Many people feel sad on Valentine’s Day for a great number of reasons. Is it legitimate sadness or is it normalized, commercial sadness? We’re all witnessing the slow rise of Vaporwave and “sad boy” memes. Does this mean that we’re aestheticizing sadness and trying to normalize it or is this all another big joke? I’ll admit that at first I thought it was all one big joke, but I keep seeing more and more people share those “aesthetic” Simpsons clips featuring something along the lines of Yung Lean or Macintosh Plus music.
The emotional lives of girls are mainly myth and diagnoses and constellations and made-for-TV movies and bathroom stall graffiti, at this point. Girls’ pain is held at gunpoint by competing narratives of attractive, elegant frailty, attention-addicted poseuring and wound-dwelling melodrama. When a girl speaks about the way she feels, we quietly select from a finite archive of stories tell us who that girl is and why she feels like that — which is why you’ve probably heard a woman explain something she felt to you, clarifying, “but it’s not like that.”
The hyper-representation of female pain in our culture has rendered it a moot point. We can’t just be ourselves; we have to choose from IMDB’s Top 70 “Memorable Female Characters.” We can’t really just be ourselves, we can only be Anna Karenina or Sylvia Plath or Bella or Hillary Clinton or Jo or Katniss or Mimí or Precious or Lisbeth or Alaska or Scarlett or Sula or Carrie or Daisy or Elizabeth. Female pain is played out.
I became unstuck last Wednesday in the shadow of Franny’s food truck. I knew something was off as soon as the cashier handed me my order. We had smoked a bit of pot earlier, but I wasn’t hungry. My head felt like a half-screwed light bulb, synapses firing in new and altogether unfamiliar directions, sending tingles down the nerves in my arms. Gripping the delicately prepared Vietnamese sandwich, I approached my friends, who were caught up in a discussion of who had, and who hadn’t, figured out where they’d be after graduation. I distinctly remember feeling at that moment that if I loosened my grip on my sandwich, I’d disappear.
Is Teen Suicide’s It’s the Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot a long album? Its 26 tracks boost it to a nearly half-hour longer duration than that of the Maryland band’s 2012 i will be my own hell because there is a devil inside my body. And even though many clock in at two minutes or shorter, the pure number of songs on the release can seem intimidating. Or, if you switch your mindset, welcoming. It’s the Big Joyous Celebration does not pack neatly into a succinct metaphor.