An Irrelevant Update

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There are often instances in which I find myself rendered unable to coherently, eloquently string words together, and unfortunately, after many futile and dull attempts, I’ve simply decided to share with you some lists encompassing what I’ve been spending my time doing. Besides inane amounts of homework and watching Scandal, of course. Hopefully, as I have yet to completely settle into this school year, I will find it within me to write again, soon. As an update, which I am quite sure none of you were desperately seeking, I’ve been reading nearly everything by Joan Didion and listening to Leon Bridges, both in excessive amounts. I’ve also, for absolutely no logical reason, added some photographs from my trip to Europe this summer. Longing for those cities has become second nature, especially during the perpetual humdrum that hits me whenever I come home from school.

Music

Teenage Talk// St. Vincent

Do Right Woman, Do Right Man// Aretha Franklin

Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You// the 1975

Smooth Sailin’// Leon Bridges

Calgary// Bon Iver

The Sound of Silence// Simon & Garfunkel

Read

Books I’ve recently finished:

The Year of Magical Thinking// Joan Didion

Bad Feminist// Roxanne Gay

Girl With Curious Hair// David Foster Wallace

Birthday Letters// Ted Hughes

Rebecca// Daphne du Maurier

Reading List

Play It As It Lays// Joan Didion

Mrs. Dalloway// Virginia Woolf

On the Road// Jack Keourac

In Cold Blood// Truman Capote

Home.

here is a poem I recently wrote, out of quite a passionate dissonance of emotions. if you’d like to read more, head over here. thank you.

I am in love with someone who is unaware
of any aspect of my existence

how egregious this pain seems
I am unremarkable in my sufferings
but I miss him all the same

sleepless, hollow nights
there lies an ache
inside of me
in my stomach,
my bones and my ribs,
aching without apology
without a cure

with the weight
of knowledge that you
will never see me
the way that I see you

or love me
as if I’m not made of
paper.

the thing is
you are unequivocally
most certainly
and unbearably
my home

but I
don’t know
if you can build a home
from a stack of cards

and I don’t know
if you can build a home
inside words never dedicated to you.

4:42

this is a short story of mine that I wrote for English class last year, centered around the very broad theme of “catharsis”. it makes little sense and is quite vague but please tell me what you think, and ask what’d you like. please do not steal or post anywhere else as I worked very hard on this last year.  thank you. 

4:42 AM.

My head is hurting and my feet are sore. It’s too dark out to feel the pain, though. It’s much too early to feel anything. I am not supposed to be here, of course not, but I could not sleep and I could not stay put inside of my small, claustrophobic, room. I had to let myself out. I had to.

I am standing at the exact spot where the waves break against the sand, the fine divide between the rugged darkness of the sea and the soft motionless existence of the earth. I used to love that- the metaphor of the break between oblivion and life. I suppose I still do, but in a much different way. I slide off my sandals, tossing them somewhere behind me, dismissing the common necessity of footwear for a time of lesser importance than this.

The night air is dipping down, settling around me, a charcoal tip smudging against the papery sand. I am silent but my mind is certainly not. All I can think of is how this came to be. How did this happen? How did the person that I used to so willingly be become the person that I now so unexpectedly am? Everything is aching inside of me as I slip my toes into the coldness of the water. The temperature is almost unbearable, but all I can think about is the girl that once was. And the memory hurts far more than the death chill.

A slippery smile crosses my lips as I close my eyes, breathing in all of the night and all parts of the wide, unbreakable universe. Breathing in what was and what would’ve been. It is peaceful, surprisingly enough. It is peaceful.

That day when the tears stained my cheeks like cracks in a sidewalk, the outer darkness that surrounded me threatening to choke me to death. The weight of her troubles was passed subconsciously unto me. And I know that she never meant to make me carry her heartache, but I did. I did for too long, and too deeply. Her demons were never meant to be mine, but somehow, they laid eggs inside of my heart and have grown there since.

When the person closest to you breaks, you do not imagine how deeply it will injure you. It does, though. It breaks you in places you did not know even existed until now. You do choose your friends, but you do not choose their heartbreaks. You do not choose their insecurities, or their many, many flaws, or their instinctive hatred that has been relentlessly instilled in them since birth. You do not choose their humanity. You only choose what they allow you first to see. And, after that, all you can ever hope to do is to try to hold onto the person you once believed existed. After a while, though, that weight grows tiresome. That weight pulls you into someone else’s darkness. One that was never supposed to pass into yours.

Is it better, I think, solemnly, to feel complete indifference to everything, to feel absolutely nothing but to thus never feel pain? Or is it better to feel all of everything at once? It is the unspoken and unanswerable question. But I think, now, I have finally somehow answered it. I have felt it all: the grief of your own soul lost, but stitched back together by brand-new needles. The maelstrom of a thousand devastations cleaning your spirit and washing away the disbelief into an understanding for what life really is. It is a ridiculously painful thing, but a necessary cleansing. After all of the vehement madness I have so exhaustedly pushed myself into, I now can say that it is better, to have felt it all, for the strange feeling will lead to understanding. The feeling will burn inside of you until you have absolutely no choice but to allow the fire to grow. There is no other choice, and there never was.

The girl who once was, isn’t anymore. The young, inquisitive girl who believed in saccharine goodness and in the bright, shiny parts of the world, who believed in unconditional kindness, isn’t anymore. That girl, however hopeful, however fervently inspired she was, is inexorably gone. That girl is long dead, not buried, but burnt. And I am suddenly, overwhelmingly, okay with that. It is no longer a terrible epiphany, but a momentous one. I left pieces of myself in every person that I used to love, and now, those pieces are forever broken, but all I must do is find new ones. All I must do is let go of the remains of the past and instead dare to pass into the new world of myself. There are parts of me where the sun will never shine, and this is no longer a disgrace, but an understanding. There is no requirement for perpetual sunlight, not when you are capable of controlling your darkness. Not when you’re at home in your brokenness.

I still miss you, I do. I will never stop missing you. But the water is growing colder and the waves are getting bigger and I need to go back to bed. I love you, as always, but I will never see you again. And I have to live with that, for now.

I turn my back to the sea. I search for my shoes in the pale dawn.

They are long gone.

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.

But.

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.

Evergreen…

Evergreen.

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

Recently…

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!