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.



Stay strong and fearless,



“And baby you’re my wild card
My perfect little twist of fate
You’re my first spark, shot in the dark
Favorite part of everything
And baby you’re a sweet surprise
Lucky like a shooting star
You’re a strong, free, just what I need, wild card”

-“Wildcard”by Hunter Hayes


Before the start of spring break, we were assigned partner projects in English class. My class has an odd number of students; I got permission to do it on my own. So, I completed the assignment- make a Prezi about a poem (mine was on “The Garden” by Ezra Pound, the first one I saw listed in the book). Thinking it needed a little something extra, I added music. Being the person that I am, I added traditional Irish bouzouki music (which is especially wonderfully when dueting with a banjo, I might add). I asked the teacher to check my project and make sure it was the way he wanted it to be. He asked if he could use it for another class. I forgot to mention the bouzouki music.

I thought we wouldn’t be presenting until next week, but when I walked into class on Tuesday, the teacher smiled at me and said, “You’re on today!” I went through my oral presentation awkwardly, accompanied by the Irish background music (which actually helped calm my nerves 🙂 ). I finished it with the only hitch being the music’s volume (my teacher had to  turn it down halfway through my presentation).

And that’s basically everything you need to know about my school career.

These past few weeks, I also received an application for National Honor Society. Whoop whoop! I’m currently in the process of filling it out. When I began, I thought to myself,“You’ll never get in anyway; you haven’t had any school involvement or anything noteworthy to write down.” But as I continued, I realized I was wrong; I was so,so wrong. I filled in the appropriate spaces on the application:  Interact Club, Literature Clubs, lead role in school play, Handchime Choir… It definitely gets weirder as it goes on. Laughing to myself, I realized my application would stand out as a smorgasbord of all that I’ve collected during my journey through three different high schools. I smiled, remembering Hunter Hayes’s new song “Wildcard.”

I’ve mentioned before how I find Hunter’s lyrics totally relatable and his music totally spectacular ( I believe my exact words were Hunter Hayes basically writes my life 🙂 ), right? Well, with his new album’s release date FINALLY set, I was super-excited to hear his newest song. And of course, I found it to be… perfect. My second-favorite lines come from the second verse: “I’m an unexpected dreamer/Just watching through my every day/You don’t follow any leader/You make your mark, and make a change…” They remind me that it’s okay to be… not average. It’s okay not to feel like you have to fit a certain stereotype. It’s okay to wear Vans instead of boat shoes. It’s okay to listen to  Big Time Rush and not One Direction. It’s okay to read when otherwise you’d be sitting in awkward silence.  It’s okay to like random Irish music. It’s okay to be a wildcard.


‘It’s funny when you tell me you don’t think you’re all that interesting
I beg to differ, with you I’m out here on the edge of my seat
And every minute guessing, holding my breath and fueling that fire…”

It’s those of us who dance to the beat of our own drum that are able to fuel change in this world. In the wise words of another blue-eyed, blonde country singer, this one a few feet taller and a few Grammies more famous than dear Hunter, “If you’re lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.”

Stay strong and fearless,



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,



     So, I think I’m starting to get used to the “routine” of school. I mean, the past few days have felt pretty normal. That’s good though, right? I want it to feel less like playing a part and more like real life.

     Guess what? Kristen has friends 🙂 The two fellow Hunter Hayes fans in my guitar class and I are starting to become friends. This is pretty exciting stuff for me 🙂  I mean, I have more than just Earl (my guitar) on A Days now. This totally beats sitting and reading. (#nerdprobz)

     Second period geometry could not be more boring. Still, we are doing the most simple of things. Oh, so, yesterday was our school’s college colors day. Like a good Huntington native, I wore a Marshall University shirt. My geometry teacher, however, was wearing WVU. Marshall and WVU are, for those of you who were unaware, arch rivals in the world of college football. I almost couldn’t concentrate. But I was chill. Leave the rivalry for the gridiron, right?

     Next, I had my least favorite class, English. I really just find that class boring. I’ve already studied 99% of what we cover, so I’m too uninspired to really get into what we’re learning. Today had the blessing of two consecutive tests. I’m hoping I did better than I think 🙂 During a time of silent working, I sneezed. The football player who sits beside me turned directly to me and, in a booming voice, exclaimed, “GOD BLESS YOU!” I replied with a simple thank you and try not to burst out laughing 🙂

     Last period was World Music, and our teacher is still out. So, we watched (drum roll please!) High School Musical 3! I’ll admit, I still love that movie 🙂 But this time watching it, I couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast between East High and real public high school. Disney does not give as realistic a depiction as I once believed.

     So, yes, my life is pretty much falling into a routine again. I still hope God decides to shake it up every once in a while. Getting comfortable where you are, I’ve learned, isn’t always the best thing, because that’s the moment when everything changes. I still want crazy, after all.

Stay strong and fearless,


I Want Crazy

“Well, I don’t want good and I don’t want good enough… I don’t want easy, I want crazy.”

– “I Want Crazy” by Hunter Hayes


     The only way to describe today was with one of my recent favorite songs, “I Want Crazy” by country artist Hunter Hayes. I’ve realized in my life that nothing is ever normal. My life and I have never been what’s classified as “average.” This I sometimes resent, but for today I am thankful.

     It’s no secret I’m generally a rather shy and awkward person who gets myself into messes it generally takes a miracle to get myself out of. This morning, as my sister and I were standing in the commons area waiting for the bell to ring, I realized, being the huge dummy that I am, I had forgotten my lunch. My very caring sister gave me her apple, and I planned to fill up with my HUGE water bottle. That was my plan for this surely less-than-fantastic day.

     First period was guitar. Earl (my guitar) and I headed down the too long a walk to the band room, only to discover that the teacher is still out with his wife who just had a baby last week. The class had a sub for a sub, so there were no lesson plans, and we were set loose to do what we could with our guitars. You know what I can do with my guitar? Nothing.

     So, I shut Earl back in his case and pulled out my English book to study for my vocabulary test. Alone and quiet again. Great fun. After a while, I headed to the bathroom for just a second and a reality check. Looking in the mirror, I took a deep breath and remembered the decision I’d made this weekend: I wanted to trust God completely in everything and desire only Him, even if it was crazy (“I don’t want easy, I want crazy,” I had prayed, knowing that things of God don’t often make sense or are simple). I went back out, finished my studying, and pulled out my notebook.

     Hiding within the pages of my notebook is a habit I have long entertained. I love to write; it’s the reason I’m taking guitar in the first place. I want to be able to put music to songs I write (Swiftie much?). So, I was just writing away, and eventually I finished and put my pen down for a second.  “Are you writing songs?” one of the girls sitting near me asked.

       “Well, yeah,” I replied quietly. She, her friend, and I discussed writing for a few minutes before the girl asked if she could see one of my songs. I hesitantly turned my page to a completed one and handed it to her. As she read, her friend was playing a Hunter Hayes song from her iPod. I commented that I loved Hunter, and we talked about him.

     Handing my notebook back to me, the other girl asked if I sang the songs I wrote. I told her not really, and that was why I was learning guitar. “I want to hear you sing,” she said. I eventually complied, softly singing part of Hunter’s “I Want Crazy.”

     “Let’s all sing it!” the friend with the iPod said, playing the song. So, the three of us sat in a circle, quietly singing Hunter Hayes songs while everyone else who could actually play guitar was in their own world. A few of the guys laughed at us, but we didn’t care. It was pretty fun 🙂

     After guitar was geometry. We are learning basic constructions, and I do mean basic. This was literally pre-algebra stuff for me, and this is supposed to be the honors class. So, I have little homework that shouldn’t take me long. Let me tell you, I much prefer this geometry to the Algebra II I had last year. I cannot graph for my life.

     Third period I had English and that vocabulary test I’d been studying for. I could have kicked myself when it was over because one question I thought I didn’t have the right answer to I actually had known. Haha pains of those who care too much 🙂 But the rest of English was review about gerunds, again. I answered one question right aloud, and the football player beside me cheered for me again. He makes class interesting…

     Then was my lunchtime dilemma. I had no food and no friends. However, as I came to realize today, God loves me enough to have everything under control. Remember what I said earlier about things of God not making sense? Well, so, during geometry there was an announcement about something called “Girl Talk” that would be held in a classroom during lunch. There would be food, so I went.

     It turned out to be a Youth for Christ led weekly girls’ Bible study. I think I may continue going. Funny how God used something as irritating as forgetting my lunch (and having no money to purchase one 🙂 ) to answer one of my hardest and longest prayers of the summer- to somehow find Him in public school. And I think I may have 🙂

      By the end of the day, I was so ready to just grab Earl and get on that bus. Laying with my head against his case and my iPod playing Hunter Hayes into my ears, I had one of those “how different my life is now” moments. Yeah, it’s not easy, and it’s been crazy, but with God leading, how could it not be incredible?

     So, in life, never settle for good enough or even good. Seek God first and look for the crazy. The things that make sense and are safe aren’t from Him, it’s the crazy, just- trust-Me-with-your-life, faith alone kinds of things that make life worth living. I don’t know about you, but I sure want crazy.

     “Are you with me baby? Let’s be crazy!”

Stay strong and fearless,