Saturday, June 30, 2012

I had the best idea of my very short post-grad life today.

And it's already playing out fabulously. This morning while I was deep conditioning my hair, it occurred to me that it has been almost a month since I graduated. I was thinking about what I've done in this first almost-month, and feeling pretty smug: I had witnessed the doctor tell my mother that she's now cancer-free, successfully grilled food at a huge BBQ in my little sister's honor, gone place-to-live hunting, been chosen as my new housemates' first choice, been approved for the lease all by myself with no cosigner, bargain shopped for new home essentials, hung out with a few friends from home, vegged out on my couch for days, moved, unpacked, grocery shopped, made dinners that wowed my housemates and turned into lunches that my coworkers were jealous of, been complimented on my outfit nearly every day by at least one person, had two guys ask for my number while I was walking home from work, and received commendations on my work at work from someone else with my job title and then, through my direct supervisor, from a senior survey researcher who is evidently quite hard to please. My boss said, and I quote, "If you can please [name redacted], you can please anyone at [my company]." I had transitioned fairly painlessly to the 7:30am to 12:30am lifestyle. I'd experimented with my hair to find cute styles for work. I'd cleaned my entire house from kitchen to bedroom. Was there anything I hadn't done? 

And then I thought of all the people I hadn't talked to, and my sense of accomplishment dwindled a little. I was keeping in regular contact with KS (text and AIM) and EY (Skype and text). I'd talked to SO (gchat) and DG (facebook chat) a few times, JB (gchat) and JA (an actual phone call) once. But they're a tiny fragment of the people who are important to me from my life at Princeton. They're certainly not the only people to whom I meant it when I said that we'd keep in touch. 

So how to fix this? I could be like RG and call people randomly, but, while I appreciate that, it can feel a little intrusive. (When did that happen? Phone calls used to be what I lived for. Oh, the days of middle and high schools.) Okay, so not random phone calls. Or, yes random phone calls, but only to people with whom I'm close enough that intrusion is welcome.

Then I thought about all the people I saw on gchat/Facebook chat/Skype every day and didn't click on their names to have a conversation with them. It's like there's some line I established somewhere between people I'm allowed to just talk about anything/nothing/whatever with, to shoot the proverbial shit with, and some people I have to have something to say to in order to message. As no sooner had that thought completed itself than I realized the degree to which it is utter and complete bullshit. And it's the exact brand of bullshit that causes people to never ever keep in touch. 

I have a simple message for the world. Though I don't like it as an initial message on dating sites, between friends or close acquaintances who haven't talked in a while, "Hey! What's up?!" is something to say. "How'd moving to [insert city here] go?" is something to say. "How's your new job?" is something to say. "How are you entertaining yourself before grad school?" is something to say. Yes catch-up conversations can feel a little interview-y, but would you rather feel like you're asking too many questions or have to have a two hour conversation next year at reunions because you haven't spoken at all? In reality, you're not going to want to waste two hours of partying, which means you could never have that two hour conversation (which will need to become longer and longer as more time passes). 

So, new rule: If I see someone that I call a friend (rather than someone I call "this girl/guy I know") pop up on gchat or Facebook chat and I haven't communicated with this friend in some form in the last two weeks, I must message them just to say hey. To see what's up. To shoot the shit. I'm going to say hi because there's no reason not to, and every reason to. The best way to stay in to stay in touch. You don't have to play catch-up if you never leave "the know". So I want to stay there with as many people as I can.

Since this afternoon, I've had conversations with four people that I care about, but might not have talked to for months or longer if I thought I needed something specific to say to them. I feel so plugged in to the world right now. I didn't realize how much I felt like I was living on an island away from everyone I know. But just like that, in ten minutes of catching up, I remember all the bridges we've mad and feel so connected. The simple joys of just saying hey.              

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

True life: I had a man get down on his knees yesterday to beg me for my number.

Yes, I caved and gave it to him. He was on his knees. No, I haven't decided whether I'll pick up if/when he calls. Entertainment potential seems high, but he also seems excessively clingy...

Is it just me, or is this being an adult thing easier than expected?

Granted, I've been at it for a grand total of four days now, so everything I have to say should be taken with a grain of salt, but hear me out. So buying everything for my move? Between thrift stores, Ross, and Marshall's, #MayatheBargainHunter had no problems. My mother, grandmother, and uncle graciously helped me with the actual moving, and in four years of dorm rooms, I've become a pro at unpacking and decorating in a day or so. My mom and grandma also took me on an initial grocery run and trip to Target to buy, among other things, an ironing board, because that would have been awkward to take on the metro. But then on Saturday afternoon around 4:30, they got on the road and here I was, alone in my new house in DC, establishing myself as an independent young woman and shit. 

...And everything was fine. I cleaned the kitchen and then went upstairs to continue unpacking. I found out that my housemate wasn't coming home that night and didn't freak out about it (much). I went to sleep at a reasonable bedtime. The next day, I woke up at 7:48 and went on a three-and-a-half hour cleaning spree. It involved stainless steel cleaner, window cleaner, Fantastic all-purpose cleaner, scrubbing floors with Swiffer Wet Mop pads because the Swiffer part was nowhere to be found, Lysol bathroom cleaner, Mr. Clean Toilet Bowl Cleaner, a broom and a dustpan, and nearly an entire roll of paper towels. My landlord came over later that day and the first words out of his mouth were, "Whoa! Extreme home makeover! You're a welcome addition to the house already." I made pasta and meat sauce that night for dinner, with enough leftover to take for lunch on my first day of work. I picked out my outfit for my first day and went to sleep at a reasonable hour. 

The next day I got up at 7:30, showered, ironed my clothes, professionalized my hair, made breakfast, packed my lunch, and walked to work. I did not get lost. I did say hello to people as I walked down the street. A nontrivial percentage of them ignored me or looked at me as if I should be institutionalized. I did not worry about it. I got to work exactly at 9:00, met my supervisor, and had a generally amazing first day. I think I'm going to thoroughly and completely love my job. AND I think I'll be good at it. And that's a great thing to be able to say about a well-paying good-benefit-giving right-out-of-college job. Hell, it's a great thing to be able to say about any job at any point in one's life. 

Today was my second day of work and I've already been heavily praised for my performance. I've started doing some actual work instead of just orientation-y things, and I still really like it. I didn't realize how much I was deeply craving a way to apply sociology to actually helping people and influencing things until I joined this company where we do that every. single. day. And today I may only have been helping in the smallest of ways (calling Quality Directors at hospitals for this project we've been contracted to that's aimed at reducing inpatient harm and hospital readmissions), but I saw direct results and was just like, FUCK YEAH I LOVE WHAT I DO. And I came home and made a burger for dinner and then realized I didn't have any ketchup, so I went to the store and got some. 
Then I came upstairs and was like, oh, the 4th of July is next week. This is another one of those holidays that stores like to commercialize on to have entirely unrelated sales on big things like mattresses and TVs. I should check Sleepys to see if my bed is on sale. Not only is it on sale, but there's free shipping on online purchases over $599.99 during some 36 hour window that right now is part of. I searched online for a coupon code that saved me ten percent, bringing my order total to $601.97 for a full sized headboard, footboard, mattress, boxspring, and bed frame. #winning

tl;dr version: Goodbye strugglebus, hello awesome adult life. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

“As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep…feel it all – look around you- all of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.”
--Amelia Olson

Friday, June 22, 2012

Reblogged from Indie Art Nerd

“Society has a problem with female nudity when it is not… ” —Badu pauses to get her words together; she wants this point to be very clear— “…when it is not packaged for the consumption of male entertainment. Then it becomes confusing.”

--Erykah Badu: June/July Cover Issue|Pg 1|VIBE Magazine

(via Indie Art Nerd

Thursday, June 21, 2012

If you don't decide what your life is about, it defaults to what you spend your days doing.
--Robert Brault
Reblogged from Peace Love and Pretty Things

Pushing the reset button.

We're fast approaching the last 36 hours or so before I load up the car and truck and make the trek down to DC. I'm moving out of my mother's house. Like, for real this time, not like going away to college I'll-se-you-when-I'm-on-break-in-six-weeks leaving, but rather I-just-signed-a-13-month-lease here's-my-new-address moving out. 

And it's funny because when I was fake-moving-out to go to Princeton, I did a crazy overall life reset. I had come to terms with the fact that I didn't really want to keep being the person I was, and actively underwent a major overhaul trying to redress and redefine myself. My entire mindset was new place, new friends, new me. And even though I didn't stick with the self I'd created for Princeton for very long, rather opting to develop into the person Princeton made me, I definitely learned the value of taking a moment out for self-reflection immediately before a major life change, and the opportunity to personal development new places, faces, experiences, and challenges offer us. 

Four years ago, when I was getting ready to move, I was so excited for everything to change. I wanted to become everything I didn't think my hometown could make or let me be. The entirety of my immediate future was one big Wonderball of opportunity that I couldn't wait to take advantage of. 

And now I'm tempted to say that I'm moving, but I don't want anything to change. That's hyperbole, but I feel so much closer to the other end of the spectrum. It's like, I'm moving and everything is changing and there's not much I can do about it. But...come to think of it, that's not really the truth either. 

I am absolutely not looking for a personality overhaul like I was last time. I'm not looking to redefine myself. I happen to think I'm pretty damn fabulous. In all honesty, I adore the person these past four years have made me, and I'm not finna let her go. I want to maintain her, and I plan to do this by maintaining the types of activities and relationships that made her, both specifically and generally. I can't say that I'm going to stay in such regular communication with (all of) my friends from college that catch-up sessions won't be necessary, but I demand that such sessions be many and frequent. I'm going to keep blogging and keep following all the blogs I follow. I've joined a bunch of meetup groups and am searching for like-minded folks with whom to have discussions of the Large Library (read: late night college) variety. I'm going to read again. 

But there have to be things about the college lifestyle that I don't particularly want to hold onto in this new chapter of my life. Let us count the things:
  1. I don't want to only actively maintain those friendships which are logistically convenient. In fact, I refuse to.
  2. I don't want to be tired all the time. There is no reason to be consistently running on empty anymore. When I hit that first wave of tired at night, I should go to sleep. There's no reason to pretend I'm not tired. End of story.
  3. I refuse to be off balance. No part of my life deserves to be dominating everything else. 
  4. I want to read for pleasure. I want to do absolutely nothing sometimes without feeling bad about it. I want to watch TV. I want to take back my free time. 
  5. I want to eat better. And drink more water. I did that well last summer, by simply not buying drinks so that I drank a lot of water. 
  6. I want to exercise regularly. I've already decided that I'm going to walk to/from work, because it's less than a mile each way, but there's a gym in my office building and I want to start using it. Maybe after work two or three days a week?
  7. I want the majority of my free time at least one day a week to not be spent in front of my computer. I want to go out into the world and DO things. And I want to not be scared to do them by myself. I got over that in Chi-town and I want to do it again. 
  8. And I need to at least seriously think about drinking, partying, hooking up, and how my rules about these things need to adapt to life in the real world. Not sure exactly how they should change yet--I might need to experience real world partying before I can make plans/rules for how to navigate it. 
Seems like life is full of a million possible reset buttons, some bigger than other.  

Thursday Tunage

Irma - I know by MyMajorCompany

Style Crushes

The matching! Reblogged from Currently Obsessed With...
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Reblogged from Instant Vintage

This. This exactly.

Reblogged from come correct

I heart Audre Lorde.

Reblogged from come correct

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And while we're on the subject of self/body-love,

Reblogged from come correct

An illustration on radical self-love

Reblogged from come correct

Went to Applebees with RB (who I've mentioned recently) last night

And it was simultaneously great and really weird. It's like, she used to be one of my closest friends in the entire world. Like, spend all day together at school and after school (because we were in all the same clubs, usually as President and Vice President), then spend hours on the phone together when we got home best friends. Like we talked extensively about whether she should go on her first date with the guy she's now been dating for over six years best friends. Like knew all the sordid details of each other's complicated familial lives best friends. 

And then we went away to college less than half an hour from one another and became people who saw each other maybe once during the school year and a few times in the summer, and we almost never talked in between seeing each other. When we hang out, we instantly click again and the conversation flows naturally and I feel all warm and snuggly inside, but those hang-out sessions are few and far between.

It's...strange when every time you hang out with a person that was once one of your closest friends, you're having a catch up session. Having catch-up sessions forces you to confront the idea that you've become "old friends" rather than "friends," that you do not, in fact, know what is up in one another's lives anymore. How do you get to that point with people? How does that happen? Now you're all grown up and different and facing all kinds of new issues than the kind you used to tackle together. You used to say "See ya tomorrow" nonchalantly, and now it's long hugs because you don't know where you'll see each other again.

Saying goodbye to your friends at the end of high school is one thing. You'll see each other again on breaks and in summers; you'll always be home for something. You live there. Saying goodbye to your college friends is another thing, especially at a place like Princeton. Our alumni tend to cluster in major cities (the two most major of which are within weekend-trip distance) and our Reunions are the biggest parties known to the hemisphere. I will see these people again. 

Saying goodbye to your friends from home when you're moving away from home is a completely different thing. It's saying I'm never going to be home for this long ever again. It's saying, "If you're ever in DC...". It's making far-fetched plans to travel to Spain together at some point. It's saying, "I miss this," knowing we just have to keep on missing it. It's not saying, but knowing, that we could very well never see each other again. But like the other big goodbyes, it hopes against its own finality.   

Neglected to post this when I first discovered it

But it's still awesome:

I went to Princeton, bitch!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My music is a rainbow.

It occupies nearly every section of the spectrum, albeit with heavy influence on certain realms.

What color is your music?

JCPenney is my favorite department store.

Firmly securing their place at the top of the list (above the cute clothes at great prices): 

The tag reads: What makes dad so cool? He's the swim coach, lunch maker, best friend, toilet-fixer and hug-giver--all rolled into one. Or two. 

Of course, they're getting all kinds of backlash from their conservative "traditional consumer base" and some conservative columnists have been blaming the company's loss in stock value etc. this year on their acceptance and celebration of ALL kinds of families. But even though those criticisms were raised after their Mother's Day ad with two moms, they published this, and that shows that they're the kind of company I love--the kind with values based on, you know, human decency and acceptance, rather than trying to get the most money possible.   
“Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work, risking, and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful: yourself.”
 -Alan Alda

Accomplishments of the last week:

  1. Passed the credit check for my new place all by myself, without needing my dad to cosign.
  2. Signed a 13 month lease for a bedroom in a 3br house with exposed brick, an electric fireplace, and I only share my bathroom with one twenty-something female housemate, at a way cheaper rent than I was prepared to pay. Text/email/call/DM if you'd like my new address.
  3. Took inventory of every piece of clothing I own, and organized them in various suitcases according to type. Donated mad clothes to my mom and sister (it's nice all being around the same size).
  4. Bought a nightstand, a chest of drawers, and a bookshelf from a thrift store for $56. #MayatheBargainHunter
  5. Bought plates, glasses, utensils, salad plates, and bowls from Ross and Marshall's for about $36. #MayatheBargainHunter strikes again.
  6. Bought an air mattress and sheets. (They're a temporary fix til my dad buys me my real bed, which is my graduation present from him, at which point they'll be for when people come to visit me. AND I EXPECT VISITORS, FRIENDS. <3)
  7. Found at least one quick and easy work-to-night hairstyle. It takes like two minutes and it's both wear-to-work-able and cute enough to wear in my regular life. #winning
  8. Joined a bunch of meetup groups, bookmarked all the touristy/event/festival sites, and started talking to some people on OKCupid. I want to dive into this city with open arms.

...But I still don't feel *ready*. What does being ready to start a whole new chapter of your life feel like? I feel nervous. But maybe that's as ready as I'm going to get.  
I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.
--Audre Lorde

Breaking away from my US focus for a moment

Check out this cool trailer for a documentary film about the first post-apartheid generation in South Africa and their activism to make Nelson Mandela's dreams and the governments' promises realities:

The title speaks for itself about why I love this: Naked Black Justice

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Style Crushes

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W
Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W
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This one actually reminds me of myself... Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W
Simple but chic... Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W
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Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W
Look at all the greens! Look at them! Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W

Friday, June 15, 2012

Because Congressmen don't seem to understand...


Confession: Every since a friend of mine had a pair at dinner a few months ago, I've been entertaining the idea of trying...

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W

Whyyyyyyyyyyy are these sold out?!

Check back here periodically to see when they're back in stock.


My fingers started snapping of their own accord at "Can we get a movie with characters in it, rather than stereotypes wrapped up in Christian dogma?" By "There's no need for a 'Dear Black People.' Cops, reality tv, and Fox News already let us know what you think of us," I was metaphorically on. the. floor. I love this. I love everything about it. 

Is it problematic? Maybe a little. Sure. But life as a Black student at a PWI is pretty damn problematic sometimes, and that's something I want to see addressed in things other than scholarly journals and weird corners of the internet like this. This film, if it goes to full production, will address issues like tokenism, hair, Greek life, "being Black enough," "ways to be Black," and whether Black people can be racist (answer: for damn sure), among others. And it'll piss off some White ignorant blissfully-uninformed-due-to-the-privileges-of-their-identity-categories people in the process. It will call attention to these issues in a public platform, whether it reaches only indie fame (a la Pariah) or national fame (a la Precious).

One of the white frat guys calls Sam, the main character, "Spike Lee and Angela Davis's pissed off baby." First off, I muthafuckin wish Spike Lee and Angela Davis had a kid, because that kid would run shit. That kid would be the Blue Ivy of and for the people. That kid would come out of the womb with its fist raised high and a full fro. But more importantly, we need Spike Lee and Angela Davis again. (Yes I'm fully aware they're both still alive and kicking, but go with me here.) We need the era when Do the Right Thing and Bamboozled were blockbusters, not just Black cult classics. (Confession: I've still never seen Bamboozled or She's Gotta Have It. They're on my to-do list.) Yes we are living in a time when Blackness is being re-examined (a la Toure, Baratunde Thurston, Issa Rae, and others), and I LOVE IT, but when my 21 year old cousin who's a student at Rutgers has never heard of Awkward Black Girl, we need to be doing more. 

Dear White People could be it, if it has the chance to come to fruition.    

Thursday, June 14, 2012

When nature and technology come together...

YEARS from Bartholomäus Traubeck on Vimeo.

A record player that plays tree slices. According to the site
A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently.
I may have given it up a while ago, but science it really fucking cool sometimes.

Advice for the real world Part One

Things that make me smile:

See how they're all called "skin tone"? 

Way to go, Urban Armour
 Check out Sociological Images' full post about companies that don't erase people of color with their usage of terms like "skin tone" and "nude" here.

But as much as I want to say it's impossible

to let go of a place (and/or people) that made you who you are, I can't without feeling dishonest. To some degree, I have already done this. I think about the people who were my best friends in high school: TJ, PD, and RB. These guys were my whole world. We were on the phone for hours every day, hung out after school and on weekends at each others' houses, passed notes back and forth in the hallways... I would have been hard pressed to tell someone about myself without talking about them. Those friendships and the way I developed while I was in that tiny group was, at the time, entirely indicative of who I am. If you'd asked me then, I couldn't imagine not being friends with them any more at X point in the future.

...And now I barely even talk to any of the three of them. PD and I stayed the closest throughout the past four years, but even that closeness is like, months and months of not talking and then a very long and emotional catch up session, often in person. TJ and RB and I are still all totally cool with each other. We hang out in groups when we're home and it's really easy to fall back into familiarity with each other, even as we change, but that bond we had is gone. The people we were then are gone. Erased. Forever. Changed immutably by the new places we've gone, experiences we've had, people we've come to know and love and define ourselves according to our relationships with. I don't regret being the girl I was when that was my life, but I also wouldn't want to go back there for a second, even if it meant regaining those friendships and that experience, even though they once occupied nearly the entirety of my heart. 

There are friends from high school with whom I did keep in fairly regular contact during high school: TN, SH, and FO. TN and SH are the two people in the world I've been closest to for the longest period of time, and though our friendships have gone through lots of changes over the years, I'm pretty damn confident they're going to be my friends for the rest of my life, though the contexts and contents of our friendships will change. FO and I didn't really become friends until after high school, when I was already in the process of undergoing substantive Princetonian change, so he fit right into my "new me" life with all of my friends from school.

And then I changed from the person I thought I needed to be to be a Princetonian (aka "Freshman Year Maya") to the person Princeton actually made me. Remember, in the acknowledgements of my thesis, I thanked the University as a whole "for introducing me to myself and allowing me to reintroduce myself". In so many ways, from what's on my head to what's in it, from what I wear to where I am, from intellectual development to more intimate ones, I feel in this moment as though I was never in my life as "me" as I am now, as these four years have made me. 

...The only thing that keeps tripping me up is this: I don't feel like four years ago, when my family sat on the bleachers at Oakcrest High School for my graduation like we did for my little sister on Thursday, I would have told you that I *didn't* feel like myself. Perhaps, had I already absorbed sociological/psychological language, I would have said that I often felt like a passive participant in the construction of my self. If I was feeling particularly introspective, I could have told you I didn't feel like I was my WHOLE self with anyone. But even that didn't make me feel like who I was wasn't "real", even if that realness was separated into bits and pieces to be shared in different spaces. So if that self was real and this self is real, but somehow to a higher degree than the old self because I'm actively working to make and maintain the person I am now, then there's no way of knowing whether in 2, 5, or 10 years I'll still be this self. Well, okay, actually it's a pretty sure bet I'll be different in a lot of ways, but will I look back on these old blog posts and still recognize myself in the person I am now? I don't know.

And that terrifies me. Not because I'm afraid of change or because I absolutely love the person I am now (though I am pretty happy with myself, if I'm being honest), but because I don't want what happened with my friendships with TJ, PD, and RB to happen with my friendships with KS and EY. I'm scared that my deepest closest most intimate friendships are the ones that are most vulnerable to falling apart when I undergo deep intimate change. I mean, it makes sense, right? When the whole of who you are is wrapped up in this friendship and then the whole of who you are changes...I think only time can tell whether the friendship is strong enough to stand the change.

But you know, I think there is one thing that I share with my college friends, both the closest of the close and just the people I'm good friends with (hell, and even with all the random internet people who read this blog), that I didn't have with even my closest friends from high school. It's a word I toss around in the classroom a lot. It's a word that interests me when you put an identity category in front of it or the word "politics" behind it. With these people, I feel authentic. I don't feel like I'm taking on roles I don't want or playing up some aspect of myself to fit in...I feel like I just kind of came along and laid myself bare on a table or something and they were like cool and rolled with it. I don't ever feel like I'm frontin', and though I would never have been comfortable using the word frontin' four years ago, I couldn't have said that about the vast majority of my closest friends from home at the time.  I was able to be vulnerable with those people like I am able to be vulnerable with these people, but not wholly, not in all the ways I needed to be. I wasn't able to be strong when I needed to be with them either, sometimes. I had to pretend sometimes, like I don't know. Like I don't want to in the future. Like I refuse to in the future.

So, am I going to stay absolutely as close with my best friends from college as we were in college for the rest of ever? Of course not. That's absurd. We're in different places and leading separate lives and off on our own great adventures. We're going to figure out how people in "the real world" make friends and make new best friends in our respective places. I certainly wouldn't be upset if EY and I talk every day like we did when she studied abroad junior fall, but I'm certainly not going to demand it either. The demand I will make is that I never want to fall out of touch with the people who mean the most to me right now. I never want to not know where they are or what they're up to; I don't want it to be weird if I call/text/email/facebook/tweet them on a whim. I also want to let myself grow in ways only DC can make me grow, like Princeton made me grow in ways only Princeton could have made me grow. There's no point in starting a new chapter if you don't give it the opportunity to affect you deeply, right?       

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Princeton = over? Error: Does not compute.

So after experiencing the biggest party in this hemisphere (judging by amount of Bud Light purchased) for three days at Princeton Reunions--the events of which included a more intimate reunion of my own with [name-redacted], hayyyyyy, a ridiculous amount of free alcohol, a surprisingly large amount of time spent with non-Quad friends, and the P-Rade which will actually go down as one of my favorite things about Princeton*, Princeton kept the party going for seniors with three full days of events celebrating us and our collective accomplishments. 

On Sunday, there was the baccalaureate ceremony with speaker Michael Lewis who told us to recognize when we're claiming domain over all the extra cookies and learn to share (#everythingIneedtoknowinlifeIlearnedinkindergarten). There was Pan-African graduation, a beautiful ceremony to which my family rolled 14 deep, making me feel surrounded and overwhelmed by love (but which also served as a moment of me feeling "not Black enough" because I'd actually never heard "Lift Every Voice and Sing" sung in full before, let alone know the words). There was the Step Sing, a tradition in which the entire class gathers in the biggest archway on campus to sing together, and during which we sang "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from Mulan as a tribute to our being 90s babies and "Closing Time" by Semisonic so that we could remember that "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end".

On Monday, Steve Carrell spoke at Class Day and prompted our University president to make at TWSS joke. We granted honorary class membership to my favorite dining services employee who works in the dining hall I called home freshman and sophomore year, which made me really happy. Unfortunately my family wasn't able to be there for Class Day because my mom's nurse needed to come change the dressing on this tube thing she's got going on for blood drawing and medicine giving, but they made it up to Princeton for the African-American Studies and Sociology receptions. AAS spoiled us with pins, really nice messenger bags with the logo and tons of pockets, and a soft warm-looking sweatshirt with the logo on the front and a quote by Brother West (who couldn't bear the thought of Princeton without The Great Class of 2012, evidently) on the back. I learned that I didn't graduate with honors at the SOC reception, but I gave surprisingly few fucks. Monday evening, FO, TN, SH, and my little sister trekked to campus to accompany me at senior prom. Look how pretty we are:

And then Tuesday was our actual commencement ceremony, which having both sides of my family together for made as drama-packed as possible. The ceremony was quite nice, and Aretha Franklin was there! They gave her an honorary doctorate in Music. Surprise! We walked out of the Fitz-Randolph gates (not even close to my first time after accidentally breaking the superstition last year...not graduate in four years, my black ass...anyway) and to our departmental receptions to pick up our diplomas and have the University buy us alcohol for the 5th time in 6 days. And then it was like, well, party's over! Time to pack. You need to be out of here by noon tomorrow. You ain't gotta go home, but you gotta get the hell out of here... Tuesday night consisted of packing, a very extended dinner with some pre-Quad friends at PJ's Pancake House, being filled in on the details of CC's life, some tearful goodbyes, and more packing. We shifted from celebrating to wiping away the tears so quickly. 

And now I'm home. I've been home for 4 days, minus a second trip to DC to find a place to live yesterday. I've been home and wrestling with the idea that Princeton is over. This thing by which I define myself but don't want to be solely defined by, has come to an end. 

...And then I was catching up on the blogs I follow and came upon a post of RG's about how "Princeton" his life still is a year after graduation and, while I totally understand him saying he needs a break from that, it made me let out this huge sigh of relief. Who was I to think that Princeton was over just because I up and graduated? That the "Orange Bubble" extends only as far as the Fitz-Randolph gates? I'm moving to city with the second largest concentration of Princeton alumni in the world (the first being NYC). I have no doubt that I'm going to get involved with the Princeton Club of Washington on some level--remember, I don't know how to be in a club without helping to run it, lol. I know a few recent alums who live/work in DC (BK, RG, AM, YN, JG), and know that there are more I'm not friends with yet but could be! And I also know that now that we're on that #grownperson #salaried status, distance doesn't have to mean the dwindling of friendships. EY will see me in Denver before the year is out. KS and JB will get sick of me taking weekend trips to NYC. 

To make a long story short, it's absurd of me to think that something as huge as Princeton could "end" just like that. No one in the world keeps their college experience going the way we do (#highestratesofalumniparticipationontheplanet). It's only over if I want it to be over. And come on Want it to be over? #onceaTigeralwaysaTiger #PrincetonBlood #2012forLife