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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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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

When my OCD makes me think that nobody cares.

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OCD is not something that I talk about often. It is something that I have just recently been officially diagnosed with but something I have silently struggled with for years.

No my room is not perfectly clean 24/7, in fact more often than not it looks like a tornado came through it. And no I do not have to wash my hand after I touch every door handle.

But I have OCD.

OCD has gotten a reputation. That it is just this thing people have that makes them have to have everything in a curtain order, or that causes them to have to do things a curtain number of times.

Yes, all of this can be true. But it is also so much more.

I obsess over thoughts. Negative thoughts. Thoughts that the world would be better off without me. Thoughts that not a single soul on this earth cares about me.

I have found that it has gotten worse and worse over the months. I have accepted it because I am being treated for it. And I am growing to appreciate it. Because I now obsess over the positive thoughts as well.

A few nights ago as I was sitting having a conversation with two people that, if I am being completely honest, are more like parents to me than anything. I was sitting there pouring out my heart of how I just felt so tired of the constant battle I was facing. I looked up, with tears flooding my eyes, and I saw two people in tears with how much they cared for me. Two people that I thought just put up with me because they wanted to do the right thing were sitting right in front of me, in tears as I spoke to them about how lonely I felt.

I truly did not know that any person on this earth cared about me that much.

Since that day I have not been able to stop thinking about how grateful I am for those two people. Is it healthy for anybody to obsess over any thought? No. Not at all.

But obsessing over my newfound knowledge of the fact that people care about me is a heck of a lot better than obsessing over the idea that I am a living, breathing, burden.