Stay Gold, Ponyboy

This week has been so draining.

After a great trip to New York where I got to go to FlameCon and NXT Takeover Brooklyn II, I caught a cold, Finn Bálor got injured and will be out for six months, and I got let go from my miserable retail job, which is relieving and frustrating all at once. It’s enough to keep a girl down for a while.

Which is why the notification that the new Butch Walker album Stay Gold was in my iTunes at 11:30 last night was a relieving sight.

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It’s something that a lot of people forget about with me in the past few years (despite my coverage of him), but Butch Walker has been my main guy for exactly ten years this summer. Ever since the summer he released The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites!, I’ve been following my fellow Cartersville native’s career through the roughest points of my life as well as his. Over those past ten years, I’ve had a lot of great memories and moments that took place in concert venues, record stores, and even my own home. Even the one who broke my heart couldn’t take Butch Walker away from me, despite the fact that’s a lot of what our relationship was built on.

Afraid of Ghosts is and was a hard album, and for good reason. Dealing directly with the death of his father, Afraid of Ghosts was cathartic, contemplative, painfully honest and sad. At the time, it was hard to imagine how one could come back from it. Been there, done that, wrote a story about it that’s coming out in October.

But as the old saying goes, it’s always the darkest before the dawn and if Afraid of Ghosts was the cold and frightening dark, Stay Gold is the dawn, shimmering and bright.

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Inspired by SE Hinton’s The Outsiders and growing up around misfit kids in a small town, Stay Gold is a return to form for Butch Walker. There’s still a lingering loss around the edges of the record, but it’s not about that. Instead, it’s about moving on and celebrating life. How even in uncertainty, there’s still hope to be had. Just listen to the heart wrenching ‘Descending’ and ‘Record Store’ to see what I mean.

Butch is a natural storyteller, that has always been true. I’ve lost count of the numerous characters he’s slipped into over the years, and how much of the story he tells is him or someone else. However, even with all of that, there’s a lot of truth in Stay Gold. About being at a point in your life where you’re ready to let go of pain and move on. ‘Irish Exit,’ another great Butch Walker Barnburner, is a great example of this. It’s a fun track that I hope to witness live at some point (I missed this tour for Takeover), but it’s also about being able to walk away from bullshit. It’s a strange lesson from a song that’s about drinking, but it works. It actually feels like a continuation of his self-released Christmas song ‘Santa’Self’ from last year in that regard.

Also, can we talk about those seamless transitions from ‘Wilder in the Heart’ to ‘Ludlow Expectations’ and ‘Mexican Coke’ to ‘Can We Just Not Talk About Last Night’? Between that and the themes in ‘Stay Gold’ and ‘Record Store,’ it feels like this is the closest I’ve seen Butch get to a concept album. I guess it could be in some ways with the Hinton influence, but maybe I should contribute more of that to the small town feeling that prevails over the album. There are plenty of albums in Butch’s catalog that are Atlanta and sometimes Nashville, but this one feels so very Cartersville.

Stay Gold is a hopeful album coming out of darkness. It’s an album that reminds that happiness can be achieved again after sadness and sometimes, that comes from getting back to your roots or being able to walk away from the things that hurt you. Once again, Butch Walker comes in in the clutch, telling me what I need to hear and delivering a great album that matches it too. I’m still sad I missed this tour, but there’s adventures to be had out there too. If there’s one thing to take away from this album, it’s that there’s life out there to be had and to shy away from it because of other reasons is the true loss.

Darling, If You Want Me To: “Purple Rain” as a Story of Vulnerability

purple-rain-movie-poster-1984-1020725364This week, as part of my coping method over the death of Prince, I went and saw Purple Rain on two separate occasions. Once on Monday at a $5 AMC about 20 minutes from my house and the other at the Plaza Theater in Atlanta last night at midnight.

I hadn’t seen Purple Rain since college when I was in my peak fascination with Prince. I remembered mostly as a glorified music video with a plot that was mostly just holding the transitions between music segments together. After watching it twice this week on a big screen (once in a quiet theater and another when everyone was singing and dancing along), I’m still certain that’s mostly correct, but I could also start to see why the film was so magic to the crowds that came to the theaters in the 80s.

If you’re not aware, Purple Rain is the story of a young man named The Kid who is the leader of a band The Revolution, who are starting to fall apart at the seams due to The Kid’s stubbornness as well as the tendencies he shares with his abusive father. He starts a relationship with a woman named Apollonia, who is also being courted by his rival Morris Day, and those same tendencies threaten his relationship with her as well. Also, Jerome Benton throws a woman in a dumpster at one point. That part has nothing to do with the actual plot.

Purple Rain is not an autobiography, but after rewatching it for the first time in six or seven years, I realized that this is probably the closest Prince ever pulled back the curtain on his own life. The story is of a young man who comes from a damaged home who is falling into the cycles of his father before him. Music is his only escape from this, but in turn, it still causes him to fall into those cycles of Francis L. before him.

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While the acting in this movie is sometimes odd and not an exact one-for-one of Prince’s life, there’s a certain vulnerability behind his performance. Of a man desperately trying to hold onto his life as it is, but as it is won’t move him forward. It isn’t until the rude awakening of his father’s suicide attempt that he even tries to make a good faith effort to apologize to the people he’s hurt. Which is why the ‘Purple Rain’ scene is so transcendent. Most of it is focused on The Kid himself as he bares his soul to the audience, both on First Avenue and in the theaters. It’s probably the closest I’ve seen a concert scene in a movie get to that visceral feeling of when a musician lays it all out there and you can feel it in the crowd that something is different about it.

It’s also significant that the ‘Purple Rain’ scene isn’t just an apology to Apollonia, but also to Wendy and Lisa. By using their music to create a sprawling epic of a song that saves their jobs and his relationship, it’s not only an apology, but also an indicator of trust. While Wendy and Lisa weren’t involved with the writing of ‘Purple Rain,’ it does parallel their rise as Prince’s trusted collaborators from 1983 to 1986. A relationship that Prince didn’t share with many others over the course of his career.

It’s fitting that when The Kid comes back for an encore, the stage seems to be covered in fresh flowers. Even more so than the scenes with Apollonia during ‘I Would Die 4 U,’ that seems to be the true signifier of a new start.

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Prince was a rare and private man. One full of contradictions and complexities you can’t even begin to crack in this lifetime. However, Purple Rain stands the test of time not because it is a vanity project, but rather a moment where he let you into the vulnerability inside his heart. It’s bizarre, beautiful and maybe I don’t give it enough credit for what it manages to get across in two short hours.

Jerome still throws a woman in a dumpster though. I will never get over that.

Parties Weren’t Meant to Last

Yesterday, it felt like the universe decided it had a personal vendetta against me and decided to just punch me as hard as it could and then kick me while I was down.

After staying up way too late following the response to the death of wrestling icon Chyna, I was told by one of my coworkers in the middle of a shift that Prince, one of my favorite artists of all time, had passed away as well.

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 1985 file photo, Prince performs at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Prince, widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive and influential musicians of his era with hits including "Little Red Corvette," ''Let's Go Crazy" and "When Doves Cry," was found dead at his home on Thursday, April 21, 2016, in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist. He was 57. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 18, 1985 file photo, Prince performs at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Prince, widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive and influential musicians of his era with hits including “Little Red Corvette,” ”Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry,” was found dead at his home on Thursday, April 21, 2016, in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist. He was 57. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing, File)

Naturally, the news just broke me and I tried my best to keep it together at work. My love affair with Prince started back in 2008 when I started college and acquired my own turntable to listen to vinyl records that I had rescued from my dad’s old collection. Purple Rain was one of those records and I was hooked. While I haven’t heard every single song of his giant discography, I did start collecting Prince albums both in vinyl and CD whenever money allowed. I even went to see Morris Day and the Time on New Years Eve 2009 because of all of that. My life since that first listen of Purple Rain in college has had a steady undercurrent of Prince. He was even at the top of my bucket list with seeing him live. His last concert was in Atlanta, but I didn’t get to go because it had been initially scheduled for when I was going up to the Carolinas for NXT shows.

That was the punch. Here comes the kick.

Later that night, while I was still stewing in my feelings about His Royal Badness, I checked the NXT Lowell hashtag expecting an appearance of The Bullet Club and instead got news that Finn Bálor had lost the NXT Championship to Samoa Joe, ending his historic reign at 292 days. I know if it was any other day, I would have been mad, but the emotional toll that had weighed on me after everything just made it absolutely devastating. Finn and Bayley were MY champs. Hell, they STILL are to me. The beginning of their reigns coincide with a big revelation I had last year and to see them end within a couple of weeks of each other has been kind of a lot to process.

[WWE.com]

[WWE.com]

But as Prince said, parties weren’t meant to last.

Really, that’s how I’ve tried to start coming to a place of okayness in the past twenty four hours, heartbroken as I still am about the two.

So much about Prince was about having fun with life. Because things here are hard, so why not make art, dance a little and have some adventures while we’re alive?

I didn’t get to go to that final concert and I’ll be sad about it forever now. However, I don’t regret going to see NXT in the slightest. I got to see Shinsuke Nakamura live two nights in a row as well as Asuka and American Alpha as the new champs. I got to see No Way Jose before he got on TV and fall in love with him and see the future of the brand in Manny Andrade. I saw a new fire in Carmella away from Enzo and Cass. I got to see Finn Bálor’s last ride as the champ, helping shine spotlights on Nakamura, Tye Dillinger and Austin Aries and even sing a little goodbye song to Baron Corbin before he shipped all the way off to the main roster. I got to see him do the world’s most ridiculous Ric Flair impression in North Carolina. I even got to Too Sweet him as he looked at me with recognition and told me I looked great in my demon dress. It was worth every mile, every penny, and every minute.

[WWE.com]

[WWE.com]

I don’t know what the future holds. For Finn, for me, for anyone I love dearly both personally and artistically. I just know that this party wasn’t meant to last and that you have to make the best of it while you can. Prince certainly did with his entire career, Finn did with his title run and his NXT tenure, and lord knows I’m trying every day.

Things get rough. Things get sad, especially when things important to you end, but it doesn’t stop making them important to who you are. Carry that with you.

I’m sad now, but I’m grateful. Grateful that I got to be on the same planet as Prince for 25 years. Grateful that I got to partake in his music and that it became so important to my life. Grateful that the reason I didn’t get to see him was because I was doing something else fun that I wanted to do. Grateful that a champion like Finn with all his graciousness and his heart and soul right there on his sleeves got to be one for so long and that his future looks especially bright if a bit uncertain right now.

Tonight, I listen to some of my Prince records while working on reviews that I’m behind on. Maybe I’ll watch some wrestling later too. Partake those things I love. Because maybe this party wasn’t meant to last, but dammit, I’m going to enjoy it while I’m here.

I’m Not Looking To Be The Queen of Smark Mountain

I swear to god, this isn’t just going to become a pro-wrestling blog, but I got something to get off my chest.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a couple of NXT shows in Concord, NC and Columbia, SC. They were super fun, as usual, and getting to see three new champs AND Shinsuke Nakamura in action is really cool. Of course, I was wearing my Bálor Dress to both shows as I did in Gainesville and Nashville. I had plenty of people compliment me and take my picture. One of the camera guys from NXT even asked me why I made it, so there’s video of that somewhere in the WWE archive right now.

However, there was also a series of moments that didn’t really sit right with me. There was one guy there who kept talking to me and taking pictures with me. He wasn’t stalker-y or anything, just very enthusiastic, but something about our interactions didn’t sit right with me. Especially after I had been objectified by a rando on Twitter earlier that week for wearing a Cesaro shirt, and then was told by friends to take it as a compliment.

Today, I think I figured it out why it was really bothering me.

There’s a girl on Twitter named Susie who’s a huge Roman Reigns fan. Today, she posted an amazing picture of her with Reigns at a Wrestlemania Axxess meet and greet where he was “drinking” from a Smark Tears mug made by Kate Foray. It literally made my day.

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Screen cap because WordPress hates me right now. Tweet is here.

(I also own that mug and was drinking from it during the main event of Wrestlemania 32. Mmmm… salty.)

Plenty of people got a laugh, but of course, there are the people it was directed towards who lost their minds. Either over the watermark she put on the photo or calling her a “stalker” from her posts on Twitter and Instagram.

I started following her on Twitter and Instagram and I didn’t see anything “stalker-y” at all. Lots of photos from Axxess with other wrestlers as well as Roman, barricade selfies, photos of her fave Roman in the vein of MCM posts, and selfies of her in wrestling shirts. Basically stuff any young woman does on Instagram now. Hell, I do stuff like that on the regular in regards to Finn. My Twitter and Instagram bios even say “Bulletproof” in them. You can check. I’ll wait.

But when Finn retweeted my dress or I started showing up to NXT shows wearing it, no one ever called me a “stalker” or has said anything about the obscene amount of merch I own of his. In fact, I get PRAISED. Sometimes uncomfortably.

Then it occurs to me: I don’t get those insults because I like someone who is “acceptable.” Because people on the internet have deemed Finn as a favorite, I’m less likely to get the “You only like him because you think he’s attractive” retort than if I was more of a Roman Reigns mark. (Which, hey, I’m one of those too. Surprise!)

Which is fucking bullshit.

There’s something I quote from my favorite writer Kelly Sue Deconnick all the time when people ask her about the whole “women as competition/there can be only one” thing that often gets placed on women in a very public position. She says something along the lines of “No one wants to be the queen of shit mountain.” Which translates out to that no one wants to be the top of something that only exists to tear down.

This is how I’m feeling right now. I don’t want to be regarded as one of the “good” woman fans because some dweebs on the internet find me more acceptable than others because I like Finn Bálor or wear Cesaro shirts to work. It’s that whole “You’re not like those other girls” thing in effect, which is dehumanizing and awful for everyone. I’m not like other girls because other girls are their own persons like I am.

Susie doesn’t need my support judging by how well she’s handling the whole thing on Twitter, but I stand with her and other fans like her. I stand with any other woman fan who gets disregarded for any varying number of reasons. We’re fans just as much as you, putting our money down for merch, shows and sometimes even cosplay. We’re not “stalkers” for posting pics from meet and greets any more than you are. We’re not 2D dolls to imprint your desires to have a girlfriend who likes wrestling as much as you on. We exist, we’re not going anywhere, and we’re certainly not looking for smark approval.

A Year Since Wrestlemania 31: What Have I Learned?

Hey, sorry for the lack of updates this month. As I’ve been working at a new job, the adjustment period has been a bit rough and exhausting, not leaving me with much mental room to do writing things.

However, since I am currently in my days off recovery period and today is a bit of a special day, I think I can pull it off.

The world turned upside down...

The world turned upside down…

It’s been a year since Wrestlemania 31, which officially capped off my first week of being into wrestling. At that point, I only wanted to watch it for the match between AJ and Paige and The Bella Twins, but I fell all the way in from the start of that Intercontinental Title match that ended up being the last championship Daniel Bryan would ever win to the moment Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract in the main event. It was insane and magical and I never wanted it to end.

It’s been a year. Wrestlemania 32 is on Sunday. What have I learned in this year?

That falling in love with a particular wrestler can either be instantaneous or take some time. I knew from the second Finn Bálor walked through the curtain dressed like a dragon at Takeover Unstoppable that he was going to be my guy. I just didn’t know to what extent yet. On the flip side, I feel like if you told me a year ago that I was going to love the Bella Twins and be sad that Brie was going to retire, I would have thought you were lying. And yet, sometime last summer, with all the Team Bella shenanigans, I realized that was absolutely 100% true. I even regularly wear a Fearless Nikki snapback now.

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That as fun as wrestling can be on TV, nothing beats seeing it live. Whether it’s in a rec center gym in Gainesville, Florida, a Ring of Honor show where you have no idea what’s going on, a theater in Nashville where you ran away to for a few days after getting laid off, or any of the times you take MARTA a few stops over to Philips Arena. Nothing really beats the way a room shakes at certain chants or lights up when you only have cell phone flashlights to go on. The Undertaker taking forever to get to the ring doesn’t seem like long enough when you’re seeing it in person. A giant man getting tossed into a metal barrier right in front of you can be just as terrifying as Mojo Rawley running around the ring with a small child after a victory. That you can know that the future holds something for someone from the way they act during the match, but you just have to ride the moment while you’re in it and try not to guess what that future is. I may not be going to Mania this year, but I got two NXT house shows the week after and I’m aiming for Orlando next year. And Takeover Brooklyn 2.

That even if a guy you like isn’t your guy, it still sucks when he has to retire.

That most pro-wrestling fans are the most unreasonable assholes you will ever encounter. This isn’t just for the ones you meet on the internet, but at shows as well. The guy who told me that Naomi disgusts him and that she would be better if her body had Alicia Fox’s face still haunts my dreams. Still, with any fandom, it’s best to surround yourself with people you can talk with. Women fans are way more fun anyway.

That pro-wrestling can tell an amazing and emotional story if everything comes together right. Bayley and Sasha is the example I go to the most, but I saw it in matches with Sasha and Becky at the first Takeover I ever watched. Or Rollins and Ambrose at Money in the Bank. Or every goddamn thing with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens that’s inevitably going to main event Wrestlemania one day. Wrestling can be over-the-top and dramatic, yes, but there are times where it all just comes together.

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[diva-dirt.com]

That pro-wrestling can be downright inspiring. I’ve said that NXT especially helped finish the job that Carol Danvers started, helping me get over a relationship I clinged to long after it should have died. Bayley and Sami have reminded me that my dreams are worth it, especially when it comes to doing it on my terms. Finn and his demon have helped me with learning how to not be afraid to get angry, and how being Bulletproof doesn’t mean being invulnerable, unfeeling, or unkind. Not to mention how Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch speak to my soul as well with their own drive and personalities. It’s weird to say I identify with both the face and the heel, but I do. And if I can finally afford to do kickboxing lessons, it’ll all be wrestling’s fault.

That even with all of that, it still never hurts to just lay back and enjoy the fun. Because that’s ultimately what these people are here to do. Entertain us. Sometimes it comes across as story, and sometimes it comes across with unicorn horns and trombones.

To a year of loving this weird sports soap opera. May I get many more years out of it.

An Ode To The Women Who’ve Shaped Me, Past and Present, Fictional and Non

My first favorite song that wasn’t Disney was ‘Waterfalls’ by TLC. I don’t really know what it means until I’m much older, but the way T-Boz, Chilli and Left Eye sang with such expression resonated really hard with me.

I still remember how hard it hurt when Left Eye died, even though I didn’t really appreciate the things she did for another few years.


I must be six or seven when I first hear the Spice Girls say the words “girl power.”

It feels like a bullet in my teeth. Something dangerous. Something awesome.

I don’t understand feminism then, but I understand that I’m powerful.

I wanted to be Posh. I’m probably more Ginger.


My Aunt Heather who is really my Cousin is a lot like my Sister.

She’s three years older and we go everywhere together it seems like.

We don’t get along.

She makes fun of me, I feel like we’re not intellectually matched. But we like a lot of the same things. She even ends up in music theater camp for a couple of years with me after I mention my mom signing me up for it.

She’s constantly there in my earliest memories.

We don’t really talk anymore, but I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without her in it.


Sailor Moon feels like a revolution.

Here is Serena, a girl full of power who fights in skirts and with the power of love. Her best friends mean everything to her. Even lonely Amy, the know it all who isolated herself because knowledge was her power and people didn’t understand that.

I get a Sailor Mercury tattoo nearly twenty years later. I call “Amy” Ami like she was always meant to be.


I take more interest in the girl characters in cartoons than I ever do the boys. Which is painful when there are so few of them.

The Powerpuff Girls in all their youthful energy and toughness feel like they’re made just for me.

For years I try to pick a favorite, but wisdom is knowing you can be all three.

Bubbles still holds a special place for me though. She let me know I had mail for years.


Ms. Schultz shows me kindness in a new school district, and an understanding that I’m a messed up kid.

Ms. Weber encourages creativity to the point I wrap my parents broom up in tin foil and take it to class as my Nimbus 2000 or hosting “coffee shop” readings in the dark confines of her classroom.

Ms. Colston is the first to teach me about the different kinds of intelligence, and defends me to the other kids when I take a bit longer in Algebra.


Even though I dress like a tomboy, so much of the manga I like is the sparkliest shit.

Books like Tokyo Mew Mew and Cardcaptor Sakura fill the times between classes. There’s also books like Azumanga Daioh, filled with smart and funny women that make me laugh.

Occasionally Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha cross my hands and I have to pretend I’m not mentally scanning the way Rumiko Takahashi draws breasts.

Still, my favorite ends up being Miyuki-Chan in Wonderland, a short book by CLAMP about a girl who gets sent to dimensions where beautiful women try to take her clothes off.

And I wonder why it took me until I was 16 to realize I’m queer.


I’m 13 and Josie and the Pussycats is the greatest movie I have ever seen.

It’s a story of rock and roll and friendship and girls in cat ears.

Everything about it is great, but I love Valerie the most.

It takes me a couple of years to realize that the way I crow about Rosario Dawson is a crush.


I never expected to like Legally Blonde, but it persists still to this day.

Woods Comma Elle. Our Lady of Self-Expression. Of not adhering to the labels people give you. Of pink.

Of how living well is always the best revenge.


I try to model myself after Kelly Clarkson in the ‘Miss Independent’ video in 2003.

Skinny scarves and chunky blonde highlights for days.

I don’t look good in it, but spoiler alert, no one does.

Kelly is so cool to me then. Even now, I still feel a kindred nod towards her whenever I see her in media.


Ed is closer to the age I am when I start watching Cowboy Bebop and some ways, I’m like her.

It’s Faye that stays with me though.


As a kid, I related to Hermione Granger a bit too closely. An insufferable know-it-all with bushy hair who adults like but most of her fellow kids hate.

As I get older though, it’s Luna Lovegood I cling to a bit more. The “weird” one who sees things a bit differently and acts a bit strangely, but is just as smart as anyone else. The lonely one who only a few people ever truly “get.”


Mrs. Queen is sarcastic and sometimes harsh, but she’s easily the best lit teacher I had in high school.

She introduces me to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and I feel my life change forever reading that book. She also shows me Like Water for Chocolate, The House of the Spirits, and Their Eyes Were Watching God. These are the stories that stick with me the most in high school.

Well, that and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, but I found that one on my own.


There’s a point in my life I thought I knew everything and that I loved Frank Miller. Perhaps it was my own projecting of how much I loved Sin City as a movie. Miho and Gail forever, man…

But there’s one character he made that persists with me. A scrappy redheaded Robin named Carrie Kelley who proves herself. She is strong and capable. She is exactly what Bruce needs.

She’s still my favorite Robin.


I know now how problematic Joss Whedon can be, but there’s still a part of me who wants to hug the kindred spirit of Willow close to my heart and tell her it’ll all be okay for us queer pagan girls in the end.

I want to bake cookies for Kaylee and decorate holy spaces with Inara.

I hope Priya found happiness in the end.


My Gran just might be the greatest woman I know.

All fire and muscle in a compact form, but still with the softest heart you’ll ever meet.

She was never bothered by all the times I cursed around her all the times I drove her home.

All I have left of her is a bear that sings Jesus Loves Me and it never feels like enough.

I wish I had asked her for more stories.

I wish I remembered where her grave is.


Every time I sing ‘Valerie’ now, I think about how I could have been kinder to you instead of following the crowd in mocking your addictions.

You were my guardian angel writing my second comic. I stole your picture from the inside of a Rolling Stone from the Gold Tone Factory in Florida shortly after I got into the 27 Anthology.

I hope you rest well, Amy. I wish I could have just stayed the way I did in high school admiring you instead of being filled with regret.


“What do you hear, Starbuck?”

I look towards the sky. For the Easterly View that Rosalin earned in her final days. For a glimpse of Six out of the corner of my eye. For a look in Dee’s eyes before she pulled the trigger. For confirmation that maybe Kara Thrace was a Goddess after all.

“Nothing but the rain.”


Martha Jones is my favorite companion and I will always defend her.

It just took me longer than I would like to admit to realize the power of the words “I am good.”


I’ve written all I can about Dawn. I don’t know what else I really can say.

I want so desperately to laugh about it later. For her to belong to the people who saw her potential and not the toxic man who holds her down.

We can’t always get what we want though. Chains and roses, after all.


My mom says she finds me inspirational. I always get embarrassed by that.

My mom is frustrating. The time we lived together after college nearly ruined our relationship forever.

My mom reminds me with the way she chased what she wanted after her divorce that it’s never too late for anything.

I love my mom lots and I miss her too. By god, I just can’t live with her.


Shilo Wallace should be the one who speaks to me, being an angsty wannabe goth.

However, it was always Mag. All poise and sadness, wanting desperately to prevent others from falling into the same traps she did. Like a tragic fairy godmother.

Repo! makes me respect Paris Hilton though. Something I never thought I would do at that point. Maybe this is a turning point.

“Chase the morning, yield for nothing…”


Kate Kane exists in watercolors in my head forever.

Kate Kane is blood red and porcelain, rage and determination. Strength and honor.

Kate Kane always deserved better.

Kate Kane doesn’t exist by your rules.


In a world filled with subspace highways and half-ninjas, it was always Kim Pine that stayed with me the most.

The grumpy one that people always ignored or trampled over. With the violent fantasies in her head, but a terse and sarcastic comment in actual response.

Roxy is my favorite Scott Pilgrim character, but Kim is just who I am.


I lived with a unicorn named Alena for three years.

She was glitter and bombast and witchcraft.

It could feel very easy to be run over by her sometimes, but she let me push back. We collided well as sisters in arms.

From her, I started to learn not to give a fuck.


God, Lady Gaga.

I don’t get how people act like she just now has talent and substance. It was always there.

When I didn’t have Dawn anymore, I dressed like Gaga. I still felt beautiful.


My mom blasted ‘So What’ a lot when she got divorced. I responded with ‘Mean.’

It feels lame to say, but Pink helped me through a lot in the past eight years. Whether it was getting used to my parents not being together anymore or crying necessary tears over stupid men.

When I’m sad, I imagine myself flying like her.


“I-I-I’m an alien from outer space” were the first words I heard Janelle Monae sing and I still believe it.

Most would balk at their record store find become famous, but I do not. Her message is one that needs to be heard.

She comes in peace, but she means business. She always has.


“What would you be if you weren’t afraid,” they ask.

“I’d be Mabel Pines,” I respond.


I start watching Adventure Time because of the gender swap episode with Fionna and Cake, but I end up falling in love with Bubblegum and Marceline along the way.

All my favorite episodes have Rebecca Sugar’s name attached to them. Which is probably how I knew I was going to love Steven Universe from the outset.

Someday I’ll get back to learning the ukulele so I can sing like her.


Katniss Everdeen breaks my heart a million ways, but her story is still an important one. One that people somehow still missed.

It was never about Peeta or Gale. It was always down to her.


Samantha is a fae, I’m certain of it.

Sharon is a bit more concrete. She wouldn’t have it any other way, but her edges are still glitter.

Valerie is a puppet come to life with the saddest voice you’ll ever hear.

Sarah is circus made flesh.

Megan Jean is whiskey and wine, even though she doesn’t partake.

Crystal Bright and Unwoman may actually be witches. The jury is still out.


Princess Adrienne is the princess I always wanted as a kid, so I make it my duty to tell others of her too.

Of her and Bedelia and Raven and her all girl pirate crew.


I’m one of those Against Me! fans who didn’t listen to the band until Laura Jane Grace came out, but I literally do not care.

Her voice is rage and fire and sadness.

I’ll never forget how ‘Osama Bin Laden as the Crucified Christ’ is like an atomic bomb going off in a mosh pit.


The Girl of the Desert Zones opened doors for me.

Her and Blue, with their quiet tale of growing up and rebellion.

Through them, a new world opened up for me.

One of pages, ink and superpowers.

One where anything was possible, and there was still work to be done.


The glass shards of my heart couldn’t hold together.

Vengeance could have been the call. Ginny was there all along. I could have seen red in the shade of her creator’s hair.

Instead came Carol. To lift me up and help me turn those glass shards into stars.

When Kelly Sue told me I’m perfect, I can believe her most days now.


Kate Bishop taught me how to catch arrows in my teeth.

It’s a pretty cool party trick, but not one you should always use.

Still, you don’t have to have super powers to be super.


I can’t look at anything about the women’s match in Brooklyn without crying seven months later.

I know the outcome. I watched it live. I’ve seen Bayley in person twice since then and Sasha once. Bayley even gave me a hug.

Still, I cry. Because it’s a dream come true. Not just for Bayley, but Sasha and so many other women as well. It’s the ultimate underdog story. It’s history. It’s a culmination. It’s the hope and knowledge that whatever your passionate about is worth making happen.

AJ Lee may have brought me to wrestling, but Bayley and Sasha Banks made me understand the true power of it.

I Hate Smarks

Man, people have been really trying it with me lately. First was the whole “this doesn’t sound like you” thing, then someone stepped to me and mine on Facebook in such a way that I could only describe it as a When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong segment from Chappelle’s Show.

And then of course is the endless Roman Reigns hate that’s been spewing from the IWC since Sunday. Just a bit ago, there was a fanpost at the top of Cageside Seats titled “I Hate Roman Reigns” that I only skimmed over because it was the same shit, different day for the anti-Roman brigade.

[Twitter]

[Twitter]

I’m going to be honest with you here, I actually like Roman Reigns. (I also like the Usos and Brie Bella, both of whom the IWC tells me I’m wrong for liking, and give no real care about notorious homophobe AJ Styles, but that’s beside the point.) I like Roman Reigns because his story is one I’ve been following since I got into wrestling nearly a year ago and I was devastated to see Sheamus cash in on him at Survivor Series. He’s a charming guy who reminds me a lot of Captain Marvel, my favorite superhero ever, in his resilience and personality. His friendship with Dean Ambrose reminds me of my own friendship with my best friend, and he’s consistently put on solid matches that have been super fun to watch since Mania last year. Not to mention looking at his face is like staring into the sun with how pretty he is.

But even if I didn’t like Roman Reigns, I would probably be more annoyed by the smark hate for him at this point than his actual persona. If it was just criticism of booking or the character, I would understand that. However, it’s more like blind hatred, vitriol and entitlement at this point. It’s basically saying, “Roman Reigns isn’t my guy, so therefore I will put blinders on to his improvements and fan following, talk constant shit, and quote a CM Punk interview from two years ago.”

And I’ll admit, I briefly bought into the thought that maybe Dean Ambrose would win the main event at Fastlane, but that’s because I didn’t even consider that with all the buildup that him vs. Brock Lesnar would be the outcome of that. Roman has been after the Authority since The Shield broke up. This is how things are supposed to go. This is Triple H putting himself in a direct position to put one of his original NXT kids over.

[WWE]

[WWE]

It isn’t just Roman though. It’s making statements that Nikki Bella was reckless and caused her own injury while understanding why Daniel Bryan and Edge had to retire. Or saying “good riddance” when Brie Bella says she’s retiring when she’s going through serious shit right now and deserves all the respect for making the choice to get out while she’s still able. Or being jerks about wrestlers kids like. Or saying the WWE forced Bryan to retire to push Reigns when the man was admitting he was hiding concussion induced seizures from the medical team. Or chant “We Want Sasha” for weeks, but then chant “boring” as soon as she has a match. Or any other piece of irrational bullshit you’d read from people who consider David Meltzer a serious source.

It’s not like I don’t know fandom irrationality. I’ve been in various fandoms and communities since I was 12. I have been the irrational fan. However, it seems like since I have gotten into fandoms that are populated by majority men that this irrationality comes with an extra side of vitriol and occasionally sexism and racism. Comics are really bad about this, but wrestling might just be the worst I’ve encountered.

I know I have my own smark tendencies. I don’t watch Total Divas because I’ve never liked those type of reality shows and NXT is my favorite brand in the WWE because I prefer the shorter runtime every week, the match quality and the more fast paced style. However, I fully admit that these are just personal preferences. I don’t use those to act like I’m right all the time because I had that mentality when I was 16, realized it kind of sucks, and have been trying to grow out of it. It seems like smarks haven’t though and just want to act as if they’re the gatekeepers, even though they’re buying into what the company is selling just as much. That’s probably what makes it the most annoying. I don’t make a lot of money, so I can’t imagine buying tickets to things or paying $9.99 a month just to complain incessantly about it while you’re there/later.

[hiitsmekevin.tumblr.com]

[hiitsmekevin.tumblr.com]

I don’t ask for a unified opinion. I don’t ask to be a big happy family of fans. I just wish this toxic vitriol wasn’t right at the forefront. Roman Reigns isn’t you’re guy, so you’re going to whine on the internet like a bunch of children and say you’re cancelling your network subscription like you did last year? Okay then, because I’m going to be over here drinking smark tears like a fine wine as Triple H and Roman Reigns put on a hell of a main event at Mania that you’re still going to watch. See you in 40 days.

Oh, and one more thing? Stop tagging Sami Zayn in all your Roman Reigns hate on Tumblr. It’s bad enough that you do this to Dean “President and Founder of the Roman Reigns Fanclub” Ambrose, but Sami Zayn loves everything and would be very disappointed in your pettiness. If you can’t be a decent human being for your own reasons, at least do it for Sami Zayn.