Hi Rookies! April’s theme is Age of Innocence. But, more important, we have a few new items going up in the Rookie shop in the coming weeks that I wanna tell you about because I am STOKED:

Rookie Axe™
Here at Rookie, we firmly believe that women can do whatever they want, and that includes smelling like a 12 year-old boy. We’ve collaborated with Axe to bring you a scent that will make you feel especially…strong and stuff the next time you buy shoes, give birth, or march for voting rights. Feminism!

Rebel Boy: A Men’s Rights Zine
I get that some things are really hard for women, but does anyone ever think about the men? One of my favoritest authors, Tucker Max, wrote and printed this manifesto on men’s rights in the style of the classic Riot Grrrl zines of the ’90s. In it, you’ll learn all about the issues men face every day, like women not laughing at their jokes and being mad about rape and stuff. Features contributions from Rookie heroes Daniel Tosh and Seth MacFarlane.

Vintage Maxipads
We’ve always been strong advocates of wearing vintage clothing on this here Rooks. Stuff you can get at a thrift store is usually simply the cutest and the cheapest. Why stop at clothes, though? We’ve all scavanged our favorite secondhand haunts for adorable vintage maxipads to make available for you. We found every color from brown-beige to pale-beige, and promise that they’ll boost your self-love.

OK, April Fool’s. For real, here is some of the email I sent our staff when it was time to start working on this month, which should give you an idea what’s in store:

One of the mixed blessings of being 20 and 21 and even 23 is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened to anyone before.
—Joan Didion, Goodbye to All That, 1968

This should not be a whimsical, infantile idea of innocence. Anaheed said innocence is safety. I’d say it’s stuff like safety and comfort and unjadedness and openness. Though ironically for me, I always thought the world was out to get me until pretty recently. I was much more cynical at 11 than I am at 16, somehow. So with the loss of innocence can also come maturity. All of it is kind of bittersweet.

What happens when you realize that your SUPER SPECIAL, NEVER HAPPENED TO ANYONE EVER BEFORE EVER experiences actually did happen to other people, maybe even millions of them? Like, sometimes I see annoying people from my school posting selfies with their significant others on Instagram and it’s like, UGH, HOW CAN YOU AND I BE FEELING THE SAME THING? SURELY MY RELATIONSHIP IS MUCH MORE NOBLE AND PURE, AS WE DO NOT USE THE KELVIN FILTER! For a while this kind of thing bothered me, and now I just feel sort of united to the human race and the fact that love is kind of the basis of its existence. Or at least hormones are.

This feeling also comes up when something popular is deemed relatable and you’re quick to hate on it because you want to believe you’re too special for something that all these people and publications also relate to. I used to get way protective about stuff like this, but lately I’ve come to find it actually really nice that some element of some TV show can resonate with both me and my polar opposite/probable arch nemesis.

Also! I think feelings of competitiveness/jealousy go away when you start to truly desire just AS MANY GOOD THINGS IN THE WORLD AS POSSIBLE. Then the next time someone else is good at something like you are, your attitude is less “but I’m the resident pole vaulter” and more “TWO people this good at pole vaulting can exist? Yay the human race!” So I guess that’s losing your innocence: realizing that you are not special. And then maybe realizing that that’s OK; that life is not, in fact, you versus the world.

Do you lose your innocence all at once? Like, is it your first kiss, the first time you have sex, the first catcall, first time you drink/smoke? Is it gradual? What about when you’re robbed of your innocence—when some external factor has a part in its loss? Where do you go from there? Do you just delve into whatever you think adulthood is, or do you go back to childhood as much as possible? There were websites devoted to counting down to the moment Mary-Kate and Ashley would turn 18, and much to the disappointment of creeps everywhere, they proceeded to dress like frumpy old ladies. Other girls, upon finding that they’ve become women, just want to look childlike again.

I often feel that life is a series of events that each require your asking yourself if you’d rather remain blissfully ignorant, or if you’d like to follow the sometimes scary path to finding truth. A lot of the time it’s too late and you know that you’d be lying to yourself if you chose the former. And a lot of the time it’s OK to lie to yourself. I think a bit of delusional narcissism is necessary for most creativity, and certainly for sharing it. It’s probably delusional and naïve for ANYONE to think ANYONE ELSE should care what they have to say, but if you don’t think that, you wouldn’t make anything at all, and if you really love creating things and feel crazy when you’re not, that simply won’t do. How do you get there, as a creative person? How do you brainwash yourself? I mean, in a way, just existing is like this: realizing that you take up space, that sometimes less than great things come out of your mouth, the potential damage you could do to yourself and others. But if you don’t convince yourself that there’s something you can take out of or contribute to the world each day, you’d just never get out of bed in the morning, and most people who have the luxury of seriously considering such stupid existential crises (meeeee) have no reason to feel weighed down by the potential damage that’s out there anyways.

How do you go back to that place of innocence when you’re growing up? Not in an infantilizing way, but in a way where you can return to a state of wonder? My walk to school has become a ritual of kind of going back to that state, matching up the music on my iPod with my outfit and the weather and the buildings I pass, and when it’s perfect, I’m just like a five-year-old about it. I’m even more enthusiastic about and in awe of silly things as a teenager than I was as a child. When you’re little, your standards for the things that excite you aren’t low, but they are simple. It doesn’t take much. And while that’s a really beautiful thing, I think it’s even better, the feeling even stronger, when you have a broader spectrum of emotions to pull from and connect to something over. When you’re drawn to something not only because it’s happy and immediately gratifying, but also because it’s complex and often dark or sad. That’s why an album doesn’t sound special the first time, but really hits home once you’ve been through some stuff.

I hope you like it. As always, let us know if we miss anything, or create it and send it in to [email protected].