Outer glow down, inner glow up


Lilly Gorman

The 2020-21 school year has been quite the roller coaster. The Sidekick communications manager Sreeja Mudumby expresses how this year has shaped her into a better person.

Sreeja Mudumby, Communications Manager

I started the school year with clear skin. 

I was a very hopeful incoming junior. Online school meant an easy GPA boost, I was on the leadership team for The Sidekick and I was going to get a perfect SAT score, all while having a major glow up. 

That is not really what happened. 

In the beginning of the year, I woke up one day to an eruption of stress acne on my face. I was shocked to say the least.  My first instincts were to cover it with my long hair, but I still got comments that my face became “spoiled” or “bad” when I FaceTimed my long-distance family. People in my own household were saying that I fell out of shape and I was sluggish. 

Thanks, guys.

I could have taken it all in a negative way – and I did for a while – but slowly, I started to ask myself what was really wrong. I thought that I had grown so much, but here I was, a glowed-down version of myself. I needed to know what happened to me, why I was like this. 

So I did what I do best: I wrote.

I bought a journal from Walmart for 17 cents and just started writing everything in my mind, which made me realize a lot of things. 

The middle of junior year was the worst year of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for the experiences and lessons I learned this year, but this year was harder than any other year I have ever lived. Online school wasn’t working for me, I was lonely and unmotivated since no one was around me and the only class I really liked was Sidekick. Everything else seemed like a burden. 

This year was the first year I really felt like a failure. I almost failed a class, which I never thought I even had the capability to do. My SAT score came out below subpar not once, but twice. I stopped reading, a hobby I adored so much. I quit my weekly dance classes to prioritize school, losing more of the parts of me that made me so happy. Everything felt like it was collapsing – a domino effect if you will. I was lacking in all areas of my life: happiness, success, family and friends. 

The worst part of all this was that I was hiding it from myself. I buried my problems deep into my subconscious and distracted myself until it all reflected through my physical body. I saw my acne as all the thoughts I shoved down now resurfacing, forcing me to pay attention to them and get rid of them for real.  

I started putting on Lush facemasks and going on walks. I chopped off a quarter of my hair. But more importantly, I took care of myself from the inside. I forgave myself, consoled myself and picked up all the bits of myself that I lost. 

And I kept writing. 

I wrote stories that I am so proud of. I wrote about slang. I wrote about the importance of women’s safety. I wrote about a baker, a cosplay voice actress and a teacher who followed her dreams

My writing was selfless. It informed others, made others laugh, made them think. My writing was selfish. It helped me communicate with myself, establish my goals, overcome my fears and become stronger. 

Junior year was the worst year of my life, but it was also the paramount of my existence. 

Follow Sreeja (@sreejamudumby) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.