When I was two, I peed myself in my very first ballet class.
Before you judge me (though I would too), I’ll set the record straight: Yes, I was potty-trained at the time—and not to mention, a pretty well-spoken toddler at that. So imagine my mom’s surprise as she arrived after class to pick up an excited budding ballerina, only to find me sobbing in the corner of a bathroom stall.
It was brutal. A red nose, two puffy eyes—everything. I could barely explain myself in the back seat of the car, blubbering gasps squeezing between my words.
Long story short, the teacher had become frustrated with the growing list of giggling toddlers asking to use the restroom and scolded the entire class for being unable to use the restroom beforehand. So imagine a 2 year old desperate to make a good first impression on her already-angered teacher, add a generous excess of confidence in her bladder-control abilities, and you know the rest.
Thankfully, I haven’t peed myself since then (knock on wood), but every time I look at this picture of myself, I remember the feeling of losing control. Of feeling helpless. Of having things spiral out of grasp, as I desperately reach for something to hold onto.
Throughout the past four years, I’ve had my fair share of pee-worthy moments, both in and out of Northwood. But now that I’m standing here at the opposite end of the messy, upside-down tunnel that is high school, I’m grateful for those moments.
My favorite memories aren’t ones of calm mornings spent sitting at The Oak, but rather hectic evenings scrambling to finish group projects in history class. FaceTiming with friends before finals week to bond over feeling overwhelmed and running across campus to find classrooms on the first day of school.
I first stepped foot on campus in 2018 as a doe-eyed 14 year old, unsure of myself and my place in the world around me. But four years later, now as a rugged high school senior at 17—I’m still figuring it out.
And that’s okay, because life isn’t always about feeling like you’re in control. It’s about accepting that sometimes, things don’t go as planned. And sometimes you feel overwhelmed. And sometimes you really really need to pee.
I gave ballet another shot years later, and though I’d love to tell you that I grew up to be the principal ballerina of [Famous Ballet Company], I’m not gonna lie: Ballet ended up not being for me.
But I’m left with no what-ifs, and in their place, I have an endless treasure-trove of memories. Of crying and laughing tears. Of recharging with friends and alone. Of experiencing high school in all its vibrant colors.
And that’s all I could have asked for.