Letter from the Editor
Art by Kirsten Hemrich
I love Spring as much as the next person. I love when it gets warmer and the days get longer. I love retiring my parka for a few months and opting for a lighter jacket that’s not nearly as heavy. I love that my car isn’t buried in the snow, and that my seasonal affective disorder has taken a hiatus. I love showing off my very pale, very translucent legs in my favorite tennis skort that I wear 5-6 times before washing. Do I play tennis? No. Is this hands-down the most functional item of clothing I own? Absolutely.
Spring is for the believers, the people who find something to look forward to in every situation and who stay motivated year-round, hopeful that on the other end of the cold and dark that makes us want to stay in our beds, wrapped up in self-pity and excuses, there is a Spring to motivate and guide us to something more comforting.
In this issue of Iris, we honor the optimists, the people who look for the good instead of dwelling on the bad. The human embodiments of Spring that pick us up from the basement floor of rock bottom and assure us that the universe is not working against us. Bel Banta gives us her take on a new kind of woman in literature, the woman who refuses to be defined by a male author and owns the flaws that make her a hero in her own right. Elizabeth Bangura offers her opinion on Black History Month 2019, reminding us that criticism and controversy are inevitable, but celebration and pride are absolutely deserved. Maeve Hayden sets us straight about the years following college graduation, asserting that there is no “one-size-fits-all” path for every person to follow after they are handed that diploma. Finally, Laura Hinnenkamp details her own first-year experience at UVA and how rejecting the status quo of the “Typical UVA Student” can be the most liberating decision one makes in their four years here.
My favorite quote about Spring, exclaimed by a manipulative and deliberate tyrant following a bloody civil war, has to be from Richard III: “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious Summer by this son of York.” So no, it’s not EXACTLY about Spring. But it’s catchy, and it reminds us that at the end of every winter is a glorious Summer (in this case Spring) awaiting us. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, if you will, guiding us to a season of optimism and joy that, even if for a few short months, instils in us the belief that everything falls into place. Spring is hopeful and bright, and it never fails to lead us out of our discontent and into the glorious Summer that is the warmth of our own confidence and enduring resilience.