I was raised a Christian with many family members being white supremacists. I could of turned out like them hating anything different, being rude towards people for things they can not change, and reacting to things that are different with the same fear that turned to hatred. The thing is I always had this voice in my head saying it wasn’t right. They would scowl at people of color who checked us out at grocery stores. The cashier would always try to act kind to them and they would walk off rolling their eyes and I’d always stay back confused before apologizing for my family’s behavior.
When I was seven I moved to a bigger town in southern Illinois I went to my first day of school there and came home more excited then ever. My mom says I came home telling her of all the “different” people I had met. An Indian girl that had the “red dot” on her head, a Jewish boy who went to church in a “circle church”, a group of Mexican boys who taught me Spanish words I can no longer remember, and a boy from Germany he was “like a prince but he talked funny.” That is word for word what I wrote in the journal we had in 2nd grade.I loved learning from all of them about new cultures and religions. I learned that some of the friendliest people could be “different.”
What i’m trying to say hatred is never okay. You do not learn it from family. You can’t be raised into hatred. There is no excuse for hatred. No excuse for violence. There is no excuse for what is happening in our country. We need to be outraged. That in this day and age we still have Nazis wanting to rid America of “Jews”, or KKK members still sending violence to POC, or white supremacists turning towards violence to “cleanse our country”. It is wrong. They are wrong. We are wrong for not being outraged. Outraged. We should be outraged.
We sit on your bed laughing about that time we made out in the hospital bathroom. My little sister asks “What are you doing?” and I quickly think of the stupidest excuse”Checking each others eyeliner”. We were always doing stupid things like that…
The first time we meet it was Biology we were watching some movie about volcanoes which really had nothing to do with Biology in my opinion, but that’s not the point. You seemed so nice god you were beautiful I had no idea what the feeling was…I hadn’t yet “came out” to myself. I just thought it was how every girl thought of other girls. I made a stupid joke about some weird scientist and you laughed. God it was beautiful the sound made my heart flutter. I would give anything to hear it everyday for the rest of my life.
The day you asked me out I ended up asking you out at the same time. Our friends both knew we were going to do it, but no one mentions it to us. You made me a painting of penguins my favorite. I still have it hidden so I wouldn’t think about you…I still thought about you. Art was always a big part of our relationship making each other random drawings or paintings.
I never took art that serious until I meet you. You we’re art. I wanted to make every detail perfect from your dimples when you smile to ever changing colored hair to your nail art. I tried so hard to draw you. It was never my specialty writing was…So here I am writing you into the art that you are.
Your hair is a beautiful mess of curls which are currently purple but they’ve been dyed many times and it is almost always down. Your eyes are beautiful sometimes a pale cloudy sky other times a dark stormy ocean. They show your emotions even if you try to hide them. Your dimples they show up when your face lights up with joy and happiness. I try to make them show up whenever I can because then I know your really happy. I love every curve you have even if you don’t. They are part of you and any part of you makes me happy. You will always choose converse over any other shoes. You like to wear t-shirts with purple on them. So here’s my painting of you. You the amazing work of art.
Dear my something,
We’ve dated so maybe your my ex. The thing is you still tell me your going to marry me. What does that make us? I know what it makes me. Stupid. I believe you every time. Your a complete dick to me sometimes. I don’t care though because when your not a dick your everything. You make me smile and laugh. You make me the happiest person but then you also make me feel like complete shit. I’ve given you everything. Really I don’t think you understand. You and your stupid laugh and smile. The way my heart flutters when your name pops up on my phone. I hate everything about that.
You control me even if you don’t know it. You could ask me to rob a bank with you and I would go willingly. I’m head over heels, but more like Mount Everest over Badwater Basin. It’s all because you made me fall in love with you. Why? Why would you do that to me if you didn’t plan on loving me back?
The thing is I can’t do it anymore. You can’t break me anymore. This is the last time. I can’t let you break me again. So to my something…I love you. Please just don’t make that happen again. Don’t make your stupid promises. Don’t laugh around me. Don’t ask me for anything. Let me live. Let this be the last time I love you.
My family has always had an addiction problem.
Mom was a drug addict and alcoholic.
Grandpa was an compulsive gambler.
Auntie had a sexual dependency.
The list goes on, but the thing is I promised I would never get addicted. I would stop myself. It wouldn’t happen to me.
Then I saw you my whole world collapsed. You were like mom’s first drink. Grandpa’s first big win. Auntie’s first time. All rolled in one. All I could think of was you.
You put the biggest smile on my face, but when you we’re gone it felt like everything was falling apart. All I wanted was you. You god you my drink. My first hit. My big win. You were it.
You were….are my addiction. You we’re love. Even if you weren’t in love.
The sad thing is there is no rehab for love.
Standing on the beach. You say “It’s alright.” My mind screams “It’s a lie.” I stay there the water coming closer to me. I start to panic as it hits my feet looking to you. “It’s alright” you reply calmly from the hill. “It’s a lie” The voice in my head screams again. The water starts getting deeper. I look to you “It’s alright” You say as you move farther away. “It’s a lie”The voice screams trying to get me to move. I stay the water is deeper reaching my waist now I look to you as you start to climb up the stairs to the road “It’s alright.” “It’s a lie”The voice tries one last time. The water gets deeper now to my shoulders. I look to you only a dot in my line of vision”It’s alright”Your voice is faint and it echos down to me. The voice in my head doesn’t speak up now. The water keeps getting deeper and deeper. There is no voice trying to get me to stay, but there is no voice trying to draw me out.
We meet years ago and I had a crush on you from the start. You choose to flirt with my best friend that whole trip. It crushed me. Two years later you message me. Confessing your love for me. You liked me from the start you say. I believed it. That first year was heaven. Then the fights started. I tried to move on talk to other people, date other people, kiss other people. The thing is they all were in someway you, but they still weren’t you. You the boy who anytime something is wrong you can talk me out of my panic. You make me laugh and smile like no other person could. Why you may ask. Well, simply they aren’t you. Everything is better when it’s you, but they aren’t you.
What are you? The question I get asked almost every day.
My answer I’m Savana.
I know that but I mean What are you? They ask again
The thing is if I tell you “what” I am they look at me different like my sexuality changes me
I am no longer Savana I’m that “sinner” or “confused girl” or “homosexual”
But the thing is I’m no different I’m still me. I just love whoever I love no matter their parts.
I fall in love with peoples minds not their sexual parts.
How does that make me different than you the person who fell in love with you wife’s creativity or the way your husband laughs.
I don’t try to label you for that but you still ask What are you?
You may like labels for yourself but don’t try to force your labels on others. I am
me. I am a seventeen year old girl who loves love. I am Savana. I am me.
My mind was racing my body shakes I can’t breath.
You keep talking asking me the question I don’t need right now.
No No No
You continue to ask making me shake more and panic more
You ask again and I try not to scream
I just stay silent trying to count to calm my nerves
You move closer and try to get me to look at you.
You still won’t shut up.
Please just be quiet my mind begs
You don’t listen. You force yourself on me
I didn’t fight back even though every part of me screamed to
I layed there staring at the cat on the chair wishing I could switch it places
I let you continue though because at least it’s quiet.
Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and an eating disorder.
Or as my dad likes to call it “Overreacting” “Chicken Littleing” “Being a baby” and “Trying to get attention”.
I try to explain to him that my depression isn’t me overreacting. My depression is sitting in a room full of my friends who all swear they love me and want to be my friends but still feeling as if they all hate me. It’s waking up after sleeping for ten hours and all I want to do is go back to sleep because if I’m awake I have to face life. Life wasn’t cut out for me. I can’t go through the day without believeing that I’d be better off dead. I pray every day that maybe I’ll fall down the stairs and break my neck or have such a bad panic attack that it will turn into a heart attack because life is scary, but my mind is scarier. Every day I go through this constant pain of not being good enough or being hated or even just wanting to fall off a building for no reason. It’s just my mind goes to crazy conclusions and it like’s to outrun itself. So maybe I am overreacting for sleeping all of Saturday but maybe just maybe I’m actually depressed.
Panic it’s the first thing I do when I wake up “Did I miss my alarm?” “What if the clock is off?” “What if the bus came early again?” I go through the thoughts doing everything I can to try to reasure myself as I get ready for school “Does this shirt really go with these pants?” “Will people make fun of me if I wear this old Girl Scout T-shirt?” “What will people think if I wear a bun for the third day in a row” I finally decide I look decent enough and I’m off to school. Once I get there it’s a different story. “Did they jsut point at my dress and laugh?” “What if none of my friends are here today?” “What will people think if I eat this second muffin?” I move on and start my school day but soon realize my phone is broken again. “What if mom try’s to call me?” “Dad’s gonna be so mad. Why couldn’t I remember to turn it off” “What if Anna got hurt? and Lori can’t tell me” The panic continues through out the day and once I get home still panicking. My dad looks at me and says “Stop”Chick Littleing””With an annoyed expression. God I wish it was just “Chicken Littleing.”
My little cousin asks me if I want to make cookies. Of course I do I love baking but all I can think is what if I get something under my nails and I can’t clean it off fast enough? Then I’ll have a panic attack and if I have a panic attack then I’ll have to count. I’m not supposed to count. They say I’m not allowed to use counting as a coping skill but, God all I can do is count when I panic because if I focus hard enough I can see the numbers as I say them and if I can see the numbers I feel better. Then my hands don’t feel gross and I don’t feel like I’m going to explode. They say I can’t but they can’t tell me I can’t because at least i’m not screaming and shaking for no reason at 3 in the morning. I’m just counting the tiles on the kitchen floor and watching as the numbers show up as I do. Then my dad finds me there at three am with greasy fingers from the pizza I tried to eat counting the floor tiles so I don’t scream and wake him up. “Savana Stop, Go to bed”He says but I shake my head and keep on counting because if I can just get to 222 then everything will be okay. “Savana stop being a baby wash your hands and go to bed”He says. I wish I could stop being a baby. I wish I could just do stuff when I want to but if I can’t get to 222 and see the numbers all light up so I can feel better. Then I’ll just have to be a baby.
He gets home and asks me what I ate “Cereal” He rolls his eyes saying “I need to eat healthier”, but what you don’t seem to be able to understand is. If I ate healthier I would just puke it all up because it gets inside my stomach and makes me feel all gross. Until I’m gagging myself so I can feel better. “That’s all I’m comfortable with today”I reply. “Just eat some meat”I wish it was that easy. You telling me what to eat, me eating it then not feeling gross because you told me to do it. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.”I’ll just throw it up”I reply making you glare at me”Stop trying to get attention!” I wish I did it for attention. Then I could stop once I had the attention. Unfortunately this is all chemical imbalances in my brain that make me this way something you can’t fix with a few words. I wish it were that easy.
Have you ever woken up and all you can think about is something bad is going to happen? For example if you don’t have all the books straight on your bookshelf your dad was going to have a heart attack. The example may sounds crazy, to you but to the 3.3 million people (which is only in America) with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, examples like this are a daily experience.
You may think Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is just washing your hands nineteen times except on Sundays because on Sunday’s it’s twenty-two, cleaning your room four times a day because you’re a perfectionist, or making sure all your letters are the same size because they have to be just right, which it could be all of these things but, it’s so much more than that. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an overwhelming fear that if you don’t do something, something terrible will happen.
You get a crazy thought in your head for instance if you don’t snap for every stair you go up or down there will be a earthquake. Now every step you take, you snap, and if the snap isn’t loud enough you have to snap again. What if you forget to snap? Well that sends you into a panic attack because you not snapping while you go up the stairs means there will be an earthquake. If there is an earthquake, then there is a large chance the roof will collapse and if the roof collapses you will get crushed and if you don’t die it will hurt and you’ll be trapped and then you will panic even more. So, every step you take, you snap as loud as you can even if your fingers hurt or you’re too tired because you can’t let there be an earthquake.
People may think well why don’t they just ignore the thought. Well, maybe you some people can, but the thing is, the thought doesn’t go away. It stays there and starts a panic attack that starts your fight or flight response which means your adrenaline is up. Now all they can think about is the thought and what will happen if you don’t do what it says.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder could even be something as simple as you get a thought that there are exactly forty-two floor tiles. You try to ignore it but it keeps repeating itself forty-two floor tiles…..forty-two floor tiles……forty-two floor tiles!……forty-two FLOOR TILES! Now all you can do is think about it so finally you have to count them but, you end up getting forty-one. So you count again this time you get twenty-eight. You have to count again this continues until someone makes you stop or you get forty-two.
All of these examples may all seem crazy to you, but it’s real for everyone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder these examples are their daily lives. The fear controls their lives. They can’t walk up stairs normally or go back to sleep until their books are all straight or even be somewhere with floor tiles without having thoughts that affect their daily lives.