“So it’s the people of privilege who get work experience or have the luxury of thinking about what they want to do as a career in that field. We should be concerned about coming up with ways to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to start something.” – Alexa Chung
On the days I find myself stuck in thoughts, lacking the proper wording to transport my feelings from my heart and my mind to the world, I find refuge in the phrasing of others. Whether it be in the wit and charm of the authors of my summer reads (note a side smile at Alexa Chung and Glenn O’Brien), or even quotes found hidden in social media captions, I find that sometimes other’s can convey what I cannot. And not only does this alleviate some of the frustration of not being able to express certain feelings, it also makes me feel like I must not be the only one who feels these unnamed moments, for if someone else can pen them, they must certainly feel them too.
"There are some feelings you will never find words for, you will learn to name them after the ones who gave them to you." - Maza Dohta
Today, on a particularly lazy Sunday, I am here to patch together some of the sayings I've encountered this summer, along with the snacks that accompanied the thoughts.
Here, hidden in a newspaper from a hotel, a book from a model turned entrepreneur, any text for that matter, are the phrases I found most resonating. So, take them for yourself as you will – find in them what you need to find. We don’t have to see them or read them in the same way. They don’t all have to serve you the way they served me or the way they were written to be served. Read them as you need them. There are quotes for the ideas and inspirations budding inside of you; there are sayings for the more solemn and quiet of times whispering in your heart, and there are words that genuinely make you laugh out loud and tease a smile onto your face. Again, you’ll read it the way it is most useful to you. I’m just here to curate words in ways that inspired me in hopes that they will, in turn, inspire you.
Alexa Chung, IT
"It's a juxtaposition I strongly endorse. If left to their own devices, children dress very similarly to elderly crazy cat women – and I love it. Our affinity for fashion often starts at a young age. Most of the things I wear today are a throwback to the items I owned as a child. Minus the multi-colored harem trousers. You know what you like, so follow your gut.” - Alexa Chung
“The nicest thing I heard during the worst time in my life was this: ‘you have to suffer heartbreak so you know what to tell your daughter when she has her heart broken.” - Alexa Chung*
*I’d also like to interject the caveat that I’m fortunate to not have had my heart broken in my nineteen years. But I know I can’t escape the unfortunate and inevitable, and I can only imagine that one day I will find Chung-level comfort in a phrase like this one.
Set aside Moments for Your Own Wisdom
At some point during my first year of college, I acquired the knack for recording things in a hortizontally bound sketchbook – a blank page-filled, starchy brown bound book, the one with the wooden art figurine outlined on the front, ample page space for ideas, ramblings, unforgiving sketches (I recall having written in response to a college supplement question that my drawing ability was tortured to say the least, and all my depictions of cats ended up looking like four-legged pumpkins), and the like.
I managed to fill my first notebook in the fall with post-it’s of to do lists, ideas that populated my mind, mid lecture, or woke me up during day dreams (again, mid lecture), and the occasional symmetrical scribble.
The spring brought more of the same, yet the summer, oh the summer, has been so radically inspiring. I have all this time, well aside from work, in which I am free to let my mind traverse new paths.
Sometimes I catch myself admiring the brilliantly colored flowers that are so different from everything I've been accustomed to back home. Other times, I read one scrap of writing that intrigues me enough to fall down the rabbit hole of jumping from one lead to the next – and then I’m furiously jotting down the most unforgettable quotes I stumble on upon the way. In fairness to you, readers, I want to give you a glimpse at this chaos I struggle to put into words (notice a theme here?), yet in fairness to my thoughts, I should probably keep them somewhat to myself – at least in their nascent state. So let’s compromise. You can look but you can’t read - for the most part. And because my handwriting is a sore in it of itself (that’s what I get for writing exclusively in cursive during elementary, and then trying to copy the curvature of my sister’s y’s and q’s while also trying to have my own flair).
Given that two of the books that I have read this summer (which I found the most whimsically interesting) are both texturedly bound in canvas or whatever material that is, I find myself thinking on what my book would look like if I ever wrote one – forget what in the world it would be about, I want it to look like it matters. Like someone would be proud to own it, for both its content and, yes, for its cover. But, regardless of what my book looks like, or reads like, this post will surely, inevitably, wrap itself into a chapter.
I’m an optimistic believer in things happening for a reason, that everything happens for the highest good for you in that moment (I hear the echo of my mother's voice as I write this). Following this mantra, I’m spending this summer being quite open to random occurrences, like finding a pretty looking book in my apartment that has now sparked a love for a new author, or striking up a conversation with a woman at the Public Garden because she was seeking to officiate a wedding in the spot where I was picnicking with a friend.
I also feel like the mantra I mentioned leads me into this next quote:
“Sometimes I smell my parents on my words. And I weep.” – Nayyirah Waheed
Goodness Gracious, Glenn O'Brien
I am thankful for a slow-paced day a couple of weekends ago that left me sitting on the couch and able to catch a glimpse of a mint colored book tucked away under what I think might be a Phantom of the Opera mask in my apartment (mind you, since I'm just subletting, my apartment came fully and quirkily furnished - and I love it). This book turned out to be the wonder that is, How to Be a Man by Glenn O'Brien. Though I did not seek this book out as a trusty tell-all manual for how to live my life as a more powerful gentleman, I turned to it as satire and eagerly flipped through the pages as I chuckled to myself.
Here are some of the funniest, if not most notable passages I found. Though, unfortunately I must admit I am not too far along in this book since the uncomfortable glares and glances I received when I brought this on the bus with me to work prompted me to tuck it away in my backpack and hurriedly order another, more unsuspecting O'Brien title.
“Today chivalry is taken to mean opening the car door for a woman or giving her your arm when she’s picking her way over cobblestones in Manolo Blahnik spikes. In short, chivalry is now about making a woman feel like a lady.” - Glenn O'Brien
“But we’ll fight like gentlemen of a new age. Our weapons will not be broadsword, mace, and cudgel; they will be wit, satire, mockery, and chiding. Not the longbow but the bon mot.” - Glenn O'Brien
“We are made to walk. If we do not, we will lose the ability. If you can walk there, do it, not only for the exercise but because that’s how a man [ahem, and a woman… this is one rare instance in which a rule for “How to Be a Man” can be aptly applied to females as well] gets ideas. The rhythm of walking, combined with the concept of moving from point to point, is the perfect context for ideation. I’ve gotten many of my best ideas on sidewalks and fairways. Musicians and songwriters have often told me that walking is a good mode for picking tunes up out of the firmament.” - Glenn O'Brien
Soap Box, not Box Soap
As I googled and googled for another O'Brien book, I found, what I thought was titled "Box Soap" and purchased it with one click (thank you Amazon Prime!). I have now realized it's called Soap Box, and now it makes much more sense. In this conglomeration of writing, O'Brien simply sheds light on topics he finds worth his time - my idol. Every moment I have had since this book plopped into my mailbox on Friday has been spent actually laughing while reading, and here's what I've enjoyed so far:
“I also thought it was very important to be funny, because how else can you be taken seriously?” - Glenn O'Brien
“Hip is mysterious. Sometimes it doesn’t appear until adulthood, sometimes it disappears altogether soon after its appearance – making the formerly hip person seem in retrospect to have been the victim of himself. The mechanism of hip is like the mechanism of possession, because you can’t own it, you can’t hang on to it, you can only tune it in and stay tuned.” - Glenn O'Brien
“When you’re hip you’re Intense but Chill. When you’re hip you’re Bad. As in Good Bad But Not Evil. When you’re hip you’re always wearing shades to protect others from your own brilliance.” - Glenn O'Brien
“As Leonard Cohen says, there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. Hey, don’t throw that out. Just because it’s a little damaged. It has the mystique of an antique already. Give me a crack at that. I’ll take the broken one every time – at least you can see what is wrong.” - Glenn O'Brien
“Like yoghurt in the fridge, they’re keeping our culture on ice.” - Glenn O'Brien
Bright & Early
Sometimes I enjoy the gusto of planning a morning adventure that seizes the day before it should even be considered a reasonable waking hour on a Sunday. Today's 6:30am alarm was brought by the craving for a T-Rex bagel and the wherewithal to anticipate the line out the door (you would've thought the bagel was going extinct!) before Bagelsaurus even opened at 8am. Since no one was really awake at that hour to accompany me via voice on my journey, I turned to the words of Glenn O'Brien for chuckles in between the updates to my Snapchat Story chronicle. Well, folks, I did it! I woke up, got me a bagel, and promptly returned home for a nap. I'd say it was a successful Sunday all before 9am.
If you're looking for a palate whetting description of this bagel, peep my previous post on Touristing in Boston! But, as always, here are some delectable shots. Also, please take note at how much mess ensues from this meal, and imagine me corralling all of this paper and almond butter on a cramped flight to New York - yup, that happened.
Even though it's been quite the productive and simultaneously lazy Sunday, groceries will unfortunately not purchase themselves so I'm off. But, I'll leave you with these two sayings that are similar in sentiment:
"Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all." – Nathan W. Morris
"You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously." – Sophia Bush