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**

 

 

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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.

 

Blank Pages and Black Pits

I’ve probably been sitting here staring at this screen for some time. The blankness of the page honestly speaks more to how I’m feeling than any words that I could place here. I think I’m slipping again. The inevitable pit that I always seem to find myself slipping into has returned.

You see all these posts on facebook about “Depression Awareness! Depression doesn’t make you weak!” etc. etc. I hate them. I hate every single one of them. I hate the “Make this your status for an hour to raise awareness about depression!”. What is that going to do? Great, we’re all aware that depression exists, but I promise your acknowledgement of it isn’t making me feel any better.

Because for me, Depression IS my weakness. It is this giant aspect of my emotional personality that I cannot control, I cannot pull out of, and sometimes I don’t even want to.

They say “If you can tell that it’s coming, why can’t you just make it stop?”

Picture this:

It’s 5:30. You’re sitting on your bed in your bedroom listening to your son play in the other room. He really is a gem and can make you smile even through the worst of things. Your significant other is being soft spoken because he saw your face when you walked in the door. The lack of sparkle in your eye, the avoidance of eye contact. The way every so often you grimace and your eyes cloud over and he knows that your brain isn’t remotely in the same room as him. You’re casually pinching your fingertips or wringing your hands, just trying to create some semblance of feeling because the feelings inside are mostly just dead. You know that you have responsibilities, dinner needs made, the kid needs a bath and bedtime routine, etc. But the more you think about taking on those tasks the more impossible they seem. Your brain refuses to even focus on what it takes to START the tasks. The reality of the situation is you really want to tell your loved ones to go figure it out on their own while you sit here in silence overthinking everything, trying desperately to either cry or stop crying depending on the moment.

It’s such a vicious, heartbreaking state to be in. Like so many mine comes in cycles. I do great for a few months, and then I slowly feel myself start to crumble. I don’t have any magical advice as to how to get through it. If I did I’d probably be able to save myself.

The reality of Depression is that there really is no getting over it. You have to work through it, train your brain to think positively and hope to God this episode passes.

Which is exactly what I am doing now.

Choosing to Stay

Once upon a time I was going to marry myself an English man, and we were going to move to the English countryside for two years so that I could legitimately have an accent. Afterwards we would return to the states and have lots of money and babies and cars and houses and I would be famous and he would be perfectly successful and all the stars would align in our names on our anniversary. And of course, we would live happily every after like all the best love stories.

Maybe a little later in life my “Once Upon a Time” turned into small town life with a smart-hardworking man who I would struggle with and fight with for most of our lives but we would attempt to build a happy foundation for our kids just to watch it all fall apart from his alcoholism and my PTSD/Anxiety.

There were lots of in between stories, but these were the two that really defined my opinion of relationships when I was younger. Shortly after the latter scenario, I decided that I would not have a “Once Upon a Time” and would instead proceed to have lots of “once” moments.

So, I found a boy, informed him that this was nothing serious and we proceeded to use each other for our needs for a few months.

Fast-forward six years later and somehow this boy has not only made his way into my heart but he has become an irreplaceable staple in my life. I married that boy and we grew into adults together and created one heck of a beautiful child. We have an amazing life, amazing jobs, a roof over our heads, the best of friends and family by our side. Some days I feel as if we could conquer anything. We really are a walking success story.

But it hasn’t been without struggles. On paper of course things look perfect, but just like every other couple in the world, we argue over stupid things and have both had to make decisions to stay.

You see, when they say opposites attract, they were clearly speaking of Justin and I. I am little miss artistic. I sing, I yell, I’m obnoxious and emotional and I love to make messes and have fun and not worry about the tiny things in life (only panic over the big things I could never control) and Justin is Mr. Logical. He is intelligent, quick thinking, organized, and ambitious. A lot of people don’t know but he is also incredibly silly and spends a lot of time just goofing off and being a typical male.

This huge difference in our personalities has caused more arguments than I care to admit. I am a “big picture” person and he is an “what about all the steps it took to get there” person. I am a “procrastinate/get it done quickly” person whereas he has to analyze each step and ensure the task gets done as efficiently as possible.

Which in many cases this works very well for us!

However, my wonderful emotional female brain likes to get upset at some of the more obvious points of his personality: logical people aren’t often the most romantic and and an engineer will most likely have a hard time putting his feelings into words.

It’s in the moments when I know he is struggling (he is much more physical in his expressions where as I will talk to you for an hour about how much I love you…lol) that I have to remind myself of all the things he does that really show me he cares. I remind myself of every moment that man has been there for me in the past six years and has not only helped me to become a better person but has grown as a person himself. I cannot express how excited I am to see where this world takes our family and I know so long as were together we can conquer everything.

Love and marriage is completely about choice. Choosing to love that person unconditionally. Choosing to go to bed and wake up with them everyday. Choosing them over everyone else always. Choosing to make your marriage work instead of walking away.

That’s not to say I don’t want to strangle him most days… But in the end I guess I just choose not to. 🙂

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.

Addiction Cripples in Even the Smallest of Towns…

Small towns are literally the best/worst thing to ever grace the planet. I was lucky enough to call a small town home for much of my life, and I have a serious love/hate relationship with it.

I definitely made some amazing friends, some of which I haven’t spoken to in a while and really miss, and some of which I still can’t believe I ever considered a friend. It’s funny to me how people grow up and grow apart. My husband and I are both from the same town and ran with the same group of people, and tbh I probably associate with those people more than he does. (The girls mainly…). Facebook is literally an open window into some of these people’s lives.

Just like any group of friends/people/small town kids we all grew up in different ways, some of us really blossoming and becoming incredible adults and incredible parents. And then there are the few of us who I’m pretty sure are still stuck in 2008-2009 and think that the world is a party and the only thing that matters when they wake up is getting their next fix.

I grew up in a town that was split pretty evenly between Ag/Farm kids and what most would call “the druggies”. Yes, I was one of the “druggies”. We had raves, we had parties, we experimented and had the time of our lives. I don’t regret the decisions we made! I never will, I learned a lot, I had both excellent and terrible experiences, and I lived to tell the tale.

But not all of us did. In fact, I feel as if the best of us were the ones who suffered in the end.

We lost friends and family members, jobs, scholarships, houses, vehicles, and some of us even lost our freedoms. But the worst loss of all was watching one by one as our friends either died from the abuse of drugs, ended up in jail or rehab, lost their children, or even just downward spiraled into this black hole of addiction farther than any of us ever thought possible.

I feel like the worst part of these addictions is that they’re so oblivious to it. And not that they don’t realize that this rules their lives, but that they are so oblivious to the real repercussions of what is happening. The don’t see that all the selfie’s they post on Facebook is proof that they are strung out of their minds. They don’t see the caved in cheeks, the dark circles, the acne/sores all over their faces. All they see is their next fix.

Now obviously my description is that of meth and/or pills, and not all of us got in that heavy, or did but immediately backed out. But it just breaks my heart to see some of these people that used to have so much hope and potential literally rotting in that town.

This is what addiction does to you. It rots you from the inside out. It takes control of your life and it rules it with an iron fist. It frustrates me how helpless they are to this, or how helpless they make themselves seem. It angers me that they can’t find a way to clean up and have custody of their children but they can definitely figure out where their next fix is coming from, or who spread what rumor.

I definitely don’t have “specific people” in mind, but by all means if you’re from my hometown and this post speaks to you, please, please remember that you still have time. Your world is not over, you are not a failure, you just need help.

I am no stranger to addiction and drug abuse. I am no stranger to physical/emotional/mental abuse. I understand the cravings addiction can bring. What I don’t understand is how some of these people can literally play the victim everyday of their lives and everyone around them enables them.

I am so proud of my peers that are still able to thrive in a small town. Those that were able to get away from all of this terribleness and addiction. Those that were able to step up and be the parent for their child or even the adult for themselves. Nothing makes me happier than seeing their posts on Facebook and knowing that like me, they made it out. They made it to the other side.

I wish only the best to those of my former small town friends who are still drowning in addiction. I wish happiness and answers to those of my former friends who are still pooling their money to score their next fix, still aimlessly calling around town trying to figure out where the drug house is, still spending their every day and night getting fucked up and getting nowhere.

But I am so thankful that I too am on the opposite side of that fence looking in. I only wish they could see what I see.

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.