Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dear Yesterday

Captain,

Here is some of your stuff back. They are things I mainly liked because of their sentimental attachment to you, which obviously is now nonexistent. But they are also things I'd feel bad just ditching, because they belonged to you long before you met me.

You may notice that this is hardly everything you've ever given me.

Perhaps it's selfish of me, but there is no way I'm giving back everything. Most of it I enjoy completely separate from you, and forget there's even a connection unless someone asks where it came from. Then I laugh a little gleefully because it's mine now, and maybe that's wrong of me. Oh well.

No, there is no diamond ring in this box. I thought about giving it back, but then decided not to. If I had broken it off, I would. But I did not. You dumped me. When I put together this box of your stuff, I thought about giving it back again, but ultimately decided not to.

Oh, you. What an immature little boy you are. Or were, at least. It is unfair of me to assume you haven't changed.

Since making this box, I've discovered you've gotten engaged. Congratulations. I wish you and your girlfriend of three months a happy future, but somehow I doubt that's what will happen.

I'm trying not to be snarky and mean, I swear.

I wanted to thank you. As much as I hate to admit it, you helped me a lot during our years together. You were there for me though a lot of shit and made many things easier to bear. I really, really thought I loved you. And you certainly convinced me that you loved me.

But so many things were not okay with us and I am so, so, so glad you broke my heart before I married you. It was not okay for you to promise me the rest of our lives, because I believed you and gave you everything. I let you suck me dry because I thought I was doing it for love and for a relationship that was worthwhile.

I didn't realize how terrible our relationship was until it was over. You treated me like a child and then got upset when I grew up. You assumed I couldn't do things and then would get upset when I really couldn't. You kept trying to cure my introverted self while telling me how you liked me just the way I was. You talked of all the adventures we'd have together and then decided we'd stay in Birmingham forever, without ever even asking me. You kissed another girl, and I forgave you. All of these things I forgave, and I kept on loving you.

I don't want to hold grudges and cling to the past. But I had to acknowledge the wrongs that happened not only in order to handle it, but in order to learn. I don't want to have a string of broken engagements (like you *cough*).

I'm upset at how replaceable I was in your life. I'm upset at how much I gave you. I'm upset at how much you took. I'm upset at how much I trusted you.

I worry that you'll treat your fiancée the same way. But that's none of my business.

Despite all of these things, I am happy now. I am very happy. I'm happy with what I've accomplished and what I'm doing. I'm happy with the man I'm with now. Part of me wishes you're immobilized with regret and longing, but part of me hopes you're happy too.

Most of me just doesn't care and wants to be done with it.

This is just me, clearing the air and giving myself closure. This is not an opening for us to be friends or to talk or to meet up and settle things face to face. Hell. No. I really don't ever want to speak to you again.

But here's your stuff.

--Dexter

Friday, November 20, 2015

It was not my fault.

He should be ashamed, not me.
It was not my fault.

This is my mantra for the evening. The weekend. The month. My life. Yeah.

The Guy from freshmen year is getting somewhere with his music. Good for him. Not really. I'm upset. Very upset. Stressed out about it. Can't focus. Had nightmares about it last night and it's only going to be worse if I ever try to go to sleep tonight.

Why is his life going well? Why is he getting what he wants? Why does his life go on while mine constantly stops and stutters?

There are no answers to those questions which bugs me a bit.

Googled how to deal with seeing your abuser/rapist/etc. in the real world in the futile hope I'd find something that would help. And yeah, there are some useful things I guess. Nothing life-changing, which I expected. Reading something on a screen is hardly going to make my life suddenly functional.

I have to remember that he should be the one who is ashamed of it, not me. He should be embarrassed to see me in public, should feel the need to apologize, should be scared. Should not try to talk to me, to get my attention, to act like we're friends. He is to blame, not me. It was not my fault.

This is the worst post I've ever written. I'm too anxious to write in complete sentences. I just wrote "he should be ashamed NOT ME" all over my arm (which coincidentally is covered in self-abuse scars) so I have to keep seeing it until it smears off. I'm wearing long sleeves tomorrow anyway, so it doesn't matter.

What if he becomes a super popular music artist? A household name? He's talented and persistent, so who's to say he couldn't make it? But how the hell am I supposed to handle that? I will never be able to escape him if that happens.

Will that be my claim to fame? "Yeah, he's pretty cool. He slipped me a date rape drug back in school. #connections."

I survived. It was not my fault. It was not my fault. It was not my fault.

I have to go teach Australian dance to a bunch of children tomorrow. I just need this to be over.  People frown on suicide though. I don't want to do the suicide. I just want to be okay. To not feel like this.

He should be ashamed, not me.
It was not my fault.
I survived.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Operation Save Dexter's Life


I have decided that I want to live. This is a big deal.

I still don't want to go sit on a counselor's couch and talk about my feelings. I still don't want to exist every moment of every day. I still don't feel great. I don't foresee this changing anytime soon. Nor do I foresee myself beating any of the various addictions (self-abuse) and bad habits (skipping class) anytime soon. However, this is still a step.

But I can't do this alone, so I'm enlisting your help. *cue flashy commercial voiceover*

Do you want to contribute to an unworthy cause? Dying to donate to an unworthy charity, but simply don't have the time or money? Just overflowing with love and compassion? Never fear, there's a project just for you.

If you happen to run into Dexter at any time of any day, just stop and ask her one of the questions below. If you don't have time to wait for a long answer, don't worry. She will undoubtedly try to avoid answering anyway.

You don't have to ask all the questions, and feel free to adjust as you see fit. Add your own flair! Don't be afraid to make the phrasing suit your own personality.

Have you gone to class today?
If yes, congratulate and ask how it went.
If no, ask if she's okay and what she did while not in class. Encourage her to talk to her professor and try to make it next time.
If she has no class that day, skip this question.

Have you eaten a healthy meal today?
If yes, congratulate and ask what it was and how it tasted.
If no, ask if she is planning on doing so and what it will be.
If she gives you an excuse such as, "No time," or "No money," remind her that she could at least eat an apple or drink some cranberry juice.

Have you done something active that you like today?
If yes, ask what it was.
If no, suggest she go read a book, play a video game, write something, play some music, or take a gentle walk. Remind her that watching YouTube and TV is great, but that she should actively partake in happiness as well.

If she answers no to all questions during the same day and doesn't say anything at all:
It is a very bad day and it is all she can do to even be physically be present. Don't touch her unless you know she sees you coming and doesn't flinch. If she doesn't answer you, don't take it personally. If you're dying to help, just sit quietly with her. Mimic whatever she might be doing (foot tapping, fidgeting, dead stillness). Don't ask her serious questions. Don't draw attention to her. Don't make a big deal out of it. Don't feel obligated to do any of this, she will be fine if you just leave her alone and let her recover by herself.

Above all, be patient and considerate. Undoubtedly she is more upset with herself than you ever will be. But if she whines and bitches about it, just glare at her and walk off. Don't waste your time.

You have no idea how much it means to me that you're even reading this, and that none of you have completely given up on me yet. Because believe me, I certainly had.

You can't save anyone until they want to save themselves, and you can't make them want that. They'll want to want it, but they won't know how. It literally just clicks. And it sucks that that's the way it is. All you can do is help and remind and love until they figure it out, and that requires so much patience and care that it amazes me people have stuck through until now.

Like I said, I'm not saying things will be great from here on out. 2:00 AM epiphanies don't always lead to success. But I'm trying. I want to be better and I want to live. Gosh darnit I want to enjoy things again. I don't enjoy hardly anything, but I want to. I want to take a little pride in what I do. I want to walk outside and look at the sky and just be happy that this little world exists.

I don't want to be someone else. I don't want to be an extrovert, nor do I particularly want to learn how to talk to people and how to be a people person and all those things I used to want. I don't want to change who I am. I just want to live, and I want to go back to the person I am sometimes. The person who likes writing and likes reading and likes games and likes dancing and sometimes likes people and at least goes to every single class and dreams of a better tomorrow.

I didn't mean to get sidetracked on all that.

I guarantee tomorrow my alarm will go off and I will feel like total shit again and not care about this at all. But that's okay. Somehow I'll do the day anyway.

--Dexter

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Dialogue on Love

I have decided not to fall in love again.

But you can't let one tragedy ruin the rest of your life.

Oh no, that's not it at all. This has nothing to do with my ex-fiancé. I just don't think love is for me, really.

But you think that because of your ex-fiancé.

Oh no, I thought that before him. He just kind of proved me right.

So it is because of your ex.

No no, absolutely not.

So give me some reasons then.

Well, I don't understand people, so I'm not good at taking care of them. Of showing care, love, etc. I just don't express well.

Okay.

So I'm not good at loving. And then I'm not good at being loved, because there's just too much stuff going on.

Okay.

I mean, you've got the mental disorders. Like, people say it's no big deal, and it's normal, and it doesn't change things or whatever. But they don't understand how hard it is to be close to someone who has my problems. To be the person I talk to when I have super bad days.

Uh-huh.

Like, the days where I almost feel suicidal, or I'm having major panic attacks, or I've had a bad encounter with The Guy, or something like that.

Right.

And I mean. The self-abuse thing, People have a problem with that. As they should, of course. But I know that's also stressful on people, because it's like, a physical reminder of how messed up I am inside, y'know?

I know.

And as a person, I'm not super great. Like, I need a lot of attention and reassurance of my loved-ness.

That's normal.

Maybe. But anyway. There's also the physical aspect. Like, staring at myself in the mirror and being glad that I don't have anyone who makes me self-conscious. I don't have to worry about someone's attention potentially depending on how I look.

Okay.

And I don't have to worry about someone's love potentially depending on how much physical love I give, too. Cause I'm not into that at all.

Okay.

Also I'm a huge mess all the time. So bad at cleaning. And I'm a child. And I think most people think I'm a lesbian anyway.

Uh, okay.

Anyway, I think it's just a good idea.

Well, I think it's good that you aren't avidly seeking out love wherever you can find it. Convincing yourself you're in love with people. 'Cause that's not good.

Yeah, I'm on track there.

But you can't just close your heart off completely.

Look, life is not a Disney movie. I can be cynical and jaded all I want in the real world.

Um, sure you can. Absolutely. But you were created to love and be loved, even if it's not marriage or dating or whatever. God is love, and you're created in His image.

That's fine. I can love. Just not fall in love.

Dexter, you spend a lot of time fantasizing about being in love.

SHH! People aren't supposed to know that!

Oh grow up. You do, and that's okay. It's okay to want someone to love, and to want someone to love you.

Whatever.

Come on, please be mature about this. Just because your heart's been broken a few times doesn't mean it doesn't work. It doesn't make you unlovable, and it doesn't make you unloving. You did nothing wrong in either of those instances. True, you're not perfect, but neither are the people who broke you. No one is, and that's part of the beauty of it. You can't be afraid of it just because it's a bit fragile. And I think that three-year relationship proved that YOU at least, are capable of working hard at a relationship to fix problems when they arise and keep the love blooming.

You sound like a Disney movie again.

Sometimes they get things right.

Screw you.

Hey. You're the one writing this. You have both sides of this conversation going through your head all the time. I'm just laying it out so it's a bit clearer. Maybe it'll help convince you.

It's not like it matters. I'm not exactly sending away a list of suitors.

It'll matter someday. Try not to be so cynical and jaded that you give up before it starts.

#inspirationallifequote.

Be serious.

I'm compensating for the black hole in my heart.

Whatever. Just don't squash the little butterflies pitter-patting in your heart. Remember it's okay to daydream. There is such a thing as real love. God is love, and He made you (and everyone else) in His image. And even if you end up not getting married (which is also okay), remember that you still need some love in your life. So don't let yourself push everything and everyone away. It doesn't matter that you're awkward and don't know how to say serious things. Sometimes a badly worded reminder that you love someone makes a big difference. Brave the awkward moment and just express your love.

#lovelife.

Sure. Whatever works for you.


Friday, October 23, 2015

A Frustrating Disappointment

For as long as I can remember, I have been afraid of being a disappointment. It's probably one of the main contributors to my success in school. I was terrified of disappointing my teachers, so I was always in class, always did my homework, always did everything possible to earn their approval.

Frustration comes when you've worked on something for a long time and just can't get it. That math problem that just won't make sense, that one sentence that just won't form correctly, that one dance step that you just can't get down. You try and you try and you try and you try, and it just won't work. So you get frustrated and you stop.

This semester has been impossibly difficult for me. The workload is not an issue. Really there's nothing wrong. I just can't get it. I can't make myself go to class and I can't put in the effort like I used to. I can't get excited and I can't stop thinking negatively, and I just can't rouse up any cares for anything.

My teachers have been surprisingly patient, especially when I explain things to them and convince them that I am trying. But at one point I know one professor just had too much on her plate and I was the straw that broke her back. She snapped and said I was just a huge frustration (I was not supposed to hear this). She sent me a very long apology later on, but that one little word sent me over the edge too.

I feel like my whole life I have been trying and trying and trying to not drown in life. I feel like I've tried everything. I "let go and let God" but then just feel like I'm not praying hard enough to earn mercy, which I know is not how that works. I listen to therapists and learn their coping methods, and then I fail and disappoint them. I use my own coping methods and end up hating myself. I go on medication that helps and then doesn't. It just goes on and on and on and no matter what people say it really doesn't seem like it's going to get any better, especially not anytime soon.

I feel like a completely frustrating disappointment to this world. I disappoint teachers by not trying hard enough. Disappoint counselors by not "wanting to get better enough." Disappoint family by not loving enough. Disappoint friends by not caring enough. Disappoint fiancés by not being passionate enough. Disappoint God by not wanting to live enough.

And I'm just a huge frustration to everyone because I can't seem to get better. I just take up space that could be used by someone who deserves and wants and tries more than me.

This does not inspire me to try harder. It just twists my soul into knots and lifts up lies and guilt and shame and fear.

People keep telling me I have to keep trying or just try harder. Or do better. Or whatever. I have been trying my hardest my whole life. This is the first time where I just can't do it anymore. I don't know why, but all that trying has just worn me out and I got pretty damn far all things considered.

Then you have the facebook posts about how people with mental disorders can't help it, that they shouldn't feel bad for trying and failing and not operating the same way other people do.

But if it's okay for me to fail at all of the antidepressant behaviors and crap . . . then how the hell am I supposed to get any better? I know no one can fix my life for me, but obviously I can't either. And really I don't think anyone knows how to do anything. We're all just making really optimistic guess that usually come out right. I don't understand how I'm supposed to keep on struggling and trying to succeed with coping behaviors and antidepressants and natural endorphin highs (and even unnatural endorphin highs) when I still just get tired. There is literally no method that doesn't just make me exhausted from trying so desperately hard to do it right.

I'm sorry I haven't written anything inspirational or uplifting or cheerful or hopeful or even sensible lately. I've tried. I've tried to break myself out of this that way, but that doesn't work either. The past two days my head has just been filled with personal disappointment and personal frustration and I've got to get it out.

I know these things aren't necessarily true. Surely I know this. I've got to know this somewhere inside. Because I know people will comment and text and call and do all the things people do when their friends are needy or legitimately in trouble. I know these things will happen. I know people care about me and I know not everyone is disappointed and frustrated.

But somehow it just doesn't matter.

--Dexter

PS. I'm way too good at depressing zingers.

Friday, September 4, 2015

I Didn't Realize We Were Twelve.

So remember how I dated the Captain for almost three years? How we were engaged for an entire summer?

Apparently he unfriended me on Facebook. Because we're freaking twelve, I guess.

Like, I didn't really want to see him or hang out with him or be best friends, but I wasn't going to shun him in public. While I've been honest, I haven't just gone and talked shit about him to all of my friends. I don't think he's a horrible person. He's just a very immature person.

And apparently he already has a new girlfriend.

I still haven't gotten over being dumped by him. I still can't imagine trusting my feelings for another guy ever. How do I know I'm not just trying to replace an old boyfriend? How do I know I actually care about this person as a person and not just a replacement?

These are things I've been worried about, but apparently the Captain has no such qualms. Not that I expected him to. He's always been a bit flirty. A very loving person. Likes to convince himself he's in love.

Okay okay, I don't want to sound bitter. But I am a little bit. Like, I was fine with us going our separate ways. I knew he'd get a new girl eventually. But two weeks later? It's a little hurtful. Honestly makes me want to cry.

I could go into the whole depression side of it, talk about how it just reinforces the idea that I wasn't good enough for him, and that he just couldn't wait to get rid of me so he could find someone better. But I'm not really in the mood for that right now.

I'm not super sad right now. Just super pissed. I'll be super sad in about an hour probably, but right now I'm just mad.

It's just infantile to unfriend your ex on facebook, as well as all her friends and family (because apparently he did that too).

Ugh. I just had to write about it because I got so upset. I was skyping a friend at the time, and told her about it, and she gave an appropriately shocked response. That made me feel better. But I also write to compute things, so there you go.

I do feel a little better now. Honestly this makes it easier for me to be okay with our breakup. I was blind to a lot of problems we had, and a lot of problems the Captain had in particular. I'm still not saying he's an awful person. He's a very nice person, and a very good person to have as a friend. But I can't say I'd recommend him as a boyfriend.

Or a fiancé.

--Dexter

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Jilted

In my last post, I talked a lot about all the crap that has happened to me. I also described the moment when The Captain showed up out of nowhere and asked me to marry him.

Well, one week from today, he broke up with me. Told me he didn't love me anymore. That he probably hasn't for quite a while.

This is a difficult thing to write about, because he will probably read this, and I don't want it to sound like a letter to him. I need to write this for myself, and it's hard to do so knowing that certain people are going to read it.

I am very upset with him, because I loved (still do, probably) him with all my heart and planned on growing old with him. I was willing to sacrifice a lot for him, because I loved him more than anything else in my life. He talked about how he didn't want me to give up my dreams for him, and I would try to convince him that he was my dream. And he was.

But there is no denying that he and I had gone through some problems over the past six months are so, even before we got engaged. He would comment on how much I'd changed since I'd gone to college, and that it was hard to get used to. Yes, I have changed. I know I have. But it's for the better. I'm a little more independent, a little more capable of taking care of myself, a little more functional. He found that odd. He wanted to take care of me more than he thought I wanted, which wasn't necessarily true. Yes, he nagged about a lot of inconsequential things, and yes, he never realized how much I was actually accomplishing without his help. He didn't realize how much I'd grown up, which caused tension between us.

But ultimately he was my stronghold. He helped me learn all those things. He helped me learn how to love myself, how to function. He gave me a lot of my self-esteem. He built up my trust over two and half years and he knew practically everything about me. Everything that doesn't get on this blog, everything that doesn't get told to my other friends. And in one morning, he broke all of that down.

I feel like I'm starting back at the beginning. I don't like leaving my room, I'm afraid to go out, I have no self-esteem, I'm too depressed to even get up. And this happened right before school started. His timing has never been great.

I have so many friends here and back in Birmingham. So many people who care about me and ask how I'm doing and make sure I'm okay. My best friend from high school came and stayed with me for a few days, and if not for her I don't know what would've happened during those hours. Another friend brought me coffee and then continued to come over just about every day when I asked. Others have banded together to go after the Captain (but I told them not to). They make me laugh.

But they're not around all the time and all it takes is one moment of silence to make me feel alone.

What do you do when the person who taught you how to love yourself doesn't love you anymore?

What have you done to become unlovable?

These are dumb questions, and I know the right answers to them. The right answer is that I have done nothing wrong, that I am still the same person as before, that my self-esteem should not hinge on one person, that a person who can break me into so many pieces doesn't deserve my love anyway. That I am a strong independent woman, that I am a pretty girl, that I am a pretty good dancer, that I get good grades, that I have a lot of friends who love me, that I'm capable of doing something with myself after college besides marrying the Captain. That God has made all this happen for a reason, and that I have learned a lot from this experience and have not wasted the past three years of my life on a boy who promised me everything and then took it all back.

Those are the right answers. But those aren't the answers I tell myself.

I have done something wrong. I shouldn't be so independent. I shouldn't have left for school. I shouldn't have been so vocal about my dislike of Birmingham and my dreams of going somewhere else. I changed for the worse. I should have relied on him more, not tried to be myself. I am a needy nuisance, an annoying person to be around. I am not pretty enough, I'm not even a good dancer, my grades are only adequate, and people only hang around me because I ask them to. I wasn't physical enough, I don't like sex. I'm not romantic enough.

I'm mentally incapable of holding a full-time job, so I will end up living in my mother's house in Birmingham and hate myself for it. I will never stop cutting myself, never beat it. I will probably become an alcoholic. And one day I will take my own life because that last straw will fall and break and my feeble world I've built will shatter for the last time.

Those are lies, but they sound like truth in my ears. They play on repeat constantly, no matter how much I try to drown them out with music, TV, school, friends. I can't block them out.

The right thing to do is to make this sound inspirational and talk about God and maybe quote a Bible verse and talk about how I don't know what will happen in my future but that it's for the best and maybe that I can't wait to find out what God has in store.

But I'm not there yet. I'm not as strong or good as my blog makes me appear. I know how to manipulate my life to make it sound inspiring. I don't lie. I just sit down and write until I feel better.

But I still don't feel better. Nothing has changed. Sometimes I really don't know if it ever will.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Best Year Yet...So Many Thoughts.

So I was doing the typical bored internet junkie thing and stalking myself on Facebook... You know the drill. You accept a friend request and then go scan your own profile to see what your new buddy will see when they do the inevitable new friend stalking. It's okay, we all do it.

I turned 21 a week ago, so lots of the stuff on my profile was birthday wishes. The most recent one, and therefore the first one I saw just now, ran along the lines of, "I hope this is your best year yet!"

Which of course got me thinking just like everything does.

My best year yet. Being human and prone to violent bouts of depression, when I think back on my life, I usually remember the bad more than the good. In fact, I have thus far categorized my college experience by what tragedy has befallen me in each semester.

Semester 1: Concussion and sexual assault.
Semester 2: Admitted to a psych ward for suicidal tendencies.
Semester 3: Parents divorce is announced.
Semester 4: I take 23 hours and contract extreme exhaustion.

But honestly, we could categorize my entire life that way.

Senior year of high school: My best friend attempts suicide multiple times. Completely unrelated, I begin to cut myself on a regular basis.
Junior year: I get an extreme ankle sprain which causes me to completely reevaluate the rest of my life.
Sophomore year; I attempt to cut for the first time.
Freshman year: My guinea pig, who has sadly been my best friend for five years, dies after a few months of insanity.

Shall we go back even further?

Middle school/junior high: I realize something is wrong with me, but don't label it as depression, anxiety, or PTSD. What middle schooler does?
Some time before 3rd grade: I am sexually abused and tell no one, because I do not understand.

When laid out like this, my life looks like total shit.

Why do these things have to be the first things that come to my mind when people talk about my life? When I think about the future? I look back at my finished semesters and I don't think, "Let's make the next better." I think, "What will go wrong this time?" "How much worse will it be?" "Will I make it through this one?"

Why the hell does it take so much thought to remember the good things that happened each of those years?

Semester 1: I make friends. I find a solid Christian base with RUF at my university.
Semester 2: I finally am put on medication, which is not something to be ashamed of. I start my book club.
Semester 3: I move into an apartment. I cook real food for myself for the first time, and it tastes good.
Semester 4: I get the boasting rights of having taken 23 hours and survived. I get a job as an English tutor. I finally make Repertory Dance Company at my university.
Summer semester: I become engaged to the love of my life and my best friend. I get a cat.

It is my curse that I always think of the bad things before the good, that I have to think very hard to remember all the good things that have happened to me and that I myself have accomplished. But maybe, in some twisted way, it is a blessing as well. At least, I try to see it that way.

If I'm honest, then I will admit that it has been anything but a blessing to me personally in the last few weeks. I have been practically lifeless with an overwhelming burden of depression. It has been a struggle to get out of bed every day, to make myself go to a class that I enjoy, to pick up a book and read it, to invest the slightest amount of attention in anything. This kind of behavior, if left unchecked, always leads me to something worse. If it weren't for my cat's presence, for the knowledge that if I were gone he would be completely on his own, I probably would be back in the psych ward because of some very bad ideas trickling through my head. It is incredibly sad that it is only my cat's dependence on me that has kept it from becoming as bad as it was back in freshman year.

And people say cats are useless.

For all the trouble little Palmer gives me, all the love bites and scratches and insane nightly terrorist activity, he really was sent by God. This poor little furball who arrive with his little hiney shaved after being neutered, a big mysterious wound on his neck and smaller one on his tail. A slightly crooked nose and mouth that leads to drooling and free tongue. Dirty ears. A slightly gimpy foot. Separation anxiety and a ridiculous love of eating shoes. That's my buddy Palmer.

Sorry, I got distracted by my darling little kitty cat, who just happened to have jumped up into my arms for a thirty second nap before going ballisto and trying to eat my arm. Typical.

As is often the case, I write all this to sort out thoughts that have been drifting through my head all summer. I always get bored in the summer, and boredom always leads to depression which leads me to reminiscing about the bad old days which leads me to assuming there will be nothing better in my future. Writing all this reminds me that life has not been totally craptastic to me. And even if it had been, that's no reason to assume that it will continue to be so.

I will publish this on my blog, but I doubt I will share it to Facebook and all the social media that so rules our lives these days. I have explicitly stated several things that beforehand I have only alluded to. There are maybe three people on this earth who know about a lot of this stuff. I'm all for honesty and testimonies and stuff like that. I'm not really ashamed of any of this. I know a lot of it isn't even my fault. The thing that gets me is the aftermath of a confession.

People talking to me about it. Asking questions about it.

These are perfectly normal responses. And on the average day I don't mind it. I enjoy it, even. As much as I hate attention and talking about myself, sometimes it is important. Sometimes it makes a difference.

But sometimes I just don't want to add to the misery of the world, y'know? I don't want people who have been through crap and know I've been through crap to realize I've been through more crap than I've let on. I just don't want to add to all the crap. Y'know?

You feel me?

If you're reading this, don't feel scared to talk to me about it even though I basically just said I didn't want to. The worst response you'll get is, "I don't want to talk about it right now, let's go drown our sorrows in coffee and then maybe we'll see."

But if this adds to the crap you see in the world, please oh please oh please don't let it. Don't be like me, who only remembers the bad. There is good, I promise. Don't let anything dampen your good memories and your hope and determination for the future. Even if it gets worse, it will still get better.

Now I'm going to stop this ridiculously long ramble and watch some more Star Trek and maybe sleep a bit before a filming I have tomorrow. I'm going to hug my cat and not worry about rent or homework or my student bill.

I'm just going to be okay for one night.

--Dexter

ps. I'm not adding colors to this post. Sue me. Imagine your own colors. Whatever. I've got a cat to hug.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Change

Lately, my life has been incredibly topsy turvy. True, I made it through sophomore year, which in the dance department is well known as the roughest year ever. I made it through though, and with decent grades. But that doesn't exactly mean life has been easy since then.

As many know, my dad lost his job a year ago and since then my family has gone through a steady decrease in money. To add to it, only a few months later my dad left my mom. This has made life rough. My mom and my siblings moved to a new house that was more affordable and my mom works several jobs. They get by just fine, but I can't rely on them and I can't ask them for help when it comes to money, no matter how much they want to help. So I try not to ask or even mention my own problems.

But I'm pretty damn poor. I was going to take some classes over the summer, but had to drop out of half of them because I can't afford them. I'm still enrolled in one, but if I don't get a job soon I will be living, well, frugally, to say the least. I still have to pay rent and buy groceries and pay for my medication and a whole bunch of stuff.

So life has been pretty dismal in my eyes lately. Not only has all that stuff been going on, but since school let out, I've had nothing to do. Don't me wrong, I'm loving the break. Sleep all day, play all my games, read my books, it's great. But I'm an active creature, no matter how much I love to be stationary. If I don't have enough to do, I start to go crazy. I end up with nothing to do but think, which means I'll think about how much life sucks, because that's just what happens when you have major depression. You don't sit there contemplating sunshine and rainbows.

So, yeah. I've been majorly depressed recently. My relationship with God has been on the wayside, and even though I acknowledge that, I haven't done a whole lot to fix it. But despite this... God still cares about me. I can't believe how much He cares about me. In such a dark time of my life, He suddenly sent me such a HUGE care package of love.

The other day I was at book club (best thing ever) at T-Bones, and we were sitting around waiting for some late members. I turn to look and who should I see but THE CAPTAIN. No, he's not in book club. Yes, he lives three hours away from me. No, I was not expecting him at all.

"What are you doing here??" I started to ask, but just as the words left my mouth he was down on one knee, a little black box in hand, smiling like the sun.

"Sarah Dexter Givens," he said.

"Why are you here??" I was still asking the same question.

"Sarah Dexter Givens," he continued, "Will you marry me?"

"How did you know I was here?" I was really caught up in that. He was laughing and smiling and I'm not sure what I was doing besides asking the same damn question over and over again.

"Will you just answer my question?" He asked finally, still laughing.

"Of course!" I answered. "But how did you know I was here?"

"Will you take the ring?"

"I don't know how!" Ladies, if you feel like you're an awkward person, know that you will not magically become suave when this moment comes. "I've never done this before!"

"I'm glad!" He took the ring out of the box and started to put it on my finger.

"Wait! Which hand is it? Is it this one? I don't know!" I turned to my friends for help, who were laughing and grinning just like The Captain. One of them told us, and The Captain slid the ring on my finger.

At this point I just leaned over and buried my face in a hug, because everyone was looking at me and I was very happy but also very self conscious and I just wanted to hug him more than anything. It was awkward. It was beautiful.

That same day, I got called for a phone interview at a job that opens up in June and a friend told me about another job that would be open in just a few days, where she could probably tell me exactly what I needed to do to have a good chance. A few days later (today), I got notified of another job (my dream job) and I have an in-person interview in just a few hours (I'm crazy nervous). Then I got an email requesting another phone interview for another job I applied for a few weeks ago.

I swear, if none of these jobs work out, I'm going to scream.

But anyway. It has been a magical couple of days. God sent me blessing after blessing and joy after joy. This is a heck of a lot of change in my life, and I absolutely hate change. I don't adapt well. But sometimes change is necessary, and I'm glad it's happening. Dare I say it, I think I'm ready for it.

I don't know, we'll see.

--Dexter

PS. THE CAPTAIN IS MY BETROTHED!! :D :D :D :D

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Creationists Have No Concept of Science" and Other Interesting Quotes

I'm taking a philosophy class because I have to, not because I like philosophy. And I don't dislike philosophy because I'm a close-minded jerk who hates having her beliefs questioned -- I hate philosophy because there's no freaking yes-or-no answer to any of the questions you bring up. And if you decide that there is, well, that's just your personal theory. And you darn well better know every other person's theory on the planet so you can pass the test, because knowing someone else's beliefs is way better than building your own and learning how to defend them instead of some other dude's.

But anyway.

There was a guest lecturer at our school this week. He gave a (very long) lecture based on his book, Why Religion is Natural and Science Is Not, and then my class along with some graduate psychology students met with him for a more "intimate" discussion.

First of all, I freely admit that I slept through a good portion of the guy's talk. But I've been getting very little sleep the past few weeks (23 hours of school, 17 hours of rehearsals, 4 hours of work...), and he wasn't making any kind of sense, so... Yeah. But when I was paying attention, I had no idea what he was talking about. The only time I truly tuned in was when he mentioned in passing his views on the relationship between theology and religion.

"Religion, by the way, does not have to have theology. Religion has existed for millions of years, but theology itself is fairly new."

This is not an exact quote, but you get the gist. At first, I thought I might have misheard him (I was asleep after all), because this statement is just absurd. I really was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

So this morning we met with him and listened to him talk a whole bunch more and I was content to just sit there and tune him out, but then, once again, he made a comment that drew me in.

"Religion and theology don't have to coexist. Theology requires literacy, and religion predates literacy."

Well, okay. Maybe you just don't understand what theology is.

"The idea of creationism and intelligent design is just absurd! I mean, it's really laughable! Creationists have no concept of science!"

OH OKAY. So you just hate creationism, that's all. Okay then.

His behavior honestly surprised me. I understand being firm about your beliefs, but outright calling creationists absurd and stupid? That's just rude. Not only that, but every time anyone asked him a question, he responded: "First of all, I don't accept your premises, so I don't accept your conclusion" or "I accept your premises, but I don't accept your conclusion" and then go off on some rabbit trail for ten minutes just to prove how right he was and how wrong everyone else was. As icing on the cake, he continuously treated us undergraduate philosophy students like children compared to the graduate psychology students.

Now, I do not and have never claimed to be a great theologian or a great scientist. I have been around both, though, and have been extremely honored to hear them teach and watch them debate with prominent evolutionists and the like. So even though I don't consider myself the smartest Christian on the planet, I don't consider myself uneducated.

Theology:
1. The rational and systematic study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truth.
2. A particular system or school of religious beliefs and teachings.

More casually: the study of religion.

For Christians specifically: the study of God.

Why the heck do you need literacy to study, well, anything (except literature I suppose)? All you need is the thing itself. In times where there was no literacy, people still studied stuff, just in a different way. People still had to learn how to survive, how to do basic math skills, how to trade, etc. Religion is no different. Just because a person does not extensively study, memorize, read, and write documents on God does not mean that they are not engaging in theology.

If I had the time, I would go through all of this guest lecturer's reasons for creationists having "no concept of science" and give him a nice answer for each and every one, although he probably would accept none of them because he's right and I'm wrong. But I have written enough for this post, and have gotten my initial disgust and disbelief out of my system.

I know it might be petty, but I did get extremely offended by his behavior. People always tell you that teachers will challenge your beliefs in college, but it honestly has not happened to me before now (and he actually wasn't even a real teacher). I wasn't really sure how to handle it because he did it in such an open, obnoxious way. I definitely welcome thoughts and experiences on this kind of situation, because such closed-mindedness fascinates me.

One final gem from our guest: "Really there's no point in discussing philosophy and religion unless someone brings something entirely new to the table. It's just been talked about for far too long."

Uh, isn't that all philosophy is? And uh, why are you writing a book about it then?

--Dexter

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Shoutout to all you Beautiful Lonely People

Hey you.

You are beautiful and you are loved and you are amazing.

Yes, you.

I say this to myself, and I say this to every single person who ever reads this, and I say this to every single person who never reads this. Because it's true.

It has now been a year since I was released from the loony bin. And y'know what, I'm still in this world. My life's no basket of bunnies but it sure ain't a cardboard box of roaches either if you know what I mean.

I bet a lot of you people are struggling just as much if not more than I am. And it is important that you know that YOU are pretty damn amazing. If I can go a year without ending up back in the psych ward, then I bet you can.

Things that inspire me to keep going:
All the books I have not read yet.
All my favorite books I want to reread.
All the friends I have not met yet.
All the friends who don't realize how much I love them.
All the places I have not gotten to visit yet.
All the notebooks I have not filled.
All the music I have not listened to.
All the music I have not played.
All the dances I have not danced.
All the kitchen utensils I have not played with.
All the My Little Pony episodes that have not come out yet.
All the pain that God will bring that will make me stronger.

It's gonna be okay. I don't believe this all the time, but I believe it now.

This is a letter to myself in the future, on a bad day. This is my letter to you, on any day you need it.

--Dexter

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Scheduling.

I am alive. Busy, but alive.

I am in my second semester as a sophomore. Dance major. English minor. Honor's college. English tutor. Book club president. Member of the Repertory Dance Company.

I am taking 23 hours this semester. 9 classes. I have 10 hours of company rehearsals each week. I currently have 4 hours of tutoring each week. Somehow I find time to go to book club once a week and (sort of) read for it as well. I average 2.5 cups of coffee a day and 5 hours of sleep a night, though both of these figures vary depending on the day.

One of my roommates I have not seen since the first day of the semester. One of my roommates I have spoken to maybe twice since the beginning of the semester. My other roommate I see more on campus than in the apartment. I am never here.

I'm busy, but alive. After this semester, I will know that I can make it through just about anything.

If I make it through of course...

--Dexter