“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

I keep seeing all these posts on facebook and tumblr about being an adult.  About how its all boring, tiring, and pushing forward.  Those posts make me so pained.  Is that all I have to look forward to? Pushing, trudging on, just doing what I need to to make it through another day.  If that’s what it really is, then you can keep that future.  That future is not something I’d like to partake in.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am well aware there will always be days where it’s all that you can do to get through, and there are hoops everyone in the world has to jump through.  But I cannot accept that that is all there is waiting for me in the future.  I want so much more from life, and being the very stubborn, selfish person I know I am, I will have it.  You cannot tell me to just sit back and let my future unfold in a curtain of greys and blacks.  I demand to have color splashed all over my canvas in messy handprints, footprints from running, dramatic brush strokes of memories, and splashes of dark and light to contrast each other.  Likewise, I want my clothes and skin to be permanently marked.  I need to display the life I’ve lived in all the scars, all the marks and blemishes.  I refuse to believe that life is just a series of steps I have to take.  I refuse to be restricted to a set of stairs, leading up to my inevitable death and life beyond.  I want to take the stairs in leaps and bounds, and, when I reach the top, I want to be sweaty and panting and able to look back at all the paint I’ve splashed all over the canvas draping down my set of stairs like a carpet of life lived, just waiting to me reviewed by someone else.  I want that person to be inspired, and to be in awe of the things I’ve managed to do in such a short span of time.  Not that I want to rush through life, but I want to feel that on my death bed as I look back at the things I’ve done, I have lived as if my lifetime had been a beautiful splash of memories all wrapped into one, long, extended moment.  Maybe our lives are not meant to be a serious of moments, but one long moment of memories and feelings all tied in with peace and rest in those seconds of needed silence.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.  It’s so simple it makes it complicated.  Live.  Breath in the air that God so graciously supplied you and stand up.  Go the places you wanted.  Live your moment.  I’ll be perfectly satisfied at the end of my life to know that I refused to just trudge on.  If I have kids, I’ll take them on the adventures with me.  Show them that they have all the life in the world.  Show them just how significant but tiny we are in this world.  Who says living is just a series of steps.  Roll out your carpet of memories and scars and dark and lights and get going.  Make yourself dizzy with anticipation of the next second.  And never feel sorry for the time you’ve had so far.  Let this moment roll on until it becomes a lifetime.  Let one moment expand into your entire life, and value each, tiny memory and second contained within.

 

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You only have one moment.  Now use it.

Quote is by Confucius.

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“To me it all looks like it’s monotone.”

What is the worst feeling you’ve ever felt in your entire life?  For some it may be love, just because of the experiences they’ve had with it.  For others it may be sadness, perhaps because they lost a loved one.  For me though, it’s much more of a complicated feeling than just sadness.  It’s the threshold of emotional pain where you can feel your heart breaking, but you can’t feel any tears welling up.  Your eyes are dry, staring into the abyss of unfocused scenes, while your fist is so tightly clenched into the fabric over your chest, as if trying to reach in and strangle the pain out of your heart.  It’s loneliness, depression, sadness, and heartbreak all rolled up into one bittersweet package of unpredictability.  You never know what might trigger it.  Your day might be so wonderful, filled with laughter, joy, and smiles, but something reminds you and suddenly it clenches its cold fist around your soul and squeezes all the joy out.  The strangest things might trigger it, too.  For me, sure ways to trigger it are certain shows, examining my past, and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.  Those things will bring me to this place where the color just drains from everything around me and all I can feel is dismal.  The shows are because I see myself and my pain in specific characters or in certain situations.  It happens when I examine my past because there is no physical way for me to not hit a memory where I had felt that exact same emptiness or sorrow.  As for Moonlight Sonata, it is the only song that can bring the feeling on without even a shadow of a doubt.  I could listen to it on repeat and never have my heart fully shatter.  The notes are just so haunting.  They haunt me just like this feeling in my chest does every single day of my life.  I can feel that sweet pain every moment of my life, even though I suppress it with all my might, and this song just rips the covering off of that old wound and lets it bleed anew.  I feel so sad, so lonely, so cold, but the tears won’t come out even though I want them too.  Oh god how I want them to.  Tears are the release to this misery, but not even one will develop in my eye.  Why can’t I cry?  All I can do is stare at the wall, letting this pain seep into my very bones and poison me to the center of my being.  There will never be a way to get rid of it.  I have been tainted by this.  But then, suddenly the song changes to something near joy and my heart awakes in surprise.  It had been so sad just a moment ago, but now it’s notes bounce up and down in the rhythm to a fast waltz.  The kind you do spinning around your living room with a smile on your face while no one is watching.  Then suddenly it changes again.  Now the song is rapid, panicked, dramatic.  You can see a pianist at the piano his eyes tightly shut and his jaw clenched as he enters a state none of us can understand.

The truth to why I love Moonlight Sonata is that it is a written melody of our lives.  You are empty, but then you fill that pain with joy, and then that joy will switch to sweaty necessity to work, to be heard, to dance, to live.  It is so true that I am tainted by this hole in my soul, but I will never let that define me.  I am haunted, but I am alive.  I am no ghost of my past, or my pain, or my broken soul.  I am a living, breathing person with an ambition to become more.  That’s all we ever are.  We are shells filled with emotion and soul, but we choose what we let haunt us, and what we overcome.  One day I’ll cry.  One day I’ll cry and scream and throw my fists around and let it all come out.  Until then, I will live in this panic to be alive.  Just as all of us should.

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I think I need to stop watching Your Lie in April now before I start hurting again.  That’s where the quote is from.

“It had been so long, she’d forgotten how to feel heartbreak. Now, though, the tears are coming out so fast and so hot that she can barely breath from the pain.”

Air coming out in ragged gasps of sweet nostalgia

Hair flapping like wings extending towards the sun

Smile curved over her face like a crack into heaven

And arms moving so smooth like a crane taking flight

 

Such freedom in your motion

Such passion in your voice

Such salty heartbreak on your words

And such a future riding on those notes

 

I never thought I’d feel my heart break and soar

All at the same time as I sit and merely watch

As you take the stage of newer life

And lead me on an adventure like none before

 

Somehow your words make me feel alive

And all the past seems to be in black and white

But the future is on fire with a color I’ve never seen

Somewhere between a raging storm and the still Autumn day

 

So, let me feel your passion ride through my veins

Let my eyes sparkle just as brightly as you in this moment

For the blaze you’ve sparked in my soul

Burns with a passion and greatness I’ve never known

 

Today I started on an anime I’ve been putting off for a very long time.  And, yes, I know what you’re thinking.  Ugh, cartoons.  But this anime is one of the kind that I fall in love with.  I’ve heard so much about it that it’s reputation proceeds itself, but the anime itself is to die for.  Behind the entire show is the clear message that strikes such a note in my soul.  You are who you are in each moment, and every moment should be used to its absolute fullest.  Even more, though, for artists, our goal is to express the feelings, emotions, and scenery behind each moment of our lives, whether it be a drawing, a poem, a song, a dance, or, in this case, a musical instrument.

My favorite part of the entire anime has to be right in its opening theme, though.  We watch before the song even gets into full swing, our female protagonist attempt to throw flower petals into the air, slip, fall, laugh, and throw the petals on the ground into the air from her fallen position.  Its such a strong punch in the gut to me in a weird way.  So many people think that falling down is the end of their reign, the end of their moment, the end of their success, but that’s only if you let it be.  The song doesn’t end just because you stop playing it.  It is your choice of whether or not you continue a moment and live it to its fullest instead of cutting it off after one bad step.  You can choose to let your failure define you, or make your failure your strength.  All any of us want is to be remembered, right? So, if you fall down, that is the most crucial moment to decide how you are remembered.  Are you the pitiful beast who laid down in defeat, or did you laugh and roll in the flower petals.  Passion.  Passion.  Let it exist in your heart.  Let it rush through every fiber of your being, your soul, your heart.  Show them that there is someone rushing towards a brighter future.  Let your legacy be that you took advantage of your failures and made yourself into someone better, someone happy.  Express your soul in every note, every word, every letter, every smile, every look, every single second of your existence and all the milliseconds in between.  Never let them forget you.  No, scratch that.  Make them wish they could forget you, but happy that they can’t.  You are already great, but now make yourself better.  Whatever excuse you had holding you back, get rid of it.  Not enough time? Make more.  You can’t do it? No, you won’t do it.  You’re out of breath? Take a deep breath of that sweet, dusty oxygen and get back up.  It’s not anyone else you are doing this for.  You are doing this for yourself.  You can do it.  It is your decision.  This is your fist fight, so keep punching.  Let that nostalgia, grief, heartbreak, and pain pour out through your eyes and replace it with the passion, the fire, the determination, and the soul to keep pushing.  You aren’t who you were ten seconds ago.  Now is a new moment.  Now.

In the meantime, I’ll keep pouring my soul into every letter on the page.  I may not be very pretty, and I’m ok at other things, but my words are my soul.  I don’t believe the soul is something invisible.  You are the one who paints it all different colors for the rest of the world to see.  Make a new shade of brilliance.  Name it passion.  I’ll call mine imagination.  How does that sound?

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In case you’re wondering, the anime I was talking about is called Your Lie in April.  Sad but tragically beautiful.  Quote is from my book Game of Life.

“Destiny is something we tell ourselves so that we have an explanation of why we change so easily.”

It is a sunny, warm day for us

Sitting across the table with mugs clutched firm

Window seat where the sunlight brightens my hair

And your eyes are set gold by the glow

 

Our eyes meet and a smile spreads over my face

“It’s been a long time.” Your eyes sparkle at me

I nod slowly as I feel the warmth of your presence return

Finally, we can let go of who we were

 

I think an important lesson everyone has to learn is to let go.  I’m not talking love or anything like that, I think I already covered that.  I’m talking about letting go of who you used to be.  Letting go of the past that goes along with that other self.  People change so much and so easily over their lives, but we often miss how much we have because we’re too much in a hurry to get to the next point in our lives.  Recently, I’ve been evaluating the person I was three years ago with the woman I am today.  So much has changed in me.  Not only have I become a woman, but I became an entirely new person.  The first stage, I shed my awkward, shy self and became this boisterous, bouncing, always happy girl.  But then I realized how actually unhappy it made me to pretend to be happy.  I’d removed one mask only to put on another one.  I think in a way, you’re never going to be able to shed your entire mask all the time, but that doesn’t mean it has to become part of your face.  You should be able to put up and take down your walls and take off the mask whenever you feel comfortable with it.  It was only recently that I discovered this, and became able to identify and understand my own feelings towards the world around me.  Now, I’ve changed once again into a new person capable of being strong, happy, but also calm, collected, and at peace with myself.  Life is a series of boxes, and you climb in and out of them until you find the right one.  I found one, but it wasn’t big enough for two to share.  I’m not ready to move boxes quite yet, though.  I like this little box of mine with it’s crayon windows and doors.  It’s a cozy, quiet place to collect my thoughts.

I know that one day soon, the depression will come rearing its ugly head once more and trying to tear my box up, but I know that I am able to fight it on my own.  I think its important not to rely on anyone too much for your own happiness while you’re still young or depression will snatch you up easily.  People make their own happiness from the attitude they project and the things they do.  Everyone has the power to change their destiny to make themselves happy.  You can only truly obtain that happiness, though, if you let go of the mistakes you made in the past.  The person you were yesterday is not the person you are right now.  In the next three years, I might find a new box to fit two, or maybe just a box to fit all my books.  Either way, I’ve let go of the person yesterday and moved on to shaping the person I’ll be tomorrow.  That makes me happy.

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“Destiny is something we tell ourselves so that we have an explanation of why we change so easily.”~Avana Black from Dark Energy: Lanoria.  (Picture by DestinyBlue on Deviantart.)

“Suddenly I have the feeling that I’m forgetting something to tell him, ‘I love-‘ The door shuts with a snap, ‘you.’ I finish quietly to myself.”

You.

You so brash, and loud, and outspoken.  You who I know so well and care for so much.  I know I can’t say this to you any other way.  Why would you want to listen to me now, after all? But if I don’t, I feel I might strangle myself with these words.  They’ve been caught in my throat for so long that I’m starting to suffocate on them.  You don’t have to read or listen, but I’ll write them down anyway.  I’m a selfish, cruel, cold hearted person.  I tried to tell you so many times, even though you’d never listen.  I have no capacity to love properly.  I wish, wish I did, so very much.  I wanted to love you just as much as you loved me, and tried to for such a long time, but you have fallen so hard that nothing I could do could make me feel like I was doing you justice.  I felt like a liar.  I felt like I was pretending.  So, now you won’t speak to me unless you’re looking somewhere else, you get up when I sit down, you won’t answer my texts, and you act so cold.  Do I blame you? No.  It hurts me to know that as hard as this feels for me, it’s just that much harder for you.  As much as I can’t breath, I know that you can’t even take a steady breath without choking.  It hurts me to know that the things I gave you over our time must be painful to look at.  I cry at the very thought of you reading things I wrote to you and feeling that they must be lies.  They aren’t.  They weren’t.  They never will be.  The one thing I refuse to be called is a liar.  My feelings have changed, yes, but that doesn’t mean I never meant those things.  I still care, no matter how much you don’t.  I still think of things that I probably shouldn’t, like bringing an allergy pill for you because you’re allergic to cats.  I can’t stop that.  All I want, and I’m not asking for this now, is for us to one day be close enough that we both still care, but share separate paths.  You’re ahead of me.  Keep going.  I have a separate destination to get to.  Maybe I’ll meet you occasionally along the way.  You deserve someone who will love you just as deeply as you love her.  I hope I get to meet her one day.  Even in my head she sounds amazing.  There.  I said it.  It’s not like you could hate me much more at this point, so I don’t regret it.  Once again, it was more for my selfish reasons than anything.  I’m sorry for that.

“I have to leave, or else they may never have the peace they deserve.”

Today’s topic, kiddies, is sacrifice.  Kids in my day (man, I sound old) believe that they can do whatever they want and get everything they want.  They don’t believe in consequences anymore.  Therefore, they also don’t believe sacrifices are necessary.  You wanna know why that is? Because nobody gives them consequences anymore.  Everyone is too worried about hurting their self esteem.  Don’t worry that your grammar on your paper is awful, what’s important is that you did your best.  Bull! I don’t care how hard you tried, you are taking this paper back and you are fixing your mistakes til there are none left.  Wanna know why? It’s not because I don’t think you’re good enough, it’s because I know you can do better.  Another example? I heard on the radio today that a father took his 12 year old’s phone away because he saw a rude text and her mother (his ex-wife) called the cops on him for stealing.  Totally ridiculous! The mother’s excuse was that if he’d just given the phone back it wouldn’t have happened.  Ugh, things like this drive me up the wall.  The father won the case and wasn’t charged, but now his daughter won’t have anything to do with him.  Aw poor lil bebe can’t be a bitch to daddy (excuse me, I don’t normally cuss, but that was necessary).  Like I said, no consequences.  The girl got punished, but the dad ended up getting worse for trying to raise his daughter right to respect her parents and others! So, branching off of consequences, we reach the subtopic of sacrifice.

Let me explain this to you now, teens, being an adult, in fact, being a person, requires sacrifices.  You wanna eat a candybar? You gotta sacrifice a little money.  Same principle applies with everything else: relationships, goals, work, etc.  In relationships, it’s a give and take.  You give a little, the other gives a little back.  If it doesn’t work that way, fix it.  You may have to sacrifice one goal to achieve another, more important one.  I may have to give up on my dream of voice acting (for a little while) so that I can get my degree in English.  The world is full of sacrifices.  The biggest one teenagers face, emotionally, though, is choosing between themselves, their significant other, and/or their dreams or goals.  It can be a three way street, or maybe just a two way street.  Do I stay with them even though they want me to change *insert characteristic here*? Do I stay with them even though they want me to change or give up my dream? Do I give them up to achieve my goals because I’m starting to feel as if they’re holding me back? Do I change myself a little to look more appealing and use this to achieve my goal?  Do I stay myself, change for them, or let them go and chase my dreams?  All terribly agonizing questions that keep lots of people up at night, including me.

The thing you have to understand, though, is that, no matter what, you’re going to have to give something up to get something else.  You aren’t capable of keeping everything you want.  It just doesn’t work that way.  I’m not say you have to settle, but if you don’t want to settle in one aspect, you’re going to have to sacrifice another aspect.  I don’t wanna settle for a bachelors degree, but he/she wants me to marry them as soon as I get the degree.  You have to chose which is more important to you in this situation.  Now, it may work out as: I will marry you and find a job with the degree I have.  Or, the better option in my opinion: I have to go and chase this dream of mine, and if you don’t understand and wait for me, then I guess we aren’t meant for each other.  Or the third option which I find least appealing (due to the struggles of college life alone): I’ll marry you, but you have to let me get my masters after that.  Do you understand what I am saying? You have to evaluate what’s most important to you, and what you’re willing to sacrifice, and then take the leap.

I think the most important thing about this is this: always stay true to yourself.  Yes, sacrificing something will hurt, but you have to stick to what you want and believe.  I don’t believe in fate or destiny or anything like that.  I believe we work and form our own futures based on the things we give up and the things we chase and gain.  Stay true to yourself! If you want that degree, go get it, no matter what.  If you’re willing to give up some things to marry them or date them, then do it! If you feel smothered by either of those ideas and believe you just need to be on your own, making it up as you go, then freewrite my little butterfly! Just stick to what you know and make it up as you go along.  Just remember to think on the things that are important to you and what you’re willing to give up in your life.  Because one day, the sunny morning will come, when you are faced with the grimm dilemma of one thing or the other.  Me or him/her? Him/her or my dreams? Me or my dreams? My dreams, him/her, or me?  Think before you leap, and always, always remember there are very real consequences to everything you do.

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I believe you can do it, and I know you can do better than every time before!

 

Quote is from my book: “I have to leave, or else they may never have the peace they deserve.”~Avana Black; Dark Energy: The Line.

“Because I’m just the broken ballerina with hazel brown eyes.”

Ok kids, it’s story time so gather round and listen carefully to Aunt Rebel.  Once upon a time, I participated in a beauty pageant – please, don’t laugh, that’s the point of this post.  At said beauty pageant our third round of judging was based off an interview.  My interviews were going fine until I sat down with a judge and she asked me the strange question of, “Why do you like your hair so short?” Now, the rounds for each of our four interviewers were only a minute each, so I briefly explained how easy it was to care for and how well it suited my facial structure.  Right before the buzzer went off, the woman commented, “But don’t you think you look like a boy?” I never got to respond because I had to move to a different table.  Half the reason I wanted to do the pageant was to help shatter the stereotypes that beauty queens and important women were all plastic barbie dolls with long flowing hair.  The pageant pamphlet boasted choice purely on character and ability, but I could clearly see that that was not the case.  Now, I haven’t decided if I want to go back this year or not, because I did enjoy it, but I must speak out.

Shatter your stereotypes because shocker, people, girls with short hair aren’t all lesbians and boys who wear pink aren’t all gay.

All I’ve ever heard from the boys that confess their feelings to me is how cool I am.  They can talk to me like one of the guys.  Joke inappropriately and I still laugh.  I’m good at sports.  I listen to hard rock and electronic music.  I dress in dark clothes, jeans, and I don’t wear a ton of makeup.  I can hold my own in fights and arguments and I don’t get my feelings hurt easily.  *Balls all of that up and throws it out a window* Sorry, boys but that’s not all there is to me.  Behind the short hair and tomboyish grin is a girl with a love of the arts.  I’m someone who listens to classical music all day and still get’s moved by Mozhart and other composers.  I’m the girl who stands on her back porch and practices opera pieces.  The girl who likes to sketch all day while curled up under the awning of the front porch and watching the rain fall in the Autumn.  I pull my hair back with lace and ribbons, wear frills, design my own clothes, and enjoy movies like Pride and Prejudice.  I’m the girl who believes the English language, and other languages, are an art.  I practice my French to my dogs.  I write poetry and love the piano, even though I can’t play.

All I’ve ever heard in my life was how cool and tough I am.  People automatically assume I’m a tomboy because I have short hair and don’t like wearing a lot of makeup.  Because I don’t look elegant.  I think it’s time we stop looking at someone’s surface and read a little deeper into them.  Pink is a nice color, and guys can wear it too.  Gay men can be tough and gay women can be gentle.  No one is defined by what they wear or what they look like.  Let us just look at each other’s souls and know that they are beautiful on the inside.  We all have our own talents and abilities.  Just throw out the word stereotype all together.  And let your short hair flap in the wind as you paint water color.  Or tie your long hair back and get dirty.  Who you are is up to you, and no one else.  Don’t ever let someone change you just because they don’t like the way you are.

Story time is over 😛

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“I’m no knight in shining armor, or a princess in disguise, I’m just the broken ballerina with the hazel brown eyes.” -Hero ~Makka The Amerikan

“Understand, if I’m going to date you, I have the full intent to marry you one day.”

“Well, we’ve already established that you like me and I like you.”
“Yes, but I have standards of dating.”

“It’s just a date.”
“Understand, if I’m going to date you, I have the full intent to marry you one day.”

I’ve often heard about guys and girls dating and falling in and out of love.  The friends I have, who aren’t particularly religious, don’t understand how someone at my age could be in a serious relationship.  They want to know the secret behind it.  What they don’t understand, though, is that my religion is a deciding factor on how I view someone in a romantic way.  They believe that liking someone romantically means they should date, but Catholics more believe in the idea that dating someone should always be done with the intent of finding a spouse.  My non-religious friends laugh at that and think it is way too serious of a view, but that’s exactly their problem.  Everything in today’s society, concerning romance and involvement, is too mediocre.  A wedding vow is a promise to try and make it through life together.  Dating someone is a commitment to learn and put up with their flaws.  Being engaged is the commitment to learn how to possibly lead a life together.  Everything and everyone is too indecisive.  Do I love her? What is love? Do I even know what love is?

Who cares about learning what love is?  Love is more like one of those things that you realize, not learn.  Everyone is born knowing how to love.  It is such a basic emotion, that we have to realize we do it.  That is what we consider “falling in love.”  But falling in love isn’t what makes a lasting relationship.  It is the ability to stay in love.  Not putting up with people’s flaws, but actually enjoying their differences.  Enjoying learning new things about them every day.  You aren’t going to like every thing anyone ever says to you, but it’s communication that allows people to work through it.  Kids these days want to write it all down because they’re too scared to look someone in the eye and say “I love you” or “what did you mean by that?” They can’t communicate on a personal level because they’re scared of getting their feelings hurt, and their scared of confrontation.  Why? Because their relationships are built so fragile that one argument can break them apart.

News flash for them, marriage is fighting, loving, getting angry, and getting over it.  You have to be decisive, because every person who comes in and out of your life changes it, even just a little.  Any girl or boy you fall in love with, changes you in ways good and bad for your soul.  In the end, we grow up falling in love and getting our hearts broken so that we can be molded into the right person for our “soul mate” or whatever cheesy name you want to call it.  We don’t start out fitting together with someone.  Over time, we are carved and they are carved, and eventually, when the time comes, we fit together, pulled together by our cracks, scars, and curves.  That doesn’t mean you won’t fight.  That doesn’t mean you won’t hurt each other sometimes.

Basically, what I’m trying to get across here, is that if you’re going to date someone, don’t just do it because you like them.  Do it because you want to be with them, want to learn about them, and want to fall in love with them.  If you’re going to date someone, then date them with the intention of staying with them for as long as possible, through the fighting, laughter, hurt, and heartache.  If you’re going to marry someone, ask them with the full intent and knowledge that you will be spending the rest of your life with them.  Take out the buts. The reason Catholics take dating so seriously is because we don’t believe in divorce.  We don’t believe in ways out of marriage.  We believe it is something brought together by God and that it is something that can only be broken apart by God himself.

Does that sound scary?  Good.  The biggest thing I cannot stress enough is that their will always be consequences to your actions.  You pick your battles.  You pick your boxes to stay in.  But this isn’t monopoly.  There is no get out of marriage free card because I don’t know how to fight for things I love.  If you’re going to do something, you do it.  Don’t just stick your toe in the water.  Jump in the pool.

 

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“I’m an angel with a shotgun, fighting til’ the wars won.  I don’t care if heaven won’t take me back.  I’ll through away my faith, babe, just to keep you safe.  Don’t you know you’re everything I have?”-Angel With a Shotgun

“I expected something much more…cliché.”

Expectations and pressure.  It’s just everywhere.  And for some reason, we seem to associate being able to handle stress better with “becoming more mature.”  I have news for you guys: Becoming more mature is finding new ways to avoid stress.  For example, we have this eras version of high school.  Kids are expected to get up at five a.m. every week day, never be late to school, wear professional clothes or uniforms, and not feel sleepy in class or fall asleep.  They get out at about 2:30 or 3 p.m. with only one break that is necessary because a meal has to be taken.  Then they have about an hour of homework for each class.  And that’s not the only set of expectations they have.  They have parental expectations, too.  Chores, family time, and, usually, a job, has to be fit in there as well.  Get a license when you’re at that age, have friends, go out with friends, put away money for college, etc. etc.  The list goes on and on.  Now, let’s look at the typical middle class adults schedule looks like saying they’ve gone to college and survived high school and all that.  Go to work, make money, spend time with the family (if they have one), and maybe hang out with friends when they have the time and cash to spend.  But adults also have a ton of bills that have to be paid or they will literally not be able to survive.  Seeing the theme here? Expectations.  We expect high school kids to need no time for anything but what is expected of them.  Society expects you to have friends, family expects you to take care of housework and pull your own weight in the dynamic, and school requires that you literally dedicate almost every moment of your time to study things that ammount to no more than studying to pass a graduation test.  Adults are expected to pay for a house, a family, electric, multiple cars, water, food, heating and cooling, phone/television services, etc. etc. all with one job that…let’s say…pays about $15 an hour for doing something they don’t even enjoy.  *drops mic* Gee, why don’t you take hard working peoples’ souls and livers while you’re at it you anonymous higher entities.  God has to be shaking his head at us right now.
And through expectations, we have pressure.  Let me describe this to you in a way that makes sense.  Life is like a mountain range.  We all have our own mountain range.  Of course, like good hikers, we brought our own baggage along.  We are prepared for the hike (haha yeah right).  We start up the mountain.  Let’s use my life as an example.  My mountain is high school and college at once.  So, I’m trudging through my full course load of college courses while trying to balance three foreign languages from high school on the side.  My expectations are that I have good grades in all of these, and that I never get behind on anything, and that I keep up on chores, get a license to drive, keep up with my friends, get a job and start saving for the things I want to do, and still enjoy the hike.  There’s my daily baggage I have on my shoulders.  My boyfriend is on the next mountain with his own baggage, and he’s trying to slow down and wait for me just a little.  I have my friends behind me, struggling with similar problems and similar baggage.  Then, I’ve made it to the top.  There I stand, my lungs burning in the cold, thin air, my legs radiating with the pain and my head throbbing from burning blood making me so faint my knees are shaking.  My hiking partner is already on the other mountain, and he’s waiting for me to catch up.  I’m confused, because even as I take the next step to head back down, I’m reaching out a hand to my friends behind me.  Half of me screams, “You don’t have the strength!  Leave them to carry their own baggage.”  While the other half is chastising, “They are your friends!  Your legs are strong enough.  You can support just one more person.”  And for periods, I have one friend on my back with a sprained ankle or a broken heart because she just can’t go on any longer, and I’m holding someone else’s hand and some of their baggage because the climb down this stupid, goddamn mountain (excuse ma francais) is just too ridiculous for any one person to handle by themselves.  The little voice goes “You’re hurt too.  You’re scared too.  He won’t wait much longer.”  While the Scottish in me rages, “If he doesn’t have the patience to wait on you and the ones you care about, then screw him!  I can’t be responsible for his decision to hold back and wait, either.” Back and forth, up and down, forward and back again.  The constant repetition of “it’s fine” in the back of my head.
I’m not fine, though.
Blood is leaking from my nose and I think I might throw up.  I’M FINE.
My head is spinning and I think my legs might break.  She’s really heavy on my back.  My hand is going to cramp if I hold hers any longer.  I’M FINE.
Just one more thing.  I can handle just one more thing.  Just. one. more. thing.

There.  That’s how it feels, right?  Now, don’t get me wrong in any way.  I love my friends.   I’m the own offering my hand or asking if she needs a piggy back ride, and they have no reason to feel guilty for leaning on me.  Because they’ve dragged me up some mountains or helped bandaged a couple broken hearts as well.  And my hiking partner? It’s his decision to wait on me or move forward and let me catch up later.  All I know is that I’d be happy to meet him at whatever destination.  The point is that the stress of these expectations we give ourselves is just plain exhausting, and that no one should be associating “maturity” with “handling stress.”  Handling stress is basically defense mechanisms, and usually, they have a negative impact.  Being mature isn’t handling the stress, it’s finding ways of avoiding stressing yourself.  How do I do it?  For the most part, I struggle with it myself.  But, I balance my schedule for college so that I can build high school around it.  Afternoon and morning classes so that I can do it after college or before college and still have it done before evening so that I could have a job and do household chores.  That also gives me time for homework, even though I struggle with the ever present hell of procrastination.  Weekends are spent with friends or with family.  And, above all else, I try to avoid telling myself “I’m fine.”  Now, I try to ask myself “Can I really handle one more thing?”

Hiking should be fun! I can guarantee it will be if you just take in the scenery along the way!

Hiking should be fun! I can guarantee it will be if you just take in the scenery along the way!

“Try to stay positive, Avana. Reckless positivity is key to survival in such a depressing world.”

You know what the most bizarre and confusing thing is? When something really happy happens to you, and in the same day, something equally disappointing happens.  I had this happen to me very recently.  In the morning, I received the amazing news that a website wanted to publish one of my submitted articles.  The very same day, later on, I had an interview for a board.  I was told that, even with all my high hopes and work, I did not get the position.  Neither was better of worse than other.  So, I was left with a sinking in my stomach and my heart fluttering like a bird.  Most. Confusing. Feeling. Ever.

But that’s just the world goes.  There is stress – a lot of stress -,some successes, and some disappointments.  The important thing to remember is that, if you put all of your effort into your life, you will have many more successes than you will disappointments.  Thinking positively is very important for someone like me because of A. my career choice, and B. my personality.  I constantly struggle with depression, so if I let those disappointments get to me, I’ll only spiral out of control and everything will get worse.  Also, the career I chose, a writer, doesn’t allow for negative thinking.  Writers get rejected constantly by publishers, but they just have to keep plugging away and keep on submitting things.  We can’t let our disappointments stop us from writing and submitting things.  If we do, we lose who we are.

Focusing on the positive is hard, though.  People have the tendency to focus on negative things more than they do positive things, in the first place.  You basically have to overcome your own human nature.  Sure, I’m sad I didn’t get the position, but I can keep trying.  They only have two year terms and I have time.

Here are some ways to help focus on the positive:

  1.  Come up with those “but” scenarios when something bad happens.  Like, “Ok, I didn’t get the job.  But I can take their advice, get more experience in my field, and apply again in a couple of months.” This not only gives you a positive attitude, but it gives you a new goal to work for.
  2. Never put yourself down.  I struggle with so much.  One failure does not mean that you are a failure.  It just means that you’re human and you made a mistake.  Mistakes can be fixed, but not fixated on.  You have to accept the mistake and move on, working hard to make sure it never happens again.
  3. Know your own limits.  Set two different types of goals: a short term and a long term.  My short term goal is to stay in college with good grades.  My long term goal is to go to Cambridge University for Language Arts and to become a writer.  Even if you don’t achieve your short term goals, you can set new ones that are more realistic.  Your long term goal might change over time as you mature.  The important thing is that you have things to shoot for that keep you positive and motivated.
  4. Have at least one very positive friend.  One of my very best friends is super energetic and optimistic for me.  Even if she is feeling down, if she can see I’m sad, she’ll cheer me up with her positiveness.  In return, when her heads in the clouds, I make sure to bring her back down to Earth.
  5. Never say you can’t do something.  You can say “I’m gonna mess up along the way,” but never say you can’t do something.  That’s just an overall negative state of mind.

How am I staying positive with these two conflicting feelings? The guy who got onto the board instead of me is like a brother to me.  I know that he will do a fantastic job, maybe even a better job than I could.  And another board member’s term is up next year, so I can interview for it again next year.  Along with those, I focus on that positive thing that happened.  I’m now a published writer, and the woman who works for the website told me to just email her drafts and ideas if I come up with any.  I’m in a good place with that, so I’m focusing on that.

Don't worry, be happy!

Don’t worry, be happy!

Me when I got that email about my article ^