Moving on up (sort of)

I am now 22. I have finished miraculously finished college (honestly its shocking…I keep having nightmares where they withhold my diploma and I wake up sweating – Don’t make me go back!).

In two days I am moving out of my college town and to the big city (I don’t know if I am allowed to call Saint Louis ‘the big city,’ but I’m going to so I can sound more like a Sex in the City heroine and less like someone moving back in with her her parents).

Through an effort to become more self actualized and grown up, I am making a list of bad habits I wish to leave behind:

1. Accumulating crap. Seriously, guys- I’ve been cleaning out my room/packing for the move the past couple days. Here are some things I have found: 4 pairs of tweezers (since when would I ever need so many tweezers? That is a question I cannot answer.), Empty journals (I think I need to embrace the fact that I, Katie Stipanovich, will never religiously journal. So, dear self, STOP BUYING MOLESKINES.), 10 post-it note pads in all different shapes and sizes (why? I rarely even use post-its.), about 12 mason jars (I love mason jars way too much but I never  really use them besides to drink ice water out of), and a bunch of hotel shampoo, lotion, conditioner (am I the only one who thinks grabbing handfuls of these every time I’m at a hotel makes me thrifty and smart?), ect.

2. Not making my bed. Whenever she comes over, my bestie Emily Lewis always makes my bed. She’s freakishly OCD about it. Most of the time I’m like, “who cares?” but I’m mature now which means I have to actually use my sheet (It usually gets kicked off my bed and it stays there for days) and make it every morning.

3. Living in squalor in being fine with it. I won’t spare you with the details, but my mother would cringe if she saw how much dust lingers along the baseboard of my room. I must deep clean more.

4. Never replacing my makeup. I’ve been told you are supposed to replace your mascara once a month. Every time I hear this I cringe because I can rarely remember the last time I did this.

5. Never paying parking tickets. I have this mentality that they will ‘just go away.’ Deep down I know they won’t, but up until now I’ve preferred to live in denial. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP.

Hopefully by eliminating these habits I will simply be better and make a graceful entrance into adulthood. Although knowing me, It will be less graceful and more of a stumbling-in late sort of entrance.



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‎”Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

I was home last night with my two roommates and friend Emily when we saw on twitter that the President would be giving an address in a little over an hour. We changed the channel to CNN, wildly speculating at what was about to be announced. All on twitter, we saw and heard speculation build until about 9:30pm, when the news finally broke that Osama Bin Laden had been killed and the U.S. government was in possession of the body. We watched the subsequent address, stone-faced. Obama’s speech was wonderful, in my opinion. He was somber but still offered Americans what seemed to be some sort of closure.

After the speech, it was fascinating to watch how America reacted to the news. I had about 5 different tabs open on my computer and the news was flooding in from various sources about boisterous riots in the streets, outside the White House, and at Ground Zero.

I have to admit, I was a little unsettled by the way everyone was reacting. I felt more ‘somber relief’ than pure excitement. As my friends and I shared stories of where we were when we heard of the 9/11 attacks, it brought back a lot of images of THAT day. For example, Emily remembered about how, when her mom came to pick her up from school early, all of the mothers were sitting there in there cars, radios turned up high as the news of the attacks kept pouring in. As for me, I can still remember some of the iconic pictures from that day that appeared in the special edition of Time Magazine that came out a couple days after 9/11. I still have the issue in box in my closet back home. There are just some things you know you shouldn’t forget.

That being said, we felt a gigantic disconnect with the celebrations we were hearing about from twitter via our friends around town. News reached us concerning cheering that broke out in a bar downtown. A friend of mine tweeted a picture of a mob of people filling the streets of Greektown, cheering and chanting “U.S.A!”

I’m not saying that feeling happiness is wrong, but I’m just saying that what we felt was very different. Late last night, I read an article in the New York Times about people’s reactions concerning the news. They interviewed Harry Waizer, who was in an elevator in the north tower when the plane struck it on 9/11. He was able to make it out of the building, but only after suffering painful third degree burns. He stated, “If this means that there is one less death in the future, then I am glad for that. But I can’t find it in me to be glad one more person is dead, even if it is Osama Bin Laden.”

When asked if he felt closer, Waizer says, “I’ve said for years I didn’t think there would be, but I’ll probably need to think about that more, now that it actually happened.

You know, the dead are still dead,” he added. “So in that sense, there is no such thing as closure.”

His statements totally mirrored how I was feeling. Bottom line? I think that Osama’s death is a chance for Americans to somberly remember 9/11 and hopefully gain a sort of closure. We should also remember that God is the only source of true Justice, not man.

As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way & live —Ezekiel 33:11


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Darth Vader and Green Day

I just read an article in the New York Times (thanks to Emily Lewis for showing it to me) written about a stepmom in her 40’s attempting to relate to her stepson through his love of Green Day, Darth Vader, and the prettiest girl in the 9th grade. You can read the article here:

Anyways, the article is great- I totally recommend it. Here’s a quote that I loved:

“So I resolve not to ask him — or myself for that matter — to give up on our chosen fantasies about ourselves anymore. We share a palpable sense that time is running out, that we won’t be afforded these luxuries for much longer, so why not dream big? Whatever comes next, it won’t be quite the same. So let us be gloomy and ineffectual and plagued by magical thinking. Let us lament our mistakes. Let us daydream. We want what we want when we want it. And we both understand that actually getting it is a whole other matter. Actually getting it might just spoil everything.”

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Play is an essential, but often forgotten aspect of life. We leave it behind when we enter the serious business of adulthood and too often forget to pick it up again. We go for long stretches of time, working hard and persevering with one thing and another — projects and people. In particularly weary and anxious seasons, I often recognize in myself a longing to experience something completely other. It begins to well up inside until I feel I could burst from the need for a change.

-Andi Ashworth, from “Art House America” blog

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The Story Never Ends

It’s over.

The best weekend of the year.

Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic. But I saw four intense documentaries today and life just seems heightened right now. The True/False Documentary Film Festival, Columbia’s pride and joy, ended a couple hours ago. I saw 11 films in four days…and I’m still reeling from the narratives.

The last film was Life in a Day…a project where a number of participants sent in submissions filming their life during one single day (July 24th 2010). Editors then cut, edited, and went on to create a common threat using the various accounts. It was beautiful- a wonderful portrait of the human experience.

And that’s what’s strange about the whole weekend…I saw all kinds of films about all kinds of things: African warlords, horse whisperers, gang violence mediators, slam poets, New York Times reporters…but I came away feeling like I witnessed ONE cohesive story.

Incredibly, I realized all the films had something in common. Every film, in its own way, pointed out a problem. In every case there was something that was broken. The wonderful thing about documentary films is the fact that the situations and characters they set out to depict desire so much to speak truth INTO that chaos, that brokenness.

That is what True/False means to me: our world is broken beyond belief. The good news? We are designed to be dissatisfied. To offer order where there is none. To walk straight into that chaos and simply help one another. And miraculously, by simply being human we all get to be part of it. This means active participation in the world around us. This hard wired dissatisfaction SHOULD lead to action. This whole idea reminds me of a quote from The Two Towers:

Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story

-Bilbo Baggins in Lord of the Rings

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a new mix for a new month

Happy February! To me, this month is one of anticipating spring and the hope of the winter thaw.

So right now I’m sitting in the midst of a blizzard (seriously, it’s crazy out there), and I decided that I should honor this month the only way I know how…by giving it a soundtrack.

I’ve pulled from my new music, some old favorites, and of course some incredible love songs (hello we can’t forget Valentine’s day!).

1. Patty Griffin – Coming Home to Me

2. Iron & Wine – Tree By the River

3. Sufjan Stevens – Heirloom

4. The Decemberists – Rise to Me

5. The Civil Wars – Dance Me to the End of Love

6. Rachel Yamagata – Be Be Your Love

7. Radiohead – Gagging Order

8. Ryan Adams – Desire

9. Local Natives – Airplanes

10. Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page

11. The Swell Season – In These Arms

12. Dave Matthews – Stay or Leave

13. Ellie Goulding – The Wolves

14. The Frames – Falling Slowly

15. Gregory Alan Isakov – That Moon Song

16. Taylor Swift – Back to December

17. Snow Patrol – Set Fire to the Third Bar

18. The Avett Brothers – Kick Drum Heart

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the greatest journey

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.

(I’m re-reading Lord of the Rings…so I may be posting quotes as I make my way through the books.)

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