Struggling to Breathe

We breathe in an excessive amount of air every single day. Most sources report an average of about 550 liters, but yet many of us forget how to breathe. Life comes at you welding tragedy, suffering, and hardships and the simplest thing, the thing we have been “practicing” all our lives ends up being the hardest thing that we as people will ever have to do. Breathe.

Life is full of intricacies. You have the solar system, the laws of physics, magnificent buildings, and the human body. The human body is built to keep itself alive and do the bare minimum functions to keep it going. The average human does not have to think to breathe. We go through life and our body without us thinking about it breathes for us. Steadily. In and Out. So why when hardships come we find it so hard to do what was so easy for us to do all along?

I have faced many hardships in my life and I know I’m only seventeen and haven’t faced true hardship or whatever and I get that. I believe hardships do not discriminate. At the age of seventeen I have faced: foreclosure, death, an abusive relationship, mental illness, and an uncontrollable dangerous family member. This list isn’t all inclusive and it isn’t meant for you to pity me, just for you to get perspective on why I’m talking about this tonight and why I struggle to breathe.

Foreclosure. A scary word to most home owners who aren’t sitting comfortably and something that I had to learn about the hard way eleven months ago. When you get foreclosed on, you forget how to breathe. Life as you know it is being ripped away from you and it’s scary. You feel the need to find something you can control, something that you thought you had, something you thought you couldn’t lose. That it was guaranteed. You turned to your breath. You long to hear that steady flow of movement draw in and out, but it’s gone. Only a faint whistle sound remains.

Death. An eternal lasting consequence of living in a broken world. When someone close to you dies you feel wrong for breathing, for having something they no longer have. You wonder why and how. Why did they leave you and how does this breath that is supposed to be locked inside their chest cease to exist for them and still thrive for you. You try to stop. You focus so hard on trying to stop it that your breathing gets irregular and rough and you’re not winning. You won’t win. You’re unsure of how this can ever be normal and your chest go back to a slower rate. You are struggling to breathe.

Abusive Relationships. A living hell on Earth. When you are in an abusive relationship you’re told you’re not worthy to breathe. You are not worth the air to sustain you. You are worthless. Every day you fall toward the idea that they’re right. That you walk this earth as a burden and you’re a waste of what was put on this Earth to keep creation alive. You struggle with the concept of what you’re worthy of and this puts a sour taste in your mouth. The taste of failure. You try to breathe in but are constantly reminded of how unworthy you are. You struggle to breathe.

Mental Illness. When your mind takes control of a false reality. With Mental Illness you are not you. Your body is a child’s toy in the hand of your mind, moving and breaking all to the same beat of worthlessness, panic, and failure. You move like a robot breaking at the joints and being stuck back together in a haphazard fashion. Your mind tells you what other people cannot and tells you the truths of a make believe world. Mental Illness throws you through a roller coaster of insanity and lets you reach for that bottle to escape. Allows you to throw those pills back. Allows you to inhale deep and exhale once and for all. Breathing has almost ceased.

An Uncontrollable Dangerous Family Member. You are locked into your house with a person who might as well be Satan himself. He comes bearing knifes and threats, with fists and heavy objects just waiting on you to fall asleep. He’s an outside normality with a built in monster. You’re told you won’t be breathing much longer and you believe him. You count your breaths as you shut the door between him and the knife. You count your breaths at night wondering if they will be taken from you before the next morning. You breathe heavier when you leave the house finally free. You count your breaths because you don’t know how many are left. You are struggling to breathe.


Raise Your Glass

Raise your glass to those
who ooze with courage 
who destroy stereotypes
and who brave society
because us others
us who stand down
us who are firm molded
and us who hide
we are living life
through the storms of others
and through the looking glass of our peers

I’m Broken

I'm broken
to a point where mending 
is unheard of 
down to the joints
down in my bones
deep within my soul
I cry out
begging and pleading
struggling to grab on to anything
that can hold me above
the brutal waters of the deep 
its desire to swallow me whole


I am skinny. Not the “cute skinny” or the “fit skinny”, I am just skinny. No, I’m not anorexic and no, I don’t have any illness that’s causing it. I just am.

Today I want to talk about my experience with skinny shaming. Yes you read that correctly. Skinny. S-K-I-N-N-Y. wow that’s a new phrase to some people which is honestly pretty weird in my opinion, but we’ll roll with it.

For starters, let’s clear up some things. First, I’m not trying to get you to pity me. That’s ridiculous. Also, I don’t want you to tell me how happy I should be for being skinny and how you wish you were or how lucky I am, because in all honesty, that’s ridiculous too. It’s a body type. Secondly, I don’t actively try to stay skinny. I don’t work out regularly unless it’s tennis season and even then it’s not much and i don’t go on any elaborate diets.

Let’s start by discussing the way I feel about it. As a person, I don’t notice body type. I notice things like eyes and smile and hair. Is that cliche? Probably. Although in my defense, it’s easier to stare right in front of you than scanning up and down someones body upon just glancing at them. So with that being said it is slightly infuriating when you see someone staring at your body like it is a product for them to buy and to have the nerve after they stare to get a look of pity in their eyes and resort to the default comment of “you need to eat a cheeseburger”. Really? I need to eat a cheeseburger. Well that sounds great if I hadn’t just ate some chicken nuggets, a large fry, and a milkshake from the nearest Burger King. Thank you for reminding me that I, a seventeen year old girl, need to feed myself. I can and I have already taken care of it and I have been for a long time, but thank you anyway. I appreciate your concern.

My favorite thing I think anyone has ever said to me about this issue is “are you anorexic” that one shocks me the most. Now someone tell me: Why on earth would you ask anyone if they had anorexia? Anorexia is a serious illness and is not to be taken lightly. For example: I was out running some errands one day and decided to pick up a smoothie from smoothie king. As I was ordering my smoothie of choice, the lady behind the counter was curious if I have anorexia asked if my smoothie was a meal replacement and invited me to a support group her church had, all within the first two minutes of our interaction . For a minute I stared at her and when I focused back in on this middle aged lady I put a smile on my face and told her thanks for the offer, collected my smoothie, and walked straight to my car. Hurt.

The heaviest I have ever been in my entire life is 106 pounds, but I at average sit around 99 pounds. I am anywhere between 12-19 pounds underweight if I take the bare minimum of the healthy weight. When my boyfriend picks me up, he notes that I’m as light as a feather, and when my best friend makes comments that she’s 140 pounds and that’s what I should be and I know that should be my goal and it hurts. It hurts a lot. You can tell I’m 99 pounds. You can see it in my pictures by looking at my twig like legs and my arms that look like chicken wings. You see it when I’m in a bikini with my hipbones protruding and my spine lightly sticking out. This was how I was made and something I shouldn’t be ashamed of and shouldn’t have to be considering going on weigh gain pills. I should be proud of who I am. I am not my weight. So why to others does it seem like I walk around with an I am 99 pounds sticky note taped to my back.

To end this all, once and for all (hopefully). I know what I weigh. I stand on the scale every day see the numbers. I know. I see it for myself and I know what I look like. No I don’t have an illness and yes I’m perfectly normal. I am just me, although to you, the people that call me sticks and skinny minis and anorexic: you know me as 99, because thats all you seem to care about anyway.

The Weary

Where are the weary 
the ones seeking rest
from life around them
unmoving unless
a spur of motivation
or gain
inhaled deep within
grain by grain
building up slowly
picking up limbs
and forcing movement
before the future turns grim

Confidence In a Tube of Lipstick

I finish tracing my lips with a blue- gray lipstick and walk down the stairs at the beach condo we’re staying at for the week smiling from ear to ear and a look of confusion sweeps over the faces of my family. The first comment was “have you been drinking koolaid?” and another “well that’s not your color.” Ouch. My confidence plummeted. I decide to go hype myself up and go model for my brother (he’s gotten really into photography) and it worked for about ten minutes until I decided to send my boyfriend a selfie of me smiling in my new lipstick. “That makes you look less attractive” was the response.

I wanted to talk about confidence today. Confidence in yourself. It’s honestly super hard to come by in today’s society and I wish it wasn’t but today my confidence came in a lipstick tube. Just a simple thing: lipstick. My simple thing was blown to shreds by those around me without a care because they did not know that words hurt. Words destroy. Words burn.

Many people walk around every day not comfortable in their own skin. We change for others around us just to appear beautiful in the eyes of another. As soon as I started getting comments on my lipstick, I was itching to scrub it off. I instantly felt in the spotlight as people were staring at my lips with a scrunched up face as I was trying to talk to them. What gives? I’m happy so why aren’t you?

We say “Honesty is the best policy”. Okay you’re right, but is telling me my face looks awful from the lip color the best way to use this “policy”? Why do we want to tear others down so much? Why do we not think about what we say? In the eyes of a teenage girl we need to. I’m trying to find the best version of me I can. I’m trying to live my life. Why are you breaking me down when I need to be built up.

As we go through life we need to learn how to talk to others and how our words can change people. I may never put on that lipstick again and I can hear people now: “Stop being so dramatic” or “It’s just a lipstick”. Yes, it was just a lipstick and yes it doesn’t really matter what people think of it. But it does matter how we feel about ourselves. It matters how we speak to others. And it matters if we’re treating the others around us in such a fashion to where they feel uncomfortable in their own skin. We’re limited in our time here on this Earth and the way that we feel while we are on it can make a difference in our quality of life

The next time someone asks you, “how does this look on me?” and they look genuinely happy. Are you going to take liberty upon yourself to inform them that this is a fashion disaster in your opinion and that they looked better before or are you going to build them up and let them be happy, because after all it is only a tube of lipstick.


Anxiety: My Captor

Anxiety is my Captor. It controls me: my heart, my soul, my life and I feel so defeated, like nothing can stop it.

My journey with anxiety started four years ago during my eighth grade year. It started out with little things such as not being able to focus in my volleyball games and being hesitant to eat in front of people, but nothing really past that. My family and I didn’t think much of it, I mean of course it was annoying but medical attention for something that we considered so simple was too much for my family to handle at the time. So, I went about life just trying to make it through middle school and juggle my friends and the boyfriend I had at the time, but no one even considered the obvious trigger that was occurring in my life at the moment. We just tried to push it under the rug to where no one could see it and no one could tell. Anxiety doesn’t necessarily say “normal” to everyone my family interacted with. So we carried on.

Fast forward to ninth grade and I had a medical incident that rocked my entire world. I was weak physically and emotionally unstable. After I regained control, I got to visit my first psychologist and she was amazing. We talked for a little while twice a week and came to terms that my anxiety was being triggered by an emotionally abusive relationship that I had no idea existed due to me never really knowing how a relationship was supposed to go. Fast forward to after we had broken up and the problem still hadn’t just dissolved. Why? We learned as a family that anxiety isn’t a one and done situation, it’s here and in my case here to stay.

If we skip over the series of panic attacks we couldn’t find a cause for in tenth grade and me stopping visiting the psychologist, we get to eleventh grade. My eleventh grade year was not good to say the least. In August, I learned what it truly meant to be homeless and I had to live with my grandparents for a year. That was a disaster. With all the stresses in my life and an unstable situation, my depression and anxiety hit hard. So hard, that I had no idea what to do and I began a downward spiral into suicidal actions and thoughts. I returned back to the psychologist.

Okay. Now you’re all caught up. That’s been a short run through of my life with anxiety thus far, now for the reason I wrote this.

Last night, I had an encounter with anxiety that moved my progress with this beating this condition backwards about ten steps. I was starting a new job the next day and I came home from church throwing up and I thought it was just nerves, well over the next 6 hours I had around 5 panic attacks lasting about twenty minutes apiece. Twenty minutes, five separate times of not being able to breathe or think and just wishing I would die.

But this post isn’t all negative. I want to talk about having a support team. A support team contains people that help you through the tough times and have your best interest at heart. Support teams can contain friends, family, significant others, and medical personnel. My support team last night really stepped up and are still going consistent into today as I continue having immense anxiety while writing this post. For example, my boyfriend came over about 1am this morning helping me through a panic attack from his house 20 minutes away and my mom rubbed my back while I was crying and tried to help me get some sleep. Support teams through mental illness is so important and I truly don’t thank mine enough.

Did you know 1 in 5 people have a mental illness of some kind? According to those stats there are more of us around than you think and we may not all be strangers to you. Open your eyes and look into the lives of those around you. People around you may be silent sufferers needing a support team to help them through it. Now I’m not saying be abrasive because that is not what they need, what I am saying is just be there. Allow yourself to be attentive and open your heart and together we can all take a stab at mental illness.



Lost Soul

My immediate instinct is to run. Sweat runs down my face as stone cold eyes stare into mine. Eyes of darkness? Most certainly. Fear Factor? Calculated. Time to get away? Estimated. He was only a couple inches taller than me, that boy I used to know. I left for my own sake, my own benefit, my own safety; he was insane. We went to the same high school three years prior and had a relationship for a while. Was it smart? Well no, but at the time I thought he was a miracle in the form of a man, straight from heaven as some might say. He was perfect and encapsulated everything I had ever dreamed of in a boyfriend: tall but not too tall, strong hands, perfect smile, athletic and passionate, but inside, oh inside, his soul was darker than I took my coffee. His soul was rotted and crumbling apart but hidden inside so no one could see the leftover ashes. That innocent figure drew me in like a beacon in a storm and I went for it wholeheartedly and without regret until it was too late. He took what was left of me and buried it in the ashes of his soul until I dissolved into nothing. I was nothing but a void in society. As he stood before me now, as empty as before, I stared into those stone cold eyes as if they held answers to why he took me. Why me. I had a future, well I wanted a future. He spoke words to me and they wrapped me deep within him, as if he controlled my every move. I was a puppet to his motives. I was at mercy to his intentions. For the first time in three years I felt him grab me and yank me away. Taking me captive to drain my soul once again.

Lake Days

Today I was blessed to spend the day out on the lake in the midst of friends, and not only did I have an amazing time, it inspired me greatly. Somewhere between flying off the tube and running barefoot in the grass, I picked up an inspiration I feel i couldn’t have found anywhere else. Can I describe it? No probably not. It was just one of those things…you should’ve been there. Only kidding.


I was inspired to live in the moment. Yes, there are Pinterest posts that tell you all about that. Live your life NOW for you! and all that jazz. But do you really put forth the thought in to being like, yeah.. I should really do that. I sure didn’t. I live my life on a worry based planned out lifestyle to fight the horrors of basic anxiety and whereas spontaneous situations are fun and amazing; I choose to avoid them in terms of a safe and sound environment, such as staying inside and watching Netflix in bed, that sounds fantastic, really. But today was different. Something inside me had completely changed.


I sat on the dock with my feet in the water listening to the people around me talk just to talk and the kids across the lake preform wheelies on their jet skis (cool right???). And something inside of me just started turning. Maybe it was the hot sun or the murky lake water, but I turned around with a whole new mindset. The girl who is terrified to do anything in water, or anything at all really, was all for going jet skiing and tubing and just wanted to have the time of her life. For someone with my type of anxiety this would have caused an immediate panic attack. The dreaded fear of being outgoing and being in the spotlight, was happening but I was doing it to myself.

Why do I tell you this? Well for starters, I wanted to encourage you that it’s okay to do something different. It doesn’t have to agree with your typical lifestyle or hobbies or favorite pastimes. The only thing that matters is if you yourself are truly growing as a person. We live and we die. We start and we finish. Now will we start and finish in the same spot or belong to a whole different dimension by the time it’s over? If we continue our lives on one straight path, in our comfort zone, and never acting spur of the moment, we may just lose something very important to us. Our lives wasted. Try something you don’t want to do, try living on the edge for a little while. GET OUT OF BED!!! Did you hear me? No? Let me try this one: STOP WASTING YOUR LIFE AWAY LAYING IN BED ON NETFLIX. yeah, you. I get it, The Office is super addicting and that Friends marathon is calling your name, but get up and live. Life is still moving while you’re in bed. Get out of the house and get inspired, you may find that there is better things out there than that bed you call home.




A Brief Moment

A brief moment of beauty 
quickly passes through life's face
with visions of a forever
dancing pure with humble grace
A moment of innocent conversation
beginning with a smile
holds intent to the very end 
allowing a dream to press on for a while
Growth in the arms of intellect 
an ability to rise
falls deep into a prayer 
of the one who is most wise
Stumbling into the arms of God
an earthly body stills
but up above living on 
in the rolling heavenly hills