Coco Chanel on Character: Kick-Ass Advice From the Queen of Elegance

Coco Chanel, the fashion icon of modern age and a role model for a contemporary woman did not ignite only fashion revolution, but a switch in role of a woman in society. Fabulous and unique, her path was not always the easiest one, but thanks to her stubborn persistence and dedication, she has greatly contributed to women being glorified, independent and proud.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Coco persisted in her vision to create fashion for women instead of creating fashion women should obey to, as if fashion was her weapon to show the world how women are free to choose and create the life to best suit them. And she did it with style – clearly depicted in her famous quotes:

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”

“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”

It was beginning of a century and beginning of a new era: in the uneasy midst of war women got their right to vote and left safety of their homes to work in factories. No longer they were dependent on marriages and support of their men. With this newly established freedom, Coco gave them the right attire, stripping off the rigid corsets and dressing them up in comfortable dresses to follow the natural beauty of a woman clearly defined in her simple saying:

“No one is young after forty, but one can be irresistible at any age.”

This was not welcome at the time at all, but Coco stubbornly refused to act as a conformist and has conquered the rules in the end. And she did it like no one else could.

“I wanted to escape, and to become the center of a universe of my own creation, instead of remaining on the margins or even becoming part of other people’s universe.”

 “For a woman betrayal has no sense – one cannot betray one’s passions.”

Coco understand the time, understood women, and knew their power.

“If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack. Men hate women who weep.”

It is not by chance that it was her business, maybe the only big business, that survived the Second World War, and continued to flourish further. Coco used style and gave women elements of seduction, and by doing this, she was encouraging them to feel free as they were, aware of their real powers neglected for so long.

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”

By refusing to match the norms she has become the building block of the modern world, for the first time allowing women to be both comfortable and fashionable. Indeed, through her creations she was creating new dreams for women, dreams of freedom and equality, bringing entirely new way of thinking.

“Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!”

Importantly, she pointed out to a crucial direction which makes women’s life easier and utterly exciting…

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”

In addition, her perception of beauty and allure is everlasting…

“You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life.”

She was a creator her entire life. We lost her in January 1980. of natural causes, while she was working on a new collection for the upcoming fashion show. By providing encouragement, individualism and hope to women,Coco indeed lived as a queen, and died as a legend.

“It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone. It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he’s terribly strong. And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him. … I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person. I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love. The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness. I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.”

 

Coco… really was one of a kind. She lived up to her saying, created an empire and continues to live in the beauty of her creation.

“You live but once; you might as well be amusing.”

Quite.

 

Love Gina Wings

 

 

Are We Free? The Lie We Live.

A powerful short documentary film created by Spencer Cathcart and published in January this year has almost immediately become viral, spread worldwide and is subtitled to many languages already. It exposes, in a witty and critical way, the truth about our corrupt world, and raises some important questions as well.

“At this moment you could be anywhere doing anything. Instead you sit alone before a screen.

So what’s stopping us from doing what we want, being where we want to be?

Each day we wake up in the same room and follow the same path to live the same day as yesterday. Yet at one time each day was a new adventure. Along the way something changed. Before days were timeless, now our days are scheduled. Is this what it means to be grown up? To be free?

But are we really free?”

In a way, this depends on our definition of freedom, on what freedom means to us. There might be different answers, but in their core one thing is supposed to be present: the ability to become who we truly are, to fully develop our potential and by doing so, better the world we live in.

But, what is the reality we are forced into?

“We discover the world through a textbook. For years we sit and regurgitate what we’re told. Tested and graded like subjects in a lab. Raised not to make a difference in this world. Raised to be no different. Smart enough to do our job but not to question why we do it. So we work and work, left with no time to live the life we work for. Until a day comes when we are too old to do our job. It is here we’re left to die.”

Critical thinking has left our education system some time ago, and while we, as humans, claim to be superior, one has to wonder – how is this superiority manifested?

“They <corporations> gave us money, and in return we gave them the world.

We are like a plague sweeping the Earth. Tearing apart the very environment that allows us to live. We see everything as something to be sold. As an object to be owned. 

But what happens when we have polluted the last river? Poisoned the last breath of air? Have no oil for the trucks that bring us our food? When will we realize money can’t be eaten, that is has no value? 

We aren’t destroying the planet. We’re destroying all life on it. Every year thousands of species go extinct. And time is running out before we’re next.”

… and the consideration goes even further, raising some important questions…

“It’s funny to think humans once thought the Earth was the center of the universe but then again now we see ourselves as
the center of the planet. We point to our technology and say we’re the smartest. But do our computers, cars, and factories really illustrate how intelligent we are? Or do they show how lazy we’ve become?

We put this civilized mask on. 

But when you strip that away, what are we?”

Indeed, what are we?

Consumers of earthly goods? And if so, is this exceeding consumption making us happier and more satisfied? Or is it just widening the gap between who we are, and who we are meant to become?

“One day this sensation we call life will leave us. Our bodies will rot, our valuables recollected. Yesterday’s actions’s all that remain. Death constantly surrounds us. Still it seems so distant from our everyday reality.

If we all look at our innermost desire, we will see our dreams are not so different. We share a common goal. Happiness. 

We tear the world apart looking for joy, without ever looking within ourselves. 

Many of the happiest people are those who own the least. 

But are we really so happy with our iPhones, our big houses, our fancy cars? We’ve become disconnected. Idolizing people we’ve never met. We witness the extraordinary on screens, but ordinary everywhere else. We wait for someone to bring change, without ever thinking of changing ourselves.”

Nothing happens unless we make it happen.

Nothing changes unless we ignite the change.

And if we begin now, with all our efforts, maybe, just maybe, this world will become a better place.

And bear in mind, it is not for the sake of our Mother Earth – she is stronger than we might think. It is for the sake of mankind, more fragile than we dare to think.

“Stop waiting for change and be the change you want to see. 

We didn’t get to this point by sitting on our asses. The human race survived not because we are the fastest or the strongest but because we worked together. We have mastered the act of killing. Now let’s master the joy of living. This isn’t about saving the planet. The planet will be here whether we are or not. Earth has been around for billions of years. Each of us will be lucky to last eighty. We are a flash in time, but our impact is forever.

While we still can we must use our screens to bring us closer together rather than farther apart. For better or worse our generation will determine the future life on this planet.

We can either continue to serve this system of destruction until no memory of our existence remains. 

Or we can wake up. Realize we aren’t evolving upwards but rather falling down.

We just have screens in our faces so we don’t see where we’re heading. This present moment is what every step, every breath and every death has led to. 

We are the faces of all who came before us. And now it is our turn.

You can choose to carve your own path, or follow the road countless others have already taken. Life is not a movie. The script isn’t already written. 

We are the writers.

This is your story.

Their story.

Our story.”

 

Powerful in its entirety, ‘The Lie We Live‘ will open your eyes and inspire you to reconsider yourself, your life and your impact on this world.

Enjoy the full documentary, and remember to share.

 

 

Because Life.

Because Love.

Love Gina Wings

Understanding Life: John Lennon on Art, Love and Peace

At 10:50 PM on Monday, December the 8th 1980, with three shots to the chest, John Lennon was assassinated at the Dakota building in New York.

Desperate attempts of a doctor in the ER, who was holding his heart in attempt to bring life back to it, bore no fruit. That distant December over twenty years ago marked an end to an era.

Painfully simple as that, a man who defined paranoia as a heightened sense of awareness, was shot to death that far night in December outside his New York home, and that triple shot, too easy to be performed for the consequences it made, has marked an end to an era of love, imagination, freedom and mind opening. One of the greatest thinkers of our time was assassinated not for his revolutionary rebellion, but rather for his ideas of peace on Earth. John Lennon was here to show us how beautiful life is, and how love is the ultimate answer. It is rightful, then, to wonder – why would anyone want to kill him. Really, why?

I am afraid we will  never grasp the answer.

It is disturbing, though, that so many peacekeepers suffered violent death: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Benazir Bhutto, Bobby Kennedy, JFK – to name just a few who stood for peace and were either killed by deranged lone gunmen or else died in suspicious circumstances.

Is our society still unprepared for peace?

How come such a simple, natural idea as peace is perceived threatening to that extent that thinkers get killed for proclaiming it?

But, not to get lost, we are here to witness the revolutionary, yet, when considered thoroughly, rather natural ideas John Lennon tried to share. He understands the sixties fully, and has devoted his life to explore and utilize the possibilities recognized.

“The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.”

The life philosophy he shared was very simple, but efficient at the same time. Life is, after all, simple. Chasing your dreams is simple. One just has to be true to itself and persistent, not giving up.

“Make your own dream.

That’s the Beatles’ story, isn’t it? That’s Yoko’s story, that’s what I’m saying now. Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don’t expect Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself.

That’s what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshipped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be.

There’s nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can’t wake you up. You can wake you up. I can’t cure you. You can cure you.”

With uncanny modesty, he shares the feeling of being unrecognized or not understood – something we all have experienced and endured on some level. He is no different, which just adds to his core belief that we are all one.

“When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.”

He truly understood life, and he understood it very soon.

happy-by-lennon1

But, knowing oneself goes a long way. Combined with persistence of dreaming and sixties’ readiness for such a social phenomenon and – voila!  a genius is born!

“People like me are aware of their so-called genius at ten, eight, nine. . . . I always wondered, “Why has nobody discovered me?” In school, didn’t they see that I’m cleverer than anybody in this school? That the teachers are stupid, too? That all they had was information that I didn’t need? I got fuckin’ lost in being at high school. I used to say to me auntie
“You throw my fuckin’ poetry out, and you’ll regret it when I’m famous, ” and she threw the bastard stuff out. I never forgave her for not treating me like a fuckin’ genius or whatever I was, when I was a child. It was obvious to me. Why didn’t they put me in art school? Why didn’t they train me? Why would they keep forcing me to be a fuckin’ cowboy like the rest of them? I was different
I was always different. Why didn’t anybody notice me? A couple of teachers would notice me, encourage me to be something or other, to draw or to paint – express myself. But most of the time they were trying to beat me into being a fuckin’ dentist or a teacher”

Growing pains are not that painful once you read this. We are all going through similar trials and tribulations, and that is a great and awesome part of being a human.

“I used to think that the world was doing something to me, that the world owed me something. And that either the conservatives or the socialists or the fascists or the communists or the Christians or the Jews or the fascists were doing something to me. And when you’re a teeny-booper, that’s what you think. I’m 40 now, I don’t think that anymore—because I found out it doesn’t fucking work. I am part of them. There’s no separation. Were all one. “Give peace a chance,” not “Shoot people for peace.” “All you need is love.” I believe it. It’s damn hard, but I absolutely believe it.”

And, logically enough, this musing is topped with a simple life mission:

“My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

By expressing what we feel,. we create a body that is society, our expression is a landmark of the time we live in and as such it stays recorded and is remembered.

Lennon’s time was turbulent and ever-changing, rebellious and peaceful at the same time. Revolutionary to say the least. In retrospect, it is no wonder youth was finding ways to survive and cope with the contemporary times.

“I think the music reflects the state that the society is in. It doesn’t suggest the state. I think the poets and musicians and artists are of the age – not only do they lead the age on, but they also reflect that age. […] Like The Beatles. We came out of Liverpool and we reflected our background and we reflected our thoughts in what we sang, and that’s all people are doing.”

“The basic thing nobody asks is why do people take drugs of any sort? Why do we have these accessories to normal living to live? I mean, is there something wrong with society that’s making us so pressurized, that we cannot live without guarding ourselves against it?”

And, as we all know it well, to John, Love was the ultimate answer. He loved Yoko, and by loving Yoko he loved the whole wide world. It was painfully simple. And beautiful.

“But I can be alone without Yoko, but I just have no wish to be. There’s no reason on earth why I should be alone without Yoko. There’s nothing more important than our relationship, nothing. And we dig being together all the time. Both of us could survive apart but what for? I’m not going to sacrifice love, real love for any whore or any friend or any business, because in the end you’re alone at night and neither of us want to be. And you can’t fill a bed with groupies. It doesn’t work. I don’t want to be a swinger. I’ve been through it all and nothing works better than to have someone you love hold you.”

Maybe his love is best described with the following saying which leaves nothing to be added.

“I was asked in an interview which was more important: money or love?

I told the interviewer that if he had to ask the question, he wouldn’t understand the answer.”

It was Love that denied his fear of death. love is denial of death itself, Love will always conquer death.

“I’m not afraid of death because I don’t believe in it. It’s just getting out of one car, and into another.”

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

Was there an uncanny prophecy in the seemingly innocent words he shared once?

“Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King are great examples of fantastic nonviolents who died violently. I can never work that out. We’re pacifists, but I’m not sure what it means when you’re such a pacifist that you get shot. I can never understand that.”

‘The Day John Lennon Died’ came in 2010, on the 30th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon. The film traces John’s final day from a radio interview, to signing an autograph for his eventual killer, to working in the studio and finally on his way back home to see his son when he was shot and killed.

 

This holiday season, let me remind you of the most unique greeting, delivered long ago and far away… a greeting that will never grow old…

war is over

Love Gina Wings

 

Reminiscences on Death and Is Life Cycle All Backwards

We are all dying.

The only tragedy of death is not the death itself, but a life not lived or the intimacy never shared. Death is nothing but a part of the cycle: we are born, we live, we love, we fade away, we die. To see this as tragedy is just unnecessary dramatizing laws of nature.
There are many contemplations on death written and I would just like to share some I find most inspiring or enlightening.
Like this one by Steve Jobs, which captures the importance of living:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Or the one by Anaïs Nin describing the very core of living itself:
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”
When you live, really live, you are not supposed to dread death; yet what with our loved ones? How we cope with their passing, how we live on, how we accept? Maybe the best insight is the one by Lemony Snicket:
“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.” 
Oscar Wilde shares an interesting observation on what death really is, and after contemplating upon it, I have to admit to feel at peace with the very concept of death:
“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” 
Sense of humor will get you a long way, so why not conclude this reminisce with George Carlin‘s interesting and witty perspective:
“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating …and you finish off as an orgasm.”
Love Gina Wings

Planned Obsolescence

 

A light bulb in Livermore, CA, has been on since 1901. The inventor is no longer among us, and the secret of the Centennial Light Bulb remains undiscovered. Is there an interest in revealing a secret of such a significant patent – a product that does not fail?

Planned obsolescence is the secret mechanism at the heart of our consumer society.

Although some may argue how this theory is dangerously approaching conspiracy, we have to admit there is, as Brooks Stevens clearly puts,

“… the desire on the part of the consumer to own something a little newer, a little sooner than is necessary.”

The idea to create the desire in the consumer, to seduce the client, was adopted in the fifties and has become the basis of marketing which was almost non-existent before that time. The consumer society created has become the foundation for growth, the Holy Grail of our economy.

Defenders of planned obsolescence argue how

Without planned obsolescence these places (malls; a.c.) wouldn’t exist. There wouldn’t be any products; there wouldn’t be any industry; there wouldn’t be any designers, architects; there wouldn’t be any salespeople, cleaners; there wouldn’t be any security guards. All the jobs would go.

While this might be true, I cannot help but wonder how do engineers feel about designing products to fail?

There is a further argument whether it is possible to imagine viable economy without planned obsolescence, and without its impact on the environment.

There is an interesting notion of the long life light bulb produced in the East Berlin and introduced in the 1981 International Fair. With fright for the future of economy, no one from the West was interested in purchasing the patent. And, as we know, the Berlin Wall fell, the East German factory was closed down, and the long life bulb can be seen in the museum, as a relic of days that seem further than they really are.

When the overall impact of the planned obsolescence is considered, one has to wonder whether it is really necessary. Yet, we are still reluctant to change it.

How is it possible that, with all the wisdom and wit, all the advances and progress, we are still unable to create the system that will be prosperous, yet will not be determined with growth?

I feel that the most appropriate closing of this meditation is citing John Thackara:

Our role in life seems to be just to consume things with credit, to borrow money to buy things we don’t need. 

That makes no real sense to me.

 

For all of you questioning everything, this is a great documentary.

 

 

May it inspire you.

 

Love Gina Wings

 

Other Writers

We read, we reflect, we write.

Writing is a form of a prayer, as if, once written, the world lasts forever, lives after us and stays a proof of our existence. We write, not only to leave our footprint, but to be read, in hope we will, maybe, be understood.

But, most of all, we write for writings’ sake only. When we write, it does not matter whether our carefully selected words will be read, contemplated upon, or understood… we write to take the thought off our chest, the thought that is within us and is yearning to be set free. This is what connects us with the genius, if such thing exists at all.

There is no comparison in writing, or in any art form, for that matter.

Yet, we all create the unlimited artwork of connected ideas, similar dreams and almost identical motivations. We are moved by creation, by our yearn to be heard – not necessarily understood – but listened to and heard. It is our goal to share ideas in attempt to make this world, the only one we have, a better place.

We are chroniclers of the times of rapid change, trying to establish values – a category easily forgotten in the world of instant solutions and quick remedies. We know self growth is a constant process and a never ending work in progress, and are trying to keep that awareness alive. We are readers first, for we know all was already said and done, it is up to us to accept this wisdom and adapt it to contemporary life. It is this wisdom and awareness that distinguishes us from the crowd, and is making us lonely at the same time.

The stream of consciousness I am creating is a result of essays I examined being very close to mine. I am overwhelmed with the fact how similar motivations and ideas we, female x gen writers have, albeit being born in and raised in so many different parts of the world.

There is a power stronger that geography and lifestyle limits, the power being our mindset, our views, our consciousness. Once upon a time we have left the World affect us in a way specific to that particular moment in time, we, baby boomers’ descendants, brought to this Earth to capture the moral values before they become extinct. This is why our voice need to be heard and understood.

Words are our swords, and it is the words we hold in our defense.

Love Gina Wings