Wednesday, February 25, 2015

comfort is a double edged sword

I’ve been trying to narrow down a list of possible suburbs to live in using a tube map from 2008 - the first time and only time I’ve been to London. On the back of the map is an advertisement for Ikea: ‘Travel is a means to an end. Home.’

I wonder if that’s really why we travel. If the reason we take ourselves out of the comfortable and force ourselves into the uncomfortable is to attempt to discover what home really is. 

For most of us home is more accident than careful planning. Home for me right now is the house my parents built in a smallish country town about an hour from Melbourne. It’s the place I feel most comfortable in the world. It’s the place I’ve lived most of my days in. It’s the place I’m leaving in a  bit under two months. 

Comfort is a double edge sword. Being comfortable equates to feeling safe, secure, generally happy. It’s a nice feeling, a warm one. One many of us spend years trying to find. But it’s also the reason why I find myself distracted, the reason why I leave projects untouched for months, why I don’t send pitches, why I wile away hours watching old episodes of Grand Designs or downloading old books from Project Gutenberg. Being comfortable can often be more of a hindrance than a help. Being comfortable makes it easy to not move, to not challenge yourself, to sit yourself in the safe, secure and generally happy space and just be. 

When I try to peer under my own skin, to scrape away at my desire to take myself out of this comfortable space I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in, the truth feels a little like freshly squeezed lemon juice on a paper cut. It stings. 

The truth is, it’s easy for me to not do the work, it’s easy for me to not challenge myself, to not put myself in positions that guarantee nothing but an almost certain failure. It’s easy to not do those things when you’re comfortable. 

I don’t think that Ikea advertisement is true for me. I’m not travelling to find home. Home is already established. But home is too comfortable, too easy. I’m travelling to find those hard, uncomfortable spaces. I’m travelling to fall over an edge not knowing what lays beneath me. 

I’m travelling because sometimes the only way to see if you’re good enough is to throw yourself into a deep pool, fully clothed, and see if you sink or swim. 

kb xx

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

forever a rookie

I stopped being a teenager nearly a decade ago. I am currently very much ensconced in the late-twenties age bracket. Which feels increasingly odd. It is a space in which I sometimes I feel like an outsider, removed from a life and lifestyle that doesn't fit. This feeling becomes stronger when I glance around at many of my contemporaries: long-term relationships, marriage, children, houses and mortgages dominate their landscapes. 

Society tells us that as we get older we're supposed to possess a greater understanding of who we are. We're supposed to know what it is we want and where we want to be, we're supposed to be confident and assured and articulate. We're supposed to be all these things we associate with adulthood. We're not supposed to be brimming with self-doubt, we're not supposed to be unsure of our place in the world, we're not supposed to be still figuring stuff out as we look down the barrel of thirty. But you know what, some of us are. 

I am. And I think it's why I love Rookie so much. 

Ostensibly aimed at teenage girls, there is something about the ethos of the site and the associated yearbook that feels like a welcoming embrace, despite the fact that I fall so far outside the intended audience. 

It's a space where it's ok to be unsure, to have doubts, to have questions. 

Perhaps a lot of that comes down to its founder, Tavi Gevinson, who while surely the most articulate and considered teenager you've ever encountered is still just that: a teenager. And with that teenage-hood comes the wrestling of the self as you attempt to find a place for yourself in a world that sometimes doesn't want to let you in. 

Much is made of the desire to describe something as serious writing, to place it above all other work, to point to it as the peak of the human consciousness poured out onto the page - or a website, it is 2015 after all. Generally we, to our own detriment, posit the work of adults, particularly white cis male ones, as this beacon, this peak, we must all aim for. But in doing so, we miss brilliance and vigour and enthusiastic interpretations of the world, we miss places like Rookie. 

We miss pieces like this one 'How To Deal When You're Caught Masturbating' and this on making friends, pertinent given my impending move. And we miss all of these videos, touching, heartfelt and brimming with actual real world advice, Ask A Grown Woman/Man is Rookie gold. And Tavi's monthly editors letters, a curious mix of personal and cultural that often just say shit that is kind of perfect, take this tidbit from this months letter

'I am wary of coming off as obnoxious or opinionated or in possession of any personality whatsoever. I don’t want to make other people feel uncomfortable or suffocated or imposed upon. But a full realization of this goal looks like: a chunk of air in a human-shaped outline formed by dust particles. It feels like: sinking into a La-Z-Boy that is not even that comfortable, then slowly folding into its brown flannel buttcrack and dispensing the occasional self-deprecating joke until I have vanished completely.'

The thing is, this writing is serious, in the way that serious means different things to different people. I think talking about sex and masturbation, particularly to young girls, is serious and something that doesn't happen enough. I think adults contemplating friendship, like teenagers do, is serious and something that doesn't happen often enough. I think young women too often become that chunk of air, too often sink into that La-Z-Boy, and we don't take that seriously enough. But serious doesn't have to mean staid, serious doesn't have to mean devoid of humour, serious doesn't have to mean without feeling and emotion. 

As I approach thirty, I don't see my appreciation for Rookie waning. Perhaps, if anything, as I'm about to throw myself headlong into some serious life upheaval, a safe and warm and reassuring space will be what I'll need more than ever. 

kb xx

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

one day, one sentence

Sleep in.

Wake up, finally. Curse yourself for sleeping in. Get up, have a shower and get dressed.

Make breakfast. Make a mug of tea. Eat and drink.

Sit outside to enjoy morning sunshine, ensuring daily does of vitamin D.

Sit down at desk.

Get up to make another cup of tea.

Sit back down at desk.

Check email.

Check Twitter.

And Facebook.

And Instagram.

Fine yourself typing youtube into browser. Watch episode of Grand Designs.

Open current project. Fiddle with pens. Realise desk is atrocious. Spend half an hour cleaning and tidying.

Open project. Decide you need tea, go make a cup of tea.

Check email.

Stare out the window for five minutes.

Google tips to counter procrastination. Read article on procrastination.

Wander down the rabbit hole of the internet. Lose an hour.

Watch another episode of Grand Designs.

Make lunch. And a fresh mug of tea. Eat. And drink.

Check Twitter.

And Facebook.

And Instagram.

Check email.

Open current project. Make some notes, write three sentences. Delete two.

Stare out the window.

Wonder if you can get those travel bags you want on eBay. Go to eBay.

Open project. Close project.

Sit at desk pondering direction of life.

Decide you need exercise: healthy body, healthy mind. Go for a walk.

Get home. Have a shower.

Check Twitter.

Check email.

Make a fresh mug of tea.

Sit at desk. Open project. Write one sentence. Delete it.

Stare into mug, watch the tea leaves floating at the bottom.

Google reading tea leaves. Discover it's called Tasseography. Wonder if you could write something about that.

Check Twitter.

Check email.

Look at open project. Feel guilty.

Close project.

Make dinner. And a fresh mug of tea. Eat. And drink.

Watch an episode of Grand Designs. Wonder if you could write something about that.

Read three short stories.

Check Twitter.

Check email.

Scroll through Instagram. Lose one hour of your life.


Total written for the day: One sentence. (And this, I guess)

kb xx