One word from you to make me shut up”
One word from you to make me shut up”
My best friend from high school, Alexis, died last night. Tonight at midnight, the hospital I work for is performing her organ procurement. Walking those halls may haunt me forever.
I don’t know what kind of world it’s going to be without her in it. Which is weird if you think about it, because I can’t tell you the last time I saw her. Or our last conversation. We drifted apart after high school and I actually got closer to her younger sister- which made her slightly jealous.
I’m devastated and in shock. I am furious at myself for not being there for her and allowing distance to come between us. I’m furious I can’t be there to honor her before her donation tonight.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Lazy excuses. Time I’ll never be able to get back. I’ll never get to tell her I love her or that she is my best friend again. The guilt is eating me alive.
Throughout the day, I think I’ve felt every emotion I could feel. My brother just called me to check in on me. He told me instead of looking and reading sad things tonight to write down favorite memories of Lex. So that is what I’m going to do…
The first time I met Lex was summer before freshman year of high school. We were trying out for Mill Creek softball. I was a pitcher and she was a catcher. We got paired off together that first day, and that was our beginning. The team called her X, and I didn’t know her name was even Alexis until after that first season at our party.
We had math class in classes right next to each other so we were able to walk to lunch together everyday over freshman year. The lunch room can be intimidating, especially as a freshman, but I had Lex by my side, so I was okay.
My mom used to make these delicious chicken tacos. She knew Lex loved them so she started packing two tacos so I can give one to Lex.
Sophomore year, we added a third member to our group: the three musketeers. We made shirts and bandanas every weekend. We dated friends so we could go on double dates.
Went to as many UGA games as possible to try to meet college guys.
We wrote each other thousands of notes.
We laughed, we cried, we fought.
We went on a snowboarding trip and met a dream boat of a guy. We both liked him. But instead of fighting, she let us date. She was a terrible snowboarder, but an amazing friend.
We went to homecomings and proms together. We shared clothes and lived at each other’s houses.
She taught me about boys. She introduced me to Fergie and Afroman. (Lol)
She was the first one of us that could drive and introduced me to freedom that driving could bring.
She made fun of my boyfriend’s head shape.
We had nicknames for each other: seester, jdub, sissy, dsl, X and too many more to list.
Wrestling team junior year, mainly to get prom dates and cool sweats. We both ended up dating wrestlers for a while.
When my boyfriend forgot my birthday on my sixteenth birthday, she called him and chewed him out, then went to store and got me roses and said they were from him.
Alexis was the type of friend that irrevocably changes you for the better. The world will be a little less bright without her in it. There are no words for my guilt over the last few years of growing apart. I guess I always assumed we’d have time to reconnect. But there isn’t, because she died from a bloody asthma attack at 28 years old. In 4 hours, her organs will be donated and her legacy will continue. My heart is so damn heavy.
Life is short. Don’t wait. You be the friend that reaches out. Be the first to tell someone you love them. Be an organ donor. Don’t hold grudges. Forgive. Love fiercely.
I love you forever, my Lex.
Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.
It’s past 2AM and I gave up trying to will my self to sleep hours ago. I’m the sleepiest person you’ll ever meet, but I never actually sleep. I decided to finishing reading Ryan’s Bed by Tijan. Well, I finished it and I had to flee my bed so my tears and snotty nose wouldn’t wake my husband.
I should have been warned by the dedication how deeply this book would resonate with me. The story line was obviously great or else I would have continued to binge watch Vampire Diaries for the fourth time. But as the book unfolded I couldn’t read fast enough. And the last three words will stay will me forever. (I’m already planning to reread with this new insight).
Anyways, this blog isn’t about Tijan or her books; although, if you are looking for a new author check her out. It’s about moving forward and healing. It’s about transformation and change.
The character in the book (Mac) lost her sister to suicide. She is lost and feels like she has lost her identity. She doesn’t know who she is anymore. She feels like she is going crazy. She is lonely and broken and misunderstood. She doesn’t have words to express all the little pieces left of her. And I haven’t related more to anything in a long time. [except maybe Lysa Terkeurst’s The Uninvited].
Last year was a demanding year to say the least. Some of it was fantastic; however, most of the year was some of the darkest times I’ve ever had. A multitude of things challenged my marriage. There was a devastating cancer diagnosis in the family. My dad was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease. And that same disease also ripples down to my brother and me.
2018 was full of tears. Tears streaming down my face in the shower. Laying on my bathroom floor crying in confusion. Screaming snotty tears in my bedroom rug. Looking up at the Christmas tree lights crying is desperation. Drunken tears. Silent tears. Terrified tears. Lonely tears. Maybe one irrational tear. Or the very worst- tears of rejection.
I told my therapist in December, I couldn’t remember a time in my life that I’ve ever felt so lonely. I was surrounded by my Christmas candles, married to the love of my life, in the house of my dreams decorated in Christmas magic. Yet, I sat in my floor and wept. I’m a floor cryer, if you hadn’t noticed by now. And then I cried that I was feeling that way.
Since 2014, I’ve been putting in the work. I’ve been fighting, clawing my way to get to this place. I’d been healing. Especially the last five months with my new therapist. But something happened, and in just a few days, I felt like I was relapsing and back to square one. I couldn’t see the progress I was making anymore. My little head was consumed once again with all of my demons. I felt stuck. I felt rejected. I felt inadequate. I felt hopeless.
Through all of the haze and heaviness I felt in my heart, I had an epiphany on New Years Eve. It’s a big date, so I guess appropriate to have a genuine eye opening moment. RJ and I went to an early dinner at my favorite restaurant. We came home and danced to our first dance song and read our vows to each other in candle light. Then we snuggled up on the couch holding our sweet pup. The boys were both passed out and softly snoring by 10:30. I tried waking RJ to move to bed and he simply replied, “This is so nice and peaceful. Let’s sit here a while longer.” Before I knew it I had tears streaming down my face. I thought it was because I was disappointed at the way our New Year’s Eve had turned out. I was bummed we had two trips planned and both fell through. I was annoyed that I planned to do sweet, romantic anniversary things that we weren’t doing. I was bummed the expensive champagne I bought wouldn’t be toasted at midnight. But I was wrong. I was crying happy tears. Peaceful tears.
I was crying because I was so overwhelmed with joy in that moment that I was alive. That I didn’t die on NYE2014. I was cuddled up to my sweet husband and perfect boy, and I was more content in that moment that I’ve ever been. I hadn’t relapsed. I realized I’m finally, finally truly healing. I’m becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be. I’m transforming. I’m changing. I’m hurting so badly because I’m digging into the root of the pain and rejection to free myself. And for the first time, I’m embracing the pain.
“We must feel the pain the heal the pain. Remember: the pain isn’t the enemy. Pain is the indicator that brokenness exists. Pain is a reminder that the real enemy is trying to take us out and bring us down by keeping us stuck in broken places. Pain the the gift that motivates us to fight with brave tenacity and fierce determination knowing there’s healing on the other side.”
The new year may not have started how I envisioned it in my head. But that’s okay. Because even if I’m the only one seeing my transformation (and my therapist), I’m still growing. I’m healing. I’m letting the past refine me, not define me. Im finally allowing myself a future.
PS- seriously, read Tijan. I recommend the Fallen Crest Series and Ryan’s Bed. And Lysa Terkeurst’s The Uninvited.
I thought about cutting Sunday night.
I was laying in bed alone Sunday night around midnight and I was thinking about cutting. I was merely curious. Obviously, I didn’t do it. I was just curious. I was curious if it would have still felt the same. If my shaking hands would have been stilled. If my pounding heart would have slowed. Would I have felt like I could take a deep breathe? Even for just one fleeting moment. Or was that all things I left in the past.
I thought about cutting Sunday night. It’s not the first time I’ve thought about it over the last few years. It doesn’t consume my thoughts like it used to. But there are moments that I have a few weak minutes. Or like Sunday, a few hours of weak moments. It’s been 3 years, 8 months and 27 days since the last time I cut, or played with my eating disorder. Some days it feels like a lifetime ago. Some days I wake up and it feels like yesterday. Some mornings I have such vivid dreams I wake up in a cold sweat and have to run to the bathroom and check my arms.
I feel like people that are (because once a cutter, always a cutter) self harmers should get chips like in AA. I think I’d carry that chip around with me. To feel accomplished. To maybe have recognition. To remind myself not matter how hard the days have been, I haven’t slipped. To have a tangible object to illustrate my strength. But there isn’t a support group offered for self harm. There isn’t a church on every corner that will have receptions to congratulate 1 month clean.
The thing is, even in 2018, people still don’t know how to react to self harm. I can’t openly talk about how I’m feeling. I mean, if I really wanted to, I could confide that the dark thoughts in my head still haunt me. That I have demons that scream at me and it’s getting harder to silence them. But I can’t tell anyone I thought about cutting. Even when I didn’t do it and never intended to actually do it again. I can’t explain i was just curious.
I think I am so intrigued with the thought again because of how my recovery was shaped. I often think that my recovery started the day I was in the emergency room and I was 1013’d. When I was stripped of my humanity and forced to believe there was something genuinely wrong with me. When I FINALLY got out of inpatient and graduated from my intensive outpatient program, I was so broken and angry and drugged. Part of me wanted to cut just to show everyone I could. But I didn’t. My wonderful therapist that I had been seeing for months before my hospital stent reminded my recovery started much earlier than on New Years Eve. It started the day I talked in therapy- after multiple sessions of silence. I was starting to dig into the roots of my feelings. I was learning that the self destructive things weren’t helping me anymore. The hospital and IOP and all the people involved did the single worst thing they could have done at the time. They took away my will. My progress. My coping skills. My hope. My therapist reminded me of how far I’d already come and that no one could take away my recovery unless I allowed them.
It has been the longest journey of my life, but I haven’t once faltered. Self harm and depression and anxiety are a slippery slope. I am afraid it always will be. I have grown an immeasurable amount since 2014 and I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. Even though sometimes I think about cutting, it is from a totally different mindset. I want to see if it is the same release as it used to be. I want to be the one to make the decision for myself to whisper goodbye to the old me. I will forever wonder many questions about cutting that I believe would give me closure and a peace, but those things were taken away from me. Most days, I am fine with this, but nights like Sunday I lay in bed thinking of them.
I’m not the only one going through things. My family isn’t the first with a devastating caner diagnosis. I’ve been through enough therapy and read enough books to know I’m not the only one struggling. I’m not the only girl that has ever have anxiety or depression or had an eating disorder or was a cutter. I know I’m not the only one, but why do I feel so alone? I have a fake twitter name so I can express how I am feeling without worrying about being “judged.” I don’t link or tell anyone about my blog because I don’t want people walking on egg shells around me. I don’t tell my family or my husband because how do I explain something I can’t even explain myself?
“I’m not fine as in fine, but fine as in you don’t have to worry about me.”
I thought about cutting Sunday, just because I was curious. If you are reading this and actually know me (sneaky sneaky)- DO NOT FRET! I know I will never cut again, for many reasons:
1). Once you start the shit, it’s hard as hell to stop. So I just won’t do it.
2). I would never want to worry or disappoint my family again. I can’t imagine the hell I put them through. For that, I will always be sorry.
3). I would never risk getting sent back to ANY hospital. It is just not worth it. Trust me.
4). I have a tattoo surrounding my ‘sobriety” date. And getting a tattoo removed would suck.
5). I’m stronger than I was. I’m still discovering myself without being labeled a self harmer and everything that entails. I know my triggers and warning signs. I ask for help when I need it.
I thought about cutting Sunday, just because I was curious.
“Never forget” at least that is what we said.
Seventeen years ago today, history changed forever. September 11, 2001. It started just like every other day for my brother and me. We woke up and went to the elementary school a mile from our house. My brother was excited about his birthday the next day. It was a normal day, until it wasn’t.
I was in fifth grade. I was ten years old. I didn’t know that my life was about to change forever. That America was about to change forever. I vividly remember being SO upset because the school announced recess would not be allowed because ‘it was too hot outside.’ Shortly after that announcement my mom checked Ben and me out of school. We thought she was doing it as a birthday surprise. I remember reaching the front office and seeing tears streaming down my mom’s face. There was a multitude of parents checking their kids out of school that day. I was confused because it didn’t feel that hot to me so I didn’t understand why so many kids were getting sent home early. Once we got home my mom tried explaining what was happening and let us watch the news. Obviously, my ten year old self didn’t grasp what was unfolding on the television. There was no way this could be real! It was just supposed to be hot outside! Ben tried to stop my panic by calmly explaining that if what we were seeing WAS real that the power rangers would swoop in and save the day. He said we had nothing to worry about. (except making sure his birthday party was still happening.)
In the weeks to come, I felt like everyone was living in constant fear. I was still not fully understanding what happened on 9/11. I was still only ten. I saw the news, I listened to President George W. Bush address the nation, I saw the flags appear on every window front and house around town.
“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” former President George W. Bush.
September 11th caused a transformation to sweep the nation. Americans were proud of the flag. Singers were writing songs about freedom. Neighbors helped each other. We supported our troops. We stood together.
“Remember the hours after September 11th when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran upstairs and risked their lives so that others may live; when rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon; when the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation’s capitol; when flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.” Senator John Kerry.
Over the years, as I got older, I slowly realized the gravity of the acts of terrorism against America that day. You see, in school, children are taught about history. My whole life I was reading these history books with huge accomplishments for mankind but also about horrendous tragedies from the past. But now, September 11th is written down in American history. I was alive for something that changed my country forever. It is something I was a witness to. It blows my mind that there are people in high school now that were not alive that day in September. I guess that is the funny thing about history.
Growing up, I was always taught that we had history lessons so history wouldn’t repeat itself. We learned about WWI and WWII to prevent another world war. We were taught about the fall of dictatorships and communism to prevent future governments from failing. We were taught about the division of America in the Civil War to prevent this nation from becoming so divided again. We were taught to NEVER FORGET. So let me ask you this: How did we get here? Seventeen years later? Our country is divided- and not just between democrats and republicans. We don’t support our troops. We idolize cowards who “sacrifice everything” by NOT standing for the National Anthem. Our veterans don’t get the healthcare and opportunities they should. We are making movies about monumental moments in American history, but removing the flag.
When did it become an UNPOPULAR opinion to be proud to be an American? When did we stop letting our enemies be foreign and start attacking each other? When did we remove the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance from schools? How did America let so much hatred and fear cover our history? How could we forget?
I did not know anyone personally who lost their life that day, nor know anyone who lost someone. And I can’t imagine what this day is like for the ones that did. The heroes that sacrificed everything.The heroes that have sacrificed themselves in all the events stemming from 9/11. The men and women who are still fighting and risking everything today. It has been seventeen years since 9/11, but with heavy hearts we WILL remember the sacrifice. It was not in vain. We will stand together under God and make America the greatest country again.
a PROUD American
Tell me a secret you’ve never told anyone. Tell me a secret you thought you’d go to the grave with.
Tell me what your greatest fear is.
Tell me how you choose to suffer.
I am not one for small talk. If I’m being honest, I’m not one for much of any talk. I don’t believe in wasting time talking about the weather or how Alabama is still number one (Nick Saban will always be number one). I want to get past the superficial fake things. I want to know what makes you who you are.
I’ve learned over the years there are a few ways to REALLY get to know someone. Get a person to tell you a secret. Learn a new secret every week. It’s such an intense experience when you know the things that matter, that most people don’t get the privilege to learn.
Ask someone what their biggest fear is. Not the normal spider, snakes, playing against the undefeated Alabama football team, etc. I’ve learned people’s greatest fears have prevented them from their passions and dreams. Some people let their fears paralyze them while other accomplish so much despite their fear. People often lie when asked this question because they are afraid to be judged or being vulnerable.
Ask someone how they choose to suffer. Odd request, yeah? This may be the best way to truly get to know someone though. It’s easy to ask people what makes them happy, what they want. Most people essentially want the same things out of life. Love, happiness, success, good health. In order to get these things though, you have to suffer. You have to have pain. What pain are you willing to endure? What suffering do you choose because whatever/whoever on the other side is worth it? This question will tell you who a person is.
I have a horribly ugly teddy bear named ‘Purp’ that I still sleep with on really bad nights. (I’m 27 and married). I’ve been sleeping with him a lot lately.
My biggest fear is being inadequate. I’ve never been enough for someone to stay. To be someone’s number one. The racing thoughts in my head daily tell me I’m not good enough. I’m not a good enough wife. I’m not a good enough sister and daughter. I’m not a good enough nurse or friend. Eventually, one day I’ll be all alone. The internal dialogue in my head is constantly on repeat. Bonus secret: I shake my head or close my eyes really tight to try to stop the thoughts. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
I choose to suffer for my marriage. I choose to have to painfully long silences, the awkward conversations, the nights I cry myself to sleep. I choose to let people make judgements on what they think my relationship is like because of our age difference. I choose to be a step mom of three kids that despise me. I choose to battle the bloody monster in my head telling me that I’m failing as a wife. I choose to do all of these things. I choose to go to therapy. I choose to suffer because at the end of the day, I have a marriage worth fighting for. I have a man that loves me. That’s how I choose to suffer.
So don’t waste my time. I’d rather read a book.
I don’t want to know what your favorite color is. Even though mine is black. I don’t want to know what college team you root for. Because Roll Tide.
I want to know your secrets. I want to know your greatest fear. Tell me how you choose to suffer.
Another year has come and gone. I can’t believe it’s February 28th tomorrow. And that it’s such a significant day for me and I’m apart from Rj for the second year in a row. I’m not digging this trend. February 28, 2016 is when I made biggest decision I’d made in my life (at the time) and decided to move back home for good.
I’m currently in my hotel room in Augusta for SANE training.I’ve been in Augusta for three days now and it’s crazy how distance can change how a person sees things. I went to nursing school in Augusta and couldn’t wait to get the heck out while I was here. It took me until a month before graduation to realize how much I was truly going to miss this place. Ironically, I had similar feelings toward Savannah. Driving on I-20 and coming into Augusta city limits felt like a tiny piece of my heart was home. I even creeped by my old town house and snapped a picture.
Just like Savannah though, this place holds countless memories. Bad and good. It’s where I cried countless times because I was so homesick I couldn’t breathe. It’s where I constantly felt I was going to fail nursing school because I made a ‘B’ on a test. It’s the place I learned my ex boyfriend first cheated on me. It’s where I escaped when my mom finally served my dad divorce papers. I lived with three complete strangers; one of which I now consider family. It’s the place I experienced my first heart surgery and fell completely in love with the human heart. The place I reached one of my dreams and the place I had my first ‘date’ with my husband.
As hard as it was to leave Augusta, it was one million times harder to leave Savannah two years ago. Last year, I was really emotional. I wrote how I longed for this day to not be such a big deal. I wish I could say that it’s not, I still have it circled in my calendar. I wish I could say I haven’t looked at all my time hop pictures and gotten emotional, but I did. (And I’m not prepared to see all the time hops for tomorrow- the actual day…)
Last year, I think I was so distraught because the ‘new’ chapter I envisioned when I moved home wasn’t the case. Naked truth- it’s still not. But that’s okay.
In Savannah, I had this big important job. I was in charge and had power. I found worth in the title I had.
I was in the best small group ever and involved in some pretty great ministries.
I had a condo that felt like the ‘home’ I had always longed for. I had a best friend that saved my life. I had a group of friends that were incredible. I found myself- the real me in Savannah. I finally started to love myself in Savannah. When I moved home, I essentially felt like I lost all of that. And a lot of the things I worked so hard to rebuild in my life crumbled. I started drowning again. I had this timeline and vision in my head of where I should be a year out and when I wasn’t there, it was hard.
Now I’m two years out, and I’m slowly starting to see my plan wasn’t big enough. I don’t have this power job title anymore, but I’m still able to do what I love to do. I get to do heart surgery, and bonus- I actually get to sleep and have a life now.
I am also allowed this extraordinary opportunity to become a SANE nurse (more on this to come). Something I would have never had the chance to do if I stayed where I was. I haven’t found a small group that has been a good fit for me at home, so I started my own. A group for high school girls struggling with anxiety, depression and self harm. I love every second of this group and even gained a ‘little sister’. I now don’t have to include quotations when I say ‘home’ because the house I shared with my husband IS my home. Including the red front door. Friends, now that’s a tough one. The best friend I had in Savannah is no longer in my life and that was a bitter pill to swallow. It broke my heart, but I will forever be grateful for her and laugh at all our stupid memories together. [the blog “when you lose your best friend” isn’t about her though, FYI. It’s about my other bff. It’s been a tough year in the friends category.]
Fun fact of the day: I was at dinner with my brother and Rj the other night and my fortune cookie said, “you are surrounded by great friends.” Ben laughed and commented that my only friends were at the table. And even if it’s a little sad because it’s mostly true, I’m okay with that.
I lost myself in Savannah, then found myself. I moved home and essentially lost myself again. But two years out, I’m still growing. I’m loving myself more everyday. And that’s not selfish. I’m finding myself each day. I even played the piano and SANG our first dance song to Rj last week. Y’all, that’s HUGE! Last year, I wrote about being excited about February 28th one day not holding any significance. This year, I’ve changed my mind. I love the date. It’s the day I got one step closer to living the life I always wanted without fear anchoring me down. I wish I could be with Rj and celebrate this anniversary, but tomorrow, I will celebrate alone. And in its own way, it’s the perfect way to honor the day.