Or maybe you did! The original title for this post was “10 Things You May Have Missed About Me,” but that sounded unnecessarily snarky. Plus, “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me” is probably better for SEO. Yes, I think about those things. I also had a brief internal debate about using a video cap for this post rather than a proper quality picture from my Canon. This feels fitting, is more recent than the “good” pictures I had, and I asked Twitter and Twitter said “go with it,” so there we go. That’s thing zero.
1. I have been to London before (twice) and I loved it, but Oxford truly stole my heart. If I could pick a place to live for the rest of my life, to be based in, it would be Oxford. It’s gorgeous, it appeals to my love of culture, and it’s easy enough to get around in. It’s also just an inexpensive bus ride away from London.
I thought about this a lot last year when I was first seriously considering moving to the UK. I spent a lot of time on job ad websites looking for work all over the UK, and the truth is, Oxford didn’t have much at all going for it in that department, and it was nearly as expensive as London. I considered Glasgow for a long time as well, because I know someone there and my friend Annemari, who I want to move in with, liked it, but I’ve never been to Scotland, so London felt a lot less scary.
That said, writing this post is making me seriously consider expanding my flat search to Oxford. It’s just… heaven for me. It’s beautiful. I only wrote it off because I thought I’d be looking for a full-time job, and now what I really want to do is take my freelance work for a spin.
2. [TW for creepiness] One day when I was in London the first time, in September of 2007, when I was seventeen, I was journaling on a bench in Green Park and some dude approached me and started talking to me. I kept trying to get rid of him; he kept going on about how age was just a number and I had kissable lips and other similarly disgusting things. He pretty much spoke in clichés, and he was Italian, and he was not even remotely attractive to me. I told him I wasn’t interested but he wouldn’t leave. So eventually I said I had to leave and I hid in the tube station until it was time to go to the showing of Wicked I had tickets for.
I went back home at 11 PM after that show. I was staying in North London and Wicked was (is?) on at the Apollo Victoria, so quite a tube ride away. I was wary of walking around London at night, especially the walk from the Bounds Green tube station to the residential neighborhood house my ESL school (a scholarship requirement) had put me up in, but Victoria was a busy area and the show was worth it.
3. Most of the modeling I’ve done since I started calling myself a model has been self-portraiture, or close to it; I model for my mom, but my mom is not a photographer — she simply follows my instructions. Oftentimes I set up the shot entirely, make sure the shutter speed is really high, and move around as she keeps the shooting button pressed. It’s incredibly fun. I don’t consider myself “model pretty,” whatever that is, and I don’t have amazing hair, and I’m not tall enough for the catwalk. I don’t have beauty instincts. But I love the hell out of it.
4. Despite #3, it is not true that I have never modeled for someone else who was comfortable with a camera. It was just for fun, but I got some gorgeous shots out of it (shots I call mine because a- I haven’t spoken to him in ages, b- modeling is an art, c- it was my camera, and d- I did all the post-processing, but they were very much collaborative work), and the realization that it was an absolute blast to play-act for the camera. This was a friend who eventually “broke up” with me friendship-wise because he thought I only used him for pictures. He… may have been right?
I’ve got makeup on in most of those many, many shots because I went out of the house and I used to always put on makeup when I went out of the house. I’ve even got a shoot inspired by a The Birds still I saw in Vanity Fair — shame about the setting (my building foyer at night, flash and no tripod), but I can sure work the horror vibe.
5. I asked to be seen by a psychologist once. He wrote in all caps, chalked up my social anxiety mess of a dorm experience to separation anxiety, wanted me to admire my abusive father, and brought my mom in with me. His tentative diagnosis was anxiety disorder, paranoia, psychosis, and Asperger’s syndrome. My psychosis is entirely passive, which wasn’t specified, but otherwise I think the diagnosis, unlike the methodology, session and his “day hospital” (going to and staying in the hospital for various therapy things, mostly group, every day from 8 to 5) prescription, was on the mark.
In other words, I’ve got paranoia coming out of my ears and I tend to avoid people. I don’t need to be warned; my brain is a scaredy cat all by itself.
6. I don’t have any formal creative education. For a long time I was a writer first and foremost, and I’ve got very strong opinions about writing that most creative writing courses would have clashed with hard. I did want to take a photography course for a long time, but I wasn’t sure how they worked and I was scared they’d be too technical; I wasn’t ready for technical photography learning back then. It may sound like an oxymoron, but I didn’t feel I knew enough to learn more! (I do now.)
For the most part, I just didn’t have money for classes (I would have hired a guitar teacher earlier if so, or gone for ballet, or for gymnastics as of 2012), and I couldn’t find any that appealed to me. Now I’ve got tons thanks to Skillshare and the like, but I still can’t afford them! And I’m not sure I can make the time for them right now, so I learn bit by bit with free tutorials, videos and experimenting.
7. Back to writing, though, I used to write mainly fanfic and poetry — fanfic on a regular basis, poetry whenever I was really depressed. I’ve got a self-published poetry e-book out (it’s available on Kobo and Smashwords, and translated to Spanish as well if you’re curious!), and I always meant to publish a second tome with my more recent work, which I’m prouder of than the stuff in the e-book, but then I opened that photography shop on Etsy and my Internet life (and career goals) did a 180.
8. I’ve done NaNoWriMo something like four times? I won the first year with 50,000 words of drivel barely 20% into my novel, and failed every year since. This project was my last. I wrote a little bit of it.
9. I got started on graphic design when I was fourteen and got Paint Shop Pro. I upgraded to Photoshop Elements a couple of years after, and got used to it quickly. I didn’t do much with it, though — mostly coloring screencaps for fandom and tumblr posts! Guess what, bloggers who aren’t in fandom: I know how to make gifs. It was a pain in the ass on my old laptop, though, and I haven’t had a reason to try on the new one yet. It’s not really satisfying creative work. More like frustrating and annoying, especially when you have to keep the filesize small enough for tumblr standards — which used to be even stricter than they are now.
10. Sometimes I post silly things on youtube for the benefit of my best friend. And before Instagram (and sometimes even now), I posted a lot of silly Photo Booth pics of me and my cat to Twitter as well. Have a browse and enjoy.
(I got that from Summer on The O.C..)