Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Book Store Angels (Or How One Non-binary Adult Attempts to Purchase a Used Copy of Good Omens)

 

“I’m sitting in front of the bookstore, afraid to go in,” they type into the app. Their legs are shaking, although that could have been from the two hour drive it took them to get to this point, and their heart has sped up to a hummingbird pace. It had been such a pleasant day so far. They spent the morning in rehearsal, emulating the demon they so admired, and then had such a lovely visit with friends that they felt brave enough to go for a small adventure. Long drives were so good for the soul. Open highways on a cloudy, cool day with loud nineties girl music blaring on the radio could soothe every ache in their heart. The Donnas really should have been more popular than they were.


Their friend types back, “But bookstores are safe. You’ll be okay.” 



Bookstores are not safe. They are spaces that are off-limits and forbidden. 


They just wanted the one book, really. But… there were so many memories that came crashing back down on them every time they tried. It should be easy. No one is watching them, no one cares, but that doesn’t stop the overwhelming guilt and fear that comes from attempting to go in the goddamn store. 


They hear his voice, his words, in their mind. The condescending, patronizing tone as if buying a book was just another way they’ve disappointed him. 


“Why don’t you read anymore? You used to read all the time,” he’d asked. But also, “I’ve bought you so many books that you never read. If it’s not Watson buggering Holmes you apparently don’t care.” Or, “Why did you go in the store and buy that when I could have just bought it for you from work? I get a discount. You need to learn to save money.” Or, “I know you waited a year for it, but do you really need the hard back? It’s so expensive. Just wait until it comes out in mass market. Why are you crying?” Or, “Why do you read those romance things? Read something that matters.” 


They hear the words, even though they are the only one in the car, and they let out a huff of annoyance at themselves and at the ghost of Him. Their head drifts back against the seat and they close their eyes. It shouldn’t matter anymore. Wasn’t the War already won? Weren’t all these battles over?


They bite their lip. Maybe if their friend consents to being texted every thirty seconds, maybe then they could brave the book store. Before they can text her, they see the little dots moving, indicating that she’s writing them again. “Would it make you feel better if you text me the things you saw? That way it’s like I’m there with you and you’re not alone?”


They take a deep breath and agree. Their black glittering converse (those are ridiculous, he says in their brain) make a horrid screeching noise on the pavement as they attempt to enter. Luckily, there are racks of one dollar books on sale outside and they hide their panic by staring at the shelves, pretending to be interested in the stories offered there. (Why are you so weird, he would ask, if he were there witnessing the anxiety attack for himself.) They bite their lip, peeling a bit of skin off, agitating the split there. After several groups of people walk in, they decide it’s okay to push ahead. They just wanted the one copy of the one stupid book- and there it is! Second table in, just by the door. Anxiety over.


Until they see the price.


“FOR A USED BOOK?” They type in all caps to their friend. “That’s insane. What other sections can I find this author in? Maybe there’s a cheaper version, like a mass market.” 


As they’re waiting for an answer, they pick up the book again. The first time they’d read it, so very long ago, he’d given them a mass market copy. This one was larger, and the cover was white instead of black, and there was a demon drinking wine on the cover. It was softer. All in all, it was a very nice copy. But what if they still couldn’t crack the cover? What if they still couldn’t open the book and actually read? In the last three weeks, they’d read almost six million words of fanfiction about this book so why couldn’t they just… read it? They’d already read it once, for Christ’s sake! They looked around, wide eyed, panic bubbling up in their throat. Maybe they didn’t deserve the nice copy. (If you’re not going to read it anyway, he would say.) 


Suddenly, everything is overwhelming and they have a headache. They are too scared to ask any of the staff nearby for help finding other (less expensive, he supplies) copies of this book. They roam the aisles, eyes unable to focus on the alphabet soup that the book titles are becoming. They type more panicked messages to their friend. The one copy is, apparently, the only copy of the book in the store, although they’re really having trouble focusing enough to look. Their stomach is in knots. 


They pause in the romance section, fingers brushing the soft watercolor tones of a Georgette Heyer novel. At one point, they were the only person in their world who knew about this author, and now everyone knew because of an angel. If there were angels here, he would insist they buck up and stop acting like a fool. Two romance novels that hadn’t been in their collection and the biography of a stripper slither into squishy arms, cutting lines into dehydrated flesh as they are embraced tightly. (Why do you only care if there are whores involved, is what he’d ask, if he were here.) It only makes them clutch the books harder. 


The angel wouldn’t make fun of them. The rare books section makes them blush as they consider that.


They will admit that, slowly, their stress has faded as they imagine an odd sort of group around them. Their previous muse and his Doctor companion stand watch, ready to fight anyone who is a threat. The Doctor murmurs snide jokes at them whenever they pass another shopper who isn’t wearing a mask correctly. The angel lingers nearby, but so does the demon, and they argue over, “Who buys CDs anymore, angel?” 


Their heart is slowing to a more normal level of fucked up as they continue their search, knowing that it’s all for nothing. There is only one copy, the staff member they finally approach tells them with sympathetic eyes. Sadly, it is the expensive book that is waiting patiently at the table by the door. Their lips press together instead of biting, a Watson habit if ever there was one. They are perpetually broke. They are saving money, hopefully, for a better place to live where they can exist beyond the stories they write. They are utterly hopeless. (You don’t need to spend this much on a used book, he scolds in their mind.)


They snag the book, muttering, “Fuck you, ex-boyfriend”, to themselves as they walk to the register. If any of the staff notices, they are too nice to say anything.


(Hope you enjoyed a brief little story I wrote about my book store adventures a few weeks ago. It's hard getting past depression and anxiety these days and this tale felt a bit like a victory. I'm currently in rehearsal for Poems Macabre with A Taste for Murder productions and I'm super excited about it. Tickets available here. It's one of the reasons I've been a tiny bit MIA on the net as a whole.)


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Invasion

I had a boss at a salon once who honestly believed this theory of 'Star Children'. She believed that aliens had come down a long, long time ago and left behind half-human children (or something like that) who mated with more and more humans until there were these 'special' humans- I don't know, it all sounded like a weird fairy tale that was made up to excuse some people just being freaking weirdos.

It was kind of nice that she thought I was one of them, though. It's always nice when someone thinks you're special. 






I took last week off for a bit of a mental health breather, and I'm not even really sure I'm back in the saddle again, but I'm trying. Tonight on the way home from work my airbag light came on in my car and in the land of perpetual brokeness that's not really ideal. 

These are one of my favorite pairs of jeans paired with one of my old Mad Rabbit Couture alien shirts, YRU platforms bought secondhand and a few thrifted necklaces. Rock on, babes, and I'll talk to you later.

Until Next Time! - Meghan

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Look Behind the Facade

 Last year I was excited to be in the ensemble for a local production of Jekyll & Hyde. I have to say, I completely fell in love with the music - especially the ensemble pieces. I'm not surprised. I believe it's by the same gentleman who did Bonnie & Clyde, which is one of my favorite musicals. 

However, even though there was a lot to celebrate about this particular production, there was something I fell even harder for than the music.

This fucking skirt. 


I didn't mention it back when I first started blogging, but I actually was (at one point in the early 2000s) a theater major and I've been in a lot of costumes in my life, but none of them have made me feel as good as swishing around in this purple skirt. If I could, I'd have bought it from the theater company that owned it. It cinched me in my favorite places, skimmed over my least favorite places, and the DRAMA of it was just so stunning. 

So I just had to try and make one. 



Does anyone else hate new Blogger with an unmitigated passion? Oh, just me? I mean, I've uploaded these pictures 5 times and they're blurry every time but I've done nothing different from any other blog post. Just me, then? (UPDATE: I re-uploaded using my phone this time. They're not perfect but they'll do.) 

So I don't dislike this skirt. In fact, I really love it. The pink denim is from a secondhand store called Scrap B-more in Baltimore that's like a thrift store but only for arts/crafts supplies. I love to wear it with this snake and skull top I got from a different thrift store (originally Torrid) and I'm wearing my 20's inspired Redwing shoes. I'm not sure I'd honestly recommend the shoes. I'm wearing my usual size but they're a little too small but I was required to wear Redwing shoes when I worked at their store for a few months last year. I thought "oh, these would be good audition shoes" and I've had them for a year now and I can't say I love them. If they hadn't been so ungodly expensive I'd probably have donated them already. 

SO anyway, YES. I love this skirt and I'm going to make more. For a first draft, I'm really pleased, although I wish I'd added more volume around the hem (so it's not so pencil-y) and more pleating because the original skirt did have a monstrous level of volume/pleating. But for a first draft? From scratch? That I drew myself? I'm in frickin' love.

I cannot express how enchanted I am with this necklace, by the way. I decided recently that I needed a treat and after weeks of Facebook targeting me with ads for this sneaky baby demon necklace, I nabbed it. It's by Rare Romance, a company I never heard of before, and it looks like a lil baby angel until you look super close and he's actually a baby demon! 



Here's another pic from Jekyll. As you can see, I need to add some volume to the next incarnation of this skirt. I wish I could examine it one more time to see where I need to make the necessary adjustments to the pattern. 

Speaking of cool Victorian garb! I'm going to be in a really neat virtual production with A Taste for Murder. It's called Poems Macabre: The Poetry of Edgar Allen Poe. I'm really excited to be in this cast. Everyone is very talented and I've worked with ATFM before and I can honestly say every production they put on is just delightful. I can't wait for live theater to return because we were rehearsing a really fun murder mystery just before the COVID shut down that I'd like to one day perform in. So make sure and grab your tickets to POE so we can keep the show going!

Until next time! xoxo - Meghan







Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Emo but Make It Fashion

Nothing really changes 'round these parts, y'all.

Sure, there's a different landscape. There's a rural town surrounded by cows and cornfields and mountains where once there had been skyscrapers and charming old cobblestone streets and buses rattling past at three in the morning. A train pass has been swapped for a driver's license. There's less walking and more driving and everything is an hour away instead of just a few blocks.

But there are still thrift stores. There's still a sewing machine. There's still Chuck Taylor sneakers. There are still Sherlock Holmes books.

And there's still My Chemical Romance.

Some things just never change.






I wear my denim jacket like a second skin. Not this one, a different one. For most of the year, even when it's too hot outside, I clutch my jacket around me. It is my armor. I've worn it to auditions. I kicked up a fuss in cosmetology school when it wasn't allowed to be my 'pop of color' (we had to wear all black). It's threadbare at the elbows and holes are forming around the collar, but I never feel as good as I do when I'm wearing that jacket.

Sadly, the world is getting... warmer. And I felt like maybe I wanted a change. Something I might be able to wear to rehearsals in the spring or at least on a date if I ever got one. Earlier this year, just before the 'Rona took the world by storm, I took two dresses and a leftover jacket and attempted to make something I really would wear. It did not work out. First, all rehearsals and productions were cancelled. Second... what do I even wear this with?

Overall, I love the aesthetic. I love the sleeves. I love the juxtaposition of the floral and the punk rock MCR patch that Megan got me one Christmas. I love the bleach spattered denim. I don't know what it is I don't love about it, but it's something that I'll have to work on. I've honestly only ever worn this for these pictures.


 This dress, though, as I said in my last post, I've worn a lot. I'm not sure about the platform Converse, though. I wish I'd gotten my size. Based on the recommendations I got about a half size smaller than my usual and if they had normal Converse toes they'd be fine but the toes are a little narrow. I don't know why I was determined to keep them. I was like, "No, no, they'll stretch out."

They have not, so far.

Will they make it to next week's episode!? Stay tuned and we'll find out together! ;-P

But seriously, see you with another post on Thursday, this time about a project I'm very excited to be involved in.

Until next time! xoxo - Meghan

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Make It Last

I originally made these tops in 2015. I’d gone to Mango in Chestnut Hill and fell in love with a gray top there, and after purchasing it, I went home and traced it. I made so many of them over the years, but this is the actual first one I made from that tracing. (They call that type of pattern making ‘rubbing off’ of something you already own and I think that’s hilariously dirty.) 

I never got any real good pictures of it. During my last few years in Philly, the neighbor man who drank with my boyfriend in the evenings had taken to being outside at all hours of the day so if you followed my blog you’ll know I stopped taking outside pictures and started taking them in my kitchen. The week I made it was a tumultuous week in my relationship (it was very close to our break-up) and I might have even been crying in the original shot? I posted it, but I deleted the post recently. 

I’m so glad I’ve been able to retake the pictures because I really do love this fabric. It’s a little faded than it was originally, but it’s a well-loved piece.



I am, of course, as I ever am, perpetually broke. My living situation is in the process of changing and I’m in the interesting place of having car payments and student debts to pay off, but recently I’ve felt this… change taking place. Maybe it’s a way of distracting myself from the current political and health climate in the world, but I’m so tired of having broken things. I just want solid things, things that I wear a lot, and that last me a long time. It’s expensive to be constantly replacing pleather boots or polyester tops that last one wash. 

I’m taking my time and trying to make things I genuinely love out of soft, sturdy fabrics. I’m saving for a pair of Fluevogs. I’m hoping that I can slowly, very slowly, upgrade my wardrobe into the aesthetic I’ve always wanted instead of just whatever the appalling world of fashion dictates. 

It is hard, however. I feel that the atmosphere in Philly was more embracing of alternative personalities, where there’s been a lot of pressure in the DMV for me to fit into a ‘professional young woman’ mold. But banker-chic-a-la-What-Not-To-Wear has never been my goal. I want things that are unique and last and I abhor looking like everyone else. 




It brings me back to why I shut down Mad Rabbit Couture. I was tired of having to constantly whip out refashions and store them while they waited for their new homes. I was tired of “Well that’s too expensive” after I put hours of work into design and sewing garments. I was tired of the pressure to constantly be making. I’m going to shout out my friend Megan - a year after closing Mad Rabbit Couture (for the time being, anyway) - she’s still listening to me have panic attacks when every waking hour isn’t spent sewing. Learning to relax is hard. Learning to make things that I want to make, just for me, with no pressure to make them for other people, is hard. But I feel better about not consistently contributing to the clothing crisis we face- we have enough clothing already made to clothe the next six generations. It feels really nice to know that I’m making do and mending things that mean the world to me versus just randomly buying things to fill a psychological hole I’m not dealing with, if that makes sense. 

Sorry it got a little heavy there. I’m signing off before I ramble on. Until next time, xoxo - Meghan

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Let the Sunshine In

Sometimes you do things that make you feel small, only in a good way. Sometimes, after being caged and breathing filtered air and only seeing the sun through windows, sometimes you get out and feel it on your face. A brief respite. A moment of brilliance where you're reminded why we're here.

A few weeks ago I took my mom to a sunflower festival and it was goddamn magical. 

The field we went to was large enough that everyone was able to social distance and spend a few hours out in the sunshine with these big beautiful flowers. It was on the side of a mountain, so I could look down into the valley and the sky seemed so vast. I highly recommend wearing a dress made out of a shower curtain- it's very lightweight and moisture-wicking in hot weather.





We've been struggling emotionally. Someone that we really love was diagnosed with cancer, and I've lost a few friends this year due to the virus and cancer and other things like that. It felt amazingly good to get outside for a little while and get lost among the flowers.



I didn't realize how many colors sunflowers came in, actually. Some with dark centers, some with light centers, some red and orange and yellow. It was truly inspiring.

Hope you enjoyed this little interlude of joy. Outfit coming on Thursday.

Until next time - xoxo Meghan

THIS POST IS DEDICATED to everyone that left me comments only I didn't know that 2015 me had 'comment moderation' on and so I didn't know you were there I just thought I was talking into the void. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Acid Queen

Tina Turner was Excellent in Tommy.







I had to run my mother to Target a few weeks ago and fell in love with this acid wash denim dress, but in the land of the perpetually broke (a.k.a. Me), I could not buy it. I've also been avoiding fast fashion in general, so I didn't really want to contribute to Target's bottom line. I knew that I had a vintage 80s acid wash dress that was gifted to me by my friend Megan. I used my bodice sloper to draft an a-line denim dress and I'm really quite pleased with the results.


This was the original dress. I think I like mine a bit better, don't you?

I've been very busy this week. I currently work in the medical field so it's been a little bit crazy in my house and I haven't been sewing too much. I've got a few interesting theater projects in the works, though, as well as a few new fanfics/books that I'm writing. It's funny- I re-started the blog because I wanted to write more about the craft of making things, but I've ended up running out of words on the fourth post in. Don't worry. I'll get them back. I never run out of words. ;-)

Until Next time!! - Meghan