Sunday, January 31, 2016

To the ones who surprised me in really bad ways...

You still won't admit you did anything wrong, but I think there's a part of you in there somewhere who knows I was right in saying what I did to you. I had to. I could see myself becoming again the girl I promised I'd stop reverting to and you becoming the guy that I keep trying to get away from. It took me six years to get out of it last time, and I'm still trying to put myself back together from that; I'm not going to let someone else come in and tear down all the work I've put into rebuilding myself.

I don't think you're a bad person. I don't think this was some malicious plan you concocted to hurt me, not after everything we've been through. I just think you're too young to know how to stop being selfish and I got caught in the crossfire. I think you're just a kid who hasn't totally realized how much what you say and do affects people. I think you've just got a lot of growing up to do still; maybe as time goes on you'll understand what I've been trying to tell you.

I'm not sorry for loving you, but I do wish I hadn't loved you so blindly. I wish I hadn't loved you to the point that I didn't realize how messed up the way you were treating me was until after the fact. I wish I didn't love you like I do, to the point where I'm still second guessing everything and wondering if I should've done what I did or if I need to take back what I said and try to fix this. My friends are right. This isn't on me to fix. It's not going to be fixed until you can own up to the role you played in all of this. The only thing worse than no reconciliation is cheap reconciliation; I don't want to go back to you until you realize you need to and actually want to treat me differently.

I would've gone to the ends of the earth to help you if you needed me to - hell, I still would - and it feels like you...just didn't care. You've said you love what an encouragement I am to you, but you couldn't be bothered to show me the same respect and care I've shown you. That is why I told you it feels like you've been using me as an ego boost - because I've been giving and giving of myself to you, and I barely get anything from you in return. That's an exhausting way to live.

I love you. I want the best for you. But after all these years, I'm finally realizing that sometimes I have to love myself more.


You're the last person I expected to do this to me. You once called me just to reassure me that you hadn't done this to me. You've known my scars from the beginning, and up until now, you've always taken such great care of me in terms of the way you treated me knowing about those scars and fears and insecurities. I can't help but wonder what changed and why it changed so suddenly. This went from being one of the friendships I felt most secure in despite the great distance between us to one of the biggest sources of pain and confusion in my life.

I guess the reason that the fact that you would do this was such a shock to me is because you're a Christian. I know, I know, Christians are broken people, too, but I've told you many times that you understood Christ-like love to a depth far beyond what I understood. You were always this sweet picture of Jesus in my life...until you weren't. And I'm left wondering where that guy went.

I've been holding on to this hope that there's something going on that I just don't know about. That you're dealing with something and just need some time to yourself. But I see you all over social media and it seems like you're having a ton of fun with everything you're doing. It seems like you're okay enough that you could, at the very least, text me and tell me why you've been ignoring me for almost three months.

I know that you know that what you're doing is hurting me. That makes this hurt me even worse. That you used to be one of my best friends and one of the people I trusted most and would still do something you know causes me pain is just mind-boggling. It makes me question if I ever knew you as well as I thought I did. The guy I believed you were wouldn't do this.

I'm hurt, and I'm angry. But I know that if you decide to come back and apologize and tell me what's been going on and why you so suddenly disappeared from my life, I'd forgive you. And that's not just because I'm a firm believer in second chances. It's because I love you. It's because I still hold on to the hope that the guy who is doing this to me isn't who you really are at heart. It's because I value the friendship we had and will always wish we could get back to that. It's because I always thought this was one of the few friendships in my life that was built to last, and I'm so, so freaking scared right now that I was wrong.


There are so many names I could call you right now, but what good would that do? It's been more than nine months since you asked me to call you back and then pretty much vanished into thin air (except you didn't, because thanks to social media, I know that you're alive and well), and I'm past the anger stage by now. I'm hurt, and still very confused, but I'm not angry. If this is really what you were willing to do to someone you said was your sister and your best friend, then you're not someone I want or can handle having in my life.

The first few months, I spent a lot of time beating myself up. I replayed the last months of our friendship over and over again in my head wondering what I did wrong, going back to the lies I've heard so many times before that if I just wasn't so (insert adjective here), you wouldn't have left. I thought I had to have done something wrong, because why else would my best friend in the world leave without a hint of explanation? I thought that if only I could figure out where things went wrong, then I could do something to fix it.

But then, after many discussions with my therapist this summer and my best friend (the one who I know actually isn't going to up and leave me), I came to this very freeing realization: this isn't my fault. I didn't do anything wrong here. For pretty much the first time in my life, I know I was a good friend to you. I supported you both at Campbell and afterwards. I was your biggest cheerleader. I was there to listen any time you needed me. I helped you with school stuff. I was a good friend to you. This time, it's not that I chased you away. You just got up and left. And that's on you. I'm not going to carry the burden of wanting or trying to fix this when I didn't break it to begin with.

On the one hand, it still blows my mind that you would do this. You told me that I was your sister and your best friend, that you'd never trusted a girl the way you trusted me, that you had dreams of us being in each other's wedding one day. You knew from the very beginning, literally from the very first day we hung out, that people abandoning with no explanation was my biggest fear, and you promised me that day that you would never do that to me. You promised me that if you were ever upset with me, you would come and talk to me about it. And for a while, you did. I was so amazed by it because you were the first person besides Matt who forgave me when I messed up and didn't automatically just ditch me. I never thought I had to worry about you doing this to me...until I did.

On the other hand, I'm kind of not surprised by this. Through the four years we were friends, I learned a lot about you. I watched the way you treated other people, especially when it came to relationships ending. I learned the situations you'd been through before I met you with people you called friends and how you'd responded to them. So looking back, it's not really all that shocking you would pull something like this. You're very good at running when things get hard. You pretty much always pick "flight" instead of "fight," no matter how worthy that something is of being fought for. You protect yourself from feeling anything remotely deep at all costs, no matter how that affects the people around you.

If this is really how little regard you have for me and my feelings after everything we went through together, then frankly, I'm not sorry you're gone. I was missing the person I thought you were instead of who you clearly are, and thanks to the love I have in my life, I realize that I am worth so much more than what you gave me.

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I'm tired. So tired.

What a week.

If this week is any indication, this semester is going to be even more exhausting than I expected.

Friday, I came home from work, took a 3 hour nap, and still slept 16+ hours that night. Not even kidding. I tried to wake up so many times and my body was just like NOPE.

Yesterday, when I did finally manage to drag my butt out of bed, all I did was sit in my recliner and listen to music and complete jigsaw puzzles on my phone (currently my new addiction - though I suppose that if I'm going to be addicted to something, there are plenty of things worse than this).

Today, I did go to church and ended up having a mini coffee date with a girl I'm friends with from there, and I went to the pharmacy and grocery store for two items, so at least I got out of the house, but I seriously just feel dead.

I've said from the beginning that grad school is a special world of hell because you're in college and the real world at the same time, but when I said that before, I was mostly just referring to having to pay bills and be an "adult" and all that. Well, now I REALLY mean it, because having this job/internship plus all the school stuff - a regular class with papers to write, a professional development seminar with its own assignments, and writing a thesis plus its own seminar and regular meetings outside of that - already feels like a totally overwhelming mountain to climb and it's only the first week.

108 days. Hopefully I'll make it through them with more energy than I've had this past week. Lord knows I'm going to need it.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

112 days. 16 weeks. Let's get it.

Officially back to the real world.

I had my internship yesterday morning, class yesterday afternoon, and then class this morning.

Then, I work all day tomorrow and Friday.

So basically, I have Mondays and Wednesday afternoons off during the week, and then obviously, the weekend.

But with a Master's thesis, papers for a regular class, plus my internship, I have a feeling I'm not going to sleep a whole lot or very well this semester.

It's gonna be hard, and it's gonna be exhausting, but I'm so thankful to be able to do it. God provided the funds for this semester in the craziest way, and I'm going to thank Him by working my hardest to succeed.

And I know that even though graduation feels forever away, before I know it, these 112 days will be gone and I'll be getting ready for the next chapter of my life. So I plan on taking advantage of every minute I'm given here.

NYU, you better bring it.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016


So. Blizzards are fun.

And by fun, I mean terrifying for me to even walk to the deli to get food. Thank the good Lord I made it there and back without falling, but it was questionable. Luckily, the guys in the deli all love me, so they said if I needed them, to yell and one of them would come help me. I bought two salads at once so I didn't have to go out again, at least not for a long while.

Those pictures up there are from when I made that trip at about 4:20 today. At the time, the snow at its highest point hit about halfway up to my knees and coming down hard. It's now about 8:30, and Holly just got home, and she said it's still coming down hard.

Being from the coast of NC, never in my life have I seen anything close to this, so it's simultaneously fascinating and scary.

Down in NC, they didn't get much snow, just a crapload of ice, so much so that Campbell lost power for about 24 hours because of extensive damage in the area. My friend said that they had to run the dining hall on a generator to feed everyone and give them at least a temporary place to sit and be warm, and then they opened up the Convocation Center, the one place on campus that was still lit and heated throughout the whole ordeal, for one massive sleepover for any of the probably 2,000 on-campus students who wanted out of their cold, powerless dorms/apartments. I'm glad I didn't have to be there through that. The one time we lost power while I was there was because of tornadoes, and it was only out for about four hours, and it was in April and thus not 30 degrees out.

According to the weather app on my phone, the snow is supposed to stop around midnight. I'm quite curious to go out and see how much there is at the end of all of this.

What? This is only my second NY winter. The beauty and magic of it all hasn't totally worn off on me yet. It may be a pain some days, but I hope it never does.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Friends help friends get some nerve.

Ah, this was another reunion I've been waiting for and counting down to!

Emma! She is up here visiting someone else this week, but since we haven't seen each other in a year and a half, we knew we had to make plans to see each other. I wasn't allowed to go to work today because, as it turns out, I have a nasty case of bronchitis and was wheezing so badly when I went to my thyroid appointment yesterday I got sent to urgent care instead. So this morning, after I went to get my lungs rechecked and got a new prescription for my anxiety medication, I came home and took a quick nap (because I didn't fall asleep until after 4 this morning) and then met her at Spiegel for lunch.

Our friendship definitely started in a bizarre way, considering I had a major crush on her then-boyfriend and then bonded with her and helped her through their breakup, but now I absolutely cherish the relationship we have now. She is, to me, the kind of older sister figure I've always wished Holly was to me. I can talk to her about anything and everything, and I know without a doubt that she trusts me just as much.

Because I look up to her as much as I do, I take her encouragement to heart when she tells me that I should do something. So today, in the midst of the three hours we sat at Spiegel eating and talking, there were two major things I decided to do.

One: I joined an online dating app called Bumble. Yes, I know the stigma it has among a lot of Christians, but I firmly believe that joining this doesn't mean I have to or will change my morals. I like this one because the girls are in control and are responsible for making the connections once two people like each other. Perfect for a totally-not-passive girl like me. I've been here a year and a half and have barely stepped out of my shell/comfort zone. I want to fully enjoy the last months that I have here and meet new people. That's my only real goal here. I've been thinking about doing this for a while, but I don't think I would have gotten up the nerve to do it if it weren't for Emma today.

The second thing was a lot harder, but also really good for me. Like Summer, Emma knows all about the situation I've been dealing with lately, and while talking through the latest update with her, I finally gained the courage to do something about it. Anyone who knows me knows that it is incredibly hard for me to get the nerve to stand up for myself, because I hate confrontation and I hate risking hurting or upsetting people, but the more we talked, the more reassured I felt that I needed to do this. I couldn't (can't) allow myself to get back in another toxic relationship of any kind when I'm just healing and recovering from the first one, one that nearly destroyed me. I've felt so used and desperate and so many things I promised wouldn't show up again after Landon; I needed to say something.

So before allowing myself to overthink it, I texted him right there at the table to tell him we needed to talk and asked him to call me when he could. Well, he did almost immediately. So I went outside in the 30 degree weather and told him everything I was thinking and feeling. Everything he had done that was not okay but that I'd let slide before. Everything I was afraid to tell him before. I put it all out on the table because I knew this was going to be the only chance I had. I told him just how scared of him I am, but that I don't want to be. I told him that it felt like everything had changed, that he had changed. He knows all about Landon, and I reminded him of that, and said straight out that I can't allow myself to get manipulated and used again. He said he didn't know where any of this was coming from and tried to reassure me that he's still him, and maybe he didn't and maybe he is, but I told him that it's the truth and that I need some time and space away from this, away from us, away from him. I need to get my sanity back and protect my still recovering heart.

There was nothing left to say, so I went back into Spiegel shaking, partially from the cold and partially because my heart was racing from actually doing that. Emmanuel, working today, gave me a hug, then Emma looked at me and said, "Do you need a drink?" So I did something I've never done before and had a couple drinks in the middle of the day. It calmed me down and we talked about lots of things, including other stuff to get my mind off of it. We finally left Spiegel about 3:00 and hung out up here for a couple more hours before she finally had to go. It was a lot more time than I was expecting to get with her, so I was really happy and my heart was full by the end of the afternoon.

I have really good friends. They protect me, but they also push me. Emma, Summer, Clayton, with those three in my corner, I know that even when I make some stupid mistakes (because I have and I know I will again), they are there supporting me and pushing me to be as smart and in control as they know I can be.

Thanks to Emma, I got a chance to do that today.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

It's about freaking time.

Oh, my Wolfpack. You poor, poor, desperate boys. I love you, but this year is hell.

We lost 4 major players at the end of last season: 2 to graduation, 1 to a transfer, and 1 to an early exit to the NBA. A recipe for disaster for a team like this.

We started out really well. Non-conference play left us with a 10-3 record, which is better than anything I can remember in recent years. So at first, I was excited and hopeful.

Silly me. I forgot what conference we're in. The ACC is one of the hardest, if not the hardest conference in college basketball. And losing the 4 we did, plus the transfer in that everyone was super thrilled about getting injured seven minutes into the season, meant that we were left with basically no depth. Like NONE.

We started 0-5 in conference play. Excruciating. And today, we set out to play Pitt on the road. They were ranked #20 and had a 15-2 record, so I was dreading this game going in. I was just trying to be realistic, based on the previous five games.

Somehow, someway, we pulled out the win 78-61. We pulled out the win in a major way. At one point early on, we were up 30-9. It was insane. It was like a whole different team. I was thrilled, though, because this was an example of the team we are capable of being. It was the first game that I saw the offensive play being spread out so Cat didn't have to carry the whole team.

It's still a long time until the end of the season with so many tough games ahead of us (like I said - this is the ACC), and our record still isn't good, but man, y'all, 1 conference win feels a whole lot better than 0. There is hope yet.

Either way, this is a rebuilding year, and I'm a ride-or-die Wolfpack fan. Red and white to the end.

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

History doesn't have to repeat itself.

"If you let him back in again, even for one conversation, I don't think you'll ever stop."

That was what Clayton said to me on FaceTime the morning I finally reached my breaking point and blocked Landon from my life for good. It is the statement that has echoed in my head every time I've thought about him. Five months later, and I've held strong; this is the longest I've ever gone without talking to him.

I learned how to cut him out. I found the strength to break the six-year toxic cycle I was caught in and take my heart back from a boy who never had any intention of taking care of it. And the longer I lasted in the recovery process, the more I realized just how messed up everything was and how I could have and should have gotten out much sooner. But since I can't rewind the clock, I made the promise to myself that I wasn't going to let myself be used and mistreated like that again. I thought that would be easy; there was no one in my life who was anywhere close to as dangerous as Landon was.

Then, I realized I fell for him.

No big deal at first. Sure, it was weird, but we made a promise to stay friends no matter what and hold on to the bond we'd had long before I told him how I felt. I was fine with it. I had told him from the beginning that us still being in each other's lives was far more important to me than the feelings I had for him. I was eager to hold on to a relationship of any kind. So I let things go, things that my friends tried to tell me were not okay, things that, in the back of my head, I knew weren't okay, either, but let slide because I was scared of losing someone who had been dear to me for quite some time.

Getting to spend time with Summer these past few days, we've been provided with a lot of time to talk and bond in ways that you just can't over the phone. She knows about every step of what has been happening, and how it has made me feel. We were talking about this, and when I made a comment wondering how I managed to get myself in another messed up situation with a boy so soon after I finally freed myself from Landon, and I said that history does seem to be doomed to repeat itself, Summer, like the wonderful friend she is, reminded me that that's not necessarily the case and that I have the power to change things before I get hurt even worse.

So I flew back to New York today with a lot on my mind. I knew I need to change things and set the boundaries now, but I didn't know how to do that without blowing everything to pieces. I don't want to destroy this relationship for good, but I'm scared, and I have to protect myself because I've learned too well by now that I'm the only one responsible for and truly capable of doing that. There's a lot to figure out, that's for sure.

But mostly, I'm just feeling really grateful that I have friends like Summer.

Friends who, no matter how far apart we are, consistently call me out on my inability to take care of myself. If it weren't for her, Clayton, and Emma, I would be in a very different, much worse position than I am right now, and I'm so thankful that even when the people who know and love me best are hundreds of miles away, I have the security of knowing that I always have people watching out for my best interest and helping me make the right decisions, even when what they have to say sounds harsh and isn't what I think I want to hear.

History really doesn't have to repeat itself. And because I have this support, I have the strength to make sure it doesn't repeat for me.

Praise the Lord who put such love and loyalty in my life.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Where I Belong

Friday Friday Friday. A long and busy but awesome day.

We had to get up early because I was meeting with the Alumni director at 8:30 and Summer had class at 9. That meeting was really nice. I was only supposed to be there for 15 minutes but ended up staying there about 30. Then, she had an interview, so I left and went to Chick-Fil-A. 

I ate a little bit so that my blood sugar didn't drop, and then I pretty much took a nap until my sweet friend Nicole showed up at 11:30 for our lunch date. That sweet girl, I swear, y'all, she is one of the best people I know. She is one of the most gorgeous girls I know, but she's humble and quiet and gentle and kind to everyone. She is so good at lifting me up. Because of drama that's been going on in my life lately, she's done a lot of listening, and she knows how much it's been wearing on me. So most of that lunch was talking about that, and she was so sweet. She called me a unicorn because I'm such a "rare gem" in this world, and she encouraged me to believe that despite the mistreatment I've been dealing with from the one guy, there is someone coming in my future that will treat me the way that I deserve. She told me to believe that I am beautiful, because I am. I'm so thankful to have girlfriends at all in my life, but I'm especially lucky to have ones as wonderful as her in my life.

After she had to leave for class, I went behind D. Rich and met up with Jhuvy. I didn't get to see this brother last year when I visited, so it's been two years since we saw each other last. We caught up and reminisced and I got to tell him straight out how much he means to me, and it was just sweet to get to see him again. My goal was to see as many of my brothers as possible this trip.

Then, I went back in D. Rich again and saw Dr. Stanke again, and then I went upstairs hoping to catch Dr. Mero and found him and Dr. Thornton knee deep in some online teaching headaches. So I didn't spend much time there so as to let them focus.

After that, I went over to Dr. Steegar's office and got to catch up with him for about 45 minutes. That was awesome. Two years later, and he is still like the grandpa I never had. 

Then, I had to leave because I had a date in Starbucks at 3 with two of the "baby Camels," as I like to call them. Seth and Josh are two freshmen that I connected with via Ricky, and we all really wanted to meet each other while I was on campus. Ricky had told them both a lot about me, so they were, needless to say, very flattering, but I was just happy to get to hang out with the second generation of my brothers. We've decided that I've adopted them, just like the older boys adopted me. The family tree continues.

They left about 4, and I got Summer to come pick me up and take me back to her place. We hung out for a while just talking and listening to music and watching videos, and then she started cooking. This ANGEL of a host let me invite five of the soccer boys over for dinner because I wanted her to meet them, one in particular. She wouldn't even let me help her cook, so I sat and sang for her while she made the food. Matt, Martinez, Pepe, Tunji, and Daniel showed up about 6:15, 15 minutes after they were supposed to be there, but it was dark and rainy and they're, well, college boys. We hung out for about two and a half hours before they left because they were going out. It was good to see them in a relaxed environment outside of the kinds of places I usually see them.

After they left, Summer and I dissected the important details of the night, cleaned up the food and whatnot, and then just chilled and watched tv. I also updated a few people who I knew would want to know how it went. Because I had only had one small bowl of spaghetti and a donut at dinner, I ended up ordering us both two pizzas, garlic knots, and a brownie cookie. I was going to order it tomorrow anyway for the game.

The night ended on a calm note, which after all of that activity, was exactly what I needed. I was tired, but it was all being surrounded by my people. And that is exactly where I belong.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

You know I'm always coming back to this place.

Yesterday was the day I've been counting down to since I landed in North Carolina.

I got to go home.

Home to my beautiful Campbell, home to my safe place, home to my people that I have missed so desperately over the past year.

I got there at about 12:15. I wandered around and hung out in the beautiful weather until 2:00 when I went to speak to Dr. Thornton's senior seminar class. He asked me to come in and give them some advice and perspective on getting through the senior thesis. I spent about an hour there talking, and then saw Dr. Stanke, and then, since I was still waiting to hear back from a certain boy, I told him I was going to be in the student center. I had to go to him about two and a half hours later, and hung out with him and his friend for a little while, but then just went to Summer's house when they headed to dinner. She had to go to work after we ate,  so I hung out and watched basketball, talked to Clayton, listened to music, and took a shower. I couldn't get to sleep until about 2 am just because I was so happy to be back.

This morning, we woke up rather late because Summer didn't have class until 11. She dropped me at Chick-Fil-A and I ate something small. Then, I went over to the administration building to see the Campbell Alumni office, who had asked me on Twitter to come by, but the lady wasn't in yet so they asked me to come back after 12:30. No problem.

Matt texted and asked me to meet him at this grill right off campus at 1, so eventually I made my way over there nice and slowly (Summer's guest bed is super hard so my back and hips have been killing me). I ended up getting to have lunch with both him and Martinez, a two-for-one Matt special.

When we were done, they drove me back towards the library, which now has this really nice, full-size Starbucks inside, as opposed to the mini one that was in the student center the whole time I was a student. There I got to hang out with my friend Mercedes (who just so happens to be Ryann's cousin) and we talked about a million different things. That did my heart so much good. Sometimes God is really awesome and gives you a friend who has dealt with so many similar experiences that she just understands how you feel and why you are the way you are. I'm so thankful we got to hang out for a bit.

After that, I went over to try to see the Campbell Alumni director again. This time, she was in a meeting and had no idea how long it would take, so I left my number and someone else said she would get her to call me whenever she got out of the meeting so we could actually set up an appointment for me to meet and so I didn't waste time that afternoon and risk her not being free before business hours were over.

Then, I went over to D. Rich and hung out and talked with Dr. Stanke and Dr. Thornton again for a while.  Summer had to come back to main campus to work at that library tonight (she was at the med school library yesterday) so I told her I would just stay and eat dinner on campus and hang out until her shift started. I was still waiting to see when I could meet up with one other person, so I figured it would be best to stick around the whole time. So I went to Burger Studio around 5 and ate dinner. I ended up spending all night there. My friend Danielle (I met her through Ricky) couldn't come see me until about 8:30, and Summer told me they were suddenly enforcing the rule that workers weren't allowed to have visitors, so I just stayed there. Danielle left at like 9:15, and I stayed until they closed at 10.

Then, I went into Starbucks and had another hot chocolate, and then I sat in the lobby of the library and listened to music and texted Summer...while she was about 5 feet from me. Ha! My friend Nicole was able to come pick me up at like 11:20 and take me home a bit early so I could go ahead and get a shower, since Summer didn't get off until midnight.

I tried to fall asleep early, but my brain just would not shut off because of how filled with sheer joy I get when I am here. There's nothing like being with my people. They are my home.

I am and will always be Campbell proud.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

13 Years and Counting

Matt came over to say goodbye tonight. He came over after he finished lessons, and we hung out for about an hour before he had to go home to his kids. Considering that, before this Christmas break, the last time I saw him was at my Campbell graduation, I am so happy that I got some real quality time with him despite him being so busy.

We've gone from awkward kids in middle school Academic Derby to a brother who is a high school music teacher and married with two stepkids and a baby on the way and a sister who is almost done with a Master's degree and about to (hopefully) start her Ph.D. I'm so proud of who we've become.

Thirteen years is a long time. There have been plenty of times where our relationship could have completely fallen apart (largely thanks to me, let's be honest), yet this break we've sat and talked and cuddled (I needed physical touch in a big way the day after Jim died, and Matt knew that), and it's been a perfect picture of the relationship we've built, one that outlasts time and distance and drama and growth.

Yes, things have changed. I don't consider him my best friend anymore, simply because we don't have the time to devote to each other that we used to and I have other people now. But the title doesn't matter. He's family. We're family. And after all this time, we both know that we can't get through life without each other there in some capacity. No matter where we are in the world, I have that security, and it's such a gift.

I honestly can't imagine still being in love with him at this point. All through high school, when I was desperate for him to love me the way that I loved him, he kept promising me that when I got out of our hometown, I would see that he isn't the only person in the world who would love me and I'd understand that the feelings I had for him were based on the fact that he was my whole world. And per usual, he was right. Matt seems to be right about just about everything in my life. He knows my brain that well.

Now that I have so many other people whom I know love me, I understand that Matt isn't all I need or all I can have like I used to think. And now, I can't imagine him being anything but my big brother. Literally growing up together gives us a bond that anyone I met at Campbell can't understand, but I know that Matt is grateful that I am loved the way that I am. And I'm grateful that I still have him to remind me of what I deserve and what to do when he knows I'm not being treated right and my emotions are clouding my rationality.

I know that without a doubt, he's gonna be standing next to me at my wedding one day. Other relationships may have fallen apart recently, but thirteen years in, and I know that this is one for the ages.

I just hope I can convince him not to wear a bridesmaid dress at the wedding.

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

God provides. Always.

It's really easy to think the worst of people nowadays. It seems like everyone is out for themselves, and we see so much violence and hatred and sheer brokenness in the news that we can be overwhelmed with the picture that people are just screwed up. At least, I know I do.

I needed $3602 to pay for this last semester. Last semester, we got every dollar we could out of Mom's bank, so options this time seemed even bleaker than before. I've been working really hard at learning how not to freak out in situations like this, so on Friday, I did the only thing I could think to do and sent texts to several people asking them to pray that we could find the money I needed.

One of those people is Mom's best friend, Rachel. She asked me a couple questions and said she'd be thinking and praying. That was all I was expecting.

Well, today, Matt was over visiting for a little while and I heard my phone ring. I figured it was nothing, so I blew it off. Then I heard a text message. Matt left not long after that, so I went and checked my phone to see who had called. There was a voicemail from a number I didn't recognize and a text from Rachel telling me to check my voicemail.

The voicemail was from her dad. My heart immediately started racing because I knew that if this man, someone I'd never met, was calling me, it had to be important. I immediately called him back. He told me that Rachel had told him about my situation of needing money for school, and about some of the things that I've had to fight through to get to where I am now. He explained that he is the pastor of a very small church, so small that he hasn't taken a salary in more than 30 years and they don't have a lot of expenses. Because of this, they have a fund built up that they usually use to support missionaries overseas. However, once Rachel told him about me, he felt compelled to talk to his congregation today.

Every single person there agreed that they couldn't think of a better way to spend part of their fund than to loan me the money for this last semester.

Strangers. Giving me a $3602 loan. At no interest. AND I don't even have to worry about paying it back until I am settled with an established job and have the resources to afford to pay them back.

Who does that?! I spent the next hour walking around Mommom's house just randomly exclaiming "I'm just so happy!"

People can be so mindblowingly awesome. And God is an awesome provider. Always.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Let's talk about sex.

Feel free not to read this post. This is a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately so I need to get some thoughts out.

Somewhere along the way, we went from living in a culture that said if you had sex before marriage, you were a slut or a whore, to a culture that said if you didn't have sex before marriage, you were a religious nut or a prude.

Even long before I became a Christian, I thought that there was no way that I would have sex before marriage. And that stance stayed set in stone for years, no questions, no ifs ands or buts. I got crap from my family for it (my mom's advice was explicitly that I SHOULDN'T wait until marriage), but I saw what Holly and Chelsea did and went through and thought that there was no way I wanted to be like them.

In high school, I was so desperate to have Matt love me the way that I loved him that I offered to have sex with him. I thought that that was the only reason he didn't want to date me. He always said no. Thank God he said no. We talked about it years later, and he said something that has stuck with me ever since: "I knew I could've had sex with you if I wanted to. But I couldn't do that to you. I cared about you too much. I knew you'd hate me afterwards."

As I hit college, being surrounded by people who were always dating and sleeping with other people, that was when the questions started coming. I got older, and the real urges and desires started coming. I've had certain brothers assume that I don't have those urges and desires because I'm a virgin, so I have to sort of explain to them that my brain works the same just as everyone else in our age group, which is just...weird to me.

Since the whole thing with Matt in high school, I'd say that there are three guys that I've consciously wanted to have sex with. With two of them, luckily, the opportunity never arose because of the distance that was between us. With the third one, it very easily could have happened recently. In fact, I considered letting it happen. In came my lifesaving, glorious friends who talked some sense into me before I was truly faced with the choice in the moment. And then I saw him and realized just how bad of an idea it would really be, so I grew that much more thankful that my friends had awakened me to the truth. I always need people who are willing to call me out on my crap.

So when that video from Jeff came out, it was like a divine reminder not to give that part of myself away to a vague and broken boy whom I knew in my gut will never feel the way that I do about all of this. There was one line in this video that jumped out at me.

Do not let your body say something that you are not willing to say with the rest of your life.

Girls, we want to be wanted; it's in our very nature. But I want to be wanted for more than my body. I'm not going to say forever with my body to a boy who doesn't intend to devote himself to me any longer than the time we would spend in bed to get the temporary pleasure people biologically desire. God wants more for me than that. A king wants his princess to be treated with the respect and regard that she deserves; I should want that for myself, too.

So for now, I'm holding on to hope that one day, there will be a man, not a boy, who wants to devote forever to me, and the exploration of my sexual desires won't be a mistake. It'll play out in the way God intended for each of us.

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

One Word: 2016

The older I've gotten, the more I've struggled to be content with my singleness. I sit and watch so many of my friends not just find solid, longlasting relationships, but then get engaged and married, and I have this almost constant underlying nagging feeling that I'm missing something. I have all of these amazing brothers who aren't shy in the least about telling me all of my amazing qualities and all the things they love about me, and while it's flattering, I can't stop thinking, "If I'm so awesome, why does no guy actually want to date me? Why am I always the sister?" It's ridiculous, I know, and I repeatedly tell myself that, but it's the truth.

The irony about all of this is that on top of the discontentment, I also struggle with believing that I am worthy of somebody wanting me romantically. I see my girlfriends, and I get overwhelmed with the feeling that I'm not special enough or different enough or cool enough or pretty enough or ___ enough to stand out amongst these girls who seem to have so much more going for them than I do. So I walk around wanting what I don't have but simultaneously believing that I'm not capable of or worth having it.

I want to stop this. I want 2016 to be the year that my perspective on this changes.

I want to stop seeing myself in such a poor light.

I want to look in the mirror and be able to believe myself when I say "I am beautiful."

I want to believe I'm worthy of being wooed and adored and pursued and loved.

I want to believe and focus on the truths of who God says I am and who God sees me as over the voices of this world who constantly say that I'm missing something.

I want to learn how to walk confidently out the door with the security of knowing that my self-esteem isn't reliant on what guys, or anyone, say to me.

But most of all, I want my heart to get completely lost in God this year. I want to live my days fully believing that God is enough for my peace and contentment and joy, where I am centered and resting in God's love and truth and promises and not standing on the shaking ground of what other people say about me and my worth.

All of this, this is why my One Word for 2016 is

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Friday, January 1, 2016

2016. Let's get it.

Happy 2016, y'all.

I'd insert some inspirational paragraph here about the beauty of making it to a new year and the endless possibilities that lie ahead for each of us, but you've heard it all before. None of us should need a new year to be the excuse for us to finally start appreciating life.

Today's just another day in Myrtle Beach. We head home tomorrow. And then I'll just be counting down until the 13th when I get to go to Campbell and see people I have been aching to see for the past year. I'm ready to get to my people and get to the feeling of home and safety I can't get anywhere else.

Until then, I mostly just plan on sleeping, writing, and watching stupid pointless television while I still can.

I have nothing else to say. Happy New Year, people.

2016? Bring it on, baby. I'm ready for the adventure.

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