Confusion of the heart

There are moments when I find myself caught in the cross fire between my heart and my head. I often cant decided weather or not I should listen to the voices in my head telling me what to do, or my heart guiding me in in the direction of possible heart break. I want to follow the direction of my heart, but my head always stops me and poses the question of “what if”

So now when my mind is blank, the thought of the matter at hand will cross my previously calm mind. And suddenly, there’s a sense of panic that overtakes me and I feel uneasy. As if I am stuck with a decision that for one reason or another, my mind can not physically comprehend because my heart will still get in the way.

One way or another, my heart and mind play tricks on each other, but both only have the best of intensions for my own happiness. So there lies the conflict, when is it that I listen to my head, and when do I listen to my heart?

Is it worth the minor lapses of fear and judgment for potential happiness? Or is it that I should disregard both and simply try and play it safe.

Even that question is too grand to answer for myself. So I still remain to question decisions, or simply protect myself from a risk just to avoid the confusion of my heart. I consistently bombard myself with the age old question of “what if?”

But maybe someday, I will listen to the deep feelings being stirred in my heart and follow that, for it could lead me to my greatest potential happiness. Maybe I will rebut the question of “what if?” with “why not?”.

photo credit: https://allpoetry.com/

An Observation

From here I see my campus from an aerial view. If I turn around, I see the backs of the display books in the library. I feel as if I am spying on my own classes, looking through the glass as if admiring a fish tank. The empty space is filled with reflections of light as the mountains project onto the classroom air. The ceiling is as busy as the ground, as the light blends the air the way water blends light.

The soft, patchy hills feel uninviting up close as the pine needles keep me seated delicately. The towering trees are no mightier than grass in the valley, as the vertical space of campus is dominated by mountains, surrounded by empty air.

The birds aren’t tied to the ground. The space is theirs, and they are free to exist on a higher plane. They have their own conversations up here. They chatter amongst each other as I do with my friends in the confines of the trees. 

For this moment, I am with them. I exist on the higher plane, resisting the hour where I will return to my path on the game board of campus. The ground is vast, and I never considered my ability to break my trails. I’ve existed on this campus for years, and I’ve traced the same route each day, etching my footprints into the ground. I’ve left spaces abandoned and ignored. There are pockets in the trees where I’ve never set foot. The heart of campus is in the green leaves, though I experience life on the white concrete, referencing the trees as accessories.

From afar, these trees are the campus. Each little patch on the mountain is a three dimensional plant that stands alone. The buildings are silent amongst the loud winds that rush through the branches, and are invisible behind the deep, warm tones of nature. Before returning to my concrete trail, I will keep in mind where the life of campus resides. My existence circles the trees, and my classroom is not as tall as I once believed.

Image Credit: Home Stratosphere

Fully Vaxxed (well sorta)

I have both shots as of yesterday, and all I can say is wahoo!

I mean the first shot made me really tired and my arm sore, but nothing really bad. And the second shot caused me to get chills, massive headaches, and pass out. But all I can say is hallelujah… I am vaccinated and can finally start getting back to normal.

I still have to wait a couple weeks until I can leave my house without mask, according to the CDC guidelines, but it is one step closer to normalcy. I still plan on wearing a mask for many reasons- to protect myself, to protect those who haven’t gotten a vaccine, and to make it known that I am not an anti- masker or a republican.

photo credit: international disability alliance

Speaking of normalcy, what is it? It is not like I will be going to massive parties or hanging in large groups, I did not even do that before the pandemic. I think normalcy is going outside without a mask, making plans- such as brunch with friends or shopping at the mall- and seeing family members I haven’t been able to see since the start of COVID.

Being vaccinated will allow me to do “normal” everyday things and activities without the fear of catching a deadly virus.

capstone pt. 12

That all changed when she brought me to the ocean

In those rich minutes the light was warm gold,

viscous, she let it in

floating in the sodium and the waves.

Rocking back and forth

I fought the ocean,

that colossal blue,

as it pulled the warmth from my heavy limbs,

Suspended four inches from the plexiglass surface,

blowing fat bubbles that distorted your reflection.

Time changed that though,

and warm gold became cool to the touch

sad skin

No matter how warm

Rubs against mine

Like pruned fingers

on paper

Vaccine

Today I got the vaccine, and boy can’t I be more relieved. I feel safer knowing that I am almost fully vaccinated.

I got the first dose today and in a couple of weeks, I am going to get the second dose. I encourage anyone who can to get the shot- it is painless and will protect you from COVID. I know there were lots of disputes around these vaccines- Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson- but whichever one you get will help you tremendously.

I am not one to be afraid of needles and this shot felt like nothing, I didn’t even flinch.

Photo credit: CDC

If you can please get one, it is the most relieving feeling ever. The wave of joy is really hard to explain, you want to jump for joy. Soon enough life can go back to normal and we can hang out with large groups of people. Unfortunately even if you are vaccinated hanging out in large groups can’t happen yet. This due to the fact that not everyone is vaccinated yet.

Slowly but surely everything with be back to normal.

Scheduling

As graduation comes near, I have filled nearly every block in my schedule with events. I’ve needed to purchase more clothes to accommodate the frequency at which I will need to dress up.

With back-to-back formal events, it feels as though we are making up for a year of lost time. Due to quarantine, I have not worn formal attire in almost two years. This schedule is typical for end-of-year seniors, though I often find myself opening my planner a bit too often out of excitement.

Having a filled calendar gives me something to look forward to each day or week. Even if it’s just a final exam, that day has something written on it. My school planner is running out of pages, and the schedule has grown so long that I may need to purchase next school year’s calendar early.

With all of these plans, I hope that the blank days following graduation will not feel empty. I have plans for the summer as well as college to attend, though, while I look forward to the break, I plan to enjoy every day of this busy May.

Image Credit: Quapaw Area Council

One month in Africa

In October I will be going on a one-two month-long safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya. I have visited Africa several times now for my photography expedition, but they usually only lasted between 1-2 weeks. Now I am ready for something bigger. I am incredibly excited, but part of me is also very nervous. One month of getting up at 4.30 am every morning, being on safari for about 11-12 hours a day can be very tiring and intimidating. But it is what I love, and I am more than excited about this adventure. Every day being out with these amazing animals, taking pictures, and sharing them with the world, what an absolute dream!

I have met so many amazing people through my photography: guides, other photographers, and even scientists. We all have the same passion; protecting these beautiful animals and sharing their beauty with the world to conserve them for many more generations to see.

I believe animals can teach us so much and they can help people. For me, I am just happy when I am among wildlife, all my stress is gone and I just feel relaxed. Doing my photography has helped me a lot through hard times, and it never fails to make me happy. Getting feedback from people who admire your work is so motivating and it makes you proud to have come where you are now.

picture by author

capstone pt.7

This trip turned all that thought inward at times

It forced me to really think about what i was feeling,

and to sit inside my heart

so that my hard wired head could stop

and i became content to be in my own space

content to sit within myself as I moved. 

content to just watch as the world changed around me

merely maneuvering my truck from idea to idea

it forced me to process things by writing them

but it also gave me the space to think things through in conversations on the phone

but that depended entirely on cell service 

the oaks

wrinkles

white walls

metallic beige

flying roaring

cutting

white walls

warm animals 

in half motion

motioning

in motion

you latch on to these moments, these images, as they race in your head, as they take tight turns, as a force like gravity pulls and pulls you away. you find yourself empty save the quiet conversations and the warm silence. the moments that make you you. but how ‘bout I move them? 

how ‘bout i reorganize the pantry

pull the back towards the front

pour it all out

how ‘bout when you feel those candlewarm memories

in your stainless vaccum

you feel them.

you feel the road, the car

the pull

you feel the moment, the memory

fading

into the fog

Literature

As I look towards the AP English Literature Exam, I find that my favorite book can be applied to almost any prompt.

When you truly admire a work of literature, you can find obscure concepts within it. The Great Gatsby has been my favorite book to analyze and read. Once you finish a class, you can feel the literature being put behind you as you close each of the books. However, AP English Literature class has given me an opportunity to revisit old stories and use my newer skills to analyze these works further.

I look forward to using my personal collection of stories I’ve read to answer prompts on the AP exam, as it will allow me to reflect on my academic highlights from school. As I recall each story, I can remember the class conversations I’ve participated in and the numerous essays I’ve written. I hope to remember these stories into my older years and apply them to my own life.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Art by Francis Cugat

Pushing through

About a year and a half ago I got a brand new mountain bike. I was like a little kid, getting all excited to ride around with it. The town my school is in is like a mountain bike paradise. There are many amazing trails for every level of skill. I started with some easy trails and each week I would go a little harder and harder. I could feel my muscles and stamina building up more and more. When the pandemic started, I was out on my bike every single day. It was my way of getting my energy out. I just hated sitting at my computer all day doing school work and I needed some way to release my built-up stress. Mountain-biking really helped me with that, and I had a blast every time I was on the trail.

During summer I left my bike in America while I went back to Germany. I came back to the U.S end of January and hadn’t biked at all since I left the U.S. I got my bike but being at boarding school made it hard for me to go biking. in mid-April, our outdoor-ed teacher announced several new overnight camping trips that were going out throughout April and May, one of those being a mountain bike trip. I was excited but on the other hand hesitant. I wasn’t on this list yet but I was able to sign up for it. I was hesitant because I was just so out of shape and hadn’t been biking in almost a whole year. I decided not to sign up because my anxiety just took a hold of me. I was really sad and still contemplating if I should just go. The day before the trip the outdoor-ed teacher came up to me and asked if I wanted to join on the trip as I had my bike in my room.

I decided to just get over my fear and said yes. I was nervous that I would be the one slowing them down the whole time and that I would always be the last. The next day we left campus and made our way to the campground. It was absolutely beautiful. In the afternoon we took our bikes and biked down to a waterhole. It was all downhill and it was absolutely amazing, I felt happy and just free. We swam for a while, ate dinner, and then it was time to return to the campground. I had biked that exact trail before and knew that the way back was an absolute pain because it was all uphill. There was one van driving back to the campground, but three of us had to bike back. I decided I would just push through it and bike the way back. 

The last time I had biked that road up I had to stop about 6 times to take a break because I was so exhausted. We started biking up the road and I felt good. We kept going and going uphill and I was very surprised that I wasn’t exhausted at all. I just kept pushing and pushing and then we made it to the top and I had a wave of happiness come over me. I was so happy because I improved so much from the last time I biked up that hill. It was an awesome trip and I am excited to keep mountain biking.

picture by author