SUMMER IN THE CITY with The Style Line’s summer intern, Laine Kisiel

Before I came to New York I was pleasantly agreeable, probably a bit too much. Anything anyone asked me to do was an automatic yes accompanied by a large smile and no concern for my personal welfare. This left me exhausted, run down, and resenting anyone who asked me for a favor. “Yeah no problem! I can come get you from your friends house at 4 in the morning. Yeah I have a 7 am test in the morning but no worries! (smile smile, fake fake).” “Want to shove the entire group work and presentation on me? No problem! It’s not my birthday or anything! I WANTED to do all the work! Love it!” 

I was the Queen of being the DD, letting others change my ideas, and kindly stepping aside to disrespect as I wore “PUSHOVER” across my head for the world to see. However, I’ve assumed a different role since moving to New York. In a city where you literally get shoved around and pushed over on a daily basis, I developed a thick skin, one that not only shielded me from these shoves but allowed me to utter the word “No” and mean it. More importantly, not feel bad about it. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not on a self righteous stubborn path of only doing things my way. I am more than open to suggestions, ideas, and lending a helping hand. But I’ve come to see that if I put every single person 100 miles ahead of my own basic needs, I’m getting nowhere. Picking someone up at 4 am might make them like you a little better now, but in the long run, you’re just someone who fulfilled a favor. Someone who can be counted on. Great! But I’d rather be someone totally capable of accomplishing their dreams (well rest included), someone friends respect, someone friends can count on, and most importantly someone I can respect and count on. 

Saying “No” has empowered me. Just as much as not saying “sorry” every five seconds has. I am sorry I was late for brunch, but I’m not sorry that I sent my order back last when I asked for scrambled eggs and not over-easy. It’s not rude to say “No”, it’s honest. I’ve caught a case of the NEW YORK NO’S and they’re following me all the way home. 

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Laine Kisiel

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SUMMER IN THE CITY with The Style Line’s summer intern, Laine Kisiel

I will be honest; reading is not really my “thing”. Somewhere between required middle school readings affirmed by pop quizzes, my short attention span, and need for movement, reading fell from the top of my “fun things to do list”. Case in point, reading for me was like making a colorblind person separate piles of laundry, the job was arduous, frustrating, and I could barely get it done. 

However, every so often there comes a book or article I pledge I will voluntarily peruse in my own time. Curious to check out the buzz and haunting energy of The Opposite of Loneliness, I hurried down to Strand and picked up one copy for myself and another for a friend. I forced myself to begin the book while I was taking a 7-hour train upstate (spotty Wi-Fi and a dying phone battery made me keep my own promise). I was entranced. 

The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of fiction and non-fiction works from author Marina Keegan who passed away just one week after her graduation from Yale in 2012. I am not sure if it was the constant curiosity in her work or the fact that she wrote things that I think about daily that drew me in immediately. Her depiction of nights at Yale, and the feelings she has when surrounded by a group, “when the check is paid and you stay at the table.” It spoke to me, and still does, when she says things like “The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating from college. We’re so young.” As I transition into my final year of college I’m left wondering WHY and WHAT it all (literally everything) means. I’ll spare you the late nights of soul searching to looped Ray LaMontagne tracks but in essence, Marina captured all my woes and spoke to them truthfully. 

In the introduction, by Anne Fadiman, she describes Marina’s style as something I wish to have. “Marina was twenty-one and sounded twenty-one… a twenty-one who understood that there are few better subjects than being young and uncertain and starry-eyed and frustrated and hopeful.” She had a voice that can capture the youth in anyone, and make them feel as though they are ready to charge forward in pursuit of any and all dreams and nothing less than uncovering your true self in the process would do. 

Guilty as charged, this book also spoke to my slightly ADD side as the essays kept me intrigued while a new one appeared every 20 or so pages. The fiction gives just enough background to engulf you into the characters world and just short enough to keep you wondering where they were heading after the pages dissolved and the next chapter began. Each piece differs greatly but details she dished about paralleled, “the addiction of self-deprecation”, “genuineness in her eyes that I felt in my stomach”“turning air into endorphin” and “I never stopped dreaming black dreams” are just few of my favorite and most haunting phrases. 

I recommend this read to ANYONE and everyone, as I parade it around on the subway, highlighting buzzwords and “ah-hah” moments along the way. 

I finished the entire compilation on a late night flight back from Arizona, my phone had full battery and it was cozy enough to sleep but I flipped back to page one and began again. 

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- LAINE KISIEL   

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