Sunday, 15 January 2017

Mad world.

When is it time to speak up?

The news of Katelyn Nicole Davies' live-streamed suicide has spread across the world like wildfire (and sadly that includes the video in question). I'm sure many of you have heard the story by now and it's gut-wrenching to say the least. But it's not the suicide alone that has me upset, it's the fact that people are continuously circling her video in some deranged mission to "educate about suicide and abuse." It's not surprising that the majority of individuals doing so happen to be struggling with severe degrees of mental illness themselves, so they're clearly not in the right state of mind to see how fucking dangerous and exploitative this piece of film is.

Now I blog, but truth be told, I fucking hate social media and what it's done to our youth. I protest being tied in with the "millennials" because I view our generations as being entirely different. While my gen (Gen Y) has had to deal with rising un- and underemployment rates, and the perils of inflation, I can honestly say I have never worried once about cyber bullying, sexting, having my nude photos circulated as revenge porn, or feeling compelled to start a youtube channel just to feel accepted by someone; these kids have a shit load of problems. Social media is the bane of their existence and yet it's their whole world. And just think of how entirely isolating it is when a child living in this time has to deal with these social pressures on top of physical and sexual abuse! 

People defend her video as a means of education and that she wanted people to see it. I have no doubt that she did want people to watch it but not in the way that everyone else thinks... I think she did it to hurt other people. It's not unlike a suicidal individual who picks up a gun and shoots everyone else before himself. It's a destructive, hateful act. She was twelve, crippled with depression and wasn't thinking clearly, but the impact of her actions has been devastating on more than just the home front. Psychologists fear the video will end up in the wrong hands and encourage suicidal youth to do the same. Anyone anywhere can search for the video, find it, and learn how to do it for themselves! It's a sick sad world.

To any asshat who ends up here defending the message of this video, take a moment to really think about how this works: by acknowledging this video as her way of speaking out and finally garnering attention, you're sending the message to other youth that the only way they'll be acknowledged is if they do the same, by committing suicide or self harming on video. The appropriate measure is to instead remove the video and generate conversation as to why suicide is WRONG. It's really that fucking simple. We need to take more active roles in preventing suicide in all ages and improving mental health. Conversation is easy, it shouldn't require the loss of a young girl to start it.

Suicide is not the answer. I'm saying this as someone who thinks about killing herself fairly often. I'm writing a screenplay/script with a suicidal protagonist, and coincidentally (in the worst possible way) I am adapting a short story into a wordless short graphic novel about a depressed teen whose been sexually abused by her step dad. No shit. Only my adaptation has a happy ending. I just wish I could have told this little girl the truth: that there's life after abuse.

Talk to me in person and I'm not overly shy about being honest with my past traumas. I've neglected to write about it here but it seems an appropriate time. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault and date rape. It does not define me. I don't let it. I used to, once upon a time. I used to have nightmares. I used to cut. I used to hate myself. And then one day I realized it's not my fault. It's not my fucking problem. Even after seeing psychologists, psychiatrists, and attending support groups, it was age and wisdom that allowed me to overcome the sadness, the anxiety and the depression that had held me down for years. I still struggle with depression but not for those reasons, and I combat an eating disorder daily, another lovely side effect of sexual abuse. But that's how I look at it. Objectively, like it was a car accident that happened so long ago. It damaged my soul but not beyond repair, never beyond repair, because I'm still here. I might have the odd nightmare once in a blue moon. I might get nervous around men at parties and watch my drink like it was my first born child. I might be suspicious and untrusting of new friends. It's just a day in the life of me. 
It doesn't have to be sad anymore because I own this life and this world is my bitch.

I don't want to preach that I'm a survivor, I'm a victim, let's not take the emphasis off of blaming my attackers. We're all surviving. I'm living because I choose to live. I have surrounded myself with better people. I've adapted. If you think that there won't ever be a day where you can say the same, you're wrong. It'll take time, there's no band aid solution, but it'll happen. Like all problems, you have to stay committed to overcoming it, you have to want to change and work towards a better life. Maybe you might need medication, counselling, group therapy, or just a good friend who will listen to your problems; seek help. It's worth it. It's worth it like ice cream, or seeing a spring thunderstorm, or having someone tell you in earnest that they love you.

Stick around awhile.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

McCall's Hitched and Prelude


Hitched and Prelude, new for Spring!

Hey, it's 2017 and the new Cosplay by McCall's releases are already here. They're kicking it off with Steampunk!



HITCHED
Skirts
M2072

I think every Goth chick has owned a skirt like this at some point. It's like the "introductory to bondage skirt" and it's become popular amongst many Steampunk fans. What I like about it is that it's very simple in design. You can make it in one tier, two tier or three tier to get that stellar hi-low effect. It's a skirt that I've seen quite a few people trying to knock off, so I'm sure admirers of the look will be happy to add this pattern to their arsenal. If I were to attack it, I'd like to push it further by embellishing the yoke and adding a bow to the back like this skirt from Retroscope Fashions.



PRELUDE
Bloomers in Three Lengths
M2082

We know how I feel about bloomers. It's no mystery, I just don't get them lol, but this pattern seems to fit the bill as far as bloomers go, offering one historically inspired interpretation and two much more simplistic variations. The one pair of bloomers reminds me of Simplicity 8154. I'm not into Steampunk personally, so perhaps I'm missing something with the bloomers fad (???) but I suppose it makes for a good pirate costume. I don't mind the pair pictured on the right, they're cute, but that pleated monster on the left looks like it clawed it's way up from the depths of HELL. I absolutely loathe knife pleating. Not just because it's a rather dated technique but because it's freaking time consuming. Also, I'm curious about the title of this one. "Prelude" pretty much means it's an introduction to something bigger or better...not sure what they're implying with that lol. Overall it's a decent looking pattern and I have no major issues with it in terms of design.

Conclusion

We're seeing a steady influx of Steampunk designs with both McCall's and Simplicity. I'm a tad jealous, actually. I wish Goths got this much attention lol. I recognize Steampunk's place though, it attracts more than just fashion goers. In fact, many of the Steampunk sewists I've met are women in their middle age who happen to love historical fashion and like that Steampunk combines that passion with a touch of fantasy. At the end of the day it's cosplay! It'll appeal to most anybody.

Best,

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year! 2016: A Year in Review

Looking back at blogging in 2016

I don't even need to explain why this year has been busy lol you all know why. After blowing five grand on the big day I'm financially tapped out and emotionally exhausted. I've turned to sewing to occupy my time as I work my way through the dead of winter. >.< Let's look at blogging in 2016!

Working on the Blog


What was my favorite post of the year? 

This is a tie between a mood board and an actual post. There were a few other mood boards this year that I had fun making but none topped this V-Day one I created last Feb. I just love how fun and silly it is. It's quirky and youthful and I think it represents the person I've finished the year as. As far as posts go, there's no denying Too Different to Make Friends was a favorite of mine. It was cathartic and it not only helped myself but others as well. There are still plans to expand upon this but less in the emotional regulation way, instead I'm going to finish it off with practical approaches to dealing with social situations. As usual though, I encourage anyone struggling with mental illness to seek help from professionals, but I have to admit that reading self-help books has helped me a great deal and I'd highly recommend Stop Overreacting by Judith Siegel.

Blogging Improvements

Last year my blogging improvement resolutions were as follows:
  • Pre-write more posts.
  • Sew more.
  • Take more photos.
  • Create new content for the blog.
  • Overhaul the sewing room.
  • Continue developing and refining my brand.
Unfortunately only half of which took place. I did pre-write more posts. In fact, much of what you read has been sitting in the draft folder for months on end. Some have been spur of the moment but due to work life and my hobbies it's hard to write a lot of those, and it would leave this blog looking pretty sparse if I relied on spontaneous blog posts alone! It's true that this year I did sew more! Way more, but I neglected to document it. I will have to catch everyone up on the projects I've completed. While I'm happy with how a few of them have turned out I didn't think many of them were that great and perhaps that's why you never heard about them. Case in point, I made a velvet skater skirt, I posted the review on PR (looking rather girly and not goth, I should say) but it's a simple skater skirt. I don't know if simple stuff is worth sharing on here only because I think it wouldn't interest most readers. Let me know if I'm wrong. I did not take more photos despite having the new camera. I have used it for a handful of posts but I didn't get out enough to utilize it, only around autumn. I didn't paint any of my sewing room furniture or reupholster it but I did finally hang the new mirror and everything else that needed to be put up. Hopefully some day I'll have a new sewing machine cabinet. As for my brand, it went unattended to. It needs refining for sure. 

I ended up doing a lot of Cosplay by McCall's posts, they've sort of swallowed up my blog. I do get the patterns but I'm not one of their "yes-men" so I don't say pleasant things about everything they put out. I think it's good to put my readers in touch with their brand only because they have been pushing the envelope and introducing alternative fashion, albeit through a costume label. This might continue in the future but I want to rope it in and make sure it doesn't become the only thing the blog features. I try to balance it out with normal posts every month. I don't get paid to do this but I do get promotional goods. I've also had Punk Rave reach out to me to write a post about them but I'm not 100% on how that works or if it's worth doing. If I do write it I'm not writing it as a customer because I don't own their stuff. I'd appreciate it if they did send me product because it's better to review something tangible. I plug most fashions through mood boards so I'll probably do that.

I want more sewing posts, more mood board posts, and to do some more experimental crap for the future of Bien Aimée. That being said, this is a new year for me in terms of life stuff and I have big plans to do things that might be time consuming. Please forgive me if I go on hiatus.

My person resolutions (revisited)

  • Sew more, make more art, live more.
  • Live young.
  • Prioritize the important stuff.
  • Listen to more music.
  • Be one with nature.
  • Get dressed up more often.
  • Lose weight.
  • Fish, fish, fish, fish and fish!
I did draw some and sewed quite a bit however not to the extent I wished I had. I plan on doing a great deal more of this in 2017. Did I live young? Not enough. I had some body dysmorphia issues in 2016 and I wish I had let them go to enjoy myself more. I know I'm getting older but I don't want it to ruin my life. It's hard when phsyically you're not feeling the best. :( Did I de-stress? Eventually. I'm finally at a point where I don't give as much of a fuck about things as I used to. I did listen to more music and purchased a CD I had planned on buying fifteen years ago (Welcoming Home the Astronauts by Flickertstick - kind of a post 90's alt rock band which had a distinct flavor to them). I didn't get out as much in nature as I had liked to. We live in a condo with a community yardspace and I don't like wandering through it. I really want to hike this year. Did I dress up more often? A little, probably more than last year, but this year it has to get better. This was unsuccessful in part because I didn't go out more often but when I did dress up it attracted positive attention so I'd like to do it. Did I lose weight? Not until all the madness of last year ended! My illness caused me to drop off 20lbs now it's a matter of keeping it at bay. I go up about 5lbs just from eating out somewhere. Some of it might be waterweight or it could be my "natural" weight is being skewed by being malnourished at other times. :/ I fished only once last year and wished it had happened more but time was not on my side.

My New Personal Resolutions

Go some place new. I have to travel somewhere (even if it's not that exciting of a place) because I've never done anything on my own and frankly I'm fucking sick of it. I feel like I've been closed in and I think this is a good year to have new experiences and make new friends and connections. 
Finish something artistic. Finish some kind of project whether it be a comic, short film, or sculpture. Something to say that I can complete things and challenge my ability to do so in a timely manner. I hate that I waited this long to address this stuff but university really burned me out.
Get toned! I want to lose 5lbs and tone my chest, abdomen and leg muscles. I lost muscle mass following illness and I look flabby, like fat and bone! Argh! I want to hit the weights this year.
Sew my own wardrobe. I've really been pushing myself in my sewing. I want to make a "wardrobe" or something close to it. In order to accomplish this I'm creating a list of things to do. I will post about this in the near future so maybe you might be inspired to start your own wardrobe related goals. :)
Get out more. I have joined Meetup.com in my city and while there are hundreds of groups most are business and coding related. I don't have time to start my own shit right now but hopefully something really cool and artistic will crop up and I might meet some like minded people - in turn getting out more instead of staying home.
Cross off that bucket list! In my adventures through self help books I learned about establishing core values and setting goals. I developed a bucket list, one with reasonable goals and one with possibly unattainable goals. I want to start crossing a few of those goals off. One of which is to be a vampire for a period of time. You read that correctly. It's just fucked up enough that it might fun lol.

Conclusion

2016 was a shit year for most of us. I lost a lot of family on my mom's side, I'm struggling still with an unidentified illness, and I still work in a factory. My hope is that there's good news on the horizon. While I'm not a huge believer in tarot I still practice on occasion and have done multiple horoscope readings over the last six months. I've found a lot of repetition: Janaury indicates something awful happening (Death or 10 of Swords), February Friendship or Love (often has been represented by Two of Cups) and March indicates education and learning. In terms of meditation...I can't do much with the January reading. It's a warning card and outside of divination it's kind of difficult to use. I could say, "are all my bases covered, is there something I've neglected that could blow up in my face?" but I'm still not satisfied with that interpretation. I'm open to suggestions with this one. My friend has come up in readings often. He's represented by the Emperor card and sometimes the High Priest. It's brought up meditative questions like whether I'm giving him a fair chance or judging him too harshly. I determined that I was being a little quick to judge with him. Tarot is really good for self reflection if you've never tried it I encourage you to do so.

What are your plans for the new year? 

Happy 2017!

Best,

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Brand of Choice 2016: RESTYLE

My Brand of Choice for 2016

Restyle is one of those brands that I've had an interest in for some time. Most people remember them for their highly popularized cameo purses. They've dabbled in a little Lolita, a little Trad Goth, but it seems that they've found their niche in the Nu Goth scene. I have been increasingly impressed with their emerging designs. They continuously refine their aesthetic with each new collection. Their jewelry is to die for. Take a look at their latest releases and you'll be left asking, "Alchemy who?" They are easily the best name as far as Gothic jewelry goes. Killstar can't hold a candle to them. Restyle's most recent clothing designs are leaning heavily into the bondage trend which I quite fancy. While body harnesses have been done to death, I'm taken with Restyle's ability to implement bondage in subtle and sophisticated ways. It's evident that they have a keen understanding of the female form. This is what earns them my title of brand of choice for 2016. They mix materials in ways that I cannot comprehend. If someone could teach me how to knock off their leggings, please do so, because I am freaking stumped! How do they do it without affecting the stretch of the fabric?! HOW? It's almost worth forking over the $50 USD to find out...


Restyle's most recent releases are largely influenced by geometry and occult symbolism. I'm a little over the occult thing, there are a few pieces I'm drawn to but I would hesitate to sport the pentagram when I'm not walking the pagan path. What I'm most attracted to is their latest hoodies and jackets with their unique use of construction lines to compliment the figure. They have a sort of Industrial Goth feel to them but are more simplified and feminine than the 90's trends we came to associate with that scene.

Restyle is one of those brands that is rethinking Gothic style (perhaps that's how the brand chose its name?). They are pushing the limits of design through experimentation. This is very encouraging. A brand that takes risks is exactly what we need for the future of Gothic fashion.

Unfortunately, because it's a European brand, there's little hope for Canadians to afford these pieces unless our dollar improves. Not to forget, according to their size chart I'm a large (?); this is especially confusing when American sites sell Restyle products without adjusting their size chart or making note of the differences. If you're wondering, I'm not a large, in Canadian sizes I'm a size 4/5 or small. Are girls in the EU especially petite? My hope is that in time these garments and accessories will be more accessible to North American buyers.

I'm really interested to see what new products they release in 2017 and if the brand will continue to steadily improve over time.

What do you think of Restyle?

Best,

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