Friday, 23 September 2016

Not purely materialistic, I swear

I want to carry myself better.  I want a new style.  I want it to be different: androgynous but feminine, slightly hipster, carefree, layered, more colourful, cooler.

I want a pink bomber jacket.  I know everybody seems to have one, so it's not so different after all - but I want one all the same.  I need something that's not black.

I want new sunglasses; big ones.  I want them to be half like those round hipster ones and half not.  I want them to be different from what's considered 'different', but with the same effect - making an outfit effortlessly cool on a summer's day (or any day really).

I want braids like those Rory wears in Gilmore Girls.  I want my hair to be more 90's.

I want highlighted cheek-bones.  I want them to sparkle in the sunlight.  I don't want glitter as if I'm going to some indie concert; that's tacky.  I just want to glow.

I want unusually shaped items of clothing.  I want to be able to choose outfits that do not have anything to do with how frumpy my waist may or may not look, not out of convenience but rather out  of uniqueness or art you could call it.  I want something new.

I want lipstick of all the dark colours.  I want brown lips, blue lips, purple lips, berry-pink lips, dark red - think Kylie Jenner, not gothic.

I want big boots - clunky, almost construction-site like.  They'll be the kind that should be visualised with loose Levi's jeans, but I'll wear them with anything.

I want to look sophisticated, but not in a classic kind of way.  I want to look different, but still good.

Margaret Zhang

Margaret Zhang

Kate Moss

Margaret Zhang

Some random with nice braids

H&M

Natasha Liu Bordizzo

Jazmina Daniel

Tavi Gevinson

Sportsgirl

bbyg6rl

Gigi Hadid

While what you wear can make you feel more confident, sometimes it takes confidence to make you wear what you want to wear.  I hope that one day I find a style that just emulates me.

Love,
M

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Limitation.

I reached the last page of my diary today.  The pretty brown and gold notebook is now completely filled with my continuous stream of thoughts since last November.  It's like the end of an era; I've hit the last page, I've hit a brick wall.  I've documented and documented and large fragments of my identity are scattered in this one book of lined pages.  I say fragments because there is no way the essence of my thoughts could be perfectly articulated into words.  No matter how hard I try, no matter how much I wish to be able to understand myself - it feels impossible.

I was reading through my diary and a common self-talk conversation came up intermittently, especially at the beginning of this year.  Don't succumb to influence, I told myself again and again.  You don't need to be validated by other people.  Be carefree.  You're better than that.  These thoughts, this mantra of sorts, has been being inwardly repeated for months and months, and it is now September.  My diary is proof of this.

As a result, over 2016, I've become less accepting of others and more judgemental.  I don't want to "succumb to influence" so I won't try this new thing, I won't embrace this or that.  I am my own person so there is no need to follow any form of trend, to follow anyone else's idea but my own, right?  Instead I'll judge others who do.  I'll think I'm too good for them.  I'll think I'm too good for everyone who hadn't made it onto my sacred list of friends before this cut off date, where I decided that self-actualisation came in the form of closing myself off to anything new, because if I'm truly being me then I shouldn't pay attention to anything else, right?

By recording everything, by writing this blog, in a way I'm defining myself without really understanding who I am - and that's dangerous.  I'll think I'm making sense of everything, I'll think I'm discovering myself by reading my thoughts on a page - but these words aren't accurate depictions of my thoughts.  I'm writing down what I already know, and I'm limiting myself to just that by thinking these words are who I am, and that's all there is to me.

It's like once the words are written on a page, they're definite.  I no longer have the flexibility to change that thought or opinion, to redefine myself in that sense.  I'm stuck and I'm limited.  That's the danger of curating your own personal brand.  If you've already defined yourself, how do you change that definition?  How do you expand to possibly discover and become something new if you've already decided what you are, and you've posted and posted fragments of this identity you've created for yourself for everyone to see.  There's no going back now.  There's no room to change.

It's a trap.  It ruins the fluidity of a being.  We've been moulded and shaped by our own selves through our words and our photos, and that has then seeped into our personalities and our interests, and now we've created identities that we don't want to stray from, because it just seems unthinkable.  We already know who we are, so what's the point, right?

On Sunday I realised that something that had been taking up a lot of my mind-space actually didn't matter too much to me after all, and so the cogs in my brain started working again, and I thought that as of Monday I should join in more.  I would be more accepting, I would be more pleasant, I would embrace ideas and conversations I would have inwardly rolled my eyes at and been condescending about only a week before.  I defied this self-proclaimed society-view I had written down and made definite, and it felt good.  

I had taken the self-defense mechanism of believing other people didn't matter, that embracing new things didn't matter, out of fear of rejection.  I had taken this and convinced myself it was self-actualisation.  I had made this view a part of my identity and it limited me from living properly.

It seems as if we all only want to know what we want to know about ourselves, when it isn't so much about knowing rather than creating.  Some people want to be super political, they want to seem bigger than themselves and their little bubble.  Some want to be super artistic, going through the most extreme efforts to do something unique (yet I find that most of this 'artistic' stuff has the same vibe as all the others, so most of it really isn't that unique at all).  They all want to discover that they are political or artistic or whatever they wish to be, and day by day they make themselves more so, because they are creating themselves this way, not discovering something that was already there.  But now they are trapped.  They have limited themselves to this 'political' or 'artistic' personal brand they have been nursing into existence.

And I think we should just be aware of these limitations we are inflicting upon ourselves.  We should be aware that our identities are fluid, not fixed, forever changing if we let it do so.

Love,
M

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Week 7

Monday to Friday and it's the weekend and then it's Monday again.  I've been through this seven times over in a row.  Sometimes there's assessment, sometimes there's not.  Sometimes I do something Friday night, sometimes I don't.  I've been through short-lived phases of boys, makeup, classical books, braiding, postcards... Here's week 7:


MONDAY

There's a massive 3000 word physics research report due on Thursday and I'm only 2000 words in.  Yet, instead of writing those final paragraphs, I decide that obsessively finishing my maths homework is the priority.  I work all through my free period, trying to concentrate and listen to music in vain while people are talking and laughing all over the room.  I work all through recess.  I skip PE and work through all of that too.  There's another girl in the room who disturbs me every five minutes or so.  She contributes to my study playlist and we name an album after her in my iTunes library.

By the end of Monday I have two more paragraphs to go.




TUESDAY

The brass section of the orchestra are playing this really loud piece to open the school's special concert this year, so in the morning we rehearse on the balcony.

We drive past the parliament house every day on our way home, and today there is a seating.  There are military guns and tanks on display, and various tourists are taking photos.  My mum stops the car, says, "these are the perks of living in the capital,"and I am delayed from getting home against my wishes.  I run up to the majestic looking building in my heavy school uniform in desperate need of the bathroom.  We go inside the parliament house in search of free postcards, but of course there are none.  I am rude to a group of school kids on an excursion in my attempts to get out as quickly as possible.

In the evening I spend a good six minutes walking to the post box to deliver a postcard to the Philippines.  I'm listening to some song from a really nice movie soundtrack.

By the end of Tuesday my report is finished and the majority of it has gone under vigilant editing.




WEDNESDAY

I spend my double free referencing my report.  I then spend all of English referencing my report.  And all of the next period too.

There is a massive argument in my physics class about the unknown requirement of in text referencing, which is only worth half a mark of our report, but which is still a considerable amount.  My teacher doesn't deal with it very well and everyone hates him more than they did before.  The argument went way too far, in my opinion.

My driving instructor picks me up from school and I learn how to park and give way, but my concentration just isn't there.  He ticks off zero competencies.  Hopefully next week will be better.

I have my first shift at work in over a week and it's nice.  I teach a girl with a Malaysian boyfriend a little bit of Malay, we discuss the perks of being invited to weddings in the break room, and a lanky guy explains that the reason he now has stubble is because he's growing it out to 'intimidate the opposition' in his grand final game.  He tells me that he reckons at my school I'm a nerd who hangs with the cool kids, whatever that's supposed to mean.




THURSDAY

My physics report is done and gone and I am relieved.  I can now relax.  I watch Gilmore Girls for the first time in days and go for a jog.




FRIDAY

It rains all day and I'm forced to take a fifty minute bus from school to work.  I come to the realisation that some of the people I talk to on snapchat, I really don't talk to in real life, even if they're right over there.  My bag is heavy and awkward and when I get to work I'm practically tumbling up the stairs.  People ask me if I'm okay.  At work a nice girl starts to seem self-obsessed, a guy isn't who I thought he was, I see a friend I haven't seen in ages and I'm wearing matching outfits with this guy in every which way.

After work I find my dad playing basketball in the opposite arcade.  He's somehow managing to get every single shot in with quick one-handed throws.  I have a go and get almost every shot in with two-handed throws.  My mum then has a go and pretty much misses all of it.



....

And I am now spending my weekend studying for Week 8.

Love,
M

Friday, 19 August 2016

Quotes from the last few months


I do this thing where I copy down quotes into my diary.  It breaks up all my constant ranting and leaves a passage where there are words written by someone other than myself for a change.


May

"For she was one of those happily created beings who please without effort, make friends everywhere, and take life so gracefully and easily, that less fortunate souls are tempted to believe that such are born under a lucky star." - Little Women (p279)

"My heart is constantly tethered between 'I need more routine and stability in my life' and 'I crave endless messy and honest conversations, getting lost in the middle of nowhere, falling deeply in love and travelling the world and living each day wildly, honestly and intentionally.' Forever caught between a strong mind and a fragile heart." - Unknown

"Being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved." - Sherry Turkle

"While these internal revolutions were going on, her external life had been as busy and uneventful as usual." - Little Women (p385)

"#whitewashedOUT means being told as a kid 'you talk like a white person' and feeling guilty for being glad of it." - Lori M. Lee

"Well I'm glad I don't have to go and be with all those frightening people and think of things to say." - Little Women

"He was sea-dreaming.  Imagining things that would hurt him later.  Now, even." - The Winner's Kiss (p179)


June

"like when you draw a picture of a friend and it's almost right but not quite, and the face on the sheet gives you the creeps." - Never Let Me Go (p116)

"Sometimes I act a lot older than I am - I really do - but people never notice it.  People never notice anything." - The Catcher in the Rye (p10)

"The goddamn movies.  They can ruin you.  I'm not kidding." - The Catcher in the Rye (p113)

July

"It will happen to me as to them." - Thomas Mann

"The moment you admit to loving someone is the moment you admit to having a lot to lose." - Unknown

"Students think that their environment is diverse if one comes from Missouri and another from Pakistan - never mind that all of their parents are doctors or bankers." - William Deresiewicz


August

"So when you look at yourself,
tell me, who do you see?
Is it the person you've been,
or the person that you're
gonna be?" - Greg Holden

Love,
M

Monday, 15 August 2016

Self Absorbed

I feel as if I'm trapped inside this cloud of I's.  I I I I me me me me... the first person pronoun is swimming in the air around me; it's my whole world - and what I want to find out is if I'm the only one.  Is everyone else just as self absorbed as I seem to be?  Or is it just me?  Or is it just this generation?

Us girls we love taking selfies.  Even if we don't post them, I can assure you, each one of us has a section of our camera roll filled with maybe twenty selfies taken on one good day?  Maybe we found good lighting or decided to do our makeup for once.  Either way, we're enamoured by our appearance.  I mean, just look at the majority of Facebook profile pictures, or Instagram feeds full of selfies and more selfies.  But is this a bad thing?  Is this a sign of self confidence and appearance appreciation, or does it just show how vain we are?

And what about social media?  We're creating profiles to showcase ourselves, to effectively create a brand.  Like me, follow me - is external validation another way to feed our self absorption?  And I don't know about you, but I know that I stalk myself more than I stalk all other people put together.  Social media is this surreal, addictive world of narcissism, and when you sit back and think about it for a while, the reasons we have behind everything we do online are absurd.

It's not only online though... think about what happens when you talk to people.  Are you more concerned about what you say, or about what they're saying?  When they talk, are you busy thinking of your response, or are you actually listening?  How much do you talk about yourself?  I know that I fail in the selfless aspect of every one of these questions.  How did I appear today?  Do they like me? Do they?  Oh what I said there was so stupid.  This entire train of thought is stupid.

There's this girl who seems all cutesy and dog-loving and funny and all that, but lately I've gotten a little irritated every time she tells a story about some funny failure she had, or when she butts into a conversation and diverts it to being about herself.  She seems to over-dramatise everything for the sake of attention.  Like, you know those people who say they love something cute like Disney Channel and suddenly it becomes on the verge of an obsession and they're buying merchandise and continuously posting snapchat stories and diverting conversations so they can laugh about it and act all cute?  Or those people who, when they have nothing else to say, say things like "I'm dying" or "I'm having one of those days", and it happens almost every day.  Well, she does all these things  What worries me though, is that while I'm sitting here being annoyed by her, I'm prone to doing the exact same thing.  I'm prone to wanting to look a certain way and diverting conversations to myself and overdramatising things for the sake of attention.  A lot of people are.  Have people always been like this?

And then there's the whole inner self worth thing as well.  The other day we were discussing this girl who blatantly changes topics so that she can boast about how smart she is, or all the co-curriculars she excels at - and the question came up as to why she does that.  Sometimes having a big ego is a good thing, because it makes you feel as if you don't need other people.  You become immune to that feeling of exclusion and missing out, if only because you think you're too good for everyone else.  Maybe being self absorbed is another way of coping emotionally in society.

But when you stop thinking about how you're going to wear your hair tomorrow, what the next story you're going to tell is, or how hipster you are; you have more time to listen to other people's stories, read a book maybe, appreciate this thing we call the Olympics.  I've just been getting really distracted with all these really self-focused thoughts lately, and it's been detrimental to how big this bubble I live in is.  Right now it's very freaking small, and I think I needed to write this post to remind myself that it's time to expand it.

Love,
M

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Be Good to Yourself

Let all the other people in this world vanish from your head for a moment.  Zone in on yourself, minus other people's opinions getting in the way.  When you stop thinking about that certain someone, or that reputation - suddenly you depends on you, and it's just a little bit frightening.  Without other people's thoughts or validation, what are you?  Where does you come from?  How do you expand on this you?

I've been weirdly nice to myself for the last two days, and I'm writing this post now because I'm scared that it'll go away any minute now.  Here's a little list of what I've been trying to turn into good habits:



Reading my daily horoscope

You know how there's those news things on snapchat, on the same screen as everybody's stories?  Well, if you click on the one that says Vice, one of the articles is always your daily horoscope.  Now, because I live on the other side of the world from the US, the time difference is over 12 hours, meaning my daily horoscope arrives some time in the afternoon or evening.  So at the end of the day I check my daily horoscope, in order to not self prophesise, because however much the stars may be respected I am not letting them dictate what I do.  Instead I analyse my horoscope to see how well it relates to how my day has been, and it's been surprisingly accurate lately.  I feel like there's so much uncertainty in life, and having something that predicts how you're going, no matter how far fetched your interpretations have to be to connect it to your day, gives you a little bit more control and peace of mind.


Joining a book swap (or get a pen pal or something)

This may just be related to what I've done over the last couple of days, but this is one of them.  It involved me actually posting something on Facebook, which is a shocker but has also showed me how sometimes social media can be a good thing that connects people and possibly exposes them to new, unprecedented material.  Agreeing to this was good because it's left me excited.  I just love the idea of sending a book I love to a stranger.  I want to leave a little note on the book and everything, and maybe it'll make this person happy.  Not to mention, I also get a whole bunch of free books in return.



Watching a TED Talk every night

This is one habit I love.  I've watched TED talks on personality, motivation, racial identity... all sorts of things.  Late at night, before reading, I plug my headphones in, play the video, and just lie there.  Sometimes if I'm really tired I'll close my eyes and listen to the voice, and other times I'll be fully engaged and watching, even writing down a quote if something jumps out at me.  TED talks are wonderful, wonderful things, and watching one every night is a good excuse to learn something new.


Watching Gilmore Girls

This show is innocent, relatable and the perfect thing to make you feel a little happier and warm inside.


Going absolutely makeup free

Okay, so if you're going to an event, or you're seeing a boy/girl you want to impress... fine.  I get it.  Makeup is confidence sometimes.  But what about all those days where you're literally just doing your usual?  Yes, you might be in public - but does it really matter?  Don't make putting makeup on become a daily ritual.  Your skin will thank you, and eventually your self confidence will too.



Trying free opportunities

So today we went to a free yoga class at school.  I mean, it wasn't great and it was a little dodgy, but it was nice to try something new.  It's like how in the holidays we went to a free boxing class, and a free weights class, or how we walked through free art galleries.  Doing stuff out of the norm makes you feel accomplished and more full, and the fact that it's free makes you feel even better.


Writing more

For the longest time I was only writing in my diary once a week maybe.  There was this month or two long period where I had absolutely no blog post inspiration, and no longing to even write one.  But over the last week I've been writing in my diary almost every day.  What I write about changes drastically on a day to day basis, because clearly my problems are situational, and my mind works in an 'out of sight, out of mind' way - but writing everything down makes me feel great and in control.  Having my thoughts laid out in words on a page makes me feel like I know myself better.  I know that not everybody's a diary person, but try writing whatever comes to your head down.  Just once.


Good luck and have a nice day.

Love,
M

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Back At It

I'm currently sitting in a huge empty room at school and there is absolutely no one around.  It's the first time I've felt at peace since school started yesterday.  I don't know what it is about being alone in a place that I know is full of people.  Upstairs they're learning or studying or making memories - and here I am.  It's nice.

Maybe this has to do with that whole over-stimulation thing I watched in a TED talk the other day.  Apparently some people thrive from being stimulated by conversations and crowds, while others can't be stimulated too much or they'll feel overwhelmed.  I think that's what's happened to me over the holidays.  I've been so used to one-on-one conversations, and now suddenly there's crowds and people everywhere.  I can't take it.

Sometimes I panic.  People will talk to me and I'll know that everyone else is listening, so I'll automatically say whatever it is that I think will make me sound better.  And then later I'll analyse and analyse what I said, and it'll sound so so stupid.  I think that's what stimulation does.  It gives you more material to get anxious over, when really I should throw all these pages of analysis in the air and not give a care in the world.

What I hate and love about school is the routine.  It's two days in and the early mornings are getting to me.  The next few weeks are looming in front of me like a huge shadow on my life.  They're full of homework and assessments and planned extracurriculars.  It's like once the school term starts it consumes me.  I envision it consuming every moment of my life, to the point where I can't do exciting things.  I can't have a nice meal with a friend.  I can't laugh and be free as I was a mere week ago.

But I can.  Just because school has started doesn't mean my life is all work and commitments.  Sure, school will take up most of my time, but I want to be busy, don't I?  I love being occupied without a single moment of boredom, even involuntarily.  It's not like I have tests and assignments and a growing pile of homework all the time.  I have free time, and I don't know why I'm under the delusion that I don't.

Sometimes school just makes me feel so weak.  When it's not around I'm able to successfully separate school and life.  My life is not school and school is only a part of my life.  That's how it is and that's how I should see it.  But when I'm here 5 days a week, it starts to feel like it's everything.  I no longer seem to make plans with people outside of school.  I don't work as much.  School and all the cookie-cut people inside of it are all I have, and I can feel myself shrinking as I walk onto the campus.

But it's not so bad.  It's not nearly as bad as I make it out to be.  In fact, sometimes I absolutely love my life with school in it.  Either way, this routine is my life now, and I'd better love it or I'm going to be utterly miserable.

Love,
M