Sunday, 1 October 2017

Bohemian Dysmorphia | Got any symptoms?

When tuning into this week’s episode of ‘The High Low’ podcast I was taken with a particular sentiment. In amongst the glorious ramblings of Pandora, Dolly and special guest Rosie Wilby, D giddily diagnosed herself with the feeling of ‘Bohemian Dysmorphia’. Describing herself as existing in that unsatisfying limbo between who you are and who you’d like to think you are, Dolly coined the deliciously relatable phrase, AND I want to talk about it. 

For context’s sake, this episode featured a discussion about monogamy as a potentially tired construct. The cast raised questions about the viability of such common practices in a modern age that allows for so many variations of ‘normality’. 

Dolly’s omission, all be it totally tongue in cheek, is hugely relevant to so many of us today, so I wanted to take 5 to ponder what she was getting at. In explaining, she continued, ‘I really wanted to be polyamorous but I’m just naturally SO monogamous and that’s fine’. 

First up, the fact that the spectrum of accepted behaviours is widening can only be a good thing. Technicolour variations between people SHOULD be celebrated, embraced, coated in glitter, whatever, but where does that leave the rest of us? 

What the ‘High Low’ gals seem to be intimating is that, while it’s okay to be neither one thing or the other, It’s also okay to be you, EVEN if you seem a little vanilla.

Existing, as a twenty-something woman in a world where everyone seems to be either an online influencer, mega boss lady, fitness guru, life coach, book-writing, digi-savvy, pan-sexual, eco-warrior, mother extraordinaire, is it okay to be who you are when that person no longer seems all that interesting? 

Rooting through Instagram alone it’s pretty easy to think that sitting in your pyjamas watching Loose Women with a cup of tea on a Wednesday morning just doesn’t cut it anymore… 

‘When will I be interesting?’ – me, inner monologue, 2017. 

Scrolling through my feed today I came across something Alicia Keys had nicked off Pinterest. A cutesy post referencing the Japanese tradition of turning broken objects into works of art by repairing them with gold. Keys captioned the pic ‘We are a beautiful piece of a unique journey all our own… a special story only yours!’ 

But what if we’re not glued together with gold? What if instead, we’re just DIY projects held together with blue-tac or some dodgy double sided sticky tape or worse, barely adhesive Pritt-Stick coated with glitter residue from last year’s Halloween costume? What if there just isn’t a place for mediocrity anymore? 

Carmen Fishwick, recently posted an article on the Guardian online. The piece, entitled ‘beyond the selfie’ is a study of millennial behaviour. The report itself found that those who were most involved in Facebook were doubly likely to think other people’s lives were more fulfilled and all-around better than their own. This checks out, as ‘The Happiness Research Institute’ say quitting Facebook for a week could boost happiness levels and cut stress by up to 55%. After all, comparison is the thief of joy, and you KNOW that latte was cold by the time ‘baristachick02’ even got round to taking a sip. 

BUT, you get the feeling, don’t you? That sickening inadequacy that slides into your DM’s after a brief online binge. That knowingness that you’ll never be a virtual goddess or spokesperson for whatever and that the only #AD’s your profile is ever likely to feature are for tea bags and chocolate digestives. 

The pressure to be a someone in this generation is more intense and refined because there is so much choice: so many things we should be doing, so many lifestyles we could be adhering to. 

Dodie Clark released the video for her new song 6/10 this week. The song itself is beautiful, thank you Dodie, AND the lyrics are particularly poignant when considering this make-shift cultural diagnosis. Like everything Dodie creates, the production is delicate, with choreography that carefully encapsulates the essence of ‘not feeling good enough’, doing it (as you’d expect) in blaringly bright ‘Dodie yellow’. She sings: 

‘Is there pity for the plain girl?
Can you see the panic inside?
I'm making you uneasy aren't I?’

Dodie’s lyrics ask questions about self-love in this modern existence where, unless you’re hurling your own achievements at each other online, it’s easy to forget that you’re doing okay. 

Pics or it didn’t happen counts for everything these days. Our expectations for reality are constantly inverted by social media norms. 

Towards the latter half of my university career I only went to the library so I could snap a cute picture for Instagram from the stairs on the eighth floor #studyinghard. I printed out my dissertation purely so I could tag myself in a life event on Facebook, despite the fact the paper was entirely online submission #humblebrag. AND the other night, I had a strop with my boyfriend because he fell asleep before we could make bae-nana splits #forthegram. (I confess, this was a real millennial low, but you see my point). WE DO IT ALL THE TIME.

But, what qualifies as #goals anyway? Turns out, being average might not be sexy, but it’s real and it can’t be all Insta-sparkle, all boss lady all the time. You’re doing okay. Anyone can take a basic bitch coffee shop gram, get out there and change the game. Live a little. Be you. 

It won’t be boring. 


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