The Women’s March on Washington

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Before the Women’s March was created, I had planned to go to D.C. for the inauguration services. Regardless of who won the presidency, I was slated to get to D.C. that Thursday and come home Sunday. Despite the fact I was pretty upset with the presidency, I still planned to go because it is history. The last time a candidate won the presidency but not the popular vote was George W. Bush in 2000, garnering one more electoral vote than Al Gore. Granted, the popular vote was much less divided than Clinton and Trump, but the fact that these events occurred within twenty years of each other is placing many faults in our electoral college system.

I’m going to spare you the debate on whether the electoral college is good or not: take a political science course and you’ll realize there are no easy answers. But I was interested to see what Trump’s inauguration would look like when the majority vote was pretty starkly won by Clinton. The pictures do not lie; honestly, on a regular sunny day at the National Mall, there could have easily been the same amount of tourists there. And the rhetoric that all of Trump’s supporters were “working” because they have “jobs” as opposed to liberals is flawed, but most of Trump’s supporters do come from places where accessibility to travel is limited. Most of the East Coast didn’t vote for Trump, whereas they could have easily shown for Obama in 2009 without breaking the bank. So I understand why Trump’s inauguration was not the fleshy turnout they expected; the silent majority had their reasons.

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The following day, I woke up around 8:30 a.m. and went down to cement my place in front of the stage. Getting there, I was about four blocks away from the stage. Large screens projecting the speakers and performers were erected in the middle of Jefferson Drive and everything was set into deep contrast against the white-gray D.C. fog. I had never seen this many people in my life. I had been in a packed 82,500 seat arena when I saw Coldplay, and in the midst of a gigantic tailgate at the Harvard-Yale game, but never in my life have I seen 500,000+ other people all in one concentrated place. The sheer number of people was so powerful that it made the voices of Angela Davis, the Five Mothers, Janet Mock, Scarlett Johansson, Alicia Keys, Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards, and every other woman speaking that much more intense. That much more empowering. I couldn’t believe that so many other human beings cared about the same things that me and my closest friends have been fighting and are willing to fight for.

A lot of people had ideas about what the march was supposed to be, and to put it simply, it was about intersectional feminism. Intersectional feminism, as Kamala Harris indirectly pointed out, is about looking at each global issue and how it affects women of all backgrounds and abilities. Because yes, each global issue is also a men’s problem, and it is also a people problem. But as women we need to be aware of how each issue is directly affecting us. As a white woman, I want to encourage every other white woman to start caring about other women. In this country, we are stunted because of stigmas and unequal pay and gendered criticism, but these issues affect minority women and disabled women in a completely different way than they do to us. It is so much harder for them. And this march was important in reminding all women that there is a struggle, but the struggle is complex and different for everyone. And we need to fight for everyone. img_6645

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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.

Public Transportation

I had to write a poem as a final project for my art class. It encompasses some of what I post on here so I thought it would be fit to post it.

Staring out of minivan windows overlooking my old exits

The air conditioner blasting into my dry eyes from the front vent

I was turning fifteen as the train reached Harlem.

I bought a new perfume, stumbling from Gramercy Park

To the Upper West Side, joining a line of girls with hearts on their cheeks.

I was going to miss the last train out of Manhattan that night

But we ran and caught it and went back to where we were supposed to be

Overlooking my old exits, the air conditioner turned off

And my thin black sweater wrapped around my shoulders

When the yellow lights in my small town started blinking.

 

Staring out of bus windows overlooking the suspension bridges

The nicked glass melting in the winter sun

Tea tree oil, coconut and cocoa butter lotion

Prepaid Metro-North ticket in my right hand

A winter jacket, scarf, and jar of water in the other.

I was going to miss the last train out of his town that night

But I ran and caught it and went back to where I was supposed to be

Overlooking the suspension bridges, nicked glass

Reminding me of the wall that separated me and the Fox news

Channel watching and car crashing.

 

Staring out onto 16th Street and Corcoran, Gregorian chant

Wakes me up, my Airbnb man opened the windows last night

Sweat and mascara and pear vodka in my toothpaste

I think he smokes, but only the bathroom smells like cigarettes.

Flight itinerary printed out in the library in my laptop case,

Clothes strewn all over the bed and risks permeating my emptying wallet.

I was going to miss my flight out of Dulles early next morning

But I rolled out of bed and threw on a sweatshirt and the uber came

And I could breathe, and I was going back to where I was supposed to be.

When I hung up my new map and circled in the street corner,

It didn’t feel that way at all.

 

Everything was fine when the piano kicked in,

When I missed the last bus out of St. Paul Street

I wasn’t cold, there was no Grand Central to welcome me in,

No big yellow school bus waiting to take me back to my skyline.

Everything was fine when the piano kicked in

And I will continue to hope it will be because

It didn’t feel that way at all.

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.

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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.

September Favorites

for your eyes

University of Vermont’s “Black Lives Matter” Flag– I am so proud of my school!!!! AND so pumped to have been mentioned in Rookiemag, one of my favorite things ever in early high school. A lot of controversy was sparked and the flag was stolen, but the Student Life Director and his wife painted a new one and subsequently flew it among our other flags once again. I couldn’t make the solidarity photo because of class, but how fucking cool is this:

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Lexie Lombard’s “what high schoolers are ACTUALLY wearing” Video– This video was the cutest thing I have ever seen, because everyone was so honest and unabashedly themselves. I have watched countless “What to wear back to school!” videos since I started watching YouTube, but Lexie has been putting out unbelievably real and entertaining content lately, and this is a gem.

MediaFile D.C.– When I was in D.C. I met the kindest, sweetest, smartest person ever- her name is Swetha, and she recently took a position as the technology writer for this publication. She hasn’t published anything yet, but the site is so interesting, my favorite article so far is this one released today on media bias. It’s not long and beaten to death with academic language, it’s quite accessible, which is nice.

France did a really cool thing!!!!

The second weekend in September was ArtHop, a very-Burlington Burlington event. I left with a vintage YSL necktie and images of organically flower-dyed $300 sleep shirts in my head. I discovered what exactly what Battery Street Jeans is, and I got to see this wonderful painting by Robert Gold, pictured below. It’s called NYC Starbucks. I really like it because of its pink light and how he played with the reflections of the outside and inside. Go Robert.IMG_4241.jpg

for your ears

Glass Animals’ How to Be a Human Being– My suite mates played this vinyl to death, and with good reason. I liked a few Glass Animals songs before, but this album is an absolute masterpiece… each song is about a person they met on their tours since their last album was released, which is super interesting, because I love people and each of the stories in the song lyrics are distinct and unconventional.

STRFKR released two new singles- Tape Machine and Open Your Eyes, a follow-up to earlier this year’s Never Ever. They’re all really good at getting me to walk places at 7 o’clock in the morning.

Fearless by Taylor Swift– I think the time where college feels most lit for me is when I come home from long days, lay in bed, work on homework and listen to this album really. loudly. Also, The Way I Loved You is one of the greatest songs of all time.

I’ve really been feeling Washed Out’s Paracosm lately, mostly because of the kind of hot/kind of not/early sunset weather we’re having. Yesterday I played It All Feels Right with the windows down on I-189 after a wrong turn around golden hour, and everything felt exactly as it sounded.

everything else

Shelburne Farms– During parent’s weekend, my family and I went down to Shelburne,  a beautiful suburb of Burlington with rolling hills, grassy knolls… the typical Vermont thing. They have an elementary schooling program which is kind of amazing. It’s a small class and kids learn sustainability and farm skills while getting a classical education, I have a friend who went who can totally vouch for that. And I had the best cheese ever-aged smoked cheddar cheese, the 6-9 month kind. I literally ate it off the block without Triscuits or anything while watching Gilmore Girls yesterday. It’s gone now!

Mac and Cheese and Chips- After a bad day, going down to my dorm’s cafe and getting a bowl of mac and cheese and Deep River kettle chips is heavenly. I don’t even bother getting a spoon; I use the chips to dip into the macaroni, and the cheese adheres the noodles to the chip, forgoing “compostable” utensils.

Running Your Fingers Across Flower Bushes- I came up with the perfect alternative to picking flowers (which is bad- let the flowers live #uvmstudentthings) which includes taking your bare hand and just running it across a flower bush. You get the same physical effect and your hands and wrists will smell good for like an hour. I swear, I do this whenever I pass one which is a lot.

Saxby’s– On a particularly rough early Sunday in D.C., I immediately hopped in an Uber to Georgetown and found this place while wandering up and down the side streets of Wisconsin Ave. I got a blueberry bagel with peanut butter and a caramel iced coffee. It saved my life and they even played that song from the 2000s- the “listen to your heart, before you tell him goodbye” one. It’s kind of like the Starbucks of the DMV/Philly area. Thanks, Saxby’s. Hoya saxa.

I have this romper in a different pattern from the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale and I’ve gotten compliments on it from every kind of person, it’s so soft and YOUR THIGHS DON’T CHAFE!!! I ordered it a size larger, and it’s honestly the most comfortable thing I own.