Resolutions

I know, I know. Last week I literally said I didn't necessarily like making New Year's Resolutions, but that's why I came up with my own system. Instead of making a set of resolutions for the whole year, I've decided to give myself until the end of June. I'm still giving myself the full year to accomplish each resolution (really they're more like goals/things I want to do or accomplish, but whatever), but I'm going to give myself until the end of June to see if each resolution is still important to me. If it's not a priority anymore, then away it goes. There's no point in holding on to a resolution if I'm going to stop caring about it and then feel bad about that at the end of December. With all that said, here are my 9 resolutions for 2018:

1. Read 20 books (I'd also like one of these books to be Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen) 

2. Run a 5k.

3. Finish this blanket I've been knitting for about a month now. 

4. Buy hermit crabs. 

5. Go back to therapy. 

6. Be nicer to myself and change the way I think about myself. 

7. Have a summer job. 

8. Be able to read children's books in French. 

9. Do as many things to open as many doors of opportunity for myself as possible. 

As some of you may remember, I set 9 goals for myself to accomplish before I turn 19. Those goals and these 9 resolutions are all the things I hope to accomplish in 2018 (9+9=18, get it? Ha.) The idea of not continuing with a goal when it stops being a priority also applies to my 9 goals before turning 19, so I'll be checking in with myself in April about all of those.  This is all because while I want to accomplish new and exciting things, I also don't want to put negative pressure on myself that will only make me feel bad later. 

I really want this year to be good. I'm trying not to put too much pressure on it to be amazing, but it definitely needs to be better than last year. I'm hoping that by making these resolutions I put myself in a good place for making this year good for myself. 

Of All the Things I've Wanted to Be

1. Ballerina Princess Astronaut

This is the first thing I remember wanting to be. More than likely, this stemmed from a mixture of ballet lessons, reading The Little Princess, and watching short movies about stars. 

2. Writer

When I was six, I wrote my first story. It was about a cat, and I dedicated it to my brother (which he mistakenly believed meant he got to keep the book itself). After that, I wrote stories, pages of dialogue, and poetic sounding lines (but no poetry. That was for the beret wearing coffee drinkers).

3. Teacher

This one makes me laugh now because I really can't see myself as a teacher anymore. But at the time, I wanted to teach second grade and decorate my classroom with owls and paper cutouts of trees. In actuality, I probably just wanted to be my mother. 

4. Actress

When I was eight, I took part in two week long summer plays at the dance school I went to. I loved every minute of it, and it was like lightening struck. After that, being an actress was the only thing I wanted to be. I wanted to be on TV and walk down a red carpet, which now seems absolutely terrifying. 

5. Social Worker

Even though I didn't know the term, I wanted to be involved with helping kids have the best life possible. I told my third grade teacher that I was going to adopt twelve kids and have a big house where they could run around and play with the many cats I'd have (no dogs. I was still scared of dogs at this point). This idea stayed in the back of my mind until I realized that I'd probably have trouble emotionally distancing myself from everything. 

6. Clinical Psychologist

I'm not ashamed to say that when I was in eighth grade I would sign my essays "Dr. Claira Eastwood, Ph.D" and then hastily delete it before turning it in. For a while, I saw a therapist who worked with a clinical psychologist and she'd tell me all about the job itself and what kind of training I'd need. I was obsessed with this dream, and it's something I still think back on and wonder if I'd still want to do it. 

7. Full-Time Traveler

Paired with being a writer, I wanted to travel the world and write about all that I saw. This is still something I'd like to do someday, but I don't think I'd want it to be my entire job. At the time, though, I could think of nothing better than gallivanting across cities and countrysides and writing about it all. 

8. Sociologist

This stemmed from my love of geography and other cultures. I wanted to know how people in other countries/cultures lived and what was important to them. 

9. Communications Director for something important

This probably came from watching one too many episodes of West Wing and/or Gilmore Girls. 

10. Theatre Actress

Which, by the way, is different than #4. I wanted to teach acting and direct my own plays. I wanted to work on a stage every night and feel that familiar magical rush again and again. I still do, only I'm sure I want that for a career anymore. 

If I'm being honest, I'm not sure what I want to do. Of all the things I've wanted to be, writing is the only thing that has come up time and time again. Acting and teaching make their regular appearances, but writing has always been the constant. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what I end up doing. I have a little under nine months until my registration day for college, but I don't necessarily have to declare a major right away. I'll be figuring it out along the way, and I'm okay with that. 

 

 

 

9 Things to Accomplish By 19

So I turned 18 four days ago. Knowing me, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that I'm already thinking about all that I want to accomplish before my next birthday. Because of this, I wanted to compile the 9 things I could think of into one post. I'm also going to try really hard to not look at this until next year, but I can't make any promises. 

1. Read 18 books

Again, not too much of a surprise. I read 16 books while being 16, and 17 while being 17, so it's only natural that I should continue the pattern.

2. Participate in a poetry slam OR open mic

I haven't decided yet if it would be easier to do a poetry slam where it's a possibility that I'd have to get up 3 times, or an open mic where the people are a tad bit more experienced. I'll keep you updated on what I decide, but either way, I want to get my poetry out there to more people. Speaking of which...

3. Publish a book

Let's just say there's something currently in the works, and it has to do with some environmentally friendly balloons ;-) 

4. Get my driver's license

Seriously, I think it's about time. I'm still studying for my third attempt at the written test, but I don't have a test date yet. Don't worry, I'm working on it. 

5. Travel to 5 completely new places

I really want to do and see lots of new things this year, and that's going to require traveling. I have a lot of plans already, and I'm really excited to see where this goal, in particular, takes me. 

6. Be working or volunteering in a theatre

By the time I'm 19, I'll be in college. I'm 98% sure of where I'm going, and I've already filled out forms for volunteering at nearby theaters in the city I'll be living in. This is one of the harder ones on the list, but it's definitely still doable. 

7. Improve French skills

I was really on top of learning French a couple years ago, and it's slowly fallen by the wayside ever since moving. I'm going to Paris this summer, and I think it's really important that I know at least some basic phrases before I go. Ideally, I'd like to be able to read and understand some French children's books by the time I'm 19. 

8. Write a short film

I'm not setting the goal of filming it yet because I think a year is too short a time to make that happen, but I think writing it is okay. I'd really like to stretch my creative muscles and writing skills in a totally new way this year, and a short film seems like the ideal way to do that. 

9. Be happy

While quite vague, this one is very important to me. I'm going to be in a totally new place, surrounded by new people. I'm hopefully going to have accomplished some really good things, and have gone to great places. I want to be happy with where I am and what I'm doing, and I still want to be thankful for all that I have. 

So there we have it, my nine goals to accomplish by the time I'm nineteen. It's a rather scary thought, but also pretty exciting at the same time. Wish me luck, and I'll be back to recap these in one year's time. 

23andMe - My Experience

Sophomore year, I learned about a company called 23andMe in my Biology class. I've always been interested in genetics and ancestry, and the whole idea of someone being able to tell me where I came from is extremely appealing. So for my eighteenth birthday gift, I asked my grandparents if I could try it. My mom was also interested, so we both decided to do it. Since it takes so long to do, I ordered the kits in September and started the process as soon as they arrived. The kits themselves came very quickly, and they looked like this:

The day after it arrived, I opened it up and read the manual. Inside was a small tube, a cap to secure on the other end, and a plastic bag to put the tube into when you mail it back. 

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Spitting into the tube reminded me greatly of the time I attempted to take part in a study at Stanford a few years ago (which I talked about a few months ago). The tube may look small, but when you have to spit a certain amount inside, it suddenly seems much bigger. Once the tubes were filled, my mom and I finished packing them up and got them ready to mail back to 23andMe the next day. We left for my school about ten minutes earlier the next morning and went past the post office. Once they were mailed, it was about a month of waiting. 

A few weeks ago I had a Monday off of school and spent the morning working off some more community service hours (because I'm graduating in almost seven months...). When I got home, I checked my email and was pleased to discover that my results were ready. I went to the website to see them. As it turns out, I'm *trumpet sounds*

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How's that for obvious? As I delved into the results, I learned that I am:

36.2% British and Irish
32.4% French and German
21.7% Broadly Northwestern European

2.5% Italian (cue my mouth wide open in surprise)
0.9% Broadly Southern European

0.6% Eastern European (more surprises)
5.7% Broadly European

I knew for sure that I was British, French, German, and Eastern European (though I was expecting a higher percentage.) What I had no idea about was the Italian. Although a very tiny percentage, it was still really cool to discover. Since my mom did it too, I was able to calculate what I got from her and what I got from my dad's side, which was also really interesting. 

All in all, this was a cool thing to do. As I've gotten older, I've tried to learn as much about where I came from as possible. Luckily, I come from a family of storytellers who have been telling me things like this for as long as I could remember. Even though I knew most of this already, this was another piece of me figuring out where I came from, who I am, and who I want to be. I think that's a big part of growing up. You can't figure out where you want to go until you've figured out where you've come from. Your past, whether it be your ancestry or your childhood, is a part of you- a big part of you. I'm really glad I did this, and I highly recommend it. Who knows, maybe you'll learn something you didn't know at all, or what you thought will be confirmed. Either way, it's a cool experience and helps you learn more about yourself. 

 

 

William Wordsworth

My time in British Literature last year gave me many things. Headaches, stress, and plenty of essays being a few. However, the class also gave me a new appreciation for poets and the words they wrote. One of my favorite memories from my time in that class took place as we were wrapping up the Les Mis rehearsals. My teacher launched into the stories of Romantic era poets, and the lovely William Wordsworth was one of them. Now hold on to your hats, kids, because this is history and poetry and this is where I get nerdy. 

His childhood isn't super out of the ordinary for the time period, so here are the rapid fire highlights:

- He was born on April 7th, 1770 in Cumberland. 

- Both of his parents died when he was young and because of this he eventually lost touch with his sister, Dorothy, whom he was very close with. 

- His uncles helped him go to school, and he eventually went to Cambridge. 

Okay, now onto the far more interesting stuff:

In 1790, when he was still a student, Wordsworth took a walking tour (very popular in those days. People would literally just go on walks and stop every so often to stare at nature) through France and parts of Switzerland. Before you say it, yes I know that the French Revolution took place during this time, and no, this is not the last the time he went to France. In fact, he loved being there so much that he returned a year later. It was then that he met Annette Vallon. 

They had an affair (Vaudracour and Julia), and Annette gave birth to Anne Caroline. Unfortunately, Wordsworth is forced to return to England because he ran out of money. Because of this, he wasn't there for the birth of his daughter. He saw Dorothy again after many years and they lived together for a while. His financial situation, which had up until then been horrendous, got better after a relative died and left him lots and lots of money (I'm going off of memory here and I can't remember the exact amount).

Now here's the part of this story that I love but also really hate: Since he is now financially in better shape, Wordsworth and his sister travel back to France so he can reconnect with Annette and also work out how he can support Anne Caroline (this is ten years after she was born, by the way). He keeps sending her money as long as he can, but he and Annette come to the realization that they are far too different than they were a decade ago and Wordsworth moves back to England where he marries Mary Hutchinson... *Sigh*. 

William Wordsworth died on April 23rd, 1850. He had six children, and published at least fourteen books, though no one knows for sure if there were any more. In his writing he wrote about his life, his troubles, his highs and his lows. If you go through a timeline of his poetry you can see the differences in poem to poem. This is one of the reasons why I love his writing so much. It was honest and dynamic. Equal parts heartbreaking and uplifting. He practically started the Romantic Era with the help of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (don't even get me started...), and in case you were wondering that's probably my favorite era. 

This was an unusual post, I know, but every so often I think back on the story of William Wordsworth and get a little obsessive about it. To round things off, here are some of my favorite quotes from him:

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."

"The best portion of a good man's life, His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."

"... my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils."

"She dwelt among the untrodden ways." (also that whole poem is beautiful)  

"The world is too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours." 

Me, at Seventeen

Hi, my name is Claira Eastwood, and this is me. Well, this is me at Seventeen. 

I sleep in a twin sized bed with two blankets, three pillows, a stuffed moose, and a giant bear I've had since I was three. The moose stays interlocked in my right arm, the bear stays at the foot of my bed, the pillows are scattered around, and the blankets usually end up tangled in my legs halfway through the night. I have glow in the dark stars on my ceiling and I sleep under the window so the moonlight shines over me. 

I wake up between 7:00 and 7:30 most mornings, and the first thing I do is make coffee, chai, or earl grey tea- it truly depends. I pour whatever I choose into one of my many mugs. I tend to use my The Little Prince one my mom got me for Christmas last year, the one my grandparents brought me from Spain last year, or my Friends one that one of my best friends got me a couple years ago, but sometimes I branch out and use something different. I take my coffee with a splash of creamer, my tea with with some milk and a spoonful of sugar, and my chai as is. I'd like to say I sip it slowly while looking out my window, but the reality is I'm taking long sips while getting ready. 

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I love t-shirts, and right now I'm wearing my The 1975 one that I got from Amazon a lot. I usually wear jeans, partly because they're comfortable but mostly because I simply can after going to schools where I couldn't. After I get dressed I put a small black "x" over the date on my Troye Sivan calendar that hangs in my closet. I water whatever flowers are currently sitting on my dresser (right now I have orchids), and do my makeup. I use the term "makeup" loosely, as it's really just mascara and chapstick. I have this Magnolia flower lotion that I use all the time, so it's running low, but I still use it daily. 

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On one wall of my room I have Christmas lights and pictures of my friends, and on another I have my The Giver Quartet poster and my calendar that displays a different location in France every month (yes, I do have two calendars). By my door hangs my mirror and my elephant chain, which I am quite fond of. I ring it every morning before I leave. My favorite candle right now smells like fern and moss, but I don't remember where I got it which is disappointing. 

Right now I'm rewatching Frasier a lot and listening to a lot of Oh Wonder. My favorite bands are The Beatles and The 1975 and my favorite solo artist is Ed Sheeran (shocking, I know ;-)). I go to sleep between 10:00 and 11:45 because I hate the idea of falling asleep when it's already morning. I take showers at night because I don't like going to sleep with the feeling of having dirty skin, and while I'd like to say I read before bed, in reality I just scroll through Facebook and Instagram a few times while watching Netflix until I'm sleepy. 

Right now I'm reading Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill for my school's book club, and I'm mostly reading it during lunch and between classes. Ever since going back to school I've found that I read more but feel like I'm reading less. My days are spent studying for the SAT, ACT, my driving test, and regular class tests and quizzes. I work on Tuesdays, and I write in my journal almost daily. My favorite class is AP Literature, but honestly I thought I'd like Film Production the best. I'm scared of the dark but I'm learning to love the silence. I get tired around 2:00 in the afternoon, but magically wake up as soon as my mom picks me up from school. I miss my friends from last year, but their words of advice and encouragement are on replay in my head, and the people I'm surrounded by are wonderful too. 

I'm happy right now, and that fact makes me happier. I'll be eighteen in 45 days, but for the time being I am quite content with seventeen. 

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