reading and reigniting: Chris Kraus’ ‘I Love Dick’ (1997)

the first time i speak confidently about my feelings for Chris Kraus’ I Love Dick, i’m standing at the front of a crowded room. i’m in my second year at uni. this week, everyone’s meant to do a talk on an “innovator” in their field – i.e. i’ve just sat down and watched people talk about the guy that wrote Game of Thrones for thirty minutes – one guy even thought it was a good idea to present on Dan fucking Brown? anyway, after a load of that, i stand up, shove my USB stick into the computer, and pull up my opening slide. this is all it says:

i love dick

the room erupts into laughter. we’re uni students now but i guess the word ‘dick’ is still funny for people who think Dan Brown is any good. i smile politely until the laughter subsides before launching into how important this book really is. the room sits quietly, trying to keep up as i talk my tongue off. once i’m finished, i ask if anyone has any questions – there aren’t any. i’ve startled the Game of Thrones fans into silence and i’m pleased with myself.

i read I Love Dick for the first time in 2013, after seeing Tavi Gevinson speak about it like a shrine at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival. it’s been three years since then and this book still sits on its rightful pedestal amongst every other piece of writing i’ve ever read. the book is an almost-novel, almost memoir (but not entirely, it definitely sticks out somewhere in the middle). the text revolves around a woman named Chris, obsessed with an art critic named Dick: operating as a series of letters from Chris, to Dick, she debriefs her ideas and her obsessions. eventually, this infatuation ends up in rejection, but Chris strives off what she gets out of Dick’s dismissal – instead of falling flat, Chris realises that Dick has been nothing but a surface for her this entire time. her one-sided relationship didn’t require Dick to respond, ever – really, he was just a surface for her to project her art and ideas onto; he worked like a platform for her to find her art again. Dick’s lack of a voice allows Chris to regather her own: to reignite her passion and project it into something.

knowing that Chris’ obsession ends in rejection doesn’t spoil this book – it’s not the relationship between Chris and Dick that makes it what it is. the book isn’t even about her relationship with Dick, it’s about Chris’ relationship with herself – Dick’s dismissal doesn’t spoil how she perceives herself; it fires her up, keeps her going, pushes her harder. as a girl stuck at the beginning of her early twenties, constantly riddled with self-doubt and fiddling with her passions too much, the sound of Chris’ voice in I Love Dick was, and always will be, completely inspiring to me. this book keeps me going when i hit a road block – it taught me how to find my platform; the right way to rip away my privacy for the sake of self-expression.

I Love Dick: i can’t give you a star rating, since you’re the book that’s changed the way i’ve perceived the world for the last three years. but i love you, so let’s hope whoever’s reading this just takes my word for it. read I Love Dick. read it now, tomorrow, next week, this month. read it when you’re done with this. it’s inspiring, igniting, and manages to scare away any Game of Thrones fans (or any other equally immature boys in the wrong degree), through the title alone. what more do you need?

 

all my love,

maddy

 

carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man

 

carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man

Being surrounded by confident, somewhat successful, talented males is hard when you’re a relatively nervous, insecure young woman. The pressure that is put on you to reach their expectations, but not overreach, to be what they want, but also be yourself and to be good at it, but not too good is overwhelming and unsatisfying. We are raised, despite all (apparent) efforts, to be cheerful, smiling, unchallenging and passive. We should not question authority or be too bold with our ideas. We should constantly question whether we are good enough and not ever try to put anything forward if we don’t think it is.

The differences between the way females and males are raised go way beyond wearing pink and blue. Boys are encouraged to be confident with their ideas, to challenge injustices and try to be noticed. Girls are encouraged to be the opposite. To continuously question if we are good enough, to be sure we are questioning something worth questioning if we dare and to never rock the boat or cause too much drama, as it may risk us being titled ‘drama queen’.

The things boys are praised for are the things we are not. And this is what has meant that I, a perfectly capable 22 year old female am still nervous about what my friends with penises think about me and my work. Namely my creative output. I am surrounded by musicians, artists and young ‘entrepreneurs’. Males who decided that they knew what they were good at and took a leap to get better and become known for that. They were confident with their ideas, thoughts and creativity. And amongst them all becoming more and more comfortable with these talents, I sunk into the background in fear of sticking out too much. Afraid of rocking the boat and risking their opinions of me. To the point where now at 22 I hide sketch books, pieces of writing, even sewing until I feel like I am confident enough with that skill for someone else to see it.

My slow deterioration into a shell of myself is easy to see if you look back on what I used to be. A young confident girl who dressed how she wanted, created what she wanted and listened to what she wanted slowly and surely became a young woman who dressed how the males around her thought she should, was afraid to show even her closest friends her creative output and no longer had a single opinion on any music. I felt like my opinion didn’t matter. I was inferior. I still feel like this to some degree.

I’m sick of this. I’m also sick of the group mentality males get where they decide that because they’re together they can openly judge and make fun of a female for trying to do anything that they deem out of the ordinary. I’m sick of boys deciding my opinion on art or music must only exist because another male in my life told me to think that way. And I’m sick of dressing or looking how I think they want me to. They don’t realise how much it affects a person, feeling that they are simply not good enough. It makes you wonder why they keep you around. It makes you wonder what you’re even worth to them.

I know that this is not all men. And I know that the individuals who act this way probably don’t realise that this is what it feels like. But it is hard and it is important to raise awareness of this, to address the issue and make women feel safer in the environments they share with males.

I’ve decided that I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I’m not going to let myself feel this way anymore. I am no longer letting this be a continuous theme in my life. I am starting to call males out on these opinions and let myself be noticed for things I wouldn’t have previously. And I encourage other women to do the same. This silent, almost subconscious sexism that exists, perpetuates the ideas that women’s opinions, thoughts and creations are not as important as that of a males and is slowly destroying females and will negatively affect us well into the future.

These are just my thoughts and opinions based on what I’ve experienced being a young woman part of a scene and friendship group dominated by males. I have been quiet about it for a long time and felt the need to express how I feel and the impact this is having on me.

lots of love,
Charlie

the title and image for this post come from an etsy shop called knittopurltoo, run by kathleen parvin. the link to the shop and this amazing tote bag is below:
https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/KnitToPurlToo
https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/254893785/confidence-tote-bag?ref=shop_home_active_1

squeaky clean and shiny (part two)

it’s the first week back at uni and i’m tired. today it was wet and warm in an uncomfortable sort of way and all i could think about once i left my house was how excited i was to get back home. it’s night time now, and alfie my beautiful kitten, my shining boy, is curled up on my knee. on nights like these where i’ve got no place to go and no place i’d rather be, i like to indulge myself with the things that make me feel good. i’ve got some peppermint tea, i’m about to watch Vera Chytilová’s  Daisies (one of my all time faves) and i’ve just finished my evening skincare routine which has left me feeling lovelier than ever.

EVENING: (cleanse, cleansing mask, hydration mask, serum and moisturiser)

IMG_6417.jpg

just like in the morning, i start out by washing my face. i’m not very adventurous with cleansers to be honest. while i am constantly trying new toners or exfoliators, i think it’ll take me a lot to stray from the incredibly gentle and soothing  La Roche Posay Lipikar Replenishing Cleansing Oil (if you want to read more about this product, head over to my morning skin care post).

IMG_6423.jpg

depending on how much time you have, you could definitely skip this step, as well as the next one, but i recommend making time for them at least twice a week. this product is honestly magic. when maddy and i first heard about the Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque, we talked about it constantly. we’d heard that it pulled all the “bad stuff” out of your skin and brought it to the surface, which we took to mean that we’d have to walk around covered in pimples for a while and once they disappeared we would be clean. we spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect time to take the leap, hoping to do it at a time where we could go into hiding if need be. that time never came, so i dove in head first and bought it. we tried it for the first time together while watching an episode of my so called life, conveniently titled “the zit”. the monster pimples never came, but the mask is definitely still all it’s cracked up to be. it smells lovely, the clay-like texture feels great when you put it on but is even cooler when it dries on your face and you can actually see the small patches of oil that it’s pulled out of problem areas. to this day, if either madz or i feel a bout of bad skin coming on, we reach for a fave tv show and this mask and we’re good to go.

IMG_6421.jpgIMG_6425.jpg

once the clay mask has dried completely, i rinse it off with warm water and pat my face dry. the downside of deep cleansing is that you run the risk of drying your skin out. for this reason, i like to follow up that particular face mask with some heavy duty hydration. i have two options for this step. one is another aesop one that goes nicely with the last product but is also pretty expensive. this is the Aesop Blue Chamomile Facial Hydrating Mask. i love this mask because it has that really nice aesop smell and you can leave it on for up to half an hour so it really does some deep moisturising. the second mask is by avène, making it a lot less expensive but no less effective. the Avène Soothing Moisture Mask looks and feels a lot like a regular moisturiser, but in reality it’s a lot more intense. i leave this one on for about 15 minutes and that’s plenty of time for my skin to feel nice and quenched.

IMG_6456.jpg

once i’ve taken all the bad things out, and put some moisture back in, i reach for my holy grail product. while the rest of my skin care products do a lot to make my skin feel soft or maintain its moisture, this is the one that i think actually improves its quality. the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate is a bit of a cult product with very good reason. it’s sooo nourishing, it feels lovely and light and it’s really evened out my complexion. mixing a couple of drops of this in with my moisturiser ensures that i wake up to bright, healthy skin.

so, that’s all of it! i hope all your nights are filled with good friends and special films and fun, luxurious face masks :~)

lots of love,

aayushi

IMG_6432.jpg

 

listening along, across tasmania – grounded but floating, still

13713383_10209112645148610_1236197016_n

whilst living together for around two weeks, we listened to music – a lot. thinking back, i can barely think of any quiet – whether it was from someone’s speakers, finger-tapping on denim, or a hum from the back of someone’s throat, music was always coming from somewhere. driving from the peak of tasmania down to hobart, we listened, we sang – we hummed along the horizon line. making dinner together, doing dishes together, we danced across the kitchen to madonna. we woke up to lust for youth (which, for charlie, is the best way to start the morning). we bounced around, pulling stockings on and pulling hair up to HINDS. and by the time we made it home, we settled down to something quieter – curling up in the corner of the couch with thick socks on, watching the fire burn. altogether, being in tasmania was grounded, but only just. in-between, we danced, we sang – we floated. this playlist tries to emulate this feeling as well as it can. listen in on 8-tracks, here.

13713413_10209112644908604_906964596_n

all my love,

maddy

mountains, trees and waterfalls

13632704_10153754711467896_557979456_o

i think trees give off happiness. at least they do for me. i think they are a big reason being outside makes me so happy. they stand so strong and powerful but also the slightest breeze will make them move and whisper. they adapt so easily and some are so resilient even fire doesn’t really destroy them. i feel like they represent the type of person i wish i could be.

tasmania is 1/5 protected wilderness. so 1/5 protected trees, plants and bodies of water. this trip was about taking a break from our real lives and remembering how to be happy. so for me i wanted to spend a lot of time with the trees, mountains and rivers. the air bnb we stayed at made this particularly easy, the space was incredible. large windows let in tonnes of natural light and looked out upon a creek, behind which stretched a nature reserve with incredible plants, animals and things to discover. however, to get my full dosage of happiness from the plants i wanted to venture out further than the reserve behind our house. and so did the others.

13632761_10153754711382896_1114495901_o

we went up mount wellington, to waterworks reserve and mount field national park. it was fucking beautiful and i could write some more telling you exactly what we did but really i think the photos say it all. so here are some photos of our nature adventures.

all my love,
charlie xo

13663364_10153754758007896_978341088_o

13663452_10153754757977896_878404504_o
lake dobson, mount field national park

13646721_10153754711242896_1453641506_o

13663616_10153754711287896_444050508_o

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13662588_10153754711522896_251716798_o

13662528_10153754711452896_1503071466_o