Call me FAT: Fabulous Amazing & Terrific

As the summer temperatures are rising, my self-confidence is sinking. Pictures of perfect summer bodies are all over the internet, making me doubt my own body, and whether the world is ready to see it clad in a bikini. Having body image issues means wearing long pants in the middle of summer. Of course, I’m not the only one who has these feelings and thoughts. In fact, I’m sure most people have been struggling with the high standards they have for their body their whole life. High standards like not being too fat or too skinny, having the perfect skin, having no stretch marks, etcetera etcetera. We can all probably name one body part that we’ve been insecure about at least once in our life. Although it’s getting easier for me to overcome those negative thoughts, I know a lot of people still struggle with them. 

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Silkworms and Me – a Love Story

Every year, summer’s first few days of sunshine bring back a wealth of half-forgotten activities and hobbies to our exam-worn lives. Iceboxes and swimming gear are dug up from the hidden reaches of our storage, balconies and gardens become pleasant habitats once more, and we finally remember what sunglasses were for. For some, it means the first of many trips to the beach, to others late evenings in the backyard with a glass of wine, or maybe even a couple of plane rides across the globe. To a select few, however, the taste of summer brings a powerful desire to relive childhood memories and bunker down in their bedroom to breed silkworms like there’s no tomorrow.

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Sex, Drugs & Romanticism

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite”

The Marriage between Heaven and Hell, William Blake, 1793

In 1792, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge came out with their Lyrical Ballads. To many, this particular moment in time marks the beginning of Romanticism, a movement which opposed the rationalism that had been central in the Age of Reason decades earlier. Plays made way for a focus on poetry and prose, in which themes like youthful innocence, a connection to nature, and the confrontational breaking of taboos started to play major roles. Institutions like the church, the government, and even the education system were consistently besieged with heavy critiques, showing the irrationality within the rationality their so-called systems claimed to have. The Romantics attempted to once again enchant the world, to restore its magic, to bring back the supernatural, and to purposefully not answer all the questions life puts forward, but instead display the enjoyment of clueless wonder, in a language anyone could understand. Approximately 150 years later, a new sense of rebellion came along, partially voiced by artists once again embracing the mysteries of life. In a world just struck by war, seeing the rise of feminist marches, civil rights movements and the developing voice of younger generations, the Hippie movement and Rock ‘n Roll soon took over. Paving the way for the mainstream were people like the beat poets, who, during the 50s, started to write about junkies, the lower class, and homosexuals, thereby actively breaking with conventions. Additionally, the language used became more free verse, more direct, and simply more accessible, therefore strongly opposing the rational, almost pretentiously complex texts modernism had put out the years before WO II. Unsurprisingly, the beat poets themselves felt aligned with the romantics of two centuries earlier. Allen Ginsberg even named William Blake as one of his biggest inspirations. In other forms of post-modernist writing, an enchantment of the world once again arose through the humorous existentialism of, for instance, Samuel Beckett and the irrationally mythicized mundane of the Magical Realists. What more do these similarities tell us about that period, and in what ways has it influenced our own?

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Expectations and Confrontations: On Taking Risks in Art

“No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.”

Oscar Wilde

1. FREEDOM

Lately I’ve been considering the merits of taking risks in art and what taking artistic risks means to me in the first place. As an artist I believe that I should be able to express whatever I want without restrictions, limitations or objections. That is to say, no imagery, topic or theme should be off the table. I want my art—regardless of the genre I’m working in—to be a vehicle through which I can freely explore emotions, imagery, ideas, philosophy, morality, spirituality, etc. Letting something or someone get in the way of my artistic expression is to diminish the quality of my work, because if I have to adhere to a set of rules that I don’t stand by, I’m not allowing myself to be authentic as an artist. By extension, I can’t be authentic as a person, either, because art is my highest and purest form of expression. So, when I make art I find it useful to be able to not give a shit about rules, conventions, opinions, political correctness, being offensive or being entertaining, as long as I know what I’m doing and, most importantly, why I’m doing it. But such freedom never comes without a price.

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Moving On: Is It Real or a Myth?

It’s been a little over a year since our dog, whom we ironically called Poema, passed away. The first couple of days after his death were really hard for our family. I successfully repressed my grief by pushing away any positive or negative thoughts about him and by avoiding the conversations my family had about Poema. It was my first time losing someone, human or dog, so I had never experienced grief before and now, over a year later, I certainly haven’t moved on. Now, I’m trying to find out whether moving on is even real or a myth. I know moving on doesn’t feel real the first few days after a loss – for me, moving on certainly didn’t feel real at the time. Even now, it still doesn’t seem real. And how does moving on tie in with the grieving process? Let me try to find the answers to this by starting at the beginning.

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