Daily Inkling Prompt: Dark Nostalgia
“Detail a time in your life of which you have fond memories, despite that time also being accompanied by many negative emotions.” Continue reading “Daily Inkling | Dark Nostalgia”
“Let’s all learn from our mistakes, and try to be a better person than we are today.”
Hello, friends. I want to talk about something today that is very near to my heart. It may be triggering to some, and to others, you may not even care. Today, I want to talk about bullying. Specifically, cyber bullying. Recently, a very funny man named Wade, who I regularly watch on YouTube, and who I follow on social media, made a post to his Tumblr page that tugged at my heart. In his post, Wade spoke poignantly about how we, as a generation who spends much of our lives online, treat other people on social media, and shed some light on the ever growing issue of cyber bullying. Continue reading ““We Can Do Better””
Immediately, I volunteered Kyle and I to help him out. We got to work, lighting 300 tea lights, balancing them on the railings, around the benches, and spelling out “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” on the dock.
Hello, friends! I know I’ve been missing a bit lately, and haven’t been able to post my daily prompts and whatnot, but I have a good excuse, I swear. Well, kind of. To be honest, the last few daily prompts have been hard for me. I honestly haven’t been able to write anything on them. I couldn’t even think up a silly haiku in place of a blog post. I did manage to write out a couple of dream journal posts, but not much else. My son has also been going through a very clingy phase as of late, and I’ve barely been able to sit at my computer. I even spend most of his naps napping, because I’ve been exhausted lately. Ugh.
Anyway, I wanted to do something fun, and share a few random pictures with you guys, as well as some stories associated with them. I dug through my Facebook albums, and found some good ones to share, so here we go! 5 Pictures, 5 Stories!
1. The Ring
On February 28, 2014, after a delicious dinner, Kyle and I went for a late-night walk around our favorite lake. It had been snowing for the last week, and there was thick, frozen snow on the ground, making it impossible to really walk. Kyle kept leading me towards this tiny fishing dock, where he and I would sometimes sit when the weather was warm. In the distance, we could see a young man already on the dock, lighting what appeared to be candles. Kyle and I walked over, and asked him what he was doing out on the lake, in the dark, wearing a suit, and lighting candles. He informed us that it was his girlfriend’s birthday, and that her mother was out driving her around, because he was planning to propose to her… but he needed to light 300 tea lights, and was having a hard time with the wind.
Immediately, I volunteered Kyle and I to help him out. We got to work, lighting 300 tea lights, balancing them on the railings, around the benches, and spelling out “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” on the dock. Kyle even had to make a run to the store to buy another lighter, once the one the guy had stopped working. The end result was beautiful (I took pictures), and we got to stick around to watch the proposal. After it was done, we talked a little bit, before parting ways. As soon as we got in the car, Kyle informed me that he had brought me there to propose to me, and that he was disappointed now, because it was ruined. I laughed, because I had already figured that out. Determined to still propose, we drove to another park in town, where he awkwardly dragged me to the gazebo, and attempted to propose. I couldn’t stop laughing. He gave up on the speech, and we kissed, and he put the ring on my finger. Sappy speeches are not his thing, and it was a perfect proposal anyway. That was two years ago today, and we are now friends with that other couple! Happy birthday, Kelsey! 😉
2. Boys and Girls Club
One of my favorite things about working at Target was how often we had the change to volunteer. Over the course of just one year, I volunteered at a homeless shelter making meals, at a daycare center reading books, and my favorite, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Peoria. This was an amazing experience. The Boys and Girls Club that we went to was one of two in the area, as the cities are divided by east and west, and was located in a low income neighborhood, across from a school. We brought in new games for their game room, cleaned out the old games, painted walls, weeded and cleaned up their garden, and did crafts with the children once they got out of school.
I really wanted to do this because we did not have a Boys and Girls Club in my hometown, but we did have an after school program called Kids Out, which was for lower income kids, or kids who didn’t have anywhere to go after school. I went to this program for 3 years, and the counselors and volunteers were great. I was thankful to be able to volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club, and was so proud to be a part of something great, even if just for one day.
3. Hiking With Friends
In June 2014, my good friend Corey came to visit Kyle and I. It was my first time meeting him in person, but we had been friends via World of Warcraft, my podcast, Twitter, and Facebook, for a long time, and he was one of my closest friends (still is, don’t worry!). We decided to all go to Starved Rock State Park and go hiking, despite the fact that NONE of us were dressed for hiking, or for the heat. I was wearing jeans and sandals for crying out loud! It was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to take my son there when it gets warmer. Corey took this amazing picture of me taking a picture of a mama deer. You can see one of her two babies off to the left. It was such a fun day! He also took a picture of Kyle and I by the waterfall, which is one of my favorite pictures of us. I was also pregnant with a tiny Liam during this time!
4. The Ginger Kittens
In 2009, a little while after my ex and I started dating, I decided that I wanted to adopt a cat. I had had always had cats throughout my entire life, and it felt odd not having one now that I was an adult, living on my own. We went to an adoption event at a PetSmart, and fell in love with two, ginger kittens. I decided immediately that I wanted them both, if possible. We had enough to cover the fees for both kittens, and sat down with one of the employees, and began the paperwork process. We finished all of the paperwork, handed it over for them to look at, and went over to play with the little babies. A few minutes later, the woman came back, and informed us that we needed to be 21 or older to adopt. I was crushed. I had the female kitten in my arms, and had already fallen in love with her. As we put them back into the cage, and walked away, they climbed up their cage door and meowed loudly. I cried in the car on the way home.
A few months later, I bought my tuxedo baby girl, Jade, from a pet store (yes, this was before I knew better than to buy from a pet store). I had Jade until November 2014, when I was forced to re-home her with a friend, after struggling to find an apartment where we could all live. I cried for weeks, but I had no other choice. We have no animals now, as they are not allowed in our building, but I hope that we can bring another furbaby into our home in the future.
5. Out of the Darkness
In October 2013, Kyle and I walked in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Walk for Suicide Prevention. The previous year, a classmate of his had committed suicide, and we made Team Dallas t-shirts, and walked in his memory, as well as the memories of others in our lives who had been touched by the tragedies of suicide. Myself included. I’ve written a bit about it in the past here, but I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts, as well as self-harm, since middle school. I tried to take my own life twice, and was, thankfully, unsuccessful both times. At the time this picture was taken, it had been 6 months and 2 days since the last time that I self-harmed, and I am proud to say that I never self-harmed again after that. It was an amazing experience, and I met so many wonderful people, who were all there to celebrate the lives of the loved ones that they had lost. I was unable to participate in 2014 or 2015, but I hope to participate again this year, with the people that I love, who have kept me grounded, and saved my life.
Thank you for reading, friends. I’ll post another one of these in the future if people enjoyed reading it.
The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/22/2016 | Drawing a Blank
“When was the last time your walked away from a discussion, only to think of The Perfect Comeback hours later? Recreate the scene for us, and use your winning line.”
A comeback? No. I just wish I had the right words to say…
I sat helplessly behind the screen of the computer that he had given me just after my 15th birthday. I could barely read the words popping up in the X-Fire chat window through my tears, let alone see the keys to formula some kind of response. Not that it would have mattered at that point anyway.
I’m tired of this.
I’m coming over.
We had been arguing. Over the course of 3 years, he had been my everything, but he had broken my heart so many times, and I always came back. I didn’t know any better, and I had no one else. But not the last time. I had chosen to move on with my life, and had found someone else to share myself with, who didn’t treat me that way. He didn’t like it. I sat there for what seemed like hours, when really, the drive from his house to mine only took a few minutes. I heard the knock on my front door, followed by footsteps coming to my bedroom.
His eyes were red, and he was shaking. He reached for my computer, and began unplugging it, taking it apart to take back to his house. Taking away my only form of communication with the outside world, and my new, long-distance boyfriend. Taking away a part of me. He was angry, and he was hurt, and I didn’t try to stop him. At least, not from taking the computer.
“You can’t do this…” I said to him, grabbing his shoulders, trying to calm him down. I was bigger than him, and stronger, but he was in a bad place, “I won’t let you do this.”
He ignored me, and I choked back tears, trying to stay strong. I didn’t know if he wanted me to try to stop him or not, I didn’t know what he wanted to hear. I didn’t know what to do. My mom and her friend sat in the kitchen, just outside my bedroom door, and I thought about telling them what was going on, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even speak. So I didn’t.
I watched him dismantle my computer, get into his car, and drive away. I waited until I knew he was back home, and called him. He answered, much to my surprise.
“Please, don’t do this. Can we talk about it?”
“No,” he choked out, he was crying.
Then I heard the pill bottle, and my heart stopped.
“Stop. STOP.” I demanded, but all I heard was sobbing, and the sounds of pills scattering across his desk. He was in his room. Was his mom home? Should I call the police? I’d have to hang up the phone. I couldn’t hang up the phone.
“Don’t do anything,” he said, seemingly reading my mind,his voice raw, “I’ll unplug the phone. My mom has a gun upstairs. Don’t make me do that, Janise.”
I was sobbing. I had no words. I was frozen. I could hear him counting pills out loud… 1… 2… 3… I didn’t know what he was taking. Why was he doing this?
“Please…” I sobbed.
“Thank you,” was all he said, then, “goodbye.”
I sobbed loudly. My mom had already left with her friend, and I was alone in the house. Had I lost him? Was it too late to do anything? I curled up on my bed, and I cried. My body shook, and I soaked my pillow. I never did anything. I don’t know when I fell asleep, but I woke up to my phone vibrating. The sun was up.
I reached for it, and saw his name on the called I.D. I didn’t want to answer. What if it was his mom? What if it was him? I answered.
“I need you to come over. We need to talk,” came his voice from the other end of the phone. I agreed, and he hung up.
The sobbing started all over again. I had my mom drop me off, and told her that his mom would be bringing me to school. She still did not know anything about what was going on.
I didn’t knock on his door, I hadn’t done that in months. I went straight to his room, where he was sitting at his desk. He looked awful.
“Are you okay? What did you do?” I demanded, “Did you tell yout mom?”
He nodded slowly, and told me that he had told her everything. Everything about us. Everything he was feeling. He had taken 22 extra strength Tylenol, and 6 of his ADHD pills last night. I dropped to the floor, crying. Why wasn’t he at the hospital? Why was he here?
“I needed to tell you… that I’m sorry…” his breathing was starting to sound labored, and I looked up, just in time to see him fall from his chair. I heard myself scream, and his mother and younger sister came running downstairs. He was still lucid, and he got to his feet. He swayed, and tried to run to the kitchen, with us right behind him. He fell to the kitchen floor, and I knelt beside him, placing his head in my lap, while his mom sobbed into the phone. She had called 911. The ambulance was on it’s way. The wait was terrible. His mom was crying, his sister was saying this was my fault, and I was silent.
I rode to the hospital with his mother, who had some very cruel words for me. She blamed me for this as well.
I missed the entire school day, and spent nearly 8 hours in the hospital with him. I was there when they gave him charcoal, to flush his stomach. I sat by his side, holding his hand, and talked to him about everything. About us. About what was on TV. Everything. I was so thankful that he was alright, even though he wasn’t. I didn’t know if I was helping him, or hurting him, but I got my answer later. They made him talk to a therapist, and we were asked to leave the room. The therapist also blamed me, and they all agreed that it would be best if I get out of his life. Forever.
I called my mom to come get me, unable to stand another moment with his mother, and I broke down in her car, and told her everything. She didn’t blame me.
The weeks and months that followed were some of the worst of my life. I had lost my best friend, even though he was still alive. Every single friend that we shared, had turned their backs on me, and rumors flew around the school about what really happened that night and the following day. It was absolute hell. Seeing him, every day, and not being able to say anything to him, to see how he was doing, was awful, bur that’s what he wanted. He made that abundantly clear when he switched out of the 3 classes that we shared, and glared at me whenever we passed in the halls. How could people hate me so much, when I was simply trying to move on, and make myself happy?
I never defended myself. I never gave my side of our story. I never tried to correct people when they spread blatant lies. He was fine, but a piece of me had died that night, and it still affects me to this day. Triggers me.
We have since made up, and are friends from a distance, talking every once in a while via Facebook. We have never spoken of it, and I sometimes wonder if he ever thinks about that night, and if it ever cuts into him like it still does to me, nearly 10 years later. If I had the right words to say, would it have changed the outcome of that night? Or did what little I was able to say actually keep him alive?
I wish I could say this this was the last time that I was put in this situation, but unfortunately, it happened again more recently. However, that’s a story for another time.
Thank you for reading, friends. If you, or someone you know, is thinking about suicide, please get help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/15/2016 | Money for Nothing
“If you’re like most of us, you need to earn money by working for a living. Describe your ultimate job. If you’re in your dream job, tell us all about it — what is it that you love? What fulfills you? If you’re not in your dream job, describe for us what your ultimate job would be.”
My current job title is Super Mom… you may have also heard of the titles Stay-at-Home Mom, or SAHM. Those are the same thing. It’s a pretty demanding job, and includes early mornings, late nights, mandatory overtime, bio-hazardous waste cleanup, and being Chef de Cuisine, mastering the crafts of mac ‘n cheese, broccoli and cheese omelettes, and oatmeal. Did I mention that I perform these various tasks with absolutely no pay? It’s true. My bank account is about as empty as it comes. And I’m okay with that.
I always knew that I wanted to be a mother, and I even knew that I wanted to have my first child when I was 24 years old, which I did. However, I always thought that I would have had my degree, a house, and decent income by 24 years old as well… and that didn’t happen.
I went to school to study Psychology, something that I have been passionate about since elementary school. I planned to work with children and teenagers in a school setting, or even as a social worker for the state, but specifically for lower income families. Maybe even start my own practice, where people pay only what they can afford. Growing up, I had a hard life. Sure, it could have been worse, but it was hard for me. I dealt with divorce, abuse, poverty, and witnessing my mom’s abuse. It took it’s toll on me, and I ended up developing some severe self-esteem issues by the time I was in elementary school, which carried into middle school, where my grades started suffering, and I developed some self-abusive habits, which worsened as I entered high school. In high school, I made some choices that I wish I hadn’t, and let people take advantage of me. I also came very close to losing someone very close to me to suicide, who ended up making it through, but blamed me for it, and turned my friends against me.
The reason I am telling you all of this is because I want to share with you how helpless and alone I felt. My school did not have any qualified counselors that I could speak to, and I wasn’t close enough with any of my teachers to let them into my life. My mom did not have any sort of insurance, and even though she knew about my issues, she couldn’t afford to get me the help that I needed. I suffered in silence, and my relationships with everyone around me crumbled. I first attempted suicide at 15 years old, then again at 16. I survived, but what if I hadn’t?
I don’t know how my life would be different if I had gotten the help that I needed, and still need, but I feel like I would be more comfortable in my own skin, and would know a bit more about why I am the way I am, and feel the way I feel. Being a teenager is hard, and there is a lot more going on than most would lead you to know. It is important to talk about issues, otherwise they can eat you away from the inside. I needed someone to talk to during those years, and I had no one, and it damaged me. Lower income families, and the children within them, are especially susceptible to bullying, self-esteem issues, and abuse, and help for these kids is not always available, or affordable. I want to change that.
I’ve had a lot of setbacks with school, mostly financial, but I still hold onto that dream. I want to make a difference, to help people, and I truly believe that I will someday.
Thank you for reading, friends.
How are you feeling today? I know you’ve had some rough days recently. I know you feel like everything that is happening is your fault, and you’ve been feeling miserable. I know you’ve been hiding in the bathroom at school, crying. I know you haven’t been eating. I know you’ve been hurting yourself. I promise you, Jan, none of this is your fault. There was nothing you could do. He was already broken, and you tried so hard to fix him. You can’t blame yourself. I know other people will, but please don’t listen to them. They will come around.
Everything will be okay. You will see. Keep your head up, and try to survive this. I know you will. People are worried about you, even if they don’t tell you. People care so much more than you know. I don’t tell you this enough, but I love you. You matter, and you are important. Please stay alive long enough to realize that for yourself.
25-year old Jan