okay a) I realize that it’s Monday, but it’s probably Tuesday somewhere in the world and b) be proud of me for actually continuing with a series of posts for once!!!
So, I always see posts on tumblr and on here and wherever else that say stuff like “the day I dress to impress a man is the day I am being lowered into the ground” or “wing your eyeliner if you want, wear no makeup if you want, it’s all for you.” And things like this are good things. Great things, really, through and through. But I just honestly don’t feel like they apply to me all that much.
There’s not a lot that I do that I feel is 100% for myself. It’s not like I consider that fact a bad thing—it’s largely by design. I’m the very definition of an extrovert, and I like to share my identity with the world. There are times when I like feelings of anonymity, because I feel like it creates a stronger group “vibe” (at music festivals, for example), but for the most part I like to just kinda get myself out there.
So, I present to you:
The Top Five Things That Maybe Should Be For Myself But Aren’t
I do not like to wear makeup. Like, I mean, physically, I do not like the way it feels, especially on my eyes. It’s like my face can’t breathe, and it makes my eyes water like a motherfucker. I am one of those people that is always falling asleep with their chin in their hands and rubbing their eyes aaaaalll the time. I can’t rub my eyes when wearing mascara and eyeliner. I do not wear makeup on a day-to-day basis. (also, for the purposes of this post, I’m including other cosmetic things such as straightening hair and wearing perfume under the blanket of makeup)
Many people wear makeup because it instills a personal, if subtle, feeling of confidence in them. And this is totally great and valid—if makeup is something that makes you feel confident, then you should absolutely fuckin go for it. But it just doesn’t work for me. I actually had to try really hard, for a long-ass time, to break away from a psychological dependency on makeup. I’d feel as though I looked like an alien when I woke up in the morning (I did not, sadly, have a fairy godmother who applied my cosmetics for me overnight) and I hated it. I felt like I couldn’t even leave the house without spending an hour on my makeup, and it sucked. I’m not saying this is the same for everyone. I’m just saying that this is the way it was for me. Now, though, my sense of self-confidence is influenced by much more rational things like hormones, or how much sleep I get. Some multicolored goo from various tubes isn’t going to do much to sway me either way.
There are times, though, that I feel makeup is absolutely necessary or maybe even required. These are times when I want to inspire one of two things: respect, or boners.
In regards to the former, my prime example is speech and debate. I wear makeup to most speech and debate tournaments (and straighten my hair and a whole host of other things) in order to make myself more confident. Not because these things themselves make me more confident: people’s reactions to them do. I find, in general, that people are more likely to take one seriously when one looks like they put actual effort into their appearance. I am notorious for wearing sweatpants and a messy bun to even the most prolific of life events (see #4 below) which doesn’t exactly create a “classy respectable lawyer lady” vibe.
In regards to the latter, I’ll drop in a little personal anecdote. There was this big school dance a bit ago that (straight white) kids from all over the city come to. The girls wear the trashiest dresses they can find, the guys wear tuxes (although they seem to have this weird habit of tying their ties around their heads as the night wears on), and everyone basically just gets hammered and grinds on each other the entire night. I didn’t get hammered, but I did have plenty of encounters of the hetero kind. (((am I the only one who finds that teenage boys don’t really seem to know what a clitoris is?))) I got called beautiful/cute/fuckable/etc., by guys and girls alike, more times that night than I did in my entire life. And I think it was about 15% due to my dress (which I got for $14!!!) and about 85% due to my hair and makeup. My mommy did it all for me because I generally suck at actually making myself presentable. It must’ve taken at least an hour—almost a third of the time that I would actually be dancing later that night—and it was totally frigging worth it. My mom got some cute pictures, and I got…well, mostly drunk boy slobber all over my face, but some encounters were less clumsy than others 😉
[p.s. mom, if you’re reading this, neither I nor the friends I was there with got drunk or did drugs. I know better than to take shit from strangers. I also only drank the water, not the soda, and I’m pretty sure nobody spiked the water.
Actually, you know what, we didn’t even go. We went to church. And prayed. All night.]
As I mentioned in the above section, I wear sweatpants and my hair up to most outings in my life. It really doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m with. If I ever get married, I’ll probably wear sweats and a hoodie to my own wedding. I own more pairs of sweatpants than every girl I know combined. And I fuckin love every last pair of them.
See, the thing is with me, my clothes generally don’t do much in the way of influencing my confidence one way or the other. I am equally confident in sweatpants as I am in my classy lawyer lady outfit. Sometimes, if I want to feel cuter, I will wear leggings. I will, once in a blue moon, wear jeans, if I think I’m going to be out doing real-life things for an incredibly extended period of time. The absolute only reason I wear “nice” clothes is when it would be considered wholly improper to do otherwise.
Speech and debate tournaments, model UN conferences, fancy family dinners, violin recitals and auditions, school music department functions, and my eighth grade moving up day. You can bet your ass that when I’m putting considerable effort into my clothing, it is sure as hell not for myself. Those are the only times that I dress “nicely,” because those are the times when the grownups probably wouldn’t even let me participate if I didn’t.
Three: This Blog
I feel like this one doesn’t require a whole ton of explanation. I do use this blog, mostly, as a journal. But let’s all be honest with ourselves here. If I actually wanted to just keep a journal, I wouldn’t be putting it on the internet. I like attention. A lot.
Two: Writing in General
I put up a post like a thousand years ago about some stuff I’d written and how writing in general had affected my life. Pretty much everything that I had ever written at the time of writing that post got mentioned there. I have written so much more since then, it probably warrants an entire new post. This past year has been quite the big one for writing with me. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before on here, but my sophomore project actually involves writing and self-publishing a book of poetry, which is currently in the works, so stay tuned for that !!!!
Anyways. My writing is not for myself, and it never has been. Of course it is in part—I wouldn’t write if I didn’t enjoy it—but there are VERY few pieces of writing that I haven’t shared with at least somebody. My friend Thalia (the only person I know IRL who loves to write as much as I do) and I are always exchanging stories and poems. She’s also doing a book of poetry for her sophomore project. A lot of the time, she’s the only person who reads certain pieces. My friends are always, always eager to read anything I’ve written. Not because I’m some amazing, prolific literary genius (although I’m not gonna lie, a couple of my friends are hardcore rabid fangirls when it comes to my stories, which is both encouraging and terrifying) but just because they want to help out. I do like to think that my stuff is at least, like, a four out of ten for the most part.
I’ve said it before and I’ll probably be saying it until the end of time: I want my writing to change someone. Preferably for the better. I’d be thrilled if I could inspire millions and become some sort of prolific writer, but I’d be happy if I could have an impact on even one person. I just don’t see the point in writing only for myself. Part of the process will always be for me, of course, but I just couldn’t imagine not sharing my stories with other people.
Except for my emo poetry from sixth grade. Some of that shit needs to be burned and sent back to the pit of nonsensical adolescent despair from whence it came.
This is probably the most important (and, probably, suckiest) one.
I used to really love going to school. And I still love to learn, so much. It’s not uncommon to find me reading book reviews or news articles or psychological studies, or trying to figure out how to play a new piece on the violin, or playing those stupid “brain training” puzzles, or watching science videos (mostly vSauce to be totally honest) on youtube. That’s just who I am, and it always has been, and I like to hope it always will be.
But I really fuckin hate school.
The internet (and ESPECIALLY tumblr) is filled with people explaining why America’s current day school system sucks ass. There’s not much that I can say that hasn’t already been said. But I will say this: I really used to love school. Not all kids can say the same, but I can. Now, though, I dread going practically every single day. I can’t wait to be free of it. I’d drop out if I could.
But I can’t drop out. And that’s why school absolutely and positively tops this list and always will for me. I am not in school for myself at all. I am in school because I feel like it’s my job to use my privilege and my intelligence and my empathy for good, and I feel like I can’t do that without becoming a lawyer, and I definitely can’t do that if I don’t get a few respectable degrees, and I can’t do that unless I get into a good college in the first place.
So, I have to stay in school. If I could drop out and just stay at home and watch TV and read and just generally enjoy myself, I totally would. But I can’t.
Not to be a whiny teenager, but it kinda really sucks a lot. I am, at this point, not going to school for myself at all. I am going to school for the people who I hope to be helping ten, fifteen, twenty years in the future. In terms of me, school is just a source of stress and general unhappiness.
[okay, maybe it’s a little bit for myself, considering the fact my mother will probably not let me live with her forever. But for the purposes of the hyperbolic emotional resonance of this post, let’s just pretend that that’s a non-issue].
Bonus: Things That Are Completely For Myself
Like, it rocks to listen to music with other people and connect through that. And summer music festivals quite literally fuel my life force for the rest of the year. But if those things didn’t exist, I would still fuckin love music. It’s completely for me.
Playing violin is sort of an extension of this. I play in the orchestra, and I do recitals and auditions and stuff, and I take private lessons. And all that stuff is absolutely great and fantastic and would not be possible without a lot of time and energy (and money !!) from other people. But there are nights that I sit in my room, and put my music on shuffle, and try to play whatever song comes up completely by ear. There are nights that I pull out my book with music from the Phantom of the Opera (my favorite anything of all time, by the way) and just play through the whole thing. There are nights that I write random songs, just because I can.
Those nights? Yeah, those nights are for me.
Two: I Actually Do Have A Journal
Last year, for Christmas, the younger of my two stepbrothers (who is currently in college, a.k.a. the land of sweatpants and sex, Jim you lucky bastard) gave me this journal-type-thing. I had mentioned once on here that I’ve always wanted to keep a journal but that I really really suck at it because I sometimes don’t know what to write and then I feel like I’m slacking and get stressed and give up. This journal that he gave me is called “Q and A a Day.” It’s got one question a day, for every day, with five spaces for every day, so you can see how your answers change over the years. I can not explain how excited I was when he gave me this thing. It’ll take me all the way through almost all of high school, and most of my first year of college. It’s probably the coolest thing I own (besides maybe my violin and my computer, because those are both pretty rad too).
I haven’t let anyone read the journal. Not because there’s any big dark secrets in there—the questions are things like “what song is stuck in your head today” and “what’s the most expensive thing you’re wearing right now” and “who did you last say ‘I love you’ to”—but because, honestly, I feel like it’s just for me.
There’s also the fact that I’m also probably the only person who would find most of the answers even remotely interesting.
I feel like this one is relatively self-explanatory 😉