29 October 2012

politics of presentation

There is never a sudden revelation, a complete and tidy explanation for why it happened, or why it ends, or why or who you are. You want one and I want one, but there isn’t one. It comes in bits and pieces, and you stitch them together wherever they fit, and when you are done you hold yourself up, and still there are holes and you are a rag doll, invented, Imperfect. And yet you are all that you have, so you must be Enough.” - Marya Hornbacher 


I just want to seriously say that my blogging is probably going to change. Post-CatLadySoul tumblr actualities means more about me and less about dealing with bullshit. I gave a lot of myself in every medium and made myself really approachable and now I want it to be more about me now. And by that I mean like, not about an image I present, not all outfits.... my personal style is kind of whatever now anyway. I want to talk about fashion. The things about fashion that make me fall in love with aesthetics. The things that influence me and ground me and elevate me, and not the surface effects. My personal aesthetics can go whatever somewhere else. It's more about the ritual of it to me right now than the outcome. I am obsessed with rituals.


Take for example, the ritual of getting dressed to go out. Since depression, I have cute clothes and wonderful things to share, but I mostly wear all black, cashmere, big sweaters, Whatever Outfits, and just focus on my makeup. I can pull together a nice outfit blindfolded simply because my closet at my dorm is well edited to the point that it's kind of impossible to fuck up (unless you really insist on wearing slob clothes, which I do, and which is why they have their own drawer so I don't have to face my Cute Clothes) but I usually only have the energy to do so much before I wanna just crawl back to bed and watch Breaking Bad, and lipstick is easier to put on than Comme des Garcons. Privileged Depression Fashion Problems, but you know, I work hard for my money when I'm not depressed. Anyway. When I get dressed now, I zero in on my face and hair because they are the things I see first and most in reflective surfaces, and my black outfits are just there for mood. I just want to see Me now. Remind myself I'm still here.


So this weekend I had my webcam running pretty much all the time as I got ready to go out, just because #narcissism. My makeup process can take anywhere from 5 minutes and out the door to 3 hours, depending on glitter, and effort, and change in plans, and also my Netflix queue. I am just endlessly amused at the fact that I can change my appearance so thoroughly using mica and powder and lighting, you know? I find pleasure in the transformation and the exploration of myself. Clothes don't hold much interest to me in the transformation category at the moment because I don't have the money to spend on the clothes I want anyway, and I'm just Bored, so now my obsession has gone straight to makeup. And it's more fun, because you can do a lot with so little, and it's easier to fuck up, which also means it's easier to discover new things. And I enjoy that a lot. The concentration and skill required to get a perfectly even cat eye, the artistry of blending scarily dark pigmented shadows so you don't look like a clown, obsessively checking for fallout, for unblended areas, for bleeding of lip color, for symmetry. You're constantly busy creating this image, and it makes everything else fall away and that is just such a nice safe haven you know? 

Busy the body, so the mind can be free” - Wade

 I especially like, though, going through this ritual of conventional beauty but fucking it up a little. Making it wrong and awkward and taking possession of it so instead of hiding behind something pretty, but ultimately hollow, making it raw and exposed and melodramatic. I like developing myself as a character in my head and then releasing it into something else. The process of creating something very pretty and then fucking it up is something I've always been obsessed with, which is why I feel such a kinship to Comme des Garcons & co. I don't want everything perfect and in place, I want everything slightly off kilter. I want it personalized. I want things to serve me. I want the experience of being able to take what hurts me or makes me anxious and turning it against itself and utilizing all the ugly feelings and making them into something I see home in. It doesn't matter what the other people see as long as I see something that gets me through. Consequences come after my process and the eventuality of a process being over means it did it's job, and I'm still here, and that is all I can really ask for.


Jean-Paul Sarte, No Exit

Peter Greenaway, The Pillow Book, 1996.
    Things I feel a real connection with at the moment:

    Ben Vautier

    This is primarily a continuation of a text post I did on girlmonstering you can still read here

    The storm is making the lights flicker so I've got to go pack an evacuation bag. Hope you're all safe and whole. - Arabelle

    14 comments:

    Ana said...

    "The things that influence me and ground me and elevate me"
    That's what I signed up for!

    I'll be back for more in-depth commenting when it's not 1 AM.

    Be safe.

    Anonymous said...

    I suffer from mild depression and I totally relate on the wearing-whatever-but-taking-2 hours-for-makeup thing. Makeup is something that I can make perfect, not something anyone else has any control over. I can't control whether the stitches on my shirt are perfectly straight, but I can control the perfection, the symmetry, the balance, of my makeup.

    Ginger said...

    This is so accurate to my life right now, it's ridiculous. I'm keeping myself in blacks and greys - in wry mourning, I suppose, for the good days I'm not having.

    Nothing thrills me more than to take my face, my body (my plain face, my average body), turn them into some illusion of perfect and proceed to crack the illusion, just a little bit. You'll see my flaws and oddities, but only because I let you. Because I make you. Because only I can create me and only I can destroy me.

    Magnet said...

    Wow, I must say, I've never thought about the process of applying make up from this angle before. Probably because my make up skills are basically zero compared to yours. But, basically most of the things you said is how I feel about clothes. I like what Ginger said, "only I can create me and only I can destroy me"

    sugoi-punk said...

    I can relate to you & the comments, about putting hours into my make up and dressing in whatever dark clothes I have because sure clothes are fun but planning outfits all the time can be tiring, so yay for the safe black outfits!

    It's crazy how we make up crazy people can spend so much time on our make up! But it's nothing I'm gonna apologize for, BECAUSE MAKE UP, MAN!

    meagan said...

    wow, this was really a special post. perfection is impossible and unattainable and isn't even inspiring. hope you feel better soon.<3

    Ria said...

    I'm so about this post right now. I'm also so about my makeup at the moment. I spend a lot of time doing it some days and very little others. I use and experiment with more than I ever did before and the changes I can make with literally a dab of highlighter are so curious to me. I'm currently in a...I guess bad place. I don't want to say depression because I'm so privileged but I am there. This weekend helped a lot but mostly because I was able to hide behind what I created with my face.

    C.A.R. said...

    well, i'm excited to see what you have kept for us in future posts but i do hope you'll start feeling better soon and incorporate at least a few colors to your all black outfits! xxx


    coline


    http://munchmecat.blogspot.ch/

    C.A.R. said...

    well, i'm excited to see what you have kept for us in future posts but i do hope you'll start feeling better soon and incorporate at least a few colors to your all black outfits! xxx


    coline


    http://munchmecat.blogspot.ch/

    C.A.R. said...

    well, i'm excited to see what you have kept for us in future posts but i do hope you'll start feeling better soon and incorporate at least a few colors to your all black outfits! xxx


    coline


    http://munchmecat.blogspot.ch/

    sabrina said...

    solace in self beauty. <3 I've read this a couple times since you posted it, it's so relatable and real.

    _ Sabrina (http://mujoc92.blogspot.ca/)

    Anonymous said...

    Arabelle, this is why I completely want to read your blog. This is why I check as often as I can and when there is a new post, this is why I freak out and read it five times. The way that you feel is really relatable. I take out my eyeliner and spend hours making it perfect, just to decide that it doesn't even make sense, just to decide that I'm insane and just to ask myself why I fucking need to this, why does this make me feel better?
    You are too amazing. I look up to you for so many different reasons. Write more, I feel like the shorter the post the more you could've told us. Making it up with pictures doesn't count.

    Edith Einhorn said...

    I can totally relate to how you feel. For the last year or so I couldn't care less what I was wearing but I would put all my thinking into choosing lipstick and nail polish. I never wear anything excitning anymore and I couldn't care less.

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