Since the end of January is practically here, I feel I've had enough time to fully reflect back on the year we've left behind. I wasn't sure how to approach this post, I don't want to reiterate the same thoughts and feelings the entire world has been saying: it hasn't been easy. For the first time in my life there has been a universal feeling of relief over the wrap up of what is quite possibly the worst year we could have imagined. It's a shame, I had some incredible expectations for myself in 2020. I was ready to forge a path for my future. I was ready to be inspired and to take on the year despite my anxieties and my doubts. And then March said: "Hold on I have some darkness you need to experience first."
On January 31st "Miss Americana," a Netflix original documentary, starring Taylor Swift was released. As a long time fan, I was eager to get a taste of life behind-the-scenes for the mega pop star. To me, Taylor Swift was always relatable in terms of how she presented herself, her morals, and her overall character. Through the years, her music was where she shared her life experiences and the most vulnerable parts of herself. The documentary, however, opened my eyes to the person behind the catchy melodies and the lyrics that made everyone who listened feel a little less alone.
"And so, they lived happily ever after..." Happy endings, we love them, we live for them, we curse stories that don't end with them. From the moment we are introduced to books and storytelling we become consumed by the idea of a 'happy ending.' Every Disney movie, fairy tale, and children's book ends happily, loose ends tied up and all. It's probably why we're so fixated on the idea of happiness in general. Every young person's goal is to "end up happy." That's all we want, to be happy. Because, from a young age, we're exposed to things concluding happily and perfect and all neat and tidy. Sure, the characters go through their ups and downs, but ultimately their story ends on a good note, a happy note if you will.
My name is Maire, I'm 22 and an aspiring YA author. Growing up I always loved to read. I read in the car on the way to dance, I read at my desk at school while I was supposed to be doing schoolwork, I stayed up late into the early hours of the morning with the inability to sleep until I finished. In a nutshell, wherever I was you'd probably find a book in my possession.I was the binge reader. It didn't take long after I picked a book up that I was closing it to start another.
There seems to be a developing general consensus about makeup:
"Why don't you go back to school?" "Good luck with that, that's not going to be easy." "Why don't you go into publishing?" "Are you still going to do the writing thing?"
Every single day I'm surrounded by people who settled. People who graduated from college and had dreams or plans for themselves, but they got comfortable. Things got hard or they fell into the routine of decent money and they simply never moved on.
When you enter a dance studio, the first position they place you in is in front of a mirror at the ballet barre. Your fingers, just barely brushing the round surface of the wood, it's job being merely to remind you of your inner strength and keep you in place when your center is unhinged. It's the place you check your balance, watch your posture and hone your attitude. Its the place you learn new techniques, master combinations and correct minor errors in steps. It's your starting line for the rest of your career as a dancer. The barre is like your safe place, where your family is, where your support system dwells, the place you grew up.
We watch the lives of other people unfold before our eyes through the pictures they post and the videos they share. We see the vacations they go on with friends, the numerous concerts they attend seem endless and the number of friends they have goes on and on. It seems everything always falls into place for them, they're never disappointed. They're never left alone to pick up the pieces of their shattered life. And then we look back at ourselves and when we don't see a reflection of what they have in our own lives we get this idea in our heads that we are somehow less than or incapable of such beauty.
Whenever I go to Starbucks I order: a grande caramel frappuccino with extra caramel, because I don’t want to end up with a drink I don’t like. Whenever I go to Dunkin Donuts I order a medium caramel iced latte. I order a medium every single time despite the fact I know I won’t finish it. Everyday I go through the same routine: I sleep until two hours before I have to go to work, I waste the morning away on Twitter, get dressed, make lunch and head to work. When I get home I waste more time on Twitter, eat dinner, watch Grey’s Anatomy, eat some more, browse twitter and stay up later than I should.
Starbucks. Chipotle. Selfies. Instagram. Uggs. Yoga pants. All of these have one thing in common. They're trends. They're trends that society has associated with and turned into a sterotype. The victim: "basic" girls.