New Beginnings

Forty-one days.

Forty-one days until the basement full of shopping bags will be relocated. Forty-one days until my years of living in my oh-so beloved home in the lovely suburbs of Chicago will come to an end. Forty-one days.

The classes are set and the first of many student payments has been sent in. I am, in only a matter of time, going to be a college student.

I have known I would be leaving for college for months. I have known NIU would be my home for the next for years for some time now-it was the only school I applied to and there wasn’t any looking back-and I am beyond excited to start my next chapter. And yet I am also sad. An emotion that I have been battling confusion about ever since I have linked sadden and college into the same category. Excitement and a sense of nervousness? Normal. But to me I am just sad. Excited and sad.

I am a home girl. Born and raised in Wheaton, its the only home I have ever known. But, I am also fully aware that it will only be a matter of weeks after I back up and head to DeKalb before the dreaded “For Sale” sign will make itself at home on our front lawn. And oh how I will with all my might for that sign to set up camp elsewhere. My home has been my whole life.

It is where I said my final goodbyes to my father, and where I parted with my beloved dog. It was the meeting ground of new hello’s and the sanctuary of where the afternoon naps have always taken place. And when that sign stick its roots in the mud the two people remaining in that house will be up and out of the oh-so lovely and yet oh-so expensive Wheaton. And that doesn’t sit well with me.

Where will I go when I have breaks. My new house won’t be home.

Who will greet me when I come home on warm summer nights?

I have grown accustom to the culture of living in a cul-de-sac with such fabulous community. A place where you can receive high quality car washes for reasonable prices, all while supporting a local small business. (Insert heart eye emoji)

Community.

But, with great love comes great losses.

At the age of eighteen I am lucky to say this is the first big move I have experienced and while I know full well it won’t be the last I consider myself honored to have known such love of a home growing up.

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The pain of knowing someone cares, as a person with BPD.

I know, it sounds crazy. Why would someone find pain in knowing that they have people that care about them?

What person doesn’t find comfort in knowing they are loved?

Humans are made to seek love and affection from others. It is how our mighty God made us when He crafted us in His perfect vision.

So why, then, do some people find pain in knowing they are loved?

A little over nine months ago my therapist diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder. While the diagnosis was extremely mild, it was still enough to give me the pieces I needed at the time to complete the puzzle. It explained why I had a tendancy to sabotage really pure relationships and why I struggle to see the grey in things.

Being able to put a label and finally understand why I do the things I do truly solved many of my issues. I understood my actions which allowed me to correct them in situations. I put that diagnosis behind me, as well as I could, and continued on in my healing process.

Until a few nights ago when I sat down in a therapy session.

Over the years I have grown extraordinarily close to my therapist. He has acted as not only a guide in my hardest of times but also as a father. He is the person I can count on to tell it to me frank and I always found comfort in knowing that to him I am just a client. Something about me felt at ease knowing that I could unload my problems on to him and know that it wouldn’t keep him from functioning, as it is his job to listen to peoples crap.

But, and I am not sure when, at some point that changed. This night I sat down and, after an extremely long day, verbally vomited on him. I was brought to tears and confessed to him that I truly did not know how to handle a situation that I was dealing with (of which I will not disclose for my own protection). He repositioned his body and with a furrowed look in his brow told me how much he cared for me. He even informed me that he was truly worried and burdened by the information I had shared. But not burdened in a sense of distress but more out of pure love and concern for me. A type of love I had only felt from one other father figure in my life since my father passed. And it was an odd feeling.

I expressed that I didn’t like that he was burdened and even apologized for any stress I had caused.

He looked at me, in a way where I could tell he truly was saddened by the words I had said, and he told me something that stuck with me well.

“Sarah.” He said. “I am a grown man, and in this job I see a lot of clients and I hear a lot of hard things. And with those clients, and those things, I get to chose what I let impact me outside of these four walls. I didn’t chose to care about you. But I chose to worry about you, that is my burden that I chose to carry.”

And those words hit me hard.

You see, with BPD, I often struggle to realize that people do not have to engage in relationships with me. Not a single soul on this earth is obligated to me in any way. And yes, that does me I have to be careful not to push people away. And I have to be aware to not mistake peoples words for there true meaning.

But it also means that all the love I get, oh wow. How pure of a love it is.

Maybe, just maybe. It’s time we helped ourselves.

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What is it about change that people are so resistant to? Why is it that people stay in dead end, abusive relationships; or stay at jobs that they dread attending every day.

Maybe it is a sense of feeling obligated. To their co-workers, or their spouse, maybe even family. Maybe it is just that the idea of starting over is more of a stressor than the dreadfully unpleasant state of affairs they have found themselves in.

We, as humans, tend to cling to the comfortable, the familiar, regardless of the impact. I am most certainly guilty of clinging. I hold onto the things that I know and avoid facing change until the last possible moment.

When I was thirteen I had a therapist. Denise. I had been seeing her for many years and she had seen me in my worst of times. Finally one day she said something to me that has stuck with me all these years. She told me life is like a child in a dirty diaper.

Ok, don’t stop reading because I mentioned dirty diapers, please! Hear me out!

The matter of the conversation, to keep it concise, was that I was sitting in my crap for way to long and need to snap out of it.

She explained to this.

If a baby wets or fills their diaper you would change it as soon as you realized it to be full. You would not just let the infant sit in the discomfort a full diaper and wait for it “to be more full” She went on to inform me that life is the same way. When we come to the realization that we are sitting in a dirty diaper. Weather that be that dreadful job, or the relationship that is causing more pain than gain. We should not sit in our stew just waiting for something worse to hit.

Now, five years later, I have found myself sitting in my diaper. Why? Well for me the discomfort of the diaper is better than the process of the change.

I have grown accustomed to the home I live it. No, it is not healthy for me, but it is what know. And I have gotten used to boys treating me with disrespect. It is easier to just deal with it.

Finally, I had my blow out. That relationship that I thought was just non-beneficial became toxic. And the “brush-it-off-the-shoulder” techniques for how I let people treat me became unsafe for me physically.

God got right in the way of my stubborn soul. Now, as I leave for college, preparing for a world of new changes, I am finally learning to be proactive.

Eventually, no matter what you do somebody will always change your “dirty diaper”. If you don’t change it yourself then God will send someone in.

He always does.

 

Life is an Airplane.

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Ah, yes, real life. The days I have been looking forward to for years.

Adulthood. College. Working.

Independence.

Ever since I put my foot through the doors of my high school on my first day I have had the end in mind. And now, it is here.

I did it, I graduated high school. The days of repetitive classes every single day, and waking up at seven a.m. are finally over.

But now what is next? Well college for me. For others working, military, or maybe even marriage. But with college comes bills so for the summer I am working. Full time. Monday-Friday 6-5.

Ouch.

After a day of work comes an evening of getting stuff done. Run to the bank, make my appointments, do the laundry, get enough sleep. And somewhere in there balance a social life. Match that with occasional weekend working and your brain is bound to start to hurt.

I find myself confused. I thought that being an adult would mean a new adventure every day. A world of possibilities, a joy for newfound freedom. Instead I have found myself knee deep in coffee mugs, bills, and exhaustion. I have found myself stuck in a pattern again. Wake up, go to work, come home, be efficient with the little energy I have left. Only to go to bed and wake up to do it again.

I am finding myself stressed because, in such a busy schedule, I don’t have time to breathe. To do the things I used to enjoy. And yet, in all of my life growing up this is what I have heard I need to do to be successful in life.

It makes going back to high school seem a bit intriguing.

A few days ago, as I was making my morning commute, I was listening to Klove. The talk show came on and often my first move is to change it to a station with music but for some reason I kept it going. They started to discuss the daily struggles of people whom often fill up there day to much, they referred to it as an analogy of airplane seating.

As flying becomes a more and more commonly used mean of transportation airlines are, eager to get as many people on a flight as possible, adding seating. Therefore causing the seats to become smaller, with much less wiggle room. And nobody wants to be on a flight crunched up again an stranger.

Life can often feel like that. We try to fit as much into one day as possible, leaving little to no room for any change, causing a stressful course of life.

My challenge to myself, and to you as well, is to fight that stigma that you need to fit as many people as possible on one flight.

Take time to do the things you enjoy, and spend time with people that make you happy. I personally, know I am eager to see the difference a little leg space makes.

Time is more than just minutes.

There are so many sayings about it.

“Time flies when you’re having fun.”

“It has been said, time heals all wounds” -Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

Time passing is one of lifes’ few guarantees.

Life never stops. There is no pause button. No rewind or fast forward. There is just time. Every sixty seconds in a new minute every sixty minutes in a new hour, and every twenty-four hours is a new day. That is never going to change.

In a world full of uncertainty it is rather nice to know that no matter what changes the sun with rise in the morning and set in the evening. But sometimes it can be a real pain. We often wish the world to pause for a week while we mourn the loss of loved ones. We crave to go back to our childhood, or the days when life was a simpler place. We yearn to skip the days of the early morning classes and the late night study sessions, wishing to jump to the good part when we are really living our life.

It’s a nice set of dreams, but it isn’t reality.

I recently turn eighteen, in sixteen days I will be graduating high school and in three months I will be starting college. I now make monthly car and phone payments and will begin working a full time job this summer. It seems as if my childhood has merely disappeared before my eyes, leaving me nothing but distant memories. And while I celebrate my newfound freedom I mourn the loss of when life was easy.

It’s a balance.

Time truly is a balancing act. Managing it, enjoying it, and trying with all our might not to take advantage of it.

As I have gotten older I have noticed that my view on time has changed. I used to view life as a great adventure. Everyday a new page full of things to discover and as I grow and work my way into early adulthood I view each day as a ticking time bomb, and the only way to stop it is to get a list of stuff done.

Make that appointment.

Finish that project.

Fold that pile of laundry that has made a home on my bedroom floor.

I am happy but I am not enjoying the here and now. I do my school work and I eagerly await college because I know that what comes after I will love with all my heart. I am enjoying the outcome that is merely years away.

And that, that is no way to live your life.

I recently stumbled upon a quote that has since changed my perspective.

 Don’t spend more than five minutes being upset about something that isn’t going to matter in five years.

Not more than three hours after this verse was brought to my attention a friend asked me to join her in a hike to a hammocking spot.

Automatically I thought that it would be a waste of my time while I value spending time with my friends I would rather do something productive together, like shopping or preparing for things to do, but I agreed as I knew it was of importance to her to get out and enjoy to sun.

Since that day two weeks ago I have since gone hammocking with her twice and alone once.

There is something about the wind and the fresh air. The sound of birds chirping and the water flowing that completion of any task, no matter how big or small can beat.

I Pray One Day I Can See the World Through A Child’s Eyes

I am constantly filled with joy at the love that I see from children.

They do not hate anyone, everyone they encounter is a friend. Skin color doesn’t mean a single thing to them. Age is simply a viewed opportunity to learn from someone new. And the world is full of possibilities.

My three year old niece has recently become a big fan of talking to everyone she sees. At the park she ran around with a boy many years older than she. She told me after that she was excited to “run with the kid”. She runs to save me from the “monster” when a balloon hits my head. A four year old that I work with at school has become the best of friends with one of the special needs high school kids in the class. Children simply have a heart full of love.

Today I took my niece out to breakfast. We walked into a local Cracker Barrel and I was already ready to walk out. She hadn’t eaten anything other than two chips all morning and the poor girl was simply hangry. She was not having it. I sat her down and attempted to distract her with coloring and games but it was just not suiting her needs. I looked around, bright red, embarrassed that I was unable to control her and glanced over to see an elderly women that was eating by herself.

She was smiling.

It wasn’t too busy and I figured maybe my little Evelyn just wanted to talk to someone that wasn’t me. At the moment I was the devil because candy was not on the list of things I would let her eat at eleven in the morning.

I pointed the women out to Evelyn and suggested she go talk to her. She walked over to the lady and chatted up a storm. I sat and observed from two tables over as Evelyns voice of excitement roared through the aisle.

She told her about her recent birthday and the birds she saw outside and the fun bath she took earlier and even ranted to her about how I wouldn’t give her candy.

Fast forward and we wrapped up our meal. Evelyn told me was going to draw a picture for her “new best friend” she scribbled and scribbled and scribbled and then plopped out of her seat and walked right up to the women and said “I have a surprise for you.” Gave her the drawing followed by a big bear hug and walked away.

All by her own free will.

It’s makes me think. If a three year old child can selfishly give up one of her own prized possessions for someone she hadn’t known but one hour, why do we struggle to love people so much?

Why does it take seventeen lives being lost to gun violence for us to rally together as schools and say no more?

Why is it that it is only after a classmate takes their own life that we talk to those we hadn’t before?

I pray that I can learn to show the same grace to those around me as my niece shows to those she encounters. This world is full of hate and shame and the simplest of joys are what keeps this world going. I pray that I can learn to see life through the eyes of a child.

And I pray the same for you.

 

 

Now I see, in all the pain, that you made me strong.

I saw you the other day. You were sitting in your car, waiting. For somebody, but I knew not for me.

I have learned that it is not logical that after all these years you would go out of your way to wait for me. To find me. I have learned that you have moved on.

But I still had fear, because you saw me. You recognized my face, even after all these years. In the dark of the cold snowy night you recognized my face. You perked up from the seemingly comfortable serenity of your car and you saw me. And I saw you.

I guess that fear will never fade because the moment your eyes locked on mine my gut told me to flee, drive, leave. But something in me told me not to. Some part of my being told me that I was skilled enough to move a few lanes over and park my car. My gut told me that I had it in me to step out of my car and walk in that store. My heart knew that I couldn’t let you control me forever. My stomach told me that five years later you were not going to stop me from getting my pita chips. My brain told me that this was my chance to show myself that I have grown.

And I have. I stepped out of my car and I locked it. I placed my keys in between my fingers clenching them with all my might, I pulled out my phone and called a friend. And I walked. The minute I saw your headlights turned off my heart sank, but the minute I walked in that store it felt as it I had just won a grammy. I was safe. He wouldn’t hurt me in public.

In the light. I was safe.

I went about my shopping trip, and I got my pita chips. They where on sale, so now I was really over the moon! I checked out and I walked to my car. I didn’t see your car, but I figured you had just left. I mean rationally that probably is what happened. I stayed alert and I went about my day. The minute I pulled into my driveway I was ecstatic. I had done it.

You were a monster to me, my worst nightmare. The thought of you hurting me haunted my soul for years after I was freed from you. And yet, here I am thanking God that you were at that store that night. You proved me to something that I was too afraid to admit to myself. I am not defined by what you did to me. I am stronger than that.

Seeing you proved to myself that I can know that you are still out there and still be happy.

Still be calm.

It proved to myself that I am a gentle soul. Because when I saw you I didn’t get that rush of anger that I used to get, instead I got a feeling of heartache for you. A feeling came over me that maybe you are one of the best things to happen to me. Because in all the pain you caused me years later you, unconsciously, taught me that I strong. I am lovable. I am brave.

And I am happy.

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Even our wildest dreams are nothing compared to Gods plan.

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What if our dreams where real life?

This is a question that I have spent nights on end pondering.

If real life was like our brains when we are dozed off then life would be so extremely different. In some ways it would be amazing, but in some ways it would be just ten times more terrifying than it already is.

I mean I have had dreams that loved ones that have passed have come back claiming that they were never really dead and just had some business to take care of. I’ve had dreams that the boy that I have liked for years finally asked me out. It can be great.

But I have also had dreams that my house has caught fire, or those dearest to me passed. The stories that my brain comes up with between the hours of eleven pm to 7 am are really quite amazing at times.

I think, however, that if my dreams were real life I would feel a great void in my heart.

Very rarely, if ever do we have uneventful dreams. I have never, that I can remember, had a dream that consisted of me just sitting in my room relaxing with a warm blanket and a good movie turned on. Dreams most often have something rare or abnormal happen. In our dreams we are either on top of the world or just plain old down in the dumps when we wake up to realize our dream isn’t the reality.

I wake up from the good dreams and curl back into bed to try and bring it back to life, even if for just a few minutes. And I wake up from my nightmares grasping for breathe relieved that it was just a fathom of my imagination.

It is so black and white. Almost upsettingly so. You never know what you will get when you clothes your eyes at night.

It makes me look forward to going home to see my father one day. I look forward to one day spending the rest of my life in heaven, an eternal dream. And until that day comes I push you, and myself, to not get caught up in the worldly dreams. Nice it would be nice if our dream about the cute guy asking us out came true. But what God has awaiting us?

Its nothing to compare.

 

The only perfect leader is the Lord. Doesn’t me those that sin aren’t worthy of leadership positions.

It’s funny, really, how so often others think so much more highly of us than we could ever imagine thinking of ourselves.

In the past week I have had two people, on two separate occasions, come up to me to discuss faith. Both said that they look up to me highly as a spiritual leader. I am not saying this to gloat about myself. To be completely honest I do not read my bible every day and I struggle daily with questioning my faith.

How does this work?

If God is real why would He let this happen?

How do I know heaven is even for real?

Given I have been reassured multiple times that these are all normal things to question as a teenager growing up in a christian environment I still don’t think that these are questions I should be wrestling with if I am someones spiritual leader.

And if I am battling this then I mustn’t be a very good leader.

The two people that I had these conversations with where both peers. I think they could tell my shock when the spoke so highly of how they look up to me.

My first thoughts where if only they knew half the things I am battling.

If only they knew half of the sins I commit on a daily basis.

If only they knew…

Then I realized, thats the thing, they do know. They where both peers that I am relatively close with. Both know some of my poorer choices I have made and the words that come out of my mouth, and yet they still chose me. Why?

Well I didn’t ask both of them, as one of them is a non-believer that I didn’t want to pester with my own insecurities but the other, well, she is a christian. And so I asked her.

Why? Why me? Of all the amazing young adult Christians you know. Why me?

Her response was simple, and non-hesitant. “Because, In all your battles and trials you always come back to the Lord.”

I said thank you and left good enough alone but I thought about that a lot that night. This peer, whose relationship I value greatly, respects me as a spiritual leader. Knowing all my flaws and mistakes.

It made me think about my own life and my own leaders. While I don’t have a spiritual peer leaders that I have a close relationship with I have a few close adults in my life that I respect greatly. None of them pretend to have it all together, and none of them hide their flaws from me. And I look at them with the upmost respect.

Makes you think.

Maybe the most respectable leaders are the ones that humble themselves. The ones that openly admit to a lack of perfection and still keep fighting. The ones that are nothing in comparison to our Great Lord, but the ones that know where the end goal is.

That is the type of leader I hope to continue to be.

And I wish the same thing for each and every one of you.

What if we changed the way we viewed suicide?

***Trigger warning***

I have often heard people refer to those who have died by suicide as selfish.

Why is that?

It truely doesn’t make sense to me.

“Don’t beat yourself over their choice. It was selfish of them.”

“Don’t get too down about it they knew that they were hurting people when they did it.”

Or the worst thing of all, to say to somebody who has just attempted.

“Why would you try to take your own life. What were you trying to do just leave me here?”

Seems awful. I know. But believe it or not these are all things that people have said to me or to those I care for greatly.

As somebody that had lost friends by suicide and somebody that has struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past I can tell you with 100% confidence that none of those words are at all helpful. And to be quite frank I struggle to see why anyone would even think that those words would be helpful in the first place.

While I struggle greatly I also reach my hand out to extend grace to those who say those words. As they may not know the power of what they are saying. Or maybe they are struggling with their own loss and that is just how they are coping.

Understandable.

But what if we changed the way that people viewed suicide.

You see people that take their lives don’t die from suicide. They die by suicide.

They die from depression. Anxiety. Trauma. Addiction.

Ok what’s the difference?

To say somebody died from suicide would be to say that suicide is what killed them.

Now while to some extent this is true that is not what killed them. What killed them was the months or years of torture. Whether that be from mental illness or bullying at school. Suicide is the way the handle it. And unfortunately it is a coping mechanism that once complete can’t be taken back.

And I think that is what people struggle to realize.

Now yes, I realize this is a pretty risky thing to post as I know it is something that people have very strong feelings toward, but I’m not going to hold back.

I am not trying to say that people can not have their own feelings about different topics but somebody has to speak up for those that can’t speak up for themselves.

While I pray nobody ever has to experience grieving the loss of somebody that died by suicide I also pray that if one should come across this post and then one day relate to it that they would have a new understanding of the pain filled process that those that battle everyday feel.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or plans please call the number above. There is help. You are worth it.

What if we lived in a world full of love? Wow.

This past Thursday my school was blessed with the opportunity to listen to Tim Ryan speak.

A man that, as of this past Wednesday, has been 5 years sober.

Amen.

A man that has been through the ringer to say the least and has see the darkest side. But a man that I respect greatly.

I have never struggled with substance abuse so it was near impossible for me to relate to his struggles but believe it or not there is so much more to his story than just drugs.

I got many things out of Tim’s presentation but the one that stuck with the the most was the much needed reminder that we never know what somebody is going through.

So often in life we judge people by their covers.

Oh that person is on the varsity football team. He has a girlfriend and is always at parties. His life must he awesome.

Little do we expect that the same guy is working three jobs just to make ends meat.

Oh that girl is so pretty and skinny and has so many friends. She is always laughing!

Little do we expect that the same girl is skinny because she hasn’t eaten in days.

That kid is so weird, he never talks to anybody and is always wearing dark baggy clothes, he is so emo.

Little do we know that they are going home from school and slitting their wrist just to try and control the pain.

People make assumptions about others based off of what others say. We make fun of people that don’t fit in and leave them crying and then get heartbroken when we hear the announcement that they are no longer with us.

Makes you think. Doesn’t it?

This world is broken. People are dying every day from drug addictions that all started with one person giving them grief about how smart they are. Or lack there of. How weird they are. Or how much they don’t fit in.

People are being abused every where we look and in stead of leaning up beside the victims we just sit back and say “wow glad that’s not me”

People are being bullied. Harassed in the hallways. And instead of stepping in and saying something we walk past. Because maybe if we just act like we didn’t see it then the issue will magically go away.

It breaks my heart.

What if instead of making assumptions about people we asked how they were doing.

What if instead of making fun of somebody for the way they dress you compliment their hair. Or shoes.

What if instead of sitting back and hoping somebody else will change the messed up world we live in we step up and do something.

My prayer is that one day all my fellow brothers and sisters that struggle can say that they too have been 5 years safe, sober, and happy.

Thank you Tim Ryan. For a much needed reminder.

To the people behind the words “me too” you are so loved.

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If you have been on social media much lately I am sure you have seen multiple people with the status quoting “me too.”

It brings pain to my heart that so many people can honestly put this on their status. I think that it is ever so important to raise awareness to the issue. But there are plenty of posts that are supporting those who are typing those two heart wrenching words and clicking post. My heart and my prayers go out to them as I am one of them myself. But I don’t want to talk about that today. Today I want to talk about the people that are typing it and deleting it. The people that are whispering “me too.” in their minds but aren’t saying it because of the fear of what people are going to say.

Will people look at me differently?

Will people start asking me question?

Will it bring back the treacherous memories of  the horrors I thought I had dealt with? 

Maybe they can’t post it. Maybe the fear of their abuser shielded them from being able to ever tell anyone in the first place and now, to post those words would cause am uproar of questioning and fear within their social circle. Within their family.

Maybe they were sexual assaulted or harassed. Maybe they were beaten to the ground. Hit or punched or kicked. But they weren’t raped. They weren’t inappropriately touched so they don’t feel they can share that they are struggling too. Maybe they were called a slut by there significant other. Told that they are unworthy of love or a bother. But they don’t think their struggles are “real enough”.

Maybe you are a guy, and that is just “not what this is about” because the internet says that this is to support women who are struggling.

This post is for those people.

Your struggles are still valid. Your pain is just as real. We stand with you.

According to Martin Beckford 80% of victims of assault or rape don’t report it. So imagine how many other people on your Facebook and Twitter were also taken advantage of, in any way, shape, or form, and declined at the opportunity to share that because not a single soul knows. You are not alone.

Victims. The statistic says victims, not women. It breaks my heart to say that with as many girls and women that I know that relate to me too I know just about half that amount of guys that relate to it as well. You are not alone.

To everybody secretly holding on to your me too. You are not alone.