January 12, 2013

And This Month's Interviewee Is....

The main objective of my blog is to inspire and be inspired.  I love searching and finding inspiration in the simplest of things, in places unexpected and then writing stories about them provoking a chain reaction of inspiration, self-awareness, love, acceptance, spiritual awakening and empowerment!   Sometimes those stories can be our very own, that is why I also love sharing my personal stories, experiences, triumphs, challenges, tears and laughter in hope to touching and enriching someone's life for the better.

I believe that something magical and miraculous happens when we share our light with others.  It just may very well brighten someone's darkness.  I love the way spiritual activist and author Marianne Williamson puts it better.  She states that "as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."  It is through this personal belief that my monthly feature of And This Month's Interviewee is....emerged!  My goal is to feature every month, a story in hopes that it touches and enriches someone's life for the better.  We are not alone people, we all intertwine in the mysterious and magical energy of life!  

Without further ado this month's sweet, brave and loving interviewee is....

 What is your name & age?  My name is Angela, though I prefer Angie and I'm 23.

 Are u married? Children?  I am so very happily married, going on five years now. My wife, Jen, is also my soul mate and best friend. We've been together since I was 13! No children YET, however we do have two adorable kitties named Wedge and Mau, three beautiful birds named Jango, Leia and Bastila and one very happy betta fish, Finn! They're all named after favorite Star Wars characters of ours.

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in a small suburb in Chicago, Illinois where everyone knew one another.

What is the extent of your family? Parents? Any siblings?  Jen's parents (whom we live with), my father in Florida, my half-sisters in Nevada, my aunt and my half-brother, whose whereabouts I don't really know. I'm only close with my father and mother-in-law, aunt and dad. 

As a little girl, what did you dream/aspire to be?  A wife, mother and traditional and digital artist.

What were you like when you were a kid?  I was stubborn (and still am), very polite, LOUD, silly, a dreamer and a believer. I was also very, very obsessive compulsive in the worst way, however I didn't understand until just a few years ago that I actually had OCD and wasn't just a crazy girl. 

What was your favorite toy, game or pass-time as a child?  I loved looking through a microscope, studying ancient history and mythology, watching the night sky or dissecting nature. I passionately drew and crafted. I wrote. I played make believe. I read - a lot and I played with animals whenever I could. 

How would you describe your childhood memories?  If I'm 100% honest, on the very surface they're warm and fuzzy, a familiar feeling. However, most of that had my OCD trauma, my father's alcoholism, my mother's own issues, my brother constantly in trouble with the law etc. buried underneath. I don't miss childhood, and I'm glad I'm a big kid so I can TRULY enjoy what I love.

Ever had an imaginary friend as a child?  If yes, please tell a little about it.  Oh, yes! Her name was Amy, she had curly brown hair and was the voice of reason in my very crazy childhood. She helped me through a LOT. 

Did you enjoy your high school years?  Hmmm... I was actually home-schooled since kindergarten, however my parents (and I) never put much effort into my schooling. I've never even received a diploma or GED. Despite my absolute lust for learning. One day, I do plan on getting my diploma. However, within the high school age range, I met Jen and we became best friends, started dating and got engaged and THAT I am so, so ecstatic over. 

Did your dream/aspiration as a child changed in high school?  If yes, how so? It's never changed. Being a wife is the best dream of mine come true, and I know one day our little one will be a little miracle. I still love, use and believe in my artistic skills. I still love everything I did as a child, with even more hobbies thrown in like role-playing, airsoft, fashion and make-up and of course - blogging!

You expressed that as a little girl you aspired to be a wife, a mother and a digital artist.  You already are a wife and believe your little one will be a miracle; that leaves digital artist in question. Did this ever unfold?  If so, may you explain how and can you please share some digital art with us?  I'm still in the process of becoming a professional artist (as in, selling my pieces) however I have learned so much about digital art, and art in general, and have created quite a few pieces. I sketch, doodle, draw and paint (digitally and traditionally) daily, however only my favorite pieces are saved and shown off. Here are a few of them:

What inspired the name Lariats and Lavender?  What does the name mean to you?  For a while, my blog name was Happily Married Lesbian, which after a while seemed too campy, despite the fact that it's true! So, I asked Jen for advice, because she truly does know me best. I told her I wanted something to represent my rough n' tough side, the side that did bull riding and airsoft, can help pitch a tent, is brave... But also something feminine, that represents my girly side, like my love for fashion and make-up, pastel colored candies, twirling in the high grass... She came up with Lariats (for the rough n' tough side and something I practice with, I love lariats!) and Lavender (for my feminine side.) They blend together perfectly, and perfectly represent me.

Angie, your honesty is admirable and may be of inspiration to someone who is or has been in the same predicament as you.  Let’s talk a little about your father if you don’t mind.   When describing your childhood memories, you mentioned his alcoholism which sadly is common in many families today.  .   Do you feel your father’s “issues” had or still has an impact on who you are today?  In other words, do you feel his alcoholism altered your life in any way?  If so, how?  Growing up, I was definitely affected. There was a lot of yelling, car doors slamming, my father leaving the house even after having a LOT to drink, etc. My brother, who I don't see as part of my family any longer (again, there are a lot of issues there) was a trouble maker and was constantly involved with the law, so that didn't help whatsoever. When my parents fought, they were loud and I constantly tried to intervene. There was never anything psychical, except a few thrown objects. However, my father did almost punch me and had chased me often when I tried to break up fights between him and my mother (this was when I was 1-10, about.) As I grew up, my mother and I talked more openly about his alcoholism, though she denied he was in fact an alcoholic as did I. It was "normal." 

The older I got, the more I realized that he did indeed have a problem. When I moved to Utah, Jen and I got married and a month later my mother passed away (we're still so thankful she was around to talk to us on our wedding day, when she welcomed Jen into the family!), so I started calling my father to see how he was coping. We started bonding more and more, and I even told him about Jen being transgender which was HUGE because I always thought he was very homophobic. Our relationship has been going well, though I'm beginning to get that creeping anxiety I used to get whenever I talk to him, again. 

So, my childhood was altered and I guess you can say as an adult, I suffer from anxiety. If I am around men who are yelling, especially strangers, I panic. Especially if they sound a lot like my father. I have nightmares often, which usually revolve around me being chased, and finally, I have anxiety when talking to my father. However, I also have learned to control my own liquor. I drink occasionally, usually on a holiday or when I buy us beer. Every so often, when we have the money, we'll buy a nice bottle of Absinthe or Scotch and have a glass a night while we unwind. I know my limits, and I never cross them. That is what is important. 

You always speak so highly and sweet about your wife Jen, always expressing your love for each other, which by the way I think is awesome!  I believe I've only seen one picture of Jen in your About.  Is there a reason why you choose not to share more pictures of Jen?  Is she shy?  She is shy - and very camera shy! When I first moved in with her, only I saw her as herself (as Jen.) She's become more comfortable over the years being herself around others, and I've snapped quite a few (absolutely gorgeous) pictures of her that are on my blog here and there. She's also been herself around one friend in real life, and many online friends. I truly believe once she starts HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), she'll be more comfortable sharing pictures of herself. As a note, since I know not everyone is knowledgeable about HRT: Jen is transgender, born in a male body but with a female mind, heart and soul. I love her so much and I love that I am on this journey with her. Forever. ♥ 

Where does your interest for Vampirism derive from?  When did it start?  Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved anything vampire related. I would often draw vampire bats, would go crazy over vampire dolls, etc. When I was 18 I read Dracula for the first time, solidifying my love for vampirism. I also love other vampire fiction such as True Blood (and the related Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries) and a wonderful series called Amaranthine by Joleene Naylor. The silent Dracula movie featuring Bela Lugosi and Bram Stoker's Dracula featuring Gary Oldman are two of my favorite vampire movies. However, I also love real vampirism. Whether that's old legends, or Psi and Energy Vampyrism. I just love anything "vampy."

Have you set any goals for yourself in 2013?  If so, please share them.  Oh wow! I have many and I keep adding more. Some of my big goals include: ringing in 2014 in our own place, whether that's an apartment, home, trailer or boat. Finding my happy and healthy weight. Finding a lawyer so I can battle my SSDI denial. Finding a good psychiatrist for both Jen and I (I think I've already found her one, we'll know for sure on the 17th!) and a gender identity therapist for Jen so she can start HRT. Become friends with even more wonderful bloggers (like yourself!) and so many more. I also have little goals like sharing my arts, crafts, stories and poetry more often; doing more What I Wore posts on LnL, learning yoga, truly connecting more with my Pagan lifestyle... The list of goals goes on. I LOVE making goals, because I often do follow through with them. I believe that if you dream something, believe in that something and start acting on your dream and belief, you can accomplish anything.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?  I can see Jen and I living happily in our own little cozy space, preferably a sailboat or houseboat (a dream we've shared for years), with our fur, feather and fin babies (and hopefully some additional furry/feathery/fin/scale babies. We'd LOVE a dog!) Having our own little one (Cynn, if we have a daughter ♥) is another goal that puts a giddy beat in my heart and a smile on my face. I think Jen and I would make excellent momma's and we talk about being parents often. In 10 years, I still see myself creating my art, hopefully creating more crafts as well and blogging and maybe having one of them even become my profession if I am lucky! I see Jen and I celebrating our love even more so than we do now, because our relationship truly does grow stronger every year. In 10 years, we'll be together for a total of 20 years and married for 15 of them! I see us and our little family being happy and healthy and full of love. I cannot wait! 
Angie may you please elaborate on what the pink tape over the mouths represent?  And what does NOH8 mean?  I'm taking this from the web, as it's much simpler: "On November 4th of 2008, Proposition 8 was passed which amended the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. NOH8 is a silent protest created by famous photographer Adam Bouska and his partener Jeff Parshley in response to the passing of Proposition 8. Those who support Marriage Equality are in these NOH8 photos with duct tape over their mouths to symbolize their voice not being heard and being silenced, and NOH8 (meaning No Hate) is painted on their cheek in protest."  You can see more here! http://www.noh8campaign.com/photo-galleries

I've always told you how highly I admire your bold honesty.  If I told you the world were listening (which they kinda are;)) what would you say to those who hide from their own truth?   First, I'd share a favorite quote of mine: "We must be the change we want to see in the world". This is, again, why I'm such an open and honest person. I talk about LGBTQ issues, mental illness, religion and spirituality... The more we share, the more open-minded and compassionate we are, the more change - for the better - we will see in the world. Next, I would say: "Be yourself." Don't change for anyone, ever. Your family, friends, partners, whomever will love you for WHO you are. I've had a lot of friends who believe they won't fit in with their peers, or won't find their perfect partner because of who they are and I remind them that if they change who they are for someone, they won't find that true friend, or that perfect partner, because they aren't being true to themselves.

Many lesbian, gay, bi and transgender people also try and hide who they are, or deny themselves. They believe it's wrong, to feel how they feel, to love who they love and so they try to forget who they are and blend in with everyone else. This is only prolonging their true life. Instead of blending in, hiding, or denying who you are - be who you are! Finally, something else I would share is that family is the family you create. Growing up, I always heard from both my older sisters and other people "listen to your parents, they are always right." "Blood is thicker than water.", etc. While this is normally true - that isn't always the case. Some people, sadly, do not have parents that have their best interest in mind. Some people have family members who are cruel, or hurtful. Yet they may have a counselor, best friend, parents-in-law, etc. who treat them with the love they deserve. That, in my opinion, is their true family. The people who love you without restraint, who care about you, who listen and guide you, who are there for you.

Now, the Bonus Question I like to ask in all my interviews:
If we live in a world where money was non-existent and all our commodities and personal necessities were provided to live a healthy and happy life, how would you spend the rest of your living days?  With Jen and our fur, feather and fin babies, and possible future children. Living healthy and happy. I would love for Jen and I to see the sunrise and moon rise in every state, every country. I would care for animals, help children and teenagers (and adults, for that matter.) I would practice my arts and crafts, put faith and work into my spirituality and lifestyle, take pictures of everything, write, blog, game... Pretty much everything I do now. When I first started blogging, I heard that people dislike "fluffy bloggers." Meaning bloggers who seem like they have a perfect life. I never understood this, because in my opinion, my life is perfect. This doesn't mean I don't struggle with finance, or OCD and depression. This doesn't mean I don't have days where I cry and hide under blankets with Jen, forgetting the world. My life is perfect because of who I am and who is in my life: Jen, our pets, our family, our friends. I wouldn't want any other life. Even if right now I won a million dollars, while I'd pay for Jen's HRT and SRS surgery, find us a home, donate, help people and animals and of course - go on a bit of a shopping spree - I wouldn't change my life. I LOVE my life.

Here is what Angie says about the stars in her life that shine brightly...

Jen, my love. My best friend, wife and soul mate. My one and only. She, who treats me like a Goddess - who calls me Goddess - when really, she holds that title. Yes, part of why I love her is because of how she treats me. With love, respect, passion and care. But I love her, I see her as a star, because of who she is.  

Her giggle. Her love for animals, especially those who have been hurt or abused. Her strong belief in what is right. The sense of adventure she has. Her bravery. The way she holds herself. How she treats her friends, her family and complete strangers. Her hobbies, and how much she pours herself into them. Her faith in what she does believe in. Her smile... Everything about her. 

She is a gorgeous, shining star. Inside and out, there is pure beauty. Her mind, body, heart and soul. Her spirit. Every piece of her creates my shining star. ♥

Donna, my mother-in-law. She is strong, powerful and determined. She has love in her heart for her children, meaning Jen - and I - because she has so openly accepted me into her heart. She has passion for her writing, which she has used as a way of not only dreaming up a dream, but pushing forward, working hard and accomplishing said dream: writing and publishing her own book! My mother-in-law and I are very different, so we've had our share of fights, but in a way... They help us grow closer, know our boundaries and they help us learn more about one another. 

Being a girl with OCD, depression and separation anxiety, I'm not very easy to get along with, or put up with, but my mother-in-law does. She's been there for Jen and I through absolutely horrible times, and wonderful times as well. She's always had our back and been by our side. 

She is a warrior, for sure and I love her so much for all she does, for all she's accomplished and will accomplish, for her attitude and her humor, for her love of life and her love of us. For who she is, because she is truly a star that shines brightly.

 These, my friends, are my shining stars. I love them so!  

There you have it folks, the sweet and beautiful soul of Angie over at Lariats and Lavender.  

Angie, you are an AMAZING young lady!  I am so PROUD of you and am blessed to have you as a blogging Amiga!  I am truly blessed to know you!  Thanks for your free and loving spirit and kind willingness to allow me this interview and sharing your story. 



  1. Thank you again so very much for having me, my friend. Love ya!!!

    1. Thank YOU, for your truth. Love ya right back!

      ~SimplyyMayra :)

  2. Such a fabulous post idea. I'm loving your blog, and I'm your newest//fan follower (from not too far-- Orlando, FL). I found you through the Aloha Blog Hop; thanks for hosting! I hope you'll stop by and follow back :) Happy Sunday!

    Diary of a Debutante

    1. Hi, Stephanie! Thank you so much for reading Mayra's interview with me. You rock! <3

    2. Hola Stephanie!
      Thanks for the kind words, Angie made it easy and inspirational. I stopped by yours and reciprocated the love and support! Looking forward to getting to know more about you.

      ~SimplyyMayra ;)

  3. Replies
    1. Isn't Mayra AWESOME?! She asked some great q's. Thank you SO much for reading and commenting, Dara!

    2. Hola Dara!
      Thanks! It was a great interview because Angie is one GREAT gal ;)



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