Summer Nights #1: 10 Years Later

>> Friday, June 17, 2011

I've decided I will no longer state that it's been a long time since I last posted. This is due to the fact that it now typically takes me 2 to 3 weeks to post again, so it's sort of a norm at this point. I've been up at camp now for approximately 13 days and they've already been some of the best of the year. Between the nights off, the campfire, the reunions, the new faces, the late nights, and the failed work-out's been pretty darn fun so far. Tonight I'm sitting in the lodge with my laptop, browsing facebook, and tuning out the unimportant arguments about sports teams that I know nothing about. It's funny, but 10 years ago I would have never expected to be where am at this moment. 10 years ago today I was probably sitting in my bed crying because I was overflowing with a multitude of emotions; excitement, nervous, pumped, scared, maybe a little homesick already too. It turned out to be the summer of my life and I can distinctly remember thinking, "I want to be a ten-year one day." I never thought it could actually happen, I never thought this day would come, but the years flew by and now I'm a senior counselor, driving boats and vans, directing my own activity, and trying to be for these kids what so many counselors were for me; the best role-model and friend a kid could ask for. As a 10 year old boy I looked up to every one who was literally looking down at me. The tall kids were always cooler and an example of how I should act. I wasn't thinking that exactly, but it's important to note that kids truly watch their "superiors" actions and model their own behavior from that. There are cheers and songs and camp things that I know and do because I watched the older kids do them. With that in the back of my head, I try hard to be aware of what I'm doing and saying because the truth is, someone is always watching.
As a fluid transition should be, I will now relate my last night to my next remarks. I struggled in high school, more as a junior and senior with the fact that I felt as if I was always under a microscope. I've learned that high school can do that to you. High school is some of the deepest trenches that you'll fight in. The kids can be semi-evil and judgmental...and actually plain mental too. It's not exactly peer pressure, but it's a type of force that you feel when you walk down the halls and eat lunch in the cafeteria. I guess I exposed myself to this sort of feelings because I was putting myself in front of the school, more often than not. I was constantly in shows and assemblies, but it felt like I was always performing. I had to put on a front, a sort of mask, when I was in school to come off like I was always happy and feeling pleasant. For those who were my close friends in high school, they knew that wasn't true. That mask was wearing me down and eventually led to a minor breakdown in the parking lot at 10PM after a dress rehearsal. I'll be the first to admit that I am a dramatic kid, but this was something else. I was alone in my car crying because for the first time, I felt like I had a moment of reality. I didn't have to pretend or fake or smile or even sit in silence, I just cried. From that point on, I made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to let this wear me down anymore. This was the beginning of a long learning process that I'm still in. It was the first time the idea came to me that I didn't have to associate myself with the people who didn't like me. That was the most basic form of it. It's slowly evolved into something slightly deeper, but the concept is the same. So, here it is:
The truth is, and I really believe this, people do not change. They grow, the mature, they learn, and they act based on those things and more, but deep down, they don't change( This does not mean people can't change the way they behave or act.) Over the past three years, I've had some of my highest highs and my lowest lows. There are people who have been through it all with me and have stayed by my side and made sure that I kept my head on straight always. Those people are my friends. There are people who have picked me up and dusted me off and gave me the push I needed to move on from whatever I was stuck in. Those people are my friends. There are people who have given me tough love and kept me thinking about the big picture in times when I was focused on the little stuff. Those people are my friends. Then, there are people who make me feel inferior and victimized, always wrong and never right, small, unimportant, stupid, embarrassing, pointless, dumb, unattractive, rude, mean, evil, boring, bad, one dimensional and what I think, say, or do doesn't matter. Those people are NOT my friends. It's not worth it when there are so many people who make me feel good and happy with who I am and what I do or say. That's not to say people are perfect, but the majority of the time it shouldn't be a "make fun of Matt-fest." I've definitely digressed slightly, but I think that I got my point across. 
Needless to say, the people here, for the most part, are my friends. I am one gosh darn lucky dude to be at a place like this, and to say that I've been here for 10 years. So, the campers arrive in 2 days and then the summer really begins. I'm ready, at least I think am. But, who knows what the summer holds for me, no matter what though, I'm excited for all it. 

All that with a splash of gratitude.
<3 Matt


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