What Is Rape?

What Is Rape?

A Poem
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What is rape? Tell me, please. Tell me what you can and cannot do to me.

Tell me why my voice falls quiet beneath the trees.

What is rape? Tell me why her tears have formed from glass.

Shards have cut her skin, yet she still maintains her mask.

What is love? Is it the way you caress the small of her back?

Is it the way you tuck her hair behind her ear?

Oops, I guess you didn’t bother to ask.

What is love? Love is the opposite of hate,

But all you taught me is to hate, hate,

hate myself.

I hate myself... because how could I hate you when they tell me it’s my fault?

What is pain? I couldn’t feel it if I tried.

I froze mid-frame the moment I realized

I no longer care if I live or if I die.

I asked you about pain, but you thought I said shame.

What does it mean to feel safe? I am no longer safe in my own skin.

My body in itself is an invitation,

I have no choice but to let you in.

No means no, but all you hear is nothing.

What is rape? Tell me… please.

Cover Image Credit: Grace Vaughn

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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My Experience Getting The Nexplanon Implant

Why I got this form of birth control and what you need to know if you are considering it.

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There are many different reasons for a woman to be on birth control; whether it is to prevent pregnancy, regulate periods or clear acne, each woman uses birth control for different outcomes. Although there are many opinions surrounding birth control, it is an important subject for women to be educated on in order for them to individually make the best decision for their health and lifestyle.

There are many different forms of birth control, both hormonal and non-hormonal, including the everyday oral pills, the IUD, the patch, the implant, the ring and many more. The most common hormonal contraceptives include the hormones estrogen and progestin, or a combination of both, and each hormonal combination can affect every woman in a different way, so as a disclaimer, my birth control experience will most likely differ from every other woman's.

I have been through a rollercoaster of side effects, emotions, and changeS for more than two years due to being on and off of birth control pills. Finding the right combination that reaped the side effects I could handle was difficult. I was on an estrogen-only pill for most of my freshman year of college which cleared my face, did not effect my weight and had good physical benefits for my anemia. Although I couldn't complain about the physical side effects, I decided to stop using this form of birth control due to the anxiety it caused.

Many women struggle with a change in mentality because of birth control hormones and although it can be manageable, there are so many other options and combination of hormones that can allow for a happier mental state. After months of research and conversations with my gynecologist, I decided to go on Nexplanon, which is a small hormonal implant that lasts up to three years.

The main reasons I chose the Nexplanon implant were how it would affect my anemia and mental state, as well as the reliability of not having to worry about taking a pill the same time every day. This decision was not made lightly because Nexplanon is not a form of birth control that I can stop taking or remove easily since it is surgically placed beneath the skin. Nexplanon contains the etonogestrel hormone which, because of its location, releases a low dose into the bloodstream over the course of three years.

The side effects concerning menstrual cycles vary from no bleeding at all to light spotting and even to heavy bleeding. Every woman who receives the implant has a different chemical balance in her body, therefore a doctor cannot accurately predict the patterns and side effects that will occur within a recipient of Nexplanon.

The insertion procedure involved my doctor marking the area where the implant would be placed, sterilizing the location, numbing the area with an injection and inserting the implant with its corresponding applicator. The only painful part of the procedure was the numbing injection, which could be compared to a bee sting lasting five seconds and after that, there was no feeling in my arm. The implant was placed in my non-dominant arm due to the bruising and pain that would be experienced during the healing process. The day of the insertion, I experienced the most pain due to the discomfort of the bruising and sensitivity of the area, but every day after that, my arm recuperated very quickly.

Overall, I made the right decision for my mind and body by choosing to get the Nexplanon implant. If you are experiencing any mental or physical side effects that you do not favor, talk to your gynecologist in order to discuss changing your birth control method, or if you are considering starting birth control for the first time, do your research and make sure you make the right decision for you.

Every woman will experience different side effects on the same forms of birth control, so make sure to never judge a method on reviews because your body could react differently. Birth control is not a subject to shy away from due to the benefits it yields on young women, especially in college, and starting or switching birth controls for the safety and happiness of your lifestyle is always an option to consider.

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