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:
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,