Life Lessons Gossip Girl has Taught Me.

When it comes to inappropriate and scandalous teen drama/chick flicks, gossip girl often is enlisted as one of the “classics” (especially since it is been on Netflix since FOREVER). It has definitely made its mark and stood out from all the other young adult tv series. Not gonna lie I’ve been watching the show since the tender age of 13 years old. Too early? You might say, but it’s not difficult to find out that majority of people who grew up watching the series when it first aired were around 13 to 25 years old (sometimes even “real” adults enjoyed it).
All About My Brother
When I first discovered the show as a “fresh” teen, I was immediately drawn to the impeccable prep-school fashion, the glitz and glamour, the lavish yet carelessly lifestyle, and most importantly, the relationships between all the characters (including struggling ones with the parents). If there is one show that in my opinion glorified New York City as a place to be, gossip girl is it. A 13 years aspiring fashion designer and self-proclaimed art hoe, I found myself fascinated by how effortlessly (as it appeared) the show incorporated fashion into building the foundations of the show’s characters. Who is Blair without her headband and colorful stockings? And who would even recognize Serena van der Woodsen without her golden voluminous champagne blond hair and risqué outfits (I mean for 16 years old)? Their ridiculously mean demeanor and cruel adult-queue conversations were in the most part so unrelatable and shocking for most middle-class suburban teenagers that it’s so cringy and ADDICTING to watch! In a major way, gossip girl has shaped my teenage years. You constantly feel like you are not “cool” enough to know these characters in real life, yet every episode you find yourself relating to them more and more. My love for gossip girl is a far more personal one, and let me explain why.

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Blake Lively on location for 'Gossip Girl' in Midtown Manhattan

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I did grow up differently compare to majority of the teens I went to high school with (click on this link if you want to find out more), being a teen was already hard. At times I felt that under my circumstances it’s even more difficult to find a sense of place in and comfort. I felt that no one understood me, including my parents and siblings back in Taiwan. For the most part, I worried that I couldn’t meet their expectations, and eventually failed them if I were to completely infuse myself with the American culture. I feared for not getting acceptance from my peers at school and feared that if I did become one of them, my parents would be ashamed and disappointed because I didn’t become their ideal prodigy. The culture differences was already a gap that I struggled for years to cross, left along adding living without parental guidance in a “foreign” country that I was told I belonged. The show that made me feel better was gossip girl. It opened my eyes to endless possibilities, ways to live as a teen in America, and most importantly, I feel that my life at the time was a big assortment of all the characters and their various life struggles/circumstances combined. In season 1, Serena’s parents sent her away from home to boarding school, Blair’s mom often verbally abused her into dieting and eventually turned her into a bulimic, Nate’s parents looked picture perfect on the surface but they were rotten inside, and overall they were all pretending to be more grown-up than they actually were, just like me traveling internationally by myself every year to be with my family, and managing my own life (for the most part). In a funny way, I was relating more to the crazier “unrealistic” parts of the show because of how unconventional my own life was as a teenager, and it was comforting to know that there were teens sharing the same (if not more) problems that were bigger than us.
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The truth is Gossip Girl has received a fair amount of criticism over the years. Some said it’s injecting inappropriate ideas and served as a bad influence on teens. Some even straight up think the show is trash with its melodramatic plotlines and everchanging character personalities. But I think one might even argue that it has exactly achieved its purpose of existence. When I revisited the episodes as an adult in my 20s, I somehow ALWAYS get something new out of it, things I simply didn’t have the capacity to pick up on when I was younger. Gossip Girl is one of those shows that no matter how many times you rewatch it, it never gets old. The fashion still looked fresh af, they used social media and are addictive to their phones like nobody’s business. Somehow the show shaped and predicted the millennial culture in the incoming years. The accurate portrayal of a narcissistic generation is ON POINT. These characters have a group of solid squad members that are constantly falling out yet in a various fucked-up way always ended up working together and repair their seemly broken friendships. Not to mention the idea that apparently our parents are as flawed as us, they are just better at hiding it.
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My recommendation for people who’s been a fan and want to rewatch some episodes but don’t like the commitment, start off with the first two episodes of each season (Summer madness shall I say?), then proceed to the Thanksgiving episode from each season and then finally the winter episodes are absolutely a MUST. They are not only dramatic, but the scenery and aesthetic are immaculate. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Don’t forget to serve yourself a glass of white wine/champagne with strawberries or your favorite dessert. IT IS A VIBE.
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Bonus: the Paris Episodes (Season 4 Episode 1 & 2)* soooooo good.
Gossip Girl is hands down my favorite television series because:
1. The fashion
2. The crazy plot lines
3. Aesthetics
4. Rewatchability
5. I grew up with it!
Let me know your favorite episode(s) and whether you think it’s as genius as I praised it to be in this post!

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XO J simple

Reflection Time.

Since coming to Spain and having to live here (due to my studies), I’ve lost a few people along the way, the so called “friends” that would always hit me up randomly to check up on me or to simply to lurk. It’s interesting to learned that as soon as people found out I was no longer pursuing fashion or art (for now) they gradually disappeared out of my life. It fact, what I do no longer interest them. All of the sudden it isn’t “cool” enough and I’ve lost the value to what they deemed was important or interesting about me. This really showed me who the real ones are and who gon’ be there through thick and thins. That being said, I need to acknowledge that it can be confusing for some people (sometimes including myself) because there was a time in my life that part of me really shined (I was voted the most likely to be in Vogue by the entire senior class in High School). I was creative, I had pink ombre mermaid hair and various other colors. I wore spiky high heels to school 4/5 days, and it all seemed like just the beginning of a fashion career that is going to take me far and take me to where I wanted to be (at least the people who voted for me believed in this too).

However, despite being artsy in high school, I also entered science competitions and participated in various science clubs throughout the four years, which I think was something that even myself often overlooked. Ultimately what I’m studying now and the career path I chose as the bread winning tool had little to do with a high fashion magazine, I’m still very proud of my decision of becoming a dentist. I think some people often undermine the fact that jobs in the medical field usually required extensive studies, dedication and hard work. Sometimes you failed miserably and sometimes sleep is not even an option. I’ve grown a new found respect for people who dedicated their lives to relentlessly studied medicine and literally saving lives by enriching, extending, and updating their medical knowledge. Not going to lie I have days where I struggled hardcore and questioned myself WHY DID I chose this life for me, but it is from those grappling and clenching movements where we improved the most and continue to strive to become the better version of ourselves.

I guess my point is, we shouldn’t put people in boxes and categorize them based on one singular characteristic about them. I used to put myself in a box and told myself that “I’m this person, therefore ____ is not for me”. But the truth is we are all multi-dimensional and we all have the potential within us to explore the different parts of us and become better at fields that we choose to craft. We shouldn’t limit ourselves and others, in fact we should encourage each other to step outside of the comfort zone and try out something new, even as risky as a career for the rest of our lives. Hence why I decided to commit myself to this blog. It is a platform where I let my artistic/fashion creativity flows, a space where I get to document my life and travels, and last but not the least, it serves as a living proof to myself and others that just because I chose dentistry, doesn’t mean I gave up on art/fashion IN LIFE. I still love it and is deeply passionate about it as I’ve always been. I do realized this is more lengthy than my usual visual-heavy posts, I hope it is not too tiresome to read and digest.

 

Let me know if your thoughts and comments, or if you are/were in a similar situation!

 

Love, J