Waiting Games

What is it about social media that makes us feel like we have to post things about ourselves to feel good? What’s that saying? If a tree fall falls in a forest, and no one is a around to hear it, does it make a sounds? Today’s translation: If you don’t post anything on social media about who you’re with/what you’re doing, did it even happen?

Lately I’ve found myself in a continuos cycle of deleting my social media apps, then re-download them when I’m bored. I’ve grown envious of other people’s “picture perfect” lives. I’ve become sadden that my life is not where I want it to be. It’s dumb, but I keep thinking, “I never have anything to post.” That I don’t have the job that others do, that I’m not as smart, as pretty, I don’t have as much fun, and I’m not in that perfect relationship. I know everything online is only for show and people only post the good things, but it’s been affecting me.

Recently, my ex-boyfriend got married. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m very happy for him and he deserves nothing but the best. His wife is a sweetheart and they both looked great on their big day. But, why does it bother me that they got married? I mean don’t have feelings for him. I really just think it’s because I want that. I want to get married to my perfect someone and have a house and be established in life. This is how my week started.

Why is this stuff bothering me? When logically, I know to trust in God. I know that His plans are greater. I know I’m on my own journey and things will happen in it’s own time. I know they will, they always have. Sooo.. Why am I still upset over it? Of course, it really doesn’t help that the guy I like doesn’t care for me, that the job I want isn’t happening, that I feel stuck in life… etc.

I write this to remind myself to TRUST. One of the things I struggle with the most in life. But I know God knows what He’s doing. If it’s His will, the guy I like will be interested in me (I mean were pretty much perfect for each other soo likee…) But even if he doesn’t, one day I’m believing that the right someone will. Also, I know the right job will appear, because what’s presented to me right now is stressing me out and not ideal. I know I’ll be able to move out one day, even know I really want to move out now.

This is my note to self and to anyone who may read this. Stop psyching yourself out with people on social media. Social media is not real life, it’s nothing worth being upset over. Delete the apps forever, if it’s better for your mental health. Your day will come to be a relationship. Enjoy your single hood. Your day will come to work at the right job. Enjoy the days you have off, deal with the crappy job. Your day will come to move out. Save up while you can. Just wait patiently. Trust wholeheartedly. God knows you, He loves you, and He has your wellbeing in mind at all times.

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 5.18.37 PM

GOLD out of garbage

I find myself in this place often. I’ve been here for most of my life, for as long as I can remember.

Angry. Hurt. Upset. Unsafe. Angry. Exploited. Angry. Angry. Angry.

I’ve written him an open letter once before. I frequently go back revise and re-edit according to how I’m feeling lately. i may even update it according to how I’m feeling recently. I never have the courage to write the things that’s actually happen though.

But really- it’s sad that things even still happen on the continuous basis. When will this end? When will this fear end? When will I go to bed feeling comfortable in my own house, feeling safe in my own skin?

I used to think I could grow out of all this. That it was temporary. That maybe when I was older things would get better. Tow silly of me. Things are only getting worse. I got the news today that my mom was leaving again. We all know how that went last time.

I feel stuck – not financially ready to live on my own but in desperate need to leave this house. Should I feel guilty for leaving my sister behind? I kind of do, although I know I shouldn’t. This isn’t about being considerate, this is survival.

I know this is just my life, my unfortunate circumstance. I just wish things were different. I envy people who have healthy relationships with their dad, but it also freaks me out. I’ve been conditioned to think that no biological dad is worthwhile. Of course, I’ve dreamt of being walked down the aisle and of my future kids having a good grandfather, but none of that is worth any attempt at a relationship with him. forgiveness is different from reconciliation. If I’m being honest, my only wish is that my mom believed me and stood by my side protecting me.

I don’t have the willpower to talk about anything that happens at home with anyone anymore. I use to talk about it, but now I just end up bottling it all up (I know that’s bad). Only because truthfully, not one person listening or saying “wow that sucks, I’m sorry” will make me feel better. It won’t change my circumstances. It would never even come close to having my mom validate my feelings – I think that may be the only thing that makes me feel better right now. So, I feel worse when I try to talk things out. I’m only reminded about how I should feel safe, and how these things are not ok. So really what’s the point? I’d rather just keep it all to myself and deal with my reality as is.

All in all, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t live here. I can’t fight this fight. I can’t pretend. I need to run, but I have no place to go. I’m drowning and my lungs are running out of air. No one see this, no one can know anything. How I long to escape this place and make a name for myself. To tell the world that I made it, despite it all.

How thankful I am to have a Father that loves me unconditionally and would never take advantage of me. He has made me his precious daughter and looks at me like a jewel in His crown. I’ve always struggled to see my God as my Father, because I don’t know what a real father is. But man do I know my Heavenly Father’s radical and raging love for me surpasses all of my heartache. He has been healing my wounds and working to bind up my broken heart in ways I could have never imagined. It’s painful, but growth typically is.

My circumstances are still the same. I still feel trapped. I still feel like I’m drowning and that I want to run away. I’m still hurt, angry, upset, etc. and still have a need to be validated and believed. Everything I said still stands true. But I know my Dad is up to something. He loves me too much to allow me to go through years of abuse for without any reason. He is going to make something beautiful out of this one day, He’s going to make some gold out of all this garbage, I’m believing for it. 

f785a73757dadecf5eb0cf3492a58823

Vagina is not a bad word

I’m in an interesting situation. I’m thankful to be surrounded by people (both men and women), by pure convenience (thank you school of social work), that are feminists. Not the misandrists/don’t shave armpits (not that there’s anything wrong with not shaving) /hating life type feminists, but the kind that are truly for women and their empowerment.

I’m privileged in my everyday to think that everyone is like this. To think that everyone thinks like I do and wants women to be treated fairly, payed equally and to rise up. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know God created men and women very differently and they should embrace those differences. Men and women should compliment each other, in that aspect. But in our society, things are not seen that way. There is far too much injustice.

This new health care reform gets me angry on a whole other level. I am a pre-existing condition. I don’t even have to list the things that qualify me, it’s multiple, but truth is, everyone has at least one thing on that damn list. So. Thank you to America’s leaders. For saying that if a woman wants to have a baby, she might not have health care. And if a woman has been raped/sexually assaulted she is deemed unworthy of help. For saying that if any sexual assault did happen and she is traumatized/dealing with any mental illness, she can’t seek help. For allowing someone with a mental illness to buy a gun, but not have access to health care. ETC. ETC. ETC. ETC. ETC.

A colleague of mine was offered a job recently and made sure to tell me that the company wanted a bilingual male. However, he told me that with my experience, and that I’m bilingual, I’m far more qualified. He got the job though, because he’s male. Thank you for that. In a field that is majority women, it means I’m going to have a hard time finding a job – even if I’m better qualified.

Do you feel my anger bubbling up? 

What does it mean to be a woman? I sat through the Vagina Monologues recently and dang was I inspired. I got so emotional because so much of it resonated with me. And I kept thinking about the people in my life and how outside those four walls, that play would NEVER be acceptable. A lot of it made me uncomfortable, but all of it is what it meant to be a woman. I was reminded to love myself, love my womanhood and to stand up for my sisters. And also – that vagina is not a bad word.

This day and age, to be a woman means that socially, your value, worth  and beauty is based solely upon your looks. You are catcalled, disrespected and sadly 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted. But somehow it is still you’re fault is something happens to you because “of what you wore” or something ridiculous. IF prosecuted, 95% of predators will not be convicted.

It means that if you are white, you’ll get paid 78 cents to every white male dollar. But if you are black or latino you’ll get paid 58 cents to every white male dollar. Keep in mind though, you may be bilingual which may make you more qualified for a job. BUT you won’t be compensated for it so like who cares 🙂

It means that you’ll be bleeding for a week every month only to be taxed on women’s hygiene products, as if they’re not a necessity. And to be charged more for your razor because it’s pink. Also- God forbid you’re legs are stubbly! How dare you! Are you yelling? It’s probably your PMS. Women can’t possibly get angry at something worth getting angry about.

It means you wait for a guy to notice you and to pursue you. You’ll then stand by his side as a support, being the submissive wife. It might also mean he’ll pursue you then ghost you. Either way, you’re the “lady in waiting.”

I’ve been thinking about that last one a lot. Being that I am in that “waiting season,” I’m not sure if it it frustrates me or what. Why is it do I feel unworthy if a guy doesn’t notice me? I know that’s a total lie and very dumb of me to believe but it sometimes it really bothers me. Like am I not cute enough? Did you hear something about me? Do I have something in my teeth? WHAT IS IT

I pray for a guy that pursues me like no other and reaches all my standards. That most importantly values my worth as a woman. That together, in our different scopes of life, we’ll stand up for the injustices of this world.

sub-buzz-27747-1490094202-2

(Emma Watson killin it)

Alexandria Stone,

INFP.

F.

Feeling.

I base a lot of life off the way I feel. I let my emotions take a hold of me. I know I shouldn’t, but sometimes I do it without noticing. And sometimes, I just feel things. I get vibes: about situations, about things and even about people.

Thats the N.

Intuitive.

Sometimes I’m able to connect with someone without having to say much to them. My spirit connects to their’s and I just love that person. I feel their energy, their experiences and even their pain. I ignore it a lot, because it’s weird and uncomfortable. I say this often, but it’s a blessing and a curse: to feel so deeply.

Never in my life had I been able to connect with someone to like I have her before. Never have I been poured into so much, while I said so little. There was never technically a personal connection, but such a deep emotional one. One where I know my life has been impacted forever.

This one goes out to you, Jackie –

It was my first semester of grad school, I didn’t know what to expect. I was scared, but then I walked into your classroom. I had you as my professor for the first time in diversity &oppression. You made the class fun, but spoke on such deep topics that permeated my soul and made me think so deeply about what it meant to be who I am today. What it meant to be where I’m from. With such deep topics, such as racism and privilege, you provided a safe environment. You brought laughter and compassion into a classroom and made students feel safe to share their deepest pains. I sat in the back and observed. Little did I know you’d be someone I’d never forget.

I debated on taking you again next semester. Did I really want you to teach me psychopathology? You’re kind of nuts, and you know it. I took a chance, I took your class. It was the best decision I could have made. Because of you, I’m confident in diagnosing and treating. No one else in the program knows their stuff like like the people who took your class. You were strict in this class, but you did it with love and humor. Making me laugh so hard with each role play every time as you dance and always say your alternate ego’s name is “Alexandria Stone.”

It was during that time that it felt as if my life turned upside down. Little did I know that yours was too. Your husband was just diagnosed with cancer. And everything from my childhood/adolescence was coming up. We all know that social work school will bring out the worst in you. It’ll force you to work through your own issues. Typically, if I have to cry, I’ll cry silently in class. I did that in your class. The topics of that one day hit me hard. You didn’t brush it away and ignore it like maybe any other professor would. You stayed after class and asked me to join you. You felt there was too much going on with me to be ignored. You sat with me as I shared my story. You cried with me and held me.

Maybe you cried because your own personal life was falling apart. Maybe you’ve done this before with other students. But no one have ever done that with me. I’ve never felt safe enough to share my story like that. Some people know bits and pieces, but no one knows all of it. I don’t trust people enough. It meant the world to me that my story hurt your heart enough to bring you to tears. That you would sit there and hold me as I cried. And like I said, maybe you do that all the time. But you were the first person that ever told me that it wasn’t my fault. That I didn’t deserve it. That you understood why I am the way I am today. You encouraged me and gave me advice.

I’ve never heard any of that before. You would think I would? But on the contrary, I’ve heard opposite things that has made my heart closed off to people in general. Yet, you supported me and you called me strong. You said all the right things.

I was excited to take spirituality and social work with you. I know you’re a strong, spiritual woman but I was interested to see how you’d teach a curriculum on that. You exceeded my expectations. You stood your ground and let everyone know “I’m a black christian woman from the south” quoting the bible left and right. However, you were inclusive and understanding extending compassion to students of all religions and spiritual backgrounds.

In response to an assignment using the meaning of our name. Nicole, meaning victory of the people:

“You are a star. I admire your ability to love beyond your pain. You use it to fight for others, but you fight with love. You are your name.”

You always have a sense of things. You knew when I was having a bad day and you called me out on it, speaking words of encouragement and hope into my life in front of everyone. You did this even without knowing it. When feeling suicidal the night before, the next morning you taught on suicide and spoke life into my life. You knew just what to say when addressing love, abuse, relationships, death and life. You wrote endless notes on all my papers, saying how you admired my strength and my faith in God. When in reality, it’s yours I admired.

I gave you my favorite book in our last class. I hope you love it as much as I do. I wrote a little on the inside cover, but words cannot express my gratitude towards all that you are. You gave me so many hugs. Reminding me to find people who love me, who respect me and who care for my safety. You told me to keep fighting with a heart full of love for myself and for others. I took the flower you gave me and withIMG_1175 tears in my eyes I left our last class together, keeping your words close to my heart forever.
You have made an everlasting impact on my life. My grad school experience would be nothing with out you. Thank you for believing in me and providing
me with safety. Thank you for teaching not only with your brain, but most importantly, with your heart. There is no possible monetary compensation for that. I admire you and look to be like you.

Jackie Phillips, you are a world changer.

 

RE: Seven

A shift in perspective can do a lot. So often I still identify with who I was before or focus on who I’m not. Rather than focusing on who I am now with an appreciation of how far I’ve come.

God has really brought me far from where I’ve come. After writing my post titled “Seven,” I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then, the events of this weekend was just another reminder of this: How much of a difference a shift in perspective can make.

Truth is, I see hope and a future now. Something that seven years ago, I never did. Yes, there was so much pain and heartbreak, but I’ve learned so much through them and those lessons I hold close to my heart. I catch myself looking back through a “woe was me” lens without appreciating and having a grateful heart that in my weakness He is strong.

I pray that regardless of what situation I find myself in and in every circumstance – my perspective stays heavenward.

Throughout the years I’ve always asked myself, “Why hasn’t God taken this stupid depression away?” When in reality I know the answer, even if at the time I’m in too much pain to remember. I know it’s just what he uses so that I’ll trust him more. Not that when I’m feeling like garbage, it means that I’m not trusting Him. I think it serves as a reminder to trust that He’ll come through. That He’ll provide the grace when no one else does, not even myself. That He’ll love me when I feel most unlovable. A reminder to trust that in His time, He’ll fill in those gaps in my life. The ones where I feel so incredibly inadequate, gross, ugly and unworthy.

Isn’t that what the message of the cross is anyway? The reason my Savior lives – to stand in the gap. How can I doubt that? Even when I feel like this world is better off without me, I know the message of the cross is real. How can doubt He won’t stand in my gaps, when I know the cross stands true?

I never want to worship vicariously, like so often I do when I feel terrible. I never want to serve without fully loving people. I long to always stay as close to His fire as I was on Mt. Carmel. I know nothing stands in the way of that, besides so often myself.

d115cf0f406ba70607e6da5714515d79I’m coming to a place in my life where all the chapters are coming to an end. I’m graduating and now officially a professional in this adult world (lol help). I can longer work at my job, because it’s for students. Even emotionally, God is working on my heart and healing so many wounds.

This weekend was the first to many doors I know God is going to open. I’m excited that I’m able to volunteer on a team at church dedicated to one of the things I’m most passionate about in life. I was never able to have my two worlds collide: church and mental health. More often than not, they collided in a negative way, resulting in me being shunned at church for dealing with mental illness. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be using my clinical license and educational background to educate the church and serve it’s members in a way not many can.

And to think that I still find myself identifying with the “old me,” when everything around me is proving how the “new me” is blossoming. God always reminds me of His special love for me in flowers, this is just another one of those reminders.

I feel like I’m coming to a season of new beginnings. My body may not  be “regenerating itself,” like people say the human body does every seven years, but I know my spirit is coming to a place of revival. I may feel stuck in my situations, but I know that just means God is going to move.

A note to self 

Dear Nicole,

The only justice is love. Just let it go. You don’t have to write back. You don’t have to respond. You don’t have to explain. Life is not about being right. There is truth inside the words you read, inside the songs you hear. You don’t feel at home anywhere, but you feel at home when you read that book. 

Someone calling you a liar, does not make you a liar. Just as someone calling you a hero, does not make you a hero. No human gets to name you. Find your identity in what matters, in that one true place. If someone gives you something, and then takes it back – accept it. If someone says something, and then they don’t – that’s okay.  Don’t keep reaching for rewind. Guilt and regret are awful places, you know that. Don’t live there. Do not despair. Do not be afraid. There is grace, there is hope. 

“God must be a pretty big fan of today, because you keep waking up to it.” You don’t always believe that. The sun keeps raising on this thing that has never been known. Regardless, you have made your request known for a thousand different yesterdays. Yesterday is dead. It’s over. Those days are wrapped in grace. You’re alive. Embrace today as the best place to be. 

Today deserves your attention. Friends, family, strangers deserve your attention. People whose lives you’ll touch even if you don’t feel worthy of it. Tell them about grace. Tell them about the books, the songs and how you hold onto it.  

Wake up. You’re alive. You don’t always want to be but accept that you are. Make the most of it. Immerse yourself in the grace that is today. You are free. Regardless of the madness in your head. Regardless of the pain and the heartache, the losses and the tears. You are worthy and you are loved. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by others, to be so deeply affected and hurt by the rocky bends of the river of life. Remember that every river leads to the ocean. Remember, you will make it. 

Your friend, 

Nicole 

Seven.

It’s said that the human body replaces itself, at the cellular level, every seven years.

If you have ever taken a human biology class, ever, you know that’s not true. Every body part, every cell, has its own very distinct lifespan. A bunch of cell types are constantly getting replaced, and there are also a handful that never get replaced.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot this past week. That myth has always been in my head. Part of me always thought it to be true, or rather I wanted it to be true.. I think of this especially with the things going on in our culture right now. This past week one of my favorite humans ever, Jamie Tworkowski, wrote a response to “13 reasons why.” It was brilliant. Everything I could have possibly wanted to say.. (Read it here!)

2017 makes 7 years to a couple of things, including but not limited to:

7 years since I started taking antidepressants.

7 years since I first read the book 13 reasons why.

7 years since I attempted to take my own life.

Which as one can imagine all the above made the Netflix series really exciting for me to watch because I loved the book, but really triggering because Hannah was me.

I never talk about it. There is such a negative stigma around it, especially considering the field I’m in. Of course, theres the concept of “wounded healers” but no one really shares the “wounded” part. Of course my family knows, they found me half dead. But in my family, everything is shoved underneath the rug. How would that look like to others? A girl who went to church all her life, purposely overdosed. No one in the church knew. To everyone I was in the hospital for a month that summer for a “headache.” Right, okay.

I remember it so clearly. The agonizing stomach pain from all the pills, but the relief slowly letting go of reality into the nothingness that awaited me. I didn’t even care about what I’ve always heard at church. “I was going to hell.” Correction, I was leaving hell. I was in so much physical pain, but it was bliss. Pure substance induced bliss. I have no idea how I wound up at the hospital, incubated days later. Once I realized what was going on, I basically turned into the hulk. Forcefully ripping everything off me, with nothing but anger. Being forced down, strapped and labeled “flight risk,” so many thoughts flooding my mind. “Why didn’t it work? How could this happen? Why can’t I do anything successfully?” Being, the con that I am, I then faked it ’till I made it. I played every doctor in that hospital, then every therapist in the following residential treatment center into believing I was okay enough to leave that place weeks later. But of course, not without acting out, pulling pranks and flirting just because I was bored..

Maybe I shouldn’t have done that, maybe I would be okay now if I had only adhered to residential treatment, therapy, support groups, etc. I think about that sometimes. Not once have I regretted the attempt to take my own life though. Probably wrong to admit that, but it’s honest. More often than not, I get angry all over again that it didn’t work.

I still resonate so deeply with Hannah Baker, my former self, it frightens me. I still have that notion that everyone is against me, that my rep is a bad one, and that I’m perpetually alone. It’s not even a said notion, but much of it is fact. I probably shouldn’t have watched the series to be honest, for my own mental health. But truthfully I get mad at myself, too. I don’t blame my parents for not telling anyone. I should be okay. I should be relying on God. Regardless of how much I try its like nothing works. I should have a proper support system that points me to Him. How can I do that? How can I be a successful social worker anyway? These are only my daily anxieties, exacerbated by the viewing of the Netflix series. What is one to do anyway?

For this, I wish so badly that the body would regenerate itself every seven years. This year being the year I get a new brain, one that isn’t sick, or sad, or broken – or whatever is going on in there. This year being the year I simply forget everything in my past. I know all things are made new with Christ. And don’t get me wrong, so much has drastically improved, but I’m so incredibly tired of the journey. Of the struggles and the pain along the way.

But I guess that’s all that I shaped me into who I am today, huh?

17799367_913032005466055_5329688245529643794_n