What I’m Grateful For

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.

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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.

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To My Best Friend, Some Things I Will Never Tell You.

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.

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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.

 

 

Confessions

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.

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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.

Time Flies By

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.

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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.

Making an Impact by Reducing It

I saw this tweet a few days ago and I think it is something we all need to be more concerned with.

And, it’s not just about climate change, it’s about everything involving the environment. We’ve done a lot of damage. When it comes to bettering our environment, it’s too late for preventative measures. We’re just playing catch up now.

Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing. We’re so used to living the way that we do, it’s not always easy to put the planet first.

If you want to reduce your impact or help the planet but don’t know how, here are a few things you can try implementing into your routine:

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  • Say no to plastic. The next time you eat out, tell your server you don’t need straws. Especially, if it’s fast food. There is no reason for you to take a lid and a straw for your drink. Buy glass bottles instead of plastic ones – they’re easier to recycle. If you’re planning on eating out, bring reusable containers to take left overs home.
  • Be mindful of product packaging. For example, buy bar soap instead of liquid soap. This can include shampoos and conditioners; there are plenty of eco-friendly options that don’t use plastic packaging. Don’t buy anything with excessive packaging. Cardboard or paper packages are the best options. Buy in bulk as much as you can.
  • Buy second hand. I understand that, from time to time, it’s nice to treat yourself to a new item and that’s fine. But, for the most part, you can find everything you need at thrift stores and you’ll save money too. There are also plenty of websites where you can buy used items (for those of you who like online shopping).
  • Keep it local. Shop at farmer’s markets and support local businesses. Buy produce that is in season. This reduces the distances that items need to be transported and causes less fuel emissions.
  • Don’t waste food. Shop for groceries using a list and only buy what you need. Don’t cook more food than you can eat. It is better to have no leftovers at all, but, if you do, try to actually eat them later.

If you’re looking for more ways to reduce your impact, do some research. There is so much information out there that can help us be better.

I’m not perfect. I try my best to be conscious of everything I do and the impact it will have, but I still have a lot of ways in which I could be better.

To some people, conservation might seem like a hopeless cause. But as long as we’re trying, if each day we do one more thing that reduces our impact, then, there is still hope.

Because I’m a Woman

I watch a channel on YouTube called Yes Theory.

Their entire philosophy is based on the premise that when we start to say yes to things, we open ourselves to experiences that would never have been possible if we had said no. It encourages its followers to be spontaneous and preaches the idea that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.

To live out this philosophy, the main people involved are three 20-something, friendly, and fit guys who travel around the world and complete challenges based on the spontaneity and kindness of strangers.

In their latest video, one of the guys is abandoned alone in Slovakia with no money and no phone, where he must attempt to return to his friends in Budapest.

I love everything about this channel and I hope someday I can live my life in a similar fashion.

But, I know this isn’t as realistic for me. Simply, because I’m a woman.

The thought of being dropped off in and exploring a random country sounds like a dream. The thought of being dropped off alone in a random country sounds terrifying.

I hate that just by being female, doing anything becomes more dangerous. I am a strong believer that a woman can do anything a man can. While that is true, it’s also true that women have to take a lot more precautions than men do.

I read a study that asked groups of men and women about the things they do in their everyday life to avoid being assaulted. The responses from women went on for pages. For men, there was one answer: “Nothing. I don’t think about it.”

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Words cannot express how much I wish this weren’t the case, how much I wish men and women were really, truly equal when it comes to things like this.

I wish that my mom didn’t have to worry about me going to the beach with my girl friends at 5 PM, even though she is fine with my older brother going to the same place with his guy friends at one in the morning.

I wish that women weren’t twice as likely as men to experience sexual assault or violent crimes.

I wish it weren’t like this, but it is. And let me tell you, it sucks.

To any men who are reading this, appreciate the fact that you don’t have to make sure you have your keys in your hand when you’re walking to your car at night. Be grateful that when you’re running by yourself and a truck drives behind you, you don’t have to stop to let it pass so that you can see what it is doing. Remember that there is a reason why girls always go to the bathroom in groups.

Tell this to your sons. Make them understand what it’s like. Teach them how to make women feel safer.

Maybe someday we’ll live in a world where a young woman can walk through a city alone, the only thing on her mind being how grateful she is to be there, and her biggest concern being what she will eat for dinner.

That’s all we want.

 

A Letter to My Favorite Band

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Dear All Time Low,

I know it’s cheesy when fans say you saved their lives, but here’s a fan saying it once more.

You saved my life.

Figuratively. Never once in my life have I contemplated ending it all, but what I mean is that your band has made all the rock bottom moments easier to go through.

I’m supposed to be the one who has it easy. The girl from a well off, supportive family who wants me to succeed. The one with no financial issues, boy drama, or grief. If only that had always been the case in my life.

But, because of it, that’s all I’m allowed to be. The girl who has it easy and who shouldn’t be sad, because what do I have to be sad about? That’s why I don’t tell my friends anything, because I’m supposed to be the happy one.

But, that’s why I feel saved by you and your music. When I put my earphones in at the end of the day, the layers of thick skin I put on to build a barricade around myself falls down. I’m finally myself; every flawed, fragile, and delicate piece of myself free to be the real me when I listen to “Missing You” or “Therapy”.

It’s not just the music, though. It’s the community you’ve created for me and every single fan you have. I’m thankful for the concerts you perform, because I would’ve never been able to meet girls there who I’ve spilled more secrets to than the friends I’ve had for years now because I felt so safe.

Thank you for making me feel safe.

When I met you guys July 7th, 2017, I didn’t say everything I wanted to. Partly because I only had thirty seconds with you guys and partly because I was too shocked about the fact that I was finally meeting my favorite people in this world to even formulate a sentence beyond a simple “thank you”.

So, here’s the truth.

Thank you for making such amazing music. Songs that inspired me to learn guitar, lyrics that I want to get tattooed when I’m older, and music that will always stay on my playlist no matter how many times I change the music I listen to.

Thank you for being there through it all. When my parents died, when I went to boarding school for the first time, when my school burned down, and when I felt abandoned and alone in this rapidly changing world; the one thing that has remained constant in my life is your music.

Thank you for creating the best fan base in the world. The ones that held me up, literally, when I went crowdsurfing for the first time during your set at Warped Tour and for the ones I screamed and cried with when “Therapy” was performed.

Thank you for making every moment obsessing over your band the best moments of my life.

I’ve written many letters throughout the years to many different people, but I didn’t know how to begin or end this one. The reason is that no words could truly explain the  impact you’ve had on me, my happiness, and my life.

“It’s just a band” most people say, but you’re not just a band.

You’re my band.

My favorite band and even in thirty years, when my music taste is completely different from what it is now, you’ll still be my favorite band.

So, I’ll end this letter the way I started it.

Thank you All Time Low…

You saved my life.