Cheese, Jackets, and the Magnetic Zeroes

As I type these words, there is someone outside my dorm whistling the Harry Potter orchestral theme. These words are dedicated to that person, I hope your night out is good.

I fear that I have given up. I think I am forgetting all of my goals, who I set out to become. I had such high expectations. Correction- my life has been a series of me unknowingly setting extremely high expectations, only to be disillusioned. I probably have high expectations for this installment, high expectations for the late night dining hall food I will consume in one hour, high expectations for the time I will go to bed tonight.

And I’ll save you and myself the annoying comparison. I thought Burlington would be this, I thought college would be that. I came expecting exactly the opposite of what has happened to me. I don’t know how to shed my expectations and let whatever will happen happen. I am a control freak in this way. I need to know and to plan and to research. I need to be ahead, always. I’m like that with travel, I’m like that with boys, I’m like that with any life event.

I am starting to like my school and that is terrifying.

I already paid to take the next available SAT and bought the practice book. I already spent hours researching selective-but-not-too-selective transfer schools in cities I would like to explore. I already dreamt about D.C. more than I thought humanly possible.

But I was in Outdoor Gear Exchange today and didn’t hesitate to buy another winter jacket. And I ate so many cheese samples at Cabot that the world started to feel like heaven. And on the way home from the fall play, I sang Man On Fire to myself, happily walking down the lighted path in front of the student center. It’s such a weird feeling to be happy, to want to acclimate to my environment.

I don’t want to tell people this, and for them to say “Good!” or “I knew you would like Burlington.” Because I don’t want them to have known, or for them to think that this is good. I’m scared that this is complacency. That this is me just adjusting again, because I’m good at that. No. I don’t want to settle. I want to be better, and smarter, and never settle.

I can’t tell if it’s more comforting or sad that life isn’t always what you think it will be.

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October Favorites

for your eyes

The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley– I read this book in the span of a super busy week, and when I wasn’t in class or studying I was reading this book. It’s a great length and is basically what its review on Amazon says: “a love letter to New York City.” For someone who misses the city very much, the familiar imagery and references made me smile and even pointed me in the direction of places I want to visit next. It’s very WASP-y, and naturally all of the characters attended Ivies, but it’s easy to get past those elements with the vibrant setting and internal troubles of the characters.

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Vermont in the Fall- I may be super negative about Vermont on this blog, but it’s genuinely one of the most beautiful things I have seen during this time of year. Of course, Connecticut is beautiful this time of year too, but the mountains and the endless abundance of trees, combined with drives in New Hampshire as well… it’s a sight I have only seen on National Geographic before.

Nude York– This post changed my life. “If you are not where you are supposed to be right now, one day you will be.”

for your ears

Spotify– I got a Spotify account this month when my free trial with Apple Music was up. So far I’m enjoying it. I like how public it is (you can see what other people are listening to) and their method of suggesting music for you to listen to is so much less annoying than Apple Music. It definitely kills my battery way more than Apple Music does, though, and it doesn’t have Taylor Swift or De La Soul, so keep that in mind if you decide to get it.

Listen to this, this, this, and this.

Nancy Duarte’s Ted Talk– I watched this during a public speaking seminar and it instantly fascinated me. I never thought that a system could be applied to great speeches like those of Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King, Jr. I always cry during empowering speeches, and dissecting the structure of these talks put all of my emotions in perspective.

I’ve been listening to these two Soundcloud playlists recently: 633 main st and coconut pear chapstick.The first is for walks down the street to get coffee by myself and the second is for needing to pretend I’m in Florida.

everything else

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Boston– As you probably already know, I spent half of my October weekends in Boston. I can’t wait to visit more. It’s super cheap for me to go if I use Wheeli (which I TOTALLY recommend), it only costs me around $8-10 for each ride there and back. I love it there and going for those weekends have recharged me and reminded me of what is important in life.

Toast- I love bread and I like to get creative in my dining hall. I usually opt for the classic two slices slathered in peanut butter, topped with banana slices and cinnamon sugar, but I add honey sometimes. When I’m not feeling peanut butter (rare, but it happens), I go for strawberry jam and honey with grapes on the side. Don’t forget the butter.

Morning Showers- Since sixth grade I have been a die-hard night shower person, I think my dad instilled it in me. But since I have 8:30 AMs almost every day, it serves as a way to actually wake me up. Or at least get me out of bed.

It Was a Bright Cold Day in October, and the Clocks Were Striking Thirteen

This is what a subway system that works – for the most part – looks like:

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So far, I’ve only taken the Green, Orange, and Red lines. I have seen the depths of Oak Grove, the country clubs of Newton, a rainy Davis, a windy Kenmore. The T is much easier to understand than the jumbled alphabet and random numerics of Manhattan’s subway system. I still love the subway there, but I felt much more intelligent not having to ask which trains go into or out of Boston, when in Manhattan the only thing I knew was that the L train goes to Brooklyn and the ocean is about to explode into it so they have to fix it.

I am excited to see the rest of the T and spend more one-hour intervals taking three lines to meet my Wheeli driver somewhere north of the city to get back to Burlington. Some interesting people watching has come out of my time spent in Boston, and most of it has been underground. These are the songs I’ve been heavily rotating while that happens, sweating and killing my phone battery:

Tiny Cities and Jarmin in the Dark, for dusk rides underground on the red line, in the heart of the city, wearing heeled shoes

Dissolve Me and Perth, for chilly late mornings on your way to Cambridge

Giving Up the Gun and Machu Picchu, for descending into the Harvard station

Take a Chance and Ridin’ Round (Osho Redo) for deep evening rides back to Kenmore and half-sleepy Uber rides

Flashing Lights and Ivy League Circus for walking up the stairs into the city for the first time, for the the first time in a while or the weekend

Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games is the special orange line song because it takes forever to arrive at the station and this is a good measure of time in between those arrivals and departures

If I Ever Feel Better and A Heart Like Hers are golden hour songs, whether you’re in the aboveground parts of Riverside or Oak Grove, or neither

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The yellow jacket made a few appearances last weekend. I was standing on the edge of the Charles with Michael’s family, and some Princeton rower boy blew me a kiss from the water and asked me if I caught it.

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I went to the Head of the Charles Regatta, got Georgetown cupcakes, books from Brookline Booksmith, and lived and loved for two cold days in the windiest city in the U.S. (I always thought Chicago was, but apparently that’s a myth and Boston is). My favorite part so far has been coming back to Vermont, tired and filled with the sights and sounds of phone service-less, back country New Hampshire, and doing my boatload of laundry from the weekend. And all of my clothes were soaking this time, whether from drinks or rain or being too close to my shower towel.

It’s gross, but I can tell that people look at me, lugging my stained backpack and ugly green track bag from high school around, wondering where I’m coming from and where I’m going next.

 

The Yellow Jacket

I am infrequently reminded that a shard of my heart experiences intense happiness from finding the perfect finishing touch to a carefully crafted outfit. I often forget the lusty sartorial dreams I once had, which consisted of school day afternoons spent thumbing through Teen Vogue, studying the young and privileged and learning about the inside of their bedrooms, googling how to say Comme des Garçons and Monique Lhuillier, not that either of those names (or any others) would come up in conversation at eleven years old.

I like going to Church Street and walking really fast and loudly with fake purpose when really I’m just trying to figure out if I should go into Uncommon Grounds despite the death of their espresso machine. I’ve done this for four days in a row (two of those days I broke and caffeinated myself). Today was different. Today it was so cold, which if this is cold I think I might explode in the winter because it’s going to be so bad, and I curled my hair. Curling my hair was a real turning point because nothing was cooperating this morning, and that made me feel like I had it all together.

It was a Regina Spektor morning, complete with days-old lemon water and a few pages of a img_4674book, confused as to why so many wet paintings were on my common room floor (this weekend I tried to make friends and they let me use their Tempura paint).

Sometimes I heavily rotate Regina Spektor, Vampire Weekend, Beirut in tandem, and they all seem to relate, just like Glass Animals, Tame Impala, and MGMT. And when my hair is curled, my boots are brown, and my eyeliner isn’t too fucked up, it’s the former. When my hair is bunned, my boots are converse, and my eyeliner is either nonexistent or too existent, it’s the latter. I annoy myself because I go between these two personalities the most, and I can never seem to pick. I know I shouldn’t pick, and I’m just a confusing person, but the yellow jacket makes the Regina Spektor, Vampire Weekend, Beirut me make more sense.

I like the yellow jacket me. She studies, she writes, she reads, she appreciates the blessing of being outside. She is quiet, she eats and researches, she says minimal hellos and goodbyes and people compliment her clothes. She gets up early to make tea and never runs out of money because she is financially stable and can afford to buy a coffee on a whim because she’s that good. She reads the news and lights candles and knows when to go to bed. She can give an elevator speech and her wallet is organized.img_4672

Yellow jacket me has always been there, and is slowly coming out of her shell to coexist in a world where so many yellow jacket types do not flourish. Yellow jacket me asked for a job at the store where they sell wine candles, and yellow jacket me is applying to transfer schools.

The yellow jacket is a size ten, the perfect fit, doesn’t make me look fat. It was someone else’s once, because there is a perfectly folded tissue in the right pocket. It is Tory Burch and as I was putting it on to wear out of the store over my seersucker button-down shirt Washed Out began to play and a curl fell out of place and I walked out of the store thinking of my younger self, thinking of how cool it was that I tried on a Nanette Lepore skirt, comparing myself to Massie Block and thinking about my fashion journals.

My suite mate compared me to Blair Waldorf and I opened up my application to Marist again.

The Verbal Translation of Nervously Jiggling Your Legs

It’s one of those Friday nights where Soundcloud makes you sad, you’re tired of your candle scents and your hair is crunchy and sweaty but you don’t want to stand under the cold, low-pressure flow of your dorm’s shower head.

It hasn’t really felt like my life has permanently changed until now. College has felt like one long weekend, but now, as I type this without distraction of hastily made friendships, it feels like forever. And I don’t like that.

If I could attribute a feeling to Flume’s latest album, Skin, it would be a sad Friday night, one where your plans fell through and you start realizing things. Like how you’re almost out of meal points, and how behind you are on laundry.

Waiting sucks. I call my mom, I tell her my problems, and she tells me to wait. Friends come in time, good grades come in time, ideas come in time, everything comes in time. I want college to be done, I want a degree in something, and I want to be eating unseasoned rice on the floor of my Manhattan apartment with someone I feel comfortable reading my journal to. I never thought I would be fortunate enough to find my people in high school, to find my best friend at fourteen, and I took it for granted. I kind of realized how precious it was when Catie would come home for weekends last year, and we would all wake up groggy, making pancakes and listening to twenty one pilots, but now that space in time seems even more far away.

Yes, home would have gotten old. I needed a change. College is important and good, and I hope it either gets important and good or I transfer somewhere important and good. I hope my Rosa DiLauro essay gets me places for very cheap so I can wake up in a world where Ubers across town don’t cost $10.97 on off-peak hours and Saxby’s shops dot every other corner.

Burlington doesn’t have any grime. Yes, the city is dirty, but the air is too clean for this to be a real city. The bus system is too unreliable. I could sit here and complain about how much I feel so disconnected from the place I live, but it’s not going to get me anywhere. I have to accept that nothing is permanent, people have other things to do and can’t pay attention to you all the time. And it’s important to note that I am doing good. I have never been late to a class and have done all my homework. I take showers every day (with the exception of today) and get to work on time every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I paint. I write. I finally got to the Yale part of Gilmore Girls.

Someday I’ll find people that I will click with, and until then, I have my repetitive candle scents as a sense of stability.