Thank You :))

Hello beautiful wonderful world,

I’m laying with my childhood blanket in a small corner of the world that feels a little less like home than I’m used to.

I feel extremely guilty at the moment, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what for. Maybe it’s not guilt – maybe it’s just a weird nostalgic happiness that I’m not quite accustomed to.

Being at school makes me feel very much a part of something; I feel like an integral part of people’s lives. At home, I feel a little more lonely. Sure, I’m quite literally surrounded by those who love me, but it’s a different sensation.

In high school, I spent my nights texting or FaceTiming – constantly in communication with others. College friends don’t have the habit of doing that, because we can always be together. If I want to talk to someone I just walk into their dorm room. I don’t need to text them a thousand some snippets of sentences to feel apart of their world. I, therefore, don’t know how to text college friends or even know if it’s appropriate to do so. College is a gift for the extrovert.

I think being somewhat alone puts me face to face with the things I don’t want to think about. Loneliness and guilt, accepting I’m thoroughly flawed, knowing I’ve hurt others in irreparable ways. Who wants to think about that?

Being alone, or more-so feeling alone, is the worst. I’m not saying that in a subjective oh this kinda sucks way; I mean it thoroughly hurts like hell. I know I am not alone. No one needs to clarify that for me. But the feeling is real and here and valid.

A year ago, I felt so incredibly loved and supported. My small high school had a way of doing that, and my tight-knit knew-each-other-like-the-sunrise friend group never failed to make me feel cherished. I have tremendous friends in college! I really truly do! But at this current moment ((12:29 a.m)) I don’t feel like I could turn to them. We all feel a bit lonely; me bringing up my feelings would only reflect those in their hearts. I couldn’t do that to them.

My heart is in the process of healing, but she really doesn’t know how to. I don’t know if I’m really letting her either. I think I try to fill my life with love in order to cover up those small scrapes and bruises, but time takes away most scars. (And as much as I hate the whole time-heals thing, I guess I’m gonna have to give it a shot). I don’t know if time is what really heals things, I think it’s patience. And patience does require time, but he’s more of a side character. Patience is what we really need. Patience with ourselves, with our hearts, with others. Patience is a virtue, or so I’m told.

I’m very thankful for everyone and everything in this fun little mess of a world I’ve got going on. I’d like to think my life would make an absurd yet endearing screenplay, maybe one of these days Hollywood will pick it up. The long and the short of it is this: to everyone who reads these glimpses-of-my-mind, thank you. I’m not the easiest to read, and my posts are not always the most cheerful. I am a very happy person, but I cannot suppress my emotions. I write until I’ve figured out what I’m feeling. And if you read these, wow, you’re a real gem.

I think my audience is mostly moms, which is cool hey moms! I hope y’all don’t think I’m too dramatic. I hope you don’t grow to hate me after reading any of these. Please don’t take me too seriously; I am extremely flawed and mess up all the time. I will always try to own up to my errors. Life is about growing in patience. If you ever read one of my posts and feel compelled in some way, please reach out to me. It’s nice to know who the anonymous eyes are every now and then.

Thank you for letting me express myself so often. Thank you for loving me through my words and heart and soul. Thank you for being a part of my life, even for just a few paragraphs. Everything will work out in the end; what is meant to be will find a way and I’m just gonna have to be patient enough to let it.

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Chooo Chooo!

I love trains, something my beloved father and I have in common. I have made at least one trip on the famous Disney train on every trip I’ve ever taken to the happiest place on earth. ((Disney please do not sue me for plagiarising your phrase,, I love you more than you will ever know and I wear your coordinates around my neck every day)) I think one of the major reasons I like train rides is because of my Dad. I think about him a lot when I’m choo-chooing into the universe.

You see, my Dad is one of the best people on this blessed earth. (Tied with my fantastic Mom, of course). He and I have a lot in common, more so than I would sometimes like to admit. We both overthink practically everything and strive to love others with as much power as we can muster. If you have the honor of knowing my Dad and the even greater honor of being loved by him never take that for granted. If Richard Campbell is in your life, count yourself very lucky.

My Dad has always valued my opinion. He has never spoken down to me or assumed my thoughts are invalid because of my age. He has always encouraged my brother and me to learn everything we can and to approach life with curiosity and love. And don’t even get me started on his sense of humor! That man could make you cry, laugh, and wish you could speak like him all in one prayer delivered in front of the family. He is the most amazing man in my life and has taught me everything I know and love about this world.

College constantly reminds me of how lucky I am to have such incredible role models in my life. When I come home from college, my Dad has the goofiest grin and most comforting hug. But he doesn’t just want to hear about my fun college adventures, he genuinely wants to know my thoughts on the world. I have so so so much respect for him. He’ll ask me my thoughts on current political issues, and though we do not always agree, he always respects my opinion. ((See guys, it is possible to hold respectful political conversations with your family)). I think about him a lot – every hilarious pun, every time I hear myself saying something I know he would say, every morning breakfast he’d call a feast – I think about that wonderful music-making man all the time.

When I sit on trains, I understand why he loves them so much. The world moves past you in the most beautiful way that a car just can’t quite capture. It isn’t like flying, where you feel so small compared to the great big world around you. No, you feel like you are one with the world and everyone sitting at your side.

My senior year, I found myself on trains quite a bit. A wonderful person in my life lived a little far from me and train-rides always seemed to be the most efficient way to travel to his corner of the world. I often made small talk with those around me; college students traveling home for the weekend, high school teachers who let me help grade their quizzes, boys who edited videos for hours before falling asleep against the window. I always felt like one with the world.

Travelling is one of the most fulfilling experiences, even if you’re just traveling a couple hours to a different town. Trains make me feel like I’m going on a great big journey, where I will learn something new of myself whilst being away from the worn-out views of my city. I plug in my headphones and pretend like I’m some character in a movie, ready to take on a new conflict and face the trials of life with a dimple on her left cheek.

I wonder if my Dad ever thinks about that, about feeling refreshed in a new place. I know that he consumes himself with his work; he, quite like myself, never accepts failure. If he knows how to do something, and knows he can get it done right, why wouldn’t he just do it himself? Why bother trusting someone else with a job we could easily accomplish on our own. I think we both have some room for growth there. We trust others, trust is key in our relationships, but our expectations are so incredibly high and we’d hate for someone to feel burdened by trying to match that.

I know that both of us want to make this world better – it’s that loving heart we both have sewed into our souls. We go about it in slightly different ways, but I can guarantee if my dad is in your life he has tried to make yours a little better. Whether it’s a light-hearted joke when the world feels like it’s crumbling, a jam-sesh where you can remember the ‘good-ole-days’, or just a polite smile passing by. He would never intentionally hurt someone, and I’ve seen that troubled furrowed eyebrow when he thinks he may have harmed someone far too many times. We both do that.

All this to say, I love trains and I love my dad, and if you have either one in your life you should probably take a second to thank whoever put them there.

Going Up

This is Lizzy. Out.
Can you hear me? Out.
Come in commander? Out.

I have always wanted to be an astronaut. This is so not a joke I am being ridiculously real with you at this current moment. Right now at 11:28 a.m on this wonderful Tuesday morning, I want to be an astronaut.

I know that this is fairly unrealistic, seeing as I have given up on math and science, not to mention the fact that I am not currently passing my astronomy class with flying colors. Despite all those (major) set backs, I still want to be an astronaut.

So, I’m gonna see how hard it is to become one.

NASA says they’d like to see at least 1,000 hours of “pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.” And, according to the ever-trustworthy space.com article entitled “How To Become An Astronaut” I’m gonna need to major in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. For those curious, I am majoring in Dramatic Writing, so I’m pretty much nowhere near those requirements, but I’m not ready to give up yet.

Alright, now onto the physical requirements:

  • 20/20 vision (either naturally or with corrective lenses)
  • blood pressure not more than 140/90 in a sitting position
  • a height of between 62 and 75 inches

Welp, I do not have 20/20 vision naturally, but I do have corrective lenses, so CHECK
I couldn’t even tell you what my blood pressure is, but let’s just assume the best, so CHECKETY CHECK CHECK
I’m 5’7 (and surprisingly still growing???) that puts me at about 67 inches, so CHECK ONCE AGAIN

I was built to be an astronaut! I’m not making this up, the facts are listed right above.

So let’s say I pass all those silly little preliminary requirements. Then comes the fun stuff! As a candidate for space travel I’d become a qualified scuba divers, do military water survival training, undergo swimming tests, and be exposed to high and low atmospheric pressures! AND LEARN RUSSIAN! How absolutely dynamic! Talk about some cool stuff, right guys?

When my parents told me to reach for the stars and shoot for the moon, I’m sure they didn’t actually imagine I would try to. But then again, knowing me, I’m sure they figured I would at some point.

I recognize that I will never actually become an astronaut, but that doesn’t mean I’ll never see the galaxy. I could write you planets, color them with details until you can taste them. I could paint you a picture of the stars, the way they shine brighter from the right side of the spacecraft. I’ll read you journals filled with freeze-dried ice cream and rehydrated green beans. I will never be an astronaut, but I will surely go to space. What do you think writers see when we close our eyes?

Galaxies are constantly trapped behind our eyelids, ready to be broken into the world. One of these days I’ll let them see the world the way they ought to, but for now I’ll let them paint my dreams and crowd my thoughts.

Dear NASA, if you’re reading, I’d love to board your next space adventure. I’m fun I swear, and I have Nestle’s chocolate chip cookie recipe memorized (if that’s not someone you want on your crew, then I don’t know what you’re looking for!)

 

Poppin Pills!

As I leaned over a third floor toilet around the corner from my English classroom, I began to storm up this article. ((As a normal teenager does after her fifth time throwing up on the morn of Halloween)). So here is my somewhat-spooky Halloween post.

The first time I told one of my suite-mates about my anti-depressant adventures she looked a bit shocked and responded, “so, you’ve really been through this whole thing, huh?” I have, indeed, really been through the whole thing. Let me take you on the fun journey of trying to fix my chemical imbalance! Woo-Hoo, who’s excited? I’m excited!

It was a dark and stormy day in the halls of my high school – in reality, it was probably just a normal Monday. My levels of anxiety were high; I felt my soul leaving my body, unable to recognize the shrinking girl in the corner who pretended she was fine. I could no longer continue that way, I knew I wanted to try going on medicine. It took a fair amount of convincing to get my parents on board, but we agreed to try it and see what would happen. As a family, we had little experience with anti-depressants and were a bit apprehensive about the whole situation.

I started taking Zoloft, a commonly used SSRI, the spring of my freshman year. I was hit with a tornado of symptoms, but told that they would eventually go away. After all, there is a slight adjustment period with any medicine. But I felt like I was actually dying. Getting out of bed was near impossible; when I tried sitting up I would be hit with a sea-sickness so strong I hoped I would throw up to end it. If it wasn’t the extreme nausea keeping me in bed, it was the chronic fatigue. I was constantly tired; falling asleep at the lunch table or drifting off during rehearsals. Perhaps that doesn’t sound too bad, I was a high schooler of course I was tired, that may not have been the medicine. But then I started losing my appetite, the smell of meat disgusted me ((foreshadowing my vegetarian life perhaps)), anything with the slightest bit of salt overpowered my senses entirely. Safe to say, I stopped eating. I dropped some weight and was complimented by my peers for how thin I looked. I’d never been ‘thin’ and yet always had a bizarre obsession with it, so being told I looked skinny encouraged my declining appetite.
The medicine changed me physically but provided absolutely no mental change. So, my psychiatrist suggested I switch to another well known SSRI, Lexapro.

My favorite part of my Zoloft -> Lexapro switch was that it went down while I was a last-year-camper at my favorite place in the world. So tracking my symptoms and also trying to have a good time at camp was a bit difficult. I remember it starting off in a similar fashion, I would wake up on my top bunk with sweaty palms and a raging headache. The good news was that I was at summer camp, the abnormal sweating my body experienced  could easily be disguised in normal day activities. And, perhaps, I had just gotten my normal appetite back and was excited to eat real-people-food again, but I began to eat everything. My appetite went from being non-exsistant to becoming an overpowering desire I had to fulfill at all occasions. I’m sure I didn’t gain as much weight as I felt like I had, but in my own mind I was an Oompa-Loompa ((and a very pale one at that)). To feel like an Oompa-Loompa at age 15 is to know true self-loathing. Dear sophomores in high school, please do not view yourselves as Oompa-Loompas you overdramatic loves of mine. I had all these fun symptoms, but just like Zoloft, I felt no different mentally. It almost took more of a toll on my mental health. Everyone was expecting me to get better, and I questioned if maybe the medicine was doing something and I just hadn’t noticed. “I don’t feel like it’s working.” I would tell my mom. “How do you know?” She often responded. It was a good question; I had no idea how I would be able to know. No one gave me a guide book on taking anti-depressants. ((Where’s that book American Girl Doll Company, huh? You’re gonna make us a book on puberty and then just say see-ya later on our mental development?))

So, I was taken off medicine. It was no longer reasonable, or healthy, to keep me on a medicine if I felt it wasn’t fulfilling the intended purpose. I carried on as I had before, utilizing therapy as my life-line. I completed work on a timely fashion, went to bed at a reasonable hour, joined the track team, ran for leadership positions, acted in plays. I was the same-old me. I did exactly what I needed to do and avoided as many triggers as I possibly could. I knew what would set me off, and when it would set me off, so I disguised my anxiety in the only way I knew how: staying busy.

Junior year sucked. I’m fairly confident that can be universally felt. I didn’t have time to think about my anxiety, I was always doing something: studying for this test, writing that paper, pretending like I wasn’t falling apart, getting coffee with my best friends every single day without fail. I became the absolute queen of distracting myself! And my therapist, sweet sweet Megan, was in my top three go-to people. I had weekly therapy appointments, which were very much needed breaks in my day. Megan is such a queen, if you don’t go to therapy but you think you might want to, I will pay you to go see Megan. ((probably not though because I am super broke)) [[My psychiatrist is also a queen, she’s the one who recommended Megan to me so you know she’s a homie. And they’re friends which I think is just so adorable. I love both those women so much, wow. I just got so sidetracked. Yay therapy! Yay Maggie and Megan!!!]

Fast forward to senior year, where I was ridiculously over high school. I knew I wanted to be on anxiety medicine for my freshmen year of college. Shoutout to past me for thinking about her future self! In order to be rid of the crazy symptoms before heading to college, I needed to start it whilst still a senior. But my mom and I were both over the whole trial-and-error medicine route. It was not a fun option, and I very much wanted to avoid that. So, I did a fancy lil DNA test to figure out which medicines my body metabolized well. Upon viewing my results, I discovered that both Zoloft and Lexapro were on my DO NOT TAKE list. It was so validating to know that past me hadn’t been making things up, I really wasn’t getting any benefits from the medicine. My psychiatrist, being the queen that she is, put me on one of my HEY YOU SHOULD TAKE THIS medicines. It was a fairly new medicine, Prestiq. Prestiq is an SNRI, meaning it boosts serotonin levels as well as norepinephrine levels. I don’t really know what that means or how it affects people differently, all I know is that it works. 

I had the usual preliminary symptoms: nausea, headaches, agitation. But then those wore off and I was left with exuberant happiness. I mean, I was bouncing off the walls energetic and happy. It was great! I finally felt like myself again. The only problem was that I was a little too happy. I had increased levels of energy and absolutely could not sit still. It only kinda affected my school work, but I was a senior so I didn’t much care about my class work anyways. I still did my homework assignments and wrote my papers, but I could hardly pay attention in classes that didn’t peak my interest. I had no issue in the classes I loved, – literature, French, and statistics – but my history and seminar classes were not-at-all my focus. My friends began to worry about me. I remember one lunch where three of my closest friends confronted me about it. They said they were glad I was happy, but I wasn’t acting like myself. I was acting wild and uncontrollable. I would often say rude remarks without thinking or break school rules without caring. As a total goody-two-shoes I can assure you that kind of behavior was not typical of me. And I always talk a lot, but I would talk a lot, sometimes I would forget I was talking and cut myself off mid-sentence. My best friend of three years even said she was a little worried about me. The medical term for this kind of behavior is mania, but my mom would tell you she doesn’t like that word, so my psychiatrist rephrased it; I was hyperactive.

My parents didn’t notice those symptoms because they were just excited to see me so happy again. The medicine worked, perhaps a little too well, I was suddenly not anxious about anything. My parents told me they were considering moving to a different state and I didn’t shed a tear! If you know me, you know how much I hate change, so this behavior was, once again, very out of character. I only experienced highs, I wasn’t feeling real-people emotions. So, my psychiatrist decreased my dosage. As the medicine decreased so did my extreme levels of happiness. I immediately returned to the way I had been before taking medicine – anxious and exhausted all the time. After knowing the way I could feel, I wanted to go back. I loved the way the medicine made me feel; I didn’t want to be hit with the lows of life again. I liked seeing la vie en rose everywhere I went. It felt like I could have that childish naive innocence about me once again, I could be oblivious to the pains of the world. But I could recognize how unhealthy that was for me; I knew I needed to find a happy medium. So, I asked to increase my dosage again and see if things would be different.

And here we are now! 10 paragraphs later and you are still reading. WooHoo thanks. I hardly remember the fact that I take medicine because of how normal I feel. I still get anxious, like all the time, but the physical symptoms of my anxiety are mostly gone. I don’t shake as much or scratch at my skin or overthink till I feel dead. I mostly just write. But every now and then I genuinely forget I take medicine, therefore I forget to take it. It usually hits me that I’ve forgotten around noon, when I feel light headed and begin to overheat. The worst time that happened was during Hurricane Florence. My friends and I were playing volleyball outside before the storm hit; it was the second day in a row I had forgotten to take it. I remember feeling a drop of rain and then immediately passing out. I woke up as soon as my body hit the sand, but it was enough to freak me and all my friends out. I sat out for the rest of the game.
Some days, I don’t have time to eat in the morning, like today! But taking medicine on an empty stomach usually results in light nausea. It’s not too bad, I’m used to that. But for some reason, today, my body was not able to handle the medicine on an empty stomach. Hence why I spent a majority of my English class vomiting up grapefruit kombucha, the only thing I’d had this morning.

Long story short, medicine is cool and helps a lot of people, but it isn’t always fun. It’s quite the process to find the right one, but it is very very worth it. Also, if you haven’t taken your meds yet today, go do that ya silly nugget!!!

Happy Halloween!!!

 

 

Forgive, Forget, Forgettaboutit

How the h*ck do we forgive other people? How the h*ck do we forgive ourselves?

Forgiveness. It’s an absolutely magical thing that is hardly ever merited. No one is perfect, which I’m sure goes without saying, but I always find myself needing a reminder. We are flawed through and through — we mess up, continuously, and we will likely never stop doing so.

Mistakes don’t make us bad people, right? I certainly hope not. I’ve wronged a lot of people in my life, a lot of good people I care about. Maybe it’s a good sign that I’m deeply troubled by my mistakes. I think to a degree it shows the recognition of my faults, but it also creates an unhealthy sense of self loathing.

I am a tad bit too obsessive with the mistakes I have made. They linger like morning breath, constantly sitting on the tongue ruining the taste of everything else. I have always had an extremely guilty conscience; I obsess over every mistake I make and think through absolutely every potential outcome. I think of how the person I’ve wronged will treat me, if they will ever choose to forgive me, if I have caused irreversible damage on their life.

However, the hardest struggle to overcome is the battle to forgive myself. If I had just shut my mouth, if I had just not been there at that time, if only I had been there. As a perpetual over thinker, I learn to hate my actions. Sometimes, I even regret my own existence, feeling like a burden to those around me. I know that’s a harmful thought, but hiding that in the depths of a confused mind will only make matters worse.

I don’t know how to forgive myself, at all. If others don’t forgive me I struggle to find a reason why I should either.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I am so sorry. You will never understand. None of you. None of you will feel the intense copious amount of guilt I carry around everywhere I go. I still cary around the regrets of a middle-schooler, the mistakes of a young teenager, and certainly those of a confused-as-heck first year in college.

I’m not terribly convinced life gets any easier, that my bag of guilt will ever shrink, but maybe I ought to build up bigger muscles. Make the burden lighter…

The Untold Stories Around Us

Do you ever think about the stories passing by us? The millions of lives just as intricate as our own, with a cast of characters as lively, with problems as challenging, with passerby’s just like us.

How many family photo albums have I mindlessly been apart of; which family photos in Disney have I been a background character?

Today on the bus, I listened and looked around, people watching as I tend to do. The boys in front of me were giggling like children at some hilarious YouTube video that I couldn’t see. The men behind me chatted like old friends even though I was fairly certain they’d just met each other. Younger kids danced around the narrow walkway, excited to see the famous UNC basketball players.

I think a lot about these side characters who will likely only appear in a few short scenes of my life. The ‘extras’ who pick up the sheets of paper I drop walking to class, who give me change when I can’t dig through my wallet fast enough, who share their stories at marches.

Everyone around us leads their own life, but we hardly stop and think of the complexities in someone else’s mind. That could possibly be our greatest flaw.

Humans tend to be selfish, think of Adam and Eve; they had everything they could ever want or need and yet still requested more. We get way too caught up in ourselves, in our own worlds, we hardly ever think of the intricacies of another’s life.

The boy I met on the bus ride home—he laughed when I suggested he looked like Timothée Chalamet. He gets that a lot; his last girl friend forced him to watch Call Me By Your Name twice until he agreed. He fell asleep during Lady Bird, much to her dismay. She never felt like he really loved her. She always felt like she was fighting for his attention. He was far too busy smoking with his friends, he never really cared for her anyways. He’d been seeing a few girls on the side—it didn’t mean anything to him. He was just a feelings-junky, one girl after the other.

His dad had left when he was younger, he figured that had to do with the general feeling of numbness he felt on the daily basis. Maybe if his father hadn’t cheated on his mom so many times, he’d never even know what cheating was. Maybe he’d never had cheated himself.

I can’t confirm any of that. In fact, I can almost guarantee none of it is accurate. But my brain wanders and wonders about the characters around me.

Strangers are better than best friends who turn to strangers.

Yea, Me Too

Hi hello friends and strangers. I very much did not think I was going to write this, nor did I necessarily want to write this, but I have things to say and therefore my voice deserves to be heard.

Let’s forget about the current case gripping the nation, this is very much not a post aimed at any particular party or person. I have absolutely no agenda in posting this other than to share my opinion and hope you can see things from a young woman’s perspective.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5 women will be raped at some point in their lives. That means that, statistically speaking, out of the (roughly) 30 girls in my graduating class, 6 of us will be raped at some point in our lives. 6 of the girls I knew from age 10 on. That is an absolutely disgusting thing to have to think about.

At age 14, trucks would honk at me as I ran by; at age 15, a boy told me girls were only good for one thing; at age 16, I was told no one would want to date me if I didn’t want to have sex; at age 17, I sometimes forgot that my body was my own. And now, at age 18, I am terrified to walk around a college campus at night, for fear of unwanted advances.

Is it sexist of me to be scared of men? Is it wrong of me to not trust a guy to walk me home simply because they’re male? If you’re answering yes (even a little bit) let’s talk about it.

Say I did walk home with that guy I met at a party, say something happened, say I was taken advantage of. What would you say then? I can almost guarantee it would be along the lines of “poor girl, but she put herself in that situation”. You’d ask what I was wearing, if I had anything to drink, if I had led him on in anyway, and why did I walk home with him if I didn’t want anything to happen?

I remember telling my best friend about an uncomfortable encounter I’d had with a guy one time. I hadn’t really wanted to do anything, but he did. I hadn’t said no, but I certainly hadn’t said yes, and I can assure you I was not asked for consent to begin with. But as I sat on the carpet of my friend’s room, I made excuses for him. “I didn’t really make it clear. It was my fault. I should have said something, he didn’t know what I was thinking.” “Yea,” she responded, “but did he ask?” “No, but I still should have said something.” She practically rolled her eyes and called me out on my hypocrisy. I am always preaching about how no one should victim blame, and there I was doing it to myself. Now, I am not saying I went through something terribly traumatic or anything near the level of the brave women coming forward, but it was still an uncomfortable situation that I should have never been put in to begin with. And, hey parents, guess what? There’s a 67% chance that this has happened to your daughter (or son)!

And you know what is even more disturbing? A study conducted in 2002 found that 63.3%  of men who self-reported rape, or attempts at rape, admitted to committing repeated rapes. And, yes, there is bias in self-reported statistics, but if anything that would mean this number is lower than the true percentage. And no this is not just the way it is and women should just be more careful. refuse to accept that as the response to all this. I will not tolerate teaching young women to hide themselves for fear of accidentally attracting a rapist! And, yes, that sentence sounds ridiculous, and it’s very rare that anyone has ever said those words, but the implications are often there.

In seventh grade, I was told that “us girls” should follow the dress code so we didn’t distract our fellow-brothers-in-christ.

Just let that sync in for a second. We were twelve and thirteen and already being taught to accommodate for the men in our lives. And I love my fellow brothers in christ, but those homeboys are gonna have to learn how to keep their eyes on the board because my shoulders are going absolutely nowhere.

And for those of you asking why now? Why report these crimes now? Let’s look at the statistics, with convenient links to the research so you can do further research when you try to prove me wrong! Rape is the most underrated crime; 63% of sexual assaults go unreported. For all my college buds, more than 90% of us who are assaulted don’t report it. Why, you ask, why? What a fantastic inquisition, thank you so much for asking.

Because no one effing believes victims. (We have now reached the point of this ted talk where you are thinking oh geez here she goes. She’s getting awfully passionate. And yea, you know why? Because this affects me! And you! And all of the fantastic people in my life! And I wish you could feel just as passionate as me!) If you no longer want to listen to an 18 year old girl spit some hardcore facts at you then I’d recommend reading this article.

Victims, often women, are almost always blamed for sexual assault. What were you wearing, how much did you have to drink, did you make eye contact with him, smile at him, dance with him, did you agree to go back to his place, did you get in bed with him. Apparently those are all valid ways of proving someone consented to unwanted sexual encounters. Listen, I can get dressed to the nines, talk to you at a party, and maybe even exchange snapchats, and still not want to have sex with you! It’s a fairly simple concept! And maybe you’ve been taught wrong and that’s not your fault, but buckle up buttercup it’s time to learn the new ways of the force.

When/if victims come forward, their lives are usually ruined. They are called liars and publicly harassed. They are often called sluts, whores, or that they were-asking-for-it and are forced to relive the memories each and every time they are asked about it. Would any of you want that in your lives? I certainly wouldn’t. Victims who come out are incredibly brave, so so so incredibly brave. Because the consequences are often terrifying.

But what about all those false accusations that ruin mens lives, huh? Well, howdy-hey, I’m quite glad you asked in such a respectful manner. Did you know that only 2% of reported rapes turn out to be false accusations. And that’s out of the roughly 38% of assaults that are actually reported!!! Meaning, if all sexual assaults were reported that number would go way way way down.

Long story short, victims are tired of being called liars, so they choose to stay quiet, to live with horrid memories, to see their rapists faces on national TV, at the Student Store, on Franklin Street, in positions of power. Victims that come forward should be listened to and respected.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. And please, if I have misspoken or those links are wrong, let me know! Life is a journey of growing, and I recognize my journey is still in progress, as is yours. I always do my best to be educated on a topic before I speak on it, and I’d recommend you try doing that too!

Bonjour Facebook Moms!

The English translation is at the bottom

J’ai un cours de français à 2h00, alors voice un poste entièrement en français. Chuis pas la meilleur à écrire en français, donc ce sera probablement mauvais.

Récemment, je pensais beaucoup de mon futur. Cette grande idée qui trouble les foules et  inspire les rêveurs. Je veux faire si beaucoup dans ma vie, trop beaucoup être franche, mais il n’y a pas de temps suffisant. Un jour je veux devenir une écrivaine qui change les opinions du monde, un autre jour je veux juste devenir un prof. Je sais que j’ai beaucoup de temps à decider, mais je suis une personne qui aime planifier. J’ai besoin de structure constante pour sentir comme un personne sain. C’est probablement pourquoi je pense que je dois planifier toute ma vie maintenant.

Pourquoi est-ce que j’ai peur d’être seul, pas seulement au sense littéral, mais dans la vie. Je pense que c’est ma plus grand peur, peut-être c’est stupide, je ne sais pas. Je sais que je suis jeune et cela signifie que j’ai nombreuses d’occasions de rencontrer les gens. Et si je manque un opportunité? Quoi alors?

Ces sentiments se sentent mieux en français, peut-être parce que ne personne comprendre. Alors la douleur sens en sécurité en une autre langue.  Mais quelle est la vraie langue de douleur? De désir? De les mots qui on ne peut pas dire, on ne veut pas dire. Tout est compliqué en Anglais. C’est peut-être pourquoi j’aime les autres langues, parce que il y a des choses je ne veut pas dire en anglais.

Par example: je me sens seule maintenant. Et je sais c’est pas le cas. Je sais qu’il y a tellement de gens qui m’aime, qui m’encourage, qui veut le meilleur pour moi. Et je suis très contente avec ça. Si contente avec ça! Mais de temps en temps je me demande si j’ai été faite pour être seul. Peut-être que c’est juste la façon il était censé être. Peut-Être que je dois être contente avec ça.

I have a French class at 2:00, so here is an entire post written in French. I’m not the best at writing in French, so this’ll probably be bad.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about my future. That grand idea that troubles the masses and inspires the dreamers. I want to do so much in my life, too much to be honest, but there’s not enough time. One day, I want to become a writer and change the opinions of the world, but another day I just want to become a teacher. I know that I have so much time to decide, but I’m someone who likes to plan. I need constant structure to feel like a sane being. That’s probably why I feel like I need to plan my whole life right now. 

And why am I afraid of being alone, not just in a literal sense, but in life. I think it’s my greatest fear, and maybe that’s stupid, I don’t know. I know that I’m young and that means I have so many chances to meet people. But what if I miss a chance? What then?

These feelings are are better felt in French, maybe because no one can understand them. Pain feels safe in another language. But what is the real language of pain? Of longing? Of the words we can’t say or don’t want to say? Everything is complicated in English. Maybe that’s why I like other languages, because there are things I don’t want to say in English.

For instance: I feel alone right now. And I know that’s not the case. I know there are so many people who love me, who are rooting for me, who want the best for me. And I’m very happy with that. Really happy with that. But from time to time I wonder if I was made to be alone. Maybe that’s just the way it was supposed to be. Maybe I have to be okay with that.

I’m not too worried about it.

Tomato Red and Cherry Chapstick

Inspired by a conversation I had about mental health with some cool peeps yesterday.

“Absolutely famished.”

“Honestly, same.”

“Should we?”

“I mean, probably.”

I held the door open for her; she slipped inside. The walls were still wet with a fresh coat of blood from a can. She ran her finger over a drop as it migrated down.

“Bad paint job.” She muttered.

“Granted, the walls were pretty hard to fix.”

“That’s what happens when you take a sledgehammer to a building.”

I shrugged, kicked open a box of pizza, and sat on the dusty floors.

“Do you even remember what this place looked like before—”

“Sometimes.”

“Why do you never want to talk about i—”

“Why did you order pepperoni? You know I can’t eat that.”

“You could just pull them off—”

“You could have just ordered cheese.”

“Next time.”

Eventually she sat down next to me, handing over a water bottle while avoiding eye contact

“How’s work?”

“Same as always, ah’guess.”

What a fantastic conversationalist. You ever yelled at yourself in your head before? Weird thing.

“Tell me one thing.” She started.

“I don’t—”

“Let me—can I just—one thing, that’s all I want to say. Can I say one thing?”

I sat silently awaiting.

“Why’d you do it?”

“Do what?” I tried.

“Why’d you take an axe to our living room, Jacob? Why’d you knock over our photos? Why’d you tear the strings of the carpet out one by one?”

“It wasn’t one by one.” Too much effort. Impressed she thought differently.

“Who are you?” She cried. No one ever means that question. “Who are you?” A little louder. “TELL ME WHO YOU ARE.”

I broke my own trust and snapped my eyes in her direction. The tight curls around her face defied gravity. Gold was missing from around her eyes; they were swollen. She wasn’t boring to look at, at all. But when I stared too long, her face mushed together. Into a Pangea of regret and pain. And she thought she didn’t know me?

“Have you ever considered becoming a model?”

“What the fu—”

“You’re nice to look at.”

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to say to that.”

“Then again, I’m biased.”

“What are you doing?”

“What’cha mean?”

“You’re ruining everything.”

“It was already ruined.” I laughed a little, she didn’t seem to like that.

“I’m leaving.” She wouldn’t. I knew her better than she did. She’d stay, help me rebuild the walls. We’d paint them a new color, something hopeful. But the walls always found their own special way of not doing the wall thing. She really liked building houses.

“Did the neighbors like the baguettes.”

“Bouquets.”

“I thought you said baguettes.”

“Why would I buy the neighbors a baguette?”

“We should buy them a baguette next time.”

“There won’t be a next time. This isn’t happening again. I won’t stay anymore.” She would.  I didn’t have to say it either. She knew. Of all the houses she’d built, this one was by far her favorite.

“Lillian, tell me this. Why paint the walls if you’re leaving?”

“Walls deserve to be painted.”

“And painted, and repainted, and peeled back to reveal the last twelve colors you thought would be better.”

“I just want the house to look ok.”

“It doesn’t deserve to be standing.” There was mold. Somewhere, I was sure. She looked to be angered. Not surprising, she pointed her eyes downward, the rest of her face arching. I laughed at her, couldn’t seem to stop laughing.

She suddenly jumped up, flinging herself at the wall. She punched and clawed at the holes, wet red left behind on her clothing and fingernails.

I’m tired of never being enough.” She kicked the bottom left corner, the only spot I’d never tried to ruin, between hot breaths, and screams

“You’re enough for me.” She stopped. Looked at me.

“Who am I?” She whispered, color dripping down her sleeves, soaking into her skin. Golden stained crisp apple candy. Chocolate made cherry. Love and hate and anger and passion and cherry red lips later, looked me in the eye, told me she loved me. Told me she didn’t know how to live without me, told me she wished we’d never met as kids, told me she wished I’d torture someone else for eternity instead, told me her demons ever appeared as men.

“Valid.” Cranberry handprints followed their way to my face, two layers of red, the third a neurological response. She began clawing at my eyes, pulled out my hairs one by one. Tore the shirt, felt the boiling heat of rage bubble over into the worst decision she’d make. Brought her palms into the air, making fists, bringing them down onto me. Over and Over. But demons don’t feel. Surely, she knew. Surely, I’d made her aware.

“Sweetheart.” I did not resist, I asked politely. But kicks and screams and piles of something else to match the else on the wall. The shelves fallen over.
I wasn’t worried. She’d rebuild me too.

Running Through A Storm

I went on a run yesterday, which is a weird way of saying I’m trying really hard not to think about certain things. And I got some odd looks, because who the hell goes for a run in the middle of a hurricane; when the pouring rain makes your clothes stick to your skin, your hair curling around the tip of your ears and melting across your forehead.

But it’s indescribable, running in a hurricane, breathlessly flying into nothingness as everyone hides in their 4 by 2 shelters avoiding the joy of jumping in puddles, for fear of getting wet. But I’m already soaked, so there’s no point holding back – sprinting up stairs as water pummels my skin, swinging around the columns at the library pretending I’m Gene Kelly, I feel unstoppable.

And the funny thing is, the whole time I keep thinking about how this is the best way to describe what falling in love is like. As I blast Rex Orange County through my now-water-damaged headphones, I think about that falling feeling. That oh-my-god-this-must-be-what-skydiving-feels-like, that driving-with-the-windows-down-in-the-middle-of-fall, that what-do-you-think-this-text-means feeling.

Today, a friend and I discussed the struggles of being a hopeless romantic – and when I say that I mean an actual Hopeless Romantic, not just someone who cries over hallmark Christmas movies, but someone actually infatuated with the idea of love (and being in it).  I used to think my obsession with love stemmed from my constant need for validation, maybe if I was just in love I would feel great about myself! But I’ve grown fairly confident in myself over the past few years, and I’ve learned that no amount of love can bring that total validation.

Maybe it’s because I like to dissect people and figure out why they do the things they do, but I fall in love with people so easily. Head over heels in love. Far too easily. I give away little bits of myself to nearly everyone I meet, but I don’t entirely think it’s a bad thing. Who knows, maybe I’m just young and naive, but I have a hard time thinking it’s bad. What’s the harm in loving as many people as possible? And not just love in the romantic sense, but beautiful wonderful platonic love. The kind of love where you send your best friend a song that makes you think of her; the kind of love where you sneak someone a cookie from the dining hall.

What’s the harm in running through a rainstorm?
There will always be dangers; limbs to fall, wet patches to slip on, hearts to break.
Maybe running in the rain is more fun.