Friday, July 8, 2016


Jealousy is an interesting thing. It's a tiny monster, a green creature, a small speck of doubt in the back of your mind. It's always there, nagging, begging for attention. It grips you with its claws, and once it has you in its grasp, you will never be free again.

I get jealous very easily. Whether it's a friendship, or more often than not, a relationship, jealousy shows up like an unwanted relative at the door, demanding that I let it in.

Jealousy makes me bitter and snappy. I turn against people, and fear that I'll be left behind. It's bigger than a feeling for me now: some days it's more of a lifestyle. Not one I want, but one none the less. Always there, always whispering, always waiting to find my weak points. To stab the uncertainty into my insecurities, the chink in my armor. The second that doubt seeps into my mind, it's over. The monster claws at its chains, reaching and spitting, as I sit there quietly, and laugh it off.

Laugh it off, it really helps to laugh it all off. The laughing covers the sound of the doubt, the deafening silence that it produces. The laughter rises over the growling monster and the clinking chains. It rises and bubbles and no one can tell that the glint in my eyes is not just the sun shining brightly. It's the tears and the fears and the uncertainty that I live with daily.

Pretend not to care pretend not to care. People judge, when they learn about the monster living in my head. Why they do, I will never know. They all have their own monsters and their own doubt, but they judge all the same. I don't want to be the jealous friend, the clingy girlfriend. Yet the monster that's part of me is afraid: I don't want to be the friendless and the lonely. I'm so afraid of being left behind that I believe the doubts, the fears.

It doesn't go away. I've gotten better at controlling it, but it never leaves. I don't know why I have the monster anyway: maybe I was left one too many times as a child. It's anyone's guess, really. But it doesn't go away. You just learn to cope.

I learn to fall, even if I am so afraid that no one will catch me. I learn to let go, I learn to breathe. It doesn’t go away, but I learn to work through it, slowly. The laughing, the lashing out, the pretending. And the doubt... so much doubt, in the darkest corners of my mind.

Don't think I'm just this way by choice. I didn't choose this, and I'm working to alter it. To tame the monster in its cage, to work with the creature so we can both be free. I just get jealous because you're the best thing I've had in a long time, because I can't imagine losing what I now have. 

So please, think twice before you judge me and the monster living in my head, because I know you have your own battles to fight, however different. You and I are one and the same, both lost and spiraling through a beautiful yet terrifying world. Trying to figure everything out.

I live with a monster in my head, I live with constant jealousy. Constant doubt. Constant fear. I don't want to be the jealous friend, or the clingy girlfriend, but if you love me then you'll have to learn to work with me. I may have my monster, small and green, but I know that you have yours as well.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Beauty V.S. Perfection

When did beauty become perfection? When did we stop telling our daughters and sons that beauty comes from inside, and start buying them makeup and telling them to work out? Now our teenagers are plastic and insecure, searching for a fake perfection that isn’t really perfect at all. 

Beauty is not this.

Beauty is not makeup caked on faces and muscular boys with perfect hair. It isn't what you need to get a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Beauty like that is irrelevant to both love and life. 

Society would tell me that the boy I love is imperfect in so many ways, but they would be wrong. He is beautiful and perfect to ME, regardless of his “imperfections”. He doesn’t spend an hour on his hair in the morning, and I love the way it sticks up. He doesn’t have crazy buff arms, and yet his hugs are still the best thing in this world.

I think he's beautiful, just like he thinks I am beautiful. I don’t have flawless skin or perfect eyebrows, but he loves it all any way. I don’t need all that foundation and eyeliner to feel beautiful, because I AM beautiful.

And maybe society would disagree. Call me ugly, and say that they could fix that pimple with some concealer, and pluck my brows. Tell me that they could MAKE me beautiful. But I don’t need them to think I’m beautiful if I already know that I am.

I always was, and I always will be beautiful, regardless of what society says. Because what they say isn't what matters. Beauty is not perfection- it never was, and it never will be. 
Remember that: Perfect is perfect, but beauty is something else. 

Beauty is a newborn child being held in their mother's arms for the first time. 

Beauty is a father dressing up like a princess to have a tea party with his daughter. 

Beauty is the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. 

Beauty is a 70 year old man holding hands with his wife of 50 years, and beauty is the glimmer in the eye of someone as you catch their gaze from across the room. 

Beauty is bubbling laughter, the kind that spills around the room and makes everyone else laugh along. 

Beauty is a little boy handing a dollar to that man on the corner, the homeless veteran who fought for us all in his younger days. 

Beauty is a first love, and beauty is a last breath, surrounded by family. 

Beauty is happiness and light, and the goodness in the world we live in. 

Beauty is not perfection, so stop thinking it is. The most perfect person isn’t the most beautiful on the inside OR the outside. 
Regardless of your race and gender, no matter what anyone tells you: You are BEAUTIFUL. 

Not perfect, but beautiful. And stay that way. 


Monday, May 2, 2016

A Note

A note to the world:

Please stop. I know you think you’re being funny, but stop the cancer jokes. Cancer is not a joke, nor is rape, hunger, or death.

Cancer is not a joke.

It’s not funny, although you and your friends all laugh. It’s not amusing in the slightest, not to me, and not to the survivors. Not to the fallen.

Cancer is not a joke.

You say that I have no right to tell you what you can joke about. But in fact, I do. Cancer runs as close as it can in my blood without me being the patient myself. No right? My mom had the disease, stage 1B breast cancer. My grandma did too- stage 2B. I watched them lose hair, strength, and dignity. Reconstructing the broken pieces of feminism the disease left behind for them.

Cancer is not a joke.

No right? At 12, my family sat around the dinner table, crying, preparing for the inevitable. That same year, I had to go to middle school and pretend that I wasn’t scared, that I wasn’t sitting there waiting for the bell to ring so I could see how my mother’s most recent surgery went. Had to pretend that I hadn’t spent my night visiting my mother in the hospital, had to pretend that I cared about homework and worthless numbers.

At 13, I watched my strong and independent mother cry because she could no longer run or throw a Frisbee. Because the surgeries to save her life had left her broken.

And now I let the aftermath run over me. Daily. The risk of re-occurrence hanging heavy over our heads. It could come back. But when, but when? No one knows. Best not to worry, live each day to the fullest. Cause you might not be here tomorrow.

Cancer is not a joke.

My aunt died of it, and the harsh laughs you send out over a stupid joke pound like nails into my mind, over and over. She didn’t die a death lacking dignity. Her son, my age, should never have to hear these kids and their jeers. So if I have no right, does he?

Cancer is not a joke.

It burns. Each time, it stings. It gets easier to manage, yet the ache never goes away.

6th grade, running out of the classroom to cry in the bathroom over a presentation two boys gave, making breast cancer a joke.

7th grade, breaking down after a teacher brought the subject up and dismissed the survivors as weak and attention hungry.

8th grade, wishing the boys in the corner would stop talking, so the urge to scream would go away.

9th grade, wincing as it’s joked about in the hallways, in the classrooms.
It gets easier, but it never gets better.

Cancer is not a joke.

So world, please stop making jokes like this. Leave rape, insecurities, sexual preferences, starvation, poverty, and cancer out of the joking topics. Period. No excuses. Because it hurts, and it’s never funny.

It silently tears people like me down every damn day.

Next time you joke, don’t say “you’re gay” or “I’m being raped” or “I’m gonna get skin cancer it’s so hot out here.” No, I’m not gay and he isn’t either. You’re not being raped- and that isn’t funny. And just because it’s hot does not mean your family and life is about to be flipped upside down.

Cancer is not a joke.

Thank you,
Cancer survivors, caretakers, and supporters


Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Mirror

I look into the mirror.

I’m convinced my mirror lies. I think it has it out for me: it certainly is a unique creation, that mirror. I look half decent today, standing there in my jeans and t-shirt, hair down and smirk on my face. I look okay.

My mirror tells me I look okay.

But it lies, that mirror. The pictures I take are shameful and gross. My hair is everywhere, and my outfit is messy, wrinkled and strange. The reflections in hallway windows and on phone screens all tell me the same as those photos, and concrete my insecurities: I’m ugly. I’m awkward. I’m unfashionable.

My mirror tells me I look okay.

I don’t try too hard, so I can’t complain too much. I don’t cake on makeup, and I don’t buy expensive outfits. I care more about my perfect GPA than I ever will about whether or not my clothing matches. Priorities priorities priorities. But I still want to feel beautiful.

My mirror tells me I look okay.

I am not fat: not by any stretch of the imagination. Before you hate me for that, realize that just because I have a good body, doesn’t mean I’m confident. Perfection perfection perfection. My stomach may be flat and toned, but my chest could be larger. My legs may be proportional but maybe I don’t always want to have those massive muscles. My shoulders are defined but also quite broad. I’m fit and athletic, in shape. I'm strong. But maybe I want to feel petite and delicate as well, feel feminine. Choices and choices, mark what you hate and accent what you love.

My mirror tells me I look okay.

People call me beautiful. I mean, I suppose it’s their right, to call someone beautiful. Yet I can’t say that I’ll ever see it. My face isn’t nearly crystal clear. My skin is bruised and certainly not perfect. And as much as they tell me that I'm beautiful, in the end, it all doesn't matter. Compliments are compliments, but when all is said and done, I need to believe in myself. If I don't believe I'm beautiful, then I shall never believe the compliments.

My mirror tells me I look okay.

I want to feel beautiful. I want to feel perfect. My mirror may lie but I want to believe it. My skin may not be flawless, but whose is? My body may have things that I am not fond of, but it’s MY body. And my mind is sharp and quick, so why shouldn’t I love myself? Why should I believe myself not worthy of love, why should I hate my pictures and search for constant, endless validation? Why should I avoid windows and reflections? I shouldn’t.

I want to feel beautiful.

My mirror tells me I look okay. It may lie, but for just once, I would like to believe it.

I want to feel beautiful.
Let me feel beautiful.

I look into the mirror.

I'm convinced my mirror lies. I think it has it out for me: it certainly is a unique creation, that mirror. But so am I, and I am beautiful. So maybe it doesn't lie, maybe it just sees me the way the world does. Regardless, it doesn't matter. My mirror makes me feel beautiful. So I ignore the reflections in windows and on screens, and all the bad photos.

I am beautiful. Let me be beautiful.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Cancer

It came as a surprise.

It was never supposed to happen, and it was never prepared for. My mother was untouchable, she was immortal. She was the all seeing and healthy mom, the one who needed to be there for me. She needed to drive me around, and buy me things. She needed to cheer at my competitions, and support me in school. But my mom was sick. Cancer is a brutal beast, stopping for nothing and halting for no one.

The cancer doesn't care. It doesn't hesitate to dull a childhood or take a life. And we knew that, my brother and I. Cancer was no stranger to us at 10 and 12 years of age, and we had seen our fair share of the monster it could be. So naturally, we were afraid. We were too young to lose our mother. She had yet to see us graduate from middle school, much less get married and have children. We wanted her to live, we needed her to live.

She wanted to live too, of course. She had two children and a husband, and a life to keep living. She knew that the cancer would fight, but she vowed that she would fight back harder.

The result was much better than expected. The stage was small, and the relief in the air was obvious. 'It will be okay' we were told. 'Don't worry'. So we didn't worry much.

But the doctors don't mention the side effects. The important things. That just because your mother isn't going to die, doesn't mean she isn't going to suffer. And that just because you are lucky doesn't mean you are free. Treatments and surgeries began, and by my 13th year, I knew more about the medical system than most adults do in their whole lives.

My mom was alive, yes. Yet mom could no longer take the kids places, and mom was always resting, always crying. My mother had changed, and we all knew that she could never change back.

My father was wonderful, but no one can protect their children from something that strong. He fed us and kept us healthy while mom went from one surgery to the next, getting a double mastectomy and reconstruction. Purchasing scars with painkillers on the side.

Soon cancer was gone, and it was time to go back to normal. Just as quickly as it had all started, it ended. That's the other thing the doctors don't mention- the struggle of going back to normal. For normal was impossible to achieve for us now, after facing such a shock. We were supposed to feel relived, and lucky. But how can you feel lucky when your mother cries every time she looked in the mirror, and your father has aged many years in mere months?

We tried desperately to scrub the cancer from our household, in vain. The vile scent lingered in the air and in the hushed whispers between parents while kids were asleep. The worry of recurrence hung heavy over us, seeping into our bones like cancer itself. But the cancer was hidden, and the only signs came in forms of tears behind closed doors and into pillows.

And as for the 14 year old, she was now wiser than anyone had ever wished her to be. For the cancer had torn through her life like a tornado, tearing everything up and flinging it around, and when the storm had ended, they had picked up their things and put them back again. But you can never forget a storm that big, no matter how hard you pretend it never happened, and how much you wish it hadn't.