The Teenage Years

I turned nineteen on Monday, which means I only one year left of being a teenager. I'm not upset about that fact, since the teenage years have been quite a rollercoaster, but this realization has still put me in a very reflective mood (as most things do). With that in mind, I've summarized ages 13-18, and if you're interested, just keep reading. 

Thirteen Years Old

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My first year of teenage-dom was... interesting to say the least. I was in seventh grade, and was in a school that wasn’t necessarily the best for me. Sixth grade was when my perfectionism started to affect my school work, and seventh grade was no different. I had a backpack that was filled to the brim with books, and during lunch I could often be found sitting in the locker room studying for afternoon tests and quizzes. For our spring concert, we did an abridged version of Les Mis, in which I sang a solo for I Dreamed a Dream, which still remains one of the coolest singing experiences I’ve had even though it was almost six years ago. The summer of being thirteen found me at Camp Wawona, where I spent many summers growing up. This was actually the last time I would go, and it was one of the best experiences I had there, complete with spending the last night on the outdoor stage in sleeping bags watching shooting stars.

Fourteen Years Old

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When I was fourteen years old, I was three things- a swimmer, an insane perfectionist (yeah, I was worse five years ago), and a writer. I went swimming on Mondays and Wednesdays, wrote lots of short stories, and took lots of selfies in an attempt to improve my smile. I took guitar lessons for a little while, tried running and hated it, and went on my 8th grade class trip (which, honestly, should be an entire post in itself). I spent days at the beach, went hiking sometimes, and once a month visited my dad. I graduated 8th grade (haha, a funny sentence), and then went to Camp Meeting with my dad and met some new people. Once I got back, my mom, brother, grandparents, pets, and I moved to the Bay Area.

Fifteen Years Old

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At fifteen, I had officially moved from the only place I really remembered living, and I was in my Freshman year of high school. I remember studying intensely for a test on Romeo and Juliet, and I remember being very proud of the grade I received. I started to form really good friendships, and would occasionally go on runs with my mom (spoiler: running was still not one of my favorite things). I spent early school mornings reading in the cafeteria before starting my classes, and listened to a lot of Sara Bareilles. That summer, I spent a couple weeks in England, Wales, and Scotland and met two of my little cousins for the first time. I returned to California and spent the rest of being 15 reading books, writing stories, and preparing for my second year of high school.

Sixteen Years Old

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At sixteen, most of my time was spent writing songs in my bedroom. I assumed I was the only one who could hear them, but alas bedroom walls are thin, and now I’m pretty sure my grandparents heard every word. This was the year my dad had an odd habit of adopting every animal that came to his doorstep, and the dog pictured above was my favorite. He stayed around for a while before he ran off again, and I like to think he found a nice home. During finals week, I’d walk into downtown Mountain View, CA with some of my friends and we’d meet for bagels or coffee and quiz each other (for a little fun fact, I got an A- on my Biology final second semester). I took classes that I loved, especially my World History class. The summer after my Sophomore year, we all moved again. I started at a new school, and a few weeks before my seventeenth birthday this website went live.

Seventeen Years Old

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By my seventeenth birthday, I was starting to find a place at my new school, and I already hated chemistry. I took two English classes, wrote lots and lots of essays, and started to form new friendships that have affected my life deeply. I also took six Kung Fu lessons, which is something I forget about sometimes. For me, seventeen was the year for learning more about myself, what is really means to be a friend, and how important it is to have good communication with the people around you. That year, I met some incredible people, most of whom I stayed friends with and really miss now that I’ve moved away.

Eighteen Years Old

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I know, I know, this was really only three days ago, but the beginning of being eighteen feels like forever ago. Being eighteen was actually really wonderful. I may have had some months of serious anxiety, but I still had a really great time overall. I was taking great classes, I was writing a lot of poetry, and I had an excellent summer where I cut my hair, worked in a theatre, went to France, and got my driving permit. My dad got married, I traveled a lot, and I tried to force myself out of my comfort zone more than usual (so, maybe three times). Eighteen was a really good year for me, and while I was pretty sad to leave it behind, I’m thankful for all the things that happened in those twelve months.

Nineteen Years Old?

 (a picture of me and my mom on my birthday because I don’t have any pictures of just me yet)

(a picture of me and my mom on my birthday because I don’t have any pictures of just me yet)

Now what? I live in Washington, I'm a Freshman in college, and I spend most of my time preparing for my acting class, meeting new people, and making plans for what the rest of this year will be. Eighteen was a great year in itself, but lots of the things I did were in preparation for what I want nineteen to be. I have a lot of really cool things in the works (most of which I’ll be talking about soon), and I’m really excited for the next twelve months!


So, would I go back? I've been thinking about this a lot, actually, and I've settled on a definite maybe. There were parts of my teenage years that I loved, and there are some moments that I would really like to relive, but so far I'm really liking college and getting a taste of what being independent is like. The jump from eighteen to nineteen didn’t seem too big, but the jump from nineteen to twenty feels like it’ll be huge. I have a whole year to get there, though, and I have a feeling it won’t feel as crazy once I’m there. The teenage years have been a rollercoaster, and while I’m glad to not be leaving them behind quite yet, I’m excited for what the future has in store.

Twelve Little Things I'm Going to Miss

In ten days, I'll be on my college campus getting ready to start the new school year. It's coming up really fast, and I'm starting to notice all the little things more than I have before. Because of that, I thought it might be nice if I made a list of all those little-but-still-big things that I'm going to miss once I leave home. 

1. Driving in a car and hearing my mom laugh. 
2. Weekly Sabbath lunches at my grandparent's house. 
3. Meeting my friends for coffee at the Starbucks near my house. 
4. Taking a shower without wearing shoes. 
5. Taking naps on my grandparent's couch under one of the many blankets. 
6. Watching West Wing while using the exercise bike. 
7. My mom bursting into song (whether made up or one that she somehow remembers from her childhood) at any random moment. 
8. Getting up early and drinking coffee in a quiet house. 
9. Eating tomatoes that grew in my grandparent's garden. 
10. Listening to my mom play her piano. 
11. Seeing the colorful sunsets out of my big bedroom window. 
12. Going into my mom's bedroom and sitting on her bed while she works. 

Obviously, I'm not leaving these things forever. I'm still going to visit and spend a good amount of time with my family, but my life is about to change in a way that is irreversible, and that's kind of sad for me. But, as I've been reminding myself all the time, I'm about to find a bunch of new little things that I will one day miss. And that, my friends, is a very exciting thing to think about. 

 I'll also miss running in my neighborhood during the fall. 

I'll also miss running in my neighborhood during the fall. 

Me, at Eighteen and a Half (...almost)

Hi, my name is Claira Jean Eastwood, and I've been 18 for almost six months. Here's what I look like, in case you don't see me every day and you've forgotten: 

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In the past seven months since I made a post like this, a few things have changed. I still sleep in a twin sized bed, but my bedding has changed to a quilt with a red, yellow, and blue pattern on it with flannel floral patterned sheets (can you tell I'm really into the whole floral thing right now?). I have a weird bed chair thing that I use for writing these things because even though my desk is great for homework, I like to be a little more comfortable when writing for this blog. And, of course, I still have my moose, along with Dumbo and Peter Rabbit. 

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Often I can be found wearing my pajama pants with lemons on them, or my gray sweatpants. My NASA t-shirt is a current favorite, as is my gray and black baseball tee. My hair is down in it's natural state 80% of the time and in a french braid with a headband the other 20%. Most of my time is spent reading poetry, writing poetry, and watching random movies and nature documentaries I find on Netflix. 

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I've been waking up between 6:45 and 7:00 since the end of February, and I've noticed a significant difference in my mood. Since I'm up earlier, I get a handle on my day before I have to start getting ready. I drink my coffee (the whole chai/earl gray thing went out the window once I hit second quarter of my senior year), read a little bit from whatever book I'm currently reading (right now it's Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris), and sometimes watch something on Youtube. I've been using my Dumbo mug a lot recently, as well as my green polka dot one that my friend Mary got me for my birthday last year. 

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I start getting ready around 8:00 and the first thing I do is turn on Up First, which is an NPR podcast that catches me up on the news for the day. Each one is only about 12-15 minutes long, which is perfect for me. I get dressed (usually in my capris jeans, a t-shirt or sweater, and my knock-off birkenstocks or knock-off toms, because I'm cheap but like my feet to look fashionable) and then do whatever kind of makeup I'm in the mood for. I've been using eyeshadow a little bit more recently, and I use this pinkish brown color from The Body Shop. I have a tiny collection of lipsticks that I really like, and usually I pick one of those, but sometimes I just go with chapstick. It really does depend on my mood. I put on my gardenia and palm perfume because that's my favorite, and then I look in the mirror and try to tell myself something positive. Cheesy? Definitely. Helpful for positive thinking? Absolutely. 

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I like keeping flowers in my room still, and most recently I've had some purple ones that Annaliese got me after I did the poetry open mic. They sit by the orchid I'm trying to grow again after I watered it too much last year and it died. My favorite candle right now smells like oakmoss and sage, even though my mom insists that it smells like laundry detergent. 

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My days consist of going through my ten classes, reading whenever I get the chance, and writing posts for this blog. My favorite class is Film Appreciation, because it's giving me the chance to watch all the movies I've heard of my whole life but never got around to watching (Life is Beautiful, an Italian film, has been my favorite so far). I've been listening to a lot of musicals recently, mainly Amélie and Waitress, though Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen still make their regular appearances. 

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I love having time by myself in the mornings, and going to class vespers and get togethers on Friday evenings. I love driving with Annaliese and sitting next to my friend Joe in math and Economics. I love adding commentary to the movies we see in Film Appreciation with my friend Hailee and hearing our teacher laugh at our comments. I love writing for this blog and talking with my teachers. I love going for walks with my mom and sunset runs on random Tuesdays. The last six months have been really great. Normally by now I'm at the point where I'm ready to get to the next to stage of my life, or just the next age. But right now I'm genuinely happy with being 18. I'm happy. I really am, and that's really good for me. I am currently very content with my life and all that it has going for it. 

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50 Things to Do When You're Anxious and/or Depressed

The other day I wasn't feeling the best. It wasn't because anything was particularly wrong, and it wasn't that I was dreading something that may be wrong later. It was simply that I wasn't feeling the best. I go through bouts of anxiety and depression every once in a while, and it always really sucks. So I made this list a while ago that I go to when I'm feeling particularly bad, and I take a few things and do them. The following is a list of 50 things that I personally have done and can say that they work, at least in the moment, which is sometimes enough to get you through the rest of the day. 

1.  Go to sleep a half hour earlier
2.  Get up a half hour earlier
3. Drink a tall glass of water
4. Take a shower with your favorite soap or body wash, and then use your favorite lotion
5. Read a book
6. Eat a salad  
7. Or a pizza
8. Go for a walk
9. Or for a run
10. Light a spring candle in the fall or a fall candle in the spring
11. Paint your nails
12. Dress up for literally no reason
13. Wear your favorite sweatshirt
14. Sit outside and breathe deeply
15. Meditate
16. Color in a coloring book
17. Learn to make origami dragons
18. Watch Friends 
19. Watch The Office 
20. Clean your room
21. Clean your kitchen
22. Wash your sheets
23. Journal
24. Shave your legs
25.  Call a friend you haven't talked to in a while
26.  Buy flowers
27. Hug your dog
28. Watch Queer Eye
29. Get a hug from your mom
30. Put lotion on your feet and follow with fuzzy socks
31. Do something spontaneous
32.  Create a morning and/or night routine
33. Look at the stars on a clear night
34. Change around the decorations in your room
35. Drink some tea
36.  Use a face mask
37. Use a hair mask
38. Write something
39. Vacuum
40. Do your laundry
41. Look up inspirational quotes
42. Clean your bag or backpack
43. Clean up your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
44. Eat lunch outside in the sunshine
45.  Watch clips from The Graham Norton Show (bonus points if it's red chair related!)
46. Watch interviews with Emilia Clarke
47. Watch You've Got Mail
48. Read some poetry
49. Dance around your room to Hamilton 
50. Dramatically lipsynch to Oh, Darling by The Beatles

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25 Facts About Me

1. When I was seven, I got kicked out of the Vatican. Twice. In one day.

2. I learn the words to the fastest songs I can find just for fun. I rarely tell people this, though, because when I’m asked to prove it I freak out. 

3. By the time I graduate, I will have gone to two different high schools. 

4. I write spoken word poetry

5. I won a writing contest when I was sixteen 

6. I can’t pronounce “peculiar” 

7. I fully believe in time and all that it heals

8. I have fully written essays for this website that I will probably never post. 

9. I took six classes of Kung Fu my Junior year 

10. I used to absolutely detest poetry (detest

11. Spring is my favorite season and March is my favorite month. 

12. I’ve lived in three states, but only really remember the third. 

13. The first time I ever had a crush on a boy, I was in preschool and the only way I could think of to get him to talk to me was by pretending to forget his name so he’d have to introduce himself almost every day. 

14. LA and Seattle are tied for my favorite city, but Edinburgh is a close second. 

15. I still haven’t learned how to ride a bike

16. I used to write songs, but haven’t done that since I started writing poetry. 

17. I have had my heart thoroughly broken exactly five times in my eighteen years.

18. I take criticism badly, no matter how masked in compliments it is. The sandwich method of compliment + criticism + compliment doesn’t work for me. 

19. People have read my poems in front of me without realizing it was about them.

20. I have five books in the works right now. 1 of poetry and four novels. I have no idea what I’ll do with any or all of them once they’re finished. 

21. I have been to England four times, and in about a week I leave for the fifth visit. 

22. I have written in journals since I was eight years old. 

23. My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird, which I read for the first time when I was sixteen. 

24. My eighth birthday has been my favorite so far. 

25. I am a perfectionist who tries very hard to follow all the rules…

25.5 But sometimes rules are meant to be broken, and I’m working on realizing that more. 

Things We Need More of in 2018

This year, we need more of the good stuff. 2016 and 2017 were both really weird years, and while they had their good moments, 2018 still needs to be different. With that in mind, here are 10 things I think we need more of this year. 

1. Long conversations with the people who mean the most to us. 

2. Kind honesty. Saying what you think and believe but not doing so in a cruel manner. 

3. Houses filled with music. 

4. Listening to someone with a different opinion without thinking about you're going to prove the wrong. Listening to understand, and then trying to be understood. 

5. Long walks outside when the air is the perfect balance between windy and still. 

6. Underdogs. 

7. Coffee in coffee shops and tea in window sills. 

8. Ideas that seem crazy and unrealistic. Because those are the best ones. 

9. Doing the thing that scares you when you know it'll be worth it. 

10. Creativity