To Me

I’ve written posts to my friends, my coworkers, members of my family, a boyfriend who doesn’t exist, and several others. I’ve written to let people know what they mean to me, how much they’ve done for me, what I love about them, and so much more. I’ve written to help people understand, to make people see how they’ve hurt me, and to help people feel good. I’ve written hundreds of posts, meant for different types of readers, but there’s one person I haven’t yet written to- me. So here we are- my letter to me.

Dear Me,

I know you hate when people beat around the bush, so I’ll just cut right to the chase; you have to stop beating yourself up all the time. You talk about being kind to others, and work hard to be a good person to those around you, but you seem to have forgotten to be kind to yourself. I know this hard for you, especially since there are so many parts of you that you don’t like. I know how hard you work to ignore the voice in your head that tells you over and over how worthless you are. I know how hard you’ve fought to make it this far. I know how many times you’ve fought to stay alive. I know how hard this life has been for you. But I also know how strong you’ve become. You have pushed through every obstacle this life has thrown at you, and you have made it to the other side. You have moved mountains to get where you are, and you should be proud of yourself for that.

Yes, you have done things you aren’t proud of. Yes, you have made mistakes. Yes, you’ve let your emotions get the better of you. But you have never stopped trying. You have never been afraid to take responsibility for what you’ve done. You own your mistakes and you apologize for them. Not everyone has the courage to do that. Sometimes people look at you, and all they see is a mess. But you know that that even though that may be true sometimes, it does not define who you are. You are allowed to be a mess and to make mistakes. You are allowed to get upset and show your emotions. You are allowed to be human.

 You have learned that you are more than your anxiety and depression, and you have stopped letting it run your life. Yes, it still takes the wheel now and again, but it’s not the only one driving the car. You’ve learned to let people in and see all that you can be. You’ve learned to stop apologizing for who you are. You’ve stopped hiding behind walls because you took the time to tear them down. You’ve stopped being ashamed. You’ve stopped obsessing over everything you should be, and just let yourself be.

I know you believe you are worthless sometimes, but I want you to know that you aren’t. So many people value you, and they don’t think you’re nothing. Their world has been changed by you, and that means something. It can be hard to see your worth sometimes, but it’s there- you just have to dig for it. For some people, you are worth the effort. You are worth the frustration and the shut outs. You are worth the time. Stop listening to the voice inside you that tells you how worthless you are and start listening to the voices around you that tell why that voice is wrong.

I also know how lonely you can be and how you think you don’t deserve to be loved, but I know that’s not true. You deserve someone who sees how wonderful you can be and helps you to see it too. Yes, you’ve had a bad run with guys making you feel like you aren’t worthy of anything better- like all you will ever be is broken. But part of you has to know that isn’t true, or you wouldn’t have walked away from every single one of them. It takes an incredible amount of strength to do that, but also takes the realization that they aren’t good enough for you. You deserve better- you deserve someone who makes you happy. You deserve to be loved.

Life has not been kind to you, and I know that’s why you try so hard to be kind to others. This has been thrown back in your face more times than you can count. You’ve been taken for granted, ignored, pushed around, and made to feel like none of it matters. People have taken your kindness and used it against you more times than you can count, but you haven’t let it stop you. No one likes to feel this way- no one likes to have their existence ignored, to feel like people only care because you have something to give, to feel hurt. You take that hurt, and you use it to fuel the spark of kindness inside of you. Someday, people will look back and remember you for that. They will remember how you treated them kindly, despite how others treated you. They will remember you for your heart, and that’s not something everyone can say.

So, you can think that no one likes you, that you don’t matter, and that you are nothing. You can think that you’re a terrible person and you can think you will never be worthy of anything. But you’re wrong. You are lying to yourself. You wouldn’t work as hard as you do if all that were true. You have coworkers who adore you, friends who love you, and family who wouldn’t know what to do without you. You are not nothing. It’s time you stop treating yourself like you are.

With Love, You

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This wasn’t easy for me to write, but I also know that this isn’t just for me. This for anyone who feels like they are nothing. This is for anyone who feels like they don’t matter. This is for anyone who cannot see their worth. Your voice is lying to you too, and some part of you knows it. Find that part of yourself, and let it in. Let it tell you why you matter. Let it tell you why you aren’t nothing. Let it consume you. You’ll be glad you did.

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For My Coworkers

It’s rare to find someone who you instantly click with; someone who seems to just get it. Someone who seems to genuinely care about you, even though you don’t think you really did anything to deserve it. Someone who never fails to make you smile, even on your worst days. It’s even more rare to find several of these people; you’re lucky to find just one, let alone many. When you aren’t used to this kind of treatment- this type of kindness- it can come as shock when you suddenly find yourself surrounded by people who value you for who you are. Somehow, I found myself stumbling into a pack of these people, all under one roof.

That’s the funny thing about jobs; sometimes they become more than just a paycheck. Sometimes they become more than just a place you have to be, but places you want to be. The become something you look forward to and start to feel like a break from all your stress. Before you know it, you discover a type of love that you didn’t even know existed- one that is brand new and one that you don’t really understand. All you know is that when you go to work, you laugh harder than you have in a long time. You can’t seem to stop smiling. No matter what kind of day you’ve had, you always leave in a good mood. You start to feel better than you have in months, and suddenly life doesn’t seem to be bearing down on you quite as much.

You feel like the genuinely care about you. When you have a bad day, they ask you what’s wrong and actually care about the answer. They call you on the work phone to tell you cheesy jokes. They tell you stories that make you laugh. They get you to open up about the parts of yourself you don’t like. They match your sarcasm on every level and they tease you like they’ve known you for years. They come to your desk just to chat or to ask if everything is okay. They lend an ear when you need it and put up with all your annoyances. Suddenly they become more than just the people you work with- they become friends. They become so important to you, that the thought of leaving them someday is enough to bring tears to your eyes, because you can no longer imagine a life without them in it. You can’t imagine where you’d be today if you hadn’t taken that job.

As much as you want them all to know how much you appreciate them and how thankful you are that they are a part of your life, you still find it difficult to show it. How do you let someone know they mean the world to you, when you are still relearning how to feel? How do you show them how much you care, when you aren’t used to letting yourself get close to people? When you aren’t used to opening yourself up and letting people in, you start to feel a little lost within yourself. What do they see in you that you’ve never been able to see? Why do they feel you are worthwhile when you barely know that yourself? Are you just fooling yourself into thinking they actually care? Do you mean anything to them at all?

But then you realize you don’t care. Instead of obsessing over behaviors and analyzing every little detail, you make a choice to just enjoy it while it lasts. You take it for what it’s worth and hold it close because something like this doesn’t come around very often. You know you’re not easy to be around, but for some reason you can’t figure out, they don’t seem to mind so much. So, you decide to let them know how thankful you are for them in every way you know how. You call with your own jokes. You go to their desks. You send cheesy photos and videos on Facebook. You send ridiculous messages. You tease them like crazy. You bring cupcakes and bars on holidays. You bake little cakes in jars and spend hours making sure they all look perfect. You do projects for class based on them. You buy silly valentines and stuff them with candy to hand out. You write sappy blog posts.

I don’t know where this world will take me, and I definitely don’t know if I will ever have another job that fills me with as much life as this one does. I don’t know if any of the people I now hold in my heart will ever realize how much they mean to me, and I don’t know if they even care. But I do know that I will forever be thankful for the experiences I’ve had while working here. I know that they are irreplaceable. I know that they are some of the best people this world has to offer. I know that my heart will break if the day comes that I have to say goodbye. I know that the memories I have made with them are ones I will cherish forever. I know that they played a huge role in bringing me back to life, and that is something that’s incredibly rare.

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Breasts in Distress

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As most of you probably know, I have an ever-present fight going on with my extremely large chest. Every day, I struggle to wrangle them in, pull my shirt over them, and keep them out of my way. They are, quite literally, a pain in the neck, and sometimes it seems like they never stop growing. While I’ve come quite accustomed to these daily battles, there are days when my massive boobs fight back in ways I am unprepared for. These are the days in which I feel embarrassed and slightly insulted by my traitorous chest. It seems that lately, there have been a lot of these days.

I’ve had the same winter coat since I was 16 years old. It’s black with a fur lined hood, insulated with feather for extra warmth, and it happens to be Calvin Klein. It’s the only designer label thing I’ve ever owned, and I love it. Best of all, I didn’t pay a designer price for it. It’s warm and fashionable, which is perfect for Minnesota winters. Now, I had significantly smaller boobs when I got this coat; still larger than average, but not quite as humongous as they are now. The last few years, Calvin (the name of my coat for obvious reasons), has become harder and harder to zip over my breasts. I usually have to pinch it shut with one hand, suck in my chest as best as I can, and pull the zipper up with the other hand. It takes a lot more time and effort than most people take to zip their coats, but I refuse to give Calvin up that easily.

The other day, I was doing just that as I prepared to head out into the frozen tundra I call home. The coat zipped, and my breasts were compressed beneath the thick layers, when suddenly I inhaled a little too sharply. The zipper blew open as my boobs sprang out from their confinement.  There I was standing right inside the door, my coat half unzipped with the zipper up by my collar and my chest spurting out of it. It occurred to me that getting this coat off was going to be much harder than it was to get it on. After a lot of tugging, pulling, and adjusting, I managed to get the zipper down while pushing my chest down as far as I could get it. Calvin survived, and seems to have no lasting damage, however I am now afraid to breathe whenever I have my coat zipped.

Foolishly thinking that nothing more embarrassing could happen, I went on with my life. A few days later, I was at work doing what I do, when my bra suddenly became too spacious. This bra, which I’ve been wearing almost every day for the past year and half, had been down to one of two hooks for quite some time (I blew through the first one months ago), and I have been lying in wait for the second one to blow. Evidently, this moment had come. In the middle of my eight hour work shift. To make things more humiliating than they already were, none of my female coworker friends were working that day, so I was forced between two options: try and get it myself or ask one of my many male coworker friends to help me. It quickly became obvious that there was no way I was going to be able to fix this problem myself, so I was forced to track down the one person I knew could help me without making things even more awkward than they already were.

I walked to the other side of the store with my hands behind my back, holding my bra closed, frantically searching for where he might be. Just when my arms were beginning to ache from their task of holding my breasts in their place, I found him. Amazingly, he agreed to help, and we found a spot hidden from cameras and other humans. Now, I have had a lot of awkward moments in my life, but this one definitely makes the top five. I had to stand with my back to him (which thankfully hid my face) with my shirt lifted up in order for him to be able to bend the broken hook and such a way that would contain my mountains for the remainder of my shift. I don’t think I will ever stop being thankful for having a coworker who was willing to help me in one of my most humiliating moments. I went home that night and spent $150 ordering four new bras online.

Now how could any boob-related problem possibly top this? I was asking myself the same question, and a few days later, I received an answer. Now what you need to know for this to make sense, is that I put off putting my bra on as long as possible. This was especially true at this time, because my good one was broken beyond repair and the one I was wearing had a stubborn underwire that continuously wiggled its way out of my bra to stab me in the chest. I also get very warm whilst getting ready in the mornings, so I’m usually also shirtless. Now this was all fine and dandy, until I needed to go out and start my car. If I got dressed first, my car would not be thawed by the time I needed to leave for work, so I threw on some pajama pants, ran downstairs, threw on Calvin, and headed outside to start my car. I was halfway across the parking lot when it happened again. I inhaled too deeply, and the zipper burst open. My boobs erupted out of their cage, and barged out into the cold, winter air. This is the moment I realized how lucky I am to have a job that requires me to be there at 6:30 in the morning. The parking lot was dark and empty, so no one witnessed the mother of all prison breaks.

Today, I’m happy to say I have made it without any boob-related incidents… so far. I have a new bra that fits well and doesn’t stab, my coat still manages to zip correctly, and it seems that my breasts have simmered down for the time being. We all have parts and pieces of ourselves we wish we could change. We all have bodies that sometimes betray and embarrass us. The important thing is that we never stop trying to love ourselves, because we are all perfectly imperfect in our own, beautiful way. Keep working on accepting yourself, and I’ll do the same. Maybe one day, we’ll look in the mirror, and not hate our reflections so much.

If you liked this post, check out my other post on the struggles of bearing a huge chest The Busty Battle (link below).

https://historyiswhoweare.com/2016/05/15/the-busty-battle/

The Good, The Bad, and The Quirky

With Halloween rapidly approaching, we have entered the time of year where our quirks will be deemed more acceptable than any other time of the year. We all have things we do, say, and enjoy that would be considered weird by most of the world, but when we begin to peel back our layers to reveal the strangeness that lies beneath, we become better at seeing everyone as just being a human. We are all a far cry from perfect in a variety of ways, and it can be hard to embrace that. I believe in leading by example. I have a lot of bizarre habits and peculiar behaviors, but that’s not something to be ashamed of. Halloween is the holiday for abnormality, and that’s exactly what I am (maybe that’s why it’s my favorite holiday). For this post, I thought I’d share some of my quirks with you, and hopefully inspire you to peel back a few layers of yourself, and let people see the beautiful weirdness that lies beneath because it is that beautiful weirdness that makes you who you are. Without further introduction, here are my top 10  weird “things.”

  1. I like to wear shoes that make noise when I walk. When they don’t, I tend to step in a way so that they do. This makes me feel powerful, important, and confident. It’s so empowering to hear myself walking down a hallway. I like the sound of my shoes on the pavement, the tile, whatever the floor is made of. I don’t know why this is or when it started; all I know is that I like it. Believe me when I say I have a lot of shoes, I mean A LOT, and I have gotten very good at walking noisily in most of them.

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  1. I love butter, especially when its covered in sugar. I don’t know what it is, but the two mixed together are absolutely delicious. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit around and eat butter rolled in sugar, but sometimes a little piece is just what I need, like when I’m beating it for baking and some flies out of the bowl. I always lick the butter off the knife, and slather my toast in it. I have even dipped an Oreo in butter (to be fair, I was heavily intoxicated), and it was better than you’d think. I enjoy butter far more than the average human.

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  1. Speaking of odd eating habits, I also love the taste of pickles dipped in peanut butter. It’s a perfect combination of salty and sweet. I love peanut butter and have definitely downed an entire jar of pickles in one day (including the juice), so putting them together just makes sense. Many people are grossed out by this, until they try it. Once they eat it, many people also find it quite appetizing. So, don’t knock it until you try it. I promise it tastes a lot better than you’re imagining.

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  1. I have a pretty impressive collection of nutcrackers. I have lost count of how many I have. There are Christmas ones, Halloween ones, and some that are just fun ones (like the Thor one I just bought a few days ago). Not too weird, right? Well that’s just the beginning. They also all have their own names sharpied onto their bases. Getting weirder… but wait there’s more! I also introduce them when people come over. I think they are so beautiful and interesting. It’s a wonderful, colorful collection to have that sometimes serves as a great conversation piece.

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*Actually part of my collection. 

  1. I like to name objects. The vacuum in my apartment is Lester, my car is Aegon (thumbs up if you know that reference), I named a stick Carl- I could keep going, but I would like to keep the little friends I have. I refer to things by their given names, and many people join in (which is the best part). I find that things are much more cooperative when you refer to them with their own name, and treat them as a being. Does my car actually have feelings? Of course not, but I also got four months out of a car after the mechanic told me she was a goner, so I may be on to something here.

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*This is Lester.

  1. I like rooms dark. I am currently typing this with my bedroom light off, the sun down, and the only light being my computer and a candle. I don’t know why, but I feel more comfortable in the dark. I have always preferred the night, so it seems logical that I would enjoy sitting in the dark as well. I know most people prefer to have lights on, but that’s just not me. As I like to say, I like the room to be as dark as my soul *insert evil laugh. *

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  1. I love having my feet tickled. Believe me when I say, I HATE being tickled… except on my feet. I don’t know why I find this so enjoyable, but I really like the sensation. I guess there are things that are far more out there to find pleasurable- looking at you Mr. Grey- looking not judging ;).

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  1. I have an extreme addiction to smellys. When I say “smellys,” I mean things like perfume, candles, lotions, etc. I have candles everywhere, a ton of wax melts for my wax warmer, a ton of different shower gels, and a whole lot of scented lotions. I love things that smell nice. Bath and Body Works gets a lot of my money, and I have almost every single one of their perfumes (except the new scents, which I have every intention of buying tomorrow). As of right now, I own 46 bottles of perfume (I just counted). Out of those, five are overlapping scents (normal sized and travel sized). I don’t know how to stop… at this point, I don’t think I want to.

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*Just a portion of my perfume collection. 

  1. One of my weird hobbies is memorizing things. I like to find lists of things just to see if I can commit them to memory. An example of this is the Greek alphabet, which I still can recite. I also know all 45 presidents in order, because one day I decided I wanted to memorize them. It’s an odd quirk, but it’s also kind of fun to see how far you can push your brain, plus it can make a great party trick!

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  1. I make celebrity prayer candles. Yeah, you read that right. I like to replace Jesus or Mary’s head with a popular celebrity (sometimes an animal), put it on a candle, and give it as a gift. The candles started as an anomaly with my friends, but now they get excited when they receive one. If you’re lucky maybe you’ve gotten one, if not stay tuned, yours may be underway.

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*The Morgan Freeman prayer candle I made for my roommate, which now sits on the back of our toilet. 

So now you know some interesting things about me, some a little more surprising than others. We all have these types of things- the key is to stop trying so hard to hide them. It’s okay to let out some of your crazy. Learn to embrace who you are, and everyone else who matters will embrace you too. Keep working on loving your perfectly imperfect self, and I will continue to work on loving mine.

Staring Down Death

In most people’s lives, there comes a moment that we call a near death experience. These are moments where we genuinely believe we are about to or could have died, but didn’t (obviously). Many times, we have a brief new outlook on life where we cherish the little things and became desperate to discover our life’s purpose. Of course, this never lasts very long, but it is a knee jerk reaction to living through these types of experiences. This is the story of how I looked death in the face (kinda) and lived to tell the tale. Now this is the third experience like this I’ve had, and each one has been twice as terrifying as the one before it. In this moment, I wholeheartedly believed my life was about to end, but yet, here I sit, alive to tell the tale. So how did I get here?

My impala, Charlie (named after the quirky and awesome Supernatural character), has been having some issues since April. It started with a grinding noise, which grew into Charlie sounding like a tractor. She also didn’t accelerate or brake very well, was going through gas and oil like crazy, would die when idling too long, didn’t want to start, had lost a driver’s side mirror, began smoking, and smelt like an open field after a firework show. Charlie had a lot of issues. A LOT. I took her in to get fixed when the problems started, like a responsible adult, and they told me she wasn’t worth saving and I should just scrap the car. Now I don’t know about other college kids, but I definably did not have the money for a new car. So, I continued to drive Charlie, and she held on for five more months. Her problems got worse, and I knew the end was coming, but I still didn’t have the money and I was attached to my impala. I defended her when people teased her and often encouraged to keep going, and she did- until she didn’t.

There I was barreling down the highway at 60 miles per hour, on my way back to work from my lunch break. I was halfway there, and had just barely gotten her up to speed when it happened. Everything shut down- the lights, the radio, the power steering, the brakes- everything. Now she’s died before, but only when idling and she always starts back up with a little gas and encouragement. Never when I’m going 60 miles per hour down a busy highway. I thought this was the end. I was going around a curve at the time and now had no steering or brakes. This was it; my life was about to come to a screeching halt. It’s been real world, but I guess I’m out. I’m going to die with my car on this highway. They are going to find me in my work clothes with a half-eaten pizza pocket hanging out of my mouth. The last person I spoke to was my dog, so no one will ever know my last words. My boss is going to be pissed that I never showed up to finish my shift. I spent my last day working and eating a half-frozen pizza pocket, wearing a pair of uncomfortable khakis. Now at this point, most people would have panicked. For some reason, I didn’t, and I am just as surprised as you are. But that’s how you know your life has been a shit show: when you genuinely believe you are about to die, and you aren’t even surprised.

If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now- I survived. I somehow (no idea how) managed to maneuver my rapidly deaccelerating car over to the shoulder as it came to stuttering stop. I threw it into park, because the shifter still apparently worked. Like any normal human, I tried to restart it. The lights flickered on, Charlie made a deep, long hiss, she gave a shake. I had a half second of hope before the tiny bit of life left in her sputtered out. She was gone, and I don’t think there’s anything that can bring her back. I made it back to work (with a little help from my amazing friend, who finds himself rescuing me a lot), walked when I could, begged for rides when I couldn’t, when I finally got a new car (thank you mom!) While I absolutely love the new guy, Aegon (Game of Thrones reference), I will deeply miss Charlie and all of our adventures. She was a good car while she lasted, and even towards the end, got me where I needed to go. She fought valiantly right up until her very last breath. She will forever remain in my heart as a car who holds plenty of wonderful memories.

Now here I sit, binge watching Supernatural in honor of her, alive and well, able to type another post. Sometimes these things happen, and there’s not a whole lot we can do about them. We all have bad luck and we all have days that terrify us. Life is fragile, but that doesn’t mean you need to be. Dig deep to find your inner strength, because you never know when it might come in handy. This situation could have ended a lot worse had I panicked, but I didn’t. I kept my cool (I seriously don’t know how I did it) and prevailed. Keep on being your perfectly imperfect selves, and remind your cars, trucks, bicycles- whatever how much they mean to you, because it sure is tough when they are gone. Enjoy the time you have with them, because you never know when it’s going to be their last ride.

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To You

I’ve written to you so many times, never able to find the words to convey how I feel. I think I’ve finally discovered the reason why: I’ve been writing out of anger. Every time I sit down to write how I feel about you, it’s when I feel consumed by my anger at you and I let the anger out on the paper. But as soon as the words are out and the anger melts away, I’m left with how I truly feel; sad. I feel as though I’m swirling in a vast emptiness- an emptiness filled with pain and regret. There was so much left unsaid; so many things I still want to say to you.

It’s been almost three months since I’ve heard from you, and the silence has been deafening. I’ve never felt so lost and alone. I wanted to pick up my phone so many times- almost called more times than I can count- but I always told myself if you wanted to talk to me, you would have by now. You told me to stop talking to you, so I listened. Part of me wishes I would have begged you to stay, but I know that that’s not who I am. You told me to go, so I went, and it has been killing me ever since.

Make no mistake- I’m still angry at you. I’m so angry I hope I never see you again. I hope that someone does to you what you’ve done to me. I’m so angry I want to scream and yell. But I know that all that anger would vanish if you would just talk to me again- if you would just be a part of my life again. Because I know that all that anger would never be worth losing you over, at least not for me.

But you made a choice- a choice to turn your back on me- and I hope it was worth it. You gave up on someone who would never have given up on you, and I hope it was worth it. You threw me away and shattered my already broken pieces- I hope it was worth it. I spent a long time blaming myself for all that happened, but then I realized that I’m not the only one to blame. You could have saved us. You could’ve chosen different. You could’ve chosen other words to say. You could’ve chosen to stay out of a situation you didn’t belong in. We both made choices that the other didn’t like, but I never would’ve chosen to lose you. I never would’ve chosen this. You chose this.

You chose to say goodbye. You chose to throw me away. You chose to stop caring. You chose to give up on me. You chose to turn your back. You chose to walk away. You chose the silence. You chose this ending. And I am the one paying for it. I am the one who is dealing with the consequences of the choices you made. I am the one pretending it doesn’t still hurt. I am the one who lays awake at night, crying silently. I am the one who would do anything to fix this. I have to suffer because of something you chose.

They say get over it, but I can’t. They say move on, but I don’t know how. They say you aren’t worth this, but I don’t believe them. They say that it’s over, but I can’t accept that. They say that it will all be okay, but I can’t see how. I always said that losing you would destroy me, and in a way, it has. When something happens, you’re still the first person I want to tell. When I see something that makes me laugh, you are the first person I want to share it with. When something goes wrong, you are the only person I want to talk to. I’m mad at you for this- for making me feel this way- but I’m more mad at myself. I always hoped the day wouldn’t come where you would see me the way I see myself, but it did. And now you’re gone.

I wish I could go back and change the words I said. I wish I could change the choices I made. I wish I could change your mind. I wish I could keep myself from ever trusting you. I wish I could keep myself from ever believing you when you told me you’d always be there. I wish I could tell you not to lie when you told me you’d never throw me away. I wish I could go back and change everything, but most of all I wish I could go back to that first party. Go back to the night I met you, and we become something a little more than friends. I wish I could go back to before we ever got so complicated. I wish I could return to that night- that night that changed everything- I would’ve stayed home. But then I realize that the little time I had with you was worth all this pain, and if I truly could go back, I would do it all over again. Because you are worth it, even if I’m not. 

The Burger

Recently, I traveled to Chicago for the first time; as a girl from a very rural town, the big city is a bit overwhelming. I crammed as much into the five days I was there as I possibly could; the Willis Tower, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, The Chicago History Museum, Millennium Park- I tried to do it all. Of course, I tried the Chicago hotdog and the Chicago pizza- both are Chicago musts- but one part of this trip stood out more than anything else: The Burger.

After a long day walking around the loop and being a dedicated tourist, my travel buddy (who is also my best friend) and I were searching desperately for a good place to eat. We saw a gleaming sign that read “Rock Bottom.” I pointed it at, and with a smile in my voice, bellowed out, “Hey, that’s where I live!” Both laughing at my half-joke, we decided we might as well eat there. We walked in, were seated, and ordered drinks almost immediately. We both scanned the menu, trying to decide what we wanted. She couldn’t decide between steak and a burger and I couldn’t decide between anything. At the recommendation of the waiter, my comrade decided to go with a burger. Liking the way that sounded, I asked the waiter to order me his favorite burger. What did he choose? The Fireman’s Burger. This burger featured pepper jack cheese, avocado, red onions, pickled jalapeños, lettuce, red chili sauce, and chipotle mayo all on a ¾ lb. beef patty. It didn’t like anything I haven’t had before, so I figured it was worth a try. He said he liked a little spice, and so do I, but I still asked for the pickled jalapeños on the side.

I had already downed my alcohol laced blueberry lemonade and half my water by the time our food came. This burger was huge. I knew right away there was no way I was going to finish it all at once.

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“I also put the red chili sauce here on the side for you. That can get kind of hot,” the waiter explained, pointing to a small cup of sauce that was the deep red color of a raspberry. It had the texture of a thick salsa verde, and seemed harmless enough. I spread a thin layer on the top bun of my burger, and before dumping the rest on, I decided to try a taste of the sauce my waiter thought I was too weak to handle. I plucked a perfectly crisp, golden fry from the pile on my plate, and plunged it deep into the sauce. I slowly lifted it to my mouth, curious as to what I was about to experience, and laid it on my tongue. It didn’t seem hot at all… at first.

A mere second after it hit my tongue, I felt it. The actual fires of Hell straight from the Devil himself. There is spicy and then there is the Devil’s asshole, and this sauce was NOT just simply “spicy.” Now at this point, most people would push this demon sauce to the side, and finish their meal, but I am far too stupid for that. Einstein once described insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, which is exactly what I was. Each time I would dip my fry in Hades’ diarrhea, my mouth would begin to burn worse than before. I would suck down a giant gulp of water, and do the whole thing over again. I would bite my burger, which had the thin layer of this sauce of death, and my tongue would feel like it had burst into flames. The waiter, seeing my face that was beat red and covered in a sheen of sweat from the heat of my mouth, placed two glasses of water in front of me.

By the time I was halfway through my meal, everything burned- my tongue, my throat, my chest, my stomach- the entire path the inferno they called sauce had traveled was on fire. My face was hot and red, my forehead was sweating, and I was gulping in air as though I were suffocating. It was then that I realized what I had just done. This demon burger’s journey did not end in my stomach, where it was causing my stomach fluid to boil. That was only the halfway point to its destination. I ate the rest of my fries slathered in ketchup, hoping to assuage the burning that was filling the entire upper half of my body.

I confronted the waiter as he delivered our checks. “A little spicy?” I squawked out. “That is not just a little spicy. That taste like it came directly from the Devil’s ass. Do you just have him in the back letting it go into a bucket, because that’s what it tastes like.” He chuckled a bit before answering with “Well, I’m from the South, so we like our spice.” From the South!?  Didn’t he think that may have been a good idea to mention that before I ordered? His “little spice” is three times as spicy as mine. We left the restaurant; the remainder of my burger in a to go box.

We were waiting for the train when I felt it- the drop. That feeling after a big meal when everything in your entire digestive system seems to drop down like dead weight. I started to panic; we still had a 45-minute train ride between me and the bathroom in our hotel room. I breathed through the increasing pressure filling my bowels, refusing to give in to it. My companion tried to coach me through it, but I was terrified of what was going to happen when I got to that bathroom. “Does room service bring fire extinguishers?” I asked, my voice full of regret. “Because my ass is about to have a volcano level eruption.”

I help my breath half of the ride home, with a rancid smell leaking out of my bottom every few minutes. I could barely hold it any longer as the elevator traveled to the second floor. I was about to blow when my savior unlocked the door and I burst in and went straight to the bathroom, not even pausing to flick on the light or shut the door. The sound echoed throughout the room, as the kraken released in the form of a fart. Once I was convinced nothing solid was coming out, I walked, hunched over, to my bed to lay down in my agony and think of all the life choices I had made to get me here. I lay there for what seemed like hours, curled tightly into a ball, clutching my burning stomach, releasing toxic gas that echoed off the walls. Finally, the pain began to subside. I was able to get out of bed and walk without the burn shooting through my entire body. I sauntered over to the fridge, and there I found it- the rest of The Burger. This burger had caused me more pain than I thought food ever could. It made me feel like I was being burned from the inside out. This burger was the thing I thought was going to end my life in a smoky haze. I wrenched it from the fridge on the verge of tears, tore open the box filled with rage, flopped down on the bed, and ate the rest.

 

To My Father

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about where we are in this world; our past, our present, and most of all, our future. I remember back when I was just a child- innocent from the world’s terrors- when I was so sure I had the best dad this world could offer. You took me with you everywhere, and treated me like a princess. You brought me back a postcard every time you traveled, and took me out of state for the first time. I wonder if I knew then what I know now, would I still fall for the lie? Fast forward years later when you began to pull away- when you seemed to forget about your family. When what I thought was a temporary reaction would eventually return to normal. But it only got worse from there.

The night we lost J.R. was the night we lost what was left of you. You forgot about the kids you had left, and could only see the one that was gone. You sunk further into yourself, so you couldn’t see us anymore; you forgot we needed you. Then you left. You wanted to go out and live your life and have fun, and I guess we were the ones keeping you from that. You saw us as a burden, and I have never forgiven you for that. You took a piece of me with you that night; a piece that I will never get back. I watched the one man who was always supposed to love me no matter what, turn his back on me.

You came back, but I was never the same. I watched you treat us all like a heavy load you wanted to be rid of. You talked to me like I was a stranger who was keeping you from happiness. You called me names to my face and behind my back, and blamed us for the life you didn’t want. I watched you be a father to other girls my age; you gave them your time and energy, but you never had any left for your own daughter.

Because of you, I have never felt whole. Because of you, I wait for everyone else in my life to leave me. Because of you, I am constantly afraid that people will realize that I’m not worth it, and turn their backs on me. Because of you, I don’t believe people when they say they like me and want to be around me. Because of you, I have no self-esteem left, because you took it away. Because of you, I see myself as burden to others. Because of you, I am terrified to ever let anyone love me. Because of you, I push away anyone who gets too close. Because of you, I feel a speck of hate and jealousy to anyone who has a good relationship with their father. Because of you, I never feel good enough. Because of you, I feel that I am meant to go through life alone. Because of you, I hate myself.

But none of that matters to you, so guess what? I did it. I did everything without you. I became the person I am without you. I have endured every hardship life has thrown at me without you. I have felt happiness and joy without you. I have found an inner strength I didn’t know I had without you. I have built a life without you. And now, I don’t need you anymore. Yes, you took pieces of me, but you can keep them; I don’t want them anymore. I hope you treat your “new daughter” better than you treated your real daughter. I hope that someday you realize all the ways you destroyed me and left me behind, and you finally realize what you missed it out on. Because I’m not a girl without her father anymore; you’re a father without his daughter.

Sincerely,

The daughter who wasn’t worth it.

My Rugby Journey

Anyone who knows me or has read my blog knows that rugby has been a huge, important part of my college life. Through the ups and downs, the wins and the losses, and the countless injuries, I have remained tangled in my love affair with this beautiful mess of a sport. I decided to tell that story.

Fall Season: 2014

During my first week of classes, the school had set up an activity fair where many of the clubs the school offered had booths set up where students could get information on different ones. One of these booths was rugby. I had done a project in high school on the infamous New Zealand All Blacks, and had watched a few games on TV. I found the sport intriguing. The two girls sitting at the booth convinced me to go to the practice they were having that night. I debated for hours, and in the end- ten minutes before it started- I decided to go. All it took was one day for me to be hooked on the sport. I kept going to practices, made friends with the team, and even discovered I had a talent for the sport. The first game of the season was one of the most intense, fulfilling, exhilarating, and terrifying experiences of my life. I realized then that I had fallen in love with the game.

IMG_3134.PNG*Our first game of the season and my first game ever. My first team!

I started spending more time with my new teammates. One of them invited me over to cook and eat dinner, and we began hanging out on a regular soon after. I infiltrated her group of friends, and spent more time at her apartment than my own dorm most days. I started to create a bond with many of the girls that went far deeper than teammates. These girls helped me build my self-confidence and inner strength. They helped me to unlock talents I didn’t know I had. They gave me a sense of belonging. They showed me how to play the game. They gave me a second family. They gave me something to look forward to week after week, and I was always happiest when I was on the field with them.
img_3135.png*A team picture where none of us managed to look normal. Still an adorable picture of our adorable team.

Spring Season: 2015

Before the season even started, I was reunited with my girls for the event of the season; a rugby wedding. Our rugby mom- one of the kindest, sweetest, most compassionate people I’ve ever met- was getting married. I danced the night away with some of my favorite people as we celebrated her wedding. Mama, as we call her, is still one of my biggest role models. I go to her now and again for advice, and she is still filled with more love than anyone else I know.
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*Mama’s wedding!

Unfortunately, a few practices into the season, I made the very hard decision to take the season off. My life had so much going on, and more piling up, I needed to take some time for myself. The girls were beyond understanding, and told me I was welcome back anytime. Still, walking away was one of the hardest choices I had made at the time.

Fall Season: 2015

Sophomore year had come, and I was ready to dive head first back into rugby. I know lived with the teammate who had invited me over for dinner the year before, and she had grown to be one of the best friends I ever had. Here we were, ready to start another season.

img_3136.png*The roomie and me ready to play our first home game of the season!

We had some new faces to add to the familiar ones, and I found myself in a new place. No longer new, I was able to help this new group of girls learn to play while I continued to learn myself. Determined to re-earn my place on the team, I worked hard to prove to the girls- old and new- that I was an asset to the team. Many times, this was easier said than done, but I never gave up. I tried new positions, become more familiar with my strengths and weaknesses on the field, and worked to help other girls who were filled with self-doubt. Some days were really hard, and my anxiety threw me threw a loop, but I always recovered. I always kept trying to get better.
IMG_3144.PNG*Our float for the homecoming parade. A fun filled day of rugby. 

This season was unlike any other, I began seeing how the sport was shaping me. I was more confident in myself than before, and found a deep sense of pride whenever I talked about rugby. All I wanted to do was talk about rugby, because it was something exciting that set me apart from the crowd. I wanted everyone to know about the sport, and encouraged anyone who would listen to join. None of this prepared me for the season to come.

Spring Season: 2016

In many ways, this was the hardest season I had. My anxiety was at its worst, and it was affecting the way I played. We had morning practices with the men’s team, which more often than not left me feeling drained and depressed. Almost every day, I felt that I wasn’t enough for the team, no matter how hard I tried to show them all I was. I refused to quit again, but the season took its toll on me.

The first game of the season, disaster struck. It was sleeting and raining, and my car slid into the ditch. It seemed to be the millionth thing that had gone wrong that week, and I was ashamed for putting my friends in danger. Everyone was okay, including the car, thankfully, but that did little to assuage the whirlwind of emotions welling inside me. After pulling over to point and laugh, the men’s team continued on. Shortly after, the remainder of the women’s team followed. Three of them waited with me for a tow truck. We were freezing and soaked, and I was so upset, I couldn’t think straight. When we finally arrived at the tournament, we had missed the first game and the team wasn’t talking to us. It was as if I had gone into the ditch on purpose, and they treated us like we had done something wrong. We felt like we were being punished. I was so hurt by this, I almost walked away from it all. But I played on. I had three great games; some of the best games I’d ever had, and by the time we left, everything seemed to be back normal. The girls were all speaking to me again, and we all laughed together. I wanted to put the whole thing behind me, but it still nagged at the back of my mind from time to time. Still, the day turned out to be one I still look back on fondly.
img_3137.png*The first tournament of the spring season. Some of the best games we ever played. 

The season went on, and got better as it progressed. I had some of my best game moments that season, and began to feel more comfortable on the team as I fell deeply into my role. We had some great games, and even hosted a tournament in the snow. We spent the morning shoveling off the field in the cold morning, and rolled around in the snow as the ball slipped from our grip time and time again. We laughed with the other teams, and had a blast rolling around in the March snow.
Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 9.52.56 PM.png*Shoveling the snow on a cold, March morning. As cold as we were, we all had a ton of fun doing this! One of my favorite rugby days. 

In the beginning of April, we traveled four hours to Wayne, Nebraska for the biggest event of the spring season. The giant rugby tournament in which ruggers from all over the Midwest joined together to play several intense games of rugby, before coming together for one giant toga party. I almost didn’t go, I had gotten into another car accident- this one a little more scary- and was terrified. After talking it over extensively with several teammates, I decided to go, and I am so glad I did. I had a lot of fun with my girls, especially my close friends that happened to also be teammates. We had a lot of laughs and memories that will last me a lifetime. It was a great way to end the season.13001167_10208985487612641_7224067140175406726_n.jpg*Surviving the bitter winds of Wayne.

screen-shot-2017-07-02-at-9-50-29-pm.png*The last game of the season, and my last time taking the field with some of these girls. I still miss them all dearly over a year later. 

Fall Season: 2016

Although I missed those who had graduated furiously, this season is my absolute favorite. Only three of us remained, but we had a whole set of new girls. These girls became my world, and we played some of the best games I had ever been a part of. The love and passion in these girls was unlike anything I had ever seen. They played their hearts out every game, and never ceased to amaze me.
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*First game of the season, and most of these girls’ first game ever. Truly a day worth remembering. 

These girls weren’t just players; they were warriors. When they stepped onto that field, they didn’t leave until everything they had was left there. I had more fun this season than any of the past ones, and made some of the best memories I have in this life. I could go on for pages about these girls; how they made me smile and laugh, how they played phenomenally, and how deeply I love them, but there’s a whole other post for that. These girls weren’t just my friends and teammates- they were my family. They played beautifully, and made me proud every game and every practice. They still mean the world to me. Words cannot express how much this season and this team meant to me.
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*Last game of the season, and tied for my favorite game ever (the other being the game we played the week before).

Spring Season: 2017

This season was another one that made the books as one of my favorites. Sadly, we lost a few faces, but we also gained some new ones. Again, these girls continued to amaze me, especially our newest assets. Watching this team blossom and grow was one of the best experiences from my college career. Watching them go from strangers, to teammates, to friends, was one of the best experiences I have ever been privy to.
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*Team bonding practice with our new team as we prepared to start the Spring Season.

Again, we ventured to Wayne, and again I almost didn’t go. So many things were happening in my personal life, I didn’t know if I could handle the stress I knew would come with the weekend. However, the veterans were vastly outnumbered by the rookies, and the girls needed me to help take care of these new faces. Again, I’m glad I chose to go with, because we had a blast. I wasn’t sure if I could have more fun than the year before, but I did. The girls had a blast. I took care of some rookies, tied more togas than I could count, and fended off drunks, but the weekend was more fun than I thought possible.

While I didn’t get as much playing time with these girls as I would have liked (work will do that to you), it was still an honor to take the field with this stellar group of girls. We made a lot of memories and shared an unbelievable amount of laughs. I cannot wait to see what these girls do with this team in the years to come.  
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*The surprise baby shower we put together for our expectant coach! Also the last time the team was together for the year.

Six seasons. Three years. Thirty girls. Thousands of memories. This sport has become one of the most important parts of my life, as well as one of my favorites. This small piece does little to show the whole puzzle, but some things simply cannot be put into words. Some of these girls become best friends, some good friends, and some acquaintances. Some will fall out of touch and others will remain a part of my life for a long time. No matter what, I love every single one of these girls with all my heart. Old and new, they are a huge, important part of my life. I would do anything for any of them in a heartbeat. Whether my time spent playing rugby ends here or lasts for one more year, one thing is certain- this will always be one of the best chapters of my life. Thank you all for contributing to this part of my story. I cherish you all far more than you will ever know.

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