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
PHOTO COURTESY OF isabella Giancarlo, via www.isabellagiancarlo.com
“Beauty is a form of Genius— it is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark waters of the silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned.” — Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey, 1890.
As I read these words, parked in an arm chair at the nail salon— whose $35 service I regret to note has become a bimonthly routine— I stopped dead in my tracks. Oscar Wilde, an egg-shaped man with a drastic middle part who is nothing but bones in the ground, had hit the nail right on the head.
It is unmistakably f*cked up that one could lock themselves in the library, memorize the entire periodic table and dissect the works of Darwin, Plato and Freud alike— and still never measure up to the washboard abs of Zac Efron. You’d think that a theory that was unearthed by Wilde in 1890 would be obsolete by now. Think again.
‘Would you rather be beautiful but dumb, or smart but ugly?’ my grade-school friend Sophie once proposed, haphazardly twirling a pigtail around one finger. A simple question (which would soon be forgotten once the lunch bell rang) nearly a decade later has me stumped.
Why is it, that in a group of ten women, it is statistically proven that nine of them will feel that their bodies don’t measure up to what they’d like them to be? Instead of focusing on their strengths and intelligence, these women will dwell on their too-thick thighs and too-fat arms for the rest of their days. There really is no determining whether that willowy woman or chiseled man in the glossy spreads of Vogue received a 4.0 in high school or attempted the LSAT.
Really—what is the hype?
Quite frankly, the most courageous and daring thing that a man or women could do these days is stand squarely front the mirror in their birthday suit and tell themselves “I’m completely fine.” Once we accept the fact that we are not perfect and never will be— no matter how many reps of ‘Kayla’ and vile green smoothies we choke down— it’s remarkable how much easier it is to breathe.
Why is it more common to set goals of ‘drop ten pounds’ or ‘perfecting my contour’ instead of ‘read a book a week’ or ‘keep a journal?’ Why, in the words of Oscar Wilde, has beauty become stone cold ‘fact,’ black and white with no wiggle-room?
In my humble opinion, Mr. Wilde, beauty indeed can be questioned. I believe that to a certain extent, true beauty is light years away from being debunked. Beauty is a magical institution that has no one definition in Webster, and has a multitude of connotations.
After trying my hand in a few philosophy classes last semester, I have witnessed beauty in ways that no page of Cosmo or Vogue could ever encompass. The look of sheer determination and passion that filled my classmates’ eyes as they toyed with the words of centuries-gone philosophers was beauty at its finest. Might I add— class after class, most of my classmates donned uniforms of faded sweatpants and gym shorts, without a care in the world.
I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t take the time to note that I am constantly at war with myself over my appearance at least three times daily— each time I eat a meal. I am just your average millennial with severe discontent over my thighs. However, the times I slap my wrists over my lack of memorized Periodic elements and books are far and few between.
I have learned from years of practice that one sentiment can truly save us from our horribly misleading minds: Accept the fact that you are not perfect and see how much easier it is to breathe.