I'm here reporting from Door County, Wisconsin, which is located on the peninsula that goes into Lake Michigan. I've come here the past three summers and I think it is becoming a tradition.
Here are some of my recent happenings:
Quick Life Update:
It's already October! I've been hard at work and at play. Senior year is going well, I guess. I feel completely uninvolved with my new school as far as Senior Activities are concerned, but I've been doing well at concentrating on my applications and not on my stress levels. My new school has a really helpful career/college center and I've spent lots of time there after school working. I also get out of class everyday at 1pm, so I have more time in general to be happy.
We're still assimilating into the Long Beach scene, and everything is going relatively smoothly. It's really just going so quickly, too. I've spent a lot of time at the beach recently, and that has made life really enjoyable. I often sit in my Econ class and look out the window over a beautiful view and think, Jeez this place is beautiful. I also used to say that to myself in Palm Springs, but theres something so exciting about being in a fresh type of beauty. Anyway, I don't have many friends but I have a whole new family, and am not even close to being lonely. My emotions have been paradoxical lately, and I found a good way to describe them while reading Virginia Woolfs' Orlando. In it, the main character enjoys the euphoric feeling of love, only to turn around and be amidst the throws of sorrow. When I recount my time in Long Beach, I only have positive things to say. So why do I spend a lot of time crying (like a lot)? Personally I think it's a mixture of teen hormones and childhood problems and the political status of America. I also may be in denial of how my life is affecting me emotionally, but as I try to analyze it further, I really cannot find anything that should be emotionally crippling. So maybe I'm just victim to menstrual domination or maybe I need more friends. Whatever, life is good.
But, speaking of friends, Kylie is coming down for Thanksgiving! I've never been into thanksgiving but this year it's the holiday I'm looking most forward to. My new LB family plans to have a "black sheep thanksgiving" and I am prepared to eat ALL the mashed sweet potatoes! I also will be finishing up my UC supplications, and the thought of those being done is nice.
Some Personal Thoughts:
Being back in Southern California, like Orange County style SC, has definitely opened my eyes to the nasty world of women self esteem. This has made me think a lot about my body, and my own self image. I'm pretty confident, and I've always been aware of that. It's not necessarily that I think I am the most beautiful person ever, but if there is a part of me that it less than perfect (based on what scale, I don't know), I understood that it was not a big deal. People liked me and nobody really cared about my stretch marks or pimples. That's nice, because I don't care about their "flaws" either. (We're all just thinking about ourselves so much anyway so really people don't care what you look like). The big BUT for all this, though, is that it only lasts for a point. Like a point of beauty. I think people will ignore the flaws if you are just beautiful ENOUGH. So, based off of current beauty standards, I'm in that gap. I don't feel self conscious about my hairy legs or pimple skin because I have a flat stomach and nice hair. And that thought isn't so literal in my brain. I don't think about it like the day to day, but once I sit back and analyze why I feel the way I do, it is just that.
So, what happens when I (or anyone) passes the line of acceptable beauty? I gain weight, I shave my head, I get a trillion piercings, and now I'm no longer in that narrow slice of common beauty. If then, I still have confidence in myself, that's pretty admirable because only then is it really a personal decision, and one informer by being your true self. If I'm no longer confident, am I just normal? I didn't use to think that being self conscious was so common but now that I live in a more "housewives" area I'm seeing through some facades.
For now though, I'm here. Questioning my own image of myself. Why do I like myself? Is it because I actually like myself or is it because I am what a lot of people aspire to be: Skinny, white, young, and healthy? And why did I believe that I was deserving of those qualities? If I really try to deconstruct my own self image, I am confused. What is my own thought and what has been etched into my brain by society. I did not have any self image issues growing up, but what if I lived in a society where the black and white societal roles were reversed? I will assume that I would have had a different experience. I think thats pretty sad, and it tells to me the reality of the race issue in America.
(one other low-key theory I have about my self esteem is that I have a very encouraging mother. she never stopped telling me (a.) that I was incredible and awesome and (b.) that all the women we see in magazines and on TV are paid to be beautiful, or that is not really what they look like. I was aware of the industry that thrived off of women insecurities so that helped me debunk a lot of my self image issues. nevertheless, I think being white and skinny has a lot to do with it... and that sucks)
This question has been in my head for a few days. 20 minutes ago when I started writing this post, I did not anticipate that I'd write about it. But it's actually nice to write down my thoughts because it helps me further process them. It's nice to be forced to articulate your ideas because then you have a definitive sentence for what you're feeling. I hope you can appreciate what I'm trying to say here. I think it can be misconstrued as me being egotistical or pedantic, but honestly it's just me writing out some ideas. Take it or leave it.
Summer 2017 for me was so luscious and educational. I did a lot, and I learned a lot. A lot of things changed, and I discovered that "new" and "different" can be so invigorating. Lately, I've been less judgmental of myself. I feel more prone to trying new things, and even doing some things that scare me. I'm feeling really good about senior year (even though tomorrow is my first day and I don't even know what classes I'm going to take), and about college applications, and about life. :)))
Fourth of July was spent at my dad's house in Wisconsin, and days later I returned to California and prepared for this trip around the UK. I was asked to join Julie, her husband Dave, and Papa on their Summer 2017 Vacation! We've been in London for the past few days, and tomorrow we leave to board a cruise. A Cruise!! How amazing is this?
London is a very versatile city. I would love to live here sometime in my life, if only for a semester. There is a considerable amount of unique fashion on all the diverse people. I love the juxtaposition of the modern architecture with the centuries-old palaces and churches. I love (and mildly hate) the map of London, with its random, meandering streets (the complete opposite of New York). I feel corny to say this, but I also can appreciate being able to understand everyone. I feel like I'm a part of it.
Julie and Dave are the fanciest and funnest people to go on a vacation with. This already has been an absolute dream, and we have not even reached the cruise yet! I am so thankful and, honestly, in disbelief. I can't believe I'm out doing something again.
I'm feeling really grateful right now, and slowing becoming more prepared to face the future with courage and optimism. Travel is really good for the soul, I think.