Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Carve Your Place in the Universe | Ellen Bourne


Young women saying things like:

‘Oh, I’m just not as smart as you/that smart/I don't think there's too much in my head.’ 
That breaks my heart. 
 I made myself intelligent. That was what I wanted to be. I read over 100 books on philosophy, science, social sciences and history within two years. I insured my own intelligence, cultivated it and forced it to grow. I forced myself to be competitive for marks at university. Sometimes all it ever took was a single lecturer or tutor sending an email to say, 'I gave your piece of writing the highest in the class,' after I had opened up about struggling with class presentations due to persistent panic attacks. 
Sometimes all it takes is the sharp pop of drops of fresh fruit juice, melding into your tongue. The taste of that elusive ripened flesh you know you can bite into if you have the courage to shimmy up the high branches, and smear willow bark over the swollen cuts you receive in the fight to get up there. 
Just as you can make yourself beautiful, you can make yourself smart. One of my favourite stories is that of Holly Madison, Reality TV star and author, who stole the show created by American Network E! During the preliminary interviews the producers asked her, 'When did you realise you were beautiful?' With an acid snap she replied, 'I never realised I was beautiful. I made myself beautiful.' 

Doesn't the reality that you can MAKE yourself beautiful, intelligent, etc, prove that you can MAKE yourself anything? There's nothing wrong with concentrations on aesthetic, but I believe we need to concentrate just as much on cultivating the lives - within and without - we want to live as women. To cultivate these things for ourselves, so that come rain, shine, friendlessness or singledom, we can stand on our own psychological, financial, morale and eudaimonic feet. 
Have the courage to carve your own place in the universe.



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Shopping Philosophically.

On a wall in Lycia there is carved,

  'Luxurious foods and drinks ... in no way produce freedom from
harm and a healthy condition in the flesh.'

In his chapter on shopping in The Consolations of Philosophy Alain de Botton tells us to be careful when we feel the urge to shop, because,

 'what we covet in a physical dimension mimics what we need in a psychological dimension'.  

I often think about the dangers of shopping too much, or shopping in the wrong way. It takes so little for a brand or business that has done a major mess-up in the past to fix it's PR image. A factory collapse can be smoothed over with a bin to donate old clothing, and the right advertising.

I'm lucky to live in Melbourne, a politically left-of-center city with a penchant for green living. Despite the intense gentrification of my area there are still some great Op-shops where I can find beautiful pre-loved clothing that doesn't cost the Earth - or my entire wallet! I enjoy trekking through the suburbs and finding hidden little donation stores. I love browsing through racks and that initial flutter in my heart when something covered in sequins catches my eye (I'm a magpie). Op-shops can be so underrated, despite the trend. I love that they don't advertise, because we can find clothing that hasn't been imprinted on our brains via fancy adverts that tell us this dress will make us look like Gigi Hadid, or feel like Daniel Craig driving a Ferrari. We just see it there in the store, and maybe the story behind it speaks to us and draws us in.

I've been loving the Instagram account @storiesbehindthings run by blogger Ella Grace Denton. She and her sister share their love of pre-loved clothing and the stories through which they found the items. There's some beautiful, earth-friendly styling going on and gorgeous low-key shots of pretty pieces.



Farmers Market Haul | Ellen Bourne

I am obsessed with the local markets. I love going there, filling my backpack up with fresh produce until I can barely lift it, and then finding a quiet nook by the free-to-use piano (!) to sit and drink a coffee, while watching passersby moving in a rush under the string globe lights gleaming above the crowd.

I typically only buy my fresh produce from the Farmers Market. I quite like a lot of the plants, dips and other fun things available, but I find that I can make a lot of that stuff myself. So, fresh veg it is. I love wandering around, searching for a good deal, and then buying my morning coffee off a woman who calls me 'sweetheart' and speaks in broken English-Italian while gossiping and laughing with the other Barista. One passes me change in an absent-minded manner the other hands me my coffee smiling, and then I go home with a backpack full of vegetables and a coffee swirling in one hand.