In Which Ella’s Name Will Not Be Affixed to the Wall

The Senior Awards ceremony is tonight. You know, the one where the winners get their names stuck to the plaques outside the Main Office to forever live in glory (and have their names ridiculed by petty teenagers). Ever since freshman year, I have wanted one of those awards. I got the big academic award in middle school and was voted most scholarly (The picture in the yearbook is hilarious. I’m wearing a green shirt with a clashing green scarf, golden brown wire framed glasses and have the nerdiest expression on my face.), which was a huge deal to me at the time. Being smart was how I defined myself and how other people seemed to defined me. It felt good to be that person.

Tonight when I walk into the Auditorium to sit on the springy green fake-velvet seats and watch the proceedings, it will not be to receive one of those big fancy awards. I’ll get my gold pin for four years of community service, and that’ll be it. My friends and many of my classmates will win awards, and I’ll enthusiastically clap and take their picture, but it won’t be the same as walking up to the stage myself, shaking someone’s hand, and getting whatever they give you to commemorate it. I know that I’m being selfish. I know that all I should feel is happiness for others, but I can’t I really, really can’t. I am far too sad over my insufficiencies and how much my emotional problems have messed up how I wanted and want to live my life.

On Stage-Managing Sadness

Last night and this afternoon, I ushered for our school’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” And while it was fun to hang out with Sadie and Jacob, I couldn’t help but feel like I was wearing a sign across my front that said failure.

I didn’t stage manage this show or last year’s musical, and I also had to drop out of the drama and Showcase half-way through Junior year. I’ve become some sort of washed up, pathetic former stage-manager, and it sucks.

There is no way that I could have stage-managed a show, kept up with school, and maintained some degree of sanity. No way at all. And I know it. I know it very well. Showcase this fall was disaster on many, many counts some of which were my fault and most of which were not, and going through it again would create bad repercussions.

Stage-managing was supposed to be something that I did with Cecelia. Something that I was good at. Something that was fun. Something that would make me special and define me. And like so many other things in my life, it hasn’t.

I am inadequate.

I cannot keep up with my peers.

I am not the person I want to be or planned to be.

I am a small, despicable person.

But I am still me, and I still have the future. Years and years of potential. As long as I don’t screw up.

So I try to wrap my hope around me and let that failure go. I have Jacob and Sadie to hang out with. I have people to direct to the bathroom. I have concessions to sell. I have people to stop from bringing food into the theatre. And I find that it’s enough. Enough to pull me through.

When I go back for the second weekend of shows on Friday, I refuse to wallow in self-pity. I have job to do, and I will do that job well. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll find time to laugh without any sadness left in me.

Post-Debate Syndrome

Today, like most days following long stressful trips, was a “dark day.” I stayed in bed, feeling depressed, reading Wikipedia, and staring at the walls from seven in the morning until three when I left for therapy. The grey cloud of sadness drifted nearer and began making ominous thundering sounds in the late afternoon while I watched Youtube videos about various charities and quietly cried.

It’s night now, my back is throbbing, and I’m ready to go to sleep. Getting out of bed again, let alone going to school, seems almost impossible, but I’ve got my Penn tee shirt draped over my desk chair, cheering me on, and I will not accept defeat. Besides, if I am capable enough to win a Golden Gavel, I can certainly make it up the front steps of school tomorrow morning.