An Open Letter to The Future Mothers-To-Be

At first read, you might think I’m talking to women who are already pregnant. Alas, no. I am addressing this letter of sorts to the women who are not yet pregnant, who are desperately hoping for that wonderful day when there are two little pink/blue lines on that home pregnancy test, or when the doctor says, “Congratulations; you’re having a baby!”

I am in the same boat as you, my dear, viciously paddling against the current.

I know how you feel. Already madly in love with that precious blessing you have yet to receive, but also incredibly anxious, worrying that such an amazing thing might not happen to you.

It’s hard – so incredibly hard – to see all those happy people with their little ones. You don’t begrudge them one single moment, but you can’t help being insanely jealous. It seems as though every time you go on Facebook or talk to friends or family, yet another person you know is having a baby. And you sit there and think, “Why not me? When will it be my turn?”

The frustration is overwhelming. Because no matter how hard you try to pretend that you’re okay with not having a baby right now, someone always says, “It’s okay, it will happen when it happens,” or “Don’t rush it; enjoy your life now because when you have kids you won’t be able to do so many things.” And that doesn’t help one tiny bit. Maybe they think they’re giving you some comfort, but they’re just making it worse.

It’s so discouraging, too. Every time you take a test, it’s so terrifying. Who ever thought that one little line could change your life so much? By now, you’re scared to even take a pregnancy test, because what if it’s negative again? You get your hopes up, just to have them crushed. Maybe you’re to the point that you don’t even want to take another test, because you’re convinced that the only answer they’ll ever have for you is negative, and you just can’t bear to see that again.

Perhaps you’re like me, and you’re starting to lose hope. That test in the bathroom is so daunting, and you almost want to throw it out, unused, because you know that no matter the result, all it will do is make you cry. But there’s that minuscule little niggling dream that’s buried itself in your heart, so you just let it sit there.

And you want to scream and rage and cry, because it just isn’t fair! So many women in this world were given such an amazing gift, and they take it for granted. Many don’t even want their babies, or they treat them horribly, and the injustice of that wells up inside you until you feel like you’ll burst. Why are they able to have a child when they don’t even love it? Do they realize or care about this precious opportunity they’ve been given? Why them and not me? It’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not fair!

And you realize how jealous you sound. You know you shouldn’t feel that way, but it’s hard not to. It’s so damn depressing, to the point you feel that you’ll burst into tears every time you see a new mother at the store with her baby. And you watch them for a minute as she fawns over her child and it giggles back at her. In that instant, you would give anything to be her.

Trust me, dear lady, I empathize with you. I know what it’s like to pray that just maybe, this time will finally be the answer to your prayers. To think, “I don’t care how much sleep I’ll lose. I don’t care about all the things I won’t be able to eat or wear or do anymore. I don’t care that I’ll puke my guts out every day for months. I don’t care how much weight I’ll gain. I don’t care that I’ll never have money or time for ‘just me’ anymore, and that I’ll have an extra person tagging along with me everywhere that I’ll forever be responsible for. I would gladly do it all, many times over. These things are so trivial and meaningless. It would all be worth it in the end.” I know what it is to imagine singing and rocking your baby to sleep, only to come back to reality with empty arms. You feel so hollow and incomplete. I know what it’s like to imagine that one day, your name will become Mommy, and that fills your heart with an insurmountable joy. All there is to do is wait, and you think you’ll go insane from it.

But it will be worth it, some day. It will all be worth it in the end.


Another Mama Waiting for Her Baby


What’s in a Name: Part 2

“Albus Severus Potter, you were named after two headmasters of Hogwarts.  One of them was a Slytherin, and he was the bravest man I ever knew.” – Harry Potter to his son, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Last time I posted, I posted about Disney baby names.  This time, I’ll be posting on Harry Potter baby names.

Are you an uber nerd who likes Harry Potter?  Just looking for a unique name?  Harry Potter names might just have what you’re looking for to give your precious baby something with not only a certain uniqueness, but a really cool story behind their name.

Also, I would like to wish all the mothers, mothers-to-be, grandmothers, aunts, older sisters who have become a mother to younger siblings, step, foster, adopted mothers, and any woman who has stepped into a child’s life and said, “I will take care of them,” a very Happy Mother’s Day.  None of us would be here today without your love, support, guidance, and care.  Keep being the strong women that you are!

10 Harry Potter Boys’ Names

1. James


I’ll start the list out with James.  This is a personal favorite of mine (and one that the husband hasn’t vetoed yet!)  This name is a classic.  How cool would it be to tell your son that he was (inadvertently) named after Harry Potter’s dad?!  (I could totally get away with this, because James is a ‘family name’ in my family.)  James is actually an English variation of the Hebrew name Jacob, and means ‘supplanter’.

2. William (Bill)


William, or Bill, is another classic name.  Even a Prince of England is named William!  Bill is the eldest of the 7 Weasley kids, and he marries Fleur Delacour, and together they eventually have 3 children.  The name William originates from German and means ‘resolute protection’.  (Kind of fitting for Bill, since he was in the Order of the Phoenix and fought in the war against Voldemort.)

3. Remus


Ah, Remus.  Unfortunately, the hubby nixed this one.  In mythology, Remus was one of the twin boys, Romulus and Remus, who founded Rome, and were raised by a wolf.  Consequently, Remus was the one who died (that doesn’t foreshadow the fate of this Remus at all…).  Although the name has Latin origins, there doesn’t seem to be a definite meaning to it.  It is generally assumed that Remus means ‘werewolf’, as it is tied into the folklore and mythology of werewolves.  (Hilariously enough, the name Lupin means ‘of a wolf’, roughly translating Remus Lupin’s name to, you guessed it: Werewolf McWerewolf.  I am crying at how funny this is.)

4. Harry


Again, another classic name that also belongs to a British Prince (well, technically his real name is Henry, but we’re going to ignore that).  This name seems to be very popular in the UK, and not solely because of the book series.  But really, this is a great name.  Think about everything Harry’s been through and done; now THAT is a legacy to give a child!  Harry is generally considered to be a nickname for Henry, but it’s a good name all its own.  The name means ‘estate ruler’ (Harry Potter was a rich kid before he even knew it).

5. George


Yet ANOTHER name of a British Prince.  (Siriusly, I think the Royal Family has a soft spot for Harry Potter.)  In the books, a reader really feels sorry for George at the end; not only does he lose an ear, but he also loses his identical twin, and is never the same afterward.  The name George actually has Greek origins and means ‘farmer’.

6. Ronald

Ron Weasley

“RONALD WEASLEY!  HOW DARE YOU STEAL THAT CAR!  I AM ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED!  YOUR FATHER’S NOW FACING AN INQUIRY AT WORK, AND IT’S ENTIRELY YOUR FAULT!  IF YOU PUT ANOTHER TOE OUT OF LINE, WE’LL BRING YOU STRAIGHT HOME!”  So, the name Ronald.  Interestingly, the name has Norse origins and means ‘ruler’s counselor’; that is pretty fitting for Ron Weasley, as he’s Harry Potter’s best friend and right-hand man through the entire series.

7. Arthur


I love Arthur Weasley.  He’s such a great father figure to Harry throughout the whole series.  He genuinely cares for Harry’s wellbeing, and looks at him as another son.  The name Arthur is Celtic and means ‘bear’.  I can somewhat see that in Mr. Weasley; when Lucius Malfoy insulted his family in COS, we definitely saw his ‘papa bear’ side come out.

8. Sirius


Oh, Sirius.  He is in my top 5 favorite HP characters, if not my favorite.  He’s cheeky, a bit impulsive, and siriusly funny.  I honestly wish we could have seen more from Sirius during the series – he and Harry didn’t get enough time together, and that is the saddest thing to me.  The both needed each other, and they deserved a little happiness after all they’d been through.  The name Sirius (as can be observed with most of the Black family’s names) comes from Greek mythology and is the name of a constellation.  Sirius is the Dog Star; in mythology, Sirius was Orion’s canine companion, and he was so loved by the gods that he was given his own place in the stars.  Sirius is also the only animal in mythology to be placed in the stars.  The name means ‘burning’; any child with this name is certain to have a great sense of humor, and they will always be supplied with sirius puns.  (Unfortunately, my husband turned this down straight away, and I was immensely disappointed.)

9. Draco


Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus: Never tickle a sleeping dragon.  If you know your mythology, you may already know some information about this name.  Draco Malfoy is named after the constellation, Draco (yes, Malfoy is related to Sirius – they’re second cousins).  According to myth, the dragon, Draco, was defeated by the goddess Minerva and thrown into the sky upon defeat.  The name Draco actually means ‘dragon’.

10. Severus


Last but not least is Severus.  The formidable Potion’s Master that actually turns out to be good.  Through the books and movies, we all loved to hate him, and he earned himself the nickname ‘Greasy Dungeon Bat’.  Hubby won’t let me use it for a son, but I got to use it for my little black kitten, so I still won.  Severus has Latin roots and means ‘stern’; though some can also interpret it as meaning ‘severe’ or ‘to sever’.


10 Harr Potter Girls’ Names

1. Lily


I thought since I started the boys off with James, I should start the girls off with Lily.  Throughout the Harry Potter books, it is constantly said that Harry was saved and protected by his mother’s love.  Dumbledore himself said that only a love so pure as that of a mother for her child could defeat Voldemort.  Lily was not only a loving mother, but she was a strong, brave woman.  It was also said of her that she was a phenomenal friend, who ‘saw the best in others, sometimes even when they themselves could not see it.’  Lily Potter (Evans) was a beautiful person, inside and out; she even still showed love towards her sister, who treated her terribly, and was extremely kind.  The name Lily can be spelled different ways: Lily, Lillie, Lilly… It can also be a nickname for Lillian or Lilith.  Obviously, the name comes from the lily flower.  It is considered to be a symbol of purity and innocence.  (I’m ecstatic that my husband likes this name, I would love to name one of our future girls this.)

2. Hermione

Hermione Granger

Her-MY-Oh-Knee.  How cool would it be to name a child after the brightest witch of her age?  Personally, I really love this name, it’s very unique, but my husband said no. 😦  The character in the books is not only clever, but she is also kind (some people can be real jerks about their intelligence) and thoughtful; plus, she knows when it’s time to take the nice gloves off and kick some butt.  Hermione is the sole reason Harry and Ron lived past first year.  Hermione’s name comes from Greek mythology, in which she was a messenger of the gods.  Hermione is also the female version of Hermes.  (Note: a good nickname for Hermione that I’ve seen is ‘Mione.  A kid probably wouldn’t want her parents to call her ‘Hermy’ in front of anyone.  Ever.)

3. Ginevra


Ah, Ginevra.  The girl who stole the Boy-Who-Lived’s heart.  Yet another awesome name that my husband nixed.  He’s kinda getting in the way of my fantasy of nerdy babies.  Ginny, as she is called in the series, is one of my favorites.  She’s so spunky; I love her cheekiness, and she’s so fiery (kind of like her hair).  She’s good for Harry because she doesn’t let him brood and wallow in self-pity; she’s always there to kick his butt into gear when he needs it.  She’s also the only one who can relate to him about Voldemort; just as Harry had Voldemort messing around in his head, Ginny had also been possessed by Voldemort.  (Btw, I know a lot of people think Harry should have ended up with Hermione, but I am not one of those people.  Please don’t comment & argue this – I honestly don’t care.)  Ginevra is actually the Italian version of Guinevere (as in the Guinevere from the King Arthur legends); the name means ‘white shadow, white wave.’

4. Molly


I love Molly Weasley.  The name, however, I’m not so fond of. (Although I do think it’s hilarious that Arthur calls her ‘Mollywobbles’ in private.)  Molly Weasley has a big heart, and she automatically claims Harry as just another one of her kids.  Molly is actually a variation on the Hebrew name Mary, and it means ‘bitter.’  Oddly enough, that really doesn’t fit the character at all.

5. Fleur


Perhaps it’s because I took French in high school, but I love the name Fleur.  Fleur means ‘flower’, and Fleur Delacour means ‘flower of the court.’  Though the character has such a delicate name, she is not just a pretty face.  I think the moment that most of us really got on Fleur’s bandwagon was in Half-Blood Prince, when Bill was attacked by the werewolf Fenrir Greyback.  His face was scarred, and Mrs. Weasley commented that ‘he would have been married.’  At this, Fleur stood up for them both, saying, “What do I care how he looks?  I am good-looking enough for the both of us, I theenk!  All these scars show is sat my husband is brave!”  Though she is part Veela (a breathtakingly beautiful magical being) Fleur proves that her beauty is not what defines her.

6. Luna


Loony Luna Lovegood.  I love her personality.  Luna is that little bit of eccentricity that everyone needs in their lives.  She is a great friend to Harry, and she is both brave and smart.  The name Luna is Latin, meaning ‘moon’.

7. Petunia


Oh, dear ‘Tuney.  If you are going for flower names, Harry Potter is apparently a good baby name book.  Many people are opposed to using the name Petunia because of the relation to the character.  In the Harry Potter books, Petunia is quite nasty to Harry, because he is a reminder of her sister and everything that she doesn’t understand that scares her, and also everything she never had.  The name Petunia has English origins and means ‘anger, resentment’; very fitting for Petunia Dursley.

8. Lavender


Lavender Brown was Ron’s (very sudden) girlfriend during their sixth year at Hogwarts.  She seemed like a sweet girl, though she was very clingy and demanding.  Unfortunately, during the Battle of Hogwarts, she was viciously attacked by the werewolf Fenrir Greyback.  After the battle, no one knows what happened to her.  The name Lavender has English origins (from the lavender plant), and generally means ‘serenity, grace, and calm’, but can also mean ‘distrust.’

9. Minerva


Minerva McGonagall was yet another of my favorite characters.  I love the name, but alas, the husband said no.  I mean, really, Minnie is a great nickname.  Anyway, if you know your mythology, Minerva is the virgin Roman goddess of wisdom, the arts, medicine, martial strength, and magic.  (The Greek version of the goddess Minerva is Athena.)

10. Bellatrix


And finally, Bellatrix.  She’s evil & crazy, but you have to admire her undying loyalty to her leader.  I guess if you’re really dedicated, naming your little girl Bellatrix is a good option.  Plus, you could always shorten it to Bella.  It’s definitely different; instead of the usual ‘Isabella’, the child would have a really tough-sounding name.  It’s roots are Latin and it means ‘tough warrior.’  See what I said about a tough name?


Do you like the names on this list?  Would you (or have you already) use any of them for your child?  What names do you think should have been included?  Let me know what you think!

What’s in a Name?

If you are like me, you see tons of people that you know either having babies or announcing a pregnancy every other day.  That’s given me some serious baby fever (I’m slowly convincing the husband that we are ‘ready’ to have a baby; hopefully we’ll get some news soon!).  Over the past month or so, I’ve been looking at a lot of baby names.  Luckily, the Social Security Administration released the Top 10 Boys’ & Girls’ Names from 2014 (you can look at that here & here).  Naming a child is not something to be done impulsively – and it really shows you just how many names you can’t use because they belong to someone you aren’t particularly fond of!  So I decided to do a series of posts about baby names.  I’m going to start with Disney baby names!

10 Disney Girl Names

1. Giselle (Enchanted)


To me, Giselle is a very pretty, girly-girl name.  It’s fun and whimsical, just like the character herself!  Giselle is actually a French name meaning ‘pledge’.

2. Anna (from Frozen)


Anna is a very pretty, yet simple name.  It’s also a palindrome.  The character from the movie ‘Frozen’ is a kind, funny, strong-willed, and brave girl. (Hey, it would be rare that someone spelled it wrong!)  Anna is actually a variation on the name Hannah, and means ‘grace’.

3. Ella (from Cinderella)


If you have seen the new Cinderella movie (which was AMAZING, btw), you will know a lot about Cinderella’s backstory.  Her real name is Ella, but her stepmother & sisters rechristened her ‘Cinderella,’ as she spent a lot of time near a fireplace and had cinders on her face, hair, and clothes.  Cinderella is considered one of the ‘classic’ Disney Princesses.  Ella has German origins and means ‘all, completely, or fairy maiden’.

4. Belle (from Beauty and the Beast)


Belle is one of my personal favorite Disney Princesses.  I love to read, and so does Belle, so she was a favorite from the start.  She is smart, kind, but also determined.  Like the movie says, “It’s no wonder that her name means beauty…”  Belle is a French name, which is why there is a widely popular French version of the movie, titled “La Belle et La Bête”.

5. Jasmine (from Aladdin)


Just look at the sass in that picture!  Jasmine is yet another favorite of mine.  She’s so sassy and bold, and has a strong will.  The name Jasmine originates from Persia, and is the name of the jasmine flower.

6. Tiana (from The Princess and the Frog)


I know several girls named Tiana.  I have never actually gotten around to watching The Princess and the Frog (I know, shame on me), but I’ve heard it’s excellent.  The name Tiana actually has Slavic origins, and means ‘fairy queen’.

7. Merida (from Brave)


Merida is very spunky and, as the title of the movie says, brave.  I really enjoyed this particular movie.  (Fun fact: Brave is the only Disney Princess movie in which there are no songs & the Princess does not sing.) The origins of this name are Latin, the name meaning ‘one who has achieved a high place of honor’.

8. Wendy (from Peter Pan)


Wendy is a somewhat old-fashioned name.  I like this name, as I always associate it with wind, and the character has a great sense of child-like wonder.  Surprisingly, the name itself comes from the book ‘Peter Pan’.

9. Aurora (from Sleeping Beauty)


Aurora is one of my best friends’ favorite princesses.  Interestingly enough, Princess Aurora only has 18 minutes of screen time in her own movie, and about half of that she doesn’t speak!  The name Aurora has Latin roots and means ‘dawn’.  If this name doesn’t quite suit your fancy, Aurora’s real name (from the original fairy tale) is Briar Rose.

10. Elinor (from Brave)


Elinor, Eleanor, Eleanore.  This name has several different spellings.  Again, Elinor is an old-fashioned name (those are coming back into style).  More famously, the name name belongs to Eleanor Roosevelt.  The name has French origins, but is a variation of the name Alienor.


10 Disney Boys Names

1. Eric (from The Little Mermaid)


Eric can be spelled several ways: Eric, Erick, Erik…  The name Eric has Old Norse origins, and means ‘eternal ruler’.

2. Adam (from Beauty and the Beast)



Many people don’t actually know this, but Adam is really the Beast’s name.  The name Adam originates from Hebrew and means ‘son of the red earth’.

3. Christopher (from Winnie the Pooh)

Christopher Robin

My husband and I really like the name Christopher.  It’s definitely in the running for one of our future sons!  We both like the sound of the nickname Chris, so it’s definitely going to take some thought.  This name has both Greek and Latin roots, and means ‘bearer of Christ’.

4. John (from Pocahontas)

John Smith

I chose John Smith because he is who most people recognize.  However, in reality, Pocahontas did not marry John Smith.  She married a man named John Rolfe (as is implied by the second Pocahontas movie), converted to Christianity and changed her name to Rebecca, and they had a son named Thomas.  The real John Smith did meet her, though she was no more than 12 when they met.  John has Hebrew origins and means ‘God is gracious’.

5. Peter (from Peter Pan)

Peter Pan

Personally, I wouldn’t choose the name Peter for my child, but it’s really because of people I know.  Peter is a Greek name, meaning ‘rock’.

6. Kristoff (from Frozen)


Again, I really like the name Kristoff.  It’s different.  And having Kris as a nickname is pretty cool too.  Kristoff has Slavic origins, is a variation of the name Christopher, and means ‘bearer of Christ’.

7. Flynn (from Tangled)


Even though his real name in the movie is Eugene, Flynn is becoming more popular. (Personally, I like Flynn better too.) Flynn has Irish roots and means ‘son of the red-haired one’.

8. Phillip (from Sleeping Beauty)


Philip is a variation on the name ‘Philip’.  As a nickname, it can be shortened to ‘Phil’.  Queen Elizabeth of England’s husband is Prince Philip.  Phillip has Greek origins and means ‘lover of horses’.

9. Edward (from Enchanted)


If I ever named a child Edward, it would be because of a real life Edward or this movie.  Definitely not to be confused with Twilight’s Edward Cullen.  The name Edward has English roots and means ‘wealthy guardian’.

10. Robert (from Enchanted)


Robert has several cool nicknames: Rob, Robbie, Bob, Bobbie… That’s something to keep in mind when naming a kid.  Robert is originally a German name meaning ‘bright fame’.


Did you like these lists?  What other lists would you like to see in the future?  Would you use any of these Disney names for your kids?  What Disney names weren’t listed that you like and would or have used for your own kids?

A Nightmare Dressed Like a Daydream

I love Taylor Swift, and this video is the best.

Black Friday Special: A Year of Unlimited Premium Themes


The Blog

Our Black Friday special is a great way to get your blog ready for the new year. This weekend, every purchase of Premium will include a free year of unlimited access to all our premium themes — a $120 USD value — so you can use any theme at no extra cost.

The special sale starts just after midnight on Friday, November 28th, and ends just before midnight, on Monday, December 1st, for all time zones.

That’s right: this year, our offer will go live on Black Friday and remain in effect through Cyber Monday, and will be available on these dates across the globe, whether you’re in New Zealand or Hawaii.

A year of themes

140 premium themes and more added every week 140 premium themes and more added every week

To take advantage of this offer, just add the Premium plan to one of your blogs. Visit My Sites → Upgrades (you may need to select a site first) to…

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19 Things You Need To Know Before You Date A Sarcastic Girl

So true. I’m always set on sarcasm. 🙂

Thought Catalog

Ghost WorldGhost World

1. We’re always messing with you

Don’t take it too seriously. We’re playful, like cats with laser pointers. You’re the cat and we’re the laser pointer. Or something, I don’t know. Just take the joke and throw it back, okay?

2. Mean comments are displays of affection

There’s nothing more intimate or affectionate than me calling you an asshole and kissing you afterwards, trust.

3. We remember everything

That time you tripped outside the movie theatre, that embarrassing picture of you dressed as a LAX bro on Halloween freshman year. We like to keep our joke bank fresssssh, so don’t think that anything goes unnoticed or is off limits.

4. You can make fun of us too

We can honestly take a joke, even about our appearance. It’s fun when you bite back.

5. We come off cocky, but it’s a front

We’ll say inflated things about our…

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It’s Time For FSU and its Fans to Embrace the Role of the Villain


It’s Time For FSU and its Fans to Embrace the Role of the Villain.

Family is Forever

My older brother’s birthday passed at the end of January, and I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk about him, our relationship, our heritage, and what he means to me.

I’m really glad to have my older brother in my life.  Personally, I think a lot of people take their families for granted, but I know I never will.  My brother is the best, most supportive, accepting, loving brother anyone could ever ask for, and I’m glad he’s mine.  I’m grateful to even have a relationship with him, because for most of my life, I never thought I’d meet him.

We didn’t grow up like normal siblings, in the same house, with both of our parents – for one, he’s 13 years older than me.  For another thing, we have different mothers.  I always knew he was my brother though.  I never knew where he was, but I knew he was out there somewhere, and I hoped that maybe someday we’d get to meet.  But he didn’t know anything about his biological father’s family, or that he had siblings, until he was much older.

Just as my brother found out the truth, it seemed it was too late.  Our father was dying.  By the time he found out, he had no time to meet him, no time to say goodbye.  I barely got there in time.  So now, my brother is getting to know who our dad was through me.  And that helps us both.

My dad was an amazing dad.  And one thing he never forgot was his kids’ birthdays.  Every year, on each of my sibling’s birthdays, he would ask me, “You know what today is, right? It’s your brother/sister’s birthday.”  And he would tell me how old they were.  A few times, he even took me out for ice cream on my siblings’ birthdays, like we would have celebrated the day with them if we were all together.  I think that was one of his dreams, for all of his kids to be reunited as a family and to know he loved them.

Anyway, I really love being able to share everything with my brother.  Sometimes, especially since our dad died, it feels like he’s the only one who can understand.  I can be completely open and honest with him.  A lot of people don’t understand our Muscogee heritage, or they don’t care to take the time to, and that’s kind of hard.  Sometimes, like when I’m with my mom’s family or my in-laws, I feel like talking about my culture is wrong, and that they wish I could hide it, only, you can’t do much about the color of your skin.  I never felt like that before my dad died, and no one really said anything to me about it before he died, either.  But they have since.  I’ve never blended in with them, and my brother is in kind of the same situation.

My brother is learning as much as he can from me about our heritage, and we’re learning a lot together too.  I try to tell him as much as I can remember about family stories our dad told us, but there’s so much he told me that I couldn’t remember.  It’s good that I can share things with my brother, because it helps me remember our dad and the that way he was.  Most of our dad’s family is gone, and we’re just remembering them through pictures; it’s really only us and a few cousins that we don’t know very well.

Meeting my brother was a slow process.  After his mom got in contact with us, we eventually became friends on Facebook.  I think I may have written him an actual letter or two and sent it through the mail.  We talked for a while there, and then we exchanged phone numbers and we eventually started talking over the phone regularly.  Now, we mostly text.  About a month after our first phone conversation, I became engaged.  I invited my brother and his family to the wedding, and they made plans to come.  I ‘officially’ met him two days before the wedding, and it was definitely what I needed.

Since then I’ve seen him one other time, and that was about two months ago when I spent a week with him, my sister-in-law, and their boys shortly before Christmas.  That was the best week.  I went ice skating and had a snow ball fight with my nephews.  We had so much fun.

What I love about our relationship is that we both grew up as an only child, but even if we had’ve been around each other before, it still would have been basically that way because of our age difference.  We’re so alike.  But even though we didn’t grow up together, we know each other so well it’s like we were never apart.  And I love that.

But I really love and appreciate my brother.  He’s hoping to get to come to Florida this summer because his mom and dad (the guy he’s always called ‘Dad’) are retiring to Florida and moving back.  So I’m pretty excited, because that means I get to see all of them again.

We’ve also been tentatively talking about a family vacation later in the year, so I’m really hoping for that to happen.

Take from this whatever you want.  But coming from someone that never really had a ‘nuclear sibling’, I can assure you, you’ll never value your siblings until you know that you have them, but you may never get to meet them.  We may not get to talk and see each other as often as we’d like, but I’ll never take my family for granted.

Yeah, I Went to a Public High School

Today, I had lunch with a friend of mine and somehow we got onto the subject of our experiences in high school.  Apparently, mine were quite out of the ordinary as when I finished several of my tales she stopped and said, “I don’t think your school is even real.  Or your town.  Where did they find these teachers?”

I found that quite hilarious.  This was not the post that I had originally intended to make. This, however, seems far more entertaining.  I think I’ll save my other, more pensive post for a later date and instead entertain everyone with some rather unbelievable experiences that I went through.

I attended a public high school in the Florida panhandle, with a class size of (roughly) 206.  My high school was in the same school system and city as the elementary schools and the middle school I went to, as well as the school my mother taught at.  High school in my town was grades 9-12.  At that time, my graduating class was the biggest class to have ever come out of our school (or any school in the county, as we are the county seat), so we were supposed to be the best school in the county too (not including private schools).  I graduated in 2010, and I don’t know if I could have graduated at a better time.  I love my little town and the school I went to, but some things are just crazy.  So, here are my stories, and I hope everyone enjoys them (because they are pretty funny or just insane, for the most part).

Story One, Freshman Year, “The Science Teacher”: My freshman year was pretty easy, because when you first come into high school, people kind of take care of you.  You don’t know what you’re doing, so they generally help you find your way.  It’s been a long time since my freshman year of high school, but I can still kind of remember my class schedule.  I had my science class at the end of every day, and I hated that class.  I had a special kind of hate for that class.  I never learned anything from it, and most of the time we sat around playing BS in the back corner or playing guitar by the window.  Once we even jumped out the window and ran to the band room and skipped the class and our teacher didn’t even notice – he spent the entire period on the computer selling stuff from his online business.  There were never any tests, we just had to come up with 15 random science facts every week and read them to the class, he didn’t even care if we traded papers off with other classmates, as long as we had something.  Sounds like a pretty good teacher, right?  Wrong.

Within the first week of class, he made it obvious that he did not like certain people.  There was no legitimate reason, he just didn’t like them.  About halfway through the semester, we figured out he was racist.  He made nasty race jokes that weren’t funny, and everyone that he sent to the office was something other than white.  He also did not like boys.  He wouldn’t send a girl to the office if he could help it.  There was an incident in class one day when he was erasing something from the board and he said, “Hey girls, does my butt wiggle when I do this?” And he proceeded to shake his butt at us while ‘erasing’ the board.  A 50-something-year-old man.  Gross.

So, this class obviously sucked.  But we never took notes, or went over any material, or had tests.  Needless to say, we were shocked when he said we were going to have a final exam over what we had ‘learned’ throughout the year.  We hadn’t learned anything.  He hadn’t been teaching.  He gave us a week of looking over a powerpoint presentation (which he bothered us through, talking about things that were completely irrelevant) before the ‘exam’.  During said exam, there were a lot of things we had never even seen before.  And he walked around the room, hovering over people’s shoulders, tapping on question papers, and pointing at answers that may or may not have been right, in the attempt to throw us off and further distract us.

A week later it was the last week of school.  We didn’t have any assignments, and we were just killing time in 7th period science class.  If I remember correctly (and I have an amazing memory), a boy asked to go to the bathroom.  The teacher told him no and to go sit back down.  He waited a few minutes, then asked again.  Again, the teacher said no.  He told him he had to go really bad and he had been holding it since lunch (quite a long time, if he had first lunch like I did).  The teacher said no and to go sit back down and not to bother him again.  Instead, the boy said, “Fine, I’ll just go to the office and see if they’ll let me go.”  So the teacher said, “While you’re at it, you can sit in the principal’s office the rest of the period.  And take your friends in the back with you.”  And he sent three other boys to the office for no reason.  All of them with referral forms.  About ten minutes later, another boy asked if he could use the teacher’s phone to call his mom, and the teacher said, “No, but you can use the one in the office,” and he sent him to the office with a referral too.

Eventually, he had weeded out all the boys in our class for some reason or another, and they were all sitting in the office.  That was the first time I had seen some of my male classmates cry.  Then he started in on the girls.  Eventually, as I knew it would, he got to me.  I had opened my mouth to yawn, and, unfortunately for me, my desk was right in front of him that day.  He stared at me and said, “If you open your mouth one more time, you’re headed straight to the office.”  I just stared at him (ironically, mouth still open), then I (stupidly) said, “I was just yawning.”  He just smiled at me and shook his head.  I had fallen for his trap.  He handed me a pink office referral slip and told me told take my stuff and join my classmates in the office.  I never thought he would actually ‘write me up’, as was our term for it, especially after I had threatened him with OCR (Office of Civil Rights) earlier in the year, when he tried to for a stupid reason involving my neighboring students and jelly beans on my desk.  I took my stuff and when I walked out of the classroom, I realized why he wrote me up; I’m not white.  He had never sent a single white girl to the office once all year.  I started crying as I walked to the office (I had never been in trouble with the office before, and I didn’t want this to be on my record – I hadn’t done anything).  About halfway there, I met one of my friends who promptly freaked out when they saw me so upset with a referral slip in my hand.  Friend: “What did you do?!” *ugly crying, sobbing from me* “I’m not white!”  Friend: “Yeah, I know, but what did you do?” *me, still sobbing* “I yawned!” My friend walked me to the office, where the secretary was not happy to see yet another kid from the same class walk in, and half of these kids were in tears.  We all got sent back to the principal and told him our stories, and he sent an assistant principal to get the remaining students from the class, and we were allowed to go where we wanted, or call our parents for an early pick-up for the 30 minutes left in the day.  The principal threw away our referrals and none of them went on our records, our grades were scaled (the final was thrown out and everyone got an A as an ‘apology’), and blessedly, the teacher lost his job.

Also my freshman year, I had an English teacher who absolutely butchered Shakespeare.  It was terrible.  She had no clue what she was doing.  We didn’t even do Shakespeare the entire year, we just did whatever kind of sounded good to her (I also had her my junior year too, both were honors English classes). She tried to accuse me of cheating off someone else’s paper, which was a bit impossible as I hardy knew the person.  Plus, most of my paper was written in class, and mine was longer than theirs.  It was the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

Story Two, Sophomore Year, “The Coaches and Geometry”: Sophomore year was a whirlwind, but my personal life is for another time.  I was taking geometry that year, which was okay.  I was supposed to have this teacher (Mrs. L, we’ll say), but she broke her leg pretty badly before school started and had a lot of other complications with it and ended up not being able to teach that year.  So we had a substitute… for the whole year.  It was a guy who was really a coach, and he was a young guy, and he didn’t really know much about math.  But he was definitely more of a coach.  When we got a question wrong, he made us do ‘wall-sits’ for the rest of the period.  That’s where you press your back to the wall and squat as if you’re sitting in a chair, but there’s nothing under you to support you; it strengthens your thigh and calf muscles.  Thanks, but this isn’t gym class or band.  I don’t need the extra workout.  It turned out that he didn’t even have a degree yet, and my mother was livid.  I was out of that class the day after she found out, and I was in geometry honors, taught by one of the best math teachers in the school district.  I slept through a lot of the classes and still got a good grade, but I was behind because of the time I had been in the other class.

We also had a coach who was a pretty good algebra teacher that had a ‘Wall of Shame’ in his room.  If you made a bad grade on a test/homework, he stapled it to the cork board of shame for everyone to see and you had to come claim it.  I think that’s kind of mean, but hey, if that’s what motivates some people…

Story Three, Junior Year, “Mon Professeur De Français est une Salop”: No, I’m not going to translate that for you, ask Google Translate.  My Junior year was my second year of taking French classes, and up until then, I had really enjoyed it.  I was pretty good at French, too.  My teacher was pretty harsh though, and she was menopausal (she would literally stop class for a hot flash) and she was really pretty, to be nice, just plain mean.  I was a very sick kid (always have been), and I was out a lot for doctor’s appointments and being sick, and then I was also out with band.  I always had a legitimate excuse, though.  But at some point, I guess she had just had enough.  There were quite a few of us in the class that were in some school organization, and I guess it just bothered her with so many of us being out all at once and having to keep up with those dates.  One day, I went to hand in some homework and give her some work that I had done early because I knew I was going to miss some days (either with band or the doctor, etc).  I also asked if I was missing any other work and what the class was going to be doing while I was gone, and was there anything I needed from her.  She glanced at my papers and handed them back to me.  I looked at her and I said, “But this is my homework and my makeup work.  I’m turning it in now so it won’t be late when I get back.”  She capped her pen and stuck it behind her ear and said, “I don’t think you understand; it doesn’t matter when you give it to me.  You’re out so much that I’m just not going to accept any of your work anymore.  I don’t care if it’s late, early, or on time.  You can turn it in, but I won’t grade it.”  I was pretty shocked, and apparently so was the rest of the class, because everyone else was quiet now.  I said, “I’ll just leave this here for you,” and I left my work on her desk.  She turned right around and threw it in her trash.

Later that day, I went to the office and called my mom.  I told her what had happened and what had been said, and she called my principal.  They set up a parent-teacher conference, and my French teacher’s garbage had been gone through the day I called, my work had been retrieved, and the principal and watched her grade it and put it in the system during the conference.  (Surprise, surprise, I got a fair grade that time!)  He assured us we wouldn’t have any more problems – if only it were that easy.

I vividly remember one class that she made me sit outside the door for the entire period after she yelled at me (several teachers came out of their classrooms to close their doors) because I accidentally knocked my notebook off the desk when I didn’t have enough room to take notes.  When class ended, she wouldn’t let me back in until the next class was about to start to get my things, making me late for my next class.

I was still having problems with my work being graded.  I could look at my grades online, and it wasn’t good.  I’d had a B, and now I was down to a D because she wasn’t grading anything.  When my dad found out, all hell broke loose.  The principal and my mom and the teacher had yet another meeting, and she swore she was grading everything, but there was not proof in the grading system of it.  My mom had watched me do the homework every night, so she knew the woman was lying.  And I would try to make up tests before or after school with her, and sometimes she would come to school late (several minutes after our class started, when I was supposed to make the test up before school) just so she didn’t have to give me the test.  Once, she just didn’t show up to school one day, she didn’t even call the office to tell them she wasn’t coming, and we were a quarter of the way through our class when a senior when to the office and asked if we were supposed to have a sub or if our teacher was just late.  She took my semester exam from me at about half the allotted time and told me I was ‘done’.  I had only gotten halfway through it and that was all she allowed me to work on it.  I told the principal yet again, and he looked at my grade, and I ended up getting a B.  A couple of years later, she got fired and it came out that her boyfriend was busted for drugs and they were searching her classroom for them too.  I don’t know if she was in on it, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

That same year (junior year), I had the worst chemistry teacher ever.  He never taught.  He just liked to talk about sports and gossip with the basketball players.  I remember him talking to one basketball player about girlfriends once.  The teacher, who was 27 at the time, was trying to date a 13-year-old.  A bit sick, if you ask me.  The basketball player apparently had gotten his girlfriend pregnant and was cheating on her with four other girls.  They all thought this was hilarious.  This teacher, too, ended up getting fired at the end of the school year.

Story Four, Senior Year, “Well, in Texas…”: My Senior year was weird.  I had nothing better to do, so I found myself taking mostly band classes.  I was the band director’s TA for the majority of the day, so that meant that I basically got to do what I wanted (read: sleep).  The one class that wasn’t band was English.  It was with this new, really weird teacher that no one liked.  We were supposed to be reading British Literature Senior year, but all he wanted to do was talk about Texas.  Apparently, the Texas school system is really different from the Florida school system.  We got so sick of hearing about Texas, we asked him why he didn’t just move back there?  He said he wanted to.  I heard someone say under their breath once, “If you love Texas so much, why don’t you just marry it?”  Every day was a new fact about Texas.  Texas, Texas, Texas!  Eventually, he got so caught up in his memories of Texas that he just stopped teaching the class.  That, and he couldn’t figure out what ‘The Canterbury Tales’ by Geoffrey Chaucer was all about.  A friend and I who had actually been reading the book instead of listening to his stories about Texas for half the semester decided to take pity on everyone that couldn’t figure it out either.  During class, we had little ‘study groups’.  We would read the next passage in Middle English, and the translation was on the next page.  So we would explain it before we got there and see if everyone could figure it out on their own.  It was a lot of fun, and I got pretty good at reading Middle English.  When we studied Beowulf, we studied the Old English writing and used it in our projects for the school’s English fair.  My friend and I basically taught our entire class for the semester.  After that, we both decided to take the class online the next semester.  I passed with a near perfect grade and finished the class over a month before school ended.  I never found out how the Texas class did.

So, that was part of my public school experience.  And it was an odd one.  For the most part, though, it was fun.  I always get a kick out of telling these stories to people, because they can’t believe I went to a school where all this stuff happened.  We also had bomb threats, gun threats, and all kinds of crazy things.

Depression – I Have a Confession to Make, But I’m Not Crazy

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling

*Just a warning, this is a very graphic depiction of depression, so if you aren’t prepared to read something like this, please don’t.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’m posting this as there seems to be an epidemic lately at my former high school.  Kids are committing suicide and are self-harming more than they did when I was in school, and that’s a scary thought for me.  So many young lives are being lost because no one takes the time anymore to really realize that when someone isn’t acting right, there might be something more to it than ‘just a phase’.  This is for those kids, any that went to my high school or that still go, and for anyone that battles depression and anxiety.

I would generally describe myself as a ‘happy’ person, but I haven’t always been.  Sometimes, it’s really hard to be that way, too.  There was a time in my life, several times, actually, that I remember being seriously, even dangerously depressed.  Depression is not something I just ‘got over’, however; at times, it comes back with a vengeance.  It is a constant fight, every time I find that something is overwhelming for me or more than I can handle on my own.  And I told no one.  I actively sought help from no one, namely because I was scared.  I had scared myself, and I couldn’t stand the thought of the look on someone else’s face when I told them how my own thoughts had betrayed me so viciously.  I am a very independent person, and it hurt my pride to think that I needed help controlling my own thoughts.  I’ve always been independent, and I wasn’t willing to accept help from people who I felt had turned their backs on me; so instead I retreated further within myself, and I retreated to my books, but I also turned to God (which was probably the only good thing I did for myself at this point).  I also never told anyone because at times, I didn’t think anyone would listen or would care, aside from my parents.  And that’s not exactly something a parent wants to hear from their child, that they’re (undiagnosed) clinically depressed and have had suicidal thoughts, but they didn’t want to tell you because they didn’t you to think they were crazy.

I really haven’t told many people about this, but I’m thinking that I should now.  It’s something I need to do, and I need to be honest.  I’ve never been the type of person most people would peg as ever having been depressed, especially to the extent I have.  I guess I’m just too good of an actress.  I grew up in a nice, big loving home with both of my biological parents.  I’ve been lovingly (and sometimes not-so-lovingly) called spoiled, though I never saw it that way.  My parents took very good care of me growing up, and afforded me every opportunity possible to better myself; they wanted me to have the things they didn’t as children, and they didn’t want things to be as hard for me as it was for them.  I have to admit, my parents did an admirable job, especially considering what they each had to start with.  They really beat the odds (especially my dad, whose parents were illiterate, and he helped to teach me to read).  I have an IQ of nearly 140, and I was in the gifted program through school.  What would a kid like me, that most would consider ‘privileged’, have to be depressed about?

I’ve never been very good at making friends.  It’s always given me anxiety, even when I was little.  My first day of kindergarten, I remember coming home crying to my mother because the only person I knew in my class was my cousin, but the teacher wouldn’t let me play with him at recess because she wanted me to ‘make other friends’, so I ended up spending recess by myself and getting a lot of weird looks.  I’m just not that good at the whole process – a new person that I know nothing about that probably doesn’t care in the slightest to know me better…  It kind of distresses me, because when I meet people, I genuinely am interested in them, but I rarely earn more than a passing thought from most people.  Am I just so easily forgettable?  I’m just kind of awkward, and maybe that’s a side-effect of being a nerd.  The friends I have managed to make, I’ve ended up losing about half of or ‘growing apart’ from, and that’s just kind of sad.  But it’s the ones I’ve lost and the falling-outs that have been the worst.

I’m rambling about my own short-comings.  Back to the topic.  A lot of people try to diagnose themselves with depression, when in fact they’re just very upset over something.  Clinical depression is much more serious and lasts for much longer than a few weeks.  I’ve studied depression, its symptoms, and the psychology behind it since I was in high school; being that I’m a psychology major on my way to becoming a licensed counselor, I know how to recognize the signs of a truly depressed person (regardless of the fact that I’ve been there, too).  Being depressed isn’t just being sad over a breakup or because you got a bad grade on a test – it goes deeper than that.  Maybe these things are contributors, but in the long run, everything just kind of builds up and weighs you down until you just stop altogether.  With depression, you just don’t see the point in the things you used to love.  When I find my depression settling back in, I literally don’t want to do anything.  I’ve spent days before just staring at the wall, not really thinking about anything, only going through the motions of living.  There have been days when I’ve forgotten to eat, because it just didn’t seem important and no one told me to.  Was I hungry?  Sure.  Was it a pressing matter?  No.  I lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time because of this, combined with the fact that I had been put on migraine medications that made you lose weight.  I love music, but there have been times where I’ve gone weeks without listening to a single song, because I just couldn’t stand it.  When I was in high school, my dad would come to wake me up in the morning and I remember days where I woke up crying because I hadn’t died in my sleep.  And I would put on my mask, and no one ever knew.  But then, those were the days that I went weeks at a time without having a single person talk to me all day, and I would come home in the afternoon and think, “Is today the day?  Will I finally get the courage to do it today?  Will it hurt?  Would anyone even miss me?  No one seems to pay me any mind right now, I doubt it would make much of a difference if I was gone.”  I read books on it.  I researched it.  I even have a book, By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters, and it gave me awful ideas and warned me about how painful each one was.  (It’s a fictional book, but it talks about a girl who was depressed and had attempted suicide 3 times and was planning another attempt and was researching it, and she was determined not to fail this time.)  I was constantly tired, but I would stay up all night because no matter how tired I was, I couldn’t sleep.  That’s never gone away.

What I felt would make me ‘better’ was if someone would have taken five minutes and just noticed how hard I was trying to hold it together.  I needed human contact outside of my family, and I felt abandoned by most of my friends.  I had stopped hanging out with them almost entirely.  I just needed someone to talk to, and I didn’t feel like I had anyone.  I still went to Wednesday night youth group in the hope of some interaction, but I had generally stopped ‘hanging out’ beforehand and getting food because I felt unwanted there too – and my one friend in the group was busy working for the church before youth group.  My best friend had found new friends who were ‘more fun’, and I had been replaced.  The time she and I had spent together on the weekends and at lunch she now spent with her new friends.  I felt more alone than ever, and I felt like I was drowning in the darkness in my mind.  Those little voices in my head didn’t like me, and they were starting to win.  I was never good enough, I felt.  If I was, why didn’t I have any friends?  Why didn’t people want to spend time with me?  Why couldn’t I be in on their jokes, instead of always being the butt of them?  I was never smart enough, and I still feel that way a lot.  Even though I have such a high IQ and my grades are up there with the best of them, I’m still bottom of the barrel. (Thought: Is it possible that madness is a side-effect of intelligence?) I get those looks from other people, as if they’re superior to me, that I’m not worthy of knowing what they know, that I’ll never be smart enough.  Even though I threw myself wholly into my studies, and worked until I fell asleep, it still wasn’t good enough.  I was never pretty enough.  I wasn’t a size 2, and I had struggled with my weight since middle school.  I had been attacked for it, and it hurt.  My face wasn’t the most beautiful thing either, and I was aware of it.  I didn’t know how to wear makeup properly until I was 16 or so, and I still got strange looks for it.  I had always wanted jet black hair, like my daddy had, or maybe dark red hair like my cousin, but instead I got dirty blonde, nothing special.  No, I’ve never been anything special.

I didn’t feel like I could go to my family with this.  My cousin was already suffering from depression, along with a multitude of other things (most of which were not her fault, nor did she actually have most of the disorders she was charged with), and everyone had labeled her as ‘crazy’ and ‘attention-seeking’.  The way she was talked about (and the way I was shot down as I relentlessly defended her) was just further confirmation of my decision not to tell anyone about my own depression.  My cousin had self-harmed; I never did, as I can’t stand pain.  I never told my family because I didn’t want them to think I was crazy, too.  I’m already not that respected, but respect can be earned.  It would be worse if they thought I was crazy, in my eyes.  They thought my cousin was crazy because they didn’t understand what she was going through and how terrified she felt, and I knew they would call me crazy for the same reasons.  I didn’t want to lose what little love I felt I had in my life and exchange it for pity, or even worse, my parents’ irrational fear that I knew would come if/when I ever told them.  I didn’t want people to feel that they had to lock up everything that I could potentially harm myself with, as I wasn’t actively seeking death traps, nor have I ever been that morbid.  I didn’t want those ‘you know you’re important and we love you’ talks that some of my other cousins and aunts and uncles gave to my cousin at family gatherings that I knew she hated, because they were afraid that might be the last time they saw her.  I didn’t want that to be me too.  So I never said anything.  I just dealt with it (or in my dad’s words, I ‘sucked it up’).

Several times, my mother said, “I can’t understand why someone would ever want to kill themselves…”  I knew then that, as much as I love my mother, she would never be able to understand.  She looked at it from an entirely Christian perspective, and couldn’t possibly see it another way.  Her reasoning was that, if you commit suicide, you’ll go to Hell as it’s the last sin you’ll ever commit and there won’t be time or a way to ask for forgiveness, so why would you ever want to do that if you’re knowingly condemning yourself?  She had always heard, “Suicide is the coward’s way out,” and she believes it to be true.  I don’t think the same way.  If suicide was the coward’s way out, I would have been dead a long time ago.  I think it takes a great deal of courage to attempt to take your own life (not saying it’s a courageous act, nor am I supporting it), not knowing what will be waiting for you when you die, and that’s courage I never had.  Because what if you survive the attempt?  Will you be messed up?  I never tried because I was scared of the possibilities if I didn’t succeed.  And Hell.  I certainly thought about it, many times over, and I came very close several of those times.  But, for those who see it from my mother’s POV, why would a person entertain these thoughts?  For many reasons.  One could be that they just feel so utterly alone, and they feel that their death really would not be that great of a loss.  That’s exactly how I felt.  I felt that no one would miss me, and the event would go relatively unnoticed, and after a couple of weeks everyone could continue on with their lives.  I even planned it.  I started trying to give my things away.  I took down all the decorations in my room, as I figured there was no need for them to be up anymore if no one would be occupying it.  I almost wrote a will.  I wondered where I would do it, and who would find me.  Would they be sad, or just, oh…  Another reason could be that they just really see no point in living if life is so awful.  Some people are just tired of feeling so sad or so inadequate and feel that it isn’t worth it anymore.  Some people do it because they feel like (and this sounds crazy, but I’ve heard it before, and I hate to admit it, thought it before) they’re in the way, and they would be doing others a favor if they just simply weren’t anymore.  Maybe that’s harsh, but it’s true.  It sounds crazy for someone to think their existence is a bother, but when people constantly, blatantly ignore you or go literally out of their way (like in the other direction just to avoid talking to you – someone you considered to be a very close friend), you kind of start thinking, “Would you prefer it if I just didn’t exist?  Would that make things easier for you?”  They also say that suicide is a selfish act.  I’m not so sure about that, either.  Because the entire time you’re doing all these things, you’re watching other people; either hoping and praying that they’ll notice how reclusive you’ve become and how unhealthy it is, and they’ll reach out to you and stop you in time, or you’re hoping that no one will and you can put an end to all your pain.  And you’re constantly thinking about how it will affect others, mostly wondering about who would care.  You can kind of pick out who would and wouldn’t, even if they don’t know you very well.  And sometimes, you’re trying to give others things (this is the giving stuff away thing I talked about) because you want to help them and be nice and leave them with something while you can.

So if I was so depressed, why didn’t I ever attempt it, you ask?

I certainly thought about it.  I thought about every option in the book.  Those that weren’t painful that is.  Then, one Wednesday night before church, when I was 17 or 18, I’m sitting on my bathroom floor after a particularly lonely day at school, just thinking.  I was debating, really.  I was thinking about the pills on my counter, or the electric heater I could plug up and put in the bathtub and fill it with water, or the various cleaners I could ingest.  I was seriously considering it that day, and I was leaning towards the heater option, because you can’t pump electricity out of someone’s body.  And I was just sitting there on my bathroom floor, sobbing my eyes out, when a voice in my head said, “What are you doing?  This isn’t what you really want.  You don’t want to die.  You just want to be happy and have friends.  You want to laugh again.  It’s been a long time since you’ve laughed.  You want to live and do something good.  Go back to your room until church starts.”  It was like something clicked in my head.  I listened to that little voice, and I went back to my room, and later I had a good night at church.  Eventually, things started getting better.  Not great, but better.  Life was good.  But then, it’s a few years later, and I’m nearly 21 years old, and I find myself sitting on the bathroom floor of my apartment again and I’m crying, with the cupboard under the bathroom sink wide open and I’m reaching for the bleach.  Then I hear that voice again, “What’s the matter with you?!  What are you doing?  Stop!  You don’t want this.  You want life.  You want to write books.  You want to help people.  Go watch some TV or a Disney movie.  Paint something.  Remember what it’s like to be happy.  You haven’t been there in a while.”  And so I did.  Every now and then though, I’ll have these thoughts, when I’m particularly upset, something like, “I’m so sick of this.  Why can’t I just die already?  Then no one could hate me, no one could be mean anymore.”

But what stopped me each time?

Mostly, that little voice.  Call it what you will, my conscience, the voice of God, or a guardian angel, but it definitely made me stop mid-action and realize that I was acting out of desperation.  It was a cry for help.  They say those who commit suicide really never wanted to commit it, they just wanted someone to listen and understand, or someone to stop them and tell them they weren’t crazy.  And as someone who has been on the brink of that, I can say that’s 100% true.  What else stopped me?  Guilt.  I thought about how much it would hurt my mother, since I’m her only child, and I knew I could never go through with it.  I couldn’t put her through that, especially after we lost my dad.  And she’s always said losing a child has to be the worst kind of pain, and I don’t want her to have to know it.  She already lost children through miscarriages and tubal pregnancies, it wouldn’t be right for her to have to bear the loss of a child she actually had as well.  That doesn’t mean those thoughts don’t still creep into my brain.  They do, but at least now they’re more easily fought.  Another reason I never went through with it: the fear of Hell.  I hope that someone isn’t reading this thinking, “You considered suicide because you didn’t have much faith in God.”  Quite the opposite, really.  I prayed daily (sometimes I forget to, though) that God would change my situation – but sometimes I was praying that He would change it to my vision of a specific thing, and that’s where I was wrong, because I didn’t understand to simply ask Him to change the situation how He saw fit.  I knew that God loved me, and that seeing me hurt hurt Him.  I had constant faith that God would do something, if I just put my trust in Him.  I don’t know if that’s true about it being the last sin you’ll ever commit, and therefore there’s no forgiveness for it.  I would never tell someone who lost a loved one to suicide that, because I don’t know that for certain.  I don’t know how God judges someone who committed suicide but still believed in Him and loved Him.  Surely He wouldn’t turn them away because they felt so desperately alone on this earth and they felt not that dying was a way out, but that they were finally going to somewhere they belonged and would be loved?  I don’t know how God works.  And I know the Bible says that you will never be alone, because God is with you, and that sometimes you might get more than you can handle, but with God, you’ll be able to handle it.  But I know even God has to have special cases, and I’m not here to figure out what that is.  The Bible says God is a just, good, and merciful God, so I’ll have faith that He will judge each situation according to the person’s heart, because God is perfect, and when it’s all over, God still loves us no matter what we do.  I guess I’m still trying to console myself.  I never went through with anything because I never knew for sure what would happen, and Hell scares me.  I want to avoid it at all costs, and after I had calmed down enough to reason with myself and talk myself out of things, I really thought it through.  Plus, if what my mom had said was true, and I had ever gone through with my plans, I would have been separated from my dad and my family for eternity.  And I couldn’t bear that.  It’s been nearly 3 years since my dad died, and that’s been bad enough – eternity I can’t even begin to fathom.

So there it is.  One of my deep, dark, dirty secrets.  I guess it’s pretty bad.  I wouldn’t know, I’ve never had many secrets that needed keeping, especially nothing ‘deep and dark’.  I never rebelled against my parents as a teen, or at any point, really, and aside from the odd disagreement we got along pretty well.  I saw my parents’ rules as extremely fair, lenient even, and I guess they thought I was a pretty decent kid (as far as kids go nowadays), so I generally got to do as I pleased as long as I cleared it with them first – not that I ever wanted to do much of anything that didn’t involve band, books, or church.  I never did drugs, nor did I try alcohol in my high school years.  Everyone knew I was forever the ‘good girl’, and I would have no part in it if it pertained to illicit activities.  I guess you could say I was quite innocent.  But I was lonely and sad, and I felt rejected.  I felt unwanted, and no matter what I tried to fill it with, no matter how many books I read, no matter how much school work I did, I couldn’t seem to fill that void.  I’m getting better now, and it’s not so bad.  I might still have a day every now and then where I just feel like there’s no point in doing anything, but that comes and goes.  My insomnia is still pretty bad (I’ve gone 48 hrs without sleep before), so I might have to look into a light sleeping medication for it.  I (mostly) know who my real friends are, and I try to keep in touch with them regularly.  It’s amazing what leaving high school will do for some people.  There’s still a few other parts of my life I’m trying to sort out, but I’m taking it a little bit at a time, and I’m learning how to handle it better.  I’ve learned that other people don’t determine my self-worth, and that’s for me to decide for myself.  I’m slowly learning how to love myself (and like myself), but I think I might have to make some changes in order to fully do that.  I’ve learned that not getting an A in a class or on a test doesn’t mean you aren’t smart or worth it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your hardest.  I’m learning to appreciate the way I look more, and to take care of myself better – for my own health.  If I want to be able to help other people, I need to figure out how to help myself first.  I’m learning that it’s not so much about ‘fixing’ me as it is changing the way I think and being nicer to myself.  It’s hard to go through life when you have a live-in critic who’s mean to you all the time.  I’m also learning that I don’t have to do it all by myself.  For a long time, I was so afraid to ask for help or to relinquish even a bit of control over some part of my life, but it really helped when I accepted the fact that I don’t have control at all – God does, and I just need to take things as they come, and ask Him to help me through them.  And He gave me friends (and family) for that, too.  It’s like what my pastor said at church last week: we have people here on earth to talk to, and we have God to help us get through everything; we never walk alone.  Once I realized that, life became a lot easier.  I’ve slowly started confiding a lot more in my friends, and though they don’t realize it, it’s really taken a lot for me to open up to them, even though I think of them as brothers and sisters.  So overall, I’m doing better.

That’s my story.  Or that part of it, anyway.  I hope it helped bring understanding to someone, or maybe it helped give someone the courage to talk to someone – either to reach out to a friend that’s hurting, or to ask someone to listen because they’re the one that’s hurting.  If anyone has their own story to tell about something like this, I’m always willing to listen.  If anyone is depressed and just needs someone to talk to, I’m always here, and I can guarantee I’ll understand.

Stephen King

Stephen King