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I am unpacking episode 5 and 6 of My Mad Fat Diary.

I recently wrote an essay for a teen website about my experiences as a young dancer. Writing it was both cathartic and disturbing. I didn’t realize, more than 10 years later, how many things I had pushed down as if they never really happened and never really mattered. 

I’ve learned that life is a lot like high school if only because for most of us, we never escape the same patterns born during those years. We learn that those same traumatic situations are only dressed differently years later. The difference with time is learning how to see those things and make different choices. 

I made a quick post on Facebook about something one of my fellow dancers said back then. I soon got a flurry of messages from girls I knew and admired back then who were afraid it was them. We began discussing our current lives and our pasts. I apologized for being a raging bitch. I knew I was then, but felt justified. The only way I knew how to express my emotions back then was through cruelty. I felt I belonged nowhere and trusted no one, so I pushed people away in whatever manner possible.

The funny thing is that they also shared bits and pieces of what they were going through too. Looking back now, it made sense, but at the time, I could not see outside of myself. How could I? When you only know a brief part of the world, it is difficult to see anything else.

To me, that is what series 2 of My Mad Fat Diary is truly about. It is not about Finn or about body image or about friendship, not really. No, it is about how we see and why we see and what we see. It is about stories – the ones we tell ourselves and the ones the world tells us – and what we make of them. It is about our realities, how nothing is really as true as we think it is. You can never know anyone as much as you know yourself. But many times knowing ourselves and knowing our singular worlds can cause more damage in the end than what anyone else might say to us. 

Last year, I performed in the first 20x2CHI. The sessions originated at SXSW and Chicago was the first official outpost. I will be sharing a story at the next 20x2 in April (more details here). Until then, you can check out this clip from the first one. I come in around 17:30. The sessions theme was “How Could You…”

Anonymous asked: In your opinion, is it ever too late to become a writer and begin building a portfolio of work?

I truly don’t think so. I don’t know how old you are. I’m 26 years old. I used to think that it was too late for me to be successful and this was at age 23. The internet has a funny way of tricking you into thinking that everyone is more successful than you are. Some people break out when they’re young. For others, it takes more sweat and toil. That doesn’t mean their work is of lesser value.

Anonymous asked: I love that your most recent post is a notebook version of an upcoming essay. Do you hand write every one of your essays? I thought I was the only person to still do that!

I handwrite about 90% of my essays. I have a hard time just sitting in front of a screen. I’ve spent more time writing my thoughts and ideas with pen and paper than not. When I type essays, I always feel like I forgot something important, as if my mind doesn’t make as crisp of a connection. Even if I don’t write the entire essay by hand, I always outline and always do that by hand. Nothing else makes sense. 

New essay in the works.

"Better" by TEEN

Been listening to this one a lot, pretending that warmth is just around the corner and not some faraway fantasy. It’s a year old, but sounds older and fresh at the same time. That kind of simple classic indie pop that almost always translates. It’s the sound of youth and summer, basically. 

Still from My dreams, my works must wait till after hell…, 2012 by Simone Leigh

I really enjoyed this beautiful mini-documentary on Matthew Dear’s hometown and musical origins. In it, Dear travels back to Texas, meets up with his father and visits his old black barber. It is touching and ties in nicely with his sound, especially the Asa Breed-era. Also, he looks beautiful and his hair makes me want to cry. 

"Regret" by St. Vincent

Another thing I love about this album is its insistence on simplicity. Or rather, St. Vincent’s version of simplicity. I loved her past albums for how deeply she built new worlds with her weird guitar riffs and exquisite lyrics.

I started reading through my old college journals this week and I finally recognized my past love of the excessive. Stakes were high and the past entries were precise in their moments of joy and pain.

I can understand how I first came to love Annie Clark’s music: each track sounded like it was built for the ears of cynical dreamers like Clark. We are weary on the surface, but harbor deep loves and desires internally. 

This new work however is clean and sure of itself. It’s like she’s finally come into the truest version of herself. Her ideas about the world are not ones that are searching, but ones that understand. I love it. 

I’ve decided that I’m going to start posting some of my “lost” mixicisms in anticipation of a new one that is all fancy and glossy. 

See, what had happened was: DRIVEN was meant to be part four in my Summer mixes from 2013. However, I got extremely busy and silly around that time, hopping around from Wavefront to New York to Pitchfork to Lollapalooza, with rarely a moment in between. I think I took more than two weeks off during the month of July alone. 

What it’s about: DRIVEN is music for the comedown, those moments in-between the dance floor (FLOORED) and the next day (RAYS). It’s last call. It’s the cab ride home. It’s the decision to crash “here” instead of going home. It’s that final solo dance before you say goodnight. 

Download parts 1 (RAYS), 2 (BLISS), and 3 (FLOORED).

DRIVEN tracklist (DOWNLOAD)

"Thrones" by AbJo 

"Sin Love With You" by JETS 

"Jamaica" by Van She

"MSI MUSMID" by Ghostpoet

"Peaks" by Tourist

"Fireworks (deadboy slo mo house edit)" by Drake

"Think Twice (Original)" by The Detroit Experiment

"Love You Gotta Lose Again" by Nicolas Jaar

"Howling (Âme Remix)" by Frank Wiedemann & Ry Cuming

"Homesick (ft. Ada)" by DJ Koze

"Come Into My Room" by Cooly G

"Return of the Mack (Full Version" by) Mark Morrison

"Bring You Down feat. George Maple" by Flume

"TIDAL WAVE (ft SAINT SAVIOUR)" by FTSE

"Blue Ocean Floor" by Justin Timberlake

Ladies: Are you a Boss? Bossy? Or Both?

I made another appearance today on Vocalo’s “The Morning AMp” with the amazing Mikki Kendall and something might be brewing. But ANYWAY, here is a clip from today’s show about Lean In and Bossy and all of that mess. 

The tied parties are truly some of my favorites. Never pretentious, always super late at night, very lovely and welcoming and open in a way that one could only hope for when it comes to house and techno and the beat outside of the club.

I am quite certain that I am being tested right now. It is not just a matter of how I deal with difficult situations. It is a matter of how I deal with myself, my self-esteem, my self-confidence. Trust that unhappiness breeds more unhappiness. It can further drag you down and drag others down as well. The greatest thing I’ve done as an adult is recognize this and begin to place it into that box that must be locked away. It does not always work. Life is not stable. That much is certain. But to be able to do it more often than not is a step in the right direction. And to be able to see that terribleness in others and keep moving is the next best thing. 

I felt terrible during the day, but I could come home and collect my thoughts. Writing is what saved me.

"And now?" she asked.

If your day is so terrible that it bleeds into every other moment, you must eradicate that plague. Sometimes it is complete. Sometimes you have to put it away in a thick box. When you finally let go, the throwing away will be more like a sledgehammer to the past.

“Britt Julious is one of Chicago’s most underrated and unrecognized voices — she muses on feminist topics (as well as femininity), issues in the black community, Chicago and the general BS that comes with being a twentysomething”