HI! I’M ALIVE. I figured that might be a good place to start.
So I alluded to last year being a #mess and a wild ride on all levels. I figured it might be good to talk about that (and yes, this is… pretty detailed. serious oversharing ahead!!). And then I wanted to talk about why hopefully, this next semester will be different.
Those of you who know me (or just read my blog a lot) know that this year I was a second semester junior and then a first semester senior. I’ve actually accomplished a lot in just one year! Let’s chat.
Before my junior year of high school, I was told keeping up with reading and reviewing would be nigh-impossible. I refused to acknowledge this or give in and decided to keep on reading. And yet for first semester, I still made my 250-book goal, only ten books behind. And this first semester, I did just as well and kept up with reading the whole time!
In January of this year, I was… having a bad mental health month. I was still sort of upset about a play rejection that happened in November that had made me feel deeply rejected, hurt, and unworthy. I was also getting… harassed in my biology class, something that would not end until my junior year did. But I was trying to talk about it to a teacher at my school, so that was good? But, good things happened too!!
I saw Love Simon with my amazing friend Ellie! I wrote my first monthly wrap-up post (that is insane)! I started listening to audiobooks! I also apparently… reconnected with a friend (
and I don’t know which friend I’m referring to and it’s kind of freaking me out?? WAIT IT’S MY FRIEND MADI I THOUGHT THAT HAPPENED LIKE 3 YEARS AGO)
In February, I watched the Olympics, and also I met my now-ex girlfriend for the first time in real life. According to my photos, I also did a brief trip to Monterey on the 15th, which I forgot happened this year?? And I went to DC for college tours around the 20th and totally fell in love with my dream school… I’m going to say on the 22nd, given photo evidence? I auditioned for the school show Oliver on the 28th!! I used the gym a lot.
I was sort of thinking to myself that, given my one diary entry from that month being sort of cryptic and sad, it was a really bad mental health month. And the reason behind that… is that the teacher I was talking to got diagnosed with breast cancer and had to take nine months off school. She’s doing great now and is back at school and I have her next semester! But. I didn’t feel I had any other allies on campus beyond her, and was really unstable when she had to leave. So the universe kind of accidentally fucked over any chance of me talking to anyone else about that.
Okay, moving on. In March, I got my first arc from a publisher!! I had my seventeenth birthday on the sixth and had a birthday dinner with my mom and Madi!! I went to a PVRIS concert with my friends Elena and Karina and it was insanely cool!!
I then completely nailed my first and only SAT the next morning, on exactly four hours of sleep, and I still do not know how I did that. I got into my first serious relationship on the eighteenth. I dented my car? A block away from my school? But there was quite literally no damage to either my car or hers? I hung out with friends a few times, apparently. And I started using Habitica, the most helpful app in the world.
In April, I went college touring! We went to New York and Boston, which meant I got to see Mean Girls the musical. I went to an LGBTQ group for a while (there is a story behind that and it is for later). On the 15th, I met Anna-Marie McLemore and Kav and I accidentally monologue-complimented her to someone we later found out was her husband? (This really did happen.) And perhaps best yet, I went to Junior prom, which was really cool and on a YACHT.
In May I took four AP tests and passed all of them
jesus christ what was I DOING to myself. …I sort of ditched an SAT subject test a couple of days later because I physically couldn’t handle taking it, and then got parental shit for it for two months straight, so that was fun. I performed in Oliver on the fourth and found a lot of amazing friends, including my still-good friends Ella, Allison, Kate, Jack, and Amy (this all despite one of the more popular drama program members absolutely detesting me).
I also performed in a show put on by several members of the former seniors, which I will now refer to as Original Gay Robot Musical. I had a sleepover with my friend Meg and we watched the royal wedding live at four a.m., which is strangely one of my best memories of the whole year. I STARTED WATCHING THE GOOD PLACE? My storytelling last-week-of-the-year class (we call it May Term) was actually so fun and I went to a storytelling night with my friends and now-coleaders of Spectrum club, Sara and Alexa. I also found out I was temporarily the #8th reviewer in the world on Goodreads. Which was honestly just incredible. I also started wearing makeup, which I forgot about.
What’s weird is my junior year was mostly a success; I got amazing grades in five classes and only fucked up in Bio (a whole two grade points lower than any of my other grades), aced AP Latin, which was my hardest-work class, passed four AP exams despite only taking two AP classes, nailed an SAT, college toured twice, got into a summer writing program at Smith college, participated in an intense-as-always musical, continued to run a club, made a lot of new friends amongst people in the drama program, and even through all of that, continued reading five books a week and blogging four times a week. That is a lot, and I don’t want to diminish that. But my mental health suffered a lot and I did not take the time to care for it in any way, shape or form.
But unfortunately, summertime is probably where things just started getting weird.
In June… I was really, really burned out, and honestly did very little beyond sleep and try to pretend I was okay. From June 8th to June 18th, I was in Paris, which was really fun. I got the chance to meet my friend Pragya in real life for the first time and we just barely missed meeting my friend Chaima.
Um, what else?? I went to Pride with my girlfriend of the time. According to my wrap-up, I cleaned out a stack of papers at my mom’s house that had been there since second semester of my sophomore year!! and my filing system works now!! I remember hanging out with my friend Ella a bit, too. I also saw my grandma for a while, and due to a chance meeting at a bookstore, started getting a lot closer to my friend Meri; this continued throughout the summer.
The first week of July was, though not a change in mental health, a bit of a change in what I was doing. I saw a show called School of Rock, worked a bit on my college applications, and attempted-but-did-not-succeed reading. I did, however, have a realization (possibly due to Meri) that I needed to get closer to friends again, which was something that hadn’t happened first semester. So I did so. I reconnected with my friend Sara over The Bachelorette, her favorite show that I had never seen, and I sort of got addicted. I kept in close touch with Meri. And I reconnected with a friend from camp, Ella, over Lord of the Rings.
But on July 8th, I broke up with my girlfriend, which was definitely less fantastic (but ultimately good in the long run).
I also, on the same day, arrived at a writing camp at Smith college, during which I made a lot of amazing friends. Since that happened at the beginning of the writing camp, I did a lot of writing about it!! And got the chance to cope in the presence of some incredible friends. Coming closer to new people is always amazing; it’s weird how often I forget that I’m good at bringing people together.
I left on the 20th, but then I got the chance to see my aunt and cousins for a week in Rhode Island. On the 26th, I got to see the upcoming Moulin Rouge in Boston! And then I flew down for my dad’s family’s beach week / family fun time in North Carolina. That was, as always, really fun.
This is when reading started to really fall apart. As some of you may have noticed, my reading goals did not go as well as I had hoped.
During most of August, I was home, but I wasn’t focused on reading quite as much: I was trying to just get my college applications done. Which I did very well on!! I finished my PACT Project, which is my school’s final community service project. I spent a lot of time hanging out with my friend Ella (not to be confused with my other friend Ella) right before she left for college (the school I’m going to next year, Bryn Mawr). One of the highlights, though, was probably seeing my friend Emma in Sausalito!!
I also got a lot closer to a girl I knew from the aforementioned GSA group. Brooke and I hung out once, on the 10th of August, and had a really excellent friendship for about… three weeks. That’s another story.
Naturally, this year I expected the same would be true for the first semester of my senior year, especially when I got all my college applications done early. Yes, I was taking six academic classes, five of which were at some advanced level, but I figured I’d overcome.
I managed to keep my real life very, very organized. Not so much my book life.
During the first week of August and most of September, I actually totally held it together: I continued spending a lot of time with friends, as both my blog posts and my diary suggest. I sort of accidentally joined a squad of juniors for like, a week, and got really close to a bunch of girls in different groups after the back-to-school party and the senior retreat. I kept close with Sara and Meri; I spent time with a lot of my friends in other grades as well, especially Kate, who is currently one of my besties; I made more friends (including my friends Claire and Kayla, and by extension my friend Gretchen) by participating in the play; and I got a lot closer to my friend Aya.
The only friendship that did not work out was my friendship with Brooke. The relationship sort of… started becoming more and more intense, on a level I ceased to be comfortable with, and I started feeling increasingly guilt-tripped and at times manipulated. This time, however, I did a far better job dealing with it, and called her on her behavior. We Officially Lost Touch on the fifteenth. I know I haven’t really talked about this to any friends, and that’s somewhat on purpose: I’m not angry at her, and I don’t want to build her up as a demon, because she was not. She was just dealing with her own shit, and I didn’t want to continue getting pushed in with it. It was a really, really strange portion of my life, and I’m not quite sure I’ll ever get closure on it.
I didn’t read a ton, although I did finish The Good Place, and I think that was straight-up the only thing I did in my free time. Perhaps the only bad sign here is that I genuinely gave up on my therapist at the end of the month.
The next month it all fell apart: October and November got very very detailed wrap-ups, and I think it’s pretty easy to see that I really wasn’t doing that much beyond working at school. So the thing is I go to a very very intense school and I just… really overestimated how okay I’d be in my free time. I go to kind of an intense school, I was writing college essays for fourteen schools (yes, I know, that was my mistake, and now have submitted none of them), and I was super super involved in one club and started up another bimonthly club, plus doing the play… and it was just a terrible idea. I also gave up time with book friends I value a lot (luckily, my close friends are amazing). Did it pay off? Absolutely! I got into college. Was it actually worth the utter destruction of last remaining bit of mental health? Um… I really don’t know.
I do want to mention a few good things that happened personally.
In September, I got my driving year!! Hell yes.
In October, I went to the homecoming game and an afterparty and had a ton of fun; I also got apologized to and rebounded with someone about a hurtful event of the end of my sophomore year. (Unfortunately, that ended up letting me know that another friend might have been at fault, which was really painful.) I ran an assembly for National Coming Out Day with the help of my coleaders Sara and Alexa, and three other out students (LEGENDS). And on that same day, I also went to a really fun book signing with my friends Maddy and Ellie!
In November, I spent Thanksgiving with family! I also got a new therapist, which was something I desperately needed; you might have picked up from some of these entries that I wasn’t really talking to anyone fully, and my new therapist is just so much better for me in how open I feel to talking about my feelings. Also, on the 25th, I reconnected with my ex-girlfriend, which was really really nice.
In December I got into COLLEGE. Did you hear? Did you hear I’m going to Bryn Mawr? DID YOU HEAR? Oh, and I cut my hair a lot shorter.
So I guess… the conclusion I’m hoping to come to is that I can be happy, and I came really close at the beginning of this year. I am only taking four academic classes (all very intense, but I’ll be able to focus) and then dance, with two free periods. I have more time. And you know what? I just. genuinely need to spend more time with people I love again.
(Remember that these are, technically, all for the semester.)
1. I want to read 208 books.
This is four books a week; my goal last year and the year before was 260 books (which I did not achieve last year, and came close to achieving the year before.)
why this is achievable: it is an easier and lighter goal.
2. I want to put out a Booktube video every Wednesday.
This was something I tried to do last year, and something I could not succeed at for a long period of time. This was because I picked it up at the wrong time and then decided it wasn’t a priority, as I didn’t feel in a good place to engage with the community or even put time in.
why this is achievable: I will be doing this in lieu of one of my four weekly blog posts, or at least posting shortened blog posts as replacements.
3. I want to only ever have ten unread arcs at a time.
I just…. guys. I just really need to be realistic with myself. And request arcs when I don’t have other arcs. Is this plan realistic? Maybe not. Is it awesome? Yes.
why this is achievable: I don’t have very many 2019 arcs right now?? (I mean, I literally have two digital arcs for 2019.)
4. I want to stay far, far closer to my amazing online friends.
I have a lot of amazing people on here I want to keep in closer touch with. This involves buddyreading!! Primarily.
why this is achievable: I mean, I’ve been doing it for years and I just suck?
5. I want to keep Twitter on the down low and stay on Goodreads.
why this is achievable: it’s absolutely not. but I’m doing it anyway.
1. I want to spend time every week with three different people I’m close with.
This is quite literally the most important goal on this list. Making this post itself has reminded me just how many people in my life are amazing and love me and I love, and I need to spend time with all of those friends.
why this is achievable: because it’s specific. and, well, I do have free time.
2. I want to go to lunch with friends three times a week.
Going to lunch and talking to friends genuinely makes me feel so much more grounded and so much happier.
why this is achievable: I have more free time? this one is going to be haaaard.
3. I want to do five Really Really Cool Experiences.
You know how I mentioned prom, and the back-to-school party, and the sleepover where we watched the royal wedding, and the PVRIS concert? I want to do five things in that realm with friends of mine.
why this is achievable: I’m almost eighteen and I have my year, which makes this easier.
4. I want to learn to play the guitar.
This has been on my list for forever and ever and ever. I want to learn to play one of these two songs: Slow Burn by Kacey Musgraves, or Mean by Taylor Swift.
why this is achievable: I have to do a senior project and this would be a fun pick.
5. I want to write 20k words of actual creative writing.
This has also been on my list for forever and ever and ever. I love, love love to write, and I have so many ideas in my head, and sometimes, expressing them is just what you need to do. Please note, though, that this is not specifying a WIP: it could even be creative essays, I guess, like one of my favorites.
why this is achievable: I’m partway there on several WIPs. And I love to write.