How To Enter Senior Year

(Disclaimer: I speak recognizing my place as an incredibly privileged, upper-middle-class student. More on that later.)

1. With trepidation.

Because we’re human. And we’ve been waiting for this. I know that for me, I often think, “I’m never going to be 30,” or “Yeah right, people get married, but that’s never going to be me.” Throughout middle school, I lived in an “I’m never going to be a high schooler: that’s crazy.” Throughout high school, I’ve convinced myself, “I’m never going to be a senior—never going to reach the college application stage and face those beasts. That’s crazy.”

Here I am.

Time works real weird when we quantify and personify it like that, and so here I am, much too quickly, near the end of my high school career. Tomorrow is going to be my last first day. This is going to be my last HS fall semester. It’s mind-blowing to think that I’m at the ’12’ in ‘K-12,’ and simultaneous with the thrill of being on top and in sight of the tunnel-end light… is some variation of fear.

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My Relationship with my Body

So here’s the thing: I’ve grown a lot thicker since even eighth grade. What’s surprised me is my own attitude about it.

I don’t think I can just be “accepting” of my own body. Unfortunately, ballet is not a sport—it’s an art form, and art is created and curated for visual pleasure. We as a society haven’t reached the point where skinny and plump are interchangably beautiful, probably for the very real reason that obesity is unhealthy, and it’s survival instinct to be attracted to fit people in order to replicate healthy genes. My point is that no one goes to watch a fat ballerina dance. It’s visually unpleasing. Essentially, my body is my tool for my craft in the same way a pianist’s piano is, for instance, or an artist’s canvas and paints. Your art is limited in some respects by the quality of your main tool. And the quality of a ballerina’s body is comprised of height, flexibility, strength, and thinness. I used to have decent amounts of each. What happened to the last? Continue reading

To the Boy On Whom I’ve Had a Crush Since Sophomore Year

The way I feel about you is the way I feel about most things (definitely). Nothing special, because multiplicity breeds normalcy. To crave a fulfillment is to give in, & what I mean by that is I constantly catfight with biology. / At the same time, I can’t fake apathy. I can’t fake the thrill of new and alive things the same way you can. I haven’t spent enough time doing this—catharsis as a mood rather than an action, when the blood brings back the bad no matter how hard I try to be creative, lovely, or master. / Focus, you say. Help me, as if there’s anything I could have touched thoroughly. I never envied myself until I stopped believing your realities. / Anger & its comrades, they’re meaningless here as I hunt for paths around cliché. Your eyes are like jumping bugs; I bet you’ve never heard that one. And I’m sick of writing to & about you because it won’t change anyone or anything but me.

==> In other words, I like you hormonally and I wish I didn’t because I can’t.

HA.

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Thought on Race on the 4th of July

Imagine 3rd-grade me, little quiet skinny Asian girl, sitting cross-legged in the Music Room, feeling snarky.

Now, listen to the chorus of this song:

 

Now, imagine little me singing (quietly and self-satisfied-ly):

“Me, and me, and me and me and me and me and
Me, and me, and me and me and me!
I am part-American, part-American, part-American, me and me!
Part-American, part-American, part-American! Me and me!”

 

***

 

The second great wave of immigration from Europe was largely comprised of Irish and German immigrants. The Irish tended to settle in large cities on the eastern seaboard, looking for low-paying menial jobs in factories and such since they were generally very poor. The Germans, on the other hand, tended to settle more inland, since they came with a good amount of money. Low-income Americans, black and white, hated the new Irish because they were making the job market much more competitive. They were generally more ok with Germans, according to APUSH.

Today, do you know the difference between the Irish-Americans and the German-Americans (or whatever-percent Irish/German someone is)? Do you care?

Maybe I’m late to this realization, but here’s my thought. The same is going to happen to Chinese people in America. Continue reading

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.

***

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