I Watched ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ and Realized I’m Not a Chill Girl

April 28, 2023 / Nysa Dharan

Sometimes I’m too much. And sometimes I’m nothing at all.

I watched “The Banshees of Inisherin” with my family a few weeks ago. Well, “watched with my family” is a bit of an overstatement. Two minutes in, my mom and dad fell asleep on the couch. My brother went to his room after minute four.

So really, it was just me in a dark room, alone, watching this movie that many people like my parents write off as boring. Because what even happens in that movie, really? It’s just two old friends bickering in an idyllic, isolated landscape. Oscar bait.

To be frank, I’m still not quite sure I understand the movie for what its intention was. Nor do I fundamentally disagree with my parents. Though I found myself drifting off, there was a bit of fear I felt that kept my eyes on the screen.

The entire plot is about a man finding out that his best friend has secretly hated him for most of his life, and then finding out that everyone finds him dull and no one really likes him very much compared to his friend. The two ex-friends declare dramatic reprieves and in the end, nothing really changes.

My first thought when finishing the movie was to send a text to every friend I had and ask them if they still wanted to be friends (Do you like me? Really, be honest, do you like me?). But then my mind went further. Do people tune me out when I talk, like Padraic? Do I talk too much? Am I too much?

The conclusion was undeniably a yes. I am too much. When people point out my character flaws they often gesture to intensity, anxiousness, and the smallness they feel when they’re around me. I deflate as they sigh and say “Sometimes you’re a bit much,” and then tilt their head and add, “And sometimes you’re nothing at all.”

I am big. I am big and large and engulfing and when I talk about something I’m interested in I don’t stop. I am a black hole, swirling people to pieces as they fight against my gravitation. And I am, like that black hole, full of a whole lot of somethingness or nothingness that I guess people don’t always like. And I fear that once they get too close, once they see my intensity rear its ugly head, our friendship will wither and fall into some warped, timeless landscape.

My conversations are a practice in biting my lip, trying not to yell “I want to know you!” when they laugh casually and ask about the weather. “Tell me everything you know,” when they bring up a hobby they’re interested in.

I want someone to match me blow for blow because I am not too big. Everyone is too small. Too scared of muchness. We force ourselves into little skeletons and push our ribs in like too-tight corsets. Fitting the standard. Fitting the normal-shaped human hole in the wall.

I want to know you. All of you. Even the parts that you shave off to squeeze by, the parts that you pluck in front of the mirror and toss in recycling, the parts that you hack off and store under your bunk bed.

I want to know how your day was — what you thought of the color of the sky, if it reminded you of the night of your first kiss, how your shoes fit (have the soles worn in?). I want to know about the shirt your mom sewed tight when it loosened at the collar, whether you believe that you are taller in some other world, how many dandelions you plucked from the edge of the sidewalk. Did the whiff of pollen dot your nose? Maybe you shouldn’t have gotten it pierced, but you wanted to make yourself brand new.

The universe yells that it begs to balance the scales from my whalish ideals but I refuse, I refute, I swim. I am all-swallowing of its krill, an oceanic black hole. And I accept the state of being everything and nothing at all.

Even as I sink into the couch, the wisps of my parents’ snores tinging my ears, I force down the lids over my eyes, and I once again try to contain them. I once again try to balance all of my somethings and nothings, all in all.

By: Nysa Dharan

Graphics: Lucy Leydon 

Hover's Newest Compilation Is Not for Grandmas

April 5, 2023 / Gracie Warhurst

In a world of studio productions, Hover has found a way to capture the organic essence of their eclectic performances. The band’s compilation albums are a physical token of Austin’s live music scene.

Sitting with Hover, everyone spread comfortably in a circle in Casey Boyer’s living room, feels like being invited to the elusive after-party sleepover. The local experimental electronic band, consisting of Boyer, Matt Abajian, Jae Garcia-Herrera, Noah Simon, and Peter VanBenthuysen as well as their producer Tom Jennings, are classmates and long term friends. They look at each other with mirth and appreciation while graciously taking turns telling me the story of their music. I feel like I’ve been given a VIP pass to this intimate gathering of creatives and classically trained musicians. Even more, I feel like I’ve been told a secret. I learned their history and group philosophy and got insights into their most recent projects and ultimate aspirations. They dub their innovative production style “sound collage.”

“There was an intent to put out these live records in a lo-fi style, and have them be very rooted in the transient experience of live performance,” Abajian says.

All of the members are either fourth-year students at UT or once attended. Abajian is a music composition major, Boyer is a viola performance major, and Garcia-Herrera is finishing his degree in computer science. Simon studied composition among other majors when he attended UT and VanBenthuysen is an arts and entertainment technologies major. Their time classically training gave them the musical and communication abilities they needed to perform as Hover, but also the desire to stretch outside the norms of musical study.

“My whole upbringing with music was very like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna learn Bach and Brahms and Schubert,’ and ‘Don’t mess it up because of these 200-year-old white guys,’” Boyer says. “I love playing my instrument but I don't love playing classical music all the time.”

Hover wasn’t always this group of UT students, but Abajian has been at the center of it all since the beginning. He met Jennings in middle school, before the two had the intention of releasing albums together. The music came first, something Abajian tells me he’s always been passionate about. The current members listen to him recall the different stages of the band’s history, seemingly familiar with its beginnings, and pitch in with “old Hover songs are sick.” Jennings hops in, telling me about his own role as a producer, where instead of making music he records, cuts, and mixes all of the band's compilations.

“I saw that there was almost a story that I could piece together of my own life through that and try to show the experience of being at those shows, even though being outside of the band,” Jennings says.

Hover’s third composition CD, Pick Out a Name, combines multiple live recordings of their songs into one track, overlaid with sound bites from their practice sessions or moments from their life when they happened to be recording. The first track, “Endless,” begins with a candid clip of Jennings running into Abajian and Boyer while driving in Austin. They tell me about capturing their conversation, and how it encapsulates the natural feel of the album. Each song flows into the other, moments and memories running together as the listener experiences them alongside the band. The album’s intimacy is in its attempt to get to know each member through their music and experiences creating it.

“The whole idea is to try to paint this picture of this broader experience of music making, and not just ‘here’s this song, you can go listen to it,’” Abajian says. “It’s bigger than the song.”

The sound they’ve created is one all their own — described as “blurry, like a moving train” by Abajian — with the band pooling together elements of lo-fi, rock, and electronic music as inspiration. “Up” and “These Things Don’t Last for Long,” the two longest songs on the album, are Hover’s favorites to perform. Captivating in both their live performance and recordings, the songs meld together and develop into a slowcore jam. The result can be jarring to those who haven’t heard anything like it, even their favorite professors and family members.

“The compositions are pretty hard to listen to,” Simon says. “I’ve showed them to my grandmother and she’s like, ‘I don’t like how that sounds.’”

Their next project is a studio album, which they hope to push out by the end of the year. It’ll be their first album available on streaming platforms like Spotify, but Hover hopes to keep producing and distributing their compilation albums, which remain at the heart of the band.

“The music can’t be talked about separately from how it’s performed or when it’s being performed, and by who it’s being performed,” Jennings says.

Pick Out a Name is available on BandCamp and CD at any of their live performances. 

By: Gracie Warhurst

Images courtesy of Hover

Life of the Party, Death of the Girl

March 28, 2023 / Jane Krauss

With the return of '90s aesthetics and all their grungy glory, heroin chic and its latest relative, the messy party-girl, are all the rage.

Imagine it's 1994. Kate Moss enters through the backstage door in an oversized fur coat with a cigarette draped on her lips, followed by her then-boyfriend Johnny Depp. She makes her way across the pulsating dance floor, greeting a crowd of renowned rockstars and her supermodel entourage. It may be 2 a.m., but for this crew, a night of sex, drug, and rock ‘n’ roll has only just begun.

I’ve always had a penchant for party girls. They’re the embodiment of messiness and hedonism, an ode to imperfection. When I first saw Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous” as a starry-eyed 15-year-old, its quintessential party girl, Penny Lane, encompassed everything I aspired to be. Enamored by her revolving door of famous rockstars, wild social scenes, and laissez-faire attitude, I clung to a pipe dream of being the ultimate muse. For Penny, life was a perpetual party, an intoxicating blend of indulgence and eternal youth, infused with a hazy aesthetic of unkempt glamor. I defended her demons as fuel for a life of spontaneity and excitement. Yet I failed to recognize her role in rock’s visual mythmaking. The press and the fashion world romanticized the party-girl lifestyle just as well. Hidden somewhere within the glossy excess lay the cautionary tales of their hard partying. Even the party girl herself was enchanted by the illusion of it all, twirling about in her own private ecstasy.

With the return of '90s aesthetics and all their grungy glory, “heroin chic” and its latest relative, the “messy party-girl” are all the rage. Suddenly the perfectly imperfect is cool: overexposed and out-of-focus photos, smudged-glitter eyeshadows, close-ups on opalescent drinks, and vintage clothing. It’s the aesthetic of being seven proseccos deep, dancing in a dim-lit, smoke-infused basement with dripping black eyeliner. Many of us are reveling in the delight of entering our Calvin Klein-ad fantasies, outfitted in low-rise jeans, silky slip dresses, and anything black mesh. Though they defined an aesthetically-pleasing decade, we must also fear its dangers. The 90s equated cool and fashionable with doing drugs in club bathrooms without caring about consequences, because the generation's thin idols like Gia Carangi and Kate Moss were setting the trend.

The ever-evolving fashion industry is society’s mirror, often reflecting the human need for expression, messiness, and nonconformity. With heroin chic making a comeback, are we at risk of losing ourselves in the vapid glitter of the party, succumbing to worshiping thinness and drugs? In the 90s, cultural icons and models were put on a pedestal, leading audiences to believe emulating their cultural transgressors through fashion and drug usage would magically transform them too into glamorous outlaws. Though heroin chic conveyed rebellion, it became, in its essence, a warning sign for the dangers of unchecked hedonism. To young women on the edge of adulthood, disillusioned by the docile behavior their parents expected, freedom itself was a drug. In this world of unrestricted pleasure, women searched in every corner for the validation that the media promised. Yet, snorting drugs off of dingy bathroom stalls in sparkly dresses merely left them as hollow shells of their former selves. For those looking to define their existence through social media visuals, the resurgence of heroin chic will be just as detrimental.

Does the media guide culture, or merely leech off of it? So far, the social media era has seen an increased interest in adopting aesthetics rather than participating in one’s own reality. Cigarettes and substance abuse are aestheticized by today’s youth, commodified as trendy fashion statements by a new generation of angsty nicotine enthusiasts playing with lighters. On my way out of a party a few weeks ago, I spotted a few intoxicated party-goers — who I wouldn’t have guessed to be smokers — lighting a cigarette. Turns out, they weren’t. They inhaled the cigarette a couple of times, posed with it for a disposable camera, then threw it on the ground. I pondered the purpose behind their carefully curated façade. Was a cigarette simply the perfect prop to embody being effortlessly cool, a stylized rebellion against authority? These days, cigarettes are synonymous with the dark and dangerous, attracting the blissfully blind to what’s lurking beneath the visual. Like the grainy images of Kate Moss taking a post-party drag, the messy party-girl aesthetic reflects a generation longing for a unfiltered past, when every mascara-smudged memory was preserved on a 32GB memory card and not polished up for social media profiles.

Perhaps it’s the slow emergence from the pandemic that has us all wanting to party into the early hours, to be debaucherous and downright messy. Yet with the influence of social media, the 90s aesthetic of drunken abandon has simply morphed into a superficial façade. We are so focused on rigidly curating our lives that we have stopped actually living them, succumbing to a merely superficial aesthetic. Ironically, the once-revered pursuit of individuality has become a pitfall of conformity. In our relentless quest to emulate the latest trends, we become carbon copies of a media-perpetrated fantasy, rendering our individuality a mere illusion. Perhaps, like many before them, the cigarette-toting partiers have fallen trap to a glitter-fied mirage, practically begging to be consumed as media themselves.

The messy party-girl aesthetic isn’t inherently bad, but its digital-age resurgence is a far cry from its cultural genesis. Could this new era be the antidote to the feelings-of-inadequacy-inducing images that dominated the previous decade of heroin chic? Lately I’ve been wondering if we’re living in mass psychosis with trends, desperately piecing together online identities in hopes of self-definition, bargaining our own individuality as payment. In my pursuit of capturing a wild night out through the veil of grainy, digicam photography, I often grapple with the paradoxical nature of an authentic existence: am I myself perpetrating an illusion of fun through a filtered reality of strobe lights and booze or am I simply enjoying the moment?

Fantasies of a bygone era, when the youth lived without a care in the world, live on today in the crafted-to-appear-carefree visual ethos of the Internet, a glittering holy land for all things grungy, glossy, and lived in. Girls online build a shrine to the free-spirited deposition of youth, dubbing dingy nightclubs as the perfect playgrounds for willful ignorance and temporary escapism. This very spirit encompasses my current journey into adulthood, spent dancing in sweaty frat basements and returning to a bedroom laden with scattered clothes. Pizza in hand, I reflect on the night’s drunken-messy moments to sultry Lorde songs. I am not glamorizing recklessness; rather, I’m forging my own path towards happiness and fulfillment in my formative years. That, to me, is the ultimate mixed drink, a delicate balance of adversity and ecstasy.

I savor each and every drop. 

By: Jane Krauss

Photography: Sarah Poliuc

Model: Ava Barrett

HMUA: River Perrill

Stylist: Adeline Hale

In the Name of Love: 14 Valentine’s Day Aphrodisiacs

February 14, 2023 / Noa Miller

February 14 is a day for love, not necessarily lovers. Valentine’s Day can best be accompanied by an early 2000s Matthew McConaughey movie, a classic romantic song blasting at full volume, and oysters by the dozen.

The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach.

Food is symbolic of love when words just aren’t cutting it. A lover may disappoint you, but when has a steaming hot, ooey-gooey pizza pie ever let you down? This Valentine’s Day, it is crucial to keep in mind that food is the most seductive aphrodisiac of them all.

1. Aw, shucks. This February 14 is about oysters (not the pearls). Oysters are rich in zinc and help to maintain healthy levels of dopamine which boosts sexual function. From Blue Points to Wellfleets to briny, salty, and sweet, oysters are in this holiday season! With a small squeeze of lemon, a dash of sriracha, and a dusting of horseradish, these high-grade aphrodisiacs will put you in the mood for a day of love.

2. Next on the aphrodisiac roster is the food synonymous with Valentine’s Day: chocolate. Who needs a partner to make you melt when melted chocolate tastes good on anything? Besides, chocolate contains phenylethylamine and serotonin, which make you excited and sexually stimulated. So whip out your fondue bowl, old Halloween candy, or some Hershey’s syrup and spend this holiday enjoying the silky smoothness of this sensual confection, not someone else’s bed sheets.

Rom-coms instead of a bae, what a cliché.

3. Picture this: Staten-Island-born, shaggy-haired advertising executive Matthew McConaughey on a big screen TV (now it might just be the UT Austin in me, but I’d argue this sight is better than sex). Not to mention, Kate Hudson in that pale yellow dress is quite a treat! “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” is a must-watch masterpiece detailing all the stereotypical sexual politics. From being overly needy to being clingy and obsessive, Andie Anderson, played by Kate Hudson, details the exact relationship faux pas to chase a man away. This romantic comedy – with its clever humor and unreasonably good-looking cast – is certainly an aphrodisiac worthy of watching this holiday.

4. As the Beatles famously said, “I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love.” An aphrodisiac in the 1980s, and still today, “Can't Buy Me Love” is a classic nerdy-guy-falls-for-popular-girl teen rom-com. If a young Patrick Dempsey isn’t enough, the beautiful Tucson scenery certainly is. Although I would say the most stimulating aphrodisiac of the entire film is Cindy Mancini’s iconic white-suede-fringe outfit (slay girl), and of course the shot at the end of the two romantically riding off into the sunset on a lawn mower with a cowboy hat in hand.

A budding romance.

5. Flowers are an aphrodisiac in and of themselves, visually and olfactorily: nothing is sexier than an unprovoked bouquet. Just sent with a note, without a warning or a peep… roses, tulips, orchids, hydrangeas, or even succulents – whatever tickles your fancy. The best bouquets are those which honor the theme of love on this sacred holiday, overflowing with shades of pink, red, and white. Flowers are simply a February 14 essential. Everyone deserves a bouquet, beau or no. 

Sax, drums, and romantic melodies.

6. The sax-filled song “Dancing in the Moonlight” by King Harvest just makes you want to dance in the kitchen, lick raw brownie batter off a spoon, and be in love with life. The upbeat melody is serotonin-infused, and the lyrics are bound to inspire love of all kinds this Valentine’s Day.

7. Now if you flip to the R&B channel, you’ll find Jeremih’s sensual single “Oui.” Oui – yes – both the lyrics and the melody of this song give off steamy vibes. Jeremih discusses his total devotion to this one person and how he will spend every day celebrating her (...swoon!). The best aphrodisiac of them all is falling into the fantasy world of romantic lyrics where “every day your birthday and every night your valentine.”

8. And the most crucial addition to this year’s Valentine’s playlist is, of course, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder. Doctor’s orders are to crank the volume, roll the windows down, and belt this one as loud as possible in order to experience maximum effect of this hit of dopamine-infused aphrodisiac drug.

A brush of romance, a splatter of desire, a canvas full of love.

9. Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” is a revolutionary piece of erotic art. Using oil paints as well as platinum, silver, and gold leaf, Klimt’s painting of a man and woman embracing is a deeply spiritual aphrodisiac. Often deemed controversial, Klimt was ahead of his time. Though today PDA is much more common, this painting was made in 1907, when the practice was much more taboo (or, as we say these days, giving out-of-style). Personally, I appreciate Klimt’s devotion to romance through his art.

10.  Romance doesn’t necessarily just generate between two people; it can also be curated within oneself. The cover art for Lizzo’s album “Cuz I Love You” is certainly a statement: one of confidence, self-love, and power. Independence and uniqueness are both turn-ons, making this album cover a certified aphrodisiac of free will.

V-Day itinerary is still merry, even without a boo.

11.  Repeat after me: Bubble. Bath. Nothing like warm water, a scented bath bomb, and some essential oils to wash away any worries of celebrating Valentine’s Day without a sweetheart. Sit back, relax, and remember: bubble baths are best paired with a glass of champagne and an episode of “Sex and the City.”

12.  Laughing produces endorphins, and endorphins are the same chemicals released in sexual activity – therefore, laughing is an aphrodisiac. On February 14, attend a comedy show to laugh out your sorrows of not having a partner. (PSA to all Austinites, Adam Sandler is performing stand up at our very own Moody Center on February 14th, 2023… and there is no finer aphrodisiac than an Adam Sandler joke.)

After all is read and done, literature is hot.

13.  On Valentine’s Day, we exchange cards. Typically, cards bought from CVS or the UPS Store – but whatever happened to extravagant love letters? One of the most romantic, aphrodisiac-provoking pieces of literature I have ever read is Johnny Cash’s birthday letter to June Carter. In it, Cash details how he truly knows and understands Carter when he says: We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each other's minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Oh to be loved and understood unconditionally. He continues on in the letter to say how lucky he feels to have her in his life and how she influenced him for the better. Cash ends the passionate piece of literature by saying, You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much. Happy Birthday Princess. It is simple. Clear, uncomplicated, straightforward love. No big words, mixed signals, or left-on-read Snapchats. This display of true devotion is lacking romantically in society today and is most certainly an object of desire. 

14.  Emily Dickinson’s poem “If You Were Coming in the Fall” is a display of true love, despite the grueling factors of time and patience. It is romantic that her devotion is so deep that she is willing to wish away her life because she does not want to spend it without her lover. In the poem, she says If you were coming in the Fall, I'd brush the Summer by, with half a smile, and half a spurn, as Housewives do, a Fly. Dickinson is willing to give up the warmest most vibrant season to see her lover. She yearns for this affection and will do anything to feel it.
Aphrodisiacs come in many different forms: food, literature, film, music, art, activities, and flowers. Forget a lover (they’re overrated anyways) — spend this year’s February 14 being aroused by the good things in life. 

By: Noa Miller

Graphics: Grace Kimball

We Are All “The Worst Person in the World”

January 24, 2022 / Isabella Zeff

When I can be anything I want to be, how should I choose?

prolog. / prologue.

Julie runs through the streets of Oslo.

She is running away — from her boyfriend, fifteen years older than her, who she has just realized is boring, stifling, not right.

All of Oslo is waiting, still, holding their breath in this moment in time.

She is also running towards something — a new man, a man her own age, a man she met at a party, yes, but also an idea, a feeling.

She is running towards a new life, her own life.

She is running between two versions of herself.

She is running to be free.

kapittel 1. / chapter 1.

The Worst Person in the World is a Norwegian film that follows a young woman, Julie, through four years of her life, from her late twenties to early thirties. She navigates relationships and career paths, life and death, as she tries to figure out who she’s supposed to be.

I love this movie because it depicts life in all its messy realities. It defies categorization. The Worst Person in the World is a romance, but Julie doesn’t end up with anyone. It’s a coming-of-age story, although she’s 30. It’s funny and dramatic in equal measure, and explores all sides of the human experience.

kapittel 2. / chapter 2.

When I applied to college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I couldn’t conceive of a life beyond where I was in high school, and I certainly couldn’t conceive of a career after college. I would be a completely different person by then; how was I supposed to know what she would want?

There’s so many expectations on college students to have a defined plan. We should know exactly what we want to study, how that major will set us up for success, and where we’re going to go after college.

I have always lived in the moment. It was hard for me to plan ahead that far, so I went with my gut and chose to major in journalism. I’m good at it and I can see myself doing it in the future, but I’m still not sure. There are just so many options out there, and I could see myself happily pursuing many of them, from law school to English to film.

I saw my own uncertainty mirrored in Julie’s story. A key part of The Worst Person in the World is Julie’s indecision about her career. The film’s prologue shows her switching between college majors, with none of them sticking. She ends up in limbo, working a day job at a bookstore while still trying to figure out what she wants to do.

It can be paralyzing, the idea that I should know exactly what I want to do and where I’m going, when I simply don’t. I hope I’m making the right choice, but I have no way to know for sure.

kapittel 3. / chapter 3.

When Julie runs through Oslo from her old boyfriend to what could be a new one, the whole city freezes in time. She leaves her boyfriend halfway through pouring coffee in order to spend the day with the new man, who is the only one in the city not frozen.

It’s a test run of a new relationship without any of the consequences. Could this work out?

Julie thinks yes, so she runs back to her apartment, time restarts, and, confident in her choice, she breaks up with her boyfriend and begins a relationship with the new man.

I wish I could have a trial run of my next major life decision. What if I had been able to test out a college or try out a career path for just one day, then go back and make my decision? Maybe if I spent one consequence-free day trying out life as a journalist, I would realize it wasn’t for me or I would know absolutely that it was. Either way, I could be confident I am choosing the right path.

Unfortunately for Julie, the second man isn’t right for her either. Even though she was able to test out their relationship on the frozen day, it still wasn’t the right choice, and they broke up.

I reconsidered my wish for a trial run of my journalism life, because even if I was able to freeze time and try it out, I still may not make the right choice. Maybe there is no “right choice,” just what feels right in the moment. And in this moment, journalism feels right.

kapittel 4. / chapter 4.

In Norway, the phrase, “the worst person in the world,” is a common expression, a self-deprecating comment they say for anything from a personal failure to a faux pas. It’s not about truly being the worst, but about feeling that way in the moment.

Julie feels like the worst person in the world, as she emotionally cheats on her boyfriend, leaves him for another man, and can’t seem to find her way in life.

I understand her feelings. It’s hard to think about the world as this huge thing with so many people who are worse than us. The world is personal, each of us is the center of our own world, and when we’re feeling down, it’s easy to believe that we’re simply the worst, especially when we’re struggling with self-doubt about our paths in life, as Julie was and as I am.

kapittel 5. / chapter 5.

Halfway through the movie, Julie celebrates her 30th birthday with her mother and grandmother. She works at a bookstore and has just moved in with her comic artist boyfriend. She feels pressure from the milestone age, and she compares where she is in her life with the women in her family who have come before her.

At 30, Julie’s mom, Eva, had been divorced for two years. A single mom and accountant in a publishing house.

At 30, Julie’s grandmother had three children. She played Rebecca West in Rosmersholm at the National Theatre.

At 30, Julie’s great-grandmother, Astrid, was a widow, alone with four children.

I think about where my mother was at my age.

At 19, my mother was also in college and was changing her major, finding a different path. Julie felt the pressure of the past, of her mother’s past, bearing down on her like a ticking clock, but all I feel is relief. I had forgotten — my mother was in the same place I was; she must have felt the uncertainty I feel. Knowing that she had the opportunity to change her mind and it all worked out for her is a load off my shoulders, and I see my future open up.

kapittel 6. / chapter 6.

During the first part of The Worst Person in the World, Julie hops between majors and career paths without finding anything that she really wants to do. She tries photography last, but she’s distracted when she meets her future boyfriend and starts to structure her life around him, forgetting about photography for most of the movie.

Then in the epilogue, when she’s gone through these relationships and is on her own again, we see her working as a photographer on a film, showing that even through the distractions and turns in her journey and her own self-doubt, her instincts as to who she was were right.

What I learned from Julie is that you will find yourself in the end. Even if I lose my way, as Julie did, I will be able to find my way back. Seeing Julie overcome her struggles to find herself and the turns life takes made me more confident in my uncertainty of my own future. I can even embrace that uncertainty as a wonderful thing because I believe that I will find myself in the end if I trust my way.

I’m still not sure about my choice to pursue journalism, but I’ve realized that it’s far better than not making a choice at all. I don’t want to be suspended in indecision like Julie and let my life stand still. I want to jump full-force into journalism, and even if it doesn’t work out, even if I realize I chose it for the wrong reasons, then it will still be okay.

There’s not one path to follow that’s already laid out for me; I have to create the path. If I choose what feels right moment by moment and keep doing that, then I will form my own journey and hopefully end up where I want to be.

epilog. / epilogue.

I’m writing my news article for the Daily Texan. My deadline is in an hour, but my last interview for the story ended only a few minutes ago.

I listen to the recording, write down quotes I want to use, and find spaces in my article where the quotes can go. I have to hurry because in ten minutes I have another interview, this one with a researcher for my story next week. I review my questions in my head.

My phone lights up with an email notification, a response from a lawyer I’m interviewing for a story in my journalism class. He’s telling me he’s available to talk the following day.

I start the video call for my interview a minute early. For just a moment, I sit and I’m still, waiting for her to join. I think, I maybe love this. I think, yes, I could do this.

The struggle to find myself and what I’m meant to do is enough to make anyone feel like the worst person in the world. I know I will still have times of fear and uncertainty, as we all do.

But if we’re all the worst person in the world, then maybe no one is. ■

By: Isabella Zeff

Graphics: Lianne Sung

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