Do It For The ….

Guys, we used to say “do it for the vine!”🌿💫☝🏻 but vine is gone so what do we do it for now??

Real talk, what do you do when the one thing that was your “everything” isn’t an option anymore? Personally speaking – coming out of my addictions and disorders left a lot of open room to either redefine or re-destroy myself depending on what I REPLACED those actions with. A HUGE part of healing is not simply coming out of the hurt, pain, lies, destructive habits but to intentionally REPLACE the actions with new ones. How do we do that?

Let’s consider that actions are a result of core beliefs. If I chug a bottle of water in a moment of thirst, it is because I believe it will satisfy that need. If I turn to drinking when I’m stressed, I believe it will relieve the stress. If I turn to gossiping about someone else when I feel jealous, it is because I believe it will make me feel better about myself. I act out of my thinking, so new actions must come from new thinking. Right?

So often we will experience a moment of freedom in an area of bondage in our lives only to find we’ve returned to those same things a week or two or maybe a month later. Does it mean we didn’t actually gain freedom? I tend to believe that the experience was real but that it came from believing an alternate truth so firmly that you no longer walked out of old thinking. I also believe that freedom must be maintained and that if you don’t continue to nurture and grow your new core beliefs – you leave the door open for really any alternative thought to creep in. Anyone else see they stopped doing one bad habit only to find they’ve picked up another? It’s more of a transfer than a transformation in twisted thinking.

I have watched myself go from one poor decision to the next because I haven’t been willing to dig to the deeper issue. I jump from eating disorder to self harm to drinking to relationships to risky choices to whatever else because I couldn’t touch the place in my heart that was simply begging to “belong” somewhere. I was desperate for this and I was messy in the search for it. I was even more messy in the search because of the places I would bring my struggles. If I bring my struggles to alcohol, I walk out an alcoholic. If I bring my struggles to food, I become bulimic/anorexic. If I bring my struggles to money, I become a shopaholic. If I bring my struggles to relationships, I become codependent or a sex addict. If I bring my struggles to the cross…I become redeemed.

I was sitting at an AA meeting tonight hearing stories of what peoples higher power has been for them and had done for them. We were pondering on the concept of why having an higher power mattered and if it even “worked”.

I started pondering on what my higher power (God) has been on my own journey and how He didn’t just walk with me out of my poor choices but He walked me into a refined version of myself. A refined version that He works on every day because every day I get choices and sometimes I don’t choose the truth and thankfully that won’t ever send Him running. You see, I don’t simply want my higher power to be something I go to when I’m in a rut. I don’t want the only time I say “Jesus” to be when I’m in a ditch. I know I just wrote about where you turn your struggles to but I’ve realized I have to turn to my core beliefs, my God in all things. The good, bad and ugly. I truly believe your worldview could and should effect every area of your life. It should effect everything because it’s the lenses through which you SEE everything. How you perceive and process every encounter. In my journey of healing and recovery – I don’t want to simply stop doing those things in action but continue doing them in thought. I want to walk out a completely different person.

Body • Mind • Soul.

If the only thing that changed was what I was doing but I still had to fight myself every day in order to resist my desire to do them – THEN IM MISSING THE POINT! Recovery doesn’t have to mean battling yourself for the rest of your life. Having to suffer through unfulfilled desires but rather having those desires change. Have your thinking change. Having you CHANGE. It’s not about what you do but really about what you believe. My higher power started altering what I truly thought was true about myself, others, Him, my purpose. EVERYTHING.

It’s cute to put it all in a little blog of revelation but guys it’s gona take constant work and reminders to myself of this new truth because it’s not as automatic in my thinking. I’m driving manual here and that’s not a bad thing but wow the work it will take. Especially in the beginning. And the middle. And the end… anyways

That was all over the place but I think the point was, in the words from a sermon I forget by the name of a person I forget… “when you know who you are you know what to do”

When you know the authentic truth you know what to do. Be intentional about what your truths are. If you find you’re still making old decisions – consider that maybe you’re stilling living out of old lies. You don’t have to do that anymore. You can but you don’t have to. You get a choice. You. Get. A. Choice.

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End The Demolition

TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains sexual content / detailed accounts of sexual abuse and exploitation of minors

(Preface thought: the point of all of this is NOT a “boohoo this thing happened” but a “oh wow these things do happen and we are absolutely able to, and SO many currently are, fighting against this and here’s some ideas and info for you to be aware of on this! 🙂

Before diving into this post that will follow up on a recent forum held here in CT on Human Trafficking, I’d like to preface with a semi-brief background of my personal life, to give some understand as to why Human Trafficking matters so much to my heart and why I think it’s something we need to be talking more openly about among our young people and the adults who are striving to love, build up and protect them. I also want to state that this may be a little “over ambitious and undereducated” but this has been so crazy on my heart that I’m willing to send out something prematurely thought through and expand on the different parts later. There is always “later” – I’m pressing into the “right now” of this topic:

Below is a brief conversation I had at 14 years old with a grown man named Anthony:

Anthony: “Hey baby, you had a game this week right? How did that go?”

Me: Really good! We didn’t win but it was close!”

Anthony: “That’s awesome sweetheart, I loved that picture you sent me of you in your uniform. You sure are sexy”

Me: “Really?”

Anthony: “Of course, you are absolutely beautiful. How’s home been?”

Me: “Eh not so great, my parents are fighting a lot and I’m always in trouble for something”

Anthony: “That’s terrible, your mom sounds like she’s a total b***. I’d never treat you that way”

Me: “We just don’t get along very well, I wish I wasn’t here”

Anthony: “Maybe one day you wont have to be anymore”

About two weeks after late night phone calls like this, he started requesting more provocative photos of myself, which I willingly provided. Not too long after that he asked if I’d be willing to do video calls. Those video chats started similar to the phone calls. Late night chats about friends, movies, and learning about my life. Once again, shortly after, he requested I wear less clothing. Slowly but surely these calls become entirely sexual, learning at 14 how to pose and say things I didn’t fully understand myself. I was sent links to now do what Anthony had taught me with whoever was on the other end of these video calls. I’m aiming to not be incredibly detail specific on the acts of these encounters, as I don’t find its necessary or helpful in most cases, but I do want to be sure its understood that these video calls were with multiple other grown men – with the intentional purpose of arousing and carrying them to their desired level of the sexual encounter. I sent requested photos to these men as well, all while falling naively in love with a man I’ve never met but felt a strong emotional attachment to. Anthony and I’s phone calls become few and far in-between with time. Emails turned strictly into new and exciting ideas he had dreamed up in this online role-playing game he had me in, as well as detailed descriptions of what he was planning for us to do when we would finally meet in person.

When I was 15 years old, I got in trouble with my parents for something entirely unrelated to what was going on inside my webcam. I was unable to talk with Anthony for over two months. When I finally got back onto my laptop and received phone privileges, his number had been disconnected and his email was no longer a “valid email address”. At 15 years old, I was utterly heart broken and drowning in what felt like rejection from this man who I truly believed loved and cared for me.

Unfortunately, this was not the end of my journey in the world of online and in-person sexual encounters. Having already had a history of abuse, a lack of self esteem, identity and proper lessons on appropriate boundaries concerning my body, sex and adult-child relationships – I was in a very good position to be not simply be “pulled into” this world but to willingly jump into it, thinking it provided all the answers and all the care I felt was lacking in my own world.

In complete honesty, I even struggle now as I write this to not go back to the automatic thoughts I held for years of, “This wasn’t wrong. I choose to do what I did. I wanted to do this. This has nothing to do with trafficking or exploitation.”

The reality is, I was a child and these were grown men. I was incapable of making consensual decisions regarding my body and sexual acts (online or in person) at my age and these men knew this was wrong. These men choose to engage with a child in a way that is legally, morally, and ethically WRONG. I was groomed to have an attachment to this man and he used that connection to manipulate his way into having me engage and perform in as many acts as he could get me to. There were times he would stop calling or writing if I didn’t comply happily or rapidly to his requests which left me as a child, already prone to utter people pleasing, desperate to do whatever I could to have all of his attention back. These video calls could have been recorded; these pictures were most likely shared off with other online pedophiles engaging in child pornography. That thought makes me stomach churn. Looking back now, I see a broken child that was used and it honestly hurts to think that this damage is captured and saved on a file only God knows where…documented demolition of a child’s innocence. Can we recognize child porn for just that? In every form of it, in every case, it is the documented demolition of a child’s innocence, safety, security, childhood, spirit, freedom, joy, peace, sanity, health, trust, being?

I’m not choosing to share this information to simply dive into the messy details of my experience of this world. My heart behind this is to explain that there is a huge misconception of how someone gets involved in all of this. That every story is different but not all stories are as dramatic or “far out there” as the movie Taken or even some Law and Order SVU episodes. (“I wish it was that easy to prove cases of trafficking,” says Wendy Bowersox, who you’ll read about later in this post)

At 13 years old – I simply joined what I thought was a harmless online chat room to meet new friends, as I often felt alone and out of place in my school and in my community. Chats with kids “my age” about funny tumblr posts and random late night pre-teen wackiness soon found its way into questions like

“How old are you?

“Where are you from?”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“Have you every kissed anyone?”

“Can you send me a pic?”

What seemed minor turned into something twisted and shameful to me as a young teen. I was feeling trapped, too involved to back out and over exposed to a side of darkness in this world I didn’t know even existed. I had no idea this was an international crime, or even remotely inappropriate, as I drove to a from my small town school and dance practices in the suburbs of Connecticut. I lacked safe resources to ask imperative questions, I lacked proper education on the dangers lurking about the internet and because my exposure began on a screen, by the time I had reached the age where I could drive (often worded now as “a license to drive was my license to sin”) I had become incredibly desensitized to the severity and the dangers of the sex industry, which made it that much easier to get involved with men looking for easy prey. I was hungry for love and attention and having been groomed enough virtually with men like this, it wasn’t a big jump in my mind to take the step to meet them physically.

I think its also important to note that at the age of 16, a trusted male adult in my life took advantage of our relationship in a way that left me thinking, “this really is all men see me as.” Hurt and angry by the thought that this was all I was good for, I choose to dive further into this world of sexual relationships with older men. I think most of it was trying to simply make sense of something my mind could not wrap itself around. It solidified the concept that love meant sex. For years this man had been solid male figure in my world and the day it crossed a “no turning back” point – this fierce lie rooted itself that if someone truly loved you, they would want to have sex with you – and if you truly loved them, you would do it. If I wanted “true” love, true connection, I had to be willing to give all of me away. Sex became my love language, as well as my own demise…

It was a simple click of a button at 13, years of relationship and exploitation through online child pornography, a history of abuse which lead to the next step of, as a young adult, working as a prostitute. I spent the next few years  with no regards to self worth, self needs/care, or understanding that this life was not the be all end all of what I had to offer as a human being.

At 19 years old, I choose to quit all my jobs and take on prostitution full time. I worked as a call girl and had already acquired a number of regular clients over the years since I had started meeting with people at the age of 17. I made videos with some clients, had plain Jane (or maybe better to call it plain John?) encounters with others. Things ranged form uneventful nights to being trapped in a house all night with a man who was clearly mentally unstable and incredibly violent – simply hoping he’d pass out drunk at some point so I could sneak out. That next morning my stomach dropped as I saw every door lock (as he had 7 of them) secured – thinking he was serious when he said, “You’re never leaving, you’re mine!” Thankfully he was just over paranoid but that brought me to a screeching halt…for about a week.

The reality is, I’m sure some of you reading this knew me somewhere between 13-19. You saw me at school, at a game, at a family event, social event, at work, ect. I’m going to guess many of you are thinking, “I had no idea,” “No freakin way,” “I knew her then, how is this possible?” I’m also guessing some of you can think of someone else you know, who was involved in this, and think those same thoughts. I can even venture to guess some of you are still trying to sort out how you yourself got even remotely involved in this world. Maybe you once joined a chat room. Maybe you once sent an “innocent” photo yourself and thought nothing of it. Perhaps you cruised through those video chat sites and responded to some requests. It honestly starts out seeming harmless and really, it is harmless … until it isn’t. There’s no fool proff way of getting into and out of this, but there is awareness and its a vital piece of restoring our state and rescuing our current and future generations.

This entire world hides and blends itself right into the every day lives of you and me. Cheryl Sharp, Depute Director and one of the panelists in the event I’ll be mentioning soon commented, “If you’ve been to a hotel before, you’ve probably walked past someone being trafficked. They look like normal people just staying in a hotel for the night.”

This world hides in people who look like a “normal couple”, lunch dates that look like a simple “father daughter outing”, a “kid” commenting on another kids post and then writing a private message. The predators of minors are skilled, crafty and trained well on how to take down an unprotected, unprepared prey. Does that not lead us to understand that in order to combat this, we too must be skilled, crafty and trained well on how to build up and protect our communities?

If the issue continues to be viewed as something that is “over there” and “not something my kids would ever be affected by because of where we are” – there will be more stories like my own and sadly a continuation of stories that are  far worse.

I want to thank the community I was in and the strong mentors in my life who held me accountable, called me into greater and out of darkness when I was 19 years old.

I want to recognize that I was lucky to have people who were willing to listen to what I had to say, people I felt safe enough with to even share what was going on and people who didn’t walk away form me, despite the mess I was in.

I want to acknowledge that I was able to successfully get out of the sex industry early enough, before more damage and more bondage/entrapment could have occurred.

I want to acknowledge that this is not how everyone’s stories end.

I want to recognize that three months ago, a young girl who I once worked with was pulled into sex trafficking and murdered.

I want to recognize this shocked her community, shocked her family, and shocked even me. There is such a stigma, even in someone who’s seen parts of this industry, as to who is the “at risk” youth. It’s never wise to assume someone is unreachable to these predators.

I want to recognize that I am one of the lucky ones and that I was spared much pain and because of that, I want nothing more than to educate, advocate for these young girls and boys, work on prevention/awareness plans and make sure that as we fight against this crime, no one in MY general vicinity is able to say, “How was I supposed to know?”

If you’re reading this, I wish to start in motion the removal of “I didn’t know” from your vocabulary. If you’re reading this, you now don’t get to be a bystander. If you’re reading this, it is time.

It is time to see the world that’s hiding in front of you and to move towards taking back our current and future children’s childhoods. If you’re reading this and you too were a victim of these crimes, I am so sorry.I hope you know you’re not alone. You are not to blame. You are not to hide behind the walls of shame these perpetrators built over you. You can find a voice here. That CT is fighting for you. That though we can not undo the past, CT isn’t blind to the pain this state contains from those victimized in the past and that this pain spurs them onto make vital changes for the future. If you’re reading this, the future really is now. If you’re reading this, thank you already for being willing to join the movement. I hope you continue to read and learn more about how to fight this good fight and how to move towards healing and hope for yourself and others around you.

I’m aware everything you’re about to read next may sound like a lot of distant acts that you thought only impacted distant places. It will contain many names of people you don’t know, working with organizations and against a social injustice you may still not fully understand. Lets first start with some basic facts:

Fact: Sexual exploitation is the sexual abuse of children and youth through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for drugs, food, shelter, protection, other basics of life, and/or money. Sexual exploitation includes involving children and youth in creating pornography and sexually explicit websites.

Fact: Domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST), which is the commercial sexual exploitation of children through buying, selling, or trading their sexual services, is happening in the United States. Forms of DMST include prostitution, pornography, stripping and other sexual acts.

Fact: The Human Anti-trafficking Response Team (HART) was created in order to focus on and reduce Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST)

Fact: The average age of entry in domestic sex slavery 12-14 years old

Fact: Over the last year, End Demand CT has continued raising awareness about those paying to sexually exploit Connecticut’s children and most vulnerable. In 2016, more than 650,000 ads offering commercial sex in Connecticut were posted online.

Fact: Since 2008, 485 minors have been referred to DCF as possible victims of DMST

Fact: There were 202 referrals for Sex Trafficking of minors in Connecticut to DCF in 2016 and that number is projected to have increased in the 2017 HART report

Of the 202

184 were female

17 were male

1 was transgender

118 of those minors came from parent/guardian homes

32 were runaways

59% of those minors were between the ages of 12-16

Fact: 70% of victims of domestic minor sex trafficking experienced prior abuse at home

Fact:YOU can do something so help stop this

In a world of exceedingly vast darkness, thank you Connecticut for taking the initiative to shed light on & fight against something that is far more prevalent, in our very own home state, than so many realize. The Village, an agency that works to provide homes for neglected children, partnered this Wednesday night with Connecticut Human Anti-Trafficking Response Team (HART) to host a panel on the Criminalization of Human Trafficking Victims. The event titled ‘Collateral Damage’ was lead by: Yvette Young, Wendy Bowersox, Tammy Sheed, Cheryl Sharp and Jillian Gilchrest. Yvette Young, HART Coordinator, opened Wednesday night’s panel discussion with “The only way not to find the problem is to not look for it.” Connecticut is certainly doing its part in both acknowledging the issue and moving towards statewide abolition of this crime. With that being said, Special Agent Wendy Bowersox also noted that “we have a long way to go to redirect this issue” and the panel collectively agreed that the more we educate our communities, the more able we’ll be to recognize and refer situations to the proper agencies.

How do we educate ourselves and what exactly are we educating ourselves on? That’s a great question and thankfully, there are ample resources available to the public to your own ball rolling:

HART (Human Anti-Trafficking Response Team) FAQ page:

http://www.portal.ct.gov/DCF/HART/FAQs#21

The Underground – CT Faith Based Organization working towards ending Sex Trafficking in CT:

https://www.theundergroundct.org/our-work/

Love146 Events in CT:

https://love146.org/hope-is-brewing/ct/

Love146 Connecticut Survivor Care 2016:

http://www.portal.ct.gov/-/media/dcf/HumanTrafficking/pdf/2016Love146OnePagerpdf.pdf?la=en

National Human Trafficking Hotline:

https://humantraffickinghotline.org/type-trafficking/human-trafficking

Guys, I’m honestly sitting here worried I haven’t posted the right websites or links to what would most help spread the awareness but the reality is: GOOGLE IT. You are going to have thoughts and questions that I didn’t even touch on here and I really don’t have all the answers anyways. I just wanted to share this side of my story to spread the awareness to mostly those who know me, that this really can happen to anyone and its not something to just pass off as a “third world issue”

I was so moved and inspired by this panel discussion that I’m not sure I’ve thought about much else in these last 48 hours now? I’m sitting here at 2am finalizing this post – researching ways to get more involved and planning my criminal justice career path to start my own journey towards healing my home state. I’m asking the questions now that I didn’t know to ask “then”. I’m learning because its all I can do.

Please ask questions, please make the calls, seek help and prepare your own hearts before talking with your kids if you have them or your family members, friends, or whoever it is you feel led to talk to.

I had such a different ending due to having had people who took the time to invest in my life, to be mentors and pseudo parents. This is simply my story, my experience. Every story is different and I fully understand that some of you reading this may have been affected by this tragedy and are thinking, “I was there for them.” “I had these talks.” “I would have done anything for them.”  “They had a safe home.” “I did everything I could…”

I think this industry is so twisted and distorted that trying to make sense of the darkness will leave you feeling lost inside of it, with not much hope and very alone. There are no perfect answers. There is no “one size fits all” prevention plan. There simply isn’t. Thats not the answer we want to hear but something we really do want to be hearing is your voice. You. Your voice. Your story. Because I know there are so many out there who have one. Who are able to provide experiences and information that would be otherwise lost without you. The more we band together to support and inform one another, the more ground we take back against these people who are fighting to tear apart our families and children’s lives.

I am still recovering from the trauma those choices led to and healing my mind, spirit and body from the damage life brought (and the damage I choose) over the years. I recently came home from Timberline Knolls Treatment Facility in Chicago for my Eating Disorder, Trauma and Mood Disorder. I’m learning to see myself as capable of more. I’m learning to find first find me knees and then from there, find my feet and run to take actions where I feel called to. I’m finding my own voice and this is me shouting (or typing really) for change.

Are you feeling called to take action? Feeling as over ambitious and undereducated as I am at times? Educate yourself! Sponsor a child, be a mentor through a school or Big Brothers Big Sisters, check out those website links because there’s definitely info on how to get involved in mentoring at risk youth. Find out what YOU think YOU can do for this. If it’s praying, do it! If it’s donating, do it! If it’s talking with your kids openly and honestly, do it! If it’s mentoring, do it! If its getting involved in spreading awareness in your community, do it! If its coming forward as a survivor, do it! If it’s coming forward with information or a referral of suspicion, do it!

Speaking of which:

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-(888)-3737-888

DCF Hotline: 1-(800)-842-2288

Love146 New Haven: (203) 772-4420

Rape+Sexual Assault: 1-(800)-656-4673

Crisis: 1-(800)-273-8255

If you are aware of a child who is being victimized you can make a report to the Careline at 1-(800)-842-2288

Alright alright, fresh out of words.

Thank you guys for reading this. Shout out to you if you made it this far. I honestly agree that the more we talk about this, the more stories shared and the more we become aware of what’s going on – it truly will limit the amount of room this industry can hide in.

There is a large demand here in CT for something that we, collectively, have not always been fully aware of. This, as Yvette Young stated, “is a backyard issue“. This crime does not discriminate by class, race, social status, rural, suburbs, age, ect. It thrives off of a lack of awareness in our adults to prepare and protect the naïve minds of our children against predators both on the streets and on our screens.

Thanks for hearing my story, for becoming a little more aware than you were ten pages ago haha and for taking a step towards hope for our kids here in CT.

Goodnight/Goodmorning

Evelyn ~ xoxo 

The Stages of Passivity

💁🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🙅🏻‍♀️The Three Stages of Trying to Act Like Something/Someone Doesn’t Bother You: 1. Keep calm and look natural. Yes I’m annoyed, yes I’m frustrated, yes I wanna pretend I don’t speak human or am blind to all things stupid but no, I will not be honest about it. Honesties the best policy? More like “stuff your feelings” be the best policy.

2. Oh my gosh it’s that person/place again from last time & I’m dreading this interaction/encounter because I know what’s gona happen and I know I won’t be honest with this person/myself about how this makes me feel so I’m gona stand here and look awkward and maybe they won’t come over/I won’t have to go. Is it working??? Crap they’re coming over. Quick – pretend I just got a phone call! *ring* *ring* it’s fine it’s ok I’ll be fine. I just have to get this over with and then I can reunite with my sanity. Possibly…

3. Crappppp I gotta go to this place / person again. Literally my whole body feels like not only are all my hairs standing up but they are also on fire screaming “WHY DO YOU HATE ME!” I haven’t even gone yet and I’m bitter because I know I’m gona feel crappy and I hate that I feel crappy. Why do I keep doing this to myself? This is no way to live my life – and I’m just resenting this person/place more every time and they don’t even know it. Who is this fair to?

Fam, literally me with about 500 things. Anyone feel this??

A really minor example is when I pierced my nose. At first I loved it 💃🏼 I felt fab and glam and yes yes yes. Then after a while it started bothering me but I enjoyed the notion of having it so I just sucked it up and tried to never touch my face. Months in I literally walked around subtly grumpy because my nose hurt and it was a hassle to take care of and it just wasn’t enjoyable. I felt stuck until one random day a few months back I realized “if I hate this thing…I can just take it out?!” And so I did. I was bummed because it was a fun experience at one point but it had served its purpose since then and it was time to let it gooo. And wow my face was thankful for it!!

To look at a some other areas we could apply this concept of altering poor experiences to something more beneficial, consider:

• Relationships

• Budgeting Finances

• Your Tribe (who you surround yourself with)

• Unhealthy Habits

• Personal Health (not in the sense of how you look but how you FEEL)

• Your Career

• Yourself!

Other areas I personally will be targeting this year are my finances cause last year I posted something that said “2017 ~ the year of not moving savings to checking!” And that was a bust so let’s try that again! Let’s also try it with an actual plan and intentionality haha I’ll also aim to continue my recovery from ED, self harm and a few other things. I don’t ever wanna feel like I have to avoid confronting myself or seeing who I’ve become. If I can’t stand the mirror, if you can’t stand your own mirror…something has to drastically change and 2018 is a good time to continue doing that! Right? The more we find peace within ourselves, the more peace we have to offer wherever we go, no matter the circumstances. On the same hand, if you also can’t stand someone else’s mirror – please remember that we’re not designed to live in constant tension with others. Now naturally I understand that we won’t get along with everyone we ever meet but as for your tribe of people – the people you choose to call your own – if there’s a riff in the harmony, don’t settle for that. Don’t leave grudges to fester or bitterness to grow in intensity but being unresolved. You do yourself no favors or another by ignoring a problem and odds are you guys, you both know something is off. Odds also are that you’ll come to ahead on this sooner or later so maybe consider if you want to do this sooner with some form of control or if you wanna do this later, when if may go from a conversation to an explosion??

Change is never a simple thing, true. However you are worth living your best possible life and more than capable of doing what you can to get there. Too often we have thought life just happens and we just watch. Wrong! You have so much mor power and authority than you think and life can not simply be a symptom for you! You will do more than get through this year, you will thrive. You will absolutely thrive if you are willing to make the decisions you already know need to be made. If you’re willing to say

“Yes, this is scary.” & “Yes, I will do it anyways”

Fear is sometimes a beautiful motivator for change.

One tip for the new year – maybe confront some things you avoided last year. Why carry feelings/moments/people like this into 2018 if you have the ability to change things? Are you keeping quiet to please someone else? Well that’s cool, looks like you’re provided them with a rockin 2018, but what about your year?? Don’t pass up opportunities for growth and joy in your life for the sake of someone else’s sanity. If and when you’re able to take back some control in an unpleasant area of your life – take it!! For your own mental health and for the sake of not making weird faces anymore out of anger – change it!! . Weird faces out of humor is always an A+ though but leave the anger and stress lines in the past y’all – ok? 👌🏻⚖️🏳️🖤

What I Gained In Losing My Disoder

{RECOVERY POST:
LONG POST WARNING:}
 
I was reading something I wrote back in November.
Sometimes I worry that its some sort of vain to read your own blog posts and think, “wow, so true!”
But the honesty in that is when I write something in a whirl wind of inspiration – I have come to conclude that its not really me writing.
I think of this concept in all forms of art, for myself at least.
I would never dare to say “I am artistic” rather “I am artistically gifted”
The difference in those two boil down to an innate ability vs inspired moment.
If you gave me a paper and pen and asked me to make something wonderful right now, short of being bravely inspired – I could not do that.
My deepest writings, most passionate drawings, paintings, expressions of all kinds have come from a deep place of desperate need to communicate. You can usually see it in the art that is created. There is depth beyond the immediate medium used.
 
Those moments come from a gift of inspiration in a very vital moment. I don’t get to decide when those happen, thus I can’t own “artistic” but I can thank the world, and my God, who bring me moments that my soul demands be captured in one way or another.
 
So I was reading what I wrote back in November and I was very moved, by that moment. I meant everything I said. I also know that its been eight months and though I relate very much with the heart searching in that post – I have also found home in many areas. One of them being myself.
 
There is a line that says “I’m fighting an eating disorder. Currently losing but it’s a day by day thing. I’m recovering from lots of crap in life. I’ve quit therapy three times. Currently living in denial.”
 
 
This morning I woke up and made my breakfast. I thought about taking a picture of it and making some post about how far my recovery had come. I almost did that. However, I stopped. I stopped because I had minimized recovery back to food. Can I tell you something very important about the world of eating disorders? Hear me and please remember this… eating disorders have almost nothing to do with a problem with food. In truth it presents as ‘disordered eating’ – but when you think “So just eat…” or “Don’t purge…” – you minimize it down to somethings it was never really about. Disordered Eating is healed in a season of rewriting your mind back into Ordered Thinking.
 
This morning I almost posted about the food but the reality is my recovery is so much more. I didn’t recover from 7 years of anorexia and bulimia to simply eat. I recovered to undeniably live. To undeniable love.
 
SO I did not recovery and eat breakfast, I recovered and just stepped down from my PHP Eating Disorder Program this Friday. I recovered and am returning full time back to the job I love. Shot out to Silk City Coffee ❤ ❤ ❤
I recovered and can see my friends again because I’m not structuring my life around when to eat, when not to eat and exercising. I recovered and I don’t spend my weekends / free time laying in bed. I’m not saying lazy days in bed are bad, but my lazy 7 years in bed was an issue for me. I recovered and I take care of myself, even when I don’t want to or think theres no point. I recovered and learned to prioritize my needs. I recovered and learned to listen to my voice. I recovered and learned to communicate what was on my mind – not what I thought someone else wanted to hear. I recovered and I laugh more, especially at myself. I recovered and yes, that came with eating, but friends … its so much more than that. Its thinking in ways you never knew you could. Its discovering a life you didn’t know was possible. For so long you think, “this is just how everyone thinks, right?”
 
Walden showed me in two months a version of myself I had lost over 7 years ago. I can’t repay them but I can continue taking care of myself in the hopes that one day I can take care of others in a similar way.
 
I wrote this back in November and somehow how it feels like yesterday and at the same time it feels like a lifetime ago. Life is always going – its always changing – and so am I (and so are you) and thats absolutely ok with me. Absolutely ok with me.
 
November …”I have no idea who to be or how to be. It doesn’t come robotically. Some things do. Little things. Which I’m thankful for. I know they took time and it all will. We learn and change each day. For better and for worse. To be more aware of what we’re doing to build ourselves up and others is seemingly more vital than I once thought. You don’t realize how damaging the hate is until you wake up and realize you’re angry all the time. You think “why is this happening all of the sudden?” But that’s just it. It’s never all of the sudden. It was all subtle until it wasn’t. It’s a slow but sure progression to the best and worst things. It’s not robotic or automatic. It’s intentional. I’m intentionally me, for better or worse. So are you. So be intentionally you. Don’t let who you become just “happen” – you’re not a bird, don’t wing this. Discover what you love. Stand on it. Invest into it. Be it. Intentional. You. “

Thinking Out Loud

Our deepest desire in the quest to attain knowledge should be to expand the world around us, not solely the mind within us. The potential behind achieved knowledge is lost when it is concealed. Think of a world where Einstine never published, where King kept his dreams to himself. Think of how many world changing ideas are engraved into the brains of those no longer living. 
Think of your greatest life questions
Think of ideas that perplex you
Think of problems that move you
Those are your passions and they’re unique to each person. No one can have the same thoughts you do, meaning you have the opportunity to enlighten the world around you in a way they never considered. Don’t underestimate your perspective – even great minds of the past were challenged by those who did not yet understand. 
Think of your potential
Think of the worlds potential loss.
Simply keep on thinking
Then tell someone about it 

Never Will He Ever

Thankful today that when we come before the Lord with brokenness or repentance – never will he ever look at us and say, “it’s not my problem”.
When Judas Iscariot had a change of heart from selling out Jesus – he tried frantically to return his payment as to rid himself of bloody hands. He pleaded to have his money taken back but the law forbid currency used to commit a crime. There was nothing the chief priests could do for him and further more, they didn’t care.

Matthew 27:4 Judas Iscariot: I can’t keep this money! I’ve sinned! I’ve betrayed an innocent man! His blood will be on my hands. The priests and elders want nothing to do with Judas, and they refuse to take his money. Chief Priests and Elders: We’re through with you, friend. The state of your soul is really none of our affair.

Judas ran to the only authority he knew to seek security and clarity. He ran to man. He came before a law that forbid the return of blood money but ironically would soon be coated in the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus that would bring forth some serious change.

Though the leaders before Judas held no regard for the state of his soul, our God mirrors this is no way. Our God not only saw a problem but sent His son to become the problem. He sent His son so that in the times when we come frantically back to the alter with bloody hands, having broken a gift the Lord gave us or crossing a boundaries He provided – He could firmly tell us that we have been made clean and our soul is secure. We never have to run to man or wonder what to do with the damage we have experienced or committed.

“It’s not our problem” will never come from His lips. “The state of your soul is really none of our affair” will never reach your ears.

Jesus was our gifted solution.

Jesus is in every way part of our affair.

We don’t have to worry, we don’t have to hide. Be at peace, be washed by the blood, go and sin no more.

Thankful thankful thankful that this applies to all who come and enter in – He sees us and He loves us and it’s the highest privilege to love Him too.

You Are Not a Bird

Work was so busy the other day. Pure insanity. There was a big road race event and maybe all of CT was on one street. Running. They did amazing, each of them. I work at a coffe shop on Main Street and, I promise, we served plenty of it. At one point my boss came over and just started to steam milk. Luckily it was just in time for a 12oz Latte to go but he finished steaming and was so confused as to why he did it. He’d been doing it all morning and at that point was just in robot mode of what he should be doing.

Sometimes it’s easy to wish life were that simple. That if you loved enough times. Smiled enough times. Ignored the pain enough times. Ran enough times. Forgot enough times. Your body and mind would take over and just repeat repeat repeat all you’ve learned so you don’t have to push through each day remembering remebering remembering to be human today and have grace and much compassion for yourself and others. What’s harder is when you wish you could just be who you needed to be in situations you’ve never been in before. I’m still learning the world. How to live in it. How to best contribute. How to love in it. But it’s always changing. And thus so do I. When I don’t fix myself on Jesus. And even that’s not automatic either. It’s why we pick up our daily cross. It’s not permanently attached, it’s a daily decision. Hourly even. 

I don’t know who to be yet. My life’s not robotic. Things are constantly changing and new information comes and people come and go. I come and go. I have a dad I’ve never met before who lives just a few states over. A sister I just met three years ago a few states over in the other direction. A niece I’ve fallen in love with who doesn’t speak English so we play games and just smile a lot. Plenty of siblings who seem to look similar, myself included. Now I’m a sister and a daughter and an aunt. My boyfriend is moving to my home state. Now I’m a local girlfriend. I got used to long distance girlfriend. I called my mother for advice the other day and she was helpful, like I may do this more often. Now I’m a daughter in a good relationship with my mother?? What is life. Beautiful chaos. I’ve lost touch with the people I’ve called family my entire life, mainly because I don’t call. I can’t. Life’s complicated. I have friends who will forever be in my heart and are no longer in my life and friends who are in my life but feel 1000 miles away and it’s the worst feeling. I’m part of an amazing church, every Sunday this one cutie waits expectingly to share her newest joke. It’s my favorite part of Sunday mornings. I have a new full time job and no other side jobs. Just one job. Full time. Full time employe. This has never happened. I’m in love with coffee and people. It’s working out grand. I’m fighting an eating disorder. Currently losing but it’s a day by day thing. I’m recovering from lots of crap in life. I’ve quit therapy three times. Currently living in denial. Real talk. Who to trust = no one ever. That’s what the lies scream, God whispers soft truths and I rest in those better. I want to get better. I have life dreams and the enemy tries hard to keep me asleep with nightmares. I think for a season my greatest success had to be not harming myself or not running off with random guys but I’m more stable now. My greatest accomplishment can no longer be I didn’t have an anxiety attack today. I’m proud to be in a better place and thankful for those who have helped. I wasn’t graceful in the process, they’re saints. But there’s so much more now. More to look at. More to be. I want to be a mother and foster in kids from broken homes. To breath and speak life over our youth, you’re more than what you come from. It’s not who you are even if it is a part of your story. You can have a broken home and not be a broken person. You can have been abused and not then abuse. You can have done some terrible things and it’s doesn’t make you a terrible person. It’s human. We’re all just human. Capable of love and hate. We’re just figuring it out day by day and the truth is it’s not easy. We knew that but man as time passes does that truth go from “amen” to “AMEN”
I have no idea who to be or how to be. It doesn’t come robotically. Some things do. Little things. Which I’m thankful for. I know they took time and it all will. We learn and change each day. For better and for worse. To be more aware of what we’re doing to build ourselves up and others is seemingly more vital than I once thought. You don’t realize how damaging the hate is until you wake up and realize you’re angry all the time. You think “why is this happening all of the sudden?” But that’s just it. It’s never all of the sudden. It was all subtle until it wasn’t. It’s a slow but sure progression to the best and worst things. It’s not robotic or automatic. It’s intentional. I’m intentionally me, for better or worse. So are you. So be intentionally you. Don’t let who you become just “happen” – you’re not a bird, don’t wing this. Discover what you love. Stand on it. Invest into it. Be it. Intentional. You. 

Happenings

There’s a hidden book shack in the town over from me. Just a random shed someone filled with books for 0.50 cents each. No one runs it, there are no limits or requirements to enter. You come, you bask, you leave. You wouldn’t know it were there unless by chance you walked behind the local pool shop.
We live in a world of things you can happen upon. Things that fit perfectly into your soul, that overflow your need for a smile or bit of hope. Things that surround you and are just out of your normal point of view. Things that stretch your rather preprogrammed range of thinking. You can happen upon a place. You can happen upon a person. You can happen upon a song or a work of art. You can happen upon the greatest things in life, even in the middle of some of the worst times. Trump is now our President and this book shack still exists. National changes will be made soon and Age Of Worry by John Mayer is still going to play along inside my heart.

Greatness is never out of reach but it can be out of sight. We can close our minds to something better. We can be in a lull of disappointment or frustration and choose (consciously or subconsciously) to then only see that which is disappointing or upsetting around us. We can be fixed on facts and forget to wonder. We can be disgruntled with hate and miss the love. We can be repressed into only what our lists require and miss what our heart desires. What it needs!

Try and take a second, take advantage of any minute you have to pause and look around you. Look within you. Look at the heart of someone next to you and notice something new.

Today one of our regular customers came in and her hair was entirely different. I noticed and it brought a rather quick but entirely refreshing and laughter filled discussion that will sustain my hope and joy for the rest of this day. If I didn’t notice, if I didn’t care, it was both our losses and we would have missed the chance to bask in something other than fear, worry, anxieties and hate. To deny or miss an opportunity for love is one our greatest personal and communal tragedies.

Our soul cries out for more. Our hearts feel the weight and absence of unity. We happen upon both the sweet and bitterness of life. We don’t get to choose which we stumble across but we do get to choose which one we take home with us. Which one we internalize and which one we echo back into the world. We do as much as we can. We love as much as we can. There’s no standard or requirement for what being a light in this world looks like. You just show up, you notice the best, you make sure not to emulate the worst, you apologize when you do and adjust your heart for next time.

“Nothing changes except what has to” – Law and Order, SVU

New President, new boss, new town, new shoes. Whatever it is, you do what you know you need to do – keep your eyes open for the best things and expound upon them. Filter your mind and heart for the worst and help edify them.

You show up.

You pay attention.

You love.

“Stand against the darkness, and love. That’s the way back to Eden. That’s the way back to life” (Redeeming Love)

Collective Change

Hey loves,

Voting time is here and there are oh so many things to consider. So many facts, so many details and SO many opinions, both in person and online. Some bring clarity, some bring confusion. Some breath life and some stir conflict. In light of all the information we have before us, please come back and refocus on something very important with me for a moment. Something the Lord has had to remind me of often, something that gives me more hope and rest, daily.

If it were only Trump or Hillary on this planet – Jesus STILL would have died for both of them! Before you look at your own morals and begin to demonize these two people, please consider that the only reason you may (or may not) live out of different ethics is because Jesus definitely died for you too and you have the chance to know Him and HE gives you the ability to even have a decent thought. You are not better than these two people, and someone was praying for your salvation so please turn to prayer over our next President before slander or judgment. I know its scary, I know it will have major impacts on our lives and our nation – but thats when we need to hit our knees more than ever, not the like buttons and share buttons about their errors. Whatever the outcome ends up being, keep edifying your own hearts and loving those around you. Support and reach out to your own communities. Love your neighbor. Our Presidents don’t live in our homes or our cities, we do. If our city has an inadequate amount of love – thats our fault before theirs. If our cities are in a rage of social injustices, thats our fault before theirs. If our cities are in financial corruption, thats our fault before theirs. If our cities are in increased homelessness or lack of hands to help sustain shelters or facilities, that is our fault before theirs. We make up this nation. At the end of the day we decide how to love or hate, help or destroy, care or be arrogant. One man or woman can’t hold the weight of all racism, corruption, scandals, immorality, injustice, perversion, deceit, etc. on their shoulders. Jesus was the only one who holds that, and He did it willingly that the hurts of this world and the hurting would have hope and a light and chance to choose a different path. A better way. Even in the middle of chaos, choosing to be still at heart and bold in faith. May we be humble, gracious and pray for our President, pray for our cities, pray for our own hearts that ALL TOGETHER we may choose a different path, a better path to COLLECTIVELY take responsibility and action towards real, real, God honoring love and change.

My Life Would Suck Without You (Thanks Kelly)

Hey loves,

Today I don’t have much of anything. Today I just have this quote from Greys Anatomy because I saw a little bit of Jesus in the words of Cristian Yang.

“I guess when you save someone’s life you kinda want it not to suck.”

SPOLIE  ALERT:  Cristina Yang plays a role in saving Izzie Stevens life and is later talking with Alex about their marriage (Izzie’s and Alex’s). Sorry that I just gave away a lot of things about the show. If you’re not there yet, get there. The show is magic and full of crazy inspiring monologues. Anyways ….

“When you save someone’s life, you kind of want it not to suck”…can this be a bit of paraphrasing the heart of Jesus and our God? When you GIVE UP YOUR OWN LIFE for someone … I’m pretty darn sure you didn’t do it for them to walk in death. You don’t want it to suck..

Guys, I don’t want to live out of my own death and sin. I have the chance to choose life and a beautiful relationship with God because He literally died to grant such an opportunity. He want’s me. He wants you. He wants to know you and dwell in you and spend all of eternity with you, me, us. Is that crazy? The Lord just desires a relationship with His kids. He calls us to serve and share of His goodness, yes yes, but before any of that we must enter in close to even know what that goodness is. He wants us to sit with Him before ever planning to run a marathon. Where we’re planning world changes, He simply wishes to start with our day to day thinking/actions.

He doesn’t want our life to suck…and without Him – IT WOULD! Kelly’s not wrong, thank you Jesus for Jesus because I’m sure not betting any hope on myself. I’m a hot mess on my best days, on my worst days…s.c.a.r.y. (can I get an amen?)

He wants us to know his love and live out of that – because He sent His son to die that we would ever even get the chance. I’m rambling at this point, I’ll go back to Greys now. Maybe I’ll follow up on this, probably not.

Praying for you guys

Pray for me too, lifes crazy

But I don’t need to tell you that