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Nevermore

Me dressed like “The Raven”

It was a Friday night. My homework was done and my responsibilities were all but nonexistent. I was about to heat up my Indian leftovers and watch a show about murder, when someone informed me that a party was going on. With it being so close to Halloween the party (naturally) was of the costume variety. I did not originally want to go but since my FOMO came on stronger than the inertia I felt towards leaving my room, I decided to get dressed in whatever costume I could conjure up and hopefully join in on the fun.  

For reasons passing understanding, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was the only thing that came to mind, but couldn’t be more appropriate in terms of Halloween. Working with a limited range of materials, I wore garish, reptilian-looking eye makeup and a black crushed velvet tank top and jacket. I looked like a badger.  

Me, looking like Marilyn Manson, despite being dressed as “The Raven”

Midnight dreary is a pretty good way to describe my night, since it was dark, rainy, and cold; the ideal atmosphere for a lone raven. Since college has yet to make a good dancer out of me, my unsexy and seziuresque dance moves have not wowed at any parties. At every party I go to, I always set the same goal for myself and that goal is always to have a new experience. I would not exactly categorize boredom as a new experience but that was what I was left with. The whole group jammed themselves into a small room as they shuffled to bad music, unwillingly sober. I also was one of the only people dressed in a costume so being cast confused looks was a large part of my night. I sort of felt like everybody who was there was doing an emperor’s new clothes type of thing, where they all were too invested to admit that they were not having a good time. I could not stop yawning all night long so I flew back to my dorm room in order to ponder weak and weary in my chamber.

Around the same time that I was dressing like a carnivorous bird from a nineteenth century poem, I painted a serial killer smile on the door of my dorm, and then I covered it in crime scene tape, which might explain why my roommate stayed away for so long. My floor hosts a door decorating contest for Halloween, and much like with the raven costume, I was one of the only people who participated in it, and my contribution was me making an obscure reference that nobody understood. The design on my door was inspired by the show “The Mentalist,” which I spend just about all my free time watching. 

My dorm room door

By hitting the scene looking like vampira and painting sadistic smiles on my door, the Halloween spirit is alive and well in this one. Fortunately, my new experience at the party has taught me something about myself.

Will I ever go to a lame party against my better judgement again? 

Nevermore.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

A Day in the Life

Let’s say for instance that you’re me. 

(me)

You intended to live a wild eighteenth year, filled to the brim with consequence-free debauchery and incompetence. You ended your high school career ready to break all the rules. You were going to try everything. You were going to have stories that would make your children clutch their pearls in the future.

Instead, you wake up every morning to a mindful meditation app that you like to listen to because it clears your mind and you find the woman’s voice soothing.You take an all-women literature class, that is basically an abstract book club, in which you read Jane Austen and you actually like reading Jane Austen. One of the ways you relax now is by watching gritty shows on Netflix, like “Mindhunter” and then going on Facebook to see what other people think about it. You are one step away from eating Special K in the morning because you want a convenient and nutritious breakfast. Now, among everything else you have to do, you have to schedule an exorcism to free yourself of the forty year old woman that has clearly possessed you.

Meanwhile, everybody is making out with each other and you suddenly realize that it is not a coincidence that everyone got sick at the same time. Eating each other’s faces off with Hannibal Lecter-like precision, is how other students get their kicks. You get yours from ordering food off Grubhub and Postmates so that you don’t have to go out to eat, and you look forward to the weekend so that you can take trips into the city. People around you get drunk off Fireball and Peach Schnapps even though both of those things taste like cleaning polish. You go to parties and people around you are drinking beer that is probably just 90% foam and water, but they are drinking it like it is an antidote to poison. Drunk girls at parties touch your hair and tell you that you are beautiful, but then their memories lapse like a goldfish and they don’t remember any of that. You are so much more docile in comparison to them, that you wonder if you are being slipped antidepressants without knowing it.

Although sometimes, your wild side- because you really do have one- comes out, and you dance on top of two tables and you body surf a crowd while dressed like a heroin-chic supermodel from the 90s. It was a decades-themed party and you always dress like a grungy, underfed 90s model for all decades-themed events, because, aside from being hot and an underrated costume choice, you look like you could be one. Other times you and your friends- because you really do have them- get kicked out of a party, because, in hindsight, that party was most likely being thrown by the Black Student Union and you weren’t invited.

Then, you arrive at this week.

The protein bars that you live off of are officially gone. You take vitamins so that you can feel alert in the morning. You OD on angry feminism in your dorm room at 2 am and that is one of the highlights of your night. You have since started rewatching “The Mentalist” because it’s another crime procedural and you might be in love with Simon Baker, so you and your mother like to discuss it.

And you know what: it doesn’t matter at all.

You wanna listen to the depressed and angsty playlist you made on Spotify? Go for it. Who’s going to know what you’re listening to? You wanna watch clips from “Legally Blonde” during your study breaks so that you feel motivated to finish your work? Do it. You will come off that high feeling like you can do anything. You wanna listen to inspiring Tom Petty songs on your way to classes that you are barely staying afloat in? Also doable. The trick is to live with intention, by being invested in whatever it is you choose to do to get you through the day. No judgement required.

The full outfit

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

A Picnic in Central Park

By: Raquel Goddard

In want of a New York City picture show, I ventured into the city for a picnic that would hopefully shake away the feelings left behind by a week’s worth of school. I went with two of my new college friends, Chiara and Petra, so that we could spend our Saturday among the city dwellers. For food, I packed everybody turkey sandwiches, an assortment of bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, banana-nutella sandwiches for dessert, and Arnold Palmers to wash it all down. We took the Bronxville train into Grand Central, where we all injected ourselves with caffeine. From there, we walked to Central Park.

Our food spread

Decked out in a brown leather jacket, a red scarf, and knee length boots, I looked like Amelia Earhart. We sat on a patch of grass, between the water and the street, so we could admire the pond, but still watch the people go by. Standing in the pathway was a saxaphone player and it felt like he was performing for us.

The skyscrapers across from us on the other side of the water looked as though they were sprouting straight out of the pond. They towered over us without casting any long shadows our way.The sun peaked out from behind the skyscrapers and bathed everything in a golden glow.

The day glowed with sunshine without being blindingly bright. The weather was neither warm nor chilly and I was pleased that it worked out so perfectly, especially since I didn’t really check the weather forecast before I decided to do this. For all I knew, we could have been caught in a hail storm, but, as per my usual, I dove in without a second thought.

The trees have not yet changed colors but are starting to lighten up. When we were done eating at our own relaxed pace, we moved around the pond, crossing over the bridge and briefly dipping into an animal sanctuary. We spent the rest of the day milling around the city, going into the shops and stores that interested us, but no part of the day was better than the hour or so that we spent lounging around Central Park as we ate our picnic lunch. Glorious weather, sweet friends, and tasty food made for a day that was utter perfection.

The Guggenheim: the world’s greatest spiral staircase

Photo taken by a posh British woman with an angry feminist bag

Last Saturday, I decided to spend my day getting cultured at the Guggenheim, a place I have not been to in years and had been told was holding a new exhibit soon. I went to the Guggenheim alone, in a van that the school provides to drop students off at the Met, so I had no one to rush me and no anxiety as to how I would get back. After being released at the steps of the Met, I made my way to the Guggenheim.

It’s not really an outing for me unless I get lost at least once and blow all of my cash on something I don’t need. This time it came in the form of me buying a bag with Mapplethorpe’s self-portrait on it, what I can only assume was a Basquiat themed t-shirt (I just sort of bought it without checking), and a sweatshirt that heavily implies that I play for the same sporting team as Monet, but let’s be real here, Monet probably never played a sport a day in his life. As far as my impeccable sense of direction goes, I got lost trekking from the Met to the Guggenheim, despite them being a half a mile apart. It got to the point where I called my mom in Georgia, so that she could use the tracking device on my phone to point me in the right direction. Since I got my sense of direction from her, because genetics are a bitch, I think that it is only fair that she sort me out.

I had been to the Guggenheim as a little girl, when they had their exhibition of lights and therefore nobody could take any photos out of fear of flash. This time they were showing Mapplethorpe and Basquiat exhibits that are being featured for a limited time only. Mapplethorpe’s exhibit, which may as well have been titled “sex education,” was a collection of various different people in the buff, gazing at the camera with sultry stares. Basquiat’s exhibit, which I may have liked even more, communicated his less-than-favorable view towards the police.

I don’t know how other people feel when they’re in museums, but I get a weird urge to touch everything, the same way I get the urge to clap incredibly loudly during the silent parts of church. As far as dressing for the occasion went, I was not sure how to play this. I thought that maybe I should dress incredibly posh and be the pinnacle of sophistication, since art museums are epicenters for culture. The other part of me wanted to dress like an angsty and distressed college student who did not care for things like the establishment and its rules. I went middle of the road with a black dress and long black boots. The Guggenheim has a rule that you must wear your backpack in front of you, so that you do not smack people with it from behind as you walk past. So I, and many other people, walked around looking like we were practicing lamaze.  

I had a mild fear of being kicked out for mistaking a piece of installation art for a place to sit down, yet that did not become an issue. Fortunately for me, the Guggenheim is shaped into one big twist, so that even I cannot get lost there. I therefore just kept on walking in a large circle, my favorite direction, until I made it to the top and then back down again; making the Guggenheim the world’s greatest spiral staircase.

Once I felt like I was done with the Guggenheim, I walked to the park to go to the reservoir. I did not manage to get lost while there, a fact I was rather proud of, but it does help that it is all one big circle. From the reservoir, I decided to go to revisit the Met since I had a few hours to kill. Having gone there recently, I did not feel the need to see everything but rather mill around and find what interested me.

I played “Pas de Deux” by Tchaikovsky on my Spotify, as I perused the European paintings section of the Met; a setup so romantic that it only makes sense that I shared it with myself. Whilst listening to this insanely dramatic piece of music, I stumbled upon a 1790 statue of Cupid and Psyche who were having a brisk workout at Cupid’s gymnasium, right as the song struck peak passion. I suddenly felt the urge to throw rose petals in the air and jump naked into the fountains in front of the Met. I really should stop going to museums because it’s a struggle to control myself.

The way I see it, I am eighteen years old, which gives me license to go and do whatever I want. Recently, that has meant inventing new ways to enter the city, so that I may enjoy fine art.

I love the feeling that you get when you are standing in front of something you find strangely beautiful. It is exhilarating to think that in one day I managed to see many strangely-beautiful works by Mapplethorpe, Basquiat, Monet, Picasso, and Da Vinci, just to name a few.

Psyche and Cupid


A small link in a very big chain

Climate strike at Battery Park

Today, I reached a milestone as a college Freshmen at a liberal arts school: I attended a political protest. I “joined the conversation” and “participated in the political process” by going to the climate change rally at Battery Park. Mostly, I just felt like the hippie parents from “Family Ties,” but since this was a movement I actually cared about, and I was in close proximity to the lion’s den of political protests, I decided to venture into the city in order to show up and show out. I showed up late to the assembly because my literature class fell right in the middle of it. I understood that the point of a strike is to either ditch school or work so as to have a show of force, but with it being the second week of school I thought that it might not be the best idea to play hookie just yet. 

By the time I got to Battery Park, people were funneling into the subway as I was filing out. I just barely missed seeing Greta Thunberg, who I consider to be our lord and savior, deliver her speech, but got to see a Native American tribal woman deliver hers. Shortly thereafter the crowds started thinning but I got to see all kinds of crazy-ass signs and a person dressed like a tree. Most of them consisting of catchy slogans such as “quit denying our earth is dying” and “burn down the plantation, not the planet.”

Not knowing how to protest, I thought that I might need to pack a-climate-strike-starter-set. I struggle with mindfulness, but with this being the hill that I was willing to die on, I wanted to do this right, so I jotted down a checklist to make sure I didn’t forget anything. I packed a protein bar in case I got hungry, a portable charger in case my phone died, a cord for said portable charger also in case my phone died, sunglasses in case it was bright, a hair tie in case it was windy, gloves in case it got cold and Great Expectations in case I wanted some light reading. Shockingly enough, I never got around to reading Great Expectations on my ride up there, mostly because I forced some friends along. 

I ended up becoming the hero of the day with my phone charger. The hair tie and sunglasses came in handy, but not so much the gloves. It never even ended up getting slightly chilly. In fact, while Greta was speaking, two people in the crowd apparently fainted from being overheated (ironic). I assumed that the dress code was a sassy t-shirt, so I wore a shirt that says “make our planet great again.” I neglected to make a sign but saw some killer signs wherever I went. 

I thought that there was potential for getting arrested for protesting, which does not sound like a bad deal and would make for an excellent story. Getting arrested for protesting makes you look like a stone-cold, disestablishmentarianism down-ass bitch, who is not afraid of the joint, the same way that you’re not afraid of standing beside your convictions. I was kinda hoping for this Hermoine Granger type of attitude where I study really hard but still break the rules and oppose the government, but that seems to be much easier when you’re actually a wizard. I was in that weird stage where I kind of wanted to get arrested because I wanted to get wrecked for the cause but I knew I couldn’t because I had homework due later that week. 

Friday was a perfect day, for no better reason than the fact that I was a very small link in a very big chain. Next year, I will make signs, pack lightly, force myself to be on time to see Greta, and embody Hermoine Granger in all of her majestic glory. This climate strike marks the first of many protests I want to join in on and I will be more than ready for the next one. 

A Day at the Met

Photos by Jaclyn Pedoty

In April, my mom and I took a train from Bronxville, New York into Grand Central Station and from there we walked forty blocks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Along the way we cut across St. Patrick’s Cathedral as Sunday mass was letting out, walked down Fifth Avenue, admired the Harry Winston and Tiffany diamonds that we can’t afford, I flipped off Trump Tower and then we strolled through the park. While in the park, we grabbed ice cream and petted every dog that crossed our path before making it to the steps of the Met. We passed through the exhibits with ease, having nobody to rush us, and when we got hungry we ate lunch on the steps of the Met; courtesy of the hot dog vendors. Whenever we got tired, we sat down and relaxed in front of all of the art. 

My mother has always believed that the Met, in particular the Temple of Dendur, was her happy place, which is why she was so adamant that we spend the day there. When my mother and I were there, we spent about as much time inspecting the people there, as we did inspecting the art. My mother thinks herself to be an expert people watcher and commented on everybody from the Park to the Met. In particular, she commented on how many people at the Met were clearly on a date. Once she pointed that out to me, I noticed all of the couples milling around, dressed in upscale casual attire and turning to the artwork as a reliable source for ample conversation. 

It struck me that taking a trip to the Met was an ingenious idea for a first date. By seeing how someone reacts to being in one of the greatest art museums in the world, you could tell right away what they care about. Maybe they’re superficial and vapid or maybe they’re genuinely fascinated by art and history. It also just seemed like a refreshingly different sort of date. No one there had the  intention of a bland “let’s go see a movie” type of approach. 

When I first moved to New York, I decided that I was going to befriend a stranger and we would recreate the outing by walking to the Met. That is exactly what I did with my roommate Jackie, who also happens to be an art lover. We walked to the train station and once we were in the city we walked all the way to the Met. By the time I reached the steps of the Met, I was not much more than a ball of sweat and sore feet. We both immediately ate lunch, which happened to be lamb gyros from a street cart, and then we perused the museum. We both were particularly excited to see “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” since it was the last day of the exhibit. 

The line to get inside the exhibit felt like a subway platform at rush hour and we were shuffled in and out of it as if they were trying to evacuate the building, but the glimpses of outrageously priced haute couture made it all worth it. The first part of the exhibit can only be described as a colorful hallway, filled with ensembles throughout history, funneling into a back room with even more fashion. The back room had stark neon colored walls that made the mod sixties look like Speilberg’s Schindler’s list. 

While some of the outfits looked like something that should only be worn to a party at Jay Gatsby’s house, some looked more like the bedazzled t-shirts I used to buy at Justice when I was twelve. The campiest outfit that I found in there can only be described as a big bird-looking, explosion of fuzz, but I would strut down a runway with it on if Anna Wintour asked me to. Jackie and I spent ages getting lost in the Met, since it is the type of place you can wander aimlessly through and still end up somewhere cool. Naturally, my phone died at the worst possible moment so I could not take as many pictures as I wanted to, but if phones never died then I would have photographed the entire building.

I will always love the Met because of events like these, yet it isn’t just the place itself that makes me happy. When I went on the trip with my mother, the day was not just about combing through the museum. We spoke to one another for our entire 45 minute train commute and then briefly enjoyed the underappreciated ambience of Grand Central Station. We laughed our entire way to the Met, regardless of where we were in our trip and then kept that same energy up for the remainder of the day. We had no set structure, so if we wanted to walk through St. Patrick’s or spontaneously get ice cream or sit and pet dogs atop a large rock in the park or judge Harry Winston’s, then that’s exactly what we did. That sort of careless bliss always makes for a great outing. 

Being awkward: an art form

Photo by Mary Catherine Burns

While I do not suffer from uncomfortable silences or chronic foot-in-the-mouth syndrome, people can expect some weird mumbling, bizarre sleep patterns and child like antics followed by long periods of hibernation from me. These wonderful traits are some of the many things that have made me the foul-mouthed, anti-social little weirdo that everybody has come to know and love.

Being awkward is a burden I have had to bear for so long that I now look at it almost like a bonafide talent. A prime example of my skill set can be observed through the events of my day. You see, at my college, whenever you sign up for classes, you instead sign up for an interview with the professor and decide from there if you still want to pursue it. The process is flawless, yet my execution was not the best. 

I showed up to the wrong place for my first interview and then on my way to finding the right location, I stopped at an ice cream truck and treated myself to some soft serve chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles that I then had to scarf down before the meeting. That interview went fine, but the next one could have gone better.

To be fair, I think that very little of this could have been avoided. I went to go and sign up for a class that I was interested in. However, when I went to sign up for the class, I discovered that I did not bring a pen; the one thing that you actually need when you go to sign up for something. I therefore borrowed one from the man next door who was not wearing shoes (not an important detail). He loaned me a pen and when I leaned against the door to sign my name, I fell into the room that a good-looking professor was actually occupying. He asked me if I had an interview scheduled for that very moment and when I told him no I did not he said that it was fine and I could interview with the girl whose time it was. 

I then found myself sitting opposite a girl who was super prepared for her interview, while I was trying to not look like I was on drugs. I would have been super composed during the interview had it not been for one small detail. I was as hot as a supernova the entire time.

Despite growing up in the deep south, about twenty minutes above Florida, I was sweating like a post-menopausal woman. I can probably blame this on the lovely ensemble I had on. In order to beat the heat, I decided to wear the thin shirt that I slept in the last few nights, but did not think through the solid black, skin-tight skinny jeans I put on, which seemed to cancel out the thin t-shirt. There also is no A/C here and the day was so humid it felt like I was swimming. All I could think about was how sticky I was becoming and how my two functioning brain cells were desperately groping for a coherent sentence. 

After the interview was over, I returned the pen to the barefoot man next door, who looked at me like I was a leper, and then scampered off. I decided that the reason I did not feel well, aside from catching the heat stroke that has been going around, was the fact that I needed food. I then treated myself to a well-balanced meal of chicken tenders, french fries and mozzarella sticks. I did not actually eat the french fries, but instead brought them to my next interview, thinking that the teacher would want them. I didn’t exactly intend to bribe her, but thought that maybe she had been working hard all day and wanted to nibble on my friendship fries. 

I went to see my next professor, who waved me in while another girl finished up her interview and neither of them wanted my friendship fries. I shamelessly asked several questions, though it was abundantly clear that perhaps I did not know what I was talking about. After making a definite impression, I walked back to my dorm room and offered most of the people that I passed some of my pity fries. Nobody wanted them and sadly they ended up in the trash. 

The moral of this story is: do not care if you sweat all over people, ask for a pen if you forget yours, eat soft serve ice cream in front of them, ask them dumb questions or generously offer them fries, even in the face of rejection. My day still rocked, despite all of the awkwardness.