31 October, 2010

On Working Out and Complaining

A bit of a row started on Twitter the other day when I whinged about hating doing cardio, but being glad that my bmi was going down. A number of people reacted very angrily to what I thought was a playful complaint followed by an upbeat "however". So let me respond to the unexpected drama my comments seemed to rouse:

If I am uncomfortable with the weight that I am currently at it is not a crime against feminism, or a sign that I am giving into the skinny-model-ideal bullshit. It simply means that *I* am not pleased with how I look in clothes right now. I have never fit into the fashion model ideal, nor do I aim to. I do not want long, super skinny legs with no hips or butt. I'd rather look like a J. Scott Campbell girl any day. ;)

I ask that people not jump on me for wanting to lose weight. I really do appreciate that some people believe "you're perfect the way you are," but I feel within myself that there is room for improvement. Whether or not you agree with me, I would rather be supported in this decision than attacked. It's not like I'm having random cosmetic surgery here- we're discussing regular exercise and healthy eating. There is nothing negative or harmful about what I'm doing. I am addressing my insecurity and taking steps to improve the way I feel about my body by becoming a healthier, fitter person. Tell me, where the harm is in that...?

I see nothing wrong with admitting that I feel unhappy about the way my body looks when I am taking steps to change it. That should be applauded, not condemned as "giving into insecurity" or "against your feminist ideals". I've gained over 20lbs since moving to London and it's time that comes off so that I can feel confident and healthy.

Additionally, if I choose to work out, it does not in any way reflect upon *you* or your choice to work out (or not). Just because I have exercised for a week doesn't mean I look down upon you if you haven't! There is no holier-than-thou going on here- I am simply trying to get back down to a weight I am happy with.
Something about trying to get healthy makes people assume that I am becoming a health nazi. I'm not. I'm eating nutella on white bread as I type this. NOM NOM NOM.

So please, in future, when I am complaining a little about how much I hate running but like losing the weight, I would ask that people not take it personally. MY choices have nothing to do with them. I am taking healthy steps to change something I don't like about myself and I think that should be applauded.

Thank you!

30 October, 2010



Dancing to Lady Gaga with Eva who was wearing my highest, most ridiculous platform heels, driving gloves, and a huge gold mask. This girl is going to be a performer- she was practically vogue-ing.

Spending far too much money on vintage-inspired dresses and future-inspired shoes.

Heading out to Kinky Salon where we met the hottest fast zombie ever (aka our friend Arwen) who took us back to her awesome flat to watch Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl which was a fine example of uh, quality film making.

Getting home at 3:30am and being taken advantage of.

Awesome Friday.

28 October, 2010


This week I began working out in the mornings with my boyfriend. He's been at it for months, whereas I've gained 20lbs since moving to London.

This pretty much sums up my feelings each morning:

23 October, 2010


This week I began my first job as an actual fashion and footwear designer. I’m suddenly self-employed, contracted, and designing some ridiculous things. I can ignore reality to some degree because these clothes will never actually be made out of fabric. Intrigued? I cannot tell you more, nor will I be able to show you anything I am doing for several months. But trust me when I say that if I can pull it off, this will be an epic start to my new portfolio and a discussion-worthy addition to my CV.

14 October, 2010

Back in SF, Day 3

Today I am cranky. I am sitting in my boyfriend's bedroom and getting really irritated at myself because I don't have any knowledge or control over my situation right now. After a year of being the responsible one who set up the utilities and made all the decisions and took care of all the problems, I am suddenly feeling impotent and useless in a situation I didn't set up.

I realize that sounds a little petty, but I am used to thinking, "ok, this isn't working, and if I can't seem to fix it, so I go to this drawer to find the paperwork I filed, to call the company that has an account in my name so I can sort it out..." and instead I find myself having to defer to my boyfriend and ask him stupid things like where the router is, or where I can put my clothing that won't be in the way.

Because I am no longer taking out loans to pay for my education/life, I currently have no income and no money at my disposal. I am also living in a place where I cannot control how easily I come and go. I just feel useless and pathetic. It's no one's fault, certainly not my boyfriend's. I'm just confused by suddenly having a very different lifestyle and not having tons of stuff to do. It's all just a weird mix of familiar and unfamiliar. The transition from months of constant activity and learning and stress to sudden laziness and being in someone else's space is really getting me down today. I just want to throw all my stuff away and stop trying to fit into a life I didn't create for myself.

I hate feeling useless and incapable.

13 October, 2010

Hello, San Francisco

It's hot. Unseasonably hot. I just flew out from a country with wan, blue sunshine and I'm not ready for this warm buttery sunlight and heat.

Without sounding pretentious, I feel a little out of place here. I've spent considerable time adjusting to London and it finally became natural. Now I find myself feeling uncomfortable with how wide and open American roads feel, and why does everyone insist on driving on the other side of the road? Our money looks silly and I don't see the point in $1 bills. Tax is added onto shop prices at the till, service charge isn't added, and people look at me funny when I say, "cheers" as a thank you. I'd forgotten just how lazy Americans are about putting together an outfit in the morning- my god people, at east TRY to look nice! You're offending my eyes. The colour of the atmosphere and the colour of the buildings create a pink hue over all of San Francisco, and I'd forgotten how peach the street lamps are. The accents are all wrong. Heavy Californian accents (which I'd never noticed before) sound almost crass. Most English accents are softer to my ears, and I can't believe how many hard, loud Rs I'm hearing around me. I'm highly aware of the weather, the sense of space, the colours of the city, the high hills and massive amount of greenery dotted around the streets. I wonder if this is how visitors see San Francisco.

I'm not a traitor to my own people, but obviously leaving the country gives you a new perspective on the place you come from. I am looking at my city with slightly different eyes, and although little things will become habit, I suspect some things will never become invisible again.

My boyfriend seems absolutely thrilled to have me back. He keeps looking at me like he can't believe I'm really here. It warms my heart, even though I have trouble expressing how much I appreciate his appreciation.  And I realized yesterday that I am officially no longer "staying" with him- now I live with him. I guess that should feel like a big step, but it doesn't. We work well together as a couple, so it comes naturally.

Speaking of work, I start a new job on Monday. I know, right? Well, I *did* say I needed to hit the ground running when I arrived. It seems I'll be doing some design work for my boyfriend's company (it wasn't his suggestion, by the way. His co-workers suggested me because, yaknow, I'm awesome.) In between that, I'm going to harass the shoe designer here that I'd like to work for/with. I will be so friendly she won't be able to say no. I'm good at that.

It's only my first day here, but I miss my friends in London. I am both happy to be back and sad to have left. I miss a lot of stupid things too- like being someone with an accent, and it being a conversation-starter. I miss the feel of pound coins, and boys with smart coats, nerdy specs and perfectly wrapped knit scarves. I miss the weekend markets, the painfully fashionable Shoreditch twats, and the all night salt beef bagels. I miss the transit system (laugh all you want), and I miss brick buildings. But yes, most of all I miss my friends. I don't find friends of that calibre often, and leaving them has left mascara running down my cheeks in the back of cabs. I hate goodbyes. So so so much.

But hopefully I will be able to fly back and visit my people soon. I couldn't say goodbye to either city permanently. I think I will always feel that London is as much a home to me as San Francisco.

08 October, 2010

4 days pt 3

The walkthrough seemed to go surprisingly well. They said I was one of their good tenants, and there were no major problems.

Hopefully I'll get most of, if not all of the deposit back.

I made one mistake- I gave them my keys, forgetting I might want to leave the house to get, say, something quick to eat. So now, while I wait for my girl to pick me up in a few hours, I have to order in food when what I really want to do is go down to the shop and grab crisps.


4 days pt 2

I'm confused by how many cleaners have suddenly appeared in my flat. There was one, then there were three, then four, now six, back down to three...

I'm having a bit of a white person complex right now because the cleaners are all non-English speakers from other countries. Somehow I didn't feel like such a privileged white bitch when my Indian flatmate was the one organizing the cleaning service. *shrink

So after waking early to wait for the Virgin Media guy to come collect the router, and waiting for hours, I finally called and they told me "oh, no one is coming to pick it up. Ooops. Just leave it." Great, thanks guys. There were so many things I could have done this morning had I not been sitting around waiting! I could have slept in!

I managed to get rid of my unwanted clothes and shoes by putting them downstairs in the entry way with a sign saying "FREE CLOTHES size 14 and SHOES size 8-9". They were gone in ten minutes.

Now I just have to survive the walkthrough with the property manager at 3pm. I anticipate a lot of arguing and drama. Hopefully I can either kill him with smiles and kindness, or turn on the, "I'm taller, bigger, and meaner than you," persona. It just depends on how he wants to play this.

Today is stressful. I just want this part of it to be over with as quickly as possible.

4 days pt 1

Waiting for the Virgin Media guys to come take away my internet. In the meantime I have the cleaners in, and one particularly stinky/sweaty guy is cleaning my bathroom. His scent does not inspire confidence but he seems to be taking his time doing details, so....

In the meantime, I am taking photos of stuff so I can determine which clothes I'm carrying down to the donation bin, and which I'm shoving into a bag to give to friends. I was going to donate my bike back to the place I bought it from (they are lovely and fix old bikes to sell at good prices), but luckily an equally tall friend of mine is in need of a bike for a few weeks, so I'm riding down to give it to her today and she's going to donate it for me!

I stupidly asked a friend to keep one of my suitcases at her place so I didn't have to bother carrying it around this weekend, but now I realize I need to put a few things in there. Oops!

I still feel like I have so much to do. I need to make a few phone calls, meet with the property managers for a walkthrough tonight (not looking forward to that), mail some books to a friend who forgot them, move all my stuff to my girl's house for the weekend, and then move it all to my friend's house on Monday, repack once I have the other suitcase, organize a car to Heathrow....

I won't rest until I'm on the plane. Now I just have to take vitamins and get sleep so I don't end up with a cold on my flight... that will hurt.

07 October, 2010

5 days: My Last Night in Shoreditch

It was a beautiful sunny day. I woke early to get a head start organizing all the bits and bobs involved in moving. At 2:30, the movers came to pick up my boxes, and by 4pm my flatmate had moved out. Suddenly the flat was calm, empty, and a place I didn't mind spending time. I opened the windows to air out the cigarette smell my flatmate left lingering while waiting for my aunt to return my call, hoping I'd get to see her today. But I never managed to get a hold of her, and instead I spent the day throwing out trash, and moving furniture around in preparation for the cleaners and final walkthrough tomorrow.

At 7pm I had to drop off a dress I'd altered for a friend from work, and I went down to a shoreditch bar to meet with the Tent London folks. I do miss working in that office- even though I only worked there for a short time, it was a great place. I had a few drinks, talked about corsetry and moving in with my boyfriend, before heading out into the Shoreditch night. I went to the first chip shop I experienced for my last meat and chips bonanza, and walked through the heart of hipsterland, across the park, and into my crappy little council flat.

I do love it here. But as my friend keeps reminding me, San Francisco will be good. I will be with my boy, with friends, with family, and London is always here waiting for me.

06 October, 2010

6 days

I am 99% packed. I have some forms to fill out, but all my boxes save one are taped, marked, numbered and ready to go when the shipping company gets here tomorrow. My suitcases are nearly full and there is almost nothing left in this flat that wasn't here to begin with.

It's real. I'm actually moving. It finally dawned on me today when I removed the last colourful bits of "me" from my bedroom and pushed the furniture back into its original place. Suddenly the room looked stark and empty, and no longer felt like home.

I was rereading old blog posts this evening- particularly those written when I first moved to London. I was so sad during that time. I remember the knotted stomach and unbearable loneliness, and my heart sinking the moment I saw the dorm room for the first time. And now I'm sleeping in a room that no longer feels like my own surrounded by boxes and suitcases, again. It's not the same thing, but there are echoes in the experience.

My flatmate is moving out tomorrow. I am glad to see her go because things didn't go as well as I'd hoped- I think we will part ways with the sort of stories about one another in which we call the other one "absolutely insane". Ah well. I'm looking forward to one or two nights alone in the flat before I leave on Saturday morning to go stay with my girlfriend for the weekend. Then on Monday I stay with a dear friend in Camden before waking early to get to Heathrow Tuesday morning. I have so much to do- so many odds and ends to take care of- turning off the utilities, organizing the donation of my bike and clothes, dealing with the property managers and our cleaners, sorting out my bank, my cellphone and internet, trying to fit in a few final goodbyes with friends and family....

I will get it all done of course, but I just feel sad about it all tonight. I will miss so many people and so many things about my time here.

05 October, 2010

7 days

This time next week I'll be on a plane heading back to San Francisco, and will no longer be an American Redhead living in London- I am moving back to the states.

I am a little too overwhelmed with the practicalities of moving to spend time focusing on how I'm feeling about the move, but when I have a quiet moment between things I sometimes reflect on how differently I thought this London story would end.

If I'm completely honest, I hoped that at this point I'd be working on my final collection at Saint Martins and talking my way into fashion jobs. I figured the long distance relationship would have been more than I could handle and that I would be alone. I was sure I would be working toward *finally* getting that degree. I was pretty sure I knew who my friends would be at uni, and I was absolutely sure I'd be miserably lonely, focused on trying to become the next big thing.

The last thing I expected was to fail miserably time and time again, pick myself up and try harder than I've ever tried before, fail again (ad nauseum) until I decided to leave uni, and leave fashion. I never thought I'd find something I love and am good at, intern with designers, and talk my way into (hopefully) designing my first footwear collection for an amazing high end boutique store in London.

photo by Ben Hopper
I didn't expect to help organize one of the most fabulous costumed sex parties London has seen, or to meet some of the most amazing friends I've ever had. I surely didn't expect to not only maintain and significantly strengthen my relationship with my boyfriend, but to also find find myself dating an amazing girl as well. I hoped, but never actually believed, that I would end up growing more independent, capable, or able to handle whatever life throws at me. I've always thought of myself as a particularly weak person, and I think London has made me stronger in a lot of little ways.

As my left wrist now says in permanent black ink, "change" is something that will always define my life. This is just another rearranging of my situation, and it's certainly not a goodbye to London. No, I will be back as often as I can.

I do have a few regrets. I try to not dwell on things I might have done differently, or how I could have used my time better. I did what I did and I learned stuff. I am happy I came here, and proud of myself. I will miss people and places, but I go back to SF knowing I always have a home here in London. It will always be the place where I came into my own, on my own, for myself and no one else. It will always be a special place full of magical things and wonderful people to me.... yes, even when the weather is this shitty.

Photo by Jon Cartwright
I have much to do and many zzz's to catch up on, so that's all I'm going to say for now. If you want to see more stuff while I finish packing and curl up into bed, go browse my Tumblr.