Sunday, 31 January 2016

Do What You Want When You're Popping

A few new developments:
1. I just started fashion school.
2. I cut my own bangs a day before school started. (I have no idea if my hair will stand the constant heat.)
3. Real life is hard.

Things that have not changed:
1. Shirts are still being worn backwards, cardigans still double as V-neck tops.
2. I still only own one belt.
3. Real life is hard.

Shirt: Identity | Skirt: Mr Price
(Above is my first day of school outfit. I left my house in such a panic (late as always) and didn't notice that my prints weren't matching up in colour.)

Part of me is completely thrilled to have a reason to wear makeup every day, plan outfits the night before that I scrap each morning and actually take my hair out of its bun every morning. This part feeds into my general new beginnings, new life excitement where I'm meeting new people, creating memories and making new friends every single day. But, wow, it's exhausting being a real person.

As much as I enjoy already having a signature everyday makeup look and wearing clothes that were meant for growing, teenage girl bodies, I am so tired. Orientation Week was only three days but I feel like I've just trained for and complete the Comrade's Marathon. I am very ready to retire. I also like to dig my own grave by being my most adult self by deciding to visit the latest Museum of African Design exhibition last Thursday night. I put aside my school/real-life fatigue to enjoy walking around the gallery in a pencil skirt and discussing mise-en-scene and drinking dry white wine.

The exhibit was really cool, by the way. Unfortunately my camera died two minutes in and I couldn't capture the magic of the Angolian art on display. I do suggest that anyone in Joburg makes a visit quick, quick.
Cardigan: thrifted | Skirt: Mr Price | Socks: Factorie | Bag and Creepers: somewhere in Istanbul | Harness: Glitter Betty
For my second day of school, before I got home in this black-and-red ensemble, I wore a nondescript green t-shirt and high-waist short-shorts. I remembered that morning that I was meant to be trying minimalism out for a while. And once again it came out hella basic.
Romper: Mr Price | Harness: Glitter Betty | Belt: my dad | Jewelry: Glitter Betty | Socks: Mr Price
Day/morning three was hard on account of my having been out the night before and only coming home in the AMs (but side note: how cool am I now) (hahaha, still not very cool, I know). I wore this romper which was almost my uniform in December just because of how easy it was to wear and dress up/down.
Upon looking at these photos, I realized I was very barely trying out  a new aesthetic but updating something I'd already done before (bangs, backwards shirts, high hemlines).

 Anyway, I should probably be preparing for school or whatever tomorrow.
Also, I think I deserve major daps for not titling this post "This Ain't High School" or including Nicki Minaj's High School or Beyoncé's Schooling Life.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Confessions of a Maximalist

black girl with purple yarn braids in a satin t-shirt dress
A long time ago, I could've been a billionaire if I had received a dollar for every time I'd ever exclaimed, "I have nothing to wear," while staring into my perpetually overflowing, disorganised wardrobe of clothes dating back to before I was born. I would push aside twelve pairs of jeans to look at thirty variations of the same top and sigh, I would try on five or so tank tops and wonder why it was so difficult for me to get dressed. It wasn't so much that I had nothing to wear but everything I owned was basic, tacky or ridiculously overdone. I mean, how was I supposed to stand out when I continually wound up in a pedestrian combination of jeans and a t-shirt, or an a-line skirt and ballet flats. 

This was made all the more difficult by the walk, walk, fashion baby fashion rags I kept in every corner of my bedroom. The sparkly girls in those pages came alive in all kinds of wild prints, new age silhouettes and effortless effortful proportion play. Man, I wanted so bad to be one of those fashion girls. There was something about being the kind of girl who wore three different plaid-pattern items in contrasting and clashing colours that meant you got to be the kind of girl who could describe every night of her life as the time of her life.

Eventually, I figured out the secrets of those almost-mythical creatures: all their dressing decisions were made on the shop floor, not their hideously carpeted bedroom floors (I finally got wood ones a year before we moved to nondescript tiled-ness). So I vowed that I would never again buy anything that could be described as a "wardrobe staple" or a "basic". Right now, any tank top or camisole I own belongs to my sister or my mom. I have maybe two pairs of everyday jeans and I've had them since 2013. You'll be very hard pressed to spot a blazer, tailored trousers, a little black dress or a "classic" white dress shirt in my wadrobe. (I mean, you might find it because I'm a chronic hoarder but you're gonna have to reeeeally look because I'm a chronic hoarder.) Instead you will find all manner of bright and bold patterns and prints, loud pops of colour and night-time-y fabrics and silhouettes.

And I got to be one of those fashion girls for a while. For a long while, actually. (My mom still rolls her eyes when I frown at the pretty-girl-things she offers to me or shows me when she's we're shopping.) And then minimalism became a thing again and I started to look at my 50 million prints, textures and cuts, and I became that Drake from three years ago. I was not at a higher place. And now I was presented with a new problem: these fashion girls were dressed in the same "staples" and "basics" I had foresaken yet there was nothing ordinary about their outfits. Some of these girls were literally in jeans and a t-shirt, or straight line dresses and ballet flats or (what I can only describe as) a cloth and I once again had nothing to wear.

For a while, this was something at the back of my mind. I had a series of aesthetics that worked for me and which I loved and I could be happy that way. But part of maximalism also grew out of the frustration of having to wear the same thing - in neutrals no less - every day for the past five years. But now that school uniform is no longer a thing, I'm dying for something consistent and easy to rely on. I can't deal with the concept of exclaiming "I have nothing to wear" on a daily, instead of weekends only.

I'm, what, two years too late but teetering into minimalism.
black girl with purple yarn braids in a satin t-shirt dress
T-shirt/dress: work in progress Glitter Betty: | Socks: Mr Price | Boots: thrifted/Hot Topic.
(Lol: this t-shirt/dress was the result of 32 hours of no sleep, an over-heating sewing machine and a desire to rid myself of all the fabric I'd bought a year ago and hadn't touched. But I'm pleasantly surprised at how my sloppy satin and mesh combo came out and might sincerely pursue it at a later date. What do you think?)
black girl with purple yarn braids in a satin t-shirt dress
black girl with purple yarn braids in a satin t-shirt dress
black girl with purple yarn braids in a satin t-shirt dress
black girl with purple yarn braids in a satin t-shirt dress
black girl with purple yarn braids in a satin t-shirt dress

PS. Does anyone who does't/hasn't/no longer wear a uniform have any tips for trying to look, at least, half-human on the daily? Please and thank you.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Things We Lost in the Summer

Beginning my final year of high school this time last year was a game of beating the clock. I'm not sure when and I'm not sure how but somewhere between sixteen and seventeen I was very sure that I was going to die before I saw the end of 2015. Ever since I was six, I've been able to visualise things that were going to happen. Even if it was just an idea of the boots I'd be wearing on the date I had planned for Saturday or knowing that I was going to be very tired of my friends when we had lunch on Freedom Day. Things couldn't exist if I couldn't at the very least vaguely picture them. Now that I am still very much alive and, through some intersection of divine intervention and the sheer force of will, out of high school I recognise that as the arrogance of youth. The assumption that everything in the world was possible in relation to me, this was my world and everyone was just living in it.

The universe has since shown me otherwise.

I. When we last spoke

I've watched too many cult-classic Tumblr films because the only way I knew how to prepare for my completely ridiculous death was to avoid it and "live in the now". But "living in the now" looked a lot like blocking my ears when my friends spoke about leaving me, hiding under the covers when I was supposed to be sending in university applications and living life as a secondary character, away from blogging and art and writing. At some point I figured avoiding real life and avoiding myself, or the very things that made me most myself, would mean that the Khensani who was meant to die would not exist and therefore could not die. And, wow, what a waste. In the time since I last inhabited this here Internet space, I witnessed a revolution, I had my heart broken (again) and I tasted the very same magic that made Marina Abramovic risk her life for her art. I'm upset that I refused to let Khensani embody all those things in the ways she knew best.

II. Tears dry on their own

Today, I listened to this song by Tshepo and I was reminded that I have never (and will never) have an original feeling in my life. The parts of me that all but erupted when my heart was broken in a hazy November try to tell me that I have felt all the pain in the world and no one can understand. These parts, held together with gum and bobby pins, they screech and howl all night looking for guidance, for answers. They tell me I should never love again. They tell me I need to find love again. They tell me I have never found love, again and again. Before, I ran away from these cries. Death was too imminent for me to carry on about a boy I'm not sure ever knew me, let alone loved me. And now, as I watch my friend begin to feel his feelings fully so that they can dissolve, I am beginning to realise that I am OK with this, that I am OK.

III. Letting go

I cried about him once in the summer. But I cried about me all year.

IV. There is gold dust on my fingtertips

Not long ago, I told Motheo that I was a void. Somewhere between five glasses of whisky, an inability to say "no" and becoming a daughter of the night, I had become this black hole. Every day felt like the heightened youth and drama and hedonism of Lana's This Is What Makes Us Girls, felt like the scene in The Vampire Diaries where Elena flipped her switch and Damon loved her all the more it. It was this midnight world that I had always fantasised about, this midnight world where adventures and memories were made. A place full of 3am conversations and fleeting forrays at love and I was just a giant vaccum of it all. Nothing mattered. Nothing held any significane. The entire summer was one long night and I couldn't sleep at all. 

V. The begiining of the end

I guess all of this sounds sombre or that I've given in to losing my way, or, I don't know, one long completely teenage cry in fear of the future. But it's not. I laughed this summer, I cried this summer, i love this summer. And all of this is me trying reconcile the fact that just like a life after high school, I can't visualise who I am growing up to be. I can only experience it. This morning I realised that I've managed to go almost 15 days of this year not wanting to die. And I think that means something good.

VI. I'm eighteen this year.

I'm looking forward to discovering more feelings I'm certain no one in the history of the world has ever had, I'm looking forward to making friends and making art, I'm looking forward to not anticipating my death. 

If anyone asks, my New Year's Resolutions are to get money and fuck bitches. 

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