Author: Annika Isbell

Heart beat: February 24, 2017

So, America just celebrated a holiday called “Valentine’s Day.” You may have heard something about it. Flowers, chocolates, romantic dinners … Personally, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the anniversary of an act of martyrdom. Disclaimer the first: I love Valentine’s Day. From my perspective, Valentine’s Day has the potential to be a day full of random gestures of affection and general appreciation. And most everyone needs random gestures of affection and general appreciation, I think that’s pretty darn great. But there are some elements of Valentine’s Day that, for some, might be less than pretty darn great.

This past Valentine’s Day, I bought a rose for my beloved roommate, because she deserves happy things. Because it was meant as a surprise for later that afternoon, I spent most of the morning carrying it around. And because my acquaintances are good and caring people, I had the following conversation about six different times.

“Oooh, who’s the lucky guy?”

“Oh, um, my roommate?”

“Oh, really? Oh, that’s totally cool. How is living together working ou-”

“Oh, no, we aren’t dating. This is just a little surprise!”

“…………………. Oh.”

Disclaimer the second: I am a heterosexual female who is currently not in a relationship, and I don’t intend to speak for any experience but my own. But let’s break this down.

First of all, assuming anything about anyone’s love life is risky business. Of course, half of the people who I talked to weren’t assuming anything about my sexuality, but some might have been.

Second, when I explained that the flower was for a female friend, the assumption was made that it was a quote-unquote “friend.”

Third, when I reiterated that my situation was decidedly not romantic, most responded with disappointment. Now, am I offended that people assume I’m straight? Not at all, mostly because I am. But that isn’t true of everyone. Am I offended that people assumed that my gesture was romantic? Nope, because my roommate is awesome and anyone who dates her is the luckiest. But that isn’t true of everyone. Am I offended that people assumed that I’m disappointed about being single? Double nope, because sometimes I’m right there with them. But that isn’t true of everyone.

Valentine’s Day can be awesome, and frankly, we as a country need all of the expressions of love that we can muster. But Valentine’s Day often comes with many assumptions made about gender, sexuality and the prioritization of the romantic that could be very hurtful depending on the individual. Caring about the lives of others is not a bad thing, and I don’t intend to imply otherwise.

But in that caring and conversation, Valentine’s Day or not, always remember to let love be love.

isbell1@stolaf.edu

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The joys, struggles of a student-produced theater group

Misswicken. Miss Wiccan. Myswyken.

It’s a weird name. We know it’s a weird name. It works out because we’re weird people.

Our rehearsals often feature the dulcet tones of bagpipes. Sometimes we switch it up to techno-remix bagpipes. It depends on the day.

There’s no way to say this without sounding a bit condescending, but for those of you who don’t know, the Myswyken Salad Theatre Company is a student theater organization here on campus. We have a Facebook page. This isn’t an advertisement, I’m merely observing what is true. We also hold fundraisers. Again, not a plug, just an observation. But moving right along.

I’m horrified to say that when I first heard that this group was accepting new members, I barely considered auditioning. However, some lovely young men I met at an audition for another show convinced me to reconsider. At the first meet- ing, I was a bit doubtful, and incredibly confused. This group was so unlike anything I’d ever experienced, and there were, you know, sophomores. Who

are, like, old. But after a few weeks of rehearsing, bonding and creating, I couldn’t believe that I had almost passed up the chance to be a part of something so special. I know I must sound awfully platitudinous (who says the SATs are useless?), but it’s true.

The bonds that form between people who make art together are nearly indescribable.

Theater is intrinsically dependent upon the relation- ships built between the artists and the audience. Because this is true, it requires you to be aware of everyone and every- thing; to find a balance between advocating for your ideas and the ideas of those around you. Performing with others teaches you to respect, to listen and to trust. All of this being said, I don’t think it will surprise any of you to hear that I have completely fallen in love with each and every one of these talented, generous and kind individuals.

One night in November, after rehearsing until midnight, a few of us sat on the sidewalk outside of Mohn talking about our astrological signs and our Myers-Briggs letters. In case there was any confusion, we are indeed those theater people. I don’t think I’ve ever been hap- pier to go to bed four hours

before my 8 a.m.

Rehearsals turn into conversations about anything and everything. No topic is too unrelated. Squad dinners don’t happen, ahem, as often as I’d like, but whenever they do, it’s the highlight of my week.

Of course, there are times when there is so much ten- sion in the room that the meet- ing devolves into the first-years looking nervously at the sophomores, wondering who’s going to throw their water bottle first. But even when we dis- agree, or say snappish things to each other, or want storm out, find an empty room and scream because someone is being remarkably stupid, we always figure it out. We know that we can depend on the people around us to solve, decide or otherwise handle whatever needs to be solved, decided or handled.

Even the most frustrating of rehearsals contain moments of laughter, and I’m not talking about polite giggling, but that “Well, I guess I have to pee now” sort of laughter that is almost impossible to stop.

Joining Myswyken has changed my life in a very real way.

I met a group of young women who are all absolutely amazing and inspiring. Each one of them could take over the world in about five minutes.

I met a group of strapping young gents who are all incredibly gracious and kind. (I may have tried to be a bro for a long time. It was maybe a poor life choice.)

I met a dude who once told me that he considers me to be his little sister, and it was one of the proudest moments of my life.

I met my platonic, gal pal soul mate.

Katie, Avery, Bjorn, Josh, Christine, Will, Matt, Ian, Chaz and Bess: my dysfunctionally wonderful, wonderfully dys- functional family. Each and every one of you helped to make this year one of the best years of my life. I couldn’t properly express my gratitude if I tried.

Thank you.

isbell1@stolaf.edu

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Proposed SGA Constitution changes put to the vote