Wednesday, October 9

Two Years

Two years ago, I had a lot going on in my life.
Two years ago, there was a lot on my mind and on my heart.
Two years ago this month, I was at my lowest.
Two years ago, I was wildly unhealthy and unsafe.
Two years ago, I was falling apart
Two years ago, I was ready to stop defending myself.
Two years ago, I was done fighting,
And let me be the first to tell you...
A lot can change in two years.

If you would have told me two years ago that I'd be loving college life, I'd have laughed.
If you would have told me two years ago that I'd be sharing my testimony with my floor, I'd have shut you out.
If you would have told me two years ago that I'd identify myself as a survivor, I'd have called you a liar.
Two years ago, I would have never believed that I'd ever end up in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Two years ago, I would have told you I'd never be vulnerable again.
If you would have told me two years ago that I'd love the dining commons ice cream, I'd have cringed.
If you would have told me two years ago that I'd be stronger because of everything I had overcome, I would have cried.
I'd have told you that my past made me weak,
I'd never have told you that my past would make me strong.
If you would have told me two years ago that I'd be a mentor, I'd have walked away.
I would have never agreed to let another broken soul see my vulnerability.
I would have never let that girl into my heart.
If you would have told me two years ago that I'd be lowering doses of my medication, I wouldn't written you off.
If you would have told me two years ago that I'd be a Social Work major, I would have been resentful.
If you would have told me two years ago that I would be around to reflect back on my journey...
...I wouldn't have believed you.

It's been two very eventful, exhausting, thrilling, mortifying, growing, degrading, empowering years,
but I'm learning now how to look back with fondness
to look back in health and see
the fingerprints and footholds my Maker has laid out
to get me to where I am today.

The four words
"Forest View Psychiatric Facility"
felt like a death sentence two years ago.
Watching my mom cry and studying the confusion on my kid sister's face...
those moments are still with me
and they break my heart every time they come to mind.
I'm still incredibly greatful for the people that were there for me that day,
Kelly's phone call on my drive to the hospital
Momma M and Rachel dropping everything to help me pack
The look on Rae's face when she told me there was still hope
The nurses that brought me heated blankets in the ER while I was trying to hide a panic attack
...and yes,
even the person who walked out of my life that week because I was "too sick" for her to help
and all of the people who had to deal with my leaving so much work unfinished.

Happy memories
and painful memories
...but beautiful memories every one.
Because I'm learning,
even now,
how to talk about this time in my life
how to not shy away from those memories
of this time that felt so dark
because today
it allows me to point to the Light.
It helps me orient my own life,
knowing where I've come from.
It helps me prove to friends
that the pain and confusion and despair doesn't last.

If there is one thing outside of personal health and safety that I've left forest view with,
it's passion.
It's part of the reason I'm studying social work...
this man,

...this man.
Already this year I've sat down and wondered to myself
"Why in the world do I think I would make a good social worker?
I don't know what I want to do with my life.
What if I can't actually help people?"
It's in those moments,
I remember how much I hate this man.
The man who had the nerve to chuckle and walk out of the room when I asked if I could go home
The man who put me on a scale, looked me in the eye,
and had the audacity me that my couple of pounds of weight gain was a bad thing
because... "You don't look like an eating disorder patient."
The man that told me I had nothing to be depressed about
and who grilled me over and over about bad habits and a history I was trying to move past.
This man did not help in my recovery at that time,
but he helps now...
because I know exactly who I DON'T want to become.
I know what I don't want to do with my life
and I know some things to never tell another broken soul.

Resentful much?
Yes, guilty as charged.
But I take those emotions
and I take my past experiences
and I take all of my negativity and doubt...
and I burn it as fuel for the journey

The girl I was two years ago has grown and changed and learned and has started to blossom
and it's thanks to that girl and the hard decision she had to make
that I am who I am today.

Friday, October 4


College college college college college. I've officially been here doing classes and being a college kid for one month.

In an academic setting, I've never felt so excited to thrive. Roundabouts my junior year, I started to lose some of my passion for education and knowledge. I had a lot on my plate, and school was, for awhile, an overwhelming burden. I wanted to sleep all day and all night and all of the time in between. Senior year allowed me to start to fall in love with learning again. It was a beautiful thing.
So, on September 2, I packed up my important possessions and moved into Lowell Dorm, Gamma hall, room 214. I switched a class around, met quite a few amazing people, and fell in love with life here. I can not say enough times over how much I am loving the college experience. I've posted it before, I'll probably say it more than a few times again. I'm likely sounding like a broken record. Redundant and a little bit like an optimistic three year old   (
And, finally, I'm getting a solid balance going on between Jesus, school, a social life, and personal time...and in that order  [:          The liberal arts foundation has allowed for me to put Jesus back at the center of everything. Not only do we start classes with prayer, but it's truly integrated.
We read the bible to study good writing and report skills as a model for our own papers. We pray as a class for level-headedness and clearness of thought before giving formal speeches. We hold socratic circle discussions about textbook material. We laugh and cry and eat lunch together and laugh some more. It's a beautiful thing.
The girls on my floor are amazing. They're like family, and I wouldn't choose another floor on campus for anything. Each of them is like a sister to me...or an extention of myself. I see parts of myself in them; parts of who I've been, who I am, and who I'm becoming. With my girls, I'm starting to learn to let vulnerbility show, because it allows them to be there for me. I'm learning how to read their emotions and how to be there for them when they need me. It's a give and take, and it's wonderful.

There is no place I would rather be.