Yesterday morning was my first day back from a fantastic camping trip in Catalina. As I was sitting in class, for the first time I felt really sad I wasn’t biking in the mountains or snorkeling with garibaldi. What’s funny is I did the exact same trip last year but by the end of it I couldn’t wait to get back home and take a shower- this time I wanted just one more day out on the sea.
We hiked from twin harbor to little harbor which is a really pretty bay on the island right next to the beach with long green grass and thick, low, palm trees everywhere. It is the perfect place to camp- there’s wonderful views and at night you can hear the ocean. Because of the recent rain, there was a river between the campsite and the ocean- but luckily there was a big log nearby so we used it as a bridge to walk on which was really cool.
All the hikes, mountain biking, swimming/boogie boarding in shark harbor, and especially paddle-boarding with my friends was magical. There was a lof of little fun stuff too like boat races and campfire singing and night beach games/talks- all of it made this trip really special.
Above all the fabulous night skies and activities, the bikeride back to twin harbor was the best. There was a long, grueling 2 hour uphill at first- but it was more than worth it. Dropping from that peak was unforgettable, I soared down steep, winding orange roads, on one side of me the pacific and the other lush green mountains. It was like I was on Pandora- I was on a different planet.
I so needed this break. The days leading up to the trip were stressful and too busy. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go to Little Harbor a second time, my only issue was that it was all too short.
My fascination with eating disorders was sparked when one of my closest friends developed severe anorexia several years ago. She almost died before getting the right treatment. Thankfully, she has recovered now, but her illness really got me thinking. I’ve come up with this theory, and someone is yet to prove me wrong. It’s this – everyone is a victim to disordered eating.
I know what you’re probably thinking: “No, not me, I don’t starve myself.” But it’s not just anorexia I’m talking about. I don’t just mean any eating disorder that you’ve heard of or that has a label for. In fact, maybe it’s not a full-blown eating disorder at all, but some level of disordered eating. There are these little quirks people have with their diets, which may not reach the extent of malnutrition, but nonetheless prevent an entirely healthy relationship with food.
I’ll give you some examples because you can’t have a theory without evidence. My grandmother weighs out her muesli each morning to the recommended serving, a friend of mine feels guilty to be eating if she hasn’t exercised that day, and my dad forces himself to polish off every morsel left on his plate. I’ve noticed parents who never stray from their healthy foods, a boy at my school who loads his plate with hamburger patties in order to “bulk up”, and a long list of girls my age who skip breakfast because they apparently don’t feel hungry in the mornings. The list goes on and on.
Every once in a while I experience these jolting moments. They go something along the lines of this: I’m living my day-to-day, sitting in a classroom, eating a meal, hugging a loved one, scrolling through my phone – and suddenly it hits me: this is my day-to-day life. Like how crazy is it that here I am living this beautiful, fulfilling existence on a floating rock in the universe? How crazy is it that this has become so normal to me that I don’t even stop to look around and simply appreciate the sheer brilliance of it all?
Aside from the fact that life and humans exist (which is mind-boggling in and of itself), it strikes me that amidst it all, here I am. And I really am so lucky. I’m privileged enough to go to an incredible private school and receive a top-tier education when so many girls my age never even have the opportunity. I can afford to have enough to eat, and more so, nourishing and healthy food, where others don’t. I am fortunate enough to have people in my life who hug, love, and support me (and vice-versa) when many are alone in the world. I’m able to own a phone and access a wide range of technology when this is a luxury for millions.
I take all this for granted. But then, there are these shocks to my system. It’s the same feeling as vertigo at the top of a mountain or a skyscraper: everything zooms out, the fresh perspective leaving me elated and dizzy.
I’m sorry if this sounds like hippy bullshit but it is all sincere. I’m truly so grateful.
I love old technology. The analog feel of buttons and dials under my finger, the lights of a stereo amp, the crackle of vinyl, and the warped sound of an overplayed cassette tape––all create beauty we so often lose in the digital world. The beauty of chaos, the unorganized, and the functionless. These devices hold value in their aesthetics but also through the stories that define them.
Such objects fill my room with stories from my own life and the countless others they’ve encountered. Next to my bed sits a CRT TV I found abandoned on the road. It works surprisingly well for a piece of technology made before Facebook, though, like the person who left it behind, not many would think much of it. It’s been replaced by two decades of 4K ultra-HD developments, which produce bigger, brighter images. Why would anyone watch a special effects masterpiece on something with the quality of a cave painting and a screen smaller than a shoebox?
I see its beauty though, the way it needs to warm up before turning on, the way it cracks and clicks when you try to push its archaic buttons, and the decaying colors of the few remaining VHS tapes, long-forgotten.
I imagine this TV didn’t change hands many times. It was probably bought new at Radio Shack in Ventura, six years before I was born. It probably sat in someone’s living room playing movies for their kids on family game night, and then their grandkids, and then it probably sat in the garage taking up space until they finally decided the black hunk of metal, glass, and plastic was an eyesore whose good days were as long gone as its remote. Now it sits as an exhibit in my room, a reflection of others’ memories and a piece of art for me to admire.
Like this old TV, I, too, can easily be overshadowed by things bigger and brighter. I surf with more passion than I’ve ever felt before, but by most standards, I’d be considered unremarkable.
Surfing’s the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered: walls of water like moving mountains, foam like a powerful avalanche, a board that goes from being your greatest ally to greatest enemy the moment it’s freed from your grip. Is the feeling of a wave worth the pain of falling? Often, it is. Small waves, no biggie, a couple seconds of being under frigid water, and then you paddle back out and try again. But when the waves become giants and the board a brute-force weapon, that fall begins to exceed your limits.
I remember going out on a day with waves far beyond my skill set—Goliath and Polyphemus in watery form. Before I even paddled for a wave, a set came in. The first wave blocked the sun as it groaned past me, the second feathered as I crested its peak, the third, I wasn’t so lucky. The avalanche hit me, immediately tearing the board from my hands. The wave was now groaning on top of me, thrashing my body like a ragdoll in a washing machine. Then, it was over. The wave passed, and I was okay. So what pushes me to surf in these conditions? I think it’s because putting myself in places beyond my skill set and comfort, where I’m deeply flawed, has shaped me. I find love and beauty in the places where I know I’ll fall, for it’s there that I find who I am.
I climb, hike, surf, and run, but most athletic is an unlikely yearbook superlative.
Like the TV, I, too, crack and click when I’m pushed too hard. If all that made me was performance, I, too, would be left on the street without a second thought, but I am my story not my statistics. I too, have beauty, which lies not in my achievements but in my imperfections.
my parents are busy people. So from pre-school to the sixth grade, they asked someone to take care of my brother and I.
They found a Portuguese woman in her 50s/60s, a former teacher with hair always up in some crazy bun -pencils sticking out. Now she is like a surrogate mother to me.
She did what she was supposed to do- help us with homework, drive us to school, pack our lunches, and cook our dinners.
We did so much more together though: she took us thrifting, riding on the trolley around Ojai, showed me what great movies were, and she taught me how to garden in her own yard. We even spent our summers with her, reading on the hammock in her backyard and cooking fabulous meals in her kitchen. Museums, grocery shopping, sewing, we’ve done it all. Some of my favorite moments though were all the card/board games we’d play. We’d use monopoly money to play poker and take Nab-it too seriously.
She is hilarious in her own, unique way. Between her, my brother, and I, we have several inside jokes. Something about the way she talks and the way she says things just makes you laugh. I can’t explain it, but the way older people, like her, words things are just so charming to me. She uses words like ‘lousy’ and ‘baloney.’
I love how practicable and sensible she is, and so down to earth. One of her best traits was always her common sense and wisdom.
When middle school came, we stopped seeing each other every day. Unfortunately, my brother and I were independent enough to take care of ourselves.
It is impossible to put into words the impact she left on me and my life. She played a big role in shaping the person I am today. I can honestly credit her for my love of gardening, Portuguese music, rainbow bridge tea, and a million other of my little traits. She’s the reason why I read the news every morning because she made me. It’s because of her that I say “Oh well” whenever something bad happens. I owe my exclusive love for Annie’s white cheddar mac n cheese to her. I know also, she is the reason why a lot of people comment I’m so different from my own Mom (whom I still love of course).
This winter break I got to visit her for the first time in 4 years, and I am happy to report she is as funny and witty as always. The chemistry between her, my brother, and me is no different. We probably would have never stopped catching up if it weren’t for my Mom practically dragging me out of her house because of a doctor’s appointment or something.