college, Essay, Halloween

NO PICTURES

As I was on a (what would turn out to be over four hours in the rain and two iterations of Taylor Swift’s 1989) drive back from my Boston Halloweekend, I realized – mid-eating a Chicken McNugget – that I hadn’t gotten a picture for Instagram the entire weekend. “Fuck!” I said, mouth muffled by “meat.”

And over the next few hours, as I caught up on all the social media I had missed – all the Halloween Instagrams of people in their various costumes, all the posed Snap stories and (let’s be realistic) Instagram stories – I felt more and more annoyed. I had let a prime social media weekend slip through my fingers like sand, or silk, or (most realistically) me dribbling a basketball.

It was the second time I was in Boston in October, and I had – on both occasions – made a plan to take a cute Instagram with my friends and completely forgotten. It’s a sober truth, I’ve realized, that when you’re a freelance writer-journalist (slash full-time inspiration and model), your chances for taking cutely candid Instagrams are severely limited. Either I’m working, writing, sleeping, eating, watching Netflix or doing some combination of the aforementioned. And unless my followers want endless versions of my dog with the exact same photo filtering (I do an opaque shadow, get used to it), there’s a limit to the content I’m naturally coming into contact with.

Getting an Instagram is more than an exercise in vanity. This might be dumb – do you know me? – but social media is as much a cultivation of personal branding as it is to remember moments. I want to work in media, and understanding various social media platforms, and being active on those platforms, is important to me. And in a post-grad world where I’m a very small fish in…the ocean? A galaxy? It helps me feel connected to the larger world. And yes, I use those photos for Tinder. Sue me.

Before I came up to Boston in the beginning of October, I texted my best friend. “We have to take a photo together.” She agreed (she loves photos of me). But with the time constraints of balancing family and friends, we forgot. I spent my hours with her, and my other friends, drinking at our favorite bar, hanging out at home, getting brunch. I drank up their presence like a sunflower; it had been so long since I had seen them in person. And I just missed them. And I didn’t want to miss any of them by separating myself through a screen.

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Halloween

HALLOWEEKEND 2016, A MODERN POEM

All through the streets of Allston
Liquid-legged collegiates stumble to and fro,
Sexy kittens in frothy black lace
Pursued closely by Greek gods in togas
Modern Daphnes in laurel orchards.

 

And lying in pools of sticky jungle juice
Frozen Eggo waffles quietly thaw
While above their Elevenses make out with Luke Cages
But stranger things have happened than a Netflix Noah’s Ark.

 

If you listen closely, you can hear
The plaintive howling of Basics:
“Tessa, put on your devil horns!
NO ONE WILL GET THAT I’M AN ANGEL
Without those devil horns!”

 

Tessa Tessa Tessa echoes through the cracked asphalt.
And you wonder how Becca will deal
With being a lone angel amidst monsters;
A pre-Fall Lucifer in thigh-highs.

 

Costumes are reconfigured to accommodate the dredging mists
Skimpy fairies become swathed slutty trolls
California surfer boys become J.Crew-flanneled Dartmouth legacies
Leaving behind only Spartans who won’t sacrifice sex for comfort.

 

Candies scatter across coffee tables like teeth
Holdovers from childhood
Sugary hangovers before Tequila called our names
They’re snatched up, eaten ravenously to bring company
To the alcohol already taking up residence in stomachs

 

Mouths hover like moths over mouths
Brushing ears to be heard above the Monster Mash
Tap-dancing along shoulder blades
Stained white from ghostly makeup and red from fake blood

 

The morning light will reveal the cracks on
An unexfoliated face fully mimed-out
But in the warm orange glow, gilding the faces
Of sexy gym teachers and slutty RBGs
Everything is airbrushed and whole

 

As the night stretches thinner than H&M denim
The sidewalks become cluttered with lolling legs
Attached to a coterie of Suicide Squad villains
Harley Quinns and Jokers

 

The anonymity is appealing
The ability to be slutty, or scanty, or arrogant
I’m in a fuckboi tank top but blanketed in the clustered confidence
Of play-acting at something else
Something other

 

But protruding like the starkly contoured collarbones
Is the internal core
Tessa still won’t wear the devil horns
Becca will always ask
The arrogance, bolstered by alcohol and Party City, will submerge back
And pretend to be humble confidence
Ready to reemerge in the next Halloweekend
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