Unspoken Words

I can not even count the times I have wanted to reach out to you, scrolled through my contacts to find your number, went to type out a message I never sent, or looked at old pictures and felt an urge to speak to you again. But I remained silent and kept the words unspoken. I’ve wanted to tell you how much I’ve missed you in these last six months. There is not a day that goes by where I do not think of you… But recently you’ve been living in my mind much much more.

Recently everything has reminded me of you. I see images of us from a year ago to the date, hear your name in conversation, or see things we would have shared with each other and something tells me I must speak to you again. But instead, I keep the words unspoken, although there’s this feeling deep in me that we need to speak once again and that something will bring us back.

My unspoken words consist of these thoughts for the most part; you rapidly became the most significant person in my life, and for that, I’ll forever be grateful for, but the day we stopped speaking a little part of me began to crumble. You took a part of me with you when you evaporated from my life. You were part of my daily routine, we spoke every day from the second we woke up, to when we would lie our heads on the pillow each night. We shared some of our highest highs and lowest lows together, and always made an effort to check in and see how we both were feeling. You being gone felt like I was missing my other half. You were my person.

These unspoken words have given me the chance to reflect on how I feel, and what drove us apart. I understand why you had to leave, but I do not accept it, and if I am being honest I probably never will. But I am slowly becoming okay with that, with the idea that you are in fact gone, weather that be for now or for forever.

I still often wonder how you are doing though, and I check in on you from afar. I only hope that you are doing as well as you used to be, and you are carrying on. I hope you still have the call for adventure, and a sparkle of mischief in your blue eyes. But I miss you more than you’ll ever know. I miss us, our adventures, late night conversations, and most of all I miss my best friend. I hope we cross paths one day in the future, for you will always hold captive a large part of my heart.

Photo credit: Pintrest.com

A Page of Four Years

February has brought about the time to create senior pages. I have spent time scrolling through my camera roll, searching for the perfect photos that can encapsulate four years of high school into a single 8″x10″ page.

I found photos of my friends. Photos of projects I had done in art class. Photos I had taken for AP World History projects. Sifting through hundreds of memories to find the most valuable moments has proven to be more difficult than I had thought. I have narrowed it down to about forty photographs, which, if I were to use them all, would be about a centimeter wide each.

While small on paper, many memories still remain as vivid as the day I experienced them. I remember carving pumpkins at my freshman Halloween dance. Is that memory less valuable than the time I hung my art in an exhibit? Do I feature friends, experiences, or accomplishments? What photograph will take up the most space?

As I sift through the photos, I imagine what words will be written on a page. I could write a classic senior quote, a thank you to those who helped me through school, or simply my name in a basic font.

I know my senior page will encapsulate my high school experience as I remember it. I just need to find what moment will serve as the biggest picture.

Yearbook
Image Credit: Josten’s Memory Book

Fantasy

Have you ever wanted to escape reality and live in an imaginary world? Well, I have. Through books and my wild imagination, I have been to many places.

One time I escaped to Hogwarts and it was amazing. I got to learn different spells and play quidditch, and I became a witch. Another place I escaped to was Australia. I visited the Sydney Opera House and swam safely around the Great Barrier Reef.

Photo credit: About my Brain Institute Blog

My imagination is a weird one. Sometimes I am in a scary mood, so I go to a haunted house, and other times I feel happy so I envision myself as a mermaid.

Escaping is a sort of coping mechanism for me. It allows me to forget about all my struggles, stresses of life, and calm down a bit. Although it is good for coping, I have to remember to live in the real world as well.

Rain

Cold winter days often seem to fall short of the media’s predictions. We scheduled an early departure from school in anticipation of dangerous storms, though we’re met with trickles of water creating small puddles in dry dirt.

I tend to dress dramatically for the cold. I wear two pears of socks, two jackets, and keep a spare pair of gloves in my backpack. I prefer to overheat than freeze from the brisk winds. My wardrobe has many jackets, though only one of them I have deemed warm enough for January weather.

Although the cold is difficult, I do hope for adventure’s sake that we experience more rain. I keep my prized umbrella tucked away in my backpack, waiting for the day when I can use it again. I enjoy the trek from classroom to classroom as I use my umbrella as a shield from the harsh sky. February is likely to bring more rain, and I won’t put my umbrella away until the sun is revealed.

Image Credit: Ali Berman

Falling in love with love

Fall: To move downward, typically rapidly and freely without control

Why is it that we “fall” in love when falling is usually thought of negatively? Shouldn’t love be perceived as a positive thing?

I would like to say that most find falling in love to be terrifying and thrilling. In order for you to fall, you have to entrust someone with little insignificant details and life secrets that you store deep down. You have to lose control of your feelings and fears and hope that your person will catch them and keep them safe. You have to let go, take the jump, and fall…

You find yourself wondering if you are worthy of such affection and admiration from such an image of perfection once you’ve fallen. You’ll remember every little detail, how they like their coffee with the exact details, the name of the small country town they grew up in, or what movie comforts them in their darkest moments. All these little moments add up when you fall.

But falling in love is worth the momentary rush of fear and thrill that overcomes you. If one is lucky enough to find themselves falling, they should enjoy the fall, for it leads to a story of love for the ages. Even if that love fades or ends, you’ll never forget the rush of the fall.

So I guess you could say, in this case, falling isn’t such a bad thing. So let yourself go, jump, skip, leap. Enjoy the fall, take a chance because you’ll never know what you missed if you don’t take a take leap of faith and fall.

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/

Mural

Right now I am planning for a mural I will be painting on former OVS teacher, Ms. Pasqua’s house. She has inspired me to paint a scene of Ojai with the Topa Topa mountains lined with inspirational quotes. This mural is an outlet for me to express my passion in the fight for equity.

The Ojai Valley has given me so many opportunities to improve myself as an artist, and painting a mural visible to its residents is my way of giving back to the community. I have had practice with this form of art in middle school when we worked on large-scale projects. I helped to work on the Fourth of July parade floats as well as life-size paper mache projects. I painted giant decorations to add to our OVS float, and created letter-signs that spelled out the name of our school.

Growing up and seeing the beautiful murals in Ventura County, I have always wanted to add my own color to the town. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to gain more experience with painting and share my art with the Ojai community.

The Ventura Mural that inspired me to paint on a larger scale.
Image Credit: Lu Ross Academy

On The Line

When I knocked on the kitchen door, I carried only clammy hands, a thin resume, and a fascination with a world that I had begged to be let into. Cory, my soon to be Chef, gave me the once over, pointed to a cashier, and continued violently tearing apart poultry.

A week later when I came to interview, he saw in me something from his teenage years. At least that’s what he told me as I signed the workman’s comp forms in the hospital after I rammed my thumb into the mean side of a mandoline.

I started small and assumed I would slowly be introduced to the kitchen, but Cory had other plans and a short staff, so one night I was thrown an apron and instantly I became a fixture of the frier. I played tetris with time, organizing chicken wings and okonomiyaki style tater-tots. 

What they don’t tell you is that short order cooks are prep cooks, janitors, singers, and comedians. 

When we ate cold food on milk crates, the cooks told stories of long nights in food service, they told me about forearm sized scars, crazy chefs, and what homelessness taught them. The dishy had a stutter and sometimes he needed a ride home, José wanted to teach art, Steven was overqualified, and I was hungrily learning everything I could.

Working on the line roaring with heavy metal and a hot range taught me that kitchens aren’t about food, they are about people. They are about stories.

My Turtle Koa

For Christmas my grandma gave me a turtle. Her name is Koa, and she came with a little bead bracelet and a card to track her movements in the wide ocean. I scanned her code, and my phone displayed a map of where she was released.

Her journey began on the coast of Florida as her rescuers released her into the wild. I could see she had already swam miles up the coast of the United States. She had passed Georgia territory and was nearing North Carolina.

Her little fins took her across half of the country, and halfway back. When I had previously thought about sea creatures, I had always imagined they’d stay in one area that they called home. My experience with Koa, however, has showed me that she is a true explorer of the ocean with no limits or boundaries.

I am grateful to have a connection to a living part of the ocean that I can check in on each day.

Image Credit: Shane Meyers

A year like no other—2020 in review

in shuttering silence

happiness is fleeting

buoyancy is turbulent 

and the grey world deteriorates

breath is belabored

and the periphery begins to seep in

the color is fading fast 

fast

faster still than hot flames

the fury and the fire in the center

burns has burned and will burn

hot

hotter than before

but still it burns through its fuel

and the sides still fall away than the center can build back

better to be honest 

better to be free

better to seek the middle even as the edges fray

better to worry about the now than lose hope in the future

as the color fades into gray

Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times

Flowers

Like most people, I’ve received several vases of flowers for several occasions. I watch them blossom and wilt as the joy from the event fades, or I regain my health from an illness.

When I am sick, the decision to throw the flowers away is symbolic of moving on. I have recovered, and the flowers have given me their beauty and life when I was physically weak. After I regain my strength, I can appreciate the era of the beautiful flowers, then feed them to my tortoise to let him have the last of the gift.

It can feel sad watching them wilt, but when I put it into perspective, they have served their purpose and it is time for me to move on. They brought me happiness when I needed it, and with each day they grew weaker, I grew stronger.

Tossing out flowers from events can seem more sad, because it was a good moment, and the wilting of the flowers symbolizes the moment’s transition from an experience to a memory. Once the vase is empty, however, it leaves room for new opportunities. Another great experience will come, and the vase will be filled once again.

Image Credit: Deluxe Blooms