An Open Letter To Shame

An Open Letter To Shame

It's Time I Let You Go.
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The weight of a boulder sinking from your tongue to your belly button.

The sound of a clock at the back of your brain; a feverish ticking that will never cease. Unspoken words sunk to the bottom a dark abyss like an abandoned ship- waterlogged and seasick.

Dear Shame,

When I was a child, you draped over me like an old quilt.

You placed your finger over my lips when my cries interrupted the peace of passengers on airplanes. You squeezed my shoulders tightly when I could not paint inside the lines. You were a library with no exit signs, an eternal home for silent speakers. With flushed cheeks, I learned to apologize for the sound of my voice.

You slowly climbed up my legs and down my throat like a malignant vine until you became a part of me. Now, when I inhale air into my asthmatic lungs, I exhale shame as carbon dioxide and poison from all the lives I have not lived.

You've devoured my insides and placed them carefully in a recycling bin- now I see them in plastic bottles and refurbished furniture. I hear my stories in the mouths of other girls who look nothing like me.

You are the sand I consumed on the preschool playground. Grit in my teeth, I did not tell anyone I had tried to swallow the beach. I did not want to be scolded for silly sunbathing. You are elementary school slivers, when I walked barefoot to feel the ground beneath my toes. You are school lunches I was hungry for, but was too afraid to eat. You are carrot sticks and celery, and pizza stains behind my bed.

You are ghost skin in middle school hallways and boys with cruel intentions. You are bottled sunshine and liquid gold that streaks my kneecaps. You are sports bras that I wear to make my breasts smaller. You are the two bras that I wore to make them look big.

You are olives on finger tips that I ate like blueberries. The scales I counted and the meals I skipped.

You are the tiles I measured in high school hallways.The skirts I held down when I walked up stairs. You are the shoulders I covered with two-finger straps. The fingertip lengths my dresses did not match. You are the ripped jeans I wore on weekends. The cigarettes I wanted to smoke. The friends I wanted to have, the friends that I lost.

You are the mountains on my skin that erupt like volcanos and craters that got left on the moon. The scars on my wrist that I covered in tar. You are fingerprints left on my bedroom mirror. You are roses left on my bedroom floor.

You are the nose that I pierced so that I would always smell metal instead of the perfume of my almost lover.

You are the shadows that I used to hide in my closet. The clothes that are too small and the clothes that are too big. You are the letters I wrote but never put a stamp on. You are my legs the moment before I trim off the hair. You are the sadness with which I play hide and go seek.

You are the boys that have looked at me like penny-candy, and the girls who have looked at me like gold. You are broken piano keys and a pas de deux where I always step on my partners feet.

You are in my throat, and do not let me speak.

Dear Shame,

You've fertilized flowers in my small intestine and bees sting my insides whenever you are near. It hurts, but God, how good it feels to grow daisies.

Dear Shame,

My acne scars are purple constellations dotting my pale skin. My sexuality is a map of bruises and self discovery that leads to glorious places. My sadness is low tide on the ocean, and oh God how I love to swim. My weight is measured by the meals and conversations I enjoy with friends.

My skirts are hiked up, you can see the creases of my skin. My legs are unshaved. My poems do not rhyme. My homework is unfinished on my unmade bed. My nails are chipped, my lips are chapped, I am undone.

I have mailed my letters. I have forgiven myself. When I sing off key, I write it into the song. I run naked on the pavement to feel the lives I live boiling inside of me. I paint outside the lines and strangers call it art. I tell my stories to strangers and recycle them into soda cans for the girl who is too thin.

The sand between my teeth has created beautiful scratches of enamel and beaches are blooming in my bleeding gums. I am a hot air balloon, I am a noisy airplane ride. I am a screaming child in the library in town. I am a torn flag waving in a summer parade. I am free.

Dear Shame,

You are a five letter word...but so is "pride".

Dear Shame,

I lived within your darkness for a while, but I had to see the light.




Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Burnout Doesn't Just Affect Those In The 'Helping' Professions

Burnout refers to stress and exhaustion and it is commonly felt by those in "helping" professions - doctors, nurses, and EMTs, but burnout can affect anyone, no matter their job, career, or college major.

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When I was a senior in high school, I did a project about burn-out in emergency medical technicians. My mom is an EMT, and I spent a lot of time with her at the station. I would help her and her partner disinfect, wash, and check the inventory of the ambulances while she was on shift. I would help them make dinner, which, sometimes, she would be called away from.

It wasn't always dinners she would be called away from though. Sometimes she's woken up in the middle of the night, called away to a scene. And they aren't always "walks in the park"; sometimes they're violent accidents - cars flipped on their sides in the ditch.

Even though I spent an entire semester of my high school career researching burn-outs for emergency medical technicians, I didn't realize burn-out could affect college students in similar ways.

I wish I had all of that research about burnout in EMTs still handy, but I remember vaguely that burnout is a major reason why EMTs don't last very long in their careers. Burnout is a serious issue.

At this point, if you're wondering what "burnout" is, it's a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and feelings of lack of accomplishment.

Signs of emotional exhaustion include chronic fatigue; insomnia; forgetfulness/impaired concentration; increased illness; loss of appetite; anxiety; depression; and anger. More information can be found here.

Signs of cynicism and detachment include loss of enjoyment (which can be mild, like not wanting to go to class or being eager to leave, but it can quickly lead to all areas of your life, including the time you spend with family or friends), pessimism, and detachment).

Signs of lack of accomplishment include increased irritability, and lack of productivity and poor performance.

People also report having less investment in interpersonal relationships; this may be because people feel like they have less to offer, they have a diminished interest in having fun, or have less patience with people.

I know all of my friends are ready for spring break to get in gear. My friends have told me about their plans about visiting their boyfriend for the week, their family vacation to California, and so on, getting away from their stressors.

Last week I had a "mini-spring break" - I spent the weekend with my best friend. We laughed a lot, and I didn't spend a second worrying about homework. I got away for a little while, and last week I was pretty on top of my game.

This week? Not so much. It took me hours to come up with an article idea and executing it took over two hours. I have been struggling to do my homework and going to classes. I've been bogged down with all my "adulting responsibilities."

Burnout is a serious issue - it affects everybody from EMTs to college students. Remember the basics: get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise, are the first steps in getting back on track.

It's important to recognize what exactly is stressing you out. With that, writing down at least one way to modify that situation to reduce its stress, and implementing it into your routine. Psychology today recommends taking breaks between big projects, although I know as a college student that's not always an option. It also recommends controlling screen time.

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