Notes With Natalie: The End is Here

This Issue: The End is Here

Dear Garden Grove High School,

I have a story to share, and it starts as many others do: “Once upon a time…

In a land far, far (close, close) away, there was a girl. Not a princess or a witch or a dragon or any type of person who was anything more than there, but she existed. Think of that background character who isn’t actually remembered, one of those blurry faces standing in the background just minding her own business as the world whirls around, never doing anything special or moving anywhere outside of that comfortable little bubble that comes with being unknown but small enough to include friendships.

Then, for one reason or another, this normal/invisible/unheroic girl gets sent off to the larger, neighboring kingdom. And it’s quite the change, because in an area so big it’s so much easier to be small.

The transition between that little village small enough for everyone to know everyone else to a big ol’ kingdom where exactly zero people knew her name was just a little bit terrifying.

She huddled in corners and averted her eyes, refusing to do more than was expected and for no reason other than that of self-preservation, and made no move to make anything better.

That lasted for a good while.

So here she was, small and unwilling to become anything other than what she already was and, although that may be good in some sense, it really was not good for her. She tried not to change. She really did. But then she came across a princess, so happy and kind and bubbly, and the princess refused to leave her behind — as if she were the one in the glass tower and not the other way around. She met the prince (who made much more sense as a jester in disguise) who managed to (bit by bit and piece by piece) break down her walls and be the reason for so many smiles. She fought a dragon, and change (like new friendship and tougher skin) is inevitable when a beast such as that is fought with another by your side. She engaged in a battle of wits with a troll, his beady eyes and knowing smirk fueling within her the drive to answer his riddles and best him once and for all; she crossed his bridge and was held captive by an evil sorceress, her efforts at escape futile and her soul draining away as she grudgingly submitted while she bided her time, finally breaking free a year after her imprisonment. She journeyed back to the kingdom she started at, picking up a ragtag group of people all alone (just as she was) along the way — they too had fought their own dragons and bested their own trolls and, really, just wanted somewhere to belong. They (as none of them were alone any longer), made their way along in pursuit of the home they dreamed of.   

And, somehow, everything worked out (as if some fairy godmother was watching over her all along). The pathetic little unknown girl made friends and learned words and found so much growth (in peace as well as in anger, in fear and in courage and in hatred and in friendship and in pride and in humility and in spirit), and somewhere along the way she found herself too. She found that comfort isn’t always the best option, because you never learn when you’re comfortable. She found that friendships can be forged especially in the toughest of times. She found that idle minds create mindless labor and that, more often than not, everything will be okay one way or another.  

So the journey continues, as she journeys into bigger and wilder lands, but with new knowledge in her mind and a home she knows will always be waiting behind.

The end.”

In all honesty, any of us can be her. We’ve met the princesses and princes who made our school lives better, we’ve overcome the terrors (whether in other students or in authority), we’ve beat the tests given to us, we’ve all dealt with those classes that we can’t help but feel have imprisoned us. We’ve made the strangest friendships, we’ve built unbreakable bonds, and we’ve managed to make it through. And we’re okay.

So, for the last time:

Dear high school,

I’m going to miss you. But I thank you for all that you’ve let me accomplish and all that you’ve helped me become, and this is a kind of terrifying new journey we’re all embarking upon, and some crazy stuff has happened and some crazier stuff is going to happen, and I’m not ready at all, but it’s happening anyway.

The end (for now).

Much Luv,