Once upon a time there was this boy and he made me happy. And for once, summer didn’t suck.
Well. There it is. Two hundred and ninety eight days since I was sitting in this exact spot writing the first of these slightly self-indulgent entries about my Senior Year of high school. It’s crazy how much has changed and how much stayed the same as we all gradually grew up a little at a time.
Four years ago, this day seemed forever away and now that it’s here I’m surprising unsentimental. Graduation is in three days and I’m sure I’ll cry then - shed some tears for all the hard work, for all that we’ve accomplished, and - let’s be honest - all the bullshit we dealt with.
But when the bell rang this afternoon - the last bell I may ever hear - I was relieved. I talk about it briefly on my speech, but I’ll reiterate it now because I think it’s so true: We’ve gotten too big for high school. We’ve outgrown it. Yes, I’ll miss my friends - my lunch table - the smiles and laughs that have followed me for what seems like a day and a decade. But God-willing we’ll all keep in touch and if not, there are countless memories to look back on whenever we want to remember the “joys of our youth”.
So. There is the end of a hard four years. But in the grand scheme of things, four years is just a drop in the ocean. There will be plenty more - hopefully - to come. So thank you for the memories, and for being exactly what I needed as I stumbled my way through adolescence. And now it’s time for the next great adventure.
Bring it on.
I’m sitting in my friend’s basement, waiting for everyone who can’t function on 2 hours of sleep wake up. It’s funny watching how they all stir whenever an iPhone goes off somewhere in the room. I probably sound totally creepy, watching people sleep from a chair in the corner, but in my defense I’ve already cleaned up and washed and my face and brushed my teeth and tried to make myself presentable. The lingering aftermath of last night still lingers in my messy hair and dull glow behind my eyes.
Senior Prom was last night. Our theme was Casino Royale and despite some extreme skepticism on my part, the Juniors totally pulled it off. The entire night flew by so quickly and pretty soon it was four a.m. and my friends and I were sprawled out on the ground in Sidney’s basement, fighting over blankets and pillows and laughing at the stupidest things with a kind of desperate, tired silliness that can only come from being around people you love. And I really do love these guys.
I know that college is going to be an amazing experience and that I’ll make new friends and try new things and start the clumsy final chapter in the growing up saga. And yet, a part of me doesn’t want to let this moment go. There will never be another Prom, or school dance, or sleep over quite like this. I’m sure if they weren’t all passed out they would agree that the worst part of Senior Year is realizing that you have to give up a part of your life that has with you since what feels like forever.
I understand that I’m nostalgic and sentimental and too many of these posts have been about the fear of losing friends or childhood. But that’s where I am right now. I am learning to let go, but times like these I’m forced to ask myself if I’ll truly be able to keep up with every one of this wonderful band of people. I hope I can. In the mean time, I’ll be content with cherishing all the moments I have with them until summer winds to a close.
26 days until graduation. Let the count down begin.
I had an epiphany this evening.
I was standing onstage, facing Leah in all of her bedazzled glory, illuminated by these brilliant fuchsia stage lights, and I realized how much I actually enjoy being a part of the musical this year. There’s something about it that seems so much more… prepared? Fun? I’m not sure how to describe it. Maybe it’s because it’s my last musical and one of the last shows I’ll do before graduation, but I’m really excited for opening night on Friday.
I look at the cast - in particular Leah and Ryan and Kathleen and the rest of the Seniors - and I think about how far we’ve come since we all sat around in a circle and said what we were bringing on our “trip to the Amazon”. In many ways, this is the final show I’ll have with most of them. The final bow, so to speak. And after the actors’ show in May, I may never be onstage with any of them ever again.
So if you’re reading this, and you come see the show, don’t judge me too much if I cry just a little when that red curtain falls. You have to remember it’s closing more than just another performance. It’s closing a chapter in my life that has set the stage for the rest of the book. I can only hope it keeps getting “so much better.”
I’m sitting on my bed right now, all wrapped up in my comforter like a late Christmas present, while outside it’s snowing harder than it did in December. And thinking. Now that Senior Year has officially hit the 200 mark, I guess it’s time I start deciding where I should go to college. If I’m being honest, I’ll probably end up at this little liberal arts school I visited over the weekend. It’s cute and the people are nice and I’m sure I’ll emerge knowing more about writing than when I went in, which is the whole idea, right?
Still, last Saturday, after I got home from a workshop at the aforementioned college, I went to a local benefit concert with a few of my friends. Just local bands, nothing major. (Occasionally, my friends and I will mingle with the hipsters). Eventually I bailed to watch “Perks” for the millionth time in a row, but that night I couldn’t help but be struck by how high school it all was. The drama and the people. And the thing I hated about the college is how much it reminded me of all that. Maybe it’s because an arts high school is different from a regular one, but that college struck me as High School 2.0. Which was nice, in that it calmed my irrational fear of change, but it also made me realize that college isn’t as different as I wanted it to be.
If I could, I would love to pack up my best friends and just run off to another country and meet new cultured people and young adults who can teach us acting, and writing, and music and live happily ever after in a world where people didn’t get their hearts broken or sleep with the wrong guy or girl and know that home will always be waiting for us exactly as we left it.
But, of course, that’s not what college is like. And maybe it’s stupid and selfish to be 17 and still be holding out for fairy tales. But is it wrong to expect that the thing I’ve been working so hard for is more than bigger textbooks and alcohol and the same situations?
I’ve had my senior showcase planned since Sophomore Year. When it came time for Cortney, Lydia, and I to choose our scenes, we just went back to the list that we’d subconsciously been creating in our minds. And yet, ten minutes before it was time to go onstage, we were sitting in the green room having mental breakdowns. I guess that’s sort of natural.
Senior showcase has always been something that wasn’t a concrete idea - like graduation or college… or being a senior. I still go through waves of thinking “This can’t be my last year. I don’t feel like a senior.” But I am. And last night’s show confirmed it.
I can’t I say for sure, but I think there’s a definite difference between the friends you have in high school and the friends you have in college. The cluster of 15 people that stuck around for the last four years - in particular the three I took my bows with last night - have all watched each other grow up. At one point we transformed from talking toys looking for love to damned souls trapped in hell. I always want to cherish the memories I’ve made with these people - onstage, yes, but most importantly offstage. I think I’m beginning to realize that I might never get a support system outside of my house that’s as incredible - as talented - as … nice as the people who sat in the audience last night, and the one’s who sit there every day in class.
Tonight was extremely special for me. In a town near my own, a theatre company I’ve been acting with since the beginning put on a performance to benefit a charity very close to our hearts. The show was entirely made up of original work. What made it so very special was that I got to watch two lovely, talented young actresses bring to life a short play that I had written. I’m not quite sure how to describe the feeling of sitting backstage and listening to my own words being spoken in front of a real, albeit small, audience. The whole experience was an honor and a privilege. It was nice to get a taste of, God willing, what my future will entail.
Today in school, I learned that I don’t have any fucks left to give.
Today one of my best friends turned eighteen. It was my job to take us to Never Land, but I couldn’t find any pixie dust so we had to settle for driving and singing at the top of our lungs. For a moment we were all sort of suspended there, between 8:50 and 8:51, and then just like that she was an adult and the rest of us were seventeen and growing older every second.
Yesterday I got my first acceptance letter for college. I was so excited, my dad had to tell me to stop bouncing off the walls. And even though it’s great to know that I won’t be here next year, it’s also a little scary. As I struggled to write the perfect note for her birthday card, I realized that on January 10, 2014 I might not be there to celebrate her nineteenth birthday, and none of them may be around to celebrate my own.
I guess what I’m thinking about is how we’re all sort of racing toward the next step in life and none of us know where the starting line is or how to keep up pace with the people who have been there for all these important moments. But maybe what worries me most is how all the pretty girls and pretty boys and roles and tests that seem important now, won’t be next year. That these moments - car rides and laughter - will be memories.
It’s scary to think that I might be my parents one day, telling my kids about friends I had in high school. It’s scary to think that one day I might be a memory, too.
I could start this out writing about how it’s finally Graduation Year and how quickly this year has gone by and how pretty soon I’m going to have to start living in Real Life. But I don’t want to. I’d rather focus on last night, and how happy I am to have such amazing friends. I’m sure I made a complete idiot out of myself, what with the singing and the dancing and the fan boy-ing over Ms. Swift, but I don’t think anyone judged me. At least not too harshly. It’s nice to know that there are people who don’t care how stupid or awkward or loud I am. And I’m happy that I know those people now, and not later.
It’s been less than eight hours, but 2013 is looking pretty great. I’m thankful I got to ring it in with some of my favorite people in the world.
Also, a pretty person kissed me at midnight. That was nice.
This weekend was one of the biggest highlights of my year so far. A group of the theatre majors (and graduates) took a trip to New York City to see the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular. The performance was incredible - of course - and even though I’m not a fan of never ending waves of people, it was nice to see Manhattan all lit up for the holidays.
But for me, the best part of the trip was just being with everyone. This probably sounds corny because I’m writing on leftover emotion, but I really enjoyed spending time with people outside of our town. Performing in Hershey in subzero degrees and elf costumes, watching roommates go crazy at 1 a.m., falling in love with wannabe rock stars, bus rides (especially the people in the back), these are the parts I’m going to remember.
And while I was so happy to fall asleep in my own bed last night, waking up there and realizing it’s all over was, I’ll admit, a little sad.
Today, I finally got a chance to see “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” It took almost 2 hours to get there but I did. Me, and a group of friends, old and new.
I can honestly say it was one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen - almost as beautiful as the book. There were parts I didn’t love, but it still made me cry and that’s saying a lot.
Even better than the movie, though, was the drive home. The sun was setting and the highway seemed to stretch on forever and there we were, laughing and bonding and being awkward in the best way.
I won’t say that I felt infinite (that would be too cliche) but I understand what Charlie meant. I felt so happy. And I never wanted today to end.
What was so important last year, last month, last week, yesterday, 10 minutes ago, doesn’t seem important anymore. One summer afternoon you perserve a part of your 15 year old self on the underside of a dock thinking it’ll be there forever. So you don’t visit the next summer. And when you finally come back, the dock has disappeared. Gone. Ripped away for whatever reason: weather, change for change sake. You walk back to your car a little upset and halfway home you forget why it mattered.
Yet deep down there’s a part of you that disappeared along with that dock, home, book, ice cream parlor. All that’s left is a memory. But memory can be so fully perverted and manipulated, you realize that, in a way, whatever part of your past existed there is gone forever.
While I will admit that I am a big fan of both the television show and book series, I am glad that I possess the ability to differentiated between TV and reality. Yes, my friends and I collapsed into unintelligible screams the morning after in the middle of class but I’m not going rant as though Toby and Spencer are real people whose lives I am actually a part of.
Honestly, I have enough trouble understanding my own relationships.
I don’t know if this is every school or if every student feels this way, but I was sitting in 8th period today and it was as though summer had never happened. I felt like summer was just a long weekend and here I was back listening to the never ending list of performances that are going to be taking place with hours of homework floating in the back of my mind.
Even the student body feels weird. I still look at the Juniors as Sophomores and the Sophomores as Freshman. (And the new Freshman? Well they’re freshman, too, I suppose.)
Even my schedule is eerily similar to last year’s.
With the exception of my acting class, it’s almost as though nothing’s changed.
I suspect I’ll wake up one morning and eat breakfast and take a shower and get dressed and sometime around then I’ll notice a tassel lying on my dresser or hanging from my rear-view mirror and remember, “Oh wait. I graduated.”