Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Finding your true self

Spring break led me to Loreto Bay, the remotest part of remote Mexico. (I say “remote” to deter you from thinking of spring break in Mexico in terms of frat boys bellowing “WOOO!” amidst a sea of tequila shots. Actually, Loreto is not remote at all, located about halfway down the tip of the Baja from San Diego. I admit: I had cell phone service.)

I stayed for a week with my parents at a type of “eco-tourist” Inn in Loreto. Here, hot water was hot thanks to a neat little technology called solar power, and tomatoes for the restaurant’s salsa were grown in a little garden in the back. Cute.

Lord knows if the Inn was actually built by LED standards, or they just tooted their sustainability horn to attract the parents of Whitman’s Environmental Studies majors; but nevertheless, like Seth deemed Fogle “The Anti-Poon,” the minute I stepped onto the hotel’s grounds, I declared Loreto “The Anti-Spring Break.” Which, let me emphasize, was fine by me. There was no one my age around: not even my own sister. I was in a place with no one to impress and no one I would ever see again.

Now, what is one to do in Anti-Spring Break Mexico with one’s parents, a beach, some kayaks and a copy of “Memoirs of a Geisha”? If you ever find yourself in this or a similar situation and asking yourself this very question, I have the answer for you: Look and be as disgusting as you can.

This is a thing that everyone, especially girls, should do every so often: let go. Let it all go. Just on occasion. Just for the experience of really, truly not caring for a while. As I discovered this spring break (and during many spring breaks past), letting go is more or less as liberating as streaking across Ankeny and into the reading room, running circles around the silent studiers and singing showtunes.

I shush the majority of people who will raise their hands and say in protest, “Why, I DON’T care what I look like. I ALWAYS act like I am on Anti-Spring Break Mexico with only my parents, as though there is no one around and no one to impress, because this is my true self. That is the side that everyone sees because it’s what’s on the inside that counts!”


To some degree, this is not true for almost everyone. By “letting go,” I am not talking about not wearing makeup, or wearing scrubs, or even not showering for a couple days. We’ve all been there, myself more than most; yet even during those untidy days, we still take some time to collect ourselves before we show our face to the outside world.

Count it: I’ve seen a guy changing from Grungy Shirt #1 to Grungy Shirt #2, just because he thought it looked a teensy bit better. I’ve seen another friend do this with sweatpants. And I know you, too, have seen guys tousling it just right before leaving a room, or girls spending a few extra minutes on their “careless” ponytail just to make it look a bit more purposeful.

I do it, too. But not when I’m letting go. When I’m letting go, the hair goes up in the morning, and that’s the last I think of it until its time for bed: then it goes back down so it doesn’t get in the way of my pillow when I’m sleeping. This is the “letting go” mentality. It’s as if you don’t look like anything it at all. It’s as if appearance simply doesn’t exist.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to look your best. God, no. That’s how the real world works, obviously. You can’t expect to meet a potential employer for a dinner interview in a yellowing-white bathing suit, tattered striped T-shirt three sizes too big and salty hair in a bun with eight million tangled wisps around the face which cause random people on the street to hand you a comb with a sad little smile of pity (an ensemble also recently known as my uniform during spring break), and expect them to see your “true self.” I only wish.

But once in a while, when you are in the isolation of home or the under the protection of your parents (because they have to love you no matter how scary that bun), try to let go. Once in a gray while, it’s nice not to give a damn.

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