to a feeling that it would only get me shunted into the position of 'sore loser'. The whole thing was also a bit of a BLAM- my friend made a couple of comments like this throughout the day (in fact, I've sandwiched two together up there), but once that day was over nothing... ever got mentioned again.

Until now, of course.

Sorry, Old Wyvern Friend, on the off chance you're reading this and recognise yourself. You have my full permission to extract revenge and tell the world about something silly I did as a fourteen year old. Fair's fair, after all.

I also have a best worst experience: I was walking to the hairdressers, dressed down a bit because hair dye and shampoo are best kept away from jewellery and favourite clothes. On  the way, I passed a group of kids on the way home from school. They took one look at me and started debating, loudly, as to whether or not I was, like, totally emo, innit. Part of the exchange went thus: 
"God, look, emo!" 
"What are you on about, she's not emo!"
"Yeah she is, she's walking fire, mate!" 

Now... I have no idea what the lad meant by 'Walking Fire', but it's definitely the single most awesome insult on the face of the earth. I couldn't help but smile. 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


I'm well aware that I haven't updated for... too long. It's a mixture of me being busy; me leaving it too late in the day, getting tired and deciding to go to bed rather than inflict several paragraphs of half-asleep gibberish on the world; and me being in a bit of a funny mood. Out of those three, the first is likely to become a bigger problem as college starts again. The second... well, my bad time management is certainly something I'd like to get under control, and probably something I'll have to get under control if I want to get into a decent uni. And the third? Um... let's just say I'm back with Auntie Moodgym for the foreseeable and leave it at that.

So, yeah, it's half within my control and half outside it. I'll do my best to stop slacking, but getting an entry in every day might not be doable. I'll see.

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Day 7: List ten of your favourite Goth bands: 

Now, I know just how subjective 'what counts as Goth' can be, and as a result I've decided not to worry too much about keeping within the boundaries. I'm aware that I'll never please everyone unless I play it extremely safe, so I'm going to trust my personal judgement and take a couple of risks. Meaning there may be artists on this list that you personally wouldn't consider Goth.

So, in no particular order...

1: Faith and the Muse: 
- Classic Gothic rock with a celtic edge.
- I've never found a song by them I didn't like.
- They have political songs. Considering how rare that is among Goth bands, this earns them points.
 - Favourite song: Sovereign.

2: Silver Ash: 
- Visual Kei/Gothic rock. Probably the biggest shoe-in on the list.
- They were China's first Visual Kei band, and are one of the best in the scene overall. (In my opinion, anyway)
- They really are horrendously underrated, especially considering the sacrifices they had to make and problems they had to face during their career.
- Favourite song: Lunar Eclipse

3: Sopor Aeturnus and the Ensemble of Shadows:
- Darkwave/Neoclassical/Gothic Rock
- Most of her songs contain incredibly bleak or disturbing subject matter, which is depicted graphically enough to have a real emotional impact.
- Many songs are autobiographical, which gives them a highly personal edge.
- Favourite song: The Goat

4: The Cruxshadows:
- Gothic Rock/Darkwave/ Synthpop
- I haven't explored this band much yet- because I keep getting obsessed with every other song by them I hear. It's hard to get through someone's back catalogue when all you want to do is play every new song again... and again... and again...
- Contrary to Sopor, it's the Cruxshadows' energy that sets them apart in my eyes.
- Favourite song: Winterborn

5: Bauhaus: 
- Classic Gothic Rock
- I know. Predictable. Is there even any point describing this band? Their awesomeness almost goes without saying.
- Well, I'll say something general: Peter Murphy's vocal style. I'm so glad it became a staple of Goth music.
- Favourite song: Who Killed Mr. Moonlight

6: The Dresden Dolls: 
- Dark Cabaret/Alternative rock
- I've never found a song I disliked here either.
- These guys are lyrical genii. Seriously. The vast majority of songs manage to be both multi-layered and emotionally charged.
- Favourite song: Delilah

7: Velvet Eden: 
- Darkwave/Visual Kei
- I looked up these guys on a whim. They turned out to be one of the best finds of my life. Their music is just... wonderful. And perfect.
- They are very unique and have a strong signature style, making them one of the best VK bands... ever, really.
- Favourite song: Tsuki Kumo Nocturne

8: Eve of Destiny: 
- Goth/Darkwave
- How these guys weren't more successful is beyond me. The members, Kozi and Haruhiko Ash, were both established and successful musicians, and the quality of the music reflected that.
- Their stuff is notoriously hard to find. Look into them anyway. You won't regret it.
- Favourite song: Nervous and Innocence. (Which is currently my ringtone)

9: Emilie Autumn: 
- Victorian Industrial
- What I really love about EA's music is how raw it is. She doesn't pull punches lyrically or musically. Even the instrumentals tell a story.
- From what I've gathered, the stage shows are great fun. Just watching Emilie and the Bloody Crumpets bounce off each other cracks me up.
- Favourite song: Marry Me

10: Blam Honey: 
- Industrial/Visual Kei
- I love how creative they are with their music, and how detailed their pieces are.
- They're also underrated. Even by me. I... neglect them far too much.
- Favourite song: Enlarge Disorder