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.

Advertisements

hello, welcome to my world

Screen Shot 2018-09-08 at 11.19.57 AM
Photo Credit: pinterest.com

i’m not very good with using MY words.

so, i tend to listen to a lot of music and use their words instead.

with that said,

HELLO, WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

“7:45 in the morning i’m leaving my house

trying not to think of all the ways this place has changed.” (1)

“you need to be yourself

love someone for loving you instead of someone really cool who makes your heart melt,

who knows what you truly felt?” (2)

“everyones offended, but nobody here offended me.” (3)

“all the medicine you fed us, and how i just wanted you to taste your own,

but, now, the medications taking over and your mental states deteriorating slow’

and i’m way too old to cry this shit is painful though” (4)

“i wish i felt as pretty as i did when i was a little kid” (5)

“and she just wants to feel something, i don’t think thats asking for too much” (6)

“i’d rather be at home than a party where there’s hate

people making fun of me while smiling in my face

i’m a nice kid and the world ain’t” (7)

“trying hard to pay attention, but i have no real direction” (8)

“blowing off my mom, i don’t want to go home

i’d rather be alone i don’t want to go home

it’s getting really late so i gotta go home

moms blowing up my phone so i gotta go home” (9)

“did it ever even cross your mind?

that you might’ve hurt me too

but i couldn’t tell you that back then.” (10)

“i dont understand it

you’re changing i cant stand it” (11)

“i just miss how it felt

standing next to you

wearing matching dresses before the world was big” (12)

“baby how you doin?

i know you’re not doing the best

but i’m here

i’m always right here

tell me if you need me and call me if you feeling alone

cuz i’m here i’m always right here.” (13)

to be honest, i don’t really feel like talking about what these words mean to me.

if you know me well enough, maybe you’ll get it. if you don’t know me at all, now you do, because those words are what i’m made of.

song 1- before the world was big by girlpool

song 2- best friend by rex orange county

song 3- bart simpson by princess nokia

song 4- headlight by eminem

song 5- little kid by dogbite

song 6- she lays down by the 1975

song 7- goth kid by princess nokia

song 8- bart simpson by princess nokia

song 9- empty by kevin abstract

song 10- the fort by zack villere

song 11- changes by xxxtentacion

song 12- before the world was big by girlpool

song 12- right here by lil peep

A Stuffed Animal

When I was in third grade, I wanted to go see Kung Fu Panda. All my friends were excited about it, but, when my mom broke the news to me that we couldn’t afford to go, I was heartbroken.

For weeks and months, I was upset about it. Until one day after school, when my mom made enough money, she showed up with the DVD and a stuffed panda bear in hand.

I’ve kept that panda bear ever since. Its name is Bob, and it’s a she. I don’t remember why I decided to give a girl panda one of the most boy names I knew at that time, but I do remember the countless questions I was asked, and the countless times I didn’t care to give an exact answer I didn’t even know myself.

What I did know was that I loved that panda. I brought it everywhere. I brought it to my dad’s home on the weekends, to the occasional family dinners, and to the sunset Malibu car rides.

It was around me when I was happy and when I was sad. I held onto it during the silent nights. I held onto it with the grip of my small, but tight hand while trying desperately not to feel alone with my family in the other room.

In a time of darkness, that stuffed animal was the last dwindling light source. It held every bit of my fighting innocence that diminished within me as I grew up, but, as I carried it with me through my life’s adventures, I carried bits of my childhood along with it.

When I moved in with my dad, I brought that stuffed animal with me.

When I went to Argentina for the first time, I brought that animal with me to the hotel, on the plane, and in my backpack on tourist trips.

Every trip I took to Mexico, I’d bring it with me.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

When I went to boarding school for the first time, it stayed on my bed. When I went home for weekends, it came with me in my suitcase. When I went to OVS for the first time, it came with me.

After I got back surgery before sophomore year, with all of my emotions ridiculously heightened from the the extreme pain meds that put me under, I had a mental breakdown for hours because I thought I had left this panda at OVS. It didn’t stop until my uncle lifted up my blankets and handed it to me.

I was fifteen then.

Then the Thomas Fire came. In a panic, I only had thirty minutes to pack anything valuable to me. Without hesitation, I grabbed my panda and threw it into the bottom of my bag. The dorm parents told us we would only be gone for the night, but I couldn’t risk it. I cried when I thought I left it at school, I couldn’t imagine what would happen if it burned. I had to bring it with me.

It seems ridiculous how emotionally attached I am to an inanimate object now that I’ve grown up, but it’s still important to me. It stays on my bed and it no longer goes on trips with me; I no longer rely on it. I don’t hold it when I fall asleep. In fact, it sometimes slips onto the floor guiltily in the middle of the night. But, whenever I’m distraught or alone, I grab onto it and hold it as tight as I can.

It may still be a stuffed animal, but it’s so much more.

It’s the last thing I have from my mother. I no longer have photos in my possession or objects from her and, despite all the tragic, dark times, this bear represents one of the few good memories I have of her. It symbolizes the goodness in her which faded away over time, but is still kept as a stored memory I hold onto – literally.

It holds my innocence. My ruined, diminished childhood innocence still stays safe inside that stuffed animal I look at every time I make my bed and I still smile about it.

The panda symbolizes my childhood. Without it, the last remnants of it would vanish.

The City

I hate Los Angeles.

I’ve always claimed to hate all big cities. They make me feel claustrophobic and whenever I’m surrounded by so many massive buildings, I can’t help but be reminded of all of the damage that we’re causing to our planet.

At some point, I managed to convince myself that LA was the worst of them all.

Aside from the fact that the public transportation is terrible, air pollution is even worse, and there are simply too many people crammed into too small of an area. I could never see myself living in a place like that.

But, for some reason, my last trip to Hollywood almost convinced me that it isn’t as bad as it seems.

Photo Credit: past daily.com

Maybe it was because it was so busy, so overflowing with energy. In a place that I’d thought to be the root of all destruction to the natural world, I discovered that it was full of real, living people. The city was alive.

Maybe it was all the lights. I’ve only ever been used to endless black skies, so dark that the stars light up the world. You can’t see stars on Hollywood Boulevard, at least, not the ones in the sky. But the neon blues, pinks, and yellows gleaming throughout the streets somehow compliment the night sky. They’re sort of magical – similar to stars in that it feels like they are begging you to fall in love beneath them, but also very different.

Maybe it was the man sitting on a bench at 11:30 PM who yelled to my friend and me, “You are so beautiful! Have a beautiful night!” It wasn’t in a gross way, though, you could just tell he was looking to make other people happy. He might have been drunk, but hey, we don’t judge.

Or maybe it was just because I was tired and had been caught off guard or something.

I still hate Los Angeles. But, maybe now, just a little less than before.

You Were Born

I have known you since the second you took your first breath and became a part of this world. I have loved you from that moment on and I am so thankful for every minute I have spent with you so far. In these four years of your life, I have only learned to love you more and more with everything you do.

I know you are “just a horse” and I may sound crazy to some people, but you will always mean the world to me.

IMG_8012
Photo Credit: Me

When I couldn’t ride your mother anymore, a part of my world collapsed. She has been my pony since I was eight years old, she was my best friend. The day we decided to breed with her was the day my world started to come together again. Breeding horses always means taking a risk. There was no way I could have ever expected you to turn out so perfect.

I was there for your first breath, your first step, your first sprint, your first fall. I wasn’t there for your first jump, your first time carrying a saddle, your first ride. I am sorry. I am sorry for all the things I’ve missed out on, because I wasn’t home. I am sorry I wasn’t there for you as much as I always have wanted to.

DSC_0579
Photo Credit: Me

But, now you’re coming here. Now, you’re traveling 6,000 miles to get here, where I will see you and love you every single day. You are a piece of home and so much more than that.

Let me correct myself. You are not “just a horse,” you are my horse.

 

The Beginning of the End

When I stepped into my first class at the beginning of freshman year, senior year seemed so far away.

Now, I just survived my first week of being a senior and too many realizations hit me at once.

That, at the end of the year, I won’t be sitting on the bleachers watching my friends from higher grades graduate. This time, I’ll be the one walking on the stage to receive my diploma that I worked so hard to get over my high school years.

But, it’s only the beginning of the year. There’s still so much to anticipate. So much to go through.

The countless college applications and dreadful Saturday mornings I’ll spend doing the SAT until I get the perfect score so I can get into the perfect college. The ideas for my senior project that I still can’t choose, because I don’t even have one in mind. What my prom dress will look like, or even my graduation dress.

Photo Credit: The Odyssey Online

It’s only the beginning of my final year at OVS. It’s the beginning of the end of my high school experience.

It hurts knowing at the end of the year I’ll have to say goodbye to everything I’ve known. To my friends and teachers, to my horse, and to the small town and smaller school that has been my second home.

But, I’m still hopeful that this will be an amazing year, and maybe my days at OVS will only be in my memories and I’ll be living a completely different life, but I’ll still remember them as the most important times in my life.

platonic

I had no idea what I was getting myself into; I was in a place I’ve never been, with people I’ve never met, learning things I’ve never learned about.

IMG_4985
Photo Credit: flickr.com

I was forced against my will.  “You’re going to leadership camp.” My mom said. God, i hated the sound of that . I ignored that I had to go for weeks on end, until the day came.

There were 28 of us. Girls and boys all fit into one dorm —girls on one side, boys on the other. The leader of the program, Cornelia, told us that we would make bonds so close that we might end up thinking we love people here and that we might end up actually doing so. I called B.S.

I was wrong. We continued the program, which begun at 8AM everyday with breakfast and the majority of the days ended at 9PM with not a lot of free time in between. Everyday, I was more exhausted than the day before, most of the time, it was emotionally, but sometimes physically too.

Each day consisted of sitting and standing in circles, learning about concepts like “seeking true north,”  “finding your true authentic self,” and “identity.” We would sit in circles with people we didn’t know and answer prompts like “When is a time you did or did not feel trust?” That was called “council” and it was terrifying, I can barely open up with my closest friends, let alone people I had just meet. I was wrong again. I found myself sharing things I had never said out loud in that foreign place with those same foreign people.

I bonded with people in ways that I never knew was even possible and experienced what it was like to be loved and supported in every way, shape, and form. Yes, I have friends at home, sure. But, I had never felt friendship in the way I felt it here. One of the most important things I learned: not all of your friends are meant to be the deep, emotional friends. You can and will have the friends you just have fun with and will never a day in your life get deep with and that’s ok too. But, for once, I thought it was nice to have both.

One of the scariest things for me has always been letting people in. I tend to guard myself. My logic used to be, “If I never let anyone get too close to me no one can ever hurt me.” It makes sense, yes. It’s also true. But, it’s lonely. I never knew just how lonely it was, until I felt the alternative.

While I was at Core Leadership California, I met a girl named Sedona. She is eighteen and lives about six hours away and is going to into her freshman year in college at a place which happens to be really close to where I live. It was the last day: everyone was listening to a classroom lesson, which pretty much means we are all sitting in a circle on the ground and the leader of the program talks to us about things she thinks we would grow from. The leader told us to write down someone in our book that we feel like we can talk to about deep things when we go back home and for them to be “our person.” I, being the awkward person I am didn’t write anyone down, not because I don’t have friends who would support me, but because I never did, or could, open up to my friends in that way. I think Sedona saw that I wrote no one down, or maybe she didn’t, but she was sitting right next to me, anyways.

Fast forward an hour or two and everyone was saying goodbye to each other. I think every single person out of the 28 of us cried. Most of us had cried before though, either in council or just along the trip, because it was such an open environment we felt we could do so and not have to hide it. Although, I was one of the few people who hadn’t. In the moment near the end, I cried way harder than I had in a long while, but I finally felt like I made the friends i had always wanted and it was so hard for me. I didn’t know when I was going to see them again.

The closest person to me lived 7 hours away.

It came my turn to say goodbye to Sedona. I was crying pretty hard, so we just hugged, maybe for thirty seconds… more or less. Which, is a pretty long time for a hug, if you think about it.

Thirty seconds just holding someone… it’s a while, but not when you’re both crying. I was never a big hugger until recently. Hugs feel like all the things you can never say.

We were hugging and she let go and just looked at me in the eye and I didn’t know what to do. So, I probably just looked at the ground and then she said, “Kiana, I’ll be your person if you let me.”

That meant everything in the world to me. Maybe it’s because no one had ever said anything like that before, maybe it’s something else.

I can’t put how a thing like that into words. Maybe it’s better unsaid, maybe i’m ruining it by writing about it, but,

in that moment, I realized that maybe, just maybe, platonic love could carry a person.

To say the least, I am eternally grateful for my mom for making me go against my will to the leadership program at a place I’ve never been, with people I’ve never met, learning things I’ve never learned about.