Sunday, 2 February 2020

girlz club playlist

My friend came over the other day and introduced me to some new music, and I've been in a spiral ever since.

To be honest, I've never been too passionate about my music taste - always ashamedly dodging the question when people ask "what kind of music do you listen to?" To me, music-listening time has always been restricted to transport and transport only (I'm a terribly one-track-minded focused person and music only distracts me from this). I guess I've never... gone into a spiral before.

Anyway, girlz club playlist, makes me feel omo oh so powerful and chill and vibey as a gurl (watched Bombshell today. It was really good. Everyone was blonde, but I'm going for a more dark-featured-girl kinda vibe - not that looks define a personality but you know, life imitates art?)

  1. P*$$Y Fairy (OTW) - Jhene Aiko
  2. Sunday - GroovyRoom ft. HEIZE, Jay Park
  3. Prom - SZA
  4. U Cry - Tyga
  5. Arms Around You - XXXTentacon, Lil Pump ft. Swae Lee, Maluma
  6. Lust for Life - Lana Del Rey, The Weeknd
  7. Bad Habits - SHAUN
  8. 3:15 - Bazzi
  9. Love Is a Bitch - Two Feet
  10. Falling - Harry Styles
  11. CYANIDE - Daniel Caesar


Saturday, 1 February 2020

Floating (scenes from today)

I sat at the front of the bus - where I can see through the big front window and the side window, the road unblocked in front of me. I sat my bag on the seat next to me and sent a photo to a friend I haven’t talked to in months, sporadically (inside joke). He’s messaging me now, but my muddled brain isn’t replying with much sense.

My airpods have been playing the same loop of Bazzi, Korean R&B and Lorde since this morning - playlist titled Summer 2019.

I woke up very hot on top of the pristine white sheets I washed in my jetlagged daze yesterday. I don’t like the light that comes through my blinds - it was directed straight at my face, but I continued to just lie there and brought my hands up over my eyes. Eventually I stood up and somehow took an hour to get ready for absolutely nothing; cute but incredibly short gingham dress, makeup a little too heavy for the summer but still just right, hair frizzy from the humidity - I walked 20 minutes to the chemist and back, and still managed to realise I forgot an item on my way back.

I sit here recalling a paragraph in a book I read, in which the girl describes sometimes imagining that she is so smart that her brain takes her to a completely different plane above everyone else - like an explosion of some kind. 

It’s so hot outside that I took off my dress and lay there on my bed, watching videos from a friend about the wildlife lounging around her pool today. She asks me what I’m doing tonight but I tell her I’m getting on the bus and she calls me a loser. 

The bus has stopped at the airport and a line of people wearing surgical masks are outside waiting to get on. A fear of catching the virus crosses my mind, which brings me to think of the anti-racist Facebook posts my university peers have been posting. The first man to die from the virus in Australia was not killed by the virus, but by ambulance workers too afraid to perform resuscitation. I decide to not be afraid and remove my bag from the seat next to me. At the worst I will be quarantined for 14 days in my own home, and that doesn’t sound so bad.

I wrote in my diary that just because I look good doesn’t mean I have to take pictures of it. I wrote in my diary: “Now I understood the thing I’d overlooked; the point wasn’t to become a geisha, but to be a geisha.” - Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden. You see, I feel like to project a fantasy is great, but to come close to embodying that fantasy, that’s something else. I want to be that floating girl, prettily floating untouchable alongside everybody else. She can laugh and seem real and obtainable, but she leaves shrouding you in uncertainty, wanting more. 

Nobody sat in the seat next to me even though half the people are still lining up outside. My little corner is always overlooked by the driver, ushers and people, so my bag gets a seat after all.


Saturday, 28 December 2019

The New Year's Post

This is that New Year's post where I review 2019, and make resolutions for 2020.

Looking back at 2019, I grew up a lot in ways that I would never have known or predicted at this time last year.  That's how it always is, isn't it?  And now here I am, and it just feels like the right, content time for a new chapter to begin.

Last year's resolutions included becoming healthier and more organised, which I am still working on, being more relaxed, which I am still working on, and travelling more, which I am, again, still working on.  I guess these goals are more like ongoing endeavours - but this isn't a statement of "I achieved nothing in 2019."  It's more of, "I made some progress and now have a better idea of what I want, and how I'd like to achieve it."  This is reflected in my resolutions for the coming year.

I kind of like to think of my resolutions as the important themes of my life.

Here is my list, short and sweet:

1. Channel my inner lifestyle blogger.
By this I mean: clean room, skincare routine, healthy food, gym routine, look presentable in public, feel pretty everywhere, simply be aesthetic and put together.
This is all especially regarding the fact that I recently moved out of my dirty college dormitory and into a new apartment with a friend. A new chapter of my life is finally beginning. I'm a f*kin adult now.

2. Be cool, calm and collected like there is nobody worth impressing.
It's like how at the casino last night I was bouncing around, speedily collecting my chips and yelling confused remarks. I was, like, the opposite of those boss bitch casino girls you see in the movies. I want to be like those boss bitch casino girls you see in the movies - acting and feeling in control in all situations.  The plan: practice a little self with-holding for once.

3. I don't mean to be gender normative, but in 2020 I am taking on my most uber feminine form.
Let's channel Matisse's muse paint me like one of your french girls, angel on earth, Margot Robbie in the Wolf of Wall Street, Lana Del Rey in a summer dress, those nnan young ma lyrics trending at the moment vibe.

4. Genuinely wish the best for those around me.
Mantra: I want to spread positive energy to those in my life. I want them to reach their highest potential, to glow like the amazing people I know they are. I do not want them to crumble under my green eyed bitterness.

5. Make some new friends.
That's a goal every year. We love new friends.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Girls, we are entering a new decade, and this is who we are

On Saturday I held myself a 20th birthday dinner. It was at a Mexican restaurant with 7 of my closest girl friends in the city. I was wearing a sombrero. We were drinking frozen margaritas out of metre tall towers, chatting about boys, new apartments and pool-side nightclubs with entry fees much too high for our student budgets.  

The commencement of the new decade signifies the beginning of our 20's - supposedly an age where we have all the youth and dumb energy to still have fun, and all the responsibility and freedom to do anything and everything that we please.

Let me introduce you:
*based upon characteristics of people that I know, jumbled into fictional characters*


Olivia goes on Tinder dates.  Sometimes she does it for the free food, sometimes she does it for the validation, sometimes she does it for the sex, sometimes she seems to be doing it out of sheer boredom.  In high school, a 16 year old Olivia set up her 18 year old Tinder profile following a break up with her skater-boyfriend, whom she'd met over Facebook messenger a year prior.
The first tinder boy was Gift Boy. He lived out of town and showered her with expensive jewellery and flowers every time he visited.  She spent 2 months plotting her break up, awaiting a final Pandora necklace he had promised her upon his next visit.

The second tinder boy was Grandpa. He was a little older, like 10 years older. There was a power imbalance and he cheated on her with some other girl from her high school. She cried for a week.

The third tinder boy was Love of Her Life. He was her first real boyfriend, but then she left the state for college.

The next ten or so tinder boys were casual 'drinks'. There were drinks at the beach, drinks at expensive wine rooms, drinks at yuppie cocktail bars, drinks at his house. She never slept with them. It was too soon after her break up with Love of Her Life. Instead she looked for attention, adoration and dare I say it, love. What she got was a dropping self esteem. "Why does she put so much of her self worth in boys?" her friends asked.

Olivia deletes Tinder.

The next year, Olivia meets Bianca the Exchange Student. Bianca the Exchange Student meets a Tinder boy every week, at his house or her's. As she leaves the next morning, she blocks, un-matches and messages the next boy.

Olivia re-downloads Tinder.

"We're going on a second date but it's not close to either of our places. Is it weird that we're just having another wholesome date where nothing happens?"
"What do you mean where nothing happens? Isn't it nice to just... hang out?"
"Yeah, but I feel bad for him."
"In the old days people used to just hang out."


Matisse facetimes me. "Hi, I'm in a psych ward. This place is so boring. There's nothing to do." She rolls her eyes. "What are you up to?" 
"Oh, that sucks. I'm on a bus, which is pretty boring too, ugh. When do you get out?"
"Tomorrow morning."
"Just like, go on snapchat. That's what I'm doing."

Matisse went to a catholic school. At the age of 14, while I was studying for maths tests and obsessing over anime, she was smoking cigarettes in parks in the middle of the night, and losing her virginity to her boyfriend who she claimed she didn't love but rather thought of as a meme of sorts.

At 15, while smoking joints in empty shopping mall parking lots, she would joke about how much she hates her father for abandoning her. "I have daddy issues." She laughs.

At 16, she pokes her pink tongue into the camera during a FaceTime, revealing a yellow piece of paper. "I'm on acid." she laughs. "I think I can see zombies."

At 17, she sits anxiously by her phone in my room. Her therapist is only available over the phone today. "I'm nervous. I've never talked to her over the phone." she says. "And like, so much stuff has happened. I feel like we have a lot to discuss. How is she going to understand me if she can't see me?" It's a new therapist. 
Her old therapist was some dude who explained all her feelings to her.  "My new therapist says that Guy was self-diagnosing me, and like, I love my new therapist, but I love Guy too. I'm like, yes honey, I feel you, but also, I'm like yes Guy, you're sooo right. Like, how can they both be right?"

At 18, from the psych ward, she tells me she's quitting drugs. "I'm on antidepressants anyway. It's not like MD is going to work."
"Yeah, like, they low-key do the same thing so whatevs." I say, looking up from my notes.
"So like, the only drug I'll do is weed."
"Mm hmm."
"And maybe like, if someone offers, heroine. And... maybe shrooms. And acid. And oxy. But not cocaine. Cocaine sucks."

I read this book recently, with this chapter called Google Hangout with My Higher Self:
"Me: but i feel like my darkness makes me cool
Me: what if i fall in love w the light and then other ppl judge me?"


Katherine is a mixed girl who went to an all Asian school. She loves British movies, Frida Kahlo and Lana Del Rey. Her favourite war is World War II.  While she may be just an ordinary girl, Katherine seems to project a fantasy. Take it from 500 Days of Summer.

"Height, average. Weight, average. Shoe size, slightly above average. 
For all intents and purposes, Summer Finn was just another girl.
Except, she wasn't.
To wit, in 1998, Summer quoted a song by the Scottish band Belle and Sebastian in her high school yearbook "Color my life with the chaos of trouble." This spike in Michigan sales of their album The Boy with the Arab Strap continues to puzzle industry analysts.
Summer's employment at the Daily Freeze during her sophomore year coincided with an inexplicable raise in customers.
Every apartment Summer rented was offered at an average rate of 9.2% below market value.
And her round-trip commute to work averaged 18.4 double takes per day.
It was a rare quality this 'Summer effect'. Rare and yet something every post adolescent male has encountered at least once in their lives."

 3 months ago Katherine broke up with her boring boyfriend, leaving her in a state of chaos. "Why are so many boys in love with me? I don't get it."

The first boy, she meets at the club. Tall, white and male, he eyes every girl on the dance floor, and finally, one girl, Katherine, makes eye contact with him. Post-breakup, drunk and feeling the validating weight of attention, she goes to him. He continues to message her the next day. This is not love.

The second boy moves into the dorm room next door. He runs around hallways wrestling and laughing with the boys. She feels close to him. She gushes about feeling close to him. She prioritises time with him over time with her girl friends. He would not do the same back. At the end of the day, some boys will always be for the boys. This is not love.

The third boy tells her that he has never felt this way before. "You're not like other girls." 
Katherine rolls her eyes as she retells this. "I am like other girls. It's like he's putting me on a pedestal."
"Yeah, like naughty sexy girls can read books on trains too. We're all multifaceted."
"Boys are so visual."
This boy is sensitive. He lies on his bed, listens to music and daydreams about her. He enjoys showing off his extensive knowledge about music and memes, and believes she shares all the same opinions as him, and that therefore, they must be soulmates. He is nothing special.
"Whatever, we love being adored." She sips on her iced latte. "I like feeling in control."
This is not love.


And in the new decade, I manifest that all my friends find love. We will hold dinner parties in our new apartments, travel to the French countryside for wine and cheese, have self-furnished bedrooms bathed in white with impeccably folded clothes, and grow into people we are implicitly content to be.


Monday, 21 October 2019

Subtle Racism

A few weeks ago this pretentious small Asian girl posted a video titled 'subtle racism' on her Instagram story.  Of course I watched: racially diverse person after person, providing anecdotes about their experience in this predominantly caucasian country, looking for something, anything, a statement, that would jump out at me with a world-changing relatability -- but it was nothing I hadn't heard before.  Next slide.  "Don't ask me where I'm from," she begins.  Black background, white words.  Next slide. The paragraph continues.

Don't get me wrong, in no way am I trying to illegitimise people's racial experience.  However, all these little stories, honestly, they don't bother me that much.  I find that today's generation is generally accepting of other races.  Gone is my parents' time, when hearing "Go back to where you came from" was not uncommon on the streets.  Neither myself nor the people I have grown up around have ever questioned whether I belong in this country or not.  Of course I do.  I can tell that small, unpolitically correct statements regarding my ethnicity have nothing to do with ignorant or malicious intentions.

When I talk about subtle racism, I'm talking about the experience of this generation.  I'm talking about the way stereotypes have manifested to become another sucky nuance of our ingrained views, resting alongside the likes of gender roles and beauty standards.  Nobody talks honestly and openly about the current experience because they're not the words we've heard and seen over and over again before.  Firstly, a description of racism today requires critical thought and subsequent social commentary; and secondly, I think the book I'm reading, 'Americanah' has an important point: the general caucasian, or otherwise, population here doesn't want to hear the honest experience.  They want us to preach to the converted what they already know.  My honest thoughts could come across as entitled or unreasonably angry.

I wrote all this in my diary a few days ago.  For the last few days I've been writing about spiralling emotions, being stuck in my own head, feeling bitter without knowing why.  And suddenly, after having a chat to her about it, I've come to the conclusion that all my emotions have boiled down to SUBTLE RACISM... Do you know what subtle racism is?

My friends are gorgeous, in the most classic hot girl way imaginable.  They have the super power of being skinny, blonde and tan.  Over dinner drinking games, without speaking a word, they can be voted 'person I would most like to get to know better'.  Step into an elevator, without speaking a word, and the small metal box of people will immediately make an effort to impress them.  Arrive at a party, without speaking a word, and they will be offered invites and opportunities based on the stereotype that as a skinny, blonde and tan girl, surely they must be fun.

I am a small Asian girl.  Over dinner drinking games, if I don't speak a word, I will be quiet and unnoticed.  Step into an elevator, if I don't speak a word, I will either be ignored or given one-word careless small talk.  Arrive at a party, if I don't speak a word, I will again, be quiet and unnoticed.  Subtle racism is the fact that I must work five times harder at having a super interesting personality in order to be considered somebody worthy of getting to know. I used to tell myself to effortlessly let people approach me, but the reality of the situation is that my societal stereotype start line is miles behind, and I need to run to catch up. In case you couldn't tell, I'm bitter.

I have this close friend.  She's small.  She's ethnically ambiguous.  She has dark hair.  We're very different people.  I've been called her name by two different caucasian boys on two different occasions, both of whom I am on a friendly basis with.  Both occurrences were honest mistakes.  Both occurrences were not a big deal.  Both occurrences made me feel like absolute shit.  They made me feel like I am not an individual who matters.  No matter what I say, what defining individual characteristics I put forwards, perhaps my being is being added to some conglomerate of small, dark haired, Asian girls, going right over Caucasian boys' heads.  Is this how society sees me? In case you couldn't tell, I'm bitter.

Perhaps these thoughts, or discoveries, have come from the recent close friendships I have developed with a different crowd of people.  In Sydney there are certain Asian-dominated communities: particular suburbs, particular schools, particular university degrees - to the point where some of my Asian friends have spent their entire lives in this country as part of a majority.  What an interesting social experiment.

As I spend more time around these groups of people, my perceptions of the norm are slowly shifting to somewhere in between; or perhaps somewhere neither.  My beauty standards are different now.  The characteristics that impress me are different now.  While I appreciate that my skinny, blonde and tan friends are pretty in their own way, perhaps it is narcissism that I consider some of my small, dark-haired, Asian friends to be gorgeous.  But again, that's just physical appearances, and it sucks how evident pretty privilege is in this society, but that's another topic altogether.

Upon spending more time around my own minority, particularly the boys, I have the thought, oh. So this is what it's like to be noticed as a regular girl, without all those connotations attached.  This is what my skinny, blonde and tan friends feel when a cute boy eyes them from across the room.  We've all seen Asian girls screenshot their tinder messages, but now imagine these situations in person - less vulgar, more nuanced, and still making you feel like a kink rather than somebody beautiful in their own right. Try hearing the statements "I would never date an Asian." from your reasonably attractive guy friend, or "I think you'd have to be a weird person to like someone like that" from your other reasonably attractive guy friend, referring to a photo of an LG or an ABG.
I like the way I look, and this saddens me.

I then finished my diary entry with but perhaps I'm just hanging out in the wrong environment.

Society is whack, and in case you couldn't tell, I'm bitter.


Tuesday, 3 September 2019

On Vulnerability

I’ve always understood power to be the most sought out trait.  The word is synonymous with strength, respect and worth as a human being.  However, what I’ve come to realise is that power does not garner love or deep emotional connections.  In fact, power can be lonely and sad.  To be powerful involves appearing with no weaknesses, and as a result, possessing an unmonitored shame towards that which you are hiding.  I recently read an article in an online university magazine, stating:

Brene Brown describes shame as playing two lines in our heads: “Never good enough” and “Who do you think you are?”. They tell us to doubt ourselves. Shame makes us uncertain and it stops us from taking risks… The way out of shame? Vulnerability.

As I lie there questioning my closeness with those around me, I mindfully comment that I have always put up a front.  Throughout high school, the shame of wanting something desperately, whether it be a certain confidence, or a reputation, or to not be anxious to talk to people, would result in a pretence that I already possessed all these traits.  It was a thinly veiled attempt to fool my parents, my friends and myself into thinking that everything about myself was as I thought the status quo to be.  I’ve admired strong characters all my life, and my way of being one was to lie away all the things I am ashamed of.  Strong characters are always put together with no imperfections, right?

Yesterday my sister and my mother were having an argument.  She complained that she did not want to, and would not, ask a girl in her class for a minor favour.  Her fear of social awkwardness was laid clearly on the table in front of her. She had no shame and no reservations. My inherently judgmental personality would of course be harsh towards myself if I were to expose such discomfort, but when my sister nonchalantly revealed her feelings, I really couldn’t have been more indifferent.  It’s as the shame wizard from Big Mouth taunts each kid at the school sleepover. Inside their heads, the shame progresses into a powerful, self-hating force of denial.  Yet, if one kid were to be frank about their feelings, the others would probably feel a sense of relatability.  

The normalisation of these feelings within our heads would lead to an accelerated self-growth I wish I’d had.  In 2011 I watched Glee for the first time and found that the show made me uncomfortable.  The star of the show was annoying and self-obsessed.  The popular cheerleader was pregnant.  This was not your regular Hollywood teen television.  The same thing happened with The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Why was Emma Watson so sad, and why did she have short hair?  Normal people don’t act like this.  Normal people are shiny and blonde like Kirsten Dunst from Bring it On.  Older now, I am a huge fan of both Glee and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, perhaps because their supposed quirkiness brings forward a truth about the way we feel.  They allow us to feel like any absurd thought we possess is in actuality okay.

This acceptance, both within society and the individual, should enable us to peel back this deceitful protective layer.  In recent years I have pride myself on transparency.  However, it’s like Lorde says, Let’s let things come out of the woodwork / I’ll give you my best side, tell you all my best lies / Yeah, awesome right?.  While I somehow truly believe I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve, in reality those things that bring me shame are still hiding deep within.  I guess addressing that those ‘weird’ thoughts are actually okay is easier said than done.

However, is showing your best side really all that deceitful?  Is being vulnerable all that necessary?  I’ve been grappling at the idea of a public versus private life, of mystery and maintaining a persona.  Over brunch today, my friend described how we are all too concerned about the projection of ourselves on other people.  Perhaps this brand we are demonstrating to the public is more effective and respectable with blocked out weaknesses and vulnerabilities. But where and when does this brand get replaced by the genuine truth in order to form close relationships?

I watched a video entitled Why you will marry the wrong person in which the psychologist states that when we say, ‘I love you’ what we are really saying is ‘I need you’.  We are putting ourselves in a vulnerable position.  He goes on to describe how your typical type A personality would respond to this scary feeling by almost saying and acting the opposite.  When we begin to feel vulnerable, we become avoidant, we begin to nag, and we act as if we don’t need them when we wish we could say the contrary.  This results in them questioning the relationship, leading to a cycle of low trust. If you are unable to acknowledge and understand all your own vulnerable thoughts and feelings, then how can you expect to have someone truly love you for who you are?

Additionally, honesty is attractive, and shame is not.  When asked about something I am insecure about, I find myself avoiding answering the question.  Sometimes I want the projection of myself to be something else so badly that I mimic the ‘strong’ self I wish I was.  After these incidences, I can’t help but see how two dimensional and flimsy each small dishonesty was.  Years later in hindsight, I see that if I had demonstrated the genuine self I was ashamed to be, that would have been stronger and surer.  That would have drawn the correct people.  That would have allowed people to understand my emotions, and potentially acknowledge the likeness of their own.  Ultimately, laying my vulnerable self on the table would have, and will always, lead to the most meaningful encounters.   

While we may subconsciously grow up daydreaming about the validation of receiving that trophy with the respect of all those standing below us, as we get older, we begin to realise this isn’t enough.  All the self-help books and the fairy-tale movies tell us we want love, family and ultimately to be understood.  However, bad habits of hidden insecurities are difficult to break.  In my opinion, if we acknowledge what we are ashamed of and unabashedly bear ourselves, all hidden grievances will become non-existent. Our burdens will be shared and understood by others.  Ultimately, the truth will set you free, so why not lay every single truth out there and just… be.   


Sunday, 1 September 2019

How Sally Rooney's 'Normal People' makes me feel

It makes me want someone in my life who makes me feel nervous, who I am so desperate to impress.

The book has given my mind a kind of genuine portrayal of love I could never have fathomed before.  And I know the feelings are so emotionally realistic because while I may not have ever experienced this kind of adoration first hand, it's the kind of thing I've been imagining a lot lately - how a single touch can make you feel special, beautiful, fragile but safe; the way he looks at you, you feel seen, feminine, adored, like you and only you have the power to make him feel sheer happiness; you know he would do anything for you, anything to make you happy, and you feel submissive to him in the same way; the kind of mutual respect for each other's opinions, and the way you could watch the cogs turn in his head all day, and you know he feels the same; when thinking about him makes you feel exquisitely happy, or sad, or something.

It's how the book begins with a conversation full of palpable tension - so hyperaware of every little movement and noise, thoughts are zoning in on the paper being rolled between your fingers.  It's something for them to do.  Heart pounding, awkward, and when it's over you go back to your room, look in the mirror and re-enact the way you must've looked, the way he must've seen you, wishing you could've done something or said something differently.  It makes you feel a heavy wave of hopelessness and sadness.  That is how much you want to impress him.  That is how intrigued you are by him.  At every waking moment, the thought of when you might see him again is in the background.  As you sort your thoughts out in the shower, you imagine telling him things, telling him honest opinions and anecdotes, and portraying yourself as your best self, but still yourself, and he is becoming a little more intrigued with your mind with every word.

This obsessive emotional connection is one I feel a stark relation to, a feeling I criticise as pointless.  Romance is supposed to be easy, isn't it?  It's supposed to feel right from the beginning, like you have a mutual emotional understanding.  There's no awkwardness; just a back-and-forth ease, full of laughter and fun, something that will progress so naturally that it requires no effort, easy vulnerability, and no sense of shame.  That's how you know he's the one, right?  I've never thought that feeling of awkwardness, genuine intrigue and nervousness could ever be a sign of potential, could ever lead to some kind of deep future connection.  If you're not easily open on first encounter, then how could you ever be easily open?  Yet, somehow, in this story, a nervous dreaded intrigued encounter grows progressively and beautifully, allowing two people to change each other for the better, like two thorns entwined during their most malleable years as they make their way towards the sky.

Upon buying the book, I was under the impression that the title, Normal People, was referring to how two normal people in our society behave, like an ode to all of us readers allowing us to feel less alone.  However, while lying in the dark in a vulnerable moment, Marianne asks why she can't be like normal people, like him, in a seemingly healthy relationship, with a seemingly healthy group of friends.  Whether this really is an ode to the general population, with our potentially shared grievances about belonging; or whether this is an ode to her character, and those alike, seemingly cold, unlovable, strong and alone.  There's something in a derisive, wild female personality that always makes her less of the ideal girlfriend who reads books quietly on the train like Rory from Gilmore Girls.  There's something about the unorthodox girl who feels stuck under a bell jar of being unlikeable, yet stubbornly defies socially liked characteristics anyway, if only to make excuses for the shame that stems from a lack of belonging.  Or does every girl feel this way sometimes?

And then there's the description about how the opinions of the people around us, the shame we have towards our honest feelings, can lead us to do illogical, regrettable, cruel things.  There's a kind of realness in the way she portrays the desperation to be liked by everybody, and how those with weaker personalities would 'betray any confidence, any kindness, for the promise of social acceptance'; or the way Helen criticises Marianne's choice to discuss ethics and politics over lighter conversations as self-obsessive.  I would probably give the same criticisms if put in the same situation.  But then, there's the way Marianne describes the social ladder in school, how she sees herself at the bottom, but sometimes sees herself as completely off the ladder altogether, unphased by the hierarchal social constructs put in place.  Whether this is self defensive or forward-thinking, I'm not sure.  But we have all thought that way some time, even if just to feel superior, and the book portrays this so incredibly well set in a university full of prestige, elitists and intellectuals.

All I feel is sadness now that I have finished.  This book has added an intensity and thoughtfulness to my life that I hope lingers for a while.  Two people experience the kind of love we have all experienced a part of, and I know that all love is different, and there is no one definition of love, but I truly hope that everybody experiences a level of closeness to another person that is something like this one day.