Let's All Stop Complaining About High School
Feb 1 2013
“Peaked in high school” is a sound concept: a lot of people do. (A lot, a lot, a lot.) The adult lives of many high school mob bosses are just sad as all fuck, not sad like “I’m judging you for your social affiliations and entertainment choices” sad, because that’s mean, but sad like “You seem sad.” I mean, by now “high school” is more of a myth-factory (in fact, the most successful and productive myth-factory ever) than a singular institution, so maybe this is beside the point, but I’ve been hearing this party line for WEEKS which I blame on various articles about how school is jail for children and how you can never escape your high school self and how people who “peaked in high school” are not allowed to be cool as adults and let’s just HOLD THE PHONE A MINUTE. I loved high school. I was good at everything about it except for acting normal (and I plugged all my anxieties into stupid tattoo ideas and the kind of happenstansical afternoon drug use, the sticky-gross time-wastedness of which would give me three consecutive coronaries now, so……….) but STILL I understood how it worked and had a lot of friends and was “successful” at it and consider it to be an important foundation for learning how to be around people and have relationships and manage emotions and egos. Being too/very good at the “life” of high school indicates post-college loserishness, I guess, but it doesn’t necessitate post-college loserishnes—correlation is not causation—and this is an objective fact that seems to have been lost on whatever version of hive-mind is currently populating my internet, one that wants so badly to, what, find a direct and appealing narrative line from one era of their life to another? Let’s get a new thing to be weirdly identity-proud of (OR NOT AT ALL?) because “nerd” and “outcast” are bbbbnnnnnnooorrrzzzzzzz.
The last-ever 30 Rock! Did you pee-pee your pants? That kiss on New Girl! Did you cre-cre your pants?
“HELL IS YOU”
I tweeted that the other day for funsies, and while I was reffing a long-ago John Lurie film with a perfect title, of course of course, it felt and seemed more like I was doing a deep-twist on Sartre. (John Lurie is not really among my “topics,” like, the people and ideas and schools and movements and myths and fables that were memorized for you, on your behalf, by your skin and organs.) “Hell is you,” though. “Hell is you.” Doesn’t this address your roiling internal narrative really prettily?
A good little present for a girl who you will be interacting with in a fun-slash-casual-slash-lunchtime way is stickers. (I mean to say, when you want to bring a little prezzie to show your appreciation of and delight in another girl, which is a habit I can wholeheartedly recommend, in that it will make your self-image and cartoon heart swell and go “thumpa-thumpa-thumpa” all 3D-popping out of your chest.) I also like to bring fruit, or small bundles of flowers, or the makeup and hair things that I get sent in the mail sometimes that don’t capture my aesthetic-interests. Food-treats are good and easy, but who are your pals/etc. going to be thinking about two hours later when a sugar coma has melted them into their boots? YOU!
Anyway, this—stickers—isn’t just hat-tipping to the juveniliac tendencies of some swaths of modern womandom, or maybe it is, but not entirely: stickers are, more recently, trending in my obsesh-space, a.k.a. have been recast in my imagination as the bridge between kid wantability and actual adultness. I think this happened when I saw Lena Dunham Instagram some shots of a “sticker installation” made by Flat Vernacular, which I guess is a wallpaper-plus-sticker-installation company? And I guess what you do is describe some of your interests and an insane sticker design is created just for you with an infinity number of regular little stickers but made into some traditional wallpapery pattern, all French Regency from the doorway but CUPCAKES DINOS MONKEYS FLOWERS TOOTHBRUSHES up-close? So good, right?
I don’t relate to Girls, despite many of my demographic details and interests lining up flush with its characters and sensibility. (In this sense, “relate” = feel close to, understood by, proximal.) I don’t “relate” because a) doing something “for” a story is in fact deeply disingenuous and hugely cynical about “experience” and what constitutes it, and actually opposed to what personal writing is for. I had a boyfriend once who jumped off of a house because it would be “a good story” and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt rage so milky-acid white and hot that I could feel it bubbling in my ear canals. I do relate to falling in love with guys who are mean to you, but I don’t relate to falling in love with guys who are mean to you but who aren’t giving you so many orgasms that you want it to stop because they’ve started to hurt in this internal, intestinal way. I do relate to the absurd, ongoing, diffuse pain and confusion of the Girls’ era, I do relate, magnetically, to the shitty-perfect tableau vivant of that apartment and its friendships and attitudes, but I do not relate to it all—to that period of time—being sort of a grim and dead-eyed march toward something. Even when I was hecka depressed and useless and careening into and through and then backwards into and through again (!!!) my terrible choices and patterns, I was so thrilled by the newness and excitement and shifting energy of doing it. I mean, when you’re inside of that era, you can see your alternatives, you can see every version of safety, and you turn it down every time, and that is its own kind of wild pushing energy. Instead I get the feeling that the Girls characters feel about their ambition and future the same way a law grad does, kind of? Do you know what I mean? Like it’s inevitable and in need of being done, instead of needing to be done fun.
This is good: @EmilyGould tweeted “If you become a Mom in Brooklyn, do they just issue you one of those awful full-length padded down jackets at the birthing center?” Because RIGHT? So grodes. But also, aren’t these coats such an intrigue, like any uniform is? What mysteries go on underneath the untold miles of puffy black material for months at a time? Looking at a regular woman in a full-length down jacket is like looking at the front of a dollhouse; I just want to slowly and ceremoniously unzip the zipper, pull apart the walls, and see what’s happening. (I’m not going to do this to anybody, don’t worry you guys, but how much do you want to just ziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip?)
I like to put my coat around the back of a tall chair in my apartment and when I look up it seems to have animated, and is a person in pose and posture, still stiff from cold, and that’s because I periodically go work-bonkers in here but also because that’s what that coat is and does, it becomes a person at least in these depths of the winter cold, it is an all-black Hazmat mediator of the seasonal experience that has been implicitly, mutually agreed upon, despite and because of its sick aesthetic. So grodes, but so potentially containing of everything else too, right?
Previously - Obseshes ≠ Endorsements
Follow Kate on Twitter: @KateCarraway
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