And I can't help but wonder
Why it wasn't easy this time.
And I marvel at the sky and at the
Hands that created it that you
Simply cannot believe in,
And I can't help but ponder
What His hand is in this abstract piece
And why it is more full of smudges
And erred brushstrokes for me than most folks.
I contemplate mortality,
And why I feel so weak,
Yet I'm hanging on
While others are hanging by a thread.
I feel spoiled and dirty,
Looking into the mirror with disdain.
Notoriously getting off on my own words
And everything in my skull that follows.
So I give more and more –
Everything but my flesh –
Until I am a skeleton;
An unrequited corpse.
Lying alone in a cold,
Stony grave of hopeful words
And squelched heartbeats.
And I can't help but wonder
Why it wasn't easy this time.
The subtle rocking of the subway lulls me to sleep --
An urban cradle at best --
And I begin to drift in and out of lucidity.
The melting pot I've thrown myself into begins to fade,
And 'this just in:'
The thoughts of the day.
It's funny, feeling on top of the world
And never enough
All at the same time.
This city will eat you up and spit you out all in the same day,
And then seat you on a proverbial throne.
And you'll never be enough --
Or alluring enough,
But that doesn't matter,
Because you don't need him,
What's this dream,
Jotting down words for a living
And tumbling around in them mercilessly,
When they won't hold you through the night.
I feel like a puddle,
When I used to be a sea.
Becoming too much of this world and losing all depth
Is a terribly frightening feeling.
And then I snap out of it and gaze at all of the buildings grazing the sky
As I sit alone on rocks in Central Park.
Then I beg God for a sign that I belong here,
And I'm greeted with melodic birdcries and
Strangers' smiles paired with crinkled eyes,
And there is a tangible inward shift.
And then I know that I've got to break out of home,
Grab the piece of paper I've worked four years for,
Shake hands goodbye when I'd rather kiss,
Snuff the flames turned habits that I can't shake,
And get here already.
I want to do something reckless tonight,
And I'm restless
Staring out of half-opened windows
And getting high off of the virginal summer air.
I miss the nights out,
The sneaks out,
The sitting-on-the-sidewalks-scared-to-hold-hands feeling.
Being bad back before I knew it was bad.
And they say the nice girls finish last,
But get only the best,
Or maybe I've just concocted that little cliché in my disillusioned skull.
It would be easy to be bad.
It's hard on these nights,
When all you want to do is run wild,
Clinging onto the windowsill and talking to God,
Asking Him to help you
Wait for all of the promises of
When everything else is so cheap and flimsy in the world.
Everyone is so cheap and flimsy.
And they say the nice girls finish last,
But get only the best.
I came to ugly grips with the stark reality of impermanent people and relationships years ago. I shed the callow skin of infatuation, soul-spilling serenades and hand-penned letters and traded it in for something much more practical and impenetrable.
But the halls of my home aren't as permanent or familiar, as is my childhood neighborhood. My bed, that used to curve perfectly around me as I drifted off to some unworldly, lucid place, suddenly feels like a tomb. Nothing here feels permanent anymore.
It's my last summer, and all familiarity has been rubbed away with time and age.
And I'm constantly moving. Going from here to there, point A to point B, incessantly. My spirit of adventure is undoubtedly being fulfilled, and it's invigorating. Rejuvenating, even. I am experiencing the world -- sight, smell, touch and taste at a time. No location is permanent, no location is too familiar.
I will be a stranger in a new city in five days, if only for 48 hours. But 48 hours is enough.
And I'm changing. Leadership, courage and boldness are taking the forefront; not by choice, but by necessity. And I'm learning that vulnerability does not equate to weakness, and desire is not a gateway to senseless hurt. Or at least, not every time.
And I'm coming to terms with honesty. The inner war field of 'the things I think' and 'the things I think I should say.' I so wish that I could honestly describe the things I have seen, and will see, this sepia-tinted season.
I wish I could formulate the words to describe what it feels like to watch the sun melt into the horizon from the Empire State Building, like a slowly-burning coal that had diamond potential. Or the way it feels to run my finger over adolescent initials carved into wood half a decade ago. Or how the heat radiates up from the pavement of city streets and only propels me to walk on harder toward my destiny. How the creek trickles all afternoon and how the big rock there -- my rock -- feels like a kingdom under the sun.
I want to whisper all of this, or say it all long-winded, or slip it out of my lips surreptitiously between sips of coffee, but that isn't reality. I simply don't have a recipient for all of this earnest honesty.
Until then, the paper and pen.
“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”
I saw your distinctive profile.
Or at least I thought I did in the blur of people surrounding me,
Until I knew that I was wrong.
And my soul sunk down deep into my stomach
And my hope sunk even further.
So I walked the pier and stared into the waves that only mirrored my ocean eyes and beckoned me inwardly.
In, into the saline sea that would cleanse me --
The bottomless, brackish baptismal that I so desperately needed.
Inwardly, I did jump.
And everything washed away all at once:
The bitterness, anguish and awe.
And then I told everyone that I had sand in my eyes,
Or something stupid and juvenile like that,
But, really, I was crying.
A rebirth happened in the riptide that rust-colored afternoon.
I have nothing together.
I'm ripped at the seams half of the time, while the other half I'm scrambling for composure and grasping at the slippery straws of 'what to do next.' What an ugly cliché I have become.
I'm the soon-to-be leader, the journalist. The friend, the comforter. The daughter, the role model. It's a hard feat, all of it. I'm forever riding this equivocating seesaw of success and mediocrity, dreadfully straddling the fatal line of average and noteworthy.
I don't want to fall into the margins.
Smear into the pages.
Become a footnote in this wondrous journey.
New York said 'yes' to me tonight and I had to say 'no.' The words felt like razor blades coming out of my mouth. I had it. But poor timing and concrete circumstances snatched it away.
My hands have grown weary of constantly turning doorknobs; opening the doors all on my own. Sleepless nights. Writing. Editing. Coffee. Competing against a former self.
It's hard doing it on your own. I've worked on suppressing the fragment inside that calls out in the middle of the night for a caress, a word of encouragement, fingers to intertwine my own with. But it can't lie dormant forever. I can't be the only thing sustaining myself, and I hate admitting that for fear of weakness.
So, maybe I need to become a little more undone.
Or just 'get it together.'
I regret to say that I'm really disappointed with this. I know it's only a one-minute clip, but I've heard enough to be wary about the new album.
First off, "Payphone" is lacking any and all of the soulful, funky flavor that I love about M5. This could very well be any other song on Top 40 radio today.
Second, the lyrics are unequivocally surface level. Adam has pulled out all the stops in the past lyrically ("Sunday Morning" is so heartfelt; like it came straight out of a early morning journal entry), but these lyrics seem to be penned for their "sing-songy" quality rather than depth and resonance.
Last, the unnecessary use of profanity throws the entire chorus off. Dropping the "f-bomb" (although I am not a fan of it) actually worked in "Makes Me Wonder" because of the nature of the song, but the stringing of two profanities in a row here just comes off as trying too hard to come off as "wounded."
And Wiz Khalifa is supposed to fit into this equation, somehow?
I love M5 and regard them highly as my favorite group of musicians, but this little taste of "Overexposed" is bland. When "Misery" leaked in 2010, its infectious baseline and catchy lyrics equated to a single of epic proportions. Where is all of the funk hiding? Here's hoping that "Overexposed" doesn't fall victim to "overproduction."
As I step out of the taxi onto the bustling West 35th Street, the uncanny aroma of asphalt, exhaust and sweet promise hits me in the face -- I must be in New York City. Sure enough, I am.
After receiving news in early September that I had been chosen out of over 2,000 international applicants to attend Teen Vogue magazine's annual fashion university program in the city on Oct. 23, I had spent every day preparing for this ironically anticlimactic arrival.
As the inner journalist within me feels compelled to immediately begin snapping candid photos of the impeccably stylish passersby and scribble down every little detail of the Empire State in my reporter's notebook (the crosswalks in New York are massive compared to ours at home!), I resist the urge and set out to conquer the city on foot, one stiletto-clad step at a time.
Destination? The majestic Hudson Theatre near Broadway, where I would be taking a full day's worth of classes learning the ins and outs of the fashion industry -- the world I have so intently wanted to be a part of since picking up my first glossy issue of Teen Vogue at age 13.
Ducking into the dimly lit theatre smelling faintly of last week's popcorn and Chanel No. 5 perfume, I nab a plush red velvet seat as the day's keynote speaker, legendary designer Michael Kors, takes to the stage for his opening remarks.
Kors describes his long and dramatic journey up the fashion industry's brutal ladder, highlighting his setbacks and biggest accomplishments as a women's sportswear designer since the early 1980s. "As for now," Kors says, "I am always coming up with new takes on classics," when asked how he conjures up new designs after being a staple in the industry for nearly three decades. Hearing the designer speak in person is undeniably inspirational, and once dismissed, I set off for my day of classes in incredibly high spirits.
Heart pounding in my chest, I cross the street to the looming Conde Nast building, a marble monster of architecture that is home to coveted publications like Teen Vogue, Vogue, Lucky, and Glamour. After passing through security, I hop into the first available elevator and head to the fourth floor for my first seminar of the day on blogging.
I learn that blogging has become much more than an online hobby over the past five years, generating much revenue through corporate sponsorships, high profile advertisers and word of mouth fandom. I let out a sigh of relief and make a mental note that my addiction to blogging is, indeed, worthwhile and that compulsively updating my Twitter account is just as important. Take that, social media critics.
After leaving class I bump into Teen Vogue fashion news editor, Jane Keltner deValle, and immediately introduce myself. In a sense, deValle is the "golden ticket" into the magazine, and I make sure to steady myself, ask ample questions about interning and end our conversation by passing off my resume and delivering a self-assured handshake. Well done, Lindsay, well done.
Up next is my lunch break, and in customary New York fashion, every corner deli is promptly packed with hungry patrons. I opt for Subway, where a frustrated sandwich artist barks orders at me while putting together my standard veggie on flatbread. Normally my feelings would be hurt, but I smile. My first encounter with the atypical "rude New Yorker" makes me feel at home; as though I have been inducted into the club of "those-who-are-not-tourists."
Scarfing down my lunch and guzzling a piping hot venti Starbucks (coffee, black, no cream -- the New Yorker's staple), it's back to Conde Nast for round two, a Q&A session with star of MTV's "The Hills" and "The City," Whitney Port. As I walk to the classroom in my brand new heels (black, open toe, a $7 steal from Target) a second pair of heels (black, impossibly high, $500 Christian Louboutins) behind me begin "clack-clack-clacking" along in unison. Turning around, I am face-to-face with and immediately starstruck by Ms. Port herself. Fortunately, I squeak out an effervescent greeting and accompany the fashion maven into the classroom where she is soon to begin speaking.
Port name drops fellow coworkers and humbly promotes her first clothing line, "Whitney Eve," while explaining to eager audience members that, although the fashion industry is difficult to break into, it is still a very tangible reality. "Go the extra mile when interning in the industry," Port says. "Be sure not to become discouraged by demanding bosses or setbacks -- success doesn't happen overnight."
Feeling upbeat and still buzzing from my chance encounter with Whitney Port, it's back to the Hudson Theatre for the final seminar of the day. My naturally fast-paced walk puts me back at the venue around 5:30, where I am just in time to grab an excellent seat for the Teen Vogue editors talk. It is here where I will hear directly from the source what the magazine looks for in its editorial staff and interns.
My future co-workers file onto the stage (oops, did I really slip and say that? The editors, I mean) and open up the session by describing their position and what assets they contribute to Teen Vogue. "Do your homework by researching the publication you desire to work for," says editor-in-chief Amy Astley. "Mention past issues of the magazine, parts of the issue that you like, and any new ideas that you would like to contribute as a writer."
Entertainment editor Danielle Nussbaum chimes in and adds that writing for a fashion-based publication isn't solely about reporting on shoes and the latest runway shows. "It's not just about fashion, but about culture as a whole," Nussbaum says. "We like well-rounded individuals who know fashion, but also know how to blog, tweet, and brand themselves as savvy writers."
The bit of advice that resonates with me the most is delivered by accessories editor Shiona Turini, one of the youngest editors at Teen Vogue. "Work hard, be humble, and be ready and willing to learn," she says. This universal piece of advice can be applied by any college graduate to any field, and I am immediately inspired.
The speaking session closes, and the editors receive ample applause and praise for their helpful, candid speaking session. I'm on the verge of a standing ovation as I feel the hint of a tear welling in my eye, but I force it back with a smile and utmost respect for the talented and driven individuals standing before me.
As I retreat onto the dusky streets of New York City for the nine block walk back to the hotel, palpitations of promise beat steadily in my chest and guide my steps. My mind reels and thinks of how this industry is composed of much more than beauty, beautiful clothing, and familiar faces, but also of art, hard work, sweat, and untimely tears.
A cab breezes by me on the right, and the Empire State Building pierces the descending skyline on the left. I breathe in the culture, vibrance, and diversity of the beautiful melting pot surrounding me. No, this life isn't for everyone, and it certainly isn't for the faint of heart. That evening I fall asleep and dream of bright lights, coffee runs, crosswalks and deadlines -- elements of the beautiful concrete jungle otherwise known as my destiny.