If I Stay

If I Stay...

If I Stay is a film based on a book by the same name which was written by Gayle Forman (read my review of the book here). It is a Young Adult novel about a teenage girl deciding whether to live or die following a car accident that leaves her in a comatose state. I loved the book. It is definitely a tear-jerker, but it is a quick and easy read.

As far as the film version goes, I thought it was really faithful to the book. I absolutely loved the casting. Chloe Grace Moretz was a perfect Mia. She is an actress who I am always impressed with. She has great emotional depth, but she can still pull off a believable teenage girl, which is not always the case with young starlets. It was really nice to see Mireille Enos, who played Sarah Linden on The Killing, in such a fun role as Mia’s rocker chick mother. The rest of the cast was equally as wonderful.

I don’t really have that much to say about this one. If you have read the book, then you know what you are getting yourself into. If you haven’t, only see this one if you like this sort of thing. It is a lovely story, and the film truly does a great job of telling that story both visually and audibly (almost everyone in the book is a musician in some capacity, so music is a very important factor). My recommendation is that you do not see the film one morning before work or before you have to be anywhere really. I spent almost two hours crying in the theater and then had to sell clothes to soccer moms and was maybe not at the top of my game. It was a poor choice.

There is a sequel novel entitled Where She Went which I am more interested in reading now than I was after I read the book. I think I needed more time to process the novel and was just so excited about the film that I did not want to spoil it. They have not announced whether or not they will be filming the second book. I am sure that will be determined after the box office numbers are analyzed.

Here is the trailer again, in case you missed it:

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Work Work Work

For the last few weeks, I have been working more than normal. As making and saving money is my number one prerogative at the moment, this probably comes as no big surprise. The issue, besides being exhausted, stressed, and having no time to anything else, is that I lack the drive to do any creative projects in my free time. When I get home all I can do is sleep and watch television. Not even television that requires any kind of major thought, mostly just episodes of shows I have already seen multiple times. Overwork is the death of creativity.

It is no secret that Americans are overworked. The statistics are astounding and the lack of government regulations in this country are pretty dismal especially when compared to those in other countries. Maximum hours worked per week, vacation time, paid holidays; these are not things we are finding in this country. Even Americans who have earned vacation time do not always take it. And since the economy tanked, things have only gotten progressively worse.

As a general rule, Americans value money above all else. The American dream is full of big houses, new cars, nice clothes, huge TVs, and any new-fangled technology that has come onto the market. They are spending above their means and very few seem to have any issue living off credit with an outrageous house payment, car payments and this is still the generation that is not completely inundated with student loans. The overwhelming desire for money has left us with a society full of people who are horribly in debt with no free time to enjoy either what they have been spending their money on or their lives in general.

Throughout the course of my life I have worked on various ends of the spectrum. I have gone through periods of time where I have spent roughly 60 hours of my week working and I have gone through periods of time where I have been totally and completely unemployed. Neither has been, for me anyway, much of a life. I, like many living in this country, have a handful of part time jobs rather that one full time job. Employers find part time employees a better situation because they are not required to pay benefits. Meaning, I have no job benefits. I pay for my own health insurance, I get no paid time off nor am I guaranteed time off. In fact, getting multiple employers to agree to the same few days to head out of town is quite a feat. When that does happen, I lose out on a decent amount of income. Periods of unemployment not only mean no income, which is difficult enough, but it means that I end up incredibly bored.

There is a balance. A good balance of work to life. I don’t believe it is the same for everyone, but everyone needs to find that balance. For me, working 60 hours a week does not work. Which I will be addressing with my employers here soon. I need time to myself, I need time to maintain myself, but I also need time to be creative. I need time to write. As an artist type, this is a fundamental part of my life. Without time to do these things, I cannot function as a person. Luckily, I will be designing again soon, which will pull double duty as both creativity and work. Unfortunately, the 60ish hours a week I am working right now are do not provide much in the way of creative outlets.

All this to say, sorry if the posting has been and continues to be a bit spotty for a while.

The Giver

Giver

For some reason that I have still yet to figure out, I read several reviews of this film prior to writing my own. I got caught up with an attention grabbing headline and then continued to open the next one out of sheer curiousity. For most of the reviews I read, I found myself wondering if the critics so much as saw the film, much less read the book before they started in with the critical analysis.

I kept coming across headlines stating things like “Taylor Swift’s movie The Giver bombs at box office” (Taylor Swift is in all of about 10 minutes of the entire film via flashbacks)” Why ‘The Giver’ Movie Will Disappoint the Book’s Fans”, and even “The Giver: Pseduo-Rebellion for Conservative Sheep”. so I kept reading to figure out why all these people seemed to hate this movie that I thought was a really great interpretation of a novel I have loved since it was published in 1993.

First off, the book is always going to be better than the movie. There are a few exceptions to this, but we all know this to be relatively true. Books are not constrained to a time limit. They can have as many characters and they see fit without having to worry about paying each for their time. Also, a book is open to the interpretation of the reader. The scenery, the costumes, the faces of the characters; these are all open to whatever the audience can dream up. If I want Leighton Meester to play the mean girl in every YA novel I read throughout my entire life, I can make that happen (and, thus far, I pretty much have). I can cast the book the way I want it cast, I can add scenes or skip scenes, I can do whatever I please. A movie is not open to that kind of freedom for the audience. For that matter, it is not open to that kind of freedom for the directors or producers either. Everyone is going to be a little disappointed by something as a beloved book is turned into a film. It is not going to be the same book you read. Scenes will be cut for time, scenes with be added for continuity, characters will be combined for a myriad of reasons, characters will be flushed out to give the actors something more to work with or to get a bigger name in a particular role. Film production is a business, and as an audience, I think we have to respect that. Business decisions are made for the benefit of the production as a whole.

The second issue I had with a number of reviews I read was about the conservative nature of the film. I, by no means, consider myself a conservative. I think the story is allegorical in nature and could be taken in various ways. They film could be seen as very Pro-Life, as it is anti-infanticide, but no Pro-Choice supporter that I have ever met is for killing infants. It could be argued that the film shows the dangers of the government involvement in society. I saw it as a testament to what closed minded people can do in positions of power. They are literally making everyone the same, only recognizing traditional nuclear families, and eliminating anyone who is different by either medically suppressing their differences or by death. I see this as more liberal than conservative. The powers of interpretation…

My third issue with these reviews was the blatant lack of information that the reviewers seemed to have. Take this quote from Armond White of The National Review, “And no wonder: This film’s premise is embarrassingly similar to that of The Adjustment Bureau, The Hunger Games, Divergent, and others ad nauseum.” Except that this book was written in 1993, long before The Hunger Games or Divergent were so much as a pitch to a publisher. This is the book that arguably paved the way for these novel to be written. I am pretty certain this critic had no clue The Giver was originally a book. He also claimed that in the film you see “Meryl Streep doing an Anjelica Huston impersonation”. I completely disagree. To quote Modern Family on the matter: “Excuse me. Meryl Streep could play Batman and be the right choice. She is perfection.”

As far as my opinion goes, the movie is great. Is it the exact version I saw in my head when I read the book? No. But I am not paying to see the version I already saw in my head. When I see a film interpretation of a book I love, I want to see someone else’s version of the story. I want to see what I may have missed, what other got from it, what I can learn from their interpretation.

It can be said that I do not tend to be overly critical when it comes to film. Mostly because I do not see the point. Were there things I would have done differently, sure. Do I feel the overwhelming need to tear apart someone else’s art to feel, I don’t know: justified, validated, smug? No. This is a lovely film based on a beautiful book intended for children. I loved it as a child and I love it now. It is a starter novel that introduces children to Distopian literature. That is not a criticism in any way, that is what it is. This is affected in the film because the main characters are aged from 12 to 16. Though I am not sure why that has everyone up in arms as it does not affect the children seeing as how they are incredible sheltered and their hormones are being suppressed. They are not the sixteen year olds of our world with MTV, their own cars, and over-exposure to everything, they are very much still children. I would argue they are more innocent and certainly more naive that most modern 12 year olds.

The cast of this film is phenomenal. Jeff Bridges was born for this role and has owned the rights to the film for over a decade (he originally planned for his father, Lloyd Bridges to play the titular role before he died in 1998). Meryl Streep is, as always, perfection. Alexander Skarsgård is the perfect balance of endearing and sociopathic (not in a homicidal way, just void of empathy as everyone in this society is) that we have come to love and expect from him. Katie Holmes brings the deeply suppressed emotional life that she does so well, reminding me why we loved her so much and why I miss seeing her in more. The young adult cast is fairly unknown, but spectacular. Taylor Swift, is great, in a very small role, that you can ignore if you are one of the many who dislike her (I; however, am a big fan).

The production design is awesome. The color for the film is very well done. The music is chosen well and effectively. It feels stark when needed and not when not. You can feel the coldness of the society in the architecture as well as in the stiff polyester (guessing) of the clothing.

I recommend this film to anyone who loved the book when they were younger. Forget the critical reviews. Form your own opinion. This is mine.

I Think Your Tattoos Are Stupid…

Tattoos. They are the cause of much debate. Some girls like them, some girls hate them, but we all have opinions. There are certain tattoos, that are undeniably a bad idea, yet someone somewhere has decided that they would like it PERMANENTLY SCARRED onto their body.

I asked a group of ladies to discuss the tattoo issue. Here is what we came up with:

Tattoos are permanent. Even though they are not as permanent as they once were, they have the aura of permanence. What I see when I look at someone’s tattoos is, this is something you wanted on your body forever, and that says A LOT about who you are as a person. So think about that the next time you decide to make a long-term decision. Don’t get a tattoo just because you want a tattoo. It should mean something to you, something that will be just as important to you in 20 years as it is now.

Just because you really like something today: a girl, a band, a cartoon character, a sports team; does not mean you will still like that thing in ten years. Think back on what you were really into ten years ago. Is that still your favorite girl, band, cartoon character, or sports team? It is certainly possible. But girls dump you, bands break up or start making crummy albums, cartoon characters get played out, and sports teams move and/or start to suck. Things are always changing, but tattoos, tattoos are forever.

Did you have a super sweet nickname in either high school or college? Do people still call you that in your adult life? Did people ever really call you that or did you just want them to call you that? Also, if that really is your nickname, do you really need it written on your body? Why? So you don’t forget it? So the next time some girl sees you without your shirt on, she knows what a lame nickname you had? Don’t tattoo your name on your body. Or anyone’s name. Unless you can promise me, without a doubt, you will always love that person as much as you do right now. Always.

Ever think about getting a tattoo because you think it would be funny? You know how some people tell the same joke over and over again and then it ceases to be even remotely amusing? How about every single day for the rest of your life, will it still be a good joke then? My guess is probably not. Most things are not always going to be funny. And I doubt your brilliant and hilarious idea is really all that clever. Sober up and think about it for a while. Like six months to a year.

Another terrible idea is any sort of fad tattoo. Current phrases. How sick are you of YOLO? Remember when mustaches were cool before, and then super lame for about 30 years? If there is typically a hashtag in front of the phrase, I can guarantee you that you are going to look like an idiot in ten years.

Anything offensive is horrible. No woman wants to see a naked woman tattooed on your body. This was actually the number one tattoo that most women I spoke to complained about. I know that I once had a huge crush on this guy, then saw the naked woman tattooed on his arm and was immediately over it. Outside of this conversation, I never even think about the guy. So disappointing. Anything that could constitute as pornographic is a no go. Dirty jokes, anything remotely racist, sexist, or homophobic is a bad idea. Also, why? Do you want people to know that you are a misogynistic bigot? Is that the image you want to put out there? Granted, it would be nice if we could all see who you were. In the same way that anyone accused of being a pirate was branded in the 18th century by the East India Trading Company, so everyone could see that man and know that he was a pirate. This way we could see you and know that you suck. So maybe, I take that back…

I strongly recommend avoiding any kind of cliché. Tribal tattoos, barbed wire, etc. Do these things mean something to you? Are you or were you ever a member of a tribe? Were you ever bound with barbed wire? If the answer to either question is yes, then by all means. If not, find your own identity. It doesn’t look as cool as you think it does.

We all know a tattoo of a photograph is ALWAYS a terrible idea, right. This, I believe, is common knowledge. Yes? Good. Never get a tattoo of a photograph. It will never look right.

ALWAYS, ALL WAYS SPELLCHECK. If you are getting something written in another language, you absolutely have to do your research. If they are using a different alphabet, that goes double. Chinese characters are insanely complicated, a tiny line can change a word drastically.

You also need to seriously consider placement. Even if you think you will never work a job where you cannot have visible tattoos, you should always be able to cover them up with basic clothing items. If you cannot where a suit without your tattoos showing, that is seriously limiting. And with the job market being what it is, you may want to reconsider your life choices.

Placement is important even inside the can hide it with clothing areas. There are connotations to the various places you might tattoo yourself. Certain places may be considered by some a little too feminine like your lower back, hip bones, or the more delicate parts of your ankle. Some are a little too bold like anything that is covered by a bathing suit.

Tattoos that are a good idea:

Something in the memory of a beloved family member. Tasteful. Something that person would not think was stupid. You can love your family. That love is permanent. I think this is always a good idea.

Something to commemorate a MAJOR accomplishment in life. Did you climb Everest? Beat cancer? Graduate from a particularly difficult program? Or whatever other major challenge you have beaten. This is worth celebrating. If you want to decorate you body with your major life accomplishments, please, go right ahead.

Something you are really and truly passionate about. And will be for a very long time.

Obviously, not all women feel the same way about tattoos as the next. This is all a generalization of what a certain number of ladies that I have discussed the subject with have had to say. Some women will see certain things tattooed on your body and take it as a red flag and run. Some will not judge you for your mistakes or bad taste.  It may greatly depend on you and how much she likes you, but these are certainly things you may want to take into consideration before you start marking yourself up in any sort of permanent way.

When A Star Dies Their Light Remains

In the last 48 hours, we lost some major Hollywood juggernauts. Throughout the course of my life many celebrities have died, but as I get older the faces on the screen seem to get progressively more familiar. Some have felt like great personal losses, more and more often, this seems to be the case. When talking about the death of Robin Williams with my father, he did not seem to understand why headlines stated that the “entire nation was mourning the loss.” It got me thinking about why the death of certain Hollywood star has such an affect on me personally, but also the country as a whole.

I am going to talk briefly about science. Now, if you know me you are probably aware that science is in fact the subject I know the absolute least about; however, here is what I understand about stars. When a star dies, they continue to produce light. The heat does not dissipate right away and therefore there is still light being produced. Also, from Earth, we continue to see the light that no longer exists because it takes time for the light to travel from the star to the Earth. This is not dissimilar to the stars of our world. When a star dies, the effect they have had on many of us remains. Future generations may still be affected by a star whose light is still being seen despite the fact that they are no longer living here with us.

My father may be a little too old, or his tastes in film and television lean toward whatever it is that he thinks qualifies as film and ESPN, to have fully appreciated all that Robin Williams has meant to so many people. As a child of the 90s I was profoundly impacted by so much of his work, but the film Hook in a way that people who were grown-up by that point cannot fully grasp, and children who grew up in the land of technology (subtext: lack imagination due to overexposure to instant gratification) will never fully understand. It is a film about a man, who has become so obsessed with work and the struggles of adulthood that he has lost all sense of childlike wonder. He has totally and completely forgotten that he was Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t grow up. The film stresses the importance of imagination and fun. An idea that I still cling to as I continue to resist adulthood. I can continue to list films and the impact they have had on me, but I don’t feel like anyone needs me to do that. My point is, not everyone understands why these people, this man who I have never met, could have affected me so much that I would mourn the loss of a complete stranger.

Think of how many hours you have spent with some of these people. I have spent more time with certain actors via the television than members of my own family. As someone who has wanted to work in the film industry for her entire life, the impact some actors, screen writers, directors, etc. have had on me has certainly been greater than many people I have met in real life. A vast majority of the people who have had major influences on my life are people that I have never actually met. The thing that I find most upsetting is that I have often dreamed of a day when I may finally meet them and talk to them, (in a perfect world work with them), but at the very least thank them. Thank them for teaching me the importance of an imagination in a world that seems hell-bent on taking away the need for one. Thank them for teaching me to go for what I want in life despite the fact the world will try everything in its power to keep me from it. Thank him for teaching me that laughter is the most important thing in the entire world and it does not have to come from a mean or spiteful place. That opportunity is now gone. And I mourn the loss.

In the last 48 hours, many of us have lost a hero. For anyone who does not feel the great and profound loss of this, I honestly feel sorry for you. I am sorry that you have missed out on all that this man has given us over the last several decades. I am sorry that you have missed out on the countless hours of laughter, but also on the amazing life lessons found in all of his work. I am sorry that you grew up and left behind all of your childlike wonder. But, as I have learned, it is never to late to find it once again. This star may have died, but his light remains.

Oh Captain! My Captain!

Britt’s Top Ten Young Adult Book Suggestions

This weekend marks a date that I have been waiting for since childhood. The Giver by Lois Lowry has been made into a major motion picture and that film is being released on Friday. This book, like few others in my life, was one that had a profound impact on my life. So, in anticipation of this film, I am writing my Top Ten choices for Best Young Adult Books. Now, Let me preface this by saying that you will not be seeing and Harry Potter or The Hunger Games on this list, and for one specific reason. I am keeping this list to books that had a profound impact on MY childhood. Harry Potter was not super popular in the US until I was a teenager. For a specific guideline, the books on my list is limited to anything published before 1995.

In alphabetical order by author:

1. My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier (1974): SPOILER ALERT! This novel is the story of two brother during the American Revolutionary War. Their father is a loyalist and the older brother Sam, comes home from college ready to fight with the Continental Army. It’s a great book that explores the family dynamic during this period of time.

What I Learned: It is better to have hope in a hopeless situation otherwise the journey will be miserable.

2. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton (1967): The coming-of-age story of a high school boy who is caught up in a turf war between rival gangs: the Greasers and the Socs (short for Socials). As the rivalry starts to heat up, the world of the Greasers begins to crumble.

What I Learned: War is never worth it.

3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960): I am guessing you know this one… If not, stop reading blogs and go pick up this book. Seriously. Then watch the movie starring Gregory Peck.

What I Learned: Always stand up for what you believe is right, no matter what society will think of you.

4. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (1950): The four Pevensie children stumble upon a magical land known as Narnia. It is a story of growing up and what that looks like. The book is one in a series of seven in The Chronicles of Narnia. This was the first published and the first that should be read. It is allegorical in nature, but also a completely flushed out fantasy series.

What I Learned: You never know when you might stumble upon a magical land. And then a lot more about life and human nature as I continuously reread this book into adulthood.

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry (1993): The story of a Utopian society that is not as perfect as it seems. As young Jonas is chosen to become the Receiver of Memories, he is exposed to the truth behind the “sameness” within his society and starts to question everything he has been taught.

What I Learned: Always Question Authority.

6. The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1977): Jesse and Leslie become friends and create an imaginary sanctuary called Terabithia where they can go and be safe from school bullies and difficult home lives.

What I Learned: Let’s just say that this is the book that teachers in my school gave children to teach them how to deal with death and leave it at that.

7. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (1961): This book is the story of a boy and his two dogs. After saving up for months, Billy finally had enough money to buy a pair of coonhound puppies. He taught them to become two of the best hunting dogs in the Ozarks. I love this book and also hate it and the teacher who made me read it in school.

What I Learned: Never read a book where a dog is one of the major characters.

8. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (1958): This is one of my top five favorite books of ALL TIME. It is the story of Kit Tyler who moves from Barbados to Puritan Connecticut in 1687. There she befriends a Quaker woman known as The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Puritans, late 1600s, do you see where this is going?

What I Learned: Not dissimilar to previous books on this list; question authority, stand up for what you believe in, but also, girls are mean and here is why…

9. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (1937): A precursor to The Lord of the Rings series, this book tells the story of Bilbo Baggins and his journey to defeat a dragon with my favorite literary wizard and a band of charming dwarfs. As you may be aware, this book has been turned into a pretty major film trilogy of its very own, the finale of which will be released in December.

What I Learned: Life is boring without some adventure.

10. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White (1952): The story of the unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider. When it is time for Wilbur to go to slaughter, the spider starts spinning phrases in her web that turn Wilbur into a tourist attraction and continually delaying his cruel murder until he becomes a national treasure.

What I Learned: Bacon is not good enough to erase the memory of poor Wilbur…

Wilbur

DIY: Silhouette Painting

For this month’s DIY project, I am going to show you how I made a friend’s wedding present. So, if you just received a wedding gift from me, but have yet to open it, I would hold off on reading this post.

For the couple, I created a piece using the profile silhouettes of their favorite Disney couples. Hers is Belle and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, his is Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled.

For this project, you will need:

  • Photoshop (Or some other photo editing software)
  • The Internet
  • A Printer
  • Card Stock Paper
  • Scissors
  • A blank canvas
  • A Pencil
  • Black Acrylic Paint (I highly recommend Acrylic for this project because of the weight. It is also the best paint for layering color without bleeding)
  • Paint Brushes (I recommend something with a straight stiff bristle, at least for the outlining)
  • Other Acrylic Paints

Continue reading

Stuff Happens

This post is strictly a notice to those of you who regularly read my blog or who have stumbled upon it and are wondering why there are some issues.

First off, to my regulars, sorry I did not post on Wednesday. This is one of those cases of life came up and writing Wednesday’s piece became a lesser priority.

In other news, I accidentally deleted a bunch of my images from previous posts. Some of them I still have and some of them I will need to find/recreate. So, it will take me some time to get many of those back online. Sorry. Super lame. Life.

I do have something ready for tomorrow. Probably will go up later in the day though. Hopefully by early next week I will be all caught up and back on a regular schedule with all of the images restored. If not, well, what can you do?

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

The Luxe by Anna Godberson is the first in a series of novels about young ladies living in Manhattan during the late victorian era. This book (and subsequently, the series) combines two of my favorite genres: Historical Fiction and Young Adult Novels. It has everything you want in a new YA series. The novel focuses on four teenage girls who spend their days fighting over boys, trying to out dress each other, and generally scheming to become the Queen Bee of the New York social scene. Sound familiar? I am sure it does. It gives you everything you have been missing since the end of Gossip Girl, plus the incomparable fashions of the late 19th century.

As far as the storyline goes, there are two sisters, from a very old New York family. Elizabeth is the gorgeous and perfect older sister, Diana is younger who finds herself in a bit more trouble. Penelope is Elizabeth’s best friend and biggest competitor. Lina is Elizabeth’s maid, who is insanely jealous and wants nothing more than to be a part of their world. The four girls are navigating the Victorian values of high society, trying to land husbands and have the best looking dresses for every social event of the season.

If you are looking for a book that requires some heavy thinking as we approach the tail end of summer, do not look here. This book is fun and fanciful. In truth, you can totally judge these books by their luscious covers. It is all young ladies, backstabbing one another to land the man of their dreams while wearing the most enviable clothes. It takes you back to the day where all young women had to day was shop and wait around for gentlemen to come calling to take you for a carriage ride around central park. You do get a taste of the class war, as a couple of major characters are servants to the wealthy and powerful New York socialites, and as you have seen in similar types of media, wealth and power are never safe.

I highly recommend this series of books. I read all four in about a week and a half. They are so quick and easy to read, and once you get into them, you may find the novels impossible to put down. There is plenty of intrigue and as the best of these series are written, each book leaves you in a position where you have to immediately begin the next. So don’t pick up one from the library without reserving the next, the waiting may be unbearable.

Here are the covers from the entire series, in case you are interested.

10 Years Later

I have been struggling to try and figure out exactly what it is I want to say with this topic. I am not sure if it is because I have covered similar ideas in several posts over the last few weeks. Because of my 10 year reunion, the wedding of an old friend, and my birthday all falling within a span of a week and a half, I have pretty much covered what it means to grow older and look back.

I received a number of great responses for this week’s topic, all revolving around how different everyone is since graduating from high school, however many years ago that was. Reading these responses and seeing so many old friends over the past two weeks, I have been trying to figure out exactly what it is that has changed. We all have changed in different ways, become more or less of what we are or were, but the things is, none of us are truly different people. We are all the same at our core. I think what has changed is that we are all simply a little more self-aware and a little less self-obsessed.

Whether you were the cheerleader  who feared nothing more than a loss of popularity, the social butterfly who hated the idea of missing out on any fun, the mean girl who would do anything for power and control, the overachiever who was only concerned with class rank, or the hopeless romantic who was always pining for some boy. The things that made us these people are still a part of us. Now, you just know how to choose better friends and whose opinions actually matter, you know that having fun is important, but so is being able to keep your job, you know that power is fleeting and controlling people is no way to get what you want, you know that your goals in life are important, but so is having a life, you know that boys will come and boys will go and the right one will stick around (whether you like it or not).

I think that in 10 years, I will be standing around at my high school reunion talking to these same people, making the same jokes, telling the same stories, and I will be thinking back to this year and how stupid we all were now. We will be a little more self-aware, a little less self-obsessed. I think, that is what growing up really is. Maybe the reason we all fear it is because we are too selfish to want to be less self-obsessed. We are not quite ready to see who we are any more clearly than we do now. Over time, the veil will lift a little more and the fog will clear a little more and we will see ourselves for who we really are and that is, in fact, terrifying. Because, what if, at my very core, I am just a mean girl? What if all of the things that we have always wanted out of life never happen? What if we have to continue to let go of more hopes and more dreams in order to make room for real life. What if real life really does suck?