Saved by Beauty

biblioteca

References

Byung-Chul Han

I’m writing a new book about beauty. I decided to do it after reading an interview with Botho Strauss. When asked what he misses, Botho Strauss answered: “beauty”. He didn’t say anything else – I miss beauty, and I got it. So then I thought, I’ll write a book about beauty. 

“But the beauty is in the walking — we are betrayed by destinations.” — Gwyn Thomas

I used to be a Tomboy – a micro collection

Growing up, I never managed to be the pretty girl. My hair always looked messy and my bangs covered my eyes, my knees were always bruised from running and falling or bumping into things. Although I suppose I longed to be prim and polished, I’ve never managed to. This is my little tribute to all the girls that have never managed to be “true ladies” and are happy about it.

[cincopa AkMA5WNaZE6r]

 

Check the collection here

Getting to know who you are

What’s in a name

According to the label on it, I’ve had this t-shirt since I was 4. I guess these were quite popular at the time and my brother also had one.


At four, this was just a cute t-shirt with my name on it, now I look at it and see the beginning of my long saga of letting clothes tell me who I am. The fact that it actually has my name on it makes it even more important. I have always identified with the name chosen for me. Both of them. My two given names are Nadine and Stella. One meaning Hope and the other, of course, meaning Star. These meanings have, undoubtedly, shaped my main personality trait, I’m the eternal optimist, the obstinate one “that maintains that everything is best when it is worst.”

Nadine is the name everyone calls me, it’s also the name that has always made sense to call mine. Re-reading my 9 year old diary I realise that it also the name of the character I’ve created for myself. Most of the pages are full of descriptions of this girl called Nadine, an aspirational self, subject to countless experimentations of posture, behaviour, appearance, treated in writing like some amazing heroin in one of the countless books that were my most usual companions at the time.

Growing up in Portugal it was also too different from all the other names at school or the doctor’s office. At a time when you didn’t want to be noticed it was the kind of name that did not allow for any kind of invisibility. I didn’t actually realise how good that was. I do now. It is the kind of name that does not really require a surname. You can just be.

The imaginary or delusional grandeur I came to see in this name made it difficult to live up to it. How not to fall short from the character? I started by dressing it, all it’s moods, quirks, dreams and aspirations as a costume designer of some sorts. That’s how I ended up with a massive closet and no archiving space.

Stella has never been the protagonist. Others have never recognised it as a character and I am only slowly discovering that it might also be a name with it’s own voice.
Say Your Name

References

Voltaire

Coloring by words 

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink Life to the lees

This was beautifully handwritten inside a birthday card given to me by my summer course English teacher in Cheltenham the year I turned 18. These words (and the card) have stayed with me since then and I even had them embroidered on a dress. Who wouldn’t want to live like that? These words felt like the perfect “how to” to life at that time.

They were also responsible for the immense love I feel for a language which is not native to me but has always understood me better than my own.

Before these words, all the poetry in songs, from Morrison to Morrissey, the texts of disquiet, the Stranger’s paragraphs all seemed to work as companions to a growing existential hole, some sort of solace to an awkward confrontation with reality. And then these words, out of their natural context, as quotes are usually presented, showed a sunny alternative and I still tend to hold on to them as way of seeing a brighter tomorrow.

Other words, other poems, other texts have found their way to me because of their music when read aloud or because they are the words that I wished were mine and because, in a way, I still need words as a compass even when those same words make me feel overwhelmed and scared that in the midst of all the quotes living in my head I will not be able to find words that are mine. And again I borrow, from Beckett when I try and fail and vow to fail again better, from Jung while trying to take control of my own narrative, from Emerson while I try to go on being myself, from Camaron de la Isla when trying to come to terms with all the anger and honey that I too seem to carry with me.

And still none of those words have resonated as strongly as the realization that

tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
I carry them on me. So I don’t forget.

Quote Me better late than never

The travelling closet

From Skagway, Alaska to Apache Junction, Arizona, Los Angeles, New York, Londonderry in Northern Ireland, Arnatveit in Norway, New South Wales Australia and beyond. My stories and errors have travelled further than what I have in 2015.

Reintroduction

Last time I was in Johannesburg I met Rosemary at her vintage shop in Melville. I remember thinking that hers was the life I would have wanted for myself in the way we think of the lives of those who seem to be bigger than their own context. This very special Lady also made me feel like a “movie star”, as special Ladies tend to, regardless of who you are.  Because of my two visits toReminiscence that year, I finally managed to open my little virtual vintage corner on Etsy and I’ve called it dreaming of Melville. It was  my attempt at taming my vintage closet and living that life.

Being somewhat of an academic almost by birth / education / unavoidability, the temptation to think about what an ever growing closet means in terms of personal history/identity was too strong and the Closet of Errors was born, keeping dreaming of Melville as the name of the collection representing my imagined life.

 

photo via SA Venues