Monday, February 24, 2014

Taking the Challenge Anyway

I just read this fun post at The Walrus Room.  Although she didn't tag me for her Liebster Award challenge, I feel like answering her questions just for fun, so here they are with my answers, for anyone interested:

Nominee Questions

    1. Who is your biggest character crush from any TV show, film or book, and why?
    Hmmm, I just can't decide between Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from "Star Wars" and Riddick (Vin Diesel) from "The Chronicles of Riddick".  As to why, it's the same answer for both... they're sexy and they kick ass!!!

    2. Talk us through your everyday hair routine.  Are you a curler, straightener, or hairstyle kind of person?
    (This won't take long.)  My hair is very fine and naturally wavy, with a frizzy cowlick in the front, but it will not hold a curl unless it is permed.  Every other day I wash my hair with an anti-frizz shampoo, comb it, and let it air dry, occasionally adding foam mousse.  Every OTHER day I just comb it.  That is all.

    3. If you were any subset of Goth style, what would you be and why? 
    As I've said in the past, I don't believe I fit into any single category here.  I see my current style as a sort of combination of Trad Goth and Corp Goth, with a touch of Stevie Nicks thrown in.  But that could change tomorrow.  ;-)

    4. Continue the above question, within that style, what would be your holy grail outfit?
    My"go to" outfit whenever I'm in a hurry is a black lace skirt, a shirt with a skull or skeletons on it, and either black fishnet tights with my stompy boots OR black leggings with black flats, depending on whether or not I'm driving.  I'm not sure if this could be considered a "holy grail" outfit or not, however.  I'm honestly not sure what my "ideal" outfit would be, there are just too many great combinations out there!

     5. Who are your top three favourite YouTubers?
     There is just one person on YouTube whose videos I enjoy watching, and that's Melissa Hunter as "Adult Wednesday Addams".  The only other non-musical things I watch on YouTube are episodes of the original "Dark Shadows" TV series and the always amusing "Simon's Cat" episodes.  

    6. If you were to try and sell your all-time favourite beauty product, in three sentences what would you say?
     Probably:  "TRY this stuff!  It REALLY works!  If you don't, you're INSANE!!!"  
    Or possibly:  "You will be assimilated.  Use this product.  Resistance is futile."

    7. Can you name something that you enjoy eating, a meal or anything, that is actually vegan? (When I became a vegan I realised I was pretty much already eating that way.)  
    Is chocolate vegan???

    8. Your job is to write the most Gothiest (I can't believe I just wrote that as a word) novel possible, what would you title it and what would the blurb say?
     This reminds me of the time we were trying to rework our spiritual group with a more gothic tone, and joked about calling it the Darkest Coven of Dark Darkety Darkness!  Of course, now I can't get that out of my head, so I guess that would have to be the name and subject of the Gothiest novel ever!

    9.  Name one thing that you wanted all through your childhood that your parent(s)/guardian(s) would never have let you get, even if you don't want it now?    
    A HORSE (black, of course).  And no, I don't want one now.  You think CATS are expensive???

    10. If you had to get one body modification of your choice (piercings, scarification, tongue splitting, implants, tattoos, etc) what would you get?
    That would be another tattoo.  I've got enough piercings in my ears, I don't want them anywhere else, and I'm not into the other stuff.  But I love tattoos, so getting another one would not exactly be an imposition.  ;-)

    Okay, this was fun!  Anyone else want to try?? 

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

    Nursing Homes as Goth?: A Special View of Death and Dying

    Since my life is currently rather centered around my mom's close brush with death and now her recovery, I've been thinking about the goth view(s) on death and dying, and I wonder how many goths actually are acquainted with at least one aspect of either.  We may talk about it, we may act like we know something about it that others don't, but when push comes to shove, how many of us are really ready to stare death in the face?  How many of us have already done so?

    In my personal experience, the best place to get a real glimpse of death and dying is not in a cemetery or a funeral parlor, but in a nursing home.  Since 1984, when I started performing as a belly dancer, I've danced in so many nursing homes that I've lost count of them. In every one, there were residents who were full of life, regardless of their age, illness or disability, and there were others who seemed to have given up on life and were just waiting to die. Then there were those who appeared to be in another world entirely; they didn't necessarily seem unhappy, they just didn't connect with what was going on around them.  It was as though their bodies were in the same place we were, but their minds/spirits were somewhere else, often completely oblivious of us.  I've often wondered if they were in the process of dying, and had progressed to a level where they were in many ways disconnected from "life" as we know it.

    I do know it seemed almost weird and surreal performing such a sensuous, life-affirming dance in a place where we felt death and deterioration all around us; I couldn't help thinking of that phrase in the burial service, "In the midst of death, we are in life."  It certainly did feel that way sometimes.  And yet, at other times, we felt the life flowing out to us from the audience and then flowing through us back to them.  What a wonderful experience THAT is!  :-)

    Currently both my mom and grandmother are in the same nursing home, recovering from their respective surgeries.  I expect my mom will be going home fairly soon (the doctor says her heart is good for another ten years now!), but my grandmother's return to her own home is doubtful.  After fracturing her hip, we are worried that continued solo living will be dangerous for her, especially since both her vision and her hearing are deteriorating.  My mom thinks it's possible that she might decide to just give up if she can no longer live alone, but we really do not see any alternative, as she is not willing to have someone live with her and doesn't want to live with my uncle and aunt (who live seven hours away, are in their 70s, and also have health issues).

    Going through the process of being "in charge" for both my mom and grandmother during this period has been an eye-opening experience for me.  It's one thing to "know" that your parent(s) will someday die and leave you, but it's quite another thing to actually see the process happening.  I thought I was going to lose my mom a few weeks ago, and it's possible I will lose my grandmother this year.  While I can deal with Grandma's death more easily (she IS 97 years old, after all, and we are fond of each other but not all that close), I know it will be both hard and a relief for my mom, and I will have to help her through as much of it as I can. 

    So, back to the nursing home as a place to get a really good look at one's attitude towards death and dying.  From what I've been reading lately, people who know they are dying and have accepted the fact are often willing, even eager, to talk about it to a sympathetic listener.  Unfortunately, most of the time their family and friends don't want to hear that kind of "defeatist" talk, believing it to be morbid, and worse, it might actually happen if spoken of.  And even more unfortunately, many doctors and nurses refuse to discuss death and dying with patients because they have been taught that health care is all about "winning" them back from death's door.  So the dying person either clams up and puts on a "happy face" or retreats inside themselves because they don't want to offend or upset their friends and family, or alienate their health care professionals. 

    Tomorrow I'm going back up to visit my mom and grandmother.  When I do, I will try to be sensitive to the other residents at the nursing center, to see what kind of feelings I get from them.  Since I will be in a heightened state of awareness, perhaps I will be able to see a little bit more into their world, and how they relate to the approach of death, whether close or in the more distant future.

    How about you?  Have you had any experiences with death and/or dying?  If so, I hope you will share them here.

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014