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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stress. Stress always was, is, and will most likely be, part of my life. Stress. Arriving to school with a grumbling stomach and dark circles under your eyes. My whole life is made of stress. Academics, music, sports. I am like the Greek God Atlas, holding the weight of the world on my soldiers, the sky quickly aging me. Stress.

When I was in third grade, I was not acquainted with the strange feeling people called stress. I was used to “just read nights” and how going to bed at ten o’clock was late. During spring break, I always have violin federation; a stressful performance in which I am judged on how well I play. However, third grade being my first year at Waterford, I was not used to having it during the break. So all through the plane ride home, I would be thinking about scenarios of failing, forgetting, or fainting during my piece. I had just gotten home from a red-eye flight the morning of federation and got about four hours of sleep before being unstuck from my bed by my mom. I arrived to Gardner Hall in my blue dress and striped sweater, whimpering with silent tears streaming down my face. I was so nervous I could not stop crying up until the second before my performance. I got up, a bit shaky, and played my best, which turned out to actually be okay. When that dreadful day was over, I could finally take a breath.

My most memorable run-in with stress was very recently. About one year ago on a Thursday evening. The following morning I had an English paper due which had not been touched. Oh, and Ancient History and Genetics tests. Although stress is probably part of all Waterford students lives, I feel it more than others. When darkness swoops in and snuffs out the light, panic starts to set in my stomach like cement. I feel stress looking me in the eye and laughing, slowly sucking the life out of me till I am a hallow shell. That night I was up furiously studying and writing until two in the morning. Although these tasks were not actually as bad as a my imagination made them out to be, I still had a constant pit in my stomach, and all food tasted like stale bread and toothpaste.

My most vivid memory of stress in sports was my dreadful week at Crew Camp. Crew, the sport of rowing, is probably the most stressful sport I have ever participated in. I signed up to do Crew Team and so I thought it wise to try out the summer camp to see if I liked it. I didn’t. Picture this. Surrounded by insanely fit varsity rowers, Coach Henrikson screaming in your ear, and getting blisters on your hands from the dirty oars. Pretty much my whole life that week. I remember after my second day, I had just gotten yelled at for doing something wrong. Everybody does. I was telling my mom about the day and started crying. I hated being yelled at and feeling like I was not good enough. When I was on that boat, I felt hopeless, trapped, and panicked. I did not want to go to crew the next day, or any day for that matter. I would cry and cry to my mom, begging her to not make me go, but eventually I would just have to suck up my fear and deal with the yelling. Long story short, I am no longer doing crew.

Stress. The emptiness and hopelessness. The panic that trickles down your throat and slowly starts to fill your stomach. I feel it nearly everyday. It grows and grows until at last, all I can do is sink into my bed and cry. Not all of my life is stress though. My life is full of family, friends, and fandoms. Happiness, home, and heart. The key is, not to be engulfed by the hooded being called stress.