Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Where you lead, I will follow



A television show is just a television show.  It is the product of talented writers who create the story as they go, letting the characters take them wherever they may, designed for bored people who crave escapism, such as ourselves, to binge watch over a nice fat bowl of yellow popcorn.  Yet, Gilmore Girls feels like so much more than just a television show.  This show has been with me for around six months now.  The adventures of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore have taken a constant place in my brain for half a year.  How can a simple script and a few actors have such a considerable impact on a person?

Set in Stars Hollow, Gilmore Girls was always the best feel-good show.  Rory Gilmore had exactly what any sixteen year old girl could want.  She had a mother who may as well have been her best friend; she had a best friend who, in today's time, would've been the coolest, most hipster friend a girl could have; she had a whole town of people who absolutely loved her; she had wealthy grandparents willing to pay for her education, as well as adding some spice to her life in the form of family drama; she had perfect grades at a perfectly elitist school, giving her such a bright future; and she had the hottest boyfriends.  Who wouldn't want to watch this show as a form of escapism?

But at the same time, Gilmore Girls was so much more than that.  There were countless occasions where I would think very seriously about how much I wanted to be more like Rory, or Lorelai.  Rory was always so genuinely nice.  While always succeeding in every way possible, she was still so matter-of-fact about it all.  Unlike Paris, she didn't feel the need to act superior, or prove her achievements to everybody.  She was never one for trying to seek approval, or sharing her personal life when unnecessary.  She was always so... perfect.  And I think that in some ways, Rory made me want to be more humble and private.  She made me consider the fact that success and relationships are a personal thing, and it is possible to thrive in happiness without everybody else needing to know.

Then there was Lorelai.  She was independent and always carried herself with a kind of aura that made everybody want to talk to her.  She was never awkward.  She sparkled.  In the way that she conducted herself, I realised that it was possible to get what you want by simply saying exactly what you feel.  Always be nice, always be respectful, and always be too honest - that is the key to being a charming, genuine person - as taught by Lorelai Gilmore.

As Rory grew up and her life was no longer so seemingly perfect, Gilmore Girls became less of a feel-good show.  Rory dropped out of Yale just as I was beginning to study for my own testing week, and this may be a coincidence, or I may be reading a lot into this, but this was around the same time that my own grades began to fluctuate downwards.  I'm not saying that Gilmore Girls caused this, but I'm saying that I was finding her predicament somewhat relatable.  "You don't have it."  That's what Michum Huntzberger told Rory that sent her crashing down.  "You don't have it."  All those things you thought you were great at, what if you're not?  What if you're not as smart as you think you are?  What happens when one thing that makes up a huge part of you is simply taken away?

Then, as Rory is about to graduate from Yale, she has no idea what the future holds.  At some points she drives herself crazy, having mini meltdowns and receiving setbacks.  It is a stressful time, not receiving what you would like to receive to make your dream possible.  An internship was her gateway into the New York Times, a scholarship is my ticket out of this city.  The fact that everybody was working so hard for what they wanted, unless they were like Paris and taking the safe route through grad school after school after school, made me realise that life is not about always receiving what you apply for.  It is possible to thrive with a rejection.  There are other pathways.

Rory described her future as open.  She was excited.  She wasn't pinned down to one plan.  There were so many opportunities out in the world for her to seek.  Sometimes knowing exactly where you are going is not what is right, no matter how completely stable it may sound.  Sometimes it is nice to leave your options open, to work towards something while also allowing that something to have many possibilities.  To know exactly where you want to be, with all its little details and avocado trees, is not important, and once that is realised this huge weight is lifted off your chest.  You can be 16 or 20, and the future is just as exciting as it was before.

So back when I spoiled the ending of Gilmore Girls for myself, back when I was upset that Rory does not end up with Logan, I was wrong.  Bon Voyage is the perfect goodbye.  Rory is being sent off to conquer the world, Lorelai has finally found love, and the whole town is celebrating in the quirky way they always have.  The final shot pans out from Luke's diner on the morning of Rory's departure, exactly like the pilot in a classic come-full-circle, so full of hope and and possibilities

At this point, we can imagine Rory crossing paths with Logan again.  We can imagine her becoming the editor of a famous newspaper, writing articles that change the opinions of the world.

Well, we could imagine until they decided to release the Revival, which I am frankly too scared to watch.  I know how it ends, and I know how everyone's lives turn out, and it honestly ruins everything.

So here I am, sitting on a high of one beautifully written tv show.  Maybe I'll give it some time before watching a few hours of footage that could ruin everything.  Maybe I'll never end up watching it at all.  Maybe I will finish with Rory's future open and leave it at that, because if her dreams are crushed, I think mine may as well be too.

Love,
M

Monday, 28 November 2016

The Unattainable Disconnect

They say that the only way to stop this addiction is to go cold turkey.  Delete all the apps.  Hide your phone.  God forbid, deactivate all your accounts.  Now, what would you become?

I've noticed these holes in the knowledge I've been able to obtain.  There are certain groups of beautiful, skinny girls in beautiful, skinny clothes containing six known faces with archives of who they are and who they know only one click away, and then one girl, with no tags, no profiles, nothing.  This girl is an absolute mystery.  Her friends know her.  Her family knows her.  Her pretty face appears occasionally in pretty group photos.  Yet, strangely enough, those of us who do not know her personally do not know her at all.  We have no judgements to make and no way of making any without speaking to her.  What would it be like to be this girl?

We are all voluntarily upkeeping these self-branding profiles of ours.  This isn't an assignment.  It isn't a mandatory form of identification in our society.  We choose to do this.  How liberating would it be to see something wonderful, taste something delicious or have an experience so genuinely funny, and want to keep the feeling all to ourselves?  Sharing is an addiction, and once you have a platform to do so, going back seems utterly ridiculous.

It is because of this that we are all trapped and connected in this huge database overflowing with unnecessary information.  We want everyone to know all these qualities about us.  We want them to know who we associate with, what we find important, what we look like - and we try with all our might to make them care about us.  We are forever wielders of the camera, culprits of recording moments and seeking external validation.

While all this is happening we are also handing over our validation with envy.  We spend hours pouring over the highlights.  People have nice clothes, nice shoes, forever seem to be having the time of their lives, and watching them is just as addictive as making them watch us.  We become influenced and inspired to be just like them.  This huge database is a brainwashing box bursting with culture.  What must this girl be like without it?

If she isn't spending hours pouring over her own narcissistic profile along with everyone else's, what is she doing with her time?  

I imagine myself waking up and getting dressed up for the day.  I don't pick up my phone and spend an extra half hour in bed.  I don't pose for the camera in the mirror once my hair has been adequately brushed.  Instead I go downstairs, eat breakfast, and gather my daily dose of culture from a magazine full of colour and beautiful, expensive things.

I imagine myself with more brain cells and a higher capacity for concentration.  There are no distractions.  There is no way for me to know what everyone else is doing.  There are no outlets to voice any complaints about maths assignments and television shows.  There is just knowledge in a looming pile of printed notes sitting on my desk.

I imagine myself with project after project.  Perhaps I'll always have a word document open in the background.  It'll be a piece I'll be proud enough of to edit until perfect.  I'd have a blog or an archive full of well-thought-out opinions, full of essays worth reading.  Perhaps that's what I'd do with all my extra hours.

It is unfortunate that to disconnect is something that I could never do.  This need to share, this need for knowledge, it overcomes me.  I will never experience the liberation of being free of the constraints of constant connection.  

There is a balance.  Perhaps one day this connection will stop being a necessity, and instead morph into something positive.

Love,
M

Thursday, 24 November 2016

To Accept Mediocrity

Disappointment is a soul sucking, life-changing, strength-challenging experience, and it absolutely sucks.  I've found that as human beings, we pride ourselves on what we're good at.  Our talents and un-mediocreness in any particular area begins to become a huge part of who we are, and that's not a bad thing [or else, how would we have drive?].  However, with every expectation we take the high risk of disappointment, and when that one thing you've subconsciously decided defines you as anything special gets taken away, well, what are you left with?

That one talent, that one huge part of your existence, has the power to completely crush you.  It's like when Rachel lost her voice in that episode of Glee, or when Rory Gilmore was told that she 'didn't have it' at her journalism internship.  It's like when Serena replaces Blair as Queen Bee.  Without that one thing you let define you, who even are you?

Well, you're a lot of things.  You're the bundle of morals and ideas that make you think the way you do.  You're the person who is loved by all your friends and family, who can charm people into loving you.  You are your personality, your creative abilities, your love for food and sport and sunshine.  You may not be numero uno in anything in particular, but you are so much more than that.

Letting something define you is like putting yourself in a little prison.  You're not considering anything alternative.  You're making excuses as to why other aspects of your life don't need working on, because you're special because of that one thing.  You don't need anything else.

I guess in a way, accepting mediocrity means trying even harder, because I don't think we could ever truly accept mediocrity.  Nobody wants to be average, insignificant, and that's basically the definition of mediocre.  Accepting that you are not special for one aspect of yourself causes you to strive for more elsewhere to compensate.

Think about all the people you'd meet if you made the effort.  Think about the pieces you could write or the pictures you could paint [They may be 'mediocre' but who cares?  Maybe they won't be].  Think about how well you might end up dressing if you get off your high horse and start thinking 'shallow' thoughts about the aesthetics on the outside.  Well, wouldn't you be pretty?

Venture outside that one thing that defines you and you'll be outrunning mediocrity.  There are exciting things to come, my friend.

******

On a tangent, look at all those possibilities looming ahead.  I am a sixteen year old girl, so it may be my age that is giving me this tingling feeling of anticipation.  I am narcissistic and will ask you, 'Where do you see me in the future?'

"I see you scheming to cheat the world of their money.  You'll be working in a huge consulting firm, half-assing your job and selling stuffed up systems to people."  Thanks dad.  He doesn't really know me anyway, but maybe I'll touch on that some time else.

"I see you as the editor of a huge magazine.  You know, those typical live in New York types."  I absolutely wish.

Whatever it is, we'll all get what we want some day, and I can't wait.  All I know is that I want to dress well and take it all with grace.  Wouldn't it be nice to sparkle?

Maybe mediocrity isn't in the cards after all.

Love,
M

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

A post without a point

I probably should be studying but I thought, I haven't posted in a really long time, so why not?  I'm currently sitting at the glass dining room table in a sunny room, and I've accidentally caused an orange to roll onto the floor while erasing too furiously.  The table is strewn with papers everywhere, a Vogue magazine and an Asian cookbook buried underneath piles of chemistry notes.  The clock ticking on the wall is becoming increasingly annoying, but hey, such are the quirks of sitting here.  Utter silence would be even more irritating, in my opinion.

Of course my laptop is sitting on top of this mess of a table, and for once my phone is nowhere to be seen.  I've been oversharing lately.  I made one of those spam Instagram accounts, and despite my efforts to stay off social media by cutting off access to the time-sucking, life-distracting snapchat, posting is an addiction.  There is just so much in my life to share and document - no matter how mundane - or feelings to let out via posed selfies.

I've been following all these quirky models lately, with envious lives and that cool individuality vibe going on that's actually not all that individual.  I love their funky jackets and fringes, and all the pink!  But seeing them jet off to India or wear fancy clothes in London, or seeing girls in my own city imitating this look and doing it well, it makes me a little... jealous.

I read somewhere that you know when you're happy when you see someone thriving in some way, and you feel happy for them.  Jealousy is a sign that you're simply not content with something in your life, or else you wouldn't be feeling jealous, would you?  So perhaps it's this testing week.  Perhaps it's the fact that I've locked myself in all weekend, trying to study but feeling miserable, alone and ugly while doing so.  I read somewhere this morning that 'Another woman's beauty is not the absence of your own', and however cheesy that is, read it again.

I've been reading different books lately.  It's as if I've strayed away from those young adult novels and moved on to what they call 'literature'.  It's not so much that I actually enjoy this literature.  In fact, I don't think I paid the first quarter of the book I'm reading any attention at all.  It's just that when I try to read a feel-good young adult book, I feel like I'm watching a really bad movie.  I feel as if the characters don't make sense because they're simply not realistic, and as much as reading is supposed to be a sort of safe haven in a fictional perfect world, I can't help but feel irritated.  I want to read about realistic people who make realistic decisions and are put under realistic circumstances - because it makes the world I'm reading about seem more persuasive.  While I didn't pay attention to the first part of the book I'm reading, and while the story isn't as drama-filled and interesting, the characters and their relationships are like a painting of how the author sees people in real life, and maybe it'll teach me a thing or two.

I've lost my safe haven in Gilmore Girls.  For five whole seasons their lives were practically perfect, and now there's a rift.  For seven episodes Rory will be making bad decisions, which is unheard of, and she and her mother will be fighting.  I don't feel like watching a show where Rory has no direction.  Gilmore Girls has lost its warm and fuzzy feeling, and I don't know what to do.

Love,
M

Friday, 28 October 2016

Contented

It's just six weeks.  That's what I've been telling myself.  I have to do these six weeks properly.  I'll put my head down, work hard, and then I'll be free for two months.  The weather will be warm and I'll be able to wear nice clothes.  I'll go for jogs and enjoy them.  I'll eat nice food for every meal.  I'll be in Malaysia and Japan.  I'll be seeing something completely new for the first time in, well, not that long a time.  I deserve it.

My month so far has been constant assignments, and all hell has broken loose on my desk as I spend strenuous hours trying to perfect them.  I've been going through constant cycles of being happy, then moody, then happy again.  Some days I think that I'm a disgusting, bloated slob, and others I thank my genes for giving me the fittest body I could've possibly asked for.  All these days are blending into one nice buzz of routine, and somehow the constant work and repetition have made time pass a little faster.

It's like I'm floating, waiting.  I used to think that in order to be happy I would need something to be excited for every week; but look at me.  It's a Friday night and I just took a very long shower - so long that the heater I had on melted my moisturiser.  I'm now writing for the first time in three weeks, and then I will watch yet another unrealistically pleasant episode of Gilmore Girls over a nice fat bowl of popcorn.  Tonight I will sleep early after reading a feel-good book my friend lent me, ready for a six am start tomorrow morning.  This must be the most relaxing night I've had in... months, actually.

This floating feeling of just being has left me in a state of having psychological habits.  Lately I've been trying to be the best I can be by not trying.  I've been rather condescending towards anybody for any reason.  I've been unaware of my subconscious conclusion that I'm simply not good enough for people.  I've reached another stage in my cyclic life where I've decided to turn a new leaf once again.  I'm working on it.

And I'm content with this life I'm currently being in.  I watch the girls a year older than me three weeks away from graduating, and I anticipate being them soon enough.  I am excited, but I can also wait.  Time is passing at an optimal speed for once, and I'm not harping over the things I have and haven't done yet, for once, as well.

I want to be as self-aware as I can be before I leave high school, and I think I'm on my way.
It's just one more year.  I have to do this year properly.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

A Bigger City

There's something about cities that make me want to dress better, walk better, be better.  Maybe it's the fact that there are more eyes on me, or maybe it's that there are no eyes on me at all.  Maybe it's because I'm now another part of these masses of people waiting at traffic lights and walking between buildings; yet I'm still an individual.  I still have my own style and my own story, and so do all of them.  There's so many styles and stories compacted into this place of life and shops and noise, and all of this inspires you to stretch and change and be.

































I wouldn't mind living in one of those houses along the Eastern beaches.  It doesn't have the same vibe as those laid back beaches in Queensland or on the coast between Canberra and Sydney.  The people there are still characters of the city.  The girls wear their fluorescent gym clothes, or their simple, classy monotone basics, or their Nike and Adidas.  They wear their huge sunglasses and strappy sandals or branded sneakers.

People there can walk their dogs, lie on towels in crevices of rocks or on top of soft white sand and read their books, go on long jogs along the coastal walks, or sit in shops and eat healthy breakfasts or fish and chips.  The atmosphere makes me want to go outside and do something.  It makes me feel relaxed.  It's like an oasis in the middle of a city.















Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Snail Mail

Lately I've been obsessed with letters and postcards and all things with stamps that travel across the globe with a message.  I've always loved the idea of letters, actually.  I know that when I was younger, every time I would hear of a school pen pal project, or of a friend who was writing to someone in a different country, I would wish I could do that too; not so much for cultural education, but more to get to know someone through writing on a tangible piece of paper.  I'm just infatuated by this impersonal personal friendship.  You know the person, but you don't really.  You've never seen them in person, and you may not ever see them in person, yet they directly tell you personal details and emotions and opinions about their everyday lives, and you do the same.  There's something unnaturally special about that.

****

I started writing letters when I was about 10 years old.  It started when my friend from school told me that she collected stamps, and I wanted to do the same.  We thought that a quick way to collect lots of stamps would be to write each other letters.  Surprisingly, somehow we would still manage to think of things to say, despite seeing each other every day at school.  We would write about school piano recitals and movies we would like to see, and we would decorate our letters with an array of stickers.

Some time in 2010 or 2011

Dear M,
You can't actually send letters for 55c.  Yesterday I went to Sydney, I got a soft toy, he is a little doggy, but I haven't named him yet.
Yeah, my signature is cursive writing with a line through it.  It's preaty random, but I don't mind.
Has anything interesting been happening at your house lately?  See you tomorrow! (I think)
From A

Somewhere along the way, after we'd moved to different schools, we stopped writing to each other.  The other day though, due to my newly found letter obsession, I wrote to her again.  She did write back, and it's nice to know she hasn't changed too much in the last five years, and while I have, it's nice to realise that my personality hasn't changed all too much either.  In some ways, writing letters is like a time capsule.  Or maybe that's just what it's like communicating with someone from your past.

28/9/2016

Dear M,

I was so extremely happy to receive your letter!  It really has been such a long time!

In all honesty, I too have stopped collecting stamps, but I've never really admitted it because people keep giving them to me, and I'd feel super guilty otherwise.  I just kinda shove them in an envelope on my bookshelf and leave them.  I've been thinking I should start a new envelope, since the old one is getting a little full...

Anyway!
You've probably noticed that my handwriting is as messy as if always was... yours hasn't changed that much, it's still really tidy!
...

****

In a frenzy of boredom and a weird sudden desire for a pen pal, I signed up to some dodgy website as a joke during a science class, and somehow got myself a not-so-dodgy pen pal from the Czech Republic.  When writing that first letter, I felt so open.  I felt as if I could tell her things I would only ever write in my diary, because I knew that she wouldn't be able to tell anyone else.  She would just be there, on the other side of the world, knowing these things about me that nobody else does.

The problem I've found with snail mail though, is that it takes forever to arrive.  By the time a month has passed and she has received my letter, my world has completely changed.  I no longer care about the things I was concerned about a month ago.  I no longer even think about it.  So, this girl on the other side of the world is reading a version of me from the past.  She's keeping this time capsule of mine, and may have it forever, even when these fragments of my life are long forgotten.  There really is something unnaturally special about that, isn't there?

And the thing is, I'm receiving the exact same thing back from her.

3/9/2016

Dear M,

First of all, thank you very much for the long letter!  I was really happy when I was reading it!

I'm in my grandparents flat now.  I'm going to sleep here tonight because I didn't want to be at home. My dad invited our neighbours for a barbecue yesterday.  They have three kids and I don't want to look after them when they will be there.  Their daughter (about 10 years old) overslept in my room when they came last time.
However, my grandparents are really pleased every time I come to visit them.  When I was younger and was going to school in my hometown I used to visit them before and after school every day.  It was quite strange that I woke up early because of that.  I went with my mum who was going to work at 6:30am.  She dropped me and our small dog Nata'lka (Natalie) in front of my grandparents house. I ate breakfast and learnt some of my subjects there.  I came there again after school and waited for my mum who took me and Nata'lka home.  I go there just about once a week since I'm attending a grammar school in a different town.
Oh, I wrote quite a lot about this, sorry...

****

The wall of my room above my bed is ever-changing.  It's gone from a huge collage to quotes to artworks to free postcards... and now it's just postcards from all across the world.  An epiphany hit me that while I was finding many of the same free postcards on racks in cafes and art galleries, I could be sending them off and getting postcards from strangers across the world in return.  I found this website called Postcrossing while searching for that dodgy pen pal website during that science lesson.






30/8/2016

Hello M!  Greetings from Kirov!  I'm a furniture designer and student of University.  Fyodor Dostoyevsky is my favourite writers.  I like Dostoyevsky for the deep storyline.  Have you read Crime and Punishment?  "Gia" is one of my favourite movies.  You have to watch it.  The story is of the life of Gia Carangi, a top fashion model from the late 1970s.  It's a really sad movie.  On this card depict the Spasskaya St.  It's a heart of the city.
Have a nice day!  Good luck!




And you know what?  If you'd like to send me a letter, email me.

Love,
M