In Defense Of Wonky Teeth

I had a moment the other day. One of my many moments, over the years, of a sudden worry about my appearance. One of those fixations that bobs up like an intrusive dolphin breaking through the surface of my self esteem (nice metaphor, Lil, please take this esteemed blog award for Most Convoluted Dolphin Metaphor 2015). There are a couple of things about my appearance that have been the last persistent shreds of all the self scrutiny I have managed to throw in the bin. Mostly this has been my hair and my teeth. I guess that could be partly due to the changeability of those aspects of myself. I know I can do all sorts of things to my hair, and I also know that I can (with a big cartoon bag full of cash) change the appearance of my teeth. At the moment I like to call my hair my 'hay bale' and I truly do use that term with great affection.

The prospect of straight and symettrical teeth is appealing to me in large part because I know it's pretty attainable, but also probably because of the culture of braces as a right of passage for teenagers. I had braces at the worst time possible in my life that I could've had them. I felt really self conscious about them and struggled to feel like I was cleaning my teeth adequately (which I clearly wasn't as I have some white decalcification stains around where my brackets were). Braces were a horrible experience for me, and my teeth moved around a lot afterwards because I didn't understand the importance of wearing a retainer. D'oh!

Despite my 'moment', I am pretty okay with my teeth most of the time. I think that front tooth of mine that sticks out is kinda cute, and my teeth are reasonably healthy, but sometimes I think it would be so nice to have straight teeth. I feel a bit guilty about it though, because I want to spread around the message that imperfections are good and beautiful things. I want to let people know that being human, being ugly, and being different is great! Yet I want to straighten my teeth. If I pay over £1000 to straighten my perfectly healthy and functioning but somewhat wonky teeth, what message does that send? What message does it send to me about my own body, as well as to other people about theirs?

Part of me would love to have straight, white, sparkly magic teeth, and in all honestly I probably wouldn't hesitate to go for Invisalign if it was offered to me free of charge, but I feel like I should push these feelings away. After all, I know there's nothing wrong with me the way I am. Sure, I'd like to be able to floss between some of my teeth more easily, and it would probably feel nice to run my tongue over my upper front teeth without having to traverse a tongue ridge, but it's important to me to consciously avoid changing myself just for some silly social standard.


Journal: Colour Rivers

I've been working on some journal pages finally, after what feels like a thousand years without collaging. I used some old painted textures I found in my scrap box (from my 'How To Make Art Without Killing Yourself' project) to make a cool composition of overlapping brushstrokes and colours. These would've been from my old paint set too, so it makes me feel a bit nostalgic for it. The pages of brushstrokes melting into each other look like colourful rivers to me. I always imagine natural bodies of water all filled up with emerald green. Lakes full of lush, jewel colours. An alien dreamworld.

Nature Nostalgia

me at an icy river with my cousins

You wanna know what I think about almost all the time? Trees and rivers and stuff, and fresh, crisp air, and lying down on a lot of leaves and then finding leaves in my hair 3 days later. Me and my family always did lots of stuff together in the outdoors when I was growing up (and we still do, when I see them). I remember one time around Christmas when thick snow fell. I was really small, and me and my cousins went tobogganing and I remember tobogganing right over a wall. Unless I dreamt that. It's hard to say. It's a thrilling memory even if it isn't a real one.

me with all my duck friends and my cousin Taryn

Actually it's kinda comforting to me that I don't remember things and have false memories and have memories I can't tell the legitimacy of. I feel less defined by my past when I don't know if my memories are real. Same with all the memories I know are definitely real, but are really hazy. Memories all worn out and old with lost details of how old I was or where I was, etc. But regardless of the specifics of a sequence of diminishing recollection, I miss the senses of the outdoors.

me at Kinghorn beach, reading a Treasure Planet comic (I was such a big fan of that film)

There are some nice foresty parts of London, but my experience in much more rural areas outside the city has given me the great longing to be out in the fields and trees and hills. My grandma had a caravan for a while at Kinghorn, on the east coast of Scotland (on an absolute tangent, I always associate the fire cavern from Final Fantasy VIII with the word/direction 'east'). I loved going there and hanging out around the beach as if I lived there. I think living near the coast like that would be really nice.

We also used to go all the way up the highlands to the beach at Arisaig (I made a post here about my last visit in 2014) and go on all sorts of walks and expeditions around woods and rivers and things. What I always hated were the long drives to get to all these places. I'm saving up for a horse and cart instead.

Mind Goblins

Here are some drawings from my phone. They are me and I am them. You know, I think some of the best blog posts are the ones that feel like I've scooped up a bit of myself and put it on the internet. Sorry if you had a bit of a weird visceral image there. I mean, blogging kinda fundamentally feels like I am putting a part of myself into each post, but some posts just feel more intrinsically like they are me. Like they are a genuine bowl of electronic impulses I plucked from my brain and placed here, like Dumbledore with his memory thingy (Google tells me what I'm thinking of is a Pensieve). I guess these drawings feel like little mind goblins. Scuttling around in there. Poking things. Juggling shapes. Telling me to listen to Rick Astley on repeat.

I'm not sure what I'm talking about, but I just feel like they represent me so well. Do you ever look at pictures of yourself and think that whilst they look like you, they don't really LOOK like you? Like they don't really convey you properly? It's a physical recording of you, but it's like looking at a version of you with no brain. Something is missing. I get that sometimes. I mean, I know pictures of me usually do look like me, but looking at myself from the outside is so different from looking at myself from the inside. It's like that thing about how people prefer mirror images of themselves because they're using to seeing themselves in the mirror, so unflipped images look off. These drawings, and other things I put here, sometimes feel like they are more me than pictures of me.

Now I'm gonna get all philosophical and talk about a cool and weird and large thing. We know that we are made up of our bodies and minds and thoughts and choices and experiences, etc. Our selves are made up of, most obviously, our physical bodies (including the brain, and thus - thoughts), but also our environment. Our culture and existence in a specific time and place shapes us. Our past shapes us. Our childhood acquisition of a large amount of Kinder Eggs shapes us. We know that, although we might not think about it too much. But also, it's interesting to think about how we define ourselves. Your 'self' could be defined to include every person you've heard of, or place you've been, or dog you've stroked. It's influenced by lots of things, so it makes some sense to say that it is, itself, constructed of an amalgamation of almost everything that exists. This is holistic philosophy and I love it a lot. We are part of everything and in a way you could say that everything is a part of us, also. Like that thing science folks love to say about how we're all made of stardust. It's true and very cool.

"The cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." - Carl Sagan

So I guess in a way when I draw dumb stuff on my phone (or when I draw in general) it's a way to create myself. I am making myself. Moulding myself. It feels so strongly me, in terms of my identity. Maybe even more me than the way I do awkward Chandler Bing smiling when I smile with my teeth (not always, but definitely sometimes - and I'm not criticising myself here because I kinda like it), or my particular brand of bad dancing, or even my love for Def Leppard.

I don't know, but anyway, here I am. Here are the drawings. Here I am. :-)

Apps used: Kids Doodle & Jot It Down!

The Smell Of Rain

It's raining really hard outside as I write this. I'm all alone in Elliot's house with 2 dogs, a cat, and a starling. The stiff back door is open, because apparently I'm strong enough to open it, but not to shut it. Today I joined Vine, Snapchat, and Phhhoto (@mothcub on all of them). So far I think Phhhoto is really cool, I unexpectedly love Vine a lot, and Snapchat isn't really seeming very interesting. It's been fun parading around the house for something to take photos and videos of. I mostly settled for stuff involving me or Dodo (the cat). Here's a vine to illustrate what I'm talking about:

Whilst that's been extremely distracting, it is not what I want to write a blog post about (although I know I have a lot of things to say about all of my fun time on social media). It's been raining for hours and I can hear the rain thundering against the walls and all. It's such an immense and yet soothing sound. I know British people are obsessed with complaining about the weather, and I get that rain is annoying to be in because of the whole moisture aspect, but I kinda love rain. It makes a good smell and sound, and being touched by the rain or the air it's cooled down makes me feel really conscious and alive. Cold water gives my brain some clarity. It also reminds me of camping and mountains and things, so I guess there's a nostalgia and fondness associated. When it rains after a really warm period, it sort of feels like coming home. My body knows its natural environment is in a big jumper.

I sort of wish I could actually be the rain, all cold and pelting down and covering everything, but actually I'm a bit scared of heights so it probably wouldn't be very nice. Do you know what I mean though? I wish I could leave my body and be a sequence of raindrops.

Diary: Felt Tips Are Not The Boss Of Me

I am really into drawing stick figures at the moment, apparently. They are very easy to make look sarcastic or gormless, both elements that I end up needing to convey on most diary pages. I've also decided to stop caring if my felt tips leak through my diary pages, because life is too short for this specific kind of acute worry. I am okay with letting things bleed a bit. It seems a bit intrinsically wrong, but I think I ought to try not to let it bother me. Pens and paper thickness shouldn't control me. I control them, and they can shut their faces. Besides, I can always stick paper over the top if there's been a really severe pen bleed.

I have been a bit more colourful this week, which is very pleasing to me. Partly this is because there are some new pens available to me, courtesy of my mum's sudden interest in buying a colouring book (which I have slightly stolen). Colouring books are pretty great. They're a good and fun activity. Although I do tend to get distracted by a need to draw my own stuff instead of just colouring, but there's definitely a place for it. Especially if the picture you're colouring in is of two lady pirates or a bunch of cheeky cats on an island.

I Make Mistakes

Perceptions are really weird, like, the key to doing all number of things is your perceptions and feelings and actions all as a sequence. It's annoying how wrong things happen automatically when deep down in your brain you know the correct thoughts and feelings and behaviours but your hormones are getting in the way of that. I don't want to get into specifics because this is about a lot of things across a big chunk of life lived, but it's weird and kinda gross to look back on past mistakes and ideas and things and to see exactly what the sensible option would have been, because my perception isn't clouded for those memories. Like when I was 10 and cried because I was only given a tiny bit part in the school play. It didn't matter, and it also didn't matter that I was upset. It was fine to be upset. All of it was fine. And yet I remember how much that hurt.

me attacking my grandfather as a youth

I've been thinking about past and memories. All of the sad and negative moments, all sparkling like shards of glass left after an accident. In the past, I held mistakes really close to my heart and always felt awful for them, sometimes even tiny ones. I'm a lot easier on myself now, but sometimes I still struggle to stop myself from clinging on to things I've done wrong. I used to pretty obsessively believe and fear that I was harming people by, well, existing. I spent so much energy worrying about it and feeling like every single thing I did was wrong. I can't tell you when this started, because I can't remember anything about a time before it was a thing, but I can tell you that I improved in bursts and stretches largely between the ages of 15 and 19. After that I was much, much better, but remnants were still there, and are still there (still decreasing bit by bit by bit).

me being absolutely THE WORST at Twister

Of course, I still made mistakes during and after that time, and I still found myself struggling to accept the reality of things that had happened because I wasn't always able to control/influence/alter my perception of and response to them and view things logically. And it's okay if I'm not completely mentally healthy all the time, because that's an inevitable part of being a person, but I am a lot better these days and I can see that mistakes and problems don't have to condemn me to total punishment. I am trying to encourage myself to be more and more rational and understanding with myself, because everyone screws up. If I can recognise a mistake, that is enough. I'm not going to let my feelings hold me hostage. I am a complex person, not the fairy tale expectation being written over in my brain. Who needs a fairy tale like that when you can have real life, and the smell of petrichor, and the creases in your duvet, and that particular frown you made on first seeing this year's UK Eurovision entry?