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.

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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.

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12 Minutes of Word Vomit!

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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.

Applying or Buying?

I spent $410 last week. No, I didn’t go shopping. No, I didn’t buy all my Christmas presents at once. No, I didn’t have to pay for medical bills.

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I spent $410 on college apps within only a week.

I understand that having to pay some amount of money, to make sure that the people applying to schools actually mean it, and that it takes work to read through my applications and make their decisions. But, why should I have to pay $180 to send my AP scores to the colleges that I might not even get in to?

Personally, I have been able to spend that money on my applications. I didn’t like it, obviously, but I was fine. But, there are enough people in this country that don’t have those $410 to gamble with.

We all know that many families aren’t able to send their children to college because of the insane tuitions. But now, imagine not even being able to apply to the school of your dreams because it is too expensive. I know some people can get fee waivers, but even the fact that this is necessary freaks me out a bit.

I see the reasoning behind all the costs. I see why it would be necessary. I just want to point out how flawed all this is, if you think about it.

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.

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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.

Enough Is Enough

February 14th, 2018, a day supposed to symbolize love, will now forever be a reminder to students, friends, and families of how seventeen students were murdered in the last place kids should have to worry about being killed – a school.

October 27th, 2018, was the day when eleven Jews were killed in a synagogue, a place of worship.

November 7th, 2018, was the day college students were enjoying a night out at a bar and 12 people were murdered.

All of these people died at shootings. All of theses deaths were at the hands of horribly evil people with easy access to guns.

When will enough be enough?

How many people have to die until change happens?

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How many parents have to send their kids to school one day not knowing if they’ll ever get to see their child again?

How many kids have to walk into school every day and go through classes scared of the possibility of being put on lockdown, getting injured, or getting killed?

How many people have to say goodbye to their best friends, partners, and loved ones?

The answer is too many, because people would rather have their rights to guns than have children live.

The right for someone to live should override the right for someone to have a gun.

Yes, guns don’t kill people, people do, but people use guns to kill. People have such easy access to guns that the line blurs and guns themselves are just as much of a threat as the people who have the right to hold them.

We’re not asking to outlaw guns, but we’re asking for restrictions. We’re asking to make schools safe again. To enjoy time at concerts, restaurants, churches, mosques, and synagogues without having to be afraid of being shot at.

Because enough is enough and change needs to happen.

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.

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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.

Heartbroken

A couple days ago, my friend said to someone that it triggered her seeing couples affectionate in public, because it reminded her of how her ex wasn’t around anymore.

I added onto the conversation by saying that’s how I felt the past three years, not the missing an ex, but about being affected by seeing couples in public.

She responded by saying it wasn’t the same and I understood it wasn’t the same; that I haven’t experienced letting go of someone you’ve loved for so long.

But, being alone the whole time sucks just as much and I wish she understood that, because she pushed my feeling aside as if it didn’t matter how I have been feeling for most of my high school years.

The last three years, I watched my best friends fall in love and have boyfriends who loved them just as much and I was all alone. My subconscious constantly reminded me that they would always choose their boyfriends first, that they would always love them more. I don’t really blame them, though. If I had someone like that and a relationship like that in my life, I’d probably feel the same way, act the same way, and be the same way. It still hurts being the fifth wheel, instead of simply being a friend. It still hurts knowing no one would feel that way about me. I knew they were happy, though, and I supported their happiness. But, all I wanted was that they knew the slightest bit how it felt for me.

I’m always the one to say I don’t care about relationships. I say that I’m not clingy enough to be a girlfriend or that I’m too focused on friendships, academics, and equestrian to even think about being in one. In reality, that was a big, fat lie. I guess it’s not the relationship itself I craved, but wishing to be someone’s treasure or world, to have someone love me as much as I love them, even for a short period of time. I hope they’re thankful for it forever, even if it wasn’t permanent, because it’s something I’ve never experienced yet.

And something I’m scared I never will.

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