a guide to sarah: an open letter to people at my new school

Hi. If you’re reading this, you probably know a little bit about me. You know my name. You know what I look like. You probably know how well–or poorly–I’m doing in whatever classes we have together.

My bet is you found this by stalking me on Facebook. It’s okay, I’ve done it too. I don’t blame you at all. Or maybe it was my Instagram bio. Whatever the case, I’m glad you’re reading this. Chances are we don’t know each other very well, because I’m going to guess it’s still pretty early in the school year. I’m going to pretty much tell you everything about myself in a few seconds, so read on.

Obviously, I’m new. I’m probably bewildered and slightly overwhelmed; but my Type A and mostly perfectionist side will panic but try to maintain order. I miss my family but am trying to avoid thinking about it by going hard at school, which I need to do anyway. I’ll lighten up as I get comfortable.

Speaking of comfortable, I’m an introvert. I’m also very shy. Large groups of people scare me, often literally. I will sacrifice my comfort to avoid what I perceive to be confrontation, even though that’s usually as simple as asking a one-sentence question. “Hi. I need a set of sheets for the pullout bed in my room.” Not happening. I’m working on that. On a related note, I hate ordering fast food. If I like and trust you, I will open up very deeply very quickly. I prefer depth to breadth. I’m quiet until I’m sure I can trust you. However, I’m not afraid to ask for help or clarification if I need it, particularly academically.

I’m smart. I do well in school, and I enjoy it. That doesn’t mean I won’t struggle with certain things or that I can get away without studying. It means I’m curious and insightful and use big words when I speak. I know all sorts of trivia, from stuff about sports to being able to recite all of the best musical Tony winners from the last ten years. I’m quick to admit my strengths, but quicker to admit my shortcomings and failures. I don’t take compliments well. Public attention and recognition, though I crave it, makes me nervous.

I will laugh at your jokes if I get them. I’m not very funny myself, but I can be fairly dry occasionally and am pretty good with puns. I laugh at the dumbest things, though. What I lack in comedic ability I make up for in reception.

I’m usually pretty intense. About everything. I follow through. I will go out of my way to make sure I can hold my ground or that you are satisfied with my work. I will play devil’s advocate in any discussion, citing studies or papers or whatever I happen to know about that topic. This is most evident theologically. I love talking to people.

Similarly, I’m very trustworthy. Please don’t think I’m just saying that. I genuinely love talking to you about life. I don’t care who you are or whether you’re asking me for help with the English homework or defending my faith or explaining why Sondheim is the greatest musical theatre writer of all time; I’ll approach it the same way. Ask me hard questions. Challenge me. I try to be vulnerable, and love when that’s reciprocated. If you’ll allow me to do that, I can assure you that the both of us will grow. I speak from experience.

I’ll say this, as well: I’m coming out of a really rough time. I went to camp this summer (by the way, camp is my favoritest thing ever I love it so much it’s amazing I can talk about camp forever) and it struck a major chord (pun!). I realized so much about how I was doing life wrong. I made a lot of mistakes, especially the past year, and through camp I saw all kinds of things about where I was getting validation and my identity and where I was deliberately choosing to try and be strong enough for myself instead of seeking the Lord, which caused more problems than it solved. I’d love to tell you more about how all of that played out–both what I was doing and what happened to change it. And by change, I mean the catalyst. I’m not a totally different person. I’m just a few months in to a lifelong process of stripping away the walls and lies I’ve built up. That is to say, I’m obviously not perfect, nor do I have it all together. I’m not even trying to look like I do. That’s the beauty of grace. I’m still learning. And in case you couldn’t tell, I love having real, honest conversations about Jesus, but I’m equally as confident talking about Star Wars.

Here’s some other stuff about me: my favorite color is purple. I firmly believe that handwritten letters are the sixth love language. I love to read and I’m not picky about what, though I do have high standards. Same goes for movies and music. I gravitate toward indie or alternative pop-rock in all things, but I will graciously take recommendations for anything. I love to write and that will definitely be a part of my future, but at this point I’m thinking theatre production and management as a career. The people in my life I look up to most are 95% camp counselors (no pressure, guys). I’m really bad at folding clothes. I’m unbelievably awkward. I have about four facial expressions I use for everything. I tend to be a quiet leader. I had a Justin Bieber phase, but once I turned 13 I got over that. My Starbucks drink is a tall white chocolate mocha with three sugar packets. I am still trying to figure out how to Instagram and Snapchat effectively. I’m clumsy, but I laugh at myself. I overuse the word “awesome.” I’m self-aware. It takes a lot for me to dislike someone. I don’t judge quickly. I don’t like fruit-flavored candy. M&Ms are the absolute best. Also Chick-Fil-A.
So, um….yeah (HA!). That’s me in a very detailed nutshell, new friend. Now you know me exceptionally well. There you go. We’re friends now.

Sincerely,

Me

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