Academia Crushes Intellectual Curiosity

These past couple days have been a bittersweet time off from school. On the one hand, the stresses of the past semester should be lifted from my shoulders as I indulge in the holidays, but on the other, more overpowering, hand, all of my irritation regarding school seems to only have been amplified by the newfound time to process the absurdity of it all. Although I've come to this conclusion a while back, this past, unnecessarily grueling semester has reinforced my finding that academia crushes intellectual curiosity. Formal education simply leaves no room for independent thinking. As a rather young, self-proclaimed intellectual, I have experienced many instances in my academic career where creativity in thought could have been useful, but was instead discouraged by the system. Now, I don't completely mean to fuck the system, but sometimes I feel there is no other option. My creative interpretation regarding assignments is graded far more harshly than that of my peers, who merely restate both the question and teachings rather than form their own opinions. Although I'm not exactly one who cares about grades, I do genuinely care about learning, which is why I'm disappointed in a system that only punishes my curiosity. 

I take various honors courses and two languages, which gives me a rather busy schedule and doesn't allow for all A's, but my peers who maintain perfect marks in all their (easy) classes are infinitely praised. I don't crave special recognition or praise and school wouldn't be a frustration for me if it didn't take up so much time and effort. I know I sound like any other average lazy teenager here, but bare with me as I rant. 

My high school is a wonderful, accepting environment and I'm extremely lucky to be there. I don't deny it. But (and there always is a but because no situation is perfect), I find it's crushing out a lot of individuality and molding us into super-children, consisting of a high drive for academics, sports, and sociability. I created this space before high school with very clear opinions and goals regarding my future. Since entering high school, not only have I had less time to explore my well-defined passions, but I've found myself changing into a different person, only to reset to my true self during periods of break and desolation such as now. Ultimately, I'm scared to loose sight of myself and my interests. I know where I want to be in ten years, but I've no idea at all what will come between that time. At the beginning of high school (I'm now in my second year), I determined that my purpose in high school was not to "find myself" but to find where I fit in the world. Right now, that means being true to myself within the inevitably strict social constructs of an American high school. 

Instagram art, embodying my current mood.


This weekend, my father and I painted a huge "I'm With Her" sign to go outside our house. I posted a picture with the same message. I went against dress code by wearing my Hillary shirt to school. I engaged and challenged students, hell, even teachers. Not because I felt like Hillary needed the support, but because I was confident in her becoming our first woman president. I checked the polls religiously and was reassured by the projected 80% chance she would win. I was ready, excited, and positive that Hillary Clinton would become our next president, the first woman. I rejoiced in the idea of feeling metaphorical shards of glass raining down on my face as she shattered the glass ceiling. As I went to sleep Tuesday night, at approximately one, I felt uneasy with the numbers coming in, but dreamt of miracle headlines proclaiming Hillary's last minute win. I could see it.

Then I woke up.

I checked CNN, Instagram, and Snapchat, truly unable to process what I was seeing. All I've seen for the past year mocked Trump for his inadequacy and stupidity, not to mention racism, xenophobia, sexism, misogyny, and words of pure hate, yet now he was suddenly elected president. This all got very real very fast. Donald Trump has won the presidency. I cried. My mother tried to comfort me, saying that he wouldn't be able to execute all his ridiculous promises. But it's not actually him that I'm afraid of. I'm scared of our country, of the people who elected him. All of his words of racism, xenophobia, sexism, misogyny, and pure hate, even if not true, attracted more than half of my country. If that is where America stands, this country built on inclusivity and diversity, then we've a long while to go before we are great again. 

For the past year and a half, I was proudly with her and I'm still with her. I will always stand by Hillary and all she fought for. She may not have won the presidency or demolished the glass ceiling, but what she stood for and achieved will not be forgotten. Trump degrades women, Hillary makes me proud to be one. There are infinitely more cracks in that glass ceiling, in fact, I think I can even see a little light coming through. In this time of mourning and shock for America, we must remember that we are Stronger Together.

In Appreciation of the Jolie Laide & More

Humans exist constantly in search for beauty. We have a natural fascination with beauty, and the strange combination of both power and vulnerability that comes in hand with beauty. People will always gravitate towards whatever the society's standard of perfect beauty is, but at the same time there will always be a place for perfect imperfections. Little details that may be seen as "ugly" when compared to the standard, but make the person or object in question wholly beautiful. Regarding people, the type of beauty we naturally seek most eagerly, the unpolished details set truly beautiful people apart from the cookie-cutter copies of society's standard. Imperfections make room for emotion and character when it comes to beauty. The French have always been a culture to appreciate their little differences, coining the term jolie laide (literally, "pretty ugly") and embracing it.

As a young female in the thick of her teenage years, I can understand the appeal of perfection. But I also see the beauty in the jolie laide and wish to be nothing more. At this point in my life, I'm observing the world around me and figuring out where I want to fit into it and I don't want to be the cookie cutter definition of perfection. I want to have faults and imperfections, and to love myself, not in spite of the fact, but because of it. This post is a little bit random for the middle of fashion month, but I think it shows a lot about where I am right now. Last year I was ignoring my "personal" self and lived through my laptop and this blog, but these days I've been finding myself in the moment more often. And it's been beautiful. Teenage-hood is frustrating and intense and superficial and I can't say I'm enjoying every second of it but I am most certainly living every second of it to the fullest of my ability.

I'm living my own coming-of-age novel before I get old and boring and need to romanticize and capitalize my experiences :)

Frida, one of my very favorite jolie laides

this photo from tumblr

I took this photo at Nan Goldin's Ballad of Sexual Dependency at MoMA. Beautifully moving and intense photos, truly memorable; I cried in the dark of the photo show. (My teenage hormones and emotional perspective is all over the place, mind you, but the show is still moving nonetheless.)

Fashion; It's Personal

This blog is about fashion. I have been blogging less frequently. Does that mean I'm less interested/dedicated/involved in fashion? Absolutely not. For pretty much the first time in my life, I'm living, and not vicariously through a screening of someone else's. I feel youthful and hopeful, and busy in all the right ways. And where clothing is concerned, I've been exploring and curating styles that reflect my newfound sense of youth and also my mature inclination. 

Although undocumented in this space, fashion still remains an enormous part of my life, only perhaps a bit more personal. In the past, I've used this blog as a space to express my opinions on the fashion world and all the tiny moving parts that make it - from runway reviews to business moves. However, my current relationship with fashion is more personal - my own curation and references to fit my life. As a teenager and high school student, my interests are inevitably changing and developing. But fashion still remains and will most likely always, by virtue of clothes existing as a necessity and my intrinsic attraction to beautiful things.

Thrifted Miu Miu heels, fishnet stockings, and frayed jeans. A look indeed.