What is a Transition: A Letter from the Editor
Art by Kirsten Hemrich
Ah yes, the beginning of a new school year. This is it, the year we finally use our agendas. The year we tell that person we really like them and want to make him, her, or them a plate of meat, cheese, and stone-ground mustard because that’s how much we care about them. The year we tell our parents to get off our backs and START LIVING! But I digress. Let’s be real, this usually never happens. The transition from summer to fall is nothing new. It’s usually filled with a bunch of empty promises we make to ourselves with no real tangible outcome. But sometimes it's different; sometimes we follow through and commit to making that transition something we can take pride in. Sometimes we become the change we wish to see in the world, or at least write down our exam schedule at the beginning of the semester.
Our first issue of Iris for the 2018-2019 year tackles the transitions so many of us face as we grow into ourselves. For some, it’s the realization that we need more help than we want to admit, mentally, emotionally or physically. Elizabeth Bangura knows how this feels specifically, as a Black American woman seeking mental health support, awareness, and change at UVA. Laura Hinnenkamp lays bare her own raw experience of anxiety, suggesting a gentle, brave way forward from panic to compassionate care. Isabel Banta and Maeve Hayden explore the ways our bodies betray us; Isabel asks if it's fair (or feminist) to blame PMS for emotional chaos, while Maeve chronicles her journey from debilitating pain to miraculous relief (thank you, birth control). And then there are the transitions so unavoidable we just try to hold on for the frantic, frazzled fun of it all, as Sierra Loudermilk demonstrates in her poem about what she's supposed to do/be as a fourth year facing the future. No matter how jolted change can make us feel, it can also offer moments of quiet grace and bittersweet transformation, as Marwah Shuaib reveals in her gorgeous essay about gold jewlery as a cultural signfier of womanhood. Strength, beauty, and growth--we wish you all that and more in your own transitions this year.
As a fourth year, I can say that I am beginning one long transition: the transition from student to real human, living, breathing, crying adult with no credit score and absolutely no idea how to parallel park. Like, do I need to find a job that provides dental? Is dental insurance THAT worth it? Maybe I’ll never know. But I do know this: iced coffee is the elixir of life and I will keep drinking that ish well into winter. But seriously, I know that it’s going TO BE FINE. The transition won’t be smooth but it HAS to be ok at the end of all of this.
“It will all be ok in the end, if it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”—either me or my IHOP waiter who served me a house salad and onion rings at 3am the night of my junior prom.