Katin Kendrena – “Royál”

          Sitting here, working on dead-end stories for a close deadline, I’m realizing something; that being that I may attempt to write all kinds of writing – that of fiction, poetry, memoir, and so on – but no one will continue to nag me like this. It’s odd, seeing your thoughts on paper; to see them so clearly can often help work out the occasional problem or internal struggle. Supposedly, this is called “Stream of Consciousness”, but I half resent the name. To call it “Stream of Consciousness” simply implies that you are conscious; that this is what runs through your mind. I find it to be much more than this. I digress.

          There are various things I should be doing right now, other than this – such as studying for the multiple tests I have coming up within the coming days -nevertheless, I am being “productive”. I say “productive” because what is productivity? Who is to judge whether something is “productive” or not? The definition of productive, according to Google, is “producing or able or produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities.” Correct me if I am wrong, but my belief is that most people, other than farmers, will not produce a large amount of crops in their lifetimes. But then again, I could always be wrong.

***

          I came home distraught about something I don’t even remember. Nonetheless, my mood hooked into me, dragging down my arms, head, and back. I kneeled down and unlocked Jack. Just clicking the lock relieved me – that feeling of knowing it would be okay was exactly what I needed – knowing that if I could write it down, if I could see it and read it and think it over before I sent an angry text or said something I might regret, then I would be good.

          I think the best time to write is when you don’t know how you feel. And I don’t know how I feel. A close friend of mine, who also stands in as a teenage counselor, says that anger is a disguise for sadness. But anger is not what I feel. At least not about this. It’s just that all of a sudden I am aware of how much things are going to start changing. For this person’s sake, I wont say their name, but I will say that her parents are immensely more lenient than mine, and I know that once they start driving, she’ll leave me. But she doesn’t know that yet. I know her better than she knows herself, which is both a blessing and a curse.

          Why not just skip to it, then? She should just leave me already. I know the inevitable. I think the correct course of action is to hold on to her, but know when it’s time to let her go. Or leave her instead.

***

          Growing up, I was always told that stories have plots. And I didn’t know any better. Of course all stories have plots. Or do they?

          I guess it depends on how you personally define a story. To me, this is my life – my thoughts. That’s a story. To you, however, this could be an enormous waste of time; reading the thoughts of a random teenager from Tacoma. But if stories are made up of plots, than is this not a story? Because if you think this is not a story, I will have to respectfully disagree with you on that. This, in fact, is a story.

***

          There are so many unanswered questions in my life, but I feel as though I may be the only one who can answer them. Even though I am only fifteen years old, I think my wisdom is beyond my years. Not to say that I am “elevated,” or a genius or anything like that, but simply that I do not fit with my age group. This is just something I’ve learned. I have a place, and that’s right where I am.

          I often find that people my age try to find where they “belong”. Belonging is something trivial. You belong because you’re here and you’re here because you belong.

          I went through the “Do I belong?” phase years ago and I find that my friends are going through that now.

          I have a very small number of friends, but they’re good. This may be changing, unfortunately. I see them striving the be like the people they see on TV; the famous and rich, but they can’t even drive yet. I see them taking on attitudes towards life that I resent. They “risk it for the biscuit”, the risk be their well being or health, and the “biscuit” being the reward of coming off as cool.

***

          Thanksgiving fell on my birthday the year I turned eight, and I was full of discontent. People had gone about the house saying “Happy Thanksgiving!” Instead of “Happy Birthday!” It took seven years, but I’d eventually make peace with the situation that reoccurred every seven to eight years.

          My fifteenth birthday, the house was warmly lit, per usual. My grandparents lived the life of beauty and simplicity in a beach house at the edge of Gig Harbor. The dining table took up an expansive amount of room and the smell of food filled the entirety of the house. My grandparents, parents, aunt and uncle all bustled in the kitchen, confirming with each other that they put food on the plate in such a way as to please the eyes.

          Our feast of a dinner consisted of honey baked ham, popovers, jam, meat, and biscuits drowned in thick gravy. This extravaganza of a meal was followed with a birthday cake and a pie – we celebrated the birthdays of my uncle and me at the same time.

          After dessert, my family lied in gluttony, spread among the couches and chairs. However, the final part to the evening remained – that being presents.

          My uncle received his gift first – a card accompanied by a present. What he received I have forgotten, for it was the next moments that made me question everything, or rather forget everything up to that moment.

My grandparents pulled (or should I say lugged) a box out from underneath the table. It looked heavy – dense. I would come to deem it the thing of most worth I would ever receive. Not worth in money, but worth as in worth to me. This was the beginning the most marvelous adventure I would ever have.

I ripped open the wrapping paper to reveal what seemed to simply be a rough, black box. Staring at it with slight confusion, I was given a key and showed the lock. I clicked the lock open to reveal a black, vintage, 1963 Royál typewriter. It was beautiful. I filled it with paper and promptly wrote “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” I thought I was hilarious.

***

Once our eyes open, once we are born, we begin to die. Life is only so long and so often is it cut short. So much of our time is spent doing things we will never need to do or know.

Because it goes by so fast, we have to make an effort to grasp it and hold on to the moments when we feel content. I think that too many people (myself included) wait for the perfect time, when in reality, we are just waiting for someone else to come along and push us over the edge. The right time won’t ever come if you wait for it. You have to make it the right time.

I find it’s the people who don’t have a place who make a new world for everyone else. A world where not only they fit, but a world in which everyone isincluded.

We are only a second old every moment. Every second we get a second older and in that second, we are not the same person as any other second in our entire lives.

Change is gradual, not instant. We can make it feel like change is instant, but it takes time to develop into who we are. Everyone on our planet will travel through dark forests and oceans with clear, sunny skies to find who they are.

The more bad days we encounter, the more stories we have, and with more troubles, more experience. Everything has an equal and opposite reaction, so we are given death along with life and good stories along with bad days.

***

I named him Jack – my typewriter. Over the last year, I’ve explored so many things with Jack; every genre, every character, every person in my life. Jack has the ability to bring out my true thoughts. The power to never tell anyone anything because he can’t. I “talk” to Jack, in the form of typing. I’m sure he has an uncountable number of secrets and stories from the past within him. And maybe one day someone else will think the same thing. I just have to make my mark first.

***

We spend our entire lives searching for who we are. A lot of people get lost doing that. They lose sight of what they had set out to do in the first place. Every choice we make defines another part of us. The choice to sit down or stand up for what though believe in. Simple things like helping out a friend or stay at home watching Instagram videos. Keep that in mind, that everything we do defines us. That’s how you find who you are. Not by searching for what you want to be, but by just being it.

***

I find that people have differing opinions and mostly polar feelings about blank pages. It can mean so many things. In art, for example, a blank canvas is symbolic of art itself, but also for potential. In my experience – in writing – a blank page means everything and nothing all at once. In my opinion, I think words on a page themselves are boring and nothing short of a lazy person with thoughts in their head. But when someone can make those word come off of the page, make you get so lost you don’t even remember what the real world looks like, that is interesting. And I strive to accomplish that one day.

No limits, nothing holding me back. Who’s to say you haven’t been in my brain all this time? Who’s to say I haven’t already done exactly what I previously described?

***

California. The state of dreams… well, that along with Australia. I don’t know why I’m drawn to these places, but I am. Throughout writing this, I have suddenly become aware that I do not know much about myself – why this is what I write, why I belong in California and Australia. To me, California has negatives attached to it, but it is also the destination of movie and music stars. California is one huge music video; beautiful and epic, filled with girls in sunglasses and floppy sun hats and surfer dudes, palm trees and beaches.

The mountains are mostly bare and snowless, but beautiful nonetheless. The trees don’t need water and sprinklers are always going. The whole state is saturated with the color or a bright, cloudless sky. And at sunset, it turns a rainbow of dark oranges, reds, and yellows.

The air is humid and always warm. It feels so nice to run through sprinklers and keep the windows open.

I may not like the actual California, but I love everything it stands for; it’s blue, full of people just like me; people with nothing but hopes and a smile; people who want to make and be change. What a dream.

***

AJR has been my background music for three years now. It was Claire that initially started it, suggesting Panic! At the Disco to me in 6th grade. After listening to their album, Spotify put on AJR. Adam, Jack, and Ryan share many of my same thoughts. I, again, am not sure why, but I have never related more to something I have no idea about. Am I confused about the previous statement as well? Yes. Yes I am.

Three guys from New York with a Big Idea. Me too. And just in case you’re wondering, I have listened to them and only them throughout the entire composition of whatever you dare to call this work.

Sometimes, I just lie on my bed and look at the ceiling or close my eyes. They put so many things in their music that you can’t notice if you just put it on in the background. Everything is intentional. I think that might be what draws me to it. Every album is art. I don’t think many people view music as art, but it is to me. They speak so many truths. I like that too. They touch the sadness and potential of every situation. They take the dark and make it light. They’re like me. Maybe we share similar thoughts or similar brains.

I guess that I like it, then, because they are intentional. That everything is placed so perfectly. It’s so well executed too. Everything is something I have thought before. It makes for the perfect thing to label as the soundtrack to the last three years of my life. And that’s something I can be proud of.

***    

I try to take life lightly, so I laugh at myself a lot. My younger self, mostly, at the things I believed and the things I believed in. My main stream of forceful exhaling through my nose comes from all the people I’ve liked. Ha. How could I have ever liked them? I’ll think.  I remember being head over heels for a someone when I was in the first grade. When I realized this person goes to Bellarmine, I was immediately taken back to a cool October day in 2010. For the sake of keeping this person anonymous, I will not recount the events of that day, but I will say I was taken back to it and that made me smile. Now, apparently this person is self-absorbed and egotistical. That makes me laugh.

***

I need to stress less. I, yet again, don’t know why I stress the amount that I do. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid to mess up. That’s the thing, though. I know that it’s okay to mess up, and I’m not afraid to mess up. So, I really don’t know.    

I’ve been told my stress isn’t real, but I disagree. My stress is very much so real, with its nagging and poking and sharpness. To say one does not experience “real stress” is to say they are not human.

***

As I lay here, in my bed, I inhale the crisp smell of a crackling fire and flaming marshmallows. It takes me back to last summer, when I had created that smell. It’s now a reminder of what seems like a mystical time; the times of burning marshmallows being flung about and blown on, and the slight sense of panic that we would catch something on fire. Those were the days.

***

I know that you can comprehend. But you have to ask what the difference is between comprehend and understand. For me, to comprehend is to know and recognize the words you hear or take in. To understand is to know exactly the feeling, the exact way of  being. To me, you – or anyone for that matter – can never understand the way I feel. And I can never understand the way you feel. To understand is to be that person and to have been them for their whole life.

To clarify, every person is unique in that they cannot understand the other. So, yes, it bothers me when people say they “understand.” Because when I am frustrated or sad, they cannot understand fully. They can comprehend how I may feel, but they cannot come anywhere near understanding it.

***

I was once told that “Everyone is different, therefore no one is.” At the time, I couldn’t agree more with this statement. But that was because I had an outside influence. I had an older friend who I saw as a role model, and she had told me this. I nodded in agreement.

Over time, I came to realize that this statement couldn’t be more false. I believe that everyone is different. I think that it is absurd to think that in any way we are all the same. We may share similar qualities (for example, we all live on this planet and we’re Homo sapiens sapiens), but we are not alike.

Try to think of how many things every single person in the world has in common. We were all born and we are all here. Actually, some of the human race isn’t even on earth right now, so not all of us are here in reality. Not everyone has eyes or hands or feet, and not everyone has the same thoughts.

I think that, in fact, we are more different than we are in common. But I think that what we have in common is enough to recognize that we should work together. That we should put aside things like war and division among our world, because we all know that there is only one earth. It’s intriguing to think that one day, people will have no idea who we are. It makes the even the biggest things we do seem like nothing. Sometimes it makes me question why we even bother with war and politics.

***

I find people have more fear of moving on than they do optimism. I think that there is fear associated with change, but it is unnecessary. I also think that unnecessary is unnecessarily spelled confusingly. I think many thoughts, most of which are probably useless to you, but all of which are useful to me. You see, my thoughts help me figure things out. There are so many things I have yet to know though, and so many unanswered questions. Why are there bad people in this world and why do they inflict evil on others? Why am I here, not why are we here as a collective, but why am I specifically here? Is there a purpose at all? I am so sorry to leave you with all these questions, but I hope that you will have thoughts of your own about these things.

Just as I will continue to for the rest of my life.

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