I’ve decided this fall’s theme is Slutty Witch Vibes. This, of course, is semi-ironic, as it is still quarantine [scowls at partying youths and maskless Republicans]. This is the first Halloween I’ve really decorated–I made a lil paper chain out of black, orange, and purple magazine pages, and cut some black bats out of construction paper and hot-glued on googly eyes. Freddy’s also had some $2.50 black netting I’ve festooned my living room lamps and doorway with. IT’S SPOOKY SEASON!
So let’s get to it. Here are my extremely un-expert tips for harnessing your inner slutty witch [seeing as I am not officially a witch. Please don’t get mad at me, real witches!!!]: (p.p.s. links are NOT affiliate links, because I’m not that fancy and I find them mildly annoying. just stuff I like)
So I couldn’t help but wonder (WINK!) if it was on purpose. Is Netflix playing us?! Is Emily in Paris the same kind of garbage as The Bachelor, Love Is Blind, Selling Sunset, and The Room? That is, is it designed to be immensely hateable?
Cute was safe. Cute was familiar. It communicated something about youth and innocence and not threatening the status quo. Kittens are cute, and everybody loves them!
For me, cute meant that twee Modcloth style. Little cardigans and vintage-inspired prints and funky necklaces.
Sexy was off-limits. It was OK for other women, but not me. I had to stay as palatable and inoffensive as a bland snickerdoodle. Sexy was dark and brooding and mysterious, with lace and strappy things and uncomfortable shoes and restrictive underwire bras. (Maybe even whips and handcuffs!) My cheap stretchy beige bras were very comfy, thankyouverymuch.
Cute is nice and controllable. Sexy is wild and uncontained and a little bit scary.
Again. WTF. Very dark-skinned Black people have a TWO OUT OF THREE likelihood of being arrested. THAT IS FUCKED UP.
The piece calls out Netflix for the colorism in Indian Matchmaking and how many of the single people want a partner who’s “fair.” (Fair as in light-skinned, not fair as in just.) I’m guilty of thinking “fair” is just another word for “lovely,” and that’s the problem–beauty shouldn’t be equated with whiteness. Light skin should NOT be considered more beautiful or desirable than dark skin.
And that’s not being “too PC” or “too easily offended.” Colorism clearly has very tangible effects, costing Black people (and particularly very dark-skinned Black people) their futures.
Colorism and racism aren’t amorphous, indefinable abstractions. Their existence is not up for debate, nor are they political issues. They steal years and decades of people’s lives (NPR: Black People Are Wrongly Convicted Of Murder More Often, Data Show) and all too often people’s lives entirely.
Is there anything more frustrating than interacting with a narcissist?
I’ve worked with three white male narcissists in the past few years, which has led to a LOT of googling about how to deal with them. (See: the gray rock tactic.)
Turns out, some common narcissist traits are refusal to admit they’re wrong, constantly blaming others, little compassion for others, little respect for boundaries, “nice” deeds done to make them look good, and taking credit for others’ work.
Based on those traits, I came up with some questions I hope to use in the future to reveal if someone has a lot of narcissistic traits:
Have you been to therapy? Are you in therapy now? (Note: Some narcissists go to therapy, so this doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it’s very revealing if they say something like “I don’t need therapy” or “it’s never really worked for me”)
What’s some criticism you received and how did you grow from it and address your weakness? (What’s an example of you learning from constructive feedback?)
What’s a mistake you made and how did you take ownership for it?
How do you react when people tell you you’re wrong?
When’s the last time you sincerely apologized for something?
How do you react when someone is in pain or struggling?
Who is someone you’ve helped succeed? How did you do it?
What are some needs of others you’ve helped to meet?
How often do you admit you’re wrong?
Is it important to you to feel special, powerful, and unique?
How do you respond to other people’s boundaries?
How do you help build others’ confidence and self-esteem?
What’s an example of you taking responsibility for something negative?
How do you react when someone questions you?
What’s something kind you did recently?
When did you show compassion recently?
Obviously you can’t just sit someone down and ask them all of these, but I hope to sprinkle them into professional and personal settings. I know the sooner I spot a narcissist, the sooner I can save myself anguish and stay the hell away from them!
My friend Jake sent me a 30-minute house tour video by someone named Christine McConnell and I was confused. Why was she waking up in a forest? Was she cosplaying Belle from Beauty & the Beast? Was this a goth parody of home tours? WHY DID SHE HAVE A SCYTHE?
Despite my initial confusion, I was immediately sucked in by her soothing voice and scrappy creativity. She couldn’t afford wallpaper, so she painted her own. She makes a lot of her own clothes. She woodworks (oh, to have her saw collection). Buying things new seems to be a last resort–she gets things from eBay, friends, thrift stores, even the side of the road (that’s where the chair in her vanity came from).
I consider myself a creative person, but dang. Her videos and Netflix show (which I devoured) made me realize how lazy I’ve gotten. I spend hours poring over Pinterest and lusting after beautiful things online, when I could be watching YouTube videos and teaching myself how to DIY. I’m so quick to discard things (Marie Kondo, I partially blame you) when maybe I should keep them around longer and repurpose them, or at least see if they come in handy.
You know that saying, “Fast, cheap, or good–pick two”? Christine definitely picks cheap and good, then invests a LOT of time. She seems to have endless patience: baking things, waiting for them to cool in the “chiller” (her adorable name for the fridge), decorating them painstakingly, waiting for them to chill more, etc. Not all of us have the time or desire to spend hours on a cake that looks like a house. But it made me realize I’m pretty hung up on instant gratification, or at least this idea that my life would be perfect if I could just afford XYZ. She’s like, “Whatever, I’ll figure out how to make it myself!”
For example, I LOOOVE arched doorways. Obsessed. But I’d resigned myself to thinking, I guess I’ll just look for a place that has arched doorways the next time I move. HELLOOOO I could make my own! Inspired by Christine, I watched some videos about how to convert a normal doorway to an arched one. I have ZERO carpentry experience and literally had to google what drywall is (not to mention owning zero equipment besides a hammer), so I don’t have a ton of faith in myself, but I love the idea of at least trying to figure things out myself instead of defaulting to “I guess I have to pay an expert hundreds of dollars to do it.”
Another bonus is you end up with things perfectly customized to your desires and that are totally unique. Soooo many home decor “influencers” (barf) have exactly the same style: white walls, bright and gold accents, stuff from Target and West Elm (with affiliate links, of course). It’s so copycat and devoid of personality and vintage flair. I won’t name names, but you probably know who I mean. Their homes look perfect and Insta-ready, rather than having some charming clutter and imperfections. Christine embraces her “weird old Grandma’s house” aesthetic with zero apologies AND I LOVE THAT.
Overall, I like how Christine’s videos make me FEEL. She makes me want to be a little more graceful, patient, and gentle, to slow down and savor little bits of beauty. To dial up my unique weirdness instead of being like everyone else. And once it’s safe, I’m gonna hit up ALL THE ESTATE SALES. Maybe I’ll even bake something–what a concept 😉