Sunday, 18 August 2013

We Need to Talk about Shopping

As you can probably tell, I love clothes. Aesthetics is something I've always been enamored with, which means among other things that Wes Anderson is one of my favourite directors and I tend to view life as a photo op. It also means that I have a problem with shopping, and not just with clothes. My life is a series of new projects and ambitions, and each one involves buy-in.  My quests to better myself and become a different person have been an intrinsic part of my personality ever since I was a kid. Back then, I used to model myself on characters from books. This meant I periodically decided to become Artistic, a Tom Boy, Intelligent, so on and so forth. As I got older, this meant picking up and dropping groups of friends. This meant changing my hair and clothes regularly. This meant picking new things to "be into". I was constantly short of money, but I blamed this on coming from a low-income family and being more disadvantaged than my more wealthy friends. When I started working and making my own money I was at a loss to do with all this cashflow I hadn't had before. The next month I was back in overdraft.
Every few weeks it's like a switch goes off on my brain. I become frustrated with the person I am. I want to be better. It could be that I want to be smarter; that I want to become more cultured; that I want to be healthier; that I want to be more fun. This becomes something I focus on, it becomes all I can focus on. Here are some examples of past life decisions:

  1. Fit Grace: I wanted to be THIN. This involved hours of scrolling through the fitspo tag on Tumblr. Checking the calories on everything. Logging every single thing that into my digestive system on the MyFitnessPal app. Crying when I ate a piece of chocolate cake. Expenses: Gym membership. Gym clothes. Rye bread. Boxercise classes. 
  2. Intelligent Grace:  Leaving Cert results came out. I did well, but not as well as I expected of myself. Decided I needed to better myself. Expenses: Books on quantum physics. Literary novels. Books on political philosophy.
  3. Slightly Crazy Grace: Got out of a two-year relationship. Started college. Things got a bit out of hand. Expenses: Alcohol. Lots of alcohol. Cigarettes. Coffee to combat the constant hangovers. Stodgy food to combat the hangovers. Chats with friends over coffee about my constant shame. Clothes to wear to all the clubs I was going to. Replacing the passport I lost in a nightclub.
  4. Fuck-It-I-Don't-Know-Let's-Try-Everything: I believe this is called an "identity crisis". Expenses: Outfits that would make me look like a character in a Wes Anderson film. A trip to Edinburgh with new friends. Books as I tried to figure out what literature I enjoyed and what I was just reading to impress other people. A deposit for a flat. Various different hair dyes. 
It has gotten to the stage where checking my bank balance makes me feel physically ill. Where I feel like money trickles through my fingertips. Where going into overdraft is something of a relief because it is familiar territory. Where I have no regard for Future Grace. Where I feel entitled to these things I buy myself, and convince myself it will all work out. Where my present happiness is more important than paying the electricity bill. Where buying this [insert material object here] will be the first step to a New Me. Where my friends are used to hearing new life plans from me every few weeks. Where I feel burdened by the constant weight of my irresponsibility. Where I am being forced to realise (by other people, I will admit) that this isn't a symptom of flightiness, but of a problem. Where making it to payday with going into the red seems like an impossible task, but one I am determined to accomplish. Which may mean not being able to afford to eat anything other than 12c Tesco noodles because I bought some t-shirts online last night.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Teenage Dreams

I had one of those awful revelations yesterday. You know the ones, where you realise something that completely screws with your head and may possibly shock you into some sort of action? I have exactly five months left of being a teenager. This could explain my recent hobby of dying my hair fluorescent colours รก la Avril Lavigne.
Ever since I turned eighteen and was able to legally able to drink, smoke, get married and watch Kill Bill I have been having a pre-midlife crisis. The constant anxiety that I should know what to do with my life by now and be achieving something or other is somewhat terrifying. 
Then there is the feeling I haven't been making enough of my teenage years. Sure, I had the classic sneaking into the house drunk/failing tests/losing my virginity/school fights moments, but where were the adventures? I smoked a few times when in my school uniform, but only when far away from the eyes of any teachers. The only times I ditched school was in sixth year, and that was to go to the library and study. I feel I have failed at being a teenager, but I have the next five months to rectify that. So I started thinking about events that would mimic  my favourite teen movies...
  1. Spend the day adventuring when I should be in school college.
  2. Serenade someone/be serenaded.
  3. Make friends with a group of misfits in an unlikely setting.
  4. Spread scandal about myself.
  5. Plot to overthrow the popular girls.

The problem is, those seem like awful life plans. Ditching college is fairly easy, bringing about serenading is tricky, EVERYONE MY AGE IS A MISFIT, spreading scandal is fairly silly. Does college even have popular girls?
Really, all these films are about self-discovery and finding love and acceptance and blah blah blah. So possibly I should continue being a bit of a mess and not knowing what to do with my life and dying my hair ridiculous colours and worry about life once I'm twenty?

Friday, 2 August 2013

The Importance of Getting Away

When life gets crazy, sometimes all you can do is run away. Which is exactly what I did this week; with the help of my best friend, a Groupon voucher and a bottle of Jack Daniels. The trip had been planned (if you can call deciding that the deal for a hotel in Donegal was too good to pass up, and we therefore needed to call to Donegal planned), but happened to coincide with a need to get away from everyone and my various dramas.
Getting away from where you're used to is one of the most important things you can do, in my opinion. Wondering around a village where no one knows you and shamelessly taking photo after photo and being away from everyone you know and just reveling in being somewhere unfamiliar is a drug to someone with such a severe case of wanderlust as me. Part of it is to do with the fact that all the people you meet can define you by is the fact you are not from there, giving you a certain sense of freedom to be completely yourself.

Rural Ireland is like nowhere else. The fact that everyone says hello is disconcerting. The air really is cleaner. You find yourself squealing over sheep and cottages and imagining that you're in a Discover Ireland ad. Your resentment at American tourists and their image of Ireland as a tiny backward country dissipates because you are standing in postcard scenery. You love being here where there's no cinema or pressures for fashion or night clubs, but you know you could never live here. You're getting drunk in your hotel room, but you know anyone else your age who lives here is just waiting to get out. 
Turns out we were in the gluten-free haven of the world
Casual shrine.

I am a shameless tourist, yes.

The point of the bus journey where I had no idea where in the world we were.

I was really excited to be near sheep.

Donegal is fierce pretty.

I couldn't resist the photo op this cottage presented.