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

 

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