Tuesday, February 17, 2015


My recipe for self-sufficiency, ready to be cooked!
My mother’s favorite thing to tell me is that I’ll never survive on my own if I don’t learn how to cook, clean, and be attractive (yes, apparently this is a life skill). My usual response to that is an eyeroll as I continue to nom on my cold pizza leftovers from last night. The words “cook” and “clean” are all the more cringeworthy when they come from my mother, who has my unrequited love but is also the but of all my teenage angst and thus I must despise any life lesson she tries to instill in me. However, after you take away the doting motherliness, my mom has a pretty good point.
If I had to go live alone right now, I’d drown in my own tears from how pathetic my existence would be.
Originally on weheartit.com, found on allthingsalice.tumblr.com
I can cook. Nay, I enjoy to cook. But I enjoy cooking when I have time for it, and ain’t nobody got the time to cook two or three meals for themselves every day and buy groceries. Oh, wait, but adults have the time.

I can clean. I’m used to vacuuming my room after my mother asks three times (three’s the magic number) and making my bed in the morning. But I wouldn’t clean a whole apartment on my own.

I am tragically un-self-sufficient. I suspect I’m not the only one, wink wink.

Like many other soon-to-be adults, I have the skills necessary to support myself. Unlike many friends, I can cook and clean and I’ve lived on my own for short periods of time. The issue is that I can’t keep up those good habits for very long. It’s like the difference between running a mile and running a marathon. Running a mile is living alone for a week; the first few days are tough, but it’s totally manageable and you don’t break too much of a sweat. A marathon is gruelling, and just as you finish one mile, you realize there’s still 25 to go. The marathon demands a type of endurance that you can’t experience until you're halfway through the run.

How do you learn to run a marathon? You start by running a mile, and then slowly building that up until you’re prepared to try your first marathon. In high school, I started taking more responsibility around the house, whether that be walking the dog after school or doing the dishes after dinner. I became responsible for cleaning my room and bathroom, helpingout with the laundry, et cetera et cetera. I by no means am completely ready to set off on my own, but at least I have the skills to do so. I can run a few miles, now I just got to build it up.

I’m writing about this because the time is descending upon me when I’ll need to start running the marathon and I want to hit the ground running. In half a year I’ll be in college, living on my own. I’m considering an internship in a different state for the summer which means that I’ll have to move out in four months. That’s terrifying as hell, but it’s a necessity. I don’t want to be the person who still lives in their parent’s basement when they’re 25. The more practice I get on with being on my own, the easier it’ll be.

The first few months of living alone I’m positive will be riddled with phone calls home. I don’t know if I’ll be homesick; I’ve never experienced that before. But I’m 100% positive there’ll be phone calls to my mom asking her if light jeans can be washed with the whites and what to do when the air conditioner breaks. I probably won’t truly appreciate the advice my parents have given me over the years until I have to put it to use and I’ll be struggling to remember their own instructions.

I take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone. Virtually all my friends are transitioning into adulthood; just two days ago I was talking to my friend as she signed the lease for her first apartment. At least I’ll be struggling to figure things out with a swath of other people, and we’ll just have to support each other.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My Soul Can Be Your Grandmother

Photo and Lettering by Stephanie Smelyansky
I was born with the soul of an Iris Apfel-style granny. While I’m not as outwards with my incessant love for costume jewelry and all things kitsch, I feel like I embody the same subtle IDGAF attitude as my favorite old ladies. That is to say, I frequently didn’t fit in with my own cohort and I’ve rarely cared to remedy that.
Let me illustrate my point. When I go to the movies, I habitually make the same two mistakes. The first is that I go to the matinee show, which is crowded with adorable old couples and lacking in any sort of teen scene. The second is my choice in movies. Excluding the occasional broke hipster from a local university in the corner, I’m usually the youngest person in the movie theater by a good forty years. (This was further exaggerated at a showing of “The Exotic Marigold Hotel,” at which I was the only person without a cane/walker/wheelchair.) Quite frankly, I don’t mind; I like my quiet, sassy old people.
Deep down I’ve always felt older than I really was. I love anything vintage or reminiscent of earlier centuries. My taste in music and film, while incredibly modern, also includes opera, classical music, and Charlie Chaplin movies. I voraciously read Jane Austen novels and I can’t use technology to save my life. And while my acquaintances might want to go out and party, I often want to stay at home with a small group of friends, playing board games or baking.

It didn’t take me long to come to terms with my premature oldness because I found friends who were just as old at heart. I have friends that go see Woody Allen films with me, obsess over Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess, decorate their rooms with Dolores Umbridge cats and pause their days for afternoon tea. Our brains run on a common wavelength, one tuned to a radio from the 1950s. We’re not alone in our old youngness.
The thing is that being young at heart doesn’t necessarily mean that we were born in the wrong decade. I would die of frustration as a 1950s housewife nor would I particularly like to have grown up during the Great Depression. Us young grannies find inspiration in decades past, whether that be in lifestyle, fashion, or history, and our inspiration can come from a conglomerate of eras. We sometimes just find past time periods to be more relatable than our current one.
But being a granny at heart isn’t about old-fashioned family values and moth-ball scented sweaters. It’s about living life at a slower pace and living for an internal pleasure, an internal purpose. The inner granny in me lives for the little pleasures in life, like hearing a bird sing outside my window or smelling a batch of freshly baked brownies. I’m more concerned with doing things because they make me happy rather than to please a crowd, and so are lots of my friends.
I think we can all benefit from taking a tip or two from a well-loved grandmother. It might take us 70 years to reach their level of wisdom, but emulating their surprisingly lifestyle doesn’t have to take as long. The lesson all grandmothers teach us is to be comfortable in our own skin and and find happiness in the little things in life. This counteracts the typical culture of mass-consumerism and hate-mongering endemic to many of us today, as pointed out by Rookie Mag Editor Tavi Gevinson. I’m not trying to sound hokey, but the grandmother aesthetic focuses on loving yourself and others. That love’s missing from our lives, and it wouldn’t hurt to emulate it. Besides, why not be a grandmother when you can do it with the effortless class of Joan Didion?

Sunday, February 1, 2015


A pretty important politician gave a pretty important speech in front of a pretty important legislative body last week.
A.K.A. the President gave the State of the Union address in front of a newly elected Republican Congress.
While all that political mumbo-jumbo might seem useless and boring, it’s still pretty important. As we near (or reach) adulthood, we get the opportunity to vote. We also pay taxes, pay for health care, and actually take responsibility for ourselves as well as others. I therefore believe that it’s important to pay attention to what our politicians are saying since we’ll have to elect them into office and they have to work on our behalf. Besides, some pretty good memes come out of the State of the Union, like this Boehner-Grinch meme.

If the memes didn’t convince you that the State of the Union is important, then maybe Obama’s attention to the youth of America will. The man that won both of his campaigns by winning the hearts of young America is now trying to give all of us a break, whether it be now or in the future.
Some of Obama’s proposals that might interest you:
  • Up to two free years of community college paid by the government
  • Higher minimum wage (all those part time jobs might amount to something now).
  • Paid sick leave (you’ll love this when you’re at your first full-time job and you catch the sniffles)
  • Lower taxes on the middle class. Likely, the majority of you will be part of the ever-growing middle class, and getting a tax break might be good.
  • Equal pay for men and women. It’s about time!

Some of those things sound pretty great, right? But of course most of it won’t ever pass due to the partisan gridlock.
The partisan gridlock isn’t just the fault of politicians, however. It’s also the fault of the voter base, one that’s largely uneducated and closed-minded, and that applies to both liberals and conservatives. As soon-to-be voters, we have a responsibility to be politically informed and involved and elect people that represent our interests, whatever that may be.
But we can’t just elect people who we think represent our interest; we have to make our interests their interests too. There’s a great bumper sticker that says, “If the people lead, eventually the leaders will follow.” By extension, if the people voice their opinions in a respectful manner, our politicians will have to inevitably follow. There are so many mediums by which we can discuss politics and solutions to current issues, many of which the government is starting to utilize. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are all useful platforms for sharing political opinions, and us, the youth, are pretty good at using them. Why not post a picture of a campaign rally on your Insta instead of another selfie?
We complain about stuffy adults not caring about our opinion, but politics is our indirect way to take a stance on pressing issues. Interested in the Israel-Palestine conflict? Go to a rally. Passionate about LGBTQ rights? Attend a Pride Parade. Use your social media to voice your opinions. Call or write to your local politicians; trust me, they’re willing to listen because they know that in order to get reelected, they need to win your vote. Politics is a game, but you can put the ball in your own playing field.
If you watch the State of the Union, make sure to use #SOTU on your social media as well as #theyouthemisms! I want to make sure to hear your opinions!