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!!!

 

 

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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…

Ripped Flannels and Colder Weather

10/22/18 12:03 a.m
(For a fully immersive experience listen to Passenger by Hippo Campus)

I’ve become what I swore
I wouldn’t
You
In your too big flannels
Those patches untouchable
For me
But only at your request
Your jet black falsely foreign sixes of trees
Attempt to surf
On over
To
Perhaps not

Let the numbers return
The colors fading like
Blues
In skies
When the sun decides I’m worthy that day
When she peaks her nose into the corners of the shadowed mind
Dusts catching
Will I ever

Don’t pretend you don’t
You must
I’m certain
Or perhaps
I just wish it to be true
So true it shall
Don’t bite at my skin
Creep into the pores on my nose
Don’t seep
Essential Oil burns like sun bitten patches

Did the world stop for you too
When you saw
Me, Standing
Surrounded by those we loved
That knew us as us
As the girl in the tree
Begging to be pulled down
The spider bite on her forearm
The choruses of rights and wrongs
And warm sunny days locked out of cars singing birthday songs

Pain begs for words
We beg for life to make sense
For someone to explain to us
We wish to remain children
For as long as we can
Have someone explain all the wrongs
Blend them with red crayons
Tell us the drawing was beautiful all along
Trust the child with the checkered eye lashes
The lollypop of her youth
Trust the ones who know nothing of wrong
To tell us of goodness

But she liked crouching in the hallway, hands over head
She liked it
How absurd
Perhaps we all enjoy the preparation for disaster
Before we know of the reality of what the tortures will bring
We enjoy the preparation to get hurt
It’s more fun, when you pretend it will happen
One of these days
But not now
Not ever

I’m sorry I think of you so often
Because at this point I know I ought to stop
But here we are
Me, as you, on the only bed I can claim as mine today
You, somewhere
I wouldn’t know, Pretending like one of these days you’ll read this poem, and send kisses down my spine
Every lip imprint
An apology
You’ll squeeze my hand
Say,
This time I won’t let go
Hey , you got to do it once, so I took my turn
I’ll play all these songs for you — so you can hear what I heard right at the moment of its conception
You’ll swear you won’t do it again
Kiss my neck
Just kiss my neck so I won’t think About this again

Pressure, and heat, slept through the white
Oils on the canvas, creating something worth thousands
Perhaps less, but it will return
The sigh, the small gesture of a smile,
A half-attempt at a cheek kiss,
A warm chest, a worn-out smile
But from my lips,
A surprise.
Yes, it will be. A pleasant reluctant surprise where I shall utter the word
Finally.

An Attempt To Dissect Pain

I want to write. Desperately. But have hit a severe road block in the form of a brick wall, so I’m not entirely sure what this will be quite yet.

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sunset outside my suite home

There are a few things I’ve been asking myself lately: Why do we hurt? Could I potentially sneak a fully grown cat into my dorm? How do you fall out of love with someone? Let’s take these bad boys one by one.

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Why do we Hurt?

Which great Ship on the Milky Way decided she ought to shoot a cannon ball Down
TO those tragic beings believing they are the one and only.

I’d like to think Pain helps us build armor, and one day we will be invisible to the hurt. But I am aware of the childish nature of that belief. (Not nearly as childish as my featured drawings)

That feeling of hurt and emptiness never entirely goes away. It doesn’t come in waves either; it runs through our blood, pumping at varying degrees as time goes on, but always present. It takes practically nothing to be reminded of that detestable buzz, the one we often become too used to.

Last night I sat in my car, for close to an hour, listening to a very sad playlist made by a very sad situation. It was around the half hour mark when 6 called me, look 6 you’ve made a reappearance in the blog, he told me it seemed like I needed a friend. I hated how right he was. As much as I like to appear strong and confident, I recognize that I absolutely cannot do it all. He told me to stop listening to sad music, but the music isn’t all sad. It is beautifully melancholic. It makes the sadness seem worth it, in order to feel the true depth of the song.

Public Apology To Whoever I Have Hurt In This World: Now that I know what that is truly like, I am so terribly sorry. I would never want to cause this electricity to run through someone’s veins. I hope some day you find it in you to forgive me, but I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.

For the sake of not freaking out any of my suitemates, I will leave my question of the sneaking-cat-complications up to the readers for answering. 

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How Do You Fall out of Love With Someone?

This is a truly tricky one. I have not, and doubt I will, find the answer. I’m not asking for myself, every person I’ve ever loved, I continue to love. It’s exhaustingly glorious, so I’m not planning on changing my nature anytime in the near future.

I’m asking more so from an outside perspective, mostly because I don’t understand how others fall out of love. I never understood how anyone could fall in love with someone – put themselves through the absolute wreckage of loving – and somehow manage to stop. It’s odd to think about. How can one go from loving something so much to pretending as if said thing no longer has a place on one’s bookshelf. What an absolutely wild concept.

As someone quite young and unexperienced in this realm, I will continue to search for answers. Shall keep you updated on my adventure. Hoping this heart grows bigger with each one I love, instead of shrinking with each one I give pieces to.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

YOU CUT MY HEART
10/16/18 2:48 a.m

My bed smells of kissing you
One and Two
Three and Two

It dances around this messy room
One and Two
Thoughts of you

And the other ones just don’t get me
One, Two, Three
Four to Three

But they’ll still spill their hearts on the balcony
One, Two, Three
Does he think of me

Perhaps I’m in love with broken charts
Five till Start
Three till Start

Maybe one day love’ll tear my soul apart
Five till Start
Already broke my heart

An off step waltz for the offset soul
You’re all alone
Brain made of foam

Don’t dare pick the book that makes him Whole
You’re all alone
He’s on his phone

Three and Two
Thoughts of you
Four to Three
Does he think of me
Three till start
Already broke my heart
Brain made of foam
Get off your phone.

A Psychoanalysis of a Friend

My friend ((who will here on out be referred to as 6)) quite literally, asked me to write this post about him. But I promise this will be an interesting read and I hope everyone can learn a little bit about themselves while reading.

I met 6 a little bit before college started, he struck me as the kind of guy I was used to interacting with during high school (i.e I very much wanted to avoid him). He acted like a tough guy who knew he was attractive and therefore felt as if he could get any girl he so wished. I’m sure you know the type.

I didn’t really meet 6 though until a month or so later. I was laying on the cold concrete outside my dorm with my legs propped up against the brick wall, a pose I find extremely calming ((and highly recommend)). I heard his voice before I saw him turn the corner and before he even sat down he announced his state of intoxication. Though tempted as I was to roll my eyes and proceed to ignore him, he started talking to me about his day.

Due to the fact that I grew up with my mom, a psychology major, psychoanalyzing me ((and the cast of characters appearing in my life)), I often find myself doing the same to others. My therapist would likely tell you it’s because I feel responsible for fixing others, and I would likely agree. Nevertheless, that night was no different.

While I laid on the concrete listening to 6 ramble about his day, I started recognizing the fact that he was nothing like I’d perceived him to be. A reminder to myself, and hopefully others, that first impressions do a pretty sucky job of representing people as they actually are.

Now, I won’t go into too many details, but 6 is pretty broken. Us broken people are fairly drawn to other broken people, so I’d like to think that’s why our friendship developed so quickly. Sometimes it hurts listening to him talk; I see so much of myself in him. I see the absurd thoughts swirling, the constant need for reassurance, the destructive loneliness he tries to hide. I see it, and homeboy knows I see it. I think that’s why he stopped pretending around me.

I can tell he’s lonely, most of us are. Being a freshmen is full of surface-level small-talk yearning for something more, but settling for whatever small glimpses of intimacy we find. I can tell he’s attempting to fill a void, it’s not that hard to tell. He goes out most nights, gets high or drunk or some combination of the two, finds a girl to become effortlessly infatuated with, and then stumbles out to my hallway ((reeking of emptiness)). He never wants to talk about it. There have been times where I think we’ve gotten to a breaking point, but right as he’s about to open up, and simultaneously break down, he shuts it all off. He says he isn’t ready to talk about it – any of it – it is absolutely beyond infuriating, but I know I can’t make him talk about it. When he’s ready he will, but I’m not thinking he ever will be.

It makes me wonder if 6 wants to get better. Is there some sort of comfort in his restlessness? Does he like the momentary thrill of trying to fill a void? Or is the emptiness too vast to even attempt to find the exit.

He claims he doesn’t want a girlfriend. He doesn’t want anyone to have to deal with his shit because he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, just like he doesn’t want to be hurt by anyone. I hate to do this to ya 6, but I call serious BS.

Based on the facts I’ve gathered the past few weeks, I can tell you want someone desperately. In fact, I think it might be the only thing you really want, but it’s eating you alive to the point that it’s painful. I mean, if this is what wanting someone is like, how are you going to feel if you actually have someone? It’s terrifying, trust me I know! But denying it, pretending like this void is some permanent burden you must carry with you forever, is ridiculously damaging. I can already see the weight tearing your limbs apart, the way your jaw is always tense and how your hands constantly search for things to keep them occupied. You don’t trust your mind; you don’t like that it disagrees with you*.
*and by you, I mean the you you pretend to be. The nice F-boy that’ll still text you a few times after an initial meeting, but not long after.

It is incredibly painful being around you, did you know that? 6, I feel like I’m watching a ticking time-bomb. I told you that last night while you attempted to laugh it all off. Every now and then that tension is too much and you break down, but one of these days you are going to absolutely explode, and I cannot bare to see it. Have you ever watched someone you love crumble in front of you, knowing you can’t do anything about it. That’s what this feels like 6. It feels like I’m watching my heart strip away her layers until she’s nothing but raw flesh, hurt past repair.

You say you can’t talk about it, but you never know why. I think it’s because you’re scared of what you’re going to find. Digging into the hole is going to hurt like hell at first, but when it’s all dug up – when all those burdens have been uncovered, when you’re left with pure clean emptiness – you can start to heal. I swear.

But maybe I’m wrong, you’ll tell me I’m wrong even if I’m right. I know ya 6.

Why do I always love the broken ones?

Facts Don’t Care about Feels (or smthn)

Hello dear friends (and strangers). I love your top, is that new? Really compliments that shade of color in your eye.

I read a sign the other day that said something along the lines of “Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings”. Which was a little bit funny to read, because what that dear sign-holder did not realize was that Facts don’t care about much of anything.

His sign was correct, facts don’t give a shit about feelings. They are harsh, cruel, eye-opening bullies that come to punch down every sensitive soul standing in the path of their destruction.

Said Sign-Holder seemed to think Facts were singularly on his side, but Facts are the true unbiased politician. How often do we really listen to them? How often do we let our feelings overrule the great enemy of Fact?

I’ll admit, there are lots of Facts I would not like to believe. I don’t like thinking about the thousands of tragedies my ancestors caused, because I know it wasn’t my fault; I don’t feel responsible for that. But Facts don’t care about my feelings.

I don’t like to think that humans are killing the environment. That the damage we will cause by 2040 would take 54 trillion dollars to fix! I don’t like thinking about how humans could rapidly fix this issue, but because of our state-of-denial we will choose to do nothing. You may feel like this issue does not pertain to you; you may feel like these facts are bogus and made up by some tree-hugging-agenda, but guess what? These facts don’t give a single Frick-Frack about your feels!

Did you know that if we took what we fed to animals in the meat industry and utilized it for direct consumption we could feed billion more people! Or that it takes 1,056 gallons of water to make a gallon of coffee? I hate those Facts, trust me. But that oh-so-terrible enemy of the world doesn’t mind that life-altering facts keep me up at night.

So, my dearest Sign-Holding lifelong neighbor – the Fact that you are holding such a sign does not change the Truth that you avoid Facts just as often as I. You, like me, pretend you are not responsible for the damage being caused around you. We call ourselves educated when we know a few things about a few things, but become defensive when called out on our ignorance. We pick sides and call the other one wrong. Does that not seem messed up? Do you, too, feel as if we’re back in middle school, fighting over which sport to play in P.E?

I hate when people assume I’m dumb. It is by far one of my biggest pet peeves. People are not dumb simply because they disagree with you. That’s not what makes people dumb. Ignoring facts is what makes people dumb. Ignoring feelings makes people dumb. Facts don’t care about our feelings, but in a world full of emotion, one cannot choose to ignore those little buggers either.

Emotions are often the driving force behind others actions. A not-so-wise man once said women were too “emotional” to be in office, but I believe after a recent court hearing, we can agree that being an emotional candidate does not hold one back from being elected.

Feelings are deeply human. We cannot choose to ignore the way something makes us feel. To ignore such a thing would be inhumane. Unless, of course, we wished to reside in a robotic community. Actually—I think I may be onto something with that…

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.