Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Star Wars: Parallels, Legacy, and a Tragic Loss

Hello everyone! New Star Wars fan reporting in. I did not grow up with Star Wars. I have only seen up to now, Episodes IV-VII and now Rogue One. And this is as of just a year. So yes, I'm a serious newbie, but I fell in love with the story immediately.

If you're reading this post, you are most likely already familiar with the plot of Star Wars, so I'm not really going to go in depth on that, but I'm probably just going to ramble on about my feelings. This post will contain spoilers for Rogue One so if you haven't seen it yet, please proceed with extreme caution!

So I saw the movie about a week ago with my best friend Jen. She introduced me to the wonders of this amazing series and I thank her so much for allowing it to enrich my life. Other friends have also urged me to watch the series in the past too and I'm so glad I can join in the fandom with them.

The movie was completely amazing. It was crazy seeing how much went into retrieving the plans for the Death Star, and how much sacrifice was involved. I'm not really going to name drop characters too much or anything or talk about anything too specifically, but I can say that I was both devastated by the extreme losses and martyrdom that unfolded. Massive spoiler alert....everyone dies. Pretty much everybody. All the main characters that we grow to learn about and love, they all die. This is the ultimate sacrifice. All to retrieve a flaw in the mechanics of the Death Star that was purposefully engineered by Jyn's father, Galen Erso. Without this, the Empire would not have been defeated in the subsequent trilogy.

So after the movie came to it's tragic end with a silver lining, I began to think about the current state of things in America and in the world. I started thinking about how the upcoming President and his subordinates and eerily similar motives as the Empire. All policies that they say are there to keep the cosmos safe from peril and strong in the face of dissent, but in actuality, they are the largest threat to the well-being of the the galaxy. All power struggles, fight for control, meaningless slaughter and threats against of those who oppose their word. This may sound dramatic, over-arching, sure but this is really what is coming to pass and it's terrifying.

But then I thought about the side I'm on. I'm on the side of the light.

(I like to joke around that I'm on the Dark Side just to be "cool" but legit though, that is not the case at all)

Then I really thought, and I don't mean to be cryptic, but would I be willing to make unspeakable sacrifice for the sake of the well being of those I care about and to uphold my beliefs in the face of evil?

I really couldn't believe I was actually having these thoughts, legitimately. I began to feel extremely moved, yet also afraid of my own thoughts. I feel really strongly opposed to so many things going on in our world right now. I'm opposed to toxic masculinity, the absolution of the patriarchy, white supremacy and racism, homophobia, climate change deniers, classism and the rise of super elites, and ultimately the new Presidential regime.

Emphasis on regime.

The Rebel forces faced so much unsurmountable uncertainty. They took chances, shots in the dark, all because they held in their hearts a cause to be free from the tyranny and oppression of the Empire and the Dark Forces. They rejected it. They knew that they were fighting something bigger and more powerful than they were but yet they kept on fighting.

I tell myself, when I'm feeling really down about the current state of affairs, when I'm angry and I want to punch walls and fight for my rights and my friends and loved ones rights, that I have every right to be that way. I stand up and say to myself that I won't go down without a fight. I may not individually succeed in that moment in time, but I also didn't give up and let oppression crush me. I want everyone to know I fought until I no longer could, and even when I was on the ropes, I was still kicking and punching my way.

I have not faced anything in reality yet on a personal level. I've only looked at the threat in the distance, like Empire warships blocking out the sun and casting a shadow on my future. But here I am, weaponizing the gunships, fortifying the battlefield, and preparing for war. How will I personally fight them? That I do not know the answer to specifically, but I'm preparing for...something. Anything. Everything.

I know my rights and I know what I'm capable of.

And I'm not alone. I have millions of Rebel fighters backing me up. Millions of allies, ready to fight right along side me. I should feel strong and ready to take them on. I just have to be even if I'm not fully ready. There is no room for complete weakness. I might falter, might begin to lose hope, but I can't let the light burn out, and it won't.

This is a real threat that looms over us, and for all those people who just want to sit back and do nothing, and the others who want to join the oppressors out of fear or greed (screw you twice as hard by the way), I see you and I condemn you openly and loudly.

I will not back down.

And I must of course take a moment to speak about a tragic loss in the Star Wars community. We lost Carrie Fisher, our beloved Princess Leia, or rather General Organa. Inspirational inside of the Star Wars persona and outside in the real world. She battled so many personal hardships including alcohol and substance abuse and mental illness. She wasn't shy about admitting her downfalls and speaking openly about her struggles. I'm new to her legacy, but knowing about her and what she stood for could not have come at a better time. We need strong women as our role models. We need intersectionality. We need support from all angles and people who can uphold the importance of multiple beliefs. We need just morals and righteousness and those who can carry them despite their past mistakes and misgivings. Those people are so few and far between in this world, so when we lose one it's like a major blow.

Carrie Fisher's legacy will always live on in our hearts. I will never forget how much she was and still continues to be a feminist icon, and also an icon of humanity.

Let the force guide us on the right path as perilous times loom ahead. Do not let the darkness consume you. Do not forget those who have sacrificed for us to have achieved what we have accomplished today. Nothing can take those achievements away. No despot, demagogue, tyrant, oligarch, dictator. The fight to maintain freedom will never be easy, so never expect it to be. Do not fall into complacency, that is the first step to falling prey to the enemy.

We fought the Empire, and the New Order has risen from those ashes. The fight isn't over and it never was. It might never be, but we have to always fight. Always.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Morning Reflections: Lolita Fashion and Personal Happiness

Merry Christmas everyone! I bring you a reflective post this morning. I think I will begin to do these more often as getting my thoughts out there really helps me to focus my mind.

This year, and the past few months I have realized yet again, not that I didn't know this since day one, but it has fluctuated and changed a bit over the years but I wear lolita fashion first and foremost...


I could honestly care less about what other people think of me when I wear it. I love sharing pretty pictures online, though the likes and sweet comments on social media make me feel good, I think I get the most joy and happiness out of looking at how cute I am and wearing the frills and feeling really special. I also love creating frilly items and seeing them come to life.

Forget getting a bunch of new stuff, I'm realizing that I have not even maxed out the amount of combinations I can make out of my current wardrobe and I've been getting more and more creative with my coordinates all the time. I make a small purchase every now and then (like some socks or tights ever couple months), and this year I only acquired about 3-4 new main pieces (all from Chinese brands like Souffle Song, Krad Lanrette, and Inori) So basically I make a quarterly purchase of a single item and I'm good with it.

This is not to shame people who buy a lot of stuff, I'm just saying what is enough for me. I don't need much, and honestly I'm trying to make it less. I still have a couple things I haven't worn yet and some that I've only worn once.

I say it every year, but I hope to wear lolita more in the coming year. I think with all the horrible shit in the world right now, we have to try to keep ourselves happy. I, as an empath, have felt numbing pain and heartache from reading about so many awful things daily, and we all have to give ourselves recovery time. Lolita fashion is still a form of escapism for me.

It's becoming easier for me to wear lolita as more "everyday" wear. I still reserve it more for events by comparison, because I guess my mentality was always to make sure lots of people, especially fellow lolitas, see me in my coordinate so it's "worth it" to go out of my way to dress up, but then I realized...

"Hey, then you aren't really wearing it for yourself are you now?"

That's a problem for me.

So lately I'm opting for simpler outfits, more mature and streamlined. BUT I do still think my "simple" can still be a bit over the top because I can't help my personal style, and you know what, thats OK.

The last two times I wore lolita, being yesterday for Christmas Eve and Friday to hang out with a couple friends, I wore my natural hair. I loved it. I might be selling some of my wigs soon because I think wearing my natural hair is becoming easier. I'm not giving up wigs all together, but a lot of times they give me headaches and are uncomfortable (though they do serve as a "hair hat" in the winter!) I like them because if my hair isn't perfectly styled, I can throw on a wig and style that instead. I can also achieve other lengths and colors without damaging my natural hair with permanent colors or extensions.

I like the variety.

But I love my natural hair, and I think I should be flaunting it more with my daily lolita looks. I was thinking of coloring my natural hair, but if I do any unnatural colors I will probably opt for semi-permanent, even though it might be frowned upon to have purple highlights with an elegant classic lolita coordinate, but you know I'm not one to adhere perfectly to "rules", you know because they are more like guidelines, heh! Anyway, if an outfit requires a more natural colored hair, that's what the wigs are for, so I will still be keeping some but just the best ones. I'll probably sell some of the ones I don't really need or care for wearing anymore. I also realized its better to wear wigs without a wig cap, as I think thats what gives me the headaches. I just put my hair in soft twists and shove it under.

I think my point is again, it should be up to me and I should have choices. That's what fashion and self expression are all about!

My natural curls with frills.
So in the coming year, I'm going to do my best to choose happiness. Life isn't always easy, but hey it's not supposed to be. Bad things happen, we pick up the pieces. People do everything in their power to make things harder for you to succeed, you keep trying. I'm a determined person by nature, it's rare that I give up. Sometimes I'm hopeless, some times I cry. I was very sick most of 2016 (which I will write a reflective post about later when I'm ready to talk about it again) so I learned that sometimes your own body will turn against you, but you have to somehow continue to live your best life. I'm saying these things from a better place now, but even as I write this, nothing in life is promised. Everything is random, luck, a series of fortunate or unfortunate events, and as a human being on this Earth, this is the cards I am dealt. I'm here to play the game.

I remind myself, hey guess what you are? You are a tiny speck of dust floating in a huge vast universe with billions upon billions of insurmountable infinity. You are both completely insignificant and immensely significant all at once. But I, the tiny speck, will be the best tiny speck I can be for as long as I can be. I will help other specks, I will be a happy speck, I will do what I can. I won't destroy myself for what I can't accomplish. I was born imperfect, and so were all the other specks and we haphazardly bumble around without complete purpose or reason. When my speck is done existing as it's current state of matter, whenever that may be, I will become one with all the other billions and trillions of specks to create something new, somehow and some way, in the eternal vastness of the universe. The thought of that brings me peace, when everything seems overwhelming. Remember, you are just but a speck.

Channeling some Carl Sagan there.

So anyway, yea that got a bit beyond my original point, but really I have been doing a lot of reflection lately, and I'm not done either, so expect several more posts of this nature. Ultimately again, I write these for myself above anything or anyone else, but I hope I have somehow inspired your thinking or got you to do some personal reflection of your own.

Lastly, be happy, do what you can to help others, even if you happiness lasts but a single moment or second in time, just try. I know it can be difficult, I'm not saying that it is at all easy, but just try.

Until next time, fellow specks.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

"The Handmaiden" (2016) - A Fan Review

Last night I witnessed cinematic genius. An evoking erotic tale of passion, betrayal, perversion, and ultimately what it means when love knows no bounds. Below is my fan review. I'm no film critic and I'm also very easily impressed when it comes to movies. However this film majorly exceeded all my expectations. Also I speak remotely frankly about sexual content here, so if that makes you uncomfortable, perhaps sit this one out!

Very spoiler-ish! Proceed with caution!

Firstly, I was very happy to share this film experience with someone I knew would appreciate it as deeply as I would, someone very dear to me whom I love very much, Celinè. Its tale of forbidden love and tangled webs, yet in the end love will always prevail no matter what difficulty stands in your way. We saw the film at Sunshine Cinema in Soho, a humble little theater that carries indie and foreign films. It was really an evening never to forget.

Instead of giving a play-by-play of this film, I really want to speak about what really sets this movie apart from many others that have erotic themes that are centered on that of women's sexuality.

Not only was this movie absolutely stunning to watch, with its glorious scenery, amazing costumes, and spellbinding mixing of European and Asian (Korean and Japanese) aesthetics, it played against the tune that you usually see in a lot of Western films (and perhaps many other Eastern films) that use women as props of sexual fantasy. Women who have sexual relationships with other women usually are given no agency over their bodies, and their intimacy is often directed for the male gaze and for shock value. Like "look we are so edgy, women having sex!" types of things that are overdone and boring. For many years, I've sought out film, animation, manga, and other media that does not play into these selfish tropes that ignore how real it is for a woman to love another woman as deeply as she could a man.

The Handmaiden did just that. With its ultimate plot twist that had me on the edge of my seat, and worried for a moment that I had been queer-baited into yet another story of a lesbian woman losing out to a cruel and unloving man, watching the love of her life swept away forever, I was absolutely floored when this movie took all my expectations and blew them out of the water. It also eliminated any fears I had going in about halfway through the film. These women went against all odds and found themselves passionately involved with one another in a twist of fate that you won't see coming until the very end. 

We witnessed real love last night. Love that is timid at first, perhaps shameful and worrisome. Queer women often have to question their agency, question whether or not their love for another woman is real or allowed. Suppressing their feelings or having them suppressed by others around them. I know all these feelings firsthand, and this movie really spoke to my very soul. Though I personally identify as bi/pan, for many years I wondered if I had been broken and if my feelings were real or allowed. I've personally learned in many ways, that I can love any way that I so please. This movie really set those feelings into my heart.

There are very clear differences between heterosexual love and intimacy and homosexual love and intimacy, and besides the obvious physical differences that I'm sure I don't need to explain, I've found that it really does go far beyond that. Not that one is better than the other, I'm not here to make statements of division, but I think there is much to learn about passion and intimacy between all orientations and sexual expressions. The erotic scenes in this film were not your "classic" -look at these two beautiful women having sex- for all the men to watch, and to carelessly objectify them as if they are just bodies to consume. I always get that vibe and the wrenching in my stomach when lots of other media does this, including obviously pornography (which is primarily consumed by male viewers, and only small studios cater to the female gaze.) 

The scenes in this movie made you feel something completely different. Whether you are straight or somewhere in between, everything felt so real, not staged, not forced. You could feel true passion emanating from the movie screen. I never thought that this was possible, especially in a scene depicting two women. 

I was deeply moved to say the least. 

Then there were other moments of implied eroticism. Things that, perhaps those who may not be as "creative" to see it. There are things that can be experienced that go beyond that of sexual touch. There were scenes of light grazing on inherently non-sexual body parts, dressing and undressing, the way the two women looked at one another, so much to be said about how fantasy isn't as simple as many are led to believe. The anticipation and lingering of longing and desire are so much more enrapturing than the acts themselves. Not to make a blanket statement, but I think this is the clear difference between how different genders and individuals experience sexual fulfillment (if they so desire that from their partner.) The end game is not always as rewarding as what led up to it.

Sometimes, the odds against you only makes the end result that much more exciting.

This movie wasn't about in-your-face sex off the bat. That's what really made it so entrancing. You were left imagining and wondering how far things would go with every slow and provoking moment. 

Also the two leading ladies (Sook-Hee played by Kim Tae-Ri and and Lady Hideko played byKim Min-Hee) are just gorgeous to say the least! They are just the loveliest paring and their love felt so genuine I would swear to you they were real lovers (Are they? Because that would be amazing.) I was completely fixated on them. 

I loved how the both of them thought the other was innocent and naive, when in fact both ladies were remotely corrupted by those around them and their toxic influence. But in the end, it made them all the wiser to prevail and triumph, and realize that what they had for another was worth the ultimate risks.

They were caught up in an elaborate scheme of greed and perversion orchestrated by a money-loving con man and a lecherous old uncle. Boy, if this movie didn't make you distrusting of men, I don't know what would! Not that you should (#notallmen, haha), as both men depicted in this film were just downright skeevy! The creepy old uncle Kouzuki, forced young Hideko into erotic readings and displays for an underground "sex club" (like Fight Club, just a little more twisted.) And Sook-Hee was manipulated into conman Count Fujiwara's exploits to seduce and elope with the young heiress Hideko to have her fortune. 

Watch the movie to see how it all unfolds in detail, but I just have to say, these lovely ladies knew exactly what they were doing when it came to intimacy. 

Or perhaps they did not? 

I think they both surprised each other in how naturally things unfolded. That in of itself is the real beauty of it all. 

A woman knows how she wants to be loved, and in turn can easily love another with the same passion they would like to be loved themselves. This my friends, is the key to long lasting and satisfying encounters, regardless if they are long standing, exclusive, varied, or otherwise. 

Take notes. 

I was really astonished by this film and I beg everyone to see it, no matter if you have an alternative sexual expression or not, I think it's well worth it. We plan on purchasing the DVD as soon as it is released because this type of cinematic glory is rare and to be cherished deeply. 

We also are very interested in reading "Fingersmith" by Sara Waters, which this movie was roughly based upon. Any manner of media detailing and displaying the lives and inner workings of LGBTQA+ romance, and validating it without vulgarizing it or perverting it, please continue to create them and share! If anyone has suggestions of media that do this, feel free to drop them in the comments as we are very intrigued by them. 

Thank you all for reading, please support this film by going to see it in a specialty theater near you. Showings are limited and dwindling, so please hurry!

All photo credits to Magnolia Pictures

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I'm Demisexual: What Does That Mean? My Experience

Recently (or not so recently) I've gotten to thinking about my sexuality. Sure, for me that is a multi faceted topic for more reasons than one, but today I'd like to focus in on a very specific aspect of mines.


It wasn't until recently that I ever even heard of this term. As I have "come of age", now at the near quarter century age of twenty four (frankly with more living to do), I have used many different words to describe my sexual preferences, but demisexual was a new one. When I finally read up on what that meant, I felt like I had a new clear cut answer for myself, well at least part of it!

Growing up, I had a hard time connecting with people. I had small groups of friends, and even then there was usually only one or two within the circle I truly had a bond with. I was, and still am, very introverted and being in social situations for too long exhausts me. Even in my romantic relationships, I really value the time I get to spend alone. For this reason, maintaining and sustaining connections can prove difficult.

In addition, as the definition of demisexual describes:

"A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It's more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being "halfway between" sexual and asexual."

I would have never thought that my feelings had fallen anywhere on the asexual spectrum, because I do feel sexual attraction, but the way that I do is definitely not conventional. When friends or classmates would shove celebrities in my face and ask if I found them attractive, I would be very confused by this, and also quite uncomfortable? Especially if they asked about men (usually very masculine men), because I find that I simply cannot find a man purely attractive unless I know them personally and also because I'm not really into men who are hyper masculine (as many women tend to be, not all but many.) With women I am attracted to aesthetic beauty, but I usually cannot see any further than that unless I really knew her.

I was never one to obsess over celebs and their looks. I was more attracted to talent, artists, musicians, they made me feel something, but even still it never really went that deep. It was very surface feelings, very fantasy, I knew they were not real. I always felt like there was something missing that did not allow me to pass the threshold of blatant sexual attraction. Looks are simply not enough for me to form those feelings?

Attraction is a spectrum. If I had to definitively describe mines, on a 1-10 scale of "masculine" to "feminine" it would be a 7. I love androgyny and hyper femininity. I like men who are less masculine, and women who are super feminine or androgynous. My sexuality not black and white.

Attraction for me is also not always (and not usually) sexual. I am attracted to people for purpose of friendship way more often than romantics. I also extend non-sexual intimacy to a few close friends. I hug, hold hands, and snuggle up with close friends whenever possible so long as they are comfortable with me doing so or offer. I have always been that way.

In romantic and intimate relationships, it has always been friendship first. Sure, I had your run of the mill crushes as a kid, but they were all unrequited, and now I know why.

I was never friends with them. They were arbitrary. Fleeting, non-existing, not real. Thus they never really went anywhere. Perhaps some of the attraction was forced. "I'm a girl, you have to have a crush, pick one and hold that to your heart for the semester" I would tell myself. Just boys then, even that felt half-hearted. Pen them in your secret diaries, make it seem real.

Then the crushing realization that it would never be, and now as an adult with a much less narrow and cut and dry sexual identity, and a new found understanding of myself, I embrace myself for who I am and I'm not afraid to show it.

I'm not broken. I shouldn't feel like an alien when I'm not "hot in here" attracted to some shirtless underwear ad of some random model or celeb. Because, who is that person? When you have that one friend who is literally shoving pictures in your face and yelling "So you think he's cute? Huh? Right!?" and you're just looking at them with confusion and disdain? I refuse to be shamed because of it. I don't experience attraction like she does, and I'm not going to let her make me seem like something is wrong with me.

It's not that I don't experience sexual attraction or desire sex, but those things are really exclusive feelings that I have not felt or experienced with many people and that is fine with me. There is nothing wrong with me.

I'm Demisexual.

Do share your thoughts in the comments, I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

One Dress, Three Ways - Coordinate Series - Inori The Maiden of Versailles JSK

Hello Everyone! For today's post, I'm doing a new coordinate series called "One Dress, Three Ways" where I challenge myself to create three distinct outfits in different styles using one main lolita piece! 

I also challenge my other fellow Lolita bloggers to do it too! I'd love to see what you all come up with!

I bought this dress on a whim when I saw Jo Anna (@octavekitten) post it on her Instagram/Facebook that she received it. I never seen it before and I automatically fell in love with it and needed to have it. It reminds me so much of Searching for Baroque from Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, which is one of my dream dresses. However, that dress is very hard to acquire and is very expensive second hand, so this was the next best thing. 

It also has a very JetJ feel to it, another brand I haven't been able to acquire main pieces from due to the fact that they can be so expensive. 

I purchased mines form Clobba Online, here's the link, they still have some available however in the black colorway only. I received my piece in about 2 weeks after purchasing. 

A quick review: The piece is extremely good quality for it's price. I was really astonished when I received it. The fabric is a very lightweight polyester and should be easy to clean and maintain. The bows are all detachable and so is the pearl chain, which makes it very versatile. I really can't say anything bad about this dress. It features gorgeously printed images of classic Rococo painting and artwork, and I love this theme! I will be purchasing from the brand Inori again!

As a side note, I keep saying it but I am so impressed by the Chinese Lolita Brands lately and I hope that they continue to go strong. Their quality in many ways rivals even that of the Japanese brands, and the designs are very unique and interesting many times. I'm itching to own a piece from Krad Lanrette, whom I would say is the leading Chinese Brand design and quality wise based on what I've heard from others, their only downfall is wait times and shipping complications. 

Anyway, on to the coordinates!

Coordinate I: Purely Classic

JSK: Inori The Maiden of Versailles
Blouse: Innocent World
Socks: Juliette et Justine
Bag: Evil Live
Crown: Voodoodolly

This is a very simple purely classic coordinate that fits with the Classic Lolita "trend" of gaudy accessories and prints. I paired the JSK with JetJ's Grimm's Fairytale socks which also has gilded frame motifs. It seems a bit out there, but it's my style and what I like. To take this outfit a step further, I would perhaps add an ivory lace trimmed veil and a long ivory lace underskirt (something that I'm waiting to add to my wardrobe!) 

Coordinate II: Dark Elegance

JSK: Inori The Maiden of Versailles
Blouse: Pumpkin Cat
Tights: Juliette et Justine
Bag: Evil Live
Necklace: Moss Marchen
Headdress & Veil: Made by Me

For the second look, I wanted to coordinate this JSK in a more Classic Gothic way. I love true Classic Lolita but I think I love Classic Gothic just a bit more (being a true Gothic Lolita at heart.) And yes, I did pair frames on frames again! It's a bit matchy matchy, but I don't know, I dig it! I could even do lace tights instead if the frames on frames is too much. 

Coordinate III: Subdued Romance

JSK: Inori The Maiden of Versailles
Blouse: Ancoco
Tights: Grimoire
Bag: Modcloth
Hat: Offbrand

Here is a more simplistic Otome styled outfit. I imagine wearing this outfit for a casual picnic or stroll on the boardwalk. Perhaps with an Ivory parasol. Instead of the tights, I could even pair this with ivory lace topped ankle socks. This is one of my favorite looks with this dress. It's the most wearable and comfortable!

Which coordinate is your favorite and why? Let me know in the comments!

And I challenge you all to do this coordinate series for yourself and see how many different outfits you can create using one main piece! It's so much fun to do. 

Until next time!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

If My Soul Had a Soundtrack...

Ever wonder how your soul would sound if it had its own musical soundtrack? Does it change daily, according to your mood? Does it have a constant theme that carries through no matter how you are feeling? Or is it a single song alone?

I began thinking about this today after revisiting some music from one of my favorite bands, Avenged Sevenfold. I listened to a playlist on YouTube of some of their top songs, such as "Beast in the Harlot", "Bat Country", "Nightmare", and more. It really got me hyped up and I remembered why I love their music so much. Their sound is hardcore, almost vulgar, devilish, fast-paced most times, and highly melodic. Some of my favorite musical attributes are encompassed in their music.

I like a lot of Rock/Metal bands, but A7X is definitely close to my heart, along with bands like System of a Down, Slipknot, Green Day, to name a few. That's why I began thinking of what my soul would sound like if it had it's own soundtrack.

I think A7X's music is just that. That sound at least.

You must be thinking if you know me, or maybe if you don't know me, how the hell does a "sweet and mild mannered girl" like you get any type of Metal music from their soul?

When I discovered the Metal genre, it was something completely new and foreign to me. It was music that "people like me" aren't supposed to be listening too, i.e I'm a Black girl, so stuff like that is apparently "too white" for me. And maybe too "scary"?


You see, I like what I like, and it usually takes me off the usual path. This goes for a lot of things. I also like a lot of different types of music, but if I had to honestly think of a certain sound of music that represents my soul, it would be melodic Metal music.

It's hard to choose just one band if I had to be honest, I like many, but A7X has this certain flair that, just speaks to me.

No I haven't betrayed you Moi dix Mois! 

My soul is always screaming out but its outside appearance is silent. I like to think if people on the street could hear the rhythm of my soul, they would be afraid of it. It takes just the right kind of people to listen to it and think it's amazing. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone, but I think about this a lot.

I'm a nice person, I'm not violent or anything, but I often feel underestimated by society and the people around me. I feel like people think my soul is meek. I often surprise people who don't know me as well when I'm dropping the names of my favorite Metal bands or belting out dark sounding melodies at a karaoke party. The surprise I get from people who don't know really amuses me!

When I was in high school, I used to listen to Metal really loudly on the train rides going to and from school (an hour long commute that sadly hasn't changed much since), and old grannies/aunties would stare at me and shake their heads in disgust and perhaps disbelief that it was coming from me. I even had one woman call me the devil in Spanish once. That also, coupled with the way I was dressed back then (Hot Topic Goth/Punk), probably made an impact. But I was always very small and young looking, even to this very day.

These encounters have shaped who I am, which is, a person full of surprising attributes, many that can't be uncovered at face value. I'm proud of that deception.

So sometimes I wish I could let people hear my inner soundtrack, people who believe I'm perhaps that meek individual who is easily manipulated, so they can hear the roar of M. Shadows and the hypnotic thrash of Syn's guitar and run away fearing for their lives.

I now it's a little silly, but it's something I often wish.

Only people that share my bond with their music, or at least understand it, will be welcomed into my world.

I really dislike when people approach me on the street or otherwise and think they have me all figured out! Well guess what, if you heard the soundtrack of my soul, if you are an ignorant person, you probably will be very confused.

It's like, step off already! You don't and will never get me.

I'm talking a lot of nonsense in this post, but if you understood any of that and can relate to me, please comment! I'd like to know what your soul would sound like if it had a soundtrack...

Thanks for reading!
- Aria

Friday, June 3, 2016

Let's Play Dress Up! Celiné tries Lolita Fashion for the First Time!

Hi everyone! Long time no post I know, but I was feeling inspired to blog again so I thought, why not just stay up late on a workweek night to do a bit of blogging? I won't regret it right? Well at least tomorrow is Friday!

So about a month ago, the lovely 'Sunshine Empress' Celiné spent a weekend with me. Not only is she amazing to be with and a wonderful companion, I couldn't help but imagine how she would look in Lolita Fashion!

Maybe not all lolitas, but some do have a strong desire to dress up their closest companions in their frilly garb. I'm one of them. For the longest I've wanted to dress up someone who is a non-lolita in the fashion and take some photos and such.

Celi is perfect!

We are both generally the same size (well besides shoes, because I'm bigfoot) so she fit into my stuff rather easily! She was very excited to try an outfit on, and the whole time she smiled and giggled with excitement! This made me truly happy! Photos, shall we?

I dressed Celi up in Angelic Pretty's Tiara Rose JSK. I'm not really a sweet lolita, but I do have a few sweet pieces that I like to coordinate in edgier ways. Celi however loves pink, so why not dress her up in the sweetest items in my current wardrobe?

The outfit wasn't complete or official, and we just wore things indoors, but hopefully we can go out together dressed up for the day! I look forward to when that day comes. Perhaps even bring her along to a meetup! She admires the fashion a lot and is really in awe of all the lolitas she has seen in real life. I could only imagine how things may blossom for her. Future lolita in the making? Only time will tell!

Here's one of us together. Earlier that day I went to a small picnic meet in the park where I was wearing a totally different outfit, but since Celi insisted, I threw on my Chantilly OP, a black wig, and a flower crown to frill it up with her. Excuse my no makeup bare face! By this point I was already winding down for the night, haha!

Oh yea, and don't mind the mess in the background, I tried to crop out most of it. Don't mind my lack of accessories, I literally threw this on just for fun! This dress, is sooo comfortable though!

Isn't she just too cute? She really makes the perfect Sweet Lolita and I can't wait for us to officially dress up together again. I was literally flailing the whole time over how amazing she looked! Lolita fashion suits her so well, and even if she doesn't pursuit the fashion on her own, she's always welcome to my closet <3

After the dress up session, we stayed up late watching the Shoujo Anime "Oniisama e", which we are going to finish soon, I highly recommend it by the way if you like over the top dramatic anime with queer undertones and androgynous female characters. It's by Ryoko Ikeda, the same creator of Rose of Versailles!

Looking forward to more frilly memories with you Celiné!

Thank you everyone for reading! 

Have you ever dressed up someone close to you in Lolita Fashion, Ouji, Boystyle or Aristocrat? Please share photos and stories in the comments below, I'd love to see it!

Until next time, take care!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Ancestry and What it Means to Me

Hello everyone! I'm here today with some interesting news, reflection, and self analysis. So about a month ago I did something I've wanted to do for many years, and that was to have my DNA tested for my ethnicity breakdown! I used, and jumped at the opportunity to get tested when they had their Christmas sale (it was about $30 off the price of the test.)

Let's first speak about my cultural history. I identify as Afro-Carribean American. My mother was born in Antigua & Barbuda and my father was born in Jamaica. I am a first generation American born citizen. My parents immigrated here as young children (aged 4 and 7 respectively) and met each other in college here in New York City, my hometown. I've lived in the city my whole life. Most of my mother's side of the family from Antigua & Barbuda also immigrated here in the 1960's and 1970's, and many of my cousins are also first generation and second generation Americans.

That being said, without a doubt my family on both sides are descendants of slavery. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade brought slaves not only to the Americas, but the Caribbean Islands as well. This is the first piece in the puzzle of what I'd known my genetic makeup to be. I have been remotely aware of for the longest time. What I didn't know, was where the obvious European genetic attributes had come from.

An old-ish photo of me in my most "natural state", fro and all it's glory!
There is a lot of talk in my family about what parts of Europe we take bloodline from. Growing up I've heard everything from Portuguese, to Italian, to British. Many people swear up, down and around on the Portugal thing, so for most of my life that's what I would go around saying when people asked if I "must be mixed", even though at the end of the day I just say I'm a Black person, or Person of Color.

So what did my breakdown end up being? Let's have a look below...

Okay, so the 77% African thing didn't really come as a surprise, since that was basically a given, I mean pretty much everyone currently native to the Caribbean Islands has some type of bloodline that traces back to the Sub Saharan West African coast (and yes that does include Hispaniola and Puerto Rico!) I was pretty sure that I was going to get a pretty high percentage of Nigerian or Ghanian ethnic traces. It's very exciting to have some sort of knowledge of where my African blood originates. I studied both cultures in college, and now I'm even more eager to make an even deeper connection and do more research on where I come from.

My only sadness is that they cannot pinpoint exactly which cultural groups I bear lineage from, and there are SO MANY, Hausa, Fulani, Ashanti, Yoruba, Igbo, and more. But I'm sure I'm not from one cultural group in earnest because all the people of the region mixed together during the slave trade, so there really is no way to know. I basically have trace amounts of many! Which is still something to merit. Yes, slavery happened, but I won't let that define who I am or erase my culture.

So that brings us to the little European surprise I wasn't expecting.


When I saw this result I was very confused. I never heard anything about any Norwegian or Swedish ancestry of any kind in my family (probably because it was remotely illegitimate to begin with, for reasons I don't think I need to mention here, we all know what types of atrocities went down during the slave trade.)

So I'm quarter Viking? Okay...?

But after a small bit of research, it made a little more sense. Scandinavian nomads went EVERYWHERE. They migrated to and colonized parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa too, primarily the Western coast because they traveled there by boat from the Northern Atlantic Ocean. They pillaged, they traded, and mingled in all of these places, thus why the bloodline traces add up. I doubt me having this blood in me is due to any fortunate circumstance, which is a little saddening, but it is what it is I guess. There is really no way to know for sure, so what can I say?

Happy Leif Erikson Day?

It's interesting however, since I've been remotely interested in Scandinavian music for awhile, mostly in the Rock and Metal variety. Not that it's traditional or cultural in any way, but in a modern sense I would say it is a huge part of Scandinavian pop culture at the very least.

I also love snow and cooler temperatures? I mean I do...

Yea, not saying I AM Scandinavian now because of a quarter drop of ethnic ancestry, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't take the time to explore this unknown part of what makes up my biological makeup.

And there is Irish as well, which in a way derives from Scandinavia to begin with. There is lots of similarity in the cultures, and a lot of migration involved.

Nigerian Celtic Viking? Hmm ok.

And some Viking dipped a toe into Iraq for two minutes, thus the less than one percent Middle Eastern ethnicity? I'm not counting that though since it seems rather inconclusive.

At the end of the day I still identify as Black, and being that is the majority of my ethnic background, and how I present to others outwardly, I will continue to embrace this fact.

There is much more research to be done. I'm so curious about the genetic makeup of my other family members now as well so I can get a clear trace and perhaps uncover more similarities and differences. I hope I can convince others in my family to try it too!

Can't wait to learn more about all the cultures that make up my ethnicity, I will be sharing my experiences here going forward!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"MY MUSIC IS BETTER THAN YOURS!" - Reflection and Discussion Post

Hello everyone! First off, Happy New Year! It's 2016, and I'm ready for a very exciting and eventful year. I have a lot of things up and coming, and I've made some positive changes in my life. I'm hoping to make this a great year, but only time will tell.

Anyway, I just wanted to get some thoughts down on a subject that I have been thinking a bit about lately. The topic is music, and it's a but of a multi faceted question I want to discuss my thoughts and get input from others on:

  • Why is it that certain types of music become strikingly more popular than others in mainstream media? (Let's keep to the USA for this one)
  • Why are certain types of music not as widely appealing to a broader audience (instead of a niche one?)
  • Why do some people outright reject certain kinds of music based on narrow-minded views? (Language, deeper meaning to lyrics, instruments used, race/ethnicity of the performers)
I brought these questions up recently after my boyfriend went on a holiday trip to South Africa to visit family members there (just to clarify, because the question tends to be asked, he is in fact Black African, this will be remotely of importance later) and the question of his music tastes came up. 

Basically, him being interested in mostly Japanese music was thought to be strange by his fellow family members, who almost exclusively listen to American Rap and Hip-Hop music. As many of us of African descent growing up in America, we are expected to follow suit, and his family expected that of him to, but it's farthest from the case. He does listen to some, but his passion is in Japanese music - mostly J-Rock and J-Pop to be more specific. 

There is this stigma in the Black Community that if your music tastes aren't Rap, Hip Hop, and R&B, then you are an outsider. Your music, if it doesn't fall into those genres, is "too White."

My question always is, when the hell did music just belong to any specific race? I can understand said music originating from people of a certain race or ethnicity, but not the entire genre being a "race." Give credit where it's due but don't go denouncing people's musical tastes as though liking music made by someone not the same as you means you can't enjoy it. Seriously, that notion infuriates me to no end. 

You can watch his video on the topic here (from YouTube):

That then brings me to my tastes in music, which I had been ridiculed for in the past for the very same reasons. I mostly listen to music in the Rock/Metal/Alternative variety with a toss of Dance/Techno/Happy Hardcore and of course Classical Music. 

My favorite musical genre at the moment is Symphonic Rock/Metal (Moi Dix Mois, Versailles, Malice Mizer, Delain, Epica, Within Temptation, Sirenia, Nightwish, just to name a few.) Anyway, these genres are practically ignored as a whole by the wider Black Community. To my knowledge there are none or not many Black musical artists who participate in the genre either (but if I could make music, I would be so in that trust me...) It makes me a little sad, but I don't let that stop me from listening to whatever I want. 

But, going back a bit before I get off topic, let's address our initial questions.

Why is it that certain types of music become strikingly more popular than others in mainstream media?

It's sadly simple, in my opinion, why this is. The general public, or the masses, like whatever is easy to consume. They like music with a hook, a catchy beat, generally upbeat sounding, and music that plays into their fantasies. People like music about partying, sexy women/men, finding love, driving fast cars, and getting riches. The melodies are often simple and easy to grasp. In comparison, many Symphonic Metal songs in contrast have very deep and heavy lyrics often melancholy (many about death, love lost, deep despair, and extreme emotion.) They have fast paced rifts and percussions that can be taxing on the ear of the "normal" person. The melodies are often more complicated and ever changing. This is why I think simpler Pop and Hip Hop songs hit the Top 40 and are regularly played on the radio because they are simply "easy on the ear" and make people feel fanciful. Is there more to it though? 

Why are certain types of music not as widely appealing to a broader audience?

It's not that I want my favorite music to become mainstream and played out, but I really do wonder sometimes why don't genres other than Pop and Hip Hop/R&B get any real recognition? All the music on the radio sounds the same, like a carbon copy with a different voice. I feel as though people aren't really given a chance to even like anything different. Kids know all the songs that play on the radio like if those are the only songs that exist. 

I grew up on an additional divide. I'm Afro-Caribbean, My family is from the Islands on both sides, so I do have cultural genres such as Reggae, Soca, and Calypso to identify with, and I do enjoy them, but I always looked for more. I was not a "follow the herd" type of girl. Thanks to the internet, I was able to discover, around the ages of 13-15, a lot of the music I still listen to religiously to this very day.

I feel like people are simply not exposed to enough music. Either they don't have the desire to seek it out, they might be afraid to stray from the pack, or they just don't know where to start? It could be a marketing thing, like maybe certain music was just never meant to reach a wider audience on purpose? Like the creators or small fan base want to keep it niche, which is fair. I'm not entirely sure how to answer this question with definition.

There is also musical theory which plays into why music even sounds "good" to the human ear. Just like there is the Golden Rule in mathematics involving symmetry, the same applies to music as well. Notes aren't just strung together at random to create music. It's chaotic to hear someone smash a piano keyboard or guitar strings haphazardly. However, for a musical piece to be truly astounding, it must have all the appeal I stated previously and follow the Golden Rule - and there is your hit song! 


Why do some people outright reject certain kinds of music based on narrow-minded views? 

This is what really bothers me the most. I've heard people denounce music for the silliest of reasons. Some people refuse to listen to music unless they can understand the language. That's being said, again I also listen to a lot of Japanese music. I also listen to music in many other languages. It's easy enough to look up the lyric translations for any song in the world these days. Not being able to understand is not an excuse. It's stupid, plain and simple. 

I find this reigns true with many of my fellow Americans. Our music, music in the English language generally speaking (I guess we can include music from Europe as well) is regarded highly globally, especially if it's a well known song or artist. But music in other languages do not get the same recognition here in America. Most music in any other language besides English can't even get on the Top 40 list, and if there is one, the most we'd get is one song in Spanish (since it's the country's second language), and even then it's often mixed with English or has a repetitive hook of the same Spanish phrase over and over. 

Also, is it conditioning? Does it come from ones parents and family, the renouncing of non-mainstream music? Media outposts dictating what you see, or in this case, hear? We are often taught, as Westerners, and as Americans, that everything we produce from all angles, are superior to that of the rest of the world, and I'm sure that includes music. We are told to like the music that "our people" like (or are supposed to like? I don't even...) is the music we should be listening to. That music is a trend, and not something to be cherished. That lyrics don't matter so long as you can bump and grind to it. 

I believe, music is much more. Music is meant to be analyzed and picked apart. It's meant to be explored across boundaries of geography, time, culture, and language. It's meant to bring you up or down. It's meant to convey a deeper message or meaning, even a subliminal one. It's meant to be understood fully and with reason. 

Music is life. 

Please share your thoughts on this subject, I'm very eager to hear input from others on this topic. Remember, everything I said here is opinion, and not fact, so if you disagree with anything I said, none of it is absolute, its simply just my opinion which can be different from yours. 

Thanks for reading!