The best thing about self portraits is that I can give myself better eyebrows than I actually have.
I am quite doubtful that anybody can actually be bohemian anymore, that is in the sense of the term as applied to an unconventional person living a lifestyle dedicated to arts, culture and 'doing it my way'. If we are going to refer to the Czech Republic as Bohemia then a person certainly can be Bohemian, but the word was usurped quite some time ago and the nuances of its meaning keep expanding. It is meant to be applied to artists, using that term broadly, who live unconventionally, but I think we have reached a point when most rules and conventions and cultural norms have been challenged and the world has shrunk so much that there is nothing new and shocking or unconventional left to do. Everyone is unconventional and no one is. One can be unconventional within one's smaller environment, perhaps in comparison to family or peers or within the relative framework of what is typical for one's town, and one can be unconventional in one or two areas of life but probably not all of them. One can even happily live life entirely on one's own terms doing exactly as one pleases and shock no one. I confess I am a little bit disappointed by the idea that there is nothing left that is shocking and that even the attempt to shock looks like so much trying too hard.
If you happen to have ME and spend a lot of time wandering the internet randomly reading things because your brain isn't functioning well enough to read a novel and your body isn't functioning well enough to paint and you don't like television, you start doing Google searches for things you need to know like 'how to be a hippie', 'how to be beautiful' or 'how to be smart'. One of my favourites is 'how to be interesting'. I can at least get some images I enjoy from a search of 'how to be bohemian' but eventually I get annoyed at the limitations of this so called boho look. It has a formula and it is not creative in any way, relying mainly on lace and cowboy boots, cut off denim shorts, lots of skin in general and a tendency to live in California where one can dress like it is always summer because mainly it always is. If the internet is to be believed, only young and very thin women wear boho-chic clothing. What does a true bohemian wear? Anything she wants to though generally something not being worn by the bourgeois masses. So in my part of the world that means not wearing yoga pants, or anything that comes from or resembles what comes from LuLuLemon. No skinny jeans or leggings with riding boots and over-sized scarves also known as Pinterest Style.
Since there are plenty of lists or articles online explaining how to be bohemian or how to have bohemian style I thought I would make my own.
Twenty Steps for an Unconventional Life
Possibly Bohemian, Definitely Not Chic.
1. Do things backwards. In a time period when young women delay marriage or replace it with common law relationships, marry young. Believe in it with all your heart.
2. Don't start a family right away but go to school and start a career, things people thought you wouldn't do because you got married.
3. Immerse yourself totally in being a mother but only have one child while everyone around you has two or three and tells you that you will psychologically scar your only child.
4. After more than 20 years of marriage, leave your husband.
5. Rent an apartment and fill it with hand-me down furniture while you spend a year or two uncertain about your financial future because you have discovered you cannot work any longer.
6. Paint because you no longer have a garden and write some bad poetry too.
7. Embrace your insomnia and keep strange hours. Drink tea and eat bacon and eggs in bed at 2am while working on your second attempt at a novel.
8. Switch from being vegan to eating mostly meat and vegetables with liberal doses of cheese.
9. Buy a condominium which seems so terribly bourgeois but is actually so different from what all your friends are doing. Decorate it like a cottage.
10. Have secrets nobody would ever guess at.
11. Wear leggings because apparently they are a fashion faux pas but do not wear them as pants. Not because this is inappropriate but because girls all over town are doing that.
12. Sleep until noon often. Have bubble baths at midnight.
13. Pile books in every room. Put potted plants on top of them.
14. Paint mostly self portraits because it is better to make yourself ugly than your friends. Paint nudes. Use yourself as a model because you are all you have and you don't charge anything.
16. Avoid writer's groups or artist's groups because you are expected to join those and you know you wouldn't like them.
17. Abandon your smart phone. You never used it anyway. You never turned it on.
18. Talk to strangers in the cafe. Never order a non-fat latte or a non-fat anything.
19. Cut your own hair and generally ruin it often, especially your bangs.
20. Take your adult son to the pub frequently because pub food is awesome and so is your son.