Harbored Hate.

I had a friend recently share with me their experience of being sexually abused. Out of respect for this touchy subject, I will refrain from exposing any names. But to avoid confusion I will insert the name Beth when mentioning my friend. She told me she’s encouraged everyday to tell her story. She believes that’s the only way to get out of the living nightmare she lived in for so long, is to tell her story. So here I am. Telling a story that was meant to be heard.

Beth was six years old when it started. He would creep into her room in the middle of the night and without hesitation, unzip his pants. The rest was black as night. That’s all she could remember. All she wanted to remember. She would squeeze her eyes unbelievably tight hoping it was only a monster from her closet. Only a nightmare she would soon awake from. Only the devil playing a trick, and soon God would save her.

None of the above happened, of course — and for years Beth was silent. She believed it was the right thing to do because he told her so. At this point of her story I was sobbing, because it hurt so bad to hear. Because I know loved ones who have been told the same. Because I have other friends who have been raped. Who have been abused. Who have been tortured by people they thought would be anything but a monster.

Beth was 16 years old when she told her mother. I suppose I expected this to be the end of Beth’s story. That her mother was outrageous when she heard that her daughter was being raped, molested, sexually abused…by her…father. But instead, Her mother slapped Beth. She hated her daughter for spreading such lies. And for the longest time, Beth believed her mother. She believed she was making up a story. She believed it didn’t happen.

Beth’s mother must have said something to Beth’s father the night Beth told her she was being abused — because for 4 years Beth’s father didn’t touch her. He didn’t look at her.

On the night of Beth’s 18th birthday she was denied the opportunity to go hang out with her friends and celebrate. Beth’s mother was out of town due to a business meeting and her father was keen on keeping her in for the night. That night Beth decided to sneak out. It was her birthday after all. When she came home at 3 AM her father was on the porch waiting for her to return. She remembers apologizing repeatedly  the second she saw her father, but that wasn’t enough to protect her.

She woke to bruises on her arms, a black eye and ripped underwear.

She wanted to die. She wanted to fall asleep and never wake up again. She’d rather that than face him.

With the strength and help from a neighbor Beth filed a report. For the first time in her life she was going to let the rest of the world know her father like she did.

I honestly was speechless at this point. I wanted to kill her father. A man I had never met. I was going insane. Everything was tossing and turning and I was considering committing a crime. I’ve only known Beth since my first semester at Utah State and yet I was willing to risk it all. To bring her justice.

She was crying at this point. Telling me the longest secret of her life. But she was able to tell me that I somehow inspired her to speak. She told me that I’m not afraid to say what’s on my mind and that she admires me. I told her sometimes I feel like I don’t even have a choice. I’ve had to learn quick how to be my own person. How to get what I want. I guess it just comes natural for me, but for Beth–it’s the hardest thing.

She thanked me for being on her side, but she wanted me to not be angry — because that had only caused her pain. This opened my heart in the realization that I harbor a lot of hate in my life. I hate someone. And I don’t want to hate anymore. If anyone has the reason to hate someone…it’s Beth. But she told me she has nothing but love in her heart now. She said it took all she had — but now she can live life. She can really live it. I asked her how…and she told me…”It’s in God’s hands now.”

How can she be so strong? How can she believe in a God after all she has been through? She says she admires me, but the funny thing is…I admire her. She’s the bravest soul I know.

Thank you for sharing your story with me Beth.

You’ve given me hope. When hope seemed lost.

 

 

Life was already hard.

Before this whole idea of the world ending surfaced, life was already hard. It’s no surprise. So then why now are people blaming the hardships of life on the soon to be ‘end’ of all we know?

Life was already hard. People experienced loss. People saw evil. People participated in evil. People are evil.

Life was already hard. We’ve been through 44 different presidents. They’ve all had their problems. This isn’t the worst of times. Life was already hard.

We’ve fought a hard long battle. This world has been around for too many years. It’s got a strong foundation. I’m certain that it’s going to take more than a few rumors to break it.

Life was already hard. Life was already devastating. Life was already a mountain we weren’t prepared to climb but did anyway, because at the end of the day we know it’s worth it to keep going. And for those who can’t find the strength to face tomorrow — their memory finds life. And for those who are unwillingly unable to participate in life — they’ve got something better in store.

The point is…we all need something to look forward to because life is hard. So maybe the excitement of the world “ending” was enough for some of us to live a little more each day and not take the simple things for granted and to tell the people we love that…we adore them.

I know I’ve taken the time to let my loved ones know how much they mean to me.

Here’s to a new year full of action.

And telling people they matter.

 

One Day Can Change A Thousand Tomorrows.

I’ve had my fair share of trials. But today’s post isn’t about my trials. It’s about the utter misfortune that others face them as well and the realization that we all struggle — and one day can change a thousand tomorrows.

This morning I awoke to my phone buzzing due to the many updates from my numerous news apps such as CNN, Twitter, MSNBC, Facebook etc. I was expecting the usual report for the day. Something interesting to say the least, but what I read was unfathomable. 

20 dead, 18 children. The death toll was still rising.

Newtown, Connecticut woke up like any other day and sent their sweet innocent babies to school, not knowing they were sending them into a death trap. Not knowing it would be the last time they would ever hold their sweet child in their arms. Not knowing the devastation of their loss would not only be horrifying but rapidly growing and unable to predict whether the pain would ever cease. 

It doesn’t. Not as far as I could imagine. I’m not a parent. I’ve never had a loved one murdered before. But as I continue to check the updates and learn more about what is only a story to me and a nightmare for the families who are dealing with this loss, I cry. Tears stream down my face and the pain in unbearable to me. I can only empathize on how much deeper that pain is for that mother or that father who learned the truth about their child’s death today.

It didn’t become real to me until I took the time to take a lunch break and watched Fox News cover the reality of the shooting. Something that came up frequently was the question of “Why?” Why does anybody take a gun and shoot up a school, a mall, a theater?

I can’t be bothered with that. I can’t ask myself why, because I will go insane. I will work myself up until I can no longer function. Sure, as society, we’d like to know the motivation behind such a horrific crime. But at the end of the day, we will never truly understand what made that person pull the trigger.

Some will argue that guns need to be outlawed or people need to pass a mental health evaluation before registering a gun.

Some will argue that the school needed to have a better plan when it comes to the possibility of a school shooting.

Those arguments seem valid, but I believe that no matter how much we prepare — we wil never fully be ready for something like that.

There are some things we just cannot control.

My thoughts and hope go out to the families and friends during this unexpected tragedy.

I pray they are able to get some rest tonight.

God bless.

 

Something to somebody.

When I was 14 years old I had the best pen pal a girl could ask for. I would write letters to her and  every time without fail I would include the baby names I currently liked. We would talk about our lives and for me, it was a time to be proud of the life I was living. For a brief moment I could be happy on paper.

Everything seems to always go back to my mother. Her death. After nearly 8 years without her presence, I still find an excuse to bring her into any and every situation. Like now.

I will be honest. I think everyone has suicidal thoughts at least once in their lifetime. I know I did. When I was 14 years old I took a knife from the kitchen and set it on my bed. I stared at it for at least an hour. Thoughts raced through my mind. I was dealing with so many things. My father and his lover. Their relationship seemed so much bigger than me and my needs. My sister who had her own life, that rarely included me. And not only the loss of my mother, but her entire family – or so it seemed. I wanted to take the knife and slit my wrists and be done. I didn’t want to have to face the future, and the past was so unpleasant to even think about reliving. The knife seemed to big and impossible to easily do what I had planned to do for an hour. I thought of getting a razor, but then the object didn’t seem so important anymore — just the outcome of the action. 

I’m obviously here to this day. So you might ask what stopped me? What stops any of us from committing this cry for help? This need for attention. This problem solver. This cowardly act. This attempt of suicide? Whatever you choose to call it, what keeps us living? What triggers us to breathe? 

I had to write her back. I don’t know if  I ever sent that letter to my pen pal, but that didn’t matter. All I remember is I began to write and write until I couldn’t write anymore. I wrote as if someone somewhere was listening and caring. I wrote as if I was something to somebody and I couldn’t just disappear. I found a purpose to live, no matter how small — I survived.

For the longest time it was about surviving. But now I find myself living. 

My pen pal was my cousin, Jessiney. We are 1 year and 2 months apart. We are close in age. But what’s more important is that we’ve grown closer as friends and as cousins. 

Jess moved down here to Logan at the end of May this year and spent her time working her butt off until October. She expressed to me that she felt like she had “lost herself”. She was depressed and reminded me a lot of myself in the past. I tried giving her advice, but mostly I just tried to be an escape for her. Her living situation wasn’t ideal and it was getting harder and harder for her to keep going. She eventually moved back home and I was, to be honest, sad. I felt like I was losing her all over again. But I think this move has made us stronger and closer. We talk on the phone almost every night for hours at a time. I have never felt close to any girl before like I have with Jessiney. I’ve known her all my life, but we are just now understanding each other and truly getting to know one another. I wrote a little letter a while back that I never gave her and I guess I was waiting for the right time, so here it goes:

Dear Jess,

I’ve been debating on how to tell you this, but there was a time when I lost myself too. You’ve been talking about how you “lost yourself” and I guess it didn’t click for me until now. I think we all go through our gown stages of development at different times of our lives. I had no other choice but to develop quicker than the rest of my friends growing up. I almost felt like an adult when I started high school and for most of it I was. But I tried to be “normal”. I tried to be someone else and pretended I lived a different life. I would make my life seem so much better than it really was to all my other friends. In your case you appear and feel like you don’t know who you are as a person and that is what I went through as well. I wanted to kill myself. I wanted to kill the person I thought I could never be or would always be. It was a very confusing time of my life. But the fact that I pushed myself to believing I was Something to Somebody was what got me through. I don’t know if you’ve had suicidal thoughts, but I just want you to know if you ever get that low like I did — I hope you know you are something to me. You are more than just something, you are everything. Jess, I don’t know how to picture my life without you. I always knew I liked you, but these past few months I am certain that I love you. ( I know that sounds funny:) You are kind and generous. You are hilarious and confident. You are a hard worker, and stronger than you give yourself credit for. I’ve enjoyed our time living in the same town as each other to get to know you, and I look forward to getting to know you even more — and I pray we’ll always be in each others lives. You have showed me what joy is. I am thankful for you. I love you Jessiney Ruth.

Love,
Sam

I wrote that letter just before she moved back to home. I’m not usually good with words in public. But give me a paper and a pen and I usually do an okay job expressing myself. I just hope she knows how much I admire her. She’s my best cousin. Not to say all my other cousins aren’t equally important to me. We just get each other and I can call her up without any other reason but just because I wanted to. I love you Jess.

Are we ever really sure?

As of late, I’ve been in panic mode. I truly have prayed for a bright red panic button to help me escape the reality of my life. It’s beginning to look a lot like hell.

Yesterday I was able to spend 3 1/2 hours productively studying with a classmate at Starbucks. Maybe is was the delicious peppermint mocha. Maybe it was the flow of Christmas music, or maybe it was the fact that I was able to talk out loud about the study questions with somebody else. Either way, it was successful and for the first time in months I was reminded why I want to study law and politics. I often get a shocked face, surprised face or disgusted face when I mention to people that I studying Law. I guess you could say for a while I was trying to master something above anyone else in my immediate family. I want to be the successful one. But some kind of realization came to me that I really do love talking about the constitution and the history of the United States. It’s my passion. And for the first time in a long time I believe that I could almost do the impossible. I could accomplish my dream of being a Supreme Court Justice or even the President of the United States of America. 

I have relatives that would simply laugh at the sound of that. I have relatives that somehow believe they have some kind of entitlement to tell me what to do. I get a lot of “Are you sure you want to do that?” or “We have too many lawyers in the world” and let’s not forget the famous “That’s a lot of reading and money to consider.” Are we ever really sure? Do we ever really know what we want and what we need to do? Or does it fall into place. Is it fate? I don’t care, those are details that will come without me even looking for them. I have considered it, and no matter what anyone tells me, I’m always going to do what I want to do. It’s not their life to live. It’s taken me a long road to recognize the truth in that, but I’m getting there.

I guess what I really am saying is that I’ve found that motivation I was looking for these past few months. I’m ready to start this next semester with a new passion. A new me.

 

What I Could Have Had.

I often think of what I could have had. It makes me grateful for what I do have.

I could have a mother who beat me senseless.
I could have had a father who raped me.
I could have had a little brother who died during childbirth.
I could have had two paralyzed legs.
I could have had cancer as a child.
I could have had a house that burned down.
I could have had a cardboard box to live in.
I could have had no shoes to wear.
I could have had no friends.
I could have had no food to eat.
I could have had no christmas present under the tree.
I could have had no hope.
I could have had no life at all.

It’s a beautiful thing to remind yourself, what you could have had.
I may not have gold, or a fancy car, or a perfect family — but it’s a lot better off than what I could have had.

#godbless.