Too Blessed to be Stressed (PB)

School. Activities. Cheer. Band. Home. Work. Family. Friends. Boyfriend. Christmas. New Years. Hygiene. (I know, that probably shouldn’t be on the list.) College. Money. Life. Future. Past. Now.

Hefty list to take in.

Life has been hectic and heavy lately. As it can be! I like to keep myself busy. Going going going and like to think that nothing can stop me. I look back at some things that I’ve accomplished and can’t really understand how I made it out alive. Junior year was one of those times. The week before winter break was one of those times. High school has kept me busier than ever.

The few weeks leading up to break, it seemed like our family was blessed with Murphy’s Law; everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. I couldn’t access my paycheck, my schoolwork was excruciating, I ruined my sister’s bumper, my brother got into a bad accident and totaled his car (and we’d just replaced the locks), I lost my retainer (an expensive replacement), our year-and-six-month-old refrigerator with a year warranty stopped working… the list goes on and on of the unfortunate events this month.

With those things, there were other stresses on my shoulders such as Poetry out Loud, my senior project, the challenge in band, various tests, and the fact that I had done NO Christmas shopping and it was December 20th. I was freakin’. I had a classic Erin feeling: THE WORLD IS SQUISHING ME! Probably one of the worst feelings… and I partially bring it upon myself.

This break has been a major relief to my emotional and physical health. I’m sleeping more than 5 hours a night (even though my stress-induced dreams are freaky) and I’m not constantly feeling like I’m falling short in some way because I’m so preoccupied with everything else. It’s been nice to just hang. To chill. To have some me time. To change up my hair. To go on dates with Brian and/or Anna. It’s been so nice.

During my time off from the stresses of school, there are still other stresses at home, but I am feeling better. I’m not crying and I’ve had some time to realize that I’m way too blessed to be stressed. The fact that I’m alive and physically able to do everything that I do is an incredible blessing. My brother being alive and unharmed after his accident is amazing. I’ve received wonderful gifts from friends and family who gave me thought and I’ve been able to give people gifts that I spent a long time deliberating or making in hopes that they’d like it. I’ve been able to look forward to this next year with some high hopes of where I’ll end up a year from now.

I guess it just took some time to think to realize that my life is so great! I’ve got so many people who care about me; family, friends, boyfriend, teachers, etc. So many. I’ve got a roof, a job, food. All great things! I can cheer. I can read. I can talk. I can think. I can make music. I can sing. All things that bring me joy. I’ve got too many blessings to be stressed about life. My blessings are constantly outweighing the stresses, even though I fail to recognize it most of the time. I hope everyone else is having a relaxing break as well, filled with yummy food and fun people. 🙂

Passionate Education (CCR)

Saying that students must be passionate about what they’re learning is a large load of bologna!! I disagreed with about half of what the man in our Ted Talk said. Ridiculous and not functional, to be completely honest. I know that I am a bit late posting this, but I just kept forgetting that we were asked to blog about it. Anyways, I do not believe that we need to passionate about what we’re learning all of the time and that it is better for us to be well-rounded.

He made a point that we need to customize schools to our interests and that we need to customize everyone’s education to make sure they “like it.” Because that’s functional. (Eye roll.) No! I know many people who hate writing. They are not passionate about writing and probably never will be. Does that mean that they should never have writing included in their curriculum? No! Writing skills are vital to life! Or if there are people like me, who aren’t particularly fond of science, can I just not learn about it? Sure… that’d be nice. School would be a whole lot easier for me, for sure. But is it really practical? I don’t think that I should just skip out on science because I don’t “like it.”

It’s still extremely important to know the history of our planet and our country, to know basic chemistry and biology to better understand ourselves, to write to communicate; we must know how to do basic math, what music is, and why being physically active is important. Although we may not personally be fond of something doesn’t mean we can just be exempt from learning it.

An argument that he arose was that education should be tailored to our passions… but isn’t that what college is for? Public schools give everyone basic background information that is important to know regardless of a person’s passions or the direction they’d like to take their life and career. College provides various majors with various classes tailored to a person’s passions. It’s nobody else’s fault but their own if they decide to take classes or take a path that they are not passionate about.

It’s important for us to be well-rounded with a plethora of background knowledge. Public schools forcing us to be well-rounded will typically introduce us to our passions. With the vision of passion based education, if we assumed we hated writing, we’d never have to try it and we’d never find out that we adore it. How sad! I’m going to have to bring up a point that Lily made and that it’s not necessarily that people need to only learn about their passions, but we need to encourage people to be passionate about everything that they’re learning no matter their passions. So true! THAT is what would help the world be progressive and proactive as opposed to stagnant in a world of very passionate people.

Maybe think about this. Who would do your plumbing? Or be a garbage man? Or do any sort of dirty job? I cannot name a single person who feels passionately about any of those things… but they’re all vital to the way we live. Does that change anyone’s mind?

I’m So Determined (FC)

It may come as a shock to some people due to my lack of attendance last year, but I am in band! Not only am I in band, I’m 3rd chair flute in the Wind Ensemble. 3rd chair flute as a senior. My dream come true. On first chair, we have the extremely talented junior, Caty, and on second, the also extremely talented sophomore Brian. Then there’s me, 3rd chair senior.

Going through high school, I’ve learned more and more that band isn’t my forte. I like making music and I thoroughly enjoy most of the people that I have been blessed to be making music with. During my junior year, I was placed in 3rd chair behind 2 seniors and ahead of 2 seniors and sophomore. Needless to say, I was pretty proud of myself. Excited to be a higher chair than before and finally playing first part, I began junior year. Just after our autumn concert, the girl who was the chair below me decided that she wanted that glorious 3rd chair position.

In band, when we aren’t in the chair that we desire, we can challenge the person who is one chair ahead of us. The challenge is this: the two competitors go behind a curtain, they play an identical piece of music in a random order that they’ve have a week or so to prep, and the rest of the band members vote on which sound they believe deserves a higher chair. Sadly, I lost my 3rd chair position during my junior year. But to be completely honest, I was quite alright with that, because band is not my forte and I don’t take it as a personal attack when I am a lower chair.

At the end of junior year, we had auditions for the upcoming year chair placement. When the results were posted, I was excited to see that I was 3rd chair again. My excitement confused many people, because most people want to get 1st chair! But I don’t want to deal with solos or having to play piccolo so I was aiming for 3rd chair. And I got it! YES! Well just this last week, I’ve been challenged yet again, and my oh so glorious 3rd chair might be taken from me.

During my first challenge, I asked Mr. McEnry if I could just give my challenger the spot and he said, “No! That’s no fun!” so I did it. But I didn’t care. This time? This time I care. But it’s not because I care what chair placement I have… it’s much more personal than that. Which is horrible! But so true. The particular girl who is challenging me this year for my glorious 3rd chair absolutely hates me for absolutely no reason and (as I discovered on Monday) has deleted me as a friend on Facebook. Oh man, it got real. I have to beat her! She doesn’t deserve the “honor” that the high placement of 3rd chair brings.

I hope that everyone acknowledges my facetiousness regarding how desired 3rd chair is. 3rd chair is nothing special and yet for some reason, this is the second time someone has tried to take it from me. I honestly don’t get it and could care less about my chair. BUT I don’t want this particular person to be a chair higher than me. Neither does McEnry… he told me he’s rooting for me. 😉

PLEASE don’t think I’m a mean person. lol

We’re All Mean Spirited People Deep Down (FC)

Children are innocent, adorable, and totally hilarious. A young child’s laughter can capture my heart in an instant. I adore hearing kids say the craziest and profound things – it truly delights me. I admire a child’s honest and blunt heart – adults have come so far from that stage in life. They clearly do not know the wicked yet wonderful world in which they have been born, and it’s so great watching them learn about it and teaching them how life works.

I see children with their parents at the store or at a school events constantly; children are all over. Sometimes they are shy and sometimes they cannot keep their mouth closed for more than a second – I have encountered both types. Either way, they’re adorable, whether it’s hiding from outsiders behind mom’s leg, or shouting things that their parents would rather they didn’t shout. Kids that shout things are typically the kids that make me think, “That kid would be so cool to hang out with!” and I laugh to myself, thinking about the slew of various other phrases that may surface. 

While I was perusing the Safeway redbox this Sunday afternoon, I was struck by something that a child said to his mother as they were passing through. Brian and I were just looking to see if there were any good movies in stock, and sadly, there were not. As I was searching through many titles, this woman and her child were conversing and Brian looked over at them as the child said something humorous. While I do not remember the child’s exact statement, I do remember that it seemed like such an incredibly classic thing for a kid to say to his mom, and that made both of us chuckle a bit. Kids are so funny and cute and so much fun.

As we move on from giggling at this classic statement and the mother is on her way through the sliding glass doors, she reverses and looks over at Brian with a fierce look. She whips back inside and harshly says, “Excuse me, could you stop staring and laughing at my child? I don’t appreciate you laughing at things that he says; he’s autistic. I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas!” Whoa. Her biting words were sharp and ice cold. As she hurriedly stormed outside into the cold wind, she shook her head and left us stunned.

My back was turned while this took place and Brian took the heat from her. Where did that come from? Nobody was laughing at her child or making fun of him in any way what so ever. Nobody was staring at him because he’s autistic, which we clearly needed to be made aware of. Nobody did anything hurtful to her or the child. I was unaware that is was wrong to enjoy children and the wonderful things that they say. She assumed that we were teasing her son for saying silly things and felt that it was imperative that we feel bad about it. She assumed that we wouldn’t be enjoying him so much if we knew he was autistic. She assumed we were Christian. 

Her assumptions made her build up a lot of hate towards us in those couple of seconds in passing. While we were enjoying her son’s company, she was loathing ours. The fact that she got so defensive so quickly makes me sad for her son – maybe he gets teased a lot at school and that is her natural reaction because she loves him and wants to protect him from hurt. There is no way for her to know that we weren’t teasing him or laughing at him because we thought he was stupid, but there was also no need to be so harsh and make herself seem “holier than thou” by wishing us a merry Christmas after so harshly condemning us for her misinterpretation for our chuckles. Ironically, we were chuckling because his statement was predictable and classic, not because it was out of the ordinary and strange – which is why she thought we were laughing. 

I hope that they have a merry Christmas and that she realizes that she won’t always be there to protect her baby. He seemed like a sweet kid in those brief moments that we were together, and he will be okay. Her reaction made sense due to the fact that there was no way for her to know that were aren’t mean spirited ignorant teenagers laughing at her son, we’re simply delighted by children and the wonderful things that they say. Her reaction made sense, but that doesn’t make it okay.

The “holier than thou” act was what really got me, though. Have a wonderful Christmas? Seriously? After attempting to make a person feel like poop, you find it okay to wish us a wonderful Christmas? It was very insulting. Imagine the irony if I were Jewish! What an insensitive comment to make after defending her son for the insensitive teenagers laughing at him. Not that I am Jewish… but she still tried to make herself seem better than the scum that we were assumed to be, by being equally as insensitive as she thought that we were! IRONY EVERYWHERE. Ridiculous. I wish I could’ve said back, “Actually, I’m Jewish. I celebrated a week ago. But a merry Christmas to you!” 

Imagine if I were to seriously get offended every time someone had asked me, “Why can’t your mom just drive to the school?” or “Can’t your mom do that?” and so on. Or how about ‘your mom’ jokes? “Your mom (insert verb here)!”  I would be a very hurt person. Uhm, no.. she can’t do that, actually. But am I going to get in your face about it and say, “Excuse me? My mother has MS. She’s in a wheelchair. So no, she actually can’t, but thanks for asking. Merry Christmas!” NO I most definitely am not. I am not going to assume that someone is mean-spirited and ignorant. I will never assume that! I am saddened that the mother I met in Safeway is clearly a very hurt person and I hope that she will one day be healed and not continually be hurt by things like her misinterpretation of Brian and I.

 

In This Club (FC)

 

Post-Club Shari's

 

So over break… I was working. Not too excessively but I logged about 15 hours at Kohl’s between black Thursday and last night. So it seemed like a lot, especially because I was working until the wee hours of the morning two different times. But I don’t work the rest of this week, which is pretty cool if you ask me.

I had Saturday night off. I had to do something fun! Brian’s family was celebrating their family Thanksgiving on Saturday because he and his sister spent REAL Thanksgiving with other families. So I turned to my friends who are so old, 18 years old, and not mormon.

I asked them if they wanted to do something that 18 year olds do! Like clubbing, hookah, piercings, tattoos, etc. We decided on clubbing, because it’s probably the healthiest option and the least damaging or permanent on our bodies. So Colton P., Nick B., Michaela G., and I headed down to Portland at about 10:30pm on Saturday and we were so ready to just dance like crazy!

The only thing we didn’t really realize was that we were walking into one the most culture shocking moments of our lives. We tried to anticipate what was ahead and talked about the crazy things we may see. Once we found that super awesome and so cheap eight dollar parking (insert eye roll), we walked up to the club like hot shots – shivering, wet, and scared.

We handed the bouncers our ID feeling pretty cool and want to know what he said? “Ninety five..?” Um, yes! We are allowed in, thank you! We are 18!

We walked in, not really sure what to do or where to go. As we gazed our virgin eyes upon the night scene… there were togas everywhere. This place is pretty classy! … well… the setting is. Nice tables and things. We found a nice 4 person table to sit at because there was no one dancing yet. The party didn’t even really start until about half an hour after we had been there.

Once the party started… I won’t describe the scene we witnessed. Being four white naive kids from Hockinson, we were so appalled by some dancing that we saw. Why do people feel comfortable doing such inappropriate things on a dance floor?!!?! Sure… it’s dark… but you are centimeters away from the people next to you. I don’t really wanna see you humping and grabbing one another like the hormone-enraged, uncontrollable teenagers that you are.

Needless to say… we felt pretty bad ass watching all of it. As gross as it was… it was a culturing experience. We danced for maybe 10 minutes, but again, we danced like the four white naive Hockinson kids that we are. It’s all in the arms! 😉 Once we got our fill of the club, we hit up Shari’s and had some nice pie and milkshakes to calm our nerves and minds and purify our souls and eyes.

PS Barclay totally had the ladies all over him after he did a backflip and we left him to suffer in the storm of ladies that swarmed post-backflip. It was so great.

PPS HYRUM WOULD HAVE KILLED HIMSELF.