2016 Reflection

I’ve been reading a lot of posts that in one way or another reflect on the past year. My therapist also had me write a little bit about how this year went through some guided questions. But honestly, I feel the most effective way is going through month by month and digging up the experiences and lessons that challenged me or changed me.

In January, I started out with a lot of New Haven trips. It was midterm season and break. I painted a lot with my friends and burned a lot of candles. January’s are consistently filled with baths and movies and writing. For some reason I always feel super inspired. The break is rejuvenating, and it is especially more so now that I have a whole month. January brought me more of the heart of fencing season. Fencing season was an important part of me becoming obsessed with Connecticut.

February was interesting. All I can recall are awkward dates, my red peacoat, No More Parties in LA, really really cold bike rides, and a snowy trip to Boston. February increased my love of trains and public transportation. My favorite memory of February was probably visiting Hopkins’ campus outside of New Haven. They have the hands down best view of the skyline, and I’ve climbed East and West Rock. This is the month I realized I had no idea what I was doing when it came to college. My applications were sent in and I realized I had no interest in Cambridge. Or really anywhere I applied.

March was really the beginning of the end. It started to get increasingly warmer and I would lay in my bed with my skylights open, birds chirping, writing about how much I’m going to miss high school. I also became increasingly apathetic. And I wore sunglasses a lot. On St. Patrick’s Day I went to the Met for the first time and we also had the chicken hat during that trip. I also didn’t eat for two days during this month because I was being sad and dramatic about a boy breaking up with me. Mac Demarco got me through March.

April was Tame Impala’s Currents. That’s pretty much it. Also, the Lumineers’ new album. Ophelia to be exact. I committed to UVM in April. I bought a blue dress with pink flowers on it that I wore every day pretty much. This is also the month of the Vampire Weekend renaissance, and track. I also finished Gossip Girl, which was huge. This month was a lot of loopy handwriting and reading Gatsby in Humanities. I saw Bernie Sanders speak at a rally. It rained a lot.

May was just a lot of crying and sunshine at the same time. Also Change the World by Mac Demarco. Also, more Dairy Queen visits. I miss sitting at Dairy Queen for hours with my friends talking to the other kids who came in and roasting people. Everyone painted their lockers during school in May and the Senior Courtyard was filled with people again. Coloring Book came out. I remember crying riding the bus up route 79, sitting by myself listening to Blurryface on the way to my last track meet. I didn’t even like track too much but it was so sad. Rothko and increased beach days. The smell of my driver’s ed teacher’s car. My 18th birthday. Resonance.

June was a lot of the same. Changes. Lasts. Graduating. Getting spray tans for two proms. Muhammad Ali dying. Making mistakes. Seeing twenty one pilots and screaming my heart out. Getting emotional 24/7. Graduation parties. Perks. 10,000 Emerald Pools. There was a beautiful day during finals at Stony Creek that I spent with Wyatt and Michael. It was probably one of my favorite days of the year. It was also the day the wind was absolutely incredible, and we were getting blown away down at Lighthouse Point. I took some great photos that day. I was so happy. Late nights, last dinners, smiles and tears. Gilmore Girls. Rt. 222. Jesus Camp. So many amazing, happy memories.

July was sailing. I got insanely tan. I listened to Wagon Wheel a lot. I watched fireworks and went to weird coworker parties with my family. I took a trip to Bear Mountain with Catie. I went to great restaurants and had a lot of Cohen’s. Manhattanhenge. Getting what I want. I wore my first bitch outfit. First blog post about said relationship. SEEING COLDPLAY. I drove right after summer rain just before golden hour on route 80 to East Haven listening to PGHB. I almost cried at how perfect the moment was. Many, many grad parties. Blueberry Basil Lemonade. The Democratic Town Committee. Capsizing. Slow mornings. Late breakfasts. James Farmacy with Ella in our little corner. Do You Love Me.

August was rushed. August was filled with the pressure of ending summer with a bang. I was so nervous. I drove to Brooklyn and saw Beirut. I said goodbye to a lot of people. I figured out I really love applewood smoked gouda. I was the lead in a play and didn’t totally fuck it up. BIRI. My red dress and buying Jack Rogers. Riding bikes around the island with Ella, Wyatt, Brett and Michael was probably the best memory of that month. The town fireworks. Help Me Lose My Mind. Sailing. Misquamicut and Dave’s Coffee and talks with Kitty. I said goodbye and Brett sang to me in the car and it made me feel so much better. Leaving home was the saddest thing I ever had to do. I went to school and basically immediately bought a plane ticket to D.C.

September was a lot of trying. My new classes weren’t engaging. My professors were cold. It was so hot and I didn’t know what I was doing. I bought too many crepes. I spent way too much money in D.C. I cried on the plane home and when I touched down in Burlington. That’s when I knew things weren’t going to be that okay. I went to the farmer’s markets and watched Across the Universe a lot. I spent a lot of time eating overpriced snacks and watching Gilmore Girls.

October is when things started to go downhill. I got home the first time and felt frantic. I sailed in a regatta and cried driving away from the beach. I cried when we passed the Massachusetts border later in the day. Someone scratched “H2O lean same thing” into the bus window and I accidentally put beer in my coffee. It got super cold super fast and I bought a yellow jacket at Second Time Around. I got to experience Boston two weekends in a row. At the end of the month, I was done for.

November was the most uncomfortable experience of my life. My roommates hated me and I didn’t come home until 2 a.m. most nights because I didn’t want them to yell at me. I got a lot of stress pimples and realized I could not pass math. I became a recluse basically. I did make a few friends but I just really started to miss home. And then I went home after a weekend in Boston and realized I completely lost myself. Then I came back, wore turtlenecks, lipstick, and listened to Cigarettes After Sex.

December was better, filled with realizing things. First semester ended. I went to a few hockey games. I accepted what happened and moved on. I lived with Russian people and sold my clothes online. I suffered through school related depression and became addicted to mushrooms. I got in a car accident on the way home from school and my hands and feet literally froze. I worked, slept, wrote. Started my transfer applications.

2016 was probably the worst and best year of my life. It was filled with a lot of depression and sadness but so many happy things happened in the first half of the year that I can’t discount them. And my travels to Boston and D.C. first semester were positive experiences that got me away from my reality for weekends. I realized where my priorities lie this year, and worked towards them. I can say that I got what I wanted. Or at least I’m halfway there. My experiences this year are so valuable to who I am today that it’s incredible I’m not a completely different person. I have grown up and become more of who I was meant to be.

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.

img_4650

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

img_4990

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:

800-mapa-metro-boston.jpg

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

img_4973

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.

img_4974-1

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.

 

Your Chains, and Where to Find Them

In eighth grade, I saw the fourth and final Twilight movie installment with a bunch of friends the half day before Thanksgiving. Nothing significant, I probably had fun, I don’t really remember. But on that day I heard the song Boston for the first time, because my good friend at the time played it on her mom’s car radio on the way home. It’s extremely sappy and cliche, and not nearly the best song on the face of the planet, but since that day, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Like, it’s probably been stuck in my head at least once a week since I first heard it five years ago.

It’s been used in a variety of different dramatic television series, like One Tree Hill (which is next on my watch list), Scrubs, and Shark. Most white girls I know love it. And, despite all of the eclectic music phases I have gone through, this song has always been there. I have never deleted it from my iTunes library. And I’ve always wondered why.

I now know why, because I’ve played it during two particularly emotional and transitional periods in my life. Once during a college visit, and once this past weekend on the T.

The day of my college visit to Lesley University (which I ended up hating), it was exploding snow from the sky, and the drive on I-395 was terrible and confusing. I give my mom a lot of credit for driving me there and back during probably the worst snowstorm of our mildest winter. As we approached Cambridge and saw Boston’s bridges and streets along the river covered in a thick white dust of snow, I played it for my mom and Michael. At this point in the year, Michael knew he wanted to go to school in Manhattan, and I thought he was going to. But I knew he was looking in Boston, because he was going to apply to Boston University. And I also knew he was doubting if he could get into the schools he wanted to attend in Manhattan, so I played the song way too loudly and thought of the blustery movie day in 2011, trying to picture myself walking and eating bagels in Cambridge for four years. Neither of them really liked it, but I really don’t think it’s the point of the song.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

I think the song really just speaks to leaving. We were all thinking about leaving in that February, but we had no idea where to or what we would find there. Everyone was so hung up on the “there” aspect, myself included. I didn’t know what I wanted. I hadn’t ever really been anywhere besides where I was raised. In the song, a girl leaves California for Boston, and starts over in a town where no one knows her name. And even though it comes across as super empowering, encouraging people to take the leap, to transition, to go somewhere where they’ll see a sunrise if they’re tired of a sunset, it’s extremely sad. No one knows the girl that went to Boston, and no one cares about her. She came to Boston, she came to start a new life, and no one is like her or understands her. She crossed “the world” because she felt compelled to and now she is upset because it’s not what she expected. And this is pretty much college summed up. Because it’s not what you expect; everyone hypes it up way too much. Even if you absolutely love your college experience (even though I don’t know anyone who wholeheartedly does), it had to have not met at least some of your expectations. And you went for a reason… we all had ours, we carefully researched or didn’t, we signed the forms and payed the fees.

I personally love having emotionally charged public transportation experiences, hence my Metro North article. Naturally, on the T, this was one of the songs I listened to. As the green line train cycled people in and out, and we rattled through Brookline and the expensive golf club, I thought about the February snow day earlier this year. I recalled the look on Michael’s face when we left him in Harvard Square to visit friendProcessed with VSCO with b1 presets, kind of like the picture I took of him last fall in New Haven when he was on the phone and I caught him by surprise. I figured if I had paid more attention to that moment in time, I knew he would have ended up in Boston. I don’t know what it would have been like to picture yourself in a city so much that everything else rendered irrelevant, and I know people are telling him to just be happy and accept Boston because there is so much going on. And I know he’s going to have his therapeutic bike rides over the bridges, because I had mine in Madison and they taught me so much, and they are going to help.

Boston reminds me so much of what he has wanted his college experience to be like, and I don’t want to say this prematurely but I know I’m going to feel that way when I transfer to D.C. I thought about it on the T. If D.C. was just an idea and not something I truly wanted, which is a situation I find myself in often due to my frequent romanticization, I would have thought all of the what-ifs, imagining my previously possible life at Lesley, wishing I had looked at other schools in Boston like my mom insinuated I should do. But I didn’t. Boston is a great place, and so is Burlington, but neither of them are my places, and every day I am figuring it out, something I wish I’d done a year ago. But it’s not my fault. I hadn’t seen the world. In these two months of college I’ve traveled more than I have any calendar year of my life, which is sad. But it’s better late than never. It’s never too late to figure out if you want a sunrise or a sunset.