Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Friday, September 19, 2014
That man possessed a divine patience that I can only hope to one day have.
When I was 14 years old, I was struggling with my own issues (depression, SH urges). He was always my listening ear. Without complaint, he just sat there and listened. Then, when I was finished, he'd offer me advice and I calmed down. He could always rationalize things with me. I learned a lot from him. I learned how to cope, how to see things in a different life, and for the most part I learned how to accept that there were some things that I just could not change.
All my life, he was there for me. He made it to every dance performance (or rehearsal if he couldn't make the performance for some reason) up until this year, when he started chemo. There was never a time where he complained when I needed to talk to him. He'd exhaust himself doing whatever my siblings and I wanted and making sure our needs were met.
I'm going to miss him. I'm going to miss his guidance, his wisdom, and his laugh. Dear God, his laugh. These past three years, I rarely heard him laugh, but when he did, everyone started laughing. We treasured his laugh.
But he's at peace now. The Stage 4 bone cancer was the worst part of the cancer. I don't think it was as painful when it was in his lungs and liver. The bone cancer had gotten to the point where it kept him bed-ridden, moaning and twisting into different positions to alleviate some of the pain. :(
As much as it hurts to have him gone, I know it's for the better. He's pain-free and he deserves nothing less. <3
Saturday, September 13, 2014
My dad is dying, and I say that I'm okay with this, that I've accepted this because he'll finally escape the hellish pain that's been wracking his body for the last month due to the cancer spreading to his body.
But I am not "okay". I'm losing one of the few people in my life who was always my listening ear and always there for me. He is selfless, he is kind, and he loved me. He never yelled at me, raised a hand to me, and he is so forgiving. So very damn forgiving. I never deserved his seemingly endless forgiveness.
I am hollow inside. I've had enough struggles with depression in my life and it's flaring up again. It's been hard for me to eat and be motivated to do the simplest of tasks, like brushing my hair. Sometimes I don't want to do anything at all. It doesn't seem like it'd be worth it.
My dad and I had so much planned. We were going to repair our Jeep, for starters. It was the vehicle he taught me how to drive in and I love it. But now, we'll never get to work on it together. I'll have to carry out our plans and dreams for it by myself.
I'm going to miss him. But somehow, I'm going to have to go on without him.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
June 1st: My mom broke the news to one of my sisters and I that Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer sometime in April.
July: He becomes more and more immobile. At one point, he collapses coming inside but manages to keep conscious and crawls over to his chair.
Somewhere at the end of July: Complains of chest pains and is rushed to ER. We think his heart stopped for a moment and his defib implant kicked in.
August 4th: Admitted to hospital for debilitating back pain.
August 5: Bone cancer discovered, hence the lesions on his spine. Radiation treatment starts.
August 15th: He comes home, claiming he "wants to die in his bed instead of in a hospital."
August 16th: I meet the Hospice nurse.
It's been crazy since that night on June 1st. We've had our good moments and our bad, but we've managed. We always have. But coming home on Saturday to hear my mom crying and telling us that my dad was dying wasn't what I expected. I never expected him to come out of the hospital worse, or for his cancer to progress so quickly.
Eventually I found out about his liver cancer, but at the time it didn't have too much effect on me. I was told that the chemo was going very well and that one of his tumors were gone, which shocked his doctor (in a good way). But they only just discovered the bone cancer and there's not much they can do for that, from what I've heard.
It's been hectic here and honestly, I'm exhausted. I woke up this morning and wanted to pretend that everything which happened yesterday was just a nightmare. That my dad would continue to defeat his lung and liver cancer.
But I can't ignore reality. He's dying. We're never going to repair the Jeep together like we planned on, he's never going to see my end of the dance season recital again, and he's never going to see my first child. And that really, really hurts to think about.
It hurts even more to think about my siblings, though. They're younger and God only knows how they're managing. The four year old knows that Dad's dying, but she's morbidly calm about it. Yet I can't stop thinking about the fact that she's going to grow up without her daddy. He won't see her recitals either, and that hurts to think about, because I love her and I wanted that for her. I know how good I felt seeing my dad at my recitals and competitions. But she won't have that anymore.
I keep reminding myself that I can't focus on what we were going to do with him in the future, though. I need to embrace the present and make the most of my final days with him. As much as it hurts to say all that, I can't ignore it or make it anything less. It is what it is. My dad is dying. And I'm going to miss him.
He lived a good, long life which he spent helping those in need, from whistleblowing on a prisoner abuse situation at a prison he worked at to helping those financially in need. And he always did it cheerfully. I hope I'm like that even as I face the uglies of adulthood in the next few years.
And even if he doesn't make it to his 61st birthday and 25th wedding anniversary next month, I know that he'll at least be pain-free. He deserves nothing less.
Monday, June 9, 2014
My bedroom (that I share with my two sisters) is currently being painted. We're *almost* finished, then my mom is going to build up some loft beds with desks underneath. I am, of course, very excited (because hello, I WILL HAVE A DESK TO MYSELF! :D)
But until then, my room is filled with boxes of clothes and books and there's paint supplies everywhere. The mess is driving me nuts. Yet that's not my biggest problem (tee hee that's what she said ;)), my biggest problem is that the only space I have in my room to write at is on my bed. Which means lots of "oh I'll just lie my head down for five minutes....oops it's been two hours". It's not conducive to the writing process at all (as shown in the below screenshot of my spreadsheet.)
But despite all of that, I need you people to come and yell at me on Twitter to write. Harass me constantly. Seriously. I need a good kick in the rear.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Often times as a 14 year old, I went through periods of hopelessness and anger. This was due to my struggles with depression, which came from situations in my life that I had no way of resolving and was stuck in. They weren't pleasant situations, obviously.
I've never had many friends in "real life". Many people have chose to ostracize or ignore me for any number of reasons (they're in a clique, I'm homeschooled, etc). But even with the two close friends that have stuck with me for a few years now, I didn't feel comfortable really telling them what exactly I was going through. All of this meant that I was left alone to dwell in my pit of depression and had no way of properly dealing with it. There were many times that I was tempted to cut my wrists because I thought it would help (I never cut, thankfully. I turned to clenching ice cubes or soaking my hands in cold water.)
The one thing that kept me from cutting or taking other drastic measures was writing. I would spend hours glued to my laptop writing stories that I cringe reading back on now, but at the time it was therapeutic for me. Writing gave me a purpose. It distracted me from the crap in my life. It made me feel like I was worth something.
Today I was thinking some particularly morbid thoughts about death (and no, I'm not suicidal or depressed), and it made me remember how bad I used to have depression. While I have no wishes to die right now (I've got goals and stuff for my life and people I love who love me in return), I wonder if 14 year old me would've ever gotten depressed enough to want to die. If my situations had not improved, would I have gotten desperate enough to want to end it all by killing myself?
It's a scary thought to consider, especially since I'm such a happier person now. I hate to think about the drastic measures 14 year old Kelley had at her disposal, and I'm really glad she didn't take any of them. Now that I'm here in a better place, I wish I could go back in time and show 14 year old Kelley that it did get better, that we weren't going to be stuck forever.
But I know that everything in life, good or bad, can have a lesson in it. The lesson I learned was probably this: Behind my storm clouds are rainbows. Even though it can take awhile for the storm clouds to clear, it's worth seeing it through.
And I am worth something. It's not just my writing that gives me a purpose. I'm a living, breathing human being and I deserve to be happy.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
He told me today that he's had cancer for two months now. They didn't catch it at first, but now they know for sure. He also said that he hadn't planned on telling us, but now that his hair had started falling out, he went ahead and let my 12 year old sister and I know what was happening.
Right now I'm on the vicious roller-coaster of "Oh it's going to be fine I can get through this" to "Dear God what the hell am I supposed to do?". He's had health problems since I was a small child and I was always able to handle that. Even when he had surgery to put an implant in his heart, I wasn't this emotional. Even during all of his heart problems, I was able to manage. But now that I know he has lung cancer, I'm prone to bursting into tears at any given time (I'm fighting back tears as I write this......well screw that, now I am crying).
I don't know how I'm supposed to handle this. I don't know how I'm supposed to live my day-to-day life without getting depressed and overwhelmed by the reality of this situation. My dad, the man who's already had at least two heart attacks, has congestive heart failure, skin cancer, and a physical disability now has lung cancer. How am I supposed to handle that? I don't know what the outcome of this is going to be, and that really, really scares me.
I'm trying not to let the stress of this affect my writing. When I was younger (14 and 15), I used writing as an escape to keep from getting overwhelmed with depression and SH urges. Now I'm trying to use it to temporarily forget what is happening to my family and I.
I don't know how the next few months are going to play out. I'd like to hope that I somehow figure out how to get a grip on my emotions and continue to function like a normal human being instead of giving in completely and becoming dysfunctional. But I'm the oldest of my siblings and I have certain responsibilities. I don't know how to handle everything that happens in my "normal" life and still accept the painful reality that my dad has lung cancer. I don't know how I'm going to be able to focus on dance when it starts again in August, not knowing if my dad will make it to all of my performances.
What am I supposed to do?
Monday, June 2, 2014
I've always known that my dad's condition is fragile. He's been through a lot these past 9 years. But I want him to see me get published. He's always been quite supportive of my writing and has this idea of me getting published. And I want that to happen. I want him to see me get published, whether it be a short story or novel. I REALLY want him to see me get a novel published, but I know that getting a novel published is a long ways away from now.
After discovering he's got another cancer, I was stunned and feeling hopeless at first. But here I am...what, an hour later? Here I am feeling a new sense of motivation to hurry up and finish a story. I slacked a lot during May, but now I need to get back into writing a lot so I can go out there and get something published. I'm not saying that I need to pound out ten thousand words in a day then ship that story off. There is editing and revising (and maybe rewriting), but before any of that happens, I have to kick my butt into gear and finish something.
So I have deadline for myself: Whether it be a short story, poem, novella, or novel, I want to have something ready by the end of August. Ready as in finished, beta-read, and edited (or revised/rewritten). I want to have sent something out by September, because even if I don't get published this year, at least I can tell my parents that I've tried.
I'm not going to be such a slacker anymore.
Since April, my dad's been "sick". It's not unusual for him to get sick considering how weak his immune system is, but this time he didn't get better. He only got worse throughout the month and through May.
Tonight (well, this morning since it's 3 AM) my mom told my 12 year old sister and I that my dad has lung cancer and is currently going through chemo.
It didn't "shock" me at first. He's already suffered through two heart attacks, has congestive heart failure, and skin cancer. But as she got to talking about it, it finally started to settle in. My dad has another cancer, and this time it's more "severe" (he's had the skin cancer since I was little but it's never been too big of a deal for us).
Darn if it isn't already enough with what he's currently suffering from. As if these last two months haven't already been physically and mentally stressful enough on me.
I don't know what to do right now. I knew something was wrong more so than usual, but I didn't think he had cancer. I mean, what do you do when you're told your parent has another cancer? How does one even process that?
Part of me has a feeling that this knowledge of his cancer is only going to stress me out more. I don't want to slip back into a depressive funk. Been there, done that, it isn't fun. I don't want to be depressed to the point where I cannot function and write. I don't want to be depressed to the point where I'm snapping at everyone and withdrawn.
But how am I supposed to process this and keep my normal routine?
Saturday, May 31, 2014
During June 2012 and 2013 I did "unofficial" NaNoWriMos. This year I had planned on skipping it entirely, instead taking the month of June to prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo (which comes in July).
But no, as the fates would happen, there have been people posting on Twitter about it. Then Jason asked if anyone else he knew was doing JuNoWriMo.
So of COURSE I have to do it now. It feels weird for him to NaNo when I'm not, and vice versa. (November 2013 we did a NaNoWager. I beat him. It was one of the most glorious moments EVER.) I currently have no novel ideas I want to work on (though I have a YA fantasy retelling that I may write in July), so I suppose a lot of today will be figuring out what I'm writing for June.
So anyways, June aside, here's what I'm planning to do in July.
Wait for it...
I HAVE NO IDEA!
Seriously, I have no idea what I'm doing for this Camp NaNoWriMo. Usually if I pick a story idea a few weeks ahead, I ditch it three days before the event starts. At this point, I have no idea what genre I'm doing. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Remind me why I'm going to do back-to-back NaNos for two months? My dad is still sick to a certain extent (that's for another blog post) and I still have babysitting to do. My Mom and Jessica are going to spend most (or all) of June building the new loft beds (with desks underneath. OMG I finally get my own desk!!!), so my room is going to be a mess, which obviously isn't conducive to writing.
Oh well, my brain has decided we're doing it anyways. May God help us all.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
*** I've been up for...18ish hours? This probably isn't going to be coherent. At all. ***
I haven't worked on my novel, Prisoners of The Mind, in about a week now? I've never taken such a long break from any project, but in all honesty, I've never worked on a draft of something for 5 months only to be trashing and constantly rewriting whatever I come up with.
My good friend Brett Jonas rekindled my love for the project, but it was only temporary. In all honesty, I'm tired of writing that novel. It's been my hardest project yet. I'm just tired. I never make any progress and everything I write for it is crap.
I know this all sounds incredibly amateurish of me. And it probably is. I think part of the reason I've been struggling is because I have other things stressing me out (my dad's illness, etc) so it's hard to put the appropriate amount of brainpower needed into focusing on my novel.
Or maybe I'm just burned out. Maybe I've focused too long on one project and my brain has decided to throw in the towel. Either way, I need some space on this novel. I love the characters, but when I'm bored with what I'm doing and hating what I come up with and stressed out with it instead of enjoying it, I think that means a break is needed.
Anyways, I'm working on a short story (untitled as of now) and will hopefully finish it *soon*. It's running longer than I expected. But at least I'm writing something.
**Also my brain insists that "burned out" doesn't look right. If I'm wrong, I'm sorry. I haven't had any sleeps yet...
Thursday, May 22, 2014
I'm always cautious of who I'm around. I do my best to be observant and make sure that I stay away from the creepers (and there's plenty of those around here). If there's a particular super creepy person in the store, I usually wait in the vehicle until they're gone. I've learned that if I'm getting a bad vibe, I should listen to it and follow my instinct.
But with trying to avoid the creepers, I notice that I judge people based on their skin color. More than once I've avoided going into the store when there's a bunch of tall black dudes in there. It's not that I'm particularly "intimidated", but it makes me feel uncomfortable. I feel short and a little overwhelmed.
Okay so maybe I am intimidated. Although if properly enraged, I'll snark and yell and curse someone out. It's happened. (Not so much with the cursing part, because the people I'm yelling at usually happen to be my family. ;) )
I don't always do this with the white guys. Sure I might feel a little uncomfortable if they get in close proximity, but never as uncomfortable as I get around black guys. I hate that I think like this, because I know it's racist and very much wrong. Yet my "instinct" still tells me that a group of black guys wearing baggy pants and chains around their neck is something I need to stay away from.
Which brings me to this question: Even though we know racism is wrong and we do our best to respect/accept people different from ourselves, why are we still inherently racist? And is it really racist of me to do what I do, even though I hate doing it?
Monday, May 12, 2014
I've always heard that if you're blocked with any writing project that you should write out why you're blocked, and eventually (hopefully) a way past the block will show itself.
Let's hope this works.
For the past 5 months, I've been working on Draft 2 of my horror novel, Prisoners of The Mind. A lot of what I've written has been "trashed" (filed away in a file, probably never to be used again). I struggled with how I wanted the plot to go, etc etc. Only for the past 2 months have I felt like I've really figured out where I wanted to go with this story.
Unfortunately around the beginning of April, my dad fell ill. He does have congestive heart failure and asthma, so it's not unusual for him to lie around for a few days and be a bit unwell. This time things ended up differently. He wasn't getting better. He'd spend a lot of the night coughing and gagging. There was also some pain in his chest and lung areas, causing him to think that he may have a blood clot.
All of April he was like this, in constant pain and having never ending coughing fits. Eventually he went to the doctor and was told he had a blockage in his throat (a surgery on his neck a couple of years ago ended up scorching his throat and the growth is layers of skin attempting to heal it). Then he told us that he'd gotten pneumonia too.
Now under normal circumstances, he 'd enter the hospital for a week then come out fine. This time he refused to go, saying he wanted to stay home with his family. But as far as I know, he has received little or no antibiotics. And he's not getting better.
This has placed stress on all of us. I've been babysitting my siblings for a few years while my mom works. Now that Dad is so ill, it's become mostly me in charge. I like to call myself the "surrogate mommy". And honestly, I don't mind doing what I can to make my parents' lives easier. I just find out emotionally taxing at times. My sisters are 4 and 12, then my brother is 9. Obviously there is a bit of rebellion every now and then from the three of them, but my brother is the worse. I'm not saying that to be mean. He is just very argumentative and tests my patience.
Throughout all my emotional struggles with doing what I am doing and experiencing all this stress with my dad's illness, I try to keep writing. It's therapeutic for me. When I can't write because I'm experiencing a block, it's insanely stressful, and unfortunately I sometimes let this show via my emotional state (irrationally angry, etc). Or I just feel lost and spend lots of time whining on Twitter about it.
With writing this, I can already feel a weight being lifted off of me. I hope that with confessing all that I have, I can hopefully get back to writing more tonight or tomorrow.
Monday, May 5, 2014
One of my main reasons for having restarted so many times is that I struggle with making the characters' actions believable. My four FMCs are in an alternative mental health institution and suffering from some pretty serious stuff (Abby and Keri are both diagnosed as schizophrenics, yet not the same kind, but that's for another blog post). While I have family members and friends who've suffered (and some who continue to suffer) from various mental illnesses, I still struggle with whether or not I'm portraying these illnesses correctly. I've done research, but I still worry. I don't want to romanticize it or completely misrepresent it (like I've seen done way too many times with dissociative identity disorder).
I myself have struggled with depression. Not just "oh I've had a bad day" kind of depression. I mean full-out, I hate myself and am completely inadequate kind of depression. While I won't go into why I've had these feelings, it's never been an easy thing to deal with. At 14 I wanted to cut myself, and at times I still do. I can't remember what particular thought/feeling triggered that urge. I told my mother that night, and while I completely advocate having a support buddy (because a lot of times it's kept me from taking drastic measures), part of me somewhat regrets telling her it that night. Or rather telling her when I was having an urge. She (unintentionally) made me feel uncomfortable about the whole thing. To this day I don't tell her when I want to cut or am feeling inadequate, etc. I have an online buddy whom I'll talk to, and that has saved me a lot of times from taking drastic measures. I am forever grateful for that friend.
Keri Lanier, one of my FMCs, is diagnosed with schizophrenia before she enters the institution. But she also has depression. A lot of times I find myself venting my feelings (past and present) through her. She is a lot like me, both in personality and what she is suffering from. This is therapeutic for me in so many ways, and I think that maybe since I'm putting so much real life experience into her, that she will be believable. I hope she is. Maybe too with venting through her, I can let go of some of my own angst, and hopefully come to love myself more.
I'm hoping to have this draft finished by December 31st. If I can get better with character believability (I have a beta reader and then another person who edits my chapters. They both give me excellent feedback on my story.), hopefully I can keep moving forward and meet my goal of having a completed second draft by December 31st!
Friday, March 28, 2014
It was a crazy Saturday. I think the most stressful part (as always) was getting my hair done. This year our studio is getting into wearing sock buns for all performances, and yes while it is pretty and professional, it is a pain. I have long hair and it is difficult to get it up and make it so that it's not lopsided.
Of course, I get my wonderful mother to do that sock bun because my arms are pathetic and get tired easily trying to do my hair. The first time we put it up, it was lopsided. It wasn't a problem really because we could fix it, but we had already put all the bobby pins in and I already had hairspray in.
But we fixed it. I left the house later than I wanted to, but I got it done.
This year, the dance competition was held at the GSU Performing Arts Center in Statesboro, GA (where our studio usually holds our recital). And let me say, it was insane. There were so many dancers and people everywhere, but it was the kind of madness I thrive on. Running to backstage and being around all those dancers and the general excitement of competing gives me an amazing adrenaline high and I love it.
Overall, our studio did amazing. I was in 5 numbers (three group routines and two productions) and they scored as followed:
Take A Ride (group tap): Platinum (!!!!! :D :D :D :D)
This is Me (group lyrical): High Gold
Ooh La La (group jazz): High Gold
Bad Breakup (jazz production): Platinum
Forever Love (lyrical production): Platinum
I am SO FREAKING PROUD OF US because I was hoping to get Platinum on at least one of our numbers, and the fact that we got that one of my group routines is amazing. (Platinum is the second best technical scoring you can get!!)
All in all, it was an amazing weekend for my studio and I. I competed Saturday then went to watch some of the other girls perform on Sunday. One of our senior dancers got the overall high score in her category for her solo (she is a really amazing person too, both in the studio and out. I'm sad that it's her last year with this studio!).
To anyone's who is interested in knowing more about Encore (or their scoring system, etc), here's their website: http://www.encoredcs.com/ If you're a dancer and looking for a place to compete, I'd definitely recommend going here. Everyone is really great and the judges are awesome and supportive people. I hope to compete at another one of their competitions in the future. :)
Friday, February 21, 2014
A lot has been going on. From writing (obviously ;) ) and preparing for the dance performances I have next month (a showcase/recital and a competition), I've been kept busy. But the good kind of busy.
This month one of my goals was to edit/revise a poem and submit it somewhere. But after spending some time on my pieces, I've decided that my poetry just isn't ready. I'm still struggling with it and I'm not 100 percent confident that they're ready to be out there just yet. Heck, I'm not sure they'll ever be. I've been writing poetry for over a year now and 99.999999999% of the time, I suck at it. It's awful. :P So for now, I'll just keep working at it.
On the subject of my novel, Prisoners of The Mind, I'm finally getting somewhere with it. After ditching two false starts to this second draft, I know where I want to go with this. I have two lovely CPs who are helping me along the way and keeping me on track. Right now I'm currently on Chapter 5 and loving the scene I'm working on. I hope that, with the necessary edits and rewrites, it'll be something awesome that future readers will enjoy.
Progress is happening. Slowly but surely, it's happening (and yes I know I say that a lot). :)
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Since January 1st, I've been working on revising my NaNo novel. And long story short, I've had two false starts on it. Now I'm on my third try of it and hoping to God I don't have to start back at Chapter 3 AGAIN.
I am, nonetheless, making a good amount of progress. While actually getting some words out, I've also got someone from the NaNo forums who has offered to edit my entire novel and give their critique on it. Holy moly, this person has got a LOT of work ahead of them, but I'm lucky to have this person nonetheless. They've caught so many errors that I couldn't have ever caught on my own.
While that person is my main CP, I've also got a second one who I send random paragraphs of my novel to so that she can give her advice on it. She's my full-blown beta reader, offering the occasional edit or advice on word choice, etc. I'm very lucky to have her too. :3
My original goal for this month was to have 15 completed chapters by the 28th. With my trashing six chapters and my only having saved 2, I don't know if I can get to there in the next 17 days. Right now I'm preparing for some dance performances in March (a showcase here in the town then a regional competition in another town), and there is a lot to be done. Besides cleaning all the numbers, I have to make sure that I have all of my costumes and their accessories together in the bags, my jazz shoes need to be cleaned, and yeah. Lots and lots of fun stuff. xD
Nonetheless, progress is progress. I WILL have this second draft finished by the end of this year. :)
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Right now I'm trying to write the second draft of a 91,023 word novel. The first draft was just...*shudders*. Bleh. It had its moments, but overall lots of it was trashed. I tried outlining this before I rewrote it again, but I failed utterly. But now, I'm still floundering about with it.
My goal this month was 60k new words for this draft, but I decided to change it to 25k. For me, focusing on quantity doesn't seem to bring out quality (y'all know this. Some of y'all have read my drafts.), so I need to take things a bit slower and focus on taking things chapter by chapter. Focusing more on progression of plot and making sure everything flows smoothly.
So, yeah, it's hard for a demon-speed fingered NaNoWriMo writer to take things so slowly, but I'm hoping this will have better results in the long run.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
When I was 12 years old, I started struggling with acne. I know I didn't properly treat it right back then, but I was going through some personal issues that triggered an awful gastrointestinal problem that I suffered with for a couple of years. That, I believe, was why I struggled with acne for so long.
I didn't think too much of it back then. I knew that puberty hormones would make me look like that. But back then I wasn't so obsessed with body-image and beauty. I just didn't think about it. Yet as I got older I started to notice it more and I tried treating it. Miserable failure at that.
Let me expand a bit on one of the personal issues I was going through. When I was 12 or so, I met a girl at this youth group I'd just started attending (my best friend went there and it was really the only time I got to see her, and I had fun for the most part hanging out with the others). She was nice, at first, but I quickly came to learn that she disliked my best friend. Ok, perhaps dislike is an understatement. She bullied (online and off) my best friend (and my best friend's sister). Perhaps I didn't fully understand the situation at the time, but one thing led to another and the girl became very manipulative and started to bully me. Worst part? Her mother went along with the whole thing, supporting her daughter. I mean, of course you're going to be on your kid's side because hey, this is your kid. But I'm sure the mother knew what was happening and what her daughter had said to me.
Being bullied was a difficult experience for me. I had never done anything to hurt this girl. I had done my best to be friends with her, but it just wasn't working out. I received over 50 (probably over 100 or 200, but I know it was 50 at least) nasty and harassing text messages of her. And she'd call constantly.
It was a hard experience, but in the end I think it ended up strengthening my friendship with my two best friends.
Back to the self esteem. I've been taking dance since I was little. And by the time I was 13, I was still loving it. But I wasn't quite into wearing makeup (except for performances) back then, per se, and every time I went to class I'd always see these girls my age and a bit older wearing eyeliner. Then I'd look in the mirror and notice how freakishly pale and strange my eyes were and the circles under my eyes. I didn't feel pretty, and I felt uncomfortable around these other girls. One day I actually wore eyeliner to class (even though my mom didn't fully support the idea because, hey, I was 13), and finally I was relaxing. I looked pretty.
By the time I turned 15, I didn't worry about wearing eyeliner. Couldn't find the pencil and a sharpener anyways. But I'd go to class and see myself in the mirror and see how red the acne would get during practice, and I still didn't feel pretty. When we'd get the rare chance to sit down, sometimes I turn around and look at myself in the mirror and I couldn't stand it. Bleh, that's how I felt about it.
And even in these past few months I've been looking in the mirror and really disliking the way I look. I just stand there and go "You know, I would be pretty if it weren't for this darn acne". And y'all have seen some of my selfies. Sometimes the camera takes a good-enough picture that it actually shows the acne and minor scarring. For the longest time I wished, really really wished, that I didn't have acne, because I didn't feel pretty. I wanted to feel pretty, but every time I looked in the mirror and saw the acne, I didn't feel that way at all.
Last month, as most of you know, I had a Christmas dance recital, which means heavy stage makeup. And I thought I looked smashing in that. Really, really good-looking. Why? Because the acne didn't show. But after the performances were over and I had the makeup off, the feeling of being pretty just left me. Here's the pale face with the circles under her eyes and the slightly inflamed acne and the weird eyes which don't pop at all because I'm not wearing eyeliner.
This is going to sound pretty shallow (and it is, God forgive me), but every time I'd posted a selfie to Twitter and it'd get a favorite, my heart would skip a beat or something along those lines. Why? Because I felt like this was an acknowledge that I was indeed pretty, even though I didn't always feel that necessarily feel that way. Someone thought I was beautiful, apparently, and to me that was all that mattered at the time.
But as the acne cleared up a bit (along with other things happening which I won't speak of here, but they're most definitely positive things), I found myself looking in the mirror and smiling when I saw my face. Because I finally felt pretty. No longer did I feel bleh. I found myself noticing how pretty my eyes are, and finally, I came to accept that despite my flaws, I am pretty.
And this is where you girls come in. I know so many of us go up to the mirror and instantly began criticizing every little thing. And I want us to stop. Yes, we all have our flaws inside and out, but beauty isn't perfection. Beauty is you being you with every single imperfection and scar and pimple. And beauty isn't just on the outside. Beauty's on the inside too.
So I guess what I wanted to say in this post that accepting you for who you are is hard. But I want myself to continue to embrace my flaws for what they are, without thinking that they diminish my beauty or self-worth. And that your self-worth isn't dependent on your beauty. Each and every one of you is worth something.