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

Who You Are

     Over the past week, I have been asked if I was a twin, telepathic, and Jewish. Only one of these, of course, is true for me (As for the other two, it was a twin-telephatic joke, and I was the only person in my Spanish class who knew the word for “bar mitzvah”.). Things like that have got me thinking- “who are you, really?” 

      To some, such as the security guards in the cafeteria, I am the girl who brings a jar of Nutella everyday for lunch. To others, I’m the person who spends way too much time in the library (what can I say? I have a very bad book habit 🙂 ). In my guitar class, I’m the girl who loves Taylor Swift and always has an extra pick you can borrow. I’ve been, “WOAH! Are you twins?!” quite a lot this year. In English class, I have to try not to be Hermione Granger ( if you don’t get it- a literary figure who “knew it all” and was constantly raising her hand to answer every question the teacher asked).

     There are things I strive to be, like a straight-A student and finished with all the standardized tests they make me take. There are also things I don’t want to be, like late for class or the bus, or hacked on Twitter, like yesterday 😛 Then, there are the things I’d like to be, like a  National Merit scholar, that probably won’t happen. For now, I’m just glad to be done with the PSATs for, like, ever!

     During my time in the library today, I decided to get a head start on something interesting- a contest to win a Kindle Fire tablet, which would do wonders for my book habit! All I have to do is read ten of the sixteen “teen read” books and take the AR tests on them, by spring. Ten books in six or seven months? Easy! So, I chose my first book today. The Latte Rebellion is a story about identity and standing up for who you are. I’m barely into it yet, but I have a feeling it is going to be good 🙂

     High school is generally where you do a lot of “discovering who you are.” You try new things, meet different people, decide what you want to do with your life… I’m far from having it all figured out, but, so far, I think I like what I’m finding. 

     I believe that staying true to who you are is one of the most important things you can do. 

“I am a flamingo in a flock of pigeons”

     -Confessions of A Teenage Drama Queen

     I don’t know about you, but I’d rather stay the flamingo than try to be a pigeon any day.

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen

The Day I Had Two Lunches

     So, today was the first day of my junior year and my first day of starting public high school. I’ve been going to private school since the third grade, and my family moved last year. So, this year, my twin sister and I decided to try something different. Little did we know just what we were getting into….

     I rode the bus for the first time. I felt like a warrior going into battle. I was strong and fearless and nothing could stop me from having the best day of my life! We had started out the morning right by praying out loud at the bus stop. Surely, this “big yellow limousine,” as I called it in reference to a “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” quote, was taking me to my next greatest adventure! I was ready for anything!

     The first two periods went rather well. I started out with guitar, something I’ve been wanting to learn for years. You can imagine how excited I am that our “homework” assignment is to research the guitarist from one of our favorite songs. Naturally, I knew instantly who I was going to pick (Dustin Belt of Heffron Drive, if you wanted to know).

     Then came geometry. Anyone who knows me well enough knows that any kind of mathematics and I are sworn enemies. I do fine in the class, I just don’t particularly enjoy it. The class is supposed to have 45 instructional minutes and 25 study hall minutes. There’s a random bell that rings halfway through. So, geometry went alright, and my sister and I headed to our lunch period.

     As I sat trying to eat my lunch at 11:00 AM, I thought, “This is too early! I’m not hungry. I wish my lunch could be later!” I should have kept my big mouth shut, because I got my wish. After lunch I headed to English class. I got lost along the way and had to retrace, making me what I thought was only a few minutes late. I caught up quickly and paid attention.

     But then the bell rang 15 minutes later. I was so confused… I headed out to the main area, where I ran into the junior class’s counselor, and she helped me understand my wacky schedule. Turns out, that random bell that rang halfway through geometry was the bell signaling for people like me to get to English class! I had missed half of English at the first lunch, and the second half was after the second lunch. Does that make as little sense as it makes to me????

     So after my second lunch (where I finished the lunch I was not hungry enough to eat at 11), I went back to English class and was NOT late this time because I went early and waited outside the right classroom (err, actually I was a few doors too far down).

     The class went on fine, and last period (World Music)  was the most normal part of my day, except for a new favorite quote I have from my teacher. This class is in the band room, which has a huge carpeted area that stains easily. This is a pet peeve of the custodians, due to a long three-year-old Gatorade stain through one side of the room. The teacher told us,” You are not allowed to have any food or drinks in the carpeted area except water, and candy. I like candy. Bring enough to share.”

     The bus ride home was blessedly uneventful.

     So, there you have it- the day I had two lunches. Hopefully it won’t happen again tomorrow, because the B-Day schedule is entirely different (except geometry is in the same period- wish me luck with that halfway bell!).

     Living the events of this day was pretty overwhelming, but looking back, it’s rather funny. I know God goes before me, and He’s writing a story, and it’s going to be beautiful. I’m meeting the real world, one very crazy day at a time. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Stay strong and fearless,

Kristen