The End

When the ground began to shake, forming human size gaps in it’s core,

we knew this was the end.

When the trees began to fall and the sky began to rumble deep in it’s belly

we heard the cries.

Mothers reached for their children,

Fathers didn’t have arms big enough to hold everyone they wanted,

Doctors rushed to save any life they could,

Fire fighters tried in vain to stop the burning,

Police officers fought to regain control –

I held onto myself, watching as the world I complained about so often

fell in shambles around me and all I could think was

if only we could go back a few days

Maybe I could stop the burning before it began.

 

-CM

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Stop Worrying

Image may contain: Chantelle Mathewson, eyeglasses, selfie and closeup

Dear me (whenever you may find this),

You are going to want to give up. If there is one thing I know for certain right now, as I sit here in my chicken pj’s in a tiny one bedroom apartment, waiting for our boyfriend to come home with some Halloween candy is this – you are going to feel like running. Not from anything, not to anything, just leaving – because that’s easier than staying and fighting. Because running is the easiest thing in the world to do. Giving up takes no effort, you don’t have to face anything – giving up is the quitters way out, and there are going to be so many times that you desperately want to take this route.

Don’t.

You are going to want a do over. There are going to be times when you’re sitting on your bathroom floor, a towel draped over your body, your hair drenched and soaking your skin, and you are going to want a way to travel back in time. You will be sobbing, slamming your fists into the tub until your knuckles bleed, begging whatever higher power there might be to just rip you away from here, because this pain hurts too much.

They won’t.

You are going to make it. There are going to be moments, after the crying, after the spacing in front of a computer screen, after the missing and the waiting, after the pain – moments that will make every wrong turn, every seemingly horrible mistake – so incredibly worth it. Moments, when even the things you thought you regretted the most, you would do all over again if it meant you got this moment – this moment right here – to do over again.

Cherish this.

Cherish this life. It doesn’t matter where you are right now. It doesn’t matter what part of you is hurting. It doesn’t matter how badly you think you screwed up, how badly you want a chance to change something – cherish this life, each breath, each moment, each and every second means something.

Cherish it.

Love,

Me (twenty one years old about to eat a shit ton of candy with my boyfriend in our one bedroom apartment four hours away from home in a chicken costume – struggling – but happy)

Who I am Today

I am not the same person I was five years ago. I am not the same person I was a year ago even, or honestly, a month ago. I hope that you aren’t either.

Every day, I learn something new. I am constantly evolving and changing. Sometimes, these changes aren’t for the better. Some days, I look into the mirror and I don’t like what I see. But tomorrow, I have the power to change that. In the next minute, I have the power to change. That is the beauty of this journey that we call life. We don’t have to remain the same person every second, every day, every year – we can shift and evolve as many times as we like. This is something I didn’t fully understand until this past year.

Throughout High School, as many do, I was struggling to find who I was. For a majority of the four years I spent there, I was very unhappy. Not because of the school or the people, but because I felt like I needed to know who I was, who I wanted to be, and I had no idea who either of those people were.

Now, having graduated High School three years ago, having gone to college for almost three years and hating it, and now working as a waitress with no real idea of what career I want to end up in, my first reaction having become this girl was shame. A little less than a year ago, when I admitted to myself that college wasn’t working for me, I was angry. I was mad at myself, because I was supposed to be the girl who had it all figured out. I did very well in High School, my grades were always high. My grades were great in college too, but I was a different person than the girl who had first enrolled.

I’m not angry at that girl anymore. I’m not angry at myself anymore. I was finally able to accept that I am shifting every day, and that being angry with that doesn’t make much sense.

Five years ago, I was a teenager struggling with her identity, shy and extremely introverted. Three years ago I was finally truly happy with where I was and who I was for the first time that I could remember. Last year, I was a very sad girl again and I thought for a while that I was never going to be happy again. Yesterday, I was empowered, strong, I felt on top of the world. Today, I am missing someone, this morning I was pretty scared for the safety of someone I love, and I didn’t feel all that strong. Tomorrow, who knows who I’ll be. But that’s just it.

I can be whoever I want to be. Happy, sad, strong, excited. Vegan, fitness oriented, lazy, relaxed. Whoever and whatever I want to be – I can be it today. And tomorrow I can be the same girl or someone else entirely.

It’s totally up to me. As far as we know for certain, we only get this one life. There is a real beauty in that I wish more people would see. Why stay the same when there are so many beautiful things to be?

Letting Go vs. Forgetting

I would like to be able to say that I don’t have room in my life for hatred, for bad feelings towards people. I am working toward that reality, but currently, I’m not in that place. I have forgiven, but I haven’t forgotten.

However every person that has touched my life, touched it for a reason. Who knows where I would be today if certain things hadn’t happened, if I hadn’t met certain people. For that, I thank even the bullies and  the family members that chose not to be a part of my life. I thank the friends who abandoned me in my times of need. I thank them all, because I am in love with the person I am now, and who knows if I would be her had I not been forced to grow strong with these forces pushing against me.

Even then, I still harbor resentment. I know it’s unhealthy, as an alcoholic knows the drink is bad but keeps drinking anyway. I know to truly move on, I have to at least let it go. Maybe not forget it completely, but let it all be in the past. I am not there yet, but I am here –

There is not a single person who has touched my life, that if they came to me asking for help, I would turn them away. Life is too short to watch others struggle and simply stand by with the compass in your pocket.

I understand that there are exceptions to this rule; there are people who have done things that should never be forgiven, and perhaps don’t deserve the help that you have to offer. Maybe they can accept the help from someone else, but it’s not your place.

To summarize a long story and make it rather short – I am learning to let go of the past. It’s healthy. Learn from it, remember the lesson, but let the pain go. This journey is too short to continue blaming others for our pain. Help people when you can. Offer a hand when you can. We’re all going to arrive at the same destination, we’re just taking different paths. We’re all human.

Act like it.

Lessons with Harry Potter

Harry Potter has saved me numerous times. My big sister read the series to me when I was little, and I have read it myself at least five times since. The messages to gather from the story are ever changing, the characters I relate to ever revolving, and no matter my age, I am convinced Harry Potter will continue to stay a part of me.

The first time I heard the story, Ron was hands down my favorite character. As a struggling preteen who didn’t seem to fit in anywhere, I related to his bright red hair and protruding ears; his awkwardness made me feel not quite as alone. He also had an amazing best friend that he would do anything for, which I connected to as well.

While Ron is still a favorite of mine, as I progressed through middle school, Hermione scooted into the number one spot with her brightness and bushy hair. Her loyalty to her classes and friends no matter what others thought of her helped me accept that maybe I wasn’t born to fit in, and that was perfectly okay.

Luna and Neville, also misfits seemingly cursed to always be on the outside, helped me realize that the outside is the place to be. This is where you make the best friends and learn the best lessons.

Of course, the main character and hero of the story, Harry Potter, deserves a shout out. While he wouldn’t of won without the help of his friends, Harry had an unwavering strength that is unquestionable. Without parents his whole life, believing no one loved him for the first eleven years of it, he never let the world harden him.

Snape, Sirius, and Dumbledore also make the list of my all time favorite Harry Potter characters. Each have their own redeeming qualities, strength and intelligence prevalent in each, and the undying will to keep Harry Potter safe at all costs. Each with their own agenda, there is no question that all three deserve applause, as each ultimately gave their life for Harry Potter.

There are so many other characters that deserve recognition, but too many to name in only one blog post. Others for another day would include Dobby, Ginny, Lupin, Mad Eye Moody, Hagrid, and many, many more. J.K Rowling carefully carved out each character, giving each a life and a personality unmatched to any other series I have read.

Which character was your favorite the first time you read the novels? Did that opinion change the next time you read it? What did you learn from each character?

I would love to hear what you have to say, please feel free to share!

For the love of an Introvert

I am an introvert. The dictionary definition describes us as “a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things”, as opposed to the dictionary definition of an extrovert being – “a person predominantly concerned with external things or objective considerations”. These are the psychological definitions, while simplified labels are shy versus outgoing. While no one can be boxed completely into either category, we all lean more heavily into one state of being. For me, I have always enjoyed the quiet of being alone with my thoughts, rather than abundant conversations and other activities that require me to socialize.

There is always an exception to this rule. Of course, I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, and if you were to see me around my family, best friend or boyfriend, you would have no idea that I am normally very quiet and closed off.

While the dictionary would label me as “shy”, this isn’t a term I connect with. I choose to keep to myself not because I am nervous or timid, but simply because that is what feels right to me. Sure, I have a history with social anxiety, but this keeps me from leaving my house – not from speaking when I actually do. I have no problem expressing my opinion if I am angry or irritated, or overjoyed even. I just don’t feel the need to always speak on the mundane and simple topics that normally fill everyday conversation.

For the longest time, I was ashamed to be labeled as an introvert. I thought there must be something wrong with me, some wiring in my brain that kept me from wanting to talk. I would beat myself up over it, and admire the people that could strike up a conversation about the tiniest of things, making friends as easy as counting to three.

I embrace the label now. I am proudly an introvert – if you feel the need to label me this way – because of the qualities that come with it. I am a good listener, an abundant feeler, and when I do choose to speak, I know I am saying the right thing. My opinions and thoughts are well thought out, I care deeply about everything and everyone, and I enjoy my own company. I don’t fear being alone with my thoughts anymore, because I am one of my own best friends.

Which label do you fall under? I personally find that most of us fall somewhere in between, and that is perfectly okay.

 

Sisters, Biological and Other

Anybody who knows me, knows I’m the middle child of three girls. It’s not exactly something I keep a secret, being the middle child irritated me for the longest time. Growing up, it seemed no matter what happened, I was always in the middle. My older sister got things first, my younger sister got things last, and I just…well I just existed. This isn’t a new realization. Middle children have been screaming their battle cries for decades. There is a reason we are commonly known as the most outspoken, the loudest. We have fought our whole lives for a spot in our own families, it isn’t hard for us to fight for a spot in the world as well.

As I grew up, however, it became less important to me where I ranked in the birth order of my siblings, and more important that I even had them. My sisters, biological and other, have been my best friends since the minute I was born. Well, in my younger sisters case, since the minute she was born. Our house has always been full of estrogen, arguments fueled by hormones, and way too much clothes. The smell of perfume has always been suffocating, and nothing is just yours unless you write your name on it. Even then, ownership is risky.

Having sisters means always having a friend. And whether this is a cliche or not, it’s an undeniable truth. I can’t preach about the amazing life of having a brother, as many do. When I was younger, having a big brother was something I dreamed about endlessly, picturing a protective figure, someone who always had my back while also making my life a living hell with his teasing and harmless jokes. Instead though, I found this in cousins, in uncles, and in my father. Every gap I thought existed was filled in one way or another, my sisters and I forming a small group of soldiers that were a force to be reckoned with.

Since the youngest sister was born, our band has been known as the Three Elles. A title given to us fondly for the ending of all of our names. It was always a given however, that when you saw those three blonde heads in the crowd, there was always a certain brunette to be found somewhere close by. Another sister, not biological, but to me just as important. Us four, we are the ocean, and no matter where we wander, how far apart we may float, when one of us needs the other, our waves will come crashing down in unison.

Families, siblings, they are essential, and each bond is unique, something that can’t be explained in mere paragraphs. For me, these bonds would take novels to even brush the surface of the love I feel for each person in my tiny army. My wonderful parents would need trilogies all to themselves, a story for another day. However, as this tiny circle starts to grow, adding brother in laws, significant others, nephews and nieces, there isn’t a single thing in this world I am more thankful for than my tiny little army. Sisters, biological or other.