more women in dark academia please!

All the films and novels of dark academia revolves around a group of guys and maybe a girl or two who are minor characters. Dead Poet’s Society, The Goldfinch, The Secret History, Kill Your Darlings all revolve around males. The only female-led dark academia film is Mona Lisa Smile. [edit: since I wrote this post, I’ve watched a few more female-led dark academia films such as Picnic at Hanging Rock and Mary Shelley]. We need to see more women in dark academia! Not just as minor characters or the ‘girlfriend’ or ‘wife’—not that there’s anything wrong with that—but as their own people. A female in relation to the world or another female instead of a female in relation to a male. 

shot by my sister @itsyoyo703

I want to see messy-haired girls, long-haired girls or girls with wavy, chopped bobs. Crimson-stained lips or pale lips, dark eyes with a galaxy of secrets swimming in the pool of iris. Anxiously hammering away on typewriters at odd hours of the night. Crinkled bed sheets. Candle-lit rooms. Silky nightgowns. Fluttering, coffee-stained pages fluttering around, dog eared manuscripts of Grecian tragedies, anxious lip bites and ink-stained fingertips. Reading French poetry, Sappho, and worshipping Aphrodite. 

Girls of all ethnicities, sexual orientations, body types, you name it! Dark academia is seriously lacking in diversity. But then again Toni Morrison said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” So maybe one day I will. Maybe one day all the random sentences I’ve strung together that are scattered among my various notebooks will finally come together into a realized plot line for me to develop. Maybe one day I just might publish a dark academia book featuring women who are not all rich and skinny. 

I usually read about mental health and a lot of obscure, dark academia topics because I love esoteric things, but with all that’s going on in the world now, I’ve undertaken to learn more about topics like racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and world hunger because as an artist, how can I not reflect what’s going on in the world? Visit dosomething.org to start making a change for a better future. Perhaps this is the start of my journey to becoming the author of a dark academia novel that is rich in representation…..

@didi.aphra

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A Pocket Of Space I Alone Can Go

I’m having trouble catching my breath; my lungs are stuck, the air feels solid. What does it mean to be alive? I don’t know where I am. I don’t know when I am. How come air finds its way to the figures around me but avoids me like I am Death? Am I not welcoming enough? Am I not a homing beacon calling out its name? Time swims by me deft and swift, mocking the drowsy drag of my consciousness. Time’s smooth fins brush my limbs and watch me crumble from within. I know the tide is here again when I’m crying at 1 a.m. The angry aegean waves crash upon the graphite rocks and I begin to porpoise, unleashing tears as I rise above, releasing air as I submerge. Thunder cracks and the light is lost. I don’t know whether I’ll ever find it again.

Some evil twin sister of Air clenches at my lungs making me convulse with helpless howls. Once in a while this is what it means to ‘sit in my feelings’. I soak in my Pain Soup and I prefer to do it alone, to lick my wounds in the dark until my skin shrivels up and my bones calcify.

And in the morning I endure it all again.

My mind takes a backseat and my body goes through my routine as I watch. I am nothing but a spectator seeking for a port in a storm. A voice echoes through my head, Remember? Remember what?

Then I remember.

I have done this all before. Indeed there is a sanctum waiting for me somewhere deep inside of me. I go to a safe space and open up a portal. I fall through weightless, transcending. Beyond lies a place levels above the physical plane. Sometimes I travel there alone, other times I am guided by a voice. In the harbor I am reminded of earthly beauties—roses, pearls, turquoise waters, sunlight, seagulls, the sea breeze—and the power I behold; I am free. Air ever so gently carries breath back into my lungs allowing soft and slow inhales and exhales to travel through my body. The tide recedes, but not before the flow emanates one last time when a sentient celestial being lifts the ball of murky tar Anxiety from my hands and all I can feel is desperate relief.

The soothing voice deposits me back into the ordinary world once more but I feel no tension. Now I feel light. My energy is renewed and my spirit is illuminated with passion. I am aware of the strength I possess and the haven that exists in a pocket of space I alone can go.

This post was inspired by an anxiety relief meditation that helped me through the past few months: https://youtu.be/8_jcEpwKQXc

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Holding Hands With My Wailing Ghost

finding the raw, naked truth
finding my raw truth@didi.aphra

I strived to know myself as deeply as possible but for the longest time that did not involve my darker side.

I’m proud of myself. Proud for finally feeling like I have agency. With each bout of melancholy I experience, I examine my childhood with newfound pain: for as long as I can remember my mindset was that my opinions don’t matter because whatever I have to say, someone else has said or thought of it already. I thought I was too slow and too stupid. And because of my relentlessly introspective nature, I consistently find myself inspecting the ways in which I am shaped by my childhood. I strived to know myself as deeply as possible but for the longest time that did not involve my darker side. 

"I am a lover without a lover, I am lovely and lonely and I belong deeply to myself."
–Warsan Shire

Quiet people have the loudest minds. Sometimes it feels like I am drowning in my thoughts because I’m so “in my head.” But other times it propels me forward seemingly to someplace lightyears ahead. I feel like I’m a completely different person every couple months; sitting at my desk brewing thoughts in my head. It radiates outwards in a frequency that some people read as a “quiet power,” at least that’s what my middle school social studies teacher said (so is the gist of Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking). I am beginning to understand my own self worth. My opinions do matter. I have power to create and I have a right to express. I don’t feel gifted in the art of expression even though my thoughts and ideas ceaselessly bubble right under the surface, dying to burst out.

via Vicky Christina Barcelona

Safety is the embrace in which the petals of vulnerability may begin to bloom. But I couldn’t find a willing embrace to prosper in, so I turned inward to learn how to be intimate and vulnerable with myself. For the longest time the road was rocky, I judged myself for tiny things, and even for feeling things deeply. In my journal I write, “…the wailing ghost in me, she cries and cries. once upon a time i tried to seize her to choke her to silence her to abscond from her. i couldn’t bear the sight of her. presently i hold hands with her.” 

Piece by piece, I learned to love that raw side of myself. To treat it like a baby who needs love and affection instead of lashing out at it, to treat it how we would treat a younger version of ourselves. We need to soothe ourselves how we would soothe a beloved friend instead of ignoring or numbing our pain. I used to dread my melancholy days but now I acknowledge them as a necessary part of myself because the good doesn’t exist without the bad. It was through exploring the deepest, darkest parts of myself that I learned how to be intimate. After all, “intimacy” = “into-me-see”. It sounds obvious when I say it like that since we’ve probably all heard that hardship strengthens bonds, that “trauma is a bonding experience”. I bonded with my own hurt and nurtured my own love instead of looking outward for affection that would have ultimately ended up hurting me.

“…the wailing ghost in me, she cries and cries. once upon a time i tried to seize her to choke her to silence her to abscond from her. i couldn’t bear the sight of her. presently i hold hands with her.”

Connecting with myself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically allowed me to truly understand how much self respect translates through all my actions. That respect and value you have of yourself—that energy radiates through everything you do and if you are intentional with it, you will be able to receive that energy back from the world and the people around you. With this new sense of self worth, I feel for the first time that what I say and the art I create makes a difference—maybe not for everyone, but—for the people who are going through the same things I went through or am still going through, and that’s enough for me. 

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De-Vilifying Heathcliff

This post is written by guest writer, Rachel Stogner. I found Rachel on Instagram (@caffeaulait) a couple months ago and fell in love with the photos she shares. One can always find the most thoughtful book reviews and/or literary analyses in her captions. I love the Wuthering Heights novel so when I saw that Rachel wrote a review for it, I asked her to write one for my blog.

Literature is often at the mercy of film. The first screen adaptation of a book provides not only the visual blueprint for future adaptations, but also the cultural shorthand for the source text. Popular memory remembers Frankenstein’s animation of his monster with lightning and a sewn-together corpse, as depicted in the 1931 film. The novel includes none of this — the creature comes alive in a vat of chemicals, and is fully formed, not made from stolen body parts. These textual differences didn’t occur to me, even after reading Frankenstein twice, until a professor pointed them out. The popular memory overcame Shelley’s vision, the description vague enough to ignore the discrepancies and pave over with my own preconceptions. 

Frankenstein’s alterations came about due to changes in technology, a natural progression for sci-fi. The theories that had inspired Shelley — Erasmus Darwin’s spontaneous generation and Galvani’s electrical stimulation of twitching frog legs — evolved into the early patchwork reconstructive surgery of World War I veterans and primitive electroshock therapy. However, not all narrative changes occur so seamlessly, as any Percy Jackson or Eragon fan can attest. 

The Heathcliff of the screen is largely a brooding, spurned man, fueled by rejection due to class, and driven mad by the ghost of his lover, but relatively harmless — he is largely redeemable, sympathetic, a familiar Gothic hero.

When it came to Wuthering Heights, “the greatest love story ever told,” the difference between the novel and its many adaptations left me horrified. The popular interpretations edit out spousal and animal abuse, rape, murder, and racism, in favor of a more easily swallowed love triangle and star-crossed lovers separated by classism. Heathcliff does not hang his kidnapped wife’s dog and then (presumably) rape her, nor does he force his deceased lover’s daughter to marry his insufferable, dying son. The Heathcliff of the screen is largely a brooding, spurned man, fueled by rejection due to class, and driven mad by the ghost of his lover, but relatively harmless — he is largely redeemable, sympathetic, a familiar Gothic hero.

Their adolescent passion is no longer “half-savage and hardy, and free,” two teenagers hiding away in the hills, but conventional and sweet, a young girl with an armful of white flowers.

Of the fourteen film adaptations of Wuthering Heights, none have been so impactful in the reshaping of our understanding of the story than the 1939 version. The film is relatively faithful to the first half of the novel’s events, although it is condensed to remove the second half of the story and the second generation of characters. This leaves out most of Heathcliff’s cruelest actions, by removing the largely innocent child characters. His manipulation and abuse of Isabella is reduced to being a disloyal, cold husband. Few of his other unsavory actions, from his misogyny (“sl*t” was a favorite insult) to his abuse, make it to screen. Even the love story, famed for its monstrous passion, is declawed. When Heathcliff and Catherine are having a blossoming romance on the moors, it is not the fierce, untamed wild that appeals to them, but the blooming heather. Their adolescent passion is no longer “half-savage and hardy, and free,” two teenagers hiding away in the hills, but conventional and sweet, a young girl with an armful of white flowers.

wuthering heighs movie poster

Not only would portraying an interracial relationship have caused a scandal……it would also would have recalled the racist stereotypes of non-white people and violence, passion, and sex, not to mention blatant hatred, that would make even a toned-down Heathcliff unsympathetic to a white audience steeped in the Jim Crow era.

Heathcliff’s actions were not the only thing that had to be smoothed out to make him palatable to a 1939 film audience. They had to strip away his quintessential “otherness” as well, to take his character from “a man’s shape animated by demon life – a Ghoul – an Afreet” to a redeemable gothic villain. Although villains often are portrayed by minorities, a pattern established by Hays Code censorship and Gothic xenophobia, the 1939 film ignored his undetermined mixed heritage (Heathcliff is described as Romani (“g*psy”), Southeast Asian [“Lascar”], American, Spanish, Chinese, Indian, and “black,”), opting to cast an Anglo-Saxon Englishman. Not only would portraying an interracial relationship have caused a scandal (if it would have been permitted to be filmed in the first place), it would also would have recalled the racist stereotypes of non-white people and violence, passion, and sex, not to mention blatant hatred, that would make even a toned-down Heathcliff unsympathetic to a white audience steeped in the Jim Crow era. Although, even now, most “redeemable” and “irredeemable” villains follow this racialized dichotomous trope. 

The film does not completely ignore the fact that Heathcliff is not of the English gentry; the phrase “g*psy beggar” is liberally used as an insult, although the actor portraying him, Laurence Olivier, is an Anglo-Saxon Englishman through and through. Visually, he is no different than the rest of the cast. (Ironically, Catherine, played by Merle Oberon, was the only non-English, non-white actor.) Instead, the term denotes more about class than ethnicity. In 1939, the white American audience was likely much more comfortable with discussions of classism than racism. Class fluidity was an acceptable brush with nonconformity, a comfortable social evil. It wasn’t until 2011, 13 films later, that a person of color portrayed Heathcliff, after generations of white, straight, cisgender obsessive, moody bad boys dominated the screen. This was not necessarily a return to the text; the plot is largely lifted from the 1939 film, and race became less an object of the film’s concern, more that of critics’ reactions. 

We become an audience of Isabellas, looking for the Gothic hero in Heathcliff where there is only cruelty and obsession.

Despite being published nearly a century before the first film adaptation in 1920 (a film now considered lost media), the novel Wuthering Heights seems to have lost its grip on the public imagination. Perhaps it is the accessibility of the film that made it stick. Reading a 400-page novel is not quite as attractive as sitting down for an hour and a half. Or, maybe it is simply more appealing to our sensibilities — just like stuffy Victorian critics, we would prefer Wuthering Heights to be a little less harsh. We become an audience of Isabellas, looking for the Gothic hero iDespite being published nearly a century before the first film adaptation in 1920 (a film now considered lost media), the novel Wuthering Heights seems to have lost its grip on the public imagination. Perhaps it is the accessibility of the film that made it stick. Reading a 400-page novel is not quite as attractive as sitting down for an hour and a half. Or, maybe it is simply more appealing to our sensibilities — just like stuffy Victorian critics, we would prefer Wuthering Heights to be a little less harsh, a little less subversive. We become an audience of Isabellas, looking for the Gothic hero in Heathcliff where there is only cruelty and obsession. We can find that in the adaptation: a man consumed by passion, but accessible, redeemable, not challenging our expectations or tastes or desires. We want the flowers of the moors, but none of its wildness, and the films give us just that. 

you can find Rachel on Instagram @caffeaulait

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lonely soliloquy- issue no. 1

‘lonely soliloquy’ is a series on my blog where I share a little piece of what’s been on my mind. It’s rather like taking a peek into my personal diary. Formats could range anywhere from a short paragraph resulting from a turbulent emotional vent typed out in a stream of consciousness, an amorous aspiration in a lengthy poem, a couple of songs depicting my current mood, etc.

I enjoy getting to know people. but I’ve never been good at building relationships. A lot of the time there’s stagnancy after the initial excitement. I don’t know how to converse anymore, I don’t know what to say. I guess I like listening to people tell their story because I find myself boring compared to others. I find it hard to believe that people actually like me, I feel like I’m an annoyance to them, just another person they need to please. But the truth is I always want to get to know people, even if they’re somebody I’ve known for a long time. We are ever-changing, ever-growing, and we never stop learning until we die. These days there’s such an accelerated transformation inside of my mind that I feel if I go too long without writing in my diary I’ll lose my sense of self. The inside of my head is crowded and messy, only through writing can I process the pile of emotions and put those thought-and-feelings-books back on their shelves. It’s through reading my old diary entries that I analyze the source of my emotions. A lot of the time I feel confused. I don’t know where I’m going, who I’ll end up being. All I can do is try to become the kindest, best version of myself. It’s important to allow others the freedom and space to become their best self too, otherwise you’ll end up deceived by your own perception of them that you chained up in your imaginary prison.

for all the lonely girls who dream of stranger worlds

love, Didi Aphra

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Jonna Urpilainen on the “Essence of Nonsense”

I’m delighted to announce that this post is written by Jonna Urpilainen, the first guest writer on Didi Aphra!

via @jonnaurpilainen

Do you remember the essence of nonsense?

The sand feels warm under my belly as i watch sailboats getting smaller and smaller and disappearing to the sea. It looks as if the setting sun is eating them up like a hungry lover. Once again i finished a book about something that takes too many words to describe and still we don’t quite grasp it. Isn’t that the most human thing? Feel and feel and wallow in our feelings while not knowing how to put it? I look to my right. You’ve fallen asleep. And i whisper to you long list of words that wouldn’t make sense to anyone else. You mourn half awake asking why i keep casting my poetic spells on you. But i stay quiet. Sea hums sleepy and distracted. It’s getting colder.

via @jonnaurpilainen

The vinyl player rattles as i’m finally home. Just me and my canvas. Cherry wine feels too poetic yet i drink it. The smell of salty sea water is stuck to my curls. I remember so many voices telling me who i am. ”You should see me now! This is who i am!” I yell laughing until the wave of melancholia shatters the room. If only you could hear it. The vinyl stops playing the clock stops ticking the paint suddenly gets dry and wine splatters all over. The window closes itself. I fall down through satin sheets. But i can’t sleep. I land in a place i call the essence of nonsense. You see, i go there quite often.

some nights i don’t sleep.  some nights I ramble through the stream of consciousness:

we can have millions and millions of different types of emotions and feelings and needs and yearnings and it makes me so confused.

i can feel the yet untold stories of all these chances we come across in life. and i recognize how little time we have on this planet. it feels daunting!

how can you choose where to go, who to follow. and why can’t we just say it out loud: ”this is how i feel about you. there’s no specific words but you make me feel like apricot yellow and dark musk and damp concrete shimmering in the golden hour after rain and first leaves of the planted corn and the night before midsummer fest.” why is everything so encrypted. as if there were only a few simple ways our auras merge.

there are too many fragmented connections in this world only because we lack the specific words to say what we truly feel. and that’s what keeps me up at night.

via @jonnaurpilainen
via @jonnaurpilainen
via @jonnaurpilainen

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What Will Become Of Society After COVID-19?

disclaimer: I know this is only a small peek to the possibilities and that there is likely to be an economic recession but this post is focusing on the positive and is perhaps bathed in my nostalgic biases so please take this post light-heartedly as it is just a chaotic whirl of my thoughts written down in an airy manner.

Will the post-quarantine age bring in the new Roaring Twenties? A revival of the Renaissance era? 

took this on a walk 🙂

I’ve read a couple articles on what life will be like after quarantine and not even the experts seem to know. Throughout history we have had tendencies to “forget” difficult times, or rather “escape” from them (more on that later). I’m having a difficult enough time remembering what I did yesterday, let alone one month ago. All I remember is an overall blurry mood of bleariness and boredom with some occasional bursts of creativity, so what will I think of these past couple of months when I look back two years or even twenty years from now? 

When the outbreak initially happened, all I could think of was what I learned about the Black Death during middle school: thousands of Europeans dying from this incurable disease that left its victims dying slowly in agony. Then I thought what if this is how the apocalypse begins and we all die slowly from the coronavirus ohmygodwhatevenisthepointanymore while playing Wasteland, Baby! by Hozier on repeat except I wasn’t falling in love with anyone while the world was ending

When I said I wanted the new decade to be like the Roaring Twenties, THIS IS NOT WHAT I MEANT!

Turns out there is an indirect correlation to the Black Death because what came after it was a greatly enlightened era of art, leisure, philosophy, and creativity which we call the Renaissance. People created every form of art — music, paintings, sculptures, etc. The era produced the greatest artists, thinkers, and scientists (can you tell that the Renaissance was my favorite topic in social studies?)

There’s a lot of debate over how the Roaring Twenties came about since there was WWI and also the 1918 influenza. Regardless of which one was the cause, they both prove that society tends to loosen up after hard times. The 1920s were a time of sexual freedom and speakeasies [read: lots of alcohol]. 

http://www.zsazsabellagio.com/isnt-it-glamorous/#.XfYaZ70o8lR

Ohmygod- w..will drive-in movie theaters come back because of our need to social distance?!

vintage drive-in movie theater

Will we as a society pretend like nothing happened and go back to normal as soon as possible? Or will the playing field finally be leveled for socially anxious people? Share your thoughts in the comments, let us discuss!

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What A Difference A Day Makes

🎶what a difference a day makes

       twenty four little hours 🎶

“Slumber” by Ron Hicks, 2011

– 3 moons ago –

My circadian rhythm has scrambled out of beat like an old grandfather clock. I try my best to keep it in check but it’s getting harder to get out of bed in the morning. Those faraway lands that I escape to late at night through scrupulous words classify as one of the few things that make me forget I am a being with a physical form who is bound to suffering by means of space and time. Furthermore, I seem invariably prone to have the worst room in Hotel Sleep reserved just for me each night. I seldom get high quality sleep, in fact, I don’t even know what that is anymore. As a result the time at which I arise from bed has gotten later. Chirped have the birds, risen has the sun, brewds beend the coffee the coffee has been brewed. 

I drift through my routine mindlessly, inwardly disappointed that I’m only getting up almost half way through the day. I hate waking up late because then I have to deal with people who are already up and crowding my personal space. I’m very claustrophobic in the sense that I need my alone time. I need the freedom of doing things my way and all hell shall break loose on whomever thinks they can tell me what to do. It’s 11:30 a.m. by the time I finish breakfast and by the time I finish my work it’s almost 3:00 p.m. Most days when I wake up late I don’t even have the motivation to get through studying and writing. I end up just reading, watching a movie, or catching up on social media.

liv tyler picking flowers
Stealing Beauty (1996) dir. Bernardo Bertolucci

present day –

My alarm sounds at precisely 7:30 a.m.

[dream scene] [thinking alarm sound is something else in my dream]  The sound of soft piano gradually swelling in volume finally registers and my eyes open. Sunlight, check. Beige duvet covers, check. The note on my moodboard telling me to TAKE EARTH BY THE BALLS AND DO WHAT YOU WANT, check. Great, I’m still on Earth. 

Getting out of bed soon after waking up is important to me because it makes me feel more motivated to be productive. Something that has been helping my body wake up no matter how tired I am is meditation. I like to use the Calm app and set a timer to five minutes of the breathing exercise. Sitting at home all day is taking a toll on my muscles so I stretch and do a simple morning yoga flow.

I’m not exactly a morning person but I do love waking up early and the feeling of endless possibilities of a new day. My favorite thing, though, is that I have the mornings to myself and can go unbothered by other humans for at least two hours. Mornings are my sanctuary. Avocados are key to having a great day, so I smash one cathartically with my fork onto pita bread, add dollops of tahini, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle on an assortment of black pepper, chili pepper, and pink Himalayan salt. After breakfast I get ready for the day (hair, makeup) so I look less like a zombie (if only our local love bitch Aphrodite could give me a quick fix). 

avocado toast
smashed avocado on pita bread

In my mind swirls images of Greek nymphs, Elysiums, Aphrodite’s soft curves, bacchanals, moon glow musings, rosariums, a spill of stars across the galaxy, centuries-old bibliotheques filled with millennia of knowledge and philosophia. I take in teachings of creative writing while listening to one of the ASMR ambience videos by Miracle Forest, and dream of life as a freelance writer sitting in a cafe, fingers flying across the keyboard: 

“.…fair-faced Victorian men and women……..candle-lit Gothic mansions draped with velvet curtains and crystal chandeliers illuminating a mahogany staircase leading to a hallway of haunted chambers…..Crimson stained wineglasses and unwashed coffee cups litter the floor. Sitting in front of a fireplace, a shutter frame of a girl with eyes not sad but make one sad. Melancholic. Rosy wounds. Fallen petals. Whiskey glass in hand………In the dreamy light of dawn her feminine lover kisses her awake, reciting Shakespearean sonnets in airy whispers. Seduced by her amorous aura, they indulge in erotic affairs…..”

image via Pinterest

Getting a head start on the day always makes a big difference on how motivated and focused I am towards my work/studies. It’s so tempting sometimes to stay in bed but you have to just get up and start your routine. I get sad when I have nothing to do because I start thinking too much so it’s important for me to always have something to do without burning myself out. My tips are to write down your top three goals for the day in the morning, stop working when it’s lunchtime instead of continuing to work while you eat, drink lots of water. It’s important to take breaks and not sit for hours to avoid burnout. I typically finish working or taking online classes by lunch time or a little bit after lunch and reserve the early afternoon for doing something creative like drawing, writing, mood boarding, or reading, and the late after noon for working out, doing some more yoga, or watching a movie. I don’t let myself do a lot of “heavy” work after dinner because that stresses me out too much so I just read or occasionally write; sometimes the night time can feel magically inspirational.

But with all that’s said and done, the most important thing is to take care of yourself and to listen to your body. I know about those days when you feel hopeless and want to do nothing at all because nothing matters to you, trust me, I know. So when those days come, don’t feel guilty doing nothing, don’t feel guilty because you needed a self care day, don’t feel guilty for watching TV shows all day. But don’t run away from those feelings either, do what you have to do (make playlists, journal) and sit with those feelings. Remind yourself that good days will come soon ❤

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Films I’ve Watched During Quarantine

I’ve been in quarantine since January 24 here in Shanghai and as a movie lover like many of you are, I’ve watched so many movies! I wrote a mini-review for each since I didn’t want it to be too long with the amount of movies there are in this list. I also linked the trailer to each film so you can see if you want to watch it! The ones marked with a ‘✦’ means I rewatched it, the ones marked with a ‘★’ means I liked it a lot 🙂

01.30 10 Things I Hate About You — Tia @tia.elzbth said this is one of her favorites so I watched it and I love Kat, I really identify with her. 

02.01 Tangled ✦  — all I have to say is EUGENE FITZHERBERT!

02.03 The Last Full Measure —  a moving film about the veterans of the Vietnam War fighting for one of their fallen soldiers’ recognition to receive the Medal of Honor for his service and actions on the battlefield.

02.04 Lady and the Tramp —  I only watched this because Lady is really cute and I’ve only ever seen pictures of the spaghetti scene

02.09 The Dreamers ✦ ★ —  people either love this film or are repulsed by it. It’s wildly controversial and “weird” but that’s why I like it.

02.11 Moonrise Kingdom —  the aesthetic is of course very Wes Anderson of Wes Anderson but it’s not my favorite film of his.

02.13 Logan Lucky —  a comedy heist film. Adam Driver’s Southern accent cracks me up. 

02.17 Jojo Rabbit —  not at all what I expected it to be. Well actually I didn’t know what to expect at all given that it was a comedy film about the Nazi era and that it was directed by Taika Waititi. I was pleasantly surprised, it was very heartwarming and contains a valuable lesson about continuing on even when life gets hard. 

02.22 Captain America: The Winter Soldier ✦ ★ —  this was probably the 15th time I watched it hahaha need I say more? My comfort slash make-me-sad movie.

02.24 Avengers Infinity War ✦ —  missed them, okay? And it’s better than Endgame I said what I said. I will not elaborate, my fellow Twitter stans understand.

02.25 The Outsiders ✦ —  Ponyboy is precious we must protect him at all costs. Sodapop’s cute tho. I remember watching this in English class in eighth grade after we read the book lmao.

03.06 Moonlight —  an important coming-of-age film.

03.06 Birds of Prey ★ —  I’m a slut for all of them ahahahH. WE NEED MORE FILMS LIKE THIS!

03.07 Parasite —  I know this is a great film about social class, I know, but I personally didn’t enjoy it because it made me too sad and uncomfortable 😦

03.19 The Shape of Water — what a film, Benicio del Toro! love wins in the end if you believe in it and are true to yourself.

03.20 Spellbound —  I love that the female lead in this 40s film (Ingrid Bergman) is portrayed as a smart, self-sufficient woman unlike the way women were usually portrayed back then.

03.21 Ready Or Not —  a scary-fun film to escape into. Samara Weaving is a delight to watch as she navigates not-dying in this Gothic mansion of crazy in-laws. 

03.28 Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker — finnpoe should be canon Disney are cowards!

03.31 The Fifth Element —  I remember seeing the scene where Leeloo first comes to life on TV when I was six and being utterly terrified because I didn’t know what was happening. But then I saw Gillian @gillian.stam recommend this film on her story so I watched it! Like watching any other old film, there’s always something problematic with sexism or something else but other than that I loved that it was set in the 23rd century in New York City in a race against time to save humanity.

04.05 Fight Club —  there’s something really unique about this film and it being released in 1999 makes it one of the first films to delve into a main character with Dissociative Identity Disorder (I think?? I have no idea lol). I can definitely see the influences that this film has on Mr. Robot, which is a TV series created and directed by Sam Esmail.

04.07 The Apartment —  “that’s the way it crumbles, cookie-wise” 

04.08 Mona Lisa Smile —  Julia Roberts as a young art professor in a traditionalist, conservative New England university pushing boundaries and rebelling? yes I stan. I’ll admit I wasn’t fully satisfied but it’s the only female ensemble dark academia movie that I know of (please let me know if you know any that are good,  p l e a s e).

04.10 Léon the Professional —  Natalie Portman wow. Of course there are elements of this film that are slightly off but Portman’s performance was amazing to say the least.

04.11 Stealing Beauty ★ —  Yay I found a new favorite film!! If you’re looking for a 90s film with a perfect Summer aesthetic, this is the one. Bertolucci makes yet another case for a voyeuristic, erotic film. But besides that, I love seeing the relationship between Lucy (Liv Tyler) and Alex (Jeremy Irons) as a safe, father figure type of relationship that’s bittersweet and wholesome. 

04.19 Endings, Beginnings ★ —  I’ve been looking forward to this film for nine months and, well, I can’t complain. It’s about a woman in her thirties navigating life, making choices based off her unresolved childhood trauma, and finally learning to put herself first and love herself. Also, Sebastian Stan. 

04.25 Gilda —  I love black and white films but I have to say I did not enjoy the slightly misogynistic tone of this film at all.

04.26 Endings, Beginnings *again* ✦

04.28 Kill Your Darlings —  based on a real story of Beat poets in the 40s about poetry, banned books, sneaking into libraries to release said banned books, sex, murder, a longing for love, this is about as dark academia as it gets! 

04.30 Little Women —  love love love! Greta Gerwig deserves recognition! I laughed, I cried. Jo (Saoirse Ronan)’s speech about women having souls– *cries in women*

05.06 And Then We Danced ★ —  an extremely raw and beautiful foreign coming-of-age film. This independent film puts a spotlight on the gay community in Georgia against a backdrop of Georgian traditional dance and culture in a touching wayl. I love films that make you feel like you’re hanging out with the characters and seeing them have conversations– films about people, not plot– and this is definitely one of them. 

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Desire Is My Engine Of Creation

I had grown accustomed to being somebody that I thought I was supposed to be and it’s taken me a while to find myself again. I like to do things now that I never even thought to do because it wasn’t “for me.” Growing up, people have always described me as ‘creative’ and ‘artsy’ and even though I saw myself that way to some extent, I didn’t feel right categorizing myself that way. I would frequently find that people around me were way more creative than me. I’m still trying to find something that I feel I do better than most people I know.

In the past couple of months I’ve grown increasingly self-expressive. It’s as if I’ve finally found a way to express myself that is fully “me” and not in a way that I’ve always felt I had to express myself.

It takes a lot for something to excite me so I use that as a measuring tool for gauging if something is right for me, if it’ll be rewarding for me. I’m meant to be as free as I can be on a visceral level and I’m done trying to live someone else’s life. I’m here to live my own life. To strive for what makes me the most fulfilled and enriched, not in a material way but a spiritual and emotional way. There’s always been a part of myself that I thought I had to hide or I just didn’t feel right in expressing. 

I’ve always felt like an outsider, like I don’t belong but in recent years I’ve come to realize how much of a good thing that is and have been able to play that to my strength. My interests are not ‘traditional’ or ‘conventional’, I like to do my own thing and I’ve learned to tune in to that. I’ve been called ‘weird’ and ‘different’ more times than I can count and when I did used to feed into that, I got upset and would lock my feelings away (a lot of the time without even realizing it) to the point that I didn’t know myself emotionally anymore.

It took a long period of time to find my way back and get in tune with myself—years later, really, that I had to uncover those emotions I tucked away and accept them without judgement. I got experimental as I mentioned before, by truly expressing myself the way I want. Experimental by means of learning everything I can about the things I’m passionate about and finding what makes me feel alive, what turns me on. I’m not going to change myself or model myself after the status quo, I’m on the journey to become my unique self. 

I could not have written this post without reading The Pattern, which is an app that helps you learn a lot about yourself and others. All you need is to enter your birth date, birth time, and location of birth. I truly recommend this app even if you’re not into astrology and just want to know more about yourself. It’s freakishly accurate and it’s kind of like therapy. 

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