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COUNTERPOINT the wellesley college journal of campus life october 2014 volume 39 issue 2


E D I TO R I A L S TA F F Editors in Chief

Hanna Day-Tenerowicz ‘16 Cecilia Nowell ‘16

Staff Editors

Features Editors

Oset Babur ’15 Alison Lanier ’15 Ruyi Li ’16 Olivia Moeller ’18 Madison Kelley ’18

D E S I G N S TA F F Art Director Layout Editor

Jayne yan ‘16 Charlotte Yu ’17

B U S I N E S S S TA F F Treasurer

Alice Lee ’18

S TA F F W R I T E R S Alison Lanier ’15, Oset Babur ’15, Cecilia Nowell ’16, Hanna Day-Tenerowicz ‘16

C O N T R I BU TO R S Sarah Herman ’15, Wellesley 20/20, Pamela Metani ‘16, Elle Friedberg ’17 (cover photo)

TRUSTEES Matt Burns MIT ’05, Kristina Costa ’09, Brian Dunagan MIT ’03, Kara Hadge WC ’08, Edward Summers MIT ’08

COUNTERPOINT THE WELLESLEY COLLEGE JOURNAL OF CAMPUS LIFE OCTOBER 2014 Volume 39 / Issue 2

CAMPUS LIFE MS. COUNTERPOINT

4

ADVICE COLUMN

COUNTERPOINT STAFF

5

MONTHLY POLL: TINDER

WELLESLEY 20/20

6

A REQUEST

M E N TA L H E A LT H HANNA DAYTENEROWICZ

10

“HEALTHY” IS A LIE

SARAH HERMAN

12

LIVING BETWEEN EXTREMES

SUBMISSIONS Counterpoint invites all members of the Wellesley community to submit articles, letters, and art. Email submissions to cnowell@wellesley.edu and hdaytene@wellesley.edu. Counterpoint encourages cooperation between writers and editors but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length and clarity.

A R T S & C U LT U R E PAMELA METANI

13

FACEBOOK NAME CHANGE POLICY; DRAGGING OUT THE ISSUE

CECILIA NOWELL

14

SAYING GOODBYE TO “CHURCH”

SUBSCRIPTIONS One year’s subscription: $25. Send checks and mailing address to:

Counterpoint, Wellesley College 106 Central Street Wellesley, MA. 02481 Counterpoint is funded in part by the Wellesley Senate. Wellesley College is not responsible for the content of Counterpoint.


CAMPUS LIFE

Advice Column BY MS. COUNTERPOINT

What do I do if I’m a first-year looking for funding for a summer internship? Alas, my first-year friend, there’s not a whole lot available to you, unfortunately. The Center for Work and Service is notoriously stingy when it comes to giving first-years summer money. Though I believe it is also possible to get a Wellesley Serves! grant as a first year. (See the CWS website for deets!) I would say your best bet is to ask your favorite professors if they have any ideas for you, or ask the department chairs of a few pertinent departments if they have any departmental grants available or anything. That being said, it’s definitely okay to give yourself some time off from being overly ambitious after having survived your first year at Wellesley. I actually encourage this, if possible—breaks should be breaks, in my humble opinion. Where can I find cool parties off campus? Oh dear friend, the real question should be “Where can’t I find cool parties off campus?” Depending on what you’re looking for here are a couple of ideas!

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If you’re into that frat party/finals club vibe, I’d advise hopping on the cuddle shuttle and exploring the scene at MIT or Harvard. If you’re looking for something more low-key though, check out our suburban neighbors. I personally advise making friends at Olin (cross-register or just awkwardly ride the shuttle over there for a day-visit) and then get yourself invited to a mellow party. The formerly (in)famous Mann Hall no longer exists, but if you have friends at Olin (and perhaps even Babson, although this Ms. Counterpoint has less experience in that part of town) you can definitely get invited to a casual hangout or chill party. Best advice: grab a group of friends and just see what you can find, Boston is a happening-place and there are definitely plenty of parties to crash. Why hasn’t there been whipped cream in the Lulu dining hall for weeks on end?? If only I knew, dear reader. We’re all very distraught about this dire situation. Let’s start a grassroots campaign and collectively submit sad comment cards about it.

counterpoint / october 2014

It’s my fourth year and Wellesley and I am soooo sick of the dining hall food. Any tips? We all feel your struggle. Here are a couple suggestions for you. Personally, I’m a fan of creative waffle-making. If you’re in the mood for sweet, try making a waffle topped with peanut butter, sliced banana (or apple), cinnamon sugar, and caramel sauce from near the ice cream. You could also add cereal or granola to this creation for a hella good time. If you’re more in the mood for spicy, make waffle topped with cheese and Sriracha (and your choice of meat or vegetables from the salad bar), then microwave it for melted goodness! Also, pizza bagels are a simple and beautiful thing to make. Just take a bagel from the toaster area, add some sauce from the pasta bar, and top it with some cheese (and whatever else you want) from the salad bar! For a good snack to take on the go, you can make your own delicious, customized affogato by mixing some coffee with any flavor of ice cream. And nothing brings out the flavor quite like a paper dining hall cup, amirite?


Monthly Poll:

Tinder at Wellesley BY COUNTERPOINT STAFF

We hear it come up in dining hall conversations, on the Senate bus, in class. We’ve tried it ourselves. Tinder is a paradise of bad pick up lines, encounters of

love, fun, or both. This month, 288 poll respondents helped shed light on Wendy Wellesley’s usage of Tinder.

Q1. Have you met up with anyone from Tinder in real life? 250

“A ca some sual relat io o invol ne from T nship wi th ved e inde tion but a motional r which lso a c phys onnecical o ne.”

222

200

dat ve n fi ee e b for “I’v them hs.” t ing mon

150 100

67

50 0

No.

Yes!

Q2. Have you ever hooked up with someone from Tinder? 300 250

246

“I’ve both someone had sex with from Tin then met d my curre er and nt S.O. o n that site.”

200 150 100 44

50

7 0

No.

Yes!

Other

ut ,b . n . soo yet. h t ’ ig M aven ha.” h ha

“M a con de ey tac e t.”

counterpoint / october 2014

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CAMPUS LIFE

A Request H

idden at the bottom of the Wellesley Admissions Department’s FAQ, there exists exactly one question dealing with applications from transgender students applying to Wellesley College. It states that, “it is important that the application, together with the required documentation submitted in support of the application, consistently identify the applicant as a woman.” Despite all the discussion of assigned female at birth (AFAB) trans people in the New York Times article (with the horrific click-bait title “When Women Become Men at Wellesley”), trans women were only briefly mentioned. Other assigned male at birth (AMAB) trans people, including AMAB nonbinary people, were not mentioned at all. Injustice is oftentimes hidden; this is how injustice continues. Those who benefit from oppressive systems either do not see, or can easily ignore, injustice. It can be shoved under the rug, banned from discussions among “polite company,” and otherwise diminished at the expense of the oppressed. Injustice thus becomes invisible. It is easy for Wellesley College students to ignore our admissions policies after arriving on campus. After all, we’re

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counterpoint / october 2014

the ones who made the cut. Unless we work in the admissions office, we soon forget about the Common Application, which explicitly requires an individual’s “legal gender”; the letters from guidance councillors and teachers, who obviously supported us; and all of the extracurriculars we participated in, which welcomed us and allowed us to take on an ungodly number of leadership positions so that we could pad our resumes. For all of our hard work, we were rewarded with an offer of admission to Wellesley College. It is easy for us to ignore our assigned male at birth trans siblings. They are not here. Like the New York Times article stated, “Wellesley has never admitted a trans woman, at least not knowingly”. Wellesley has also certainly never admitted an AMAB nonbinary person. Wellesley’s admission requirements at this point in time, which require all documentation to present an individual as female, are wholly inaccessible for a young person trying to make it through high school. The legal processes required to have gender markers changed on official documentation are often complicated and time-consuming. Some states require proof of surgery. Gender confirmation surgery is expensive and rarely covered by insurance policies,


Image: At the Library, Wellesley College Archives

BY WELLESLEY 20/20

which makes it inaccessible to many minors, especially those whose families are not both supportive and wealthy. Though there is some small possibility that a trans girl might meet Wellesley’s current requirements, the current policy practically guarantees that poor trans girls--and therefore, unfortunately, many trans girls of color—will be unable to apply for admission. So, what can we, as Wellesley students, do in the face of this injustice? We have the power on this campus. Our voices are heard, because we are here. So we cannot be silent. President Bottomly’s Gender Advisory Committee will be exploring these issues formally, and probably quietly, behind the scenes, for the rest of the year. If students want a voice in these conversations, we need to speak up, and we need to speak up now. We cannot wait until the administration hands us an admission policy that’s no better than our current policy. This is a request. If you are unfamiliar with transgender issues, if you don’t understand why Wellesley’s admission policies need to change, please educate yourself. Ask questions. Seek answers. Look with the sort of insatiable curiosity that inspired you to come to a place like

Wellesley. This is an invitation. We are Wellesley 20/20. We want Wellesley’s admission policies to be accessible to AMAB trans people for the application cycle of the class of 2020. We are a student group unaffiliated with the Gender Advisory Committee or President Bottomly, though we’d love to work with both to formulate a more equitable admission policy. Come to our meetings at 3 pm each Sunday in the Library Lecture Room and help us make sure that we no longer ignore our AMAB trans siblings who are currently denied admission to Wellesley. Come to our events to learn more and to start a conversation. Most importantly, talk. Talk to your roommates, your floormates, your classmates. Ask questions, seek answers, and help us change Wellesley’s admission policies. Wellesley 20/20 aims to be more punctual than Wellesley 2025.

counterpoint / october 2014

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“Healthy” is a lie

BY HANNA DAY-TENEROWICZ

E

ating disorders are a uniquely hushed modern epidemic. Selfreported cases of eating disorders (including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and eating disorder not otherwise specified) are frequent, and the numbers rise every year. This remains a vastly underdiscussed issue, even as the numbers continue to worsen. Eating disorder survivors must adopt a mindset of combined strength and strategic blindness in order to stay afloat outside the safety of eating disorder sensitive spaces. Recovery is especially hard to maintain in the “real world” because society itself is disordered. I could count on one hand the people I know who do not eat in a disordered way to page 8

some extent (whether or not they actually have an eating disorder). “Disordered eating” means imposing shoulds and should-nots on yourself regarding food, body image, exercise, and the relationship among the three. Essentially, eating disorder survivors have to return to their lives with a healthier mindset regarding food, exercise, and body image than the average person has, because embracing disordered eating would be bad news. Unfortunately, disordered eating is encouraged by the media, by governmental health organizations, and often even by Wellesley College itself. I have friends who never allow themselves to eat dessert on weekdays. I

counterpoint / october 2014

have friends who justify eating a brownie by telling themselves, with me as their witness, that this is only okay because they worked out today. I have friends who fear a meal that lacks salad. This is disordered eating, and it’s absolutely everywhere. Yeah, eating too many cookies would probably not be great for your health. But neither would eating too much kale. No food is worse for you than any other; no food is inherently “bad.” I think one reason we so often find ourselves internalizing disordered thoughts around eating and exercise is that we prescribe to the ideas of “healthy” and “unhealthy” food. We’re so convinced that there’s such a thing as food that’s good for you and food that’s bad for you. In reality,

Images: jessicabroomeresearch.com, lovefarmorganics.com, theblissery.com, ptaofmarbut.com

MENTAL HEALTH


food is just food. Everything is good for you in moderation, because everything has calories, and calories are what give you energy. Really, it’s as simple as that, no matter how much we try to overthink and calculate and add and subtract and compromise about it. Food is fuel. The definition of healthy, nondisordered eating depends on the person, and on the moment. Your body honestly does know, much better than your brain does, what it wants and how much of that you need. We’re constantly inundated with all kinds scare tactics that tell us our health will suffer if we don’t monitor every number—how much you weigh, how many calories you eat in a day, how many times per week you exercise, how many hours you sleep, even how many steps you take in a day. Amidst the deafening roar of numbers and shoulds and shouldn’ts, it’s become really difficult for many of us to remember how to listen to our bodies.

Our molecules and cells and organs and complex systems are not stupid; they all know exactly what they’re doing, and they will let us know if they need something. We just need to re-learn how to pay attention and stop doubting our bodies’ competency. America is fixated on the number zero. The closer the calorie count is to zero, the more “healthy” the food is. The media often idolizes the bodies of women who can fit into size 00 jeans—what does that even mean? Double-zero is not a number. Nothing times nothing is nothing. You don’t have to be a math major to figure that one out. J. Crew even tried to make a size 000 this past summer. Still not a number, guys....Thanks for nothing (threefold). If our definition of ultimate health is zero, shouldn’t we be questioning that? I personally aspire to be more than nothing. Wellesley is made up of people who will, and that we can do exactly

nothing without allowing ourselves to take up space. We all deserve to set our aims higher than zero (or 00, or 000). So next time you find yourself labeling some food or meal or behavior “unhealthy,” stop and think about whether or not it was actually unhealthy. Chances are that it wasn’t. Let’s stop shaming ourselves; let’s stop shaming each other. No one can ever understand your health like you, and frankly, your health is nobody else’s goddamn business. “Healthy” is a toxic social construct that degrades all of us every time we use it to shame ourselves or another person. Taking true and proper care of yourself has absolutely nothing to do with what is deemed “healthy” or “unhealthy.” Hanna Day-Tenerowicz ’16 (hdaytene@ wellesley.edu) invented the hashtag #f***yeahnourishment and uses it frequently.

counterpoint / october 2014

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MENTAL HEALTH MENTAL HEALTH

Living Between Extremes BY SARAH HERMAN

T

he funny thing about having bipolar disorder is that the same qualities some find attractive also have the potential to alienate others. I could appear full of humor and life, or I found myself annoying people with what they perceived as arrogance and moodiness. I had a long list of classic manic symptoms. According to my therapist, I was “textbook.” My wild behavior this past summer—which could easily come across as cutting loose and having fun, for those who didn’t know me—was uncharacteristic enough that, later, it hinted heavily that something was wrong. Insatiable energy, only requiring a few hours sleep, hitting up bars, hooking up with many different guys, drinking too much, going on shopping sprees, and maxing out my credit card. I also exercised constantly, had brilliant conversation, wrote better than ever, and enjoyed a huge sex drive. At first, I had trouble recognizing my mania as a problem. Although my dad and therapist said I was sick, I was feeling better than ever. I was ten times more energetic, happier, and creative than I had been when I felt so depressed during my junior year. Now that I had a taste of the euphoric, poetry-filled bipolar world, how could I return to a flat, static world page 10

without this irresistible momentum? Or even worse, be plunged back into a dark, depressed state of mind? To strangers, my manic symptoms could seem attractive, positive, and even normal. Other girls I hadn’t met before egged on my partying and laughed at all the crazy, irresponsible things I did, like sneaking out late one night to hook up with a guy I had just met on Tinder. Similarly, guys were attracted to my forwardness. I was juggling about four guys at once and still had the energy to flirt and go on dates with all of them. Yet, underlying my mania was a deep depression, brought on by both biological reasons—a long family history of depression—and trauma, namely being sexually assaulted about a year ago. The problem with being so high functioning and seemingly happy is that no one recognized that this light, cheery attitude was also a cover for internal frustration. They would blame my flaky, immature behavior on my personality or lack of self-awareness, even as I was trying to check my own behavior and mask my mental struggles to outsiders. No one realized that if I talked too much, there were about a thousand other things I wanted to say and was repressing. No one realized that I had nightmares almost every night and felt horribly alone

counterpoint / october 2014

and afraid 24/7. I was actively trying to hide my awful sadness behind a mask of bubbly, positive energy. I forced myself to be hyperaware of my behavior and how others perceived me, but I still created a negative impression occasionally with my extreme energy and occasional thoughtlessness. Now, I’m taking drugs like lithium and zyprexa every day, which makes me feel slow, sleepy, and lethargic. Without the mania as a mask, I’m forced to confront a variety of difficult memories and negative emotions. It’s hard to return to the real world. I miss certain aspects of the mania, mainly my high energy and creativity. However much I enjoyed my mania, I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t sustainable and would have eventually flipped back into a deep depression. I’d rather be wiser and occasionally depressed, in a balanced state, than euphoric and reckless in a manic state. After experiencing both the extreme highs and lows, I don’t have to accept either the depression or the mania. With the help of counseling and self-reflection, I’ve made my peace with my illness. Sarah Herman ‘15 (sherman@wellesley. edu) suggests that you don’t judge a book by its cover.


counterpoint / october 2014

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Images: blogspot.com, socialmediasmarketing.com

ARTS & CULTURE

Dragging It Out B Y PA M E L A M E TA N I

F

acebook made headlines for its dis- Queens had been targeted by Facebook’s criminatory policies regarding ac- algorithm for finding accounts which count usernames on September 20, were not registered under an individual’s 2014. Drag Queen Sister Roma, whose birth name. In response to backlash from birth name was Michael Williams, was Drag Queens and the LGBT community, one of the first to draw media attention to Facebook released a statement attesting the issue, after being forcibly logged out that the recent crackdown on account of her Facebook account, and being told usernames was meant to “keep our comthat the only way to recover an account munity safe” (CNN). under the new Facebook policy would be While there are noteworthy potential to enter one’s birth name and provide ad- benefits of this policy, such as keeping equate photo I.D. stalkers from being able to try to sneakShortly after the Sister Roma incident, ily befriend their subjects through pseudnews surfaced that numerous other Drag onyms, or preventing someone from trypage 12 counterpoint / october 2014

ing to impersonate another person on the social network, this policy has significant drawbacks which affect Drag Queens, Drag Kings, and members of the LGBTQ community who may identify with a selfchosen name, and not the name on their legal records. While an interesting issue in and of itself, this topic opens the path for numerous philosophical and legal ponderings. In response to the allegations of a discriminatory policy, a Facebook spokesperson stated that “As part of our overall standards, we ask that people who use


Facebook provide their real name on their profile,” but what exactly is a “real” name (CNN)? From a philosophical perspective, Kant’s viewpoint that there is “no such thing as an absolute truth” is particularly helpful in answering the question above. Facebook demands that its users present themselves on the site using their “real” names, but the name one chooses to identify with can sometimes be more “real” to them than the name on their legal documents. This begs the question: is Facebook in a position to dictate the reality that one identifies by on its network? If so, why have no cases of TV personalities, pop stars, actors, and other entertainers been reported to the media for having had to change their Facebook usernames, while many Drag Queens have indeed been asked to do so? Individuals siding with Facebook on this debate claim that Facebook has always been about identity, but how does one define identity, and can one’s identity really be boiled down to their legal name? Drag Queen Heklina is one of the individuals who believes the answer to that question is no. “I’ve had this name for 20 years now,” she says. “I walk down the

street and people say ‘Hi Heklina’.” Heklina says that “asking her to revert to her birth name is akin to not acknowledging her as a person” (TechCrunch). Returning now to the initial case of Sister Roma, the solution that Facebook recommended for her situation was to create a fan page where Sister Roma could interact with others through the drag name. Suggesting that someone create a new Facebook page after forcibly logging them out of their original page seems inconvenient at best, not to mention that the change is entirely a one way street. Facebook would benefit from the extra advertising space that would be created from cornering individuals into opening fan pages. Additionally, telling individuals how to define themselves on the social network would have unavoidable negative consequences. Scrolling a couple of weeks past September’s Sister Roma incident, Facebook has yet to change its policy. However, on October 2nd, Facebook’s CPO Chris Cox did issue an apology to the communities affected by the matter. While Facebook’s policy was—and is—noble in vision, it is its execution and lack of flexibility that caused the issue

to elevate to its current status. Facebook used an algorithm which, as it turns out, targeted Drag Queens, when it could have been both more thoughtful and more efficient in targeting individuals that pose an actual threat to making the network a safe space. Instead of reading about the algorithm used to target Drag Queens, it would have been nice to read about an algorithm that targeted stalkers, paedophiles, and identity thieves. The mission to make the social network a safe space achieved just the opposite. A corporation as wildly successful as Facebook should have been better aware that, despite potential benefits, its name change policy would have a negative impact on Drag Queens, Drag Kings, and members of the LGBT community. Perhaps it is worthwhile for Facebook to craft a policy that filters unsafe users on the social network, without becoming an unsafe space. After all, everyone has the right to express their own identity. Pamela Metani ‘16 (pmetani@wellesley. edu) is a fan of Choose Your Own Adventure books.

counterpoint / october 2014

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ARTS & CULTURE

Saying Goodbye to “Church” BY CECILIA NOWELL ’16

I

’ll be honest up front: the word religion. Not belonging to that faith felt “church” has always kind of freaked like social suicide. Living in a community me out. I attended Christmas services where everyone is something that you’re and occasionally Sunday children’s events not feels oppressive—regardless of growing up, but I never went to church what faith, race, sexuality, gender, or often enough to feel like a churchgoer. perspective that is. My early experience Although I have always been interested with that religion shaped my perspective in religion and spirituality and admired on other religions: since I had grown up people for their faith, I never felt like I among so many religious people who was part of a religion. It was not until followed the same beliefs, I assumed that recently, when I learned that I could let go all other religious people must follow the of the word “church,” that I finally found same creeds as well. My next misadventure with religion my place in the spiritual world. happened after I had moved from my first My discomfort with religion probably hometown to my second. My childhood stemmed from a few sources. The first was best friend had invited me to attend growing up in a community dominated church with her Sunday morning after a by a single faith. Throughout my early sleepover, like many times before, and I childhood, I lived in a place where gladly accepted: I had begun to experiment virtually every person is of the same page 14 counterpoint / october 2014

with religion and enjoyed visiting my friends’ churches to see what made each of them different. That morning, however, when the congregation began to take their usual communion, I made the mistake of joining them. Little did I know that my friend’s church believed that in order to take communion you have to have been baptized and completed a First Communion ceremony. So, naively, I went forward to take communion and was quickly reprimanded afterward when others realized what I had done. That was the first time I realized religions had rules and that I could accidentally break them if I wasn’t careful. With these mishaps in mind, I entered my teen years wary of religion. Throughout my high school history

Image: Ibis flight by christophermartinphotography

This article was originally written for OurSpiritsOurVoices.com, an online publication of personal essays on spirituality produced by Sara Wegman ‘16.


classes I was always the one to question the Trinity, transubstantiation, and the actual existence of many religious figures when we discussed the rise of Protestantism or the variations in Islam. Not only was I uncomfortable being in religious spaces, but I couldn’t buy into the philosophies and creeds spread by different faiths, even in an academic setting. Yet, while I considered myself an agnostic—possibly even an atheist—I still felt somehow spiritual. I did, after all, believe in some cosmic force that connected people. I believed that spirits survived death, and that somehow our dust was returned to the earth to continue in a greater life cycle. I believed that religion should promote diversity and activism: standing up for others and for important causes. I believed that religions should acknowledge and advocate for the sciences, rather than dismiss them. I believed that you didn’t have to believe in a god to be spiritual, that there were many things worth believing in. I believed that religion should connect, rather than divide. I believed that faith should exist outside of religious spaces, that nature and kinship could be spiritual as well. I believed that religion should be about good intent, not following firm regulations. I believed that religion should be about love. So, I started out on what I dubbed a “religious adventure.” I read parts of the Old Testament and Quran; tried to learn meditation; visited Methodist, Episcopal, and Catholic churches; went to my first Quaker meetinghouse; attended all of my friends’ Bar and Bat Mitzvahs; and tried to figure out what, and even how, exactly they believed. Although I didn’t find a match during my adventure, I did learn many things about myself and my preconceptions about religion: most importantly that I could let go of the word “church.” Since I had casually celebrated Christmas and Easter growing up, I assumed that anyone who was not specifically born Muslim, Jewish, or

another religion, must be Christian. While I had never attended church regularly, and did not believe in much of the Christian tradition, I had always assumed that I had to default as Christian. However, as I realized that spiritual spaces could include meetinghouses, monasteries, nature, my own bedroom, and even my mind, I discovered that religion was not confined to the walls of a mosque, synagogue, or church. Although I had not uncovered my own spiritual space, I felt comforted by the knowledge that it did not have to be within any of the major religions. An avid reader since childhood, many of my favorite authors were a part of what I called “The Concord Crew” (the writers and philosophers who lived in Concord, Massachusetts during the mid-1800s). I had always loved Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, the story of Thoreau’s sojourn at Walden Pond, and the little I knew about Ralph Waldo Emerson. Throughout my readings of many of these authors, I noticed hints at a philosophy called Transcendentalism—though I understood little of what that meant. What I did know about Transcendentalism was that it was somehow related to Unitarian Universalism. So, after settling in at my first year of college, I decided to continue my religious adventure and visit the Unitarian Universalist (or UU) group on campus. Two years later, Unitarian Universalism seems to have done something right. I’m finally comfortable with the idea of spirituality. Unitarian Universalism is not a creed based religion—members come from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Humanist, Agnostic, and other traditions—but rather a spiritual group united by certain principles. Broken down, Unitarian Universalism means a faith that believes that God (if you believe in God) is one, not a Trinity and that all people of all creeds are equal, and can be “saved”— that is, that there is no Hell. Rather than tied together by a particular set of religious beliefs, UUs are bound together by these

philosophies and other principles of social justice, interdependence, and democracy. Unitarian Universalism’s Living Tradition draws from humanist teachings, JudeoChristian beliefs, direct testimony, prophecy, world religions, and Earthcentered teachings but does not require members to hold a certain set of beliefs. When I went to my first UU meeting, I was shocked and amazed to discover a faith that acknowledges my intellectual struggle with the Trinity, that promotes diversity by welcoming all creeds, which replaces firm rules with powerful values, which does not require members to even necessarily believe in a god, and which emphasizes love and social justice. Apparently my personal adventure had found its destination. During my time as a member of Wellesley’s UU group, my interpretation of religion has dramatically evolved. I have sat in circles with friends discussing inspiration, identity, family, friendship, and community. I have visited other UU congregations and felt surprisingly comfortable in “church.” I have farmed with local youth to promote food justice and education, as part of a religion that believes that actions should be influenced by love. I have explored Thoreau’s Walden Pond and the Concord Crew’s hometown. I have attended religious events of other faiths and felt welcomed as part of a community of diversity and understanding. I have found faith in meditation and exploring my natural environment. I have at last found spirituality, not in a church, but in a community.

Cecilia Nowell ‘16 (cnowell@wellesley.edu) likes long walks on the beach and pondering life.

counterpoint / october 2014

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e r o m o n p p a l #C Dear Lovely Reader,

Join Counterpoint’s vaguely subversive campaign to stop calling the Margaret Clapp Library “The Clapp.” As a coloquialism for gonorrhea, we find this to be a rather unfortunate nickname. Instead, let’s call it The Marge! Short for Margaret, this would most def be a way cuter nickname for our beloved library. Love, Counterpoint Staff

Profile for Counterpoint Magazine

October 2014  

October 2014  

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