Once Upon A Time There Was A Goth Girl Who Was Into Cool Stuff

Image Source. Public Domain.
Sometimes you have to go on a journey and sometimes that journey is filled with challenges that will forever change you. If you allow yourself to face the challenges and if you allow yourself to metaphysically die and go through the process of rebirth, you are forever transformed. Folks often get stuck in the mire of challenges, refusing to accept the pain as part of the process. Others see death as the end of the journey and give up hope. And then there are some who embrace the Hero's Journey. Like a phoenix, they rise from the ashes, stronger and wiser. 
“It's an awful truth that suffering can deepen us, give a greater lustre to our colours, a richer resonance to our words. That is, if it doesn't destroy us, if it doesn't burn away the optimism and the spirit, the capacity for visions, and the respect for simple yet indispensable things.” Anne Rice, Queen of the Damned

It's been a very long fifteen years and a lot has happened -- some good, some horrific, all life-changing. I'm no longer the same person I was when I set out on this journey. I lost a lot in those fifteen years. Both of my parents died. Ed's father died. I had a hysterectomy. Friends came and went. I had a crisis of faith and a crisis of self. I realized that I never really had my siblings in my life because they were so much older and because they never treated me like their sibling. This became glaringly apparent when my Mom died. I lost my childhood home.

I also gained a lot. I got my Masters and PhD in Art History. I published some essays, though not nearly enough. I presented at many different conferences and met some awesome colleagues and friends. I chaired sessions, was a member of boards, and spearheaded multiple projects. I landed a full-time, non-tenured gig at a huge R1. We moved to Texas, then back to NYC, and now to Salem. I quickly figured out that full-time teaching just wasn't for me ... or maybe that university wasn't for me ... or maybe that university and Texas wasn’t for me. Needless to say, my experiences brought me back to museum work. I had a false start at the MLS program at Queens College. And then the pandemic hit and I lost my job at the New-York Historical Society ... a job that I loved with a curator I respect and adore.

Now I'm at Simmons for an MS in Cultural Heritage Informatics, and yes, they transferred six credits from Queens and waved the core classes. The best thing is that they gave me a merit scholarship! A MERIT scholarship! Do you realize this is the first time in my life that I got any money for school? I start classes on September 1. I'm over-the-moon. 

And here we are.
I would be lying if I said that I haven't had any trauma from all this, that I'm ok and not at all depressed. I'd be lying if I said that I haven't been lost. I have. Horribly. Somewhere along this journey I lost my religion. I lost my sense of direction. I lost myself. 

As I worked towards building my career, I forgot that the self is very much a part of the whole package. I toned down and normed out to be accepted by hiring committees. I lost sight of who I am when no one is watching. It never worked. It doesn't matter what I wear or who I try to be, I either get the job because of what I know or my experience .... or I don't. I'm only coming to realize that it doesn't matter.

Sunset over Salem Common.
I'm also coming to realize that this whole hoopla around maintaining an "professional" online profile is usually bullpoopies. I fell into this trap. I thought that I needed to create "professional" content and to "clean up" so that prospective employers would be impressed, or, at least, not offended. Sure, there are extremes, but let's be serious ... how many employers are really going to be offended by the fact that I'm an old Goth who's into some cool stuff? How many employers are going to rustle over the excess eyeliner? How many are going to say, "Nope. This gal is a Witch. We can't hire her!" And if those employers are thinking this, do I really want to be employed by them? No. No, I don't.

My happy place ... at least one of them.
I'm into some seriously cool stuff. Yes, I'm a Goth ... and old Punk Rocker, thank you very much. Yes, I have tattoos and often wear a lot of makeup. I listen to all sorts of music, though my CD cabinet is fulled with Goth CDs. I'm into vintage clothing and antiques. I love visiting historic sites and would love to get into Reenacting. I go camping and I go dancing ... sometimes in the same weekend. I can spend hours at a museum or a zoo. And it's no secret that I ADORE. LOVE. art and visual culture. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are my jam, especially if its a printed image in a book or magazine or on ceramics or other household goods. 

I'm complicated and that can often be confusing to me and others. I originally wanted to make this blog a reflection of my scholarly interests. My Analog World, my other blog (now deleted), was going to be personal. I realized today that my personal interests are my scholarly interests and my scholarly interests are my personal interests. I also realized that I'm tired of hiding who I am because I'm so afraid of being passed up for a job. 

Yet another happy place: an old cemetery.
Dear readers, if you don't mind, I'd like to speak to prospective employers. Hello, person with whom I'd like to work. Take a look at my CV. Read my published essays. I'm working on more essays to be published. I'm an awesome educator. I'm a DIVINE researcher -- if it's out there, I will find it. I'm a fabulous colleague and an extremely hard worker. I have enormous amounts of patience and tact, especially in situations that might be ... challenging and politically sensitive. Yes, I can tone it down in the workplace, but this is who I am. Tattoos and all! If you hire me, you WILL NOT be disappointed. I promise that I will bust my tush and move mountains. You need to promise that you will support my endeavors and goals. You need to promise to provide me with opportunities to grow and learn. Most of all, you need to promise that you believe in this weirdo. 

A Goth Mermaid in her natural habitat ... well, one of them.
Today is the first day of June, my birthday month. I'm going to be 49 this year. 49! Good grief. I'm tired of compromising my dreams, my values, myself for something that may or may not happen. This is me in all of my messy, wondrous, crazy, and insanely fun glory. I have no idea where this blog is going to go, but I can tell you it's not going to be boring. The only thing I can promise is that I'm just going to be me and write about all of the things that I love. 

It's time to start another journey together. Are you ready? 

Comments

  1. Yay! and Yes! I admit that sometimes I just forget my password and when I read blog posts on my mobile, I just cannot comment but I'm glad it was a feature issue and not me.

    I'm so excited for you... always! I was the recent Search Chair for three new faculty and I can say that we want someone with interests and identity. That might not be true everywhere but it was important for us.

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    1. Nope, not you. I'm using one of those "2nd generation," high-impact designs that require checking multiple boxes to do anything. BLAH.

      Art history has always been a bit more conservative than other fields and I've been told a number of times that I needed to cover my tattoos and be "professional." Now that I'm moving into the GLAMs, I've noticed much more tolerance to personal quirks and expression ... as long as it's not TOO over-the-top. That I can do. :)

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  2. So excited that the real you has returned. While I love all the artsy fartsy stuff, I was missing you. You, a person I have never met, but feel as though we have known each other forever. Keep loving your life and living your dream. You will be great.

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    1. Thanks, Julie! My plan is to write about everything that interests me -- art stuff included. I find that these short essays about art and architecture have been helping me with my broader research and writing. Be prepared for some major "brain dumps." HA! And yes, a whole lot of Halloween and adventuring.

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  3. The Hero's Journey is not for the faint of heart and can be full of very real peril. But it's the only Journey that is truly worthwhile. I've navigated it myself and come reborn out the other side so I know whereof I speak. I applaud your decision to just be yourself in the world! And hey, congrats on that scholarship -- way to go!

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    1. So true! I'm just exhausted from it all ... yes, much wiser and more centered ... but good grief! I'm tired. HA! I'm taking this Summer to catch my breath and organize my life in preparation for a life- and career-changing Autumn. YAY!

      And thank you! I'm so excited about school. I really want to get started on this new path that's actually the original path. More on that in a later blog.

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  4. I can understand struggling for long time to re-find yourself as life derails. You have been an inspiration to me, because you always keep going. I'm rooting for you, and love to view whatever you want to share! I can identify with so much, I too am going through a resurgence and am finally getting better after some major life upheavals (not even including the pandemic, social and political events that we all have been struggling with!). You are awesome. (Hug if you consent to one!)

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    1. I consent to the hug and accept it gratefully! :) Thanks, my friend. Wow! It's wild to find out how many people still follow me and root for me. It's really nice to know, you know? It makes me feel less alone.

      The pandemic and sociopolitical horrors and upheavals are enough to deal with. Add personal challenges and BOY HOWDY! Big love to you!

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    2. You're so welcome! I'm happy that you feel less alone, and big love back at you!

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  5. Always and forever, all the love from this weirdo in Kansas City! Welcome back to yourself as you discover the you that you remember and all the new bits that have just been growing like a forgotten garden while you were busy! <3

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    1. This weirdo from Salem loves you right back! Thanks. It's a long time coming, that's for sure. Sometimes we need to let the land lay fallow in order to grow new things. It's time.

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  6. You are always one of my very favourite people, dear heart. Thank you for this honest, deeply relatable post. Your journey is your strength and it is awesome that you are opting to embrace and share all the more about what you love, do, believe, and find joy in.

    May you have a sunny, safe, abundantly blessed birthday month!


    Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life

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    1. Thank you so much, my dear friend! And thank you for the birthday wishes. :)

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  7. You are such a wonderful person with so many interests! Anyone who turned you down for being different would be a fool! I am glad to know you!

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    1. Aw, thanks! Yeah ... a LOT of interests! eesh. :)

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