Thursday, May 28, 2009
i'm done with you sweaty hallways.
i'm done with you close-mided squares.
i'm done with high school.
i have no right to go to prom tomorrow.
kids like me don't have prom movies made
except like, well
pretty in pink, or
ten things i hate about you, or
movies like that.
where the girl has a date
and goes through some major emotional/internal change
for/with that date.
do they make movies about girls that go "stag"?
i haven't seen them.
my mind is racing,
saying "you wanted to do the prom thing,
but you're doing it wrong!"
i'm not getting my hair done.
or my nails done.
or a spray tan (despite the obvious t-shirt tan).
i don't have a matching purse
for her to wear tomorrow night.
i don't care about those things.
i hate them.
other girls care about them.
and i cannot be other girls.
because i am an "other" girl.
and some girls who i sort of hang around,
who i don't like that much
but they accept me,
are doing the prom thing.
they're renting a limo
and buying dresses
and getting manicures
and meeting up before prom to do each other's
hair and make-up
and then they're getting in the limo and driving around
and taking pictures.
this is all well and good.
but it makes me feel like,
see, emma, even weird girls do prom up properly.
a wonderfully interesting person,
(who i guess i look up to a little)
did prom up right,
with the dress and
the growing her hair out,
and i wouldn't call her conventional
in any sense.
see, emma, even weird girls do up prom proprerly.
so my mind is saying
"what right do you have to go to prom?"
and then it throws its hip out and crosses its arms and sticks out its lower lip as though to ask,
"you wanna fight me on this, girl?"
occasionally my mind wins,
and i slouch away and leave her proudly high fiving her tough, popular friends
with manicured hands.
like this very moment when i am typing this,
i scream, "hell yeah, i wanna fight!"
and we don't get in to a physical fight
but rather we just stand tall and take turns speaking loudly.
i'm getting a dress.
i have to finish my dress tomorrow morning.
i found the perfect shoes!
ha. maybe tomorrow morning i'll hop on my bike and hit up thrift stores to try find some low heels in a size eleven. (which probably won't be a successful trip.)
i'm doing my hair.
i'm going to shower tonight and sleep on my wet head.
i'm getting a manicure.
i'll wash my hands and scrape the dirt out from under my short, naked nails.
i'm getting my make-up done.
and maybe if i have time tomorrow morning, i'll walk over to walgreens and invest in some new mascara, and cheap red lipstick. which i'll apply in the bathroom of the hotel. that night.
much too bitter.
i hope the music isn't awful.
all i want is to dance.
all i want.
oh yeah, i just remembered footloose. that's a good prom movie. more of a dancing movie. i want prom to be like the end of footloose.
at least that's what i think i should be saying.
but it feels so anti-climactic.
the seniors have to be in and out of school all next week
to prepare for graduation.
today is my last day of school.
so here are notes to some of my fellow classmates.
dear mary-kate, ian, anna, andy, hugh, angelica, and drew,
thank you for being around. thank you for being here. thank you for being so interesting to talk to if only briefly. thank you for talking to me. thank you for seeming to find me interesting. thank you for doing whatever you do.
i'm sorry i didn't know you better. i really am. will you dance with me at prom? can i write you letters in college?
dear christine and alejandra,
thank you for all the time i've spent with you two, together or separate. you are both so smart and aware. i always come away from talking to you wanting to learn more about what you know. thank you for being sensible people and not completely insane like so many high schoolers. simply said: thank you for being almost unspeakably cool.
i don't really feel i have anything to apologize for to you two. i might have liked to know you better, but really i think it worked best that you are more like occasional friends for me.
good luck in college. i hope i run into you at shows in the future.
thank you for being so much fun to hang out with. thank you for being someone i know i can identify with; share stories, share interests, share the uncertainty of being a senior, being eighteen, going to college. thank you for being on costume crew with me all year.
i'm sorry we didn't get to know each other better. i sorry we weren't friends longer. i want to keep in touch with you.
thank you for always being there (where? you know, "there." ?) for me. you are my oldest friend. not age-wise. no no. time-wise. and i am your oldest friend. whatever changed i was always able to know that i would have you. you have always been good and sensible and willing to listen.
i'm sorry that we've drifted a little. i hope we keep in touch next school year. please let's see a lot of each other this summer. i'm sorry if i've ever taken you for granted.
love always and forever, unconditionally,
thank you for trying to love me.
i'm sorry i'm such a coward.
this post is far too nostalgic.
i'm being silly.
Monday, May 25, 2009
nyquil for dessert.
when i finally rolled out of bed it felt like the wrong decision. but then staying horizontal was unpleasant too. so vert it was and my head spun and my eyes were red.
i worked on my prom dress for over three hours today. three hours of cutting and gathering tulle. for those reading this who don't sew, gathering is running a really large machine stitch through the fabring and then pulling one of the threads to make the fabric bunch up. tulle is the poofy netting fabric, commonly use in evening wear to give things poof and structure.
gathering is kind of tedious because you want the gathers to be evenly distributed over the length of the fabric you are gathering, so one place isn't extra poofy and another place is flat. fortunately tulle gathers pretty easily (because of its loose knit) and i didn't care too much about being perfect.
i made a big tulle slip to wear under my prom dress to make the skirt of it huge.
and it sure is huge.
and here's the thing.
i actually kind of like my prom dress!
it's kind of okay!
it looks almost exactly how i wanted it to. (which is good or bad depending on your opinion of my original design.)
it is not the best made dress in the world, true.
and i can't ride my bike in it, so i'd have to stow it in a duffle bag if i bike to prom, but that's alright, then it wouln't get all sweaty.
i'm pretty sure i'm pleased with this dress.
maybe this means prom might be okay after all.
whoa, whoa, whoa, dont' get too high on this dress now. it is kind of itchy.
sure, sure. but it could have been worse.
i though it was going to be much worse.
Friday, May 22, 2009
i'm sure that's what's next.
i've been sick so much this year.
no, not once has it been swine flu.
here are all the incidents i can remember.
1. early january: i walked two miles in single digit temperatures and had a bad head cold and ear ache for a week or so.
2. late february, i think: i went to bloomington-normal for one day. it was very foggy and gray-looking there. i came back with a head cold and lost my voice. this was also the time when sickness swept the neo-futurarium, so when i volunteered that weekend, i fit right in with the pathetic, sniffling group.
3. late march: i was incredibly exhausted one saturday morning, after, oh 5.5 hours of sleep, and i decided to ride my bike, several miles to downtown chicago, in the early morning. when i arriverd where i was going, my nose was running badly. and that was that. sick for a week.
4. late april, early may: as swine flu hits the world, my body develops a head cold. a bad head cold. a plausible theory: stress. i had little shop of horrors to worry about, and then the fashion show, and then some general things that have been wearing on me all year (college; what some might call "relationship" troubles; getting up to go to school every day).
5. mid-may: #4 led to #5, only i think #5 was sort of an allergy thing. i've never had allergies, but i was all stuffy sinuses for a week and my snot was clear, so i wasn't really sick.
6. now: my brother's friend had the not-swine-just-regular-ol' flu. so he got it and still sort of has it. i blame him. i'm not throwing up or anything. and i'm feeling much better today. but i'm just so tired and stuffy and my throat hurts and yesterday every muscle in my body ached (today it's just my neck).
high school is hurting me.
i'm out in three days.
three school days, that is.
what makes me think of this is...
i'm making my prom dress.
and while i'm proud to say that, i'm not proud of how it looks so far. i've had the bodice sewn together for a couple weeks and i sewed the skirt on to it on wednesday night.
and it didn't look that good.
you know in pretty in pink where molly has those two perfectly nice second hand pink dresses and then at the end she synthesises them into some weird pink hybrid disaster, and you find your self shaking your head and saying, "molly, those were lovely things separately, why did you put them together?"
well it's like that.
(okay, sort of backtracking. after writing the above i used google to find a picture of that dress. i think it's kind of okay, now, actually. but when i saw that movie, i definitely thought what i wrote two paragraphs ago.)
each of the fabrics i used are perfectly lovely fabrics on their own: red sequin. blue lace. black lace. black tulle.
but not together. oh it was so hard to put that dress in and stand in my full length mirror and see that 1) the skirt was totally see through, a problem i did not think of and should remedy. and 2) i looked slightly pregnant. and 3) it just didn't look right, an odd choice of fabric and cut.
and i just shook my head and thought "emma, those things were lovely separately, why did you put them together?"
but i'm not going to do it all over.
i'm going to work with it.
why, just today i thought of something different from my original idea (which i've been pretty recklessly following) that makes a whole lot more sense.
i'm kind of grossed out at how much i've been thinking about prom lately. though i probably think about it a lot less than most of my classmates, it's still too much for me.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
remember, try to think positive.
i'm going to wear mascara to prom. i decided that a couple days ago. i don't wear make-up on a daily basis, so mascara is a big deal.
last night, while babysitting i figured out how to work the stereo and put on jeff buckley's cd grace and listened to his cover of "halellujah" many, many times. i was really tired and i was trying really hard not to just totally drift off to sleep, because if i fell asleep, the house would most surely catch fire and... well, you know the rest.
but that song, specifially, that cover is just to beautiful and i thought,
this would be a lovely sort of last song to play at prom.
i would find some one who didn't have a date
and we would head to the dance floor, wrapped in each others' arms
and gently sway and feel our chests breathing against the other's.
and that would totally save my prom night.
i had to leave at the end of the third inning.
my school was up 6-to-2 when i left.
they won 12-to-2,
which means that the other team didn’t score anymore.
they looked sloppy next to my school.
an outfielder and the third baseman
had a total fourth grade moment
where they both called the ball and
then they backed into each other
and both dropped the ball. ha.
this is the closest i’ve ever come to school pride.
i wish i played softball.
Monday, May 18, 2009
or it's like pre-nostalgia.
like, i haven't finished high school
and i just have to check a few things off the
to-do list in the next eight school days.
today i hope to check off "watch girls' softball game".
(not the whole game unfortunately, i have to babysit this evening, and will have to leave early).
i always wanted to play softball.
i never tried out for the team though.
a tiny part of me wishes i was a jock.
a large part of me wishes i was more physically capable.
i can't touch my toes.
don't worry, i have toes to touch, so i suppose i'm capable,
just not actually able.
i make decent time around the city
on my bicycle.
i probably couldn't even make the softball team, though.
i'm not bad at softball.
softball and floor hockey were always my favorite sports in gym class. i was always one of the last kids picked, becausei had no friends and didn't appear to be good at sports.
fair enough. i didn't take it hard. i probably wouldn't have picked me either.
but i still remember one time in sophomore year, on the first day of the softball unit,when i got up to bat i hit a double or a single (i wasn't/still am not a good runner)
and one of the athletic girls on my team, standing to the side, remarked,
"dang, emma's good!"
or something of that equivalent.
yes, i thought to myself, i am.
i hit the ball. i got on base. not all of the kids (and certainly not all of the girls)
picked before me had done that.
thanks, dad and brother.
i've always had a baseball glove.
i don't like leather but i'm proud of my baseball glove.
i spend time every summer working on my catching and throwing
with my polar-oppostie jock of a little brother
(who just recently stands two or three full inches taller than me).
if i was on the softball team, i wouldn't even be the weird girl.
i'd be different, sure, but everyone would be.
if i was on the basketball team, i would sitck out like a sore thumb.
but on the softball team, people would just notice that i don't look good in baseball caps.
i'm not on the softball team.
i don't have a team.
i don't have a group.
i don't have a playoff game to win today.
i'm just going to watch and cheer, hopefully for a few innings, before i have to leave and break the illusion of caring about high school.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
and it's not because i necessarily disapprove of these things, i don't, but i also just haven't done them.
so as a high school senior, i do feel like a bit of a failure on the teenager front. but, whatever, i accept this failure.
occasionally though, i find myself in a situation so utterly teenage that it makes me giggle. yesterday i had one of these teenage moments. i had been at an open mic at school where my friend and his buddies took the stage with no set plan. they played noise, screamed, and my friend stripped down to his boxers and socks, all in about ten minutes.
then he and his friend offered to drive me home and i accepted and we listened to a nirvana cassette in his friend's car. i repeat: a nirvana cassette in his friend's car.
i'm kind of unused to not having an "adult" (read: someone i'd rather not be in a car with) around when i'm in a car, because, as i said before, i don't have a license. but in so many great teen movies, cars are so important. so there's that. and then nirvana. god, how, i don't know, teenager. i realize that "teenager" as an adjective sucks, but i'm too teenager to care.
wouldn't this moment be much more perfect if i was sixteen?, i thought, if i was a more suburban kid, and my parents had given me car keys for my sixteenth birthday? yes, yes but the city has stunted my teenager and now i ride quietly around on my bicycle.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
how do you tell someone you want to be friends with them?
can you just say, let's write letters to each other from college.
and when we come home in the winter, we'll go to the movies. and ice skate. and drink tea. and pretend we're polar bears, when we're really just mid-westerners. we'll hibernate in our cave of modest, modern comfort, with pen and paper and words between us.
and you'll be a friend from high school, even though we weren't friends in high school.
i want this kid's letters.
i want to write him letters.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
after i had put the kids
to bed, i sat in the
kitchen of the family i
babysit for and tried
to write a note
for my ma.
a note on the back of
a postcard from the
chicago history museum
with a gorgeous silk 1925 day dress
by gabrielle "coco" chanel
on the front. i thought she
might wear that dress, given the chance.
it was a mother's day note
and a thank you
note. "thank you for trying
to make sense of me and
the convoluted college
application and admission process."
and then i needed to end it.
three little words. which three?
"happy mother's day" is trite,
and i'd already written it
and it wasn't what
i wanted to say, anyway.
"thanks so much"?
nah, too impersonal.
"i love you."
oh my gosh, is that
what i should write?
that sounds like the right
way to end it.
it's personal and short and sweet
and not overused by my mouth.
"i love you."
i started to cry.
that must mean something.
my left hand, my writing hand,
shook, hesitant. do i mean it?
and the 3-year-old wandered
out for more milk.
"i love you."
back to it.
if i'm crying, if i'm
this terrified of three
little words, so carelessly flung
about by teenagers and pop singers,
does that mean i mean them?
"i love you."
i wrote it fast.
i wrote it , ma!
i wrote it.
i wrote it with tears on my cheeks.
you're gonna freak, ma.
you'll know that i mean it when i say it.
"i love you."
sunday morning you read those
words. over the table cloth
of circulars and the new york times.
i watched your eyes, from the other side
of the table. your eyes teared and
you stood up, arms out, a hug for me.
"i love you."
you said, arms around me.
"i love you, too," i said
for the first time in many months.
you were crying. trying not to.
i knew you would.
"i love you."
you told me the last time i said it,
when we both burst into tears,
that you loved my honesty,
meaning that, you knew
i wouldn't say it unless i meant it,
and you couldn't wait for that day.
"i love you."
i don't know if i meant it.
i don't know what it means.
but it made me cry,
the thought of you reading
those words, so that must
"i love you."
well my mix-tape
didn't matter after that.
later you said, "thank you
for my mix-tape and
i love my card."
i'm pretty sure you'll be saving that card for a long, long time.
Friday, May 8, 2009
there are several reasons. one is the summer camp sort of fear that i won’t have any friends or fun and i won’t like who i am and that sort of thing. i think everyone suffers from that at least a little bit.
then there’s the money thing and how if i had just one year’s worth of college tuition and a library card a lot of what i need and want to learn.
but here, i think, is the biggest reason.
all my life i’ve been told that i was “smart.” i went to a statistically really good public elementary school and then got into a really good “selective” jr. high high school-prep program at the same public high school that i’ll be graduating from in june. the two schools consistently rank in the top three in the city, state, whatever, i’m not sure, but the pricipals always have something to brag about.
so always, always, even in elementary school, it has been assumed that my peers and i would go to college, would “major” in something. every day as i walk through school i am flooded with college propaganda. university posters with smiling students, green grass, and regally printed names decorate the counselors’ windows. students from jr. high upwards dress themselves in the clothing of schools they have no intention to attend. college has always been the assumed next step. we are supposed to set our sights on high test scores and dream schools with grad school and doctorates fuzzy ideals for a perfect career and “successful” life within that world we are schooled in.
it is this kind of expectation that makes me ask as a two-year-old might “whhyyy?” what can college give me so much better than the books at the public library, the world, and myself? why do you not acknowledge that it is not necessary to live within the confines of the tried-and-true/tried-and-oft-flawed world, as long as you assume responsibility and conscious choice for your break. i understand that teachers want the best for their students – at least, the good ones do, probably, and many a teacher probably thinks that college is best for their students. i mean, their hope for our higher education probably is genuine, not meant with a closed mind. once, i was talking with this one english teacher who i haven’t had a class with, but she helped out with the drama club. i was telling her about my uncertainty as to whether or not college was the a good idea, and she said somewhere in our conversation something like, “even if you don’t go right away, i think you’ll find that sometime you’ll want the challenge that college has to offer.” i like this teacher. she started as a student teacher and then took over the position of a teacher on maternity leave. so she started kind of on our level, the students’ level, we chatted and joked with her at rehearsals. i felt like i was able to talk to her easier than other teachers, not in a super-intense mentoring way, just friendly. and somehow her above statement just felt personal and it didn’t make me mad, i guess because she acknowledged that college was optional.
the title of this blog is about this dilemma.
okay fine, it’s a line from “suggestion” by fugazi, by it struck me hard one day when I was listening to the song.
i feel like all my life, i’ve just been carrying on, like they taught me, working through the logical steps.
so it’s worrying me and depressing me a little that i’m going to take the next step. i’m not being any different. i’m one of the over five hundred of my graduating class taking the next step. a part of the mass, a mass i have spent four years with and will, in statistic, spend at least one more year.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
i entered the school theatre as an audience member.
not as an actor.
not as a techie.
not as a girl playing fashion designer.
this night in the theatre was happening independent of me.
and i entered the theatre alone. i found myself a seat in my favorite spot: a few rows up, dead center.
the show began twenty minutes late. but when it finally began, it blew me away. there were over twenty numbers and each was totally different. some were big; some were small. some were choreographed by teachers, some by students. most told a story. i hadn’t ever thought of choreographers as playwrights, but that’s basically what they are, just in a different realm of performance. and i hadn’t really realized that dance was so …emotional, i guess would be the best word, i mean, i knew it could be a vehicle for story, for emotion, but somehow that just wasn’t a reality that’d i’d seen happen. i hadn’t really thought about the dance department at my school much either. they’re there. they have a room with a hard wood floor and mirrored walls. students wear leotards in that room. actually, the dancers are probably much like the theatre kids. we feel under appreciated by our peers and walk through the halls unknown. we have a different kind of space that we gather in.
i have a great amount of respect for dancers (i did even before i saw the show). i like that a dancer’s body is her instrument, that if you have a body, you can dance. same with singing. if you have a voice, you can sing. in a way they both feel like very pure and natural art forms. there is no need for brushes or paint or paper – the skill, the art, the finished product are all contained within one universal instrument: the human body, and that’s pretty cool.
but dancers have it rough. on average they are the lowest paid artists and their instrument wears out quicker and more painfully than other artists’. that seems somehow unfair. as a side note: i would really like to see a chorus line which is currently on stage downtown.
but shall i tell you about the show? well, a few of the numbers were pretty amazing in their spectacle. in how those dancers made their bodies move so perfectly in sync or how impressive a certain move was. dancers are artists and athletes.
two numbers in particular really affected me. the first was titled “carpe diem.” it started with three groups on the stage – three circles of maybe eight or ten dancers each, with a singer in the middle. everyone was dressed in black. it was the only number with live music. the song was “will I?” from rent, it was so beautiful. i’m not even a big rent fan or anything, i saw the movie and it was really good and all, I just mean that the fact that the song was from rent didn’t really make a difference to me. the singers sang beautifully and in between the sung parts were what I guess are recordings of the lines from rent. i remember this one moment when the recorded lines said something like “she hit rock bottom,” and a group of dancers were drifting across the stage and every now and then one would fall and the rest would turn and catch her in their arms and buoy her back to her feet. and it was so simple and sad and beautiful. and the song was about the future and the now and “carpe diem” messages always make me think. and i started to cry.
i didn’t mean to, i was just thinking and all of the sudden a tear hit my chest and more were sliding down my cheeks and my nose was running. i wiped my eyes and smeared tears all over my face. i couldn’t believe i was crying. but it was so beautiful. i felt a little silly and loud, wiping my eyes and sniffling, but i decided that i didn’t care.
then later, another number made me cry. it was the “senior tribute.” all of the seniors took the stage in coordinated tops and danced a dance they had choreographed themselves. by the end several were crying. i guess i started to cry again because i know how that feels. you walk through the halls and no one knows you’re a dancer and yet you work so hard for the show, the art and you worry and fret and sometimes you say you can’t wait until it’s all over, can’t wait until you’re out of school, and then you’re actually finally onstage and your show is over and you would give anything in the world just to do it one more time.
i wondered what rituals the dancers have before they take the stage. are there hugs and huddles and prayers? there must be warm ups. i wondered what memories they have built for themselves backstage. i have so many memories on and off that stage. the wings hold secrets. the backstage holds tears and hugs and dirt. and anger. when the director wasn’t around, a lot of venting happened. the theatre was a second home, one of the few places in school where I felt okay, welcome. i know that stage so well. i don’t like how it looks very much. big and clunky, too far from the audience. but when watching the dancers on it, i thought it was almost a perfect stage because the dances weren’t about the subtlety of a facial expression, they were more about the grandeur or subtlety of movement of the body. so it was also interesting to see the proscenium stage used well for the first time almost ever. and it kind of made me sad that i was thought the dancers were using the stage so much more beautifully than the drama club. it kind of made me wish i had another chance on that stage.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
hand-knit sweater and purple corduroys.
for that dress, i cut a t-shirt off, added darts, and sewed a skirt to it. the skirt has pockets. i really like this dress. the vest is hand knit and oh! i wish i had a picture of the back because that's the cool part! the back is diagonally sliced in half, the upper right half is light blue (like the right side) and the lower left half is dark blue (like the left side). black crocheted trim on all the edges. i love this vest (it was going to be a cardigan) but it is too big on me and the acrylic fabric is kind of stiff, which doesn't mean it falls nicely. i think it looks better in this model, though that's not a very good picture.
inbetween the look with the vest and the next dress was another dress. it was a mini dress with pockets (i love pockets!). the middles (front and back) were white stretch knit (so it wouldn't need a zipper and could just stretch on) and one side was purple and the other was blue. it was very cute and kind of mod-looking.
this is not a very good picture. here is that floral again.
the last look was a black mini skirt (pocketed, of course) with a pink short sleeve blouse tucked into it. the blouse was pleated at the collar and had bit of a stand up collar. i liked it and someone told me when i was wearing it, i looked like a 1950s roller skating, soda fountain girls. at least i think that was what she meant, she didn't say it very well. over the blouse i put a blazer that i had made from that same floral fabric.
well there you have it, my first collection in review. i was pretty pleased. it certainly wasn't the most impressive (technically or visually) sight to take the stage, but i really like all of the things i made.
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- notes of thank-you and apology.
- things could be worse, after all they have been.
- once more, with feeling.
- i don't know what i'm talking about.
- a prom fantasy (because, yes, i am going to prom a...
- grrrls' softball update
- i'm going to go watch softball today.
- my utterly teenage moment, two years late.
- mother's day 2009
- another college post
- sometimes i love teenagers.
- the stage.
- somedays i sew.
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