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random general stuff from my brain or elsewhere…

Rule #11 – never be impressed by words.

As promised I am continuing with the posts to elaborate on the “24 rules of Lie”. If you have not read it you can find it under the ‘About’ tab above. Though the title is tongue in cheek…being British I am prone to a certain camp insincerity…the rules themselves are genuine. The list is not exhaustive and is not intended as a lesson for the reader, more a reminder for me that I make public.

Today I want to do rule Number 11 (I never said I would do them in order!)
“11. Do not be impressed by words, they mean nothing in themselves. Only your intent gives them meaning. And remember that the purest words can spoken by an evil tongue just the same and nothing will drop off.  So the words not only mean nothing, they prove nothing. This does not however excuse the incorrect use of the forms of your/you’re.”

I have a love hate relationship with language. The stories that we tell as a species fascinate me and always have. The words we choose to communicate our intent, our experiences, our place in the universe right now. The hypnotic rhythm of words spoken just right, that can convey you to a different place, time, state of consciousness. They are the thing that matters to me almost more than anything else. They are what got me started on the path I chose. The universal symbolism that comes from the combination of all of these stories (well actually this is more of a chicken and egg question, but perhaps we can talk about that later) Giving rise to Jung’s archetypes and the theory of collective unconscious. These are what I use to communicate as an artist. These are the vehicle for my expression!!.

And that is exactly the point.

As powerful as all that is, it is not the symbols, the words even the archetypes that hold the power. Yet we treat them as if they do.

What is a word? It is something we use as a ‘label’ for something we encounter right? So we can tell others, so we can come back and think about it later, so we can make some kind of sense of our experience.
The way I see it we experience the thing, we put the thing in a box, and the word is the label on the front. It tells us about what is inside but it is NOT what is inside the box.
And we forget that. We forget that the word and what it describes are not the same thing. We forget that the word could literally be anything and the thing would be unchanged by this (the existence of more than one language being obvious proof of that, even if the use of words did not change with time and location…which they do) Forget that if you rearrange the letters of any word you get more words, unrelated words. In and of themselves they have no meaning except what you associate them with.

One of the greatest strengths of the human brain is also it’s weakness. That is seeing patterns. In order to make sense of this existence  the brain makes patterns and that is great…except where there is no pattern. When this happens words can be your worst enemy. You put the power in the words and forget about the thing, and you can start justifying all kinds of shit. You can start missing important things or leaving stuff out.  You can build a structure of words around a word, that box you in and hold you back from exploration and further understanding.
You can create a negative association with a word or family of words and never hear the intent when someone speaks them because you are too busy reacting to the words and the power you have given them over you.
For example, and to reassure you I am not ranting at you, I have a negative association with the word ‘soul’. As such I do not like to use it. It is tempting to just disregard any story that uses the word, but I can’t do that. I have to make an effort to understand what is being said not react to words.
Why does soul bother me? well it has to do with the issue of circular belief, but I will talk about that another day. For now lets try to stay on topic.

Not only do we confuse the power of real things with the labels we use to identify them, we also seem to think that words can prove something. As I said in the original ‘rule’, the same words can be said by anyone no matter their true intent and nothing will happen to them. Their tongues will not turn purple and fall out. And unless there is an amazing coincidence they will not be struck by lightening. Anyone can learn to recite the right words at the right time. That in it’s self does not prove anything.
Bad words are only bad intent. You could say all the ‘bad words’ you can think of together with no intent and it would just be meaningless noise. But we have all experienced someone saying ‘kind’ words with an obvious intent to hurt, haven’t we?.
Try saying the same sentence to a dog using different tone of voice and see how much difference that makes.

The phenomena of the “grammar Nazi” is a thing now. People, while I do get where a lot of you are coming from with this, you cannot invalidate someone’s point of view or have insight into their intellect from spelling alone. Where there is no genuine confusion of intent then, like it or not, you have to consider all views no matter how they are worded or how poorly spelled.
Some of the greatest intellects of all time did not get a “basic education” and getting a “basic education” is not a feat deserving of automatic elevation.

Like the calender, words are just a tool to make it easier for us to interact with the physical world. They are not ‘real’ and they have no power over you.

Have a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day Kittens xxx

P.S. My favorite word is Weird.

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‘Clear As Mud’ – Communication and vagueness.

Hello Kittens, how the devil are you?
I want to talk about talking, or rather communicating. Featured image
I don’t always talk much. It is nothing personal, and I know the ones who matter know that, so I’m not worried.
But I do sometimes need to share things, if only to make them stop buzzing so I can concentrate. This is one of those times so bear with me.

One of the reasons I don’t talk much, is the one you already assume. You are not wrong. But there is a second reason. I process information in what is apparently an odd way. I dragnet….I hoard…then I sort, dismantle and edit. Then I meditate then I speak..(not always in words). This means that on one side I find value in almost everything, and on the other I rarely get involved in real-time discussions. Basically I am so INTP it’s a joke!

But what I was thinking about just now was this – there is a delicate balance to be maintained when expressing something. On one hand you want your intent to be communicated successfully, but on the other you do not want to hand it on a plate. Why you ask? well let me try to explain what I mean without sounding too pretentious.

We all want to be understood. Perhaps being understood is more important than being accepted. I can accept many things I don’t understand, and I am sure you all do too. And we should. But doesn’t it feel so much better when you know you are being understood, more than merely accepted?
Though Chief Aramaki makes a good point when he says “Understanding is in principle solely based on wishful thinking.” Still.
As an artist the biggest part of how I define art is the artist’s intent and how well it is communicated. We are responsible for communicating our intent and the audience is not “stupid” for not ‘getting-it’.
I recently made a statement on the expression “casting pearls before swine”. Obviously everyone knows this means giving art or information to an audience unable or unwilling to appreciate it. My view is that “casting pearls before swine” is infinitely preferable to keeping them locked up in a box where no one can find them. People will take what they will take, that part is not up to you. How you “cast” your “pearls” is.

An example that buzzed in my head while walking the dog this morning was in the choice of language. Anyone who follows me knows I have a love/hate relationship with language and always urge anyone not to give words so much power.
The use of a word changes through time and from place to place, yes?. So if I used one of my favorite words,  ‘Weird’, when my intent was to communicate something relating to an older use of the word? – In early use weird meant destiny…having power over destiny and the fates. It later came to mean “not of this earth”. In my native  Scotland it was commonly used as a name for a witch. Then eventually the modern use for anything out of the ordinary or hard to explain or even undesirable. So if my intent was to communicate something about having the power to control destiny, I could use the word weird and be technically correct. But I could not expect to be widely understood or understood right away. As understandably, most people would interpret the word the way they use it.
There are reasons to choose to do this. One would be either because I wanted an excuse to call people stupid, or I was trying to communicate with a specific group of people, like a coded message. The latter idea appeals to me, and is what most artists do if we are honest.  The former is obviously the sign of an asshole.

Why then would we not be explicitly clear in everything we try to communicate? why then risk not being understood?. It is not that you would deprive yourself of some point scoring victory over others. But that you deprive them of something fundamentally important about being human………
Figuring your own shit out and creating your own reality.

Have a really beautiful day Kittens xxx

Article share – The things Sex-Ed should have taught you but didn’t.

I have to share because this is a really good article.
One of the things I am very aggressively apposed to is the concept of shame…shame generally, but sexual shame is the worst. I causes only confusion, pain, self loathing, fear and abuse.  Sex-Ed does need to be taught properly.
People say “Sex is overrated” I say no. The MYTH of sex is overrated, but the real thing is almost entirely ignored. This is a problem and shame has a lot to do with it.
They say that all of our ‘problems’ come down to fear. That sounds like waaayy too much of an oversimplification. But when you actually take some time and think about it, most everything does come back to some kind of fear response. Prejudice is a fear response and so is shame.
This is why I make no fancy explanations for artwork of mine that is clearly (or could be interpreted as) sexual. I do not need a justification because sex is not wrong. It is not something that should be looked down on and kept quiet in the corner.
I don’t make pornography because pornography isn’t sex. But I have sexual elements in my work because there is a sexual element to me. No apology. No explanations.
If there is not a sexual element to you then that’s equally fine (seriously WHY does this have to be so complicated? grow up) But I will never justify either my work or my physical appearance to anyone, because I have no sexual shame, nor should anyone else.
Let us be the generation that frees the next generations from living with this bullshit.
Read the article here –
http://markmanson.net/sex-education/

Oh and P.S. – Sex and violence, though so often said in the same breath, are not the same thing. They are not even related. If an act of violence involves the genitals, that does not make it sex. And if a sexual encounter involves pain that does not make it violence. Whats the difference? Consent.

If you have the time check out this article by the same writer – http://markmanson.net/disney/. “How Disney ruined sex for everyone”. It is an interesting read and follows the lines of my frequent expression “Cut the Disney crap!” lol.

A question of rebellion

Logic and Beauty are the only authority figures I recognize ….and beauty is her truest self when at the limit of her endurance.

Hello Kittens, hope your holidays are going swimmingly!

Been thinking about rebellion today for no important reason, just cabin fever I suspect.
Was considering an idea that when you think about it, there are two rebellions……

1- The “perception of rebellion” on the individual from the outside. When there is an established norm, an expected behavior, and someone acts outside or contrary to it, they are seen as a rebel. They are seen this way whatever their own intent and often regardless of context. It is the end result that counts.

2- The “act of rebellion” from the individual to the outside. When someone chooses to act contrary to expectations for some reason, and with an expectation of conflict.

But what about the third option? there is always  a third option, or I’m not INTP….which I am, so there is……..good argument Lilly! lol.

The third option is one I have experience with. I never had conservative parents. I was brought up around musicians, artists and writers. They treated me like a person more than a ‘child’. I was used to my thoughts and feelings being relevant, used to being heard and respected and trusted. So the idea that an adult could tell me what to do and I had no say was just alien to me. (except for one quirk of my mother’s that appeared in my early teens and led to most of our fights – she was proud of the fact that I thought for myself  but embarrassed by the reactions of other people to that. She wished I would make more of an effort to play along with the expectations of others rather than expecting them to accept me the way I am. Always a tough call that one, where do you draw the line between being polite and betraying yourself so someone else does not have to think about you. Needless to say in my early teens I saw no need for the line in the first place! haha)
But I digress.
In my reality I could speak my mind and asses each situation on individual merits. I didn’t court controversy or conflict and was, for years, suprized when It came my way.  That was when I was a child, obviously I became aware as I got older.
In order to conform to the “act of rebellion” as defined above (ow!!!) you need to be aware that you are doing it. But if you never acknowledged the authority/norm you are acting against, then is it really rebellion? can you call it rebellion if you are just being yourself without considering the authority/norms? or is that lack of external consideration a rebellion in its self?

Certainly the end result is the same and  no matter what an individual’s motivation, their behavior can inspire ‘real’ rebellion in others.

Sorry Kittens, I am not really going anywhere with this, just thinking…what do you think?

Pavlovian dog show?

Good morning Kittens, want to talk about an issue close to my heart, that people seem to have a mental block about….

The first priority of a human is to know yourself.  You cannot function at anything like your potential if you do not know who the Dickens you are. But it is not enough just to know, you have to show it, and be fearless.
We live in a society that sells us the idea that we are essentially  taking part in a huge dog show. That there is a “breed standard” list of requirements to be met and everyone we meet will have this list, and judge us against it. If we win all the points, we get married and live happily ever after…..Bullshit.  And the thing is you don’t need me to tell you that do you? so why is anyone going along with it?
If you ask a woman to describe her “soul mate” how often does she describe only their physical appearance? how often does she say “someone who will judge me on superficial and temporary criteria, and is mainly interested in sex and status” ?
Often or NEVER?!!!!
So where is the logic in making yourself miserable, striving to appear to be someone you are not, to attract a person who will love you for you are? …There is none.
There is no need to ask why the idea is sold, that is obvious…money, LOTS of money!. But why the disconnect in the public?  You can see it in many areas of society, not just this issue.  If I didn’t live in it, I would find this large scale Pavlovian  experiment impressive.

Of course there are people in this world who are what I like to call ‘symptom swatters’. They will agree with the superficial elements of this argument…thinking that they agree with it all…without looking for the root cause of the ‘symptoms’. Their response is to do the opposite of the ‘symptoms’, in this case they might shun makeup for example. They will say “be yourself, be natural”, which if you don’t think about feels like it should make sense (rule No.24 Never mistake feeling for thinking https://badkittencreations.com/about/the-24-rules-of-lie/) But as soon as you do think about it, it does not make sense. Because what does makeup actually change? the appearance of your skintone?, she shape of your bone structure?,  do these things define you?. Is the surface of your skin, colour of your hair, sharpness of your cheekbones  what defines “who your are”. ‘Course not!, we have already established that fact from the opposite direction. So why must you leave them ‘natural’ to “be yourself”?.
“Yourself” comes from inside, and makeup can be used as a way to express something from the inside, on the outside. Which can make it a damn site easier for like minded people to find you….that IS what you want isn’t it?.  Well it works, as long as it is genuinely coming from YOU.
So it is not the makeup that is ‘bad’ nor the clothes nor the word ‘beauty’. Here is what I think is ‘bad’ – Creating and/or accepting a reality where you are not encouraged to know yourself or develop strengths of your own, because all your focus is on  a ‘mask’ defined by someone else . The achievement and maintaining of that mask, and subsequent torturing yourself over why you don’t have what you want despite this effort, consumes you. And causes you to ‘consume’ more.
Break the conditioning, realize that there is no single standard of beauty, and the goal is not to be desired by all but loved by the ones that count.

Have a beautiful day Kittens xxx

How to interact with intorverts

Hello Kittens, happy Friday!

I, kittens, am an introvert.
Over the years I have tried to varying degrees of success to describe it and to explain what our “deal is” with social interaction.
A friend shared this on facebook  with the statement “whoever made this deserves a medal”. And it is true, they do indeed.

Check it out – http://themetapicture.com/how-to-interact-with-the-introverted/

I cannot believe how perfect this is ….aaand am slightly vexed that I didn’t think of explaining it this way years ago! LOL.

So for my fellow ‘I’ types here is how you explain it easily. And for my dear opposite ‘E’ types this is what is going on. Now you know how to deal, and that our silence is not an insult.

Have an energized day Kittens…however you get yours xxx

Edit – Wow there is a lot of negativity in the comments under that cartoon isn’t there!
People are so odd. For the ones saying “don’t label people” introvert is not a label it is personality type. Everyone has some percentage of introvert and extrovert, which one is dominant will influence your reactions to every day situations. So understanding it will help you understand yourself and your reactions better as well as understand the reactions of those different to you. It is a real thing, and saying that things are “different” is not saying one is better than the other…seriously we HAVE TO STOP THINKING THAT WAY.
For the ones saying “I shouldn’t have to cater to introverts, why shouldn’t they cater to me”. I am tempted to simply say grow the hell up. I am admittedly confused as to how they got an attack they feel they need to defend themselves against from a humorous explanation of  what it is like to be someone with a different personality type. It is about helping both introverts and extroverts to interact more comfortably for all involved. What is so terrible about understanding people different to you? what is threatening about realizing that what works for you does not work for everyone? . You never heard the expression “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”? . Introverts are not being difficult on purpose. In fact we make a great deal of effort  to accommodate the needs of our extroverted loved ones…effort that can go un-noticed and un-appreciated by the extrovert if they do not understand the introvert personality type. Which is the purpose of the cartoon!
And those who say  things like lecturers or performers can’t be introverts need to read the cartoon again. They do not understand introverts and have simply brought their preconceptions and saw what they wanted to in the cartoon. Introversion is not shyness and it is not fear. So it has nothing to do with performing before an audience. Being on stage in most set-ups is more of a one way communication of something you have prepared for and are confident in and passionate about.  That has nothing in common with going bowling or to a bridal shower.

My husband and several of my friends are extroverts. I would never ask them to do the things that ‘give me energy’ because I know they would not get what I get from them. And if they tell me doing something is important to them I will be there, even if it is something I hate. I don’t see how hoping for the same in return could be seen as insulting to them (as some of those comments suggest). My husband may not relate to how I feel, but he knows  and understands what the best way to handle me is, and I for him. Our differences balance each other out and can, with understanding and respect, make us stronger together than we were apart……imagine if that could be the whole human race……

Anyway  I have work to do – making puppet parts today. Will update you soon.

Behind Rule No.2 – The Pursuit Of Knowledge

Hello Kittens, hope your weekend was freaky in the best possible way. What?  your weekend does not extend to Wednesday? lol. Guess it depends which day is day one. Ok admission, I started writing this on Monday and got distracted. Thought I would move on to rule two of the 24 rules of Lie. ( I am writing on each of my personal 24 life rules – https://badkittencreations.com/about/the-24-rules-of-lie/– )

So here we go with number two –

*2. Knowledge is the best thing to collect. It is all that is really worth anything. Some knowledge  will spark something in you that pushes your limits. The rest will simply remain part of your collection, but all has value.

They say knowledge is power. This is not a cliche for no reason.   My personality type is one that tends to place a higher value on or prioritize the internal world over the external one (INTP if you are interested in such things). Thinking is my hobby.

I like to, as much as possible, keep my external world simple so I can focus on my internal world. This is a quality that is common among artists, philosophers and scientists. It is also a quality that is seen by virtually everyone outside those areas, as a serious fault. Now while it can be argued that any extreme tends to be counter productive, and I would tend to agree, I still do not feel that this is the negative people assume.

 

The pursuit of knowledge is really the pursuit of freedom. Without knowledge of your own you are at the mercy of any and all who would control you.  Knowledge gives you a weapon and a shield against them. Another way of saying it gives you options perhaps. It is also the start of a way forward from any point.  Not only that, it makes you a damn site more interesting at dinner parties.

  • William Shakespeare said – “Ignorance is the curse of God. Knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven”

There are different ways to view knowledge as a concept in it’s self though. When seen as pure factual information Knowledge is a means to an end – power/ freedom/ control/ advancement.

  • Robin Morgan said – “Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny, camouflaged as humility”

As a means to an end, you can also call knowledge a ‘link in a chain’. Raw information is arguably worthless without context. And when you have knowledge of facts without any experience this is also of less value. And is the main reason I do not put much importance on the modern interpretation of ‘education’ with it’s emphasis on facts learned by wrote for the purpose of passing a set test on one day.  Information you do not understand will add little value to your life…how do we attain understanding? context is part of it but experience and critical thought are key.

It is this distinction that has lead great minds to say things like….. “It is not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, that the lover of knowledge is reluctant to step into it’s waters” – Nietzsche.

  • “All our knowledge begins with the senses, procedes to understanding and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason” – Immanuel Kant.
  • “Information is not knowledge” – Albert Einstein, who  also said “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”

So imagination then. To be the kind of genius Einstein was obviously requires imagination…or a willingness to trust instincts in the face of the established order (the ‘N’ in the 16 personality types)..or to put it one more way, to allow yourself the luxury of childlike wonder and a child’s lack of inhibition in what can and cannot be.

This quality in someone means they can take information, turn it into knowledge and run with it.

As a philosophical concept it also gets quite allot of action. Pretty much on the same theme though….

  • “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance” – Confucius.
  • “To know is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge” – Socrates.

I had a conversation with a fellow artist on Deviant Art the other day on the subject of elitism as a positive force. While I do recognize this to be true in ways, there is a major negative to elitism. I defined “negative elitism” as a tendency to over value superficial signifiers/labels, while refusing to see the value in that which lacks them. And a desire to impose personal standards on others without consideration to their personalities, strength and needs. This short sighted arrogance causes a blinker effect that holds you back more than moving you forward. And it can be found in academic circles as much as in fashion or any other world. Where confusing the possession of  knowledge alone with greatness, is a common fault.

An example of this we see every day online is when people declare an argument void because of a spelling or grammatical error.  Where spelling or grammar errors do not cause confusion of meaning, they cannot be said to undermine the argument.  Oh and Einstein was dyslexic.

Interestingly the philosophers above were way ahead of their time. Science is catching up with them in proving the disparity between what we perceive as real/ or experience as real, and what ‘reality’ might actually be like. But does this make the pursuit of knowledge pointless? Hell no!

I will end with one last quote from one of my favorite people – “There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge” – Bertrand Russell.

Have a thoughtful day Kittens xxx

Behind rule No1 – be yourself.

A while ago I wrote “the 24 rules of Lie”.
https://badkittencreations.com/about/the-24-rules-of-lie/
While the title is a bit of a joke…a certain camp insincerity is just a natural part of being British. There is real meaning in the rules themselves.
As I said on the page they are not rules in the sense of dictating to you. More to remind me of who I am, where I am going and to help me not re-make mistakes of the past.
You can take from them whatever you want to. As I always say that I am not the kind of artist who wants to tell the audience what to feel. I would not insult you so.
But outside of art…..there is life outside of art? surely not!….there are some basic truths at the heart of things if you are willing to go far enough. And as they say “you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts”.

Something I say in philosophical conversations is “don’t get off at every station along the track. Ride the thought all the way to the terminus” I should add “before you speak” to that. I like to get to the root of things, the point where everything is connected and infinite. At which point I lose interest in talking about it LOL.
So for each of these rules there is real truth, both universal and for me personally.

I have decided to elaborate each rule with how it became important to me, what I must remember.

So without further rambling lets start with rule number one.

*1. If you try to imitate someone else’s style you will waste precious time and always be second best to them.

This is pretty self explanatory isn’t it?.
No one can ever be a better ‘you’ than you. Which is the kind of Oprah shit that people just say, and post in vomit inducing memes on facebook without thinking about it.
But before you tune out think about it some more.

I will share an experience of mine.

Years ago when I was in my early teens I was in a few bands. It was a ton of fun but I really wanted to do something different.
I had ideas but couldn’t find anyone (and almost everyone I knew was a musician) who got it. Half of them were only in bands so they could get laid and were not interested in taking any risks creatively for fear of losing their cool.
The other half were ‘proper’ musicians and would tell me that what I wanted to do made no sense ….”you can’t do that/that’s not how it’s done”.
I am self taught in all my arts, and though it made sense to me, I assumed that they knew something I didn’t.
It really put me off on my own projects.

There was a lot more going on in my life, as there always is, nothing is ever cut and dry with clear cause and effect. But suffice to say I was not doing what I wanted to be doing.

A few years later I was clearing out a pile of music magazines.

As usual when doing this kind of task there was more reading than cleaning going on, and I found an interview with Trent Reznor.
Must have been after downward spiral, possibly circa ‘the perfect drug’ because he had that facial hair that made him look like an extra from the three Musketeers.
He talked about when he started Nine Inch Nails. He could not find anyone to work with. He believed the musicians who told him he could not do what he wanted to do….thinking exactly as I had, that they knew something he did not. Like me he lost time to this, and wasted energy on things he didn’t really believe in.
Eventually though he said “Fuck it! if Prince can do it so can I!”. So he went solo and did it his way, living on peanut butter sandwiches and rarely sleeping….the result was Pretty hate machine.

So here is someone I admire, who has been told the same things by the same kind of people. He felt the same way I did, but he got past it and became an icon.
Sadly though, Trent has skills I cannot pretend I possess, so his route was not an option for me but now I have a new drive.
And I remembered being inspired as a kid by Wagner – he used to say that no one part of his operas was more important than the rest. Everything was one work of art from the music to the sets to the costumes to the lighting. And as such he was involved at every level.

So I decided to try and do what I could on my own and to combine my visual artwork with my music. Before then I had , again, accepted what everyone says and felt that I had to choose one over the other. To be a performer OR an artist. But to me it is all one thing. Especially as I literally SEE music, as colour and texture and form and movement. The music is, to me, an extension of the visual and vice versa. One artwork.

“Yay! Lilly!” you might say Kittens “Took you long enough to get that,
you mad bitch, but good on you lets go!”.
Well don’t get too excited yet.

Choosing to take on all of the work myself led to a whole new
community chest of anxiety issues. Sigh, facepalm.

For reasons that seemed to make sense at the time, but damn my claws and call me Bunny if I understand why now, I decided I had to be proficient in instruments that do not come naturally to me….total waste of time, don’t do that. If it’s a chore it can never be art.

Aaaannd there is a proper way of doing animation. Now the first pieces I did were done on instinct and I loved everything about creating new worlds and making them live. But again I am intimidated by those with ‘proper’ training and even ashamed to show my free flow instinctive work. So I waste more time trying to force myself to work to a storyboard and to always know in advance exactly what is going to happen next.

Then I read “Lynch on Lynch”. David Lynch that is. I discover that the way I work naturally, the way that gives me joy and just makes sense to me, is the same approach as David Lynch. He is one of my favorite directors (to put it mildly) and to find out that films I love were made without following the correct procedure!. The people who told me I was wrong, were wrong.

Can you believe it Kittens?
Pretty sure most of you can. The things we put our selves though because we doubt that we could just be right. If we are not justified by someone else we so rarely believe our selves.
It is absurd.
Part of it comes from the way we are taught to think from childhood. Always deferring to those who ‘know better’ always comparing our selves to others. When you say it it is obvious but even the smartest among us can catch our selves doing it.

So know yourself, be honest with yourself, don’t be afraid, don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t waste your time trying to conform to something that does not feel right. And always remember that what comes naturally to you, though we all have a tendency to undervalue it, can never be replicated by anyone else.

Have a fearless day Kittens.

P.S. while this might sound like it contradicts my saying that in order to break art rules you have to know what they are first, it doesn’t. I didn’t figure out the ‘rules’ by making myself work in a way counter to my instincts. I did that by study and experimentation.

Don’t de-claw the cat

Don’t declaw the cat

We all know declawing a cat is a horrific thing to do to them don’t we kittens?

I feel that way about my own claws. And I will tell you why.

Blood heart pendant by Ugly Shyla. 2013.
Blood heart pendant by Ugly Shyla. 2013.

As a little girl I loved all things freaky, you know that if you read my posts on the Goth scene or the Addams family! And part of that was that I liked long painted talons, and always intended to have them when I grew up. I first grew my nails long in high school. Just as a look I liked, I can’t say it had any other serious meaning at that time. Though they did cause  a run-in with a teacher who suggested, in front of the class, that I was stupid because of my long black fingernails! Which is against the rules btw, you can’t use a student’s appearance to belittle them, I could have had him for that one.

When I finished High school at 16 my mum told me she would support my music and art aspirations, as she had for my Dad, but only if I got a ‘trade’ behind me to fall back on. So I went to beauty college.

The head of the beauty department was a dictator.  She would say “it’s my way or the highway” … which only assholes say, am I wrong Kittens? She actually made us grow in our eyebrows (I had previously been rocking an undead Marlene Dietrich look). Then she tweezed them for us. Seriously. Every girl in the class had the same brows because that’s how she liked them! And I had to cut my nails. We were required to have short nails, so we didn’t scratch the clients. They must be unpainted on a Wednesday for facial massage class incase of skin allergies. But painted on Thursdays for manicure class so we could demonstrate that we can perform a manicure without messing up our own polish. I was considering a facial piercing and she said if I got one she would remove it herself! so I dyed my hair pink and purple, which did not go down well LOL.  Needless to say she didn’t like me much.  She drove several of the other girls to quit. Well  I was not going to give her the satisfaction, so I stuck it out and got the qualification.

But, once over, the first thing I did was to shave off my eyebrows and grow back my nails … longer than ever. This was a clear declaration of independence and rebellion! hahaha.

With every millimeter my nails grew it was like I reclaimed myself and grew with them. So  for the longest time I didn’t want to cut them at all. This ended in me having my fingernails at over two inches past the tip of my finger and my thumb nails at  least double that and coiling back on themselves! I could scratch my left wrist with the nail of my left thumb, without turning it. Trying to picture that aren’t you? Yep.  As you can imagine this was a look that got a lot of attention … most of it negative. LOL. I went from an enforced standardized beauty to an extreme that was repellent. And you know what?  it felt good.

After a few years though I no longer needed it, and the hassle of their upkeep was outweighing the joy of having them. Much of the hassle actually comes from other people. Many of you kittens will relate to this one I know … A strange thing happens when you look ‘different’.  Other people suddenly think they have the right to ask you really personal questions they would never ask someone ‘normal’. It is like they can’t imagine why anyone would look like you if it was not to get THEIR attention, and as such you are fair game.

Typical questions/comments include (mostly from males) – “how do you pick your nose?” “how do you wipe your arse?” “how do you put your underwear on?” … mind your own business you sad perv.

(mostly from females) “obvious you don’t do any housework” … not true I do all the housework and work with my hands… “obvious you don’t have kids” … No I don’t but how is that fact any of your business?

Lastly (mostly from lesbians) “no way you can pleasure a woman with those” Oh do you bloody think so? bitch you have no idea… oh yeah and… mind your own business you sad perv.

Truth is, in answer to all those questions, is that when they are a real part of your body you just adjust to them as they grow. Like any thing else. It is no great mystery.

Did I mention that not only was there comments but also hand grabbing? oh yes grab my hand, pull it this way and that, turn them over so you can “see the backs” all while I try to pull away from you. And you are oblivious to my dislike of this, or simply don’t think that you should need consent to manhandle a stranger IF they look ‘weird’. At this point watch me attempt to channel James Bond cool and end up with invader Zim! But I digress, now where was I?

Ah yes…

So I cut them to what passes as short for me – about one inch past the fingertip, though I kept the thumb nails in a box (yeah gross I know). And that’s the way they stayed, or thereabout, for the next few years. A comfortable part of me. Used as tools for almost anything like – picking up hot food from the grill, fishing toast out the toaster, typing, sculpting, scratching where no scratch has gone before and other fun stuff.

Lilly F Lie animating 2008/2009
This was taken in 2008 during the making of my film Jack and Jill. I was sleepy.

Then came the US immigration process.

A year after the pic above was taken I started the process of moving to America.  Another year after that I was at the final stage of the first stage (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I was called on my birthday to go get what they call ‘biometrics’.  Part of that includes fingerprinting.  Now I have already had my fingerprints taken multiple times at every stage of the process so I did not anticipate any issues.  Was I wrong! Right away they said “you have to cut those off”.  Just like that, like it was nothing, like I was nothing.

You would think after all the previous experience I had with how rude these officials are and how they make you feel like something they stepped in, I would have been prepared but I was not  and this time it really hurt. They were stripping me of something that made me, me … like I had not given up enough -my home, family, friends, job, studio, my fucking beautiful country that I hadn’t left because I didn’t want to be there!. And I put up with the unspoken suggestion that I ought to be more grateful and should admit that this country is better than mine. I will say nothing of the sort, nor should I.

All that, I had coped with but this floored me. My fist reaction was “well then I want to go home” and I said it out loud. The official thought I meant back to my house and return later. I meant home to the UK.  At that moment it felt like this was the last straw and I was not willing to give it up just or a green card. And I burst into tears. ME crying in public! I do not do that Kittens! Even in private I manage to keep it to a dignified tear. But this was all out blubbing and I didn’t stop for two days solid!  I felt violated.

Lilly F Lie vintage hair and makeup
This is me putting on my face# It was taken just two months before the ‘snip’

Again I grew them back and again I felt a rebuilding of my power and individuality. I could have bought plastic , but it wouldn’t be the same. In fact it would have been counter productive.

I am in the process of the second stage right now and have recently had biometrics taken again… in case I used different hands the last time, or got a hand transplant or something?. What happens if you don’t have hands?

Anyway I cut them short in advance this time so they had nothing to say to me, and they are already almost grown back. It was easier this time.

While I am comfortable going out and being seen without my makeup – which I used to need to declare my gothic allegiance to one and all. I have nothing to prove anymore so I can go without it and not care – The nails, though, are not the same thing at all. Which may be why I have been lately having an unexpected aggressive response to girls with plastic ‘versions of my nails’ which have just come into fashion…. irrational I know, it’s not like I invented them! I guess I’m just feeling extra protective of them now. I know they will likely have to be cut again in a few months for stage three.

long pointed fingernails. Natural. Lilly F Lie
this is my nails today.

So I shall answer the long nail FAQ here to save time – Don’t know how long it takes for them to get to this length, I don’t time it. I have been wearing them like this or similar for about 16 years. No they do not prevent me from doing anything that I actually do in my life (!!??). No I will not scratch any part of you…unless you are hot, then sure why not. You just get used to it, it would be different if they just appeared overnight but as they grew over time you just adapt naturally. There is no magic trick to stopping them from breaking, sorry. If they break they break, they will grow back, I don’t freak out, sorry again.

My claws cannot be suppressed by anyone. I have had authority issues all my life, I will never let them beat me. My claws can be clipped but they can’t be killed…and I can always wait. -Insert maniacal laugh of your choice-

Scratch their eyes out Kittens. And do have a fabulous day.

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