Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015

   2015 is coming to a close and I'm trying desperately to figure out how the year went because I can never remember. So I'm at my laptop with my journal open and I'm flipped to the pages that mark the beginning of this year.

   Well, January was rough. 2015 was rough. I didn't know it was until now, looking back on everything. Yikes. This year started off crappily. My journal starts off with a rant about my position spiritually and my anxiety over seeing my best friend, who at that point I hadn't seen in like, 7 months because of an overseas missions trip. Shortly after that I had a lot of problems with my health and was sick for 3 weeks with meningitis, and was in the hospital for 2 of those weeks. I'm starting to realize that life really is two steps forward, one step back. I guess this year was my one step back.


   So, in brief, here are a few highlights (and lowlights?) of how my 2015 went.

   -Saw my best friend who I hadn't seem in over half a year.
   -Got snowed in with said best friend and watched the SuperBowl with her.
   -Had a kidney biopsy
   -Went through chemotherapy
   -Spent 2 weeks in the hospital. (And one night in ICU.)
   -Graduated high school. (And started college.)
   -Became theatre trash. (Fell in love with the musical Hamilton, performed in my schools production of columbinus, and joined my schools theatre club.)
   -Saw The Force Awakens 4 times and counting
   -Watched my first UFC fight (And realized I like fighting.)
   -Redesigned my blog
   -Saw Age Of Ultron
   -Was taken off all my meds except one. (No more steroids! Yay!)
   -Won NaNoWriMo for my 3rd time
   -Completed my first second draft. (If that made sense??)
   -Finally did The Thing God had been asking me to do for a year
   -Completed my first semester at community college with all A's and B's
   -Bought a DSLR and a laptop
   -Read 72 books the year I said I wasn't going to read. (Post on that coming soon.)
   -Dyed my hair teal
   -Saw my Internet friend again
   -Reached 100 blog followers
   -Met a new best friend
   -Starting working out at a gym
   -Went to my first convention
   -Began wrestling with my insecurities and anxiety all over again
   -Watched RAIM get 600 Facebook likes
   -Ended the year visiting my friend out of state.
   -Will spend New Years eve at a hotel with two of my favorite humans, partying it up with sparkling grape juice and cute dresses

   I know a lot of those things on that list are good, but overall, this year freaking gave me a beating. I didn't realize it until today, but I realized I'm struggling again. I'll be okay. I realized that getting up from a place you've been before is even harder than getting up the first time. Because you have to deal with the shame of thinking you could have prevented the backslide. That's kind of where I'm at. I've been knocked down, and the devil wants me to stay down. So I guess I have a choice now, don't I?

   I'm going to get back up. Eventually. Yeah I'm overwhelmed and yeah I think my health might be starting to flare up on me again and yeah I'm not where I want to be spiritually, God's got my back. I can't do this. But He can. I'm just going to keep saying it until I believe it.

   Of course, I've never been big on resolutions, but I feel like I should this year. Because even though we all forget them 2 months into the year, I like to think I'll accidentally accomplish at least one of them. So we'll see. I just want to have goals. Plus I like lists.

   Here are my 2016 goals.

   -Work on my anger issues
   -Be more honest
   -Be a better sister
   -Stop being so selfish over fandoms
   -Figure out where RAIM is going and what our plan is for that
   -Continue to grow
   -Stop being so hard on myself

   One last thing, I promise.
   I would really appreciate it if you took a few seconds to fill out this questionnaire.

   Thanks a billion!



   What are your goals for this coming year? How did 2015 treat you?












Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Kylo Ren Epiphany

   I wasn't going to post this I swear. Especially since I just blogged. It's personal and there are some things I only like sharing with people who have the courage to ask. But a few people did have that courage. Plus I was lowkey afraid of sounding stupid. But as it turns out, a ton of people favorited this tweet for some odd reason, and Beth wanted a blog post. I suppose I should stop beating around the bush and finally say I saw The Force Awakens 3 times and it was fantastic. And I fell in love with another villain. Who I might even like more than Loki. 

 

   Now, I'm going to say THIS POST CONTAINS ALL OF THE SPOILERS. I'M SO SORRY I GOTTA. So go see TFA and then come back and read this post! But seriously, spoilers. Spoilers. Spoilers. Spoilers everywhere. Seriously, just do yourself a favor and go see it. You won't regret it. 

   

   
      So sermon time.

      Now, you have to know a thing about me before this. Everything is spiritual to me. I can't watch anything or do anything without searching for some spiritual lesson. Mostly, I only share these things with my closest friends because people who don't ask why I like things don't deserve to know the answers anyway. But, like, I said, I'm sharing it this time. I always like things for reasons and they always say things about me. So don't make fun of me if I sound stupid during this whole post.

      Okay, moving on.
      So in The Force Awakens, the saddest part of the movie is the bridge scene. (Need I specify?) Kylo Ren (Ben. My son.) kills his father by stabbing him with a lightsaber. Obviously this is emotional on so many levels. But today I won't focus on how I broke my heart to heart my favorite character in so much pain or the fact that we lost a beloved member of the original trio, Let's talk about spiritual stuff.
   It may come as a surprise to people that I rarely see myself as a hero. I tend to relate to the villains a lot more, so that's why I like them more. I'm not a perfect person, as you guys are abundantly aware. Like Kylo, I have anger issues. I am constantly torn because "I know what I have to do but I don't know if I have the strength to do it." 

      That scene on the bridge hit me because if I'm Kylo, then Han Solo would be...well, God. The more I thought about it the more true it seemed to be. Han Solo went onto that bridge knowing he would die. We all know he wasn't planning to get away. In order to show his love for his son, he had to demonstrate what lengths he would go to for him. He went to the extreme by leaving his blaster in his holster and showing he would die for him. Even after he gets stabbed you see him reach out to touch his sons cheek. Despite everything, Han forgave. He just wanted his son to come home. That was the only thing he ever asked for. He didn't ask him to clean up his act and come back once he had thrown away his lightsaber. He asked for him to take off his mask so he could see his son, but that was it. He just wanted to see his kid without the mask, to be able to look into his eyes at the child he loved so fearlessly. 
   And that's how God loves us. I wish I could such a clear picture in church of this. I wish everyone would let that truth sink into them because it would change the world. God came out onto that bridge for me; without his weapon, knowing it would be me that killed him. My sins. Yet he loved me even though I was, by definition, his enemy, he looked at me and saw his child. This just breaks me. I wish it broke me every day. I wish I lived in this knowledge every day. I wish I could understand how much God loves me. 
   Charles Spurgeon says this perfectly in his sermon "Love's Logic." He says "But this is the personal point-He loves me. An insignificant nobody, full of sin who deserved to be in hell, who loved Him so little in return-God loves me. Beloved believer, does this not melt you? Does not this fire your soul? I know it does if it is really believed."
    God loves you with this insane, passionate love. He would die for you. He doesn't look at you and see the terrible things you've done. He sees his child. His grace is big enough for you. Even if you have turned away from Him so many times, He isn't keeping track. He just wants His child to come home. So return home. Go back to your Father. Christmas time is such a lovely time to stop and focus on God and the love He has for you. The fact that Jesus left heaven to be a human is enough to blow my mind; and yet there was even more. 

     
    Just take some time to dwell on that. I know I have a hard time picturing God because I have no idea what to think of and I'm a visual person; I like to be able to see things. So I jump at every stupid chance to get some hint of an idea of who God is; even if that means crying during movies that almost have nothing to do with God at all. 
      So that's it. 
   I hope you have a lovely Christmas. Remember that you are loved by God so immensely that even the biggest picture we can come up with isn't even close to how He loves us. 
   
   And may the Force be with you.





Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dear Ned

   It's been two years. Two years to yesterday you committed suicide by jumping off the roof of your library. I was supposed to write this yesterday and well, I'm sorry. I almost forgot. I know. How could I forget? How come anyone? You were, no, you are my favorite author. You were like, the greatest YA author ever. Your writing inspired thousands. You changed lives. I want to people able to write like you did; you spoke from such a personal place and were so vulnerable. I don't think anyone has been able to do that the way you were able to. People trust you because you weren't faking it all. You knew what you were talking about.

   I remember the first time I read It's Kind Of A Funny Story. I read it because I kept seeing pictures from the movie on my tumblr. I knew Emma Robertson was in it so I searched her IMDB for every movie she was in until I found it. Then I heard it was a book so I ordered the book and the movie from the library. They both came, but I read the book first. I fell in love. The way you wrote sucked me into the story. I felt like Craig was me. He talked like us. Like a teenager. I was 17. I felt like Craig was speaking my language. I didn't know anyone else knew how hard it was to talk and how hard it was to get out of bed some mornings and life. It was like someone finally got what I was saying and it was okay because I wasn't alone.

   You taught me that all I had to do was breathe in and breathe out. You put The Shift into words. In that book, wow. You taught me that we had to live. To enjoy every stupid little thing and that life is so beautiful. But even after the Shift comes, you're not cured. Things can still be hard and there will be days where you swear you're getting bad again but that doesn't mean your Shift meant nothing. It will always mean something. You taught me that when you speak the truth, you get stronger.

   In Craig I found someone who was as messed up as I was. Craig was someone who had biking as an Anchor, like me. He had Tentacles that complicated life and made things difficult. Craig was afraid of living. Craig had a hard time talking. But I realized it wasn't Craig. It was you, wasn't it?

   You were all those things.  It was always you.

   And then when I saw it on Twitter...you killed yourself...I just cried. I wanted to say it wasn't true but I searched your name and I saw it. It was on the news. It was everywhere. I just sat at my desk and cried. I never got to meet you. You would never sign my copy of It's Kind Of A Funny Story. I would never tell you that your book helped me more than I ever thought.

   There was one line in specific that had such an impact on me. It said "I don't owe people anything, and I don't need to talk to them any more than I feel I need to."

   Ned, that was everything to me. That hit me so hard. That was what finally got me to be okay with being quiet. Because I don't owe people my words. If I give them it's because I trust you. I don't owe people anything. If I'm uncomfortable, I don't need to talk and my silence should be okay. After that I didn't feel so pressured to talk or even to explain myself. I can tell the people who care, and people who don't, well, they don't deserve to know anyway. That was so freeing. Thank you.

   I miss you.

   I think about you a lot. I'm angry that you never got hope. You never found the light. I think you would be so happy today. Be More Chill was just adapted for Broadway. Can you believe it? It's a musical now. You would be so proud. You would be here to maybe read this letter on this little blog and see how much your words meant to the world; you would see that you were broken but aren't we all? You're not alone. I recommend your book to everyone I meet. I run a ministry for kids who are depressed and I always tweet things you've said and I always tell my kids about It's Kind Of A Funny Story. Heck, the movie was just as good. It was just perfect. You should be so proud. Some day if I get published, I want to dedicate a novel to you because I hope you be a writer just like you. I want my words to be authentic and to matter to people.

   I saw a quote on Instagram that said "Books don't have the power to save us, but they give us the courage to save ourselves." And well...yeah. Thank you. I could say that a million times. Thank you , thank you, thank you. I wish I could hug you and tell you all this. I miss you. We all do. But you helped me get stronger and braver and for that, I'm forever grateful. God used you in big ways. I know it's not just me. I'm just one simple girl you helped to feel more comfortable. Imagine the rest of the stories.

   You're a hero, Ned Vizzini.

   Thanks you.

   -Faith

Sunday, December 13, 2015

My Life Right Now

   *Emerges dramatically from the depths*

   I have come to tell you I survived my first semester at college plus winning my third NaNoWriMo for this year! *Takes bow* Thank you. School ended on Wednesday for me. I only had one final, and that was math. I was getting a B in the class, but if I failed the final it wouldn't matter because I wouldn't pass the class. But I passed! I wasn't even nervous really. By the end of the semester I felt so confident and I was doing amazing on all the practice sheets we got. My final grades we all A's and B's. Honestly, I was so surprised. I have my math professor to thank for how well I did in math; honestly, he changed how I viewed the subject and actually helped me to believe I could do it. I'm not afraid of it anymore.

   I have actually seriously enjoyed school. I love it. But I am more than happy to be finished. The last week I was just so ready for it to be done. I was getting so stressed out and I was sleep deprived and...yeah. Basically, I'm a mess.

   Aside from school, I've been pretty stressed and whatever. Truthfully, it's been hard. There's a lot on my mind and I won't get into it here. I'm just trying to keep my head up and trust God and remember that its gonna get better. Now with school done I have one less thing to worry about. But before I get off the topic of school; I have officially registered for class for the spring! I'll be taking, biology, speech, theatre are, and photography. Bio is gonna kill me; it's science, it's several hours long, and it's on a Friday. Other than that, I feel like I'm taking too many fun classes. It should be great.

   Also, In January I found out that I'll be going to the Kennedy Center American Theatre Festival with my columbinus squad. I'm super excited but also super nervous. (I'm an awkward potato and I'm gonna have to deal with people for a week.) But staying in a hotel and going to theatre workshops is gonna be great.

   So that's my life. Here are some more things I've been up to.

   Dying my hair teal.
   I got so angry one day I started crying and called my mom at work and when she picked up I just cried and said "I really need a hair cut." I'm sure it made no sense to her but she said I should go do it so I grabbed my wallet and ran out the door. I walked to Hair Cuttery and showed the lady a picture of Hailey Williams and asked her to cut my hair like that. It came out shorter than I would have liked; I can't put it up anymore. But it's cute. The next day I dyed it teal. It's dark since I didn't bleach it. (I should next time.) My hair has been thinning and falling out since chemo, so at this point I don't care anymore.
   I have mentioned this to people, but I can tell what was going on in my life by my hair. Dying and cutting my hair is therapeutic for me. Heck, I could do a blog post about just that whole topic. So I just needed a change. I needed to usher in a new era. Nothing good ever seems to come from blonde haired Faith.
   So it's teal now. It represents something, and I'll let you know when I figure it out.


   Listening to Hamilton.
   I am theatre trash. I can't help it. It just happened. First Wicked, now this. I also watched the documentary on the Broadway show American Idiot. Yes, that is a musical based on the Green Day album. And yes, it is just as glorious as it sounds.
 


   Picking up my ticket so see The Force Awakens.
   *Screaming continues*
   But seriously. I'm seeing in on the 17th and I couldn't be more excited. Dayle and I are going to wear Chewbacca onesies and it's going to be amazing. I also got Star Wars Monopoly as an early Christmas present from my dad, and we're going to play Star Wars trivia. Tuesday is binge watching the prequels, and Wednesday is original trilogy day. Then Thursday....eeeeeek. The Force Awakens! You might not hear from me for a while; I might be in shock for a while. So don't be surprised if I fall off the face of the earth for a while.
   Plus, I got myself some of that Star Wars lipstick from Covergirl. Way cool.


   Reading.
   Ahh yes. Reading. I'm trying to read as much as I can before the end of the year. I didn't have a lot of time to read with school, so now its out, I want to devour all the books. Although, for a college freshman, I've read a lot. 68 books and counting for this year. Not bad. 
   

   So I read Aftermath; the first "canon" novel. 

   Meh.

   And I don't just say that because I'm still salty about the EU, which I am but because it really just wasn't that great. It was mediocre at best. Now I'm back to reading through the EU after that detour; and I'm on Darth Plagueis. It's good so far. But its pretty big and I more concerned with finishing it by the end of the year. 
   Other books I've read are:
   Rise by Trip Lee. (10/10 would recommend.)
   Violent Ends by too many authors to name. 
   My Fight/Your Fight by Ronda Rousey. (Obviously it was amazing.)

   That's all I think. I haven't had too many books on my TBR shelf. (I'm always accepting recommendations.)

   Watching Jessica Jones
   I finished the series and wow. All I have to say is wow. I want to do a whole blog post on that alone. Because seriously, Jessica Jones is so important. The world needed that show in so many ways. I love it. I relate to Jessica so much. Heck, I loved reading comics with her way before this show was announced. She's always been amazing. Krysten Ritter just brought a whole new dimension to her that I adored.

   That's the boring stuff really. Aside from that, spiritually and emotionally I have a lot going on and I'm not sure what to do about it all; so prayers for that would be rad. Thanks for sticking me with. 

   So are any of you going to see The Force Awakens?! 
   How were/are finals?
   Do you like Hamilton?! (If you do, check out my tumblr....)
   Prayer requests??

   Let me know. I love you guys.

   May the Force be with you!

Monday, December 7, 2015

I'm Sorry

   "I'm sorry I'm not the hero you wanted me to be."
   "You're exactly the hero I wanted you to be."
   -Jessica and Trish, Jessica Jones.

   I want to start off by saying I'm sorry.
   I'm sorry I'm not the big hero everyone wanted me to be. Don't tell me I'm wrong, because I know full well how true it is. I will never be the Christian people expect me to be. I have tried and failed many times to live up to the expectations of others. I have tried to be the "cool Christian," as my pastor says it. But I fall short every gosh darn time.

   If you read my blog to hear about a girl who overcomes, a girl who is constantly living in faith, a girl who fearlessly and boldly follows the Lord, then you're following the wrong blog.

   I'm not the Christian who has it all together, even through bad times. I'm a mess, actually. I've suffered. I still suffer. I would like to say that I obeyed when God said in the bible to not be afraid, but I am petrified. Even when the bible says "do not be afraid" 365 times. Here I am. Afraid. Battling fear every day of my existence. It's almost like who I am.

   Besides all that, I feel like a failure a lot of the times because I can't keep my crap together. I'm far too sassy. I pretend to not give a crap about anything because deep inside I care too much and it hurts too much for me to admit. I'm selfish. Conceited. Annoying. I overthink everything. I have such a rebellious attitude. I have struggled with so much; fear, anxiety, depression, insecurities, overthinking, self hate; the list goes on forever. I'm not proud of it. Not one bit. Every day I wake up and tell myself it'll be different, yet I find myself falling into the same stupid sins over and over again. Every time I go to church I have to face these things I hate about myself. I compare myself to all the other Christians in my life who have it all together. They're not afraid of anything. They know how to study their bibles and they understand theology. I can't even explain how I know God is real. I'm surrounded by so many people who know what they're doing. I feel like I'm failing in my ministry because oftentimes I feel like one of the kids I'm trying to minister too.

   I feel isolated a lot. I isolate myself a lot. I can't help but feel like people in the church look down on me as below them. They look at me, shaking their heads and say "There's Faith. Running her mouth again." And "There's Faith having to leave group early because she's having a panic attack for this fifth time this month." I know they probably don't even think that, but really, it's just another example of how I overthink. I know they think I'm scared because I don't have enough faith; and if I just dealt with the problem, I would be fine. And if they only knew. If they only saw how hard I'm trying. How hard I'm praying. How hard I'm seeking God in everything I do and with all that I am. But I think all everyone ever sees is the weird chick with the black Converse, the nose ring, the teal hair. They see the girl who yells at her siblings too much. The girl who writes blog posts "bashing the church." The girl who gives Christians a bad rep. The girl who no one wants to be like.

   And I hate myself for it.

   I wish I was brave like you guys. I wish I had flawless faith. I wish I was the hero you wanted me to be. I tell you this because I never want to be fake. I may be a lot of bad things, but fake isn't one of them. I want to be real.

   Because the truth is I can't be the person you want me to be; but yesterday I realized something. I'm the person God wants me to be. Somehow I keep having this revelation time and time again. It seems new to me each time too.

   It's true that God hasn't given me a spirit of fear, but He can still work in me around that. Yes, God did not make me angry and sarcastic and bratty; but He wants me anyway. He wants all that I am. He doesn't want me to clean up my act and then give Him everything; He wants all of me right now. And yesterday Him and I talked about it. I told him all I've ever wanted was to please Him and to lead people to Him and that I was sorry I couldn't do that because I wasn't "together" enough. I just wanted to be a hero and to touch lives; I didn't want all this. I think He laughed at me. He said "What do you mean? You're exactly the hero I wanted you to be."

   I thought of the people of the bible. Elijah: suicidal. Jonah: runs away from God. Moses: killer and excuse maker. Rahab: prostitute. Paul: killed Christians for sport. Nicodemus: doubter. Peter: denied Jesus 3 times. Jeremiah: depressed.

   So yes. I'm not the perfect Christian. I have such bad fear issues they sometimes cripple me for weeks on end; but God wants to use me. And you know what? I think He can. He can use me in my fear; not just despite of them, but actually through them. He chose Moses for a public speaking job even though he stuttered. He can certainly use me despite, well, me generally being a sucky person. Despite everything I'm being told, I think He can use my fear for His glory. He didn't cause it but God can create something beautiful from it. He doesn't need me to pretend to be perfect; He wants me to be authentic. I have always listened more to authentic and real people; not people who have it all together. Maybe that's just me. But I don't think God wants me to be "cool." He wants me to be me. And that doesn't mean I'm content in my sin; I am actively trying to change. I am striving for more. I will never give up my battle against fear. But I don't have to slay my demons before I can be a light to others. God wants to use me right now. I'm giving Him all I have; and right now, all I have is my fear, my anxiety, my doubt, my insecurities, and my broken heart. That's me. And now that belongs to the Lord.

   Even in my doubt though, my love for God has remained; and more importantly, His love for me has been steady. I realized that He loves me just as much when I'm screwing up as He does when I'm in His will. That's so beautiful. So I'm not the Christian who's perfect and fearless; I'm the Christian who is broken and is a mess and has fear issues, and I am the Christian who is fiercely adored by her Creator despite it all.

   I guess I just needed to say that. Sorry it was long. But if you take anything from this, just know that you don't have to be perfect, okay? God wants you now, not later what things are fine.

   Oh, and most importantly, God loves you; whether you're doing good or not. Don't let your anyone tell you otherwise.

   "My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, You, God, will not despise."-Psalm 51:17

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Why?

   "How do we treat each other? Why do we treat each other the way we do? Why do kids, who will soon ask these questions about their kids, continue to treat each other the same way? Why does this cycle never change, even after the kids themselves resort to bombs and guns and butchering their fellow students to prove a point? Why do we look for an easy way out-a pill to take, a program to shut off-when we know that something deep inside us has to change? What are we afraid of?"-PJ Paperelli.


   In 1999, in Littleton Colorado, two boys by the names of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold took guns and bombs to blow up their entire school, Columbine High School. They ended up killing 15 people, including taking their own lives. It is probably the most notorious school shooting of all time. And it was this that prompted PJ Paperelli to write the play columbinus. Over the past several months I've had the honor of being a part of my college's production of that show, playing the part of "Faith." There is so much I want to say about this experience, I might just have to write several posts to focus on different aspects. I was so blessed to be able to work with such an incredible cast who honestly blew my mind. The amount of talent in that show was incredible. I felt honored that they all welcomed me in even though I was a newbie. I suppose I could talk about how God helped me realize how much potential I had and worked in me during this time to help me overcome a lot of insecurities and fears I had. Throughout my time working there, I was tempted to fall back into old habits; being shy, hiding in the back, not talking to people; but I didn't. And that was all God. I could tell you about the people who made me feel like I mattered; the people who made me laugh until my stomach hurt. I could certainly tell you that I now adore theatre and have been listening to the soundtrack for Wicked ever since the show ended, or how much I like getting to step on the stage and be someone else for a few hours; someone who isn't scared, who isn't anxious, and who isn't me.

   I loved all those things. But more than that, I want to talk to you about the whys. That's what everyone wants to know about Columbine. That what everyone wants to know about everything. It's the one question we strive to answer, and most of the time we'll never be satisfied. One of my favorite lines from columbinus says "The one questions everyone keeps asking is, why did this happen? Could it have been prevented, and most importantly, what can we do right this minute to keep this from ever happening again?" That's what I want to talk about today.

   In the two or so months that we were preparing for the show, 3 school shootings took place. The fact that they still happen regularly were scary. Some days it was hard to go to rehearsal and put myself in those shoes. The first day our director told us "If you're on antidepressants, you might want to up your dosage." Some of the cast had nightmares about school shootings. I'm one of those people. The leads especially had a hard time being in the mind of killers for so long. I was constantly thinking about those tragic events. I kept asking myself "why?"

   We live in a messed up world. Tragic things happen every day. And there are times when we feel hopeless. People get bullied, ignored, rejected, and spit upon. Sometimes we resort to violence because there is just so much pain inside. Some people don't know how to deal with it all. The scariest truth is, we are all capable of evil. I look at Eric and Dylan and think about if that could have been me. Maybe I shouldn't. But I do. We look down on people who act on such evil; people who kill and murder. But I think Eric and Dylan were more or less like us. Being in this show forced me to confront my own inner monster. Those dark thoughts we all have are inside of us. So what do we do with them?

   I can't claim to know why those boys decided it would be a good idea to blow up their school, but I know they were bullied relentlessly. I know I question how we treat each other on a daily basis. I wonder why I'm not more careful with my words and actions. Just the thought of having so much pain inside of you that you turn to a gun makes me want to cry. That's so much pain. I can't fathom it. Yet even after living through these nightmares, we still walk around and treat each other horribly. I'm saying this because I do it. We all do. We hear about kids killing themselves because they felt so hopeless and alone and we're shaken for a day or so but then life goes on. You get angry with a coworker, make fun of a class mate for some laughs. And you fall right back into the cycle that got us here in the first place.

   The truth is, I believe this could have been prevented. Columbine, Sandy Hook, Amanda Todd's suicide, Grover Cleveland Elementary; all of it. But when tragic things like these happen, we look for some magical solution. One easy fix-all method. And there isn't one. We can blame things up and down but, just like Papperelli said, something inside us needs to change.

 
   "A life without Christ is a life that is never fixed." KJ-52 said that in his song "Dear Slim." When I think of Columbine, that's the line that always comes to mind. You can go through all the therapies in the world, have the greatest friends, be on the most successful medications, only watch things rated PG, and never touch screamo music, but at the end of the day, you are still without hope. Jesus is our only hope. The longer I live, the more I realize that. We need God to change those parts in us, to fix what has been broken. We have been scrambling around trying to fix ourselves and it has gotten us nowhere. You would think by now we would have realized our attempts are futile. Jesus Christ is the hope of the world; if we fully believed this truth I can't even imagine the world we would live in. This is such a profound truth that it should change the very essence of our being. It should change how we treat others and view the world; it would help us not pick fights about things that don't matter, it would give us the courage to stand up and defend the defenseless, it would give us faith to live audaciously. It would change the world.

   So what can we do?

   We can show God's love to a broken world. We can be honest about ourselves. We can talk about subjects that are hard. We can choose to be brave in the face of whatever fears come our way. I mean, either that or you can close your eyes and pretend like this isn't happening. It's your choice really.  You have the one thing that can save the world; what's holding you back?

   This show will always touch my heart. The last "Why?" I wanted to discuss is why I auditioned for a show that was actually very vulgar and sexual. Because it matters and its real. It's authentic and not watered down. I never want to water down the truth of life. I like things that are brutally honest. I never want to give you some half hearted version of reality. I want the truth; no matter how ugly that truth is. I hope you can say the same.

   Thank you to everyone who came out to watch the show. You made me feel like a star. And since you know full well how emotional it was, I expect you guys to rise to my challenge. Be the change.

   "Who's the blame for the lives that tragedies claim? No matter what you say it won't take away the pain that I feel inside. I'm tired of all the lies. Don't nobody know why, it's the blind leading the blind. I guess that's the way that the story goes. Well it never makes sense. Somebodies gotta know. There's gotta be more to life than this, there's got to be more to everything I thought exists."-Youth Of The Nation, POD..

   "It's been a few years now, and just the other day I was driving past the school and I stopped at the stoplight and I looked at the kids yelling at each other on the sidewalk, guys on the court, the normalness of it all. And then I saw a kid get out of his car...he had on baggy pants, a lot of chains, combat boots, and a long black trench coat. My god! I had to pull off to the road. Now, what was going through my head must have been going through everyone's head from that day until now...like that look, those clothes meant evil. Evil was present. But Christ, how the he** would I know if that kids evil unless I actually talk to him? So how do I think differently about someone? For days after yeah, we all did. But time passes and we still make judgments, call people sh*t, and continue on, just as before. Even after living through your friends dying and those sounds of gunblasts and the fear of walking down those halls again...all of that. Who knows? Maybe I have changed. For the moment, I'm different. But is that enough?"
-columbinus, written by PJ Paperelli.








Saturday, October 31, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

   Hey. So...uh...this is Jacob. I don't know if you know me. Did Faith talk about me yet? She probably didn't. I'm not really worth mentioning. Not too special or whatever. Anyways, I'm Jacob Dell. Technically I'm just a character in the mind of Princess Faith. I've been keeping her company since she was 11 or 12. We're pretty close I've seen her grow a lot over the past few years in so many ways; in specific, her writing has improved so much since I was created. And in turn, she's got to see transform before her very eyes. This year has been pretty crazy for me. Maybe I should tell you some stuff about me...well...I'm...average. I'm a senior in high school, I make good grades; I want to make it into a nice university so I can become a doctor, like my mom. My best friend's name is Kevin. And...I uhh...I have this really big crush on this girl at my school. You should see her, she's gorgeous and has this amazing long red hair that I pretend is natural but its clearly from a bottle and I've known her since middle school and I love her laugh and I'm not sure if she knows I exist...

   But...yeah...

   I hijacked this blog to tell you guys something. Faith probably won't be around much. The past few weeks have been...well, rough for her. If you ask her, she probably won't say anything, but she's really stressed. She loves school, but its really draining everything in her right now. She's having a horrible time understanding math, and I wish I could help her, because I'm really good at it, but I'm...you know. Then there's the play she's in. She lives for that, but so many changes have happened and she's having the hardest time remembering things; and she doesn't want to blame in on the lupus but its hard when last week she stared at the prop table and knew what she had to do, but found she couldn't make the connection between knowing which props were hers and bringing them onto the stage. Plus every time they get to rehearse the library scene she begins to choke. Completely out of the blue.

   It's just...she has a lot going on. The stress is pouring over into everything else; she hasn't been sleeping, she's been overeating, she's constantly overthinking...heck, her head is a mess. I know because I live there. Just...pray for her. Okay? I'm kind of worried about her.

   In other news, the reason she'll be MIA this month is. you guessed it, NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month.) I feel bad making her do this, because, like I said, I know how stressed she is. But I think this is really important. Sorry, that sounded self centered. But I really do think my story can change her. I know Ali's story changed her, and so did Azlyn's. My story...and Megan's story...it means something. Even if she can't see what yet.

   However, she will be posting updates on her blogs Facebook and definitely on Twitter. (Seriously, check the side panel for both those links.) She's pretty funny. But don't take it personally if she doesn't want to hang out or leave her house, and she might not have showered if you randomly stop by, and she'll probably gain 10 pounds from not moving, skipping the gym, and living off of microwave popcorn. But give her a break. She's having a rough time.

   As for me, I think Faith is gonna make me embark on a journey that I honestly didn't sign up for. I keep trying to make her tell me the plot but I don't think she knows it either. Should that make me worried? Eh. I trust her.

   Are there any other imaginary people out there? Come on, don't make me call out names. I know there are a lot of other stories about to be told. Comment your tales and stuff. I want to read them.

   I think Faith likes to put pictures at the end? She's taken some really great ones lately.

   Thanks for listening to me ramble. See you soon?

   -Jacob Dell

 








Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Beautiful Books!

 Ahh yes. NaNoWriMo prep season is upon us. And oh how it has taken me by surprise this year. Yikes. Honestly, I'm not sure I'll be able to win this year. But I don't want to have an attitude that says "If I can't win, why try?" So that being said, I know I can't win. But I love writing and I love my story, even if it's barely developed. See, my first year, I was a total panster. I had a vague idea and I ran with it. But since I've re-written Forlorn Hope, I've become a planner. 

   Writing and tackling NaNo plus college plus having 6 performances of columbinus all in the same month is probably going to kill me. Plus, ya know, social life, working out, reading my bible, and watching Parks And Rec. (Priorities.) I don't know. I've had so much time to think about it but I just...didn't. I'm sorry. 

   Anyhow! I'm super excited for this novel! And this November! I love the atmosphere of the season, especially since I started doing NaNoWriMo. I know I really should sit this one out, but I don't feel like it would be November without it. 

   Now, special thanks to Cait and Sky for this lovely link up. (Ps. if you're a writer you should do this too. Even if you're not doing NaNo.)


How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
    It actually came to me one day when I was like...11? When I was still a fetus in my writing "career." I was just practicing so I wrote up a seen and when I read what I had written I realized the tremendous backstory and I just fell in love. I realized that while yes, the original novel sucked eggs, I still adored the story and really, it was genius. It had been pounding on my heart again lately and I decided to revamp it as my NaNo!

1.     Why are you excited to write this novel?
Because the story is super crazy and I actually get to write a male protagonist and have it actually be a love story! Plus I think it hits on a lot of rough topics that need to be addressed.
2.     What is your novel about, and what is the title?
It's called In Secret. I don't have an official synopsis yet but basically it follows Jacob Dell, a senior in high school who, despite his strong Christian beliefs, has always been half in love with Megan Conner; the girl who is notorious for being, well, a slut. What he doesn't know is what happens to her behind closed doors. Megan is physically and sexually abused by her father and his friends, but keeps it all hidden away. When he finds her stumbling through the streets, half beaten, he has no choice but to help her get away. What he doesn't understand is that Megan isn't wanting to ever come back. Unexpectedly Jacob gets pulled into an adventure he never saw coming, with the girl of his dreams, who's a lot more broken than he ever could have imagined.
3.     Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)
Jacob: Gentleman.
Megan: Broken.
Liza: Rebellious.
Kyle: Comic-relief (I can make it one word!)
4.     Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!
Jacob! Because he's a guy for once! Yeah, yeah I love feminism and all that but its been so long since I've read a nice book with a male protagonist. Plus I love the idea of him. He loves Megan, but his love has to be more about her needs than his wants. So to see him spend so much time with this girl and not, well, violate or disrespect her in any way is just amazing to me. I love that he's a gentleman.
5.     What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
Keep Megan safe but also bring her home. He wants her to go to the police, but she wants to go to California and forget all about her old life. So really, she's standing in his way. Megan and her stubborn attitude.
6.     Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
Chicago and California. Plus everywhere in between.
7.     What is the most important relationship your character has?
God. God is everything to Jacob.
8.     How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Ha. Spoilers.
9.     What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
Love and abuse. I want my reader to throw the book up against a wall and cry because its so beautiful. I want them to have a sense of what real love is; that it isn't sleeping with someone or kissing someone; it's having respect. It's putting their needs above your own.
10. BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.
-Don't go in alone.
-Stock up on popcorn
-Don't forget how much you love to write.

   Are you doing NaNoWriMo? I want to hear about it! What's your story? I want to share more with you as it gets developed more and maybe even snippets as I begin to write it. Yay! 
   So you guys better hold me accountable this November about staying on top of crap and not spending so much time on Facebook. You hear me? I can do this...as long as I don't procrastinate. Woo!



   May the Force be with us writers.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Beautiful


   Let me get you in on a little secret. 

   I've always been very insecure about how I look.

   Okay, so maybe not always. Ever since 8th grade I would say. I was always super skinny and then suddenly I wasn't, and people made comments even though it was normal and healthy. I had a hard time with it for a while. As a perfectionist, it's hard to accept when you're not what you consider to be "perfect." Once I got sick, it was even harder to accept myself and my new limitations. I couldn't exercise as much as I was used to, so along with comparing myself to every other girl around me, I would also compare who I was to who I used to be. Plus, the medication I was on for a while made my face really chubby and gave me bad acne. I knew people wouldn't understand it wasn't my fault and it made me really self conscious.


   On top of that, I used to be very shy. If you think I'm shy now, you don't know anything. I mean, I literally wouldn't talk. There were times I just didn't have anything to say, but when I was quiet I would be constantly beating myself up for not speaking. Plus I got nonstop crap from other people about how quiet I was. As if the worst thing int he world would be to not speak. I always felt that if I talked, I would sound stupid or say the wrong thing.

   Once upon a time I was an insecure mess. I cared way too much about what people thought of me and I held myself up to impossible standards. I compared myself to everyone around me. A lot of my insecurities came from a boy who broke my heart and left me to wonder why I wasn't good enough. Some came from my dad who spent years verbally abusing me. And really, a lot came from my perfectionist personality. But overall, it came from the fact that God had a purpose that was fulfilled even through the crappiest situations of my life. I am able to help and relate to people so much more now that I've experienced that.

I don't know how it happened but I changed. Obviously it was by God's grace because what happened for me was a miracle. I woke up and decided I didn't like the way I was living. I decided that I wanted to fall in love with life. And I did.

   I remembered how much I love fitness and healthy eating and how beautiful it is to be confident. I realized that I always wanted to be that fun girl who wore whatever she wanted and danced and laughed like a crazy women; and I would always says "Next year, I'll be her." And finally I said "This year."

   It took God breaking me for me to come to the point where I could be okay with who I was. And sometimes, I don't feel like I've changed at all. Sometimes I still feel anxious at parties, sometimes I still feel uncomfortable in shirts or dresses, sometimes I wish I could be someone else. That's okay. When that does happen, I just tell myself I'm okay and I will be okay. I know that the feeling will pass and I can get through it. 


   Now I find myself belting out songs at random, even though I used to never sing in front of people. If Mr. Brightsides comes on the radio you can bet I'll go in full 80's Music Video Mode. I don't care that I sometimes I scream during worship at church because I realized that that's how I worship and singing to my God is more important than how others see me. Now I'm not afraid to walk around in my Chewbacca onesie because I stopped caring about who thought I was weird. Maybe its not that noticeable to the people around me, and that's okay. I still get crap for being introverted and quiet, but that's only from ignorant people who don't know the fight I've endured to become who I am today.

   You can do it too. I wish I could give you that exact recipe to finding yourself, but there isn't one. It looks different for everyone. But it's worth it. I know sometimes it feels like you'll be broken forever, but that's only true if you make it. You don't have to be miserable. I know you're going to feel stuck and I know it seems so cliche and stupid; I never thought I would be writing a blog post as cheesy sounding as this one, trust me. But really, it's true. You are so beautiful, and some day you're going to believe me when I say that.


   So, I guess that's the short version. I have wanted to share that for a while but really, I've had no inspiration and honestly those thoughts didn't come out the way I wanted them to but there they are. Maybe in the future I'll discuss more in detail, because a million other topics stem from that one but really, this is the basics.

   You are beautiful.

   Not because of your size or how many likes your get on a selfie or the amount of times a day you get called beautiful. Being yourself and laughing and being confident, that's beautiful. You're beautiful because of your identity in Christ. Stop your intrusive thoughts when they come and counter them with truth. I have found that repeating "It's okay" to myself helps, although I can't tell you exactly why. Accept yourself. Flaws and all. 

   I love you, gorgeous. Stay strong.



   Also, I figured it was time you guys saw my face. So when I redesigned my blog, I added that picture. And now....well, here. Enjoy some shameless photos of me. I love you all. Seriously, you guys are stunning.