comfort in chaos

On not being a tortured artist and learning to love the inherent messiness of me. 

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It’s so easy to romanticise a concept you’re removed from. For instance: when you completely idolise a person, or your idea of a person, only to finally, after years of fantasising about how warm and god-like they’ll be, meet them and realise they’re a total prat. The mystifying illusion is then shattered and you’re slightly bitter, but will eventually be okay without your fabricated hero. 

When I was 16, my idols were some truly troubled people. Teenage angst is a complex and involved rollercoaster of emotions. It does questionable things to those poor little almost-adults. To me, it seemed that all of the great creative minds suffered with some form of demon: Sylvia Plath, Kurt Cobain, Van Gogh, Amy Winehouse, Patty Schemel, Hunter S. Thompson. My hormonal brain created a rule that in order to be creatively brilliant, I also had to be a damaged soul. The first time I picked up a cigarette, I fantasised about it leading me down a path of late nights and self-loathing over small glasses of whiskey poured from unnecessary crystal decanters. 

The plot thickens. To add to my twisted fantasy, I had my own actual issues that were causing real damage. We’re talking more than a cigarette and a whisky. If “highly strung” describes a person who’s a little rigid and somewhat uptight, I was strung up so goddamn high my string was no longer in the earth’s stratosphere. Why, at 16, did I put astronomical amounts of pressure on myself to mold to my figurative idea of “perfect?” Anxiety, depression and an underlying vicious eating disorder, of course!

My mental health swiftly torpedoed to a crash-and-burn. I was in hospital for a month, but intensive treatment lasted the next 3 years. Finally, a combination of cognitive coping mechanisms, a fully-functioning body and anti-anxiety medication opened my brain’s gates to a kind of idyllic, sun-shining-sipping-cocktails paradise- a welcome change from its usual fiery abyss. And when I was at my healthiest, without struggle and desperation, both my perfectionism and creativity began to fall away.

I started sleeping in as long as I wanted. Clutter and mess slowly crept onto the wooden floorboards of my room. I didn’t want to do my homework so occasionally I just didn’t, and astonishingly the world ceased to fall apart.

What bothered me in my newfound unbroken brain was my evident lack of that beautifully tortured inspiration. Ironically, when I was grappling with the tumultuous state of my mind I was also writing a tonne, pushing myself to follow my creative pursuits when everything around me was crumbling. Besides, were all brilliant artists not suffering souls? Do we not create the most profound pieces when we’re in pain?

As poetic as this sounds, I quickly realised that when I was sick, my creativity was the only positive in my life. While I was creative, I was also self-destructive and desperately unhappy. And it turns out when I’m not in the grips of anxiety-induced perfectionism; I’m a bit of a disaster.

I frequently fall asleep wrapped up in my headphones with Youtube auto-playing to infinity in the background and tend to follow the due today, do today policy when it comes to most things. A 4-year-old would have a better sense of direction and higher spatial awareness than me. I’ve fallen in, or out of the shower more times than I’d care to admit. I often don’t do my washing and then end up wearing bather bottoms or pyjama shorts instead of underwear. I eat a lot of microwaveable foods because I’m a terrible cook. My phone looks like it’s been run over by a truck due to me dropping it twice a day (on average). I stay up until 3am incessantly writing because I got a streak of brilliance over my sad dinner, feel temporarily accomplished and then never finish anything I started.

Much to my dismay it turns out I’m not Sylvia Plath, which is probably a good thing because her husband seemed like a real piece of work and, in the end, her suffering truly ruined her. 

Ironically, now that I’m not struggling, all I write is about when I was. Like this. But I’m happy to have traded my harrowing artist dream to be without feeling consistently on the cusp of self-imploding. Because it’s easy to romanticise torment when you’re not in the throes of a downwards spiral with pangs of anxiety, loneliness and depression niggling at the back of your mind. Creativity is inherent to your being, not your mental illness. 

IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME

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I mean, has anyone ever talked about how your early 20s sometimes feel like re-entering the world as a tiny, scared, clueless baby? Oh, your 20s!! I remember when I was 20. Don’t you remember when we were 20, Sharon? This is the reception I get every time I tell the Sharons of the world I’m 20. That, or they don’t believe me and instead mistake me for a fifteen-year-old. One of the two.

But really, as much as these years are full of unabashed, self-destructive fun, a lot of the time they’re terrifyingly undefined, neither-here-nor-there moments spent questioning everything you’ve done over the last 20-odd years. There’s always the potential that it is just me having a privileged white existential crisis living out here in a huge share house (The bathroom is just like… so hard to keep clean! Ugh.), but I’d like to think it’s a little more than that.

When you spend so many years knowing a few things, but knowing them very well- your family house, high school friends, the three hangout spots you frequented on the weekends- a new city brings a truly technicolour world of experiences you were completely clueless about. Which you realise are most things. And because young folk are malleable, absorbent and curious creatures, you begin to change.

Maybe, in a moment of weakness, you give yourself a wildly bad drunk haircut with a pair of blunt scissors. A nose ring. An earring. Any piece of metal anywhere, really. You buy a bum bag or an exorbitantly expensive pair of sneakers with what should be grocery money. Maybe you date a boy, or a girl, or both and realise it was a terribly tragic, temporarily life-shattering mistake and you cry and do the cliché breakup things you told yourself you’d never do. It’s confusing and awkward. Like puberty. Except you’re too old to blame it on puberty anymore. I mean, you could. Sometimes I still do. It’s just too hard to resist when you still look fifteen.

Well it turns out I am the reigning queen of subjecting myself to awkward and confusing encounters (subjecting is a nice way of putting it: more like choosing to dive in, head-first). And while this blog was, and will always be, a wonderful aspect of my inappropriately adolescent life, I think it needs to grow up.

Because I’m not nearly as interested in a consistent photo stream of me in different poses anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with that- I just think I’m not nearly as good at it as I thought I was and, in the spirit of transparency, it’s probably a little detrimental. I’d like this blog (and connected social media platforms, if you will) to be more reflective of my current chaotic-and-clueless state. I think I’ll write more and hopefully it will be entertaining. I really haven’t thought much past that. In life, I mean. That’s about all for the forward planning.

So I hope you enjoy this for all that it may or may not amount to.

Izzy

our house

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I present to you: our quaint little corner of Carlton. There’s still a video coming but for now, just a sneak peek at our usually-messy 150-year-old terrace/party house. We’ve had at least 7 people squished in almost every night and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In other news- Victoria is having a heatwave and the first thing I opened my computer to this morning was an article titled “Welcome to Hell.” Uplifting. I also started uni yesterday and already absolutely despise advanced technical drawing. If you’re back at uni too I feel for you. Now I’m gonna shower before I go delusional in this heat. Talk soon! x

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Wearing: For Love & Lemons bodysuit via Shopbop, FallenBrokenStreet hat.

Happy New Year, folks. If I’m being completely honest I’m kind of a New Year’s scrooge- partially because I think January 1st is just another day and partially because my last night of 2016 was not that exciting. I fell asleep at roughly 10:30 and missed the countdown entirely. Needless to say, I don’t really do resolutions either (see here) but it would be nice to do less stupid shit this year. Just three days ago I went to a festival, got intoxicated, fell over, sprained an ankle, cut open a knee and lost my phone. Then got driven out in a police buggy which is a whole different story entirely. Actually, I finally got around to filming a video so hopefully all will be clear soon enough?

As you can imagine, living in a different state, my friends are currently spread all over the country- so this outfit pays homage to those lucky enough to attend some cool festivals over the holiday period. I really, really wanted to go to Falls but it was always just slightly financially out of reach. Like most things. I’m not complaining, though- free food and a tank full of fuel aren’t so bad. Happy New Year again and may your 2017 be magical!