Elastic Friends

You consistent readers know that I’m not a social butterfly. I don’t make friends easily but when I do, I do my best to keep them. Here’s the story of one of my oldest friends…

I’m hoping that I’m safe to share this since he never reads my blog. Here goes nothing.

In elementary school, I met this boy. Let’s call him Ray. Well, Ray wasn’t one of my best friends during those early years. He never came to a birthday party or hung out with me. But when it came to activities, he was always there for me. We were even in sign language club together for a period of time.

Fast forward a couple years to middle school. This is where it gets messy. He liked me. I liked him as a brother but was naive and “dated” him anyways. We texted all the time and went to a dance together but we also fought a lot. Gone was our happy, carefree relationship. It was rough. It’s one of the reasons middle school was such a hard time for me.

Then came high school. His mom got remarried and they decided to move to a different school district. We didn’t leave things on good terms. Honestly, I never expected to speak to him again. And for about a year and a half, I didn’t. Then, one day, he texted me. The problem was, I was in a relationship with someone who knew my and Ray’s past. He had lived through it and had to deal with the aftermath. So he didn’t want us talking. And I may have gone against his wishes a couple times. Not the smartest choice, I know, but I could tell that Ray had changed. Eventually, when my boyfriend found out that I wasn’t following my promise, it acted as the catalyst for our break-up. Don’t worry, it had been coming for a while.

Well the rest of the year passed without much drama. Then I got the news, Ray was moving back. Suddenly, I was nervous. I didn’t know how to act around him after all these years. Texting was one thing but face-to-face interaction scared the living daylights out of me. I avoided him for most of my junior and senior year. We talked when needed and texted a couple times but nothing that really reinstated us as good friends.

That was until a two weeks ago. I don’t know what made me do it (maybe loneliness) but one night, I texted him. Just out of the blue. And to my shock, we started talking like all those middle school years hasn’t existed. We were just two friends that wanted each other to be happy. And let me tell you, I missed him.

So long story short, I reconnected with a old friend this month. And it’s one of my favorite choices of this year.

I think of Ray as an elastic friend. Like a rubber band, you can stretch it and it will come back to you. But if you stretch it too far or too often, it can break. The same happens if it gets too old or has a weak spot.

Thankfully, Ray and my friendship rubber band is still in good shape and I’m hoping it stays that way for a long time. He’s one of those friends that you could never replace. And I hope I never have to…

I challenge you to reevaluate your life. Scroll through your contacts. Flip through a photo album. Is there someone that you miss? Reconnect with them while you still can. Regret is one of the worst things in life. It doesn’t matter if there is history there. Take the leap. Hopefully, you’ll find some open arms at the bottom.

Sting of Rejection

It’s getting to be that time of year when all the colleges decide whether to accept or reject the seniors who poured their heart and soul into essay after essay. And I’m no exception.

I applied to 16 colleges. I know, you’re thinking, 16? but I had trouble making up my mind on where I wanted to end up. I’d rather apply to too many than always wonder what if?

Anyways, I’ve heard back from 12 colleges so far with only two of those being rejections. That’s good, right? I guess. But when you look at the colleges that decided they didn’t want me, Washington University in St. Louis and University of Notre Dame, the distinction is evident. These two schools are top ranked in the nation. And so are the rest of the schools I have left to hear back from are too. How am I supposed to get into a number one school when the number two school rejected me? I guess I’ll find out as the week goes on but the wait will be tortuous.

To make things more complicated, these rejections have made me undermine the incredible things that I have accomplished. I got into DePauw’s Honor Scholars Program. I received acceptance AND a scholarship to Brandeis University. These things weren’t handed to me. I worked hard for them and I can’t forget that.

So no matter what happens this week, no matter how many colleges turn their noses up at me, I will remember all that I have accomplished and stay positive. Who knows, good things could be just around the corner!

Badge of Stubbornness

WARNING! I am on some strong pain killers and blame any errors, misspellings, or mistakes of any kind on the pills. That is all.

Some might say that I’m stubborn. Others say stupid or bullheaded or ridiculous.

All are true on most days and usually it’s something that I shy away from. But today, I wear it like a badge. I am stubborn and I’m proud of it.

Why? You ask. I’ll tell you. Yesterday, I had surgery on my knee. I’ve been having problems with it since August and hadn’t gotten a chance to fix it until recently. So I got it taken care of yesterday. But seeing as how it was the middle of the week, I refused to miss more days after being absent yesterday. This morning I pulled myself off the couch (since I normally sleep on the top bunk and couldn’t get into my bed) and got ready for school. It took a while to convince my mom to let me go, but she relented and sent me off.

My right leg (aka my dominant leg) is wrapped in gauze from my toes to mid-thigh. This meant that I had to use crutches to get around today. And that’s the choice I regret the most. After a whole day (yes, I lasted the whole day!), I was considering butt-scooting to my classes. My arms were jelly, my hips extremely sore, and my hands bruised. I was swerving on my crutches like a drunk person. But I survived! Everyone didn’t think that I could do it but I did! (I understand why no sane person comes back the day after surgery though…)

One of my nurses from yesterday called today while I was at school. My mother explained why I couldn’t come to the phone and the nurse was very impressed. But I’m sure she would have scolded me had she been able to get ahold of me.

So long story short, my stubbornness is something that I am proud of today. I may not be able to move right now but I stuck to what was important to me. I wanted to go to school and I didn’t let anyone stop me. And I blew people out of the water with my can-do attitude.

The question is — how do I do it again tomorrow?

The Mirror Me

Today I did a self evaluation about my actions as of late. The results were disheartening. I’ve been lying more, haven’t been doing my homework, making more and more excuses, and just generally letting myself down. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what my family or my friends think about me. It comes down to what I think of myself. Do I look in the mirror and see someone to be proud of? Or someone who hasn’t risen to her potential?

Today, I was the latter. Every night I promise to be better, to make a change, to stop procrastinating and get my act together. But every morning my body refuses to rise, to begin to start fresh. And every morning, I fail to reform myself. Instead, choosing to live my life as I had the past day.

That needs to stop. I’m sick of being the one that people can’t count on to have the work done. I want to go back to being the one that everyone came to asking about homework. Now, I’m just as confused as the rest of them. I blend in. But valedictorians don’t blend in. They don’t fail tests or have missing assignments. My goal, since I can remember, was to be like my siblings and be valedictorian of my class. Now, four months from the finish line, I’m stumbling and getting turned around.

Yes, being #1 isn’t life or death. But it’s important to me. I value my brain and want to see myself do incredible things. But I can’t do that from my couch while watching ABC Family. And I can’t just say that I’m going to change overnight. I have to take baby steps toward a bigger goal.

Tomorrow is a new day. It’s a fresh slate and I will make the most of it. It’s important that I remember that any step is progress, even if it’s not as big as I want. I can do this. There’s no doubt about it. The question is, “Will I?” And I will forever shout “YES!” until no other word remains.

Live to Inspire

Today, on my Facebook feed, I found a video about a boy with cancer. My interest was piqued and I clicked on it. The video was about a 17 year old who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and how he was choosing to spending his last days.

He wasn’t wallowing in self-pity or depression. He lived his life with a huge grin on his face. That’s not to say that he didn’t have bad days. He did. It’s just, that when an opportunity presented itself to spread joy, he took it. His legacy isn’t anything to do with how he died but how he lived. In facing imminent death, he didn’t cower. He took it in stride and made the most of his life.

He turned to music. The YouTube video that he posted with his song, Clouds, quickly received over a million views. As of today, nine months after Zach’s death, it has over 9 million views. I recommend that you view them. I’ve posted the links below. Though, fair warning, you may need a box of tissues for the Last Days video. I sure did.

The most important thing that I pulled from Zach’s story was that you don’t have to do something incredible like save all the children in Africa or star in a movie to change the world. You can change your world and everyone in it. Zach did it by being happy in one of the most unhappy situations. Every life that he touched, he changed forever.

If you want a goal, here you go, be happy. Make your happiness contagious and never stop spreading it. It’s amazing how far happiness can take you in life.

 

YouTube Video Links

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDC97j6lfyc   (“Clouds”)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NjKgV65fpo   (Last Days Documentary)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zxXAtmmLLc   (“Clouds” Celebrity Music Video)

Back to Earth

I know. I know. I said that I was back but then I disappeared again. I’ll admit, I went through a blog slump. I couldn’t really muster the emotion that I needed to write. But today I have something good to tell you. First, a recap of my life lately.

I am writing this post from my new (to me) iPad that my dad promised me for the Christmas of 2012. And I love it, except the whole finger typing part. My fingers are cramping up. So if you see typos or missing words, I’m blaming it on the iPad.

A girl named Nayla came to stay with my family. She’s a foreign exchange student from Bahrain. I’m sure you will hear more about her later on. She’s attending my school for the rest of the year. Speaking of school, we have had 11 snow days since Christmas break and it is unlikely that there will be school for the rest of the week. Hence why I have the time to write this. And now, to my news.

This is for everyone who remembers Dave. I talked about him in my last post. I said that I was finally going to do something about my feelings. And, of course, I ended up doing nothing about it and now I probably never will.

Today during school, I was talking to a friend of mine who had set out to gather some information about Dave for me. Well, she spoke to him and it went a little like this…

My friend: “So Dave, do you like anyone?”
Dave: “Nah, not really.”
Friend: “Oh, well, do you think anyone likes you?”
Dave: “I’m not really sure but I think Cassie has a crush on me…”

*cue the end of my romantic dreams*

And that was basically it. As far as I was concerned. I’m sure there was more to the conversation but I kinda tuned out after that. Some things fell into place though. If he thought I was some sort of creepy stalker than it would make sense that he didn’t follow me back on a Twitter or Instagram. I didn’t find it creepy at the time but the same motions take on different meanings in varying light. I figured that he was a classmate and it wouldn’t be weird. But maybe to him it was. Oh well, somethings were never meant to be and this was apparently one of them.

I’m going to go nurse my shattered hopes with pizza and ice cream. If you’re in Indiana (or any of the states in this storm), stay warm! If you’re anywhere else, please come get me!!

Until next time, (Hopefully not to long from now!) as John Green says, Don’t Forget to be Awesome (DFTBA)!

Taking the Reins

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about relationships. My brother just recently got engaged and I bought my bridesmaid dress yesterday. I love his fiancé and am super happy for them. But it got me thinking… What am I going to do about my love life or lack there of? I’ve always taken the idea of sitting back and waiting for the relationship to come to you. Consequently, I’ve had some bad experiences. My elementary school years were filling with poorly chosen crushes. Middle school wasn’t much better. I dated one boy (twice) and had more crushes than I care to admit. Things didn’t really turn around for me in high school. My only boyfriend cheated on me and my prom date last year, dropped me faster than a hot potato.

I want this year to be different. I want a guy that I like, mind, body, and all. But the selection at my high school is limited. Most decent guys are taken and the others don’t meet my standards. Dave is really the only guy I could see myself with but the thing is, I find it harder and harder to picture us together. I’m a nerd. He’s a jock. My definition of a good night is a good book. His is a good game.

I think as I get older, I realize how unlikely the pair up is. My friends try to claim that he and I would look cute together. But we are both so shy and awkward that nothing is ever going to happen, even if he liked me.

Somedays, I can fool myself into thinking that he thinks of me as more than a classmate. I mean, why else wouldn’t he follow me back on Twitter? (or maybe he thinks I’m creepy…) But when he does talk to me, I play it super cool, protecting my heart and sanity. And in the process, hurting myself even more.

For once, I need to take a gamble on more than my homework. I need to put myself out there. If things don’t work out, then I know it will be because of a lack of connection, not because I didn’t give it a shot. This year could be my year if I just try. Besides, what’s a couple months of awkward class periods if I fail?