Friday, April 27, 2012

asking for help, aka getting uncomfortably personal and begging you to solve all my problems

it is too easy to become bogged down with doubts, anxiety, and worry.
why is it that when we accomplish something, our elation at success lasts such a brief moment?
was it only three weeks ago that we moved into our house and i felt that life could never get better? how does a person hold on to that joy, rather than becoming consumed with new worries and problems?

it's just been a rough week.

i really, really appreciate all your comments about bravery, because brave was the last thing i felt this week.
things are about to get pretty personal up in here.

it seemed like every single thing that could have happened to trigger my PTSD, happened in the last week. good timing too, since i have been taking a break from counseling to see how i do on my own. yeah, not doin' so hot. i want my training wheels back.

i guess it started about a month ago. but i'll back up even further than that. so the guy who assaulted me, i drive by his house to get to my parents'. he still lives there. he is unemployed, addicted to hard drugs, and not doing anything with his life. so a few months into counseling, i did something that was unprecedented. usually, i would drive by his house and pointedly not look, because i didn't want to relive those memories. this time i drove by, without thinking about it, i raised my hand to his house and flipped him off. and then started laughing uncontrollably. and then cried. and since then, every time i drive by, i flip him the bird. and sometimes add some yelling for good measure, like "screw you!" at the top of my lungs. immature? maybe. but it's the only way i have found to confront him and it makes me feel a little stronger. that small gesture is the most i have ever stood up for myself to him.

ok, so a month ago, i drove by, prepared to do my flip off, and noticed that he had just pulled in the driveway. and the panic hit in the pit of my stomach like it always does. part of me wanted to roll down my window and scream and part of me wanted to hide in a dark hole forever and ever. after that happened, it seemed like everything else just piled up on top. seeing a guy i used to date right after everything terrible happened, seeing that guy who is married with a baby on the way, seeing his eyes land on my chest the way they always used to, like that was the only thing i had that he wanted. because i believed my body was the only valuable part of me for so long.

something that seems the most unfair to me is the way sex can be a trigger. i hate that this beautiful, wonderful thing i have with travis can sometimes lead to horrible memories i locked away. shame, guilt, nausea, so many feelings i don't want to feel when we are together in that way. and they have nothing to do with travis, nothing to do with our love. then i try to hide those feelings from him, but he knows me too well. i end up lying, telling him i'm fine, and then locking myself in the bathroom to deal with my panic attacks alone. i don't think my problems should be his problems, which he completely disagrees with.  he comes looking for me and is so hurt to find me hiding. this doesn't happen every time. but it happened this week and i hate hurting him and i hate that sex can do this to me.

of course, travis is so patient and sweet with me. when i lose control and he sees, i'm terrified that he will leave me. because in that moment, i want to leave myself. of course he never leaves. of course he holds my hand and helps me through it. i feel comfortable enough to cry, to be vulnerable, and i couldn't have that without his support. but then i feel guilty for putting that on his shoulders. like, doesn't he deserve someone stronger, without so much baggage?

told you this was going to be personal. i'm laughing and crying and slightly appalled at how personal this is.

also, have any of you had a really difficult time graduating from college? last night in the car, pandora played a slew of songs that i was obsessed with at different points of my college experience and i ended up bawling my eyes out. travis was pretty confused and i didn't express my feelings very well. as i have said before, college taught me so much about myself and i am so depressed to see it ending. it just seems like the end of my youth (stupid, i know) and the beginning of being an adult. and i hate all those adult options!! full time job or start popping out babies. i just feel trapped. travis asked me, "well what do you want to do with your life?"  without missing a beat, i responded with, "go to the beach. (duh!)"

which, now that i think about it, was the same thing i told everyone i was going to do after high school.

gah! just having a rough time of it. can't believe only three weeks ago we moved in here and i thought life would never be hard again. #facepalm

yesterday, i got online to start the job hunt and found nothing. so then i called my doctor's office to schedule getting the IUD out. because obviously to avoid getting a job i have to get pregnant. and then luckily the doctor's office was already closed because having a baby to avoid the failure of not getting a job after spending all that money on college is obviously a bad idea. and then i think, switch it around- if you get a great job, you'll have an excuse to not have a baby because of how great the job is. plus think how rich you'll be.

... what the h?? 

how do i do this? how do i grow up and why is it always so hard? am i just looking at everything from a negative point of view? will i ever want to be a mother? why am i so scared of having a baby? why do i just want to hide under my covers all day?

someone just tell me what to do, kthanks.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

keeping secrets from husbands and other tales of epic failures

i'm a bad liar.

ok, that's not entirely true.

once, during my first year of college, i convinced some guys who lived in my apartment building that i had a twin sister. see, there was this incident in the parking lot where i almost backed into their car and of course i was thoroughly embarrassed. probably because of the shortness of the shorts i was wearing (i had just come from the gym) the guys were quick to forgive me and invite me to hang out sometime. they walked to their apartment on the first floor and i took the elevator up to the third, mortified, thinking, phew, close one!

then a few weeks later, i ran into (not literally) the guys again.
"oh hey! it's that girl who almost hit us!" they said. "hey!"
i pretended not to recognize them. "sorry? have we met?"
"uh, don't you remember that time you almost hit us in the parking lot?" they looked confused.
i twisted my face into an expression of recognition. "ohhhh! my sister told me about you! yeah, she was so embarrassed!"

and so began the tale of my twin sister, the terrible driver. they ate it up. and the rest of the semester, whenever i saw the group of guys, i alternated between the twins' identities.

so yeah, i can tell a tall tale, but for the most part, i'm a bad liar, especially with travis. he just knows me too well for me to get away with anything. so when it came to planning his surprise party, i vowed to be a blank wall. he would never know what hit him. turns out he knew i had been acting funny from the moment i started planning. travis's dad helped me distract him and get him out of the house, and i literally texted him "we should be actors! we are amazing!" then later travis told me that he had been on to us the entire time. oh well.

i had a lot of fun planning, decorating, and hosting his party. here are a few pictures, pretty terrible pictures, but hey i was busy being a hostess right?

i promise they were having fun. that's just how travis's dad smiles. 

 soup bar, my dad's famous clam chowder and julie's broccoli cheese. 

my parents and brother zane

newly married derrick and grandma jackson

the luscious cake i whipped up. 

all lit up

blowing out his candles 

the decor. along with the rest of the pinterest world, 
i am obsessed with making banners. 

here is the recipe for the whip cream frosting:

cream cheese 
powdered sugar
vanilla extract 
heavy whipping cream

add the first three ingredients together and mix until moistened
then while the mixer is running, slowly add the cream 
mix until thick and fluffy
 also, i added some raspberry jam to the filling for tartness. 

it was fun to throw a party in our new house, even if the birthday boy wasn't surprised. i'll keep working on my deceptive abilities for next year's party. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

rape 101

i'm at the library, trying to revise a final paper, but waiting on feedback from my professor. i just attended my last sensation and perception class, and i didn't even fall asleep. not like last week, when my professor chucked a paper clip at me and rudely ended my 45 minute nap. plus my mouth was open, so it was a major choking hazard. definitely gonna put that on his teacher evaluation.

things have been insanely busy. between gearing up for finals, writing my orgasm paper, being a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding, throwing travis a surprise birthday party, photo shoots, getting ready to graduate and taking care of all those annoying details like announcements and planning, i have not had much time to write.

and i need to find a job asap. um. how does an adult find a job? when i used to hunt for summer jobs to save for college, i would just put on a professional looking outfit and walk through department stores asking if they were hiring. i feel like it's not okay to go to psych wings in hospitals and do the same. or where ever else i could work. where am i going to work? will someone please just make this decision for me? isn't the whole point of college to prepare you for the occupation you have chosen? how is it that i'm graduating and still have no idea what to be?

deep breaths.

so sometime when i'm home and have my camera handy, i'll do the whole "pictures of my house, the surprise party, the cute wreath i made, my flower garden, friend's wedding" post.  but right now i want to talk about a conversation i had with a dear friend a few months ago. and it's about rape, so if that brings up any scary feelings or memories for you, read at your own discretion.

i've been wanting to say all this for a while but it's just so much easier to post cute pictures of my house and talk about the "fun" parts of life. i have a family member who gets upset when i talk about things like rape or abuse, and asks me why i focus on such depressing issues. why can't we just talk about something else. well i'll tell you, it would be so much easier to just talk about the good stuff, but if we don't talk about the scary things, how are we ever going to fix them? as much as i wish it would, ignoring something does not make it go away.

so my friend and i were talking about her first experience with sex. she was young and the boy was cold about it. he would tell her that she didn't need to love a person to have sex with him and that he didn't love her, that her personality just didn't work for him. she was young, insecure, and afraid. all along, she had believed it was consensual and she had been so ashamed of herself for it. they had dated on and off, but he never wanted to commit to being her boyfriend. and every time she went back to him, she felt more ashamed. this was the story she had always told me.

the night we talked about this, she told me how she had been reading a textbook definition of rape. reading that definition, she began to think about her own first experience with sex. how she had said no, multiple times, or that he was hurting her, and that he hadn't stopped. she had thought that because she wasn't screaming, or fighting, or calling for help or in a dark alley with a stranger, that sex had been consensual. she read the definition and realized the truth of what had happened to her.

she is an adult. a college student. a well educated person. the public school system never taught her about rape or how to protect herself. (and i'm opening up a whole other can of worms here with that.)

i thought about my own experience. how i blamed myself for everything and lied to my parents about what had happened because i was afraid of what he would do if he knew i had told. so i knew that something had happened that wasn't supposed to happen, but i thought it was my fault. then when i started tenth grade, a rape crisis counselor came to our health class and talked about sexual assault. that if you were afraid, or said no, or were afraid to say no, or were coerced, or held against your will, etc, etc, etc, that what happened wasn't consensual. i thought that rape meant a woman wearing a short skirt walking down a dark alley late at night.

then last year, i had an experience at the fire station that blew me away. before i say this, i want you to know that travis works with amazing men. they are so willing to help and so willing to risk their lives for others. but this conversation was alarming and can't be excused.

one night i visited travis at work. we were sitting around talking with all the guys. they asked me how school was going, what classes i was taking, etc. i started talking to them about my gender studies class and our discussion on rape that day. it was a spark igniting a bomb. all of a sudden, everyone was talking all at once, talking about girls who tease men, about kobe bryant and how unfair it is that women have so much power to ruin a good man's name. these men were instantly angry. i was confused. "so wait. if you're with a woman and she is flirting with you and the idea of having sex with you, and then she changes her mind, you would still go for it?" i asked.
"if she's going to be a tease, she needs to see it through!" the men agreed.
"okay, but if you're about to have sex and she changes her mind for any reason, you wouldn't respect that?" i asked, specifically.
"she can't just expect me to stop if she is going to be a tease!" they answered.

i was floored. floored. grown men who i trusted and admired. grown men telling me how wrong it is for a woman to lead on a guy, get him all hot and bothered, and then say no. that they wouldn't accept no for an answer.

then the captain appeared in the doorway.
"i'll tell you what." he said in a low voice. "if some guy was with my daughter and didn't respect her saying no, i would f*** that guy up."

then the men looked at their feet and agreed.

it took a man, their captain, saying what i had been saying to them for twenty minutes, to get their attention.

teach your children about sexual assault. teach your parents. teach your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, wife, aunts, uncles, niece, nephews, everyone.

these are facts.

if a woman chooses to wear revealing attire and go out late at night, she is not asking for it. 
the person doesn't have to be a stranger for it to be sexual assault, rape, or molestation.
if you are uncomfortable, say no, are afraid to say no, or are being threatened in any way- words or weapons, it is not consensual.
just because you weren't screaming for help, doesn't mean you consented.
it is not the survivor's fault. i'll say it again, louder.
it is not the survivor's fault. 

it doesn't matter where you were, what you were wearing, if you were flirting, what time of night it was, if you were walking home alone, etc. it was not your fault; the blame lies with the perpetrator. 

get educated and get the people around you educated. read this: {here} to get started.
it's almost impossible that someone in your life hasn't gone through this.
let's teach each other the truth so that we don't have to find out what really happened to us from a textbook.

as always, email me if you have experience with sexual assault and need someone to talk to.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

my husband, the artsy fartsy photographer

yesterday, i decided i wanted a picture to send out with my graduation announcements. as much as i love taking pictures of other people, i hate having my picture taken. my face never looks the way i wish it did, i can't get rid of my double chin, i have acne scars, no matter how much weight i lose i always wish i were skinnier, other insecurities i have dealt with all my life, etc. etc. etc. (no, i'm not begging you to reassure me about how pretty i am.) plus i couldn't figure out what to wear and then the cloud cover went away and it was terrible bright lighting. so needless to say, i was really grumpy about travis taking my picture.

then he wasn't very thrilled when the location i chose was on private property and we had to hike in a ways.
private property doesn't apply to open fields right? just gated communities and buildings after dark.

despite the shadows on my face and eyes, i am pretty happy with how they turned out. travis got me to loosen up and laugh. and he took this gorgeous picture of me but it was kind of a pin up, boob town picture, and i'm thinking it's not appropriate for the intarwebs, but we were pretty much laughing the entire shoot. love that guy. plus travis got a crash course on how to take pictures with the scary DSLR of a very picky female with insecurities, which means i can get my picture taken once in a while and actually like it. 


Sunday, April 15, 2012

maternal grandparents and their pretty farmhouse

another thing.
both of my parents grew up in idaho falls. when we go up there, we usually stay at my mom's parents'. their home is a classic farmhouse and could be straight out of pinterest.

 my grandpa, a potato farmer, and old fashioned gentleman. 

he tells the greatest stories about the navy and is one of the most welcoming, accepting people i know. 

my grandma, who cooks incredible breakfasts, has great insight, and is a talented painter. 

and she painted these gorgeous plates!

so thankful to have wonderful grandparents, who, i just remembered, are celebrating
 60 years of marriage this year. (holy mole!) 
travis, "we'll be there in no time, only 58 more years." 
ok everyone, collective "ahhw!" moment.
happy sunday. xo

cowpokes, mini trips, and hooking.

when my parents, travis, and i take a mini trip to idaho falls for a wedding...

my dad drives his bimmer. and by drives i mean drives 110mph. then my mom, while looking out the window calmly, warns, "douglas, you're going to get a ticket." and travis falls a tiny bit in love with my dad.

we listen to all the music i grew up on- REM, chicago, john denver, freddy jones band, etc. those are some of my favorite childhood memories, sitting next to my dad in our old red ford on some trip, the volume cranked, harmonizing with my dad's amazing falsetto.

we somehow end up at the mall all afternoon. we have the intentions of finding travis some new shoes, and somehow end up with earrings and two new pairs of heels for me. (amazing buy one get one sale.) i don't think travis should go shoe shopping with me. he kept encouraging me to try on more, "look these are only $13!" oh travis, i keep falling in love with you all over again. 

because the theme was 'cowboy' we all dress down for the reception. and we raided my grandpa's hat collection. i think we made some pretty attractive cowpokes.

did i mention i'm teaching travis guitar and he is obsessed with it?
 that plus this picture of him... fantasy much?

my mom, former miss idaho falls. and my dad, bruce willis's stunt double.

if you care to see any of the pictures from the wedding reception, go {here}

annalee made a beautiful country bride. 

then, on our way home, we stopped at a pizza hut in blackfoot, idaho.
and we saw the most amazing thing we had ever seen.

a checkered shirted family out for saturday night dinner. chubby little kid with the most glorious mullet known to man, dancing behind him as he skipped to the bathroom. his dad took the cake. hook for a hand. HOOK FOR A HAND. (i'm sorry if my getting a kick out of this offends you. but it was a HOOK FOR A HAND! what do you want from me??) just a beautiful little family with their mullets and hooks for hands. and beards, suspenders, and overalls. just glorious.

a great day with the people i love.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

a little girl drowning in a big black robe, and other dramatic tales of woe

graduating from college is a weird thing.

obviously, it's awesome because i get to stop paying thousands of dollars for tuition, fees, and books.
obviously, it's awesome because i don't have to write papers, do freakin' statistics, and be stressed out all the time.
obviously, it's awesome because it means i accomplished something that took a lot of time and effort.
obviously, it's awesome because then i get to take the next step in life. whatever that is.

less obviously, it's really weird and kind of freaking me out a little.

like, a few minutes ago, i went up the elevator (the university of utah's psychology building has this legendary, rickety old elevator that i both love and fear. and there are 13 (?)  floors in the building. even though it's crappy and we all whine about it, i love the psych building.) but a few minutes ago, i took the elevator up to the advising office to make sure everything is in order for me to graduate in a few weeks.

"hi, you need to talk to an advisor?"
"um yeah, i just need to make sure i'm actually going to graduate this semester."
eyebrow. "did you apply to graduate last fall?"
"oh yeah, i'm all set, but i just have this vision of sending out announcements and then everyone comes to watch and then i don't actually graduate because something went wrong."
awkward overshare moment while the advisor checks my information. "well, everything looks great. you're definitely going to graduate." 
"are you sure?"
"um, yes."
"well, i guess i really am going to graduate then, even though i keep thinking i'm going to fail all my classes this semester, but i just got a test back today and i got a 97% on it, so i guess i really am graduating."
another, even worse awkward overshare moment  before i get on the elevator and come down here to the lab to write this.

not to brag, but i have gotten really good at college. like that test i just got back, i didn't learn any of the information from my teacher. i either sleep through or skip every class because he is so boring. and there might be something wrong with his system, because although i just aced a test about the ears and how they work, to save my life, i couldn't tell you how they actually work. and it's not even that his tests are easy, because they aren't; the class averages have been consistently around 60%. i just figured out how to take tests. read the chapters the day before the test and make flashcards, then study them on the train on the way to take the test. yeah, this sounds like bragging. but to my credit, this is something i have been working on for the past six years.
six years. if i had known what i wanted to be when i started, i could be finishing my master's degree this year.
but i wouldn't change my college experience for anything. except maybe staying in hawaii longer, or like, forever, but only if travis could have been part of that.

i'm kind of a college snob, as in i think everyone should go to some college. but i'm biased. it's just that college really helped me believe in myself. as i have mentioned, things in high school were really awful. i didn't really know myself or what i was capable of. moving away and going to college gave me something to be proud of and to work for. thank goodness my dad kicked me out after graduating high school. ok, it wasn't like he actually chucked my stuff out on the lawn and gave me the boot, but he did tell me i wasn't allowed to live at their house and go to community college, which was my plan at the time. (either that or become a beach bum, which i sorta ended up doing along the way.) (also, if you did stay at home and go to community college, i'm not trying to knock on you; i know i was very privileged to have help to pay for school and move away from home.)

my dad made a deal with me: as long as i worked and saved every penny i made, he would cover what i couldn't afford. and i wasn't allowed to live at home. i was so angry at him for making me move away from my first "great" boyfriend and the new friends i had made that summer. my poor mom was stuck in the middle of all our fighting, but i'm so thankful my parents stuck to their guns and forced me out of the nest. being a college student gave me an identity i could be proud of, something i hadn't felt in a very long time.

and now that it's coming to a close (assuming i don't go back for a master's) it's bittersweet. i'm scared to interview for "grown up" jobs. i'm going to miss being enveloped in a learning environment and having an excuse to take classes about things that are probably of no use in the "real world." i'm a little nervous that my whole identity is going to change. i guess i'm not really sure who i'm going to be. geez, self involved much?

but you know what i'm trying to say, right?

plus i have to actually start paying on my student loans... which blows.

on the bright side, i'm not going to have to deal with all the bearded hipsters who, for some reason, flock to the psych major. yep, i'm judge-y like that, can't really take hipsters seriously.
how did you deal with graduating from college? how did you convince yourself you were ready for a grown up job?

and can i just use my black high school robe from graduation?
yeah, i'm cheap like that.

Monday, April 9, 2012

makin' it super easy for you to creep on my life.

some pictures of the new house, but only of the rooms that are semi unpacked and decorated, because who wants to look at a room full of boxes right?

sometime i'm going to do a video tour so you can see the layout, but for now:

slightly blurry living room. giant windows, tons of light. 

just love the tall windows.

kitchen. it's hard to get everything in the frame, so enjoy these chopped up shots.

big island in the middle. love the granite and white two toned cabinets! 

we finally have a room big enough to fit a full sized couch! 

kitchen. door leading to garage. 

dining room. i love that the dining room is separate from the kitchen.
also, going to paint those red chairs to match the white cabinets. 

bedroom, love the reading nook.

taking a bath is one of my all time favorites. so this is AMAZING. 
and yes i used the flash. shame.

white cabinets in the two upstairs baths. 
the downstairs bath has a pedestal sink. (!)

i believe God has a sense of humor. 
and after a year of praying to Him, 
asking that our house would sell, 
and that we could find a great home in daybreak, 
we found the house of our dreams. 
and this is what we see from the front door.

ha, ha God, good one. 

still need to hang pictures, wallpaper bathrooms,
unpack, paint things different colors, etc.
but you get the general idea.

darling right?? 


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