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Editor’s Letter

June 2014: Action

SCHOOL’S OUT, ROOKIES! And, for me and any fellow graduates, it’s out FOREVER!

I have nothing to reflect upon, no nuggets to share, no eulogizing to do. I’m just done! Like, here is a selfie I took the night before my last day of school, totally mindfucked by life and change and what it all means:

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 3.08.36 PM

And here I am at the moment after the final bell rang, totally excited by life and change and what it all means!

happytavi

I have appreciated this four-year chunk of life and the time I spent trying to understand it all more than I can express, but if I attempt to process any of it now, or even put on a song I used to like, I am overcome with guilt over the idea that I might be keeping myself from all the people I’m about to become and all the lives I’ve yet to lead, and I do not want to die with any of my potential untapped.

I don’t know if I would be this hellbent on being hellbent if I didn’t have the motivation of heartbreak. One poem I’ve written out a few times just to better ingrain the words in my ’tude is by Rainer Maria Rilke:

You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.
So many live on and want nothing
And are raised to the rank of prince
By the slippery ease of their light judgments
But what you love to see are faces
that do work and feel thirst.
You love most of all those who need you
as they need a crowbar or a hoe.
You have not grown old, and it is not too late
To dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.

I’ve also been finding comfort and fuel in Emily Brontë’s “Remembrance,” and in how acutely it captures the temptation of indulging in nostalgia when an inevitable change is upon us. Then the poem basically becomes “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie and Brontë is like, “I kind of just need to get on with my life, now, though.” Two more I really want to share with you in case you don’t know them and you too are in a transitional phase and need something that feels comforting and familiar but new enough to get you where you’re going: “As I Walked Out One Evening” by W.H. Auden, and “here’s to opening and upward” by e.e. cummings. I’ve been writing out my favorite parts of these poems on note cards and posters and taping them up all over my room because I think that’s supposed to help you know/feel something on an emotional level that you may currently know/feel only on an intellectual level. I get bashful when a friend sees my wall, and my sister teases me about it looking Pinterest-y, but seriously, it makes all the difference in the world to make a thought a tangible thing instead of expecting your body to learn “I am OK” just because the thought ran through your mind.

All of that is very much what this month’s theme, ACTION, is about. For the most part, we just feel like Rookie already has so much content about reflecting on your past and preparing for the future; we wanted to do a month that’s purely about NOW. But I also hope that by, the end of it, you too will come to feel a kind of unbreakable Bob the Builder determination to fill your brain and space with the things you need. Here is what I wrote our staff when we started working on this theme:

Lately we’ve had a lot of reflective months about big-picture stuff like artistic vision and personal identity and life plans, so I think it’s time for a theme that’s more about DOING SHIT. Not necessarily getting shit done in the productive sense, but just GOING FOR IT. This month is about living in the moment in that way that only seems possible in the summer. Flirting with people you’re shy around, rlly dancing instead of just doing the Social Sway, dumb but so important low-fi friend adventures, testing your own limits. I want our readers to go through this month getting more and more confident in their instincts. Think Broad City, Tom Tom Club, ESG, Le Tigre, Salt-N-Pepa and their devotion to a “just do you and don’t think twice about it” lifestyle. BRIGHT ’N’ COLORFUL visual artists like Keith Haring, our own Hattie Stewart, Peter Max, Alia Penner, and Abbi Jacobson. The arcade. Roller coasters. Block parties. Showdowns and dance-offs. Going for days without using the internet because you’re just, like, sleepovers every night.

Action like sex, impulsive sex, purely physical nonemotional sex. Action like being direct in how you communicate with others, be it in a get-what-you-want career way or in a romantic relationship or with a guardian. Action like the power of visibility, of existing as someone consistently silenced and how refusing to go away is a radical act in and of itself. Action like picking yourself up after an unfortunate experience or just a bad day. (Lola said something today about how when you are in the middle of shit, there’s no turning back and avoiding dealing with stuff; you have to GO THROUGH IT, and the good feelings are waiting for you at the end.) Action like ridiculous self-pump-up stuff that we should all be doing because there’s no reason not to say “I’m a badass bitch” in the mirror every day (me)—besides feeling ridiculous, but WHO CARES? I want this month to help our readers eliminate their fear of feeling ridiculous or looking dumb. Last year when M.I.A. played at Pitchfork, there were a lot of people from my school that we just could not get away from, and finally I had to decide that I didn’t really care if I looked stupid dancing—and that, of course, is when my dancing got rlly good.

Here’s what Anaheed had to say:

I was listening to an interview recently on Black Girls Talking about the Carefree Black Girls Tumblr, and one of the BGT girls talked about how she herself had started a Tumblr that is just pictures of black girls riding bicycles, because she liked bike-riding but felt like all she ever saw were pictures of like wispy white girls happily riding bikes with little baskets, etc., which made bike-riding feel like something she’s not “supposed” to do. Speaking of that Tumblr, how gorgeous is this picture?

Another one of the BGTs chimed in that she had quit doing yoga because she was the only black person in her class, and that felt weird, but then she subscribed to the Black Yogis Tumb and saw people who looked like her doing this thing she wanted to do, so she was back to it.

Which all got me thinking about how DOING STUFF is often more profound and politically effective than thinking and writing and talking about stuff. And about how being “carefree” and having fun is something that white people and privileged people usually take for granted. But those who’ve been systematically oppressed have to fight for it. And anything people are willing to fight for must be REALLY EFFING IMPORTANT. Just as important as all of the cerebral acts we place so much value on: thinking about stuff and making stuff. DOING STUFF can be a form of expression too. It can say a lot.

But aside from all that SERIOUS STUFF, action is just FUN. And fun is important! Especially, I would argue, for people who spend a lot of time being considered and careful and attentive and thoughtful. I had a music teacher in college, Bill Dixon, who was real real serious in class and who didn’t suffer fools. He was pretty intimidating. One time I asked him what he listened to when he wasn’t listening to jazz (which is what he taught), and he goes, “BARBRA STREISAND.” When I looked surprised, he said, “You can’t be HEAVY 24 hours a day!” I have obviously never forgotten that. It taught me that even the most genius-y people (no, especially the most genius-y people) need a break sometimes from DEEP RUMINATIONS to just ENJOY shit. (I’m not saying that Barbra Streisand isn’t deep or worthy of penetrating analysis, but this dude was so erudite about jazz that probably listening to any other kind of music would have been a nice li’l vacation for his brain.)

Speaking of vacation! There’s a reason we have them—from school or from work. I just googled “the importance of vacation” and found a study that concluded that vacations’ “personal benefits have been found to include: rest and recuperation from work, provision of new experiences leading to a broadening of horizons and the opportunity for learning and intercultural communication, promotion of peace and understanding, personal and social development, visiting friends and relatives, religious pilgrimage and health, and subjective wellbeing.”

See? FUN IS IMPORTANT. It’s good for your brain, your body, your spirit. It can make you HAPPY, and what’s more profound than that? And isn’t that what summer’s all about?

INDEED! And now, I will leave you with this: After graduation yesterday, I went to my first ever High School Party. This isn’t a braggy “dude, I was so wasted” story so much as it is just an “I am an idiot, and maybe know your limits with this stuff, but this one thing that happened was funny.” There was dancing/talking/kissing/vomiting, and then I came home, and my mom helped me get water and get into bed. This morning she told me I had said to her, after all her maternal caretaking, “You are, like, such a good friend.” I spoke to my mother as if she were some other dumb intoxicated teen!!

HAVE FUN AND STAY SAFE.

Love,
Tavi

50 Comments

  • Erin. June 2nd, 2014 3:24 PM

    Congratulations on graduating Tavi! As well as to everyone else who graduates this year!

    The last couple months have been so heavy, so it sounds exciting to have a whole month of ACTION!

  • Hannnah June 2nd, 2014 3:32 PM

    Like Anaheed’s music teacher, I’ll always remember my 6th form philosophy teacher talking about David Hume. We were getting real deep into talking about the STUFF of life/how we’ll never know if there really IS any stuff and I was like pffff… my mind is so blown it’s a bit exhausting. how did Hume write all this stuff and then not just maybe go mad with depression?

    And my philosophy teacher said that Hume was like (not verbatim, in his what I imagine to be very endearing Scottish accent), “well at the end of the day, you just have to go and have a beer and play backgammon and forget all about it”, duh.

  • Catrine June 2nd, 2014 3:34 PM

    Reading this letter got me up and excited for summer! Also congratulations Tavi & other grads! Being finished with high school never stops feeling awesome!

    http://studio815.blogspot.com/

  • pizzaface June 2nd, 2014 3:43 PM

    that was seriously so inspiring, I still have about a month and 2 weeks left of school :( but the summer is already starting to get in my mind (with help of this article as well), and this article helped me put in words that i really feel like i enjoy thinking lots and living in my head, but summer is fun, and things that are fun are good food for my mind, so i decided to say yes to more things like go to parties or invite a friend over randomly.
    and i like that
    i like this article
    this is getting sentimental but rookie just has that influence on me

    also tavi i’m so proud of u! i always am but oh well still

  • tiredyawnsforfawns June 2nd, 2014 3:46 PM

    lately i’ve been feeling so apprehensive about leaving this year behind and becoming a BIG BAD UPPERCLASSMAN and this was exactly the thing i needed to get myself in gear for summer and fun things and just doing stuff!!
    big congratzzz on graduating! the high school party bit killed me- i’d like to imagine that’s exactly something i’d say to my mom if i was Maybe A Little Inebriated

  • paashaas21 June 2nd, 2014 3:47 PM

    i love this site so much

  • izzybee June 2nd, 2014 3:53 PM

    congratulations tavi! im so excited for summer and getting stuff done and doing things ive always been too nervous to do thank you !

  • DymondMag June 2nd, 2014 4:00 PM

    this is JUST what I needed this month! I’ve kinda been stuck in a funk for a while, saying no to things out of fear of the unknown and therefore missing out on tonnes of freaking cool potential good times. The Rookie article Say Yes has now become my manifesto and goddamn I’m gonna do stuff this month.
    http://dymondmag.blogspot.com

  • M June 2nd, 2014 4:09 PM

    Ho lee shit. I’ve been having this thought a lot lately: “What if I tried my hardest with everything in my power to do the things I really want to do?” It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that I’m not already trying my hardest and also that this simple thought has only recently popped into my head. Every time I think this thought I start to feel nervous with excitement though. And reading this piece has made me feel even more motivated to stop putting things off. Thank you. And congratulations!

  • vosnano69 June 2nd, 2014 4:11 PM

    This is EVERYTHING I have been waiting for. I have been holding onto this letter because a) I was worried about how Tavi was and b) I don’t know what else to hold on to.
    It made me cry (dah) and it just fits so perfectly in what Im needing.
    Again, this letter rocked ! I’m so happy you are a happy and motivated young adult Tavi.
    I send all my love

  • Suzie Q June 2nd, 2014 4:19 PM

    congrats tavi i love you!!!

  • Kenz June 2nd, 2014 4:36 PM

    Thanks for this Tavi! I’m graduating High School in a few weeks, and I am so excited to get out in the world and do what I love. Speaking of action, I should probably stop procrastinating writing my valedictorian speech. Does anyone have ideas for speeches that don’t revolve “reaching for the stars” and “how far we have come?” :)

    • athenamaeve June 2nd, 2014 9:42 PM

      share some anecdotes and talk about what you learned this year and how you, and others, can apply it to life?

  • die_mad June 2nd, 2014 4:40 PM

    as i like to say to my brother, ‘seize life by the nose and shake it’ go out and get what u want

  • Anaheed June 2nd, 2014 4:43 PM

    Thanks to Alesia from BGT for correcting my faulty recollection: http://blackgirlstalking.tumblr.com/post/87623363677/rookiemag-editors-letter-june-2014-action

  • eesmee June 2nd, 2014 5:11 PM

    Can August be BROAD CITY month? Please?!

    • clairedh June 2nd, 2014 8:49 PM

      +1 Pleease. I’m hoping for a “Ask A Grown Woman” type thing. But excited for this theme, been looking for a non-procrastination boost lately.

      Congratulations Tavi and other grads! You look so happy on the last day of school (+ super cute cheerleading skirt, girl).

      One thing though… are those Pez dispensers lining the top of your classroom??!

  • samieh_m June 2nd, 2014 5:15 PM

    Yeah Yeah Yaaayyyyy !! I’m graduating in a few weeks,too :)
    Honestly I can’t wait to see what life got for me ! :D

  • Kavita June 2nd, 2014 5:50 PM

    i’m graduating this month too and i feel really nervous about it but really excited too aahhh i just dont know how to feel!!!! anyways this was really nice and CONGRATZ on graduating!!!

  • Jenoris June 2nd, 2014 6:14 PM

    this editor’s letter really reminded me of how it’s SO important that female-centric spaces discuss intersectionality and how often the experience of a privileged woman differs greatly from that of a woman who isn’t.

    i’ve been struggling so much with feeling like it makes sense for me to do basically anything because all the women who are successful in doing what i would like to are all white. i’m scared of having to blaze a trail for myself and i’m scared that there isn’t a predecessor (that i know of, i’m sure there is somewhere) for me. (hey more parenthesis! just wanted to mention that what i want to do is lifestyle, street, and fashion photography and to be able to work for a lot of interesting clients like adidas, converse and even coughrookiecough).

    but i guess maybe i should just put that fear aside and just do it. why the hell not right? there are loads of young latin american artists who are trying their best to make something of themselves. i think it would be great to really fight hard to make a name for myself and hopefully if i’m successful i can be a face of representation for someone out there.

    HI I GOT WAY OFF TASK AND JUST TALKING ABOUT MYSELF LIKE A NARCISSISTIC LOON but basically thank you for this letter! it’s important to inspire people to experience NOW to be who they are NOW and do things NOW regardless of then regardless of what will be.

    and also congrats on your graduation!

    • Catrine June 2nd, 2014 7:35 PM

      DO IT GIRL.

      Rookie supports you <3

      • Jenoris June 3rd, 2014 11:33 PM

        <3 <3 you are a doll and this was very motivating!

  • beansprout June 2nd, 2014 6:32 PM

    this month’s letter just makes me feel so HOPEFUL. like i can get through this last shitty bit of school and i can do things and i can be okay thank u thank u also tavi u r hella cute jeeez

  • Mimi7 June 2nd, 2014 6:34 PM

    You are such a genius Tavi.
    It’s so nice to hear your thoughts on change. An intense sinking nostalgia creeps up on me whenever there’s a change. While a little nostalgia is good, I’m working on realizing that life changes and even if something is different, it can still be as good or better.
    CONGRATULATIONS ON GRADUATING TOO!!
    I’m stuck here in the library writing a Macbeth essay. I still have two more years left, but I’m going to enjoy what I can of them!

    http://dreaminginfashion.wordpress.com/

  • nnora June 2nd, 2014 6:40 PM

    Rookie is gonna be a senior next year :P X)

  • Margo June 2nd, 2014 7:04 PM

    Congratulations on graduating, Tavi!!! You look so happy in the picture from your last day of school! Good luck in all your future endeavors!

    ~Margo :) ♥

  • Floraposte June 2nd, 2014 7:54 PM

    There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self. – Aldous Huxley

  • sungiant June 2nd, 2014 8:19 PM

    YYEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH

  • fromanotherearth June 2nd, 2014 8:26 PM

    Congratulations Tavi!!!
    Unfortunately I get out June 25th so I still have a few more weeks to chew, but freedom is almost here!
    My main action will be traveling- I’ve never left the country and will be spending 2 weeks in Italy with a friend/native italian. Can’t wait to just jump into the adventure of it all.

    Thank you, Tavi! For everything! You’ll always be the coolest highschooler in my mind!

  • simooone June 2nd, 2014 9:16 PM

    Love this so much. I’m doing a speech at my middle school graduation on thursday and this is many of the things I WISH I could say. One again, Tavi, you’ve just been amazing.

  • athenamaeve June 2nd, 2014 9:40 PM

    Love your shirt! (I’m originally from austin)

  • maureenandstuff June 2nd, 2014 11:31 PM

    THIS LETTER LEGIT MADE ME SO HAPPY I HAVE TO USE ALL CAPS TO SHOW IT.

  • Pocket Cow June 3rd, 2014 12:17 AM

    My boyfriend and I share the same Daniel Jonhston shirt as you!

  • erinxo June 3rd, 2014 2:03 AM

    Congratulations on graduating! I remember being a wreck when I graduated five(!!!) years ago.

    I’m excited for this months theme. I’m not a “doer”, I kind of just dream and hope but I want more action in my life and I want to do more things.

  • TinaBallerina June 3rd, 2014 3:49 AM

    Tavi, congrats on graduating! In ten days I’m finishing school FOREVER as well, and I’m super stoked! I just have a few parties, an oral exam and some useless days left before I’m free.

    As for this months theme, I’m gonna try flirting/seducing the hot spanish guy I’m working with! YOLO

  • themisfitprincess June 3rd, 2014 4:31 AM

    TAVI! You did good, girl woman, happy leaver of the forever of ‘ago’. You did real good.

  • ifellfromlalaland June 3rd, 2014 4:56 AM

    I once read a newspaper article about a study on academic philosophers who question literally EVERYTHING but then they go home from their job and just live and be normal make the same , often stupid/risky decisions as everyone else about their finances and stuff. Ok i didn’t explain this well but after reading that i was just like shit-wow-yeah-deep-stuff-LIFE. Sometimes you just gotta LIVE and let shit happen (not necessarily bad shit). If you can’t tell, I am SO up for this theme!

    Also Tavi, congrats on graduating! I graduated from school/college last year but I’ve been doing a one year art course so I kinda just graduated again and the FEEELS are kinda confused but cool

  • pasteldaisies June 3rd, 2014 6:14 AM

    THE WAY I SAID “YAAAAAS” OUT LOUD 7243848234 TIMES WHILE READING THIS IS RLY QUITE CRINGEY BUT I DON’T CAAAARE I LOVE IT. this is exactly what i needed!!! i’m so inspired right now ahhhdfjsnfjdnf i love rookie. and congrats on graduating, tavi (& anyone else)!!! <33 NOW LET'S GO DO THINGS AND MAKE THINGS AND GO ON ADVENTURES

  • elliecp June 3rd, 2014 7:47 AM

    i love your editor’s letters…you always have something so relevant to say! I’m finishing school next week (eek) and I totally get the mixture of apprehension and excitement you describe. You kind of can’t wait for new things and new people and new experiences but there’s this tiny part of you that just wants life to continue as it is, with all the comforting routine of childhood. I’m kind of looking forward to the future though <3

    http://roseandvintage.blogspot.com/

  • Melisa June 3rd, 2014 9:44 AM

    Yay to graduating!

    So happy/sad/nervous/whatever mixed feelings I have on a given day knowing school is over.

    Things will change, my high school best friends will change, I will change. BRING ON THE CHANGES.

  • Lunestra June 3rd, 2014 11:56 AM

    Yay, so happy for you, Tavi! You’re a huge inspiration to us all!
    I’ve noticed something strange:all end-of-school-year Rookie themes are things like ‘Attention!’ ‘Power!’ ‘Action!’ I don’t get outta school until 18 July, but happy long summer Americans! Being English really sucks!

  • satiricalkid June 3rd, 2014 1:00 PM

    aah Tavi your letters are too great! congrats on surviving high school wow. awesome job on explaining that mixed aprehensive/sad/excited feeling, I’m changing cities this summer and it totally put words on my thoughts.
    Also I often feel frustrated because I constantly live in my memories/regrets, in this nostalgic state that I think comes from the fear of never experiencing “strange magic” moments as you call them, again. its like I don’t live anything fully in the present, I’m always stuck somewhere in between and i hate myself for it. I kept thinking I was stupid to be attached to such dumb/useless things instead of apreciating my present. Rookie made me realize that both were important and there was a moment for each. Ive been feeling so uninspired and slug-like lately, and this letter was so BAM to read. Its just what i needed. I’m gonna try real hard to make the most of this summer, because ya know, yolo.
    *end of self centered speech*

    Thanks for everything Tavi, Rookie, Everyone. I’m so grateful for this little world of ours and its helped me in so many different ways i love it

  • Monq June 3rd, 2014 1:30 PM

    As others mentioned I also am looking forward to this month’s theme. Again, Rookie, your timing is impeccable. This is exactly what I needed this month! I’ve been stuck in this weird funk/rut for quite sometime now, letting life pass me by and not doing things because of fear. I’ve never been a “carefree” person” who lived in the NOW, I kind of always lived through my dreams and hopes but I want to do more with my life, I want more Action & Fun.

    Alright I gone off on a wild tangent about myself like some crazy lunatic. Just wanted to say thanks to Rookie. Especially Anaheed & Tavi for getting me pumped about this months theme.

    P.S. Congratulations, Tavi!

    xoox

  • cleobea June 3rd, 2014 2:46 PM

    THIS SPEAKS TO ME SO MUCH RIGHT NOW! action is so invigorating and freeing and wonderful! especially at this moment in my life where every one is constantly talking about the future and college and life, and it seems like every thing we teens are supposed to do is working towards a *great future*, far away and uncertain. But I want to live in the NOW! and enjoy theses moments and all that great stuff that you said so well in this letter <3 KEEP ROCKIN' ROOKIE

  • painting_the_roses_pink June 3rd, 2014 7:17 PM

    “You are, like, such a good friend.”
    Ohmy goodness I love you Tavi! And I love this months theme! I’ve been feeling so #positive and action oriented lately (probably the weather). I just wanna go out and do things and see people and enjoy the smoggy city air I’m breathing. I wanna be at the coffee shop laughing playing Jenga with my boyfriend and running around the golf course at night! I wanna take late night drives to the beach and watch movies with my best friend as the waves roll in! I wanna read everything and save money for my first car!!!

    Typing all that just made me really excited for summer and positive action vibes. I hope everyone else is feeling the good vibes too!!

    Thank you so much for this article I love the things you both have to say!!

    http://aroseofadifferentcolor.tumblr.com/

  • whateveryazmine June 4th, 2014 4:36 AM

    CONGRATS TAVI!
    Ahhhhhh I’m so insanely jealous of you!
    http://www.whateveryazmine.blogspot.com.au

  • lexilikes June 4th, 2014 12:25 PM

    Congrats Tavi! I love the high school party story haha. I’m so excited for this month, I’ve been thinking about that sort of thing recently, and been trying to live in the moment more instead of spending my time reliving the past and planning the future. Can’t wait to see the articles!

    http://www.lexilikes.com/

  • Kiana June 5th, 2014 12:20 PM

    Congratulations, Tavi! My heart is rlly delighted about all of these ACTIONS going on. I’m excited for more of what life has to offer!

  • thesleepycat June 5th, 2014 1:02 PM

    thanks for this, tavi! i feel so much of what you are describing, and am needing the push to face & go through the changes & believe it is worth it. thanks for the reminder that it’s worth it.

    http://www.chandra-hall.blogspot.com

  • moon-brother June 7th, 2014 12:05 PM

    Just want to share an excerpt of today’s journal entry:

    I think adulthood isn’t that much of a big deal as they seem to make it look like. We’re just older teenagers who are just more ruthless towards life. I can’t say wiser, because Tavi Gevinson and the like.

    I guess you’re going to think that that’s a silly thing to say, but honestly, you rock—more than every adult I’ve ever met.