Weekend of birthdays

This weekend has taught me something valuable. Truly.
After my friend, Esther had opened up the present that I've put together for her she started to tear up a bit and told me how she loves it. Now that made my day, not the great feeling I had when I took my test in Ap Language and Composition.

Esther (left) me (right)

Saturday: It was my boyfriend Daniel's birthday.
I spent one day to come up with the "birthday present plan" and it took me approximately 7-8 hours to assembly it all together to perfection. I blew up 18 balloons by mouth. That may not seem like a big deal to you but to me, blowing up balloons and tying them was a NIGHTMARE. I am absolutely terrified, mortified of balloons. I am scared that they'll pop…I get the anxiety just trying to tie balloons. But I did it anyways. I blew up 18 balloons just for him. I didn't even blow them up that big because I was scared they were going to pop if I tried tying a balloon so big. Anyways, I was at his family/close friends birthday party. When it was time to open presents, he had opened mine at the very end because it was in such a huge box. WELL…lets just say that I did not expect anyone to react to the present the way they did. When I brought the present over to the house, I was absolutely scared that I wouldn't be able to impress Daniel. I was scared that he had high expectations. I didn't feel good enough about my present. Well, little did I know.
Inside the box were two bags of hot Cheetos, movie tickets, a jar of kisses, a string of bells, Barnes and Noble gift card, 18 balloons with 18 messages + hand cut confetti, and blue and yellow fillers. Once he got all of those items out, at the very bottom was a "checklist" that I've installed at the very bottom of the box. It was a list of why I had given him a box full of random stuffs.
He read them out loud to his entire family. OUT LOUD. (I didn't even think about the chance of that happening when I put together his present) I got a lot of reactions from a lot of people in the house. I got a lot more reactions than I thought I would ever get for a present made for someone else. His mom, cousins, friends, and himself teared up. One or two of them cried, I believe recalling. Heck, I wrote the darn thing AND I CRIED when he read it out loud. I just got super emotional and the attention I was receiving was a bit overwhelming. I was impressed with myself. How did I make a crowd of people who don't know me very well…tear up by writing a little letter/checklist explaining the present I gave my boyfriend. It doesn't pertain to them and they got emotional.
Of course after that, I got a lot of hugs and compliments for the present.
The words "you're such a sweet girlfriend." "You're cute." "You're invited to my birthday now." "you've got life figured out." "That was very sweet of you." have meant so so much to me that night that I still can't get over it today. They even talked about me at the end of the night and told Daniel that I am a keeper, or I am the one. It meant that I've done something so sincere and true that I was able to touch their hearts. I was able to show everyone in the room that night who I am.

What I've discovered is that…
No one will ever remember my 4.0 GPA. No one will remember that I stand among the smart students in class. No one will remember any of that. NO ONE. Because..my grades don't tell people who I am. They only tell people a fraction of who I am. A fraction out of a whole. I've grown up letting these letters : A B C D F define me…but no one else defines me by my grades. I'm not known as the A student. I'm known as JANET. Because of the past few nights, I've realized that all of these people…will remember me because I was able to touch a soft spot in their hearts. I've let grade averages, grade points define me that I've totally forgotten about how I am able to touch those around me. That I am capable of so much more than memorizing Washington's farewell address. I am more than a letter. I volunteer at the hospital. I signed up for the Big Brother Big Sister program. I am in Red Cross. I enjoy helping people. I enjoy making people happy. That's who I am. I am not a grade. I am not my GPA. Whenever my mom talks about me to her friends, she always always mentions about the letters I've written to her that have made her cry. She doesn't even know what my GPA is. She knows I do well, but hell, she doesn't even remember jack about the tests I failed, the tests I passed, the courses I took. Why? Because none of that matters. What matters are the characteristics I exhibit. The way I talk about subjects I thoroughly enjoy, the effort I put into making a present for someone, the hand I lend to people.
Friends, that's who I am.
I am still in the process of trying to get rid of the idea that "grades define me" and well, I think I am doing a stellar job at finding the little things that mean so much more than grades. I've opened my eyes and I'm seeing so much of life. My life is mine and I will not let it revolve around grades. My life is around people I love, helping others, and establishing character.
I've been enjoying life and I've been receiving AMAZING grades. So why should I stress myself out and give myself a hard time and receive the same amazing grades when I can enjoy life instead?
I might be doing really great in school…because I've decided to let loose and just enjoy what I'm doing besides freaking out every seven minutes.

Well, the lesson that everyone should grab hold of here is that… don't let something so minuscule (like grades) define you, because it doesn't. Not even close. You are more than that. What defines you is the way you treat people, they effect you have on the people you love, the way you hold yourself up…these define you more than your grades. No one is going to remember you as the smartest kid in your class, because there are people smarter than you. There will always be someone better than you, so don't beat yourself up over it. Enjoy life and get rid of the negative thoughts. Just a subtle change in perspective can make a huge difference. I've been working on it myself, and I have to admit that this is the best thing I've ever done for myself.
Let me just tell you, I've been sent into the ER three times because of anxiety over GRADES. I WAS HOSPITALIZED because of a damn B. Because I thought I wasn't good enough. I went to therapy for a year because i didn't know how to cope with myself. I was so attached to objects that I cried over an insult made to a truck. I had let all of this rule me…and little did I know that all it took was a change in perspective.
I'm not saying I'm perfectly fine now and no longer have anxiety, but I've definitely become better at coping with these things. It's all a matter of perspective.

So…don't let life control you. Take the reign and run YOUR show. It's all yours.

Be happy, you deserve every bit of it.

Good night,
Janet Nguyen

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