Sunday, 28 November 2010

Pearl Necklaces of Wisdom

My Granny is a grand 90 years old tomorrow. To celebrate this fact my family had a gathering at her house yesterday and it pushed me to finally write a blog about her, a woman I hold incredibly dearly in my heart.

She is now losing her short term memory, she is, of course, aged, slowing down but there is not a single slice of her spark missing. She often tells me stories about her life, recalling with impeccable detail things that happened years ago and no matter how many times I might hear the same story it will always fill me with wonder, I could, can and do listen to her for hours on end. She has lived a life that not many could compare to.

My Grandmother was born in 1920 in New York, to first generation German migrants. She lived through the Great Depression and served in the American Navy during the Second World War. She did things that were just not done in her time and often giggles as she recalls her mother frequently saying, "Dorothy whatever will you do next?". She trained as a professional ice skater, toured all over the USA and Europe as "Lady Rebecca" in Holiday on Ice, which coined her the nickname "Becky" which she still is called today. Following the war she went with her GI Biller Rights and studied in Paris, lived in the South of France, married once, divorced. Shared an apartment in Paris with a man who worked for a fashion magazine, has had drawings of her as a model in fashion magazines, went to modelling school. Met my Grandpa, a Navy Officer, whilst visiting friends in England and whimsically tells the story of how it really was love at first sight. After marrying my Grandpa they lived out in India on a tea plantation with my uncle and aunt before returning to England shortly before my father was born... and these are to name but a few things. She still tells me she opens her curtains of her sleepy little village on the outskirts of Preston and says, "How on earth did I end up here?". We have all said to her for years that she should've written her life story, sadly I think it's a little bit late for her to be able to do that now but it's been crossing my mind more and more these days that maybe I should do it for her. Her stories are imprinted on my heart and I'd love to share with the world the wisdom of this incredible woman and her stories that would out shine any fictitious piece.

She always was until very recently impeccably dressed. We used to share cups of tea on a Sunday afternoon both flicking enthusiastically through the Sunday Times Style supplement. She has the largest collection of berets of anybody I've ever met, all with matching scarves. She delights in my dressing and I love hearing her recounting various garments over the years and showing me beautiful black and white photographs of her in her youth. "Quite the diva" as my Aunt commented on Saturday and then looked pointedly at me. This "passion for fashion" is inherited it seems. It was she who pushed me to keep modelling and delving into a fashion career. Over the years she has given me many of her garments and pieces of jewellery - all of which I wear frequently and often delighted in showing me off to her tea guests before recounting another of her stories from her youth. A far cry from a "typical" Grandmother figure and she frequently protests at my giggles at her crackers comments, "but you wouldn't want a boring Granny would you?" ... to which I always respond telling her I wouldn't swap her for the whole world (and I mean it even more each time I say it).

My Granny and I hold a special bond, I lived with her at a young age and again as for a year and a half at 19, though I know she loves each and everyone of us equally, the extra time we have spent together has given us something, there is an underlying understand of the other and a very deep affection. She has had a massive influence in my life and I think out of all of my relations she and I have a very unique relationship - we share a spirit, a gumption for life, an attitude to go out and grab absolutely everything. It is hugely attributable to her that I look at the world as a mirage of riches, a kingdom of magic, a plethora of possibilities. I feel deeply honoured when she tells me that I remind her of a young version of herself - we live an awful lot through each others eyes.

It was incredibly moving that upon my Dad making a toast to her yesterday that she sipped her champagne with her shaky hand, she took a deep breath and made a speech. Words which I've had her say pragmatically my whole life, "I'd say to anyone, that in life you have to just go out and do things. See and find opportunity then do it. I have lived my life and I have lived it well. I don't regret anything- you will doubtless make mistakes, make wrong choices but I think it's far better to do that than to never have experienced at all. I think there can't be anything worse than getting to being old and sitting back saying I wish I'd done that... It's far worse to regret the things you haven't done than those you have. Go out and seize every opportunity because life is for living".

I can take my Granny's words from this day but more importantly I carry her soul with me, her spirit lives in my genes and I would be very, very content in my life if I live to be just even half the woman she is.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Mon Corps - C'est Mon Histoire

I have been contemplating getting a new tattoo for sometime now, I flirted with a few ideas, things I like and came to a few various conclusions based on where I am at this particular point in my life. This, of course, is something that is going to be imprinted on my body for the rest of my life so it needs to not only be meaningful but also have significance.

I view my body like a map of my life, it tells my story, which continues to be written daily with the aging process.
I was born with two birth marks that I still have, an upside down crown shape mark at the top of my thigh and a small non-descript one on my right ankle. I have a marking from being a toddler, a small tablet sized white scar at the top of my thigh on my crotch line from where my Dad (so I am told) squeezed a spot there whilst changing my nappy. My knees show faint silvery scars and purple patches from grazes as a school child playing in the street, falling over my first bicycle handle bars. My first pet Rosie, a black and white dwarf rabbit, has left me with a little line scar on my left ring finger where she bit me (and wouldn't let go) whilst I was cleaning out her hutch at seven. If I stick my tongue out, I have a noticeably "flowery" edge to it from where I fell off a bar stool at nine and bit my tongue in my Dad's kitchen and reaching behind me for a drink. The roof of my mouth has a smooth patch from where I burnt it eating a cheese and potato pie from the bakery near my Granny's house at eleven.
My little sister's place in my life stamped by the small scratch dint she left on my face when she was a toddler. Freckles that increase as the years go by, my fair skin aging and being exposed to sun, remind me of family holiday's abroad and getting sunburned whilst playing in water. My growth and development are noted by stretch marks, hips, thighs, breasts 12, 15, 18, 22. The passage of becoming a woman. Skin on my face already aging, crease lines on my brow - years of laughing and frowning. The fashionista's feet are a patchwork of colours from rubbing shoes and mishapped from wearing teetering shoes with pointed toes. Holes from piercings and dints from those closed up.
Turmoil is marked too, my knuckles on my right hand remain scarred by callouses from years of bulimia, I have faint white scars from periods of self harm. A tiny egg shaped scar at the bottom of my back from when I first moved out of home and still plagued by self harming thoughts I kept my razors in my bed and lead on one by accident.
My body for the most part will tell it's own story, as it has already done but does not always tell the stories of the mind, it does not denote the opinions and emotions around the marks. My tattoos however are deliberate and meaningful in their own right. The card print down my spine, the club, heart, spade and diamond; a tribute to my survival of my anorexia. My view of life being a game and having to play the hand you're given and also in relation to the "Solitaire" poem I wrote about my experience. The little ruby on my left buttock - both comical due to it's positioning and important in it's meaning. The ruby was done with my oldest friend (Lucy) Quinn as she too got the same design in black (Lucy in the sky with Diamonds). The ruby to me represents reinvention, regenerations and rebuilding the self - renaming and re birthing. It's a salute to the more frivolous things in life, joie de vivre and the riches life has to give as well as being a representation of my nickname.

I know my body will naturally continue to write it's story on itself but I too wish to add further to the story of my mind, express my creativity and pay tribute to the trials and tribulations, joys and triumph of my spirit too. I'll keep thee posted on what I decide to have inked next...

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Food For Thought

For those of you that know me well enough or frequently read my blog you will know that food has been somewhat of a taboo subject for large proportion of my life. I'd be lying if I said that it isn't still an issue at times, I have hiccups, though mercifully I have the strength, resources and enough experience to never again fall into the depths of anorexia that I once was.

This last week however I've found myself obsessed with food in a whole different way - cooking it! I have always had an interest in food but because it's been such a turbulent journey to being comfortable with what I put in my body I've never really pushed the interest too far. Just cooking for myself I could never really gather much enthusiasm for; all that effort for myself when usually I'd end up hating myself for eating it anyway didn't seem worth it. Food for me often came prepackaged - with clear calorific content safely printed on the box (and on my brain).

Feeling so wonderfully happy in my home, living with people that I not only enjoy the company of but care a great deal about brings out this nurturing and nesting instinct in me. Whilst these past few weeks I've lost quite a bit of weight I decided that something needed to be done and so not being able perhaps to cook just for myself I turned my hand to cooking and baking for the household. I had a conversation with my male housemate about how he sees food as a beautiful thing, not in a tongue in cheek kind of way, but how it is so incredible that you can put something in you that nourishes you, gives you life, vitality and joy and being given the gift of that is something really special. It warmed my heart greatly. I find it so rewarding knowing I can give that to somebody, it's so enriching to watch somebody enjoy something I have created and be nourished by it. In turn they're helping me, I feel the greatest gift of all is being able to give and I feel it so much easier eating my creations in sharing in them with the people around me. Meals become a loving experience not just a refuelling process.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Bitch Therapy

Recently I've found myself increasingly feeling the heat. I feeling incredibly happy that my styling work has reached another level, that I feel confident enough to stop working just for images and add a reasonable fee to my services. I find it so difficult to switch my fashion obsession off, so combining this with cramming my (already over full) schedule with even more shoots is having a lovely sky rocketing effect on my stress levels.

I was getting to a point mid last week, especially being ill, of feeling perpetually sick that this is how my life is going to feel for the next "x" amount of years, working in the industry that I have chosen. Can I really keep this up without ending up an anorexic gibbering mess of delirium? I am such a ridiculous perfectionist that doing what I do will demand all of me no matter how much I try and schedule and organise in some "me" time I'll still find myself working. It's not exactly helped by the fact that all my leisure activities actually relate to work. I cannot sit on Facebook without networking, blogging involves fashion usually, going on a night out leaves me scouting for outfit ideas and making connections with like minded people, I can't watch films without thinking of things within it that give me shoot inspiration or articles to write. Going to bed is requiring diazepam because I can't stop my brain even when I stop my body.

I figured that something had to give - and seeing as I am unwilling to give anything up (I want this TOO much) - I decided I had to find some way to vent some of this steam. I am not a bitch by nature, I am actually quite sickeningly happy with a unnaturally positive outlook on life (I think I have to doing what I do), but there is a little element of me that is incredibly cynical. I know my chosen industry is going to require me to grow a thick skin, I am realising this more and more as my career progresses and so I do need to build my resistance. At heart I'll never be one of these cut throat fashionistas but I feel I have a gift for giving off that image. Hence the birth of "Viva Yer Diva", a new blog to my Ruby Noise family. It's striking a happy medium between still "working" by writing and researching but it's so cathartic and therapeutic in a sense that I am literally ripping to shreds all the things in life that irk me and venting a little bit of that frustration I feel under my work load.

It may possibly create me some enemies but those who know me do know better. As we know I have great fun playing with my alter ego the "Diva" and here she is in blog form: http://www.vivayerdiva.tumblr.com . It's also good practise for my life long ambition to become the next Mrs Mills (of the Sunday Times Style supplement).

It paints me out to be an absolute cow of the highest degree but my God it's fun to write and if it brings a giggle to someone else's day then I feel my karma is balanced out. Kind of. I hope.

Friday, 15 October 2010

You Eat Apples Right?

So I get a message from my Mum yesterday asking me what an iPhone was - I gave her a brief explanation saying it was a phone made by Apple that basically was le shiz. She then informs me that she's just received one with her Roger's (she lives in Canada) home package that she and her husband recently had installed. Which is lovely, except this is my mother who still gets me to send her text messages for her when we're together because she can't figure out how to do it without spending an hour over it (usually with her glasses on and a wonderfully comic expression of concentration on her face).
So whilst I'm trekking home from work at quarter to nine at night I'm also Facebooking her from my Blackberry (to her computer - we haven't got that far on the iPhone yet) trying to explain to her a) What an iPhone is and b) the beginnings of how to figure it out.
Now I don't mean to sound like I am calling my mother a technophobe - she's actually incredibly skilled with computers - to the extent that I once watched her manage to completely rebuild her laptop in my youth from despite it having absolutely no screen. Said screen being smashed to smithers because she dropped it down the stairs, actually my mother's track record with technology isn't too hot luck wise despite her skills, I do seem to be housing another rather intoxicated laptop that she fed a glass of wine to in my bedroom too. However phones for some reason seem to be an alien entity to her - so you can imagine my amusement when she declares she has this iPhone.
Well, the evening progresses - we both get excited when she manages to send me an international text message from it, I tell her she can use it like an iPod and play her music from it, if she downloads iTunes and from what I can gather she read the manual from cover to cover. I get frequent updates of the new features she's found with a particular highlight being the proclamation (with several exclamation marks) that she could play The Sims 2 on it!!! I am happy for my mother and her iPhone, wishing her a long and happy experience with it's joys (not jealous, not one bit).
Time passes, I sleep (don't think she does) and I received a message this morning from her saying, "This isn't an iPhone really, I don't think - the paperwork says it's an iPhone but it's Samsung and iPhones are Apple?". *face palm* I asked her to turn it over and to let me know if there was a picture of a little silver Apple on the back to which I got the response, "No it doesn't - I think it's a piece of shit actually".

I give up.

LOVE you Mammy and your phonophobia.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Faith from Paloma


I was rather enlightened and inspired by an interview with Paloma Faith that I read in Stella supplement from the Sunday Telegraph yesterday.

I do frequently get told that I remind people of Paloma - it was purely co-incidence that our styles seemed to be similar and we're both red lipped, red haired ladies. I was doing the "Paloma style" before she emerged on the main scene but it was upon reading this article that I realised we had quite a bit more our appearance in common.

My personal life motto, "everyday is fancy dress dah-ling" so frequently rolls from lips, but is so said in a way that is tongue in cheek and ever so slightly self deprecating. It is true that every day is fancy dress to me but that isn't necessarily referring to my sense of style reflecting that more of costume than of day wear. I spent many years searching for who I am, as I am sure does almost every young woman. I went on a journey before arriving at this point that I felt quite comfortable to express myself freely, and my chosen expression being my image and fashions. This said however, does not mean that I am completely safe and comfortable with who I am. I inwardly smile when somebody comments on how they wish they could have my confidence to go out dressed like I do - not caring what people think because the truth is actually more like the complete opposite. True, I don't care what people think about what I'm wearing, but I do care about what they think about me as a person. Dressing in the manner I do, in this "fancy dress", allows me to create a role for myself to play, I can walk out of my house playing a whole host of alter egos and therefore not myself. It's become somewhat of a personal little hobby of mine is adapting to being a different person in different situations, my favourite of course being the "diva dah-ling".

In reading this article with Paloma I was struck by the lines, "Faith, 25, has a deep need to dress up. Her "bog-standard look" is a pencil skirt, seamed stockings, a pair of heels, a silk shirt and a 1940's hat". Familiar much? It continues, "This is what she wears 'when I can't think'. When she can think there is no limit to the comedy clothing and rainbow-hued make-up she will don." She goes on to explain how a role in a primary school play allowed her to come out her shell, transforming from the painfully shy child she was, "I remember feeling like if it's not me it doesn't matter. And I still do that. You know, people ask me, 'Oh do you ever not dress up?' But it's to do with me sort of becoming somebody else in order to be confident".

Now this isn't to say I am not comfortable with who I am, incidentally I am very comfortable with who I am but I like to reveal that to only a select few, it's a method of self protection and almost a selection process if you like - this disguise gives me a distance at which to assess people and time to evaluate how they will respond to me and whether I can give them what they want and in return they can give to me. As Paloma commented, "When she's not dressed this way she thinks people are not as kind or respectful to me".

Dressing the way I do is my trademark - people recognise me instantly from behind, regardless of my current hair colour or that my style could be the complete opposite of the day before and I like this fact. It gives me a sense of purpose and my role in society. Like Paloma, my style has opened doors for me and people are intrigued by my creative ideas, I am not easily forgotten. I feel often that clothing is dismissed as unimportant outside of a fashion world but it communicates instantly with the receptor a lot about the wearer - even though neither part may realise it.

Now Paloma has an MA from Central Saint Martins, film and television work and a platinum album under her sequined garter and massively a lot of this kicked off thanks to her iconic style. Indeed she was asked to join her first band before any of them had heard her sing a note - the image sells. Now as it happens, in my opinion, Paloma has a sensational voice and following this article I found myself having to buy tickets to see her live at the end of October. The voice and the outfits in one place.

"Just close your eyes and make believe.
Do you want the truth or something beautiful?
I am happy to decieve you".
Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful - Paloma Faith.

...Now I'm just panicking about how not to be dressed in the "wannabe look a like" role at the concert.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Dear London College of Fashion, PLEASE LET ME IN!

Round one. 3999 characters of the maximum allocated 4000... With special thanks to Sue Randall for professionally checking this for me, my personal statement reads:

Fashion infiltrates every aspect of society and evolves so rapidly that in a blink, as soon as one trend sets in another is already replacing it. Fashion journalism captures these moments, shares them with its viewer and documents them in fashion history, making them immortal.

There are few things in life that enthral me as much as seeing that process in which a model goes from being just a woman to a living, breathing work of art. She personifies self expression, and her garments denote a piece of future history and tell a story of the social and political ideologies of that moment in time.

I wish to study Fashion Journalism because it blends so beautifully the cocktail of my interests. These include an all-consuming enthusiasm for fashion, a predilection to express myself through the visual arts and language, with a driving need to understand the way our society is affected and influenced by the media and social reasoning. I chose to study my A Level subjects as a foundation for journalism, and then decided to further my understanding of fashion by studying fashion design formally. I aim to explore this subject in as many different aspects as possible, and have a particular interest in the contextual studies and fashion promotions units in the course content.

After leaving school and before furthering my formal education, I took two years out of studying to build an understanding of the working world and establish my own business as a fashion stylist. I built my business through extensive study of fashion trends and continually networking with photographers and creatives. Doing this has equipped me with skills that are essential within the industry, such as managing deadlines and the demands of others, being self motivated and working within a creative fashion-focused team. I also began employment with Tesco in customer service and clothing departments. Working in retail in this manner has provided me with an understanding of consumer needs, problem solving skills and the ways to achieve customer satisfaction—and the importance of this. Empathy is another essential skill in communicating through writing and being able to effectively market a product to the mass consumer base.

Outside of formal education I am a registered volunteer for the Harris Museum, working as a digital journalist for an up-and-coming exhibition that is part of the Cultural Olympiad, and which encompasses current fashions alongside historic textiles. I write for their blog and styled the promotional photoshoots, and worked with a team to produce the layout and style of their booklet. This booklet was sent to potential supporters and artists to encourage them to donate their pieces. Through this project I have been presented with opportunities to interview artists such as designer Holly Russell and textile artist Michael Brennand-Wood for the blog, to attend a lecture by and work alongside photographer/ stylist Gavin Fernandes, and to attend a digital journalism workshop. The latter is run by a company specialising in programs to support businesses in developing their marketing and promotion skills, and the workshop gave me further insight into the power of social media outlets and ways in which to utilise them most effectively.

When not working or studying I maintain two blogs, one focused on fashion and the other on creative writing. I also enjoy reinventing my own image frequently.

My years outside of formal education have given me life experience that has matured me to a level that will allow me to focus on university and apply myself fully to specialist study. With my varied tastes in different aspects of fashion business, I could apply myself well to a Fashion Journalism degree, and on completion I would be excited to explore the doors this course could open up for my career. I aspire one day to follow in the steps of those that have inspired me through their fashion work, and to create my own place within fashion history.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

You say Gleek...

I like Glee. No I don't like Glee - I love it. It makes me happy and I am aware that this is doing absolutely nothing for my social status (which fortunately dah-lings is credible enough to with stand anything - even a crime such as a passionate enthusiasm for American musical television dramas).

It has little to do with the extreme cheese, far fetched plots and a whole host of incredibly annoying characters but quite simply it's the music. Since I purchased the box set of the first series last weekend nothing has quite managed to cheer me up and find a little fun after juggling a week of the hundreds of different projects I have an at the moment, than popping in an episode (or 4) before bed.

Now, unknown to many of my current acquaintances, before this Madame Fashionista, the "Diva" dah-ling, emerged on the scene my first real passion in life actually was music. My dream as a little girl, long before the magic of fashion possessed me, was actually to be a West End star. A secret though it was. I plowed through academic study at high school but my real release came from singing. Few things can compare to that release, the spirit that you envelope when you lose yourself in the melody and become one with a song. I feel that truly music carried me through many dark moments and certain songs lifted me out of years of depression. I know actually of very few people that don't love music, it embodies an incredible power to evoke emotion, draw a tear, expose a smile, change moods - indeed even lives.

Now realities did indeed set in, though I may be able to hold a tune, might crack one out at karioke and in my youth did win a few certificates and gain a few grades in singing, I shall never be a Barbara, an Ella, an Eva or Aretha. That said, however, I find very little harm than (safely away from other's poor ears) belting out the odd one now and again. There is actually proven clinical studies than singing reduces stress and I whole heartedly will agree with this.

I don't feel there should be rules on what kind of music people like to listen to. I am not au fait and neither am I okay with music snobbery. If one gains pleasure for whatever reason from whatever piece of music I don't feel this should be judged or be taken away from them. Infact I read a quote somewhere recently that I really liked that read, "I don't believe in guilty pleasures because there should be no guilt in pleasure". So with these words in my defence I find no guilt in liking Glee because it does infact give me great pleasure.

Dressing like a Gleek however, is never acceptable.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

My Beautiful Affliction

It has been an evening of reflection tonight and in rereading old writings I have been gratified with much catharcism. I felt a need to share this again, reinforce that hope.
There is truly not a day that passes me by now that I don't thank my guiding spirits for my salvation, my epiphany and my chance to live life the way I do now. I live without regrets or remorse - these lessons have made me who I am and I would never appreciate all the beauty in the world quite to the extent I do without these tests, not least just in my experience of having an eating disorder.


______________________________________

My Beautiful Affliction.

It started with cheese. 25g of fat for just 100g of Edam cheese! What was the point? I could eat so much more for so much less, so cheese went first.
Except it didn't really start with cheese did it? It was never really about food was it? Food just became my means of communication; my body became an outward display of how I was feeling inside. After all – what was the point in a healthy body when its mind was slowly dying?
This was to become a question that would haunt me throughout my illness and recovery.

Your cards all lie in taunting piles,
So you strike a deal with the joker,
But she'll only want to steal your diamonds,
Whilst she claims to teach you poker.

Living

I find it hard to pinpoint dates and ages when it comes to recollecting my experience of anorexia nervosa. My perception of reality became so distorted that I cannot recall huge chunks of time, but the mental and emotional turmoil that I experienced became something that has left a deep imprint - a scar on my soul.

I became so afraid of messing up my life that I believed I'd rather not live it. I was unwilling to fail and unable to take risks. I was terrified of failure and too weak to accept it as a possibility. I felt I was too narcissistic and selfish to believe it was something I could do. I believed it to be beneath me - and I disgusted myself for thinking like that. What gave me the right? I "couldn't" fail because it was unacceptable and I hated myself for being so self obsessed and so pathetic. I felt I was too weak to run a risk and too self righteous to accept less than perfection for a life.
And so was born my escapism – "anorexia", my beautiful affliction, my safety and purity, my purpose, my identity. My excuse?

My excuse; my reason to avoid life because I could choose to play with dying instead. I chose to dance with death because I wanted to touch it and to taste it almost as if that if I could get close to it then maybe I could be convinced that it is life that I'd choose and its life that I wanted.

Anorexia I knew, it was safety, it was secure - where as life was unpredictable and unexpected. I needed security and structure. It fulfilled all these needs when life could not be orderly and in control all the time - or so I thought.

With all its walls and boundaries it gave me a shelter, somewhere to be safe, something to hide in. Hide from life.
Anorexia provided me with a justice system – a world that offered me security had to be paid for fairly, I believed that the struggling I faced was a small price to pay for the safety that my "illness" gave me. Suffering, at the time, seemed like the wrong word, for I believed it to be a choice and that the pain served as a good constant reminder for my own weaknesses, I deserved to experience pain for taking the easy way out.

Hate & Heart

Her magic tricks deceive you,
She knows every game and cheat,
Her hand will play inside your heart,
She's the queen - she can't be beat.

Beneath this deep seated self hatred, at the very core of my being was fear - a terrifying fear of being alone, not being loved or being rejected. This was an immense childlike insecurity, a longing an ache – a need to be loved and looked after.

Just please love me and please don't leave me.

A need for perfection - I must please everyone, be the best because if I'm perfect and the best everyone will love me, nobody will reject me, nobody will leave me. If I am perfect then I must be loved.

Just please love me and please don't leave me.

They say I am a caring person and they smile. Compassion! The answer is compassion - I must be the best. I work so hard, I am so focused, I listen and empathise, care and comfort and it doesn't matter at what cost because I must love as many people as I can, I must be perfect, be the best friend and carer I can be because that is what will help me on the road to perfection. I focus all my energies into ensuring everyone else is okay and try to become selfless, I have bettered myself but now I don't know how to care for myself and am now emotionally stunted. So not yet perfect so what next?

Just please love me and please don't leave me.

They say how proud they are of my A* and they smile. Academics! The answer is academics - I must be the best. I work so hard, I am so focused, I drive and drive myself and it doesn't matter at what cost because I must achieve as highly as I can, I must be perfect, get the highest grades I am capable because that is what will help me on the road to perfection. I get the highest grades, I have bettered myself but am now exhausted and unable to continue studies... so not yet perfect so what next? .

Just please love me and please don't leave me.

They say how disciplined I am and they smile. Control! The answer is control - I must be the best. I work so hard, I am so focused, I organise, schedule and be regimented in as much as I can and it doesn't matter at what cost because I must be as orderly as I can be, I must be perfect, be as organised as I possibly can be because that is what will help me on the road to perfection. I am so orderly, I have bettered myself but now control has become obsession and normality becomes questionable... so not yet perfect so what next?

Just please love me and please don't leave me.

They say that today I am beautiful and they smile. Beauty! The answer is beauty - I must be the best. I work so hard, I am so focused, I starve and starve myself and it doesn't matter at what cost because I must be the thinnest I can be, I must be perfect, be the lowest weight I can possibly get myself to because that is what will help me on the road to perfection. I take myself below that emaciated BMI mark, I have bettered myself but now am anorexic and normal life becomes a strain... so not yet perfect so what next?

Just please love me and please don't leave me.

Shrinking Thinking

She'll take your dreams and shuffle them,
And drive spades into your skin,
So you'll raise your bet and gamble harder,
But it's too late you can never win.


Many clinical and psychological assessments of anorexia nervosa patients' show that typically sufferers have an unnatural obsession with their body image and symptoms of a body dimorphic disorder. How an anorectic looks is of utmost importance to her, but for me it wasn't about beauty. This was about both protecting and destroying myself at the same time but never about beauty. It was for pain, for suffering; I never wanted to be beautiful – I wanted to be as ugly as I felt, for the outside to reflect the inside.

Studies show that typically anorectics have a target weight where they wish to look satisfyingly thin - which then subsequently gets out of control, but for me I never wanted to reach a target weight where I was comfortably thin – I never would be satisfied and I knew that from the start. I wanted to be so thin that I looked like I was dying – maybe I wanted the world to see that on the inside I was dying?

My intention was never to kill myself, because to me this represented giving in – I deserved to suffer for being such a pathetic person, I wanted to live feeling pain – to pay a price for living a life that I felt I wasn't worthy of.

In my head I felt as though my mind was eating my body from the inside outwards. A mound of rotting flesh on the inside working its way outward – disgusting, disfigured and grotesque – it was how I felt. That was what I believed I was and as these thoughts grew, I continued to shrink.

Waking Up

She'll bruise and break you with her club,
And convince you that it's fair,
You'll plead and beg for game over,
But you were always playing solitaire...

I was one of the fortunate few who are given an epiphany. In the depths of my illness I had lost all real sense of what was normal and what wasn't and therefore it was going to take something huge to snap me out of this world. I no longer even knew what I was aiming for – I just wasn't eating. My rituals had become so ingrained that I couldn't ever envisage living without them and I certainly wasn't going to break them of my own accord.

I was very lucky to be paired with a wonderful therapist, months, years of intensive introspective work and finding a voice to speak about my fears and a trust in her that she would not give up on me and not being able to manipulate her the way I had done with so many others before that tried to penetrate my iron bubble.

There is something very powerful in empathy and sharing in experiences with others. As I got thinner and thinner and panic and chaos broke out all around me, that made something inside of me snap. It wasn't people telling me that I was going to die if I didn't stop that changed my mind, this was something that had to come from me. It was lead in the depths of things I realised I had hit my lowest point and I had a choice here – learn to live, or die. Dying wasn't an option; I was many things, but I wasn't a quitter. I finally opened my eyes and looked around me, at people that were genuinely ill, with genuine problems and realised that I did have so much to live for. I COULD change this where many really couldn't. There was still hope for me and I wasn't prepared to be ignorant to that. I wanted to live for those that couldn't and give back. I began to try and see from the point of view of my loved ones those unable to understand why I wanted to destroy myself as I was doing, unable to see why I saw myself like I did – what my perception was.

Interlude: Perception Reflection

Anorexia- where a girl is given the choice to become inhuman, escaping body (and therefore mind) to become something beautiful and better, to escape the hate of herself. She knows that they only way she can ever become good enough is to be weightless and free.

An anorectic lives in her own beautiful bubble, always on task and always aspiring to new targets and experiences a giddy sense of elation when she reaches them. Self satisfaction brought with each new challenge - there will never be an end - new targets can always be formed. She's tired and weak but she knows it's worth it - she will be beautiful and perfect. An anorectic knows she is in control...

VS


Anorexia- where the sufferer is torn between the love of become inhuman, escaping body (and therefore mind) to become something beautiful, to escape the hate of herself and the self destruction she is inflicting. The sufferer is driven to believing that they only way she can ever become good enough is to be thin enough but there is never a limit.

An anorectic is trapped by her own obsessions constantly striving for her own goals to only push them higher when she reaches them. Self satisfaction becomes impossible as she finds herself never being able to achieve what she wants, exhausted mentally from the constant drive and her body weak from the torture and destruction it's been subjected to. An anorectic believes that she is safe inside her "illness" because she finds that it's the only way she can control what's going on in her mind.


Life is about perception. I believe that it isn't so much the things that happen to us that affect us, but more the way in which we choose to deal with them. Maybe I couldn't learn to like myself but I could learn to accept myself.

Seeing Beauty from the Beast

Perhaps I will never understand why I went to the extremes that I went to in my pursuit of perfection (of happiness?), why I felt that I had to hit a real bottom before I could even consider going up. Is it because there is something so alluring about dying? The concept is so seductive yet so poisonous at the same time. I seemed to need a world of fantasy to live in - reality and I didn't seem to agree with each other. The "real world" was the wrong kind of world for me – it felt too chaotic, too risky. So what I did instead was choose a world of lies; however beautifully disguised they were still just sugar-coated lies.

There wouldn't ever be a way of expressing into words the process I had to go through to get to the point I am now – there wouldn't ever be a way of giving it justice. In it's most simple form I learned to accept that this is who I am and I need to stop trying to conform to things around me, stop holding on to what I don't have, the dissatisfaction I have about myself - this is who I am and I can't change the real essence of who I am no matter how hard I try- this IS who I am. I decided to stop trying to be something else, stop trying to mould myself and stop blaming my surroundings.

One morning, I was just struck by a thought that crossed my mind as I looked into the mirror. For the first time in my existence I looked in the mirror and thought "today I look beautiful". It was nothing to do with my weight, my choice of outfit, my hairstyle or make-up, nothing at all to do with my physical appearance- it was because I look happy - I am happy. In some ways I feel that I have been blessed to have such an insight into myself and into life at such a young age. When I first started to get better I felt like my whole life had been turned upside down and inside out – but it felt wonderful – it feels wonderful - because it was me that turned it upside down and inside out! It was my choice and in my control - real control. Something I'd never been able to admit, been to afraid to admit, was that I'd never been in control – and it was my safety methods and boundaries that were controlling me. Of course I feel a definite sadness for the loss of a part of my life to being ill but that has given me even more of a determination to make up for that time. I'm going to take everything from life, soak these experiences, just live.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Bare Necessities

I don't think you have to talk to me for more than three seconds to realise that I sleep, eat, breathe, live fashion. There are few greater pleasures in life than in wrapping luxurious fabrics around skin, adoring, decorating the form and transforming oneself into a walking work of art.

That said however, I feel when I write that I want to be at one with myself, to be natural, with my soul and therefore to do it completely in the buff.
The nude, naked, in my birthday suit.

na·ked   /ˈneɪkɪd/ [ney-kid]
–adjective

1. being without clothing or covering; nude: naked children swimming in the lake.
2. without adequate clothing: a naked little beggar.
3. bare of any covering, overlying matter, vegetation, foliage, or the like: naked fields.
4. bare, stripped, or destitute (usually fol. by of ): The trees were suddenly naked of leaves.
5. without the customary covering, container, or protection: a naked sword; a naked flame.
6. without carpets, hangings, or furnishings, as rooms or walls.
7. (of the eye, sight, etc.) unassisted by a microscope, telescope, or other instrument: visible to the naked eye.
8. defenseless; unprotected; exposed: naked to invaders.
9. plain; simple; unadorned: the naked realities of the matter.


I'm not entirely sure what first gave me the impulse to do it, I was most likely caught off guard getting ready for bed or something but I've found that since I don't feel I can write with heart and soul unless I do it completely unclothed. There's something about needing to feel completely at peace with myself and I am at times completely scathing of my body and feel important when wishing to communicate and share with others that I am completely at ease myself so as to deliver my message wholly and with only pure intent.

Completely natural. We were all born naked and it often baffles me that there is such scandal about being nude. Facebook recently made me take down the photographs I had done at Christmas time that were (very tasteful might I add) art nudes and actually not revealing any of my "anatomy". I can understand the restrictions on vulgarity but surely if we as a society were much more accepting of the natural state there would not be so much controversy and therefore those that feel the need to use it for impure intent.

Just imagine walking out of the house and walking down the local high street, popping into a shop and buying a drink but completely starkers. Think about how you'd really feel, what would you feel conscious about? I can almost accurately guess that it would be what others would think, how you'd be judged, looked at ... what it is about clothes that make this any different? They are just a material (in both senses) shield.

I had to giggle at a story my neighbour was telling me earlier about a friend of hers who likes to take all of his clothes off at parties and walk around with a towel on his arm carrying a tray of drinks - just for the shock factor. But why is being naked shocking?

I honestly feel that the world be a much better place if we had more freedom to roam around completely unveiled at times, I won't be giving up my naked writing anytime soon anyway - and if it makes you feel slightly uncomfortable knowing I just wrote this to you completely leafless perhaps question why...?

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Lullabies

A re post for a friend of mine who I hope will find some comfort in these words.

____________________________________________________

I think it's fair to say that there is nothing harder in life than saying goodbye forever to some one you love very dearly and in visiting my Grandad for the one last time it struck me that how very similar dying is to returning to a new born state.
Unable to talk, tears become the main source of communication, so much can be told through tears. As babies we learn very quickly that if we cry we can tell our families that we need something and again in our final moments tears replace speech, communicating far more than words ever could, showing love, fear, sadness, gladness and gratitude all at once.

In that final visit to I spent a short time alone with him, he could barely keep awake; drifting in and out of sleep like a newborn exhausted from a full day, he too exhausted from a full life. I watched him drifting in and out of sleep peaceful, deep breathing, the occasional snuffle just like a baby, fragile and beautiful. The dying, like the newborn need comforting and caring for, they too are soothed by simple strokes of the head, small kisses, a squeezed hand, just the presence of someone who dearly loves them nearby and to whom they dearly love in return.

Those of the nigh of dying fight to live as the newly born fight to sleep- both need soothing and comforting to know it’s safe to do either. I sat with my Granddad last night whilst it was just him and I and talked to him about all our wonderful memories to which he responded with a serious of hand squeezes and tears and in the end I resigned to just singing to him softly, his favourite song Edelweiss, a lullaby to send him to sleep for one final time. I left him asleep, eternally grateful that I made that visit in time, as he never woke up again. It was like he’d held out for me to say goodbye, as I was the last of all the close family to visit, satisfied that he was dearly loved and that he’d said his goodbye to us all he knew it was okay for him to go, fall asleep.
Similarly dying, like birth, is not a cause for sadness but for celebration. A celebration of a life, a celebration of a person’s contribution to the world, a celebration of memories created and remembered, a celebration of love, a celebration of that person.

My Grandad might not be here in the physical sense any longer but he’ll forever remain in spirit in the hearts of all of him who loved him very dearly. Deceased in body but now a newly born memory for us all.

We love you very much Gramps.

In loving memory of Arthur “Keith” Brisco
24th December 1931 – 22nd October 2007

Listen!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Flipside of Diva

At the centre of my being, in fact with every fibre of me I know that I was born to be a mother. Slowly over the past few months I have let the diva act drop a little, the "Ruby Show" as it were has calmed down as I too have become calmer. Many of my friends now know me as "Momma Bear" as I've let them in a bit more and it is in my very nature to want to mother and care - nothing gives me greater pleasure than fulfilling this role. The matriarch. I have always known this yet I suppose it's in the past 3 years that I've really grown into this role, I had to overcome some trials and tribulations of my own before I was able to fulfil it properly but I know now I'm there. Nothing gives me more of a sense of pride than when people turn around to me and say they can see I'd make a wonderful mother.

It probably sounds quite strange at 21 and I'm sure many of my elders would tell me I need to have my own life etc etc first - and I know this and I will do, there's very little chance of me nesting just yet but I can't displace the incredibly powerful desire I have right now to want to settle and have a little family of my own.

The 21st century I think is possibly the most trying time for women or certainly women with my disposition - combining driving ambition with instinctive maternal feelings. The modern day woman really can have it all - we have no limits - but often that translates to "I should be everything" to me. I want my career, I want my family, I want to be beautiful, I want to be successful, I want to be nurturing, wise, giving, loving yet robust, focused and driven all the same time and I'm discovering that trying to appropriate all this and fit it all in is increasingly difficult. Yes I am only 21 ... but then there's university years to take into account, time to travel, build my career, meet someone, have my family ... and to do it all before I'm 32 - is that really possible? Maybe it's the path I've chosen - the fashion industry I know requires one to sacrifice the soul at times and I'm not entirely sure I'm willing to do that.

I often sit and think about myself in ten years time. Will I be that high flying career woman or that earthly mother of many? I'm not sure I'm able to think of a middle ground because I feel both my career and my children would both require all of me to be what I want them to be ... maybe that's the ever steadfast obstruction of perfectionism in me? I often wonder sometimes if my years of anorexia were an expression of not knowing what to do with these conflicting feelings. I have certainly read enough Susie Orbach to realise that's probably true.

I think I could die content at least if I didn't have my career but not if I didn't have my children and I feel that ever biological clock ticking. My mother at my age was almost married and just a couple of years older than me when I was born. I have many friends with children, some of them two and younger than me...

I guess I'm writing here scrabbling for resolution - but as it stand there isn't one. Maybe I need to slow down again, go find my earth roots and trust in that what will be will be - something will show me the way, maybe I am trying to control and foresee too much ... que sera and all that - but I suppose this is the one thing that I feel is just too important to leave to chance.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Friday, 25 June 2010

I Fancy Some Chocolate

I have been mocking myself slightly for the amount I've been eating since I got here. It's true already that I am a dress size or so bigger than last year (noted somewhat sourly trying to stuff myself into some of last years summer dresses).

Once upon a time this would've been the epicentre of my world, and indeed it was being out here in Canada two summers ago that was the beginnings of me being the thinnest I had ever been (the most consumed by my eating disorder I'd ever been). Now it would be a lie to say that I am completely accepting of my figure and that things are all fine and dandy. I'll still always hesitate upon deciding what to eat, trips to a supermarket dependant on mood leave my decisions ruled by content and fear about the effect one way or another on my thighs. I unfortunately pretty much know the contents of everything that passes my lips and guilt still follows a particularly sumptuous meal - but it's much more in proportion these days and much less sinister is the self ridicule.

This really has been brought to light as I met up with my Canadian male friend again last night. I didn't see him last summer due to the girls being out with me and last time I saw him I was 25lbs lighter and now am almost 40lbs heavier than the first time we met, everyone else around me saw these changes gradually and knew that I was ill - he didn't. I can't deny that waiting to meet up I was somewhat filled with dread, what if he was repulsed? What if he commented? Would I be able to keep myself in check? Of course all these thoughts were completely irrational but such is my thinking around this area.

As it happens we met up and went out for a beer, we got chatting having over 18 months of stuff to cover and then he mentioned about him going to the gym and getting fitter for his motocross racing. Before things could progress further I dropped in a joke about me probably needing to join the gym and he immediately looked taken aback and spoke of how great I was looking these days. Not a single negative thought seemed to have passed his mind about my suitable ballooning. He didn't know I was ill back then so I know his judgement wasn't with intent of keeping me well and it filled me with great hope. Yet another reinforcement that bigger is better these days - it's what suits me and that'll do me thanks.

*eats chocolate*

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Victoria's Secret

There were more than enough signs that today I was being called to spend time reflecting and rekindling childhood spirit.

It began this morning as I sat out on the front porch eating my breakfast and I spotted a little chap plodding down the street towards me. He seemed completely lost in his own world, ambling away, nodding his head from side to side with a big goofy grin on his face, completely on his own and carrying nothing. I think he could've quite possibly have been the happiest little soul on the planet at that given moment. I couldn't help but beam at him when he got level with me, he faltered a minute like I'd interrupted his thoughts before sticking a chubby paw in the air to say hi and smiled back before carrying on his way.
I knew today was going to be good after that.

After getting myself dressed I positioned myself back on the front and contemplated responding to a load of worky type e-mails but then I watched a piece of paper flutter down the street, normally I'd dismiss it as paraphernalia but it stopped level with the front door and I took that as a sign to investigate further. It turned out to be a piece of maths homework belonging to "Victoria" who (by judging by the level of complexity and the handwriting) can't have been more than 7. I kept it.



Today couldn't have been more picture perfect really, a really delicious blue sky with clouds that would not have been out of place in a child colouring book but with a considerably cheeky level of wind. After watching the lines of school kids (with the odd wave) saunter passed our house to head back to school I decided that I must go and play in this wind. Taking cue from Miss Victoria I decided that I too was going to sack off anything I should've been doing and let it flutter about in cyber space for a bit - I was going to go to the park.



After packing myself off with a "juice box" and miniature picnic I skipped off down the street with the wind merrily and frequently blowing my dress up around my face (much to the delight of passing truck drivers I'm sure). Passed a new house being built that I fantasised living one day, played pretend in my head (it was pink - how could I not) and I arrived at Riverside Park with a rather silly level of excitement. I was going to run about with no shoes on if I wanted and play on the swings! I couldn't help but have a moment of anxiety and insecurity - I am a 21 year old woman - I'm not actually a child anymore and never will be again.

After deciding to sit a while to collect myself a little I watched a little boy clamber around on a climbing frame and with a note of amusement observed his interaction as another cute little fellow toddled over to play in the area. The pair regarded each other with an element of hesitation and carried on playing individually but frequently looking over at one another. It took the whole of three minutes before they were together building in the sand around the swings and jabbering away. I smiled to myself thinking how such trust and interaction just doesn't happen between adults these days, I admired their ease and uniting in the common need to play and play well. Why must we lose these qualities? Why did I have hesitations because of what other people may think? If I wanted to run about with no shoes on and play on the swings why shouldn't I? What happens to us as we get older? Why do other people's opinions matter more than doing what makes us feel free and happy?

I took my shoes off in defiance (hell I'd have taken all my clothes off if I hadn't been almost certain it'd have got me arrested) and rolled around a bit on the grass until something spikey stuck in my hair, I regarded the object (just a bit of plant) and continued. Nobody actually batted an eyelid - or they might've but I wasn't looking to find out - I was absorbed in enjoying myself, trusting in my urges and my environment - it was truly liberating. Oh how Sark would be proud.



I had little regard for time, I just stayed as long as I felt right to before setting off to leisurely saunter home. I popped into the local store and bought myself a can of fizzy drink and a lucky bag to seal the deal and plonked myself back on the porch to enjoy them both noisily just in time to see the school kids walking home from school. Thoroughly content I got in contact with my friend over here and arranged to go out for a beer later in the night feeling an element of debauchery but fantastically so that I could have the best of both adult and child world.

Noctua

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Solstice

A Druid friend of mine told me last night that it was indeed most auspicious to be in the air of the day of Solstice and I have no reason to disagree with him, it most certainly feels auspicious as I write this peering out from my 12cm cubic square space down at hundreds of miles of Canadian expanse as my plane is hitting the coastline at Labradore looking down on thousands and thousands of tiny icebergs sprinkled across the sea like white glitter.

I had a simply perfect last day in the UK yesterday. After showing up to work to find out I'd booked it off (happy chuffing days), I was promptly stolen away for a mad mission with my partner in lunacy and "ex husband" Mr Austen. We ended up in Blackpool and naturally ragged around the Pleasure Beach with me dressed (ever appropriately dah-ling) in a floor trailing white cotton and lace maxi dress and wooden flipflops. I dined most magnificently on England's finest dish - fish and chips (award winning no less) before being deposited on my doorstep to spend an evening sat in our bit of "stolen-council-land-masquering-as-a-garden" with my beloved neighbours enjoying the long hours of daylight as the Solstice hit.

I have been increasingly restless in the run up to this trip, at time checking the minutes off just desperate to get the hell away from home, to see my Mummy after being separated from her for the longest period of my life and generally just find time for myself - selfish as that may be. I find it difficult to believe actually that it has now been an entire year since I made this trip with my favourite girlfriends. It's been such a year of events! Since I last saw my mother I have; moved out of home, moved house again, had my 21st birthday, acquired two tattoos, shown my own styling collection at a fashion show, become a fully fledged fashion design student (of sorts), been discharged from therapy, developed a talent for cider drinking and going out up to five nights a week without dying, coloured my hair approximately 15 different times (and lost a considerable amount of it), had a stint in "rehab", walked around the streets of Preston wearing little more than a corset, knickers and a set of ostrich feathers on my head (on more than one occasion), grown enough balls to sing infront of a live audience at an open mic night, set up my own fashion blog, been enlisted as an official curator of a big nationwide museum exhibition project, been on a digital journalism course, been and visited countless art galleries the list goes on and on - actually just writing that I've just widened my eyes even more - it's incredible what can be done in just 12 short months!

I think though what has struck me more than anything though looking back over those months and going away from it all for three weeks is the level and quality of new friends I have had the blessing of meeting. Those things are just that - things, they may be achievements and landmarks in my life but these people have become landmarks on my soul. I feel almost like I have been reborn through acquiring these friends and been taught vast amounts about life and actually about myself. As much as I am relieved to have some space away I know where my home lies still, my heart lives and thrives with these people and I'm feeling a little guilty for saying I wanted to go away so much - but now I'm looking upon this time for me to find some stronger level of spiritual equalibrium, heal and rejuvenate so I can back with more to give and in turn hope to teach them something back.

Friday, 4 June 2010

I Blame Oscar Wilde.

"Looking good and dressing well is essential. A purpose in life is not" - Oscar Wilde.

My head feels divided. I fear I've been fitting myself into a mould for far too long and I'm beginning to see the cracks in it.

27 Hours

My ignorance and naivety has become somewhat of a disturbance to me lately - in terms of the greater picture anyway. Over the past few weeks I have become progressively quieter - more introverted and consumed by thoughts, more content to watch and absorb, listen and learn. I have spent many hours in the company of two particular people that provide great wisdom and life lessons and I have in turn become "quite the avid note taker".

Frivolity I do not frown upon - in fact I positively encourage it - it's essential at times but recently I've been presented (through my own doing) with quite large philosophical questions about my life - about my purpose, my role, my function and where it's all going ... and what for. Then I realised it was probably more the wiser to stop trying to find the answers than it was to actually come up with a conclusion. It's a journey and what will be will be - if we knew the answers what would be the point in having the journey at all?

I've felt myself the past six weeks feel progressively weaker - physically and certainly spiritually. There's been too many parties, too much substance and not enough time with self and soul. Whilst these things are absolutely fantastic in moderation - I became increasingly aware that I was running away from something - trying to shut out something about myself I wasn't happy with. I let this carry on for far too long, my physical health was ravaged, weak and run down one day lead to 14 hours sleep one night - followed by being awake for only 5 hours the next day to feed myself before sleeping a further 13. Hibernation. I experienced a lot of dreams and sensations within those hours of very deep sleep and I woke feeling altogether shifted.

Why I didn't realise these things weeks, even years ago I don't know - I suppose it wasn't on my map to get to this point until now but I've made some strong decisions to work and focus on my spiritual self. I'm going to rejuvenate (the word detox has been bastardised), stop the drink, stop smoking and take a purer diet. Nothing too extreme just take care of myself, restore order and routine, take care of myself so I'm well equipped to give back to the world.

That isn't to say I won't go out and party on occasion but that is what it shall be - an occasion - not just because. The main thing is that my head and heart are in a different position with it all. I want more mental space for creativity and being educated instead of it being plagued with chemical and drugs. I'm excited by this gift I'm giving myself and how I can potentially be enriched and acquire knowledge now I've got more of a chance. I feel quite blessed that I had the epiphany.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Spiritual Sponging

Just think of me as the pages in your diary...

It doesn't take a deeply spiritual person to realise that I have an overactive throat chakra- like most with a persuasion towards writing really I am full of the verbal, the language, the word. I have these thoughts inside of me and my throat chakra feels the needs to keep going and going. That said however I like to feel I counter balance that by at times just completely switching it all off - and just absorbing.

I had made the decision to go out with a friend, same old place, same old people which in itself is always really enjoyable but we got ready and just began to talk and a few minutes turned into a few hours and suddenly it was evident we weren't going anywhere. I do like to talk - hell that's obvious - but I love even more so to listen. I can feel my soul being fed as I sit and listen to people, blessed and privaledged to be given an insight into themselves and their views on the world. I believe empathy to be sacred and I feel as I listen to people I can be taken on a journey with them, the emotional path and I know in turn I'm learning.

Recently a neighbour of mine commented (albeit slightly drunkenly) that wasn't I "quite the avid note taker". It has become a habit of late - I feel like in every single encounter I'm growing and learning and as different things are presented to me I feel the need to encapture them in my notebook with heightened awareness that these things are going to teach me valuable life lessons at some point or show me that I need to teach others.

I'm beginning to understand even more so the importance of human interactions, I have begun listening with eyes and heart not just ears and daily I'm feeling myself being nourished. I'm not quite sure what made the shift or whether I just let my spiritual barriers down somewhat but I feel like I have a been given a gift an insight into growing in wisdom and I feel it slightly my duty to translate this and share it with others through my pen...

Thursday, 13 May 2010

I am what I am... and I don't get modern art!!

I simply just don't get modern art - I'm sorry - I just don't. Call me uncultured if you like but you could give me a big fat stack of it and I simply just would not be able to tell you what was supposedly fantastic and what was supposedly utter bollocks.

Today I have spent a considerable amount of time in art galleries in Liverpool - the Tate Modern and the Walker to be precise. Now don't go misunderstanding me - I LOVE art - I love looking at it, I can appreciate things aesthetically, I can understand and empathise with it ... but I just don't "get it".
My interest in art really does lie with the issues around it, it's meaning, it's purpose, the politics of it all - what does it stand for, what motivated the artist to produce it and most importantly why? Things need to have a reason for me to understand them and all too often I feel modern art takes the proverbial when it comes to bending reasoning to fit their art. "Oh it's just a dot on a page therefore it represents the microscopic scale of which I feel I am within the suffocating oppression of the Capitalist world in which we are imprisoned" yadayada.
Take for example one of the John Moore's prize winner pieces in the Walker. This is the equally imaginatively titled "Two Geese" by Peter Kinley (and er me):



Now I must say it is indeed a very nice picture of two geese, one facing one way the other the other ... but I just don't get it? How is that prize winning? It's so incredibly simplistic (or shall we get all technical and use the art term "naive") that a child could have produced it. It's not thought provoking, there's no real usage of effective colour harmony going on, there's seemingly no message or purpose or to be honest any real talent involved in creating that image. Oh do please forgive me if I am being so ignorant I'm actually beginning to personify the word ... I'd be more than grateful if someone could fill me in?!

I know I absolutely drive my fashion tutor Gerry potty when we go to art galleries because I spend most of my time reading the little labels attached to pieces and scribbling down the background information and details about the artists and their lives rather than actually taking time to appreciate the visual piece in front of me. I have no interest in sketching it - I'd rather take a photograph and go home to spend 17 hours on the internet and researching in the library learning all about the hows and whys.

I might not be able to tell you much about the construction or techniques or what can of chuffing paint was used on every last piece I looked at today (or even what it looked like much to be honest) but I had an absolute field day in the Walker gallery and it's exhibition (or celebration as I like to see it) of female artists. They had a beautiful little corner with a big pile of books relating to females in the art movement and I betcha all I learned so much more about the art itself from reading all that than actually standing and sketching it - that is just how I learn and we are all different.



Though Gerry will try in vain - I will never make a designer, I'll never be an artist - I cannot help it - it is in my nature to ask questions and I know I was born to be a writer. You can take me anywhere and I will utilise the space for my own needs, I will think in words, in essays, in reporting, in social reasoning, in media, in promotion - in language. That is my way of absorbing and appreciating art and I do believe I should be allowed to take that in however I want.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Powder Puff

Concealing mask,
Viable task,
War paint, top coat,
A facial basque.
Powdered face,
Saving grace,
Elegance, perfection,
And knowing her place.
Survivalism,
Obscuring vision,
Contours, emotions,
All crafted with precision.
Painted on,
Realism gone,
Eloquent, beautified,
The show must go on…

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Technicolour Tea Party

My favourite shots from a shoot I modelled for Miss Hannah Barraclough final year Fashion Promotions student at UClan. Inspired by the kitsch-tastic jewellery by Tatty Devine (tattydevine.com).
It was wonderful to be able to model doing something more fun and creating and working with a whole team. It was an effort at times not to switch into stylist mode and just to leave Hannah to strut her stuff... though several of my wardrobe items may have sneaked into a shot or two. I absolutely adored the tea sets that Hannah made and feel the whole thing was really creative and successful - fingers and toes for her getting a great mark for it.

Photography: Si Miller
Styling: Hannah Barraclough
Make-Up: Stephanie Pearson
Assistant to Stylist: Sarah Taylor.









Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Watch Out Nigella


So my ever irritating and ever random wheat intolerance appears to have resurfaced it's ugly head. Obviously means I have to cut a huge amount of things out of my diet and generally it's rather pooh on (gluten free) toast.

As a result I've been rather preoccupied by food today and I got to thinking about Come Dine with Me ( possibly the most masterful creation of daytime television ever produced - I know not of anyone who dislikes it - it's pure genius) and how I feel they should do a one off "Student Special".

Staying within the realities of student living - there will a budget of £20 for a 3 course meal for 4 people. Now of course there has to be rules within this - things do have to be created - no Pot Noodles allowed (Supernoodles are fine), the menu cannot consist solely of alcoholic beverages or cocktails, mouldy items shall be deemed not fit for sharing (stuff scavenged out of the supermarket reduced bit is fine so long as it's not too far passed the sell by date) and deliveries from the local pizza place are off limits.

As a student myself I will hold my hand up and admit that £2.70 will always go on a pint of cider before it would on 2 days worth of food shopping from B&M Bargains. As a result I have at times been reduced at times to concocting some very interesting combinations of things at the end of the month when money is tight in order not to starve. So rather than let them go to waste, I felt that I would use these delightful discoveries in my own Student Special Come Dine with Me menu. Now sadly I can't eat pretty much of any of this at the moment with previously mentioned wheat intolerance but I felt I shouldn't be stingy and share my talents with you my dah-ling readers.

Feast your eyes on this:

Canapes: Selection of Hors D'oeuvres
Packets of crisps arranged nicely into bowls (Iceland do variety packs for £1) and Strongbow - though only one can each to not outstretch the budget.

Starter: Exotic Medley Soup
Be as creative as you like with this one. Make a nice stock from cup-a-soups, find any kind of edible left overs in the fridge (last nights take-away remains make an especially tasty addition - just not pizza because that's beyond wrong) and chuck it in a big pan, add cheap tinned chopped tomatoes, half a pint of water and instant mash potato powder to thicken. Mix it all up and ask to borrow a blender from someone - whaz it up (Jamie Oliver stylee) until smooth and lumpless - put back in pan to heat - season with soy sauce sachets left from Pot Noodles if last nights take away was Chinese - if not a hefty amount of Subway salt sachets will suffice.

Main: Sea Food Surprise
Add two tins of tuna to a jar of value pasta sauce, pour over cooked pasta tubes in a lasagna dish, sprinkle over bread (that's past it's best and no good for much else) into crumbs over the top and if you're feeling flash grate some (on offer) strong cheddar. Bake until the crumbs toast and cheese melts.


Dessert: Ginger Zest & Oat Crumble with Creamy Iced Vanilla.
Porridge oats made up with a small amount of boiling water, add packets of (stolen from cafes) brown sugar, crush Tesco Value ginger nut biscuits into tiny crumbs and stir mixture until fully and evenly mixed. If the mixture is quite runny whap it in the microwave until it has more of a chewy looking consistency and reheat again before serving with one scoop of cheap ass ice cream. Sprinkle more brown sugar for decoration.

I'm going to pitch it to Channel 4...

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Fashion Bitch

It's true to say that of late I have become somewhat of a reverse clothes snob - ditching the high street in favour of charity shops, vintage and swapping pieces with friends and fellow stylists.
I've become so uninspired by the repeated styles in each and every store - there's little difference between the lines in Topshop as there are in H&M, Miss Selfridge, New Look etc aside from the prices and slight variations on emphasis on certain "this season" looks. Everything looks like a bad rip off (and sometimes blantent fake copy of) stuff that was on the pret-a-porter catwalks the previous season. I get frustrated knowing I did nudes and lace all over the winter (yes purposely out of character) and then suddenly BOOM it's in my face everywhere when I trek through a mall. Now that's not to say I don't get a slight gloating satisfaction that I can sense trends pretty well but as every real fashionista knows - it's not about being fashionable - one doesn't want to fit in and do what everyone else is doing - we want to be unique - make trends not follow them!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Line Your Eyes With This:


In an ideal world - artists and creatives alike would get paid based on their talent, get recognition for their abilities and have it matched financially. However as we all know this isn't the case - making it in the biz as it were is an incredibly difficult slog. One is required not only to be artistically gifted but also to be a businessman (/woman if you wish to be pedantic about things) and often a nice healthy lashing of luck. In this day and age it's often just as much (in fact if not more so) who you know not what you know - and networking like Bambi on acid.

That said I wanted to use my minuscule bit of webspace to promote and introduce those of you who haven't come across her before to the amazing talents of my very dearly loved friend and make-up marvel extraordinaire - Sonara Parker.

sonaraparker.com (go mooch - I'm on there - go hunt me out :P).

I was very blessed to meet Sonara on my first proper shoot modelling and incidentally it was one of her very first shoots as a professional make up artist and we've stayed creatives (lunatics) in crime ever since. She's surpassed me hugely since this point with a portfolio that beggars belief for the amount of time she's been in the game. I've worked with several other MUA's since that first shoot both as a model and a stylist and without even a single sliver of bias she is by by far the best - a relentless perfectionist and eternal professional - with a tea addiction. And not just a whiz with the pallets and brushes she's a pretty damn hot milliner and prop maker too.

Those of you on Facebook are encouraged to become a fan - not only for her incredible work but because she's just a beautiful person in and out and I encourage and appreciate hugely any support for broadening her career and dream.
Sonara Parker MUA Facebook Fan Page.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I'd sell a Lim...



Regarding myself as a "creative" somewhat, there is very seldom a day that goes by where I don't come across a piece of work and declare that I would happily exchange vital body parts to have written/ designed/ styled/ photographed/ drawn/ constructed/ created something THAT amazing - but this particularly discovery took the proverbial biscuit (beautifully though might I add).

Ladies and gentle dah-lings - Connie Lim.
http://www.connielim.com/



Okay this infatuation has been aided massively (actually it's the main reason I love her work) by the fact that her designs are all based on playing cards. I feel if they were my illustrations I could die happy... me feels a tattoo twitch.




ps. She does prints - my birthday is September 10th ;)

Monday, 29 March 2010

Getting Purseonal

So I happened to go out on Friday night (nothing majorly new there) and clearing out of the usual haunt I happened across a purse on the floor. The club had shut up so I couldn't hand it in behind the bar and after hovering around for a while to check that she wasn't looking for it I popped it into my bag intending to look through it properly more sober and find a way of returning it to its rightful owner.

It felt a tad intrusive at first digging through her purse but then I figured she'd rather I found a way of returning it to her if I could, so conscience eased I merry delved. Very quickly it struck me how much you can learn about a girl just from digging through her purse!

From just a few cards, receipts and pieces of paper I learned of all this:

Her full name and her date of birth - revealing she'd had a birthday just days before.
That she could drive as she had a driving licence.
She was a fashion design student at the London College of Fashion (my desired university no less) sporting a student card but I guessed from the style of her actual purse that she was a more of a main stream designer or street styler.
That she preferred to go by her middle name as the middle initial was used on all the cards that didn't require her official title and I liked this as my purse mirrors this - with my NI card and bank cards sporting Lucy Victoria and my Boots card etc showing Ruby.
From a comic little pledge that she had a boyfriend or at least a very close boy mate that she shared a joking/ playful relationship with as she also had his railcard.
She used the London Underground regularly from an Oyster card.
That she had at some point stayed at a Parisian hotel as there was a key card left in there which suggested to me that she also had either a sentimental or mischievous streak from pilfering it.
She also wrote her name with a little heart over the "i" etc.

I really felt that I had gained quite a lot of insight into this girl's life in that small square of faux leather. I had a bit of a split reaction to that though, in some senses I felt like I was being invasive, that I was looking into things that I shouldn't be seeing. I had initially decided to look through it to find some form of contact but as it didn't contain any phone numbers in there and I couldn't find anyone I thought that was her matching the names on Facebook I resigned myself to handing it in to the bank that she had her account with. I felt a bit miffed actually that I hadn't actually got to hand it her back myself but then I think I quite like the romance of her remaining a little bit of a mystery - like a character more than an actual person - moulded more to my interpretation.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Stolen Toast

Well my dah-lings - things have not exactly been the best for a while now (to say the least). I am - I think what the expression would deem as- "up shit creek without ones paddle".

There were several of those icing on the cake moments today; I happened to cover my favourite vintage lace dress in acrylic paint, my beloved soup at college was mushroom flavoured so I had to pass - and then the meal I did have I later ceremoniously vomited - rather gutted to lose my one decent free solid meal of the day to the porcelain telephone, my ceiling still wasn't fixed today (despite being promised it would be), my bedroom bulb has blown etc etc.

Now I am not going to sit here and write a long self indulgent and self pitying rant (okay maybe there may be hints of that) but I am rather at my wits end with reagards to having no money - desperately chasing around finding ways of getting an overdraft or a credit card or something (I am completely useless when it comes to financial know how - I only know how to spend money). With muchas gracias to being raped by the bank for overdraft fees I now am (without any humour) overdrawn again with no money coming in for a while and even when it does it's not going to cover the rent or bills, I have no food (save two tins of tuna fish and a packet of dried cous cous) and basically not much to survive on. Except I've realised I've got much more nourishment in my life from other sources.

I really hit a brick wall when I got in my room tonight - I am not a crier by nature but I had to have a good boo tonight - munching away on (stolen from housemate) toast with (stolen from housemate) maple syrup I seemed to just crack up. The taste of maple syrup reminds me far too much of Canada and I'm pining for a nice simple life of being young and careless and living with Mummy dearest - where I am fed bountiful amounts (aka till I can't move) on her home cooking and my roof over my head is taken care of by someone else's salary. ... I'll never ever take my blessed upbringing for granted again! Anyway I digress ... I got in had a good weep on my toast feeling magnificently sorry for myself to The Carpenters especially at realising that I didn't actually have enough money to top myself (now THAT'S tragic) and sent a little message to the little star in my world - generally moping and feeling sorry for myself and detailing to her how crap life is. Being the wonderful friend that she is she replied and verbally kissed better all my scrapes and bruises.

I'd really got myself into a knot this evening as things have built up over the week but her messages just brought home to me that I could have absolutely nothing but I'll always be stupendously rich in that fact that I am so so blessed to have such wonderful caring friends around me. I've been offered financial help left right and centre, listening ears, cheering up and constantly being told that people are here for me but there needs to be an especially-special thanks my one little star who has put up with me being a human cabbage this week. I know that I'll be okay because I am warmly encircled by beautiful people to whom I am so lucky to have care about me. I might be poor fiscally but I'm more than the wealthiest woman alive when it comes to richness of friendship.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Viva La Diva


I am no stranger to a dance floor, a few (no need for specifics here) glasses of wine and generally going out gallivanting and tarting around in my favourite wardrobe gems.

These last few months I really feel I have come out of myself - and whilst I know I am beginning to be known for my party girl antics I do not necessarily feel it's a bad thing. I manage to keep on top of my responsibilities and whilst spending 5 days a week in college and both days at the weekend working I don't particularly think I should feel any guilt in going out and partying (frequently).

For me the biggest (and best) part about going out is getting ready - or rather creating the outfit. Staying true to my mantra of "every day is fancy dress dah-ling" nights out on are just an added incentive to push this just that little bit further. Call it attention seeking if you will but I like to create a reaction when I go out - my appearance is a huge expression of self and I'm very fortunate in that I can display my biggest passion on my personage and communicate that about myself. I like to be slightly over the top in a sense that is almost self deprecating expressing my playful qualities.
This Saturday I rather took this to another level, in the usual head to toe 40's pin up styling, customary sunglasses in a dark nightclub and a recently addition of a black lace fan I then decided it would be a rather good idea to get someone to write (in permanent marker no less) "Viva La Diva" across my chest. I am a camera whore - there is no point in me denying this and so felt the marker pen brandish made a lovely little addition to the monotony of drunken pictures.

It's a shame some people don't understand my sense of humour. When I came back home and mentioned my antics on Facebook (as one often does slightly intoxicated). I got a message from a friend who said she'd happened across a Twitter post of an acquaintance of hers reading "Just seen someone with Viva La Diva written across her tits - aka I have an STI". Well I found that quite simply charming. Despite frequenting places that are supposedly "alternative" I then quickly came to realise that even though my eccentricities may be more accepted (tolerated) in certain genres of institution there are always going to be those who don't quite get it - or feel the need to mock in order to get one up. Personally I feel that was an expression of insecurity on his part- he knew what he couldn't touch *bats eyelashes and pouts*.

... I feel next week I shall go out with "Fuck You Jonno" written across my "tits" instead.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Home Cooking

My kitchen ceiling happens to have collapsed and now sporadically leaks water from the bathroom above on to the floor. It was a joyous and rapturous discovery.

I often feel guilty about the very litle amount of time I seem to make for my family - it certainly isn't for lack of wanting to see them, just one of the downsides to having 7 days of 7 occupied with unavoidable commitments. One day leads into another and before I know it - bang - I hadn't actually been back to visit them since Christmas. So it came as a nice excuse did having my ceiling explode to move home, however briefly, and spend time with them.

Whilst I lived here permanently I couldn't wait to get out - every last little thing became an irritant; I could not wait to have my own space, the freedom to do what I pleased, eat what and when I felt like (ditto consume vast amounts of alcohol) and generally not have to be answerable to anyone but myself. Once I moved out to Fashionista Towers that liberty was amazing but a few months down the line the realities of being responsible did hit home a little more, bills do not pay themselves, food does not buy itself and when houses being to fall apart (quite literally) it takes a lot of swearing at landlords to get it sorted pronto. The grass is always greener as they say.

I had been feeling rather stressed of late, my new home is beautiful and I love my life and lifestyle very much but sometimes it can all be a bit too much of a good thing. Giving two nights of my week for having to sacrifice the space to do the things I can't do back at my Dad's (ie. go out drinking midweek, smoking inside, playing loud music, eating as much or as little as I want, being able to be completely alone if I felt like it etc) has certainly been a fair trade for the constant laughter I have exhibited since I arrived, the enjoyment of food made for me that that hadn't been prepared in either a toaster/ kettle/ microwave and wasn't consumed straight out of the packaging, the washing up being kept on top of, a working bathroom and being surrounded constantly by people that love and appreciate me.

I miss home in many ways. Last night I felt like I had instantly shaved years off my life, curled up at 8.30pm in bed with my sister wearing out sized pjs, eating mini eggs, watching a teen movie, being brought a cup of tea and being asked what time I wanted waking up in the morning and being given my bus fare. It was rather blissful.

However I know that much longer and the sugar coated idealistic view would wear off and the arguments over who's left damp towels about/ eaten the last yogurt/ not emptied the dishwasher/ used or stolen such a thing/ forgotten to feed the pets/ not sorted the washing out/ lost the remote etc would be back in full force and we'd generally very quickly get on each others nerves (as all normal functional families do). I like being answerable to myself because I do respect my father too much to just go off doing what I pleased living under his roof and my independence means a great deal to me.
I don't believe that now and again going back to this child like state is a bad thing - we all need parenting from time to time and I feel very blessed that I have here as an escapism - it's a beautiful and much treasured resource in my life and I know I am very lucky to have them to turn to.