This is a piece I wrote for a scholarship from the library where I worked as a student. I won. It’s funny finding this piece I wrote in 2013? 2014? given that I JUST wrote a blog post about my affection for Rookie and wanting to rediscover a part of myself that I admired and forgotten about. It makes me feel good to know that I’m periodically checking in with myself and taking stock of whether I’m really doing the things I want to be doing. And it’s nice to see that there seems to be a common thread of what it is I value most and think I should be spending my time doing.

 

Diana,

Wow, I can’t believe the year is already over. It seems like just yesterday I was listening to one of your hilarious speeches in speech class. You are such a passionate person, and I know you will get far in life. Hopefully I will see you organizing giant music gigs around the world in the future!!

-Ryan


This was written to me in my high school yearbook. Though I don’t miss high school, I do miss the girl that Ryan is talking about. She was passionate, ambitious, had the time to be introspective, and was not yet crippled by her own self-awareness. Somewhere along the way, I’d lost that.


I discovered Rookie Yearbook One in HQ 798, the girlhood section of the Suzzallo/Allen library, which I frequent often, trying to make sense of where things may have gone wrong for me. The description on the back of the book read: “RookieMag.com is not a guide to Being a Teen or a texbook on How to Be a Young Woman. It’s a publication for teenage girls intending to make the best of the cringe-worthy awkwardness and sometimes sort of beautiful pain that is female adolescence.” Yearbook One is an anthology of the online magazine’s best content throughout the year bound together like a high school yearbook. It was at this moment that I felt that I had received a gift. I took it home and poured over it. It was as if Rookie had populated an entire high school with the coolest, smartest girls you knew and always wanted to meet. It’s a Sassy Magazine for the post-Riot Grrrl generation.


At first I felt strange and embarrassed that I identified so strongly with this magazine aimed at teen girls. Then I realized that the feeling of uncertainty and infinite sadness doesn’t end when you turn twenty. Your pubescent angst becomes teen angst; your teen angst becomes permanent existential crisis. Those feelings are universal. As Joan Rivers once said, “It doesn’t get better. You get better.”


Rookie reintroduced me to the part of myself that I had once written off as sophomoric. Rookie showed me the joy of loving things whole-heartedly and without irony. They taught me that nostalgia can be productive. And that being forthright and female is awesome. As an aspiring writer, Rookie helped me realize that I didn’t have to write for a tangible goal like being published or to please everyone. I needed to write for myself again.


In high school I was obsessed with music, movies, and art; it was through this immersion in the work of others that I learned the most about myself. It’s said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, and I consider Rookie one of those people. Since the introduction of Rookie into my social circle, I’ve once again been able to find those moments of strange magic and write about them.


Rookie magazine folded a couple months ago, and I didn’t realize it, but I guess I’m still processing my feelings around that and it’s inadvertently influenced the things I’ve been thinking about, inspired by and setting goals around. I found Rookie later age-wise than most, probably. I started reading Rookie in 2013, my junior year of college. It set my head on fire. I started writing more, listening to lots of Riot Grrrl, going to lots of underground shows and meeting lots really cool girls.

So much of my creative endeavors, socializing and discovery revolved around girls making things from their bedroom for other girls in their bedrooms.

But all of that started to fall away slowly after I got my first job in copywriting three years ago. I stopped writing creatively and for myself because I enjoyed my work and began focusing on sharpening my skills to reach career goals. I started my now on hiatus podcast, Girl Noise during a breakup, but then stopped after 11 episodes. I’m still not sure why. Work, life, self-consciousness?


Even as I moved from my first grown-up girl apartment to another, I paid a lot of attention to creating a dreamy, girly space in the bedroom where I felt safe and inspired. But now that I’ve moved in with my boyfriend, my bedroom can’t really be the same girly sanctuary anymore. I’m finding ways inject that same sentiment into a shared space. And I’m determined to do so now more than ever. My boyfriend will have his office and I’ll have the bedroom to decorate and make a space that I can feel inspired to create. The bedroom walls are painted a New England green, so I’m going to buy blue plaid bedding, a Pendleton blanket and decorate it kind of like a teenage boy’s bedroom, which is what my actual teenage bedroom looked like, with band posters plastered all over the walls and a red and black color scheme. I’m excited about this because 1) teenage bedrooms house creativity, wonder and rebellion and 2) I think tapping into that boyish teenage bedroom vibe will remind me of my own creative courage in my teenage years.



And I’m in such a lucky position to enjoy the work I’m doing and find fulfillment in it, but I don’t want to continue feeling fulfilled just enough to where I completely lose touch with the joy of writing for myself. So when I created my mood/vision board for the start of 2019, I knew that this year needed more Girl Noise. Girl Noise is something I read in Rob Sheffield’s book, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran that I’ve held onto ever since.


“My sisters were the coolest people I knew, and still are. I have always aspired to be like them and know what they know. My sisters were the color and noise in my black-and-white boy world—how I pitied my friends who had brothers. Boys seemed incredibly tedious and dim compared to my sisters, who were always a rush of energy and excitement, buzzing over all the books, records, jokes, rumors and ideas we were discovering together. I grew up thriving on the commotion of their girl noise, whether they were laughing or singing or staging an intervention because somebody was wearing stirrup pants. I always loved being lost in that girl noise.”



I used to marinate in so much Girl Noise. I even used to make a fair amount of my own. So this year I want to go backward to move forward. I want to get back in touch with an old part of myself that has gone dormant and that I miss. I want to wear cute mini skirts and go see cool bands, I want to read more books and more things written by cool girls on the internet, I want to start writing creative nonfiction essays again and self-publish them like a lo-fi ho, I want rediscovery my love of discovering new-to-me music and movies. Maybe I’ll even pick up the microphone again and bring the podcast back. I definitely want to blog more and a lot casually on here. And I’m gonna do it all from my bedroom.