Sunday, September 29, 2013

College Pressure

The game is on. I'm a junior. I have two years of school left but already, I have to look at college. I face what millions of high school students face in the US: the college application process. And I'm feeling the heat. Talk to any high school student and chances are they are too.

My sister just went to visit a college yesterday. Being as it mainly focused on math and science, I didn't. But still, I'm getting it and even more so since I'm older. SAT prep is just around the corner and I live with the day-to-day pressure to get good grades. Not to mention the PSAT I have to take.

Did I mention every school decision is based off of it? Will college like course A or course B better? What clubs should I join? Am I volunteering enough?

There's so many hoops we have to climb and so many people to compete with. And there's always the idea that if I don't enter a decent enough college, my future won't be any good. It's like we're mating peacocks and we have to preen our feathers. The whole thing seems ridiculous but I have to do it anyway.

After all, what choice do I have? None, really. There are virtually no blue-collar jobs with living wages anymore. They can hold us hostage and do whatever they want to us and we can't do anything about it.
The whole thing is so daunting and actually pretty frightening. I don't even know what I want to do when I grow up. How am I supposed to make these kinds of decisions? I have no clue.

I can't even imagine what it's like when I finally get there. Classes, debt, all of it.

I know others have it worse with their financial situations but still. It will be resolved eventually but ughhh, the stress. 

I should probably just toughen up and do it already but I still need to vent. I don't imagine college was always that hard. And it will only get harder.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Colds suck. I know this because I am suffering from one at the moment. It's better from a generic sickness, I suppose, but not by much.

Colds leave you miserable, tired and achy. Kind of like regular illnesses do. Your nose is chapped; your sinuses throb; your throat aches; sometimes, you even have a headache. The only thing that sucks about a cold is that there's nothing to treat it. Maybe a little Zyrtec and Advil to help out but the Zyrtec doesn't really make it go away. It might diminish the cold but the cold will always come back to haunt you throughout the day. Unless it turns into a sinus infection, the only things that can really help are sleep and time. 

Not to mention, that runny, cloggy feeling is a pain in the ass especially considering there aren't always tissues around. You have to do something about it, though, so you do. And then you start to dread tissues because your nose is so raw from them (but it's the only way).

Also, once a cold decides to stay, it stays. You might blow your nose but it'll only come back full force (or even more). So you have to fight it with tissues until it exhausts itself. 

You can't even stay home, either, unless it's a really bad head cold. My cold doesn't qualify right now.
Guess I just have to keep on suffering, though.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Taking Risks

Taking risks is a part of life, however frightening it might be. You have to risk making a move and telling someone how you feel and buying that stock even if you might fail. Truly, it's unavoidable.

If you don't take risks, you might be safe but you'll be stuck in the same old place forever. And that's no fun, is it? Uncertainty and regret are probably some of the worst feelings that there are if you think about it. If you take a risk, you might get burned but at least you'll be able to get some closure and move on (however hard it might be). If you don't, you'll never know. And if you never know, you'll never be able to live with yourself.

This might not seem like much in the moment. Sometimes, the fear is so overwhelming that it might be easier to dismiss that. Yet it will bite you later on as soon as that opportunity has went away. You'll always wonder and the ache of wondering will never go away.

This is also a hard concept to remember after failure. After failure, all you want to do is curl up in a ball and give up. It makes you wish you never tried in the first place because it hurts so much. I've been taking a lot of personal risks lately. One even recently blew up in my face in quite a big way (as much as I want to go into the details of that and rant about it here, I can't risk that). But you know what? I tried. I tried the best I could and now I don't have to live with a what if.

Taking risks is important in life, though. It's how you advance not only in life but as a person. It makes you stronger but it helps you grow up. And even though I'm not sure I'm glad I did it this time right now, I know one day that I will be.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Daily Battle with My Locker

My locker is evil. It is stubborn, belligerent and downright nasty. I know you might shake your head and laugh at this, dear reader, but it’s the truth. My locker has been hand-delivered by Satan, no kidding. Harsh claims, I know, but I have proof!
It must be about ninety years old or something. Maybe it’s even ageless, some sort of immortal being that has been cast off to my school somehow. And it’s hardly what I can call a real locker; rather, it’s a pit that I have to throw my stuff in. It’s not straight and easy to close as most lockers. Instead, it is crooked like it has been pried open many times by a crow bar (maybe it has been). It might look innocent but it’s not. I know it’s hard to believe but I’m pretty sure it’s actively plotting against me.
To close the stupid thing is a battle of the wills. And that thing sure does have a will. Simply shutting it like a normal locker won’t do. No, that would be too easy and much too kind of it to do. The thing refuses to close unless I give it no other choice. In order to close it, I have to slam it shut and sometimes not even that works. Instead, it sprouts up again and echoes as it does almost as if cackling at my failure.
In situations like that, it takes a combination of slamming it shut and then pressing up against it until it closes for good. Even then, sometimes it doesn't close all the way and at that point, I've usually become so exhausted that I don’t care and I just tell myself that I've done the best I could. After all, the point of it is just to keep it shut. I don’t even bother to lock it as that would be just another hassle.
God forbid when I get my trapper keeper stuck when I close it or something. Then it’s even more difficult. When I get to this stage, I’m playing a literal tug of war with it.
I don’t have the luxury of going to my locker before class. That would make me much too late. No, instead, I can only rely on my locker during my free periods and hope it doesn't consume too much of it. Sometimes, I just leave the thing open and try to remember to close the thing when I have the time.
I've had plenty of other lockers but none have been this cruel. Inconveniently located yes but not cruel. In fact, I didn't even know it was possible for a locker to be cruel. Yet alas, it turns out it is. I have no idea what I've done to deserve its hatred but I don’t think it’s personal (the locker just by its very nature would be difficult).
My locker has been becoming a source of dread for me. When I open it, I have to ask myself, Do I really want to open this? And the answer is usually no, unless I absolutely need the textbook or need to store the textbook overnight. The opening part isn't so hard, of course; it’s what will results afterwards. And sometimes, I’m seriously not in the mood or don’t have the time to handle that. I try to prepare myself and all of my materials ahead of time but that’s not always so easy.
So yes, my locker is evil. Don’t believe me? You should come down to the rec room to see my battle with my locker in question. After that, there’s truly no debating it. In fact, you can practically see its smirk and its scheming eyes

Friday, September 13, 2013


 I take the bus when it's still dark out. I know, I know, early but it's what I have to do if I'm going to go to this school. But at the very least I get to see the dawn when I'm on the long bus ride there. I've been doing this for about a week now and still, the ride manages to lull me into a more relaxed state.

I've learned about the patterns of dawn while I've been awake sitting on the bus when there's nothing else to do. 

Occasionally, I sleep but at that point, I usually am tired but too awake to fall asleep.
At first, the sky just lightens. Slowly. It becomes less dark: from pitch black to just black to dark gray to just gray. Sometimes, it even turns blue when I'm on the bus although that usually comes later.

Rarer yet, sometimes I even see the sunrise. A mish mash of oranges and yellows (sometimes even pink), I can't help but stare.

I soak in the beauty of the sky from my bus seat. It's a beautiful greeting, almost like a fresh start. And when I see the sky sometimes I think of the other people around the world who had borrowed the sun when I was asleep.

It's amazing all I see before the rest of the world even opens their eyes. I've never got to see any of it before.

Written at 6:46 this morning

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Walk

Last Sunday, I took a walk around the park with my dad, sister, dog and grandfather. We wanted to get out of the house and breathe in the great outdoors. As you can imagine, we were quite the team: my grandfather in his scooter, my dog having to be dragged around and panting as if she was about to give birth. I even took a short video of all of our troubles.

We went on the trails, paved and unpaved. Again, an interesting sight. We had to stop every five seconds because my grandfather's scooter got stuck on a branch or something like that. I'm not complaining because it gave me time to take some awesome shots (although despite those frequent stops, I still had to run to catch up to the group).

It was worth it, though, given the beauty of the nature we encountered. At one point, we even got to the water. We got to sit on the rocks and watch our feet dangle below. My dad wasn't able to go as he had to keep the dog from jumping in the water and it would be too risky for my grandfather to go there with his scooter. I got to take some really great shots there although the whole time I was terrified I was going to drop my camera or fall or both (I am rather clumsy). Fortunately, none of these things happened.

Eventually, we called it a day and went out to the truck. Finally, we were back to civilization and on a paved path again! We were also able to find where we parked, which was even more amazing given that all of the paths pretty much looked the same.

We finished off the day with ice cream from the ice cream truck. The dog, at this point, was about to keel over and collapse but we gave her a nice helping of water to help her out with that.
All in all, it was a good (albeit a strange one, in many ways) day and gave me a hearty dose of nature that I'm usually not exposed to.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I Missed the Bus

Well I finally did it. I missed the bus. It would have been a whole lot easier if I missed it at my public school but I missed it here at a place a half an hour away. Whoops.

I was too busy talking to my friends and I didn't even realize that the bus was rolling away. 

But sure enough, it did.

I was shocked at first. In denial. After all, that had never happened to me before so why should it happen to me then? But it did. Somehow, despite how careful I had always tried to be before, I missed the bus and in the worst place possible to miss said bus. 

At first, in my shock, I thought this:

And then this: 

I just stared at my one friend who missed his bus too and we just looked at each other.

He shrugged.

I just said, "Shit! Shit! Shit!"

He stared at me, asking me why I was so nervous. I told him my parents would probably be pissed and he just gave me his sympathies.

We tried to bum a ride home from someone. It would have worked too if someone at the school didn't try to stop us. So that was a bummer.

With that not working, he called his parents. No response.

I cursed again but this time I was dishing out f bombs too at this point.

It was inevitable. I would have to call my parents.

I took a deep breath and did expecting to be flayed. 

"Are you kidding me?" my dad asked. "Are you kidding me?"

He sounded pretty pissed.

"Sorry," I said. 

"I'll have to call your mother."


I called my mother too, who was unleashing f bombs worse than I was (a pretty impressive feat). Eventually, it was decided that my dad would pick me up when he was able to.

I realized that my friend probably thought my parents were psychos at the end of this conversation but I didn't care. I was too frazzled but I wanted to hide my shot nerves from him. 

It wasn't too bad. We ate dinner with the boarders and hung out. Eventually, one of my boarder friends joined us and we just had a blast together.

By the time my dad picked us up, he was no longer upset (although he claimed he never had been, just annoyed). My friend realized that my parents weren't psychos but just fallible people and then he fell asleep (presumably exhausted from the whole ordeal) while I started to write this blog post. 

Missing the bus happens sometimes. People make mistakes. I never thought that it would happen to me but it did. I know better this time, though. I also know I seriously need to work on getting my driver's license that much more. 

American Literature

“American literature” is a term that appears to explain itself: books written by Americans. Yet perhaps it’s an idea more complicated than that. It brings about some more complicated questions, questions like, “What (or who) is (an) American? What is a book? What is literature?” and some more complicated questions.

I think what makes something American is whether it comes from America or not. Yet I also think that something American can be something that American society has adopted and made its own (like French fries, which originally came from Belgium but have become an American staple). This idea can also apply to someone who sees themselves as American yet who originally came from another country: if this person has adopted the American culture in their lives enough to consider themselves American, then they are American. So when it comes to American literature, I think this basic criterion is all that is needed to make something American literature rather than foreign literature. Of course, this can also bring about even more complicated questions. What makes influential British literature not also be considered American literature? After all, these books have seeped into American culture and into American language; Shakespeare is proof of that. Yet Shakespeare is not American somehow. Also, what makes books that take place in other countries (like For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway) American literature? For Whom the Bell Tolls takes place in Spain. The main character, Robert Jordan, might be American but even he has adopted the Spanish culture up to the point that his American heritage almost seems to be an afterthought. The culture throughout the book is almost entirely Spanish. Yet still, it is considered American literature. I think ultimately something is the sum of its labels. If the majority of people label a book as American literature, then it’s American literature. If one labels themselves as an American, they are American.

This same idea of labels also goes further to the idea of what literature is. Obviously, I think the distinction must be made that “literature” involves plays or books that society is somewhat old and has not gone out of print. It has a very connotation than just a simple “book”, I think. It is different from “media”, which can be any form of oral or written communication. Not all books are literature, though, because not all of them are old enough to reach this requirement.
What makes books good enough to become literature in the first place? I’m not sure. I personally think it’s a matter of luck as there’s no formula for what makes a book successful. If the book is released at the wrong time, it won’t make it. Many British books would have flopped in today’s markets given their verbose language and long beginnings aren’t things most people enjoy. I’ve read classics that have bored me to tears but I’ve read others that have totally wowed me. For me, “good” books are books with an intriguing plot, well-rounded characters and good writing (which there is a way to measure but that’s a subject for another day). Some might have a more complicated list of requirements; others, not so much. At the end of the day, though, art is entirely subjective, though, and it’s a bit difficult to be able to give clear criteria for what makes it “good” or “bad”.

Obviously, the concept of American literature is much more complicated than it appears.

An English assignment I thought I'd share ;)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Submitting Your Work

 Today and yesterday, I've submitted my work to all of the places. This is nothing new as I've submitted my writing from a very young age. My feelings aren't as intense as they were the first time I submitted my work but they're pretty strong still.

I have mixed feelings whenever I submit, to be honest. It's a pretty refreshing feeling to do that, knowing that you've taken your work and let it fly away to God knows what. The chances are that it'll be rejected but still, I allow myself to hope.

This is the only way for a writer to succeed really. In order to become a writer with any hope of recognition, you have to release the writings into the world. And as awesome as it would be for everyone to accept your work with open arms, that just won't happen. Even if your work is the next classic, someone will dislike it or perhaps simply find it unremarkable in some way or just good enough. It's just the way that it is.

The first rejection hurts the most. Your writing is your baby and you just offered it for slaughter even if you had the best intentions. You probably knew then you might be rejected but you thought you had a real chance. Nope. Then it hits you that wasn't good enough for those mean editors. Surely, that's enough to make you feel not good enough, low down, inferior. You yourself feel hurt and rejected.

You might receive a rejection notice. That at least provides closure especially if they give reasons for your rejection. But the worst thing is when you find out you're rejected by no notice at all, when silence and the passage of time provide you your answer.

Ideally, you'll take this logically. Know the editor is only doing his job and rejection is a part of life. But deep down (or maybe not so deep), you always take it personally. You feel like it was cruel and unfair and you want to beg the editors to give you a second chance.

It makes submitting again even harder. Some people just aren't able to do it again. To keep submitting so relentlessly is hard. Ultimately, your love of writing has to outweigh your pride. So if you really are committed to your writing and want to go somewhere, you'll do it again. It hurts so bad when you click that button or send away that piece. You only feel dread, not excitement, because you almost always know the results are going to be already.

Eventually, you become numb to it as the rejection piles up. Become resigned. You expect rejection and it becomes a way of life for you. You only submit for the hell of it but learn to just expect rejection. Opening rejection slips becomes monotonous and uneventful.

Yet it's when that final acceptance piece comes in that you finally break through that numbness. You got accepted! You got an in! That's enough to give you hope to keep going band go with more gusto this time. And with that, the next rejection doesn't hurt as bad since you got accepted.

The next acceptances aren't as exciting usually. But they're still enough to dull the pain of other rejections and give you motivation to keep submitting. They give you hope, a feeling that you really have a chance.

Just because your one piece isn't accepted, that doesn't mean you should despair and give up. Maybe your one piece wasn't polished enough or just wasn't what they were looking for. Your next piece might do it. You just have to get up, cross your fingers and keep submitting.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

New Experiences

New experiences are always strange, always frightening. It's more than the simple action of doing but the fear of the unknown that's also behind it. It's new so it feels like nothing that I've ever felt before.

Going to my private school was definitely a new experience for me. And so all of that followed. Sure, I had been to other new schools but this was still a new experience for me. I went into a totally new school in the middle of my high school experience, knowing only a few people (better than none but still). 

Yesterday, I did one of the scariest things I've ever done. And nothing turned out as terrible as I feared they might be. Of course, new experiences usually aren't worth all the hype but this one definitely was. I had a good time but I had no knowing that it would turn out well. I was taking a complete risk in what I was doing, no turning back. 

New experiences bring you out of your comfort zone. They rattle you in a healthy way. Still, sometimes, it doesn't feel that way. Sometimes when I do new things, it feels so nerve-wracking that it makes my heart burst out of my chest and explode. 

New experiences are... new. So of course they have that fresh feeling to it. That exciting zeal to it. New experiences aren't boring and old like the other experiences are (duh, that's what makes them new).
Even that frightening feeling makes you more excited. It gets the adrenaline pumping. It's so odd, so disconcerting, that it feels like you're out of your body. 

Because anything could happen. Absolutely anything. True to my anxious self, I was imagining all of the possible disaster scenarios as I walked through the door and that really freaked me out. 

You don't know what to expect since you have no reference point. I tried to reassure myself but I didn't know how. I honestly didn't know what to expect.

But I did it anyway. And now it's not a new experience. Soon, I imagine, it will become routine for me, something old. For now, it's still kind of new, though. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Decision to Go to Private School

Last year, I made the decision to go to private school. One private school in particular. This year, I'm sticking with that decision: I'm going off to that school in a few days.

I'm pretty sure I made the right decision. I decided to leave a negative environment and try to find a better one. I wanted to be surrounded by more like-minded people and be supported. Plus, I wanted all the opportunities an art school can give me. Those are good reasons enough, right? The arts school seemed perfect for me. Plus, my depression was starting to get bad again. I don't think my public school caused this entirely, of course (though it did the first time) but it didn't help.

But now I'm having second thoughts. What if I was wrong? What if it wasn't what I thought? What if it's worse? What if the kids are preppy and the school day is boring?

I'm taking an awfully big risk there. I have about a twelve hour day (accounting for the hour and a half bus trips both ways). So if it's going to suck, it's going to suck for four hours longer. Plus, I would have wasted my parents' money on the tuition.

My public school was often hell but at least it was a hell I knew. This is uncharted territory, though. I saw glimpses of the school when I shadowed there but I can't saw I know it for sure. I could always end up alone and friendless, waiting desperately for the day to end.

Yet again, it's probably going to end up being wonderful. My hope it would was what made me want to go there in the first place. I'll probably fit right in and i'll meet so many other writers who can help me. If I ended up staying at public school, I would probably have ended up with what ifs and regrets and you can't live with regrets.

I'm thinking about all the disaster scenarios. I know it's stupid but I am. I just can't help it. My minds are already going back to so many bad memories for fear it will end up similarly. I seem to have flashbacks at random times of the day but eventually at night. Luckily, i haven't had any nightmares yet but I'm sure I will. I got myself hypnotized but that didn't work as long as it usually did. I got a psychic reading too but I just came out of it feeling like I wasted money. So yes, I'm nervous.

But I'm sure it'll be alright. Still, I've made my decision for better or for worse. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Life Without Internet

Life without the Internet is a sad and pathetic existence. I should know because I spent the whole weekend without it.  Luckily, I had some videos to watch via a computer (a computer without working Internet) and my phone to give me very limited access. Still, it wasn't the same.

The Internet offers so many unique things: YouTube videos to watch, Rookie articles to read, secrets on PostSecret to peruse, information to research, etc. There's also so much more. No wonder it's addicting! So to only have such a limited access to that makes me feel like a hole is there. This only really happened once at camp but I was so busy and having so much fun I didn't notice it. But there are quiet,dull moments at the shore and i usually fill those with the Internet. To refrain from that feels like agony. I can't even imagine what to be completely stripped of the Internet feels like.

The Internet is an easy escape from boredom. An obvious answer requiring little creativity easier. It's become a routine for me to go on the Internet when I was bored. But without it, what could I do?
I had to come up with answers. I watched the videos and read books and wrote and even went out with my parents occasionally. But despite that, I felt the urge to search the Web.

I tried and tried to get it on my phone. Alas, the reception at the shorehouse is poor at best so it took forever for things to load up. Sometimes, it didn't even work at all and the phone told me that I suddenly had Internet (sporadically and in a variety of different places, of course, so I never knew what to expect).
So I pretty much had no real Internet. When I got home, it was such a relief to be able to peruse freely and not have to wait for it to load. To be able to watch however many YouTube videos I watched.

Life without Internet sure is hard. How did so many people last without it for so long?