12.8.14

A Four Part Goodbye

I'm not sure how I want to start this.
But maybe saying just that is the best way to begin.

As most of you Curbside Fashion readers may know, I've been making Youtube videos about thrifted fashion for a few years now on my self-titled channel: Lauren Rose (JustACurbsideProphet). During the school year, I had a Wake Magazine interview that alluded to the following words I'm about to express. As grateful as I am for everyone who has encouraged me, upon recently hitting 50,000+ subscribers I've become overwhelmed with guilt and weariness about my future on the internet. I knew this post was a long time coming, but recently I've decided to finally put things to rest.

I
Thin, rich, pretty

II
The allure of recognition

III
The Mac DeMarco epiphany

IV
The perceivable end to my Youtube videos







I

I wanted to be thin, rich and pretty. Simple as that. 
When people ask me why I started Youtube I usually twist that answer, replying how I wanted to share my 'passion for fashion' instead of saying the honest truth. I was so young when I started posting videos on Youtube, I was naive.  

Of course, I have to preface this by saying that this is not a rant about Youtube culture. This is me explaining my experience growing up on the internet wanting some kind of fame, and relatively achieving it - and how it has changed who I am (for better and worse). When I stumbled upon the Beauty Community, I was not in the best place in my life. My circumstances were pretty rough, on top of puberty, and I wanted to find a way to escape. I saw these beautiful girls who could afford everything I couldn't, who had seamless Ikea rooms and expensive/excessive amounts of makeup. I yearned to be one of them, or at least yearned to live through them. I was actually ready to throw in the towel shortly after starting my first makeup and beauty themed videos. I realized that I could never be one of those girls. Not only was it financially impossible to copy them- I also couldn't morph my face and body to satisfy my fucked up standards of beauty I'd created. 

Shortly after, Jenn and Sarah from ClothesEncounters entered and redefined the Beauty Community scene - proving that you could shop humbly and still have a killer sense of style. Jenn and Sarah were stunningly fresh and witty - yet also extremely relatable. Their hipster style was just entering the mainstream market and they were simply magnetic together. If it weren't for Jenn and Sarah, I would have stopped making my content all together. To this day, I owe my rise in confidence to both young women and I will always support their endeavors (hey Jenn!). As I started modeling my video content after theirs, I found a new high in video making and it was life changing. I felt like a rebel, posting videos sharing my thrifted clothing finds (remember when thrifting wasn't cool?), dawning ripped tights and terribly cut shirts.  When I started being sent clothing for free by companies, I couldn't believe my luck. To this day I have $200 dollar shoes sitting in my closet that I hardly wear that were gifted to me. Suddenly I started to get more views and followers, although I never could quite amount to my predecessors.  I guess that is where things started to go wrong. 

You see, Youtube can make you feel incredibly useful and important, and it can also make you feel like dog shit. As my view counts flattened out, my confidence issues came back. Sometimes I'd film an entire video and never upload it because I thought I looked terrible in a certain take. My fashion lookbook videos, which were by far my most popular and requested, made me cringe while filming them. I never got to the production level that I desired, and didn't want to push myself to attain it either. Of course there were highs and lows. My Lauren Gets Deep videos were always genuine, and my thrifted finds did indeed bring me joy. But something about putting myself out onto the internet constantly was wearing away at me.

 I slowly began to realize that I preferred to be behind the camera, and that I needed to sort out my own issues before I put myself through the affliction of filming. I felt like a fraud talking about body positivity when I couldn't even stand to watch some of my older videos, or even film newer ones. The money generated from my videos was realistically a nice benefit, but slowly I realized that the only means to my income were coming from the views of my face, my clothes, and my body. I started to feel trapped and desperate.  I'd been receiving such love and respect from new and old followers, but I knew that in my heart making videos did not make me happy.

(Tavi Gevinson by Petra Collins)


II

The allure of fame is something that most well known people don't talk about, understandably. I mean, we all ditched our "I want to be famous!" dreams when we were 10 years old, at least, we stopped saying it out loud. I think about that a lot. 

Even when I stopped vibing with my own Youtube videos, I kept them up in hopes that they would lead me to some glorious opportunity. One summer I discovered Tavi Gevinson (founder of Rookie Magazine) and Petra Collins during one of my Youtube lulls, and I was astounded by the similarities in taste that Tavi and I had. We both shared a transcendent love for The Virgin Suicides and her writing pinpointed my feelings in an eerily similar way. She would do these photo shoots that I completely fell in love with, but would never have the confidence to do myself. I understood her aesthetic so well, I was ecstatic upon discovering her. But something hollow started to seep in. 

Tavi seemed to have a certain freedom that I longed for myself. She could express her love for things in ways that I only dreamed of. The Rookie Mag collaboration was the kind of outlet that I had been looking for my whole life. I had come close to expressing the vibes we shared in my videos, but I didn't ever do it as she did, it seemed.  Tavi had this weird spunky ambition that I lost a very long time ago. While I was busy trying to become notable by making videos that I didn't quite believe in, Tavi was out there doing exactly what she envisioned. And instead of inspiring me, it messed me up. This whole time I was chasing this idea of fame (recognition/respect) and I got it - but not for what I wanted. I was stressed, insecure, and unsure.

Even though Tavi's success crumpled my own at the time, I am glad it happened that way. Discovering Tavi's youthful passion and realizing how much I missed out on my own adolescence forced me to reevaluate what was important in my life. I slowly started making less Youtube videos and started focusing on activism, film, and live VJ-ing. My original passions resurfaced, and I'm still nursing them to this day. It feels like I'm starting all over, and I'm okay with that. 


III

Then there was the Mac Demarco epiphany. My friend Nyala and went to the sold out 7th Street Entry show earlier this summer. First in line, baby! We both had been fans for a while, vibing with Mac's odd caricature of a personality and dreamy guitar riffs. He seemed so bizarre, watching his VHS style music videos online. A cult singer, who's fan base comprises of chain-smoking hipsters who would probably get his signature tattooed on their ass if given the ample opportunity.

As Nyala and I waited for the doors to open, Mac himself came outside for a smoke (go figure). Suddenly, I got all clammy. I didn't expect to meet him, nor would I have if given a chance (shout out to ANXIETY). He looked so strange, all 3D and such. His gap was... gap-y. He was shorter than I'd imagined, but his clothes were as normcore as I'd imagined. Slowly but surely floppy haired kids surrounded him, trying to casually make conversation. Very sly.

We decided we'd probably kick ourselves if we didn't say 'hi', so slowly but surely we both got up from our spots to talk to the famed Mac DeMarco himself. As we shook hands and began to talk, it dawned on me that I literally had nothing to say to him. Strangely, it wasn't out of anxiety - rather I realized that he was just a normal guy. He is one of those kids that I'd meet at a house party and share a beer with. But I don't know him. I don't know anything about him first hand, yet there we all were, low-key swarming him .... to experience what? 

I couldn't believe how naive I'd been about celebrities, especially musicians like Mac. As we talked about my Menards shirt I felt totally calm. As the gig eventually started, his bro fans went crazy (drunkenly screaming for "Viceroy") and shoved their way to the front of the stage relentlessly. It sort of killed my vibe, actually. 

The Mac DeMarco epiphany will always be a prevalent turning point in how I see things. It's not just a lesson on how we perceive celebrities... it's a lesson on how we see all unattainable things. You know: dreams, careers, projects, etc. Why are we so afraid of them? Maybe if we started to see them as more accessible ambitions/people we wouldn't hold ourselves back as much. Fear. That is the root of it. 




IV

The three photos above have a lot of meaning to me. They all show some kind of growth that I've had in this past year.

1. The first photo is of an oak tree that I'd lie under while skipping my College Algebra class.  During that fall semester I'd spread out my grandmother's crochet blanket and relish the warmth of the sun, the buzz of the new school year. I knew that time would escape quickly in a month or two, when everything would begin to freeze over and become harder, so skipping a class or two (or more) felt okay. What I didn't quite know then was that that fall semester was a major turning point in my life. It was the first time that I felt like I belonged at college, at least spatially. I was just forming the strongest friendships of my life during that time, and if I knew how far I'd come emotionally - I wouldn't have believed it. I'd lay there looking up at the twinkling leaves for hours, listening to Bob Dylan and the American Beauty soundtrack, sincerely enjoying life for what seemed like the first time in a while.

2. The second photo was of my wall tapestry in my dorm room. On it I had pinned numerous photos: Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie, Rose McGowan, a Run Lola Run still, a crude drawing of Stewart Pickles falling into a time warp whilst making pudding for Angelica at 3 in the morning. I loved waking up to all of these images that I found inspiring for some reason or another. They reminded me of my personal identity, and that I did indeed have one.

3. Lastly, the third photo is of the windowsill in my old bedroom at my parent's house. On it lies a picture of Julian Casablancas, one that used to be taped on the inside of my high school locker. Although most people don't associate positive experiences with high school (I surely didn't), I can start to feel the appreciation sink in. I'm starting to remember old crushes I had, the art room I spent so much of my time in, and the electricity that filled the air when school started and ended.

And I guess that is what I feel now as well: electricity. I can't say what will happen to me on the internet. I still want to continue writing on this blog and posting on Tumblr and Twitter. But for right now, I don't see myself coming back to Youtube anytime soon. And as I'm typing up these words at 3:58 am, let it be known that I am not writing this in a feverish state. These years have shaped me immensely, and I want to thank everyone who has ever sent me a kind message. And thank you right now for reading this sentence. And this one. Thank you to everyone who will continue to follow my pursuits, regardless of me not showing up in your Youtube inbox. I will cherish all of our moments, and this will not be the last of me.

-Lauren Rose
Curbside Fashion

18 comments:

  1. Congratulations. As a young person stuck in high school, your videos taught me so much about myself and my capabilities. I stumbled onto your blog and videos and have since become better at being myself. You gave me so much and I'm so glad you have found happiness in your life too.

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    1. I am completely honored that my videos/blogposts have had that affect on you and your journey. Continue to keep it real, as always.
      -Lauren Rose

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  2. It's great that you dare to be so introspective (even when what we discover isn't always so fun). Do what you love, and love what you do!

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    1. Solid, thank you! I figure it's important to be honest with you all, given everything that we've had/will continue to have!
      -Lauren Rose

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  3. As a young woman struggling with my own identity and my future aspirations, this was a breath of fresh air. I hope I can start to see things as clearly as you do soon. I found you first on Youtube and loved all your content, your such a cool, down to earth girl. I will continue to follow and enjoy your other internet endeavours. Best of Luck!

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    1. Thank you so much, honest and truly. Clarity will come to everyone at some point, it just takes longer than you'd expect sometimes. Thank you for sticking around and best of luck to you as well!
      -Lauren Rose

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  4. I'm so happy for you and supportive of your decision, Lauren. Having people know your name and who you are is a fantasy among many (most are afraid to admit that), but knowing yourself is way more important. I'm still on the path of self identification. I wish the best of luck to my favorite! I will be keeping up with you as always! Lots of love :)) -Scout

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    1. SCOUT. Thank you so much! We had some good times back in the day, I still feel like I know you so well just by seeing what you've been doing (a.k.a. stalking your Facebook). Thank you for sticking around and I hope you'll stay on your path of finding yourself - and hopefully that'll include more traveling adventures. You'll always be in my heart, girl - and I'll ALWAYS be rooting for you. Hopefully we'll cross paths IRL dans le future ✌ ✌ ✌ LOVE U

      -Lauren Rose

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  5. People like you,jenn,and tavi have helped me greatly on my journey towards self discovery. It was really cool to find a person via internet who was into thrifting,lofi, 70s/90s culture ,feminism, ,and film. You're like an internet big sister to me lol. even if youtube is over i will find solace in looking through your other media outlets. Youve inspired me to get more involved in school/ be myself and im hella excited to go to more art museums in the fall that are near my university. Its funny because i found your youtube channel/blog in my junior year in high achool around the same time my class was reading thoreau and analyzing into the wild. You thoreau,and into the wild helped me find more beauty in nature,being social, and introspection. You are a very badass, charismatic, and funny girl who is a blessing to this earth! Peace out and keep on livin Lauren! Oh and your photography is always on point. ♡♡

    Styleriottt.blogspot.com

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  6. I feel the same way, I completely agree with your decision. Its better to live your life then try to make it look good for everyone to see, I will miss your vids, but i'm cool with just reading your posts :) You are so real and I feel like we have so much in common.

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  7. I'm glad you took the time to write out such a detailed post Lauren. I will miss your videos but I understand your decision. You live your life and achieve your dreams!

    http://insidesai.blogspot.co.uk/

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  8. I started watching your video's in the first term of my last year of school (last winter) and I just wanted to say they kinda helped get me started on the road to finding my identity. I'll miss your videos but I totally get your need to stop and you'll always be a bit of a inspiration to me
    ~ Peace ~
    Rosie

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  9. I have to say this was really well written and I hope you keep writing and creating! When I found you on youtube years ago, you were still transitioning into your weight loss. We had similar tastes and you made me proud for liking DIY + feminism + Jules + dreamy films + 60s aesthetic etc. I remember you making me feel really pumped to work with crafts again and was happy to watch you grow more popular, because here was someone who deserved it. You're going to do big things in the future, I know it! Never lose your sparkle. <3

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  10. I admire your honesty. I loved your youtube videos but ultimately, I see exactly why it's something you've walked away from. I hope you find exactly what you're looking for and that it loves you back. Truthfully, I'm trying to do the same things with writing on my own blog. I'm working up the courage to be completely honest. Kuddos to you and thanks for writing.

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  11. I appreciate your honesty so much. I guess that's why I liked you immediately when I started to watch your videos. You were a breath of fresh air, just like Jenn and Sarah. You have such a cool personality and interesting interests haha I feel like we would be great friends. Even though it will be sad not to see your pretty face in my subscription box anymore I totally get how youtube could be bad for your self esteem. Sometimes I like things so much that I want to share them with the world, but I'm not brave enough to show my face/body.. which is why I started writing on tumblr instead. You totally inspire me and I will never stop reading your blog, follow your dreams ! Ps I've never heard of Mac Demarco before and I just listened to a couple of songs... Let's just say I'm hooked.

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  12. You are such an amazing writer! I applaud your honesty in every single thing you post, including your YouTube videos. Although I've been a huge follower of the thrift hauls and the film picks, I completely understand where you're coming from and hope you find happiness in any decision you make. Keep moving forward and don't let anything hold you back! :)

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  13. You're such an inspiration to me. I've always liked what you've done, but this text above, gave my pulse a new beat. I'm a 18 year old girl from Sweden and I've kept myself updated with your videos and blogposts. And from what I've seen, you seem like an amazing person that surely will do great deeds in this life. I know it might sound odd, but I've always imagined us meeting in the future. Despite an ocean between us, I hope that we one day can share an intellectual conversation about art and culture, or perhaps the weather, as we swedes like to do it. (Joke aside, the last bit)
    Keep up the great writing. /Amanda

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