senior move-out and “see you later”s

msa is not an experience for the faint of heart. it has been everything that alumni said it would be and more, and i’m forever grateful for the advice that was given to me as an incoming junior. i liken msa relations to a mentorship: there were many students who helped me along the way, including some who wouldn’t even be here for either of my two years. it’s a special place, and i’m grateful for every second of it. because even if it wasn’t great, it taught me something: about the world, about myself, about other people, about human connection, about compassion. msa is about learning, and none of the important lessons are actually taught in the curriculum; they’re formed within the community.

my heartfelt advice to anyone reading this who is thinking about or currently attending msa is this:

everyone will tell you that these will be the best and worst two years of your life, and you won’t believe a second of it. soak in every drop of knowledge and experience that you get here. push through it. it is so difficult at times, but getting to the end is the most rewarding feeling ever. because you can overcome adversity, you can make it through challenging times, and you can stick it through if your passion and ambition will let you. 

the biggest words i can tell you to learn right now are “appreciation” and “compassion.” the hardest part about msa is not the actual difficulty of the times, it’s coming to terms with the fact that even the “bad” moments are serving you in some way.

this journey is worth it. it will bring you lifelong friends, a family (even if it’s a small one), and an experience that you will be proud of yourself for the rest of your life. it’s a wonderful place with wonderful people. no matter how far along i am in the rest of my endeavors after this, i’ll always be here if you want to reach out. my snapchat is sarakhebert, instagram is sara_k_hebert. i’m here for you if you need anything.

until next time, i love and appreciate you all. 

track 5 storytelling

who is surprised that i’m writing another taylor swift blog? hopefully no one. today i’ll be talking about not only the track 5 songs from every album, but how they intertwine with each other. these songs are known for being her most personal and intimate, and it’s very clear why.

cold as you – debut
debut doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves, and this song is living proof. at just 16 years old, she was writing about things like love, regret, and having the strength to do the right thing and feel good about it. there’s a line in the chorus that says, “you came along with a great little story about a mess of a dreamer with the nerve to adore you.” this line really encompasses her naivety in thinking things would go in her way, yet they never seem to. she directs it to someone in particular, using second person point-of-view a lot to focus her energy. she understands that even though she was the one being left, it wasn’t her fault, and something better will come of it.

white horse – fearless (taylor’s version)
this fifth track focuses more on the ideas of moving on and growing up than its predecessor, but it has a lot of the same “notes” in terms of content. her fear (and reality) of abandonment appears again, and it focuses much more on the ideas of recovering from that and knowing that it will hurt her in the end. still, she shows her strength and will to say “no” whenever someone (who doesn’t deserve it) asks her for a second chance. it’s very much a track of coming to terms with who you want to be and where you want to go in life, and i think everyone who has been let down can relate to this in some way.

dear john – speak now
after my infamous blog about john mayer, my thoughts on this are… pretty clear. however, lyrically, this is still a masterpiece. they encompass everything wrong with an “unnamed man” in regards to how he interacts with someone romantically. in an interesting turn of events, she is the one to walk away and realize that this “unnamed man” is not deserving of her time, even though she’s still heartbroken. it shows the real, complex feelings of a breakup with someone so much older who has more power, both in the industry and the world. it also relates to her song “ours” from the same album. “ours” has the lyrics, “seems like there’s always someone who disapproves; they’ll judge it like they know about me and you,” but “dear john” follows up with, “i’ll look back and regret i ignored when they said ‘run as fast as you can.'” 

all too well – red (taylor’s version)
widely speculated to be about jake gyllenhaal, “all too well” is about reminiscing an old relationship and remembering every single detail, even when you don’t want to. the track is 5 minutes, cut down from the original 10, which was released as a vault track on taylor’s version. it feels very bittersweet, thinking about the past and realizing that you’re not living it anymore. it features lyrics like “i forget about you long enough to forget why i needed to,” but it also turns around and recognizes that the blame mostly falls on the other “unnamed” person who decided to pursue a relationship that he knew wouldn’t work out to begin with.

all you had to do was stay – 1989
nobody would expect this to be a track 5, for being so upbeat in the introduction of her first true pop album. however, this is where the overall track 5 storytelling comes through. she talks about how “it could have been easy, all you had to do was stay,” which relates to the abandonment themes seen in the previous tracks. however, the actual music suggests a more nuanced thought process of moving on and getting ahead of the game. it reminds me a lot of the song “clean” on the same album.

delicate – reputation
the first lyrics make the most sense when talking about vulnerability and abandoment, the themes we’ve been referencing to all this time, “my reputation’s never been worse, so you must like me for me.” it’s a very romantic song, talking about the beginning of a relationship and being under the scrutiny of the public eye at the same time. however, it’s the turn that the other tracks have speculated up to now. it’s vulnerable in that she’s coming to terms with a type of relationship she’s never had before, where she’s valued based on herself as a person, not the status she can give. it’s new for her, and it’s a lovely change of pace for her lyricism.

the archer – lover
the most jarring lyrics from this track are, “who could ever leave me darling, but who could stay?” because up until “delicate,” the most common thematics revolved around the pain felt by people leaving. now, she’s asking why people would stay? overall, the song is a lot about moving on, introspection, and analyzing what makes people who they are, especially with references to her own body image issues in a few of the verses. these are real issues that real women face, and it’s a wonderful follow-up to “the man” as track 4, which is all about what society expects from women. 

my tears ricochet – folklore
again with understanding complex relationships, this song is widely speculated to be about a relationship gone awry. it details betrayal, choice, and regret. the toughest lyrics are in the bridge. in my opinion, it definitely has a connection with “right where you left me” from the evermore album, especially with the inclusion of different regret elements. in the bridge, she talks about how this situation is still affecting her feelings, still influencing her decisions, still getting under her skin. to regard this song as “just another taylor swift song about a boy,” would be so disgraceful in neglecting the very real feelings that so many people struggle with on a daily basis. 

tolerate it – evermore 
the most recent (new) track 5 has two different accepted interpretations. the first is the theory that, like the other track 5s, surprise surprise, it’s about a relationship. the second is that it’s about a child whose parent or parents don’t appreciate all of the efforts that the child goes through to maintain their relationship. regardless of what kind of relationship the song describes, it closes out her current track 5 discography with the worthiness aspect of “i know my love should be celebrated, but you tolerate it.”

overall, taylor’s music is about so many more things than just her “boy problems.” everything she writes about connects to the inner psyche, feelings of worth, value, vulnerability, and transparency. her music connects to multiple generations of people who feel like their dreams and desires should be put on the back burner. fifth tracks are the through-line of her entire discography, and they make the most sense to people who have been in her shoes before. 

now, for those of you who say i am slowly turning you into a swiftie, hopefully this convinces you fully. 

Thomas Rhett + How Country Music May Be Returning to Its Roots

A notoriously problematic genre, country music has slowly shifted from its post-9/11 patriotic simplicity, and it’s slowly dipping into complex ideas that most people dare not tackle within their sector. Luke Bryan’s 2017 song “Most People Are Good” recently made its rounds on Tik Tok. People from all walks of life appreciated his remark of “I believe you love who you love, ain’t nothing you should ever be ashamed of,” and praised him for making a statement contrary to what many other country artists believe or address. A lesser-known song came out recently from Thomas Rhett, Russell Dickerson, and Tyler Hubbard: “Death Row

Interviews have told the story, but essentially, these three men went to a Tennessee prison to sing to death row inmates. The song that came from it can bring anyone to chills.

“I could feel myself trembling when I shook one of their hands. I thought that he would be a monster; turns out, he’s a whole lot like I am.”

This verse opens up the whole song, referencing their hesitance of going in to begin with. In an interview, Rhett mentioned how he was prejudging these inmates based on their circumstances and just how quickly he was humbled by the experience. It re-centers the thought process of understanding that fundamentally, even those who have made detrimental mistakes are worthy of forgiveness. 

“I learned a lot about living from them boys down on death row.”

There are a lot of things that can teach a person about how to live their life to the fullest, but this line elaborates on the irony that few people would think death row inmates to be the people who teach about it. There’s a lot of emotion packed into this, which is likely why it’s a part of the chorus. It’s reiterated over and over again, and while this may center Rhett and his friends in the conversation about capital punishment, I do believe it’s a wonderful artistic choice. The majority of people, especially the demographic that tends to listen to country music, find it hard to sympathize, but by focusing on how it changed the artists’ perspectives, listeners are more inclined to see how these issues affect them.

“Then it hit me we’re all human, ain’t always proud of what we’ve done. Everybody’s days are numbered, only difference is they all know which one.”

There are so many things packed into this line as well, and listening to it for the first time, it introduces just how concrete the death penalty is. For years, inmates are locked into a cell, not seeing the world around them at all, dreading the day that they’ve been assigned. It makes the listener think about what they would do if they knew when they would die. Referencing back to other lines, it’s just another reinforcement of understanding that time is precious and forgiveness is so, so necessary.

“One of them sang ‘Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound’ with one hand raised and one foot chained to the ground. He sang it like he knew he’d just been found, that next week, they laid him six feet down.”

The most impactful part of this lyric is the quickness of it. Again, centering the listener and the artists, one can’t help but to think about how they could be engaging in a meaningful conversation with someone, then that someone is suddenly gone. Even though there’s an element of faith and gospel, the most jarring aspect is realizing how precious time is, especially in the context of having a life-changing experience, then meeting the end of that life.

“I can’t say that he’s in heaven, who am I to judge his soul? But Jesus don’t play favorites, ain’t a name that He don’t know.”

Arguably the most impactful message, I think that this line reconnects to Christianity (as a religion) in an unexpected way. It serves as a humble reminder that it is not up to humanity to place judgement and expectations onto someone we haven’t lived as. It connects back to the line where they sing Amazing Grace, because that’s really what all of this is about: grace, forgiveness, and perspective. 

Throughout the expansion of country music as a genre, many things have been lost in translation. The first songs of country music were all about progress – making good change in the community, encouraging equality, and understanding the value in shared humanity. Because this type of message has been lost over the years, most of my generation associates country music with lyrics about alcohol, the objectification of women, and the well-known Chicks scandal that sent their careers into a downward spiral.

After 9/11, an outpouring of support for America engulfed the entire country music genre, with artists like Toby Keith and Aaron Tippin coming out with very popular songs showcasing their patriotism. Ironically, these songs were appealed to the very same demographic and people who had been in full support of anti-war, pro-peace, and rebellion against the government.

In my opinion, I definitely think that post-9/11 country music was more influential to its listeners political affiliation than vice versa. The people are going to vote for the things they hear, and what they were hearing was an outrageous outpouring of pro-Republic rhetoric. 

However, modern country is slowly stepping out into the light, speaking out against racism, homophobia, and most recently, the government’s ability to take someone’s life (especially a criminal).

why the folklore trilogy is a storytelling masterpiece

as writers, we often find ourselves picking apart every single detail of a story, down to the smallest nuances of a character, their purposes, and their motives. “august,” “betty,” and “cardigan,” are often referred to as the trilogy of taylor swift’s “folklore” album.

the three main characters include augustine, james, and betty. if this were any traditional story (with a beginning, middle, and end), we would see the beginning of the relationship between james and betty, then it would follow into the affair and aftermath.

instead, we begin with “betty,” ironically written from james’ perspective. using context clues, we can infer that betty and james were together before he became involved with another woman. he ponders the idea of coming directly to her, apologizing, making excuses for himself, and essentially saying that it was her all along – that he loved her, even though he was cheating over the summer. the song ends very ambiguously, with no one really knowing if betty ever took him back or not, or if the intervention even happened.

next, “august” is written from the perspective of augustine, the “other woman.” rather than demonizing her and playing on the homewrecker trope, “august” contains beautiful imagery surrounding her feelings of inadequacy. she feels guilty for loving a man who was already in a relationship, and she feels betrayed by james, because she doesn’t feel like she has the right to grieve a relationship that she was never supposed to be in.

finally, “cardigan,” is written from betty’s perspective. this is where we learn that, if the intervention ever did happen, she had the strength to turn him down. of course, lost love still lingers and still hurts, which she entertains in this song. in a certain way, it connects back to the storyline in taylor swift’s red album, with the underlying theme of, “i knew this was a bad idea, but i did it anyways, even though i knew it would haunt me.”

by now, everyone and their second-cousin’s pet snail knows about the folklore album, but what does it mean, and why, as writers, should we care?

there are so many instances of foreshadowing and detailed connections, as well as the full development of a story, its characters, and why it’s important to look at a situation from all angles. most people, when faced with someone like augustine, would immediately jump to blaming her for letting a man cheat with her. that is entirely not the case, though, and even if it was, it brings in the idea that it wasn’t what she wanted. everyone talks about how love is blind, and augustine’s point of view holds more weight when someone understands that she may not have felt like she had a choice, or she legitimately may not have had one. 

even those who have no sympathy for cheaters can find pieces of themselves within james, and especially those who have been cheated on or been a second choice can resonate with betty’s character. it’s a gentle reminder that we are all flawed, and we are all trying our best.

finally, it’s worth noting that the storyline carries over into so many other songs on the album and its successor, “evermore.”

what are you waiting for? give it a listen

My “Pretty Little Liars” Controversial Takes

  1. Maybe Aria and Ezra shouldn’t be together, but neither Jason nor Jake were right for her either. With Jake, the point is furthered in the many moments that they just don’t have the same chemistry. Arts and culture was always so important to Aria, and there were so many moments where he neglected that under the guise of “not being too similar.” Jason’s incompatibility was a lot less obvious, but he still just wasn’t… right for her. And don’t even get me started on Wes…
  2. Besides Toby, Spencer’s most compatible match was Alex, all the way from Season One. Remember the guy from the country club? Yeah, he was absolutely right for her. He wasn’t afraid of her ambition, wasn’t put off by her attitude, anything. I doubt he would have been able to handle everything the Liars went through, but he was definitely a good match.
  3. Spencer is the most well-developed character. In other movies and TV shows, the typical “rich kids” have no depth beyond their wealth or status. Especially in the first few seasons, she had so many things going on that were unrelated– things like her warped relationship with her sister, her parents, academics, even down to her priorities and goals. Yes, she always got what she wanted that could be bought, but she also gained things for herself by never giving up when she needed answers.
  4. Ezra’s “tell-all book” was singlehandedly the worst plot point of the entire series, second only to the series finale. Up until this point, Ezra’s involvement with Aria was connected to one moment: their meet at the bar. He had no idea how old she was, he had no idea he was going to be her teacher, and there was no prior involvement that could be pinned to immoral intentions. The book through all of that out of the window, and I will never forgive the writers for that.
  5. Not exactly controversial, but I would say that the series finale is one of the worst in TV history. I’m not even an avid consumer of media, and I still recognized that the whole “evil twin” and “twisted branches of the family tree” was a wreck of trying to tie loose ends but fraying even more.
  6. Mike doesn’t get enough credit for his role throughout the series. He did so many things to take care of Aria and keep their family together, even when he didn’t exactly own up to it. He didn’t want to punch Ezra when their parents found out about their relationship, but he did anyways, because he knew that Byron was close to losing it. After one of his teammates spread a heavy rumor about Aria, it is heavily implied that he’s the culprit for bashing his car.
  7. Noel Kahn was such a poorly developed character. It never seemed like he had as much involvement with Alison as any of the other characters did, but when things happened, they were just kind of… pinned on him.
  8. Garrett Reynolds could have been so much more of a traitor than he really was, and I don’t think the writers took advantage of that. The Liars trusted him at first, especially because he was a childhood friend. He could have been the two-faced, backstabbing cop that was part of the ultimate betrayal, and he just wasn’t. He was another pawn in Jenna’s game, one that she wasn’t even playing with a strategy.
  9. Hanna’s most prominent trait is her loyalty. Throughout the series, she stays true to Caleb, the other Liars, and most importantly, her mother. She was more than willing, without hesitation, to confess to a murder so that her mom could come home. She was dramatic and had her priorities out of whack sometimes, but she was an amazing friend, partner, and daughter.
  10. Paige was THE WORST long-term partner that any of the Liars had. She tried to drown Emily at the start, then continued to be an obsessive crush and girlfriend throughout the whole series. Anywhere Emily went, Paige had to follow. It wasn’t even in a cute puppy dog kind of way, it genuinely felt like she never had anything better to do with her life than be with Emily. Even worse than an awful person, she was awfully written. She was nearly useless the entire time.

The Red Re-Recordings

In the wise words of Jonathon Wilton, it apparently “takes a cursory glance to know” that I’m obsessed with Taylor Swift. Obviously. I was in her top percent of listeners on Spotify this year, and I’ve been a Swiftie since her debut album. Naturally, I was entirely obsessed with the Fearless re-recording, and because Red is my favorite album, I was so happy to see it come out on Spotify at midnight.

My favorite songs off the album (in no particular order) have to be The Lucky One, Starlight, The Moment I Knew, Message in a Bottle, I Bet You Think About Me, and The Very First Night.

The Lucky One
Anyone who’s looked forward to anything and then been sorely disappointed can relate to this song. Without going into too much detail, it outlines her experience moving into the music industry and everyone saying she finally got what she wanted, yet she feels out of place because she doesn’t necessarily want to be there.

This… perfectly outlines what it’s like to fall in love and stay together for your entire life. It’s actually about a couple who met (according to the song) in 1945. It’s so carefree and lively, and just a perfect song in my opinion.

The Moment I Knew
JAKE GYLLENHAAL HAS DONE IT AGAIN. This is about the time he stood her up on her 21st birthday, and it’s referenced again in the 10 minute version of All Too Well. The defining lyric, without a doubt, would have to be “what do you say when tears are streaming down your face in front of everyone you know?” It’s so heartbreaking, and it takes a few listens to get used to it’s vocabulary, but once you’re accustomed to it, it’s so easy.

Message in a Bottle
A double meaning, this song can be interpreted as a long distance relationship or as someone with a masssiveeee crush – either way, it’s beautiful. It’s hopeful and hopeless at the same time, but it’s not so bittersweet; the word that comes to mind is “ambition,” and I’m here for it.

I Bet You Think About Me
Again with Jake Gyllenhaal… “I Bet You Think About Me” talks about his nature as someone who viewed her through a pretentious lens, always thinking that he’s better than everyone around him. It goes into how he took advantage of her age, and it even features a lyric directed toward Kanye and his “million dollar couch…”

The Very First Night
This is the song that you can describe as bittersweet, because it’s a reflection of her time on what seems to be a first date. Tik Tok has taken to changing the lyrics out of controversy, but no hard feelings. It’s a sweet song about reminiscence, which is a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the heartache album.

Backstabbing Central: Survivor Cagayan

Look… I did not think I was going to like this show as much as I do. I couldn’t stand the rain, so I decided to start watching Survivor – just to see what all the hype was about. I started on Season 28, the most recent on Netflix, which hosted three groups: Brains, Brawn, and Beauty. 


Eventually, Brawn and Beauty wiped out Brains in a series of challenges, diminishing their size against the other two, leading to the first merge: each member drew a color and was assigned to a new tribe, some with nearly complete strangers, others with their whole group staying as a collective with some stragglers.

Tony, Woo, and Spencer were some of the most interesting players. Woo, a taekwondo instructor, played with the most integrity I have ever seen. Never once did he maliciously lie, cheat, or steal in order to pull himself to the top two: he brought himself up on his own by being a reliable player with respectable loyalties.

Tony bled into the opposite end of the spectrum: he played a ruthless game and sabotaged every single person at camp in order to get there, except for Woo. He swore on his badge as a police officer, his wife and children, and his father’s grave: and he still broke them. He had no respectable characteristics except for his sheer hustle to get into the top two.

While Spencer didn’t make it to the top two, I have to give credit where credit is due. Even the host of the show didn’t think he’d make it as far as he did. He strategized with other players as often as he could and as efficiently as he could, and he knew when to make the moves that other players didn’t want to. My favorite thing that he said was at the beginning of the game when he was forced to vote a fellow member of the Brain tribe out. He said something along the lines of, “the fact that you have a PhD in nuclear engineering scares me,”

In the final episode, Tony and Woo faced the jury, consisting of members that had been voted out beforehand. With an overwhelming number of votes, Tony won Survivor: Cagayan, and rage has never filled my body so quickly.

Personally, I believe that Tony was a backstabbing, two-faced liar who didn’t even deserve to make it as far as he did. The entirety of the finale led to an entirely too drawn out discussion of whether you should vote for the player who played the best game or the player who made it the farthest without stabbing anyone in the back. If it were the latter, Woo most certainly should have won.

My Love/Hate Relationship With John Mayer

You are an expert at sorry
And keeping lines blurry,
Never impressed by me acing your tests,
All the girls that you’ve run dry
Have tired, lifeless eyes
‘Cause you burned them out
But I took your matches before fire could catch me,
So don’t look now,
I’m shining like fireworks over your sad, empty town

Lyrical genius Taylor Swift poured these words from the very deepest crevices of her heart, and the world went crazy. Justifiably so, because this is one of the best bridges Blondie has ever released. Various twitter polls have confirmed that it’s a fan favorite, partially due to the whole song being an absolute masterpiece, but also due to the nature of her growing lyricism.

Blondie released “Dear John” as a loud and clear callout to John Mayer, down to the name. At just 19 years old, Taylor found herself between the grips of 32-year-old John. As history has proven, the law is not a gauge for morality. 19 is a pivotal time in any young person’s life, especially a young woman who had spent over 5 years in the spotlight.

The rest of the song goes on to explain in vague detail how he took advantage of her, and how she consistently felt like he was just using her. Looking at their age gap from the outside, it’s not hard to believe her and not uncommon for similar instances to have happened in the industry before. The song also explains how he acted like a completely different person all the time, implying that she had to walk on eggshells all the time for fear of upsetting him.

Against what I would hope to be his better judgement, John joined Tik Tok in March of 2021. Better late than never, right? Well… he was promptly met with a slew of Swifties ready to aim fire at his every move. As a proud Swiftie, I would like to say here and now: I took no part in either side of the altercation.

Until September of this year, my one (1) guilty pleasure was that I listened to and enjoyed “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” because hello?? It’s so good, and for what? Anyways, a good friend of mine recommended some songs to me, and because I’m desperate for new music, I reluctantly obliged. I was… regrettably and pleasantly surprised. To the surprise of absolutely no one, spoiler alert: none of these highlights are “Why You No Love Me.” Just putting that out there right now.

– Rosie –
At first, I had no idea what to think. It was either going to be very very good or very very bad, no in between. Until it was. “Rosie” is the in-between song, but its status makes sense for what it is. It’s written from the point of view of a man who ruined his previous relationship with alcoholism. He shows up to her doorstep, drunk, asking for another chance, and she doesn’t give it to him. However, the lyrics also apply to various situations, including the narrator’s knowledge that Rosie has moved on with another man. He’s okay with making bad decisions, even though he knows he’ll regret it in the morning. The versatility of this song is incredible, and I wasn’t expecting it to hit some of the mental spots that it did. It’s not an absolute 10/10, but it’s for sure a song that I naturally gravitate toward – maybe a 7.

– Half of My Heart –
Ironically, this song features Taylor Swift herself, and it’s lyrically fantastic. I will say, the foreshadowing to real-life events is a bit eerie, but because Blondie is featured, I guess I’ll let it slide. The story follows a man who has to swallow his pride in order to let go of the woman he loves, because he knows he can’t love her to the depths that she deserves. On par with his versatility pattern, it could very well be an allusion to relationships where one party still has lingering feelings for someone else, and they decide to cut ties with the current partner. Regardless, it’s a uniquely selfless song (considering the artist), and I’d give it a 9/10, including the added point for Blondie.

– Shouldn’t Matter But It Does –
This song came as a specific recommendation, and honestly I’m still kind of mad about it, because I did not need to wallow in this for as long as I did. It reminisces the end of a relationship and his hesitation to admit how he feels. Arguably, it’s one of his most complex lyric compositions, balancing ideas of toxic masculinity, blame, regret, and the white-knuckle grip you can have to something of the past. Most importantly, he focuses on his own introspection, asking himself why he’s still struggling and why he feels the way he does. He beats himself up about having normal human emotions, and it speaks volumes about the way men’s mental health is approached in society. Overall, 10/10, no exaggeration.

– Something Like Olivia –
Great, so this song is, in fact, the polar opposite of the selflessness observed in “Half of My Heart.” It speaks from the perspective of a man who spends his time searching for someone, particularly a woman similar to the one he speaks about in the song. She very clearly has a boyfriend, and he doesn’t act upon his desire for her, but his allowance for mental roaming is… questionable. However, the longing for someone who is similar to someone else is a quite universal experience, so I can’t really fault him for that. Despite being somewhat unethical and selfish, it’s a fantastic reflection of human flaws and our tendency to want things, but having the moral consciousness not to act on it. I’d give it a solid 7.5/10.

Part II available upon request…

an adhd reader’s executive dysfunction

my original title was going to be “wow i need to read more,” but i think that speaks too much for itself and leave’s no room for writer’s interpretation. while the writing department has blessed my eager heart with great literature from my peers, it has left me with a generous second and a half of free time weekly, which is not nearly enough to read a book that isn’t obligatory. 

however, i have gotten into some really good music lately, and i’ve conjured up some recommendations (pulled directly from: my fall 2021 playlist)

better friends – abby cates
“better friends that won’t remind me I’m a bit alone, better characters who maybe won’t let me down,”
little repetitive, but honestly a vibe. explores the themes of needing to feel understood by those around you. it addresses the inner thoughts of someone who feels like an outcast, even within their friend groups.

army – lauren weintraub
“my friends all say i dodged a bullet, but they don’t even know it, no… i dodged the whole damn army,”
unreleased as of right now, this is sadly not released, except for a 30ish second excerpt on lauren’s tik tok. it has a vibe that crosses avril lavigne with hayley williams, and i’m not even mad about it – i’m just excited for the release date.

tartarus – ghostemane
“let me put kerosene all on my past and let it all go up in flames,”
less lyrically inept, but a good song to have in the background for getting ready in the mornings, being in the shower, mindless tasks and the like.

lotta true crime – penelope scott
“y’know dennis rayder and david parker ray actually sit together in hell, shaking, quaking, terrified that someday, somehow, someway– they might meet me,”
this song has been trending on tik tok for a while, but that absolutely has no effect on its value. she goes into why she listens to true crime (presumably podcasts or youtube videos) and why it’s way deeper than the surface.

two week notice – leanna firestone
“if you wanted to freelance, i don’t know why you ever applied to a 9-5,”
leanna firestone is also an artist from tik tok, but she has so much talent. this song compares an old relationship to being “his job,” using a two week notice as a parallel to how things changed before the actual breakup. she also uses “better hours or better pay,” as a means to say that someone else will take less of his time or worth more than her, and “better management” as a way to say the new girl might be easier to deal with. overall, great use of metaphors and other figurative language.

hmu if u don’t like me – ashley kutcher
“my love language is destructive, i want guys who just want nothing,”
inspired by a tweet from blackbear, this song is applicable to so many situations that people find themselves in, particularly the idea of only wanting people who don’t want you back. however, many of the lyrics can apply to being in a situationship that you don’t want to be in, being afraid of relationships, and just generally having really bad taste.

washing machine heart – mitski
“i know who you pretend i am,”
yet another example of me stealing lauren’s brand, this song is about entering a relationship that you know will destroy you, but doing it anyways. particularly, it’s two views of a relationship where someone is not wholeheartedly invested in the other person – just the feeling of it. 

i think that’s everything i have for today, but stay tuned for my really bad music takes sometime soon – hey, maybe i’ll recover from the bullying and uncover some good country ones. 

spilled milk… or water

figurative language is not my strong suit. now, i can read, write, and otherwise comprehend it well, but i haven’t always been able to. i always struggled particularly with popular idioms that had no real significance.

for example, i grew up with one of pretty much everything: mom, dad, sister, brother, cat, and dog. my parents would always talk about my sister and i fighting like cats and dogs, and i was confused because… my pets hadn’t fought a day in their lives. come to find out, it was just an expression and i was just autistic. 

i also never understood the “don’t cry over spilled milk” sentiment.

last night, i sat in the cafeteria, playing a video game. granted, it was a humiliating one because it was made for literal children, which led a few of my friends to be very concerned about my mental well-being (and rightfully so). two friends sat down while questioning my life choices (i don’t blame them), and right in the middle of the cafeteria at an underwhelming 8:45 at night, i started sobbing. not for no reason, there were circumstances, but there didn’t appear to be. 

my two friends tried to console me, but nothing helped. i sat there playing my game for an hour longer, trying to distract myself from what was going on in my crumbling life. to no avail. and so, i spent the rest of the night after curfew… still crying. it seems i’ve been doing a lot of that lately; final exams are tough, as well as settling with the realization that our seniors are leaving. i’m not sure if anyone feels this as deeply as i do, but i’m not ready for the beginning of next year without the people who are closest to me. 

this morning, i woke up early. i snoozed my alarm for 10 minutes, then forced myself out of bed to take a shower and do my makeup. i was doing okay, until the realization of last night set in. i decided i had spent too much time on my makeup to be crying it off so early in the morning, and i went on with my day. i walked to first block.

i could feel a familiar throbbing in my forehead, that i quickly reached for a tylenol to subdue. i opened my water bottle, and as i reached for my bag, promptly knocked over the open water bottle. 

to put it simply, that was the last straw. that was the morning equivalent of dropping your keys in front of your door, of getting all the way home before realizing they got your order wrong, of going to the pool and realizing you didn’t bring a towel. 

i started sobbing in the middle of the ji hallway, which was not my proudest moment. river and gracie helped me soak everything up with mediocre paper towels from the bathroom, all while telling me it was okay and that it was just water. i thought back to when my mom told me “don’t cry over spilled milk,” as a metaphor, and i always thought it was stupid. again, the figurative language thing, as well as not knowing what spilled milk was actually a metaphor of.

i felt the dampness of the wooden boards, and i finally understood. you CAN cry over spilled milk. because it’s not just milk: it’s your scratched floor, the glass that just broke, the money you spent on those things. everything leads up to a tiny moment that can send you spiraling. don’t overwork yourself. allow yourself to be as graceful with your mistakes as you are with others. and remember that what’s done is done.