this is our youth

We tell ourselves stories in order to live.

I’d have to agree with Joan Didion on this one. We, indeed, do tell ourselves stories in order to live. We are constantly hunting after the reasons behind occurrences, patterns within disorder, magic within the mundane. We drown ourselves in fiction, in literature, in the words that explain why we are the way we are. What is life is not one constant, dissonant story in itself? Truly, what are we, if not each our own little personal essay, perpetually being written, scratching out beliefs we’ve outgrown and adding a multitude of experiences along the way? Painful as life is, we constantly have control over the narrative of it. What is frightening is when we lose control, when we no longer are comforted by the stories we tell ourselves and instead lose faith in fiction.

Adolescence is a story unlike any other. Unanimously disastrous, but infinitely different in its disasters. Being a teenager is something you experience once. A brief and brutal period of confusion, of identity vs. conformity. Basically, adolescence is a mess. And we are messy. We, as the confused, but undoubtedly capable, teenagers we are, either choose to embrace the messiness or control it. The common goal is this: self-discovery.

I haven’t any idea what “self-discovery” entails. Is it a definable phrase, even? To many, finding yourself seems to somehow be equivalent to losing yourself. Losing yourself in whatever is accessible; whatever is popular; whatever seems desirable. This, I believe, in the greatest error one can make.

You do not have to aspire to the same heights as others. You do not have to fit impeccably and neatly into the boxes of what others label “maturity” or “youth”. There are so many ways to grow up. There are so many experiences to indulge in. Reckless abandon does not have to be one of them.

I understand the desire to be what everyone would like you to be. I understand thinking you’ll miss out on some emblematic rite of passage if you do not take part in a certain activity everyone else is. I understand it all. I understand the need to be anyone but yourself.


You- solely– control the narrative of this messy life of yours. You control how you choose to participate in it. You do not have to tell yourself, repeatedly, to be what you truly are not. You do not have to engage in the reckless ideals of everyone else.

We tell ourselves stories in order to live.

There is no particular story you must tell. There is only the one you choose to tell yourself. I find myself in literature, in words, in fictional places and people. There is nothing I find greater enjoyment in than finding the reasoning behind the illogical; understanding why we do what we do.

However, there is not always a reason to be found. Not in life, and certainly, not in ourselves. To pretend that we are all alike in our hunger is egregious. Throw yourself into no one else’s story but your own. It is difficult, it is sometimes isolating, but it is the most liberating thing you can do.



Perhaps you wonder why I chose such a simple word to encapsulate the enormous mess which is myself.

The word resonates with me.

This is me. Whatever it is that I am. These are my truths, my thoughts, my paradoxes, my messy, incoherent thoughts, somewhat organized into something. We are what we leave with the world. And be that angst, or frustration, or even shitty writing, at least I will know, when I am older (and preferably wiser), that throughout my adolescence, I was nothing but unequivocally honest with myself. I want to remember youth not with disdain, not with saccharine, sugarcoated nostalgia, but instead, honesty. With perhaps a deeper understanding of myself and what makes me this way.

There is a certain insight we possess solely in adolescence and not any other period of our brief lives. And perhaps that insight is overly ambitious or rather naive, but it is also a transient period of invincibility. Of course we are far from invincible. Brokenness can be irreversible. We are young, though, and this offers us a slight advantage in itself. Though I’d never be accused of being much of an optimist, I still like to think that we have a certain perspective now which has not been shattered by the jading of time.

I want to remember this. Whatever this may be. And, much like an evergreen tree, these words are a part of me- the leaves will change, indeed, they certainly will, and likely my personal morality and conflicting desires will change as well- but they were once a part of me, and that is irreparable. Who you ultimately become does not immediately erase who you once were. Nothing in this world can erase who you were. And that truth is both a blessing and a curse.
So, I am, evergreen. As bleak as that may be; as twisted as my branches may grow . Whatever that may be. I am it.

The S Effect

A word tossed around quite frequently and, rather stupidly so, is the lovely word many women know very, very well: slut.

Truthfully, it would be exhaustive and nearly impossible to recount all of the many, many times I have heard the word used, in a multitude of very different settings. The phrase has become woven into our everyday conversing, it has become such a colloquial and shamelessly utilized word that it seems to have lost any meaning behind it. I am here to investigate just precisely what this word means and why- why, oh why– we use it.

Human sexuality is a rather complicated, messy, and limitless thing. To force ourselves, and those surrounding us, into neat, pretty binary boxes is both illogical and ridiculous. To simplify our very complex identities into the black and white is, admittedly, easier than having an honest discussion about sexuality and what it truly entails. But, as we are all humans, we are by nature complex, and have to allow ourselves to be so. And, of course, we must respect the complexity of others so that they are able to do the same.

Even more detrimental is to limit this incredibly derogatory word to solely women. Slut-shaming is perpetrated most prominently at women, demeaning us for each possessing our own (very unique) sexualities and being unafraid to act on them. The word forces away our sense of independence, which, as a systemically oppressed group in this society, is already quite difficult to own in the first place.

The word “slut” has lost most of its original meaning. Now, instead of only being used to describe a woman who has sexual relationships with multiple people, it is now used in relation to things such as clothing choices, attitudes, personalities, body types, and many more ridiculous aspects of women.

Why do we, as humans in this specific society, have such intense and definitive feelings about women’s sexuality? The question is a difficult one to answer, because of the fact that this judgmental nature we all seem to implicitly possess is often not a direct representation of who we are. The fact is, this tendency to judge women is one long internalized into our culture and, subsequently, into ourselves, as a norm. And it is entirely up to our generation to break this norm. The word is just that- a silly little word- but powerful nonetheless. We all know, as humans, that words often inflict the most brutality one can ever suffer through.

I could truthfully go on for ages about the many problematic connotations with this word, but I’ll start with the very obvious: why does anyone else have a say on the sexuality of another person? What right do we have to shame other women for having sexual relationships, or simply owning their sexuality? What right do we have to judge women on these things, things that in no way have anything to do with who that woman is as a person or what values matter to her?

Engaging in consensual sex does not lessen your value as a human being, ever, in any way. And it is certainly not a very good thing to dehumanize people for doing. Sex, for many (but not all!!) is part of the human experience. And so if a woman chooses to have sex with one person or a hundred (hyperbole), how on earth does that dictate who she is as a human being? How on earth does that have anything to do with her being a morally “good” or “bad” person?

There are no specific behaviors or attitudes that are inherently “slutty”. Choosing to dress a certain way does not define what sexual behaviors you engage in, if any, and it certainly does not dictate your personality, or, your worth. People who choose to dress in a manner which is societally seen as “provocative” are not– despite many of men’s beliefs– dressing this way in order to receive unsolicited comments, catcalling, or any other form of harassment. Much to the disbelief of many men, women do not dress a certain way for your pleasure. Women can do whatever they would like to do with their bodies, and it is absolutely never an invitation for anyone to immediately label them or harass them. Respect is a virtue that must be valued more in this society. Not solely for women, of course, but for all genders, and there are many. Respecting bodily autonomy, understanding that women- and people, in general- can and will do whatever they desire with themselves, and you, as an outsider, have not a hint of say in this.

If the entire concept and purpose of slut-shaming does now not make any sense to you, either, I am very glad. I encourage you to actively call people out on it, including yourself. This is critical, because such an act reduces women to solely their sexuality and promotes the double standard which has long prevailed through our society: that women are not permitted to be openly sexual, and are immediately mocked, invalidated, and dehumanized, while, if men are sexual, they are given high fives and congratulated.

It is so easy to lose ourselves to the easiest option; to absentmindedly accept our tendency to conform, when, in fact, it is so much more effective and just as easy not to. There is always a choice in your response to conformity. Do not allow yourself to make the wrong one.

There is still a very long list of discussions to be had and issues to be dealt with, regarding not only feminism, but the whole systemic oppression we face in general. What I would like to say, once more, is that everyone’s sexuality is unique and valid and, most importantly, no one else’s business. You are not defined by your sexuality, for sexuality never dictates your many different traits.

A woman owns herself, you do not own her choices or autonomy or decisions. And, of course, a person owns themselves. Bodily autonomy. Autonomy of mind.

“Last time I checked, how much sex a girl has doesn’t justify a label slapped on her like a soup can”. – meggie royer


This school year has been a strange one, to say the least. Unbelievably challenging, daunting, relieving, and fascinating all at once. There are a multitude of things realized, things discovered, and most clearly, things lost. Time has seemed both weightless and valuable at the same time. In being an adolescent, I’ve come to understand that that strange feeling of transient value is exactly what will make up the remainder of my high school years. It is a confusing feeling, of course, but also, undoubtedly, one that I will never feel again after my youth. You grow up and time escapes you. Now, of course, we feel invincible, as if time does not exist, as if this fleeting youth is infinite, when of course, it is not. This year, I’ve come to accept the briefness of this time, but also the value in it. We make what we want of it. We have a choice to grow up as we want, we do not have to follow the fixed motions which many of my peers believe defines adolescence. There is no one way to grow up. It is not a one size fits all. We all grow up by becoming our truest selves, whoever it is that may be, even if our truest self does not fit perfectly in with our friends. I think, if anything, I’ve learned that authenticity is perhaps the rarest and most impressive quality one can have.

The bravery it takes to be-wholly, unapologetically, truthfully– yourselfespecially as an adolescent, when everyone else is trying so desperately not to be? To be blunt, to walk unafraid, to refuse to conform. I find it beautiful. I find it formidable.

And, so, freshman year of high school is (thankfully) over. It is gone, and as much as I would like to comfort myself with the thought of my careless youth, one year has passed, and I have a lot more growing to do. I know that, and however terrifying that may be, however terribly things may go, I think that this fear is exactly what I should be feeling. What we all should be feeling.

It is important to let yourself be terrified, once in a while. It is what makes us human beings, we break ourselves and yet we want to fall again.

So, be afraid, of course, but live anyways, live because of your fear.

Summer is here, and I hope you do this- I hope you do things that scare you, I hope you accomplish because of it. ♦

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Oh- I will be leaving for Europe soon, and I will post perhaps every single aspect of my trip!


We often tend to forget about ourselves, don’t we?

We forget that we are humans. We forget that we have a tendency to bleed easily. We forget that we have a high thirst for certain things that may not be so good for us. We forget that we are burnt much too quickly, that we die out as subtly and as instantly as matches. We forget that we can be broken much more easily than our bones can be. We forget that we are all searching for one another, and in this, we also forget that we need to search for our own selves first. We forget that everything ends, that we will undeniably, perpetually, end, soon enough. We forget about humanity, and what exactly that means. We forget to be people.

We forget to live.

And that is perfectly okay, I suppose, in a way. It is perfectly understandable, to feel so disconnected from ourselves that we have to find ourselves in other people, who may not want to be found. It is quite logical, really, to feel the weight of everything collapsing unto our souls at once. It is okay to feel nothing at all, to feel discordant and unreasonably empty, to feel like a heap of burnt cards that was once so neatly stacked into a meticulous house. It is what we do.

We may be logical, but our whole existence is rather illogical, really. We live and then we die. We exist and then we cease to exist. That is it, that is all, that is enough. That has to be enough. There is nothing more, nothing less. Of course, you may choose to disagree, depending on what your beliefs have taught you. There is no agreement, though, that you can make with anyone to bring you longer time. To give you something more, something steadier, something more tangible, to hold onto. There is no deal. There is no hope for anything else.

And so, many times I find myself wondering, why do we continually choose to exist, to breathe, to be in a reality that will never, ever, be more than what it currently, so deeply, is? Why do we find ourselves hoping, constantly, consistently, against what we all know to be inarguably inevitable? What do we see to feel so nonsensically, ridiculously, hopeful, and yet to be wholly aware of our own self-transience? Why do we continue to attempt to thrive here?

There is no other way, of course, and we somehow have recognized that. That is the impossible existence we have. We are creatures who know of our ultimate endings and yet we also know to live in spite of these. There may be light and there may be unspeakable darkness and there may be unadorned devils and there may be hidden ones. But there will never, ever, be any other way to end but the one way we already do. There is nothing else to end in. And that is the strange miracle of us. At least, that is what I’d like to think.

I am both fascinated and repelled by our inane existence. There is no reason for us to continue, and yet, we do. There is no logic behind our heartbeat, and yet, they beat on. Our breathing will stop, but we do not want it to. There are the times in this world when we want absolutely nothing more than to surrender to our existence, to feel the holy, unjustifiable lives we are living. And it is understandable. God, it is more than understandable, to want nothing more than to leave it, to allow ourselves fade away into the delicate contrails of the sky, to burn ourselves until our candlelit selves become waxen remainders of who we used to be. It is justifiable, that desire. It is.

And of course, we do not know why we are living. We do not know why we carry on, but we do know the one, irrational thought behind it: hope. We continue, always, forever, to hope, even in the midst of total and chaotic questioning. We know, inside of ourselves, that our questions are never to be answered. That we are never to be answered. We, ourselves, are the question marks.

And so, is there any reason to try to find ourselves in this world? Is there any blatant reason to why we should try? Of course not. There is none, and there never will be. But I like to think that we find that reason in ourselves. That we find something inside of us that carries us into our lives. Something unspoken, something irrational, perhaps, but something clear. Something real.

There is no other option to accept the existence we thrive in. There is no second choice. And there are ways out, and those ways are understandable and acceptable, but they are not answers.

There are no answers, and there never will be.

And if you find an answer, it is the truth.

The only truth we can ever hope to find.

the ultimate loss

Perhaps the most profoundly unfathomable and worst loss a teenage girl can go through is that of losing a person. Or, in simpler terms, a best friend. The loss of the type of friend that is not merely a friend, but much more like a non-biological sibling, more like a part of who you are. The type of person who breaks through your walls and allows you to see the light inside of you, light that would’ve been concealed before. The type of person who uncovers truth that had been stuck inside of you all along, but had only needed a slight push to let it through. The loss of such a rare relationship is an insanely harsh one. I have gone through this insurmountable change more than once, and the intense discomfort that comes with the loss of a best friend, I know, is awful. It is a tumultuous rollercoaster of a ridiculous amount of conflicting feelings, and yet it also seems like it cannot possibly be real. I understand this rollercoaster, and despite the feeling that it is endless, I promise you, it really isn’t.

When this loss happens, it is most usually rather unexpectedly abrupt. The distance that can fall between even the closest of friends, is enormously shocking. I, myself, have grown so far apart from those who I never even imagined I would not spend the entire day talking to. I know the uncomfortable awakening that accompanies the loss. It is as if this person, this chosen person who you’ve shared everything in your life with, from the strangest and darkest places inside of you, to the lightest moments of your life, this person is suddenly and entirely, just gone. It’s like a piece of you disappears right with them. It is completely awful. And the thing is, I know it can so easily feel like the end of the world. But, trust me, it really isn’t.

The first thing you must do when learning how to live without your best friend, is to truly think, long and hard, if the friendship is one worth fighting for. If it is, then attempt to fight for it. Go right up to this person, no matter how difficult or impetuous of a move you think it may be, it will be much worse if you lose them completely and you never even tried to fix it. You have to try. It’s up to you to make that effort, which does, admittedly, suck, but if you don’t step up, then what hope is there? Go and fight to keep the friendship alive- what is wrong? Why is this problem happening right now? Is there any way to stop the problem? Try, if you feel like you really can put in the effort, and that the friendship is worth holding onto. Try to fight the distance. You can grow up without growing apart, but it takes a whole lot of hard work. And of course, a whole lot of communicative understanding.

And then, there’s the next worst stage of this: the realization that despite the tireless efforts you can go to, to hold onto your friendship, it will never be the same. You might realize that it is simply too little, too late. Growing apart is a normal, important part of life. Your best friend isn’t a bad person (I hope!). They’re just human, and so are you. You have to realize that blame isn’t going to really get you anywhere in the instance of growing apart. Oh, I have thrown my fair share of fits while cursing out my friends and singing along to “Bad Blood”, more than once. Truthfully, you can be as brutal and bitter as you want, but it isn’t ever going to solve anything. Losing people you once thought would be with you forever is probably the worst thing I could think of, but one day, maybe you will reflect back on the loss and think, hey, maybe I felt sort of terribly abandoned for a while but, I’m actually okay now. You will recover from this loss. Like all losses, we lose what we allow ourselves to. Losing the person is one thing, but we can save what the person gave you, preserve the strength they brought out in us. We can save what we would like to, and ban ourselves from ever losing ourselves.

If all of this isn’t helping- well, let me go on. The most painful feeling of all is the feeling that you aren’t good enough for someone anymore, the most rudely awakening feeling that no matter the lengths you go to try to make yourself better, you will never be enough for this person. You will never recover what you once so strongly had. That feeling is complete hell. And honestly, it does ache for quite a while. It takes a long time to really recover, but once you do, you’re better. It is easier to accept the distance, and you don’t have to completely ignore your former best friend, of course you can be normal people and interact, but it’ll progressively get easier to accept the strange fact that they might not always be there like they once were.

I know how terribly difficult this crazy transition can feel, trust me, I do. But I endured it. I got through it, rather slowly, but even though it took time, I still got through it. You may lose who you think defines you, and you’ll always have history, it is just unavoidable, but guess what? Who you were with that person, it doesn’t define you. You define yourself. Maybe this person made you stronger, and now, it feels like they’re somehow making you weaker. Don’t allow that weak person that you are right now overshadow the strong person they helped turn you into. Gently drift away from the friendship without leaving behind the goodness you got out of it. If you spent this much time with this person, if you trusted them that much, then they were obviously worth it at the time. So why regret your trust? Why feel painful remorse for making a choice you once believed to be a good one? This person made you better, this person helped you see yourself clearer. And you can keep your memories with them forever, they may hurt at the moment, but one day it will get easier to think of this person without losing your mind over the details of what you could’ve done, what you should’ve said. One day, it will become easier to breathe without an old memory choke you. Memories are often permanent, but as I previously said, people are not. You choose how you allow your memories to define you.

People change, they grow entirely apart, and I know it can really suck, but guess what the great thing about it all is? It’s actually okay. You’re still yourself. You can go out in this world and make yourself someone who you want to be.  You’re not alone, even if it feels like it. You’re just going through what we all go through right now. It happens to every single person in the world. It is called growing up, in the most awkward and uncomfortable of ways.

It is all we do in this life, and it is endless, but it is necessary.

International Women’s Day

Today, as I hope many of you are already aware, is a well-needed day to recognize the power, the immeasurable hardships, and the incredible feat of being a woman. Today is International Women’s Day. This day is an unequivocally well-needed one. Unfortunately, regardless of one’s age, intelligence, or situation, sexism is significantly prevalent throughout the entire world. Sexism, not solely being reserved for repressing women, but men, of course, as well. But today we celebrate women. Today we embrace the empowerment that is necessary for equality, today is a day for feminism to be recognized and appreciated by every person out there. I can only hope that this day serves as what it is meant to symbolize- a unifier. Not a unifier simply among all women, but among all human beings. A unifier of those who demand equality and demand it now.

Feminism seems to be a word that is commonly met with a strange controversial ambivalence in our society. This hesitation to accept feminism as a cultural and human value is what bothers me tremendously, and is why I feel this celebratory day is so desperately needed. I myself do not ever find any hesitation to identify immediately as a feminist. I’ve noticed, rather prominently, and quite surprisingly to me, that many of my female friends are tentative to identify themselves as feminists. The association with the word is usually regarding the ridiculous stereotype of man-hating, overly aggressive and impetuous, screaming, protesting rioters. And this could not be farther from the truth. Feminism, by definition, is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” If the dictionary is not proof enough, then I do not know what is. Identifying as a feminist simply means believing in gender equality. That is all. Advocating for gender equality does take bravery, though, it takes courage and strength. And at the same time, it should not be so foreign to raise your voice about this subject. It’s crucial to us, as humans, not just as different genders. We all have a heartbeat, we all have a brain. Why do we not see that underneath the external layers of ourselves, we have so much to offer the world, all of us, equally? What matters is not how we are seen, but how we are heard. We all have a voice. Our own voices, which are all beautifully expressed in many differing forms, are our most powerful tools. And so, today, we raise our voices. For the women out there who have sacrificed their dignity due to misogynistic stereotypes, who have been harassed by horrible acts of ignorance, who have fought and won and who have raised their voice.

It is a difficult and terrifying thing to do, to speak up. But once you do, you refuse to be silenced. You refuse to conform to oppression. And that is change. That is progress. That is feminism.

International Women’s Day celebrates what women have achieved, individually and as a whole. This day empowers us, reminding us of our accomplishments, and urging us to make more. This is the description that I found on the official website:

Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.

I urge you all to contribute to the critical and powerful movement for gender equality. It is, and I promise you, not very difficult at all. Emma Watson (who is one of my favorite humans in the world) said something very thought-provoking today, hitting the issue of gender inequality right on the mark. “Gloria Steinem gave a speech last week at a HeForShe event in New York, and she used this really beautiful metaphor. She said that the human race is like a bird. and it needs both of its wings to be able to fly. And at the moment, one of its wings is clipped. And we’re never going to be able to fly as high unless we’re both in support of each other.”

That, my friends, is the absolute and undeniable truth. We, of all genders, despite and because of them, need to help each other out. We have to support each other- fully and completely- without stereotype, without implicit bias, without judgment. We have to accept each other and empower one another. We can win this fight for gender equality- maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but if we educate each other and refuse to disregard ignorance, we will win, one day. And the fight is what matters now. The fight is what counts. Brushing over seemingly harmless statements, treating one another with disrespect, continual ignorance, and of course, blatant misogyny, are what we must work to end and end them now.

I am so incredibly proud of what we, as women, have accomplished, and I congratulate every single one of you who has overcome and had to live with sexism affecting your lives. It’s unacceptable, and remember that. Remember why there is a day like today- to remind you to be strong, to fight for yourselves and for others. I know how ridiculously frivolous and cheesy I may sound, but this issue is anything but. The fact is, 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Equal pay is still being debated about (seriously?) and not accepted as a, I don’t know, human right. And if you want to look at a whole abundance of other horrifying, and sadly unsurprising, examples of the inequality that exists everywhere today, please, simply search the word “women’s rights” in your browser and I am certain that you will find some sources that prove my words right. It’s inarguable, no matter how much you don’t see it, it is very much still there. Sexism can be insidious, but it exists, without a doubt. And we can combat it.

Here are some links to help you all out:

Emma Watson on gender equality (facebook Q&A)

Emma’s incredibly powerful speech 

He For She

Who needs feminism?

HuffPost Gender Equality

And, some closing words for everyone out there to keep in mind every single day of your lives:

“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” -Jean-Paul Sartre

Fic Obsession

It takes me much pain to admit this, but yes, I am an avid fanfiction reader. One Direction only, of course. See, I discovered fanfic almost three years ago, after first becoming a Directioner. I hadn’t understood, or really even taken the time to check out, the obsession until I clicked on my first Wattpad discovery. And it was all downhill from there.

I do not want to tell you all what my favorite fanfics are, because if you were to search them up and read them, for me that would be mildly humiliating. What I will acknowledge is that most of the fics I obsessively indulge in are absurdly popular on and off the internet. See, one certain Harry Styles fanfic has been developed into a book series. Can you believe that? The all-powerful internet, meshed with the unbreakable and insurmountable power of fandoms, has turned into one of the most powerful toolkits for writers and readers today. What is it about fanfiction that makes so many teenagers, so many people, go perhaps literally insane with weird and unpredictable emotions?


We all have that one brilliant ambition, our dream, to do whatever we are passionate about while having someone alongside us. Our other half. Our person. And yes, of course, when we young people haven’t found that person yet, we imagine them to be someone we idolize. Celebrities. We need someone to put our hope in, so we chose those who we perceive as perfect. Someone, perhaps, like One Direction. Of course, we don’t actually know these people. I could read every tweet, every Instagram caption, every article, learn as much as I possibly can about one of these celebrities and I would still not truly know them, every inch of who and what they really are. To us fans, they have no fatal flaws, no hamartia to dwell on. To us, their “flaws” are small and make them even more perfect. Of course this isn’t the truth. I desperately wish I knew those five boys, but in all honesty, I really don’t.

So fanfiction allows us a gateway to our dreams, written out on screen for us to bask and live in. We live out our dreams in a story that has been so generously shared and created for us by someone carrying the same dreams. We share our sometimes seemingly insanely unrealistic dreams, passions. It makes us all feel as if we know these celebrities, like we actually might have a chance with them. We feel like we can really connect to them, relate to them in different and uncommon ways. Of course, the personas of these people that we read about probably are not even remotely true. They’re guesses. They’re what we want them to be, our deluded illusion of who they are. But they are truly just people, tragically and numerously flawed, screwed up humans, like us. As Niall Horan says (indeed, I memorized this quote), they’re normal people with abnormal jobs.

I love reading fanfic not just because it allows me to “get to know” my idols, but because it really and truly shows the creativity certain celebrities inspire. You can say whatever you want about One Direction (just don’t say it to me), but you can never say they don’t have the most dedicated and talented fans in the world. I don’t like how condescending people can be, the agonizingly patronizing way adults shake their heads at me when I say I’m a Directioner, smiling and saying “You’ll forget all their names by next year. It’s just a stupid phase.”

Maybe that’s so, but guess what! I don’t give a damn if it’s a phase, maybe it is (trust me, it’s not, it’s lasted almost five years) but what does that even matter? Why does it matter, if I truly and deeply love something, how long that love lasts? It’s very damn rare to actually find a feeling, in adolescence, that makes you unspeakably happy. Fanfiction is the nearest escape route to calm. The exit sign of the internet.

Adolescence is the constant stage of always searching for something, but never really knowing what that something is. All I know is that I want to want something that will make the muted voice inside of my soul scream so loudly that I will be deaf to anyone else’s voices but my own, and those who I have to try to hear. And though I have not found my passion yet, reading fanfic helps me have a passion. I am a crazy Directioner because they let me feel something great, something beautiful and maybe reckless and naive, but it’s still something. I feel that too often, teenagers feel like we have to be silenced and indifferent to everything. What’s wrong with feeling insane once in a while? What’s wrong with turning that insanity into something good, something that you can share with all of those other people who feel the same way? Feelings aren’t going anywhere, are they? So why pretend that we don’t love something all for the sake of being perceived as indifferent?

To reiterate all of my endless rambling, fanfiction is the blissfully accessible gateway to feeling things other than nothing. It’s acceptable, when we read/write/devour fanfiction, because all of our “crazy” feelings can be channeled into writing. We’re in our own world of feeling happy. It’s quite incredible, the way we have taken our favorite idols and turned them into our own works of art. And of course, there’s always going to be badly written, idiotic/offensive fanfic, but there’s also always going to be quality, incredible writing out there.

One Direction, as well as many other celebrities, have inspired so much… art and change and pure unity, within people, mainly teenage girls, but for me, being a teenage girl is EXACTLY the time when I most need this inspiration, to keep on going, to simply keep breathing. Being a teenager, much like being a messy human, is sort of impeccably hellish, as it should be. And fanfiction serves the purpose of giving us a little escape from hell into something better. It inspires something in me, to start something, to… believe that one day, I will be able to have my person.

Preferably, one out of those five boys.

A Long Time Ago

Middle school was a tempestuous time for me. I know how naive that does sound, because all it was was middle school, a part of life that should be easy to forget, a period of time that that is ubiquitously painful for every awkward preteen, and I do not have such a right to claim that it had a greater effect on me than anyone else. I know that it was simply middle school, trust me, I sincerely do know this. Yet I cannot help but reflect upon those three, quite tragic, years with inordinate penitence. Can anyone help what they possess pain for? Can we ever truly move past our mistakes, and most unforgettable wrongdoings? I do not believe that we can simply “let go” of whatever it is that is ensnaring us in our pasts, notwithstanding the countless songs (cough cough, Frozen) and culture preaching for us to let go of our mistakes, let go of who it is we used to so honestly be, and move the hell on. And perhaps this is a personal feeling, but I do not want to let go of who I used to be. Quite bluntly, for me, who I used to be is not a part of me that I can just so easily and regardlessly dismiss away, banish from myself. I can’t. I wish I thought that I was even able to accomplish such a feat, but I am not a person who likes to lie to myself. And so I know that I will never truly forget who I used to be. Over time, though, I’ve come rather slowly to realize that perhaps that isn’t such a terrible thing after all. Maybe our endurance of ourselves is a sign of strength, not loss, not weakness.

There are so many people who I have lost over the past few years, not in the literal meaning as in the terms of tragedy such as death, but there are losses that hurt just as horribly. And believe me, I have felt these losses all too prominently over the past few years. I never imagined that I would ever hate anything about myself, but I do. I hate abundant aspects of myself, traits of my personality, darker thoughts that cross my mind repetitively, not simply because I have recognized these darknesses in myself instantly, but rather, I have learnt so much of my weaknesses because of what I have been through. In times of crisis, I understand myself better. I know how to anticipate my reactions to certain things.

That’s the thing. The past will never disappear and dissipate into thin fragments that are gone with the wind. That will never happen. I know this. And I know that sometimes, many times, we may want certain parts of ourselves to vanish without a second look. And this makes sense, when you look at it like that. But here’s the thing: why would we want to forget what made us us? All of the strenuous horrors that you may have faced in your life, all of the weak feelings you wish you could surrender to, they make you who you are. But at the same time, they do not define you.

The past does not disappear as it ends. However, the past also does not define who you are. Your present self is who you are, but your past self led you up to the present, didn’t it? Had you made one choice differently, your life could be irrevocably different. And that is somewhat frightening, but also somewhat relieving. What’s life without uncertainty? Why would you waste your entire life questioning the inevitable what ifs and instead question the right now? This is where you are, this is who you are, and every single thing that you have done in your life, every single moment that you chose to spend doing a certain something, have helped lead you to where you are now. And if where you are is not where you would like to be, well, you do have to let go of what you are unable to change. We needn’t burden ourselves with the past, but we also must accept our pasts, because they are the most unchangeable parts of ourselves and our lives.

I miss so many people, so many things that I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve done if I had the chance or choice now. But I don’t. I simply am not Marty from Back to the Future. The past is utterly irreversible. The past is gone, but the future can be whatever the hell you make it to be. Opportunities are rare but they are also present in this world if you can allow yourself to stop holding onto what holds you down. Do not let your past self shove you down. You are worth so much more than a few choices you made, a lost person, a heartbreak or a few. You’re worth trying. And god, this all sounds terribly cliche, and I generally despise cliches, but you know what? Right now, I know that I am using a cliche and I’m owning it. Too bad. It’s one that I believe we must all do at some point in our lives. We must accept our pasts, without them ruining our present.