Body Dysmorphia

Body image is something that affects so many aspects of our lives now a days. Having social media and so many platforms to share our lives, people see us and sometimes the parts of us that we’re most self-conscious about. These things begin to control us if we let them, and I’ve definitely been someone who has let myself spiral into depression and anxiety over these things. Continue reading

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I’m Back

Wow it seems like forever since I’ve posted on here. It’s been since December, and it’s now March. That’s not common for me, and I’m a little disappointed in myself for losing some commitment, but I’m determined to get back to it and have even better content! The whole point of this blog is to be true to myself, to be real, and to learn about myself, so every post brings me a little closer to that goal I feel like.

These past few months have been a lot for me. The spring semester has been a tough one, having another dog is a lot of work, I’ve taken on some extra responsibilities on campus with some student organizations, and since graduating Caleb has been working and that has changed a lot of things around the apartment, and my commitment to working out has increased drastically taking an hour out of most of my days. Not that things getting tough is an excuse to slack on writing after I told myself that I would do it every few weeks, but those are the reasons that I’ve been giving myself a break. I’ve always been super hard on myself when I didn’t meet the standards I’ve set, but forgiveness is something I’ve been working on very hard in life and in therapy.

Caleb having a full time teaching job has been incredibly bitter sweet for me. I feel like I barely see him, and when I do he’s tired. I let it put a strain on my feelings that we’re at TOTALLY different parts of our lives right now. He’s in the adult world and I’m still in college, which is like an entire universe apart I’ve come to find out. I let it make me feel small and insignificant. I let it break me down, and I even let it make me question whether this is what I wanted anymore. On the flip side, though, I am SO proud of him! He is taking this transition like a champ, and is so professional and moved into the career world so quickly after graduating. I could not be happier for him! It’s obviously taking some getting used to, but it’s also so comforting to have some sort of stability, and that despite the fact that our growth is happening at different paces, we are still growing together.

I’ve been struggling again with my anxiety and depression. I’m still trying to know what is too much and what is just a natural reaction to my life. I forget sometimes that even people who are completely healthy have days where they’re unmotivated, or get sad about sad things. It’s natural! But for someone who deals with these things at unnatural levels and has for most of their life, it’s easy to think one little setback is a complete backslide into illness and voids all of my progress. I’m getting better, though. My psychologist even told me that he’s never seen someone so motivated to work on their issues rather than expecting an instant change, and that working with people like me is what makes his job rewarding. (yes I am patting myself on the back for that, because a year ago he would have thought the complete opposite!!)

Every single day I’m growing as a person, and I’m learning that I will become who I’m supposed to be, even with the mistakes I make along the way. Putting things in God’s hands is something I’m getting better at as time goes by, and my faith is never tested beyond the means that it can handle.

My Experience with Sexual Assault

All of these anecdotes are true, and are things I have experienced or that I have seen the people I love experience. Some depictions may be triggering, so if you are easily triggered by retellings of sexual assaults – please don’t read. This is a serious issue in our world, and I sincerely hope we start treating it as seriously as it is.

 

I was fortunate. Luck smiled upon me because I knew what to look for, I knew the signs, and I realized what was happening before it had a chance to happen. That one time, I was lucky. There were other times, though, where I was not. Where I didn’t realize I had the power to make my own choices, for my voice to be heard. And there are millions of people everywhere – men and women both – who are not given the respect enough to be heard.

When I was 14 years old, my step-father told me that he had a dream he was dating me and not my mom, and not to tell her. I, of course, immediately told her what he said. She told me to let her know if he did anything else weird, but she stayed. Then, he’d ask me to come and lay in bed with him. I refused to get under the covers, but he would wrap his arms around me and hold me. I thought of it like the way I would cuddle with my actual dad, but suddenly it felt wrong. I was changing, maturing, and he wasn’t my dad. Then he’d start asking me to get under the covers, and I’d make up something to do. I would go into the back field and run and run laps, just trying to make myself less anxious.

It progressed from there to him listening to hear when I would leave the shower and try to come into my room while I was changing to “say goodnight.” I started carrying my clothes into the bathroom with me, changing in the tiny steam-filled area where I knew the lock worked, and then running to my room and locking that door. I couldn’t handle being under the covers, all the lights out, and him coming in at midnight asking “what ya doing?” another time. That same month I found a box of single edge razors in the garage, and took some.

Eventually I told my grandparents and they swept in to save me. Not before the guilt had set in, though. My mother even made it a point to tell me “if you weren’t so promiscuos grown men wouldn’t see you that way. If you’d act more like a child should, you’d be seen as a child.” Little did she know, I’d had to be the adult for myself for so long because she wouldn’t. I didn’t know then that he was already a registered sex offender for having sex with a 16 year old girl when he was in his mid 20s. I didn’t know that she brought him into our home with that knowledge. She made the excuse then that “the girl was slutty, and he didn’t see her as a child.” As if that should have made a difference.

The promiscuos behavior she attributed to me was the fact that at 14, I was not a virgin. I had slept with a boy who was 18. When everyone found out, no one stopped to ask how I felt. No one made sure I was safe, no one took me to the doctor. I was screamed at, told that I should have been smarter. That I was a liar. That I had disappointed God, my family. That I was shameful, disgraceful. They were furious that I refused to file a police report for statutory rape. I didn’t see it as an assault then, I didn’t see it as rape. I didn’t understand that I was a child and he was an adult, because I didn’t feel like a child. I didn’t think that the fact that I wanted to say no but didn’t would matter. The fact that I cried and he ignored it. The fact that he kicked me out after and made me walk through a dangerous neighborhood alone at 3 am. I thought because I had kissed him, I had made the decision to sneak out, that I had given the full consent for him to do whatever he wanted to me.

One of my close friend’s parents still don’t know to this very day that she was sexually assaulted by both her uncle and her brother. They don’t know that she never felt comfortable with her body because of it. They don’t know that it took the fun out of any high school relationships for her. They have no idea that she was chronically molested and even raped once by the men who were supposed to take care of her, and keep her safe. If they did know, would they even care? It was so long ago, and you have to keep up appearances in a small town. Would they believe her? The thought of it makes me sick to my stomach. Remembering all the times I held her as she cried because her body felt foreign, disgusting even. All the times I saw her be forced to sit next to her uncle at a family dinner, the way she cringed away from him.

One of my family members was molested in my house, while I was in another room and I didn’t even realize it. A little girl that we were all friends with had come over for a sleepover. An adult caught her in the bathroom with my family member, years younger than her, with her pants down. She told her that they were playing a game called “touch the tee tee.” I was a child, there was nothing I could have done. But I stop and think sometimes, what if an adult hadn’t intervened?

Another of my best friends was raped by his father as a young boy. He had an incredibly hard time with it, especially in his teenage years. He felt guilty, thinking he had ruined the marriage for his mother. There was as since of guilt that he sent his own father to prison. The fear in his eyes when he told me he had to see him at a funeral haunts me even now. Or how tears streamed down his face as he explained to me how badly he had wanted to punch him for what he did to him when he saw him…

We live in a society where people still think rape and molestation are things to joke about. Victims are still judged and blamed by those who have sworn and have a duty to protect them. Men who were raped are shamed, invalidated, and even made fun of. Our world likes to focus on the good things that these people had done before, making something so life altering for the victim seen as something small. “It was one time, they made one mistake, should they have to lose their freedom for that?” Yes, they should. Why should a rapist get to return to a normal life when their victim can’t look in the mirror anymore without crying. Why should they get to be happy when the person they touched is afraid of leaving their home? It’s infuriating, and sickening. We need to stand up for victims, and make a real change. Rape is not a joke. Molestation is not a joke. Touching another person against their will is not a “lapse of judgement” or a “mistake.” It is a serious offense, and should be treated as such for EVERY perpetrator.

Moving In and Moving On

Incase you haven’t kept up to date with the rest of my blogposts – it’s been quite the interesting summer. I’ve been through a lot of heartache, I’ve experienced new things, and overall I’ve learned a lot about life, about God, and about myself. Now, it’s time to begin a new portion of my life – as well as a new school year (yay for sophomore year of college!).

Last Thursday, August 17, I moved into my first apartment with my boyfriend of a year and five months. It has been more exciting for me than I ever could have expected. Leaving the small town that I have lived in my whole life and signing a year lease felt like the biggest weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Everything big that has ever happened in my life has happened in that area. So, that means all of the good things and – more importantly – all of the bad could be left there

It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, though. We’ve had countless maintenance issues; our washing machine doesn’t work, our air conditioner runs constantly without ever getting down to the set temperature, our hot water heater is terrible, we’ve had to fix the garbage disposal, there is a huge football sized wasp nest on our balcony, the balcony floor boards are uneven and rotting, our sink leaks, our outlet covers are all broken, one outlet doesn’t even work, and who knows what else we’ll find. A ton of money has been poured into furniture, bills, curtains, bed stuff, hangers, groceries…

On the bright side, though, I feel so independent and empowered. We made it to church and had an awesome service on our first Sunday here, which really lifted my spirits. My boyfriend and I are learning to work together, even through very tough situations. I’m learning how to be completely independent from my grandparents for the first time in my life, and I feel like I’m doing really really well with it. We get to pick how everything looks, we get to make all of the decisions ourselves. We FINALLY get to be adults without any parents shadowing over our shoulders, waiting to catch us.

Our dog has been an immense comfort, as well. He’s adjusted way better than I ever could have hoped. He goes to the door when he wants to go out, he’s on a good schedule for going out and waking up and going to bed. He met a new friend at the doggy park, and played his little heart out until he was exhausted and ready to crash on the couch (where he still is right now, 3 hours later).

I can’t lie, it’s been a lot. We’ve experienced more ups and downs in 5 days than I have felt in months, My excitement, though, has not been dampened. I am still positive and beyond ready to experience the rest of this journey with my boy and my dog. There is nowhere else I would rather be than this stuffy, too-hot apartment with a growing pile of dirty laundry.

Losing a Parent

The cliche you hear most, especially in a small southern town, is that The Lord works in mysterious ways. That has proven to be true time and time again in my life, and for some reason it always comforts me in times of adversity and pain. Right now my life is full of adversity, and more than my fair share of pain, but I know that there will be purpose in it somewhere.

Today is Wednesday. One week ago today, my dad left the earth to be in heaven with his mom and dad. And the day after tomorrow, we bury him next to them. I never expected to find myself in this position, and I never knew it could hurt as bad as it does. 

46 year old men are not supposed to suffer massive heart attacks and leave behind their three children. It just doesn’t seem right. At 23, 19, and especially 17; the last thing you expect to happen is losing a parent. Especially in such a sudden way. But, it happened. It cannot be undone. 

Last Wednesday, my dad was just taking a shower. One minute he was cleaning himself after a long day at work – where he’d just received a promotion – and the next he was sprawled out in the living room floor waiting on an ambulance. Then in an ambulance waiting on a careflight. Then laying lifeless in a hospital bed… 

Life doesn’t follow your expectations. God doesn’t follow your expectations. It’s never without meaning, though. I have to keep telling myself that there is a silver lining to be grasped, that it’s not all bleak. Without that glimmer of hope, I would not like to live in this world.

I’m broken inside. A lot of people are not seeing that part of me, but I am heart broken. I wish I would have called him more. I wish I would have told him I forgive him. I wish I would have made more trips out to see him. But there is no changing the past. I have to remember all of the card games, the times he sang to me and played the guitar when I was young, the moments of love and happiness. 

I’m staying constantly busy. I’m planning his funeral, making phone calls, responding to messages. I’ve done almost every preparation by myself without even being asked. It’s the only way I can keep myself sane. I’m teaching myself to rely on the people who I love, something I’ve never been good at. I’m letting people help me and tell me everything will be okay.

I’m doing anything I can so that I can close my eyes and not picture him laying lifeless with a tube down his throat. Trying endlessly to remember him alive and happy. He was always full of life and playing around, joking and singing. That’s what I want to remember.

Death doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t seem real. I’ve dealt with it so many times in my short life, but it never gets easier to understand. It only ever gets more painful and causes more disdain and animosity, but it just keeps coming. Maybe someday I’ll learn to accept it better.

RIP Daddy. I love you. 

New Addition

On Saturday, my boyfriend and I went to Tractor Supply Co. to see the puppies that the humane society had for their adoption event. We didn’t plan on adopting, just playing with puppies. What better to do on a Saturday, right?

For some reason, I was drawn to the adult dogs. There was a skinny yellow dog who was being held on a leash, not in a crate. He barked at me loudly until I pet him. The handler informed me that she’d waived his adoption fee, that he was free to whoever would take him.

I walked away, but I knew I couldn’t leave him. So, I came back and told her that we wanted to take Ranger home. My boyfriend signed the paperwork as I sat next to where he was now kenneled. All I could keep saying was “it’s okay, we’re gonna take you home.”

Later we found out that the reason he was free was because he was scheduled to be euthanized today. Monday. Just two days later. Every time I look into his beautiful brown eyes, it makes me both immensely happy I could save him, and immensely sad that he could have met that fate. 

Because of Ranger, I know I will never buy a dog from a pet store or breeder. Through adopting a rescue dog, I have discovered a love and trust I didn’t know I could have with a dog. In these two and a half very short days, I have found a best friend, and a partner for life. 

Ranger is inquisitive. He is loving. He smiles with his teeth. He loves all other animals, and craves affection and acceptance from them (he’ll cry if he’s ignored). He has never met a stranger, that is – unless they come near his house. He is so very intelligent. I’ve honestly never had a better dog, and I love him so much. 

Give adult and young adult dogs a chance. Give rescues a chance. Give mix breeds and mutts a chance. They make just as good of dogs as any “purebred” will. 

Love Poems 

I write random poetry in my phone notes. Some are better than others. Enjoy!

1. Timeless

When your arms no longer fight with your shirtsleeves,

And your eyes lose all the blue and give into the gray,

I will still be in love with you.

And not the you from before,

But the you that manifests itself in each current version;

With the truth in your soul,

And the fire in your heart.
2. Untitled 

Everyone who left before 

Took a little of me with them

And it took finding you

To bring back the pieces

And fulfill me even more

3. Conflicting

I love him.

I love him so much that 

Sometimes I want to hate him 

For not expressing love

The same way I do 

For not being one for 

Grandeur and romantic gestures

For not always 

Wanting to hold me

Like he said he would

When it all began 

But I love him

And I know he loves me

So I cannot hate him 

For expressing love 

The way that only he can

For being one who

Cooks every meal

For always

Being next to me

Like he promised 

When it all began

He loves me 

So I will love him 

And never give up on him 

For being more selfless 

Than he seems 

For being one who

Loves unconditionally 

For always

Being there for me

Like he promised 

When it all began 

4. Present

Today is not:

A day for what could have been.

Today is:

A day for what is and is to be.

Every day is:

For you and I.

No day is:

For the past.

Then is:

Her.

Now is:

Us.

5. Universal 

If ever you think 

That your time 

Here in this world 

Was wasted

If you think –

Even for a second –

You made no impact;

No big change

Look back at me.

For you are my world,

And have changed

My universe.

6. Intuition 

You’ll know when you find the one 

When you finally find true love

And a mutual true love

You will just know 

I can’t tell you for sure what it will feel like

I think it’s different for everyone

Some people claim a tingling 

Or butterflies inside them 

For me it was a total completion 

And ultimate finality and fulfillment 

Like when you fall asleep on a long ride 

The feeling that tells you to wake up when you get home 

7. Singing in the Shower 

Sometimes I wonder 

If one day we’ll wake up

And have been wrong

If there will be an end for us 

And then I hear him singing 

Idly in the shower 

And I remember months ago

When he told me he couldn’t 

And how he’s probably right 

But how everything he does

Is exceptionally beautiful to me

In every way possible 

I recall how vital he is to me

That I can’t imagine a life 

If he’s not in every part of it 

And how deeply empty it would be 

8. Senseless 

He’s just so beautiful

The way he glides around the kitchen

Humming and happily cooking

How his brow furrows as he reads

Page after page of silence

There are so many things

About him and the way he exists

That entice and allure me

For no sensible reason at all

9. Him

Here he sits just next to me,

King of all worlds & all times,

Silently bearing all burdens,

Weights of all worlds & all times.

10. Falling

It’s not time spent out 

That I cherish the most,

But all the time spent in. 

not material things 

That draw me close,

But all the things within.

It’s not spontaneity

That brings me joy,

But routine and all night calls. 

Not your ability to catch

That insights me,

But my willingness to fall.

11. Wild

Minds and Bodies, Hearts and Souls;

In the wilderness are wild. 

Slightly shocked, but made aware

Now giddy as a child.

Bare just as is intended,

New expectations met,

Drenched by summer and eachother,

Moisture mixed with sweat.

Tucked away from any strangers,

So far from our small tent.

Just me, and you, and Mother Nature;

A summer’s eve well spent.

12. Memory

I’m in love with the way you 

Can make memories

By doing nothing at all

13. Bonnie and Clyde

I can think of no pair to compare in the least 

To the likes of our likely match.

First, I thought of us Belle and her Beast,

Yet you’re an obvious catch

Then, the infamous Bonnie and Clyde;

Their love ever stronger than prisons and guards.

Running, thoughtless, and desperate to hide

So far from our gentle hearts.

Two scholars and teachers entranced by romance

Make not a great love of legend or lore,

Yet our bond and effortless, natural occurrence

Entrances my thoughts all the more

My High School Experience

I grew up in a small, semi-rural town in Texas. So, there are certain things that come as a kind of given. There definitely were kids that wore boots, jeans, and button ups EVERY day. Homecoming, and those Friday night lights were a big deal. People here are passionate, opinionated, and usually pretty vocal about it.

When you get close to graduating, everyone tells you to cherish it. That you’ll miss it when you’re gone. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t miss it. At all. I am being completely honest when I say, there is nothing from high school I wish I could get back. However, I did learn a lot and I loved a few things about it.

The first thing I should talk about is obvious if you know me – extra curricular activities. I participated in choir, debate, show choir, agriculture for a brief period, one act play, technical theater, theater productions for a semester, and one of the fall musicals. That may not sound like a lot, but I had virtually NO free time. Choir took two periods out of the day. Theater took a class period, and most of my afternoons. Debate took ALL of my weekends for two entire years. I was running myself ragged, and I was miserable. 

My senior year, I decided to do what was best for me and quit theater. I stopped writing extra speeches for debate. I dropped out of AP calculus and took a teacher’s aid period. I spent a brief time taking stats for the Lady Panthers Varsity Soccer Team. I finally had enough time to stop and think about who I was outside of all of these things, and I loved it. I loved having time to hang out with friends, I loved eating dinner at home.

I was judged by my peers for the decision to take some time for myself. God forbid I get a break my senior year, right? People saw me as lazy, or said I was giving up. I let that get to me, until I saw the bags around their eyes. I no longer envied them. Those things were fun, but none of them are my passion like it is for some kids. And guess what? That’s okay. 

Making “friends” in high school was easy, but making real connections was harder. There were, of course, a few. But the amount of friends I left with was way less than the amount I went in with. And that’s not a bad thing, either. I’m much happier not putting on airs. The people that have stayed with me are people who love me for who I truly am, and I don’t have to pretend.

High school makes it very difficult to authentically be yourself. Especially because you don’t even know who you really are yet. There are still so many things that are not set in stone, and so many things that are subject to change. It may be the place where it starts, but I don’t think high school is the place where you find yourself. At least, it wasn’t for me.

My experience with high school had a lot of pain. I mean, a lot. I hurt, and I put myself in positions to hurt even worse. There were, however, a lot of ups. I acheieved more than I ever thought I would. I became confident enough to continue my education. I started the process of learning myself. But I will never wish for those years back.

So long, MHS. One year down without you, hopefully a lot more to go.