It was a particularly long and dreadful school day in 2014 when I’d first experienced ugliness in its most bewitching form.
I was making my way across the high school parking lot, several hours after the last bell had rung for the day. I’d spent about three hours after my classes had finished, editing news articles for the school paper until the janitor gave me the ‘hurry up and get out’ eyebrow raise. Even with the blurred vision that is brought about by hours of squinting at a computer monitor, I caught a faint glimpse of a piece of paper fluttering in the wind, secured by the jaws of my windshield wipers.
I brushed it off, convinced it was either a parking ticket (I’m no stranger to these), or a nondescript ad for tai kwon do lessons. In truth, it was neither.
Once when I was nine, I’d had the wind knocked out of me while traveling in my family’s bright red speedboat. We’d hit a monstrous wave head on, and my small-person lungs simply didn’t agree with the momentum. I gasped for air, my eyes blurry with tears and assumed that moment would be ‘the end.’ The air -- and the day’s joy -- quickly returned with a McDonald's chocolate milkshake.
Standing in the empty parking lot, clutching a piece of notebook paper that dripped with pencil-scrawled hatred, made that day on the speedboat a cake walk in comparison.
Essentially, the note confirmed everything that I suspected to be true about myself in high school: that the majority of the people within those yellowing walls and disintegrating ceiling tiles considered me as hilarious and stale as a practical joke.
I reacted to the note the same way that anyone else in my circumstances would have: I pretended it never happened, while the anxiety of it all ate away at my insides like moth larvae in a coat closet. I looked into the eyes of my classmates, wondering if he or she was the penman of the letter, questioning every friendship I ever made and robbing myself of even a shred of joy. I drove myself mad, pouring over the pages of past yearbooks, convinced that if I could just figure out who’d penned the note, I’d finally earn peace.
Eventually, I graduated high school and began the greatest endeavor of my entire life thus far: college. The sleepless nights and ravaging anxiety that the letter had brought into my final year of school soon dissolved, and I’d nearly forgotten about it entirely.
The reason why I decided to unearth this story from the innermost archives of my mind, is the fact that I consider it to be a very defining moment for me. I see life as being a series of soaring highs and staggering lows, and this was one of my most distinct ‘low’s’.
No human is completely without blemish. Considerably my most fatal flaw, is my tireless need to drive myself absolutely bonkers with over-analysis. Every once in a while, I become consumed by the idea that even the closest of my friends secretly hate me and the horrible reality that I could never be loved or married, among other things. But it is in these moments that I pinpoint the enemy: myself. Or, my mind, for that matter. And the sad truth is, it’s not me alone who is guilty of doing this. In fact, I’m sure you’re just as guilty as I am.
Genuinely, it is really none of my business what other people think of me. If I make this my business— if I MAJOR in ‘caring about what they think of me,’— I will wither away until I’m nothing but a sack of meaningless, passionless bones. If we spent a considerable amount of time dwelling on every negative comment, horrible bully, and lie we hear about ourselves each time they come about, we’d be selling our souls over to the ugliness. We are not the reflection of those corrupt people who can’t see us for who we truly are. We are a picture of vibrant color and loveliness, and no one has the right to convince us otherwise. We can’t let the behavior of others rob us of our peace.
Small people make it their mission to belittle the ambitions of the seemingly unbreakable. However, their petty stones can’t penetrate the walls of a stone castle— remember that. The stones will only hurt you if you open a window and let them in. Refuse to open that window.
Socrates once said, “be as you wish to seem.” By the same token, feel as you wish to feel. Not every situation demands a reaction. Sometimes its best to look those who wronged you in the face (figuratively), smile and think “I’m sincerely sorry for YOU. I will not award you with the luxury of seeing me cry.”
I never did find out who wrote the letter.
And quite frankly, I don’t give a damn.
First photo courtesy of art director and designer, Jessica Walsh, via Instagram. Second photo courtesy of a tumblr blog, source unknown.
It may or may not be common knowledge that I’ve spent about a third of my life rattling off anecdotes and whimsical thoughts to a camera, alone in my suburban bedroom.
After seven years as ‘that one girl who makes those videos,’ I’ve rambled at length about countless subjects: the trials of hair removal, menstruation, relationships, ripping my pants in public and love. I’ve endured the torment in high school, the seemingly light-hearted (but still totally offensive) mockery in college and the emotional strain that comes from putting yourself ‘out there’ to an audience of over 27 million— all, in hopes that my stories will help at least one person out there feel a little less hopeless.
I have received pages upon pages of praise from a subscriber pool of over 400,000 worldwide, saluting my 'honesty' and 'courage' online, but I’ve been intentionally ignoring the 6,000-pound elephant in my bedroom.
I AM A COWARD.
I have strategically maneuvered myself around the subject of sex for seven years now, for the complete benefit of polishing my own reputation. My biggest fear for quite some time has been the image of my estranged third-grade teacher who I'm friends with on Facebook, shaking her head with disapproval at this headline appearing on her feed.
After much deliberation with the angel and devil on my shoulders, I’ve decided that enough is enough.
It is tremendously difficult to find honest accounts about sex online, and I am sick of living my life knowing that young people are out there in need of the actual truth. You can hear about it a million times in the same sterile, generic form, but hear about it once in its true light, and it might have the weight to powerfully enlighten the youth of our day. I think it’s time that someone is honest about this stuff.
Sex. SEX. S-E-X. Granted, I wasn’t capable of even uttering the word “sex” in 2009 without blushing, but it has taken me until the hard age of twenty to speak freely about it online. Ultimately, I have been afraid of the judgement that would ensue the second that the ‘unclean’ word left my lips. Would the entire world crumble around me? Probably. I suppose I won’t really know until I click ‘publish’ on this post.
What ever happened to publishing the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Two dogs, tails wagging and eyes gleaming, grope each other in broad daylight and its deemed adorable, but the second a girl decides to even simply write about sex, it’s considered unbecoming and distasteful.
Nearly everyone is either ‘doing it’ or thinking about ‘doing it,’ but hardly anybody is talking about it. Instead of locking away the subject of sex in the crowded dungeon of social taboos, maybe it’s time we take a crack at it.
Most of us can recall The Breakfast Club’s Allison ‘The Basketcase’ Reynolds’ famous theory about sex:
“Well, if you say you haven’t, you're a prude. If you say you have, you're a slut. It's a trap.”
It seems that no matter which side of the line we choose to stand on, we’re at fault somehow.
When I first ‘got lucky’ (just one of the 99+ euphemisms for sex that I found online), I spent roughy 45 seconds afterwords in utter shock. “That was it?!!” I thought. No fireworks? No rainbows and riding off on horseback into an entrancing sunset? “I wish I had been more prepared for this.. I want my money back,” I’d thought, reflecting back on the hours of tuned-out health class lectures in middle school. The second my 55-year-old teacher had mentioned the word “penetration,” his jugular bulging with each syllable, I was done. Perhaps, if I'd been more informed initially in a way that was easier for my teenaged mind to digest, things would have gone differently for me.
To the several thousand (not an exaggeration) of my blog, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram followers who have begged me to speak openly about sex, I’m finally hoisting up my big-girl panties and laying all of my cards on the table.
I came across a quote once that read, “Be as hairy, dirty, and expressive as you want to be.”
I am not looking for your praise. I am not looking for your scorn. All I wish to achieve by speaking openly about sex online, is the hope that young men and women everywhere will realize that they are not alone in what they are doing and how they are feeling. We’re told that it’s normal for our hormones to run rampant in our teens, but regardless of the science involved, it’s socially criminal to not only — *gasp*— have sex (?!) but, —*gasp*— actually talk about it? Bullshit.
Let’s face it. It’s happening, and it will continue to happen.
The more we openly speak about sex, condoms, birth control and STD’s, ultimately, the safer the whole rodeo will become. At this rate, the most I read about sex online comes from faceless bylines on Cosmo articles, raving about the perks of using frosted donuts as sex toys.
I am sincerely sorry if this post causes you to lose sleep at night, but please know that somewhere across the way, I’ll be getting my full eight hours just fine.
TO BE CONTINUED
Photos courtesy of various Tumblr blogs. I do not own the rights to them.
It was an unusually chilly evening in March, and my mind was positively restless. I’d forgotten to set an alarm for the next morning, the shoes I was wearing were two sizes too big, my friends were calling my name from a location I couldn’t quite identify and I really, really had to pee. It took about thirty seconds longer than normal for me realize that at the exact moment all of these thoughts were rushing through my prefrontal cortex, I had a boy’s tongue in my mouth.
I wish I was bluffing.
Deep down, I knew from the second that this said-boy laced his fingers with mine that I was in for another ‘blah-makeout’ which might lead to a ‘blah-“wanna get outta here”’ and a (hollow) ‘blah-“I’ll call you sometime.”’ I foresaw the entire chain of events that would ultimately play out like an interstate fender bender— quick and headache-inducing.
The process has become so frustratingly repetitive.
What at one point in time might have caused a rush of adrenaline and hours of fantasizing over the names of our future children, was instead evoking feelings of boredom. Am I getting too old for this?
Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d stifled a yawn or two as he proceeded to explore my inner jaw—while I continued to internally compile reasons why I should be elsewhere, tackling my lengthy to-do list.
A domino effect that I wouldn’t predict in the moment, however, would be the next morning’s missed 9 a.m. phone call from my mother and unsightly blisters caused by the too-big shoes from Hell.
Am I being unappreciative of a good make out? Maybe.
After all, my friends had told me that so-and-so and I ‘would really hit it off’ (along with the fact that he apparently has an ‘impeccable ass’).
Perhaps I was letting my mind wander, ultimately protecting myself from the crushed expectations and the phone call that would never come. Or maybe, just maybe, I'm putting my eggs in the wrong basket.
Nevertheless, this got me thinking:
Do we even know what’s ‘good’ for us anymore?
Is our generation so hooked on an endless cycle of what it is that we are told, and think we need, that we’re neglecting our true needs?
Will we ever complete our to-do lists?
Remember when we were thirteen and a simple suggestion from Mom to pop a multivitamin or make our beds would commence World War III?
Instead of dubbing myself hopelessly lazy and predictable for focusing my energy on the wrong things, I’d rather describe myself as an individual who simply chooses unconventional ‘priorities’— like creeping on perfect Instagram strangers and binge-watching Game of Thrones.
After wracking my brain over this for months, I’ve managed to come to a somewhat-conclusion that ignoring the ‘good’, ‘important’ things in life is alright in certain respects, but not others. Namely: it’s probably vital to use deodorant, pay taxes and wash your hair every few days. Still, it’s crucial to have a little ‘me time’ with no to-do lists, priorities, or alarm clocks. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise: You're the hero of your own story. Refuse to let anyone besides you dictate your own morals, beliefs and actions. You don't have to be predictable! Rather, fight to be unpredictable. It suits you better, I promise.
It’s up to us to change the pace of society.
We need to swiftly flip the railroad switch, alter the tracks and focus on what will truly benefit us in the long haul. I will note, we also need to recognize that this is much easier said than done.
At the end of the day, if you find yourself in the wrong story, leave.
And if you find yourself in a similar situation as mine, tell the boy you don’t need his french kisses. In my book, that's the first step to finding out what is truly ‘good’ for you.
Photos courtesy of weheartit.com
“Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting.”
— Haruki Murakami
Have you ever found yourself in a fraternity house in the ripe early hours of morning? When the sun has just risen behind the tree tops, shedding morning light on the muddy footprints, grimy countertops and drunken decisions; the stale stench of cheap beer permeating. Whether it's with mussed hair and heels dangling from one hand, or purely for the sake of exploration— a frat house in the day time is an enigma of sorts.
If only the peeling, floral wallpaper (that most likely has not been “groovy” since the late seventies) could talk. Chances are, its seen more love, hate and heartbreak than any daytime soap opera.
As I dodged discarded red solo cups like orange cones on a freeway, I instantly flashed back to an early August morning before my freshman year of college. I was pulling out of my suburban driveway, my Mom’s Toyota packed to the brim, as my Dad called out: “Whatever you do, don’t drink the jungle juice.” I smile at the distant memory.
In the moment of it, fraternity parties can be summed up as a blur of neon, sweat and high-heeled boots, caked with mud. But the next morning, as the thrills of the night before evaporate, we’re left only with the bruises and empty Cookout bags to prove it even happened at all.
Personally, I think that the college nightlife culture has been given a bad rap.
Sure, there is a lot of bad that can come from a hundred sweaty college kids packed into bass-radiating houses with names like “Titty City” and “Palace,” but let’s be real here: people who slam partygoers with the same force as convicted murderers need to rethink their argument.
College party-goers from Santa Barbara to Boulder can agree with the notion that aside from providing sheer bliss in the moment, parties truly have the power to fill up a part of our souls that we didn’t even realize was running dry.
Its the random girls sitting on the grungy linoleum floors of the bathroom with you, dabbing your tear-stained eyeliner with the hems of their crop tops, feeling the wind in your hair on those 3 a.m. rides to Cookout in the back of a shiny pick-up, sensing the entire room radiate with passion as you scream the lyrics to a ‘Killers’ track, gripping hands with a perfect stranger.
I’ve experienced more revelations at fraternity parties than my 10:30 a.m. philosophy class could ever evoke. Even artist Andy Warhol, who's works go for the modest price of roughly 100 million a pop, appreciated a good party in order to maintain his sanity. “I have to go out every night,” Warhol once said, presumably between puffs of a cigarette. “If I stay home one night I start spreading rumors to my dogs.”
Granted, I’m not condoning the act of pursuing the act of going out with the same rigor as a Bachelor’s degree, but in the words of Fergie, “a little party never killed nobody.” There is nothing wrong with wanting to live rather than simply exist. If that, to you, is sticking your nose in a textbook on Friday nights, power to you! But at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with choosing an alternate path.
No matter what you do in this life, I’ve found, someone is going to judge you. At first, I was enraged by this— “they don’t know me! they don’t know my story! I’m not an idiot!” But, don’t you see: that is precisely what they want. ‘They,’ (also known as ‘society’) want for you to react with angst. They want you to play the ‘crazy, horny college student’ card.
The world is going to judge you no matter what, so you might as well live the way that you want to.
After all, nobody looks back on their lives and reflects most fondly on the nights that they got plenty of sleep.
Photo courtesy: http://cdn.trendhunterstatic.com/thumbs/dance-all-night-pillow-case.jpeg