Last Night’s Late Night Musings

Sometimes I walk across campus, because I don’t know what else to do with myself, and I Just feel… so entirely void?


When I was little I was super obsessed with how there were entire people inside of the strangers I passed on the street, and how the people who passed me looked at me and saw the cardboard cutout of my face and knew nothing about me. It amused me that they didn’t know where I was going, or what I was thinking about, or who my friends and family were, because I knew all those things and they were so inherent to who I was as a person that it was hardly like they were seeing me at all. I could spiral around for a long time picturing how they saw me, how insignificant I was to them, how none of them probably remembered that I was the center of my own universe, just as big and important as theirs. But I felt like I’d beat the game, because I knew they were people, with lives, with thoughts happening right now, and I refused to ever forget.

Last night, I was walking, and I was passing people, and I knew that they could see me. And I tried to compare that to what I was inside, right then, where I was going and what I was wanting and who I would talk to, and I didn’t feel like there was much of a difference. They didn’t know where I was going, I didn’t know where I was going. They didn’t know what I was feeling; I wasn’t feeling much of anything, really, except perhaps lonely. They didn’t know who my friends were who I was about to run into, and I didn’t expect to run into anyone. What was I stressed out about this week? What was I going to do with myself for the next four hours? What had happened that day that made me happy? I didn’t have the answer to those questions any more than the strangers who passed me. There was just… nothing.

I felt like I was my cardboard cutout. A person, I guess, and maybe a sadder one than they might assume, and that was it. There was no internal processing that the people passing me were missing out on. Sure, I still had traits. I was still gay, I could still read alto clef, I was still an introvert, I still had a brother and parents and cats. But none of those things were salient parts of myself in that moment, nothing about me was salient. To me, or to anyone else.

There’s no point to this post, I just thought that I might try describing some feelings. Those are the feelings. Overall I’m still doing fine, a lot less depressed than last year, academically enriched, etc. etc. etc.


(Brief Update)

Hello! I don’t want to make a big deal out of Returning, since I can’t guarantee that I’m Back(TM); I just have a couple things I feel inclined to start articulating! I’ve drafted some posts between January and now, but I never refined any of them to the point where they were ready to publish. Now that I’m free for the summer and re-inspired by a couple topics, perhaps I’ll get back into more of a rhythm?

In any case, here are some general life updates from the past four-ish months!

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  • The biggest and most recent news: I graduated high school this past Thursday, which probably deserves to be its own post? Perhaps more reflections to come. It is the summer now, and I am ready to actually go to the pool for the first time in like three years.
  • I got into some colleges and not into some others (the latter including my top choice, which caused me to dissociate for a solid two hours and lmao that was Wild), but in the end I am going to Emory!
  • Emory is exciting because: I get to stay in town with my family, which for me is a good thing! And I’m going to be nearby my UGA pals. Also, thanks to the courtesy scholarship, this is the cheapest option I could have gone with, so I get to not lose all my money! Hooray! I get to keep my gay musical happy synagogue, and the high paying teaching job I’m about to get there. Also my therapist. So everything is exciting!
  • Something self destructive and bad happened in January, but other than that my mental health has improved a lot since the fall! There are occasional little lapses under duress, but nothing catastrophic.
  • I had some exciting chemistry with a girl at the very beginning of the semester, but she has a boyfriend and I am Still Single.
  • I LEARNED THE BRUCH VIOLIN CONCERTO THATS A BIG DEAL. By “learned” I mean I performed the first movement and I’ve basically got the second movement down? And we’re just… not gonna talk about the third movement, yikes. I played the Vorspiel for my last group violin recital ever, which was both pretty emotional and really badass.
  • I performed at Carnegie Hall! We did the orchestra trip, we went to New York, we saw Kinky Boots (which was Amazing and Great) and performed and had a little photoshoot in the park and I didn’t trip on stage.
  • That’s…all I can think of? Thanks for sticking around!

2nd Semester Transcription

Here’s a part 2 to my eclectic agenda keeping! I was a little less consistent this semester, especially towards the end of the year. Nevertheless, I still find these little tidbits rather charming! I hope they will also bring you some amusement, or intrigue, or something,



  • Welcome to Second Semester
    with Julia “Zaslaw more like no law” Borthwick and company
  • My friends are having a party
    without me, because I am gone
  • An end of an era of darkness [written in elvish]
  • Back To School
  • get out of gym
    bust out of hell
  • hungry…   …hungry….   ….hungry [written in elvish]
  • Refill your Breeze card!
    Marta card, Marta art
  • SNOW?!
  • read read read read
    McCurdy is agrumpin’
    read read read read
    lots of time to crunch in
  • my free response grade is a
    I’m one point less of a horrible FAILURE!
  • lithp [written in elvish]
  • OW ow Ow OW ow OW ow OW ow OW ow
  • dadi…. dadi… maaaami
  • Welcome back to EYSO
  • why am I so IMPOTENT
  • Elf Saturday
  • Many deadlines!
  • my nightingale: tinuviel [written in elvish]
  • your narcissism narcitates me
  • no moosic 🙂
  • how can you be this inadequette
  • messed up
    messed up
    messed up
  • word of the day: canoodling
  • Bengali
  • botch
    it’s been botched
  • word of the day: consequent
  • consequent ramifications [written in elvish]
  • “Yay it’s a Friday. and y’all are acting like it.”
  • penenguinenguin, what’s your fenguin? [written in elvish]
  • Viol[a] Recital
  • Stay for review @ beginning of graphics
    or not
    yeah, okay, not
  • You didn’t do any MOLES today 😦
  • Invisible Man Quiz Probably
    nope huzzah
  • Schedule with Lena?!
  • Bruch

Continue reading

Start of a Season


This past Wednesday I resumed rehearsals with the Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra, and we received our music for the upcoming concert. For the first time, our smaller chamber-orchestra-esque winter concert will include winds, which is always exciting. We are playing Leia’s Theme, in tribute to Carrie Fischer, Pavane pour une infante defunt by Ravel (in a similar vein – “precession for a dead princess”), and the first movement from the Lord of the Rings Suite by Johan de Meij, Gandalf.

It won’t surprise anyone that I almost jumped out of my skin with excitement to be playing LotR music in any form, let alone THE ORIGINAL LOTR MUSIC. Which, by the way, has a FANTASTIC viola part. Is every movement like this? I honestly don’t know, but de Meij has given the violas some amazing solos and I can’t get enough.

(I was fantasizing the whole class, as you do, of Prior somehow finding it worthwhile to ask if anyone knew anything about Gandalf’s backstory, perhaps as it might be influencing a part of the music, and I would step up all “Well, his original name was Olorin, and he was one of the Maiar, higher order beings akin to angels or minor gods, and he was among the five Istari, or wizards, sent to Middle Earth by the goddess Nienna to guard against the return of Sauron, and actually he didn’t want to go at all……..” I don’t know why I do this to myself.)

One nice moment I did have courtesy of Prior earned the viola section some laughs and some brownie points, which was wonderful. He was asking the entire violin section why their tone wasn’t unified and why they thought that was, and there was a long silence, and then I piped up in my soft-tentative-question-type-cadenced voice all “placement of the bow???” and he pivoted around and said “And the answer comes from the violas!!! Violins! What is going on!” Everyone laughed and my section looked happy, and I felt fizzy and proud. Before we started playing he said, “let’s start in the same place of the bow, thank you violas!” and as he cued us in he said “thank you, Julia,” and it was kind of great. I feel like I’ve only ever heard him call me Ms. Borthwick, before, that I can remember, but my name sounds so nice in his accent.

It continues to feel like the principal violist likes me? Which is great, because I like her. It would be really nice to be her friend. (Or more than a friend?????? Not something I’ve actually devoted thought to, but hey. Not taking it off the table.)

Because I’m on a super groovy plan to Actually Practice this semester, I hope EYSO will be more enjoyable than ever for my final two seasons. Stay tuned!


Requiem for a Day

I feel wilted right now.

It’s been just a bit of a wilted day.

I’m relatively underslept and my period started yesterday, and I am having a painfully subdued day. Aside from bleeding all over everything, I have occupied myself with anticipating how tired I’ll be tomorrow, curling up into small balls, and generally stewing in a depressive fog.

This morning, Mackenzie in orchestra held out two fingers that had gotten cut slightly working on the set, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Normally wounds don’t look like that, or there’s blood to cover it up, but it hit me pretty hard. I’ve never seen any injury looking that way anywhere else around me before, and it was a bit of a slap in my face.

I came home and somehow my energy just melted. Or transformed into anxiety, I don’t know. But I felt nervous and exhausted and unhappy the way I do before a long rehearsal, but there was nothing at all on my schedule for the night. That was… frustrating. I couldn’t wheedle myself out of the anticipatory mindset towards the burden of a rehearsal tomorrow night. Twas disgruntling.

I was left with narry a gruntle to be found.

The late evening has been better, and I’ve had some nice conversation with wonderful people. I’m already feeling significantly more animated than when I first embarked on this post an hour or two ago. I just don’t know how to avoid all-consuming wraith-moods like these, but I want to be able.

Re: Movie Escapism

Presenting a self-examination of my recent moviegoing infatuation

Movies, comic books, and outlets of fantasy as a whole have been valued by Americans since the early 20th century. It has always been refreshing for our society to watch good triumph evil or see the underdog rising above their station. It isn’t an epiphany to anyone that movies are cathartic during periods of tension, but I’ve been looking deeper to examine my own personal attachment.

In recent months in particular, I have buried myself in fantasy films – Rogue One, Moana, and in particular Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Fantasy films are founded in the reality of human experience, with certain elements distorted. The circumstances of a movie elicits emotional responses from its characters, often evoking empathy and catharsis in viewers. We see our characters, be they isolated or gifted or “chosen”, undergo difficulties and setbacks, failures and anxieties, fears and vulnerabilities. These backstories and storylines are crafted to emulate experiences that viewers may have had. Everyone has characters they can relate to, and all of those characters are prone to struggles.

We as viewers might have had similar burdens and traumas as a given character, but a fantasy movie will exaggerate this upset for their character, either by cause or effect. In the Harry Potter books and films, the major characters are outsiders. However, the story augments the impetus for their loneliness, or the consequences of their isolation in such a way that it forms an important plot, imbuing their troubles with a sense of import and relevance. That relevance, that notion of cosmic entitlement to problems that matter, is something that can be hard to find.

Recently, I’ve been having a very hard time, in school and in general. I struggle with depression, with the stress of college applications and calculus, the leadership responsibilities I’ve been grappling with in my orchestra. It is hard for me to feel like my own hardships are important, when so many friends and acquaintances are dealing with grades and health and home environments so much worse.

In movies, the problems the characters are having matter. Their problems are a focal point in the film. Other characters notice and respond to their struggles, and the presence of an audience inherently validates their concerns.

I have always loved fictional stories, worlds, and characters. I have always been fascinated by fantasy settings, and intrigued by punchy science fiction. There are tons of reasons that I might read a book or watch a film, but I believe that it is this validation of characters that has provided such an addictive escape for me in the theaters, this past month or so.

I just want to imagine a world where my problems are ones that matter.


Everyone seems to be in despair about the early dismissal tomorrow and the cancellation of weekend and potentially Monday activities, for a myriad of valid reasons and conflicts, but I’m as happy as I’ve ever been!

I realized last week that this was my Last Chance to pray for snowfall to come through and completely shut down the city for a day or more. Being such a cornerstone of my winter experience, it hadn’t occurred to me before that I mightn’t spend further days crossing my fingers in delightful anticipation of a 1 inch blizzard. Only one inch because this is Atlanta, and one inch is all it takes for every activity in which I partake to grind to a grudging halt.

The potency of my hope correlates with the potency of the Theoretical Event – all my wishing has to squeeze out of the universe is a measly twinkling of snow to achieve my aim.

I don’t mean to be bragging about how happy I am to avoid things – there are certainly exceptions to that avoidance, fore one – but I can’t pass up any way of relishing this final stand of a snow day’s delight. Even if I stay in Atlanta for college, as I just as well might, I imagine that things will be more important and more enjoyable to attend than anything I’ve slogged through in high school, and thus a snow day might bring me more regret and anxiety than relief, an effect it is already having on my friends.

I made myself write this out and post it, no matter how droll, because my brain has gone dull and bemused tonight, and I’d quite like to joggle it into a focused, productive state, if not a happy one. Cheers.