A Story of Life, Death, Chickens, and Growing Up.

When I was around six years old, I remember my parents slowly walking up to me in the morning and giving me a hug. They kneeled down beside me and said in a soft, slow, sad, and apologetic voice: “I’m sorry, honey. The raccoons got Mrs. Frizzel last night.”

I sobbed for hours. I was sad for days. I made my parents have a funeral. My tears fell to the ground as we buried my dead chicken. My parents bought a chick that I raised and loved, but I still missed Mrs. Frizzel.

When I was eight, Fluffy and Ginger passed away. My parents broke the news to me in the same way. I cried the same way as I had before. I got two more chicks.

When I was twelve, my parents again approached me with the same sad tone and told me that that a couple of our chickens died in their sleep. I didn’t cry as much when they died, partially because I was old enough to understand that everything dies of old age at some point. It was much more bearable. I would be sad, but not sobbing like I had done in the past.

Today, I came home and asked if he bought food at the store. He said no. Something happened, so he had to come home. “What I happened?” I asked.

“The neighbors dog got into our yard and into the chicken coop,” he said with a flat tone.

“You stopped right, the chickens are okay?”

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“No,” he said. “They are dead, all but three are dead.” He said it with the same flat tone.

He just told me straight up, assuming I wouldn’t be sad. No soft, slow, sad, or apologetic voice. He patted my back and walked away.

I went outside. The corpses were gone. All that remained was feathers.

Eight year old me popped in to my mind. The funeral for Mrs. Frizzel. My parents stroking my back and telling me everything was going to be okay.

There would be no funeral, my dad had put their limp bodies in the trash before I came home. There would be no comfort from my parents. Fifteen year olds don’t cry when their chickens die.

I’m shouldn’t be sad. I’m too old to be sad. But, I’m sad.

I remembered holding the chickens when they were less than a week old. Moving them to the big coop when they were old enough. Hand-feeding them mealworms and celebrating the day that they laid their first egg.

I raised them. They are dead now.

If I was a child I would be sobbing in my parents arms. Now, I’m sobbing alone.

I know if I went to them they would comfort me, but there’s an age where you need to accept reality on your own.

Being treated like a child is now nonexistent. Just like my chickens.

When I was little, if I had a lot of homework, my parents would tell me I could do it and tell me I could have a cookie when I finished. Now, when I complain about my homework, they say lots of homework is part of growing up.

When I was little, my parents were by me at every moment to guide me through life. Now, I am old enough where I need to handle  things on my own.

When I was younger, my parents could fix everything. They could make everything feel better. In their arms, I was safe.

Yes, the death of my chickens is part of the reason I’m crying. But, there’s more to the tears running down my cheek.

No matter how much I want to believe it, my parents can’t fix everything. As much as I want it to, they can’t hug me and make me not be sad. As desperately as I want to deny it, my parents can’t protect me anymore.

I don’t know why all of this came from a dog breaking into my chicken coop, but it did…

Rest in peace Lucky, Trouble, Darwin, Lemon, Pepper, Oreo, and Henry.  I may not be a child anymore, but I still love you and miss you.

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You

I’m generally a happy person, but we all have our baggage.

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No one is completely happy and the more you pretend to be, the more miserable you will become.

We all have ups and downs, rough patches and smooth ones.

Don’t feel like you need to cast out the bad, for it will never go away if you try and push it out.

Embrace hardships. Embrace your insecurities. Embrace what you’ve been through.

Accept the bad, because acceptance is how you overcome it.

Concentrate on the good. Embrace your successes. Embrace what you’re proud of. Embrace what makes you happy. Embrace who you are.

Focus on the good because thats how you create more.

Accept the bad and embrace the good for it makes who you are,

and you…

are beautiful.

Gone

People come and go so fast. It’s almost like they’re here one day and gone the next. With a blink of an eye, a bullet is in their brain, a tumor is in their body, a rope is around their neck, lethal amounts of Codeine is in their system. You try to save them, but they’re already gone.

I beat myself up and ask over and over again: what could I have done to help you?

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Why didn’t I realize? Looking back now it seems so obvious. I could have done so much to save you.

A text? A call? A drive up to LA? Would that have kept your heart beating?

Well, here’s the answer. No, I couldn’t have saved you, even as much as I wanted too. You may have had a pulse and air going through your lungs, but you were already gone.

It comes to a point where a person is faded to a point of no recovery, no matter how much you do, the sadness inside of them can never be erased.

You can tell so much by looking in someones eyes. Looking at your most recent photos, your eyes said it all. The color, the joy, the happiness, it was gone. Now, you are gone.

I blame myself a lot.

But sometime I’m going to have to realize, no matter how much I deny it, there is nothing  I could have done.

“sometimes it takes more courage to live than to kill yourself”

i hope you’re okay.

i miss you.

you seem happier now, we both do.

but, we both know deep down that we will most likely never be fully okay.

i ask myself all the time… what could i have done better?

how could i have helped you, made you see what i saw in you?

you sat on the edge for a while, staring over the ledge at the busy freeway. i stood starring at you from below, sobbing.

in your mind, there was nothing to live for, nothing worth living for.

live for me, i thought. live for me. please live for me.

it’s selfish, but i needed you, in all honesty, i still do.

i loved you then, i love you now.

you didn’t jump because you knew that if you did, it wouldn’t kill you. you’d survive the fall and, when you woke up, you’d be sent to a place far worse than the center we were at.

i lived with you for two months in a residential treatment center for eating disorders until we were both discharged.

we suffered together, we cried together, but we laughed together too.

we’d talk in spanish complaining about the staff, we’d talk about boys, we’d talk about all the things we’d do once we got out of center for discovery (the treatment center we were at), and all things we would do together.

at the center, all sharp objects, from knives to pen caps, are locked in a cabinet which only the staff has a key too.

i remember that one night in our room. i heard a noise coming from your side of the room.

the staff who watches us at night had fallen asleep and someone had forgotten to lock away a pen cap.

you lay in bed, a broken pen cap in your hand, and blood on your wrists.

i ran to you and tried to take away the cap. you pushed me away, i lunged at you again and took it.

i grabbed your arms and forced them around me. you sobbed, begging for the cap. i could almost hear you internally begging to me, “end this please, end me please.”

you kept on saying please in between sobs. over and over again: “please.”

“shhh,” i whispered crying. “shhh”.

you were seventeen at the time, i was thirteen.

i was a ninety-pound, anorexic, thirteen-year-old girl living in a metal hospital.

you were a bulimic, suicidal, seventeen-year-old girl living in a mental hospital.

i held you for what felt like hours, i hugged you until you stopped crying.

you’re nineteen.

i don’t see you much anymore, we talk sometimes though.

you were sent back to the center twice because you relapsed.

you seem better now though, you seem happy now, but i worry a lot.

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you’re nineteen. if you go back to your old ways, you’re parents can’t legally force you back to the center, you’re an adult.

if you wanted to, you can find a bigger ledge, one that could end it all.

i can’t protect you anymore, i’m not there to grab the pen cap.

you are happy now, but we both know how fast things can change.

i hope you stay happy forever. please stay happy forever.

if you are ever sad, please tell me.

thirteen years old in a treatment center, fifteen years old in my room writing this, twenty years old wherever i’ll be then, no matter what age or what place, i will always be here to hold you.

My Christmas

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I found this a while ago, while looking through notes on my phone:

To many people, Christmas is a day to wake up early and run to all of the presents that await you. Many of my friend’s stories on Snapchat were pictures of things they got, like a Hydro Flask, new phone, drum set, AirPods, and more, with the caption “Merry Christmas.”

Unlike many of my friends, for me, today was not a day focused on gifts. I spent the day with my grandparents and parents. We did not exchange physical gifts, our gift was being together as a family.

Instead of being sad or mad that my family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, I took a different approach. Today reminded me of all I have and all I can do to give back. Christmas is about giving, so I did, but a little different that most people did today.

This evening, I spent over two hours signing petitions, calling senators, and sending letters to change the injustice happening today.

This evening, I sent, signed, and made over 105 petitions, letters, and calls.

No, today I did not wake up to an abundance of presents. No, today I did not celebrate Christmas like most people do.

But today, I used my power to make a difference, in my opinion, and learned my ability to express my beliefs is better than anything that could be under the Christmas tree.

Take advantage of your gift. Make a change today.

Here’s to Strong Women

She’s strong, she’s talented, she’s smart. My friend is headed towards great things.

Soon we’ll be in college, I know I won’t be going to the same school as her anymore, but I know I’ll never forget her.

You know someone is extraordinary when they have so many amazing goals that they don’t know what to pursue.

Sometimes I think, what will she be doing in four years?

Will she be a influential member in race and resistance studies, standing up to oppression and persecution?

Will she be a rising scholar in gender and feminism studies, striving to create a more equal world?

Will she be a social justice worker?

Will she be a photo journalist, not only using her power with words to inspire, but her talent with captured memories, also?

Will she be filmmaker and editor, creating barrier-breaking and revolutionary films?

Will she be a gender sexuality savant, fighting for the LGBTQ+ community?

Will she be a sociologist, endeavoring  to generate social polyphony?

Will she be a lawyer fighting for human rights?

I don’t think she’s just going to chose one of these. I think she’s going to do all of them, because if she sets her mind to something, there’s no stopping her.

I know sometimes you get nervous. You wonder how you’ll accomplish everything you hope to. You occasionally struggle to understand your identity, what path to take. You get down some times. You make wrong decisions and question your worth.

I know you are strong, but I know we all have our doubts and struggles. But never forget, I’m here for you. I’m rooting for you. I love you.

You are an inspiration, an amazing friend, and you are going to make such a big difference in the world.

Never forget your goals, for I know, you can and you will achieve them all.

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Short n’ Sweet

I’m five foot three inches.

People think I’m five five.

I usually tell people I’m five four.

I’ve been embarrassed of my height for a while. I wear platformed shoes, I sit up as straight as I can, and I do exercises that supposedly help me grow. But, no matter what I try, I’m not going to get any taller.

I’m short and I don’t like it, but I can’t do anything about it, so why not own it?

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I’m short, I have a lower risk of cancer.

I’m short, I can wear children’s sizes and save a bunch of money.

I’m short, I can wear heels without towering over my date.

I’m short, I don’t have to worry about hitting my head on doors.

I’m short, blankets will cover my body and my feet, so no cold toes for me.

I’m short, I can fit in small places.

I’m short, I can fit in my dog’s bed and cuddle with her.

I’m short, I can beat just about anyone in a limbo competition.

I’m short, I have a higher life expectancy than taller people.

I could go on and on about the pros of being vertically “challenged,”

but I’m going to keep it short n’ sweet.