Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Encountering myself in the past.

Image from 'tattatatat', 2011.

I am at the point where I am writing up extended chunks of description about keeping Fashademic and I was just scrolling back through my outfit post archives and squirming. It is a strange activity, to encounter the you of two, three years ago in Technicolour intimacy. I remember her red hair and wonder if I should go auburn once more (it takes so long to dye out... but how did Luci make it look so lustrous?), I remember the proclivity to reach exclusively for black and sharp, finding armour or a veil in the sheer floorlength and the hats and the don't-mess-with-me rings. Those clothes were a material overlay that gave shape to my feelings at the time, that seismic year. The colours I burst into as I found my footing assuredly in 2011, and blossomed in brights. How did I get from there to this stage where navy is the colour of choice, often worn top to toe in jumpers, skirts, stockings? With more confidence in my work, more confidence in my self-? It strikes me as wondrous that we can create a visual, textual archive like this, that we can literally encounter younger performances of ourselves by going back through blogposts.

I recognise that Rosie, feel affection for her. She is me, but in a different season, and seeing her in those posts gives me a clearer look at her than my memory serves. Those awkward outfit posts where I contorted my heel up to my opposite thigh to show my shoes because I couldn't figure out how to angle my tripod to do a decent top-to-toe shot. My brimming excitement at discovering Benjamin, Bachelard, McRobbie's theory of bedroom culture, Sontag, Jenny Sunden, and Virginia Postrel, these fellow writers whose works grew around me and gave direction to my own. The music I listened to that- cringe- lent its lyrics to my post titles. 

It is both strange and lovely, because I saw the self that grew into the girl (or woman? both) I feel myself to be today. Such a record will never mean as much to anyone else, except maybe my parents, and neither should it– I'm not particularly important, and there are many things in the world much more worthy of your attention than my blogged goings-on of the past. And yet, here is a perspective on the Web that will be interesting to talk about in the next few years– the way it feels to encounter our younger selves, our selves-becoming, and how that affects the narrative of self we always tell ourselves about our lives, how this dynamic coming face-to-face plays with memory and being. I feel like she was happier, more exuberant than I remember her, this 23 year old redheaded me- that is a happy thought. And this feeling that I could encounter my own self as a stranger in such a manner– to discover my past self as a 'foreign country', to borrow from L.P. Hartley– this I did not expect.


  1. Beautiful post, Rosie. Yours is one PhD I would truly love to read!

  2. Thank you Rachel! I would love for you to read it- I hope it will be its very own book one day but will keep you posted x