St. Mark’s Day

“Tis now, replied the village belle,
St. Mark’s mysterious eve,
And all that old traditions tell
I tremblingly believe;
How, when the midnight signal tolls,
Along the churchyard green,
A mournful train of sentenced souls
In winding-sheets are seen.
The ghosts of all whom death shall doom
Within the coming year,
In pale procession walk the gloom,
Amid the silence drear.”

-English tradition

Today, April 25th, is the Church holiday of St .Mark’s Day. Now, I know that you are most likely unaware of there even being such a thing as “St. Mark’s Day,” because there really isn’t much that is special about it. But it’s one of those medieval  things that is steeped in tradition and folklore. One of my very favorite books is based around St. Mark’s Day tradition. According to these old traditions, if one sits on the church porch from eleven to one the night before St. Mark’s Day, on St. Mark’s Eve, he will see the spirits of those who are going to die in the next year. Creepy, yes, but it makes for a good story, as well as a nice metaphor. You know how much I like my metaphors. 🙂

In light of St.Mark’s Eve, I thought yesterday about what it would be like if I could have sat on the metaphorical church steps this time last year and seen the parts of my life that were going to “die” to me in the coming year. Quite frankly, I would have seen most of my life! Perched on the porch steps, I would have seen the school I attended then, the people I knew, and the way I thought the rest of my high school career was going to play out. These would have been followed by everything I thought I knew about public school and the stereotypes I held towards the people there. I would have seen a lot of my never going to happen ‘s and my not in a million years‘s. I would have been so afraid to know how much was going to change, but as the year progressed, I would have realized, like I have anyways, that things in life are always going to work out according to the Lord’s plans, not mine. Those plans always work out for my good, too.

I also wondered what kinds of things I would see if I’d been able to sit on those same metaphorical porch steps last night.  Perhaps it would’ve gone a little bit like this:

     Huddled against the unusually cool night, Kristen pulled her blanket tighter around her shoulders. I should not have come, she thought miserably, I’m just going to wind up regretting this. There had been a thousand and one thoughts painted the same color as these plans had been made, yet here she was anyway. There was, after all, only one St. Mark’s Eve a year. She sat up straighter when a cool breeze tickled the side of her neck. They were coming; the spirits of the coming dead were on their way. Kristen leaned forward into the night air, trying to make out the hazy shapes creeping their way to the edges of her vision. Sudden fear seized her heart, dripping anxiety into her chilly veins. This is it, she shuddered. No turning back now. And then she smiled. A complete and utter paradox to absolutely everything she had ever been told about St. Mark’s Eve, Kristen smiled. She saw her doubts float by her, followed by her weakened faith. They were soon followed by A-Day lunchtime, her cold and lonely friend. Kristen couldn’t help but smirk at the next passer-by. There she was, trudging to school with the cumbersome case of Earl, the guitar towards which she’ d had ambivalent feelings all year. There would be no more of that. And then an unfamiliar trio blew by her. “Who are you?” she whispered. “What are your names?” But then she realized that she knew, somehow without ever having known before. She knew these three: Solitude, Self-Deprecation, and Spite. As the last three , these were the ones she’d kill. This year, she would overcome them.

Next year is my senior year. There are so many things coming, and yet so many things going. But I’m excited for it, so so excited. I think that it’s a good thing I can’t really go out on St. Mark’s Eve and see what’s going to change in the coming year. That would only add worry and take away the wonder. So, rather than concentrate on all of my worries for the coming year, I’m going to do my best to look ahead towards all the good things, all of the coming wonders. Because for every thing that “dies” in this coming year, a thousand and one better things are going to come alive.

*Sidenote- Shoutout to my twin sister who got accepted to the college of her dreams yesterday through an early admission juniors program. So proud of you! 🙂 *

 

Don’t worry about what’s going to change in the coming year; rather, stay tuned for coming attractions! Happy St. Mark’s Day! 🙂

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

 

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Just Getting Started

Okay, so, the most exciting thing happened to me last Tuesday. It may not seem as incredible to anybody else, but it made me over-the-moon with elation. 🙂 You may have inferred from previous posts that I am a hardcore fan of Nickelodeon music group Big Time Rush. You may also be aware that BTR member James Maslow is on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars this season. You may not, however, be aware that he has a weekly blog about said competition show. Well, on this blog, James answers questions from Twitter. I, an avid Twitter-user, have asked him several questions.

Then this happened:

from James Maslow’s Parade blog

 

So, yes, James answered my question, and I’m pretty much still smiling about it. Anyways, James’s answer, as well as his being on Dancing in the first place,  served as a reminder that Big Time Rush is over as a television show and on a break as a band (which makes me sad 😦 ). Though the guys are still a band, they’re going their separate ways for now. It makes me think of their song “Just Getting Started,” which I believe is about how “it ain’t over” for them as a group, even though Carlos is married and Kendall has his own band and James is starting a solo career and Logan is doing who knows what… It ain’t over! It all serves as proof that you can move on from something while at the same time it stays a part of you.

I’ve done a lot of that in my life. Three high schools and 800 miles later, the people, places, and experiences that I loved are still a part of me, even though they’re not with me anymore. They helped me become who I am, and I will always, always hold them in my heart. One of my favorite songs by Kendall’s band Heffron Drive goes, ” I keep building walls/but you’re always on my mind/Won’t let them fall down./I’m tired, can we give up, /the art of moving on?” Even though it’s hard, even though it gets rough, even though I still miss them terribly and want them back every single day, I keep going, keep moving. The bridge of the song says, “…we chose to say goodbye but I choose you…” I believe that even as we keep going and moving forward with our lives, we can choose every single day to keep in our hearts those people and places that we said goodbye to.

Even though I’ve had a lot of finalities and goodbyes these past few years, I have realized that my life is just getting started. Just like the four members of BTR, I am getting ready to move on to bigger and better things. I’m getting ready to sign up for dual enrollment and AP classes for next year so I can earn college credits early. I received a National Honor Society acceptance letter yesterday. It’s the last quarter of junior year. I’m starting to plan for college and the rest of my life. It’s crazy, and… it’s only the beginning…

Right now, feels like it’s the last page
But we’re just warming up the stage…

The night is young
And we’re just getting started
(We’re just getting started)
The best is yet to come
And we’re just getting started now.”

-“Just Getting Started” by Big Time Rush

With the people and places and experiences that made me who I am held tightly in my heart, I’m ready to move on to whatever’s next in God’s crazy plan for my life. It’s just getting started. 🙂

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