I am about a little over a month into my second semester of college, and it's been life changing. When people say ‘it gets better after high school,’ it truly does. My eyes have been opened to a whole new world. I’ve met amazing, passionate people that inspire me every day. I got to start over, and now I’m only at the beginning of figuring out what I want in life.
So in order to truly make this year count, I thought I’d reflect on the little and big things I have discovered that have made my time this last semester count. Here's a list of things that I have learned from college (so far;)):
Recent family travels led me back to a place I call my second home, Wisconsin. I can remember freezing springs and homey holidays and countless summers spent in the home of my grandparents. As I always tend to do, I captured a few pictures of my grandparents front yard (yes, its their front yard,) and pictures from inside the House on the Rock.
Here is a note I jotted down while sitting in my grandparents kitchen, thinking about my Wisconsin memories: Wisconsin is fields and forests. Its "cheese" signs and Piggly Wiggly. Bright yellow flowers and 48 degree mornings. Its a masterpiece sunset and an eager sunrise. Spark and soul.
From the time I first learned how to write, I knew I wanted to write for the rest of my life. I remember confidently holding my pencil, writing on the lined paper with extra lines so you knew how tall to make the letters. I grabbed notebooks from my father’s office and hid them in my room, filling them with random stream of thoughts coming from my my head. I began writing songs and stories. Even if I didn’t become a ‘writer,’ I wanted to write for myself, recording my life and those around me. Little did I really know how much writing would be a huge part of my life and my high school career, and how I actually would turn out to pursue writing for a career. Nothing grounds me more, nothing brings me closer or sometimes far and back from myself than being able to tell a story. I prefer to tell someone else’s, but this time I’ll tell mine.
Sophomore year in high school, I heard of the summer program GSA, or the Governor's School for the Arts. It was a summer program where you stayed at a college and learned about your specific art form in depth, in that magical looking way. It looked like an artist’s dream, so my friends and I all applied. For that whole year, I compiled all of my poetry (because my creative writing was limited to poetry and nothing else) and went through the interview process. It was long and stressful, and while my mother was encouraging and fostering, my father didn’t like the idea of my being gone for almost the entire summer. I knew I loved writing, but through the whole process, especially the group interviews, I felt alien to them. Everyone talked like a movie script with huge words and could easily craft anything out of thin air. I felt I wanted to write, but the grasp they had on creative writing was much different than the hand I held. I wanted to find a story, brew on it, and bring it to life in my own way. I didn’t realize it then, but my love for another kind of writing was forming, and the wheels were only beginning to turn.
The same year I applied to GSA, I began working on the Dragon’s Tale newspaper. My 8th grade year, I wrote for the little newspaper, an after school club that printed a tiny paper for free. But the Dragon’s Tale was much different. The DT was realistic; it had deadlines, article assignments, and a senior Editor-in-Chief (once again, the wheels were turning.) From the moment I sat in the class and started taking notes on News writing, I was falling in love. Even though I was one of the two youngest in the room, I felt like I was apart of something important. And I felt important. It was a risk I am glad to say I took. Later that year, I wasn’t accepted into GSA, and even though I was devastated that all my hard work went nowhere, I realize now that it happened for a very clear reason. That reason came to me in a text message in my first period, asking me if I wanted to apply for an internship at Louisville Magazine.
Louisville Magazine was quite possibly the coolest, hippest creative place I had been to. The office was simple, but the minds that worked there were so inspiring, and I could see in their eyes that they felt the same way I felt inside. It was a dream come true. I was only 16, barely had started driving, and I was getting interviewed to work at a magazine downtown. I probably listened to Welcome to New York or Empire State of mind about a hundred times, daydreaming of what it would be like. Surprisingly to me, they were really impressed that I wanted to work for them, and my young age actually gave me an edge. I became the youngest intern they’ve ever had. That first day I got on I-71 and drove into downtown Louisville, I was super nervous. I wasn’t used to the aggressive traffic and I felt like I was going to forget how to get there. But while my mind was racing with a hundred thoughts, the highway bent around the trees, and right in front of me was the tall downtown buildings, glistening in the sun. Everything else fell away, and I was ready. No matter what had happened in my life before didn’t matter-- I was working at a magazine. How cool was that.
My time at Louisville Magazine was short and sweet. I was thrown out of my comfort zone real quick, but I was able to take so much away from it. I learned to interview, and understand that people are just people. I learned that a productive day can sometimes only consist of brainstorming on a wall sized chalk board. I learned that my messy handwriting and writing habits were normal and encouraged. And of all things I learned the most important thing was that I needed to keep following the path that I was on.
After the internship, my junior and senior year of high school was entirely about the newspaper. The DT became my most precious project, and I fought long and hard junior year so that by senior year I would be Editor-in-Chief. And I did it. Being Editor-in-Chief was the greatest challenge I have faced. I went on with my best friend, who became my Assistant Editor-in-Chief, and I’m telling everyone right now that me and Chelsea will one day run a publication together again. We managed to work together for an entire year, create a website, redesign a whole newspaper, and love each other even more. I couldn’t have done it without her. Even though I had a lot of fun with Chelsea, it did get hard at times. I had a little trouble separating myself from being a writer to being an editor. I missed being able to focus on my own story instead of managing everyone else's. But by the time we figured out our systems and started redesigning, I had enough time to write again, and I was able to write about things I was very passionate about. I wrote an open letter about President Trumps travel ban, and it was by far the most vulnerable thing I have published. I put my very controversial political opinion out there, and was able to fight for what I believed in, even if it was a little scary going up against someone so big. It was empowering, and it was one of the many things that being Editor-in-Chief made me feel strong for.
Having to leave the DT and give the Editor position to someone else is sad, and actually kind of hard. I have to hand my legacy off to someone else, and hope they don’t ruin it in the process. But I do know that the next Editor-in-Chiefs (next year there will be 2 co-Editor-in-Chiefs) for the 2017-18 year are perfect choices, and they will wow me. I have a lot to look forward to in the meantime. Recently I have been able to work as an intern at TOPS Louisville magazine. I’ve already done a little work with them and it's been incredible. It really doesn’t feel much like work anymore. In the fall, I’m going to study journalism (what else.) I know that I will be in such great hands, and I’m ready to start. I’m ready to go and make mistakes and learn and embarrass myself.
If there's one last thing I could tell anyone in high school, it's that you have to remember that while the whole world will seem to turn against you, the wheels are only turning. High school sucks, and not in that angsty-teen way, but just because it does. We get older, we have original thoughts and we start to realize that the world isn’t what we thought it was. We get our heart’s broken and realize what it is everyone’s been talking about when they say love. We see our parents for who they truly are and how mortal they are, and we see ourselves as these broken pieces that need to be fixed. But there’s so much more than that. Eventually, you will look back at all your struggles and heartache and see it for what it was. The whole world isn’t against you; it’s shaping you into your true form.
Ella did not disappoint.
After the silences that followed post electro-pop Pure Heroin, people were really beginning to wonder if Lorde could top her first album.
Then came Melodrama.
Melodrama, Lorde's sophomore album released June 16, is a call for some soul searching, to those who feel heart broken, whether it be losing the one they love or losing a part of themselves.
She has the ability to make an album centered around losing love light up. From the moment you turn on the first song of the album, Green Light, to Writer in the Dark and Liability, you can hear that she crafted pain into something absolutely beautiful.
For me, this album struck me more than Pure Heroin ever did, and I LOVED Pure Heroin.
Whether it be relatable life experiences or the sheer talent and ability of Ms Ella, Melodrama let me find myself in every song.
Here, I'm going to break down some of the songs on the album, excluding those that were singles prior to the albums release (cause at this point what's to say about those, everyone already knows they're amazing.)
Homemade dynamite- Homemade dynamite strikes a chord for the young and fearless. It tricks you into thinking you are finishing the song, only to suck you back in and give you one more great ending. It's upbeat and feels the most "Pure Heroin" of all the others.
Hard Feelings/loveless- I love this because A. it is a BOP B. it's the bitter taste left in her mouth post breakup. "When you out grow a lover, the whole world knows but you," is beautiful. It also splits between Hard Feelings to Loveless, with Loveless like another song added at the end.
The Louvre- The only slightly negative thing I have to say about this entire album is about this song. When I listen to the song, I enjoy it. It's a song to turn on and dance to. But the moment I turn it off, I find myself quickly forgetting about its existence. For some reason to me, it doesn't stick. But despite that, the quality of the song is still A+. Maybe after a little more exposure, it will begin to grow on me.
Writer in the dark- This song is almost hard to write about, but it's the one I want to dive into the most. It's my favorite, mostly because it speaks to apart of my life that was so dear to me. Breakups man, what are you going to do. Her vocals in this song sound so raw, like she's right there next to you. In this case, the intimacy of the song calls for that closeness. It blows me away quite honestly, that Ella is able to be so raw and honest. "But in our darkest hours, I stumbled on a secret power,
I'll find a way to be without you, babe."
Supercut- My first thoughts when hearing this song were "You want him back. But no girl, no you don't. But you kinda do." You can do it Ella. The most interesting thing about this one was the connections I thought of relating to the track 400 Lux on her Pure Heroin album.
In 400 Lux, she mentions being in the car in a positive way: "But you keep the car on/While you're waiting out front/You pick me up and take me home again" and then later in Supercut, "In your car, the radio up/We keep trying to talk about us." While the connection could be very unoriginal, I could imagine this was the same car, with the same guy, but Supercut is her updated version.
I'm telling you right now: I don't know the key secret to moving on. All I know is that there comes a point where you decide, do I care about myself enough to take care of me first? And that's when you make changes. That's when you cut out toxic people. That's when you end friendships/relationships who betray you. That's when even despite all your history, you decide to let go. Because your own mental and spiritual well being has to come first to be able to be happy.
And when you finally make these cuts, there's relief. Relief from standards and expectations you were holding yourself to to please someone else. Relief that you aren't going to have to put yourself in the situations that make you feel the worst about yourself.
Grieving comes with it all, grieving the connection you lost and the good memories you have. It will come with pain, and depending on the type of relationship, a lot of it. But you're taking steps to making a better life for yourself. A happier life, filled with more love.
So if reading this made you think of anyone, maybe it's time to reconsider. I hope you have the strength, support, and love to make the choices you need to make for you. How you feel matters, and you matter.
To start off the summer and celebrate my graduation, I went on a girls weekend to New Orleans, Louisiana. Before this trip I didn’t know anything about New Orleans. Its a shame I didn't, because it is a city rich with history, pride, and as important as ever, a love for food.
Traveling, especially at this time of the year, is so nice to be able to get away and get out of my head. The overwhelming stress of finishing the school year and tie lose ends before graduating was able to melt away.
The city was absolutely beautiful, and you could feel the history pulsing through the streets. Everywhere we turned seemed to have a story, and I could tell the locals appreciated its history.