Lemons

I have hardly been in class this week.

Kristen! you chide me. What is a good and responsible student like yourself doing skipping class?!

To which I reply: No, I have not been skipping. This week’s schedule has been screwed up.

I missed Monday because I was out of town for the weekend on a retreat (which, by the way, was very awesome; I loved it). Tuesday we spent second period in “study hall” because sophomores were taking a nasty standardized test (I feel for them; remember the beginning of my year? 🙂 ). Wednesday I had class all day, but we hardly did anything first period and watched a movie last period… And that brings us to today, the day of my very first field trip in public high school! You know where we went? The local community college for a career fair. It was so much fun (note my sarcasm).

Have you ever heard the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”?  Well, I have decided this week to rephrase that just a tad: “When life gives you lemons, throw them back at it so hard it wishes it never even met you.” Why or how would one do this, you ask? Don’t just “make the best” of bad situations; refuse to accept them.

Tuesday I was so tired after my very full weekend away. However, I tried my very best to fight the exhaustion and make it a good day nonetheless. As I was walking back over from interning at the elementary school, I was trying to figure out a way to make myself feel better when I saw my friend’s car. I decided to sit in the grass and write a note to stick on her windshield (with a PS saying, “If this isn’t the right person’s car…. then this is awkward…. Hope you have a good day anyway!” just in case 🙂 ). I almost instantly felt happier, knowing I was spreading happiness to someone else.

Wednesday was when I coined my rephrase of the lemons saying. It was going terribly. After first period, I had accidentally carried Earl (my stupid, heavy guitar with whom I have a love/hate relationship) to geometry class rather than putting him in the band room closet. Realizing my stupid mistake, I got a pass from my teacher to return to the band room. It is a long walk, and in this state, we have hot winters. As the day progressed, I forgot to eat and had four English tests I’d almost forgotten about and had to watch a really boring and partially disturbing documentary about Mozart. But I tried my best to keep a good attitude through it, I really did… try.

Quick question- do you have any idea how much fun it is to pretend to be extremely interested in something you care absolutely nothing about? That’s what I did at the career fair today. 🙂 I mean, it wasn’t boring, but I’m not really that interested in managing a self-storage facility, or dental assisting, or career counseling, or banking… But hey, I got candy. Pretty sweet deal, right? It semi-makes up for a few awkward run-ins…

But, like I said, throw the lemons back at life. If you keep your hands full of lemons that you’re collecting to turn into lemonade, what else will you be able to hold? So, that is why I say, throw the lemons back at Life. Show it who’s boss, and be the master of your own day. Each day is only what you make of it.

Excelsior, no lemons in hand.

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

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Excelsior

       Imagine this: you have two huge tests, you forget about a quiz until the morning before, there’s one day you have to sit through a college’s presentation twice, you dragged your guitar all the way to school only not to need it on a day you almost left it at home out of sheer laziness, you’re assigned nearly 60 math problems (your least favorite subject since time began), you leave your cookies at home, and you are one dime short of being able to purchase a Vitamin Water, all in the same week. That’s basically how my week has gone.

      So, I have been everything from bored out of my mind to frustrated beyond belief over the course of five days. And to tell you the truth, it’s not been that fun. But I have found myself trying to find the good, the highlights, the silver lining, because otherwise, it really is a bad day. Past experience has taught me that it is up to you how happy you are. You can either let all the bad stuff weigh you down, or you can let it roll off your shoulders so you can keep looking up. I prefer to stand in the sunshine.

      Therefore, I will choose to let it roll off my shoulders and keep looking up. Let’s rethink that first paragraph:

     Imagine this: you rock two hard tests, you ace a quiz you nearly forgot about, you get to spend two class periods watching funny videos created by film production students from a visiting university, you are going to learn to play a song by your favorite band on guitar, you are almost finished with all your homework, you bought a delicious dark chocolate bar and shared it with your sister, and you ordered two books that will be delivered later today, all in the same week. That’s basically how my week has gone.

     There. Much better.

     And thusly, we will move onward and upward to my favorite part of the week: the weekend. I have an exciting one planned, one that involves going out of town for a Christian girls’ retreat and reading those two new books I bought (sidenote- something funny I realized about those books: one of the main characters has the same first and last name as my uncle 🙂 ). I can sum up my anticipation in a single word: Excelsior. Excelsior is a Latin term meaning “higher” or “loftier” and is used in the English language as an exclamation meaning “forever upward.” It’s also kind of my new favorite word. 🙂 I keep telling myself, “Keep going, no matter what. Remember: Excelsior!“So, onward and upward and to the weekend.

Excelsior!

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

Second Time Around

I think that things are always better or easier the second time around. I realized just yesterday, I believe it was, that we are already halfway through third quarter. That means that second semester is already a quarter of the way over. Already, second semester has been so much better than first semester! I think I am more adjusted to the whole “public school” thing now. I mean, it’s less alien and more… life. It’s like, this is my life. I have surprised myself by how content I am with my life. This is only my second year living in this state, and the second year has been so much better (applause).

Everything gets better the second time around. I’m currently reading The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater for the second time, and I am enjoying it more now than I did in December, because now that I’m over the shock of the plot twists, I can really feel the characters (and I just love these characters 🙂 ). I had this guitar test last week, and I was so utterly terrible the first day we played the song we would be tested over. But the second time we did it, when we had the test, I did moderately well, really so much better. I had a test in geometry, too, and I didn’t do as well as I hoped to, so I have resolved to do better the next time. I did the same thing with the SATs: I will do better the second time. I am doing a semester of public school for the second time, and it’s better. I’ll go through a second year of it next year, and it will be even better. It’s all better the second time around.

I believe that things are better the second time around because we learn from our mistakes. You never really get a true “do over,” but you can always get a second chance. Life is about living, learning, and letting go. Because after a few times around, all the hard things will be old hat, and we’ll be pros. 🙂

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

Quiet Please

“So your confidence is quiet
To them quiet looks like weakness
But you don’t have to fight it
‘Cause you’re strong enough to win without a war…”

-“Invisible” by Hunter Hayes

 

All I want for this Friday night is a nice, quiet night in after this loud week. And I’ve got Hunter Hayes’s new song on replay, too. Once again, that boy has written a song like he’s written it for me. Meaningful lyrics, smooth vocals, lots of acoustic guitar… This is the kind of music I enjoy.

You know what kind of music I don’t enjoy? Pitch Perfect.

In case you’re not quite sure what Pitch Perfect is (which I really wish I didn’t know), it’s a really popular but really overrated musical. I generally enjoy musicals, but that one just runs on gross humor. We finished watching it in world music class yesterday because we had a substitute (again!), but afterwards came the highlight of my day: WE WATCHED CAMP ROCK! That is basically my favorite movie of all time, and I had wanted to watch it in the morning during guitar class, which we also had a sub for. However, my friend was very adamant about her desire to watch The Lion King. Her choice won by an overwhelming popular vote.

Pitch Perfect wasn’t the only loud annoyance of my week. We had a substitute in English last week. The instructions left by the teacher were simple- read this story and be ready for the test next class. Well, next class came. After showing us a video about the author whose work we’re reading, my teacher said, “Okay, guys, we need to talk.” Those words, of course, strike a note of fear in  the heart of each and every teenager. And with good reason this time! The sub had left him notes: 1st period- only class who actually did their work, received 10 bonus points on the test; 2nd period- you don’t want to be them…; and, finally, 3rd period- only about four girls were actually doing the assignment. The rest of us were chatting and playing “Flappy Birds” and showing off the new phone speakers we got for our birthday. We were rewarded with the once-in-a-lifetime chance to take the test without the notes some of us had worked very hard on AND write a 150 word essay on the story (and Stephen Crane is not an easy author!). I was so elated that I almost ran out of time to finish my essay. I’ll never understand why some people just have to be loud at the most inappropriate of times.

You know what else can be loud? People’s opinions. Someone left a very mean note in my friend’s backpack this week, calling her things like “mean” and “ugly” and something about a monster. But I loved her reaction. She goes, “I am not ugly! I have beautiful nails and the world’s softest hands!!” She then reported the note to the front office, and they are taking care of the problem for her. I just love the way she handled it, though, like it didn’t even bother her. She knew nothing in the note was true, and so she refused to believe it. That’s the kind of confidence I admire. 🙂

I don’t know about you, but I definitely prefer quiet over loud any day. Especially after today, when I’m not feeling so hot after failing at donating blood. Kristen, how can one possibly fail at donating blood?! Oh, but you don’t know me. I can make anything go awry. I filled out all the paperwork, got approved, and I even had the needle in my arm, everything according to protocol. But then, my arm decided to stop bleeding. The nurses on the Red Bus (the school’s Interact Club was running a blood drive this week, BTW) couldn’t fix it, so they took it out, told me I wouldn’t get any results back because the donation had been no good, gave me juice, and sent me on my way. I felt fine, just a little tired afterwards. I came home and lay down. Maybe I’ll have better luck next time.

And now, for a quiet, restful weekend. And like the song I quoted at the beginning, I believe that  quietness is strength. This quiet night will help me regain the strength I lost to the screwed-up blood drive needle.

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen