Fair Harborside (4)

Read Fair Harborside (1), Fair Harborside (2), and Fair Harborside (3)

Frank abruptly walked headlong into a grimy wall. His mind wishing for the beautiful side of the city had tried to take a right turn, but he was on a rounded road. He tapped his pocket again, for comfort, to remind himself of his dreams, to remind himself what the city had promised him, what the city had baited him with. He pulled the postcard out of his pocket. It was lined and greasy, the creases were chipped, he could barely make out the beauty he had once found so heart achingly perfect. He was too late. His toes had hit the steps of a factory.

Amelia slowly stepped out of the elevator. The sounds of the crowds reached her first, then the bright flashes of cameras. Her new world was set to be bright. She was designed for the city. The city was designed for her. She stepped out the doors, the cameras followed her, she turned to the monoliths, she understood: Harborside knew the world and the world knew Harborside, within Harborside was the world. She turned to the sea, there laid the cradle of life, status, money; it flooded into her the meaning of value, the true meaning: money.

Photo Credit: http://funguerilla.com/

As she walked the city doors opened to her. She was Amelia, the city was hers. She would never be lost to the crowd, the city would never bowl over her, time would not forget her, Frank was already fading.

She wandered the city all day, the crowd only grew around her, but as she strayed closer and closer to the borders of her postcard the crowds grew restless. Space seemed to shift. Where she walked she owned, the postcard was empty space with blank people, but where she walked new hope, new futures sprang up like daisies in her wake. But as she neared the last corner, the last wide boulevard, her daisies seemed to fight for sunlight. Her unique ownership was being pushed back by the ownership of the many, the workers no longer singular but one full moving entity, lost to the mindless grind of the crowd, the fingers became a hand.

She had reached the end of the immunization ring, the end of the filigree border on the postcard of Harborside and standing on the other side of the glass was Frank.

Before Amelia, who was the crux of the city, eyes of the future, was Frank, whose hands bled from his first shifts in the factories, who was beginning to smudge around the edges.

Before Frank, the disenchanted dreamer, a man of ideals and cities past, was Amelia, a small mechanical girl with holographic eyes and the entire modern world and future in her circuit board chest.

Monthly Madness

Periods. Otherwise known as menstruation. Otherwise known as the precursor to pregnancy, that time of the month, the curse, the monthlies, shark week, and the list goes on. Yet, with its many names, society seems to forget about this natural way of life. The fact that 49.6% of the world experiences this process at one time or another would make it seem that the conversation surrounding it would be frequent and healthy, but no.

Anyone born with a uterus has heard the first period stories. I remember before I got mine, I heard about my mother’s. She hid her underwear and would sit crying in her room because she didn’t want to tell her parents that she was dying. Think about that for a moment. Albeit, sexual education has progressed since my mother was a teenager, but the lack of information about periods is still very much an issue. I don’t remember any information about periods except a movie in fifth grade titled Just Around the Corner and a brief lesson about it in freshman year. I don’t remember learning what pads to get, if tampons are right for me, how to handle cramps, how to predict/learn about my cycle, and many other questions that I still have today.

Photo Credit: huffingtonpost.com

“Most girls learn about their periods the day their periods start,” says Chandra-Mouli, a member of the World Health Orginization. He describes the all too popular story that usually goes like: “I started having periods at school. Spotting on my clothes. Giggling in class. I didn’t know what was happening. My panties felt wet. My teacher made me wait in the staff room. I thought my insides were rotting. My mother came and wrapped me in a towel, took me home, put me in a bath and said, ‘You’re a woman now. Don’t go out and play with the boys.’”

That lack of education is even worse in many other countries. Periods are seen as a curse; women are shunned from public life and aren’t allowed to cook, clean, or learn. It’s also immensely harder to get proper sanitary items and unhealthy options are almost always used. Did you know that 10% of girls in Africa miss out on school because of their period each month or that 4/5 girls in East Africa lack the access to basic sanitary supplies? Why are we letting these young, impressionable girls internalize these gross views of their bodies? In order to help the ever-growing future, we need to help young women all over the world to feel no shame about their bodies.

I think that the first step to getting rid of social stigma is education. Teach boys how to pick out period products for their sisters/mothers/ girlfriends and how to be supportive to these women in their lives. Teach kids that there are transgender kids who either do or don’t have periods and it kills them on the inside. Show us pad ads where the coverage simulation uses red ink instead of blue. Teach girls how to feel confident on their period and how to handle this intense shift in hormones. Open up this conversation in class or at meals. Yes, it may be uncomfortable, but if it could help one more person not stain their clothes or miss another class, then, in my opinion, it’s worth it.

Warmth of the Cold

I love fall. The sheer aesthetic of sitting by a window with warm glowing string lights, drinking some sort of hot tea, surrounded with the smell of books. The fact that it is finally cold enough to be wearing wool socks and sweatshirts. The feeling of cold air filling your chest from the inside, making your home feel so much warmer.

I have to admit, I miss the cold winters back home in Germany. Right now, it is almost freezing there, the leaves that are turning red-orange, some almost pink-purple, are covering the roads like a warm-colored blanket. The lakes are topped with a paper thin layer of ice in the morning, and windows and cars are frosted the way they would be in movies. Horses’ coats are becoming thick and soft, and cows are being brought from their pastures back into their winter barns.

Credit: view.stern.de

I remember how much I hated the feeling of biking up the hill to my house after school, watching the clouds turn to a darker grey as the sun set behind them, and feeling the warm air in my lungs being replaced by the cold, making my throat hurt by the time I got back home. But I always loved the moment I walked through the door, embraced by my jumping dog and the heated floor, maybe even a fire in the chimney. The best days were the rainy ones. Your house just feels so much cozier when you don’t want to go outside.

 

Credit: moondog.de

I miss that weather. I miss the grey skies and the rain-soaked lawns. I miss the muddy roads and paths going through the forest by my house. I miss collecting chestnuts with my friends and cooking them with their whole family. I miss being freezing cold with numb fingers and an icy nose. I miss how later in the winter the trees would look like they had been covered in powdered sugar, reflecting the grey-purple of the afternoon sky.

I miss my home.

And no matter where I’ll live throughout my life, no matter how many times I’ll move and find new homes, that will always be my first home. My family’s home. My real home.

I’m Sure As Hell The Happiest I’ve Ever Been

I never really knew what true happiness was until July 7th, 2017. Sure, I’ve been happy before. I smile, I laugh, but never have I experienced a day where pure happiness radiated through the whole room and it was so contagious that it made me happy also. I’ve never genuinely and truly experienced happiness without something in the back of my head keeping me upset, but July 7th was a different night. Ironically, the room full of these positive souls are also people dealing with their own battles every day, including myself. I may not know what those battles were for them, but everyone left those worries outside the room and didn’t let it affect them for the rest of the night.

It’s not what made this the happiest night of my life, but who made it the best night I’ve ever experienced. I got to meet my favorite band, All Time Low, for the first time ever. I remember when I got the email saying that I was selected to be one of the thirty people to meet them for free. My hands were shaking with excitement. I can’t even remember if I started crying, but if I did they were probably tears of happiness.

I obsess over lots of things. Pretty much the only things I ever talk about are every single TV show on the planet, how Jack Dawson should’ve lived, and All Time Low. So, when I had the opportunity to stand center barricade in front of my favorite band belting out the lyrics to my favorite songs while surrounded by the most amazing people, I was truly content.

The image of meeting All Time Low is still clear in my head. Taking my first steps towards them, Jack Barakat, my favorite band member, was already walking towards me with arms wide open before pulling me into a bear hug. Every single one of them did this. They didn’t have to, but they do anyways.

Photo Credit: Live Nation

They meet hundreds of fans every day, yet when I went into that room it seemed like I was the only one they knew, and obviously that’s not true, but they had this crazy ability to make every single fan feel like they were singing to them, talking to them, or looking at them.

I’ve never seen a band care so much for their fans. At my concert, they stopped their set twice because they were worried about these girls who passed out in the middle of the crowd. Afterwards, they made everyone clear their path to get these girls out safely. They invite their fans up on stage to dance and sing with them at every concert. They created a whole music video Skyping their fans and thanking them for being the reason for their success, though the fans were really thanking the band for caring enough to have a personal conversation with their fans. The song itself , Missing You, was dedicated to every single one of their fans begging for them to stay alive, and it’s still one of the most emotional songs I know to this day.

It’s not just the band, but it’s the community the band has made that is so amazing. I’m not outgoing, at all, but while I was standing in line to meet them, I ended up talking randomly to these two girls. I knew nothing about them, but by the end of the night we were talking about our pasts and our passions after already standing next to each other at the barricade singing at the top of our lungs to Therapy even though everyone was crying on each other at that point. I still keep in contact with them, and I still talk to the girls I met all the way in 2015 through twitter talking about this band.

To this day, July 7th was still the best day of my life.

To this day, since 5th grade, All Time Low has always been my favorite band.

To this day, from watching their cringe worthy yet hilarious interviews and videos from 2005 to their extremely inappropriate jokes they make on concert, they have never failed to make me laugh my ass off.

To this day, I still listen to their songs whenever I have a bad day, and they still manage to make me smile like I did that night.

Photo Credit: The Aquarian Weekly