Sex and the Ivy


Filed under: Uncategorized — Elle April 29, 2007 @ 4:38 am

Never had a chance to reveal the tattoo I got in January, so here’s a photo from tonight (taken right before Mather Lather). I’ll post the full chronicle of the inking adventure later on.

Putting It All Into Perspective

Filed under: Depression, Life — Elle April 27, 2007 @ 10:15 pm

Life isn’t really as terrible as it seems. I have to remind myself of that constantly, but trite as it is, it’s true. Everything happens for a reason, and even if it’s difficult to make sense of it at the moment, events that later unfold eventually elucidate the past.

April is Mental Health Awareness Month. After my entry on depression hit the Internet, I felt like I had become the poster child for mental health at Harvard. It was a role I was unprepared for, but I’m glad it landed on my lap. I wrote way back in November, “Sex blogs and dating columns are entertaining endeavors, but what I have wanted most is to make a difference by putting into words what some people are unable or afraid to express for themselves.”

I didn’t think at the time that I was doing precisely that by posting about my own experience with alienation and sadness on this campus. In the weeks immediately after my entry went up, countless readers reached out via comments, emails, instant messages, just about any medium you could think of. Some of them were speaking from an older and wiser perspective, many were current or former Harvard students who understood disillusionment well, and others were just young people elsewhere in the world who shared the same struggle. Even today, months after having written that post, I still get the occasional email every couple weeks from someone who is trying to make sense of what is going on in their lives and empathized with me enough to put their feelings down into words. This is the single most resonating piece of writing I have ever produced.

When I wrote it, I was beginning therapy just as my life was beginning to unravel. The blog had become overwhelming, stifling, much more than I could handle on my own. My personal life had all but imploded. Things with Aidan ended, my friends didn’t understand anything, my best friend just started a new relationship, and I couldn’t tell my mother the truth about a single aspect of my life. I was, for all intents and purposes, alone.

I wrote the entry partially because I was miserable, partially because I needed to articulate what my day-to-day struggle felt like, but mostly because I resented everyone for regarding me as some sort of sex-crazed freakshow when really I was just a girl who couldn’t quite get a grip on life at Harvard. At the time, all I could think about was running away, whether it meant from Mather to the Quad, from Boston to New York, or from Harvard to Penn. On campus, I lived in a constant state of panic and anxiety. I was too paranoid about being recognized to leave my room. I stopped eating. I couldn’t talk to my friends without having difficulty breathing. I told more to Kyle, someone I had casual sex with, than I did to my roommates. I had no idea how to make it to the next day.

It wasn’t until January, when I had gained perspective from a weekend in New York and a trip back home, that I finally reached a leveling off point. Somehow, through the tumultuous holidays and a few therapy sessions, I had learned to keep my emotions under control, to deal with the unexpected consequences of celebrity, to pick and choose who I wanted to have in my life. I also came to learn that even though a lot of my problems stemmed from my blog, what I went through (and am still going through) was both a unique and a common experience. Expressing that experience and sharing my journey with a public audience has been more gratifying than almost anything else I’ve done.

I am better now. I am in a better place today than I could’ve imagined six months ago, than I could’ve ever thought possible as a freshman. And despite the unfortunate events that have transpired in the past few weeks, despite the multiple conversations I wish I never had to engage in, despite frustrations and disappointments, I am more capable of managing life on my own than I have ever been. I did not ask a lot out of therapy. Happiness was never a request of mine. Today, I simply can function. And that is a blessing that I cannot even begin to explain.

I write this now because I spent the past two months becoming invested in someone who turned out to not be who I thought. I spent the past week getting to know someone else who was just as deceitful. In four months, I have met more distraught ex-girlfriends than I care to meet for the rest of my life. Perhaps this is karmic; perhaps it is bad fortune. Whatever the case, it’s hard for anyone in this position to not begin thinking that they’re cursed.

Which brings me back to my point. Putting it all into perspective, this website is one of the best things that has happened to me despite my having to change the way I live in order to cope with its consequences. Depression was one of the best things that has happened to me because I needed to feel that low in order to get the help I’ve always needed. I understand that now. Months and months later, it has all been worth it and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I fell hard for someone recently and he made me believe in things I never thought I would. He told me that I was beautiful, that I was much more than a sexual object. He appreciated my intelligence, my ambition, my devotion to those important in my life. He wanted me to realize my own worth, to not give myself away emotionally or physically so easily to others, to respect myself. Not too long after I actually began to take his words to heart, I found out that he had been lying to me for weeks about his involvement with another girl. He had been lying to both of us. I haven’t spoken to him since.

But I still believe every word he said to me.

Such a large part of our relationship was a fabrication that it would be easy to discount what we had altogether, but I would never take it back if only because he taught me such valuable lessons. He is the reason why I only want to sleep with someone I really care about. Given some perspective, being with him served a very important function, one I could’ve never predicted and one I value despite the way things played out.

I’m writing this entry to someone specific, someone who I think understands precisely where I am coming from, who knows what it means to hurt and to need. Perhaps this is just me being romantic, but I think that there must’ve been something that you could’ve taken away from the two of you that was vital and important. There must’ve been something he made you feel, something he added to your notion of self. Whatever it was, I don’t want you to lose that. Months from now, I hope whatever happened between you still matters and has some impact no matter how vague.

People speak of regrets far too often. I am too drained to regret what has already been done. Take it. Change it. Be better for it.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Elle @ 3:27 am

I refuse to have sex again until I’m in love.

The Ivy Sex Diaries: Intro

Filed under: Dating/Relationships, Ivy Sex Diaries, Riley, Sex — Elle April 26, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

Forgive me for the sickness-induced hiatus which has put me behind on schoolwork, freelance assignments, and even blogging. To make amends, I’m going to offer up my friends’ amorous musings for analysis. Inspired by the New York Magazine piece, this is a week in the sex life of an Ivy League student.

Four real Harvardians (and one Quaker), seven days of yearning from across the Yard, morning-after shuttle rides, and Facebook flirting. We are a campus of grade-grubbing, budding Manhattanites and whatever New Yorkers can do, we think can do better. But can we?

This week gal pals and fellow bloggers chronicled their deepest desires. For a preview of what can be expected once our juicy journals are compiled, check out a one day peek into the psyche of Ennui and Decadence, a Harvard soph, and take a look at seven days from my previous week:

Female, sophomore, sociology concentrator, Mather House, “straight-flexible” and single

1 a.m. Headache all Sunday. Before bed, I write six Facebook messages to people I want to see in the next week. Two of them are to guys I’m interested in.
1 p.m. See Facebook response from ZAP’s friend, Riley. He likes my picture, call it “quite emotive.” I tell him I’m free Friday and proceed to pass out from fatigue.
9 p.m. Birth control alarm goes off. I’m out. Fuck.
10 p.m. Still headachey. Decide on a whim to Facebook message my friend Greg’s blockmate from the previous weekend: “don’t know if you recall but Greg intro’ed us at the sae party in currier. i commented, “Greg, you never told me you had such attractive blockmates!” totally meant it. we should grab coffee.” Pat myself on back for being charmingly forward.


Quotables: Better Than Ezra Cornell

Filed under: Quotables — Elle April 23, 2007 @ 10:58 pm

Me: “He’s an aspiring filmmaker who waits tables.”

Allie: “Standards, Lena. Standards!”

Me: “What are you talking about? He went to Brown!”

Allie: “Exactly.”

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