“a friend is as easy to recognise as a wailing siren”

Life. Friendship. Relationships. Appearances. Perceptions. Reality. Disguises. Truth. Lies. Laughter. Tears.

Phewww, what an exhausting series of life altering, life determining, influential phrases that ultimately seem to confront us at every turn. The web we weave just by engaging in the practise of life is undoubtedly a complex one. It’s an exhausting one that leaves us drained and crying on the shower floor. It’s a wonderful one that sees us sent into hysterics resembling some rare African animal, a hyena or something. In the words of someone very close to me, “you can never know true happiness until you’ve known the deepest sadness.” We are constantly faced by challenges in our life and without facing the struggle that lies before success, the nervous butterflies that flutter before conquering fear, how will anything ever feel worth it?

For a lot of this blog, I’ve talked about friendship, relationships and all the interactions in between that ultimately seem to run our lives. I’ve talked about people who take advantage of your emotions, people who are only there for you when it’s convenient for them, fair weather friends, fast friends…the ones who leave the line between friend and foe even more confusingly ambiguous and illusive than before. The one’s whose friendship is like living without oxygen. Well, what about the ones who make friendship as easy as breathing. What about the exceptions to the rules. What about the true friends?

Well, every now and then we’re lucky enough to come across them and, in my experience, a friend is as easy to recognise as a wailing siren. I don’t know that you gain a soul mate in a moment or find a best friend in the sharing of a single glance but I generally find it pretty instantaneous….whether or not you’re going to get along with and connect with another person doesn’t take long to figure out! And what if, after finding one of these special friends….they have to leave!!! You can probably guess that I’m prone to the dramatic, however not in the least am I exaggerating that discovering a friend is ”leaving me” for the best part of a year will probably leave me like this.

Or ideally like this…

 Mourning. All in black. Probably a cute woven knit with tights and my over the knee black leather boots, or an LBD and studded heels….BUT you get the point! Not for a second do I believe that absence won’t make the heart grow fonder or all that mumbo jumbo but it doesn’t mean it won’t be hard! This is probably the one and only time I’ll say it but THANK GOD for the internet!!! Innovations like skype and facetime make it completely possible to actually stay in touch with a friend on the other side of the world. It’s easy to get insecure or worried about the validity of a friendship, so many people see new friends as threats that need extermination or under the pretence, “”she/he’s mine because I knew them first” battle against new comers like a wild predator attacking their cubs. Everyone seriously needs to relax! Mostly because that kind of thing never works in your favour! The greatest thing someone can be is a friend and a true one won’t be easily replaced by a new encounter. We just have to live our lives knowing the real friends will always be there! Even when they’re on the other side of the planet! Thanks to technology (doesn’t this seem more than a tad counterintuitive, isn’t it the enemy of friendship!) there are ways we can keep close to the ones we love!

“for all their pretences and parading of their popularity, the socially obsessed hide beneath their disguise an innate insecurity as tightly locked away as their daggy pj’s and dorky dance moves”

The new social. What does it even mean to be social, or popular, in our changing world where interaction and relationships have fallen to the pits of ambiguity! Can you calculate how socially active and engaged you are by your number of Facebook friends, twitter followers, mobile phone contacts, email address entries? In our digitally obsessed world, would we get a more accurate description of someone’s position on the social hierarchy by the number of people they recognize and can greet by name in a lecture hall, a club, at the gym…the amount of coffee dates they have in a week, the number of pre’s they’re invited to in a month?

Or, back tracking a little, have we simply become obsessed with appearances and disguises, reaching the very precipice of the social spectrum to the extent that truth doesn’t even matter anymore! Who cares if it’s true so long as everyone thinks it is, right? Trash is the new treasure and what ‘everyone thinks’ is true is more important than the real thing…the presumption of popularity is the icing on the cake and just like the stories plastering the pages of the gossip magazines we all secretly love to read, what everyone thinks about you is more important than who you really are. Is this what we’ve come to? Ehhhh

The scariest part of all this is, as we all know, looks can be deceiving! While we all fall victim to these social traps, the most socially diabolical remain as able as ever to weave a web of lies to further cement their position on the precarious see-saw of social division. Some of us know the difference, lots of us logically see that for all their pretences and parading of their popularity, the socially obsessed hide beneath their disguise an innate insecurity as tightly locked away as their true opinions, values, daggy pj’s and dorky dance moves. However, knowing the ‘truth’ doesn’t necessarily leave us as stronger warriors to combat these social pressures and pushes to conform.

KINGS & QUEENS of the dorky dance moves

Romy & Michelle

Hitch

T Swizzle

All I can say, and know from experience, is following your heart, pushing back at pressure and showing self-assertiveness is like exercising a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger you’ll get! The more times you tell someone no, I don’t want to do that so I won’t, the more empowered you will feel. While stepping out of your comfort zone is important, bowing to peer pressure and sacrificing your beliefs will never be worth it. Nine times out of ten you’ll leave filled with regret because it probably won’t have been even close to worth the emotional turmoil suffered as a result of your belief ‘break’. We all have the desire for acceptance but the more we practice being ourselves in these situations, the more we will feel assured and validated in who we are.

You have to find what makes you happy, no matter what other people think. Life’s too short.

YOU WERE BORN AN ORIGINAL, DON’T DIE A COPY!

“no, you can’t add me on Facebook because I’ve reached my friend limit” (allegedly 5000 if anyone was curious)

Two of my fave BF’s, Tay and Abigail (’15′ is about their high-school experiences together)

I seem to think about relationships A LOT! After listening to a girl at work the other day claim, “no, you can’t add me on Facebook because I’ve reached my friend limit” (allegedly 5000 if anyone was curious), it got me thinking even more about what, in our modern world, constitutes a friend? How do we place value on a friendship? Do we luxuriate in the warmth of the rare but deep, developed friendship OR enjoy the precarious nature of a ‘shallow‘ friendship which could at any moment ‘slip down the drain’ and vanish before our eyes? To keep with my metaphor, do we risk ‘drowning’ for a real relationship with a real possibility of getting hurt in the heart-broken sense of unimaginable betrayal (this is a serious friendship breakup, we’re talking a massive blow up, maybe a brawl, a ‘no talking’ type situation) OR instead, spend our lives in the sometimes fun but rarely fulfilling company of solely ‘mate‘ relationships where all you have in common is that communication is made quite impersonally via text or while intoxicated in a club?

If you’ve read any of my previous posts it probably wouldn’t be hard to tell that I have an unfailing bias towards the real over the imagined, a true like-minded soul to share your secrets with! This is not to say that all these different relationships don’t serve their own purpose. For clarity, maybe we’ll differentiate these types of friendships as ‘shallow mates’ or true blue ‘deep’ friends. Now, without these shallow friendships or ‘mates’, going out and integrating with the general population would be impossible! If we only relied on interaction with our soul mates, how would we survive? We constantly have to participate in the public sphere through school, work and leisure. The world would be daunting without the prospect of the casual coffee, a party with more than 2 people in attendance, a 9-5 job without human interaction! How boring! Frankly, that kind of isolation can’t be healthy!

However, what’s most important to realize and actively recognize is that there is a difference! If you start pouring your heart out to an almost stranger, they may suggest you seek counselling. If you share your secrets with that long-lost school friend, you may find your entire personal history plastered on the web! (Or more likely the major subject of Chinese whispers between everyone you ‘sort of’ know) Those real, deep friends are hard to find. Don’t expect to find them everyday! But when you are lucky enough to come across one, you have to look after it! Maybe wear floaties!

“Gevinson writes encompassing the classic girlie mag motifs in an unconventionally fearless, legitimately opinionated way”

I am the queen of procrastination. So looking for some food for thought, I set out to explore the world-wide web, looking for like-minded souls with more experience, both in life and blogging, to see how they are able to translate what they’re feeling and thinking into a stream of beautifully expressed relatable language.

One famed blog world wunderkind is TAVI GEVINSON who many of us fashion-obsessed have probably seen grace the style pages of Vogue in past years as an eclectically clad 13-year-old front row at all the major shows dressed in granny chic stylings, as one might put it, complemented with dyed grey hair and thick framed glasses.

http://www.thestylerookie.com/

Circa age 13…Now blossoming into an effortlessly hip 16 year old

Stumbling upon her now, years later, I was surprised as ever to find not only is she taking the blog world by storm with a huge following for her self-published online magazine ROOKIE but also her matured looks, channelling a dishevelled blonde mop reminiscent of Tay Swift’s latest do, or as she would describe, ‘Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks’. To be honest, her style-spirations are far too retro and indie for me to even have heard of; however her unique taste encapsulates vintage, hippy trends with modern flare envied by thousands! Now 16, Gevinson writes encompassing the classic girlie mag motifs in an unconventionally fearless, legitimately opinionated, open and free way. It doesn’t feel like some naive little girl preaching PG ratings to tweens the world over; it’s mature, beautifully and eloquently written, real and relevant uncensored content. While I’m no wise cracking sweet 16 ingénue, the content remains empowering and it’s more than understandable why Rookie has such a wonderful and expansive following. I personally feel a little out of my league in terms of my lack of indie homemade fashion influences and extensive knowledge of quirky old-school music and movies; however I still remain extremely impressed as ever by the fearless individuality!

Check out the site: http://rookiemag.com/

Some fashion-spiration! Tavi takes all her own photos for the blog with vintage pieces sourced from markets and op-shops

On the other end of the spectrum, we have classic amateur bloggers steadily building followers under the radar. As a lover of YouTube and avid user of the heaven-sent related links column, I’m always stumbling upon new youtubers (new to me at least) whose videos I love to watch. Case and point, ESSIE BUTTON. A new NO LIABILITY, RESPONSIBILITY FREE girlfriend who wants nothing more from me than to listen! The isolated limitation of the internet in this case means there will be no emotional exhaustion on my part, no eyes drooping out of my head to the point of unconsciousness, no using and abusing from Miss Button, no fast friendship! This new friend of mine is one who’s entertaining and sweet and honest and who doesn’t want or expect or take anything from me. She’s reliable too! Moving from Canada to London and blogging about her makeup and fashion loves, Essie is endearing and open and fun to watch, although interestingly enough her subject matter and taste is completely contradictory to my own. So while we may have next to nothing in common, watching a YouTube clip feels like having a casual, while one-sided, conversation with a girlfriend on the other side of the world.

http://www.essiebutton.com/

This is a random one of her videos that I watched that I found light-hearted, funny and endearing!

Basically what I’m trying to get at is that what I hope to bring to this blog and the blogosphere is a daring, free and relevant explorer of  interesting issues as well as simply, a friend…though I wouldn’t ever call friendship simple. I don’t expect to make a global impact on the blog world but it would be nice to think that even for one person, I can be a RESPONSIBILITY FREE FRIEND! X

“A treasure trove of hip, chic items and an equally trendy stall owner who turned out to be Friend of Mine designer Teale Talbot”

For anyone who knows me, they’ll already be aware of how OBSESSED I am with market/op-shopping…my specific version of paradise being the Camberwell (Rotary) Market held in Melbourne nearly every Sunday of the month. As today was a Sunday, as expected, I found myself at the market and eager to snatch up a bargain. Accompanied by my equally fashion savvy blogger friend, writer of Fashion Spot (bellasfashionspot.wordpress.com), we scanned the racks, picking up a little Maurie & Eve turquoise number here or cream cable knit jumper there….until we stumbled upon a gold mine! A treasure trove of hip, chic items and an equally trendy stall owner who, after a little investigation turned out to be none other than Friend of Mine designer Teale Talbot. So we held a bit of an impromptu interview to see what got her started, how she broke into the industry and what the future looked like for this young designer.

Friend of Mine is an Australian label with a feminine yet equally tomboy tough aesthetic. The pieces are relaxed with a laid back, beachy feel for the girl who’s subtly sexy and a bit of a rocker. The stall was filled with the labels pieces at heavily discounted prices, Talbot eager to minimise excess baggage in wake of a coming overseas move. We’re talking cropped floral denim jackets, tight leather mini skirts contrasting smooth and patent leathers together as well as statement green python. There was an array of trademark loose silk dresses to be paired with edgy accessories. For lovers of the Friend of Mine aesthetic, it seemed a bit of a one stop shop with leather studded ankle boots, statement snake-skin wedges and chunky heels….all there to complete the look, juxtaposing feminine florals and flirty skirts with tough biker attitude.

Head designer Teale Talbot started the brand back in mid 2009 after studying product development and merchandising at RMIT. In 3 short years, the brand has flourished, taking residence on the Australian fashion scene as effortlessly fashionable for the laid back Aussie girl, showcasing at parades around the country. My friend and I actually saw the show at the recent Melbourne Spring Fashion Festival for 2012 held at the Melbourne Town Hall in September. Funnily enough, when broaching the subject with Talbot, she replied that she’d actually been too busy to go! The future looks bright for this young designer, having just returned from living in Bali and now moving to expand the brand on an international scale in LA. Talbot, dressed in chic Melbourne black and Ellery sunglasses, looks set to take her spin on Australian style to a new global market. If the last 3 years are anything to go by, Friend of Mine looks ready to settle in and feel right at home in LA in no time. To the US and beyond!

Here’s a bit of back story!

 

“I’ve absolutely felt like that and it’s a relief to know I’m not the only one”

I thought I’d take a minute, or two, to talk about this blog; why I write it, who I’m writing to, what I want to tell you all and what I want you to gain from reading my words. I am not here to lament to you my troubles. I’m not here to whine about my worries.

While this blog is entitled mylifeandwhatiwore, it really isn’t about me. Maybe I recall an experience I’ve had or an encounter I’ve made, but when it comes down to it, my words are for you. I’m here to resonate with someone. Maybe just one person, maybe more. Maybe a person who lives a life similar to mine, maybe a person on the other side of the world living a life of such stark contrast to mine that I’d never even considered it. I’m here hoping that there is one person somewhere out there who will read my words and think, “I’ve absolutely felt like that and it’s a relief to know I’m not the only one”.

I’m here to say the things that others might be thinking but are too afraid to voice. Not the mean, bitchy, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” comments. I’m here to write down the “I wish I could voice the way I’m feeling”, “I wish I knew there was someone out there feeling the same way as I am” words. For those too nervous or fearing of judgment. For those who feel like they’ll sound silly if they say what they really think. For those fearless enough to say what they really feel and think and believe and are left thinking they’re the only ones of their kind.

I’m not going to be a voice of truth for everyone. I guess that is what is so amazing about blogging in general. The true vastness of a public sphere not dictated by geography or race. The freedom of a flow of information that can transport us past the physical barriers and borders that restrict our physicality; blogging helps us create a global conversation.

Now I need to ask something from you. If you have read anything from my blog and felt like my words resonated in even the smallest way with you, like it. Let me know that I’m not alone in the way I feel. Let me know that I make sense. Let me know if taking a risk and being so open and honest has left you with a smile or something to think about.

Here are some words that resonated with me, or sounded eerily familiar and creepily accurate. Maybe they will with you too xx

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“fast friends…they use your bedroom or telephone line as their own personal pit stop for a quick therapy session!”

Thinking about my experiences with friendship in the modern web 2.0 age!

“I mean, this is exhausting!”- Taylor Swift, We are never ever getting back together

People and their practises of social interaction have warped and twisted the fundamentals of relationships to the point that friendship has become completely ‘illegitimised! Do we live in a world where a Facebook post constitutes a conversation? I find increasingly that legitimate human face-to-face interaction has been devalued to the point that we no longer experience two-sided equal relationships but rather, most use friendship as their own personal drive-thru, simply getting what they need and leaving…quickly. It’s fast friends for a new age, all this space-time compression leaving us desperate for higher productivity and speed…great…the internet has bred the attitude that our default friendship interaction should be as impersonal as an email…they use your bedroom or telephone line as their own personal pit stop for a quick therapy session! Just as quickly as they’ve sped through, they’re on the way out! I know people like this; I’m absolutely NOT one of them. That means I’m the one left feeling drained, exhausted, always a little sick. Sounds great right?! Wrong!

For me, it feels like I have a lot of experience with these fair weather friends who come and go as they please. When they need an emotional release, someone to hold their hand or someone to make them feel good about their outfit choice, I’m their gal!

I’m left feeling undermined and unappreciated, possibly because the security and sincerity of our friendship, at least from my end, means they don’t need to be concerned with checking in to see that we’re still ‘tight’ while they chase after the more unattainable. Apparently we all love someone playing hard to get! These people NEVER run after you! Why? Because you’re reliable, dependable, sweet and sincere and they just don’t have the time nor concern to worry about you when they have so many other games to play. They play the part of taker rather than giver, both user and abuser, leaving you emotionally drained and exhausted after one of their ‘check-ins’… Surely we all know people like this…right? Tell me I’m not alone! They take power or confidence or just the enjoyment of making you feel inferior. Maybe just the relief of feeling better without having to actually DO anything! Sound familiar?

Now, it isn’t all doom and gloom! I’ve decided that while many will cross our paths not noticing that we have all the qualities they’re desperate to find in these other less available people, we wouldn’t want to change. Would we really want to switch from the sufferers of friendship abuse to the abusers ourselves? (rhetorical question I hope!) That would simply suggest the beginning of a vicious cycle none of us want to see as the future. The plus side is, that I strongly believe, being a kind compassionate person is always going to work out for the best! There are exceptions. And for the non-exceptions…karma, my friends. Karma.

While exaggerated…you get my point!

“man repelling is an art form and Medine has given us the language to explore it”

“My parents always joke that I have an illness and that is shopping, so I thank god everyday that I was able to turn my disease into a career.” – Leandra Medine, The Man Repeller

Getting used to the big wide world of blogging is akin to travelling to some whimsically wonderful foreign land with a cultural change as forceful as a punch in the gut. Deciding where to draw the line between fearless honesty and frankly too much information is a tricky one! Deciding how much you want to say and how you want to say it, all with the ultimate goal of resonating and connecting with someone you’ll never see or meet…pressure! So I thought I’d take a moment to examine one of my absolute favourite blogs and unlock the secret behind its’ staggering success. The blog is called The Man Repeller-  www.manrepeller.com. It exudes confidence, writing in a hilariously poetic (well, my own personal version of poetry) with a voice and personality I immediately connected with. Endearingly honest, the blog is almost completely relatable, minus the killer designer wardrobe. Earnest, honest, witty, did I say ridiculously funny?!

Our expert of man-repelling is enigmatic, refreshingly truthful author Leandra Medine whose self devised term encapsulates so much of women’s true interaction and relationship with fashion. She has created not only an entertaining multi-media blog but also serious following and in and of itself, a brand. Just for the record, by definition Medine’s self devised term ‘man repeller’ is the act of”outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive mode that may result in repelling members of the opposite sex.” Below are some of Medine’s top rated-repellers!

What I find most entertaining about this blog is the innate understanding that for lots of us girls, we dress for other girls rather than guys. We dress for fashion, for the appreciation that our outfit is seriously on trend rather than a wolf whistle. Apparently, as far as the man repelling scale goes, many of us are constantly scoring off the chart! A friend of mine once told me that when us girls slick on the bright red lipstick we look like clowns and finds top knots repulsive…greaaaat! So, other than learning that apparently every ensemble I’ve ever worn has peaked at sky-high on the scale, it is a clear acknowledgement that man repelling is an art form and Medine has given us the language to explore it.

What am I wearing as I sit writing this.

RATING: ??!?!?!?!

The blog is extremely interactive encapsulating a retail aspect, abundance of photos and manstagram images paired with witty commentary. Would she want a few more catch phrases?! There are twitter, Facebook, pinterest and tumblr accounts all purporting the same aesthetic, the same viewpoint, the same wit. She is unashamedly herself and while some may not be too keen on her taste in fashion, one cannot help but admire her fearlessness in being herself. She has marketed herself so successfully that she has generated her own celebrity, selling advertising on her site to top fashion organizations like net-a-porter.

The woman in these videos was funny with an infectious personality that felt familiar straight away, like she was just talking to a girlfriend in the same way I would.

This is the vid that got me hooked!

She drew me in. Hopefully I can do the same!

And this one just made me smile.

“I’ve heard red lipstick is the equivalent of wearing a *?!# off sign on your forehead”

I always find it so interesting that the way we choose to dress can have such a massive impact on the way we are perceived by those around us. Cannot count on two hands the amount of times a person has made a comment about an outfit that seemed to go a bit further than ‘cute top‘ but, in hindsight, had a layer of judgment or a layer of communication that went a bit deeper than the surface of the clothes on my back. It seems our clothes are doing a lot of the talking !

essence of cool

Sometimes it’s a sweet, nonchalant comment by a friend who knows you love a bit of individual style and wants to acknowledge that perhaps you’re a bit daring – “you look like an indie hipster kid from the 90′s”. Result of a pair of cuffed faded jeans, lace up black boots and a quirky knit.

new york hipster

Sometimes it’s uplifting and a confidence boost from a good friend who gets exactly what you were attempting with your outfit; a well put together ensemble that you feel good in can change your mood in a moment – “you’re nailing attempts at off-duty-model chic.” Yes! Achieved the cool, laid back style of my Candice Swanepoel inspiration pic with a long pencil style knit skirt, cropped jumper, aviator jacket and a top knot.

Candice

Then there are the comments that seem a little more…..interesting, perhaps invasive and often judgemental – a bit more like these. The odd, “you’re wearing docs, are you a lesbian?” As you can tell, that’s a comment that has struck a chord with me as supremely weird!

Or the time I bumped into an ignorant tourist on a night out who said my somewhat boho desigual dress “offended him”, or, while a little different yet equally alarming….that my passion for fashion and strict adherence to avoid the social taboo of discussing politics over lunch makes me DUMB…because one couldn’t possibly love a good flip through Harper’s and a bit of red lippy AND be intelligent (please note the HEAVY SARCASM)

my docs – the girlie version with ribbons

The way we dress is ‘meant to’ express who we are but at the same time, it can be the chance for the ultimate chameleon moment, exploring different characters or different sides of yourself! This is rarely who we are, maybe who we want to be? Who we think we might be? Most likely, who we’re trying to be! Apparently, it is also who other people think we are. In this modern digital world, it feels like we’ve simultaneously experienced or are experiencing the lives of so many different people, we’ve carved the way through the teenage years of every peg on the social ladder from the sidelines. We know a lot about stereotypes and judgements! We watch the girls of Gossip Girl in New York, we watch the “all Australian girls” of channel 10′s latest reality spin-off The Shire, the old school kids of The OC ….these all seem to be teaching us the way we are ‘expected’ to interact with one another.

not a care

Currently sitting on the train, I spy a blonde dressed in all black and the first thing I think is power! Not ‘goth’ or ‘emo’ or any other stereotype that people don’t really understand but similarly jump to without a second thought without reasoning out the facts…but powerful! Why do I think that? Am I projecting onto this innocent bystander my already, age-old conceived notions? Perhaps as a lover of black, I was able to look past the overwhelming initial impression and admire how chic her outfit is. Much more interestingly, am I acutely picking up on her personal projection? Is she, for lack of another word, ‘showing’ me who she is?

The Lady in Black has got me thinking about what I’m projecting when I get dressed and train into uni every morning. So I’ll let you know what I’m wearing and we’ll see if we can work it out…black opaque tights with flat black lace up boots. Moving up we’ve got a dark denim pair of high-waisted shorts synched with a brown woven belt…I’m wearing a cream cable knit cropped jumper, khaki oversized cargo jacket, gold black and silver braided choker necklace, a little silver heart and a high pony…of course I’ve got my port wine red lippy on too…so what do we think ? My inspiration pic is at the top of this post….so obsessed that I wanted to showcase her perfection!… Back to the point of this painstakingly detailed description…What am I ‘showing’? If I’m thinking objectively, perhaps my lipstick is saying ‘boys beware’  - I’ve heard red lipstick is the equivalent of wearing a *?!# off sign on your forehead  - but I’ll choose to ignore that. Maybe my high-waisted shorts are a little too - as Leandra Medine would say – man repelling (www.manrepeller.com). Maybe the cropped knit I’m wearing makes me look more conservative granny than on trend. Maybe my high pony suggests an uptight or high maintenance personality. Perhaps my cargo jacket is a little more butch than belle..maybe I’m sending a hundred different conflicting messages when I put on what, to be frank, I just thought was a super cute, fashion forward outfit. What to you guys think? Is there even any way we can track these signals…do we need to?