She leaves as she lives, without being noticed Many wish that she could’ve known this: She was loved truly and deeply by many of her peers, Though it was hard for her to see this through her depression and her tears, She left many scars the day that she committed, More than all the scars she had previously hidden, She left her family in turmoil, stuck wondering why, All her pain couldn’t have just vanished but they could’ve tried, To do something or anything but this, Now they no longer have their baby girl to hug and to kiss, I left this character only as she, Though there are many names that this could be. Many wonder now for a simple solution, What’s the best way to kill all the confusion, How can we promote awareness without hurting the cause, How can we put self-harm plans on pause, I don’t have the answer but someone will soon, In the meantime know that someone loves you, And if you’re struggling please use your voice, Know that you’re not alone, and suicide’s not the right choice.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, the crisis line offers confidential help and someone to talk to.
Crisis Line: 205.323.7777; Teen Link: 205.328.5465 (specifically for teens).
CONTENT WARNING: This article contains information about sexual assault, which may be triggering. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Nightmares for Memories
An Ugly Truth
Some things are just engraved in your mind. No matter how hard you try to forget, you never will. Everyone has memories they can’t diminish. These memories feel more like nightmares. For some, the word “rape” and “sexual assault” are just sad things that happen if you’re not careful. They know it happens but don’t pay much attention to it – it’s one of those things you think will never happen to you.
Hopefully, it won’t, but if it does, it will change your perspective on everything. At that moment it was like I had lost all control of my limbs, my entire body completely shut down. I went from saying stop and yelling no at the top of my lungs to just staring dead off into space. You can’t do anything, you just are helpless to the situation.
After, you see everything in a different light.
You question everything you did – from what you said, to what you were wearing. You feel as if it was your fault. It is not. But for me, the worst part was the way I felt after. I felt used and powerless. You jump anytime someone touches you and cry if someone hugs you. You can’t breathe when you hear their name and have a panic attack if you’re in the same room as them. To put it bluntly, it sucks.
Although it was one of the worst experiences of my life, it taught me a lot of things.
One, it is not okay for me to let people take advantage of me. Not all guys have good intentions, do not choose to see only good in people and be blind to the bad. Take both into account when choosing who you let into your life.
Two, pick and choose your “friends” wisely. I was sexually assaulted by one of the people closest to me.
Three, know how to say stop. Don’t let people overpower you just because you don’t want to be rude. If you’re uncomfortable with someone hugging you – tell them. Because a hug can quickly turn into something worse.
Four, don’t be afraid to talk about it, it helps. They won’t think you are overreacting. In fact, they’ll most likely tell you the opposite. They’ll help.
Five, it gets easier, time helps. In the end, you’ll be a stronger person than you were before. Like the song says “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
If you feel you’ve been a victim of sexual assault, please visit one of the following organizations for help.
Visit online.rainn.org to chat one-on-one with a trained RAINN support specialist, any time 24/7 or call 1-800-656-HOPE
The Do’s and Dont’s of a Successful Friendsgiving:
Hold on…what is Friendsgiving? Friendsgiving is when you recreate a Thanksgiving meal with your friends. AKA another excuse to hang out and eat delicious food with your buds.
DO spread the responsibility: Some of us are real go getters and love to handle all the details. That’s all fine and dandy, but it can become stressful when you run out of time, money or dare I say…accidentally burn the turkey. (I may be speaking from experience here…)
It’s a lot of fun when everyone contributes to the making of a meal. So, instead of putting the burden on one or two people to provide for everyone else, make it a potluck. With a potluck, everyone is in charge of bringing a certain dish, appetizer, side, dessert, drink or set of utensils.
It’s important to know that a friend might need to borrow a serving dish or your oven when they arrive. If you’re the host of Friendsgiving, make sure you know this information ahead of time so you can plan ahead. No one wants to watch the mashed potatoes get cold while they wait for the Turkey finish. (Again, speaking from experience)
Unless you are a descendant of Chef Gordon Ramsay (which if you are good for you), don’t feel the need to make everything from scratch. We all have good intentions in the beginning, but juggling all the different cook times can be tricky and before you know it the doorbell is ringing.
PSA: If you are like me and and cannot cook to save your life (no shame, I admit it) there is nothing wrong with getting a little help from the prepared foods section. Sprinkle some fresh herbs on that sucker and voilà.
DON’T (or try not) to have Friendsgiving after Thanksgiving: Why? Well I don’t know about you, but after a typical Thanksgiving I’m toast. As in if I eat another bite, I will may not be able to get out of this chair.
Besides, most people when they take their last bite at Thanksgiving are on to the next wonderful thing. Christmas. The holiday all other holidays compete with. Bye-Bye pumpkin spice, hello peppermint. Know what I’m saying?
Not to mention, the holidays are a very busy time for most people and after Thanksgiving it’s difficult for people to make time in their schedules.
DO anticipate the supplies you will need:
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. Friendsgiving is a feast. It’s better to be over prepared than run out of forks and have to eat with your hands. Coordinate with your friends and ask if they need additional serving utensils.
A few key items you may not think about until the day of. (Psssst…get them now so you don’t have a panic attack later) -Platters and big serving dishes -Ice -Cups/Utensils -Napkins or Paper Towels if you’re a messy eater like me -A good thanksgiving playlist -An empty belly because nothing’s worse than staring at beautiful food and not getting to eat any
DO have Friendsgiving in a space big enough for everyone: No one wants to bump elbows while they are trying to eat their meal. Have your friend with the biggest space or table host the event so everyone can be comfortable. Speaking of tables…here are some decorating ideas if you’re feeling festive.
SIDE NOTE: You can even get crazy and theme your Friendsgiving. Did someone say pajama-themed Friendsgiving? What about a Vegan Friendsgiving? The possibilities are endless, but if you are low key want to keep it simple. Gurl, keep it simple. If you want to go all out and create the Pinterest Perfect Friendsgiving. GO for it.
Share your Friendsgiving with Girl Spring and tag us on Instagram or Facebook!
Finally, DO help clean:
Whether you hosted Friendsgiving or not, it’s a good idea to help clean up. We’ve all seen the daunting pile of dishes after a big holiday meal. If you consider yourself to be a generally good person, why not roll up your sleeves and help get it done quicker?
I have just gotten back from a two-week trip to Africa. It was very eye-opening. I have been to Africa before. I have been to Ghana, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and now on this most recent trip Zanzibar (an island but still part of Tanzania), Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa again. I do travel a lot. Everywhere that I have traveled to has been different. For example, India is different than Ghana, which is different than France, which is different from Brazil. It is common knowledge that America is different from these other countries, but how different really is it?
The cultures/mannerisms are completely different. Kids are running in the streets at 10 or 11 pm. Traveling is very eye-opening. People sit out on the streets waiting for you to come into their shops. In some parts of Africa, an elephant or a hippopotamus is your next-door neighbor. Where we stayed in Botswana, you had to have an escort walk you back to your tent because there could be elephants or lions on the trail. We are not used to that. I talked to someone who worked at the camp. He grew up in “the bush,” which in Africa is known as the wild. He moved to London as a twenty-one-year-old for college but dropped out and moved back to Botswana because of the culture shock.
While in Nairobi, Kenya, we visited the largest slum in Africa, Kibera, which has about one million people living there. Our guide, who lived in the slum, said “Kibera is a city within a city.” I saw so many little kids who had very little but had huge smiles on their faces. The roads were filthy with trash everywhere. I honestly did not know what I was stepping in. There were community bathrooms that you had to pay to use that were open from 9:30 am to 6 pm. If you did not have the money, you could not use the facilities. At the highest point in the small part of the slum we were in, you could see the skyline of Nairobi. It was beautiful however, it was hard to enjoy because these people living in Kibera were living so poorly. After being back for a week, I realized that I was only at Kibera for two hours and then left to go back to our nice hotel, fly home, and go back to my normal life. Those people do not leave. Those people’s normal is the possibility of not taking a shower or not having food to put on the table or not having clean water.
My final thought to share is this: no matter how bad you think your life is, someone is worse off than you.
All the leaves hitting the ground Yet no one hears a sound They’re all slowly dying But everyone thinks of them as flying Why does everyone look around with gleaming eyes When it’s a never-ending cycle of disguise after disguise