Friday, January 7, 2011

What's Up With Me

So. Hey :)

I've been thinking and evaluating and struggling with some things lately. Some of it's academic, some of it's personal, and some of it's creative. This year, you know, my goal is to be more myself. To become more the person I feel like I'm supposed to be. Lately I've been feeling like I have to choose between being myself and keeping up with certain aspects of school.

God has blessed me with two facets to my personality: academic and creative. Normally, they coexist fine, but more and more, I've been feeling like they...well...can't.

I can keep up with my school work. I can do great. I can be a model student and get straight A's and tell you everything you want to know about Nietzsche and his Ubermensch, but when I sit down to write, I've got nothing. Nothing.

For a while I dismissed it as a phase. Writer's block. Um, really LONG writer's block...a year and half's worth of writer's block, and getting worse every day...

In 2008, I read 40 books. In 2009, I read 39 books. In 2010, I read 20. Counting school books.

I stopped journaling. I stopped wanting to call my best friend. I got about eight colds in six months. I started putting on an act 24/7 of being the same Happy Healthy Fun Creative Kendra I've always been. I wasn't really very happy anymore, but I figured hey, I was making good grades and that's what counts.

I was beginning to think that I'd have to make a choice, and I knew I had already decided. Writing is who I am, reading is what keeps me going, but it's not what the world (or my parents, I thought) cares about. I can't even tell you the number of times my mom has told me to "stop working on my story and get back to my schoolwork."

Eventually I could do that for myself, and a little too well. I stopped writing because I didn't have time. I figured I could pick it up sometime when I did.

But guys, it doesn't work that way. You use it, or you lose it. I was losing it and I didn't know what to do. I made time for writing, but the words wouldn't come because I was so stressed out about what I SHOULD be doing. Even when I had legitimate "free-time," all I could do was veg out in front of the TV or click around on the internet because books didn't interest me, my words wouldn't come. I resigned myself to giving up creativity, and although it felt like cutting off my right arm, I was already halfway there.

When this year started, I knew I needed to do something. I was becoming dangerously angry and jealous of the homeschooled friends who had time just to enjoy being alive. I would read blogs and want to tear my hair out, thinking "Why can't I be her/him?" I was doing well in school, but completely miserable and losing myself in the sea of dates, atoms, charts, conjugations and theorems.

Good grades definitely count. Especially when you're (please excuse the potential arrogance) really blessed in the intelligence area and are 150% dedicated to getting into Wake Forest University. Good grades do count. A lot.

But is the syllabus more important than my soul?

I always thought homeschooling was about doing what was right for you, not about teaching to test or squeezing you into a system. I know God wants me to do my best and stretch my mind, but at what expense? I don't think he wants me to sacrifice my creative side for my academic side. I think there's a way for them to work together...maybe? Hopefully?

I finally breached the subject with my parents a few days ago. I tried to explain how I feel. Honestly, I didn't expect a great reaction. I expected something along the lines of, "Kendra, you're just being lazy because you're struggling in subjects that don't come naturally to you. Stop daydreaming and hit the books and everything will clear up soon."

But that didn't happen. My parents listened to me and took me seriously. We didn't argue and we actually understood each other.

That conversation definitely goes in the top three Must-Have-Been-God moments of my life.

We arrived at a pretty simple solution:

- We're ordering an algebra curriculum on DVD that I can do every day.
- I'm postponing chemistry until this summer. Without a background in algebra 2, chemistry is borderline impossible.

It doesn't sound like much, does it? But the way I feel is a 180 degree turn-around. I used to sleep until 10 o'clock because waking up was just too stressful and depressing. I used to write a total of 0 words a week. I used to be frustrated and didn't get alone with my parents very well.

It's been four days and I've gotten up earlier, feeling excited and so much full of ME. I've written more in my notebooks than I did all of last summer. I like my parents.

I just feel good. I feel like I'm enjoying life. I feel like I might try to do chemistry today just because I feel like I can.

I know this was a really long post, and possibly not something you're interested in, but I just felt like posting about it. I guess I sort of want insight. Do you think I did the right thing? I feel good, but every once in a while a shadow falls across me and I wonder if I should have just kept things the way they were and tried harder...

Comments are great... :)



Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said... can really hit, hu?

That's great that your parents took the time to listen and understand you :) A good relationship with your parents is a good path to happiness (lol) ;)

My advice to you would be to just trust in God and be yourself.
Everything else will follow * * *


Cassie said...

i'm glad you're feeling better st..i mean kendra lol history is whats strangling me right now (and math but thats just my fault lol). i hope your writers block goes away :) miss you <3 i don't think you did the wrong thing. just the fact that your parents recieved it so well is a sign that it may have been needed.

KnightWing said...


Camellia Day said...

So, I'm happy to see this post for a list of reasons:

1) I feel the same way, all the time. But this year things HAVE gotten better here!

2) Since I have awesome psychic friend powers I knew SOMETHING was up with you but since my brain is a TINY bit too small I didn't get, my prayers have been answered! ;]

Congrats, Kendra! :]

Elizabeth said...

I can definitely relate, and for several years I've been so focused on a perfect academic record... that I've developed genuine terror at even the thought of making a mistake. I have sacrificed every other part of my life for school, and was already struggling with depression, so I'm in a tough spot right now emotionally. Wake Forest was actually my dream school too, but another college has made an offer that is too good to refuse, so I don't know what I'm going to do at this point… but I want you to know that your post gave me hope. Which might sound strange, but it is true. I am so, SO glad for you, Kendra. That you feel ALIVE again… it is so amazing, and is what I was afraid I would never feel. I've just been dead inside for so long… and yeah, it will take a lot of work for me to recover from the difficult situation I've been putting up with, but it is possible. Anyway, enough depressing rambling ;). You DEFINITELY did the right thing in being honest with your parents and yourself, and I'm overjoyed for you! Embrace it, and squash those doubts the moment they arise!

achieve1dream said...

You didn't make the wrong choice at all. So many intelligent teens and young adults burn themselves out trying to do what you were doing. You have to do what makes you happy too. There has to be balance.