To The Girl With Divorced Parents, It's Not Your Fault

To The Girl With Divorced Parents, It's Not Your Fault

Mourning the life they gave up.
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I grew up thinking divorce was a dirty word. That kind of stuff didn’t happen to families like mine. We were a Christian family. Except for the Sundays when my sister or I had volleyball tournaments, we would go to church. We celebrated Christmas knowing the real reason to celebrate is that Jesus Christ was born. We studied bible stories together and prayed before every meal.

I grew up thinking my parents loved each other and it would always stay that way. The bell jar broke in high school and nothing has been the same since.

There’s so much involved in a divorce. Maybe you have a new home. Maybe there’s a new struggle to pay for that home. Picking a side? Websites with their “professional opinions” recommend you not pick sides, but it’s almost harder not to.

I used to think that it was my fault. I thought the way I treated my parents and the way I responded to the stress from home life contributed to their decision.

I want you to know, it's not your fault. No matter what you’ve done, you did not ruin the marriage.

Divorce is ugly.

It’s war and you do not need to appease both sides.

It has greater effects on you than you think. It happened when I was a senior in high school. I grew up never expecting it to happen. But it did happen. One day I woke up in my own home and later that night I went to bed in a hotel knowing that I was never going back.

Change is inevitable. Your life can turn upside down as fast as Taylor Swift’s switch to a new genre. It’s normal to feel like you’re mourning a death. You’re mourning a lost life that you used to have.

It’s okay if you are having a hard time moving on. There’s nothing simple about a divorce. There’s nothing right about a divorce. It’s wrong and they shouldn’t be normal events in life.

The inevitable “daddy issues” don’t have to be inevitable. The beauty of being in your shoes is learning first hand what not to do in life.

Regret, hate, anger, depression, you’ll feel it. But it won’t last forever. And when you wake up to realize that one day you’ll have the chance to not make the same mistakes your parents did, you’ll be grateful for what you’ve been through.

I’m sorry this is happening to you, but I’m not sorry it happened to me. My senior year of high school was less than normal. I finished school online, got a job, and I moved to live closer to my sister. But in that year of disruption, I learned some cool things. I learned how to file taxes, how to change a tire, how to disassemble furniture and how to pack a U-Haul by myself.

To the girl with parents in the middle of a divorce, I want to say that we are in this together. I found my strength in Jesus Christ. Life will never happen the way you want. But it’s not like we deserve this life anyways. Life is God’s gift to us and when bad things happen, all we can do is pray.

Cover Image Credit: Owen J Fitzpatrick

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15 Things You Realize As Your Baby Brother Grows Up

No matter how old he gets, he will always be your baby brother.
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Despite the fistfights and days of locking each other out of the house, a little brother is one of the biggest blessings you can receive. Most sisters can agree that they probably bossed their brothers around a lot when they were younger (and probably still do). Most sisters have also most likely forced their brothers to participate in many games that were only enjoyable for one party (baby dolls, house, dress up, etc.)

As a little brother grows up, you start to realize a lot of things as they become your lifelong best friend. Here are 15 of them:

1. He will outgrow you

Even though you were once able to beat him in a wrestling match, and have a fair game of tag, as you get older, he begins to pass you up in size and you realize it probably isn't in your best interest to pick a fight.

2. Teenage boy sass is a real thing

So many times, girls get a bad rep for the teenage phase, but let me tell you, teenage boys have just as much sass if not more than the average hormonal girl. But you also realize that you will get through it, and he is still your sweet brother somewhere deep, deep down.

3. He will go through a phase when he is too cool for you

Your whole life you have been used to your little brother looking up to you and wanting to be just like you and do all the things you do. This probably really annoyed you at some point too and I know I found the words "stop copying me" coming out of my mouth a lot. Don't wish it away, enjoy these times because there hits a point where he will want to do their own thing for a while.

4. He will begin to form his own opinions, and he is actually really smart

He still looks up to you, but there comes a time when he actually starts to contradict and challenge your opinions, and his arguments are surprisingly really good. You learn a lot from your little brother, so start listening to what they have to say sometimes.

5. No girl will ever be good enough for him

When he brings a girl home, you can't help but judge everything about her (no pressure) because to you, no girl will match up to his awesomeness. You know you are annoying, over-controlling, and overly judgmental, but you can't help it, he is your baby brother after all.

6. Regardless of how old or big he gets, if anyone messes with him, you will "beat them up"

I am not a fighter, but somehow anytime someone messes with my little brother, I get the ego of Muhammed Ali and believe that I can beat anyone up. Even now that he has outgrown me by about six inches and 50 pounds and is definitely a lot stronger than me, I still threaten to protect him because for some reason I feel like I can defend him better than he can himself. If anyone shoves him on the soccer field or says something mean to him at school, all of the sudden the big sister is the most intimidating and feisty little 5'4" girl there is out there.

7. He has your back

The once quiet and shy boy you outspoke as a child is not afraid to stand up for you. Even if he knows you're wrong, he is just as protective of you as you are of him and he will always be there for you whether you need a shoulder to cry on, you've had a fight with your friends and need someone to talk to, or a guy blows you off and you just need dairy queen and a movie night.

8. People will think he is your boyfriend and vice versa

As little kids, you were obviously the big sister, but now that he has outgrown you, hit puberty and matured, people mistake him as your boyfriend all the time. When you go to dinner and get the "you are such a cute couple" comment, you can't help but laugh.

9. All of his academic success is obviously all thanks to you

All the days you forced him to play "school" with you and tried to teach him everything you knew paid off because he actually knows what he is doing now. You're welcome.

10. Every year he turns another year older, you freak out because you remember how old you felt when you were his age, and it is not possible for him to be that old

No, no, no. He is little. He cannot drive just because he is 16. That is scary. [Only you were mature enough and ready to drive at 16.] There is no way that he is already 18 and can vote. You will never get used to the fact that he is growing up at the same pace as you are.

11. He is the one person who defies your theory that you are never wrong

He always has your best interests in mind, so if he disapproves of a guy, or questions a choice you are making, he is most likely right, just listen to him. Seriously, it will save you time in the future.

12. You will always worry about him

Yes, you are annoying and you know he can handle himself, but the thought of him ever getting hurt kills you. Every time he goes out or takes a risk, you worry about him. However, you also know and trust that he is smart and makes good choices, and if he ever doesn't, you will always be here to save the day, duh!

13. You are his biggest fan

And you are absolutely obnoxious at sporting games and other events. You are the first person to yell at the referee when he gets fouled and the loudest person screaming when he scores a goal. You also find yourself bragging about him to your friends because you are just so proud, and you taught him everything he knows (duh again).

14. He is your best friend

You can tell him anything and he can tell you anything. You guys have a pact and he won't tell your secrets. He's your person, and you have come to find out that he actually gives great advice when you give him the chance to talk.

15. No matter how old he gets, he will always be your baby brother

No matter how old my brother gets, we still say "I love you" every night and he will always be my little baby brother who I watch over and protect, always. I know I have a lifelong best friend who I can lean on during hard times, and celebrate with when the times are good. Bless up.

Special shoutout to my baby brother, Luke, for teaching me so much about myself and always being there for me.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Michigan's Proposal Three

Why expanding voting access can only improve Michigan's democratic system

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Last month, the Michigan Board of Canvassers gave the green light to a ballot proposal aimed at overhauling Michigan's electoral laws to add reforms like automatic and election day voter registration and straight ticket voting. A Detroit News Poll completed earlier this October showed "majority support" for the proposal and for good reason. From increasing voter enfranchisement to allowing for voters to vote more efficiently, this proposal can only help Michigan's population be more civically engaged by allowing more voters to get involved in the election process.

Although Michigan's voter turnout of 63% during the 2016 presidential election is higher than the national average of 58%, it is still lower than it was in previous years, such as when it was over 66% during the 2008 presidential election. Also, according to data from the Secretary of State, there are 200,000 Michiganders of voting age that are not registered voters. While this deficit seems small in comparison to Michigan's overall population of nearly 10 million, it is important that any number of potential voters can make all the difference in an important election. Recall that Trump only won Michigan by a little over 11,000 votes in the 2016 election. Maybe 200,000 additional votes could have made a difference. By allowing citizens of voting age to easily register to vote the day of an election through an automatic process that should reduce the level of work on the voter's part. While the specific details of this automated process are still being decided, there should be no reason to dispute Proposal Three in terms of voter enfranchisement, since involving more citizens in our electoral process is nothing if not meritorious.

Another important provision of Proposal Three is re-implementing the practice of straight ticket voting. This means that there will be an option on your ballot that automatically allows you to vote for all the the candidates in a political party in a single action. To explain, you would not have to bubble in each candidate individually if you intend to vote for only candidates of a single party. While opponents of this practice have argued that it decreases voter volition since it may encourage voters to not actually look at who is running for office and vote along overly partisan lines, approximately 30% of voters nationwide did not complete their ballots in recent elections nationwide. This may be because of the sheer number of candidates that larger voting districts may have. Chicago, while not in Michigan, has over 101 candidates on the average ballot. Larger regions in Michigan such as the metro-Detroit area likely have ballots that are similar in length and complexity to Chicago. By allowing people to vote for the political party they subscribe to in a quick and efficient manner through straight ticket voting, more voters may be incentivized to actually come out and vote in elections, which once again leads to Proposal Three increasing the democratic representativeness of Michigan elections.

As previously mentioned, Michigan voters will be deciding the fate of Proposal Three in the upcoming November 6th midterm elections. I strongly urge all Michigan voters to support this measure because, again, there simply is so much civic benefit to be gained at so little cost.



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