Hey, Ivana. This is a message from one of the few people you’ll actually listen to: yourself. And even me, kraa, you’re a stubborn rat and you can’t apply your own common sense. But I’m not about to blast you now; that’s not the purpose of this message. Maybe another time.
Now, listen. 2014 has ended. The New Year has already started. There’s no turning back now. Last year, especially in the latter half, a lot of things happened. I know that your IGCSE didn’t go as well as planned, and I know that you’ve made what you believe are mistakes in IB and that if you could, you’d go back to start all over again and make it right. I know you feel overworked and insignificant at the same time and feel like you can’t avoid the stress. I know you’ve had and are in a few tense relationships, some broken friendships and some presently fracturing ones. I know you fall easily into depression. But most of all, I know that what you crave is acceptance. You know you’re different, but a part of you that you cannot mute still desires to be ‘a part of them.’ Well, maybe you’re looking for acceptance in the wrong places.
As yourself, as the only person who is actually inside your head, I need to tell you some things to help you cope with whatever’s coming next. It doesn’t take a genius to know that 2015 is not going to be easy. You have your Reach CAS project to worry about, you have math and physics to try not to fail, you’re about to have an absurd number of IAs and assignments, but be still. Listen to me. You’ll need this for 2015.
- Look to God. Ivana, there is no advice I can give you more important than this. Please, never forget that you NEED Him. He’s given you so much grace that you can never pay back. I know you better than anyone, and honey, you’re a damned sinner and you don’t deserve it. But you’ll get more, so receive it graciously. (Get the pun?) Read your Bible. Know Jesus more. Count your blessings, and don’t worry about a thing. Pray. Don’t ever stop. After all, what are you here for other than to be a servant to the Almighty? If you dare forget, I will find you (we’re always at the same place) and give you an overdose of Rehab. (That’s a Lecrae joke.)
- Take pictures. Sometimes, life seems blurred and grey and monotonous. Your eyes are dysfunctional anyway. Sometimes, you need to see things through a lens so they become clearer. You’re not a professional, and your camera isn’t the best or the latest, but who cares? Shoot the things you love. Capture the people whose faces you enjoy. Watch them clouds. Create memories that can last more than your own lifetime. Use your fifth eyes to see the beauty around you. Be random too. Have fun with it. Also, never forget that Lightroom and Photoshop are there for you.
- Write often. Write everything. I’m not even kidding with this one. I want to see you running through notebooks like you’re the flipping Usain Bolt/Allyson Felix of literature. I want to see your ink get finished like you’re bloody Victor Hugo. Too many times, I’ve seen you go to bed with a full head and a heavy heart. Bring it out. All the time. You will probably fall into depression otherwise. I know you. Writing isn’t just what you do; it’s what you are. Play with them words. They’re your favourite toys. When you live in a robotic world, your passion can be, well, everything.
- Breathe and love. You want 2016 to hurry up and come, so you can be done with high school, because you’re tired. You’re tired of the workload, you’re tired of subjects you aren’t particularly interested in anymore, you’re VERY tired of people. But when you rush, you tend to get stressed, and when you run, you need to catch your breath. Sometimes, chillax and breathe. It’s a bit ironic, but go for a swim. And even though there’s so much that you hate, there’s a lot of things that you love. Don’t forget to love the people who love you. You may have grown apart from some friends, but remind them from time to time that you love them, even if it looks like they don’t need you as much anymore. And the people you’ve grown closer to? Endeavour to keep them that way. After all, your friends are awesome. When you start sinking into that dark hole again, do the things you love. Draw. Play music. Make music. Whatever. Be happy. Please.
- Read. When you start sinking into that dark hole of yours, you can feel like you’re suffocating between four walls. Sometimes, school can feel like a snow globe. And you can’t literally walk out of those gates, but you can do it literally, if you get what I’m saying. Dive in between the pages of a universe that’s better and more colourful than your blank reality. And you need not answer to anyone when they question that dreamlike mist upon your eyes when you speak to them. You’re seeing in Technicolor, they’re living in sepia.
- This is important. Very important. It’s why I saved it for last. This year’s gonna be ‘crae. Because your theme is Lecrae’s Anomaly album. Girl, it’s like ‘Crae made some songs on this album specially for you. Listen to them. Especially Outsiders and Anomaly. Play it on repeat! Your biggest problems are probably lack of acceptance and inferiority complexes. Realise now that you’re different because you’re supposed to be. You may not be part of the majority crowd or have the most friends, but your niche world is beautiful. The friendships you do have are meaningful. Don’t shrink. Be boldly yourself. You’re a blessed anomaly.
“If I gotta sacrifice
Who I am on the inside,
I’d rather be an outsider.”
“I tried my best to fit in,
Looking for a suit to fit in
Now I realise that I’m free
And I realise that I’m me
And I found out that I’m not alone cause there’s plenty people like me
That’s right, there’s plenty people like me
All love me despite me
And all unashamed and all unafraid to speak out for what we might see
I said there’s plenty people like me
All outsiders like me
And all unashamed and all unafraid to live out what they supposed to be.”
Deviation from the common norm
Something or somebody that’s abnormal
And doesn’t fit in.
I say that’s exactly what we are.
We are the odd,
And they say you don’t fit in,
But I say we are exactly who God created us to be.
The system didn’t plan for this.”
So, Ivana, answer ‘Crae’s question in Say I Won’t: “Why y’all scared to be different?”
Blessings, shalom, and more black and white. =)