It’s been a long few weeks. Few weeks? More like 8 weeks, I guess. Two months.
August arrived quietly enough, but ended in a flurry of activity and travel. I drove down to South Florida for work purposes, and was there for but a few days before heading back to Orlando to catch a flight to Salem to meet up with the Haute Macabre crew for a madcap weekend of witchery and poetry and beauty with some of my extraordinary friends.
The day of our arrival we were whisked away by the very excellent Jo, a new (to me) friend, who took us back to her lovely home, fed us delicious pancakes, and let us play with her two sweet puppers while we recovered from our long flights. From there it was off to Witchpix (or goth glamour shots, as we came to call it) for dress ups and close ups at their spooky costume studio in Salem! I was a little nervous about it because I am basically nervous about everything, but it was great fun. And, I mean, there was a wind machine! And props! And a broom that seated four. And did I mention dressing up? There were capes and cloaks and corsets galore, and even a hat that fit my big pumpkin head.
A++ ridiculousness, would highly recommend.
After our goth glamour shots we ambled over to the Black Veil Tattoo Studio for the Night Market Event which made for an utterly surreal dream of evening. Already exhausted for having been awake 24+ hours, being amongst the jostling crowd of people and the heartfeels from both meeting the creators I’ve admired from afar, as well as friends, both new and old–it was an intense experience. Especially if you’re not great at meeting people even when you’re at the top of your game (and please note, I don’t think my game actually even has a “top”. Maybe a “lower-middle”.) It was pretty wild. Pictured in the top photo is one half of our fearless leadership team, Samantha, along with staff writer Sonya V., whose face I adore. The bottom photo is the rare beauty of fellow staff writer Maika K. (whose face I also adore.)
Afterward we discussed how that, if there was ever a crowd in which to feel uncomfortable and anxious, we were in the right place–I suspect everyone who walked through the door that evening deals with anxiety and anti-social awkardness on some level. No doubt about it, we were among our people.
Later, in discussions with another friend, I was musing at how, even in the most accepting of crowds, I always end up feeling like the odd one out, an outsider. When I was much younger, this bothered me in a vague sort of way…but I finally realized it bothered me because it didn’t bother me enough…if that makes any sense? I felt like maybe humans are supposed to try their damnedest to be a part of things, and I think I recognized in myself that I just …didn’t want to. I love the idea of community, but at the same time being around people makes me so uncomfortable (anxiety re: saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, not having enough to talk about or maybe saying too much) that I think my discomfort is almost tangible and it might be a little off-putting to people who are trying to interact with me. And so I remove myself from the heart of things (if I ever even made it there) and observe from the edges. I think I am happiest there, on the fringe. I can see you over there and wave, and smile, and be glad in my heart that I got sort of close to you, and then I can scoot back to a dim corner and read a book while listening to the good times and revelries of the people I care about…from afar.
Wow, sorry to ramble like that. At any rate, I hope I never give anyone the impression that I don’t want to talk to them or I am too good to hang out with them and chat or whatever. (Unless you’re some weird, creepy dude, in which case, fuck off, you’re a pig from hell.) But I’m always happy to know like-minded souls and kindred spirits, so please forgive my weirdness if you’ve ever met me in person and thought “huh, I thought she’d be a lot nicer than that.”
The next day we spent quietly recharging as we explored only a small portion of the 175 acres of grounds and monuments in the exceptionally beautiful Mount Auburn Cemetery–after which we again visited Black Veil, for the debut of Ashley Rose Couture’s current newest collection.
This time last year I was wringing my hands and tearing at my hair in mourning because I could not attend Ashley Rose’s exquisite “Shadows of the Realm” collection debut; this year I had a front row view of her equally enchanting “My Dearest Dust” installation, so I guess it all worked out in the end for ol’ Sarah.
On Sunday it was back to our old haunt, The Black Veil Tattoo Studio! We were tattooed by the gracious, talented Ryan Murray who took our secret design collaboration ideas, which incorporated elements and symbols that are important to each of us, improved upon them immeasurably, and created something more beautiful than we could have hoped for. I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful experience for my first fancy tattoo (I already have several shitty ones) or have spent the day with people more dear to me.
In between tattoos, Matthew Murray, an outstanding host and as talented an artist as his brother, kept us company while we explored all the nooks and crannies and hidden corners of the shop. That wee kitten just kills me. Those tiny claws! What a little charmer! And the grim witchling from Handsome Devil Puppets– Ahhhh! Love love love.
Post-tattoos, we one by one headed over to the Satanic Temple, where Sonya read from their book, Salt Is For Curing, and along with poet Janaka Stucky (The Truth Is We Are Perfect) and author Peter Bebergal (Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll) presented an utterly enchanting, thoroughly engaging evening of poetry and prose. After their readings, there was a fascinating panel discussion and Q&A, brimming with shrewd insights and observations from the authors, as well as some… er… surprising and belligerent feedback from the audience. Which really didn’t even have anything to do with the presenters really, just some guy with a grudge and who wanted to vent inappropriately. Quel horreur!
Still–it was an amazing evening and probably one of my very favorite parts of the trip. Probably because I was in the audience, as opposed to in front of it. (Sorry Sonya. But you were magnificent!)
On our last day in Boston, before departing to the airport to catch our various flights, we made one last stop: the Harvard Museum of Natural History. What a powerfully peaceful place to unwind after the previous few days of whirlwind adventures! So many marvelous specimens (that elegantly attired long-tail widow bird)! So many sweet derpsters (that hedgehog!) There was wonder to be found around every corner.
And then…I was home. Just in time for hurricane prep!
But that’s another story for another time.
P.S. When you get home after travels, do you just like to sort of spread your newly acquired loots over your bed and revel in it? Me too!
P.P.S Sharing photos of my hair and nails because they will never look this nice again.