saying my goodbyes to high school

Here I am. It’s almost 10am on a Thursday. I am sitting at my desk at home with a cup of coffee writing this and it feels wrong on many levels. But what bothers me most is that I feel like I should be in class. I should be at school; taking notes, listening to a tutor, studying, busying myself with assignments until midnight, bringing my coffee to class, chatting about weekend plans cancelled due to the workload, but I’m not. I’m home with a cup of coffee writing this, trying to figure out how to make this feel less wrong and saying my goodbyes to high school.

For thirteen (or twelve) years school is one of the steadiest variables in a persons life. In those thirteen (or twelve) years there is a nearly endless number of changes. But when you looked close there was always one thing to rely on, that (almost) no matter what, the next day one would have to get up early, dress, have breakfast and go to school and then come back home. For those thirteen (or twelve) years life situates around this steady variable. Most people like maths for it’s directness. Most of the times there is right or wrong. With a variable it’s different. X might be 6, but there are different ways to get there. X could be 3 + 3 or it could be 4 + 2 or an endless number of other variations. The outcome is the same, but the ways there can differ a great deal. X in life is the steady variable. For the past thirteen (or twelve) years X was school. The experiences with school differ for each person, but X, in the end, always adds up to school. But school ends and with that X is situated in a different equation. Each persons equation differs and now X doesn’t add up to the same thing for anyone anymore. There is an endless number of possibilities for the meaning behind X now. School ends and while the endless possibilities spread in front of ones eyes, life doesn’t feel so steady anymore. Well, at least this is how I feel about it.

Most people are looking very forward to saying their goodbyes to school. I’m not one of them although I feel like I should. Within those thirteen years I have changed, and changed again and then again and changed a final time. School is a personality shaping tool, no one can deny that. It made me grow, but it made me feel a lot of pain all the same. During my school time I shed so many tears I could fill hundreds of water buckets. When growing up finishing school is one of the events that feels a million years away. It sounds like a particular joke, but against all odds, here I am and I can tell you, it happens, almost inevitably. One starts year thirteen blinking, looking away for a second and suddenly ones sitting at ones desk at home with a cup of coffee writing this and one feels empty and a little useless, but a little grateful too. Here I am; taking a first sip of the coffee long gone cold. Here I am; saying my goodbyes to high school, heavy-heartedly. But that’s what goodbyes are like. They hurt a bit and they leave behind a bitter-sweet taste just like coffee does. They are a part of moving on and since life is irresistible, we say our goodbyes to prevent from getting left behind and X adapts a new, but non the less beautiful, shape.

Anna Louise, May 24, 2018

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eighteen years

On December 9th, 2017 I turned eighteen years old. A date about which I had some strange feelings. All around me a lot of people were really hyped about their eighteenth birthday. Friends who never went out to party suddenly became the kings and queens of clubs and even the ones who never had the slightest bit of alcohol planned on getting drunk, having the time of their lives, a night to remember, etc etc etc. I was freaked out to the point I didn’t want to do anything for my birthday. While my friends were planning their ‚special‘ night of joining adulthood almost half a year in advance, I kept putting everyone off by saying I didn’t know yet or it was supposed to be a secret. Actually, I didn’t plan on doing anything aside from being in my room at home shedding a few tears. But it wasn’t only that. I was afraid of turning eighteen, because from eighteen on, one is officially an adult, where I live, and I did not [and still don’t] feel as if I am prepared to be accepted as that, and yes, I am indeed trying to come to a point, so this is for all those out there who felt and feel the same way.

what follows is a mixture of random shots of the days around my eighteenth birthday and some of my favorite quotes of the book ‘eighteen years’ by Madisen Kuhn, which accompanied me on the journey of realizing and accepting that nothing is going to change and that that’s okay. Basically it’s a mix of a lifestyle blog & a book review. Hoping it’ll turn out as enjoyable content.

 

 

i feel trapped inside of my feverish skin

and i wish i could escape it,

because i don’t want to be myself today

 

i don’t know why i’m so different,

why i feel so lonely and tired of living

yesterday, i was so happy and hopeful,

inspired and alive

i lit candles and sang along to the radio

and grinned and felt completely intact

but today, i’m in pieces

i feel hollow and meaningless

i don’t get why my feelings change so quickly

it’s like once i’ve wrapped my arms

around them, the wind picks them up

and carries them away, leaving me

with a heart full of unfamiliar emotions

i don’t understand

i just wish

i could figure myself out

sometimes

Madisen Kuhn, birthday eve

 

 

one of the poems that spoke to me, really putting those emotions into words. Since my family knew how I was feeling, on the night before my birthday my mom took me out to the movies. Full program. Smuggling fast food inside the theater, big box of fresh popcorn. The rest of the night I spent decorating and cleaning. I rang in my birthday alone at midnight by taking a bath before I went to bed.

 

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After sleeping in just a little and spending some time with my family I then headed out to the city, just like I had planned. I just knew I had to go for a walk through the streets of Berlin on my birthday, because that’s what I have been immensely enjoying the past year. On the way to the city I started reading ‘eighteen years’. Some of the pieces that really spoke to me will follow [I had tears in my eyes while reading all of them]…

 

who are you,

really?

you are not a name

or a height or a weight

or a gender,

you are not an age

and you are not

where you are from

you are your favorite books

and the songs stuck in your head,

you are your thoughts

and what you eat for breakfast

on saturday mornings

you are a thousand things,

but everyone chooses

to see the million things

you are not

you are not

where you are from

you are

where you’re going

and i’d like

to go there

too

Madisen Kuhn, who are you, really?

 

she buried her face in books

so no one could see

the emptiness of her eyes

 

she filled her mind

with fictional fantasies

and hoped that one day

they would become real

 

but because her head

was always stuck in a book

she never got the chance

to have adventures of her own

Madisen Kuhn, cover to cover

 

i think the world

would be a nicer place

if we stopped pretending

we knew everything

about everyone

Madisen Kuhn, truth

 

every individual

is son intricate,

yet we rush to peg them,

to label them,

to tell them who they are

[…]

the more i meet people

and flip them inside out

to run my fingers along

the cracks of their beating heart,

the more i realize that

no one really is

“normal”

Madisen Kuhn, depth

 

In the hours following that train ride I met two of my best friends, went to a photo booth to turn memories into paperweight,

got Starbucks to pay for my venti iced coffee, because that’s how nice they are when it’s your birthday and you have a Starbucks card [everyone was really cute, i’m being honest, they wrote ‘happy birthday anna’ on my cup with flowers and hearts and all of that, i guess], laughed a lot, met my cousin, had serious, but very good conversations while wandering the city and crashed at Coffee Fellows to flee the cold. The remaining hours of my birthday I spent at home with my family again. Pizza and Grand Hotel [one of my favorite series] were included.

The following morning, a Sunday, my family and I went out for a post-birthday brunch at Coffee Fellows, which meant bagels, warm beverages and time well spent. Took a short walk around the near-by christmas market with my cousin and sister afterwards. Then I went home. Trouble was over and I had spent almost three full days trying to keep everything as it was with an almost feverish effort, spending energy I could have easily saved, because after all, everything that has changed since is the second digit of a simple number in my info box on social media. nothing has changed and that’s fine. I hate changes anyways.

Before I end this somewhat very personal, yet probably boring piece of writing, I have a few more words on ‘eighteen years’  by Madisen Kuhn and one more poem. Something to remember, a message, to those of you reading this, a sort of reminder…

Madisen, your book got through to me in so many ways. At a time that I felt troubled it had the words I needed to hear to be able to calm down. ‘eighteen years’ is the most honest, most real and most beautiful collection of poetry I have yet read. In the past year poetry has become the tongue of my soul, the safe heaven I can always come to. Before your book I would have never dared to believe that there is poetry out there that puts my deepest thoughts into proper words. You did. I found myself with tears in my eyes, heart hurting. You literally speak the same tongue my heart speaks. In a world of so many I feel I have found the one person who is able to translate my soul into words, the one person to be the interpreter to fill the gap between me and the rest of the world. I thank you from the deepest depths of my heart.

To everyone reading this, ‘eighteen years’ is “[The] book [which] is meant to be bent and worn, written in, tear-stained, and loved. This book is for you.” to put it in Madison’s own words. ‘eighteen years’ is the book of first and following loves, of life and coming of age, but to be downright honest, there is no way to do this book any justice listing a few of it’s topics like this. If you want to know what it’s like then there’s no way around just reading it, experiencing it with every cell of your body. To do so, clicking here marks step one [no worries, it’s the link to get your own copy]. Now all that is left to say, is this…

 

Don’t forget to get away every once in awhile,

To lose yourself in a book

Or in the woods behind your home

Ride your bike into the sunset,

Sit on your front steps and count the cars passing by,

Lay on your roof and gaze up at the night sky,

Drive along backroads with the windows rolled down

Listening to nothing but the sound of rushing wind

I hope you take the time to be alone,

To sort through the cluttered shelves of your heart

I hope you take the time to be silent,

To close your eyes and just listen

I hope you take the time to be still,

To quiet your mind and experience the beauty

Of simply Being

Madisen Kuhn, breathe