All Time High

Last night, I finally got to see one of my favorite bands with one of my favorite people.

All day, we were really lucky. The second we left the house, it stopped raining. We got to the venue and found that only five people were waiting in line. We had enough time to walk around the neighborhood, trying to find band members wandering around before the show (we didn’t find anyone; but we ended up having the best pizza ever, which is just as exciting). When we got back to get in line, still only very few people were in line in front of us and we were actually able to claim a spot by the barricade.

The event we went to was called Emo Nite Day. Eight artists performed, one band better than the rest. As you can probably tell by the name of the event, I have never seen more emos in one room. Crowdsurfing, nearly moshing in the pit, belting along to My Chemical Romance and Panic! At the Disco anthems; everyone was having the time of their lives.

Photo Credit: marianneharris.com

We went through five hours of (amazing) concerts, before the band that we came for came on: All Time Low. I had never seen them live, but my friend has seen them many times already. But, this time was special, even for her, I think. It was our first concert together.

Every second was magical, I’m serious. They were so energetic, so ready, so good, and we were so close to them. Their setlist was shorter than usual, but they played most of my favorite songs and I was in heaven for an hour straight.

I haven’t seen many bands in my life, but All Time Low really had one of the best performances I have ever witnessed. Not even kidding.

Surprisingly, the well known post-concert depression hasn’t hit me yet. Today, I am only left with a bruise on my stomach from being pressed against the barricade, a ringing in my ears, and nothing but happy thoughts.

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Polaroids

On the center of the granite countertop of the mini bar in my grandparents’ house, a home I spent the majority of my childhood in, sits a single polaroid. In that polaroid is a picture of me as a little girl, food all over my face with my dog right in front of me.

That is the only photo I have from my childhood and I can barely remember the story behind the photo. Now, it makes me wonder how many memories I’m missing out on because I can’t remember. This is also because I have no photos to revamp my memory.

I have no photos of myself with long hair, with my parents, or pictures of my dogs. All I have are my memories; the ones blurred between the lines of trauma and bliss that was my childhood, the ones I desperately want to forget and remember all at once.

Photo Credit: theverge.com

It’s terrifying that I have such a clear memory of the smallest details nowadays, but I can’t even remember the details of my parents’ faces. The little things in life that were defining aspects of my day to day life as a kid are blurred images in my mind today.

All I would have are these photos, but I don’t even have those.

Now, I have an abundance of videos and photos piling up in my Snapchat memories and phones new and old holding numbers of concert videos that I barely look at anymore. Videos that I refuse to give up, in case I want to look back on them and smile. I have photo albums filled with developed photos, polaroids from prom and random nights with friends, lining the shelves of the desk in my dorm room.

Some people say you need to live in the moment, to put your phone away and let your mind keep the images. But, I can’t. I don’t take photos and shaky videos to post them on my social media; I take them so I can hold on to the memories forever in the literal palm of my hand.

I have no photos from my childhood. Not a single one. Not in a photo album, on my phone, but I wish I did. As much as I try to forget everything from my life before I was ten, I wish the memories weren’t becoming just memories. I wish I could hold on to a photograph and relive the moment all over again.

But, that’s why I take photos all the time through the lens of three different cameras. So in thirty years, I can look back with a clear image and not just rely on the one in my head.

the things we don’t talk about- holiday edition

The holiday season is coming up, which means a lot of happiness and posts about “holiday spirit” which is great, but this is about the things we don’t talk about.

We don’t talk about the peoples whose families don’t have enough money for Christmas presents, halloween decorations, or a turkey dinner.

We don’t talk about the kids whose families are split into two or more homes, forced painfully back together for the holidays, nor do we talk about the kids whose families are split and don’t see each other at all.

We don’t talk about the families who yearn for someone who is no longer with them or who yearn for someone who never has been with them.

We don’t talk about a lot of things, especially around the holiday season, because we want to distract ourselves with presents and lights and candy.

Which, don’t get me wrong, is fun, but this is for the people who’s holidays aren’t the most wonderful time of the year. You’re not alone.

This is what the holiday season looks like to me, starting in October.

Halloween: Not very exciting and kind of awkward, as I’m old enough to not go trick-or-treating, but I still could go if I wanted to. It’s sad, because you realize it’s not as exciting as it was when you were a little kid.

Thanksgiving- Me, my mom, and step-dad sit at a fancy restaurant in Las Vegas, eating the turkey dinner on the menu. I wish I was home, with the rest of my family, like how it used to be. When grandma could still cook for us all and we could still all be ok sitting at one table. I’m definitely not as thankful as I should be on this day.

Photo credit: Nycinsiderguide.com 

Christmas- Awkward because my dad and step-dad are both at my house and it’s “rude” to pay more attention to one than the other. Normally, I do it anyway. Even more awkward because my two sisters are in the same house and they hate each other. Probably worse because my brother comes. Sucks because I’m the youngest and the people I want to pay attention to me don’t and the people I don’t want to pay attention to me pay too much.

New years Eve/ New Years day- Depressing, unless you’ve been invited to a party. Full of a lot of stupid phrases like “New year, new me” or “On the first page of a 365 page book.” Reality is, nothing ever changes.

Valentine’s Day- Cool if you’re dating someone; super lame if you’re not.

April Fool’s Day- Usually not funny. I probably end up forgetting what day it is and get pranked.

Mother’s Day- Celebrating mamas, trying really hard to make everything special, usually involves waking up earlier than my mom. Probably impossible, because I don’t think my mom ever sleeps. Normally ends up with a fight I feel terribly about.

Father’s Day- Another Mother’s Day, celebrating mom for being my mother and father. Forced to wish my step-dad a “Happy Fathers day! <3.” Normally, I don’t really mean it. I wish my sister’s dad a Happy Father’s day… I mean it.

Independence Day (AKA 4th of July)- Nothing super exciting. Missing the time I used to watch the fireworks on a big hill with my sister’s dad. Probably with my friends watching fireworks, but kinda scary because I don’t like the noise fireworks make.

REPEAT.

The point of this blog wasn’t for me to bag on the holidays. There is super fun stuff going on during the holidays and I appreciate and enjoy every single one (for the most part) for a different reason… I’m sure you hear a million things a year about why every holiday is great. This is about the things we DON’T talk about.

The point of this blog is to say: the holidays are coming up and with as much love and gratitude this brings, it can also be a rough time for some.

With that said, take care of yourself; be gentle with other people; be thankful for what you do have; focus less on what you don’t, but don’t ignore it; check up on your friends; and talk to someone if your Christmas was shitty! Some are better than others.

The Boy That Ruined Me: #metoo

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse

I was fifteen almost sixteen when I met this boy. He was great, he was everything I could have ever wanted, at least, that’s what I led myself to believe.  I had a crush on him and, lucky for me, he liked me back. We started to date, but I remember that on the day that he asked me to be his girlfriend, something felt a little off.  I first found out how pushy he was that night.

He was all over me. Like most teenage boys, he wanted more and I wasn’t ready for that.  That night, nothing more than kissing happened, but it was too much kissing for me and I tried to tell him that, but he didn’t seem to care. I tried to brush it off and think nothing of it. After all, he was my first boyfriend and I could not mess it up; I was finally cool.  

Photo Credit: victimservicecenter.org

Later on in the relationship the pushiness only got worse.  My friends even started to help him in weird ways. On my sixteenth birthday, after only being together for a month, he had my friends lay roses on my bed and light candles.  Anyone that saw that scene knew what was going to happen, but it was not something I was ready for. When I walked in, I yelled at my friends so loud that my mom came downstairs.  Luckily, he wasn’t too pushy when he came over and I did not have sex with him, but some other things happened.

Every time he would come to my house, he would force me to please him and then text his dad to pick him up. After two months, I finally couldn’t take it any longer and wanted to break up with him. But, whenever I talked to anyone about breaking up with him, they told me not to.  I know I shouldn’t have listened to other people, but I had no clue when or how to break up with him because he was bigger than me and I was scared of him. I didn’t want to find out what he would do to me.

Eventually, I broke up with him. I made sure it was in a very public place and it was actually okay. But, an easy breakup doesn’t mean I left without baggage.  He sexually abused me. Him being my first boyfriend made it so I had no clue how relationships were truly supposed to be. He took my innocence away from me.  Everyone talks about how one’s first relationship is full of love and innocence, but I never got that. 

I hated myself for months after everything happened.  I used to cry myself to sleep because I would think of him and what he did to me.  At first, I was scared to tell people everything that happened. No one believed me and that made talking about it harder.  I wanted to get him in trouble for what he did to me, because what he did to me is something I will carry the rest of my life; but, there was no way to get him in trouble.  I wanted him to hurt as much as he hurt me. But, I was never able to do that, so I grew more mad as time went on.  Pretty soon, I no longer saw myself as a person; I saw myself as an object for people to use.

About ten months after everything happened, I went to church camp.  While I was there, my youth leader talked about how in Christianity one is supposed to forgive everyone as God has.  Hearing that was very hard for me, so I talked to my leader more and he helped me work through everything that happened and cried with me.  He was the first person to cry with me. I felt like he truly cared about me and, from that week, I learned to forgive my ex. It wasn’t easy; some days, I still get mad at him for the things he did to me, but I want to be a better Christian, so I am working as hard as I can to forgive him.  

I have not fully overcome the conflict, but I have learned to deal with it and have started to forgive.  One day, I hope I can say will full certainty that I forgive him, but until that day comes, I will be looking to God to get me there.

seventeen

it’s hard to know how you feel when you’re only seventeen years old.

it’s hard to know what you want. in the past, i’ve wanted you, but not in the same way i do now.

now, i want to call you my friend, my best friend. well, one of them at least.

i want you to be my confidant. i want to tell you (and only you) whenever something arises. i’d call you and we’d think of solutions or laugh it off. 

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

i want to binge scary movies with you, staying up until 3 am because we’re too afraid to fall asleep.

i don’t want you like i used to. i used to want to hold you, to run my hands through your hair.

but, i don’t anymore.

at least, i think i don’t i do. 

i don’t want to dance in the rain with you; i don’t want to trace the lines in your hands.

i want to know everything about you, but not know all of you. i don’t need that anymore.

if you read this, which i’m sure you won’t, you’ll definitely won’t think it’s you that i’m talking about and that’s okay.

i just know now, as i’m lying in bed writing this, that i don’t need you anymore. at least, not in the way i did when i was sixteen.

Because I’m a Woman

I watch a channel on YouTube called Yes Theory.

Their entire philosophy is based on the premise that when we start to say yes to things, we open ourselves to experiences that would never have been possible if we had said no. It encourages its followers to be spontaneous and preaches the idea that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.

To live out this philosophy, the main people involved are three 20-something, friendly, and fit guys who travel around the world and complete challenges based on the spontaneity and kindness of strangers.

In their latest video, one of the guys is abandoned alone in Slovakia with no money and no phone, where he must attempt to return to his friends in Budapest.

I love everything about this channel and I hope someday I can live my life in a similar fashion.

But, I know this isn’t as realistic for me. Simply, because I’m a woman.

The thought of being dropped off in and exploring a random country sounds like a dream. The thought of being dropped off alone in a random country sounds terrifying.

I hate that just by being female, doing anything becomes more dangerous. I am a strong believer that a woman can do anything a man can. While that is true, it’s also true that women have to take a lot more precautions than men do.

I read a study that asked groups of men and women about the things they do in their everyday life to avoid being assaulted. The responses from women went on for pages. For men, there was one answer: “Nothing. I don’t think about it.”

Photo Credit: twitter.com

Words cannot express how much I wish this weren’t the case, how much I wish men and women were really, truly equal when it comes to things like this.

I wish that my mom didn’t have to worry about me going to the beach with my girl friends at 5 PM, even though she is fine with my older brother going to the same place with his guy friends at one in the morning.

I wish that women weren’t twice as likely as men to experience sexual assault or violent crimes.

I wish it weren’t like this, but it is. And let me tell you, it sucks.

To any men who are reading this, appreciate the fact that you don’t have to make sure you have your keys in your hand when you’re walking to your car at night. Be grateful that when you’re running by yourself and a truck drives behind you, you don’t have to stop to let it pass so that you can see what it is doing. Remember that there is a reason why girls always go to the bathroom in groups.

Tell this to your sons. Make them understand what it’s like. Teach them how to make women feel safer.

Maybe someday we’ll live in a world where a young woman can walk through a city alone, the only thing on her mind being how grateful she is to be there, and her biggest concern being what she will eat for dinner.

That’s all we want.

 

“Time… and I Have Gone Away”

When I was younger, I thought that by the time I was this age, I would have everything figured out.

Obviously, I haven’t lived up to that expectation. Looking back, I really didn’t have a clue what I would be, considering I thought High School Musical movies were a credible source for what teenagers are like.

Now that I’m actually in high school, I know that the expectations I had for this age were completely unrealistic. It’s definitely not as glamorous and there are far less organized musical numbers than I had envisioned.

But, when I think about who I will be in five or ten years, I picture some perfect version of myself. I’ll be kind and successful and doing all of the things that I wish I could be doing right now. I won’t be insecure about how I look, how I speak, or anything else that I care about now. I’ll have grown out of it by then, because I’ll have realized that it doesn’t matter.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

I’m sixteen now, but I’m still fantasizing about my future self, just like I did when I was six years old, and my expectations are still probably just as ridiculous.

I like to think that once you grow up, you know yourself completely. I like to imagine that I’ll have it figured out. I won’t have to picture the type of person I want to be, because I’ll already be that person.

In a perfect world, it would work like that. But, this world is far from perfect, and so am I.

I don’t think anyone ever fully grows out of certain things. We learn and grow our whole lives, but it’s not like everything just magically falls into place one day.

When all is said and done, I just hope that who I am in ten years is someone I’d like to know now.