Monthly Archives: January 2013

One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. I wear colors that I really like. I wear makeup that makes me feel pretty, and it really helps. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple–it’s your home–and you must decorate it.

–Gabourey Sidibe

(via Lavender Labia)

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Anticipation makes any loss that much harder to swallow.

On a related note, emotions get so much harder to control when you feel some kinda way about the way you feel. This morning I was upset about something involving a guy, and then upset at myself for being so upset about the thing involving the guy, which led me to just being irrationally upset and perhaps crying in my office. Recognizing my level of upset-ness as irrational just made me more upset. I felt like a silly little girl.

And then I went to talk to another coworker, and though she didn’t state this in plain words, she reminded me that being emotional is not, in fact, akin to being a silly little girl, and that the way I feel is valid even if it does not seem necessarily proportionate. That chastising myself for the way I feel is like chastising myself for breathing–when life beats you up, responding by throwing punches at yourself is just silly.

I hereby resolve two things: 1) that my 23rd will be the only birthday I spend any portion of which crying about a boy, and 2) that I will henceforth give myself more space in which to feel.

By slow violence, I mean a violence that occurs gradually and out of sight, a violence of delayed destruction that is dispersed across time and space, an attritional violence that is typically not viewed as violence at all. Violence is customarily conceived as an event of action that is immediate in time, explosive and spectacular in space, and as erupting into instant sensational visibility. We need, I believe, to engage a different kind of violence, a violence that is neither spectacular nor instantaneous, but rather incremental and accretive, its calamitous repercussions playing out across a range of temporal scales. In so doing, we also need to engage the representational, narrative, and strategic challenges posed by the relative invisibility of slow violence.

–Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, 2011

(via Square Dancing with Giants)

On your birthday, people always ask if you feel any older.

For twenty-two years, I have thought, ‘No, you idiot. I feel exactly like I felt yesterday, except now there’s cake.’ Today if someone asks me that, though, I am going to say yes. Absolutely. Incredibly. So much. In nearly every identifiable way. Thinking about where I was a year ago and where I am today, I can hardly believe it’s only been a year.

Last year at this time, I had barely started writing my thesis. My IRB application hadn’t even been submitted yet. I didn’t know what I was doing after graduation yet. I had just had an interview at a company that seemed to have manifested straight out of my dreams, and was about to have a Skype interview to be a research assistant at Harvard, of all places. I was about to start my last semester of classes at Princeton. I was in the thick of an era of aggressive sexual exploration with no thoughts towards relationships and feelings. My birthday party was in the place that felt most like home: the Large Library of the Princeton Quadrangle Club. I had no desire whatsoever to leave Princeton. The real world seemed lonely and terrifying.

I’ve now been working at that company that seemed to manifest straight out of my dreams for 7 months, and I still love it. I wrote a 212 page thesis and got my junior paper published in an undergraduate sociological journal. I sat helpless while my mother underwent a stem cell transplant to save her life from an aggressive blood cancer, and got to share a celebratory glass of champagne with her, my father, my older sister, and my grandmother in the parking lot of Edwards Hall on the day that I graduated from Princeton (in 4 years despite having walked out of the Fitz-Randolph gates junior year). Douglass Massey tipped his hat to me at graduation. I met Issa Rae, Angela Davis, and Donald Glover. I signed my first lease without needing a cosigner and moved to Washington DC despite having been here for a grand total of 5 days in my teenage/adult life. I’ve cultivated a great group of friends here. I’ve been to 16 concerts in 7 months, whereas I’d previously been to three in my whole life. I finally feel comfortable with makeup and nail polish. I feel that my closet is reflective of my personality. I’ve remembered what it’s like to have a crush. I rediscovered hip-hop. I learned how to stand up for what I don’t want as vehemently as I stand up for what I want. I finally made the move to WordPress and my own blog domain, which makes me feel like a “real blogger.” I relearned whom I can and cannot live without. I opened a savings account. I have my own health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and have made two payments into my 401k. I closed the year by conducting an interview with a hopeful 2017 Tiger. People identified me by my laughter, my hair, and my fashion. The moments of despair were wholly overshadowed by moments of pure bliss.

In 34 minutes, I will be twenty-three. And dammit, I feel grown. I feel that my life is everything I could have hoped it would be at twenty-three, which is an incredible thing to be able to say. I feel like everything has paid off, and at the same time I’m incredibly aware that everything is just beginning. This is real life, and it never ceases to amaze me. If I’m this content how, I can’t wait to see where this year brings me. I must continue to measure it in love.