One of my assorted blogging resolutions for 2017 is to stay faithful to the personal diary I penned from time to time on Frassy; one lone photo accompanied by a spilling of words. Fashion bloggers don’t tend to write much, but I’ll be shoving some sartorial space aside to make room for more intimate musings. I keep a sporadic journal offline so I am planning on sharing some of that here and there too. No topic is too private here in this sub-category that joyfully has nothing to do with fashion. So, diving right in, I wanted to share a collection of big beautiful things 20176 taught me, they weren’t graceful or easy lessons but I’m grateful for the wisdom they wrestled out of me.
your eyes determine a great deal
I have quite small eyes and I attribute their tinier size to the pessimism I so naturally veer towards. I seem to somersault through two moods: sad exhaustion and hyper anxiety, an exhausting spiral that has countlessly left me lethargic yet unable to sleep. December 2016 was a stormy month, my relationship fell off a cliff, I was held at knifepoint and mugged, I experienced an abortion, and with it a surge of hormones that made my sanity feel like a hazy memory. And then one restless day between Christmas and New Year’s, I was aimlessly flicking through facebook and stumbled across a terrifyingly cheesy video about optimism. But it’s message stuck with me, succinctly, it asserted that our eyes have power which is to say our outlook on life has an energy in itself. The way we see things is how they come to be. I spent so much of last year slumped in melancholy, it seems such a waste of a life already too short but I’ve since clutched to that video’s message like a mantra. Now I am a woman who typically rolls her eyes at the optimism drivel, my glass is always half empty, but this idea is so simple and personally, it feels so true. Expecting the worst brings out the worst. Positive energy results in happier endeavours. I long ago stopped smiling and greeting my surly neighbours, but this year I started chirping at them again and last week, one of them smiled at me. It seems small but this is a collection of people who usually briskly turn their head to avoid my enthusiastic ‘holas’. I’ve also developed an annoying sanguine approach to my content, a quotidienne routine in my life that I have long struggled with. I’m a perfectionist and when the photography isn’t going to plan, I very easily get annoyed and surrender to a slump at a cafe for coffee, where I gulp and yearn for ‘talent’. I have started deciding the photos I take will be beautiful and moody and ideal before I’ve even started a shoot. It sounds silly but I feel very proud of the content I have created so far in 2017. The photos feel very true to ‘me’. Your eyes have power and your outlook has energy, what you see is what will be. Keep that in mind.
men aren’t everything
2016 saw me commit a wealth of relationship errors, I’ve saved up my earnings into these three words: men aren’t everything. Perhaps some of you can recall my first relationship of the year which left me underweight, over anxious and crying nightly. It was a disaster and embarrassing for a woman as proudly independent as myself. My mother and her sisters call men ‘the crazy makers’ because they seem capable of throwing even the strongest of women off-balance. In 2015, I decided to stay single for 365 days. In 2016, I fiercely unlearnt all I taught myself in that romance free year. Nearing 30, and to be brutally honest, my fear of not finding my man made me a little desperate, a tad crazed; and twice I tossed myself too intensely into relationships that weren’t worthy or ready for that kind of commitment. I pointedly chose older men, in their 40s whom I had hoped given their age were looking for a more serious kind of love than the adorable late twenty boys who seem too focused on ‘netflix and chill’. No thanks, I’d like to go out for a dinner where I will wear both a push-up bra and blazer but also happily pay half the bill. Well, let’s just say it didn’t quite pan out the way I had expected and really age doesn’t mean a thing when it comes to love. You can’t make someone love you in the way you need to be loved and a relationship isn’t an extension of yourself. I think my eagerness left me a little deluded, I reworked the men I was dating in head, rendering them my perfect partner, thus placing them on pedestal and crowning them with a priority they didn’t deserve. My lack of close friends in Barcelona amplified the loneliness I felt in love. So much of a relationship happens outside of the couple, for me at least,analyzing and discussing boyfriends at length over coffee or wine with your best friends is as important as the love itself. But men aren’t everything, at 28 I had to reteach myself that. I walked into 2017 without the determined neediness I had shamefully developed, I have so much more time for reading, I am enjoying cooking for just myself rather than the tedious discussion before dinner that is required among two people with different tastes and my bed doesn’t feel lonely, just bigger. I know the love I crave will come, frantically diving into things won’t speed it up, it only makes life messier. It’s quite like hectically running through 1000 sit ups in one day and then wondering why a six pack hasn’t immediately appeared, love is the same. It cannot be rushed, it doesn’t happen overnight, in fact, it takes so so much time. I must be patient but also remember that when it doesn’t arrive, I still have the partner I forged out of myself. 2017 is the year I am done with losing myself in love. No more. There is a shield around me that only a prince can banish, the frogs will bounce right off.
At 16, I wrote what I had hoped would be a novel, its unfinished and that’s how it will remain. It is filled with immature hyperbole and centres around two sisters who travel the world and end up committing suicide together. Quite dark, but then again teenagers are notioriously moody and I was no exception. I still hold that silly novel close because it’s a testament to how much I adore writing. I read viciously, and then I listen to every podcast featuring the author of the book just finished, then I scribble down all their best quotes on index cards which sit piled in heaps all over the house, some are even stuck to the fridge. I awe and gush over sentences in the same way many women obsess over a woman’s hair on instgram, I yearn to be able to write as well as the authors I read. It’s an intense burning desire that has been fired up in me for as long as I can remember. But it comes with terrible waves of self-doubt and frustration, weaving sentences together is a complicated art and at my worst, I throw my hands up and turn on Netflix instead. But nothing brings such quiet gratification as an hour or two grappling words into writing. It brings me such peace. I feel so misunderstood in the city I live in and often trapped within the commercial confines of fashion blogging, but I have consistently found solace in simply expressing myself. Last year saw me dip in and out of writing, something would spur me on and I’d sit down to type for an hour or three but then a few weeks or a month would pass without any writing at all. But 2017 is the year I write everyday, a poem or three, some work on my book or just a line that might come into my head. I know I have this book in me but it cannot be birthed if I don’t let it grow everyday. Modern life is not condiscise to creativity, our phones bloat us with pointless distractions, I hope you too stay diligent to creativity, whatever your outlet may be.
I spend a lot of time alone but happily so, I am an extrovert but also a lover of solitude. Back in Paris, even when I had a gang of friends, I would still dissappear for a day or two to then re-emerge for a weekend full of parties. My apartment was coined ‘the party house’ because I held countless spontaneous soirees but it was also where I’d spend many days alone. I miss that dichotomy, it is very lacking in my Barcelona life. Here I have few friends, two at most, one of whom just left for a bigger life in London. Both of my assistants became epic friends but they too left for opportunities elsewhere. In 2016, for the first time ever in my life, I discovered loneliness. I never thought someone so prone to seclusion could feel such an emotion, but I sorely did. When I first moved here, I enthusiastically shoved myself into social occasions, believing it wouldn’t be long until I found my quirky Catalan counterparts. It never happened, Barcelona is a closed community and it lacks the diversity that overspill cities like London and Paris. I grew dissapointed and tired of revving myself up for events I didn’t enjoy, and so slowly I gave up. I spent far, far too much time on my own in 2016. I remember walking Biba late on weekend nights, and seeing groups of women spilling out of bars, laughing, arms linked and it made my heart hurt. I have never missed my friends so much as I did in 2016, thankfully they came here and I went there, but it’s just not the same. My confidence took a bruising too because for the first time since high school, people I met simply didn’t seem to like me. I later realized that this is a cultural affliction to Barcelona and not a reflection on me. Now, I am planning on leaving for a new adventure in a new city this spring, but until then, I have decided to try again, to get out there and meet people. To simply say yes if a friend of a friend invites me to a gig or a dinner, or those book clubs I always skip, I will go to those this year. The search for friends is far more arduous here than anywhere else I’ve lived but if I look hard enough, I will find my people, or at least, a person or three. Besides I plan to take final full of advantage of living by the beach as soon as the weather warms up and I will need a gaggle of girls to bikini agonize with. So 2017 is the year I simply say yes to social occasions, to stay positive in that somewhere someone in this city would like to drink too much coffee or wine with me.
the story that is life
You already know how enthusiatic I am about spinning my life into a story that extends past the daily tasks that so often seem to clutter existence. It can be hard to sustain this conviction because everyday life can be dull, it can be repetitive and it at worst, it can feel like nothing at all. I do find myself diving into things just for the tale they will tell later, but not often enough. Ironically, I find that the bright screens that light up my working hours dim my ardor for ‘real life’. My phone renders me lethargic, lazily lapping up content on an app is not the plot line I want for my days on Earth. I’d rather make three thousand wild mistakes than orbit through a stagnant cycle. Sure, adult life requires responsibility and I’m fairly good at maintining mine, but I aim to desert that albatross more often. To let go and live on a whim is a mighty freedom we should all take embrace more often. I feel like so much of my life thus far has been spent in preparation, from school to university and then chucked out into the real world, a cycle of hazy ambition; a spin of hope and self-improvement in aim of qualifiying for a place in the professional race. I am in no way flinging my goals aside, they are as important as ever but my existence doesn’t depend on them. My early twenties are gilded in memories, I was financially broke but those years were the wealthiest of my life. I suppose, more simply, I need to strike a better work/play balance. I’d like to travel more, to perhaps channel some of the money I usually place into savings into seeing more of the world. But that is secondary to this lesson, what I want to emphasize is that life should be an adventure, it is easy to neglect our numbered days. When I define my life as a story, what I mean to say is that I need to seek out a profusion of new experiences as often as I can, they can be as simple as returning to ballet class or as bold as uphauling my entire life to a new country. A book requires a successive structure, and I resolve for 2017 to be pushing my life through a plot rather than stuck in the same, insistent routine. It will twist through events both enormous and tiny, but most crucially, they will be new and different to all the befores that I already claim as chapters.