The Beginning of the End

I have survived the first week of my senior year.  It can only get better from here on out because every day is a day closer to graduation, the pinnacle of my high school experience, the light at the end of the tunnel.

There was nothing particular special about the first three days of the school year.  I have some pretty kick ass teachers and stimulating classes, so that’s good.  I have to hang out with my homophobic, mildly alcoholic, sometimes overachieving, social climbing “friends”, so that’s bad.  Nothing spectacular happened, but I’ll give you the highlights anyways.

On the first day of school, I got to talk to the hottest guy in my class.  We were both in a displaced class and he showed me where he thought it was.  We exchanged maybe two sentences.  It was kind of pretty much awesome.  But then I ended up not even being in that class with him, so our romance fizzled out there.  But we will always have those five minutes and that stretch of hallway.

Also, I made a friend!   I know, I know, very exciting stuff.  You are bursting at the seams with inquires about this new, mysterious player in my life.  Is is a girl?  Is it a boy?  Are they tall?  Short?  Irish?  Left handed?  Well, these are the facts: (fan)boy, tall (very, actually), not Irish, and not left handed.  He is extremely geeky and I cannot discriminate because of this handicap because it seems I am inflicted with a strain of the same disease.

What else…what else…. Oh!  I almost died a social death at lunch.  Let me set the scene: me standing in front of my art class door.  A single sheet of paper staring me back in the face.  The words “First Lunch” marked so haphazard upon it.  But make no mistake, such declaration should not be made with such haste, such nonchalance.  This meant I would not even be allowed the good grace of connecting with my classmates and marching into the cafeteria hand in hand.  I would have to go it alone.  And to further misgivings, it was a lunch period of almost pure freshmen.  I stumbled between tables, the only senior for miles around!  What was I to do besides find an empty table in the back and eat my lunch alone!  It was a travesty.  Lucky, not five minutes went by before another doe-eyed senior spotted me, a girl I knew from my perilous adventures in dance company, and came to my rescue (as I came to hers) and salvaged what was left of my dignity.

So, that is my first week of being a senior.  Somewhat sucky, a little disheartening, but not all hope is lost.  It was also mildly entertaining, slightly interesting, and with any luck, will prove to be a good motivator to get into the college of my dreams and actually make something of myself.

The VMAs and Our Brainwashed Soceity

I feel no shame when I report that yes, I spent the last two hours anchored in front of my television while a musical menagerie was paraded across the screen in a whirl wind of teen heart throbs and mega stars.  Lots of people sang, lots of people danced, a few people won awards, and for some reason Kevin Hart made the exact same jokes about two dozen times.  Its the VMAs!

This won’t be a post about the irony of honoring music videos when in fact MTV rarely plays them any more.  This won’t be a post about how utterly annoying it is that talented artists are often past over because they are not young and/or hot and/or British.  All those subjects seem trite and boring.  No, I will talk about something much more important and profound than that.  I want to talk about Miley Cyrus.

Oh, Miley, how far you have fallen.  It’s sad, and only slightly fascinating and gratifying, to watch your public degeneration into teen star wash out status.  Did you see her performance at the VMAs?  Much like her video for the summer hit “We Can’t Stop”, it had that “I don’t care what you think” vibe yet somehow desperately screamed “please say you think I am cool!  Look!  I’m twerking!  That’s cool, right? Right?!”

To sum it up, it wasn’t classy.  I hope for MIley Cyrus’s sake that the whole plot was the brain child of some money hungry manager or executive.  Either that or she had at least done a lot of cocaine first.  I understand that she is trying to distance herself from her Disney Channel days, but it seems she is teetering on the edge and could go over the deep in at any moment.

…Or possibly they just want us to think that.  Maybe Miley Cyrus has become a train wreck for a reason. Because at the end of the day no one will look away.  As sad as it may be, as long as she is still relevant, she is still successful.  It doesn’t matter how many middle aged women are sitting at home shaking their heads with disappointment when they see her Jersey turnpike Robin Thicke on national television because she is still making money.  It doesn’t matter if her hair makes her look like the Cynthia doll from the Rugrats.  All publicity is good publicity, right?

It’s why Ke$ha says she was born with a tail.  It’s why Lady Gaga can be as strange and confusing as she wants.  It’s why Daft Punk will never take off their helmets.  It doesn’t matter if we like it, as long as we are intrigued.  As long as we are tuning in.  As long as we still care, they still are making the money.  No matter what we think, as long as we are still thinking of them, they still win.

Oh, show business.

This Shouldn’t Be This Hard

College Applications.

This is impossible.

For whatever reason, my father decided to give me a one week deadline on all of my college applications and that deadline is tomorrow!  (Why does he do this to me?  He is trying to give me a nervous breakdown).  I know his imaginary, absolutely pointless deadline doesn’t really matter, but at the beginning of the week, it felt good to have a little motivation.  It gave me reason to buckle down and fill out the clerical, tedious parts of the application (you know, name, birth date, social security number blah blah blah).  But before I knew it the questions weren’t about my extracurricular activities or what college my parents went to.  The questions were about me.

Why do they do this to me?  Don’t they know I will over think every question they put forth?  The past three days I have been staring at my computer screen trying to figure out how to answer “What’s your favorite movie?” with a selection that makes me seem intelligent, but not arrogant, and artsy, but not pretentious.  I could say the Lorax.  But then they might think I am tree-hugger with childish taste.  Or maybe I should go with Starship Troopers.  But there is no way to make it clear that I enjoy the movie because I see it is a crafty satire of how we, as a society, face total war.  (Futuristically clad soldiers being impaled on giant alien bug appendages it only a bonus).  I thought of going with a classic: Schindler’s List.  Where could that go wrong, right?  It’s a great movie about history.  Seems like a slam dunk. But how terrible cliche they will surely see right through my farce! 

See.  This is why it is hard to be me right now.

I’m try to keep a level head about all this.  I know that (hope that) my actual academics will be doing the heavy lifting when it comes to my acceptance or rejection, but I know these little fill-in the blank inquires can sway the admissions office one way or the other.  I’d hate to not get into the college of my dreams because I decided to say that my favorite superpower is teleportation instead of mind-reading.

And I would just like to point out, 250 words is not enough space to tell you a back story that is essential to my personality!  

 

Heartbroke: A Sort of Book Review (But not really)

This past weekend, I finished the third installment in George R. R. Martins epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, A Storm of Swords.  The book has been hailed as the best in the series thus far, and I can see why.  A lot happens.  A lot of very, very, very interesting and shocking stuff happens.  I won’t go off spoiling it or anything, but I will say this: I cheered a lot, I cried a lot, and I got to say “told you so” at least once.

As you probably know, George R. R. Martin is a notorious heartbreaker.  It’s like what Joss Whedon said: “People love a happy ending.  So every episode, I will explain again that I don’t like people.”  Except, it’s like George R. R. Martin said that.  And he was talking about books, not episodes.  And he wasn’t talking about not liking people, he was talking about not liking me, because I am almost a hundred percent sure Martin went out of his way when writing this book to make me cry.

Of course, he wasn’t really trying to get me to cry.  He just wanted someone to cry, anyone to cry.  He wanted someone, somewhere to feel something for these make believe people in this make believe place that he thought up in his head.  It’s kind of sick, when you get to thinking about it.  And what is worse, that is my particular goal in life as well.  I want someone to read something I wrote and cry because it seems to real.

I’ve been trying to figure out why the fictional heartbreaks in Storm of Swords (or any book/movie/tv show for that matter) were able to break my very real heart.  I suppose it is natural to sympathize when you see someone suffering.  It is even more natural to empathize when you are experiencing that suffering as they experience it.  But at what point do we forget it is a con?  What in our brain lets us believe, even for the slightest moments, that anything we are reading actually matters?

It’s an amazing thing: getting lost in a story, getting tied up in the characters, and being immersed in a fantasy world.  It is one of the most awesome and magical things I have experienced.  And that is either very sad or very true.  Or maybe both.  I am just glad that my logical brain is able to shut itself off so that my intangible mind can go get my heart broken in some fanciful realm dreamed up in the cranium of a sadistic middle-aged man.

Hero(ine)

Today, I was tasked with the challenge of babysitting an egocentric six year old girl and an indecipherable three year old boy, and then consequentially their two neighborhood friends of the the same ages, for about seven hours.  During this time period, I noticed the oddest behavior.  

After completely botching a game of soccer, I found myself dissolving into the basest and drollest forms of entertainment to occupy my charges.   One moment, I was the fun babysitter trying to steal the soccer ball, the next I transformed into a giant monster/evil fairy (there was some argument over the matter) that had to be avoided with high pitched squeals and/or attacked with sticks and rocks.  

The two youngest were getting a real kick out of it especially.  One was of my original charge, the three year old boy, and the other was the neighbor girl, who must have been around the same age.  Already, the boy had showed his affection for her (as much as a three year old could have affection for a little girl).  He refused to play any game she wouldn’t play, insisted they swing together, and even braved the spider web on the slide upon her invitation.  I could tell, he was smitten.  

It was what he said during the game the really seemed interesting to me.  Whenever I would start from me he would shake his head and point at the girl.  “No, no, go get Emma and then try and get me.”  Sure enough, I would chase after his young love, sweep her up in my arms, and once I would charge for him, he would attack, “knocking” me to the ground, and rescuing his lady.  

The whole game went on in this fashion.  It seemed to me the boy had created a sort of story line in his head: I was the monster, the girl was the damsel in distress, and he was the knight who would save her.  Princesses being rescued by noblemen is a trope of classic fairy tales, but those all seemed geared toward girls.  Not to mention, damsels-in-distress are hard to come by in modern children movies and books.  

Still, he exhibited an inherit affinity for playing the hero.  He wanted to rescue her, demanded it even.  At three years old, he wanted to be wanted.  Already, he was searching for affirmations of his manhood.  As a seventeen year old girl, I have run into this particular form of “needness” in guys I have dated–but those are insecure teenage boys, not a squealing toddler.

I have never seen anything wrong with the classic damsel-in-distress storyline.  It’s romantic and dreamy–honestly, what girl wouldn’t be okay with a handsome prince rescuing her from the clutches of a fire breathing dragging?  But it seems like society is constantly marching away from this dynamic.  Woman are no longer weak and delicate.  They are no longer housewives and exclusively mothers, either.  Every little girl is expected to answer “what do you want to be when you grow up?” with an actual profession now, the more ambitious the better.  And it’s great!  It’s great that girls dream of growing up to be presidents and doctors and lawyers.  It’s great that women are putting off getting married and having children to build their career first. 

We are become a society of independent woman.  We are becoming a generation of women that don’t rely on our male counterparts to put food on the table.  We can hold our own.  We aren’t damsels-in-distress any longer.  And as this trend continues, my question becomes, what happens to that classic male instinct?  What becomes of the surprisingly fragile masculine ego that is fed by the needs of women?  How will that three year old boy react when that little girl doesn’t need to be saved?  

The point of this extremely drawn out post is this:  It is obvious that the traditional roles of women are changing drastically.  But maybe that change is only the tip of the ice berg.  How woman see themselves won’t just change their role in society, it will change how men and woman interact.  And more importantly, it will change how men define themselves.  Because not only are we doing away with the princesses and damsels-in-distress, but also the respectable princes and noble knights in shining armor whose only purpose was to rescue her in the first place.

 

The List

So it’s August now.  The gun went off and the race is officially started!  Up until this point, it was all just training and priming.  Now it’s time to get serious and buckle down.  Now it is time to start applying.

Coinciding with this unofficial start of admissions season, I have made the first step towards acceptance.  I’ve narrowed down my application list to six schools.  This is a big leap forward.  Last month, I was banging my head against the wall, screaming into my pillow, and staying up to obscene hours trying to shuffle through university websites and college board pages to find any that stood out to me. It has been especially difficult because there is no particular state I call “home”.  There is no general area I was trying to stick to.  There was no home base. 

But I did it!  And most importantly, I am excited for more than just one of the colleges on my list!

 This is what I got 

  • George Washington University
  • University of Richmond
  • William and Mary
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • NC State
  • University of North Carolina 

The first three are the schools I’d really like to go to, even though I have never seen University of Richmond in real life.  It was sort of just a random one, same with University of Maryland.  But my sister applied to her current school on a whim, got in, and fell in love.  So who knows where out of this six I’ll end up.  That is, as long as one of them even wants me.

Making this list has really lifted a weight of my shoulders.  I am pretty confident one of these schools will let me in.  I am still trying to decide if I should apply early decision to GW.  I love the school, and it seems like best case scenario, but there is the money to consider.  Not to mention it is binding!  Is there any word scarier than binding? 

At least now I am excited.  Now it’s just time to start turning out those application essays…This might get painful.

 

 

 

Learning My Lesson

“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.”

-Sophia Loren

I’ve been making a lot of mistakes lately–purposefully.  I’ve been doing the wrong thing, the bad thing, the thing that will make me shake my head with shame in a few years when I look back on it.  Call it my teenage experiment in rebellion.  I might not drop out of school and become a low-level pot dealer, but I sure as hell will make sure I make mistakes.

Because, I feel as though mistakes are good.  I never mess up the same way twice, because I am smart enough to learn my lesson the first time.  The next time I will know to pick brains over brawn.  Next time I know to not cram for that history exam.  Next time I know not to tell my little brother when I’m going out to do fun stuff.  See, I’m learning.  I’m improving.  I’m rounding out my edges and figuring out this big ole thing we call life.  I’m adapting.

It’s like each person is a brand new block of clay.  As much as we want to mold the clay ourselves, we cannot.  It’s up to the clay.  (That’s a terrible analogy, clay can’t mold itself).  But, my point is, sometimes we have to let people figure things out for themselves.  

I’ve often though that society would be more advanced if we truly learned from each others mistakes.  If we could cut out all the experimentation and curiosity that all the other generations have already mastered, maybe we could focus on things yet known to the human race.   For the most part, we do learn a lot from the ones that came before us: science, literature, politics, tolerance, and that acid wash jeans are a bad idea.  Overall, we are a society slowly learning from our collective mistakes, but it’s the personal, individual mistakes we all seem to figure out for ourselves.

The real problem comes when people make the mistake and forget the most important part: learning from their mistakes.  But that is a whole separate issue.

There is another benefit for mistakes: they are interesting.  I’ve never started telling a story that didn’t start with my own personal lapse in judgement.  I’ve never had an adventure that didn’t require some risk taking.  No one ever says “Remember that time I followed the rules?” or “Remember that time I obeyed the signs?”  It’s fun to screw up.  It’s fascinating to do something and not knowing what will come next.  

That doesn’t mean mistakes aren’t bad.  Remember the saying “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye”?  Mistakes, like risks, are necessary evil.  So, have fun–just not too much fun.  And always learn from it.