Monday, 28 September 2015

Autumn Wishlist

  • cardigans
  • boots
  • soft socks
  • rum
  • warm, chunky jumpers
  • everything cable knit
  • when your breath makes little ghosts in the cold air
  • frozen spider webs
  • crunchy grass
  • crunchy leaves
  • pale blue skies
  • thunderstorms
  • the smell of wet grass
  • rain against the windows
  • Hogwarts T-shirts
  • hot, sugary coffee
  • Heathen body and face lotion from Goth Rosary (the site closed down, I am now on my last bottle *sad face*)
  • orange leaves
  • tartan skirts with cosy tights
  • leather jackets with huge chunky scarves
  • blankets. Oh so many blankets
  • ogling the new Zadig and Voltaire collection even though I can't afford it and couldn't justify the expenditure if I could
  • pumpkin spice lattes
  • horror films
  • tweed blazers
  • burgundy velvet
  • boyfriend in jumpers *mmm*
  • rewatching Labyrinth
  • Game of Thrones season 4
  • bonfires
  • Wolf by First Aid Kit
  • Kate Griffin's Matthew Swift novels
  • guitar practise
  • clove incense
  • early Christmas shopping
  • all the Halloween stuff

Friday, 25 September 2015

Notes on Real Life

(or 'Notes on Real Loaf', as I originally typed.)

Hello everyone :) again there's been a bit of a gap between posts, I am sorry about this but I'm having a mixed bag of it in the real world at the moment.

Firstly, I am now twenty-four years old (presenting: a classic example of the 'adult millenial' in its natural habitat), which is as much a shock to me as it is to anyone else. I started blogging on Piczo when I was about fifteen or sixteen - doesn't time fly? I'm finding my twenties to be a bit of a strange time. A lot of it seems almost as though it's happening to someone else; I have this sense that this isn't the life I was supposed to be living, as though I made a side-step somewhere in my teens and have been drifting a little aimlessly ever since. Which isn't far from being the case, actually. I feel both impossibly old and incredibly young and stupid at the same time.
Me as a young Gawth blogger. D'aww?

Secondly, we recently suffered a death in the family, which whilst not unexpected was still a bit of a shock and I haven't quite got my head around it yet. I'd like to say something poignant in memory of a much-loved person but my emotions seem to have gone on holiday for a little while. Can't say that I blame them. In typical fashion I am doing lots of cleaning and lots of ordering takeaways. Am not 'grieving' in the usual sense, I don't think, but sort of floating through things in a baffled manner - for example, last night I attempted to make my partner a cup of tea in a cereal bowl.

Thirdly, I can sense a deadline looming for an article I need to write, which is always an alarming sensation.

And last, I have recently made a decision (at least, I think it's made) that I can't quite talk about just yet but it heralds big change for me and is a little scary. Actually a lot scary. Hopefully in a good way, but I am both introverted and rather anxious and therefore have problems acclimatising myself to change of any description. Do feel a bit daft telling you I've made a decision when I can't yet tell you what it is, but all this stuff is piling up in my head and I had to put it somewhere, or else go a bit more insane than I generally am.

So I do apologise once again for my blogging being a bit sporadic and not very interesting of late, but my faculties have deserted me somewhat and I am doing the best I can!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Pre-Birthday Celebrations

Apologies for the longer-than-usual gap between posts; I have been on holiday (more on this later).

Because I was going away for my birthday week (birthday is tomorrow), my friend Hazel encouraged me to have a pre-birthday gathering of some description. Being the antisocial nerd creature that I am, I wasn't intending to have any sort of birthday party at all - I tend to get over-excited in the weeks prior to any special event and start organising something over-the-top involving copious amounts of alcohol and then remember at the last second that 1) I am shy and 2) I hate organising things. Corralling people is not a skill of mine.

So this year I had mostly made up my mind to opt out of the whole party shindig, but when Hazel suggested I do a thing I remembered that I quite like bowling, so we did that. A whole bunch of my friends turned up; there were presents, we had cake, and lost all dignity by asking for the kiddie bumpers to be put up on our lanes. It was a great night. I felt loved.

Also, it was especially important in the end to get errybody together because my friend Jade, otherwise known as the queen of my heart, is moving to America for a year to work as an au pair, and I am going to miss her terribly. (She gave me Studio Ghibli postcards and a Star Wars doodle book as birthday presents. And wrapped up a book I had lent her and gave it back to me. This is a friendship I cannot afford to lose.)

Many thanks to everyone who came along to celebrate with me. You are all much-loved. <3
(Jade is in the top right corner, pictured front and centre. Hazel is same photo on the far left.)


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Style Concept: Casual Faerie

I have several style concepts knocking around in the back of my brain. This is one of them, stemming from a time when I thought that if I could only find my style statement, all would be well in my corner of the universe. However as a day-to-day look, it didn't really work out for me, although I'm still prone to dressing this way for parties and evenings out, when I want to look a bit fancy and prettified but not in a terribly normal sort of way (I used to have an almost-completely-separate wardrobe of sexy-but-very-un-me dresses for going out, but have been working on finding things that are still night-out-appropriate but more quirky and unusual).

The idea that sparked 'casual faerie' as a style concept was me trying to combine several of my favourite styles - faerie, boho and a raggedy art-student kind of look vaguely inspired by the character Karou from Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone, all slouch beanies and messy hair - but in a casual, non-overpowering, non-costumey way, as though (to get kinda cheesy about it) a faerie girl had decided to take a bunch of art classes and needed to blend in a little bit.

Casual faerie is: combat boots with tea dresses, lots of lace, blue and silver, smudged eye make-up and glitter, messy hair (probably blue or green or faded pink), a faraway expression, short nails, torn stockings, mismatched socks, worn boots, chunky scarves, sketchbooks and bitten pencils, ink stained fingers, silver earrings, slip dresses, thrift shop cardigans, muted or dark florals, jewel-coloured velvet, moon jewellery, flushed cheeks and bright eyes, body glitter in strange colours, wilting daisies tucked into braided hair, oversized leather jackets, dungarees, ugly sweaters, strange charms and magpie feathers tucked into your handbag, the smell of books, mismatched textures and layers, silver beads in your hair that glitter like stars.

The casual faerie girl shops in flea markets and thrift stores. She smells of tea leaves, lavender and peppermint. She carries her art supplies in a battered old brown suitcase she picked up for £1.50 in Age Concern. She wears vintage lace bridal gloves with the fingers cut off. She likes to sit outside and drink tea in the moonlight. The bottom of her handbag is coated in glitter and birdseed. A quiet girl, she talks and laughs with friends in the coffee shop but never seems quite there, as though she has one foot in this world and one in Tir Na Nog.
Casual Faerie



Casual Faerie Pinterest board.
Style Concept first draft.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Finding Yourself: A How-To

As my regular readers will know, I'm still on the 'journey' of self-discovery (a journey liberally seasoned with cliche, it seems). But more and more often since writing my post Acceptance, as I carry on in the same vein, I seem to keep bumping into myself. I have moments, frequently now, where I relax fully into myself, my life - moments of, 'Oh, of course. There I am. I've been there all along,' almost as though aspects of my personality were pieces of loose change stranded down the back of the sofa.

Reaching this new stage feels momentous for me. It's as though I can breathe again; I can enjoy the moment and respond to things as they happen in my own way, instead of trying to think of how I 'should' behave, 'should' respond, 'should' feel. I am being authentic. I thought I might lose friends when I stopped trying to be cool, sophisticated, stylish, smart, edgy, Goth, hippie... it hasn't happened. People close to me seem, if anything, relieved, that I've found my genuine self again. Goodness knows I hadn't seen her in a while.
In Brighton, staying with friends, last summer sometime
Suddenly I have time for hobbies again. Things I haven't done in years. Toxic relationships have fallen by the wayside, just naturally. I've learned what I do and don't like; learned how to say no (or 'bugger off') when things aren't OK with me. Learned to answer honestly when people ask an opinion, instead of choking on my anxiety and searching for the 'right' answer. It's not perfect yet, but I feel better and stronger than I have in years, maybe since school (I left school when I was thirteen), and I think it's only going to keep improving. So for those of you on the same rocky road of lack of identity and poor self-image, here are a few things that helped me on my way:

  • Listen to music. Your music. One of the things I got ribbed for a lot as a Goth blogger was my music taste. I tried not to let it bother me, but being Goth was important to me and frankly I wanted to do it as well as possible, so I spent a lot of time trying to listen to the 'right' music. Then, when I started to explore my tastes outside the subculture, I was going through a bit of a rough time in my personal life and music just made me feel overwhelmed, so I sidelined it. A huge step in finding my sense of self has been rediscovering music, my own likes and dislikes. Forget about the notion of 'guilty pleasures'. When I put my iPod on shuffle, I know exactly who I am and all's right with the world. Dismiss music snobbery and find what you truly, honestly enjoy.
  • Find things you like. Do them. When I was preoccupied with fashion all the time, writing, drawing and a lot of my other interests were pushed aside. I simply didn't have time; I was too busy adjusting, refining, tweaking my wardrobe, not to mention funneling all my paychecks into the ever-growing clothes heap. Before that I was underweight and miserable. I didn't have the emotional energy to do anything, even if I had wanted to do anything except endless star jumps and counting out my allowance of lychees for lunch (I don't even like lychees...). Now I seem to have 1,000 hobbies and not enough time in the day. Things I LIKE doing, not things I think I should like doing. Writing fanfic. Practising guitar. Drawing (really badly, because I'm out of practice).These might not be the most exciting things in the world. But damn, I'm happy. 
  • If you're in a dark place emotionally, it's hard to get started doing anything. If getting out of bed - or rolling over in bed - is your biggest achievement of the day, that's OK. It's still valid.
  • No FOMO. (Fear Of Missing Out.) Learning to say no to things without constantly worrying about what I might be missing was hugely liberating. Sometimes I don't want to go out. I want to write, or read, or just have a nap. That's just as valid a life experience as getting blotto and vomiting in a seedy nightclub toilet. And smells better.
  • Accept, and adapt. Personally, I don't feel confident in a bikini. I have previously tried to make up for this by getting a 'bikini body'. Thing is, even at my slimmest and most toned, I still don't particularly enjoy wearing a bikini. I don't feel liberated or sexy, I feel awkward and a bit chilly. Next summer I will be buying a one-piece. It doesn't mean I have 'failed'. It means I know what makes me feel good, and being preoccupied with which bits of me may or may not be hanging out isn't it. Accept what makes you feel good, and adapt accordingly.
  • Similarly, don't force yourself to do things you aren't ready for. In my faux-hippie phase I stopped shaving and wearing make-up. I thought it would help me accept my inner beauty and feel more confident. Actually, I felt like crap. When the dreadlocks came off, the make-up and razors immediately came back out of the closet. But strangely enough, since I have grown in confidence, my make-up routine has been hugely minimised. Unless I'm going somewhere fancy, nowadays I generally only wear concealer, mascara and blush. Forcing myself to feel confident without make-up didn't work - it had to be the other way around. 
  • Ask for help if you need it. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Don't compare yourself to others. I know, I know - so much easier said than done! The only way I could achieve this was to keep saying to myself, 'yes, but you are not X, you are you. She's doing what she's doing. You're doing what you're doing. Don't worry about it.' 
  • Pay attention to your comfort. Don't buy the shoes if they don't fit. If you're cold, put a jumper on. If you're hungry, eat. If you don't like the film, switch it. You're allowed!
  • Notice what you like. Notice what you're drawn to. I have spent hours walking around shops just to see what appeals to me. At first I panicked because no pattern was emerging; I thought I would never have a 'proper' personal style and I would just be flailing around in a fashion wilderness forever. Eventually, oh-so-slowly (literally years), I came to realise I already had a personal style. It's called Stuff I Like Wearing. It makes sense to no one but me. I'm OK with that.
  • You don't have to make time for people who don't treat you right,
  • Sometimes you don't need to be polite. If some douchebagel is rude to you or lays hands on you without permission, you can absolutely kick them in the genitals. You are a citadel; defend your boundaries.
  • Compile and curate stuff you like. That's what I use my Tumblr for. I reblog anything and everything that just really appeals to me. Then when I feel stressed or confused and my inner flailing starts, I just bring up my Tumblog, look at what essentially amounts to a visual representation of everything I like, and voila, I feel grounded in my personal identity again. 
  • Think before you speak. Someone asks you to do a thing, think about whether or not you actually want to do the thing. I always say, "Maybe, I'll get back to you," and go and think about whether or not the thing appeals to me, whether I like the person who is asking enough to do the thing anyway, and whether I really have enough time to do the thing. I went through a stage of saying yes automatically because I felt I should be open to new experiences. This was very stressful and I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. It didn't work for me. You live once; do the things you want to be doing, not what society thinks you ought to be doing.
So this is some stuff that helps me. What about you? Share your best tips and your own experiences, if you like. ^^
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