If It’s Just Me

The end of the school year is upon us. The waves of finals are crashing all around me. Goodbyes are looming. I won’t be a junior this time next week. Senior year is daunting. It’s overwhelming, toilsome, maddening….

Or maybe it’s just me.

I struggle every day with my expectations for myself. I am my own hardest judge and worst supporter. I build things up in my mind to a far greater importance than they hold in the grand scheme of things. I take pinpricks like the blow from a club. I am going back and editing this entire post after every sentence I type because I am a perfectionist.

I frustrate myself more than anything else does.

Finals determine a major portion of my final grade, but does my entire future balance on if I know the difference between E-major barre chords and A-minor ones? Probably not. It’s not dependent on my knowledge of geometric theorems. My life is not going to be planned out based on how much Spanish I know (or, in my case, don’t know).  In reality, I have a pretty good handle on most of these things, and what I don’t feel firm enough in, I can study. I’m a good studier. I’ve got this, really. Kristen, stop psyching yourself out!

Ugh, it’s just the little things being added to my frustrations, like friends who disappear and reappear two months later, people you hardly know who lecture you because you don’t have a Snapchat account, movies that are so stupid but everyone else votes to watch, boredom of school being no more than movies and review for two weeks, the fact that the next book in my favorite series isn’t coming out until October, confusion about my summer drivers’ ed course…. Ugh….

These are the burdens I place on myself.

But who can cut the ropes and let them roll off my back? I can. I don’t need to worry. As one of my friends reassured me, I’ll do well on my finals if I just believe in myself. As I told another friend, I don’t care about social norms (and what social media accounts I have or don’t have). Summer’s almost here. October will come. Everything will be fine.

Really, Kristen, it’s just you.

“I’ve got no problem holding on
I’ve got no problem being wrong
But if you’re gone, then after all
Well, it’s just me

I’ll take a walk, clear my thoughts, move along, no questions asked
Take whatever’s left of me and leave you in my past

No more crying, no more scars
I’d love to stay, but I got to say
I’d rather be free if it’s just me…”

-“If It’s Just Me” by Hunter Hayes

 

I think I’ll close with an open letter to my worries and concerns.

 

Dear Worries,

     It’s over. It’s just not working anymore; in fact, it never was. I’m replacing you with happy thoughts and song lyrics, because I like those a whole lot better. You are a control freak, and I can’t live like this anymore! I’m walking away because I don’t love you, I don’t need you, and, quite frankly, I’d rather be free. Without you, you know what I can have? Hope. Peace. A clear mind and a singing heart. Oh, and don’t call me crying, because we are never getting back together, like, ever!

Really, it’s not you, it’s just me.

-Kristen

 

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

A Different Kind Of Confident

Image

 

I lit things on fire at school on Tuesday. I was interviewed by both the local newspaper and the school news team about it.

Relax, it was for a project.

Tuesday was the science department’s annual Science Expo that we put on for the local elementary and middle schoolers. Each student in an honors science class was required to run a booth with a Bill Nye the Science Guy/Steve Spangler type demonstration. I did mine on pyrotechnics, the science of fireworks, with a “safe for indoor” version of black snake fireworks. Basically, the project was a small pile of sugar and baking soda soaked in charcoal lighter and lit on fire (which hurt my fingers A LOT, by the way). Nothing too impressive, I thought after repeating the experiment half a million times. But like moths, people are also drawn to open flames, I mused. Everyone from the visiting second graders to the older high school crowd passing through on their way to class stopped by to check out my mini fireworks show. “I’ve never been so popular in my life,” I joked with my sister, who was making bouncy balls at the booth beside of me.

It felt nice, I’ll admit, to have people coming to my table, asking me about my project, and telling me how cool it was. I’m not the type of person who is quote/unquote “noticed” all of the time by everyone. I often worry about my own social ineptitudes and my famous awkwardness. But I also realized that I didn’t particularly care if anyone else liked my project or even noticed it. I don’t particularly care if anyone else likes me or even notices me. I used to care a lot. I used to worry why I didn’t have many friends or why I didn’t feel like people cared that I was around (and by “used to,” I mean, like, the beginning of this school year). As someone who has had to “begin again” so many times, I carry around a lot of worries whenever I enter a new environment. It’s hard to teach yourself what everyone around you already knows. It’s hard to get used to people and for new people to get used to you. However, I have learned that the most important thing is not what others think of you, but what you think of yourself.

I was processing the extremes of Tuesday when I came across the link to this blog in my Twitter feed:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Vh7TmQtpXEV-djRKE0sH-e3dLehYvrBSpiECmr9LEiY/edit?usp=sharing

It was written by an actress from one of my favorite shows. Basically, she talks about how she used to worry way too much what people thought of her and found confidence in their opinions of her, because other people’s opinions are what give you success in Hollywood. However, she goes on to explain how she learned that she needed to find her confidence in God rather than in other people, and in God was also where she needed to place her confidence. “You can be confident not because of who you are, but because of whose you are,” she writes. And that is where I am trying to place my confidence in- God.

When my confidence is in God rather than in other people, I’m free from the worries that come with trying to impress those around me. Rather, I’m trying to live the way that He would want me to. When my confidence is in God rather than in myself, I’m also free from acting out of contempt or trying to be “wordly.” When my confidence is in God, I want my peers to know what makes me different. I’ve found myself going out of my way to help my friends.  I’ve caught myself  treating people I don’t particularly care for with uncharacteristic kindness.  It’s nice, not being so worried about what other people think of me anymore. Now, I need to focus more on what I think of them- each one of them loved by God, and therefore deserving all kindness and good will I can show them. Even the difficult ones.

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen