Happy Burnday

Today I am turning 17. Living at boarding school, birthdays are honestly the best. Not only do I get a birthday party and a cake at night, but I also get to spend all day with my friends.

Today has been amazing and I’m so thankful for the people around me that make every birthday so special. But exactly one year ago, my day looked a lot different.

Photo Credit: guideposts.com

I had just found out that my dorm had burnt down. I was just packing to leave again, to get away from the smoke. I had none of my own clothes to wear, none of my belongings with me. My then-boyfriend had just ditched me to hang out with his friend on possibly the worst day of my life. My family was trying so hard to make my sweet sixteen as good and peaceful as possible, but there wasn’t much they could do. My life had just been turned upside down.

I can’t believe that was already a year ago. The hills and trees still look burnt, we still live in mobile homes, and the pictures of the fire still make me sick. It seems like yesterday that I was screaming at the orange skies that were burying the sun behind smoke to go away, to go back to normal, to turn back the time and make this all go away. But there was no turning back, there was nothing left to do. Nothing left to do, besides trying to forget about everything for a day. Trying to imagine that we were going on vacation and not evacuating from a wildfire. Trying to imagine that my friend and I were watching Riverdale in the girls lounge, not on my sofa at home with amber alerts going off next to us. Trying to imagine that everything was like it had been 48 hours earlier.

Now, a year later, I know that nothing is really still the same. We don’t live in the same rooms anymore, we don’t have the same buildings anymore. I know that, and I’m finally beginning to accept that. I know that there is nothing left but to move on.

Advertisements

12 Minutes of Word Vomit!

Photo Credit: Amor Fati/Wordpress.com

I have an existential crisis almost every night.
The fire was a year ago. That scares me.

The music is too loud outside my window and
my eyes hurt from staring at a screen for so long.

I’m having an existential crisis tonight. It’s because of Calculus homework.
I could post about it. Maybe someone will say I’m pretty.

She hasn’t replied to my email yet and I worry that my writing is boring.
But my teacher says I’m good at Spanish, so at least I have that.

My eyes are dry. They almost always are.
I say I’ve never been in love before but that’s not true.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com (and this is supposed to be ironic)

I am in love right now. It’s just the sad kind.

I could post about it. Maybe someone will say I’m pretty.

He likes the finality of writing things down on paper. I like it too. (But as I wrote this, I knew I would type it out later.) I like the way he thinks because he is an intellectual.

It’s not always about the words themselves,
it is about what they mean and how they feel.

My room is too cluttered and so is my mind.

I want to leave my house and live somewhere far away.

My life is a mess and I’m having an existential crisis tonight, but I met a famous person once. And a different famous person has a relative that goes to my school, so I think I will post about it.

I wish I could write songs. They would probably be boring.

And maybe this doesn’t make sense to some people.

Oh well.

One Year

One year ago I remember clearly.

I had my guitar on my shoulder, leaving the warm dorms to trek across the chilly campus to my weekly music lesson, but the air was different than usual.

Everyone was huddled outside, talking as they saw smoke in the distance and hues of red burning in the sky that felt so distant at that moment.

“Are you really going to your lesson right now? There’s a fire,” my friend asked me.

Of course I would go to my lesson. It was my favorite part of Monday nights. Plus, the fire was nowhere near us, nothing would happen, and nothing would change.

Oh, how I was wrong.

Everything changed.

Photo Credit: pbs.org

Yet, so many things stayed the same.

One year later, I’m getting ready to go to my Monday night guitar lesson.

I have a new guitar, but it means so much more now. I appreciate it more now.

I’m still in a dorm room, wondering what I’ll be getting for secret snowflake tomorrow.

But I’m in a new dorm room, with a new roommate, on a new part of campus.

I don’t have the same clothes I had a year ago. The same photos, yearbooks, or blankets.

But, I have the photos I’ve taken since then.

My stuffed animal and All Time Low pillow I saved from the fire.

I still have the memories of the fire.

The ones that haunt me.

The ones that bring me to tears thinking about what I lost, what my friends lost, and what the whole school lost.

But, the memories remind me of how I became a stronger person since.

How my friends became stronger.

How the school became stronger.

How the county’s stronger.

More united.

More appreciated.

I still remember the day I returned from Christmas break and stepped on to campus and moved into the new dorms.

Being welcomed by overwhelming support, welcome back goodie bags, and hugs from my friends.

Seeing my horse for the first time since the fire and knowing he was safe and healthy. That all the other horses were safe.

The fire was so destructive, so horrible, but so many things came out of it that I’m more thankful now for than ever.

It’s been one year and I’m still sensitive to the scent of smoke and fire, to the sound of news about other California fires on the TV.

But, one year later, the mountains are a little greener.

My home is still stronger than ever.

And that’s the most beautiful thing of all.

What I’m Grateful For

So many things happened in 2018. Shootings, wildfires, and many other tragic events. In the midst of all the chaos and catastrophe the world is facing right now, it’s the small things in life that make me the most thankful and make life enjoyable.

My horse who always waits for me at the end of the school day.

For my roommate, who deals with me screaming in confusion and frustration at Criminal Minds and who also deals with my annoying rants and constant requests for food.

Being able to go home after being away at boarding school and knowing it wasn’t destroyed by the California fires.

For my friends, who are always there for me even if I’m not the nicest friend at times.

Seeing my top three favorite bands in only three months.

And that all those bands have recently released new music.

Opening up my mail box and seeing my first college acceptance.

Getting a $20,000 annual scholarship for that accepted school.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Seeing my dog when I drive back home today, knowing that he’ll be wagging his tail and running towards me when I arrive.

Still being really close friends with the girls from my old school.

That my back fracture doesn’t affect me from riding.

In two months, I’ll be eighteen years old.

The stars that put me to sleep and the sun that wakes me up.

For broadway musicals, that it’s almost been one year since I’ve seen Hamilton.

For living so close to Disneyland and living on the beach.

For getting to learn something new every day.

For becoming a better version of myself every day.

For finally accepting myself for every physical quirk, every mental flaw and knowing that my days where I’m at rock bottom last temporarily. That when those days end, there are still so many things I can be thankful for.

To My Best Friend, Some Things I Will Never Tell You.

If you’ve ever wondered how it feels to see a person become someone else, it’s sort of like trying to hold water in your hands. You can keep your hands cupped together for a little while, but more and more of it begins to trickle through your fingers. You panic, try to hold back as much as you can, but, eventually, there’s so little left in your palms that you just let the rest fall to the floor.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

That’s how it felt with you. It was like I was watching everything in slow motion. I tried to catch you, but now I know that you didn’t want me to.

I didn’t believe you when you told me you were leaving. I think in the back of my mind, I had been expecting it.

You’ve been my best friend, one of the most important people in my life, for as long as I can remember. But, now, I can’t remember the last time I saw you.

It still hurts. I’m still mad and I still don’t fully understand why you chose to go. You told me you needed to do it for yourself, that you needed to be selfish.

But I never thought you were being selfish. I just thought you were wrong.

You mean so, so much to me. I miss you more than you know.

I wish I could still see you everyday. I wish you were still the one who I went to before anyone else, the person I told everything to. But you’re not anymore. I know it could still be that way if we tried, but most days I just don’t feel like trying.

I think the reason I’m still mad is because it felt like you chose them over me. It still feels that way.

It hurts to see someone change, to see them become someone different.

But what hurts more is to leave them behind, to accept that your time together has come and gone. I’m not ready to do that yet.

 

 

An Ode to My Adolescence

photo credit: pinterest.com

An ode to my adolescence.

An ode to self-discovery. To the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I hope to experience over and over again.

To the sunsets and the waves.

To driving with the windows down, blasting music and singing along.

To the late nights. To the stars.

To always being tired.

To the pile of work that seems to grow bigger and bigger no matter how fast I dig through it.

To the boy who doesn’t call anymore.

To my constant need to impress people, to earn their approval.

To not caring at all, then caring too much.

To my hopes and dreams, which are always changing, but always becoming more exciting.

To my fears. To making mistakes.

To being sixteen years old, an age that I’ve been waiting to be for a very long time.

To my best friends, who make every day worth while, and who are some of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had. I couldn’t imagine better people to spend this time with.

To living in the moment.

People tell us these are the best days of our lives. They pass too quickly.

 

 

 

The Middle Layer

I have never been the smart one in a group. In my close friend group, I definitely am not. Out of my siblings, my sister has always had better grades than me. In most of my classes, I tend to be just about average.

I’m not saying that I am stupid, because I know that’s not true. But, I usually feel like I am, as I said, just average.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

I haven’t ever really had an issue with that in the past. I’m fine not being the best, the smartest, because that always gives me a reason to improve. I think it might even be good for me to control my competitiveness.

But, this is my senior year. This is the time for me to apply to the colleges I am dying to go to. This is the time for me to show them that I deserve to get that acceptance letter and hit that enroll button on May 1st. But, how do I deserve that, when I am just average?

My grades are okay. My SAT is less than I would like it to be. My essays are a little whack. Will that be enough? Will the college readers recognize some unique spark in my application or will they, with no second thoughts, throw me on the mediocre applicants pile?

I know that instead of complaining about all this, I should probably work on my college essays, study for the next SAT, and maybe start that assignment that’s due tomorrow. Even if I do, well, I will probably still be average.