When I Think of You

Hey everyone! I was just thinking about you all this week, as I realized it was finals and I remembered all the fun we had with finals only a few short months ago (it feels like forever but it really hasn’t been very long at all). Think about all the good times we had; the fun in calculus (aka class of death) and in all our other classes as we tried to cram the night before (some things never change). If we had fun with finals in high school, college finals should be a blast!!!!! As all of us prepare to take our final exams this week, I couldn’t help but remember the “building a castle brick by brick” pre-AP test speech. Think about how we are the bricks, now that we’ve laid the foundation, we are building the walls higher and higher into the upper echelons of learning. How exciting. In a few weeks when we’re all together, I’m sure we’ll laugh about how good/bad/ugly our finals were (or cry, depending on the class)! It’s been a rough semester, and I know many of us are ready for break. I know I am. But let’s get it this week.

 

Finals are a lot like store-bought gingerbread cookies around Christmastime. Nobody really likes the cookies themselves, but you are perpetually obligated to eat them.

 

Now let’s go eat.

Is Anyone Still Out There?

Hey everyone, I know these blogs have been long-dead now. But I’m here *sarcastically throws hands in the air celebrating* and I have a few things that I should probably reflect on. Well. Where do I begin?

  • Having your family around helps sometimes when your life isn’t going well
  • College is fun. College is hard. College is many things.
  • Being by yourself surrounded by 22,000 people is a strange feeling

I’d be lying if I said that my life is great right now. I’d be lying if I said that things were going the way I want them to right now. But it’s comforting to remember that I have friends like you.

Thanks For All The Memories

Hey everyone, I just wanted to say that I will continue updating this blog even after graduation–I will continue writing personal profiles on each of you and just generally put stuff on here. For now, though, I wanted to leave something for you, Mrs. Smith.

You have had an impact on my life that cannot be put into words. From me as a little freshman drawing Adam and Eve (make SURE to show that to every class you teach) to me analyzing Heart of Darkness for seven degrees of literary merit as a senior, you have guided me through life in a very meaningful way. You shoot down my terrible ideas (ahem, calendar) while encouraging my creative side (cookie day, cookie metaphors, etc.). You have been a huge support for me, especially as I have faced some tough times these last few months. It has meant so much to me. You were, are, and always will be my favorite lit teacher.

Like a dark chocolate-cherry cookie, you had the sweetness to make class the best part of my day but had the sour cherries to summon Darth Smith when we were off task (which happened a lot). A cookie with class, you exude excellence but don’t intimidate those who have never tried out anything beyond a dollar-store chocolate chip (akin to reading Twilight as “literature”). You even introduced me to poetry!!!

Your passion for your job is honestly unparalleled and I hope that I can bring the same excitement and effort to whatever I do someday.

Thanks for all the memories.

Silver Cords and Fish Ties

Joshua Goldwire. The name evokes images of many things for many students at SkyView Academy. For me, that name means that an adventure of epic proportions is about to ensue. A simple trip to Stein Mart with Josh could (and often does) quickly turn into a two-hour, earth-scouring endeavor for the ugliest necktie possible. A jaunt to the local Taco Bell could just as easily result in the cheapskate acquisition of four tacos through expert precision at a charity game (the game to win tacos was removed probably due to our actions and abuse). Even a trip to the mall could result in the risk-free purchase of hot pretzels at the hands of a certain McKinley Boots, to whom we both owe enormous sums of money.

In all honesty, though, Josh is one of those people in life who appreciates some of my crazy ideas, which drives many of my other friends insane (facepalm) but makes anything we do insanely fun. Whenever I need to forget about life’s problems and the dullness of the day-to-day, I just pop open a bag of Cheetos, and Josh will be there so we can get fish ties. That’s a real friend.

Ah…Now, Where Were We?

Sorry about the delay in blog posts–life got crazy and it was hard for me to focus. Now, where were we? Oh, yes. This is a good one.

For those who don’t know, I’ve been in a bit of what I’d call a slump lately. Life just hasn’t been all candy and butterflies, which I suppose is to be expected as part of the human experience. It’s been a time of change, which is also something that I should have seen coming (hindsight 20/20, right?) being that it is senior year. I have also witnessed a similar decline in spirits of several close friends, which does not help the matter.

However, there is someone I’d love to thank right now for just being there for me, simply to help out and be a good friend. That person is Lily Schwarz. Lily, you have been the best. On the days when I feel like I can’t make it another hour without breaking down in anger, frustration, and sadness, you are there offering to take me to Small Cakes and help me ease the pain through food (my favorite way!!!). Your helpfulness in the show was what saved my life and allowed me to not embarrass myself (or the extremely talented, hardworking cast) too much. You’ve been a true friend and one who always looks out for what is best for others before yourself, a quality that I admire beyond description. Honestly, you have put the maladies of life into the proper perspective; because of your help I have gained so much understanding of my blessings and become more thankful for what I have.

And that’s a major reason why I can wake up happy and ready to take on life’s challenges. Thanks for everything!

 

 

–Ben

Things Fall Apart

Bastille said it best:

“And the walls came tumbling down in the city that we loved/great clouds rolled over the hills bringing darkness from above/But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?”

Everything great must eventually come to an end. The Roman Empire, a place many considered to be the pinnacle of innovation, invention, and power of the classical world, met its demise as a shell of its former self, being burned and sacked by the Germanic peoples with little resistance. Michael Jordan, the basketball player considered by many as the greatest ever to play the game, a player who had won five NBA MVP awards and six NBA Championships, a legend–ended his career clanging shots off the rim for the lowly Washington Wizards, a has-been. Sometimes poor leadership sinks a great empire. Sometimes it’s the culture that grows apathetic. And other times it is a combination of the two.

Something great in my life is dying a little. It wasn’t as if one day I woke up and saw that everything had suddenly turned from order to chaos; no, it was (and is) a long, slow, and most painful decline. You always like to think that you can somehow salvage the wreckage and save everyone from the damage to their emotions, mental states, and happiness. But today I learned that I had come too late, that I couldn’t be the hero, that there would be no more walking off into the sunset as the credits rolled, the victor and savior of some far-off entity. And that hurts me more than just about anything else. I see the walls of a dynasty crumbling around me. I see my brothers and sisters struggling to make it just one more day. I see a leader who does what is best for him, not what is best for everyone. I see silence when there used to be joy. I don’t know why God wants this for me or for those involved, but I will trust it is for something greater.

Things fall apart.

And you know what? If I close my eyes, I think of the good times, the golden age, the time when everything was great and everyone got along. I think of the laughter and the camaraderie we shared. I think of our triumphs and victories. I think of our brotherhood, our eternal friendship. That’s what I think of. Even a crumbling wall echoes the greatness that once stood firm there on that ground. Thanks for all the memories. All I need to do is close my eyes.

Things fall apart.

The Girl in the Sheep Jacket

Claire, 

You and I have a very interesting friendship. I feel like we have grown closer through a variety of things–our snapchat faces, seductive eating contests, Beauty and the Beast, defined calves, and of course, the fuzzy sheep jacket. Even though I am weird and say things that are stupid quite often, I really mean it when I say that you ar e awesome! I love your enthusiasm for life and your hilarious comments that always make my day better no matter what. Thanks for always sharing your amazing smile and happiness with us all. 
And thanks for letting us pet the sheep jacket:)

–Ben

The Legend of Doylan Bond

Author. Singer. Actor. Runner. Athlete. Friend. Brother. Christian. Inspiration. Hero. Thinker. Lover. Fighter.

Dylan Bonds is many things. Above all, though, he is someone I know as a brother.

Dylan,

When I first met you, you seemed like the kind of person who I could see myself hanging out with in 50 years–for real. Something that strikes me as special to this day was the powerful bond we made early on in our friendship that has remained even in times when we may not get to see each other often. Truly, you are the person who I have laughed, cried, and lived my life alongside all through high school, and I’m going to miss you a lot in Oklahoma.

Fighter. Dylan, I know most people don’t think of you as a fighter, but I remember you as the single biggest inspiration to me as an athlete I’ve ever had. It was the 2013 Cross Country State Championship. Your leg was bad and you hadn’t run for two weeks. You arrived on the course heavily bandaged and limping. During our warm-up run, you obviously were struggling; the pain lingered on your face. Coach pulled you aside and told you that you didn’t have to run–that it would be okay, you had still had a great season. Then, you turned to us. You had this confidence that radiated from you–a confidence I can only hope to emulate. You looked each of us in the eye, man to man, and said, “There is no way in the world that I’d miss state and let my brothers down. I’m running.” Whenever I’m feeling tired or sore, whenever I’m down, I think of what you said to me then and I can promise you that someday you are going to be front row at the Olympics and I want you to take my victory lap with me, you inspired me so much. You fought and let your body suffer to stand beside us. That is what a fighter, a brother, does.

Brother. You are like the brother that always gives wise counsel in a time of need. Whenever I need help or support, you are there to listen. It’s been a ride of twists and turns, yes, but through it all I know that whatever happens, you can see me for who I am. Not as a far-away entity, but as Ben Butler, the person. You bring me back down to earth when I need to be humbled, and you encourage me when I need to be brought up.

Inspiration. You inspired me to be in Beauty and the Beast. You’ve given me the perspective to simply go out and enjoy life, taking time to make memories with the ones you care about most. And so you’ve been the person who I can only try to copy, you’re so talented.

You’re a true hero to me. If there’s anyone I wish I could be more like, it would be you.

And who could forget the infamous day of cross country team pictures. It was a windy day, cold, when a small lady of Indian heritage called out your name: Doylan Bond. I now join you as But Benler, ready to take on the world.

 

 

Thanks for everything,

 

 

Ben

 

 

Annah or Anna(h): Battle of Two Names

This story goes out to one person closely associated with various energy drinks, Batman, and other such entities. I’m not going to lie. When I first met you, Annah, I was a little nervous. It was one day in Stolpa’s when I caught a glimpse of your icy cold glare piercing my soul that I knew we would be friends. Well, actually, I didn’t know. But I thought there might be a small chance. After your sarcastic comments directed primarily at my various stupid ideas, I knew that you were more than another “basic white girl,” rather, you were quite the savage (in a good way). Then, of course, I was (and still am) conflicted about what to call you, so I continue switching off. But I do know one thing: even though we may not have a ton in common, we still have a friendship that brings joy to me (I hope it does the same for you) and gives me a lot of hope on bad days. The Venom also changed my life–thanks!
–Ben

When Clare Bear Wanted To Tear My Face Off

Hey Clare,

I’ll start with you. We have had quite the awesome time together ever since those fateful days roaming the halls of the University of Phoenix. I was immediately struck by your kind, caring, and friendly heart when I met you, and I continue to admire those qualities to this day.

But…what friendship story isn’t complete without a little bit of conflict, right? I still remember this day like yesterday:

I was sitting in lunch, eating in I-don’t-know-whose room, on a bright and sunny day at good ol’ Phoenix. A figure approached me out of the corner of my eye: Thor! Now, keep in mind that we were all freshmen anxious to establish ourselves in the eyes of the female gender. He came with a classically middle-school question: Can you ask Clare Dalton to the fall dance for me? I mulled this over in my head for a while. I really did. I thought about all the reasons why it wouldn’t work. And for some reason that still escapes me, I chose to do it.

The rest, they say, is history. I still remember the horrified look on your face as the entire cross country team surrounded you and Thor, leaving you awkwardly stranded in the middle as I attempted in broken sentences to justify one of my patented “poor decisions.” I remember how then, you politely denied the request (you were so nice about it) and proceeded to chastise me in a kind way (I’m not sure how this is possible, but you did it) about how I should never do something like that again. I took that to heart.

I’ll conclude by saying I’ve really enjoyed getting to become better and better friends with you throughout our time at SVA, and especially this year you’ve been an awesome friend and constant encouragement to me and everyone around you.

 

Thank you so much, Clare.

 

 

–Ben