A simple mark
A quick stroke
with a spot
Or a simple tap
your thumb grazed for
just short a second
No one really knows
just how much
A sign of excitement
small but not slight
An expression I'll never miss
You know the worth
I give to the minuscule details
just seeing the mark
my cheeks glow with
a warmth only your
arms can give
Although I can't reach you
you know my words
are all I have
You hold a piece of me
my love overflowing
like the ink in this pen
You know how
much it means
So you use it often
just a little detail
That our bodies
may be far
But our hearts
are as close
as ever before
*It happens to be National Punctuation Day. How serendipitous!*
I love pens and writing utensils. A few favorites of mine recently are cute cat pens. I own lots of cat pens now and I've been getting some for my roommate who loves cats as well. This set is for her and I came up with a note that follows the tune of "Soft Kitty" from The Big Bang Theory.
And some Black and White
Pens for you
Striving to glow
To mirror the stars above
As the baby blue fades
Sinking back to give the orange, purple and pink their time to shine
Before the darkness swallows the light
Fireflies take their turn
Glowing to show their persistence
Even if others only catch a glimpse
Unlike embers floating from a fire that disappear
In a second
The light returns
We do the same
Spending the entirety of our lives
Surrounded by the shadows of our futures
Having moments that dazzle like no other
Only to fade away as time passes.
The light never dies
We will glow again
We’re always in the dark about what comes next
The distinction lies in the decision to take any opportunity
To choose the route that guarantees enlightenment
To take the chance to shine
We can’t let the fear burn us out
The darkness may seem to last for an eternity
But we will continue to glow
Choosing to embrace the joy and passion in those moments
Defines what it means to be alive
After all, fireflies are nothing without a light
*This was my final column with the Oracle from May 2018*
Anyone who knows me well knows that I play the violin. Even those who don't know me at all can see that I carry an instrument to and from school every day. Playing the violin is one of my strongest passions. I've played with the Lincoln Civic Orchestra for the past two years and in a small ensemble named Apollo.
I have been told I have impeccable intonation and breathtaking vibrato, but I know I struggle in multiple areas. I lack bow control, so I have meek bow technique. This hinders my ability to maintain a good bow speed and tone quality. I lose even more control in performance settings where my hand will shake uncontrollably when combined with nerves. For years, I've been trying to gain control of my arm, but to no avail. My private violin teacher, Miss Heather, even created special bowing exercises for me to practice various techniques, but I didn't get any better after several months. I just physically can't control it. Miss Heather has decided that there's nothing else we can try. Before you give me the old "Don't give up, just try harder" spiel, I want to point out that we are not giving up. After years of working with my arm -- and making little to no progress -- we've finally recognized that the battle is out of our control and we need professional help from a neurologist.
Let me take you back to 2011. My family was driving home from Louisiana when our back tire blew. The vehicle rolled eight times with my mom buckled in while ejecting my cousin, three younger siblings, our family dog, Lucy and me onto the interstate. I'm not completely sure what injuries my cousin suffered, but I know that she still has scars that line her back. My brother Eli, had a broken thumb, and my sister needed a nose job at seven years old to fix her broken nose. My youngest brother, Lucas -- only a few months past his birthday -- experienced a broken leg, arm and a fractured collarbone. Their injuries were extreme for their young age, but the severity of all four combined were nothing compared to mine.
I had kissed the interstate with the left side of my body, resulting in a fractured wrist, a broken jaw, a broken left cheek and a fractured collarbone. The most devastating wound was damage to the left frontal lobe of my brain, which rendered me unconscious for many days. While comatose, my lungs collapsed and I flat-lined a couple times. No one thought I was going to make it. Doctors predicted that I would be paralyzed from the neck down even if I did happen to survive. After two weeks of unconsciousness, I woke up and had to relearn how to walk, talk and write again. After about a month, Miss Heather cried when she handed me a violin because I had remembered how to hold the instrument and bow correctly.
You see, I wasn't even supposed to be able to play the violin again. But I've continued to play and have become fairly advanced. The lack of arm control is residual from the injury to the left side of my brain. It's not that I don't practice enough. My arm shakes because of an internal process. I can't do anything about it. This is why we are seeking help from a neurologist.
Most people who know me don't know this story. Making assumptions about someone's actions or condition is incredibly easy. We do it all the time. It's a coping mechanism to help ourselves gain understanding of an unfamiliar situation. It's often easier than asking the person upfront. yet this is where problems arise. Many issues spur from misunderstandings due to the lack of communication. In a fast-paced society where messages are sent through a screen to be interpreted many ways, we can forget to pause and delve deeper into the details of a topic, person or event. Learning about the background of something is especially valuable because we can better appreciate the work that comes from it.
The car accident has played a vital role in the strong, determined personality I have today. I never take any opportunities for granted because another one isn't promised tomorrow.
*This was my fourth column with the Oracle*
What happens when reality doesn’t match up with our expectations? Does this disconnect equate to failure? Failure is a mindset. Disappointment stems from unmet expectations. Sometimes, we set standards that are too high, setting ourselves up for failure. Yet we don’t want to set them too low, either. We need a balance; reality offers that balance. The trick is to accept what actually happens.
A big component of making expectations is goal setting. Many goals are made every year in the form of New Year Resolutions. How long do those really last? The majority of people create a resolution just to say they have one. It’s a trend; most don’t plan to commit. Simply setting the goal was enough, maintained or not.
On the other extreme, some people do take their resolutions seriously. Some work day in and day out to achieve their goal. They’re so engaged that missing a day is utterly disappointing. They mess up once and feel like a failure, despite all their hard work beforehand. That single slip-up makes them quit entirely. I am one of these people. At least I used to be.
I’ve always lived in a world of exceedingly high expectations. What’s interesting is that I’ve never been pressured by anyone; succeeding was just natural. In my youth, I performed at the top of my class and was thrust into the Gifted Program in 1st grade. I was the fastest at math in my 3rd grade class. I naturally excelled so I automatically expected myself to continue. There was no reason I shouldn’t.
I’ve put myself on such a high pedestal that I shut down if I get close to falling off. If my result didn’t meet my expectations, I’d call myself a failure. A single B+ on a mid-term report card taints my GPA, sending me down a rabbit hole where I imagine I will fail all my classes, dropout of high school, and live at my grandparents house forever. None of these things are true--quarter grades aren’t even counted in GPA-- but these are very real thoughts running through my mind in that moment. This is how I would respond to the “failure” of getting an 87% on a physics test.
I’ve hardly set New Year resolutions in the past, but I decided to make one this year. After failing NaNoWriMo -- National Novel Writing Month -- and not writing creatively for a while, I decided to challenge myself to write something or be creative some way, every day. It would be very doable because I set no boundaries, allowing the writing to be as grand or as small as I wanted it to be. I started on the small side with short poems each day. Except I missed the 6th day, not even a week in.
Before, I would have been harsh on myself for failing. The task was so simple, but I still failed. Then I realized that being upset wouldn’t do me any good. I did catch up on some studying that day, as well as spending some quality family time. It was nowhere near an unproductive day. I realized that although I may not have met my expectation to be creative, I still had what could be categorized as a successful day. Missing one day doesn’t mean I can’t continue working toward my goal.
For a girl who has always met the expectations, I now have a greater understanding that life can be great even if expectations and reality don’t always meet.
*This is from my first "Letter from The Editor" Column that I wrote in May 2017. Content has been cut for relevancy*
Whenever I chat with one of my closest friends, Jesse-- whom I’ve known since I was but a wee child taking her first steps into the realms of middle school-- I always have the urge to ask, “Why are you so tall?” His consistent reply is a small scoff that melds with my own laughter after a few seconds. I only say it every time we talk because I am in constant awe of how much he has grown. As sixth graders, he used to be a short little boy who ran all over the place. Granted, he still runs everywhere--being a cross country and distance track runner-- but now he is so much taller-- actually taller than me now-- and wears glasses. If I didn’t have my supernatural ability to identify people instantly, my sixth grade self probably wouldn’t be able to recognize Jesse as a junior.
When we think about change, physical appearances are easiest to identify. Personally, I just chopped off half my hair at our spring pep rally. I lingered on the decision to donate my hair for quite some time before I finally chose to sign up. My hair had grown to reach my belly button, and caring for it had become cumbersome, especially since I have such thick hair (Thanks, Grandma!). Besides, I knew that the summer heat would only make it harder to take care of, and I would cut it eventually anyway, so why not now? Cutting my hair now, through the school, had the added bonus of helping a child with hair loss. I’m lucky to have such beautiful hair and it’s great to see that I can spread the blessing to someone else. Special thanks to Ms. Dugdale for setting up this opportunity to help a charity.
Life’s importance lies within the transient things: hardly anything is permanent. That's the beauty in it. How boring would life be if everyday was the same? My hair is obviously not going to stay this length forever. Although it saddens me when I call Jesse by his nickname--given to him by our 7th grade orchestra teacher-- and he either doesn’t respond or remark that “No one’s called me that in a long time,” I know that our friendship is still strong, even though it’s not the same as it was four years ago. We’ve both endured modifications to our lives through the transition into high school--as all students have-- and will continue to come across new experiences as we set forth to college in two years.