Thursday 8 April 2021

A Look Back

Hi everyone! Remember me?!

I wish I could say I'm back but I think we all know that's not going to happen. If any of you listen to the podcast I am part of, you may have noticed my utter discomfort at plugging this blog at the end of each episode. This is because the last post on it was in 2019 and I haven't done regular posting since 2014 (0, 1, 2, 2, 1 and 21 have been the number of posts for the last 7 years respectively).

Oh I should give a fair warning first: I will be using "I" many, many times in this, um, whatever it is, because it is about, well, me *insert cringe face*. I truly, unironically apologize for all the narcissism I am about to display.

Anyway, I have been thinking about this blog on and off for the past few months, probably because I currently have a LOT of time on my hands, what with Corona and everything. I've been contemplating deleting it because my tastes have transformed so much since I first started this that I don't know what the point of it even is. Still, I thought let me first refresh my memory and see how good or bad is it really. And having done that, I think the answer is both? But more than anything, it is a time capsule of a very specific, and now looking back at it, formative portion of my young adulthood. 

This blog was something that was attached to my personality- like I have made or tried to make friends using it as one of my quirky identity tools. If I had to super duper generalize me throughout my life, I have been Chubby Baby, Math Girl, Film Girl and BTS Girl (which is the, uhh, era we're in now). This blog was at its heyday during my Film Girl phase, which hasn't technically ended yet. I mean if anything, I am actively trying to turn that phase into a career so we shall circle back on that in a few years. But still, the way I consumed and talked about movies in my late teens and early 20s is something I think about often and wonder if I'll ever have that voracity again. I'm currently struggling to watch any films that require any emotional attachment (one of the last films I saw was Godzilla vs Kong), opting instead for comfort sitcom rewatches and YouTube videos on things like makeup guru drama, comedy sewing videos, cooking videos and any and all Say Yes to the Dress videos. And obviously, BTS.

Back to the blog and Film Nikhat though, I feel like I owe it to her/me to explore this little nostalgia nook that I built for myself before possibly hiding it away forever.

My very first post in this blog is, I feel, very characteristically pretentious. I also can't help but find it adorable because apparently I had a very messy 2009? I can't remember at all why that could be except for maybe being separated from my closest friends because we took different academic streams. It's just funny to think of yourself from 11 years ago now and try to remember the overwhelmingness of being a 17 year old girl.

Some of my other blog highlights are my most popular post which was part of a blogathon no less (do people still do that?) and the last post I did with colours. Some of my OG followers might remember how that was one of my trademarks because I really just wanted to stand out. I mean, the way I write has also been influenced by this blog because I deliberately tried to be "cool" and conversational (notice all the "uhhs" and "ums" (btw brackets were also used for the same reasons)).

All of this just feels impossibly sweet to me right now. I'm probably hormonal but I appreciate how much Film Nikhat tried as well. I am also both impressed and shocked by how much I shared with the world through this blog. As addicted to it as I am, I struggle with social media. My first thought before posting anything is "Why would people care" which I can strongly and safely assume is NOT what social media is about. I have caught myself judging people on social media for like putting themselves out there. I don't even personally tweet that much. If you go down my Twitter timeline, it's mostly retweets about BTS, some film-related stuff, some horrible news item because the world is a burning garbage dumpster, and more BTS. It's just very easy to use other people's willingness to express themselves as your own proxy feelings.

But I had somehow forgotten how much I used to talk about myself on this blog. I mean there are lists upon lists upon lists of me talking about me or using films to define me. While I didn't read the lists apart from their names (I'd suggest you do that too) because I got embarrassed, I was honestly surprised by how much I shared with strangers. Regularly.

Sadly, what I did remember of putting a lot in this blog, and probably a major reason why I've been avoiding this blog, is Woody Allen. So much of this blog is overflowing with reverance for him that I don't even know where to begin. My young cinephile days were heavily influenced by his films, some of which I still can't pretend to dislike because of how life-changing they felt. The only people/things I admired almost as him were Johnny Depp (yikes), Harry Potter (sigh) and Doctor Who (BLESS!). Not going to lie, sometimes it feels like I did dig my own grave. But of course, my film tastes have changed immeasurably since that time. I don't even know how much I agree with my Top 100 Films as published in this blog because tastes and prefrences evolve, and I am confused whether to show or hide that evolution.

Full disclosure though: I HAVE archived some extremely cringey and beyond precocious posts that I just couldn't stand, but they weren't like "serious". It's just that my ego can occassionally be delicate.

Speaking of evolution that accompanies the wonderful, painless journey of growing up, another thing this blog has are important life milestones of Film Nikhat. I posted about when I graduated from my school, this very weird post about death, as well as posts about turning 1921, 22, 23 and the especially 20. I actually reread this post today for the first time in nearly a decade, and well it was a trip. Reading it, I don't feel so different from that Nikhat but I know that I am (or like I was right this whole time about secretly being a very wise genius).

I think I am still processing all of this. When I had started this blog, I had been separated from my closest friends who sat in a different classroom from mine. Coming to present day, I have now spent more than a year not having properly met most of my friends. I remember I used to count down to when school will finally get over but I don't really have that option at this moment. I hope things get better soon but also I am happy I got a chance to look back. As much as I admire Film Nikhat for being so dedicated to this blog and loving and talking about films, I also know so much of what I thought or wrote then was adapted to fit the critical consensus. As much as I wanted to stand out, I also desperately tried to fit in, and I do like that Current Nikhat (aka BTS Girl) is so much more confident in what she likes or dislikes and also has a deeper understanding of both those things. I have often talked about it on the podcast but I was part of a film production which really challenged a lot of my pre-conceived notions with respect to cinema, and that too made me reevaluate what I really love about films.

I still do love films. Very much. In the Turning 20 post that I tagged above, there was this line-

"And as I do in any given situation, I started thinking about films."

That did tug at my heartstrings a little bit because I still do so, in any situation (well, along with BTS now but you geddit). Even in something like Godzilla vs Kong, I felt the magic of cinema, and whenever that happens, I think about how I still very much am Film Girl and because this blog is so intrinsically connected to her, I feel a lot of warmth towards it.

It took my two days to think of how to end this because I still am not fully sure what *this* is. I guess I needed some clarity on why I am still keeping this blog around, at least for a bit, and I suppose this is me trying to get that (and very cleverly making a sort of blog post out of it).

Anywho, I thought the best way to conclude is to fully lean into the two things that made the Being Norma Jeane blog what it is- narcissism and lists! So here are some of my favourite posts from this blog :-

(I have purposely avoided any reviews because I was too terrified to read any of them lest they undo, well, ALL OF THE ABOVE).

Okay so I can't actually end this without saying a huge thanks to anyone and everyone who has ever commented on this blog, tagged me in blogathons and overall supported my love for films. Without any doubt, the best things that have come from this blog are the friendships that I have made along the way. It's hard to imagine a different Nikhat if Film Nikhat hadn't happened like this. 

FINALLY properly ending this with, of course, some BTS:

Thank you for reading this :)