Why, hello there. It’s been awhile.
The last three weeks have been nothing short of a roller coaster; I moved back to school into my first apartment, I drove to Nashville with my best friends to experience the teenage dream that was One Direction live in concert, I met a boy, and just last week I started my third year at The Ohio State University. It all seems like a blur.
It’s hard to believe that summer only ended three weeks ago. Although it’s been a very short amount of time, I already see a significant change in myself. I’m happier. Once again, I’m surrounded by my best friends, I’m living in the vibrant city of Columbus, and I’m channeling my energy into planning some incredible, campus-wide events. If the last three weeks have proven anything to me, it’s that this year is going to be great. It may even be my best year yet.
In four days, my Summer 2014 will officially be over. This summer was one for the books; I got to spend my days with three great kids who never stopped entertaining me, I went on the vacation of a lifetime to Hawaii with my mom and brother, and I committed to regularly working out again for the first time in over a year. I’ll miss having karaoke moments with the three children I babysat while we drove around, with their favorite song to belt out being Timber. I’ll miss my lazy weekends where the extent of my daily schedule included a quick run. I’ll miss getting to see my puppy, affectionately nicknamed Demon, every day. There are many things about this summer that I’ll miss. However, there is one thing that I wont miss.
This summer has been one of highs and lows, clarity but also confusion. The other day while running on the treadmill at the Y, and I chose to listen to a random playlist on Spotify crafted for a cardio workout. Halfway through my run, the song Wasted by Tiësto started to play. I have been introduced to it once before, but I have never actually listened to the lyrics. As I listened, I felt like I had run straight into a brick wall. If you haven’t heard the song before, here are some of the lyrics:
-I like us better when we’re wasted // it makes it easier to fake it // the only time we ever talk is when our clothes are coming off // I like us better when we’re wasted
-You are a glass half empty // sipping my ocean dry // emotionally spent me // ’til none of our planets could align // but I can stand you one more night
The song, co-written by producer/DJ Tiësto, vocalist Matthew Koma, and duo Twice As Nice, took my exact thoughts and put them into the form of an upbeat club dance number. As crazy at is sounds, the lyrics of this song confronted me with the reality of a situation I have been avoiding since moving back to my hometown in May. To be honest, it initially made me incredibly uncomfortable.
I am not going to miss the confusion that the situation very obviously outlined in that song has brought to my life. I am not going to miss the disappointment and the broken plans. I am not going to miss having that opportunity.
Ideally, I hope that putting space between us will help recenter the true intentions of our friendship. While I absolutely hate the phrase “I need space” due to personal reasons, right now what I need is space to mentally recharge and to reevaluate what I want. I need to go back to Columbus. I need to go home.
The other night, I had nothing short of an emotional freak out. Naturally, this happened because of only one reason: A boy. My emotional roller coaster ranged from judgmental, pissed off, annoyed, upset, and then ultimately, sad. This all occurred within an hour time period, and trust me, it was for good reason.
There is one person I can trust to center me during moments such as this. She is someone who I met during my freshman year at Ohio State, but didn’t grow so close with until the last couple of months. She is my partner-in-crime from Spanish class, one of my best friends, and recently became my sister.
I met Lauren second semester of our freshman year in our third level Spanish class. It was a a four hour attendance class, where most days we sat at a table in the back of the room pretending to understand what was going on. We bonded over awkward in-class presentations, avoiding all possible class participation, and the struggling through Friday mornings. Last January, she received a bid from Delta Zeta, officially finding a home in the sisterhood that I had already called home for a year.
Since January, Lauren and I have bonded over everything from aimless drives through our neighborhoods to our personal issues with men. We have taken countless selfies with the most interesting of props (#tbt the oatmeal selfie), reveled in a shared hatred for the University of Cincinnati, and spent a solid three hours at a TG running away from Konnor with a K. It was how she responded to my emotional freak out and then felt comfortable enough to confide in me the night after that cemented what an important person she is to me. To quote the show that coined this term: “If I murdered someone, she’s the person I’d call to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor. She’s my person.”
When you go online today, it is almost inevitable that you will find an article written about how today’s young adults are killing the dating culture. According to these articles, we are replacing it with the hookup culture, a nonchalant, emotionless based physical culture that allows men and women to be totally self centered in what they want. We get slammed as a generation for losing the morals and values of dating and relationships.
The summer going into my senior year of high school, I was introduced to The Game. No, it’s not that trick game where you have to announce that you lost “the game” if you think about the game. The Game is a complex theory based out of the hookup culture. In my experience, there are two sides to it:
1) You pretend like you don’t care in order to mask the fact that you truly do care - to win at this route, you have to be the one in the relationship that shows they care the less because for some reason men (and women) think that the best way to hook someone is to act like they don’t care. You lose if you prove to be the one who cares more.
2) You pretend like you do care while putting your interests first (without the other person’s knowledge) – in my opinion, this is the cruelest of the two routes. To pretend like you care about someone and make them believe that they are important to you when in reality they’re only there to fulfill your “needs” is stooping pretty damn low. The way you win is if that person never figures out your true intentions. Alternatively, you lose if they do.
The Game is all about finding a balance between the ability to show interest while keeping the target as far away as possible. It works well with our “hookup culture”, especially when both parties involved have a mutual understanding that nothing will come of their rendezvous. However, The Game has also proven to be detrimental to those who are being played. When they lose The Game, those playing it take a moment to wipe themselves off, sometimes admitting the defeat, then quickly moving on to their next target. On the other end, upon winning The Game, those being played can be left hurt and confused.
I have been played by The Game. In fact, I still may be participating in it. Now, I’m very aware of what I’m experiencing, which has proven to be frustrating the more I come into understanding it. The other player involved is a true master of The Game – he’s almost perfected the occasional showing of interest but keeping all possible space between us. He’s confusing and frustrating, but at this point he might be putting in more effort than I am.
However, there is good news. I think I know how to win The Game, even though I’m the one who’s supposed to be being played. I’m just waiting for the right time to make my move.
Fun fact about me: I live right next to the largest YMCA in the United States. It’s a huge complex, fitted with three different pools, a fully equipped gymnastics center, three different gyms, a full cardio and weight center, and much more. However, all of these state-of-the-art features are not my favorite part about the Countryside Y. My favorite part can be found back in the woods along the nature trails. As you walk, you come across a large camp shelter.
I worked summer camp for four summers throughout high school. Summer camp at Countryside was split up into a handful of different camps, each focusing on different interests. I worked in Camp Discover, the camp known for its misfit children and long days. Unlike the other camps that were based out of the cool, air-conditioned building, Camp Discover’s home was back in the woods at two different shelters. Days are spent playing large games of capture the flag along the trails in the woods, arts and crafts in the shelter, and the infamous Fort Woods – a magical land where the imaginations of the campers run wild.
Until recently, I’ve never truly taken the time to reflect on what my summers as a camp counselor taught me. When you work camp, the focus is always “how are you affecting the kids? What can you do for the kids?” While this is important, I think it is sometimes forgotten what the experience can do for the counselors. Here’s my list: What Camp Discover Taught Me
1) Tears can be always solved with a Popsicle – no matter the problem, no matter what caused the tears, a Popsicle is always the answer. The amount of times I snuck kids Popsicles to dry up their tears would have probably gotten me fired, but in the end it’s all about the kids, right?
2) Lanyards are a secret weapon – kids spent HOURS making lanyards. They were especially useful on rainy days when we were stuck inside and served as a great distraction for those dead moments between activities. Plus, they also make a great decoration for your keys.
3) You have no time to be self conscious – this is a big one for me personally. Prior to working camp, I was very self conscious of myself and embarrassing myself. After working just one week at camp, you quickly learn to throw all these fears out the window. The amount of times I was made to look like a complete fool at camp is endless; from Wacky Challenges to belting out camps songs, there’s no time to worry about how you look (or sound) in front of the kids and other staff.
4) Join the fun (or the tantrum) – the best thing about being a counselor was I essentially got paid to hang out and play camp games all day. It was great. However, there were also some rough days. One afternoon there was a camper who was throwing a temper tantrum that lasted so long that one of my co-workers decided to start throwing a tantrum that mirrored his to show the camper just how obnoxious he was being. While the kid didn’t find it funny, the rest of us staff did, turning the tantrum into a hilarious situation.
5) I’m actually a mom – all my campers became my kids and to this day I still refer to them as my kids. Specifically, there was a little girl named Mia who was my all-time favorite camper. She made my last summer as a counselor incredibly memorable, whether she was convincing campers another counselor and I were married or foiling an attempted surprise prank involving Saran Wrap and my car.
6) Creativity is necessary – to get through any day at camp, you have to be creative. What’s so great is that the kids feed right into it. Kids in Camp Discover used leaves as money in the woods, trading it for sticks and rocks in hopes of building the perfect fort. Without creativity, life would be boring and dull. Creativity makes our world that much more amazing.
7) Being the youngest for once was actually fun – I’m the oldest in my family and I feel like I’ve always had classic oldest sibling syndrome. However, at work, I was always the youngest. Most of the people I worked with were already in college, making me the baby of the group. Because of my co-workers, I was finally forced to associate with people outside of my age group and school district, which ended up being such a blessing. They helped me grow and develop into my personality, bringing me out of my shell and into the outspoken and blunt person I am today. I grew up quickly while working with these people, which is the one thing about camp I cherish the most.