Category Archives: The Zebra

I Own a Home. WTF?, The Zebra

I have no idea at all what this post is about. If you figure it out, can you leave me a comment?

The house is coming along. Some days I feel overwhelmed by all there is left to do, other days I feel confidant that everything will work out and even if it doesn’t it will. Those days, apparently, I am full of zen contradictions. I’m like a damn hippie riddled with anxiety.

These are the things I have learned about myself.

1. I am a picky person when it comes to paint colors. I didn’t think I would be. And then, when I started to notice that I kind of maybe was a little bit, I tried to deny it saying things like, “Oh I don’t really care except I hate all those colors except this one and no I actually hate that one, too.” At some point (I think it was the point where I bought the 36th sample of orange paint to try in the bedroom) I had to admit to myself that I am a picky paint person. I don’t know why this is such a hard thing for me to embrace, but I suspect it goes back to my extreme need to please ALL THE PEOPLE. If I’m picky, I might be frustrating, and if I’m frustrating I might lose all my friends and live alone forever.

I may or may not have been a drama major in high school.

2. I forgot this thing that I learned about myself. If I remember it, or re-learn it, I’ll get back to you.

3. Painting and fixing up an empty house is not unlike cleaning out a hoarder’s house, as it turns out. You spend all day working and at the end of the day you feel like nothing’s been accomplished. You feel certain that this will NEVER EVER END. The jobs just keep adding up. They seem endless. Overwhelming is an understatement. And, yet. My mom’s house got cleaned up. So here’s hoping that someday September will be over and I’ll be settled in my orange-no-purple-no-brown-no-back-to-orange bedroom writing a post about how THANK GOD 2013 is almost over and perhaps I’m about to become superstitious about odd-numbered years.

I’m sorry. I don’t think this post makes any sense whatsoever. Have some pretty pictures of the sky to make up for it.

The sunbeams were crazy awesome tonight.  Like the sun was grasping desperately before being dragged down into the underworld against his will. Or something less demonic. Whichever.  Adjusted in #snapseed

Today has been stupid in that I can't stop being tired and I'm PMSing like emo as hell. But I had to leave the house to buy pads and the Universe was all "Hey. You. Have a sunset."

Edumacation, Geek, Onwards, The Zebra, This is a Woman

On Ravenclaw, Pottermore, and Self Esteem

RavenclawRavenclaw manicure. I knew if I looked far enough back in my photostream I’d find a relevant picture for this entry.

I remember being probably about three years old, spending the afternoons laying on my grandma’s bed in her red bedroom, working through a learn-to-read series. I loved the books, but often I’d wind up daydreaming instead of paying attention (this was to be a theme in my life). But I do remember that when she spelled out “A-P-P-L-E” I just heard the phrase “pee-pee” and giggled at the bathroom humor (which was also to be a theme in my life).

When I was about to enter kindergarten I took a test, I guess it was basically so my teacher could see what things I already knew. This is just my assumption. Anyway, in this test, apparently, I was told to count as high as I could go and I had to be stopped somewhere after the 70’s.

In third grade, I was tested for my school’s GATE program (they called it CORE) and despite the fact that the only question I still remember today, I got embarrassingly wrong, I was entered into the program. Four days a week I’d leave my classroom and spend an hour doing cool language arts stuff (cause my school was a kickass language arts magnet).

While I loved being a part of CORE, and I’m so glad I had that opportunity (especially as school got harder for me), it also saddled me with certain self-esteem issues. Because being a CORE kid came with expectations. My teachers would regularly point out to the whole class (which. wtf were they thinking? WHO benefits from that?) that the CORE kids were super fast workers, while I was still only halfway done with the assignment. I often frustrated teachers with my daydreaming because they felt that if I just stayed focused I’d reach my potential. I never seemed to meet the expectations that the “smart” kids were supposed to.

Please understand that I am not – absolutely not – knocking teachers. Teachers are some of the most important people in our culture and I highly respect them. And nearly all of my elementary school teachers were not only good at their job, but I remember them as people who I loved very much, and I know they loved me back. Overall I was blessed with mostly good teachers.

Maybe it’s because things were just different back in the dark ages 30 years ago, or maybe it’s because we know so much more now, and I’m sure it’s because my attention issues are really mild and probably not diagnosable as anything even by today’s more comprehensive standards, but I was left alone to come to the conclusion that I wasn’t actually as smart as the other CORE kids, or as smart as everyone seemed to think I was. It was a sort of weird place to be. It was obviously considered a high honor in my world to be considered smart – to have been labeled “gifted” – and I was proud of that just as much as it made me feel like shit. I don’t think I ever talked about this as a kid. Maybe I was too ashamed of myself and afraid people would figure out they were wrong about me or maybe because I just couldn’t find the words to express it. I don’t know. But the seed was planted.

And then when I was in fourth grade my mom suffered her nervous breakdown and my life went to shit. I was absent more days than not and tardy on the days I showed up at all. The kids around me would ask why and I didn’t know what to tell them. Teachers would scold me for not going to bed earlier (not that easy to do when your mom keeps you out until midnight, you know?) and I felt ashamed of all the mistakes I was making. I began to hate school when I’d always loved it before. My grades started suffering and everything fed into those insecurities that had already been planted in me.

And that’s just how it was. I did OK in English classes, usually getting B’s, sometimes C’s. Math classes were nearly always D’s if I was lucky. I didn’t understand how to study, and I had no interest in grades at all, except to hate myself when they weren’t good. I feel like in many ways I slept through my education, wandering bewildered through where I was told to go, only vaguely aware of the goal at the end.

In ninth grade something happened where I was suddenly able to gain control of small parts of my life and I suddenly stopped having all those absences and tardies. I cannot tell you what changed in me that year, but it was not the only major change I made in my life. I suppose it was my Oak Tree calling me to the next step of growth.

Even after that, though, I was still only a mediocre student in high school. I didn’t take it seriously. In fact, in my first go at biology I wound up with a 17% in the class. That’s, like, not even an F. But it wasn’t because it was a hard subject for me. It was because I just never did any work. In fact the next year when I retook the class, they put me in an honors-level course (as is per the custom when someone flunks a class?) and I wound up with a B.

Senior year something clicked and I worked really hard all year and received my first (and so far only) 4.0. But when I entered college things started sliding back downhill quickly.

In high school I took all the AP courses, but never took the AP tests. I think I was too afraid. While I wasn’t consciously aware of it, I think I believed I’d fail them. And I couldn’t handle failing. So I just didn’t try. I think the college-choosing process went similarly. I wound up going to the community college for lack of aiming for anything else.

It’s a strange loop to be stuck in. Too afraid to fail, desperately wanting to be a smart as everyone acted like I was, and unwilling to try because I was too fragile to handle failing.

And being at the community college, instead of a four-year school, just confirmed for me that I wasn’t smart. High school counselors and teachers acted like community college was for the people too stupid to go directly to university (or maybe that was just my perception). So, basically, I failed before I ever began. And since I didn’t really have any actual goals in mind for transfer or career, I just sort of dropped out.

And I struggled with this for years. Well, to be honest, I still sort of do. I definitely have some insecurities that I am still working on.

But there came a time when Harry Potter came into my life. Don’t laugh. Harry Potter is real, man. Of the four houses, I’d wonder which one I’d get sorted into. I knew I wasn’t Gryffindor material. I’m not that brave and I certainly don’t want the glory. None of the glory. That’s my motto. (I’m OK with recognition. Just not glory.) (And by “recognition” I mean that I’d prefer it if it’s given discreetly and that no one looks at me all at once and we just move on with things quickly, please.) And I didn’t relate to any of the Slytherins at.all.ever. Which left Ravenclaw, renowned for their intellect, and Hufflepuff, described in the books as “for everyone else.” (I paraphrase because I am too lazy to go look it up right now. Don’t judge. Those books are all the way across the room. And I can’t even accio them. Stupid muggle genes.) Since I assumed I wasn’t smart enough for Ravenclaw, I figured I must belong in the catch-all house intended for people who are just leftovers, not good enough to be sorted anywhere else.

I KNOW BETTER NOW.

I don’t know why Hufflepuffs aren’t more celebrated in the books, but I think that’s why the house is so generally disrespected. It wasn’t until I got deeper into the lore of the Wizarding World that I began to really understand the complexities of the different houses, and to understand what Hufflepuffs actually are. They aren’t leftovers at all. They are characterized by being loving and loyal. By operating on feelings rather than glory or knowledge. And I began to see that Hufflepuff is, really, possibly the best house (aside from it’s unfortunate bumblebee colors, I mean). I mean. Helga Hufflepuff took everyone into her house because she saw that everyone is amazing. Because you don’t need to be brave or smart or driven to be important. That’s what Hufflepuff is. And I’d be proud if I were in Hufflepuff House.

And I do think I’m sort of on the cusp of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. A lot of my social anxieties are based in my intense desire to want to make people happy and know that they are loved (of course, one can also be loving and loyal without the anxiety part). But if there is one character who I most relate to in the Harry Potter stories it is by far Luna. She was flighty and dreamy, she was fiercely loyal, she believed in unbelievable things, and she was a Ravenclaw.

And then when I was sorted into my Pottermore house, I was sorted into Ravenclaw. And it might sound crazy, or fanatical, or childish, but that changed me. It gave me the confidence to begin to be able to see that I am not stupid. That I can get good grades and that I can finish college. That I had the ability all along, I was just missing the support, and the sane life, and the help to find my strengths among my weaknesses.

And so a few weeks ago I finished my first college course in something like 16 years and I got an A. And now I’m a week into a physiological psychology class which is challenging. Parts of it are fascinating to me (and therefore easier), but parts are more abstract (hello, molecular biology!) and things that are less tangible are sometimes harder for me to comprehend (when my son was born and my midwife handed him to me I said, “Oh! A baby!” cause I was legit a little surprised). But I’ve learned so much about myself, and I was given the confidence to believe that I can that now I’m able to see the parts that are challenging for me, and work harder at them. Because I know that I can understand this subject. I have the capacity and I will. It’s only taken me 30 years to get to this point.

Religion is probably not genetic. This shit is FASCINATING, people.
This is the fascinating part of physiological psychology

Just Life, Onwards, The Zebra

Begin.

It’s been just over two years since my mom died. But I could swear it’s just been one.

I mean, I can account for all the time that passed, and I remember things that happened in that time, but somewhere along the way I feel like I essentially lost 2012. It’s okay. It sounds dramatic to write it out like that, but I assume it’s just part of what grief is.

Well, and recovery from The Worst Year Ever. In 2011 my ex-husband and I split up and just as I was getting my life in order, my mom died leaving me her only heir to clean up her mess (literal mess – it was a hoarder’s house), while in the middle of that (luckily I had wonderful people help me with it) my face and hands suddenly went numb for some reason. I swear I was living Betty Draper’s life what with the dead mom and numb hands. WTF, even? I mean. Of ALL the fictional worlds to mimic, my life goes with Mad Men? NO, LIFE, NO. PICK HARRY POTTER INSTEAD, MKAY?

And so when 2011 was over… I mean. I don’t even honestly know. 2012 happened, somehow. I went to Disneyland a lot. That was probably just as effective as Prozac. I wasn’t really depressed, or maybe I just wasn’t severely depressed. But I certainly wasn’t exactly awake. There were some dark times. The anniversary of her death hit me really hard and most of July was bleak. I braced myself this year for another difficult summer, but it wasn’t nearly the same. It was okay. And I’m sure it would have even been normal except that I’ve spent all of this year holding my breath for other reasons.

I feel like I’ve essentially lost a couple of years now. Things are so different, I don’t even recognize my life from three years ago. I’ve had to let go of a lot. For practical reasons, as well as out of kindness to myself.

I remember when I was a kid I had a list of things that would make my life perfect, or that would mean my life had begun. I know better now than to think life isn’t happening all the time. I may wait for certain things, but I don’t stop living while I wait.

Even so I feel a little like that that younger version of myself now. Like I’ve spent the last two, almost three years, waiting. And that’s not such a big deal for me as an adult with many years under my belt, but three years is a massive chunk of my kids’ childhoods and I feel a little resentful that it’s been stolen from me or them or us or someone. Or no one. I don’t think my kids have noticed, really. But, because of grief, these last few years have been sleepy and surreal for me, and I guess that colors my perception of things.

But now I’m a student. And I am probably/hopefully/most likely/with any luck moving soon to a place of my own. And my divorce is final now. And, I’m a little bit hesitant to say it because of the way the last few years have felt, but I almost feel like my life is about to begin.

Life isn’t what they tell you. It’s not grow up, go to college, fall in love, buy a house, have the babies, be happy, do good in the world, die a peaceful death when you are old and have lived a good long life. It’s grow up in a fucked up alcoholic-hoarder home, feel too stupid to go to college, have zero plans, be essentially asleep in life, get married, have the babies, accidentally start a feminist movement online, finally wake up, get divorced, lose your alcoholic-hoarder mom, go back to school, try to buy a house, live until you are eleventy-one making a difference in the world all the while. It doesn’t look at all like I was promised when I was a little girl. Life isn’t neatly packaged. It’s awkward and convoluted and messy. Life isn’t linear. Life is a web, everything connected to everything. And that’s okay. That’s beautiful. But you have to know what you are looking at to see the beauty. If you expect linear, a messy web isn’t going to look nice. Expect the web. Know now that life is messy and that makes it beautiful.

The Zebra

Why a short attention span makes things more confusing.

I’ve been told I have an incredible memory. I mean, I can’t remember which of my kids did what when, but I can remember all the lyrics to the Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen song. (I’m 8 years postpartum now, at what age will pregnancy brain go away?) So while the last decade or so has been a blur, I have fairly vivid memories of my childhood, all the way down to my toddler years. The funny thing about this is that, now that I’m a parent, certain things make way more sense. I don’t know if some of my misunderstandings were due to my short attention span, or if it’s just hard being a kid, but things were damn confusing when I was little.

Instance #1
I was two or just about two when my family moved to Denver for about six months. I have both memories of winter and summer. My mom and I went outside and collected a bucket of snow and huddled on the couch together eating it and watching The Young and the Restless. What? That’s a normal childhood. In the summer I remember having a stand off with my dad about pool safety. He maintained that I sit in a floatie or I don’t get in the pool. I argued that screw that I wanted in the water of my own accordthankyouverymuch. I don’t remember the outcome, but I’m guessing that he probably won.

But there was this one day when there was a rainbow out the back window. We lived on the second or maybe third floor, I don’t know, and one of the back rooms – I guess it was my parents’ bedroom because it was not the room with my changing table – had a window that looked out over the parking lot. I remember being at this window with my dad and him trying to help me find the rainbow. The directions were utterly complex. First I had to look to the left and find the tree, and then I had to look next to the tree. Then I had to find our car and look above it and to the side. Then I had to look at that building in the distance and, finally I was able to find the rainbow. I remember thinking it was such a convoluted path to the rainbow and I was in awe that anyone was ever able to find them.

Happy Thing: DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY (probably)
Not the actual rainbow being blogged about. Like we we had the luxury to use film to take frivolous photos of city rainbows back in the dark ages in 1980. Pft.

There came a time with my own children when something similar occurred. I don’t even remember what exactly. But suddenly, 25 years later, it clicked in my brain. The path to the rainbow wasn’t complex, it was that he was trying different tactics to help me find it. Each time I had to look for a landmark was a completely separate attempt, not one long set of instructions.

I’m a little slow. Thank god I’m cute.

Instance #2
When I was in kindergarten we got kittens. They were Siamese and I named them Brother and Sister because they were a brother and sister. (I’m slow and also terrible at naming things.) Before we got all the way home, though, I changed Brother’s name to Booties because he had, you know, booties. (Really. I sucked at naming things.)

what not to do
Not the actual kittens. Not actually even a kitten.

Anyway, with kittens comes a litter box, and with a litter box comes germs. My actual memory is of my mom telling me, “If you touch litter you’ll have to go to the bathroom.” I assumed, naturally, that litter has magical or scientific properties that fill your bladder and make you have to pee right that second. Once, while my mom wasn’t looking, I snuck to the litter box and tested the warning (with clean litter. come on. I wasn’t stupid). AND IT WORKED. I TOTALLY HAD TO PEE RIGHT THAT SECOND.

Psychology is cool.

Years later I finally reasoned that what she probably actually told me was something along the lines of, “Don’t touch the litter box or you’ll have to go to the bathroom and wash your hands.”

I have a reeeeeeeeally short attention span. Like. Shorter than a sentence.

Instance #3
One of these instances is not entirely like the others. Hint: It’s this instance.

After Denver we moved to England. Only for like a couple of weeks (what? that’s normal), but I have memories there as well. I remember my bedroom being all set up with my bedspread and the curtains my grandma had made. I remember riding in a taxi cab and they had these tiny seats just for me that faced backwards and IT WAS THE COOLEST THING EVER. I remember being hungry and wandering alone into a darkened kitchen, opening the refrigerator to a bright portal of light and sustenance, and finding absolutely nothing illuminated except for one head of cauliflower. Which was disgusting. I remember that the car was all backwards with the drivey bits being on the wrong side. Some of these memories are probably more accurate than other memories.

I also remember the basic floorplan of the house. I remember where the kitchen was, I remember the hallway, I remember where the bedrooms were. Here’s my basic memory, omitting those areas I have totally no memory of:

my memories of our house in england

A couple of years ago I was going through my mom’s papers and I found the letter she’d written to family back here describing things. She’d included a map of the house:

my mom's floor plan of our house in england

I see she makes no mention whatsoever of an empty refrigerator. Gross overlook, if you ask me. Of course, one might say that I forgot that there even was a dining room. One might be totally right. One might counter that who cares about dining rooms, especially when the only thing to eat is cauliflower. But otherwise I’m impressed that I so clearly remembered a house I stayed in for so brief a time when I was 2 1/2 years old. Clearly my memory is my superpower. I mean. Unless you want me to tell you things that happened last week.

It’s funny now looking back at my childhood the things that have become clearer now that I’ve had kids. I know that remembering how I saw things helps me sometimes when I parent my kids, and helps me understand where they are coming from, just as much as parenting them helps me click certain facts into place about my own history. My children’s futures help me solve the mysteries of my own past. In these cases just memories of simple events, but I think the statement can be applied broadly to our whole selves as well.

At the very least, it’s a chance to get out the old family photos and reminisce about how cute I was.

potty in the car
Cute and peeing in the back of the car. Like you do.

7 Days, The Zebra, This is a Woman

Reasons to Work Out (7 Days: Day 6)

I’ve been working at this body image thing for awhile now. Probably since I was first told I was fat, around eight years old (and a couple of years ago I came across some pictures of me as a kid, and you guys? I was a skinny little thing at that age. The fuck with people telling me I was fat? STABBY STABBY STABBY).

Me as a child, not fat:
me, my grandparents, and the thingie my grandpa made for the fair

I didn’t know how to sort it out at that age, but my brain was screaming out that they were wrong. I struggled with knowing what the actual factual truth was, and still feeling less worthy of being a human because of how I thought I looked. It’s evolved a lot in the last 27ish years, and I know much better now how to love myself than I used to. And, yet, I keep finding these new layers, and each time I get to that level I feel like I have all the work yet to do. It is both energizing and exhausting.

Recently as I was leaving the gym, proud of myself for having worked hard, I thought to myself, “Even if I always stay fat, at least I’ll be fit.”

And then a little voice, from the back of my brain bravely spoke up and repeated a line I’d already read and nodded furiously in agreement with in many a fat acceptance blog.

But. So what if you’re not fit?

Because I am still holding onto that desperate need to be accepted and respected by everyone always.

And, yes, I know how unrealistic that is. But it’s my core operating system. It’s a bullshit core operating system, but it takes a lot of work and a lifetime to reprogram a core operating system.

So the thing hit me: I’m still working out for other people. I may have detached the weight loss itself from my exercise routines, but apparently only with the catch that I have to at least be in good shape. Cause that’ll show ’em.

Here’s a list of things I thought I liked about working out, but it turns out, none of these things are about me at all:
~Not being out of breath when I have to climb a flight of stairs around people who might think I’m just a fat fatty.
~Not being out of breath when I run and play with my kids. So strangers at the park won’t judge me.
~Going to the gym regularly to prove that some people are just fat no matter how much they exercise.
~Secretly wanting to be at least a little bit less fat. To show them.

Dear Me,
It’s not their business. Ignore them. You’re awesome.
Love,
Me

So here’s a list of things I actually do love about working out:

~Lifting weights and watching myself grow stronger.
~Doing harder cardio and watching myself grow stronger.
~Getting all sweaty and gross. No, really. I love that.
~Being able to do the more strenuous hikes without my head feeling like it’s trying to explode for lack of oxygen.
~Feeling good overall. Happier, more awake, less foggy. Regular exercise does this for me.

I’m going to keep those in mind and I’m going to do my best to live by them, to keep me motivated to exercise for me.

I’ve been a member of this gym now for almost a year and, while I certainly haven’t gone regularly, I’ve avoided that perfectionist attitude of, “well, I haven’t gone for a few weeks now so I just give up and when my contract is up I’ll cancel.” Instead I just go when I can, or sometimes just when I do.

And so what if I don’t? Well, now I know – on a conscious level, at least – that it won’t make me a failure.

I don’t have to be fit any more than I have to be thin. My personal value doesn’t rest upon size or fitness. It doesn’t rest on my health. It also doesn’t rest upon beauty, or intelligence, or sense of humor. I am valuable because I am a person. End. of. story.

Gymming.

(7 Days is a quarterly self-portrait group project I have taken part in for the last sixish years. One selfie a day for a week.)

7 Days, Edumacation, The Zebra

Back to School (7 Days: Day 4)

7 Days: Day 4 (Studying)

(7 Days is a quarterly self-portrait group project I have taken part in for the last sixish years. One selfie a day for a week.)

So here’s news: I’m a student again. I’m tentatively excited about this. Tentatively? Yes. Because there are still some challenges to overcome. Things like, how many online classes can I take? And if I need to take an in-person class, where do I put the children while I do that? But I am going to keep moving ahead and hoping that doors will open, even if I have to adjust which hallways I take to find said doors. OK. That metaphor got a little awkward.

Another challenge is what to do about my pervious transcript? When I was younger and in college, for so many, many reasons, I didn’t do very well in too many of my classes (mostly for lack of stopping attending than anything else). This might come back to bite me in the ass now for things like financial aid. While I understand the reasons, and while I’m glad I don’t have to start from scratch, it is a little bit frustrating that things that happened seventeen years ago might have a negative impact on my future now. But that’s just a thing. I am going to keep moving forward the best I can.

The thing that needs to be decided now is which direction? My current two favorites for major are English and psych. In fact I am currently registered as a psych major, but I’m not tying myself to it just yet. I know that no matter what I do, I want writing to remain a part of my life. I would love to support myself by writing, in one way or another, but I feel like I can do that with either major. I think that a psych major would provide maybe slightly clearer job choices than an English major and I do much better with things that are less ambiguous. I feel like I have a natural inclination towards psychology and I really enjoy understanding it. I think I could make a good counselor someday because I am able to detach myself my a situation and to see all sides of it.

More than that, perhaps, I want to understand my mother better. When she died two years ago I discovered, in reading through her medical records, that she’d been diagnosed as bipolar. I don’t think that was right, though (she never had a manic episode, ever). I am not sure why the strange diagnosis – perhaps she presented herself falsely to her doctors, or perhaps that was a diagnosis they gave her for simplicity’s sake so that she could continue to receive her disability services. I think she had some sort of personality disorder coupled with lifelong depression and perhaps repressed memories of sexual abuse. I feel driven to understand her. I don’t know if this is guilt for having been estranged from her, or guilt from just being alive when she’s not, or a deeper, primal need to understand her in order to better understand myself. And I don’t know if that is a good reason for choosing a major. But I also don’t know that it’s a bad reason.

And so I stand here at this crossroads in my life, and try to make the best decisions for me and for my future. And I feel very old, at 35, to be here only now. I regret that I missed all these years of possible education or career-having. Of course, I also realize that, without all these years, I’d never be who I am today, or even know who I am. The major I had back in 1996 wasn’t one I ever took seriously. I actually had no vision whatsoever for a future. When I was 18, I was so wounded that there was no honest way for me to see where I needed to go. I’m in a much better place today, thank god.

So, for today at least, I’m sitting down to read some Poe. And someday I’ll be able to say I’m a college graduate. Cause I can’t physically say it right now.

So what do you think? How did you decide on a major? Do you think having a personal agenda is a good or bad thing in terms of major/career choice?

The Zebra, Wheel of the year

Goths Love Spring, Too

pink

I’ve always had underlying feminist intentions, even when I was a kid and didn’t understand really how much feminism is still needed (because I was raised by weirdly fundamentalist people). But there was a part of me which rebelled against girly things such as romance and flowers and screaming about insects and loving the color pink. Some of these were more true at some ages than others. For instance my 7th grade self read way too much VC Andrews and wore the absolute SHIT out of this one pale pink hoodie.

Jacaranda appreciation #2

But by 9th grade, when I started becoming the human I’d grow up to be, I swore off girly things pretty much entirely for the next few years. Of course, this was also during the height of Grunge, and during this time I began discovering other subcultures as well. And, while I’ve never actually been goth (partially because I lack the commitment to dedicate myself to any one particular facet of subculture), I felt kinship with goths because of our shared love of Robert Smith and hatred of the sun and preppies.

upload

When I visited Hawaii when I was 22, I didn’t expect to love it a whole lot. I considered myself a more Londony/rainy kind of person than a tropical/beachy kind of person. I went because I wanted to travel, and because it was my last trip with my grandparents, and because I wanted to understand more about my family history (we are not Hawaiian, but they lived there in the 1950’s). Of course Hawaii was all, “Yeah, whatever. You know you’re gonna love me.” And, indeed, Hawaii had the last laugh. Even Londony goths can love Hawaii. Fact.

Insane amounts of blue in the sky today. #nofilter

Similarly, when choosing a favorite season (having lists of favorites, it turns out, remains important well past eight years old. my favorite planet is Jupiter), I assumed I’d choose winter or autumn. Because they’re the more gothy of the seasons. Spring and summer are all cheerleader peppy and colors and sunshine and happiness. And, in the words of Sally Sparrow, “Sad is happy for deep people.” And, true enough, if I lived in a place where we had actual seasons, autumn might be my favorite (but not winter because, let’s face it, for all my complaining about stupid happy sunshine, I am a delicate flower when it comes to temperatures and snow is downright terrifying). However, we don’t have seasons, and our autumns are not spectacular with all the colors of fire lighting the path into the darkness of winter. So I’ve neglected to choose a favorite season, likely because I sense, deep within myself, that my favorite season might just be that pinkest and preppiest of seasons. Crap.

Happy Thing: Spring

This year I’ve deeply pondered such a possibility: Is spring my favorite season? Is that acceptable for someone with an inner goth such as myself? And I’ve had a sort of awkward internal struggle between that side of myself that fancies itself a Deep Person for appreciating Dark Things and that, more suffocated side of myself, who thinks flowers and blue skies are pretty lovely actually so there. And I have to admit she’s right. There is something about the promise of springtime. Of new life and new beginnings. Of that particular green of new leaves that really doesn’t exist at any other time of the year. Of trees exploded in blossom – sometimes so overexcited about flowering that they cannot even be bothered to grow leaves until the flower festivals have been celebrated.

Dappled with shade, dotted with petals.

So there. I grudgingly admit that I love the flowers. The pinks. The purples. The greens. The sunny skies. The warmth on the shoulders.

Spring.

As it turns out, goths can totally love springtime, too.

Random, The Zebra

50 Things About Me. Cause I have a short attention span.

1. My name is Bonnie. In 5th grade I smooshed my first and middle names together into Bonnianne, thinking someday I’d change it legally. I never did (yet?), but in the 90’s there was a porn site under the same name.
2. I have two kids. They are awesome and hilarious and weird and exhausting. Which is pretty normal for kids, I guess.
3. I’m going back to school. I’m aiming towards a career. A career in what, I do not know. Do they pay people for being cute as hell?
4. I hopeschool my kids. Nope. That’s a typo. I hoMeschool my kids. But it’s a pretty appropriate typo. I do hope I school my kids.
5. I’m tall. And lately I’ve become obsessed with celebrity heights. Did you know I’m two inches taller than Robert Downey Jr? I KNOW, RIGHT?
6. I knit. Sometimes I knit sea monsters. I have never knit a sweater. That sounds strange now that I type it out.
7. Hobbies I’ve inherited in the last couple of years: beading/jewelry making, sewing, rocks. If “rocks” counts as a hobby. It mainly involves owning rocks and not really knowing how to handle that.
8. I never learned how to roller skate. I mean without clinging to the wall for dear life.
9. But I practically lived on my bike. Also I had a scooter like this one.
10. I love camping.
11. And hiking.
12. But I hate team sports.
13. My car is red. And cute. And named Romana.
14. I’m afraid of heights, and escalators, and spiders that are on me or might get on me, and vomit. And other things which are scary to everyone like clowns or ventriloquist dummies.
15. I am an anxious person on the whole. Sometimes I suffer from actual diagnosable anxiety.
16. I’ve also dealt with depression.
17. I am geeky about these things: Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide and more), Madeleine L’Engle, Doctor Who, Muppets, and Harry Potter. Among other things.
18. When I was a kid I geeked out so hard on the Baby-sitter’s Club that I actually still have their whole neighborhood map memorized. Ish. That makes me sound like a creepy stalker. Except that they aren’t real and technically they were at least a couple of years my senior at the time. WHO’S CREEPY NOW, KRISTIN AMANDA THOMAS?
19. If you got that joke you are now my new BFF.
20. It was a totally canon map of their neighborhood, BTW. It came on an official calendar. None of that fanfiction shit here. Oh no.
21. I’m actually not against fanfiction at all. I just like the word “shit”. (*wonders if there’s any BSC fanfiction around*) (OMG THERE IS.) (FEMSLASH. OMG KRISTY AND SHANNON. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW.) *ahem*
22. I have specific rules for where periods go in relation to quotes, as evidenced in the previous line item. They look stupid inside quotes when it’s just one word. So there.
23. After a certain number of items, this sort of thing tends to become a stream-of-consciousness, doesn’t it?
24. I was raised Christian (fundamentalist, even, although most of the political stuff I never agreed with) but at some point nearly ten years ago now, I realized I’m actually not a Christian at all. I now follow the Pagan wheel of the year.
25. I still think Jesus was a pretty awesome person, though, and had some kickass ideas.
26. I don’t wear high heels very often. Partly because I am the aforementioned Kind of Giant.
27. I did, though, recently buy eyeliner and mascara. I’m basically fully goth now.
28. OMG HAVE I EVEN MENTIONED THAT I LOVE COFFEE? How did I get this far in and not mention it? ACK.
29. Also, I love Disneyland. I should have added that to the Shit I Geek Out Over List. Too bad there’s no edit feature or anything.
30. I’m really lazy. And sarcastic.
31. My family was rife with mental illness and alcoholism.
32. As far as I can tell I’m pretty sane. Depression and anxiety aside, of course.
33. I think I might hate the number 33.
34. But I love the number 42. (See line item 17.)
35. This is my current age (I mean 35, not 42).
36. I first went online when I was eight. In 1986. My username was “OverEight”. Long, stupid story. OK, not that long. My mom’s was “OverThirty” and I didn’t know what else to pick.
37. I guess we weren’t allowed spaces back then. Or maybe we were but I just forgot. I mean. It was 100 years ago.
38. I love hyperbole.
39. My mom was kind of a big computer nerd, I guess.
40. Someday I’ll tell you about all the life hacks she came up with to help us survive the dark ages the 1980’s.
41. I am not afraid of getting older. But that doesn’t mean it’s not fucking weird.
42. I approve of bad words.
43. I have a cat. Her name is Leia and she is properly weird.
44. For many years I wasn’t allowed to have a cat, but I can now and I hope I always will from now on.
45. Growing up I had cats, hamsters, rats, fish, and birds. Mostly named after musicians of the 90’s.
46. I don’t have blond hair, but I usually forget that.
47. My eyes are hazel-green.
48. I have freckles and dimples. I approve of the former more than the latter.
49. I am socially awkward and weird. But hopefully adorable enough to make up for that.
50. My birthday is on Groundhog Day.

And I think that is where this list ends. I know these usually go to 100 or 101 ro some other 3-digit number, but let’s face it: My attention span isn’t that long and you’re probably already bored. Let’s keep some of the mystery awhile longer. *bats eyelashes coquettishly and dons mysterious cape* (I’m not sure those things usually go together. This may be part of my awkward weirdness.)