June Outfits

Another month, another outfit post! Only, this time, I’m going to try and note down where I actually bought everything – when I can remember it…

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Can we all be impressed that I managed that hoop shoulder stand? I’ve been trying to get it for ages! It’s not perfect, and I can’t transition from it, yet, but I’m getting there!

Oh yeah, in other news, I broke my toe a week ago on Monday. Dropped a 2 litre bottle of cider directly on it. I’ve never known pain like it, and have to walk with a stick every now and then. Luckily, I’ve had a LOT of painkillers, so it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it used to.

My next post is most likely going to be about the last festival I went to – 2000 Trees – although I’ve yet to decide whether to focus on the festival as a whole, or why it was so important for me this year… all I will say, is that I had the best of times there.

Here’s a photo to tide you over…

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Have a lovely week/month/time period!

I am mentally ill.

When people think of mental illness, they think of one of two things: the straightjacket-clad, stereotypical ‘mental patient’ you see depicted in tasteless halloween costumes, or the black haired, teenage girl, crying to the Smiths with eyeliner running tragically down her face, as she writes poetry about her broken heart. Most significantly, one never thinks of their best friend, or their dad, or the bartender at their local. People distance their depictions of mental illness from their friends and family, and even themselves, because it’s something that only happens to ‘other people’.Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 21.03.25

I take daily medication for my mental illness. It helps me to disguise the fact that I’m irrationally panicked by pretty much everything, and that a jealous twinge can send me spiralling into self-hatred.

If you met me, you wouldn’t necessarily think I suffered from a mental illness. You might see someone who’s a bit shy, dresses weirdly and needs coaxing to engage. That image of the cute, quiet person, who just needs a kind word, that romanticised depiction of mental illness. People like it when mentally ill peers present that way – discrete, quiet, blending into the background. They want to help us, they feel sorry for us.

All that changes as soon as we actually display our symptoms. My quietness can be annoying, my moods can be erratic, and I can start having a panic attack in the middle of Tesco because two people knocked into me. Then, no one’s sympathetic – they’re exasperated, they want to know why you didn’t do something you said you would – and the answer is because I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. I missed a fair few lectures because of this reason. Everyone says they’re sympathetic of mental illness, until they meet a mentally ill person.

Furthermore, what’s the deal with so much hatred towards medication, anyway? My mother was horrified when I told her I’d started taking antidepressants, and was hoping I could kick them off over the summer. Obviously, I don’t want to be on them forever, but they’re helping me. We should remember that they’re a good thing, that they’re designed to help us function like everyone else. And, yeah, they do alter my brain function, just like my contraceptive pills alter my uterus’ functions, how my granny’s inhaler affects her respiratory system’s functions. It’s medication, that’s what it’s supposed to do. It affects my brain’s functions because my brain isn’t functioning correctly. I’m not enhanced, I’m being brought up to speed.

I’m arranging therapy, currently, and I do hope to come off antidepressants before next year, but I am always going to have a mental illness. Even if you can’t see it, it’s still there.

(One of my next posts is going to detail my experiences of sertraline, or zoloft, from when I started taking them until the current day.)

What’s in a name?

Names are a bit weird, aren’t they? They make up such a huge part of our identity, yet, in most cases, we get pretty much no say in the matter. Our names are sometimes picked out for us before we’re even born – before we’re even conceived, in some cases – and it seems to be pretty much pot luck as to whether or not your name fits your personality.

In spite of this, in spite of the fact there’s absolutely no way of knowing how someone will turn out as an adult, people are hugely resistant to the smallest of changes to one’s own name – even down to the nickname. I still remember the expression of absolute disbelief and defiance on my grandfather’s face, as he said, with the most over-exaggerated shock in his voice, when I, a mature, grown up twelve-year-old, decided I wanted to be ‘Liz’ instead of ‘Lizzie’: “no… Lizzie!”. And, to this day, he’ll write Liz in cards, but will always call me Lizzie to my face.

As most people who follow me on social media are probably aware of by now, I’ve recently decided that I’m no longer going by ‘Liz’ or ‘Lizzy’, and am instead going by ‘Zara’. The reason being, if one needs to be given, is that I’ve never felt those names suited me. I’ve been known as ‘Lizzie’ since birth, and only changed it to ‘Liz’ when I decided the former was too childish. I’ve never liked ‘Liz’ that much, either, but I was twelve when I made that decision. ‘Zara’ is such a beautiful name (and can come from Elizabeth – ‘EliZAbeth’, ‘ZAra’), and I really feel that it’s a name that suits me. People have already used it to address me, and it fits.

My friends, and most of my family, have been kind, but I do worry about the response. Apparently, despite it being my name, my deciding that I’d like to be known as something else can be seen as an inconvenience. I know my aforementioned grandparents will be calling me ‘Lizzie’ until the day one of us dies – not because they can’t remember what I’d like to be called, but because they choose not to. A visit to them reminds me that I only have so much power over my own identity. (My nan, on my mum’s side, I will cut some slack; she’s terminally ill and has other things on her mind, like making sure she has enough oxygen.)

With that in mind, I’d like to ask you all, no matter what the reason may be, to respect your friends and family when they decide to change their name or nickname. Their name is theirs, and not yours to dictate. A name is so important and it should fit its bearer. Why else do you think novelists spend so much time picking names for their characters?

As for all of you who’ve been wanting to try out a new name, do it. Just do it. People who matter will accept it. Occasional forgetfulness, especially in the early stages, is okay. “I’m going to keep calling you (x), because I’ve always known you as (x)”, is lazy, dismissive, and downright disrespectful.

Blog Hiatus Outfits (April/May)

Hello! Me again!

I’ve noticed that the posts which get most attention are my outfit ones – which I think is wonderful, because, if you didn’t already know, my clothes are hugely important to me in terms of who I am. While I didn’t get to wear many fun things over the past five weeks, when I did go out and do things, I made it count! So, here’s a collection of everything exciting I wore during the placement weeks.

Only ten, just goes to show how rarely I got to do things… the last couple aren’t even from placement weeks, they’re from the weekend!

I’m off out tonight, thankfully – my favourite Brighton night out is on a Tuesday, and I’ve had to miss it due to my 6am wake up for an 8am start… it’s good to be back, Brighton. Weird, though, that it’s midday Tuesday and I have time to sit home and write a blog post again. I cleaned the entire kitchen and bathroom yesterday, and made cakes. Will tackle the bedroom tomorrow, hopefully. It sounds boring, but it’s so nice having time to do things like that again, without worrying if I should be doing something, or thinking that I’m wasting my evenings. I’ve got so much planned, this summer – from the little things, like keeping up my skincare routine (I’ve been a bit lazy and it shows, my skin is even more vile than usual), to the bigger, such as my holidays. I’ve not felt this lovely in a while.

I’m also hoping to start reading, and maybe even writing again? We’ll see, though – I’m lacking inspiration to actually do anything, at the moment…

I’m off to grab a cider, I think, and I’m off to a flow arts jam later. Have a good one!

Year 1 is over, finally

It’s been over a month since I last posted on this blog, and honestly, that’s because I’ve been at uni on the block placement part of my course. It was… hard. Physically and emotionally, it was hugely difficult. I nearly failed, actually, but managed to pull it back in the last week – I’m once again doubting whether or not I want to continue with the course, but given I’ve already used up my ‘second chance’, I’m going to have to see it through.

But that’s a post for another day, perhaps.

On a lighter, brighter, sunshiney-er note, I  have the whole summer ahead of me to relax, have fun, and honestly, feel like myself again! I have a couple of trips lined up – 2000 Trees festival in July is one I’m looking forward to immensely, as I get to be reunited with my lovely friends from college. We’ve all spread out a bit, now, so getting everyone together is going to be amazing. I also have a trip to St Ives planned in August – one of my favourite places in the world – and one to Liverpool in September for my 21st birthday.

Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 14.51.58Other than that, I plan on getting in lots of hula hooping and spending time outside. I really, really hope I get some people to hang out with this summer. The flow arts jam that runs on Tuesdays looks like a good place – I’ve already met some lovely people at the last ones.

It still doesn’t feel real that I suddenly have so much free time – but I’m so glad that I do, I really need the break. I love being able to wear the clothes that I want to wear, rather than my ‘teacher’ ones! Bracelets are back on my arms, my makeup is flashy again, and I have so much more freedom over ‘appropriate’ clothes to wear. I also got a new tattoo a couple of weeks ago – I’d show, but I don’t have any photos.

Oh – and I dyed my hair green!Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 14.54.54

I’m so glad I can write and post again. I hope everyone has a lovely summer!

Selfie to Self Expression: my trip to the Saatchi Gallery

Last Monday, after a last-minute invitation, I journeyed up to London to spend the day with my mum. London is a good meeting point for us, as it’s about an hour on the train for both of us – and there’s always so much to do!

That being said, we weren’t entirely sure what, exactly, we were going to do that day, only that we were going to have lunch. It was only as I was waiting at Brighton station that she messaged me a link to an article about the current exhibition at the Saatchi gallery – an exhibition based on selfies and self-portraits, ‘Selfie to Self Expression’. She and I share a love for art in all its forms (mostly!), and it seemed right up our street, so after a quick lunch at Côte Brasserie, we headed to the gallery.

My only regret is that I didn’t get too many photos…

The first two rooms were filled with digital picture frames, and beside them were smartphones, displaying an ‘Instagram’ page where you could ‘like’ the portraits on the big screens. Among the self-portraits featured were van Gogh, Kahlo, Velazquez and Rembrandt. I should add that the atmosphere in this exhibition was very relaxed – non-flash photography was allowed, and everyone seemed immersed in the art, and taking their own selfies. There are so many exhibitions which are quite uptight – all security and hushed voices, but this one was nothing like that at all.

The next rooms, I can’t remember the order specifically, but they worked with moving image and manipulated photographs. It was bizarre, but very enjoyable! People were happy to wait their turn to ‘play’ with the art, it was lovely.

Other artists featured in the exhibition were Tracey Emin and Andy Warhol. I unfortunately can’t recall the name of Emin’s photo collection of her body, but I adored it.

There was a room which contained a mosaic of what looked like youtube videos, projected onto the surrounding walls, and another, featuring portraits of celebrity selfies – or celebrities in the process of taking selfies!

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Perhaps the highlight of the exhibition, though, was a room containing interactive and optical illusionist art. Everybody loved the ones which made it look as though your eyes were glowing! Unfortunately, I’ve not got a decent video (and I don’t know how to upload those onto WordPress anyway), but rest assured that it was brilliant. From what I can recall, that room also contained the works of some international competition winners – notably, was a photograph taken by a Belgian woman, a selfie taken in a compact mirror.

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Additionally, although not part of the main exhibition, one of the rooms displayed works by upcoming new artists. There were a range of styles, and it’s well worth a look if you happen to be in the gallery. We went on Easter Monday, so it wasn’t too busy (although it was getting to be, just as we left). I imagine that if you were to go at the weekend, it would be a completely different story. The exhibition finishes on May 30th, 2017, and if it wasn’t already obvious, I’d highly recommend a visit if you happen to be in London.

Oh, and it was all free!

I’m going to be at university every day from Monday onwards, and I’m not looking forward to it too much. I made sure that I made the most of the time I had off. I’m very much looking forward to the summer already…

I hope you all had a good break!

March Outfits

Sorry this one’s late again… I really need to start getting these ready for the end of the month…

I cheated slightly with this one – the last 6 are from earlier this month, the reason being that in a couple of weeks I’ll be on full placement for my course. This means that I’ll be leaving the house at 7:30am at the latest, and I can’t see myself being photographed… it’s not happened so far, anyway.

And, who wants to see the same variations on my ‘teacher’ outfits day in, day out?

It’s started to get a lot warmer recently, so most of the time, certainly in late March onwards, was spent outside. Other than that, I’ve not really been doing that much? I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London in the beginning of March – despite being ridiculous in places, I really enjoyed it. Aaaaaand… I went to Bristol last week for my friend’s 21st. That was good. Other than that, just the normal stuff.

 

Full placement should be good, but I’m not exactly looking forward to having 5 days of my week consumed by it… I never actually planned on going into teaching full-time when I graduate, anyway. We shall see.

There won’t be an outfits blog for April (officially) or May, because of that. I need something to write about in the meantime. I was originally planning to write about my time in Bristol, but I didn’t really do much except see various people, which probably isn’t that fun to read about… I can’t really say much about seeing Temples, either – I saw Temples, by the way! They were fab!

Hmm… I’ll have a think.

Until then, have a wonderful week (or however long it is until I next post something)!