A mess, just like it should be


Ella Peirce

Photos of me, Addie, Ellerie, and Evelyn in sixth hour, the best part of my day.

“It’s your freshman year, and you’re gonna be here for the next four years.”

A quote from a Taylor Swift song that I can no longer relate to. A bittersweet endeavor, as most endings are.

Fun fact, this is actually the fourth time I’ve tried to write this column. 1,143 words and somehow none of them have accurately conveyed how I feel. I’ll probably end up deleting this too in a fit of vacillation.

I’ve made the fatal mistake of having expectations. I’ve determined that because this is my last story of the year, it needs to be a flawless, phenomenal piece of writing. If symbolizing this school year is my goal, then shouldn’t I know that I should be searching for antonyms of perfect instead of synonyms? 

I think I’ll just write.

The birds are chirping around me, and every few minutes a car will drive past. The trees are green, and I would describe the air around me as optimistic in its ever-present simplicity. I’m envisioning an idyllic summer, and these past few days have felt like a preview of the ethereal liberation that I’m so close to.

With every 500 words I’ve written, I’ve grown. I’ve changed, little by little; finding myself between unnecessarily convoluted columns and lengthy lifestyles.

Lately, every piece of scenic imagery I find myself gazing upon strikes a nerve. The scenes are moving too fast to document, and I can’t catch my breath. 

I took a deep breath when I wrote that, and I feel lighter than I did before. All too often I forget to breathe, and then I proceed to wonder why I feel like I’m being suffocated. The carbon dioxide is turning into poison inside of me, and I let it happen. As if I don’t deserve to take a breath when I have five exams to study for.

But slowly, I can feel myself finding peace, I can feel myself relearning how to breathe without breathing so heavily that my lungs collapse. Every drought, every famine, every lack of oxygen has led me to where I am now. 

I know I said I was just going to write, but I still feel as though some sort of finale is in order. This year, just like every other, I’ve grown. I don’t feel like I have, but I unwillingly know more now than I did before. I’ve grown out of making a fish face in every photo out of self-consciousness, grown away from some people, grown closer to others, and grown into my sister’s old clothes.

Growth is inescapable, no matter how hard I try to escape it.

With every 500 words I’ve written, I’ve grown. I’ve changed, little by little; finding myself between unnecessarily convoluted columns and lengthy lifestyles.

I’ve stayed up stressed, unable to conjure up a single sentence, but lately, the words have flowed like a waterfall. With the end in sight, I’ve realized I don’t want to reach it. It may have taken me the entire year, but suddenly I’m always typing in a Google Doc, I despise leaving English, and I sit in Mr. George’s room well past 2:45 p.m. 

This site has become a defining part of my school year, and I’m already crushed by the fact I’ll have to leave someday and never come back. I may be too focused on the future, but at least I’ll never be surprised when it’s 2026 and I’m wearing a cap and gown.

At least, I’d like to think that. I’ll probably go into paralyzing shock. I just love the idea of being prepared for the inconceivable fact that is the future. Despite how many times I’ve spiraled beyond recovery thinking about time and its unforgiving qualities I still don’t believe the ‘fact’ that I’m fifteen. What happened to the eight-year-old girl at the pool who yearned to be mature?

Lately, all that’s been on my mind is the fact that I’ll be a sophomore next year. And I can handle that, but after that, I’ll be a junior. I’ll spend the whole year comprehending that I’ll be a senior next year until next year comes. I’ll let time pass me by over and over again, longing to never grow up until I truly grow up and figure out how to exist in any way other than a permanent state of dwelling.

I never, in my entire life, thought I would be sad about the school year ending. I’ve sat through end-of-year parties with crafts at elementary school tables and I’ve calculated the worst I can get on an exam to maintain an A. Through it all, I’ve longed for freedom from the stale school air that slowly suffocates me during my least favorite nine months of the year. Now, all I can remember is that every summer I spend gleefully soaking up the sun is closer to my last.

And in a year, I plan to be still in a state of serenity, typing another column in which I once again hopelessly attempt to combine my contrasting sentiments of this particular ending into a singular piece of writing.