Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Communication

It was 5:16 AM when I wanted to get as far away from you as possible. Sitting there and listening to the gentle sound of your breathing was hurting me. I'd never felt that kind of pain before. I was kind of shell-shocked because up until that night, I didn't think you could hurt me. That's reason one for not leaving. Reason two? I didn't think you would come after me.

And being proven right would have shattered me.

It's important that you know this: people with brains like mine should never be given space. Solitude only encourages my insecurities to speak more eloquently, gives them time to convince me that every unheard statement and forgotten memory is a sign of your indifference. Every time I ask for space, I'm testing you. Why do you always fail me?

I know it's not fair. I'm sorry. Just please stop saying that you know me. Because if you really knew me, you wouldn't put me through this over and over again. If you really knew me, this would be impossibly cruel of you. And because I can't be persuaded of your malice, I'm persuaded of your indifference. I'm certain that's worse.

It hurts. It hurts so much. I need more. If you can't give more, I understand. But I guess that means... Well, I don't like what that means.

*     *     *

I wrote and posted this two weeks ago on one of those nights where I was just feeling terrible and overthinking everything, but the next morning I woke up feeling fine. In my drastically different mental state, it felt overdramatic having this up, so I took it down. But now that some time has passed, I realize that even though I was feeling dramatic, this came from a very real place. I'm working on transparency and vulnerability, so posting this feels like a good baby step.

<Lucy Cartin

Saturday, December 15, 2018

in Love with Tragedy

I want to break and be broken. To love until I destroy.
Or maybe until I'm destroyed.

Take the weight of your abandonment, of your distaste, and place it gingerly on my chest.
I want you to break my ribs

one

by

one.

Crush my lungs until they deflate. Suffocate me. Push me to the ground as I gasp for air. Give me a reason to feel empty and worthless, because I need something tangible to dwell on.

Tell me you love me. I'm begging you. Make me feel impossibly special, incandescently happy. Look at me with those eyes. Convince me that I'm the only one for you, that I'm the only person that matters.

And then, once I start floating, 
take it all away.

Shoot me down swiftly with a single catastrophic arrow.

And when I crash down with a violent thud, kick me
with
our
memories.

Beat me down with incessant reminders of what
could
have
been.

Leave me in tears, on my knees. Shower me with the tragedy that I crave, that I deserve. Drown me in my own regrets. Make me wish I had never taken a chance on you. On us.

<Lucy Cartin

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A Lil Tsundere Poem

If there is something to desire,
Then I haven't noticed yet.
No I have not thought about you
Every moment since we met.
I do not smile like an idiot
When you stop and look my way,
And never have I blushed
When your voice tries on my name.
Your touch does not distract me.
Nor does your dorky laugh.
And I never think about you
When I should be doing math.
No there's nothing to desire.
Not your kindness or your wit.
'Cause if there was, I like to think
I would have noticed it.

<Lucy Cartin

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Fleeting

There's this notion of forever that I can't seem to shake. Logically, I know that it's false. It's nearly impossible that what we have is infinite because infinity is theoretical. This, like everything else, will meet its demise.

But I can't seem to convince my heart of what my head knows to be true. Because when your hand reaches out for mine, when I'm holding your head against my chest, when we're tangled up and laughing uncontrollably, it feels like I could never have this with another person. It feels like no one else could accept me the way you do or make me feel as safe or as comfortable as you do.

I know it's all just a feeling. And I know that feelings fade and that this will end. I have to convince myself of that. Because if the truth arrives before I learn to accept it, it will hurt too much. And I'm scared of how I'll react.

<Lucy Cartin

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Faces Going Places


// 11 PM. A Toyota Prius. JONATHON is in the driver’s seat. ALICE is in the back seat.


JONATHON: You know, you’re one of the most silent people I’ve ever driven. And I’ve been driving for almost a year now.


ALICE: Oh, um… Sorry?


JONATHON: Nah, don’t be. I’m just making an observation is all.


ALICE: Right.


JONATHON: You look very pensive. What with your head resting on the window and all. Very dramatic.


ALICE: Laughs. I guess you’re right.


JONATHON: I can tell you’ve got a lot going on in your head. See, you and I must be very different. When I’ve got a lot going on in my head, I just let it all out. Even when there’s nothing in my head, I just talk and talk and talk. My friends can never get me to shut up!


ALICE: Laughs. Yeah, that’s the opposite of me.


Both are silent for a bit. JONATHON waits, hoping ALICE will continue.


ALICE: I guess for me, the thoughts kind of get stuck in my head.


JONATHON: Like you can’t find the words?


ALICE: Like I can’t find the right words.


JONATHON: Well why do you need the right words? Any words will do! Doesn’t it feel better to just get it all out there?


ALICE: Probably? I don’t know, it just doesn’t come naturally to me.


JONATHON: Let’s practice then! Come on! Tell me what’s on your mind.


ALICE shifts in her seat.


JONATHON: I mean, of course you don’t have to if you don’t want to. I just figured I’d let you try. And I’m naturally pretty nosy. I just like knowing what’s going on with people is all.


(beat)


ALICE: I think I’m in love with my girlfriend.

JONATHON: Hey, that’s great!


ALICE: But, uh, I think she has someone else in her heart.


JONATHON: Like, she’s cheating?


ALICE: No, no. She wouldn’t do that. I just… Sometimes it feels like… I don’t know, she doesn't think about me.


JONATHON: Yeah?

ALICE: Yeah. But she occupies my head constantly. I just feel like I’ll never get that space in her heart. And it just feels so unfair. Like, I’m always loving people more than they’ll love me.


JONATHON: Well… I admire that you have a lot of love to give.


ALICE: Don’t you think I’ll run out one day?


JONATHON: I should hope not. (beat) Okay, sorry to cut you off like this, but this is your building?


ALICE: Yup, this is me. Thanks.


ALICE starts climbing out of the car.

JONATHON: Cool. Good luck with everything.

ALICE: Thanks, you too. Have a good night.


ALICE starts closing the door, but pauses.


ALICE: You know, it’s a lot easier to talk to people when they’re not staring right at you.


JONATHON: Laughs. Yeah, I guess that’s true.



* * *
I had to write a little bit of dialogue for a class back in October, and I woke up this morning with a strong desire to post it here. It's so weird how posting things on the internet for no one to see has become very therapeutic for me.

<Lucy Cartin

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Carbon Dioxide














When we're together like this
I can only breathe in
Whatever you exhale.
And I know that it isn't enough,
That it isn't sustainable.
But I just can't get myself
To turn away.













<Lucy Cartin

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Kill the Sound

I fill my head with fantastic lies because I want to feel something.
But for every euphoric high, there is a crushing low.
Insatiable desire motivates an eternal chase.
I want to destroy and be destroyed.
High risk, high reward--
Am I willing?
Smiling,
I sedate myself.
For resistance is impossible.
Proximity is a gift I now understand
Because when my expectations shatter, so do I.
Suddenly, my world is nothing but a reverberating echo.
Reality isn't nearly as significant as what I can convince myself is true.
---
Just a mind dump in the form of nonsensical poetry.
<Lucy Cartin

Saturday, July 7, 2018

empty empty empty


For years, I've been avoiding a very significant portion of my reality, but recently, it seems like that reality has taken the initiative to run towards me. My evasion has proven fruitless. Surprise on my part would be kind of dumb, to be quite honest.

I wasn't feeling anything at all for awhile there. I kind of shut all of that off so I could focus on school, but now I've got some free time. Letting myself feel again has been up and down. It has to be better than nothing, though. Numbness seems unhealthy--maybe even a little cowardly.

My friend and I decided to head back early because we didn't want to get caught up in traffic. Neither of us were particularly keen on seeing fireworks anyway. You see colors in the sky once, you've seen it a million times. So I was walking back to my apartment at 8:45 PM alone when I started thinking about someone I know. I thought about how I hadn't seen her in a week. About how ever since the last time I saw her I've been thinking about her nonstop. And as I navigated the dark neighborhood, I let myself contrive a fictional version of my life where she rushes to my front door the minute she gets back into town.

I see her waiting for me and her face lights up when I finally arrive. She runs up to me, grabs my hand, and says "Come on!" as she starts running down the street. We dash across campus and up four flights of stairs until we're on the roof of the engineering building, looking over Los Angeles. Shoulder to shoulder, we watch ten simultaneous fireworks shows. She turns to me, places a hand on my cheek, and pulls my face closer to hers until our noses touch.

That would be worth experiencing a million times, I think.

Doesn't matter, though, because when I got to my front door no one was there. It feels like I'm always setting myself up for disappointment.

There has to be some sort of balance in the universe, so for every heart-racing high, there's a bone-crushing low. And I used to think that linear was more practical than sinusoidal. It probably is. But linear's kind of boring. Peaks come with troughs, but at least you get a peak. Who would voluntarily flatline?

Me, apparently. I'm kind of thinking that I want that to change, though. I don't know.

<Lucy Cartin

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Random Thoughts About Race


This is a post about race that relates some thoughts and memories that I have been having recently. It doesn't really go anywhere. I mean, none of my posts go anywhere in particular, but since this is about a heavier topic I figured I'd leave a little disclaimer.

I can't remember why, but I was recently thinking about the "I Had a Dream" episode of The Proud Family. For those who don't know, The Proud Family is an old Disney Channel cartoon following an Afro-Latino girl named Penny Proud as she lives a life surrounded by friends and family. Given the episode name, you probably won't be surprised when I tell you that the episode involves Penny working on an assignment for Black History Month and being swept about fifty years in the past to a segregated society. My primary memory of this episode is this scene (see above photo) in which Penny realizes that she and Zoey are no longer friends because Zoey is white and Penny is colored.

This was one of the first times that I understood race as a barrier. Of course I always recognized that the people around me weren't necessarily the same race as me. As the only Chinese kid in my class, it was hard not to notice. But like most kids, I didn't think that race divided me from other people. As far as I was concerned, the only difference between me and a Hispanic kid was what we ate for dinner and what language we spoke with our parents.

The existence of these differences really hit me when I started learning about segregation in history class. Teachers told us (extremely watered down) accounts of discrimination against black people. You know, the typical photos of bathrooms and water fountains labeled "white" and "colored". Of course there was absolutely no mention of lynching or beating or the absolute disrespect with which black people were treated, but even without the harsher details, I remember thinking that segregation was cruel and unusual. I remember being relieved that it was in the past. I remember feeling lucky that people of my race weren't targets of hatred.

Then I thought about this episode of The Proud Family. I imagined what my life would be like if I had been born fifty years earlier. At first I figured I'd be fine because I wasn't black. Immediately after that thought was the realization that I wasn't white either, which meant I didn't get to use the fancy bathrooms. I wasn't really sure where Asians would've fallen on the spectrum of discrimination, but at the time I pictured myself mopping a floor. Now that I'm older and (kind of) wiser, I assume I would've been washing dishes in my parents' restaurant or ironing shirts in the backroom of a laundromat.

It's just weird to think that fifty years isn't too far in the past. In school, they tend to teach history with this implication that racism is over, that all of those horrible things are in the past. Luckily, a lot of those things are in the past. But at the same time, too many forms of racism and segregation are still present in our society. It's an unsettling reminder that complacency is not an option because there is still work to be done.

<Lucy Cartin

Sunday, March 4, 2018

How are you okay with that?



So you say you’re not a feminist.


Please, explain to me why you're not interested in being strong and independent. How can you go about your day knowing that you intend to rely on the fleeting generosity of others for the rest of your life? Don't you have the desire to do things on your own? To prove that you can take care of yourself? That you can stand on your own two feet? Don't you want to make a difference in the world?


It baffles me that you actively choose not to contribute to a generation of women who are setting a precedent.


Feminists are creating a world that teaches young girls to be their own person and pay no regard to restrictive gender expectations.


Feminists lead their lives in a manner that demonstrates that women are strong, self-sufficient, and forward-thinking.


Feminists are proving that women don't have to change their appearances or behavior to please men--or anyone for that matter.


Feminists are fighting for a world that allows them to be valued for their thoughts and the way they express those thoughts.


Feminists want to be judged by the content of their character, by how they treat themselves and the people around them.


Feminists refuse to be defined by how shiny their hair is or how seductively they can bat their lashes.


But in order to make all of this possible, women of the present need to take the initiative to create that world. Don't you want to be a part of that? Because we need as many women as possible. We need them to shake off the restraints that the patriarchy uses to hold them back. We need them to be exactly who they want to be, rather than who they think they’re supposed to be. We need them to unapologetically reject silence. We need them to be feminists.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Written on New Year's Eve


The best way to describe it is as too much. Too much thinking. Have I done anything worthwhile in the past year? Because it certainly doesn't seem like I'm moving towards anything. Too much feeling. Guilt overwhelms me with the sense that I'm wasting resources--the primary resource being time. Too much nothing. Because it's all in my head. No one is around. Every three hundred and sixty-five days I find myself alone in this room having too many thoughts and assigning too much significance to a fleeting moment.

It's just that I've been taught to believe that I'm supposed to acknowledge the changing of the years as something special. Maybe that's something people made up to give themselves hope that their lives won't always be the same. They need the calendar to move them from one phase of their lives to the next. They want to abandon the stagnancy and pain and regret that define their current lives, and they need someone to tell them when to do it.

Don't they know that they don't need a new year to become the person they want to be? Every month is an opportunity to look at the past with forgiveness and acceptance. Every week offers the potential for a fresh start; every day, the chance to improve.

All of this optimism and sage advice doesn't diminish the fact that I'm still here, sitting alone. I can deny it all I want, but this isn't what I want. Is it?

<Lucy Cartin

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Addicted to Sticky Notes


The notion is extremely conceited. I recognize that. And I hope that my recognition serves to diminish some of the arrogance that I will inevitably pin to myself when I say that I have more thoughts than other people. There. It's out. I've done the damage, now please let me scramble to explain myself and attempt to cling on to whatever shreds of respect you might have for me.

It is all too supercilious of me to believe that other people are less complicated than me. When I fail to understand that every single person on this planet has just as many, if not more, complexities and nuances as myself, I fail to truly recognize the people around me as actual people, as humans with hearts that beat and palms that sweat. I don't want to be that person. But let me describe my alternative.

Have you ever been to the dollar section at Target? I spent a significant chunk of time and money there as a kid, and the result was an impressive collection of notepads. Let me tell you that those notepads did not go to waste. Around the age of ten, I started writing to-do lists and hour-by-hour schedules defining how I would spend my weekends and school vacations. My concern was that if I didn't have my plans in writing, then I would throw away all of my time watching television. I didn't trust myself to remember to do everything that I wanted to do.

Years ago, I mentioned that I have kept some form of journal since around the second grade. Records of conversations I had with friends, summaries of how I'd spent recent weeks, confessions of my endless insecurities, thoughts that keep passing through my brain--I have them all somewhere in some form of writing. Somehow, I had developed this fear that if I didn't write something down, I would forget it. I would lose it forever. So I felt this urgent need to write down everything happening to me, with me, or around me. Because I was desperately afraid of forgetting myself, of losing myself.

And it always feels like I'm on the brink of doing just that. I overthink who I am and why I act the way I do. What motivates me? Am I being myself or am I trying too hard to be this ideal person? But isn't trying to be the person that I want to be the same thing as being myself? Nothing I do feels natural. It all feels forced, like I'm constantly trying to execute some plan rather than just living my life.

The simple act of having thoughts like these makes my brain feel like it's running with no sign of stopping. It hurts. It gives me constant headaches and makes my heart beat faster. My fingers are always itching to do something because of it. Just to clarify, I mean all of this literally. This isn't a poetic description. My hands actually go kind of nuts. That's why I draw and write and play piano--to put my hands at ease.

The best thing I can do is write down as much as I can, because when I write down my thoughts it feels like I'm dumping them out of my head. Then for a little while, my head is empty enough to think about things like turbulent flow through a rough tube or high-pass circuit impulse responses. I mean, these things also give me headaches, but at least they're more productive.

But I digress. Let's get back to discussing that thing I said that makes me sound like an asshole. I kind of know that I don't think more than most people. But maybe I'd rather sound like an asshole than address the fact that other people have the brain capacity to deal with an endless stream of thoughts, and I just don't. I don't possess the mental strength to not be overwhelmed by my own thoughts.

Alternatively, everyone struggles the way I do, but we all just hide it from each other. Perhaps I am neither special nor stupid. But I don't like that. I've always aspired to be this great protagonist, which means I can't be normal. I have to stand out in some way, you know? I've either got to face this great disadvantage that I will eventually overcome in order to prove myself a hero, or I've got to possess this incredible trait that gives me a mark of superiority. I can't just be normal. I can't be satisfied with normal. Why else would I put so much effort into each of my outfits?

<Lucy Cartin

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Something that Doesn't Exist


A glowing laptop rests on a small table in front of me. My legs are propped up onto the chair next to me as I sift through the expanse of notes that surround me. White pages, blue lines, black scribbles--everything blurs together. I notice an ache in my upper back, a dull soreness in the back of my head, a slight burning sensation in my eyes. Sometimes there's music. Soothing classical. Energetic rock. Motivational pop. Sometimes there's silence--interrupted occasionally by the squeak of a chair, the whir of an overhead plane, an excited shout from outside.

This is how I spend most of my time. I spend it alone. I spend it staring at a screen. I spend it working. Does it sound boring? Because it is. That's why whenever I get the chance, I open a book and run to Pemberley or Gilead or Wonderland. Sometimes I watch Rory jump off of a three story ledge in a baby blue ball gown as she starts to fall in love with Logan. Or I'll put on a Ghibli film and follow Chihiro through the bathhouse or tag along with Sophie as she navigates the Wastes. Any time I get a chance, I attempt to make an escape, to abandon the neutral tones of my reality for a technicolor fantasy.

Occasionally, I'll contemplate how most of my "worldly knowledge" was obtained from fiction. Everything I know about falling in love is fiction-based. As is everything I know about great tragedies and overcoming adversity and soul searching. My perception of the world has been carefully written and edited--manufactured, if you will. It leads me to wonder if the things that I'm looking for actually exist. Because for my entire life, I've been searching for something. Something that makes an uptight person like me lose control. Something that forces me to stop thinking and just feel. What if this thing that I seek is fictional as well? Maybe I'll be trapped in my own head and under my own control for the rest of my life. Maybe there's no way out.

<Lucy Cartin

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Terminal 17


There's a relentless buzz pulsing through the air, as if the sound waves are oceanic rather than conical. I turn my head towards the sound, and my eyes fall up on shelves of rainbow colored plastic. Bottles, bags, and cans bursting with salt and sugar and chemicals whose names threaten to tie my tongue. I imagine that me pronouncing those names would sound something like the clashing of Terminal 16 and Terminal 18's overlapping announcements: a myriad of syllables that sound like a language I know but that don't really mean anything at all. Especially when blended with the rhythmic click of rolling wheels over tile, the slap of a flip flop against a woman's heel, the fascinated "wow"-ing of a toddler in a stroller, the announcements are hard to follow.

It's hard to focus on any voice or person for that matter. An endless stream of people walk past. I'm surprised the airport isn't filling up like a glass under a running faucet. Though I suppose it's true that people are leaving. People tend to do that at airports. I wonder where they're all going. Are they going on a trip? Perhaps it's baby's first vacation. Or maybe it's a big job interview. It could be a trip that's been done a thousand times before, like visiting Grandma for a few days or checking in with the clients up north. What if they're headed home? I'll bet they're tired, looking forward to sleeping in their own bed again. I hope they've got clean sheets and something edible in the fridge. Do they have family waiting at home? A roommate? A fish? Maybe they just have a piano that their fingers are itching to play. I should hope that something good awaits everyone when those planes land.

I just think it's nice to be surrounded by people who are all going somewhere. Stagnancy is kind of terrifying, isn't it?

<Lucy Cartin

Sunday, January 28, 2018

I'm Yours, When It Rains It Pours


"Oh my god, you are soaked!" She says with a laugh. "Why aren't you carrying an umbrella?"

"You ask as if I own an umbrella."

"What? Why--"

"Who needs an umbrella in California?"

She glances around pointedly at the rain falling heavily from the sky, the floor shiny with fresh raindrops, and the throngs of people around them equipped with colorful umbrellas. "You're right. I don't know why I would ask such a ridiculous question."

"Besides, I enjoy the rain. Why would you hide away? It's just water."

"Oh is it?"

"Yes, yes it is."

With a mischievous smile, she tilts her umbrella towards him and gives it a quick shake--showering him with his own personal downpour. He looks at her, vengeance in his eyes and laughter on his lips, before screaming, "You're gonna pay for that!" and making a lunge for her umbrella. Mere seconds in the rain and she's absolutely drenched.

"Ah, no!" she exclaims with a laugh as she begins running towards the nearest building.

"Oh no you don't!" He quickly catches up to her, grabbing her waist and pulling her into a tight hug.

"No, no! You're soaking wet!" she yells as she tries to free herself from his hold. After a second of squirming, she tosses him a defeated smile. "Okay, okay, okay, you win!"

He tilts his head down so that their noses touch. "Say it."

Glancing down with mock shame and a small pout she mutters, "I'm sorry."

Bringing the umbrella over both of their damp heads, he replies with a smile, "Good."

*     *     *
<Lucy Cartin

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Waiting Wondering


Somehow she seems to perch rather than sit. I didn't even know humans could perch, but there she is: at the edge of the bench with her knees tucked into her chest. Eyes wide, lips parted; she's the embodiment of poise, but she seems to remain alert. For a moment, her lips curve into a smile. Glancing around, I try to see what she's looking at, but I can't make anything out in the dark. It appears that she and I are the only two people outside--not surprising at this hour, I guess. She must've thought of something pleasant. Or funny. That's why she smiled.

Maybe she smiled because she noticed me walk up. Does she want me to go talk to her? Unlikely. Things like this generally don't work in my favor. She's probably wondering why a creepy stranger stepped out of the math building and decided to start staring at her. Oh my god, I've been staring at her. It's midnight, she's probably waiting for an Uber or something, and I just showed up and started staring at her. If I was her I'd be freaked the fuck out by now. I'm surprised she hasn't pulled out her phone and dialed 911 by now. I would've! Gah, I'm still staring. "Crap."

"Huh?" She's looking at me. Why is she looking at me? Wait.

"Crap." Ah shit. "Sorry, I didn't mean to say that out loud. Twice. I was just thinking."

She smiles again. "Same. What a coincidence."

*     *     *

<Lucy Cartin

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Now What?


To long for something that doesn't exist is to pursue an insatiable desire, to yearn for an image or a glimpse--a mere fragment of the mind. It is to dive head first into a suffering for which no foreseeable end exists. It is to dissociate from the tangibility and satisfaction of reality. This desperate need for a daydream drives her into the depths of isolation where the thoughts are the clearest and the imagination does its best impression of reality. She leaves herself to dwell in solitude, attempting to muster up a realistic simulation of what she could not conjure in real life.

The issue is fear. She's afraid, for whatever reason, to produce a tangible version of her fantasies. Instead she chooses to to hide away. Cowering in the corner, she defaults to existing in an environment that can't hurt or disappoint or anger her. And even when she's perfected this environment, even when she's surrounded herself with art that tells every story she wishes were real or literature so lifelike that it makes her heart ache, she still feels this weight. The kind of weight that results from gravity pulling as hard as it can, pawing around for something that just isn't there.

Part of her, the part that's responsible for the tingling in the stomach and the fluttering of the heart, suspects that these ideas, fantasies, and thoughts would be more fulfilling of they were real. Part of her has come to terms with the fact that there's something unsatisfying about living vicariously through her imagination, something exhausting about imagining the feeling of arms wrapping around her as opposed to simply being held.

*     *     *

<Lucy Cartin

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Why I'm Still An Engineer


Hi, I'm a third year university student majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I want to talk about that.

I'll preface this by declaring my extreme distaste for the subject of engineering. It's difficult and, in my opinion, uninteresting. That being said, I refuse to change majors. From the very beginning of college, way before it was "too late" to switch, I knew that I couldn't quit. For one thing, I had my parents to consider. You should see the pride in their eyes when they tell people that their little girl is an engineering student. But it's more than that. The reason they wanted me to study engineering in the first place is job security. Regardless of my complete and utter disinterest in the subject, engineering practically guarantees me some sort of well-paying job. My parents have provided me endless comforts since I was born, and a time will come when I will need to return the favor. At some point in the future, I'm going to need the kind of financial security that provides me with enough time and money to take care of them. In a more immediate sense, I want them to have fewer worries about me. If me studying engineering takes some weight off their shoulders, then I will study engineering. I'll complain, but I'll do it.

There's also a part of this that acts as a sort of feminist statement. I want to contribute to the increasing number of women who graduate with STEM degrees, even though I'm only increasing that number by one. I want to defy gender stereotypes and stick it to any asshole who thinks that girls aren't smart enough to be engineers. One of the main reasons that I stubbornly refused whenever my friends suggested that I quit engineering has to do with pride. If I quit, people would think I was just some dumb girl who couldn't keep up with those guys who blab all day about car engines and Elon Musk. I may not give a shit about turbines or robots, but rest assured, it's not because I'm not smart enough to understand them.

Besides, I don't really have a good reason to quit. Yeah, it's hard, but it's not so hard that I'm failing or anything. People always say I should quit because I don't like it. Personally, I think people my age focus too much on passion and happiness when it comes to careers. They think that because they only have one shot at life that they need to spend it pursuing something that brings them joy. While it's very nice to imagine a life where you don't work a day because you love your job, it's unrealistic. More than that, it's kind of childish. Maybe even selfish--depending on your situation. Quitting engineering because "I don't like it" is immature and irresponsible, especially when considering the plethora of benefits that come with obtaining an engineering degree. Sometimes in life, you need to make sacrifices. And those sacrifices don't mean that I can't be happy. I spend my free time doing all the things I love! But it's impractical to expect complete happiness all the time. If everyone constantly pursued their hedonistic desires, we wouldn't have a functioning society. A huge part of life involves doing things you don't want to do. I may be wrong (I am a mere twenty year-old child, after all), but I think a huge part of growing up is accepting that fact.

This final reason may not seem like the most important motive for my persistence, but it is to me: I want to prove to myself that I can graduate with a degree in engineering. I want to prove that I have the brains, the willpower, and the discipline to see this thing through to the end--despite my hatred for the subject. Long story short, I do not intend on leaving college until whoever is in charge of torturing us engineers looks me in the eye, shakes my hand, and gives me my damn degree.

<Lucy Cartin

Monday, January 1, 2018

Written On A Lonely Day in September


In the past year, I've grown comfortable, maybe even enthusiastic, about living by myself when I'm older. Thoughts of a cozy apartment in some downtown area fill my imagination. Picturing myself spending endless hours in my own place drawing, reading, playing piano, practicing yoga, writing--it excites me. I had such a clear vision of what I wanted, but today I spend eight hours completely alone. Yes, it was quiet, and I was free to do whatever I pleased, but I felt unexpectedly lonely. Unexpected for me, anyway. Other people anticipate this kind of loneliness--fear it, even. The problem wasn't that I was bored or looking for someone to talk to. At least, I don't think I was looking for someone to talk to. It just would've been nice to have company. Someone sitting around with me, doing his or her own thing. Maybe that way my lazy afternoon wouldn't have felt like solitary confinement.

There's this idea in my head that wanting or needing other people is weak. Logically I know that it's just human, but I can't resist this desire to prove a point: that I can provide myself with everything I could ever need or want, that I am enough for myself. Because that's the definition of independence, right? The simplest one, anyway. Perhaps independence involves more complexity than I give it credit for. It wouldn't be outlandish to believe that it's beyond the scope of my current understanding. After all, I'm young. Not to mention that it's impossible to know everything about this extremely involved world we live in.

So I acknowledge that I may be wrong, that I may need other people in my life. Didn't I already know that on some level? I know for a fact that I couldn't get by without my closer friends. And who knows what I would do without my mother. But if I'm being honest with myself, that's not what I'm talking about, is it? The real question is, will I eventually need to be in a relationship to be happy? When I'm old and on my own--no longer in constant contact with my friends and family--will I need to have some form of significant other who I know will always be there for me?

Even now I'm thinking that I would learn to take care of myself and become stronger because of it. Is that realistic? And if it is, is that necessary? It kind of seems like the harder route. Although, establishing complete trust and intimacy with someone sounds impossible. Maybe it's just me. I just can't understand how people manage to trust each other so wholesomely. People are so complex on their own, that it's irrational to expect such a pure and simple bond to exist between them.

I guess they trust because they have hope. Letting myself have hope against all odds--is that stupid? Or does that involve a type of bravery that I can't yet comprehend?

<Lucy Cartin
countercounter