Losing Someone at a Young Age is Never Easy

Losing Someone at a Young Age is Never Easy

Losing Someone At A Young Age Is Never Easy

It hurts the most when their story isn’t finished.

It was really late on a weeknight when I was curled up on the floor of my grandparent’s house watching a movie with my cousins. There were kids on the pull out bed, in recliners, on the loveseat, and a few spread on the floor watching a movie before we were supposed to go to bed. I had spent almost a week being 300 miles from my parents and it was during this movie that I finally broke down, and cried about how homesick I was. My grandma wrapped me in her arms and assured me that it would be okay. I could call my parents the next day, so I could hear their voices and let them know I miss them.

After that, it seemed like everywhere I went people were crying; but, it did not phase me since I was so young. Even though people were surrounding the kitchen table with red, puffy eyes when I woke up the next morning, I went on with my childhood ways. I would catch glimpses of family members crying through windows and doors. I assumed it was none of my business. I was just excited I got to call my parents and talk to them about what I had been doing around my grandparent’s farm. They told me with stuffy voices how they had spent time going to dinner and seeing movies together. They reassured me that in just a few days I would be back with them.

It was Saturday evening when I sat in front of the mirror preparing myself for church, when my parent’s vehicle pulled into the driveway. As soon as they walked through the door, I was no longer concerned about attending Saturday Mass with my grandparents. I instead wanted to tell my parents everything I had done that week. My parents spoke of family, how we need to remember the memories we have with people, and my dad told us that we would forever remember the next memory of my uncle David.

I had spent a majority of my childhood with my uncle David. He lived with my parents and I from time to time and even made the journey to live in Illinois with us when we left Ohio years before. David became the older brother I never had, playing pranks on me, babysitting me, and letting me regularly annoy him like any younger sibling would. In my mind, the next memory I would remember of David would be us going skydiving or something adventurous; I was wrong. Instead, both of my parents began crying as they told us about the car accident David had been in earlier that week – the accident that took David’s life. Immediately tears began streaming down my face, I did not want to believe a word they said.

For the rest of the evening, I spent my time curled up in my mom’s arms, endlessly crying about how much I loved David and talking about all the things I had done with him. We discussed how the last thing we had ever done together was float newspaper boats down the creek after Easter dinner. David had sprawled out on the floor with my sisters and me, teaching us how to fold boats and hats from the stack of old newspapers. We all loaded into his car afterward to go to the creek and race our newly crafted boats. I can’t tell you what we talked about during that time, but I remember how David’s boat had won the race. This was the last memory I had with him and I wanted to treasure every last drop of it.

Before the visitation began, I remember green ribbons being distributed to family members. Each green ribbon had “Donate Life” written on it since many of David’s organs had been donated to those in need. Because of David, someone received new skin, someone else received the ability to see, and many others were able to regain health and have a new life.

Once the doors opened, it seemed as though the line never stopped. Familiar and unfamiliar faces passed by and memories of David were shared amongst friends and family. At one point I tried to escape the sadness and tears by going into the children’s room, but it was filled with books on “where grandma went” and discussing what happens after death. It was not where I wanted to be either.

The next day we had the opportunity to say our final goodbyes to David as a family in the funeral home. We lined up and passed David one by one for the very last time. As I passed by, I gave David the card I had drawn for him with the note I written about how much I loved him and how much I was going to miss him. My sisters did the same and then I watched my dad drop his vice grips into the casket and kiss David on the forehead one last time. My dad always carried vice grips on his hip and I was not quite sure why he did this but in the truck as we followed the hearse to the church he told of how David may need them. In reality, those vice grips were a staple part of my dad’s look so by giving them to David, he would always have a part of my dad with him.

The image that sticks in my mind the most from the entire week and brought me to tears while watching from just a few feet away was seeing my heartbroken grandfather cling to the side of the casket. Tears were streaming down his face as he uttered his final goodbyes to his youngest son. He fell to his knees beside David begging that this not be real; we all wished it was just a nightmare we would soon wake up from but we never did.

At the church, there were sounds of sniffles and muffled cries throughout every pew. The church was filled with those that had fallen in love with David’s kind heart and friendly smile. My dad stood in front of the church to tell memories of the twenty-one-year old that was stolen from this earth. He told of how so many looked up to David, whether they be young or old. He discussed young David’s antics and jokes to help us smile through the tears.

That afternoon there was a dinner served, the burial service, and more refreshments served so everyone could discuss their memories of David. Twenty-one years of pictures and stories were told and retold for everyone to hear. Nobody wanted to let the memories die.

Later that year, my family drove through the cemetery where David is buried. As everyone else went to visit with David, I couldn’t bring myself to get out of the truck. I sat in the backseat with hot tears running down my face as the feeling of loss rushed over me like it had the very first time. My mom tried to talk me into walking with her to David’s plot to tell him how much I missed him being around but I couldn’t do it; it was simply too difficult.

It’s been nine and a half years since that August day when David was called to Heaven and it’s still too difficult. The feeling of losing him is still challenging to live with and I don’t think it will ever become easier. Nearly two years ago I had a paper boat tattooed next to my heart so I can take a piece of David with me everywhere I go and I’m sure David is watching me from heaven, trying to help me get by.

David will always be with me regardless. When I’m scared, I’ll think of the time he helped me cross the bridge beams across the creek even though I was afraid of heights. When I need a laugh, I’ll always have the time he made me flip my bike because I was annoyed with him following so closely that I slammed on my bike brakes and flipped over the handlebars. When I’m feeling down, I’ll think of how David would reach over the side of my bunk bed to kiss me on the forehead and tell me goodnight. There are countless memories with him that I can always rely on to get me through life and keep fighting. There will never be anything worse than losing someone you love dearly at such a young age.

Advertisements

9 Catholic Struggles During Lent

9 Catholic Struggles During Lent

9 Catholic Struggles During Lent

None of these struggles compare to a withdrawal into the desert.

I grew up Catholic and every year when Lent rolls around I have to remind myself of what the 40 days symbolize before I begin dreading meatless Fridays and fasting. As a kid, I gave up small things like candy and pop and as I get older I try to give myself more meaningful changes in my life. This year I have made it a goal to worry less and focus on what is important in my life.

Although I now recognize the importance of what Jesus has done for me, I still find myself with some struggles during Lent. The struggles mostly come from having friends that aren’t Catholic and being away from home for so long. Even the Catholics deserve to laugh sometimes!

1. Going out to eat on a Friday night only to realize you have two options on the menu.

Do I want the catfish or this really boring salad?

2. Going in public on Ash Wednesday and having people tell you that there’s dirt on your face.

I promise you I wasn’t crawling around in the yard. I simply went to mass this morning.

3. When your friends make plans for a huge fancy dinner but you have to fast that day.

All I have eaten today is an apple and peanut butter sandwich, and the last thing I want to do is watch you eat your weight in steak and potatoes.

4. Preparing to do something only to realize you actually gave that up for Lent.

I’ll see you in 40 days, little buddy. I’ll think about you every second of every day!

5. Watching someone else eat a hamburger in front of you on a Friday makes you start drooling.

If I only had one tiny bite it wouldn’t be so bad would it?

6. Being lectured because you don’t attend church every single Sunday. . .

. . .I have no excuse.

7. Which means attending church with all the other Chreasters and being sandwiched in the pews

Sitting first row with 15 of your closest friends is so much fun, but it means no elbow room when using the kneeler.

8. Wondering if you can die of incense inhalation

Can’t breathe, please send help! I’m also realizing my clothes are going to smell like this all day.

9. Realizing you haven’t been to Repentance in a few months.

Okay, it’s definitely been a few years. When was my last CCD class?

Here is to a successful Lent season and that maybe we can overcome our “super difficult” struggles!

A Thank You Letter to the President of my Sorority

A Thank You Letter to the President of my Sorority

A Thank You Letter To The President Of My Sorority

You do so much and I can’t thank you enough.

I did not have much Greek influence growing up. Very few of my family members rushed and I never saw many graduates from my high school join a sorority or fraternity. The idea of joining a sorority when I was accepted to a university was not a priority or even a minuscule thought. Plus, I am not a “sorority girl.”

I don’t excite very easily, I am not up to date on my style profile, and I am an introvert. So why would I ever think about joining a sorority? I don’t know either – but I did. Granted, I joined a professional sorority but we are still a part of the Greek community. After receiving my bid, I had very little knowledge about what lied ahead for me. That next week I found out that Membership Candidate Education lied ahead for me and after the first session I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Learning about Greek history, our chapter history, and getting to know more about my potential sisters was very stressful to me. I would spend hours learning and memorizing every single detail so I could pass my MC Ed tests before Chapter and my brain felt like it was on overload every waking moment.

There were times when I would put note cards in a Ziploc bag just to hang up in the shower so I could get more studying done because I was so concerned with passing my exam that night. But then there were nights that stress didn’t matter to me. Finding out who my big was, watching movies with other girls from my sorority, and getting to do things around campus with other members – that’s what made it all worth it.

At that time, I was thankful for my MC Educator because she was so patient with our class and she made sure we understood the information that was being presented to us. She made it fun and she made the hours of studying worth it. Fast forward a month after I was activated and she became our Chapter President and wow did she deserve it. I cannot thank her enough for all that she has done for me and for our Chapter, and I’m going to try and thank her to the best of my ability.

Thank you for always keeping us focused.

Whether it be during Chapter and keeping us focused on the topic at hand rather than our side chatter or making sure we are focused on our pillars as individuals and as a group.

Thank you for taking time out of your schedule.

She is not only meeting with us at Chapter, but she is going to the same events we are, meeting with PanHellenic and other Greek life, making sure materials have been made and sent out, and making sure our sorority can keep moving forward – all while going to school, working, and having a social life.

Thank you for being so dedicated.

She goes above and beyond in everything she does. She is striving to better the sorority and its members every single day.

Thank you for being a friend.

If any of us ever needs anything, she is an email, text, call, Facebook message away. She makes time for our personal needs too and is willing to talk when we need to.

Thank you for being the best president you can be.

Every single week I watch you grow even more as a president. You keep us up to date on what is happening within the chapter and around campus and you are so focused on watching individual members grow. You help with rush, fundraising, professionalism, philanthropy, sisterhood, and everything our chapter does to assure we are well rounded. You have done and are doing an amazing job and every single girl in our sorority thanks you.

Sorority presidents are a blessing and they deserve so much praise for what they do. They manage to keep a large group of girls in line, minimize drama, and make sure we carry our sorority pride with us once we graduate. President, I cannot thank you enough.

Job Shadowing Can Make or Break Your Career

Job Shadowing Can Make or Break Your Career

Job Shadowing Can Make Or Break Your Career

One simple thing can change your whole future.

In college, we declare a major but for the longest time, we don’t think about future careers. Pretty soon we will be second-semester juniors and will start to panic because we are trying to determine where we want to end up after graduation. Potential employers are being researched, employment sites are being flooded with your searches, and career fairs are life or death. We have finally reached the point where we need to actually figure out what we want to do for the rest of our lives. We might think that have the company we aspire to work for all planned out but yet we have never worked for said company.

This was my situation this past semester. I had my heart set on one division within one company until I job shadowed someone in this position. I quickly realized that position was not what I thought it was or how I wanted to spend a good portion of my life. Since then, I’ve been job shadowing an array of people at companies I have never even considered.

What I love about job shadowing is that I can see what their work environment is like, how the employees interact with one another, and exactly what the person does on their day to day job. These are the people who have the career we one day aspire to have, so why not ask them questions and see exactly what they do? You truly have no idea the environment your dream career has until you are there, so job shadows are a great way to get that experience. It gives you a taste of what your future can be like.

The people I have job shadowed have been extremely honest with me. They tell me the ups and the downs of their job and what struggles they have faced where they are at. Being there in their office lets me see what they enjoy the most and the aspects of their job that make them happy where they are at. People love to talk about themselves and getting a chance to show off what they do who might share the same interest helps make their week.

Job shadowing has really helped me as a college student figure out where I want to be after graduation. My plans have completely changed in just a few months because of the organizations that I have met with and gotten insight into what my future could be like. I got to ask the questions I wanted to and watch tasks that I would perform on the daily; I got honesty and real-life experience, not just a mission statement and job description on the internet. So, if you are considering a future career, get in contact with someone who currently holds your dream career. These are the people who can help you land that future career and they might even be your future employer, so why not benefit yourself by displaying your interest in a career with them? Job shadowing can change your future!

10 Things Every Crappy Car Owner Knows

10 Things Every Crappy Car Owner Knows

10 Things Every Crappy Car Owner Understands

Yes, I know my check engine light is on.

I feel strange writing this article because I am actually in the process of having all my major car problems fixed. Anyone who knows me knows that my car always has something wrong with it. I have had the same car since I was sixteen and it has slowly started going downhill the longer I’ve had it. It’s not that I don’t take care of my car, it’s just that I have problem after problem and it starts to get expensive. Looking at the exterior of my car you would never know how many problems I have had with it. It is the moment you slide into the driver’s seat to find the check engine, ABS, and traction control lights on that you begin to worry about how the car runs.

Once you start driving it you really begin to worry because there is no power steering to the left and there’s a chance it did not even start when you put the key in the ignition. My car has been an uphill battle, but as I start to fix all the major problems, I figured it was time I confess about my crappy car.

1. You never know what is going on under the hood.

What could it be now? Everything under the hood might as well have something wrong with it.

2. You might as well put a star on your dash because it lights up like a Christmas tree.

Too bad there aren’t presents under that tree, just more car problems.

3.You pray it is going to start every time you put the key in the ignition.

Please, please, please don’t embarrass me. I am too afraid to ask if someone can help me jump my car again.

4. Nobody ever wants to ride with you because they fear for their lives.

When someone does ride with you, you just have to apologize for the whole car.

5. You have gotten used to listening to music out of one speaker.

Music sounds better out of the left speaker anyways.

6. Your tires might as well be old men because they are bald.

Welcome to winter, where you slide on even the tiniest bit of ice.

7. You don’t even notice the dents and scratches anymore.

The dent in the back bumper might as well be a part of the car.

8. Going to the mechanic is just asking to have your bank account drained of money.

Yes, I know everything is broken. I only need my oil changed.

9. You are afraid your car may go kaput every time you drive on the interstate.

My phone is charged, just in case I have to call someone.

10. As much as you hate it, you still love your car and all its flaws.

It can be a major pain trying to keep up with my car and all its problems, but I’m too afraid to part with it. I know all the tips and tricks to keep it running and make sure it starts.

If my car was problem free, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. So, next time you see me driving my lovely, crappy car feel free to honk and say hi!

The Best Superbowl Sunday Ad Was About Farmers

The Best Superbowl Sunday Ad Was About Farmers

The Best Superbowl Sunday Ad Was About Farmers

To the farmer in all of us.

Imagine, it is 1978, a convention hall in Kansas City, Missouri is filled with cowboy boots and corduroy jackets. It’s the 51st National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Convention, and thousands of high school students throughout the United States are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Paul Harvey, the legendary radio broadcaster. Now fast-forward to 2013, a living room is filled with football fans watching the Superbowl when the room goes silent and Paul Harvey’s name flashes on the screen. Viewers are mesmerized as the acclaimed broadcaster gets out his first words, “And on the eighth day…”. As the commercial fades to a black screen, the football fans are transported back to 1978 as the National FFA Organization’s emblem is placed on the screen underneath the Ram trademark. Ram’s “So God Made a Farmer” commercial was a successful campaign, connecting with America through detailed photographs and Paul Harvey’s monumental speech.

While most commercials display a video for viewers to enjoy, Ram chose to do something different – present a series of high-resolution photographs. Viewers are unaware of the commercial’s intent for quite some time. Instead of being concerned with who made the commercial, the audience is curious about the subjects of the pictures and how they correlate with the speech in the background. People see farmers covered in dirt, cattle awaiting feeding, the unloading of hay, children aspiring to be like their parents, and a family praying around the dinner table. To rural America, such as farmers, ranchers, and blue collar workers, these photos are showing the rest of the world what their everyday life looks like. Being high resolution, the photos show every detail, from every wrinkle to speck of dirt, giving insight to the amount of work a job on the farm requires.

Hands

When Ram’s trademark is shown it becomes aware that Ram subtly placed their pick-up trucks in the background of certain photos. In these photos, the product is being put to the ultimate test – keeping up with the American farmer. The Rams are being used to carry crates on a flatbed, act as a seat, carry hay for hungry cattle, hold straw as it is unloaded, and wait outside of confinement buildings. In photos showing people, there is a diversity of farmers and families; old and young men, women, children, and multiple ethnicities can be found. By showing the diversity of farmers and the variety of work they complete, it opens the audience up to more than just those on the farm.

The last photo Ram displays is one of their trucks in front of confinement buildings with, “To the farmer in all of us” written above. The hard work and dedication it takes to work and live on a farm also correlates into the daily lives of others throughout the world. Ram dedicates this commercial to those God chose to complete hard work in their lives. This commercial is for the ones who, “get up before dawn, strong enough to rustle a calf, yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild, will finish his forty hour week by Tuesday noon…then put in another seventy-two hours, and not cut corners.” These are the people whose children say, “[they] want to spend [their] life ‘doing what dad does’”. The Ram Company didn’t just stop at instilling confidence in Americans, they continued to instill confidence in the National FFA Organization even thirty-five years after Paul Harvey’s speech was first given in Kansas City, Missouri.

To The Farmer In All Of Us

The “So God Made a Farmer” commercial was dedicated to making 2013, “the year of the farmer” and what better way to begin the year than supporting the FFA, an organization that specializes in teaching agriculture and leadership. Ram agreed to donate up to $1,000,000 to the FFA if the commercial could reach 10 million views online – it took less than one week to reach the goal due to the commercial being so popular. In October of 2013 at the National FFA Convention, Ram presented the National FFA President with a $1,000,000 check in front of a room filled with thousands of members in their corduroy jackets.

The commercial was seen as a chance to embrace the agricultural industry, inform the public of how vital American farmers are, and support the future of agriculture. Ram trucks appealed to consumers by seeing the trucks being used in hard-working and dirty jobs. The voice behind the pictures was recognizable from viewers growing up and listening to Paul Harvey on the radio. If there is a farmer in all of us, and farmers clearly put the truck to use, we can all use a new Ram truck…and that’s the rest of the story.

Stop Telling Kids College is a Requirement

Stop Telling Kids College is a Requirement

Stop Telling Kids That College Is A Requirement

That $40,000 degree isn’t worth it.

Today, we put so much emphasis on the need for a college degree, constantly reminding high school students to get good grades, participate in activities, and score high on their ACT so they can get into a good university. Rarely do we educate teenagers on trade schools or going straight into the workforce, because we have been brainwashed to believe there is no adequate future for those who choose this path. What truly happens to those who take this path, though? Are people capable of working their way up the work world ladder without a college education?

Scot Klump, of Crescent City, Illinois, was born and raised in Adams County, Ohio where he raised tobacco, crops, and cattle and milked cows with his uncle. He spent his final two years in high school in a cooperative vocational school program learning about farm business management before graduating and heading for basic training. For two years, he served as a 63 Tango Mechanic in Germany, inspecting and servicing track and wheeled vehicles. When he arrived back in the United States, he began working as a Farm Hand and Machinery Mechanic for a farmstead where he stayed for ten years.

In 2004, he moved to Illinois to become a Grain Elevator Operator for a past supervisor from the farmstead he had spent years working at. As time passed Scot worked his way up in the company, becoming the Outside Grain Superintendent and is currently the Location Manager for Wheatfield Grain Holding Company LLC in Crescent City and Onarga, Illinois. Scot said, “I proved I could do whatever task they put in front of me and constantly asked questions about the company,” when discussing how he got to where he is today.

According to AgCareers, an Associates or a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Business or Marketing is preferred for a Grain Elevator Manager. Scot mentioned that some grain elevators would not hire or even consider hiring someone without a degree. When hiring new employees, Scot and his supervisor do not specifically look for someone with a degree because “experience is more important. If someone is willing to learn, they deserve the job. If they’re not willing to learn or put in the effort, regardless of having a degree, they should not be hired.”

So, if someone is eager to learn about the job and is willing to put in work, they should be more than qualified for a wide array of employment opportunities. Scot discussed that “people are capable of being self-educated,” and just because someone spent hours in a classroom does not mean they know what they are doing. Some people may pick up a wrench in high school and be the most educated person in mechanics by the time they are thirty and they have never stepped foot on a college campus. Scot talked about how “some [employers] look at resumes and assume that since the applicant doesn’t have a degree, they’re stupid,” when that is not the case.

A degree does not make a person educated. It should not determine whether or not they are qualified for a career. Their work ethic should. Now is the time to start educating high schoolers that going to college is not the only choice. People are capable of making a living without formal education, all they need is a good work ethic and positive attitude.

The Mechanic

How to Make it Through Spring Semester as Told by Leslie Knope

How to Make it Through Spring Semester as Told by Leslie Knope

How To Make It Through Spring Semester As Told By Leslie Knope

“We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”

Hey, it’s spring semester and you know what that means. Hell, it means hell. Spring semester always seems to be more difficult than fall semester. The amount of energy you exert to live until spring break and summer drains you. That does not mean we as college students need to exhaust ourselves and whine about how difficult school is. Instead, we are going to pick ourselves up and kick this semester’s butt. Do you know who is going to help motivate us to do so? The one and only, Leslie Knope.

Walk into your first class of syllabus week like:

best day of the year

Leave your last class of syllabus week knowing you’ll kick spring semester’s butt.

make it awesome

When things get stressful, remember to take some time for yourself.

friends waffles work

Spring semester may seem more difficult; but, stay strong and remind yourself that you’re awesome.

glorious female warrior

Remember to exercise and don’t succumb to bad eating habits, after all, spring break is right around the corner.

I hate salad

Don’t be afraid to kiss up to your professors. Go to office hours and introduce yourself after class.

I agree with you

It is perfectly fine to have a mental breakdown when things get tough.

Nervous Breakdown

Go to the library if you need to focus on your work (even if Leslie disapproves of libraries).

book jockeys

Eat breakfast before class so you can focus on the lecture instead of your rumbling tummy.

Breakfast food

It’s okay to go out with your friends and have some fun.

Glass of wine

Wear sweatpants to class. Give yourself a break from trying to look perfect every morning.

I hate mondays

Do not pull an all-nighter unless absolutely necessary. You deserve to sleep!

all night work

Find some inspiration for that 10-page essay in your everyday life.

Inspired by myself

Most importantly, remember to show yourself some self-love this semester.

Hey Leslie, It's Leslie

We’re coming for you spring semester!

Do It. Fierce. Power.

As this semester starts, remember to stay perky and outgoing like Leslie. Work to be the best that you can and encourage everyone around you to do their best. If anyone tells you, “you just got jammed,” know that you can overcome it and make the best of the situation. Treat yo ‘self occasionally and throw a Galentine’s Day party with your friends to get away from the stress of school. If Leslie can go from the Parks Department to President of the United States, you can make it through the spring semester. If you need some reassurance, I’ll be here to text you every 30 seconds saying that everything is going to be okay!

How I’ve Grown to Live with my Anxiety Attacks

How I’ve Grown to Live with my Anxiety Attacks

How I've Grown To Live With My Anxiety Attacks

This is how I’ve learned to live with what I go through on a daily basis.

Let me walk you through one of my anxiety attacks. This is weird for me to explain because I’m not really one to be open about my anxiety attacks. I don’t talk about them with my family or my friends. I try to avoid confronting anyone after I’ve had one. I suffered from depression for quite some time. Even though I was able to overcome that, my anxiety never left. My attacks are irregular and they come during stressful times, but the anxiety is always there. When they do occur, I’ve learned to decipher when they’re coming. I’ve developed helpful ways to calm myself down, but sometimes I can’t talk myself out of the attack itself. What does the anxiety attack actually feel like?

For me, it starts with a heavy sensation in my chest and the worry that I’m going to puke. Not to be cliché, but it does feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest. My stomach starts to hurt and I begin to feel sick. When these feelings start happening, I rush to find a safe place – my bedroom, a room alone, or a bathroom if I’m in public. When all of these feelings start to overtake my body, I try to think logical thoughts. I start counting whatever I can find. I count people, floor tiles, letters, books, or whatever I can find; counting gives me something else to focus on other than my brain.

At this point, if I can’t talk myself out of the attack, I just wait for the attack to start. I start shaking, almost as if I were cold. It’s the type of shaking when you get really nervous and many times I can’t control my hands from spasming. Simultaneously, my breathing becomes heavy. The elephant on my chest has gotten to me at this point and there’s no turning back. Then, the crying starts and that’s the hardest to control. The tears don’t always come and it’s easier when they don’t. Once I begin crying, it is nearly impossible to shut off. I will think I’ve stopped, but instead I’ll spend another ten minutes wiping my face. In the meantime, I’m still trying to diverge my thoughts and counting the same 16 tiles on the wall. I can tell you there are four tiles across and four tiles down, five of them did not have to be cut or resized, and only one has a crack in it. I’ve memorized bathroom tiles, wall outlets, and carpet just to calm myself down before.

If I’m in my bed, I’m hugging my knees to my chest and trying to lay under my blankets. If I’m in public, I’m leaning over with my hands on my knees, trying to curl myself up while still standing. I might try to call someone on the phone just to talk or I will try to talk myself through the attack out loud. Eventually, I can get my body to calm down through this process. The crying stops and I can breathe again. Then, I just wait for the shivering to subside a few minutes later. Even though the attack is done, I still continue to count because it keeps my brain focused on something other than what just happened. It helps me from having another attack.

After the attack, I emerge from my room or bathroom stall to go back to my life. I drink a glass of water and wait for the red face to go away. I act like nothing just happened and go on with my life. I work at finding new ways to cope with stress and anxiety and pray that maybe next time this won’t happen.

It’s difficult and many times it is inconvenient, but I’ve learned to live with it. Anxiety is not fun; but, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the stress of school and life. I’ve learned to cope with it. All I hope for is that one day I can go without fearing an attack is coming.

How Being Twelve Has Changed

How Being Twelve Has Changed

How Being Twelve Has Changed

As told by twelve year olds

I recently came across a book I had while I was in elementary school. Every year during school I filled out questions and topics to show how I’ve changed during the years. It was a little bittersweet to read about the dreams and aspirations I had as a child. As I got through the book, I began to wonder how my answers differed from a child today. I roped my twelve year old sister into answering the same questions I did when I was in sixth grade.

My sister’s name is Riley and well, she’s basically a tiny me. As she grows up she has started looking more and more like I do and her personality is even very similar to mine. We might be eight and a half years apart but we get along really well. Growing up I spent a lot of time with her and when we were in public a lot of strangers thought I was her very, very young teenage mom. With all of this in mind, I set out to see how similar the two of us really are and how much things have changed in eight short years.

Height:

Me: 5’ 2”

Riley: 5’ 1” AND A QUARTER

Weight:

Me: 110 lbs

Riley: 100 lbs

Favorite class:

Me: Computer Class

Riley: Math Class

I’m really into activities like:

Me: Track, Speech, Volleyball, Gymnastics, 4H, & Cheerleading

Riley: Basketball, Track, & 4H

My best friends are:

Me: 2 girls from class & girls from school we co-oped sports with

Riley: Girls from her school & girls from school where sports are co-oped

When my friends and I get together, we like to:

Me: We do everything together. We are NEVER apart.

Riley: Play a game or play some sort of sport

Favorite Sport:

Me: Track & Volleyball

Riley: Basketball

Favorite Magazine:

Me: Seventeen

Riley: I don’t like magazines…wait, I like those People magazines because they’ve got those “spot the difference” things

Favorite Music:

Me: All music but I really like Hinder or Nickelback

Riley: Country, especially Thomas Rhett

Favorite School subjects:

Me: Computers & Grammar

Riley: Math, Reading, & PE

In 100 years, I want people to remember me for:

Me: Standing up for myself

Riley: Being smart

The thing that makes me stand out from the crowd is:

Me: I’m 100% me. Just being me is what I’m all about.

Riley: I’m weird… I don’t know.

When I grow up I want to be:

Me: Fashion designer. Or become an artist or photographer.

Riley: A lawyer (apparently I made a face because then she said, “What? You don’t think I could be a lawyer?”)

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free I would go to:

Me: Germany

Riley: Everywhere in Europe

My favorite electronic is:

Me: My MP3 Player (the only other electronics I had was our home computer and TV)

Riley: My Samsung Tablet (she also has access to a TV, Laptop, our parent’s iPhones, and a brand new Chromebook she got for Christmas)

On the computer, you can find me on:

Me: Yahoo Messenger or MySpace

Riley: Facebook and YouTube. I don’t really do anything other than YouTube. (As I type this she’s sitting across the room from me, watching a YouTube tutorial on her tablet.)

My favorite outfit is:

Me: My Aeropostale shirts and Bermuda shorts

Riley: Plaid shirt, my cowboy boots, and a pair of jeans

My favorite TV Show:

Me: “Hannah Montana” and “Suite Life of Zack and Cody”

Riley: “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Middle,” I really like “The Middle”

Comparing our answers, I am beginning to think that maybe we aren’t all that similar as what I assumed. We are both really athletic (me in sixth grade anyway), compete in a variety of sports, and enjoy academics. At her age I enjoyed computers class because we got to learn how to use Microsoft Office and the internet. Riley informed me they no longer even teach that class because kids know how to do use both those programs by time they’re in sixth grade. We competed in different sports and when I was in school we offered cheerleading, so she doesn’t get that experience. Although, I doubt she would ever try that. I was also able to see how technologically advanced we are compared to when I was in sixth grade (2007-2008). I had a MP3 player and would’ve killed to had an iPod but they were so expensive, whereas Riley listens to all her music via YouTube and Spotify on her Tablet.

Regardless of how similar or crazy different Riley and I may be in our choices, she’s still my sister and I’ll love her until the day I die.