Thank You OVS

I’ve started this draft several times. I’ve written sentences and sentences only to change them, revise them, and, eventually, just completely eradicate them and end where I started: with nothing. Because every time I try to write about this, I can’t formulate the right words to say. Even though I’ve discovered at OVS that one of my biggest passions is writing, I’m speechless when I try to write about what these last four years meant to me.

When I came to OVS for the first time, I was an awkward freshman. I had no friends, no idea what I was doing, and no idea who I was or who I wanted to be.

The four years to follow threw me in for a loop of highs and lows in self development, friendships, and life. Now I have just a couple days until the craziest, most amazing four years of my life come to an end. Every year at this time, I had a strong desire for the days to end as quickly as possible so I could enjoy my summer break. This time, I’m scared for the inevitable last day of school to come. I’m holding on to every last second I can.

I’ve been to three graduations here. Every single one making me sadder than the rest, but there was always happiness in my heart when I’d hug my friends goodbye for the summer, especially because I knew I’d see them again. On May 31st, I’ll hug all my friends, but, when fall rolls around, I won’t see them again on the hill that’s been my second home for the past four years. We’ll all be scattered across the country taking on different cities and pursuing different passions. We won’t see each other at breakfast every morning or at the barn at the end of every day. We’ll see each other through FaceTime calls and at reunions during our holiday breaks. I’m bound to cry at graduation because of it all.

I’m happy we’re all going to colleges we want to go to and I know that these friends are the ones I’ll have for life. But the realization that this is our last week as high schoolers together is still sending a wave of shock over me that I’ve been drowning in the past couple weeks.

I’m horrified for what the future holds, but, at the same time, I feel so ready. Four years ago, I wasn’t sure if I would ever be ready for college and eight years ago I didn’t have any faith that I would even be going to college. Now, I’m excited to walk into the unknown and I have OVS to thank for it all:

For being a school that’s given me the opportunity to branch out and try everything I could ever want to try. I didn’t have to stick to one niche. I got to be a risk-taking athlete, an unfiltered writer, a confident leader, and everything in between.

Photo Credit: ocsaledger.com

The equestrian program for giving me a horse I love more than myself. For giving me a place I’ve made my best friends.

The camping trips where I went running through the Yosemite forests at night time with no flashlight and rode the bull of the raft while river rafting on the Kern trip. For making me push my limits and having them turn out to be the most rewarding moments of my life. For making me realize I love camping even though I hate going days without showering.

For my AP Spanish class making me fall in love with the language all over again and decide to study abroad in Spain instead of France. Law/Gov class that furthered my excitement to move to D.C. to study politics and intern on Capitol Hill. Especially for my journalism class that provided a source of gossip, a place to rant, and an endless supply of snacks, but more importantly, it has given me an outlet to explore writing and inspire me to pursue it in college.

Thank you for everything. For the good, the bad, and everything in between. No words could say it all.

I’m not gonna lie and say this school is perfect. There’s so much I’ve complained about and so many things I would change. But if I’m going to be honest, it was perfect for me. It was the place I needed for the kind of person I was to become who I am today. I had no idea what my purpose was or what my passions were and, while I’m still on a road of self-discovery, OVS put me on the right path.

And for that, I’ll forever be thankful.

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To a Stranger in Brooklyn Heights

Dear stranger in Brooklyn Heights,

I don’t know much about you, but I can infer some things.

I think you are someone who cares about your belongings.

Like your copy of Spoon River Anthology, for example.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

I think you care about it because you stamped it twice – once inside the front cover and once inside the back.

Maybe you just didn’t want to lose it and for it to be returned to you if it ever did get lost. But, if that’s the case, how did it end up in a used bookstore in a town 3,000 miles away?

I would want to know which poems are your favorites, but it seems like you never read them. The pages are nearly perfect, despite being printed in 1962.

I wish I could ask you some questions.

How old were you when you bought it? How old are you now? Why didn’t you read it? How did it end up with me?

I don’t know who you are, but I want to say thank you. Your book that was originally sold for 95 cents is now my book that was sold to me for three dollars.

And now I have a story within a story, thanks to you.

I’m not sure if you still live in New York or if any of my assumptions about you were correct or if you’re even a person at all.

But just in case I was right, once I finish the book, I’ll send it back to you.

 

a sad kind of happy

it’s a sad kind of happy when i’m with you. i love being around you, you make me smile and laugh. you make me happy.

in all honesty, i think i love you. i really think i do.

we’re friends, we talk, we hang out sometimes. i like that.

photo credit: pinning.com

sometimes you confuse me, though. sometimes i’ll think you feel the same way about me, but then you’ll ignore me the next day.

in all honesty, you’re confusing, so confusing.

but, that’s part of who you are.

i try to understand you, because there’s so much to understand. you’re talented in so many things, but you doubt yourself. you are loved by so many people, but you deny it. you say no one likes you, but you know that i’m here.

i’m here sitting by you right now. you’re looking out the window. we’re listening to music on your phone. i have the left ear bud, you have the right.

i’m happy right now, i’m with you, but it’s a sad kind of happy

we’re listening to love songs. sometimes, i pretend that the songs are a message. i pretend the songs are you telling me you love me…. but we both know that’s not true.

we both know it will never will be true.

i love being around you because i love you.

but you never will.

that’s why it’s a sad kind of happy…

Understanding

I’ve gotten myself in the habit of writing down my feelings.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

I’m not sure that habit is the proper term, though. I’ve found it’s actually quite therapeutic at times to be able to physically sort out my emotions into something that is easier for me to understand.

When I feel angry or sad or happy, my first reaction is to analyze and explain it and then eventually sort it out into something that is comprehensible or maybe even beautiful to some people, sometimes I try to feel things simply in the way they are.

There are times when I can write for an hour, without stopping, and the result will be something I’m proud of. But when I find myself struggling to choose the right words, I know it’s time to put down my pen and just feel it for a while.

I’m constantly analyzing experiences, people, feelings. I guess maybe it’s because I don’t like to be confused, so when I don’t understand how I feel or why I’m feeling it, I won’t stop thinking it over and over until I reach a resolution.

I like to understand how I’m feeling. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

But just like with my favorite books and songs, most of the time I just appreciate them for what they mean to me, even if I can’t fully explain why. And I think there’s something special about that too.

 

 

Waitlisted

For the past week, I’ve been waiting to hear from my first choice college about whether I’d get in or not.

The answer I received was not the one I was expecting.

I wasn’t sure if I was expecting an acceptance. The acceptance rate is 46%, so I thought I had a chance. But, then again, I was an out-of-state student and my SAT scores were below the average.

I checked my portal every day hoping for an answer, but then I got an email.

An email telling me I was waitlisted and I don’t even know what to think of it.

On one hand, I still have a chance of getting in, even though the chances of ever getting off the waitlist at any school or program are exceptionally slim. I still had a chance and maybe that was enough hope to hold on to.

On the other hand, it felt like a slap in the face. You’re good enough, but not as good as the other students admitted, not as good as your friends who got admitted while you’re stuck re-reading the words from the email over and over again, telling you to change your plans, your fantasies of how the next four years of your life were going to play out are not going to happen. But, if they don’t come here, we might choose you.

I broke the news to my sister, my aunt, and any friend I could talk too. They all said it was okay and that maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

I hate when people say that and, in that moment, I couldn’t even think about agreeing with them, but maybe they’re right. There’s always an option to potentially transfer or the chance I’ll love the school I end up attending more than I thought. The U.S. is full of amazing schools and I have other top choices I’m still waiting to hear from. So maybe something will work out that turns out to be better for me in the long run, but I’ll just have to wait and see.

Photo Credit: bobleesays.com

politicized

Everything is so political nowadays, down to the music festivals you go to and the brands you wear. Things that are known to otherwise be apolitical since existence, have now been politicized.

The popular festival called “Coachella” held in Coachella Valley (well-known artists like Beyonce, and Eminem have performed at in the past) has now become politicized. People only go to the festival if they want to support people that give places money that endorse guns, are anti-LGBTQ, and are pro-life. “Think about this before you buy tickets to Coachella,”  a popular post circulating social media during this time of year, when tickets go on sale for Coachella, said. Last year, on April 15th, actress and model Cara Delevingne declared to her 41 million followers on Instagram, “I still refuse to go to a festival that is owned by someone who is anti-LGBT and pro-gun.”

Beloved designer brands flexed by many famous celebrities have become politicized. Italian designer brand Prada is known for handbags, travel accessories, perfumes, and other fashion accessories. In 2018, Prada was accused of racism and general insensitivity when they released there “Pradamalia” collection, the two characters, Otto and Toto (featured on keychains priced at around $550 and in store windows) were shockingly similar to a former racist movement. The dark monkeys with oversized red lips had too many similarities to blackface. Many celebrities and people on the media started to boycott Prada, such as director Spike Lee and rapper T.I.

(Gucci turtleneck) Photo Credit: CNN.com

In the winter of 2018, Gucci released a turtleneck that resembled many characteristics similar to blackface, like oversized red lips accompanied by a black outline. Celebrities and the media were enraged. People began to boycott Gucci. Rapper Soulija Boy claimed he is getting his Gucci logo tattoo removed from his forehead. Rapper, 50 Cent, posted a video to his 22 million fans burning a Gucci logo tee and captioning it “I gotta get rid of all the Gucci I have at home. I’m not supporting their brand anymore.” Rapper Lil Pump also made it clear he will not support Gucci anymore.

Fast food restaurant Chick-Fil-A has become politicized. Chik-Fil-A’s CEO Dan Cathay has made many homophobic comments in Pride Month (June) of 2012. Chik-Fil-A has also donated millions of dollars to numerous anti-gay organizations. This led to protests in stores as well as rallies. Chik-Fil-A is now an infamous anti-gay company.

Makeup company “Lime Crime” has become politicized. Founder of the company, Doe Deere, has made numerous racist comments and actions. She dressed up as Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi party, shortly after releasing Lime Crime makeup. Lime Crime is now deemed as the most hated beauty company on the internet.

Political character has been added to these otherwise apolitical things and this is only the beginning of a much longer list.

The politicization of seemingly everything can be overwhelming at times. It can be hard to always know what’s happening and what to stay away from and what not to, especially when you’re a teenager and have not necessarily developed your own stance on these things. And, of course, people have different coping mechanisms to these things, some people choose to ignore the political aspect of their everyday choices, to not give more attention and fame to ordinary places and continue on with their life. Others fight, protest, and resist.

It’s up to you to know where you stand, but to know where you stand you have to know the issues at hand. Hopefully, now you know.

“Darkness can not drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

The story of kale, tangerines, and the realizations I made.

I ate a piece of kale the other day.

It was growing in a garden box at school, so I pulled a leaf off of the plant and ate it.

It was a nice, sturdy piece of kale. It tasted pretty good. I continued munching on it as I walked over to the baseball field.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Kale can be a nice snack, if you’re into dark leafy greens. But, as many experienced plant-eaters know, raw kale is quite tough to chew.

My jaws were getting a little bit tired, so I switched over to eating a different leaf that I had also picked from the garden box. I’m not sure what plant this was, but it was softer and sweeter than the kale.

As I was chewing, I twirled the piece between my thumb and my pointer finger.

I started to study the leaves. The kale was dark and rough. It was much more aggressively textured than the other leaf.

It was at that moment when I stopped chewing, for I noticed dozens of very tiny, white bugs all along the sides of the leaves.

I swallowed my bite, then tossed the remnants of my half-eaten leaves aside. I decided not to dwell on it too much, because I didn’t want the thought of the bugs to take away from the otherwise positive experience I had eating them.

(I would like to apologize to the innocent lives I took that day. I didn’t thoroughly inspect the leaves before eating them, and that was selfish of me. To the bugs that once inhabited the kale: I am sorry.)

On a completely unrelated note, this morning my parents and I went out to our tangerine trees. It was time to prune them. After about an hour of picking fruit and chopping branches, my dad said to me: “This is a chore that very few other people your age have to do, but you have to remember that it just makes you more cosmopolitan.”

Though I didn’t really enjoy being outside when it was 40 degrees, I did find comfort in the fact that our work would provide more fruit for us next season.

I never realized it before, but I am so thankful that I know how to take care of citrus trees.

I live in a place where I am fortunate enough to grow my own food. I take that for granted.

I hope that I will always have this luxury, bugs and all.