I was in the in the shallows. My understanding of things would touch the surface and wouldn’t go any deeper. I then began to get caught up and tossed around in the turbulence. The transition of shallowness to depth began when I really started engaging in what Link had to offer.
Before I came to Link, I was the sort of person that would change myself to jump into the flow of the ongoing river of normality, just to be like every other. I wanted to feel accepted. I did things that I wasn’t proud of; I wasn’t reflecting my true selfhood. I struggled to form my own opinions and stand courageously behind my decisions because I would always drift towards somebody else’s in hope that I would feel secure in my place. I was timid to push myself and to grow as a person. I wanted to be on the same level as everybody else and was ignorant to the fact I could be such a better person being who I am.
I love to progress and if I am not taking steps forward I feel stagnant. From being at Link I have learned so much about how to be who I want to be. To keep on progressing I move forward with the idea that there are no retrograde steps. I move forward, never falling back. There’s this quote from Miscellaneous Writings (by Mary Baker Eddy) and it says, “We should go into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities….” I am so grateful to have had this experience at The Link School and am enthusiastic for what lays ahead of me.
I was eager to do anything that got me out of doing any physical activities, social events, or academic work. I was ignorant of the outside world in its true form; in fact I wasn’t even curious of anything I didn’t already know.
But now I am changed. I have found that there are ways to truly express myself in the physical activities that I do. I can encourage others to share my enjoyment of fun shoeing. The amount of close friends that I hang out with on a daily has increased significantly. Now I am always trying to have conversations with the group at every meal, always speaking my opinion in class discussions, and being an important part of the group. I have become more spiritually aware and active. My love for growing has given me many opportunities to use Christian Science in my everyday live weather it be in continuing to conquer my fear of heights in taking on the everyday battle against contagion.
This I am.
I was messing around and not taking school seriously. I was hard headed and refused to accept others help. I was stuck in a way of thinking that had me going in circles, and refused to work to break those bad habits. I didn’t know where I was going in life and truly didn’t care. I was hurting people around me and hiding things from friends and family. I was drifting further and further away from God, and didn’t know how to find Him again. I was leading two separate lives and neither felt like me. One was my social life were I was funny didn’t care about school and could go be do anything without carrying about rules or affects on others, the second was my family life were I was constantly arguing and hiding what I thought and didn’t have fun.
But now I am focusing more and more on my schoolwork. I am accepting help and ideas and working on changing myself. I am adopting a new way of thinking that has me working on not only improving myself but improving others too. While I still don’t know exactly where I will go in life I do know that I will be where I need to be, while I do not know if I will be helping others improve, or if I will be simply in a supporting role, but I know that I have purpose now. I now have nothing to be ashamed of and am no longer feeling like I need to hide things, because I have been shown that when a mistake is made you learn from it and build off of it and improve. I have found myself closing the gap between God and me. I feel like I have found who I truly am and don’t need to lead different lives anymore.
I was lost, stuck in my own ways. I thought I knew what was best for myself when, in fact, I was, as an old teacher put it, “in self-destruct mode.” I wasn’t willing to change and, worst of all, I didn’t want to or even plan on it, period. I thought the way my life was going was fine. I was in the mindset of an indestructible teen that made laws and rules revolve around him. I was a person who looked for a smile in others instead of in him. I looked for happiness in whatever my ‘friends’ wanted me to do, no matter how damaging the effects were to me. Not once did I think about how my actions affected others.
Looking back at who I was terrifies me. But I no longer have to do that. All I need to focus on now is the present. This year at Link has made me think about how I can choose to live my own life – that my life is not under the control of friends, but of me. Every single choice I make, big or small, will always affect someone else.
In my three years at Link, I have truly found a sense of who I am and who I want to be in the future. Before, I was cold, unloving, and selfish. I know I can still act those ways sometimes, but now, if someone asked me to tell them who I am, for the first time in my life I could tell them.
I remember when I was thinking about applying to Link, reading Year 2’s ‘I Was But Now I Am’ pieces and thinking, “Wow. I wish I could go to a school where I could look back on the year and see just how much I’ve changed as a person and how much others around me have changed.” All my previous schools saw me as a hopeless case and not worth the hassle of trying to keep me focused in class. They just saw my life as a battle already lost. However, I didn’t see that, and neither did my family. We all knew I just hadn’t found the right place for me. I have now finally found that place. It is Link, and now I can finally say, “I once was lost, but now I am found.”
To be teachable is not just to say what people want to hear, but to listen and respect what they are saying. Bobby has always said to me, “To know and not to do is not to know.” I finally realize what this really means. True respect for someone doesn’t just come through what you say to them; that’s just scratching the surface. To both give and gain respect, you have to do what they’re asking you to do and not just say what they want to hear.
The hardest challenge, and one I have been facing my whole life and have had to overcome at Link, is to work with and not against people. I have always had the mindset of, if someone told me that I was doing something wrong, I would not listen and I would do it my way. Through the Link community, I have learned to take constructive criticism instead of living my life in my own little bubble, shunning anyone else’s thoughts, whether loving or not.
I was young. I was naïve. I wanted to be great, and I thought that meant I had to be important, I had to do something that would put my name in a history book. I didn’t understand who I really was. I’m an artist. I use words to create worlds and people and events that never have, nor ever will, exist. I thought I would need to make a name for myself somehow, but then I realized that all I need is satisfaction from life. I need time to write. I need time to read. I need time to play music. More important than anything, I need people to share life with. Nothing else matters in the slightest. Life is a journey that most people will never really understand, but I think that now I know. At least I know for myself. I’m no longer interested in living so that the world will remember me. I want to live for my own happiness and the happiness of the people around me.
Before he went off to fight the Trojan War, Achilles’ mother, Thetis, told him that he wouldn’t return from the war, but that he would receive eternal glory. Conversely, if he had stayed behind, Achilles would have raised a family and been remembered for only a few generations, but his life would have ended happily. Achilles chose to go to Troy. Achilles achieved eternal glory, entombed in our stories forevermore. I choose to stay home and let others go on to Troy.
What am I now? I am at peace.
I was closed. Opening up to anyone was a big no-no. I had experienced my whole life that when you open up to people, it is easier for them to get in and hurt you. It’s not something I chose or really wanted, but it had become instinct to keep people at arm’s length. Sure, I always loved people and had friends, but nobody was ever permanent to me. Everyone came and went; only a few of my relationships had any real substance. Creating distance in my relationships became a routine that I got used to. It didn’t matter who it was, friends or family, everyone left voluntarily.
As an outside midfielder in soccer, I had been trained to do one thing: run. There are a couple other things added in there for variety, but running’s the main one. So that’s what I did. I ran. I ran on the soccer field, and I ran from just about anything or anyone that scared me. I was like Daniel in the lion’s den, only a version of Daniel that dug a tunnel and got the heck out of there. So much so, that the tunnel took me all the way to Colorado. Now, I’m not saying that running was my only motive for coming to Link. Not at all, but I did run. I thought that if I went to a different place, my problems and fears would go away. It turns out that no matter where you go, you will be faced with the same old problems, just with different faces.
Now I am beginning to open. I know the people that are worthwhile, that see my value, will be there. I’m not so scared anymore. I have realized that there just can’t be a lack of anything in my, or anyone else’s, life. Especially love. Depending on others for happiness is inconsistent and, unfortunately, will always leave you in disappointment. Now I don’t need to run away anymore. I don’t need to run from my fears or from people. I need only to love everyone in my life, regardless of whether or not I get something in return. I need only to express unconditional Love. As Mrs. Eddy says on page 17 in Science and Health, “And Love is reflected in love.”
I was expressing more than who I was. There was a childish immaturity that had never left. It kept me from hearing anything that I didn’t want to hear. I didn’t truly ask who I was or who I wanted to be. I have always been goofy, awkward, silly, and have had great potential, but I didn’t know the time and place to express those things. I had always thought of myself as loving, but, unfortunately, it was a give-and-take method—be nice to me and I would give a bounty of love in return. But if I were in trouble, I would turn into a stubborn, headstrong teenager who could cook up some serious attitude. I didn’t really recognize the things I was doing until after I had done them. I was upset with my inability to show prudence and forethought in my actions and responses, but I believed that change was impossible.
Now I recognize the need for active growth. I now know the importance of building a firm foundation of love and thoughtfulness. Instead of putting off my growth in a procrastinating manner, I know that something must be done. I can’t change everything immediately, but I can take steps to improve. By improving how I respond to situations, and how I react to discipline, I can build a foundation that will carry me through life in a way that I am proud of. This year has helped me finally realize that there is a problem that needs to be handled. I am so grateful that I came to a school that has made me come face-to-face with this problem, and I await the growth that I am certain will come from it.
I was a shy little girl who would hide behind her dad’s legs every time someone approached her. Scared, timid, only willing to see the world behind my dad’s huge, massively hairy legs. Those legs, to me, were safety—my shelter. Now I don’t need those reassuring legs. Now I’m free. Well, as free as my parents allow me to be. The world doesn’t seem as scary anymore. Now my eyes see everything as a new adventure, waiting for me to take it all on.
Even though I made a huge decision by changing schools, I wasn’t scared at all. It felt reassuring and right because I knew it was right for me. That reassurance shows that I have changed, because, at the beginning of this year, I never would have thought of changing schools. That thought horrified me—being so far away from family, friends, and a school that I had attended for ten years, give or take a few that my mom let me miss.
Now I’m outgoing and taking risks. I’ve changed schools and brought up my once horrific grades. I am becoming someone that I thought I would never be. I read books now and watch a lot less TV. Even though I’m still social, I now know how to say no to my social life when I need to do work. In just the three months I’ve been at Link, I have significantly improved towards being who I want to be.
I have made mistakes in my life. Some were small, like walking outside in my stocking-feet and making holes in all my socks. Others are big, like running my dad’s car over a huge rock at full speed and denting the bottom of the car. I know that who I was will never change, and those mistakes will still linger. But who I am is evolving and developing everyday to become better.
This year at Link I had to figure out how to balance academics with having a boyfriend. Finding that balance was hard because all I wanted to do is hang out with him. I figured out that there are more important things to life then having a boyfriend. So I started focusing on schoolwork and hanging out with him when I didn’t have homework. Finding that balance helped me stay focused on academics and helped him stay focus as well. As soon as I figured that out, I started doing better in classes.
When I was in 7th grade, I started failing all my classes. Last year at Link help me understand the importance of academics and passing. This year at Link I have been trying to keep my grades up in the classes that are hard for me. I am coming up with new ways of how to study for tests. I still have trouble with tests, but every test I have different ways of studying and it’s been helping me through them.
Last year I had problems with people talking about me and I cared way too much. This year, I don’t care what people say about me. If it offended me, I would go talk to them about it. Other times I ignore what they are saying. Since I have been ignoring what people say about me, it has changed my attitude. It makes my life a lot happier when I’m not fighting with people, but instead getting along with people.
Before I came to Link I didn’t like doing outdoor actives or even just going outside. Now I like going outside and playing around in the snow and in the sun. My family has been into camping and doing a lot of outdoor things. Every time they go out now, I go with because it’s fun to go camping and mess around wherever we decide to go camping. On some of the trips we take that deal with hiking and the things we do at school, I lead them in the right direction. I have a lot of fun going camping and hanging out with my family while camping.
The past two years at Link has made the person I have always wanted to be, a person who is nice, kind, and helpful. If I stayed at a public school I would have never been able to work on myself and help myself. Link has been helping me through that, Link has also help me develop my skills more and improved the skills I already had. I’m really grateful to have to opportunity to come to Link. Coming to Link has changed the way I look at myself and the way I look at the world around me. Also this year I have been using Christian Science more. Last year, I didn’t really use it when there was a problem. This year when there was a problem I go straight to Christian Science.
Ever since I was little, I was the shy one who worried about what others thought about me. I was glued to my family and my close friends. Every time I went somewhere I would want someone else right beside me, there in case I needed something. I never liked to be alone.
This year I have learned that it is okay to be alone, that you do not need someone at your side. I have become more independent as a result of being away from my family. Sometimes I still want to have some one there, and that is okay because I am still working to know that I already have someone here, my father-mother, God.
Through my independence, my eyes have been opened to the world. I now am more curious than ever to see what the world has to offer. Right now I am scared of the world because it is so big and there are so many awful things that happen, but I am trying to overcome this sense of worry. I try to make the most of every moment, and in the process I might find something that I love. I am no longer passive in my own life, which is the most important thing that has happened to me.
The gray skies looked down on me. Waiting. But for what? An answer? I used to think that they were expecting me to say, “Oh gosh, it’s another ugly, rainy day.” Always expecting me to be a downer. I expected myself to be a downer. I just easily gave in. I was the girl who looked at the glass and said, “Dang, it’s half empty,” and maybe even throws the rest of the glass away. I used to not have standards to keep myself doing well. I gave in to what the storm clouds hanging over my head were expecting me to say. The clouds didn’t go away once I had given in like I expected they would. I had become the half empty glass full of rotten milk. It seemed like I was taking one step forwards and two steps back, but I didn’t want to do anything about it. When I wasn’t at camp, I used to judge people from what they appeared to be on the surface, not for whom they really were inside. I didn’t feel like putting in the effort to get to know them for who they were on the inside. I didn’t even know who I was on the inside, and at the time, I didn’t even want to find out.
But now, I am the girl who will rush head-on into a storm and hope it thunders and rains. I am happy. I don’t allow myself to even think about touching the half empty glass of rotten milk. I fight the rain clouds that decide they would like to sit on my head and dampen my days. I absolutely refuse to see the world from the outside and make myself see it from the inside, always. More than I have ever been, I am hungry to see more about myself, meet new people, and learn. These absolutely crazy people who are now my best friends, but that I consider my family, have taught me so much in what seems a time too short. These are the best days that I will bring out of my high school experience. I can’t even explain how much I have learned this year. I have learned much more than any textbook could have taught me. I am now the glass half full of juice. I am Cassie Blanca and Purple along with the girl who has sunshine over her head all day. I am me. Not the fake me, but the real one.
I was a child. I spoke like a child, knew only what children know, and acted childish. I wondered and I though “Is this it? Is this how I am to be?” I accepted the unacceptable answer. I thought I was fully-fledged and mature, though I was not. I sat within myself for ages, marveling in how great I was and falling into dark pits. I did nothing, and thought that made me better. I though I had grown, when I was merely dead, waiting for reanimation.
Now, I am still a child, but now I am alive, and everything seems so clear to me. Now, the air is cold, the sky is blue, the ground is red, the grass is green, the world is large, and I am small. I may be small, though I have so far to go, I am a part of this world, and I am within God’s care. I was alone, but now I am surrounded by love. I was a prisoner, but now I know that freedom is my divine right. I once was a child, but now I am childlike, ready to absorb the good and godliness that surrounds me.
I was boring. I didn’t like doing any of the activities that the people around me liked doing. I was the kid who would separate himself from the others just to be alone and get away from the numerous conflicts throughout the year. I would go off on my own too much and not really socialize at all with the other students; I was independent.
Now I am a much different person after going through a whole school year at Link. I actively engage in and want to learn about the other students through conversation and hanging out with them. I go off by myself sometimes and carry out my hobbies at good times and not whenever I want to do them. Even in these times I take to myself, I now find it lonely and try to find someone to go with me and share my interests in the numerous polar opposite activities I am interested in.
These are just a few of the activities I am interested in: falconry, coin collecting, stamp collecting, arrowhead collecting, fishing, hunting, rock climbing, mountain biking, ping pong, and the list goes on and on. Many of these interests I have acquired through being at Link. These interests have shaped me to want to do these things with other people involved because it is more fun that way.
I have also grown in my sense of integrity through this year. I came to Link not realizing how having bad integrity can affect a whole community in a very bad way. I worked with honesty throughout the year and have become a more truthful person than I was back then. Through the year I have seen my relationships with my peers change in a good direction through working on my integrity.
As a result, I have become a person who socializes with and listens to my peers and presents input if they have problems they need to deal with. I have become much less independent and have had a complete turnaround in my mind about being with other people; it is not a chore or a consequence, it is a privilege and an opportunity to have many remembered and cherished funny moments. I didn’t ever think I would be ready to change myself so much, but this just proves nací listo! (I was born ready).