Archive for May, 2010

on being incapacitated

Right now I am feeling pain. love. anger. heartache. worry. loneliness. desire. sadness. fear.

I feel pain and unbearable sadness when I consider how something beautiful and breathtaking can be judged as being ugly and depraved. I feel pain and anger and sadness when confronted with the incredible amount of hate in this world.

I feel worry and fear for what the future holds. I feel fearful of being alone. I feel fearful of rejection. I feel fearful of disappointment. I feel fearful of never getting the chance to be happy.

I feel love and heartache and loneliness and desire because I am without.

And on top of all these I feel numbness. I feel numbness because sometimes it’s easier to numb the pain and anger and love and heartache and loneliness and sadness and desire and fear, than to let yourself feel it. Sometimes that’s what we try and do to survive. Sometimes survival is all we can do. And sometimes the power to overcome is just around the corner. And the hope that our dark time will someday pass gives us the courage to keep fighting for just one more day.

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reflections on hipster culture

You’ve seen them around. You might even know someone who is one. You might even BE one!…. I’m talking about hipsters, people. Hipsters are taking over the freaking world!

What is a hipster you ask? These days you can probably spot a hipster everywhere you turn, but chances are, if you’re not a part of the subculture, you probably had no idea that there was even a term to describe these people. Well, it’s time for some education in Hipsterdom!

Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.

Although “hipsterism” is really a state of mind,it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses.

Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs. Such styles are often associated with the work of creative stylists at urban salons, and are usually too “edgy” for the culturally-sheltered mainstream consumer. The “effortless cool” urban bohemian look of a hipster is exemplified in Urban Outfitters and American Apparel ads which cater towards the hipster demographic.

Despite misconceptions based on their aesthetic tastes, hipsters tend to be well educated and often have liberal arts degrees, or degrees in maths and sciences, which also require certain creative analytical thinking abilities. Consequently many hipsters tend to have jobs in the music, art, and fashion industries. It is a myth that most hipsters are unemployed and live off of their parent’s trust funds.

Hipsters shun mainstream societal conventions that apply to dating preferences and traditional “rules” of physical attraction. It is part of the hipster central dogma not to be influenced by mainsream advertising and media, which tends to only promote ethnocentric ideals of beauty. The concepts of androgyny and feminism have influenced hipster culture, where hipster men are often as thin as the women they date. The muscular and athletic all-American male ideal is not seen as attractive by confident and culturally-empowered hipster women who instead view them as symbols of male oppression, sexism, and misogyny. Likewise, culturally-vapid sorority-type girls with fake blond hair, overly tanned skin, and “Britney Spears tube-tops” are not seen as attractive by cultured hipster males who instead see them as symbols of female insecurity, low self-esteem, and lack of cultural intelligence and independent thinking. Hipsters are also very racially open-minded, and the greatest number of interracial couples in any urban environment are typically found within the hipster subculture.

Although hipsters are technically conformists within their own subculture, in comparison to the much larger mainstream mass, they are pioneers and leaders of the latest cultural trends and ideals. For example, the surge of jeans made to look old and worn (i.e. “distressed”), that have become prevalent at stores such as The Gap, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Hollister, were originally paraded by hipsters who shopped in thrift stores years before such clothing items were mass produced and sold to the mainstream consumer. The true irony here is that many of the detractors of hipster culture are in fact unknowingly following a path that hipsters have carved out years before them. This phenomena also applies to music as well, as many bands have become successful and known to mainstream audiences only because hipsters first found and listened to them as early-adopters of new culture. Once certain concepts of fashion and music have reached mainstream audiences, hipsters move on to something new and improved.

Because of the rise of various online photo-blog and social networking sites, insights into urban hipster culture is reaching sheltered suburban audiences at an exponential rate. Cultural “norms” have been deconstructed by hipster culture as a whole. Hipsterism is often dismissed as just an image thing by some, but the culture as a whole is effecting changes in society, leading to feelings of insecurity and resentment in people who are no longer a part of the cultural ruling class.

(via urbandictionary.com)

Like a lot of things these days however, definitions are starting to get blurred, especially as the mainstream starts to adopt hipster culture. Just because someone adopts hipster fashion sense, does that make them a hipster? If being a hipster emanates originality and individuality, does that mean a person who conforms to hipster tastes in clothes, music, hair, etc, is not in fact being original?

In hindsight, I realised that I started along the path towards Hipsterdom long before I even knew what a hipster was, and that’s oddly comforting. If I’m going to be a stereotype, I’d rather become one, than follow one. I’m not so bothered about the whole being original thing. I know I’m not original. I’d be deluded to think that I was, and not to mention lonely. I think it’s nice to feel like you belong somewhere; that you’re a part of a particular culture. But I think you can still be an individual even though you adhere to certain cultural norms.

I recently began to fear for the survival of hipsterdom when I realised that the hipster aesthetic, particularly in terms of fashion sensibilities, is growing in popularity. If everybody starts to look like a hipster, would the hipster then cease to exist?! I’m comforted to think, however, that that probably won’t be the case. As the author of that post from urbandictionary.com said, hipsters will probably just move on to something else, which is a shame, because I like the hipster aesthetic as it is right now.

Anyhow, this post was mostly in response to my brother calling me a goth multiple times in the past few weeks. I am not, nor do I look like, a goth. Let’s try and be a little more original in the choice of stereotypes we use to label our friends and family shall we? There’s a whole world of differentness out there to choose from!

a beautiful poem from one of my favourite films..

Every night I empty my heart
But by morning it’s full again.
Slow droplets of you seep in
Through the night’s soft caress;
At dawn I overflow with thoughts of us
And aching pleasure that gives me no respite.

Love cannot be contained,
The neat packaging of desire splits asunder,
Spilling crimson through my days.
Long, languishing days that are now
Bruised tender with yearning,
Spent searching for a finger print, a scent,
A breath you left behind

one of the many reasons why I love them

So many quotable lines..
—————-
S: I feel smothered by your attention.
T: There’s a little insight into Sara’s relationships for you. What? I’m just saying. It’s called boundaries. (pause) No, Sara’s super co-dependent.
S: No way. I’m actually probably the least co-dependent person on this stage…”
—————-
S: She does something inside of me that real life people have done.. and I’ve never even met her.
T: She’s never been inside of you so that’s weird to say.
S: Eeek.
—————-
S: Umm.. let’s.. let’s play the next song now.
—————-
T: Ok, some people got it, some people didn’t. We’re all different.
—————-
Watch and enjoy!

P.S. over-sized jackets on tiny people: adorable.

On failing to meet expectations

“I shouldn’t go but I can’t really help it when I feel this pressure”
Floorplan by Tegan and Sara

I’ve been what you might call “a good girl” for most of my life. I never smoked, never did drugs, never got drunk, and especially never had sex. I pretty much made an effort to ensure that I didn’t deviate from the norm (or at least, what is considered the norm amongst my very very conservative circle of family and friends). I put this down to my parents’ influence. Now, in my early twenties however, I guess it seems like I’m having what some might call, “an identity crisis” or experiencing what others might deem as being “a rebellious phase” in my life.

I’m not the kind of person who likes to disappoint people – far from it actually! I’ve always felt like I never gave my parents any cause for distress growing up. Now however, I feel like I’m disappointing them left, right and centre. To them it’s as if I’ve suddenly changed overnight and they no longer recognize me and they’ve started to wonder where they went wrong, even though to me, in my perspective, my life hasn’t taken a turn for the worse and I don’t think they’ve done anything wrong at all! In fact, I think it doesn’t really have anything to do with them. But to them, there are two types of people: in simplified terms, good people, and bad people. The good people are those who don’t do any of the above things: smoke, get drunk, do drugs, have sex outside of marriage, swear, get tattoos, etc, and the bad people are those who do. The good people also coincidentally go to church and get good grades and etc. I don’t believe, however, that people are necessarily good or bad; I think people are just different. A person might make a lot of bad decisions in their life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a bad person. My parents, and a lot of the people I know, see the world in black and white. That’s fine, that’s their prerogative. That’s just not how I see the world; I don’t believe in moral absolutes. Yes, I am trying to figure out who I am and who I’m going to be in the future, and I don’t care so much now about people’s expectations of me. Although I may have changed a lot in the eyes of my family and friends in the past few months, and I acknowledge that a lot of things in my life have changed, I don’t feel like I’m any less of a person now than I was then. I’m just different.

A number of people have asked me what happened? How did I become this other person that they don’t even recognise? The honest answer is, I don’t know. I honestly think that I was never the person people thought I was to begin with. Or it’s like, I’ve always felt that there were two sides to me: the person I wanted to be and the person I had to be. I always felt constrained to being “a good girl” on the outside because I love my parents and I didn’t want to disappoint them. I also didn’t want to disappoint the various other people in my life who were counting on me to be this kind of person. On the inside though, I know that I was never the girl I seemed to be on the outside, and I’ve realised that I can’t keep pretending to be someone I’m not. I can’t stand being tied down by peoples’ expectations of me. And I still do love my family and friends, even if I am a disappointment to them, even if I can’t fulfill their expectations of me, even if they can’t accept me for who I am and the decisions I make in life.

I don’t know whether to feel anger or sadness or indifference about how a lot of my family and friends see me now. I’m thankful to have met people who do understand where I’m coming from and who can empathise with me. Without them I’d feel so completely and utterly alone. Some might call me selfish or rebellious, but really, it is my life, and fail or succeed, I have to make my own decisions and find my own way through it. I love my family and I love my friends, but if it came down to making them happy or making myself happy, I would choose myself. That might sound selfish to you, but I think that we all have the right to pursue happiness in life, and I also think that we do, even if we don’t want to admit that to ourselves; the only difference is in what we hope will bring us that happiness. If only what would make me happy would make my parents happy too, or vice versa. Unfortunately life just doesn’t always turn out to be that easy. If only love were enough to resolve all our differences and make us at peace with one another.

My family and some of my friends might be disappointed in me right now, but I’m learning to be ok with that, and I’m holding on to the hope that someday they will eventually be ok with me too.

cuteness follows


reflections on tonight’s tegan & sara experience..

Tonight was surreal. I don’t want to ramble on and on about how fucking awesome it was to see T&S live (which it soo was!) so instead I have a number of reflections I wanted to share on tonight’s experience. (Note: I know the first 4 points make it sound like it was really horrible, but it really wasn’t. I mean, those parts of it weren’t great but the overall experience and T&S’s set in particular were pretty fucking amazing. Just in case I didn’t make that clear enough before)

1. All-age shows kinda suck
I am all up for inclusion, and the fact that I was once a teenager myself makes me a tiny little bit more considerate of the whole teenage demographic, but 14 year olds and alcohol and quite possibly pill-popping do not a good concert experience make. Period.

2. Expect douchebaggery (this is possibly linked to #1)
When you get a big group of people together, you can expect at least a little bit of douchebaggery, sometimes more. Things like people pushing in and standing right in front of you, people up the back pushing people who are down the front so that you end up squashed like a sardine, gasping for air, and feeling extremely claustrophobic even though you don’t actually have claustrophobia, for example.

3. Expect to get really up and close to complete strangers
I have never been so intimate with a group of strangers my entire life. I mean, when someone’s face is literally in your hair (and yours is literally in someone else’s) and you have certain body parts rubbing up against you, any concept of personal space just totally goes out the window.

4. In need of oxygen? Look up!
When you have a big crowd of people altogether, breathing down each other’s necks, you start to feel a little light headed and short of breath. What should you do in this kind of situation? Look up! That’s where all the oxygen is. Carbon dioxide bad; Oxygen good.

5. Merchandise later; staking your claim first
Tonight we made the mistake of buying merchandise first and then finding a place to stand second. Although, there are benefits to this game plan (you don’t want them to run out of merch), I think being closer to the stage definitely trumps merch. Not that our spot was particularly terrible. I was happy with where we were, but to think we could have been even closer! Oh boy!

6. Sara is a-fucking-dorable
I had a really good view of Sara most of the night, and I just gotta say how adorable I think she is. Her cuteness is just too much (see related article: Reflections on Tegan & Sara’s cuteness. I couldn’t agree more!). I’ve passed judgement in the past on those crazy people who do things like jump on stage so that they can try to touch her, and who throw bras and underwear at them, and yell things like “I love you Sara!”, but no more! I think I get it now. Having experienced strange things tonight like seriously wanting Sara to be my wife and seriously being convinced that she looked at me that one time, I know that I am being ridiculous and stupid and incredibly lame, but I revel in it because I accept that that is who I am: ridiculous and stupid and incredibly lame. And I know I’m not the only one. Pass judgement on me all you want, but I really don’t care. (I swear she looked at me… kidding! Well, sort of…) I will now proceed to tumblr-stalk her. Goodnight!