Word Nerd Diary: “Themself”

As I pursue my M.A. Fashion Journalism, I often find myself mentally editing the works of my classmates and (usually) successfully stamp down the urge to publish these remarks within the class because I’m not the teacher and it is not my place. I understand this.

Today, in writing an essay for Current Developments & Debates in Journalism, I stumbled upon a grammatical anomaly. “Themself.” Is it a word? Is it correct? It makes logical sense as a gender-neutral singular reflexive pronoun.

themself5So I posed the question to the experts: former and current teachers and/or professors. The wife of a former history teacher immediately posted on my Facebook question that it should be “himself.” This is not gender-neutral. A former English teacher provided the same answer.

A former college professor said there is no such word, and to make the sentence plural to use themselves. Saved me the headache and my deadline, but didn’t answer the question at hand.

So I posed the question to current Language Assistant Professors in 3 of my 4 courses this semester, then proceeded to research the issue.

The Oxford English Dictionary blog has an entire post devoted to “themself,” and the rather heated debates it brings up. The author of the post, Catherine Soanes, breaks down the history and revival of the term, and offers this advice:

“the wheel has not yet come full circle and themself remains a standard English outcast. . . for now. You can be sure that Oxford’s lexicographers are keeping their eye on the situation: given the strong evidence for themself in all types of writing, it may well merit reconsideration within the next 20 years or so.”

The Language Assistant Professor in the Debates course, Alice Clay, got back to me this evening, listing my options to “be gutsy…and give themself a try,” or “be bold…and go with themselves,” or “to please most grammarians, go with himself or herself,” and finally to save myself the headache, make the sentence plural and go with themselves. Oh, and I may have inspired her next tutorial on the subject.

The Language Assistant Professor in Researching, Writing, and Reporting Features course, Sheila Hancock, applauded my decision to make it plural with the comment “I would have done the same because themself has never been considered a “correct” form of the reflexive pronoun.  I am inspired by your question to do more research myself.”

The Language Assistant Professor in Lead & Short News Bootcamp, Thomas Donahoe, provided an interesting bit of information: “Oxford says that “themself” is acceptable…but British grammar isn’t entirely the same as American grammar (so you could argue that it depends on whether one is writing for a British or American publication).”

Thomas also sent me to this GrammarGirl post which discusses the many facets of the issue without actually referencing “themself” as a potential solution.

Final Thoughts: After asking 5 professionals, researching 4 style guides, and researching in 3 dictionaries/databases, I have found:

1) “Themself” is a word, dating back to the 14th Century.


2) It is not an accepted reflexive pronoun in American English, but it is acceptable British English.

Which makes it either an archaic pronoun or a British dialect, and either way, the Steampunker in me is happy to use it as such colloquially, but I will continue avoiding it in formal writings until either American  lexicographers deem it valid or I start writing and publishing within British demographics.


New Year, New Adventures

Let me start with: WOW!

I worked diligently and with critical eyes on my courses for the Fall Semester. And it paid off. 4.0 GPA and I’m registered for Intro to Fashion Journalism, Intro to Styling, and Advanced Short Form Production for the Spring Semester.

I spent New Year’s at home with my boyfriend. It was quiet and perfect. Usually, I host a NYE party because I hated spending it alone, but sadly most of my friends had other plans. The day he had to fly back home (to Mississippi), I contented myself at the wonderful Crow and Quill bar in downtown Asheville.

As I was leaving, I found an inaugural meeting of an actual Bridge Club. As in, little old women playing the card game no one knows in Hollywood productions Bridge Club. But what was amazing about it is that no one there actually knows how to play. We’re all learning together! And so far, I enjoy it. The game actually challenges my brain and it is truly a pleasurable distraction. (Think Chess and Poker in a 13 move card game.)

I also discovered a group of media professionals who host regular Photoshoot Socials. I intend to take full advantage of this networking opportunity as I move forward in my degree, with my Thesis Project, and into my career.

And I’m way ahead on that Thesis thing. As I started reading the Midpoint Review and Thesis requirements, I became more and more excited. I have a theme. I have a concept. I have a 21 page cover-to-cover storyboard of a Magazine prototype on piece of scrap paper in my purse right this very moment. But I’m not up for Review until the Fall, assuming I can take 9 hours in the Summer.

This revived enthusiasm even pushed me to once again venture into the world of job searching. Because while I have learned a lot working in Surveillance, it is not my future. It is not my path. I will do the job with everything I have for as long as it is my job, because that’s just how I do things, but I am not happy with it.

We only have one life to live: why would you waste it doing something you have no passion for?

An Epic Return…Sort Of

I know I neglected the blog for quite a long while, but I’ve had quite a time of it. Let me fill you in.

2013 was a hectic year. The radio station let me go due to budget cuts in a failing rural economy. I spent the summer unemployed and heartbroken. In the fall, I started working at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in the Surveillance Department. And, of course, I was helping Mom take care of Grandma.

This year has been the hardest year of my 23. In February, I caught a gastrointestinal virus that had me vomiting for five days straight. I couldn’t keep water down, so I became dehydrated. My kidneys started to shut down. I was admitted to Mission hospital, my first hospitalization since birth. I stayed for two days. IV fluids got me back to normal.

The next week, I was back at Mission visiting Grams. She passed into the Spirit World on March 16th at the age of 70. I miss her terribly.

Over the next six months, I was admitted to the Academy of Art University’s MA Fashion Journalism program. I moved into my grandmother’s house. I had three car accidents, six more deaths, and friends diagnosed with cancer. Also, a friend in a horrible car accident that fractured her pelvis in seven places and required three surgeries. She had to learn how to walk again. And my cousin, shortly after giving birth to a healthy baby girl, developed Bell’s Palsey and a pulmonary embolism as complications from the birth.

Finally, last week, the chaos seemed to stop. Thank the Creator! I am currently enrolled in 6 credit hours with the Academy: Dynamics of Fashion and Essential Editing Skills. I currently have A’s in both classes. And I hope to share some of my editing work with you here after finals.

I love my home. I love my family and friends. I love my studies. I’m in a healthy, happy, loving relationship. But I am not happy with my day job. So keep up with me to see where the next stop on the journey might be!

So, what do you do when you have a phenomenal resume and no prospects?

That is a very personal choice. A choice I’m having to make. I’m still living at home, helping care for my grandmother. Working part time at a job that I love but the fact that its part time means I’m still financially dependent, which is not the ideal scenario.

While I am actively seeking opportunity, applying to everything I’m mostly qualified for, I’m facing the facts. 1) I’ve been actively searching for over a year for full time work. 2) I’m getting minimal response to my applications. 3) This is my time to shine and chase my dreams.

Which leaves me two options. I can keep looking for full time work and hope and pray and plea with the gods that I get something, or I can go to graduate school. And suddenly I’m thinking “I just graduated, do I really want to go back?” The internal answer is, while I miss the academic atmosphere, I don’t miss the deadlines and all nighters, but clearly my current resume is not enough to put me on top of the stack, so I need something more.

But is a Masters degree going to be enough to get me a full time job in a field that prefers experience to academia? I simply don’t know. Life is a gamble. Do I have the guts to let it ride? Maybe. Just maybe.

The End of 2012 and The Beginning of 2013

Its been a rough couple of months. I’ve made some difficult decisions, supported friends as they go through difficult times, and they’ve supported me. I’m learning that life isn’t about perfection, but the time you spend with people.

I spent so much time with one particular person, and yes, you know who you are, that to have that person gone has broken something inside me. I’ve crumbled, I’ve cried, I’ve said things and thought about doing things that quite frankly are below me and unbecoming. So I’m taking a stand for myself.

I’m seeking help to get through it and move past it. I’m slowly putting myself back together. I miss you, and it hurts like nothing I’ve ever felt before, but I have to keep going. I did what I did because, in all honesty, I couldn’t take anymore of the mind games, the selfishness, the control issues.

I’ve been asked if I’m happier since I walked away. The honest answer? I can’t be sure. Free, certainly. I’ve gained quite a bit of myself back in this short time. I’ve realized that everything I’ve done in my short 21 years does in fact mean something. I’m terrified that I’ll end up alone, but I think I’d rather end up alone and still free than with someone who has to control every aspect of my life.

So this is me, taking my life back and putting myself together again. In 2012, I did an internship. I graduated from college. I got a job in my field close to home in a failing economy. All of that, before my 21st birthday.

So in 2013, its time to find myself again. Its my time to shine and fly. I’m finally going to start some projects I’ve only dreamt of since childhood. I’ll travel more, I’ll meet new people while getting closer to the people I have, and I’m done with gilded cages. The first few days of the new year have been an emotional roller coaster, but I can see things turning around, getting better, and I plan on going straight to the top.

The best way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t, because I’m too stubborn to let you be right. I have to prove you wrong. That piece of me was never lost. And that piece is the key to pulling the rest of me back together.

Final Semester? Graduation? So soon!?

Sorry it’s been a while, but I’ve been very busy. So here are some updates:

This is my last week interning with Clear Channel Asheville. I learned a lot, made great connections, and even managed to leave with an audition reel. I’ve also freshened up my skills in XHTML and CSS coding within Adobe Dreamweaver.

My photography skills have increased dramatically this semester, photos to appear soon! My lighting techniques still need work, but I am ten times better than I was in January.

My acting final seems to be going well, despite a battle with two GI viruses back to back. Present preliminary to professor tomorrow, he sees it again the day of finals. Which are next week! I can’t believe this semester has literally flown by!

Monday, I take the GRE, which I only started studying for yesterday! Many thanks to Olivia Bellamy for giving me her prep book!

My other two classes are going well, and Wind Song will finish strong with a final episode of season one on Sunday, May 6. Hopefully this fall, it will return for season two with Stefani at it’s head and a new co-host by her side.

Hunger Games Midnight Premiere in Asheville

As many of you know, I am interning with Clearchannel Asheville. This week, the Hunger Games had it’s midnight premiere all across the country. Guess what? I Was There! But you won’t find me in all the pix on the website….because I took all the pix on the website! That’s right, an entire costume portfolio is displayed for all of you to see!

Hunger Games Midnight Premiere – The NEW Star 104.3.

You Are Special

You have to read this post! I agree with it completely. In high school I had a moment of clarity when I realized a few things:

Everyone is unique. Because everyone is unique, everyone is alike. But everyone is different because the uniqueness is different in each individual. People are alike in that we are all different.

You Are Special.

Acting: A Beginning Journey

I am currently working on my Neutral Scene assignment for my Acting I class. My partner and I have created our own set of given circumstances. One of my more brilliant ideas to help get us started was for us to write a character bio. Instead of A and B I thought we needed names. Of course we had to decide on setting and relationship etc, but for a creative mind like me, the details are crucial. So, below is my character bio. I am no longer portraying bland B, but the cruel, popular, and selfish Daphne Castle. Pretty cool, huh?


Daphne Castle

By: Kaitlin Blaylock

Age: 22                                                                                                Sign: Cancer

Her entire current objective: get A to talk to her=> take her back=> restore her ego=>affirm the world revolves around her.

Became the “it” girl in Middle School after puberty. Dated every star jock. Only dumped once by “A” in the middle of senior year. Obsessed with fashion and appearances at every level.

Daphne was raised to be a “trophy,” a model, only meant to be seen. She is an only child. She vacationed in Europe with her father to visit his family and contemporaries.

Clothing is strictly designer label. Had her first coffee at age 15 in Milan. Blackmailed her principal in high school to graduate. Never taken anything seriously aside from her.

After high school, takes a part time job with her mother’s firm filing paperwork. Job was taken only to get to know the celeb clientele. Never considered college, no desire to work or educate her. Expectation of self-entitlement is all encompassing.

Daphne felt pressure to keep A until she was tired of him. She felt him growing distant, and reacted by clinging. Did not understand why he insisted on spending time outside of her and sports with his family, friends, and doing homework. The actual breakup was private, and she passed it off to her clique as her own boredom.

She doesn’t have actual friends, only superficial entourage. No confidante’s, no sincerity in her life. They shop, gossip, and wreak havoc. She knows their secrets but no one knows her secrets. Her desire for attention leaves no room for ideals such as monogamy, family, or empathy.

She is a chameleon, an actress, with miniscule ability for empathy. She was never taught how to actually care about other people outside of what they can do for her.

Mother is a lawyer on the cutting edge of fashion and precedent with zero time for her daughter. American, modeled in high school, exclusive celebrity clientele, high rate of success in court.

Father is a neuroscientist on the brink of curing multiple sclerosis. British, MENSA, several awards and accreditations for his medical discoveries, arrogant, direct, cold.


I feel like I could take the neutral script and this character and write a novel on Daphne! I may do just that if time allows. Would you be interested in reading that story?


The Intern? I’m so much more than that!

As some of you may be aware, I’m interning at Clearchannel Asheville for my degree. I’m happy to help out. I know that the seemingly menial tasks given me take a load off the actual employees. I get it, I really do. But I’ve been there about a month, and other than my direct supervisor Aaron D’Innocenzi, almost no one is remembering my name. Or so it feels.

I am getting a full immersion work experience and learning “soft skills” necessary in a work environment. A lot of the people there curse worse than sailors, and I think it’s because radio personalities have to watch every word out of their mouths when that mic is on, so they don’t when they’re off air. I’m slowly getting used to this, but I personally do not curse often, or even on occasion, and it still tends to offend me. As of yet, I’ve only been hearing it in group conversations where I just happen to be doing my own work, minding my own business, thus I feel like I have no right to ask them to tone it down. If ever there comes a time when cursing is directed at me in a conversation, I feel like I then have the right to it. Friday, the company did a remote at Carolina Furniture Concepts to help the business gain, well, business. The topic of cursing briefly came up with Eddie Foxx, Aaron D’Innocenzi, and others in which I made my case for an opinion of distaste toward most topics/terms unsavory. My career counselor at my university said that I’m learning valuable skills that could not be taught in navigating the personalities and politics of a work environment. How do you think I’m handling it?