modern defiant trousseau, take two (and some life updates)

Earlier this year, I wrote about a huge crafty project I was working on. That, um… was deeply tied to a relationship that fell through (the most amicable heartbreak a girl could want but thankfully the red flags were noticed when they were) and thus I deleted the post. The project in question, however, has remained a thing. It’s just a little different now.

I’ve been radio silent on this blog this fall due to my determination to do ALL THE THINGS. Cosplay is eating most of my energy, and trying to gain a decent following on social media is a separate post I should do at some point. (I have a LIST of posts I wanna do and we’ll see if any of them happen.) I’ve been writing less fiction than usual but still some, school is going alright, and work is the usual fabulous trashfire of retail in that part of Ohio and I love it. Sleep is optional. Sanity is optional. I am GETTING SHIT DONE NOW (and likely enjoying the perks of a low-level manic episode – one of the bigger bombshells of this fall has been the creeping realization that my brain stuff has definitely shifted into some delightful form of bipolar and everything makes so much sense in that context).

So, the whole trousseau project and how I’m revamping the intention as a single-ish (look it’s complicated) twentysomething woman who likes big projects and pretty things and is a little bit of a creative masochist at times.

It actually started out six years ago, with the beginnings of the hexipuff blanket from hell. I make simple socks while watching TV or reading stuff online and give them to anyone I know on social media who is getting married or having a kid. Given my circles, that tends to be a LOT of people, and that meant I had a decent amount of sock yarn leftovers very quickly. Enter the beekeeper’s quilt. I stumbled across that on Ravelry and had a brilliant idea – make it, as large as possible, exactly three hexipuffs per pair of socks I make, as a wedding present for my future Person.

Look. I’m a romantic. This entire blog, as much as I try to pretend I’m creating a Legit Professional Presence so anybody who’s inclined to google me after reading one of my stories on an online lit mag finds something a little saner than my cosplay instagram, is me being a ROMANTIC and trying to deal with my emotional calamities. But this project seemed like the perfect way to balance my bubble-girl sensibilities, my ambition, my emotional masochism, and my hope. At the moment, it’s maaaaybe a quarter of the way done – I’m not actually sure, I haven’t pieced it in a while – and steadily in progress.

Then, early this year during the relationship fail (which I will NOT talk about in detail thank you very much), I came up with another idea – I want to make clothes for my hypothetical future domestic life. This coincided with me getting into sewing for cosplay purposes, and yet another crazy project was born.

This one is more… whatever I end up making, at whatever point it gets made, put in a bin for when I need it. I’m gonna be documenting it here on littlest lioness because that means semi-regular content for y’all. There will be knitted and sewn projects, picked to appeal to my aesthetic sensibilities, as I see fit. This version is not FOR anyone, and yet it is absolutely for Someone. I just, y’know, don’t know who they are yet. (I have vague hopeful thoughts that are going to inform a few details, but that’s here nor there.)

The way I see it, if I’m gonna put a lot of my emotional energy into wanting something I currently do not have, I might as well prepare for it. This project is me preparing, and I’m excited for the journey.

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monsters and the women who love them

Happy Halloween! I’m taking a break from overkill posts about my personal life (which isn’t even that interesting right now anyways) and FINALLY writing about some of the media I consume. In this case, the titular trope, which has been one of my favorite things as long as I can remember.

I don’t know when that became my weakness. I know I’ve written before about how Beauty & The Beast was the Disney movie I broke the tape of from watching it too much (and I still believe whichever Disney movie a girl watched until the whole household had it memorized does decide her fate a little bit), so maybe that’s it. I have always had a thing for monsters who aren’t really monsters at all, who are that way due to circumstance but are still capable of the deepest humanity, and the mundane human women who see that. Where this actually originated, why it’s something that speaks to me, is irrelevant.

I became more conscious of it when I binge-read the entire Harry Potter series when I was 14. Eleven years ago. Typing that feels weird, like it’s simultaneously been much more and much less time than that. This was the point in my life that it became clear that the above is my TYPE, the thing I will go for if it is present in anything I’m otherwise casually into. This was the point where I saw things I wanted to become in a twentysomething human disaster and her love determined enough to work through obstacles. I think I knew, even then, that that was what I wanted. Didn’t know what I was gonna do with it – still don’t – but there was power.

My preferences ever since then have followed suit.

I could list countless shows I’ve enjoyed because of this theme. The monster doesn’t even need to be non-human – there are a few examples that easily come to mind where it’s merely a man who’s done things a person cannot come back from and then felt guilt crash upon him, and that also counts. The cliché is always male monster and female love interest, but the genders are switched in one of my current things (which is a whole other post that I’ll probably do next time ). I… unfortunately cannot think of any same-gender ships I’ve been into that have that dynamic, and I should add that to my list of stuff to write about because there could be SO MUCH POTENTIAL in something like that. Idk.

I think the reason I adore that dynamic is because I see myself in both sides, but especially in the women strong enough to accept issues and love anyways. I want to do that. I want to be that.

(On an unrelated housekeeping note, publication list is currently WILDLY out of date. I have stuff I need to add. If I haven’t by the next time I post, someone please meow at me, I need motivation.)

cocoon

It’s been a strange couple months.

I thought I fell in love, and then I realized that path wasn’t right for me. No damage done, friendship maintained (and so much closer than ever – I know I collect strays but this one I expected to run like hell after I came to my senses and broke off the relationship), surprisingly quiet downfall. That was a lot of my spring.

That, in turn, overlapped with one of my best friends getting married. And then my sister getting married – I was going to do a post about her tiny-badass bridesmaids, and I still might. And then a family friend’s kid getting married, and thankfully all we had to do for THAT one was show up but on the other hand I’ve been to twenty weddings and somehow THAT ONE was the first time I’ve seen an ambulance get called. (Life tip for anyone getting married – make absolutely damn sure you have your rings, and if something goes wrong and you DO end up having to borrow someone else’s, be gentle with them.) (Also, in that or any kind of emergency situation at a wedding, Auntie Alcoholic is not the person you want to hijack the DJ’s microphone and make the “does anyone have WD40 in their car??” announcement.) And there’s one more wedding on my schedule for the year, which is going to be entertaining, and weird how ONLY going to four is… well, weird.

Apparently most people in their mid-twenties haven’t been to anywhere near as many weddings as I have, and it’s even weirder that most of them were neither family nor people I’m close to. But hey, as long as social obligation gets me free food and generally free alcohol, I’m okay with it.

I watched yet another TV show at the perfect time, and I’m not even gonna threaten a post about it yet ’cause I am still working through what I learned from the female lead’s emotional journey. Sufficient to say, my gift for finding the right media exactly when I need it has remained impeccable and I have all the feelings about it.

I’ve been in my current position at work for nine months (minus like a week, whatev) and I’m still getting used to being around people who actually like me. I guess we can add “verbally abusive boss” to my trauma list now?? Idk.

School is… going. I am putting up effort, I am doing shit, I am TRYING. After this semester, I have three more classes – two in the spring and one in the summer – and then I get my certificate and try to get work in a hospital. Phlebotomy tech doesn’t pay a whole lot better than what I’m doing now, but the tradeoff is I’ll have sharp objects. It’ll be an adventure.

I now associate the acoustic version of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” with the sound of a close friend’s heart breaking. I am not ready to tell that story yet. I don’t know that I ever will be, but… it’s strange how you realize how much you love someone when they are at their most broken. When all hell breaks loose and all you can think is how much you wish you were enough to keep them safe. (I got to play “please don’t be dead!!” with the same person a couple months later, and came to the conclusion that even though it hurts, there IS no walking from this sort of entanglement.)

I tried to reconnect with a past flame – yes it’s been a fascinating couple months for my love life, and yes I’m writing about it in vague terms because it’s cathartic – and said things I shouldn’t have, and someone I’ve known for ten years got to deal with the worst of my jealousy even though I didn’t even want them. They were just THERE, and I wanted to make sure my bridges stayed burned.

I’ve gotten more stories published. I should update my page for that. Someone remind me to do that, please?

I’m roughly half done with a novel I’m determined to finish. Next year’s big adventure is going to be trying to get “All Is Bright” published. It’s a love story with an indie-comedy vibe and a bunch of teenagers with unresolved issues in the background, so stay tuned for that.

I don’t remember the last time I wanted to kill myself. Even when I was sobbing in the bathroom at three in the morning the day of my sister’s wedding, I have wanted to live.

And I am living.

the inappropriate wedding playlist

Disclaimer: this is just something I made for my own amusement. Exactly none of these songs are going to get played at my sister’s wedding (at least, not because of me in any form). There’s enough potential for trainwreckage there without my meddling, and I intend to be an absolute ANGEL for the occasion. Making this playlist and posting it NOW is… part of how I intend to do that.

My family has a somewhat interesting history with questionable music choices at formal events. Which is to say that when my paternal grandfather died the summer I graduated high school, my dad was put in charge of the slideshow and finding appropriate music to synch with it and I decided to “help”. While we did in fact manage to pick out a few nice classical pieces and people complimented us on how well-done it was, we also ended up with a playlist to the tune of “it’d be funny / ironically appropriate BUT ON THE OTHER HAND grandma would kill us”. I haven’t opened spotify in years, but I suspect the highlights are still saved there, and I still can’t hear Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” without cackling. (Considering what the sermon ended up being about, that one actually would’ve been appropriate, but… still wouldn’t have flown.)

Fast-forward to my sister getting engaged six months ago. The moment I saw the ring on her finger, my brain went into a destructive sort of planning mode. See, my sister’s preferred playlist of love songs is mostly Michael Bublé and Ed Sheeran, and I suspect the actual wedding / reception playlist will be in that vein. We’ll find out in a week. As the quirky asshole of an older sister that I am, however, and running off the entertainment that was my eclectic Christmas playlist // why-do-they-play-this-so-much-at-my-work Christmas playlist funfest, I decided that two “alternative” playlists were in order. This one, posted first, is the official Littlest Lioness list of songs that probably shouldn’t be played at your wedding reception. (The other one, which will probably not get posted until after we’ve recovered from the destination wedding, will be actually cute love songs that most people wouldn’t think of.) Anywho…

But before we begin, a little more origin story – as soon as my sister got a promise ring (May-ish of last year), I started reading askreddit wedding disaster threads. (Frankly, I have done some things by accident that are worse than the average content of those threads, but that’s another post.) One of the recurring sub-themes in that genre is the “worst possible wedding song” thread. Unfortunately, a lot of the material people come up with for that is… obvious. So when the above opportunity to be ridiculously petty came up, I decided that MY bad-idea playlist was gonna be a little more subtle. Stuff that someone somewhere out there probably IS dumb enough to play on the most expensive day of their life. And I enlisted my friend Kelsey to help, and this playlist wouldn’t have happened without her.

So, without further adieu…

“Benny And The Jets”, Elton John

This one gets a spot here because of its use in the iconic romcom 27 Dresses. If you haven’t seen that movie… I’m seriously questioning your life choices, and you should change that, but… there is a scene, and I am not going to spoil it for anybody (yes I’m worried about spoilers for a movie that came out ten-ish years ago), and it is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. But sufficient to say, if you HAVE seen it… yeah.

“Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time”, Panic at the Disco // “One Of The Drunks”, Panic at the Disco

A two-for-one special. Brendon Urie seems to have devoted a significant portion of his career to songs like this, and while there’s obviously another choice that’s common on wtf-wedding-song threads, I decided to go a little less obvious. “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” is a good anthem for a bachelor party (and may well have been written as such, idk), but not so much once things have been done that require a lawyer to undo. And I was going to leave it at that, but then the new album came out yesterday and… “One Of The Drunks” is equally bad, for just slightly different reasons that the title alone expresses.

“What Does The Fox Say”, Ylvis

Not outright inappropriate so much as just… no. Nobody actually hates themself THAT MUCH. And now it’s going to be stuck in my head until my sister’s wedding. Oh the sacrifices I make for my writing…

“Don’t Stop Me Now”, Queen

Another situation where there were options but I’m going with the less obvious one. (I mean, I may have offered the groomsmen money to learn some kind of dance to “Another One Bites The Dust”, but apparently I didn’t offer enough.) “Don’t Stop Me Now” belongs to a category of Queen songs that I’ve heard described as “I’m Freddie Mercury and you’re NOT”, and is all the more beautiful for it, but… still probably not a song one wants associated with commitment. Just sayin’.

“Marry You”, Bruno Mars

This one, unfortunately, IS something a lot of people play at their weddings. Sure, it sounds cute, but it’s a song about impulsively // drunkenly getting married. Probably in Vegas. And yet it’s dancey enough that if you’re not listening hard to the lyrics – and you won’t be – you don’t even notice. (Out of all the songs on this list, this is the one I could actually see my sister doing…)

“Miles and Miles”, Matthew Mayfield

I wanted to keep this playlist to popular artists and songs most people are at least aware of, because if I were to get into more obscure stuff then this would go on forever, but… this song. Yes, it’s one of the most heartbreakingly pretty things I’ve ever heard, but the second verse in particular confirms that it’s also a very bitchy “I feel sorry for the next guy” rant. But it’s PRETTY, and also makes me want to cry. So, the perfect song, just… not for a white-dress occasion. Above link is the acoustic version because that makes all the details better / worse depending on your preference.

“Goodnight and Go”, Imogen Heap

Cute? Yeah. Creepy if you pay attention? Absolutely. No more words are needed.

“Jar of Hearts”, Christina Perri

Another entry in the “someone’s actually that dumb” category, and inappropriate for a WILD list of reasons. Christina Perri is equally well-known for her song “A Thousand Years” aka that song half the people you know walked down the aisle to (seriously, I have a friend who’s a cellist and plays weddings and once complained about having had to learn six different arrangements of that one the same summer), but this one… not so cute. At all. You know better.

“Goodbye Earl”, Dixie Chicks

I should not need to explain this, but… for those unfamiliar, this is a song about a pair of friends murdering an abusive husband. It is also one of the handful of country songs I actually LIKE, but that is beside the point. Potentially hilarious if done intentionally, but you need to know your audience.

“Ultraviolence”, Lana Del Rey

When I told her I was working on this project, my friend Kelsey’s comment was “there are so many Lana songs you could do”. And there are, and really anything by that lady would be fitting here, but “Ultraviolence” seems like a good composite (plus the music video is wedding-related because Lana does not seem to know the word “subtle”). And, again, it’s pretty enough that someone’s probably done it anyways.

“Marvin Gaye”, Charlie Puth

This one gets a spot not because it’s outright inappropriate so much as… your mileage will depend STRONGLY on the people getting married and their views on sexuality. Sufficient to say, this is not the right song choice if you have your first kiss at the altar. Or probably even if you’re inclined to lie about having done anything further than make out. Whereas if you are, shall we say NOT in that bracket, it might be a cute slow-dance song. Idk.

“Hurt”, Johnny Cash

Should be so obvious, for so many reasons…

“Rude”, Magic!

Another should-be-obvious one, but made funnier in my specific context due to an incident involving my mother and some longtime family friends that occurred the summer this song was popular. I still can’t listen to it with a straight face, and the fact that it’s also on  the top of everyone’s do-not-play list is just icing on the cake.

“Never Ever Getting Rid Of Me”, Sara Bareilles

Disclaimer – one of my friends actually did this song at her wedding for the cake-cutting and it was SUPER CUTE. But it worked because it was very self-aware and in-character for both my friend and her new husband. So, this one CAN be appropriate, you just need to be a very specific type of person and if you have to question it then you’re definitely not.

“Wildest Dreams”, Taylor Swift

And I’m ending this on a high note with another artist who’s contributed so much to the inappropriate-wedding-song canon. Maybe not the most OBVIOUS TSwift song, but the one most likely to cause a double-take. “I can see the end as it begins”…

happier now

I realized a couple days ago that I don’t actually remember the last time I had an out-of-control crying episode. That changed literally half an hour later when I found out that someone I care about has a possible new girlfriend, and that combined with other wildlife getting engaged screwed with my emotions enough that I didn’t sleep, but… for the most part, I’m doing SO MUCH BETTER than I was a couple months ago.

Changing departments at work helped a lot. Getting the hell away from a manager who in hindsight was probably psychologically abusive helped a LOT. I don’t have to spend half my waking hours wanting to scream that compared to what I grew up around, compared to what I was expected to learn as survival tactics, that behavior is NOTHING. I’d seen it all before from people much more talented and practiced in the art of breaking souls, but that one hit a lot harder than I realized until after it was over.

And I’m back in school now. Idk if I mentioned that here. I’m going for some kind of lab tech certificate, exact details to be worked out in a couple weeks once summer/fall registrations open up but ideally I’m going for phlebotomy tech. It’s a one-year program, and once I get that I’m gonna try to get a job at one of the hospitals in Cinci and see what blossoms from there.

My bad-brain days are almost nonexistent.

I’m so much more confident now. Even with the above boy trouble, I’ve got my self-destructive tendencies on a leash. It’s not my fault that the human personification of everything I value and want isn’t attracted to me. Sometimes that just happens. Nothing that can be done about it. I’m okay with my body as it is, and while I’m passive-aggressively trying to lose a little weight (aka continuing my cycle of eating what I want and hoping that balances out), I’m okay if I stay where I am right now.

Honestly, the whole “I don’t hate my body anymore” thing should be its own post because that’s a separate rabbit trail of beautiful crazy.

For a while I thought all of this was a manic episode and it was gonna come crashing around me. I haven’t totally ruled out that option, but as the past few months have gone by and things have evolved so beautifully, I’m leaning against it. This is real.

This is real.

I have my shit together, and I’m doing better than I ever dreamed, and it’s only gonna get better.

resolve not to resolve

I’ve decided not to do big goals for 2018.

Okay, fine, I have my cosplay goals because those are measurable. But those do not count because, unless something very strange and unexpected happens, they won’t change who I am as a person. Having an outlet like that is great for me, but it’s not gonna spin my entire world in a new direction.

But beyond that, this year I am open to possibility.

I want to continue this wild process of getting my shit together and becoming more confident, but I don’t know what form that will take. I don’t know that I want to know.

We’ll see what happens. The most beautiful things blossom where you don’t think to look for them. I know this will be another year of change for me, but only time will tell in what ways.

I am ready.

keep getting back up (or, 2017 in review)

I did exactly none of what I’d planned on for this year, and yet I did well.

Apparently I made two separate lists of goals for 2017, and the first one did not work out. I’ve been threatening those posts since I started blogging, EHouse is now only one of a bunch of different things I wanna do with my life, I failed spectacularly at new connections (though I did do way better than expected at maintaining and nurturing old ones), my writing was hit-or-miss, and I still worry about everything (but am learning to use my anxiety). Zero out of five.

List two fared better. Novel is still not done (as usual stay tuned for updates), but I did – at the end of November – get a paid publication of, in my opinion, one of the best pieces I’ve ever written. Online dating ended up not being worth the hassle, but I learned a few unexpected things about myself that I hope to figure out how to use going forward. I ended up going to six cons, almost got in an altercation with protestors in frack-nowhere Kentucky (thank you drunk pirates for picking that fight before I could), had a couple minor panics because my big costume for the year involved a sleeveless top, and overall got a lot better at cosplaying and channeling characters and having a really good time. Those all feel like wins, so… three out of three.

But me being me, and me having documented my life all over the internet for the last couple years, I should’ve known that all the beautiful stuff was gonna be unexpected.

I got a lot better at turning my experiences into fiction. Actual memoirs are still a decade away (though I do have vague plans for a book of comedic essays about working retail), but fictionalized versions – especially expressed through characters who aren’t mine – helped me see things for what they were.

I had some lessons in who stays and who leaves. Wasn’t expecting either of those situations to turn out like they did, but this year as opposed to last year, I’m down a clone and up a… hell if I know what that person is, but one relationship in particular improved in unexpected ways this year.

I changed job positions twice, the first time because I was convenient and the second because I got brave.

I got two new tattoos (the newer one should be a post in like a week because holy shit do I have feelings about it).

I didn’t fall in love. And yet I kinda did, but in a weird blossomy I-would-and-will-wait-ten-years-if-that’s-what-it-takes kinda way. Non-creepy variant (for the most part, and better as the year progressed). Absolutely working on that situation and learning to make the most of it, but I haven’t given up hope.

I got a couple opportunities to fully live my beliefs, and I did not screw up. One in particular changed a lot of perceptions about me once I let it get traced back to me. (And also provided a weird bonding moment between myself and a close friend, because for once “I’m gonna wring his neck” was actually a SANE response to a situation and I was NOT overreacting!!)

I learned to embrace clichés a little more. There’ll be more about that if/when one of the current primary writing projects ever gets anywhere, but… sometimes, as much as you wanna be a pretentious asshole, sometimes it’s cute to write about two middle-aged people falling in love while herding around a dozen malcontent teenagers. (And yes, I should’ve learned this a couple years ago while writing very similar fanfic, but it’s even more fun when the characters are MINE and I get to do stuff that I like.)

I went off meds again because the side effects got bad again, and I think this time I might be off ’em for good. I made progress on control and rescuing myself instead of inflicting my episodes on other people, and I am SO FRICKING PROUD of where I am mentally now as opposed to last year.

So, overall, 2017 was a good year for me. Bit unpredictable, but I can see a lot of progress made all around. Well done me.