Just Be Yourself

I recently started reading Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and was immediately intrigued by the sassy attitude of the main character, Holden Caulfield. Holden is getting kicked out of his fourth private high school and has a particular “I really don’t care what you think about me because you are fake” type of attitude. While many people reading the novel will see him as snarky and rude, but I find myself identifying with him.

High school is a place to really find your passions and who you are, so why should you pretend to be someone you aren’t? Does fitting in really mean that much? I think finding friends who accept you for who you are is more important because 30 years from now, I don’t think you will be remembering how good it was to go along with the supposedly in crowd and hide who you truly are.

Holden doesn’t believe in “phonies” and berates them for being someone they aren’t, and on some level he’s right. You shouldn’t have to pretend to like something because everyone does nor should you have to act a certain way to be considered worthy of friendship. True friends will accept you for you, and if they don’t, they aren’t true friends.

Why would want to be ordinary, when you can be yourself and be extraordinary?

Life is too short to pretend to be someone you aren’t. Embrace yourself and be the person you want to be.

-Kim

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Book Review

At my last trip to the library, I stumbled upon this book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens by Richard Carlson.  I was thoroughly intrigued because recently, I have been feeling really run down. From school, to SAT, to homework, I haven’t had much time to breath, much less relax. My stress levels have been higher than usual, and I always seem push that intense pressure aside instead of confronting it. I let it build up, instead of diminishing it entirely. So with these recent feelings, I decided to give this book a chance in hopes it would help me out.

And help me out it did. Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop. I know it is an ultimate cliché in regards to a book, but it’s true. This book helped me view my problems in a different perspective and ultimately, relive my stress. The book consists of 100 short chapters, with each chapter being a lesson on life. It’s a small book, packed with life-saving tips. I am so glad I picked this book up because it has helped me so much in regards to my recent problems and all the lessons apply to  my life,  I think I have faced each and everyone one of the points that were written about. When talking about the book to a friend, I joked and said that this book was like a teen Bible, and it is. I believe that if you follow this book and the lessons that are discussed in it, your life will be so much easier and you will be happier.

One particular chapter (out of the many) that I found very interesting was chapter 19 “Root for the Underdog”. It discusses how we should take time and befriend people that may not be the coolest or most popular person at school and how there is a chance that if you reach out and get to know that person, they may become one of your closest friends. I really like this idea because I feel that many teenagers often think about popularity and how to fit in, but by taking this chance and going out of your norms, a beautiful friendship may blossom. Of course, it won’t always turn out that way, the “underdog” may not be interested in being your friend, but that’s okay because you gave an effort, and you wouldn’t have known if you didn’t try.

I think this same concept of rooting for the underdog can apply to a lot more than friends. Take your dreams and aspirations for example, I’m sure you all have that one thing you would want to achieve that sounds fairly impossible and ridiculous. But is it impossible because you don’t think you can do it, or impossible because it’s absolutely insane and literally impossible? That one aspiration is the underdog, you see, and it’s that one dream that you think you can’t achieve; but I believe if you really go for it and strive for success, you can do it.

Another underdog that you can root for is yourself. We all have weaknesses, we all aren’t perfect and skilled at everything we do. For example, I am a horrible multiple choice test taker, really I am. I always second guess myself and often times choose the wrong answer, even when I can narrow the choices to two answers. With this struggle, you can imagine my difficulties in AP Biology, since most of our grade relies on our test, but just because I am a bad test-taker, it doesn’t mean I stop trying. Sure, I may not get as good of a grade as the girl next to me, but I still tried my very best. In this situation, I could be considered the underdog, but as long as you root for yourself and don’t loose hope, you will be successful. And when I say successful, I mean you are proud of yourself, the girl who got a higher grade than me, may not be impressed with what I got, but I sure am. Don’t let the fear of being the underdog scare you from trying your best.

All in all, this book has been so helpful to my life. If you aren’t a teen, Richard Carlson has many similar books to this one. Some of his other works include:Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff-and It’s All Small Stuff, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff with Your Family, and Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Love.I highly recommend you all to go out and pick up a copy of any of his works that you feel is most relevant because it will help you work our your struggles and help you become a happier and less-stressed person. Happy reading!  

-Kim