esthétique gothique


Heart of Nails

Jasmine Becket-Griffith aka strangeling

Many ask me, what is Goth?

It would seem like this would have a very complicated answer, as it is interpreted differently by everyone who identifies with this moniker and it has changed in many ways over the years.  Yet there are both common misconceptions, and a base truth that ultimately defines Goth.

  • Goth has nothing to do with religion or the worship of Satan.  

While many people who identify with the Gothic culture embrace different religions such as various forms of paganism and even satanism (which ironically does not worship or involve Satan)… it would be inaccurate to say that this has anything to do with being Goth.  It is more a matter of those who have a predilection towards being attracted to the Gothic lifestyle also have a predilection to looking outside conventional religion.

  • Goth does not always show from the outside.

While the Gothic aesthetic tends towards dark colors, Victorian styles, a certain taste for beauty, et al… it is not the clothes that make the Goth.  Many can dress themselves in what they think are Gothic clothes and not have the first notion about what they are representing.  Others (myself included) can be dressed in Wranglers and a t-shirt and be Goth to the bone.

  • Goth is:

At the very heart of it, Goth is very simple.  It is an ideology.  Goth is an appreciation for the beauty of the macabre.  It is an understanding that death and decay have their own unique elegance.  How that is interpreted is up to the individual – in a perfect world, it should not be an elitist society.  I have never believed in the idea that “I am more goth than you.”  And yet, I find myself disturbed by the way it has been abused and taken out of context over the years.  The gothic aesthetic is about beauty and it is far from skin deep.

So my friends… that is Goth.


se réveiller lentement & douloureusement

Slowly I wake.

Dawn has been slowly slipping the sheet off of my skin, but now the full force of light is forcing itself on my bare and vulnerable form.

Numb slumber was so much easier.  Why are there no blinds to shut out this light?  I am not ready for the mourning.


It is little things.  The pug that used to sleep with mom now sleeps with me.  Yet every night (if you can call 4 to 6 am “night”) when we go down the hall she stubbornly sits at Mom’s closed door.  I push her with my foot to keep her going just as I have to push myself to keep going.  I choke up and beg her: Please do not do this to me!


I was on the phone to a dear friend who I have known since he was five.  My mother was a friend of his parents and knew him from birth.  We have long known that he was gay but he has remained in the closet.  In talking, he was as blue as I because of the end of a relationship.  He did not want to burden me when he knew how hard this has been on me.  I told him, “Do I want to worry about my problems or yours?” so he told me.  He was hesitant and vague about the details.  I could almost hear the deep breath he took before he used the first personal pronoun He.  Then the details came.  I was hurt for his loss, proud for his strength, and so happy that he had at last felt comfortable enough in his skin to admit it.

  • As soon as I hung up the phone I looked to where Mom sat.  I knew she would be so happy to hear that he had finally come out to me.  I had actually forgotten for a minute until I realized that I was sitting in a rearranged room and that she was no longer there.

I looked down at the time on the computer the other night and noticed that it was terribly quiet for 8:30 at night.  My first thought was, Mom must have gone to bed early.  At times, it still seems like she must be in her room… hasn’t woken up yet or went to bed early.  My brain will not wrap around the fact that she is dead.


Yet I wake.  I have hit snooze as many times as I could manage.  The blankets have been pulled off of me and the drapes opened.  It is the first day in a new school.  It is the first day of a new job.  It is the first step in a new country where I do not speak the language or know the customs.  Everything ahead is unknown and I do not know where to put my feet.  I can only do one thing at a time.  I put my feet on the edge of the bed.  I rise.  I shower.  I put on my most comfortable armor.  I make coffee (lots of coffee).  I drag my feet as I look out the window to check the weather and test the waters.


Maybe I can call in sick and stall this job called life one more day.

faire le deuil

  • This is the third day in a series of funeral rites for my Grammy.  She wished to have a memorial, which was done on Saturday with the obligatory time spent with family and friends after.  Requiem Mass was said on Sunday with yet another gathering to follow.  Today, her ashes are interred with my grandfather at the Veterans’ Cemetery.  As this was Grammy’s desire… I believe I could have gotten through this in her memory.  Here is where the trouble lies:
  • No one will let this simply be about Grammy, especially where I am concerned.  Every comment is about Mom and it very truly feels like services for her – services she did not want and services that – quite frankly – I cannot handle.  Everyone is looking at me wondering when I am going to cry/scream/breakdown – never.  We are not allowed to have emotions in my family… so why do we try to mourn?
  • Mourning is a public and mutual sharing of grief by very definition.  It’s rituals and practices have always been more about the display of death so that others can share in it.  That is fine… if one is able to do that.  But if one has been raised in such a way that the public display of emotion is disgraceful, mourning becomes nothing but uncomfortable and more pain than comfort.
  • I cannot cry.  In the last three days, I have shed not one tear.  Oh… at home, when alone, when something strikes me enough to break through the numb haze – some tears have come.  Even those get swallowed down though.  I know that if I start – I will not stop.  Personally, I do not believe in the public practice of mourning.  I, like my mother, simply wish to be scattered someplace meaningful to me and my closest loved ones.  I seldom go to funerals… and never for the deceased.
  • I do not need to go to a memorial to mourn or grieve for my Grammy.  I memorialize her in small ways constantly.  I wear the scarf she knit.  My favorite coat is a suede coat with a fur collar that she gave me – vintage from the ’30s.  I have many memories of her.  I do not personally believe that she is in a position to care whether I am at her memorial or not.  But there are other living members of my family that do seem to take some comfort in me being there.  My best friend’s grandfather died not long ago – a man I loved well too – and though I would not have gone to the funeral for his sake, I went for hers.  She needed me.  I am just so frustrated by being expected to grieve publicly when that goes against my very nature… a nature passed down by the women I am being asked to grieve publicly for.  Does that not contradict and disrespect their memory?
  • At least this ends today.  At least this part of it ends today… the grief will never end, but at least I can keep it private and personal where it belongs – well aside from what finds its way here.  There will be other traumas… cleaning through Mom’s things, scattering her ashes, and even just working my way through this.  I still feel like I am swimming through jello and do not know top from bottom.  But being expected to stand there and put on public display for the comfort of others – that ends today.

vers le haut ou vers le bas – à la fois


Four Loko (aka – and other really bad ideas)

Okay – maybe it means that I am getting better or worse – but a bit of lighter reading this time around folks.

  • Did you know that (especially when you are depressed & already prone to insomnia) mixing depressants and stimulants is a really bad idea?

I pretty much did already.  So not going to lie right now.  I am a woman of exceptional IQ – as evidenced by my ability to even type right now – and professional occupation with very bad personal habits.  I do not eat, I do not sleep, & I have been medicated by necessity for crazy chronic pain issues for – oh 14 years now.  We are talking major broken bones of the back variety – no playing games.  This is when my grandmother hasn’t finally died of her own suffering and my mother hasn’t died suddenly – shockingly – and completely… yea.

So… that said, I have really not been sleeping lately.  Medication has gone up on Dr.s orders bc of current events.  I do drink.  Maybe this is a good sign, because as I walked into my kitchen at midnight to make a drink – which I am still drinking which says a certain degree about how good of a sign it can be – I realized that part of my problem is possibly that I drink prob 2 pots of Cuban -> Turkish roast coffee with about two shots of rum per cup.  SO a 12 cup pot – which is really 6 cups – maybe I only go through 1 or 1.5 pots a day.  Still.

  • Answer to above ?  Everybody.  They have made the selling of drinks in the US with alcohol and caffeine illegal.  Many bars no longer sell vodka/red bull for the same reason after litigation.  Yet here I am at midnight watching my roku (I refuse to do cable tv when most of what I watch isn’t even aired in the US) and drinking something that is really stupid.  Is it good that I realize that… don’t know.  The hubby goes back to work tomorrow.  Some day I must resume life as I know it.  My grandmother’s services are this coming weekend and siblings are butting into mother’s affairs when they never bothered to care whether she lived or died in life (smelling grammy’s money asks the cynic – why yes).  Perhaps key in all of this is instead of waxing morose of philosophic and cushioning myself in complete indulgent numbness – a thaw is coming.

Bloody hell.  I am not going to enjoy what is to come, but it must.  I also must pop off to the store come tomorrow to get something else to drink with my rum and some curry ingredients because I would sell my soul for some and there is not ONE Indian place in this entire <b>county</b>.

le suicide c’est l’espoir de ceux qui n’en n’ont plus


  • I first feel the need to establish that I feel like we have the inalienable right to kill ourselves, as held up by the constitution.  At the point that Roe v Wade was passed on the premise that a woman could have an abortion because she had ultimate control over her body – I extend that argument to suggest that we all have ultimate control over our bodies.  If a woman can terminate the life of a fetus living inside of her, an individual should certainly have the right to terminate their own life.
  • This argument exists completely outside of religious dogma.  Every person has free will (or should) and will make such decisions based on a wide variety of factors – religious doctrine being a factor for many. This is not an argument FOR suicide as much as it is an argument for the legitimacy of suicide as a personal choice.
  • I have struggled with severe depression for some time now.  It has gotten worse and worse.  In the past year, I have had three major suicide attempts that would have succeeded if not for the intervention of the hospital – going directly against my properly filed DNR I might add.  Talk of suicide is often a cry for attention – but sometimes it is the logical solution to a person who has nothing left.
  • Because of the effect my determination to end my life was having on those around me – I made the choice to stay alive.  Let me be clear… this has been a CHOICE.  There are few mornings that I don’t wake up wishing that I haven’t and then proceeding to make the active choice to NOT kill myself.  This is not easy.  Some days are better than others, but on balance, I think it is fair to say that I would rather be dead.
  • So here we are.  I have SEVERE health issues.  I suffer from chronic pain.  My quality of life is mediocre on my best days.  Conversely – I have lived an awesome life in my 38 years. I have managed to do things that most people only dream of.  I am HAPPY with the life that I have lived.  What I am unhappy with is the pain and the suffering and the inability to do so much of what I love to do.
  • Now my mother is dead.  She was my person.  She was the one person that I always went to and could always count on.  I am finding it near on impossible to imagine waking up in the morning to a world that does not have her in it.  I find it hard to imagine that she is not down the hall – that David does not need to get her dinner ready.  I cannot do this.  She is my person.  My father is dead.  My grandmother just died.  I have one grandmother left in Oklahoma.  I am an orphan, and I am alone.  Part of me wants to curl up and go to sleep… but I would only wake to find her gone still.  How long can that cycle continue?  I see nothing to life for.
  • Much better to sleep without waking than to wake every morning to the fresh nightmare of being alone in this world.

l’art imite la vie imite sont

Please understand that at this point, I am still numb.  My mother died between 8 am and 11 am PST.  Yes, it is natural for children to bury their parents, but I have lost both of mine at young ages (54 & 65).  There is no discernible cause of death.

By my belief system (Pagan) , my mother is now in the Summerlands where she will examine her Akashic Records and her life before being reincarnated   By my belief system, death is but the next step in an eternal journey.  That does little to help those left behind.  I am riddled with questions:

  •  did she suffer
  • did she know she was my entire universe
  • is there something I could have done
  • what do I do now…

While there are a million practical details to sort out, I find myself not yet up to the task.  I also find myself unable to find beauty in this death.  Right now, above all things, I want the one person whom I have always turned to with my troubles and my broken hearts.

I want my mommy.