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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The Other Side Of the Door

“It’s been a really, really messed up week,

Seven days of torture, seven days of bitter…”

-“Tonight Tonight” by Hot Chelle Rae

 

First week of second semester has just been splendid (I’ve heard that sarcasm is related to intelligence, right?). Well. I am so glad it’s Friday.

Monday really was splendid. We had it off for MLK Day, AND there was an all day “Big Time Rush” marathon on TV. I was a happy girl. But then came Tuesday. Tuesday, Doomsday…. Because Tuesday was the first day of the semester and our last day before exams had been a B Day, I assumed it was A Day. I brought all my books and stupid, stupid Earl (my guitar towards which my feelings are ambivalent). The one day the “A Day/B Day” sign in the Commons is actually correct, I’m wrong. I was frantically calling my mom, smartly hidden in a bathroom stall (sometimes life calls for us to bend the rules- forgive me), and I gave an exact description of the books my sister and I needed and their locations. Being the absolutely incredible, amazing, loving mother that she is, she brought our books in exchange for Earl, whom I had left in the office. My mother was the hero of my Tuesday, and I could not have been more grateful for her bailing me out. 🙂

Wednesday is a blur, lost in translation. Yesterday, Thursday, I learned that I am strong. In all the craziness and hardships of this past year, I have had my best friend beside me through all of it. My twin sister and I vowed to never leave each other alone in the uncharted waters of public high school. But life sometimes overrides even the best intentions, and she was sick yesterday, leaving me to go it alone for the first time. It was lonely, but okay. I do have other friends, and they are kind and gracious and willing to keep me from being a loner. Also, I had time to read The Scorpio Races (and I am sooo close to being finished that I want to skip last period today and read!!). And I got to teach my geometry class that, contrary to popular belief, twins do not get sick at the same time.

That brings us to today. Friday. Today. Ewe. I don’t want to be here. I want to be home. I want to finish my book. I want to be done for today. First period was not nice to me. We had a surprise playing test (it’s guitar class), and on top of other things, I’m done. At least second period was a free period, so I drowned my sorrows in a jar of Nutella. Today is an A Day, so I have B lunch, and since I have no friends in B lunch, I am here, a-bloggin’.  Yay for today.

But it’s Friday, and as soon as that bell rings at 2:55, I am closing the door on this week. I will forget it. I will wash my hands and be done. And it will be good, because on the other side of the door is promise. I’ll be able to finish that book, and learn alongside Puck Connolly that life gets better once you get past what makes it hard, and to keep pressing forward ( I love this character, by the way 🙂 ). I’ll have time to practice my major chords and do better on the next playing test. I can look forward to my stellar report card coming out next week. I still have some Nutella left in that jar. And, best of all, ABC Family KNEW I would be in dire need of a Harry Potter weekend. 🙂

It all awaits me on the other side of the door.

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

Halfway There

“So we take what comes, and we keep on going,
Leaning on each other’s shoulders
Then we turn around
And see we’ve come so far somehow

We’re halfway there
We’re looking good now
Nothing’s gonna get in the way

We’re halfway there
And looking back now
Never thought that I’d ever say
We’re Halfway there!”

-“Halfway There” by Big Time Rush

When the bell rings a one o’clock today, I will have officially completed my first semester of public high school. I will have made it out, alive, in one piece, all four limbs intact, smiling in my victory.

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I have, at this point in my life, survived midterms. May the scores by with you, I told myself and my fellow exam takers in my head, anyway). Guitar was the hardest ( a completely  written test for an instrument. really?!); Spanish was the easiest. I checked my grades, and I’ve done pretty well so far. I’m quite happy with my grades, actually. Considering my week began with a terrible nightmare concerning the guitar exam, I have done fairly well. I just took my last, and most boring, exam- World Music, a class that sounds fun but is in reality the exact opposite. I now wipe my hands of the exams. No more will I mention them.

The past semester has brought a monumental amount of change into my life. My world has been rocked and shaken, but now, in the end, it’s all come together for good. It is, in fact, good. I’m happy with my life and the way it’s going, and I have only good things to look forward to in the spring semester. Halfway there, halfway to go. It’s all up from here.

“Oooh we’re halfway there, oohh livin on a prayer!”

-Bon Jovi

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Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

I Knew You Were Trouble

“Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble”

-“I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift

Had I written that song for these past few weeks, I would change the line to “Now I’m sitting in a cold hard chair.” Because THAT is how cold these classrooms are. And the mornings have been pretty cold, too, like, 60 degrees (Yes, I know that 90% of the country would be so grateful for 60 degree weather right now, but compared to the usual 80, it is COLD!).

So, trouble… Something I do my best to stay out of. But, as we all know, it has its own way of finding me. Last Tuesday it haunted me all day long. Most of my classes were in trouble. The geometry class freshman finally danced on the teacher’s last nerve. Trouble 1. In English, we had a sub who was supposed to take us to the computer lab after lunch to write our essays. On the way, my class decided to be so loud and boisterous that another teacher came out of her classroom. Trouble 2. Then, the sub decided we weren’t responsible enough to go to the lab and made us go back to the classroom and hand-write our essays. Trouble 3, 4, 5…. (And may I add, I was not the one who deserved any of it AND my essay is quite excell ent, in my opinion). The rest of last week is all a blur.

And then came the weekend. Moving into a new house isn’t the quickest task, so my weekend left me little time to study for the two tests I had today. Honestly, I think I did the best I could on my guitar test. I told myself, Strive for a B. All I want is a B. Barre chords are hard!! The geometry test the next period was, thankfully, rather easy, though looong.

And now I have another meteor hurtling towards my earth: pre-arranged absence forms. I’m going out of town this week for Christmas (can’t wait to see you, Mammy!! :D), and so I have to get the form signed by my parents at home and then ALL my teachers tomorrow morning after taking it to the office to be signed…. Good thing I won’t have to lug around Earl.

But back to speaking of my move, that meant my sister and I rode a new bus this morning. The stop is, thankfully, a lot closer to our house than the previous bus stop was. However, my memory often fails me, and to prevent myself from riding back to my old house this afternoon, I’ve got my bus number written on my hand like one of my mom’s second graders. 🙂 I’m so not missing the bus.

So, yes, I hope the rest of this week goes well, and there is no more trouble than necessary. But I can handle it, right?

And if all else fails: Nine more days til Christmas.

I knew the weeks preceding Christmas break were trouble when they walked in.

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

 

Hard Day’s Night

Imagine this: one otherwise typical Wednesday morning, you awake from a horrific dream concerning a bus ride gone terribly wrong with the feeling that your brain has swelled inside your very head, and then the next day, after the headache has finally subsided, your stomach decides to feel as if it is eating itself inside out. That, my friends, was the reality of my week.

So, yes, pain and school are not the most enjoyable combination. “Kristen, why didn’t you just stay home, for goodness’ sake?!” This is called “stubbornness” or “determination” or, more accurately, “I don’t really know why but I hate staying home when I’m sick so I rarely do because I’d rather just tough it out then miss.” Proving to myself I can take it? The world may never truly know…

Anyways, I am fine now, thank you. Mostly, I am just glad it is Friday. It’s not been the best past two weeks. In the same fourteen days, I have not felt well as aforementioned, not done as well as I hoped on a certain few quizzes, struggled through learning to play notes on my guitar,  found out my friend is switching schools,  dragged  my heavy guitar all the way across campus when called to the office at the end of the day,  AND had to listen to Bieber in World Music. None of those have been very happy things.

Yet, I have learned in life not to let the bad stuff always drag me down. “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” after all. The good things in life still outnumber the bad by a long shot: honor roll, getting to skip class and watch a movie because of honor roll, feeling better, the rap we wrote at my Wednesday Bible study, the pep rally today that included a powder puff cheerleaders routine with a reference to the infamous Kanye West/Taylor Swift VMA incident of 2009 (“Yo Taylor, Imma let you finish, but Beyonce’ had the best video of all time!”), the INCREDIBLE writing style the author of the book I’m reading has… The list could go on and on.

So, yes, even after the most “hard day’s night,” in the end, it’s all good. Especially when it’s Friday.

“Yo reader, I’m happy for you and all, and Imma let you finish, but Friday is the best day of the week of ALL TIME!”

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

Quite the Character

     I feel like a character.

     I began reading a new book yesterday. Ten Miles Past Normal isn’t a very interesting or even a very well-written book (how it got on the ‘best teen reads’ list, I have no clue). However, the aspect that made me read it so intently was the parallels between the life of the main character Janie and my own life. Like me on A days, she had B lunch, while all of her friends were in A lunch. We both spend that time in the library. She was learning to play the bass, kind of like I’m learning to play the guitar (main difference- she was good at it, I am not). She, too, is quiet and socially awkward. So, Janie is a typical book character. I am like Janie. Conclusion- I am a character.

     This is far from the first time I have compared myself or my life to a character. Maybe it comes from an unaverage amount of reading, or maybe it comes from contemplating the idea of being like a character too much, but, still I could compile an entire list of the characters I feel I resemble. And so I will.

     First up, in English class, I am (though I try with all my might not to be!) Harry Potter‘s Hermione Granger. Like Hermione, I know most of the answers in my English class. Granted, I don’t bounce up and down when I raise my hand like she did, but I still feel like that irritating know-it-all at times! Seriously, I’m the kid who when the teacher says, “You all did terribly on this test, except we had one perfect score,” is that one perfect score (really, there was a Twizzler stapled to my test and everything!). But I wouldn’t mind mirroring Hermione’s finer qualities, though. Her intelligence, mixed with courage, carried her far in life and helped win the battles against the evil Voldemort. I hope that I can use intelligence and bravery to one day help the world.  We have that messy hair thing in common, though, too.

     Next is Brick from the ABC sitcom The Middle. He’s a little boy with a big appetite for reading. While I was reading today, I laughed to myself, picturing Brick holding up his “just a second” finger when someone bothers his reading time. Maybe I’ll have to pull that trick next time I’m bothered in the library 🙂

     Finally, I am Quinn from Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101. She had little nerdy glasses, much like my own. I see her sometimes when I look into the mirror. Also like Quinn, I’m just a little off-beat. But thankfully, I’m not running around all the time trying to “invent” banana-apple trees or “Loganator” robots. Hey, maybe I should try!

     So, yes, basically, in my life that plays out like a movie, I am quite a character. I have my quirks, I have my flaws, but I’ll also have my happy ending. I can’t wait to see how the entire story plays out, because it will end up sweet than fiction, right?  🙂

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

     

Sweeter Than Fiction

“There you’ll stand, ten feet tall,

I’ll say I knew it all along.

Your eyes are wider than distance,

This life is sweeter than fiction.”

– “Sweeter Than Fiction” by Taylor Swift

     I may have noted before the deep affinity I have for reading. So, you can imagine how the thought of life being considered “sweeter than fiction” would appeal to me. It’s a phrase that’s been on my mind since yesterday morning when I downloaded the new Taylor Swift song by the same name (And let me tell you, it was quite a good way to start off my week 🙂 ). One of my favorite lines says, “Now in this perfect weather, it’s like we don’t remember the rain we thought would last forever and ever.” I smile when I hear that line, because I love the realization that the “rain” doesn’t last forever, and life is always brighter after the storm. That’s when the rainbows come out, right?

      I think that I’ve seen a lot more rainbows this year. Not just because it rains more in this region of the country, but because I’m so happy. If you had asked me back in August, I would have only been able to tell you that I was terrified about starting all over again (again!) at a brand-new school. But now, I’m happy to say I know I made the right choice. 🙂

     Today is the last day of the nine weeks, meaning grades will come out and I have survived my first quarter of public high school! <insert applause here> Wow….

     So, what can I say? It’s good. Other than being pre-distracted by the fact that my favorite band Heffron Drive is FINALLY going on an American tour and tickets are on sale and really really wanting to go (to the point where I accidentally threw papers at my geometry teacher! 🙂 ), I’m doing well. When my sister and I received our quarter grades of 100 in geometry yesterday, several of our classmates chorused astonishment, like we had done the impossible (just mentioning, we had Algebra II last year, which I think is making geometry easier since we went over the basics, and our Algebra I class was really good about the constructions and graphing!!). I’ve finished reading my library book, and so I’ll get a new one sometime tomorrow (ahh, the things that excite us nerds!). And, to top it all off, I actually did well on my guitar proficiency today!

     Speaking of guitar class, have I mentioned before that I’m basically the resident pick-dealer? Whenever someone needs to borrow a pick, they come to me, for I own a plethora of guitar picks for some odd reason. So, like usual, I’d lent out a few today, and I had one non-decorative pick left. Well, I lost it. And, right as I realized that I had lost it, the teacher asks the class, “Does anyone have a pick I can borrow?” All eyes turned to me. My name was said. I hesitantly selected what I hoped would be the least strange pick to lend him, choosing a Taylor Swift pick with the RED album cover art on it. (Hey, it was either that or one of my Big Time Rush two, and nobody touches my Kendall Schmidt pick! 🙂 ). I brought it up to him, apologizing for the kind of pick it was. He only thanked me. And then, literally right after he returned my Taylor pick, I found the Fender one I’d lost. That’s the trouble with Swifties…

  

     So, in a nutshell, as these first nine weeks wind down,  I am “happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way” (another T. Swift quote, from “22”). But, yeah, it’s good. I think I like where I’m at in life, and where I’m headed. It can only go up from here. And one day…

“There you’ll stand, next to me,

All at once, the rest is history.

Your eyes, wider than distance,

This life is sweeter than fiction!”

– “Sweeter Than Fiction” by Taylor Swift

    And with a life sweeter than fiction, any lemons it throws my way will be turned into some pretty tasty lemonade 🙂

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen