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.

-Kristen

 

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

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

Wildcard

“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,

Kristen

 

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

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

 

Through the Looking Glass

In my Spanish class, we do these things called “learning logs” at the end of each class. We take a few minutes to make a short “log” of what we learned in class that day, reflecting on what was the most important. I think that Thanksgiving is kind of like this, where we take a day to reflect on all the things we are thankful for and what’s most important to us.

Over Thanksgiving Break, I did a lot of thinking about what’s really important in life. I also started to think about mirrors. There’s a verse in 1 Corinthians 13 that says, “Now we see a dim reflection, as in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face.” When you look out a window, it’s beautiful. What you see is the real thing, created by God. But when you look in a mirror, all you’re seeing is a dim reflection of the true beauty. And, besides, it’s not what’s in the mirror, but what’s on the inside, that really matters, right?

So this is where I’m headed with this: In our world, we often spend too much time looking in the mirror and not enough enjoying the view outside the window. We do everything we can to try to make what we see in the mirror beautiful, yet it could never compare to real beauty. It’s just a reflection. I’m guilty of spending too much time chasing reflections, trying to find what’s “real,” yet I’ve learned that imitations never satisfy. I decided to stop looking in the mirror, turn around, and look for more windows. I have so much more to be thankful for than I’ve realized.

After my very thought-filled Thanksgiving Break, I’ve returned to the harsh reality of quantum numbers and Barre chords and rhombuses and all the other wonderful things being a high school junior entails. But it’s still something to be thankful for, right?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to finish up some geometry and then study for my SAT… It’s still something you’ll be thankful you learned one day, Kristen!

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

Not Afraid To Fall

I accidentally wished my bus driver a happy Thanksgivingukkah.

That really happened.

This is why I’ve been asked twice if I’m Jewish.

I’m not.

I’m just…. culturally aware?

So, yeah, it’s been quite the day, as you can tell. Guess what I did in school????!!!

Squat.

First period, we had a party in Spanish class because we’d just finished a unit about food. It was nice; I didn’t have to think. Next was geometry. I’m usually prepared for class, but today of all days, I’d left my workbook at home. Panic seized my heart. But good fortune had my back. The 98% freshman and sophomores class had planned a “surprise party” and brought food. The teacher magically agreed to an impromptu party rather than the seventy problems she was about to assign. I breathed a sigh of relief. I got up to get food, sacrificing my leftover polvorones from Spanish to the party spread. The rest of the class decided that the oldest students would go first, so, as the only juniors, my sister and I were at the front of the line. I ate well this morning.

My morning at school was so much better than my morning before. It was fine, actually, until I walked out of the house. I was just heading down the driveway, bag of cookies in hand, when I slipped on some mud and the opening of”Sweeter Than Fiction” popped into my head: “Hit the ground, hit the ground, hit the ground, oh oh/ Only sound, only sound that you hear is ‘No’/You never saw it coming/Slipped when you started running/And now you’ve come undone and I, I, I, I/Seen you fall, seen you crawl on your knees, eh eh….” Because that’s what I did. I slipped and fell on my knees (But no worries! I made a quick move that enabled me to save the cookies!).

The afternoon went blessedly quickly. We had a sub in chemistry and were left to our devices to work independently. I finished my assignment relatively easily, but I needed to google a few terms. I used my assigned laptop to finish, but then I was left with empty time. So, naturally, I passed it in the most logical way: I fanfictioned 🙂 I’m almost done with the story now.

During my last period interning, I filed. I had like 20 folders spread out in the back of the classroom and a huge stack of papers in front of me. Now, you must understand, as someone who’s philosophy is “Life’s too short to be organized,” sorting and organizing isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. But I spiced up the menial task with some T.Swizzle (thank you, earbuds!). It wasn’t that bad, actually.

I spent the last few minutes of the day in a media center chair, chipping away at Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver. It’s not as good as The Raven Boys, but her writing style is just so… how I wish I could write!

Finally, the day was over. After locating our bus (it was at the end of the line today and no one had bothered to announce it), my sister and I were on our way home.

And now it’s Fall Break (or as we called it, “Thanksgivingukkah Break”)! And it’s already as beautiful as they say school vacation is. Heffron Drive put out a new song, so my day’s been made!! It’s the little things in life, I guess 🙂

Happy Fall Break/Thanksgivingukkah!

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen