Winter Finals 2017

“But will you be worth any less?”

One very important lesson I learned was taught to me by my current English teacher. She’s the one always reminding students that grades don’t determine intelligence, they are not worth any less due to a bad grade, bad game, or other “mess up”, and they are loved. She’s helped me to understand that it’s OKAY if I don’t get an A on every test. She’s put into perspective that, even if I do fail a test or make a mistake, I am still loved. I will still have a future. It won’t even matter ten years from now.

Going back to that first question, it comes to mind every week. It’s more of a rhetorical question than a genuine question. My English teacher knows the answer, but she asks anyway in order to remind us that one mess up does not define us. I often hear her ask this question to students who are stressing out about almost anything – sports, grades, etc… She has asked me that question a couple of times as well, and it always puts things into perspective for me. As finals are approaching, the answer to that question helps to provide some comfort.

“You will still be loved.”

That statement always follows the rhetorical question, and I find myself thinking about it every week as well. I’ve been taught that good grades are so important, and if my grades aren’t really great, then, I’m not smart.

“Less than an A does not equal failure.”

That’s an insecurity I’ve been dealing with since ninth grade. The truth is, even if I was a straight A student, I’m not so sure I’d feel any smarter. However, the second my grades drop, I seem to think my intelligence does as well. Math and physics aren’t my strongest subjects to say the least. I love both subjects, but my strength is not in either of those subjects. I prefer writing and discussing things.

Albert Einstein is the one who said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it is stupid”.

It’s an interesting quote. Our public education system expects every child to learn the very same way, while acknowledging that all of us have different stories. Every child should have straight As because, according to the government, academic subjects are the only source of intelligence.

But that’s not true.

I know people who aren’t great at all academic subjects, but they are amazing at other things. Their paintings are beautiful, their voices are lovely, their acting is incredible, their writing is rare, their athletic ability is outstanding, etc… And there are the students who can tell you anything about politics, random facts, nature, sociology, building/designing, etc… And there are the students who are great at math, science, history, and/or English, and they’re passionate about it, and that’s lovely. I believe that, in general, everybody is intelligent in some way.

Finals are next week, and I hope everyone will remember that their grades don’t determine nearly as much as we are taught they do. And I know that’s hard to. As finals get closer, my classmates and I become more stressed. We tend to get into this mentality that we’re not good enough, that we’re stupid, that we’re never going to amount to anything. We seem to think these grades are going to define our futures. We feel this pressure that we have to have straight As to be good enough, and we take it too hard when we get a low grade as though that low grade defines us.

Study for finals. Do your best. Do NOT stay up all night studying, depriving yourself of sleep. Try to prevent yourself from getting too stressed/overworked by taking breaks every 45 minutes to an hour. Overworking yourself and stressing yourself out won’t help you do any better on your final exams. It’s okay to want to do well; I want to do well. But it’s important to remember that your life is not coming down to these grades. Remind yourself that it’s OKAY, no matter what grade you end up with. A bad grade does not equate to a lack of intelligence. You’ve done your best, you’re still smart, you still have a bright future, and you will not be worth any less.

As my English teacher always says:

“You will still be loved.”

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70%

70%. Approximately two-thirds. In school, it’s considered a C. For me, a 70% it’s considered an A (and I don’t mean school wise).

I was born with a complex congenital heart defect, and I had the Fontan operation. Today, I am doing amazing. My heart is in great health for my condition. My cardiologist once told me I was a model Fontan patient. He’s always happy with how my heart is doing. However, he still insists I can only do 70% of what a “normal” person can do. See, the healthiest Fontan patients still battle heart disease. The Fontan doesn’t cure it. With this specific heart condition, the healthiest Fontan patients can perform at 70% of what a normal person can do. Some Fontan patients can’t even do that much. That being said, I am very blessed to be at 70%, and I am aware of that. Still, I sometimes struggle with the idea that I cannot perform at the level of a “normal” person. I really think I can perform at such levels, and it’s weird to me to think I can’t.

This past week, I went on my very first run. It wasn’t long, and it wasn’t far. But it was the longest and farthest I’ve ever run at one time. I was so happy about it because I had never gone on a run before. It wasn’t easy, but I loved it. God gave me the strength to reach my goal on that run. I won’t say how far or how long the run was because some people may not count it as a real run. Let me tell you something: it counts.

Earlier this year, I started working out on a stationary bike. I love doing work outs on it. I’m at the point where I can do 4 miles in under thirty minutes. Yes, that means I am pushing myself – something I am technically not supposed to do, but I am determined to get a good work out and perform well.

Over the summer, I started kick boxing, and I did fine. I loved it. I only did 30 minutes classes because anything more is too much. Except for one, maybe two, minor incidents, the classes did not exhaust me. When my cardiologist found out I was kickboxing, he said I should stop, that the sport was too extreme, that I could be unknowingly causing unrepairable damage or problems that would be more difficult for me to recover from than a normal person.

Imagine you run everyday. What happens as a result? Your heart gets stronger. Your legs get stronger. Imagine you run in heels everyday. What happens as a result? The heel wears out. My heart is considered to be more like the heel. Instead of getting stronger, too much exercise can wear it out. Despite knowing this, I’ve been pushing myself and trying to reach up to the level of a “normal” person. Even though I am told otherwise, I refuse to believe the exercises I have been doing are causing more harm than good to my heart.

I believe in God. I know very well that He can keep my heart strong. I really believe that I can reach 100%. Even so, I am told to be safe and smart about what I do. I will be praying about it.

Last week, I went to the beach for a few days. Typically, after a long trip/car ride, I need at least a day or so to recover. This time, I did not have a day to recover. I came home, went to rehearsal, and the next day, I went to school. By Friday, I was exhausted. But let’s go back to the day I got home:

I went to rehearsal. It was fine. I even stayed after to work on a drama assignment with my friend and say hi to one of my teachers. After rehearsal, I came home, ate dinner, and attempted to do homework. I had English homework, drama work, and government work. For English, I had to watch a video and answer some questions. For drama, I need to watch a video to figure out how to portray my character for an assignment. For government, I needed to fill out stuff in a packet. The video for English was long, so I read the transcript instead with the intent of answering the questions the next day before class. I watched the video for drama. I did not do my government homework. I was so tired. I couldn’t do it. My body was telling me to stop. And I did.

I was in the kitchen, and I was thinking. If I’m trying to get to 100%, I should be doing my government homework. “Normal” kids come home from trips and get caught up with schoolwork. My government homework shouldn’t take too long. Why can’t I do it?

Then, I thought about everything I had done that day. It was a lot. Even for a “normal” person. I realized something. I was doing 70% of what a “normal” person could do, but I was doing 100% of what I could do. If I am tired, I need to be smart enough to slow it down and rest. I don’t have a “normal” heart. Yes, I am healthy, but my heart is not yet perfect. One day, I will be perfectly healthy. That day has just yet to come.

I get tired easier than “normal” people. Going on runs isn’t as simple for me as I would like it to be. Sometimes, getting out of bed and going to school can be a challenge. I am living with about half a heart, but I am working with 100% determination.

No, I am not going to stop pushing myself. I am going to continue to test my limits. Don’t worry though. I’ll be smart, and I’ll be safe. I know my limits, and even while pushing them, I do know when I should stop. I’ll know when to stop. Right now, 70% is my 100%, and that’s okay.

But someday, my 100% will be the same as a “normal” person’s 100%.❤️

*featured selfie was taken after my first run*

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Words and Rumors

My freshmen year of my high school, I used to get breakfast once a week with my friend(we can call her Kayla). Kayla and I had been close friends since junior high school. We don’t really hang out anymore, but we’re still friends and we talk occasionally. Anyway, Kayla and I were both in beginning drama, but we had it at different times. She had drama with this one girl who she didn’t really like. Kayla told me that the girl wasn’t very nice. There is only one advanced drama class, and both the girl (we will call her Hannah) and I were auditioning for it, and we both got in. I had made a mental note to steer clear of this girl. If Kayla was saying she didn’t like her, she was probably bad news. Wanna know something? Hannah is now my best friend. Kayla wasn’t trying to be rude when she said what she did about Hannah. She had simply gotten an incorrect first impression of Hannah. Hannah and I ended up working on a drama project together within the first couple months of my sophomore year, and that’s when we became friends. Since knowing Hannah, I’ve heard people say a lot of things about her, and most of them aren’t very nice things. But you know something? They don’t know Hannah. They haven’t spent so many weekends hanging out with her. They haven’t ever really given her a chance. They’ve made their assumptions based on rumors or one bad conversation or a bad first impression or whatever. And when Kayla first said what she did about Hannah, I believed her. I believed Hannah was not a good person based on someone else’s opinion. But they are wrong about Hannah. That’s one reason I’ve learned not to listen to rumors. If I had remained closed minded and only listened to Kayla’s opinion, I wouldn’t have had such an amazing friend. So don’t listen to rumors. Rumors are hardly ever the full story. Hannah has since graduated, but even now, people still say bad things about her. But Hannah is not the bad things they say about her. I know because I hang out with her constantly. And when I was in the tenth grade, crying over some mean girls, Hannah was helping me calm down and telling me to change classes. And the kids who spread rumors about Hannah? They weren’t the ones being kind and helping me. Gossiping about someone says more about you than them, so keep that in mind.

In the seventh grade, I witnessed a girl get called worthless. Worthless. In calling someone worthless, you are saying they are not good enough for this world. That they will never amount to anything. That the world would be fine without them. How cruel is that? Jesus died for us so that we might know God. Jesus went to the gates of hell of us. To Jesus, we are worth dying for. Calling somebody worthless is disgusting. 

Something happened in eighth grade. There was this boy. People weren’t very nice to him, but he wasn’t very kind to them either. I remember one day I was so frustrated with him, I spoke before thinking and regretted it. I immediately apologized, and he forgave me. It didn’t matter what he had said or done to frustrate me. I never should say something rude to someone else.  From that day on, I was more careful. I was always kind to him. When he was rude to others, I would kindly express that he should take it easy. I was kind to him. He didn’t have a friend. I later learned that his life was a bit harder than I, and probably everyone else, thought. In science class, I used to see him get bullied by the other kids, and I noticed our teacher ignore it. I just kept being kind to him. Knowing his life wasn’t too easy and knowing he was bullied a lot, I didn’t want to make things worse by being rude to him. One day in science, he approached me and said,” I just want to say thank you. I’ve given you so many reasons to hate me, and you’re still so kind to me.” That meant so much to me. Over the course of weeks and months I’d been kind to him, it wasn’t until that day o realized it had impacted him. This kid and I are not, nor were we ever, friends. We were simply acquaintances who decided to be a bit kinder to each other. And whatever it was that I said or did, maybe it took time to get through to him, but it worked. 

In junior high, a girl cried in the bathroom after being called ugly and told she’d never get a boyfriend. The people who caused that girl pain probably didn’t realize how bad the words had stuck. In tenth grade, I was called a freak by someone else, and students who barely knew me talked negatively about me behind my back. The cruel words that are said can stick.

But you know what else?

So can the good ones.

A girl who didn’t want to be my friend learned to trust me when I spoke kindly to her everyday. In the eighth grade, my English teacher told me the world was a better place with me in it.

Words are powerful. Superheroes and super villains similar powers, but the way they are used effects things. I’ve seen negative words tear someone down, and positive words have helped people up. There’s a song that says,” Words can build us up. Words can break us down. Start a fire in our hearts or put it out.” 

The average person says 10,000-12,000 words a day. How many of those are loving and meaningful?
Xx

Faith❤

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Congenital Heart Disease and Me

Congenital heart disease. CHD for short. It is the number one birth defect, and I was born with it. It’s an interesting thing. CHD. There are about forty known types. However, CHDs are like snowflakes. No two are exactly the same. Someone can have the exact same CHD as another person, but the way they fight it and the way the body handles it can be totally different. CHD can cause emotions and physical issues, major or minor. I am blessed that any emotional or physical issue I’ve ever dealt with has been minor. Truth is, I see more good than bad in this disease. 

CHD patients may experience certain emotional issues. These issues can be minor or major. Some have separation anxiety. Some have trouble bonding. Some have depression. And that barely touches the surface. There are so many issues that can come with this disease, and they aren’t all emotional. Some CHD patients can’t ride rollercoasters, can’t do much exercise or sports, tire easily, and lack fine motor skills. 

Some kids grow up embarrassed of their zipper scar. Some kids are fearful of how long they have on this earth. Some kids are in the hospital constantly.

As a kid, I used to think that when I was older I wouldn’t get sick very often. I was deceived by the idea that adults were almost never sick. But you know something? Just because I become an adult, it doesn’t mean my CHD is going to go away. It doesn’t mean I’m never going to be sick again. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop seeing a cardiologist. It doesn’t mean I’ll get to eat sushi. It doesn’t mean CHD won’t be a part of my life. It’s weird for me to think that I will one day be an adult with CHD. But I don’t know why I find it weird. I’ve always had it, so I’m real not sure why I find it weird.

But…

I don’t hate having heart disease. I don’t wish it would go away. Sure, I have certain times where I don’t feel like dealing with it or with the minor or superficial issues that come with it. But honestly, it really isn’t too bad for me. I’m very blessed. My CHD could’ve been way worse. I could’ve, and some might argue that I should’ve, died before the doctors even knew what my medical issues were. But here’s the thing: I didn’t die. And I didn’t not die for a reason. I’m here. I’m alive. My heart is beating.

At the age of about ten, I found out about Camp Taylor, an amazing non profit for kids and teens with CHD. And that summer, my life changed. It’s been about eight years since that wonderful summer, and my life truly has changed. I am now a Camp Taylor mentor, something I’ve dreamed of doing since I was little. Working with kids and families who are going through similar things I went through/still go through is an amazing thing. And I love doing it. This camp is where I’ve met some of my best friends. We consider each other a second family. A mother loved her son so much that she was willing to do whatever it took to help him understand his CHD was nothing to be ashamed of, and in doing so, she helped bring together a second family who understood the pros and cons of the number one birth defect.

I have a second family through this camp. I understand my CHD because of this camp. I’ve learned to advocate for myself. I’ve become proud of my zipper scar. My life has changed.

People have seen inspiration in me. I’ve done things doctors didn’t think I would do. I am willing to test the limits. I am willing to go against the odds.

I love life. Though I sometimes do, I try not to take it for granted. I know it can go from good to bad, and bad to good in the blink of an eye. I love trying new things and going on adventures. I love thinking about things.

But don’t let this post deceive you. There’s more to me than just CHD. I love God. I love to write. Pigs are my favorite animal. I love glitter and pink and I think tutus are fun to wear(believe it or not, I am seventeen). I think pink roses are beautiful, and I constantly say the sky is pretty. I have an interest in astronomy and I love the city of Nashville. I love country music. Chocolate strawberries are good any time of day. I think love and kindness are so important. I believe it is very important to stand by your morals and beliefs. I love quotes and I love songs with a good message. Nicholas Sparks is my favorite author. I love kids. Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is my favorite show. I like to perform and I like to work out. I think make up is fun to wear. I love developing my own thoughts, and I like using examples to explain what I think. I think sarcasm is fun to use, and I love deep conversations. And that’s not all. There’s so much more. And not all of it has to do with CHD.

CHD has caused me to have minor emotional issues and minor physical issues that not everyone can understand. But CHD has also been part of the reason I’ve been on this crazy, fun ride. There are tough days, but don’t let those tough days deceive you. Because I promise you, the good days outweigh the bad ones. I am more than okay. I am blessed❤

A few of my best friends and I from the mentor workshop this past weekend

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Letters (Part One)

I’m a junior now. This school year has definitely been an interesting one. My best friend(who shares your name)graduated, so it has sucked not having her at school, but we hang out like every weekend, so it’s not too bad. I had a catherization in September. After that, I was sick multiple times. Only recently have I been better.

I was the assistant director during my school’s fall production. I was going to be assistant director for the spring musical,  but I couldn’t do it for health reasons-you’d understand. 

My friend Ally and I aren’t friends anymore. If you were still here, you’d probably know that Ally and I were really close friends. Problems arose last year between Ally, me, and my friend who shares your name. After that, our friendship with Ally didn’t stand much of a chance. It’s okay though. Usually, I’m fine with it. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss her sometimes.

I turned sixteen last year. I would’ve invited you to my sweet sixteen if you’d still been around. Speaking of birthdays, your mom’s is next week. I got her a card, so I hope I got the date right too. My birthday is also next week. It’s the 23rd. I’m gonna be seventeen. It’s so hard to believe I haven’t seen you since I was twelve, even though you went to Heaven when I was fourteen. I wish I could’ve seen you between the ages of twelve and fourteen. I’m pretty excited for my birthday. I’m planning on going out to dinner with my family and my best friend who shares your name. 

It’s been almost three years. If I’m correct, it’s been 2 and 1/2 years. I bet you’re having a lot of fun in Heaven with other former heart warriors and with Jesus. Your birthday is in about three months. You would’ve been twenty five. I wear a heart locket with your picture in it every day to school. That necklace is really special to me. Some days, I really wish I could hug you. I’d love to talk to you again. When I entered high school, it would’ve been nice to have your advice. At any point in high school, your advice would’ve been appreciated. I’m almost done. Half way down with junior year. Then, senior year. Then, college. I’d like to go to Tennessee State. I’d love to live in Nashville someday.

I like to think that you’d be proud of me. I like to think about advice you might give me if you were here. Whenever I talk to people about you for the first time, I like to mention that I thought of you as a big sister. I still do. I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. You had a really huge impact on my life, and I’m not sure if you know that. I could really use one of your hugs today. It’s been years since I last got to hug you. But I’ll hug you again someday. You told me “it’s not goodbye. It’s just sad you later.” And I’ve never forgotten that.

I met your parents and your brother a few months. They’re really nice people, and I hope to see them again soon. They’ve said that they see a lot of you in me. That means a lot to me. I’ve hoped to be something like you when I grow up. 

I have the text messages you sent me saved along with a few emails. I don’t know if my constant texting you as a kid annoyed you or not. But you never made me feel like I was. Thank you for that. I’m sorry if I ever did annoy you. I just loved talking to you. I trusted you very quickly when we met. I don’t think I’ve ever really said thank you for all that you did for me. Thank you. 

I still have the eye shadow palette you gave me when I was ten. I know it’s old and I shouldn’t wear it. I don’t. I just keep it because you gave it to me. It’s the shape of a flower with purple and pink colors. I also have a sign you made with my name on it. I also have a ton of memories that I hope I don’t forget.

I’m only sixteen (almost seventeen), so I won’t be having kids any time soon, but when I do, my first daughter will have your first name. She’ll grow up knowing how special her name is. 

I’m in an AP English class. I love my teacher, but it’s a difficult class. We did an in class essay today, and I’m really proud of it. I got to be really sarcastic in it. Hopefully, my teacher appreciates my humor. 

It’s been a while since we last talked. I love writing. I find it to be really fun. My favorite author is Nicholas Sparks. My favorite singers are Megan and Liz. I’ve met them twice. I think I want to be a therapist for my career. I like to think I’d be good at it. As it turns out, we both like Taylor Swift. Currently, my favorite songs by her are Begin Again, Long Live, and Ours. I don’t really know why I’m telling you this. Maybe I just like to pretend you might be reading this. There’s a lot I’d like to tell you that I won’t disclose here though.

Just like Carrie Underwood sings,” I will see you again. This is not where it ends.” I mean, she also sings ohs, but you get the point. 

Xoxo Faith❤

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Self Confidence, Self Love, and Beauty

Hey! It’s me again! If this is your first time here, then, hi, how are you? My name is Faith. Let’s be friends.

If you read my last blog post, you might know that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to gain more confidence. I’ve made progress, but I’m not really here to talk about that. I just wanted to give some tips and things that I’ve personally found helpful.

In my drama class, we have a rule. If you put someone down, you owe them two put ups. This is basically a way to prevent bullying in the classroom, but i am trying to get into the habit of doing this for myself. Anytime I catch myself being negative towards myself, I want give myself two put ups with the hopes that will help me be more positive and confident. I challenge you to do same thing. Get rid of the habit of being so hard on yourself, and start loving yourself. 

Every morning and every night, look in the mirror and say at least one kind to yourself. Start the day on a positive note, and end on a positive note too. 

If you’re feeling down, force yourself to smile for at least five seconds. It may be the fakest smile you’ve ever given. Do it anyway. I started doing this my freshmen year of high school, and I can honestly say that this alone works most of the time. No, it doesn’t solve your problems forever. But it does brighten the mood a bit. I don’t know why, but it does.

In my last post, I talked about how I don’t like reading aloud and how I walk head down at school. When the teacher needs a volunteer, I’ve been forcing myself to raise my hand and read aloud. I’m not stuttering anymore when I read aloud, and I honestly like reading aloud now. When I catch myself walking head down, I force myself to walk with my head up. I encourage you to do the same. Force yourself to do the thing you’re nervous to do. Force yourself to walk with your head held up to prevent that crown from falling. You are beautiful and if you look down, no one will see your pretty face.

As you may know if you follow me on social media, Megan and Liz are my favorite singers. Liz recently opened up for the first time about having anorexia. In her blog post that revealed the dark secret, she said that the time she spent growing her ED could’ve been spent doing something creative. I’ve thought about that sentence a lot. Now, I do not, nor have I ever, struggled with an ED. However, I took that sentence to heart. When I am stressed or feeling down, a new habit I’m trying to get into is to do something creative. Draw, write, make YouTube videos, do something artsy. It doesn’t have to look like a piece by Leonardo Da Vinci, and my YouTube videos don’t have to come out like RCLBeauty101, and my writing doesn’t have to be as good as Nicholas Sparks. My art, videos, and writing just have to be me and my imagination. I think you should try this too. Get away from stress and feeling down by doing something creative. Don’t waste time feeding dark thoughts when you could spend time with friends, making art, or making a difference.

I am getting into the habit of working out everyday, and I think that has helped me be happier too. Working out tires me out and makes me sore, but in some twisted way, it makes me feel good.

Another new thing I am trying: for a while now, I’ve been insecure about my appearance. I look like I am twelve years for starters. A new thing I’m going to be trying is to fix my personality instead of my face. Rather than work on my winged eyeliner and new hair dos, I want to work on being a kinder person, thinking better thoughts, and working harder in everything I do. Yes, I will probably still watch hair and make up tutorials and attempt to look older than twelve years old(I am sixteen). But I hope that my working on my inner appearance, my physical appearance won’t matter to me as much. 

Psalm 139:14 ” I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”

God created you in His image. God does not make mistakes. You are beautiful and here for a reason.

I hope you found this post to be helpful. If you have any questions, want more advice, or want to contact me, you can do so through Tumblr, twitter, or Facebook. You can contact me anytime you want to talk. 

Twitter: @officialfaiith (yes, two i’s)

Tumblr: http://gotabadcaseofwanderlust.tumblr.com

You are loved.

Xoxo Faith❤️

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2017

It’s December 31st, the last day of 2016. Tomorrow, it will be 2017. When I look back, I had a great year. I had my sweet 16. In March, I met my favorite singers, Megan and Liz. In June, I went to Hawaii for a week. In July, I attended two Camp Taylor sessions. In August, I spent a few days at the beach with my family. In September, I had a successful catherization where I was told my heart was doing excellent. In November, I met a mother I’d been communicating with via messenger, and meeting her honestly changed my life. In November, I saw family I hadn’t seen in about two years. This year was honestly life changing. 

That’s not to say that my year was perfect because it wasn’t. However, I can truthfully say that I can count more blessings than bad things that happened this year. 

My life has changed a lot in 2016, and I know people say that every year, but I’m serious. Being a Camp Taylor mentor has forced me to take on more responsibility and be more mature, and that’s a good thing. This year, I’ve learned to advocate for myself more. Knowing that in just over a year, I’m going to be an adult, I’ve learned to work out more problems on my own rather than asking a parent for help. 

I’ve learned to be a more empathetic person. I understand that people have things going on in their lives that I know nothing about, so I’ve learned to be wayyy less judgemental. Of course, this doesn’t make it okay for anyone to treat me like dirt, but I’ve learned to be more compassionate towards the people who seem to be colder. I try my best to forgive and forget. I know people like to say “forgive but don’t forget”, but I think that’s wrong. When God forgives me, He forgets my sins, so I should forgive and forget also. This doesn’t mean that the person will stay in my life or that I’ll trust them the same. It means that I won’t hold what they did against them. It means that if I see them, I will smile at them. It means that I will not speak bad about them when they are not around.

If you were to ask my thirteen year old self what she wanted to be when she grew up, she’d tell you she wanted to be a successful singer. And while I still fantasize about how cool it would be to be on the Ellen Show, I don’t want to be a singer. While being famous wouldn’t necessarily be a terrible thing, it’s not my goal in life. Last month, my teacher gave us a creative writing assignment. My essay took place on the beach. I wrote about my footprint being washed away by the waves. One day, I won’t be on this earth anymore. I don’t want to leave behind a legacy of fame and fortune. I want to leave behind a legacy of love and kindness and forgiveness. I want that to be my footprint on this world, and I don’t ever want the waves to wash it away. In 200 years, this world may not remember me, but if my kindness causes one to be kind to another, and that other to be kind to another, and the cycle continues, it will have reached all over the world, and in 200 years, that cycle will still continue. It sounds crazy, but think about it. It’s not unrealistic. I didn’t come into this earth for no reason, and I want to leave behind something important. When one dies, they are not remembered for the things they owned, but for the person they were.

With 2017 just hours away, I’m sure many people have resolutions that they won’t keep. I really only have one resolution that I know I will keep, and that’s to work out more. But truthfully, I do have things I hope to achieve in 2017. In 2017, I hope I figure out what college I want to go to. I hope I figure out what I want to major in. I hope I become the adult my parents raised me be. I hope I get over my fear of fire. I hope I get my driver’s license. I intend for all of these things to happen. But that’s not all I want. I want to become a better, more confident person.

In 2017, I want to be a light. I want people to see me and know that I really love God. I want people to see me and think good things of me. I want them to see me a genuinely kind, forgiving, and loving.

In 2017, I want to be more confident. I walk around school head down. When my teacher needs someone to read aloud, I don’t raise my hand. And if my teacher calls on me anyway, I stutter and don’t know what line I’m on. In drama class, I don’t volunteer to go first. In chemistry, I hesitate to ask questions because I don’t want to annoy my teacher. In school, I have a hard time talking to other people. I’m constantly insecure, and I feel judged constantly. And most people reading this probably think it’s not true because when I talk to you, I’m probably more confident than I’m making myself out to be. But chances are you’re an adult. I’ve always been able to connect well with adults. It’s not too hard for me to talk to adults. It’s kids my age I struggle with. Maybe it’s because I’m more mature than them. Maybe it’s because I don’t think it’s okay to cheat or drink or smoke or party or sneak out or break rules or be disrespectful. And I don’t say this to put my classmates down. But my mental age has always been older than my real age. What’s okay to 16 years olds my age isn’t okay to me. And it’s not so much that they’re bad people or that they’re immature for their age. It’s just that I’m more mature for my age. And maybe because of that I’ve always had trouble connecting with kids my age and that’s why my confidence is low at school. That’s what I want to work on in 2017. I want to volunteer to perform first in my drama class. I want to raise my hand when my teacher needs someone to read. I want to ask my teacher questions no matter how stupid they sound so that I can get an A in class. I want to finally stop caring what people say behind my back, to my face, or anonymously online. Because the truth is, the people saying bad things about me really don’t know me all that. And like Taylor Swift says, I am not the opinion of someone who does not know me. So you know what? 2017 will be the year I volunteer to perform first in drama. 2017 will be the year I volunteer to read aloud, and I won’t stutter. 2017 will be the year I ask my teacher questions about the material and don’t apologize. 2017 will be the year I stop caring what people who barely know me think of me. 2017 will be the year I stop apologizing for things I don’t need to apologize for. 2017 will be the year I am happily me. 

I am going to do everything I can to achieve all of my 2017 goals. 

People say 2016 wasn’t a good year, but it was. Yes, bad things happened, but good things happened too. A mother gave birth to her miracle baby. Someone had a successful heart transplant. Someone found out they don’t have cancer. Someone decided to get help for their addiction. Someone decided to start loving themselves. Someone was adopted into a loving family. A marriage that was falling apart was saved. A child got their first puppy. Someone was proposed to. Someone got married. Someone contacted an estranged family member and started a real relationship with them. Someone went through something really difficult, and got through it. Someone dedicated their life to God. Miracles happen every day. Yes, this world is getting worse, but there are still good things. I promise.

I hope everyone has a safe New Year’s Eve. I hope you all have a lovely 2017. I hope everyone knows how special they are and how deeply loved they are. And remember, everything always seems to work out.

God bless you. God loves you❤️
Xx

Faith Sparkles<3

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