The First Time I Saw My Father Cry

Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders

Photo Credit: tearsforfears.com

My dad always seemed to find a way to stay strong. During hard times, he remains tough and tells me it’s going to be okay. The day he found out he had a blocked artery and needed heart surgery, the day my grandfather died,  the day my mom got hurt and had to go to the hospital, and the day his favorite pet died, he never cried. It’s not that it wasn’t hard for him, it all was. The reason he didn’t cry was because he always wanted me to know that it was okay, that it was all going to be okay. He stays strong because he hopes that no matter how bad the situation, we will find a way out of it. My dad doesn’t cry because he wants me to think that everything is going to be okay.

The outline of all my ribs were visible, even through the tank top I wore. My hip bones stuck out and created a visible lines in the XS leggings I wore which were still too big. You could see my spine through my shirt and my tail bones were visible too. There were bruises on my back from laying down, my bones would cause purple and blue marks to form on the skin covering them. My jaw had become sharp and it looked as if my cheeks went inward. My collarbones practically popped out of my skin and my sternum was defined and visible. If I lifted up my shirt,  my deteriorating heart beating slowly through my chest was easily seen.

About a month before the day listed above was the day when I had officially been diagnosed. We had known something was up for a while. The cutting out of food groups; skipping meals; weighing myself at least twice a day; crying before, during, and after eating; the fact that all my clothes now fit loosely; my low energy level; and much more made my parents suspect something wasn’t right. But, today, a professional had given the thing controlling their daughter an official name: anorexia nervosa . That same day, the result from my EKG came in, my heart rate was dangerously low and we were called in the doctor’s office immediately. As soon as I walked in, she put a device on my finger that revealed my heart rate: 38 beats per minute. Due to all the weight I had lost, and the fact that I had been depriving myself of the calories I needed, my body started to break down the muscles in my vital organs in order to  receive the energy needed to survive day-to-day life.

My heart was the main victim of this.  The doctor told me that I needed to stop water polo and all exercise until my heart rate was normal. Water polo was what made me happy: it was my identity, my passion, my motivation to get better, and my dad knew this. I had never cried so hard in my life. After five minutes of me in tears, my mom broke down too, but my dad stayed strong and comforted the both of us. She then told my parents about the hospitalization programs she recommended for me. I cried on the drive home and for hours when we were home, I cried and cried and cried. As I lay alone in bed that night, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t sleep. My plan was to go to wake up my dad and ask him to be with me, I felt bad about waking him up, but I didn’t know what I would do without him right now. I knew if I woke up my mom, she would start to sob too. It was hard enough dealing with the pain I brought upon myself, I couldn’t manage to see the pain I inflicted on her. I wanted, no, I needed him to tell me that I was strong, tell me that I could get through this, tell me that everything was going to be okay. I walked into their room and used my phone for light, but to my surprise he wasn’t there. I walked back to the hallway and looked at the shut office door with light coming from underneath it. Maybe he wasn’t tired and decided to do some work. That thought made me feel better because then I wouldn’t be waking him up, but as soon as I opened the door, my heart already-failing heart felt like it had stopped working completely. There was my dad: eyes red, cheeks stained. He sat on the floor holding a tissue wet with tears. This was the first time in my thirteen years alive that I had seen my dad cry.

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Breaking News

Photo Credit: foodandwine.com

The icecaps are melting. Human green house gas emissions have grown 80% since 1970. On average, annually, a women makes eleven thousand dollars and men make twenty-one thousand. A headless chicken named Mike lived for eighteen months after its head was cut off. Toilet paper kills 27,000 trees daily.  By 2050, one million species of animals will be extinct.  But, the problem dominating the internet (not), bringing major social uprising (sarcasm), and (said ironically) causing riots around the world: non-dairy drinks being called milk. *GASP*

Dairy farms protest dairy alternatives such as soy, almond, cashew, and coconut being called milk.  This issue has been taken to congress and brought up with the FDA. It is rumored that the FDA will ban the use of “milk” in the title of non-dairy beverages.

Let’s be real here. There are MUCH bigger problems facing our earth today. People, sit down, pour a nice big glass of almond milk, and email congress or the FDA to say “START DOING SOMETHING NECESSARY WITH YOUR AUTHORITY!”

NYC Memories

Contrasting the small, quaint towns where I’ve grown up in California, New York City was a breath of fresh, exciting air with life awaiting at the end of every corner walked.

My first night in New York was magical. I arrived around 10 at night, and looking out the window I was in awe of all the city lights illuminated in the distance. I couldn’t see all of them yet, but I knew they’d be tall and magical.

The cab ride was no different. With the hood of the roof of the taxi cab rolled back, I felt small as I saw the bright city lights tower over me, skyscraper after skyscraper appeared for the whole hour of driving until we arrived at our Airbnb in Greenwich Village.

At 12:30 we finally headed outside for dinner, and every restaurant was open. At TWELVE THIRTY at night, every restaurant was open, while in Santa Barbara anywhere but a bar is usually closed by 10 pm at the latest. You’re lucky if anything is open in LA.

But New York City is just filled with amazing life and even more amazing food. Every single restaurant I went to had artichokes, and I love artichokes. It’d be a miracle if I found them at a restaurant excluding Sea Fresh and Cheesecake Factory in California.

But that’s just one food item. We ate at a different restaurant every single night. From small vintage American diners playing 2000’s throwbacks to luxurious, high-end Italian restaurants or steakhouses, every place was delicious.

But one place that sticks out in my mind is BlackTap. The small, bar-seated burger place only fit thirteen people. The place had an hour long line, but when we refused to wait and came back a calmer day, we finally understood why the place was so popular. The food was phenomenal, but the true wow factor of the place was their milkshakes.

Photo Credit: thebrunchboys.com

The milkshakes were insane. From cookies supreme to the birthday shake, these shakes towered over the cups they were put in with overdoses of sugar and sweetness. I had a cookies & cream shake which left me in a sugar coma for the rest of the day.

Though most of my memories of NYC occurred in a restaurant, there are so many more that they’d be difficult to count on my fingers and toes, but I’ll name a few.

The Saturday after we arrived, I eagerly ran over to Washington Square Park from the place I was staying to participate in a massive pillow fight on National Pillow Fight Day. Hundreds of people piled into the park with pillows in their hands and grins on their faces in a fight to the “death” in a friendly, but intense, pillow fight. It was one of the purest experiences I ever had the privilege to take part in. Feathers exploded into the air, laughter silenced the playful screams, and pillows were thrown.

I did many more things in New York City. I walked around the city so much that my feet had blisters that hurt to the point that I’m still limping now (it was worth it), I visited three universities and absolutely fell in love with NYU, and I explored every inch of Times Square. However, by far my favorite were the three broadway shows I went to.

First I went to the Book of Mormon. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I didn’t listen to the soundtrack prior to going, but the performance exceeded my expectations. First, it was the most hilarious show I had ever been to. It was completely satirical about the Mormon faith, but it was executed perfectly with amazing acting, and catchy songs that are still stuck in my head. However, the musical is highly offensive so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone highly religious or offended easily by extreme stereotypes, but it’s definitely worth paying the money to go see.

The day after I went to go see Kinky Boots. The night before I had a midlife crisis because my NYU tour and Kinky Boots show were planned at the same time. I shouldn’t be melodramatic, but when my aunt told me that they’d just go see Kinky Boots without me, I almost died. I had been excited about that show for months, and I had been dying to go see it since Brendon Urie starred in it. Thankfully, we were able to exchange our tickets for the night performance and I was able to experience the magic of Kinky Boots. I had heard nothing but positive reviews, and when I went to the show I left happier than ever. It was original, unique, and just saying, those men walk better in six inch heels than I ever will.

Photo Credit: thegreenspace.org

Completely last minute, my Aunt and I headed into Times Square and snatched last minute seats to The Lion King. Somehow ending up in the seventh row of the center orchestra, I was ready for three hours to experience one of the most iconic shows on Broadway. I was shocked how much effort was put into the show. The costume design was crazy. I didn’t know where to look during the opening number when people dressed head to toe in animal costumes walked down the aisles singing the Circle of Life while walking onto the stage. Everything about all these shows was amazing.

I could go on about my trip in New York for hours, but this is just a glimpse of it, and I am dying to be back there soon.

Don’t hug me. I’m scared

A couple days ago, one of my friends introduced me to the youtube series “Don’t Hug me. I’m scared.” Before she played it, she told me it was gonna be pretty weird and messed up. I have to admit, she was definitely right about that.

It starts out looking like a children’s TV show. Strange puppets in bright colors in a room made of felt and fabric, all in a Sesame Street kind of style.

Credit: static1.squarespace.com
Credit: images.genius.com

Every episode follows the same pattern. It starts out somewhat normal, then a song begins to play. Each song addresses a subject that is important in today’s society. There is one about being creative, one about time and aging being unstoppable, about love, technology, health, and one about dreams.

Those don’t sound weird at all, do they? Well, just wait.

Because as the video goes on, the song becomes stranger and darker and more twisted, with loud noises and abrupt animations and a surprising amount of blood and death.

Honestly, I don’t even know why I started watching it in the first place. However, I was actually quite impressed by the deeper meaning of the show. Don’t get me wrong, it is creepy and messed up in so many ways. But I like the way it addresses things such as the brainwashing by mass media.

The way that all the “harmless” things and characters in the videos turn into literal nightmares- consuming your entire life, the way the characters get trapped inside a computer- and killed when they try to escape, or how you can only be accepted by people around you by joining the cult of love perfectly captures certain things that are wrong with our world and society, in an extremely twisted but ironic manner.

I don’t necessarily recommend anyone to watch this show, since I’m not really sure if it was or wasn’t a complete waste of time, or if the producers actually meant to be that deep. But in case you are looking for a great way to waste time, just watch it! It is definitely unique.

Working at McDonald’s

Photo Credit: twitter.com

Most of the young people who have just graduated college are trying to find jobs to get experience. There is one place to work where they teach teamwork and how to be a leader. That place is called McDonald’s, which may be surprising to most of you out there.

A lot of people think that if they get into a good college like Stanford, Harvard, UCI, etc… they will automatically get a high earning job. Yes that happens to a few young adults, but sorry to break it to you, most of us here are not part of that select few. Most of us are most likely to end up working at a fast food restaurant, and  McDonald’s is good for experience and to learn what teamwork really means.

School Fatigue & Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving is almost here, and with that comes a week-long break from school, which I am truly grateful for. Lately, to be able to make it through the school day I have had to go to bed at 9 pm.

I am basically a grandma.

But soon, everyone, including myself, will get to take a break from school, and hopefully, will get to go without alarm clocks and schoolwork for a week to recharge.

For those who celebrate Thanksgiving, we can stuff our faces full of turkey (or Tofurky for the vegans?), stuffing, and pie. And then we can all fall into a deep food coma.

Photo Credit: Giphy

There’s also Black Friday, which is just a shopping free-for-all, where people lose their minds over the sales and rip flat screens out from other shoppers’ hands.

And, right when Thanksgiving ends, it’s basically Christmas, so I’m pumped.

Now all California needs is COLD WEATHER (and rain, obviously).

Burgers and Fries Oh My

In order to graduate from Ojai Valley School, each senior must successfully complete a senior project. These projects range from visiting Alcatraz to camping on an island for a week. My best friend, and editor, Kendall Shiffman and I have decided our senior project is going to be “burger telephone,” more commonly known as “taco telephone”

We will begin the journey at Stout Burger in Santa Monica, California. At this first location, we will ask the employees what their favorite burger is there, and order it, with fries of course. We will taste the burger and fries, and rate them on a rubric we have created.

After finishing our meal, we will ask another person where their favorite burger is in Los Angeles, and so on and so forth.

We will continue this cycle until we have tasted around ten burgers over the course of two days.

So. Excited.