To Those Hitting Rock Bottom

To Those Hitting Rock Bottom

Life is not always easy, but it sure is beautiful.

To the people who feel as though they have hit rock bottom; I understand. Sometimes it seems like we can't fall any deeper, and then something worse happens and life surprises us with another smack in the face.

I am here to tell you that it is okay and everything will get better.

Everyone is fighting their own battles and dealing with their own struggles. Whether it be financial issues, academics, work, family, friends, relationships, no life is perfect. If somebody seems perfect, there is no doubt that they are hiding the imperfections and there is nothing wrong with that.

Personally, I am not one of those that can easily hide my struggles; I let it affect everything, whether I mean for it to happen or not. I like to think I am strong; I know I am strong, but, it is okay to be weak.

It's okay to cry and it's okay to feel broken down.

Just remember to stand back up, keep fighting, and move forward. Keep your chin up and do not let your crown fall. Life is not always amazing. Life is not always happy and light. But, that's life, there's no better way to explain it. It's an uphill battle, but then you can enjoy the ride for awhile before the next battle.

Life is constant improvement and learning. Life is about making mistakes and learning from them.

Once you hit rock bottom, you can only move up. Think of the positives; you're still alive, you're breathing, the sun is up in the sky, the grass is always growing. Listen to some music, take a bath, light a candle, and just relax. Take some time to yourself to put everything into perspective. It's possible that anything that is going wrong can be fixed or at least alleviated. Is school difficult? Take advantage of some quiet time at the library or visit your professor in office hours. Troubles with friends or relationships? Talk it out, sit down, and listen.

I know it is going to sound cliche, but everyone is fighting a battle, you may just not see it. Reach out to friends and vent to them, go to church if you're religious, look for ways to leave the stress in your life for a bit, then go back when you're ready.

Life is not always going to be easy. It is not always going to be pretty and happy. There are going to be struggles, but those struggles make us who we are. They shape us into the strong and motivated individuals we are. They guide us forward. Life is not always easy, but it sure is beautiful.

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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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