Alexander McQueen – Searching for an answer 

‘Fashion is a big bubble, and sometimes I feel like popping it.’

Alexander McQueen

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I am not a big fashionista, quite the opposite in fact: I am a beginner minimalist who has carefully avoided virtual and actual shops for the past twelve months or so. Seriously, I haven’t bought any clothes during this period, except for a pair of trainers (my old ones had two large holes) and a pair of jeans (the old one had one leg-lenght tear). And yes, my wardrobe is still full of things and I still complain about not having enough stuff to wear. How funny.

So no, it wasn’t my fashion-drive that pushed me to the V&A Museum last weekend. No, it was my obscure desire to see why people were raving about this exhibition, why Alexander McQueen was, well still is seen as a genius, as unique talent. Most of all, I wanted to understand why, such a world-recoignised and famous fashion designer had decided to kill himself. Why, would somebody escape success, power, money? Yes, I was hoping to find the answers in his dresses and shoes. A bit naive, I know. But I do think, I might know why, now.

Alexander McQueen

You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.
– Alexander McQueen

Give me time and I’ll give you a revolution.
― Alexander McQueen

 

Alexander McQueen

Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.’
– Alexander McQueen

 

Well, I don’t think I found my answer, but I did see the best fashion exhibition of my life so far. Savage Beauty had nothing to do with fashion, Vogue, Vanity Fair or catwalks in their pure sense, McQueen was a genius, an artist of various forms.

The settings, the music, the architectural design of the overall show was simply outstanding and I felt like I was being transported in a dream or a fairytale.

Savage Beauty is the most successful exhibition at the V&A ever. I know why.

 

There is no way back for me now. 
I’m going to take you on journeys you’ve never dreamed were possible.’
– Alexander McQueen

On the right track…

Why on the right track? Because, cycling is cool again. Thanks to the Olympics and Bradley Wiggins, owning a bike and being able to get around London on it, now represents an achievement. We are back on the right track because cycling respects the environment and allows us to do some inexpensive exercise on top of seeing the world at a different pace from an overground perspective.

But cycling is back also around the world, and a little selection of my bikes’ hunt from my travels exhibited at Vinarius in London, wants to show that people are cycling again and more than ever, not only here, but also in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York, Ubud, Venice, Rome and beyond… In this show, bikes are pictured as models, as status symbols as objects of desire or as part of our daily life. But what if you couldn’t ride? What if your disabilities didn’t allow you to cycle the world? What if your legs wouldn’t collaborate when you were sitting on your shining fixie?

On the Right Track supports Wheels for Wellbeing a Brixton-based charity that removes barriers to cycling. Through their person-centred approach they enhance disabled people’s lives by ensuring that anyone can access the physical, emotional, practical and social benefits of cycling. For this reason, and to get us all back On the Right Track, I’ve opened a JustGiving page where I’m hoping to raise £500. Any piece sold through this exhibition will contribute to this goal with 100% of the sale given to “Wheels for Wellbeing”.

These pictures are available in other size, type and format; if interested please contact me to thestorytellerphotos@gmail to arrange your prints and/or make an “offline donation”.

If you are not interested in any prints, but still wish to contribute directly to the fundraising, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/OnTheRightTrack to make a donation.

Thank you for your help and support.

 

In loving memory of P, a great cyclist who helped me to get back…

On My Right Track

 

Freedom

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
– Albert Camus

 

Is that true? Is that possible?

I have been questioning what Freedom is for a long time. And I have been wondering if I was free. Am I? What does really mean to be free?

I had some great input and answers on my instagram pool and while I agreed with some answers, I couldn’t understand others.

For some it’s “the ability to positively direct our lives” (@simplysimmybee), for others is the sensation felt while sitting on the top of a moutain in Ireland or in front of the ocean in awe of Mother’s Earth beauty (@the.red.brick.road), and for some is “time to spend with loved ones and things for ourselves (@Janne)

But what is Freedom?

For the Oxford Dictionary, Freedom is

the condition or right of being able or allowed to do, say, think, etc. whatever you want to, without being controlled or limited.

Taking this definition as a parameter, I doubt we could really be free. In any society, there are restrictions that don’t allow us to say, do or sometimes even think what we want. We respect other people’s feelings so we wouldn’t tell them if they look fat or if they are boring, right? (Well, unless you are an a**hole!)  We wouldn’t kill someone, would we? Some thoughts are also forbidden by some religions or cultures around the world. So, are we really free? We can’t always speak our thoughts and we can’t do everything we want without hurting someone or being outlaw, i.e. living in a country without the legitimate visa, killing, hurting, offending….

So, are we really free?

I acknowledge that we are much, much free-er than our ancestors, most of all us, women, in the Western world have achieved more in the last 50 years than in the previous thousands.

But F R E E D O M as expressed by the dictionary would be only achievable in complete isolation on top of a mountain or on Mars, where our actions wouldn’t affect other people’s lives. That level of freedom isn’t possible on our world.

However, for me Freedom is not the ability to do or say what I want. Freedom is the possibility to choose. It is the possibility to do the right thing for me (and others) in the right way and in the right moment. Freedom is the ability to let go of things that don’t add value to our lives so that we can focus on those who do. Freedom is the capacity to spend time doing the things we love and enjoy rather than being caged in doing what we are supposed to do. It’s freedom of choice.

Our society doesn’t allow that. We live to work and no longer work to live. Of course basic needs have to be fulfilled but consumerism have pushed us to pursue more than we can spend. The American dream transplanted a bit all over the world has made us slave of money and material possessions, on an endless and non-sense pursuit of more. More of what, you are asking? More of everything. How many televisions have you got in your house? How many smartphones? How many dresses or pair of shows you own? Whatever is the answer, they are too many. Advertising and social pressure makes us believe we need all of this, but we don’t.

We are no longer devoting time to have E N O U G H , we are wasting our lives to have more.

We can never be free if we don’t free ourselves of useless needs and superficial necessities that weight us down and fill our days and weeks for the majority of our awaken hours.

Could we have a better life if we had all the money in this world?

The answer is yes, for some who struggle to survive, but the reality is that over a certain threshold, there is no difference. There’s luxury, of course, but what’s the purpose of that? It’s just like fake filling, not real, not necessary.

And so, like many people I believe, we are not really free.

Not in the true, purest sense of Freedom.

But like many others, I believe w e c a n b e f r e e, we can make decisions to free up space in our lives, we can change the directions when things are not going as we want. We can turn things around more often than we believe.

 

Notes – the above is obviously a generalisation of our society, I’m well-aware that there are so many people struggling to get to the end of the month, or even have enough for the day or that are submitted to live in poverty or slavery.

 

Meaningful Time

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Since I got rid of my television almost three years ago, I realised how much time I was wasting in front of it. I no longer needed one and I watch movies or series I’m interested in on my mac. It’s a liberating experience.
When I tell people I don’t have a TV, they look at me with a worried or horrified look, and I always have to explain that I made the conscious decision no to have one. That I do no need nor want one.

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My days are more meaningful: my daily or social schedule never depends on TV shows or series, I’m not bombarded by TV adverts all day long, I can read a book or a magazine with my breakfast, and I love falling a sleep with my book in my hands like I used to do when I was little.

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My time is so important and so little that I make sure it’s spent in the best way possible. Always. It’s again all about #livemoredomorebemore, but this time is mainly about #livebetter. It’s about the quality again. It’s about making choices that will impact your life positively. Doing things you like instead of what’s easier. Sometimes, in fact, it’s about making an effort.
Before switching the telly on tonight, ask yourself: when was last time I asked my wife/husband/partner how was their days? Or your children: when was the last time you played with them? What if for once you played cards instead of sitting on the sofa to watch telly with them? What about if you just chatted with them with no phones. No tablets no TV to divide you?

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Sometimes we need to make an effort to be happier.

Sometimes, it’s just about closing all the noise outside and finding the silence within us.
Sometimes is:

 

to wander from the proper path, to deviate from the direct course, to be lost, to become wild, to be without a mother or father, to be without a home, to move about aimlessly in search of something, to diverge or digress. – Cheryl Strayed~Wild 

Do you own a television? How do you spend your quality time?

Have a remarkable day.

Be happy

#LiveMoreDoMoreBeMore

 

As a decade fades…..

At 7.50am this morning of xx yrs ago a(nother) crazy Italian was born: me.

I thought it would be good to show my face for once as I don’t normally post selfies and it’s not easy for my fellow photographer to take my portrait either. So here you are, it might well be a temorary post 😁😁😁

As this decade fades,  with an hand on my heart I can say: what a life so far..

I lived in 3 different cities and in 2 different  countries, I moved into and out about 15 houses, I visited 35 countries across 4 continents. I graduated in economics and  taught at the same university
as visiting lecturer (twice! and will go back this March). I worked (my ass off), had several promotions and consequent salary increases,  often managing people twice my age.
I survived political battles and corporate bulls**ts. I grew professionally and personally and as planned I achieved ALL the  professional goals I had set for myself for this date, my 30th birthday.

I loved, oh god, I loved so much. 3 people only (at different times of course), but man,
I did. Intensely, furiously, profoundly… and I was loved Intensely, furiously, profoundly…

Friends have come and go.. and I left people behind too.. and the ones by my side now are the best ones I ever had.

I’ve changed, I matured, I cried, I suffered, I touched the bottom (many times), I screamed. I hated (one person only).

I loved my life. I hated it too.

But I always lived it so intensely.

I am here
And I am happy
I am

#livemoredomorebemore

Minimalist Lifestyle

Some people laugh when I say I’m becoming a minimalist. Others give me the weird look if I say I don’t want/need anything for my birthday or Christmas. Friends start to really worry when I mention that I haven’t been in a shop (physical or online) for 6 months (except to buy food and presents, of course!) But don’t fret! I made the conscious decision to own less things in order to spend more on experiences: travels, restaurants, cinema and others… Experiences that will give me emotions rather than owning material objects that will sit untouched in my wardrobe or house for months. But I guess that in such a consumerist society it is hard to understand that the things we own are anchors.

 

“Anchors?”
“The thing that keeps a ship at bay.”
“Yes. Planted in the harbour. Stuck in one place. Unable to explore the freedom of the sea”

Everything that Remains –  Joshua Fields Millburn / theminimalists.com

I think this groundbreaking, new personal way of living has also affected my photography style, which is much more into natural colours, simplicity and minimal editing. This new philosophy has helped me to see beauty everywhere.

As for clothing, to come at once to the practical part of the question, perhaps we are led oftener by the love of novelty, and a regard for the opinions of men, in procuring it, than by a true utility. Let him who has work to do recollect that the object of clothing is, first, to retain the vital heat, and secondly, in this state of society, to cover nakedness, and he may judge how much of any necessary or important work may be accomplished without adding to his wardrobe.
– Henry David Thoreau

 

#LiveMoreDoMoreBeMore

One more mistake

I’ve listened to my instinct this time , just in time to avoid the catastrophe, just in time before what I’ve put together in the last few months, was once again distroyed. I’ve listened to that silent screaming voice that was saying “don’t do it!” And I’ve stopped. Just in time.

Life is too short to waste time trying to force or convince people to love us.
Let’s take the love that is given to us, easily, smoothly, generously, without other expectations than to be loved back.
Let’s give it to people who are able to receive it.

There is no point in playing the best song to a deaf person.
There is no reason to show the sunset to a blind one.

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Happiness is doing what you love.

Now… There are some days that start in a special way and then, end even better.

Today was one of them.

I woke up to the amazing surprise of having gained my 1000th IG follower overnight.. Considering that’s my main window for photos right now, it was a big achievement for me.

A few hours later, on the same platform, an old photo of mine was featured by a global account.

And this evening I spent 2 and half hours learning from, and chatting to a major British photographer.

Now, these are the days that make me truly HAPPY and grateful. And proud. Proud to take it as it is. To let my passion finally sink into my veins and travel into my blood every day. Proud to feel a stupid dreamer.
Proud to don’t care about what others think. Proud to dream.
Whatever happens next…

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And then..

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And then there is me.

Me.

Myself.

And I.

It’s just over a week, since my ex left this house, this town, this country and me to start a “new life”, back home.

I spent the first few days, unable to drag myself out of bed, crying at every single memory of us within these walls, sobbing like a child in our sheets which still smelt of us, getting angry at life and the world while walking in the streets of this town which once I loved,  keeping my phone off for days to avoid distraction from my own desperation.

But now?

Now, I AM BACK.

I read aloud to myself all my notes of the last 18 months and I found out something so important and enlightening that gave me the strength to get hold of my life once again.

I wasn’t happy.
I was lonely.
I was alone when I most needed you, when my career was falling apart.
You destroyed my trust with revelatory emails. Once. No, at least twice.
“Two more minutes” with me on new year’s eve didn’t matter to you.
You didn’t even bother to wish me happy birthday after I took you to a royal suite in Marrakesh to celebrate.
You broke the promises you made about this house, which YOU choose and wanted so badly.

I decided that this is not what I want for myself.

I want and DESERVE so much more than YOU.

And I am finally

free

and I’m feeling

so good.

12 Ultimate Ways To Improve Your Lifestyle – Just WFH

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© All right reserved – The Confused Storyteller

Seven weeks ago I started my new job. As you probably know from my previous post, I wasn’t so excited or thrilled by it. The company is amazing, one of the best in the world possibly, but the job itself wasn’t (isn’t) the right one for me.
But, I’ve promised myself to always look at the bright side, so also in this situation, I decided to take the positive thing and smile. In this case, the best part is WFH.
Working From Home is the way forward. Read below why.

1 – I sleep A LOT more

Usually I set the alarm at 8.15am, it used to be two hours earlier before, around 6.30/7am. I’m a late-night person – I can’t fall asleep before midnight or 1am and I have had troubles sleeping for a long time now. You obviously understand how these 2 extra hours I get every morning have improved my life. And my mood.

2 – I ALWAYS have breakfast

For the same reason above, I now have time to make myself a cup of tea or a coffee accompanied by a freshly toasted slice of bread with butter and jam. It’s delicious and it’s a sweet way to start the day.

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© All right reserved – The Confused Storyteller

3 – I’m an informed person

Now I get to read the news EVERYDAY. While sipping my cuppa, I scan the web and international newspapers for about 15 minutes. I check Facebook and my personal emails too and I feel under control. And informed.

4 – I’m always at the “office” on time.

Despite the fact I wake up at 8.15, I’m logged in and ready to start at 8.30am sharp. I’m never late. I never get stuck on the tube or the bus. It can be raining cats and dogs and I will still be on time.  Magic.

5 – I EAT better

I  plan my days in a way that allows me to have long, relaxed lunches. There is no way I stay in front of my computer eating crap or book myself into meetings at that time of the day (as I was used to do in my previous job). By 12.30/1pm I log off, go to the kitchen and try new recipes or cook some healthy food I’ve bought. Otherwise, if the weather is nice, I go for a walk in the neighbourhood and grab something from the local market. It’s surely something better than the crap food of the cantine in my office or any take-away chains.

6 – I have time to do my daily chores and more

Most of the time, when I take a break, I do my laundry or pass the vacuum cleaner. I ACTUALLY take a break from my laptop and phone and switch off my brain for a bit, which feels A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Sometimes, I just make myself another espresso and walk outside in the courtyard to enjoy a bit of fresh breeze on my skin. Sometimes, I just have a sneaky look at Facebook updates or play a Ruzzle match or text a friend.

7 – NO bitching or office politics

I’ve been in my new job for 5 weeks now (yeah, it already feels 5 months), and I’ve met very few people in person, lots via phone or email and these two means of communication don’t allow bitching or talking behind the back. At least for now. It’s SO refreshing.

8 – Money: SAVING – LOTS – OF – MONEY

If I was to go to the office every day I would spend £170 per month in train ticket. Add to that, lunches and snacks I would need when I didn’t had time to cook  and pack something.

9 – I can always be around for deliveries or the post man

I remember the old days when I had to take half day off when the plumber, painter or my mattress had to arrive. Now, I don’t have to worry. For example now, I’m happily waiting for my DcMarten’s to fall on my laps.

10 – I don’t feel stressed

It could be that this job is bread & butter for me, so it’s just because I got it easy, or it could be that the environment (my home) makes me feel much more comfortable AND focused. I get the stuff done without wasting time in useless conversation or how-are-you-btw-I-don’t-care chats in the office kitchen. Whatever is the reason, so far, I’m not feeling under pressure. I’m not feeling behind the task or struggling. Loving an easy life.

11 – NO WASTE of TIME

Can you imagine a life where you don’t commute? In my case it would be a total of 3 hrs per day, round-trip. THREE vital hours spent in a crowded tube, then in a crowded train and  to finish off a long walk. This is one of the best part of my new lifestyle, I can’t stop saying how relieved I feel of gaining all this time EVERY DAY. It makes a huge difference. I wake up feeling relaxed, never in a rush, never worried to be late. I can make plans for the evening without feeling exhausted by the journey or afraid to be late. I get to go to my French lessons without worrying a bit about my train being late.
My work didn’t get disrupted by the strike. I wasn’t affected by it at all. It’s life-changing, I’m telling you.

12 – I feel comfortable at all times

© All right reserved – The Confused Storyteller

Forget make-up and high heels. I used to dress up to go to work before, I used to work in a very formal place where I had to use  grown-up, fashionable, expensive clothes all week long. My wardrobe is still full of that stuff.

I’ve book a charity collection.

That’s my old self. My new self now runs all interviews via phone and nobody can actually SEE me. Most of the time, I wear a track suit and my face feels fresh and clean all day, free from make-up. My hair is often messy, but who cares?
It’s what I say that matter, not what I look like.

And it should always be like that.