ruby x jacket and purse, zara vest and belt, vinatge dress, nine west shoes, chinatown earrings
I remember going on vacation with my parents. Every summer we would drive to the British Columbia interior and stay at a hotel called the Capri. my parents would eat sandwiches served to them by stoned teenagers and drink margaritas poolside. My sister would be constantly jumping in the pool, coaxing my parents to watch her next dive, because as she promised, 'it is going to be the best dive ever.' They watched behind their sunglasses and beer goggles.
She dove and got a tan and made friends.
I always sat under the umbrella, with a large brim hat, layered in sunscreen and hidden behind a book.
I was usually in a trance all summer long. I usually didn't speak to anybody, unless I wanted something or I just wanted to sass my parents or someone else who I thought was against me in some way.
I remember as a kid, when the school year came to an end every May, I would give myself a mission. One year it was to get my learner's permit, another year it was to learn how to be a professional equestrian vaulter. The year after that it was how to be sensual; so I would inevitably attract a boyfriend, of course.
Every May I would rally up my newest ambitions and then head to the library. I would read books and write ideas for 2 months almost every summer. By August, I would try to execute some of these half-baked and fully researched ideas.
August. The sweltering month of trial and error.
The month that tested my retention.
I remember sitting poolside at the Capri, reading about training horses and parallel parking and masturbation under a wide-brimmed hat, eating meatless club sandwiches and sneaking sips of my dad's pina colada.
I remember at the end of every day, I would make it a point to try and apply what I had spent the day learning. So I would whine until my parent's let me park the car or I would take the bus out of the Capri to a nearby farm where I would look at the mares and the stallions and they would look at me back. I would dream of taming them.
I would wink at the waiters as they dropped off at our food at restaurants and I would make small talk with the bell boy at the hotel, just to test if the books I was sneakinng past my parents were doing me and my ambitious sexuality any good.
One day I was running down the hall of the hotel, racing my sister back to our room. My mother and father dragged behind. As I neared room 528, my father yelled,
"Ashley, you are a hideous runner. You need to be more graceful," from room 510.
Grace. Shit. I never considered this quality before that moment.
Grace would become my newest obsession.
So, in my ignorant youth, I studied grace.
I had been a dancer since I could walk, but I always associated it with power, and not so much grace.
I started to wear dresses. I started to wear heels. I thought brushing makeup on my face was graceful.
I walked, moved, ate and gestured dainty-like. Lady-like. Whatever I thought was graceful.
I often try to recall my reasoning as to why I like fashion and beauty and this memory of grace always pops up when I start to retrace my steps.
No. It is not the most beguiling moment of my past, but it is a real reason as to why I am the way I am. The search for grace, or at least some illusion of grace, has perhaps made me pursue the exterior ambitions of fashion and beauty.
Grace may have nothing to do with most ideas surrounding clothing these days.
In fact, I wear studded leather and sloppy t-shirts and shitloads of jewelry more often than not, but somehow I still attempt every fashion do or don't with a sense of elegance. Not guts, not vanity, not exhibitionism, but grace under fire.