Friday, 31 July 2015

Body Modification

Hey guys!! Today I want to talk about something that not many people like - body modification. I'm taking tattoos, piercings, stretched ears, etc. 

The definition of body modification is, in the simplest terms, “body modification” means to deliberately alter one's physical appearance. So that means anything, I guess. Cosmetic surgery, tattoos, etc. But most people think of tattoos and piercings when they hear the words "body modification". 

Personally, I think that body modification is a form of self-expression, like dying your hair or wearing an item of clothing that you like. I see nothing wrong with it. It's like, some people get tattoos because they want to be a work of art. It is their choice. For me, being into rock and punk music, tattoos, piercings and stretched ears are a pretty common thing. Almost everybody has their ears pierced, maybe their nose. Most people over 18 have tattoos and a fair few people have dyed hair. That's just the way that it is, because the music I listen to encourages self-expression, and punk artists have always had tattoos and piercings. It's a stereotype, but it's true... 

Yet, now, tattoos seem to be everywhere. (Cheers, "hipsters"). I see people constantly retweeting tattoos they like and saying stuff like "oh I want to be 18 so I can travel and get tattoos". It's like now, if you want to stand out, you have to stay natural. Everyone seems to want (tattoo) sleeves and multiple piercings because they think it's "cool". 

Anyway, enough ranting about hipsters.. So many people say to you "oh, your piercing won't look so nice when you're older/ tattoos look horrible when you're older/ you'll regret stretching your ears/ you won't get a job/ your ears won't go back to normal size, etc."  And the first thing I have to say here is not giving someone a job because of their mods is DISCRIMINATION! It's personal choice, and if it's something you want, and like, then you won't regret it. It's like people expect all tattoos to have a meaning. No? If you like a picture, get it tattooed. More on that in this guy's video here. People will always seem to have something to say about people's mods. It's just personal choice. 

I don't have tattoos yet, but I know I definitely want three; a daisy chain around my left ankle, a small anchor on top of my right foot, and two Xs (see my straightedge post here) on the inside of my right pinky finger. I also want a cute cartoon space rocket somewhere on my torso, something on the inside of my right wrist, and a quote tattooed on my ribs. I have two standard lobe piercings (two in each ear), a helix (top cartilage piercing) in my left ear, and a conch piercing in my right ear. I intend to stretch my first lobe piercings to 5 or 6mm, and get my nose pierced - either septum or nostril, I don't know yet. 

From Eros Plugs here
A lot of people get creeped out by stretched ears, and I can understand why. I find really big plugs gross. But, apparently, to some people, having big ears is an achievement, because when sizing up, it hurts a lot, but once they have a large plug in their ear, its like, wow, how did I get that in my ear?? so it's pretty cool.. I want my ears stretched because you can get some really cool plugs, like the 9 and 3/4 ones to the left, but also because I think small plugs and subtle piercings/tattoos can be quite attractive.. Personal opinion, though.. 

I think now I'd like to talk about mods I find hella unattractive... (It's all personal opinion, I am sorry if I offend anyone!) The first one would be getting silicone shapes put under your skin.. Like, just why would you do that to yourself? It looks weird... Then, people who get their ears made into elf-points.. It might seem like a good idea, but it's not really.. Get your tongue slit.. No, thank you. I can cope with tattoos, even scarification (scarring tattoos.. Looks really painful, since they take layers of your skin off so you scar permanently..), and most piercings.. 

But anyway!! That's all I have to say on the topic of body mods for now.. 

- Dottie. 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Darkness - Late Night Thoughts...

"Mist swirling. Clouds drifting. Darkness, illuminated by a full moon. Silence. Nothing to fear...
And yet, we are taught to fear the dark, or rather, what lurks in it. 
Creatures dwell in the dark. Flying, shuffling, plodding along. These creatures live in their own worlds, doing the only thing they know - surviving.
Nothing will hurt us in the darkness.  
The darkness is beautiful, poetic. 
We are but another aspect of the night, of the Earth. We destroy it. 
We fear anything that could be a threat to us. Humans. We do not see things as they are, but as they could be, in the worst possible sense. 
Anything that does not personally benefit us has to go. We are selfish, we strive to be the best. To us, another's pain is nothing. We hunt for fun, claim it is a "sport". 
We never see the error of our ways. We will destroy the world we live in. 
We should learn a lesson from the darkness."

So today's post was a little different... I wanted to write something poetic about how the darkness is safe (at least, in the UK.. There are no wolves or bears here...), and how we're conditioned to fear the dark. 
... Buuuut it sort of ended up as a thing where I moan about how horrific humans are... 

- Dottie.

Friday, 24 July 2015

The Music Industry...

Today, yet another brilliant band has announced it's time for them to split. So many of the bands I've seen in the past year have broken up, and it really sucks. It also shows how harsh the music industry really is. 
I've seen a fair few bands live, and out of them all, some of my favourites have split up. They are; 
  • Blitz Kids
  • Glamour of the Kill (GoTK)
  • LostAlone
  • Framing Hanley
  • My Chemical Romance (in 2013)
  • Blink 182 have a different line-up 
  • The Blackout 
A lot of these bands are smaller bands, they don't have a crazy-huge fanbase, which makes it even more gutting that they've broken up, because they never had a chance to show the world how awesome they are. 

GoTK's break-up post from today (Wednesday) really inspired me to make this post, because they said the reason behind their break-up is the same for many other bands'. I'm talking about money issues. 

I understand that being in a band costs you a lot of money. You need to pay for studio time, to release music, to pay promoters, for fuel for tours, venue hire. And I know a lot of bands pay for stuff like this out of their own pockets. So it makes sense that they maybe can't afford much. This means that bands need our help. By buying their merch, we not only help them by maybe paying for fuel while they're touring, or buying their next meal, but we get their name out there. If small bands want to storm the music industry, they need their name to get out. They need a loyal fanbase. 

It really bugs me that people think it is okay to just download music from YouTube, because they feel their actions have no consequences. And I'm sat here thinking, maybe if I'd brought more of those band's albums or merch, they might still be here. Which sucks, because I've attended shows, met them, and thanked them. I've brought so much merch to support so many bands.. And yet I still feel I could have done more. 

I'm not going to go on about music piracy, because I wrote a whole post about that, but please, just buy music. It really helps a band. 

It is so hard to make it in the music industry nowadays, because there is some tough competition. People want polished songs, attractive band members, and huge stadiums they can brag about it to their friends. It is difficult for small bands to 'make it'. I don't know much, but I know the music industry is nothing like we imagine it. If you're in a female-fronted band in rock, you get compared to Paramore. If you're pop-punk, you're too similar to All Time Low or Blink 182.. 

See, the thing is, we don't like anything that is different. All bands get compared to another one, they aren't allowed to be unique.. We are killing our music industry, and young bands' creativity.. We don't allow them to succeed by digitalising everything, and crushing their hopes of being something different.. 

The music industry sucks.. 

Finally, I'd like to say if I've accidentally referred to bands as 'we', it's because I think of myself as being in a really big, famous band.. Oops..

- Dottie. 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015


Before I start this post, I would like to say that I have not been professionally diagnosed with any sort of anxiety. I merely feel that I can identify with some of the aspects/symptoms of social anxiety. I am not claiming to have a mental illness, I am explaining how I feel. 

I was inspired to make this post by this video here, you should check it out. 

Okay, so I'd like to start by talking about what social anxiety is. It is defined as being an anxiety disorder in which a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. Anxiety (intense nervousness) and self-consciousness arise from a fear of being closely watched, judged, and criticized by others. (cheers, Google). 

For me, I do not generally fear social situations, if they are small, and I either know the people really well, or I never have to see the person again. I can also cope when there are enough people that I can go unnoticed. However, a classroom situation, for example, scares me. I don't feel comfortable in classrooms, especially if I have to talk in front of, or present to, the class. It makes me sweat (yuck!), my face will flush, I stumble over words, and I shake. I've done a few presentations over the years, and all of them involve me rushing, shaking and afterwards, I feel tired, as though I've done something that has caused adrenaline to rush through my body. This all could be normal, but it doesn't seem to be. 

A few years ago, when I went back to school after summer, I would feel really anxious in classrooms, and used to bounce my leg all of the time, as it helped to calm me down. I still panic when the teacher says they're looking for a volunteer to answer a question.. 

Another example of feeling anxious in social situations is where I used to work. It was a cafe, that got incredibly busy during lunch hours. I didn't feel confident talking to people, and I was unsure of how things worked, so I didn't feel confident. This, in turn, affected my customer service, because I was panicking as I didn't want to mess anything up. Anyway, after making a few mistakes, I got really anxious about going in, I actually felt physically sick because I was so worried, and any time a customer walked in, I would feel butterflies in my stomach, and shake. If I had to serve them, I would mumble and talk really quietly. Even thinking about going in to work scared me. Which is why I don't work there any more. 

The thing that confuses me about social anxiety though, is that I could just be shy. I've always been very introverted, and never any good at talking to people, however, I feel as though it has gotten worse. I used to be able to order food in a restaurant, but now I get other people to do it for me, as I worry that I talk too quietly, and fear getting asked to repeat myself. I don't go to parties, and sometimes make excuses to not hang out with people, especially my band (sorry, guys!). 

I don't know when this anxiety thing began, and I'm not too sure what to do about it. I'd really love to be a confident, chatty person, but I don't feel that I can be. I go to gigs, and I always tell myself that I'll introduce myself to someone, but I usually don't. Small talk scares me. I am the worst at small talk, because I panic and never know what to say. 

I'd like to end this post by saying that, if you know someone with any kind of anxiety, look after them. Do not pressure them into something they don't feel comfortable doing, because you will make it worse. If they want to do it, they will. And, if they ask you to order their food, or buy something for them, you do it. 
I've never personally had an anxiety attack (that I know of.. I was at a gig the other week and got pulled out because I couldn't breathe and felt faint. The owner of the club suggested it was a panic attack, but I didn't feel that panicked?), but don't push someone towards that. I cannot imagine how awful it must be. 

Look after people with anxiety.
Look after people, and look after yourself. 
- Dottie. 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Body Confidence, Feminism, Gender Stereotypes, Etc...

This morning, as I was lay in bed, watching YouTube videos and avoiding my responsibilities, I stumbled across a video which I thought was really interesting (links will be at the end of this post). I've been thinking since then about all of the issues surrounding the topics in the title. 
Now, as I'm sipping flat Pepsi, I'm going to attempt to write down my thoughts surrounding these things... 

First, let's go with feminism. That word has been used a lot recently, and I don't know if some people are entirely sure of it's meaning. 
Feminism: (noun) the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

Yep, there we go. It is about being equal, about having rights. The feminist movement can be portrayed as a bad thing, particularly on social media (e.g. Tumblr), but it really isn't. Feminism is such an important thing. I am 16 years old, and I see this. I see the need for a female to become equal to a male (because, well, we are all equal, right?)

In my life, I am aiming to become a sound engineer (live sound, audio engineer, roadie, etc.) and that is a profession that is entirely male-dominated. I have been to around 20 gigs in a year and a half, and not once have I seen a female sound engineer. If I want to make it, and fulfil my dreams, I need things to change. I need feminism. 

My favourite quote surrounding feminism is; "If you're not a feminist, you're a c**t" Jono Yates, Blitz Kids). It seems really harsh, but I feel that it is true.

Relating to feminism is the idea that women wear makeup, or dress up just to impress men? Like, no. I can only speak for myself regarding this, but I don't wear much makeup, just a bit (well, a lot) of eyeliner and some mascara. This is all I feel I need to feel confident in myself. Other people wear a lot more, e.g. foundation, to cover things they're insecure about, like maybe acne.

So many females (and some males) wear makeup for themselves. That is all. And we shouldn't have to feel pressured into wearing makeup or have to apologise when we don't wear makeup.

Leading from this, is the idea that young girls need to wear makeup, to look 'pretty' or 'attractive'. I was watching a video this morning entitled "How to get perfect skin for school" which seems innocent enough. It started off with cleansers and removing makeup, all of that simple stuff. But then the vlogger was saying 'foundation is great' etc. I don't know why i'm calling this up, but you don't need to wear foundation to look perfect, just be true to yourself. 

In the example of myself, again, I have only ever worn foundation once, and that was to my prom. Otherwise, I just don't see the point, it takes too much time, and doesn't really seem to do much for me, since I have pretty good skin, apart from the odd spot (or, like ten, recently..). But again, it's just how you feel most confident. 

Now for body confidence.. I see so many people complaining about their bodies, saying "oh, I'm so fat, cry, cry..." And this is because of the media, saying we should be stick-thin to be happy. I'm 'lucky' in the sense that I'm naturally slim, and have a fast metabolism, but sometimes it sucks because clothes never fit me right, they're always too big in some way (usually my jeans are too big around my hips..), and at gigs, because I'm so light, I get pushed around and jostled more than I'd like. I've been brought up in an environment where I am never shamed for my body, and no one in my family diets or obsessively exercises. I don't feel pressure from my awesome friends to lose weight. 

I feel that this relates back to feminism, and halts the forward movement of the movement, because we are told we should look a certain way to please men, to be attractive. It is so wrong. 

We should be taught self-respect, and we should not be forced to live in a world where we are shamed for being who we are. The media sucks. 

Finally, gender stereotypes. They are the worst. As I mentioned previously, my life goal is to be a sound engineer, or a roadie, which is a very male-dominated career. Understandably, of course, because you need to lug heavy gear around a lot, and men are just strong.. BUt then, that's gender stereotyping, because women can be hella strong.. For example, my sister does trapeze, and she is crazy strong.. So it's not just the men.. 

And then there are things like you must shop in the female section of a shop, if you're female. Like, hell no? You have the entire shop to find a perfect outfit. I'm a good example of this.. I wear guy's clothes, like, a lot. Basically all of my t-shirts are guy's shirts (brought by me, I don't just steal random men's shirts...) because they're band shirts, and because I'm tall, men's shirts just fit me better.. 

What I think I'm trying to say in this terribly worded post that I started writing months ago, is, we should not let our gender define us. We are who we are, regardless or gender, or race or religion, or anything else that we feel may set us apart. I think it's time we all realised this, and stopped shaming people for who they are, or being the way that they are.

I'll leave you with a quote from Enter Shikari, and the link to the video I was talking about at the start of this post.. 
"Look back to the past
We hail from one caste
The division will not last

Defined by your kin
Forget we share a kin
We're torn apart"
- Rou Reynolds, in Torn Apart

And the video is here (click the word here, it should work!) , and it will open in a new window for you.. Louise/SprinkleOfGlitter is so inspiring to me, because she seems so lovely, and positive, and she encourages young girls to love themselves.. I had a peek in her book the other day, and there are so many lovely things, including how to accept yourself.. I really love it!!
Okay that's all for now.. 

- Dottie. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Straight Edge and Pop Culture...

'Straight edge' is the term for a person who does not smoke, drink or do drugs.. There are obviously exceptions to the last part, like obviously painkillers can be allowed, as can prescription drugs, but the point is, you don't do anything harmful to your body.. 
Being straight edge became a thing because of the old punk shows. Under-aged (e.g. under drinking age) attendees had large 'X's drawn on the backs of their hands, to show the bartender they couldn't drink. It slowly became a rebellion to not drink, or do drugs, because in a way, it was a contradiction of who they were, and it seemed right. Straight edge and punk go hand-in-hand, really. And it's where the logo for straight edge came about - the most common way of showing it is large 'X's tattooed on the backs of hands..

Being straight edge is something I've been thinking about for over a year now, because to me, it just feels right. Alcohol has never appealed to me.. I've had the odd cider or two before, because I do like cider (it's like fizzy apple juice..), I just don't like thinking of the effects on my body. It scares me. 

Another thing is, so many people my age (16, and some are like 14) go out to a field and drink, just to get drunk.. I don't think there is anything classy about that, and the shit that happens afterwards, because someone made out with someone else, or something.. I just don't see the hassle of it all, if I'm perfectly honest.. And it scares me. Some people wake up, after being so drunk that they don't remember what happened the night before. Illnesses like dementia scare me so much, I just couldn't do that to myself. 

Then there is the smoking and drugs. I never want to smoke, I think it is really disgusting, and it makes your clothes smell, too.. Just, ew. And drugs scare the shit out of me.. I've been to some venues that are pretty tight on drugs, and it's the type of place that has barbed wire around the perimeter.. Scary places.. I just hope I never come into contact with drugs.. I never want to harm my body that way.

The reason behind my knowledge of this culture is a man called Patty Walters (from YouTube, and As Is Is). He is a straight edge vegan (XvX) who has large 'X's tattooed across his knees (ouch!). He made a vlog about being straight edge, and I really understand why he is, and I can kind of relate to some of the stuff he says. 

I was browsing Tumblr yesterday, as one does, and found that being straight edge either has the piss taken out of it (people don't understand), or it is seen as a popular statement, as something that is trendy.. I feel that a fair few people are only straight edge as a fashion statement, and not for the right reasons.. I don't know much about it, but people are straight edge if it is the right decision for themselves, not because it's trendy, or anything. 

The reason why I want to be straight edge is because I want to live my life the way I feel is right, and I just don't think I'm the type of person to drink.. I just don't like it. I also like the way you can identify as being straight edge by getting tattoos. If I were to get the 'XX' logo, I'd get it on the inside of my pinky finger on my right hand, because then it's like a promise to myself.. 

I did find these pretty cool straight edge tats on Pinterest, though.. 

Looks kinda hipster to me, though.. 

Stay positive, stay true. 
- Dottie. 

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Music Piracy...

This is becoming way more common in the modern day... It is becoming easier and easier to illegally download music, or to avoid paying for it.

To most people, it may not seem like that big a deal, but to the artist, especially if they're not able to make a living off of their music, it really matters. 

Apps are available that allow you to listen to music anywhere, without paying. for it, and it is so easy to download a song or two off of YouTube. 

What I don't understand is, why are people willing to pay £5 for a cup of coffee, that costs just pence to make, and is gone quickly, but won't pay £0.99 to legally download a song from iTunes? It doesn't make sense. This song cost the artist thousands to record/promote/produce, took hours of time to write/record/practice, and will last pretty much forever.. Buying a song costs so little, why not invest? 

The next thing, and I do this, a lot, is using Spotify Free.. I get it, hundreds of thousands of free songs to listen to, whenever you feel like it.. It's brilliant, and an awesome way of discovering new music without wasting money if you don't like it.. I'm all for it.. BUt what sucks is that the artist gets such a small amount of money for all of their hard work. I completely understand why some artists (e.g. Taylor Swift, who is all for sticking up for the little guys when regarding music streaming) have removed their catalogues/new releases from this streaming site. 
Now I have every intention to purchase loads of physical copies either vinyl or cd) of albums, but I currently have no job (due to anxiety, more on that another time), and no money. But I never illegally download music. 

We need to support the music scene, and smaller artists, because I've seen so many bands break up, or come close to it, due to lack of funds due to people streaming or pirating their music. It's wrong.. 

As I was saying earlier, this is only something that has become more common with the growth of the Internet, because, well, you wouldn't just walk into a record store and take a 12-inch vinyl, would you? It's becoming easier to basically steal music, so people do it. 

If you respect the artist, you buy the music. 
End of. 

- Dottie.