Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's always something with me.

I ended up in the ER today.

Not because of a seizure, praise God, but because of chest pain unlike anything I can recall having ever experienced.

After a bunch of bloodwork and a chest X-ray, everything came back normal, and a dose of morphine took my pain down enough that I was no longer wanting to scream and cry, the doctor came in and said everything came back normal. He said that because I've had pleurisy attacks in the past, that was his best guess as to what was going on, despite not being able to see inflammation on the X-ray. Either way, he said there was nothing he could do, so he sent me home. My pain level was still at an 8. I knew he was right, that there wasn't really anything he could do after ruling out all of the scary stuff, but it still wasn't comforting to go home in that much pain without pretty confident answers.

The one positive of this trip, aside from it not being because of a seizure, is that I had a nurse that I absolutely love. And after the doc first ordered me a pain med that is basically glorified Ibuprofen (even though he knew I'd already taken Ibuprofen) and that I knew wouldn't work, but I took it to appease him, my nurse went back and got the doc to get me the morphine because the pain had only gotten worse. Yay for a great nurse and a doc who didn't treat me like a drug-seeker.

Of course this was the one day that I didn't bring my phone charger thinking it wouldn't be a big deal for the two hours I'd be at church (thanks, Murphy's law), but I managed to make my phone battery last through the whole time until I got home. I'm really thankful for that because I had the three girls who helped me at church when all of this happened plus several of my friends praying and keeping me "company." That's about all I can ask for.

I'm not worried about all of this. I know I'll be fine, and that I'm just going to be pretty miserable for a while until it goes away. I'm really just aggravated with the timing. This pain really, really sucks, and the next 3 weeks until the end of the semester and I leave for NC are going to be absolutely crazy and packed to the max, so I cannot afford to have pain make me waste any of my days. So if you see this, if you wouldn't mind praying that this pain goes away soon and that I can handle all of my work in the meantime, I would really appreciate it.

Okay, I'm going to watch my Sunday night TV show, Quantico (check it out!!!), and go to bed. Because morphine.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I Wish

I wish things could go back to the way they were. The way they were when none of this had happened and we were just good friends who could talk about anything.

I wish I'd never told you how I felt. It seems like that was the spark that made everything explode.

I wish you'd never texted me. Because then I saw a side of you I never knew existed and a side that changed the way I look at you.

I wish I could quit feeling the way I do. I know it's not worth it. I know it's just setting myself up for disaster. But as much as I've been pretending it's not still this way, it really is.

I wish I wasn't so good at reading into things. Reading into the things you said and taking them the way I (and others) thought they came across only to find out that that wasn't it at all was crushing.

I wish we weren't on different pages. Things would be so much easier that way.

I wish I wasn't scared of you. That I wasn't terrified you'll hurt me again. That the idea of talking to you again didn't make my palms sweat. Because you were always one of the people it was easiest for me to talk to, and I miss that. But I'm scared I'll find confirmation that things really have irreparably changed.

I wish I could trust you again. But not only did what you did to begin with damage that trust, the fact that you still don't realize exactly why what you did hurt me so badly makes me wonder if you understand anything about me at all.

I wish I didn't let you in as far as I did. That feels like a huge mistake now, even as I hope and pray that things will go back to the way they were in the beginning, because I want to be wrong about this. I want this to not have as many lasting effects as I think it's going to.

I wish you, and this, didn't make me feel so weak. I worked so hard to get out of a relationship that completely broke me down and destroyed my confidence in myself and in my strength, and then I fell into this.

I wish I could forget this. That you weren't the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I fall asleep.

I wish I could forget you. I would feel so much less overwhelmed if I could just forget you ever meant so much to me, because then this wouldn't mean so much to me.

I wish I could just hate you, honestly. Because then I wouldn't feel like this. Then I wouldn't want things to go back to the way they were and risk getting hurt all over again. Then I'd be able to get you out of my head because I wouldn't want you there. But I don't hate anyone; anyone who knows me knows that.

So I don't hate you, not even close. I hate the way you make me feel, but I don't hate you. I hate what happened, but I don't hate you. I hate being scared, but I don't hate you. I hate that you hurt me, but I don't hate you. I hate missing you, but I don't hate you.

I love you. Beyond all explanation, I do. And I hope you still love me in some way.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

On Love and Equality

Fair warning: I'm going to talk about gay marriage in this post. Don't like it? Feel free to stop reading here.

Tonight, my friend Summer told me to watch this documentary called Bridegroom, the story of Tom and Shane, two men in love, in a deeply committed relationship that was cut short when Tom died in a tragic accidental fall off a roof. Tom's very conservative parents took Tom's body back to their home state and cut Shane out of the picture, banning him from the funeral and acting as though he never existed at Tom's funeral service.

The movie is an hour and twenty minutes long, and in that 80 minutes, I smiled at the stories of how wonderful Tom's friends made him seem, I was envious of the love that he and Shane had, I laughed hysterically at Shane's grandma and great-grandma (seriously), I felt heartbroken, I wanted to punch Tom's parents in the throat, and then I smiled again knowing that Tom's dream came true and gay marriage is now legal in all 50 states.

I just don't get it. I don't get how parents can physically attack their son just because he told them he was gay, and then use the Bible to justify it. I don't understand how they can threaten the man he loved with physical harm if he so much as showed up to the funeral. I don't get how they can be so in denial about a huge part of who their son is that they won't even accept it after he's dead. And the sickening part to me is that I know that Tom's parents aren't the only people in America who would act like this towards their children and their same-sex partners/husbands/wives.

When did "religious liberty" become more important than love? When did six verses in the Bible, none of which were said by Jesus, become more important than the King we're supposed to serve, the one whose two greatest commandments are both about love? When did fear of something different, something you may not naturally understand, become more important than relationships?

I don't understand how someone could be so stuck in their belief system that they would kick another person out of their lives (Shane lost his best friend and was ostracized by his entire town). I don't understand how you can decide that someone, another living and breathing human being, is worthless or evil or disgusting simply because they love someone of the same sex. This world is screwed up enough as it is and has plenty of hateful people in it. Why would anyone want to vilify some of the others who are just trying to live in love?

A lot of evangelicals in America seem to think that "freedom of religion" means they get to force their Christian beliefs on the rest of the country, arguing that "America needs to get back to its Christian morals." But here's the thing - America wasn't founded on Christian morals. America's foundation is built on not giving preference to one religion over another, or religion over agnosticism/atheism. And also? These Christian evangelicals are so sure about what the Bible says, but here's a little passage from Matthew Paul Turner that I completely agree with.

What if all of your "God inspired" declarations about the LGBTQ communities are incorrect? What if all of those Bible verses you point to in defense of your opinions don't mean what you think they mean? Or what if they do mean what you think they mean, except they were written with context for a particular people during a particular time because of particular circumstances...But what if you're wrong? What if all of the blatant statements you've made against gay people are little more than wasted words, spiritualized hatred that you've mistakenly packaged with Christ? What if all of the time/energy you've spent fighting/debating/proclamating is just lost time/energy that could have been used for some other, more life-giving activity? Being passionately wrong has consequences, and that's true regardless of whether or not you present your views hatefully or with so-called Christian love.

I wish people would quit acting like they're being victimized by LGBTQ+ people, as well as their allies, bringing this issue to the forefront of conversation and moving the normalization of same-sex relationships forward. Who someone else is in love with does not hurt you, gay or straight. They are not victims of the LGBTQ+ community; they are victims of their own fear, which paralyzes them from relationships with people that can be just as supportive, loving, and life-giving as straight people. This fear can play out in many different relationships, I know it has in my life, but it just makes even less sense to me when you refuse to get to know someone because you see them as less than simply because of their sexual orientation.

You know what I thought for the majority of Bridegroom? I thought that I hope I find a love like Shane and Tom's one day. I've met my fair share of people in loving, beautiful relationships/marriages, but there was something about the way that Shane talked about Tom, and the way that Shane's family and their friends talked about their relationship, that just screamed this is something special. As cliché as it is, love is love. It doesn't matter the sex of the people in the relationship. You know real, deep love when you see it. What's in between someone's legs has nothing to do with their ability to love or be loved.

It is not a choice. It is not something that can be prayed away. It is not something that can be "fixed" by a psychiatrist. It is not a mind game or a joke. Shane tells his story of praying he wasn't gay, and I've heard similar stories from friends of mine who are gay. I've also heard comments from people who seem to not only genuinely believe that gay people choose to be gay, but also don't understand the point when someone asks them if they chose to be straight. No one would choose to be something that gets them tormented, ostracized, and sometimes attacked. Correct me if I wrong, but don't you want to just be accepted and loved as you are? Yeah? Well, what makes you think gay people are any different?

I hope that fifty years from now, people will look at homophobia the way that many of us look at racism now, that it will seem backwards and wrong and not make sense. Because while gay marriage becoming legalized in all 50 states is a huge step forward, we still have so far to go. Kids (and I mean actual, like, 11-year-old kids) are committing suicide because they're being bullied for being gay. Parents are throwing their children, the ones they're supposed to love and protect, out on the streets because they're gay. Stuff like this is just not okay.

Even if you are someone who believes that homosexuality is a sin, where's your human decency? Where are the pro-life people fighting for all life? Sexual orientation does not make up all that a person is. LGBT+ people, just like straight people, are people with hopes, dreams, aspirations, fears, passions, talents, and love in them. God made every single one of us in His image, a masterpiece, a beautiful work of art. God is perfect, righteous, and good. A perfect God doesn't make mistakes. He knew each one of us before we were born. He knew exactly who each one of us would be. We are wonderfully made. No corollaries, no classifications.

I long for the day when we can stop classifying them as LGBT+ people and just see them like everyone else is seen: as people.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Get out of my head.

You know how people say, like, "If I tell you don't think about a purple elephant, don't think about a purple elephant, don't think about a purple elephant, what are you going to be thinking about? A purple elephant."?

Yeah, well, I have a purple elephant in my head.

I was starting to do so well forgetting something/someone, not thinking about it, putting it behind me and starting to feel like my normal self again emotionally...and then I started having dreams.

Every time I slept. Dreams.

Bad dreams.

About the same person. And the same thing.

Without fail.

Which, as you might guess, kind of ruins the whole "forgetting about it" thing because all of these dreams get in my head, and then the more I tell myself to forget about it and shake it off and move on, the more it sticks.

I hate this. I hate that this person has so much control over my emotions, especially considering they almost certainly have no clue how much they're controlling.

I hate that things may never go back to the way they were.

I hate being reminded of just how much damage words can do.

I hate how everything blew up so quickly.

I hate realizing that there's a lot I don't know about someone I thought I knew very well.

And mostly, right now, I just really hate that I can't get this stupid purple elephant out of my head.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015


Relationship issues with a friend of mine over the past 3 weeks have pulled some old wounds back to the surface, both very old wounds that I didn't realize were still there and pretty new wounds that are still stinging and still a bit raw. So it's been hard.

Forgiveness wasn't the hard part. Forgiveness was easy. I've forgiven this friend. The hard part is getting a grasp on the fear that all of this current stuff triggered because of the stuff I've been through in the past.

It wasn't until therapy today that I realized that I've been putting relationships from my past (ex. Landon) on this current friendship and this current problem. This friend is not Landon. This is the first time this friend has ever given me, shall we say, cause for concern, and we've actually had a conversation to reconcile things, whereas Landon never would have been open to having that conversation and hearing me out to understand where I was coming from. This friend has made it clear that they want to remain friends, whereas Landon would have shown no sign of concern at the possibility of losing me.

I've been scared to talk to this friend because I'm scared of getting played, I'm scared of getting hurt again, but my therapist helped me realize that if I didn't talk to them despite the fear, the trust would never be rebuilt and I might as well give up on our friendship now.

I read online yesterday a quote that hit me really hard. "A life worth living is dangerous." I can't allow what has happened to let me shut myself down again. It's still very hard for me to let people in very far, especially as far as I let this friend in, so now that that trust has been betrayed, my instinct is to go "See, this is why I shouldn't trust people," but the real truth is that I have so many people who love me. And if I hadn't trusted enough to let people into my life, I would have missed out on so many friendships in the past few years that have made me better, stronger, and wiser. And I wouldn't trade those people to avoid all the heartache in the world.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I came to a realization today. I was under the mistaken impression that because I've grown so much from the person that I was before, that I would be able to leave the pain and scars that girl faced in the past along with her. But they are always going to be a part of me. They are always going to color my perspective in some sense.

The key is this: I can't let the triggers of my past dictate the relationships of my future. That's not fair to the people in my life now, and it's also not fair to me.

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Price of Authenticity

Authentic relationships come at a price.

To get them, you have to give up your walls and your facades, and you also have to let go of your fear of seeing behind other people's walls. You have to put your heart on the line, even when it's hard, and you have to see the hearts of those around you beyond the ugly stuff that will often make people run away. You have to let go of your pride and pick up more empathy than most of us are naturally accustomed to carrying.

In the world we live in today, the world of social media and privacy settings and Instagram filters, we get to pick and choose the image that we want to put out. We get to post the pictures of the beautiful things and the fun experiences and write the statuses about how wonderful life is without having to tell people when we're struggling if we don't want to. And telling people about all the awesome things going on is a lot easier and more comfortable than admitting that life may not be so great right now.

It can be terrifying to have someone else's vulnerabilities laid out right in front of you, just as terrifying as if you're the one who is putting the most personal parts of yourself out there open for judgment or rejection. It's so much easier to say, "Nope. Forget it." Organic food is all the rage, but organic relationships scare the crap out of us.

I know. I had to deal with it today. I went to lunch with a girl from church, and she asked me to tell her my story. I love sharing my story with people, that's no secret, but that doesn't make it easy to do it. It's hard to go back to memories I've worked so hard to move past. It's hard to talk about my dad, even after 16 years, because I get hit with the reminder of everything I've missed out on. It's hard to talk about feelings because they take me back to the girl I spent so much time letting go of and moving beyond.

When you let go and get real, things get messy. But they also get so much more beautiful. It's beautiful to have people who know you in your bones and stand by you. Because those people, those relationships, they're what get you through life when everything feels like it's falling apart. For me, the people with whom I've managed to form authentic relationships are the people I can't imagine my life without now. They're the people whom I can run to when I'm upset or lost or angry or hurt and know that I don't have to be afraid to say whatever I'm feeling. They're the people who know my deepest scars, where I've been, and what I'm most afraid of.

But the most beautiful part is they know that I'll be just as loyal to them through their messy stuff as they are to me. Authentic relationships are about safety for both people, not just one. Clayton, knowing that I often worry about taking too much and not giving enough, once told me in order to assuage my fears that our relationship wouldn't possibly go as deep or be as strong as it is if he were the only one giving. That's something that has always stuck with me, because it's not just a reminder of how strong our relationship is, but also the fact that God can do so much good through us, even when we can't see how it's possible.

You don't have to always get it right, because let's face it - none of us will always get it right. When our relationships are truly authentic, we don't have to always get it right because the relationships will overcome the times we mess everything up. I got to experience that this weekend. The past two weeks have been really tough with someone that has been very, very dear to me for a couple years now, and honestly, I wondered for a bit if we could overcome it, but we had a conversation yesterday that I believe led us back to the place of understanding each other we'd always been at before everything sort of...blew up. This person and I, we've both always said that nothing could break the bond that we have with each other, and considering this is the first time we've ever had a problem, it's really nice to get the confirmation that we were right.

So yeah, authentic relationships cost a lot. But if you ask me, the reward makes it all worth it.

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Friday, November 13, 2015


Visiting Paris was one of the reasons I decided to take French in high school.

It's one of the reasons my dream became becoming the US Ambassador to France.

This city holds a very special place in my heart.

My heart aches for the people of that beautiful city tonight. For the lives lost. For their loved ones left behind. For the shooting survivors. For all the people of Paris, whose lives have been torn apart this year from this tragedy so soon after recovering from the Charlie Hebdo attack in January.

So we must pray. And we must let the people of France know that we are with them.

It was such a beautiful sight to me to see shots of One World Trade's spire lit up in the colors of the French flag. After 9/11, a giant American flag was spread out near the Eiffel Tower. We are all one.

But you know what the beautiful part about today is?

If you're on Twitter, check out the hashtags #PorteOuverte and #strandedinUS.

Porte Ouverte is people living all over Paris opening their doors to people who can't get home for whatever reason seeking refuge from the chaos (with taxi drivers turning off their meters to get everyone where they need to go).

Stranded in US is people all over America taking in people whose France-bound flights were canceled when the French president closed the borders.

Love is greater than fear.

Light is greater than dark.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The harsh reality.

This video is hard to watch, but it's needed.
A bunch of veterans talk about their first kill….and it’s intense
God bless our veterans. They do what I'd never be brave enough to do and carry home memories I can't even begin to fathom.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

On to the semis!

Oh my boys.

November certainly has been an interesting month for them.

November 4th, they played Liberty and one of the freshmen whom I've started getting to know and already semi-adopted scored this AMAZING goal on a free kick from like 30 yards out. It was so amazing it got recognized by FOX Soccer. A huge deal for someone from this tiny school. Watch. :)

November 7th, they had their final regular season game against UNC Asheville. As I said before, if they won this, they would earn the #4 seed in the conference and earn the right to host their quarterfinal match of the tournament. A kid named Brad scored his 14th goal of the season to secure the 1-0 win for us. Quarterfinal at home Tuesday!

Then came tonight. Game against Longwood, playing for passage to the semifinals. Longwood beat us 2-1 at the end of September, so not only was this big for tournament reasons, I knew it would feel good for the boys to get a revenge win. This game was INTENSE. The field was muddy because they've been getting a ton of rain, so bodies were flying all over the place, leading to some fouls that may not have happened if the field were dry. It also led to some hilarious moments from Josh and Isaiah where they LEAPED over defenders who had slipped in front of them. Longwood got on the board first off a corner kick. Brad (surprise surprise) spun around like three defenders AND the goalie and scored a goal just five minutes later. Then, Longwood got up 2-1 just before halftime.

I may or may not have screaming at my computer throughout the second half, praying that they would at least get an equalizer to send it to overtime. Oh, me of little faith. ;) 72nd minute, Reafe sent a pass to Isaiah, and he legit shot the ball through the goalie's legs. Hope was alive! And THEN, 83rd minute, another freshman scored a beautiful game winner!!

Now, on to the semifinals! Friday, they play Winthrop, the #1 seed. Winthrop beat us 4-1 a few weeks ago, so suffice it to say, this will be a huge upset if they can pull it off.

But you know what? Just like that video says, these guys have character, and they know how to keep believing. With that, and the skill I know they have, anything is possible come Friday.

Go Camels!

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Because of course I'd get sick now.

Now, when school work really picks up as we head towards the end of the semester.

Now, when I have to really dig into internship applications.

Now, when PhD application deadline are creeping up on me.

What started out on Tuesday as me just thinking I overworked my vocal chords sending too many singing videos to Summer ended up by Thursday as me sounding like a 70-year-old pack-a-day smoker.

I went to the doctor that afternoon because I had to miss class again, and not only did the doctor tell me that it was good I didn't try to go to class that day, but considering how the symptoms had only been around for a couple days (and Thursday was really only the first day I truly felt terrible), that I was probably going to get worse before I got better.

He gave me an antibiotic prescription and told me that I should wait a week and see if I got better before I filled it. Saturday, I woke up wheezing, which meant it was REALLY moving into my lungs, so I said screw that and filled it yesterday. I cannot afford the risk of my lungs getting really bad off because I cannot afford landing in the hospital.

The upside to this crappy weekend is that I had an overload of sports and that always makes me at least a little bit happier.

My boys won at UNC Asheville, their final regular season game. This meant that they ended up 9-8 and got a winning season for the first time since 2012. But not only that. This also meant they ended up 4th in the conference so they get their quarterfinal match in the championship AT Campbell on Tuesday. It's always good to play on a field you know.

Wolfpack football beat Boston College AT BC 24-8. This is the first time any team has beaten BC on their field since BC joined our conference and the first time the Wolfpack has beaten BC on their field since 1937 (!!!!). Plus BC had the #1 defense in the FBS, and the Wolfpack absolutely crushed the averages they had for defense coming into the game.

And to top it off, Wolfpack basketball had their pre-season exhibition game today and won it. This means that basketball season is here.

So at least there is something going for me this weekend.

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