Changes.

Today I graduated from high school, and this is not a statement that I take lightly. About half of my family members dropped out of high school because they were tired of dealing with constant homework and berating teachers, and I thought that I was going to end up following in their footsteps: drop out, get my GED, get a job in a restaurant, start a family, and end up keeping the same job for the rest of my life because jobs that do not require a higher education are very limited.  When I dropped out at the beginning of what was supposed to be my senior year, I knew that I was making a mistake but it also didn't seem like I had another option. I was hearing the words "well dropping out is always an option" from friends, family, and even my therapist. There was nobody saying, "Christina, you can pull through this." I had good reasoning for dropping out though: I was having several seizures a day with full body convulsions, my old high school pretty much kicked me out and going to an online high school made me miserable, my mental health had deteriorated, and there are so many other things that I could pile onto this list. I figured that if I got a GED, I would be doomed to a life of wishing I had finished and graduated with all of my friends. If that had happened, I wouldn't be writing this blog post. In the year that I dropped out, I learned quite a few things that you can't be taught in high school. School is important and having good grades will get you far in life, but memories with friends are equally as important. I learned how to navigate a toxic friendship and what healthy friendships look like. I was able to stop hurting myself for just over 13 months and now I'm working to break that record. I grew as a person and that's something I will never regret.  When I decided to go back, I felt something shift in the universe. With school came things to fill my day instead of browsing Tumblr and watching YouTube. My mom starting grilling me over homework and exams, but it was my friends that helped carry me through.  Now that I have finally graduated, jobs will be easier to find. I won't have family members look down at me as the former straight-A student that dropped out because I was too lazy to do the homework" when it was an entirely different case. This is a piece of paper that so many of my family members will never have and that is liberating to know. Big changes are coming in the future, and this piece of paper is why.

Graduation.

Have you ever had so many bad things happen that good things make you skeptical as to what is coming in the near future? This is something that I've been struggling with. In my freshman year of high school, my depression was at its worst; I wrote suicide notes in science class just to pass the time and nearly cut my vein on accident while hurting myself at night to cope with an endless amount of stress. My friendships were strained as I struggled in my faith and read books to take a break from my family constantly yelling at each other. I met people that year that I wouldn't truly connect with until a few years later and the summer afterwards I made it to 30 days without cutting myself for the first time, which I was very proud of. In my sophomore year of high school, I developed an eating disorder that I talk about quite frequently because it still consumes my daily life. I still cut myself every single day to cope with stress and mental illnesses, but I decided to journal my anguish so that I could document how I progressed as a person throughout the school year. At the end of the year, my brother beat me for reasons that I will post about later on and was removed from our house by the police. He moved back in a few months later, but good things started to happen that spring/summer; I turned 16 and went on my very first mission trip, which are two of the best memories that I have to current date. In my junior year of high school, I began receiving treatment for my eating disorder - as well as other various mental illnesses - and was becoming significantly happier than the previous two years. I went to a wonderful church retreat and connected with people that I still absolutely adore. Unfortunately, this happiness was short-lived. I started having what I thought were panic attacks with some shaking and twitching, which actually turned out to be seizures that I was having each and every day. My school kept sending me home to the point where I had to switch from my regular school to online school. Nobody wanted to be around somebody with constant seizures, so I completely isolated myself besides appointments with various doctors, grocery shopping, and meeting with a friend once a month for coffee until she went away to a university across the country. I was broken and had one of the loneliest summers that I have ever experienced, so I took to the social media to make friends and concentrated on writing stories. My senior year of high school, my seizures and depression were so bad that I felt that there was no other option besides dropping out of high school. I decided that if school was making me the most sad and suicidal inside, something needed to change; I dropped out of my online school and focused on my mental health. I cried as I watched all of my friends going to prom and graduating, but I convinced myself that I deserved to be alone because nobody would ever want to be around someone with seizures. The summer that followed I re-connected with an amazing person that I met my freshman year over social media and ended one of the most toxic friendships that I've ever had. In the fall of 2016, I decided to go back to high school. My friends moved on to college and studying for a GED wasn't really working out for me, so I made the decision to re-enroll myself into my former online high school. The pit of jealousy that I felt towards my friends that graduated on time started to fade away as I worked through my first semester and gradually became more social. If I'm going to have seizures for the rest of my life, then other people might as well learn to love 'em. After two years, I re-connected with my church and people I hadn't talked to since I had to leave my old high school. Second semester came and I started having my annual Spring Crisis, where I become severely depressed for about 2.5 months solely because my brain hates me. As if that weren't enough, I was hit by a car while crossing the street (a story to come next week). It was an experience that put a lot of things into perspective. Right now, in this moment, I am studying for my final exams so that I can graduate from high school. This weekend I'm going shopping with a friend for the perfect outfit to wear under my cap and gown, and I am elated to say that for the first time in six years, I am filled with nothing but happiness and contentment with where I'm at with my life. I have wonderful friends and a better outlook on life. I'm nervous that bad things are soon coming my way, but for now I am completely over the moon because of all the amazing people that have stayed by my side over the years. Stay strong my friends. Rain doesn't last forever.

Dirt 

You are stripping me of my natural state, only to put me back again. Feel me crumbling between your fingers - I am soft and moist as you move your hands beneath me and scoop more of me out of my habitat. You are patting me down, packing me down among the rest of my … Continue reading Dirt 

Spring Crisis

Today at exactly 4:00 p.m., it will have been five years since the first time I cut myself. I can clearly remember the pain that came from scraping my arm over and over with a pair of scissors because I didn't know how to acquire regular blades until a few months later. The scraping obviously … Continue reading Spring Crisis

Fear

I have had the same embarrassing fear since the age of six. My uncle decided that it would be a good idea to let a young child watch a scary movie, which has haunted me ever since. I do not keep it a secret that I struggle with several mental illnesses, but I don't typically … Continue reading Fear

Scars.

Perfect horizontal lines dance down my arms as if they were destinations on a road map. Let your fingers run down them and listen to their story. Listen as they tell the story of a struggling woman that made some poor decisions. As you reach the end of the horizontal lines, swim in the pool … Continue reading Scars.