Don't Invalidate My Feelings Because Everything Is Relative

Don't Invalidate My Feelings Because Everything Is Relative

My 18 years is all I have for perspective. And that doesn't make my experiences invalid.

At girls' night, conversation goes all over the place. We talk about everything and anything, from classes to future hopes and dream to relationships to love to each other; everything and anything. Girls' nights are incredibly therapeutic. It's when you're able to sit and just talk with your girls about the things on your mind, get validation for those thoughts because they too have had them, get encouragement and reassurance for dealing with problems.

But at our last girls' night, a theme kept coming up of, "But of course, I don't know what that really feels like so it's stupid to say..."

I don't know what that really feels like.

What is that even supposed to mean? Girls' night isn't the only place I've heard this either; older people have always told me, especially when I'm either complaining or basking, that, "You ain't seen nothing yet. You don't know what it's like." Their point is that I can't make any valid judgments about the things I'm experiencing because I haven't experienced anything yet in life.

Oh, so you mean to say that the past 18 years of my life didn't exist? I spent them in a black hole devoid of any purpose or meaning?

Okay, okay, I know that's not what they're saying. They're saying that with their experience in life, which is much longer than mine, they've seen what my problems are like relative to their own, relative to the world, relative to years beyond what I've experienced.

They're putting my experiences into perspective. Which is entirely valid. From their perspective, I haven't seen anything of the world yet, because they've been alive for so much longer and have seen so much more.

But for me, my 18 years is all I have for perspective. And that doesn't make my experiences invalid. It does not. Because life is relative, and everything I've felt or experienced up until this point is entirely real.

Let me put it in this context: at girls' night, conversation came around somehow to soul mates. A friend said, "Of course I'm not going to say that we're soul mates, because I'm just 18, but..." and I cut her off right there. Everything in life is relative. If at that moment what you feel for another person is the strongest thing you've felt in your 18 years, then that person is your soul mate.

Can someone better come along later in life? Of course! But for now, that's the "best" person you've met in your life, and relative to your own life, that's saying something. What if you died at age 20? That person who was the closest thing to a soul mate at age 18 then becomes your soulmate-level person, because you died at age 20 and everything you experienced up until then is all you have as a frame of reference for life.

If the vacation you just went on this past summer was the best vacation of your life, you're not going to say, "but there are so many other possible vacations out there, I can't say that this is the best vacation ever." You're going to say, "This is the best vacation I've been on so far." That could change in the next few years, but the fact that it could change doesn't invalidate the way you feel about it now. Because life is relative.

Every moment in life is always subject to change. Any opinion you develop can always be changed. That puts a temporary time stamp on almost everything in life, with an unidentified expiration date, but that's okay! You never know what the future is going to look like, you don't know what the next few moments of your life are even going to look like. That means it's okay to make judgments today based on what you're experiencing, as long as you recognize they can and should be able to change.

Your experiences are entirely valid. Entirely. At every stage in life. It doesn't give you a free pass to act melodramatic and compare your life to Shakespearean tragedies every two seconds, but it does give you the pass to accept that the extremes of your life are relative to the extremes of another's. Every feeling you have is valid. So let yourself feel it.

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The Light Behind The Curtain Part One

The end starts here.

Lukewarm liquid, much like a sticky tar-like drool, running down the throat to the stomach where the acids will make love in the body. And it settles into its new home space. The wet intruders are the deepest shade of black, only somewhat shiny and seemed like some sort of runny jam. The gag reflex wants to expel the obsidian fluids, but the physical form is at rest. Given up. The mind falls away and the consciousness shuts off like a television in a dark room. The lips fall away and air can once again find its way through to the lungs.

I stroll through the crowded streets toward the grocery store, the rubber soles of my shoes slapping on the concrete. Milk, bread, shampoo. I list in my head, remembering the necessities. Though the weather forecast is as bipolar as my bedridden mother, we on the east coast always prepared for the worse. It's supposed to snow tonight.

"Fear! You must fear the end of days! Christ, out lord, will save us! Repent for your sins before it is too late!" A man clad in some roughed up nylon jacket the color of muddy traffic cones shouted from the entrance of the store. He had poster boards with many different slogans picketing against humanities sins.

"Bogus," I grumbled, tugging on my jacket to fight the brisk wind rushing past me as I enter.

He didn't hear me.

He went on with his speeches about God and doom.

And I fought the hordes of people to get what I needed for the next few days, then went home. The television bloomed from inside my mother's room: the news.

"Who is it?"

"'It's me ma!" Who else would it be in our house?

Once the groceries were put away, I laid in bed with Janice, my mother, who still didn't know who I was. Our nightly routine: watch the news, dinner, bed. The doctor said routine was good for her.

She eats, her lips smacking as she enjoys her soup and crackers, and she doesn't pay much attention to me. I don't mind because sometimes when she seem me she gets upset and yells, which our neighbors do not appreciate. They complained for a while until they realized why the noise what happening. Now they just pass pitying glances in the hallway or mail room whenever they see me.

"What the hell is wrong with him?" That was the only question that seemed appropriate in this situation. A man, who was about thirty-four and had a clean, healthy record, was vomiting as EMTs rushed his body in. I thought whatever was coming from him was blood, a dark burgundy, but through further inspection I realized it was black. What the hell had he eaten?

I spent my lunch break in my friend's office. She was a beautiful half Indian woman who was one hell of a doctor. She had shoulder length, ebony hair that she styled every morning somehow. I could hardly run a brush through my hair. She was one of my best friends in this place, and I didn't have any college friends because I didn't want to go to college. I tossed my packed lunch on her desk and sat with a deep groan. "I don't even know how you are eating that after what we just saw."

"Frankie, I perform surgeries on the daily, a little vomit and blood do nothing to my appetite." She chuckled, crossing her legs that were propped up on her desk. She kicked her heels off and sighed.

"But have you ever seen anything like that? Is the dude okay?" I glanced at my lunch longingly. But anytime I thought about what I saw my stomach churned nervously. Something wasn't right.

"Only things similar, but we have people testing what came out of him. And, uh, no...he died shortly after they brought him in. Whatever he had had got him too fast. He must've been sick for a while without coming in." She shrugged, glancing down at her meal. "Didn't look like the common cold though."

No, it definitely did not.

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I Spent 2 Months, 20 Phone Calls, And 6 Doctors Appointments Trying To Get An IUD, And I Still Don't Have One

I'm only 21, and it's terrifying to think that my journey with birth control is only just beginning.

I have been on and off birth control pills since the sixth grade.

I will never forget sitting in the OB/GYN's office in Seattle Children's crying because my periods were so awful.

I was having 10-day-long periods.

Three days of cramping so bad I couldn't stand followed by seven days of menstruation. My cramps were so bad that I was missing too much school. The OB/GYN recommended starting on a low dose of birth control pills to try and reduce the pain and duration of my periods.

I took them consistently for almost three years.

In my eighth grade year, I ran into unrelated medical issues and stopped taking BC (birth control). My periods were no longer as bad as they once were.

Over the next six years, I took them intermittently. I would go a few months on them and then stop. I never liked the effects.

They made me feel less beautiful, less sexy and less like me.

Last fall, I came to the realization that I was officially quitting birth control pills. There's nothing I do in my life at the same time every single day. I'm potentially the least disciplined person alive.

I decided to get an IUD.

I thought that getting an IUD was the ideal choice for my sexual, physical and mental health. It's the good feminist thing to do and the people I know with them, love them. I talked to my sorority sisters and other great women about them. I did my research and talked to my primary care physician over Thanksgiving break.

And then, I put it off.

Your girl can be lazy AF when she wants to be. But I was also scared. I read horror stories online and got busy with school.

In mid-February, I started up my IUD search again.

I talked with family and friends about where to get it done in my tiny college town. We have just enough options to make the decision difficult, but not enough to really have a choice.

I called the OB/GYN that I had seen in the past and made an appointment with her office. They only wanted to see me immediately following my period.

My appointment six weeks away.

As the people in my life can tell you, it was six weeks of worrying and thinking about it. I was so proud of myself for doing something good for me but also terrified of what could happen.

Three weeks before my appointment, I realized that I could not get an IUD in the morning before three classes followed by three hours of work because of the potential side effects. How had that not occurred to me?

I needed to move the appointment.

I called the OB/GYN's office and tried to move it. After many phone calls, conversations with nurses, and speaking to my mother, it was starting to look like I wouldn't be able to get one there. They would only see me during a three-day window and there simply weren't any appointments.

So I called WSU's on-campus health providers to make an appointment with them. Turns out, they needed two appointments.

Then, I decided to call Planned Parenthood just to see if I would get in sooner. I scheduled an appointment there too.

The next day, I called my OB/GYN one more time just to confirm that I couldn't get in.

I was in luck.

Finally, I was able to get an appointment to see my OB/GYN. Last Tuesday I went to see my doctor.

The appointment did not go as planned.

After nearly eight months of thinking about an IUD and two months of actively trying to get one, my doctor told me that I am not a good candidate. She recommended that I not get an IUD because I have had issues with ovarian cysts, which are a potential side effect of hormonal IUDs.

I started crying.

I felt so defeated. To me, an IUD represented protecting myself from an unwanted pregnancy, regulating my periods, and taking good care of myself.

My doctor and I discussed other options.

Next month, I'm going to try something new. Hopefully, something that finally works for my lifestyle and is as effective as an IUD.

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