Saturday, September 16, 2017

The past few days.

You know your life is kind of sad when you are as excited to go to the doctor as I was to go to the neurosurgeon on Thursday.

Too bad nothing good really came of it.

The doc was irritated because my neurologist sent me to him before doing all the tests he could have done, and I didn't have all my records from Duke and my brain surgeries, because no one told me I needed to bring them. He needs to run a bunch of other tests plus get all the records from Duke before he can tell me anything. So I have to a) get Duke to fax him all my records, b) get Duke to mail me CDs of all my scans to bring to my next appointment, c) get a bunch of labs, d) get a shunt series (X-rays), and e) get checked out by a neuro-ophthamologist. I talked to my old neurosurgeon from Duke's office yesterday, and they emailed me a release form that I can print out, fill out, scan, and email back to them, so I've got to talk to my uncle tomorrow since he's bringing me meds anyway. I'll get the labs done next Monday the 25th at my primary care. The shunt series can be done as a walk-in next time I go down to see this doc. They sent the referral to the neuro-ophthamologist who will call me to make an appointment. Hopefully the fact that I don't have vision insurance won''t prevent me from being seen. Also, usually when a shunt is infected, there is redness around it, but there's not around mine, so that's a good sign; however, he's very concerned about how sensitive I am to touch on my head, so he "hopes it comes together quickly," because it's not a good sign that I can't stand for my head to be touched. If the labs and X-rays don't show anything, all he can do is tap my shunt, which he really doesn't want to do because of my history of meningitis (Duke docs are pretty sure I got meningitis thanks to them tapping my shunt when the valve broke). Meanwhile, I get to spend another month or so in constant, unexplainable, excruciating pain.

So...that's fun.

Yesterday, Mom and Mommom left for 10 days in Pennsylvania. I was going to go, but decided that I'd rather have 10 days to myself and hopefully be able to get some job applications done. (So far, that's been a no go thanks to my freakin head.) The silence is weird, but refreshing. My aunt and uncle are leaving on Tuesday, so then it'll just be me and Chelsea in town, but I don't even have to see or talk to her every day, so it's no big deal.

Today, I woke up feeling pretty good (well, pretty good for me, anyway) so I thought that after my afternoon of sports, I'd be good to get some work done. Ha! Guess again. As soon as the last game I cared about was over, my head felt so explosively painful I couldn't do anything but sleep. I can still barely turn my head. On the upside, the Wolfpack won, so there's something, I guess.

Sigh. I'm so tired of feeling like shit.

Here's hoping tomorrow is better. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Story of my life.

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Monday, September 4, 2017

A post about bullying.



When I was in third grade, Becky O'Neill called me stupid, because I wrote my Js backwards. I told her, "J's a hard letter. You never know whether to hook left or hook right." A right hook from Ashton Bellman in junior high was meant to swell me up and make my tiny nose normal-sized. At least, that's what he told me. And in high school, Ryan Mundy called me many things I dare not repeat but still replay in my head from time to time, all because I did theater instead of playing football.

Sticks and stones, right?

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words...A stone I can take. A quick break, yeah, that I can shake. And though you've never punched me in the face, every syllable you speak stabs through my spirit and hardens my heart. And though my hand makes the cut, your words are the accomplice, seeking to accomplish I know not what other than to bury some sense of loathing you have for your own self. I know you hate yourself so much; otherwise, you wouldn't be so obsessed with hating me more. No eye has seen and no ear has heard just how much I care about what you think of me, because I would never show anyone other than the darkness of my bedroom and tear-stained pillowcase. Just in case Mom and Dad could hear my cries, I suffocated my suffering in a cotton case grave and believed all the lies you told me about who I am, or what I would become, or whose fault it was. 

It got worse when your fingers started saying what your mouth was too cowardly to utter. Under the influence of your description of me, I learned to despise many things about myself, not because they're so bad, but because if I didn't have them, then you wouldn't have noticed them and be powerless to use them against me. The pricks and pins of pricks' opinions spins my whole sense of self out of whack, and so I shacked up in the safest place possible: on the island of invisibility, on the shore of "don't make any waves," at the corner of complacency and fitting in. I hide in the back country of cowardice praying you won't notice this insecurity factory I call a life, or a family, or a faith, or a body. And even today, I'm not lying when I say I could care less about what people think of me, because I could. I could care much, much less, because I still care a whole lot.

But you are not my source. You are not my well. If your opinion of me were the last cup of water in a desert, I would throw it in your face, and even though there's still a trace of the pain you caused, those scars are hard as armor and so faint that sometimes I can't even see them anymore. Because the sticks that used to harm me have been crossed, the stone that used to bruise me has been rolled away. Sticks and stones were your weapon, but sticks and stones are His way. So say all you want; a better Word has been spoken. Lie all you need to; a greater Truth has been revealed. Hold me back if you must, but my future has been sealed.

Sticks and stones, right?

-----

It's been a while since I've really thought about the bullying I experienced growing up. Progress, right? Well, then things like this poem come along, and I realize I've still got a lot more healing to do than I thought I did...and I've never been more thankful.

Most people know that I was bullied pretty intensely when I was a teenager, to the point where I was forced to leave the church I'd grown up in and spent the vast majority of my high school years contemplating suicide. I was surrounded by so many people telling me that I was unwanted and that I would never be loved that I became convinced that they were right. Even when I got to Campbell and met the people who proved they were wrong, became my family, and loved me at my lowest, my brain couldn't reconcile the truth in front of me with the lies that had been engrained deep into my soul.

I think I've gotten better at it over the years, but listening to this poem made me remember that those wounds are still very much a part of me and how I view the world and relationships. I still struggle to understand why people like me as much as they do and to accept the love that I know in my heart I deserve. I can't help but wonder how different my life would be now if I'd had words like Jon's to hear when I was younger, if I would have sabotaged so many friendships out of fear and shock.

I know the truth now. I know who I am as a person, as a friend, and in the eyes of God. I know how loved I really am. Just today, one of my friends from my neighborhood in NYC called me. He originally said he only had five minutes, but we ended up talking for nearly half an hour, and one of the last things he said to me was a reminder that I am never alone and never forgotten, even though it can feel that way being stuck in this town so far away from the people who know and love me best.

Let's be real: bullying sucks. I know that sounds obvious, but this is something that I think most people don't talk about because they're afraid to, or they're ashamed and they haven't fully recovered from the lies and the hate drilled into their heads. I think a lot of us get bullied, even the people we think are untouchable, the people we think have it all together and everyone likes. People are cruel sometimes, and while it'd be easier to say something cliché like "Why can't we all just be nice to each other?!", the reality is that we don't live in a utopia where that's possible. We're broken, and we hurt, and it's easy to take that hurt out on someone around you you see is vulnerable. I definitely was vulnerable and easy to attack, especially being in a small school where it was easy to be known for all the wrong reasons.

Words can break you. Physical wounds heal. The bleeding stops. The bruises and scars fade. The pain goes away. But mental wounds? They seep into your soul like red wine into a white couch that you have no idea how to get out, except you can't throw out this couch because you've only got one and you're stuck with it for life. So you scrub and scrub and pray that God will perform some miracle and it will go back to the bright white it was before, and some days you think it has, but other days, you look at it, and you notice the faint reddish-purple droplets still lingering and become convinced that it's all ruined, that you're ruined, and you might as well give up.

That's what happened to me. I became so convinced that I was too broken to be redeemed or ever be worthy of love that I stopped trying to find it, but more importantly, I pushed it away anytime I thought it was getting close. I hid. I tried not to be seen so I could avoid what I believed was the inevitable end of someone else telling me they hated me. But people like my soccer boys and my Reformation brothers, they saw me saying "no" and refused to take that for an answer. They made me their family when I didn't think I wanted them to and pursued me when I tried to run from them. They are the reasons I finally began to understand that maybe I am worthy of love, after all.

But ask any of them and they'll tell you the lesson doesn't always stick with me. I've said more times than I can count that I don't understand how I got so lucky to have them, and it's partially because it still seems so unbelievable that everything has changed so drastically. God used two groups of guys I never really intended on meeting to begin with to show me that His declaration of my worth is the final say. He is the voice of truth, and He tells a story completely opposite from what I grew up hearing and believing. It's like Jon says; my future has been sealed because my self-worth lies in a foundation that no person can ever shake. I know it's true because I actually trust people now. I'm not afraid of loving and being loved just because I've been burned or I've heard a lot of terrible things said about me. I stay determined to see the good in people because God sent me people who saw the good in me when I didn't see it in myself.

Do I remember the things bullies told me? Yep, pretty much every single one of them. Do they still sting? Yep, some days more than others. But do they define me? Not in the least. And that change in my perspective is 100% all God's doing through the Holy Spirit and His working through the people He's surrounded me with.

Praise be to God.

If you have scars from bullying (which, really, I think more of us do than we care to admit), go listen to Jon's new poem, "Sticks and Stones." It's embedded in this post. Bring tissues.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Rerouting, Rerouting

I've come to realize something.

I've been doing a much better job lately at learning how to direct my emotions into something productive.

I feel things very intensely. I always have, and I probably always will. That's just a part of who I am.

But I'm learning how to take those strong, intense emotions and pour them into positive things instead of wasting my mental and emotional energy on negative things that I can't change. It's like I have a Siri, finding an alternative path when she realizes I'm about to drive into a lake. I'm just rerouting my emotions instead of a car.

For example, instead of being caught up feeling devastated or furious about having another friend abandon me over a mistake I made, a friend I never could have predicted I'd be okay with losing, I'm making the choice to focus my love and my heart on the friends who have stuck by me, the ones who have a grasp on what forgiveness means. Really, ever since I started making friends at Campbell, anytime I lost someone, I would get so caught up in that that I would lose sight of the incredible people I still had. That was a disservice to them and, frankly, horribly destructive to my mental health.

I don't get it right all the time. It's definitely a learning process I'm still very much deep in the middle of, but it's a huge improvement over how I have been for a long time. I have so much going on right now that I've accepted that I don't have the capacity to waste brain power, mental strength, or heart on negativity and people and things that ultimately just add more stress to my life.

I guess this is what self-care feels like, huh?

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Friday, August 25, 2017

A lot of soccer this weekend. And a lot of driving.

And a LOT of time with my grandmother.

Brianna's college soccer team was playing at Duke today. That's 6-6.5 hours round trip. Mom didn't go.

And they're playing at William & Mary in Virginia on Sunday. That's probably going to be 9 hours round trip. And Mom's not planning on going to this game either.

Which means I have ALL that time in the car with my grandmother by myself listening to her bitch about every. little. thing for a total of four hours of soccer and maybe one hour total of actually seeing Brianna play.

And I don't have a phone battery that lasts me long enough for either of these trips, or a portable phone charger.

The upside, though, is that the Campbell boys are also playing today and Sunday, and I can stream their games in the car on the way home on my grandma's tablet.

I hope I at least get some good sleep tonight and tomorrow, because I slept like crap last night, and I know that definitely didn't help matters.

Lord, help me.

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Charlottesville


Neo-Nazis use a symbol of Polynesian culture in their storm through a college campus. A black cop stays calm and protects men throwing Nazi salutes and wearing KKK hoods. People trying to stand up against racism are literally mowed down by a coward with a car. These are all sights you'll see this weekend in Charlottesville. And it's a heartbreaking reminder that evil is alive and well.

To all Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, agnostics, atheists, and every other non-Christian, please hear me: THIS. ISN'T. JESUS. This is not what he stood for. This is not what he preached. This is not what he would be doing if he were around today. These are bitter, angry white men scared at the idea of people not like them getting a seat at the table. There is still a HUGE number of Christians who believe in freedom of religion the way the Constitution intends it. I know it may not feel that way, but I promise you, it's true. And we won't give up the fight.


To all POC: You are seen. You are valued. You are loved. These may be the loudest voices right now, but they're wrong. These are bitter, angry white men scared at the idea of minorities no longer staying silent and taking away their privilege of the final say. They may be louder for now, but it won't stay that way, no matter what terror like this makes us think. I don't have the answers, all I can say is please know that so many of us are on your side. You are never alone.


To white people, especially Christians: STAND UP. SPEAK UP. DON'T SHUT UP FOR A SECOND AS LONG AS BIGOT RALLIES ARE HAPPENING. We may not be able to end bigotry and hate, but we can send it back to the fringes of society where it belongs. 


All lives won't matter until non-white lives do.
All lives won't matter until non-Christian lives do.
All lives won't matter until we get a president who condemns white terrorism as strongly as he does ISIS terrorism.


We've got a lot of work to do. The longer we hide behind "not all white people" "not all Christians" "not all Republicans" to avoid taking blame, the longer we allow this to spread like the disease it is. It's on ALL of us.


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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dunkirk! OMG.

All of my thoughts will be under the poster to respect you poor, unfortunate souls who haven’t had the pleasure honor of seeing this movie yet. 
SPOILERS ABOUND.


Okay, seriously, if this movie is not the Hamilton of the Oscars, and by that I mean if it does not get nominated for all the awards and win every single damn award it is nominated for, then I will personally start a revolt against the Academy. Because HOLY HELL. THIS MOVIE IS PERFECTION. Easily the movie of the year. Christopher Nolan did it again.
I don’t really cry at movies or television, but that part where Alex told Peter George was dead, then Peter still told Cillian’s character that George was going to be okay, and the look he gave his father afterward, because he knew it was the right thing to do not to traumatize him any more than he already was, that was the part that got me closest to crying. 
Speaking of George, I want to take Barry Keoghan and Aneurin Barnard and wrap them up in blankets and keep them safe and warm forever. It was nice to see Alex’s humanity come out and try to save Gibson just what seemed like seconds after trying to throw him off the ship.
Watching Harry Styles nearly drown three times in the span of an hour and forty-five minutes is not good for my blood pressure. Or sanity.
Hans Zimmer is a genius, and also really, really cruel. I think I’m going to be hearing that ticking clock in my sleep.
How can Tom Hardy possibly do so much with just his eyes??? I want to meet him just so I can ask him that. It’s ridiculous. He spent the vast majority of the movie with the pilot’s mask over his face, yet I felt more attached to him than almost any other character. That final look when he takes his mask off in front of his burning plane and you can see Germans behind him, AGH! SO GOOD! 
I didn’t get to see it in IMAX, because we don’t have an IMAX theater nearby, but the cinematography was so phenomenal, I still felt like I was there. I remember noticeably jumping several times.
The chemistry between Kenneth Branagh and James D’Arcy was great. They made me smile, even in the middle of all the tension. They and Mark Rylance were the perfect balancing forces leading the chaos.
I actually audibly laughed when Peter pulled Collins in from the water and Collins just said, “Afternoon,” with a tone of like Hey mate, how’s it going? Nice day out, isn't it?
Harry was so good, and I mean that from a purely cinematic perspective, not because I love him. I forgot that I was watching Harry. I can’t believe that for someone jumping into their first major acting role, with such a recognizable face, he was able to immerse himself so easily. Maybe it was at least partially because who Alex is is so different from who Harry is, but even though I knew it was him, I forgot it was him because I was so enthralled by the action of the movie, particularly during the scene in the grounded boat with the group. You could tell that Alex was really only an asshole because, as Harry said in interviews, he was as scared and desperate to get home as anyone, but he genuinely scared me a few times. 
All in all, 10 out of 10. I’d go see it again, but my grandma was so pissed at the movie theater upping their prices, there’s no way that will happen. Ah well, once is far better than none at all.
Run, do not walk, RUN to see this movie as soon as you possibly can.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Get your red on!

Well, July is officially over, which means I only have to survive one more month of brutally hot summer, then the best season of all arrives.


FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!
Insert all the praise hands here.

The Wolfpack started preseason camp Friday, so I am already HYPED UP for what is looking to be a good season. I know, I know, don't get caught up in the hype. State is spectacular at being a letdown. But this is the best group of players we've had in recent memory and the highest preseason standing we've had in a long damn time, so I say it's not getting caught up in the hype, it's having faith that this season is going to be one to remember. :)

I mean here's what we're dealing with.

4-1/4 returning starters on the offensive line (1/4 because one of the guys started 3 of the games) that allowed only 17 sacks all of last season
A wide receiver who can run a 4.48 40-yard dash (faster than a WR/RB we have who is an All-American sprinter)
A redshirt-junior quarterback who threw for more than 3,000 yards last year
An "all-purpose back" so multi-purpose talented our conference had to create that title just for him
An all-senior defensive line often ranked among the top 3 in the nation
A punter with the fourth best average in school history and the best in over 40 years
8 players on preseason national award watch lists

And that's just for starters. :)

I love this school. I love this game. I LOVE THIS TEAM.

September 2nd, I'm ready for you.

Win, lose, or tie, Wolfpack 'til I die!

WOLFPACK FOR LIFE!

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My People

I know I say this a lot, but if I didn't have my friends, I would go absolutely batshit crazy. Really.

Stuck here, if I didn't have people that I could text at the drop of a hat, even if it's just for a word of encouragement and a reminder that I'm not alone in this insanity, even when I feel like I am, I truly don't know how I'd make it. As much as I love my family, they are exhausting, in every sense of the word. I am so. tired.

That's why I'm so thankful for the people whom I chose and who chose me. They are the people who know me deep in my bones, with all my scars and flaws and insecurities, and love me just the same. They are the people who make time for our relationship, because they care and because it's important to them, too. They are the people who, despite being spread over literally thousands of miles, make me feel surrounded by love when I need it most. They are the people who support me unconditionally and who tell me I am enough - I don't have to try to be anything else.

I don't get that from my biological family most of the time, and that kind of love is something everyone deserves. The past couple weeks, it's been especially evident to me just how crucial it's been in my survival, especially from one person in particular. He's been so unbelievably good to me, despite having literally every second of his day taken up with work and stuff for his own life. He's still invested. He still cares about my life and is here as much as he can be. Just having someone to talk to can mean so much. I can't even properly explain it.

So yeah. I don't really have anything else to say. The past few weeks have been pretty boring, and I've been feeling pretty awful, both physically and mentally. But I'm thankful that in the midst of it all, God has helped me to keep an eye on one major constant blessing in my life.

My people. When all else fails, they are good, so so good.

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Well, this is just fantastic timing.

Well, this didn't turn out quite as planned.

I decided this week that I was going to start walking around my neighborhood again. I found out last week at the doctor that I weighed 274 (I managed to lose 6 lbs in May and June despite being completely sedentary because of my foot surgery! I was shocked!), and my goal is to hit 250 by the end of the year, so while I've been doing pretty well so far all things considering, I wanted to do a little bit more, and as my friend Jay says "it's all about increasing that output."

But I knew that I needed to start slow and take it easy on myself, first because it's been so long since I really tried this, and two because the fusion in my right toe is still pretty sore, so I didn't want to hurt myself right off the bat. Here are my stats from Wednesday - Friday.


I thought those were pretty good, right? Slight increase in distance day by day, but still not too sharp. And each day when I got home, I felt GOOD. Like the whole cliché endorphins-rush kind of good. And my muscles were sore, and I was definitely out of breath, but I wasn't in real pain, you know? I was really happy, I thought I was doing well and was going to take today off to rest, anyway, for some balance.

Well, about an hour after I got back inside last night (Friday), I could barely walk. My right hip and lower back were in so much pain I was either screaming or wanted to any time I moved the slightest little bit. It is AWFUL.

I have no idea what the heck I did. If I'd had any indication I was hurting myself, I would have stopped and come home. Agh. I was just getting started, and now I have no idea when I'll be able to walk again. Because something tells me this pain is going to stick around for a while.

(Hint: I'm actually writing this post on Tuesday the 11th, and yep, I still can barely move. AWESOME. It's a bit better than Saturday, but I am still nowhere close to being able to go on a walk again.)

Prayers for healing would be much appreciated. I'm really determined to keep losing weight, and this is just...frustrating, to say the least.

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

God is SO COOL.


Something happened today that's the kind of thing you hear about happening to other people but never think will happen to you.
So today, I ran into the grocery store for Mom for some things we needed. You know those days where you have a strict budget on how much you can spend at the store, with NO room to spare? This was one of those days, so I was a bit anxious to make sure I stayed under budget. No one wants to be that person that has to put stuff back while people are waiting behind you, especially days like today when it was a madhouse. When I got to the line, I asked the cashier if he had a store card on him for discounts. He did, so I took a deep breath, and once the mom and daughter in front of me were done, I stood there watching the total as he rang up my items. The bagger asked me how I was, and I said, "I'll let you know when I find out if I made it under budget." As the cashier was getting near the end, I felt a hand on my shoulder. The mom who'd been in front of me was there and said, "I want to buy your groceries for you. I'm a believer, and God is telling me to buy your groceries." YEAH. I KNOW. I started ugly crying right there in the grocery store. And you know what's the coolest part? If she hadn't done that, it would have taken up every dollar of that budget I had when I walked in.
Here's to you, Robin. Thanks for reminding me that God is in the details, and that there are more good people than bad out there.

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Seamless


Oh man. This study right here, Seamless, this is one of the best decisions I've ever made. It's 165 pages of teaching, but also laughter and love and excitement and everything I knew I was missing but was too scared to go look for.  Because here's the truth, y'all: as much as I love the Lord, and as important as people know my faith is to me, reading my Bible has been almost non-existent. And it makes me feel like a complete fraud. It wasn't necessarily because I didn't want to, more because I didn't know where to begin and procrastination is the best way to protect a perfectionist from the pain of rejection and failure. 

But I spent the month of June doing this study after it had been sitting on my shelf for years (and I only missed/had to play catch up on 3 days, which is amazing because I lack discipline), and now I can't wait to read more. I feel like I have the tools to begin without feeling overwhelmed, like it will make more sense to me and less like I'm reading gibberish. I love that I have this study and my notes from it to go back to to help keep people and details straight. I think that was one of my biggest issues before, and why it all seemed so confusing. 

Starting out, I didn't know how Angie was going to fit 66 books into 6 weeks of study, but she did, and she did it so beautifully, and I couldn't be more excited. Now, it really does feel more like a love letter than anything. All the glory to God. 😊❤️

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

What now?

I have no idea what I'm going to do with my life next.

I was so set on applying to PhD programs, convinced that that was my next step, that I started telling everyone who asked that I wanted to be a college professor, which I really did (do?), but now that I didn't get into any programs two years in a row, and you need a PhD to do that (you can be an adjunct with a Master's, but they don't make enough to live on as a full-time income), I really don't know what I want to do or be now.

I know I'm going to start job hunting now, but what am I even supposed to look for? How do you apply for jobs when you have no idea what you want to do? I suppose I'm just going to apply for anything and everything, mostly because I'm desperate to get the hell out of this house and this town as quickly as possible, but it's really rather depressing because it feels like everyone around me either already knows what they're doing or has a specific goal in mind, and I'm in this weird fog in which I don't have the slightest clue what direction I'm headed.

You know what really doesn't help, though? The only people that are physically right here with me, the only people I spend time with, my family, don't seem to believe in me or that I can do it. My mom accused me of sabotaging myself from getting into Montreal because I "either can't or don't want to handle the anxiety of growing up," which is absolutely insane because all I want to do is be on my own. She wonders why I don't talk to her anymore about anything personal; it's because she says crap like that. My grandma has given me three separate lectures on finding a job close to home because she doesn't think I'll make it if I move far away on my own. And while I do enjoy proving people wrong, it's really exhausting. I know that I'm lucky to have friends all over the place who believe in me; I just wish I had someone right here who did.

Is the thought of growing up and moving out on my own? Yeah, of course it is. But my life has been filled with scary things that I've not shied away from and done anyway. I don't know why they're expecting this to be different.

But you know what? I was texting Jay last night (thank you, WhatsApp), and he reminded me that while ideally, everyone would have a supportive family, sometimes it just doesn't work out like that, and I can't let their disbelief affect my self-esteem. My worth isn't dependent on what they, or anyone, say I'm capable of. I just have to focus on who I am, the gifts that I know I have, and what I know I want and am capable of.

God's going to lead me in the right direction. I just have to have faith. Everything and everybody else is just background noise.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

25

Happy birthday to me. I guess?

I like other people's birthdays much more than I like my own. At least when I'm in this town with literally nothing to do and no one to see.

And Mom is in Chapel Hill for the night because she has big medical tests first thing in the morning, so it's just me and the dogs, TV, and a glass of honey whiskey.

The one upside to the day is that I have gotten a lot of texts and messages from wonderful people and FaceTimes with my two favorite soccer boys, so the day could be a lot worse. I'm definitely very loved.

Truth be told, I don't mind having the house to myself. I get to blast my music as loudly as I want to. :)

Here's to another year. Let's get it!

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Story of Life

I was leaving the doctor office yesterday, and the lady checking me out asked me how I was. I responded, "Good in some ways, bad in others, but isn't that the story of life?" She chuckled and said, "Yes, yes it is." So shall I get to the good and the bad?

Good: My foot is doing really well. The two bad falls I had last week didn't do any damage to my foot. I got all my bandages off and the incision looked great. I was told I could get off the scooter and start walking on it (in a boot, of course), but here's what I was really looking forward to ---> He told me I can finally get it wet! I could shave my whole leg and wash my foot after 46 days of not being able to. The first thing I wanted to do when I got home was get in the shower and scrub the disgusting amount of dead skin off, but of course, I was inexplicably super lightheaded as soon as I got out of the car, so I had to wait a few hours. But still, once I did it? Once I got to shave my legs nice and smooth and wash my foot until it looked and felt like a real foot again? I was practically in heaven.

Bad: Montreal lost my application. Yeah. I know. I don't know how, but when I emailed the head of the political science department to ask why I hadn't gotten a response yet, he said they had no record of me ever submitting an application (even though I have a dossier # from the email I got confirming that my application was submitted successfully). So he told me to send the dossier number to this lady and she would look into it. I did that, and she told me today that that dossier number does not open any folders for them so all she can tell me to do is contact the registrar. Now, the registrar's website is so confusing I'm not even sure that I emailed the right place because there were like 12 to choose from, and even if I did it will take up to a week for them to answer, so I'm probably going to have to call them tomorrow and awkwardly use my French for the first real time in three years on the phone with an actual French-Canadian. THIS SHOULD GO WELL. And to boot, I have until June 15 to tell the Residence Department if I'm not coming if I want to get a refund on the $389 Mommom put down for my first month of rent. So I emailed THEM asking if there was any way to get an extension on that deadline because I don't have an answer because the freakin' university lost my application and I'm trying to get it straightened out but I don't know how long it will take. But who knows what they'll say to that. So basically, I've been waiting and waiting on this school thinking for once I was being patient and that's a good thing (yay maturity!), only to find out that no, I'm being screwed over and didn't know it and am now running out of time to fix it.

All of that Montreal stuff happened today and yesterday. By the time I got the email from the lady today telling me they had no folder on me and to contact the registrar, I had to wake Mom up because I was having a panic attack and she's the best at talking me out of one. Then, she gave me Ativan because, as she put it, "You are NOT having another seizure tonight!"

Now, I'm going to do my Bible Study for the night (I finally started a real study!), maybe watch a Netflix documentary (I made a list of all the ones I want to see on my phone - because I'm weird), and then go to bed. Stress is draining.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

And it's only Wednesday.

Sunday was the first seizure I've had since February 2nd. That was the longest streak I'd had since this whole mess started back in September 2013. And this seizure was a bad one - my mom said it was top 5 of the worst she's ever seen me have. And it was in the shower, one of the worst possible places to have one. Especially because it means that my still recovering foot was unprotected, save for the waterproof cover I put over it in the shower, and slammed directly into the wall of the tub when I slipped out of my shower chair. So that was bad enough.

Then, Monday morning, I got up out of my recliner to go let my barking dogs out, I was adjusting my knee on my scooter, my scooter went backward, I went forward, and I fell forward to the ground directly on top of the metal bars of my scooter. That left my leg looking like this.


Actually, that's what my leg looks like tonight, after it's had about 60 hours of icing and elevation. Monday morning, it was even bigger and looked like it had Jello in it. Yeah. I actually went to Urgent Care yesterday evening because I couldn't get into an orthopedic doctor anywhere (my primary care doesn't have an x-ray machine) and was seriously afraid that I had fractured something. As it turns out, I just have the world's worst bone bruise on both of my leg bones. And I also have to get an ultrasound because the doc is slightly concerned about a blood clot in my leg for a few different reasons, so that's fun.

This coming Monday is supposed to be the "get the bandages off, yay I can start walking and getting it wet again" post-op appointment for my foot. I am just praying that neither of these nasty falls did any damage to my foot that would prolong my recovery. I don't think they did, but you never know with me. I can't do anything simply. It's like my body waited until the final week to start self-destructing.

It's been a rough week. I'm tired.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

For Manchester


Megan Hurley, 15 • Elaine McIver, 43 • Courtney Boyle, 19 • Philip Tron, 32 • Wendy Fawell, 50 • Eilidh MacLeod, 14 • Liam Curry, 19 • Chloe Rutherford, 17

Sorrell Leczkowski, 14 • Michelle Kiss, 45 • Jane Tweddle-Taylor, 51 • Nell Jones, 14 • Martyn Hett, 29 • Angelika Klis, 40 • Marcin Klis, 42

Olivia Campbell, 15 • Lisa Lees, 44 • Alison Howe, 43 • Kelly Brewster, 32 • Saffie Rose Roussos, 8 • Georgina Callander, 18 • John Atkinson, 26

These are the 22 beautiful souls who died Monday night. Children and teenagers and young adults went to a concert and never came home. Parents went to pick up their kids after a fun night out and instead left them parentless. It's just not fair. My heart has felt so broken all week for their families, loved ones, and communities, the city of Manchester, those at the concert left unharmed but traumatized by the events, and Ariana Grande and her team. I can only hope and pray that they feel the love and support of the world behind them. 

My heart is broken that a terrorist attacked again, even more so that he targeted a concert mostly full of children, teens, and young adults. No child should go to a concert of a singer they love and idolize and not make it home safely. This is not what music is. But once again, humankind proved that love is louder than hate, and I'm thankful that people across the city worked together to help the victims, their families, and those stranded in the city. England is a place that is very special to me, and all my prayers and love are with those in Manchester recovering from this tragedy, and with those across the UK whose loved ones were lost in this horror.

Rest easy, brothers and sisters. May you be welcomed into heaven by the King of Kings Himself. We'll see you soon.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Is this what PTSD feels like?

So, I had a panic attack because I thought I was getting another MRSA infection yesterday.

That was fun.

I ended up having Chelsea (who thankfully was in a good-for-her mood) take me to the ER because Mom wouldn't because I was not willing to mess around and was in unbearable pain and hadn't slept for more than 24 hours. But Mom was convinced from the start I was overreacting so she refused to do anything. Of course. Including go and pick up the antibiotic my doctor called in.

They took my cast off at the ER (and put me in a hard splint when I left) and couldn't see any obvious signs of infection, just major skin irritation, so all they could do was get my pain down to a more manageable level and help the nausea I was having (because of the pain) and send me home. My doctor's office will be calling me tomorrow to get me in for a much sooner appointment than the one I originally had set up for two weeks from now.

Then, my uncle so graciously came and picked me up because Chelsea had no gas and my grandma was still incommunicado (I later learned she was at an all-day Bingo thing, so it all made way more sense). And we picked up the antibiotic on the way home, so I have that.

I feel like an idiot for going through all that for no real results, but damn, can you really blame me? My mom's ego trip was not worth more than my desire to make sure my health was okay. We'll see what my doc says whenever he gets to see my foot in person.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Recovery and Rewards

Monday, I had my first post-op appointment. The doc said everything looked great. He took the original cast off, took x-rays, removed the stitches, and then re-wrapped and re-casted it. Look what color I got!


It dried and ended up being the perfect shade of Wolfpack red, which makes me unreasonably happy. It's a silly, small thing, yes, but if I have to have this thing on my foot for another four weeks, I might as well have a reason to smile when I look at it, right?

Yesterday, I must have caught Mom in a really good mood or something, because she agreed to get me two early birthday presents that I really want. First, it was this.


Yes, that is Harry Styles' new album. I am ridiculously excited about it. A couple songs from it have been released already, and they are SO GOOD. I can't wait for the full album to be released on Friday.

Then, there were these.


Orange bluetooth wireless headphones. I need them because my headphone jack is broken and I can't get an upgrade/new phone until December. They're a really nice brand, too; they were on sale on Amazon for $20 when they were originally $90. They'll be here next week, and I can't wait to try them out.

Gotta find happiness wherever you can get it, right?

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

How fun.

The pain in my foot had been slowly improving over the course of the last week, you know, as it's supposed to, and it was honestly going better and faster than I expected.

Then, yesterday afternoon, I started feeling super intense spasms in the muscles and tendons right where my doc operated. And they just. wouldn't. stop.

So I started taking Tylenol and Ibuprofen on top of my Oxycodone, hoping that that would help, and nope, it didn't make a bit of difference.

By this afternoon, I was starting to get a little concerned, that maybe the couple of times I've stumbled and/or fallen had hurt my foot and messed up the recovery. Thankfully, my doc turned out to be the one on call this weekend (instead of his partner), and it took his office's call service about 60 seconds to get up with him and call me back.

Turns out, this is actually completely normal for what he did. I didn't know this because he didn't have to operate on tendons last time, but yeah. He said this is completely expected because he basically had to take the tendon apart to even get to the joint he needed to access. So this was a fun surprise.

Fun fun fun.

Yay me.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Recovery. It's more exhausting than you'd think.

Well, the surgery went great.

This first week in recovery, however, has been much more difficult than I expected it to.

They did a nerve block for the surgery - which, as an aside, the only other time I've had a nerve block, they started it when I was already unconscious, but this time they started the nerve block while I was awake and HOLY CRAP, that hurt so freaking bad for them to do and it was also one of the weirdest freaking feelings in the world to have your lower leg go completely numb in a matter of seconds - and when the block wore off Saturday morning, I was in so much pain that the Oxycodone (straight Oxycodone, not Percocet) didn't do a thing for the pain for the next 36 hours, even though I'd started taking it while the block was still working like they'd told me to. 27 surgeries in, I have a pretty good grasp on how to handle recovery pain, and this was intense, even for me.

By Sunday night, though, that started to get better, and then the stomach pain from the painkillers set in, which took another three days to really get straightened out.

Plus, there's the whole issue of dealing with this scooter and the fact that I have the balance skills of a baby giraffe. A few mornings ago, I slipped off of it, tipped forward, and fell to the ground, landing directly on top of the metal steering bar. So now my entire shin, the same shin that has to bear all the pressure as I push myself around, is one giant bruise.


(This isn't my exact one, but it's very similar. My right shin landed straight on the vertical bar.)

The rest of this week has pretty much solely consisted of sleeping. Next week, I actually have to leave the house, so that'll be interesting.

1 week down, 5+ to go.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Major Prayer Answered

Five weeks ago tonight, I was a nervous wreck, honestly. I was so scared heading into surgery because all I could think about were the words "cardiac arrest."

Tonight, though? I'm really just ready for tomorrow. I want to get on with things. Sure, I have a bit of anxiety, but I do before every surgery, which is largely because I've been through several with complications. The anxiety is minimal, though, which is a huge answered prayer.

Maybe it's because I've had so much going on the past few weeks once I got through the last recovery, or maybe it's just because God really is that awesome, but I have really been looking forward to this surgery this whole time and not dreading it, despite the fact that this recovery is going to be rough. This is definitely a huge answered prayer.

Now, I'm just praying that Mom is feeling well enough to take me. Partially because I have to be at the hospital at 5:30 am and I really don't want to drag my 79-year-old grandmother out of the house at 4 am (the hospital is that far away), but mostly because I just really want her there with me. (So far it seems like she's going, but that could change at the last second.)

God is good, y'all.

#27, I'm comin' for ya.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

This is all I have in me tonight..


This world is a sad and scary place sometimes.

I can't wait for the freedom of heaven.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Same old shit but a different day.

The past two weeks haven't exactly been blog-worthy.

Not that anything in my life really is lately, yet here I am, eight years in, still rambling about the pointless happenings of my life, but I guess that's a discussion for another day.

But surgery recovery is especially mundane. I didn't put on any clothes other than pajamas or leave the house for a solid week after the surgery, and I've only left a couple times since that day.

The good news is that recovery is going well. My foot is healing well and feeling better by the day. This is the minor surgery of the two I have to have, so it's good that this one is out of the way and that it seems to be successful and proceeding well. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Speaking of two surgeries, I did get the other surgery scheduled this week. It will be April 21. A lady canceled her surgery the same day the scheduler called me, so they were able to get me in way sooner than I expected. I am thrilled about it. It's going to be a much more complicated surgery and a much longer and more difficult recovery, so I just want it done and over with.

The fact that I should be fully recovered by my birthday is just icing on the cake.

Until then, well. it's really just biding time. Nothing exciting happens here. Not in this house. Not in this town.

Can you tell I'm bored out of my mind?

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Friday, March 17, 2017

One down, one to go.

Had my surgery this morning. #26. I know. Try to contain your jealousy.

It was successful. No more steel in my left foot.

Doing about as well as can be expected.

Aside from the time I was under anesthesia, I've been awake since 11 am yesterday, so that sucks. Hopefully I will sleep soon.

I'm glad this is over.

Now that it's over, I can heal.

The sooner I heal, the sooner we can get on to the right foot surgery, the much more complicated surgery.

The sooner I get to that surgery, the sooner I can start to heal and maybe get back to my normal and be able to walk semi-reasonable distances.

I want to start walking around the neighborhood for exercise, but I have to have working feet for that.

One step at a time, I guess.

Hopefully by my birthday in June, this will be over.

Hopefully.

Post-op appointment is in ten days, so we'll see.

One step at a time.

No pun intended.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Seven

Sunday, March 5th, my nephew turned seven.

My brain can hardly comprehend it.

I would move mountains to keep this boy safe and happy.

He is wild and exhausting and stubborn and sometimes frustrating, but he's also sweet and snuggly, fearless and free, smarter than most people think he is, and the silliest, funniest little boy I know.

I could not be more proud to be his Auntie Mal.

Keep dancing, Blake man. I love you to the moon and back.



These are so awkward, but hey, you try taking pictures with a sugared-up seven-year-old. ;)

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

At War With Myself

I should be going to bed right about now, but I need to get this out. (Also, I'm listening to Ed Sheeran's new album for the first time, and I don't want to stop.)

Okay, so remember how I mentioned that video I got from one of my soccer boys for Valentine's Day?

Truth time: I still have that video saved to my phone and have played it I-don't-even-know-how-many times in the past two and a half weeks.

Every single time, it makes me smile as wide as my mouth can stretch and gives me this warm feeling of being loved that is like wrapping up in a blanket on a cold day, but there's also been this recurring thought that I really, really wish would get out of my head.

I see my brother's face in the video, and I hear him saying the words "I love you," and as though it's out of my control, I think, I don't know how I got this lucky. It's not supposed to happen like this for me. 

Three and a half years of knowing him and the rest of my brothers, and a large portion of the time, my brain still cannot wrap itself around the idea that I actually deserve their love. It still searches for answers as to how a "girl like me" got chosen by "guys like them," why the good-looking and popular athletes who could have the attention of anyone on campus decided to love the semi-outcast, not conventionally gorgeous girl with health issues. Why did they pick me? I keep asking myself, as if that's something that really makes a difference after all this time.

Besides, I already know why they "picked me." I already know what they love about me. It's not like they've kept it a secret. They've told me time and again why they're grateful to know me and why they love me. They've never once made me feel like I was their "charity project," like a lot of people in high school treated me," yet I somehow still have trouble just accepting what they have told me, even though, in my heart, I know it's true. It's not like I don't believe they're telling me the truth. It's just that part of me still doesn't understand why it's true.

The good-looking, popular guys used to always be the ones who made my life hell. That's exactly why I was scared of these soccer boys in the beginning, and I've told them as such. I didn't think they could actually care about someone who was so completely different from them and anyone they usually hung out with. But when I learned they really were different from all of the others, when I learned they actually were who they appeared to be, the question became why are they wasting their time? That was the same semester my seizures came back; it would've been a hell of a lot easier for them not to bother with me than to invest in me and my life on top of everything they had going on.

Instead, Chirag and Justin sat at the ER with me for hours one day.

Justin and Bryce picked me up from the ER another day then spent close to 90 minutes taking care of me.

Bryce - how many seizures did he take care of me through between soccer and Reformation??

Isaiah brought me drinks when I was too sick to even leave my room.

Reafe, Tunji, Ricky, and Isaiah showed up to be my bodyguards.

So many of them carved time out of their schedules to spend time with me, whether it be lunch or dinner.

They listened.

They prayed.

They hugged.

They were always there.

Some of them are still always here.

And they've never even wanted a thank you for any of it.

I have a soccer ball sitting on my shelf signed by almost every boy from that year, a daily reminder of the memories that we share. I haven't forgotten any of it. So why is it that I still sit around wondering why I'm even in this position? It's been almost three and a half years. Will I ever accept this love, whether or not I think I deserve it? They believe I deserve it; isn't that enough?

One of them has reminded me many times that they all love me to death. He knows my insecurities, a lot of them do, and they've never judged me for them or been put off by them, so it's not that I'm afraid that I'm going to ruin things. It's just frustrating. I'm tired of spending time wondering why instead of just enjoying what I have.

It's been three and a half years. Is this ever going to make sense? Will I ever believe that I'm enough, that I deserve to be loved, that there doesn't have to be some crazy explanation for "guys like them" to love a "girl like me?"

"We accept the love we think we deserve." - from The Perks of Being a Wallflower...if this is true, Lord, please let me believe I deserve this, because I'm tired of my head being at war with itself.

I am crazy loved by some amazing guys who are the best friends a girl could ask for.

That's the truth.

That's what matters.

And that's more than enough.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

26 and 27

Yes, that's right, ladies and gentlemen. I'm having surgery again.

Please, please, try to contain your jealousy. We can't all live the exciting life that I do.

All jokes aside, I am indeed having both of my feet operated on again.

The left foot will be done March 17th, provided I get cleared next week (which I don't see why I won't).

That should be a pretty simple surgery, as my surgeon (the same guy who did the original surgeries back in 2010) is just removing the steel he put in there during the first surgery. The steel is pushing up off the bone where it's supposed to be into the top of my foot, so I constantly have a bruise there, and will often get this stabbing pain where it feels like someone is trying to cut the steel in half. The pain is making me instinctively walk on the outside of my foot to try to relieve the pressure, which just adds to the pain.

The right foot surgery is going to be much more complicated as he will be re-breaking the joint where my foot meets my big toe, lengthening that tendon so my toe lays flat down (the tendon is currently very contracted so my toe almost always is pulled way back), and then fusing it in place so it doesn't move at all. He was originally just going to lengthen the tendon, but because of my nerve damage, if he only did that, there is a good chance the tendon would start contracting again, and I'd be right back in the same position I'm in now. It's putting way too much pressure on the ball of my foot and causing massive amounts of pain; I'd really prefer not to go through this again, even if it means having a permanently immobile toe.

So yeah. The next few months are going to be LOADS OF FUN.

I'll be real, y'all. I know I need these surgeries, and I am looking forward to the help they are going to give me, but I'm so tired of this. It's only been six months since my last surgery, just shy of seven by the time this next one comes. This will be 27 surgeries before my 25th birthday. That is not fair by any means of the imagination. And I know that life isn't meant to be fair, but I feel like I live my life in this constant cycle of finding new problems and having to figure out how to fix them just when I think my life is getting back to normal, and I'M TIRED.

It makes me feel broken. People constantly having to cut me open to fix things in me makes me feel like I am broken.

And on top of that, you say the word surgery, and all I can think about is going into cardiac arrest last summer, so even though I usually don't experience any anxiety about a surgery until the night before or even day of, it's still two and a half weeks out and I'm already a ball of nerves.

I'll be okay. Right now, I'm just tired and frustrated and nervous. I'll figure out how to deal with it, though. I always do.

That's pretty much the story of my life, it seems.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

I'm getting the message. It's totally clear. I really gotta get out of here.

Last night, my mother told me she still sees me as a kid, not an adult.

Like, she insisted I'm still a kid. Straight to my face. When I'm 24 years old.

I've often felt like she treats me and talks to me like I'm still a teenager, but this is the first time she's ever actually confirmed it. And then she had the nerve to get annoyed when she realized I was angry about it.

She either doesn't understand or doesn't care why what she said is disrespectful and hurtful, so she's yet to apologize to me, so I've stayed in my room the entire day and completely ignored her because I'm not going to pretend that she can say crap like that to me and then just expect me not to be hurt by it. I've taken care of her day in and day out for the past six months, and she thinks I'm not supposed to be hurt when she tells me she doesn't see me as an adult.

But you know, if there's one good thing about this, it's made me realize just how long I've spent seeking validation from her and just how utterly stupid that is. I was hiding rejection letters I'd gotten from her because I was so worried about her being disappointed in me, and now I'm like, so what? Her opinion doesn't change anything. I don't owe her success. I don't owe her an update on everything I do. I don't owe her explanations. I don't owe her the right to lecture me about how I could be "better," especially considering the state of my sisters' lives. My worth has zero reliance on what she thinks or feels (or anyone else, for that matter).

This whole thing the past 24 hours has just reiterated the fact that I have to get out of here. I have to get away from my selfish, dysfunctional family and be my own person, so they stop thinking they have control of me and I stop forgetting who I am outside of them. That's the largest part of why I'm so scared these last schools I'm waiting to hear back from are going to say no; because I can't stay here. I have to get out of here. I have to be on my own.

I've spent my entire life fighting through things no one should have to, proving friends, enemies, neighbors, teachers, schoolmates, doctors, family, and even myself wrong. I'm not going to sit back and let anyone, especially my mother, tell me that that doesn't make a difference, tell me who I am.

I've got God for that, thanks.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sometimes you just need to hear the words.

Dude. Real talk?

Most of yesterday sucked.

I got another PhD rejection letter which, so far, brings the total to 4 rejections and 0 acceptances, which, you know, is just fantastic for a girl's self-esteem.

I wasn't in a good mood because, well, Valentine's Day. And I was in pain.

Mom's been super, super sick lately.

So it just felt like everything was gonna go wrong.

And then I decided to do something that would make me feel good but also make other people feel good, too, so I sent video messages to three of my favorite guys. That alone made my mood perk up a good bit, but then I got a response from one of them that honestly turned my whole day around.

There's something about hearing the words, "You know I love you. I always do. I always will," that just brings such peace to my soul sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I'm always very much a words of affirmation person, but there are certain times more than others where hearing the words really calms me down, and yesterday was one of those times. It's really hard for me to be so far away from everyone that I love, and because Mom's so sick, my relationship with her has been tense and stressful and distant, so I've really felt like I have no one. But getting the message I did from my brother, it came at exactly the right time to remind me that even though there's no one physically near me, I am not alone. I am so crazy loved.

So for the rest of the day (and let's be honest, a good portion of today), I've replayed that video as many times as I need or want just to make myself smile and remind myself of the truth, of how lucky I am to have this love in my life.

Because there's nothing wrong with just needing to hear the words.

(And then Matt came over for a few minutes last night, so I really got a special treat on top of my day turning around.)

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

We can be heroes.


I just finished binge watching CSI: Miami yesterday, because now that my applications are basically done and my feet are in such bad shape that I don't walk much, that's what my life has resorted to. I loved the show (because I love pretty much all crime shows) (also, hello, Adam Rodriguez!), but there's one scene from one of the last episodes that has stuck in my head. In it, Calleigh, one of the CSIs, explains to the son of the episode's victim exactly why his dad was a hero. And it hit me hard because that's a conversation that I've sat through more than once.

I've been called a hero before, by multiple people. It never made sense to me when they said it, it sort of made sense after they explained why they said it, but in general, I don't really get it. I will be the first one to tell you that I am not any more special than anyone else. I just happen to have a really weird life story and be absurdly stubborn.  That stubbornness in the midst of my really weird life appears to others as courage, even though I'm terrified more often than not. But people think I'm courageous, and that's something to admire, I guess, so the fact that I haven't given up in the middle of...all of this...makes people take notice.

Calling me a hero, though? No, still don't understand it. I'm just trying to survive, same as everyone else. My sheer will to survive doesn't feel like it's me having "special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities" or a reason for me to be a role model. I just don't know how to be any different. And this blog post isn't me trying to pull out some false humility to get sympathy or compliments or whatever; that scene with Calleigh and that kid reminded me of the times that people have said that to me and it's been hard for me to hear and process just like it was for that kid. (All this about a TV show. Ha.)

I think, in the end, we're all looking for someone we can call our hero. Aside from, you know, complete narcissists, we know that we can be better and look for people we can view as an ideal version of a person. We're a mix of constantly questioning whether we're good enough and constantly seeking self-improvement, and we need to find these people to look up to in order to believe that being better is actually possible. For me, my hero and role models give me hope that when the world seems to all be going to hell, there are still good, admirable people out there.

And if I can be that hope for someone else, then I'm good with being called a hero. Even if it doesn't always make sense to me.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

For however long this lasts.

Whether it's for the next 1461 days or 2922 (God forbid), as long as Trump is in the White House, this right here is my life mantra.


I won't stop, because this man is now in the Oval Office and we're all in danger. I don't care who is in his Cabinet or in Congress, I will fight for justice and equality for ALL. There are more of us than there are of them, and it's more important now that we protect each other than it's been in a long time. We need each other. The only thing that will overpower the hate the Trump administration represents is loving people. Love people harder and stronger and louder than they hate, and we'll win. Let's get to work.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

No, I'm not watching the Inauguration tomorrow.

Anybody who knows me knows that I am an extremely passionate person, especially when it comes to politics. I have very strong opinions, and I will discuss and debate anything with anyone, no matter how much or how little we agree on. I've followed American national politics, and particularly presidential elections, since I was 8 years old and George W. Bush was elected; once I watched that election night, I never stopped. And I don't regret it for a second. I love this country, I love politics, and I love what I do. (If I didn't, I wouldn't have racked up so many student loans to get my Master's!)

But no. I'm not watching the Inauguration tomorrow, and I don't really care if you agree with that choice or not. I've long accepted the fact that in less than 19 hours, Trump will be our president, but after everything that has happened in the past year and a half, even more so in the two months since the election, I can't sit back and celebrate giving the nation's highest office to a man who has shown so little regard not just for so many different groups of American citizens, but for US democracy and government as a whole.

I can't honor a man who has shown greater respect for Russia's dictator than for the CIA.

I can't esteem a man who accused a Congressman known for being a civil rights activist who got his skull fractured by police in Selma of being "all talk and no action."

I can't rejoice over the new presidency of a man who has hidden so much from the people he is meant to serve.

I can't be excited about the start of the term of a man who lies even when proof is on tape and then lies about having lied, about everything from small, personal things to huge, nation-changing problems.

Some may say that we should give the new president the benefit of the doubt, that we should give him a chance, but Trump hasn't earned that. Trump blew his opportunity for a second chance from me when he sided with and praised Putin over the US, and then compared the CIA to Nazi Germany.

When his supporters immediately started harassing and assaulting people and vandalizing property after the election because he had glorified racism, hatred, and violence.

When he insisted he never mocked a disabled reporter even though every news outlet in existence his video proof.

When he picked a guy deemed by the Senate too racist to be a judge as Attorney General, the President of Goldman Sachs - a company he criticized for hurting the working class - to run the White House National Economic Council, a guy against raising the minimum wage to a livable standard to run the Department of Labor, and the CEO of ExxonMobil with a $500 billion deal in Russia to be Secretary of State.

He, along with the help of his chief sycophants, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, are creating a plan to systematically dismantle the protections Obama's administration created for me and people that I love. I will lose my health insurance if the ACA repeal is immediate, which could actually kill me. Holly will lose her access to care when they attack Planned Parenthood. My LGBT+ friends are on the verge of being reduced to second-class citizens again. My friends who are teachers are risking having their whole lives upended because Trump's Education Secretary doesn't support public education.

This isn't about my party losing. This isn't me being a "snowflake" (as one obnoxious, racist commentator likes to say). This is real life that people who support and voted for Trump don't seem to get, that Trump and the GOP don't seem to care about, and the fact is that I'm not going to sit and waste my time watching as the country celebrates a man who proved long before his Inauguration that his loyalty does not lie with this country. It lies with himself.

My love for this country has nothing to do with the person in the Oval Office, anyway. Actually, it might even be stronger now that Obama is leaving and we are being faced with a man who gladly terrifies so many people. My love for this country is rooted in the people I know. In their lives, their stories, their families. In the goodness I've seen from strangers in the midst of danger or intense evil. In the glimmers of hope we can see when this country actually unites after a tragedy. It stands in the hope that though this feels like a setback, that after Trump is out of the White House, this country will be able to put itself back on a moral path that I can't possibly expect to see with Trump. My love for this country is what has kept me from giving up since November 8th, and it's what will keep me fighting for love and justice for all for however many years we have to deal with Trump as president.

Do I love my country? You bet I do.

Am I going to keep praying for my leaders? Now more than ever.

Am I going to celebrate and watch as an unqualified, vindictive, terrifyingly hateful man who has lied his way to the top of the government takes over? Not a chance.

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Monday, January 2, 2017

One Word: 2017

Coming up with my "One Word" choices has, surprisingly, never been difficult for me. I say "surprisingly" because you would think deciding on one word would be difficult for someone as indecisive as me. But year after year, the word just pops in my head before the end of the year and I instinctively know that's what it needs to be. Thanks, God.

This year was no different. When looking back on 2016, I realized that I hadn't been taking good care of myself. I'd been going through the motions, working day by day with a constant running to-do list in my head, thinking more about what had to be done instead of how to make sure I was strong enough to get everything done well. In hindsight, it's no wonder I was so exhausted. So when this year's word came to my mind, it made perfect sense.

Beyond that, though, one recurring theme of my therapy sessions, especially in the past couple of months, is how I am absolutely terrible at putting myself or any of my needs before those of the people around me. I'm not saying I want to become this selfish, inconsiderate person in 2017, but I'm realizing that part of taking care of myself is learning when my wellbeing needs to be more of a priority than my desire to take care of everyone else around me. Too often I catch myself feeling worn down because what I need and want has been overshadowed by what I've convinced myself I have to do for someone else. Being selfless is a good thing, but not when it comes at the expense of your own mental and emotional health. I need to find a balance between taking care of everyone else, like is my nature, and taking care of myself, too.

So then, I started thinking about the ways in which I wanted to take better care of myself, and the more I thought about it, the more it came down to two separate areas: emotional/spiritual health, and physical health.

I mentioned the former in my Year in Review post. One of my major goals of this year is to teach myself the discipline of daily Bible reading. I have been a fraud in that area, to be honest, and I realized that it's because the Bible just overwhelms me. But I have the Seamless study from Angie Smith that I'm going to start with, and try my very best to get into a pattern of truly seeking the Lord and growing in my relationship with Him. I know that that is the best healing that I can possibly find. I remember the first time that I had lunch with Reafe. We were talking about the bullying I had experienced in the past and he straight out said to me, "Are you close to God? Because if you're close to God, if you read the Bible, what everyone else says won't matter. You won't care." Well, it's taken me three years, so I'd say it's long past time I do something about it.

Second is my physical health. The past couple months, I've been getting better about portion control, so I've slowly been losing weight, which has been encouraging. (I think it may also be related to the fact that I've been taken off a couple of my medications.) But because my seizures were such a mess while I was still in New York and it was too physically difficult and dangerous there, and I've been so exhausted and slightly depressed since I got back to NC, I haven't been attempting any exercise. That's going to change, too. I'm just going to walk around my neighborhood, something simple but still exercise, free, that will get me in fresh air. And I also cut out soda as of yesterday. I'd been drinking a lot of ginger ale in New York and Coke since I got back to NC; no more. I'm not going to set up goals of "I want to lose x pounds by the end of the year" because I'm such a perfectionist that I'll feel really defeated if it doesn't happen at the rate necessary to reach that goal. I'm just going to start with these goals and see where that leads.

So I don't know if you could tell, but my One Word for 2017 is


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