Advice to Future Juniors

Junior year is hard. You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again, and soon, you’ll be saying it yourself. I just came out of it alive, as a student at Westlake High. Here are my two cents on junior year survival.

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1. Treat your time like money. 

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One Year Ago

One year ago today, a friend of mine, 14-year-old Alexei Baureis, was hit by a car while crossing at a crosswalk, and died.

It was unbelievable. We grieved, many of us for the first time in our short-yet lives; we cried genuinely and painfully; we caressed roses; ever-so-slowly, we learned to live with the unimaginable.

History exists and gains relevance in accordance with the amount of active remembering among the living. Many of us have stopped actively picturing Alexei every day. We’ve continued facing the monsters of our lives and, in doing battle, let slip away the not-immediately-relevant—namely, the dead. I hope that even as we slip back into our everyday struggle, Alexei will occupy a space somewhere in our limbs where we can hear his voice once in a while. Especially as we cherish the memory of him on days like today.

365 days since incredible pain. 365 days of grief, guilt, slippage, normalcy, in some permutation.

Here is to many days more, and to the memory of the boy who changed our lives in one way or another.

 

Chao,

Isabella – 6/7/2017,

remembering Alexei.

Bra Fitting

Early November

 

I got a bra fitting for the first time last Sunday.

Hey, I’m 16 years old and I’ve always kinda joked that my chest is too small to need a bra anyway. I’ve more than survived on ‘training’ bras and bralettes. I guess that looking at enough girls at Westlake High School, models on Instagram, fashion sites; breasts that look good have a roundness that you can really only get with padding. Besides, everyone has real bras; no, everyone has bras, and I’m the only teenager in her right mind that has never hooked one before.

My mom is very supportive of my transitioning (from Asian to white). Continue reading

Austin Street Humans

And… we’re live!

Website: www.austinstreethumans.org,
Facebook: www.facebook.com/austinstreethumans/

Many of you know that I’m interested in journalism and the power of stories. Some of you also know that I’ve been volunteering with Mission: Possible! Austin and other homeless organizations over the past semester, spending time with homeless people in Austin and pursuing a better understanding of such a complicated issue.

I’m incredibly excited to announce the public launch of Austin Street Humans, a medium combining in-depth journalism and personal insights to explore what it means to live without a home in Austin. Continue reading

Joie de Vivre

[I dug this up tonight while looking through old writing. It’s a hoot. Written July of 2015.]

 


 

“Hey Daddy?”

My daddy looks up from the couch across from me, graying stubble and a questioning glance. My dad sits next to him reading the newspaper.

“Mm-hm?”

“When you were little, did you still have Mother’s Day?”

He motions me over to his lap. I snuggle against his chest—he smells like lavender.

He’s silent for a moment, then speaks. “Honey, where did you hear about that?”

“Um, my American History teacher mentioned it. But then he shut his lips really tight and wouldn’t say anything about it. He said we should never talk about it because some people find it offensive.” Continue reading

A Semester in Review

I’m going to start off by saying that this was hands-down, no-doubt the worst and hardest semester of my life. But I’m going to continue by saying that much of that has had to do with my selfish attitude, more than anything.

It seemed like everything I earnestly tried, I failed. Even the things I’d taken for granted that I’d obtain (Latin Club elections). So many things going wrong, that nearly every week there was a new crisis (I must sound so pathetic and self-absorbed right now; sorry). Each crisis would prompt a full-on crying session in Latin (1st period) or APUSH (8th), and if the latter, it’d usually continue into the car with Marika who has had to comfort and calm me too many times this semester. Continue reading

Working Through Jealousy

It was early September when I scrolled through Instagram in the City View Lounge at Ballet Austin, eating a whole-wheat turkey-celery wrap, and rushed into the audition room almost late and sans makeup. I thought I had this in the bag; after all, I was a junior (one of the oldest in the group; they couldn’t possibly make a junior a Cavalry/Chinese), and grace was one of my few strong suits in ballet. At least, I thought so.

We started out doing Clara’s variation, one group at a time, so that Steven Mills and Mr. Piner could see. Who knows, I thought (half-rueful, half-serious), maybe they want a Chinese Clara this year—maybe I really am beautiful enough. I didn’t entertain these visions for long (although now, looking back, I wonder how many of my other classmates had similar thoughts). Continue reading