There's No White Way to be Right by Alexa Eisner

We are living in a time of endless self definition. Adding to this complexity are the physical phenotypes and social markers which may have us outwardly appear to the world one way, while mismatching our inner reality and self identity. But we exist with others- in a world of labels- responding to intersections of identity politics.

Art, however, can illuminate social conditioning and open us into more independent awareness, so creating possibilities for engaging with the actual individual felt experience of one another, and not just stereotypes.

Alexa Eisner

Alexa Eisner

After attending The White Stuff: Anti-Racist Boot Camp at CounterPulse, I walked away considering there may not be a “right” way to exist with white privilege. The idea of knowing the appropriate way to talk, act, be- assumes one is responding to a singular understanding of race, when individuals with varied backgrounds may experience race uniquely.  

As a woman I ask that my experiences of patriarchy are respected. As with race, all individual experience deserves respect. I am a white person living in America. This doesn’t have anything to do with whether I am a good or bad person- whiteness is associated with the dominant power structures that be and so benefits me. That is where many are blind to their white privilege.

Am I so indoctrinated with the colonial ideology of assuming to know best practices that I can state how a white person should interact with race? What The White Stuff revealed to me is that we have to be ok with feeling wrong, confused, not knowing- and to have the capacity to explore that with others, especially those affected by our unconsciousness.

The kinds of experiences that inspire empathy and awareness vary as much as the diversity of every individual. The White Stuff incorporated multiple learning simulations such as satire, direct participation, somatic connection, factual information, and word play. I don’t know if these techniques all “work” per say. And I don’t think it’s for me to decide. I can only describe that my experience left me withdrawn. So perhaps in this tired discomfort some work had been done.

Alexa Eisner

Alexa Eisner

To bring awareness to white privilege is to cultivate empathy for people of color who come from long histories of exploitation and oppression; and to prioritize taking actions that equalize our systems. What those actions mean for us each individually is the difficult question.

Can we be vulnerable enough to have honest conversations with the people around us? Can we speak through layers of our own mask and listen into the mask of another? And from this place will we take action?

This Spotlight on Faith is a Form of Activism by Alexa Eisner

The notion of faith- and questioning what we place faith in- is material for activism. It is a way of loosening the beliefs we unconsciously hold onto so tightly.

I attended the performance FAITH MATERIAL: ACTIVISM created by Jesse Hewit / Strong Behavior showing at the performance art space, CounterPulse. The show title is both direct in its call and subtle in its suggestion. We are asked to explore faith in more complex terms- not just as the personal sphere and abstract, but also the public sphere and systems of knowledge.

“Faith” may be experienced as truth- and whether derived from intuitive learning or logical reasoning- it is helpful to reflect on faith as belief, and that this belief varies between people and context.

The performance was a conversation exposing the arbitrary nature of where we place faith. Throughout the piece the artists moved between action- setting the space with things; and interaction- moving between objects and engaging with their surroundings. From the viewer’s perspective, the gathering and dancing with material had moments of pattern, randomness, struggle, and curiosity. There was one section with language where direct commentary about ideas such as self, relationship, purpose, and desire, were woven with nonsensical dream-like emotions. As if yin and yang- the head and heart- are both spaces for us to explore our constructed notions of faith.

And in doing so, in questioning what we choose to believe, maybe we open the door to new perspectives and so new approaches for how to engage with the stuff of life.

Image after the show at CounterPulse, Alexa Eisner

Image after the show at CounterPulse, Alexa Eisner

In the West, scientific knowledge has been privileged as truth. Social traditions, such as marriage and family, viewed as pathways to happiness. And religious and spiritual practice, an answer to the meaning of life. These are examples of narratives we may unconsciously place faith in. But if we could step back and experience these acts of belief as changing and varied, how differently would we relate to our world and each other?

Disjointed and Awake by Alexa Eisner

Been a minute since I've let the words slip from my tongue to the ethers of the Internet. Daily journal musings roam through travels and love and a broken open heart. Here I write without clear intensions. Just disjointed and awake.

Yesterday I listened to a lecture for how to approach the global state of tragedy and terrorism. Sat with sensations of emptiness, confusion, exhaustion, guilt, and blessings. I had intended to have it play while I cleaned the apartment- productive in space and mind. But I just sat and let it wash over me. Terrorism- a promotion of fear. Fear- our deepest sickness. How do I respond? How does action appear for me? I don't want to shuffle it all around- I want to break it down to reveal something new. I may not be a screaming voice, but I wish to have warmth. And to be willing to adjust- to walk the path asked of me.

I turned 30. I was gifted Krista Tippett's new book, "Becoming Wise." These are the inquiries I wish to explore. I'm not here to just develop my own sense of comfort, but to ride the line- extend into that unknown- an edge which opens my eyes and roots my feet. She talks about questions. And our assumptions that questions require an answer. Or that the answer is direct, known, concrete.

Answers fall as sensations, or show up unexpectedly- as if having nestled up slowly, without full attention, until suddenly you are wrapped up with something new. Questions that open the door to new questions create a new way to look, and so a new direction of focus.

I found myself laying on the kitchen floor. What questions do I need to ask? How can I bring more love to what I do, everyday? Not just, what I want to do- because that connotes a job, a thing, an action-- but how do I actually wish to spend my time? What do I want to feel? What do I want to think about? It will always be the shifting of beliefs- ideas- philosophies that motivate my being. 

I don't need to be perfect. I don't need to be perfect to my body. Or Have a perfect mind. Perfection in whatever image of spiritual la la yogi whatever. I wish to fully accept myself and love whatever that is in the moment. I value freedom. I value freedom for all beings. I wish for all beings to feel free.

Brice Marden, Epitaph Painting I, taken at SF MOMA

Brice Marden, Epitaph Painting I, taken at SF MOMA

I think of myself as an open person. I put it out there. I share my truth. I do my best to be fluid and kind and allowing of others. I have shadows I'm sure I don't see. But recently I've been touched with vulnerability. I've been met with purity- asked only to be myself- without expectation. I felt love from another before there was the assurance I could reciprocate-- this generosity has humbled me. It has stirred the hang ups, slowed the pace, and made life become possible in new ways. As if I perceive through time and touch destiny.

"I'm committed to this everyday," he said. "I will do my best to show up. And I can admit when I'm wrong. Let's nurture our shared dreams and adventure the mundane."

You take me to the core. To embrace the fragility of life. I'm coming back to the page. I'm in. And sometimes out. And scared. And but also over being afraid.

Patti Smith and New York: Freedom in the mundane and dark by Alexa Eisner

I can morph into a mood inspired by new sense perceptions. I drown in the colors and shapes and conversations which sometimes become poetic, or possibly melodramatic. Consciously and unconsciously this is how I move through the world. 

I woke from heavy dreams- a three-part series- and quickly jotted down the happenings and my interpretations. Pleased to set down my journal and let it go, I made coffee and picked up M Train by Patti Smith. I hadn't felt obsessed with it the way Just Kids roused me, but I've begun to realize I have been overlooking its subtly.

Alexa Eisner, San Francisco CA

Alexa Eisner, San Francisco CA

The first book inspired quick steps to pavement- I consumed her words ravishingly- missing bus stops and carrying her story in my arms like a bible. But this book is a dream, a quiet breath, an invitation to slow down and notice.

I imagined Patti having seen it all, done it all- but it's her relationship with the mundane and simple where she captures my heart. Her words are refreshing and cathartic. I feel permission to see my story as beautiful without needing more. I have been curious what it is to move away from expectation- instead of asking for things to be different- looking at them.

M Train is an act of noticing and being with life. It's spaciousness for that which is felt but not always understood. It settles me into calm. There is no need to carry anything false. There is no need to hide from the shadows. Her writing is exposing.   

A young Patti Smith

A young Patti Smith

Recently in Brooklyn I walked between abandoned warehouses but sensed a palpable charge. Art is everywhere. Some pieces are incredibly detailed and vibrant while others feel like a sudden burst of output without much skill. This humbled me. It seemed simple- unnecessary to think too much about creation- to just output. Undercurrents of winter and its darkness loomed, but it was also easy to be with. The streets were exposed. I felt exposed.

The east coast folds you into a unique cycle. The weather mirrors your emotions and becomes the base with which you process and express yourself. During my time living in Syracuse, NY I walked in blizzards to buy food. Light disappeared at 4pm. And without realizing it I let my shadows out.

But from this darkness birthed the surprising delight of blooming through Spring's melted snow, a rawness of Summer's humid sweat and a crisp breeze through rainbow Fall leaves. I felt close to the Earth and I appreciated having to adapt to a force greater than myself.

Alexa Eisner, my room in Syracuse NY

Alexa Eisner, my room in Syracuse NY

I left my New York experience and packed up to move home to California. In making this choice I committed myself to San Francisco. I desire a softness and openness I've only found on the west coast. Time stands still- especially lately with the drought- the sky is always filled with sun rays and the air fresh. I am happy and comfortable.

New York was good for me. New York was not easy for me. I studied. I felt heartache. I let go. I explored. I felt alone. I found art. I made love. And I took down a mask I didn't know I was wearing.

I wonder what thoughts I may forget to touch living in the sun. But at least I have my mornings with Patti where I fall into stories of her winter coats and coffee rituals and the sweetness of every moment. I can only do my best to be honest.     

Alexa Eisner, San Francisco CA

Alexa Eisner, San Francisco CA

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Slit your sleeves: Tops with cut out shoulders by Alexa Eisner

I've always felt the woman's collar bone and shoulders are one of the most graceful parts of the female form. I like the way the cut out shoulder shows a little bit of skin without trying too hard. This look can dress up or down- even play with cutting an old tee.   

All images via Pinterest

Follow Alexa Eisner / BabaChic on Pinterest for more fashion inspiration.

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Finding Center in the Chaotic Beauty of Burning Man by Alexa Eisner

I am burnt. And thankful for that. I have arrived back to this reality from the experience that is Burning Man. I am covered in playa fairy dust with a soft heart and peaceful state of mind.

I'm not sure if this sensation will last, but perhaps part of the magic of Black Rock City is going back to remember.

I can only imagine the infinite ways one can burn- the weather, your camp, the role you play as facilitator or wanderer, art of that year- all guide experience. It has been said you receive the burn you need and the playa provides. I agree with this sentiment.

I began bright eyed- soon appropriately named "Alexa Bright"- and I came to the experience with an open heart. However, as I danced with my surroundings, I found myself more discriminating with my energy.

Though Burning Man is one week, every day felt like a universe of happenings. The charge of the space is magnetic and the energy is palpable. The momentum builds as more people arrive for the weekend. However my energy seemed to move in opposition to this current.

Burning Man is a social experiment where radical self-expression and inclusion move from theory to practice. I have explored personal and academic work around social construction and identity, but I had never participated in this kind of alternative community.

Sometimes this looks like cuddle puddles and heartfelt conversation, and sometimes this play has a darker energy, which is not to be excluded. I realized I prefer sunrise and day time frolicking through art and philosophical banter to the sea of neon LED lights and evening EDM shenanigans. The degree to which people alter their state of consciousness and fall into harsh states of being genuinely surprised me.

In witnessing these diverse forms of expression I became more aware of my own essence. I was startled by the purity of my energy, but also appreciative of who I am. As my mother once told me, listen to the quiet voice. That which was soft and gentle led me.

The greatest gift from the playa was to learn to allow everything to be as it is without the need to change anything. I was inspired to let go of external surroundings and root in my center. If I could describe my experience in one word it would be humbled. I began to reflect on the way simple acts of ritual, like making tea, bring me home.

I was fortunate to camp with Deep Tea Hous. This space was natural and blended into the desert. But it was filled with colorful details of Moroccan furniture and hand crafted tea supplies. I had no idea just how meditative and grounding a tea ceremony could be. It was a source of rejuvenation and sanity for me.

I felt such respect for the tea house and the ways people had taken time to set the space, care for it, and share. There was deep comfort in taking part in the camp- shaking dusty rugs and organizing tea cups cultivated gratitude. I became aware of the multitude of ways I am constantly supported by my environment.

THE EXTREME CONDITIONS OF THE DESERT ASKED ME TO CARE for MY space and BODY. SLOWING DOWN TO NURTURE MYSELF- WIPE DIRT FROM MY CUTICLES, OIL DRY SKIN, AND REPLENISH WITH WATER AND FOOD, BECAME SACRED. 

Everyone encounters magic at Burning Man. And though it's not always easy, it is a gift to experience. I had healings of massage and tarot. I was gifted musical instruments just as I dreamt of exploring sound. I danced my most full self. I found friends and they found me in gifted synchronicity. I climbed a tower and a tightrope during a dust storm. I strutted down a catwalk on a K Subway train. I listened to live musical chaos of symbols and drums. I stumbled into the snake hair of my muse Medusa. I rode on a sail boat across the desert landscape. I listened to classical music while a light show acted out sweet symphonies. I touched the energy of loss and love in the Temple. I felt sunrise warm my cheeks. I offered sage healings of chakra clearings. I walked to the end of the city just as open desert swarmed me with winds over 50 miles an hour. I pondered the ashes of Timothy Leary. 

And just as I’m sure everyone felt, I felt. With love, deep respect, and gratitude. 

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Nostalgia, Dance, & Music: Finding moments outside of myself by Alexa Eisner

A strange sensation come over me. I felt eager to be years ahead of myself looking back at this moment with nostalgia. And yet I was living it. 

I walked familiar streets that felt different slowing down. I had no intention other than following my feet north. The clicking of my heels on the pavement sounded like a painted texture. Color following behind me. It was the first time I actually stood in the middle of that square. And the man who rested next to me on the bench. One leg taller than the other. A single boot with an added five inch sole. He asked if he could smoke next to me.

How would this random detail last in my memory? Do we choose the things we carry through time? Do the moments you plan to keep stay? 

via Brain Pickings Weekly

via Brain Pickings Weekly

A lyric made me smile: "You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan, and the next five years trying to be with your friends again." If I get to where I think I'm going, what will I miss? I wonder how my wonderings will change. 

I've been running to the park and dancing on the basketball court. It started as a way to save money- dance and yoga classes can add up- but it has turned into a form of performance art. I challenge myself to see how free I can move in public space. How does it affect me when I dance and I know I can be seen? How does my body hold back? Where am I afraid to open?

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

I stopped to watch a flock of birds in unison. Their rhythm silenced me, taking me out of my personal drama. They flowed in circles back and forth. This is an image we all know. But the mystery of their harmonious movement is literally breathtaking. How do they share?

When I witness dance I feel as if I step outside of my life. I witness the dance of humanity filled with moments of tenderness and loss. My body understands this journey and senses its beauty. I can allow dark and light to move together and feel a subtle release.   

I had the privilege of watching Axis Dance perform at the SOMArts Dis/Play art show. Axis is a mixed ability dance company that demonstrates the possibilities of movement and capabilities of the body. I sat next to my best friend and felt inclined to reach for her hand. Connected, we watched a dance between two women, which we decided represented one woman with her ego. She fought and then embraced herself.

Kang Seon Jun

Kang Seon Jun

After this show I took myself on a date to see the Lines Ballet. They demonstrate some of the highest quality dancer and creativity in the world. The current show incorporates the sounds of natural elements with lots of rain and insects. Costumes are minimal and neutral. The Lines dancers always feel like animals. They move and express themselves without shame or hiding. They break our daily postures and reflect back to us our true nature. 

I had forgotten how dance offers insight into the overarching themes of life. This perspective takes me out of time. I feel close to intimacies and sensations that my mind and language can't quite touch. 

Alexa Eisner

Alexa Eisner

At Coachella this year another best friend told me she knows we are connected when we listen to music together. No matter what is happening around us we can smile at one another and feel what the other feels. We let go of the chatter and lift our arms to capture that untouchable knowing of becoming part of something bigger than oneself. As I listen I remember I was not made to stand still. I was made to be moved and move. 

I recently went to an open mic where I decided to forget the poem I planned to read and did an interpretive dance with a guitar player I had just met. We practiced once outside and then let it happen. In some ways I feel most safe dancing- it's comfortable for me to fall into my body and create a space of privacy. But I don't know if I'm any good at the creative things I do. And I don't think it matters. Because I have to let it out. And I have to live the freedom I want everyone to feel. So I can't be too concerned with what's good. I can't be afraid. The more I do the more I release.

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

I want to look back and feel nostalgia for my naive bravery. For the way I approached the exploring of creating in this life. Walking, dancing, watching, listening, holding hands, exchanging glances. A closeness to the sound of heels pounding pavement and a vision of the old man's cigarette in the sun.

Maybe that feeling of nostalgia is really a closer looking of now. The stepping back is actually stepping into the story.

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Reunions: Finding the Connection and Letting the Rest Go by Alexa Eisner

To help me learn the tarot my morning routine now includes pulling a single card- I read about its meaning and that becomes my theme to ponder for the day. Today I chose the Hermit, which suggests a time of solitary retreat and introspection.

I'm taking a moment of withdrawal to consider my independence and connection to those around me. This is quite appropriate after a week of travel and reunions. I find great pleasure in being alone because it usually means I'm quiet enough to soak up sensations without distraction or persuasion. And yet, I'm always connected to those I love- even when I'm unaware of it.

The Hermit from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

The Hermit from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

2015 began by asserting my independence. On New Years Eve I jammed to my favorite feel good band at an intimate venue originally built as a mortuary. I asked if friends wanted to join, but no one was quite down with the groove, so with slight hesitation I decided to venture alone. I quickly bonded with the girl next to me dancing with shared enthusiasm.

She said she dragged her friends to the show. I said I went alone. In a surprised but impressed tone, she said maybe in two years she could do that too. I noticed myself alone in that room, but I felt a content connection with the strangers surrounding me. After the show I walked the streets under the chilled moonlight filled with a warm sweaty glow. 

Serbian Orthodox Christmas (and other holidays) follow the Gregorian calendar and so land on a later date. I drove to my hometown January 7th for a Christmas reunion with family I have not seen since I could remember. I met just under ten of their children for the first time. I witnessed the announcement of a new engagement. We sat, drank, ate, and talked.

One of my cousins told me he's not sure the next time he would be able to come to San Francisco because it's just not a great place to take the kids. This is something I cannot relate to in this moment. I feel gratitude for such a strong net of family woven together and I'm happy there's a new generation to carry tradition. And yet, I know I'm mostly separated from all of that- I'm creating something new of my own.

I have no judgement where I am in life or where others are. I think it's important we each follow our joy and make our own decisions. I have friends who are married, having babies, landed stable careers, and buying homes. I also have friends kicking drug habits, struggling to pay bills, in PhD programs, and filling the street with impromptu art performance. There's a spectrum of experience and possibility. For me the challenge is to view myself independent of whatever the characters on this stage of life are doing. 

I used to think lovers, friends, and family had to understand every aspect of my perspective to fully love me. But that's quite a heavy expectation to place on someone external of yourself. The reassurance I sought in another's recognition of my internal world was really a lack of confidence in my inner truth.

I may not always be sure about life, but I trust that the answer I need is constantly revealing itself through small momentary inspirations. And I only need to do my best to listen to them. Like following a path of bread crumbs, I'm just moving along taking bite-sized steps.. 

Last weekend I traveled to Inverness with college friends to celebrate my best turning 29. We stayed in a cozy house on a marsh, ate only the best food, and hiked a hilltop so close to soaring birds that we could hear the sound of swooshing wings. We swapped stories about men, untold secrets, and joked about hypothetical situations as we cuddled in deep laugher. There is a distance from the times when we were a college clique. I sometimes feel guilty for having a poor memory- unable to recall our magical moments. 

And while we are each so unique, there's only understanding in the ways we have moved on while remaining connected. No matter the time or space there is a part of me that will only reveal itself around these women. I feel safe and loved. 

Alexa Eisner

Alexa Eisner

I arrived home to find a care package from a soul friend who knows the currently expressed me. My gift contained: Putty hand-made earrings she crafted inspired by Frida Kahlo, a Diego Rivera journal, a hand drawn watercolor hummingbird (my spirit animal), a stack of children's books she found on the street (for my collaging), a delicate arrow necklace which looks like part of my tattoo, and a handmade card with the image of a tapestry that inspired an art project we did in the desert. I began to cry.

No matter how independently we walk this Earth, there are moments when you feel completely heard. Histories continue to build in the present. And sometimes someone knows you now.

The next day a friend of mine from grad school came to visit. We've only seen each other once over coffee in Boston since graduation in 2012. Our reunion felt perfectly complete in a way that I had not anticipated. I took her on a long walk- the Mission, Castro, Lower Haight, Upper Haight, Golden Gate Park, and then out that evening dancing to Motown jams in NoPa. As we walked and looked a movement of thoughts and questions flowed into conversation. She senses the world like a logical poet and I felt relief. 

She understands a part of the way I think and feel that only someone who knows me from such a particular time and space can understand. We share the same favorite book from grad school. And she settled me into myself a little more. 

Sometimes it feels unfair that there are so many people I love- and that sometimes I forget just how much love I have for them. I stress about too many people and commitments to maintain, when in reality these connections always remain. There may be an inner world only fully understood by me, but on my own does not necessarily mean being alone. There can be limitation to connection, but also such sweet surprise. 

Alexa Eisner

Alexa Eisner

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Power Pant Suit: Bringing Back the Double Breasted Jacket by Alexa Eisner

Double breasted jackets for women and men have returned yet again. I'm a fan of this power pant suit for ladies. 

My favorite holiday gift? Mom's hand-me-down 90's white linen double breasted pant suit she wore only once when she worked at an art museum. I feel supa fly and classy rocking this look. I've already been loving loose pants and monochrome looks, but the double breasted pant suit has me on a high.

feedly.com

feedly.com

harpersbazaar.com

harpersbazaar.com

thebestfashionblog.com

thebestfashionblog.com

thebestfashionblog.com

thebestfashionblog.com

When I'm feeling fem I pair the pant suit with a silk lingerie piece from Victoria's Secret or just a lace bra. When I'm feeling a little more funky I go for an athletic chic look and wear a sports bra. The crop top shown below right, has a touch of that athletic chic feel. Another way to style your pant suit is to add a thin vintage tie scarf around your neck, as shown below left. Try the double breasted jacket with distressed denim and heels or add the jacket to a dress paired with a clutch.

elle.com

elle.com

bloglovin.com

bloglovin.com

harpersbazaar.com

harpersbazaar.com

vogue.com

vogue.com

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Gender Narratives of Pleasure: Is the Female Fantasy really a Nightmare? by Alexa Eisner

A woman alone in her mind space has the power to take herself into any imaginative fantasy. Lately I've been wondering just how solo we are in these most private moments, however. I recently discovered the artist Sophia Wallace and her "Cliteracy" project at the same time I decided to dabble in the pop culture phenomenon that was Fifty Shades of Gray.

Wallace acknowledges the contradiction in the ways we have culturally sexualized the female body while simultaneously lack in education around a woman's anatomy and understanding of female pleasure.

What concerns me is the possibility that women have internalized cultural gender narratives to such a deep degree, that a woman's personal fantasy is actually disembodied from her own sense of pleasure. 

via istacksnackstacks.tumblr

via istacksnackstacks.tumblr

In the 1975 essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" Laura Mulvey introduced the concept of the "male gaze." Mulvey discussed the way the lens of the camera was filmed from the perspective of the heterosexual male gaze in a voyeuristic fashion which sexualized the female form. 

I'm using the concept of "male gaze" broadly to describe the heterosexual male narrative in which there is an unequal distribution of power between men and women which sexualizes the female form from a male perspective.

When reading Fifty Shades of Gray, though written by a woman for women, it felt as if it was written from the perspective of the male gaze. I began to wonder if the women who find this story tantalizing have internalized the male gaze to such an unconscious degree that their personal fantasies reflect this heterosexual male perspective instead of their own.

While the book certainly made an impression on me I have to admit I could not finish it- I was too annoyed to get through- especially since I had been contemplating Wallace's work. 

I'm less interested in critiquing this piece of text as I am in exploring the idea that unrealistic and outdated social narratives inform a woman's notion of her body and pleasure. 

I don't think it's wrong to explore the male gaze fantasy and I enjoy taking part in stereotypically heterosexual gender roles- but I've been asking myself how much of my fantasy is actually my own? 

I believe women run the risk of becoming disembodied from our own desires and pleasures if we digest the multitude of cultural messages around gender without taking a moment to ask ourselves how we personally relate to these narratives. 

via thepurpleclown

via thepurpleclown

In Fifty Shades of Gray the main character embodies the "good girl" stereotype. She lacks confidence and is always making fun of her appearance. We witness the first time she becomes drunk, only to be saved and taken care of by her all powerful attractive man. When she has her first sexual encounter with him we find out she's a virgin- shocking. When they actually become intimate he asks her to touch herself, but she says she doesn't do that.

Immediately this fantasy has built into it a notion that there is shame in a woman knowing and pleasing her own body because a "good girl" is not interested in such things, let alone liking herself and her body enough to feel confidence and desire. 

We realize she's never experienced an orgasm- only that changes when he fondles her nipple, which brings her to climax. While I believe there are many ways to orgasm I highly doubt someone who has no sense of their own anatomy would be present and conscious enough to have that experience.

If female pleasure is simplified to such a radical degree that touching a nipple leads a woman to climax than we ignore the complexities that constitute the female form and her pleasure. And if this story represents female fantasy than a woman is viewing her pleasure from a superficial view which sexualizes her form without an understanding of her physical needs.

Gender narratives are limiting to all people- to discuss femininity is to also discuss masculinity. Men may play into male gaze fantasies because that's what they have learned they want and think women desire. And women may play into male gaze fantasies because that's what they have learned men want and think women should desire. These cultural expectations around gender are reflected in physical intimacy, but also how we move our bodies in public space, what we wear, how we talk and countless aspects of our constantly shifting identities.  

This is no simple topic- there's really no direct way to know where gender narratives and fantasies come from. Men and women both need to take the time to ask ourselves whose voice is telling us what feels good. It's important that culturally we do not just sexualize the female form, but also educate ourselves around a woman's body and pleasure. Check out Wallace's work below:

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In the Middle of Gentrification: Meandering Through the Mission by Alexa Eisner

I have a flirtatious play with the Mission. I'm often falling in and out of love with this San Francisco neighborhood. But working remote I have quickly realized unless I place myself in different spaces inspirations fade. So while I love my neighboring hoods and consider myself a frequent Divis mosier, I headed to the Mish for something fresh. 

The Mission district of San Francisco is the heart of Latino culture and Mexican heritage. Named after Mission Dolores, this space holds a long history of cultural institutions, mostly founded in the 60's and 70's and centered around Latino aesthetics. Artists and activists have since worked to build community here. Though recently with rent rising and the rows of hip restaurants and barber shops catering to a new demographic, many locals and creatives have had to consider moving to Oakland- or at least a change in lifestyle. My mention of the current tech boom in relation to these changes is sure to rouse opinions and stir emotions. 

Alexa Eisner, Mission District, SF

Alexa Eisner, Mission District, SF

I took Muni and hop off at Mission and 16th. As I stroll South I'm catcalled in Spanish, glance the bedazzled denim on mannequins with impressive booties, pass electronics sprawled on blankets and hear a mic blasting a sermon from the one room church.

I stop at my favorite taqueria. It's bright yellow, lined in color streamers and has an alter for the Lady of Guadeloupe, whose surrounded with oranges and coins. A young Mexican man wearing black and draped in gold chains stops in front of her to cross himself. I am moved by this. I enjoy my lunch very much and wrap up half of my burrito for later.

I take Clarion Alley over to Valencia Street. Valencia is just one street West but it caters to a different world. The alley is covered in murals- artists regularly pass down space so the content is always evolving. The juxtaposition of an image of Lakshmi, goddess of abundance, and the anarchist messages of "evict Google" or the less political "try not to puke" convey the identity crisis of SF. I usually pause to look at what's new, but nothing caught my eye- other than the tourists taking photos- so I just kept pace.

Alexa Eisner, Clarion Alley, SF

Alexa Eisner, Clarion Alley, SF

Alexa Eisner, Mission St, SF

Alexa Eisner, Mission St, SF

I ended up in a small shop on Valencia where a pair of Frida Kahlo socks in the window had caught my attention. I decided to buy these for a friend who made a lovely Frida for Halloween. I thought about how I was participating within a commodification of culture, but then felt too tired to go beyond that so I made the purchase. Looking out I became frustrated by the line of upscale bars starring back at me, until I noticed the boy sitting at my feet painting skateboards.

I had worn an old vintage dress with a huge collar and bright red sweater because I felt an itch to get funky. Lots of people wear black in this city. And headphones.

I found my crystal lady on the corner. She's an exotic beauty- large eyebrows and a glow that radiates calm. Perhaps it's partially her lit sage that soothes me. She wouldn't tell you she sells crystals, rather she connects people with crystals. I have been inspired by her magic since moving to SF. We chatted about how's she's completely sober- not even coffee or herb- and how she's been finding lucky dollars on the street. A young back man in a magnificent outfit- layered pants with clashing patterns, beaded bracelets and round spectacles joined us. I instantly liked him. He mentioned the possibility of a music gig in Berlin then choose a wallet size Ganesh image and cedar to light as as tokens of luck.    

I ended up in a coffee shop with the most productive atmosphere I have yet to come across. And I can tell you about coffee shops across this city. The walls were grey with only a couple posters. There were two rows of tables where workers sat typing to computer screens. Toward the back there was one wall of study cubicles, which reminded me of the library at Cal when I had to read an entire Marx reader in a day. I felt equal parts repulsed and excited to know of such a space.  

As it turned to dark I decided to take the long walk home. Stopping at Mission Dolores I paused in front of the Virgin Mary statue. I'm not Catholic, but something about the work delirium, mixed with privilege guilt, and a desire for a somehow more authentic San Francisco, I kneeled down and began to pray. Before I could fully give into this private moment a group of hipsters walked my way, and embarrassed I quickly turned down the side street lining the church. I sat in the warm of the street light peering into the graveyard and unwrapped the second half of my burrito. 

Alexa Eisner, Mission Dolores, SF

Alexa Eisner, Mission Dolores, SF

Alexa Eisner, layered images of Mission Dolores, SF

Alexa Eisner, layered images of Mission Dolores, SF

I was bathed in a mix of contradictory feelings about the Mission but I liked (almost to my embarrassment) my new work spot. I headed back again. This time the taqueria was closed and my crystal beauty was nowhere to be found. It was a quieter day and I felt more at ease.

I paused at a corner to adjust my bag to my other shoulder and noticed a man sitting on a step in a narrow street. He had speckles of gray in his hair, wore a backpack, and with a cigarette in hand drank from an old school coke bottle. I decided I should like to speak to him. Upon asking if he could spare a cigarette, he lit one for me and we began to chat.

He liked my giant amethyst ring. I told him I felt that it helped to heal my hand injury. He agreed saying, "Yeah- it can be whatever you want it to be." And I said, "Yeah- I guess we imbue meaning into things and so give them power."

We talked about a cult he visited that covered their walls in copper because of its healing properties. They lived in a carved out mountain side in Italy. Supposedly this spot and Nepal are the only places in the world where three of something cross- making them very sacred somehow-- He reassured me he was not part of a cult and had heard about it from a fellow traveler in Croatia who convinced him it was worth the treck to see.

I mentioned my trip to Croatia a year ago to visit my Serbian roots. As it turned out he was a quarter Serb. I'm half. After I finished the cigarette he asked my name, told me it was lovely to meet and we parted ways. Only I had to walk the same direction as he, so I slowed down to let him stay in front of me.

When I turned the corner after him he was nowhere to be seen. I was left with a nicotine headache and smile.

Alexa Eisner, Mission St, SF

Alexa Eisner, Mission St, SF

After a decent writing session at the cafe and distracted by hunger, I headed out to my second favorite taqueria. Walking deeper South down Mission Street I meandered behind two giggling Latina girls with long ponytails- they matched in their school uniforms of white polos and navy pants. Upon my arrival I stood in line behind a young black couple. She wore a short white mini skirt and his face was covered in tattoos- which she kissed sweetly and often. I waited for my order next to the table where an asian man in shiny black shoes worked on his computer and occasionally bit into his massive burrito. I sat down across from a white dude with a beard, flannel and guitar propped up against the table.

As I unwrapped my burrito the way the light caught my amethyst ring felt like a powerful magic. 

Home as a Liminal Space: Reflections on the Sensation of Home by Alexa Eisner

Home has been a fluid term over the last decade given I have yet to live in a space for more than two years.

If home is the place where you grew up then Fresno, CA is home. It's safe to say the Bay Area is also home. I've spent eight years living throughout the East Bay and San Francisco (there were also two years in Central New York). My parent's moved to Portland, Oregon when I left for college, and with the passing of four grandparents within a couple years our holiday traditions have moved up north. As a result I rarely find myself 'home' in Fresno.

I was called back to Fresno this last weekend to celebrate the engagement of two of my favorite people. I had no expectations about the trip, though I hadn't been back in a couple years. And honestly I was preoccupied by a conversation from the night before which left me in a reflective mood. I did however look forward to the drive. Loud music, cracked windows and straight roads through dried farm land- the perfect liminal space to process and prepare for a trip to my roots.

Alexa Eisner: The drive down to Fresno

Alexa Eisner: The drive down to Fresno

Alexa Eisner: In Fresno, CA

Alexa Eisner: In Fresno, CA

Entering into Fresno I was struck by the enormity of suburban sprawl. Wide streets. Chain restaurants. Big cars. I recognized all the family business names. I was in some sense, home. I decided to take a slight detour and pass by the house I grew up in. Driving down that side street I immediately recalled old neighborhood friends and walking to the corner store to buy candy. As I approached the house I reduced my speed to a slow roll but I hesitated to fully stop. I didn't want to invade on someone else's home. I thought of our old cat that stayed back with the house and wondered if this family loved her like we did- or if she was still alive.

I felt an ownership over a space I haven't lived in for a decade. While I had anticipated a flood of memories, instead I just felt silent. I thought more literally about the layout of the house. Walking the hallway. The cherry tree outside my bedroom window. The garage wall where we noted our height each year- I smiled thinking we had given Abraham Lincoln a pencil mark as well. 

I called my dad and mentioned driving by our old house. He asked if I had noticed they pulled out the pine tree I planted after a field trip to the Christmas tree farm. I hadn't. This made me sad. 

I met up with my god sister and swapped life updates. Her dissatisfaction with living in Fresno worked in juxtaposition to my sentimental mode.

It's distance to the once familiar that tugs heart strings. It puts perspective in the reality of change.

There was supposed to be a ten year high school reunion this year and I found myself surprisingly relieved it was canceled. I respect who I was then, but it seems overwhelming to attempt to share my present self. I had done all the things high school. I thrived on exploring cliches like cheerleading. I was the lucky lady named princess who rode on a horse carriage across a football field. I was the valedictorian in Book Club, French Club and volunteering in my free time. While back in town a friend mentioned to me that I was the cool girl in high school. I don't know that feeling anymore. I'm not sure I ever really did. 

My last night before going off to college I circled up with girlfriends, and as we hugged in a tearful goodbye I realized I couldn't fully cry. I have always trusted the next step. I have always been eager for more experience.

The last few years have been about acknowledging and allowing the expressive part of me to share. I find myself interested in the unseen, the ignored, the unconscious. This more introverted version of myself does not always think of Fresno. But roots are the unseen blood line to tree growth.

I think of my childhood home lined in fruit trees. Diving for picked plums thrown in the swimming pool. Freshly squeezed orange juice and waffles in the morning. Writing poetry under cheery blossoms. When I think of where I come from I taste an abundance of life.

Alexa Eisner: In Fresno, CA

Alexa Eisner: In Fresno, CA

I met with my eccentric uncle late last Thursday evening. He lives in my grandparent's old home. He always has. It's still pretty much the same set up I remember as a kid. There's a scattering of family photos and knick knacks my aunt used to have sprawled around her home before she passed away.

I immediately sat at my grandparent's out of tune piano and played Pachelbel Canon in the key of C. This was my favorite song from childhood lessons. It's a simplified version but at the time it took me an entire summer to learn. I don't remember it in any direct way, but when I sit I let muscle memory play. The disenchanted sound warmed my heart and I felt ease. 

I slept in my Baba and Jedo's old bedroom. I took my time surveying the space. Smelled Baba's perfume in the pink bathroom. Looked at photographs and thought of how handsome Jedo was. The shag carpet padded my step.  

Alexa Eisner: Baba's bathroom

Alexa Eisner: Baba's bathroom

Alexa Eisner: Photo of Jedo

Alexa Eisner: Photo of Jedo

The next morning after a surprisingly thoughtful outdoor brunch prepared by uncle, we went to a retirement center to visit my great uncle and great aunt. We found them in the recreation room. Uncle sat with my great aunt silently whiled she dozed in and out of sleep. Perhaps from medication.

I chatted with my great uncle and though at first I thought he remembered me, as the conversation drifted into nonsense I realized it was best to connect over coloring. I drew with crayons and we talked about shapes. The purity in the way he looked at me reflected complete presence yet it carried melancholy. That kind of openness surpasses history. 

I watched an elderly woman dip her finger into her neighbor's pudding cup. I saw a man conduct to a choir he envisioned within his mind. The staff passed out lyrics for group singing- songs about the depression era- finding fun even in tough times.

The hallways were lined with glass cases where patients can put up a few photographs outside their door. I mostly saw youthful portraits and wedding photos. I was inspired by some Rosie the Riveter imagery. While I felt a weight of history, the elderly seemed to be living in a child-like state. 

Alexa Eisner: Taken in retirement home

Alexa Eisner: Taken in retirement home

Once I made it to my best friend's house things lightened up. We celebrated. I fell into soul family. No matter the shifts there is an understanding. This is a space of home. We created a magical evening filled with twinkling hanging lights, sheep skin and Moroccan rugs, cigars, harmonica blues, candles and vintage port from 1874. We toasted to the engagement, memories and the future to be.

We travel through many spaces, sentiments and people that we call home. While seen or unseen our tree roots run deep- but our branches forever continue to reach--

The afternoon before the party I had taken to a day of riding on the back of a motorcycle. There are no boundaries on a bike- nothing to protect you- nothing to hold you between the rush of wind and passing concrete. I felt at home in this simultaneous joy and discomfort. I held on tightly as speed increased, but overall I just let myself release.

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Play on a Swing Set as Social Rebellion by Alexa Eisner

Today there were tasks to be done. Woke early and started the extensive morning routine: Writing, reading, meditating, smoothie making, email glancing. Went through the ballot making sure I was ready to vote.  Opened mail and found my first jury duty summon. Given it's election day the timing seemed strangely appropriate and I felt ok about my civic duties.

Did my voting. Went to the coffee shop to work. Wifi was spotty and the coffee grainy. Already slightly uncomfortable from the lack of ventilation, in a rash decision I stood up and took the bitter coffee to go deciding sitting at my dining room table would be most productive. Productivity.  

My mood perhaps was not the best. Not terrible either. But something about that state of mediocrity is the worst for me. At least when I'm sad songs sound good and I can write decent poetry. Walking back home I realized I'd never taken this route. Usually I come from the north and walk back one more street south. I was walking the in between street.

An awesomely thick and gnarled tree rooted before me- it felt older than the entire block. Tin cans, hanging lights and tattered flags draped in and out of its branches. It felt heavy of things. Just as I had processed the enormity of it, the neighboring tree appeared just as dressed up. It was more colorful covered in hanging fuzzy pom pom balls and paper stars with perforated patterns. But what grabbed my attention was the swing freely floating.

Two pieces of rope attached to a wood block slightly swayed before me. I felt myself detach from my commonplace mood and immediately took off my bag and sat down. I toyed with a light swing and suddenly a smile emerged as well as a sense of relief.

I used to visit South Park after work and swing daily. It was a way to relieve myself from the day. The pace. The emails. The desire to be somewhere else I was not. It was my mode of rebellion and a reclaiming of myself. 

I worked part time near South Park, one of San Francisco's sweetest park secrets. Not so unknown perhaps to SOMA culture- you can be sure to overhear conversations around the latest tech trends and spot plenty of free startup tees- but none the less it has always reminded me of how I felt in Paris. It's tucked within a small round about and offers simple green space, benches and a swing set. 

To call the act of swinging rebellious may sound crazy- but it's precisely because it's a simple joyful act with no particular purpose other than to play, that it becomes socially rebellious. I am rebelling against no one and everyone. We all live that Foucauldian sense of internalized control- we live within a social system that has led us to discipline ourselves. We act according to what's deemed appropriate. And I can't help but feel swinging as fully and I did was somehow too much pleasure than what's allowed. Swinging for me represents a mode of freedom.

Alexa Eisner- A daily swing

That sensation of leaning back feeling my hair swirl around my face reminded me that I was alive. The tree leaves above me allowed sun spots to shine through. I could close my eyes and feel the passing warmth of the sun. I sometimes imagined what I may look like to others passing by. If they thought I was insane or perhaps jealous of my moment. But most likely no one actually noticed much.  

There were a few occasions when people stopped to comment on my swinging- how much fun I looked like I was having, sometimes they asked if they could join, or maybe they just walked by, looked back, and our eyes met. It was in these moments of standing out that I felt as if I had taken on a public performance. I felt the power of this simple act. I felt free and I felt people wanting to feel free.

I get this sometimes when I'm on public transportation during rush hour or standing on a street corner in a crowd of people. We all look so serious. Often closed off to one another listening to music, on our phones, or weaving through bodies because we have places to be. Sometimes I have an urge to rebel in the simplest of ways. I may stand tall on the BART and rotate my neck while others fall into seats and screens. At a red light I might stretch my arms to the sky and close my eyes for an instant while others cross the street to keep moving.

Alexa Eisner- Walk to work in SOMA, San Francisco, CA

Alexa Eisner- Walk to work in SOMA, San Francisco, CA

I give myself a moment to release because I feel a lack of freedom. No one may notice me. And it would be silly to think people care. But I have internalized pressures, habits, expectations and ideas about how we move through space. Today I sat on a swing for the first time since August. In an instant I was lifted from the monotony of the day. Sometimes I have to rebel. Sometimes I have to swing.     

As a culture we often think if we aren't working on something for a particular purpose it's a waste of time. But creativity comes from spontaneity. We've got to let ourselves sit on swing sets. We've got to feel our way into joy because self expression brings healing and happiness. Where is your pleasure? How do you find a sense of rebellion? What does freedom feel like to you?

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Chance Encounters: How a San Francisco City Planner and Skateboarder See Space by Alexa Eisner

This last week San Francisco fell under a magical spell- The Giants won the World Series, Halloween costumes crowded the streets and Day of the Dead alters lit our hearts.

I took to a whirlwind of performances and parties: After watching a four hour documentary on Warhol I put on a wig and channeled my best flamboyant artist (even wrote a Warhol poem), sat round an outdoor bonfire wrapped in smokey perfume until the arrival of the fire department, sang along at an intimate drag show, found myself lost in party people under palm trees passing jello shots, and explored painted rituals and writing to deceased relatives. I feel charged from the diversity of these experiences and warmed by unexpected meetings.

Two chance encounters have been lingering in my mind- first a city planner dressed as a Halloween elf with a love of creating space, and second a native bay area skateboarder with a love of slang and riding through space. 

Halloween night a little elf stood next to me and sweetly smiled. We chatted and somehow immediately felt into that understanding- a recognition of the other. He's a city planner working for San Francisco and helping to manage renovation and construction of our city parks. My Master's degree focused on studying theories around how we move through space and the ways the body engages with our environment and other people. We quickly fell into a giddy share discussing sense perception, park layouts, dancing through space and a love for looking at city streets. He's currently working with several artists to build the first central park space in Ingleside. For the project they are working with the community to create relevant ways of expressing the neighborhood's narrative. I felt myself humming from the idea of collaborating in this way- constructing space with community- and I feel proud to live in a city that places value in this kind of project.

With the growth of the tech industry and increased housing prices there is a definite pace to the city- people wake up and they have things to do and places to go. If you want to live here you have to hustle to survive rent, $6 coffee and $20 Lyft rides. But in this activity are we slowing down enough to enjoy the fruits of this city?

Traditionally San Francisco has been a space where people come to be- be their weird self. I hate to admit that Dolores park is not a love of mine- filled with too hip hipsters and scattered beer cans it often feels like a place to be seen more than to admire the palm tree city view. 

I still chill at Dolores- but I have other parks to wander when I look for that feeling of recharging- feeling alive- connected to my space.

My hope is that projects like the one my elf friend is working on invite people to participate within their space- to look- to walk new routes- to pass beautiful things- and so to have space to be. 

Alexa Eisner

Alexa Eisner

The second encounter came to me at the 'day after Halloween Halloween party'. This tall hooded man walked straight up to me and with a simple hello we began a conversation lasting until 6am. He and his friend's are skateboarders and skateboarders that film skateboarders. I've always respected skating in a similar way that I look up to parkour, surfing, martial arts and rock climbing. As a dancer myself these forms of movement have always felt close to me. They require a deep sense of body awareness and a connection to one's environment. The use of improvisation is quite amazing- you can't know that ledge to jump over until you turn the corner, that wave that will swoop you to a new height, or that rock that perfectly pulls you up over the cliff. These sports require a presence of perception and the ability to read and react to one's environment in a way that excites me.

Mr hoodie described his skating process as completely mental- you enter an open space and it's up to you how to envision moving through it. Appropriately we discussed these ideas while climbing fences, pausing on benches and walking the streets.

In thinking about the ways each of us feel inspired to move- you may be a runner, a basketball player, yogi, whatever- we are all called to experience space in different ways. There is beauty in the fact that my elf friend may have no idea how my hoodie friend skates through his SF park projects. This spectrum of experience thrills me.

There's this idea called the hummingbird effect which describes the ways a lineage of often mundane inventions and projects lead the way to unanticipated discoveries. For instance, the printing press created a surge in glasses, causing more people to research lenses, which made way for the invention of the microscope and thus the discovery that our body is made of cells. In this way, we can never know the repercussions of the work that we do. It is important to respect and recognize that the doings of others are always linked to us and that our creative endeavors may have unknown impacts.

You may be a city planner thinking about mural steps and the Farmer's Market, but your space may also inspire the ultimate skating ride. We cannot possibility anticipate all the ways we impact one another and this is a beautiful thing.

It is our job to walk along our path and in that process we aid others on their journey. It is our job to do our work and to allow others to do theirs. Walking through the park I smiled thinking of my chance encounters- I twirled around the street light, I balanced on the curb, I sat on the fallen tree and I decided to let myself do my dance.

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Social media and self awareness: Everyone curates a persona by Alexa Eisner

In a world saturated with social media all people are curators. The ways we organize, filter, select and edit material on our feeds like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter reflect the ways we mediate our personal and cultural representations.

By making these choices we curate a social media persona and experience. While these decisions may be unconsciously and consciously influenced by social factors like demographics and location, overall we pretty much choose what we share and view. The popularity of hashtags like #ootd and #tbt, and the cultural phenomenon that is the "selfie" reflect the ways this self-branding is just a part of daily life.

Obviously a newsfeed does not have the same depth that is a person. We are a multiplicity of conflicting factors all at once- identity is never stable. Yet we build chains of posts and tweets which represent an evolving self-representation.

I personally enjoy this process and take pleasure in the string of visuals, quotes and links I choose. I use a #BabaChic hashtag for my personal style, I have a poetry and fashion blog, and I take tons of photos because I like to create and share.

When I reflect back on past posts, I can see patterns in the imagery that inspired me that I was unaware of at the time. The question is then, how conscious am I as I engage with social media?

Work by Erik Kessels

Work by Erik Kessels

When styling with a client we bring consciousness to self-representation through fashion choices. If we can wake up in the morning and check in to see how we feel and translate that into an aesthetic, we are proactively adding awareness to the ways we interact in the world. Maybe we can also add pause and check in to notice the ways we create our persona through social media. 

The images and text we share reflect interests, habits, attitudes and behaviors. If this goes unreflected upon we remain within our patterns unconsciously. Perhaps in gaining this self-awareness, we can think more critically about the things we reflect to the world and the information we choose to consume. 

Work by Erik Kessels

Work by Erik Kessels

The body and clothing have always been a space for curation and narrative. Clothing is an immediate visual marker where styles stereotypically suggest ways of being.

This is always changing and relative to context; for instance, the leather jacket used to stereotype a rebel and now it's part of a normcore Gap ad campaign. But clothing is complicated because we never really just see clothes- we see clothes on a body, and the body is always marked by other social stereotypes like race, gender and ability. Furthermore presenting the body and identity through an array of digital spaces further complicates the ways we perceive.  

The questions I find myself asking lately around social media and identity are:

1. What is the relationship between who we think we are and the image we project?

2. How dependent are we on external feedback from "friends" and "followers" for self-validation?

3. How can social media authentically represent self?

4. How are we constructing personal notions of truth by curating the information we engage with? 

I have no direct answers- mostly passing thoughts and questions- but hopefully social media use, just like daily dress, can become a practice to check in and become more aware of the identity we project into the world and the ways we curate truth. 

Work by Maurizio Anzeri

Work by Maurizio Anzeri

Work by Joachim Schmid

Work by Joachim Schmid

This post was inspired by an afternoon checking out the 'Secondhand' exhibit at Pier 24, a free San Francisco based photo gallery. I took the photos above at the exhibit.

Pier 24 doesn't let more than a few people view at a time, creating a unique opportunity to be alone with art. The artists' in the exhibit used techniques like found imagery, historical photos and various tactile experiences of digital imagery to talk about the ways the role of the curator has expanded from the museum to an aspect of everyday life. 

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Vest vibe: Polish off your fall layering with a long vest by Alexa Eisner

vogue.com

vogue.com

Alexa Eisner

Alexa Eisner

See me above vibing the vest- I just took an old H&M raincoat and cut off the sleeves. Originally I was inspired by the muscle tee phenomenon from a little ways back and decided to try it with an outer layer. I'm wearing a BCBG spaghetti strap dress, layered a sheer DKNY long sleeve, then added the vest coat, which has been the perfect lightweight layer for fall!

majawyh.com

majawyh.com

harpersbazaar.com

harpersbazaar.com

modaoperandi.com

modaoperandi.com

vogue.com

vogue.com

harpersbazaar.com

harpersbazaar.com

harpersbazaar.com

harpersbazaar.com

Since you can't go wrong with layers on layers this fall, play with adding a long vest piece to polish off your look. Vibe the vest- wear with a dress or long sleeve & skinnies, sport a vest coat, maybe even belt off a thick scarf to create the look. See the vest scarf below:

harpersbazaar.com

harpersbazaar.com

harpersbazaar.com

harpersbazaar.com

For layering this fall- keep mixing textures- sheer and knit pieces are great because they expose the under layers. For a basic vest vibe: start with skinnies, rock a crop or sports bra, add a sheer blouse or tee, then your long vest layer. (Remember the key to wearing a crop and sheer pieces is to add other layers over them that tone down the skin exposure- whether it's high waisted pants or a vest- leave some skin to the imagination.) 

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Fashion ignites social conversation: The Urban Outfitters' blood stained Kent State Sweatshirt by Alexa Eisner

The Urban Outfitters scandal involving their 'Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt' covered in blood spatter caused an angry public reaction, especially from the University. Should I jump on the shamming bandwagon because Urban Outfitters is a major corporation profiting from selling distasteful clothing? Probably.

In a culture where the news rarely revisits tragedies of the past, it's interesting that fashion has created the context for the 1970 Kent State shooting to resurface. It's slightly ironic given Urban's target market of shoppers in their teens and early 20's, who may not know about the event to begin with. In the issued apology, Urban denied the sweatshirt had any connection to the shooting, saying only natural wear and tear of vintage created the effect. Urban does not want to make a political statement, but they opened a political debate.  

I'm mostly interested in the fact that an article of clothing has surfaced this layer of our history and created a rhetorical situation with potential to have a relevant social conversation. Whether that be about Urban Outfitters, capitalism and consumption, or the way unarmed individuals are still being killed by those meant to protect us- this scandal has opened channels of reflection and awareness. I hope we take advantage of the possibility because as a nation we need to face our histories, pay our respects and heal our wounds.

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Say hello to culottes! Plus styling tips for your baggy pants.. by Alexa Eisner

Culottes:

Back in the day "culottes" referred to knee breeches worn by European upper-class men during the Renaissance and early nineteenth century. Well we are finally bringing it back with added flare- these parachute looking capri pants take the whole "loose / baggy / pleated / mom-pant" thing to the next level. Despite what prejudice you may have with oversized pants, they can actually be quite flattering- full or front tuck your blouse or wear a crop to accentuate your waist. I love the contrast of extremely loose and tight. Rocking heels and a clutch will also be sure to keep you looking chic rather than falling into frump.

static.squarespace.com

static.squarespace.com

harpersbazaar.com

harpersbazaar.com

sulia.com

sulia.com

harpersbazaar.com

harpersbazaar.com

tibi.com

tibi.com

Styling Baggy:

Here are various examples of culottes and that whole "loose / baggy / pleated / mom-pant" thing I mentioned, styled with monochrome tops and patterns. This works particularly well with oversized blazers, silk jackets, and a long wool coat come fall. 

bp.blogspot

bp.blogspot

vogue.com

vogue.com

thebeautyfile.com

thebeautyfile.com

nymag.com

nymag.com

wwd.com

wwd.com

lookbook.nu

lookbook.nu

mystilettos-ginger.blogspot

mystilettos-ginger.blogspot

tibi.com

tibi.com

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Your SPORTS BRA is the perfect CROP by Alexa Eisner

I'm currently obsessed with this look! You've probs been noticing all this athletic gear hittin up street style and major designer inspo. I've been loving the mix of casual and glam- it's a comfortable juxtaposition that looks super fly. This athletic look is easy to create: Take some high waisted whatever- skirt, jeans, pleated- just as long as it's something slightly oversized and pair with your favorite sports bra. To keep the glam flavor add some kind of sheer or lace layer over the top and accessorize. Add an oversize jacket- something like a silk blazer (see my post on rocking silk pajama tops here) and use your favorite clutch. Feel free to be playful! Shop at Target or your favorite designer spot- and explore color, cut (like perforation), lots of straps- whatever delights you! 

Refinery29.com

Refinery29.com

www.dailymail.co.uk

www.dailymail.co.uk

whowhatwear.com

whowhatwear.com

beautystyleliving.com

beautystyleliving.com

whowhatwear.com

whowhatwear.com

wellandgood.com

wellandgood.com

whowhatwear.com

whowhatwear.com

whowhatwear.com

whowhatwear.com

www.asos.com

www.asos.com

  Ibsofflesh.blogspot.com

 

Ibsofflesh.blogspot.com

whowhatwear.com

whowhatwear.com

style.com

style.com

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Creative reuse: See potential in everyday objects by Alexa Eisner

How do I relate to the material objects that surround me? Is there a possibility for creatively reusing that which has been discarded or neglected? Am I seeing beauty in the everyday?

I try to allow my environment to reveal itself to me by creating space for looking.

At first I see without expectation. I walk around San Francisco for about an hour a day roaming various alleys and streets. As I’ve explored documenting my personal style for BabaChic styling projects on Instagram, I have begun to realize how much I depend on the unknown of my environment as a way to express myself. Every day I wear whatever calls to me, and as I walk the city I find walls and spaces that relate to my outfit and mood. From there I ask a kind stranger to snap my photo. I never know where I will be and what interaction I will have.

I’ve also realized in this process just how much thrifted, vintage, inherited, and found articles of clothing I wear. And if I go shopping, I tend toward the thrift and flea market which is sustainable, inexpensive, and an adventure of looking. I make my clothing purchases in a similar way as my photographs- I’m just open to whatever inspires me.

Part of this is looking at something with its potential in mind. Whether it’s a broken bookshelf on the corner that can become a four panel painting or exploring Good Will, there is the possibility of beauty in the materials that surround us. The point is not to hunt, but to let the eyes open.

To feel inspired by your wardrobe may simply mean opening to new ways of seeing your clothes. A pair of scissors and safety pins can do wonders. One of my current favorite tops is a sheer liner I cut out of an old dress, to which I trimmed the front into an asymmetrical line.

Whether it’s our closet or the street, we can open to re-envisioning how we interact with the materials of everyday life. This is not just a sustainable practice, it's also a way to appreciate beauty in the ordinary and view the world through the lens of possibility.

theantiquated.tumblr

theantiquated.tumblr

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