I Am A Porcelain Mask Of The Person I Was 10 Years Ago

I Am A Porcelain Mask Of The Person I Was 10 Years Ago

As a child, I was carefree and wild. Now, I've grown up.

Mona Lisa was known for her slight ambiguous smile; was she satisfied with her remarkable accomplishments, or was she drowning in the depths of her inner turmoil? The world may never know. The candid picture of 9-year-old me, however, alleviated any general confusion about my feelings — my radiant, toothy grin was a clear indication of my jubilation.

Clustered among my friends sitting on the grass, I was sucking on a cheap, red popsicle. My mother had warned me of the countless chemicals present in the red coloring, but here I was, enjoying what I believed to be a mighty act of rebellion. With my uneven pigtails, oversized jeans and loud "my dog ate my homework" animated shirt, I was the image of the stereotypical elementary schooler except for one thing: my tomboyish qualities.

My white shoes were splattered with mud from countless hours of playing kickball with the boys and my knees were bruised from falling over during tag. I constantly seemed like a Raggedy Ann doll while the other girls preserved their delicate porcelain looks by sitting in a circle and playing pattycake. Looking at myself now, I noticed that over the years, my sun-kissed skin had become overshadowed by a mask — a porcelain mask.

Looking at this photo reminds me of the childhood that I have shed like a snake’s skin.

The muddy sneakers I had once worn to school everyday have become white converse that I take great care to not dirty. My garish t-shirts have been traded for elegant floral blouses. My oversized bootcut jeans transformed into fitted, skinny, ripped denims. I wear my curly hair down everyday, avoiding high ponytails lest I wish to resemble a boy. I have learned to rein in my boisterous laughter — instead, amusing tales only release small, controlled chuckles from my tightly-zipped mouth.

The most concerning change I have observed is my lack of voice. I had begun to restrain my thoughts and comments to fit society’s ideals, even though those ideals clashed with my own. I had scared myself into believing that any step outside the box I had confined myself in would result in a decline of the respect that others have for me.

The girl in the picture and my present self are one person, but we could not be more different. She still has all things I have lost over the years: the passion for music, the time to practice her cursive writing (especially the loopy K’s), the love of reading, the carefree attitude and the disregard for the approval of others. Every time I look into the deep chocolate brown pools centered within her bright eyes, I realize that I have given into conformity — that I have sacrificed my sense of true self.

Though that picture shows me who I used to be and what I have become, it also serves as a reminder to be myself no matter where I am and who I am with. I am persuaded by my younger self to prioritize my own happiness over others’ opinions. In an increasingly mainstream world, the ghost of my old laughter is the distant echo of who I want to be, often hidden among other echoes of insecurity and uncertainty.

W.J.T Mitchell was correct in assuming that we often personify photos — in fact, seeing my younger self influences me to retain my bona fide persona and to break out of the shell I have taken shelter in. My only hope is that one day the porcelain mask obscuring my freedom is destroyed, and I will be able to view the world again through my childlike lens.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Cancel Culture Is Toxic And Ugly

Stop deciding for me who I can and cannot like.


I was really hoping that canceled culture died in 2018, but unfortunately here we are in 2019 still "canceling" whoever we personally deem "problematic." Whether it's tweeting from six years ago or falsely made allegations, waves of people will grab on to anything they can to bring down whatever celebrity or influencer seems to be doing well at the moment.

Of course, it is important to bring light to horrible things such as racism, misogyny, domestic abuse, etc., but remember these horrible things are still happening TODAY. We need to focus our energy on combating the horrible things people are currently doing and saying; it is truly such a waste of time to bring up the problematic words and actions that someone in the limelight did almost a decade ago.

Let me be clear, there is no one person I am trying to defend here. I honestly don't care much to personally defend anyone who is being canceled by angry twitter-users who found something just bad enough to hold against them for eternity. I truly just find the idea of it annoying and ugly.

The idea that any person is a completely static, flat character is so inconceivable and unlikely that I truly have a hard time understanding why we cannot accept an apology from a matured person.

If we have no evidence that a person has made any recent damaging remarks, then how can we prove they haven't changed since they tweeted something wrong in 2013?

Of course, there are people who have recently or continuously proven they are indecent people who are not deserving of any sort of public exposure, but if they are truly so horrible, people will drop them without you having to tell them to do so. You don't have to condemn those who still remain loyal; they are probably not the kind of people you need to waste your time on anyway.

If the people canceling others were constantly watched like the people they have damned, I am absolutely sure there is something we could find from their past to cancel them as well.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that famous people are still human beings just like us. Anyone is prone to make mistakes, and those mistakes can absolutely be rectified over time.

Nowadays, people love jumping on the bandwagon of finding a new person to hate and don't even stop to think about the damage it could do to that person's life and reputation.

Give people a chance to prove that they are decent human beings before deciding whether "we" as a whole should love or hate them based on such a small amount of evidence.

I am not saying you have to love every celebrity. If you don't like what someone has said or done you absolutely do not have to give them your attention or devotion, but you should not tell me whether I can like them or not.

In 2019 we should put an end to canceled culture, and, instead, learn to take people at their word and accept their apologies for their past wrongdoings.

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