I don’t know how true anything people write about the music people play for babies is. But I do know that there’s something about the music my mom played for me when I was a kid that’s subconsciously made me realize how I became the person I am. There’s something about what these women had to say that almost twenty years later, she successfully imprinted onto my brain. My mother listened to women who were musicians first, musicians before and musicians after the men in their lives. Women who not only wrote their own songs, but who wrote the songs the men in their lives sang. These women weren’t muses. These women stood alone.

When I listen to this song, or really anything by Joni Mitchell, or Stevie Nicks or Carole King, I know: My mother was showing me how to be a woman.

And it’s eerie, it’s really almost haunting, the way I’ve grown up to parrot these phrases back to myself in my head. The way I fight my feelings the way these women did in song.  It’s like you hear it in your head, I hate you, I hate you so…oh I love you, when I forget about me. I wanna be strong, I wanna to laugh along, I wanna belong to the living. Maybe subconsciously, that’s how I learned what it meant to be a woman on my own. Because that’s where I inevitably look again, to find the balance that Joni’s fighting for here, between being strong and laughing along, between letting herself love and forgetting herself, between making someone else feel better and allowing them to feel free. It’s the balance I always quietly knew I’d be seeking. So when I find myself fighting for it too, as an uncertain woman who isn’t used to feeling her mind see-saw, I’m not the least bit surprised. Because Joni told me, if I grew up like she told me to, that’s what would happen.

Your mother isn’t telling you anything, because when you’re in your teens, you aren’t trying to believe that the advice she’s giving is advice you’ll cling to when you’re a woman. So she plays for you, over and over, the words she wants you to hear. And when, over and over during your adolescent years, you hear Joni Mitchell tell you, like she’s proposing the idea to herself, that all she really, really wants her love to do is to bring out the best in me and in you, too, eventually you start to add whatever that means to your ever-growing definition of love and relationships.

So what, then, when you hear her crooning, can you see can you see can you see how you’re hurting me, baby? Like she’s trying to figure it out – the extent of her hurt –  for herself, for the first time, too, you realize that maybe when she wonders how she’s being hurt it isn’t anything anyone else is really doing, but it’s in this forgetting and this remembering and this trying so hard to be strong where the effort starts to ache. It’s in this fighting so hard to remember, to remember to be strong, strong enough to be ever-present in the face of something that threatens to steal you from yourself.

Because how could you ever know that as you wonder how someone could possibly wanna make you feel free, how someone could even be able to help another person feel that way, that one day you’re going to know just how important it is to work so hard to always

feel

free

I’ve been thinking a lot about the all-encompassing fasciation women my age have with The Bling Ring and how we’ve watched reality television and celebrity culture become the dominant form of entertainment as we grew up. Even though Katie J.M. Baker at Jezebel actually grew up in California (lucky bitch), we are exactly the same age, and I think she knows my soul.

As a teenager, I consumed a steady diet of high-brow pop culture journalism - I’ve had a Vogue subscription on and off since I was in seventh grade, and a Vanity Fair subscription for just about as long. I wore the brands I read about in those magazines, even if they weren’t as popular as the comparatively plebeian Michael Stars and 7 For All Mankind logos that were popular at my high school. I became obsessed with California culture after reading about the Roxy surfing team in Vanity Fair and I’ve been trying to recreate a surfer look in the middle of the Midwest ever since. After reading another article featuring surfers wearing UGGs in Vanity Fair, I brokered a deal to walk to school through the winter in exchange for my first pair of UGGs during the summer before I started high school (2001). I scoured the celebrity beauty routines I found in magazines and painstakingly ordered the products they used, mostly Stila lip glosses and Bumble and Bumble hairspray, from stores in other states. I rode my bike to the only store at the mall where I could come close to duplicating the outfits I saw on Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan, counting out my dollar bills in exchange for Juicy Couture miniskirts and Marc Jacobs sweaters. I saved my remarkably substantial lifeguarding salary to buy Juicy Couture sweatsuits and Earl Jeans on spring break trips to California, often splitting the cost with my parents, who thought the way I worked to buy an identity was crazy. 

But it was all I had. I wasn’t a popular kid. I was a bratty, snobby, self-righteous gifted kid. But I knew how to be cool, and I knew that I knew. I knew that what I had was always better. I knew that what I was wearing, the knowledge I had, was always cooler, and I was able to do that because I learned, from a very young age, before the internet, how to chase the next best thing.

I’d been trying to act twenty-five since I turned thirteen, and I’d be damned if any of the students who bored me so much, came to school looking cooler than I did.

I worked hard for what I got. I studied it, I made lists and I saved for it in a way that impresses me - a broke twenty-something - now. I petitioned my parents with photo essays documenting my need for specific items of clothing. I felt like every piece I earned was a particular sacrifice. In reality, my parents could afford it. They just didn’t want to. They saw, before I did, the roots of idol worship. They saw the negative effects of materialistic culture on teenage girls - famous or not - before I could.

I remember the peculiar sting of learning, years later, once I’d outgrown my bourgeois obsession with designer labels, that my parents never struggled to buy clothes for me when I was at my most demanding. They just didn’t think I needed them. They knew I’d trade the once accessible Juicy Couture for a now aspirational All Saints, and that I’d regret the stacks of gold-glittered celebrity lookalike pieces I accumulated as a teen. But hearing my mom tell me, even almost ten years later, that for a brief period during my high school days, my parents were just as rich as all the popular girls’ parents, was devastating. Knowing, even for a second, that I could have had everything I perceived that they had, stung. But not as much as knowing that, had my tastes been less tacky, I could have had a fully furnished designer wardrobe that I still wanted to wear ten years later.

What was interesting about the trends of the early 2000’s was that they were so easy to duplicate. The trend pieces I saw on celebrities in Vanity Fair showed up in Vogue, where I could circle them and pick them out of a lineup at Neiman Marcus in Chicago over my birthday weekend, often for less than $250. In the early 2000’s, we were all Valley Girls. The Bling Ring fascinates me, and I’d guess, other women who were girls like me, because for a brief instant, in the early 2000’s, as we were just starting to grab at the riches of adulthood, as celebrity culture was starting to become the most defining element of American consumer culture, it really seemed like you could buy it - the fame, the riches, the beauty. 

We cut the flares off the bottoms of our jeans in late 2003 when we started smoking and going to basement shows. We started buying our alligator-adorned polo shirts from thrift stores. We all grew up and went away to college. We came back to our childhood bedrooms and put our tacky, overtly designer clothing into boxes to give away. We watched as the hipsters working at resale stores in our hometowns picked up the prized possessions of our adolescence by their fingertips and told us, politely, that they didn’t think they could sell any of the treasures we’d toiled for during our teen years.

And then, three years later, in 2008, at the beginning of the worst recession since the 1930s, a group of teenagers from outside LA robbed a bunch of houses belonging to some celebrities who were famous just for being famous.

Those celebrities and their closets represent what we thought we could be. Without any particular talent, other than wearing clothes and looking good while doing it, their worlds, which were so far removed from ours, seemed accessible through a quick stroke of luck - almost literally through the right outfit. Because for a couple years, it had all seemed so easy. For a little while, we thought we’d all have it. 

Four years ago, I was a senior in college. My life was changing, but so was our country. In this picture, I’m standing in our campus bar, drinking some sort of free blue drink made primarily from UV Blue and holding several bottles of champagne we brought from our room. I’m crying.
I worked as a field organizing intern for the Obama campaign on my college campus and canvassed around the Appleton area for our nation’s first major black presidential candidate. This meant that I woke up, largely hungover, on Sunday mornings and hoofed it around Appleton through neighborhoods that were predominantly white and predominantly solid middle- and working-class areas. It means that I saw a lot of people begin to believe. When we elected Obama, I was a woman had just begun to understand the role of empathy in the political spectrum. The things that drove me there were personal - I grew up privileged. I grew up without having to struggle or want for anything. I am grateful for a trifecta of personal bad decisions for bringing me to Obama’s candidacy, and to Obama’s candidacy for helping me realize that our country needed to expect that its leaders do more than be born on third base.
I want a president who has paid student loans. I want a president who has wondered whether or not he’ll be able to pay all of his bills this month. I want a president who has seen, and ached for, the cruelty of men, as he watched his mother raise him alone. I want a president with daughters. I want a president who understands the benefit of a planned parenthood for the communities in which he’s lived. I want a president who knows that we have not overcome the racial divide in this country, and who advances policies that reflect that very personal understanding. I want a president who has walked through the parts of this country that many politicians have the privilege to ignore. I want a president who has never had the privilege to whine. That president continues to be Barack Obama.
If the election of Barack Obama made me realize anything, it made me realize that we have to fight even harder. We have to continue to struggle against forces who are willing to sabotage themselves to bring down a black man whom they believe is attempting to destroy their way of life. We have to be relentless. Because for all that we wish Obama did differently, for all that he has promised to us but has not, in our opinion, delivered, he does not sleep like a baby. 
And that’s how I need my president.

Four years ago, I was a senior in college. My life was changing, but so was our country. In this picture, I’m standing in our campus bar, drinking some sort of free blue drink made primarily from UV Blue and holding several bottles of champagne we brought from our room. I’m crying.

I worked as a field organizing intern for the Obama campaign on my college campus and canvassed around the Appleton area for our nation’s first major black presidential candidate. This meant that I woke up, largely hungover, on Sunday mornings and hoofed it around Appleton through neighborhoods that were predominantly white and predominantly solid middle- and working-class areas. It means that I saw a lot of people begin to believe. When we elected Obama, I was a woman had just begun to understand the role of empathy in the political spectrum. The things that drove me there were personal - I grew up privileged. I grew up without having to struggle or want for anything. I am grateful for a trifecta of personal bad decisions for bringing me to Obama’s candidacy, and to Obama’s candidacy for helping me realize that our country needed to expect that its leaders do more than be born on third base.

I want a president who has paid student loans. I want a president who has wondered whether or not he’ll be able to pay all of his bills this month. I want a president who has seen, and ached for, the cruelty of men, as he watched his mother raise him alone. I want a president with daughters. I want a president who understands the benefit of a planned parenthood for the communities in which he’s lived. I want a president who knows that we have not overcome the racial divide in this country, and who advances policies that reflect that very personal understanding. I want a president who has walked through the parts of this country that many politicians have the privilege to ignore. I want a president who has never had the privilege to whine. That president continues to be Barack Obama.

If the election of Barack Obama made me realize anything, it made me realize that we have to fight even harder. We have to continue to struggle against forces who are willing to sabotage themselves to bring down a black man whom they believe is attempting to destroy their way of life. We have to be relentless. Because for all that we wish Obama did differently, for all that he has promised to us but has not, in our opinion, delivered, he does not sleep like a baby

And that’s how I need my president.

really fucking lucky.

My college education is the best gift anyone has ever given me. My parents saved the money to send my brother and me to college since the day we were born. My parents planned every second of their financial lives to give my brother and me an outrageously generous opportunity. I get how people can throw tons of hate on me for that, especially as more and more students graduate from college with debilitating debt.

But here’s what my parents didn’t do. They never taught us to believe that they wanted us to go to college because we deserved it. They taught us to believe that they wanted us to go to college because everyone deserved it. It drove me to want to give that opportunity, in whatever way I could, to other people, which is the main reason I spent two years working as an AmeriCorps member with a pre-college program.

Seeing someone sacrifice like that for you builds a pretty strong bond and some pretty significant respect. It made me trust them completely and helped build a parental relationship that I would never trade with anyone. They made sure we understood what our privilege meant, and that many people didn’t have it, which I’ve grown up to realize is a much rarer lesson than it should be. My parents never taught us to expect anything in return for our education. They emphasized that if we wasted our opportunities, if we took advantage of what we had, it was on us. They made us feel a sense of obligation to deserve the opportunity they’d given us - not the other way around.

I’m sure there are kids whose parents have paid for their educations who are straight up ungrateful pieces of shit. I’m sure there are kids who expect that because of the opportunity their parents gave them, they’ll shit rainbows their whole life. But I’m not those people. 

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Tom Waits // Who Are You?

We would talk about death like it was something you could feel.  We imagined you would be lucid throughout, like it was kind of the sensation of trying fruitlessly to fight your way back, and finally realizing you were unable to.  The death, we decided, was that last second you were able to feel, when you realized that you never would again.  From my perspective, which he never quite realized, this meant people died hundreds of times every lifetime and quietly, stoically recovered.  I could imagine this mad clamoring inside, trying so hard to reverse events that were out of your control, silently bartering with an unknowable force – maybe if you took back a cigarette here, went for a longer jog there – an eternal wondering if, with a simple touch of moisturizer, you could have lengthened your life.  “The answer’s probably no,” he would always say heartlessly, pinching out the end of another cigarette and shaking his head at me, because his response was typical of my reaction to unnecessary displays of optimism.  He couldn’t understand this because he didn’t know what it felt like to think about it.  He had only the thought of how an uncertain death might make him feel.  He didn’t know that this thought produced in me a similar feeling to the thought of unexpectedly losing him, eventually.  He didn’t know I ritualistically prepared for death every day.

In these days when the opportunity to fancy oneself a casual writer is available to any fantastic narcissist with an internet connection and a workable knowledge of the hunt and peck typing method, it is possible for me to know more about casual acquaintances who could barely give me the time of day than I know about people whom I’ve known my entire life. Now, with a better view of your back than I know I’ll ever have of your face, it terrifies me. It terrifies me to realize that the intimacy I now share with complete strangers makes my casual knowledge of your life inconsequential. 

The songs Rihanna has chosen to record, and has sometimes co-written, are not ones I play for my own daughter (though yes, she’s heard them on the radio, and we’ve talked about them). They’re rarely, if ever, feel-good anthems encouraging self-empowerment. Rihanna has basically abandoned such efforts, ceding that ground to her friends Katy Perry and Beyonce. Instead, she’s entered into a space previously occupied by many blues women, country singers and girl groups, where women attempt to uncover the truth behind emotional violence, without necessarily comprehending ways to escape it.

I wrote before about how Rihanna’s video for We Found Love was painful to watch because it triggered a time when I was dangerously out of control of my body, my choices and my emotions, but I don’t think I ever examined what that meant to me. It is difficult to explore the ways in which you’ve been hurt and to analyze the dangerous things you’ve thought about in your work without lapsing back into whatever led you there. It is hard to cultivate an artistic persona that doesn’t eventually grow to mirror your public persona. Sometimes, it’s impossible to separate your artistic persona, the things you do for your art or your music, from the person you have to become.

Obviously Rihanna’s career isn’t about me (truth? It’s not about any of us). I can’t expect her to be anything - not a role model, not a responsible woman, not a woman whose choices I’d hope to emulate. I sincerely believe that we can admire and appreciate people’s art, and their impulses for making it, without wanting to be their friends or even wanting to like them at all. The truth, the reason why Rihanna’s decision to publicly condone her abuser, is so personally frustrating, is because many women don’t get out. Many women, including women we know and women we have been, can’t escape, and they don’t have the public attention or financial resources to make that an acceptable choice. That’s why it’s disappointing, that’s why we feel as if we have been personally wronged. Because in our real lives, we know how the story often ends, and we know that there is often agonizingly little that we can do about it. Listening to music that recreates the dead, trapped feeling of a painfully awful relationship is triggering and agonizing and feels like betrayal for a lot of us, but we can’t save other people from themselves. And to be honest, as much as I wish I had a Shop-Vac that I could aim at Chris Brown to literally suck him up off of the earth, if a grown woman who is also a public figure gets back with her abuser for any reason, all I can do is do what I would do were it any other woman I didn’t know: pray he doesn’t kill her. 

I can acknowledge how painful it is when a person’s artistic persona begins to become reflected in their real-life choices. I can stop buying her music. I can stop liking her music. I can acknowledge that seeing them together makes my skin crawl, but that’s just about the end of what I’m able to do. In the end, Ann Powers gets it right:

And can we leave it at that? I think so. It’s a hard-to-digest moment in an ongoing story that none of us who write about or listen to music can control. Maybe it’s time to search for other narratives. Put on Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)" and scream along. Pick up the phone and call your sister and make sure she’s okay. Donate some money to your local women’s shelter. Recognize that pain and bad decisions are a part of life, and that those "role models" we pull from the ether of mass culture will inevitably fail us. They are only human, sometimes shockingly so.

I don’t think it’s an understatement to say I’m obsessed with Skins. 
Maybe it’s immature. Maybe, but my love for this show knows no rational bounds.
I consume this show in days-long binges during which I consume little else. Sitting in my bed, draining glasses of wine and mugs of coffee, I obsess over minute details of the plot. I play back the music and painstakingly download even songs that appear only in snippets. I spend hours recreating the character’s outfits, as if I could somehow inhabit their personas or transport myself into their world of teenage angst. I do and redo my make up to match the characters’, practice new hairstyles and craft bedazzled teenage mall rat outfits. At the launch of each new season, and periodically throughout the year, I lose myself in this show for a weekend. 
For me, watching this show not only takes me back to an equally blissful and painful place and a time when I was able to indulge my hedonistic impulses without fear of shame or job loss, but it also recreates a metaphorical picture of fighting to grow into ourselves that I think is unobtrusively accurate.
In the Skins world, every instant is earth-shatteringly important. Even Skins fans admit that the show portrays a lifestyle that is unrealistic for the average teenager, but I don’t think the expectation of pure realism gives this show enough credit. I don’t see everything that happens in the show literally. I think much of it is meant to demonstrate the crushing weight of our lives when we’re teenagers. We spend lots of our time inhabiting a dream world, feeling the weight of our decisions metaphorically crush us. The choices we make and the slights we perceive are debilitating for an instant, but years later, we can barely recall them. This show recreates that kind of dream-like, frenetic quality that makes up so much of late adolescence. Skins makes me nostalgic for the freedom and adventure and creativity I felt when I was in England, but I think most people feel a similar sense of freedom when they study abroad or leave their country for the first time. It does more than that. It rekindles that sense of possibility and the weight of false importance that was so unique to my very average middle-class adolescence.
When I return to the world in which I at once feel forced to live after pretending to be a teenage delinquent from Bristol for a weekend, I can’t help but feel a little disillusioned with the life I’ve got. This week, staring at a computer, day-dreaming of the bacchanalia I spent my weekend vicariously living, I’ve just been bored. 

I don’t think it’s an understatement to say I’m obsessed with Skins

Maybe it’s immature. Maybe, but my love for this show knows no rational bounds.

I consume this show in days-long binges during which I consume little else. Sitting in my bed, draining glasses of wine and mugs of coffee, I obsess over minute details of the plot. I play back the music and painstakingly download even songs that appear only in snippets. I spend hours recreating the character’s outfits, as if I could somehow inhabit their personas or transport myself into their world of teenage angst. I do and redo my make up to match the characters’, practice new hairstyles and craft bedazzled teenage mall rat outfits. At the launch of each new season, and periodically throughout the year, I lose myself in this show for a weekend. 

For me, watching this show not only takes me back to an equally blissful and painful place and a time when I was able to indulge my hedonistic impulses without fear of shame or job loss, but it also recreates a metaphorical picture of fighting to grow into ourselves that I think is unobtrusively accurate.

In the Skins world, every instant is earth-shatteringly important. Even Skins fans admit that the show portrays a lifestyle that is unrealistic for the average teenager, but I don’t think the expectation of pure realism gives this show enough credit. I don’t see everything that happens in the show literally. I think much of it is meant to demonstrate the crushing weight of our lives when we’re teenagers. We spend lots of our time inhabiting a dream world, feeling the weight of our decisions metaphorically crush us. The choices we make and the slights we perceive are debilitating for an instant, but years later, we can barely recall them. This show recreates that kind of dream-like, frenetic quality that makes up so much of late adolescence. Skins makes me nostalgic for the freedom and adventure and creativity I felt when I was in England, but I think most people feel a similar sense of freedom when they study abroad or leave their country for the first time. It does more than that. It rekindles that sense of possibility and the weight of false importance that was so unique to my very average middle-class adolescence.

When I return to the world in which I at once feel forced to live after pretending to be a teenage delinquent from Bristol for a weekend, I can’t help but feel a little disillusioned with the life I’ve got. This week, staring at a computer, day-dreaming of the bacchanalia I spent my weekend vicariously living, I’ve just been bored

anhedonistic

edith piaf // milord

Did you ever have a realization that the stuff you were reluctantly learning in high school was going to make you kind of cool? Maybe it wouldn’t make you popular, and maybe it wouldn’t happen right away, but eventually, you knew someone would appreciate the things you knew. You wouldn’t have to tell them that you learned them in something as bourgeois as French class. You could instead pretend that you’d spent your Saturdays in high school pouring over French cultural magazines and listening to music that sounded like a sadness you’d recently become mature enough to understand.

That was how I felt about Edith Piaf. My French teacher was short and eccentric and constantly disappointed in us – sort of like Edith Piaf. We memorized a list of important French cultural icons and events every month, immersing ourselves in French culture for a few minutes a day, feeling grown up while listening to tragic music and studying paintings of prostitutes. We learned about an adult life we hadn’t yet lived. More importantly, I was stacking my brain with the kind of quirky culture knowledge and obscure-enough references that I would need to make me a popular college freshman. I didn’t know it, and I resented the memorization, but I’ve never forgotten a single detail of Edith Piaf’s tortured existence.

via le-petit-pizza

things that are weird.

Two days before Steve Jobs died, I was asked to submit a bio for myself to my new employer so they could put it in an inter-office newsletter. I hate writing bios for myself, because I inherently love to make myself sound like I’m the best person I know. I try to steer clear of activities that encourage this awful habit. Instead, I try to make fun of myself.

I wrote a bio for Steve Jobs but replaced his name with my name. I work at an advertising agency as a copy/content writer, so I thought I’d pretty much hit the nail on the head. I patted myself on the back for being clever for I don’t know, about two days.

It ended up being one of the most insensitive things I’ve ever done.

I started thinking about this after reading Erin’s post about how weird it is to have to write your own bio. It is awful. Once I start thinking about embarrassing things I’ve done, I cannot stop. I keep going back into my email archives and reading the bio over and over and wincing. I become virtually paralyzed by my own awkwardness, so I’m just going to let this out into the world so you guys can imagine what it must have been like to be my employer, realizing you just hired a complete asshole.

Of course, reading gives readers exposure to new ways of expressing themselves through writing, but it also gives readers a glimpse into worlds, feelings and characters they would otherwise never encounter. Books have always been the best way I know to build empathy, and empathy seems to be one of the most valuable qualities in our society of blame, misunderstanding and fear.

Other than personal experience, which in many circumstances is impossible, books are the only way to explore worlds so different from your own and understand situations that you one day might be asked to confront. Through reading, especially through historical fiction, I learned about some of the tragedies of our history way before my peers did. I confronted some tough stuff and was able to form my own opinion about a lot of it because of the time I spent by myself, reading and thinking about what I read.

When I was little, they were also some of my first and only clues about social interaction. To say that I was an awkward kid probably wouldn’t be true. I didn’t have many friends and I didn’t socialize much with my peers - I spent most of my time with adults or with books. I knew how to get along with adults, and eventually with other people my age, mainly because of the relationships I’d formed while reading.

I suppose that I would self-servingly argue that reading so much as a child, despite not having a ton of social interaction with my peers or any exposure to television, undeniably shaped not only my personality but also my values and the way I interact with others. I think it made me incredibly empathetic (almost devastatingly so) at an early age. It caused me to live very much inside my head, but it also made me socially conscious and aware of social issues long before my peers were, because I was reading about them in books. Reading Young Adult and even Adult fiction as a child gave me a preview of the way people interacted and behaved in the adult world before I officially grew up. Although reading is different than lived experiences, in some ways, it allows you to shape and process the material you’re absorbing on your own terms - to turn it over in your head and create your own point of view, rather than being forced into interaction.

I haven’t been reading as much lately because I’ve been making excuses, and I’ve noticed huge gaps - in my creativity, in my productivity, in the way I think and even in the way I relate to others. This is even further confirmation of what I’ve been realizing lately. Reading good shit off the internet is never wasted time.

staceyjoy

el-p // the overly dramatic truth

I became for you what you had asked

I never wanted anything other than what I didn’t have.

I was raised to believe, as an adult, that I am consistently high-strung, difficult to please, unreasonable and demanding. As a result, I have a problem determining when I’m being mistreated. I never assume I should be expecting more, I always wonder if I end up feeling slighted because I was unrealistic in my expectations. I indulge other people’s selfishness to risk exposing my own. 

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who struggles so much with being the person other people expect me to be while still being myself. I wonder if there is room for people to grow and become better within relationships, or if the relationships I made were made out of necessity at the time and were grown based on my need, my inadequacy, my ability to let other people reflect me back onto them in the way that they wanted. I don’t want to be the kind of person who lets the people in her life become her mirror, but I don’t want to lose the relationships I formed when I needed those people to show me how to change. 

I always concurrently wonder if I’m expecting too much, but really I just wonder why most people don’t expect more. Not more things; more to think about, more to laugh at, more to do. 

via staceyjoy

blindsided // bon iver

happy new year.

Blindsided. Realizing you’ve grown in ways you had no idea. Realizing that other bigger changes have prompted smaller, more necessary ones - things you’ve been waiting to notice for a long time. 

It is comforting and strange to notice how someone becomes a constant in your life. You’ve stopped being mad or sad or even confused, and most importantly, you’ve stopped the continual aching that comes from trying to make something different than it is. You’ve stopped trying. It comes from an understanding that things are different now – that whatever happens in the future is just going to be okay. You gradually stop wondering if there is really anything you can do to influence what happens or change what didn’t, and you gradually stop wondering if you want things to work out differently. You stop forcing yourself to feel guilty for the things you did that you know, now, were wrong, because you realize your relationship wasn’t a zero sum game. None of your good relationships were, and none ever will be again.

This realization comes quietly after the worst times in the best relationships that you’ve worked tenaciously and thanklessly to save. It is this quiet acceptance and the self-satisfied comfort it gives you that helps you feel at peace with other relationships that you’ve let slip meaninglessly away over the years without much consequence or heartbreak. It is through realizing that some people never need to go away that reminds you why other people do – why the people who will really pepper the best and the worst moments of your life will never change. They will be constant.

In this way you will realize that you can love other people if you don’t have to. 

flaws // bastille

you have always worn your flaws upon your sleeves

and i have always buried them deep beneath the ground

dig them out, let’s finish what we started.

We spend our whole life developing these habits that sometimes very literally almost kill us. We rip holes in our expensive tights and nearly crash our parents’ cars and spend their money on cigarettes and the cover at smoky clubs. We do it all in pursuit of the kind of rugged, dangerous, artistic and humble men we think can’t hurt us. We think they’ll be different than the people we meet in our worlds, then the men we hear about from our parents and their friends. We think they will be kind to us because they are in awe of us, that as a result of some sort of exoticism we did nothing to earn, they will want to impress us.  They do try harder in the beginning – maybe because they’re scared. But in the end, they turn out to be the same.

I get that I am still in my drink, beg, f**k stage, but…

Limbs – I’m going out on one. I spent the entire summer after my graduation from college reading Eat, Pray, Love. I spent a month between India and Bali, mustering up the stomach to finish it. Please understand first that there were parts of this book that I found genuinely enjoyable. Please also understand that this book is so far from my experience – I’ve never been married, I’ve never been in love (by my own estimation), and I’ve never been in any sort of relationship that fueled anything other than resentment or ambivalence. I spent my entire four years of college “soul-searching” and most of the time since learning to be myself by myself, which I now understand is something many women don’t feel they are allowed to do. I went to Italy by myself and just kind of did the damn thing. I suppose that is why I don’t really understand the need to force one’s self to do this, and after experiencing this story as both a book and a movie, I realize how lucky that makes me. I’ve read many reviews and testimonials about this book and the way women have experienced it, but there is one thing I’ve never seen written about it. This is a story about a woman who is profoundly unable to be alone.

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