Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cat Calls

My friend and I were walking down the street in a nearby downtown area the other day when we both experienced our first "cat call." Throughout the day, we heard whistles, got stares, and received obscene gestures and comments. We were both wearing high-necked tee shirts, shorts, and sneakers. We were trying to enjoy a nice summer day. We were modestly dressed [not to mention kind of sweaty and gross] and we were by no means seeking out any attention whatsoever. 
We discussed how it must feel to receive this negative attention more often. There are girls who are used to it. They don't even notice it. They can walk by without a care in the world. My friend and I were were horribly offended. We talked about how wearing shorts could have called the attention, or maybe it was my crop top [with my stomach covered by high waisted shorts]. Maybe it was the way we walked or our young faces. Then we realized that it shouldn't matter how we looked. It was well over 90 degrees and we should be "allowed" to wear shorts without being harassed.
 My feminist mind was jumping around to why men are like this and why these things happen. I wondered how rude gestures and obscene name-calling can be so accepted in society. I thought about why society has accepted the fact that men have more "power" and why they have the ability to wander the streets and whistle at girls like dogs. Why they can disrespect independent young women as if it were the norm. Well, sadly, it is a social norm. And that makes me sad for the future of women everywhere. 
Which leads me to a call for action. Girls, take your stand. Be the independent, smart young ladies that you are. If you get whistled at, look back with a strong, "I'm too good for you" stare. You are not a dog. You are a human. Wear what you want, and never be scared. If you get yells from car windows or hand gestures from across the street, keep walking. You are a modern woman, and you have places to be and other [more important] matters to worry about. You have a dream to chase and an independent life to live. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Too Old

I have always been very mature compared to my peers. My parents kept me in preschool for three years, so I have been the oldest in my grade throughout my life. I have always gotten along better with those older than me, which was a nice advantage to my mental stimulation. I read at four, held adult conversation by seven, and went off to overnight camp at eight. At this camp, I made friends with those older than me, and eventually convinced the camp director to move me up to be in a cabin with my friends, the older girls. It stayed that way for nine years, and I loved it. 
That is, until my "age" group became counselors this year. To be a counselor at an American Camp Association camp, one needs to have graduated high school. Even though I am 18, I still can't be a counselor. I was offered to chance to be a junior counselor [for the third time] but I just couldn't make my parents pay so much money to have me do the job of a counselor. Last summer, I taught dance class, worked in the office, and gave tours of the camp. I am more than qualified to be a counselor, but not being one would be so sad. I am too old [emotionally] to be a camper, so I decided to stay home for the first time in nine years. It's hard to explain, but this camp's staff has been my family, the campus my home. I truly love everyone there, and not going has caused me so much heartbreak. It was at this camp that I learned the value of acceptance, friendship, love and even how to sing, dance, and act [it's a theater camp]. I had "the talk" at camp. I found my lifelong best friends at camp. It breaks my heart to be away from it his summer.
I guess there are some things in life that you have to outgrow at some point, and accepting that is way sadder than I ever expected it to be. I spent my entire life trying to grow up faster but now I only wish I was eight years old again, going to camp for the first time. Growing up comes with so much more work than I ever thought. I wanted a convertible and tons of friends and a hot body and a boyfriend and perfect hair. What do I have? Well, definitely not the hot body I dreamed of. I have college applications, summer reading, a job, and frizzy hair. I have stress, not a boyfriend. I have responsibilities, not a ton a friends. I also have a passion for journalism, fashion, and English class. I have a good taste in music and books and movies. At a young age, those are things I never expected for myself, but I'm glad I have them. 
 Camp is one of those experiences that make up who I am, and that's something no one can take away from me. It has made me into the adult I am. 
the hands-down most influential woman in my life. her hobbies include being allergic to things, pretending to hate me, actually hating me, and buying strange exercise equipment. 

one of my best camp friends and I. we were roommates at age nine and have been friends ever since.

my friends Jaye and Jamie [now that I'm 18, Jamie and I can be real friends!]

Jenna and I have been going to camp together since the beginning. she is a counselor now! how crazy

Samara [granddaughter of the owner, musical theater extraordinaire]. she doesn't know it, but I look up to her  so much. she has to be one of the most talented people I know. 

my first counselor, Melissa, and I. we still talk regularly. 

a [slightly embarrassing] candid of my lifelong best friend Rebecca and I.  we still have sleepovers. 

one of my favorite counselors Brittany and I. she has a toddler, and is now responsible for a family, not a bunch of preteens. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I'm 18. I can officially be tried as an adult, buy cigarettes, play the lotto, and go into any store I want [even those dirty video and lingerie ones!] I don't feel 18, but I know this year will change me into the adult I have set out to be. 
Last night, I was sulking around and being upset about my lack of birthday plans, when my mom said to get dressed because I was going to a local fair and out to dinner with the rest of the family. I wasn't exactly in the mood [I was supposed to have plans with friends] and I was getting dressed when the doorbell rang. Two of my best friends were at the door and told me to put on a dress and get in the car. I followed their orders, overjoyed at the fact that my night was about to get so much better.
Apparently, my friends had been in cahoots with my parents and sisters, and planned this night weeks ago. We went out to dinner, walked around a gorgeous local park, and went out for ice cream. It was an absolutely perfect night that reminded me how lucky I am to have such great friends. They gave me a book of coupons to things like "free tour of Boston" and "free weekend in Bloomington" [where my friends are going to college] along with days at the beach, the city, and even girl's nights in. They also gave me a photo book that makes me cry every time I flip through it. 
Last night, I came to a realization at what being an adult really is about. It's not about later curfew, having a car, or having a boyfriend. It's not about having a job or wearing makeup or anything like that. It's about becoming yourself and knowing who you are. It's about confidence and self-awareness. It's about knowing who your true friends are and appreciating what life has to offer. It's about maturity and love and happiness. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

how to get back on your feet, the Sophisticated way

Tonight was horrible. I'm not going to lie. 
I had a pretty bad fight with my parents after I heard them saying some things I definitely did not want to hear. I was not in a good mood to begin with, so the self esteem crushing comments were less than necessary. I'm not really sure what happened, but all I know is that my mother and I are not exactly on speaking terms and I cried like a baby for most of the night.
But I got back on my feet because I am too stubborn to give in. 
Therefore, I present to you the Sophisticated way to get back on your feet after you are at a low point 

  • cry it out   It helps, I swear. Just get it out and you will feel 100x better. 
  • watch/read/listen to something you love   I have a great playlist on Spotify for this very purpose. I have those favorite stories or websites or tv shows that I always can fall back on. I love 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Community to cheer me up. I go on Pinterest and find cool graphic designs [I am nerdy, it's whatever]. 
  • talk to your closest friends   They have the best advice and are always on your side. I have a great support group, and I love them so much for it. They really help get through bad times. 
  • organize   Maybe this is just me, but organizing gets my mind off of my own self pity and into a series of tasks. [I just sat down from cleaning my entire room]. 
  • blog about it  I mean, it's kind of obvious that that happens to be one of my coping mechanisms. 
  • sweat it out   When I get super emotional or stressed or unhappy, I run or I do yoga. It's whatever suits you, but I just funnel all of my energy into something that isn't moping around my house. 
** this list can also be used for mental breakdowns, break ups, or just bad days. 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

when the lights go down.

Light is all around us, literally as well as metaphorically. We are consumed by the light of our cell phones or computers. When the sun goes down, lights go up and we continue with our night. We rely on light to perform what we consider basic tasks, and without it, we are lost. We stumble through literal darkness as well as a dark mood or feeling. When there is no light, fear overtakes us and we become lost and alone. We spread light, we shed light, and we light up our own world through the electricity of power lines and human spirit. 
So what happens when the power goes out and all lights are shut off for hours? 
Moods shift from exuberant to depressed. Cell phones are frantically run out to car chargers and those lucky enough to own the envied generator are powered up. Candles are lit, whiny tweets are sent, and fear blankets the darkened area. 
A lack of light brings out different reactions from different people. Some help their neighbors tap into a working power line through extension cords. [My father, one of those neighbors, walked door to door in the record winds and rain to make sure everyone was okay. He was deemed "block captain" by the local police, and he takes his responsibility seriously.] Some generated just enough electricity to watch the third overtime of the Blackhawks game. [Hawks win, yay!] Some ate cold pizza and played Rummikub by candlelight. [My family] Some just went to sleep and hoped the power would be turned back on when they awoke. 
After what seemed like ages [about five hours], peace was restored. 
Relieved and satisfied and tired, the lights were turned off and the town went to sleep.
We were at ease and there was light and all was good in the world. 

Monday, June 10, 2013


A while ago, a very awesome person and I drifted apart. I did not talk to him for months. I missed him but I kind of just let our friendship go. Recently, we started talking again and it was like we had never stopped. Our conversations flowed for hours and I was so glad things were back to normal.
This morning, we went out for coffee and talked about anything and everything for a couple hours. It was fabulous. 
I think when things like that happen, it is just great. I've drifted from friends before, and conversation is never the same. I think when you can start being good friends with someone after a long gap in the relationship, you know it's a true, compatible friendship. 
During my Vinyasa yoga class tonight, we were told to give our practice an intention. Whether it is praying for someone in bad health or hoping for a lover to walk in the door, we were to focus on that one idea throughout the class. I hoped for my friendship with this person to last longer than it did the first time. I believe it will, and I think he does too. 
I'm so lucky to have such amazing people in my life. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Starting the summer off right

For the past 10 summers, I had spent my time at a theater camp in Wisconsin. It was my home away from home, and most of my closest friends were campers with me at a point in time. This summer, I decided to stay home because everyone my age was hired to be a counselor, but me, not graduated from high school [stupid Indiana cut-off] was not. Instead of going to camp as the weird 18 year old camper, I planned on staying home. I immediately regretted the decision and assumed that this would be the most boring summer ever. It totally is not. 
  • I work about three or four days a week, which is just enough to pay for gas or clothes and still have free time to do whatever I choose. 
  • I am taking Personal Financial Responsibility class online with my sister. We have vowed to get a 100% in the class, which will totally boost our GPAs. 
  • I hosted a party for Publications staffers to work on the summer project we were assigned. I met some pretty precious little freshmen as well as bonded with two awesome girls I never really talked to last year. 
  • I am reading five books for AP English next year. 
  • I am working on next year's yearbook [every time I talk about it, type about it, or think about I just get so excited]
  • I am reading good books and watching good movies and actually making time for myself.
  • I am hanging out with my friends as well as making new ones [most via Twitter, but it's whatever]
  • I am picking out outfits and reading about clothing and pursuing my hobby in fashion, which is always a fun time.
  • I have made a healthy pact with myself. [Every day I either dance, go to hot yoga, or go on a run. I allow myself one unhealthy food per day. (today was cotton candy ice cream, woops) I do 40 crunches a night. I only drink water.]
  • I allow myself to be me. I wear what I want, listen to what I want, read what I want [besides summer homework], and act how I want. It sounds selfish, but that's what summer is about, right?
one of my daily unhealthy treats 

one of my healthy summer meals
I bought new books and magazines and re-organized my desk. Just doing me this summer.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

the birth of a yearbook

"Finding the perfect yearbook theme is like finding the person you'll marry. It just feels right"- the wise words of one the most amazing teachers people out there, Mrs. Sarah Verpooten.

It felt right. The bright color, the story, the meaning, the thin details and thick lines, the black and white and the transparency. It is perfect. My yearbook is coming together so prematurely. 

Late last night, after a grueling hour of hot yoga, I had my friend over to eat cupcakes.

With two cupcakes from Designer Desserts and a GQ magazine in tow, she made her way to my door. I answered with wet hair, pajamas, and not a drop of makeup. Rough. We ate and talked and we made our way to my room to flip through the [raunchy and eye-opening] men's magazine. We were reading for design, not content, although we did learn a few things.

That's when it clicked. 

The consistency, the color, the lines, the angles, and the absolute perfection of this magazine blew up my tiny little yearbook theme idea into a huge burst of confidence and excitement and brilliance. 

At around 1:45 this morning, I was still post-it noting the magazine and further developing my ideas. I made a Prezi presentation and a inspiration board and I just couldn't keep it out of my mind. 

I rushed into school this morning to meet with my advisers, Carrie Wadycki and Sarah Verpooten, and the Herff-Jones [our publishing company] representative Betty Samples [the amazing woman who will make my dreams come true].  

After presenting my idea three separate times. [Wad came later, Samples was bringing donuts, and VP was there earlier], I receive reactions I would never expect to have gotten. 

VP gave me an assuring glance and a huge smile. She pointed out things that I didn't think of, but made sure I was aware that I had a great idea and that I was on the right track. She is one of those people that once you gain their respect, you feel on top of the world. 

Wad is not a huge yearbook person, but told me that she understood my idea. She was excited and happy and seemed very proud. It was a cranky day for Wad, and I was overjoyed that someone I respect so much actually took a huge interest. 

I'll admit, I was scared to death of Samples. I barely know her, but after today, she is one of my favorite people. She showed the same squealing [not a word] nerdiness yerdiness I have, and was beyond excited. She was immediately coming up with ideas and concepts, and we were totally on the same page. I was overjoyed. She is one of those people who don't blow smoke. She is brutally honest. And she loved it. 

They say when the time is right, the moment will come. And it came. And I couldn't be happier. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Minority Opinion

I miss school and I want to go back. I don't like being home and being bored and not having anything crucial to do. I miss being under pressure to work my hardest. I miss having teachers who require me to do work as well as inspire, not parents who whine at you to complete tasks. I miss challenging work and deep discussion. I miss getting up early and going to bed late. I miss seeing my friends every day and socializing with people I never see outside of school. I miss eating lunch in S110 with music blaring and creative people all around.
 I need to set a schedule for myself or I will go mad. I need to hang out with people. I need to challenge myself and read and do work. I need full days and long nights. I need school. Is that so wrong?