Tap into the flow

Today whilst sitting at my desk I was contemplating hitting the sheets as I’ve only had about 10 hours sleep over the course of the past three days, or writing. I chose the latter as my mind won’t be quiet, least of all sleep. If I try channel my thoughts in one direction perhaps I can channel my thoughts into ideas rather than have them  go to waste.

I’ve been thinking about the subject a lot lately and thought I’d write about some thing that we all can relate to. Creativity- and more so, what can we do to summon it up when the well is dried up. Creativity is the essence of life and new ideas. Often it lies in hibernation or is stagnant within us. Sometimes it takes traumatic events to ignite the stagnant block of creativity. I do believe we all have the ability to tap into that flow. That is what we were made for. The universe wants us to create, to inspire, and to produce. The idea that ‘creative people’ are a special kind of breed,  limited to artists,  musicians, composers, designers ect. is redundant and simply not true.

I spoke to my father the other day over a much needed skype session and he had some simple advice for me which I considered for a moment and then agreed it was indeed very good advice that I have since decided to actively follow. It went something along the lines of ‘It is better to do than to do nothing’. How many times have we given up on an idea or a thought before reaching the final product out of fear that we will be inadequate? True, you may well be shit at first or jsut shit in general but you will be a better a person for doing it any way. Any one can give up, and most will. He also told me that it is imperative that finish what we start. That is is absolutely necessary. As a perfectionist myself, anything I ever do is never good enough in my eyes but this leads us to constantly try and improve. We should use this fear as a built-in motivator to do our best as the constant nagging voice will always be there- however we can choose to make the best of it. I have been pushing myself lately. I’ve been forcing myself to put words to paper, paintbrushes to canvas, pen to paper- you name it. Out of this I have gained a few things:

A sense of acute uniqueness and originality.

A sense of pride caused by starting with nothing and finishing with a product that I have crafted with my own mind and hands. That in itself is amazing.

It also gives you a real sense of purpose and actualization.

My bank balance hasn’t taking such a hit lately as a few times I’ve replaced the need to get trashed with the need to create something.

Lastly, there is nothing more rewarding than experiencing creative flow. When you get into that rhythm there is no stopping. You feel high sans the mind-altering substances(optional). Although I don’t condone using mind-altering substances I do believe everything has it’s place and that we would not be able to experience the quality of music, art, film  that is still  around today from legends of the past, had they not unlocked area of their brains using methods that they deemed necessary to create that flow of ideas. Every one  has different ways of tapping into their creative flow. From meditation, to yoga, to listening to music, to sipping whiskey, to smoking a joint. You’ve got to do what works for you. Realise however, that you have to actively seek out ways to flip the switch. Creativity isn’t some ethereal gift bestowed upon us like glittery fairy dust sprinkled from the sky. You need to actively make it happen, and do it everyday.

Here a some quotes below about creativity:
“The creative place often takes place outside of your ego. And you can’t always take credit for it. They say write what you know. When you can’t write about yourself anymore write about others. Use your voice to tell their story. Put your feet in their shoes”

Sting

“Practice doesn’t make you perfect but it does make you realize that you don’t have to be”

unknown

“All children are born artists. The struggle is to remain an artist as you grow up”

Picasso

“Creativity is applied imagination”

unknown


Below are some of my amatuer attempts at tapping into the creative process:

   
                          

        

  

Tuesday’s thoughts

Mangled, mingled legs. The smell of sex, cigarettes, stale beer and and underlying soft sweetness that I want to eat all up. That’s life. The dirty and gritty mixed with the sweetness and beauty. The realness is too much to bear and I’m all toasty and mellow inside. I could stay in this place forever. I’m not sure how to touch, I think I’ve forgotten.  

 


It’s been too long  that I was stuck. Stuck in a rut, caged up, I wasn’t feeling, being, living, doing. You have to do whatever you want to! Nobody is gonna give you permission or tell you to move it. Get up, do it now. All that matters is that you don’t let fear hold back, don’t be ashamed to feel it but let it propel you forward. Strolling on my ace making my way to the trains a random woman passes advice to her friend. The words that leave her mouth are ‘It’s good to be scared, it means it will be worth it’. Ain’t that the truth sweet thing. Fucking just do whatever you want. Be good to others yes, but if you don’t put yourself first you’re gonna get crushed. Rule with your head but glide with purity in your heart. If you hate your job-leave. If you don’t love someone anymore-walk away. If you’re always getting hurt because you’re too nice to people don’t change- find people who will appreciate you and show you what it’s like to be treated well. Don’t become hard-keep the lightness in you. Tread light and don’t become attached to things or people. As a soul on this earth you gotta be bendy, you gotta flow wherever you might go. That’s all. 

 

My happy place
 

Translates to “Come over the Sea”

 

People Fall

S. K. Nicholas

people fall all the time

they break down without even knowing

they succumb, even when there’s nothing to fear

they

lose themselves to what isn’t even there

these ghosts, they haunt and

they taunt for no reason

sometimes, all you can do is

try to be strong

even when you feel so weak inside

people fall, but then they get up

all it takes is a little faith, and a little love

for love

and only love

will set us free

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On the road…

This a post primarily for my own selfish purposes. Like an online diary entry. It serves to help me realise where I am in life and where I am going. However if anyone else can relate to it that would be a bonus. I haven’t written in a while so my words may be a little rusty.

Let me start by saying there is no time like the present. You cannot run from it. When life starts unfolding and evolving, you better fucking grab it. With every passing year of age, with every risk taken, with every heartbreak, with every opportunity comes growth. You may feel weak now but there will be a time when you look back and realise things were never really all that bad. For every step backwards you’ll take two steps forward. Baby steps no doubt but who’s counting?

I find myself at a crossroads in my life, but then I realise that worrying is no good, ever. I might consciously decide to make a decision, but whatever direction I choose, it was already decided in the course of my fate. Today is the day I start living. I’ve let go of a destructive relationship and a job that no longer serves me. As painful as detaching myself from comfort is, it had to be done. I’ve thrown my security blanket in the fire. I may doubt myself often, even despise myself on gloomier days. But it takes moments of reflection and gratitude to appreciate just how much you’ve accomplished. Hell, when I think about it I am pretty damn awesome. It’s time to grab my dreams full force.

So many decisions, which is the right one?

Living in Dubai is not for the faint hearted. Especially for a free spirited, artistic wild child like myself. I thrive in nature. I thrive when pushing against authority and conformity. My individual spirit it too passionate to be contained. However if I rough it out for another year or two I can gain the financial independence I so need. Things in my beautiful home town of Cape Town are not economically flourishing now.

Just as well, living outside your country is so good for personal growth and strengthening. I dream to make my career vision a reality. I see myself as a smart savvy business woman. So now is the ideal time to snap the fuck out of it. At the age of 22 it’s now or never. I don’t want to make the same mistakes my parents did. I see them hustling, struggling to get by and I never want that for myself. I want to live comfortably doing a job that I love. My vision is to open my own contemporary cafe with minimalist and bare, modern architecture in a trendy arty suburb. Adjoined to the cafe will be a home deco/vintage and antiques/art and unique jewelry and one of a kind clothing piece store.  It will be a trendy place to go and sozialise,  not only shopping for creative like minded individuals. Well that’s all for now. You’ll be hearing from me soon.

Truth Cafe in Cape Town. Such innovative interior. Thinking of this sort of vibe

Heart Coffee Roasters in Portland, Ore.

Bonanza Coffee in Berlin

Bittersweet Nostalgia

Nostalgia is a beautiful thing. Fleeting however, as beautiful things have the tendency to be. It allows you to taste the past but before you can possibly let it linger too long, like a stroke of lightning, it is gone in a flash. I guess such is with good reason. We like to reminisce about the past whilst emitting the bad parts, the behind the scenes, the real story. It’s like looking at the instagrammed version of a photo. We put the ‘Earlybird’ filter on our view of life. We candy coat the memory to make us more resilient to pain. Looking at the broader spectrum i believe good can come from such delusion. It acts as a defense mechanism. Family traumas, toxic relationships, and poverty stricken times are among a few examples. Nostalgia often let’s us grab onto the good parts of our history, experiencing scarily accurate emotions and feelings that replicate past emotions and feelings. Not to be confused with déjà vu  but a very similar feeling in my opinion, that is brought about by a repetition of events, a certain object, sound or smell can ignite these feelings.  A fleeting moment of accuracy and representation of the past according to ones mind. The following things are specific to me and ignite remembrance and nostalgia of the past.

 

 

The smell of my mother’s perfume,

the squawk of ha di dah birds early in the morning,

the smell and pitter patter of the rain,

a song that takes you back to being fifteen and making out on the porch at night with a summer fling,

a song that takes you back to lying back down in an apartment with the ceiling spinning and ideas whirling around your intoxicated mind,

the task and aroma of rolling rollies,

an old tattered skirt scattered with stars,

standing in the sea and feeling like you’re sinking into the sand as your toes are absorbed by the sand as a wave retracts backwards,

the taste of creme brûlée caressing your taste buds,

spaghetti bolognaise,

green tea,

cashew chicken,

blue an yellow gumboots,

the feel of soil in your hands,

acorns,

a damp patch on the wall,

and certain pair of neon high top sneakers,

that hue of red lipstick,

hugging the toilet seat in a spinning cubicle in a club,

an old knitted scarf that smells of you,

a rosary tattoo wrapped around your ankle,

a piercing,

a scar,

a birthmark,

skinny jeans,

a curly mop of hair,

black and white cats,

black stilettos,

an old leather,

couch,

a studded black leather belt,

the colour mustard,

passports and old yellowed ticket stubs of past events and concerts,

the silver chain around your neck,

pastel mint nail varnish,

the smell of permanent markers and spray paint,

an old photograph in a heart shaped box.

These things are what make life what it is. These bittersweet and tainted memories. Be grateful for the past but instead of clutching on move forward with lessons learnt.

Femme Fatal as a theme in various Alexander McQueen and Thierry Mugler collections.

I stumbled on one of my fashion reports on Alexander McQueen from fashion college days and thought it would be an interesting read for all you McQueen lovers out there.

The 19th century Femme Fatale was a fearful representation of a woman whose sexuality was perverse and perhaps even sinister. Her sexuality sparked fears about the social, economic, and sexual emancipation of women, that was changing at the time and people were unsure how to react to this.  McQueen however, conjured up a very different concept of Femme Fatale. Although similarly, both rose concern about sexuality, illness and death, McQueen’s 20th century Femme Fatale represented a woman whose sexuality was dangerous and deathly and conjured up confusing feelings to men of desire and dread simultaneously (Evans Cited in Lorna v, 1995).


Feminine beauty present in McQueen’s work is tinged with aggression and brutality.  Giving each woman the ability to wound and attack should she please. “ McQueen uses fashion to constrict and fetter sexuality, inviting advances while simultaneously deflecting them” (Quinn 2002, p.5). Which in line, describes McQueen’s Femme Fatale, visually seducing the opposite sex whilst inducing feelings of danger and fear.


 His “Dante” collection in 1996 captures the essence of the“Femme Fatale”theme,present in the application of make up, think vampy dark berry lips and highlighted chiseled features with pale eerie skin, to theactual collection. “The collection featured fine boning and military embroidery, braid trimmed hussars’ jackets and 18th style brocade admiral’s coat worn with shredded lace dress ad black jet-encrusted head pieces made by the jeweler and art director, Simon Costin” (Menkes,1996). There were numerous references to death throughout the show such as models wearing masks set with crucifixes, Simon Costin’s bird claw earrings and a corset created by Stella Tennant which extends past the neck(Fashion Channel, 1996), as well as blacklace head pieces covering the entire face which drew on the collections mourning colourpalette of black, ‘bone’ beige, mauve and grey(Menkes,1996). The women looked immaculate but daunting and dangerous at the same time.


Image

 The Haute Hoosier, 2011, Alexander McQueen: A Complete Retrospective

 Like McQueen, Thierry Mugler also started out as an outsider, someone whose creativity and talent was misunderstood. “I couldn’t believe it. Everyone thought I was crazy. I thought I was crazy! For months, I thought, “Why did I do that?”‘ said Mugler of himself  (Garrat, 2009).His interest was always in modifying the human form: padding out the shoulders, cinching in thewaist, cutting to exaggerate feminine curves. His clothes were never easy to wear, he admits.’It was constraining. But it would make you look good’ (Garrat, 2009).Quinn (2002, p. 1) says of McQueen, “The principles behind McQueen’s work takes on an additional charge as they redefine the experience of the fashioned body…They can be characterized by their extended presence beyond the borders of the human body”. It is clear that both designers enjoy working towards manipulating the body in unexpected ways that some may describe as “bizarre”.


Image

Haute Macabre 2010,“A Gun For Hire”, photographed by Helmut Newton for Mugler

This corset created by Mugler is magnificent in both its architectural structure and pitch-perfect elements of fetishism as well as their artistic medium, the model. At once, she is both dressed and undressed; accessible to the viewer, yet unattainable: her waistline cinched, bosom hoisted, and the garment’s design, stark and architectural, like her surroundings. Of course, the iconographies of other fetish accouterments are also present: garters, seamed stockings with matching opera-length gloves of the same silky material.Even the model’s expression is exquisitely fetishistic: she emotes an elegant cruelty, the poised disdain of a divine villainess.  On closer inspection there is a man splayed on the ground behind her, which strongly hints at slaughter (THE FLIRTATION BETWEEN FETISH AND HIGH FASHION, 2012).  This Mugler ensemble closely relates to the Femme Fatale theme that we see in McQueen’s work, specifically in his “Dante” collection. The Dante collection and this Mugler ensemble can be linked to one another. Both portray a strikingly beautiful, empowered woman, who is aware of her charms and uses them however she pleases. She is also wickedly villainous and dangerous. The mystery of the unknown and danger presented to man is thrilling, drawing him in yet at the same time devouring him. Like a moth to a flame, he cannot resist yet is destroyed in the process.

Image                               WGSN 2001, “Autumn/winter fall/winter, Thierry Mugler, Paris

Mugler’s 2001 A/W collection once again captures elements of Femme Fatale and fetishism. We can see that both designers make use of corsets; they are restrictive in terms of movement and epitomize sex and seduction. Both McQueen’s and Mugler’s late 90’s to early 20th century collections encompass this idea of  a Femme Fatale more so than later collections. Perhaps this theme was most prominent then, because during that period women were only starting to truly find their independence and realizing they could be equal to men if they became more powerful and assertive and what better way to do so than using sex and power mercilessly


She is unapproachable and intimidating; harboring on the abruptness of death and the existentialism of pleasure, the femme fatale seduces her victims through her penetrating stare and confident stride. She is the object of lust and wonder. Fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, incited notions of the femme fatale by encompassing her attitude and blatant sexuality in order to reconstruct the social stigmas thrust upon the female in the mid-1990’s. Once again, the woman was to be feared; revamped from the anti- heroine of the late nineteenth century, McQueen’s models embodied the spirit of the femme fatale on the catwalk, creating a contemporary incarnation of new femininity.


Not merely a designer but an artist of great skill, Alexander McQueen defined high fashion at the turn of the twenty-first century. McQueen’s collections fascinated and alarmed viewers, entrancing them by his brilliance and through the horror of his imagination. Each season, the totality of his vision was fervently executed – the concept and production of his runway performances were always considered as important as the garments. “In fashion… the show… should make you think, there is no point in doing it if its not going to create some sort of emotion.” The environment created in his shows developed his fantastical narrative that engaged the audience fully, dragging them into his parallel universe of strong, terrifying women.