While the most common response to me saying that I’m in a super long-term relationship is “When are you getting married?” (awkward), some people have voiced their mild concern to my family or even to me that they wish I’d taken a little more time to “just have fun in college.” A similar sentiment has popularly been expressed by a slew of internet posts such as “23 Things to do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23,” which seem to suggest that being in a relationship at all means that in some fundamental way you’ve held yourself back.
Today, I was watching Extreme Cheapskates on TLC. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a mixture of fascinating, helpful, and upsetting. These people will do anything to save a quarter. Some people’s ideas are actually reasonable: saving slivers of soap to make another bar of soap, making sure to turn off lights when not in use, etc. Others are just plain absurd. So far I’ve watched a woman who does her own dental work by pulling out her own teeth with pliers and another woman who uses cat food in place of canned tuna fish. While these were certainly upsetting, I found myself most perplexed by the woman who threw her unwilling daughter an extreme cheapskate-style wedding.
Happy New Year! I’ve been blogging for awhile now and can’t wait to fill 2014 with more fashion, food, and life. For all of you who’ve been reading consistently, thank you! Blogging has been so much fun for me and I love hearing that what I’m writing is relevant and that you’re enjoying it.
New Year’s Eve is funny because I find myself simultaneously filled with hope for the new year and this uncomfortable sense of things undone and goals unmet. But you know what, that’s okay! 2013 may not have seen the completion of all of my lofty goals, but I did have an amazing year. I started my second year of college, had a great summer job, and did a lot of traveling. Best of all, I’ve gotten to spend time with family and old friends and make some great new ones.
A couple weeks ago in my business ethics class, we discussed the ethicality of Abercrombie and Fitch’s decision to not sell clothing in plus sizes, stating that they didn’t want plus-sized people wearing their clothes. One of my classmates commented, “I just can’t live with the idea of a larger girl coming home to her parents crying asking why she can’t wear the clothes her classmates wear.”
The comment got me thinking.
While I completely agree that the implications of A&F’s decisions are upsetting, we can’t necessarily make A&F change their sizing. We can, however, change how we allow our girls to perceive style.
Since childhood, I’ve never been alone. I never realized it, but it was always there: in the moment I woke up in elementary school from a dead sleep, paralyzed in panic over an overdue library book, in the times I found myself frenzied over being late, in the moment I left my senior celebration early because I didn’t want to be around people.
For my whole life, I’ve been followed by anxiety.
Growing up, I always thought I was normal. If you’d have asked me, I’d have described myself as “type A,” a little “high-strung,” a “perfectionist.” I would have told you it was a good thing. I would have told you I was the type of person that got things done, that over-achieved, that went the extra mile.
Growing up, I never thought of myself as the kind of person who would ever buy anything “luxury.” Bugatti, Tiffany, Armani, Fendi. These were all words that seemed foreign to me, for more reasons than just their language of origin. I knew Louis Vuitton was “a thing,” but certainly not for anyone I knew. In Wyoming, at least to my knowledge, luxury wasn’t even in the consideration set of most people.
If you talked Ariat boots or MissMe jeans, you could get people excited. But if I were wearing an Armani anything in Wyoming, I don’t know that anyone would have even recognized it. Even brands in general weren’t particularly important to me. If I could get it for cheap and make it look expensive, that was my goal. I saw people wearing A&F and I always wanted to be different. I wanted to make my own looks and find unique clothes. I loved hearing “where did you get that?”
So, one of my very favoritest bloggers and closest friends, Erica Ligenza, recently posted a fantabulous article on her five rules for dating. (Find it here!) She asked me if I’d like to give my commentary, seeing as I might know something about the subject. I’d like to share a few pieces of wisdom I’ve gained from my experiences.
1. Good friends make great loves.
I think a lot of single people immediately put all new social connections into two groups: “friends” and “potential dates.” In high school, I know I was guilty of this so many times. The problem with this is that thinking about people this way eliminates the possibility of you being wrong about where you think someone might fit in your life. I
This first year has been challenging in so many ways, and it’s caused me to grow a ton. Besides learning a lot about calculus, economics, and how to avoid getting food poisoning at the dining hall, I’ve learned a lot about college itself.
It’s okay to fail.
At a school like Penn, everyone is smart. Everyone is accomplished. It’s natural that if everyone is the top of their high schools, then coming to Penn means that someone has to be humbled, because not everyone can be the best anymore. Turns out that that someone was me. When I first got to Penn, I was so intimidated. Everyone seemed ridiculously impressive. I questioned why admissions let me in. I wondered how I’d ever stand out at a school full of such accomplished people. I found myself shying away from opportunities to apply for clubs, externships, and other amazing opportunities, because I was sure I wouldn’t get them anyway. I was afraid to fail.
A woman cloaked in black sits at a metal lab table in a grimy, underground room. A dim light illuminates the bleak room. The woman seems to be mixing a dark green, vile liquid in a beaker. Occasionally, she grabs small vials from the shelves behind her and adds their contents to the beaker, a wicked smile crossing her face with each addition. Finally, she stands up, holds the beaker high above her, and cackles loudly, her ear-piercing voice echoing through the dusty basement. “It’s finished!” she screeches. “My evil work is done!” The beaker has a small label on it. It says, “Managerial Economics Final.”
I’ve been dealing for quite a few years now with someone in my life that in the past caused me pain and dampened my self-confidence. For a long time, I’ve told people that I’ve “forgiven” that person. And in my mind, I had. I decided to let bygones be bygones. For a while, I was able to see the person and speak with them with little negative feeling. I felt that I had moved on, and that this person would no longer cause me any suffering.
And with that, I “forgot.” I moved on. I decided that by making sure I didn’t have to see this person, speak with them, or have any contact whatsoever, that the forgiving and forgetting would be easy. Out of sight, out of mind.