Stand Up

Every day when I check my social media accounts I prepare to read or see something heartbreaking. It’s a sad truth that these events we are seeing are not uncommon. This is our reality right now. The events that have gone on in Virginia with the protests, and then counter protests are horrific to say the least. I fear for people that are even remotely different, I truly do. I’m scared for my friends that have different skin colors, that speak different languages, that are part of the LGTBQ+ community. I am scared because we are at a point where people no longer care about hiding their prejudices, they no longer feel as though they have to get with the times. No longer is there a need for masks, hoods, or gowns. These people have no fear of being held accountable, because they aren’t being held accountable.

When I walk out my door I think about what I would do if someone were to approach me and saying something racist. If they were to push me, scream at me, or spit on me. I used to not be afraid of these things but here I am, in 2017, afraid of things that were apparent in the 1950’s. Have we not grown past that? Do people still believe there is a “superior race”?

Racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and everything that comes along with these things are not new. They may have been hidden for a while, but they are not new.

Growing up in a town where the majority of the people were white and decently conservative, I always had to be the bigger person. I had to walk away when a boy in middle school thought it would be funny to scream nigger down the hall at me. I had to keep my head down when my honors English class read “Black Boy” and “How to Kill a Mockingbird” to avoid the stares as my teacher would read aloud the word nigger. I had to stay quiet when someone said they didn’t find hanging nooses a problem. I had to accept the apology from one of my 14’s teammate’s who called me a nigger because I played over her. Can you imagine what it must be like for the people that had ancestors in a concentration camp and are now seeing hoards of people using the swastika like it’s nothing?

Why is it that people who are being oppressed or beaten down must always be the bigger person? Why is it my job to walk away, to be silent, to accept that apology?

So how would I react now if I was faced with someone threatening me? I used to think the best way to react was to give them nothing at all. That’s what parents always tell you as a way to handle bullies in school right? Give them no reaction and they’ll eventually go away right? However, we are not dealing with children. We are dealing with adults who are malicious, willfully ignorant, and dangerous. I don’t know what I would do if someone approached me with hate spilling from their mouth, but I surely will not be silent. I will speak up, not only for myself but for those around me.

To the people that haven’t faced anything like this before, you don’t get a good job for sticking up for those that are being attacked, because that is what you’re supposed to do. You will not get a congratulations sticker for being a decent human being. How sad is it that are standards for humans and their compassion is set so incredibly low? If you’re able to not pay attention to the horrible events going on then that is because you don’t think it could impact you, and that in itself is privilege. To be clear, if you don’t speak up for the lack of leadership within our government, if you don’t say how disappointed and disgusted you are in the way people are being treated, you are just as bad as them.

I feel as though I could write essays upon essays about this but really, the main point is that regardless of what you label yourself, I hope you find the courage to stand up for the people around you and the world you want to continue living in. I hope you don’t cower in fear because of disgusting human beings, I hope you hold people accountable for their actions, and I hope you find your voice and stand up for the people around you. It is not the job of those being hurt to stay silent and take it, it’s the job of every single person with a working brain to stand up for what’s right.

I have no idea what I’m doing, and that’s okay

Recently, a ton of people have been asking me how I’m going to support myself next year when I graduate. Well ladies and gents, let me just put it out there right now, I have absolutely no idea, but I will.

I’ve always made my intentions clear about wanting to move to the East coast right after graduation, maybe a few weeks of traveling around prior to the move, but what is a fact is that I’m leaving. I’ve told my friends, family members, I even tell guys when I go out on that first date that I’m leaving in less than a year, and no I will not change my mind, yes even if we start dating and you’re a really cool person, I’m leaving.

Growing up in a small town had a lot of benefits, but god, I need something new. What better than packing up and moving across the country for that something new? The plan is to apply to a few graduate programs along the East coast and if I get in to one of them then I’ll do that. If not I’ll be applying for jobs in public relations and publishing in New York and Boston (not opposed to London though). And well folks, that’s about it. I think people assume I have this big elaborate plan; already have a job waiting for me, apartment picked out with the first six months of rent paid, and a cool $10,000 worth of savings. Update, I definitely, one hundred percent, do not. I’m driven that’s for sure, but am I always on top of my shit? No. Of course not.

I’m terrified that I won’t find a job but I also believe in myself. I know that I’ll be valuable to whatever school or company that wants to bring me on board, and once I get there I’m going to work my ass off to do my job better than they could ever expect. I think it’s hilarious and if I’m being honest, I kind of love the fact that people around me think I have it all together but c’mon, that’s just not realistic. I’m about to look for jobs in cities I’ve never been to for more than a week and where I know close to no one. To say I’m nervous would be a vast understatement, but I am ready. I used to be afraid of failing and letting people down, and I’d be lying if I said those thoughts never crept into my mind still, but every day I get closer to the things I’ve worked so hard for. I’ll be dammed if I let fear discourage me from going after what I want. There are so many things I want to do, so many places I want to go and more than that, so many things I want to feel.

Moral of the story, you don’t always need a plan. As hard as it is for me to say that, (I’m an avid passion planner fanatic) it’s true. Sometimes you have to take chances and put yourself out there. I’m confident that I’ll figure something out, and if I don’t.. well I’ve heard being an Instagram model makes quite a bit of money, maybe I’ll test that out?

Why I Decided to Forgo my Redshirt Senior Season

15284959_1508043335878840_6984164994304216149_nFor those that aren’t into sports or college athletics, redshirting is where you omit one of your seasons. This can be for a number of reasons; injuries or simply because you want to have a year of training and get used to playing a college sport while handling all the other aspects of college life. I redshirted my freshmen year of college because my team had about 18 girls and there was no way I was going to be setting foot on the court. It was a hard decision but it was the right one. My freshmen year I got the opportunity to train with the the amazing upperclassmen and truly become a better student-athlete. But spending five years in college was not part of the game plan for me.

So, after a lot of thought I decided to graduate on time next spring and that this upcoming season will be my last. And you know what? I am so happy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my team, my school, and the community I’ve been lucky enough to go to college in but I’m ready to move on. I’ve given volleyball the past 14 years of my life and I want to do something else. It took me a long time to understand that there’s nothing wrong with that. This wasn’t something I decided on a whim either. I thought about it for months but I always felt like I owed something to my team, my coaches, and my family but then it clicked one day that none of them are living my life. I have to grow up and make decisions for myself because at the end of the day, I’m the one that’ll be living with my decisions. This is what I want and I don’t think I’ve ever been more sure of something in my entire life (21 years, I know not a long time but still). Moving on is OKAY. I hate the fact that people are afraid to go after what they want because they’re scared of letting someone else down. DO WHAT YOU’RE DREAMING ABOUT. You don’t need to burn bridges but you owe it to yourself to go after what you want in life. If that means you have to let some people down on the way, let people down! I guarantee you will never please everyone in your life, but you can make yourself happy by following your dreams. If your dream is to play professionally, do it. If it’s to travel for a year, do it. If you want to become a kick ass doctor or lawyer, do it. I’m not saying it’s going to be a walk in the park once you decide what you want to do but it’ll be a hell of a lot easier to work hard for something if you love what you’re working towards. I’m terrified of moving on and not having the safety net of time or volleyball on my side but I’m more terrified of being so passive in my life that I’m too scared to go after what I want.

I’m not saying this is the choice for everyone, but it was the choice for me. I don’t consider this quitting, this is me moving on – growing up and I couldn’t be more ready. See ya next year New York, you have no idea what’s coming 😉

Being a Student-Athlete and Living with Mental Illness

I know plenty of people have written about this topic but each post I read helped me feel a little more normal so I thought I’d jot down some thoughts and try to explain what makes it difficult to be a college athlete and struggle with mental illness. There is so much I could talk about and it’s hard to condense my feelings and thoughts into a short blog post but I’ve chosen to focus not so much on my specific struggles (if you want to talk about that feel free to message me and we can chat) but on how as student-athletes we can work on changing the way we view mental health.

Since I was in middle school I struggled with depression, self-harm and an eating disorder. Add that into a crippling desire to be the “perfect” student and it was a recipe for disaster. I never told anyone because I felt absolutely crazy. I felt like no one would believe me and even if they did I’m not a doctor, who am I to say I suffer with all these things? I felt invalidated and insecure in who I was and what I was struggling with. I had a great life and I’m not so consumed with myself to think other people don’t have much worse circumstances to overcome, but that’s the problem with mental illness, it eats away at all your logical thinking and makes you drown into your irrational thoughts and feelings.  In a way, going to college and getting away from all the memories of the pain I had gone through and afflicted on myself was the best thing I could have done. But it left the scars that were in this little town open, so whenever I come back for breaks the pain is still here, haunting me.

The reason why a lot of people don’t speak out is because no one wants to be that person. Hell, I know I don’t or at least I didn’t (I’m working on this new thing of not caring about what other people think). The first time I talked about everything I had gone through to a therapist at Oregon State was the first time I didn’t feel out of my mind. It was also the first time I didn’t feel like a coward. I saw a girl at our volleyball camp last summer who had scars all the way up her arms and I wanted to pull her aside and tell her it would all be okay but I didn’t. I had a perfect opportunity to be the person I needed when I was her age and I was a coward. I think that’s why I’m writing this now, I don’t want to be a coward anymore. Someone that’s too afraid of her own feelings to help others. Being a student-athlete is amazing. You have little kids that run up to you after games exclaiming that you’re their hero, professors always want to talk about your games, parents brag about you to their old friends and the more that happens the less you become a real person with real feelings and turn into an image. That image can be damaging because you represent your school and you don’t want to let the people who have supported you all these years down. I can only speak for myself but being a student-athlete doesn’t always give you the best reputation, people love you but people also love to find reasons to pick apart what you’re doing. To a lot of people, student-athletes are seen as spoiled, so god forbid student-athletes have something else to complain about.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my school and if anything I think playing a college sport has helped me handle my triggers and open up more but there’s also the fear of people around campus suddenly thinking they know everything about me because they know certain parts of my life. In the student -athlete community, everyone finds out everything. It doesn’t matter how but everyone will eventually find out very personal things about  you and that’s a little terrifying. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to ask for help, in any case. I’m headstrong and I’ve never shown any of my friends how I am when I start to feel the depression weighing on me. The idea that people I see every day, lift with and have classes with will see this post kind of scares the shit out of me. But I’m trying to realize that the reason mental illness is still so taboo is because of people like me that are scared to talk about it, people who are cowards.

So here I am; not being a coward and completely & totally jumping out of my very comfortable shell and telling people it’s okay to not be okay, even if other people like parents, coaches or friends have other expectations of you. Ask for help, talk about your problems, don’t struggle in silence. I felt alone and I still do sometimes but something kind of funny and heartbreaking happened when I met with that therapist for the first time. I was filling out paperwork in the waiting room, trying to hide the form that asked me questions like “On a scale of 1-5 how much have you thought about hurting yourself within the last two weeks?” and as I looked around to see if anyone was looking at me there were three other student-athletes filling out the exact same form. You are not alone. Don’t wait until it gets worse to ask for help, reach out to someone that makes you feel safe. I am so sick of feeling alone and helpless. Mental illness is not something you should be ashamed of but breaking down that stigma starts with us, the student-athletes. We can change the culture and make it easier for our friends and teammates to get the help that they need. xx

Counseling services at OSU:

http://counseling.oregonstate.edu/

National Suicide Prevention Hotline:

1-800-273-8255

Failing

I think my biggest fear is failing.

I got this comment a little while back that said something along the lines of “you just seem like you have it all together,” and when I read that… it was hard not to laugh out loud.

Half the time I feel like I’m fucking everything up and the other time… honestly, its mostly just me thinking everything is going wrong. I am constantly worried about the outcome of my actions. I have so many dreams and they feel so close but I’m terrified of getting them. What if I accomplish these dreams and it’s nothing like I imagine?  What if I’m terrible at my future job? What if I hate it? What if I let the people I care about down?

There’s so much that’s unknown about life, I don’t want to miss out on things because I’m afraid of something that may or may not happen. I’m starting to realize that life is too short to pass up opportunities because of this irrational fear of failing. I just need to let go a little bit and let myself live. xx

Short Stories

Last term I got to take an intro to short story class and I loved it! Here are two stories from my final project. I have absolutely no idea if I’m going to do anything else with them but feel free to take a look and let me know what you think!  xx

I Remember It All

I’m sitting here waiting for you to turn back around and tell me it was all just a joke and that we’re still in love, and you never wanted to leave me and you’re so sorry… but you don’t, just like last time you keep walking away. I just sit here wondering how we got to where we are now, wondering if you remember any of it, because I do.

I remember it all. Over the years my memories have faded, sometimes I forget the colors of your eyes and how they use to pierce me every time I looked at you, or the first time I met you and I just knew, how I met my best friend that you hated, but I haven’t forgotten about you and when I knew it was over. Really over.

We were meeting up for the first time in what felt like forever but I think it was only a couple months since the last time I saw you. I was sitting in my hotel in Arizona, your turf now and I felt different, I was nervous and panicked. Do you remember the first time you met my parents and I couldn’t stop scratching my inner arm because of my nerves? Imagine that times a hundred, I swear my arm was bright red when you walked in. What were you going to think when you saw me? Would you say something that was going to make me fall in love all over again? Would I?

I walked down the stairs and I saw you before you saw me, for a second I just stopped. God you were beautiful. Everything was the same about you, the way your shirt hung off your collarbone, the freckles you have covering your body, I remember counting every one the night before I left you. I forgot how perfect you were. How perfect I built you up in my mind. In that moment you could do no wrong, you were absolute perfection.

But then I started walking towards you and the closer I got the more the “perfect” you began to crack just as it had when we walked away from each other a few months ago. You weren’t this untouchable statue that I had only built off of my memories, you were real and terribly imperfect. I saw the new creases in your face, maybe they’re from laughter, maybe they’re from pain, I wouldn’t know. I was holding you and wishing I could have held onto all the things that were so wonderful about us. You felt the same with your head tucked into my neck and the smell of your Tom Ford cologne was vibrant as ever but we were different.

We walked together and I couldn’t help but stare at you, it was like looking at a wreck, knowing I should look away from the tragedy that lies there but not being able to tear my eyes away from it. Is that what we’ve become? A tragedy?

We talked, and we laughed. But we laughed at different things, me thinking about how naïve I was, assuming we could go back to the beginning, like the past two years didn’t happen, I ran scared of what we were going to be, I wasn’t ready and you let me leave. That’s the worst of it all, you let me run.

A part of me wanted to grab your hand and whisper in your ear like you used to love, but I was too scared your hand wouldn’t feel the same, and you’d cringe from me when I whispered, so I kept walking, further and further away from the people we used to be.

 

Trapped

Everything was moving around me, almost like I wasn’t even there. But I knew I was alive, I knew I was awake. The nurses panicked around me, touching my neck and checking for a pulse. I was alive, shit I was alive.

The nurse next to my left arm finally tears her eyes away from my scars and notices I’ve opened my eyes and she starts to mouth something at me, maybe she’s talking, I can’t tell. She’s talking too fast though; I can’t understand anything she’s saying. I want to tell her to slow down but my mouth won’t open. It feels wired shut. I just look at her blinking fast, wishing, praying she will get the message.

Pills. She said pills, I don’t know for sure but I would bet my very measly life on the fact that she just said pills.

Through my muffled ears I can barley hear her say, “What pills did you take? Honey, this is very important. What pills did you take?” she’s trying to be calm but her hands are shaking against my arm and I can see a tear run down her cheek before she quickly wipes it away.

It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone that you’re just as scared as I am, we all have our secrets.

I don’t say anything, I just stare at her, she kind of looks like my aunt Nicole, I wonder what the women who basically raised me would have to say about this, oh I know, she wouldn’t say anything because she’s dead. I wonder what she thinks of me, the nurse, not my dead aunt. She probably thinks I’m this sad little girl who didn’t have any idea what she was doing. But I did. I knew exactly what I was doing.

When I finally break from her perfectly hazel eyes I look to my other side and see the sign on the wall that says Emergency Room, great.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this, none of this is how I wanted, I planned this so well. I would take the pills and Adrian would find me in the morning, asleep, well technically dead but I would look asleep. I figured that wouldn’t be as hard as seeing my lifeless body with a gunshot wound or hanging. I couldn’t have done that to my little sister. I always hated that, how selfish can you be, making your family find you like that?

My visions are broken from the frantic yelling around me, all at once the sound breaks through my ears and it’s like I’ve never heard sound before. I’m moving so fast, I can hear the tires screeching around me, wheeling me into the double doors. The last thing I hear before it all gets incredibly light is my name being screeched in a way only a mom could do. Even an incredibly, barley there, shitty mom like mine.

Small Update on Life

I haven’t really been sure of where I want to take this blog. I enjoy reading and writing about fashion and the entertainment industry but that’s not what I want to write about long term. I’m an English major and a writing minor and I want to focus on just that, writing stories and fiction that can touch other people. So, I’ve decided to make this blog into my little diary and post pieces of my short stories and maybe in the near future post fragments of stories I hope to develop over the next few months/years (who knows?) & if I happen to have some free time I might even post some book reviews!

Thanks for sticking with me through all of this & I hope you enjoy what comes next!

xx