Saturday, October 15, 2016

This is the point where I start smacking my head.

Yesterday marked two months seizure free.

How do I celebrate?

By getting another 72-hour ambulatory EEG. Ha! At least this one is at my house.

Heck, even the guy who did the hookup came to my house, which was pretty sweet.

So he came yesterday afternoon at 1:00, and will be back Monday at 1:00.

I mean, in general, this is fine. There's only two annoying things about it.

One: I can't shower for three days. Gross.

Two: The itchiness rom the glue reaches an unbearable level within the first 48 hours.

Right now, the only part that really itches is my forehead. There are three leads stuck to my forehead with gel adhesive and tape. Obviously, I can't scratch at them or they can dislodge (one of them came off in my sleep last night) so my only option to attempt to alleviate the itching is by hitting where it itches.

So I sit here in my recliner, smacking my head. Repeatedly.

The video camera (because oh yeah, I have a video camera in my room for the weekend to watch me) is going to give off a very bizarre impression come Monday.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Here's a story about a girl.

There are a million things I could say about the "Trump Tapes," but anything I could say about how disgusting it is has already been said a million times, usually by people much more eloquent than me. It's hard for me to get my words out clearly when I'm kind of blinded with pain and anger.

So instead, I'm gonna tell you a story. A story I haven't told to anyone before this weekend.

Every fall, my town hosts a weekend-long event downtown called the Mullet Festival (mullet as in the fish, not the haircut, just to be clear). I haven't been in years due to being at Campbell and then in New York, but when I was younger, we'd go pretty much every year.

On Saturday night of the festival, there was a series of performances by various bands, some local, some the town has gotten to come specifically for the weekend. It was usually a pretty crowded, fun time. And in this town, by the time we were pre-teens, my mom would kind of let us wander around the main area, as long as we knew when and where to meet her. You don't really have to worry about things going wrong in this town; it's kind of the stereotypical small town in that bad things rarely happen, and people tend to watch out for each other.

Well, one of these weekends, I was either 10 or 11 (I don't remember exactly), I was wandering through the crowd of people, when I ran into a group of four Marines. (My town is about 20 minutes from the largest Marine Corps base on the east coast, so plenty of Marines live in this town or on the outskirts and come to the festival to hang out.) I've always looked much older in age than I really am, so I didn't look like a pre-teen, and these Marines immediately latched on to me. Despite my limited experience with seeing people drinking alcohol, I could pretty much immediately tell they were drunk, so I knew I needed to get out of there.

But it was far too crowded for me to just run, and as I tried to maneuver my way through the crowd, they followed me.

"Baby, where are you going?"

"Pretty girl, come back."

"We just want to talk to you, beautiful."

They were right at my back, pretty much, shouting these things over the music and grabbing onto my shoulders and arms, attempting to wrap their arms around my chest, anything they could get their hands on. Luckily for me, it was crowded enough, they were drunk enough, and I was strong enough that they couldn't get a real grasp on me. I'm still not sure how I managed to get away when they started trying to pull me backwards, other than sheer force of will. I didn't know anything about sex, but even at that age, I knew that guys take advantage of girls, especially when they're in groups.

By some miracle, after they followed me all through the crowd, I spotted my sister, who is 4.5 years older than me right at the same time as these much older and more attractive girls grabbed the Marines' attention. I'm still not sure if they were just trying to look out for me and get them off of me, or if they were just girls who thought guys in uniform were super attractive, but I didn't care. I took the opportunity and bolted. I didn't tell my sister, or my mom, or anyone what happened, but I sure didn't leave their sides for the rest of the night.

For a long time, I just blew it off as "oh, drunk guys do stupid things when they're drunk," but as I got into high school and learned more about sex, sexuality, and guys, I realized just how wrong it was. I know it's nothing compared to the assault and rape that a lot of women have to survive, but it was still traumatizing enough to me to think about what could have happened. I know now that if there hadn't been a crowd of people around, there would have been no way I could have gotten away from them.

This is why what Donald Trump said matters. I don't care if you want to say it was "just words." It is a microcosm of the prevalent American culture in which men believe that they are entitled to women's time, attention, and bodies. These Marines, without knowing anything about me, including my age, believed that they had the right to force me to stay and talk to them, and do God knows what else that they wanted. They didn't take my instant response of leaving as soon as they came toward me as a sign I didn't want to talk to them; they saw it as a sign they needed to follow me until I gave them what they wanted.

When a man kisses, or gropes, or grabs, or follows a woman without her consent, he removes her autonomy. He takes away her right to make decisions about what she wants and with whom she wants to interact. He reverts back to previous centuries when a woman was nothing more than property for him to own, not an equal, beautiful image-bearer of God. He distorts the idea of God-given rights and removes the humanity from a person standing right in front of him.

And when a man boasts about doing those things to women, he perpetuates the culture to other men around him, particularly the younger men, that doing it is not only okay, it's a sign of masculinity and power. Women become conquests, games, trophies, as though he who wins the most wins the game of life. And it isn't until men boldly stand up and show others around them that women are meant to be more than that that this culture will change.

Donald Trump has immense influence right now. He has millions of people who are not only following his every move, but who are supporting him wholeheartedly. And when stories like this comes out, and his idea of an apology is to include an attack on someone else, he is telling millions of men and boys who are watching him that his actions are okay and something to model their own actions after. Not only that, he's reminding women and girls everywhere, especially the millions who have been raped, assaulted, or molested, that their wants and desires don't matter. To willingly perpetuate rape culture and the reality of toxic masculinity on the largest political stage in the world is not only hurtful to so many, it's dangerous. It's dangerous not just for this generation, but for the generations to come who will learn from us.

To Mr. Trump, I refuse to buy into your reality. I refuse to believe that it's normal or okay for men to talk the way that you do/did. (I know plenty of men, and athletes who practically live in locker rooms - none of them would talk like that.) I refuse to accept the idea that I am less than you because of my gender. I refuse to relinquish my dignity, needs, and desires, to those of men and boys who have been taught they have the right to have me whenever they want. I refuse to sit back and allow this culture to continue without saying something. And it's by sharing my story and writing this post that I hope I might offer one more story and example of why what you said really isn't "just words." We are more than just objects for the taking, Mr. Trump. I hope one day you will understand that, or at the very least, that your sons will.

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

I'll take the human ones any day.

Well, Hurricane Matthew has officially arrived. Surprisingly, the center of the state seems to have gotten it worse than we have down here on the coast, but it's still not exactly pleasant here. Downtown is getting beaten because it is right on sea level.

So I've been passing time with a lot of music, TV, and sports. There have been a couple good games that make me very happy.

First, the Campbell boys beat UNC Asheville, the conference leaders who were on a 3-0 conference streak, 2-1. UNCA came very close to tying the game on a penalty kick, but Matt, my little brother, made a gorgeous dive and saved it. The whole team was just on point. The offense was fierce as hell in the first half, and aside from the one goal, the defense was not letting UNCA get away with anything. It was beautiful. But hands down, the most amazing part of the game for me was Matt saving that PK. If you know anything about soccer, you know that it is very, very hard to block a PK. Besides that, he made several great stops on all of the other attempts that UNCA had to tie the game. I'm so proud of him. I call him Triple Time because he is just so good.

Then, today, the Wolfpack hosted Notre Dame. In a monsoon. Not joking. It was like a 100-yard game of slip and slide for 3 hours. So statistics were totally screwed for both teams, but the Wolfpack won out 10-3 after we blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. It was kind of funny, though, watching it on TV. You could see the guys just flying around. They'd fall and make splashes taller than they were. The balls were so hard for anyone to hold on to, even for our QB who had amazing stats coming into this game (he's from Phoenix, poor guy, this must be a shock to his system). But ahhh, then there's Matt Dayes. This dude must have the strongest thighs in the world. He's a running back and he can often get several extra yards even after he has two or three defenders hanging on to him trying to bring him down. He is easily my favorite Wolfpack offensive player. (Jack Tocho is my favorite defensive man, but that's for a whole different post.) Get this: Notre Dame had 113 yards of total offense for the game. Matt? Had 140. One guy had 27 more yards of offense than an entire team.  His goal is to get 1,000 yards rushing this season; he's already at 563 five games into a twelve-game season. I really really hope he doesn't get injured like he did last year; otherwise, he probably would have hit it last year.

These two boys are their own kind of hurricanes, and the only damage they cause is to their opponents. Yeah, I'll go with them. Mark, Luke, and John can come take care of the other one.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

On friends who leave and the ones who stay.

How's this for weird? Go a month and a half without posting, and then have two posts in less than twelve hours. I'm an enigma.

I've been awake all night for numerous reasons, one of them being the unexplainable outrageous heartburn that will not leave me alone even when I'm laying in my recliner, and considering it's now early the next morning, let's just say that I've got a lot in my head.

For some bizarre reason, I've been thinking about the friends I've lost in the past couple of years. Or should I say "friends," because as Clayton says, friends who leave you were likely never real friends to begin with.

It's funny how when certain people are in your life, you can feel so certain that it's a good friendship, a solid friendship. You can feel confident that this is a person you can trust and that they will be in your life for a long time. You can believe 100% that you've found someone special, you can be so grateful and consider them and the friendship such blessings, and then boom.

You find out you're wrong.

So wrong.

So heartbreakingly wrong.

I can think of four people in just the past year and a half that this has happened with. I'm not gonna name names; that's not important. One of them, I know that I screwed up, but they promised me that they just needed space and we weren't done for good - nearly 8 months later, and I'm having a hard time still believing that.

The other three, though? Not a clue. No fight. No explanation. I just woke up one day and they...weren't there anymore. Each time, I've gone through the same process of wondering what I did to make it happen, what is so wrong with me that I made them leave, before remembering the beautiful truth that their decision to hurt me and leave without a word is on them, not me.  With the last person, I'm still working through that process. It's really recent.

I am a sensitive person. I feel things very intensely. I am full of second chances. I have a very hard time letting go, even when the other person already has. I know all of these things about myself, as well as the trouble these characteristics have gotten me into. But you know what? I'm not sorry for any of them. They make me the friend that I am to so many people who love and appreciate me just as I am.

The problem is, though, it's that last trait I listed that leads me to this blog post. It's been seventeen months, eleven months, and nearly eight months, (and six weeks,) and these people are still in my head. Instead of focusing on the friends that are here and have shown me so much love and support, my mind gets caught up in thinking about these people who didn't want to stick around. If there's anything I've learned in the past few years, really since I met my soccer boys, it's that I am worth more than needing to beg someone to stay and be my friend. I have found my dignity. And so it's not that I want to go and beg these people to come back so much as it is that I just want to know what happened. That's what drives me nuts. The question-filled silence echoes in my head like a monster waiting to attack as soon as my world quiets down.

But you know how I also said that I am full of second chances? What does it say about my view of my own dignity to know that if any one of these people were to come back, explain what happened, and ask for a second chance, I would welcome them back with open arms? I can tell you that now, even though the chances of any of them doing so are slim. I hate losing people, and memories, and I think it's because I hold on to the memories of when things were good with me and these four specific people that I want to get back to that. When things were good, they were really good, and I naively never expected to be smacked in the face with just how flawed they (and people in general) are.

I know it's possible, though. I know that it's possible to restore friendships that seem hopelessly lost. I know that because that happened this year, too. Things between me and another friend fell apart in an incredibly painful fashion, and when we stopped speaking, I really thought that was the end. A good while later, however, I did what I pretty much always do and reached out because I missed them and wanted to see if the bridge was completely burned...and they called me back. And we talked. And we came to a new understanding in our friendship. Now, several months after that, we both agree that while the three months that we weren't speaking were something neither of us would choose to relive, it made our friendship stronger, and reminded us of why we became friends in the first place. Yes, my guard is up more than usual. No, I haven't completely forgotten everything that happened. But at the end of the day, when we talk, I can feel the bond that we have, the bond that withstood the pain and fights and frustration, the bond we always said no one could break. And I'm so thankful to have my friend back, even if it is a new and slightly different chapter.

So yes, I know it's possible for any or all of those four people to come back into my life, but as I've gotten older I've learned the dangers of getting my hopes up when so little in this life is actually in my control. And other people's thoughts and actions are about as far out of my control as something can get.

So in the meantime, I hurt.

And I grieve.

And I question how long I'm going to keep grieving and whether or not I should still be grieving.

But I also remind myself of all the incredible friends I do have in my life. The ones who have prayed for and with me as I have faced health scares and surgeries. The ones who pick up the phone when I need them, even if it's just because I need to hear someone say they love me. The ones who take time out of their day to make me laugh when they know I need it, or to listen to me vent and cry when there's nothing else they can do. The ones who lift me up with their words of love, encouragement, and grace. The ones who are still here, who see me with all my flaws and know that I'm loving them the very best I know how.

But most importantly, I remember the love that I carry with me every second of every day that cannot be replaced - the love of my Father. The God who made me as I am on purpose and for a purpose. The One who sees me as nothing less than His princess, a masterpiece made in His image, clean, righteous, and beloved. The God whom I don't have to impress. The Father who will never love me more or less, no matter what. The One in whom I find rest from the heartache. The Father who promises that He works all things for my good. The God who promises that in Him, and in a relationship with Him, He makes me enough, no matter what anyone else says.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Life Now

Well. I definitely wasn't planning on disappearing for a month and a half. But things happen. And I frankly haven't been in the best mindset or had much to write about. Here's a recap:

- going away dinner with my church fam

- last Sunday at church where I was prayed over

- packing

- surgery prep

- surgery, which involved an awful several hours delay they failed to inform me about after Mom and I stayed up all night to be at the hospital at the crack of dawn, but a successful surgery that officially diagnosed me with endometriosis and removed what docs could find

- moved back to NC the day after surgery (thanks to church people loading the truck) (that was a fun 12 hour ride home)

- the week after surgery, I came down with a massive case of bronchitis and a sinus infection, and because my body rejects steroids now, it's been a month of breathing treatments trying to get over it

- I wrote my thesis

- I got an A on my thesis (!!!!!!!!!!)

- now, I'm trying to a) find online work to make some money while I'm stuck home for a year and b) figure out what schools I'm going to apply to for next year's PhD programs

I'm very lonely here. I have heard from practically no one up in NYC, and because I've been so sick and exhausted, I haven't had the energy to reach out to them. Thank God Matt is back in the area now. If I didn't get occasional visits from him, I would have absolutely no one outside of my very dysfunctional family.

I moved from a huge city where I could just walk out my front door and have endless entertainment, to a small town where you have to drive to see anything and I don't have a license or a car, and there's not that much to see anyway. The silence is not good for me. I have been getting way too caught up in my own head thinking about all the people I've lost and all the relationships that have failed and all the things I wish I could change but that I know I can't do anything about. And the fun part about it is that my life isn't going to be changing any time soon.

I did get a call from August today, which is the first time I feel like I've smiled when thinking about New York since I left.

I don't know. This is the way life is for now. I guess I better get used to it.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Only God could orchestrate a friendship like this.

Well, so much for the whole not ignoring my blog thing. Oops. What can you do? I'm here now. But last night was a wonderful night that I want to remember.

This is Al. I met him through my buddy August because they're both bouncers at a bar down the block. We've only known each other for a couple of months, but it feels like from the very beginning we've just clicked. He's made me feel so completely safe in a way that most people don't realize is really hard for me to find. Even though until last night we'd only ever spent time in person together standing outside his bar, we've had this connection in talking to each other that can't be manufactured.

He's someone that just shines light. No matter what kind of day I'm having, if I go and see him, as soon as I look at him, and he smiles, I can't help but smile, too. Anyone who knows me knows that a great smile is my favorite physical feature on a guy, but it's so much more than that with him. He shines because of how much he loves people. It's just who he is.

Last night, we just met up for a drink and sat and talked for a little over an hour. I felt like time crawled in the best possible way because it did not feel like it had only been an hour when he had to leave. We talked about everything, our stories, our pasts, politics and my thesis, history, our friendship, more than you could possibly think one could fit in an hour. I think I must have been beaming the entire time. He just has that effect on me. And when we instinctively reached out and grab each other's hands multiple times while we talked, or when he insisted on holding my hand on the way back to my apartment, everything just felt so right and normal and safe.

The craziest thing to me is that he is one of the people I am going to miss the most from this city, yet of all the people I'm really going to miss, he's the one I've known the shortest amount of time. Some people just make sense in your life from the very beginning; it certainly doesn't feel like I've only known him for two months. I'm closer to him than 90% of the people I've met in the past two years. He has done so much good for me in such a short amount of time.

I firmly believe that only God could orchestrate a friendship that has formed and strengthened as quickly as this one has. And while I don't know what the future holds and if or when I'll come back to New York, I know for sure that I am so, so lucky to have found him.

And the best part is that while things are going to change not being able to see each other every week, I know that no matter where we are, this isn't going away any time soon. We've already promised that much, and he's a friend whose promises I can actually trust.

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

So then July happened.

Well. Wasn't planning on abandoning my blog for the month of July, but things happened, and I learned that the longer you go without doing something, the easier it is to continue not doing it.

So, let's recap, shall we?

I had a few weeks of seizure hell, but adding yet another medicine seems to be helping. Cross your fingers it stays that way.

I severely sprained my wrist in one of those seizures, which is a large part of the reason why I wasn't blogging, because typing hurts really, really badly and takes a lot of energy.

I'm incredibly behind on my thesis, largely for these two reasons, and it seems like I'm being ghosted by my adviser and department so I can't get an answer on when exactly it's due which is just adding to my stress.

I finally got my surgery set up for August 19th, which is later than the doctor originally told me it was going to happen. I cannot wait for that day to get here because I am miserable from pain.

My depression has been rearing its ugly head for these reasons, but one other one is the biggest reason for it. I'm leaving New York. On August 20th. I don't really have a choice. The financial situation in the family that's been going on for the past year and a half is no longer sustainable, and despite me sending out a crapload of resumes, I didn't get a single callback. So no money. No job. No PhD program acceptance. I have to go back to North Carolina. And I hate it. I HATE IT. I thought when I moved up here, I was finally freeing myself from all of the negativity and drama back there and planned on never going back, and two years later, here I am, headed back to the place I never wanted to live again.

Don't get me wrong. There are things I will be happy about seeing/having/doing regularly again. Like my mom and Blake. And the food. And the beach. And the sports. But the idea of leaving everyone I love here is heartbreaking to me. So I'm really not okay right now. Time is running out quickly in the city I love with people who mean the world to me and it is making me very very sad.

So yeah. That about sums up July. I'll try not to abandon my blog in August.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Wake up, America.

Alton Sterling. Philando Castile.

I won't reiterate the horrific tragedy of what happened to these two men, because it honestly makes me sick just thinking about it and I can't get those videos out of my head.

In no uncertain terms, those men were murdered. And it's heartbreaking. It's disgusting. It's wrong. It's terrifying. It's beyond comprehension.

And it's not going to stop until people wake up to the very real problem of racism that is still rampant in this country. To my friends who are POC, I am so, so sorry. I am sorry for the fear you must feel on a daily basis. I'm sorry for the lack of safety and acceptance you are given just because of the color of your skin. I am sorry for the people who hate you. I am sorry this society is so undeveloped we haven't moved past racism. I am so sorry.

No, I do not hate cops. There are many times in my past that cops have rescued me and loved ones from dangerous and volatile situations. I respect good, hardworking cops for what they do and what they risk. And just like not all men are rapists or misogynists, no, not all cops are bad cops or racists, but you know what? THERE ARE WAY TOO FREAKING MANY THAT ARE. Two innocent black men were gunned down for no reason by white men with badges, men who were supposed to serve and protect them. And cops like this make it really freaking difficult to recognize the cops that aren't like them.

I got backhandedly accused by a woman that I know, whose husband happens to be a cop, of not caring about cop killings because I'm outraged by what these particular cops did. NO NO NO NO NO. Calling cops who execute innocent black people murderers does not mean I endorse the murders of cops. I am just as sad about the snipers who killed cops at a protest in Dallas tonight. Murder is murder. Murdering these cops is just as much murder as what happened to Alton and Philando.

I've managed to lose friends in the past 48 hours because of what I have posted on my Facebook and Twitter over all of this. But you know what? I frankly don't care. I refuse to stay silent when my friend has to explain to her 6 year old adopted from Africa why he'll have to take extra caution not to draw suspicion or negative attention; black children are having their innocence ripped away from them. I refuse to stay silent when I see ignorant comments from police apologists who ignore reality to stay safe in their own bubble where their white privilege is a made up war from progressives and Democrats. I refuse to stay silent when my friends talk about feeling like they need to wear full-body bulletproof suits sos as to not be "shot down like wolves." I refuse to stay silent when I have nightmares about some of my best friends, my brothers, being murdered by cops and wake up realizing that those aren't so farfetched dreams. Silence adds to the problem.

But those snipers in Dallas who shot 11 cops, killing 4 of them and leaving 3 others in critical condition, they are not the answer. They are also adding to the problem.

Wake up, people. Racism is alive and well. Black people are disproportionately attacked by police. Not all cops are bad. No one, cop or civilian, deserves to be murdered. And it's up to us to stop it. Each and every one of us.

How many more innocent people have to die before we wake up and do something about this? I'm scared to see what it will take.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016


I got to talk to my favorite British boy today.

And the best part is that he has a Mac now which means he has a webcam which means I actually got to see his face for the first time while talking to him in I don't even know how long.

But that's not even the really good part. The part that made me feel so good is that I think this is the first time all week that I've really smiled. And by "really smiled," I mean that I was happy enough to forget about everything else that has been weighing me down.

There's more than 3300 miles between us and it's been nearly 8 years since we've seen each other in person, but Jay and I still have this incredible bond that I'm so thankful for. Sure, we've had rough patches and times when we haven't spoken for a bit, but when we do, we just instinctively know how to help each other and what we need. It sounds weird to say this when we have so much time and distance between us, but he really is one of the people I trust most in this world, and I'm pretty sure he'd say the same. I truly don't know where I'd be without him. When I say that my friends are what keeps me going when things are hard, he's included in that.

It was only about 35 minutes today, but this did me so much good. And when I thanked him for taking time out of his incredibly busy schedule to get on and chat for a bit because it helped, he told me "anything for you."

I'm so thankful for my British love. I know that this bond is one for the ages. And that is a beautiful gift.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Now, I continue to wait.

I went to the doctor yesterday. To my surgeon Dr. H, specifically.

It was a combo post-op/let's discuss what to do next that won't kill you appointment.

I wish there were more exciting things to update about but my life is pretty much this crap and job searching.

In short, I have to go to a new surgeon, Dr. B, because Dr. H does not do open abdominal surgeries, and there's not a snowball's chance in hell we're trying a laparoscopy again.

Dr. H is going to call Dr. B this week and inform him on my case and the whole cardiac arrest thing. She's also going to see if there's any way I can get in to see him before next Friday the 8th, when I already have an appointment set up, but that's not a guarantee.

So I'll see him, then set up a new surgery for as quickly as I can get fit into his schedule.

The only unnerving thing about the whole appointment was that I learned my heart was actually stopped closer to two minutes than one, but what can you do? I am alive now.

After that, I went to my regular women's health care doc at the student health center to get the referral for the new surgeon, and I begged her into giving me some Vicodin because I almost passed out in Dr. H's office because of the pain from this week.

I know July 8th isn't really that far away, but I'm so tired of living in this pain all the time. And I'm just praying that it doesn't take weeks for Dr. B to get me into his surgery schedule.

Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying and waiting.

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