I turned 20 years old today. It doesn't feel that weird now that the day is actually here, but in the past few weeks I've been thinking a lot about what this age means for me. I remember Joe saying of his 20th birthday, "Now all the things I do and I like aren't exceptional for me anymore. Now they're just normal 20-something things." That's a little how I'm feeling too--for the past 8 years or so, I've strongly identified with the feeling of being an older person trapped in a younger person's life. I've fought hard to prove my worth and my intelligence to the (adult) world around me, and now that I'm about to enter that world I'm not quite sure how to handle it. I've been feeling so ambitious lately--I'm constantly thinking about what kind of apartment I'd like to live in, what college courses I'll be taking in 2 years, where to travel, where I'll go to graduate school, what sort of internships I need to have to get the jobs I want, what I want my kitchen to look like. I fantasize about being a "real adult" all the time, but I still get find myself passionately defending teenagers just like I did when I was 16. Being a young person has been a huge part of how I think about myself and my position in the world up until now; it's played a role in my personal relationships, my attitude towards school, developing my politics, and everything else. I know that 20 isn't over the hill exactly, but I have to admit that I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of no one telling me "you're so _____ for you age" any more. This is all admittedly superficial and selfish, but hey, I can be that way on my birthday right?
So far today I've woken up late to a hot sunny day, hung out on the patio, eaten a delicious Japanese lunch at Midori's, and donned my new bathing suit to lie out in my backyard and read my whale book. Now I'm on my newly built bed, listening to the awesome women's soul mix tape Calvin Johnson traded me for some cupcakes a year ago (it's SO. FREAKING. GOOD.). In a few minutes I'll be back with my parents, probably off to get pizza and then to eat the sure-to-be-amazing red velvet birthday cake from Cake Eater. Not bad.
Canyonlands National Park, probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. I felt like I could sit there on a rock forever and never leave, content to just smell the cliffrose and lay across the slickrock. It's weird, lovely and peaceful.
The Gateway District. Awesome, fun, slightly melancholy, sometimes twangy Midwestern pop punk. They remind me of how great Minneapolis is and how much I love Minnesota (plus I'm listening to them right now!)
My goofy old camera. It's cheap and beat up, but it's always taken good photos. It was the camera I used when I started to learn how much I loved taking pictures, and I'm so glad that I still have it. I hope to use it more this summer!
The Bean Factory patio in the summer. It's always sunny and pleasant, my perfect place to relax and drink something tasty. Or more realistically, my perfect place to read the newspaper and have my head explode with anger. But you know. It's nice anyway.
My bike! It's a little beast--heavy, especially with my big ol' baskets on the back, but I can haul about three weeks worth of groceries up a hill with it. Sometimes the clunkiness bugs me, but it's a trooper and I love it.
Can't stop listening to this. So, so strange and creepy and amazing. LOVE IT.
Art and artists. My girl Sonia Delaunay for instance, totally workin' her own clothing designs at her own art show.
All things whale related, but especially art and literature.
Joe and bookstores, combined! I can't think of anything better, personally.
God I love this blog. The Pursuit of Harpyness is full of super thoughtful, intelligent, funny women with enviably sharp critical thinking skills, and now they're the latest "ladyblog" to call out Michael Pollan for his nonsense and point out the overall weirdness that is the new food movement's attitude about women. All I can really say about that right now (supposed to be awake for work in 5.5 hours, aaaah) is WORD.
Getting hit on always makes me feel embarrassed and uncomfortable--it pretty much never strikes me as a flattering or pleasant experience. No matter how nice dude-in-question is about it, I always come away feeling weird. Sometimes even ashamed. I think it's because I don't like the reminder that because of who I am and how I look, I'm seen as being sexually available. I think this is also why I'm so creeped out by the concept of "dating." To me, the ideal relationship, sexual or otherwise, comes first from friendship or at least good conversation. But here I am today, squirming at the thought of someone coming into my workplace and spending a few days assessing my physical attractiveness while only speaking to me enough to order a cup of coffee. Spending a few days looking at me before deciding that I'm worth his time or inquiry.
I feel like these situations ruin nice people for me. Dude-in-question seemed like a perfectly nice, quiet person, who I would have been more than happy to exchange friendly small talk with or whatever. Navigating other peoples' flirtation is sometimes just part of my job, and that's usually not so bad because it's not exactly personal. It's easier to shrug off. But then this particular dude had to go and ask if I had a boyfriend and about how old I was and about what I was studying (all to determine whether or not I was available/desireable), making me feel vulnerable and small and stupid. Making me feel like a piece of scenery--an object. And then of course, because just being awkward wasn't enough, he had to tell me that because I'm a student I'm not even living in the "real world" yet. Two of my least favorite kind of dude-interactions combined--hitting on me and condescending to me at the same time. And this was the first conversation I had today.
Just now I tried to tell a male friend of mine about it, in the (misguided) hope that he would commiserate with me or at least find the story funny. Instead, he just told me that I need to get used to this kind of shit because I work "in a public place." Now I just feel worse. There are some things I'm willing to get used to in order to do my job effectively (see: dealing with flirtatious customers, getting yelled at, having people make comments about how I'm dressed and my hair color and my piercings, earning thousands of dollars below the poverty line, cleaning up other peoples' garbage, deflecting rudeness, etc.), but I refuse to accept that interactions that make me feel like my safe space and my bodily autonomy have been ignored or violated are something I should just accept. The thing is, I have to deal with that kind of interaction constantly, be it sexual harassment on the bus or nice guys asking about my relationship status at the coffee shop, and it always makes me feel like shit. It's not just something I'm expected to deal with at work, but it's something I'm expected to deal with in every aspect of my life, in every space I occupy...and I don't want to. Why should I have to? My friend that said this to me didn't mean to be a jerk and he didn't mean to make me feel bad. He just lives in a world where, as a man, unwanted sexual advances (which are probably less frequent for him than they are for me, if I may venture a guess) don't involve the same weird power dynamics, the ones that make it okay to suggest I'm immature even while expressing interest in me, the same ones that make it okay for strangers to ask me questions about my personal relationships to what they hope is their own benefit. The dynamic that allows "what do you study" to come after asking me if I have a boyfriend.
Now I'm just comforting myself by thinking that maybe dude-in-question is secretly a pickup artist enthusiast who was just talking about to real world to "neg" me for "The Game." That would actually take this from crappy to hilarious in no time.
Bike, work, food, Joe, nap, kitties, Gaga videos, blogs. Now I've got some popcorn with salt and pepper and nutritional yeast (you don't even know how good this is!) and I'm watching Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Somehow I've never seen this before? Anyway, it turned out to be a pleasant, uneventful sort of day.