The previous year is now weeks behind us, but it’s taken me quite some time to process. I feel that for many of us, 2017 was a truly liminal experience: a year of stepping through thresholds of discomfort and sanctity, and diving deep within each of ourselves to find a truer version of what we can each be individually and as a community.
Throughout 2017, I found myself exploring aspects of myself and my life that I had previously not wanted to face. I’m now in my late thirties, and realized that throughout the year I was finding out more about myself and the person that I am meant to be more than I ever had before. My focus had shifted more intently onto a more dedicated devotion to Haute Macabre and what it has grown into with the help of our incredible team, and also onto my shadow self. Consequently, this lead me directly into a deeper spiritual practice, one which I do keep private, but is a dominate part of my daily life now.
I wish I could say that the year created a unified and solid foundation of Revolution, but I can’t. Yes, there are sides. Yes, so so many of us have stood up tall and shouted for What We Believe In, and for that, I am so proud and so grateful. But within those sides, within Our Side, I’ve seen so much division, so much finger pointing and name calling. At times, it’s felt like it’s a reverse McCarthyism, with accusations of not being Correct Enough flying like victory pennants. My wish for 2018 is that the truths that we all are umbrellaed beneath are enough to clear away the confusions and the anger that we displace, and continue to fuel the art that has been birthed of the chaos.
With all of that said, here are a few of my favorite things from 2017.
Joan Didion everything : I believe I mentioned beginning my first Joan Didion in a previous edition of Stacked, but if not, here’s this: not since I was a much younger version of myself have I fallen so very hard for a writer. I started with “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” while in Mexico City and made my way through (I believe) all of her essays until I found myself sobbing uncontrollably at 2AM on Halloween night to the documentary “The Center Will Not Hold” on Netflix. She has a casual, self-assured ease with words lacking any sort of pretension, and a cool confidence without any sort of arrogance. The recent publication of a collection starting with a stunning description of New Orleans in June is perfection.
Yes, I also bought the Celine sunglasses and have worn them daily since.
Close to the Knives: I spent time exploring the writers and artists that inspired me in my youth this past year, and in a rabbit hole of Rimbaud I discovered David Wonnarowicz and his Rimbaud in New York series. Close to the Knives is his memoir of life before and during the AIDS epidemic in NYC, starting with random encounters on the docks of the city and endings in hospice care. Sharply written, I can’t say that I’ve read many lines sexier than some of his graphic interludes. I believe the cover art to this memoir made it’s way onto a U2 album, but I’ll forgive him that, as every artist needs to make a dollar here and there.
My love / hate relationship with social media grew strongly on both sides of the spectrum this year. Yes, I found constant inspiration via Instagram (truthfully, the only SM that I really use. I don’t understand how to use Tumblr, I’m not crafty enough for Pinterest, and not interested/interesting enough for Facebook), but I also hate it for all of the same reasons that you do: The dread algorithm, the staging and the pretense, and all of the things I’m probably guilty of myself. However, here are a few of the accounts that I have enjoyed immensely, and that I hope inspire you, as well:
Favorite Apps of 2017:
- Digit: boring, I know, but it saved me a few thousands dollars that I didn’t even notice was being debited from my checking account.
- VSCO: how I edit all of my Instagram pics (for inquiring minds, I mostly use the “05” filter with various adjustments)
- iLuna: this is the moon phase app to end all moon phase apps, and yes, this is what I’m constantly screen capping and posting to my IG Story.
- Happy Cow: nearby Vegan / Vegetarian eats! We ate our way across Mexico City with this, and were very well fed.
Favorite Cosmetic Products / Influencers:
It’s no secret that I’m a lipstick junky (which sounds so much better than compulsive hoarder). Kat Von D Beauty Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks have been my favorite formula since I first got my hands on Lolita a few years ago, but the shade Sanctuary has stolen my heart and kept my mouth painted perfectly most of this year.
Jessica Haze : I 100% fangirl Jessica Haze. I check her IG feed almost daily, especially when I’m trying to pick out a lipstick shade to wear for the day, and her YouTube Channel is a constant source of inspirational, easy to follow makeup tutorials for those of us that want to look a little more unique than the whatever Kylie Kardashian look of the week is. Jessica is also 100% Cruelty Free, which makes her even more amazing.
Honorable Mentions of Favorites, Inspiration, and Personal Adventure:
falling in love with my best friend & starting our new life together // multiple visits to and from my Philly Jawn family // immersing myself in the women of Surrealism // meeting the Haute Macabre staff writers team in person (FINALLY) // Joan of Arc // exploring Lovecraft’s Providence on cold December mornings // Sylvia Plath’s diaries // Casa Azul // having a dead cat stuck in my car since June (not sure what category this falls into, but it’s a Thing Worth Mentioning) // crescent moon face tattoos // drinking wine on the porch while hurricanes didn’t hit New Orleans //every cemetery in every city I stepped foot into // carrying impulse buy oversized crucifixes into bars // solar eclipses and hot tubs // obsidian at the base of the Pyramid of the Moon in Mexico // continuing to be vegan and cruelty free // Suspiria screening double dates // adding two four legged friends to my family (Gator the Sphynx and Barney the bulldog) // having ghostly encounters in Salem hotels (again!) // moving into a haunted house (again … )