Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Let's Live Beautifully!

Marena, Jen, me, NYC.
The other day, I decided that an important thing that I needed to do was write out some quotes and tape them to my wall.


Well, if there is one thing I’ve learned about myself while being on a college campus 24/7, its that I tend to lose sight of inspiration and inexplicably become rather depressed. Worse yet, I’ve been known to make hasty and rash decisions. Some for the better (quitting the cross country team in order to pursue my personal dreams more efficiently), some a little foolish (getting a dramatic haircut I didn’t really want), and some best described as not well-thought out (no need to go there).

 The point is, I truly believe that most of this—the need for inspiration, the impulsive decisions—stems from my yearning for spontaneity in my life. Along with that, I’ve been obsessing over this idea of living aesthetically. This partially comes from a recent class lecture in my theater history class about Aestheticism and all the well-known aesthetes (otherwise known as Oscar Wilde). I seemed to identify with the ideas of living life artistically and beautifully. The idea of how important beauty is resonates with me—but not for the sake of my own personal vanity or narcissism, but more-so for the sake of everything I do in my life just being… lovely.

Sadly, I don’t believe that some of my recent actions aimed at spontaneity have been necessary or interesting enough to even involve a drip of aestheticism. I need to remember that occasions that are regarded as spontaneous should be wonderfully grand and beautiful. They should involve a little bit of a fantasy and living like I’m not used to… but in a less reckless or careless way.

A grand example of this would be the fact that, as mentioned in a previous post, I recently went to NYC on (somewhat) of a whim with my friends Jen and Marena. The whole idea of the trip was lovely: we just wanted to enjoy the beauty of such a grand city. We didn’t want to buy ridiculous souvenirs, eat at a massive Hard Rock Cafe, or indulge in other (in my opinion) silly tourist attractions. Instead we wanted to wear fabulous clothing and wander the sparkly streets of Manhattan at night, walk down Park Ave. for macaroons, and pretend that we were fabulously-sophisticated New Yorkers.

The aestheticism in this is that real New Yorkers don’t really, constantly live this way. Our idea really is a fantastical vision of what New Yorkers regularly do in a perfectly appealing paradise. And this is what makes the whole spontaneous experience so majestic and whole.

Now going back to the quotes that I mentioned above—they included:

“You live but once; you may as well be amusing.” -Coco Chanel

“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sun beams and you will always look lovely.” –Roald Dahl

“Luxury is not a necessity to me, but beautiful and good things are.” –Anais Nin

And finally…

“Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.” –Grace Coddington

These all hold great meaning to me because it seems to me that I sometimes over-analyze what it is that can make life beautiful. Yes, going to New York on a whim was splendidly splendid and inspiring, but I can create my own inspiration closer to home as well. And if I keep going on thinking I can’t, then I’m wasting my time wherever I end up.

The beauty is everywhere, whether man-made or in nature—though the aesthetes may not agree with the latter completely. Regardless, it is my responsibility as an individual to create my own beautiful, aesthetic journey.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

To be Parisian, s'il vous plaît.

First of all, 
yes weeks ago I wrote a cop-out haiku explaining that the blog post for that week would be belittled down to… well… a shitty haiku. I believe that between my faithful readers (my grandma) and me, this must have suggested that the following week would feature a full-length blog, and thus I would continue my routine of posting a new blog every week.


It hasn’t really happened, obviously. I have plenty of excuses. Mostly falling under the umbrella of me being the typical self-involved college student who has “meetings”, job interviews, homework, class, and scheduled time for bitching about my “bad” day to my mother. Really it’s silly, but nonetheless I haven’t written in awhile and I’m … sorry? No actually I’m just sad because writing is good for me and I should do it more often. So I’m going to do it now.
Lately, I’ve been longing for the life of a storybook, cliché, young, female, Parisian.

Image from here
I can imagine roaming the streets after a relatively busy day of working at a French bakery, probably called “La Petite Boulangerie-Pâtisserie” even though that simply means, “The Small Bakery”. I would be wearing a tan and tailored trench coat, cropped black slacks, and black flats. My make-up would be simple; my hair pulled back without fuss. I would amble down the streets passing book shops, fancy restaurants with colorful awnings and matching chairs, stopping at a café maybe to purchase a cup of coffee and baguette to put in my tote bag on the way home. Upon returning home, I would open up the door to my quaint little balcony to my 4th story apartment, so I could cook my dinner while overlooking Parisian buildings with the dusk spilling dramatic shading over them.

I hope that imagery really did something for you, because it does something for me. Sometimes with this constant, uninspiring stress of being a college student, I will escape to this tiny little fantasy that this calm, French (esque) lifestyle could be mine one day. Don’t get me wrong, I love learning, I love my major, and college can be great sometimes.

However between the anxiety that comes with me over-analyzing assignments that are tedious, (but are important because they help me extend my knowledge from the lecture) and the many on-campus interviews that make me feel like I’m very good at pretending I’m a type-A personality, I tend to get fed up with the college life. This annoyance also extends to me never understanding the undying obsession with Greek life by other college students, having to see too many pairs of Uggs on campus, and constantly hearing people say, “I just want to get an A”. For the latter statement I will just elaborate to say that obviously grades are imperative in that you must pass college to obtain specific jobs and dreams. But saying “I just want to get an A” can easily translate into, “I don’t give a shit about this class or this teacher and am not open minded enough to try to understand how this content is important or even cool and I don’t care because being a picture perfect student on paper is the most important objective in life”. Honestly, that’s just insulting to hardworking and extremely intelligent professors (they DO exist).

But I digress.

I want the Parisian lifestyle because honestly, I just want simplicity. I want to contribute to society and the economy by being employed, but I also treasure the times of leisurely walks home, making a dinner that isn’t rushed and seen as a burden of time, and having a marvelous conversation with someone who isn’t cynical about the petty things, but more so at least would want to discuss (and even enlighten me) on more worldly topics of conversation.

I know that this lifestyle is attainable here in my own home, (though maybe not as a sophomore in college) but I still go throughout the day, pondering my French fantasy.

Maybe one of these days I’ll walk over to Harris Teeter and buy a fresh baguette solely so I can carry it under my arm, as I stroll back to campus. It’s a lovely thought really, to find the simple pleasure in such a stylishly quaint action.

It’s little moments like those, where I can live in a small little bubble of esthetic simplicity, that keep me sane.

Till next week (I hope),

Au revoir, mes chéris.