Sunday, March 18

Confession // Coming out as a Manic Pixie Stoner Babe

In the past year, I've been sort of building an identity online as @manicpixiestonerbabe -- cannabis lover and boss-babe-style professional presenting my experience as a new stoner babe in the women's, feminist, and publishing communities of Portland.

What’s A Stoner Babe?

Anyone uses cannabis as a tool for self empowerment and care, as a tool for positive change in their bodies, lives, families, and communities. I first encountered the term stoner babe at work, during development for the Stoner Babe Coloring Book.I was instantly in love.There are many different kinds, but my basic definition is any person who feels empowered (physically, emotionally, sexually, etc.) by their cannabis consumption. Though I refer most often to women as stoner babes (thanks, patriarchy), it really isn’t a gendered term -- any person that feels like a babe (by any definition you choose) and uses cannabis as a tool of self-empowerment can easily claim this label for themselves; no vagina required.
The only thing not allowed is dicks -- not having one; being one. Racist, sexist, bigoted, or otherwise hateful dicks need not apply.
~excerpted from my zine, Ganja Bruja

and Manic Pixie?

Okay, so, I am almost but not really ashamed that I spent a long time as a devoted “manic pixie dream girl” trainee.
If you don’t know what that is, it’s fun to google; but the base is that a “MPDG” is a commonly used character trope used in media, involving a “wild & free” young woman who has little to no actual character or personality beyond her written quirks, and contributes little to the actual plot, action, or ending beyond their effects on the (male) lead.
Manic Pixie Dream Girls are eccentric and whimsical, with some deep sadness that the young, sensitive romantic hero has to solve, or a fatal illness he has to ultimately experience & grow from (blegh).
These women often aren't given the chance to have real-life wants, needs, personalities, and flaws, and instead are generally focused on as simply a whimsical counterpart to the lead, to be romantically and/or unhealthily interested in.

Some easily recognizable examples are Sam in “Garden State”, Marla in “Fight Club”, Dharma in “Dharma & Greg”, Claire in “Elizabethtown”, and anyone Zoey Deschanel has ever played, like ever. You could also include Alaska from John Green’s Looking for Alaska, or Ramona in the Scott Pilgrim comic series (though that plays with & questions the mpdg dynamic at the same time).

As an adult, it’s taken a long ass time to sift through my own patterns, experiences, and personality quirks and weed out the ones I’d picked up for the sake of aesthetics or charm. After all this reflection and memory-laning, I'd like to think I'll be a better person for it all. Either way, I'm owning it.

Going back to the original purpose of this blog, I'm fascinated by the way I actually kind of see this change in FLB's work too! From the semi-manic-pixie-ish Weetzie in the very very beginning and the whimsical, sensory similar tales, to the young women seeking growth and change in themselves and figuring their shit out (Hanged Man to Elementals & more) to coming to terms with the truths of themselves and their wants, needs, experiences, and stark realities (Beyond the Pale Motel), and working from there.

Monday, December 18

Life Updated

A roundup of some interesting developments in my life since, which will be explored further in the future:

  • I've gotten (and thrived in) a job at an indie publishing house here in Portland, which I find significant because I spent four straight years of job-searching on the east coast to literally only two job interviews, while Microcosm opened their doors to me almost as soon as I got here.
  • I'm currently working as their director of publicity, a role I find fascinating and challenging (sometimes too much so for my social anxiety) and kind of fun.
  • I've become, and over time started coming out as, quite a stoner, which I maybe never would have done before. In the last two years, with my lifestyle constantly changing, responsibilities growing, mental health destabilizing, and my personality shifting, cannabis has become more of a part of my life, health, well-being, and (oddly/awesomely enough) job.
  • I've been horrible at deadlines and finishing projects this year. Wish me luck with that in 2018 cause it's gonna drive me into the ground if I don't get it in check. I've got shit to get done.
  • I did, however, have a story published in a feminist bicycle science fiction collection, which is probably something I never thought I'd say in this reality. The book is here, and the submission call for the next collection is here (its theme is Dragons).

Wednesday, November 15

Catching Up

On this blog's origins:

I created this blog for the reason I've found many people make zines: to get my passion and frustration out onto a "page" and put something out into the world I wished existed already. In this case, what I wanted it to be was just a curated collection (and ideally source) of inspiration, centered on the things I felt were missing so much in my life -- happiness, beauty, community, stability -- and the places I looked for help.
The books and authors that inspired me to be a better writer or person. The characters I emulated and found hope in. The stupid, whimsical shit I did to get myself through depression. This didn't always lead to great content, but for me it was a tool to create something, and to get out all the things in my head.
Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't.
I sometimes imagine putting it all into a zine, calling it the Diaries of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

But things don't stop till they stop for good, and all those coping mechanisms could only get me so far.
After college my life sort of stopped moving forward. By 2014, I needed change. In 2015 we moved to Portland, and it was a wild, challenging year. 2016 was the fucking worst, right? -- mine in particular filled mostly with stress, poverty, and isolation -- leading to a 2017 that has been like a punch-in-the-gut roller-coaster of anxiety, depression, progress, and optimism, as I deal with the fallout of my choices and figure out how to get all the pieces stacked the way I want (now that I have a few pieces, that is). I have a solid job that encourages me to try harder and grow along with it, and I make about as much money as I owe each month, for the first time ever.
I've also developed quite a new.... sense of self -- that is to say... I smoke a lot of pot now, and I've spent a shit ton of time just thinking about and figuring out myself. More on that and cannabis later, though, because it's actually really important.

On that note, I really want to update this blog enough to reflect the changes in my perspective over the last few years. I want to share what I've learned and the empowerment I've found in the last few years, and reflect on how my experiences were shaped. So no matter what the ultimate destiny is for this site, I plan to post regularly and keep this updated for at least 6 months, then go from there.
So, things I want to share:
My coming to terms with my identity.
My realizations of manipulative behavior in myself, & related efforts.
The ups & downs & isolation of moving across the country.
Some random obsessions I've had.
Some projects I've been working on.
In keeping with this blog's theme, I will eventually gladly gush about new Francesca Lia Block books. Beyond The Pale Motel was fucking beautiful -- a reflection of classic FLB style with heart-wrenching depth and emotional clarity i fell head over heels for. She also has a few new things im excited about, so more on all that later.
Id also like to go back to some basics in that area -- there are lots of books I never covered.

Monday, October 2


On some lonely nights I feel like the last three years have been an intense, long-winded manic episode, followed almost immediately by an intense period of depression and horrified anxiety upon waking up.

The sugar high of dropping everything and going somewhere completely new took two years to crash, I guess.
I think about what my life was like then; working retail and food service, just getting by, desperately trying to figure out what kind of hustle I was good at because my expensive degree was getting me nowhere.
The exact thing that made us finally leave, I don't really remember, which bolsters my mania theory a bit. But mania or not, some kind of adrenaline kept me going for so long now, I'm so tired. I'm constantly looking to settle -- which feels so... different.
I try to think about gratitude, because of all the people and circumstances that were critical to almost every step along the way. The luck I've had; the chances I've been given; the people who've picked me up when I've needed it.
I wonder now what I was thinking, to pack up and gamble everything away like that.
Then I remember
that I only have anything to lose now because I took the chance then.

Tuesday, September 26

Homesickness. Part 1.

I found this entry in my "It's Gonna Be Okay" journal from 4/1/15: the first day of our first full month in Portland, thousands of miles from home. I've edited it a  teeny bit for sense and flow, because nobody writes pretty journal entries.

Keep yourself busy. Keep your mind off of the distance. Cleaning is good. And reading. Meditating is not. Go for walks. When you're inside you may have the feeling of unreality; as if outside is just your world. As if, if you walked out your front door, you could be there, in that familiar place with familiar buildings and familiar people. This may also be the case in national chain businesses. Any fast food place could be the one there. From inside, the unfamiliar world doesn't exist.  Explore. Being surrounded by new things grounds you, helps you adapt because it's real.
Hang on to the people you know, stay close without using them as a crutch -- they are your connection to home. Don't let them go.
Making new friends will feel impossible. Like trying to pick a movie to watch when nothing looks good enough and you're not sure what you're into anyway, and what if it sucks or you can't focus or they're so horrible you leave traumatized or scarred? Do it anyway.
Try not to overthink others' lack of communication. Imagine everyone else is going through some version of what you are. Refrain from judging or making assumptions.
Spend just enough time on social media to feel connected to those you care about. Refreshing the screen every 90 seconds to see if there's anything new will remind you of your isolation. Don't do it.
Make a routine. An exercise in the mornings. Washing all of the dishes before bed.
Try not to drink much, or smoke too much weed. It increases the chance of dysphoria, and forgetting what's real.
When it all feels too real, too different, spend your free time inside. Watch tv. Stay in bed. Remind yourself that you're still you, and you don't always have to be overwhelmed by the newness. This is not vacation, it's your life. It can be slower, it can be lazy. You can still order Chinese takeout and binge watch Netflix.  But keep the windows open, let the light in, let the real world in a little bit. You still need to remember that you're here. That your life can be normal here.

Monday, February 27

Bicycles. Feminists. Science Fiction.


I'm not sure I ever thought I'd say something like this, but I'm hella excited to be included in this upcoming sci-fi collection, Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories In Extreme Futures, being put out by Microcosm Publishing in the summer, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that is still going on (only ~2 days left to help out!). I'm in love. Disclaimer, I'm in it and I work there, but still, it's actually good. I promise. Check out that cover!

It's a really cool book with a kickass cover, and I genuinely encourage you to track one down now or later. As a person obsessed with progressive/feminist speculative fiction, AND as a woman, AND a woman of color preparing for life in Trump's amurika right now, a lot of these stories particularly impressed me.

So here's an excerpt from my story, "Shelter," but go check out the kickstarter and be a part of something rad...

My boots squeaked in short bursts as I paced. I’d been late before, when a wreck on the overstate shut down the outer neighborhoods. A lot of us got in trouble that day. It was made clear that it wouldn’t be forgiven a second time.

Now it was so late they’d probably already filed the dismissal paperwork. I’d probably get a phone call in an hour to inform me of my termination, then another from the Department of Women’s Services reminding me that a career change meant I’d have to re-file my Transportation and Needs paperwork.

No work meant no reason to travel. It meant no gas rations and barely enough transit slips to get to the store. It meant they’d send pamphlets to my house every week, reminding me of the many religious centers where I could apply for medical, financial, and spiritual services.

Not getting to work in the next fifteen damned minutes meant another string of months confined to my house, my neighborhood, my brother’s church. Even walking to the grocery store would require passing a checkpoint.
Izaac needed to get home now.
It was six when the phone rang.

Monday, December 19

Kickstarting Self-Empowerment with Microcosm Publishing

This month, I've been promoted to Publicity Director over at Microcosm Publishing. I love it, and am super frickin excited. For my first post-promotion blog post I'm glad our newest kickstarter project just began, because it's a great way to get introduced to Microcosm and what we do.

Microcosm Publishing is an independent press based out of Portland. We publish and distribute books that we feel are empowering or useful in some way, with the mission to give people the tools they may need to improve their lives, selves, or just have their voices heard. I've really lucked out to work here, and did I mention I'm super fricking excited about my new position here? Because I am. 🙌

From the Kickstarter:
"From fermentation to empowering queer youth, sewing to reporting on racial justice, bicycling to punk rock mysteries—these six colorful little books pack a serious punch. Back this project and help us bring these—and many future books—to life!"

So check out the video below, made specially for the project, and check it out at

Also, I don't think I've mentioned it, but I'll have a story in the upcoming feminist bicycle science fiction collection (yeah, you read that right) BikeTopia. More excite!!! [and check out that badass cover!]

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