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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To My Friends Who are Moving On

   This spring, I had several friends graduate from college and who are preparing the next step in their lives. After three years here, I have made some of the greatest friends this world has to offer, but the thought of some of them not returning to join me for my senior year is a bittersweet feeling. This post is for them.

            I want you guys to know that I am so proud of you all. After years of accumulating thousands of dollars’ worth of debt, endless stress filled nights, and numerous setbacks, you managed to pull through and finish college. This is something not everyone has the courage to do. It takes an incredible amount of bravery and integrity to do what you did, and that fills me with pride. I am honored to have known you, to have made countless memories I wouldn’t give up for anything, and to have been a part of your college experience. You guys amaze me, each in your own ways. I hope that whatever comes next for you, it makes you happy. You all deserve everything you want in this world, and I hope you find whatever it is you are looking for. Congratulations for making it through this chapter in your life, and I can’t wait to see how you will continue your story.

            As happy as I am for all of you, I also want to be selfish. I want to tell you not to go. I want to beg you stay here for just a little longer. I know I will still see many of you, but it won’t be the same. As happy as I am, I am also so sad that you have to go. I wish you would stay here with me, so I can hold on just a little longer. This year has been great, but I never wanted it to end, because it meant I would have to say goodbye, and you all know I’m not good at those. I don’t want you to go, but I know you have to. I want to ask you to stay, but I know that the best thing for you is to move on. I want to be selfish, but I can’t. I want you to move on, but I dread that you’ll forget about me. I want you to make a life for yourself, but I hope that I still get to be a part of it. I want things to stay the same, but I also need to know what the future holds for us all. I hope yours is bright and full of life and happiness and whatever else you desire.

            You are beautiful people who are all capable of changing the world in your own way. No matter what else you end up doing, I just hope you are happy. That you can look back on life and smile. I will miss you all terribly. I won’t see you as much, but just know I will still be right here, cheering you on.

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My Top 10 Flaws

It’s no secret that we all have things about ourselves we aren’t proud of, and normally we try to hide these things. However, we all have flaws, so why hide them? If they are something you want to change, you must start by owning them. As Tyrion says, “Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.” So, this post spells out what I feel are my worst qualities. Some people may disagree, but having people tell you that you’re wrong about yourself doesn’t make the problem go away; it just makes you feel invalid. Some of these things have a bright side to them, but overall, they are what I feel my worst flaws are.

I take things far too personally: I have always been one to take things to heart, even when they have nothing to do with me. If a person doesn’t respond to my texts, while logically I know they are probably busy, but I can’t help but feel as though I did something to make them angry or upset with me. When people say things about me or when I am ignored, I take it to heart. It’s something I’ve been working on, but it’s not easy. When you assume people are out to get you, that you are unworthy, or when you are constantly trying not to get people mad at you, it’s hard not to take things personally, even when they have nothing to do with you.

I bottle up my emotions: I don’t like to be perceived as vulnerable or weak, so I bottle up my negative emotions and twist the cap on tight. It’s common knowledge that this is not healthy for your brain, but it’s a near impossible habit to break. You become so used to stuffing your emotions down, you start to become numb to the things around you. I have been working on being more open with my emotions, and it has been helping, but it’s not easy to completely change your reaction when it has become automatic. This makes me seem cold and distant, but I try my best to let the people I care about know how much they mean to me; even if it is in an unconventional way.

I isolate myself: I don’t really know why I do this, but my theory is that after everything I went through in high school, I tend to pull away from my friends before they can pull away from me. Many of my “friends” in high school did not treat me very well and tended to force me on the outside of their group, so I learned to be better off alone. This way I couldn’t get hurt. Unfortunately, this mind set has carried over to college, where I do have some really good friends that I still find myself pulling away from. It’s not intentional, I just sometimes need to remind myself that this isn’t high school anymore, and force myself to stop isolating myself and jump back into life. It’s gotten a lot better in the past few years, but that’s because my friends are amazingly wonderful people who hang on too tightly to let me pull away.

I am a chronic procrastinator: I will procrastinate on anything and everything, which can be a real pain given my struggle with being a perfectionist. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I try to get ahead of the game and do my homework early, but I have realized that all my best work happens when I am under pressure. It’s a habit so many of us struggle with that causes us all so much inner turmoil, that you would think we try to do something to change it. However, we all seem to consistently find ourselves telling ourselves “I have plenty of time do this, so it can wait.” Until suddenly we don’t have time and it can’t wait. This is my entire life. I don’t know if this is an awful flaw to have, considering how many people also have this, however it does cause me a whole lot of stress.

I make jokes when I’m anxious: These are perceived as inappropriate a lot of the time. Most of these jokes entail me making fun of myself in some way that is meant to be funny, but just ends up making everyone really uncomfortable. While I do know that humor is considered a mature and healthy defense mechanism, it makes for a lot of awkward glances and uncomfortable silences. It’s just the way I cope with feeling extreme anxiety, and can help keep an anxiety attack from sneaking up on me. So, if given the choice between a public crippling anxiety attack or a joke that makes everyone feel unpleasant for a few seconds, I’ll choose the joke every time.  

I’m very indecisive: Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes with me has probably experienced some displeasure with my inability to decide anything. If you ask me any kind of question that will involve a decision, my reply is likely to be “I don’t care.” I will want you to pick, because the thought of making such a decision, even something as simple as what I want to eat, fills me with so much anxiety and panic that I am rendered unable to decide anything. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion, it’s just that I am afraid to give up in case in inconveniences anyone. Just so you know, I am just as frustrated with this flaw as everyone else around me is, and I guarantee it pains me far more than it pains you.

I’m volatile: I like to start arguments so that I can push you away and force you to leave me before you can do it on your own. I am used to people giving up on me and leaving, so I like to get it over with early and on my own terms. This is something I struggle A LOT with, but also something I am working really hard to overcome. If I feel that there is the slightest chance you will abandon at some point, I will start a fight, and I will try to push you away and make you leave. The key is to see who thinks I am worth enough to stay. This is backwards and usually ineffective, but it’s not an easy thing to get through. This stems from some pretty severe abandonment issues that very few people seem to understand. I know it is frustrating; believe me when I say I’m frustrated too.

I struggle to take a compliment: Although I know this is due partially to my anxiety and partially to my low self-esteem, however I know it can be discouraging to those who try to compliment me. While I do appreciate them, it is hard for me to show my appreciation because I get so flustered and anxious. There are also times where I either don’t believe them, or I feel that they are said out of habit rather than genuine, which makes me even more nervous in my response. I know it can be frustrating, but I do the best again to show my thanks to the people who compliment me.

I push people away: I’m always scared to get too close to people because I’m terrified that they will eventually leave. In a sad attempt to relieve some of this fear, I tend to try and push people away before I get too attached, and they leave on their own. I have lost so many people, that I am constantly afraid that someone else I love will leave, but I also assume that they will. I tell myself that they are going to leave eventually, so I would rather have it be on my terms. So, I push people away until I either realize they won’t leave me on purpose, or they give up and walk away.

I have trust issues: It can take me quite a bit of time to trust someone with even the smallest of things, and it’s extremely difficult for to trust someone with big things. I tend to test people and make them earn my trust. This causes me to keep a lot bottled up. A LOT. It’s also very easy to break my trust, and once it is broken it can take a very long time to gain it back. I know this can be frustrating for other people, especially those who want me to trust them, but it’s something that is very difficult for me.

Now you know the things I struggle with the most. Everyone has flaws and everyone has things about themselves they don’t want to admit; however, it is my belief that if you put these things out in the open- if you own them as a part of you- they can’t be used against you. When you accept your flaws, no one can use them to hurt you. I encourage you all to be open with your flaws, because once the worst of you is out there, the only thing left to give to the world is the good in you. Embrace your flaws, and you will be one step closer to loving yourself. Never stop trying to be the best you you can be.

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To My Rugby Rookies

This year has without a doubt been the season of rookies for rugby. As vets, we are vastly outnumbered by the intense number of new players we have welcomed throughout the year. For many teams, this may be viewed as a downside or a liability, however when it comes to our team, they have been one of our biggest attributes. This group of girls has been one of the best things to ever happen to this team, so this post is for my rugby rookies.

I want to start by saying that you girls are unbelievable. You have put your hearts into every practice and every game. Your passion for the sport struck you all so suddenly and has continued to grow; a process I have enjoyed watching. Not only do you play the game beautifully, but you girls have some of the most beautiful hearts I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. You are all so amazingly kind, supportive, and loyal. You have built us into more of team; you have built us into a family. You support one another in ways I never thought possible from a group of strangers. You show incredible kindness to each and every one of your teammates. You remain loyal to your team, and are people we can all count on.

You have all more than surpassed my expectations. We can show you the basics and explain the rules, but the strength and the motivation needed to play this game is something you must find within yourselves. You have all put yourself into this insanely, beautiful game and have become true rugby players. You have shown no fear on the field, which is something that isn’t always easy. You have taken hits without hesitation and gotten back up each and every time. Watching you play has been such a rewarding opportunity for anyone who has taken the time to see you play. But you have also surpassed my expectations in friendship. You girls have become my rock; you guys keep me going through all the good and bad. You have shown me that there are still beautiful people in this world. I know it’s normal for rookies to look up to vets, but I also look up to all of you. You are all incredible people.

I am so unbelievably proud of all of you. You have brought so much love and happiness to this team. You bring smiles and encouragements, but most of all you brighten my day every time I’m with you. Our team is beyond lucky to have you as a part of us. You all continue to amaze me each practice and even more so in every game. I am so fortunate that I get to the field with you girls, and I cannot wait to see what else you will do in the games to come. I’m here for all of you, and I love you all more than you know. Thank you for being a part of this team, and more importantly for being a part of my life. It wouldn’t be the same without you.

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Things I am Tired Of

Have you had something that everyone comments on? Or maybe it’s something that, no matter how many times it happens, people never seem to stop talking about it? Are there things that people just keep doing that drive you crazy? Or it could be something about yourself that you hate, so whenever someone brings it up, you feel like your heart is being ripped out? We all have these things that trigger our sadness, our frustration, and even our anger. However, many people are unaware of these things, because they simply don’t see them from your perspective. It could even be that it only bothers you sometimes. Whatever the case, we all have things we are so unbelievably tired of. These just happen to be mine. This is a very personal post, so while I always encourage respect and kindness, I especially encourage it on this post. So here is the list of things I am tired of:

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People Commenting on My Shaking Leg: I jiggle my legs a lot, in fact it’s almost constant, however I cannot help this. I’m aware that I do it, so I don’t need anyone to remind me. I know it can be annoying, but it’s not something I can easily control; believe me, I’ve tried. This constant leg shaking is a side effect of my anxiety medication. Before the meds, I was paralyzed by my anxiety, but now that it has been slightly lowered, I get the jitters that are so common in people in anxiety. So if I have to choose between crippling, paralyzing anxiety and a leg that won’t stay still, I will take the shaky leg. If it annoys you that much, maybe I’m not the one with the problem.

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People Commenting on My Gas… Issues: Okay, so this one is a little embarrassing, but I’m soooo tired of this. I have a stomach issue, I know that. I’ve been to doctors; they couldn’t figure it out. If I could control I would, but I can’t. Stop reminding me every time it happens. This is one that is sometimes funny, but it also gets old very fast. If you have a cure, let me know. I will gladly take it.

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People Shushing Me: I come from a family of loud voices; it’s in my blood. I can’t help that my voice naturally projects, but the thing is that I don’t care. I don’t care if people overhear me saying things, so don’t shush me. I do not care what people, especially people I don’t know think of me, so why would I speak quieter for their sake? If I feel the need to be polite or secretive, I will be, but in normal conversation, I honestly do not care who overhears me. So unless you are my mother, stop shushing me.

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People Who Constantly Argue With Me Over Nothing: There are some people who argue with me simply to argue, especially on topics that shouldn’t warrant an argument. There are also the people who think they are being helpful by playing Devil’s Advocate, but you aren’t being helpful at all. In fact, all you are really doing is pissing me off. When I go to someone about an issue, it generally means I want someone to empathize with me; not someone to argue with me and point out why my feelings are invalid. If you would like to argue with me about something that actually matters, I would gladly partake. Otherwise, stop trying to piss me off.

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People Telling Me How I Should Organize My Schedule: When I say I can’t go to something, or I don’t have time for something, that means that I CAN’T go or that I DON’T have time!!! “Just go after.” Oh can I? You’re right, my days aren’t long enough already, I should take your advice. “Can’t you get out of it?” Um, NO! I work three jobs, have six classes (16 credits), volunteer, and play rugby. When I say I can’t do something, I can’t do it! And just because part of your schedule lines up with mine, doesn’t mean I can do the things you do, so don’t offer me up for them. My days are long, busy, and exhausting. NO MEANS NO! It shouldn’t be this difficult. It’s MY schedule, NOT YOURS!

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As much as I would love to continue to rant, I think this is more than enough. Despite the negativity seeping from this post, I am still trying to promote positivity. However, I am not perfect, and neither are you. We all need to vent sometimes; this is just how I do that. The keys listen to me when no one else will. However, once this is out in the world, stop letting it live and grow in your head. Get out what you need, but GET IT OUT! Unless it’s paying rent, stop letting it live in your mind. Keep being your beautiful, perfectly imperfect selves, and try to keep being positive. I know it’s hard, but so is everything else that is worth the effort. Just be yourself, because no one else will!

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