(Dakota in this photo embodies just how basic and unbothered I plan to be this year.)
It’s January 1st, 2018 (okay it’s not, but it was 12 days ago when I started this…) I’m doing a lot of January 1st things, like regretting alcohol and browsing Pinterest for ideas about starting a bullet journal and thinking about how I turn 25 this year and feeling weird but also grateful because I am in a good place. And, like probably a lot of tweens around the world, I’m watching Indy Blue’s 2017 video and feeling very maternally proud of her.
And this girl is 20. What was I doing when I was 20?! I was crying over what I thought was the only boy that could ever love me and missing out on everything to go make frozen yogurt for the hip Claremont masses. I told myself (and everyone around me) that I was chill now, even though that’s the last word anyone would use to describe me, and then I had to live up to it. I started to say yes to things. I didn’t know then that I was setting up the pieces for the life I’d be so content with 4 years later.
But anyway, this isn’t about me. It’s about America’s trendy little sister, Indy Sev. Her videos are gorgeous, and they just keep getting more and more professional. Her blog is wonderful. Her Insta caption game is unreal. She and her kind of insanely attractive group of friends (is everyone this good looking in Utah?) makes me regularly consider microbladed eyebrows and eyelash extensions. I say little sister because she’s cool in a way that makes you wonder why you weren’t that cool. You could easily get defensive about how we didn’t even know about Insta in high school and we still teased our hair and didn’t even know we should color in our eyebrows. It’s not our fault! We didn’t know what contouring was!
Or, better idea, you can accept that she’s cooler and let her teach you the trends. You girls keep me young UGH I love you so much.
So, now that you’re obsessed with her too (if you weren’t already but I mean if not WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN), allow me to point your attention to her latest blog post, “Using your internet powers for good,” in which she proclaims herself as a basic and fights to defend passionate people. She says, so cutely, “I AM YOUR INTERNET MOM AND I WILL PROTECT YOU AT ALL COSTS.”
Her point is lovely. It’s cool to like things. I wrote a similar satirical post in 2016, “In Defense of Being Shamelessly Basic.” In it are arguably some of my best lines I have ever blogged:
When we’re younger, we desperately want to be cool and fit in. We still do as we get older, but now that coolness must be caused from a thoughtfully cultivated effortlessness. Cool in spite of popular opinion is key. “We are above trends!” the boys with tattoo sleeves and parted hair and mountain beards shout to the heaven in a sweet vape smoke cloud. “We are individuals!” say troves of girls in messy french braids, high neck crop tops, and overlined lips, tapping their talon-like nails on their rose gold iPhone 6s. This just in: Trendy is out and ashamed, defensive anti-in is in.
I revisited this page today after re-watching a bunch of her videos that I love because it got me thinking. Why does someone like Indy, who is actually doing something she loves and is insanely talented at, have to defend herself at all? Because we believe that, at 20, she should be crying into her frozen yogurt about dumb boys? Pulling her hair out in a university library while putting herself into massive debt for a degree that she probably won’t even use? Because she’s pretty and having fun and posting her highlight reel and everybody is, you know, LIVING FOR IT?!
And like, come on. You couldn’t have lived through 2017 without agreeing that there are FAR bigger fishes to fry right now!
So, I have news for you. There is nothing basic about creating a business and funding a lifestyle that allows you to visit 14 countries in your twentieth year. That’s pretty extraordinary. Let’s stop calling girls basic when we really mean passionate and repeat after me: THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH DOCUMENTING YOUR ONLY LIFE.
I sometimes have to remind myself when I try to slyly snap a photo or take a note of something I want to remember for a story later on. Everything we know about the world before us came from people like this, who were obsessed with encapsulating this moment. All the paintings and letters and poetry and photography in the world came from people just like that, the original basics, and had they given in to that shame of wanting to look like they’re trying a little too hard, those things might not exist.
I’m not a great writer. I just notice everything and take notes. I read lots of books and I take notes on those. Everything I’ve written is rooted in some moment in time that I’m thankful I captured. Every little window into my life that I scribble in a notebook or capture in a VSCO filtered Insta pic is a moment I can save for later. We are so privileged to have this many outlets to do so.
People don’t just love Indy’s work because she goes cool places (although giving access to places we may not otherwise see is a total gift). It’s that you can’t help but respect the way an artist sees a moment and deems it worth keeping forever. It’s seeing the pieces of the world not just as they are, but as the flawlessly edited and scored video that it could be. Something that can make people—a lot of people—feel things. (Alive, maybe?)