Memento Mori

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Seattle, Washington, United States
Professional Darling

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'll Follow You Into the Dark...

Yesterday about mid-afternoon, I received a call. Not a call on the phone that is so apart of my job and my life these days.





Something in my heart went off and I answered it. I felt an overwhelming desire and need to go seek out peace and solace at St. James Cathedral.





If any of you really know me, you know that I just can't stop. I can't relax, and I have to be doing something on a constant basis. It is really hard for me to just sit and do nothing. I'm not quite sure why it goes against my nature, it just does. My mind is always going, whether it is full of thoughts, or just playing music, everything with me is constant. I was really worried that I would end up sitting in the cathedral fidgeting, humming, tapping my feet, or heaven knows what else. I didn't though.



I got off work early yesterday. At three I nervously boarded a bus up towards first hill and up towards the cathedral. On the bus about a million thoughts were running through my head. It was the first time in a while that they were running so fast that I didn't even have time to focus on them. It was like just catching glimpses of things before the next image would come into view. I'm not quite sure what to make of that phenomenon, as it has never quite happened like that to me before. The bus ride was short, my thoughts were long.



When I got off the bus, I noticed that the sky was that shade of grey that I liked and that it matched the colour of the cigarette smoke that I exhaled out of my lungs. I'm not sure if it was a comfort thing or what. I liked it though, and then remembered that I was now smoking during the week, and that wasn't a good habit to get into. Pre-guilt guilt I suppose. I walked the block from the bus stop to the cathedral pretty slowly, worried that if I didn't finish my cigarette with enough time to air out that I would smell up the entire place. I'm pretty sure that God's house is a smoke free environment, well aside from the incense.



Walking up the steps, I knew one of two things was going to happen. I was either going to just sit in the pew and stare, not moved by anything, just numb to the fact that surrounding me was God and that I couldn't even care to notice that his arms were around me. The second, I was going to sit in the pew and weep, sob, cry and wonder why I wanted to subject myself to the embarrassment of being in a public place while I was in so much emotional pain. Neither happened...well to the extent that I believed.



I pulled open the great door of the cathedral and was immediately overcome. So quiet, gentle and dark. The candles in the church could be seen through the frosted glass of the inner doors leading to the nave. I crossed myself using the holy water and walked ever so gently and opened the doors. There were maybe 5 or so people sitting in the vast space and a few others shuffling around in the near darkness. Along the edges, all these shrines to Saints and all the votives glowing ever so softly. I swear the Infant of Prague smiled at me, His gold robes gleaming. I once again crossed myself, this time using the water from the baptismal font. The water moving against the side and then coming back to hit my finger. I didn't want to walk far, so I picked a pew near the back, went down on one knee, and crossed myself again. I sat.



I was worried that nothing was going to happen. My worst fear was that I was going to be so far removed from my faith that it wouldn't move me, that it was too late to feel anymore. Doomed. Without warning it started. Not the hysterics, but the tears. Here I was in God's house and he was welcoming me. Despite my separation, the lies I told, the guilt I tried not to feel, I felt love. The tears continued to fall, but ever so silently. Falling past my cheeks and hitting my collarbone, sliding down to where I could not reach. I didn't try to wipe them away, but let them descend where they would, it really didn't matter. The emotions came in waves. I would weep for a bit, and then stop. Looking around at all the wonderful, beautiful things that surrounded me. It would start again, and then stop. Ebbing and flowing with not even a hint of reason to it. I would look up to the dome over the alter, where the grey sky would gleam through the oculus dei (eye of God) and I would cry even more. I'm not sure if it was just the mere act of looking up and seeing something that wasn't there, or why certain emotions would pass through me at that point. Inscribed on the Oculus Dei is this, "I am in your Midst as one who serves" (Luke 22).



After sniffling and crying in the pew, I thought it was time to pay a visit to the Shrine of The Blessed Virgin Mary. Perhaps a little background is in order here.



It started when I was 13 or so. I became fascinated with the BVM. (Blessed Virgin Mary) I started collecting statues, and seeing her image everywhere. It was a calling of sorts. My collection got to be vast, but it all started with a small Our Lady of Fatima statue that I picked up in a shop on Granville Street in Vancouver called, "Cheap Thrills". (Of all names it could've had...) She was beautiful, and she was mine. Catholic imagery fascinated me to no end. I couldn't get enough. One of my good friends Michelle was Catholic and I would bombard here with these questions about her religion every time I saw her. I even went with her one night after 9-11 to pray for the world outside of Immaculate Conception parish in Delta. Kneeling and placing my hands on the feet of the Blessed Virgin and praying for some sort of end to the suffering. It got to the point where my gifts for my birthday were largely Catholic related. I believe that she saw me through my life, a protectress of some sort. Always showing up when I needed her the most. When I found out that my husband to be was Catholic, I took it as my final sign, that yes I was meant to be Catholic too. (The details on the process of becoming Catholic I will save for another post.)



The Marian shrine in the Cathedral is amazing, and can only be described by photos. http://www.stjames-cathedral.org/Tour/default.htm The smell of beeswax is amazing, and it is dark, starry and solemn. If any part of the cathedral is more "goth", I beg to differ. It was here that I knelt at the feet of my namesake, and asked her to please intercede on my behalf. I knew that she would, and that she was happy to see me. That I could swallow my pride long enough, to be there, to be humble, and to be home. Tears fell again, washing down my face. Before I left, I lit a candle for myself, and for another. Placed my tears on her feet, and slowly walked out.



When I exited the Cathedral, it was like coming out of the womb, or how I would imagine it would be. Everything is so dark and quiet...peaceful. Then you are thrust into the light, the noise and forced to confront your own mortality. That was what it was like, I was peaceful and I daresay relaxed, and then the world came up around me again, and I came full circle.



On the way home I stopped for a bottle of wine, it was a Syrah from the Columbia Valley called, wait for it...Genesis.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Life is Truly what You Make It

Life is what you make it. You can sit back on the sidelines and watch everyone else have friends, or you can just jump on in there and put yourself out there.

I have done that. I have reached inside myself to the depths of my core, and stared my fears full on in the face. Rejection, annihilation, embarrassment and all of those other nagging things that prevented me from stepping out of that cold dark place I call myself. If you just take one simple step away, you can focus more fully on other elements that you choose to ignore. The fact that my sociality has been so abused and neglected was a sore spot for myself. Alone and unwanted in my marriage, not even a girlfriend to call up and complain about my impending depression. Do you know how it feels to be completely alone? My family hundreds of miles away, the family of friends that had my respect, a fading shadow in the distance. People that cannot be bothered to call when it's my birthday, or even make the two hour drive to watch me make my biggest mistake - a marriage.

I arise from the ashes now. A phoenix.

I have phone numbers in my phone now. Ones that I call, or text message. People that I have met through my own self-sufficiency. And ones whom have deemed me worthy of presentation. I feel fortunate for the opportunity to do the things that I have been doing, and blessed to have formed friendships in such a short period of time.

I think that my next step in my self-transformation is spending time alone. I will not cut myself off entirely from this new and enchanting world, but I will find acceptance in my own company. It is not a bad thing to be alone. I live alone, surely I can go somewhere alone. Open a door to possibilities that I never knew existed. It's not like I have never gone out alone, or had dinner alone, seen a movie alone. These times it was necessity, and not something I particularly wanted to do, it was circumstance. I want to go beyond circumstance, and be comfortable with my own company, to the point where I can walk into the theatre, the club, the restaurant, and not feel like everyone is staring at me because I'm alone. Probably easier said than done, but definitely a challenge that I am up for.

~ G.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Goth Girls!

I've been doing a lot of YouTube-ing lately. Mostly searching for "Goth" videos and so forth. I come across a lot of crap. Things that perhaps look promising as you see the little picture, and then you click to watch it, and it all goes to hell from there.

I've been big into the Gothic stereotypes lately, and spoofs. I find it exceptionally humourous that there are all of these catagories that you can now label Goth as. I'm still trying to figure out how Punk turned into Goth and then Goth spawned all of these new sub-cultures.

ANYWAYS...I am getting ahead of myself here. I stumbled across these hilarious spoofs called, "The Goth Girls". There are only two videos so far, but both are fucking spot on. So go click on the link and sit back, kick off your transmuters, and relax with a glass of blood red wine and be prepared to laugh at the hilarity that is GOTH!!

http://www.youtube.com/user/grahampowell



~ G.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A New Apartment

First things first, lets talk about the move shall we? Or should we talk about the quirkiness that is my new apartment? I think that quirky is pretty much my middle name now, and this apartment suits me to a T, or should I say it suits me to a "G"?





Open the door to my apartment and you either look straight at my shower curtain, or you'll be hit up with an image of yourself if the door is closed. There is a huge mirror on the back of the bathroom door. I outfitted my small but cozy bathroom with the cutest of shower curtains from Sin in Linen. (http://www.sininlinen.com/bathroom/shower_curtains/) It's the forever tattoo print in the almond colourway, but its more like an antiqued white. I put a deep red oriental place mat on the back of the toilet and on top of that my St. Michael prayer candle and a beautiful framed picture of the Madonna and Child complete with Swarovski crystals around the frame and on the picture. (I'm not exactly religious anymore, but I love religious imagery.) Next on the to purchase list is a black bathroom mat so my feet don't freeze after I get out of the shower. :P





In the hallway just as you come in, is a small antique wooden telephone stand, but I don't have a telephone on it. It has my 12 inch tall Virgin Mary statue with the removable gold halo on it. Surrounding her is some fake roses and she stands on a Japanese paper doily. I haven't finished setting it up yet, but eventually she'll have candles and incense as well.





There is a little alcove right next to the bathroom, and in there is my rolling plastic containers, containing my toiletries and my stationary as well as miscellaney items that I really can't find a spot for at the moment. Beside the containers is my bass amp and bass guitar in case. I'm going to start playing again I think. I need a new hobby and I need to start using things that are taking up space. I can't remember the last time I played my bass guitar, but I should play it again, or at least attempt to learn how to play it. :P





So now that you've been introduced to the bathroom and the entry way, lets go on in to the kitchen and the walk in closet, that incidentally is in the kitchen. The kitchen has all new stove and fridge in it, as well as faux granite counter top that eventually will serve as my table. The fridge has two beer, two energy drinks and a carton of half and half in it for right now. I did have a whole bunch of beer, but I drank most of it in the past week. :P


On the counter is my precious, precious stereo, with whom I am finally getting reacquainted with. You see the poor dear has been sitting in a box for the past almost 5 years with not a single goth CD to play. My reasoning behind that was that there was just no room in my old apartment, and that when Ryan and I got our own place that it would be put in the living room and we would have good times. Well obviously that never happened because of the failing-ness that was my marriage. I was so happy to take the thing out of the box and set it up a couple of days ago, once again hearing that fabulous music coming out of its speakers. *le sigh* I also forgot how awesome the bass was on it! Volume two keeps me quite happy! :)





Right off of the kitchen in the corner is my walk in closet. A quirky detail of the closet is that it has two windows in it. I'm pretty sure that it was never meant to be a walk in closet, but that is fine with me. I put my dresser in there against one wall and have all of my velvet, lacy and Gothy clothes hanging in all of their glory. (Don't you just love how I personify my possessions?) Aside from a few items of coloured clothing, it is literally a sea of black. *swoon*



In my teeny tiny hallway between the kitchen and the main living area are two closets. The first one is going to be my multi-purpose closet. It has many shelves and some will be storage, some will be linens, some will be filled with all of those kitchen items I can't seem to fit in my small kitchen. :P One shelf will be taken up by things like my jewelry box and assorted other items that I used to have on my dresser, but can't now because the dresser is in the closet flanked by clothes. The other closet in the hallway will be for storage as well as my bedding when I have my bed in the wall.

The living area is obviously the largest of the rooms. It has nice hardwood floors and a Murphy bed! (http://www.murphybedcompany.com/home.php?section=history The picture on the top right is EXACTLY what mine looks like. My parents came down and bought me a brand new mattress, Cynthia my old roommate bought me a brand new mattress pad. I bought black satin sheets, a pair of red pillow cases, three new pillows and the most kick ass duvet cover EVER! Once again by Sin In Linen.(http://www.sininlinen.com/bedroom/duvet_covers/back_in_black/) Notice how its called the exact same thing as my blog! The best part of it, was the smokin' deal I got on it. At Bed Bath and Beyond it was on the clearance rack. It retails on the site for $100, at the store it retailed for $80, and I bought it for a measly $30! They had a ton of deals going on. So if you live in the Seattle area, I highly recommend that you check it out. The rest of my living room is filled with my bookcase, TV stand with TV and DVD player and my "candle corner". I have a ton of candles set up as an alternative to using electricity, seeing as now I have to pay for it. :P

I almost have everything set up, and when I do, I shall take pictures and post them for all to see. I need to do a little restoration work on my huge Trent Reznor poster that ALWAYS goes up in the living room. You see this thing has been following either myself, my sister or one of her best friends around for ages. It just has to go up because that is the way it goes! I also have to assemble the glow in the dark skeleton, that also follows the same rules as Trent. It's special, it needs to go up, and its spooky! What more can a Goth girl ask for?

I love all the quirkiness I have to follow. Certain traditions that I don't want to break. The skeleton and the giant Trent poster. Things that connect me with my past, as well as provide a certain level of comfort. I always thought it was so cool when I would go and visit my sisters apartment and see the giant Trent on the wall, or the glow in the dark skeleton hanging from a noose. I think that it was the little things that shaped me. Although I do believe that my older sister had a lot to do with the darkness I inherited.

Pictures to follow soon my lovelies!

~ G.