Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Before I Die

Have you ever had to make a letter of what you think your life will be like twenty or fifty years into the future and then describe everything about it? I've had a few, with one or two of them being in Spanish.  Thinking about my purpose in life is like that.  Basically, in both, I have a list of the goals I want to accomplish and hopefully achieve before I die.  So I'm sure you're asking, "What are your goals? What is your purpose?" I happen to have a variety, some broad and others narrow, some funny and others serious, some short term and others long term. And you, you lucky dogs, have the pleasure of hearing them. Congratulations!

Those narrow goals, the ones that are thought out in excessive detail, happen to be my favorites.  Being a trilingual therapist, writer, and philanthrapist in London who constantly travels around the world is probably my narrowest idea for my future.  Having a sexily-accented British husband and two daughters is another goal of mine, but the word "hope" could be substituted in for the word "goal."  Some of my more broad goals include traveling (I do not have all of my destinations thought out yet!), become more organized, and, of course, save or dominate the entire world.  Some of my more funny goals include meeting the cast of Harry Potter, creating a four-tier, completely amazing, decked-out-in-elaborate-frosting-and-fondant cake, and holding a real human brain in my own two hands.  Yes, I said HUMAN BRAIN!!!!!! This has been on my list for a while.  The one thing I'm really known for at Aurora High School is being a brain, and ironically I would like to hold one in my hands.  The idea of holding something that in turn holds knowledge is truly fasinating to me.  Now, some of my more serious goals include publishing at least five books, donating my body to science when I die, getting Babygirl, my favorite dog/a very spunky white labrador, back from my dad, and going through my ten years of college without a massive debt.  All of those reasons vary in time (short term, long term, or whenever I feel like it). And as much as I would love to name them all again to take up more words, I'm sure you don't want to read them either.  One goal of mine is to do something that wasn't expected by myself. This goal would be like the mystery flavor dumb pop, my unknown.  I know there is something I am going to do that is completely different but it's going to be perfect or at least as close to my definition of perfect as I will ever get.  Lastly, my one goal that will guide my life is the goal that deletes that cliche, "What if?"  I want to die with no regrets of anything in my life.  I want to live my life taking chances and leaving no if's behind to build in the back of my mind.

Now there are two different definitions to purpose.  One is goals, and the other is actually purpose.  I believe my purpose in life is to meet people and to help people with their problems.  I'm naturally a people-person and always have been.  My mouth is on constant overload when I'm with complete strangers.  Friendships appear out thin air it seems.  Sometimes it's actually easier to talk to strangers than people I have known my entire life.  There's something weird in being able to talk about your life and your problems and never having to see them again.  This is one of the reasons I think therapy works the way it does.  Telling your problems to your therapist in complete confidence that no one else will ever know has to make the process easier.  I'm also good at helping people.  I said something to strangers but it also works the other way.  People tend to tell me their problems too.  One thing that makes this possible, besides my incredible listening ability that lets me hear whispered conversations in another room, is my ability to feel empathy.  In Junior Leadership, empathy was one of top five strengths.  Empathy the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.  I can understand how other people are feeling.  I have the ability to help people, and I actually like to.  When I don't help people, like if I'm really late, I feel horrible about not doing anything.  I've felt bad about not holding a door open for someone before.  Deep down, I know I'm meant to help people.  It's the reason I'm here.

Just like our fingerprints, I'm unique when it comes to my purpose.  You will never find anyone who has the same goals as I do ( I doubt you'd find ANYONE else who wants to hold a human brain).  But I'm okay with that, because I love who everything that is a part of me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just Live, Laugh, & Love

   Where am I?  That three-fold question that has been picking at my brain for weeks now.  How can I answer that question 100% truthfully when only the places from my past that came to mean something to me are the ones I can remember completely or the places I will be are based on my hopes and dreams, successes and failures. I'm not a psychic; there's no way I can see or predict the future, where I'm going to go, what my life is going to be like.  Thankfully, the second question, where am I now, is simple enough to answer.  There's no time like the present, right?  To begin with, my definition of the word "home" is different than everyone else's.  We've all heard the Dorothy clicking her ruby slippers three times and saying, "There's no place like home," or if you've read Avalon High by Meg Cabot (my favorite author, if you didn't catch that in my first blog post), you might remember reading Elaine "Ellie" Harrison saying, "Home? What do you know about home? The people make up the home, not the place."  Simply concurring with these statements is probably an understatement.  To me, the people are more important than the actual place.  Everywhere I go where the people are important to me is considered in some form to be a part of my home.  If things go the way I want them to, I will own the "deeds" to dozens of homes and meet hundreds of people around the world before I die.
   In comparison to my friends and acquaintances at the school, I haven't really been anywhere.  Money limits my life, commands my actions and responsibilities.  That be as it may, equality of life is still in my life to reference one of the five laws of nature that I learned in Washington D.C.  D.C. is my vacation of a lifetime.  Going there, seeing all that history, meeting the hundreds of people I met, and having a super-loaded recess of fun and learning.  For two weeks this past summer, I took a break from working and my in-order-to-make-money isolation from my friends and family and just lived.  Not worrying about the past or the future was pure bliss on my life and my personal "Energizer battery."  And though I may have my sites on hundreds of homes and families, I already have one of each that I love.  We may be on our third home in Phillips, and my family might be nutz to its core, but I can't imagine being anywhere else in my life.  School may not be a fun place all of the time, but the humor, the teachers, and the lessons can make school a blast.  The backroom for Mr. Vrana, a.k.a the Journalism room, and my number one hang out, the bomb shelter, are some of the best places at the school in my opinion.  Though I used to regret living in Nebraska with the horizon of corn and lack of the new and exciting, I can accept my background.  I have a sense of pride after my D.C. trip.  Being a part of that amazing program, being chosen as one of the 112 juniors from all of the United States, makes me proud to be a Nebraskan.  My community, both the one of Phillips and the one of Aurora, is a great one.  Those traditions, new or old, are held close to our hearts as are our neighbors.  Whether writing names and words on the graffiti wall outside Phillips or getting coffee or ice cream from Espressions after school, they get upheld.  All of the people are close, knowing what goes on in each others lives.
   Over the past week, the stress of college and my future have my brain in constant overload.  Should I go to UNO or UNL or UChicago?  Should I really get a degree in creative writing so I can write novels?  Should I even try to write at all?  How am I going to pay for anything and everything?  Only the thought of college and cost makes my head hurt.  With my future being questioned by everyone, I feel frozen, scared about making the wrong decision and my life won't turn out to be my own happily ever after.  Though I want to live in London, helping people and making up awesome stories, possibly marrying a British guy whose accent makes me smile, my brain battles my heart, reminding it of the very small possibility of that happening.  The future life I imagine for myself completely shatters like a glass mosaic shot with a buckshot.  Still, my plans of traveling the world and meeting all of these different and amazing people will never change.  They might divide in size, but I can't go through my life without seeing the world. 
   As Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."  I'd rather go through life with knowledge and the joys of living than wishing I had done something differently with my life.  I will go through my life loving the people and places I see and meet, not regretting where I've been, or worrying about where I will be.  I'll just live, laugh, and love.
The Journalism Room, Mr. Vrana's, AHS

The Bomb Shelter, Art Hallway, AHS

Espressions, Home of Amazing Coffee and Memories

The Graffiti Wall in Phillips

The Land of Corn

My Old House, My Second Home in Phillips

My Newest Home, the Place of the Crazies, We Even Have Our Official Sign

Rees and I on the Last Day of the Congressional Academy

Monday, August 29, 2011

Constant Contradiction

A little town, an invisible girl, temporarily stuck.  I bet if you asked a random person, they wouldn't know a Jessica Mayes with two differently colored eyes; giraffe-ish heights; feet that would out-stomp and out-weird the infamous Big Foot's; and wacky, uncontrollable hair that has been said to look gray in a certain light. People may not know who I am, but I plan to change that. I appear to be the girl next door, kind and sensible and the person you can tell anything.  Yet, I am a constant contradiction (...and I'm not saying I am not any of the things a girl next door should be).

To classify who I am, I have to consider the locations and people in my life, and also the events that have shaped who I am.  Family is somewhat important to me, but not enough to make me want to stay in Phillips, my hometown.  I love my mother and my nine siblings, my grandma and my cousins, but I want to see the world, make a difference, change lives.  Also, my family have had a lot of problems.  To stay true to my girl-next-door persona, I'm the mediator in most of the fights.  And believe me, there have been A LOT of fights, in multiple combinations.  I like to smooth things over instead of stirring things up; I am the real version of Jenny Green, a character in "Teen Idol", a novel by my favorite author, Meg Cabot.  A major thing that has shaped who I am is my parents' divorce.  In February of my sophomore year, my dad left the state for a job in Illinois.  Two months later, after my mom found out he was living with his high school sweetheart and her three kids, she filed for divorce.  The divorce made a lot of ripples in our lives.  My sister and I took separate sides in the divorce, and we have been fighting constantly ever since.  For the first time, I learned that I could really hold a grudge.  I may be nice to those haven't done anything to me or anyone else, but being cold and silent is my talent when someone makes me mad.  Siding with my mom, I stopped talking to my dad for more than a year.  An important thing to know about me is that I'm an emotional shield, something no one has really found out.  I never let my emotions show, no matter how horrible I feel.  Sometimes I wish people could see it, but that's who I am, so I dont regret it.  and even though no one can see through my shield, I am really good at seeing through others.  This is one of the reasons I want to be a therapist.  I want to help people with their problems and make them feel better about themselves.

Like most teenage girls, I have a lot of interests and hobbies.  But being the walking contradiction I am, a lot of mine are opposites.  I love getting dirty by riding dirtbikes and fourwheelers or having mudfights, but I like shopping and makeup too.  Reading is a huge part of my life, but I hate staying still.  If you ever watch me while I am reading, I fidget every few minutes.  Talking to people is so much fun to me, but at home I am quiet and secluded in my room.  I don't try to get good grades, but when it comes to projects, I'm a perfectionist.  I want to make connections and have a home and family, but I want to see the whole world while I'm at it.  Traveling is my biggest ambition.  Seeing all the worlds places and meeting its wide variety of people is my dream.  Seeing all of the different cultures and how much different they are from mine is something I want.  As I've grown up, I haven't been as good off as others.  I've had to work all summer every summer to have money to buy all the things I need and want.  But I've reminded myself that even though my life may seem bad, a lot of people's lives have been worse.  I want to be able to help them have better lives, too.  Volunteering is a very important thing, in my book, with this being one of the reasons.  I feel guilty sometimes that I don't volunteer as much as I should.

A person's individuality is as unique as a fingerprint.  No one is exactly the same as another person, but I know I am no where close to being similar.  My personality changes by the season, in sync with the weather cycle.  It may seem unusual, but it's true.  One thing that doesn't change is my continual happiness. Smiling could quite possibly be my middle name! I laugh at everything from a joke to a funny face.  When I say funny face, I mean a facial expression that is so different from everyone around them that I absolutely have to laugh.  Without laughing and smiling, I don't know how I would get through the day.  Funny is another trait of mine.  Whether I make a funny face to make someone feel better, tell a joke that isn't funny yet seems hilarious anyway, or making fun of myself (I am one of the few people who can make fun of myself and still love who I am), I get people to laugh.  Optimism is another one of my traits.  Breanna Johnson, one of my friends I see only in the summer, commented once that I am the most positive person she ever met and if I'm sad or quiet, the end of the world is coming.  Being able to look at the positives is one of my strengths.  I'd rather look at the happy than the dark and gloom.  I happen to here from many people that I am very creative.  Creativity just comes to me; I don't know how though.  Maybe I am just naturally outside the box?  When asking anyone to describe me, most of them say smart.  Academics have always been one of my strong points without even trying.  This is a good thing because it will hopefully be the reason I can go to college for eight or more years and not have a huge debt.  One quality I pride myself over is my kindness.  I treat everyone equally, even if I don't like the person.  I happily possess the "Nebraska wave," or the habit of waving to everyone you pass while you are driving.  Before I went to D.C., I thought everyone did that.  It wasn't until my class started talking about the phenomenon that I realized I was possibly one of the few out of the 112 students there that did such a thing.  I am overly polite to everyone I meet, and I easily make friends with them.  Do you know that person that starts giving their life stories when you say hi to them or smile at them? I'm the girl who encourages such behaviors! 

That's just a small fraction of me! Like a big, sparkly $500,000 diamond, I have many facets!

Listen to my #1 Life Soundtrack Song Here I Am by Carly Patterson: