Mind Over Injury

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I always manage, despite perpetual efforts, to completely embarrass myself in public- and this time, it left me with tears rolling down my cheeks and my mom racing me to the emergency room.

Just about three weeks ago, I was participating in a school group called Link Crew- where members help out with freshman orientation, meeting the kids and making the transition to high school as pleasant as possible.  I was ready to give it my all, especially after recently switching schools and knowing how hard it is to be thrown into a new place not knowing a single soul.

I empathized with them, and thought I could bring a unique perspective they would appreciate. I had good intentions, I promise.

Unfortunately, they’ll never know that.

We were told, just before the freshmen were to crash through the gym doors and greet the pep-rally of upperclassmen welcoming them, to be “enthusiastic, loud, and full of school spirit!”. The only problem was, I severely lack in school enthusiasm, and I have a special kind of deep, passionate loathing for pep rallies.

It’s an understatement to say that I had not a clue what in the world I was doing.

Resorting to breaking my own standards, I started to follow the crowd; other people clapped, so I did too; people were screaming and so I resentfully participated. I drew the line at jumping and dancing, but unfortunately I decided to partake in sprinting up the gym bleachers.

I would do anything to go back and tell myself not to run up those bleachers.

Because enthusiasm went horribly, horribly wrong.

With everybody’s eyes on the crowd of Link Crew members I was a part of, I face planted into the bleachers as I tried to leap- like a gazelle- over a pile of bags. But this gazelle got struck down, and was sprawled on the bleachers in front of her peers, teachers, parents, and the entire freshman class.

I had gotten caught on the pile of bags- slamming into the edge of the seat, my foot getting stuck, twisted, and snapped. My foot swelled like a tennis ball and turned red as a chili pepper (and stung like one too).

Allow me to express that I never cry in public. I’m a strong believer in keeping calm and carrying on, living in a world where emotions are overrated and tears never accepted.

But I couldn’t help it. I had hurt myself, and badly, in the most humiliating way. I was still trying to make a good impression of myself, with a life guarding test the next day and a whole cross-country season ahead of me. I knew I wasn’t going to b able to carry through with either.

So the tears came as I hobbled my walk of shame down the bleachers, away from the unison “GASP!”s of the strangers surrounding me.

In that moment I wanted to run away, back to my old home- to the tiny room I used to share with my two little sisters, my cat and our dysfunctional piles of adventure novels. Run to my parents that loved me, away from the superficial expectations of other 16-year-olds.

But people always prove to burst your expectations. Teachers were quick to action and my peers nothing but supportive and sympathetic- maybe I was being the superficial one, being more concerned with my self-image than taking care of my injury.

My mom showed up at my school within minutes and we rushed to the hospital to take care of my foot (which had now swollen to a baseball, preventing any movement without a whimper of pain), where I got the bad news of a sprained ankle, sprained foot ligament and possible fractured bone. I was defiantly not going to be life guarding, running, biking or rock climbing like I was planning to.

I was so bummed, and three weeks later I’m still hobbling around in a corrective boot.

However, its proved to have its upsides- other than the attention and built-in excuse to be late to class, I’ve taken the time I didn’t have before to read more, write more, play my guitar more. I value being able to do all this, and I might miss it when I get better and can resume my busy schedule.

Or maybe that’s just me being an optimist.

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Send Us On Our Way

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It was a  long night filled with open roads- my much missed older brother returned home for one short summer and adventure whispering its shallow blessing into our tender ears. A perfect home remedy for disaster, right?

wrong.

The tread marks left by outworn minivan tires were our own little small-town monuments; the contagious spirit of our youth, an eternal aura that escaped our crooked grins, made a sacred site out of the stretch of road that skimmed the sheer sheet of pine woods by our high school.

Our mom had sent us out to get milk and butter- and when I say milk and butter, however, they were vegans so I actually mean almond milk and pretending-to-be-butter butter. (There were a lot of tofu turkey Thanksgivings in our house)- a short errand that turned into an hour long engagement with impulse exploration.

It was our custom, every time we left the house for the grocery store, to take the longer, more scenic route to our local Target. There were black, growling storm clouds on the horizon as we headed home; the cows lying down and the electric air giving the swinging leaves violent shivers.

Abruptly, he stopped the car- navigating the wheels dangerously close to the edge of the ditch right off the shoulder, swinging open my passenger side door as he stopped the car.

“What are you doing?!” I demanded- I was convinced this was another one of his sick jokes, with plans to leave me abandoned next to the farm that reeked particularly of cow manure next to the running van.

“Get out,” he responded calmly. There was a smirk on his unshaven face and I knew better than to bend to his little game.

“What?”
“Get out. You heard me.”
“No way!”
“Get. Out.”

I was flabbergasted. The sky threatened to release its wrath of rain and lighting at any second, and my brother was showing no intention of driving us home until I did as he instructed.

So I got out of thecar.
“What now?” I groaned, expecting only the worst.
“Pet the cow,” he giggled, his hand shooting up to mask his eruption of laughter.
“WHAT?!” Oh god, now I was laughing too… “Dude, I can’t just-”
“Yes you can! Come on! Pet the cow. Do it now.” Suddenly he had a very straight face. I needed to pet the cow. My entire life depended on it.

So I leaped over the ditch in the shoulder and reached my arm through the rusted barbed wire fence, my elbow to my fingertips trespassing onto private property. The cow was white and it’s brown nose wet- less wet, however, than I became after the clouds opened and a tsunami of rain emptied itself onto my shoulders.

All in all, I raced back to the car and we made our steady way home just a mere hour after our mom was expecting us-  only after stopping at two more farms and providing the cows with the love they deserved, of course. It was just one of many more adventures to come on our little errands, all of which I remember with a smile.

Procrastination 

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I’ve proved to myself that I am, apparently, completely incapable of keeping a promise.

About 6 days ago I told myself- and then published online- that I would write a blog every day over the course of this summer. Obviously, that hasn’t been carried out. What is it about people (and especially teenagers) and procrastination?

Twenty-four hours every day, seven days a week, three-hundred and sixty-five days a year; in the moment crawling by with the speed of a snail until time sneaks up on you, filled with regretful hindsight and a malicious grin on its face. I mean, come on!

In addition to my failed attempt to keep a consistent blog going (I swear, I’m going to stick with it this time) I promised myself that I would
a) Run every single morning for an average of 4 miles (instead I’ve gotten about 4 miles worth of drowsy stumbling to the snooze button every morning) and
b)  Practice my guitar like I used to.

About three years ago, I played guitar in every spare moment I had- and I got pretty good at it too! But two boyfriends and two high schools later, I’d dropped the habit. I’m finding myself really getting back into it, but procrastination has been getting in the way.

Therefore, with goals constantly in the back of my mind, I’m going to give it another shot. Tomorrow I’m crashing the treadmill party at the YMCA and I already have plans to stay up late practicing. I’m insistent that this time, it’s going to work.

I just hope that once I hit the promised land of adulthood my unfortunate habit of procrastinating will fade away.

Thoughts from the Road

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First day of summer vacation 2K15, and I’m riding shotgun in the family SUV on a 6 hour drive to celebrate memorial day weekend living the dream…. at a Beatles festival.

Sitting indian style, cruising down the interstate blasting Magical Mystery Tour with my two sisters and mom in the back seat. (My dad’s reputation for fast- and dare I say reckless- driving puts my mom in an intense state of disquietude, so it’s my pleasure to claim the role of “navigator” up front to give her some peace in the back)

The incessant stretch of highway promises a grand kickoff to my summer, the anticipation of two and a half months of late night adventures and early morning laziness hits with perfect timing after a climax of school stress.

Fueled by the Blue Ridge mountains peeking over the horizon and warm sunshine penetrating my freckled skin,  I can’t imagine anything other than the youthful optimism of… well, a 16-year-old the brink summer vacation.

I only have two of these left, including this one, and I want to do everything in my power to make the most of it.

Newspapers, Mail Men and Milk Delivery 

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I swear, mailboxes are on the way out. Give it 10 or 20 years and they’ll be nothing but stories in history books and old TV shows.

I think of this because last night my dad was sharing memories of his own childhood; tall tales of milk men driving friendly white trucks in the mornings and dogs who fetched newspapers out of the front lawn.

This was only about 30 years ago (but who am I to say, that’s still 14 years before I was even born) and to think that people had to have someone deliver milk and newspapers sounds completely absurd.

Youthful ignorance and inexperience is bliss.

This leads me to my own proposal: come another 30 or so years, I’ll be telling the next generation about mailboxes, and mailmen in cheery hats and they’ll think it’s just as absurd as milkmen and physical newspapers.

Just think about it! Especially with the internet, there’s no need for mail. Just like the need for delivered milk was lost with the growing popularity of commercial grocery stores, the need for physical letters sent to your house is a complete thing of the past. It’s been replaced with Gmail and texting already.

Obviously people will still send packages, but there’s no need for a mailbox with those. Amazon’s already using small drones to deliver boxes to doorsteps in California and although the romanticism is lost with mailmen fighting rain and snow to get letters to the citizens of America, times are moving forward!

It’s going to happen. I just know it.

Little Bird

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This past month has been an interesting one.

It’s been one of those months that make you sit back and scrunch your face into an unsightly expression, collapse your head into a bedroom pillow and wonder to yourself “Just how did I ever get here?”

l feel like a little bird caught in a wind current far too big for its delicate wings to handle all at once.

Don’t get me wrong, if there’s one thing I love, it’s a challenge! I try to look at life as an adventure, with a Peter-Pan like innocence; but sometimes culture shock, stress, heartbreak, peer pressure, grades,and family drama amidst the craving to somehow figure out who you are can sorta get in the way.

January 3rd, I stepped foot onto the campus of my new high school. The ring of the morning bell echoed through the halls announcing the second semester of 2015, and so did the constant squeak of my converse as I helplessly searched for my home room.

As it goes for anyone that switches schools in the middle of the year, I spent the first few days as an outsider looking in; doing more people watching and daydreaming than participating in social groups and class discussions. On my fourth day there was the dreaded high school pep rally, (Does anybody actually enjoy those things?) which I satisfyingly skipped in the band room with a percussionist I met. We’re now good friends.

I don’t even bother with the dining hall. That thing is a death trap- I prefer the powdery smell of heavily used books, the dark-corners behind the biography section where cell phone reception is best and secluded computer stalls of the library for company.

Actually, I quite like the people a library will attract during lunch.

There are people like me; they go there everyday and have their special spot figured out, minding their own business and eating a sandwich despite the “no food or drink” sign.

Then there are people who come- these people are the easiest to pick out- panicked out of their mind because of a project or assignment they’ve abandoned and have experienced the enlightening realization that it’s due the very next block. They are very entertaining.

Occasionally there will be a big group of friends that gather around one of the thick wooden tables between the aisles. In a hushed but energetic whisper only youth can produce, they hold passionate discussions and debates, mindless chatter about classes and who-slept-with-who talk that I can’t help but secretly eavesdrop on. I’m not much of a gossip, but I hate to miss out on the people watching

Then there are some heartbroken girls, and she goes to the back where the books act as therapists and the shelves a shield from the judgmental eyes of her peers. She stands with her chin up, but with a wet cheek, and as I sit slumped in the leather chair by the wall and glance over at these people, part of me wants to get up and put an arm around them and tell them everything will be okay.

But I don’t. I just sit there and think about it; but maybe one day I will.

The few moments I get to spend outside are the moments during my day I look forward to most. I love being outside, and after being cooped up inside for 8 hours, the walk from Band to AP World History will lift me out of any bad mood.

The sunlight penetrating my skin and the freedom to throw my hands out and spin in a circle if my heart so desires reminds me of the world that waits outside of high school, and it lifts my heart just enough to get me until the final bell rings.

The bell will echo through the halls, drowning the sounds of my squeaky converse until the next morning, when I will do it all over again; day after day and month after month until the year comes to a close. But until then, I’ll keep blogging and reading, people watching and thinking too much.