I play pretend. Sometimes I pretend that I'm unaffected by criticism, but inside I'm dwelling on every single word that person said. And they might not even mean it as criticism, just a casual comment about my grades or my goals or anything really... I keep it inside and try to fit the mold of what that person wants me to be. But outside I pretend that it doesn't phase me. Or I pretend I don't hear when people say hateful things to other people, or don't notice when the people that are being victimized get that lonely, distant look in their eyes that says they've given up. I don't have to experience that feeling very often BUT I do know what it feels like to be lonely and I hate hate hate it. And that's exactly what harmful words do, they make us feel lonely and unwanted and it's cruel, but it's hard to be the only one standing up while everyone else is sitting down, so sometimes I just pretend I don't notice. I pretend that I didn't hear them use God to describe a stubbed toe or something "***-awful", because God isn't awful at all and how could anything be described that way? But that isn't a popular opinion, so I pretend I didn't hear. I pretend my "friend" isn't laughing at another girl's clothes or who she asked to prom, and how she got turned down. I smile and say to myself you didn't hear that, Shauna, just try to change the subject. Which doesn't help the situation at all but the prospect of losing the support of that "friend" is scary, so I pretend that I didn't hear what she was saying. I pretend that I'm a wonderful student because I make good grades but when I get home I don't prepare as well as I could, and usually on tests I just get lucky because I'm good at problem-solving and process of elimination. I pretend that I make better than other people because I work for it but really I work just hard enough to stay comfortably the same. Pretty high A's, a low one in A.P. History because it's just "not my forte". That suffices as satisfactory, right? I pretend that it's the best I can do but I'm lying.
These things make me a very bad person and it makes me really sad that I have to admit all of that. I wish I didn't have to pretend ever, like I could just be completely myself and that be enough, and do the right thing in every situation and be loved by all the world and be a leader and a good listener and un-selfish. But truthfully, I'm not an expert at any of these things. Sometimes I talk more than I listen or tune out during the most important parts of a story, or think that something happening in my life is more important than what is happening in the other person's life so I end up warping everything they say to fit an experience that I have had so I can talk. It's a pet peeve of mine but it's also very easy to do because I guess we're all human beings that have a selfish nature, and everything is about me me me and what I can get and the attention and praise that I can receive by doing something. I wish I could do something great. Like start a campaign to do good things, like raising a lot of money for a charity or changing the filth that's on TV or bringing God back into our schools. I want to paint a picture or write a song that will make someone cry. I wish I could be an anonymous songwriter who changes the world but still gets to live in it and see people's real reactions to the music I write, to see the joy or sadness light up their faces in realization when they hear what I've created and know their honest opinions, without sugar coating. You can tell your best friend "this song comes on the radio every day and it's so stupid" but if your best friend wrote a song, I'm sure you would "love" it no matter what. I don't want that, I want truth. I wish I could be an anonymous painter whose works hang in galleries all around the world and cause people to think deeply and be moved and feel love and all those incredible emotions that come with great art. I want other people's lives to be better because of mine but I feel so limited because I have an A.P. History final to study for and a room to clean. I have priorities but they aren't chosen, they're thrust upon me because I'm a teenager and I'm not ready for the real world yet. I love education and knowledge and preparation for my future, but it's like so much time goes into preparing us to "enter" the world and we don't have the chance to live in the one we have now, to make our differences and be a distinct personality that is working to create change in a sea of idleness. I wish I could spend my whole day learning things and experiencing things that will directly affect my future. I would read novels and take trips to Italy and Greece and take beautiful pictures of historic places and practice writing articles about their history, so other people can experience them, too. I would learn about how to persuade an audience through writing and how to not stutter when I deliver speeches. I want to learn how to be a shining light to children that are so lost in their world that has been morphed by hate and abuse... I would learn how to build a friendship with someone 4 times my age and how to listen to their stories. I want to learn what makes people happy and how to write in a way that reaches right through to their hearts and puts their emotions into better clarity. I want to write music that will take people on a journey and sing in a way that soothes and comforts. I want to be secretly loved because of what I am and not who, how old, how nice or kind I am.
This reflective mood is really taking over now. Be prepared for a very long post today.
My best friend Paige has lost everything in her life that means anything in mine, and I don't know how she does it but she is THE STRONGEST PERSON I WILL EVER MEET. In the past month she has lost both her parents, and her health is declining (though she probably won't admit it to most.) She has headaches a lot but she comes to school every day... the day her mom died, she was here. The first day of school after her dad died, she was here. And others might have different stories but she didn't shed a tear those days in front of me. I'll admit that she looked close but I know if I'm ever close to tears, there's no stopping the flow and I just have to cry. Her strength isn't that she wasn't affected by all that's happening in her life, but that she is very affected by it and still chooses to press on. She isn't giving up on life or God or happiness. And it makes me sad to think that I'll never be that strong, and it makes me sad to think that after everything that I've seen happen to distort that girl's life, I still had to include how this tragic event is affecting me. It shouldn't even be anything about me but sometimes I'm selfish and I forget and that's sickening.
I'm very thankful for Sunday morning bible study when I get to sit around a table with sweet Christian girls that want to be the best they can be, and we talk and laugh and sometimes cry but it's all okay, because behind that closed door we are sworn to secrecy and nothing will leak out. It's all honesty. Last week was a very favorite week of mine because we talked about people that mean the most to us. I watched Cam Newton get the Heisman award on Saturday and thought about how he had such an awesome effect by his life, that every person remotely interested in football or sports or Auburn was watching him and listening to his speech. I thought about how influential he could be and probably already is to the whole nation. I was so jealous of that speech, where he was speaking to pretty much every single person that knew his name and he could mold their opinions of him greatly by every word he spoke. He had such an opportunity as he does each time he gets out on the football field. We always think of celebrities and athletes as being inspirational and having a ridiculous influence on our country. Well, I was definitely wrong. Because when I was asked to name the Heisman trophy winner 4 years ago and even farther back, I couldn't do it. I couldn't tell you Miss America's name, Miss Alabama, the "Sexiest Man Alive" (okay, Ryan Reynolds is currently but I only know that because he was on the news today and he's... yeah... okay gorgeous, BUT this doesn't defer from my point so just hold on). The point is that all these people that we think are going to be the shining stars of our lives because of their fame... Eventually, we'll forget them. If I'm ever blessed to pass 70 years old, I won't remember the name of Ryan Reynolds probably. He didn't change my life. But I will always remember the people who most of the world does not know. My mother, my best friend, my bible school teacher, people that have given me advice and led me on the path to becoming more Godly. I can't forget those people, because they've changed my life. To me, they're famous, and they have more of an impact on me than Ryan Reynolds will ever have.
One day I trust that life will make more sense but sometimes I just get so lost. Maybe I'm caught up with little pictures instead of big pictures. Final exams versus the next 20 years of my life, and where I want to be spiritually.
I have accepted the fact that sometimes people will not make any sense whatsoever. Like when girls post a picture of the same exact thing from 2534 different angles (we get it... you're in the car.) Or when guys take mirror pics... You know, they throw up the peace sign and take their picture in the mirror, sometimes shirtless but preferably not? Please, guys... There really isn't much I can say about that. Also, it doesn't make sense to say "I love you" one day and completely shut that person out of your life the next, but people do it anyway. It doesn't make sense to sit in your living room and watch people on television have sex or make fun of God or use the f bomb to describe things that doesn't even make sense, when if there were real people in your living room doing those things I'm pretty sure you'd be more than a little offended. So why let it into your home and into the minds of your kids through the TV? What's the difference? The difference is that if anyone is on television, everyone automatically seeks to idolize them, so it's even worse to see mister hot shot do bad things on TV that just anyone, because then kids want to accept it as cool. Why do we do this? Doesn't make sense.
Sometimes the world plays out as a horror movie. It's sick sick sick and I want to fix it but I have to do homework and sleep so I'm not tired for school and there's just no time no time no time so I give up. But I don't want to. I just don't know how to not give up on the world. It's so sick with sin.
When I grow up, I'm gonna write a book for teenagers that tells them how to use their youth to conquer the world. It'll teach girls how to be brave and wait for the perfect man to actually court her, treat her with respect and help her achieve her spiritual goals. I'll tell young people that being young is not an excuse nor a restraint to be idle in serving God and trying to conquer evil by doing good. When I grow up I'll travel the world and capture brilliance in photographs and newspaper articles and music. I will be a good speaker who can capture her audience in one spoken word, spoken most thoughtfully, and leave the thought lingering for hours in their minds.
I want to be grown-up so bad.
But, of course, teenager duties call and I must go study about events that I will surely not remember past 11:00 tomorrow morning.