Cry Me a River, Or Don’t

I don’t cry often, or at least not as much as people assume I do.

Before I turned nine, my tears had no depth. I would cry because I couldn’t get the Barbie I wanted, or because I wasn’t allowed to eat the chocolate bar I craved. It was like I was standing on the shore, only to get my chubby feet wet. They would be salty tears of defiance, and yet, they were noticed more. No one ignores a little, pig-tailed girl with puffy, wet eyes and a solemn face. People would rush to my side to be my hero and save me from my sadness.

In the summer before my fourth grade year, I truly cried for the first time. I was curled in bed and the breeze made the leaves on the tree in my backyard hit against the window with a soft thump. A mountain of blankets weighed down on my crackling shell of a body. My mom was angry at me, and I was convinced that she undeniably hated me. Even though that wasn’t the case, my cheeks seemed tattooed with the streaks left behind from my crying fit, and they stayed like that until the morning.

Only after that night, did I realize that I can only sincerely cry alone and wrapped in many blankets. It’s an odd revelation, but one that I will testify to for the rest of my life.

When I sat in the first row at my mother’s funeral, I was the most anxious I had ever felt in my entire life. I felt like her closest family and friends were watching me like beady-eyed hawks. My legs were neatly crossed and my black, lace dress itched in ten different places. I tried to focus on my aunts and uncles speaking about their beloved sister, but could only think about the choir show I was missing. My attention only perked up when my sister went to speak.

She stood with her right foot tilted ever so slightly inward. You couldn’t see it because of the podium in front of her, but throughout my entire life she had done it whenever she was nervous. She greeted everyone with a half-smile and red eyes, and you could tell that she was trying to make my mother proud. My grandma was holding onto my skinny wrist like it was a treasured jewel. I looked down at her black shoes and fixated on the curvature at the front. Then I heard my name. My sister had water welling up in her eyes and looked to me to turn the attention away from her. I wiggled out of my grandmother’s grasp and walked reluctantly to the stand.

“Um, I miss my mom. Not a day goes by where I don’t miss her and I loved- uh, I mean love her always and for-” my voice cracked.

All of a sudden, tears gushed out of my eyes as if someone turned on a hose. I ran away from the microphone and sunk into my seat, and wished I could evaporate. Those tears weren’t of evident sadness, but rather were a scapegoat to leave the gaze of all those gloomy visages. After that moment, I wasn’t sad but embarrassed. It is such a normal thing to cry at a funeral, especially the funeral of a parent, but it was one of the most fake and shallow outbursts of emotion I have ever experienced.

Photo Credit:

After that, I couldn’t cry for months. My body was no longer capable of that type of emotional release. Whenever I do cry, it is of exasperation. A way to rid myself of pent-up frustration.

Some say that teenage girls cry about everything. When we break a nail or have a split end, it is as if the world is falling apart. Even when the world is crumbling around me, I pretend that I’m standing in a field of daisies, a defense mechanism I’ve created for dealing with my emotions in public.

And with all that said, people still think I cry all the time. But I guess that’s just what a girl’s gotta do.

Behind the Scenes of the Lee Vining Live Blog

Hello all, we are finally back from our football road trip where we came out victorious against the Lee Vining Tigers, putting us 4th in our free lance league, and currently putting us in an undefeated position with our 52-28 win.

Now, if you are reading this post I hope you have read our Lee Vining updates where the whole trip is laid out day by day, highlighting major moments and fun times.

What you as a reader get is different than what I as a writer experience on a day to day basis. Some of our readers may envision students and teachers alike sitting in an office or classroom that is well groomed and maintained, writing on computers in newsrooms like those portrayed on TV and in movies.

It is actually quite the contrary if you are reading our blogs from the Lee Vining trip. Our three  journalists on the Lee Vining trip were me (Keaton Shiffman), second year journalist (John Olivo), and first year journalist and photographer (Nicholas Giannetti).

It may seem obvious that trees and bushes do not output a strong WiFi signal, rather, none at all. So every night of our trip after all of our camp business was done, and food was taken care of, the journalists along with Mr. John Wickenhaeuser travelled down the road into the small town of Lee Vining.

Lee Vining is not the most normal of towns, because as it currently states on its welcome sign, it has a population of 398, which could have varied from the first time this sign was put up.

The first night of blogging was done from a Mobil Gas station, which also supplemented as a restaurant, gift shop, and convenience store. John, Mr. Wick, and Mr. Craig Floyd, all sat outside on the picnic style benches this gas station had to offer, and used a phone’s internet to post our Lee Vining: Day 1 post. John and I sat outside in the cold writing on the computers to inform our readers of how the first day and night had gone so far. This blog can be found on John’s profile, backinphilly, where we co-wrote the first story.

After about an hour of blogging John, our faculty supervisors, and I headed back to camp to find all of our teammates and remaining coaches asleep.

The next morning was the game which can also be found on the “backinphilly” blog. This day turned out better than expected with a great victory, but we played against a team with such great work ethic, and even better sportsmanship. Read all about Day 2 in Lee Vining @ Lee Vining: Day 2. This blog was written in an even more unique spot than a gas station diner, a McDonalds PlayPlace.

After our first varsity victory, the team enjoyed a fantastic meal at Giovanni’s Pizza in Mammoth Lakes, CA.

After dinner, we once again ventured out to a new blog spot, and it turned out that McDonalds had accessible WiFi, so we hopped on that opportunity.

When we first arrived, briefcase in hand, covered in dirt, sweat, and tears, I would have expected an unusual look from the staff, but maybe that was normal for them.

What really should have provoked a look was the fact that when we could not find any power outlets, we set up shop in the middle of the napkins and straws. And even at that no McDonalds employee minded the fact that we had set up our computer at a random condiment counter in the middle of their restaurant.

While writing we had a few visitors trying to find a straw or a napkin to wipe off their hands. Even at that nobody really wanted to question the two large teenage boys sitting and writing on a laptop in the middle of a McDonalds in Mammoth.

About 30 minutes into our writing one employee finally decided to tell us there was a power outlet under a seating area in the front lobby of the establishment. We picked up and moved there, and in this area there was a PlayPlace located conveniently on our left.

While we wrote on the couch like seat, we had to seize a great photo op in which John and I sat in the PlayPlace finishing our Day 2 blog.

I now see why these play places are made for children and not grown adolescent boys who have heights that exceed 6 feet.

This blog spot provoked a few laugh after an amazing and exhausting day.

We once again packed up, got in the car and headed back to camp, where once again we found a campground in a slumber after a day of hard work.

This really shows the dedication of our Journalists, and the want to let our readers  know how we do what we do.

I hope this shed some light on what really goes on behind the scenes in the life of an OVS Journalists, and what it is like blogging on the road while playing one of the most memorable football games any of us will ever take part in.

From Keaton “That Guy” Shiffman, back in Ojai, I bid you good evening.

Also, contrary to popular belief apparently, I was not stuck in the slide at the PlayPlace, I was merely lost in the ever so confusing maze of tunnels that I may or may not have been to large to have been crawling around in.


What Holds Me Together

High above, amongst the stars,

God checked his watch,

and realized it was time.

Time to make a story,

my story,


He wove together a string of trinkets,

some rusty,

some silver,

some gold,

and some of precious stones.

Of those trinkets,

there were many places.

Houses and apartments,


and condominiums.

Restaurants, schools, corners and alleys.

There was a bit of Mexico.

Koreatown, too.

Some wormy grass,

and golf courses where the deer roamed at night.

And of course,

tied closely to these homes,

was my mother’s cooking,

my father’s laughter,

my sister’s pranks.

And there were my fears.

My anxieties,

all intertwined with my passions,

my soul,

and whatever else that stirs me and moves me and lifts me..

My friends and enemies,

my lovers and ex-boyfriends.

Teachers, mentors, coaches, neighbors.

Mailmen, taxi drivers, pilots, a Marine.

There was much joy.


there were also tears and hardship,

loneliness and strife.

Yelling and screaming,

punching and throwing.

The threads mangled and fried.

But soon enough,

God, with his knowing hands,

his fingers so gentle,

created a piece.

And those loose threads,

they all straighten out to create

one magnificent picture.

One that is unique.

One that is me.


But Darling Don’t

It is that one person who you think is your friend.

That one person who will tell you anything and everything.

That one person who will come to you, crying, because they did something wrong.

That one person who lies through choked sobs and teary words.

It is that person that will turn their back on you as soon as they get what they want.

After they have achieved their ultimate goal (whatever that may be), you are useless to them.

Tell me, what is friendship?

What does it mean to befriend someone?

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