The Motions

So while I sat in church today, the inevitable communion time came. Now, I used to take communion every week I was at church no matter what. But recently I came to a realization–I don’t want to do it for the sake of doing it. Doing it because I feel obligated to and not because I’m really feeling in the moment and want to be close to God is kind of like lying, wouldn’t you say? I don’t want to do something out of fear or obligation. If I’m going to do something for God, I want to mean it. It’s also why I don’t sing in church anymore.

It’s hard to do it out of choice. You sin on Saturday, confess on Sunday, lather, rinse, repeat, week after week after week. It’s an exhausting cycle and eventually it’s going to catch up with you. It’s better to be honest and not do something than to do it simply because you feel like you have to, especially when it comes to God.

If all you do is go through the motions, eventually you’re going to start feeling guilty. I’ve stopped doing that and I don’t feel guilty because I know I’m doing the right thing in not pretending to be something I’m not.

Another thing I don’t do is pray. I know I should, but again, I don’t want to do it out of obligation. Praying in front of others, whether out of pride or not, makes me very self-conscious and I think that prayer is something between you and God. If I don’t really feel like talking to Him (or anyone), I don’t want to force myself to.

Going through the motions is something a lot of people do, in a lot of ways. Just think about it the next time and evaluate why you’re doing it. Are you doing it because you really mean it? Or because you feel like you have to? Consider it before you do it.

This is the song that inspired this post:

10 more songs to listen to when you’re sad

I found several more happy songs that I want to share in a new post. My last one was written a long time ago (I forgot to publish it) and several of my favorite songs didn’t make it because they hadn’t come out yet.

Song #1: ‘Uptown Funk’ by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

This is a very upbeat, happy song. I’m really into it. I think just about everyone is. I just wish it didn’t have any bad language though.

Song #2: ‘Shut Up and Dance’ by Walk the Moon

I can’t help but get excited whenever I hear this song. It makes me grin and want to dance.

Song #3: ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye

This one is pretty peppy. It was suggested to me by someone. I don’t listen to it much, but it’s good.

Song #4: ‘When Can I See You Again’ by Owl City

This song is such a fun, catchy tune. I love it so much.

Song #5: ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams

Don’t pretend you didn’t see this one coming.

Song #6: ‘Twist and Shout’ by The Beatles

Suggested to me by a friend, it really is pretty peppy.

Song #7: ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey

It starts off slow, but ends up being amazingly catchy and upbeat by the end.

Song #8: ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry

You can’t deny how peppy it is. It’s got a pretty good beat too.

Song #9: ‘Mean’ by Taylor Swift

Not the peppiest song on the list, but it’s a good message to remember if bullies have you down.

Song #10: ‘Better Things’ by The Kinks

Recommended by a friend, it really is pretty upbeat. Inspirational too.

You can find part 1 here.

When depression overcomes happiness

I’m at a good place in my life right now. I have a boyfriend I’m in love with who loves me back. I’m getting ready to move out of my parents’ place. And on top of all that, I have a steady income now. So why am I not happy?

Let’s just face the facts: depression sucks. It can hit at the most inconvenient times. It can ruin an otherwise perfect day. It can cause people to do horrible things. They might self-harm or even commit suicide. It causes people to snap and hurt others.

Nobody can understand it unless they have it. I’ve been with my current psychiatrist for over 5 years and I think she still doesn’t get it. It’s easy to tell someone ‘suck it up and get over it’ just because you can or ‘happiness is a choice’ just because it is for you. Why would anyone choose to be sad?

I want to be happy. Really, I do. So I don’t get why I can’t be. It hurts to know that I’ll never be completely satisfied with life for more than a day or two at a time.

Depression is a harsh mistress (for lack of a better term). You can’t shake it. It just stays there. All the time. Day after day. Even on your good days, it lies in wait in the darkest corners of your mind, waiting for something to happen that can push it into the light.

It hurts. It hurts like hell and always will. And the worst part? If you’ve got it now, odds are you always will. No amount of drugs, legal or not, can cure it. And there’s not a single thing you can do about it.

You’ve Changed–Guest Post by Rachel Klein

A Facebook friend/former classmate of mine wrote this up earlier today and it really struck a chord, so I figured I would share. This was pulled straight from her Facebook profile with minor editing for flow.

I have had COUNTLESS falling outs with friends since graduation. Good friends, BEST friends, people with whom I always believed would be the women standing by my side on my wedding day. Now, let me admit that I still stay in contact with a handful of them occasionally, but many of them are completely gone. I feel as though I tend to be the one who initiates the “I miss you, what happened to us?” conversation, and nearly EVERY TIME, I receive a response similar to this.

“You’ve changed.”

I heard this when I was spending quite a bit of my weekend nights drinking. I became what some would deem a “bad person”, for what? For staying in the comfort of my own basement with a handful of friends being a teenager after my daughter was fast asleep, and always checking on her throughout the night no matter how many beers had been consumed. But now I’m hearing that I’ve negatively changed because I’m always at the gym…improving my physical, mental, and emotional health. “It’s just weird. It’s not you.”

No. It USED to not be me. But, as we’ve uncovered: people change.

It used to hurt. It made me feel as if it was always my fault the friendship ended, the relationship failed, I was slowly losing people I believed to be close to.

Newsflash guys: We are supposed to be changing. Growing. Figuring out who we are supposed to be and what our calling is in life. I used to think I was just “the swimmer with the baby”, and that label followed me like The Plague until my sophomore year of college. Losing swimming was bittersweet to me, because that meant I was losing the one thing that trailed behind me for 6 years, and competitively swimming prior to Kayelynn consumed my life for even longer: 8 years to be exact. All adding up to being a swimmer for 14 years of my life. 14 YEARS!!!

I’ve gone through many stages in my 21 years of life. I’ve ridden the epitome of an emotional roller coaster, and everyone has a sob story, so I won’t waste time by delving further into my life story.

All I can say now is that I have the people I need. I have my compassionate, intelligent, sassy little girl who has been the BIGGEST cause of personal change. I have a man in my life with whom I plan to marry & spend the rest of my days, who has introduced me to the world of bodybuilding and without his immense knowledge on the subject, I would’ve never overcome my shoulder injuries nor would my extremely low level of self-confidence have risen past like -100. Alex also brought into my life his incredible little boy who has become Kayelynn’s little brother & fills the role of another kiddo for me to lather in love every opportunity I have. Alex’s family has become my own family, and been able to become much closer with my own.

On top of all of those humans, I must admit I still tag along with some friends. I’ve met so many new faces just through bodybuilding, people who share many similar interests, inside and outside of the gym. And of course, even if the relationships may be a little different now, I still have a couple people who I used to with whom I am still in touch with pretty regularly & we are always able to pick back up right where we left off even without constant communication (which is what adulthood is, we’re all busy. It’s naive to expect everyday conversation from everyone and their mother with whom you used to spend your free time, cmon)….And then there’s [my friend] Alicia of course but she’s actually my soulmate/spirit animal so she doesn’t count.

Basically, communication and friendship are a two way street. There have been so many things lately occurring in my life and my daughter’s life that has prevented me from being able to make time for a lot of other things. And maybe I have changed, but looking back on who I was when I got pregnant, seeing what kind of person I was, and even all throughout high school or a year ago at that, I am proud of where my values stand at this point and if that means a few “friends” fell by the wayside in the process, I guess that’s how the cookie crumbles. And I am so happy I have been able to teach myself that it’s not always my fault when this happens. It’s life. And I still wish you all the best of luck in all of your endeavors, always.

A letter to the boy who left me broken and depressed

I’m so sorry. I know how badly I hurt you and I’m sorry for that. What happened shouldn’t have happened the way it did. I’m glad we broke up, but I wish we could’ve remained friends. But that’s not on me.

That’s on you.

You’re the one who strung me along after the breakup, making me think maybe we had a future together after all, only to crush that dream, then blame me when our friendship came down with it.

I don’t understand what happened. It’s been 4 years since we broke up and I’m still trying to make sense of it all. Was I really that horrible? You were so loving, then you just…weren’t. And here we are now, and we couldn’t be further away from each other if we were on opposite sides of the world.

Being with you left me broken and depressed. I can’t put all the blame on you. Looking back, I realize now how flawed you were. When we were dating and after we broke up, I couldn’t think of anything that you’d done to get us where we ended up. Now that I’m where I’m at in my life, I know better. You turned your parents against me. Made me look like the psycho girlfriend who wouldn’t leave you alone. You called me a crazy, emotionally abusive ex girlfriend to your friends. You never told me that was how you felt until long after we broke up.

We tried being friends for awhile, after we both healed. Despite what you seem to think, the fall of that is your fault, not mine.

It took me until quite recently to stop feeling in love with you. Seeing you last May sent my recovery into a tailspin. But by the time I saw you on my birthday this year, I was over it. It didn’t ruin my day. It didn’t make me sad. I was a little shaken up, but that was out of surprise.

I wish you all the best in life. I’m satisfied with mine. Find someone who is more compatible. Marry her. Have some kids. Be happy. A part of me will always love you. But most of me realizes that we were doomed from the start. I don’t regret our relationship. I just wish we could’ve remained friends.

Please know that I still care. If you wanted to be friends again, I would be completely okay with that. I forgive you for everything. I hope you can forgive me too.

From burning passion to burning ashes: a true story of love and loss

This is the story about me and the guy I was in a long-term, long-distance-like relationship with. It’s long, and it’s emotional. I’m not giving away the ending, though the title of this post might be a clue. I don’t know how long it’ll take me to finish this post. I’m mostly over it, but occasionally it still hurts to talk about. I changed his name to protect his privacy.

When I was about to start my freshman year of high school, I moved back to my original hometown after a 4-year absence. I was upset at first, but I quickly got over it once it happened. I moved back on May 29th, 2009. I had several crushes over the course of that summer and the school year. I was a bit boy-crazy. I’d had a crush on a guy named Tyler from sometime in November of 2009. My mom had mentioned that we had a few things in common and I remember being at a bonfire with my (now former) church youth group and seeing him for the first time. He wasn’t hard to notice–the main reason my mom had even mentioned him to me is because we were the only two kids in the group to wear hats during youth group. I stayed away from him because I didn’t know what to say. I’m not even sure that we spoke to each other until January, when I invited him to come with me and my dad to a local university’s planetarium for my birthday the next month. I realize now how suspicious that must’ve looked, but it was my mom’s suggestion to invite him, not mine (though I was hoping she’d recommend it). Anyway, he came with me and I think he enjoyed it. There wasn’t a whole lot of communication between us for awhile, but I invited him to see me in a school play in April. He was a big theatre geek and came to the final showing. I got his phone number just before so that I could contact him if anything changed. I was super excited about this. I didn’t text him for awhile, but it felt nice to know that I could whenever I wanted to.

On Easter of that year, I noticed that he’d answered a question on an app called Social Interview (it’s no longer a thing, so don’t bother looking) that asked if he knew who he wanted to or planned to marry. He responded that he was pretty sure he had an idea, but didn’t elaborate. I had this hope somewhere in me that he was talking about me, but I doubted it. I later found out he WAS talking about me.

May 7th, 2010 was the first time we really talked. We had a big Capture the Flag tournament for the high school youth and any friends we wanted to bring. Tyler sat down right beside me before the event started and we chatted at length. I don’t remember what we talked about, but the fact that we talked at all was good enough for me. We spent a lot of time together–even when he was caught and sent to ‘jail’, I joined him (even though I DIDN’T get caught) and kept talking with him.

Despite this, I didn’t text him any time other than if I had an excuse. I didn’t text him just to chat; I would only text if I needed something of some sort. Finally, on May 22, 2010, I texted ‘hey’ while at a car wash fundraiser for the mission trip to Seattle the following month. He responded a little while later and we talked for a bit. We considered ourselves best friends, and we finally outright acknowledged that later in the week.

On May 26th, we texted for awhile after church. The night before, I made him promise not to fall for me, as it could jeopardize our friendship, and when he did I felt I could accept that and keep our relationship totally platonic. Well, that all changed the next night. Somehow the topic of our feelings for each other came up. I told him that up until the night before I did have romantic feelings for him, but I’d accepted that we’d remain friends and nothing more. He admitted he’d had feelings too. I proceeded to ask if he still did. He admitted that he did, and I realized I still had feelings for him, but I was trying to stifle them because I didn’t think it’d work out. Now that it was possible it COULD work out, I gave up on denying what I felt. We tried to keep it quiet and wait to start a relationship, since he wasn’t allowed to have a girlfriend until college and that was two years away. We held out for 3 days. Less than 3, actually, since we pronounced our feelings on Wednesday night and started our relationship on Saturday afternoon. We didn’t want to wait until we saw each other again the following Wednesday (he was going to be absent from church that Sunday), so he ‘asked me out’ via text. I’m not even sure how the conversation went exactly, or what time it happened.

We mostly kept it under wraps for a couple of weeks. My parents knew because shortly thereafter my mom confiscated my phone at night so I would get plenty of sleep the nights before finals. I think they suspected it, because at that time my mom had my passwords to my internet accounts and found a suspicious email in my inbox a few days prior, where Tyler and I had a correspondence the day after we established how we felt, which mentioned that something incriminating was said, though neither of us elaborated. Plus, it wasn’t exactly a secret that I had a thing for him. However, she told me that she wouldn’t pass word on to his parents. Other than the secrecy, we had a good relationship for those days. We saw each other in youth group, and when the group would go volunteer somewhere we would sit together in the van and hold hands. It was nice.

Then we got caught. In a conversation with his mom two days prior, I admitted to having a crush on him, but made sure she knew that I accepted that we’d be just friends. She didn’t believe that, so she would occasionally log into his Facebook account to see if we began talking about anything. He took to checking if his mom was online before we started chatting. We got caught that Wednesday because, while she wasn’t on when we first started talking, she logged in mid-convo and found out everything. We were formulating a plan to meet up before church that night and spend some time together. We didn’t explicitly say what we were planning to do, but I think the worst thing was a kiss on the cheek. We planned everything to the last detail…and his mom saw the entire thing. When I signed off, he sent me one text asking what I had in mind for that night, then nothing for the rest of the afternoon.

He was promptly grounded. When I found out, I snapped. I will swear to my grave that I was never the same again. Anyway, we didn’t break up and when we were on our mission trip in Seattle a week later, we hung out as a couple. When my mom found out from the leader assigned to my group–the one leader who hates me–that we’d been doing that, she promptly grounded me and told Tyler’s mom everything she knew so she wouldn’t be ‘blindsided’ again. At this point, he gets so far grounded that his Facebook was completely deactivated. I was unfriended at this point, but I wasn’t allowed to check my Facebook anyway so it didn’t really matter. Sometimes if my mom left hers up and went to take a shower or get ready to go somewhere I’d go over to the computer and go Facebook creeping, which is how I found out about Tyler’s account being deactivated.

July of 2010 was the longest month of my life. I was totally miserable. I got my phone on rare occasions, but only if I sneaked it away from my mom. His birthday just happened to fall on a Monday that month, and he volunteered at the zoo on Mondays and Wednesdays, during which time he was allowed to have his cell phone. My mom had left my phone sitting out that morning, and I put it on the charger. I don’t remember if I thought about it before I put the phone on the charger or after, but she went to church to set up for VBS, which was later in the month, and, knowing he’d be having his lunch break I took the time to text him to tell him happy birthday and that I loved him. We talked for an hour or so before he had to go. It was the highlight of the month, I think, as I pretty much didn’t see him at all for the rest of it, since he went with his parents to church for that time.

August was a little better. He got back his phone and internet privileges back, so we could text, though we still had to keep it on the DL. Near the end of the month, I started cutting as punishment for everything I’d been doing. I felt at fault for Tyler’s hardships and felt like if not for me he’d be better off. I got a bit suicidal and told him that.

On September 8th, 2010, we ended up getting caught. Again. This time, his dad texted me immediately to tell me to leave him alone because I’d ‘wreaked enough havoc on his life’. Later, he called my dad to tell him everything. Apparently Tyler had told him that I was to blame and told him I was cutting and made me look like a complete psycho. I did not take it that well.

The rest of the year was miserable. We left the church in December and the last time I saw him before leaving, he kissed me, then disappeared for fear of being seen with me again. It hurt to see him go, but it felt so good to feel his lips on mine again.

Early 2011 was hell. I kept getting sent home for suicide threats. It all came to a head in February, when I was reported by two teachers and ended up in a mental hospital. Tyler didn’t know until May, on our 1-year anniversary. We barely talked for awhile after that, except on his birthday that July.

Finally, that fall we talked almost as much as when we first got together. We still didn’t get to see each other, but we talked on Skype a few times. I was working on my school’s radio station and we got to hear each other’s voices when his family wasn’t home.

In December of that year, he wrote me a poem while I was on a church retreat. It was sweet and never failed to make me cry. I even kept it on my Kindle.

January 11th, 2012, I decided to date a guy from church who had a crush on me. It was a mistake that I wish I wouldn’t have made. Tyler and I were already having problems, but this first breakup jump started our relationship’s failure.

A few weeks later, Tyler and I were planning to rendezvous at a concert being held nearby. I broke it off with the other guy and met up with him. We shared some quiet moments together, enjoying each other’s presence. A friend of his rushed him off to their seats and I never got to be with him again. I cried. A lot.

A month or so later, I was still feeling something for the guy from church and on March 25th, I made another mistake—I kissed him. I felt bad, so I confessed to Tyler and he went ballistic. We broke up the next day, this time for good. I don’t consider it cheating, but Tyler told me that even though our reunion was unofficial it was more official than I was giving it credit for. I didn’t take it well.

We tried being friends a few times, but it didn’t work out. Finally, late that December (I believe the 28th or 29th), after we had some time to heal, we decided to try being friends again. It was like we’d never dated in the first place. Things were back to how they were before the relationship.

A month later, he decided to tell me that he was considering reinitiating the relationship. I was elated. We discussed it a couple of times, but a few days later he told me that he didn’t feel that way anymore and wanted to be just friends. Our friendship crashed after that. He told me I was being a jerk about him stringing me along and ended up threatening a restraining order when I tried to fix things.

The last time we talked, he made it very, VERY clear that he never planned to speak to me again. I’ve seen him a couple of times since then and I never quite got over him until October of last year. I saw him working where I had my birthday lunch this year and while I was a bit shaken up out of surprise, I wasn’t sad.

If he wanted me back, I’d say no. I can’t deal with that again. I’ve found someone much better and while I don’t regret our relationship (I’ve met hundreds of people as a result of being with him, including someone who’s the reason I quit cutting), I do wish it’d ended on better terms. I just hope that someday he won’t dislike me as much as he does now.


EDIT: After typing this, I realized that he was very likely using me to get back at his parents for being so strict. A couple days before he dumped me, they told him that they would stay out of our relationship from then on. The timing, added with all the horrible things he said immediately after, makes me think he was using me the entire time.

10 songs to listen to when you’re sad

These aren’t all necessarily uplifting in their message, but they’re bouncy, fun, catchy songs that I just can’t help but feel happy during, and maybe it’ll be the same for someone else.

SONG #1: ‘Good to be Alive’ by Skillet

This is a song I can’t help but like. It never fails to cheer me up–even when I’m already in high spirits. It’s a fun song to bob your head to.

SONG #2: ‘Zip-a-Dee-do-Dah’ from Disney’s ‘Song of the South’

This is just a cute song all around. I’ve included two versions, one with the original, one with a more modern, peppy feel to it.

SONG #3: ‘Me Without You’ by tobyMac

I love this song. It’s so upbeat and makes you want to bob your head.

SONG #4: ‘Istanbul (Not Constantinople)’

I’m not sure on who sang the original, but I like the version I included (by Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon), mostly because the video lines up with it, even though they’re completely unrelated (and the video is actually in German!).

SONG #5: ‘Everybody Talks’ by Neon Trees

This is a song I just want to dance to whenever I hear it. It’s so darn catchy.

SONG #6: ‘Sweeter than Fiction’ by Taylor Swift

This is such a sweet song. I’ll let you look up the backstory for yourself, but it’s a good one.

SONG #7: ‘Dance Forever’ by Allstar Weekend

This is just a song it’s way too tempting to bob my head to–and that’s when I’m around people. Not even including what I’d do if I was alone.

SONG #8: ‘The Safety Dance’ by Men Without Hats

It’s just one of those songs that’s got a peppy beat and you want to dance around a little.

SONG #9: ‘I Ran Over the Taco Bell Dog’ by Weird Al

It’s short but hilarious.

SONG #10: ‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina & the Waves

I’ve never known anyone who can stay sad during this song. Ever. I dare you to prove me wrong.