Thursday, May 17, 2012

Junior Year: Reflections and Final Thoughts

This post means that my junior year of high school is over... I couldn't be happier. My junior year has had some major highs and some very low lows. In hindsight, I don't think I would have traded this portion of my life for anything in the world. At all. I have grown into a stronger and arguably different person in the past 9 or 10 months. I've had experiences that have been incredibly life changing (both good and bad). I've met people, reconnected with friends, and I've refortified relationships with people that I was already blessed to have been friends with before this year started.

If I've learned anything in my 17 (almost 18, hallelujah) years of walking this small piece of the world, it's that you're never going to just have rainbows and smiles in your life. There were things that happened this year that were not so great. Hard classes, a lot of stress, depressing moments, among other things. However, I'm a firm believer in the theory that the sucky things in your life are there to make you stronger.

I've concluded that there were too many important things that happened this year, so I need to keep record of them, because these are moments I can't afford to forget. So here it goes. My list and analysis of the good and the ugly things that happened during the '11-'12 school year.

PLEASE NOTE: Not one of the things I'm about to discuss are being directed at any single person.

I prefer to start with the ugly things, so I can end on a good note.

The ugly:

-Stress. Stress stress stress stress. I don't think I've ever had so much stress in the course of one school year. Orchestra, youth symphony, grades, student council, people, myself. All of it was a contributing factor. Did I handle it well? You tell me. I don't trust myself to evaluate my stress management skills accurately.

-Silence. This was probably the hardest thing to deal with. More than once I endured (and caused) the silence and creation of barriers between me and other people. It sucked. Luckily I think most of those barriers were torn down. The silence left wounds though, and even though the wounds healed there are scars to serve as a reminder. Those experiences are a part of me now, and I'll carry them with me for the rest of time. Things probably won't ever be the same, but they're better than they were, and I'll take what I can get.

-Depression (not clincial... I don't think). I was depressed this year. A lot. My biggest enemy has always been my own thoughts, and the things I say to myself in my head. For the longest time I've constantly told myself "you're not good enough," "your friends don't really like you," "you'll never be the best," etc. It's a lot to recover from, but a lot of people have helped me do it, and I don't think they realize they did. So to those people: thank you. A lot. Now I know better. I am good enough. If my friends didn't like me, they wouldn't stick around. I'll always do my personal best.

The good (let the record show that I have no idea where to start):

- Youth Symphony. Hot damn. It all started with a 2 day retreat. I became a part of a group of incredibly talented and incredibly fun people. Sundays are so much fun, it's crazy. Whether we're talking about how badass Team Badass (that's the name of our group) is, or stabbing a certain someone's name-tag, we're having fun. It makes putting on that damn tux and playing in those concerts (which are fun, Kauffman Center waddup?) that much better. It's practically perf... ect (see what I did there, Sarah? HA!) Every time I hear the Tanhauser Overture or Scheherazade my breathing stops. I got to be a small part in making those pieces come to life. I'm so blessed.

- Student Council. I can't express how awesome it is to work with a group of leaders like the Liberty High School student council. There isn't a lot of groups that I would willingly get to school at 7 AM on a MONDAY for. We've all worked together to put on Homecoming, Courtwarming, Prom, and countless other events throughout the year. You're all fantastic. SPOILER ALERT: Next year is going to be off the hook, and a lot is changing. It's a good change though, I promise.

- Orchestra. So many good things happened during orchestra this year. I'm going to have to break it down even further.

* The viola section is doooooooooooooope. In a good way. Every piece for every concert the viola section gave 110%. On top of that we all got along really well, which was very very nice. I've never been prouder of a section. We took the Holberg Suite and made it our b****. Measure 21 was no match for us. HA. I'm so pumped for chamber orchestra next year. It's ridiculous.

* The quartet. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh quartet. Who gives a poop what that judge said? We sounded awesome... because we're awesome. We overcame the difficulties of rehearsal C and rehearsal D. Even if we don't do contest next year (sad day), I still think we should do something.

* Contest. After a dismal solo performance at state sophomore year I redeemed myself. I love Suite Hebraique. It's going to be a significant piece for me throughout the rest of my music career, I think. Yes, it's Jewish. Ernest Bloch was a genius. Thanks, Mr. Bloch. You're almost the best. My loyalties still lie with Max Bruch, though. That's next year. I'm excited.

* All-state. If you asked me if I thought I would qualify to All-state orchestra at the beginning of this year I would have laughed in your face and said no way would that happen. As first semester progressed I realized that I really wanted to make it, with a passion that was arguably unhealthy. I'll admit that everything besides viola took a back seat come November. Things like eating and breathing became insignificant. State was my goal. I don't know how I did it, but I did. I qualified to play a piece that I'm convinced was symbolic to a dead Russian composer's acid trip and spend 4 days living off of Burger King. Add that to the fact that I think I had the most obnoxious room mate possible, and I can attest to the fact that it was quite the experience. Would I do it again? Yes, in a heart beat.

- Religion. So for anyone that's known me for a while now probably knows that I claimed to be a hard core atheist. Ha. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Anyone that's bothered to continue to know me  would know that all of that stuff changed recently. I think I've finally discovered God. I'm not entirely sure what that means yet. I know that I'm a lot happier and my life feels a lot more stable. I know that I've been introduced to a youth group that has taught me a lot about what religion and a relationship with God means, as well as indirectly led me to discover a lot about myself on a more personal level. Hopefully I'll learn more over this summer. That's the plan, at least. Wednesdays are one of the days I look forward to the most now.

- New people. I've made quite a few new friends this year. Some have changed my life in a way that I don't think they'll ever quite understand, and I can't even begin to explain it. I owe you people a huge thank you. From the very bottom of that place where my heart is supposed to be, thank you so much.

- People that I already knew. The people that I knew before this year started... I feel like I've gotten a lot closer to some of them. There's not much else to say about it... heh.

- I've changed as a person. I'm not sure how many times I've said it in this post yet, but I'll say it again. This year I have changed a lot, and not just physically (my man boobs are gone, I've been told). I used to be a total people pleaser. Last year I became that sarcastic ass hole that was only concerned about myself. I think I'm starting to find a happy medium. I'm living my life for me still, but I've realized that my happiness comes from the happiness of the people I care about. I'm pretty much killing two birds with one stone at this point in the game. Winning.

Honestly I could sit here and write for days about how my life has changed this year, but I think this post is getting long enough. This year is probably the most influential year I've ever lived through... at least that I remember. As I'm sitting here writing this, I'm listening to the conclusion of the finale of Bruckner's 4th symphony, and I think it sums up what I'm feeling better than words can. So please, feel free to take a listen. It's honestly one of the most beautiful pieces I've ever heard and had the pleasure to play.

Check it:

Like I said, it sums up this whole year in a little under four and a half minutes, and it was written way before this year even happened. It's like magic or something.

I can't help but feel like this year was a major turning point. A door in my life has closed, and another one was just unlocked. I'm absolutely terrified to turn the handle and see what waits on the other side, but my only option is to continue moving forward, because I refuse to be stuck in limbo.

I don't know how to end this, because I think this signals the beginning of something new. I have a lot to learn still, and I don't think I'll ever stop learning.

 Here's hoping that this summer and senior year are everything we want it to be. It's a time for loving deeply, laughing often, conquering challenges, and spending time with the people we want to be around. A time to grow, make mistakes, and learn from them.

A time to have fun.

Our time.

This has been your friendly (usually) neighborhood Jewfro, signing off.

Stay classy.