Fast forward.

The story begins when I’m alone in a bathroom. I’m 15, and I’m at dinner with my family; we just finished eating and I’m staring at myself in the mirror. I ate fried chicken with some kind of greens and I can feel rage bubbling up in me, why would you eat that, I tell the mirror, aren’t you fat enough. I listen to a baby dragon inside me as it tempts me to get rid of it, get rid of it, get rid of it for the first time, and I walked out of the bathroom with a secret smile on my face. No one knows what just happened. No one would know what was happening for another two years, until no one could keep pretending it wasn’t happening anymore.

Fast forward and I’m in college but I’m in Argentina. I have a boyfriend and he’s nice to me, and I cling to him like he’s my whole life; he is my whole life during most of college. Never mind how I’ve cheated on him this whole trip; my first time apart from him in our two years of dating and all it takes for me to let someone kiss me is a compliment and then the threat that they might like someone else more. I’m ruled by insecurities, tell me you love me, tell me I’m pretty. I’ve gained so much weight I think I’m unrecognizable, and I hate it, so keep telling me I’m pretty, tell me I’m pretty, tell me you love me and I’ll let you take me home.

Fast forward and I’m alone. I’m in my apartment in New York City and I’m alone. When I moved to this city and when I moved to this apartment I wasn’t alone, but that all just changed. I’ve just gotten back here after leaving the Upper East Side and a pit stop to see N; M is out of town and N let me sit on their couch and stare at whatever sports game he had on to numb my feelings, but now I’m home and they’re all coming back. I’m alone. I’m really alone. And all of a sudden I’m on the floor and I’m screaming, I’m screaming into a pillow until my throat feels raw, as tears race down my face, my neck. “I’m sorry,” I keep sobbing, over and over. “I’m so sorry. I tried. I tried so hard. Oh god, this hurts. It hurts. It hurts. I’m sorry.”

Fast forward and I’m not alone in my apartment, but I am. Sometimes I’m not alone, but I am always alone. It’s one of those mornings where I’m waiting to be alone again, no I don’t want your number and don’t forget your shoes. I make a cup of coffee for just myself and sigh; there’s a moment after the door closes every time where I have to laugh at myself and who I’ve become over the last 24 months since screaming on the floor. She’s every kind of crazy, this person, but I love her in a way I’ve never loved a Self of mine. She’s stronger, I think, rolling out the worn-out yoga mat; she’s happier, I realize, as I stretch up to a backbend and open my heart. She’s ready to leave, this Self, she’s ready to take everything and start over as this person.

Fast forward and we’re all caught up. It’s almost the end of the year and the beginning of everything, the end of an era and the beginning of a new me. I don’t know where I am right now, having scheduled this blog post in advance so it would post today, like my own little fast forward to the future. My future as I’m writing it now is as blank as the rest of the future ahead of it. It was time to fast forward through all the things that shaped me in the past 12 years and let them go. It’s time to fast forward into this year, all of the wonderful milestones to look forward to, all of the changes and new beginnings and new people. It’s nice to rewind sometimes, relive who you were and how you got here, but I’m ready to press play again, and watch as the next story unfolds.

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Pride & Prejudice & Hooking Up

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a functioning body must be in want of a single woman, at least for the night.

Rounding out a fantastic weekend of wandering the east side and singing along to Cinderella on Broadway, I dedicated the end of my Saturday night to playing wingman for a friend. We surveyed the people around us at our go-to West Village spot, mentally eliminated anyone already engaged in conversation with the opposite sex, too inebriated to hold themselves up and/or wearing Ed Hardy, and were left with a few interesting prospects. I won’t go into details of our as-yet 100% successful uh… method to making new friends, but it did give me something interesting to ponder on the way home.

Much as I love Jane Austen and still faithfully read Pride & Prejudice at least twice a year, things have changed slightly since her novel of manners was published. I love losing myself in those pages, trying to understand the rules and decorum of a time where “weekends” were a foreign concept and bonnets were still socially acceptable, but let’s be real: husband hunting is not the only goal in life for educated women anymore. While there are the modernized versions of overbearing-mother-matchmaking (looking at you, Christian Mingle), by and large relationships seem to skip the “getting to know you” phase in favor of the fun parts. Only after the fun parts are deemed at least passable on both ends do we ask for important details, like last names and thoughts on Beyonce. I give you: hooking up.

I'm sure that's what Jane meant.

I’m sure that’s what Jane Austen meant.

The same prides and prejudices that led Darcy and Elizabeth to bicker their way into true love haven’t really changed from the eras of “courting someone” to the hook-up culture of our generation. True, you can’t compare a fancy dance at a ball with twerking at Village Tavern, but whether husband-hunting or looking for a friend to “walk you home,” we scan the room and determine: who is “good enough” for me, who isn’t, and why. What if Jane Austen were writing another novel of manners set in today’s day and age? Obviously we’d have to replace the long letters the characters exchange with 140 characters or less, and Darcy would probably work on Wall Street, but if you think about it, the major themes of the book would be fairly similar, save for a few exciting nights out with Lydia and Kitty. Hooking up may kill some part of the mysterious allure of dating, but it also forces people to be more open and honest about things earlier in whatever the relationship is. You’ve already had yourself out there physically, so why not put it all out there emotionally too?

I’m sure Jane Austen is rolling in her grave at the idea that her beautiful novel is in any way related to a culture where a guy from the bar last night thought it was a good idea to grab my waist before asking my name (hope you enjoyed that beer down your pants bro). But our generation just took the concept and gave it a fun spin. Their prides and your prejudices aren’t limited to finding a man for a lifetime. Sometimes it’s fun to work on that skill just for the night.