Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Equality, Feminism, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, Military, rape, Relationships, Self-Help, Sex, Sexual Assault, Tragedy, Violence, Women, Women Empowerment

Shannon’s Story: Virginity Stolen

A common denominator in all of the stories I have published so far is that the survivor of the attack knew the victim in some way. Domestic violence is VERY REAL and sexual assault DOES HAPPEN in COMMITTED RELATIONSHIPS. Many times it can even happen in an engagement and marriage.

This is Shannon’s story. Her name has been changed to protect her identity.

You can check out the other stories in this series here: Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for HelpMary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to TortureAshlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since ChildhoodKayla’s Story: When Friendship TurnsTasha’s Story: A Six Year Grooming

The main blog links here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

What compelled you to share your story?
This world has become so unsafe for women, I hope it makes more woman aware that sexual assault or rape can happen to anyone, and that self-defense and being assertive is very important.

Where did the incident take place?
A hotel in Clearfield, PA.

Did you know the attacker?
Yes, we were engaged, and no one knew I was engaged at the time. I just said it was a promise ring because he was deploying.

What happened?
I had met him when I joined the military, he was 18 and I was 17. He went to basic training a year before I did, while he was home on leave my Godfather had fallen very ill and was dying. We had plans to have dinner with his family and then to spend some time alone because he was deploying to Afghanistan. The morning of our dinner I received the phone call that my godfather had passed away. He was my hero, and also the first person close to me that I had lost. I was completely devastated and I did not want to do anything that day except crawl in a hole and cry. My mom convinced me to carry on with my plans because he was deploying. I carried on throughout the day and just dealt with it.

After dinner with his family, he began driving me home and pulled into a hotel parking lot. I asked him what he was doing because I wanted to go home. He proceeded to tell me that he had paid for the hotel room and was going to use it. He was not going to deploy a virgin. I told him I didn’t care what he wanted my godfather was dead and I wanted to go home. He forced me into the hotel room, proceeded to take off my clothes and started having sex with me.

I felt like I didn’t matter, and I gave up fighting and saying no. I just stared at the wall and cried the entire time until he was finished. I immediately took a shower and he finally took me home.  We stayed together for a few more months until I was over my godfather’s death and broke up with him. I thought I would never see or hear from him again.

Did you seek legal help?
Not immediately, I did not want the day to be any worse for anyone else because my godfather had died and I didn’t think anyone would be believe me because we were dating.

And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
Two years later I came forward and made a statement, because he had tracked me down on Myspace while I was in school and knew I would be home on leave from Christmas. He was also going to be home and wanted to see me. I told him I wanted nothing to do with him and to leave me alone. He asked me why, and I told him he raped me and asked him, “Why would I want to see you?” He apologized for being an ignorant asshole, and said he should have listened and been there for me. I told him I still did not want to see him and spent my leave in fear he would come find me because he knew where I lived.

Later while at my first duty station, he found my email address, which is not hard to do. He emailed me stating he would be nearby training for another deployment and that during non-training hours he would be able to go off base and do whatever he wanted. I freaked out and told my supervisor everything. He sent me to counseling and to make a statement against him. He also helped me get a no-contact order so if he tried to contact me again he would get in a lot of trouble. It was too late to press any charges, but at least if someone else made a statement against him, mine was on file. He was also not allowed to leave the training base until it was time for him to leave.

How were you treated by your law enforcement representatives?
The people I spoke with were very nice and understanding, I told them before I made my statement I knew it was too late to convict him; I was just terrified of him finding me. They understood why I waited so long to say anything, but were glad that I did in the hopes my statement could help someone else down the line.

How has this affected your life?
Since I am back at home, I live in fear of running into him anywhere because I know it’s a great possibility. I suffer from PTSD, and BPD. I have difficulties showing love and affection. My virginity was stolen from me, so I am very detached from sex. I also have a hard time having sex; it must be dark so I can see nothing otherwise I will have flashbacks and see him on top of me and not my fiancé. I’ve been in counseling and therapy for almost 10 years and have tried 20 different medications to no avail, but I can finally say I found a therapist that is actually helping me and not pushing medications and understands that medications make everything worse for me.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
Speak up immediately, and if you’re too afraid to speak up at least find a counselor or therapist and get help as soon as possible. The longer you wait the worse if makes you feel. I’m 28 now, and just coming to terms with this, and it happened 11 years ago.

If you could say anything to law enforcement that dealt with your case, what would it be?
Stop being assholes and blaming the victim, and start placing the blame where it belongs: The attacker. It doesn’t matter who the attacker is, or what the victim is wearing.

No means NO. End of story.

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say? 
I honestly don’t know what I would say to my attacker other than I will never forget his face and name and that he made my life a living hell because he was a selfish prick. I still worry about running into him somewhere and him trying to talk to me. I would probably cause a scene and punch him in the face.

Resources: Military Sexual Assault FactsRAINN

Assault, Beauty, Crime Rates, Dating, Domestic Violence, Family, Feminism, Life, rape, Relationships, Self-Help, Sexual Assault, Violence, Women, Women Empowerment

Tasha’s Story: A Six Year Grooming

We have seen this before.

Many times our attackers are members of our family, and we are afraid to speak out. To make matters worse, we want other people to know the signs we are giving them and they either ignore the signs or do not pay attention. This can lead to a survivor surviving YEARS of abuse from one perpetrator.

Please be aware of who your children are around.

The first stories in this blog series are: Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for HelpMary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to TortureAshlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since ChildhoodKayla’s Story: When Friendship Turns

The main entry can be found here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

This is Tasha’s story.

What compelled you to share your story?
I have two small children. I want to raise them to be aware of the dangers of the world, but not be fearful of what they can do to prevent them.

Where did the incident take place?
The short list – everywhere: my home, my room, my mom’s room, a vehicle, a semi truck, the living room to name a few.

Did you know the attacker?
He was my mother’s ex husband.

What happened?
When I was 11 years old, the first thing I remember him doing was teaching me how to properly use a tampon because, at 11, I, “Didn’t need to smell gross.” I needed to, “Learn how to properly take care of myself when Aunt Flow came.” He took me into my mom’s room, laid a towel down on the bed, and inserted his fingers and then a tampon. I think I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t know how to tell my mom. After he was done and cleaned himself up, and he had left me in there to clean myself up, I went to my room to cry. When I went downstairs later that evening, there was an apple in the trash with a hole in it and a tampon. He told me he was going to tell my mom he demonstrated on it for me. I’m not sure if he ever did and I never asked.

When I was 15, was when he actually raped me for the first time. I had to go on a trip with him to Florida from Michigan and back. It happened in a Detroit parking lot. A man beat on the door asking for a donation as I cried, “No”. He didn’t stop but the man left. No one came for me. I made him call my mom, but he told me not to say anything or I’d be dead.  I just cried like I never did before. She never picked up on it. She never realized all of those signals. So, I never told.

It stopped Christmas Eve when I was 17. Yes, 17, six years he did things like this and groomed me along the way.

Yes. I knew it was bad at this point, but I felt so numb at that point that I just couldn’t deal.

Did you seek legal help? And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
I spoke to the police. I wrote up my seven page statement. My officer cried for me.

I came forward when I was 23. I had just given birth to my son. I didn’t want that monster to touch him. My mom was finally divorcing him so I finally told her. When I did, her reaction was shock, and I’m not sure why. I remember her calling him. She said, “I know what you did to my daughter!!! I know you raped her!!” His response, “If it was my daughter, I’d believe her.” He hung up and that was all he said. Within days, he moved out-of-state with his new wife and her children. Mom told her and told his family where they moved to. They called me out by name. Funny this is though, mom never said it was me and I have three sisters. So his guilty conscience told on himself.

How were you treated by your law enforcement representatives?
The officer was so kind, but the justice system itself failed me. Nothing could be done because I didn’t still have the underwear he hid. I didn’t have the photo he took of my vagina. I didn’t have proof. Even in a state that doesn’t have a statute of limitations, I was denied justice. I just wish I had come forward sooner

How has this affected your life?
I’m married now. My husband was the first person I told. Since I have, I don’t like to be touched. I’m more comfortable with him, but not with some things that he does that triggers me.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
Don’t ever fear you are alone. There are so many of us, unfortunately. If you need help now, please reach out to me, I understand and I’ll do what I can to help you.

If you could say anything to law enforcement that dealt with your case, what would it be?
Thank you for trying, but why couldn’t you have done more??

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say?
Fuck you.

 

Final note — I don’t blame my mom. I used to feel like I did. I remember being so young watching a lifetime movie with this exact scenario in it & her looking at me saying, “If this ever happens to you, you can always come to me.” I never felt comfortable doing so. She was always more interested in the men she was with than us. She didn’t focus on the signs. BE AWARE of the signs your children are giving you. BE AWARE of who you have around your kids.

Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Equality, Feminism, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, rape, Relationships, Self-Help, Sex, Sexual Assault, Violence, Women, Women Empowerment

Kayla’s Story: When Friendship Turns

Trigger Warning:

 

Many people are assaulted by people that they know very well. Often times, it’s a person that they have known for years and come to call a friend. Then the betrayal ensues. This can make it difficult to process the events because not only can you not believe that is happening, but you literally trusted the person to not act this way.

This is Kayla’s story. Her name has been changed to protect her anonymity.

If you have been following, you can read the other stories here: Ashlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since ChildhoodMary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to TortureCallie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help

The main story can be found here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

What compelled you to share your story?
For five years I have kept my story quiet. The recent events of other young women being assaulted made me realize I should tell my story. The only person that knows is my boyfriend. I can’t bring myself to tell my family members just yet.

Where did the incident take place?
My sexual assault happened in 2013 when I was a senior in high school.

Did you know the attacker?
I knew my attacker, he was a “friend of mine” at the time

What happened?
The night it happened I was so scared that I actually froze. I didn’t fight. I didn’t scream. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him to stop. I didn’t have the fight or flight response. I had the freeze response, which is more common than I thought. I have blamed myself for my assault because I never stopped him. I feel as if I let it happen. Though I wasn’t penetrated with his penis, he did other horrible things to me. It happened at his house. He had texted me a few days before asking if we could hang out.

I trusted him. He was a friend of mine. So, I agreed to go.

We went for ice cream at the local ice cream shop. Then we went back to his house to watch movies. He invited other friends over that night so I was very comfortable going back to his house.

It didn’t take long before I felt very uncomfortable.

Two of the kids decided to leave and two other ones fell asleep on the floor of his basement. As I go up to leave he pushed me down and told me, “I was the only hot cheerleader he hadn’t been with.” Once that happened my body shut down on me. It was the longest and worst moments of my life. It felt like forever, though I think it lasted all of 15-20 minutes. I could have screamed and awakened the other two kids sleeping, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even make a peep come out of my mouth. When he finished, I simply walked up stairs, out the door, and got in my car. I went to my grandmother’s house because she lived close and showered off.

Did you seek legal help? And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
I chose not to go to the police for the simple fact that they wouldn’t have believed me. I just know they wouldn’t have. This boy, and I call him a boy because no real man would do this to anybody, was well-liked at school and in the community. Who was going to believe the girl who was already having troubles at school?

How has this affected your life?
This has affected my life because I became extremely depressed and anxious. I also have guilt for not turning him in.I have blamed myself and it’s even affected my sex life. That’s why I told my boyfriend in the first place. He has been so understanding and showed me so much love. He taught me to not blame myself.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
My advice for survivors would be don’t blame yourself. Don’t you dare blame yourself. And seek support from whoever you feel comfortable. Trust me you’ll need it.

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say?
If I could face my attacker again I would just simply ask him why he did this to me

 

Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Equality, Feminism, Health, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, rape, Relationships, Self-Help, Sex, Sexual Assault, Violence, Women, Women Empowerment

Ashlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since Childhood

Trigger Warning:

 

Many times a person’s first encounter with sexual assault is when he or she is a child. This scars and shapes who they are and who they become for the rest of their lives. Protecting the lives of children should be one of the most important things we can do because children cannot speak for themselves. We need to do better for our children.

This is the third story in my Sexual Assault series, you can read the first two here: Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help and Mary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to Torture 

The main blog starts here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

This is Ashlee’s interview:

What compelled you to share your story?
I’ve held it in for years and the only people who know are my therapist and my fiancé.

Where did the incident take place?
My first account with rape happened in Punxsutawney, Pa. at my biological mothers house. The second time, my own apartment in DuBois, and then the third time it happened in DuBois at a friend’s house I was staying at.

Did you know the attacker?
Yes with all three. The first incident I was attacked by family members, and the second and third time they were people I thought I could trust. It can come from anyone even if you know them.

What happened?
At the age of three I was sexually assaulted by my three older brothers. They took me and my little sister upstairs to “play.” The oldest had thrown me on the bed and pulled my pants down and did his things to me. Then my two other brothers did the same thing. After they were done with me they did the same to my younger sister. At this time they were 11,9,5.  It was reported and then we were put into foster homes, but nothing happened after that.

At the age of 18, I was living on my own after getting out of the group home in DuBois. I had a male friend that I knew so well and was a friend of mine for years come stay because I was sick and wanted company. I had taken my medication and passed out on the couch. I woke up with him inside me and his hand around my throat. I tried to say no but he covered my mouth and told me that if I refused he would get rougher and hurt me.

Finally, at the age 20, my father kicked me and my daughter out the week before Thanksgiving. We moved back to DuBois with a friend who was renting rooms out in his house. I was in the process of looking for a job and fixing things with my now fiancé. It started two days after I moved in. He would pin me up against a wall or the bed while I was trying to do laundry or getting ready for bed along with my daughter. I would repeatedly say, “No I have a boyfriend,” or just, “No.”. He kept saying if I didn’t give it to him then he would kick us out on the street, and if I told the police that he would lie. Everyone in the house knew what was going on and wouldn’t help. Soon enough I made my fiancé move in with me hoping it would stop, but because he worked night shift it continued to happen. At first I didn’t tell him what happened, and when I did he threatened to leave me and wouldn’t help me because I wasn’t upfront about the abuse in the first place.

Did you seek legal help? And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
Not for all of them. I was too scared to know what they would do to me and how it would affect my life more than it already was. I’ve only told my therapist. I wish I would have got help and got justice for what has been done to me.

How has this affected your life?
It has affected me in many ways. My fiancé and I can’t even have sex because I have flashbacks and I start crying.  I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from this and other things that have happened to me.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to get help. Just don’t wait as long as I have. Get all the help you can to get justice.

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say?
I hope other people come forward if you’ve done it to them so you can rot in jail.

Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Feminism, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, rape, Relationships, Self-Help, Sex, Sexual Assault, Tragedy, Violence, Women, Women Empowerment

Mary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to Torture

Trigger Warning:

 

One of the most common things I have found in conducting my interviews is that these women have stayed silent for years and the events happened when they were quite young.

This has an interesting effect on me because I want to make sure my children are safe, but I also want my children to be able to experience life. I think as parents we can sometimes not know if we are doing the right thing.

If there are any young men and women out there reading this, please know that you can get help. Please know that you can talk to someone. You do not have to give in to peer pressure. If someone is pressuring you, please tell someone you trust and avoid contact with that person. If you’ve been pressured into doing something, tell someone you can trust. Bullies and Attackers thrive on fear. They lie and manipulate to get what they want. Parents and children, I ask you to please have an open line of communication with each other. This can be a life-line to your child. Parents, please listen to your kids.

This is Mary Kay’s interview. This is the second interview in this series you can read the first part here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault and the second part here: Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help

What compelled you to share your story?
I felt compelled to share my story because I’ve been silent about it for so long. I feel like an impostor when I tell other sexual abuse survivors to not feel ashamed, yet I feel extremely ashamed about my own story. It was time.

Where did the incident take place and did you know the attacker?
The first incident took place at my attacker’s house. I was 13 and he was 15. He was my boyfriend at the time.

What happened?
We were alone in his house and he was pressuring me to have sex with him. I adamantly told him I didn’t want to. I wasn’t comfortable. I wasn’t ready. I was afraid of sex. I was only 13. He became very angry and dragged me up the stairs to his bedroom by my hair.

He threw me onto his bed and I was screaming and crying and told him I wanted to go home. I wanted my mom. I wanted him to stop. When he got on top of me, I kicked him. It didn’t slow him down at all. Nothing made him stop. I felt helpless. I silently cried while he pushed himself into me. When his mother took me home that night, I ran into my bedroom and closed the door.

I was a happy, peppy girl before that happened to me. When I closed my bedroom door that night, the peppy, happy girl died and a sullen, frightened girl emerged. I was never the same.

Do you have any advice for other survivors?
Like I said earlier, I tell others to not be ashamed. But I am. So it’s hard to say that and mean it. I’m not even sure that I have advice. I really just want to say that you’re not alone. And you are loved and whole and beautiful ❤️

Did you seek legal help?
I didn’t speak a work of it for years and years. When I did, it was to my mother. Nothing was done. She comforted me but legal help wasn’t sought after.

If you could say one thing to your attacker, what would it be?
If I could say anything to my attacker, it would be this: your selfishness made me selfless. I know what pain and anger and loneliness is and I cannot stand to see anyone else feeling those things. I feel that any selfishness I had inside of me, your demon-self absorbed when this took place. So thank you for that, you piece of shit.

Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Feminism, Health, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, rape, Relationships, Self Defense, Sex, Sexual Assault, Uncategorized, Women, Women Empowerment

Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

This is Callie’s story. The name has been changed to protect her identity. She was comfortable enough to share the location of the events. This is in an interview format. Here is the link to the first part of this series: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

Here are the other stories in this series: Mary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to TortureAshlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since Childhood

I’m compelled to add that if you or anyone sees domestic violence or sexual assault happening, you should report it. Please do not turn a blind eye. So many people are in precarious situations and they are silently begging for help. HELP THEM! Here are a list of resources: RAINNDomestic Violence Coalition

What compelled you to share your story?
I have never told anyone but my now husband about the abuse.  I just had our child and I feel like it is my responsibility to come to terms with what happened to me and try to be strong enough to one day publicly speak out.

Where did the incident take place?
There were too many incidents and locations to count. His home, the high school, my home, the city park, restaurants and stores.

Did you know the attacker?
He was my boyfriend at the time.  I was freshly 16 and he was 20.

What happened?
I met Chris at Community Days in DuBois, Pa.  I was with some girlfriends and he came up to us with a group of his friends.  He was so charismatic and handsome; I was immediately smitten.  He would build me up and make me feel so wanted.  About two months into our two-year relationship he changed.  He became physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive towards me.  Physically he would push me, hold me down, and hit me.  One night when I was at his home he pushed me down a flight of stairs. His mother watched it happen and just walked away.  He would tell me no one but him would ever love me and that if I left him he would kill me and my family.

I truly believed all the things he said to me; I was so young I didn’t know better.  I was basically screaming for help without actually telling anyone, and no one noticed.  I was sent to psychologists and put on medication, and still no one helped me out of this relationship. 

When I had just turned 18, his brother punched me for absolutely no reason one day.

I somehow got the courage to put an end to our relationship.  I stopped answering any kind of communication from him.  He started standing outside of my home and work and would just stare me down. He would send me terrible threats through Facebook and text.  My now husband would walk me to and from my car at work.  I actually moved to Pittsburgh for a bit because I was so scared.  Eventually he stopped contacting me, but he found out I had moved back to DuBois several years ago and told a mutual friend that he was going to get me back.  I began seeing him walking in my neighborhood, my husband and I decided to move out-of-town. We’ve kept our address a secret for this reason.

Did you seek legal help? And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
I did not. I knew I needed help but I didn’t know where to go.  I also felt people would not understand why I couldn’t just leave for so long.

How has this affected your life?
I am constantly looking over my shoulder.  I have run into him three times in stores, and each time I was able to make out to my car before having a full blown panic attack.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
You are not alone, and you are worth so much more than you think!

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say?
You took advantage of a young girl. You knew what you were doing and you are still doing it to other girls.   You shattered everything about me into pieces. I lost who I was.  In spite of you, I have found a good and kind man and I have a wonderful life now.  You were wrong!

Beauty, Health, motherhood, Relationships, Self-Help, Women, Women Empowerment

The Baby Feeding Battle

When I found out I was pregnant, I was flooded with a million emotions. These emotions haven’t really left me even though I gave birth in late January to my child. I feel happiness. I feel sadness. I feel rage.

I could go on and on.

Motherhood is the best and worst thing at the same time. You’re scared probably 90 percent of the time you’re doing something wrong and the other 10 percent you are actually enjoying your child.

That brings me to the topic of this blog: feeding your newborn.

You’ve heard it a million times. You’ve seen it everywhere. And like it or not there is, unfortunately, a war between breast feeding and bottle feeding. What’s truly unfortunate about the whole war is that it is hard enough battling outside forces when it comes to feeding your child. The last thing on any woman’s mind should be fighting that battle with another woman that feeds differently than her.

Around week 20 of my pregnancy people had started to ask me if I planned to breast or bottle feed. Some of these people were health care professionals while others were counselors. Then, of course, there were the family members and strangers that would come up to you. I always responded truthfully with, “I am going to see what the baby wants. I plan on breastfeeding but if it doesn’t work out I will happily switch”

You would swear that I just told them I was going to drown my child in the ocean.

“Breast is best.”
“Don’t you care about your child?”
“You know your child will be smarter if you breastfeed.”

It happened every time I was asked. Eventually I just told people I planned on breastfeeding forever to get them off of my back. Which in hindsight, I should not have folded to societal demands.

It is said that research shows that breast is best. I’m not even going to argue that point because it’s not worth it. I encourage women to breast feed and I encourage women to bottle feed.

What research doesn’t tell you is how you, as a mother, will react to breast feeding.

I mean the emotional demons.

My child was breech and I had a c-section. Also, as a first time mom, my milk did not come in immediately. Actually, my colostrum didn’t even come in immediately. To top it off, my baby had low blood sugar. I wouldn’t say the deck was stacked against me, but it certainly made it very difficult to feed. I remember the hospital stay. Trying to get my colostrum to come in was the worst. They hooked me up to a pump and nothing came out. Absolutely nothing was coming out of me. So as I laid there listening to my child cry for nourishment, I felt pretty useless. The nurses kept putting her on me to feed and she would just get frustrated. They too would get frustrated. Well. I would be frustrated if I was trying to eat and nothing was coming out. Finally after her sugar went too low for their liking, they gave me some formula and a syringe to feed her. I felt relief because she finally was going to be fed.

It took six days for me to get my milk in. I became a slave to the pump and to my kid. But I was willing to do it to give her the best start in life. I supplemented formula only if absolutely necessary.

Then. All hell broke loose.

First, no one told me about lactation migraines. Every time I fed my baby for a prolonged period of time, my vision would blur and I would get this debilitating migraine. I would have to take my child off the breast just so I could see normally again. But again, I wanted what was best. Second, my baby became ill with a 24 hour bout of vomiting and diarrhea. I tried to feed from the breast, she would vomit. The next day I tried formula and she finally kept it down. I decided to try breast again and she would vomit.

I went like this for a week

Then, the demon known as post partum depression reared it’s ugly head.

I cried. I felt useless. Then I realized something: I’m not going to let my motherhood be defined by my boobs. I switched to formula and haven’t looked back.

Motherhood is not defined by a biological relation. Motherhood isn’t defined by how you feed your baby. Motherhood is the love you give to that little human being. Motherhood is making sure that child never suffers.

Breastfeeding wasn’t for us and I don’t regret that. My sanity and life has been saved by this decision. I can sit with my child and feed her and she smiles. She hears my voice and she smiles. I wasn’t going to let a failure to breastfeed take that away from me.

To all the mothers out there: you are beautiful. It doesn’t matter how you feed your baby, what does matter is that you respect that some women feed their babies differently than you. Next time you encounter a mom that feeds their baby differently, I encourage you to give that mom a pat on the back and tell her she is doing an awesome job. I still get crap for my decision to bottle feed from the pro-breast movement.

We need to #NormalizeFeeding.

And I mean all of it.

Check out my princess in this cutest baby contest and vote for her to win 🙂
https://www.bidiboo.com/baby/4581274260099263-Anya/

Adventure, America, Beauty, Bucket List, Death, Faith, Family, Health, Ideals, Life Lessons, Loss, Relationships, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Suicide Prevention, Terrorism, Uncategorized, Women Empowerment

How Social Media is Destroying Humanity

When we think about humanity as whole, what do we think? We think of a species, the Homo sapiens. We think of a superior species that has been set to rule over the rest of the creatures on this planet.

However, it’s becoming clearer every single day that we are a species that is digressing at a rapid rate. Much of that has to do with social media.

Before social media took over the world as we know it, human beings were forced to do this terrible and archaic thing known as actually talking and communicating with each other.  We had to, dare I say it, speak to other people. We had to find out what makes them tick. We had to find out their secrets.

We had to actually care.

We do not care any more. We only care about something when it is trending on Twitter or is ranked highly on Facebook. Otherwise, we do not care about anything.

Last week was the first time I openly mentioned my depression online because of the tragic passing of Robin Williams. I told my story to provide an outlet for others that are suffering from depression to come forward. I battled back from trying to commit suicide. And to this day, I can say that successfully without any medication, I manage my symptoms with self-affirmation. I came forward and was happy to see that many people reached out to me to say that I made them feel more secure in themselves. They felt like they could share their stories. They, like me, shared one similar sentiment:

Why does it take a major tragedy for us to talk about such a serious problem terrorizing people all over this country?

The answer: Because unless it’s on social media, NO ONE CARES!

I saw the trending Tweets: #suicideprevention #depression and so on and so forth. I saw them, and while it made me happy….Deep down, I was mad. I was mad because no one cares enough to talk about this unless it’s a trending Twitter topic. It showed me that people are becoming less and less human. Our depth of caring is at an all-time low.

Fast forward two days and we have the Ice Bucket Challenge. And everyone forgets about their #suicideprevention tags

Now, I support causes for charity 100%. That’s not my complaint with this scenario. My complaint is that, once again, we need something to trend on Facebook or Twitter for us to care about a terrible disease. What is even worse in my eyes is that instead of just challenging people, we are wasting clean water. Literally. This is America and I get that we have clean water. But let us consider the thousands upon thousands of people all over this world that would kill to drink the water we are pouring over our heads to avoid a donation to charity. Originally, you were supposed to donate as well as do the challenge. However, along the lines it became, do the challenge or donate.

Seriously. You are dumping clean water that millions would die to drink over your heads to avoid a major contribution to a charity that helps cure a terrible disease?
ARE WE THAT ARROGANT?

And to everyone that keeps saying, “But it’s raising awareness.”
You are missing my point. You really are. And I do not know how to make it clearer.
You should always care about people with terrible diseases and you should donate to them as often as you can. You should care. ALL of the time. You should not waste clean water when so many people are not fortunate to have that luxury. There is a little kid without shoes in a third world country drinking water out of a sewer right now while you avoid donating money to charity with your ice!

And, in a few days. #ALS will not see any donations. They will go back to seeking out donations that no one will want to donate to because it is no longer a trending Twitter topic.

And not to mention, that ALL charities need our assistance and by “requiring” people to donate a large sum to one charity disinclined them to donate to multiple because they cannot afford it. I am very happy that so many people donated to this charity, but the premise is not right. We should not need to plaster ourselves over social media to donate to charity just so we can trend on Twitter or Facebook.

If it were not for business purposes or networking for causes I believed in, I would delete Facebook and Twitter. Besides the fact that people want to “trend” the amount of defamation and slander on these sites is astronomical.

And we wonder why the world hates us.
We are arrogant. Nothing more. We are extremely arrogant. The reason terrorists come to our country to commit mass murders is because we are arrogant. The reason some of our citizens snap and go on shooting sprees is because we are arrogant.

WE NEED TO STOP.

We need to stop being arrogant and start caring about our fellow man. We need to donate to charity because it’s right. We need to talk to people so that they know they are not alone.

WE NEED TO CARE.

But most of all….

We need to evolve.

 

Adventure, Beauty, Dating, Faith, Family, Ideals, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Women, Women Empowerment

Why Getting Married Young Isn’t the End of the World

Social media and the internet are flooding people’s lives.  Various sites and organizations give advice and tell people how to live life.

But the truth is, there is no handbook for life, and there most certainly is no handbook for falling in love.

Over the past few months I have noticed a growing trend across various types of social media.  That trend is embracing being single. I think being single is awesome because you can find out who you are as a person and work on yourself.  I was single for an extreme length of time.  For certain periods, during my teens, I thought it was the end of the world. When I was in college, I loved it because I saw couples around me fighting all the time and I knew I did not want to deal with that. When I turned 21, I was in tune with myself. I felt alive. I graduated college and was working.  I had still had some loneliness, but it wasn’t so crippling anymore.

That’s when I met my now fiance.

I was awake and alive before, but, I felt more alive when we started dating. Now, I did not feel more alive because of getting laid or anything extremely superficial. I felt like a very exciting version of myself. I was learning new things. He was the first person to introduce me to a gun because of his military experience. We traveled quite a bit together and I went to places that I had never gone to before. I realized that even though I was alive, that there was much more for me to do and much more for me to become. But, I needed him to urge me to tap into that potential. I have always been outspoken and I had stuck up for myself to an extent. However, he showed me that I shouldn’t ever let anyone make me feel inferior. He told me I should be treated with respect. That’s when I started being less tolerant to people treating me as if I was a doormat. I started to not let anyone talk down to me. I held myself in a higher regard because I realized that I deserved that. But, he showed me that. Another thing he taught me was that I am, in fact, not always right. THAT was a somber and humbling day for me. My mom had been trying to tell me for years, but, somehow his delivery made the message click. Now, I struggle with that, but I’m only human right?

We live together in our house that we rent with our rescued dog, Dallas. He graduates from Penn State University in June and will be looking for a job, possibly in the oil and gas industry. He just knows he wants to take care of me. We are growing together.  We still keep our identities, but our identities are growing together.  He plays video games and I am a book-worm. Miss Dallas begs him for food but she begs me to go to the bathroom. I’m still outspoken, and he just listens and laughs.

We KNOW we cannot change each other, and we aren’t trying to.

I take that back, the only thing I would love to change is that he cannot, for some reason, ever get his clothes in the hamper. The clothes are endlessly are all over the floor.

What does this mean for you?

1. Don’t be afraid to fall in love. Whether it’s for a year or it’s for forever, do it. Each time you do it, it will change you. When you meet the one you will be changed forever.

2. Don’t assume that the person is going to change you. There’s this misconception that being in  relationship makes you sacrifice who you are. Well, if your relationship is like that, you should not be in it. Every day I see on Facebook that there are statuses about “not needing that inconvenience” or “people who get married young have nothing to live for.” You should marry someone who makes you a better person. Don’t hate on the people who found that person at 21. Some people take until they are in their 30s to find the person that embraces all of their flaws and makes them a better person. But please, stop hating on those of us that found that person at a young age. I guess you could say I got lucky, but there’s no reason for you to bash young, happily married couples because you want what they have or are tired of seeing their sappy statuses and tweets.

3. Be Patient and Stop Comparing. My mom always used to say, “Your time will come” when it came to everything that I ever wanted in life. I was patient. I worked on myself. I was rewarded. If it takes until you are 40 years old, then so be it. Embrace it. Love it. OWN it. But again, leave my relationship out of it. My relationship is mine and what works for me may not work for you. But just because I learned at a young age how to not only be myself, but be myself with another person does not make me LESS than someone else. Nor does it make me more. I’m me.

4. Be Happy with Yourself. If you aren’t happy with yourself and you cannot love yourself……no one else can truly love you. That is the biggest thing to remember. Many relationships crash and burn because one person is expecting the other to fulfill the lack of self-love and happiness they have. It does not work. Don’t even try it.

I’m getting married. When? I have no idea yet. We are saving and making other life decisions before we actually tie the knot. Many of you will think I am crazy because I am getting married to a person I met when I was 21. I am now 24. I am not crazy. And even if I was crazy, don’t look down upon me because I am happy. That’s my problem with this whole new trend, that people think it’s okay to bash people who get married young. For those of us that I know that got married young or are engaged, we could care less if you are single. So why would you care about us being married? Why is it such a big deal? Furthermore, why are SOOO many people writing about how stupid it is to be married young? Seriously? Why do you care so much to write about it so heavily? I don’t know if you got burned in a relationship or what, but my words. You need to stop this trend. How about we just all do what we want in love and stop being jealous and envious of people who have something we want? How about we let other people make whatever mistakes in love they wish to make? That sounds like a plan to me. And guess what? It may sound crazy, but I do everything I want to do. I do everything single people can do with the one difference of having multiple sex partners and one night stands.

If you want to be single, then be single. Just know it’s not for everyone. If you want to be in a relationship, be in a relationship. Just know it’s not for everyone.

I only ask that you stop making young, married/engaged people the target of your bullying. We have lived life just as you have; please stop acting like being in a long-term relationship is a death sentence. Otherwise, you’re going to scare a bunch of people into never falling in love. We do things. We are free.

We just found that freedom and have taken one other person along for the ride.

Adventure, Beauty, Bucket List, Dating, Faith, Family, Ideals, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Sex, Women, Women Empowerment

Don’t Ever Take Dating Advice From Taylor Swift

If there is one person that I really think gives the worst dating advice, it is Taylor Swift. And she doesn’t even give it purposely.

She writes about it in her songs.

I cannot stand that. For one thing, it is extremely disrespectful for someone to view love as a money-making scheme. And that’s all she is proving by writing all of her hits about her ex-boyfriends. She may not think that is what she is doing, but it is. If she had any respect for the people she dated, she wouldn’t publicly bash them in her music while millions of listeners are so impressionable. It just shows young people everywhere that it’s okay to date someone and break up with them……

as long as you can write a song that people will eat up and listen to.

Now, I do not condone staying in a bad relationship by any means. In fact, if you are in a bad relationship, then get out. But, please spare us the bull and don’t write a song about it. I think it would be very interesting to see what all of her former lovers would have to say in a song about her. And I guarantee it would go along the lines of her being selfish. The first thing I notice about her is that she does not care about the other person. Let’s look back at when Harry whats-his-face won a music award and her response was “Are You Kidding Me?”

Harsh much?

I get it, she’s empowered.

But she isn’t really.

Almost three years ago I started writing blogs about females embracing their imperfections and flaws. And one of things I’ve noticed that has taken off with this subject is females not “settling” for less than they deserve. Now, I agree with this. But I also would like to point out to many females out there that men can do the same thing. Being empowered does not give you a license to be a bitch to everyone around you, or to parade around bashing men because it is the thing to do. Being empowered means that you have found an inner strength to yourself that would only be enhanced if a man walked into your life (or woman, whichever you prefer). The key here is to not become selfish along the way. Most relationships fail because of lack of communication. They also fail because the people in those relationships focus more on what they can take from the other person than what they can give.

This is why I say don’t ever take dating advice from Taylor Swift.

Because Taylor Swift never focuses on self-reflection, it’s always about what the other person did.

And that’s why her relationships failed and will continue to until she looks at what she can give to another person. And it may take the right person for her to do that. And she by no means has to be willing to give of herself at her age….she can wait. But deep down, when I see her.

I see someone that’s afraid.

You want dating advice. I’ll give you some dating advice from what I’ve learned with my fiance and what I learned watching my grandparents be together for my whole life. They were married almost 58 years before my grandpa passed away.

1) The relationship isn’t just about YOU. There are two people. There are two hearts beating. There are two sets of needs that need met. There are two sets of expectations there.
2) Don’t say, “I want you to do this.” Instead try, “What can we do make this better” or “Where can I work on making things better.” A little humility never hurts. I have news for you. I’m empowered. I’m stubborn. I’m a bad ass female…..and I can still be humble because I realize there is one another person that has the other half of my soul.
3) Learn what phrases to say to the other person. If you think the other person isn’t listening, change your approach. My fiance and I know which phrases get the other person to do what we want and which phrases will piss us off instantly. Communicate. It’s a constant learning process…but once again…this is where a little humility can come in to play. Also, if you don’t want to take their bullshit. Don’t. But address it in the correct way. Because they don’t have to put up with yours either.
4) Don’t think you can change them or their habits. This is simple. Don’t insult the other person by trying to drastically change who they are as a person. I mean, do you want to stop being that badass female? No. You don’t. So don’t expect the other person to drastically change to make you happy. It’s wrong. Either love them at the core of who they are or move on and save yourself a lot of stupid heartache.
5) Don’t talk all the time. Listen too.  The person you’re with will tell you what is wrong and what they want….you just have to listen to them. I don’t mean hear them….I mean listen.
6) Stop thinking you’re always right. I still struggle with this. But, I’m learning and he is very patient with me. Almost three years and diamond ring patient.
7) Focus on what you Give. Give to the other person. Constantly. Compromise. I love compromising. It is literally the best of both worlds. And occasionally something I didn’t want to do ends up being something I liked anyway. Don’t take from the other person and don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. But, give.
8) Real love isn’t a fairy tale. Just get over it. It’s not. There’s no white horse. There’s no castle. Just. NO. Move on from the childish version of love to the more awesome version I saw in my grandparent’s marriage. You want a sweet love story? Watch UP! Seriously, the first eight minutes of that movie was the best love story I’ve ever seen filmed. Oh, and date the beast, not the prince. People always call me and mine the Beauty and the Beast. I like it that way. People with layers are more interesting than the people without them.

Above all. Realize that anything in life worth having is something you have to fight for and work for. It’s not going to be easy. Learn to embrace your own beauty and imperfections first…..

Then, embrace someone else’s.

And Taylor, don’t be afraid to fall in love. It’s the most interesting adventure you could ever go on.

Adventure is out there.
Jump Feet First.