Monday, October 18, 2010

dear teenage girl

Dear teenage girl,

I am just like you. We are one and the same. 
You have days when you feel anything but attractive. You compare yourself to "that girl." The one whom you don't know and do not desire to know, because you are jealous of her. She wears designer clothes and has a stride which only reminds you of your inferiority. Every word seems to come too easily to her, as if her life were scripted and she never had to make the tough decisions or say the silly and embarrassing things that you do. So you watch her every day, judging her character unfairly and condescendingly. You don't make any efforts to befriend her, because if you do befriend that girl and realize she is a kind-hearted person, one who would be only kind and honest and sweet at every point of her life, you will dislike her even more because that's just one more aspect of her life which is too perfect to be real. So you decide that you don't want to find out and assume she isn't a good person, so that you'll feel better about yourself.
Believe me. She feels the exact same way about you.
And I mean no snobbyness when I say that I believe I've been on both sides of the equation at some point.
I believe every teenage girl of all time has been on both sides of the equation, at some point.
And let me tell you- neither side is fun.

So this is for us. To realize that we are not made to be compared by physical beauty but by the content of our hearts. To understand that we were created beautiful, in the image of our God, who is with us all the way. Who can carry us through those hard days when we feel unloved, unwanted, and useless. Who always can make a way to use us for His glory if we only take opportunity to do so. To leave the boys who do not appreciate our worth. To search for the man who will love us for who we truly are - gentle, chaste, humble women of God, and love us deeply for that. Who will not wait to be chased after but will go through every measure of chivalry to prove to us that we mean something. Who will not only proclaim their love in word but in action. Who stand by us through every mistake. Who find us most beautiful in natural simplicity, the only adornments found in our inner character. Who fall in love with our soul and not our bodies. Who cherish every simple point of ourselves and never cease to remind us.

I have struggles. You and I both, we struggle with this. We fight to be beautiful, fight to be accepted and loved and popular.
We can use this same energy to perfect our inner selves. Rather than try to redesign our faces and our wardrobes, let's redesign our characters. Practice patience, kindness, love, selflessness, joy.

I know my attitude on beauty needs a lot of work, and it's about time I start making some changes.

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised." (Proverbs 31:30)

"A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

stop stressing shauna baker

So I'm supposed to be writing an essay using 500 words of original thought about: if I were an employer, under what circumstances would I fire an employee, or in my opinion, what invention or discovery has brought about the most far-reaching and lasting changes in our civilization.

Original thought is very tiring.

Which is very ironic considering I enjoy writing original thoughts online, but that's much less stressful and I don't feel like I will be judged. Well I guess I am being judged, that is given someone reads this, since it is a natural human tendency to judge even though we don't intend to sometimes. But that kind of judging doesn't really matter as much as sending in an official original thought essay for Writer's Bowl competition because this could really be a great thing if I won.

I stress myself out way too easily.

This is a problem. Matt is trying to teach me how to not stress myself out but I'm really not very good at not being stressed. Wise people always told me to set goals for myself, but I think I set too many in too many different categories so that it's hard to stretch myself across all of them.
Like getting best in class drum major in competition and valedictorian and winning this Writer's Bowl thing and advancing in the line-up for tennis this year and getting All-State on flute.
And I think that if I push myself enough that I can do all these things but the reality is that I can't be best at everything even though it would be nice. I'm not best at tennis and I'm not the best drum major or the best writer or flute player or teen genius or whatever, and the people that are the best do one thing and practice hard and do really well at it. Which I would rather have fun and be semi-talented in many areas rather than spend my entire high school career doing one thing and trying to be perfect at it.

So I'm trying really hard to stop stressing about things that I cannot control. But it's very hard.

I also cannot control how people treat other people cruelly. That's one thing I'm pretty much never guilty of, I'm proud to say, but I guess some people just really have trouble respecting other people. Like the other day at school when a group of guys were harassing a girl making her dance so they could laugh at her. I know she probably isn't really all there, and she might not realize that they were making fun of her, but everyone else did notice. It made the guys look really bad and I lost all respect for them right then. I tried along with the people around me to get the girl to come talk to us instead of staying with that group of guys but they kept getting her attention and asking her to do some more dancing. Finally after about 10 minutes I was just super angry, and that's pretty rare for me because I don't get mad hardly ever but I was mad and I screamed at them. It didn't help the situation, which screaming usually doesn't and I shouldn't have but I didn't know how to make it stop.
I didn't really know what to do and even know I don't know how I should have handled that situation.
But I don't care who it is and whether they realize it or not, making fun of other people just makes you look heartless. Especially right in front of them.
I know sometimes we say if you have something to say about someone you should say it to their face, but I'm not sure whether we mean that or not. Sometimes I'm aware people might be saying things about me, but when someone walks up to my face and makes the statement and hurts my feelings I don't respect them any more than the people saying it behind my back. Sure they're more courageous but they're also less sensitive.

Well through all this I have not discovered any epiphanic (didn't know that was an adjective until now) thoughts about being an employer or important inventions, but at least I've gotten some thoughts out there.
The only invention I can think of would be internet but that's totally generic and I'm sure by the time they get to mine they'll be completely bored of hearing that. But it makes sense because these days I'm pretty much revolved around internet and it's very unhealthy. I need to make some changes.

October Resolutions:

1. Don't stress.

2. Stay off the internet and build some intellect.

3. Pray; don't try to handle things on my own.

4. Be friendly. All the time. To everybody.

5. Never let this room get that nasty again.

6. Accept myself and my abilities, and don't push what my feeble mind cannot handle.

7. Use less personal pronouns.

8. Let conversation revolve less around myself and more about others.

9. Be happy.

10. Drink less coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper before my teeth turn a serious irreversible shade of yellow.

I kept realizing more and more things to change but I don't know if I can handle that many at one time so we're gonna stick with this for now. I'll let you know how that goes.
I'm tempted to post a song that I am listening to at the moment but I'm afraid it will reveal too many of my true feelings which are to remain secret at the moment because in my mother's words I have to "play it cool."

This song describes my every emotion perfectly though, just sayin'. =) I love when that happens.

Oh by the way I REALLY REALLY REALLY LOVE FALL. I even love it enough to do a whole bunch of obnoxious capitalization in one sentence because it is purely the greatest season of the year. It's cooling off sometimes, and you've got football and hoodies and campfires and band competitions and everything good in life. :) I think I'd like to keep fall for a while, just a little bit cooler temperature and then it can stay as long as it likes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


First of all I would like to say that to anyone who listened to me cry and squall and complain and tell you how hard my life is for the past few days, you're my hero. And I'm sorry for turning into such a downer. I've truly never experienced a time in my life that is this hard before and I feel the need to blog about it because by tomorrow I plan to have it all gone and be back to normal Shauna again.
The first thing you should probably know, in case you don't, is that my Dad has been in the hospital.
The last time I was this afraid for my Dad was when he was in a car accident and was taken straight to the ER and we had to wait in the waiting room for like 2 hours before I knew anything.
Except this time, I've waited 5 days and they still don't really and truly know what's causing my Dad to have so much pain.
But luckily it's controlled now, and he can hopefully be home tomorrow. I really hope so. It's one of those things where I truly love my Dad, but maybe in the past I didn't always hug him before I left for school, or just say I love you for no reason, or ask his advice when I'm having a hard time. And now that I can't do all those things it's made me realize how much I really need my Dad, and I don't know what I would do if this was forever.
But luckily it's not, and I know for some people they aren't lucky enough to say that, and to them I am truly sorry. You are much stronger than I will ever be.
Lately I've been thinking about how much my Dad and I are alike. We really are. See Mom and Haley are the detailers. When they hear a story, they want to know everything about it. What time you got there what was the person's middle name what shirt were you wearing how did they say it why? All of those things. See me and Dad, sometimes we just really want to know the ending. We like absolutes, simplicity. We're more of 'sit there and listen' rather than ask questions about it. And it's not like I prefer that over the personality of other people because I love Mom and Haley and love talking to them, but it's just like me and Dad have that connection. I got that from him. I have his hair and his doubts and love for tennis, although his ability surpasses mine tenfold even with all the ridiculous surgeries he's had. He can whoop me anyday. We aren't always good with expressing our feelings, we're afraid to let our emotions show and sometimes we hide it when we're upset. We can't always put feelings into words but writing comes like breathing. My dad can write a letter that will bring you to tears, and he has many times that I've read them. He loves Math and chocolate, and he hates to feel that he has let himself down by not accomplishing his full potential. All these things he has instilled in me. Sometimes I let myself dislike something about myself and then I remember oh, I got that from my Dad, so I smile and all of a sudden I like myself again. :)
So yes, I love my Dad and that's been causing me stress that he isn't at home and nothing is normal.

Sunday I cried all stinkin' day long because Dad wasn't home and Mom wasn't home and I didn't have a boyfriend to cry to and my best friend was busy and my other best friend was gone and I just had to cry. I cried and cried and cried until my stomach just hurt and was in knots and I didn't want to eat.
Then about 1 A.M. I "got sick" (that's my nice word for throw up because I don't particularly like any other word people substitute there). After that I went to bed and felt better but then at 4 A.M. I was wide awake again with that same feeling. It was like something was taking everything in my insides and flipping it all backwards so it didn't fit quite right inside of me, and I thought I would get sick again but I didn't.
I didn't go to school that morning, and Mom left again to go to be with Dad.
I slept and slept and woke up and felt better, so at 11:40 I took the pre-written note that my mother had given me and checked in to school thinking that everything would be okay. I ate graham crackers for breakfast. I was feeling okay.
I got to class and sat down and felt all the eyes on me and the feeling was back. Everything that was so common place in my life had been thrown around inside of me and I couldn't be comfortable there. At 12:00 I said I was sick and went to the nurse. At 12:30 I went to Wal-Mart to get advil and sprite, and I went back home.
(p.s: sprite gets really old when it's the only thing you drink for 24 straight hours. just fair warning.)
So I thought well I must have a stomach virus and so I stayed home and didn't go to band practice after asking and making sure that was okay with Mr. Prather, which it was because of course he wanted me to rest and I'm pretty sure he probably didn't want the whole band with a virus on Saturday for competition.
Yeah, let's add a little bit more stress. I've missed two practices and competition is Saturday. We have one practice left.
So Monday I stayed in bed and just took it easy and thought well, by tomorrow this stomach virus will be gone and I can go to Youth Leadership Thing and it'll all be okay. I'll get caught up. (I had to also get caught up from 2 days last week when I was at the orthodontist/dentist, so that's a lot of catching up to do.)
I also cried a lot on Monday. I cried because I was just lonely and sick. Maybe that's why I was crying.
One time I opened the cabinet and smelled bubble gum candy smell, and almost fell down with the upside down feeling.
My grandparents came over and brought some pretzels with peanut butter in the middle that's good when you have Upset Stomach and "ohhh, I hope you feel better..." I really did feel better because people were here and I love these people and these people really care about me.
This morning the alarm went off and my stomach literally cringed at the sight of the clock. I sat up in bed. Felt queasy. Went back to sleep. 7 A.M. "Shauna, are you feeling better?" "Nnnmmmm..." Slept until 10.

Wake up. Go downstairs and my mom is actually still here, so I sit and talk and we laugh. I eat more of the wonderful peanut butter pretzels and drink a Diet Dr. Pepper, because Sprite just makes me cringe at this point.
Then I started to cry again...
Guys, I'm serious. I've never cried this much in a consecutive order in my entire life. It got to the point where I couldn't even pinpoint the cause anymore, everything was just upside down and nothing could be right.
I had the open book on my lap to study for the three tests I would make up and I just couldn't look at it.
It would help if I weren't an extreme perfectionist who hates making bad grades ever. It's a sickness.
It was just i'm gonna make a bad grade daddy's not here i'm lonely my stomach hurts mom please don't leave why am i such a pessimistic loser my stomach hurts please come home Dad.

And this is the really really really sad part.
My Dad left me on Friday.
I read my Bible.
I said my prayers for meals and before bed.
Mom and I talked about needing God to help us through hard times.


I didn't lean on God.

And if I had truly leaned on Him, given Him all my burdens to carry, maybe I wouldn't have made myself sick.
Maybe I could have made a few more people happy instead of making everyone feel bad for me, when truly my Dad is the one they should be truly worried about.
Maybe this break-up wouldn't be so hard if I were more accepting of God's will.
Maybe I'd be a better best friend.
Maybe I wouldn't let my Mom down.
Maybe I would be a better example to my little sister.
Or maybe, I would have been able to see the example of my sister, who has taken everything in stride with God in mind.

I'm ashamed to say that yes, I did think about these things before now.
But I was wallowing in self pity.
I thought well Shauna Blake Baker doesn't have hard times like this. She doesn't deserve to feel this way. Why is everything happening to me? Why can't I just be happy anymore? Why won't God let me be happy?

And truth is, I was the one making myself sick and miserable all the while.

Even looking back on this blog I'm overwhelmed at my uses of personal pronouns.
I would delete it now but I want you all to see that yes, I can be self-absorbed sometimes because I'm human.
But that was wrong.
Everything for the past few days has been I FEEL SICK and I AM LONELY and I NEED ATTENTION. But truly all I needed was to mend my relationship with God.
All I needed to do was just breathe, and relax, and stop stressing over things I can't change.
And STOP thinking I'm the only person in this whole world who deserves to be happy.

My mom deserved to be happy, but she has to drive back and forth every day to see my dad with tubes coming in and out of him, and then see my crying over my little problems.
My dad deserves to be happy, but HE has to be in Birmingham away from his family and in tons of pain and not able to play tennis for months.
My grandparents deserve to be happy and not worry over whether their son will be home anytime soon.
Everyone who has called me, everyone who has checked up on me and my family, everyone who has prayed for us, they deserve the satisfaction of my thanks. Not my pessimism. They haven't done anything wrong.

So I'm sorry to everyone and to my Heavenly Father, who deserves so much more praise and glory than I have given Him. He is forever in control.

And now that all this is behind me, I love my God and I love my family and I just love life and all it's many glorious blessings. I love that trials make me stronger and sorrows always have a way of escape.

And finally, I love myself and that my God made me in His own image. I make mistakes and I've made a whole stinkin' lot these past few days but I'm ready to go into the world and be different and be a soul winner for the cause of my Lord. =)

I've also decided that I will not date until I am married, and that I will never touch Sprite again.

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
- Matthew 11:28-30

Sunday, October 3, 2010

making polite conversation

Why do I spend more time obsessing over how this page looks rather than the actual words?
Oh, right, because when I'm in a bad mood sometimes I go mad OCD.
Like when I just cleaned the whole house like a madwoman.
I got to my room to clean that, sat down to rest, and decided to tweak and tweak and tweak for 2 hours or so.
So I hope everyone appreciates the size of my font and that my post titles are now in Georgia font, which is apparently direly important to the success of my life.
I think I'll just go strum guitar to death and wait for the motivation I need to finish what I started.
I haven't played guitar in months. Probably because everything else in life is haywire so why should my hobbies be normal?
Why don't I just quit band and unorganize my room and paint my walls black and drink a Coke? Not diet, just regular old coke. The kind with sugar and guilt packed in the little concentrated can.
Then everything will be upside down and maybe things will make more sense.
The thing is that I'm afraid to not be normal. Actually that doesn't even decribe it; I'm afraid to not be the Shauna everyone is used to, because if I change something, what if no one likes it?
What if a Shauna who isn't in band isn't Shauna at all? It's all these little details that defines us.
Now, don't misunderstand; I'm not quitting band. This is just my example. I'm known as band kid. What if I'm not?
What if we all were defined by values instead of facts? Making polite conversation wouldn't be "hello, I'm Shauna. What are your interests? What do you do in your spare time? Where do you live? Where do you plan to go to college and make of the rest of your life?"
Not saying that I don't ask these questions all the time when I don't know what else to say to the person. It's polite conversation. But sometimes I begin to think of why I'm asking these questions, and most of the time it's not because I truly want to remember whether this person likes Basketball or Football better or AL v. AU or where they want to go to college. I just want them to think I'm nice. I want everyone else to think I'm nice, too, so then they'll like me and I'll feel like a nice girl. That's the motivation and it's so off.
I guess these questions are necessary sometimes to get the conversation started. That's true. People need time to get comfortable. But after a polite introduction, usually I walk away because I don't know what else to say and I feel that I've made my point of trying to be friendly.
But those aren't the conversations I'll remember in 30 years and say "ahhh, yeah, that girl sure was a rock hard Alabama fan".
If I were truly concerned for this person, I'd walk up to them, introduce myself, and after polite introduction talk about truly intellectual things. "What is your position on abortion? What is the current state of your soul? Is there a God and why do you believe that way?"
If I hate polite conversation so much, I don't see why it's so hard for me to break away from using it myself.
But maybe I'm crazy and maybe those are ridiculous conversations to have in an early friendship.
But still, when I've known a person for 16 years I don't think it's a crime to ask serious questions that require intellectual thought.
I don't want every day to be "Hey, how are you? What did you do today? Yeah, that's fun. Yeah I'm tired. Bye." I don't want to have that kind of relationship with anyone, because they aren't getting any encouragement and I'm not getting encouragement from them and so the effort of making that connection is otherwise pointless. Neither are gaining. It's a lose/lose.
This is probably one of those posts I'll look back on in a few days and wonder what in the world possessed me to type. But I'm stressed stressed stressed and I think this will help. Maybe.
Everyone I used to pour my heart out to is either busy or already stressed enough or just flat out gone. They're gone. And the thing is they're gone from me but no one else. Anyone else could strike up a conversation with them right now, and I could do the same thing I suppose but I'm just scared.
I'm scared that they don't want to talk to me at all and they want a break from me altogether.
Which is scary because if anyone wants a break from talking to me then maybe they don't appreciate talking to me at all, they just endure it until they cannot stand anymore and then they take a break...
I don't want to find out, truly.
Now my brain is out of thoughts so I'm gonna play guitar and drink a Coke...Zero.