The Power of Words

Beyond the multitude of spoken and signed languages, words have a severe power that can make or break a person, group of people, a community, a society, a culture, even the world. Words are used to label things, to give construct to abstract ideas and ideals, and more importantly, to control others. When we wish to change behaviors, we label certain behaviors with just the right words, and poof, behaviors change.

Some words are even so powerful that just the mere act of reading the word will alter behavior. Take *yawn* for instance. Normally, when you see someone *yawn* it tends to be contagious, but just now, typing the word *yawn* has made me, well, *yawn*. Can you honestly say you didn’t *yawn* at all while reading this paragraph? Leave me a comment telling me whether or not you *yawned* during or after this paragraph. *Yawn*

Words have the power to warp our sense of direction, skew our view of time, and enhance our abilities to differentiate colors and shades. Derren Brown, the famed mentalist, uses words to control people’s physical behavior. Adolf Hitler used words to influence Nazi Germany. Brain washing, aversion therapy, gas lighting; all use words (sometimes paired with images and forced illness) to control thoughts.

That being said, it really is no surprise that this current decade is full to the brim with control words. Racism. Appropriation. Terrorist. Freedom. Safety. Oppression. Feminism. Age. Weight. Sexuality. Fear. Comfort. As humans, we have a natural aversion to punishment, at least, the majority of humans do. We hear the key words, and either don’t want to be associated with them our of fear of punishment, or desire to be associated with them out of fear of punishment. Political correctness. Social justice. Fairness. Equality. Segregation. Separation. Unity. Rebellion. Uprising. Peace. Chaos.

One single word can be the deciding factor in whether someone likes someone else, or does not like them. One. Single. Word. Even though words do not change reality, they certainly have an impact on how reality is perceived. Media tends to use this power to influence a multitude of people, especially those who typically get their news from only one or two main sources. Just the right wording will create a filter, and that filter will alter the way reality is perceived; whether right or wrong.

So, we hear the key words, and we act accordingly. How do we fight back, and take control of our own perceptions of reality? It takes a conscious effort. Developing a competing hypothesis of ideas or predisposed thoughts is one way to reduce the power of words that create bias. Seek evidence to support either hypothesis, and allow the evidence to weight your actions. Another way to reduce the power of words over your perception is to react less. Did something someone say offend you? So what? Nonreaction negates the power of the words.

So far the 2000s have been wrought with offense, political correctness, and division. We are primed and ready to take on the new Roaring 20s; let’s make it a decade of unity, truth, and liberation.

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Feminism vs New Wave Feminism

More than five thousand years ago, humans lived and worked together to ensure the survival of each member of a particular society. The introduction of personal property, capitalism, hierarchies, and the class/caste systems within a predominantly patriarchal push has since resulted in the abuse and oppression of women world wide. We shifted from egalitarian societies of hunters and gatherers to societies of rich folks and their slaves. Reverence for women shifted to fear, and the need to control that which was feared. Oppression, abuse, and submissive tendencies appear to be deeply ingrained in our psyche because they are.

The suffragettes paved the way, followed by an influx of independent women determined to carry on the torch. We did it. When sexual assault happens, we have recourse. When abuse happens, we have recourse. When we want something, all we need to do is set our minds to it and get what we need. Yes, abuse happens still. Yes, women need to continually push forward with progress. But do we need to do it at the expense of the men in our lives?

A feminist is someone who recognizes that injustice happens, and acts to correct those wrongs. A new wave feminist (NWF) would seemingly seek to destroy all men, save for those who exhibit every manner of feminine qualities. Well ladies, if your aim was to emasculate the male population, you get a win on that one. The truth is, we stole their role. It is the male of the species that is to be the flowery, showy, pretty ones, and the females just be themselves, even if that self is a plain brown and white duck. Not anymore. We took their makeup, their dresses, their heels, their wigs, and their belly rings and made them our own. Now, any male wishing to dress the old ways is either ridiculed for their choices, or worse, ostracized in public by their own families.

We gawk when Hollywood shows us the coveted “V” (that part of the male torso that leaves us all too stupid to think) yet balk when the female body is used for fantasy. There are so many double standards with NWF that I don’t know what it means to be a feminist anymore. What are we fighting for, really? We can be stay at home moms, or choose a career, or do both. No one can touch us. We are unbeatable in our efforts, and heaven help anyone who tries to stop us. But what is the true cost? What have we lost in our lust for control? The fact that we are simply humans, trying to get by. It’s lost on us. Or, at least, lost on the NWF’s. So, my fellow women, you have a choice to make. You can wallow in your self pity because you don’t like the cards that you were dealt, you can fold, or you can bluff your way right to where you want to be. It’s up to you, no man is holding you down or stopping you. Just know that you have created monsters, and these monsters will rise until a superhero is needed to take over and control things. And quite frankly, I am hoping that superhero doesn’t shave her eyebrows, cut her bangs too short, then bitch about how she isn’t accepted in society.

Oh, that might be the wine talking….

Tattooed Mom’s Wine & Booze Revue

First and foremost, I am not your typical “wine connoisseur” by any means. Sure, I had a few years when I polished off a bottle of a wine a night after a stressful day at work, but I am incredibly picky about the wine I drink, as far as taste and after taste go. I don’t pick out the woodsy or whatever tones in a glass I am enjoying. I enjoy it as long as it isn’t dry or tasting like beer. There are many like me, who like to drink, not pick apart what they are drinking. This review is for you my friend.

Cost is rarely a factor. A bottle of Barefoot Sweet Red is cheap, potent, easy to drink, and is actually….wait for it….sweet. Sometimes, the pricier wines are less tasty. That being said, I can safely recommend any of the Barefoot wines, especially the White Zinfandel and the Sweet Red.

Recently I was in an Italian style market in my little harbor town, and the wine selection was stupendous. Buuuuut…..I was only able to locate one bottle of Sweet Red. That is what prompted this revue. Grand Traverse Select Sweet Red is the bottle of choice. Moderately priced at 11.99 a bottle, 12.5 % alcohol by volume (a little less than Barefoot if I remember correctly) and a warm fuzzy feeling after the first couple sips. As far as sweetness goes, this brand is a little drier than I prefer, a little less sweet than the Barefoot. Not quite in that typical dry red wine zone, but closer than I prefer. I would probably only buy this brand again if there was no other to choose from. Like the day I got it. C’est la vie!

So there you have it. My revue for the most recent bottle of wine, the one I am currently consuming. Stay tuned for more! Don’t forget to subscribe for updates!

Metal Maven Attends EDM Festival!

Yes, you read that right.

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Before I really begin, I should disclose a few things. I am not a festival goer. Hell, I rarely attend concerts. I am more of a dive bar, garage band kind of gal, though if Rob Zombie is playing near me I will try to get tickets, and I have seen Hollywood Vampires. I just think I can spend all that money on other things, like tattoos, shoes. You know, the priorities. Recently I was given the opportunity to work as a vendor at an EDM festival, Electric Forest to be precise. I don’t even listen to that kind of music, but I was getting paid to be there and when I wasn’t working I had free range of the place because of my wristband.

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Festival people are an entirely different species of humans. In fact, many of the locals here experience cognitive dissonance at the sight of a festival goer, resorting to name calling or assuming the worst. Easy to do, when the average festival goer uses  neon tape as tights and barely has more than a boa or tie dyed frock on. They stink, they do drugs, they steal, people die all the time and it gets covered up. Well…not exactly. Sure, they camp out for about 4 days, with no shower, so they have that camp life scent about them. Or they don’t, and quite frankly I was surprised at how smelly they were not, with the way locals talk.

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Yes, weekend one had some theft and drug possessions going on. As I pointed out to my friends however, a look at the local cops and courts on a weekly basis and you see that it’s no different than the average night outside the festival. Fake reports go around constantly, leading people to believe things like people die and it gets covered up, or someone lost a finger and it was found by someone else. Well, that finger incident that went around Facebook after weekend one was a hoax….it was a fake finger. Investigated. There are cops all over the festival, checking on things. They let pot slide inside the festival, but keep an eye out for other drugs, which is a good thing.

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Now, all of that aside, here comes the real experience, from the viewpoint of someone who never goes to festivals like this, and doesn’t listen to EDM either.

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I worked in the Candy Shoppe, for Cosmic Candy Company based in Pentwater, Michigan. My primary job was to be outside the shop, selling kettle corn, drinks, cotton candy, and this amazing organic green tea virgin mojito. When I say amazing, I really mean it. I made them so damn amazing that when I went to grab a burger and fries from one of the other vendors, they gave me my food for free because I made him the BEST green tea mojito in the world. His words, not mine. We were placed in the perfect spot to catch the droves of party kids that were flocking from one stage to the next, as well as flocking from their campsites into the main area of the festival.

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There were college kids, dreadlock sporting seasoned festival goers, dad’s accompanying their preteen daughters, metal heads walking with their loved ones, and people of all ages, from infant to elderly. I saw a man walking with his infant in a front pack, and a couple being pushed in their wheel chairs around the festival. Mostly, what I saw, was a bunch of rich 20 somethings dressing in elaborate (or not) costumes doing their thing. They tip well. Once I was offered a hit from a joint, but I was working so I turned it down with a frown. Our mojitos were a big seller, with only one person turning it down due to a lack of alcohol in it. Everyone else loved them, and they loved us. There were so many thank yous coming our way, so many people told us they loved us and appreciated us working while they came to play. I got compliments on my tattoos, and was told how pretty I was by more people than I can count.

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That’s what working looked like. My second day working was the last day of weekend two, two weekends being the new thing this year. The festival carried on until 3am, then everyone closed up their booths and went home. My shift ended at 7pm, so I went wandering because I wanted to see the forest at night, I’ve seen so many pictures, I wanted to see it in person. 7pm is still light out, so I made my way over to the food vendors for a burger. That free burger I mentioned earlier. I ate the burger and fries while listening to a bluegrass band strum out some Grateful Dead tunes on the main stage in that section. After scarfing that down I headed into Sherwood Forest, the centerpiece of the festival. Some amazingly talented, creative, and imaginative artists got together to bring this forest to life. I got to know the layout, sort of, while it was still light out. I took photos of what I encountered, from a group of improv mimes dressed in all yellow old fashioned clothing to three aliens exploring a new world that spoke in a series of clicks. A giving tree, a trading post, and several stages and building put together with ample space to sit and rest if the need hits. Then I found Sherwood Court, the main event. There was EDM blaring, and every now and then I would catch something that rang familiar because my oldest son listens to it.

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People were laying all over the fields, just taking it all in, or dancing along with their friends. The bigger groups of friends came with a totem, something they made to signal the others so no one gets lost, on a long pole. Two girls walked by me with their wrists tied to each other, clearly not wanting to get separated. I found a vendor selling tea and got an iced tea, then wandered around some more. There was an area called The Hanger, which drew me in like a moth to flames. It had a strong 20s vibe to it, sort of like if electronica and neon had been available in the 20s, this is what it would have looked like. At one point, I just sat on an old couch in a set called There’s No Place Like Home, and listened to jazz fusion for a while. People sat next to me, everyone was really friendly and chatty, and it was just a neat atmosphere. Then I wandered back into the forest to await darkness.

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I sat on a bench that surrounded a giant sculpture of a goddess, near the Jive Joint, another vintage themed set, and listened to the oldies play while the sky grew darker. Behind us was a “silent disco” where everyone was given a set of headphones and let loose on the dance floor. Then, all the lights were finally visible, and it was time to walk around the forest again. First of all, I was not on any drugs last night. That being said, when I came upon the giant elephant in the middle of the forest, I thought I was tripping. They did such a good job on the lights for that elephant that I literally second guessed my own sobriety. It was amazing. The fairy houses came to life, and I was seeing things I hadn’t noticed before. Each of the art installments were lit in different ways, providing a striking contrast between forest during the day and forest during the night. Yes, EDM pounded through my entire being. But I have a 19 year old son who listens to it, so I wasn’t completely taken aback by it.

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Neon hula hoops, glow sticks, light up shoes, and glow in the dark body paint washed over the crowds of people herding themselves from one stage to the next. I have to hand it to them. They got in way more walking than I did, and I walked a lot. By 1am I was done. I had worked all day, walked all night, and was flat out tired. I found some teriyaki chicken and rice, munched on that, and wandered among the vendors looking for something to buy as a reminder of my time there. Pins are a big deal to everyone who goes to Electric Forest, so I found a vendor that was selling in three price ranges and picked one from the cheapest, a cute little white and black voodoo doll. Perfect for me. Then I went back over by the Candy Shoppe, and plopped down to eat my food under a tree. I was there until I got a ride after the festivities, so I just relaxed at the tree a bit. This is when so many people just randomly talked to me, checking up on me, asking me if I was alright, or if I needed water or anything else. They told me they loved me, blew kisses, reminded me how awesome I was, that I did great today, and that I was beautiful. These kids look out for each other at festivals, knowing that dangers exist, trying to eliminate as many of them as they can. By the end of the night, I walked away with my pin, a blue plastic flower, a tiny pile of unicorn poo, a hot pink gem, a bowl of weed, and enough mud on my feet and the bottoms of my pants to create my own art project.

I plan on volunteering to work next year’s festival. This time, I’ll be bringing some of my handmade jewelry to trade in the trading post. I am also looking into becoming a contributing artist, because that would be just the bee’s knees!

Little Slice of Part Time Paradise

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I recently moved to a tiny harbor town just north of where I grew up. Many of my friends hung out here when we were in school, I hung out in Silver Lake and Muskegon instead. Imagine if you will, the forest suddenly coming alive with historic stone homes and clapboard beach houses, breaking away to the saltless shores of Lake Michigan. The streets are not tree lined, the forest is among us full force, even breaking through the older sections of sidewalk. Patches of woody areas freckle the landscape on the streets before the shoreline, and sandy beaches make way to the cold but welcoming waters of the big lake. This is the kind of town where you can walk down town and hit the farmer’s market, grab a BLT and a bloody Mary, then peruse a used bookstore within minutes of each activity. This is the kind of town you can read your copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein whilst walking back home, never really fearing the prospect of a hit and run or drive by shooting or abduction. This is the kind of town that has the most picturesque cemetery I have ever been to. This is the kind of town that will make the rest of my time here bearable.

Women in Horror

I came across an article outlining the state of horror and female horror writers. It says we write about love, torment, sexy vampires, and aliens, but shy away from the really scary stuff. Even Mary Shelley, the Mother of Horror, shied away from the genre after Frankenstein was published. Why? Is it because we put love first? Is it because we see the element of horror in every day life and wish not to write about it?

Whatever the reasons may be, I wish to change it. I have begun a writers group, and our focus will be on scaring the ever loving hell out of each other, and ultimately changing the male driven genre of horror. It’s not all sexy sparkling vampires you know!

Stay tuned for updates and details regarding publishing! The Daughters of Shelley are coming, be afraid!

Supporting the Arts

At one point in time, artists of all genres were appreciated and supported with gusto. Kings and Popes paid with coin and property in patronage of the arts. Then somewhere along the way the tables turned. The arts became not as important as they once were, and the starving artist was born.

All too often we hear things like “get a real job” or “yeah, but what do you really do” and my personal favorite, “well that’s nice, so what is your career choice?” As if oozing creativeness isn’t a valid career choice. This just goes to show how little regard there is for the arts anymore. Or does it?

I have stumbled upon a website connecting artists with patrons of the arts, offering a platform for artists to receive money to support their writing, music, photography, and creative processes. Let’s be honest here, if I had income coming in alongside my part time job it would be so much easier to homeschool my youngest son and write my books, make jewelry, print out my fabulous photographs, decoupage everything, restore furniture, and sew clothing.

So here it is, and now I am looking to you for support. When you subscribe it will be on a monthly basis, and you can subscribe for as low as $20 or as high as $1,000 per month. Each level comes with exclusive rewards, such as first looks at projects, video chatting, and even a personalized piece of jewelry from my newest collection!

Go HERE to see what all this is about! Thanks for your support!

 

NSFW: The FBoy Phenomenon

FBoy….well…that was just what I did for the title. Today’s subject my friends is about fuck boys. What are they? Who are they? Why are they here? How have they ruined dating? How do we get rid of them?

Ladies, in our race toward independence and sexual freedom, we created the phenomenon now known as the fuck boy. It began innocently enough, in fact we used to call them “friends with benefits.” No one had to be in a relationship they didn’t want to be in, no one had to get their hearts ripped to shreds and stomped to pieces. Life was great! Alas, all good things must come to an end, and a transition began to take place in the dating world.

I can’t even say that it happened all of a sudden, because it was gradual. More and more guys saw the benefits of being “just friends” and began to adopt that attitude. Hell, they may not even know it, but we programmed them into being disposable. Now no one is sure how to date anymore, people are being used when they just want to be loved, and fuck boys rule society.

They don’t have to. The whole fuck boy situation can be ended ladies, and it starts with you. And Her. And me. And that chick over there, and that one right there. All of us. Stop. Sleeping. With. Them. That simple. Don’t put out to fuck boys, and fuck boys will disappear as quickly as they appeared. Or maybe even quicker if they know they aren’t getting to tap that ass without any type of commitment.

Look, I’m just as guilty as everyone else. In fact, I may be one of their biggest enablers, putting a shelf life on relationships the way I tend to. Still, I am so tired of seeing my fellow ladies bent over what some fuck boy did to her, whether it be stealing, abusing, or lying (or whatever shady thing they do). I want it to stop.

I may never get courtly love to trend in society again, but I can make a plea to all the ladies out there to help put an end to this ridiculous fuck boy business. We can stop the madness!! Never cry over a stupid fuck boy again!! Or at least, get something out of the situation. Here is my proposal: 13 Dates and then sex. If he’s a fuck boy he will let you know right away by denying your proposed 13 dates rule. A typical fuck boy won’t be investing that much of his time just for a piece of ass, so it will save you both time. As more and more women adopt the 13 dates rule, eventually the fuck boys will hit enough roadblocks that they have to rethink their man ho ways. Either that, or all the fuck boys will hook up with the ho for life gals and leave the rest of us to our dating experiments.

All this aside and between you and me ladies, we made them. We sleep with them. We encourage their man ho behavior by setting our standards so low. Yes, we love sex. Yes, we can still exercise our sexual freedoms. Yes, fuck boys will probably always exist in some form or another. But you, yeah you, the one crying over being ghosted by that hot guy with the tattoos and tongue ring, you didn’t have to have sex with him. You made a choice. Make different choices! See how I didn’t say better choices? Because I freaking love you bitchachos and don’t want to see or read about you crying over a dumb fuck boy anymore!

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Making a Tangible Change

There are many things that I’ve always wanted to do. I could make a huge list, and focus on all the things I have yet to do but have always wanted to do, but in that time I could actually do some of those things. So what blocks us from making that critical shift from passive wanting to active doing?

After my third tattoo I knew it was going to be something I would keep wanting, so to fend off that constant inner nagging of want I purchased a kit and began tattooing myself, just like that. It was a matter of months between the moment I knew I really wanted it and actually doing it. No blocks there. Other things I have been wanting to do for a really long time I appear to have some blocks up preventing the tangible change. Like living on the beach, or building a rat rod.

Today I smashed one of those imaginary obstacles and began the long and painstaking process of painting a deck of tarot cards. I’m opting to just do the 22 major arcana cards, otherwise I would have a lengthy venture ahead of me getting all 78 of the suckers to be uniform in design and theme. I would probably give up part way through, to be honest. But the effort got me thinking about this subject of wanting versus doing. My biggest obstacle is myself. I do exactly what I set my mind to doing, and I don’t do what I am too lazy to set to. It is really just a matter of will power and determination, and most importantly, action.

Life is like an RPG game (yes, the irony here is not lost on me, just bear with me). You get no where you need or want to be by just standing there, or sitting around, or thinking about all the things you have always wanted to do. You have to move forward, achieve minor goals while never losing sight of your big time goals, accept all rewards that come to you as tokens of doing things right, and accept new goals along the way. Life is a grand adventure, and there are so many options. You just need to get past yourself and take that ride.