It’s easy to get lost in the world of today. A typical day for me: up at 7, select an outfit, do my hair, make breakfast, make boxed lunches for my boyfriend and I, go to ballet class, go to my college classes, study, come home, update my blog, and go to bed! It seems like my day is always set to push mode – in ballet, where I push myself to excel; in my studies, where I doggedly read and take notes; even in training my little puffball to behave!
I recently watched the movie Eat Pray Love (which, despite the decent book, was really just two hours of women enviously watching Julia Roberts eat carbs) and the Italians made an interesting deduction about Americans: they have no idea how to savor or take pleasure. We entertain, surely, with a great deal of our time and our pocket-books, but we do not really enjoy. The Italians insist that Julia Roberts’ character needs to learn ‘the art of doing nothing.’ It sounds a very hedonistic idea, doesn’t it? Lately my philosophy of life is following at least a little of Momoko’s [of Kamikaze Girls] hedonistic teachings. She’s often seen in the movie simply looking at pictures of European flowers, or embroidering for no specific purpose. And of course she spends much detail speaking of the way French Rococo life was – embroidery, spending all your time looking cute, enjoying ‘earthly pleasure’ (ahem), and then taking countryside strolls. She says the best aim is to make yourself happy at any cost. While I don’t agree with letting this quote take monopoly over your life, there is some truth to her words. One of the reasons I love lolita fashion is that against all odds and all the expectations of other people, it makes me happy. It indulges the part of me that feels impossible to other people. This impossible part yearns for impossible things – like a leisurely day, a princess-like existence to float through. Something that seems so impossible in a world of cubicles, sad dormitory carpets, commutes and dingy cafe tables.
I like to believe in impossible things. I usually believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
So here are six – seemingly impossible – ways to add that luxurious magic back into your life. Choose one, or two, or all six – or design your own impossible things. The real trick? Is in believing them. Here are my six impossible things that make my life more of a fairytale.
Read. Read something beautiful and engaging and fantastical. My recent books were all educational, hard-hitting, good-for-you things that tasted like bitter medicine I just had to finish. I read the Corner, a real year spent in the ghettos of Baltimore, and its people addicted to heroin; I read the revealing and biting Beauty Myth. And yes, when you’re at family parties or talking to professors, they all sound very professional and grownupish and you can shake your head over the state of this world. But honestly – they’re quite draining. There were times when I knew I had to put it down and flip through old sitcoms, because I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Whatever happened to pleasure reading – silly, light things that seem full of beautiful words and aching romances? This morning I found one of the books I brought back from Seattle I hadn’t read – A Peony in Love. It’s a story of a noble-born Chinese girl who suddenly finds her life mirroring her favorite sad opera. It is full of names like Riding-the-Wind Pavilion, and fills the mind with ladies in silk dresses. It’s not exactly lolita-themed, but the idea is present: choose something beautiful and frivolous, something that uses many different color words. Whether this is a beautiful picture book, a love story, or a fantasy novel, it should inspire your sense of beauty in some way.
Do one thing perfectly. I’ve always emphasized on Lolita Charm how important concentration and staying in the moment is. Usually my prescription for this is some kind of hand craft, most notably an Rx for embroidery – it’s my favorite kind of concentration. But not every one has the time to start an embroidery project, or learn how to crochet, or to paint in watercolors. So a simpler way to focus inward, on the small details and on yourself is to do one small thing for yourself absolutely perfectly. A good example of this is your toilette. (Not toilet! Toilette is the old word for grooming one’s self and getting dressed.) As soon as I step in the bathroom to shower and lock the door, I’m in my own world. I mix a concoction of something for my hair – a few kinds of pink syrup mixed with a ton of cream conditioner and a liberal sprinkle of candy powder like fairy dust – and afterwards, trim and file my nails. No matter where I have to be, who’s calling, or when I have to be there, I am going to complete these tasks with as much perfection as I like. If you don’t have the time to do something as long as a full grooming session, do something smaller for yourself. Keeping a pretty nail file in your bag for train rides or a bottle of polish for your break between classes would do nicely. Fold one perfect paper crane or sign your name is perfect script. Anything that makes you happy and you enjoy giving your attention to is a good candidate.
Carry one perfectly beautiful thing. I take this to the extreme. I am no ordinary girl and I refuse to surround myself with ordinary things. I long ago made a vow that every thing in my purse would be cute and reflect my individual style, and I’ve worked hard to make that come true! But you don’t have to cuteify your entire life to feel that momentary pleasure from a pretty object. A beautiful pen, a handkerchief, or keyring could be your item. Perhaps it’s something more personal like a locket or a strip of purikura with your best friends. Even pill cases or USB flash drive can be your touchstone. My item right now is my pearl pink Hello Kitty wallet – it’s exactly my taste, and I always have it with me and use it often. I’m always reminded of beautiful things and my lolita lifestyle when I use it, even in jeans or work-out clothes.
Love one thing regardless of everything else. I suppose as lolitas we often already do this – despite everyone else’s opinion, we love lolita fashion! But even in our fashion or in our small worlds there are things we like, but do not have the courage to fully love. They’re strange… we’re not sure if we like them or not, but somehow we dream of them night and day! Do you secretly want to wear usamimi with a lolita outfit? Or maybe something off-the-wall like Baby’s lacey cat ears? Angelic Pretty’s fluffy all-over furry pimp coats of seasons past? Or, outside of the world of fashion – anything else that seems ridiculous. For a long time I thought I could never dance ballet unless I started as a child and was drilled since the age of 3 or 4. Even the woman at the dance studio who sold me my ballet shoes made it clear she thought my case was hopeless. And just a few days ago I choreographed and performed my first dance to a series of musical bells from Carol of the Dolls. I was shaking like a leaf, but it was worth it! I suppose that’s just a different kind of believing impossible things.
Write yourself a poem… or love letter or even a list! Poems, or long flowery love letters, or even pillow-book-like lists are a lovely sentiment. The best poems ever written are written to one’s self. Don’t be afraid to write about yourself or be thinking of how vain it is to write to yourself. Appreciate all the little quirks and details you love and treasure about yourself that no one else knows. Let your imagination and words run wild. Have you always dreamt of someone comparing you to an animal or historical figure? Have you wished for a swan-like neck, or doe eyes, or the gait of a fawn? Don’t wait for a lover or friend to recognize them – love them now! If you’re still shy, consider writing to yourself in the third person – as if you are a stranger observing yourself, or as if you are observing another person. You needn’t ever show these poems or letters to anyone – they’re just for you. Here are a few topics to inspire you:
- your favorite flower, and why, or how you resemble it;
- your zodiac sign, or birth month, or birthstone;
- secret habits of yours no one else knows;
- an ode to your favorite dress or lolita item, and how it represents you;
- what it would be like yourself as if you were a stranger. Do you have lowered lashes, a tripping step like a sandpiper, or a way of licking a spoon like no one else does?
Lolita Meditation. I know this sounds wacky and New Age-y, so stay with me for a minute. Lolita and the lolita lifestyle is, to me, a dream that I try to fulfill with clothes – but really is a state of being, a delicate sense and internal place I am trying to find – or perhaps return to. If you’ve ever read the Secret or anything on the topic of wishcraft, this will seem familiar to you. I daydream quite often about fulfilling my perfect vision of what lolita means to me. This exercise simply makes that daydream more deliberate. What is your vision of a perfect lolita or a perfect lolita lifestyle? Forget the outside world for a minute. If you decide to put in your earbuds and listen to a little ‘lolita music’ (whatever your tastes may be – my choice today was Kanon Wakeshima and a few violin sonatas) so much the better, but all your really need is a few minutes to close your eyes and leave the outside world. If you could create any existence and world for your vision to live in, what would it be like? Do you favor Victorian houses or baroque Viennese apartments? Do you picture the gardens of Versailles or Villandry, with bowers or roses, or perhaps a sunny kitchen with strawberries on the window-sill and a collection of pink appliances? Take a few deep breaths. Listen to the music as if someone has left it on in an empty room. Now start mentally decorating. You can design anything you like – a room, with every detail, or an entire house. I used to have a hedge-maze garden I always imagined before I went to sleep. Your meditation can change or be familiar each time. Imagine your clothes, your hair, the lighting. Even if you only mediate on this ‘lolita dream’ for a few minutes, you’ll return from your sojourn feeling refreshed and inspired. And best of all, your lolita meditation and its fantasy world are completely free, completely portable and without any limitation.
Momoko’s character, as I’ve discussed in my previous post Momoko, Our Lady of Lolita, isn’t the perfect person. But there is something intriguing about the way she lives her life that I can’t help but dream about. She is the true lifestyle lolita – forming her own idea of what that means and then committing to it wholeheartedly. Decide on your own six impossible things. Set out to accomplish them one by one. Commit to these things that make you happy as you’d commit to a friend or lover. Commit to loving yourself… something which, for once, may not be impossible.