Today, I was washing the dishes when my mom’s phone rang—I yelled her name, and she came to pick it up. It was Mrs. Q. Aw, they haven’t talked for like a year—they’re catching up! I thought. My mom always takes calls through speaker phone, so as I returned to scrubbing a particularly stubborn spot on our wok, I heard the words “two honors programs at UT.” Uh oh. I should have known better. This wasn’t just any how-are-you-doing call. This was a Kid Call.
A Kid Call is characterized by a very, very brief greeting (in this case, less than 10 seconds)—perhaps a long, drawn out “Heyyyyy”—followed by a question about your kid—in this case, “Where did Isabella get into college?” Two honors programs at UT. I don’t really know what they are, haha. I haven’t really been keeping track of what she’s doing. “But where did she apply early action?” Harvard! She didn’t get in, haha. (It continues.) “Ohh. Where else is she applying?” “Who from Westlake got into Harvard?” “What about Stanford?” “Wow, Westlake’s gotten so much worse, they used to have so many more Harvard admits and Stanford admits.” (N.B. This dialogue is translated from Chinese.)
I remember now. The last time Mrs. Q called was in February 2017. She had seen my name on the list of the 2017 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards winners and called my mom to ask how I did it—perhaps my parents had hired a writing coach, in which case could they please tell her the name and phone number of the coach? Or perhaps I took after-school lessons, which perhaps might suit her son as well? This was also a Kid Call.
Today, in Capstone Research, we continued discussing a research article analyzing the movie Big Hero 6. It thoroughly examined the setting of the film and its characters, making the argument that the film doesn’t fully realize its potential to move us forward in deeply accepting other cultures. A main sentence from the paper’s abstract: “Big Hero 6‘s agenda to promote hybridity is undermined by latent hierarchies suggested by the process of its world construction and binary oppositions constraining the development of its secondary characters.”
I didn’t like it for the primary and petty reason that I found the writing style was eloquent at best and almost overbearingly dense at worst. Therefore, going into the meat of the piece, I already had preconceived notions—that the author was pretentious. That then helped me see the piece as a ‘Social Justice Warrior’-type perspective on race—did the author really need to find fault with something as basic as the landscape of San Fransokyo? Did the movie directors really need to fully explore each side character’s backstory in order to fully promote a message about race? Continue reading
(Disclaimer: I speak recognizing my place as an incredibly privileged, upper-middle-class student. More on that later.)
1. With trepidation.
Because we’re human. And we’ve been waiting for this. I know that for me, I often think, “I’m never going to be 30,” or “Yeah right, people get married, but that’s never going to be me.” Throughout middle school, I lived in an “I’m never going to be a high schooler: that’s crazy.” Throughout high school, I’ve convinced myself, “I’m never going to be a senior—never going to reach the college application stage and face those beasts. That’s crazy.”
Here I am.
Time works real weird when we quantify and personify it like that, and so here I am, much too quickly, near the end of my high school career. Tomorrow is going to be my last first day. This is going to be my last HS fall semester. It’s mind-blowing to think that I’m at the ’12’ in ‘K-12,’ and simultaneous with the thrill of being on top and in sight of the tunnel-end light… is some variation of fear.
So here’s the thing: I’ve grown a lot thicker since even eighth grade. What’s surprised me is my own attitude about it.
I don’t think I can just be “accepting” of my own body. Unfortunately, ballet is not a sport—it’s an art form, and art is created and curated for visual pleasure. We as a society haven’t reached the point where skinny and plump are interchangably beautiful, probably for the very real reason that obesity is unhealthy, and it’s survival instinct to be attracted to fit people in order to replicate healthy genes. My point is that no one goes to watch a fat ballerina dance. It’s visually unpleasing. Essentially, my body is my tool for my craft in the same way a pianist’s piano is, for instance, or an artist’s canvas and paints. Your art is limited in some respects by the quality of your main tool. And the quality of a ballerina’s body is comprised of height, flexibility, strength, and thinness. I used to have decent amounts of each. What happened to the last?
Apparently I was snarky in 7th grade too.
Isabella Zou – 7/26/17,
The way I feel about you is the way I feel about most things (definitely). Nothing special, because multiplicity breeds normalcy. To crave a fulfillment is to give in, & what I mean by that is I constantly catfight with biology. / At the same time, I can’t fake apathy. I can’t fake the thrill of new and alive things the same way you can. I haven’t spent enough time doing this—catharsis as a mood rather than an action, when the blood brings back the bad no matter how hard I try to be creative, lovely, or master. / Focus, you say. Help me, as if there’s anything I could have touched thoroughly. I never envied myself until I stopped believing your realities. / Anger & its comrades, they’re meaningless here as I hunt for paths around cliché. Your eyes are like jumping bugs; I bet you’ve never heard that one. And I’m sick of writing to & about you because it won’t change anyone or anything but me.
==> In other words, I like you hormonally and I wish I didn’t because I can’t.