Conflict Resolution?

You know that part in “the Lion King” where Simba returns to Pride Rock and battles his uncle Scar for control? I still close my eyes, and I’ve seen that movie dozens of times.

I hate suspense more than anything. I can’t watch shows until after they premiere because I need to read the recaps before I watch–I need to make sure I know what happens, I know if everything’s going to be ok. So, if it’s a two-part episode, I have to wait until the second part premieres before I can watch the first part. Watching Season finales before the next season starts is basically out of the question, obviously. (Grey’s Anatomy is particularly difficult in this aspect; Shonda Rhimes is the bane of my existence.) When I’m reading a book, and I get to a suspenseful part in the plot, I have to close the book and give myself time for my heart rate to calm down before I finish reading; it’s a character flaw of mine.

My favorite thing is watching a show or reading a book for the second time because I know how everything unfolds, I know how it ends, I see the character development, and I get unbelievably excited when I notice foreshadowing of what is to happen later.

Tomorrow will mark 6 years since I was sexually assaulted. I’ve forgiven. He’s apologized. But this whole depression thing is really throwing a wrench in my “moving past this” plan.

Depression isn’t always beautiful girls slicing their skin, and handsome guys fighting a glorified, heroic battle. Sometimes Depression means not wanting to get out of bed ever, because somehow your feet refuse to believe they won’t shatter on impact when they hit the ground. Nobody likes things that are broken. Sometimes Depression means doing laundry is the biggest feat of the week, and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes Depression means lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling, thinking about nothing and everything, because your body is convinced it’s paralyzed. Sometimes Depression means that I, a writer at heart, can’t even string together coherent thoughts other than, “I’m trapped and drowning, and I swear I’m trying.” And people don’t want to hear the same story over and over again. But sometimes, that’s the only story I know how to tell. Sometimes Depression means every bone in your body aches, but you have to keep doing your routine, because some people still think Depression isn’t a valid disease. Sometime Depression is ignoring every text message you receive, because even though the number is right, the person they’re searching for is nowhere to be found. – “Just Me, My Selfie, and I

I’m tired of people saying, “It’s all in your head!” You’re kidding, right? It’s a Mental Illness. Of course it’s in my head.

Some days, I’m ok. Some days, I have to give myself an hour and a half Pep talk before I can get out of bed. These are the days when I’m scared about the future. These are the days when I wish I knew how my life is going to go, what job I’m going to have, what my kids will be like, who I’ll get married to. If there was a wrinkle in time, I’d fast-forward to the part where I can look back on my life, see how far I’ve come, find the pieces of foreshadowing, and see the major plot points. And then I’d move back in time, live my life as normal, because, like reading a recap of a tv episode, I’ll know how it plays out.

And don’t tell me I’m being ridiculous, because I know I am. I’ve read enough books to know that the best part about life is the journey, not the destination (and, no, I’m not talking about Death, Heaven, and Hell). All I know is that I don’t want to look back on my life and realized I didn’t “live life to the fullest,” whatever that means; I didn’t Carpe Diem; and I most definitely didn’t achieve everything I was capable of.

Right now, I have these lofty plans for myself, which is ironic because I have a fear of failure that is stopping me from doing a lot of things I want to. And I know that plans change for two reasons: 1. When I was five, I wanted to be a Doctor. I am not currently, nor will I ever be in Med school–other people’s blood makes me feel queasy. 2. I applied to College to be an engineer. By the end of my Senior Year of High School, I switched to being an English Major.
So, ya. My plans have worked out well.

The future and the unknown terrify me, probably more than they should, but I know God has a plan for my life that, right now, I cannot comprehend. And I know He answers prayers, even if it’s not always the answer I want to hear. He’s called the Father for a reason.

Parents tells children ‘no’ when they try to stick things in the outlets, because the parents know it is in the children’s best interest to not electrocute themselves, even though the child doesn’t know that. But parents also have to let the children learn the stove is hot so they won’t touch it again. Sometimes experience is the best teacher.

Children complain when things don’t go their way, and sometimes I do, too. But I imagine somewhere God is saying, “Silly, girl. She thinks this is what she wants, but she doesn’t understand how much it will hurt.” Sometimes He allows me to get hurt because of what I need to learn.

I’ve certainly learned a lot from all my experiences. God’s steered me away from danger, but I’ve also experienced hurt. God’s taught me lessons the way I need to learn them in order to make them useful. He’s certainly been faithful.

But sometimes I’m still scared.

Tomorrow, it will be 6 years since I was sexually assaulted. I’ve seen how far I’ve come, and I’m amazed. I can’t see how far I have to go, but I’m excitingly hesitant for the journey.

I’m excited because I believe God will do great things in my life. I’m hesitant because the world’s a big place. I want to make an impact on those around me, and my ultimate goal is to leave the world a little prettier than it was when I arrived. I hope I’m on the right track.

Depression has this way of making you see the world differently. People with depression see the cruelty, the joy, the pain, the compassion, all at once. I look at a person, and I see their capacity to hurt and help, and I’m always wondering which one they’ll choose. I see the world as it is, how it was, how it could be. I see my life the same way. Nothing is black and white. Sometimes, the weight of all this seeing is overwhelming, which is the cause of the pep talks in the morning, the faith trusting the floor will hold firm beneath my feet.

Depression has made me who I am today, and I know it will make me who I am tomorrow. And I will live one day at a time, because tomorrow is not guaranteed. The future is overwhelming, but I know God has great plans for my life. He has provided me with so much healing; When my strength has run out, He has carried me, and I know He will continue until I see him face-to-face. I have a bright future, thanks to Him.

But right now, the suspense is killing me.

What You Learn When You Try to Die



I learned while writing may come easily, saying goodbye is hard.  I learned it’s especially hard to say goodbye when you’re 15 and the goodbye you’re saying is supposed to be permanent, and you don’t really know how to put what you’re feeling into words, so the best you can come up with is this:

Dear whoever’s reading this,
If you’re reading this, I’m probably most likely dead. And I bet you wish you knew why. I do too. The truth is, I don’t know. I have no idea, but I feel like I’m drowning. My lungs are filled with water, and they can’t take in air. I’m finding it hard to breathe. And I don’t really know where I am, what I’m doing, where I’m going. I can’t live like this any longer.

I’m not sure you’ll understand. I don’t either. But things have happened to me, and I can’t tell you. I’ve never been one to ask for help, and I can’t start now. Because right now, my pain is too much to lay on you. I’m hurting. I’m bleeding colors I didn’t know existed. I’m crying emotions I shouldn’t feel. I’m so filled with self-hate, I can’t feel anything else. The world is so full of ugly, and all I want to be is beautiful.

I’m fighting a war I shouldn’t be fighting. I’m defending myself from me. My mind is a booby trapped maze filled with hundreds of tons of dynamite. My body is a graveyard for all the battles lost. I’ve tried to fight harder and harder,but it’s exhausting to fight without back-up. It’s exhausting to fight at all. My life is a roller coaster that only spins down. And I can’t live it anymore. They’ve won.

I’ve never been good at goodbyes, so don’t imagine it this way. It’s more of a TTFN–ta ta for now. I’m trying to find happiness some place else other than here, a place where I can’t find peace.

I hope one day you find it too.

(I guess technically it should be “dear whomever’s reading this,” but I clearly was too preoccupied to give a crap about who or whom.)

I learned there’s a thousand ways to die, but only one way to live. There are a million ways to stop breathing, but there’s only one way to breathe: in and out, in and out. If you forget how to breathe, it feels like you’re drowning, or suffocating, or something.

I learned taking three more than the recommended dose of Advil won’t necessarily kill you, but it will make you feel more, which might be better than feeling nothing, but not really. Because every heart beat is like the ticking of a clock counting down to total destruction, and every heart beat pounds in your chest as if your soul is trying to break through your bones and make its way home. And all of this is ironic, because you take Advil to not feel the pain.

I learned that I love irony.

I learned sometimes cold nights in the winter are the worst times to love your bed. Because sometimes, the silence of sleep is not your friend. Silence means loud brain means thinking means self-hatred. And sometimes, the darkness casts the strongest shadow of all.

I learned sometimes when you’re ready to end it all, the blood dripping from your skin resembles fresh paint on an artist’s canvas in a twisted sort of way. The heart thumping in your chest beats to the tune of hope, which gives you enough to keep going.

I learned that I love irony.

I learned that looking out at the snowy scene after you throw up the pills you took is enough to travel in time. Suddenly, I’m three years old and tasting snow for the first time. It tastes like happiness and angels. And I guess if I had to describe the taste of renewed life, it would be that too.

I learned that when your father finds out about what happened, he’ll pull you into his lap like you are five years old and you fell off your bike. Only this time, he won’t let you go as he starts to cry. I learned that a mother’s love is stronger than DNA, because love conquers all.

I learned there’s a thousand ways to die, but one way to live. I learned that dying may seem easier, but living is beautiful. I learned that yes, living is hard, and sometimes I’ll forget how to walk because I’m so focused on breathing in and out. Life is snow angels, and irony, and pain. But sometimes, pain is the only way you’ll know you’re still alive.

I learned how to live, because I hate saying goodbye.



Thanksfullgivingness *

*Yes, I am aware it’s a made up word. But there are so many great words contained within its borders, I just had to use it.

Thanks. Thankful. Giving. Full. Thanksgiving. Fullness. Thankfulness.  The way I hope Tom Hanks signs his autograph: T. Hanks.

So many great words, and I hope to touch on most of them in this blog post, but first, can we look at the word thanks. Look at it. Soak it in. It’s such a weird word. It’s one of those words where I second guess the spelling when I write at it–are you a real word?

Anyway, I digress. That was a tangent.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all we have, and today my College did exactly that. They held a Chapel where students could get up and tell everybody what they have to be thankful for this year. The only catch was you only had two minutes to do it.

Yeah, no. How can I begin to sum up what I have to be thankful for in 2 minutes? The answer is: I can’t. But, I’m going to try to sum it up here.

I’m thankful for the way God has brought me through so much. I’m thankful for the way the sun rises and sets everyday and the way it paints the sky with all the colors of the wind. I’m thankful for the way the waves refuse to stop kissing the shore no matter how many times it’s sent away.

I’m thankful for my whole family, and everybody’s sense of humor. Speaking of which, I’m thankful for laughter, and how, if you laugh hard enough, you can forget your name and what year it is. I’m thankful for my friends, who they are, and what they’re going to become.

I’m thankful for my overactive writer’s imagination, and the way it plans out all these ridiculous scenarios that will never happen, but I know what I’ll say in case they do. (unless of course a guy talks to me, in which case, I’ll words my over stumble). I’m thankful for the way everything can become a poem if you try hard enough, because the two things I know best in this world are music and poetry.

I’m thankful for the way I can think of a good comeback… 5 minutes too late, but if you ask me for a pun, I’ll be so sharp I’ll be banned from airplanes, which is a shame because 37,000 feet in the air is beautiful.

I’m thankful for the seasons, because just as they change so do I. Spring reminds me of fresh life and beauty. Summer reminds me of all the dreams I have. Fall reminds me that everything beautiful has an end. But ends bring new beginnings. Winter reminds me I’m still alive even on my worst days. Because some days it’s so cold, my lungs feel like they’re on fire, but in those moments, I remember I’m still breathing.

I’m thankful for the beauty of the first snowfall and for Christmas lights and Thanksgiving dinner and for how giving so much can make you feel so full.

I’m thankful for light breezes, because being kissed by the earth reminds me how beautiful this life can be. I’m thankful for rain, because it can wash everything away if you just let it. I’m thankful for the strength to get out of bed in the morning even when I don’t have much faith.

I’m thankful for the phrase, “Blood is thicker than water, but maple syrup is thicker than blood.” Because I don’t like pancakes that much, but one day, I’ll meet a guy who will make me want to eat pancakes with him.

I’m thankful for language, and the way it can change lives. I’m thankful for the places I’ve been, the memories I’ve created, the relationships I’ve formed.

I’m thankful for my past, because, yes, it hurts, but if I hadn’t gone through it, I wouldn’t have formed the relationships I have, and my life would be a lot less meaningful.

I’m thankful for so many things, and since I can’t number the stars, I can’t list all of them either. But, boy are stars beautiful, and so is life. And that’s what I’m most thankful for anyway: life and all it has to offer.

And so I ask, what are you thankful for?







Be the Change You Wish to See

Friday, December 14, 2012, 27 people were killed in a shooting at an Elementary School. 20 of the people killed were children. It breaks my heart to hear about any loss of life, especially when the loss of life is the life of a child. These children had futures as bright as the stars, and now are not given the chance to grow up; they are not given the chance to change the world. These children had all of life to live, all of life to experience, and in an instant, it was all gone.

It is not just about the children that died either; it is also about the children who survived. Those poor kids, who are still babies, should have had years of innocence left before they realized that life can be cruel. These are children who still believed in Santa Claus, magic, and wishing on a star, whose biggest hurts could be fixed with a Band-Aid and a hug. These babies are too young to be experiencing this kind of grief, pain, and heartache.

It is not just about the children either; it is also about the parents. Parents should not have to bury a child because of life lost at the hands of another. Parents should not have to remember Christmas as a time of grief and mourning. Parents should not have to bury a part of their soul. Parents should not have to have these conversations with their children when they ask why their sibling is not coming home.

It is not just about what happened; it is also about how we move on. It is about how we change. This is not the first time this has happened, and it probably will not be the last. Violence has always been a reoccurring theme throughout history, not just in our society but also around the world. Wars and Genocide, Shootings, Murders and Violent Revolts have rocked the world while trying to solve problems.

I do not know enough about society to start making policy. But I do know about right and wrong. I do know about pain and suffering. I do know that the past can influence the future, and I know that the best way to learn is to look at our mistakes and ask ourselves “what can we do better next time?”

As children we are taught that violence is not the answer, but as soon as we reach adulthood it seems to become the answer. We say to other countries, “don’t mess with us because our weapons are better than yours.” We go to war to prevent future violence. The reoccurring theme is that violence leads to violence.

How many more innocent lives are we going to let be lost before we actually do something? Change starts with us. It starts with you and me deciding that enough is enough. Violence is not the answer; it is the problem.

It starts with you and me putting down our hate, weapons, and fists, and picking up our forgiveness, pen, and microphone. It starts with you and me deciding that our words are powerful enough to change the world. Words combined with actions are more powerful than wars will ever be.

Learn a lesson from this.

Learn a lesson from the first thing my parents ever taught me: “Use your words, Kaleigh. People will understand you much better.”