The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Live, laugh, love high school: A letter to the writer, from the writer

Live%2C+laugh%2C+love+high+school%3A+A+letter+to+the+writer%2C+from+the+writer
Sofia Lee

This isn’t my usual column. This isn’t my usual column because I discovered that I can’t give advice unless I follow it myself — it took me 17 years to learn that. The hardest part is the growing pains.

To everyone who says that second semester of senior year is the easiest time: Is that really true? Maybe it’s just me, but I’m about five months away from being a so-called “adult” and having to pay taxes, leaving to spend years of my life in Massachusetts and trying to find out what I truly want to pursue in life. This time is terrifying, and it’s even scarier that I used to believe it would be easy.

Going into 2024, I gaslit myself into thinking that everything was perfect — that life couldn’t be better because I’d achieved my definition of success. Success: I got into my dream college, I have a job, the sweetest hamster (his name is Cheeks), straight As, I couldn’t be more excited for my sports tournaments and I love everyone in my life. For the first time in a long while, those thoughts made me proud.

So when I initially told myself I had everything I could ever want, I gave advice to a lot of people and I gave advice through this column. Because if I’ve found success and I’ve made my way through high school, I’m qualified to help as many people as I can… right?

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But, truth be told, I never listened to my own advice, and more specifically, I never learned to help myself before I helped others. As I’ve finally reached the biggest adversity of my life — maturing and growing up — I’ve come to realize that a lot of the advice I ended up giving was just words of affirmation I craved for myself. And since second semester of senior year is fully underway now, the pain of the losses I’ve had to fight recently has finally settled in the cracks of my self-hatred. My body knew from the very beginning that I wasn’t ready to face myself and my haunting insecurities, so in response, I chose to numb myself by focusing on satisfying everyone else in my life. I’m ashamed to say that my advice was cheap and broken, and that they were words I never fully digested myself.

Even when I’ve lost people who I loved, or just had a bad day (both of which have recently become common), I never wanted to show a weak side of me — the side that still wants to cry like a baby or not get out of bed. When the people-pleaser within me finally reached its tipping point a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t been the same since. Now I can’t suppress my crying and nothing really motivates me.

So, admittedly, I’m not okay. The pain has sunk too deep without me ever trying to find the support or the reassurance I needed. Instead, I pushed everyone away in my life and pretended to be okay.

Even though I hate focusing on myself, today I’m treating this column as my little not-so-secret diary to talk about myself, hoping someone finds this relatable. I’m not going to give much advice, but I am going to perhaps let this resonate with someone else. I apologize to the people who I’ve shut out and to myself.

Love,
Ellie Ji

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Ellie Ji, Arts & Culture Editor

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