Editor-in-Chief Farewell Letter: Lily Baldwin

Lily Baldwin

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I entered high school as a cocky 14-year-old who bragged about the fact that no movie could ever make me cry. I took pride in being stone-cold and slightly angsty; a self-classified  “edgy teen.” That non-sentimental freshman Lily would not be able to relate to who I am in this era: a mushy, nostalgic, emotional mess with a vested interest in salt and vinegar chips and telling stories.

There is so much power in a story. If you’re like me, everyday conversations go a little like this: you feel just a little too opinionated, a bit too idealistic and you feel like everyone in the room wishes you would just stick a fork in it. Do I think people care about that time I was chased by a substitute teacher through the halls of Redwood? No. Do I think they care about my thoughts on the Green New Deal? Absolutely not. But do I continue to tell my stories and opinions to whoever will listen? One hundred percent. Because feeling like you annoy other people with what you have to say is bullsh*t.

I’ve had my fair share of debates and disagreements, and I’ve learned through experience that you won’t burst into flames and explode like a supernova if you face a conflict with a fellow high schooler. These past four years have brought a lot of arguments, and with them plenty of growth. But between the trials of social navigation, the changes happening within my family and the chaos of the world around me, I felt like I had too much to say and no one to say it to.

I took refuge with the Bark, and found ‘my thing,’ a publication where I could tell the stories of students and community members who have seen and done some incredible things. Through writing, I’ve come to learn something fundamental to my character: I don’t care if I’m annoying, I’m going to talk anyway. High school is such a short period in our lives, and the fact that, for even a second, I let my nerves invade my personality to the point that I stifled my opinions to please others really bums me out.

So I’ll leave you all with this: I urge you not to give a single f*ck about what might happen if you speak your mind. Be kind and considerate, but don’t let yourself be that person who gets interrupted in the middle of their story and then never gets to finish because the conversation moved on. Listen, but don’t make yourself quieter just so you don’t come across as ‘too much.’ In the words of 2006 John Mayer, “Say what you need to say,” and don’t let yourself get interrupted.