Fashion musings, Reflections

Baby Talk

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Having kids has never really been part of the picture. Well, my picture at least. Although at the age of twenty one reaching the point of no return called menopause is still far off, from what I’ve gathered from my peers’ reactions, you’re supposed to have at least some kind of inclination toward them at this point. At the very least, I’ve gathered you aren’t supposed to turn and run at the mere mention of procreating.

Bearing a child is, allegedly, the most natural thing one can do, assuming one is a woman and possesses a functioning womb. However, when you get down to it, and I mean really, really sit down have a good long think about it, it just seems, I don’t know, eerie, at best. Pink and blue bibs and cutesy cartoon zoo animal blankets aside, there is an entire person slowly feeding off of your nourishment to grow and form inside of you. To anyone familiar with the alien movie genre, you’ve heard this plot before. However, whereas in the movies the unsuspecting expectant mother has the benefit of being let off the hook for whatever evil plans the thing inside of her has in store for the outside world, in real life, the parent is the first source of blame. One day this person will have thoughts, feelings, and actions. At best, this person will have a positive effect on the world, but there’s also a chance that their intentions will fall more on the alien side of the spectrum, and not the fun teletubby kind. After all, someone had to birth the dictators of the world. Although I haven’t had many conversations with my womb and so can’t say for certain which way it leans, I feel it’s best not to take the risk.

I suppose my apprehension towards children stems from the fact that as a current adult, I was once a child. Therefore, I know firsthand just how cruel and ill-behaved they can be. There’s the odd behavior, such as drooling, publicly urinating on themselves, and having a sense of timing that leads to repeating inappropriate things at really inopportune times. This behavior for some reason is totally cool for kids, but once you bring these behaviors with you into adulthood, you get some funny looks. Presented with the evidence, kids just seem like really badly behaved adults, or at the very least the cast of Jersey Shore.

For evidence of their cruelty, look no further than substitute teachers. As a student who attended preschool through 12th grade, I encountered my fair share of substitutes. Looking back, though, I remember none of them for their merits, and all of them for the weird quirks or other abnormalities that, to the keen child’s eye, became a well of material for mocking.

There was The Witch, or the woman who wore long skirts and burlap shirts who in a past decade had probably moonlighted as a hippie, but now found herself in charge of twenty to twenty-five little people, ready to judge her based on her unorthodox clothing choices alone. She never made us do unnecessary homework, and as I recall even let us skip a few of the mandated assignments and thus attached herself securely on ‘our’ side. And yet despite having no reason to hate or disrespect her, we did.

There was also Mrs.-Gagnon-rhymes-with-’canyon’ who wore eccentric sweaters, not the most eccentric of which included a sweater adorned with dancing rabbits made of genuine rabbit fur. If we were good, she said, we would be allowed to pet one of the rabbits on her arm. Tempting bait, but no one bit. Unless you count the bitingly vicious imitations of her we did at recess later that day.

It didn’t get better with age, either. In high school, there was the poor college student who came to serve out an internship in our Spanish class that, upon coming out on the other side of it, probably ended up feeling more like serving a prison sentence. We berated him mercilessly for his funny pronunciation and general nervous- and sweatiness. High schoolers are like ruthless predators–they can sense fear a mile away, and they’ll use it like cheese in a mousetrap until they’ve got you right where they want you, which is to say trapped and squirming uncomfortably as they look on with glee. This was just my experience, but by all accounts from past teachers, I was one of the good ones. I take that to mean that I was just more clever about hiding my elaborate imitations of them, but still. Would you want to become a substitute teacher after reading that?

Of course, there’s still a chance that eventually I’ll change my mind, and find myself the proud owner of shiny, brand new children. And if I do, I’ll spend time educating them on seeing the positive in people, and do my best to ensure their overall net effect on the world is a good one. But just to be safe, if the teacher calls in sick, I’m sure as hell not sending them to school. And in the meantime, I’m sticking with plants.

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Fashion musings, Reflections

Love, or Lack Thereof

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Today we take a break from irregularly scheduled fashion posts to explore a subject near many a twenty-something-year-old’s heart: love, or lack thereof.

And more specifically dating, as in, what the hell is going on with it?

The most recent incident involved a guy from class, with whom I shared one text message conversation. Let’s call him Class Act. To clarify, the conversation began with Class Act reassuring me he was ready for a serious relationship, which is one of those tricky things where if you feel the need to say it, it probably isn’t true. The rest was spent sharing pictures of his dog (actual dog, not a euphemism) in various states of napping accompanied by captions like “Isn’t she sooooo cute?” Copious emojis were involved. I replied “Yes” out of politeness but really meant no, that grainy picture of your cockradoodle lab-erspaniel mix in poor lighting is less Terrier, more terror inducing at best.

Then followed a month and a half of persistent calls, texts, and Facebook requests on his end, and a matched persistence in ignoring these on mine. He even resorted to the 90s and passed a few notes in class, and those I did respond to with a very serious and slightly concerned, “Wait, are we in middle school?” He wanted to know why I wasn’t interested anymore. The answer? I wasn’t interested to begin with, and I was confused as to how the complete lack of engagement on my end could have been mistaken for interest.

They say it takes half the time to get over someone that you spent dating. So what’s the grievance period allotted for one text conversation? How many forms of social media does it take to reject someone’s advances before they get the hint? The reasonable answer seems like one. One rejection should be enough to get the hint and move on.

I’ve often wished that all first dates ended not in a kiss, but in a mandatory feedback session. Both parties would assess the other’s strengths and weaknesses, possibly through a timelined mood graph of the evening and definitely through a pros and cons list. Something along the lines of, “Pro: You like dogs! Con: That your dog seems to be the only social contact you’ve had in the past year is a deal breaker for me.” There must be an app for this, right?

There’s also been a recent uptrend in feeling the need to constantly keep a conversation going in between in-person hangouts, be it through text or Facebook. Here’s the thing: I will readily admit that I am not that interesting of a person. I can offer you the occasional witty comeback, or quippy commentary, but I am not a well of sarcastic remarks and interesting stories. Some days are less interesting than others, and some days, nothing of note happens at all. Much like a 24/7 Wal-Mart, I have nothing good to offer you at 3 a.m. Putting the pressure to keep a conversation going 24/7 sacrifices quality for quantity, and while technology can be great for communication, it can also be just as destructive as one Miley Cyrus’s wrecking ball.

Dating seems to be in that awkward teenage phase right in the midst of both puberty and a growth spurt. Things have changed, and I think we’re all a little confused.  I’m not asking for much–just that we throw sanity back into the mix. Until then, I may have to reconsider Tinder, whose anonymity and rejection-proof format are looking pretty appealing right now. But this is what I’m really interested in: How are you surviving dating in a post-technologic world? Any advice to share? Let’s hashtag it, #sanedatingadvice. Horror stories are welcome, too.

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Life Interludes

Slowing Down, Catching Up

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ABOVE: Scenes from the summer, as told by my iPhone

After two months, I’m officially stationary, and back in the states (States-tionary?). These past couple of months have been filled with adventure, to say the least.  Starting with a month in Paris, week in Venice for the Biennale, back to Tampa to move out of one apartment and into another in two days, the jet lag in full effect, then up to Maine for some hiking and general nature enjoyment. I even fit in some time to head up to Indiana for a few days and catch some mini deer, see picture above.

This movement also meant giving up the luxury of a closet and instead relying on what could fit into a sub-50lb suitcase for the better part of the summer. So much of it, in fact, that since being back I’ve been in a state of wardrobe panic. I’ve ended up falling back on the same three outfits or so I’d been wearing, give or take a necklace or ring, and my trusty summer fallback fishtail braid. It has also led to a mass closet exodus, which meant finally weeding out the last bits of Abercrombie and, consequently, my middle school wardrobe, items that were long overdue for a toss anyway.

As I write this, I’m back in Tampa, sitting in the comfort of my [air-conditioned] apartment. It’s my first apartment on my own, which is a big step, but it couldn’t be better suited for what I need right now. Spacious, in a good location, and with just the right ratio of new to culled-from-the-dumpster finds. It’s been less than two weeks but it’s already beginning to feel like home.

I also write this about to start out at a new school for the third year in a row now (third time’s a charm, right?). Bringing it full circle back to my original major, graphic design. You don’t know how much something means to you until it’s gone, I suppose. It’s a lot of big changes, which can be scary, but also exciting. If this year has taught me anything, it’s that the fear of something is almost always greater than the thing itself. And so with that in mind, I’m trying to stay focused on the excitement, take in the new neighborhood, and finally try out some things I’ve been wanting to do for awhile, but due to either a lack of motivation or lack of time haven’t had a chance to. For example:

  • Calligraphy, although it’s more like using calligraphy equipment and making up the style as I go.
  • Trying new things in the kitchen–sprouting, pickling, homemade sriracha (HIGHLY recommended), kimchi, and general baking with the expected failures and successes. Next up, kombucha.
  • Biking, for the first time in a decade.
  • Signing up for a second half marathon, and the subsequent training.
  • Catching up on some reading. Wild by Cheryl Strayed is a new favorite, as is The Drunken Botanist (recommended for anyone looking to impress at the next cocktail party).
  • Exploring the new neighborhood. It’s incredibly refreshing to be back in a place where I can get most places by foot or bike. There have not been scientific studies to back this up, but I’m pretty sure driving in Tampa is more hazardous to your health than consistently eating one of these every day for a year.
  • Finally, and I mean as in this search has been more than a year in the making now, finding a place in Tampa that makes a café au lait just as good as the ones in DC, and now as good as the ones in Paris. Thankfully, and fittingly, this search has come to an end at Piquant.

My New Year’s resolution was to have more adventures, and it’s certainly held true for the first part of the year. Here’s to hoping the rest of the year brings more of the same.
And if your summer hasn’t been filled with enough adventures, there are still a few weeks left. Take a hike. Make booze popsicles. Put a bird on it.

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