Resolutions

Life

Last year I spoke about making New Year resolutions in a simplified form; ignoring the traditional and looking to the contemporary. This year I’m stuck in some middle ground of wanting to make NY resolutions but with a mix of traditional and not so much.

For far too long I have done everything I was told to do – don’t wear that, go to college, get a job, don’t stay at home, get on with your life. I have done everything anyone has asked of me regardless of what I wanted. This year I am attempting to take back my life. If I want to do something I will do it and I have a few things in mind at the moment. I find it so easy (and at the same time extremely tiring) to be a people pleaser. A couple of months ago I got a stern talking to by someone about how I needed to work and if not, I needed to be volunteering in the very least. According to them I was practically wasting my life away and when the time would come for an employer they would glance at my CV and instantly reject me because I was sick for a year. As you can imagine that comment swam around in my mind for months. Then one day it clicked; just because that is how they lived their life didn’t mean that was how I was going to live mine. I started to think about all the times I have done something because I was told I *should* do it. I’m over it.

This year I want to go places, I want to drink and eat, I want to learn, and I want to live/do what I want to live/do. This is a mighty task for me. I am completely unable to go against the grain but I will do my best.

Save

I will save as much as I can for future events. I don’t need excessive money (nor do I have it) since I am living at home. I am going to try and save as much as possible. I have large plans for the end of 2017 and will need every penny. So, essentially, saving for a rainy day is my first resolution.

Learn

I have wanted to learn Italian for the longest time but I never did. After going to Italy last summer my obsession grew and now I am determined. I am currently watching Italian movies with English subtitles (I have been watching Il Viaggio today) and I am trying to learn one thing a day e.g. today was the alphabet and next will be numbers. Then I’ll go from there.

Live

Learn to say yes to situations that I know I would enjoy. Like I said I have large plans for the end of this year and that is keeping me motivated. I have never had a plan in place, something that I have truly wanted to do for years and I finally feel like I am ready. The first year I want to actually put a plan into motion rather than just talk about it.

Heal

I have been sick for four years and it was under control for two of those. This year has tested me, being at home for the past year, so I want to take this year to heal my physical health and mental health. I want to also heal myself out my body. I want to heal my relationship with food and exercise – to enjoy it without being focused on weight and to learn not to emotionally eat when I’m sad. 

I’m am filled with hope for the coming year and I just hope my motivation lasts. I deliberately chose nothing too severe so I have a good shot at each resolution.

What are your resolutions? Do you find New Years is the same as any other day or do you wait for the renewal it brings?

Wanderlust

thoughts

I have this unbelievable urge to travel at the moment. I want to go to Sweden, Iceland, America, and London but I can’t bring myself to book anything. That is because more than any of those places I want to go back to Italy. I want to eat pasta al fresco, I want to people watch on a piazza, I want to read in a cafe with a foamy cappuccino. I want to experience all the clichés I possibly can fit into the allotted time.

I think my love for Italy stems from having no expectations for it. When I went on holidays, I went more concentrated on my nerves for the flight rather than what I thought it would be like. My strongest memory was when the plane doors opened, I stood at the top of the steps and felt an unbelievable wave of heat. It was so comforting, I had made it onto a plane and managed to get off the other side. There is something so knowing and familiar about Italy for me. (Maybe I lived there in a past life? Or maybe I just really like pasta) I love the language (even though all I can say is the weather is warm/cold) and I really love the food.

In my idyllic Italian life I would wake up in my studio apartment right in the middle of a city. I would get dressed in light summer clothes because it is getting warm and I would make my way to the nearest cafe. I would order a cornetto con crema and a coffee. I would sit there taking in the atmosphere and I would watch people for some time. My days would be filled with reading, writing, photography, cooking, eating, and exploring – everything I want to do. When I think of moving I think what is actually stopping me and that spurs me into a flurry of reading Italian blogs and googling the remedies to my obstacles.

I am going to try and make it happen if only for a week but I really hope for longer.

Oh and who do I talk to in Ireland about importing pasta frita?

Betty Suarez, my spirit animal

thoughts

I am sick at the moment and not the ill that goes away in a couple of days, it will take a few weeks (that sounds dramatic, it’s nothing serious). Since I am ill I could only watch TV and did so for a ridiculous amount of hours. My show of choice was Ugly Betty. I remember watching this back in the late 2000’s but I didn’t remember much of it. I started season one and I was instantly teleported back to 2007 and my fascination with Betty Suarez started all over again. She was leading her way through the publishing industry, desperate to show she’s determined although she faces a lot more dramatics than the average person. I was so drawn to her because she was in the fashion industry and was utterly clueless but her drive and optimism got her through it.

My favourite scene of the whole show is when she walks into the foyer of Mode for the first time with a Guadalajara poncho, red braces, glasses, frizzy hair, and sheer delight she was there. Every moment she lived in after that I was fascinated with because she chose all the options I would have (but with a lot more men involved…how did she do it?!). Every time she skipped something to help her family, going the extra mile for someone, being a bit of a pushover, I was there with her. It was the life I wanted minus the dramatics of working for the Meades and Wilhelmina.

She was in the middle of it all, she lived every moment in Mode, offering to help at every chance she got. She made me want to strive for more. She exuded enthusiasm and when she moved to Manhattan and got her own apartment I was floating. She was living my dream, a dream that I couldn’t reach at this moment but I just need to remember Betty wouldn’t give up so easy. When the time comes I’ll put on my (very) metaphorical poncho and get what I want.

“Remember you are an attractive, intelligent, confident businesswoman”.

betty

Image created by me

Digital Detox – 5 day battle plan

Introductions, thoughts

It is 6am in Ireland as I am writing this and I have been awake for the past two hours. My mind is in need of substance but I commend anything that can hold my attention for long enough. I have been binge watching Estée Lalonde lately, especially her vlogs. There is something so comforting about her, she is definitely in the dream friend group. The reason I am writing this post is because she made a video about a digital detox and I think I need that. It won’t be this week as I am currently revamping my portfolio for an upcoming interview but I will do it!

It makes me anxious to think of forgetting about my phone, laptop, all digital devices. What am I going to listen to? What am I going to watch? Does my Kindle count? For some reason I think the experience will be almost spiritual, that I will be renewed and reawakened after it. Most likely I will be like a zombie when I have at least 4 hours of catching up. Since my last post was on resolutions I would like to check my phone less, only when it beeps (which isn’t often). I wish I had the strength to delete some social media because my current list is very long, everything short of vine.

I am going to approach this digital detox in various part;

Day one: Cleanse my social medias – start tidying up subsricptions, followers/followings, friends, notes, likes, DMs, and everything in between.

Day two: Clean up my emails – Yes, emails. I have various email addresses a family/friends one, blog one, college one, a random one that I don’t know the password to but I still get emails from and even more after that. Unnecessary. I need to delete, archive, clean up in general. With my personal one I have had since 2006 and that means a ridiculous amount of emails! Oh! and add email addresses to my contacts phone numbers.

Day three – Tidy up my hard drive. This is no easy task! I am currently reclaiming an old hard rive that is broken so it means a lot of data. I want to delete pictures that don’t matter and properly label files. It will be a horrendous experience because when I render drawings I label files like ‘Project3 A4’, ‘Project3 A4 Draft1′ Project3 Final draft1’ and at this moment I am not sure what one is the true final article and what is a draft.

Day Four – Consider deleting Facebook forever. This is tough for me because I have been on it since 2009. There are a lot of photos and it is a great way to connect with people and find out whats on. On the other hand there are some pretty horrific things on my newsfeed that I don’t understand how they get there whether it is videos/picture that I really don’t want to see to horrible comments under news articles that make me question humanity. I will download all information I want to remember and after I think I will delete it. Maybe.

Day Five – No technology, not even the toaster (well…maybe the toaster, definitely the kettle!). I am completely addicted to my phone and social media. I really don’t post often on social media with the last post I made on Facebook being well over a year. I just love catching up and I love keeping in touch with people. I have Facebook friends that I met through travel, long lost relationships, and even events like Femfest that I recently attended. I will wake up to a watch beside my bed, I will read, I will listen to music, I will talk to my housemate (and potentially myself). I hope I feel relieved after it, that I can in fact leave the house without my phone and I will be okay (dramatic, I know!). I will give you an update as I go ahead with this digital detox. Before I say “you should try and do one too” let me see if I survive first. If this is my last post you will know I died of a mixture of separation anxiety, boredom, and potentially an ailment that crops up which I can’t google it in time to save me.

New Year, new m- please stop.

thoughts

I have fallen victim to New Year resolutions for a numerous amount of years. At one point I think I believed it was a necessity. I have done the basic, everyone-has-done-it resolutions; get fit, get money, lose weight, get a fantastically well paying job, generally get my life together. Then there are the really cliche ones that I definitely repinned in the past; learn to breathe more, travel the world with your best friend, sleep 8+hours, drink the same amount of water as an orca whale daily. Before you send hate notes on beautifully hammered pearlescent paper and packaged in brown kraft wrapping with a velvet bow, I love Pinterest but sometimes the ideal life isn’t the life for all of us.

This year I want to stop bitching. I wasn’t a bitchy person but due to unemployment and general lack lustre life I have become very bitter. I think this corresponds with the people I surround myself with but the blame also lies with me. I have a friend, she is wonderfully hard working, welcoming, hilarious, and witty but she could knock you for ten with her words. She told me a story of a mutual friend and a horrible ordeal that person is going through. I muttered that I could see something like that happening to her while my friend said “really? Oh God, I think it is awful sad.” When I heard my friend who is so black and white to feel so compassionately towards this situation makes me look even more like such an ignorant and scathing person. At this moment I saw myself for what I was projecting – hate and bitchiness. This is not me and I put it down to being angry at the world. My other New Year resolution is to lose weight and get fit but that’s a give in.

Intermission

thoughts

As a quick intermission from FMOO I want to discuss Christmas traditions, and be forewarned this ‘post’ (if you can call it that) is a lot of lists that aren’t bullet pointed. Forgive me.

We started family traditions from my first Christmas, some we left to fade and others we still have to this day. Every year we decorate the Christmas tree together and then one by one they drop off until it is probably my aunt decorating it while everyone is offering their opinions at her. A family friend comes to put up the lights around the house every year but one year he just left them up which leaves the scramble to find the adapter (it is usually behind the dryer for no apparent reason). Opening one present on Christmas Eve and my mother insisting we open them all now because she won’t be up for it in the morning. I am usually the first one up on Christmas Day, even at 24 I will probably still be. Every year when we were younger I would go into my little brother’s room, shake him and say “Santa’s been!” like a young British child would say in a cheerful Christmas movie (something I said as if I was being filmed on Christmas morning).

Traditions are so strange and one moment can start a lifetime habit. This year I aim to start a new tradition and that is have the most aggressively Christmas-cheer day I could possibly have. I want to cram in baking in Christmas pyjamas, setting my alarm to Destiny’s Child’s 8 Days of Christmas, watch as many Christmas movies as possible, decorate a Christmas tree (if I had one), have a hot chocolate with marshmallows (only big dreams here), want to taste eggnog, look up the recipe for eggnog, exclaim “it actually has eggs in it?!?”, make another hot chocolate instead, decide to make a gingerbread house, mix all ingredients but the flour, realise I don’t have flour, not bothered to get flour, try to bake the goop anyway, doesn’t believe that it doesn’t work without flour, wrap the presents I bought, retire to the TV after a long day of nearly baking, fall asleep, wake to the sound of the sound of gunshots and the deep voice “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal”, fall back asleep, wake up at 11pm and get annoyed that I fell asleep on the couch, go to bed. This is all I want for one day, is this too much to ask for universe?

 

(As you can see this is me trying to break a writing fog, thank you for bearing with me)

Andrea Pace (#3 – FMOO)

finding my own opinion, Introductions

Whenever I find a new blog I instantly go to the ‘About’ section. I love to see who these people are before I start reading their posts. When I found Andrea over at The Rêve Head, I was instantly drawn in as she also wasn’t fully content with her original education in Biology and Psychology and pursued Fashion Management. This is very similar to my case. As she is my first person to interview for this feature, I was ecstatic when she replied. She writes with great honesty and insightfulness. Her blog is something that I really look forward to reading and something I have added to my regular read. I find her similar to me even though we never spoke in real life (is that narcissistic?). When I started this feature I had a clear picture in my mind of what I wanted it to be and I will admit I was nervous opening it to others but I needn’t have because Andrea answered with great clarity around the subject of feminism and women. If you do nothing else today, have a look at her blog. I promise it will make your day brighter. I especially recommend ‘Love Letter to Netflix‘ to start you off.

 

– – –

 

Would you consider yourself a feminist? 

100% yes.

 

What does feminism mean to you? 

Simply put, feminism means equality to me. It means that all humans, regardless of their gender are treated equally. It means they’re given the same opportunities, given the same respect, shone in the same light, and that instead of being judged by their gender and assigned expectations, that they’re judged on their merit, personalities, capabilities etc.

 

Does the world need feminism? Why/why not?

The world most definitely needs feminism. I think we’ve reached a turning point where our generation isn’t keen on how things have been in the past. The issue lies in the fact that society has learned these categorized expectations for both men and women, and the difficulty is now getting everyone on the same page – both men and women – to speak up for, focus on, and push for equality. This generation needs to teach its own of how it should be, so that the next generations are in shock when they learn it was ever any other way.

 

What has been people’s opinion to your status as a feminist? If you don’t really talk about it to people, what do you feel is the general public reaction to feminism as a topic?

I’ve recently started posting on my blog more openly about how I feel about the treatment of women and where feminism comes into play. For the most part I’ve had a very positive response – both women and men, of different ages agreeing with what I’m saying, willing to stand up for me, and back my opinion. I’ve also had some friends who I think feel being a *feminist* isn’t *cool*, and have told me they don’t think it’s a problem. I think is is more a matter of maturity, and thinking on a small, personal scale, rather than looking at the big picture and the state of society. To say sexism or gender inequality doesn’t exist is misinformed. I feel like I used to sometimes feel this way, maybe I wasn’t aware of slight ways myself or other women were being pigeonholed or whatever it may be, but the more articles I read, and more stories I hear of gender inequality, the more aware of it I become. It’s like when the school system and the DSM made the definition of autism more thorough – the cases of autism increased dramatically. Once you’re more informed on a topic, it’s easier to spot it, and easier to have a heightened sense to be on the look out for it.

 

Who were your female role models growing up? Would you consider them to be the same today? 

Honestly, I was also not completely aware of the concept of or need for feminism. I was raised to always think I was capable of doing whatever I wanted – that my brother and I were on the same playing field. I always had amazing teachers who never treated me differently because I was girl. This is going to sound silly, but I think Elle Woods, the character from Legally Blonde got the idea in my head that it’s important to be a crusader for my gender. Her character was portrayed as a specific female stereotype – the blonde bimbo who only cared about finding a wealthy man and getting her nails done. But she also showed how she can remain herself, super feminine but also very capable at getting shit done, and working hard for what she wanted. Emma Watson’s speech for the UN definitely influenced my opinion of what feminism means, and why it matters now. Also, paying more attention to politics has helped to inform my feminist ideologies.

 

Who were the women in your life that helped to mould you into to the woman you are today? 

My family and friends have shaped who I’ve become today, and also I think a certain stubbornness in myself more than anything has dictated who I am and who I firmly remain. I was a pretty spunky little girl (from stories my family has told me), very headstrong and opinionated, even at a young age. My family just went with it! My grandma once said that I would either be running a business or head of the mafia one day (neither have happened yet). I have a very intelligent group of friends who are always pushing me to learn and understand more about the world and our society. They keep my on my toes. I’m also very influenced by the varied strong female role models presented in our culture today. Hearing Beyonce or Tavi Gevinson express a feminist opinion kind of gives you a starting place. You form your own opinion based on what they’ve said, and it gets you thinking and talking, which is the most important thing.

 

What traits did you learn from these women? Or what aspects of your life did they reinforce?

My family has been trying to encourage me to return to my youthful strength. I think I became less convicted/strong as I got older, and they’re always reminding me that I still have that spunk and that I should harness and celebrate it. A lot of ‘qualities’ I possess are just innate, and I don’t know where they came from. I just am the way I am.

 

What do the bond/relationship with the females in your life mean to you? 

They mean everything to me! We may not always agree on certain things, but I feel like the women in my life are always challenging me to be better and to do/try more. I completely rely on their support and good judgment to get me through any and everything that’s going on in my life.

 

Could you recommend any article/book/video/film/art etc that could further my journey into feminist literature? 

Lately I’ve been loving Lena Dunham’s blog, ‘Lenny Letter’. Lots of great interviews with strong women, and discussions on all types of issues. Despite it maybe being directed to a younger demographic, I enjoy Rookie posts as well. They’re very relatable. Oh! And a new Toronto magazine – Sophomore Mag – is great. Run by very smart and cool young feminists who have opened my eyes to lots of new and interesting topics. Also, like I said, following politics in the news has made a huge difference. Reading about gender issues, or inequalities that are happening around the world make you realize even more so how important feminism is.

 

This interview was conducted by Lisa who interviewed Andrea Pace. She can be tweeted @andreaMpace.

Solidarity (#2 – FMOO)

finding my own opinion

When I was growing up I would think very little of putting a pretty/beautiful/skinny woman down. It was like my instant reaction when I would see any woman that didn’t have my insecurities. I remember being at a bar in Dublin with some of my friends and having this waitress walk around, she was beautiful with an ideal figure. The usual ping of jealousy cropped up but my friend spoke first commenting on how short her skirt was or how low her top was and at the moment I heard the pettiness that came across when you speak like that. I had the realisation I was the petty person for so long. That woman probably ate well, went to the gym and I was going to put her down for making an effort just because I was jealous I didn’t. The moment my friend said that comment out loud I actually said “you can’t deny she’s gorgeous though, I wish I had her figure” and I actually felt a strange feeling of my jealousy being released. Every time before that night I dwelled on that envy and for once to actually give that woman the recognition she deserved was a foreign feeling. Since that night I have always went out of my way to compliment strangers and acknowledge what needs to be acknowledged. I cringe to think I would ever put someone down because I was jealous, it makes me feel so pathetic that I ever felt the need or desire to do so.

I have made such a conscious effort to change my behavioural pattern that now I don’t even think about it. It is so easy to say ‘I love your dress’, ‘what foundation are you wearing, it look fantastic’, or even ‘your eyebrows look on point’. It comes down to the choice, would you rather be the petty girl in the corner, angry because you perceive yourself differently from another woman or would you rather take a few seconds out of your day to make someone else’s? For too long I chose the former because I really was that bitter and I can only imagine what my friends thought when I bitched like I did.

I remember when someone’s comment changed the frame of mind I was in at that time. I was at a gig and extremely anxious so I was in the bathroom trying to calm down. I had just come out of the stall and I remember it was obvious I was stressed and a bit emotional. I remember this one girl kept glancing at me which I assumed was because of my appearance. As I was leaving she jumped forward and said “sorry, but I love your outfit! Where is your skirt from?”. I think I orbited the sun twice before I was able to say thank you. I know this sounds very little but to me it was huge! That girl made me feel immensely confident in what I was wearing by just such a short interaction.

The point of this anecdotal essay is that we have a choice to be put each other down or lift each other up. Jealousy is a strange thing especially in my case as how can I be jealous of a woman’s fitness when I sit on the couch all day? When I thought about this I wondered was it instinctual but the more I thought about it the more I realised maybe the first time I felt jealous of another girl’s beauty/physique but the next time I chose to think that way and what is worse is that I would comment on it to people around me. This trait goes back to instinctual competition, sussing everyone out and comparing them to you. We, as females, are tuned to find flaws in each other to better ourselves and win out the competition. I realise body and confidence issues are not something to be brushed over and that comparing yourself to other people is very natural but to criticise them because of jealousy is something that needs to be reflected on. Take a second if you think like I did, who is gaining from this? Your bravado probably with a smidgen of prosthetic confidence but in reality taking that moment to say aloud something positive is enough to change your mindset and potentially change another persons too.

Untitled…for now (#1- FMOO)

finding my own opinion

After writing drafts for three half-hearted blog posts I realised there is one thing I want to talk about. I have always considered myself a feminist or at the very least interested in equality issues but as of lately I have brought myself to delve further into the topic and the very relevant discussion that is going on right now. Researching more into this topic made me feel like I had no idea what my opinion is and I definitely had no idea what I was talking about previously to this. This sounds like I have changed my mind on feminism, I haven’t but I have, for too long, ran blindly into issues with opinions blazing without having a solid, carefully curated opinion of my own. Before you read any further I just want to let you know I don’t have an opinion yet and I definitely won’t have one by the end of this post. This post is me documenting my process, my thoughts, and, ultimately (not in this post though), my opinion.

I recently came across a group of women that made me actually think about what I thought I was thinking about (keep up!). These women I have only met through their online essays but it made me feel insecure in my opinions. Insecure is probably the wrong word, what I mean is they made me rethink. These women wrote beautiful, thought provoking pieces, getting their point across without forcing their opinions on the reader. It is at this point I should say I have never or will never force feed my opinions to anyone but the reason I am struggling so much is that I am like a sponge absorbing people’s stories and their opinions and then forming my own. I have recently realised none of those opinions are my own, they are everyone else’s but my own.

The more I thought about this the more I started looking into what it meant to be a feminist. In the beginning it was simple pop culture references such as the opening speech to ***Flawless by Beyonce (which I learned was an excerpt from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk speech named “We should all be feminists”). This then made me delve into asking Google hundreds of questions and picking out potential readings to finally form my own opinion. The issue is, after reading all of these I still have no idea. There is a piece of writing that is floating around in my mind for a couple of months or so but every time I go to write it, it just floats away. It’s still there but it is shy, not wanting to be read by anyone but me and this is because I don’t know what my take is on it. Its focus point is women but how can I write about something that I don’t have a fully formed opinion on and therefore don’t know where I stand. I am weighed down by the burden of forming my own opinion on a topic that is so heavy for fear I will say something wrong and offend or say something I misunderstood and offend.

The speech Reese Witherspoon gave at Glamour’s Women of the Year awards left me in an existential crisis…or maybe an identity crisis. Im not quite sure which. Beyonce and Reese are two very simple examples of what triggered this thought avalanche. The one thing that keeps appearing the more I look into it is the word ambition. As an avid dreamer I would consider myself an ambitious person but does ambition mean you dream about the thing or do you go out an get it after dreaming about it? I know the answer so I go back to dreaming. Why this is weighing so heavily on me at the moment, I have no answer.

Is it all about equal ambitions? No, its deeper than that. I am sucked into a vortex of questions- rhetorical and literal. I have never done this but don’t get me wrong, I am not a stupid person. I don’t sit at home ear and eyes blocked from the world but I have never informed myself so much that the information is leaving my body because my brain can’t retain it all. I feel like I have spent two days straight studying with no breaks when that’s not the case. I just happen to feel more overwhelmed by this because it is not an easy opinion to have. If you managed to read that whole post well done to you! It is a mash of my thoughts before I wrote this and during which created something that I could possibly reconsider. If anyone has any reading/video recommendations, send them my way!