Meet the new muses, Carsyn and Jessie! Like Calliope to Homer and Clio to Herodotus, these two sartorial sirens have been inspiring me for awhile.
Carsyn is H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S! There’s no doubt about it! She used to sashay up to my desk, Liza Minnelli style, and ask poignant questions about history. It would transpire something like this: “Miss Hare (kick-ball-change), how come (shimmie-sashay) President Lincoln (twirl-and-counter-twirl) said four-score and seven (high-kick) instead of eighty-seven (ta-da-with-jazz-hands)?” Always mesmerized by her positive energy and elicit goofiness, I would unabashedly answer back, Gene Kelly style: “Well, Carsyn (shuffle-step-chug), President Lincoln (heel-toe-flap-ball-change) wanted to give the audience (bombershay) a sense of time elapse (cramp-roll) in a manner that was eloquent (shuffle-ball-change) with a pinch of Je Ne Sais Quoi (ta-da-with-jazz-hands)!”
Carsyn was a student in my history classes for all three years of middle school. She was so confident in her pre-pubescent skin! She graduated from middle school just this past spring. Every day I looked forward to those dance moves. They got better and more elevated as she moved up the class ranks. By the 8th grade she was busting out moves à la Chorus Line while quoting excerpts from A Letter From Birmingham Jail. I let kids be themselves in the classroom. Why not?! If doing the “can-can” or “lindy hop” helps you learn or expend energy, then in the fine words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard: make it so!
Now that Carsyn has flown the coop to high school, I’m wondering who will take her place. She has a special place in my heart, this one. She encouraged me to start this blog–even coming up with my logo idea! She is super creative, smart, determined, and has a great head on her shoulders. She is a loyal to her friends and a natural leader to her peers. Lookout world, here she comes!
Carsyn’s friend, Jessie, has come up the elementary ranks with her. They’ve known each other since pre-school. I’ve had the pleasure to work with Jessie in ancient, medieval, and U.S. history. Whether we were spelunking in the Lascaux Cave; riding down the Nile river in our felucca; learning to pour ceremonial tea as a Samurai warrior; or launching water balloons on the Gettysburg battlefield amidst enemy lines, we were inspired to learn from each other. Yes, a teacher does learn a lot from her students in the time she spends with them. In my case, I get to spend three years with my students! Plus, there’s a class field trip we take in each grade to further our bonding. Yosemite in 6th for five days; Catalina Island for 7th for five days; and the East Coast in 8th for eight days.
I love to tell everyone that Jessie’s middle name is Rhiannon. She might kill me for saying that but anyone worth their salt in music knows where the name originates–Fleetwood Mac (Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night, and wouldn’t you love to love her). I hope she appreciates that later on in life because that name is everything!
Jessie makes math and history look “easy like Sunday morning.” She is the Queen-of-Kibosh and the Undertaker-of-Overkill. No one can take a dozen selfies and squeak by unnoticed in Jessie’s world. It’s refreshing to know that a teenager knows the limits on selfies. If it were up to her, she would start a selfies-anonymous group. Sure, she would have her hands full. But she’s like Superman and a silver bullet: she’ll stop it before it takes innocent lives. Just say NO, man! Must. Not. Take. One. More. Selfie! Go, Jessie!
I thoroughly enjoyed my day hanging out with these two. I got schooled on make-up (as always); got caught up on the latest Jimmy Fallon lip-sync battles; learned the reason why Kat Von D ended her friendship with Jeffree Star (duh!); philosophized the brilliance of marabou feathered soccer slides and anything with pom poms; and questioned whether a grown-up should take sides in the Taylor Swift vs. Kim Kardashian Twitter debacle. Yeah. I’m too old for that shit! I’ll place my wagers in the upcoming presidential election!
One last salient topic we harangued about: body image. There is an excess amount of pressure to look a certain way in our society–especially since the advent of social media. Teenage girls are under the gun to buy into many of these perceptions about their bodies. Some healthy. Some not. I gained a little insight into their world about what it means to have a positive body image. The struggle is real–whether the individual girl experiences it or someone in their circle of friends. It gave me an idea to start a series called, “Body Talks”. To have a monthly round table discussion on body image with a variety of young girls and women, who can discuss their feelings and ideas openly in a safe environment. So stay tuned!
On Carsyn (left): Topshop pompom shorts and blouse; Risaroxx vintage wrap shirt (as jacket); vintage huarache shoes. On Jessie (right): Risaroxx Vintage 60s babydoll dress; Adidas sport slides.
On Carsyn: vintage Ana Sui button up blouse; black and white mini skirt w/ top; Risaroxx vintage metallic platforms. On Jessie: vintage Kate Spade ascot blouse; Risaroxx vintage denim skirt and crop top; Tory Burch flats.