Why Style and Substance?

I’m not really sure how to blog. The articles I read on blogging (an attempt to familiarize myself with it) say I should pick a theme and stick with it. Me picking one theme and sticking with it is unlikely. I don’t think in themes. I don’t think in ideas that are isolated from each other. I think in ideas that connect… idea networks.

So instead of blogging about one aspect of life, I will just blog about my life in general. Life as a student, life as someone who is mentally disordered and striving for health, life as a musician, life as a philosopher, life as a writer, life as a feminist, life as a Christian, and life as a lover of music, food, movies, books, fashion and lingerie. Basically, it’ll be one half fashion blog, one half everything else blog.

“So, why Style and Substance?” you might wonder.

Short answer: I am both style and substance. Many people are.

Long answer: According to dictionary.com (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/frivolous?s=t), “frivolous” means 1) characterized by a lack of seriousness or sense 2) self-indulgently carefree; unconcerned about or lacking any serious purpose 3) (of a person) given to trifling or undue levity 4) of little or no weight, worth, or importance; not worthy of serious notice.

In the somewhat conservative Christian community (and likely the secular community as well) I grew up in, and am still very much involved in, fashion is the epitome of frivolous. I mean, you’re expected to look presentable and people will compliment you when you “look nice”, but you’re not supposed to actually care. Looking good is supposed to be effortless, not premeditated. If you actually put your time and effort into your looks, you’re being shallow and selfish because you’re neglecting your spirit and your mind and other people while you’re focusing on how you look. Or something.

In other words, if you have style, it’s because you don’t have substance. The two simply cannot coexist in one being. (Fallacy of the false dilemma, anyone?)

 

So, I am a person who does care about improving myself on the inside. I’m passionate about learning and about people. I major in psychology and minor in philosophy, which is fairly academic. I’m determined to get a Master’s and to be the first in my family to get a PhD and make them so proud. I love to read when I have the time, and I write music (usually when I don’t have the time. Exam crunch is great for inspiration). Maybe one day I’ll do research. Maybe one day I’ll have my own practice. Maybe I’ll finish the sheet music of my masterpiece and have it performed on the stage of the Orpheum theatre in Vancouver.

But I care about fashion. I am an intensely creative being and fashion is one form of expressing that. I care about how I look, and how I think I look influences how I feel. If I don’t feel I’m looking my best, I wind up not doing my best work. It distracts me. For some time, I felt that (still do, sometimes) this was a deficiency on my part. Shouldn’t I be able to just ignore how I look entirely and just focus on my work or school? What’s wrong with me? Why do I even care?

Writing this, I’m just realizing that I’ve actually internalized a lot more guilt and shame than I thought I did. Huh, and I thought I’d made it through relatively unscathed.

Anyway, these messages that I got from the overall community, messages that were never actually spoken about me or in front of me but still got through to me nonetheless through books and other literature and media, resulted in a conflict for me. I got the impression that an interest in fashion and being intellectual were mutually exclusive and I could not be both. (For the record, it wasn’t friends and family who put this idea into my head. It’s the wider culture that did that.)

However, a couple years ago, I stumbled across the bra blogging community. For the first time, I saw people who reconciled these two seemingly unreconcilable traits. They were interested in fashion and lingerie, but drew it into the intellectual realm. They talked about feminism and modesty doctrine and rape culture and current events and even philosophy and politics and economics and religion. They expanded my mind farther than any book ever has and helped me become a better person.

And that’s one reason why I decided to blog: because I want to be able to dialogue with these amazing people. I want to join the conversation. I want to have a voice, to give back to a community that has helped me develop as a person.

The other reason for blogging is therapeutic: personal expression of things I generally don’t get to acknowledge or talk about in day-to-day life and a way for me to organize my thoughts into a coherent filing system as opposed to them being a chaotic mess (welcome to life with GAD). The counsellor(s) I’ve been speaking to think blogging could be a good way to release pent-up energy of which I have an abundance. I seem to be a bit repressed.

Anyway, back to the bit on organization. I find that for me, I need things organized outside of me before they are organized inside of me. I must organize my surroundings in a way that makes sense to me. So, as I work the kinks out of this whole running a blog thing, you might see some changes in the organization of the blog as I figure out ways to make it make more sense to me.

Now, a bit more on upcoming blog posts. I’ll posts a few more introductory posts just to set the foundation for the blog, then maybe start with some fashion and lingerie posts, then some stuff on self-care and I’ll later continue to branch out as I see fit. Not that much in my life ever goes according to plan, but we’ll see what happens.

EDIT (April 23, 2017): So, the blog went through a name change. Instead of Style and Substance, it will now be called the Intersection of Everything. Why? Because Style and Substance didn’t feel right. It’s good for a fashion blog, but I’m not exclusively a fashion blogger. My posts so far are turning out to be on different subjects.

Where did this new name come from? Well, I was talking to my counsellor about how I’ve got all these plans and ideas for the future but it’s kind of overwhelming and I have no clue what’s up next for me because there’s all these different options and I can only pick one, and I said “I’m at the intersection of everything.” Counsellor thought it was an interesting turn of phrase and then Bingo! I have a fitting title for the blog. And bonus! No one else has the name yet!

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