A Different Kind Of Confident

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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

 

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

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