I was discussing my blog with someone recently, and they referred to it as 'light reading'. Overall, they were very complimentary, and told me how much they admired me for doing what I do. My blog, by and large, is designed to be a light read - my musings on fashion, art, social trends and media. I occasionally comment on issues beyond my normal realm such as politics. For example, I wrote this piece in June, asking why 16 year olds weren't given a vote in the EU referendum.
I acknowledge that this isn't normally a space where I make profound revelations about philosophy, or discuss the inner mechanics of the human mind. However I'd like to think that when I delve into heavier issues, my blog is becomes more than 'light reading'.
That brings me to the present day. On Wednesday the 9th of November, 2016, Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States. And the global reaction was huge. There was shock, tears, anger, fear. Somewhere in the world, I'm sure there were cheers, hugs, smiles, celebrations. It's the former bracket of reactions which I fell into.
I can't pretend to be fully versed in politics, but I'm by no means ignorant. Although there are sporadic elements of politics on my blog, I almost feel it would be wrong to go on without commenting on this. It is a monumental event in history, and who knows what the repercussions will be.
All I can say is that I'm scared. I'm scared for women, people of colour, Muslims, the LGBTQA+ community, Mexicans, and all those who don't fit into what is considered by Trump and his followers as normal. I'm scared that a man who has been accused of sexual assault by over 20 women can be elected into one of the most powerful positions in the world. It seems progress that has been made over the last few years in terms of rights for women, the LGBTQA+ community, and so many more, is in jeopardy and at risk of being reversed. That is the most scary prospect of all.
I'm also sad. It seems if it had gone the other way, women's rights and overall position in society would have made a leap ahead. Had the US elected it's first female President, it would have been an empowering social milestone. Regardless of what you think of her politics, the UK has Theresa May, its second female Prime Minister. 2016 could have been the year of female leaders. I'm deeply disappointed and saddened that we're not going to have a female President (at least for the next four years).
I'm going to remember exactly where I was when the US election result came in. And I'm going to do the same for the day when the Brexit Referendum was announced. These events and this year, 2016, will be studied in history, by my children, your children and their children. My advice is remember where you were, remember how you felt, because it will be important to hand on those stories to the next generation. It will be a tale of deep divisions, of political classes being challenged by different groups who are united only by their discontent. It will be remembered as a time of setbacks, protests, possibly revolution. And who knows what else?
The other question we must ask - what do we do now?
As our initiation to the New York art scene, we went to the Museum of Modern Art, where legendary paintings and contemporary sculptures sat side by side. It was a vast and colourful collection, and overwhelming as a whole.
I should explain that the fond memories I have of New York include very few gallery visits. Before this trip, I could tell you that the Guggenheim was round, and replicate the Met logo due to it being embellished on the front of one of my early sketchbooks. However I returned to the city having studied art, fairly seriously, for around three years. I was able to recognise (and fangirl a little over) Starry Night, Cubism, Pollock, Matisse, and so much more. I went from having seen barely any art in New York, to what felt like all of it. MoMA was just the beginning. And it was wonderful.
We also saw the temporary exhibitions on Tony Oursler and Nan Goldin, both of which were fascinating.
I returned from New York City on Sunday, and went straight to school the next morning to endure a packed week of play rehearsals, art classes, tests and various other time-consuming activities of higher education. With not even a day to recover from the jet lag and reflect on my week in New York, it all feels like a wonderful dream.
We spent our days in art galleries and wandering the city streets. Most of the time I was in awe that I had made it back to a place I had idolised in my head for the last three years, and couldn't contain my delight, offering my peers golden insights, such as 'I LOVE THIS TOWN!'
It was different to how I remembered it, but magical in an entirely new way. I saw revolutionary works of art, ones I never fully appreciated on a screen or in pages of a textbook. I met amazing people, each with their own charming New York story to tell. I spent an evening at a ritzy gentlemen's club on the Upper East Side, mingling with people each with a different claim to success, and the next on the floor of the YMCA eating Chinese Food without any cutlery, crying with laughter - both were unforgettable.
The thing I loved most of all, was that I felt so at home. I felt comfortable among the masses of people pacing down the streets with purpose and intolerance. I felt untroubled waking up to the view of the towering glass buildings each morning. I was content.
When we got in the car to leave for the airport, I told myself it was time to go, it was good that I was leaving. I was tired after all, and New York is an intense place to be. Except as soon as I turned around to see the skyline getting further and further away in the distance, my heart broke. We're going the wrong way, I thought.
I miss it already, but I know I'll be back. I think of it now as a glimpse into my future.
Yes, in a mere few hours I am leaving my beloved family behind and heading to none other than New York City. I've talked about my love for New York before on this blog, and it remains true that it's my favourite place in the world. Having not been there in over three years, I'm excited to see if I connect with it in the same way, as naturally, 13 to 16 is a fairly significant period in one's life where a lot can change. I'm also returning on different circumstances. Instead of travelling with my family, I'm going with a group of students, including some of my best friends, to see and make art.
I can guarantee some killer blog posts upon my return, but for now I encourage you to follow my instagram and twitter to keep up with my adventures @LEXILIKESBLOG.