about me

I’m Not Dead, Just Floating

10655013_1467302333536590_1143766068_nRealizing I haven’t written anything since last August is crazy. I guess this happens when real life prevails on online activities. I’m not complaining because great things have happened in the meanwhile; at the same time, I’ve probably come to the conclusion that it’s impossible to have it all, which means a demanding job (I’m a high-school teacher), a family (B is now attending the first year at primary school) and lots of different online projects. This year I’m working in two different schools, where I teach both day and evening lessons, and everything is kind of complicated. I love working with adult students, but being away from home in the evening is not easy and I’m sure this will take its toll on me by the end of the school year. I’ve hinted at “great things”, though, so I’m more than willing to make sacrifices: this will be my last year as a fixed-term teacher! After 10 years of working from September to June, of changing schools and starting over again and again, next September I’ll finally start working with an open-ended contract. I’ll also work in a different province (the one where I live), which makes things even more exciting.

In such a hectic situation you can see why I’ve neglected this blog. I’ve honestly thought a lot about what to do with it, since I hate fooling myself or my readers. I’ve recently had no reason to update it. Is it permanent? I don’t know. True is that Dallo Spazio has been online for a very long time and has changed a lot since then. I’ve never wanted it to be an ordinary fashion blog, I’ve never wanted it to be a collection of copy-and-paste news or of someone else’s ideas, I’ve never kept it obsessively up-to-date because I don’t update my interests mechanically. Keeping such a blog alive needs energy and time, something which at the moment I must put into something else – school and family first, followed by Film Costumes, What Christina Wears and Born Unicorn. “It ain’t over until it’s over”, they say, but I’ve realized the life of this blog may be over. I may update it when the award season starts (still not sure about it), but I’ll surely write about Christina Aguilera’s outfits in the upcoming The Voice season on Tumblr, which is quicker and more practical. Believe me when I say that I’m writing this post with my heart full of sadness, but I don’t want to pretend things haven’t changed. I first thought of deleting everything but that would be a pity. There’s a lot to read in a 6-year archive and I hope you’ll still appreciate it ♥

PS: A the cat and my perfume cabinet are the best way to say (temporarily?) goodbye.


Born Unicorn, Or the Fine Art of Talking to Yourself

hotelchevalier_petitemort_bornunicornThis beautiful shot from Wes Anderson’s Hotel Chevalier is the perfect depiction of myself. Far from being as glamourous as Natalie Portman’s character in the quirky introduction to The Darjeeling Limited, we share a certain dose of boredom and loneliness, plus a taste for perfumes. I think “loneliness” is the key word here, because I’ve recently come to realize that it has an important part in my life. I’ve always fought for moments to spend alone and my online activity is part of what I do when I’m alone. Despite the oversharing trend of recent times, I’m a very private person online as a reflection of being such in real life. Loneliness is precious to me but is online loneliness as precious? What happens when you realize that you’re alone online, too, because nobody seems to care about your own obsessions? You feel frustrated, of course, and ask yourself what is wrong with you; you make the mistake of comparing your work to others’ and you can’t understand why they are successful and you’re not; you decide to quit but there’s something which tells you not to because you *need* that space to channel your passions. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” you finally tell yourself: this conclusion gives you the unique chance to perfect and master the fine art of talking to yourself on Internet. It’s a goal which is hard to achieve, but it’s a goal nonetheless, whose implications are quite interesting: your only judge is yourself (nobody is reading, so who cares what people think), so you must keep up to your own standards, which in my case are sky-high (sorry, but my ego is talking). Can you imagine? No negative comments (no positive ones either, true), no haters, no pressure but the one you put on yourself. It’s bliss, if you ask me.
I’ve come to kind of treasure this status, but it would be a pity not to share it with you. It’s a contradiction, I know, but whatever. Sharing usually doesn’t change anything, so I’m safe. Born Unicorn is the triumph of my obsession with cosmetics, beauty products and perfumes appearing in movies and tv shows. Please don’t comment on this because I know I’m talking about something very, very, very niche-y, but deal with it. I’ve spent most of my blogging life trying to hide my fixation with archives (something which has come out with the Friday Guessing Game), but what’s the point of it? Real life is hard enough, so I can’t see why I should stifle my voice. Nobody cares, nobody listens, which means it’s my playground! If you want to take a look (and then leave ;)), you’re welcome ♥

“Because The Moon Is The Same Wherever You Go”

Writing personal posts is always a weird experience. I don’t like it, but sometimes life urges you to do so. I’m writing this at night, while everyone else in the house is sleeping (cat included). Night is my favourite part of the day because I can finally focus on myself and my thoughts, so that’s clearly the best time to write those thoughts down. The reason why I’m sitting here at this witching hour is that today is my 40th birthday, a birthday which asks for a pause and some considerations.

Do I feel different, now that I’ve reached this age? If you ask me, I feel just the same. True, my body is getting old (no reason to deny it, because ageing is an unstoppable process), but my spirit kicks ass. I’ve changed a lot in the last 10 years, and sometimes I feel I’ve hidden part of myself somewhere, after covering it with thick skin. Life has forced me to do so because I need to take action when things don’t work the way they should and/or when I can’t change them. Changing myself (my attitude towards others, towards life in general, but my physical appearance, as well) seems the easiest and most convenient option, so be it. I’ve always liked changing and evolving, so it’s no big deal. Despite this, sometimes I turn to that part of myself I’ve hidden somewhere. I turn to it as if I were talking to an old friend, as if I were returning home after some time away. I turn to it and I feel my old self again. It’s a fleeting moment, but it’s so sweet, so heart-warming, so reassuring, that I’m starting to want it back. Yours truly is not a one-trick pony: I know I can’t be the romantic, heart-shaped-eyed, naïve girl I used to be, because life would swept me away again, but I can let the guard down through music.

It’s not a case that I’ve started buying vinyls again and that my most recent purchase is this album. Me listening to dream pop? Nonsense! Yet, I feel a certain connection to all the lyrics in this record, and Hope Sandoval’s voice is comforting, like embracing that part of myself that I’ve hidden somewhere. It all comes back for a bit less than one hour; after that, life loses that peculiar blurriness and everything is back into place: I can be the hard-working, hard-napping, sporadically chatty, usually dry-witted woman I’ve become, but I know that my old soft self is still around and nobody can take it from me.

Fade Into You has been featured in a multitude of tv show and cinema soundtracks [1], thus following the infamous steps of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. It’s a totally mainstream song but I’m strangely cool with that, because at the moment it’s having a therapeutic effect on me, which is what I need right now. Being 40 doesn’t necessarily mean feeling like a 40-year-old person, so no need to worry: I can keep on wearing my rock t-shirts and Converse hi-tops, strong of the fact that I have all the rights in the world to dress like I used to when I was 20. Right?

[1] I cringe at the thought it’s part of Starship Troopers soundtrack, but it’s also in Jawbreaker, a balancing act which sounds perfect.

A Woman’s Right to Be Ugly

2012-06-18_1340029761As citizens of a digital world, we live surrounded by a constant haze of information and data, most of which we don’t really need or care about. It’s tiring trying to select what is interesting from the rest, but sometimes the effort is worth it. This happened to me yesterday when I read this article by Tracy Moore about a woman’s right to be ugly or – better “noncompliant”, because some women “are not willing to spend the time, money and energy it takes to live up to a cultural beauty standard that says skin tones must be evened out, eyes must be enhanced, cheek bones accented, weight managed, desirability advertised, and so on.”

Can we start from here to think things through, please? Because I think the topic singled out in the article is particularly relevant. Being pretty, beautiful, sexy and attractive is surely an objective for most women [1], because this is what we are told about since we were born; all these qualities are totally subjective, yet women have strived to reach or conform to a dominant or socially accepted beauty standard. Let’s not hide behind an excuse: everyone has gone through that path, sooner or later, because a totally understandable mechanism of emulation makes us feel less lonely and gives us the illusion that being aesthetically more attractive will turn us into better persons. Now, I’m not saying such a mechanism is wrong (I’m a strong supporter of any kind of personal freedom), but what happens when a woman doesn’t care about it? When she simply doesn’t want to be pretty, but – on the contrary – defends her right to be ugly? Is this an option or is it considered an abomination? The media – especially magazines, tv and cinema – bomb us with the concept of makeover and wants us to believe that it’s not possible not to dream about it. They’re all based on the “Cinderella-makeover” syndrome, but let’s ask ourselves what was the objective of that “magical” transformation: becoming pretty for being envied by other women and loved by the most desirable man.

Makeovers-Fix-EverythingCinderella’s project was also based on the motives of personal freedom and social advance, which were eventually reached through marriage. I repeat: there’s nothing wrong in makeovers or in desiring a better appearance, but the contrary (not wanting to be pretty, to be slim, to be sexy) is still a taboo, and this is definitely wrong. “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones,” Helena Rubinstein said and I actually think a woman’s right to be lazy with her looks should be defended, as well, and not pointed out as a capital sin. “She’s not a beauty but she’s always well dressed”, “She’s getting old but it doesn’t show: she does a lot of exercise”, “She’s fat but she’s got such a beautiful face and her make-up is always flawless”: how many times have you heard this and how many times have you focused on those “buts”? Society accepts women who are not considered beautiful, who are not young or who are fat ONLY if these “flaws” are balanced by something else, all this because the lenses through which society looks at women refers to a patriarchal mind-set.


Desirable, Pretty to Look At, Predictable and Safe

tumblr_mlxtx81uDa1qbe95zo1_500When you are a mother, sooner or later you must deal with body issues. I’ve been spending part of my life thinking and writing about them, so for me it’s no big deal, but raising a daughter surely challenges your system of references about beauty standards and what is considered socially acceptable/accepted.

This evening I was sitting in the bathroom while B was playing in the bath tub; we were chatting and she asked me some questions. She’s 5 years old and at the moment she’s kind of obsessed with breasts and body hair. She loves my bras: she sees one around probably once a week (I don’t wear it very often) and she knows all their colours. She seems to have the urgency to know when she’ll have “real” breasts, and I can see she likes the idea, probably because she links them to being an adult. Tonight she asked me about body hair: she wanted to know when hair will grow on her, and I realized she was asking me that because she wanted to have it, probably – again – because body hair is something that most adults have [1]. Then she asked me about my choice not to shave parts of my body and I explained my point of view. “What should I do with my hair when I’m an adult?”, she asked me and – bam! – I stood there for a moment, hesitating. “You’ll do what you think is better for you, not what you think is better for others”, I replied, wondering if those words were really expressing my thoughts.

No Matter What They Say

This is one of those posts about a topic you prefer pretending is nothing serious. At a certain point you decide it’s time to put it down, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. I’ve dealt with self-image issues during most of my life, because I’ve always thought physical appearance and fashion are powerful means of self-expression, tools I’ve used to change myself and to try to show outwards my inner self. I’m a 39-year-old woman who knows herself pretty well and who knows how to deal with the traps of what is considered acceptable, trendy and so on. I usually ignore them or subvert them, but I know I can do it now that I’m an adult, because I know how to do it. What about a child who’s growing up? What about MY child, who’s starting to face these issues?

tumblr_lkm4zbPVAg1qzhvg4o1_500B has always been pretty confident: she knows what she likes, she knows what she wants to look like as an adult (she knows she wants to use all my nail polishes and make-up products ;)), but she’s starting to ask herself, my husband and me about body issues, which is perfectly natural. What worries me is the impact with others’ approach to the same issues. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me who is overthinking, but things she tells me about her pre-school mates leave me baffled. She used to spend most of her play time there with a girl friend; I don’t think they’ve ever been “best” friends, but they surely were very close. B spent some afternoons at her place and she did the same. Well, this girl sometimes models at local fashion shows, and B says she’s growing more and more interested in this; she often speaks about it and seems to care a lot about her physical appearance. Some time ago B told me they were not friends anymore, explaining the girl wanted to be the centre of the attention all the time and that she (B) didn’t want to end up being her sidekick. I became quite upset when B told me the girl’s aunt once gave her niece a “dieting candy” one day she took her to school. Being 5 = dieting candy??? Of course it wasn’t a dieting product, but maybe something sugar-free, yet I was appalled by the focus that the aunt put on the concept of dieting.

The Wind Has Carried All of That Away

Nothing happens without a reason. I’m going through a very hard time – so tired from school and dealing with health issues in my family – and it’s in moments like these that I desperately need a safe place to hide at the end of the day. As usual, finding solace in music is appealing, so I guess it was not a coincidence what happened yesterday evening. I was surfing the net in a grim mood, when I happened to watch this video, where Mike McReady and Barrett Martin spoke about the reissue of Mad Season’s Above. While watching the video, I realized I was drowning in a wave of bittersweet memory and it felt good. I knew I had found the safe place I was longing for.

NDVD_061I’ve always seen Above as a strange experiment. When it came out in 1995, we (my friends and I) thought it was nothing more than a diversion for the members of the band – Layne Staley from Alice in Chains, McReady from Pearl Jam, Martin from Screaming Trees and John Baker Saunders from the Walkabouts. I listened to it quite a lot, I liked some tracks but I didn’t see it a seminal album. Yesterday I realized I was wrong. Watching some excerpts from the band’s performance at the Moore in Seattle, recorded on April 29th, 1995, brought back the strong feeling of melancholia and sadness I’ve always had while listening to Staley’s voice. I don’t even want to start speaking about his conditions, because at the time he didn’t feel well because of his drug addiction problems. Yet his voice, that unique tone, was better than ever.

And Mark Lanegan? Well, sooner or later I will explain why he’s God in my book of rock, someone whose career and influence in music rises above everyone else’s. I’ve often listened to the albums he has released after the 1990s, but looking at him as he was in 1995, long hair and no tattoos on his hands, and listening to his voice has certainly brought back a certain sensation of warmth inside of me. Long story short, the walk down memory lane finally took me to Long Gone Day and – bam! – something clicked, as if someone had woken me up and told me it was 1995, I was 21 and my hair was long, black with blue streaks. Did it feel good? Not really, but certainly the desperate darkness of the lyrics written by Staley was still there, haunting like a nightmare that you can’t shake off. “You don’t understand the quality of light or the preciousness of it unless you’ve spent time in the darkness. And somehow Layne was able to conjure that in his lyrics and in his voice,” says Martin in the video, and I totally agree with it. Surrendering to the darkness is something I’ve always done; I can even say that it’s one of the things I’m really good at, especially in difficult moments like the one I’m currently living, but you know that there can’t be darkness without light, because both are part of everybody’s life. I know I must face events with courage and rationality, but now I know I have my dark safe place to run to when everybody here is sleeping and it feels so good.