I was the daughter of the spotted lanternfly you couldn’t stomp … until now.
This hurts. This hurts a lot. But I hope you know I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed—disappointed and hurt. I’m really, really hurt but it’s not because of my exploded entrails and irreparably shattered exoskeleton. It’s the ever-bursting realization of betrayal, the betrayal of your best friend stabbing—well, stepping—you in the back.
There I was, being all coquette. I was excreting honeydew, a sugary substance that encourages the growth of black sooty mold. And I was doing other things riot grrls do—causing serious damage, like wilting, leaf curling, oozing sap, and dieback in trees, vines, crops, and other types of plants. I was doing my typical-me things, the behaviors that when your friend does them you’re like “omg that’s soooo spotted lanternfly of you, like #SpottedLanternFlyCore, like you’re in your spotted lanternfly era” and then you both giggle because it’s accurate. And it is; my brand is curated, distinguished, and identifiable. That’s how I have 500+ connections on LinkedIn.
I saw you out of the corner of my eye while I was doing that. You were talking with another Barnard student (I think she’s your girlfriend, I don’t know her that well and you said things are complicated). I debated whether or not to flag you down because I wasn’t sure if you’d want to stop and chat. However, as you and your maybe-sort-of-kinda-girlfriend passed, your maybe-sort-of-kinda-girlfriend paused, looked at me, and said “Look! It’s one of those ugly, invasive bugs.”
I was insulted. What your maybe-sort-of-kinda-girlfriend said was really problematic but I didn’t have time to call her out because you and your ugly thrifted vintage chartreuse cowboy boots blocked out the sun and crushed my back. I didn’t have time to scream. There was only a moment of darkness and then my body contorted in surrealist ways. It was like a scene from Kafka’s Metamorphosis if the novella was written as a gore or horror novella.
After that, you swiped your foot a little bit and smiled at your maybe-sort-of-kinda-girlfriend and said “EcoReps NEEDS me like I’m literally saving the environment.”
And she said, “No like literally. They so do.” And then you two left, probably to visit the Barnard Greenhouse because that’s like Barnard 3rd base now.
Meanwhile, I was experiencing more pain than when Phoebe Bridgers announced her engagement.
While it’s only been a few weeks since we got to campus, I thought we were best friends. We basically had every class together: Gay And Lesbian History of Pre-Danish Contact Greenland, Astrology 1403, Intro to Linguistics, and that anthropology class simply called “Bubbles.” And we talked—a lot! I even let you take a hit of my chamomile blunt one time after class. Did that mean nothing to you? Considering that half of my body is now stuck to the bottom of your hideous shoes, I guess not.
(But like let me know if I’m making a big deal out of nothing. I’m like, haha I’m kind of weird and don’t want to put you in an uncomfortable situation or anything. I probably am. This is probably such a small thing and I’m making it more than it needs to be. Sorry. Like, this has been bugging me, no pun intended. Anyway.)
I’m just in so much pain because I can’t wrap my head around why you did this. I’m just like you. I’ve cut my bangs over my dorm floor’s restroom sink. I’ve had to suffer through awkward and misogynistic comments about Barnard’s relationship with Columbia from relatives and strangers. I’ve hexed the disruptive Columbia College guys getting their food in Hewitt. Y’know? I wake up, I pour myself a lavender latte or some self-brewed ginger kombucha, I put on a thrifted button-down beneath a loose stitched sweater my girlfriend crocheted me, and I slide on my six size-0.1 Doc Martens one boot at a time. I’m just like any other Barnard student.
Instead, you stepped on me. I guess this is what my tarot card reading predicted when I drew the tower, but I wasn’t expecting my spiritual destruction to come from you. It’s gross. I can’t help but think this was because of something I said or something I did or my 500+ LinkedIn connections that you’re definitely jealous of or because I might’ve made out with your ex when she invited me to her apartment for wine, cheese, and microdosing.
But guess what, I’m still alive; I’m still girlbossing it from the concrete outside Diana. And I absolutely can separate my body from the ground, I’m just tired right now. I hope you know you messed with the wrong spotted lanternfly. I am friends with a lot of really famous—but still indie—people here and I don’t let things go. I kind of know the owner of @barnardfits and I’ll make sure you never get on there.
Yeah, that’s right. You’re never gonna get thirsty comments now. Consider your Barnard career finished.
Spotted Lanternfly portraits via Bwog Illustrator Kavi Krishnan