I love magazines, both the kind you find in waiting rooms and the kind you have to subscribe to. (And the kind you read on the internet! Heyo!) All magazines are great as long as they have interesting essays, from the glossy fashion giant Vogue, put together as one big advertisement, to the staunchly ad-less literary introspection of The Sun. When I finish an issue of Vogue, I put it on my pile of collage materials. The Sun goes to the stack of thoughtful periodicals in my therapist’s office.
Reading a magazine is pure luxury. I do it to relax. It’s best on lazy mornings, with my first or second mug of tea, and I always come away inspired. (For example, I started writing this after reading the travel issue of T Magazine.) The luxury isn’t the thousand-dollar products on the pages (depending on the publication) but the ability to take moments to escape, exploring another world, the author’s world that you’ve never visited in “real life”. Storytelling is an alluring activity because you can transport the reader, enchanting them out of normalcy with words and pictures.
Photo by Marina Burity.
Except sometimes reading does the opposite. Sometimes the story puts me back into a normalcy that I’ve left behind. Do you ever read something aimed at a terrible-but-sweet phase of life that you’re past now, and you get filled up with nostalgic ennui? I bought Rookie Yearbook One for $1.50 at Copperfield Books in Petaluma, and last night I started reading it in bed. For those of you who don’t know, Rookie is an online magazine aimed at teenage girls, but it isn’t terrible like Seventeen, etc. Anyway, even though Rookie is great, it made me grateful to be older. Thank goodness high school is over! Thank goodness I’ve started my third decade. (To the teenagers in the audience: I’m sorry. I have nothing to say that’ll make it better. Twenty-year-olds talk big but we don’t know shit either.)
As much as I deny being a grownup–I live with my parents and I don’t have a job; it would be ludicrous for me to claim to be a grownup–I like to pretend that I have ~Adult Concerns~ now. In reality I worry about the same stuff that I did half a decade ago. Granted, I’m a little more romantically confident and substantially more outraged by exploitative consumerism, but basically I’m still extremely concerned with seeming cool. That’s the point of being a writer–you attempt to impress more people than you actually even know! All of the people in magazines are doing it to impress you, I swear.
This is not how to do self-esteem, but it is hilarious. Comic by Ely North.
My boyfriend tells me that he thinks I actually am genuinely cool. It is so bizarre and validating for me to
1) have a demonstratively supportive partner
2) see beyond my anxiety about being cool to the possibility that I’m kinda… successful at it.
I’m not, like, the most successful. I’m not Tavi Gevinson (who started Rookie when she was only 15, aghhhh) or Sylvia Plath or any of the other ladies who I resentfully admire. But I’m moderately cool, and… well, I’m not gonna lie and claim that I’m satisfied. I always want to be the best.
What I’m getting at in this navel-gazing trainwreck of an article is that you’re probably cool too. I bet you’re normal, but quite cool. Maybe you also have a hard time believing that. After trying so hard every minute, it’s weird/impossible to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But you deserve to! Treat yourself to a magazine. Except wait, you are doing that right now. #wearyourvoice