this is my blog, where i write about things you don't and shouldn't care about
The other day, I stumbled upon the blog of an old internet friend. This blog was from 2013/2014, the time when we were closest. The posts were generally cute updates on the mundane things happening in her life. It was funny to look back, and it made me wish I had kept something similar back then. Then I realized that I’m around the same age that she was when she wrote this blog. So I sat down to write a blog post similar to the ones she had made.
I tried and tried, but couldn't do it. I would have an idea, and then hate it. The thought that went through my mind was “This is so cringy. Nobody cares about this. Why am I writing this?” In everything I wrote, there was a layer of self-awareness that I think my older friends had lacked when they were my age. Whenever a young person is “self-aware,” people praise this person for being so mature or whatever. But I don’t think this comes from being mature. I think it just comes from seeing my older friends react to their past stuff, and not wanting that to happen to me. But would that really be such a bad thing?
The problem with this is that just because something is “cringy” doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Sometimes “cringy” things can be really valuable self-expression, and not expressing yourself because you think you might dislike what you made in a couple is just not constructive. I guess this self-awareness can be beneficial when trying to avoid being cringe-worthy (sorry I’m using that word so many times in this post…), but it’s not helpful when just trying to write honestly about the smaller things in life.
I worry that this self-awareness has crossed over into self-doubt, with a touch of perfectionism. I’m going to try to change my mindset when it comes to writing. I will still make these more “introspective” posts, but I’m also going to try to let myself write lighter stuff. I’m not a huge writer (or reader, for that matter), but I hope it helps me write more, as well as making me more confident in what I make in general.
There's a song we sing at camp called "Magic." It's a bittersweet song about growing up. One of the lyrics in the last verse goes, "Magic did not fade away, it took a new disguise." Like I talked about in my last post, I think this line especially applicable to camp.
One of my favorite parts about camp is seeing the kids grow as people. Last year there was a girl who we’ll call Patricia. Because of poor planning and limited space, this eight-year-old got placed in a cabin with twelve to fifteen-year-olds. At first the older girls were annoyed with her, which is understandable. Having an eight-year-old kid in your cabin isn’t exactly a teenager’s dream. It was especially hard on Patricia at first, because she struggled to fit in with the girls.
The younger campers tend to want to stay inside and do activities like arts and crafts, while the older ones tend to want to do things like hiking and camping. At first, Patricia wanted to do things like tie-dye and bracelet making, which the older girls simply weren’t as interested in. They split the schedule up so that they were doing the “Patricia” activities half of the time, and the “Big Girl” activities the other half. But after trying out the older girls’ choices some, Patricia ended up liking them better. Being able to do things they all enjoyed together brought the girls closer as a group, and Patricia ended up finding her place in the group and loved the rest of her time with that cabin.
The two weeks passed, and since Patricia was signed up for two sessions, she was assigned to a new cabin with girls her age. She still loved these girls and enjoyed her time with them, but her cabin counselor noted that she tended to spend more time talking to older girls outside her cabin, and that she didn’t bond as much with the activities they were doing in her cabin. I told her to try doing some more activities usually saved for older girls and see how it goes.
Towards the end of this second session, Patricia’s birthday happened. Her mother had sent her some birthday gifts in the mail, but because she lived a good distance away, they didn’t arrive until several days later. Instead of singing the typical Happy Birthday song, my friend and I had arranged for the camp to sing a special birthday version of her favorite camp song. She was ecstatic at this. “Sorry your birthday presents didn’t come in time.” I said. “No, this is the best birthday present I could’ve gotten!” she said, and hugged us. It was hard to believe that this was the same girl who had whined about wanting to do pottery instead of canoeing.
She started doing things like helping out the other girls when they got homesick, helping wash dishes in the mess hall after dinner, and asking to learn how to start the campfires. Even though she has a while to go before she’s old enough to be a counselor, I know that she’ll do a great job someday.
Every July since I was about seven years old, I’ve packed up my things and gone off to my favorite place in the world: summer camp! “My” camp is a Girl Scout camp in northern Georgia. It’s your stereotypical summer camp. Think friendship bracelets, bunk beds, archery, ancient burial grounds… Alright, maybe not that last one. But if you’ve seen it in a cheesy 90s camp movie, we probably have it.
When I was a tiny camper, I absolutely idolized my counselors. How could I not? They were like superheroes who could do no wrong (except for when it was time for Lights Out.) I wanted to be just like them, so I started helping out around the camp. Over time, I became recognized as something of a “CITIT,” or “Counselor in Training in Training.” New kids started mistaking me for a staff member because of my helpful attitude. This was fine by me!
As I got older, I started to get accepted as the counselors more and more as “one of them.” With this came seeing the other sides of the counselors, not just the ones that they showed us campers. I got a glimpse into the drama, dating, homesickness, and all the other fun stuff that comes with having your staff made almost entire of teenage girls. This was a bit of a shock to me. I had looked up to these people for so long, so seeing the other sides of them was a little weird, to say the least. Not to mention that being accepted as one of the group came with its own fun dose of Imposter Syndrome.
It took some adjusting, but after plenty of late nights, deep talks, and mental breakdowns with the counselors, I came to see them as just people, and managed to shake the rose-colored glasses that I had naively worn as a kid. Starting June 1st of this year, I’ll be a true CIT, and I hope my campers will see me not as perfect, but still as someone who they can look up to and aspire to be like.