E G U A
chao s s sppr riin g ng 20 20117 7
Front of mag Page 4 Page 6 Page 8
Staff List Editors Letters “Ode to Aliens” by Rachel Cantor
Fiction Page 10 Page 26
“Amorious” by Allison Rassmann “On Human Nature” by Cary Spector
Poetry Page 15 Page 19 Page 25 Page 29 Page 39 Page 49 Page 33
“After the Storm” by Cary Spector “The Paper” by Owen Elphick “Turbulent Lover” by Kayleigh Waters “Self-Portrait as Tantalus” by Owen Elphick “Foolish” by Allison Rassmann “Identity” by Owen Elphick “1969 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon” by Annette Choi
nonFiction Page 16 Page 20 Page 34 Page 40 Page 46
“Caught: Thinking Traps” by Rachel Fucci “Comfortable Chaos” by Marina Hart “In Vitro Fertilization” by Katie Allen “Hardcore vs. Hatecore” by Renee Esteban “Queer Consideration” by Sara Barber
back of mag Page 50 Page 52
You Should by Katie Allen & Renee Esteban Etymology by Sara Barber CHAOS
“Brooklyn” by Renee Esteban 4
STAFF LIST Co-Editors-in-Chief Rachel Cantor Rachel Fucci
Staff Writers Katie Allen Sara Barber Renee Esteban Marina Hart
Photo Editor Sara Barber
Photo Team Mack Blalock Hannah Choi Soleil Hyland Tarik Thompson Nora Wilby Amelia Wright
Fiction Editor Graham Crolley
Poetry Readers Emily Hillebrand Melinda Fakuade Andie Taft
Poetry Copyeditor Emily Hillebrand
Melinda Fakuade Inbal Kadim Talia Santopadre Dottie Tomasini
Marketing Manager Samantha Jo Stamas
Marketing Team Cary Spector Tarik Thompson Jaclyn Withers
Sally Greene Sarah Heatwole Tatiana Montalvo Erin Sherry
Nick Garel-Jones Lauren Goldstein Hannah Flynn Laura King Samantha Jo Stamas
Laura King Laura Sabater
EDITORS’ With 2016-2017’s spate of unexpected, unforeseen, and…unpresidented…events, some of us might be feeling that our reality is a bit more frayed at the edges than we’d realized. And if you’re reading this, there’s a high probability that you’re a college student—so this might have been a somewhat uncertain time in your life to begin with. Our here-and-now may be a rather turbulent one. And so, the theme of Gauge’s 31st issue is chaos. The word chaos has roots in Latin and Greek, where it signified an abyss. A chasm, a void—maybe today we’d think of it as a black hole in space. A nothingness before time. But our current usage of the word often confers hectic overabundance. Chaos, as a lack of order, requires a something that has fallen into disarray, instead of a nothing. Maybe it’s a little of both—the ancient abyss pulling at the busy threads of our universe. But that’s getting dramatic. Chaos doesn’t just exist on the grand scale of the galaxy or the world or the country. Maybe you recognize chaos in miniature, like the socks that always vanish when you do laundry. Maybe your chaos is confined to the small circle of your own head, where it might feel massive despite its physical proportions. Here at Gauge, we’ve channeled our entropic energy into art, articles, poems, photos, and stories. I hope our chaos can bring you into the fray, the mayhem, and then back out again, into the brave mess of life. Chaotically, Rachel Cantor Co-Editor-in-Chief
I find myself wondering about the origins of the first deep scream. It is so primal, after all, so embedded in our animal past that I can’t help but believe that we have always known how to do it. Consider the fact that it is our premiere sign of healthy life; we leave the womb and greet a too bright, too big, too cold world with a deafening shriek. We can scream before we can walk or speak, it is our modus operandi for reacting to our environment, and in turn, expressing our desire for creating change. We have spent hundreds of years using our screams to make a difference in the face of both personal and political turmoil. There is something so satisfying about filling the lungs up with burning air, feeling the vibrations as they dance through the throat, and giving them away as an undeniable, striking gift to the world. Try it sometime; you may be surprised at how powerful it makes you feel in moments of perceived helplessness. We welcome you to Chaos, our very own personal deep scream. Best of luck, Rachel Fucci Co-Editor-in-Chief 6
At the beginning of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, he gives us his version of an origin story. He writes, “Before the seas and lands had been created, before the sky that covers everything, Nature displayed a single aspect only throughout the cosmos; Chaos was its name, a shapeless, unwrought mass of inert bulk and nothing more…” He goes on to explain that chaos contained every element that comprises our world. Everything is born of chaos; and really, isn’t that easy to believe? Surely every stress-filled, messy semester we experience is proof. This letter itself is proof. It’s 1:42 in the morning and I’m vehemently trying to resist the call of Netflix. Chaos senses its chance, and that chance sounds a lot like the X-Files theme song. I’m holding it off. As I’ve tried to live up to this title of Managing Editor that I’ve so kindly been granted this semester, one quote has stuck in my mind. Spiderman’s Uncle Ben is quick to tell him that with great power comes great responsibility. What he doesn’t say is that with great responsibility comes greater chaos, which literally every single one of us could have told him, and which probably would’ve been a good heads-up for poor Peter. Anyways, the important thing to remember is that the chaos is a concept older than time itself, and that it demands the same respect. We can’t outrun time, and we can’t escape chaos; we can only accept it and hope for the best. Saying this, I humbly invite you to sit back, flip through, and embrace the Chaos. Renee Esteban Managing Editor
Chaos has been emblematic of my personal time on this planet, and this feeling has become more widespread over the last year. With a new transition of power and the world around us seemingly imploding for some, the present can be terrifying and the future only more daunting. When Chaos became the theme of Gauge’s spring 2017 issue, it seemed like the most fitting time for this project. In retaliation towards our current climate, I have discovered that one of the most powerful actions we can take is to create. I strongly believe that by embodying our feelings and experiences into something external, such as this magazine, we can take a new perspective away to learn and grow from. I hope that by indulging in Chaos, you enjoy what we have created. I hope your minds stretch a bit wider and take in everything we have gathered together to offer the world. I am overflowing with gratitude to have seen our staff pour themselves into their work, and it shows in these pages. Sara Barber Photo Editor
ODE TO ALIENS BY Rachel Cantor
Where are you?
The universe is a very big place to live. A zillion planets orbit a zillion stars—more than all the grains of sand on Earth. Is this world simply infested with us, slimy invaders of its rocks and seas? If we are alone here, just freakish cells on one blue marble, the vastness of our solitude is an unending scream of silence. No, we think, this cannot be. There must be…“others” out there somewhere. We are lonely and scared of the star-spangled dark, and we take comfort in the nebulous hope of you.
PHOTOS by Soleil Hyland
But we are scared of you, too. We’ve created you, often in our own image, countless times in our movies and books and our plain old nightmares. Descending upon our small home, bringing war, taking over. Never mind that some of us humans have done plenty of that to our own kind already. Perhaps you sit, cozy in your flying saucer, shielding your three eyes against the light of a different sun, while you watch us hurt all that lives on our cursed watery rock, and you say to yourselves, “Yikes. We want none of that bullshit.” As we celebrate the discovery of seven “Earthlike” worlds spinning fast around their Aquarius star, we cannot forget that Earth contains a place where seven groups of people were barred entry by the signing of one man’s name. When we proclaim “Earthlike,” we cannot forget what Earth is like because of us. And what of “discovery,” anyway? For all America’s fears of aliens, if our past is any predictor, you are in far greater danger if we find you. Are you hiding from us? Maybe you should. But if you came in peace, perhaps it would humble us, at least. A visit in kindness could hold a mirror to our imperfections, injustices, inequalities. “See?” you’d say, “all you Thumb-Apes aren’t the only critters crawling around space, and you’re not as smart or special as you think.” In turn—with any luck—we would not take you to our “leader.” But you know, if you came to Earth, there are those who might ask to join you for your return trip across the galaxies. In the words of Emma Lazarus, “those homeless, tempest-tost”—in the hatch of your spaceship, they might envision the golden door to a new liberty, beyond. How shameful it would be, if those of us who sought refuge were more welcome in your distant homes than in our own. Trudging across intolerant lands, crossing ruthless seas—is it not enough? Nothing left but to leave the ozone halo of Earth itself, because we named our own kin “alien” and “other” beneath this same roof, our shared atmosphere. You must think us monsters. We let a child wash up dead on a beach. What a failure we are, if our children must look to your planets for a safe harbor. We may never know if you are out there somewhere, or if our voices call out into a nothing so deep that we won’t live to hear ourselves echo. But we are here. All of us. And until you emerge from the glittering abyss of our night sky, we must get by on our own. Saying to each other: welcome. CHAOS CHAOS
By Allison Rassmann
uru Amorious, we called him, and he was the Master of Love. He used to sit in the center of town, right over there, and share his blessing with the world. No fee, no catch. No one knew how he earned his gift and no one bothered to ask. Talking about it after the fact, we think he dug it out of a chamber pot. We were an ordinary village before he came along. We were good, farming people—unchanging. But we weren’t a “we” and everything we did was wary and measured. Who grew the biggest harvest, who attended church the most, who survived the winter and who did not; all selfish deeds. Love, when we had it, was fleeting. By the time Guru Amorious came to town, we would have stopped talking to each other altogether were it not for his gift. He took our uncaring selves and made us into the collective that we still are today. We are us because of him. None of us believed Guru Amorious when he first strode into town, still with the clothes of a vagabond and smell to match. He proclaimed he could cure us of all our woes, help us find the one thing that really matters in life. We laughed at first. Things changed with that Gillespie girl, though. Poor thing had an accident a while back—turned over a whole bucket of lye meant for the soap and burnt half her body worse than if she stepped into the flames. Lost her eye, too, and most of her tongue. We all pitied her, but we always knew there was nothing for her. Who would want to marry someone like that? But then Guru Amorious came to town and chose her to be his first blessing, and what do you know, the very next day men as far as three villages over were lined up at her door. That convinced us. If it could work for that Gillespie girl, anything was possible. During his sermons Guru Amorious sat atop a throne of velvet cushions, high above us so that he could see the inner workings of our souls. He was not a beautiful man, which made his powers all the more impressive. His hair was filthy and pepper gray, his beard was filthier and grayer, and his fingernails were filthiest and grayest. He was wrinkled with age and wisdom, red robes resting like a puddle around him. His face was splattered with moles and freckles like a colony of ants that trekked across his skin. That made no difference though, not when you had powers like his. A local perfume maker had gifted him with a mixture of her own making called the Aphrodesia Elixir, an attractive scent that covered the decomposing smell just underneath it. It’s said that anyone who wore it became instantly loveable, and maybe that’s true, because we did love him. Several women always lounged by his side, seated next to the pile of cushions so that they could stroke his grubby feet as he talked. There was no need for bathing, said Guru Amorious, for it only washes away the excretions of our love, and does not truly cleanse the hurt from our hearts. He never bathed, not even before he became the Guru. Old habits die hard, we guess.
People would come from miles around to speak with the Guru. His talents were described with mystical wonder—the way he would preach about life and love and the importance of it all and then call a devotee to rise from amongst us to be blessed. That person would kneel by his feet and he would whisper the secret into their ear and then suddenly it was as if the pendulum of love was swinging in their favor. No one stayed single for long after his blessing. Though he may have lost one follower a day through this practice, they would always run to tell more, and more would come. We grew more and more by the day, and we all longed for his blessing. No one knew much about him, mostly because no one ever asked. We knew him for what we saw, the raggedy man sitting like a king amongst his subjects. He had no family, not that we knew and he took no lovers. The women that lounged by his side were for show, nothing more; fellow devotees, a beckoning, a promise—you, too, can have us if you listen hard enough. Once or twice someone asked him why he never used his blessing for himself. He would smile, shake his head, and say, that’s not how it works. He never did explain to us how it works. By the time we got word of Guru Veritas, Guru Amorious was already so well loved that we scorned her. She had set up shop several towns over, the rumors went, and she too had a blessing, only hers was to banish the love from peoples’ hearts and leave them empty again. We mocked this. Why would anyone want to throw away such a precious gift? Apparently someone did, and someone else after that, and someone after that. Because though we mocked, they came. There was a time when his services would flood the village square, when we feared not having enough floor space at the inn to accommodate all the travelers there to see him. The once green grass was trampled by the people who came each day to sit and marvel. Most of us couldn’t afford to sit there all day—we had jobs, families, lives to tend to— so we would pack up and leave after the blessing for the day was chosen, but the lucky few who were rich enough to spend their time in leisure sat with him longer. There was always still a cluster of them each night at dusk, eyes closed in sincere contemplation. When they reopened their eyes they would see the moon rising over the horizon, and Guru Amorious would tell them to trust the moon in love. She was beautiful, true and good. Then, with the coming of the sun the next morning, the crowd would gather once again and join him in humming a single long primal note to greet the day. It floated through us like a promise. Even McImrie came to seek the Guru’s blessing. Everyone in town knew McImrie because his father had been the one to figure out the secret of having corn grow in winter a few decades back. Brought the town right back up from the brink of starvation. By the time senior McImrie passed, his son had inherited enough to never have to till the fields a day in his life. He was lazy and narcissistic, but generally
well liked because he was pleasant faced and gave away his money when it was needed. When McImrie rode up to the town square on that fine white horse of his, heavy sack in his hands, we parted like the ebbing tide. He was like a prince—which, in a town like ours, he just about was. The Guru didn’t care, he barely lifted his head. With a careless gesture, McImrie tossed the sack at the Guru’s feet, ignoring the gasps as gold splashed out of it. He was seeking a wife, he said, and wanted to ensure that he won only the best, most worthy heart in all the kingdom. Guru Amorious slowly looked up at him, smiled, and gave a shake of his all knowing head. That’s not how it works. McImrie scowled, yelled and he drew his sword, but nothing changed the words that lingered in the air and echoed amongst us. He battled and raged till sundown, but by the day’s end he had turned and gone home, leaving us to pray in peace. It is said that he never did find a suitable bride; the dull witted girl he got was from a nearby duchy and, they claim, was only chosen because there were no better options. People came to see Guru Veritas, though none of us knew why. The gift she delivered was a curse, an unfortunate accident, the dark ages of our time. They called her the Mistress of Truth. We tried to call her the Mistress of Unlove, because that’s really what she preached, but the nickname never stuck like the first did. Occasionally someone would pass through our town, usually a trader or a traveller, and try to preach her lessons to us like they were worth remembering. They would come on horseback, or with their wagons, smiling, always smiling—who would smile without love? Yet they came, and they spoke. Look, said one, I am free. I was once charmed by one of your lot, had absolutely lost my mind, but Guru Veritas broke the spell and brought me back. Or another would say, I thought myself to be in love many times, but now I see I only need to love myself. They would talk of divine sparks, revelation and enlightenment. These could not be true. These were the very things Guru Amorious said to us. When we fled to him, he flinched to hear her name, though he would not say why. He just shook his head like he always did, in that way that told us he knew more than we ever could. It was gradual at first, not even noticeable when so many people came to see Guru Amorious that some climbed the church steeple just to get a glimpse at him while he spoke. But word travels fast, no matter how false or meaningless it may be. Cracks started to appear, body sized holes in the crowd where once there were people. His worshippers were disappearing. He never addressed this—not to us, at least. He kept going the same as he did since that first day he pulled into town with nothing but a whisper and a blessing. Then some of us began to falter. One day a young woman was chosen to receive his blessing. She was young and pretty with a good family and good teeth, and should’ve had no trouble finding a husband. We all were
jealous (why should such a gifted girl get a blessing, when there were many others who needed it more?), but we said nothing as she rose from amongst us. She kneeled at Guru Amorious’ feet, and he bent forward to squint at her. I recognize you, he said. She nodded and said she had been blessed by him just a month before. He looked closely and asked, then why do you look so sad? The tears came then, fountains of them, as she sobbed and lay bare in front of us all. She had been very fortunate and had won many hearts since his blessing. She even won the hand of the boy she loved most in the next village over. But then he had gone to see the Mistress of Truth, and his love for her had been forgotten. Please, she begged, bring him back. Make him love me again. He gazed down at her, eyes stricken with pity and grief, as he fumbled to find the words. He couldn’t do it. That’s not how… he began, but he couldn’t get her to stop crying. After that, he couldn’t get the crowd to stay. The war between the Gurus was unmentioned. Neither would acknowledge it, and yet their followers persisted. No blows were exchanged. It was a war fought with words and with passion, as each side would attempt to persuade the other through pure logic and passion. As tension grew, doubts did too. We began to make requests, to beg the Guru for things he couldn’t possibly give. I want more people in love with me. Bring me my wife back. Rumor has it one man approached and asked the Guru to resurrect his dead lover. More and more, his response was the same: I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. We cried, and begged. Don’t you know how awful it is to be in love? Haven’t you been hurt like us? Yes, he cried, I have been hurt, and that’s why I wish to help you. None of us believed him. The only good thing to come of those days was the grass that had begun to regrow in the town square. Guru Veritas arrived in our town without notice or warning, just like the man who preceded her long before. By now, there was barely a crowd to part for her as she walked towards the Guru. She wore robes of blue, which suited her well compared to Amorious’ flowing robes of passionate red. She was cool, tall and had hair of the deepest black. She was radiant and young in all the ways he was not. Veritas walked to him, all cool and calm, while Amorious gazed at her with nothing but agony. Do you love me now? he said. Can you love me now? That’s not how it works, she said. They stood facing each other, Master and Mistress, red and blue strikes against the dusty landscape. We could feel the power emanating from both of them. From one side, the pulsating warmth of the brightest and most blinding passion; from the other, reason blowing like a cool wind, tempering and rationalizing the mind. It was beautiful, and it was terrible, and they looked beautiful and terrible too. I miss you, he said. I know, she said. This can’t last. So where do we go from here? She paused and thought. We held our breath. We leave these people, she said, and we let them decide what’s in their hearts. If they ever find their own love—without us, with only each other—then perhaps we can, too. She paused, long and hard, eyes scanning over each of us. But they must prove it first. He nodded, like he always did. She turned and left. Guru Amorious left us that day at sunset, just when we were ready to begin our evening prayers to the moon. We knew the prayers by heart, but we were afraid to say them without him present. We shuffled, mumbled fragments of passages to ourselves, and eventually dispersed one by one. Again the next morning we gathered in the hopes that he might have returned, but his throne of velvet cushions was empty and the women beside them had no one’s feet to stroke. We tried to hold the ceremony ourselves but it just wasn’t the same, especially when no one amongst us had any gift of blessing. For a week we continued like this, mostly for the travelers who came to town and had not yet heard the news. By the tenth day of his disappearance, the town square was empty again. We don’t know how we managed after that, when there was no one left to help us woo and charm and love. But somehow we did anyway. It was like back before—sometimes lucky, other times not, with nothing certain but the pain that it brought us. Yet somehow the pain felt more real after Guru Amorious; somehow we shared it, as much a burden between us as the love that ached in our hearts. And the grass in the town square grew.
“Walking into Chaos” by Baolong Song (Bruce)
After the Storm by Cary Spector
Deep in the dark bay a boat is flipped on its side.
Inside: two hands, clasped.
caught: thinking p s a r t by Rachel Fucci Photos by Hannah Choi
t’s okay to reach out and ask for help when you notice a change in your behavior, which is why I find myself sitting in my newly-appointed therapist’s office with a litany of racing thoughts. We’ve established a charming routine, Katelyn and I; I sit upright on her saggy couch, spine rigid with stress as I walk her through any minor missteps or miscommunication issues I’ve had throughout the week. I take her by the hand and together we walk through the seemingly never-ending cycle of obsessive thoughts—I explain to her how one insignificant moment is actually a coded catalyst for a much larger and disastrous outcome, that I have transported myself to this point through foolproof logic. She looks up from the notes she’s been taking on my flawless reasoning and asks me if I’ve ever heard of a thinking trap, a form of thought processing that tricks
our minds into believing something that may be entirely untrue. She reads me a comprehensive list of set-ups, each one of them an offense that I can easily blame on my own actions. I sit speechless with the knowledge that almost every single reality I am losing sleep over was never a reality to begin with. What I learned from these discussions with Katelyn is that anyone can be susceptible to these kinds of harmful thinking patterns. In moments of turmoil or stress, our brains struggle to find answers for the things we’re experiencing. Often times, they come up with incredibly dark scenarios that are rooted in virtually no logic whatsoever. If this sounds familiar, you’re definitely not alone. Here are a few of the most common thinking traps to look out for the next time your mind is running frantically in the dark.
What’s it look like? Creating terrifying scenarios using the phrase ‘what if?’ For example: “I can’t get on this train. What if we get into a horrible crash?” What should you do about it? Run this worst case scenario by another person and see what they say about it. A new perspective, that is removed from the situation, will be able to give you a more realistic view of what could happen.
What’s it look like? Predicting that things will ultimately end badly, as if with a crystal ball. For example: “I didn’t get hired for the job I wanted. I’ll never find a job.” What should you do about it? Replace these destructive thoughts with ones that will encourage you to take action, such as, “I didn’t get the job I wanted, but I’ll apply for another one as soon as I can.”
What’s it look like? Assuming you know what someone is thinking about you or someone else and having an emotional reaction based on these unsubstantiated thoughts. For example: “My friends didn’t invite me out with them tonight because they hate me.” What should you do about it? Instead of jumping to conclusions like this, ask your friends about what they’re thinking or feeling to get a better understanding of what’s going on.
What’s it look like? Accepting only the information that supports your current beliefs or suspicions about a situation. For example: “I made a fool of myself while I was talking to that person at the party! I knew I shouldn’t have gone out—I’m too awkward!” (Although you may have had very smooth and fulfilling conversations with everyone else at the party). What should you do about it? Take time to consider all of the evidence before making bold claims such as these.
What’s it look like? Assuming that your personal feelings about a situation reflect the reality of a situation. This involves ignoring the way that other people involved in this problem may be viewing it, and ‘going with your gut.’ For example: “I feel like they’re replacing me, so that must be what’s happening.” What should you do about it? Ask yourself if there are other possible reasons for what is unfolding. Most of the time you’ll be surprised to find out that there are.
What’s it look like? Creating unrealistic standards for yourself based on the way that others perform, and then judging yourself for behaving differently. For example: “He did better on the test than me. He’s much smarter than me.” What should you do about it? Set your own personal goals and objectives for what you want to achieve and strive to complete them. Keep track of your own progress and avoid letting others distract you from bettering yourself at your own pace. CHAOS 17
“Ground Logic” by Simon Luedtke
The paper rises to meet my pen.
By Owen Elphick
“There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or ever will.” —Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wall-Paper” “You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation. Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.” —Beyoncé Knowles, “Formation”
I realize I am trapped and press myself against the canvas of this world, scrabble along, try to tear myself an opening. But I falter, hypnotized by yellow, scared that this is all there is and that I will rip it away. I decide the only way to escape is to write, to scratch, soak out the yellow with the black of language, quench my thirst with ink, let it wash over my parched throat and poison my insides.
Or perhaps my pen falls onto it, spilling the blood of its crash everywhere, dragging itself along, spelling out my plea for help. Either way, I have no say in the matter, no control, it is just the laws of physics opposites attracting, magnetic, gravity forcing me down into an electric spark, chemical reaction, fusion of mind and matter. Energy courses through me as I am dragged into my pages.
I am transported, lie quietly in a barren wasteland, and when I open my eyes what hits me is the smell. I curl inside it, grow delirious to the odor of things decaying, of book pages slowly yellowing. I can taste the age of this paper on my watering tongue; and dizzied, I move around within its confines.
I get lost in my own maze, construct I breathe in the pollen of the page, sniff, sneeze; chains for myself, shackles of my scribbles, and the blood dribbling from my nose is black. decorate the walls of my dungeon with letters that spell out the patterns of my imprisonment, and try to read them, the patterns, the p at t e I think I can see the faintest glimmer of rns, but the y’re all wrong, sunlight. i n d ec Somewhere, someone is reading this. i ph er a b l CHAOS e
story by Marina Hart / photos by Amelia Wright
Psychiatrists will not officially diagnose patients with Borderline Personality Disorder until they are 18, due to the dramatic hormonal changes that occur during adolescence. Despite this, my struggle with BPD symptoms began when I was 12 years old. The National Institute for Mental Health defines BPD as: “a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning. These experiences often result in impulsive actions and unstable relationships. A person with BPD may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that may that that may last from only a few hours to days.” While BPD may sound similar to bipolar disorder, the two are not related. BPD is not a mood disorder. It’s a behavioral disorder that revolves almost entirely around a paranoid fear of abandonment. It is caused by a distorted perception of reality and an unstable self-image. Those of us who live with borderline are incredibly sensitive to stress and renowned for catastrophizing a seemingly minor event. Though it is not a prerequisite for the disorder, many people living with borderline have experienced some kind of childhood trauma. There are many facets of my childhood that played a role in the development of my BPD, but perhaps the most prominent is a form of emotional abuse called gaslighting. Gaslighting is manipulating another person’s sense of reality by invalidating and compromising their memories. Experiencing this kind of severe emotional abuse has caused me to
I sit quietly as the worst parts of me destroy the things I care about, but I’m tied up. And there’s nothing else I can do but watch it happen. question the reliability of my own judgement. As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to be upset about my father’s drinking problem. I was told it was my problem for making it up, and then it was further deflected onto me: whether it was not doing my chores, being too sensitive, or not being smart enough to understand. This has caused a massive amount of confusion in my adult life,
because my perception of reality was constantly being nullified by my parents. Now that I’m an adult, I can’t critically think about my life on my own because I depend on others to tell me what is true—especially in an interpersonal context. I don’t navigate relationships as much as I lose myself within them. Many emotions I have do not make sense because I’m hypervigilant that the people I love will leave me. For example: if someone annoys or hurts me, I ignore them in order to (ironically) avoid a petty fight. When I don’t hear from them, I become enraged that they’re ignoring me even though I started it. I will fight, cry, and point fingers until they start to pull back. But as soon as they stand up for themselves, I’ll cry and say that “I was right” and “everyone leaves me.” I’m fully aware that my reaction doesn’t make sense, but I am powerless in its wake. The sheer thought that someone might abandon me makes me lose any footing I have in the reality of the situation. Anxiety grows exponentially inside of me, unless I act upon my emotion. I can go from an apathetic ice queen, to self-sabotaging a relationship, in a matter of seconds. In a way, it feels like a ghostly possession, except I’m conscious for it. I sit quietly as the worst parts of me destroy the things I care about, but I’m tied up. And there’s nothing else I can do but watch it happen. Relationships are one of the biggest triggers for people living with BPD. Conflict isn’t the problem; it’s how the brain interprets external stimuli. Melanie, an artist in Minnesota who was recently diagnosed with BPD,
explains: “Words and faces have an unprecedented impact on my emotions and outlook. A simple and casual rejection from someone I felt close to, could mean a compounding feeling of dread that forges into month-long depression…I hate my emotional states. I know I have so much potential and can be such an amazing and fantastic person, but whenever I feel emotions more intensely and can’t regulate them, I feel such deprecating shame and guilt at my inability to react how I would like or how others would like me [to].” The external relationship affects and reflects self-image. The pressure to be the person that someone with BPD wants to be is akin to the pressure they feel to understand a reality they feel disconnected to. Both
pressures play off and into one another. Borderline personality disorder is an inescapable cycle of chaos that sucks you in at every turn. As counterintuitive as it may seem, people living with BPD sometimes find this turbulent cycle to be grounding. Sarah, a young adult who has lived her whole life exhibiting borderline symptoms, spoke beautifully about the comfortable chaos of BPD: “There is no real stability in my life, and if I find something is stable, it scares me and I find ways to sabotage it. I go off my meds, I discharge myself from treatment, I start fights with my loved ones, I hurt myself…because in this weird way, I understand the instability better than I do the stability.” The instability of a life with
BPD is the only thing that we are sure of. We know exactly what rock bottom feels like, and this is one of the only times when our reality coincides with the realities of those arounds us. There is a sense of relief in that moment, amongst the chaos, that we are finally understood. In this sense, self-sabotaging ourselves and our relationships becomes a form of validation. We fall back upon it when we feel too disconnected. At least when there are arguments, we’re on the same page. Borderline personality disorder is an unending cycle of self-sabotage to avoid pain. The chaos that’s created is subconsciously intentional. There are ways to rewire thought processes to learn to live with BPD, but these are met with mixed results. Sarah has recently
been discharged from an inpatient psychiatric facility for the eleventh time for her BPD. She aspires to go to college eventually, though her current struggles prevent that from happening in the near future. On the other hand, Melanie says: “You can name the monster and learn how to live with it, but it will always rear its head…BPD is a way of life, and its effects only lessen for periods, [but] they will never fully go away.” This rings true for me as well. Even in my best months, I still find BPD poking me with a stick. It’s the Hyde to my Jekyll. It has caused an immeasurable amount of stress, pain, and burden in my life. Yet, I can’t help but feel secure knowing that the chaos has a name and lives inside my head.
shot shot by by Renee Renee Esteban Esteban
Turbulent Lover You Standing in your own forest With roots that clung to the center of Earth Looking as though you had weathered every storm And deflected every lover Whose knife tried to carve their initials into your skin So firm So grounded So clear I never thought That when I glided above you Hiding the sunlight And pouring my bitterness onto your branches That you would release your grip on the dirt And give in to my winds I will whip you around the world Like an irrational cyclone Your branches will catch On every single one of my own foolish regrets Your leaves will tangle and burn In the sudden forest fire of my own bridges Your bark will fall to shambles Every time my impulsive thunder strikes Your roots will snarl as I swing you in a tornado High and low with my erratic mood When the volcano of my temper explodes in icy ignorance Your trunk will twist to avoid the boiling lava And when I cool, like a gentle, furious blizzard The rings in your center will muddle in confusion Melting into each other Losing track of time and space And you will know nothing But the damaging hurricane The downpour The turmoil Of my love I'm sorry
By Kayleigh Waters
On Human Nature By Cary Spector
Elk had been gnawing on the bark of a pine when he saw pointed white ears and empty eyes emerge from a bush. The moon regarded the predator’s approach in the clearing below. The moonlight bathed the open field in a soft, passionless glow. Elk merely eyed the beast—the blood on his coat, the bitterness in his snarl, the hunger radiating from his purposeful movements. The bits of wood fell limply from Elk’s mouth.
“You are delectable and I so greatly desire to eat you,” said Wolf to Elk.
“I am sorry,” the predator growled. This was a gesture of courtesy, hollow as a fallen oak. “I would change, if I only could.” Elk breathed in sharply and pushed his left hoof through the snow, a hoof scratched raw from years of running. His cloven feet had always managed to carry him farther than the kin he once knew. His stomach contorted. He spat into the snow. “These actions are yours,” Elk said, “You do as you desire.” Wolf responded with a guttural hum. He began to move slowly around the enclosure. “I do not hate you,” Wolf muttered, so silent it could have been a yawn weaving through the branches. “I act on my stomach, my mind thinks forward to spring.”
The wind blindly fumbled with Wolf ’s refined fur. Swirls of snow, the color of Wolf ’s coat, whispered through the acorn peaks of Elk’s antlers. The deer’s breath hung in the forest clearing. “It is nothing personal,” snarled Wolf. He sharpened a claw on a nearby rock. The act left gashes in the moss and lacerations in the stone. “So you say,” said Elk, with a tired bow of his head. “Yet you never seem to stop.” The beast’s presence “This is our state,” said Wolf, crouching low. exuded out from these lands, lurking atop a rock or “No. This is simply you,” Elk answered, turning and prowling by the river or lying in plain sight underneath a clump of snow. There was a haven deep in the woods, bounding away into the woods with all of his strength. And though Wolf quickly gained momentum, the where not a single pale predator roamed. Elk had hoped snow fell ambivalently and the trees hardly gasped. to see it.
“This could be true but it affects me not,” Elk replied, old as the earth, “I must fear you. I must fear you always.”
Photo by GAUGE Renee Esteban 28
Self-Portrait as Tantalus by Owen Elphick
after Natalie Diaz
“‘Heaven’—is what I cannot reach! The Apple on the Tree— Provided it do hopeless—hang— That—‘Heaven’ is—to Me!” —Emily Dickinson, “‘Heaven’—is what I cannot reach!”
I have life-threatening food allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, chicken, fish… That’s the mantra I repeat and repeat and repeat, but what I don’t say is that I am starving, ravenous for all the things I cannot taste. I would die if I couldn’t eat that! they squawk. I resist the urge to retort that I’d die if I did. In a way, I’m already dead, straining for existence but never reaching it, a skeleton of want, stripped to the bones of my desires; a spider stuck in my own web, hanging, undevoured, undevouring. Caught, I stand with my head in the noose, forever waiting to drop. Once beloved by the gods, the mighty and magnificent emperor of my brain. Now, my stomach is king, eating me up until all that is left is hunger. You are what you eat, so I must be nothing, nothing but what I want, so
I want. I want and want and want and want
so much more than I can ever have. Even if I tasted all I crave, it would shrivel away to ash in my mouth, hot coals and embers setting me on fire for more. Is it so horrible that I had a hankering for immortality? That I wanted a small taste of heaven, to be closer to the gods, further from death? Why couldn’t they have just shared? And why was nothing else good enough for me afterwards? Zeus, I’m so hungry I need food I need it give it to me. Anger blossoms, blood-red, making me clench and tense and twitch and shake with impatience, fuck, I am so fucking hungry, feed me – !
I understand. We want. We want and want and want and want and want…
Photos by Tarik Thompson Model: Charlotte Horan
PHOTO by saksham gumber MODEL ben cher
wonk t’nod I ,ekil I eniw fo dnik tahw .yawyna em ksa ot sekil eh tub fi sa leef mih sekam ti kniht I leef t’ndluohs I .dab os .thginot nooram er’yeht ;spil ym kcil I ssolg niats a ni meht dehcnerd e v’I .resserd s’rehtom ym fo tuo dehsif sehsal ym tab I eugnot ym etib dna dna kcen ym nwod skcart doolb eht litnu tsehc ym otni 1969 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon sserd ym hguorht thgir by Annette Choi .seenk ym sdrawot thgiarts dna I don’t know er’yeht ;seohs ym ni sloop tI what kind of wine I like, but he likes to ask me anyway. ,thginot kcalb I think it makes him feel as if I shouldn’t feel eiprahs htiw ni deroloc so bad. I lick my lips; they’re maroon tonight. tniap eht erehw I’ve drenched them in a stain gloss fished out of my mother’s dresser. .dedaf sah I bat my lashes and bite my tongue wonk t’nod I until the blood tracks down my neck and into my chest right through my dress ,ekil I eniw fo dnik tahw and straight towards my knees. It pools in my shoes; they’re black tonight, .yawyna em ksa ot sekil eh tub colored in with sharpie where the paint fi sa leef mih sekam ti kniht I has faded. leef t’ndluohs I CHAOS
.thginot nooram er’yeht ;spil ym kcil I
In Vitro Fertilization
The Recent Attack on Science, Families, and Yours Truly By Katie Allen Photos by Mack Blalock
Trump’s new presidency has already attacked many and prompted judgment, but his new Personhood Bill vilifies science, women, and families. This Personhood Bill, called H.R. 586, would criminalize abortion and allow the government to further regulate female bodies under the guise that a fetus is a person with legal rights, putting to risk an important medical breakthrough. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a scientific implantation process that would be effectively banned even though this method starts families. In striving to control reproductive rights, humanize a single-celled organism, and deny safe abortions, babies born through IVF are being considered less human. I am a product of IVF, a test tube baby. My parents struggled to conceive my brother and I for almost ten years after their marriage. My mother also struggled with the loss of two other ectopic pregnancies before she became pregnant with my brother and I. Without the help of IVF, my brother and I wouldn’t be here, and it wasn’t an easy procedure. Nonetheless, I grew up in a tremendously loving and supportive household. The circumstances of my birth, the IVF process, don’t make me any less human. Medical intervention and governmental intervention is not the same thing. IVF is a relatively new scientific procedure. The first successfully conceived IVF baby was born in 1979. Subsequent births have also been successful and continue to push the boundaries of what was once considered medically impossible; finally giving some couples the chance to start a family. According to the Infertility Centers of Boston, success rates vary by the age of the mother, but if the mother is under 35 years old, the preliminary birth rates are over sixty percent. Similarly, this helps couples that are having trouble with all sorts of physiological issues that
would impede conventional pregnancy. The process itself is relatively simple. Essentially, conception takes place outside the body. Sperm is collected and an egg is surgically harvested. The fertilized egg is then implanted back into the carrier (mother or surrogate) and carried to term with any luck. Additionally, in recent years there have been advances in embryo development and reproductive technology such as egg freezing, donor egg IVF, surrogacy, and more, however controversy still swirls around IVF issues. The main qualm that arises relating to Trump’s Personhood Bill is what happens with the fertilized eggs. Most of the time, six to eight eggs are fertilized, but following guidelines set in place only a few of those are implanted. Some are discarded because they aren’t suitable; others are discarded while regarding the health and safety of both carrier and child alike. Nonetheless, you have examples like Nadya Suleman, also known as Octomom. If H.R. 586 were to pass, mothers would be forced to carry all embryos, or more likely, IVF would be banned altogether. Similarly, one of the returning issues some people have with IVF is the preimplantation tests that take place. These are done on the embryos simply to test for hormonal abnormalities. The fear is that genetically superior embryos will lead to a science fiction like future of evolved humans. Likewise, with a lack of general understanding surrounding IVF, some skeptics claim that genetic testing could actually be genetic alteration that would allow parents to “create” their children. The mechanics to create a generation of superior babies of course does not exist, nor is it the concern of most parents. They simply want a healthy baby. Another factor revolves around religion that unfortunately finds itself ever intertwined with
This Personhood Bill would criminalize abortion and allow the government to further regulate female bodies.
science and reproductive rights. I have a very specific memory as a child of being told by a woman that if my parents were struggling to conceive, then it was just God’s plan for them not to have any children, and I was mortified. She talked about my upbringing like it was an unholy disgrace. She acted as if I was a freak of nature rather than the product of two loving parents and a lot of hard work. My parents have always told me to be proud of who I am. But, unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to using medical intervention to conceive. Another friend of mine, another IVF twin, mentioned that her family was so ashamed that they didn’t tell her extended family. Whatever the cause and whatever the religious preference, the important factor in having and starting a family is love. If science has come far enough to help deserving people have children, then couldn’t that be considered God’s will? A final important factor to consider is that IVF can be expensive without aid. Forbes Magazine quotes the costs of IVF treatments as sometimes ranging from $12,000-$15,000 per treatment. While some insurance companies cover IVF, most do not. Due to this there is a disparity between potential parents of a higher socio-economic background and those lower. And because of this, there is a sense of entitlement in being able to afford IVF treatments. With that being said, the chaos behind this matter lies once again on men controlling and commanding reproductive rights. This “Personhood” Bill would criminalize abortion under all circumstances while also banning methods of conception like IVF. The government is trying to restrict when and whether you can start a family, an unbelievable assault on the rights of citizens. Similarly, questioning the personhood of those born out of IVF treatments is dehumanizing and humiliating. Potentially, celebrities might be able to help de-stigmatize and help educate the public about IVF. Demystifying IVF is the first step to ending ignorance and confusion on the subject. Several celebrity parents have opened up about using IVF, some of whom have been hotly criticized. An example of such celebrity parents are Chrissy Teigen and John Legend who came under scrutiny for reporting that they chose the gender of their daughter. While other celebrities have been rumored to use IVF to have twins. According to an article published in the New York Times in 2008, “Only 1 percent to 2 percent of naturally conceived children are twins. Among I.V.F. babies, it’s 32 percent.” Considering these statistics, some rumors are swirling over Beyoncé’s recent pregnancy announcement, as well as George and Amal Clooney’s pregnancy report, both of whom are expecting twins. Speculations point to scientific intervention, thus acknowledging our reliance on science to help better families everywhere. How dare you question my existence? I’m right here writing this piece.
I am substance. I have thoughts and a voice, and I intend to fight this nonsense like the ludicrous absurdity it is. I am not any less a person because I’m a test-tube baby. People are people, and our government shouldn’t control conception or contraceptives for that matter. Our government shouldn’t demonize any group of people for something that is out of their control. Families should be able to love and grow. Science saves lives and starts them, so it should never be underestimated or denied. This bill is called H.R. 586. Call your congress member and tell them a very real person advocates for IVF. I’m the proof.
Vesuvius, 2014 by Olivia Martinson. Nail polish on canvas
By Allison Rassmann
They say that before an earthquake hits the birds are the first to know. They sense the tremors in the earth below, feel the ache of the magnetic pull, and somehow in those overwhelmingly miniscule warnings they rush to fly away. If I was a bird, maybe then I could have seen you leaving before you left, and maybe then I could have flown away too.
HARDCORE Vs. HATECORE
Or: Why You Should always Punch Nazis by renee esteban Photos by sara Barber
Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dark. Not pitch black, but dim enough that the audience looks more like
continuously colliding shadows, a single entity with endless thrashing limbs covered in denim and flannel. Slogans blur in the flashing lights: Black Live Matter, No Means No, Hail Satan Worship Doom. No one is being careful with their elbows. Walls of sound compel the movements of walls of bodies. The crowd surges and recedes like the crashing of the ocean, and the effect is just as daunting. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s utter chaos but lacks any intent to harm. Songs bleed from one shredding guitar riff to another. The atmosphere almost stings, the sharp contrast of expected implications of the shoving and the rapport that it really expresses. As a contrast, more people surround the mosh pit, standing a polite distance from each other and nodding their heads to the heavy drums. Beside me, an older woman is sitting on a stool, tapping her foot to the beat. The gray haired man she is with occasionally escapes the pit to check on her. 40
The music sounds ominous, lyrics unintelligibly screamed by the vocalist. It grows like a living thing, like a monster conjured from the band’s emotion that lunges straight at the audience, snarling, showing its teeth. The crowd—teenaged, elderly, heavily tattooed, business casual—snaps right back, howling. Hardcore, a genre of punk music, is often denounced. It emerged in America in the 1980s after the “death” of punk rock. Its proponents were able to pick and choose aspects of punk to fit their desire for a hard hitting, savage sound and anti-mainstream attitude. One oftcited influence was The Ramones, a New York City punk band whose speed, straightforward fashion and blunt demeanor inspired many hardcore bands. The genre’s fast, aggressive sound and screaming vocals invite a wealth of mistrust from the general public and the practice of moshing does nothing to dispel their wariness. On the surface, the act of slamming into everyone in sight may seem masochistic and brutal and the hardcore scene may seem like a group of angry people who celebrate violence. But we know better than to stop at the superficial. In reality, it is a group of people who celebrate individuality and camaraderie in the same breath. They pick each other up and take care of their own.
They pick each other up and take care of their own.
When they enter a mosh pit, they aren’t fighting each other, they’re fighting off their demons. The term mosh was popularized by the Washington D.C. band Bad Brains. By the early ’80s, “mash” was used to describe the frenzy of hardcore. However, it sounded like “mosh” due to the lead singer’s Jamaican accent. This version was soon adopted and is now the name for hardcore dancing. The movements evolved from the pogo to slamdancing to the moshing of today, which is a combination of both. When done correctly, moshing is a type of catharsis, a safe way to work out anxiety and aggression in a venue full of like minded, consenting people. And yet, over the well meaning raging of CHAOS
bodies, the threat of real violence hangs. Hatecore, a genre defined by white supremacy and hatred of minorities, stemmed from the growth of the hardcore scene during the ’80s. This genre is also known as Nazi punk, which is, as you can guess, made up of neo-Nazis. Music has power to influence, to incite and to convince. Music can inspire, motivate and drive people to action. Unfortunately, the power it has doesn’t diminish due to a hateful message. Hatecore has been, and continues to be, a resource for recruitment to the neo-Nazi movement, as well as the unification of members and the solidification of ideals. It has been called one of the pillars of white supremacist subculture by the Anti-Defamation League. In fact, the man who was responsible for the 2012 Sikh temple massacre in Wisconsin played in several hatecore bands. This genre celebrates the dehumanization and demonization of the nonwhite, but just listening to and playing their music apparently isn’t enough for them. For over three decades, neo-Nazis have taken pride in showing up at hardcore shows to start brawls and destroy venues. Hardcore punks have been punching Nazis long before people were looping videos of Richard Spencer with Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” in the background. Although the election of Trump has arguably made white supremacists bolder and increased the presence of their propaganda—some might remember the neo-Nazi fliers put up around the Emerson campus—there’s no doubt that they’ve maintained a steady presence over the years, especially in the hardcore scene. The Dead Kennedy’s 1981 song “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” is a reminder of the duration of the conflict that has far from faded. The neo-Nazis, whose only goal was and continues to be, destroying safe space through charming acts like groping women or knocking people out, were met with vehement resistance. The punks of
the past had no choice but to defend themselves, and found that there was no other way to communicate or reason with the white supremacists aside from forcibly removing them from the premises. The generations of punks past, and the ongoing struggle with neo-Nazis, are proof of the longevity of white supremacy, as well as the fundamental truth that sometimes there’s nothing to do about Nazis but throw some right hooks. On the other hand, now that there’s technology, there are other ways to prevent neo-Nazis from ruining everything even more than they do by just existing. There are websites and private Facebook groups dedicated to keeping local hardcore shows free of hate and violence. Members of these groups, who have to be invited, are warned not to add anyone who isn’t tolerant. One member of was kind enough to tell me about the scene, as long as the secrecy of the group was not threatened. He spoke eloquently of the inclusivity of the hardcore scene, likening it to an island of misfit toys, “The scene has always been a place that has nurtured the forgotten kids, the people who are trying to find a place. As long as someone is trying, they are welcome.” He is quick to note that this courtesy does not extend to bigots. He tells me that above all, the hardcore community helps each other in any way possible, whether it be paying optional admission to support a band, helping them load their instruments and equipment after a show, or just showing up to listen to local bands who play in Allston basements. The focus is often on “all ages” shows, where truly anyone can be a part of the experience. The hardcore scene isn’t perfect, but it’s as safe as possible for a group of people whose favorite pastime includes ramming each other into amps. The real danger comes from bullies and hate groups who continue to disrupt the ethics of the pit. Long story short, Nazis are still a problem for punks who just want to enjoy some music and shove each other in peace.
And yet, over the well meaning raging of bodies, the threat of real violence hangs.
Photo by Saksham PHOTO GUMBER PhotoBY bySAKSHUM Saksham Gumber Gumber
Article and Photos by Sara Barber
eople often prod about my queerness. I usually fumble for an answer but suffice with something that solidifies a decent perception of us. However, the truth is that I am still dissecting what this umbrella of orientation encompasses. On this bizarre planet, I have found it inherently trivial to come to terms with an identity that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fit the heteronormative mold. And I have discovered that the history of these marginalized communities is often fighting forward, while cisgender and straight people push back, or stand still.
If our system worked for everyone, no one would need to combat it. In that sense, existing outside of the binary and loving unconventionally is revolutionary, even without a political intent. Short haircuts on women are stereotypically frowned upon—I shaved my head and everyone suddenly assumed I was gay. I loved it. My grandma saw the photos on Facebook and called to ask if there was anything I wanted to tell her. When I casually confessed my queerness, she was supportive, but questioned why I used that word to define myself. In her time, she had only heard it as a derogatory slur. And it is very true: the history of the word queer is bizarre. Traced back to the 17th century, the definition has involved the strange and peculiar. It had no connection to sexuality or sexual orientation until the early 20th century, when it became a cut to the throat of anyone embodying a non-heteronormative identity. The first time I heard the word, I knew it was something I should never aspire to be, as the girl sitting beside me in church spat it in my direction. At the time, I was eleven and strictly dickly, though I knew nothing about sex at the time, other than its shame. I had only a slim fraction of the sexual vocabulary I’ve since acquired. Instead, I knew there was a right way to like like somebody and a very wrong way. A way that could get you beat up in the courtyard. Where I fit on either side of that (what do you mean there’s a spectrum?) hadn’t yet crossed my mind. All I knew was that I was just a girl, so I could only like boys. As I grew older, I started to quietly question my straightness from the safety of the closet my peers mortified me into. They would spit faggot and pry if my best friend was gay in the same breath, and I would have to deny deny deny. I couldn’t be the one to reveal his shame. I couldn’t be the one to have that shame, either. My mother insisted there were certain body parts that belonged together and anything else would get you a one-way ticket to hell. The first time a girl touched me, I didn’t look in the mirror for three days. She messaged me shortly after, insisting that we were a mistake, that she wasn’t a lesbian. I didn’t think I was either, but I still couldn’t fathom how a girl’s touch felt so natural when I knew it was so wrong. I still went on to discover the various sexual orientations; I tried on lesbian and bisexual and pansexual. Each label was too snug and too constraining, so when I came across queer it was the only name for my identity that didn’t call for claustrophobia. Under this umbrella term for any non-heteronormative identity, I have all the room I need to
stretch into my growth. It allows for the fluidity of my expression, but also causes questions and concerns from others. While the history behind this word is undeniably cruel and violent, I have found a strong sense of pride in owning what people have tried to use against me and my community. As a senior in high school, I finally began to embrace my queer identity and call it such. Heavily influenced by queer poets such as Andrea Gibson, I found that it was possible to create a nonconventional beauty in my own writing. At the end of every year, my school held a poetry slam in our auditorium where 1,000 students would gather. It was the only real opportunity students had to creatively spark discussions around issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. I wrote a poem in which I came out as queer to a very large portion of my high school’s student body, in a completely packed auditorium. While queer doesn’t sit right with everyone, I have found it to be empowering and defining of who I am, while giving me room to expand into everything I need to be.
Art by Jaclyn Withers
by Owen Elphick
after Ian McLeanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Where the Heart Is
I am made of scraps of paper, littered with words and streaked together over the throbbing purple house of my heart. Here and there I see snatches of language, bits of the recipe that made me but which I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know, the ingredients mixed up, jumbled, hard to identify. I cannot fit the fragments of myself together, nor read my script. I can only draw ink from the words within me and make new ones, form the rest of myself on my own. CHAOS
this piece is dedicated to gwyneth paltrow and her lifestyle project, goop, without which the general public would truly be lost. how else would we become enlightened on matters so crucial as the myriad benefits of routine dry brushing?
written by katie allen and renee esteban illustrated by lauren goldstein
1. you should carry a crystal with you wherever you go. Seriously, at least one. Did you ever wish for Neville Longbottom’s Remembrall? Turns out all you needed was a quartz in your back pocket. Crystals may not be able to cure cancer (yet), but they absorb and contain endless knowledge that you can use. Want to make sure your girlfriend isn’t cheating? Hide a chunk of amethyst in her room. Want to pass your 8 a.m.? Put some citrine on your professor’s desk and snooze away in the back row. Want to solve your feminine issues? Stock up on carnelian to throw at anyone who catcalls you or asks if you’re PMSing. Pro-tip: If a single crystal costs under $50, it’s most likely useless. 2. Travel more. Just get out of the United States. Go olive oil tasting, because wine tasting was so 2009. Try not to get emotional over the world of olive oil fraud as you eat chocolate that was definitely harvested by children. You probably have a yeast infection, an autoimmune disease, and definitely a parasite, even if you don’t know it, but being self-aware is the first step, darling. To get healthy, go to a spa in the middle of a desert that was probably used for either a music festival or a music video and just sweat for 52 hours. Go to Italy. Don’t eat a single carb. Deny the fact that travelling is only for the rich, and sit in a bathhouse while you try not to think about that yeast infection.
3. you should keep being depressed – in fact, you should celebrate it. All this time you thought that having depression was god awful, but it turns out that you were just looking at it the wrong way, misinformed by science and medicine. Depression is a privilege. Instead of wasting it by taking antidepressants and attempting to regain any semblance of normalcy, try enjoying it. It’s a gift, and an opportunity to analyze and improve your life. A depressed
mindset is the perfect lens for rational life changes. Stop bathing, quit school, or smash your phone and go completely off the grid. Drop all the people who have ever supported you and make new friends who are more aesthetic. Become someone brand new, perhaps someone who never smiles. It’s a blast! Pro-tip: Don’t worry about spiraling into the grim void of existential crisis, that’s how you know you’re really making progress!
4. you should stop being stressed. It’s really as easy as that. Avoid it like it’s non-organic kale. It makes you look old and tired – and what’s even more horrifying – it can cause you to gain weight. Instead, you should really invest your time in more productive endeavors, like shopping at YSL or getting Swedish massages. There’s no problem that can’t be solved with a glass of wine salvaged from the Titanic and a tiny steak with a sprig of rosemary that costs more than the average college tuition. Pamper yourself, and everything else will work out. If all else fails, you’ve always got your inheritance. Don’t strain your eyes by staring at a laptop for long periods of time, and don’t read books that include words with over three syllables or concepts more difficult to grasp than basic math. In fact, don’t burden yourself with heavy thinking. Your greatest concern should be whether to sleep on sheets made of silk, or sheets made of 600-count Egyptian cotton. Pro-tip: Go for the silk, you’ll thank us. 5. Consider changing your sex life. After all, we have a very long list of BPA free vibrators at your disposal. Besides, who needs the stress of someone who tries to control your reproductive health and rights? Stress is something; you absolutely cannot have in your life (see above). Instead you can slowly and seductively remind yourself that sex is fun! Try a jade egg, moon juice, aphrodisiacs, but whatever you do, stay away from lube because that stuff is toxic. Forget what you know or what you like, just focus solely on how meditation and opening up your pelvic floor can help you achieve a better relationship with your congress member. Not satisfied? Too bad.
6. you should shower your shower. Literally. Are you cleaning your shower enough? Sorry, clean isn’t the right word. Have you detoxed your shower? Consider only showering when it rains. Transport yourself to the Middle Ages where no one bathed. Ever. They were really onto something there. You don’t have to sterilize everything in sight? You just have to detoxify it. There’s a difference. Trust. Bleach is old news. Use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and the tears you cry after cutting an onion to really clean your shower. Because if it doesn’t involve, blood, sweat, and tears, is it really GOOP?
Photos by Nora Wilby
by Sara Barber
to disappear or vanish
It is raining, but my fears and I are still strung up on the clothesline. Forgotten are my eyes which haven’t rested in weeks. Not while the water wedged in my stitches tries to run away. It is almost like I did at thirteen, but it returns, sinking into the seams again for the next cycle. I still try not to overlap leaving with escaping, but droplets hit harder when you’re stuck still. You know, when it doesn’t really matter where you are going, just that you aren’t being seen.
the remains of something that has been badly damaged or destroyed
Foggy eyes forget the night you tried to make the world stop spinning, if only for yourself. It felt wrong, wearing skin you only wanted to return, so you preached your bathtub blues in empty pews. You watched the water clear until it was red and you felt warm like a fire. So you ashed yourself to sleep and survived.
The conviction in which reality is perceived
When my mother says love, I feel the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tongue curl around my neck in a question mark. In her home, the world taught me right from wrong. When I second-guess my sexuality, I learn my kind of love fails this test. I am told to sit up straighter by people with icicles for spines. We feed our children the posture of believing that there is a wrong way to love.
As a girl, my favorite sky held the sun, but I learned too much of its shine would make cactus pricks sharp as men. I learned there was a certain kind of cunning I could never get away with. I have seen men escape with their belt buckles fastened and suitcase packed. If my memory serves me right, it only felt like it happened all of the time. When the fireplace in his throat crackled too warm, he stored his fight in his fist. He would ignite black holes in the space between drywall and plywood, a darker kind of sun.
assess (a situation) wrongly
They thought the world was flat, you know, so who is to say we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to take another look at the world around us? See that our ideals are still two-dimensional and we are in need of raising. Make them rounder and more full, instead of the division we have allowed. It has gotten This Bad, and people still think this country was ever Great. CHAOS
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