A Week of Thoughts #6

Why we read on Sundays, even those of us who don’t read:

Sunday is for reading, we all seem to know it, even those of us who hardly read. I’m hoping that it isn’t at all obvious that I don’t read enough by the standards of many. I should immediately clarify though that I read very often— with my ears (audible). As for reading with the eyes, I have to be in the mood, and I’m discovering that mood is brought on by the scenic: warm tones, soft organised spaces, pretty pyjamas, slow (privileged) suburbia. And that, friends, is Sunday: a finely tuned atmosphere that positions you to love slow things, to beckon slow things in for their slowness.

Perhaps that is why I have a minor aversion to eye reading, because I want to do it quickly, only wanting to learn, hardly wanting to relish. But after the first sip of nectar: an oaty vanilla latte (I’d advise something milky for Sundays), and the knowledge that those Jus-roll bake-it-yourself pastries are nearly done in the oven (the pain au choc one), a long form article or a 30 page chapter becomes a precious thing. Reading slots into the mode of such a morning, and it does so almost too well.

Anika Paulus, a fellow writer says: “Once you have decided on Sunday as your reading day, a sensation of freedom might rush over you in the morning,”— she is speaking of the release felt in reading guiltlessly instead of wondering whether there’s something more pressing to do. I’m talking about being guiltless in releasing time from your grip by doing something time consuming because its time consuming. Sunday seems the only appropriate time to think and live along these lines.

This Sunday’s precious reads: ‘The Age of the Unmanageable’ and ‘The Cracks in the Cults of Dead Leaders’, and I started re-reading ‘Of Mice and Men’— courtesy of a stolen secondary school copy.

(quick update: I have to mention that after that legendary Sunday, I finished “The Collector” by John Fowles between two weekdays).

I want to look different:

On the topic of reading, in a write up on personal style by Alexa Chung is this quote by magazine editor Christopher Niquet:

“Dressing well is very different from having personal style. I would always prefer someone with a strong personal style I may not admire than someone who replicates something I like.”

It’s a shallow world and I am perhaps one of the mightiest cogs in the machine. It’s hardly a phenomena that an empty person with a thoughtful exterior has the key to many doors, (though they might not quite know what to do upon entering any of the rooms). But it’s an idea that I second, because it is a sign of something, something good. If you claim to know yourself to a notable level, then it should be seen a mile off. As Niquet says, it isn’t so much that you should meet every standard where taste is concerned, but there should be some guiding compass, some conviction that can’t help but utilise your appearance to get itself across.

The article couldn’t be more timely, because I’m currently having a crisis: with my hair, and with every item of clothing in my wardrobe. None of it currently speaks for me, I’m not 22 anymore. Being a person of few words, there is a sense that I owe myself access to a statement I don’t have to say aloud.

In the same article, Alexa Chung defines personal style as: “an amalgamation of everything I have an affinity for.” 

Personal style feels like studying for an exam, but it is quite thoughtless, quite innate. You like what you like, you know what flatters, and somehow it all comes together to accurately shout over anything you could possibly say with your lips. It comes down to feeling right about it all, and I currently do not. This is a weekly thought because it is none other than a weekly thought. I intend to do something big and different. I’ll keep you updated. 

Grief makes you a spectacle:

There is a strong case for privacy. You cannot thank yourself enough when the storm has cleared, and you find yourself without need for damage control. There may be no words for the sense of relief, in knowing that you gathered nobody into your grief, and so nobody is filing out of it behind you, exacerbating your return to normality. No witnesses. 

Becoming a spectacle in your grief is long because the restructuring of your life thereafter becomes a primetime watch. If it isn’t, it certainly feels that way. Suddenly you cannot go about it naturally. The look of doing okay becomes more important than truly doing okay. Perhaps more significantly— not many (me) want to be seen at their most chaotic, or should I say at their rawest.

But incredibly, the case for living a full (raw) life is stronger. This all comes back to living such a dainty, carefully curated life that one starts to be perceived as an android. When I told my two closest friends that my grandma had died, I did it because I wanted to put myself forward as a human being. I was quite sure that I could’ve dealt with it on my own, but I knew that wouldn’t be a credible route, even for me. It was their right as people who care for me to enact their role as people who care for me. I had to accept that. It is okay I think, for people to know when things are wrong with you. And, it is okay for them to make a spectacle out of who you really are and how you’re really doing. There is something more human about bad times than there is about the good. We all know grief, and we all understand. I think we should be watching each other take turns in managing it.

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