a list of things that are true

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

if you're reading this, all of the following are true:

1. you are alive. as your lungs rise and fall, your body is taking in air -- 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, and less than 1% other gases -- and turning it into energy and sustenance and life. because you are reading this, your time isn't up yet. go do big things.

2. you are sitting on a land mass that is in volume approximately 260 million cubic miles as it orbits the sun at 66 thousand miles an hour whilst it rotates at various speeds around 1000 miles an hour, depending how far north or south you are from the equator. as we sit still, we are moving at rapid speeds. we are living, breathing miracles.*

3. the sun is 92.96 million miles away. if it were any closer, you'd scorch; any further, you'd freeze.

4. inside your skull sits an organ composed of neurons, dendrites, axons, water, and fat that gives you the capability to turn these squiggly lines into meaning and comprehend that meaning in a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a second.

5. the average human heart beats 108,000 times a day. yours is beating right now. never forget that feeling.

6. love is not a societal construct. it exists, and you are capable of making someone feel it. share some love today, okay?

* information courtesy of NASA

adios, junior year

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Last year I told you all a few things I learned from sophomore year. That was one of my favorite posts of the year to write, I think, because I learned so much about myself, and as I typed the words, I came to a series of realizations. This year, I've tried to think of what I can take away from Junior year of high school, but I've got nothin'. Nada. Zero.

Last week, I only had one exam to take, because I made A's in every class but one. I only had one exam to study for, one exam to look for on the exam schedule posted online, but still, I came up short. I had thought the exam was Friday, but on Wednesday morning at 11 am, less than an hour before class started, I realized that for two weeks I had been reading the exam schedule wrong, and the exam was indeed on Wednesday. Not Friday.

To me, that was the reminder I needed that we all fall short on a daily basis. I had so much sitting on my plate -- mentally, at least -- that I could not even read a schedule the right way. I was so distracted and so preoccupied that I could not even manage the date of the one final I had to take. Junior year was really just a huge neon sign screaming, You are not Wonder Woman. You cannot do it all.

One evening during the school year, I was exhausted from homework and working out and everyday life, so I decided that I would study a little before bed for my upcoming APUSH test, then get up early to prepare more. That was my first mistake. My second proved fatal. I slept through my alarm, waking up three hours later than I had planned and barely leaving enough time to get ready for school. APUSH was first period, and I hardly knew what the test was on, much less enough information to actually pass. After a small breakdown and a hug from Mom, I headed to school, feeling completely hopeless and inadequate.

Later in the year, while reviewing for the European History AP exam, I was supposed to give a short talk on how I would answer an assigned short answer question. I had read all the information I needed to, and this time I was prepared, but as I walked from the back of the class to the front, my brain turned from an intellectual machine to an over-obsessive, self-conscious organ that lost all ability to function while so many eyes were glued to me. I stumbled over my words, rambled about Henry of Navarre and the Edict of Nantes, then quietly scurried back to my desk. The rest of the class, I fought the urge to burst into tears. It wasn't pretty.

In the end, neither of these occurrences, nor the many others in which I fell short, ended up mattering. I made five A's and one C that may as well have been a B. When I apply for college, that's all they'll see. But what those days and nights taught me was valuable.

Because as much as I need to be reminded that I am special and unique, I also need to be reminded that I am just like everyone else. We all fall short. We all feel unprepared. We all are completely blind in knowing the future. We're all given a life sentence on this earth, and none of us knows how long that will be.

I'm catching up on a She Reads Truth Bible study that is Lent themed. Long story short, I got super behind on my reading during Lent, mostly because of school, and didn't start catching up until recently. Today, I opened my Bible with an anxious heart, wanting to control every circumstance, accomplish everything on my to-do list, and come out unscathed. When I finished, God had shown me that it is not my job to try and control everything. Claire Gibson wrote, "God is with us, even in calamity. Our fear is not proof that our God is absent." 

I know it is so much easier said than done, but can you do me a favor? Try and focus on God's promises today instead obsessing over what will happen? I know politically, culturally, economically, and just about every way else, we are in turmoil. But don't let that stop you from living your life. Don't let all the little things you have to do distract you from the beauty you can experience every single day. Life is short, and no matter what they tell us, your grades don't matter as much as who you become.Create a person you would be proud to call a friend. Most likely, if you're reading this, trigonometry won't help you in the future, but becoming someone you don't mind being, or someone you like to be? That's priceless.

Fellow rising seniors, how did you survive the dreaded junior year, and what did you learn? Let me know in the comments!

ALSO! FUN NEWS!!! I now have a monthly newsletter! If you don't see the option to sign up on the sidebar to your right, click this link. You'll receive monthly updates and exclusive content!!! EEEP!!!

to be seen

Thursday, June 1, 2017

it happened when i was running my fingers across the piano keys. the most unlikely of times, really. i had a recital in a week, so i was practicing. generally, i hate practicing, but my piano teacher had instructed me to write a story with the music; and that, i can do. my fingers played but my mind was somewhere else. and before i knew what was happening my heart was clenching with the feeling i get when i am inspired. and i realized something.

the girl in this song, whoever she may be, wanted to be seen.

it's the introvert's greatest paradox: the desire to be seen for who she is. i know who they think i am, i know who i think i am, and i know who i want to be. but they only see what they want to.

they see the things i carry around with me: books, music, a journal, a camera. they hear the things i say: too often complaints concerning the slowness of this life, or broadway lyrics i don't have the voice to sing, or random hypotheticals that carry no relevance. they see what i wear: usually, this time of year, a casual tee from old navy or loft with jeans or jean shorts; birkenstocks or other sandals; and the one casual necklace i have, a pearl tied in the middle of a leather band.

i have to remember that they don't see things as i do. their brains are not hyperactive in the areas of self-preservation and self-consciousness, as mine is. i obsessively predict what everyone is thinking and why she's thinking it, perhaps to try and relieve the anxiety, perhaps to make it worse. so again and again i come to this question: do they see me?

there are many things i am not and a few things i am.

i am, by no means, an artist. i am a writer, perhaps, but all too often i cannot take what i see and translate it to paper an ink.

i am not a perfectionist. i am, however, afraid of the repercussions of imperfection. the motivation to achieve that perfection is nonexistent.

i am not a thinker. i like to think, but i think in terms of feelings. i struggle to keep from turning those feelings into facts. sometimes i catch myself before those feelings become a justification for something i shouldn't do. sometimes i don't.

i am not an all-a student. i always make a low b, sometimes a c, in math. i don't usually have the motivation or the energy to force my brain to think in such confined parameters. 

i am not a child prodigy. for a long time, i wanted to be. then i realized that the spotlight is too hot for kids like me. i am mostly just a normal kid who wants to make it in this world, and that's okay.

i am not an activist. i try to be. i can talk about, write about, issues all day long, but when it comes to actually doing something about them, i never know where to begin. perhaps i'll grow out of that.

i am not a genius. the more i learn, i find, the less i know. it is humbling to live in a world so full of things to know, because i know i can never know all of them.

i am a writer, a dreamer, the proud owner of a perpetually messy mind. i may not be unique, but i strive to be. i may not make a difference yet, but i want to. i may not talk much, but i relish the moments when i feel the sun on my skin and smile because i am alive. i may seem boring, but i like to stargaze and feel the wind in my hair and laugh till my insides ache.

those are just a few things. do you see me yet?

p.s. the annual q & a vlog is coming this summer. i'll post officially asking for questions in the near future. thanks for reading <3