Brookland Life according to a walking mess just stumbling AcrOss the universe TRYING her best.

This is 14

Fourteen is the journey up a mountain that is a tough climb but the sights you see and the experiences you have make it all worthwhile. Being 14 can feel like some of the loneliest times of one's life. Everyone deals with 14 differently. For me, it's how the littlest things can affect me a whole lot. If someone I like talks to me or if I accomplish something exciting that day I can feel on top of the world. However, if something doesn't go the way I plan, everything can come crashing down. In these times, it is easier to make yourself invisible than to make yourself be heard.

Being 14 means people assume you are reckless and crazy. It means people think you don't deserve respect yet and that you don't qualify as an adult, nor a kid. You just exist. Being 14 feels like you sometimes don't have a purpose or like you can't succeed at anything. It's alright though because no one else knows what they are doing either, it's just a matter of faking it until making it I suppose. It's often hard to continue following your dreams when being constantly compared with other, however, we must ignore the negativity because that is what stops us from becoming the wonderful human we are growing to become. It's also very easy to feel alone. People can be rather cold sometimes in my experience, and I usually blame myself for it. Being shy also doesn't help. I just have to keep reminding myself that I am worth it, we can never know what others think of us until we step out of our comfort zones and speak.

Forever wishing you could be someone else, even though you know it can't be done. 14 is looking up to people for the wrong reasons. 14 is sleeping in until 12:30 on a Saturday because you stayed up until 4am the night before. 14 is wishing you could grow up faster because wishing your life away is all that is desired, until you turn 30ish and begin to wish for the opposite.

14 is doing something just because everyone else is doing it. Being 14 comes with FOMO- “fear of missing out”. Always asking yourself the question “why didn't they invite me?” Being fourteen comes with binge watching Freaks and Geeks on Netflix. It also comes with no more desire to go outside.

Hating your parents is also a must. Fighting with them because they are bothering you about your posture again or the fact that you would rather be a couch potato than call up a friend. Trying to explain to your grandma how snapchat works. Hiding in the corner on your phone during family get togethers.

Fourteen is really wanting people to notice you, maybe for the wrong reasons. Making mistakes is just part of the package. Obsessing over Winona Ryder, or maybe that's just a personal thing.

Blasting music as a coping mechanism. Looking out the window during long car rides and pretending you are in a movie. 14 is neeeding a creative outlet, maybe songwiting or drawing. Discovering your interests, doing what makes you happy, not what other people want you to do. Listening to records and loving things because they are “vintage” becomes something you are wired to do.

Being 14 is having sleepovers with your friends but instead of socializing, you are just on your phone. It is also doing something you really shouldn't have and then regretting it. Hanging out with people who probably aren't a good influence just because it makes you feel cool. 14 is having magical summers with your friends. Losing all worries once you step foot at camp and away from school.

14 is just really wanting love and care. Turning to friends for comfort. Doing stupid things while out in the rain because you feel like it.You brain really does not want to learn at 8 in the morning qevery day. You question your dreams for fear of not being good enough. Imagination disappears for a while- but not forever. It will come back again at some time in your twenties while taking a shower or while you are trying to fall asleep. Not that I would know of course, because I am just only 14.

Encyclopedia of Me

A

Amy’s burritos. They are literally frozen burritos and they are the best thing you will eat in your life. I live off of these things. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Amy’s burritos are all I dream about. They are the reason I wake up in the morning. Alright, maybe I am exaggerating a bit but they are delicious don’t you dare judge my choices.

B

Brooke Eileen Star. Yep, that's my name. My mom thought she could be clever and instead of naming me “Brooklyn” she decided to name me “Brooke Eileen”. If you say it fast it can be pronounced like “brooke-a-lyn”. Good job Mom. Actually it might have been my sister that came up with my name. Literally it means a stream but I looked it up and my name apparently also means “beautiful”. I guess my sister messed up on that part.

C

Camp is probably my favorite place in the whole world. Some of my best memories have been made there. My friend Grace always makes fun of me and assumes that all Jewish people go to Jewish camp, which is actually kind of true. Camp is my “second home”. The friends you make there become your summer family. Camp is the only place I really feel Jewish. I can also escape from electronics and all the worries of the outside world. I appreciate the little things while I'm there. Sunset hikes, Friday night services on the beach, sing alongs with my friends as I play my ukulele, frisbee in the wet grass, everything is amazing. Surprise Lake is probably going to be a place I never let go of.

D

I once had a dog. His name was Milo and when I was in fourth grade I begged my parents to get a dog for about six months until we finally got him. His name was originally Teddy(bear) when we got him but I had my heart set on Milo so that is who he became. This was all fine and dandy however, my entire family are not dog people and we had a very hard time handling him. You see, Milo was obsessed with food. He would climb onto the kitchen table and eat our food. I couldn't count on all of my limbs how many times he has stolen my dad’s sandwiches. Anyways, Milo was a total pain and I did not take care of him like I promised my parents. Instead, my mom ended up doing most of the work, oops. After having Milo for four years my parents decided they couldn't take care of him anymore so they gave him away...without even telling me! Yep, I didn’t even get to say goodbye. I cried for like a day and then got over it. My Dad however, the one who hated Milo the most, turned out to be the most upset. How’s that for irony? I miss you Milo.

F

Falling Slowly. I was watching this movie called “Once” randomly one day and there was a scene that came on and the main characters started singing this song. It was just so beautiful and after that moment I never stopped listening to it.

G

Glasses. I remember when I was younger I really wanted glasses. Unlucky for me, I had perfect 20/20 vision. So whenever I went to the eye doctor to get them checked I pretended I was having trouble seeing. Obviously, the eye doctor knew I was faking, but I really thought I had him fooled! Anyways, I didn’t end up getting real glasses. However, my sister knew how badly I wanted glasses to she went to claire’s and bought fake ones for me. I wore them to school and told everyone they were real and that they were my reading glasses. People believed me until i just randomly stopped wearing them one day. I did however start a trend of fake glasses which lasted for about a week. Yay for me.

R

Rain. I really love rain. The sound, the way it makes me feel. Some would say it’s depressing, but I, being completely messed up, love depressing things.Sad things make me happy. That sounds bad, I know, but just hear me out. The feeling of listening to sad songs while stuck inside playing a board game with my family with the sound of pitter-pattering on the roof. It is so aesthetically pleasing. Some of my favorite memories have occurred in the rain. I remember at camp it had been pouring for about three days straight and we were not allowed to shower because lightning could strike the showers. So, my friends and I all went outside in our bathing suits and took showers in the rain. Shampoo and everything. Rain just washes all of of my problems away.

M

Maymost. It’s a nickname I gave to my mom when I was in first grade. She loves it so much, she even calls herself Maymost sometimes. I remember giving her birthday cards saying “Happy Birthday Maymost” from ages 6 to about 12. My friends make fun of me for it, but I still occasionally call her Maymost to this day.

Personal Essay

Sat in the attic closet, rocking back and forth, I try and collect myself. Warm, salty tears are streaming down my face. They are not sadness tears, they are anger tears. The music in my ears must not be loud enough because I can still hear my sister’s disapproving voice. It was Thanksgiving night, I was supposed to be filled with food and happiness but instead I was alone and upset.

This all began on this year’s turkey day. My sister and brother both came home for the holidays and this was a rare occasion, having all three siblings in the same house at once. My Grandma and uncle also came to celebrate the occasion.

Anyways, my sister and I have a strange relationship. She has an effect on me that makes me feel so uncomfortable when I'm around her, like I'm not good enough to be her sister. I hardly ever see her anyways. She lives in Canada so I see her about four times a year. She's absolutely gorgeous. It isn't fair, she took all the good looking genes in the family and didn't leave any for me! Amanda’s got dark features, brunette hair and chocolate eyes. She has this presence; she has a lot of confidence. She walks into a room with her head held high and perfect posture. Amanda is also studying to be a chiropractor, so great, another person in the family to belittle me about my posture. Even though I truly love and care about her, we just don't connect. We are thirteen years apart so it is quite difficult for her to relate to me and visa versa. To be honest, I'm slightly scared of her, my parents are too. I just think she forgets what it's like to be my age.

My brother on the other hand, he's an angel. He's the peacekeeper in the family. Greg is about the most down to earth, calm person on the planet. He meditates every single morning! Who has the willpower to do that? Greg is super hardworking and is so humble as well. He started his own company and I couldn't be more proud. He gives the best advice as well. I could write a book about how great he is. I just don't understand how he is able to handle my sister.

As we were sat in the living room, my Dad tells me to go outside and rake the leaves. I refused because I wasn't willing to go out in the freezing cold and push leaves around. This would have been fine if my sister hadn't jumped in and started attacking me. She starts saying “You always fight with Mom and Dad and never listen to them. Show some respect.” This baffles me because since when has she even seen me fight with them? She isn't home for 90% of my life.

Normally I would just back down and agree with her because she can be very intimidating, however, this is not how I reacted. Instead, I shouted back at her “You fight with Mom and Dad way more than I do!” She shoots back a rude remark and this sends me over the edge. I was not willing to be pushed around by her any longer. I wasn't having such a great week as it was. I stormed upstairs feeling hurt and betrayed.

Whenever my uncle visits, he always uses my bathroom and it drives me nuts because he makes it smell so bad, no offense Uncle Bruce. This year, I specifically told him to, in the nicest way possible, stay away from my bathroom. Just as I arrive at my bedroom door, I see my uncle using my bathroom. Yes, the same one I specifically told him not to use, and of course, he made it smell worse than ever before. It reeked of old man smell. This was the last straw and as I was on the verge on a mental breakdown, I exploded at my poor uncle. He was at the very wrong place at the very wrong time. I scream “I TOLD YOU NOT TO USE MY FREAKING BATHROOM! GOD, WHY ARE YOU SO STUPID?” Tears creeping out of my eyes and down my face, I grab my earbuds and blast my favorite music into my ears and lie on my bed in an attempt to calm down.

I had the longing to be left alone. However, my Mom did not want to comply. She burst into my room without knocking and told me to go down and set the table. I told her I didn't want to socialize right now and asked if she would leave me alone. I was given 5 minutes. When she came back, I was not prepared to face my demon sibling so I bolted upstairs to the attic, grabbing just my phone and my notebook. I desperately could not be bothered, so I locked myself in the storage closet, where no one could disturb me. I proceeded to attack the notebook appear with my angry words for my sister.

I was starting to feel better when my Dad comes upstairs and starts banging on the door yelling “Brooke, don't move, you are locked in! What's wrong with you? Why are you in the closet? Do you need a therapist?” I started to feel a black hole in my stomach. I knew I had the ability to get out but I could not face my family. I sheepishly opened the door only to see my Dad freaking out and also my sister. The look she had on her face when she saw me. I feel her thoughts through her eyes. They were saying “Who is this insane mess of a person standing in front of me? Who are you? What's wrong with you? How is this my sister?”I couldn't face the discomfort so I retreated back to my room, praying she would just forget it and let me be. I've revisited the anger tears but this time they were more hurt than angry. I'm sat on my bean bag this time in my own closet. My sister enters my room. She has the same look from before except this time, it's more concerned. What started off as a little insult turned into a massive breakdown. I don't really know why I was so angry in the first place. I guess it was just all the bottled up feelings from all these years finally being set free.

She asks me what's wrong. I can't even speak. How does she not realize how awfully she's treated me all this time? Since I refuse to explain my reason for upset, she asked if she can read my letter. I reluctantly hand it to her because I've got nothing left to lose. She reads it fairly quickly however, she does have a sad look on her face, after all, I was quite harsh. My sister gives a half assed apology, she makes excuses.”Oh we live so far away, how do you expect me to get to know you? I shouldn't have bothered you about mom and dad, but you do not give them respect.” The same apology she's been famous for. Making you feel like you are the neurotic one. She gives me a hug and tells me to be down for dinner in 5. Feeling like a complete child, I reluctantly walk down the stairs only to be greeted by my brother, who was waiting at the bottom with open arms and a welcoming smile. Thank god for him. Greg is the only sane person in my family, without him I don't think I'd even be able to function. How does he handle my sister? He isn't afraid of her, that must be why. Anyways, I sit at the table across from my sister attempting not to burst into tears.

As the dinner comes to an end, I must forgive and forget I suppose. After all, she is my sister. That's the thing about family, you are stuck with them for life whether you like it or not. I’m sure she has her side of the story as well, and I respect that. It's ok to tell people how you feel sometimes, maybe this experience was a good thing. Maybe Amanda can see where I'm coming from and she's going to try harder from now on, who knows. Thanksgiving is still my least favorite holiday. I'm proud to say I'm thankful that it only happens once a year.

Choice: The most beautiful sounds on Earth

-Northern Downpour by Panic! At the Disco

This whole song has so much meaning to me. The lyrics are the most poetic, well written ones I've heard in a while. Some of my favorites lines are: “I know the world’s a broken bone, but melt your headaches call it home.” And “Fantastic posing greed then we should feed our jewelry to the sea. For diamonds do appear to be just like broken glass to me.” I highly recommend this song.

-You’ll always be my girl by Drew Holcomb

This song has meaning to me because my dad and I share it together. Remember we slow danced to it at my bat mitzvah. Whenever I hear it I can't help but think of my dad.

-Impossible Year by Panic! At the Disco

This song is just gold flowing into my ears. I love it so much. Serious Frank Sinatra vibes from this one.

-Taxi Cab by Twenty One Pilots

This song is a religious one. I didn't realize it until I really listened to the lyrics. It's got such beautiful piano and lyrics. I love the line “Don't be afraid, we’re going home.” It makes me feel so safe and like everything will be ok.

-Friend Please by Twenty One Pilots

This song is about trying to persuade someone not to kill themselves, dark I know. It really is fantastically written. I love the line “petrified of who you are and who you have become, you will hide from everyone denying you need someone to exterminate your bones.”

Addict With A Pen by Twenty One Pilots

This song, oh man. It's quite religious but I don't mind because for me, it has a different meaning. You need to really listen to this song and to the lyrics because they are extremely powerful.

-Isle of flightless birds by Twenty One Pilots

It took me a while to like this song but once I did, I couldn't stop listening. I love the lyric “How frustrating and so degrading, his time we’re wasting. As time will fly by and the sky will cry as light is fading.”

-Photograph by Ed Sheeran

Just a beautiful song.

- A day in the life by The Beatles

I recently discovered this song while listening to one of my Beatles records and I fell in love. This song just gives me chills.

-That Green Gentleman

This song was probably written while they were on drugs, as it makes no sense whatsoever. I just really like it.

-Truce by Twenty One Pilots

This song makes me feel so at peace. Like no matter what happens, everything will be ok. The lyrics are beautiful and so is the music. I especially loves the line “the sun will rise and we will try again.” This song has helped me and hundreds of other people with whatever they are going through.

-Warming Sun by The Dirty Heads

It's chill, no pun intended.

-My eyes adored you by The Four Seasons

I've got a soft spot for Frankie Valli. My dad actually recently took me to see him live! I was the youngest one there. It was an amazing show.

-Oh ms Believer by Twenty One Pilots

This song is so beautiful. It has such imagery. When I hear it I get such wintery vibes.

-Drown by Tyler Joseph

This song is an undiscovered gem. It's quite depressing but it really makes you think about things. Another religious one, but this time I can actually relate.

-Blasphemy by Tyler Joseph

I didn't understand this song until I listened to it a bunch of times. I was listening to it while in the shower one time and the meaning just hit me, and after that, I couldn't stop listening.

-Save by Tyler Joseph

This song is intense. It has religious undertones but I relate to it differently. The way he begs so degradingly in the song makes it feel like there is almost a loss of hope. When he screams “save” during the chorus, there is so much emotion and it's so heartfelt and unforgiving. My type of song.

-Dear Happy by Dodie Clark

To end on a more uplifting note, this song is just about the cutest thing ever. The harmonies, the love is felt through the music. It also reminds me of the 20s for some reason. It's just so beautiful.

Reflection Time!

All throughout my multi genre narrative essay, I truly showed who I am as a person and my experiences. It didn't exactly have a theme because my life isn't organized enough to have a true theme running through it. However, I was able to reflect on my thoughts, feelings, and perspectives on life.

My “This is 14” essay felt as if it was more of a diary. I started off rather negative because that was how I was feeling the day I wrote it, however, when I was checking it over and editing it another day, I changed things to make them more positive, as I was in a better state of mind. I definitely wrote with a more personal approach as well. I wasn't focusing on being poetic I was focusing on being real, being me, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

As for my encyclopedia, it has more of a humorous tone. I just talked about the little things in life that have either a small effect or a larger effect on me. Amy’s burritos for example, it's not that they hugely impact me as a person, I just included it because I was hungry and it was what came to mind. It was rather random but it's alright because I am random myself. It all ties with the “theme” that my writing reflects me and my point of view.

My personal essay was a whirlwind of emotions. I felt very strongly about the situation which had an affect on my writing. It definitely felt nice to rant about it. I also came to realize, while I was editing, how silly it all sounded. Through writing about it, I was able to forgive my sister as well as myself. What seemed so dramatic at the time, turned out to be a silly memory of yet another time I overreacted.

For my choice I wrote about something I was passionate about, music. I attempted to write a song, many times, even poetry. It didn't work out. I then realized that even though I can't share something I created myself, I can share my opinions on things others have created. That is exactly what I did, a playlist of sorts, what the songs mean to me. I have to say I'm actually pretty proud of it.

Overall, my multi-genre narrative essay project was a good reflection of who I am and what I believe. It really showed that in the end, I'm just human. I make a lot of mistakes and most certainly am not perfect, and that's ok.

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