Tuesday, December 6, 2011

identity crisis

"I can't go back to yesterday, I was a different person then."
-Lewis Carroll

"More and more, it feels like I'm doing a really bad impersonation of myself."
-Chuck Palahniuk

"Get over yourself, Ali."

I am Alice in Wonderland, with none of the trippy hookups. I was a child, reading a book under a willow tree and daydreaming (swap the prim blue dress with a neon green tank top/Bullhead shorts. Let's be realistic here), when I spotted a white rabbit (oh hi Buttercup. **conspiracy theory alert**).
Curious, I followed that tiny, dodgy fuzzball to a rabbit hole. It was deathly dark, seemingly infinite, and probably dirty, but I swan-dived in before I took my next breath. That rabbit hole is high school, and I've been falling ever since.

You know, it's easy to "be yourself" when you just live and let live. At this point in my life, though, I find it difficult to live without thinking, breathe without watching, or see without analyzing. Maybe it's a psychosis, but I'm sort of confident that's it's a part of being a teenager. We need to be hyper-emotional and hyper-sensitive in order to soak in everything and form ourselves into the sparkling young adults we're destined to become.

Whoever decided that making us self-conscious at the first major turning point of our lives must have been smoking a little too much hookah.

And whoever decided that Facebook is healthy for the teenage mind is also twisted.

But that's another story.

Basically, I'm not sure who I am anymore. I find myself getting sourly nostalgic, looking through old photographs and writing in a desperate search to remember who I am. The truth is, I'm shell-shocked. Admittedly, high school started out sort of slow for me. Forever, I've heard that "EVERYTHING CHANGES IN HIGH SCHOOL," and "YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAAAAME," but I just smiled as I put on the pair of jeans that fit me since middle school.

But here I am, a senior, and I got sucked in a tornado of change. I've gone from a size nonexistent in jeans to a size 4. I'm almost 5'10", and it's still so new to me that I hit my head on the shower on the way out. My brother went to college, so I'm the only child in the house. I went on my first date (I think?), I got my first piercing, I've lost my best friends, and I've experienced my first true heartbreak. I've gone through 4 years worth of changes within the span of a few months. Always the efficient one.

My house doesn't look the same. I don't look the same. I certainly don't feel the same. I look in the mirror, and I don't know who it is anymore.

But I've come to the classy conclusion that honestly, I don't give a fuck.

I'm still essentially "me," in an endless amount of ways. But I've also changed a lot, and I'm still in the process of changing. The truth is, life is a process of changing. We are never the same person today as we were yesterday. I've found that identities, instead of being liberating, are often confining. You tell yourself that you're a certain way so much that you dutifully play the part. You're left going through the motions, and you become a shell that forces smiles and battles so, so many suppressed thoughts.

Just let go.

People aren't stagnant. We're fluid. We're mostly water; even our biology agrees. Scribble outside your outline. Limits are man-made. Self-image is suicide.

If you live outside of the concept of yourself, if you actually listen to your own rhythms, you will find that you are so, so much more than you ever would have thought.

Also, don't be an enforcer of images, and don't be a judgmental skank. The people that claim that they "don't judge" are often the worst offenders. What is judging, by the way? It's telling somebody who they are, reminding them how they are supposed to act, and ridiculing unexpected behavior.

"Lyke lol yu cursed??!!111! I wuld never exp3ct dat frum yeww!?!"
Have you never cursed before? How am I any different from you, or any other teenager ever? Oh, I gotcha. I'm three months younger than you, that must be it. Baby Ali better respect her elders.

"Omg LOL yu said sex!! Nd yu read novelz tht rnt dr seuss nd dat have sex in dem nd yu make dirty jokeszz hehahh this is sew not yu, yu werr nvr this way in elemntry omg!!"
Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sorry, should have gave you a seizure warning before listing off such shocking words. Don't die, please. But if you're feeling faint, let me know. I can drive you to the hospital in the car I own and that I'm legally old enough to drive and oh by the way sex.

"hehehhahehehe LOL wut r u gnna do wit ur date, read lolatrolakrololaol!!1!! im clvr!1! and kewl and sew maturr!11"
First off, what I do is none of your business and should be none of your concern. How far you've went with a guy doesn't make you any more mature or more of an adult. And maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I don't see dating etc etc etc as a "right of passage" to be "cool" or "mature." My relationships actually mean something to me. And yeah, we might read. After roundhouse-kicking you to the face.

People do this all the time, and they don't even realize it. I've definitely been guilty, but now I'm more aware of how annoying and damaging judging actually is. We need to take people as they are, not as they were in elementary school, middle school, or even yesterday. We need to actually have the audacity to listen to their thoughts now, where their mind and heart is now, instead of telling them they're wrong and that they're actually a different person. This is offensive, and this kills one's sense of freedom.

This is one of the reasons I feel like I'm suffocating. I've been living in the same town and going to school with the same people for my whole life. We've all already made our judgments of each other, and we're too ignorant to realize that none of us are the same as we used to be. Society claims to be more understanding than ever, but we never actually listen to each other.

And I had to let this all out, or else I would explode in a ball of nerves.

I feel quite good, but it's 3:20AM, and I didn't start my homework yet.

Fyeah teen angst.

Monday, October 17, 2011

senior citizen

After years of climbing the treacherous ladder of high school, I've finally reached the status of senior. I've always imagined senior year as that sort of idyllic heaven at the peak of the mountain, the day spa at the top of the million-step stairwell. Oh adorable, naive me. Starry-eyed little fawn. I was wrong about this, and as I've come to learn quite recently, I was wrong about a lot of things. There's never a moment to slack off and bask in your accomplishments. All you can do is smile, and use that momentum to work even harder. You have to constantly prove yourself.

There's really no time to waste in life. Look at yourself at this very moment; if you're not enjoying what you're doing, you should probably be doing something else. That's not to say life is all about fun, or all about being perfect (definitely not! Make mistakes! Make many mistakes! Don't worry, it's not as difficult as it sounds). In summary, I challenge you to live your life, take chances, say what you've been burning to say, ride the waves of trouble in your life, and become stronger with every stumble.

Sexy transition back to senior...Yes, I'm a senior. And I'm not going to lie, it's great, but not at all in the ways that I expected---
  • First of all, it actually feels like home, and I never thought I would say this. Indian Hills? HOME?! My frosh/soph/jr self would scoff/cringe/guffaw at this! But it's true. In the beginning of the year, I didn't feel the overbearing need to wear my super-sexiest-first-impression outfit possible. I know where every classroom is, where every wing is, where almost every mural is. Going to school as as a senior feels natural, and so much less contrived than other years. Maybe it's Stockholm, but I have a feeling the blue-and-gold jail cell's grown on me.
  • I know the system, and I've learned what's important. I've wasted so much time on trying to be perfect, doing every single homework assignment, wasting weeks and weeks of sleep for full credit points on Genesis. Maybe it's the senioritis talking, but I know now that sleep and experiences are sometimes more important than any assignment (!), and that actually learning is more important than completion (one word: midterms. Loljk here's another word: life); despite what our dictator-socialist education system has engraved in our brains, actually learning what we're taught in school is useful for life. See opportunity cost.
  • I can use the excuse of senioritis for anything. ANYTHING!!! SERIOUSLY it works! If you don't feel like participating in class, say it's that dang senioritis. Teachers will actually be all like tehehehehe and overlook your laziness. More times than not. Sometimes I even use the excuse of senioritis for such acts of lazy as not cleaning my room, not making my own bowl of cereal, and not actually getting up in the morning. The magical properties of senioritis seriously have no bounds.
  • I'm Editor-In-Chief of the school newspaper! I know I've mentioned this in the last post, but it seriously means so much to me. Also, being Chief is awesome. I finally get to run meetings and be the leader of something I really care about. Also, shout out to the amazing staff.
  • I have a pretty solid idea of who I am and where I want to go. This is true, but it by NO MEANS WHATSOEVER means I know where I want to go to college...but it's just helpful in general. I have a strong sense of self, and along with this is knowing that I am ever-changing. It's trippy, but it makes sense, I swear. At least when you're high. (;-))

Oh gosh, I didn't realize how much I had to say until I started writing this. It's getting late, I have a lot to do, but before I do, there's one more thing I want to say. I love senior year, but from where I'm standing, there's so many things I miss.

I miss my hot pink jeans. I grew out of them soph year, and I loved them so much. They were the Sisterhood jeans, I swear, minus the Sisterhood, if they were in a hot pink acid wash. I wore those jeans, and I knew it would be a good day.

I miss the ability to daydream about college. Now that the reality of college applications is so close, there's little time to daydream about college and college life. Also, after seeing so many facts and figures, writing thousands of college essays, and being force-fed so much college advice, the magic sort of wore off a bit.

I miss daydreaming about high school. Admittedly, I was never one of those girls that fantasized about becoming the most popular girl in high school, etc. etc., and I knew that high school would not be at all like it is in the movies. But I used to daydream about the friends I would make, the clubs I would join, and all the memories I'd make. I had a lot of great times in high school, but I wish that I could tell my freshman self to take more chances, to say IDGAF to haters and boundaries, and to not be afraid of failure.

I really miss my brother. He went off to college this year, and I always wondered what the house would be like without him. There's a huge space of quiet now that he always filled with his crazy antics, hilarious stories, and breakdance music. He's quite honestly the best brother, and truest friend, that anyone could hope to have. I don't think I've ever told him this, but he inspires me to take chances and go after my dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem at first. Michael always makes things happen. Do work.

And now for a combo breaker, here's something I'm surprised that I don't miss: being unbroken. I've been through some tough times lately, and many things in my life that I thought were constant were completely turned upside down. No question, one of my biggest faults is that I try to build a shield around myself to save myself from heartbreak. No matter how carefully I've built my fence, I've been heartbroken by one of the only things that I've let inside of my wall.

I'm most definitely not saying that the hurt was the complete fault of one party; it takes two parties tearing in opposite directions to break a heart. But what I have learned is to not place a million pounds of blame on my shoulders, and to move on. True or false, right or wrong, we all float on. In a strange and quite sadistic way, the heartbreak is almost liberating. Now that I've experienced it, felt the hurt, I feel free to take more risks and to be myself. I've learned to be more open, roll with the punches, and to always respect myself, even when I make mistakes.

And now to revelations. I want to mention that I really, really want to write a teen fiction novel. I want to write a novel with the witty, strong, flawed, and relate-able heroine, one that shows that's it's okay to be smart and strange, and that making mistakes is the spice of life, as long as you learn from them. I want to write that novel that teens read five times over, wear to the spine, and cherish in their libraries. I want to inspire teens, and ultimately show them that they're not alone.

I am most definitely not perfect, but I am observant and honest, sometimes to a fault. I hope to write a teen novel that makes someone smile and write a journal of their own someday. Teen novels are so often denounced as "rubbish" by the literary community, but teen novels are some of the best and most affecting pieces in existence. I want to both be the teen author and the "serious" novelist, and I know that I can. Libba Bray has proven that. A girl can have both class and charisma today, and this gives me boundless amounts of hope for the future.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

where have I been?

Avoiding my responsibilities, of course! That's how I ended up here, desperately searching for a way to escape the more important ventures of modern teenage life. Here's a quick update of how my life has changed since I last posted:

  • I survived junior year (barely) (seriously, I will never be the same...)
  • I can legally drive myself, a blood relative, and some other guy (I'm still car-less, but searching)
  • I'm 5' 9.75" (not that it matters, because I've never revealed my height to you guys, and also because this blog has an audience of <1)
  • I'm editor-in-chief of my school newspaper! (one of the accomplishments I'm most proud of in my life)
  • I'm taking creative writing classes @ Brown University (!!!)
  • Just got back from Wildwood (I have major jet lag...if that's even possible)
  • I visited UPenn, SJU, and UDel (All of which I actually really like)
  • I think I can finally consider myself a young adult (for reals this time, not in the bar-mitzvah-you're-a-man-now or girl-scouts-you're-official-now kind of way)

So now it's almost 4:30 in the afternoon, I'm still in my pajamas, and I haven't eaten anything yet. My hair is atrocious, I'm PMSing, and I'm kind of just stranded in the deserted island of my couch. Yet overall, I'm okay. And that actually means a lot.