Here Now, a Long Time Ago.

Do you ever wonder what the world looked like before anyone was here?

What would the earth look like if there were no buildings, no cars, no sign that it had been touched by any human ever.

Take a look around at exactly where you are right now. Stop reading for a moment, close your eyes, and try to picture it.

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I think there would be lots of dry grass where I am. If I were to lay down on the ground, I would slowly sink into the scratchy brush until my back met the hard dirt below.

The air would be cool. There would be lots of oak trees everywhere.

A creek might curve its way through the little valley, slowly moving across the open space. Supposedly there used to be one, but it’s long gone now.

It’s night time. The sky would be so dark, but the stars would be so bright, speckled against the blackness.

I’m not quite sure what it would sound like. I know there would be wind, rustling the brush a little bit. The barn owls, coyotes, and mountain lions would roam through the hills, looking for something to eat.

I’ve never known the world when it was untouched, the way it was supposed to be. But, I think about it all of the time.

I wish I could be there.

 

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Raspberries

The taste of raspberries reminds me of your garden. I haven’t been there in a long time, but the memories are just as clear as they’ve been five or ten years ago. Clear, but now with a blue undertone that makes me feel a little sick.

Why couldn’t you have been normal grandparents? Why are all our memories limited to those imposed walks through your garden and those dinners where you would clearly so much rather have sat at home watching the news or reading the same books over and over again? Why couldn’t you come visit us sometimes? Why could’t you teach us how to

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bake or play chess or make paper planes? Why couldn’t you remember my birthday?

I know that I have no idea what it is like to be you guys, what it is like to live a difficult life and grow as old as you are now. But, your life isn’t difficult anymore, you have it so easy. So, why couldn’t you make it easy for us? Why couldn’t you make it easy for Mama; why do you have to be so loveless? Why did you have to kick us out of our house when I was two? Why did you have to tell me I was fat when I was thirteen? Why do you always have to tell me how horrible my mother is when she is actually the opposite of all that is wrong with you?

You don’t want us living in California; you want us back home, so you can see us every few months and be able to say how proud you are of how great your grandchildren turned out. But, you have no right to take credit. I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel and that’s how you made me feel.

I know I am so lucky with the life I have, but I am mad. I am mad and that’s your fault. You are the reason I get mad when I taste raspberries, you are the reason I never got to have grandparents.

A Letter to John Green

Dear John Green,

I’m writing to you because Banned Book Week gives a good opportunity for students, like myself, to share my opinions on Looking For Alaska being the #1 most challenged book of 2015. Looking For Alaska was mainly challenged due to its “sexual content” and for its “inappropriate language.” However, as a high school student, I can attest that the content of Looking For Alaska is a realistic portrayal of many aspects of the teen experience.

One of the two scenes relating to sex in the book is the epitome of how unattractive, undesirable, and empty physical intimacy can be without deep emotional connection. The other potentially “sexual” scene depicts how much more powerful, rewarding, and  meaningful something as little as a kiss can feel when a deep emotional connection is present.

The “sexual” concepts in the book are in no way “pornographic” as they have been perceived. If anything, the book teaches essential lessons in a non-direct, non-experimental way. As for the so-called “inappropriate language,” it is nothing but real. The language used in the book is a realistic look into a conversation between teenagers, which Looking For Alaska is meant to reflect. The novel did an excellent job of doing so and I would highly recommend it to others.

In closing, I would like to take a moment to appreciate your writing which reflects the strong, authentic narrative of contemporary teenagers. Your books deserve to be read.

Respectfully yours,

underwaterismyflyzone

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Sweaty Hugs and Hard-Earned Gatorade

Photo Credit: thepreachersword.com
team
tēm/
noun:
a group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport.
synonyms: group, squad, company, party, crew, troupe, band, side, lineup, phalanx
verb:
come together as a team to achieve a common goal.
“he teamed up with the band to produce the album”
synonyms: join (forces), collaborate, get together, work together.
Sweaty hugs; cheering until my throat is raw;the pre-race jitters; hard-earned Gatorade; singing to “Africa” on the bus rides; pushing through almost unbearable pain; the cheers from my coaches and team mates; the feeling of success, when all the hard training and effort pays off; the happiness of coaches bringing food, after you just pushed yourself to your physical max; the endless support we have for each other; the amount of effort we put in; the dynamic and connection between us athletes; the fact that real teammates don’t only care about how you perform, they care about how hard you try. All these things contribute to the the feeling of being part of an authentic team, which is one of the best feelings that exists.
au·then·tic
ôˈTHen(t)ik/
adjective
adjective: authentic.
of undisputed origin; genuine.
“the letter is now accepted as an authentic document”

synonyms: genuine, real, bona fide, true, veritable

antonyms: fake. synonyms: reliable, dependable, trustworthy, authoritative, honest, faithful.

In my words, the way it should be: caring and real. 

I’ve been on many teams before. On some, we’ve won championships and received numerous trophies. On some, we placed last and got our asses handed to us. Winning is great, it’s what I strive to do, but I’ve realized that more than just winning that counts. I’ve realized that to have a good team, winning can’t be the only focus.

On a previous team, every day I would give my all. Yet, no matter how hard I tried, even the slightest mess-up resulted in dirty glares and angry shrugs. It made it so I was nervous to go to practice; I was afraid of my teammates; I pushed myself to the limits, because I was scared the punishment if I didn’t; and I was absolutely mortified before every game. This approach worked. I got stronger, I got better, I became a better athlete, but I forgot the fact that I love the sport.

After two years on that team, another opportunity came up, so I switched to a team with a VERY different dynamic. We pushed each other to do our best, to be our best. When slip-ups or bad days came, we encouraged each other to get better, not to feel like shit. I became so close to my teammates, I had good relationships with my coaches, I was so excited to go to practice everyday, and I pushed myself to the limits, because I wanted to get better for myself and my team. Our team performed just as well as the other one I mentioned and my love for the sport was rekindled.

Recently, I joined another team. I love both of the teams I’m on right now so much, but it’s been a long time since I have felt the feeling of happiness, appreciation, friendship, and passion as I did yesterday at my first ever cross country meet.

I know I love swimming far more than I love running, so it confuses me that yesterday, in this sport that I just joined months ago,  has brought me almost as much joy as the sport I have been doing for years. I think it’s just because swimming is more of an individual sport without a large aspect of team. I think its because the swim team I’m on has people who qualify for the Olympics or on the Junior National Team and I’m so slow compared to them, it makes me feel like I’m slow, period. Maybe its because a cross country the team is only as strong as its weakest link, so everyone is needed. Maybe because in the small league we run in, I too place high and feel like a good runner.

I think all of these things are a factor, but what I know for sure is that the feeling of being part of an authentic team is one of the best feelings that exists.

A World Collapsed


There once was a thing named freedom. The gods created it for everyone to hold on to from birth and throughout their life, for all of us to rely on. It was a given right and we thought it was safe to stay.

It was a world of peace, as it was supposed to be. A world where we would talk and learn and see the places we wanted to see and know the things we wanted to know; it was a free world.

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There was also a thing named envy. The gods didn’t create it, people did. Why? No one knows. Because the people were bored? Because they were intimidated and jealous? Who knows? But, what can we do? Envy is the flawed human trait, one of them at least.

When envy spread across our peaceful world and the people first tasted its sour acid rain, freedom started to fade. First, the people claimed the world and its land. Then, they saw the beauty of nature and took it. They saw the beauty of the birds and took it, locked them in and traded their freedom for amusement. They kept taking, claiming, and destroying. One day, the greediest of people, saw another person and took them.

Freedom has been on the brink since then. Our world has never been the same since we started taking other people’s freedom for our own comfort. Some of us want it to be the way it used to be, some want this to be a free world again. But, some of us are not enough of us.

My Tuesday Run

Image from redbirdhills.com

In cross county, my coaches always remind us that the sport has as much to do with mental strength as it does physical strength.

With that in mind, I’d like to invite you to come running with me – for the mental part, at least.

Here’s what a few miles look like inside of my head.

Mile 1:
Don’t start too fast, just get warmed up.
It’s hot today, but not as bad as it usually is. The gravel crunches beneath my shoes. We reach a little bit of downhill.
I hear my coach’s voice: “Let gravity do the work.”
Get your breathing back. Drop your arms. Shake it out.
The road in front of us curves up a long hill. It’s steep.
Slow it down. What hurts worse, lungs or legs? Legs. I can breathe still.
My calves tighten the farther up we climb. I count my steps between each exhale. We’re running in 4/4 time. I inhale on the 1st beat, exhale through 2, 3, 4.

Mile 2:
Sweat drips down my forehead. I wipe it off with my shirt.
Take it easy now.
My breathing is steady – that’s good. My left calf hurts more than my right. The opposite of yesterday.
This hill is a bitch. Settle in, we’ll be here for a while.
It hurts.

Mile 3:
Keep your arms down. Breathe.
The road settles and is flat for a while.
You’re not tired, it just hurts.

Mile 4:
What hurts worse, lungs or legs? Both. You’re not tired, you just can’t breathe. There’s a difference.
The next two miles are steady uphill.
Use your arms! The harder you work the faster you’ll be done.

Mile 5:
This hill is a BITCH.
My ragged breathing is louder than my shoes on the pavement. Sweat covers my whole body. My arms ache from pumping and the muscles in my legs feel like they’re made of both cement and water at the same time. My mouth is so dry that when I touch my tongue to the roof of my mouth it sticks.
Eyes up, on the road. So close. I feel awful.
I can’t breathe. The smell of wood chips in the orchard makes me want to puke. Push.
Everything hurts.

The Finish:
I jog past the green gate the marking the end of the road, the end of the run. My left foot leaves the pavement and lands on grass and the right follows.
Don’t sit down. Breathe.
As I walk back and forth beneath the oak trees, my lungs start to settle down. The tension in my legs slowly fades, first easing up in my quads and then from my calves.
My breathing returns to normal. I’m not hurting anymore.
I just ran five miles.
I feel good.

 

505 </3

Maybe it was the superficial love I used to be attracted too. In love with the idea of the person, not the person. In love with the idea of being someone’s, anyone’s number one.

Not to say the boys I have been with aren’t special to me, because they are; they always will be. But, I’ve just never felt the way I do now about anyone. I didn’t know I could.

I never understood what people meant when they talked about being in love with someone. When they said they would want to spend all their time with their partner. When their partner would do something so unattractive and they would still be so in love with that person. I always kind of either thought they were faking it or it was something that grows over a lot time.

I understand now.

If I could, I would give everything to this boy.

All we’ve ever been was close friends, but I don’t mind.

I never wanted to lose him. Just being friends was enough for me.

That’s the worst part of it all; we don’t talk as much anymore.

It hurts the most when I know he can see what I said, but doesn’t respond.

It hurts the most when he made me call him when I got home, so he knew I was safe, won’t respond to a stupid message.

I just want to know he still cares about me.

Even when we live hours apart, I want to know he would still see me if he could.

My go-to response to something like this is usually to get angry and cut him off. I say “he isn’t shit” or “screw him” but, I could never be mad at this boy.

“i’d probably still adore you with your hands around my neck”

“505” – The Arctic Monkeys

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