Warrior Words: My life as a beached whale

It’s a rainy Saturday, and I stomp around my bedroom in a flying squirrel onesie, searching for my earbuds. Suddenly, my overly stuffed desk shakes, and a composition notebook falls out. The inscription on the title reads, in cursive, My Life as a Beached Whale.

Before I know it, it’s 1:30 in the morning, and I have read the entire contents of My Life as a Beached Whale, as well as all of my other various journals, including PROPERTY OF ABBY ZE AWESOME: Whatever Log and the little purple notebook that kept me awake during marketing freshman year. The stack of letters I wrote throughout 2014 and 2015 have been opened and replaced in their envelopes, and papers I’ve dug up lay scattered on my floor, wrinkled from their years of being squished behind textbooks.

As I curl up beneath my comforter and shut the lights, the first thought that comes to mind is, “Wow, I certainly am an interesting potato.” The second thought is, “Wow, I certainly am glad that I’ve kept records of my interesting potato-ness.”

When I was younger, I used to sit in corners with my shoulders shrugged over, keeping how I felt confined to the narrow blue lines I scribbled between. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that while it’s lovely to look back on yourself and how you felt about others, one of the most delicious feelings is sharing your emotions with another. Slowly, I’ve started letting my heart be open to speaking candidly with those I hold dear, hoping the words that have stretched and grown within me can be heard by someone else. And when you’re heard, well, that’s a feeling that could fill countless journals all by itself.

For us seniors, it would be easy to get through the next few months without giving the people around us much thought. But please, don’t just pass this time by in a cloud of apathy, because there are things and faces here that we aren’t going to want to forget. I would encourage you to live à la Ferris Bueller, because life does move pretty fast, and if you don’t look around once in a while, you might miss it.

Sometimes, I’ll stare at my ceiling on a Friday night, trying desperately to remember what the heck I did during the week and feeling like Monday was about two centuries ago, possibly longer. But even if I’m tired, I force myself to pull out a pencil and just write, because I know that in a month, in a year, in a decade, I’ll still laugh about my friend throwing a stuffed penguin across the room during our AP Government midterm, still cringe at my teacher catching me singing and dancing to Taylor Swift’s Fearless, still smile about the way I described someone’s eyes lighting up. And no matter how mundane those moments may seem, they are moments I nonetheless will want to remember.

In the next few months, spend just an afternoon being thankful that you have gotten to be the interesting potato you are today, and be thankful of those that have helped you along the way. Take a friend out for coffee and tell her every wonderful quality she possesses. Send a note to a teacher who has shown you how to enjoy, or at least get through, something you once hated. Go and sit under a tree somewhere (it’s fun) and write about your day, because even if sharing your words and feelings with others seems terrifying, you can always start opening your heart by sharing with yourself. And that alone is an experience you’ll be able to cherish for the rest of your life.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to writing in My Life as a Beached Whale, because there are some empty pages in there that I’d like to fill.

Abby Schiff is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.