Hope everyone on the other coast is doing alright. I’ve been texting and IMing my friends the past week post-wildfires. Later this afternoon, I’ll call my father and my grandparents in San Francisco. 5.6? Could’ve been worse.
The Bleeding Heart Nympho’s Guide To Harvard Life
- May 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- March 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- March 2007
- February 2007
- January 2007
- December 2006
- November 2006
- October 2006
- September 2006
- August 2006
On The Web
(where I blog daily!)
Currently sitting in a too-nice, too-expensive Tribeca studio, where I’m temporarily crashing post-Long Island. Cece left this morning at dawn and I’m following suit tomorrow at 4:30pm, flying from JFK to Long Beach.
It’s been a pretty fantastic 13 weeks — I’ll wax nostalgic once I’m near the Pacific again. In the meantime, I’m spending my last 24 hours doing a few of my favorite things: shopping at Henri Bendel and Beacon’s Closet, having sushi for dinner, boozing (of course), brunching with Jules, and … taking care of my new piercings. Ended up getting two out of five — decided to skip getting second lobe piercings.
Estimated time of arrival to my dearly beloved California is 7:30pm PST. For now … peace, kids. I’m going shopping.
Last January, I posted the following entry on my former blog:
I used to write about my life, like what I did on a particular day, what my plans are for tomorrow, what I look forward to, who my friends are. And now? I write about my feelings, and when they’re too dangerous to reveal, I hide behind vague references and the timid hope that someone can infer the truth.
And after all this time, I still can’t shake that feeling of discomfort, knowing that some of the people who read this also see me on a regular basis. If this journal was just read by friends from home, then I’d name names and recount events, the good and bad alike. Hell, even readers from home make me uneasy. Not all of you understand, maybe a couple know completely.
Honesty is hard. Stripping down to the truth, admitting to your bare-to-the-bones feelings, and handing it over to people who might as well be strangers, because no matter how often they’ve seen you or how many times you’ve talked, they still don’t know who you are.
Well, you don’t know who I am. And these words only skim the surface of something much deeper, something I cannot articulate, aloud, in pen, or by keyboard. But here is a portion of what I can offer. And you can judge and you can empathize and you can disregard, but just know that this is me- vulnerable, self-conscious, and hesitant, but willing to shed down until all you can see is skin.
_ _ _
Since starting this website, I have been more honest than I have ever been about my life and who I am. But in light of the publicity, the criticism, and the label â€œsex blogger,â€ I think itâ€™s important to reveal aspects of myself not so apparent. I’m putting it all on the table. I am writing about my insecurities, my flaws, my life in all its glorious imperfection. So here I am, a little more naked than before:
I am a HFAI recipient. I go to an Ivy League school but I am not wealthy. I am from the part of Los Angeles that does not make it into the movies. The people I care most about, those thousands of miles away, are not even on this blog. I write about events that take place in a city that has been my home for only five seasons’ time. Harvard is the extent of my privilege.
I’ve wanted to write since I was 8. I’ve been a student journalist for five years and counting. I’ve edited hundreds of pieces, I’ve led a newspaper staff of 70, I own a copy of the Associated Press Stylebook. Until I was unexpectedly accepted to Harvard, I had every intention of going to journalism school. I didn’t start this website because I thought I was so cool, because I’m an exhibitionist, or because I wanted to indulge my egocentric tendencies. I started it so that I could have a forum for the writing deemed unsuitable for publication in the papers I work for.
I’m afraid of being pigeonholed as a sex blogger or a sex columnist. Sex, though fun and enjoyable, is really not what my life revolves around. I don’t work my ass off so that I can be a bona fide trophy wife. Believe it or not, I actually have ambitions and care about the world. I want to go to business school. I want to run a nonprofit. I want to work with young women. I want to help queer youth.
I want to write a memoir. I want to start a publication. I am afraid that I am not good enough to write for a living, but I know I have to try. The greatest disappointments of my young life have had to do with my writing, but so have my greatest feats. If Iâ€™m still at it in ten years, I want every word to count.
I am an overachiever in school and an underachiever in life. The thing I wanted most as a kid was to fit in and finally at 19, I stopped trying. I do not remember large parts of my childhood because I do not have happy memories to look back on. I did not believe I was capable of beauty until I was a teenager. I was the girl other girls talked about behind her back. I think I still am. I spent adolescence learning to love myself. I do not think I’m a sex goddess. I am the most confident insecure person you will ever meet. I am a work in progress. This is not a portrait. This is a first sketch.
I probably need therapy but I keep putting it off. I have only recently begun to consider my father a parent. He loves me but he is not very good at fatherhood. I wish there was a pill for everything I need to fix. I idolize Sylvia Plath but I am afraid of sharing her fate. I think that I will die young, because that is easier to believe in than the prospect of happiness. I fuck like a pro, but I date like an amateur. I think I have a lot to offer, but my body is the only thing I know how to use. I have a 14-year-old sister and I hope desperately that she will avoid becoming me. I am a disaster. I am broken, but I am not beyond repair.
I have a secret hope that my readers are all rooting for the heroine despite their best intentions. Because as amusing as my misadventures may be, the possibility that I might extract some meaningful conclusion from my misguided life is a possibility too tempting to resist. My name is Lena and this is me at my worst, but I am not ashamed.
Tomorrow night, I board a flight to Boston. I had no intention of coming home this year. Back in May, Los Angeles felt about as home as my San Francisco birthplace — significant not because I felt any particular kinship to the city, but because its inhabitants happened to also hold occupancies in my heart.
Three months later, I can’t say that I am any more enamoured with this city. Familiarity has long been translated into monotomy and unfair comparisons to the New England town that has stolen my heart over nine months’ time. The California metropolis where I spent the better part of my youth can hardly compare to Cambridge. The never ceasing congestion, the stripped down strip malls, the impersonal attitude — Los Angeles is too sprawling to feel interconnected, too desperately young to age gracefully, a city of millions with no community.
When I arrived home in the last days of May, it was out of necessity not willingness. My plans to visit Europe had fallen through, and my attempts to locate a job in New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, any city but this one, had proven to be fruitless or impractical. So I found myself unpacking the contents of a portable life in the bedroom of my teenage self: the prom pictures still hanging on the wall, taken with a boy who then seemed to mean everything; the two favorite trophies I declared significant enough to warrant positions in my bedroom, now gathering dust and long forgotten; the cardstock validating my first 17 years of existence by offering me a place at Harvard — the only new addition since my departure — framed and displayed front and center like the final act of an otherwise lackluster childhood.
In the end, I committed to two part-time internships and one full-time relationship, not really knowing what I was getting myself into professionally or romantically. Ten weeks later, I determined that I was well-suited for marketing, public relations, and even Republicans, but the reciprocal unfortunately could not be said. Summer Guy turned out to be a lot like my jobs: a bit of a disappointment. For all that he had done to change my life, I found that I made very little headway in his. And yet I find it difficult to write him off completely (though my friends have easily done just that). He treated me with respect and consideration right up until the end, but more importantly, he prepared me for our eventual separation so well that I moved seamlessly from hurt to whole. Though his abrupt departure left me bitter, angry, and unexpectedly single for the remainder of summer, it also left me remarkably strong, remarkably … intact. For that, Iâ€™ll always be grateful.
And I think that is the story of my 18th year: a lot of mistakes, a lot of letdowns, and a lot of lessons learned, forgotten, and relearned. I spent an entire year trying to not fall apart, but by the time my 19th birthday rolled around, keeping myself from breaking was no longer a constant worry. For once, it feels like I have life by the reins, ready to face unexpected tumbles without losing my grasp on sanity. What doesn’t kill you might make you consider transferring to UCLA, but it also definitely makes you stronger.
A few weeks ago, I wrote: Itâ€™s been a long time since I have felt as perfectly content as I feel at this precise moment, sitting on a bus mid-commute from an internship I’m not particularly in love with, in a city I didn’t really want to return to three months ago. Maybe not going to Europe was the best bad luck I’ve had; maybe instead of running away from my problems to â€œgain perspectiveâ€ several thousand miles away was not the solution fate had in store; maybe it took a summer with the mother who still nags, the friends who keep me down-to-earth, and the least likely candidate for boyfriend in order to really grow up. And perhaps, when I finally arrive on campus this September, I wonâ€™t be suffering from a crippling case of homesickness or unrequited love or self-doubt. Perhaps the prospect of standing on my own two feet without any of the aforementioned people for support is no longer as daunting a task as it was at 18. Perhaps that’s all growing up really is — not a grade, not an age, not even the number of air miles clocked, but a state of mind that I ironically found in the last place I thought it’d be.