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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Awkward Sex Dream is Awkward

‘Kay so.

A while ago, I saw some Facebook post that said, “When you have a sex dream about someone and you’re a little in love with them for a couple days.”

Is that really true for some people? That’s cute. Sadly, that’s not how it works for me. With me, it’s always the same damn guy. Typically, he doesn’t even enter my mind, but after these dreams, I hate him with a passion all over again. ALL. OVER. AGAIN.

I’m not going to describe him because our mutual friends will pick up on it right away — and gods FORBID that asshole winds up seeing this and realizes that he STILL gets my panties in a bunch. After all these years. ALL. THESE. YEARS. (Let’s get this straight — I don’t get to choose what I dream about, mister sir. In reality, I don’t want anything to do with your dick. Like. At all.)

Actually, yesterday, I saw him comment on a friend’s post (he and I aren’t FB friends), soooo I was a little petty and commented, too. Not in response to him or anything. But, ya know. My Facebook profile pic is super effing cute and I wanted to make sure he saw.

But back to sex dreams. I just woke up from one. And I’ve literally been lying in bed for an hour thinking, “Aw what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck what in the actual fuck WHYYYY.”

It was a long, vivid, plot-driven dream, sprinkled with scenes of our little escapades. Ugh. What made it worse is that the orgasms… were fucking amazing. And the kisses too.

This is truly scumbag brain at work.

Seriously.

Seriously.

“That’s Because You’re Black”

So once, when I was in 3rd grade, I was on a bus driving back from a field trip. It was super fun! We’d gone to an archaeological dig, and I’d found some cool fossils. It was great.

Now, this was at a program for gifted students called Horizons. Every Thursday, I was excused from class all day to go to Horizons, and I loved it. I learned Russian, more advanced songs on violin, and all  sorts of cool things. The projects were always awesome. It was kind of program where, if the teacher told you you were going to do a project, you didn’t groan – you jumped for joy.

Group of multi-ethnic kids jumping together

Yep. Just like this.

Back to the story.

We were on the bus, and the radio was on. “Superwoman” by Lil’ Mo came on. (Yep. Year 2001. Feel old yet?) Except for like, two other kids from my school, all the students in my Horizons class were white. But, I mean… that didn’t matter to me. And I really thought it didn’t matter to them, either.

There were these sisters whom I considered my friends, Karen and Rose, and so I sat by them. And Rose said, “Man, I hate this song!”

I said, “Really? I love this song.”

And Rose said. “That’s because you’re black.”

At at moment, it felt like I should have been hurt by her comment, and I was, but I couldn’t quite place my finger on why. Yes, I was black. And yes, Lil’ Mo was black. But that didn’t necessarily mean I would automatically like her music. I just thought “Superwoman” was a cool song.

If you’re unfamiliar, or if you’re up for a dose of nostalgia, here’s the song:

What’s funny is that the black kids would also make fun of me for listening to bands like Green Day and Evanescence.

Isn’t it interesting that no matter what music I listened to, it was always subject to scrutiny?

Don’t get me started on people’s reactions when they heard my favorite Japanese songs, or Celtic metal songs, or 8bit/Chiptune songs.

Ugh. -.-

But you know what? I listen to whatever I want, and I’ve since learned not to give two shits about what people think about it. If I want to listen to Tame Impala, damn it, I will. If I want to listen to enka music, then damn it, I will.

If I want to listen to Gackt, The Tontons, Lamb of God, Ice Cube, Nujabes, Mos Def, Wonder Girls, Polysics, DBSK, THE PILLOWS, THE PIXIES, NOVEMBER’S DOOM, ELUVEITIE, OR THE ROLLING STONES

THEN DAMN IT

I WILL.

And if you don’t like it:

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Adventures in Japan, Part 3: Stupid gaijin ordered too much rice

Sorry it took so long! I’ve been focusing on too many things are once. But here is a third tale of my adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Of the three weeks my friends and I spent in Japan, we spent the whole first week in wonderful, beautiful Tokyo – my favorite city in the whole wide world. But because so many people there assume you only want to communicate in English, it doesn’t always offer the best opportunities for practicing Japanese.

When they spoke to me in English, and I replied in Japanese, many were impressed and delighted. Some, however, just kind of replied to me in English anyway, which was kind of annoying.

But let me assure you, my good friends. Tokyo isn’t full of English-speakers. There were times when we came across Tokyoites who blushed and insisted that their English was terrible. We couldn’t always understand each other. And, while my Japanese was pretty good, I wasn’t 100% fluent. I could get around, order things, ask questions, have conversations, but there were small gaps in my knowledge…. such as how to say, “I’d like this bowl of rice, but split in four, please.”

Three of my friends and I went out to eat at this restaurant, and our server, however adorable, couldn’t not understand English very well. That was fine with us, because we knew how to order food in Japanese. The problem was, when we asked how big the bowls of rice were, he showed us with his hands that the bowls were pretty huge.

So, we thought, okay cool – we can just split that in four. But see… we couldn’t figure out how to say that in a way that our server could understand.

But he eventually nodded as if knowing what we were talking about, and things were pretty great… until he arrived with our meals and four gargantuan bowls of rice. He was smiling until he saw our collective looks of horror, and so he looked worried, too. When he asked what the matter was, we tried to explain the issue…

Meanwhile, the able next to us had a group of drunk Japanese friends around our age. God, they were cracking up. They must have thought we couldn’t understand them, but we knew they were talking about us. The things they were saying pretty much summed up to lol look at those stupid foreigners, ordered all that rice, hahaha!

Wasting food is a big no-no in Japan. But somehow, we were able to get out of being charged a fee for all the uneaten rice. One of us even drew him a little picture of Batman and wrote him a little thank you. On our way out, he sort of laughed and placed it to his heart saying, “It will be my treasure!”

So, all’s well that ends well, I guess.

(Still wonder what they did with all that rice, tho.)

Adventures in Programming

‘Kay so. This stuff is great. It’s fun. I was put on this Earth to create, and that’s what coding allows me to do….. It’s also “practical.”

Look. I’m a writer and a dancer – there’s nothing “practical” about that. No one’s going to hire me to teach them ballroom or to write them a novel.

I know Japanese and Swedish, but let’s be honest – it’s not Mandarin or Spanish.

I love book-binding for crying out lout.

I am pretty much the queen of all things impractical.

Luckily for me, all I have is time. It’s beautiful. When I’m not writing or reading books, I can learn anything I want about the universe. I can teach myself languages and research things for fun. Lately, I’ve been sticking my nose in various sciences that have always interested me – sciences that I never went into in depth because math is big, huge, scary, hairy monster. I mean, I can do it. But. My attitude was that I’d just rather not. All throughout college – both undergrad and grad – I put my all into foreign language, English, creative writing, art, and dance. That’s my shit. That’s what I do best.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t love and appreciate science. There were so many times when I thought about going into astrophysics, believe it or not. Or, physics in general. I like to know what makes this universe tick.

I’ve also been fascinated by robotics. I spent hours researching and taking notes on robotics and automatons – how they work, what they did, what they do, and what they could do. I’m most interested in A.I. Like this little guy here:

But the thing that got me was computer programming. Coding. There’s so much to learn and so much you can do with it. I learned HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) in a couple hours. I started teaching myself programming about a week ago (about a week ago!!!), and I’ve already made several simple apps using Java. But let me back up a bit.

After I was proud of myself for making super retro webpage designs (like, think early 2000s, late 90s?), I was ready to move on to an actual programming language, one that adds functionality. Like Javascript.

But let me tell you something.

Javascript is not – repeat not – a beginner’s code.

I literally sat at my computer during the tutorial like:

O M G.

W T F  I S  T H I S.

H E L P  M E.

H E L P.

M E.

comp rage

So then. One of my programming friends swooped in to the rescue and was basically like, Yeahhh that’s a bad idea you should start with C++ or Java. (Btw, I learned that Java and Javascript are not the same language.)

Thus began my journey to Java Land! 😀 It was pretty great at first. I downloaded Eclipse and spent hours, days working on tutorials.

Then another programming friend said, Oh hey it’s so cool that you’re coding now I want to be your professor come over so we can build something together.

Yay! A mentor!

The first thing about programming is knowing what you want to build. What do you want to create? I mean, I guess you can start building something without a clear plan in mind… but from what I’ve learned, it’s better to have a plan first. It’s funny because when I write short fiction, I just start writing and go wherever the story takes me. When I write novels, I have a loose outline in mind, but I usually end up deviating from it anyway.

I digress.

So, my friend and I picked a little beginner project for me to work on and for him to help me through.

I thought it would be cute to do a little Mad Libs type of thing. Unfortunately for me, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was using syntaxes I hadn’t even learned yet. And to top it all off, when we thought we finished the program, it was buggy as hell.

AND THEN I LEARNED THE HELLISH NIGHTMARE THAT IS BUGS.

FUCK BUGS.

And that’s the end of Jasmine’s Happy Coding Story Part 1. 😀

Because believe me.

This story will continue. >_____>

Until next time, lovely people!!

Where Are the Forks?

A bunch of my friends and I lived in the same apartment building – so our parties were pretty awesome.

For whatever reason I can’t remember, I decided to call it a night around 2 a.m. and walk across the hall back to my own apartment.

Moments later, there was a knock on the door. A couple giggly drunk girls asked where the party host keeps his forks.

I said, “Um. In his kitchen, presumably?”

They looked at me wide-eyed and said, “Oh my god, where are you from?”

“I’m from here.”

They were shocked.

Later, I had to ask someone if “presumably” is that uncommon of a word and if it really is odd that it’s a part of my regular vocabulary.

Like… really?

From a young child, I took the things I learned in English classes to heart. Standard English was the name – to master it was my game. Don’t as me why. Maybe it’s a language thing. I’m the same way when learning/teaching myself foreign languages. Also, I like sounding intelligent and well read. (Correction – I am intelligent and well read. And I like to show that with my speech.) For this reason, I’ve been called things like “white girl” and “oreo.” As if proper English only belongs to white people?

Some people even thought my family was rich based solely on the way I speak.

Alas.

Feeling Pretty White Bread

Since I started college, I’d always pride myself on my diverse group of friends. One night, a bunch of us went out to Ihop. We took a look around and realized that we pretty much look like the United Nations.

Another time, years later, a small group of us was hanging out, engaging in shenanigans. One of our newer friends, a white guy, looked around and said, “Man. You guys make me feel pretty white bread.”

I looked around, and I realized I was the only black friend – black as in, not mixed.

All of my biracial and multiracial friends are beautiful and come from interesting families. Thinking of it that way, it’s kind of hard not to feel like a ho-hum plain Jane.

I mean, take ice cream, for example. I always opt for the most delicious mixes of flavor.

But I have to remember that vanilla and chocolate are still classic flavors.

The Giant Ballerina

I dance ballroom.

I started about two years ago (I was 21) and I got serious about it pretty early on.

When I was 22, I had enough money to take ballet classes (where my older brother goes, and also where he teaches advanced contemporary) to help me become an overall better dancer.

I couldn’t sign up for the adult classes because they were scheduled at the same time as evening ballroom, so I registered for an “age 7 and up” class. I thought, “Seven AND UP! So surely there will be mixed ages!”

I was wrong. I was oh so wrong.

I showed up in my baby blue leotard and pink tights, towering over all the 7-year-olds, feeling awkward as hell.

Towards the end of class, my brother peaked his head into the studio.

I heard him say to someone, “Yeah, that’s my little sis. Isn’t she so cute?”

Oh. Yes. I bet those little girls’ parents thought I was adorable.

Anyway, to make things worse, I’m kind of scared of little kids. They make me uncomfortable. The fact that I was able to suck that up and show up to every class proves how serious and determined I was. They never really addressed me, although they looked at me sometimes, probably wondering why the hell some “old lady” is in class with them.

Their tiny bodies were far more flexible than mine. Their little feet made perfect points that my feet will never achieve. But I couldn’t let that discourage me. I had to endure awkward stares from the teenagers, too. Awkward, awkward, awkward.

Unfortunately for me, I could only afford ballet for one semester. I miss it so much. And it really did help me. Let me explain how.

In the collegiate ballroom world, competition ranks are like so: Newcomer, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Novice, Pre-Champ, and finally, Champ. Everyone is allowed to compete in Newcomer for exactly one year. After that, you have to move up to what many of us call “Bronze Purgatory.” Many dancers make it to Bronze and never get out. It’s the most saturated of all the ranks. You could be the best dancer on the floor, but it won’t mean anything if the judges can’t see you in that massive sea of competitors. You have to really stand out.

stand out

The more ballet I learned and applied, and the more ballroom lessons I attended (group as well as private lessons), the more I was able to connect all the things I learned. With hard work, I made it from Newcomer to Silver in two years, which is uncommon.

Sadly, due to financial reasons, among other things, this dancing queen is on hiatus – a very agonizing hiatus – and I’m itching to dance again. But, when I made it to Silver finals, I thought I would have a heart attack. I wanted to pour all my money into lessons (and, I basically did) so that I could move up to Gold. It was within my grasp.

And it wouldn’t have been possible without those awkward ballet lessons. If anything ever taught me to get the hell out of my comfort zone, it was prancing around a dance studio with 7-year-old girls.

Right now, my writing game is on hyper drive. I’m writing, editing, and submitting as much as I can, since all I have is time. But soon… soon…

soon

I will wear my dancing shoes again…

Revolutionary Dodge Ball

Gym class at my elementary school was sometimes pretty… creative.

One day, we played Revolutionary Dodge Ball. One side would be the Americans – the other side would be the British.

I chose American, because why not.

We were told that the British were very neat and tidy and never left their battle formations. Therefore, the players on the British side were not allowed to move.

The ‘MURICANS, however, did not follow rules. So we were allowed to move however we wanted.

I don’t need to tell you who won.

I’d never been prouder to be American.

Wall of Shame

The nicknames my elementary-school peers gave me paint a vivid picture of what they thought of me: “Smart Girl,” “Miss Perfect,” etc. (“Teacher’s Pet” didn’t come until junior high.)

So, I was smart, and I was a good student, and I prided myself on things like good grades, perfect attendance… and never having to go on the Wall of Shame (that’s not what it was called, but that’s how I felt – shameful).

I had cheer-leading practice or something after school, but our coach didn’t show up on time, so we were left in the auditorium, waiting. And what did we do? Play on the stage LIKE NORMAL KIDS.

We got in trouble for basically being kids instead of waiting outside like the building like lost puppies.

So. We all got detention – standing against the wall. I was mortified. (“Haha, look at Jasmine, on the wall!! Ha!!)

I asked one of the older kids, “What does regret mean?”

“It means you wish something never happened.”

“Oh,” I said. “Well. I regret this day.”

Thankfully, it was but a blip in my elementary experience. Nobody cared the next day.

In junior high, I was spotless. The teachers loved me. I had the top GPA in the school both years (4.5.), perfect attendance, never got in trouble. In one class, I was teased so much that the teacher had to move my desk up next to hers (and that’s when they started calling me teacher’s pet). But, being a good student was so important to me. It was pretty much all I had.

I made friends in high school, though. The fact that I was salutatorian instead of valedictorian shows that I actually had some inkling of a social life. I had friends, crushes, and boyfriends. I cared about my weight and my looks. I wanted to be fashionable. I wanted to be all those things – plus a good student. So I was second-best in the school. Not the worst thing that could happen. Besides, if I had isolated myself from potential friends, I never would have learned guitar or joined drama club, or entered Smash Melee and Brawl tournaments. People did hurt me, yes. But not all of them. So then. This interacting with people thing started to look like it had some potential.

By college, I went from getting mostly As to a fair mix of As and Bs. I kept a steady GPA of 3.7 all throughout undergrad and grad school (how the hell I managed that, I have no idea). I didn’t use sparknotes until I was a sophomore in college. I was always early for class and never skipped… until I learned that perfect attendance doesn’t mean shit in college. By the time I reached grad school, I had learned to skip strategically by keeping track of how many absences I had before they started affecting my grade.

I learned that grades aren’t everything. I learned that I benefited more by half-assing classes I didn’t care much about so I could put my all into the classes that I loved. Even as a masters student in literature, I found time to read for fun and write my own stories. And I have friends, a wonderful boyfriend, a great sense of fashion, way too many books (and I need more), and a masters degree.

They say that you can only choose two of these three: Sleep, Good Grades, and a Social Life.

Crafty little me – I found a way to obtain all three.

Take that, Wall of Shame.