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Posts tagged ‘family’

To Write Love On Her Arms

I just finished a movie called To Write Love on Her Arms and I have to tell you it touched me more than almost any movie I can remember.

Let me start by saying I do not struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. I am not bi-polar. I am not a cutter. I am not suicidal.

I am also not religious and for me this was not a story about any god or religion.

What I am is a person who battles depression and anxiety. I am a person who has struggled in life, at times, to find a reason for waking up another day. I am a person who has felt lost within herself. I am a person who believes in hope. I am a person who KNOWS beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I NEED other people in my life for me to be okay. No matter what anyone believes about themselves, we all do.

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To Write Love On Her Arms is the true story of a young lady named Renee Yohe. It all started with a blog post by her friend Jamie who, after meeting her and helping her detox, found her story to be encouraging. He wasn’t encouraged because she had already triumphed, but because she was damaged yet still not broken. She was beyond help in the eyes of most of the world but surrounded by a small group of people who loved her enough to help her put her life back together; even if they had to keep gluing the shards of her hope over and over again.

Sometimes that’s all you need in life; that person or those persons who stick. The ones who see your scars, visible or not, self-inflicted or not, and don’t flinch. The ones who love you when you feel unlovable. The ones who hope for you when you feel hopeless. The ones who see you plain as day when you feel completely lost. Everyone needs those people. EVERYONE.

There have been days when the war being waged in me felt like it could rip me to shreds. I can only thank my own fear of being controlled, by persons or substances, that I didn’t use drugs and alcohol to escape to some place away from myself.

Renee’s story reminded me just how much I depend on my people. My best friend, my internet friends, and my chosen family are all intricate stitches in the fabric of my being. When my edges are frayed I just turn to any one of them and their kindness and love and acceptance weaves the hope back in until I’m whole again. For me; that love and that hope are my religion, my higher power. I turn to these things like a flower turns it’s face to the sun.

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Some might look upon this young woman’s face and wonder how could a young life be so bad or so difficult that addiction and pain feel better than merely existing. But I get it. Sometimes just waking up to exist another day is the monster beneath the bed, the unknown thing you fear the most. Perhaps it’s true that “it’s never as bad as you imagine it will be,” but then again maybe that’s the lie we tell ourselves to get out of the bed and step foot in front of the beast waiting to devour us. Until it’s your bed, your feet, your monster, you don’t know for sure.

For many of us the thing that gets us past the monster, the fear, is the person or persons waiting outside the door for us. Our children, our spouses, our families, and our true friends give us the courage to hope that our exposed limb won’t be snatched. Not today at least. Trying to find that courage when there’s no one waiting on the other side of your fear, whose mere existence in your life is the reward for getting there, is damn near impossible.

https://twloha.com was founded by Jamie after the overwhelming response to Renee’s story showed him just how many people were in desperate need of someone in their corner. Because honestly the only thing worse than hating yourself, hurting yourself, being afraid, and suffering from mental illness of any kind is doing it all alone. There’s enough people on this big ball we all live on that no one should have to do it all alone.

My hope is that even just one of you will read or watch Renee’s story, now that I’ve told you about it, and you will think of someone who needs to know they aren’t alone in life, and you will SHOW them you are there for them; you will find time in your busy life to help someone hold their pieces together.

And if you are a person who needs to connect to someone who sees you through your own fog; who needs someone to hand you the hope and love you can’t quite grasp on your own; who needs someone to hold the pieces in place as you glue them back together for maybe the hundredth time; who needs a reason to face the monsters that lurk around the corners and behind your eyes…I beg of you…reach out.

I promise you that someone doesn’t have to have walked in your shoes to be exactly who you need. They only need to be let inside your walls. No one can be your person if you don’t allow them to be. Surround yourself with people who want to be there for you and then let them.

Have hope. Be brave. As Renee said, “The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope.”

See the blog post that started the To Write Love On Her Arms movement here: https://twloha.com/learn/story/

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Remembering The OKC Bombing

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April 19, 1995

Those born on April 19, 1995 are celebrating their 21st birthday today. For many Oklahomans it’s the 21st anniversary of the day their home was attacked and their loved ones were murdered by deranged individuals seeking revenge on a government they disagreed with.

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On April 19, 1995 at 9:01 am Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was having a day like any other. People were arriving to work, babies were being held at daycare, phone calls were being made, kids were sitting in classes. It took 1 minute and 1 individual full of anger and hate to end the lives of 168 Americans and change the lives of thousands more forever. By 9:03 am we were a wounded city, state and nation. All over the world people mourned and prayed for Oklahoma. All that pain and devastation because someone hated choices made by individuals in our government trying to protect others.

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Our government makes mistakes and sometimes we greatly disagree with their choices and decisions but we, Americans, also take for granted all the things our government has given us and how much better off we are than so many other nations. Can our government be better? Absolutely! But attacking one another and creating more hate and anger towards each other only creates more of these horrible events. Hate fuels the fire within people who don’t understand reason, compassion, or acceptance. We CAN NOT be a nation that stands behind any person or group that supports division instead of unification. Do not give your votes to people who spew hate and disrespect of other individuals, groups or agencies. We can disagree with each other’s choices and still embrace our diversity and accept that we are different and show respect for one another.

Any individual or group who supports hating or creating fear among any part of our population is creating more homeland terrorism. More events like the attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Building are inevitable when people become irrational with hate and fear. Our basic rights are not being attacked by our government or any other power because laws are created trying, sometimes fruitlessly, to keep us from continually harming one another. Those who encourage such thinking are inciting anger and fear unnecessarily.

Today and everyday I ask you to remember the Pledge of Allegiance we recited as children all over this country. Let those last five words, “liberty and justice for all.”, mean something to you as you go through your daily life in an amazingly diverse world full of all kinds of people with all kinds of lives. Liberty and justice FOR ALL; not just the white, straight, christian, American born.

Let the lights of the OKC Bombing Memorial be a reminder of what hate and fear can do.

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Embrace diversity. Embrace change.

“Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.” ~Noam Chomsky

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All Photo Credits by Chrissy Justice

As an Oklahoman who cried 21 years ago and every time I look back on the devastation caused by one irrationally fearful and hate-filled man (and those who followed him) I worry those with big voices are encouraging this kind of event to happen again. The only thing more powerful than fear and hate is love. Love one another because of our differences, not despite them.

Monique P

Public Library: Use It or Lose It

I’m constantly hearing people say they don’t have time to use a library or it’s easier to just buy a book you want to read.
Here are a few things most people don’t realize about public libraries:
1: It’s free. Yes, you probably knew this part. Did you know that it’s not just books for free? Most libraries have books on C.D., movies (even new releases) magazines, and even Kindles.
2: With my library I have the option of going online and actually borrowing FOR FREE e-books to load directly onto my kindle to read. Many libraries have this available.  Your library staff are more than willing to help you set this up. Bonus: you can browse e-books and borrow them FROM HOME.
3: Online catalogs. Gone are the days of perusing giant wooden card catalogs and hoping the item is on the shelf once you track down the call number. This is done on a computer now. You can look items up on the catalog only computers in the library and usually you can look items up on your library’s website from home. There’s several benefits to doing this. You can see right away if it is actually AT your library branch. If your library is one branch of a library system you can actually “order” your item from another library and it will be sent to your branch. Some libraries will even order the item from outside their system. If there’s a book in a series you want to read and it’s not at your library just ask. They can probably get it for you! Another benefit of doing this online is the time saving aspect. If you place a hold on an item at your library a library staff member will find the item on the shelf or order it from another library and then contact you when it’s available to pick up, either by calling, texting or emailing. Go in, give them your library card, check out your item and *poof* you’re done! Easy peasy!
4: Computers! Almost every thing you do these days requires you to have an email contact but sadly not everyone can afford a computer. Filling out job applications, quick filing your taxes, even using a kindle to read on all require you to have Internet access. You can do this for free at your library. I have yet to see a public library not have computers for their patrons to use. Clueless about computers? No problem! Ask a library associate! That’s what they are there for! Some libraries even offer free classes on basic computer use if you wish to be a little more comfortable with them.
4. Entertainment! Don’t have the money to go out and buy your favorite movie or see the latest sequel to your comic book hero movie series? Don’t want to spend $15 on a new CD when you only know for sure you like one song? Go to the library! You may have to wait your turn to borrow it but you can borrow it for free. I put myself on the hold list for brand new releases all the time. When it’s my turn to get the new CD or the new movie my librarian sends me an email and I go pick it up. And unlike the $4 movie rental place that gives you 24 hours I get a full week to watch it. Some libraries give you 3 days, 10 days or 2 weeks. Ask your library staff or check your check out receipt for the due date to be sure.
5: Magazines. How many of us have magazine subscriptions that pile up because we don’t have the time to read them? Why are you paying for something you eventually realize you’re never going to have time to read and will just throw away? Go sit in your quiet library in one if their comfy seats, most have MANY, and peruse the magazine you wanted to read. Read the articles you want and don’t feel guilty about the ones you skip because you paid to read them. Many libraries even let you check out the magazines for a short period. See a recipe you want to make? Take it home and make the item! If it’s good write it down! Save a tree and your guilt for spending money and throwing it away.
6: Starting early getting your kids excited about library visits, reading “marathons,” summer reading programs, etc will begin creating a reader. The more your children read the better off they will be later on, not just in school but also jobs. Reading opens up new worlds, imaginations and, most importantly, encourages thinking. Take kids to the library. Read to them and with them. It can improve your own reading skills as well and creates great memories for your kids.

Libraries are publicly funded. If we don’t use these great resources we will lose them. Go get a library card today if you don’t have one. Check your local library branch for what ID is needed to get one and for what their hours are. Many offer extended and weekend hours for 9-5 workers and busy moms.
If you do use your library then I thank you!  Make sure you thank a librarian next time you’re there!

Lots of love and happy reading,
Monique P

When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.
–Rita Mae Brown

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