If you’re in college or are a millennial adult, you’ve probably heard of Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app. You can post anything about anything…or anyone. There are very few ways to use it in a way that spreads positive vibes. It’s basically a free for all for cyber bullying and name calling.
Yesterday my roommate was alerted by a friend that someone had called her out on Yik Yak. She was sent a screenshot of an anonymous person insulting her. Luckily it was rather quickly downvoted, leading to its removal. But sadly, this was not an isolated event. Last year a different friend and I were both mentioned in a list of people who were all classified as “thirsty.” For people who don’t know, most people define people who are thirsty as people who are desperate for a relationship/hook up/etc. My friend who was on that list with me is one of the nicest people I know, and she did not deserve this.
It is sad that I now feel the need to defend myself and my friend. I should not have to prove to anyone that I am not something they say I am, or that my friends are humans who deserve respect. My roommate should not have to remind herself that she is beautiful; she should not have to see someone publicly shame her for no reason. My friend on the list with me should not have to wonder who thought she seemed to fit the bill of that attribute. I should not have to get angry about someone insulting my best friends, the most kind and beautiful people I know.
No one should have to stare at a screen wondering why an anonymous person thought they had the right to make someone feel bad about themselves. I shouldn’t have to ask friends if they put me on the list as a joke (because at least if that were true I could have laughed). I want so badly to find the person who wrote these things, to tell them that their words did not go unheard, oh no, they sunk into our skins. They seeped into our brains, into our thought process. Their words made us question our bodies, our clothes, our words.
So to you, anonymous person: I would love to hit you, to yell at you, to trip you in the hallway. But I won’t. Because I’m not like you; I hope I never am. So I hope that your life starts to look up so you don’t have to hide behind a screen and hurt people anymore. I hope you realize the impact of your words and find it in you to feel bad about them. Because my roommate is not what you decide she is.
In the past two days I have forgotten about two jobs, causing me to be 45 minutes late to one and absent for another. I have never, ever forgotten to show up for a job. Ever. After I forgot the first, I apologized and figured it was a fluke. I felt awful about it but knew that the only thing to do about spilled milk is to clean it up and move on. However, the next day I completely forgot and slept through a gig that I do every month – my head was not in the game yall.
So where does this leave me? Well after everything I sobbed for a bit yesterday and ate some ice cream. It might not seem like a big thing, but forgetting not one, but two jobs where people depended on me really tore me up. I hate letting people down, especially when it’s 100% my fault.
So let me admit it: I messed up. I forgot how to adult for a few days. But that’s okay. I have apologized to the involved parties and moved on. I took responsibility for my actions and forgiven myself. I am determined to put everything in my planner and be a bit more organized (I’m not going to be delusional and pretend I’ll be 100% organized now). I am moving on and letting go of my two mess up days.
So next time you mess up, clean it up and move on. Let’s promise each other we’ll forgive ourselves and work to do better in the future.
My fifth grade almost boyfriend sat next to me in the special nerd classes we went to twice a week. He was a whiz kid at math and science, I was slightly above average at language arts and history. He was sporty and I was dramatic. We played basketball in gym class one day and I traveled with the ball, which I thought made us Troy and Gabriella.
One time on a day that we had nerd class, he leaned over to talk to me and sort of put his arm on my chair, which set my fifth grade heart aflutter. After class, his friend told me he liked me. In my mind I was elated – my crush of four years finally notices me! So logically I told his friend that I didn’t like him and that he was gross. I passed him on the track outside later. I don’t really remember our friendship much after that.
Later on he dated a girl from the grade below us and then moved away. I asked if we could be pen pals and wrote him a note confessing my crush, but he never replied. I even messaged him on Facebook quite a few years ago on Facebook. Yes, I know that’s creepy.
I remember clearly that when my fifth grade almost boyfriend’s friend told me he liked me I was scared it was a trick. How could someone who I’d dreamed about for years finally be real, be interested? I don’t think I wanted reality. I just wanted a boy to pine after. I wanted to be able to imagine fantastical situations instead of actually experiencing a possibly disappointing reality.
Even now I often prefer fantasy to reality – who needs practicality? But I’m not in fifth grade anymore, and imaginations aren’t enough. I’m going to live life, no matter how boring or scary it gets. So here goes nothing:
Dear Fifth Grade Almost Boyfriend,
I like you.
Fifth Grade Celina (who had really bad bangs and Harry Potter glasses)
Today is laundry day, which means I ran out of underwear. Today I’ve thought about all the places I’ve done laundry.
Whenever I’m home with my family I get to do laundry inside, at my house, without having to drive or walk to the washer and dryer, which is honestly a super big privilege.
My first years at college I did laundry in our dorms. During freshmen year I overloaded a washer and housekeeping left me a mean note. Last year my roommate and I would move guys’ laundry after it sat in the washers for hours.
Two summers ago I did laundry with my friends from all over the world at a rinky dink laundromat near the camp we were working at in upstate NY. We all crammed into the staff van and rode down the hill to the town below that included a Walmart and our hangout diner.
Last summer I did laundry a block down from my apartment in the West Village in Manhattan. I would walk with my students, or with my coworkers/friends, or by myself. It was a beautiful one minute walk, and I miss it.
This year I walk for a couple of minutes from my apartment to a huge community laundry room that I rarely have to wait around in.
Perhaps during my year in Paris I’ll find another laundromat to call home. The washers probably won’t bang around like my washer at home. I’m sure it won’t be free like it has been for me here at school. It won’t be full of middle school ballerinas or camp counselors. But it will be a constant in my new world, a little piece of home away from home.
At lunchtime one day in fourth grade (maybe third), I was asked/made to join a singing competition. The competitors were myself and a girl whom my mother approved of because the girl complimented her hair. The judge was my bully/friend, the girl who I sat with at lunch sometimes when my actual friends had a different lunchtime.
Anyways, the song that was decided upon was called Redneck Woman or something. I had never heard it, preferring Britney Spears and NSYNC. Needless to say, I did not win. I did not have to country grit the judge was looking for. So I can’t put “Elementary Country Song Lunchtime Winner” on my resume. But I can still sing you 3 lines from the song.
This wasn’t my first brush with rejection, and it definitely wasn’t my last. Losing a singing competition to the girl who compliments your mother’s hair is a bit upsetting, but nonetheless, I shouldered on. I went on to audition for solo after solo, role after role, to end up with what could be considered disappointing results: one solo in all of middle school chorus, none in high school, and one lead in a musical throughout my whole career.
Maybe this competition set the tone for my singing career. But I think that losing a redneck song competition helped me deal with rejection and continue to try. So thank you to the little 4th grade redhead who called me names and queened me the lunchtime lyric loser; you helped me lose with grace.
And anyways, she got engaged to a boy with ramen noodle hair, so who’s really the loser here?
I’m going to miss this room, this crazy, neurotic room. This room where we’ve eaten, slept, laughed, cried, sat, watched, played, lived. This room is my favorite room of all the rooms I’ve ever been in. This room is home.
I have made some of my favorite memories in this room. This room knows my secrets, and I trust it to keep and remember them all. This room has taken blows. This room has had its ups and downs.
This room has held our loneliness and fears. This room has laughed with us and watched us fill out application after application after application.
This room has helped me make decisions, good and bad. This room has seen us party and mourn. This room bears our scars and holds pieces of us.
But when we leave, this room will go on without us in it. This room will have different inhabitants, perhaps strangers who will become best friends. This room will live on, and so will we.
Can you not joke about us being an us? Even if I don’t like him, thinking about me being an us is too much to get my hopes up for. To think that he and I could be a we is so good it hurts.
Can you not say we’d be cute together? I’ve already thought that. I don’t want to think about it anymore, it’s too painful. I’ve thought about us going to events together, how he could ask me with a rose, how he might get down on one knee. But he doesn’t.
Can you not say we both have flaws? You don’t understand. His flaws are earthly, the kind of flaw you can overlook with no problem. My flaws are crazy, intense, the type of flaw you can’t stop looking at. I could probably live with his, but he couldn’t live with mine.
Can you not tease us? It’s so hard to be in a room with someone who verbally says they don’t want to be with me when you suggest it. I laugh it off, because we probably wouldn’t be a good couple anyways, but it kind of sucks. I get it, he doesn’t like me, we’re not meant to be.
Can you not talk about our shared interests? Don’t you know I’ve already imagined us cuddling and watching our favorite movie? I’ve already thought of the possible inside jokes, the road trips with our soundtrack.
Can you not be you? The you that’s sometimes adorable and sometimes naive. Sometimes funny and sometimes overexcited. Sometimes rebellious and sometimes angelic.
Can you pick a side so that i can? Please pick the side that makes me like you less, the side that makes it easy to laugh when she pairs us together. The side that i can make fun of when you’re not there, the side that couldn’t keep up with me. Please stop doing mysterious things that interest me. Please stop liking things i like and being a great guy. Please go back to liking her and being innocent and gentle and young.