Saying Goodbye Part 3

Saturday morning the Doctor came to discuss where we were at in the process. I have a habit of focusing on the logical aspects of emotional situations (sometimes..) and I found myself entranced by the actual process of what was happening.

I had an Aunt who worked in Hospice so I had her on the phone basically giving me a rundown of what to expect. I had read all their pamphlets and googled the process extensively. So when the doctor came in and took her vitals, I already knew where he was headed.

“I firmly believe today is her day.” he said to us. I had a feeling he was right. Her temp was down to 95. Her BP was barely over 48. Her toes were turning blue and her hands and feet were so cold. I became obsessed with checking her status. Ensuring her apnea was still maintaining, ensuring her hands were covered. Every time the nurses came into take care of her, I would make them move her back to the position she usually slept in or as close to as possible. I was determined to do all I could to take care of her, because I guess I thought if I did this it would make up for all the times I wasn’t there. It would make up for all the times I didn’t call. All the times I didn’t write. All the empty broken promises that I had made her over the years.

I began brushing her hair, singing her songs, reading her articles and stories that I could find about different subjects. I even started rubbing lotion on her skin because it was drying out and I didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable.

Saturday went off without much action. Gramps and I were in and out of the hospital. My mother left to take my brother back up to Ocala with her (after my dad drove down to help her). When Gramps and I weren’t there my Aunt Sue would take up post. It became imperative to me that someone was with her at all times. All I could think of was how devastated I would be if she passed without someone there to hold her hand.

Saturday evening rolled around, Gramps wanted to get home early so he could take a nap, and I still hadn’t slept since Thursday night, so I went with him. Saturday was also the day I decided that so long as my grandmother was well cared for (which she was the entire time) I would cling to my grandfather’s hip. He really needed me, we cope in the same way and it was easiest for him to let his guard down with me.

I spent so many nights with my grandparents. Like I’ve said before, they were my rock, my one stable place. Gramps is an early bird. He tends to be in bed about 7-8pm. But Grams would stay up until 1 or 2 am watching English sitcoms. Those were the hours that her and I spent the most one on one time together. We would stay up talking about everything. The last time I had gone to Florida her and I stayed up late talking every night I was there. I learned so much about her. It was the first, and only opportunity I had ever had to actually get to know her on an adult level. And I was amazed at the person she was, the life she had lived.

So, gramps went to bed at his usual time, and I found myself sitting there in her chair, alone on the patio. And that was about the time that I finally broke down and lost it. Everything just came crashing down. She wasn’t there on that patio. She wouldn’t come hobbling out of the back room. I wouldn’t hear her jokingly reprimanding my grandfather for something or laughing at her evil cat. I wouldn’t hear her lecturing me to ensure I rinsed out my dishes and put them in the dishwasher. No more late night ice cream bowls and glasses of chocolate milk. No more hearing stories of her friends or of my childhood. Or hearing her tell me how I should carry a purse.

It was this moment that I realized that I had already lost my grandmother. The woman that lay dying in the hospital was just a shell of who she used to be.

Sunday passed much the same as Saturday. She was still kicking and in fact her BP had actually improved. But I knew it was close. Remember I had done “tons” of research? Many sources said there was a period of increased activity before death. All day Sunday she moaned more, she moved her mouth, her feet and hands would move at occasional intervals. I knew with every move she made that we were getting closer. But instead I pretended she was responding to our conversations and attempting to get involved to the best of her abilities.

Monday morning I had plans to get lunch with my cousin. It was my last day in town and I hadn’t seen her yet. Before I was to meet her though I wanted to go up and say good morning to my grandmother.

Within ten minutes of arriving at the hospital I called my cousin and cancelled. MONDAY was going to be day. Her breathing had changed. It was much more quick and labored. There wasn’t the 30 second delay with a gasp and groan. It was a just a groan. My aunt and I spent the day monitoring her because her face had started to wince and grimace as if she was in pain. They began administering morphine every hour and added another medication on top of it to make her more comfortable. But my time was nearing, I had to leave around 2 so I could go pack and catch my plane back to KC.

I remember everyone was out of the room for a moment; and I leaned in to kiss my grandmother’s forehead. “Grandma, I respect and appreciate that you may want to wait until tomorrow when Jay gets here (everyone thought she was hanging on to see him, he would arriving in town on Tuesday), but Grandma I’m leaving. I have to go back to KC and take care of my boys and I think that it’s been great for Gramps having me here all weekend, but he is really going to need me when you let go. So if you are ready, don’t hang on for us. You go when you’re ready. We will be okay. I promise.”

Emotions were running very high that day as well. My grandfather is  a lot like me, he wants to either run away from the situation or think through all the things that have to be done after so we don’t have to face the present. My aunt on the other hand is NOT like that. He and her were bumping heads all day and there was definitely some tension. It even got to the point where her and I had some words. But it was incredibly important for me to A. moderate the situation so that they could maintain a relationship after this event, because grandma would have wanted that. and B. to maintain a relationship with her myself. ( I add this because it’s actually very common for families to fight and argue in situations like this. and we were NO different.)

Finally around 2pm I had to say goodbye. I tried so hard not to bawl as I kissed her forehead and told her I loved her. I again told her that she could go when she was ready and that I promised I would do my best to take care of grandpa. That we all would. I kissed her one more time and I turned my back on the woman that had been there for me everyday of my entire life. The woman who had put herself out there to my mother when I was a young child and offered to adopt me. The woman who showed me her passion for Jesus and her passion for helping others. The woman who taught me how to be classy but still smart assy.

2:32 pm. my Grandfather and I are doing laundry and gathering my things so we can head out to the airport. The phones rings and it’s my Aunt Sue. I just knew. She had let go.

I firmly believe that my grandmother hung on all weekend so that her and I could spend every minute I had together. I believe that she did not want me to see her actually go, and my grandfather had already expressed in front of her numerous times that he didn’t want to see her dead body. So I think she waited until we left, but let go before I got on that plane so that I could be there for my grandfather in the moment.

And she didn’t die alone. She died with her daughter by her side playing her her favorite church hymn.

My grandfather and I talk every day now. It has become incredibly important for me to ensure that he is taken care of and to ensure that I spend as much time with him as possible before his time with us is up. Thank goodness he is a stubborn, healthy old man.

I am still struggling. I cry randomly. I actually feel like I’m pushing everyone away. I honestly just want to be left alone, but I know that I shouldn’t be like that. I’m irrationally angry about everything, which for me means that I’m depressed. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression my entire life but I have never felt as depressed as I do now. I’ve never felt as broken and lost as I do now. My chest hurts every day.

I know what they mean now when the say that Death leaves a void in your heart that can’t be filled. It literally feels as though a huge part of my heart is missing.

Because it is.

RIP Gladys Ann Davis. I hope that one day my grandchildren love me as much as I love you.

 

 

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Saying Goodbye Part 2

That first night was a doozy.

I severely underestimated the effect being there with my grandmother would have on me.

When we got to the hospice door we were locked out. I had a mini moment of panic that I wouldn’t be able to get in to see her, but after a few phone calls inside a security guard finally came and let us in.

It was oddly empowering really, to be the one to hold her shit together and put a smile on her face. I felt like I was helping everyone around me, their smiles less feeble as the minutes wore on. All except my brother, who was very obviously hurting so very much.

When we got off of the elevator on the hospice floor I allowed everyone to continue on except for him and I pulled him to the side.

“Look at me,” I said. And he looked into my face like he had done so many times before when we were little and I was the sun and moon that taught him how the whole world worked. He was much taller this time, of course, but I knew in this moment I needed to be his big sister. “When we go in there, you have to remember that it isn’t her. This isn’t our grandmother that we know and love. When we walk in there you flood your mind with every good memory you have of her and hold those really close. It isn’t going to be pretty, you will never forget this, but you have to let the good times outweigh this.”

I think I was more trying to convince myself than him.

The hospice ward was really a very peaceful place. Surreal almost as you walked by each door knowing the person inside the room would soon be dead. We got to her room, and honestly it was probably the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen.

My grandmother has always been a jolly person. Full of life and happiness. Her eye sparkled (I say eye because one of her eyes underwent a bad lasik surgery and was covered by a glass eye.) and her cheeks were always full of color.

But the woman laying in that bed was not like this at all. Her mouth was hanging open, a breathing tube tightly wrapped around her to keep it in place below her nostrils. Her glass eye refused to close no matter how often you tried to make it. I’ve had dreams more clear than this moment.

I’m not sure why or what overcame me, but as my brother broke down beside her bed I began to talk. I kissed her forehead, smiled and told her I had made it. I thanked her for hanging on until I got there. They had placed in her a medically induced coma, so it wasn’t that she could respond. But I just felt that she could hear.

After a few moments my mother and our friend came into the room. I made a few jokes, we recited a few memories. We caught up a little with her there in the room. Hoping to ease her spirits some. My grandfather was exhausted and declared that he was heading home, and it was about this time that I had made my final decision: I was staying the night. There was no way I was leaving her side. I just remember thinking, what if she dies and no one is here?

It was probably about 2 am when my mother, brother and family friend left to get some sleep. I went to find the nurse so he could administer one more round of pain meds before she and I settled in for the night.

My grandmother had apnea, so her breathing was very sporadic. She would only take a breath every 30 seconds and it would always be a sudden gasp followed by a groan. After first, it was legitimately the most disconcerting sound I’d ever heard. I hated it, it was the sound of nightmares.

But as the night wore on, I found myself constantly making sure she was still breathing. If she didn’t gasp regularly I’d start to panic. I sat there, holding her hand, clinging to every memory of her I could think of. I didn’t beg her to stay. I knew she had been hanging on for so long, fighting the inevitable. I knew it was her time and that there was nothing to be done. Her body was shutting down. All I could do was tell her I loved her and tell her that she was welcome to let go when she felt she was ready.

I knew my words were right, but it still feels, honestly painful, to tell your grandmother that it’s okay to die.

By morning I was sick with stress and grief. I had gotten to the point that I was freaked out and emotionally exhausted and just kept thinking about what would happen if she died while I was by myself there. I was angry that I hadn’t made more time for her and angry that I felt the need to keep it together and be “super strong” for my family. I had called my husband and my best friend a few times. The bestie answered around 2. The husband did not (he is a heavy sleeper).

Finally around 6-6:30 I texted my mom and basically begged her to come back and get me. I wanted a shower and I wanted sleep and I felt like I needed to step away from the situation, which made me feel so guilty, as the situation was my dying grandmother.

By the time my mother got there I was shaking, I had thrown up and I had stressed myself into a fever. I bawled my eyes out when she walked in the room. I’d spent my whole night terrified to leave my grandmother’s side, yet terrified to watch her die.

Death is an interesting adventure for everyone involved…

Saying Goodbye Part 1

The holidays are often a busy time for my family, as you may have noticed I had taken a bit of a break. It was my plan to continue my story within the new year. Unfortunately as the new year approached, tragedy struck my family.

I made a surprise trip to Florida on January 1st so that I could comfort my grandmother during her passing and be there for my grandfather.

To be honest, I’m really not sure what I was expecting. I received a phone call on Wednesday, December 30th from my grandfather informing me that Grandma was in Hospice. I immediately broke down, for as we all know, Hospice means little to no recovery.

He allowed me to speak to her and I tearily told her that I loved her and I missed her and that I would do everything in my power to get to her. She told me she loved me and was proud of me and then as she became emotional my grandfather took the phone.

Completely understandable.

You see, if you’ve been reading my story so far you probably have realized by now that my Grandparents have been a big part of my life. They have been the only stable home I have ever known. Their numbers have been the same since I was born, their address, their personalities. They are my rock. It’s like life is a game of Tag and every so often I need to go to their house so that I can touch Base and recenter myself.

After the phone call I immediately pulled myself together and began searching for plane tickets. Honestly, if my husband’s father had not sent us an incredibly generous Christmas gift we never would have afforded it. As it was, I literally spent every dime we had except 50cents to make it to Florida in time to see her.

I love to fly. I really do. Something about airports and the way the plane zooms across the country. The views are always incredible, and while it may not be the most comfortable, it’s an experience I am not ready to give up. Despite the bitter reason for my trip, I couldn’t help but get swept away in the atmosphere. I had a four-hour layover in Dallas, plenty of time to people watch.

Honestly the best part of my trip down was in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. A father and his little girl were waiting on their plane, which was delayed over an hour, and she must have been overly bored because her and I made eye contact and then next thing I know she is standing next to me, petting my blue and purple hair and telling me all about her life. She was literally so cute and was a nice little ray of sunshine on a day that I was surrounded by so many clouds.

I didn’t even make it into PBI until midnight that night. I was really nervous at first, my mother had said her and a family friend and my grandfather AND my brother were all coming to get me. I don’t do well with being really stressed and dealing with new situations and people I haven’t seen in awhile, so my anxiety was incredibly high. Plus, my focus wasn’t to comfort the living at the time, but to rush to my grandmother side so that I could spend as much time with her as possible.

Like usual I stressed for nothing, my mother and our family friend were missed, so as soon as I saw them it was like no time had passed. And instead of immediately bawling, like I really wanted to, I forced myself to put a smile on and to be a big girl and face the situation head on. Plus, I HATE crying in front of people.

My grandfather pulled up with the truck and my little brother in back. He was a mess, so I immediately climbed in and began the task of comforting those around me. For grandpa, I know my mere presence calmed him. Mom just needed a hug, I hadn’t seen our incredible friend in years and she was there more to support us, and my brother needed a peer’s shoulder to cry on. We were both losing the same person to us, so I guess it’s something we can share in common.

I am so thankful that Hospice is a 24 hour thing. I insisted that we immediately go to the hospital so that I could touch base with Grandma. But once we got there, I realized very quickly I couldn’t leave.

 

**Due to how honestly emotionally taxing this was, I will be splitting this post into a couple of different ones. I already know the impact this experience has had on my life and on me as a person, so I want to ensure that I do this justice and express my experiences in the best way possible**

 

 

Lost

She told me she would be my downfall; and she was right…

It wasn’t like I hadn’t thought of instances like this numerous times before. Mostly when her head was in my lap and I would gently tuck her hair behind her ear. Her eyelids would flutter as she sighed in her sleep, but that sigh would mean she felt safe, comfortable. It meant everything to me to provide her with that security.

I could spend hours just watching her sleep. The rise and fall of her breathing sending my brain into a peaceful meditation. It always surprised me how I could find the beauty in her slumber, but I could never pause to enjoy things such as rain or sunshine. These occurrences just didn’t hold a flame next to the blissful silence we shared when she dozed in my lap.

I think we both relished in this silence; knowing these moments wouldn’t last forever. Knowing that this was never meant to be, but we continued for a while. These silent moments between us becoming the basis of our relationship, if you could call it that. A mutual give and take, though I felt as though I gave far more than her. And she took everything that I had to give.

These moments always ended with her taking a large breath, sitting up slowly, and kissing my cheek. Wordlessly she would take her leave, gathering her things and walking out the door, out of my life.

I would be left there on that couch, staring at the walls that made up my life. My fingers would ache to stroke every strand of her hair, my skin would burn for the feel of her slow breathing. These moments were never enough, never satisfying.

In the end I knew she would never fully be mine. I knew that I couldn’t allow myself to fall, but every time she offered me even that small fraction of herself I felt a little more of my heart leave with her out the door.

When she finally did leave for good she took every meaningful piece of me with her. I was left on that couch, longing for a person who was never fully there to begin with.

The first time she didn’t return my head was full of sadness. The lump in my throat so large it felt as if I would suffocate. Every time after that the lump would return smaller and smaller than before. Eventually my sadness melted away into longing, frustration and finally anger.

Angry that I would allow those small moments to rule my emotions. Angry that though I knew she was a wandering soul, I allowed her to wander off with my heart and soul.

She told me she would be my downfall… and in the end I allowed her to be right.

 

Snowglobes and Heroines

I saw a post today in which it claimed that a college professor made a comment that really got me thinking about myself in general, and honestly just reading it put me in the best mood that I’ve been in for a while:

“You all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you. That’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person; and it’s okay if that person is you.”

I’m not sure how I can express what this statement means to me, but I’m going to try.

I feel at times that I’ve spent half my life inside this weird snow-globe staring out at the rest of world dying to be a part of it and make a difference in it, and the other half of it was spent on the outside analyzing and trying to make sense of everything that happened inside.

If there is one thing my therapist and I agree on it’s that I analyze every aspect of myself and I spend so much time breaking apart my behaviors trying to figure out who it is that I am and why it is that I do the things I do. I’m sure it’s to the point of obsession at times. I could spend hours justifying my actions to anyone that will listen.

But I think what people don’t realize is that in all of this I am trying desperately to save myself from that snow-globe. I work incredibly hard everyday to distance myself from everything and to lead as normal of a life as I possibly can. I will never be normal, I try to accept that. I will never be everyone’s cup of tea (though most people, once they ACTUALLY get to know me can’t deny my charm :P). But sometimes my brain goes right back to that snow-globe and gets trapped inside all over again.

I have often expressed a desire to help others, either with music or words, advice or just being a helping hand. It’s funny how heavy that desire is, and how little I have actually acted on it. I think part of my reasoning is that I just feel that it’s nearly impossible to help anyone else until I am able to help myself. I know this, and yet for some reason I feel like I’ll never be fully healed until I CAN help someone else.

But maybe it’s okay that I’m still trying to save myself. Maybe it’s okay that I’ve gotten myself this far and that I’ve made incredible strides. Maybe it’s okay to be where I am in life. The reality of the situation is that I am not in that snow-globe anymore. In fact I think I might be as far from as I possibly can be. And with each passing year, each passing happy moment, each accomplishment I am distancing my brain from it as well.

That doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying. I think I’ll be obsessed with rescuing myself well into my old age. It’s what happens when you turn in circles looking for someone, anyone to come to your rescue and in the end you realize you just have to do it yourself.

That’s not to say I did it by myself. I didn’t. I just had to be the catalyst. In the end I surrounded myself with amazing people and turned what were beginning to be toxic relationships into healthy ones by setting boundaries.

If you had told 16 year old me that I would be here today I would probably have laughed at you. I honestly don’t think I believed I would live past 21. And then I did, and I really didn’t know what to do with myself. In fact, I’m pretty sure I remember turning 22 and for an entire day just feeling so strange and separate from the world. I had made it. But at the same time I was so lost. Where do you go from there?

At 26 I am now so much healthier than I ever used to be but I am not cured. Lately I’ve been feeling vulnerable about coming to terms with the fact that I will never be “normal”. I will never be your cookie-cutter housewife/mother/friend/person. It’s a gift and a curse at the same time, especially for someone who wanted so desperately to be just like everyone else.

But in the end, I don’t want to be like everyone else. Everyone else can’t say that they dug themselves out from six feet under and lived to the tell the tale. Not everyone can say that they had the strength to save themselves. In the end I guess I don’t need to be everyone, because I can be me, and maybe, just maybe that’s enough.

Mother Goose Remix

So I found this little gem today while I was browsing through some old writings of mine. Thought you folks might enjoy! I wrote this when I was about 19 years old living in Iola, KS.

There was an old lady
That lived in a shoe
Who had tea everyday
With the good Mother Goose.

And Old Mother Hubbard,
Who hated curds and whey;
Ate with Miss Muffet
Most everyday

When Peter’s poor wife
Escaped the pumpkin shell
She met with the four others,
To give her husband hell.

They plotted and schemed
A grandeur feat
While Jack and Jill
Ran under their feet.

They called on Humpty Dumpty
Who was bedridden with fractures
And the Big Bad Wolf
Who was playing in the pasture.

To give old Peter
A heck of a scare
They waited and waited
On the Tortoise and the Hare.

And when they arrived
Their party set out
When his Majesty, the King
Gave them a shout.

The 4 and 20 blackbirds
Were flying in the sky
I suppose the palace Chef
Chose not to bake them in a pie.

Pleased with their additions,
They continued to the patch
Where it seemed that Chicken Little
Moments before had hatched.

He began to cry “The sky is falling!”
To no one’s great surprise
When a teeny tiny raindrop
Hit Miss Muffet in the eye.

Puss in Boots was hiding out
Expecting the coming rain
Inside the very pumpkin shell
Where Peter’s wife had lain.

The Three Blind Mice were running about
Bumping into walls.
And it seemed without their handy canes
The mice would surely fall.

Well Peter’s wife was panicking
Having never seen a drizzle
And the way that she was carrying on
Sent the King into a sizzle.

He demanded to see Peter
As the rain began to swell.
Scolded him for being mean,
And locked him in the shell.

Generation Object XX

We live in a society where every single day, every aspect of my female body is used to advertise, used as entertainment, used in general. And that’s honestly how so many of us feel these days. Used, exploited, ashamed. We teach small girls that by showing too much skin they are a “distracting” to others. We shame mothers into not breastfeeding in public. And young women who feel comfortable in their skin; we call them names and judge them.

We’ve been used by our parents, as examples. “See her, she dresses that way because she made poor life decisions. She most likely is promiscuous. Remember, by dressing like that you are inviting unwanted attention.” I feel like I heard this so many times throughout my child hood.

“You can’t have your belly button pierced, that’s for sexual reasons.”

“Why are you showing your midriff, do you want boys to touch you?”

“You realize that by showing that much cleavage you make people want to bury their faces inside.”

“You should put more clothes on.”

“You should put less clothes on.”

“You should wear more make up, it makes you look more presentable.”

“You were too much make up, you look like a prostitute.”

Someone please explain to me why all of this is acceptable. Why is it okay for us to criticize girls/young women/adults about the way they present themselves. I feel like many girls in that we are trapped in the middle. Wanting to express ourselves, to feel free to wear what we want, present ourselves and our bodies the way we see fit.

That unfortunately is not allowed. More often than not I see what I deem to be a normal everyday part of body used to sell insurance and cheeseburgers, cars and jewelry. Who the hell sexualized my wrists? My ears? The nape of my neck?

I’ve had breasts since I was about 14-15 years old, so to me, that’s what they are. They aren’t fun bags or sex organs. My vagina has been there my whole life, so I’m sorry if I find it frustrating that the world around me constantly wants to make judgements about my genitalia.

But to make matters even worse, not only are we used as advertisements, walking “life lessons”, etc. We are also blamed for the the actions of others when we are “dressed” promiscuously or present ourselves in a way that has been deemed “sexual” by the general public.

Men have been taught that if my cleavage, midriff and legs are exposed that must mean that I want to have sex. Regardless of the words that come out of our mouths, regardless of the tears that may stream down our faces. Regardless of the PSAs and the national billboards, the facebook posts, the news articles, the magazine covers. It doesn’t matter how many articles of print you put “NO” on, when we raise the men in our society to view a woman’s body as an object that is exactly how we will be treated.

Molestation/Rape is a disgusting thing. I was molested when I was 16 by a close family friend and to this day there are times when I can’t get clean enough. I can’t feel comfortable in my own skin without remembering the feel of his hands on mine. There are days where the idea of myself as a beautiful human being is so scarred by that image of myself being taken advantage of that it makes it difficult to even look in a mirror. And I wasn’t even raped.

I cannot begin to imagine the pain these women go through. The pain these men go through. The pain in general of having your choices about your own body taken away from you by someone else merely because they felt that they were entitled.

After all, we’re just walking advertisements anyways, aren’t we?

We have got to change this perception that we are allowed to enforce our judgments and opinions on someone. We have got to change this perception that women are objects, our body parts merely oozing with sexual welcoming. But to be honest, you probably won’t begin to understand how much of an issue it is until it happens to you.

Below is a link to the new Lady Gaga single. Not for the faint of heart.

Lady Gaga- Till It Happens to You

My Frustrations with America’s ” Fear of the Unknown”

Ahmeds Face

Today I am saddened and angered by a story that is circulating the web: in my last post I urged everyone to have a heart and not only remember the American lives taken by the tragedy of 9/11 but ALL of the lives everywhere that have been taken as a result. And today, as I was scrolling through my never-ending Facebook feed; I came across this story and immediately had to do some research to ensure the story was accurate:

Boy Arrested for Bringing Homemade Clock to School

This is where our fears of the unknown have brought us. An innocent, 14 year old boy makes a homemade clock and some terrified misinformed teacher decided it was a bomb. Did you realize that a 12 year old make a Nuclear Fusion reactor and brought it to school, actually created a bomb, and yet no one was called. (The argument stands that this was a “science project” where as the clock was “extracurricular.”

I think the worst part about this entire story is that even after insisting that is was merely a clock, and police even had the device in their custody, and though they have agreed that it is not a bomb, they are now pending charges for a “Hoax Bomb” as if the child had brought it in with the intent of having people believe it was a bomb. In fact, a letter was even sent to parents informing them of the fact that a “hoax bomb” was brought onto campus.

Is this really how we deal with this situation? I have numerous questions obviously, did the teacher who reported this see only the homemade clock, or did she in fact see the boy with the clock? Some articles insist that the police kept bringing attention to the boys name and ethnicity. Was he really treated this way because he is of Muslim descent?

The overwhelming fear from things we do not understand is beginning to seriously disgust me. We as a society have decided it is normal and have even been encouraged to bring hatred to things we do not understand. Instead of attempting to close the gaps we misconstrue and call police creating legal situations that do not need to be created in the first place.

Do we not see the trends? During the equal rights movement many “black” folk were targets of the law because of innocent misunderstandings, but time and time again society has proven that “white is might.”

Our police are supposed to be the logical peacekeepers, the mediators in times of confusion and lately I feel as though they are the ones victimizing everyone while they in fact victimize themselves. Regardless, not the post to get into a “Police” rant, but still, it saddens me that not one police officer on that force (at least as far as I am aware) could stand up and say ” Guys, this is ridiculous. It’s a freaking clock.”

Islamaphobia is a real thing and to each of you out there who are terrified that the guy with a turban and a beard is going to blow you up where you stand, you are ignorant and ill-informed. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: There are Extremists in every religion. Kim Davis is an extreme Christian, the folks on the show “Sister Wives” are “extremist mormons.”. Why is it so difficult for society as a whole to accept the fact that there are also “Extremist Muslims/Islams”?

So, if you’ve made it this far into my rant, please do me one favor; if you see your friends/family/peers making hateful comments towards innocents that just so happen to have a “Mohammed” sounding name or might wear a Jibal, please remind them that in this instant, they are the ones terrorizing.

Credit Where Credit’s Due – We’re All Victims of Terror

My grandparents always talked about how they remember exactly where they were in life when we landed on the moon, when JFK was shot, when segregation officially ended. Their stories were always so full of detail. They remembered every sight, scent, and thought that crossed their minds at these monumental events. The same holds true for all of us and 9/11.

I will be one of many posts today discussing the events and feelings from 14 years ago. I believe all of us are sitting somewhere today remembering the heartbreak, the fear, and the confusion from that terrible day. Some of us are still searching for answers, while some of us believe we know them, regardless of what we’ve been told.

I was in seventh grade at a Seventh Day Adventist private school. I remember this mainly because I feel that this was my first introduction to war and the terrible things that human beings could do to each other. (You have to understand, despite my crazy upbringing, I knew nothing else so my personal abuse was normal to me and didn’t hold precedence compared to something like this.) I remember being told that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, quickly followed by a second. At first this really didn’t mean much to me.  You hear of plane crashes often, and to be honest I didn’t even know that the “World Trade Center” was.

But I remember the panic in the adult’s voices. I remember as a classmate immediately teared up as she had family in New York. I remember one by one as parents came and collected their children from the class, myself included, so that they could be close to their loved ones as the events of the day unfolded.

We listened to the radio the whole way home. As I asked questions of my family friend who came to get me, things began to become clear. This was the first major attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor and that meant big things for us as Americans. The media kept talking about “World War III” and the word “terrorist” first came into my vocabulary. And I was terrified. I remember being so stressed and so upset about the situation that I ended up physically ill.

It’s been 14 years and still to this day the American people live in Anger and Fear towards the “Muslim” religion. Granted, I have my doubts on what really happened, but that’s not what this post is about. 14 years and we’ve invaded countries, slaughtered innocents, bombed “terrorists”, and supposedly taken out those responsible. And yet the hatred continues from all sides.

Before 9/11 Americans barely knew what a “terrorist” was, and definitely didn’t have any inkling as to what the Muslims believed or didn’t believe. Now, maybe that was just me and my generation, perhaps the adults were a little more in the loop than I was.

I have spent the last 14 years of my life learning nothing but hatred for a religious group who supposedly bombed us because we were busy invading their countries, taking over their governments and enforcing our policies. Please, this is a moment to debate reasonings, this is what I have learned. There are hundreds of theories, hundreds of stories, thousands of opinions. But the ones that really matter are the ones of the innocent lives who are lost everyday. Not just during 9/11 but everyday after. Not just American lives but the lives of all that have been lost through this power struggle.

Once upon a time I wanted desperately to make a difference politically in this country. I have not lost that desire, therefore I attempt to follow politics to some degree, at least enough to make me aware of the situations going on within our administrations. I understand that “wars” such as this are not easily won. Waging battles against extremists that would just as soon blow themselves up to harm others is not the simplest of wars waged.

However, I feel as though we as Americans generalize this war too much and place too much blame on the Muslim religion as a whole. We do not view the terrorists as “extremists” but as the general religious population. Which isn’t the case. I feel as though these Muslim Extremists are more like our Westboro Baptist Church.

Regardless, the point of this post isn’t to place blame or devalue the heartbreak that took place that fateful day in 2001. My point is, while you’re remembering the lives we lost that day, take a moment to remember the lives lost since then all over the globe. Take a moment to think of the innocents that have endured our retaliations, the lives that have endured war on their own soils. The people who had the same fears I did that day, but theirs came to life in their own front yards.

Remember the soldiers who have lost their lives fighting this battle, directed by politicians safe in their own houses seeking revenge and power. Remember the lives of the millions of American-Muslims who instantly were persecuted, feared and even held under suspicion of terrorism all because of our fear of the unknown. Remember the thousands of children who no longer have parents, uncles, cousins, sisters, etc. And not just the American children, but all of the children all over the world who were affected by this. Because, yes, on 9/11, we as American’s took the biggest hit. But the people responsible have been taking victims every day, ever since, from all over the world.

“I would walk in your shoes, but I’m afraid they’re a half size too small…”

I am incredibly opinionated. I feel like this might be one of the first things people notice about me (besides my crazy hair colors, my pessimistic but hyper attitude, and my “spaztastic” body movements) because I am always passionately spewing about some issue or another. In today’s society, I guess everyone is incredibly opinionated and everyone feels that everyone else needs to hear this glorious, mind-altering opinion, myself included. And I have no issues with this! I think it’s so incredibly important for us as a society to have healthy conversations and debates about the topics that are relevant to our every day lives. I want to know that my best friend in the world doesn’t agree with my opinion so that moving forward we can agree to disagree and maybe in some semblance of the world I can have an opportunity to understand what he/she has conveyed to me.

But that’s just the problem. We have all these “opinion-givers” but not a single one of them have walked a mile in someone’s shoes besides their own.  They’ve all been blinded by “their” way of life and their views and opinions that the idea that someone else could experience something completely different in the exact same situation is mind-boggling to them. Haven’t we learned by now that perception is truly unique?

I have always been excellent at being objective. Maybe it’s the “I’ve been a victim, but done the victimizing as well” thing, who knows. But I’ve always tried my best to understand all facets of a situation, to form my opinion based off of that and to also understand that not everyone will feel the way that I do (though sometimes their blatant disregard of the facts that led me to this opinion AMAZES me.)

So all of that being said, this whole “Black Lives Matter” “All Lives Matter” movement is just…in reality FRUSTRATING. Why does it have to be “this group vs. this group”? Why don’t people see that this is a problem on multiple levels not just one or the other.

This is not a “BLACK” problem. This is not a “Police Brutality” problem. This is a combined society problem in which we have this new age where young parents aren’t held accountable for their actions, their children aren’t held accountable for their actions, law enforcement personnel aren’t being held responsible for their actions. In our world today everyone else is to blame for everyone’s problems.

“Not enough money to pay my bills? Oh, my boss doesn’t give me a fair wage for my job, forget the fact that I blew through 50$ on that trip to the bar last week. Oh my electric bill is too high? Goodness, we should find a new provider with cheaper rates because GOD FORBID I turn off more lights to conserve energy. My child acts up in school? What is that teacher doing to cause this? What are his peers doing? Why is everyone treating him this way? ”

I’m sure you get the picture.

These issues stem so much deeper than face value racism or power struggles. This stems from a generalized disrespect for law enforcement and the breakdown of our “black” neighborhoods or however you want to put it. You have these police officers with “God Complexes”. I promise you I know at least three people that I went to school with who were bullied relentlessly who in turn became police officers merely so they could bully others. It’s a vicious cycle. It should be an honor to serve and protect, and instead its an entitlement.

Why aren’t we as a society focusing on all of these issues and banding together to fix them instead of pointing fingers and placing blame? Stop generalizing people, stop uniting against each other and unite against the ones tearing us apart.

Racism is still more than alive in America. And yes, it’s incredibly sad. You see all these statistics flying around about this and that, murders and robberies, blacks vs. whites, etc., etc. Can we please focus more on the oppression from our government? The freedoms that are being taken away daily. The incessant demand for all to as “politically” correct as possible.

And on top of all this Police Vs. Black people crap you have this “Christianity is a Victim” “LGBT communities are victims.”  I’m a firm believer in mind your own damn business. If you don’t like what your neighbor is doing close your blinds (unless of course he is blatantly committing a crime such as robbery/murder/rape.) Seriously! Christianity is not the law of the land and I’m tired of people attempting to make it so.

I have an utter respect for religion, but I feel as if this whole attempting to shape our nations laws around one religion is ridiculous. Yes we were built on christian foundations, but that’s because at the time we were escaping catholicism so we could PRACTICE christianity. Freedom of religion. Freedom of legal prosecution because of religion. etc. etc. etc.

GOODNESS. I could seriously rant for hours. But this post isn’t to express my opinions one way or another, but to merely put emphasis on the fact that everyone seems to be looking at the surface of these issues but no one wants to face whats really going on underneath. No one wants to look that “thug” in the eye and say “you know what, you’re right, I do have white privilege and you are being targeted.” or that police officer:  “You know what, you’re right, you do face a lot of adversity today and risk your life, but please remember you are not above the law.”

Shit…do we need a high school mediator? I volunteer as tribute!!!

So while you’re reading this post and thinking of your own experiences and thoughts on all of this chaos, take two seconds to think about things on the other side of the fence. Think about your “opinionated opponent” and what might be happening to cause them to feel this way. Most streets go two ways, and if they don’t, someone has gone the wrong way at least once without consequence…don’t be afraid to do it again.