Life is hard. Whenever I find myself whining over how things are difficult or praying for things to come to me without me having to expend any effort, I need to remind myself of this. We were never promised a simple existence. Life isn’t meant to be a gentle glide through calm waters.
Do you ever listen to a song and find it impossible to stop yourself from singing along? Or read a book and suddenly feel your face hurting because you’ve been sitting there smiling as you flip through the pages? There’s something so incredible about finding art that make you feel something like that, that indescribable experience of being so lost in someone else’s creation that for a moment you forget all the flaws around you or the problems you face and just fall into something other than yourself.
I used to believe that every life had an ‘aha’ moment. That thought where all at once everything comes together and creates a whole picture, and suddenly you know exactly where to go next, how to be, what to do, who you are. The older I get, the more uncertain I become about this theory. It seems that the further I move away from the tether of adolescence, the structure of school, university, internships and all the formalities of career and life development that keep us on course in our early life, the less certain I become about my direction, and to a further extent my purpose.
When I moved out of my parents’ home for the first time with my ex-boyfriend, I was completely unprepared for the huge adjustment period. I not only moved from the Northern Beaches to the Inner West, but I also left the home I had spent my entire life in. I never realised how much I would miss the house in which I’d spent the majority of my 19 years; the creaky stairs that led down to my bedroom, the 35 second wait in the shower while the water warmed up, and the large spacious kitchen that gave me so much space to cook and dance around. Very soon after moving I realised that I am a person who forms deep (and often irrational) connections to inanimate objects. Despite the fact I had basically been living at my boyfriend’s before we moved in together, there were still all of these things about the house I grew up in that I missed. Even now, after living away for almost five years I still call Mum and Dad’s place ‘Home’.
How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. The decisions and choices we make create the structure on which we build our existence. As I start to pull myself together and try to determine what shape I want my life to take, I have begun to notice how much our decisions are influenced by external forces, particularly as a young woman in today’s society.
I’ve written about body image a few times in the past, but always more in social commentary than on a personal level. Lately, body image has been something that I’ve been thinking about a lot, and I’m just now beginning to realise how massively it shapes my life and my mental state.
High heels have been the topic of heated debate recently. From English temp, Nicola Thorp, being sent home from work after turning up in flats, to Julia Roberts kicking off her heels and going barefoot on the Cannes red carpet. It seems that suddenly everyone has realised the inherent misogyny and sexism that go hand-in-hand with the forcible wearing of heels.
It’s an issue that has plagued me since puberty, a problem I have no real way of combatting. Why is it that all bras for busty girls look like they’ve been pulled out of your Granny’s knicker draw? Is it so crazy that a busty or curvy girl might want to wear a bra that is flattering, or god forbid, sexy?
I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately, mainly the frequency of kindness. I have a little theory about human behaviour. From my experience, it seems that there’s a weird effect that public transport has on people. Something about being crammed in with a group of strangers makes people show the worst side of themselves. Or maybe what they’re really showing is their true selves, as if their shielded by the anonymity of the masses. Regardless, there’s something about public transport that makes people act like utter arseholes.
Negative body image is an issue that has a huge effect on our society. Whether you want to admit it or not, everyone has had negative thoughts about their body (or someone else’s) at least once in their lives. And how could you not, when every single day our idea of what a ‘perfect body’ should be is moulded by the bombardment of media that tells us that perfection looks like a sculpted model from the glossy pages of a magazine.