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.
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.
Isabella – 6/7/2017,
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
[I dug this up tonight while looking through old writing. It’s a hoot. Written July of 2015.]
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.
“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
You did the best you could.
I should have started in May, worked on it for a few
hours a day until October. Then, maybe I’d have had a chance.
But, given the situation—SAT prep, taking the SAT on October 1st—you
went in to Taylor and Crocker, asked for help, did all you could do.
You worked your butt off, and you can really only look forward from here.
What I should have done is move my SAT to November in the first place.
Could have avoided the whole accidental-cheating
thing, saved myself a few nights of crying.
Hey, you got a freaking —-. That’s incredible. You should be so proud of yourself. Continue reading
[Excerpt from a recent school assignment on success.]
Especially as a junior, as I’ve started to think about college admissions and the extent to which they should dictate my life, I’ve struggled a lot in the past few years about what success really means. Since my elementary school years, I held this firm conviction in my heart that I will be a real world-changer and my name will be bolded in the history textbooks of the next centuries. It was a belief that seemed obvious to me. How I would get there was a question I never deeply considered. I assumed that, because I’d been told I had a quick intellect and a natural talent for things, the opportunity to bend history would present itself naturally to me and I’d take it easily, succeed, and revel in my success for the rest of my life. I was going to be greater than King Tut and George Washington and Bill Gates. Soon… it would happen someday. Duh. Continue reading