Letter from the Life editor: quit being fake, assert your humanity

It’s so embarrassing having human needs but get over it, shine



The Life editor enjoys faking it too but thinks culture of soullessness hurts everyone.

MAGGIE QUINLAN, Evergreen reporter

Last night, I went to a formal for a sorority, which I can best describe as an elaborate mating ritual with a low return rate, like prom.

Besides dancing, the most fun and wonderful part of formal in my opinion is getting together with other women to talk about how successfully we modified our bodies.

After a long walk downhill in high heels, I lounged on a couch with a barefoot girl. We giddily discussed how painful our heels were and concluded they’re so worth it because they made our booties pop like crazy.

Paige Campbell, photo editor for The Daily Evergreen, and I stopped to check in on a girl who sat on the curb. After the girl puked, we all delighted in the fact that her lipstick was still in place, and her fried-in curls were voluminous as ever. I found her lost earring a block away and felt as Mother Theresa must have in her early days of sainthood as I ran back, in heels, to deliver it to the queasy lady.

At the end of the night, I wiped off my under-eye concealer. It had successfully erased all evidence of the 30-hour work week that preceded this dance. As it swirled down the drain, I came back to a thought that’s been tumbling in my head for a couple of months.

It can be so embarrassing to be a person. Digestion? Mortifying. Need for affection? Weak. Even a natural sense of gratitude can be a source of overwhelming shame for me.

A month ago, I found myself on a date and loved how I came off. Wow, was I cool and detached. Holy hell, my mascara was thick. Boy oh boy, did I emphasize how much I was not at all looking for love or affection.

And on this date, I was discussing coming to class in the clothes I’d slept in and said, “You know, I’m just a person.” I realized I’d said the phrase “I’m just a person” six times in our hour-long conversation.

My subconscious was exposing me. It tried to compensate for my wholly plastic persona with that repeated statement. I wrote in my journal that night, “I guess I needed to assert my humanity somehow.”

That phrase “assert my humanity” has been stuck in my head since. Every time I share a piece of art that’s truly impactful to me, or an honest story or an honest emotion, that phrase comes hurdling at me.

Most importantly, every time I’ve felt embarrassed recently, I’ve remembered that. I feel embarrassed every time I publish a letter from the editor because it’s just my thoughts, and it’s scary.

But ultimately, all the things that embarrass me by asserting my humanity are also the things I’m proudest of. Art, failures, joys, honest thoughts. Oh man, they are humiliating.

It’s fun to bond over shiny facades. It’s an odd admission of our human faults. And it can feel powerful to convince someone you’re made of cold, hard plastic, especially if they could break your heart.

I’m not suggesting we all throw out our makeup and never pretend we’re invincible. I’m suggesting embarrassment is a healthy feeling and avoiding it at all times is unfulfilling.

Sometimes it’s better to embrace that we’re all animals here. So please, feel free to assert your humanity, especially when it’s embarrassing.