The imperfect life of Isabel Massart

This is fourteen, this is me

Being 14 is the first year of high school. High school feels like being a sheep in a pack of wild wolves. You feel helpless but at the same time so powerful. You’re a freshman so you feel vulnerable because there are so many upper class men around you. At the same time, you feel like you’re finally free. Teachers aren’t always on your back, telling you to do your work. They aren’t trying to make you into something your not. They are teaching you to be your own person. You realize that these are the years that will build the beginning of the stone path which leads right to your future. Now that teachers let you have more freedom, you feel the need to do more. You always ask for extra credit and take extra classes to make your future college application look better, even though we’re still freshmen.

Fourteen is the year when you stay up until midnight binge watching your favorite series on Netflix (Grey’s Anatomy all the way) instead of reviewing for your Spanish test. Sometimes you are so lost in your work, extra curricular activities, relationships completely lose track of time and start to forget who you are as a person. It’s so difficult to know who you are. There are so many stereotypes that are created as we get older. We set goals for ourselves and try to be like other people when we should really just try to be ourselves.

It is the year when you are capable of eating a whole jar of Nutella, a avocado club from Smashburger and a whole bag of tootsie rolls in one night. It’s the year when you finally realize you can't get through the day with your precious grande iced coffee with extra whipped cream and your warmed up cinnamon roll from Starbucks.

14 is the year where some of the most important people come into your life, and stay there forever. Most of your old middle school friends, the fake ones at least starts drifting away and the real friends start to become more obvious. You go through everything and have the best inside jokes that no one understands. Like in movies, you always hear people talking about their best friend since freshman year in high school. Some of our high school friends will stay with us forever, either physically or in our hearts. My best friend is likens other half. I'm always with her even though we don't go to the same school. We see each other three times a week because we ride our horses at the same barn but we FaceTime every day. We talk about our problems at school and help each other with our homework. We already have plans to live together in a mansion when we're older and how we will kill our husbands for their money.

When you’re 14, older people think of you as delinquents who think they have their whole life figured out. People who only cause trouble because they have nothing better to do with their unexciting lives. It’s the year when you ask your parents to go eat on the avenue, they think you are chugging vodka with your friends. It’s the year when your parents will always assume the worst and worry about every single thing you are doing because they know what being fourteen was like.

14 is the year when people are ready to do almost anything to be more popular, which can lead to making bad decisions. But it is also the year where we learn from our bad decisions. Not all of them but most of the popular kids drink and do dumb things. It's very hard to fit in if you don't do what others do. You feel like it’s necessary to do stupid, reckless things just to be “cool”. I just learned that you have to resist, not be weak, not give in. It’s important to stand up for what you believe in.

14 is the year when you take love for granted because, you don’t really know what it means. It’s the year of drama and being immature, but in the same way, growing up and learning from the mistakes you’ve made. 14 is the year of experience, where you learn not to give away your trust for free.

14 is the year where you learn so many life lessons. They will stick with you. In the back of your mind. Forever. This is fourteen. Fourteen is me.

The Encyclopedia: Isabel in a nutshell

Diving out of an airplane

It's always been my dream because I feel like it would be like experiencing death. You don't fall out of an airplane everyday and it would be so cool to be flying through the air like a bird and having your life flash before your eyes. I’ve never done anything like this but it would be amazing to experience something like it. The feeling of experiencing the air running through your hair sounds heavenly and carefree.

Layla

My dog Layla died when I was twelve. It was probably the saddest day of my life because she was my best friend and I grew up with her. She was a black boxer with a watery nose, watery eyes, and I tail. Since she didn't have a tail, she couldn't wag it so she just moves her whole body so she looked like a worm whenever she was happy. She always looked like a warm. Whenever I see a dog I cry. The weird thing is that it’s not a sad cry, it's a happy cry. Dogs are so special to me they’re amazing.

Food

It’s one of the little things that makes me so incredibly happy. Seven times a day, whether it’s steak, salad, hot chocolate, blueberries… my day is better with food. People don’t believe me when I say I eat a lot because I'm 92 pounds but I eat whenever I have a chance to; when I'm bored, when I'm doing my homework, when I'm in the car… I would have to say that my number one favorite food is the thin crust Nutella pizza with soft marshmallows and bits and pieces of graham crackers from Frankie and Fenucci's.

Horseback riding

Two hours a day, six times a week. That is how often I go to the most wonderful, relaxing place in the world; Twin Lakes Farm. I have a jumping lesson twice a week on my horse, Emma. Whenever I’m having a bad day, the barn helps me relax and it just makes me happy. I’ve been riding for about nine years. It’smy sport and my passion. I compete in the 2’9”jumping height with Emma. I’ve leased nine horses before; Bobo, Shakespeare, Lucy, Brandy, Bridget, Dazzy, Boots, Teddy, and now Emma. I spend my life at the barn. It’s like my second home. That’s where my family is.

Love

It's too complicated to explain.

Music

I listen to music all the time. When I'm working, when I'm riding my horse, when I sleep, when I'm in class sometimes… It makes me feel disconnected from the world. It makes me feel like I'm living in my own little bubble of happiness. Some of my favorite songs are Blue Skies, Fergalicious, Mercy, and most Kanye West songs. When I’m feeling sad, I listen to Christmas music to make my heart happy. I would put some of my music on here but sadly it contains a large amount of profanity so, I will not be doing that.

Sweat Pants & Slippers

If I had the confidence to I would probably live in my sweatpants (I have seven pairs, one for everyday of the week :) and wear my slippers to school everyday. I still want to look like I care though, even if I don’t, it sets a good impression so I try to dress sort of well.

Winter

I hate winter so much. It makes me so unhappy and I just want to hibernate with my food and wake up when summer comes. Why does it have to be so cold? Why does ice have to be slippery? When I was five I slipped in ice and broke my wrist. I hate winter. I hate that after it snows, the snow becomes brown and slushy or icy. I always look like a slob because I absolutely can not tolerate the cold. I have to wear a billion layers of clothes and my beige fuzzy Ugg slippers which keep my feet so warm. I usually love to wear my grey Patagonia sweater which is very fuzzy and a bit too big; for me, that’s perfect. There are only two things I like about winter; homemade warm hot chocolate with slightly melted mini marshmallows, and of course snow days.

An unfortunate day in the life of a third grader: narrative

I was on the playground in third grade. My greasy, dirty blonde hair flopped around on my back. As usual, I was wearing mid-length shorts and a bright neon yellow tank top. Let's just say I was going through a phase where I didn’t shower everyday, or brush my hair, or my teeth…

The bell had just rung to announce the beginning of playtime. I jogged to try to keep up with my two best friends, Philip and Andrew. I hadn't brushed my hair or my teeth that day. We walked down the brick path all the way to the back of the playground. We were standing by the dirt road. A cloud of red dust was puffing into the air as people raced up and down the dirt road. The cloud left some dirt residue on my face turning it a light reddish color. I was standing with Philip and Andrew. We were talking about how we were going to race the other kids and place bets judging on who would win. Andrew bragged, “I would beat both of you, you’re both so slow”. We decided that whoever won would be able to have the last apple sauce that was still waiting for us in the lunchroom. While we were still talking, a tall, bulky, bully named Matthew came up to us. In a deep, frightening voice he asked Philip and Andrew if they wanted to be in the race. They looked at eachother, a bit frightened and nodded in agreement. I was very surprised that he hadn’t asked me to race so I said “can i race too?”. He looked down at me. He just blankly stared at me for a straight thirty seconds. He then scanned me from head to toe. He started laughing. Philip and Andrew had their heads down, trying not to make eye contact with either me or Matthew. I asked again, “Can I race?”

He stared at me, squinting his eyes. “No. You’re a girl. Girls can’t run” he said to me. I was still confused as to why he thought that so I replied “Yes they can.”

He looked at me, furious. “I’m going to say this one more time, NO.”

I was so flabbergasted, I could not believe my eyes, I was so embarrassed, but most of all I was disappointed that my two best friends in the entire world didn’t feel the need to stand up for me. I turned around very abruptly and ran. I ran as fast as i could and i could hear them laughing behind my back. I sat down, my eyes were red and puffy. My head was pressed up against my cold, dirty knees and I felt a war tear running down my leg. I was seated on the splintery, red, wooden bench that had been on this playground for decades, sobbing. I could hear some kids yelling as they were sliding down the big blue slide at the top of the play set. Most of the girls were sitting on the benches doing each other's hair and talking about their dumb lower school crushes. The boys were racing each other on the dirt path and playing one on one basketball on the somber court.

I was so shocked and depressed all I wanted to do was sit alone in my own little bubble and cry. I wanted all the loud screams to go away. I didn't want anyone talking to me. I didn't want anyone looking at me. I didn't want anyone at all. I just wanted to be all by myself. Me and my red, bloated face. Me and my watery eyes. Me and my broken heart. That bully and my two best friends broke my big, happy heart. Clearly I found some new friends because they weren’t worth my time.

Over the years I still remember that day. I wish I could go back and change that it. I wish I would've raced, even if they didn't want me to and proven that girls can be just as fast as boys. Even if I lost, I would've had more self confidence. I would’ve known that i was able to stand up for myself. I would’ve known that I stood up for what I believed in and to the biggest bully in my grade. The lessons you learn in life can be scarring but it is so very important to have some of them in the back of your mind, reminding you to stay strong and to be you.

I decide: poem

When you look at me

What do you see?

Do you see someone happy?

Someone who alway wears a smile?

Or do you see someone

Who is trying to cover the tear that is in her eye?

These days,

With all the stereotypes,

People think they can’t do anything right.

Nothing we do is good enough anymore.

Life was easier when we were four

And nothing really mattered;

We didn’t care about how people dressed

Or if someone’s hair was a mess.

Now, we don’t know who we are.

People expect us to be perfect,

But is it really worth it?

To give up your personality

Just to make others around us happy?

And now I’m going to ask,

When is everybody going to stop hiding under their masks?

And stop being afraid

Of who they really are.

A note from Isabel

I think that the whole point of this essay was to discover ourselves in a creative manner. We talked about our funniest, most important, most personal, most embarrassing moments and so much more. This writing piece really got me thinking. Who am I? I’m always submerged in work, extra curricular activities, and so much more that sometimes I forget who I am and what my purpose is. The truth is in school we learn so many useless things that we will never use in our lives (Pythagorean Theorem) but we don’t learn the most important thing in life; to love ourselves. This essay really made that evident for me and opened my eyes to focus a bit more on myself and what’s important for me.

My this is piece wasn’t anything too personal. It was basically just my explanation of being fourteen years old in a nutshell. I found it a little difficult to make this one lengthy because there was so much to talk about but it went on into very elaborate explanations and I didn’t want to go off track.

My encyclopedia piece I found was easy to write about. I mean what’s better than writing about everything that makes you, you? If you were wondering while you were reading, yes, I do eat a lot. No, I won’t stop eating even if my life depended on it. Eating is my favorite thing in the world and that makes up who I am.

I really didn’t like the narrative piece because I’m not good at being descriptive and extremely detailed. I like to tell the story firm and to the point, not drag on into a long paragraph that is overflowing with information. I also hate talking about my past self from second to sixth grade. Those were the worst years of my life because I made so many terrible decisions and i was disgusting and never showered.

The you decide piece was the most personal piece but I enjoyed writing it the most. As you probably already have read, I hate stereotypes and fake people. That little poem described the part of me that I’m too afraid to show most people. I’m a very emotional person and I don’t talk about my feelings too often. This piece opened up my heart. It showed who is am. This is me. This is 14.

On the left Natasha, on the right Mia, and in the middle me.

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