Happy, Free, Confused & Lonely – Sara

Sara is recovering from one of the biggest seasons of change in her life. She recently split from her boyfriend of three years, graduated from college and moved across the country to live with her mother.

In the very first interview for the new Happy, Free, Confused & Lonely segment of the blog, Sara spills all about change, growing up and what’s next. Continue reading “Happy, Free, Confused & Lonely – Sara”

Short Shorts

Today I wore a pair of jean shorts that were, admittedly, pretty short. I didn’t wear them to look hot. I didn’t wear them cuz I think my legs are in amazing shape and want to show them off (they’re not). I wore them because it was hot outside and I needed shorts. I have another pair of longer shorts but I put them on a few weeks ago and they stuck to my thighs so I pulled them off right away and preceded to ignore their existence.

I’ve been wearing this particular pair of shorts for weeks now. At home, at school, at my apartment, etc. But for some reason tonight, while I was walking home from class at approximately 10:45pm, some guy decided to roll down his window and yell, “You down to f*ck?”

Now, maybe my backpack was hiking my shorts up in the back. Maybe my full face of makeup combined with the shorts threw him off. Maybe the fact that I was wearing shorts and a tank top at night screamed that I was trying too hard (nevermind that it was a warm night and I knew it would only get warmer as I power walked the mile home). Whatever it was, this guy took it was an invitation to yell at me.

I immediately heard everything he didn’t say. That I was dressed like a slut, that I looked cheap, that I was showing more of my body off than was appropriate for a “good girl,” that I was asking for it. And I immediately felt ashamed.

It was all that I could do not to burst into tears on the spot. I immediately wanted to cover myself. I walked the 3/4 mile back to my apartment in fear. I tugged on the back of my shorts the entire way home. I got to my apartment, stood backward in front of the mirror and tried to figure out exactly how much had been showing.

I was ashamed. I was humiliated. I felt cheap.

I wasn’t angry at him for yelling rude inappropriate things at someone he doesn’t know. I wasn’t upset that he had objectified and dehumanized me. I didn’t feel sad that he somehow thought his behavior was okay and acceptable. I didn’t roll my eyes at his outdated, misogynistic, backwards way of thinking or that he somehow thought he knew my motivation behind the clothes I had chosen to put on.

I immediately turned it inward. I immediately blamed myself. I immediately saw myself as the problem.

As soon as I realized what I had done, I was angry. Angry at myself, angry at him and most of all, angry at the society who had drilled into my mind that it was up to me to control whether or not men saw me as an object. A society that told men that wearing short shorts was a women’s way of trying to tell men that they wanted sex. A society that told women the only reason they wore revealing clothing was to draw men’s attention.

I know that some people see women’s movement to be allowed to wear what they want as an excuse to dress slutty, to let it all hang out without fear of judgement and for some, sure, that may be their motivation. But more of us want to be able to walk down the street in shorts because it’s hot without being accused of looking like a hooker. More of us want to be able to wear a bikini on the beach without being ogled and yelled at. More of us want to be judged by our actions than the length of our skirt.

According to the media, it may look like we’ve gotten there. Women are being praised for taking naked selfies or wearing next to nothing on red carpets. But take one look at Instagram comments on any young female celebrity’s pictures and you’ll realize that couldn’t be further from reality.

One of my favorite celebrities, a 16 year old girl named Bailee Madison, posted this picture a few weeks ago:

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And this showed up in the comments:

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What will it take for women’s attractiveness and what she chooses to wear to cease to be an excuse for men to objectify and sexualize us?  What will it take for the power of women’s sexuality to be put back in their hands where it belongs? When will we truly be allowed to define ourselves instead of submitting to labels slapped on us by other people? When will our “hotness” cease to be a sin and our fault and simply just be?

Happy, Free, Confused & Lonely

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You can say whatever you want about Taylor Swift, but she got one thing right:

Being in your early 20s is weird.

You’re an adult… sort of. But you also feel like a kid… sometimes.

Many of us still live at home. Most of us depend on our parents financially in at least some capacity. Some of us are still in school. Others of us are trying to navigate the job world with this new “2” tacked on in front of our age or a couple new letters behind our names (BA, BFA, etc). And a few of us are sporting a ring on the fourth finger of our left hands and some have even taken on the title “Mom” or “Dad.”

Taylor said that those in their early 20s are “happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.” She accused us of having “breakfast at midnight,” dressing “up like hipsters” and purposely forgetting about deadlines. She claimed being 22 was “miserable and magical” and even had the audacity to say that we were “happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way.” Not only is this all happening at the same time, it’s also happening in the best of ways?!?

Well, when this song came out, I was a blissfully ignorant 18 year old who thought it was cute. As soon as the novelty of being 21 wore off, however, I realized every day that the lyrics of the song were becoming my truth. I also realized the best way to deal with it was indeed to dance it off and enjoy this crazy, confusing time of my life with my friends who–gasp!–were feeling the same way.

Taylor told Billboard magazine in 2012, “For me, being 22 has been my favorite year of my life. I like all the possibilities of how you’re still learning, but you know enough. You still know nothing, but you know that you know nothing. You’re old enough to start planning your life, but you’re young enough to know there are so many unanswered questions. That brings about a carefree feeling that is sort of based on indecision and fear and a the same time letting [loose]. Being 22 has taught me so much” (“Taylor Swift Q&A: The Risks of ‘Red’ and The Joys of Being 22”). In a separate article reviewing the Red album track by track, Billboard called the hook of the song 22 “a rather stunning meditation on being in your early 20s” (“Taylor Swift, ‘Red’: Track-By-Track Review”).

I, for one, think that Miss Swift hit the nail on the head with this one. Unfortunately, I think that instead of embracing the weirdness that is being in your early 20s, many of us buckle down and try to figure it all out as if somehow having a twenty in front of your age means that you know how to “adult” now.

I thought that I would create a space for twenty-odds to be able to share their stories and admit that we don’t have it all together. We’re still figuring it out and messing up and restarting. We really are happy (for the most part), feeling more freedom than ever (but also more restrictions… $$), walking around confused as hell most days and also, feeling strangely lonely (sometimes).

This space is going to manifest itself in a new segment on my blog known as “Happy, Free, Confused & Lonely” where I will interview twenty-odds about being in their early 20s. The goal of this blog has always been to tell personal stories transparently so that they can touch and help other people. Well, I’ve gotten a little sick of only telling my story and am looking forward to bringing other voices to the table as well.

Keep your eye out for the first interview, coming soon!