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C A R N A T I O N S

Once I asked Lisa about Marie Antoinette. I was reading her autobiography, loaned to me by my landlady, a hilarious, wise Irish gypsy woman called Bernie – who had lived the most colourful life and was quite excellent at Tarot. When I asked about Marie Antoinette – Lisa simply looked at me and said that what Marie Antoinette did was “not good.” When I was really depressed, I watched a show called “Rose of Versailles”, an anime about a girl-called-Oscar-who-dressed-like-a-boy who protected Marie Antoinette. I’ve always been taken by extravagant characters from the past, who had the power to influence entire nations for generations.

I love strong women. #feminism

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I love Anne Boleyn too. My favourite of Henry’s wives – a total strategist.

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Henry 8th thought it was all for him. Hilarious.

{Edited to add – 30th March 2018}
Check out this article!

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Although she was never a Queen, I adored, more than any of these women, Emma Hart. Lady Nelson. She was a great friend of Marie Antoinette’s. I read two books about her, I picked one up in a charity shop in Somerset. She had a really tumultuous life – massively influenced art – had kids taken away from her. All sorts of shit that women have had to go through. She wasn’t murdered but I imagine she must’ve felt like she died a million times. She created a dance form called The Attitudes where she channelled mythological archetypes and great figures from the past, like Cleopatra. I found a silhouette bust of her when I lived in Farnham, in a charity shoppe. I hung it beside the front door, in the hallway leading to my flat – 7A West Street.

Emma Hart as Circe c.1782 by George Romney 1734-1802

Never a Queen – or is that a lie? I think so

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I’m doing a lot of research about the things I became frightened about when I wasn’t feeling well – trying to make sense of it all, ultimately – come to terms with it all. It’s part of my healing process, trying to be at peace with that scary part of my life. That awful alternate “reality” that became me.

It’s important, I think, that through Art we can come to terms with every level of our experiences – including the ‘unusual’ or ‘bizarre’.

When I was in my first year of University I did acid. When my mother found out she took me to a GP to discuss it – and I very frankly told him that I took it because I was inspired by Lewis Carrol – who wrote Alice in Wonderland.
I wanted to write something like that – something completely strange and “inspired” by some ether. Although it came many years later, I fell down a “rabbit hole” of my own and I feel like if I really wanted to write a surreal story, that’s the best I’ve got. And I feel like it’s important to walk myself through that part of my past to make peace with it.

A lot of people I was inclined to admire when I was having a hard time, were seemingly built up to be sacrificed.
There’s an episode of the Simpsons where they mock the story “The Lottery”.  That’s a pretty extreme way of looking at what I went through, but I guess  that’s justified by a few aspects of myself – my truer character – which I am becoming reacquainted with. Firstly – I am dramatic – I have a very – not extreme – but definitely particular way of observing myself. In any case – when I was being bullied – that was the truth that I was personally living.
So right now it’s important to write about everything I went through. I’ve got a “Story writing” thinking cap on – because I think it’s an important step in coming to terms with my struggles and trauma.
Putting together childhood dreams – not for money or anything like that – but so that I can finally “let it go”, y’know?

It’s like – I’m stuck in these repetitive behaviours of self sabotage. I loved subjects like History, and it’s ironic that I can be so taken with looking to great figures of the past and even the not so distant past.
I’ve heard that one of the reasons people are drawn to study history is that they’re taught “oh: it’s so we don’t repeat the same mistakes! It’s almost as though people don’t act consciously, as though they are programmed.”

Of course the things you observe in others are the quiet observations you’re not ready to make about yourself.


 

In November, last year, I observed a spider sitting in a huge web she had built beside my mother’s front door, and thought-asked “don’t you get bored?” and she “said” “I meditate.”

Ofcourse that sounds a little silly – I didn’t hear a voice, in my graphic-novel-writing-mode, I thought a question and I thought the answer. My mother, who has influenced me greatly, grew up engaging with Performing Arts and Theatre. When you’re in that creative place you really, I think, have to develop that “empathy” quality – not only observe something, but really think about what they’re thinking, about their experience.

When I listen to Wendy Williams – a woman who earns a living by gossiping and also occasionally offering non-factual information that she sometimes (often accurately) predicts as psychics do – and I am taken back to moments where I sat with Bernie, Lisa, Suzie and her friend Dee and that super fun aspect of black culture, where women get together and discuss things very openly and offer some kind of better way of dealing.
In a meditation Lisa told me that it would be in my best interests to look at women who have treated me badly as young-elephants that don’t know better.

Elephants are matriarchal animals that all have something to contribute to any situation. Baby elephants are raised by the community.
I watched an episode of Wendy some time ago, and Lisa had a solution for a celebrity that was being discussed – and Lisa’s timing was SO perfect it was as though Wendy replied “I disagree” and then Lisa engaged with that by continuing as to why she thought what she did.
That’s something I feel like women of colour have to teach everyone – that parenting is a collaborative, community effort. Individuals exchanging a variety of life-experiences and lessons learned.

Lisa really believed that the best means of me coping with the bullshit I’ve experienced from other girls is to not-exclude them. When an elephant-girl is nasty, she said, imagine an older elephant slapping her with their trunk. Elephants stick together, whether they like each other or not.

I’ve had a lot of advice from mature women who I admire greatly – and some who I don’t admire but who still had a truth for me to reflect on and somehow filter into creating a better capacity for judgement in navigating my life experience.

Does it sound silly I’m even watching day time TV for the first time in my life? Watching women I think to be wise, in an effort to better deliberate what I should focus my efforts towards – what I should be doing with my life.

A spiritual teacher told me not to have role models, but actually I believe it’s important to have role models. But also it’s important to be able to properly judge who makes a good role model. No one has all the information. When I am focusing on writing, I focus on writers. When I am focusing on art, I focus on artists. I find a quality I respect and I try to “embody” that as I work. I guess that’s not seeking a “role model” as such, but it is a means of guidance. Thats what is so great about the internet, actually. That ease of access to the greatest minds that exist, and have existed throughout our past.

Oprah – “inspired me” to start a spiritual YouTube channel. She said she had wanted to start a spiritual TV channel and I took that as career advice… If it’s an ambition worthy of Oprah, it’s certainly something worth aiming for.
Oprah strikes me as a very honest (as honest as show business allows you to be), very strong woman with a capacity for enquiry, asking important questions – (how can you learn anything unless you learn how to verbalise what it is you want to know?) and a woman who has amassed a great success through working hard.

When I was a child I used to dream about writing stories for children. I guess to an extent I’m doing that with my current project – I’m authoring a script, making a little film and animating. Collectively and very gradually putting together work worthy of a portfolio and an attempt to define my creative identity.


Speaking of strong women… (I’m going through memories and personal inspirations… feel free to close my blog because I’m sure I’m the only person who would find this even remotely interesting.)

When I visited my Grandmother in Paraguay, she sat with me at a table full of food.. and told me to serve myself. I did! I won’t go into embarrassing details, but basically she was quite shocked at my table manners and by how much food I had put on my plate and basically told me that when you eat in public you should serve yourself tiny portions – and always leave some food for others on the serving plate –  It was so much more painful than this

A year or so after that stay at my grandmother’s – I went to a secondary school where I was taught that you should serve others before you serve yourself. Imagine how much fun that was… in a school full of girls that I loathed entirely.

After THAT I lived with Lisa, who would prepare food for everyone – and eat last. And she said matter of factly “That is what mothers do.” She told me that men like women who clean and tidy, and who can cook. I told ONE girl this at University – a girl with a mouth bigger than mine – and ALL the girls suddenly became OCD Michelin chefs. Ha. (I’m working on manifesting a life in which I have a mansion full of beautiful, overpaid OCD maids in designer French maids outfits.)

Going back to Princess Diaries for a moment..

There’s a scene where Mia walks into her Grandmother’s house and accidentally breaks stuff. When I visited my Grandmother’s home, I wanted to play with toys (for some reason I thought that 10 was too old to be playing with toys) and I hadn’t brought any. I was pretty good at improvising… my Grandma had a little hand-carved wooden sculpture collection of the Christmas “nativity”… Mary, Joseph, the three wise men and a little baby Jesus. I played with that and broke one of the figures. I think it was one of the “wise men”. I was mortified and put it all away without telling her what I had done. Actually, it still makes me feel a bit uncomfortable to think about. I can’t find the scene where she breaks one of Grandma’s decorative heirlooms but yeah, so funny.

Also this scene is funny, because my grandmother took me to a plastic surgeon to get my ears pierced. Such a psycho. Amazing. So sly. I got my ears pierced three times per ear and had platinum earrings put in. The surgeon’s name was Pancho, not Paolo. That was when I learned that I needed to get my lips done. I love silly coincidences.

And he didn’t do my hair.. Grandma took me to the mall and I spent three hours sitting in a chair having it cornrowed. Poor grandma. I must’ve looked a fright!

It’s so weird, after years of smoking weed and doing all sorts of drugs (irresponsibly might I add!) I recall that my Grandma (mother’s mother!) had a spare room but she insisted I slept in her bedroom, on her lovely bed, opposite her widescreen TV. She would insist on sleeping on the floor so she wouldn’t be woken up by the light from the TV and remove her hearing aid. It was so much fun being allowed to stay up til so early in the morning because my mother would never, ever have permitted that. Ha.
At night I would watch Card Captor Sakura …by some fantastic coincidence… this anime would air in English, and Sakura wore her brown hair in little buns on her head – just like Chun Li. Paraguay is a Spanish speaking country! I still don’t know why they were playing a children’s cartoon in English, in a Spanish speaking country, at like 3 am. I guess they couldn’t afford to have it dubbed in Spanish or something…

How hilarious is this scene!?!?!?! HOW ANIME IS HER UNIFORM!?


Although it’s what I want – it’s unlikely I’ll get work as an artist – unless I’m specifically looking to learn something I can’t learn on my own.

I think the issue with applying for work nowadays is that most of the kinds of places I’d like to apply to work at would be the kind of places that might want to see a person’s web presence. And I don’t really have one.
And then there’s “job” interviews and things like that. I’ve always performed for job interviews and jobs – I think when you’re being paid – Service is a performance. Someone has worked extremely hard for their money, and when they are spending it on eating or drinking out – whether they are buying a sandwich in a plastic tub or a club sandwich held together delicately with toothpicks, served on an antique plate – if you’re working in retail or waitressing, its important to be the kind of person that makes a person feel like their money was well spent. So, for me, jobs in service are tiring.

I’m an introvert. The most basic interaction makes me tired. Working to take care of other people is a huge responsibility on any level – and it’s an exchange of energy… and if you’re an introvert, it means that you lose energy upon interaction – and you acquire energy by spending time alone. It’s a scientifically proven fact of life… There are pros and cons to being introverted and pros and cons to being extroverted. In any case, if you are an introvert – I personally believe that you should be paid a lot more. Just for me – I look back and I know how much I was inclined to give – waitressing was never taking orders and serving food and cleaning tables – it was engaging with customers and creating connections, and really trying to make them feel special. Those interactions were a reward to me, but also, while thinking about what I wanted to write for this post, I recalled an experience when – on one Sunday I was Front of House, working at a quaint two floor cafe in Farnham. It was almost full, on this occasion – the cafe – and I was hurriedly running up and down serving too-many people for one person. Of course it was so much fun, and fantastic that the cafe was so full – but I was really pressed – trying to make everyone happy.
I remember one woman had asked for skimmed milk, an obnoxious woman – well, I thought as much when I was so pressured – she complained that I hadn’t brought up the milk she had asked for. When they were paying, she complained to my boss Elsa (Anna and Elsa, ha) that I hadn’t brought the milk. I was so so stressed out and I said “you could’ve come down to ask if it was so important” and she said something (not memorable but to the effect of demanding that I should’ve remembered – because she was SO self absorbed she couldn’t see that I hadn’t stopped moving, the cafe was FULL) and I said she was lazy. Close to tears. My boss tried to diffuse the situation by removing the milk they hadn’t been served from the bill. I remember the ending of all that differently – but essentially I came out of that looking bad – not the customer.
I know the customer is “always right”, I know that, little kids playing pretend running shops will know that – it’s one of those sayings. But I do think that it’s concerning that there is a kind of person that lacks the capacity to notice their surroundings to a minimal extent, to observe a person who is trying to keep a lot of very demanding people happy. I love jobs in service, I am not above them at all – but when working in an overstimulating environment makes me unhealthy – because of how much of myself I give – and being exposed to rude people I can’t politely excuse myself from – who lack any sort of basic empathy triggers me. Like I haven’t learned how to maintain a neutrality in those situations. It is my nature to put so much – too much – effort into trying to create a fantastic energy and experience for other people. (The experience is altogether quite different if I consider you family.)
Everyone in the cafe was chatty, laughing, smiling. And over a little jug of milk this woman could’ve easily descended the stairs to fetch herself, she ruined the atmosphere of an entire shop floor. You think that when you walk into a lovely, vibrant establishment that the energy is brought in by a customer – but it isn’t.
That’s an illusion. Energy is something that a host gives out. I ended up losing a job in a cafe that almost felt like it had been opened for me. I think I wrote about it before. The last time I ever saw my boss she cried because I was leaving. I said “Why are you crying?” and she said “because I love you.”

She was the first person who had ever been sad that I was leaving.

Some time after that Frozen came out… Anna Karina and Elsa-bee (Her name was Elsabee!) by Disney. Ha. Life is so weird.

When I was applying to various Universities – one of the courses I wanted to do was Photography. I recall sitting with a form tutor at my college, and she was looking through my personal statement and I think she enjoyed that I said I didn’t want to create photographs that depicted reality – inspired by a chat with my brother about suspending disbelief – I think I wrote about somewhere in this blog.


This is a character from Legend of Korra – called Zaheer. To me, he’s my big brother (who even also had a slit in his eyebrow at one point) …

This is Zaheer’s partner… I dressed up as her once, for a Halloween party.

I always joke that my big brother is dark Goku, ha.


OMG my mother & a lovely lady she hires to help her keep the house clean (she’s slightly less “able” than most people but my meditation makes me truly believe she will get better some day) emptied out the book shelf in my office – of her/my/my sister’s books, to be redecorated. THIS BOOK FROM MY PAST CAME INTO MY POSSESSION.

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Check out how I ruined the inside of my little period costume book.

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Back to my point – I’m commissioning DaniPandi again – for something very special. So I’m illustrating designs for that. I’m listening to these fabulous and creative personalities.

I know these are crude illustrations. (Scribbles!) But I love them. The design is called “Marie Antoinette Carnation and Lambsfeet Teacup”. Everything begins as an idea. The handle is inspired by Marie Antoinette’s initials. I don’t know if Marie Antoinette ever drank Jasmine tea, I saw her drinking it when she was portrayed by Kirsten Dunst in Sofia Coppola’s beautiful rendition and it’s also a little homage to the plant sitting in my mother’s garden – “the Syrian girl”. The Pearl is a reference to Queen Kleopatra VII. I wonder if they make edible pearls.

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