Comforting Things

There’s someone awake right now. Every single second is watched by somebody on this planet.
You’re breathing the same atmosphere and living under the same sun as the ones you love.
The earth is 4 billion years old. The horrible thing you’re dreading isn’t so big in the grand scheme of things. It will pass.
There’s something blooming or growing somewhere on this planet.
Hugs exist.
Smiling is a universal language.
If you could get through this much of your life so far, you can get through this one difficult moment.
Everything has poetic potential.
Emotions aren’t foreign. You’re not alone with your feelings. Somebody else has felt them before.
This infographic.

Think about these things when you’re overwhelmed or stressed. They help me in my worst times.

The Library (We’re All Kids)

At school, lunch is my time to steal off to the library. I really enjoy the freedom. There aren’t any teachers telling me where to go or what to do. It’s my time to be me, my time to be free. The library is peaceful, calm, and stocked full of almost any kind of book I can imagine. That alone is enough to keep me there for hours on end. In the past few weeks, though, I’ve discovered so much more.

First, I saw there was a new couch. There were already half a dozen individual sofas, but they have annoyingly noisy plastic coverings, and they aren’t easy to fall asleep in–unless you’re really wiped. This new couch has three cushions and five pillows or so. It’s soft, plushy, and smells faintly of dust, like a grandma’s house. Off to the left, there are two tables very low to the ground, surrounded by a few bean bag chairs. There’s a chess board, the game of Life, Clue, and a few more games–checkers, probably. Another table has a whiteboard surface. There’s a box of dry erase markers on it, and a sign that says “Think Out Loud.” It’s covered in drawings, writing, names–things inside teenagers’ minds.

I looked around the library and saw a guy with his hoodie over his face, curled up on that grandmotherly couch, so motionless that he looked like he could be in REM sleep. Sitting on those plastic couches was another group of students, chatting about God knows what. It annoyed me, as I come to the library for a break, but they were relaxing like I was all the same. Two girls were playing Life together. Another girl was across the whiteboard table from me, scribbling away with her headphones in.

There are some who would say that all these new library additions are stupid wastes of time. We should be studying and preparing for “the real world.” The thing is, though, that high school students are bombarded with this already. Many of us are at school for more hours than we’ve slept. At our core, we’re still kids. High schoolers need time to play, too. We all do. We’re all kids inside, and there are few things more beautiful than taking a break and letting ourselves be children again.

School

It starts tomorrow. The beginning of another nine months of my life. Waking up with something to go do every day. Surrounded by responsibility, work, people, and at some point, stress. I’m more nervous than I should be. What if I can’t live up to last year? I really did make a difference then. I don’t want to just fade away. I want to keep helping and influencing people.

If school was just a one month thing, I wouldn’t be so nervous. But it’s like I’m being locked into nine months of life, and that just seems daunting to me. I’m not afraid of commitment. No, I could never be one of those people who never commits and never settles down. I like committing to things, actually–but I just don’t know. School is such a large portion of my life. It’s not just one area. It affects my time, my relationships, my personal schedule, even my thought processes. Every school year, a new struggle comes my way. It’s been such a good summer, and I don’t want that to end. I don’t want to be slapped in the face with more difficulties.

It’s just kinda overwhelming.

Stress

Hello, my beautiful readers (I want to spread love so I always say something like that. You are worth it!). This is both a personal update and a warning that I won’t be able to post many blog posts this coming year. And if I do, that means I’m either slacking off, super passionate about something that it’s worth slacking off over, or too depressed to do anything but write on the internet.

And now, the update. School is far more stressful than I had anticipated. I’ve got the work ethic. I’m doing everything I can (while keeping my health first, of course) to stay on top of things. The problem is, I’m having trouble in school. In previous years, the only problem standing between me and straight A’s was my poor time management skills. Such is not true anymore. The material isn’t making sense to me–only in Chemistry and Geometry, though. The little time I have is devoted to homework, so it’s difficult to find the time to get help. I’m committed to a three-hour program that meets three days a week, which I’m not about to quit. (And don’t take advantage of my openness by asking what it is.) My anxiety has gotten especially bad. At least three times a week so far, I have had to step out of class for emotional reasons. And you know what is really distressing? I’ve lost confidence in my academic ability. Last year at this time, I knew full well that I could do anything. For a reason I don’t know, I just don’t feel that way anymore. During an in-class essay, it took me almost half the period to finish the introductory paragraph. Putting the pencil to the paper terrifies me. Nothing I write seems to flow anymore. It doesn’t sound like me. Telling me to just have more confidence will not be helpful. I do not know why this terrifies me. This is distressing to me. This lack of confidence applies to every class, it seems. When I’m called on in French class, my ability to speak freely disappears. I can’t present in front of the class so easily. My heart races when I have to say anything. Although I try to push myself to leave my comfort zone, nothing works. My lack of confidence becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’ve got to go now. I don’t have to time to continue.

Cheers.

At four in the morning…

Today and tomorrow, and then the quarter is over. That’s all I have to get through. Then I’m rewarded with a four-day weekend. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?

No. It’s not simple. If it were simple, I wouldn’t have stayed up this entire night staring at the wall and eating bananas. I wouldn’t be trying to bag up all my stray thoughts to throw out for the night. I wouldn’t be working on a freaking French project at four in the morning. 

How will I possibly have all the energy necessary to make it through the day? School starts in just over three hours. I can’t go to sleep. I tried that, and I couldn’t fall asleep. My mind is too shot to do anymore homework. Maybe I’ll stare at that picture-perfect smile of mine from over a year ago, the one that needs to be taken out of its frame already. I could always eat another banana. My stomach is rumbling again. 

I obviously can’t write. Even my basic grasp of grammar has leaked out the holes stress and exhaustion have blown in my mind. I am so burnt out. First quarter of freshman year, and I’m already about as worn as a dirty dish rag. 

Just two days, I tell myself. Only fourteen hours of school until the four-day weekend. It seems like so much, though. How could I possibly be this exhausted after just a few months into the school year? This has never happened before. If high school is this hard, I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it. 

High school…

Yes, I’m an abnormal writer. I see the world at a different angle, and I don’t always make sense to normal kids. At the end of the day, however, I’m still a teenage girl. I still have the some of the same worries and hopes I’m sure my peers have. Well, here they are, folks. School starts tomorrow, and I’m getting rid of my “I’m so confident about starting fresh” facade.

  1. Academics. This is my greatest fear. I mean, it’s high school! I may have gotten away with mediocrity through middle school, but it stops here. I’m confident that I have the ability to do incredibly well, but I’m not so confident that I’ll be able to focus on my studies. My creative brain is so easily distracted! If I spend my time screwing around with my head in the clouds, it won’t matter how much raw intelligence I have–I’ll be sure to fail.
  2. Social groups. Specifically in the cafeteria, where cliquishness runs free and wild. Lunchtime is one of the most terrifying school experiences ever. Students are less supervised, for one thing. (Lunch monitors don’t do a single thing except tell you to dispose of your trash correctly. They might as well not be there.) What should happen if I were to pick the wrong table, or worse, end up sitting all alone? 
  3. Comparisons. My genius older brother will be a senior this year. I’m nervous that the teachers will only think of me as “Ian’s little sister” and expect me to be just as smart as he is. It has happened in the past, and it will probably happen again.
  4. Time. There are so many clubs and activities I could do, I just won’t be able to pick and also get good grades! Time is far more important to me than money (though that’s probably because of my age), and I so wish there were more than twenty-four hours in a day.
  5. Excess competition. My school is known for being competitive. I’ve talked to friends, read articles, and gathered things from the overall atmosphere at orientation and other similar events. Get ahead, don’t get left in the dust! Move, move, move!

I’ve glorified high school my entire life, and now, as the moment draws near, I wonder if the pedestal I’ve put it on is simply too high to climb.

 

Banana Pudding Life

Creamy, delectable banana pudding pie sits on a plate before you. After taking in the beautiful sight, you plunge your fork into the dessert and bring it your watering mouth.

It has a pungent, repulsive taste.

You wonder what went wrong. Disappointed, you spit out your bite and wash the taste out of your mouth. About the halfway through the day, you realize that you forgot to put the pudding pie in the fridge. It had been sitting out for several days unnoticed!

We humans can be compared this dessert. When we forget to take time off and care for ourselves, it’s only a matter of time before we sour. There is a difference between being lazy and taking a necessary break. In addition to having a sour attitude, we start to lash out at the people we love due to all the stress.

So, my friends–are you in the fridge? Or have you let yourself sit out and go bad?

Guilt and Diamonds

This year hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park. (I hate cliches, but this one is necessary.) It’s been more of a run-for-your-life in ancient Pompeii. I’ve done a lot of stupid things. Shameful things, hurtful things, dangerous things. Although I’ve refocused my life, it is still difficult to deal with guilt.

As much as I’d like to, I don’t loaf around all day thinking about what I’m going to blog about next. Well, okay, that’s only on Friday afternoons. My point is that I do have a life to tend to, feelings to deal with, and my own little history.

Parts of this little history are things I’m not proud of, especially February and most of March. Last night I was overcome with the shame of these short months, a tangle of guilt and regret. It was only until about 8:00 that I began emerging from my wretched state.

I’m still a princess. Just because I’ve screwed up in the past doesn’t change my royalty. (I am referring to my belief that I’m a child of God.) Everybody messes up; everybody falls down; everyone has times in their lives they’re not proud of. Guilt shouldn’t hinder us, rather, it should shape us to become better people.

The analogy I frequently use is the diamond. I’m not scientist, but I know that diamonds begin as coal. It is only under stress and great heat that they become the sparkling jewel. Diamonds are the strongest jewels–but still profoundly beautiful.

Today, don’t let your guilt hinder you. Aspire to be the diamond. Through your hardship, remember that the stress and heat is necessary to become that beautiful jewel.