Sunday, August 14, 2016

Modern Soul // Life Update + my new favourite dress!

When Tess and I take photos and they turn out like this, all I can think of titling the post is "SPRING IS IN THE AIR!", or "Omg. The lighting... can we take a moment". But that's lame, and very 14-year-old Maria...ish. In all seriousness, these photos turned out beautifully, and when we were snapping away in the afternoon light today, it was a gentle reminder of the many blessings there really is in my life... and also, investing in an DSLR camera 5 years ago was a great idea. Hard earned McDonald's money spent the right way, my friends. Oh, and also, this dress! It reminds me of the Sound of Music a little - I don't really know why, since Maria doesn't wear any floral dresses this bold in the film. It just has a real 'Maria' vibe to it. 

So! Hello, it's been a little while. Just thought I would check in with you all and give you a little update on what's been happening with my life. I'm happy to report that I've just been feeling really positive overall over the past few days. Uni is back, and I'm, surprisingly, not absolutely loathing every minute of it. I have this awesome lecturer for one of my courses, and he's one of those teachers that was actually put on earth to educate others in a really engaging way. Everything he says just clicks with my brain and it makes the actual course content 10x more interesting. 
I've been staying on top of my readings for the most part and I have been feeling a lot more motivated to actually do my work and get decent grades. It's a nice feeling. A lot of this positivity in regards to my academic life has to do with setting goals and actually devising a plan for when I want to graduate etc. At the beginning of semester I sat down with one of my course coordinators and she was so lovely and helpful and reminded me a lot of one of the teachers I had at my high school, Mrs Norris.  I'm starting to organise my life a bit more and it's working. I'll keep you posted on that.

Also, you know how I mentioned that anxiety thing a few months ago? I went to Headspace for an initial analysis on my mental health a few weeks ago and from this week onwards I will be seeing a psychologist on a weekly basis which is really, really awesome. It's something I feel like is going to make a major difference in my overall wellbeing, and although it took a long time to organise, it was worth the trouble. Best advice for anyone struggling with life at the moment - go talk to someone! First step, doctor, and he/she will point you in the right direction :) 

So yeah. I don't really know what to say in specifics about anything else. I've just been doing fun things with friends, working (still making coffee!), studying and doing regular driving lessons. I will let you all know as soon as I am a license holder! But, for now, my computer has reached single digits, which means it's time to switch to my phone (ha...classic), read a book and have some tea or something. Cause that's what I do. Oh, also, here's the link to my spotify account - I have been making heaps of playlists lately because of the waves of creative inspiration that have hit me, so give them a listen! 
Goodbye for now!

P.S: If you recognise the title of this post as a reference to James Blake's latest album, let's be best friends. I love the song "Modern Soul". The piano playing is just so freaking nice. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

perspective - my take on society, and myself

"You have so much to offer this world, Maria. It doesn't matter if right now you're not earning a significant income, or that you haven’t been overseas, or that you’re not peace-talking to stop wars; what matters is that, at 19, you're contributing some sort of beauty to the world. Injecting a sense of the creativity, beauty and innocence that is so lacking in the cesspool of violence and hatred that is society. These qualities begin small; as tiny, seemingly insignificant growths, yet they have the power to multiply and blossom."
"There's no such thing as wasted positivity or good."

- something really awesome and profound from a friend of mine

'Morning News' by Francis Luis Mora

It takes me about 2 minutes to walk to my nearest bus stop - 3, if I am in a pair of ridiculous heels that will cause an almost certain injury to myself (or someone else) at some point in the day/ night. In that time, I seem to always have a mini freak-out that my bus pass is missing, I'll be late, I don't have everything I need etc, the list goes on. I get on the bus in the end, and sit down, already scrolling through my phone at what is 'trending', 'new season' or whatever ‘fresh memes’ I've been tagged in (that last one is probably my favourite part of the experience).

Isn't it strange to think that while this scenario is happening, me waving down a bus in a quiet neighborhood, on my way to have lunch with a friend in the city; someone; a man, woman or child, is living in a state of war, amongst debris, devastation and pure heartbreak. The only thing separating us being timezone and a vast stretch of salty water. 

In between a pair of shoes "on sale for $19.95!" and a picture comparing Melania Trump with Michelle Obama, there's a news report story about a bombing, shooting, stabbing, or some other form of violence that shakes up an area. This juxtaposition of content is something I will recognize momentarily, feel pretty sad about, but then eventually move on within the next few hours. There's something so wrong with that. A part of me doesn't want to acknowledge that this sort of thing is real and happening now. It’s this filter in my brain… “Oh, well, we will just push that to the back behind the “you don’t have a Dad” thing and pretend it’s not happening”.
I think when you grow up reading Anne of Green Gables, fairytales and generally very flowery fiction, it's hard to grasp that hardship can be as raw and as brutal as it truly is in Europe and the Middle East right now. 

Does it make me a bad person that I want to be ignorant to the perils of this world? No, but it's growth-stunting. No one wants to know about terrible events! No one wants to know that a priest was murdered for saying mass in a church in France. No one wants to know that every single day someone's life is turned completely upside down by the immorality of another human, or a corrupt government system. 
This exists though, and it's horrible. And while I sip my soy latte in a cafe and read a book about mystery, romance and suspense; it's happening. 
If I want to contribute to improving the state of society, then recognizing that the world is pretty shitty at the moment is the first step in doing so. I'm actively trying to weave my way out of this "nothing bad happens" mindset by educating myself more, reading, and taking up courses at university that cover actual world issues. 

My life is such a clean thing. My problems are often limited to financial stress, and or whether or not I'm doing well at uni etc. I don't mean to say that this is insignificant because it’s not, but when I switch on the news, and paw through the daily newspaper, it's hard not to think, "Man, I am so damn lucky." Because I am. 

There's just so much ugly in the world right now. Such much hatred, so much anger and discourse. It makes me think; how the hell am I helping anything by sitting on my ass and writing about beauty and fashion all the time?
There is always going to be a voice in my head telling me; "you can be more, do more, see more". I want to feed that voice, because I know she's right. She's right in the sense that, yes, I am destined for more than a life of mundane, superficial things. Instagram pics mean nothing, neither does that playlist I made. 
But, that voice is also a little bit wrong. Yes, Instagram pictures don’t really matter, but if that photo provides even the smallest ounce of inspiration to someone, then yes, that’s a great thing. And that playlist I made? That could’ve taken someone’s 3/10 day to a solid 8/10 because hey, they just discovered a band that they will probably look back on fondly in 20 years time. Small things matter. And right now, my life is pretty small. I live in Brisbane, I am young, I am na├»ve. However, that’s where I am meant to be right now. 

But it doesn’t mean I will be here forever. 

There will always be a part of me that longs to live in a world of perfection. Maybe I will publish a book about frivolity and beauty later in life, and I will live in a beautiful home and have a white, fluffy dog in a quiet, suburban street. But maybe I will also reject that life and decide to spend it going overseas, out of my comfort zone, spending time with people who need my help through English teaching, international media correspondence etc. Or maybe I could do both, confident in the fact that I am doing everything I can, as an individual, to better this world. Using my talents in creativity and seeing beauty in everything to add quality and depth to my line of work. I don't know where I am going to be in 5-10 years time, but I hope it's not the same place I've always been, and I hope that the positive aspects of life outweigh the negatives for all those who are suffering. I also hope that amongst all the sadness in the world right now, good comes of it. 

My heart goes out to all the victims of terror attacks, violence, injustice and malice in this world. Especially the recent suicide bombing of a town in Syria that claimed the lives of so many people yesterday; may they rest in peace. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

into the woods

Temt top, Forever New coat, H&M skirt, Target heels 

Don't you just love it when you're lining up at a store with your favourite items ready for purchase (caught between a flurry of excitement about new clothes, but also morbidly reflecting on the major dent it'll have on your bank account), and the clerk says "Okay, that'll be $15, marked down from $70.". YES AMAZING, thank you! That is exactly what happened the other day at H&M with this gorgeous skirt... and calling my reaction thrilled would be an understatement! It was one of those pleasant surprises that increases your quality of life..  I was drawn to this midi as soon as the silver detail caught the light in the sale rack and I am still wondering why such a beautiful piece was marked down by such a dramatic amount! I love the way it looks with this coat, and think it'll carry me through winter right into summer! 

I'm home this weekend and it's been lovely and quiet so far. The usual; catching up with friends, filling my mother in on all the happenings of Brisbane life, tormenting my little sisters (and vice versa), and cooking the only dish that has a 0% chance of failure, every time I cook it. It's great - if you need a fool-proof recipe for a curry, send me an email. I'm your girl! 
I've got a fair bit to do before uni goes back next week - such as finally get the battery fixed on my Macbook (I spilled water onto it in January this year - a devastating event... many tears were shed), get a whole heap of driving lessons booked to prepare me for my test in August, and get my uni supplies etc.
Work has been pretty steady too this holidays so financially I am feeling way less stressed than before! Looking back on the last month when things were getting a little tight is actually quite a comforting thing because getting through that horrible period of having 'no money' was possible. Horrible, but I got through it. 
Anyway, I hope you're all doing well - hopefully I can get some more posts happening over the next few weeks... I might invest in a tripod and a remote too, albeit, nothing beats a human photographer. A tripod can't tell you that you're smiling weird and your hair is sticking out in funny places and you look like Billy Ray Cyrus. Thanks Tess... x