The Yard’s Still Not Decorated…

Today was originally going to be a Halloween DIY.

I love Halloween. But this year has been so odd and busy that Halloween seems to be a passing thought.

It actually feels like an obligation.

I don’t like that.

However, I’m working more. I’m focusing on keeping my videos and blogs on schedule. I have to prep for a couple of big events, like going to a college four hours away who offered to read my play in their Reader’s Theatre. And I still have books to read.

I haven’t watched any Halloween movies because I’m just not in the mood.

Who am I, and what have I done with the real Alexandra?!

But this happens.

All we can do is our best. If Halloween gets stuck on the wayside, then that’s just how it is. I’m sure on the actual day, I’ll feel much more in the spirit of things.

Don’t worry too much about the celebration of things. Yeah, it’s nice, but if you can’t do it, don’t be upset. I would rather let Halloween die than to have a panic attack decorating because I could be using this time to work. And if you’re able to celebrate, let’s do the Monster Mash!

Hugs and Spooks

Alexandra

Why Do I Look Like a Hoarder?

I have a lot of stuff.

And with the new trends of minimalism being the end-all, be-all of living, I wonder if I have perhaps too much stuff.

So, why do I look like a hoarder?

Well, because I lived.

Let me explain.

First of all, everything I’m surrounded by are either memories, knowledge, craft, or pleasure.

I surround myself with memories because I lived. I’ve had a long life, chock full of memorable events. I like looking around, reminiscing on the good times after so many bad times. Does this justify having a magazine cutout of a liger named Patrick on my wall? Yes, because I met him and the woman who saved him, Tippi Hedren. Use your power for good, and help all species. What about the flyer for the United Makeup Artists Expo? I was the only student in the University of Glasgow to go! What an accomplishment, and a learning experience! Look at these accomplishments, these happy moments, these little lessons. Why wouldn’t I want to surround myself with them?

I surround myself with knowledge because I lived. Learning as much as you can is what life is to me. Learning about the world, the past, the present, and most importantly, yourself. Learning how to make yourself the best person you can be. I have many theatre books, art books, textbooks of various forms, self help books, biographies. I have binders with my research, class notes, writings, articles. I have journals of self-findings, self-betterment. Look how much I’ve learned, and how much I strive to continue to learn! Why wouldn’t I want to surround myself with them?

I surround myself with craft because I lived. It took so long for me to figure out what I like to do, and I like to do a lot. I’m actually still figuring out what I like to do. I make jewelry. I craft things (as you’ve seen in past posts). I make videos. I write. I draw and paint. I sew. I cosplay. And I plan. I am a very big planner, so I make that as pretty as possible. Because of this crafting that I love to do, I have lots of supplies. Everything from wire to brushes to rocks. And because organization is a passion and need, I have to have shelving and drawers to put everything in its proper place. Look at these passions, these hobbies, these moments of happiness! Why wouldn’t I want to surround myself with them?

And I surround myself with pleasure because I lived. Life may not have been the kindest, but I can have kindness in my living space. I decorate with happiness. Little plushies of things I like, funko pops of characters I feel a connection with, flowers, my talented friend’s art, the teapots I’ve started to collect. Are they necessary? No. But do I like having them around? Absolutely. This space is my place of comfort and relaxation. It’s a place I can either focus on my work or take a breather and play a game. Look at this color, this beauty, this love! Why wouldn’t I want to surround myself with them?

Now, I am not in any way saying I don’t get rid of things. I do. Something I find is no longer of use to me, something that can be a bigger help to someone else, or even a hobby that I don’t do anymore (bye bye jazz shoes). I always make sure that I am organized and tidy. The only place that is almost never tidy is my desk because of everything I do there.

If minimalism is your style, then go for it! Whatever makes you comfortable in your own space, do it.

I love my space. And I hope you love your own space, or are on your way to loving your own space.

Hugs

Alexandra

Fears, Weaknesses, and Strengths

When I was in my undergrad, I had a Young Adult Literature class my senior year. While having a class discussion about Brandon Sanderson’s book Steelheart, we talked about fears.

Two of my classmates asked what my fears were. And I stumbled. Of course, as a human, I have fears but in this moment I didn’t know what they were. I was unaware of the term ‘trypophobia’ at the time, and I didn’t know I had a fear of the ocean.

Anyway, I answered that I didn’t know. Obviously, they were dumfounded. ‘Heights’? No. ‘Spiders’? Nope. ‘Snakes’? Nah. ‘Being alone in the forest’? Not anymore.

‘Wow, you must be a strong person.’

Um.

Does that mean that people who have fears are weak?

I just remember thinking how fears correlate with strengths and weaknesses. Here’s what I’ve come up with: they don’t. Having few fears doesn’t make you strong and having many fears doesn’t make you weak.

Don’t worry about how many or what kind of fears you have.

Hugs

Alexandra

Why I ‘Hate’ My Birthday

My birthday was three days ago. And every year, I have a love/hate relationship with it.

When my birthday comes around, I do have that moment where I say to myself congratulations for making it to 27 years old. That’s why I look forward to my birthday.

However, if anyone asks, I will usually tell them that I hate my birthday.

And it all comes down to unnecessary jealousy.

My birthday is at the beginning of September. What usually happens at the beginning of September? School starts. No one wants to celebrate a birthday when they’re trying to figure classes out. Or, most of the time, no one knows. And by the time they know or they’re settled into classes, it’s too late. It’s time to celebrate other people’s birthdays.

The time I felt the most hatred for my birthday was two years ago when I was in Scotland. I didn’t know anyone in this new country, so I didn’t celebrate (because my immature brain thought self-celebration was useless). No one knew or cared.

Fast forward a month and a half later, I check my social media to see a good friend was given a surprise party on her birthday by her classmates and friends. Wow, none of my friends or classmates have even thought about giving me a cake, much less a party.

Fast forward again several months later when we are at a party for one of my Scottish classmate’s birthday. Now that we know each other, classmates, now friends, are willing to party and celebrate each other’s birthdays. Except me.

I can hear you all: ‘why do you care so much?’

Because I want to celebrate my life.

As someone with a past of attempted suicide and still have passive suicidal thoughts, I want to celebrate the fact that I’ve continued to live. Every new year is a gift. And I want everyone I love to be part of that.

This year has been different. I’ve started to understand the true meaning behind self-celebration. I’d still like my friends to be around or to bother. However, everyone has their own agenda and my birthday does not have to be in it. So. I’ll celebrate on my own when I need to.

Hugs

Alexandra

When To Script versus When To Blog

Sometimes I come up with an idea for something to write, but I’ll stop and ask myself: Is this video worthy or blog post worthy? And lately, I’ve been having a harder time trying to figure out which medium to use. 

One one hand, writing on my blog is faster and easier. I’m able to do it on my phone, tablet, or computer. And I always get my feelings out better by writing. On the other hand, there’s more entertainment to watching a video. It’s easier for the audience to view rather than read. And I can add a bunch of animations to get my point across. 

Obviously, I can’t play games on my blog. Nor should I tell longer stories in videos. 

Now, I know I shouldn’t let this kind of stuff get to my head. No one generally cares which idea goes on which site. But, in actuality, I care very much. Which would be a better way to present the idea? Which would the audience prefer? Who am I presenting it to? Will they like it? 

Is it worth it at all?

Let me tell you: it is worth it. Yeah, I’m always concerned about should I script or should I blog. Yeah, I’m concerned about what others think about it. But that doesn’t stop me from doing it. 

Not yet. 

Do what you like, even with the concerns of it in your mind. 

Hugs

Alexandra 

How Paris Made Me Feel Okay Again

In June 2017, I took a spontaneous trip to Paris, France. I stayed at Disneyland Paris, spending two full days at the parks and one day on an excursion to the city of Paris. But I was in the middle of graduate school, specifically right off the tail of an internship and in the middle of my IRP, or dissertation. Why would I go spend so much money at such an inconvenient time?

Because it was needed.

Time for a story. When I was in Glasgow, I was in a relationship that we decided to keep on the down low. For reasons, I’ll call him Tom. He and I went out for quite a while, and things were going well. He was a great guy. Until the very unfortunate breakup. Without going into too many details, I happened upon him and his mates talking about me. The friends were wondering what he was doing with an ugly, fat person like me. And Tom’s response was that, while I was indeed ugly and fat, I had a decent personality. I pop my head out, say my goodbyes, and leave.

What an upsetting time. I already had my own body issues, I hated the way I looked but was trying to build up my confidence. And the fact that someone I loved thought in such a way put me in a really sad place. I locked myself up in my flat, trying to distract myself with my school work, hating life. Couldn’t do it. I needed a confidence booster and I needed it now.

So I sent myself to Paris.

I’ll go day by day, starting with my first day in the parks. Disneyland is a happy place. The employees there are required to make you feel special. Every place I went, ride I went on, gift shop I visited, they made me feel like a wonderful, worthy person. Also, Disneyland Paris is BEAUTIFUL. I’m sorry, Disneyland California, but you can’t beat Paris. Having a change of scenery helped keep my mind off Tom, off my work, off my own low self-esteem. The first day was just wandering the parks, getting endorphins and a happy high from everything around me.

The next day I went on an excursion (with Disneyland) to the city of Paris. This included a tour of the city, a River Seine cruise, and a trip to the Louvre. It was another change of scenery that I adored. The Louvre was actually very special to me in my depressive state. I loved seeing priceless art, specifically art that featured some chub on a lady. Ladies with curves, with fat, depicted in quite beautiful ways.

And the third day I spent in France was in the parks again. This time I Disneybounded as Jack Skellington, and I was able to go into the park an hour early to meet characters and go on rides. This was the day I felt most special. The characters were amazing, the staff was fantastic as well, even some of the park goers gave my outfit compliments. No one treated me terribly because of my size or nationality (both fears of mine when I went to Paris). I did everything I possibly wanted to: I rode all the rides I wanted, I met the characters I wanted to the most (with the exception of Belle), I ate, drank, and was merry! It was near impossible to feel bad about myself in such a place.

And the next day I went back to Glasgow, and back to my school work.

These three days I spent in Paris were important to me, and I know I’ll cherish them forever. And I have to say, I’m proud of myself for doing something like this for myself rather than wallowing in self-hate and eventually breaking down beyond repair. So, I’d like to say to you guys that you are beautiful. If anyone says otherwise, they are not worth your time. Treat yourself, and spend time reminding yourself how lovely and valid you are.

One more note, I know people who are reading this (friends and family) are gonna want to know what happened with Tom, and how I feel about things now. I’m over it, and I’m over him. Trust me, I don’t think about him much. I don’t see this breakup as something to look back on and talk about. Our relationship was kept quiet in the first place, so the breakup was in the same fashion.

Anyway, you’re beautiful, you’re amazing, you’re worthy of love. And if you don’t feel that way, work on yourself and treat yourself until you believe it. I’m still working on it, but at least I’m working.

Hugs

Alexandra

Why I ‘Hate’ My Hair

I recently changed my hair color again. Someone who has been through quite a few of my changes asked why I hated my hair. Obviously, I was confused. Why would someone put so much work into their hair if they hate it? But they continue by saying that dye damages your hair. So why do I ‘hate’ my hair?

I’ll tell you.

189776_4172184137982_1599135926_nFirst here is a pic of me with my hair pre-dramatic transformations. I had long hair, it was strawberry blonde, and it was beyond thick but not wavy or curly. This was 2012. By this time, I had become okay with controlling my hair. When I was younger, I had bad experiences with both cutting and dyeing my hair. Bad haircuts have left me traumatized (I remember a substitute comparing me to Ponyboy post-switch-blade haircut), and what was supposed to be purple streaks when I was a freshman in high school turned into a head of bright pink. So I stuck with natural color (also my university didn’t allow non-natural color hair in the school) and I grew my hair out. But 2012 ended as a nightmare. And after getting suspended from university, I went into a downward spiral. This ended up with me cutting off all my hair and dyeing it black.

And, no, I don’t have any pictures.

One of the things about cutting my hair was that it was a release. At the end of 2012, I was in a university production which had us on contract not to cut our hair. After I was kicked out of the production, I was in such turmoil that I said to myself ‘fuck their cutting hair contract, time for it to go’. Shortly after that, I was suspended, and then I dyed my hair. I wanted to see myself in a new way, and one of the easiest ways was a dye job.

IMG_0521Nine months later (which sounded like a suspicious time frame, but I promise it wasn’t like that), I returned to school with shorter and darker hair. As I continued school, I kept my hair relatively short, though I experimented with different styles, dyeing it red-purple or just a deeper strawberry blonde. I was still dealing with the self-loathing and self-hate that 2012 afforded me, and my way of taking control was to change my hair. It allowed me to feel those spurts of confidence, and it gave me the opportunity to be complimented by people around me.

IMG_0962After graduation, I bleached my head. Originally with the intention of dyeing it white. Which didn’t work out. And, honestly, I wasn’t upset. At this point, I realized that it was just hair. I can change it as much as I want. It’s mine to do what I will. If I want to shave it off, I will. So when something with my hair didn’t go according to plan, I wasn’t as upset as I thought I’d be. My hair was a source of control, and if I can’t control that I thought I’d have another breakdown. But I released that control. I’ll choose what I want to do with my head, but if it doesn’t go as I imagined, I would realize what went wrong and learn from it.

IMG_1100So, white didn’t work out. Time to try grey with blue streaks. Which did work.

But as I got ready to go to graduate school, I realized I would no longer be under the ‘natural color only’ rule. So I dyed my head blue. A bright royal blue. I didn’t want to be associated with that natural-haired girl in 2012. I wanted that new identity and I changed myself the way I had been for four years: with my hair. I wanted that front of confidence, even if it truly didn’t exist in my own psyche.

IMG_1915The blue faded into a beautiful color. I loved my blue hair. It not only gave me that pretend confidence I want to present to others, but it also gave me that validation I hungered for.  I continued to experiment with styles, figuring out where ‘home’ was for me hair cut-wise.

IMG_3381Toward the end of my time at graduate school, I decided on a new color: natural brown. Some part of graduate school made me more confident in myself, and because of it, I wanted to try out a natural color again. Plus, blue was hard to maintain at the moment, not only as a busy graduate student but a broke one, too. But there was also an underlying motive behind my brown hair. I knew I would no longer get the compliments and validation I liked from others. That was the point, though. I wanted to compliment myself; live without the need for others to find me valid, worthy, or even just notice me. I had that new confidence trickling in, and I wanted to give it some more of a push to do what it needed to do.

mothers day gift moiSo graduate school ends. I’m in the real world. And the real world is horrifying. I lived with brown hair confidently for a while, until something work-related and family-related happened at the same time, causing a new potential breakdown. So, I took control back again. This time with a bright red. I need to build up confidence again. I need that validation again. Let’s pretend we have confidence and dye our hair a bright color. That seems to be my motto.

37874912_10212496036971028_8219490566048579584_nToday, I have another hair color. I missed my blue hair. I liked the way it looked on me; I liked the way blue hair made me feel. Also, I liked feeling valid via hair color (because that’s how it works in my brain I guess). However, because of the residual red, the blue dye turned my hair into…honestly, I don’t know. It changes color depending on the light. It looks dark blue, or black, or purple, or streaky red. Not what I planned, but how cool! I am hair Mystique.

Let me try to summarize my entire novel I wrote above. I never hated my hair. I hated myself. I was in no control over events in the worst moments in life, so I took control the only way I thought I knew how. Today, I dye my hair because I like seeing myself in the different colors and styles. I like seeing what looks best and what made me the most confident with myself. It’s just hair. Will it get damaged? Maybe. But I’ll deal with that when I come to it. For now, I’m going to enjoy my moonstone hair. And continue my journey into confidence.

Hugs

Alexandra

 

 

Hollywood Cemetery 

And the final day of ‘vacation’ writing has come. On Monday, I wrote about my favorite places, and yesterday I wrote about the Poe Museum. Today, I will talk about my favorite place to visit in Virginia: Hollywood Cemetery.

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I know, it’s weird and creepy and freaky, having a graveyard as a favorite place to visit. But I love it.

38446637_10212548802610136_1893677456200564736_nIt’s full of history. So many stories are told there. Let me tell you one of the stories: there’s a statue there known as the Iron Dog. It’s a dog made of iron, who knew. It stands guard at a toddler’s grave. There are versions of the story of how it got there, why that specific child, etc. The most well-known, and perhaps well-loved, story is that the Iron Dog was created for a decor purpose pre-Civil War. The cemetary was able to save the statue from becoming canon balls in the Civil War. It was placed on a young girl’s grave, who was said to have often pat the dog when she saw it. Since then, people visit the dog and the girl, and they leave small toys and pennies. Every time I visit, I do too.

38509687_10212548812930394_9013832475247378432_nAnd the architecture is a wonder. There is a large pyramid made of stone. There are well-crafted crypts. Some headstones are absolutely beautiful. There is this one stone in the cemetary that I always visit because I marvel in the work put into it. It’s a weeping woman with flowing garment, located next to one of the Presidents’ graves. Oh, yeah, two U.S. Presidents are buried there.

But mostly, I like the peace. Everywhere else in Richmond and Virginia and, well, just everywhere there is noise. People yelling, being rude, catcalling, leaving messes, and other disruptive things. But graveyards are a different world. No one goes to be disruptive. It’s quiet. It’s a good place to think.

I’m made fun of quite a bit for loving a graveyard so much, but I don’t care. Enjoy going places you like to go to without judgement.

Hugs

Alexandra

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum

This week I dedicated my posts to places I would’ve gone to if I was able to go on vacation back to Virginia. Monday was about my favorite places, and today we are talking about one of two places I can spend all day everyday in: The Edgar Allan Poe Museum.

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Edgar Allan Poe is my favorite writer. His writing and his life story is actually quite fascinating to me (don’t do drugs, kids). And because his life was as fascinating as his writing, I would spend a lot of time in the museum reading and learning about him.

IMG_1028There are several buildings, each holding a piece of Poe life. Last time I was there, one of the buildings held interactive displays of some of Poe’s stories (super awkward for The Cask of Amatillado), and some art of him and his stories. One of the buildings holds the history of Poe and his family. One building holds the history of Poe and Richmond. One building held his possessions, including clothes and even hair.

There was also a courtyard that held a bust of Poe for anyone to worship, I guess? They also had black cats that wandered, and there was even a coffin just propped on one of the buildings. And the last building had the gift shop. Me and my shopaholic self (mixed with my love of Poe) went in a frenzy whenever I had money.

If something is of interest to you, don’t be afraid to look into it. Or to go to the museums dedicated to it.

Hugs

Alexandra

Favorite Places in Virginia

As I have mentioned before, I used to live in Virginia before rooting in potato-land Idaho. Every time I go back, there are specific places I like to go to. And I’d like to share them with you. If you ever go to Virginia, check some of these places out. Or if you’re in Virginia, you may discover a new place to check out. And you may notice that the majority of the places are in Richmond. That’s because I used to live in Richmond. Anyway, let’s go:

The first place is Busch Gardens, in Williamsburg. In my opinion, this is the best theme park. Yes, even better than Disneyland, fight me. It’s also called Busch Gardens Europe, as the park is separated into various European countries, such as England, France, Italy, and Germany. It’s very well-kept and entertaining, no matter what you like in a theme park. My favorites are the river dancers in Ireland, the whirlwind in Germany, and Verbolten in Germany. My roommate also recommends the shops in Ireland, the Clydesdales in Scotland, and the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland.

61497_10201597917364849_227467288_nThe second place is Carytown, in Richmond. In the artsy section, this street in Richmond has a bunch of quaint shops and an old theater. I love the theater, even if it has become for movies rather than plays. The chandelier itself is something to see. Shops of interest include World of Mirth, For the Love of Chocolate, and Galaxy Diner.

IMG_1032The third place is the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, in Richmond. If you didn’t know, Poe used to live in Richmond. His old home was turned into the museum, and it now holds a lot of his possessions. It’s full of his history and how his stories have left an impression. And, of course, I have to include it in this list since Poe is my homie.

12920506_10206493262345414_7247561566195143818_nThe fourth place is Belle Isle, in Richmond. In the middle of the James River sits an island once used in the Civil War as a POW camp. Now, it’s a place to bike, hike, and kayak. It’s a beautiful place, and if you really like to walk places, this is perfect.

The fifth place is Chincoteague. This is a place on the Eastern Shore where wild horses run free. Also known as the Chincoteague ponies. It’s cool to watch them.

IMG_0705The sixth and final place is Hollywood Cemetary, in Richmond. This is going to sound super weird and kinda creepy, but this is my favorite place in Virginia. Yes, that’s right, a cemetary is my favorite place. Hollywood Cemetary holds a bunch of history, beautiful architecture, and it is always peaceful. No one is loud and rambunctious at a graveyard. No one is getting drunk off their ass and trying to catcall. No one is rude or inappropriate. I love walking around in peace, looking around at the history and art.

And those are some of my favorite places in Virginia. Idaho definitely has its places of interest, but I do miss some parts of Virginia. No matter where you live, there is an interesting sight to see or place to go.

Hugs

Alexandra