Which Me Am I Going to be Today?

Featured

I ask, almost as if I am picking out my clothes for the day.

I scan my closet and search the depths

of the messy clothing pit I call my room.

I try an outfit on and look in the mirror at the person staring back at me.

I brush my hair, fixing the brown/blonde strands in the perfect spot.

I move around a bit.

So this must be what it’s like to walk in my own shoes.

I’ll see what it’s like to live with the me

who I want to be.

How do other people react?

Am I comfortable?


How do I feel?


Do I feel free?

Or tight around the seams?

How do I seem?

Do I feel like me?

I go home and I take it all off

and start the process

all

over

again.


I always think it’s funny

When people peer back at

How they’ve appeared

and their voices seeth with cringe as they exclaim,

“That is the ugliest shirt/hair/makeup/dress I have ever seen”

And I laugh with them,

but not for the reason that they think

I laugh because at one time,

the hair was perfect

so were the clothes

the makeup, the shoes, the accessories,

all perfect 5,10,15,20 years ago.


Every morning when we get out of bed,

we create the person that we want to be

We see the person that we want to see

(and who we want others to see, too)

Sometimes that person is messy

Sometimes that person is bold

Experimental

Comfortable

Whatever you want to call it I guess.


See, we always think of ourselves as this fixed thing,

like there’s no use

changing our ways

We tell ourselves:

“I am who I am”

Or we ask:

“Who am I?”

But I don’t think there is an answer to that question that

so many struggle with.

because every second, minute, hour, day, year, lifetime

It’s never too late to

be someone

brand new


Which me am I going to be today?

I ask myself

once.

again.

Advertisements
Featured

My Internet Isn’t Working

1 hour a day. That’s how long on average I spend on social media. That means I spend roughly 7 hours a week, 28 hours a month, and-here’s the big one- 365 hours per year spent online. I knew I spent some time on my phone, but I had no idea how much all those “quick scrolls through Instagram” really added up to. What really started to alarm me was when I converted all of these hours into days. The amount of time I am spending on my social media apps equals a whopping 15 days per year, and that is not including watching Netflix, TV and movies. It took a few days for me to really be able to process this and reflect on what it means to me. The reality is that I’ve essentially been spending two weeks on my phone every year since I’ve had access to social media. Needless to say, it’s time for me to take a break.

I have always been interested in, and admittedly afraid of, technology. More specifically, how it changes the relationship we have with ourselves and the people around us. I try to keep myself aware of the anxiety that comes with keeping up with social media and the toll it can take on me. While these problems are completely real and troublesome aspects of the internet, they only really affect my life. When I looked a bit closer, though, I have realized is that we are using the internet is bigger than just ourselves. We are prioritizing the I’s in our life more than ever. iPhones, iMessages and ipads are everywhere now, but I’m not seeing any we’s or us’s anymore.

One of the biggest problems I have with social media is how narcissistic it makes us as a society collectively. As a teenager, I know I am already prone to being self-centered sometimes, but having whole platforms dedicated to myself-what I am doing, my thoughts and opinions, and what interests me- has unquestionably carried over into my personal life. I’ve spent copious amounts of time taking myself-a multidimensional person in a nuanced world-and flattening who I am into a digestible two dimensional image. I’ve found that the way I’ve been using social media takes the human aspects of myself and diminishes them just a little bit. And this applies to most people that I know online- when we are too caught up in how we appear to the world, we become blinded to the problems and lives of those who are closest to us. We choose to hide behind this social media facade, and we become apathetic to what is actually going on behind the “my-life-is-perfect” mask.

Recently, I’ve been reminded of how important it is that we cherish the people around us. Maybe that means calling up a family member, or hanging out with a friend we haven’t seen in a while. Sometimes, it just means striking up a conversation with that kid who sits beside you in math class. Especially now that I’m in my second semester of my senior year, I have learned that whoever you’re talking to won’t be there forever. Soon, many of the people I’ve known and taken for granted nearly my entire life will move all around the country for college. People move away, relationships and friendships change, and even though it’s difficult to face, they die, too.

Although this seems heavy, I feel that it’s a necessary weight for us to bear, and it certainly raises some interesting questions. Who might I have gotten closer to in the hours I’ve spent mindlessly scrolling? What might I have accomplished if I put my phone down? What new friends could I have made? I guess I’ll never have the answer to those questions, but that’s okay. They have only made me understand what’s important. I know now that I want to spend the limited time I have with other people being fully present, not missing out on becoming closer with someone because I can’t be bothered to look up from my screen.

All preaching aside, I don’t think the internet or social media is 100 percent bad. Just like anything in the world, In fact, I know people who use social media positively. Social media can connect families and friends, and be entertaining when you can develop a healthy relationship with it, but for now that’s unfortunately not something I can say I have. So I’m taking a break. If anyone asks me why I haven’t been responding to snapchats, I think I’m just going to tell them my internet isn’t working. Not because the wifi at my house is bad or anything- but because I realized I have lost sight of how to use the internet the right way, and that’s not working for me.

Featured

New Year, New Me?

Well, it’s that time of the year again. We have started 2019, and along with the new year comes the opportunity to reinvent ourselves as a few of us exclaim, “New year, new me!” while the majority scoff at the idea. When I talk to my family and friends, there seems to be more of a stigma around New Year’s resolutions with each passing year. Of course, it would be silly of me to pretend that everyone who makes a resolution keeps it. To put it bluntly, most resolutions fail. Because of the fear of failure that most of us have, many laugh at the idea of creating a resolution, knowing our goals will probably fail too. Despite the criticism and controversy that exists around the “New year, New me” sentiment, I still think there is an important place for New Year’s resolutions in my world.
Every year since I was little, I have always made a resolution. No matter how small the change would be, I always used the new year as an opportunity to at least try to become a better me. Some attempts were successful, others…not so much (like the time I told myself I’d be more organized-as if). I have found over time that some of the most important changes that I have made have been not been the resolution itself, but the strength that comes with trying to keep that resolution that comes from within. Last year, my sister and I wanted to become healthier, so we decided give up soda for the year, and to my surprise, we motivated each other and kept it. Even through nights out and birthday parties when it was hard to keep away from soda, we would remind each other of not only our goal to keep away from soda for the year, but the long term effects it would have on our health to cut out sugary drinks.
One year later, I came to realize that it was not the act of giving up the soda itself, it was the idea of creating a goal for myself and sticking to it. I feel that today, too many people think that change is an overnight process. They may go to the gym or eat healthy for a week or two, and then go back to their unhealthy lifestyle. As strange as it sounds, giving up soda for a year taught me that change is a rocky road with bumps and ups and downs along the way, but the destination is always worth the difficult journey. Now I not only feel healthier and happier physically, but I also am proud of myself for my commitment to a goal.
Resolutions subconsciously provide a lot of self reflection on my life. They are a way of asking myself,” Where I am I in life right now?” “Am I who I want to be, mentally, emotionally and physically?” and “Where do I want to be a year from now?” I believe that the thought people put in to change themselves that they may not otherwise put forth is important in it of itself. The acknowledgement that change needs to be made can spark a change in many other areas of our lives. It’s okay if I am not exactly where I planned to be at the end of the year, but I know it is never too late to change my plans or better myself. For me, the most important thing about a New Year’s resolution is that it provides that chance. Here’s to the New Year. Here’s to the new me.

The World Is My Playground

After the busy activities of a hot summer day, my sister and I decided to visit the playground at our elementary school where we had spent so many days playing under the Ohio sun (and rain). I was absolutely overjoyed and filled with curiosity to see what our detour to the playground would bring. We stepped out of the car and sprinted to the playground like our younger selves would do escaping the confines of school. It was almost like I could see the elementary school kids run past us. There I was, right back with my old friends. We were invincible. Nothing could come between us and what we cherished most in the world: recess. By the time we neared the playground, the blacktop stained the bottoms of our shoes. So many sights and sounds immediately flooded my memory, but one was of particular interest to me: the infamous monkey bars. Without hesitation, I ran to them. These were no ordinary monkey bars, no sirree. They zig zag up and down, adding an extra challenge to what was already a feat to my eight year old self. Conquering these was the crowning achievement of my elementary school career to this day. I spent months building up the strength to swing from bar to bar, the courage to jump from the platform, and proudly displaying the callouses I had collected from working so hard to achieve my goal. If I fell, that was okay. I was okay. I was, after all, a wonderfully resilient child. A scraped knee or bruised arm couldn’t stop me for the world. I very vividly remember what it felt like when I finally made it all the way to the end. I felt like superwoman. I was on top of the world.

  I looked up at those monkey bars that were now stood only a few inches taller than me and I realized how small the same monkey bars that I once struggled to conquer really were. In fact, everything was less daunting, less exhilarating, and just…different than how I remembered. My legs grazed the ground while I swung on the swings, I was too big for the pull up bar that I used to measure my strength with, and the slide was less slide-y, if that even makes sense. At first, this filled me with a sense of melancholy. I had really outgrown the magic of the playground. But as I roamed around the place that I used to know so well, I realized that the magic was never really in this playground, it was within myself. I quickly learned that it’s okay to grow apart from your childhood self. I am not the person I was then, after all.

Sure, I outgrew my old dreams of never being “it”, swinging the highest I could on the swings, or making it all the way to the end of the monkey bars, but this just serves a reminder of the growth I have made over the years. I have grown and so have my goals, my dreams, and my aspirations in life. Soon, I will have new “playgrounds” to conquer. I will face new challenges and obstacles each and every day. Some time in the distant future, I will look back at the things I am going through now and the goals I currently hold close to me and laugh at how I have comically outgrown them. I look inside of me today to see that the same little girl still lives in me and guides me. I am still learning from her every day, in fact. I learned from her that I will have new callouses on my hands and on my heart. I will inevitably fall down a few times, but I will dust myself off. I can hear her voice telling me to never, ever let anything get me down. At the end of it all, I don’t want to look let a few scrapes and bruises stop me from chasing my dreams. I will still be the wonderfully resilient and beautifully strong me that I always have been. So, thank you eight year old Grace. Thank you monkey bars. Thank you playground. You have made me stronger than you know.

The Cards we are Dealt (and How to Play Them)

It was the middle of a hot, sticky day at the greenhouse where I work. I was just in the middle of doing my daily sweep of flower petals from underneath the tables in the greenhouse when I heard a car pull up. Today was a particularly slow day, so I was ecstatic to hear a customer come in. Yes, I am an employee who helps people find the hanging basket or perfect tomato plant, but I also love talking to everyone who stops by. I like to think of myself as someone who can ask customers how they are doing, provide some conversation, and hopefully make even a tiny impact on someone’s day. Little did I know, these customers would make an impact on me.

I walked up to the car, waving. I looked into the window to see a man and an older woman, both with a smile on their faces. “Excuse me,” he said, “ I am in a wheelchair and my mom has a walker. Can we please pull up to the back of the greenhouse and have flowers brought to us?”. Of course I agreed. They pulled up and got out. Immediately, the man started asking about all the flowers we had to offer, and asked question after question with curiosity and eagerness teeming in his voice. I have never met someone who was so ecstatic about geraniums and petunias in my life. When I brought the flowers to his mother, her eyes immediately lit up with excitement. She didn’t say much, but she didn’t need to. Her face said it all. “Can you believe she just turned 94?” the man asked. I couldn’t believe it in the slightest. Sure, she was older, but the childlike excitement she showed just by looking for some flowers made her seem young in my eyes. We spent about forty-five minutes looking for the flowers for the pot on her porch, and it was truly amazing how much thought she put into what she was searching for. “I’m going to need all the tags from the flowers with the information on it”, said the man. “My daughter is going to want to hear all about these!” Everyone seems to be in such a rush to get what they need and leave. It was refreshing to see them take their time, and witness the joy they took in slowing down and enjoying the process, and share their newfound knowledge of flowers with their loved ones.

Witnessing their joyous approach to something as simple as flowers made me reflect on a quote I had heard earlier that week. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play them.” From the time we are born, we all  are dealt a set of cards. No two hands are dealt the same way. What we look like, where we are from, how much money we have, a disability or even a tough situation are out of our hands. This man didn’t choose to be in a wheelchair. His mother didn’t choose to have to use a walker. Although their hands were worse than so many of us who have the privilege of being able-bodied, they didn’t let this stop them from living. And by living, I don’t mean just getting through the day passively as so many of us do, but I mean really LIVING. Enjoying life because we have the privilege to live it- even if our situations are not ideal. We don’t get to choose our cards, but we do choose how we play them. Although our circumstances can cause pain which should not be ignored, this pain shouldn’t stop us from enjoying all that life has to offer. So next time you are out to do something small-no matter what it is-it can be driving, walking, shopping, whatever, I encourage you to take some time to take out those cards you were dealt and play them. I promise you no matter what you end up with, you will win the game.

Reflections on my Last Last Day

Today was my last last day of school. Ever. The last time I will ever have to go to public-mandated school in my life. When I pictured this day in my head at the beginning of this year (or, who am I kidding. I’ve thought about this day since freshman year. Alright, maybe eighth grade.) I thought I would be overjoyed to get the heck out of the school. When I woke up this morning, I felt a lot different than I thought I would. An odd sense of nostalgia-and dare I say-sadness washed over me as I began a day full of lasts.

And that’s when it hit me- In life, and especially in high school- we spend a lot of our time wishing away the seemingly mundane tasks of the day. I will admit, there were a lot of times when I would sit in class wondering why I was there, thinking that there were more productive ways for me to spend my time. I would walk aimlessly through the halls and count the minutes until periods were over, until it was time for lunch, until the school day was over, until it was the weekend, until break, until summer. And then I would start all over again the next year. But when I walked into school today, I felt something different. I suddenly cherished the time I walked in the halls, the routine of class, and everything in between. This couldn’t really be it, could it? The last time walking those halls as a student, the last time greeting those same teachers who have shaped me into who I am, and the last time I would be with this same group of peers ever in my life, and yes, the last time I would ever clean out my locker filled to the brim with papers. Although I am so excited for what’s to come, it feels strange to come to terms with leaving the people and places that I have known for my entire life.

Being a senior does mean coming to terms with a lot of lasts, but as I found out today, it also means reflecting on what it really means to make your mark. Yes, I  have made my “mark” physically on the school in the form of hand prints on the outside wall, accompanying several seniors before me, or signing my name in the prop room where I have spent many school plays getting ready for a big show, but today, I realized making my mark means a lot more than signing my name on a wall in the school.

To me, I have made my mark in the friendships I have made, the laughter I have shared with my classmates and the wisdom I have acquired from my teachers that I have applied in my life. I feel that so many times in our society, we feel we need to do something big to make a mark on the world. We feel that we need to climb hypothetical mountains or change the tides to make an impact, but I think that there’s more to it than that. If there is one thing I have learned from my time at Marietta High School, it’s that it is the most simple things that make the biggest difference. It is opening yourself up to people who you never thought you would. It is smiling at people and asking how their day is. It is sitting with the person who doesn’t have anyone else to sit with. These actions have cost me nothing, but they have meant everything to someone else, and in the long run, myself.  I have learned that while grades and achievements are important, it’s people who make the difference.

High school has taught me that while it’s important to be nice in this life, it’s more important to be good. While niceness is conveyed through our words, it is our actions that reveal true goodness. I am thankful that I could spend the past four years with genuinely good friends, good teachers, and good peers. I know each and every one of them will go on to be successful in life and make their own mark on the world. Despite our successes and achievements, however, I hope we will be good.

A special thank you goes out to my English teacher, Mrs. “Bev” Warren. Thank you for helping me discover my passion for writing! You are truly an amazing and inspiring teacher.

An Open Letter to my Piano Teacher

Dear Merewyn,

I don’t know what I’m going to do without piano lessons with you next year. Once a week from when I was seven years old to seventeen years old, piano lessons have been the highlight of my day. Lesson by lesson, with your help, I grew a little more. Piano isn’t just an activity to me, it has grown with me and shaped me into a more compassionate and motivated person. A lot of things have changed in my life. Friends, extracurriculars, and passions have come and gone, but the love of music that you have taught me has been a constant. When I started piano, I never dreamed of everything else I would learn along the way. You have not only taught me how to play an instrument, but also how to express the feelings that are impossible to put into words through music. Even when I had forgotten to practice for lessons the week before, you always believed in the musician and the person I could become. You pushed me to work harder for the next lesson. Thank you for helping me grow not only into a better musician, but a better person in every way possible. When I sat down to write this paragraph, I had a hard time putting into words how much I appreciate everything you’ve done. How could I put ten years of memories into a paragraph? It feels as though mere words aren’t enough to express my gratitude to you. So on that “note”, I’ll just say thank you.