Just Rocks

I thought taking Physical Geology would be fun. Good for me. A knowledgeable experience. I chose a Bachelors of Science because I’d rather learn about the Earth than spend 4 semesters in a foreign language I’ll never really master, and probably forget the moment I graduate. So, I signed up for Geology, because rocks.

Do you remember in grade school, how they would teach us Sedimentary, Metamorphic, and Igneous rocks? I always loved that unit. I love staring at the cliffs lining highways and the crazy lines running across the cut faces. I thought I could handle this class….after all, it’s 10x better than Biology.

Oh how wrong I was…

My TA looks like Glenn from The Walking Dead. This is the only thing going for him, in my opinion. He’s awful at teaching. He doesn’t answer questions, and when he does, he tells me in vague replies that don’t suit my learning style at all. I need you to show me the difference between Fracture and Cleavage on a rock and explain why it is so. Half the time, we ask him a question about a rock, he picks it up, flicks it around a bit, then tells us “this is a nice specimen. good cleavage.” or something like that, then walks away. Knowledge gained=zero.

On the first lab day, he informed us that we would be having a Midterm Practical the week before Spring Break (TODAY). He didn’t lie to us at all. Apparently less than half the entire Physical Geology class (all sections included) passes the Practical. Now, help me out here….WHY WOULD YOU CONTINUE TO GIVE A TEST THAT NO ONE CAN SEEM TO DO WELL ON? I’ve heard of professors like these who love to watch students retake their classes again and again. I even know of one who dresses up as Satan on test days. Why.

Upon realizing the test was a week away, I immediately set out to make my trusty flash cards. I figured that if I could memorize how to characterize the rocks and minerals before tutoring on Friday, I could go in, get some pictures in my head to match the characteristics, and continue studying over the weekend. I did just that. I felt so good about everything after tutoring! I had been studying twice a day all week, had the rocks and minerals pretty much down, and I still had two more days to go. Then came Saturday. My brain was tired…I couldn’t handle the flashcards. Sunday….no flashcards. Today, I resigned myself to whatever fate was in store for me. If I knew it, I knew it. After a weekend of seeing flashcards with Dolostone, Calcite, and Gneiss pop into my head with little information to follow, I was ready to be done with my Practical.

As I waited outside to be called in alongside lab mates and students from other labs, I heard a group of girls discussing the Practicals they took last year. Because, you know, they didn’t pass last year. Because this class sucks. My lab group was shocked to hear the test would not be multiple choice after all. (HE. PROMISED. MULTIPLE. CHOICE. Damn it Glenn!!!) I set down my flash cards and stared at the wall until I was called. Resigned.

There was no way I could have been prepared for this. This Practical might seem easy to majors who have spent they’re entire college experience categorizing rocks, but not a lab of non majors who only meet once a week for 2 hours. Every week we were introduced to a new batch of about ten rocks with a new batch of characteristic terms and identification tools. I’ve spent a month in this class, there was no way. At each table there were about ten different rocks with one or two questions associated with them. Some were naming, some were about technical texture terms, some were about placing the rocks on the Hardness scale.

At one point I got to a rock that had two questions to it. I don’t remember the questions. I think I only answered one. I remember dropping to eye level with the rock and staring at it for a long time, because there was no way for me to characterize it. My brain had failed me for at least the twentieth time in that hour. To me, it was just a rock. It had no name other than rock. Because, in all honesty, that’s all they are. They’re rocks. You pick up a rock on the side of the road, and it may be comprised of minerals with names, but this was just a rock. I could have seen this very rock in my front yard back home. There was absolutely nothing special about it….so I sighed, stood up, and moved on.

Not much later, I was on the final table. I picked up a rock and immediately knew it was Hematite. Two questions belonged to this rock, to which I knew the name of. Do you know how often I absolutely knew the names of the rocks and minerals during that test? Once.  Hematite. You want to know what questions belonged to Hematite? Not “what is the name of this rock?” I can assure you. I knew it was Hematite. I didn’t know its economical uses or whatever the second question was. At that point, I wanted to begin writing all of the knowledge I had gathered on my answer sheet, because I have knowledge in this class. I know things. That….I didn’t know. It frustrated me to no end. I moved on.

Halite, Calcite, and Quartz look very similar. Calcite bubbles in acid and Halite tastes salty. I’ve tasted Halite before, just out of curiosity, but I wasn’t going to lick it in the middle of my Practical. So I stared at it for a minute or two, playing Einie-Meenie- Minie- Mo in my head. (Get ready to be proud, mom) Then I remembered “You can see daylight through the Halite”, decided this mineral was clear enough to be so, and wrote it down. That’s about as confident of an answer as I was gonna get on that test.

I left a few blank. I guessed on too many. I probably only got a handful right out of fifty questions. The point of this pitiful story is….don’t take Geology if you don’t have to. It’s not just Sedimentary, Igneous, and Metamorphic anymore.

Breaking a Myth

I wasn’t planning on spending my first week back in town by myself in our rather large apartment. I didn’t want to. When I learned everyone else would go back to their lives after our New Years get-together, I instantly dreaded these two days alone. What is there to do in a tiny ghost town with no friends present to accompany you?

Tonight I stood in front of my mirror and silently praised myself for not breaking down and wallowing in my isolated misery. And then I was struck with a lifetime of memories, voices telling me to be alone with myself, get to know myself, be single, etc. I laughed and thought, what could being single have to do with analyzing your person and learning who you want to be? Why do I need to be single to come to terms with the character I’ve been for 20 years?

I started dating my freshman year of high school and I haven’t really stopped since. I don’t think I’ve gone more than a few months as a single person since I started dating. Most call me ‘boy crazy’, some even went so far as to call my ‘church girl’ nature an act and I was really a whore. I call it trying. I was trying in all the wrong places…but I was trying none the less. Through out this time, I’ve been told the “advice” you read above. Because apparently I have too much on my plate when I try to live life while in a relationship. So why stop at the boyfriend? Why not cut out every single person I have a relationship with so I can focus on the all important ME? As if I haven’t spent 20 years staring at ME in the mirror and witnessing first hand the life of ME?

See, I find it very odd that people who have known me for as little as 2 years to 10 years find it their duty to inform me I don’t know myself. My oldest friend has been in my life for around 17 years and even though she has the most right to give me said advice, she has never taken the chance. I could bring in thousands of bible references and what not, but I’m going to leave this paragraph at the word hypocrisy.

Do you ever look at the people around you and wonder if they have the same intelligent thought processes you do? Do you ever wonder what makes them tick, how they think, their motivations, their opinions? I do. I do all the time. This is only a fraction of the miles of forests that would die if my every day thoughts were put on paper. I’m going to be honest….half the time what comes out of my mouth does not reflect what goes on inside. I’m sure that’s a problem most if not everyone has. I don’t need to be single to reflect on past actions, future actions, and life long dreams. I do that every second of every day. I reflect on that embarrassing moment at the dance hall while I do the dishes, I reminisce on interactions with teachers, family, friends, and strangers before I sleep at night. I study my face and body in my mirror as I wash my hands or after my shower, noting imperfections and loving other features. I know myself better than anyone on this planet. The only one who could know me better than I do is God. My boyfriend of 2 1/2 years is still learning what it means to be me.

It’s funny because dating boys helped me to learn about myself and shape my character into someone I was proud of. They never once held me back from growing, because when they did, I left. I’ve always been flighty, but it’s important to making ME.

I’ve become very independent through many experiences, most of them dating related. I’ve had to face a possible future without my boyfriend and I hate it, not because I need him, but because he has become such an important part of my life and I thoroughly enjoy having him. I could stand without him. I would be a little wobbly at first, but I could. Who wouldn’t be wobbly after such a long relationship? When you have someone beside you and suddenly they’re gone, it’s shattering. If this isn’t an indication of my independence and confidence in my being, then I don’t know what is.

I’m sitting on my couch, eating 3 Musketeers Bites, and watching Scandal, and I can’t help but think this is how you get to know yourself. Not by blocking your heart off to love, but being independent and unafraid to meditate. Later I’m going to call my sweet boyfriend and enjoy having a best friend to love me for me.

 

 

In Case You Wanted to Know My Nose Troubles

The cedar came in the day before Christmas. We all felt it, and I (being the experienced allergy-sufferer that I am) began to build up my Clariton D defense.

But suddenly my trusty pills weren’t good enough for the big bad cedar epidemic of 2015. After opening presents, playing games, and being more social than I usually am, allergies hit me hard. And there was nothing I could do but blow my nose and sleep…

Over the weekend the irritation settled into my throat and I dealt with it, assuming this was the end of my attack as it usually is. No. Not even close. Yesterday I lost my voice, which was fine by me. The only good thing about getting a sore throat as a child was the possibility of losing my voice and getting to talk in funny voices. By last night, I was struggling with my own Niagara Falls.

Let me fill you in on how my night played out. Every few minutes I dragged my aching body into another position, hoping it would be the one to send me off to sleep so my nose could run without bothering me. I wasn’t granted such peace. With every turn, I got to rest for just a little bit before it was time to sit up and blow again. By the end of the night, tissues littered a trail from the side of my bed to the trash can under my vanity. Earlier in the night I attempted to steam out my poor nose with some hot lemon tea. Failure on all accounts. That mug sat with full contents over the night, growing colder as it thought about all the ways it had failed the coughing teenager in bed.

The Essential Oils diffuser my lovely aunt had bought me along with a few new bottles to add to my small collection back in my apartment didn’t help much. The ingredients I needed are sitting on my dresser, 4 hours away. So, I became resourceful. I armed myself with Lavender (the only ingredient I did have) and Peace/Calm (a sleep aid EO) while I waited for my clariton to kick in, but even when I could smell the change of atmosphere in the room, my poor head refused aid. So, when I was still awake in the hours I consider “panic hours” (def: the hours in which I start counting down the amount of sleep I will get before it’s time to wake up, and when I start worrying about how I will get those precious hours) I began to pop pills. Our medicine cabinet was horribly devoid of allergy season meds, but I did find a lone zytec, and some sudafed. With these swimming around in my stomach, I went back to bed.

Today sucked. I feel like I have the flu and activity for more than a few minutes has me back on the bed fighting down nausea. I haven’t written in so long, even this grotesque, over detailed anecdote is enough to post. So while I stare longingly at the chicken soup sitting sadly on my table and scroll through netflix so I don’t die of boredom while I’m dying, enjoy my story. We’ve all been in this moment of helpless pain. Yall have to understand.

Lessons on Perspective

News flash: terrorists can enter the United States as refugees, immigrants, and tourists. But here’s the shocker: United States citizens can wake up one day and become terrorists too. And they have.

I’m talking, white as a piece of paper, devout Christian, 5th generation Americans.

So what are we to do? Close our borders, unless we’re waging war on other countries? Allow suspicion of our fellow country men to grow until we encounter more than 1 or 2 shootings a day? (This year, we have had more mass shootings than amount of days we’ve gone through on the calendar. Does that not worry you?)

Americans aren’t saints simply because they’re Americans. Muslims aren’t terrorists simply because they’re Muslim. Middle Easterners aren’t Muslim simply because they’re Middle Easterners. Refugees are none of this, simply because they are refugees. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t judge based off stereotypes. Don’t judge at all. It seems I’m always spouting common sense lessons we learn when we’re toddlers…you’d think they would stick.

News flash: it is not possible to protect your country from terrorists. They’ll do as they please. 

After 9/11, we smacked the Middle East with horrible casualties for over a decade trying to eradicate the terrorists in charge. In the end we didn’t eradicate Al Queda. They live on to wreak havoc another day. All we did was send millions of troops to ransack villages and bomb Iraq to pieces. Now we have millions of dead men, leaving their families to try to survive without them, millions of veterans we can’t seem to take care of after they sacrificed so much, and countless broken families on the other side. Broken families who mirror us in pain and sorrow, if not more. But we’ve forgotten them. We hate them. We hate them because of where they live. Did you ever stop to think they might hate us for the same reason? They have even more reason to hate us. We tore their lives apart.

Yeah, we got Saddam Hussein. Yay. I’ll admit, the world is a better place without him. But that doesn’t put a stop to the terror, obviously. He’s a player in a larger game than any of us can comprehend. All he did was hold a place that will be taken over and over again, no matter how many secret assassin missions our government sends out.

That anger you feel over 9/11 and the Boston Bombing and Paris and every other tragic act of terrorism? That horrible, tear filled, scream inducing, object throwing, burning rage that builds every time you remember the innocent deaths? That occurs daily in the hearts of citizens across the ocean. All it takes is one man to say “enough” and you have another to take Hussein’s place.

Revenge is empty. Suicide bombers die with their detonations, yet we scream for more blood. More heads on sticks to dance around. We all do, not just Americans. We’ve all lost too many in our efforts to avenge. It’s a never ending circle of death and destruction, and I simply do not understand the point.

Those posters say “Fighting for Freedom”…but honestly, I think you’re about 240 years late. They can bomb us all they want, but they can’t take over our country like they do elsewhere. Our freedom remains. Well….to an extent. That’s politics for another post. Point is; we fought for our freedom. We don’t need to defend it. As long as we are Americans to the truest sense of the word (not the crappy Americans we are today), Freedom will never leave. We’re not defending the people who died…that would be revenge. If we are attacked, as we have been, we should follow France and our previous actions; a swift attack to send a message of strength. A calculated strike to hit the core of the tree of evil. Japan destroyed Pearl Harbor. We dropped 2 bombs on them in a swift, clean, counter attack. They stopped. (let it be known that those bombs had after effects that will run on for many generations. let’s not do that again. But message received!) France ordered a counter strike on ISIS capital to show they will not be beat. Any other tragic events afterwards? no. Did they start a war to “defend their country”? no. Did they continue to welcome refugees afterwards? absolutely. Is America still having trouble grasping the notion of kindness? In the most shameful display of cowardice and everything-phobia.

I’ve already pleaded for us to see the difference between needy and malevolent. We cry out for war, for more strict immigration/refugee laws, for the ability to wear guns every day….all in an effort to protect ourselves…but what we don’t see is that none of these things protect us. We already have some of the most strict laws to filter incoming citizens. (look it up, you’d be surprised.) Our wars only breed more hate filled terrorists and kill our beloved soldiers. Citizens with guns haven’t stopped the 353 mass shootings this year, or the countless murders popping up on social media daily. I’ve actually only head of a handful of situations where armed vigilante efforts derailed a disaster. Now it’s time to plead for a change in perspective.

We all have our families. Most cherish their families.

We all have our homes. We’ve been nurturing said homes for years. We stock our homes with memories and precious keepsakes.

We all try to live our religious/non-religious lives. Each religion is important and valuable to the World Culture. None can and should be discredited, because in the end we’re all talking to an invisible man in the sky somehow, whether it’s through a cross, a green statue, or a tree. Some have more than one invisible man, some broaden him to the Universe, some just see it as fate. We all have our legitimate beliefs.

We’ve all suffered loss, through war, age, tragedy, and sickness.

We’re all humans.

The end of suffering is the beginning of perspective, tolerance, and generosity.

 

 

Bored With Being Insignificant

I’m bored. I’m bored with talking. I’m bored with writing. I’m bored with Netflix. I’m bored with Facebook. I’m bored with this town. I’m restless. It’s as if I’m waiting for something, but Lord knows what that is. I search my computer, flipping through tabs for something to do. I scroll through social media, uninterested in the mess our stupid world is in. I’m bored with ignorance. It’s the same thing every time.

I’m bored with the never-ending news of violence in the world and the way people seem to shrug their shoulders and move on. I’m bored with the selfishness around me. I’m bored with going in circles with stubborn, uneducated people. I’m bored with seeing the precious faces of my childhood friends in military uniforms, ready to kill for a broken country. Why do we kill? Why are your hearts so hardened?

I’m bored with being voiceless for every reason. I’m bored with being afraid. I’m tired of being told to change my attitude or fail in life. Change my perspective and demeanor or fall, because everyone is more damaged than I. What’s your damage? Do you see mine? I hide it well, can you tell?

I lose myself in albums from Owl City, Imagine Dragons, Never Shout Never, Ellie Goulding (the first, when she was actually likable), and Taylor Swift. I study them and memorize their lyrics, because everyone has something to say somehow. It’s the same for the cheesy romantic movies I watch and re-watch. This is where I learn.

I float to the balcony, hoping something interesting is waiting outside. I sleep early because it’s something to do. I stare at the list of online assignments waiting for me to complete them. I’m bored with school. Teach me something, I beg you.

I light candles not for their fragrance, but because it’s 10 seconds to be amazed by fire and play the game of lighting a wick. I’m a pyro, in case you were wondering.

I started writing a new novel. Did you know that? It’s my 3rd attempt. This one will be completed. I won’t allow myself to leave this one in the graveyard of my forgotten works. Morbid huh?

I wander about my day, half asleep, but really I’m inside my head contemplating things such as duty and finality. I’m bored with what this life has to offer me at this point, but it’s my duty to reach the finish line and receive a piece of paper. It’s my duty to support. My duty to lead. My duty to make something of myself. My duty to fit into line. My peers would call the list of duties I create “adulting”. I don’t want to adult today, please. Since when did everything bad in life become a verb? Adult used to be full of honor, something to be achieved. Not something to cringe at and roll over, snoring your way back to sleep. Did you know we have less than 5 billion years left? Our sun will become a Red Giant and swallow us in the process before our galaxy will be eaten by Andromeda. Andromeda collides in 5 billion years. We won’t see this occurrence. 5 billion years sounds like a long time…but it’s just a blink of an eye in matters of the universe. Who knows what we’ll be when we’re swallowed by the only thing keeping us alive? How ironic is it that the Sun, the huge ball of gas fueling our life styles, will be the one to snuff us out? The end of Earth. But I’m sure Pluto will be fine. It’s too far for the Sun to reach when it expands. And the scientists denied Pluto. Who will be the one laughing when we’re fried?

Do you see why I’m bored with life? We talk about trivial things like taxes and pointing fingers at other races, but we’re ants. Insignificant. I want to go somewhere and be someone instead of spending hours putting together outfits from my closet and straightening my hair. If 5 billion years is a blink, my life is nothing. I don’t want it to be nothing. I’ve already wasted enough time sitting at a desk, staring at the back of heads and computer screens.

Life starts with my engine. The memories I want are caught in the wind flying through the open windows and the giggles of my friends. They’re found in the stupid pictures I take of random treasures. I’m a junkie for the moment my heart soars, but here I am again…at a desk. I’m bored.

There’s Nothing Wrong With the Millennial Agenda – A Political Review

I followed The Hill on Facebook because at this point in my life, my interests have turned to all things political. It’s my very first election! Of course I’m going to be in the know! However, I’ve begun to only read the titles of the articles dominating my news feed (there are so many. Why are there so many.), because when I decide to read further, I see bias smeared all over the page. I mean…I guess it’s a media source, so I can’t judge it too harshly, but why can’t a girl just get straight facts about the people she’s about to vote for? Is it really so hard to type an article saying “This week Donald Trump said this outrageous fact, Hillary Clinton is still getting heat for her scandalous emails, and Bernie Sanders is winning”. That might have been a little biased….you get my point though, right? K good.

Here’s my problem. Today was one of those days I went against my better judgement and opened an article about how my beloved Bernie Sanders is rightfully kicking Clinton’s butt. (Mrs. Clinton, I pray to God every day that you do not represent my people as the first woman president. No hard feelings.) Let it be known, this article is the opinion of Eddy Zipperer, a contributor to the news site. However, in typical Shelby fashion, I now feel the need to point out everything I see wrong with his opinion. Like I told Mrs. Clinton, no hard feelings, Zipperer. Let’s begin shall we?  The first few paragraphs were interesting and informative, with a good amount of voice in snide comments that I can respect from writer to writer. He even had a very nice explanation of the differences between capitalism and socialism, as sarcastic as it may be. “Capitalism is insensitive, and the free market is a bully designed to rob people of their uniqueness. If you want to be an actor, your bank account might quickly inform you that you are no Brad Pitt. If you feel destined to be a great American novelist, the power company has no qualms about turning the lights out on your dreams. Socialism loves you and thinks you’re talented.” For obvious reasons, this quote hits home. I’ve officially changed my major from theatre to communication studies, and it seems I’m still doomed because I refuse to settle and take a boring, well-paying job in this damned economy. Forgive me for valuing my mental health and happiness and wanting to follow my dreams. Why is that so wrong, and why are we taught to think this way?

Then Mr. Zipperer goes on to crush my hope in his article by stating “Millennial culture is all about big rewards for minimal effort: participation trophies of the mind.” Wait….excuse me? Minimal effort my ass! We’re drowning in debt, dragging our butts through school, getting shot up every freaking week, learning concepts we don’t even need in life just because they’re in our degree plans, and you think we’re all about minimal effort? How is that ok? We’re getting a college education, because that’s what we’re told to do. That’s what we’re told we have to do in order to get by in life. In order to get money in this capitalist system everybody seems to love so much. In order to not die of starvation and the elements, because the cost of living, higher education, and requirements for a career are rising faster than we can make it through semesters. Because we’re having to make difficult choices between following our dreams or making a decent amount of money at age 18. We’re barely adults at age 18! If you think we’re just trying to do the bare minimum in life, you’re sadly mistaken. We millennials were handed a crappy economy, a corrupted political system, and an impossible “life-start-up plan”, and you think we’re slacking. I’m gonna need you to back up.

Then he goes on to attack superheroes, because apparently that’s all Millennial Culture is about. They’re just stories, but to say superheroes are only famous because they “have some genetic mutation” is preposterous. They’re famous because they put their lives on the line to save entire cities of ungrateful people. They’re famous because they take their gifts and use them for the greater good, instead of personal gain. They’re famous because they are heroes who expect nothing in return. I will be the first to admit I’m not a huge fan of DC or Marvel, but you can’t hate on their inspiring stories. (Except Superman, I am a fan of him….that boy can fly me anywhere, any day. Mmm.) Somehow he planned to tie this into the minimal effort argument, which I honestly don’t understand. Every comic and movie involves superheroes ending up in epic battles with evil that destroy large parts of the city. Batman spent his entire life training and what not to avenge his parents deaths and save Gotham. Superman isn’t even from here (enter Mean Girls reference here, if you please) and he still works tirelessly to defend Earth! Any man I know would not degrade the superhero image like Mr. Zipperer has.

I’ll admit video games are nearly worthless, and reality tv has become quite ridiculous as I’ve grown up. You win there, Zipperer. However, the real world is full of hard work and doesn’t involve joysticks (thank God), but it is so not boring! It’s so beautiful and worth seeing, and you simply can not do that if you’re sitting behind a desk staring at a computer screen your whole life. I consider that a waste. Life is not boring beyond the television screen, especially when one is doing what they love instead of just getting by.

Now that we’ve got that cleared up, we can finally start into what this has to do with Bernie Sanders kicking Clinton’s butt in the polls. Zipperer thinks Sanders and the millennial generation’s agenda is focused on “transforming America to reward apathy” when in reality, all we want is a fair playing field. We’re not trying to make it easier to slack off, we want to leave college debt free like our counterparts in other countries. We want the wealthiest of America to quit screwing us over. We want a fair chance at happiness in life.

With all due respect, Mr. Zipperer, we don’t have endless opportunities. It really takes being a millennial to know that. Our country has failed us. Our country is not the same as when you were in our position. I switched my major, and I’m more content with life than I have been in a long time, but unfortunately I have 2 more years to be incredibly happy, because I have no idea what will happen when I leave college. I just want to write, Mr. Zipperer. You of all people should know how doomed I am in that dream. I follow Bernie because he gives me hope that I can hold on to my passions and not end up taking 5 types of pills because I’m so unhappy with life. I follow Bernie because he upholds my rights as a woman, and he’s been consistent throughout his career. Clinton has not. I follow Bernie, not because I want life handed to me with a red bow, but because I want to work my ass off in my favorite career. I follow Bernie because I shouldn’t be afraid of my future. My friends and I are not slackers in any way, but we faithfully follow Bernie because we believe in the future he promises. His promises mean something to us because he hasn’t failed us like every other politician running.

Thoughts on the subject? Questions? Arguments? Feel free to comment….I’m open for friendly debates. Want to read the article? Click here. Eddy Zipperer, if you ever read this, I hope you understand that as a Millennial, I have to defend myself and justify my standing. Thank you for your article. 

A Testimony for the Outsiders

It started when I was born a girl and handed to another family. A very Christian family. It built as I entered school and earned myself a seat in the ranks of quiet onlookers. It continued as boys and girls alike began to understand what little of the world they could when their ages were barely double digits. I was mocked for being a Christian. For carrying a mini composition book in my pencil bag to write my random inspiration in. For being too trusting. For not having an older sister present to teach me how to dress and act.

I was pegged as a target for pranks, games, and teasing. Someone who could take it and would still be your friend.

I always thought I was different. A black sheep in the family and my tight-knit group of friends. It wasn’t because I was adopted, because my sister (who is also adopted) has always fit in quite nicely. I just can’t seem to blend in with the crowd like I so desperately want to.

But I’ve clung to my groups all my life. I needed them. I still need them. All my life I’ve been ridiculed, pinched, poked, and prodded, and I still need them.

The same friends who defended me against the sick boys who laughed at me for being a Christian took up the habit of stealing my lunch and passing it around the table until I only had less than 10 minutes to eat. They often ganged up on me; whatever one said, the other swiftly followed. So, I left my usual lunch table to sit with my best friend who had long abandoned us for her new GT friends. (GT is an advanced program for kids in elementary and middle school who get bored in Pre-AP and regular classes) I had no place there. I was stuck. It was a small table even before I arrived, and I was just a desperate middle school-er taking a regulars spot.

Boyfriends came and went in grade school, monopolizing on my romantic nature and sweet disposition. I was used, abused, and manipulated. I was ridiculed yet again by the people I placed my absolute trust in. One even got bored with me because I wouldn’t Skype him at all hours of the night and left me for a few days to pursue another girl. I forgave him and took him back, only to find out a few days later he had tried to ask out one of my friends. I desperately wanted love. I forgave them. I was infatuated.

My opinion never mattered. Not even in my family. I was so sheltered, I didn’t really know much anyway..only what I had read and analyzed in my books. As I grew I even started sleeping in a tiny ball on the very edge of the bed so as to not bother my sleeping partner. I never got any sleep unless I slept alone. Being the introverted, nerdy, sheltered girl I am, I’ve been attached to the internet for a while. I spent hours on the kitchen desktop, posting to Facebook and exploring the webs while my mom cooked. One time we got a virus that downloaded fake porn apps to the computer, and my mom was furious because she didn’t believe I would never do something like that. In the Chat-Roulette/Justin.TV era, I found people around the world who never teased me like my “true” friends did, but instead talked to me as if I was an actual person who felt things. I was respected. My opinion mattered. My obsession with the internet and the world progressed.

After being the forgotten girl in a crowd of loud Theatre kids in High School, and constantly trying to find validation from parents who just couldn’t sympathize with my ever-growing awareness of the world, I was ecstatic to find a troop of true friends who understood me. I idolized them as gifts from God to make up for the constant struggle. Safe havens. I forgave them every time they pranked me as a collective. I forgave them when they made me feel like a child. I forgave them when they discounted my feelings. Summer came and I was the only one crippled by the separation, despite the shit I had dealt with throughout the year. I tried daily to keep conversations up, because I missed them and wanted to stay in their lives. I realized I was the only one trying. I was the only one trying, and when I did I only got rude remarks back. I stopped trying. It only took a few days of analyzing my past year to understand that recognize the patterns I had lived with my whole life. Even in college, we were still playing childish games, and I was still extremely naive.

I have yet to find more than 3 people who see me as more than entertainment. More than the giggly, blonde girl who is nice to everyone. I study and read to learn about the world. I have opinions. They matter. I contemplate life and enjoy the views and experiences Earth has to give me. 3 people have tried to dive deeper to witness those moments.

If there’s respect, I don’t see it. If there’s understanding, it isn’t being applied. As a Christian trying to follow in the path of Jesus, I’ve tried to live a life full of love and selflessness, and the only thing I get out of it is abuse of that trait. This is my wake up call. If you’re an outsider who can relate to these instances, you should wake up too. My advice? Find reciprocation. It’s draining to give and give without anything in return. You will burn yourself out. I’m burned out. Something needs to change.