Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dilly Dallying Through Seattle






Hemming and hawing its way through the back of my mind was a story about a witch coven, or at the very least a bar nestled somewhere close-by and run by witches. The details of which I was keeping to myself in hopes that I could make one fiction story last to the end without jinxing it--just once, please.

In the midst of my thoughts about crystals, alchemy and witchcraft I was dealing with swarms of doubt not surrounded by my entirely fictitious concerns for the world of magic. This doubt was central to a recent loss in the family, and that I might have finally lost touch with a side of the family tethered to distant memories of my childhood that somehow made my childhood still feel rosy. Uncle Grady was very much my every summer for years. Now that he's gone, few remain that are tied to that part of my past. And as that circle shrinks smaller and smaller with time, I wonder what's really left for me all the way back at home. Am I better off so far away now? Is it horrible of me to even consider these things?

"Imagining that the show would feel like a bit much today, yeah?" was a message I received the next morning, before I was fully awake, from my friend Savannah. A few hours later I responded that I need it. A few moments later, I got messages about angry girls and their bands, and I convinced myself to get ready for the event later into the evening donned in a comfy sweater and cat-eye makeup with gold glitter on my eyelids. Something feisty, something glamorous, something perfect for the night ahead.

It started with a decision to stop for food before heading inside the dive bar where three bands would play. We got potato salad--somewhat of a Germanic influence. I tried the veggie burger, Savannah tried the BLT. The place was off of Ballard and known as the "People's Pub." It was just us, two people at a bar not talking, and a large group of women chatting over what looked like several mystery shots and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. They were laughing and chuckling and we were staring at our watches in anticipation for the time to grow closer. We finished our food and walked two doors down to the little hole-in-the-wall bar that stamped us with the image of a drunk penguin on our wrists for admittance to the backroom.

If you've ever been to the Masquerade in Atlanta, it might be easy to picture the stage-size of Purgatory. This Seattle bar's stage wasn't much bigger, but the room had no chairs or tables to hinder the ability to stand and enjoy. (Unlike the Atlanta venue where the recycled tables and chairs are shoved in that room with the side-stage that they stick bands not talented enough yet to perform in Heaven or Hell.) The opening act in this Seattle bar was a smaller band with three guys who sounded an awful lot like a garage band version of Krill or Johnny Hobo or something else I can't quite place but I know I've heard before with less diversion from the guitar, bass and drum kit than the inspired--and trying to rock hard with lips pressed firmly against a microphone that had likely seen even more action earlier in the week. But right now it's a Wednesday evening, and no one cares where that mic has been or where they're going with hands balancing glasses of water and shots of whiskey to pass the time. And I had already consumed one whiskey sour by then--as had Savannah.

Next in line were the ones we had all appeared for: Powwers and Dilly Dally. Both of which are bands with female leads and feisty, raw lyrics and hardcore screams and pleads between verses. The music was reverberating off of the walls. At times it felt like you could feel the sound waves move through you same as if you were to lay face-up on a beach right at the tide and feel the water tickle its way up and down your legs and spine in a pattern that calmed and chilled you.

Savannah would disappear some throughout the night--sometimes with a fireball shot, sometimes with a new whiskey sour, sometimes with just more water and a beer. When her hands were free, she would grab mine and intertwine our fingers as she arrhythmical-y danced along. My dancing would gradually increase as the night and alcohol progressed from rhythmic (because I'm not tone deaf or rhythmically-challenged like her) head-bobbing to more swaying and moving like a puppet on loose strings. We weren't alone.

We both felt the buzz without the pain, and I remember feeling like an angry female listening to angry (and sometimes more angsty) females with my gold glitter eye-shadow and hurling a fireball or two with ease. I remember feeling stronger and less like I was brooding in an apartment upset about a lot of things that I couldn't control like family obligation, negligence and death. I remember thanking God to be there, to feel something else, and to feel like I was out and whole again.

This fire, this fire, this fire, desire
This fire, this fire, this fire, desire
This fire, this fire, this fire, desire
Desire, inside her
It's calling all my ladies
Desire


Magic.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Uncle Grady



I've learned about a lot of hard things through experience. Least of my favorites: death.

RIP Uncle Grady
You aren't suffering anymore. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

This Week




Imagine your eyes are closed, but you can feel the coolness of the day pressing itself against your bedroom window in the morning. The sun is out somewhere, but it is hidden behind a blanket of clouds hanging high and grey. And I'm sitting on a bus very alone, with the rain hitting the window by my seat, leaving me with a chill for the rest of the week that follows me in and out of drowsiness. It still lingers with me to the weekend, even. This is my week. And I'm both eager and unwilling to let it go.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Guest Post: Lyndsey from 'Dressed in Mascara'

Lyndsey and I have been blogging BEST friends for years now. And even though our blogs are vastly different--me all write-y, and she a fashion blogger--we've always gotten along so well. I couldn't wait to show off this lovely gal to the rest of my readers here. So without further ado, find out more about Lyndsey now!

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You can find Lyndsey's blog, Dressed in Mascara, here: http://dressedinmascara.com/

1. Give up the details, girl! Who are you and why are you just so dang awesome?
Well, thank you!! I'm Lyndsey Meaghan- a 23 year old Georgia peach with a heart for Jesus and all things glam in the deep south. I blog over at Dressed in Mascara, where I share my latest beauty favorites as well as makeup tutorials, nail art, and my personal style. I'm down to Earth, have a SUPER big heart, and genuinely am interested in everything. Well, except things that involve jumping off of mountains or flying in airplanes. Those I can happily die without doing/being interested in, haha.

2. You've changed blogs over the years and added new content and features since you started. So let's start with the first question: How old were you when you first started your blog--or at least the one I met you during--and what was it like then (what inspired you to create it, have you changed as a person since then, all that)?
Oh my goodness!! I had to think really hard about this, but I think I was 17 when I started my old blog, Hellolyndsey. It was such a new realm to me. I literally never had anything to do while I was sick with P.O.T.S., so I spent all day searching the internet. That's when I found style bloggers and Youtubers and totally fell in love with them! Now that I think about it, I was SUCH a stalker because back then it was popular for people to post every day, so I could literally tell you the first blogger and Youtuber I fell in love with because I watched them.. every single day. Style Blogger: Rebecca from A Clothes Horse. Youtuber: DulceCandy87. Two totally different girls with completely different style, aesthetics, hobbies, everything. But that was just who I was too, and I didn't realize that until this year. I started my blog after obsessing over those two for about 5 months. I would definitely say I was a much different person back then because I was young and going through my "punk" phase. I listened to hardcore music, went to shows, had Hello Kitty/Nightmare Before Christmas everything, and on top of that I had Ariel red hair. Can you imagine?? Hahaha. But my personality never changed. I'm still as goofy and friendly as I've ever been. Annnnnd I still tap into that music every once in awhile, especially when reunited with my older brother!

3. How has your blog changed since then?
Really, it has changed 100%. My life has changed SO much since then, so it only made sense for my blog to change with me. I have finally started growing into myself. Whenever someone asked about my style/blog/tastes or generally anything about me, I used to always say "I don't really know. I'm searching for myself." I believe that hitting rock-bottom forces you to look through the broken walls of your soul to find yourself. When I first started blogging, it was a way for me to escape my reality. I replicated the girls I wanted to be and talked about cute things. What people didn't know was that I was extremely sick, had lost all of my friends, and was going through a divorce. I was lonely, sad, and heartbroken, but on my blog I was happy, stylish... normal. I did eventually reveal my true self after about 6 months of blogging like that, and it threw my readers off guard. It sounds so sad, but it's true. I think that's why I went through SO many changes on that blog because it never felt like it fit who I truly am.

4. Do you ever regret anything you've blogged--anything you've worn or personal things you've posted about?
Oh LAWD YES!! There are so many things I wish I didn't post online, especially when it came to my personal affairs. Once it's out there, it's there forever. I remember this one particular outfit that was completely ridiculous, plus I tried milkmaid braids for the first time that same day (they looked SO awful I'm dying over here) and I wore it out to a Mother's day dinner with my *entire family*. Now when I look back at those photos all I can see is the memory of that horrible outfit!!

5. How has your style changed over the years since you began beauty/fashion blogging?
I think I've always leaned towards being a feminine/romantic style blogger. I'm a sucker for earthy tones, as well as pink, polka dots, ruffles, glitter, sequins, and butterflies. I don't think much has changed in that area, but my makeup? That game is in a whole new ballpark!! I have gone from knowing literally nothing to learning something new almost daily. My mom wasn't around to teach me how to do anything that involves beauty because she always worked 2 jobs at a time, so everything I have learned is clearly self taught. It's amazing to know where I've come from and how much I've grown.

6. What do you look for in a blogging best friend?
Honesty, super friendliness, and a sense of humor!

7. What's something about me (Jennifer) that you didn't know before or just a random fact about me that you know now?
I had no idea how funny and chill you are!! I have always gotten a "deep writer vibe" (is that a thing?) from your blog, which I love, but it was so crazy to see your personality as silly as mine! You know how to balance perfectly. Me on the other hand, I am giddy and naive all the time, which is probably why I am never taken seriously.

8. How did you find my blog all that time ago? Tell us what you remember of that love story!
I remember you commented on a few of my blog posts in one day and said you were also a Georgia blogger, plus I really loveddd your hair, so I clicked through! I just laughed so hard after typing that because I literally sound like such an airhead.

9. When we do finally get to hang out in person, what is your dream bbff (blogging best friend forever) date?
We will totally relive a 1990s sleepover!!! I'm seeing Disney movies, 40 pounds of junk food like Oreos and popcorn and ice cream, snuggly fluffy pajamas with princess slippers and a pillow fortress with lots of blankets. I.would.dieeeeee.

10. What has blogging taught you about others and yourself since you began?
I have finally learned that it's not weird or abnormal that I will never fit into a certain category. It's okay to just be who you really are because somebody, somewhere out there will really appreciate you for you! I also think that blogging has opened my eyes to just how many pushy, mouthy people there are. You have to have a strong grip onto your beliefs/morals because people are quick to try to tear you down for having them. At the same time, the internet is chock full of diamonds in the rough. You just have to do a bit of digging through the dirt to find them.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pasta, French Lessons and Urbanus Conversation

I don't go to work until 1:30 in the afternoon. I don't start my shift until 2:30 in the afternoon. So why is it that I always find it hard to wake up at a decent hour in the morning and go jogging and eat a full breakfast before taking a luxurious shower like you think most well-to-do adults would? Maybe it's because I also work until 12:30 in the morning and don't get home until 1. Maybe I've just never been good at finding some way to start my day that didn't begin in whining and copious amounts of coffee.

At 1:08 p.m. on the Saturday of another work day, I was watching water boil, in the hopes that I could make some semblance of a lunch before I walked out of the door. Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda were gabbing about something at an upper-east side Manhattan brunch spot--as they do--sipping on wine, Carrie smoking, Charlotte bating away at the smoke a couple of times. And all I could think were how do women like that do it? They have jobs, but they spend more time in and out of fancy establishments of couture and culture, than they do in their jobs. Perhaps for Carrie it is easier, because she's a columnist. But what about the others? They get up, their homes are spotless, they exercise everyday or eat smaller portions and still feel satiated. They even get to go shopping almost every day or week. What are they doing differently?

But that's the trap that TV sets you in: to think that somehow your life is comparable to some make-believe lifestyles/sex columnist in New York, when you're a woman in her mid-20s in an apartment far away from New York.

I've been doing my best to be a better writer, reader, editor, knowledge-seeker/enthusiast. I've been trying to find more time to get out and do things, too. Admittedly, I just had four days off in a row (happenstance), but I spent them mostly resting because that's what I really needed. I've found that it's also okay--like it is to not be Carrie Bradshaw--to recognize when you just need sleep instead of pizazz. And in between the planner pages I have daily things that I'm constantly checking off of lists--brushing up on my daily Bible devotions, working out, and working on my French.

French is first, then at least four other languages I've always said I want to learn. I plan on digging deep into all of them, and maybe practicing some of them in my writing and spare time. Because who doesn't wish to be fluent in more than their own tongue? I want learning more about another language to influence how I look at my own. (I bet my old French professors would love to know what I've been up to lately.)

Perhaps I am just as insightful as a bunch of sex addicts smoking over salmon and wine in the big city. Experience makes you wise, after all.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

25.



Almost every year for my birthday, I have written a birthday post. It's that annual tradition that you feel bad for missing if you don't do it as a blogger—like writing an obligatory Tweet or text to friends for any remembrance days/holidays. So today on my 25th birthday don't be afraid to shower me in love. I can take it.

Instead, we are going to talk about what I have planned going forward. We've talked about a reflection of the past month and a tying up of loose ends. What we haven't talked about though is how exactly we move forward.

The other day, I had a conversation with my boss about where I can go in my job from where I am presently. I'm not looking to leave my job or anxious to move up (at least, I'm not concerned with progression at this moment). I've been at this job for just under a year and a half, and it's natural to be curious about these things. So, the day before my 25th birthday, I got a new daily planner. I honestly haven't had one since I was in school, but I needed something to remind me that I am capable of doing so much more and capable of taking on heaps and bounds of work. I really just missed the bustle of the paper and school, and I missed feeling stronger for the larger amounts of work I took on during that period in my life. And with a new planner, I have a place to keep all of my to-do lists, meetings and life events/adventures neat and tidy—and well documented.

When I was still in school I had a planner that was practically falling apart at the binding because of the amount of times I would handle it in a day. There was color coordination with every highlighter I owned and writing on literally every line and margin that I could seemingly fit words. That planner was my lifeline to the rest of the world and my responsibilities. It kept me accountable. Most people are pretty digital in their planning, but I’ve found that the more frequently my phone notifications go off, the less likely I am to take notice. Maybe it’s my introversion, maybe it’s just an aversion to notifications-clutter (seriously I am constantly clearing out notifications of unread messages and alerts because it drives me crazy to have any alerts up at all), but I find myself growing pretty tired of my phone if too many texts and app alerts are going off at once. There have even been plenty of times I’ve completely disregarded a work-related calendar event because I had already spent the majority of that morning watching my phone light up from across the room and feeling my eyes roll into the back of my head. (None of this is applicable to all those birthday texts and Tweets I'm getting, though.)

It’s important to decompress people. But it’s also important to find a system that works best for you during those days, weeks, months that you can’t afford to decompress.

Phone notifications for literally everything isn’t something I like. It doesn’t make me feel important or cool, it just aggravates me and makes me contemplate turning my phone off for the entire day. While I love my phone and all that it does for me, it doesn’t make the notifications any easier to handle. A few days ago, I unintentionally—yet successfully—ignored just about every Tweet and text that came my way for 6 hours straight. (Horrible friend, I know.) So I’m reducing the clutter on my phone and putting my to-do lists somewhere familiar, cozy and traditional. And let me tell you, the amount of action items I already have littering the pages of this daily planner is astounding. I didn’t realize how much I had been putting off/forgetting about until I had a place to put it all and make myself do it. It’s a wonder I got anything done at all.

Year 25 is all about being a badass and getting shit done.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

October



I started October with a pumpkin muffin my friend baked (with pumpkin puree, thanks Savannah) and a pumpkin spice latte (that I burned my thumb making, thanks searing hot almond milk). I sat on my kitchen counter, feet dangling a foot or two from the ground, a bright sun hanging behind gloomy clouds, warming my back as it can from the large kitchen window. I was enjoying these few moments of solitary joy in my morning before getting ready for work, but all I could think was about where I was in life.

I have spent most of the last week reflecting on what September was, and now I am focused on what October can be. For me, it's about finishing things I started. On October 8 I will be 25 years old. I want to tie up loose ends before I push forward into a new year of my life. I want to stop being lazy and submit those 6 pieces of work still sitting in an envelope to be sent off. I want to exchange margin notes with my friend Ariel and finally send her back her books. I want to finish reading my library books and get them back on time. I want to finally finish the books I borrowed from my friend Chris. I want to finish the books downloaded to my Kindle. (Seeing a pattern here?) Any other goals--personal, professional and recreational--that I set for myself years ago I want to finally complete.

It's not a quarter-life-crisis. It's just an understanding that life moves forward whether we want it to or not, so we might as well keep pace with it and do what we always say we're going to do--and do it well.