The Wandering Aesthete

A look into the mind of someone committed to art, culture, and embracing the crazy.

because I would never really mail it.

I bet you thought I wasn’t listening. Or maybe you knew that I was, but you were assured that I would be focusing so hard on the criticism I wouldn’t notice the lesson. That was your mistake. 

I was the thoughtful child. The one who listened. The one who never forgot. The one who learned all of the things you were trying to ingrain so hard into him. But they bounced off of him and the stuck to me, or rather, I clung to them.

You always liked my intelligence. But you liked it as a cocktail party anecdote. The compliment was said to me, but meant for you. You never really liked the ins and outs of it. You liked that my intelligence took me far away places, the kinds of places that sound really great in cocktail party anecdotes. And you always did love saying goodbye to me. You loved those moments because they were always the times I worshipped you most. You’d get to hold my hand, dissuade my fears of long security lines and foreign taxi cabs. You liked that I would get silent. Another cocktail party anecdote- the one about the daughter you just had to say goodbye to, the one who was in that grand, far-off place, a place she’d gotten to through her intelligence, and how she couldn’t talk the whole way to the airport. 

You never imagined that those far-off places might allow me to get the necessary distance from you. Oh, you liked the distance. You liked that you could send me “miss you” texts, that we could chat cheerfully once a week via Skype while your live-in girlfriend puttered around, never truly a part of anything but so consistently there that I could never really talk about anything. 

You always liked driving with me after we visited him. You liked to share your criticisms, your worries. You didn’t like it when I tried to defend him so I didn’t defend him as much as I should have. I thought about it one day- if this is what you say about him, what do you say about me when I am not there? And then I realised it: You tell your cocktail party anecdotes. It was so much worse than anything I could have imagined. The worries I had of you listing my faults, my disappointments, the way I was wasting it all, I shouldn’t have wasted my time. Because you didn’t worry about me, not in that way. You didn’t think about me, not in that way. I had taken all of the criticism, all of the lessons, and I worked so hard to not disappoint you that I didn’t realise that I was sacrificing your concern. 

It was you who taught me the difference between love and like. The way that the two were not, as I had once thought, inextricably linked. That it was possible to love someone, all the while disliking nearly everything about them. Even your own children. In your case, especially your children. Haven’t you learned by now that you shouldn’t teach something that you don’t want to be learned? You thought I wasn’t listening. Or maybe you knew that I was, but you were assured that I would be focusing so hard on the criticism I wouldn’t notice the lesson. But I did. Just like I notice everything. Just like I notice the way you move me aside so you can stand next to your girlfriend. The way that you no longer want to spend time with him because it means spending time away from her. The way you have conversations like you are a bartender, always asking the right questions and replying in the exact right way. The exact right way. So hollowly perfect it could only be confused as genuine from the outside. You didn’t know it, but you were teaching me that it was okay. You were teaching me that it was okay to feel this detachment within my heart. You were teaching me that it was okay to love you forever, even though I might never like you again. 

You should know by now that I was the thoughtful one, the one who always listened. You should have realised that your intelligent daughter would one day be in a far off place, tormenting herself for the lessons you taught her.

“I still catch myself feeling sad about things that don’t matter anymore.”

—   Kurt Vonnegut (via bl-ossomed)

(Source: emiliakokaine, via classical-kit)

“Because I love Britain, like most Britons I get desperately upset at her failings: when it goes wrong, when it gets it totally totally wrong, when it’s shoddy, when it’s inefficient, incompetent, rude, vulgar, embarrassing, when it slips into national torpor or boils into bouts of embarrassing national fever. I can moan about health and safety gone mad and leaves on the line, rail networks and crap service and crap weather and crap sporting achievements and crap politicians and crap newspapers and crap attitude. I can do all that. In fact it’s the defining signature quality of my Britishness to talk like that, to complain and to self-castigate but does it mean that I don’t love this damned country? Does it mean that I don’t get weepy when I think of its history, its people, its countryside, its richness, its plurality, the cultural and artistic energy, the good humour, tolerance, the ability to evolve for good, achingly slow as that ability might be? Does it mean that I don’t as it were stand to attention when I think of the sacrifice of our military, the selfless good of so many working in hospitals and schools and rescue services and the million acts of unremembered kindness, decency and good fellowship practised every day by unsung heroes and heroines in every walk of life? Of course it doesn’t mean that I don’t love and respect that. One carps and one criticises because one loves.”

—   [x] (via fuckyeahstephenfry)

(via easternbreezes)

"jared leto’s ombré is better than yours and other harsh realities" #memoirtitles

The one and only time Pheobe was my spirit animal.

The one and only time Pheobe was my spirit animal.

(Source: roguepotatoes, via wildbabypenguin)

sublimespy:

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Wes Anderson

sublimespy:

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Wes Anderson

(Source: randomartgallery)

“I had learned early to assume something dark and lethal hidden at the heart of anything I loved. When I couldn’t find it, I responded, bewildered and wary, in the only way I knew how: by planting it there myself.”

—   From In the Woods by Tana French (via felicefawn)

(Source: rabbitinthemoon, via whitegirlblog)

“Maybe we wear black
because we want to find something
that is darker than our thoughts.
Because we want to cover our skin
with something that’s darker than our souls.”

—   Daria Miller (via blaueseele)

(Source: halbmord, via theamericanlegacy)

“The hearts of princes kiss obedience, so much they love it; but to stubborn spirits they swell, and grow as terrible as storms.”

—   Shakespeare, Henry VIII, Act III, Scene I  (via thatkindofwoman)

(Source: goneril-and-regan, via thatkindofwoman)

"Three o’clock. Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do."

eatcleanmakechanges:

Jean-Paul Sartre 1938

(via eurotrashlife)