Fairy Kei – Alternative Black Girl

First of all, I apologize profusely because it’s been ages since I last wrote a blog post. Needless to say, a lot has happened. Let me condense the last five months super quickly so I can get on with my topic for today:

Ahem.

Old best friend became new boyfriend. JET didn’t work out. New bf moved in. Newer better job. Better job was bad for my mental and physical health. So I got an even BETTER job as a “job coach” and will continue substitute teaching in the fall. (Oh, did I mention I’m a substitute teacher now?) I threw a book launch party in June for my fantasy novel, The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco — that was FABULOUS. Sold like 30 books that month. Also, my birthday was July 5th and I’m 24 now. Yay.

Now. On to the topic at hand. See that dork with the purple hair in this post’s featured picture? That’s me.

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Yep. This is me. When you weren’t looking, I turned into a fairy.

Yes. I’ve done it. I’m a fairy. By that, I mean that I’ve recently gotten really into this style, this lovely slice of Japanese street fashion, called Fairy Kei. As soon as I saw this style, I fell in love immediately. My first thought was: MY PEOPLE! All these pastel rainbow dreamy fairies and unicorns roaming the Earth! I made it my mission to become one of them.

fairy 2

fairy 1

I’m well aware that they’re Japanese, and that Fairy Kei is a Japanese street fashion thing, but stuff like that has never bothered me. I’ve always been an alternative black girl, searching for my own style. I spent my angsty teenage years dabbling in Goth, Scene, and Punk. I even tried Gothic Lolita, but that was simply to expensive. I never could have afforded it. I’d bought one dress from Hot Topic, and some cute black chokers, but that was just about it.

But then I got to college and realized that I actually look pretty cool in light colors and that wearing all that black wasn’t really flattering on me.

And then, just five months ago, I discovered Fairy Kei, and I realized that this was what I’ve been trying to be. I mean, who cares that I’d be the only black girl I know dressing this way? That had never stopped me before. I’d been teased so many times before, since junior high (when I loved wearing MCR and Green Day t-shirts), so I’ve become numb to it. Why should I feel bad about myself when people who wear nothing but t-shirts and jeans — BORING CLOTHES — all the time make fun of what I wear?

Summer of 2013 started my own personal era of fashion. Forever 21 was my best friend. Then, I went to Japan and lost my mind, shopping in Shibuya, Tokyo. I was drunk on compliments in both Japan and the U.S. But see, even though I was stylish back then, I was still sort of conventionally stylish. I wore bows and stuff and dressed up — I looked like a doll going to class — but it was nothing compared to trying to imitate Japanese street fashion.

Street. Fashion.

You know, like those Harajuku Girls that Gwen Stephani was so crazy about.

Gwen Stefani Visits MTV's ''TRL'' - December 10, 2004

Gwen Stephani and her Harajuku Girls

Except now, Harajuku has pushed street fashion to its limits. We’re talking going beyond Fairy Kei. The fashion style in the photo below, my friends, is called Decora:

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It’s a bit too much for me, but I can respect it.

But back to Fairy Kei.

My family and friends are pretty much used to me by now, dressing the way I do. No one bots an eye. I get compliments on how cute I am — even from strangers. Thankfully, I surround myself with loving and open-minded people, so I never really have to worry too much about feeling weird about the way I dress. Fairy Kei makes me feel girly. It makes me feel good.

However, some alternative black girls aren’t so lucky. It doesn’t matter if they’re Goth or Fairy Kei or anything in between (Pastel Goth is literally smack dab in the middle). They are dressing in a way that makes them happy, but for some reason, dressing “out of the norm” is not widely celebrated in the black community. To more fully understand what I mean, consider reading this article, The Issue with the Perceived “Whiteness” of Being an Alternative Black Girl.

When I go on YouTube and watch videos by Fairy Kei vloggers, they are almost exclusively white and Asian. And when I dared to post fairy videos of my own, I will admit that I felt a little self-conscious.

But I mean. Pastels look good with my skin tone, too.

And it helps, that, from what I’ve seen, the Fairy Kei community seems to be very inclusive and warm. It welcome fairies who are trans or gender-queer without question. There are plus-sized fairies running around.

And, of course, there are us, black fairies. ❤

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I don’t know who this girl is, but I seriously need to get on her level.

So, if you’re a secret (or not-so-secret) alternative black girl, wear whatever the hell you want to wear! If Fairy Kei looks appealing to you, I encourage you to try it out! There may be people out there who will call you names and make fun of you, but those idiots aren’t worth your time. Life it too short for boring clothes. And life it too short not too wear what you want to wear. (I mean, depending on where you work, you may not want to wear Decora/Fairy Kei/Goth/Lolita/Punk/Metal-type stuff to your job. But, you know. Compromise.)

So, long story short: If you want to do the thing, THEN DO THE THING! ❤ I promise you, it’ll feel great.

 

Also, if you’re interested in my super new YouTube channel (it’s really silly and dumb — don’t check it out), it’s called Star Blush Universe. As of today there are two really boring videos. You’re better off just scrolling through my tumblr.

Until next time~!

 

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Two Weeks of Tears and Triumph

That title sounds pretty epic, no? That’s because these past two weeks have been epic as hell for me. While the Earth was spinning and everyone was living out their lives, while the Universe went on, completely indifferent to my existence, my own personal world crashed and burned. And then was risen from its ashes like the cliched awakening of a Phoenix. And it’s pretty much been a roller coaster of substantial extremes.

Anxiety, depression, and I guess my own subconscious refusal to fully become an adult all contributed to the emotional breakdown I experienced on my favorite holiday of the year: HALLOWEEN. I won’t go into detail, but I pretty much realized I was being a terrible person to someone I deeply care for, and that person was kind of pushed to their limits… That triggered my anxiety so that I didn’t want to be around people, and my depression so that I didn’t want to leave bed and face the world beyond my warm comforter.

But, I managed to pull my shit together, and I started adulting. And things are looking up. I’m making a conscious effort to better myself as a person. I’m also making progress in learning to drive! (Yes. I am 23 years old, and I’m a scaredy cat. But, this isn’t Tokyo or Moscow, so, unfortunately, car > public transport.)

Now we enter week two, and yesterday proved to be a huge moment for me. I published The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco!!! Look. I’d been working on this novel for almost three years. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve edited it and had others read it. Peers, adults, teenagers, professors. Friends, family, acquaintances, strangers. I spent months submitting to literary agents, and editing, and submitting again, etc, etc.

Eventually, I realized that my baby — my brainchild! — is probably not what agents are looking for right now, no matter how polished it is. No matter how much blood, sweat, and tears I put into making my characters feel real and believable. So, I took matters into my own hands. Self-publishing! I mean, I’m a little wary about self-published works. Anyone can publish a book nowadays. Throw together any old crappy story and you’re good to go. There’s no literary filter. For that reason, self-published books get a bad rep. And I really really really really wanted my baby to be published by an actual publishing company. Alas.

Such is life….

But I’d come too far to give up on it. So yes. It’s out there now. I only need to figure out to market it. At this moment, I’ve sold a grand total of one book. (Le sigh.) I mean, yeah, the print version is available here for $11.99, but I’m only getting $2 in royalties from that! And I paid $120 for the cover art!! (which was done by the lovely, talented Joye Cho. Really, her work is worth waaaaaaay more than $120. If you don’t believe me, check out her DeviantArt: JoyeCh0.)

But if you’re really that cheap (or poor, like me), then there’s a Kindle version available here for $2.99 (FREE if you have Amazon Prime).

Anyway. It’s not so much about the money. I know I’m not going to get rich off this book. But, I know this book needs to be out there. And I know what you’re thinking. Every author thinks their book is special. Why should I buy your pile of crap?

Because I’m not deluded >____> I’m my own worst critic, and there are soooo many works I’ve written that I am determined never, ever to have published, even posthumously. Ahem.

I know that The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco deserves to be read and loved.

And yeah, I may be bragging a little, but damn it, I think I deserve it. I have literally been passionate about writing stories since I was four years old. In college, I was in creative writing classes and workshops with juniors and seniors who couldn’t make coherent paragraphs, who apparently had no idea what a run-on sentence was, who thought they could get away with being a writer without having to read books, etc etc. I could go on.

I worked my ass off. 

In fact, in one of my classes, my professor tore up my work so much that I went back to my dorm and cried. I contemplated skipping the next class. But I sucked it up, made an epic revision, and turned it in. The very next day, my professor walked into class raving about how good it was and telling the class that they should read it.

So. Yes. After all that, I’ve sold a grand total of one book.

Quite humbling. And a little disheartening. (Very disheartening.)

And for the most part, it seems like I’m the only one who thinks this is a big deal. (Well, my parents kind of think it is, but, I mean, they have to. They’re my parents.)

I was so invested in this story that I thought its publication would be more spectacular than it actually was. But it was a normal day. Because in the grand scheme of things, Bastien Falco is just a blip in my personal social circle.

So. Yes. And on top of this, I’ve been running around like a headless chicken job searching, learning to drive, and gathering all the materials I need for the JET Program (which I just sent off today! God, what a load off my shoulders).

I miss dancing ballroom as much as I did. I miss competing in collegiate ballroom comps with my boyfriend and winning ribbons. I miss having money. Like, student money from my nice, cushy student jobs.

In other words, the theme of these past two weeks has been: Suck. It. Up.

Or, as better said by Utada Hikaru, Keep Trying. 

THE TIME IS NOW

I posted this in my writing blog, but you know what? I’m going to post it here, too, because it’s damn important.

A number of good and/or popular books have gone on to achieve success after a number of rejections from publishers and agents, such as Lord of the Flies, Harry Potter, Gone with the Wind, Carrie, Little Women, Animal Farm, and Dune. 

I’m not comparing my work to those brilliant novels, nor am I saying I’m as good as any of the authors who wrote them.

However, it does offer a glimmer of hope.

I’ve written some terrible things — and after they were rejected, I’d eventually look at them and think, Lol, yeah, they were right. This is complete shit.

But, not this. Not The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco. I know this book needs to be in people’s homes and read. This manuscript needs to see the light of day, and after over two years, I’m not giving up on it. I’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into this baby, and I edited the hell out of it. It’s been both praised and torn apart by beta readers and creative writing workshops.

I spent countless hours just world-building and filling my notebook up with notes.

These characters are very dear to me, and I’m not giving up on them. I have a host of unfinished works or works that I never really spent much time on, but whenever I thought about giving up on this novel, I had friends who urged me to keep going. I mean, honest friends. (Believe me, if my writer friends think something is shitty, they will say so. That’s why we’re all good writers.)

So, after so many rejections, I began to wonder. Is it me? Do my queries suck? Does my novel suck? Is this just not the type of fantasy that agents are looking for? Is the fantasy market just that over saturated?

Countless Google searches never fully answered my questions. I revised my queries I don’t know how many times. I stayed up late researching the agents I was querying to, to see what they liked.

But no more.

I’m going to do this myself. So, I looked into Smashwords and CreateSpace. I looked into where to send my novel to get it reviewed. And, I asked an artist friend if she would want to draw the cover art for me. In the past, she charged $30 for each picture. Below are her stunning interpretations of a few of my female characters:

Princess Ayla The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco Princess Ayla

Anna the Assassin, and Thief, from The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco Anna

Winter Zu from The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco Winter

Gorgeous, right? (Check out her work on DeviantArt. Username is JoyeCh0.)

However, most artists charge more for works that contain more than one character, and for works that receive revenue. Understandably so!! So, I asked her how much, and she said for all four of my main characters, it would come up to about $120.

That’s so reasonable, I could cry.

But… I’m also dirt poor. (Seriously, my house is falling apart.)

And I’m a recent graduate with a shitty job situation. Yay.

I’m really struggling and grasping at straws here, guys. I’m also looking to raise $100 for promo costs.

I mean, the internet is a vast place. If I could get one dollar from 220 people, I would be so super set.

I started with friends and family first. I asked my parents also to help me reach out to others. So far, I’ve raised $45.

I’M SO CLOSE I CAN ALMOST TASTE IT.

taste

Look, this is painful, guys. I hate asking for money. But if I don’t get this work out there, I’m going to lose my mind.

Much to my chagrin, I created a GoFundMe, which can be found here.

Any dollar helps, really.

And, I’m giving donors free copies of the book as a thank-you and as proof of what exactly their money has done to.

Thank you in advance. ❤