Story by Amber Chen
Illustration by Tarry Song
Associate Design Editor
I spent Wednesday and Thursday of spring break there, off the coast of San Diego. Most of my stay was spent eating overpriced food on the Sun Deck and trying to avoid other spring breakers (many of whom were maskless).
I basked in the glory of having successfully hidden my stick and pokes on the second day. The beach felt nice: the water was cold and it felt like I was receding with the tide. And as I was moved back and forth, I tried to convince myself that as long as I had the beach, I wouldn’t need my boyfriend.
There’s a certain superficiality that undermines all high school relationships. It’s a language of insistent trivialness, driven by a temporary nature and an imminent end. Those who flood social media with lock emojis, pictures of themselves mid-kiss with matching outfits, and references to “loml” are nearly always scoffed at for attempting to break this standard of superficiality that realizes the unlikelihood of remaining with someone throughout high school and beyond.
Yet, no matter how hard I try to maintain the mentality that equates people to experiences and myself as equally content with and without a significant other, I can’t stop myself from crying about his college departure — “if all goes to plan” — four months premature. It makes me paralyzingly sad, despite the fact that I agree with the standard conviction.
I felt really lost at Hotel del Coronado. It was more than the existential dread that always accompanies visits to isolated areas of leisure such as Disneyland or Waikiki Beach. I spent the days before perhaps spending too much time with him and losing myself a little bit too much. My trip turned into an exhausting focus on distracting myself — a big struggle to avoid the possibility that maybe this boy has too much leverage on my emotions.
My mind often spirals into the following: He would love someone with bigger breasts more, someone less attached, someone content with being disposable, someone less insecure and more supportive of video games.
I suppose this happens because I am a teenage girl and “everything feels like the end of the world.” Everything feels unfairly amplified against the better judgement of logical brain, when all you want to be is perfect and genuinely content with superficiality at the same time. You want to be perfect enough to mean something more to him, but also perfect enough to not care about whether you do or not. Adhere to the standards.
And then I take a step back and confront the fact that I am only 16. Perfection is out of the question. But damn these standards and damn these circumstances. Just give me the beach without Hotel del Coronado and I promise I will never be sad again.