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

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

 

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

Can’t Think Of A Proper Title

     The last few minutes of Friday describes last week in a nutshell. I went to tutoring for the test I would be required to take this week, but I had already finished my online practice things for it a few days before. So, I got permission to go to my class. I went across the street to the elementary school. I finished the work for my teacher early and was alone in the room. Since I still had a few minutes, or so I thought, I entertained myself for a while before I left. According to the clock, I was fine.

     But the clock was wrong. I looked across the road at the high school and saw people pouring out. I fastwalked over as quickly as I could. When I finally got there, my bus was  nowhere to be found! I asked a security guard, and he pointed me towards the very back of the busline. Once I got to my bus, there was a line to get in, because we were being checked in by our substitute bus driver. I had made it just in time! 🙂

   Yesterday, Monday, test day… I had to report to a certain computer lab first thing yesterday morning for a required reading test make-up (because I didn’t take it in tenth grade). Like I expected, it was relatively easy, and I was finished before first period was even over. So, I got permission to return to my first period class, guitar. But of course, I hadn’t brought Earl that day because the test was supposed to take three hours.

     As I was walking in, I was just hoping I hadn’t missed much. But just my luck, they were talking about the test we’ll have tomorrow. Thankfully, my friends are good to me, and after he had finished talking they explained to me what they’d done. I was lent a book and a guitar, and I was able to practice. Exciting thing- one of the chords we’re learning this week is the last one I need to be able to play one of my current favorite songs- “I Want Crazy” by Hunter Hayes. 🙂

     After we cleaned up, I realized I was so hungry. I remembered my lunch plan- in my purse is a jar of Nutella and a bag of crackers. Yum… I sat by the door of the bandroom (where we are allowed to have food, away from the carpet!) and opened up my Nutella and ate my crackers. One of my friends came running over and asked if she could have some of it. She was so excited when I gave it to her that she was practically dancing. 🙂 

     I had the second half of that test today, and I am so relieved to just be able to finally wipe my hands of it. I thought I was done with tests, but just one more- PSAT next week. 😛 At least my schedule can go back to normal, though!

     I may have mentioned before that my geometry class is mostly comprised of freshman. Freshman can be really fun or really tiring. Last Friday we had a practice lockdown, and the teacher had all 25 of us hide in her large closet. To keep us quiet, she passed out lollipops. In a dark closet full of freshman eating a grape lollipop (yes, I am one of the strange people who actually like the grape ones)- definitely not how I’d expected to spend my Friday morning!

     Geometry today was insanity again. The teacher’s plans  and lesson had been erased by her computer, so she gave us a study hall day. For most people, that meant sitting on desks and talking or rolling around in the wheeled stool. But it was better than cutting and gluing for our “interactive notebooks” any day!

     But the highlight of my day is definitely having no homework (not including studying!). For me, that means I finally have time to do the things I want to do, like watch “Boy Meets World” and blog. 🙂

     Tomorrow’s a brand new day, and afterschool Bible study! Hopefully, my sister and I can find our way to the right pickup spot this time, not the middle of town or the short bus stop!

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen