Lucky: An Update in the Last Days of Senior Year

5.13.2019


Hi everyone! It’s been a while since my last post. As I near my high school graduation (aaaaaah!!) I wanted to share an update with you on where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going.

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?”

I am cursed.

Whenever things start to get good, I have to leave.

Growing up a military child, I have learned to be adaptable. I had to move every three or four years based on where the army stationed my dad. I’ve had to change schools, enduring the heart-wrenching loss of friends and familiarity, over and over and over.

For the first year or so I live somewhere, I am used to being alone. I’ve restarted, after all, and I don’t yet have new friends or a developed sense of home. Over time, though, I grow comfortable, and by the end of the fourth year, I find my place. Once I develop this connection, I am uprooted again. Every time, it is agonizing. And every time, I am somehow not conscious of it until I reach that point of bliss.

I was experiencing a brain freeze on a late Saturday night when I realized my curse had struck again. I had just slurped a quarter of my green machine, the first smoothie flavor I had tried at my now-regular hangout spot, Juice and Java, and the only smoothie flavor I’ve ever ordered there since. I was wincing and laughing. My friends, mock-incredulous, were laughing too. You’re the oldest, how is this your first brain freeze?! How can you even like green machines, all I can taste is spinach! We sat there for hours into the night, talking about Pete Buttigieg and disappointing AP exam memes and all the movies we have to watch this summer. I was so happy.

When I got home that night, I wished I could bottle up that warm feeling of comfort. That’s when I knew: after four years of living in this new place, spent too much on stressing and not enough on smiling, I finally had it. That sense of home. And the curse was back.

It is easy for me to think about how much happier I am now than before, and wish that I could have permitted myself to feel this way throughout high school. But recognizing the time I have left with my friends and family before college, as a high school student, and as a teenager, I realize also that my curse fulfills the cliché. It's the greatest and most bittersweet blessing I could have wished for.

Ironically, it is because of the nature of this time—less homework at the end of the school year, less pressure as college decisions are sealed, and a heightened desire to savor moments while I can—that I have found a new self-awareness and state of peace. I have spent more time with friends; I have started running on my own again; I have thought about what I want and what I enjoy doing; I am happy.

I am blessed because looking back at my last year of high school, I have something that makes saying goodbye simultaneously desirable and difficult, and I have emerged a stronger Claire.

What I Read


This year, reading has continued to be a significant part of my life. I started this blog in middle school as a platform to share my thoughts on YA novels. It’s fitting, then, that although nearly five years have passed since I first opened Blogger and Goodreads, that I can still find parts of myself in what I read. Here are some books that stuck out to me during senior year as reflective of my journey:

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde / Of all the books I read for my literature class this year, The Picture of Dorian Gray was one of the few stories I truly enjoyed. Although the writing could be dense at times, Wilde’s writing style reminded me of some of the flowy transcendentalist pieces I loved in my sophomore year of high school. Dorian’s struggle to make decisions independent of influence reminded me of situations I witnessed as a high school student that were worsened by peer pressure but also the potential of people to change while retaining early convictions—for better or for worse.



    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston / Janie’s journey in Their Eyes Were Watching God links appearance with a new awareness. In the most memorable scene of the novel for me, Janie lets down her hair and embraces her appearance for herself. Her husband wishes for her to keep her hair up because it is symbolic of her beauty and self-empowerment that provide her the strength to resist him. I saw my high school self in this scene. In a physical and metaphorical way, I too let my hair down. In my freshman year, I always kept my hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. I spoke quietly, if at all. As I have become more comfortable with myself at school, I have quite literally worn my hair down more often: at first in side braids, then in half-up half-down configurations, and finally, just in its natural form.


    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger / I’m going to be frank: I hated this book. The writing style felt jerky,, and every time I tried to find something positive in the narrator, Holden, he would quickly do something mean or annoying that bothered me. I include it on this list, though, because Holden’s hesitance to grow up is something I’ve experienced. Facing how I would pay for college, an overwhelming sum, was one of the first truly adult decisions I have had to grapple with (the day after my 18th birthday, no less). Now, feeling how quickly time passes, I want to enjoy being young while I can.

    What I Experienced


    Since I last posted on the blog, my senior year has culminated in too many events to count. Here are some of the more recent highlights:
    • I finished my last season of musical production. In this club, students are responsible for managing the business aspects of the spring musical, including ticket sales, dinner theater design and management, program design, and senior show logistics. This year’s production certainly tested my patience—having to unbox and correct 2800 programs, twice, is one memory that jumps out at me—but it also challenged me to reach farther (securing 105 free pizza donations from local businesses for our cast and crew!!) and brought me closer to two of my best friends.


    • I also concluded my term as president of Model UN. I had an absolute blast representing Indonesia in Security Council and talking to students from other schools, including an old friend from Girls’ State. One of my friends and I also prepared a grant request that secured over $6,000 for the club next year. Although I will not be able to be a part of next year's endeavors, I am so excited for the opportunities this grant provides future club members, most notably to attend a national level conference, something our club had never even conceived before.
    • My friend and I won fourth in the state for news broadcasting at the state debate tournament! We both began public forum together on a whim our junior year. This year, due to the musical schedule, we were unfortunately unable to compete in public forum at the district tournament. News broadcasting was such a fun alternative though and placing in what was our first and only tournament this year was incredible. (Oh, and I have a lot of stories to tell about our sketchy hotel.)


    • I started running on my own again. I have run cross country since the beginning of high school, but some personal issues complicated my relationship with running until I convinced myself that I couldn’t do it. I decided not to run track in the spring, the first time in six years that I haven’t participated in the team sport. I felt a lot of pressure, but I decided to use the time to start training again by myself. The result has been great. My times have actually improved since the last time I raced in cross country season, but more importantly, I have learned to cultivate a healthier relationship with exercise. I love running again. Yes, I still struggle sometimes, but I am learning to value how strong and happy exercise makes me feel more than a look or a weight. Plus, I’ve found an unofficial workout group in my production friends that makes workouts a lot more fun.
    • I committed to a college (*internal screaming*). I will be attending the College of William and Mary in the fall to study public policy and hopefully a foreign language.


    • In March, I became an adult.
    • Starting April, I have spent a lot more time with friends, which has been lovely.

    Some things I learned


    • Be empathetic. Everyone has a story.
    • You have to be your own greatest advocate. Do not let others take advantage of you.
    • College tuition is expensive.
    • You are not alone.
    • Do not microwave a frozen pretzel for three minutes. The pretzel will explode and the physics classroom will smell like smoke for a week.
    • There are so many more important things in life than your appearance or how fast you can run.
    • The Belgian singer Angele is excellent.
    • You don’t have to be good at everything. You can’t be good at everything. You won’t be good at everything.
    • Take time to appreciate the people around you.
    • Codenames is the best game, ever.
    • Take lots of pictures. Write.
    • If you have a bad feeling about something, you’re probably right.
    • Sleep, because you’re stupid when you’re tired.
    • Ramen is even better with kale.
    • You are only young once. Enjoy it.
    • You are so much stronger than you think.
    What a rush! Tell me, how have you been in these spring months?

    1 comment :

    1. Loved reading this update! Did not know that about microwaving a frozen pretzel haha learn something new every day.

      http://www.myclusterofthoughts.com/

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