THE TRUTH // Growing up with "Avenue Maria"

Friday, August 21, 2015
Not many of you know this, but I actually started blogging when I was 12 years old. Avenue Maria was originally “In Review”… a spinoff from one of the segments in Total Girl (a monthly preteen magazine in Australia). I had just finished my last year of primary school, and at the time, was idolising Teen Vogue cover girls and the works of street style photographer’s like the Sartorialist. Something I distinctly remember saying during the last few months of year 7 after we had just covered the birds and the bees,  was “Why is identity such a big topic in the puberty realm?! I know myself so well, I’m never going to struggle with this!”. I was right… up until about year 10, when hormones started kicking in to full gear, my acne was out of control and I had braces. Oh! And I also tweezed my poor little eyebrows within an inch of their lives and my hair hung in pigtails like two, lifeless rats on my shoulders. No joke. I was a bloody catch and you bet your bottom dollar all the boys that missed out on the opportunity to take me to the school discos are still crying. Guaranteed. 

Year 11 was more of an improvement, I was slowly coming out of my shell after having worked in retail for nearly a year and making friends seemed to come a little easier, despite cystic acne being at its worst. When it came to writing for Avenue Maria, I’ve always been very, very selective of what is published. I am a girl that thrives off of beauty, positivity and art. I avoided talking about things that upset me on my blog and managed to sugar coat things until everything seemed to be covered in this thick, beautiful, shiny gloss that gave a lot of people that I’m close with this impression I was living a perfect life. When I did try to “get real” in blog posts, I was often proud of them. For example, I’ll never been ashamed or regretful for posting my acne journey up. That was something I felt that I needed to do… I had an audience, I had a problem, maybe people within my audience also had this problem… why not speak out, offer some advice, help? Aside from that though, everything on Avenue Maria has been carefully worded, edited and structured to give the impression of a life that has little to no struggle or tears etc, which to me is so not me.

When I moved to Brisbane in February of this year, a lot of people that I met gushed about how much they loved my blog and how they appreciated what I did. It was such a humbling experience to be affirmed by strangers who knew my name, but I barely knew theirs. It was also really upsetting in a way, because I had created this image, this intimidating persona of a girl who had her shit together and was living a dream life, when she wasn’t! I found myself saying over and over, "No, trust me! I'm not always like that! I'm actually really down to earth... I'm not perfect at all!!". Don’t get me wrong, my life is a BEAUTIFUL and amazing thing, but it’s also a LIFE. My heart beats like everyone else’s, I struggle financially, I will internally squeal “F*ck!” if I bang my toe on the kitchen bench, I’ve never had a boyfriend, when I hail the bus driver and he doesn't stop I feel like I've been stabbed in the heart, I struggle to concentrate in my lectures at uni, I’m insecure about things, I haven’t got a job at the moment, etc.

I am not a perfect girl, and I just wanted to write this post to let people know that. Avenue Maria is something I’ve always been very proud of, because it’s an expression of my creative taste; it’s the closest I can come to creating a dream life. It’s an element of my huge personality. Lately though, I've been worried that's it's not giving people an accurate representation of me as a person. In real life, I am a dry-humoured, bubbly, (sometimes) well-dressed girl who loves The Seekers and Glen Campbell and eats frozen berries straight out of the packet. Just like everyone else, I have a personality, a big mental web filled with experiences, struggles, joyous days, mystery, daydreaming, political and religious views and sarcasm. I’m not always happy, I’m not always sad. I feel all the feels and that is perfectly normal. I wake up every morning and forget how miraculous it is that I’ve woken up, on another beautiful day in Australia, with my heart beating and the ability to walk, run, smile, cry, see, laugh, speak and listen. I am a normal girl who is learning how to live a life independently. My goal at the end of each day is to close my eyes and fall asleep knowing I’ve given my 100% best for the day, I’ve been kind and I’ve been grateful. I don’t think I’ve ever really struggled more with my personal identity than I have recently. I’m 18, yet I feel a lot older and wiser. Then, other times I feel a lot younger, like it’s a mistake that I’ve suddenly become a legal adult who is allowed to drive a car, order a drink at a club and vote in elections. It’s a scary thing sharing this on the Internet because people can either accept it, or they won’t and you have to be satisfied with the result. I'm just trying to better myself and live a life I want to look back on proudly. Saying "yes" is happening more than saying "no". Making an effort to talk to people and make friends even when I'm scared has become part of my everyday routine. Buying the sparkly shoes, because life is short and even though you probably could've spent that money on food, it was totally worth it. 

At the end of the day, “Avenue Maria” and I are still the same girl. There’s just more depth to the latter. She’s real, open, funny and not always well dressed and 100% equipped with a positive outlook (most of the time though, she is). It’s not that this blog is a lie; it’s just not entirely truthful about my personality and what lies beneath the flowery skirts, lipstick and “Anne of Green Gables” obsession in photos. Besides, now that I've grown up, I couldn't imagine having any other life than the one I'm living. As hard as it can be sometimes, it's MINE, it belongs to ME, and it's so exciting because there's still so much to happen!!!! How can you not be excited about the future?! It's so mysterious and exciting and unknown! Embrace it! 

The internet is super great at tricking you into believing something that isn't always completely true. Remember this post next time you're reading someone's blog and you're thinking, "Man, I wish I was them, their life is perfect". It's not, trust me! Have a great weekend. x

pansies, dancing & university // life update

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
 Basque top, CUE skirt, Forever New flats, belt and coat, Novo bag

As much as the house my roomies and I live in is a bit of a hovel (kinda wishing the rats would start paying rent...), the location definitely compensates for it. One of my favourite aspects would be the little bridges around the area. They remind me of Anne of Green Gables and also home a little bit, so it's always a pleasant and nostalgic experience walking along them and escaping reality for a little bit! 
Anyway, how have you all been? Uni life has started back up again and although I feel like I'm in a constant state of TIRED, it's still a lot of fun. On Saturday night, my friends and I went to a dance at the local hall, the theme was 1940s (I skipped an era and had a more '50s inspired get-up) and it was amazing. Swing dancing is definitely something that I'm glad has made a comeback in the 21st century... it's ridiculously fun and I couldn't think of a better way to spend the night than dancing around to Elvis songs with a circle skirt and petticoat. 
A few weeks ago I also got to meet one of my blogging friends, Harlow Darling, whom I've followed for a couple of years now. The amazing thing about making friends online through blogging is that you feel like you've known each other for so much longer than you have. Harlow is definitely a kindred spirit and even more beautiful in person! 

My roommate Beatrice took these photos (and Abigail took a few too) and it was such a hilarious experience. Beatrice has such an eye for photography and "perfect lighting" so look out for more photos in future! Tonight I think we're all going to have a quiet night in with Netflix and pizza because a) I was at uni at an ungodly hour this morning until an ungodly hour in the afternoon and b) it's been a while since I've caught up on The Vampire Diaries (kinda missing Damon Salvatore and dat jawline). 
Hope you have a lovely week!