A Letter To Mom On Valentine's Day

A Letter To Mom On Valentine's Day

Love from mom is one of the best things a girl can ever have.
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Dear Mom,

Happy Valentine’s Day! I just wanted to let you know that no matter how old I get, I won’t stop finding special ways to let you know how much I love you, and I will try my best to get especially creative on holidays such as these. Some people find the excess of candy and stuffed animals that fill the stores this time of year annoying, but we’ve always enjoyed the displays. Hell will surely freeze over before the day comes that one of those adorable teddy bears won’t be purchased as a “just because” gift. How can someone not be happy with something soft to hug?

There’s always a lot of bitterness that is floating around during this time of year, especially about relationship status. I think many people must have forgotten the days of childhood when Valentine’s Day was a day we all showed our classmates a little love, indiscriminately. No doubt, it is a great feeling to have a romantic Valentine, but there is so much more to love than just the romantic aspects of it.

I’d like to take the time to thank you, mom -- to thank you for letting me know what it feels like to be unconditionally loved. Your love has served as my rock for as long as I can remember, keeping me grounded and giving me the confidence I needed to shoot for the stars. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, you help me see the situation from a different (and more manageable) perspective. Whenever I’m feeling vulnerable, you remind me of my value. No matter what holes I’ve managed to fall into, you’ve always helped me see the light and find the strength to climb out.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you are a cheerleader who always tells me what I want to hear; you will tell it like it is, and you are always honest with me. If you don’t have a good feeling about a guy I’m with, you won’t hesitate to tell me. But, when that same guy stands me up on a date, you won’t mock me with an “I told you so,” but rather, you will greet me with a “you look too good not to go somewhere." Knowing what it feels like to be loved like that is an indescribably beautiful experience. You showed me the correct way someone is supposed to be loved.

I remember when we first started watching "Gilmore Girls" together. Man, was that our show. What made it comical was how similar our relationship was to that portrayed in the show. Everyone else in our lives saw it too. I’m able to (and want to) tell you everything because I know you never judge me and you always find a way to help me understand my life a bit better. We hang out a lot because we always find a way to have an awesome time together and the conversations between us never cease.

A relationship like that comes once in a life time and our bond has never been out of any sort of blood obligation. If I had the choice of who my mother would be, I would choose you a million times over. I am thankful for our relationship, and I will never be too old to give you a Valentine’s Day shout out.

With love,

Sarah

RIP Mom

4/6/71-10/13/15

Cover Image Credit: Flavor Wire

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31 Reasons Why I Would NEVER Watch Season 2 Of '13 Reasons Why'

It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.
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When I first started watching "13 Reasons Why" I was excited. I had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for a long time and thought this show would be bringing light to those issues. Instead, it triggered my feelings that I had suppressed.

With season two coming out soon, I have made up my mind that I am NEVER watching it, and here is why:

1. This show simplifies suicide as being a result of bullying, sexual assault, etc. when the issue is extremely more complex.

2. It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

3. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention has guidelines on how to portray suicides in TV shows and movies without causing more suicides.

"13 Reasons Why" disregarded those guidelines by graphically showing Hannah slitting her wrists.

4. It is triggering to those who have tried to commit suicide in the past or that struggle with mental illness.

5. It glorifies suicide.

6. It does not offer healthy coping solutions with trauma and bullying.

The only "solution" offered is suicide, which as mentioned above, is glorified by the show.

7. This show portrays Hannah as dramatic and attention-seeking, which creates the stereotype that people with suicidal thoughts are dramatic and seeking attention.

8. Hannah makes Clay and other people feel guilty for her death, which is inconsiderate and rude and NOT something most people who commit suicide would actually do.

9. This show treats suicide as revenge.

In reality, suicide is the feeling of hopelessness and depression, and it's a personal decision.

10. Hannah blames everyone but herself for her death, but suicide is a choice made by people who commit it.

Yes, sexual assault and bullying can be a factor in suicidal thoughts, but committing suicide is completely in the hands of the individual.

11. Skye justifies self-harm by saying, "It's what you do instead of killing yourself."

12. Hannah's school counselor disregards the clear signs of her being suicidal, which is against the law and not something any professional would do.

13. The show is not realistic.

14. To be honest, I didn't even enjoy the acting.

15. The characters are underdeveloped.

16. "13 Reasons Why" alludes that Clay's love could have saved Hannah, which is also unrealistic.

17. There are unnecessary plot lines that don't even advance the main plot.

18. No one in the show deals with their problems.

They all push them off onto other people (which, by the way, is NOT HEALTHY!!!).

19. There is not at any point in the show encouragement that life after high school is better.

20. I find the show offensive to not only me, but also to everyone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts.

21. The show is gory and violent, and I don't like that kind of thing.

22. By watching the show, you basically get a step-by-step guide on how to commit suicide.

Which, again, is against guidelines set by The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

23. The show offers no resources for those who have similar issues to Hannah.

24. It is not healthy for me or anyone else to watch "13 Reasons Why."

25. Not only does the show glorify suicide, but it also glorifies self-harm as an alternative to suicide.

26. Other characters don't help Hannah when she reaches out to them, which could discourage viewers from reaching out.

27. Hannah doesn't leave a tape for her parents, and even though the tapes were mostly bad, I still think the show's writers should have included a goodbye to her parents.

28. It simplifies suicide.

29. The show is tactless, in my opinion.

30. I feel like the show writers did not do any research on the topic of suicide or mental illness, and "13 Reasons Why" suffered because of lack of research.

31. I will not be watching season two mostly because I am bitter about the tastelessness.

And I do not want there to be enough views for them to make a season three and impact even more people in a negative way.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Cover Image Credit: Netflix

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10 Things You Need To Know If Your Parents Are Divorced, Speaking From Experience

Divorce is just another trial in life that test your patience, meekness, and strength.
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Before you read any further, you need to know that I speak from my own experience. Divorce is a toxic, devastating action that changes everyone’s life.

There is no way for me to know exactly what you are going through, make your own judgments about this article. This is not a list of if you do this, then you will get this exact result. Divorce makes you grow as a person and with growth comes trial and error.

There are many different scenarios and circumstances that occur because of divorce, and my circumstance is most likely different from yours. I wanted to share my point of view because some of these ideas have taken me years to be OK with and to learn.

I want you to know that divorce makes us feel emotions that we have never felt. It’s uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and it makes you question everything in life. Here are 10 things that I believe you need to grasp in order to heal:

1. You Don’t Have To Continue Your Relationship With Toxic Parents

Maybe no one has ever told you this before, but hear me out. This is not an excuse for you to give up on your parents. If one or both of your parents is mentally, physically, or verbally abusive it is OK to allow separation. With that being said, I don’t think you should separate yourself forever. For me, I would separate myself for a time period and then when I recovered and felt strong enough, I would nurture the relationship. This was on-going for several years and took a ton of forgiveness. Do not just simply give up after one of your parents makes a mistake, but I am a firm believer that once you have done everything in your power to make things right, then you can love them from a distance.

2. But You Have To Respect Both Parents

Whatever your circumstance is, you still need respect both parents. This is something my wonderful mom taught me. I have a very kind personality, but it would have been easy for me to raise my voice at my dad. It would have been easy to hate him. It would have been even easier for me to tell everyone around me just what a terrible father he was, but none of that would have been right. I had to learn to deal with the pain, without taking it out on the one that caused it. I still said yes sir. I still prayed for him. I still told him ‘Happy Father’s Day’ even when I didn’t feel like it. And today, when I have to see him at family events, I don’t stand in the corner reminding myself of negative things about him. I say hi when he speaks, knowing that I have to make an effort to be respectful. I have learned that even if I don’t like someone, it doesn’t give me an excuse to be rude and disrespectful.

3. You Need To Let Go Of The Hate And The Blame

I have learned that this is not the easiest thing in the world. If I could give you one piece of single advice that will make all of the hate and the resentment go away: Pray for them. It works every time. If you don’t pray or don’t know who Jesus is, then I have no clue how to tell you to heal. I wouldn’t have made it without Jesus, so that’s what you need. You need a whole lot of Jesus if you want to make it through something as devastating as divorce. When I was finally ready to let go of the blame and the anger, I started asking Jesus to let me see the person that hurt me as He would see them. Time, prayer, and the removal of pride allowed me to let go of the things that held me in bondage.

4. Divorce Never Goes Away

Surprise! This is the thing I hate most about divorce. My parents got divorced almost 10 years ago and we still have to deal with the rippling effect of divorce. You are reminded of your parents divorce during major events in life, such as graduations, birthday parties, weddings, birth of children, and so much more. That’s why it is so important to heal now, rather than later. Divorce will always be around, so you need to heal what’s broken in order to experience freedom in your life now. If you don’t heal now, then these events that are made to be special will always reopen the wounds from divorce and make these major events dreadful.

5. If Possible, You Need To Have A Relationship With Both Parents

I have watched too many kids give up on their parents after ONE mistake. I will never understand this. If people gave up on me after one mistake, then I wouldn’t have anyone in my corner. When your parents start making a cycle of toxic choices, it is then that I believe it’s OK to love them from a distance. However, if you are not speaking to your parent because of something they did ten years ago or because of whispers of lies from the other parent, then you my friend, are in the wrong. I would give anything to have a healthy relationship with both parents.

6. Remember That You Are Still The Child, No Matter What

I believe this is something that you can remind your parents. It doesn't matter if you are 30 or 15, you are still the child. Pick and choose what you want to carry, because you weren’t meant to carry the weight of your parent’s choices. You still have to be respectful, but if you feel the need to vent and tell your parents everything you are feeling then it’s OK. You do not have to have it all together just because you are an adult and you are supposed to be mature. Divorce affects a 30-year-old just as much as it affects a 15-year-old.

7. You Don’t Have To Feel Guilty For Your Pain

I remember that I used to feel guilty for acting that way I did. I would cry multiple times and I always felt like I wasn’t being strong enough. I would look at other kids that had divorced parents and it looked as if the divorce had no effect on them. From the outside, they always made divorce seem so normal, like it didn’t hurt. I started to feel guilty for carrying around the pain of divorce. I thought maybe I was being dramatic and it wasn't supposed to hurt that badly. I felt weak, and then guilty for feeling weak. I can now stand here and tell you that yes, divorce is literally the worse thing I have gone through. So, if you feel that way, it’s normal. Don’t feel guilty for your pain. It does not make you weak.

8. It Is Not Your Fault

Cry, yell, rant, do whatever you have to do, but do not ever feel like the divorce is your fault! The truth is it’s actually the opposite. Your parents didn’t get a divorce because of you, but they did stay together because of you. If your parents wanted to get a divorce because you were the one causing issues then they would not divorce their spouse. They would find a way to divorce you and that is unlikely.

9. It’s OK To Be Angry, Hurt, Confused, etc. But Don’t Stay There

If your anger keeps you from living your life, then that is not OK. It’s OK to not be OK, but do not stay there. I can’t give an exact time period of how long you should grieve, because everyone takes different amounts of time to heal. You have to know when it is time for you to move on.

10. At The End Of The Day, They Are Your Parents

As I said in the beginning I am speaking from my own experience. You have been given your own judgements and emotions, so do what you think is best. In doing so, the worse thing you could do during a divorce is to forget your standards. The scary thing about divorce is that it somehow opens the door for us to throw our moral compass out the window. Don’t get caught up in the

Cover Image Credit: EveryPixel

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