Thursday 19 September 2013

A9: S2 - Aesthetics

Strangers are very important to me.

The idea that are countless billions of people, thousands of which that may cross your line of vision on any one day, that have lives, careers, families, hobbies, secrets, pet hates and favourite things, is a head-achingly bombastic thing to contemplate.

The beauty of the strange, is the complete ambiguous nonsense of it all.

You genuinely have not a single preconception about the life of that person who you accidentally catch eyes with. The person behind you in the queue for the cinema. The person who you utter an unheard 'Sorry' to as your shoulder accidentally smacks against there's, knocking you both one inch of a step out of your paths, the course of both of your lives now irrevocably altered for the rest of your days, by just that one inch of step, yet you're remain both barely aware it ever even happened.

You know...nothing.

In fact, not even that, as I guess 'nothing' can still be considered as a thing you know.

In the context of each person you set eyes upon in the course of your life, you are suspended in a state of complete non-knowledge.


And if you sit down and really let yourself think about that for a moment, a sickening sense of universal ignorance will hit you like a sledgehammer, accompanied by a ravaging curiosity that will all but consume you if you dwell in it for too long.

Sometimes, in pensive moods it genuinely makes me want to howl in despair that I will never know the stories of everyone in the world. That it is a genuine impossibility to look every single person on earth in the eye, even for a fleeting nanosecond, before the end of my days.

But I try not to think about that too much.

I guess the first assumptions that we can make about a person when we first see them, the very initial frame on which our minds can begin to build a hypothetical idea of the type of person they are and the kind of life they lead, is exactly that - what we see.

And that's why people who feign depth in saying 'It's not about looks' and 'It was love at first sight' are just as equal bullshitters as one another.

Vision is a sense - understanding is not.

It takes less than a second for our senses to provide us with the immediate information about any given situation, entity or thing. You don't have to talk to someone to know what they look like. You don't need them to talk either. In fact, you don't even need to speak the same language, or even be able to talk at all, to know what someone looks like. (This is of course, with the exception of those without the ability to see.)

And so our very first assumptions and all subsequent ponderings and mental supposings, entirely stem from that initial instantaneous information of what a person looks like.

A strangers appearance is the earthy soil in which our curiosities begin to take root, and if we indulge, can flourish into all manners of hypothetical characters, and can even be the deal-breaker of whether you chose to shatter all your imaginatively cultivated ideas and actually speak to them, or stay silently where you are from your secret viewpoint,  letting the unknowner slip away, leaving your assumptions neither right or wrong, forever ambiguous.

I guess for that reason, my appearance is equally very important to me.

The curiosity of what other people think of me is a plague which is never absent from my mind. And mostly because I don't think I've ever been able to get it right.

People just love to gallantly stake the bold claim of 'I don't care what people think of me!' which personally I think is a mix of pseudo-confidence, delusion and downright lies, drizzled with a subjective sloshing of 'Oh how I envy you so'.

Because of bloody course people care what other people think of them. I can't think of a single person who can't have done.

The radical new-age hipster who wears what the fuck she wants and doesn't care for society or bodily hygiene, still cares what the critics think of her latest art installation. The ruthless HR manager who revels in terminating the contracts of his less-than-lacklustre colleagues still spends hours carefully preening his online dating profile. The latest Hollywood 'thing' who balances stripping naked and gyrating on a piece of an industrial construction equipment between instagramming herself taking bong hits and telling her 'haters' where to stick it, is still going to be constantly in fear of the day the press will finally get bored of her and move on to something else more scandalous.

Because really, true don't-give-a-fuck-ness is a thing of urban legend. It simply does not exist.

Deep down, whether you want to admit it or not, everyone gives a fuck about at least what one person thinks of them. It's human nature.

And this causes people to realise that they can make certain decisions in life, make personal choices that will alter the way people think of them.

Not all things can be controlled, but one of the things that can be, which just so happens to be the very origin of what every person you meet will base all their first assumptions of you on, is your appearance.

Now I know you can't change things about your appearance like your race or bone structure, and I'm not talking about plastic surgery or drastic cosmetic procedures - it's simpler than that. The clothes you choose to wear. The piercings and tattoos you many choose to have. The colour and style in which you choose to have your hair.

All these things are choices that we choose to make, and what we choose is driven by the supposed impression we want to give out to other people.

We tailor certain aspects of our appearance in accordance to the people that we want to be perceived as, to in turn manipulate the thoughts of those who see us, whether they be friends, foes or strangers.

"First impressions are cheap auditions, situations are long goodbyes."

Scissor Sisters - Intermission

And lately, after interning for eight weeks in a fashion office, I guess I have become painfully aware that I have no style whatsoever. I don't get fashion. I don't understand clothes. I know how to make myself look good, sure, but there is by no means any semblance of consistency.

And that incredibly frustrates me because inside I believe I've figured out exactly what I'm about and have it all together, yet on the outside I'm a shambolic mess.  

I often think that if the same person were to see me on the tube two days in a row, they'd never guess that I was the same person. Every single day I throw together something that I know is 'stylish' and that people in magazines wear and look nice, but in a haphazard and slapdash way that I think makes it clear that I really have no idea what I'm actually doing. 

And don't be fooled into thinking that this ends up in a cute and quirky style niche. It feels like every day I'm in fancy dress, dressing up as different person each morning, testing each one to see if it's 'me'. Hell if I were an outsider looking at me, I would be the first to call 'Phony!', 'Wannabe!', and 'Whyareyouwearingthatthough?!' 

Then that leaves me frustrated for three reasons. 

1. I have no idea what my 'style' is or how to go about getting one, and it would be rather nice to actually feel like me and not a massive fraudulent fallice in whatever I do end up wearing.

2. By not being able to figure out who I am on the outside, makes me seriously question the security of which I feel I truly know myself on the inside.

3. But really, most importantly, WHY IN GODS NAME DOES IT REALLY MATTER?

Bloody hell, of all of the matters across all space and time, am I really getting all in a tizzy and throwing a hissy fit because I have nothing to wear? Jesus woman.

In the words of an anonymous who left me a message on my Tumblr the other day:

" I must say it does seem almost alien that someone so drenched in fantasy as yourself would be concerned with such stereotypical things - but after all, you're human. It would be a shame to see such a colorful mind doubtful of the body it was in. "

So I guess I have to just fuck it, don't I?

 I shall continue to muddle my way through life, living in day-to-day fancy dress, trying to figure out who I actually am, what to wear, and why I really care that much, and maybe one day I'll wake up and discover that, by gum, in conjunction with all the other silly unresolutions of my life, somewhere along the line, I appear to have accidentally figured it all out.

That's a nice thought to look forward to.

Until then,