Location: Vienna, Austria
A wise woman once said that when life throws you lockdowns make pancakes and add maple syrup. Put on your Santa Claus socks and watch Last Christmas to celebrate spring, wear a balaclava, button up your shirt one button out of sync, flaunt that Harvard sweater like you’re a class of ’99 alumni (and not just visited the Harvard shop when you were on a family holiday in Boston. Who, me?), write a biography about your favorite cartoon villain, start an e-bay shop with weird stuff you find in your closets, finally figure out the operation of the Westphalian system/ the weight of the Milky Way / the social significance of Rap & Hip Hop Culture/ how to stop touching your face / the art of French hair, learn Hebrew, start a Youtube cooking channel (episode 1: your mom’s meatball recipe), teach your husband/roommate(s)/wife/kids the Citirokk Shuffle, work on your Batman impersonation, draw a monster in Lululemon leggings, or do as I do: write a post that makes you happy. Make it up as you go nowhere, and no matter what you come up with, go at it full speed.
So, this is me, going at it full speed, with “it” being this post in first person perspective. A couple of weeks ago, I decided that it was perfectly okay to write autobiographical blog posts about subjects that mattered to me. Subjects like interracial marriage and cross-continental parenthood (because my family is like a nomadic mini-UN), online schooling (we’re a very happy Laurel Springs online schooling family) being a transracial adoptee (born in Indonesia, raised in the Netherlands with Summers in the US. Like a hot dog with sauerkraut & sambal), my great love of cosmopolitan city-life, coffee, books, lipgloss, Krav Maga, my pursuit of
a thigh gap and world domination happiness, things my therapist told me, things my dermatologist told me, things I’ve failed at miserably (not to brag but I don’t need alcohol to make really bad decisions), things I did that turned out pretty, pretty, pretty good (-ish), that time in Los Angeles when our US immigration lawyer showed up to a meeting in pajamas with an IV attached to his right arm (#truestory), that time in Amsterdam when I fainted in the middle of a job interview at an investment bank (I didn’t get the job), things I said when I was a 20-something year old personal assistant (“Consider it done”) and what I actually wanted to say (“Ask me to clean up your mess again, and I will shit on everything you love”), my run-ins with my inner child (her name is Olivia. She likes things dramatic, heroic, and bold), and my daily attempts to just be myself and not make it too weird.
Why only start now when I already came up with writing down and sharing my thoughts, observations, and experiences, weeks ago? One word: self-doubt. Otis is my inner ostrich. He’s anxious about everything yet he loves himself to the point of self-absorption. The moment I said, “Personal narrative,” he put his head in the sand and handed me his list with nine reasons why I should not write about myself.
Nine Reasons Why You Should Not Write About Yourself. By Otis.
1. In a world filled with super-perfect-filtered-lives, barre-bodies, #greathairdontcare, you’re pretty much…Not. Take your hair. It’s an unsettling force of contradiction. It’s not really straight, not really curly. As if it can’t make up its mind. You put in a ton of product with names like ‘Forme Fatale’ and ‘Elixir Ultime,’ to keep it under control. Before noon you have put it up in a bun. Markus calls it your ‘noodle’. You call it ‘whatever works.’
2. You super-glue the front of your suede Ferragamo flats. Even though you recently bought a new pair, your Indonesian feet love your old worn-in and therefore wider ones. I am quite certain that glueing footwear back together is a fashion faux pas. At least I never see this being Instagrammed.
3. No abs of steel here….
4. Nor can you present yourself as the ultimate organic goddess of holistic truth, living in a marvellous world where pores don’t exist and one starts the day with a big glass of water. Your day starts with you rolling out of bed with a sigh (or a growl, it’s a thin line), and finding your way to the kitchen to start the day with three mugs of coffee. One to know where you are, a second one to form a complete sentence, the third one to move yourself under the shower. Carpe Diem is a hashtag. Hakuna MaJava isn’t.
5. You’re not a mad-scientist-billionaire with a rocket.
6. You’re not a cool broke artist with moves like Jagger and the voice of Beyoncé.
7. You’re not part of the Rebellion. Or the CIA. Or Mossad.
8. You can’t fly a helicopter, and you flunked your driving exam six times. They see you rollin’….they waitin’…. because you’re on your city-bike and you’re holding up traffic.
9. You are the exact opposite of a social-media-savvy-saucy-glamazon-minx living a presidential suite life. Instead, you are all over the place at the kitchen table, reading three books at the same time, wearing sweatpants.
Otis can be rather convincing (in my defense, my city bike is pretty cool. It has a basket and all). That’s why, after giving it some good overthinking, I concluded that the world didn’t need to hear about what I had for my first breakfast (Nespresso Caramelito) nor who my favorite villain is (Dr. Heinz Doofenschmirtz. It’s the accent).
That is until I found myself in week three (or is it thirty?) of self-isolation and Olivia popped up. A little side note about my sarchotic (so sarcastic I’m not sure if she’s joking or just psychotic) inner child. One year ago, my therapist told me that I should try to talk to her to get over some of my anxiety issues. Not only did I talk, I named her as well. We have been in a constant dialogue ever since. She lives in a black bouncy castle, prefers everything she eats in the shape of a dinosaur, likes to speak Russian with a French accent, and considers not fitting in one of her best qualities.
This was her list (she wrote it on a sticky note and stuck it to my forehead).
1.So you want to write about things nobody cares about. What are you waiting for? Transformation?
2.Don’t wear taupe.
3.If I die, tell Mindy Kaling I love her.
Jacket, Monnalisa, Dress, Dior, Shoes, adidas
I’m not sure if she cheered me up or gave me another psychological complex, but something rang true, especially here and now, in cooped up limbo. When six feet apart is as close as we can get in the streets then writing a post about everything and nothing in particular is pretty much the equivalent of finding yourself happily immersed in a Starbucks chat with your fellow neighborhood coffee addicts about everything (world hunger, Middle East conflict, Meghan and Harry) and nothing in particular (red velvet vs. chocolate, Meghan and Harry). Only to be interrupted by your grumpy barista shouting, “Hazelnut Latte for Marie,” while your name is Pris. It’s those coffee chats with random strangers and decoding yet another Starbuckian version of my name (Chris, Bariss, Press, Liss, Paris) that I miss. So, yes, why not write about things nobody cares about? In isolated times, they might be exactly the things that matter.
Illustrations: Maya E Shakur for FREDERICK & SOPHIE / Styling: Priscilla Obermeier
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