February 20, 2012

Star picks

Highlights from my Google Reader feeds recently:
I leave you with some inspiration from Ilona Royce Smithkin - a woman so stylish that she makes her own false eyelashes.

* Their earlier Glass family album is also stunning.

February 15, 2012

A belated valentine

Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to contribute to Dear Teen Me. After mining my seemingly endless memories of things that sucked about being a teenager, I settled on the Worst Thing That Ever Happened to Me. And then I realised that they probably wouldn't want to run a Valentine's Day story in July and wrote this instead.

In the interests of sustainable blogging (which is better than no blogging at all, right?), here it is.

Dear 15-year-old Aimee

It’s 14 February 1989. Even though you go to an all-girls school (or perhaps because of it), Valentine’s Day is a big deal. At school, the Loved wear their gifts like medals – a rose received from a boy at the train station this morning is dragged from class to class to be admired; a teddy bear declaring ‘I wuv you’ sits proudly on its new owner’s desk. In other years you’ve done a good job of pretending that you don’t care for this annual display of crass commercialism, but this year is different. This year you have a boyfriend.

When you woke up this morning, your hopes were high. Not that you expected some grand romantic gesture (after all, you and Rowan have only been together for four weeks and three days, and he’s always broke) but you figured there’d be something – a card, a poem, one perfect flower. I suppose you did get poetry, in a way. Only it was delivered over the phone, and written by someone other than your boyfriend.

‘It’s hard to describe how I feel about you,’ Rowan had started the conversation, having avoided you all afternoon. ‘It’s like that REM song: “This One Goes Out to the One I Love”.’

‘Uhuh,’ you said, barely able to speak because your brain was screaming he’sgoingtotellyouhelovesyou!

‘Yeah. You know how he sings, “This one goes out to the one I love/This one goes out to the one I've left behind/A simple prop to occupy my time”? I guess that pretty much sums it up.’ And then he said he hoped you’d still be friends and that he’d see you around.

So here you are, Aimee, sitting at home alone on Valentine’s Day. As usual. Curled up on the couch, empty from crying and waiting for your parents to return from their annual romantic dinner. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel, and also that you’re going to feel that way for a while yet. (For longer, in fact, than the entire relationship lasted.) I can’t keep you from being hurt, but I would like to offer a few observations made with the benefit of hindsight that may help you put things in perspective:
  1. A mutual attraction to Morrissey from The Smiths is not enough to base a relationship on.
  2. Asking if you’d like to share a pot of tea and only revealing he has no money when it’s time to pay isn’t ‘part of being a couple’ (the only time you’ll ever hear him use the c-word), it’s using you.
  3. Borrowing your books/clothes/jewellery without asking does not mean that he wants to keep part of you with him day and night. (See 2) 
  4. Dumping you by quoting Michael Stipe is not sensitive and deep, no matter what he claims when he tells his friends the next day. 
  5. This would still have happened if you were thinner/prettier/less opinionated. Seriously.
The bad news is that this is not the first time you’ll be dumped, and it won’t be any easier the next time it happens. But, like Saturday mornings spent in detention, Mum going ballistic when she found out where you hide your cigarettes and your penchant for mismatched fluorescent socks, this too shall pass.

You will be loved one day, I promise. For today, just try to love yourself.
xxx aimee