Friday, May 26, 2017

Things I Need to Tell Myself

  1. Crying is okay. In your earlier years, you might've heard that it was an unnecessary act, but now, growing up, you'll find that crying is very much necessary.
  2. Both physical and mental healing take time.
  3. Try to avoid driving on days where you're struggling with some anxiety or low self-esteem. You just don't want to end up making bad decisions from behind the steering wheel.
  4. But if you do need to drive, do it with extra caution. You are safe, you are present, your life is valued. Repeat these things to yourself enough times for you to be calm.
  5. You are making progress everyday. Slow progress is still progress, and just because you're not moving as quickly as you'd expected yourself to, you are still moving.
  6. Drink water, drink water, drink water.
  7. The future is terrifying only if you convince yourself that it is.
  8. Eat food, Jo. Eat real food, eat wholesome food, eat good food, eat any food, eat the food you have been blessed with. But my God, stop fearing it so much.
  9. Many people are unaware of your struggles. When they make commentaries toward you that seem to pinpoint these battles you're fighting inside, battles they don't know of, learn to cope and receive it lightheartedly. It's not their fault, and it's not yours either.
  10. Embrace a broken heart. It'll make you create things you'll be proud of.
  11. There are going to be times where you feel like you're overreacting. Like you're just "overly sensitive" or "exaggerating". These voices will linger but let them be. Besides, how else are you going to find writing material?
  12. Breathe.
I'll write again soon.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Why I Stopped Pursuing Fashion

Before I continue, I should mention that this post isn't intended to fully discriminate against the people who work inside the fashion industry, nor is it intended as a "hate post" or an attack to the fashion business. I think it's a very dynamic, impactful industry, but this post is simply written to illuminate why I'd decided, about more than a year ago, to stop pursuing it as my ~*dream career*~. Because I'd realized that it wasn't.

1. The environmental and social impact
This post was actually heavily inspired by a specific documentary targeting the fashion industry, and all that unravels behind it. The film "The True Cost" points our eyes to much larger issues than just choosing the cutest sweater in that H&M sale.

You might've heard about it, or you might consider the possibility, but either way, we couldn't just neglect the negative impacts the fashion industry is putting onto the world, both environmentally and socially. Liquid waste from fabric factories that pollute a whole village's water supply, leaving them heavily disadvantaged (many born with disabilities and grow to become terminally ill). Not paying attention to their labourers, who are mostly, by the way, women in small third-world countries who are struggling to feed their children. The documentary sort of haunted me, and I'd decided I just didn't want to be a part of something like that. There has been factory fires, soil pollution, and many other cases that these high fashion brands aren't even taking a glance at. 

Sadly, that's what the whole world seems to be doing: neglecting. I hear you, environmentally sustainable fashion is both rare and expensive (hello, Stella McCartney), but it's crucial to take notice of these issues. It helps you consider that shopping haul, or think twice about buying ten different items just because of a sale. Out of this knowledge, I became so much more in love with Emma Watson than I already was, for her choice of only wearing sustainable, eco-friendly clothes to all her appearances and movie premieres. There are many fashion organisations and a handful of people in the industry who are working towards a better change, but that's a lot of ground to cover. Capitalism is real, but it works at the cost of many losses. It's important to be aware, and raise the big question: "How are my clothes made? Who makes them?"

2. A lack of morality
Let me just say that I'm not trying to call all fashion people "immoral" or "cruel" or "vain", as I'm sure many others have judged them to be. But I have found that a fast-paced industry like fashion would tend to prioritise product quality and successful marketing over anything else. What I'm saying is maybe sometimes, kindness comes second. Of course, this probably also applies to many other industries. In fact, I think most successful working adults would live by this concept. 

There's a reason why they have movies like The Devil Wears Prada. Whenever I take a glance at those sitting in the front rows of fashion shows (hello, high fashion executives and editors), it honestly wouldn't seem like they're angels in white dresses. The fashion industry holds explicably high standards. Isn't that what drives them into making those clothes that don't always fit the average American woman? Or why the models on those ads always have skin that is no less than perfect? Isn't that why there's usually very little diversity when it comes to the girls walking up and down the runways? Maybe that's also why so many women contort and alter their bodies and faces to exactly fit into that standard. That size, that face, that look. The "unrealistic beauty standards" we see today are almost entirely influenced by what the fashion industry presents to us.

And the truth is, the industry contributes in serving and encouraging a consumeristic and materialistic lifestyle and behaviour for society in general. Aside from that, I've also heard of so many horror stories from models who have been treated so unfairly with casting agents (circled in the places where they need to "lose fat", left waiting in line for hours on end with no water and food, and the list goes on.) I've seen fashion buyers who walk around with their chin up because of the belief that only their opinion matters (in some cases, they're right.) I've seen how designers work as if they don't need anyone else, and I've heard of my friends who are studying Fashion Design in how their teachers put a lot of pressure on terms of weight and body appearances. Sure, high fashion is great for a glowing career, but maybe not so much for making friends or gaining confidence in yourself. I just feel like it would destroy me mentally. And if the fashion industry is taking a significantly negative environmental or social impact, it seems like very few are taking action for better change. I'm sure there are many great personalities within fashion, and I'm also sure there are some brands or organisations who use fashion as a way to build a positive impact. But one of the reasons I've stopped my "dream in fashion" is because I just didn't want to pursue something and find myself, years later, somewhere shallow.

3. It was just no longer my passion
The story with why I'd decided to pursue fashion design in the first place was because when I was little, I'd always loved to draw. It was all I ever did. I drew faces of girls, I drew their hair, I drew houses, and the one thing I never got tired of was drawing their clothes. In retrospect, I suppose being, well, nine would mean that it was perfectly normal for me to have a fascination towards clothes, style, and other "pretty things". So as I concluded that the things I loved the most in the world were these two: fashion and art, I said to myself, Yep! This means fashion design is the perfect path for me to take!

You can be very, very wrong when you're that young and you think you already have the rest of your life figured out.

As the years went by, I was so excited to start learning more about this ~*fashion*~ business so first, I took fashion design classes. They taught me to draw clothes and colour them, and I loved it to that point. And then they taught me to sew. And I hated it to my gut. Can't I just go back to drawing? I thought. Apparently, unbeknownst to me at that time, wanting to master fashion means you need to be capable of all aspect of fashion. This includes sewing, pattern-making, stitching, measurements, and way way more than just pencil-on-paper action.

At first, I told myself, Well okay, I can deal with that.

I couldn't deal with it.

Years pass by and soon enough I was about to enter high school. At that point, my illustration skills were at its peak, but my sewing knowledge was zero. Obtaining even more knowledge about the fashion world, I began questioning if it was really what I wanted. It was just kind of an epiphany, but instead of a groundbreaking revelation, it simply sounded more like, Wait... Why should clothes matter that much?

I half-forced myself to take sewing classes to sort of align myself with this path that I'd chosen for myself since the years before. I mean, hey, maybe you just have to learn to love it, right? That's when I realised that you can't force yourself to love something you clearly do not. You can't force yourself to be interested in something you're starting to want to avoid. "Passion" doesn't work that way.

So I made the decision. I stumbled upon graphic design, writing, photography, illustration, communication design, and all the things I'm in love with up to this day. And now, as a 17-year-old, I can say that I've truly, finally, figured out what my passion was. My passion was in stories. In people, in making art, in communicating a message, in capturing still images, in video-producing, and in a lot more other things. Now, fashion doesn't even come close. I wasn't as interested in the clothes as much as I was in the people wearing the clothes. I no longer idolize supermodels. I no longer worship high fashion brands or stand in awe of luxury items. They no longer appeal to me, but perhaps, they never really did.

But sure, I still draw.


Ooh boy, that was a long one! Anyhow, I hope you gained a little bit of understanding while reading this. Again, I am not trying to antagonize the industry. This is all just coming from my own personal thoughts and opinions and experiences, the points I made were mostly highly subjective. I just needed to write about it and get it out of my system. :-)

If you read it, leave a comment below! It'd be cool to hear your thoughts on the subject.

I'll see you around.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

BOOKS | "Milk and Honey" by Rupi Kaur

Poetry has always found a way to inspire me. I read it on social media, little book excerpts, framed quotations on walls. More often than not, poems are just one of the things that kind of lure me in. When I discovered Rupi Kaur on Instagram, I noticed that a) her feed was very pretty and b) she had a very fascinating style of writing that made me want to go deeper and deeper into the poems she wrote. So when I found out she actually had a book, I made a promise to myself to buy and read it.

Earlier this year, I finally got myself a copy, and I quickly finished reading all of it. For those of you who don't know, Milk and Honey is a collection of poems written by Rupi Kaur. The book's divided into four main chapters that will feel a lot like she's taking you through the different phases of her journey: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing.

I think it's important to note that this book covers a wide spectrum of emotion, from falling in love to heartbreak, but it also has a few notes on things like sexual assault and physical abuse. With that said, I should mention that this might become trigger warnings for some.

Before buying this, I'd never owned any poetry book, so when I first got this, I was actually pretty stoked. I think it's a very different approach to what is considered art as well, and I like that Rupi Kaur pours her heart and soul into her writing. You just kind of take it with you and feel it as you read the book. The art featured alongside some of the poems were quite fascinating as well.

However, I'll be honest, as much respect I have for Rupi Kaur and her poetry, at times, I did find the book a little cliché. I liked a lot of things about it, but I understand how some would bash on this book saying "it isn't poetry". Upon finishing it (perhaps a little too quickly), I'd already marked all the pages that I liked, but I just don't feel like it made an ~*iMpacT*~ on a deeper level for me personally, which was kind of a letdown. Some of the paragraphs or poems are very heartfelt and beautiful, so much so that it made me admire the book a lot more. But then you flip to the next page and you see that she'd basically taken up one whole page for a tiny poem consisting of three lines. I felt that these pages carried strong messages, sure, but writing down a quote (even if it's a lovely one) and then just breaking it down into three to four lines for the concept of being ~*aesthetic*~ isn't very ideal. For Tumblr, sure, but not for a published, bestselling book.

Aside from that, I think it's an interesting book. I mean, the poet has definitely come a long way throughout her life, and is very brave for opening up so vulnerably in this book. Although I probably was too excited at the thought of having my "first poetry book" that I might have overestimated this piece. I did hear that Rupi Kaur is working on a second book, so I just hope that it'll be in some ways better. Meaning that it'll have more words, and more meaning within these words, and less of a blank space. It's just sad because if you're already given such a platform and you're already a very talented, well-known writer, you should put in as much energy as you can into your art, and I think this book only showcased a fraction of what Rupi Kaur is capable of. I'm expecting a lot more from her.

By now, though, I've come across plenty of amazing writers and poets online, and I can't tell you guys how much I love keeping up with their writings. I've been delving deep into poetry slams (spoken word videos), and also into what I call "Instagram poets" like Nikita Gill and Beau Taplin. I also hope that the next poetry book I purchase will be a lot more satisfying. (I've come across a few recently in the book stores but most of them are very romance-themed, and I'm certainly not a big fan of love or romance books.)

And that is the end of my book review! It's been a while since my last book review so I truly hope this gave a bit more insight! Do you have a copy of Milk and Honey? What do you think of it?
Leave a comment below, let's talk about stuff. :)

Talk to you soon!