When Black Really is Your Happy Colour and You’re Not Trying to Be “Relatable”

The clothes that are sitting on the pegs near my bedroom door. Straight-up five black jackets and two black caps. Because AAESSTHETIC.

It’s no secret that I enjoy draping my mildly chunky (like salsa) frame in black. So much of my wardrobe is this wonderful lack of colour that it has become rather annoying to find a singular item in my sea of shadow-wardrobe. Like sheep in a field, it’s impossible to find a single fluffy-baa-ing-friend among a plethora of other fluffy-baa-ing-friends, where in this case a fluffy-baa-ing-friend is that black shirt I wore once. No, not the one with the laced shoulders, the one with the small heart-shaped patch on it.

In a nation that is known for its huge expanses of bleach-white sandy beaches, blonde folks clad in bikinis, and a helluva lot of short shorts, my tendency towards wearing black on black and a proclivity towards covering as much of me as possible makes me stand out like a sore thumb.  It doesn’t help that I call the sub-tropical city of Brisbane my home. Many a time I feel like Melbourne would be more suited towards my sartorial tastes.

When I was younger, my mother thought my love for the shades of the nether were to do with some sort of off-the-cuff occult worship that I was somehow squeezing in between full-time hour-heavy university, work and church activities. She asked many times if I was now “goth” or “sad” or if I like cats (apparently, my mum believes that people who like cats are inherently depressed). She also Googled “emo” just in case I was one of those too.

No mum, not emo, I just find black an amazingly flexible shade of nothingness. I’m (as far as I know) not wearing black to express any conscious (subconscious?) pain. In fact, some might even call me “upbeat” or “unusually perky for 2AM”. I like that I can unceremoniously spill food on myself and it won’t matter. I like that I can refine my online shopping options by colour (thereby taking out over 50% of purchasable items from the pool). I like that I can wear the same outfits for days on end and no one questions my hygiene – I still wash my clothes guys, it’s just I own the same clothes in duplicate. Promise.

The only negative? Finding something to wear to a wedding is basically hell on earth. Oh yeah, and people endlessly asking if you’re going to a funeral.

Oh, you mean yours if you don’t stop asking me that?

Unwittingly, I have tripped down into the rabbit’s hole of “Colour Psychology”. There’s an entire consciousness and much literature attached to why people have a propensity towards donning particular colours and tones. I guess this isn’t surprising considering pretty much everything we do and every choice we make is strongly associated with the sort of identity we wish to project to others. However, after taking in a big read of all the available prose (ahem, from the all-knowing internets), I’m not sure just how much it applies to my old soul.

I mean, according to much of the internet-world, people with black color personality have following characteristics, they are often:

  • Serious (nope, I mean, have you met me? I can’t hold a single conversation without laughing even once)
  • Confident (nope, I felt like every top I tried on this morning made me look like a small mobile Asian blimp)
  • Strong (nope, welp, maybe yup, I am strong-willed at being a dork)
  • Decisive (nope, couldn’t decide if I wanted to add cracked pepper to my avo-sandwich this morning)
  • Emotionally contained (nope, cried at a puppy-related Instagram story on my lunch break)
  • Introverted (nope/yup – sometimes people are the best and sometimes I just want to express my general hatred, dislike, distrust and contempt of the human species as a whole)

I mean, I feel like these “characteristics” are written with the broadest generalisations in mind – all folks have multiple identity-traits but I guess we could counter that people usually try to project their most favoured identities to others. When a person chooses to buy a certain car, a certain phone or ramen noodle hardness (but seriously guys, what kinds of monster chooses soft noodles?) it’s pretty much broadcasting your identity to those around us.

And as the avant-garde master-tailor Yohji Yamamoto says,

“Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy, but mysterious. But above all black says this: ‘I don’t bother you— don’t bother me.”

So maybe I am trying to convince the people around me that I am a serious, confident, strong, decisive, emotionally contained and introverted young woman?

Or maybe I should just buy more red.


When Black Really is Your Happy Colour and You’re Not Trying to Be “Relatable”


27902139_10214343185270247_1574326596_oI’m not sure if there is an ABC (Australian Born Chinese) of the female persuasion who hasn’t heard some form of the above statement crowed to them by some over-bearing and judgement-filled “Auntie”, or worse, “Mother”.  If such a person does exist I’m sure they’re tucked away somewhere with their 50+ SPF sunscreen with skin like silken tofu and feeling proud that they dodged one of the many self-esteem puncturing bullets that seem to be the repertoire of spiteful middle-aged women. Being of Asian-Persuasion and having very many people who would classify as “Aunties”, I have been told this many times over. Sadly, these words aren’t limited to those of the older age class – I clearly remember being told that I was “much too dark” to be attractive by my peers.

As an avid endorser of hanging about outdoors like the tiny child-thug that I was (and I could claim, still am), I have had a tan since, well, being borned. My mother would regularly send us outside to explore our jungle-like backyard but would not provide us with sunscreen nor any warning about the future woes of “not being able to find a mate due to the flawed cultural bias against darkened skin in our Asiatic society”. Clearly a major fault in her parenting.

I maintained this lightly-toasted healthy glow through my teenage years due to my willingness to play sportsball (badly) at my cut-throat public high school, which also failed to espouse sun-safe education, provide ridiculously wide-brimmed hats nor undercover basketball courts. And to be honest, the fact that I was of-darker-skin did bother me. I would regularly see the porcelain-skinned visages of my favourite Japanese models and actresses and think to myself darkly (haha) that I would never be in the same boat. My glumness was not overlooked. In fact, I was told by a number of my older compatriots at the time that I shouldn’t worry, I would eventually “fade” in my university years due to general inactivity and an increasing lack of interest in team-sports.

News alert, I did not.

I think every teenager (or you know, adulthood in general, really) goes through crippling bouts of self-doubt – where your opinion of your self worth is sculpted and scored by others opinions of you. We all have weaknesses – and worse, self-perceived weaknesses. The thought that if you don’t fit in, don’t fit that status quo makes you somehow less of a person – but what’s the point of aspiring to look the same as anyone else? Globally, it is important for all people to love and be proud of who they are and there shouldn’t be a single standard of beauty. I say all this boldly as a thirty-year-old woman, who has decided not to give a rats ass anymore – but I can understand all that I’ve written is easier said (? typed) then done.

The thought that whiteness is equivalent to beauty is so deeply ingrained in our psyche that we rarely question it – in fact it was only really brought to my attention while shopping in Asia– where the market is definitely not Eurocentric yet the models were mostly white – and even in the cases where Asiatic models were utilised they were photoshopped to the tee – with paler skin, larger eyes, long, styled, hair and heavy makeup.

I was lucky enough to be born to parents who never thought being dark was a problem – to be honest, they were more concerned with my Disney-crone bad posture and asthmatic-horse-snaffling-down-peanut-butter laughter noises. They definitely thought those would subtract points in the marriageable-stakes. Well, I showed them all, turns out having a terrifying tendency to laugh at oneself, leniency towards obsessive fishing-habits, and 1/2 of a sociable personality will also get you married. Hooray!

So, in a world filled to brimming with skin “whitening” apps, scarily-photoshopped pre-wedding photos, aisles of skin-bleaching products and goggle-eyed, and arrow-faced Kpop stars, it’s important to note that this concept of “darkness” as a negative is not restricted to people of my background and is reflected in people of all origins around the world. It’s something that is so disturbingly ingrained in so many cultures that I can understand why so many people have an issue with accepting who they are and what they look like. I mean, we’ve all been at the place of self-doubt (or are still wallowing in it) – the truth is that there’s nothing wrong with your skin colour; your self-worth is not exclusively tied to your appearance.

Present your best self, folks, not your creepily altered one.

x jayne



every day that I wake up
I wake up in a nightmare
every day that I wake up
I can never see quite clear
when I look at my surroundings
and everybody still doubts me
I wanna live to hear a crowd sing
all my lyrics so loudly

I miss a time when we would all get together
I guess it’s fine but I really wish that we were better
real talk sippin drinks without all the pressure
now everybody needs to think about posting whatever
when people ask how I’m doing ive never been better
that’s really not a conversation I’m willing to enter
how come we all continue forcing out all of this pressure
I’m just sick of these opinions and all of these lectures

I need my space now
so I can feel nothing
I live this nightmare
so I can be something
I do what I love
and hope you will love me
I face this nightmare
no I am not running

and I’m scared of being rich
but I’m scared of being poor
I’m scared of being lonely
but I’m scared of being bored
sometimes I get really angry
and I don’t know why
sometimes I really do hate me
can’t even pick my own side

what is even going on
why the hell do i even write songs
what the hell am I doing here man
I guess don’t understand a thing damn
but maybe ignorance is bliss
I’d rather lay in the abyss
then be aware of what I missed
especially if I quit
they say that hell is your last day
when you see what you could’ve became
that day would drive me insane
so i intend on staying my lane
I picked a path and I picked the pain
I want it bad that won’t ever change
sometimes I’m mad sometimes I’m ok
I know I’ll have what I want someday

I need my space now
so I can feel nothing
I live this nightmare
so I can be something
I do what I love
and hope you will love me
I face this nightmare
no I am not running

and it’s hard to be ok
when everything has changed
yea it’s hard to be ok
when I can see everything
the best part of everyone’s day
is on my iPhone on display
no matter what I do can’t get away
this isn’t healthy I don’t feel the same

yo and destiny is a weird thing
cuz it’s easier to believe
that everything is out of your hands
it’s part of a plan
so there ain’t no need to worry
don’t let your vision be blurry
lock in to your journey
and you can start real early
you can be 13 or you could be 30
but it’s your life to live
so what you got to give
you better get after it
don’t you dare quit
don’t you dare kid
you got dreams
then your like me
so try like me
so fight like me
take a hold of your life and thrive like me
so you can put the nightmares to sleep like me




Technically this cat is cat-dabbing. Cabbing?

It’s no secret that I really enjoy taking photos of things. A passion that started many years ago when I was just a sapling of a teen – the most tanned of “The Asians” with a laughter like grated cheese being snaffled down by a lactose intolerant hippopotamus – both traits that I haven’t managed to shake, but let’s knock down those insecurities later, there’s only so much dork I can cover in words before this post gets out of hand.

Photography has always been an outlet for me – there’s something truly transformative about the art of photography.

For me it’s a creative outlet. Some choose aggravatingly symmetrical macrame, others, being an Adonis at musical instruments and others still – competitive eating. I’m white bread – I’m basic, I love taking photos of things. It’s the only hobby that’s managed to follow me through my compulsive and excessively pimply teen years and into my equally pimply societal-imposed adulthood.

In a blast of creativity, I thought I would share with y’all my favourite digital cameras through my many years of…camera-ing. Digital cameras only because it would take far too long to go through a list of my analogs. Some would definitely be defined as potato in this day in age but you have to understand folks…fifteen years is a long time and a helluva lot of photographs.

Fujifilm Something Very Discontinued (Digital) 2004-ish

One of the very first digital cameras I bought myself. This absolutely piece of junk was my pride and joy. It had flash capabilities that could blind distant humans and the low-light powers of a glow worm. Terrifyingly bad but loved with much enthusiasm. From this camera, I managed to distress many a friend with it’s strobe-quality flash – I have an entire series of photos that involve people wincing. It was truly distressing and wonderful.

Olympus EP-1 (Digital) 2007-ish

The very first micro four thirds camera on the mainstream market and I knew I had to have it. I forked out the money (well over a thousand dollars) and spent many years enjoying the company of this amazing camera (around 5 years). Around this time I also started to stop using analog as often – film developing prices started to sky-rocket. I was pretty poor. This camera turned out to be an amazing investment – it joined me on many trips overseas and has developed some of my most loved memories including documenting the early years of my relationship of my now-husbanded favourite dude, my first ever trip to Japan, upwards of five weddings and so many of my friend’s graduations.

Nikon D90 (Digital) 2011-ish

After having a taste of the big-boys of the camera world, I made the decision to move on the DSLR fam. What you’ve probably already realised about me is that I am not brand loyal. If the product works and is easy to use, I’ll be on board. What I clearly didn’t realise that the time of buying  Nikon was the fierce brand loyalty that lies in the Nikon VS Canon feud. Y’all need to chill. Choose Nikon, choose Canon – choose a potato – but be happy with what you bought. You can make any brand work for you.

I spent many years toting my dear D90 around – a great investment with some choice lenses, made this a great companion. A little hefty to travel with, I did take it with me on my first trip to Taiwan. I vividly remember attempting to balance it’s weight on a precariously lodged bicycle seat on top of a small hill for a ridiculous group shot with my life-long friends.  IT WAS SO HEAVY BUT THE MEMORIES WERE WORTH IT.

Fujifilm X100t (Digital) 2017 – current

This is the newest addition to my camera family and is my ultimate companion for travelling. It’s a throw-back to my analog-only and Olympus EP-1 days with it’s fixed lens and vintage look – the zoom-thing scares most camera users. NO ZOOM? R U A MONSTER? Maybe. But its fixed lens forces me get my face in the action and think about framing. It’s crazy light, compact and looks damn cute – downside is that if you’re looking for an easy pic-fix this isn’t the camera for you. It’s not “easy” to use. You must be aware of your light. Light, people, LIGHT.

I have since purchased a new DSLR as well, but it hasn’t transformed my photography, it doesn’t challenge me. The Fujifilm x100t, on the other hand, has forced me to carefully pick my shots. In a world where you can whip out your phone in a second for a selfie, this camera actively forces me to slow down. You aren’t going to catch that fleeting moment if you’re not ready, you need to slow down, think it through, take a deep breath, then press that shutter.

Now, I’ve never been the one to sit for hours to attempt to compose a photo, but with a small fleet of different cameras I’ve been given the opportunity to switch up my style. I will willingly (albeit cautiously) trek through a path littered in used needles to get a shot. I spent hours of my time I was supposed to be sitting in lectures traversing through some of the mangiest parts of my city, the dulcet vocal tubes of Shirley Manson blasting in my ears from my retro Sony headphones to take analog photos of street art.

Man, I was edgy before being edgy was a thing. Ha.

These days I use my limited but happily spread-about skills to take photos of the people around me. I love to take photos of those who I love. It’s a compulsion I can’t seem to stop. I encourage you to do the same. Take pictures of those you love, you never know what you’ll see.

x jayne

BTW if you’re wondering about the origin of this blog post title, it comes from my husband, who randomly spewed this out when I was furiously Lightrooming photos. It’s an inside-joke. Don’t worry about it.





I am addicted to Kmart.

There. I’ve said it. I am addicted to Kmart and I love everything it has to offer. From their ridiculous post-Christmas 5c sales, to their flamboyant bagging of over-blown decorative constructs like flamingo-shaped desktop-sized neon lights and faux succulents the approximate size and shape of a baby’s head. I want it all.

Somewhere, deep inside, I know that this a troublesome spending trend. $2 spent on various hilariously-shaped decorative knick-knacks may seem meagre at first, but not when you go upwards of four times a week and spend multiples of that simple two dollar coin each outing. It’s like an exercise in self-restraint. I wander the aisles randomly picking up items of interest only to re-asses my choices prior to making it to the registers. I then promptly attempt to offload at least 75% of my choices by stowing them discreetly amongst alternate shelves. Did I need those yoga gloves? Do I even DO yoga? WHAT IS YOGA? On that note, if you happen to see a pair of yoga gloves stuffed among a pile of Made-In-China liquorish twists, that’s probably my work of art.

It’s not that the items at Kmart aren’t without merit – it’s that I simply don’t NEED them. I feel that my innate Asian-cheapskate is strong when I approach a Kmart. It’s cheap. I must attain it. I must attain many of them. The more the merrier.

This is why I’m surrounded by a small pile of foil-bows and a pack of spare acrylic letters for a lightbox that I can’t actually find.

Another troubling thought is the origin of such cheap items. How can they make them so cheap? Well, the answer is as simple as it is troublesome to think about. There’s certainly some poor factory worker in Bangladesh or China slaving away over our cut-price items. A thought that many of us (myself included) manage to block out when we go out the luxury of our air-conditioned shops. The level of cognitive dissonance required for me to continue to buy scores of items at such places is so hardened that I often come home and ask myself, why?

Why have you done this Jayne?

You need to change your game, Jayne.

Jayne, srsly, what the crap?

Ultimately, us, as the consumer, need to be kept accountable. It doesn’t take too much to realise how these wonderfully cheap items are created. And while lots of the “big-players” in the garment industry have made ground-breaking changes in the working conditions of many (Target and Kmart included, which is a nice thought) there’s still a ways to go before working conditions and wages reach a even close to a functional “minimum wage”. Of course, this stems from a larger-picture problem of generally lower national minimum wage in many of these nations, but I often feel, we should be trying harder. Like, in general.

So, to keep on-trend with the whole “New Year, New You” thing, I’m making conscious effort this year to drop my spending on extraneous items and to support companies that make a conscious effort to ethically source their products. Even when I type this, I feel like this should be an everyday habit. If this means having to wait a bit longer, spend a little more or research a little harder prior to purchasing an item, so be it.

x jayne



2018: Training My Husband To Take Better Pictures Of Me.

A new year is often a fabulous opportunity to start anew – break open the scratchy plastic that seals a new journal, buy multiple sets of Lycra-based breathable clothing that you’ll only wear while eating ice-cream on the sofa and make fabulous promises to yourself that you’ll never be able to keep.  People often know me as an optimist. Unfortunately, this oft infallible optimism rarely extends to my thoughts about New Years Resolutions. This may be because of my skills at breaking them without thought, much less even having the shame to look back and realise that I’m breaking them.

I vividly remember saving a whole pile of shamelessly-screen-printed inspirational quotes to my phone in an effort to force me into some form of “Proper Adult”.  As if this collection of artfully constructed pixels would somehow convince me to GMST. This clearly didn’t work throughout 2017.

I’ve already added one extra inspirational Instagram post to my burgeoning collection, and ladies and gents, it’s only day one.

So, just like my annual efforts to revive my blogging skills, some habits die hard and I’m equal parts stubborn to my foolish.

Welcome to my new website www.jaynes.blog – I’ll be unreservedly sharing thoughts, adventures, lack of adventures, lactose adventures and all sorts of tomfoolery with y’all here. I’m ready to ransack 2018 and punch it in the face.

Come join me.

x jayne