31 January, 2009


Oh my god I feel like crap.

However I have learned that certain late night kebab places make amazing meat and chips with vinegar and garlic sauce.

28 January, 2009

Positive Again

I've had a decent day as far as my self confidence is concerned. Over lunch some of my more talented classmates told me that they have seen my work improving a lot since the start of the school year. They said that I have been working very hard and that they think the tutors see it. A friend of mine also said that I am very good at finding inspiration through images. She loves my new project idea. That was good to hear.

I also helped a lot of my classmates with their pattern drafting today, and although I feel like a hack sometimes, it is always fun to work with others and discuss design as though it were a puzzle to solve. It is a boost to my ego when people come to me instead of the teacher sometimes... is that wrong?

I have several classmates that I can genuinely call friends now. It's nice to feel liked and appreciated in class.

I began working with watercolor paints this evening for a project of mine, and I'm finding that I LOVE to paint. It is calming to my soul, to my meat and bones. Seriously, it is meditation for me. I want to learn to work in oils sometime because I would love to work on a painting for days, weeks....

I began working on my second project this evening, and I'm trying a new approach to my research. I am hoping it goes over well when I meet with my tutor on Friday. I think he is finally seeing that I am working very hard to improve, and that seems to make him all sorts of happy and helpful.

Tomorrow I will one again wake up before the sun rises, head to school and work until my brain shuts off. Then refuel on coffee and food, switch gears to work on my second project, meet a friend for a drink, and then work some more.

And my weekend only gets crazier from there. I can't wait to sleep...

27 January, 2009


I was dreading today all weekend.

Sitting around a table with the head of my program and one of my tutors discussing my shamefully bad projects from last term didn't sound like a recipe for a good time. On top of that, I was to meet with another of my tutors for my current project, and I was terribly nervous.

But everything went remarkably well. I was given some suggestions and useful ways to approach research and future projects. My current work was well received and the tutor that tore me to pieces last time said that I clearly took the time to work my project into something far more interesting than before. So I got the go-ahead to begin making the garment.

Getting the green light from her took a huge load of stress off of me because from here on out, the project is about practical work and problem-solving, instead of creative design. I've been so involved in trying to understand this project that I haven't been able to get into the creative mindset to also work on my You-Failed-And-Have-To-Redo-Everything "retrieval project". So now, I can stop thinking about this assignment long enough to work on the other. Finally. Thank god.

On top of that, I spoke with one of my tutors about the retrieval project and asked to meet with him on Friday about it because I was having a lot of trouble. He actually smiled and said he would be around in the afternoon and that I should come by and ask him questions. What the....? Someone is going to actually give me some input on a project? Good heavens! :o

I just experienced the mythical positive feedback moment at CSM. I don't have less work than I did this morning when I went in to school, but I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off of me.

A few good things that were said today during my tutorials:

-I am very good at drawing my ideas and communicating them to others
-I am very good at organizing people and working with others
-I am creative, but get lost along the way, so I need to stay focused and stop confusing myself with so many sources of inspiration at once.
-I need to think of research and my sketchbook as a problem that I am trying to solve, a question I am trying to answer. I should collect images that inspire me, ask myself WHY they inspire me, and then work from them directly while I resolve the questions they pose.
-I need to develop my ideas more on paper and not be afraid of minimalistic pages.

So I guess it wasn't such a scary day after all. To celebrate I am going to the gym. I am just so buoyed by the events of today that I am eager to try and start my second project this evening. Finally, some positive reinforcement.

24 January, 2009

Assumptions part 3: On Being Wrong

I think I should remove my foot from my mouth.

I talked shit on this blog about people I met in London, and I regret doing it now because those same people have turned out to be very cool for the most part. But I guess first impressions really do last, it seems. It's taken me a while to get over my initial opinions about some of my acquaintances.

But I realize I have my own prejudices and predetermined judgments about people that I shouldn't. Growing up in a liberal area, I prided myself on being SO open-minded and accepting. But the one sort of person I never had to deal with was a conservative. I see now that I had my own preconceptions about anyone with conservative views, and was predisposed to dislike them. But that was closed-minded of me. Much in the same way that I assumed any other American in London would turn out to be lame and creepy. It seems the people I looked down upon at the beginning of the school year have turned out to be very sweet, caring, kind-hearted people that I formed opinions about too quickly.

I considered deleting the posts about these people. But the truth of the matter is that those words reflect where I was mentally and emotionally at that time. And I think it's more honest of me to say that my opinions were wrong and have changed, instead of pretending that I never had those thoughts at all.

Perhaps I am too eager to define people as "potential friends" or "lame". Maybe I should give everyone a little more time in the future... because you never know who might take you by surprise one day.

22 January, 2009

On the Bright Side, Though...

Despite having a shitty afternoon, one nice thing did happen this week. Three different people have come up to me in the last week and told me that they really like me, and that most of the class has talked about how much they like me in my absence. According to these three people, it's been said that I was genuine, giving of my time, "vibrant", and talented.

I blushed. And then I blushed some more.

But it was nice to hear.


Today: another awful meeting with a tutor.

My work was laughed at, insulted, and then she ripped the picture off the cover because she didn't like it.

I didn't take it personally this time. Instead I sat through it all trying to get some nuggets of helpful information from the new tutor. I asked follow up questions about what she wanted and tried to guide the conversation towards things that would give me some helpful direction. But no. I got one or two interesting thoughts from her, and other than that... well, I'm as lost as ever. Moreso, even. When I asked her if I should think about things one way or another way, she said "both". When I asked if the best way too approach a problem was to things one thing or the other, she'd tell me to do it my own way.

I am SO frustrated. I am failing, here. I'm trying to get help, some direction, some assistance.....and no one is helping me at all. I have no idea what I should do now.

19 January, 2009

Assumptions, part 2: On Boys

Boys have always been a bit tricky for me to be around. A psychiatrist would probably tell you that I grew up with no positive male role models and therefor have issues with the opposite sex. But if you ask me, I'd say that my issues with boys started in high school when I suddenly dropped 25lbs and began looking like a normal curvy girl.

To change from the fat girl quite suddenly into a 16 year old sex object is quite a mind fuck. For the first time men began to notice me and I quickly learned that I had a lot of power because of it. In response to this sudden outpouring of attention I became the world's biggest flirt. It was the only way I could both entice men and keep them at a safe emotional distance.

To this day I find it hard to speak to any guy without flirting. It is my default reaction to male attention, even the unwanted kind. In a way having a boyfriend has exacerbated this problem because I could flirt mercilessly and never feel the pressure to follow through. "I have a boyfriend," I could always say. My boyfriend knows I am a flirt and has no lame macho jealousy issues. If anything, he enjoys that I could make a few boys lust after the girl he gets to take home every night.

But everything is different in London. I don't have a boyfriend here to use as my excuse. I don't have someone to go stand next to who will kiss my neck and remind everyone that this one belongs to him. And so I have found that my social habits have been changing out of necessity.

First of all, I never go out. I am terrified of finding myself in an awkward situation with a guy and not knowing how to get out of it. That fear has lessened some. But I think my change in attitude really began when I met a friend whose boyfriend is such a great guy that I felt immediately at ease with him. I guess I never before realized that I could talk with a guy without our conversation ever having a flirtatious subtext. Inspired by this experience, I am trying very hard to understand how to separate flirting from talking when it comes to men. And I think I'm getting better at it.

Either that or I am just becoming very antisocial...


I am incredibly sore from working out today. It feels great. I feel healthier than I have in months.

Today: cardio workout, homework homework homework. Going to bed early.

18 January, 2009

School Mode

I've decided that when I meet with my tutor on Tuesday I am going to be in the moment, listening, and ask a ton of questions. I doubt St. Martins tutors will ever offer up information freely, so I have to take responsibility for own education and question them until I fully understand what they are looking for.

This quarter is going to be about going after what I want. It has to be about me trying things out so that I can better define what it is I want, and then finding ways to get it.

Although I didn't get as much homework done as I wanted this weekend, I think I am finally back in school mode.

If It Aint Broke....

Running low on money. Can't buy sketchbook for school or soymilk for the cereal I am bumming off my room mates.

One of my more affluent room mates overheard me negotiating cereal-eating with one of the girls a few minutes ago. She ran to her room and brought back a 20pound note saying "I insist that you take this. You can pay me back when you get some money next week." I refused and thanked her. But she insisted. I HATE borrowing money, but this means I can eat and do homework tomorrow! SO excited!


17 January, 2009

A Closing Thought

Enjoy your evening, dear readers.
Good night.

Do Not Want

Websites that make switching your account from a .com to a .co.uk easy:
-my bank
-almost all other websites

Websites that suck:

Assumptions, part 1

I think I've finally figured out why I have been so desperate to move home lately. Being female and raised in modern American culture, my self confidence is of course hanging on by a thread, dangling over a very steep fall. I suspect that St. Martins put a scissor to the thread.

Everyone makes assumptions about themselves. Your assumptions will subconsciously urge you to continue patterns of behavior that reinforce them. You of course never consider your own invisible expectations of life until they are severely challenged. In fact you probably didn't even realize you even had any before then.

Despite my perilous relationship with self confidence, there were quite a few assumptions hanging by that thread. I didn't realize what I had hanging out there until it fell and shattered. Picking up the shards, I am beginning to see the flimsy ideas I had about myself and my place in the world.

I want to think out loud a little bit, if you don't mind. I want to share what I'm thinking as I being to realize what my own assumptions were and are. Maybe if I can look them straight on, I can change them. Maybe I can adjust my attitude and sort of change how everything "behind the scenes" is working...


I suspect that I have held a secret belief that I could be impressive without too much effort. That is not to say that I am lazy, but when I work relatively hard on something I generally do pretty well at it. I suppose I wanted to believe I was the kind of person who was naturally gifted at nearly everything.

But of course that isn't true. Anything that challenged that belief made me incredibly angry. When I took dance classes a few years back and couldn't make my body move the way I wanted, I became furious and gave up dancing entirely. The same was the case with drawing a few years before that. I am not very forgiving when it comes to the learning process. I expect myself to see something done and then be able to do it. If I can't, I hate myself for it because it makes me question the belief that I should be effortlessly good at everything.

I was at the top of my class in most subjects throughout school. I had gotten used to being praised even when I thought my work wasn't up the standard I imposed upon myself. Without realizing it I was living with the assumption that even when I didn't like my own work, it was always good anyhow. And then I came to Central St. Martins...

Right away I realized my idea of hard work had to change. What had been A+ quality work at my last school wouldn't even earn a passing grade here. What I had once been able to do without trying anything that didn't come naturally to me, I suddenly had to reach for. And half of the time I don't even know what exactly I'm trying to reach, but I know that I have to keep stretching myself in hopes of finding it.

I have no idea what I am aiming for, or how I intend to get there. But I know that part of the reason I am struggling now is that for the first time in my life, I realize that I have to work my ass off if I want to earn even a passing grade. And I don't even know what "working my ass off" really means! Now I am being challenged at every step of the way, and the assumption I held that I could do quite well with only a little effort has been destroyed. Even my idea of what "effort" meant has had to change, and is still changing.

This is one assumption that, despite being shattered into pieces, is dying off very slowly. I think I still cling to the hope that somewhere inside of me is a natural talent that will come save me. But I guess the only thing that will save me now is lots and lots and lots of effort.

16 January, 2009

A Much Needed Party Break

I am in love with East London again after having a fantastic evening partying with my classmates. It began as a surprise birthday party that ended up becoming a roaming walkabout around Brick Lane, ending at another friend's house for an post-party party. It just kept being more and more fun as the evening went along. You know it's a good party when you almost dread the video and photos of you will be posted on facebook the next day.


Inspired perhaps by one of my flatmates moving out in the near future, I have become obsessed with the idea of moving out of the student halls and into a real flat.

The layout of our dorm is very isolating, and not terribly condusive to working, I've found. I think that having to spend all the your time in one room makes it hard to get into the mindset of work, when the exact same space is also used for everything else.

I shouldn't be focusing on this right now, seeing as how I am panicking over my homework load. But I happened to walk past a rental agency on my way home from the gym today (I finally took a floor/mat pilates class this afternoon) and I stared at their listings in the window for probably ten minutes, aching and longing in my very bones. Hm, or maybe it was the pilates doing that...

Anyhow, I am tired of not having a real kitchen, or a living room, or a bed that isn't too small for me. I miss being able to have people over. And I hate that going home to me means spending time in one tiny little room. Oh god, and I miss having a bath tub! I miss baths! I want to find no more than two other friends to live with, and make a little home for myself in the East End. Soon. Sooner than later.

12 January, 2009

A Small Comfort

I guess it is a small comfort to know that although I seem to fail miserably at all the important, practical fashion-related assignments, at least I get good grades on my writing.

That essay I wrote on isolation in the city of London and Francis Bacon? I got a pretty good grade on it, unexpectedly. Go me.

10 January, 2009

Beshtest Buddiesh

My best friend lives in San Francisco. When I moved to London she and I weren't able to speak for three months- Skype wasn't working on her computer, and my long distance SIM card didn't work in my phone. It was torture! She has always been my go-to girl for every type of advice. Despite being many years apart in age, she and I clicked right away and often seem to go through very similar life changes at the same time.

Not being able to have her around during my first three months in London was awful. But when I went back to SF over the vacation, I fixed her computer problem! We just spoke for an hour on Skype and I feel so much better. I was so down this evening. So stressed...

My friend is a brilliant set designer, and she and I work very well together in a professional capacity as well as being very close friends. We also brainstorm really well together, and I have always called upon her when I am so involved in a project that I can no longer really see it. And tonight, true to form, she pulled out some good advice that helped me see how all my incoherent floating thoughts really could be pulled together into a working design idea.

Friends like her are few and far between. I am a lucky girl to have someone so cool in my life.

Change of Course?

I can't help wondering what I would do with my life if I no longer wanted to do fashion design...

It's all I've been able to think about today.

Room Mates to the Rescue

It's funny how you find friends in the least expected places. The room mate I thought I would get along with best has turned out to be very illusive and rarely home and the room mates I thought I would not get along with at all have become the people I am most comfortable with.

We are all very different people. They are not normally the type of person I would pick out to be my friends. Really, we have almost nothing in common. But when I flew back to London, one of those room mates met me at Paddington station to help me manage my suitcases back to the flat. They fed me and hugged me when I spent the whole evening in body-shaking sobs over leaving my boyfriend behind.

On my first night back, terrified of being alone, I fell asleep in a room mate's room watching a movie. I crawled back into my own room later that night, only to wake at 3am missing my boyfriend with every part of my being. I felt like my heart was breaking, and I was terrified of being alone. I broke out into tears, miserable and feeling completely and utterly lost. But it so happened that one of my room mates was awake, heard me crying, and despite being the most sarcastic and distant girl in the flat, made me tea and listened to me for an hour. She then invited me into her room (she is very private usually) and put on some stupid TV show, knowing it was stupidly dramatic enough to distract me from my real drama.

At 6am I crawled back into bed and fell asleep again. I woke up feeling exhausted but much better. I felt like I had gone to the flat mates at my worst and they had offered hugs and sympathy when I needed it most. I am usually very hesitant about sharing my real feelings with people, but I braved it because I couldn't bear the thought of feeling so alone.

This morning we all woke up and made pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Yesterday they took me swimming. We have watched all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies and eaten home made chocolate mousse. Between loaning me electric blankets, helping me unpack, and making sure I eat, they have all taken very good care of me. And now we are going to a jewelry exhibition to see if we can get inspired for our various homework projects.

As much as I hated coming back here and leaving my boyfriend in San Francisco, I am so so so very glad I live with kind hearted people.

07 January, 2009

The World Keeps Turning

When I was leaving for London in September I found it hard to believe that life in San Francisco would continue without me.

I don't mean to say that I thought my role in San Francisco life was significant and irreplacable. I mean that I didn't realize how much things would stay the same. My friends still live in their apartments, still go to their jobs, still bicycle around, still want to see me. I didn't realize how easy it would be to reassemble the pieces of my old life as soon as I visited.

It seems so simple a thought. But you have to realize that I was leaving everything and everyone behind and facing the unknown, and that it seemed my life (as I knew it) was ending. So it was beyond me to consider that all the elements that add up to "My Life" would continue on without me being there to coax them along.

I fly back to London today, and I am a bit sad about it. I am stressed out about the homework I haven't yet started, and the second project I received in the mail a few days ago because I failed my first two. (That was an unpleasant surprise, and I have to go speak with my tutor about it first thing when I get back.)

I have a lot of work to do when I get back. I am really lagging when it comes to my homework. But in my defense, I haven't had a full day to myself since I arrived here. Of course now that I've found out I have twice the homework I did before, I am even more stressed out over all the research I need to do over the weekend before school begins. Ugh. I should have been more responsible with my time. Damn.

I suppose I am dreading flying back to London because I worry that I will be lonely again. Not just alone, but lonely. I am trying to remind myself that I have some new friends that will be eager to see me, and room mates that will probably meet me at the underground station when I arrive. It's not the same as seeing my long-term friends in America, but it does help sate my need for companionship.

On the other hand, I suppose being alone wasn't so bad in the end. The last two days here in San Francisco have been an odd reminder of that, ever since my boyfriend went back to work on Monday. But being alone all day in SF doesn't seem right, doesn't seem natural, whereas in London my entire life is structured around being on my own. I am used to getting around, going out, wandering, sitting in cafes, and spending most of my time with my only my own company. And I guess I'm not such bad company, really.

But I will miss having a warm boy to snuggle up to every night, and friends that I have years of history with. I will miss the sunlight. I will miss having no school schedule or school-induced stress. I will miss the familiar feel of San Francisco culture.

But I am looking forward to wandering around London again. In a weird way I am looking forward to school because I want to do better than I have before. I am looking forward to developing friends, even though it can be hard work. I am excited to hit a few museums and find some inspiration for my next couple of projects. I am looking forward to seeing the people in my program again, because I have been very lucky with the caliber of creativity and intelligence in my fellow students at St. Martins. And I suppose in a small, secret way I am sort of looking forward to being lonely. It has become my norm. Although loneliness can sometimes be unbearable for me, it allows me the space to figure myself out, unaffected by the powerful personalities I tend to collect around me.

And now I must go pack. My flight leaves at 6pm tonight, and I have a million things to take care of before I go. Next time I write to you, I will be on the other side of the pond.

I hope you had a fantastic holiday, and happy New Year to you all!