A Letter From the Editor

Dear staff and students,

As I write this column, the time stands at 11:33 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 8, which is rather ironic considering I am currently climbing up onto my soap box to preach about the importance of self care. Meanwhile, I am running on very little sleep and five shots of espresso when I may or may not have an econ test first hour tomorrow morning.
It is well within my knowledge that I should be attempting to go to sleep right now for my own good, but that’s none of my business, and it certainly isn’t any of yours!
With that being said, please don’t let my poor choices deter you from what I have to say.
Our second semester started a couple of weeks ago, which meant new classes, new teachers, and the beginning of the end for us seniors. With the finish line just barely in sight, on top of homework, many extracurriculars, and trying to maintain something that resembles a social life, I found it very difficult to find the motivation to get up in the morning.
The classes and extracurriculars that used to bring me so much joy began to feel like burdens, and that broke my heart.
What is wrong with me? Do I even know who I am anymore? When did everything change?
In the midst of this hurricane of anxious thoughts, I just said to myself, “I think I need to paint, like right now.”
After very little thought, I drove to Walmart, picked out some cheap paint brushes and watercolors, and dropped approximately $40 from my savings account (I’m sorry, Mom. I promise I’ll put it back!).
Then for hours, I just sat around and painted.
The beauty of all of it was that I was not very good, and I was okay with that.
I painted not to create something groundbreaking, meaningful, or even cohesive. I painted because it allowed me to express my thoughts and emotions freely without fear of judgment or any pressure to succeed.
Nobody needed to see the painting except for me.
For this fleeting moment in time, I was able to let go of any expectations that I had for myself and any pressure from the outside world and just express myself creatively and authentically because I could have this experience all to myself.
Since that moment, I have been slowly but surely trying to win myself back from the clutches of the pressure that I put on myself to achieve perfection.
While striving to be the best version of yourself is awesome and we should all continue to do so, striving for perfection is just setting yourself up for failure.
As human beings, we are all designed to be imperfect. We are meant to be messy; we are meant to laugh a little too loud, cry a little too hard, say the wrong thing, and take things too personally; we are meant to make mistakes.
Perfection is a dangerous illusion, and it’s so important to try to battle our perfectionist impulses.
By partaking in more activities and projects solely for yourself, you may be able to break down that idea of perfection and find the person that you are meant to be.
Since that one night, I made a promise to myself that I would make an effort to take better care of myself because I don’t ever want to lose her again. I can finally enjoy the things that make me happy again. I can sit down and read a book without feeling the need to check my phone every four seconds; I can watch Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” for the 400th time without feeling any shame or need to pick something new; I can bake the world’s ugliest cake, and nobody ever needs to know.
I don’t feel embarrassed about my hobbies or as much of a compulsive need to conform to the expectations of others when it comes to my own character.
I’ve always been told to “make the most out of this time” because it won’t last forever, but how are you making the most out of this time if you are miserable for a majority of it?
For the first time in a long time, I finally feel content in my own company, and I really hope that all of you are able to feel the same way; I truly mean it.
The time is now 1:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9, so I for real need to go to sleep now. Please take care of yourselves, whatever that might look like.


Anja Royko