It was the start of the second semester of my first year at Kenyon, and like many first years, I felt that my life on campus needed to embellished. Many of my peers turned to Kenyon’s Greek community, but I didn’t think that was the right choice for me, primarily because of my general fear of men. But in the week after Rush Week, I saw an announcement encouraging me to rush the Thrill.
It all started this summer. I was at the gym back home as part of my resolution to get “bikini body ready” to show all of my Kenyon comrades that I beat the crap out of the “freshman fifteen.” As I’m running on the elliptical and sweatin’ my little heart out, I receive a text from one of my good friends. She wants to start a radio show for our sophomore year. We spend the rest of the summer exchanging ideas, sharing articles, and watching podcasts to get inspired. This is what I need, I whisper, a wholesome sophomore year.
Next month, it will have been a year.
In early March of my senior year of high school, winter was shedding its layers and readying itself to welcome spring. But, before it bid the town of Montclair, New Jersey goodbye, winter offered us one last shot at a snow day. Word of the upcoming weather spread quickly. Two days away from the forecast, children across the school district feverishly checked snowdaycalculator.com to validate their hopes. I was one of those children. At 10:15, I got a notification from a classmate, Cameron. He had posted a screenshot from snowdaycalculator.com in the Facebook group of my graduating class. The post read, “Fingers crossed!” followed by a predicted 63% chance for a snow day two days away. I grinned, unabashedly revealing a mouthful braces to the glow of my computer screen. My mind whirred with excitement, and as fan of comedy and attention in general, I wracked my brain for a joke to comment on Cameron’s post. That’s when all hell broke loose.
I am a woman of simple pleasures. I enjoy sleeping in late on Sunday afternoons to find that my eyeliner has smeared all over my pillow case. I take pleasure in the smell of freshly wet, musty clothes I attempt to dry in the Old K laundry room. I like the bitter, burnt taste of the coffee from Peirce. I like life. Life is good. But I apparently hate myself.
The smoking habit follows a simple trajectory: I smoked while drunk. I would hit up literally anyone available on the patios at parties for a cig, and I’d shame myself in the morning for doing so. I am an independent woman! I shouldn’t be asking anyone for a cigarette! So I bought my own. Soon I found myself smoking while walking to class. Now I find myself smoking outside the library hoping my life morphs into a Greta Gerwig film.
I’ve never considered myself an “art person.” I cannot draw, I cannot paint. I do not have any stick and poke tattoos. I don’t wear those clogs, I don’t carry a Fjallraven Kanken. I like art, I suppose. I’ve been to the MoMA, I’ve nodded and hummed when my friends would comment on “the real message” behind feces smeared on a wall. I am currently enrolled in two art classes, one that counts towards my film major, Digital Imaging and one for fun, Book Arts. I like these classes. I like collaging and taking saucy selfies and photoshopping fire coming out of my eyes. If that is considered art, then so be it. If that is art, then I can do it. Heck, I can even minor in it!
There you have it. I am a girl who constantly wears a trench coat who has a nose ring and an eyebrow piercing. I am a girl who constantly appears to be slightly pissed off, who wears a lot of black, who uses a Glossier pouch as a pencil case. I am a girl you will see smoking outside the library, outside Horvitz. I am a stereotype. I am finally self-aware.
I don’t ask for much. I live a humble, virtuous life, as any Kenyon student should. I don’t put silverware on the dirty-dish conveyer belt, and I replenish my roommates’ Synder’s of Hanover brand Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Pieces supply after routine fits of rage-fueled snacking. I am a woman of god. But, in spite of it all, I was the sole person to sign up for the craft center’s fabric painting class, so it got cancelled. Continue reading