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