On Modern Love (A Personal Essay)

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Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, there lived a prince and a princess. They were in love. But the princess watched too many sappy movies and read too many Nicholas Sparks novels, which melded her ideas about true love into a strict list of rules and expectations that would never be forgotten over time. With each heartbreak she experienced, the list only got longer and her hope and belief only got shorter.

This princess was me–is me–and she is probably every other teenaged girl who wasn’t born “chill,” who wasn’t always one to just “go with the flow,” and who believed in true love so much that “love at first sight” and “happily ever after” were just things she expected would happen in life. “Hook up” was a foreign term. Why should you even kiss someone else if you don’t like them? Why should you have no self-respect for your body and your feelings? Obviously, these middle school-thoughts have worn out as I’ve come to accept the harsh realities of imperfect screwing around that the average high school and college-aged kid experiences. In the back of my mind, I miss this mentality. I miss ideality.

There are, however, a few issues I still have with roller coaster-loving. And they mainly revolve around one thing and one thing only: blurry lines. When there’s no love, there’s no boundaries. We can pretend this is OK until someone gets hurt, and whether you want to admit to it or not, someone always does. If we are, as many sources have said, the “Hook Up Generation,” then does cheating even exist anymore?

Technology is obviously at fault for everything, and although technology itself is like my near and dear Jewish sorority sister, I have to blame it for this as well. You see a picture of your guy dancing with another girl (but wait, she’s just a friend I promise!!!!!!!), he’s done. You can talk to someone else for hours and hours when you know your signif. other wouldn’t like it, but then delete the conversation in less than a millisecond. No one will ever know. It’s like our new media-ocre society is pushing for this constant contact–having the eternal opportunity to check someone’s muploads and to create the wrong thoughts about the wrong person that you wish you didn’t have, but you do. It’s creating a cloud of paranoia that is about to pour down in an acidic rain it burns more than that vodka-tonic someone that ISN’T your “hook up” of the month just bought you at a bar. It tears two people apart. Trust me, I would know.

The hypocrisy and idiocrisy have been risen to a new level. Now, everything is everyone’s business. We are all intertwined by our feelings for each other and our overlapping friends and our iMessage group chats. So, I give up. I am done. And for those of you that watch Girls: I am waiting for HBO to publish Charlie’s app Forbid because I could really fricking use it right now.

And even moreso, the reverse psychology involved in the game of “Who Hates the Other Person More” is ridiculous. There is too much time spent trying to convince the other person that you don’t care, like thinking too much about trying not to text and call each other when it shouldn’t require a thought at all, or spending hours venting to a good friend instead of spending one minute saying “I love you” to your best friend. In actuality, I wouldn’t say that modern love has done me well, but I wouldn’t say it’s done me so bad either. I’ve lost five pounds in the last four days… totally great for the diet.

Ultimately, my life has evolved into a Bruno Mars medley. I’ve unfortunately come to the conclusion that not everything is a sign–not every song, not every baby I see, not everything yellow. It’s probably just a stupid coincidence that makes you get all teary again, which doesn’t help with the pink eye I you just had, and that, at the end of the day, really sucks in general. I’ve realized that timing is everything, and now isn’t the right time. I can convince myself that it is, but I know that it’s not. And Demi Lovato and Katy Perry are legit saving my life right now.

Before I close, I just want it to be known that this princess, however, happened to be a very feminist child and insisted she was “knighted” rather than “crowned” so she kneeled in front of her Great Aunt Brenda who, indeed, knighted her with a grapefruit spoon as a scepter. Maybe that’s why I feel this way about love… because I was never really anybody’s princess at all.

Flavor of the Week: “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

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“Ohio” is a mega-#throwbackthursday (technically #waybackwednesday) because it was written and recorded in 1970 by the famous band everyone’s daddy loves, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Although it kills me that this band does not use an Oxford Comma in its title, like come on, I still give these guys serious props for writing a Vietnam War protest song about a chic college student that sacrificed life for peace.

kent state

For those of you unaware, on May 4, 1970, students at Kent State in Ohio were protesting Richard Nixon and the Cambodian Campaign. Eventually, the protest got so buckwild that the Ohio National Guard was called in. 67 rounds were fired, 9 students were wounded, and 4 died. John Filo, who is not currently a hipster even though I really expected him to be, took a phenomenal photograph of Mary Anne Vecchio, a 14-year-old runaway, kneeling and sobbing over the dead body of Jeffrey Miller, a shot student. Mr. Filo won a Pulitzer Prize for this photograph. He also won a FYD Award because when I was in fourth grade, I decided I was going to be obsessed with both this photograph and the song “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young (yes, I did insert that Oxford Comma).

I first heard “Ohio” while sitting in the backseat of my uncle’s car when I was eight. He told me that it was about a protest and I was really into protests and hippies at the time. Consequently, I decided that I just had to write my next school paper on this song, “Ohio,” and its deep emotional and cultural significance. Disclaimer: I swear on sleepaway camp that this is 100% a true story. I, a mere fourth grader with a taste for orange corduroy pants, Harvey Milk, and rainbow peace signs, decided to write my “Social Studies” report on the Kent State Massacre and a song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. This historical happening became my sheer infatuation. I was literally, like, really literally obsessed with it. My essay may or may not have caused my father to cry tears of joy and pride. My teacher, who was likely on a lot of laxatives at the time (or so we thought) was shocked at my paper topic. I genuinely wonder: will my uniquely-named children be writing papers on Ke$ha, making their elementary school teachers in awe of how hipster they are? I can only hope.

Listen to “Ohio” here:

On Cramping My Style

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If there was a TLC show about people that just hoarded clothing, I would probably be cast as the lead role. There would be at least a five-hour special that cut into Honey Boo-Boo’s airing time (hell yeah, bitch) on me, my clothes, and how my closet looks like a monster broke into the Free People store, was PMSing, ate everything in there, and then vomited it all back up.

When I was in eighth grade I wore royal blue tights with a salmon and mint-colored plaid skirt to school. And since no one ever said anything to me about this outfit, nor any of my others, I kept doing what I was doing. When I started high school, I felt the need to tone things down a bit. I still could not go more than five days straight without wearing a dress or a skirt and begged my mother to get me floral Doc Martens four years before they were cool. My style was my pride. I imagined that it always was and it always would be.

I am a teen mom to this Doc Marten baby.

I am a teen mom to this Doc Marten baby.

For some reason, however, I feel like I am slowly but surely losing it. My wardrobe is the same, but I physically and mentally cannot put together the same outfits that I used to. I recognize good taste in an issue of Vogue or while Facebook stalking my friend’s cousin’s campfriend’s homefriend’s sister’s friend. But I cannot seem to find it in myself. Sadly, over the last year I’ve come to realize that my sense in fashion has faded.

I cried over this matter while texting my boyfriend savagely at 2 a.m., expressing my woes and finding comfort in a jar of Kosher pickles. I was curious to figure it out. Why had I changed?

Why do any of us change if we like the way we are, for that matter? I was perfectly happy wearing adult-sized overalls and as much tulle as possible, all of the time. Maybe I had gotten lazy. I didn’t have time to dress well, and I didn’t feel like creating the energy to dress well. But I knew that wasn’t it.  Then the scariest thought of all glazed my mind–conformity.

Conformity, especially at a young adult age, is one of the most overwhelming ideas we will ever encounter if we think about it too hard. You need to learn to be a trendsetter by standing out, but only when you’re confident others would be willing to follow. You need to not be too many steps ahead nor too many steps behind. Although change is a human tendency, it is difficult to do so because subconsciously, we have to make sure that we are changing not alone, but with everyone else. Typically, this answer would be satisfying to me. But in the case of Hannah And The Missing Fashion Taste, it wasn’t. It was like biting into a slutty brownie and realizing that damn, you didn’t get a piece of the oreo.

Did I change myself, or did society change me? Will we ever really know? Probably not. So I gave myself a few words of advice for… myself. Be calm. Be brave. Eat salad. And dress how you feel like it.