Classy: Having or reflecting high standards of personal behavior.
As I move on to new adventures at The University of Wyoming next year, I know there will be some people from high school that I will inevitably fall out of touch with. For many of my fellow graduates, as well as underclassmen, teachers, coaches, few extended family members,and others in my community, I will become a memory created from who I am now and who I was on the way to getting here. I can only guess what parts of me will stick with them: maybe my maternal instincts over literally everyone or my reputation of being a "goody goody" or perhaps even for my awkward, shy introversion when it came to being around people outside of my small social circle. Not that we get to choose what we are remembered for (wouldn't that be fantastic?), but I hope to God that either from close up or from a distance, those who remember me will remember me as being a class act.
I've always admired classy women — the Audrey Hepburns and Kate Middletons of the world. There is something so respectable and desirable in a person who chooses to hold themselves with a calm confidence and light... and it's completely underrated.
And it is this choice that separates the classy from the trashy.
Who respects those who do not feel compelled to hold themselves to high standards? I see people who make desperate posts on social media with passive aggressive innuendos directed at their enemies. I see people who have to get drunk or high to have fun and look "cool." I see people who think it's funny to interrupt their teachers during a lesson. I see short skirts. I see people who are so insecure about being alone that they partake in post-break-up, midnight rendezvous with someone they know is already taken, because they feel so inadequate by themselves. I see people who are uncomfortable if they don't have more money than their next-door-neighbors. I see people who lie to their loved ones effortlessly. I see people who don't reach for what is right, but reach for what is easy. I see bullies. Those who fall into the trashy category have lost sight of who they are as individuals and thus lack the compass which tells them how they should behave.
Of course it takes more than simply avoiding some of these extreme examples of trash to achieve class.
In contrast, one of the most admirable things I notice when I meet a class act is that they know exactly who they are and they are completely comfortable in their own skin. Every choice they make is based of a few, core, undeniably healthy virtues, which is why I always turn to my classy friends in the midst of a tough decision. These are the individuals who subtly exude a genuine good nature and gentle dignity about them. They are the few opponents who refrain from death-gripping me when we shake hands after a tennis match. They are the sweethearts that remind me that they're praying for my family and I. They are the honorable souls who don't talk smack about their accusers to mutual friends (or to most people for that matter). They are committed to excellence. They dress modestly. They lack jealousy. They're extremely empathetic, but they're tough. They move forward and find strength in their setbacks instead of wallowing in sadness. They usually go unnoticed and their actions are rarely acknowledged. They are the kind of people who make you feel like a better person just because you're friends with them. They inspire others to rise above to where they are. And to all the classy people I've had the privilege to meet, I thank you for inspiring me to be someone greater.
Our culture gives attention to trash. When there is drama between "Kimye" and Taylor, we keep ourselves updated. When Lindsay Lohan gets arrested, we eat it up. When Flo Rida raps about promiscuous strippers, we listen.
While our society may put trash on a pedestal, there is nothing I value more within a person than a classy demeanor.
One way or another, we all eventually leave one life and go onto the next... But we do get some say in what we leave behind. I'm thankful for those who have shown me what it means to stand with poise, and that is exactly what I will strive to do for others. I'm prepared to pass this lesson forward in my next chapter and I hope to God that I've done enough in my previous pages to leave this sort of light, however tiny it may be.