I’ve lived in the same place my whole life, but I’ve never realized how beautiful it is until recently.
Maybe I just didn’t notice it before or I wasn’t old enough to appreciate it, but lately I catch myself staring up at the mountains.
It has been raining a lot lately. On my drive home, I noticed that the north-facing slopes are so much greener than the south-facing ones.
But Dad says this isn’t supposed to happen. South and west-facing slopes are usually the greenest, at least where we are, because of sunlight and rainwater, he explained. The south-facing Topa Topas are just dry because of their rocky terrain.
I’m not sure why even still I think of the fire when I’m admiring the mountains. Maybe it made me appreciate them more.
The trees still seem like skeletons to me. They are black and withered and don’t really fit in with the bright grass that’s growing in. They used to be so much greener. But at least they are still standing. I’m thankful for that.
There isn’t really much to do in this sleepy town, especially after having been here for sixteen years. But despite that, I can’t think of a better place to have grown up.
I’m thankful for my feet and for all of the blisters and calluses they’ve endured, simply because they’ve kept me grounded.
I’m thankful for my legs, because even though sometimes I think they are too short, they are strong. My legs have carried me across miles, mountains, and everything in between.
I’m thankful for my stomach, my back. I am thankful for my chest, because it protects my lungs and my heart.
I’m thankful for my arms, no matter how much I hate the way they look in tank tops, because they help me lift myself back up.
I’m thankful for my shoulders, the same ones that I used to think were too broad and boyish, for always keeping my head up.
And lastly, I’m thankful for my head. Although it isn’t always level, it houses my brain and all of the thoughts that are constantly buzzing around in it.
We spend too much time hating our bodies. It is easier to find things we don’t like about ourselves than it is to find things we do like. We can’t control the way we look, but we can control how we feel about ourselves.
And even though it’s hard sometimes, I think we should all try to thank our bodies every once in a while.
We need to be kinder to ourselves, kinder to our bodies. We deserve that.
My body isn’t perfect, but it has gotten me this far. And I’m so thankful for that.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think one of the reasons I’m always so fixated on others is because how much I hate myself.
I’m often called annoying, because I ask to many questions.
I’m often called nosy, because I get in other peoples business.
I’m often told I copy others, so I need to stop trying to be like everyone else.
I’m often called jealous, because I need to be happy for others.
I’m often called a liar, so I need to stop over exaggerating and be more honest.
I’m often called conceited, so I need to stop talking about what things I have done.
I’m often called self degrading, so I need to get out of my head.
But here’s the thing…
I ask a lot of questions because I rarely trust myself and need reassurance.
I get in other peoples business because hearing other peoples’ flaws distracts me of my own.
I copy others at times because I want to fit in, be accepted, and I simply don’t fully know who I am or how to be myself yet.
I lie at times because I am ashamed or embarrassed of something I have or haven’t done. I lie because I think I’m worthless and I don’t want others to think that too. I lie solely because I’m scared of the truth. In many aspects, I’m a failure to the too-fast, too-soon goals I have created to for myself.
I come off as conceited because when I do something I’m proud of, I want it to be known because it is rare that I am happy about something I’ve done. My accomplishments and my talents are the few things that I truly know are a part of my identity. A lot of times, I say the things I have done well just to remind myself I’m capable of actually doing good. I have a hard time being humble because I assume people view me as worthless, the same way I view myself. Sharing my accomplishments proves that I’m actually capable of achieving good.
I come of as self-degrading because I am. I refuse to accept the fact that I can’t be the best at everything. I set goals that are beyond my reach and set myself up for failure. I punish myself for every goal I don’t achieve, resulting in my belief that loosing is the end of the world.
I know that one of the reasons I’m always so fixated on others is because how much I hate myself.
I know the reasons behind my flaws don’t make up for them, but understanding is the first step to solving them.
When I think about May 31st, 2019, I think about what I’m leaving behind when I walk across the amphitheater to get my high school diploma.
I’m leaving behind the campus I’ve called my home the past four years, the classes where I challenged myself and found my passions, and the teachers who helped me find those passions. I’m leaving behind my friends, who I won’t see at breakfast every morning or go on camping trips with anymore.
These last four years weren’t always easy. As much as I’ve loved them, they were some of the most challenging years of my life. But, one thing made life away from home just a little easier to manage and it wasn’t my teachers or friends.
It was my horse. A bay, appendix quarter horse named Time who I’ve been riding since my freshman year. My family always asks me what I’ll miss the most about OVS when I leave and the answer is always the same: Time.
When the Thomas Fire came on December 4th, 2017, I panicked as we were evacuating on the bus thinking my horse wasn’t going to make it out alive. I cried myself to sleep, despite the constant reassurances. Over the summer, I ended up crying again when I went three months without riding and, more specifically, without riding Time. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I have to say goodbye to him during the last week of school knowing that it’ll be the last goodbye. Knowing hat I won’t be getting back on once summer is over. Knowing that one day, towards the end of May, I will untack for the last time and possibly never get back on him. That, the following September, he’ll get a new rider and I’ll be at a university in a completely different city. I hope that rider loves that freaking horse as much as I do, though. Sometimes I wonder if that’s possible.
So many things happened the last four years with Time by my side. I went with him to my first horse show, on my first horse camping trip, my first dressage clinic, and my first injury, which he gave me after he threw me off at said horse show. Even though I got a fractured back, the story was still funny and memorable.
I can imagine leaving OVS and going off to college, but I can’t imagine leaving Time. I can’t imagine my school day not consisting of me going to the barn at the end of the day and getting on him whether the lesson ends up going well or not. I wish I could take him with me to college, but it’s probably not possible.
Last Friday, my aunt and uncle came to watch me ride. “I don’t understand how some people just let go of their horses or sell them,” my aunt said. “They’re pets too.”
Time may have not be mine legally, but he is mine. At least, I like to say he is and, at least, many other people thought Time was mine before I told them he wasn’t. But, he is my horse. The horse I’ve ridden for all of high school and the animal I’ve developed a bond with.
I’m not ready to let Time go, but I’ll have to and I will. Even if it might be one of the most painful things I’ll ever have to do.