Hey! So, it’s my senior year and it’s gotten me thinking about all I’ve been through at CAL which is where I have been attending since the first grade. I’ve been thinking back to elementary friends, chubster days, middle school crushes, awkward dating (and also the lack of dating), overwhelming emotions ranging from sadness to euphoria…the list could go on and on, but I can summarize it in two words, “growing up.”
Those two words I have always welcomed with open arms, even waited anxiously for. I mean who hasn’t? Your parents may have set rules such as, you can’t play this video game until you’re this age, or you can’t wear makeup until you’re that age. Then there’s the general ages you long to reach like when you’re thirteen you’re one of those dreadful, but incredibly “cool” teenagers; when you’re sixteen you can drive; when you’re 18 you can get a tattoo, you can get a piercing on your own. There are all these things you have to wait for a certain age to be able to do, and that makes us want to be older, it makes us want to grow up, and ultimately makes us wish away much of our youth.
I’m eighteen now, and it’s beyond bizarre to me. I can hardly wrap my mind around it. And looking back through each and every year I can easily pick out several notable mistakes I made. What I want to do is help you avoid the same mistakes I made. I listened to some of the advice people have given me, and I’m sure it’s helped me to avoid some sticky situations, but there are a lot of experiences that I am sure have gone unshared that could have helped me a lot.
So, I’m going to lay it all out there for you. I don’t expect you to not judge me, but I ask that you at least try to accept that I am greatly flawed and roll with it. Yes, I’ve done rather selfish, and stupid things, but I’m telling you so you can avoid doing the same and having to experience the after effects.
I love you, and trust me, if I didn’t then there is no way I would be digging a ton of experiences and emotions back up to write for the world to see.
I know for some people shyness is intrinsic (junior year vocab word: belonging to something by it’s very nature. you’re welcome. that one was my favorite of the year). I thought I was one of those people for the longest time, and maybe I was. It’s not a bad thing to be withheld by any means, but don’t let that define you. Don’t be afraid to befriend anyone, everyone.
All throughout elementary school I was quiet around everyone except my best friends. Which you know, duh. Middle school was a time where I kind of let loose and tried to be very open and more outspoken (sixth grade, not so much. but seventh and eighth grade. oh man).
You know, the end of middle school is such a weird time. For me, I felt like I was on the top top. I wasn’t popular, not by any stretch of the imagination- but I definitely let myself grow and develop. This was because of a lot of things that changed that year. It was pretty monumental. But that’s something else to write about entirely.
So I touched on that outgoing bit of myself sometime in the end of middle school, but by the time high school rolled around it was just about gone. I didn’t seclude myself, I mean I had friends. But if there was a new person for me to be around, for example if I didn’t have many close friends in a class then I just wouldn’t really talk for most of the class. I know it isn’t only me who does this because I’ve discussed this with others.
Don’t wait to get to know people. Please don’t wait. I’m telling you this halfway through my last semester of high school. It took me so long to figure it out.
I just want to let you guys know that it’s okay to opt out of the awkward getting to know you phase of a relationship (I’m not talking dating here, but that could apply too) and jump right into “hey, I’d love to get to know you, let’s be total BFFs!” Sounds weird, I know. But it is so much better to interact with people around you regardless of whether you were friends before.
Just…be open with people. Make friends.
Also— what I said about opting out of the awkward getting to know you phase of a relationship and jumping right into “hey, I’d love to get to know you, let’s be total BFFs!” Yeah, I changed my mind. That’s just for friendships. Don’t skip past the getting to know phase of relationships. It’s essential to knowing said person, and it’s hella cute.
- well, part of the reason, at least.
When it comes to dating, if you don’t already know- I’m not all that into it. I mean I’d be totally up for the perfect relationship if it came my way, duh. But I think that will come in time, sweet, sweet time, and I will welcome it with open arms.
I would venture to say more often than not those lasting relationships aren’t found in high school. Actually, I know they aren’t, they’re actually very rarely developed that early. But if you have one and it works out. More power to you!
But the reason young relationships don’t last is because in those years you’re still growing. You’re developing your views, your beliefs, and who you are. If you don’t know who you are it is so difficult to grow in a relationship with another as you, yourself are still growing.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t date. I think dating is great, go for it. It helps you get to know a person on a whole different level. Even just the “talking” pre-relationship phase, actually.
Okay, I should probably get to the point…I had a relationship my junior year of high school. It was great, we were best friends. We didn’t get to see each other every day because we went to different schools, and were on opposite ends of the city. But when we did see each other, it was great. After a month or two I felt like it would never end, we would never end.
We dated throughout the summer and into senior year. Going to parks, pools, amusement parks, and just generally wandering around together. We were goofy. And I mean we were totally crazy, goofy, insane. We were best friends. But overtime, that’s all we really were. Best friends, pretending to be dating. It’s weird when you realize that because you love that person, but not in a relationship, lovey dovey way. And yes, I know you can’t really expect to fall in love with someone in the span of a few months, and I wasn’t expecting to; but I did expect another feeling that the one I felt, words fail me when I try to explain it.
I realized that it wasn’t quite right. That’s not saying I couldn’t have just as easily gone on in said relationship happily and probably dated him for months longer, if not to this day. And while that may have resulted in laughs and good memories, it would have ultimately ended and probably would have been more painful than it was.
I said goodbye to a great friendship for multiple reasons, I won’t bother you with them all in one post- but here is the first, it just wasn’t right.
He was an incredible guy; sweet, thoughtful, completely adorable, but we didn’t quite fit together. It was like a puppy crush; I say that because I don’t think we were anywhere near love. That’s a word I take VERY seriously for various reasons.
But really, while relationships and dating are “fun.” They’re really not necessary. You don’t need to be in relationships to be content. Trust me, I’ve had the greatest times with my friends these past few months post-relationship.
And no, I’m not heartless for having broken with him even though things were going wonderfully. But it didn’t feel quite right.
I miss him. I miss him a lot sometimes.
But my feelings do not change the fact that we weren’t “meshing,” so to speak as we should have in my opinion.
If you’ve read this far, I applaud you, because I’ve rambled and rambled and rambled. I would give you a cupcake for doing so, but I’m not the best with cooking/baking in my family. I burn my sub sandwiches when I’m reheating them. Like, no. So…no cupcake for you!
Anyway, my point in all of this is- don’t force something that isn’t there, and if you’re just not feeling a relationship you are perfectly fine without them! I know when you’re growing up you get these expectations of high school in which you’re dating and having the time of your life with your boyfriend/girlfriend being all cute and shizz, but don’t hinge your high school experience on that.
I’m rambling again. Don’t force relationships, ok?
Wow, I’m not so great at keeping up with these posts. Maybe I should just bake you a plate of cookies and call it a day.
Just kidding, I can’t bake. Unless you want charred chocolate chip. We can pretend it’s double chocolate chip, right? No, okay.
Anyway, on to point…
Don’t limit yourself, get involved in a great variety of things in highschool. It’s the perfect opportunity to reach out and meet new people, to experience new things. Really. I know it sounds cliched, and that’s because it probably is. I mean I cannot tell you how many times I heard it entering high school. I wish I had taken it a bit more to heart.
I don’t know what I would do without the band; I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before- but it really became a family to me. It’s what kept me at the same school for so long. If you’re in it you can understand. Even if you’re not in band there’s always a group that you just mesh together with well and it’s awesome. Maybe it’s in art, in a sport you play, a small group, the drama club, quick recall, the group that plays foursquare in the middle of the hallways (that happened)…who knows! Just find those people and appreciate them, because regardless of grade those people can and will become the best of your friends if you let them.
And once you find those people, love on them but definitely don’t close yourself off to other people. Open up to being friends with people who aren’t necessarily interested in the same things as you (in my case, it’s being friends with boy band fan girls, ahem, One Directioners).
And back to what I was saying earlier, experience a great variety of things, it’ll pay off. I promise!
Now…it may make choosing a college terrifyingly difficult, but that means you have options; and yes, you can expect a post on that in due time.
just found out I missed getting a B on my report card in chem by 0.16%
I mean really? c’mon.
and history by 0.06%
…I am beyond frustrated right now…do you realize how much that could have helped?
now I will never get into college. get a career. or ever have friends again.
my life is in ruins.
-okay…not really, but I’m angry. okay?
To follow up on this from my sophomore year…I am now applying to colleges and am competing for full-scholarships. Of course A’s and B’s would have been better but a few C’s will not kill you. Trust me. It’s all good.
This message is very important.
Follow the unwritten rule. I’m assuming you already know it, but if not…
Do not date a friend’s ex. Period. End of discussion. No.
Do. Not. Do. It. Don’t even talk to them. Don’t even flatter the idea. It’s a bad idea no matter how much you justify it. No. They might be the cutest thing ever, and hey, maybe you guys are the exception to all. But don’t do it. No.
I was told my eighth grade year by a senior, Kinsey (she was my marching band section leader, actually) , to never date a friends’ ex. At the time all I could think was “well, duh” and couldn’t even imagine why someone would betray their friend like that. I mean, it’s absurd. Right? Right.
Now story time…in my freshman year one of my friends had been dating this guy from church. I would go to the service with them along with one of our other girl friends, we all go pretty close. Until, that is, the couple broke up. Then we all kind of cut ties with him, and all was well because it was back o the way it was before…until, that is the said ex-boyfriend started to date the other girl friend of ours. That’s when all hell broke loose. I’m not even exaggerating when I say all friendships began to fall apart. Obviously those two girls couldn’t stay friends. I, being stuck in the middle (along with several others), had to choose sides and/or listen to endless comments about the other. Whether that was about how bad o a friend the other girl was, or how awesome this guy was (which, by the way, he was not worth the trouble at all, he’s a total -insert choice word here-). It was a horrible time for all who were even remotely connected to the two girls. I’m not going to go into detail here, because beyond this it’s not my story to tell, but after the new couple had broken up the relationships had already been damaged, and that led to months of pain and frustration from our entire group of friends.
Now, after reading that, you may or may not feel sympathetic to someone. But I can tell you that the actions were emotionally lead. I won’t justify her actions, but I know why she acted upon them.
Okay, this next part I have to tell you because the reason I’m writing things for you is not so I can tell you "Oh, this happened to this one person I know, and then this other person did this. Blah. Blah. Blah." You should know at least some of the actual stories, and know people who they have happened to. A blanket warning never does much good. You might agree that it’s a bad idea, but when the time comes to act or not act…you won’t have much reason to other than "Why not? Oh, I heard somewhere that it’s probably not a good idea…don’t know why though."
So, I’m giving you another reason. One more personal.
This past year, Junior year, there was the prom. The Prom. I never really cared about bringing a date to any dance because well…for a few reasons (1) the guy never really take much interest in me, so there’s not many options, (2) I’ve never felt like I should have a date for any of the dances I’d jut go with friends, and (3) I think boys are scared of me, which is cool, you know. I understand, I mean, I scare myself sometimes. But this time…it was prom. P-R-O-M. You have to bring a date. So I thought about it, I didn’t really know anyone to take. If you’re wondering why, look at the amount of boys who actual talk to me (oh, wait). Now, there was this one boy I knew who I thought was pretty cute (okay, I think a lot of boys are cute, whatever we’ll discuss one for now), his name was Daniel. He didn’t go to the same school as me, which was cool, I guess. But it also made it pretty hard for me to get to talking to him.
You see now, Daniel, I met my sophomore year almost a year and a half prior to prom. He was the brother to one of my friends now ex-boyfriends, and actually became the ex-boyfriend of one of my other friends. If you’re calling me names like stupid and idiot (or maybe just, stupididiot) in your head already…yes, I know. Now I looked up his brother because I sincerely missed him, he had been a good friend of mine when we were a little group. So I started talking to him, then talking to Daniel again just came kind of naturally.
Now, before you brand me as some “sneaky” horrible friend, I ran this by the friend who had dated Daniel before actually exchanging phone numbers and talking on a regular basis. She said she was fine with it. After awhile I asked her what she thought about him coming to prom with me. "Yeah, that would be fun! Go ahead." So I did, I asked him to prom. We went, and guess what. Incredibly awkward for us all. (There is actually a second lesson in here for you, do not use prom as a first date. Bad idea.)
But Daniel was a great guy, we dated for awhile. But while I was dating him I felt like I couldn’t say anything to this friend of mine, or even to any of my friends because I was all to wary of her feelings. And, when you’re in a relationship it’s hard not to talk about them nonstop, at least for me. Maybe that’s just me…but anyhow, this relationship basically severed ties with said friend.
My claim was that she had given me permission to date him, which, technically she did. But really, while she may have said that it would still hurt her. And that it did.
We weren’t close for a long time. Daniel and I kept on dating, but eventually broke it off for reasons not entirely related to this. Ever since we did break up, I have been closer to this friend than I have in a long time. I apologize for being vague with terms such as “that friend,” but like I said, some of this story is not mine to tell.
So, before you go about justifying breaking this unwritten rule if you ever come to a situation like that, don’t. Because no matter how they said it, it jeopardizes your friendship, and it takes time and healing to get that back, if even possible.
People tell you those blanket rules for a reason, they often don’t give a credible reason, but I hope this one was decent enough for you to at least think before acting on some things.
I know that may sound stupid to say, I mean why should I waste both of ours time telling you to not forget about those annoying people you’ve lived across the hall from for years and years on end? I mean if we’re being honest, most days you’d rather no think of them because, I mean what pains they are, right?
But seriously, remember who you’ve got, especially when you feel like the world is crashing in on you. Please don’t be so hardheaded and stubborn to close yourself off from them, I can tell you from years of doing so that it leads to nothing but discomfort and loneliness. Open up a bit, let other people into your little world. Once you do that you’ll feel better with even the smallest support system and your little world you knew will feel much less like something collapsing in on you.
And don’t limit the word family to its dictionary definition, it’s much more than that. It’s a group of people who support and love you, wherever that may be, and however you meet, that’s what a family is. Whether it’s the typical mom and pop type of family, or people you have things in common with. Friendship in the most innocent and pure form in my book is equivalent to being family. Now, not all friends are that close, but you’ll know who is when you realize you can tell them just about anything. And there are groups of friends, who, while you may not be that close with everyone there is still something between you. I can tell you that for me, that was marching band through and through, I love each and every person who has been through that with me. I won’t get into my love for those people, but its really incredible.
With that being said, there will be other families that aren’t quite as close as others. They can be teams you’re involved in, activity groups, graduating classes, or your dictionary family (yes, I just called it that). For me, I can tell you, recently that has been lacrosse teams I have been on. I don’t quite mesh with the girls, but if ever they needed me, I would be there for them in a heartbeat. I can’t promise that the feeling is mutual, but I can tell you that sometimes you’ve got to be the returning end of a family link (if you have a better word for what I mean, let me know).
In conclusion, what I really just wanted to make sure you know is, please don’t feel like you’re alone here. Because you’re not. There’s support for you everywhere. Look at your family, your families. Please don’t shut yourself off from everyone, I know from experience that it’s not worth it. I’ve spent too many days feeling sorry for myself when I could have just reached out to one person but was either too stubborn or burrowed down in my sorrow to do so.
…and if all else fails, you’ve got me. I mean it.
Remember who you’ve got on your side.
Go to sleep at a reasonable time…I’m the absolute worst at it and I’ve been having neverending headaches.