A Shore Thing

[Originally written on 1.6.06]

The other morning I was sitting on the bed, contemplating what I would do to be productive for the day when my phone beeped, indicating I had a message.  Not knowing who would have been trying to call me at such an early hour, I almost completely ignored the noise.  Curiosity got the best of me, however, and upon punching in my pass code, I am pleased to hear Jon’s voice simply instructing me to come to the Shore as soon as I could.

Fighting off that giddy school-girl feeling, I packed something to eat, hopped in the shower, dressed, and headed down the Parkway.  After the amazing time we had on my birthday, I wasn’t expecting to hear from him at all, worried that the emotions were too much for him and that he would retreat into old habits.  It seemed that he was serious about making changes, and I could hear the restrained excitement in that digital message, or maybe I was hoping he had the same bubbling excitement in his belly that I did.

The time spent driving on the highway seemed to just melt away, and soon the sparkling ocean was within my sights, the late morning incredibly clear with the sun warming my face.  As soon as I stepped out of the car Jon was waiting there, his arms wrapping around my waist as he pulled me in for a tender kiss.  Our Hollywood Moment has vastly improved, though I still got that big, long, I-missed-you-like-all-fuck hug.  We go inside for a moment so I can put my things up, his demeanor quite attentive and affectionate, which is something I had apparently been needing more than I realized.  He asked me if was hungry or anything, and I may have lied slightly stating I ate before I came down.  Technically I had a granola bar and some water, so it wasn’t entirely untrue.  For some reason I didn’t want him to know I hadn’t been eating well or that my diet for the past few weeks mainly consisted of alcohol.

Jon then suggested we go out for a walk, and after a half hour of roaming through the quiet neighborhoods, he takes me into an Army & Navy store.  Surprised it’s even open, we browse the merchandise for a few minutes, and then he says that  I can have anything I wanted, his treat.  Though I tried to protest, stating that it was weird to spend his money, he insisted it was an innocent gesture.  Being conditioned by exes who made me feel like shit when they willingly bought me things I didn’t ask for, I have a tendency to turn down polite offers.  This was not one of those situations, and it was at that moment I realized what was happening.  Unable to resist a goofy smile, I wandered around the store and discovered a lovely black leather bag I can use for a purse, so I won’t be paranoid about things falling out of it.  He returned the smile and held my hand while we stood at the register; I swear my face was red from blushing so much.

Departing the store, Jon asks me if I am up for a walk on the beach.  Even though it was rather chilly, what with the winter wind coming in from the ocean and all, I happily accepted the invitation.  How long had it been since our feet had touched sand together, arms linked as hands warmed one another, nothing but the rhythm of the ocean for miles and miles on end.  Every second of those days became meaningless, as we were together at that exact moment of time and I had every intention of focusing all of my attention on him.

He eventually breaks the silence by asking me how the carnival experience was, which we apparently had failed to discuss during birthday shenanigans.  There was a lot I needed to get off my chest, about all the things that happened with my former partner, his behavior during travel and now, along with the feelings that I was battling with lately.  We sat on the sand facing the ocean, my body huddled against his, and suddenly I just started to let it all out.  The good, the bad and everything between; he listened intently while lighting a blunt, holding me tighter if I happen to get caught up in emotions and let a sob slip.  It felt good to get it out so I could put it behind me and move forward, especially since I got to vent to the one person who I know understands where I am coming from.

The world is much different where land meets sea, and I don’t know what it is, but I always feel better when I am at the beach.  Having my best friend by my side always made that experience memorable, but our relationship status had already changed.  Announcing it to ourselves wasn’t necessary – it’s just one of those things we knew without saying, and I could see that he was actually into the whole thing as much as I wanted him to be.  Jon insisted that I cleanse myself of all the negative thoughts I was carrying inside, to rid myself of them in order to start fresh.  It was a New Year after all, and there was no better opportunity to make resolutions.  Standing on the shoreline, I made my plea to the forgiving sea [rhyming unintentional] and braced myself as Jon baptized me with the chilly brine.

“Let the healing water of the Atlantic wash away your demons!” he joked in a heavy southern drawl while placing a kiss on my forehead.

When evening approached we dressed in our best dinner attire, which included polished combat boots and cropped hair, something he had done that morning on account he wanted us to coordinate.  It was good look on him, as it brought out the tattoos on his face and gave him a younger appearance.  Or maybe it had just been too long since I had stared at him and was just noticing all the things that attracted me to him in the first place.  Settling into the Mercury, I was hit by so many familiar sights and scents I felt a bit overwhelmed.  Cool ocean air poured through the open window as he passed me a blunt, the curling smoke getting sucked out into the dark night.  The Reverend and his Unholy Angel were back in town.

As the hours passed, we wined and dined as though we had done it on a daily basis for the past six years.  If it is at all possible to fall even deeper in love with someone you feel has always deserved the supercharged emotion, it was happening to me at that table while my eyes were locked on his.  How nice it was to see him genuinely smile as his hands gestured absently during the telling of a joke, the glimmer in his own eyes stealing my heart with every second I was lost inside them.

There was a moment where he reached across the table to take my hands in his and the expression on his face grew serious. “Are you enjoying yourself, Angel?”

“Tremendously!” I exclaimed with a smile.

“Well, I hope you get used to that, as it’s going to be happening a lot more.”  He kissed my palm and then gave me a wink with a sly grin.

The remainder of the evening is something I am keeping to myself, but I will say it was even better than one of my birthday presents.

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Post Carnival Withdraw

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Since returning from the tree lot, I have been eating once a day and drinking myself stupid every night, making a sad attempt to fill up this void and kill the pain that is suddenly plaguing me.  My gut is rotten to the core and just thinking about food makes me ill, but I know I should try to put something in there other than alcohol.  For some reason, when I’m holding that bottle I feel as though I am becoming my best friend, but that might not be a bad thing.  When I’m swimming in whiskey I can clearly see why he has such as distaste for the holidays and why he always avoided them, thinking that maybe I should too.

Drinking always has an effect on my dreams.  Not last night but the previous one, I had a dream that I was still on the road.  After a long afternoon of putting up sidewall in the tent, I go into the bunk house to find Jerry, asking if he can help hold the ladder or something.  If there were any more details, I can’t recall them now, but just having that interaction again made me happy upon waking.  Jerry was an awesome guy, and out of all the people who traveled with us, I miss him the most.  He joined up in Syracuse and took on the role of Bozo, also helping with setup and tear down.  For those that don’t know, Bozo is a clown in a dunk tank that gets paid to insult people.  He often recycled the same handful of lame one-liners, yet still found a way to draw a crowd and keep the green rolling in.

We smoked together on a number of occasions, and he shared lurid details of his life with me for whatever reason.  He was in prison for fifteen years, for having been in a fight and accidentally killing the other guy.  Though it was unintentional, he had a weapon on him or something, but essentially he got charged with manslaughter and away he went.  There are tears tattooed on his face to signify this and one other for the time a fight in prison yielded the same result.  Jerry would joke that he had been a kung-fu master and he just acted on instinct when defending himself, which I’m not sure if I entirely believe.  There were an assortment of other tattoos he had acquired while in prison, and even more that he had done himself, a few which were actually pretty good.  The two pieces I remember was the face on his elbow he had done while looking in the mirror, and the demon on his chest that was supposed to be a Superman style shield.  It came out the way it did because he had been tripping on acid at the time he was tattooing it, which is an important lesson on why drugs and body mods don’t mix.

Jerry also spent his teenage years and early twenties as a skinhead, though I never did find out why he decided not to pursue that lifestyle anymore.  He used to have a website up and said the Feds had it shut down due to the content, then came looking for him.  Again, he wouldn’t go into exact detail about what it was beyond “some heavy shit”, so trusting the validity of the story is not a hundred percent.  However, a liar would be more boastful and have no problem spilling trivial facts, especially unprompted.  He didn’t have a habit of talking with many of the other sideshow crew beyond pleasantries, so why I had that honor is kind of a mystery but cool at the same time.

Whiskey is also a bad influence on spontaneous decisions and there is no such thing as a ‘bad idea’ until you are suffering the consequences of it while sober.  For whatever reason I decided to dye my hair SFX Blood Red last week, and in the beginning the color was brilliant, reminding me of when I had done my hair that shade in junior year of high school.  However, I forgot to wash it in cool water, so the red was  bleeding any time I got my hair wet or any kind of styling product was applied.  This is especially unfortunate since the bathroom and all of its towels are white and the last thing I want to do is touch any of it while crimson dye is running across my skin.

Short-lived success was followed by bleach which removed the majority of the red, though there are still a few orange spots I would like to touch up prior to applying toner.  According to the bottle it’s a white blonde, so hopefully I will achieve the effect I desire.  The front was left red to match the wefted extensions that have already been dyed, red that transitions to black at the tips.  Well, somewhere along the way I set to cutting my hair with clippers and wound up with a Chelsea, though I am pretty happy with the result.  This made the second bleaching come out more even than the first, and the toner took much better than expected.

Though this may seem really trivial to talk about, altering my appearance is something I tend to do to avoid other self-destructive tendencies, which I know I’m not helping with the alcohol.  Besides, my birthday is coming up in a week and I felt as though I needed a change in order to celebrate.  Oh, speaking of such, I tried to get tickets for the Leftover Crack show I wanted to attend, but Vintage Vinyl had none and neither did the venue’s website.  Could be possible that I waited too long, though I am going to try calling Starland directly just to double-check on the sold out status.  While it is not the worst thing in the world, this does make me feel as though the birthday curse is trying to make a return, as silly as that sounds.

Well, I have errands to run which should keep my mind off the fact I haven’t heard from Jon at all since I got back.  His postcards rarely leave my side, and at night when I’ve got the whiskey goggles on, I try to find some hidden message I may have missed before.  Desperation is an ugly beast when your heart feels empty and you find yourself willing to do anything to keep it quiet.

Home Sweet Home

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Say what you want about New Jersey – right now I have never been so happy to see the place I have called home for the past 23 years as I am right now.  Then again, having spent several months away from it, I feel as though I am appreciating all of the little things I have always loved about it.

After weeks of making wreaths for eight or more hours a day, there was not much more for me to do at the tree lot, nor was I getting paid.  The downside of doing your job efficiently, which created enough stock to carry them through the rest of the month.  If additional wreaths were needed, there were two people capable of producing them, so I couldn’t argue with that logic.

The childish antics of a certain individual were stressing me the fuck out to no end.  Though I did everything to avoid having contact with him outside of work, he was having none of it and would often incite conflict through aggressive words or actions.  Like, I am just standing there doing my wreathing making thing and he would just start verbally attacking me out of nowhere about how I have to “give up my dream” and “get a real job” and so on.  He could not even let me leave in peace, which my sister was witness to and really only made him look bad.

There are many things I learned while traveling, and now I have to apply them to my life.  While I have a small chunk of cash from all this hard work, I also realize I need some sort of steady income in order to support myself once I move out.  Thankfully, I am being given some time to find a place and I am extremely grateful for this kindness since there is no obligation to allow me to stay here.  However, seeing as how I didn’t invite myself into this situation, it would be unfair to just dump me out on the street.  Unless someone decides to act like an adult and accept the situation as it is until things change, the environment will be quite uncomfortable and I really don’t needed the added stress right now.

Internet access will decrease on account I don’t have my own computer and the one here is locked, which makes finding a new living arrangement kind of difficult.  Having a friend who has said I can make use of their laptop when needed is comforting, and I can always go the library if all else fails, but that is the least of my concerns right now.  There is more I would like to write about, but my time has to be spent on other things at the moment since I am at the library.

Other than that, I enjoyed sleeping in a real bed for the first time in several months.  Spending one night in a hotel room doesn’t count.  May have also spent over an hour having a nice warm shower, considering I only had one the entire time I was at the tree lot.  Which means once again unintentionally setting a record for most consecutive days spent dirt, which is now eighteen days and not something I want to try to do again.

Hearing people complain about the cold weather has to be one of the most annoying things right now.  Do you have any idea what it’s like to use a doniker in this weather?  The next time you stroll down the hall in your heated house and effortlessly relieve yourself in the porcelain bowl, imagine having to bundle up in a hat, scarf, gloves and coat just to do the same.  Without slipping on ice or getting attacked by trees, with your hands stick from sap and afflicted with a weird half-numb sensations that makes using them awkward.

There was another postcard from Aaron that welcomed me, which really made me feel appreciated when I needed to the most.  It has been too long since I heard his voice, that infectious laughter coming from him as the light hits his eyes in just the right fashion so they look like they have been carved from steel.  Though I made a new friend through traveling, I need the one who knows me the best and has the appropriate words for every situation.  The secret message on the postcard said he was making his way back to the Garden State – he missed me terribly and knew that my birthday was coming up, which for some reason he did not want to miss.  Well, we have spent every one together for the past four years, so I suppose it’s only right we continue to uphold that tradition.

Exited anticipation of when he is coming back would be an understatement, but this gives me something to look forward to since I haven’t exactly made any plans.  If I get to see him again, no matter the context, that is more than I could even dream of right now.

Kitschy Variety: Vintage Goth Pinup Capsule Collection

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Designed by Laura Byrnes and Micheline Pitt, the Vintage Goth Pinup Capsule Collection available through Pinup Girl Clothing is a creative collaboration between two women who always come out with figure flattering garments, and this is certainly no exception.  Comprised of several different pieces, many of which are separates that can be worn with any of your favorite PUG wares, bold black and white stripes along with spiderweb print give classic silhouettes a modern edginess.  In fact, I am fairly certain I have reviewed both the Jenny Skirt and Lauren Top in past Carny Style articles – something tells me it was related to the harlequin print items that came out this past spring.  However, the bold graphics and contrasting, monochromatic color scheme of this collection could not be passed up as an opportunity to come up with an amazing outfit.  After all, stripes and spiders are two things that certainly fall within the realm of circus inspiration.

Though it may shimmer like gossamer, the Lauren Top in Black with White Spiderwebs carries the strength of stretch cotton sateen that is form-fitting and curve-conscious.  Now that the weather is growing colder, long sleeves are on trend, but the adjustable cuffs and coordinating color allow you  to have options when styling as opposed to accents that are static.  Black and white silk sateen will make you scream when you set sights on this don’t-say-the-name-three-times inspired Jenny Skirt, where voluminous vertical stripes are gathered at a nipped-in waist and spill down past the knees.  One would be hard pressed to resist giving this a whirl, as watching the fabric twirl would gather quite the entranced crowd.  To accentuate the waist even further to really capture that ‘hourglass’ shape often associated with pinups, use a wide elastic belt; I selected the Red Rose one for the satin ribbon and lace framed cameo set in the center.  Inside the oval frame is an illustration that gives the accessory its name, which also brings another color into the styling palette for other things to play off of.  The elaborate details of these black Spiderweb Tights come together and form an intricate design that is also abstract and doesn’t come across as too costumey.  Having the addition of red in the belt means being able to pair this look with Pinup Couture’s new line of shoes, brought to you by the same fine folks that are behind the infamous Bordello collection.  Red patent vinyl trimmed in black is just the beginning of why the Smitten Pump will bring a sense of balance.  The retro curve of the shoe leads into a round toe topped with a pleated bow, and though the heel is only four inches high, it makes the shoe ideal as an affordable basic you will love having in your wardrobe.

Instead of going for a high shine vinyl, I thought the matte red of Pinup Couture’s Bow Handbag would suit this outfit better, as it doesn’t give off the overwhelming glow that can occasionally accompany red.  The trapezoid-shaped body has been slightly rounded and edged in glossy black vinyl, which can also be found trimming the handle and in the form of a bow on the front.  While there are a few other hats that can also be worn with this look, the forthcoming Swirl Dish Hat was too decadent to resist, what with the alternating rings of white and black ribbon tucked under a cascade of netting and all.  Since it’s not available just yet, I did not hesitate to sign up for the wait list, as I suspect this will be a widely popular item and I would be bummed to miss an opportunity to acquire it for myself.  An unlikely suggestion as far as jewelry goes, but remember that mixing quality pieces with those that are of a more kitschy nature is what these guides are all about.  Personally I would wear the Pentagram Earrings by Killstar through my stainless steel tunnels, but however you choose to adorn your ears, doing it with black hoops that have pentagrams inside will certainly make a statement.  The only accessory to feature an arachnid is the Black Widow Cameo Necklace, where the red and black resin cameo is surrounded by a filigree frame and hangs nicely when the 1 3/8″ chain is draped across the neck.  This outfit is about a polished presentation, and too many ‘matching’ items can make it messy, though any of the items recommended here can be swapped for ones in the Spidora guide.  Skipping bracelets on account the cuffs of the top speak enough on their own, the final pieces of jewelry happen to be another trend this season, as Phalanx Rings appear on fingers from the runway to the red carpet.  More commonly known as ‘middle of the finger’ or ‘knuckle rings’, the stacks of white and black diamonds can be alternated to pick up the pattern of the skirt for a unique touch.

The cosmetics selected to coincide with the completed outfit are meant to reflect its minimalist aesthetics, and it is suggested that one goes through their usual moisturizing routine and priming the face prior to applying any of the following products.  Advertised as having “everything you need for the perfect neutral eye”, the Naked Basics Palette by Urban Decay contains six versatile shadows that can be used to contour, line and highlight to create the right amount of definition for any occasion.  Build a foundation using Venus, a soft off-white demi matte, by patting it along your brow bone and then blending it both directions; up towards the brow and down to the lid.  Then take Walk Of Shame, a very light nude matte, and pat that all across the lid, blending it up into the other shadow.  Finally, sweep the warm and dusty brown tones of Faint into the crease with an angled brush, making sure to soften the edges along the outer-V.  Now that you have a nice base, cut into it with Illamasqua’s Precision Gel Liner which will allows you to effortlessly draw your cat-eye wither you prefer demure or dramatic.  After coating lashes in your favorite mascara, tack on a set of Sugarpill Charlotte Lashes, their spider web shaped edges sure to make your eyes appear larger.

Versatile enough for any skin tone, Naked Flushed by Urban Decay makes an excellent companion to their similarly named eye shadow palette with a luxe bronzer, blush and highlighter in one compact.  The soft satiny bronze should be used to contour cheeks, chin, forehead and any other areas you want to minimize; dust cheeks with the rosey blush and top with the shimmering pink champagne highlight, which can also be applied to places you want to illuminate.  With the rest of the face set to neutral, the lips are the star of this show and deserve to be heart-stopping.  Take the emollient enriched Cruella, a Velvet Matte Pencil by NARS, and use it to line the lips, the creamy formula depositing rich pigment that will stay put no matter what.  Follow with Vesuvio, a full bodied red Pure Matte Lipstick that adds another layer of hydrating protection despite the matte finish.  The last touch will the Super Charged charcoal and rainbow multi-glitter splendor of Formula X, a textured polish that encrusts nails in sparkling glamour that rivals the world’s most expensive jewels.