Monday, 25 November 2013

The Thankful Project

My darling friend Lisa tagged me in a thing where you write about stuff you're thankful for. I am very thankful to have a reason to blog today! So let's see.

1. A person

 I'm sure everyone expected this but obviously it's my girlfriend. She is the sweetest and most beautiful person to me and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with her. I kept scrolling up while writing this post to look at this picture again because she is SO PRETTY  <3

2. A role you’ve played

 I kept trying to think of a really interesting 'role' I've played in my life (sister? girlfriend? fangirl?) but I couldn't think of anything I wanted to write about so I decided to interpret it very literally and say that I'm very thankful to have played the role of angel for a photoshoot when I worked at a costume design company. Really I just wanted to post this picture of teenage-me as an angel.

3. A place

Maison Rouge. My grandparents bought this beautiful 300 year old farm in the French countryside in the 60s and made it into a true little paradise. All of my summers were spent there as a child, but I grew unbelievably bored of it as a teenager when all I wanted was to travel to places I hadn't been before and go on wild adventures. Now that I am becoming old and boring however, I love this place more than anything. I've stayed there with my friends for the past two years, and it gave me the chance to discover the house and the beautiful surroundings in a whole new way. It is a beautiful and peaceful place and I can't wait to go back there next summer.

4. An experience

Seeing The Darkness in Liverpool. When I was 17, I spent a lot of my time on a fan forum about Dan Hawkins from The Darkness. They were about to do their last gig of the tour in Liverpool, and everyone in the fandom was either going or constantly crying about how they weren't going. I was in the latter category. Two days before the gig, just as I was coming to terms with the fact that I would have to just live vicariously through my friends that were going to be there, someone offered me a free ticket. She was going to go with her boyfriend, but they'd split up and he'd told her to go with a friend instead. What happened in between isn't pretty, so I'll fast forward to the moment when I set foot in England for the first time in my life, saw my favourite band playing what was going to be one of their last gigs before they (temporarily) broke up, and took this picture with Dan. I flew home the next morning without sleeping and floated on a happy cloud made of Darkness for the next few months.

5. A talent you have

Making stuff. I haven't done enough of that lately, but I used to constantly sew fishbags and weird dolls. I made this little fucker inspired by a Mika video and then took him with me everywhere for a few months and took pictures of him doing everything I did. This is him ice skating behind my grandma's house.

6. A failure

 Dropping out of fashion school. This is me in front of the Amsterdam Fashion school I went to for a year an a half, posing in an outfit I made/styled for an assignment. I learned quite a few things in the first year, but in the end it made me incredibly miserable and I'm glad I could step away from this extremely toxic environment, even if it meant giving up my dream of becoming The Darkness' personal stylist......

7. Words 

 Even for this one I could find a relevant picture! Me and Oscar Wilde in Dublin last summer ;) I am very thankful for all of his beautiful words, of course he is responsible for many funny witty quotes but my favourites are lines that are just beautiful like a painting can be beautiful.

The world has changed because you are made of ivory and gold,
the curves of your lips rewrite history 

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars

Put out the torches, hide the moon, hide the stars
8. A photo

Best friend, girlfriend and myself in Southampton all covered in glitter about to see a Bowie tribute band. I'm wearing a Darkness top. So many good things. 

9. A memory

 Getting my first tattoo. Here a real ladybird came to say hi to it. I was 19 when I got it, and even though I it's not perfect and needs some touching up it still means a lot to me because it was one of the first decisions I really made for me.

10. An opportunity    

Studying in Southampton for a year. This picture of me and my parents was taken on the ferry to Dover on the day I moved to England. It was a beautiful year and it changed my life forever. I miss Southampton so much and I can't wait to go back next week to see my girlfriend.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The List

I have an idea. I'm going to make a list of things that I want to do, and then when I do one of the things I will write a post about it on here. It will be a combination of small, sometimes mundane things I'm planning on doing soon as well as big life events that might not happen for a few years, and I will continue to add to the list when I think of a new thing I want to do. It's not going to be one of these '101 things in 1001 days' lists, there is no time frame and no set number, it will just be a nice, positive, motivating project to inspire myself to accomplish the things I want to do, however small they may be. Here is my list!

-Get a tattoo of a peacock feather

-Plant vegetables in my garden 

-Put wallpaper on the bit of wall behind my table

-Fix up the hallway (put up wallpaper, paint door)

-Go on holiday to a country I’ve never been to before

-Move in together with my girlfriend

-Crochet a blanket to put on my sofa

- Sew and put up the remaining curtains 

-Build a shed/garden house in my garden

-Go to the drag queen bar Lellebel

-Post at least one OOTD picture every week

-Publish the first issue of Killer Magazine with Cécile and Anne

-Rewatch Torchwood
-Paint a cloud and raindrops on my wall

-Build a podium for my bed to stand on to create more space

-Find/build a pretty cabinet small enough to fit into my bathroom 
-Find enough interesting and pretty postcards/pictures to completely cover the door of my electricity cupboard

-Visit Berlin with my girlfriend

-Cover the side of my speakers with wallpaper

-Start a webshop with homemade clothes and accessories 

-(Re)visit the three big museums of Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum

-Write a blog post about all the fun things you can do in my new neighbourhood

-Have a cheese fondue Christmas party

-Adopt a doge from an animal shelter

-Build a pretty cage for my girlfriend’s gerbils for when they move in

-Turn my garden into a little paradise

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Despite All The Amputation, You Could Dance To A Rock 'n Roll Station

When I was little my favourite band was my dad's band. My favourite songs were Rock 'n Roll and Visjes. If you had asked me whose songs they were, I would have proudly said 'my dads!', until I harshly learned about the concept of 'coverbands' when I asked him why someone was singing one of their songs on the radio
It took me a while longer to find out that 'Vicious' was not a Dutch song about small fish.

As a teenager I got into glamrock and eagerly obsessed over Bowie and Bolan, Slade and Sweet, and movies like Velvet Goldmine and Hedwig And The Angry Inch, and it lead me back Lou Reed. I listened to Satellite Of Love, Walk On The Wild Side and Rock 'n Roll a million times. I bought the Velvet Underground banana album and I wanted to live inside it.

I listened to nothing but Perfect Day for days after I spent the perfect day with my girlfriend.

Your favourite songs become a part of you after a while. When you hear just one note of a song and a warm, familiar feeling runs through you. The first second of Walk On The Wild Side feels like coming home, taking of my shoes and petting my dog.

"If Lou is doing Bowie, and Bowie is doing Lou, Lou is still doing Lou" - Lester Bangs in Almost Famous. 

Lou was the coolest guy on earth, and now he's going to be the coolest guy in rock 'n roll heaven.

 RIP Lou, artsy glam king, bisexual hero of grumpy weirdness

I will never get to ask you which different kinds of organic soup you talked about with Chuck in his Genghis Khan suit, but if I had you probably would've rudely ignored me and left.

*Lulu did not happen, I repeat Lulu DID NOT HAPPEN it was a figment of our imagination

Saturday, 12 October 2013

It Is Almost A Real House Now

The house is coming together nicely! I have been very busy decorating, painting and assembling furniture, there is still loads more to do but I am enjoying it :) I still haven't got round to taking actual good quality pictures of the house, but I made a collage of some of the ones I took on my phone.

 Left to right: 

1. Wrapping paper from Paperchase I used to line the inside of my kitchen cupboards

2. Kitchen window with flowers my mum got me (from their garden!)

3. Sofa cover, I went for off-white instead of pink in the end

4. Curtain between the living room and bedroom, you can't see the leaf print very well but it looks amazing!

5. The table! I love it so much. It folds out twice as big as this. The little stool is also new, the colour fits perfectly with the rest

6. Wardrobe. I bought it from a charity shop, it was dark brown wood which was super depressing so I painted it mint with coral details :)

7. Book case and birdie chair. This isn't new stuff, I've had these things in my old flat for ages but they look so much nicer now that they have more space

8. Owl-shaped drawer knobs I found in Paperchase. I love them so much.

9. Teapot that I bought today at the Emaillekeizer on the Albert Cuyp market :)

10. Lamp in the corridor

11. Fabric for the living room/kitchen curtains :D I had been struggling to decide on a fabric for a few weeks, I thought a plain colour would make the house too serious but at the same time I didn't want to a print I might get tired of. These retro trees have a bit of a Scandinavian design feel about them which is exactly what the house needs

12. And what will truly make my house a home, my girlfriend who I have known for exactly a year and two days today :)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

What Will Go Inside My Dream House

Luckily I already own quite a lot of furniture even though I've lived in tiny flats up until now, I have a beautiful double bed, an enormous bookcase, a sofa, several chairs and tiny tables and cabinets etc, but the new house still demands a few new things.

First of all I needed to pick out a floor. I decided to go for lino as it'll be easy to keep clean and it comes in pretty prints. For the livingroom/bedroom I picked this wood print. I really like the different colours of wood, I want to avoid having the house look too neat and polished.
I've always wanted a kitchen with a checkerboard floor! This one is so perfect. I'm also going to put this in the corridor.  
 Obviously a new house also asks for a trip to Ikea. I have an Klippan sofa that my parents gave to me when they bought a new one, it currently has a black cover which I do not hate but think is a little bit too dark for what I want to do with the house, so I'm considering this pink cover. I am still not sure though, I have to see it in real life. Would it be completely ridiculous?

One thing I really need to buy is a proper table. Because the house is quite small I'm going to go for this adorable fold out Ingatorp.
There is no wall between the livingroom and bedroom, so I've decided to divide them with a curtain in this pretty leaf design. Cat had the amazing idea to dip-dye it. I'm not sure which colour I'll use for that, I'll have to wait until I've moved in to see what will fit.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Moving Into My Dream House

A bit over a month ago I logged in on Woningnet, just to see which houses were on this week. I've done that loads of times before, never with the intention to actually apply for them. This time though, there was a little ground floor house with a garden in the city centre. It was hard to tell from the pictures what it actually looked like, and the description only focussed on the negative things like the lack of sun, but I immediately knew this was my house. I applied and ended up in the first position, meaning that if I wanted the house I could have it. But then I got an email saying there had been a mistake, and the house wouldn't be available. I struggled to understand this as surely it was my house?
The next week the house was listed again, and I applied. I ended up in the number 2 position. When me and Cat went to view the house, there was no doubt left for me, this was my house, our house, the house we were going to live in together. Fate seemed to agree with me, and the lady who was number 1 chose another flat in the same street on the 3rd floor. Cat pointed out that I basically described this exact house in a blog post I wrote last year.
I got the keys last Thursday, and have started painting immediately. I will blog about the progress, so expect me to turn into an insufferable interior blogger for the next few months.

I only have semi-shit phone pictures to show now, but I'll take some better pictures when I've put the floor in on Saturday.

 Living room. I am not sure yet which colour to paint the windowsill and the door.

My bookcase will fit right in that little corner :)

I have a slidey door! It looks like this now:

A brand new kitchen had just been put in, and it really didn't look bad at all but I am a huge perfectionist when it comes to my house so I painted everything and turned it into this:

Turquoise and tangerine with light blue walls! (The tangerine was Cécile's idea, doesn't it look amazing?)

It will look beyond amazing once I've put all my stuff in there and add the black and white checkerboard floor

And finally my beautiful garden. It needs some tender loving care, but I have a TREE. And actual piece of nature, all to myself! I'm planning on putting in loads of succulents, and to grow some of my own vegetables and spices. Eventually I will put up a shed/garden house in the little corner but that is a plan for the future.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

How I realised I was a lesbian at 25

WARNING: this deals with some very traumatic things including rape and is in general kind of sad, but it has a happy ending :)

The first girl I loved had blonde braids and owned the most flawless pair of white platform shoes. We were 9 years old. We were friends for a while even though she was so much more popular than me. I realised I liked her way more than she liked me, but I accepted every bit of friendship I could get with great gratitude. We did a friendship test in a magazine, and it said that we were just starting to become really close and that we should probably have a sleepover to get to know each other better. I prayed we would, but it never happened.
I did jazz dance when I was 10 or 11, a haven of just girls, beautiful girls in brightly coloured leggings and legwarmers. I would look forward to Tuesdays the entire week, to spending an hour in the studio surrounded by gorgeous, precious ladies. Girls looks at each other, check out each other’s outfits, compare themselves to others, read each other’s body language. None of this raises any suspicion, it is a fact of life. 

All the girls in my class thought Ginger Spice was a slut, so I said my favourite Spice Girl was Baby. But oh Geri how I adored you, your tight pvc two-piece and thigh high red boots in the video for Say You’ll Be There, the little bit of underwear showing under your Union Jack dress... But everyone loved the Spice Girls, everyone thought they were pretty, right? 

I didn’t understand what I was feeling, so I told everybody I had a crush on a boy in my class, until I started to believe it myself. He was preppy, only wore Nike t-shirts and played hockey. He was so popular he never talked to me, never noticed I existed. I befriended another boy with whom I built tree houses and caught frogs, and when he told me he was in love with me I felt betrayed and scared, it just hadn’t occurred to me.

I made friends with a very strange girl when I was 12, my last year of primary school. She would stay at our house for a couple of days when her mum went on business trips, and we slept in the same bed even though I’d put the blow-up bed up on the floor. She talked about sex constantly, sex with men. We both liked Five, she described in detail what she would do with her favourite member J. I liked Rich, who had long hair and a delicate face, and who everyone said was gay. ‘He wears lipgloss in this picture, ‘ my friend had said, ‘I don’t understand how you don’t find him repulsive. ’ I had to pretend I was J, while she pretended to be Rich, laying on top of each other and stroking each other’s backs.

I read a magazine for young teenagers called Break Out, it had a feature with readers’ questions about sex. A girl my age sent in a letter explaining that she had been turned on when she looked at a picture of a naked woman, and that she thought she had a crush on her best friend. Was she a lesbian? The magazine answered that of course she wasn’t, a lesbian was someone who exclusively falls in love with women. Finding girls attractive didn’t mean anything, who doesn’t love boobs? She had nothing to worry about. 

I had my first kiss when I was 13, with a boy I met at my guitar lessons. He played the bass, and had a blue streak in his blond hair that he did by himself with a highlighter. He was funny and cool, I didn’t dislike it. I had been bullied into such insecurity in primary school that I didn’t think anyone would ever want to kiss me, so I wasn’t going to be critical. It lasted for a good eight weeks. Ironically, he was by far the nicest boyfriend I would ever have.

I had a friend in highschool whom I adored. We held hands during break, she was my sole obsession for a few months. Once, when we sat on the floor in the kitchen talking and laughing, I thought she might kiss me. But it never happened. She lost interest in me and found a new best friend, and I wrote a song in a very bad English about how I couldn’t stand losing her. I was heartbroken for weeks, my mum tried to find out what happened, and I told her about how I was losing my friend, and she asked me if I was in love with her. I said I wasn’t, of course, but a seed had been planted.

I got a boyfriend when I was 14. He was 18. I hated him, I was repulsed by him. The way he looked, everything he said, the way his disgusting hands touched me in places I did not want to be touched, not yet, not by him. I hated myself so much it never occurred to me that I deserved to be happy. This was what I’d have to live with, it wasn’t as if I’d get another chance. The age difference was somewhat controversial, but, many adults assured me, girls just grow up way faster than boys. I had a curvy figure with double D breasts and I wore fishnets, eyeliner and a shaggy black faux-fur coat, how could I not be ready to fuck? It was one of the darkest times of my life. After wasting an entire year that I should have spent being a carefree teenager letting myself be abused by this waste of space I somehow found the sense to break up with him. 

There was a new girl in school. She had long red hair and wore lots of green, and everybody wanted to be her friend. Somehow I lucked out and was picked to sit next to her in class for the entire semester. I think it was the first time I realised I had a crush on a girl, but I remembered the magazine. Having a crush on a girl doesn’t have to mean anything. Thinking about running my hands through her gorgeous hair, gently stroking her face, imagining what her milky white skin would look like under her green top, none of that meant anything. 

A friend told me she had kissed a girl on a night out in our local alternative club, a heaven for underage drinking and debauchery. She said that it was really fun. She had a boyfriend, but he didn’t care, he thought it was sexy. I thought about her and the other girl, sitting on one of the sofas in the back, kissing and touching each other’s faces. 

I got a new boyfriend soon. Not nearly as bad as the previous one, and I actually thought I was in love for a while. We stayed together for over 2 years, I was happy for the first year. I don’t think he ever took me seriously as a human being, but by this point I was so disconnected from who I was and what I wanted that I never even noticed. I can’t imagine it now, but I buried everything that made me me under a thick layer of pretending to be the kind of girl that would go with a guy like him. He broke up with me, and I was heartbroken.

A few months later, one of his best friends sexually assaulted me. No in fact screw that, he raped me. I am ready to call it what it was now. I can’t bear to write down the details, but this in combination with how 99% of the people I considered friends reacted to it has scarred me forever and seven years later I am still recovering from it. On the long term, it reinforced my already existing belief that I was not in control. I could not choose my fate, it would happen to me, it would be disgusting, and I’d have to lie back and take it and then be blamed for it afterwards. 

It did get a little better soon. My next great love was The Darkness. Now that I was 17 and on my own I could finally discover what it was that I liked and wanted, and it was glitter, rock ‘n roll, and making bags. I decided not to go to university and instead have a gap year in which I delivered post, made a million bags in the shape of fish that I sold on the internet, and spent every other free minute on the Darkness forum. Pathetic as it sounds, at this point in my life it was the happiest I’d ever been. 

I won’t pretend I wasn’t in love with Dan Hawkins, the beautiful effeminate long haired guitarist of the band, I was in fact obsessed with him. Because he was completely unattainable, I could imagine everything exactly the way I wanted it to be, and just leave out all the things I disliked about relationships and sex. Which was nearly everything. Feeling pressured, being in pain, feeling embarrassed and alienated, none of that existed in the safe castle in the sky I had built around Dan Hawkins. But what was far more important to me was that, starting with The Darkness, I could begin to discover things that I actually liked. Music that I wanted to listen to, clothes that I wanted to wear, countries that I wanted to travel to. And they were, respectively, T.rex, a black velvet jacket, and England. 

I felt like I was taking a break from real life, and tried to push out the thought it was inevitably going to get worse.

What made it easier was that I had decided I did not like relationships, and would be on my own from now on. I could have crushes on different people, make friends all over the world, go on trips abroad on my own to see my favourite band, kiss a beautiful stranger and then go home by myself. People thought I would change my mind, but for years I didn’t, and why would I? The concept of a happy relationship was something entirely foreign to me. 

During this relatively carefree period of my life I finally kissed my first girl. She was just a friend, I was never in love, but we spent many nights together, just kissing and spooning each other. I felt safe and happy, appreciated and loved, feelings I never had and never would have with a guy. 

In the next few years I kissed every girl I could get my hands on, all of my female friends and every female Darkness fan I got drunk with. Carefully I started to identify as bisexual, only to myself.

I went to study fashion, it was miserable. I had a crush on my teacher, a beautiful slightly older woman who with long blonde hair and nicely tailored black clothes. I quit after a year and a half, the internships were hell and the teacher had left.

I fell in love with a girl from the Darkness fandom. She was perfect to me, a female Dan Hawkins, long dark blonde curls and a leather jacket. I treasured every moment I got to spend with her, they were few and far between because she lived in another country. We went to a party with a band, and kissed while we sat on the singer’s lap, before each kissing him in turn. Of course I bragged about kissing someone semi-famous, but that kiss with her meant so much more.

I told a friend of my mum’s about her, and she said ‘it’s a shame you’re not lesbians, it sounds like you really get on with each other.’ The penny dropped a tiny bit further.

Sometimes I would tell random people I met that I was a lesbian. I just wanted to try on the identity, to see if it would fit. 

When I went to university I met several lesbians, and silly as it may sound I would think ‘I wish I could be one of them, but oh well, I guess I have to be with guys too.’ I think the root of the problem was I still didn’t feel like I was in control of my life, like I could make decisions about what was going to happen. Life happened to me, and I watched from a distance as I did things I did not enjoy, with people I did not like, and then bragged about it afterwards to seem normal. Then I would kiss a female friend at a party and it would feel so so much more right, but I still didn’t get it.

The saddest thing I’ve had to realise about myself is that for over two decades, I just did not think I deserved to be happy. I wasn’t miserable, the first two years of studying English and living in Amsterdam were at that point some of the happiest years of my life and I made friends that I adored. But it felt temporary, I felt my inevitable future unhappiness looming over me.

I went to live in Southampton for a year, it was impossible not to treat this as a fresh new start. In my first week in the UK I found a flyer for the university’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender society, announcing an introductory pub crawl. It was weeks away, but I wrote the date in my diary. I needed to make friends in this new town, and they might as well be gay.

And so I walked across campus into Portswood with a group of people I didn’t know, chatting to anyone that seemed a little lost. In the third pub we went to, I turned around and saw a girl with black hair and a partly shaved head. I complimented her on her bright blue eyeshadow. It was October 10, 2012. Now, 9 months later, she is the most important person in my life. I never knew it was possible for two people to go together so perfectly, that a relationship can feel so right and good, that I could love somebody so, so much. To say that I never felt this way before seems like an understatement, I never had a single feeling that was even in the same category. I truly did not know what love was before I met her. I experience everything differently, knowing that she exists and that she loves me. I finally completely understand one of my favourite quotes by Oscar Wilde: ‘The world has changed because you are made of ivory and gold, the curves of your lips rewrite history.’ Nothing could ever be the same after she came into my life. 

It seems like it would not matter if I were bisexual or gay now that I had found someone I wanted to be with exclusively, but it was such an important realisation for me that what I had been looking for was the love between two women. Sometimes I realise I will never have to be with a man ever again, and it makes me incredibly happy. Finally finding the identity that fits me has been an immensely liberating experience.

Leaving Southampton was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to do, I had known that day would come from the start but that did not make it any easier. I have cried nearly every day for the last three weeks because it really feels like I have left an actual physical part of me in Southampton, but I count the days until I can pick her up from the airport and spend two amazing weeks together, and I count the months until I will drive to England, throw all of her belongings in my car and take her home with me, forever. 

Maybe I am still not completely in control, but now that she has happened to me, I can deal with anything. 

I love you Cat Moran.