Girl Code: The Sound of Settling

by Lissa, Rae, Charlie, Sam   |  Mar 18, 2016
ART Trixie Ison
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8:31 AM. Sam crashed the night before and left a whirlwind on my bathroom floor. Glad it's Sunday; I finally have time to hunker down and clean my condo.

10:01 AM. Waist-deep in dust bunnies in an attempt to wipe down every corner under my bed. I hear the distant whir of my phone. A witch cackle, the special ringtone for my boss.

"G&P convention. Three hours. Need you as my right hand."

10:07 AM. Are you freaking kidding me? 

1:30 PM. At the convention, hastily dressed, hating my life. Only 300 people but it feels like 300,000, it's so hot. I dab my upper lip with my sleeve, forgetting I'm wearing red lipstick. 

1:40 PM. That is the sign I am looking for, I tell myself, the sign, the sign, the sign. A silly one, but a sign nonetheless, bright red, right in front of me. Quit. Your. Job.


9:00 PM. After a grueling evening commute, I roll up my sleeves and draft a resignation letter, thinking the words would come to me quickly, surgically—but my mind is blank. 

9:45 PM. Where would I go? What would I do? 

2:47 AM. The heat from my laptop hits my cheek, jolting me awake. Stupid thing didn't even auto-save my document.

Guess that's a sign, too.

I flip it closed and go to sleep.


Three hours. That's how long I’ve spent sitting in front of my laptop. I know this is absolutely ridiculous, but it's like my hand has a mind of its own. It's avoiding the mouse like the plague.

Ugh! When did I become so annoying? I'm beginning to sound like my sister. And as if on cue, I hear Ate Sam complain about having "nothing to wear"— probably while she's standing in front of her overflowing closet.

The fear of turning out like her pushes me to click the folder open, and the 300 something photos I have of James and me pop up on my screen. My eyes gravitate toward my favorite photo. It's the one I took after he found out he got an athletic scholarship. His eyes are shining with happy tears and his mouth is in a perfect mid-"wooooh!" O. He's looking directly at the camera because the first person he wanted to tell, to hug, and to celebrate with was me. I instinctively wait for the tears and the sharp, stabbing sensation in my chest, but I feel nothing. Nothing at all.

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My surprise over how I DIDN'T feel gives me the courage to drag the folder to the trash bin. The computer asks me, "Are you sure you want to delete the folder "HAPPINESS" and all its contents?"

And before I can stop myself, I click "Yes".



My mother always told me to “keep not settling,” that I must keep my standards as high as my dreams, or even higher. Unfortunately, this slowly grew into a constant anxiety. I currently fear never getting to where I’m supposed to be. Because of the indecisiveness I picked up from keeping my standards high, I’m always left wondering if there’s something (or even someone) better out there.

In a way, I guess it’s quite all right, because being goal-oriented has its perks (i.e., getting what you want). But then again, I never seem satisfied, and I never want to give up—especially if I know I deserve that something or someone. Having never been utterly content left a small bruise on my ego. I seem to do anything and everything to get the job done, but once I have what I worked for, the horrible realization that the subsequent emotion isn’t even parallel with my own hard work sinks in. So when do you stop settling?

Being known as the person bursting with a personal diagnosis of almost all controversial matters, my friends tend to stray from topics that would cause my tongue to spit fire. However, yesterday, I landed myself in a political debate regarding one politician I absolutely despise. I found out my childhood friend, Raya, supported that politician. Enraged, I began pointing out all the negative things about him, and she rebutted me with positive things about him. I suddenly remembered that she isn’t the type to fight for something unless she was truly passionate and completely cares about it. And there she was, defending him while passionate tears began to fill her eyes. I don’t know why this crossed my mind but: I didn’t want to lose her. It was our first disagreement since birth (almost literally), so I let this one slide. The competitive part of me was tugging at me with more reasons to throw at her, but I chose to let it go.

Keep not settling? I’ll just settle on the fact that we can both agree to disagree.



Ben: Hey, how was it last night after I left? Sam: Super fun. PJ brought me home so we stayed super late. Sam: sucks that you had to go Ben: I just wasn't feeling it. Sam: you're always game to stay out with your block mates. Ben: Yeah well it's different with them. Sam: Honestly, are you bored of us? Ben: no of course not. Ben: why?

Sam: You just aren’t so game for things anymore. Ben: yeah... I'm sorry. Sam: just tell me. Are you bored? Ben: I just miss those moments we used to have. And those nights like that time in Rob's house. Feeling spontaneous and young, and having a partner in crime. Sam: Are you serious? Sam: I’ve been telling you so many times that I want that too. That I miss how we used to be. I told you like two weeks ago that I wanted more nights like Rob’s house.

Sam: you told me that I was naive to believe we could have that 3 years into our relationship.  Sam: how can you suddenly use my feelings against me? Ben: I’m not using your feelings against you. Ben: I guess I was just in denial.  Sam: You were in denial? About what? Ben: I always have to be the one that fights for our relationship. If I tell you how I feel, you freak out and everything is about you again. Ben: can you not get angry? You asked me to be honest. Sam: I'm sorry. I'm just shocked.

Sam: and I guess I'm also scared. What does this mean for us? Ben: we try harder? Sam: we always say that. It's going to get better for a few days and then were just gonna slump back into our old ways Ben: but I will try harder. I'm sorry I told you that you were naive. Sam: What’s going to make this time any different? We can finally admit that we both feel the same thing. We’re both bored, Ben. Ben: Yeah, we feel the same way. We acknowledge that, so let's work on it. Ben: Come on, Sam. We can make it better. Ben: I love you and I'm not ready to lose you. Sam: Okay. I love you too.

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Lissa, Rae, Charlie, Sam
We're writing for the brand new YA fiction series, Girl Code.
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