Last Year of High School

A week this Wednesday, it’ll be my first day of S6 – my last first day of high school. Today, I’m going out to buy my school shoes – this is the last time I’ll ever need to buy school shoes again! I can’t believe that we’re already the top of the school. It feels like yesterday that I was going into S1 after being the top of Primary School, thinking “Oh my word, those S6s look like ADULTS! I wonder what I’ll look like when I’m that age.” The answer is: basically the exact same. Five years at Heriot’s have gone so fast and I can’t believe that this is my last year here.

It’s funny because it feels like no time has passed since S1, but then when I look back at all that I’ve done and how much I’ve changed, and grown, and learnt, it seems like I’ve been in Heriot’s forever.

I want to savour this last year but I know that with everything that comes with S6 (Advanced Highers, UCAS, personal statements…) will make it go way too fast. Part of me is stressed about it all; part of me is excited.

So, I guess here’s to the unknown and the exciting things ahead.

Choosing Universities Makes Me Prematurely Miss My Twin

It has never been me on my own – it has always been us. My twin brother and me. Ben and Kate. Ben is my Bro Bro, my Brochacha, and my best friend, and he’s been with me through it all. But now, as we’re choosing universities, I’m already missing my bro by my side. For the first time in our lives, we might be going different directions.

He’s the only person who can make me genuinely laugh. I’ve never felt pain in my sides whilst laughing with anyone else. Even when we were babies, Ben would make me laugh. My mom remembers mornings of waking up to hear my hysterical giggles coming from our bedroom. Ben was making me laugh my little head off. This was before we had even learnt to talk.

I’m so lucky because I have someone who has been beside me through my entire existence. Someone who held my hand on the first day of Kindergarten. Who would hold my hand after I woke up from nightmares. He would reach across the gap between our two beds and take my hand, assuring me that he’s here, until our grip loosened as we were lulled back into sleep.

We’ve lived through moving house three times, living in three different countries, going to five different churches, and five different schools together. Always in the same class. Even in later years, as we chose different subjects in school, we would always have at least one class together.

As we moved countries, houses, schools, and churches, there were times when we were our only friends in these new places. Although our setting wasn’t constant – Northern Ireland, America, Scotland – our constancy was found in each other. We watched ourselves grow up as the background blurred behind us. We look back at all our memories and see how they piece together like patchwork. Each square is a new house, a new city, a new country, and the thread holding it all together is our twin bond, our family.

It’s been 10 years now since we last moved house. Edinburgh has become a permanent home. We’ve settled into school at Heriot’s, and we’ll soon be the oldest there. For 5 years as “Herioters,” we’ve competed and compared exam results, helped each other with homework, and shared the pain of early morning rowing. As we got our results back from tests, teachers would laugh and shake their heads in disbelief as they handed out our grades – frequently, we would get the same mark. Exactly the same mark. Just this year we both got the same percentages in English (93.5%) and Math (93%). Those were the only two subjects that we both took.

For the entire month of May this year, Ben was the only one keeping me sane as we studied for our Higher exams. And even this summer, we’re both studying at Harvard Summer School together: Ben doing Theoretical Physics and Philosophy, whilst I’m doing Feature Writing and Beginning Fiction.

But it’s scary. Soon we’ll be entering another new phase in our lives, and there’s a chance that he won’t be there with me. We’re two different people with different places we want to go and different courses we want to study. When we go to university, it’s likely that we might not even be in the same country, let alone school. We’re both wanting to apply for Oxbridge – but Ben’s Oxford and I’m Cambridge. Ben’s drawn to schools in England, I want to stay closer to home.

University life will hold new people, places, and challenges. Things will be unknown and unsettling. But new and exciting too. It won’t be easy. It’ll be overwhelming. And I know there’ll be times that all I want to do is hold Ben’s hand – just like I did on our first day of Kindergarten. But his hand won’t be there to be held in that moment, he’ll be at his own university, facing his own challenges. But there’s comfort in that knowledge too. Although he won’t be with me there in that moment, he will be with me. He’ll be with me, as he always has, as we both go into this new phase of life.

Freewrite – optimism

There is this survival instinct in some humans to be perpetually hopeful, or optimistic, when faced with pessimistic circumstances. Maybe it’s more of a coping mechanism than a survival instinct – we are forced to create our own light when everything around us is dark. Some think that this is naivety; that this light is imagined rather than observed. But is the imagination really an issue? Once the present was just a figment of our imagination as the future.

Life-giving Word

I recently wrote an article for Open Doors – a charity for persecuted an oppressed Christians across the world. It does amazing work, fighting for freedom of speech and religion in many notoriously oppressive countries such as North Korea. They also smuggle Bibles to Christians who can’t get a hold of them due to restrictive laws in their country.

You can see my article here.

 

Fearfully and wonderfully made

In the run up to summer and the aftermath of exams, I’ve become increasingly aware of that goal of having a “summer body.” I find myself looking in the mirror and sucking in to see if I would look the way I want to in a bikini, and increasingly scrolling through beach photos on Instagram that make me even more sensitive to my appearance. But these thoughts are toxic because they overwhelm all other thoughts and can become an unhealthy obsession. These thoughts heighten insecurities and make me believe the lies that my worth is based on my appearance – when I have a truth that I should be resting on:

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:14

I have been created uniquely and specially and I shouldn’t scrutinize my body when it was purposefully created. It’s one thing to want to be healthy, but another to become unhealthily obsessed with looking a certain way. I need to remember that my worth does not depend on my appearance. I don’t need to be able to walk confidently around in a bikini – I need to rest in the peace of knowing that my true worth comes from within.

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

Spring poetry

I was feeling pretty inspired today as I flicked through this coffee table book I have The Art of Botanical Illustration so I decided to write poems using my fridge magnet words to create aesthetically pleasing poems:

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Spring

Rose-smeared petals play

in the garden

and water rains beneath the sky

and from above,

the sun shines light like honey.

Here,

a cool, sweet mist whispers

in my head, on my tongue.

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What if?

What if I recall life

and no pictures shine,

they sleep as

whispers in a mist

licking the rose petals

in the garden in my head,

but I never see?