Dear Leland Speech and Debate,
In a few hours time, I’ll be sobbing and hugging everyone in a collective heap of emotions. However, before I disintegrate into a unintelligible mess, I’d like to give my words of wisdom. Then again, I’m just a high school student and there’s a reason nobody trusts our judgment for anything. It’s your choice whether to listen or not.
The only point of Speech and Debate is to have fun. No, you will not get into Harvard if you do well in Speech. No, you will not convince everyone of your prowess and prestige if you win State in Policy. No, you are not guaranteed a single thing from spending four years in Leland Speech and Debate.
The bottom line is that Speech doesn’t entitle you to anything. If you’re looking for an easy ride to your dream school, look somewhere else. To get into Ivies and beyond you have to be unique in some way. Sorry to tell you this, but Speech and Debate does not make you unique whatsoever. One in five kids from Leland is a part of our team. Speech does not make you unique.
So what is the point of all this? Fun. Not the fun you get playing videogames or chatting with friends. No, instead the fun you get when you join something you absolutely suck at and gradually see the fruits of your labor. More often than not, this does not result in trophies or undefeated records. Instead, the fun comes from the relationships you make, the memories you create, and the confidence you gain.
Of course I’m viewing Speech through rose-tinted glasses because this event happened to be what I invested the majority of my high school career in. Maybe I would have gotten the same thing if I chose math competitions. Maybe I would have made the same friends if I chose scientific research. Maybe I would have found a niche if I chose tennis. Somehow, I doubt it.
In the end, Speech is my happiness. Ryan and I learned a long time ago to not to base our happiness to breaking. We obviously preferred to do well. But life is a hell of a lot easier when you don’t tie your happiness to another’s standards. Doing well was a lot less important than being able to smile. I was never spectacular at speech, and never really cared to be spectacular. Having fun was so much better.
What speech will help you with is taking that first step. Asking that girl out. Raising your hand in class. Speaking up when something is wrong. Confidence in doing something, throwing yourself out there with the chance of getting absolutely wrecked.
I did it anyway. I got shot down, blatantly disregarded, and scoffed at repeatedly. But I tried. And I tried again, and again. And it seems to have worked out.
It’s been a very fun four years. Thanks for letting me be a part of it.
Vice President of Speech
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
You’re not boring.
I’ll try to refrain from gushing sentimentality by saying things like “Before I met you I was nothing”. But the fact of the matter was I was perfectly content finishing my high school career in quiet irrelevance, not trying in anything.
Then I found someone worth trying for.
Yeah, it’s cheesy and cliched, but life’s truths are cliches. I abandoned my comfortable known surroundings and got myself into something with an all-too-real deadline. And it’s fun.
Like “Postcard from 1952” memories were made. Sitting by a secluded creek, walking the corridors of Target, and living a complete dream at State were times of incomparable happiness. Snapshots of the past condensed into intimate moments of joy.
Then it changed. Disillusionment is nothing if not jarring.
The prior happiness and giggles made it that much more devastating. But I guess that’s also what’s “real”, not just late nights pushing away the beckoning of sleep, and holding hands trying to forget time. And now there’s still smiles and genuine caring. But it’s not the same, nor should it ever be again.
I’m glad I met you.
The xx - xx
Betty is an entity.
The simplest explanation is simply that this album feels like not being there, and you rarely come to school. You can’t really be there if you physically aren’t.
But that’s really not it. You are an oddity.
You’ve been entwined in the lives of so many of my friends but not in mine. Even when we talk it seems distant; not like you’re uninterested and bored of me, but just somewhere else. Even your tumblr name “Semper ad meliora” means you’re always pointed somewhere else, to a future that I doubt I’ll ever be a part of.
You’re far away, and I doubt I’ll ever get to know you more than an interesting person to talk to.
Wherever you go, I doubt I’ll follow. But it’s been fun, and I’d be very willing to randomly meet you at a Starbucks in 5 years. But the world is big.
This is our intersection. This is our meeting. This is our end.
I hope you float on okay.
Not caring is not boasting loudly how little you care.
Not caring is shutting up about it because it is that irrelevant.
—Bend To Squares
What a way to cut lengthwise
You’re special. You’re important. I love you. We’ll keep in touch. I’ll miss you.
I previously thought that those “meaningful” words have been bastardized beyond recognition. Oft repeated phrases became easy to ignore, as it didn’t mean anything to me personally.
Then they came so naturally to me too. Shame on me for thinking I was the exception, the one who eclipsed such “generic” words of emotion. I found myself using them, and I meant them too. Even retrospectively, if my opinions changed, it didn’t change the fact that they were true at a time, at a place in my life.
Several conclusions were drawn.
One: I am a typical high school boy, uncertain about my station in life, both cynical and open to the mainstream.
Two: Cliches are cliches because they happen to be true.
Three: Crappy romance novels sell.
The reason we have these guilty pleasures is that we as a species, can relate to them. The sappy lovey-dovey writing pulls at our heartstrings and make us empathize, because as far away as we try to distance ourselves, we are the society we tend to dismiss and chastise. Love is nothing if not relatable. We all want it.
You don’t want to be special.
Special means alone.
I spread out my fingers, and the dark berries glisten in the sun. I give Peeta’s hand one last squeeze as a signal, as a good-bye, and we begin counting. “One.” Maybe I’m wrong. “Two.” Maybe they don’t care if we both die. “Three!” It’s too late to change my mind. I lift my hand to my mouth, taking one last look at the world. The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare.
The booming voice of Claudius Templesmith shouts above them. “Congratulations! You passed! I am pleased to announce the victors of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark! Oh come now, don’t just stand there, come here and greet your friends and family!”
My entire body shook as Prim, my mother, Gale, and Rue stepped out from behind the Cornucopia. Prim beamed at me in the same dress she wore during the Reaping.
"We’re so proud of you Katniss," my mother choked as she clutched Prim for support.
"Didn’t I tell you? Come on, we have to get back soon before the season is over," Gale said with his ever-familiar grin.
"It’s gonna take more than that to get rid of me Katniss," Rue smirked.
Slowly the realization sank in. It was over. I was going home. I turned to Peeta, shouting in his face.
"We did it Peeta! We’re going home! This can’t be happening! I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it! I can’t… believe it. I-"
I start to laugh, the berries tumbling out of my hand. I start to laugh as the figures revert back to the grass and empty field surrounding the Cornucopia. I start to laugh as the darkness descends and all fades to black.
Planning to keep in touch makes it that much more painful when you don’t.
Best friends for life, love you forever, and definitely talking every day, doesn’t amount to much when you’ve only lived a fifth of your life.
Continue on with the promises that don’t mean much, smile politely and hug.
Anticipation has a habit to set you up for disappointment.