Updated: Apr 26

hello! if you've stumbled across this blog for whatever reason, welcome! this is pretty much where i'll post random poetry and lyrics and other writing because sometimes people get tired of hearing me cry and/or rant to them :,)


and sometimes we have some thoughts or feelings that are a bit too personal to tell someone directly...


so naturally, i thought the most logical course of action was posting them on the internet instead!


anywhooo in the music category you can find lyrics to my original songs-- currently out now on all digital music platforms-- because idk maybe sometimes i sing and all you can make out is "i bet bfjsdbsjdgdj baby ?? fndnjfnjwjfbdjsbj forget ?" which is fair because i actually forget my own lyrics an embarrassing amount of times...


next! letters in the lyrics describes the stories or meanings behind the lyrics of my songs because they're often if not always based on real experiences but magnified (because i lack a variety of healthy coping mechanisms with 'em besides self-deprecating humour and memes) therefore! i've learned to write and turn the sadness or anger into an ~art~ i can share and maybe become #relatable. the title of the category is based on the lyric written by Maisie Peters (I love her, she's amazing, i highly recommend you listen to her music) from her song, Best I'll Ever Sing where she describes the process of writing and how "every lyric is a letter that i'll never send" and how it has this unique way of making "every moment immortalised." I think it's an absolutely beautiful masterpiece of a song that I can relate to as a songwriter and heartbroken teenage girl, crying while Maisie's emo girl pop angelic voice serenades me from my speakers <3


too honest poetry is pretty self-explanatory. sometimes i feel like some emotions are too strong and #deep to put simply and bluntly so i bury it in a metaphor that may or may not be such a reach no one would get what i'm trying to convey or so cliché that it's too shallow to truly capture my message. either way i pour my heart and soul, writing and rewriting poems to be coherent and flow and rhyme all while trying to replicate the emotions that inspired it. most of my poems lack consistent structural features, like stanzas, leaving it with a lack of organisation and excessive length that my english teachers would probably not approve of. however, i can't always help that it all just comes to me in a continuous stream of free thought, all jumbled up and confused, so i guess that just reflects my head space. i've also been inspired a lot by a girl called Stephanie Strauss (@drivestraightaheadswift & @drivestraightaheadpoems on instagram) who i've been following for a shared love of Taylor Swift and whose poetry i love. she's just published her book, Hopscotch Brain (y'all should buy and read) so that's really cool and part of the reason i've been inspired to put out my own poetry somewhere.


and back to the topic of my chaotic thought processes, bit of a ramble is where my other writing and venting and i'm-not-quite-sure-what-to-call-it will be when i can't quite get all the thoughts and feelings to fit in a poem or song.


alrighty! feel free to check in all posts if you're feeling ~adventurous~ or i guess try out making an account on here (not really sure what that does yet,,,someone be my guinea pig pls) and comment, like, or add posts into community and stuff. yeah...


anyways!

thanks so much x

-nyah rylie

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When approaching the concept of ‘remediation,’ our group found ourselves drawn to a theme more personally relevant to us in our generation. In the hindsight offered by this reflection, I found that the phenomenon we had resigned ourselves to representing and counteracting through this project was so conceptually modern, I struggled to find sources that could help define and distinguish my arguments. The topic: toxic positivity.


Toxic positivity disguises itself as optimism and reassurance, but lacks the depth and compassion required to properly validate the feelings of the recipient. Psychotherapist Aimee Hudson and Psychologist Kat Wyeth define the subject as a “tendency to react to other people's struggles and suffering with reductive statements of positivity.” It is an “overgeneralisation of positivity across all circumstances” that “prevents us from acknowledging how we are actually feeling,” and instead creates a “black and white thinking towards emotions” (Wyeth and Hudson, 2022). Although there are usually good intentions behind the behaviour, it tends to have adverse effects that fail to adequately address the root of the problems.


Presentation of our idea to our peers and tutors faced us with the question, “what do we want our audience to do?” Despite knowing generally that what we hoped people would do was unsubscribe from toxic positivity, we were still yet to work out the matter of how. It was not until our lecture on “Realism and Its Interruption” that we were able to explore the concept of disrupting reality.


The thing about living in a culture which promotes this misguided attitude is that there is always the nagging feeling that something is still not quite right; a lingering unresolved negative emotion pushed down by the shallow inspirational quotes, left in the shadows casted by “the bright side.” In becoming the embodiment of toxic positivity, we hoped the “positive” messages repeated in our project would be so saturated, they would spur this negative feeling to grow until it became too irritating, uncomfortable, and overwhelming to ignore the problem. To achieve this, our film began as an unassuming, feel-good mental health and wellbeing PSA to promote positive thinking– favouring pastel colours and old Hollywood film aesthetics to lull the viewer into a false sense of security and comfort. Throughout the duration of our installation, more screens, audio layers, eerie visuals, glitches and distortion were added to increase the feeling of uneasiness. In our lecture, the “moment of interruption” was introduced through the scene in The Truman Show, when Truman Burbank realises his life is a reality TV show and makes the decision to escape (The Truman Show - At World's End, 2016). To my understanding, this concept of interruption is simply the moment in which one is made aware of the reality they are living in. The development of technology and ideology in our modern society has granted us access to more knowledge than ever before. However, the vast availability of information and the fact that corporations have the same capacity for awareness poses the question – is interruption possible in modern society? Is it possible to generate enough of a rift in our passive acceptance of our present reality that we might experience a real life peripeteia?


To answer this, we must first define the reality we mean to interrupt or, in other words, the problem to raise awareness about. This is where I sought out to contextualise toxic positivity and track it back to its fundamentals. Why did we subscribe to toxic positivity in the first place? Since the messages toxic positivity spreads are not necessarily inherently bad, and some of the advice might be genuinely helpful in the correct circumstances, the reason lies in its attempts to advertise happiness, and where it falls short of the mark can be identified in other theories of happiness. In response to psychology focusing more on negative aspects of human nature and how to cure them (the “disease” model), President of the American Psychological Association, Martin Seligman introduced the field of positive psychology in 1998. “Positive psychology calls for as much focus on strength as on weakness, as much interest in building the best things in life as in repairing the worst, and as much attention to fulfilling the lives of healthy people as to healing the wounds of the distressed'' (Peterson and Park, 2003). Traits of Abraham Maslow’s self-actualised individual— considered to be a person who has reached their full potential— includes the acceptance of one’s own flaws, as well as their best traits (Perera, 2020). The common theme is the acknowledgement of human duality and the range of emotions that are part of the human experience.


This is particularly prevalent across social media as the culture it has cultivated is one in which people tend to filter their lives to only show the “best” parts. As American comedian Bo Burnham describes it, “[social media] is just the market's answer to a generation that demanded to perform.” This habit of social performance has translated into an understanding of happiness that is as one-dimensional as the digital personas we curate on our social media profiles (Burnham, 2016). Similarly, content creator Felix Kjellberg, known online as PewDiePie, made a video titled, Forced Positivity on Youtube, in which he addressed the issue of vloggers and influencers feeling the need to project an unnaturally, unwavering “positive” attitude in order for people to enjoy their content (PewDiePie, 2017). As a result, one of the reasons people uphold toxic positivity is out of desire for likeability. Unfortunately, this behaviour ends up isolating people more than fostering genuine connection. People who look up to these social media influencers watch them promote toxic positivity and buy into it. Thus, perpetuating a cycle that creates a sort of Emperor’s New Clothes situation: no one speaks about their true feelings for fear of judgement or rejection. Furthermore, the concept of happiness and peak human performance has been hijacked by consumer culture and defined by superficial values. A Coca-Cola advert invites you to “Open happiness” alongside an image of a Coke bottle, while Trident offers up “a Little Piece of Happy” in the form of a piece of their gum. Neither “refer to the actual product each is selling” but rather, suggest that their product is synonymous with happiness (Communication Theory, 2014). They reduce happiness to something more temporal than sustainable, leading the pursuit of happiness down a potentially hedonistic path that aligns with the capitalist agenda.


Therefore, the reality we intend to interrupt is one in which we think happiness and satisfaction with life is possible without acknowledging and accepting the full spectrum of human emotion.


Which brings us back to the question. Is there any way to disrupt this commonly accepted way of thinking and living? It is difficult to say for sure when it does not appear to be the case among the masses yet. However, it is important to consider how easily capitalism tends to appropriate any revolutionary ideology the new generation begins to rally behind. Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays was the first to take his uncle’s “ideas about human beings and used them to manipulate the masses.” He showed American corporations how to link “mass-produced goods to [people’s] unconscious desires” by using the Suffragette Movement to sell cigarettes to women. He staged an event in which debutantes would dramatically light cigarettes on his signal and join the Easter Day parade. He then told the press he had heard “a group of suffragettes were preparing to protest by lighting up what they called torches of freedom” so that the moment would be captured by photographers. With this, cigarettes effectively became a symbol of female empowerment (Curtis, 2002). In today’s society, corporations still use political protests to promote their products. Youtuber HBomberGuy made a video titled WOKE BRANDS, in which he addressed this issue and posed the question, “Can a product be truly progressive?” He remarked that companies now attempt to “buy your allegiance by saying something vaguely progressive” but also benefit from the free marketing that results from backlash in the form of trending Twitter hashtags. One example he gave was the #BurnYourNikes trend that followed a Nike ad campaign featuring black athletes, such as Colin Kaepernick, taking a knee in protest of racism and police brutality. The backlash backfired as Nike’s value went up by 6 billion dollars. (HBomberGuy, 2019). By connecting their product to a prevalent social or political message, companies can place themselves at the centre of discussion, benefitting from either side of the debate. The situation can be likened to the analogy of the “close door” button in most elevators and how “It is a totally disfunctional placebo placed there just to give the individuals the impression that they are somehow participating” (Žižek, 2001). As John Berger put it, “capitalism survives by forcing the majority, whom it exploits, to define their own interests as narrowly as possible” (Berger, 2008). The dominating reality is that capitalism always seems to catch up with that which attempts to oppose it and the meaning becomes lost in the consumerist sea. “Once we could have fun denouncing the dark, solid reality concealed behind the brilliance of appearances. But today there is allegedly no longer any solid reality to counter-pose to the reign of appearances, nor any dark reverse side to be opposed to the triumph of consumer society” (Rancière and Elliott, 2009).


Regardless of whether it is escapable, it is also worth considering whether it is even ethical. In a society where the media is saturated with tragic images and depressing news coverage, do people even want to be snapped out of the realities they have become accustomed to? Is there comfort in ignorance? It is arguable that surface level perception without deeper contemplation is preferable to becoming hyper aware of the dark side of reality. Even in the case of our installation, we relied on the audience’s negative feelings of discomfort and anxiety to motivate them to change. However, there is still the possibility that the feelings we attempted to generate may have been overwhelming to the point of only succeeding in pushing viewers towards some other form of escapism, so as to avoid feeling such discomfort again. In Susan Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others, she argues that “one can not look. People have means to defend themselves against what is upsetting… This seems normal, that is, adaptive. One can become habituated to horror in real life, one can become habituated to the horror of certain images” (Sontag, 2004). After a while, people may become desensitised, or simply turn a blind eye in defence against negative stimuli– a self-preservation instinct. It is especially easy to do so when these messages are seen mainly on TV and social media, platforms which blend entertainment with reportage. This may be elaborated on through the case of theatre and cinema. Plato argues that due to the reality of spectatorship, theatre “transmits the illness of ignorance.” For context, Rancière claims that “To be a spectator is to be separated from both the capacity to know and the power to act” (Rancière and Elliott, 2009). Similarly, James Elkins explains “There is also something quietly hypnotic about just looking, something less like hunting and more like dreaming… Just looking is like dreaming, but dreaming fittully, tossing and turning and not knowing quite what's happening" (Žižek, 2001), which aligns itself well with Beaudry’s Apparatus Theory that “suggests movie viewers experience an immobility that makes watching a film akin to dreaming” (Goodro, 2018). Simply presenting images for an audience to view does not necessarily force them to consider their meaning any further.


So is there a solution or is all hope lost? In terms of addressing this issue in media or art, “as long as the performance draws [the spectator] out of their passive attitude and transforms them into active participants in a shared world” it may result in successful interruption. To combat the sensationalisation employed by capitalism, one might take inspiration from Bartleby and his passive resistance in stating “I would prefer not to” (Melville, 1856), a phrase which is “not that a predicate is denied” (Žižek, 2019) but is a polite refusal that is not intense or passionate enough to blatantly incite a polarised response that corporations may exploit. In our final assessment critique in which our classmates experienced our installation, one of the comments we received was about the effect of experiencing it in a large group as opposed to alone. Although we had initially designed it to be viewed in a smaller group or solitary, there was an effectiveness in the fact that the shared experience encouraged connection and discussion rather than increasing feelings of isolation. It may well be that the solution is as simple as creating safe spaces for people to raise awareness and share their thoughts and feelings openly and honestly or, to “unplug” entirely and renounce your role as recipients of media messages.


In summary, yes. Interruption is possible in modern society, in the sense that people can be and may already be aware of the problem within our reality, however, its effectiveness in provoking change of reality is still in question. The answer lies in the willingness of the audience to be interrupted.





Bibliography



Berger, J., 2008. Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Classics.


Communication Theory. 2014. The Selling and Socialization of Happiness. [online] Available at: <https://communicationtheory2014.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/the-selling-and-socialization-of-happiness/>


Curtis, A., 2002. The Century of the Self - Part 1: "Happiness Machines". [image] Available at: <https://youtu.be/DnPmg0R1M04>


Ezedike, E., 2019. Happiness as an end: A critique of Artistotle's rational eudaimonism. [online] 10(1). Available at: <https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ijhss/article/view/183278>


Goodro, K., 2018. Movement in “Paprika” and Baudry’s Apparatus Theory | Aperture:. [online] Film.byu.edu. Available at: <https://film.byu.edu/aperture/?p=487#:~:text=Jean%2DLouis%20Baudry's%20apparatus%20theory,film%20and%20their%20own%20thoughts.>


Melville, H., 1856. Bartleby, the Scrivener A Story of Wall-Street. Putnam's Magazine.


Make Happy (2016) Directed by Bo Burnham and Christopher Storer. Available at: Netflix


Perera, A., 2020. Self-Actualization. [online] Simplypsychology.org. Available at: <https://www.simplypsychology.org/self-actualization.html#:~:text=According%20to%20Maslow%2C%20the%20internal,all%20aspects%20of%20their%20lives.>


Peterson, C. and Park, N., 2003. Positive Psychology as the Evenhanded Positive Psychologist Views it. Psychological Inquiry, [online] 14(2), pp.143-147. Available at: <https://shibbolethsp.jstor.org/start?entityID=https%3A%2F%2Fidp.wmin.ac.uk%2Fentity&dest=https://www.jstor.org/stable/1449822&site=jstor>


Rancière, J. and Elliott, G., 2009. The emancipated spectator. 1st ed. London, New York: Verso.


Sontag, S., 2004. Regarding the pain of others. Penguin.


PewDiePie (2017) Forced Positivity on Youtube. Available at: <https://youtu.be/iyGI1uHyyws>

2016. The Truman Show - At World's End. [video] Available at: <https://youtu.be/Gn5kuDdeGzs>


HBomberGuy (2019) WOKE BRANDS. [video] Available at: <https://youtu.be/06yy88tLWlg>


Wyeth, K. and Hudson, A., 2022. Good vibes only? Understanding Toxic Positivity. [podcast] The Psychology Sisters. Available at: <https://open.spotify.com/episode/3BLaha5Af6i0hJ0zw1dmF2?si=b2AJB-ezRYSKNCEfcZatWg>


Žižek, S., 2019. Slavoj Zizek — "I Would Prefer Not To". [video] Available at: <https://youtu.be/uuTkuy9D5lY>

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Žižek, S., 2001. Enjoy Your Symptom!. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.



Updated: May 16



what is there to do about it?

about the flowers?

cause the shadows they’re casting on my wall in this dull grey of a sunset through my window almost made me forget for a second

and what is there to do about the fact that i still think they’re pretty?

and how it doesn’t make me feel less lonely


it’s funny cause i looked over at the pictures and papers pasted all over my walls and my first thought was “god that’s gonna take so much effort to take down”

'cause i’ll have to not too long from now

only two years

practically tomorrow

my homes are always temporary but it doesn’t take very long for me to make them feel like home

although that doesn’t stop me from leaving


i hate that i'm always observing myself

but it’s the only way i’ve learned to exist

it’s the only reason i’m not as scared as i used to be

but i wanna throw away all the clothes i wear

you can take them if you want them

i don’t want to need them anymore


i used to have a music box bigger than this, same song

it’s collecting dust on my shelf now

i don’t think it ever meant anything special to me

i don’t recall any fond memories that it makes an appearance in

i don’t remember where the stickers on it came from but they’re leaving marks

and i think i only pretend it’s sentimental

i don't remember much in general to be fair

maybe cause it’s one piece of my childhood that i know the place of

out of all the ones that got lost in the packing and moving over and over

and i want the anchor of nostalgia

but i don’t feel anything towards it at all

or anything else i’ve forgotten in boxes


and yet there is never a day that i forget the feeling of missing someone

but now we’re both miserable

are you happy now?



It’s not about the dull grey blue lighting washing the flowers that juxtaposed my finding them pretty.

It was the admittance that I still found the beauty in things

even when I wanted to die

and I’m not sure if that's a sign that maybe I don’t really want to die or if it’s a sign that perhaps it really is hopeless.

if the beauty in it all isn’t enough anymore.


Either way, there's a resignation to all of it.

Resignation.


As the first to watch this film, Victoria and her reliability for analysis found us looking for the word to convey something between acceptance and defeatism. The resignation that everything in life is fleeting. Letting go not because I'm okay with it but because I have to be.

The word didn't occur to me until 3:57am (when she had already stopped replying hours ago).


Seeing my half opened drawer overflowing with unfolded clothes out of the corner of my eye, I felt a sense of dread similar to that of glancing over at my wall of assorted papers. Do I no longer want to need the clothes in order to be seen as pretty or do I no longer want to be seen at all? I don't know which it was at the time but I do know I'm still putting off going through and sorting them.


In the end, I suppose it's that I feel the absence of people and nothing else. The hole in my unrequited dependency more than the loss of houses and objects (until I'm looking for the old books and my parent's mixtapes in the garage)


And I guess the last line is sarcastic in that it contradicts the previous statement.

But it’s also asking,

Are you better off without me? Are you happier than I am?

or are we still in this together even without the other in our life anymore?




I was meant to go out this evening. For my friend's birthday. I was all dressed up, makeup done, sitting in my best dress. And then, I was crying.

I can't even remember why. Something just set it all off and I knew immediately I was not going out dancing that night. It happens.

After sending a message to cancel (over a headache and nausea, which, to be fair, wasn't a lie on top of everything else), I sulked up to my bedroom on the top floor.

The sunset that day wasn't as warm as previous evenings so I hadn't even noticed the daylight fading. Until I was lying at the foot of the bed, parallel to my pillow, thinking a thought that didn't finish the way it started.


"What is there to do about-- ?"


And that's when I noticed the sun was setting. That's when I noticed the dead flowers above my mirror that I overlook every morning when I'm assessing my outfit of the day. And my brain autofilled the rest with its own newfound fixation. They weren't even doing anything special to catch my eye. They were only intercepting the last of the day's light to outline itself as it always does. But they distracted me so much, interrupted my pity party-- the nerve of them. And then my head just kept repeating the same phrase.


So I grabbed my camera, I opened my notes app, I started writing.


I didn't think too deeply about the meaning or the symbolism as I made it. I simply wanted to record my thoughts as they came. I'm only reflecting on it now (Sorry for tainting it with too much tangible meaning).


And so, aside from the clips of me, I filmed, edited, and recorded the entirety of the piece in that evening. It felt like writing a diary entry-- creating it that quick-- and I think it helped me process those feelings the same way journaling would-- but even more so because I had something to show for it. For once, I was able to capture how I saw the world from the space of my room-- where I spend most of my time-- and put it into visuals and sound the way that it felt to me. For once, I had something to show for the world inside my head that wouldn't usually see many visitors.


I'm a very visual person, I think-- my emotions are often linked to some sort of imagery in my head. I think it's what allows me to write songs that are sort of narrative. The main issue I've faced in my creative and personal life so far is that I never feel fully satisfied in how I convey my thoughts and feelings, because I can't present them through my own eyes. It will always go through the filter of interpretation. And even if later on, I gain the skills and means to recreate the vision in my head and supplement it through media, by that point it's also been worn down by the nature of memory and the way I don't tend to be able to grasp much from moment to moment.


But I think with this, I may be able to get a hang of it.

And Willem, I'm sorry I missed your birthday.

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