the caged bird sings.

the hopeful song of a second chance.

Live through this, and you won't look back.

Bee ButlerComment
When there’s nothing left to burn, you’ve got to set yourself on fire.
— "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead", STARS

I found all of my old blog posts earlier today, from my TypePad account. The blogging platform I used before this one, but after Blogger. The one I created in 2009 after my fiance left me and my writing started to take shape. The one I continued through my next big relationship, the aftermath, the person I loved the most in this world, the way that blew up in my face, treatment and the beginnings of California, and the crash back to earth.

I read a few posts, and I felt the need to do something that I did then. This is a postcard to my past self. 

You can and will be just as, if not more, unhappy in California as you were in Texas. The love of your life, or the person you honestly thought was going to be, does not speak to you. You're not even Facebook friends. As far as you know, he doesn't care to remember that you exist and you very much deserve that. I'm sorry. Your ex fiance lives here, too, but he doesn't want to see you, and the only times you've spoken to him in years have been on nights that you got drunk and sad. You got drunk and sad a lot after your first round of treatment. Drunk, sad, sorry, drunk, sad, sorry, broke a lot of things, burned a lot of bridges, dropped out of school, ruined your life (that isn't an exaggeration. You royally fucked yourself) and somehow managed to trap someone else into a relationship with you. One you've damaged beyond repair, it would seem, one that you're still trying to fix. You don't drink anymore. You don't have a best friend any more. Oh, that's right... she's gone. She left for the same reason everyone else did. You were a car careening down the highway with a drunk at the wheel, and she couldn't bear to see the crash. You tried to die a bunch of times in odd ways. Lots of nights with too many drinks and somehow you still got home, at the expense of several crappy cars you bought off Craigslist. Your parents trust you again now, but not like before, and they're disappointed. They won't tell you that, but you know it. Your brother kicked you out of his life because you were such a fuck up. You checked back into the hospital twice, and it almost wasn't enough. You didn't graduate from ACU. You didn't get back to Monte Nido. Your exes didn't forgive you. You don't sing onstage anymore. You don't even go to karaoke. You're not in therapy at the moment but you should be.


Despite all that, though, you're going to be alright.
It gets worse, and worse, and so much worse that you want to give up, but you don't.
Right now I am trying to take that brave moment of refusal and turn it into something you can be proud of. I let you down, and I'm so sorry for that.

Please try to remember that there are greater things than what come after this. 
It won't always hurt this much.

I don't know if this is the one who stays or even one who'll matter as much as the others did, but I'm going to do my best to find out.

See you soon.

That sinking feeling.

Bee ButlerComment

In the last two years, my depression has been well-managed. I almost feel wrong in saying that, because I have by no means been happy for two years, or even okay. I've had moments where I seriously considered ending it all. I've had insane breakdowns (usually prompted by relationship problems) and I have had my share of weepy, ugly crying days. HOWEVER: I have been on medication steadily for two years, and even though it's been tweaked, it's worked.

I haven't been to the psychiatrist this year. It's April. I actually don't think I've been since October, which, holy shit, self, that is so fucking dumb that there aren't enough cuss words to sprinkle into this sentence. I know better than that. Like, WAY better. The reason I haven't gone (and have been a total butthole to my poor urgent care doc, more on that in a minute) is because I genuinely do not like my psychiatrist. He's not a bad guy, but he doubts everything I say, is sort of rude, questions me or asks me to repeat myself when I talk about meds in a way that makes me feel that he thinks I'm a drug-seeker, which, fuck you, asshole, I never asked to be thrown on meds as a child, and I definitely need medication. I don't want it. I need it to survive. Fuck. Off.

This guy seems to be one of those people who thinks that no patient really NEEEEDS meds, so he's spent the last year weaning me off every. single. medication that my previous doctors have put me on. And that is not okay. That is not why I see him. That is not why I shell out my hard earned money to sit in his grubby little office.

Fuck. Can you tell how much I hate this dude?

He told me that nobody needs Xanax and forced me to stop taking it even though I was on 3mg a day (which, yes, that is a shit ton, and no, I didn't NEED that much, but a team of therapists, doctors, psychiatrists, nutritionists, and treatment-teamers decided that it was a good idea that I take that much, so who the fuck are you to tell me I need exactly 0mg for the rest of my life?!) and also tried to remove my mood stabilizer, and that ended SPECTACULARLY and resulted him in upping it past my previous dosage when all was said and done. He does not get me. He does not think medication is necessary for my wellbeing, and because I have spent 26 years in this body and brain and 15 years on medication, I know for a fucking FACT that I DO need medication and will continue taking it for the rest of my life. I get tweaking dosages and changing medications when things stop working. That is totally fine and I'll even advocate for it when I feel it might be necessary. I also desperately wish that I didn't need meds.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

In the last six months, I've been going to Urgent Care and getting the on-call doctor there to call in an emergency prescription on my meds. Three months ago I went in thinking I had severe lung problems and had a very sweet, understanding doctor look me dead in the face and say, "Abby? You've had panic attacks your entire life. Do you not recognize that this whole breathing problem is actually just a severe panic attack? I think Xanax is a good idea."

I cried from relief when he told me that. I thought I was dying. My body was actually just being an evil little shit. That doctor has been prescribing and refilling my psych meds for me for half a year. That's pretty illegal. He understands why he's been doing it, though, and hasn't really pushed me. In 18 days, the insurance I have that allows me to GO to Urgent Care will expire, and I will be forced to go on the state emergency plan, commonly known as MediCal. It is extremely shitty, but I am very, very grateful that I will be insured, and that I will have zero copays. I'm very sad, though, because this plan covers one group of psychiatrists/therapists (the Encinitas Psychiatric Group, if you're interested) and they happen to be the ones I was already seeing. When I made my first new-insurance-appointment there, I requested to see a nurse practitioner until a different psychiatrist was available, because I cannot keep going back to the man who has made me feel like an idiot for so long, and because my love affair with Urgent Care is coming to an end. As of April 18th, if I'm sick and need immediate care, I can go to the Minute Clinic (blech) or shuttle myself to the emergency room. I am really unhappy about that.

As you can imagine, my Urgent Care system occasionally slips through the cracks and I've run out of meds as a result. Several times, in fact. And this last time left me without antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds for nearly a month. And I am not okay.

I'm really surprised, though, at how well I've been coping. No self harm, no suicidal episodes, none of the things that typically mark a med-free period. Something else has popped up instead.

I'm pushing the boundaries of what I thought my OCD would make me do. I'm starting to feel like I have ADD as well. And I've been manic. I've had maybe 10 or 11 manic periods in my entire life, and all of them were the result of mismanaged meds due to incorrect diagnoses. My doctors thought I was bipolar for a long, long time, but because of some major red flags and stop signs in my history and behavioral patterns, I ended up with a major depressive and chronic anxiety diagnosis, along with a nudge that I have borderline personality disorder. You can go look that up for yourself, because I'm incredibly embarrassed by it. I was fine with OCD, anxiety, and depression. I could even swallow my PTSD diagnosis, because I knew exactly where it came from and it isn't looked at as a "crazy person" illness... more of a soldier struggle, and that was fine with me. BPD is often lumped in with bipolar disorder and occasionally schizophrenia (even though they are NOT EVEN SIMILAR, dammit), so I've kept my mouth shut about having it.

The mania, though, that's a thing now. It's helped me to get this house really fucking spotless, and I've been able to channel the mania into productive shifts at work and some household cleaning and organizing projects that made me feel good about myself. It's also lead to a couple of stupid spending sprees and nine or ten sleepless nights that are about to push me over the edge. 

Tonight, I called my pharmacy and explained my situation, and I'll have all my meds back tomorrow, with the exception of Xanax. I've got to make one last trip to Urgent Care for that. And then, in May, I'll have my first sit down with my NP, and we'll see what happens.


All that to say this: I need medication and I am not okay without it. If anything, my problems morph into giants I cannot conquer and new symptoms I'd never struggled with surface as I start to sink. I can't keep my head above water without these drugs, just like diabetics will die without insulin and organ transplant survivors are dependent on their anti-rejection meds. I'm not sorry or ashamed, just very, very sad, because navigating appointments and rude doctors gets really difficult when the pills that keep you sane are on the line.


It's 4:12 AM and I'm wide awake. This manic spiral is about to make me cry. And I need to wake up the boyfriend for work. I'll have some breakfast and then lie in bed for eight hours and hope to eventually drift off. Until then,

blog sig..png

Therapy, bohemian style.

Bee ButlerComment

My job consists of lots of mindless, repetitive work. I straighten, organize, shelve, recover, and basically spend my shift making ugly things beautiful. When I work close, I've been told by my boss that I leave things better than they looked when the store first opened, and that's a HUGE compliment coming from her.

There have been a lot of times that I've gone into work with a bad mindset, lots of stress, and a decent amount of anger. Because my job also includes customer service, I try to leave all that shit in the break room so that when I walk out onto the floor, nobody has to deal with my bad attitude. Thankfully, I have awesome coworkers who let me bitch and moan and sit there on break consoling me and cheering me up with stories of crappy situations they've been in. That certainly brings things into perspective, but the best stress reliever I have is actually doing my job. Twenty minutes into a shift, I can essentially let go of what was bothering me. When I clock out, my anger has subsided, my heart is less heavy, and my troubles don't get in my way anymore.

On days that I don't work, (or days when I work, but not until late) I don't really have that outlet. I've realized, however, that cleaning boyfriend's parents' house does the same thing for me that work does. This morning I got up and did laundry, fed the dog, cleaned up the kitchen, living room, our room, our bathroom, organized a bunch of crap, found the dog's collar and extra leash (she's been "nakey" for months because her collar went missing... a little cleaning does wonders for finding stuff), and got a bunch of stuff ready for work. I feel a little bit better.

I would hesitate to say that therapy is pointless or could be replaced by this kind of thing, but in the interim, it's pretty impressive what you can work through by cleaning. 

I also just needed an excuse to brag on my housewife skills, because I'm a gratification-seeking monster, and I am totally willing to own up to that.

Housewife part deux.

Bee ButlerComment

(Listening to Dooce's glorious podcast has been the highlight of my day, so much so that I went and looked up other podcasts she's been featured on and listened to them.)

Today has been more house stuff. I had a longer-than-usual work schedule over the weekend, so I didn't tackle any other projects, but today I finally gave up and dumped out the "clean unsorted clothes" laundry basket and hung up/folded/sorted/matched everything in it. Boyfriend's socks will be the death of me. He has a million weird pairs that always end up in the washer and dryer at different times. Ugh.

Then I vacuumed our room, because dear GOD it was needed, Febreezed everything (in lieu of an air freshener, because Roxy would eat it), unpacked a bag left over from our weekend trip to Big Bear, did a load of laundry, put a second comforter on the bed (the fight for the covers over here is major, so we make it work by splitting the covers evenly. One comforter per person, plus a little bit of hogging by the dog), took out the trash, organized the crap on the bedside table, and made a few alterations to the layout of the room, because we need a little more space.

None of this matters and anyone who came by probably wouldn't notice that it happened, but I know boyfriend will be able to tell and he'll sleep/breathe better with the decrease in clutter. I'll sleep better, too, and probably won't be so restless since everything is done and sorted.

Roxy is mad because no one has taken her for a walk, but it's hot, the creepy neighbor is skateboarding outside, and it's boyfriend's job, anyway, because he takes her on longer walks and nobody whistles at him, so he doesn't ever cut things short to run inside in shame at being objectified. 

I have so much homework to do and zero motivation to do it.

The room is clean, the dishes are done, clothes are washed and dried, fridge is full, trash is emptied. There is nothing else to take away my attention, so it's time to work on school.

Wish me luck.

Maniacal giggling/Housewife shit.

Bee ButlerComment

My housing situation is not ideal, but I am incredibly grateful and very blessed to have a roof over my head that includes a kitchen, bathroom, gorgeous backyard, air conditioning, and plenty of space for the wonder dog to run around. The fact that those lovely things are situated in my boyfriend's parents' home is the un-ideal part, but they're such awesome people that most of the time I do not mind one bit. And since I'm not the primary breadwinner and contribute maybe $120 a week on a good week, I'm not gonna complain. 

This week, though. This week (and next week!) boyfriend's 'rents are in Ireland for a family wedding (his mom is Irish, raised in England, and has the cutest accent/mannerisms in the world. Most of her family is still on the Emerald Isle, and I would very much like to meet them, if only because I would get to fly across the world). They are gone gone gone, and since boyfriend works approximately 60+ hours a week (including his disgustingly long commute), that means I'm home alone with the dog, and I can clean/organize/housewife to my heart's content. 

Yesterday I tackled the dishes, which pile up quite quickly with four people eating at all odd hours (our schedules aren't the least bit conducive to a family meal... we all eat at different times). What with the intense packing and work week ahead of their trip, and me being sick and getting behind on our dishes (yes, I do all of our dishes. Small price to pay when he works all the time), I had three loads for the dishwasher. During that time, I also tossed all the stuff that had no business being anywhere but the trash, and put about ten thousand bottles in the recycling bag. I am a failure and forgot about trash day, so I didn't get to empty the gigantic trash haul from the kitchen before this morning, but I'll live. I also did some laundry (I do laundry 4 or 5 times a week, because boyfriend only has a handful of work shirts and an ever-decreasing number of pairs of underwear that have become the bane of my existence... plus the dog sleeps with us and the sheets need to be changed frequently), and scrubbed down kitchen counters, put away some random stuff that ended up on the kitchen table and bar, and straightened the living room up. I was happy with it, for the most part.

Today I went nuts doing ALL OF THE LAUNDRY in cycles and putting things away, so that for the first time since I've lived here, there was no laundry sitting on top of the dryer or on the floor in the washroom. I cannot tell you how stoked I am about that. It will last all of 2 seconds, but I'm gonna enjoy it. I also put away all the clean stuff that somehow never makes it into drawers, fed the dog wet food (which she never gets, and which had to be mixed, which is a pain), straightened our room again, and sorted everyone's mail. Again, super happy for the most part.

On Tuesday, when they left, I stayed home when boyfriend went to our friends' house and went nuts cleaning and straightening. It was the big push that launched all of this, really. I organized our bathroom, cleaned out our medicine cabinet, filled up my pill dispenser (you would be SHOCKED at how many pills a person with depression, Lupus, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, low b12, acid reflux, fibromyalgia, and sleeping problems requires) for the week, and went nuts cleaning up our room and putting new sheets, pillow cases, and a comforter on our bed. 

I tell you all of this because when I do stuff like this for our house, I don't get to spill to anyone. Nobody thanks me, and honestly, they shouldn't have to, because housekeeping is it's own reward. I'm in a lot of pain, though, and getting myself out of bed and doing stuff, especially on a day when I work, is actually a big deal sometimes. And I want to be appreciated. And I can't call my mother every day just to tell her how much I housewifed. Even though I know she misses me living with her because I am THE BEST at housewifing (her house has five bedrooms, a kitchen, two living rooms, an office, a dining room, two staircases, four and a half baths, an outside bathroom/changing room, and a TON OF STUFF, so cleaning there takes skill and I am super thorough), I realize that it's impractical to be this pumped about doing basic shit. 

I am, however, very pumped for myself about doing all this basic shit, especially because most of the time boyfriend just assumes it will all happen and does not help, ever, at all, and I want someone to give a damn. When I don't do it, he gets upset, and since I don't have a lot else to contribute, I need to earn my keep a little. But still. A THANK YOU WOULD BE SUPER COOL. ACKNOWLEDGING IT WOULD BE NEATO.

But I digress.

It's not his job to pat me on the head for not being a shitty girlfriend, and it isn't my job to bitch endlessly about what a thankless job housecleaning is.

I will instead bitch about it on my blog that almost nobody reads, and be excited for myself. 
Because I totally am.
This house looks wonderful and I did it all by myself.

High five!

Wayback Machine Pt. 4!

Bee ButlerComment

This one is painful, and pretty indicative that 21-year-old me was NOT over her ex and needed to spend a little more time in therapy.

Live through this, and you won’t look back.

There is nothing quite as gut-wrenching and vomit-inducing as finding out someone you loved, someone you spent over a year with, someone you gave your whole life to, someone who made you sick and miserable and happy and sad and tore you apart and used you and “loved” you... finding out that someone is sleeping with a coworker he doesn’t give a damn about because he just wants to get laid and nothing between you matters to him at all.

God, it hurts.

I thought for once in my life I’d do the whole “friends” thing with an ex, and dear GOD did I fail miserably. I’m in love with someone else now, someone who loves me back, unequivocally and irreversably and who will not leave when it gets bad or when I’m sad, and I’ll be damned if some horrible mistake from my past will mar this happiness.

”I’m not sorry I met you, I’m not sorry it’s over, I’m not sorry there’s nothing to say.
I’m not sorry there’s nothing to save.”

If it wasn’t for that relationship, that heart-wrenching deathtrap that nearly drove me to take my own life, I would not have met the person I am with now, the person I love and who loves me back.

I can’t say that I would go back and undo it, because I’d lose what I have now, but I would never in a million years try again or wish that it had lasted. I will no longer pretend that I was right, that there was some magical, redeeming quality that made that person someone who could love me the right way. someon who cared about me for more than one awful, stupid reason, and I can’t sit here and prove to anyone, even myself, that I was ever what I hoped to be to him.

I wish so desperately that I could erase my sophomore and junior years of college from my memory. I want to wipe them away.

”it’s nothing but time and a face that you lose, I chose to feel it and you couldn’t choose, I’ll write you a postcard, I’ll send you the news from the house down the road; from real love.”

it is too late to take a second of those years, months, days, hours, minutes, even seconds back. I can never regain what I lost, what I gave up, what I let go of, the people I pushed aside and let take the backseat in order to make room for the parasitic relationship I allowed to go on for far too long. And my god, does it ache. it hurts like a deep cut, like a tear, like a burn that goes deep. Something leaving a scar, one that will never go away, a permanent reminder of what had been and what failed to continue to be. But, much like the tattoos I love some much, like the ink that is embedded in my wrists and feet, I will keep these lessons tucked away and relish only what I can remember fondly. Only that which I can use will I allow to stay in my head and my heart. And the only thing left from all of that time, all of those days, weeks, months, years, is this:

”there’s one thing I want to say, so I’ll be brave, you were what I wanted, I gave what I gave. I’m not sorry I met you, I’m not sorry it’s over. I’m not sorry there’s nothing to say; I’m not sorry there’s nothing to say.”

Live through this, and you won’t look back.

Until next time,

Wayback Machine Pt. 3!

Bee ButlerComment

This one is just snarky.

Motherly wisdom for those of you who DESPERATELY need it.

I grew up in a home with my mother, father, and younger brother. We had a dog starting when I was in 7th grade. We lived in a comfortable three bedroom house, then a two story house with tons of space, and then after mom and dad got divorced each moved into smaller, more manageable houses until mom moved to houston.

My mom and I had somewhat of a tumultuous relationship for most of my adolescenthood. I was a broody, know-it-all teenager who actually did know quite a bit more than was really healthy or necessary, and she was a frustrated, working mother who had a tendency to nag because no one really did what was asked of them the first time.

She and I fought a lot, and I may have disagreed with a great deal of what she taught me, but one thing she enforced has stuck with me, and I know now that it will be something I pass on to my children.

My momma taught me to CLEAN UP THE DANG HOUSE.

We had chores like other kids. I was on dishwasher duty, had to vacuum on occasion, was required to dust (when we moved to the bigger house), keep my room clean, pick up the living room, and no matter what the situation, if I made a mess, I was required to clean it up. Later on I got laundry-related chores and got to start cleaning bathroom mirrors. My brother was responsible for taking out the trash, his room, vacuuming, and clearing the table when we all ate together. Overall, most of the housework was done by her or my father, but if you’d heard my brother and I talking, we did EVERYTHING OH MY GOD SO MANY CHORES UGH LETS HIRE A MAID.

I distinctly remember getting my butt beat for leaving a noodle on the kitchen floor after it fell off the plate when I went to the living room to eat. I ignored it and went to bed. Mom dragged me out of bed and made me pick it up, wipe up the floor, and then I got yelled at (mostly because I threw a huge fit at having been woken up). I hated her for it, but guess who has a clean floor in her apartment right now because of it?

Stories aside, here’s the deal. For those of you who grew up in single parent homes, didn’t have a momma, had a momma who was so busy being supermother that she didn’t have a whole lot of time to impart wisdom, and for those sad few of you whose mothers are slobs, here are some words of wisdom.

- Dishwashers are awesome, but they are NOT magical. Rinse your dishes and get all the big crap off of them before you put them in the machine so that you don’t have to wash them AGAIN after the cycle is over.

- Dishes that end up in the sink don’t magically disappear. You have to WASH THEM. There is nothing nastier than a pile of dishes in the sink that spills over onto the counter. The only thing that annoys me more is when some idiot takes the whole pile of dishes and tosses them in the dishwasher thinking it solves the problem.

- Are there dishes in the dishwasher when you go to put a dirty (PRE-RINSED) dish in there? CHECK THE FREAKING DISHES. Are they dirty? No? Then UNLOAD THE MACHINE BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR DIRTY DISH IN. I promise it won’t kill you.

- Confused as to why there are no dishes in the cabinet when you go to make food? MAYBE ITS BECAUSE YOU LEFT THEM ALL OVER THE PLACE. Pick up your dish when you’re done with it and rinse it off. If you wanna be awesome, go ahead and hand wash it (I know, it’s shocking, but it’s actually faster 90% of the time than pre-rinsing and then running the dishwasher).

- Did you know that trash cans don’t empty themselves? See how there’s trash poking out of the top of the can? That means that you need to tie up the bag (without spilling things out of it), tie it up, take it out, and then REPLACE THE BAG IN THE CAN before you put more trash in it. I swear, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

- Isn’t it super gross when there’s pieces of stuff all over the floor? You know a really great way to fix that? VACUUM. It doesn’t take too long, and it’s actually faster to go over a spot and make sure it’s clean than to go fast, put the vacuum up, and then have to drag it back out when you see that there’s still something there that needs to be cleaned up.

- Countertops are not as resilient as one would assume. When you set something wet, sticky, etc on them, they cannot repel it and it ends up staying there until you get a rag/papertowel and clean it up. Most of the time you can do this with water. If not, grab the 409 and clean it up, nasty.

- Toilets actually do need to be cleaned. It seems dumb to those of you who weren’t raised like I was, but they get pretty gross if you don’t occasionally scrub them out.

- Dust and other gross things accumulate on places like tabletops, corners, cracks, and windowsills. They don’t magically go away. Clean them up and save yourself a lot of sneezing and disgust when you discover dust bunnies the size of your eyeballs all over the place.

- Are you like me? Do you constantly have a cup of Diet Coke from a fast food place? Did you recently get Taco Bell? Those wrappers and cups cannot walk. They must be carried to the trash. And before you put that cup in there, DUMP OUT THE DRINK. It will make a huge mess if you don’t.

Part of the reason I wrote this is because I live in an apartment with one other person who is awesome and understands cleaning. I know a lot of you aren’t as lucky, so I’m passing on these tips in the hopes that your roommate is even half as great as mine.

I also wrote it because at any given time there are 2-4 additional people who occupy space in my apartment and sometimes with that many people in such a tiny space it gets messy fast. These guidelines help out a lot.

The biggest reason I wrote it is because I’ve spent a lot of time lately in the apartments, dorms, and houses of students at my school, and I feel terrible, because apparently none of them have mothers.

Clean up your crap, kids.

And momma?

Thanks. :]

Stay tuned for more!

Wayback Machine Pt. 2!

Bee ButlerComment

Another post from 2010, this one a little closer to my current writing style. 
This is a sad story, but it's a very big deal.


Girls can be so incredibly horrible to each other.

When I was in sixth grade, I attended a Christian private school. I had two best friends, and we called ourselves ABC, because all of our first names started with As, and our last names started with A, then B, then C. We thought we were clever.

I spent that summer hanging out with friends, so ready to enter “middle school” even though I was just a sixth grader (my school included sixth grade in the building with 7th and 8th). When the first day came, I was overjoyed, spending time with my two friends, loving my classes. My only regret was that our classes didn’t really change... each class rotated classrooms. I had all my classes with the same 20-something kids. There were two other groups, and they rotated as well. My two friends got put in one together, and I was in one somewhat alone.

By homecoming that year (private school... pre-kindergarten through 12th grade... homecoming was a HUGE deal) I felt things were going really smoothly. But on that Friday afternoon, I found a note in my locker saying that my two best friends no longer liked me. They had written a “dictionary”, and each word was something that was wrong with me. They also informed me that they were going to tell people all my secrets, and that I was never allowed to talk to them again. It was signed by the leader of our threesome, Anna.

I have hated Anna since that day.

The rest of the fall semester continued in the same way. They talked behind my back, tripped me on purpose, wrote hurtful notes, spread rumors, and once Anny even accused me of slamming her into a door and hurting her after SHE had just done it to ME. I was too scared to report it, and she knew that, so she went in and told them what had happened in reverse. I got in a lot of trouble, and when I tried to tell my side I was reprimanded and asked what made me think they’d believe Anna would lie.

By the spring I was throwing up after every meal. I felt fat and ugly, two words used commonly to describe me by Anna and the clique of popular girls that ruled our grade. I tried everything. I used my mom’s makeup, I wore my hair the way they did with a ribbon in it. I tried everything. Eventually no one would sit with me at lunch, so I hid in the bathroom and cried/purged until it was time to go back to class.

My mother was the choir teacher at the school, and in class she punished a girl with detention for talking back and disrupting class. The girl’s parents gave a lot of money to the school. She went to the principal of the junior high and said my mother was harassing her and all of her friends went with her and agreed. The very same girls who were currently making my life a living hell. The principal informed my mother that she was not ALLOWED to punish the girl because of her family. She was fired at the end of the year.

By April I was down to less than 60 pounds (I was tiny to begin with, but a 12 year old should NOT weigh that little). My parents made the executive decision to move me back to my old elementary school. I flourished there, was popular, had tons of friends. I moved on to a new junior high in a different zone of our district because my parents felt I’d get a better education there.

In 8th grade, Anna moved to the same school.

The tormenting began again. The lies, the rumors. She had one of her friends threaten to kill me. She mocked me endlessly, hit me or tripped me or slapped me just hard enough to sting, but not enough to leave a mark. The last day before Christmas break while I was passing out presents, I discovered that she had turned my close group of friends against me. None of them accepted my presents, the ones I’d lovingly picked out and wrapped.

Anna made me miserable.

Freshman year I had art class with her (which was where, the previous year, she had started her rampage against me) again. She giggled and pointed and had the other girls in the class room in stitches with her stories of my pathetic past. All kinds of ridiculous rumors got spread.

My junior year, I left that school and moved to the high school in my own school zone, with the kids I’d originally gone to elementary school with. I had a great year after that.

Anna occasionally attempts to add me on Facebook. After several denied requests, I realized it would be smarter just to block her. And now, now that I’m stronger and wiser, if I were to run across Anna again, I could laugh at any bitchy remark she’d think to throw. I also wouldn’t hesitate to punch her right in her smug little mouth, and for that reason I make a point of hanging out with a different crowd than she does.

Her words caused so much damage in my life. I still struggle with an eating disorder today, although it I no longer purge. Somewhere in high school I discoverd that starving was easier, and its an urge I constantly have to fight.

I hate her for what she did to me. I want so badly to forgive her, and I’m working on it. But after all she put me through, I can’t seem to find the strength to completely let go.

Today I sang alto in chapel in front of most of the students at ACU. I felt great about my “performance”, if you can call it that, and my friends and acquaintances said I did a great job.

Then a thoughtless, insensitive remark was made on facebook by someone I used to be friends with about how horrible the female singers in chapel were today. How we both needed to take lessons from someone who knew what they were doing. How we ruined her experience and how impossible it was to sing along.

My heart ached.

I was devastated. Those words hit me like a ton of bricks.

My friends stood up for me and made it known that she shouldn’t say or write things like that unless she was a) prepared to deal with the backlash and b) capable of saying it to the face of the person she was bashing.

I am still angry with her.
My confidence is shakier in this moment than it was before she said it.

Girls are so incredibly cruel.
I vow to teach my daughter respect for her fellow woman, and I promise to watch what I say and do in regards to the feelings of others.

I just wish Anna’s mother had taught her the same lesson.

Check back for more soon.