Friday, May 23, 2014

A High School Essay

This one's a doozy. Are you ready? I finally figured out this whole high school thing just in time to graduate. I guess that's the whole point, right?

I would have done everything I've done senior year so much earlier if I had known how fabulous it would be. I would have embraced my love for the English language more fully and openly. There were little pushes from teachers along the way, but I ignored and discredited them. I would have sat with the smart kids at lunch a whole lot earlier. Don't get me wrong, I love the kids I sat with before, but there was too much drama. When you sit with the kids in the top 25, the table conversation revolves around Chemistry pop quizzes and the most recent reading assignment in Paradise Lost. That may not sound exciting to you, but there were some pretty spirited discussions at that table. Especially when Sherlock was on.:-)
Let's talk about NEHS. Oh National English Honor Society. I could talk about you forever and ever and ever. Can you tell? I was really putting myself on the line there, submitting some original poetry at a time in my life where I didn't write for fun and if I did, I hid it deep. In a hole under a rock in the middle of the ocean near Madagascar deep. I will forever be thanking myself for somehow gathering up the guts to apply because NEHS really helped me find my place.

Like I talked about back in my 18 post, sophomore and junior year were rough. ROUGH. And summer after junior year was a big deal. Losing friends, plummeting self-esteem, trying desperately to be someone I wasn't and then feeling so disappointed when nothing felt right. I felt like I was betraying myself by hiding behind a mask. Then learning to love myself, doing things I used to love and trying a couple of new things. I will forever be kicking myself for not coming to my senses earlier. Really Mal? You hid behind fashion and a whatever attitude when you could have been embracing literature and sewing and taking pictures? Stupid stupid stupid. But I guess, like some random quote on Pinterest said, "In order to be old and wise you first must be young and stupid." Now, I kind of feel like this: yo I'm confident. Come at me bro.
Now that I've finished high school, I'm entering the realm of the big kids. The adults. In lots of ways I am totally ready. I'm ready to be in charge of myself- when I go to sleep and what I eat and what I do, which I am mostly in charge of now, but it's different when you're in college and your parents aren't down the hall telling you to stop reading and go to bed. I'm going to be a crazy college kid, can't you tell?;-)
But in other ways it totally freaks me out. Graduating and moving out means college and a job and marriage and a family and bills and groceries and a mortgage and the rest of my life. Not with my parents and my siblings. Which I guess I've known my whole life. I've known that one day I would grow up and move out. But it's just really hit home lately. It's starting to feel real and close, not like something that would happen one day far away. It's about to happen now.

And I'm starting to be treated like an adult too. At church, I'm being asked to do more and was even given a big girl calling (side note: my church does not have a paid clergy. everything is done voluntarily. we get asked to do something (a calling) for a little while, like run the kids' program or teach sunday school or be the secretary, etc. right now i'm a ward missionary, which means i get to hang out with the missionaries serving in our congregation and help them teach others about Jesus Christ. which is basically pretty awesome). There was a Beta Club convention in March that I thought about going to, and Mom said yes so easily. I gave all of these reasons and benefits of going, and when I paused for breath she just said, "ok. sure. you can go." When I seemed surprised, she told me I was 18 and I was a big girl and could go if I wanted to. I'm not a wild child (as you can probably tell. i blog about hot chocolate and my little siblings for crying out loud. can you say rebel?), but still it was weird to hear that.

Learning to be myself was scary. Quite terrifying actually. Before the emotional turmoil that was sophomore and junior year, I loved to write and read. Probably 95 percent of my friends were Mormon like me, and I loved parties and church activities. Hard things had happened to me, but nothing had been hard enough for me to remember distinctly, except for moving from Pittsburgh in 2nd grade, and I had hit no major, life-changing roadblocks. I know that when I look back, high school won't be the biggest problem I've ever had to face, but so far it is number one. And I think it's important to remember and not discredit that. Things will get harder, I know that, but high school beat my teenage self up pretty bad. If I had been younger I would have completely cracked, if I had been older I would have handled it more gracefully. But I had lessons I needed to learn. I needed to be taught some things, especially about myself. I had to learn that it is ok to be a nerd. It's ok to love to read and write. It's ok to have more adult friends than teenage friends. Teenage friends are important, don't get me wrong, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with calling college kids and your parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents your best friends.

And finally, who doesn't love a little T-Swift quote that summarizes why senior year was the best year yet? "What a sight, what a sight when the light came on… now in this perfect weather, it's like we don't remember the rain we thought would last forever and ever."
High school, you've been my best friend and a total jerk. See ya later pal, it's been real.

Sincerely, mad

1 comment:

  1. Well said. Take these lessons and make your college years even better! I can't wait to see what adventures lie ahead for you.