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The Persephone Complex

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I have been told it is simply a standard of the human condition to feel inadequate, or as if we are all somehow lacking. I would definitely agree that most people experience jealousy, envy, self-doubt, self-hatred and fear in their lives (in fact it’s probably a rare person who doesn’t experience at least one of those on a daily basis) and yet we still feel so isolated from the rest of the world when we do. It is easy to imagine everyone else’s life as being perfect, and everyone else’s mind to be free from despair. We like to glamorize the lives we cannot really see, or the things we haven’t got, because that feeds our own pain, our own ‘lack’. It keeps us constantly thinking and acting like wounded people, who can never really accept love or praise, because some part of us believes that we do not deserve it - that love, at best, is a mistake, and if people could see who we really are, how boring/ugly/talentless/stupid/ordinary, then they would think differently. We like happiness best when it is just out of reach.

When I started blogging I was scared about the kind of things people would say. I had premonitions of hate mail filling up my inbox, and nasty comments about my looks, or my artwork, or my writing. I expected very little from myself, and from the world. But the response I have gotten for just being me has been beautiful, and humbling. I have had nothing but kind words and generosity from all of you, and I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am for that. And yet, despite this amazing, welcoming response, there is a part of me that feels detached from it, the way I do when someone gives me a compliment in person. It feels surreal. When I read comments, sometimes it is like you’re all talking about somebody else. When I started I would have believed that having as many followers as I do now would make me feel confident, satisfied, validated. But of course it hasn’t. It doesn’t really work that way. We are always looking ahead towards a time that never arrives. The truth is that when we do arrive at such-and-such a place – when we have 1000 followers, or graduate, or get skinnier, or find the perfect lover who will make us feel perfect too – it feels exactly the same. Because we are exactly the same.  And deep down, we still believe that who we are is nothing special.

Too many times in my life have I been with my friends, or at a party, or laying on the grass in the sun, and felt a terrible wave of melancholy come over me because of someone, anyone, who happened not to be there. The one thing that I do not have becomes the centre of my universe, until it is all I can focus on, all I can see. A part of me knows it is an illusion, but sometimes it is too strong for me to break, and I lose myself in imagined suffering, that can never be healed because it is not real. This constant yearning for something unobtainable is a paralysing emotion. It eats up your whole life.

Lately I have been trying to keep busy, and use all my energy. But I have reached a point where I’m not really sure what to do next, both with my blog and with my life in general. I feel in a bit of a rut. I have ideas about printing a zine, compiled of past posts, artwork, and photos. Or maybe writing a photo-book, or printing my collages. I am very drawn to studying Art Foundation, although the logistics of that might be complicated. I know that if I do any of these things, I’m still going to feel like me. I’ll still have the same problems, the same doubts, the same fears. But the more we try to understand how there is nothing we could do that will make us feel like a success, the easier it is to let the whole idea of success just disappear, and start wondering what it is we really want. Not because it will make us happy – but because we are happy, and need not search any more.

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23 Comments:

At 9 July 2013 12:30 , Blogger Andini Ria said...

I feel like this quite often but I don't think you will be stuck for long, you are extremely creative! I definitely look up to whoever can feel content with their life, it's a very difficult, seemingly impossible thing to conquer to me.

 
At 9 July 2013 13:30 , Blogger Le cabinet des rugosités said...

Hello Holly,
i must use "traduction reverso" for understand your "comment"
don't be afraid, the passage of teenage to adult it's very dificult. I'm old and I don't know the reciep. Sorry, my english is very aproximativ ;D
but I know one thing, you're an artist, because very very doubs assail you
life is not easy, but don't let your spleen go to the facility

Sylvie ♥

 
At 9 July 2013 14:11 , Blogger Issy Goode said...

Gosh, whenever I read anything you write, I'm completed absorbed, you write so beautifully and poetically about the simplest, or even the most complex of things. I understand where you're coming from entirely, I always thought that if I became skinnier and changed my looks to this that and whatever, I'd be happy, and I reached the most unhappiest point of my life. Deep down you, as person, never change, but your world changes around you, things and people come and go, opportunities are grasped or missed, decisions always need to be made but none of which you know are the right one for you. I feel as if I'm also in a rut, I'm at university, but for the next 2 years all uni is, is my security, so I know that once I'm out of uni, I'll be lost.

Your artwork is beautiful and your writing is magnificent, and I could read anything you wrote about day and night, and you yourself seem like a very beautiful person, inside and out.

 
At 9 July 2013 15:47 , Blogger Gail J said...

such a lovely color <3

 
At 9 July 2013 18:36 , Blogger Alice S. said...

This is so beautiful. I don't know what to say. I'd like to say something encouraging, but you are right. We all feel the same, someone more and someone less, but we feel alone anyway. Continue to be you, that's the only way to keep going.

 
At 10 July 2013 00:49 , Blogger Vilte said...

When I started blogging (similar time as you) I was worried about the same things! One thing that I really should have been worried about is that it is a FULL time thing when it comes to your spare time. You are such a fabulous blogger and are always on top of things with replying and time management! I started to really slack - you re-inspired me to just: meeeh, lets keep going! :D

 
At 10 July 2013 00:51 , Blogger Vilte said...

Hope you find something to carry on with on your blog, as I'm a bit stuck as well right now, feel everything I'm doing is not that interesting

 
At 10 July 2013 03:21 , Blogger snow said...

wow Holly, this is so perfect for how I've been feeling lately. whenever I have a negative thought I really punish myself for it, until it seems to define me while actually it is just pestering me. but the little things I do to keep going, what I do, is who I am.

I am really awestruck by how you capture human emotions!! and glad you confront the ones which have become "taboo." you are truly an inspiration to me & I am glad we have met in the blog-world!

 
At 10 July 2013 03:22 , Blogger snow said...

p.s. you have beautiful hair!

 
At 10 July 2013 03:28 , Blogger Lia said...

Jealousy is "like a tumor secretly growing inside us that gets bigger and bigger, beyond all reason. Even if you find out it's there, there's nothing you can do to stop it... It's like carrying around your own small version of hell, day after day." (Murakami)

This may seem vain and silly, but I've found it helpful to look at myself in the mirror- to really see myself, and focus on what I like about my physical being. Once I do that, I start thinking of what I am grateful for in my life, and I feel less envious of the lives of others even though there are a lot of things I don't have that I wish I did.


 
At 10 July 2013 13:18 , Blogger Nadia Nathania said...

Thanks for the lovely comment dear!

www.glamrocklady.com

 
At 10 July 2013 16:23 , Blogger Alexandra Butler said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10 July 2013 16:24 , Blogger Alexandra Butler said...

I know exactly what you mean about the readers commenting thing. I wasn't really expecting comments when I first started my blog, in fact I don't really know what I expected from it. But when readers write really lovely compliments I'm not sure how to take them, like you I feel like they aren't directed at me, but more like I'm reading someone else's blog and the lovely comments are directed at that someone else who I'm reading about too, but isn't me. It really is bizzarre that we can't just accept the praise and take it on board!

www.alexandralaurenrose.blogspot.com

 
At 11 July 2013 00:34 , Blogger Corinne said...

Maybe if we were content with everything, we would have nothing to strive for, nothing to encourage us to better ourselves as people. Maybe these emotions could be a positive thing of self-evolution, but we are just feeding the emotional energy to the 'victim syndrome' in us ;) rather than the part of us that wants and needs to grow. Not saying it's easy, but just a thought.

I'll reply to your e-mail soon, probably Friday/Saturday - I have some killer shifts ahead of me =(

Corinne x

 
At 11 July 2013 00:35 , Blogger Bernadette said...

I love this post so very much, I've been thinking about what you said;

'when we have 1000 followers, or graduate, or get skinnier, or find the perfect lover who will make us feel perfect too – it feels exactly the same. Because we are exactly the same. And deep down, we still believe that who we are is nothing special.'

And you are so right! Ahhh, so inspirational as always. <3

 
At 11 July 2013 08:49 , Blogger Coline Chavaroche said...

very nice pictures :)



Http://Fashioneiric.blogspot.com

Coline ♡

 
At 11 July 2013 09:11 , Blogger Claudina said...

I'm following you on bloglovin!

 
At 11 July 2013 19:06 , OpenID pitgat said...

This is such an amazing post! I totally agree with you! I have some posts scheduled on this rosy life we see on the web. Most of all, fake, so fake. It's such a lie, because many people feel they can only be accepted if they fake their lives. I also think "who is this person people are saying sweet, nice so on? Me?" I know what you mean. Also thinking what to do with the blog, is totally understandable. But look, don't anticipate any pain, if you can. I know it belongs to human nature, but try to enjoy your days to the fullest! I know people say "I know what pain is". But we will only know it when it really comes and is unbearable, not something that vanishes in 3 months. So live your life the way you want, post your collages, don't take into account any nasty person. They are not at your level then! denisesplanet.com

 
At 11 July 2013 20:44 , Blogger hannah said...

I think everyone experiences these feelings at some point, it's hard some days to carry on through the sadness or the frustration or even the anger. But we do carry on, and the hard things that we fight through are what make us stronger and braver and in the end happier. All you can do is be yourself, your best self. Be you to the best of your ability, make your art, write your words, enjoy your blog and enjoy the comments people leave you because they are only for you, and no one else. I think it's a good idea to get more involved in your art, I studied an Art Foundation at a time when I was feeling some of these feelings, and I didn't take from it all that I could. But I wish I could do it all over again, experimenting, meeting new people, being inspired by the people surrounding you. It really is a wonderful environment, and most arty types will thrive in it xx

 
At 12 July 2013 04:42 , Blogger Steph B said...

The feelings you have are perhaps the most natural feelings of the human experience. The sense of longing for something and missing something even when you practically have the whole world in your hands. I definitely understand how you're feeling. The future is a hard thing to look forward to - that's my battle in terms of those feelings. Always missing something even when you're happy. I like that you are sharing right from your heart. It surprises me that I have never come across this blog before. Definitely worth the read and the beautiful art. It's truly inspirational. :)

 
At 13 July 2013 05:19 , Blogger Isa said...

This pretty much sums up everything I've been feeling in the last year or two, and I think it's really just what our entire generation is feeling right now. I'm a real believer in reaching for that happiness that you feel too scared to go for, but it can be really hard to do so when you're so mind-numbingly terrified sometimes. And just remember that we all think you're awesome even when you're not feeling it!

http://lasaloperie.blogspot.com

 
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At 16 July 2013 21:05 , Blogger Laura said...

This sums up my feelings about everything. You are an incredible writer and I am devouring your blog archives.

Laura
http://whatlauradid.com

 

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