Thursday, 5 November 2015

377. Wishes to write about outfit photographs

I’ve been doing a lot more writing recently, for places other than this blog. Yet I am still the person who spontaneously pulls out half their wardrobe in an attempt to create a new outfit. Inspired by an image, a new item (bought or stolen from other wardrobes), a newly sewn / customised / repaired item, I will place items on my bed, try combinations on, and get experimental with hair and make-up. Afterwards, I will take it all off, place the outfit in my mental closet of possible outfits and get into bed. Often I’ll wear the outfit the next day and sometimes I’ll photograph it as well.

Yet, I am still trying to reconcile this love of outfit creation with the act of taking outfit photos. Do I really want or need to share this aspect of my life with you, and is this even the best medium for this? I will probably write about this soon. In the meantime, whilst I remain unsure, you can enjoy these photos of the most beautiful skirt ever.

Wishes for November, Sofie.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

376.Wishes to write more

Photos I've taken over the past university year

Katia (of the blog Katia Pellicotta) recently left me this comment in reference to a line at the end of a blog post:
“omg that "pushing through with resolutions" was so good to read I'm trying so hard to keep some even though everyone seems to have forgotten about doing so by this point so ! thanks”
I was pleased my words resonated with her and her words -like many of the comments I get on this blog- resonated with me. It resonated in particular because me and resolutions have got a bit of a dirty reputation. On the 31st December my mind states “Don’t chew your nails Sofie”. The 1st January arrives, my nails are aggressively chewed, bacteria is spread and a filthy taste is left in my mouth.

However, this year I made a number of different nail-nul resolutions, such as:  read one book a month (one of my own choice, rather than one of the billion I read for my degree!), write two things a month, submit one thing a month to a publication, and other such creative pursuits. I placed these resolutions in a table, as a way to record my progress. As I write this I realise I should seriously buy myself some gold star stickers to make this whole process more fun. It is fun. It is hard. Really, really hard. Honestly my resolution-completion levels are at about 10 percent. Last month I read two books, wrote one thing, submitted to nothing, and touched none of the three other projects I had planned.

Now let us note that I’m a student in a position of (albeit temporary) financial stability, health and privilege. And still it’s hard. But let’s also note that my notions of productivity are quite possibly a symptom of capitalism. Let’s note that failure is not failure but success. That consistent failure teaches. Let’s also note this pretty cool image. I’m sending it on postcards to my partners in crime but I send it to you too.
I keep these notes post-sticked in my brain, making sense and nonsense of my struggles. And I keep trying.

I’m also pretty interested in habit formation these days. This has partially been spurred by some amazing resources I’ve encountered recently, including; this amazing piece by Ragini about meeting goals particularly if you suffer with depression, these sheets for tracking the progress of your habits and these extra tips by Martina. I’m becoming more invested in habit formation as a process towards meeting my resolution goals. And I’m also more interested in good habit formation rather than bad habit removal. My nails are still bitten but as I finish this draft I can write I’ve started a daily writing habit. And, I hope if you want to, and can, that you’ll keep pushing through.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

375.Wishes you'll watch LGBT+ube

Last year when staring and scrolling and refreshing Youtube, I did something different…I clicked on a recommended video. Radical right? And then I did a silly thing and binge watched almost the full channel. The next night I mentioned the channel titled ‘Roseellendix’ to my girlfriend on the phone and it turned out she’d also watched all their videos. We began to fangirl. 

Roseellendix is a Youtube channel created by Rose Dix, featuring videos of herself and her girlfriend (now wife!) Rosie Spaughton. In an alternative universe, I don’t think we would have been friends in high school. Nor do I think I’m gaining any grand intellectual insights watching them. So why does the ‘fangirling’ continue? (Like omg, they do these really cute video chats with their viewers every Tuesday, and have cute wedding photos on their Instagram and their cat Flynn went missing recently but survived. Phew!)

Is it the girl-love aspect? Not entirely. After discovering Rosie and Rose, I’ve tried to watch similar videos by other girl couples but they’ve always felt cold. So is it Rosie and Rose’s personalities? Yes- to an extent. As a duo the girls are funny, entertaining, at times thoughtful and altogether warming to watch. But would I obsessively watch the life of a heterosexual couple on Youtube? Unlikely. I wouldn’t need to. I grew up on heterosexual love/sex/relationships. I watched all the rom-coms, the when Harry met Sally’s or the Pretty Woman’s or the Pride & Prejudice’s or the Sense & Sensibility ‘s  or… and on. I was taught in school that sex was purely a P in V only affair (which not only excludes parts of the LGBTQA+ community, but highlights a wider problem with our rigid perceptions of sex). As a day tripper of the school library I thought I read widely, but looking back I can’t remember encountering a single LGBTQA+ character. 

For me then, watching Rosie and Rose is about the invisible being made visible in a way that I never encountered in the media I consumed previously. But it’s more than that, because vlogging is its own medium. Even if mainstream TV, film, books ect do diversify in representation (and lets not pretend this is purely an issue of LGBTQA+ representation), they won’t have the sense of ‘realness’ that comes with vlogging. Watching Rosie and Rose I get the same ‘we’re real, we exist!’ rush that I get when I see two girls holding hands in the street. This holds particular importance when girls holding hands irl is a rare sight. The ‘realness’ of these videos also works to shut down my internalised societal voice when she asks ‘how do you know you’re bisexual’ as if I’m obliged to prove my desires to myself. And whilst there may be something to be relished in the abnormal status of queer, these videos are a reminder that queer can also just mean you and your girlfriend snuggling on a sofa, having a chat.

Vlogging is also special because it’s personal. It’s personal in that vloggers are a little more touchable and contactable than the actors, writers and muscians we look up to.  It’s personal in a way that allows LGBTQA+ people to control their representation, without an ‘outside’ party negotiating an individual’s identity.  It’s personal in a way that allows individuals to purely be individuals rather than spokespersons for whole groups, thus showcasing a multitude of experiences. I may relate to Rosie and Rose, and you may not. That’s also fine.  But for me vlogging as it stands now will still feel more real, more personal than creative fictions. It doesn’t merely fill the representation gap, but offers a different way to connect that can particularly resonate with some LGBTQA+ people. Though representation is by far not the only issue LGBTQA+ people face, I still view vlogging as just a little radical, right? So in the quest for personal multitudes, here’s just a few other LGBTQA+ vloggers/channels that I enjoy watching…

Jake eloquently speaks about the very issue of trans visibility on youtube in this video, and makes some great points about how representation can impact lives. Jake makes a variety of videos, such as life vlogs, videos showcasing his original poetry and music, and advice videos. ( Plus he’s already released two albums, which is pretty impressive)

Alex has a huge backlog of great videos about sexuality and trans issues.  You get a real sense he puts a lot of effort into what he’s doing and really does want to educate people. Two recent developments on his channel are TGT (Trans guy talks) where he and Jake talk more informally about a broader range of issues, and TQTAB (The Quest to Alex’s Beard) which is a new series discussing the various stages of his medical transition. (ps if you’re annoying like me and like watching cute love, see his and Jake;s relationship)

Kat Blaque makes a myriad of videos, a number of which are these great critical ones, which often focus on feminism, race, trans issues, and life as an illustrator. Her illustrated videos are pretty beautiful, and two  of them can be found here and here.

Everyone is gay don’t believe everyone is gay, but they do make a great lip-syncing advice-giving duo.  It’s particularly nice to hear so many lesbian and bisexual women phoning in with their love/life que(e)ries, as often when we talk about gayness it is centred on gay men. 

Kristen of everyone is gay now also works on First Person, a new channel that focuses on the personal stories of LGBTQA+ people. It’s a nicely polished show, and even though it has only just started I’ve enjoyed all their episodes so far.

Dark Matter  are Alok Vaid-Menon and Janani Balasubramanian, a poetic duo who probably would stir up some of the things I’ve written here. They’re beyond and their words are challenging and important. This great piece by Alok gives another angle on representation and how representation is not enough. I’m still learning/questioning/moving and their work is an endless teaching to me. It might be for you to. 

Monday, 2 February 2015

374. Wishes you a good February

Among clothes and books in the new uni bedroom

Hello January (Goodbye.) Hello Readers. This time round I hope to briefly engage you in some happy narcissism. It feels as if I haven't really wrote about  my life in a while and so lets call this a worthy update on the past year. In the first half of the year I studied art whilst I revised for a resit of an English exam. I knew I wanted to study English literature at university at this point but I still relished in the art making and the creative surroundings of college. And sure, there was a lot of painting, thinking, sketch-booking, growing, artsy people but there was also all the seemingly unromantic stuff- chatting awkwardly with new people, sharing biscuits, sitting in an ugly canteen, being alone at lunchtimes and procrastinating. These mixed but fulfilling months culminated in a surreal examination and final exhibition in which I showed these three pieces of work...

     A pencil and thread 'geographical map' of my relationships with loved ones

Two paintings alongside prints commenting on childhood exploration of sexuality (irl this is at least 3 meters in length!)

Acrylic painting on board about the comfort and terror of habits

This resulted in adults smugly laughing, art tutors questioning and praising, peers complementing, my mother (who I rarely show my work to) throwing wild friendly critique and a friend handing me a letter with his interpretations of the work. I was lucky enough to feel the exciting tactile reality of using art to provoke conversation.Talking about conversation ('scuse the pun), summer also had me finally letting close ones know I was dating my best friend and that whatever I am, it's not 'straight'.

With some snazzy grades under my belt, I moved out to study at Newcastle University and am now tenderly taking on semester two. Among many things, semester one had me tentatively writing poetry and finding a new creative venture to nurture. A new way to say unsaid things. Here's just two poems I wrote...

If you are at all interested in the things I've done/ am doing 'creative wise', then you can look at sofie scholten art. My less narcissistic pursuit (though isn't everything imbued with narcissism and is this a bad thing?) is you are too cool for school were I like to post links to interesting things I'm reading, seeing and watching. It's an online bookshelf for myself, but hopefully also a useful resource for others. The content is generally about gender, sexuality, fashion, art, artist advice, writing, life advice, literature and erm, like everything else...! Let's have a conversation about it! And so I end this bout of narcissism, and wish you a good February, especially if you're pushing through with resolutions.
Love Sofie