Being Basic Isn't Bad

Being Basic Isn't Bad

ba·sic: forming or relating to the most important part of something (Merriam-Webster).
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I just returned from a CorePower sculpt class to my sorority house to take a shower using Lush products. I’m now sitting at Whole Foods, drinking a Vietnamese cold brew and basking in the glow of the environmentally friendly lights their café has to offer. Tonight, I intend to don a Victoria's Secret nightie and watch "Grey's Anatomy" before I fall asleep under my Christmas lights and tapestry that hang over my bed. This is an average day in the life of my 20-year-old self. To give you a visual, I’m a five-foot-seven, blonde, young woman with a Crest-white-strips smile and mascara coated eyelashes. I love Urban Outfitters and rom-coms, and occasionally, I meditate. I am a full-fledged basic b*tch.

But before I continue, I need to make something inherently clear: I love being basic. You can hate on an iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks, but have you ever had one? They are the elixir of life and you’re lying if you say you don’t enjoy their sugary, creamy goodness. And before you trash on spin class, tell me again how checking yourself out in the mirrors at the gym as you get “swole” is a better workout than a straight hour of cycling in a humid room. And sure, I dress like a chic bag lady and wear my hair long and messy because it’s how I feel most beautiful, and that’s important to me.

Being in your 20s sucks. Friends, employers, professors, and even your own family constantly scrutinize you for everything from your major to your choice of a romantic partner. On top of that, you’re learning how to be a functioning adult in society. As I have quickly learned, spending your own money as opposed to your parents’ is equivalent to lighting yourself on fire, and no matter what your major, you will spend all four years of your college experience drowning in piles of homework and crying at least twice a week solely because of stress. The last thing anyone suffering through their 20s needs is any more labels applied to them than we already have.

I’ve been called everything under the sun—slut, curvy, boring, fake, spoiled—but the one that hurts the most is basic. I’ve spent the longest time trying to figure out why in the world the most harmless word hurts the most, and I think I’ve finally got it figured out. When you call me heavy, you’re attacking one part of me. It’s a part that I can come to terms with when I look in the mirror and tell myself that I’m blessed to have childbearing hips and a big ribcage that houses impressive lungs. When you call me spoiled, I silently revel in the fact that I am have worked since I was fifteen and currently nanny twelve hours a week, on top of being a full-time student, to afford any and all luxuries I want. But when you call me basic, when you toss around a term that actually just means a foundation or a starting point, you attack all of me.

That word encompasses my artificially blonde hair, which I dye because it makes it easier to look in the mirror and give myself the confidence I need to face the day with a smile. It targets my choice to drink coffee, which I drink because I am often up until the wee hours of the morning writing for one of the three publications I work for in the hopes of having the experience to take on the real world—not because it tastes good. It comments on my choice to attend exercise classes, which to me, are a weekly retreat from the chaos of college and help me to take better care of this one body I have (which, honestly, takes a lot of abuse, from a poor diet to nights out partying). “Basic” takes a subtle dig at my personality, my humor, my taste in clothes, my taste in television, everything.

I come from a long line of women who stand firmly in their beliefs and aren’t afraid to speak their minds. In particular, my sister, who is one of the most confident, beautiful, and exquisite creatures I have had the pleasure to encounter, has strong feelings about the word “basic.” She’s a senior at Northwestern University, studying Communications and Classics and absolutely slaying every aspect of her life. But she, like I, takes immense comfort in the more basic things in life. She sips on rosé on a Friday night with her girlfriends, she wears Brandy Melville in the most flawlessly hobo chic way, and she owns over two-hundred Essie nail polishes just because. She’s expressed her dislike for this term before, so I called her to ask what exactly it is about the word basic that bothers her so much:

“My real problem with basic is that it is misogynistic. It implies that things that are traditionally feminine are subject to derision and mockery.”


In our sisterhood, Hannah has always been the brain. She’s eloquent without pause and never loses an argument because her quick logic never fails. But never, in my twenty years, have I been so floored by a statement from her before (and trust me—I’ve heard a lot). It’s because it’s true. These concepts that are traditionally feminine, these joys we as women impart upon because we can, have become a point of humor and jest for those who don’t understand the comfort we find in them. You never, ever hear a guy being called basic; it’s always a girl. It packs a double punch in a world that’s already hard enough to live in. From body hair removal, which is painful and expensive, to having to follow these unspoken rules about dating--or a lack thereof--in this day and age, to suffering through Mother Nature's monthly gift, being a woman is hard. I'm not going to go on a feminist rant right here and right now, but when you really, truly think about what so many of us consider to be basic, there is undeniable effeminate essence to most.

I’ve called people basic. I'm not perfect and it's easy to get swept up in college life and the lingo and the standards and the labels. I imagine, however, that despite my being overemotional and sensitive, I am not the only one who has an aversion to this word. Next time you want to slap that label (or any label, for that matter) on someone, remember that you are taking a serious dig at the lifestyle they have chosen for themselves. No matter who you are, no matter what you are, no matter how you live your life—basic or not—as long as you are kind and live with a heart full of love to give to others, that’s all that matters.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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I Am The Girl Who Always Gets What She Wants, And I’m Not Ashamed Of It

I will NEVER just "go with the flow."

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Ever since I was very, very young, my parents have taught me to fight for what I want. This doesn't mean that they spoiled me or that they caved whenever I threw a temper tantrum. I'm also not saying that they taught me not to take no for an answer, because everyone's entitled to their own opinions and points of views, and saying no is perfectly understandable in any circumstance. What I am saying is that they've always wanted me to take my future in my hands, mold it to whatever it is that I want it to look like, and work hard to get to where I want to go.

When I was eleven years old, I watched a documentary called "The Secret" with my dad for the first time. "The Secret" is a book, later turned into a documentary, which basically teaches you how to use the law of attraction. Simply put, the law of attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. My dad told me he'd read the book before, and that he thought I was ready to learn how to use the law of attraction for my own good, even though I'd technically been using it for my entire life without even being aware of it. It's important to note that, when people first learn about the law of attraction, they tend to be pretty skeptical about it. Surprisingly, I wasn't skeptical at all, considering I'd always looked up to Walt Disney and his stories about magic.

At first, I used the law of attraction for things that might seem very small now, but back then I was so very excited to see that whatever I was doing was working in my favor. Whenever I really wanted something, like a light pink Nintendo DS, I would put it up on my vision board, I would visualize myself playing with it, and I would truly believe that I would get it, and so I did. Some people teased me for it, saying that I only got those things because my parents wanted me to believe in the law of attraction, and so they just bought me whatever it was that I wanted at the moment. But then it started turning into something way more powerful.

When I was seventeen, my family and I were planning to go to Disney World for Spring Break, and I really wanted my best friend to come with us. At first, it seemed like an impossible task, considering the fact that her mom had never even let her go on a weekend getaway with anyone, let alone fly to another country. I introduced my best friend to the law of attraction, and we both truly believed that she would come. She ended up coming on the trip with us, and to this day, we're still shocked about the fact that her mother caved and let her tag along.

As I've grown older, the law of attraction has always played a very important part in my thought process, and how I handle and react to things. When I was eighteen, I was able to gather all the strength I needed to break away from a very toxic relationship, and then I found a man who just casually happens to have every single thing I always thought my dream guy should have.

In January of last year, I decided that I would be applying for the Disney International College Program. It was truly fitting, considering the fact that Disney has always been one of my biggest passions in life, and also that I had been to Disney World countless times before. I felt truly prepared to take on this adventure, and so I started preparing my application. Nevertheless, the dates got mixed up, and my school advisor told me it was too late for me to send in my application. But I knew deep in my heart that I was going to move to Orlando. Two days after that, just like magic, my advisor told me that she could still let me apply if I sent in my application as quickly as possible. We all know what happened after that, considering I'm writing this from my apartment in Orlando.

All that magic comes with a price though, and lots of people have recently tried to undermine me. Some people, I guess, are just like black holes. They hate shiny things, and they go around trying to suck everyone else's light to fill up the void inside of them, but my fire is too strong, and therefore, it's impossible to put out. Some people just can't take how much I've accomplished, the things I've seen, the things I've done, the stuff I have, and the dreams I dream.

I've decided to stand my ground and let it be known, once and for all, that no matter what happens, I will always continue to fight and work for whatever it is that I want, no matter how big, small, unreachable or pointless it may seem to other people. What I want is what I get, and if someone doesn't like that about me, then that's their own problem to deal with, not mine. My life, my future, and my destiny are MINE to sculpt, and I will NEVER just "go with the flow."

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