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Viva Viva Palestina

I was going to write about my calm, easy, lush existence in Ramallah, cigarettes smoked, alcohol drank, friends met, and a bad Palestinian hip hop concert. I was going to write about the kindness and insight of the family that has taken me in (the Nasars), and about seeing Wael my Palestinian classmate in his natural habitat. I was going to write all of this. I may do it tomorrow. For now I want to write about today.

Things aren’t the same, you know, as what you think they are. Or if they are, it’s much bigger, it’s much worse, and much more glorious than  you imagined.  I wish I could write about everything that happened today. The soldiers. the Shibab, the police, the Israeli commander saying into the Israeli news camera ‘yes all you ‘activists’, you got paid by the Palestinians’, me telling jokes to a line of 18 year old kids with guns “so, there were these two cows in a field…” , while I held a sign that simply said ‘Violence IS Terror’.  In Beit Ummar, then one that said ‘Oslo Agreement,’ with ‘violated’ in red spray paint across it in Al Masara. The feel of the wind next to the olive tree groves, and the sweeping lands, as we drank water and waited to begin, as the afternoon call to prayer wafted through the air. The people I have met. I wish I could. Instead here are some pictures.

signs for demonstration in Al Masara.

Beit Ummar Peaceful Demonstration

soldiers and the back of someone's head Beit Ummar

Travelling (Days one and two) Palestine Adventure

The day of the flight woke from a sleepless night as I made sure that all of my things were packed, and all of my plans were in order. I took a train from Croyden to the airport, waited with an array of families and women in hijabs. I had to pay fifty pounds in order to make up for the weight, having purchased an extra bag, on Easy Jet that means you get to carry and extra bag but the overall weight you are allowed to carry remains the same. I ended up sitting next to a poor woman whose daughter had just graduated with her masters, they had misplaced her passport and when they checked her at the second point they said she wasn’t allowed to fly and took her baggage off the plane. The mother then found her passport after boarding the plane in the one obvious place they hadn’t looked; her purse. The captain wouldn’t wait an extra ten minutes to allow her back on the plane, and yet we still had to wait thirty miThe day of the flight woke from a sleepless night as I made sure that all of my things were packed, and all of my plans were in order. I took a train from Croyden to the airport, waited with an array of families and women in hijabs. I had to pay fifty pounds in order to make up for the weight, having purchased an extra bag, on Easy Jet that means you get to carry and extra bag but the overall weight you are allowed to carry remains the same. I ended up sitting next to a poor woman whose daughter had just graduated with her masters, they had misplaced her passport and when they checked her at the second point they said she wasn’t allowed to fly and took her baggage off the plane. The mother then found her passport after boarding the plane in the one obvious place they hadn’t looked; her purse. The captain wouldn’t wait an extra ten minutes to allow her back on the plane, and yet we still had to wait thirty minutes to take off. Her mother was extremely upset. I didn’t know how to console her as she cried, my mom would act the same way. The flight staff was rude to her the entire way, when she asked a question they never gave her a straight answer until finally the manager came by and said that they didn’t know what was going on on the ground as they had no communication, had they told her this in the first place she would not have bothered them. She was a very kind woman, she gave me some sweets and told me her story. Her and her family were Christians from Bethlehem, her husband a priest. A complete stranger on the plane handed her new born infant to the lady next to me to hold while she tended her other children. I have no idea who the gaggle of children were giggling and wandering down the tiny aisle. A veritable sea of dark haired and curled pigtails amidst diapered bottoms wandered around carelessly, makes sense, we’re on a plane, where could they go? And how can we expect children to just sit around for five hours? The culture clash between the flight attendants from England and their ongoing struggle with the tiny vagrants seemed to amuse the children (and me) while intensely irritating the flight staff. It was in short, loud. Children, snacks, water, and advice were passed around the plane as if it were a gigantic family minivan in the sky, on a road trip.

Out the window on the way to Amman somewhere above Greece

After we landed, as I waited in line to pay my 20 dinars for a visa, the initial shock of the culture was breath taking. The mix of so many different cultures, and we would say cultures, all attributed to the Middle East. Holy men from the deserts with brown wrinkled faces and long white beards waited in line in traditional white robes and leather sandals. The loveliest shade of pale lilac, almost periwinkle scarves, were draped across their thin shoulders, each with a white eyelet cap upon their heads. Their eyes looked around wide-eyed like mine, yet their stance was strong and calm. Did they fly often? Where were they from? Somalia? Were they on their pilgrimage to Mecca? They had a similar look to the Somalians I had met in the United States, I saw a bit of my friend Mo in them. Tear drop faces, wide foreheads, pointed chins, long limbs. But these were such different people to him and his fellows; they were wild, feral, and archaic. Their faces looked as if they knew the secret of life, of the desert. They looked as if they had reached that shrine of shrines and peace of peace. Did they study the mutability of the desert? The Arabic word for purple is Urjwaanly I thought to myself, letting the word roll in my mouth and whispering it to myself. I went to the baggage claim, it took two hours in line to get my visa, where shocked and appalled men watched me get my own luggage, and I waved off their help with a bemused smile. After leaving I sat just outside the airport merely looking around. Women in long black robes, faces beautifully made up and surrounded in bright expensive scarves clutched designer bags, lifting their robes for a moment to rest their feet off of their designer platform sandals. I sat inside at the café for hours waiting for the sun to rise, and the Al Lenby bridge to open, writing pages and pages worth of letters. I befriended the man who ran the car hire and services, and he let me use his computer to update my facebook and make sure that everyone knew I had landed in Amman safely. After standing outside, and offering him a cigarette, which he took, he told me that he would find me a safe driver in the morning, he knew just the man, I told him my friends told me it should cost no more than 20 dinars, he laughed and smiled at me.
“your friend?”
“yes, he’s a Palestinian” after he left, a boy whose job it is to take peoples’ luggage to their cars and taxis, and sweep the cigarette butts from the cement said to me after a moment.
“You should have said lower” I thought that perhaps I should have, but it’s not so high a price to get a nice driver. Looking around I realised that it was possibly the cleanest airport I had ever seen, with no vagrant-looking travellers sleeping on the benches. I sat and read James Joyce’s Ulysses.
“To learn one must be humble/ but life is the great teacher”. How true it was. How true those words. They echoed in my brain. I wanted so badly to be humbled, and to learn. So I was there, sitting in an airport in Amman. Amman. I sat outside again, I met a woman from Jordan who had her masters in English, she loved travelling she said, she was doing a teaching exchange in the USA in Florida starting in August. She seemed as excited about that as I was about my trip. I told her what I planned to do, and she left me with some water, an apple, and a pack of crisps, before I met her family picking her up at the airport. Her English, quite possibly, was better than mine, she gave me her phone number in case I had any problems getting across the bridge, and needed a place to stay. She was my age, I felt as if she had a similar lust for pitting herself against the world and its circumstances. Hours passed and darkness began fading from the horizon. The call to prayer shook me from my book as I watched men walk to the airport mosque and take off their shoes at the door. It was glorious, even though the man singing it was less than a fair singer, I wanted to see inside, but perhaps that was only because I knew I wasn’t allowed. From where I was sitting I could peak in through the door. Nothing spectacular, I thought, men praying on mats, a man in the front leading them, but it was spectacular to them.
Finally the time came to drive to the bridge. My driver was a spectacular man who had travelled far only to return to his home country. He had lived eight years in Germany, six in Russia, he spoke English, German, French, Russian, Hebrew and Arabic, all from just being a taxi driver. He didn’t care for the Russians he said, ‘they only care about sun, and water and vodka’. He told me about the Dead Sea, and the factories in Amman making beauty products from the mud, as I gazed from my window.
‘Isn’t that bad for the dead sea, isn’t it reducing in size?’(BOYCOTT DEAD SEA BEAUTY PRODUCTS)
‘yes it is’ he said, almost shocked that I would know ‘by one meter every year’ We stopped to get some gasoline, and then to kill time before the gates opened, we sat at a grimy and perfect café. The bottles of coca cola, sprite, and orangina, in a dusted and much abused cooler sat in front of the store, packs of cigarettes lined the walls behind the counter, and a brass coffee pot squatted on a table in front of the door. He came out with three packs of cigarettes and two coffees, I offered to pay, and he then told me that most people in the area would consider that offensive. The plastic chairs and tables had seen better days, and the thick coat of ash and cigarette resin in the ashtray said that it had been here a while. I drank my coffee, strong, sweet, with that strange nutty almost minty flavour. ‘what is this? Mint?’ I asked.
‘no, we put mint in our tea, yes, but we call it caramel what we put in the coffee’ I closed my eyes luxuriously and felt the morning sun dance onto me, and that strange breeze that feels so different from the closed areas I am used to. This breeze came from someplace open. After hopping in the car he explained to me the road we were on, and how far below sea level the Dead Sea was. We stopped at sea level, and I thought how far down it has to go just to get to water! Gazing out the window at those rocky and pale mountains, the old dry ravines, I wondered, was it water or ice that made this place? An ocean, a river or a glacier? Copses of olive trees and silver leaves danced above their gray-brown twisted trunks. ‘are those olive trees?’ I asked.
‘yes, this farm has been here for centuries. Some of these trees are even older’
We passed newly constructed palaces of stonework, next to farmers in their tents, with satellite dishes just outside the open flap and plastic chairs adorning the entrance. I laughed at myself, their tents are like our mobile homes. Can’t afford a better house, but you can afford cable and cigarettes. Finally we made it to the bridge, he wasn’t allowed to pass through the gate, but he shook my hand, told me to tell anyone who wanted to visit to use his cab service, and I thanked him profusely and passed through the gate, where a smiling Jordanian guard said.
‘Welcome to Jordan!’ never mind that I wasn’t planning on staying.
A man took my luggage in a cart, and asked me, I said ‘Palestine’ he asked me ‘VIP?’ I said ‘No’ thank god, I later learned that VIP cost 500 dollars and didn’t save you much time through customs. I didn’t know I was supposed to tip him, so he glared at me as he rolled his cart away. I met a few American Palestinians sitting and waiting, a husband and wife, and a boy my age named Mohammad Ali (no lie), the husband and wife were trying to move back for good, and the boy was visiting family, he had been living in California for most of his life. We asked the guard, what time does the desk open? 8. He replied tersely. I thought it was seven. It is, but today, it’s eight. The woman smiled at my response ‘welcome to the middle east’. We waited an hour for the desk to open, finding that a line had formed while we waited in the other room with the fan. It was early morning and already hot. We got through the line and were then put onto buses, which we had no choice but to use, or to pay for- ten dinars. We were held on the airless bus with screaming babies and annoying valley girls and Harvard graduates, there to enjoy the trails for hiking. Some of them didn’t know, or didn’t care, about the area they were going into. Just how ‘pretty’ it was. Hopefully the wait in customs was a slap in the face. The line to drop off baggage for inspection was chaotic, hot, and sweaty. A man with a large gun and sunglasses stood surveying the line. Then they asked us ‘where are you going’ ‘what are you doing’ for the first time. Then they checked our passports. Then another line to make sure we had nothing on our persons that would do harm. Another check of our passports and another line of questioning. Then another line, for foreigners, to enter into the country, another check of passports, they took me aside into a room with a desk and a chair and asked me exactly where I was going and why. If I had told them volunteering in Palestine, they wouldn’t have let me in, so I said I was a tourist, I wanted to see Jerusalem. Which was the story I had from the beginning, they made me put my places in order, they asked for hotels and addresses, I didn’t have any, I said I was just going to check into one when I got there. Then I had to wait in another line to wait for my baggage, which had to be re-checked. After two hours I began to complain.
‘YEEELLLAAAA’ I groaned, meaning ‘oh my god!’, like Wael does when he’s complaining about me taking forever. ‘why is this taking so long?’ an old woman in a hijab looked at me with a sardonic and calm smile. As if to say ‘you think this is bad? Try sixty years of it!’ The guards were eighteen year olds, in a hod-podge sort of uniform, meaning they had to wear at least one thing that said Israel, though many of them didn’t even have that. They were flirting, joking, and having a good time, while ignoring the people in the line, and taking breaks whenever it suited them, it was unprofessional, disorganized, and motley. They were rude and uncaring. They had guns strapped to them. I was hoping to be wrong about all of this. In the end it took me seven hours to get through from one end of the bridge to the other. By the time I got out, having been in line with no fans, air conditioning or anything. (the guards had fans… just cruel). I was so hot, exhausted and over wrought that I just collapsed on top of the cart holding my luggage and sat there for twenty minutes. I told myself with a breath, and a will, only a few more steps, you need to get to Jericho. Then to Ramallah. You can do this. Only a little further. Even though I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. I bought a ticket for the bus to Jericho, some boys on the bus tried to chat me up and get my number. I grunted a response and hoped that was a sufficient deterrent. Adeish il sah? What time is it? 13 o clock. Less then a half an hour to Jericho, upon arrival I remembered to tip the luggage man, and asked for a van to Ramallah, 10 dinars, I passed through the border, the Palestinian guards more than pleased to see me, and I passed easily. I got a bottle of water, and sat in a van waiting to go to Ramallah. Finally my journey was almost at its end, and I could rest….
Going through Jericho, through the fountain in the town center, the shops filled with tourist kitch, and the smell of frying falafel, people walking, staring, I looked next to me, just the driver; oh. They’re staring at me. Past the poor shacks, and the dark natives, their children, barefoot, in shorts and t-shirts, lush villages sat sequestered on the side of the road surrounded by fences, as rocky outlines of walls that used to be lined the hillsides, ancient olive trees grew over rubble, a man rode a donkey across the mountains. Then rising out of the mountains was a sand colour city. The first thing you notice is a partition, a scar, a wall rising out of the sand colour into bright graffiti reaching towards the towers with patrolling guards with guns. Lines of writing, pictures, and reasons lined the wall for miles and miles. Across the wall you could see the verdant courtyards and avenues of Tel Aviv. Ramallah was not so different, but water made the difference. I tried to call Marys to see where to meet her, but the number I had used that morning was no longer working. My van driver, bless him a hundred times, kept pulling over to ask anyone if they spoke English, as he didn’t, and then to help with the phone. Finally Hussein answered one of the phone numbers, at that point I was so frustrated that at some point I just yelled into the phone ‘I just want to sit!’

Just outside Ramallah

Hussein calmly told me to give the phone back to the driver and met me at his friend Manar’s flat. I thanked him a hundred times, tipped the van driver ten dinars (an exorbitant amount), for all his help and met Hussein. Hussein was Wael’s friend since childhood, and spoke excellent English, as did his lovely artistic friend Manar, whose hospitality I felt as if saved my life. After a glass of water and a shower, I didn’t feel near to tears anymore and she and Hussein proceeded to talk to me and soothe me and feed me until I was returned to sanity.

What is it? It is ‘is’.

“Act as you judge wiser to do so. Take care of that beautiful self of yours, and allow this world throughout the sadness that lately fills you with to show you that every experience has something to give, and that what you ought to remember is that we always keep on going, we keep on learning, we keep on influencing, and that we represent the reason that this world is wonderful and unique in every aspect.” ~Ioannis Nestoras

Sketch of Niklas

On the Day my Lung Collapses

‘Song for Dennis Brown’ by the Mountain Goats

Life is enough you know, enough for me. And at the end of it, although there is still much to do, and like Monet on his deathbed I will mourn the end of the ability to improve or understand the world better, I will look back and be content.

If I were to die this very moment, I would be glad. Not because I want to die, but because I can think of all of the things I have, and have had, and all the experiences that I have drank deep. I would rather die with hope than hopelessness.

My uncle is currently dying rapidly from multiple cancerous tumors. They say he has two days. Not long before this, a much respected professor of  mine died. I have only one thing to respond with when I hear about my uncle, bedridden, in pain, repeated over and over how sudden it is, how painful. That’s how it is. Haven’t you seen it before? My uncle worked hard all his life, around asbestos brake pads, and smoked for 32 years, he likes to fish and garden, and used to send me Republican Party chain e-mails. He has children, grandchildren, all good and grown. He is a good man, and I have many pleasant memories of him. He deserves better than a bed to waste in, but death isn’t so often just when it doles out the script. All I have to say is, on the day my habits catch up with me, I’ll be out among the jumpers.

Palestine

People have been asking me, why Palestine? When people think of places to spend their summers, they think of opulent and gritty Paris, the wonders of London in summer, the Italian coast, Barcelona, places with which to relax and soak up pleasure like a sponge. Perhaps it’s that I feel society has fatted me like a calf for slaughter, and I want to try my own strength against the world. I’m stronger than most people realize, stronger I think than even I know.
It started as a curiosity, a seed of fascination that was planted when I was seventeen, and that gained more sun and water with the input and influence of University in England, where I happened to meet a pair of brothers who spared no breath in regaling me with tales of home, home.
There is something in these stories, and in everything that they have told me, that aches with me. Keys without doors, and a people without a home.

What is that key for around your neck? Many people have asked. I tell them it’s a lost thing, it doesn’t have a door anymore. The mansion it belonged to burned down years ago. That is why I wear it around my neck.

The Palestinians give keys to their children as a symbol of the homes that they have lost, many of them still standing, just winking at them from across the wall.
Walking down a busy London street, my friend Wael, and his lovely friend Shadan stop in the middle of the sidewalk. They say a spattering of Arabic, but I don’t mind, Arabic with the Palestinian lilt sounds like poetry. I ask them what they’re looking at, and with wide glowing eyes and a wide smile, Wael says that the trees growing in the pot outside of a mediterranean restaurant were olive trees, and weren’t they beautiful? I nod my head and say yes they are, I remember groves of them in Spain. Shadan and Wael then reminisce about lemon and limes, olives, and the taste of all the fresh things of home. They feel such a strong connection to the land that they were raised in, the land that is theirs, even if the world does not admit it.

Still they weep, for the homes that their grandparents knew. And running through the passion and power that seems inherent in their culture, is a loss, a hole of homelessness. I admit that I myself feel that ache, an ache for a home that I have never seen.

But I am a key without a door. Their keys have homes.

Why am I going to Palestine? Because I am a citizen of the world, each land does not belong to me, I belong to it. Even if the world does not admit it. Each human being that cries out for understanding, each that has a story to tell, is whispering to holes in the ground, or the ears of avarice and apathy. I will listen.  Changing the world is a lot like doing well at a low paying and mundane job, you don’t have to work that hard as long as you show up. I don’t want to wait for the world to change, I want to get my hands deep into the earth and make something grow from it, I know that it may take a lifetime for these seeds to grow, but I’m patient, and for those to become something of beauty that bears a million seeds, that may take many generations. I won’t ever see the product, but just like the flowers my parents plant in houses that they know they’re moving from soon, they plant it for the appreciation of the person who shall live in this house five years from now.

This key without a door has many houses to visit, so I can carve a lock for myself every place I go, and spread my belief of mutual respect, understanding and universal love. People call me foolish and idealistic, but it’s the best I can do, and life is not worth living unless that is what I’m doing.

My comrades of the great wide world! Listen- stop assuming that by not contributing to the problem you are not causing harm. Apathy is the same as not showing up to work, only instead of a paycheck you’re losing, we’re losing the chance to actually make change in the world.

A Wedding and A Funeral

I haven’t written in this blog in a while. I’ve been busy travelling.

I flew to the united states to see my eldest sister get married. The ceremony was lovely, the Van Landingham estate where the reception and ceremony was held was built in 1775 a year before the declaration of independence was signed. The flowers were blooming, wisteria dripping from the trees, and dogwoods glowing, despite being mid-March. The North Carolina weather didn’t seem to pay any mind as the days leading up to, and the day of the wedding were warm and cheerfully sunny. As my mother arranged flowers, and me and the other bridesmaids wound our bouquets of pink spray roses, powder blue hydrangea, and cheerful yellow carnations, some bees woken from their slumber bumbled into windows and opened umbrellas.

me arranging my bouquet

The day of the wedding I saw my eldest sister in her wedding dress. Saw her don her cowgirl boots. She was a vision, an angel, a goddess, an elf wandered out of the set of Lord of The Rings. Long golden blond hair that curled languorously down her back, covered by a web of cream netting.  I was reminded of playing with small toy horses, and reading her books when she was done about dragons and horses, and making up stories together.  I remembered all our childhood, she was my playmate, my friend, the only person who understood me, the only one who made me feel like I wasn’t alone. When she said her vows big wet hot tears burst out of my eyes, I couldn’t keep them in. I was happy for her, truly, the man who loves her loves only her, and I have it on good authority he always will, and that’s all I can really ask for. I had to go upstairs to the room after the reception started. And I just sobbed, I cried. We weren’t little girls anymore, were we?

My parents and I went back up the coast in our rental car to visit family in New Jersey.  We ate Pete and Elda’s pizza. We think its the best pizza in the world. and having been to at least six countries I think I have at least some gauge, if not as broad a claim as I’m making. It is, however, amazing pizza. Thin crispy crust, a light layer of sweet and tangy tomato sauce, fresh cheese, I like mine with Italian sausage, onions and peppers, with lots of garlic powder. I had a beer and we saw my dad’s older brother, my uncle. My uncle has cancer of the tongue and throat, he’s approaching seventy years old, it seems unfair. The last time I had seen him he was a rotund, balding, boisterous, ignorant but opinionated working class man, with a penchant for plaid shirts, cheap loafers and DIY.  At one point I had to tell him to stop sending me Republican Party e-mails.

When I saw him I was partially shocked though I was expecting it. His cheeks were sagging spotted leather with which his blue eyes shocked out of his sockets. His clothes hung on him like some undergrown child, whose parents bought the clothes for him to grow into. He couldn’t talk, he had a traich in his throat. I gave him a big hug. We sat in the corner together while the other grown-ups talked, and I looked through his sketchbook, the chemo made it difficult to concentrate he wrote on his white board. Apparently his spelling had improved greatly since he got the traich in, no small feat for a man who hadn’t finished High School.

The next day we went to see my Grandmother, my dad’s mom. The last time I had seen her she had hardly left her house in ten years and hadn’t driven a car in forty. However, she had a creeping cleverness that would sneak up on you when least expected it. If you listened. She would say the off hand comment, the quiet scandalous anecdote, the sly bait. She was like that, reminds me of my sister in that way, but my sister says them much louder.  My Grandma’s eyes always cleverly peaked over her thick glasses, her shy smile as secretive as the Mona Lisa. She would walk along in the same brand of white loafers I had always seen her wear, her hair curled in exactly the same way, Campbell’s Tomato and Chicken Noodle soup in the cabinet, cookies in the freezer, peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch. She was a child in the great depression, and I often wondered what she was like when she was young. Marie Murphy, raised by catholic nuns in the great depression, with a sister who had self-destructive behaviors and intense egoism. There were faded photographs of my Grandfather, classically handsome, blue eyes, dapper in his army uniform. And my Grandmother, hair in a styled victory rolls, red lipstick, bow lips that me and my sisters have all inherited. She wasn’t exactly movie star gorgeous, but she was lovely to be sure with ivory skin, dark hair and blue eyes. This woman, sitting in the chair, milky eyes, paper skin, the smell and look of decay was everywhere. I had seen and smelt it before. Mothballs, cedar, bedpans and spittle. It’s not pretty, it’s not dignified. My mother’s grandma, Nana, used to say “Everybody shits and everybody dies.” I couldn’t sit in the room. Her eyes flickered some intelligence, some recognition when she saw me, but she didn’t know my name. She recognized my dad. I couldn’t sit there. When I kissed her good bye I said, see you next time we visit. She gave me a knowing look, we weren’t fooling each other, this would be good bye. I told her I loved her and left. My dad drove the car with that frown I am familiar with.

I flew back to the UK, the next day I got the news that she had died, and headed back to the USA four days later. At her funeral lots of family politics caused an explosion of the most inane proportions, which I won’t discuss. I looked through the photographs collected. The one that surprised me the most was a saucy picture of her in a bathing suit and pair of heels posing on a chair. It made me smile. This was the Marie Godfrey I had always wanted to know, and there she was, smiling at me with complete abandon, her cheeks blushing as they should be. Maybe from a swig of whisky before, or maybe because she was being daring, her friends had egged her on. And a picture of her face she had sent my Granddad when he was in the war. I didn’t cry at the wake, and only a few tears at the funeral. While feeling distant to her in life, I felt more close to her than ever. She had been young once, loved once, married, had children, watched them grow, watched her grandchildren grow. By all accounts she lived a good life. Her faith in heaven and god was exemplarary. And I knew now, that at least once, she did something daring, at least once she laughed loud and full. That’s a life well lived.

You can’t beat death.

But you can beat death in life sometimes.

RIP Marie Godfrey

Marie Godfrey

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/app/obituary.aspx?n=marie-godfrey&pid=150017656&sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4d9c862d4c2a4cc0%2C1

Fashion is a Part of Growing up

“Growing up is partly about trying on superficial looks to match how you want people to see you, and how you want to see yourself. Controlling how people literally view you is a way of learning to construct a sense of self, until you become confidant enough to proceed the other way around. Everyone does it, from the moment they look into a mirror and realize that they can see themselves and therefore other people can see them, and that they have  a body which, with a bit of effort, can be brought under the mind’s control. It is the nature of youth to play with style in an effort to come to terms with substance. Easy, enough, too to get stuck there.” – Jenny Diski ‘The Sixties’, Consuming the Sixties

Me, personally, I just like messing with peoples’ perceptions and preconceived notions.