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on adopting nakedness and overcoming the Fear

hopper.morning-sun

Edward Hopper, Morning Sun, 1952

“Most people live their entire lives with their clothes on, and even if they wanted to, couldn’t take them off. Then there are those who cannot put them on. They are the ones who live their lives not just as people but as examples of people. They are destined to expose every part of themselves, so the rest of us can know what it means to be human.” – Sheila Heti

Allow me to introduce you to the inner workings of my own neurotic head:

**Endless to-do lists. Planning all the things I want to do and all the things I need to do, which makes all the things I never do all the more real. Writing every day, terribly, is better than writing one singular outstanding work. Even though I know this, I remain paralysed by my own self-proclaimed shortcomings. Fear of judgement, from others, but mostly from myself. The weight of it all becomes debilitating. I want to stay in bed, or watch mindless TV. But then, I remind myself that doing something and failing enormously is far more satisfying than doing nothing at all. After all, a spectacular failure is proof of a life well-explored. It’s proof of living and trying and risking, and ultimately creates a more beautiful story than no story at all.**

Sometimes I give myself these reality checks, or pep talks, when I feel the Fear coming on. For me, it’s like the plague. It starts with only one tiny blemish, before contaminating my entire world. And under the weight of its influence, i feel unbearably stuck. I start reaching for safety, for comfort. The safe choices. And on the outside, I’m safe, but really, I’m empty.

Taking risks is important. Stepping outside my comfort zone is important. Putting myself out there. Inviting a new friend for a drink. Pitching my work to be published. Turning off the TV to write this god damn blog post. Being bold and standing for myself and who I am. Living with conviction.

Something that’s always helped is reading or listening to empowering stories told by others. Or watching my friends take creative leaps of faith, and supporting them wholeheartedly.  Hearing those incredible stories by women owning their shit and doing their thing. I am so grateful to the many bloggers, writers and podcasters whose personal stories fill me up. In their honesty and nakedness, I am able to become a little more braver. And want to live a little more nakedly, too.

And so, in the spirit of nudity, i thank all of these women of the internet writing candidly about their thoughts, ideas, battles and experiences for exposing every part of themselves, so that we can know what it means to be human.

Until next time, I leave you with a one of these bloggers to discover:

discotheque confusion:

when i landed upon stevie mckenzie’s personal blog, discotheque confusion, it was like a hug from an old mate. her writings on culture, women, art, fashion and self are skewed slightly on the self-deprecating side and full of honesty and goodness.

“Feeling oneself isn’t a constant, unchanging state of mind. It’s really fragile, and it’s easy to distinctly not feel yourself. This month I’ve had emotionally wobbly moments, and have really not been feeling myself. So much of the time that comes down to treating yourself with a merciless judgement you wouldn’t wish for anyone you care about to be under. So it seems sort of incredible to be able to veer so far from one direction from the other. Taking stock, and having moments of striding down the street, mentally dusting off your shoulders like I’ve got this, has gone some way to alleviating those feelings for me. It has also affirmed the importance of ‘Feeling Myself’ as being an act that takes place online, as well as in public IRL. It feels even more important to keep posting selfies beyond teenage years if it helps to undo a concern that these photographs symbolise a frivolity rather than the hefty whack of a flagpole going into an earthy mound, and a declaration of Feeling Myself unfurling in the breeze as bugles play into the intro of Run The World (Girls). On a Monday morning.”

 

When you’re insanely happy, you’re so happy to be happy, that you forgot what made you happy.

ShiShi Yamazaki is a young Japanese artist whose work is like an explosion of rainbow-coloured joy. Her little stop-motion animations possess a sense of nostalgia, and remind of the freedom i felt the first time my parents let me go into the city for the day with my friends.  All her videos are wonderful, but I’ve always been most fixated by this one.

Yanesen is area of Tokyo that combines YAnaka, NEsu and SENdagai.

Delightfully old-world, Yanesen is dotted with little ryokans, izakayas and traditional onsens about maze-like streets, and intersected with little cafes and shops (including tokyo bike) and SCAI The Bath house, created by clever young japanese creatives who are breathing new life into the area.

YA-NE-SEN a Go Go from ShiShi Yamazaki on Vimeo.

 

weekend articles | number 3 | plants in cars

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I wrote this blog post several months ago. it’s a testament to my ongoing battle with fear of all the things, really, that i’ve found it, near completion, still sitting in my drafts. Posting it now is an act of defiance against my former self, who probably thought it wasn’t good enough. And also, a few months delayed is better than never at all.

***

i want to pause time. just for a little while. my grandfather is sick and i just want people to stop growing up.

“For the creative person, what’s going on outside is trivial compared to what is going on inside… Don’t try to change the structure of the outside world hoping that then you’ll be fine, then you’ll be creative and then you’ll be brave. No. First, figure out how to be creative and brave and courageous, and the outside world will change on your behalf.” – Seth Godin.

this week i’m thinking about entrepreneurship. starting something of my own. even if it’s just something little, as long as i can call it mine. i just don’t know what it is yet.

in the spirit of pursuing bold ideas, here are some people who have given birth to projects that are making our wardrobes a little more colourful and our world a little bit better.

reve evert: an online boutique dedicated to sustainable and conscious luxury items, featuring designers who operate their businesses with respect for people and the planet.

Yevu: i’ve been following yevu for quite some time. yevu is the outcome of a local designer partnering with ethical makers and textile designers in Ghana, a country known for its kaleidoscopic, vibrant prints.

listening: 

It is unlikely that our ears will ever go hungry again, when there are so many delicious podcasts to feed them, including design matters and Brain Pickings’ top ten podcasts.

reading: 

“A few years ago we both became interested in seeing flowers and plants in situations where they naturally shouldn’t be.” i am so into the aesthetic of Simone Rocha, and share her obsession with louise bourgeois. her new book, the book of Simone Rocha, has me in raptures.

I read Hunter S Thompson’s letter about finding your purpose several years ago. Today I read it in a different light.

watching: 

a takeaway show: they never get old. i like the way tenniscoats can create so many sweet sounds with every-day objects. it reminds me of the way some of my japanese musician friends create little instruments on a whim, and often made of every-day items like keychains and wooden sticks. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-rvJsH_WcU).

 

image: from The Book of Simone Rocha, source: Another Mag.

‘they might have guns, but we have flowers’

in the face of horror, it’s the small but touching words of compassion, the defiant displays of love and unity and acts of kindness that make me feel like, even though things feel incomprehensibly horrifying right now, they will eventually be okay. after all, good always triumphs over evil. and, as we’ve seen through the worst moments of history, the human spirit is resilient, and flowers always triumph over guns.

one week on and i am still shaken by the news in paris. i know there have been arguments that it has received ‘too much’ media attention over other attacks of terror, but there are people i love who live there, and so naturally, i’m concerned. but equally, this has presented us all with an opportunity and also a responsibility to consider widening the media outlets in which we source our news. let’s educate ourselves by reading more widely, to give ourselves a better rounded view.

that being said, the judgements cast on those grieving for paris frustrated me. no one is entitled to judge others on the ways they grieve and, just like losing a member of your family compared to a stranger, it’s only natural to grieve more for those you know, or the places which are home to people you love.

I truly believe no human life is more important than any other. we were all born on this planet with the same basic desires; to experience love and belonging and live with compassion. so can we please accept that it’s human nature to experience a more grief and shock when something familiar to you is terrorised or destroyed.

weekend articles | number 2 | you are part of this place

karin-mamma-andersson-about-girlMamma Andersson, About A Girl, 2005, oil on canvas, diptych, 19 × 25″

It’s Sunday! I’m especially happy because, up until today, my Sundays were spent working in retail, a sacrifice I made when I took a hefty pay cut to take a role at an art gallery. It was fun for a while, but for the moment, I crave the stability, routine and the freedom that both a regular pay check and a two-day weekend provides. For the moment…

As I come to terms with a new routine, I am smitten by the idea of dedicating Sunday mornings to consuming all the stories I saved on Pocket (i.e. the best app for voracious readers / internet addicts) throughout the week, over coffee and breakfast on my bed-island.  I also hope to be able to update you on some of these highlights, even if only so I can refer back to them later.

To celebrate my first taste of Sunday freedom, I made eggs and drip coffee, read Spectrum and poured over the latest news while listening to Rodriguez.  It’s cold, grey and damp outside, so i’m going to stay inside all day and not even care.

Women:

  • Ladylike: In light of Australia’s current depressing state of affairs, I was inspired to revisit Julia Gillards misogyny speech, and an outsider’s interpretation via the new yorker.
  • babe vibes is a raw and genuine look into creative women. I found solace in their interviews, which are conducted long-distance, via disposable cameras and a box of ephemera.
  • The women are emailing:  I love discovering new blogs by intelligent women writers, and this story by Stevie Mackenzie-Smith really hit a chord with me. I have long been a devotee of email correspondence, as its very nature lends itself well to my introverted tendencies and love of the written word. I love pouring over long, raw and open emails from friends that communicate things that may otherwise be hard to communicate verbally. Emails underpinned by substance and heart.
  • You are part of this place: Taking up space is a thoroughly insightful read by Jane Caro on why women feel they take up too much space, physically and metaphorically. “Far from apologising, women who speak up are doing more than having a conversation. They are reclaiming lost female territory. Physical and metaphorical space matter.” 

Society + Self:

  • In Praise of Missing Out: Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips on the Paradoxical Value of Our Unlived Lives
  • Louise Bourgeois on creative confidence: To convince others, you have to convince yourself; and a conciliatory or even an unduly understanding attitude — in that it is inevitably superficial — is not helpful to creativity.”

Watching: 

  • I just love love love this sweet promo vid for cali-based organic cotton undie brand, Pansy. It’s about having fun with undies made for women, every day. Disclaimer: I love lingerie as much as the next woman, but there’s something so decidedly liberating about this.

 

weekend articles | number 1 | strange magic

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Ren Hang, No Name (detail), 2014. Courtesy of Zioxla. From ‘Strange Plants II’

a little snapshot of some things taking my fancy this week.

HEARING

strange light: a mix tape by aquarium drunkard.

“Think of this as a snowy, white dawn giving way to spring. Thick with its own mystery and magic – a tranquil blend of global folk, gospel, soul and psych. A strange light, indeed.” For me, it has served as a solid companion through tired afternoons working from home, in bed, while down and out with the flu.

READING

strange plants II: the success of this book lies in its ability to seamlessly marry two of my most favourite things in the world – contemporary art and plants. i invite you to ask yourself what could be more satisfying, more harmonious, than looking at these lush visions.

while on the topic of art + plants, an exhibition entitled Art/Vert was recently hosted in paddington’s Saint Cloche Gallery, which examined this very topic. curator, amber cresswell, invited local artists to examine the idea of ‘the plant as muse’. i didn’t make it to the show, but i can only imagine it would have inspired the same feelings of wonder and goodness i get from looking at strange plants II.

WATCHING

i bet lucy chadwick has life and all of its complexities all figured out. maybe she is one of those people who has a one, five and ten year plan and actually sticks to it. an art gallery director in new york city and has built a home in the country i would absolutely die for. this film leaves me riled up, in a good, get-shit-done, kind of way.

what’s taking your fancy this week?