Illustration by Saffron Sener

Lucia Salazar
15 November 2022

The baby pink petals of a naked lady curl outward from a yellowish-orangish middle. They look like tropical flowers - flamboyant and colorful and so very present. All the naked lady has is its celery-stalk of a stem and its luxurious pink flower, no leaves to catch the sunlight. Their stems are tall and straight, and the entire plant is striking at first glance because of how bare they are, how naked. They were everywhere in August. They took over the Department of Demography’s yard. They sprouted in almost every yard, especially the address 3130 College Avenue. Go there next August when the ladies are back. They have to be seen.

* * *

I’m eating chocolate ice cream out of the carton, and I have the Free People website open on my computer. They have these boots with a chunky heel and square toe. Classic. Leather. Black. My life would be so much better with them. I was watching Gilmore Girls when I saw them - the boots. Lorelai Gilmore stands in a green long-sleeve shirt that says “Sparky’s Bowling and Roller Rink” with low rise jeans, then there is a wide shot, and there they are. Her boots. Lorelai’s boots. My boots. I searched up a “chunky heel black boot with square toe”, and here I am. Here I am, shivering from the cold ice cream, but warm with desire! I want to be a young single mom! Hot! These boots will give me what I want!

These boots will make me hot!

* * *

Last week, I bought seven-dollar lip balm. It’s eucalyptus and menthol, and it makes my lips all glossy. I liked to feel the weight of it in my pocket walking out of the store. I can’t believe how happy that Sephora made me. I loved all of the mirrors and shiny eyeshadows, and even the very loud techno music had me tapping my foot. Oh. Oh. Oh. Boom. Boom. When it comes to fishing gear, there are a few essential items that will either make or break a good day of fishing. Whether you are on the lake, stream, or bay, one vital piece of fishing equipment is a versatile pair of fishing pliers. You’re mature and smart enough to stop cutting line with your teeth. This important tool should cut line and pull hooks, and the best fishing pliers are also resistant to corrosion and rust. We’ve researched the best fishing pliers, sure to last over years of fishing trips. Our top pliers were chosen for their quality materials and corrosion resistance. Boom. Baby come back! I don’t wear makeup usually, but my friend patted some shimmery sparkles on my eyelids and I fell in love. I got my lip balm because my lips were chapped, so I couldn’t help but get a mini cheek and lip stick. Because, what if? Maybe makeup should be my thing. I’ll be like that girl I saw on campus with really pretty lipstick. I’ll be like her.

* * *

Last week was a bad week. This one was ok. But it’s always these weeks, in the middle of the semester, at the tail end of midterm season, that I just want to be in a store. When I got stressed out in high school, my dad would drive me to Ikea, around thirty minutes from my home, just so I could walk around and “destress”. I like to look at the model living rooms and kitchens and bedrooms. I like the lights and plant section at the end. For two hours, those models are my life. I have a tiny apartment somewhere with a white kitchen and wide waterfall showerhead. I have funky bookshelves and candles and plants. I have cookbooks. I have a different life.

I know this isn’t good. Obviously. I hate how obvious it is. The chunky black boots will lose their magical powers once I’ve had them for over a month. The lip balm is lost in the bottom of my backpack. The cheek-and-lip stick sits untouched on my desk. The Ikea furniture breaks down. I’m still me. Only not feeling not-good will make me feel better. Maybe school is hard. And the air is sometimes hard to breathe. And everything I do is arguably ~futile~.

People do this. A lot. We buy buy buy! But it doesn’t actually make us better better better! It seems like everything we do is an act of worship to the god of consumption. I watch girls do clothing hauls on Youtube more than I’d like to admit. Right before bed, or during a study break, I watch them. Thin, pretty girls, with brown hair and bangs. I like to watch Jenny from WearILive put on funky knit sweaters and tie scarves in her hair. Big baggy pants and cowboy boots. I watch Arden Rose put on snakeskin skirts and red turtlenecks while her British boyfriend encourages her behind the camera. I watch Hailey Blais do grocery hauls with vegan cheese, soyrizo, and vegetables. She has red hair and big earrings. In two months, all of them will do a “Cleaning Out My Closet” video, purging themselves of the clothes that they thought would make them feel better, but didn’t. It didn’t!

Women’s bodies are still weaponized against them. Families are separated by chain links at the US Southern Border. There are refugee crises in Syria, Myanmar, and Venezuela. Nuclear weapons. Drone strikes. The bubonic plague is back. The world will burn in 2050. It’s not looking good. You know this! But you don’t have to think about it! Stuff your drawers full. Buy books you won’t read - they look pretty on the shelf! Put things in your garage if you run out of space. Watch YouTube. Download Tik Tok. The Hulu-Spotify Premium student package? Sign me up! Go to Trader Joe’s - it’s holiday themed now! Buy a storage unit. The economy is doing well. Forget about it. Treat yourself. It doesn’t affect you, at least not yet.

I’m going to Ikea in Emeryville tomorrow.

* * *

Naked ladies don’t know what’s going on. They never will. All of the naked ladies are dried up now. Yards are scarred by the open patches of land from where they used to be. It’s easy to be naked when the weather is just right. But it’s pouring now.