Yellow roses

by Sarah Luna

It seems like life has been going nonstop for the past two weeks. Usually the weekends are my time to partially catch up with ever-increasing mounds of work I have to do. However, I was in NYC last weekend and Maryland the weekend before.

I finally went grocery shopping for the first time in three weeks. In addition to food, I bought a lovely bouquet of yellow roses. I am tired of seeing white everywhere, and even though we had a foot of snow on Monday, my mind equates March with the beginning of spring. I needed to have some life in my apartment.

I think of Age of Innocence when I see yellow roses.

His eye lit on a cluster of yellow roses. He had never seen any as sun-golden before, and his first impulse was to send them to May [his fiancée] instead of the lilies. But they did not look like her—there was something too rich, too strong, in their fiery beauty.

Instead the protagonist sends them to a woman named Ellen–a woman “trying desperately to fit in and finally failing and being expelled.” She is outside of polite society.

I wonder how I would fit in the 1870s. Would I adhere to society’s expectations of women? But I don’t even have to think about it in the 1870s…even by today’s standards, I am not really a conventional woman.

Most of the time, I’m ok with this, but sometimes I worry about not having a culture that dictates what I’m supposed to do. I try to live by the rules and principles that I was taught, but I am not in an environment that enforces those rules. (and now I think of Jane Eyre and her unwavering dedication to her moral code)

Last Friday, I watched the movie Arranged which depicts the different processes of arranging marriages for an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim woman. These two women come from very different cultural and religious backgrounds and befriend each other. One of the major things I noticed in this film was the contrast between these two women and the “modern” women. The modern women were loud, frivolous, shallow, and ignorant while the traditional women were modest, thoughtful, and aware of their own traditions. (And I know that this difference was exaggerated to make a point.) Things weren’t always easy for them, but they acted with purpose.

Ever since moving to Ithaca, I’ve focused on becoming an independent young woman and learning how to take care of myself completely by myself. I wonder what kind of woman this is turning me into. Is this really the right approach?

Ok, it’s 3:15am…I just lost an hour of sleep due to daylight savings time. I have a blog post written in my head on the differences between boys and girls; hopefully I’ll write it tomorrow.

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