Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Welcome to Life 101

The first time I heard the song Life 101*, it sent chills up and down my spine.  It still does every time I listen to it.  That's because it for so long it was my life they're singing about.

The full lyrics can be found here, but I'm going to include just the part that concerns this post.

My name is Law and this is Order, and on behalf of the universe
we'd like to welcome you to Life 101.
There's no drinking, there's no swearing, body piercing is not accepted,
do not dye your hair or tattoo, you must do what is expected.
(Learn your member tips now and set the standard for your senses).
You may think only when told to.
You may think only what they tell you.
Stay within your culture, marry within your own race.
Keep in mind they may change the rules at any time, and you must be aware of these changes.
Be keen and smart and beautiful.
Learn to have a family. Again, welcome to Life 101.

This was me when I was growing up.  I was raised LDS (Mormon), and my mom tried hard to be a traditional 1950s mother because that's what she wanted to be, even though she was a single working mom in the 1960s.  The result was that I was very obedient, went to church, followed the rules (see above), didn't argue, and basically tried to live up to everyone else's expectations of what and who I should be.  If I really wanted to do something that didn't fit within these parameters, I had to sneak around to do it, which made me feel guilty.  It wasn't a bad life, it just wasn't MY life.

In my 20s, the only things I did that were really different were to get my ears pierced twice (multiple piercings weren't very popular at that time), and take bellydance lessons.  I loved it so much that I joined my teacher's dance troupe, and later formed my own troupe with three other dancers.  I had a LOT of fun dancing at festivals, street fairs, restaurants, convalescent homes, and the occasional party.  I felt like a totally different person when I danced; beautiful, sexy, exotic, and self-assured.  And other people saw me that way because I saw myself that way.  During those years I dated several men who I thought were exotic as well, including a Pakistani, an Arab, a Persian, and an ex-con (but they all turned out to be just the usual type of men).  I did learn to appreciate many different cultures, though.  I also met my first husband while dancing.  But once I got married, I tried to be 'normal' again, because that was what I was supposed to do... right??

It wasn't until after I'd been married for over ten years, had a baby, dealt with my spouse's increasing alcoholism, got divorced, and started working at a university that I realized I was sick of being 'normal' (i.e., just like everyone else), and began trying to find out who I really was.  By this time I was 36, and had an 8-year-old son to bring up.  I met a guy who was VERY different from the men I was used to, and he encouraged me to try things I'd always been too nervous to do.  I got two small but meaningful tattoos, left my church to explore Wicca and paganism, then invited him to move in with me, and after we got married I went back to school, while still working full-time.  It took me eight years, but I got both my BA and my MA, becoming the first person on my mom's side of the family to even GO to college, let alone earn two degrees.  And I realized I had never been normal... I just hadn't known I wasn't!

About the time I graduated from university, I began thinking a LOT about the goth girl I had a class with back in high school.  It was then I realized that I felt a strong need to learn more about goth and what it was.  I started with the music, and fell totally in love!  Then I branched out and started reading, listening to, and trying on anything and everything that seemed even remotely goth.  My world has expanded immensely in the last four years, and I am finally finding my Self at last.

I'm telling my story this way because I don't want to be just another blogger talking about fashion, music and makeup.  I want to let every one of you know that it's never the wrong time or too late to start searching for your Self, and to give a boost of encouragement to those who feel their life isn't quite right for them, but don't know what to do about it. 

You've graduated from Life 101: The Basics.  Now it's time for Life 201: Becoming Your Self.

*I believe this is Switchblade Symphony's version of the song.  There is some debate as to who actually did it, however.  Both Rasputina and a group named Call Me Alice are also cited as the creator(s) and/or performer(s).  I shall let you decide what you believe is correct.


  1. Thank you for sharing Lucretia, what an interesting life path you have walked down and it's really only just beginning! I completely agree that it's 'never too late' to be true to you and live for you.


  2. A very good post and thanks for sharing your story. I want to congratulate you on overcoming the restrictions that society and organized religion places upon us all. You're living proof that it's never too late to discover one's self.

    1. Thank you! I appreciate the validation, especially when it comes from others who have walked or are walking a similar path.

  3. WAHOO! (((BIG HUGS))) You, my dear, are AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME! But you already know that I think that ... letters and such. Sigh ... it's too bad you live so far away. We are such kindred spirits.

    1. Thank you, sweetie! I don't really think of myself as awesome, I just finally did what needed to be done for ME, and continue to do so. But I'll accept the compliment with pleasure! {{{HUGS BACK}}}

      I also wish we didn't live at opposite ends of the country. Together, we'd set the world on fire! ;-)

    2. Boy, isn't that the truth! And think of the museum trips! HOLY CRAP! That there would be some major brain action.

    3. Don't tempt me with museums, too, PLEASE!! Or you may find me on your doorstep some morning at 3am!!

  4. I often get compliments from "normal" looking people where they also tag on a "but you can pull it off" and/or "I could never get away with THAT!".

    They seem wistful, like they'd LOVE to wear my platform boots, or my rainbow colored hairstyle, but somehow feel they CAN'T! I feel so bad for anyone who WANTS to do something with their style but really believes they "CAN'T" for whatever reason.

    I love it that you're blogging and sharing YOUR Story and your journey so maybe MORE people who WANT to experiment will realize there's really NOTHING stopping them! That's one of the reasons I blog - to hopefully help someone along in finding their OWN style that makes them look and FEEL good - and feel like an expression of their TRUE SELF!

    1. Ain't it the truth?? There's always that disclaimer, that they "can't" do whatever it is. Why not??? It's usually some type of fear, at least in my experience. Fear of the unknown, fear of upsetting the status quo, fear of [fill in the blank]. As I've told my son all his life, you ALWAYS have choices; doing nothing is still a CHOICE, and there's nothing wrong with that as long as you acknowledge that it IS a choice. There are very few situations that have absolutely NO alternatives, so get out there and explore!!!