State Sanctioned Violence

All day like, seventeen-year-old lungs rip against heaving chests, drained of oxygen instead filled with battery acid.

All night like, polyester raging against its seams, raging against boys, struggling against muscles, pads, and hearts all swollen, all wet with sweat.

With my boys like, helmets too tight to contain caffeine, concussions, and memories.

With my pads like, misshapen boys ill suited for football competing not only against another team but with themselves.

We hit the field like, a week of repeated beat downs a month of lows and season of confused agony.

Dropping bodies like, a body careens toward another without hesitation, without fear or knowledge of how it will collide with the other.

All day, he swells proud of his grit.

All night, he overflows with passion.

With my boys, he demands I follow.

All day, like a young stallion on a single stake.

With my boys, like the veins on his flank, roaring, like the muscles in his hock, screaming: raw power unfathomable in its adolescent intensity.

All day, he drives his head into his helmet and charges back onto the field.

Photo credit: SB Nation

nah

sometimes, we all need to do something that we don’t like at all.

It’s Monday afternoon right now, I’m lying on the carpet in my room alone. 

The LEAP that I used to like but not anymore, started about 10 minutes ago. I should be there, but I don’t really want to move. Due to my old commitments, I force myself to get up and walk there.

And then, I have to come back to my room to change into sports dress, and then go to sports that I don’t like at all. 

Right after that, I need to run back to my room and take a quick shower and get dressed up in a rush. Then go up to the cafeteria to set up for the dress dinner. Yeah, right, a dinner that I don’t want to go at all.

Then it will be study hall, and I have to complete a bunch of assignments that I don’t want to do at all. But guess what, I have to finish all of them tonight since they are due tomorrow.

Why I have to do all of these things that I don’t even like at all? I guess this is how life should be.

photo credit: slowrobot.com

My Time

I broke my foot in October
I thought the world would come to a halt
But only mine did
Everything I had worked for, my season, my future, my passion
It all escaped me
I’d failed
I got the news in November
It was supposed to be my year
I promised it would be my year
I fought for a chance and guaranteed results
And was left to face the consequences
I was left behind
By December I was finished
As selfish as it sounds
It hurt that the world didn’t end like it did for me
I was hurting but the globe kept spinning
Practices continued on without me
Games were played
Fun was had
I was left on the stilts that took me nowhere
In January frustration had become my norm
The jokes didn’t bounce off like they used to
I was consumed by the mistakes that brought me here
I couldn’t forget the memories I never got to make
The apologies I made that could never make my team understand
February is when I finally lost the crutches
But mentally I was still on them
I was afraid to go back to playing
The courts promised me nothing but remorse
My recovery meant getting over my injury
But I wasn’t prepared for the strength it required
In March I was back on my feet
I was playing again
My game was coming back
But it didn’t matter anymore
I was making shots, playing with my team
But it didn’t feet right
I had failed them, and they knew it too

Credit: images.unsplash.com

 

My Future

I’m really confused about how my life is going to go in the future. I know what I want to, I’m just not sure how I’m going to do it.

My plan was to go either UCSB, Stanford, USC, or a college in Australia to study Marine Biology and/ or Environmental Science. I would then go to law school and become an environmental lawyer. At college, I would swim and play water polo.

Well, now I’m really in to running. I love triathlons too. I know I’m going to play sports in college, but which ones?

Recently I’ve been thinking about become a humane officer. It pains me to know that so many animals are suffering and abused. I want to dedicate my life to stopping the cruelty that takes place everyday.  I want to do this, but there are some issues.

A humane officer makes 32,000 dollars annually. I don’t have millions of dollars in family money, I don’t have a billion dollars in my bank account, and I want to stay in California. I’m afraid 32,000 dollars would not be enough to have a home, a car, and eventually kids.

So, my plan is now to stick with being an environmental lawyer. I still really want to be a humane officer though…

Again, on the topic of money, I realized that I’m not going to have enough money to go to any of the colleges I want to go to. I could go to junior college. It would save a lot of money and I can save up for my next two years at a university.

I also want to take a gap year and go to the Peace Corps…

Will I go straight to a four year school? I wonder where I’m going to live after college? What college am I going to go to? What law school will I go to? Will I still want to be a lawyer, or will my opinions change? What sports will I play? Will I have a boyfriend? Will I get married? Am I going to have kids? When will I retire? Will I become a humane officer?

I don’t know, honestly. But maybe in thirty years, I’ll come back to this post and reflect on everything I did or didn’t do.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Respect the road.

There is a road that I run all the time.

Since I’m currently training by myself, I get to decide where I run. I avoid this road as much as possible. But during cross country season, when I’m at the mercy of my coaches, most of our workouts involve the road in some way.

Going down is smooth sailing. Going up is hell.

photo credit: nelseverydaypainting.blogspot.com

The road is more like a hill, a giant, mile-plus long hill. It’s on a constant incline and, as you get closer to the top, it gets steeper.

At first, I absolutely loathed this road.

I always hated it in the beginning, because it turned even my best runs turn into something that made me feel like I was putting myself through torture.

The road is sometimes unforgiving. The more you climb, the weaker your legs feel, the more your lungs burn, the more you feel like your brain is about to explode.

I used to fight it. Each day, I felt like I was preparing for this great battle, in which only one victor would prevail: me or the hill.

But, eventually, I started to realize that it wasn’t really a battle of physicality; it was more so a battle of wit. I learned to work with the road instead of against it and things started to make more sense.

I learned to take advantage of even the tiniest bit of downhill, to take the straightest line possible. I started to read the road, to take note of how it felt when I ran a certain way.

To this day, I still don’t like running it. But, I’ve learned how to do it properly.

The road used to be some foreign, intimidating beast that I thought I would never be able to understand. Now, I realize that it was really just an old, wise mentor for me, my very own Mr. Miyagi. 

Last night, I was headed up the road on the bus and, as I looked out the window, I knew exactly what point we were at solely based on the glimpse I caught of the tops of the oak trees. It made me smile, seeing how far I’ve come.

The same miles of curving pavement that used to seem endless to me are now ingrained into my memory, including details down to which tree is positioned where on each corner.

The countless days of practice, all of the sweat-soaked t-shirts and aching muscles really did pay off, in so many more ways than for just my running.

If only I knew back then just how much I would come to understand the road and how much it would come to understand about me.

I wouldn’t have believed it three years ago.

Satisfied

One of the most satisfying things for me as a horseback rider is when I make a breakthrough with the horse I’m riding.

Over the past four years, I’ve constantly ridden the same horse. Though I would never give up riding that horse until graduation comes, there wasn’t that much I could continue learning on him. One, he was too perfect of a horse and, two, I already knew every little aid, tick, and everything else there was to know about him, good and bad.

Photo Credit: wildopenpets.com

But, in November, 2018, I took up the opportunity to ride a second horse, one completely opposite from my slow and steady, older horse I’ve been riding all throughout high school.

And riding him has been a pain, but also I’ve become such a better rider in the process learning to ride a horse completely different.

There were days when I’d get off with sore muscles and complete frustration and dissatisfaction. Days when I had to fight with him just to get him to walk.

Last Saturday, however, I had a breakthrough. Though there were the moments when I had to fight him through the walk, there were only two of them versus ten or twenty. It was the best ride I ever had on him. I got him to easily canter from a halt, canter over ground poles, and do most of those things without any protest.

I hope I’m not jinxing my improvement with him by writing this, but I hope all the future rides are just as successful as this one or else I’ll just keep learning.

Shortcuts

Let’s face it, they’re nice. Who am I kidding, they can be great.

Would you rather win the lottery or work your ass off everyday, struggling to get by?

Would you rather get straight A’s and not even have to try or be in a class where getting a B- minus is a HUGE accomplishment?

Would you rather do your Spanish homework or go on Quizlet and find the answers?

Would you rather tell your mom you swept the floor or would you rather actually sweep the floor?

Would you rather take an hour to fold and put away your clothes or just shove them in your closet in less than thirty seconds?

What I’m getting at here is, shot cuts can be nice. Who am I kidding, they can be great. Yet, as great as they are, most make life harder in the long run.

Cool, Quizlet got my Spanish work done in two minutes, but do I even know what the heck any of the questions are asking?

Cool, my mom thinks I swept the floor, but am I really the type of person who will throw away their integrity just to get out of a thirty second chore?

Cool, my clothes are out of the way, but, shoot, when I went to get dressed, a mountain of clothing fell on me.

Cool, I did twenty push-ups instead of twenty-five, but is getting done first even an accomplishment if you cheated?

Photo Credit: lovethispic.com

Many days, I see people taking short cuts too, so its nice to know that I’m not the only one. But, more than just self-reassurance, I find it comforting that I’m not the only one who occasionally struggles with putting short term effects over long term results.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you need to walk twenty miles to work instead of driving because you have legs. I’m nothing saying to use them, to not even think about taking the car. I’m not saying no short cuts for you. But, if work is a three minute walk from your house, don’t take a short cut and drive. Being efficient and taking a short cut are two VERY different things.

Efficiency is great. A needed skill set in the always-going world we live in. Why would you walk twenty miles to get to work when you can take a quarter of the time and drive? Why take three hours hand-writing a story when you can type it in a half hour?

A lot of the time, people mistake efficiency for cheating. The definition of efficiency is to get the most done in the shortest amount of time with the least work. So, maybe you’re thinking, that you’d rather read the Spark Notes of a book than read the full book.

Here’s the thing, when your teacher asks you what the main character’s last name is, will you have a clue?

When the Spanish test gets handed back, will you get a good grade?

When your mom asks if you did your chores, will you lie directly to her face?

When the race comes and your teammates are strong from doing all the pushups, was the satisfaction of doing less in practice worth the shame you feel now?

Recently, Ive been working on doing the right thing instead of taking the easy way out. I read my English books instead of reading the summary, so I get a good grade on the test. I worked hard in practice and I got a personal record in my race. I took the time to get what I needed to get done instead of putting it off for later or completely ignoring it at all.

I’ve realized that no matter how much you don’t want to, pushing through the little things is what makes you better, stronger, and smarter. Suffering through a hard workout will eventually result in success; thinking about what you say before you speak will result in less regretted words; and putting your all into everything you do will result in a life that you’re proud of.

Take the route that’s right, instead of the short cut. Because, as cliché as it sounds, it’s not the destination that matters, its’ the journey.