In my last post about appreciation, it focused on relationships. Here, right now, I’d like to focus on family. Parents versus their kids. That doesn’t sound good, like they’re playing on two separate teams…but in a way, they are. It’s a constant problem within families that the child feels unappreciated for the things he or she does. Personally, I believe that parents need to recognize the fact that your kid is not going to be what you expected. Us “kids” come in all different varieties, and you can’t plan out our personalities. You can do your best to raise us to be mannered, poised, success-driven people, but we will always branch out to other things as well. We will disappoint you, and you have to prepare yourself for that. However, it’s not like we wake up each morning and think, “Oh, I wonder what will make my mom mad today. I think I’m gonna do that.” We do want you to be proud of us, and when you’re not, well that causes us to push you away.
Parents say that kids become rebellious when they reach their teenage years. That’s also the time when we figure out how we want to live our lives. We become young adults, and we go through the same stress as you parents do. You forget things, so will we. We might forget to do the dishes, or vacuum, because we got caught up in making posters for student council, or practicing for an upcoming game, or making an outline for a big paper we have to write. We know you’re gonna be mad, but it’s not the end of the world if we leave a cup on the counter. LIke I mentioned, we forget things. Chores are not going to be a priority for us, we’re gonna look at the big picture. “What will dad be more disappointed in me for, not taking out the trash, or getting a C in my Algebra class?”
Coming from kids everywhere, please appreciate us a bit more. Tell us that you’re proud of us. Tell us that you see that we’re working hard, and you know we’re going to go far in life. Don’t be a hypocrite, we follow what you do; you can’t get mad at us for that. We’re trying our best to get our lives together, so we can grow up and be successful, and hopefully come back and share that with you guys. So please, ease up a bit when we’re going through a rough time.
It so often happens that I am stripped of sound, that my voice is lost in space and my words are hung in the air. All I have are whispers, late at night when no one else is listening. These simple treasures that let us thrive. Opinions are not shared during this time, no mine have not been opened in quite a while. Only simple wishes, little things that he wants to hear. Not very savory, no, but for his happiness there is nothing that I wouldn’t do; and maybe that will spread to me, and I will be wrapped in melody and loveliness. I don’t think I’ll ever know what he’s thinking, but I suppose that guessing will suffice. His mind and in his arms, the two places I would love to be. Nothing compares to those soft whispers at night though, the late talks at two o’clock, his sleepy voice and my sleepy smile. I ask him to give me all of his stress, I say I’d much rather him be happy. What is joy for me, but a far off dream? If I have you that’s all I need. If I am not lonely than I shall live, and I shall have strength and find balance in love. All of these little tiny whispers that don’t mean much, they’re all I have to give. During the daytime our love is quiet, no one sees it shine, only do I as the sun goes to sleep, and I hear your voice calling out to me.
Okay so I have kept this to myself for quite a long time now, and I just really needed to get it all out. I apologize in advance, because it’s not my normal writing, and if it bores you I am not going to force you to read it. This is my faith story though, the story that has made me who I am today.
I would say that it started in eighth grade, I was at a very very low point in my life. I was with the wrong crowd. I was the girl that the church people prayed for because they pitied me. It was very sad actually, the things I was doing as a 13 year old. I lost so much innocence, I was a little girl that chose to grow up much too fast. So moving on, I didn’t even know God. Sure, I went to church occasionally, but it wasn’t anything of importance to me. It didn’t matter. God didn’t matter. I never bothered to offer up a prayer, or ask questions. I had a dead faith. nonexistent. invisible.
So beginning of freshman year, my mom took me to church one Sunday and told me that there was a “welcome freshman” youth group meeting, and that I had to go to it. No, I did not want to go. Yes, I fought quite a bit. I ended up going though, because my mom refused to let me get back in the car. The minute I stepped downstairs I was greeted by many people, all so excited to have incoming freshmen. Probably one of the few places that liked freshmen…. I went for multiple weeks after that and began to love it. I loved the people though, not exactly the message youth group was trying to send. I dated one of the boys there, and he went mental. Started cutting his wrists and smoking all kinds of things, and I had a past of cutting as well. It was rough, and he ended up getting arrested and we just stopped talking. To be honest, I hardly remember the whole situation, or the boy.
After that problem, I stopped going to youth group, and I stopped going to church. I reached another low point in my life. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and social anxiety, multiple anxieties actually. I met a boy who seemed to make everything better. He did not help me grow closer to God though. I had forgotten about Him for the most part. I didn’t really want to be part of the church, I knew I was a sinner so I didn’t see the point in going if I was only going to be shunned because of my choices. Then this relationship I was in began to get very complicated. Well one problem was, I was a freshman and the boy was a junior. His parents weren’t too happy about that, and they took it out on me. I would walk in their house and either be ignored, or told how bad I was for their son and that he needs to find a better girl than me, because I was trash. His sister would call me a slut and say that I must be giving myself up to him in order to get him to date me. It killed my self esteem and put me back into therapy. I didn’t like to think I was going crazy, but I kinda knew I was. Their words got to the boy, and he became violent. When he would get angry, his aggression turned to me. I would be pushed against walls and shaken, his hands would leave bruises where his fingers pressed into my arms. I would have scrapes up my arms as well, and occasionally bumps on my head from when it would swing back and hit the wall I was being thrown against. I was lost. I had no one to turn to, and I had never felt so alone than in that moment. Yet I still refused to look for God.
I went through the first semester of sophomore year as lost as I was then, and single. Then I met Monica. I met her at church one day, and this girl immediately became one of my best friends. She also brought me back to youth group. And youth group brought me back to my faith. I love my God, more than life and anything I could earn in this life. I prayed so much, it was constant. I wanted The Lord to be with me every step I took. I can now feel how much He has blessed me. I ask Him for help and He answers, I give up intentions and He gives me his help. I ask for love and He gives it unconditionally. He has blessed me with such great people in my life, like the boy I do love now, Sean, and the friends I have met through my faith. I still have my struggles, like trying to get my family to see God the way I do, but I know that it is only God’s way to make me stronger.
quick now – cover up
don’t let them see those marks,
stupid girl, what have you done,
silly girl, you thought that was love?
now look at you, look what he’s done.
grab the make-up, put on a sweater;
now put on a smile, here’s the test.
how well can you fake it?
how long can you do it?
girl, what have you done,
there’s no love there darling,
tell them what you’ve seen.
how are you going to move,
oh you fell? no, oh no.
lies, he has made you lie?
what kind of man does that my dear
protection and security,
love and forever,
bruises and cuts,
scars and tears.
oh my darling what have you done?
will it last?
will you last?
break, shatter, fall apart,
what goes through his mind honey…
that’s not love, that is pain,
oh dear what have you done?
it’s been over a year now
he still has his wishes
what are you dear?
are you strong, a fighter?
are you angelic, a bloomer?
keep away, oh keep away,
it’s all a game for him.
give your heart to your knight,
let him guard you,
baby girl what have you done?
have you found a prince now?
stay close, oh get closer,
don’t let that boy go.
he is your chance, recovery.
healing and power,
let him save you.
that boy gives you hope,
that boy has sweetness in his kiss.
you can feel it when he holds you,
can’t you feel his heart?
now my dear you have no reason,
no reason at all to fall apart.
Why has it felt so long since I’ve felt pretty? I thought about this earlier when a guy asked me why I wear makeup. I told him that it makes girls feel prettier when they wear it. But as I went through my day I realized how wrong I was… I wear makeup every single day…and I haven’t felt beautiful wearing it. I get more insecure in fact, because I worry about it smudging or being uneven.
I don’t really know what it is; what makes a girl pretty I mean. Are there certain traits I’m supposed to have? Long hair, pretty eyes, a skinny waist, flat stomach…I feel like I should look like a barbie doll. That’s not what I want though, I want to be me, I want to look like me. I don’t want to look totally flawless, I want my imperfections.
The size of the jeans a girl wears does NOT determine her personality, her ability to love. Those jeans are just something she puts on when she leaves the house. A girls weight is the same thing. It doesn’t matter if are underweight or over, or somewhere in the middle, in the aspect of their beauty.
So then why do I feel so horrible about myself sometimes? I tell every single girl that they’re beautiful because it’s true. Every female has some type of beauty in them, whether it be their body or just the color of their eyes. Why is convincing myself of that so difficult? It’s not like I have people coming up to me telling me I’m unattractive, and my self-esteem truly isn’t even low.
It’s not that I stand in front of a mirror and see someone I don’t want to be, it’s that if you ask me if I think I’m pretty, I will answer no. It’s just something about that image, and I know it’s distorted in my mind because we’re talking about myself. It’s something messed up about girls, that we can’t see what other people see in us. Sometimes people see a light shining in us that we don’t even know is there. I wish us girls could feel the glowing…could feel us lighting up the world.
“Everything happens for a reason.” A common phrase with a strong controversy attached to it. Sometimes things happen and you don’t know why, and sometimes these things, big or small, can change your life for better or for worse. For me, this was no little thing. The death of a loved 15 year old boy is a very big thing. But this story isn’t about my grief over him, this is about strength and faith.
A lot of people skip church, as if the ceremony is worse then going to get shots at a doctor’s office. Some say it’s too early and they need their beauty sleep. For me, I cannot think of something more beautiful than the church. I like to go to mass often, it’s like my escape from everything around me. Every stress, every deadline, every practice…it takes me away for at least an hour. It’s also where I met Sean.
A boy died a few months ago. A boy who was loved by all the students at Catholic Central, a boy who was considered a sweetheart by all the girls he encountered; number 33 on the football team, he was a respected athlete. Everyone wanted to be his friend, and nobody ever expected that one day they would wake up and realize they’d never get the chance to see him again…especially Sean.
“I saw him the Saturday before he died and I remember just waving goodbye to him. I went up to meet him at school that Monday and found out that I wouldn’t be seeing him that day, or the day after that, or ever…” Sean told the story to me for the first time over FaceTime, but this became a frequent conversation. To him, I was like strength, I was a rock for him to lean against. I was like a constant in this unfair experiment filled with grief and tears.
What I had the most trouble convincing Sean of was that God had taken David away from us for a reason. That maybe God needed him, or maybe was protecting him from something he saw in David’s future. I told him “God gives and takes, he may take away some of the most important things in your life, but he always gives you something in return.”
Sean thought about this – we were having this conversation over FaceTime, my family was on a trip to Florida – and replied “God took away one of my closest friends, but gave me a girl to fall in love with instead.” That’s when I realized what my whole purpose of being is. I’m here to build people up when they’re crumbling. Like a bird finding its wings, I found my reason of life. I could help people keep faith in God, and I could hold them up, catch them when they fall.
I was meant to be like the sunshine on a cloudy day, to give people a piece of light to hold onto until everything sorted itself out and their life got better. Nothing was more perfect than that moment. There couldn’t possibly be any greater feeling than being someone’s happiness. It’s truly amazing.
I went to church every Sunday with Sean. It was really hard for him when they brought up David’s name. He liked to tell me stories about when they would hang out; “like this one time, we went to Petco, and bought a fish. Then we went to Burger King and bought a Coke, and put the fish in it. We tried to complain and get another Coke but it didn’t work…” He would laugh when telling me this, and it was so great to see him smile.
During adoration – the worship of Jesus in his presence – Sean started to cry. As I sat there and held his hand, I thought about all the things God has taken from me; my dad moving across the country, the divorce, lost love, old friends. Then I saw all the things he’s given me; a loving family, two fathers that love me, a perfect mother, three step siblings that will always be there, Sean, all of my friends, and Jesus himself.
Life is like a game, but God is rooting for you, he’s like your number one fan. Everything does happen for a reason, and what you get is what you take out of everything that comes your way. I now know that I have to use every opportunity I get to make someone smile. Once you know what your purpose is, you have to work at it. It’s not always going to be easy, I’ve realized that part, but I simply cannot get over how amazing it is to be the sole reason that someone is smiling. That’s the real thing that God had given me.
I am meant to be strong, when others are weak. I have my own future, my own goals, but I’m involved in so many other people’s futures too. Just being that girl that smiles at you at the sidewalk to brighten up your day, that’s who I’m supposed to be.