Sunday, 1 November 2009
I didn't get everything on my list from yesterday quite done. For some reason I was surprised when I went to my parent's house and they wanted me to interact with them for longer than an hour. This is what you get for trying to multi-task. Lesson: Delineate your life. Study in the library. Ingratiate in the home. Socialise in the park.
I did a good job of asking people about their lives though. Which is just as well, because everyone else has so many more interesting things happen to them than me. Maybe Project Fix Bec will fix that, but for the time being I'm very happy to let everyone else do some talking.
Today I got up and went to work, which was pleasant enough, as always. I even managed to make the required amount of money for the day, which, though capitalistic, always gives me a bit of a thrill. It's nice to have a daily acheivement, don't you think?
Then I came home, set my timer for forty-five minutes and set about clearing out/up my bedroom, which has been in various states of disaster for the last few months. I got rid of the enormous old iMac which has been doing naught but sit on my desk and take up unseemly amounts of space for the last few weeks. (Before that it was sitting on my desk and taking up unseemly amounts of space but with functioning iTunes. With that one redeeming feature inexplicably kaputed, I decided it was time to shelve it.) It's currently sitting at the bottom of my wardrobe, which is not at all where it belongs but the sense of clarity and light it has brought to my bedroom is spectacular. I cleared all the nonsensical things of my desk, moved boxes of clothes to the side of the bed I don't sleep on (sorry, my love), put my little laptop down and started work.
But not before getting distracted, while filing away some old scripts, by the little notebook I kept during my time in London and Europe in 2007. The great Gap Year Experience! The Living Of Life to The Full! The Acheivement of Goals! The Embracing of The Moment!
Not really. I believe I had chosen to forget how unfulfilled and unfulfilling parts of that year was/were. There, as it would seem there are everywhere in my life, were lists and lists and things I wanted to do and go to and see and experience, only half of which I ever did. Money was a big constraint but so was fear. Just general fear. Fear of the unknown, of something going wrong, of being lonely - which I was, really, so much of the time. I wonder now whether I was in any way ready to move away from my home, my friends, my entire life, for an indefinite period of time so soon after emerging into the world after the bubble of high school. It only takes a quick flick over this notebook - not even a proper journal, where I wrote all my Real Thoughts - to reveal that I was desperately nostalgic a lot of the time.
This fills me with deep regret for several reasons. Firstly, it saddens me that I did not take full advantage of the quite extraordinary situation I found myself in: living in London (albeit the suburbs thereof), rent free, in self contained accomodation (save for sharing a bathroom with several people of dubious hygeine habits), with regular, reasonably enjoyable employment that paid well, the company of my family when I wanted it and the occasional visit from a friend from home. I didn't like my flatmates and everyone I worked with was either fifteen years younger or older than me, and I was desperartely trying to save money for the Great European Summer (which was, on the whole, a much happier experience) - all this is true, but I was not even working at bettering myself intellectually or culturally. I don't think I finished a single book in London, though I could possibly pinpoint it as the begining of my now-renowned habit of starting books and then abandoning them, for no good reason, halfway through. I saw two films that I can remember and one was one I'd seen before. (Casablanca - it never gets old.) I did develop a fondness for Hollyoaks, a terrifically awful British soap opera, as well as excessive cups of tea, shortbread and a habit of wearing oversized clothes (as was the fashion for British youth that winter, thank you). But I look back and I see missed opportunities and most embarassingly, I forsee that when I next return to London, as I hope to do in the not-too-distant future, I will have so much there that I haven't done - and I will not have anyone to look up.
Secondly, it upsets me that all the while I was ignoring this spectacular city on my doorstep, I was pining for a world back home that I subsequently did a very good job of ignoring upon my return. As a result of both circumstance and preference, I no longer see very much of the group of people from high school I missed so sincerely as I sat in my flat in SE21. Perhaps I overestimated them in my mind, perhaps I changed more than I realised in my time away - but whatever it is or was, coming home certainly felt anti-climactic.
Possibly consequently, one of my New Year's Resolutions (I told you I liked resolutions) in 2008 was Be Involved. I couldn't stand to go back to the feeling of watching the world pass me by as I knew it did in London. It's one of the reasons I threw myself so unashamedly (or at least that's how it felt) into campus life at the begining of that year. I wanted - needed - to know people, to have things to go to and people to go to them with, to see things and discuss them with others. I think I was quite successful in that. Pat on the back me.
But perhaps I need to widen my scope a little. I still have trouble finishing books. (Again, I'm sorry, my love.) I really do not know why that is but I feel I have become more and more a victim of the MTV generation, as we are known, as time goes by. Strange but reparable so we shall not dwell. I still don't see very many films, problematic for all sorts of reasons. I rarely read the newspaper and when I do I find myself skipping straight to the Arts & Entertainment section, which is so bloody paltry in the SMH as to be nonexistant. I rarely do my readings for university, but I've been doing some tonight, and good God, do you know - they're quite interesting! I know! I would never have guessed. But it's all leaving me with the most horrid sensation of intellectual inferiority because all the clever writers keep referring to other clever writers that I know I'm meant to have read and goodness knows I've probably even started to...it's all almost enough to make you give up altogether.
Unfortunately that has been my course of action of late. When the going gets tough, the tough suddenly aren't that tough any more and it takes less and less to un-tough me.
No more! Into the fire I say! Not really sure what Adorno and Horkeiner had to say? I'm going to read them. I'm going to go and see a movie. I want to see Whatever It Takes because I like Woody Allen and I like Larry David and because secretly I dream of being an insouciant, plucky young thing in an Allen film. Ironically enough, the book I am currently reading is called How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read, which I feel may only encourage my habit. If I can finish it, I'll tell you what I think.
Also, I wrote one out of two Performance Studies Things and I'm sure if I really wanted to I could write the other one now over another cup of tea and a sea of determination. What's that? You think I should?
Oh well. Alright then.
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Since then I've figured out a bit better what it ACTUALLY means and have made so many goddam resolutions I feel like a United Nations sub-committee. I never stick to any of them, of course. (Whether that makes me more or less like the UN is up to you to decide.) I mean I know lots of people make resolutions they don't stick to but I think for me it's become almost addictive - making lists and writing up pledges that fall by the wayside faster than I can say.
- My finances. I wasn't raised by people with good money habits. (Sorry, guys, it's true.) I have spent a year spending beyond my means and now I have bills coming out of my ears and not quite enough income to support them and the occaisonally indulgent lifestyle I've come to regard as normal.
- My academic life. I recently turned in assignment over four weeks late. You cannot know how much shame it causes me to admit that in "public". Last year I won an academic prize. It was $500 and got me a nice dress, some new saucepans and a sense of validation for choosing university over the audition circuit. This year, I doubt my lecturers would know who I am because I never fucking well go to class. Ps may make degrees, but they certainly don't make me proud or happy.
- My health. The first victim of my financial situation, I've gone from someone who ate salad every night, danced, ran, swam and yogaed occaisonally to someone who might eat a vegetable once a week and lifts her heartrate only to catch a bus. I can barely touch my toes any more and pointing them brings on cramps. Walking up the stairs from the STC to the Rocks brings on a stitch. My hair splits, my nails crack and let's not even talk about my skin. I rarely get the requisite eight hours sleep a night and I think this feeds directly into...
- My general organisation. My life spews Stuff. Clothes, stationery, food that sits in my fridge without ever being eaten, unpaid bills, unreturned calls, unfinished assignments and all the while my facebook status updates proliferate at alarming rates. I have to-do lists that go on for pages, full of tasks that should have been completed months ago. I have a pile of dirty washing as tall as I am and a wardrobe full of clothes I don't want to wear. I can never find my keys, my shoes or a bobby pin when I need one but I can barely see the floor of my room half the time. I cannot tell you how often I buy an item - coffee, cheese, blutak - only to get home and discover we already have some. It's flustering. I'm flustering. I think that leads to...
- My general disposition. I have a tendency towards - well, you can call it bitching, whining, whinging, complaing, venting, sharing or whatever the hell else you like, but I like to call it "toxically sucking the beauty out of everyday life." Every time someone asks me how I am, it's instantly, "Oh my god I am so busy/tired/stressed." You'll find that if you do this often enough, by the time real busy-ness/exhaustion/stress settles in, everyone around you is less interested in hearing about it - which of course only compounds the situation. I think it's brought on by my...
- Lack of, for want of a better phrase, spiritual life. I have no desire to find God - I am a rather confirmed atheist and I plan to stay that way. But I have always resented the monopoly that the religious have on good deeds, kindess, generosity, calm, forebearance, and a multitude of other nice things. I want to be a person who is fun, reliable, intelligent, helpful, resilient and able to stand still for five minutes without freaking out about it - as distinct from being stuck for an entire year, which is kind of how I feel.
- I am going to write these embarassingly overdue Performance Studies tutorial assignments and email them to my tutor.
- I am going to go Mum and Dad's house and eat a salad and converse with my family for a bit.
- I am going to go to a party this evening where I will ask other people about their lives.
Saturday, 29 August 2009
For instance, currently I have a list of things I need to do tonight:
- Mop my bathroom floor
- Vacuum my entire house
- Clean my kitchen
- Clean my fridge
What I don't like is that lists often reveal something you'd prefer not to think about. For instance, this list above reveals that:
- I don't clean my house often enough.
- I care more than I ever thought I would about the state of my domestic surroundings.
- I'm contemplating cleaning on A SATURDAY NIGHT.
- There's nothing to put IN my fridge once it's clean.
But these assumptions don't take into consideration the fact that:
- I am going on a cleaning binge because I know I am coming up to a busy and hopefully very fun week.
- I haven't previously cleaned because I have, you know, a job and a degree and friends.
- Sometimes, you just need a night of mundanity.
- And doing grown up things like cleaning...well, they kind of make you feel like a grown up. And that can be cool.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
This week has been:
-a wake up call
-a little lonelier than usual
-which in turn makes it: introspective
-peppered with love
-bitching, in that good way
-a gentle reminder that you don't always get what you want - someone else does.
-warm enough for shorts.
Monday, 17 August 2009
Pile of books, including but not limited to: Jewish Wry: Essays on Jewish Humor, books on Leonardo Sciascia, Good Weekends Away, The Actor's Handbook, Trinny and Susannah's Survival Guide, possibly an Italian dictionary
Un-given 21st birthday present for a close friend
Picture of self + high school besties
Stack of ancient CDs recently relistened to, topped off by empty money box
PAU Graduation paperweight
Very very very very very lovely anniversary present(s) from even more lovely boyfriend
Two empty wine bottles holding candles
Pen holder matching money box
Green clutched gifted to self by generous if stylistically questionable mother
Rarely used enormous old iMac
Vitamins: B complex, C, Multi, Omega3
Earring display rack
Oil burner holding all the keys except the ones I actually use
Pile of stickers from work topped off by actual keys
Meanwhile, I'm doing my readings in bed, with waterbottle, tissues and today's shirt in grabbing distance. Reckon that tells you lots of what you needs to know.
Thursday, 21 May 2009
1. Fringed boots. Quite frankly I am dubious about fringing in general, but fringing on one's leg makes one look like, to borrow a phrase, "a somewhat anorexic Clydesdale."
I mean, really, Rachel Bilson, I used to have so much faith in you. It looks like, in some particularly enthusiastic gust of wind, a flurry of tickertape or packaging stuffing has somehow permanently attached itself to an other wise perfectly acceptable pair of boots.
I get that one needs to wear boots. I am currently on the lookout for a pair myself. If anyone sees a pair that isn't fringed, isn't scrunchy, has a decent stack heel and costs less than the five hundred dollar Camper ones I'm currently having a mental affair with, let me know.
Leggings, as we all know, are not pants. Unless you are going to or coming from an exercise venue. I will admit I am wearing leggings right now. This is OK because I am wearing a DRESS that is LONGER than my anterior, and BOOTS that are not fringed and you CANNOT TELL THEY ARE LEGGINGS. They may simply be very thick stockings. They are keeping me warm. These
on the other hand, are clearly keeping no one warm. Also they are shiny. Shiny leggings are bad because they are skintight, which is unflattering enough to any general member of the populus, but on top of this they REFLECT light, making the surface which it covers seem LARGER. Now. I do not approve of the sickeningly thin form which models take, but they are THE ONLY people in the ENTIRE WORLD who look good in leggings, and even then it's only because they are on a runway and there are lots of shiny lights and beautiful makeup and music and a general atmosphere of impenetrable coolness. Thus, I do not approve of a trend which one must starve oneself for. I am very, very sorry, but if you are over a size, maybe, six, you will definitely not look good in leggings, and even if you are a size six, you're probably on Eastern Avenue, not the runways of Milan, so just do us - and yourself - a fucking favour and buy. Some. Pants.
BUT! Do not buy...
3. Harem pants
For similar reasons. Despite their loose form and outwardly forgiving nature, the harem pant is like your bitchy best friend from primary school who gives you one half of those 'Best Friends' necklackes and then turns around and laughs with everyone else about how lame you are for wearing them. For goodness sake, these are some of the most unflattering things any human can hope to wear. Unlike the legging, the harem pant does not descriminate. It strikes wantonly. It makes everyone's arse look enormous, in a very unappealing, saggy, elephantine way. They make you look as if you are wearing an incontinence device. They are NOT appropriate evening wear and they are a fucking INSULT to those Louboutin shoes.
Above all else, I do not understand these things because they are simply not very flattering. There seems to be a common misconception amongst the clothing-buying population that reading a magazine and buying the featured items is the same thing as developping a personal style. I am not the first and will not be the last to point out that this approach is foolhardly. Trends are dreamed up in a magical land far, far away from real people and the lives they live and the bodies they have. They are dreamed up for and by people who have perfected the art of looking good in some ridiculous things. They themselves make these items appealing - not the other way around.
Take, for example, Kate Moss. Kate Moss, whatever you think about her as a person, has It. She oozes cool. I am not particularly enamoured of her brand of cool (though I found myself depressingly interested in her Topshop collection) but let's face it, on her good (i.e., not crack-whored out of her mind) days, she could wear just about anything and get away with it. But I have a secret to tell you: IT'S BECAUSE SHE'S KATE MOSS. Kate Moss could wear shiny leggings AND fringed boots AND harem pants for a turban and probably still walk away with a look of smug, perfectly detached self respect on her face. Does this mean you should wear what she is wearing? NO. NO NO NO. Because you, sweetum, cherry pie, darling one, are not Kate Moss. I'm sorry, but it's true. You are beautiful. You are special. You are radiant and sexy and in all probability much, much more interesting than Madame Moss.
But before you don a pair of pegged jeans or trilby hat in attempt to acquire aforementioned aura of impermeability, think a minute. What does this actually make you look like? What does this actually look like full stop? Kate's self assuredness comes not from the clothes she wears but from an innane and unshakeable inner love for herself that allows her to believe it's OK to do stupid things like take cocaine when you have several million dollar contracts and a young daughter to look out for, or wear ripped jeans and a boyfriend's T-shirt out and about in one of London's richest areas on a freezing cold day. She wears clothes. She imbues them with enviability. She flaunts them and deceives you into thinking that if you wear the same things as her, you will also be as cool. But it simply, simply, is not true. You will be cool if you take five minutes to look in the mirror before you leave the house and realise, "Hm. Fair point. These tiny shorts over stockings paired with shiny gladiator heels and an incredibly see through white T-shirt do not, in fact, make me look like the splendiferous human being that I am, nor am I the least bit comfortable with having this much of my buttock-cheek on display at a venue that is not a beach or public bathing house. On the contrary, it makes me feel like a two-dime whore. Jeeves, fetch me my favourite jeans."
Saturday, 1 November 2008
I feel no guilt over the way things went with Vinnies; they had strung me along many a time and they really should not have been surprised when I, in the end, showed them no real loyalty. My time with Vinnies has taught me that a great job is more than an excellent pay packet and baskets of free clothes: if the people you work with/for are mentally deranged drug addicts, you won't last long - and that's before you even have to start dealing with the customers. I am responsible for the fact that things ended in the manner that they did, but frankly they - or more specifcally, my Area Manager, is responsible for the fact that things had to end at all.
So today I tossed off my scummy jeans and natty blue apron and donned my sophisticated blacks for my first day at the other end of the retail spectrum. This job offers an even better pay packet (let's all hear it for commission) and is in a clean, quiet, pleasant smelling environment. The woman who is my boss owns the business and designs all the dresses herself, and I can safely say that I am going to be able to earn that tasty commission totally honestly - I think her designs are beautiful. I also have had the chance to talk with her fairly extensively about her design principles - admirable; her plans for the business - ambitious; and her personal history - unsual and inspiring (and I am not a person who approves of the use of that word.) As I left the store at 5:10pm this afternoon, I found myself thinking that this was a company I could happily see myself staying with, in one capacity or another, for some time yet.
There's just one hitch: my employment with embryo is Saturdays only - which would have suited me great during the semester. But the semester is drawing to a close, and with my plans to move out of home next year and the recent ransacking my savings account has taken, I need to work at least three or four days a week over the summer to get some cash together and finally meet that elusive* Youth Allowance target. embryo are not looking to expand my role and quite frankly I'm happy for it to stay that way; it means not having to let them down when uni goes back in March.
No, what I need is quick, fast cash, from someone (by which I mean a company or business) I neither like, respect nor frequent, so that when I fuck them over by disappearing just after the Christmas rush, I don't have to feel guilty/give up my favourite coffee haunt for leaving them in the lurch. A CBD cafe, I thought to myself, or maybe a Country Road Christmas Casual. I'd probably be fucking miserable and want to kill myself/the customers (HOW MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF CARGO PANT CAN YOU TRY ON???) but the money, right?
So off I trotted to seek.com.au, my go-to guide for all things employment related. (Truth told, it has only ever rendered me one, very undesireable job, but I figured for these purposes it was perfect.) Hospitality yielded little - I don't want to work in a hotel. Retail was a little more promising and I had saved myself ads for kikki.K, Marcs and Jigsaw (remember what I said about cold hard cash), when I came across an advertisement for a Sales Assistant with Australian lable Katie Pye.
Katie Pye was a kickass designer back in the eighties, doing lots of wacky and wonderful stuff with handpainting and flowers and Mondrian-style prints - totally the kind of thing my mother wore back in the day, which is why there is a bright aquamarine coat dress with floral hand painting lurking at the back of my wardrobe, just waiting for me to be brave enough to wear it in real life. (I wore it once to an eighties party. Its shoulders could have their own postcode.) Suffice to say, it's funky stuff and I like funky stuff and I obviously like working in jobs where I get to tell people what to wear.
In the end, I decided not to think about applying for this one - in Surry Hills, it would be a hassle for me to get to by public transport and I think they were probably looking for someone with more administrative/stock management skills than I have. But the fact that I was thinking about going for it raised some interesting questions for me.
What if I had liked it alot? What if, at the end of working there for three months, I maybe decided I liked it better than embryo? Would I quit embryo then, just because I found something better? Is it worth even applying for a new job, not because you specifically want to get out of your old job, but because it might be that "something better"?
Finding something better is kind of a recurring theme with me, at least when it comes to things like jobs. From year nine to the begining of university I had (including a gap year) six different employers. My two best friends had one. I don't think the concept of "company loyalty" rates very highly with me, which is why I always found it so hard to understand why these two friends insisted on staying in jobs that were boring, badly paid and poorly managed. While they both had different reasons for doing so, for one it was certainly a factor that she had worked there so long and established a relationship with her bosses. I have to say that kind of thing has never meant very much to me. If I think I can get better pay and better conditions - and in an industry that better suits my needs and interests - somewhere else, I will drop whatever employer I have like a hot potato, because my theory is that while I have no rights as a casual employee, I also have no responsibility.
And it's an attitude that extends into other areas of my life too. I don't like to be a settler. I don't buy clothes that "almost fit." (Unless they're vintage and beautiful and worth altering.) (Also note clothing that "almost fits" and comes FOR FREE does not count.) I don't buy what's on special just because it's cheap. I certainly never buy the first version of an item that I come across, if I think I can get it somewhere else cheaper or prettier or both. I was taught to always get at least three quotes for a job. (Came in handy that time the brick got thrown through Jenna's window in year 11...) No, I'm a person who prides themselves on making informed and positive choices, hopefully unhindered and uninhibited by notions of loyalty or convenience. This is good because sometimes I save money and often feel like I've avoided being sucked like the tragic consumer I am into whatever trend-vacuum is exerting its influence over me. This is bad because I often feel like I'm on tenterhooks, I can't get settled, I'm always looking over my shoulder, waiting for the next great offer to come along. I think what it comes down to is that I kind of hate the concept of work so much that what I'm REALLY waiting for is someone to pay me to sit around and read books, or study. Or act. That would be the ideal, quite frankly.
But maybe I am learning to settle, a little - or at least recognise what's good for me. Because while I'm happy to fuck over big, anonymous multinationals like Marcs or Jigsaw, another big part of holding off on the Katie Pye application was that, should anything eventuate, it would eventually mean letting down one of two spectacular independent Australian designers. After what I learnt about the embryo story and where she's planning to take it, I just wouldn't feel right about appraising my role there in purely fiscal terms. This is a relationship I hope will mean more than just my pay packet and tax-deductible black clothing; if I behave myself and think less of what they can offer me and more of what I can offer them I could wind up with something more akin to a career than a job. (Note I have no intention or desire to go into designing wedding dresses.) Yeah, I make me sick too. But that's my informed and positive choice to make.
*PLEASE NOTE the spelling of this word, elusive. It means (according to dictionary.com)
1.eluding clear perception or complete mental grasp; hard to express or define: an elusive concept. 2. cleverly or skillfully evasive: a fish too elusive to catch. IT IS NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH allusive (having reference to something implied or inferred; containing, abounding in, or characterized by allusions) or illusive (based on or having the nature of an illusion). STUDENT JOURNALISTS OF SYDNEY, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
- Fancy Feff
- You see, the thing is, I have a lot of thoughts. I think I have more thoughts than the average person. And while you are getting a highly censored version of my thoughts here, I feel like I at least want my trivial musings to have some sort of semi permanent area, where, if necessary, I can return to and admire my own wit and wisdom.