the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

Uphill, both ways.

Bee ButlerComment

Small steps. Five-pound weights. Short sun salutations. Thirty minutes of simple, easy yoga.

I will fight my body every step of the way, not just to get fit, but to find the endorphins I'm missing because my serotonin production is failing me.

My thyroid is getting worse. Hashimoto's is a frustrating diagnosis. Every six weeks, I fill two vials with blood, and I get a phone call letting me know the "fate" of my medication levels. This week, the answer was "despite your increased dose, your T levels are too low, and we need to adjust". Too much levothyroxine makes me shaky, overheated; too little leaves me unable to get out of bed.

Monday, we check serotonin flow and decide if increasing medication will help, or if we need to move to something else. That "something else" might have terrible side effects, and an increase could cause 'serotonin syndrome', which has happened before. It causes grand mal seizures and a full-body shut down that could kill me.

The idea that my body hangs in the balance, stabilized by a handful of pills, is unnerving. Heart medication, something to lower the tachycardic-level beats per minute, blood pressure medication that raises the levels that fall to nothing when I stand up too fast; antidepressants, benzodiazepines (monitored carefully) to cull the panic attacks that cripple me from the inside out. A nerve pain reliever that helps with anxiety and steadies my day when Hashimoto's (and what may or may not be lupus) knocks me down, a mood stabilizer, a gastrointestinal medication that helps to keep my esophagus from deteriorating further, making it possible for me to eat without feeling like my insides are on fire... an anti-nausea med that would put any normal person to sleep, only taken in my worst moments, but still such a frequent dosage that it no longer makes me tired at all.

Vitamins that my doctors tell me will fill in the gaps. Natural remedies so that I'm not constantly popping NSAIDs for the pain... turmeric, ginger, coconut oil, bee pollen. Essential oils and a diffuser next to ten pill bottles... this is my every day.

It is so tiring. It is SO frustrating. I dread appointments, because no one has answers. I have become my own advocate, something that often infuriates my doctors, because I will no longer sit still and take pills when I know there are other options.

I fight this battle every second of every day. Sometimes it means I need to disappear. Sometimes I scroll through Facebook or Tumblr, posting and reading, but I don't have the emotional energy to reply to messages or texts. Sometimes my phone rings and I cannot summon the strength to answer it. I am too tired, too sad, too empty.

I love the people in my life. I appreciate the support and the help and the prayers and good vibes. I could not continue to fight without the help and the love.

Please, be patient with me as I struggle. I promise, I'm not ignoring you. I promise, I will call you back. I promise that I will not give up or give in if you promise to stick around, but I understand if you choose not to.

Depression and anxiety are no fun. Lupus, Hashimoto's, PTSD, OCD, GERD, and nausea are unbearable. I'm not dead, though, and I don't plan to be for another 60+ years. I just have to keep moving.

Calmbox (UNSPONSORED) Review!

Bee ButlerComment

I don't know if you guys have seen or heard about it, but joining the ranks of the 'curated subscription box' party is CALMBOX, which, according to their site, is a box "packed full of mindfully curated items like music, books, candles, personal care items, yummy snacks, motivational reminders, and so much more, to help you unwind and relax".

Check out more pictures of their products and projects over on their Instagram!

Check out more pictures of their products and projects over on their Instagram!

I saw the box in an ad and decided to subscribe for the month of January as a Christmas gift to myself. With the promo code they offered when I clicked 'subscribe', the month subscription only cost me $20 (I believe it normally retails for $35, but they offer a $5 off voucher and you can find discount codes online. They didn't pay me to review it or offer me a special deal, I just clicked YES on the voucher and used my Honey code plug-in on the Chrome browser to get a better deal!). It arrived earlier than I expected, and I was surprised to see nothing but full-sized products in the box!

1. First up was my new favorite room spray, the Calming Yoga Elixir Spray with Lavender & Cardamom by Cuccio Somatology

This stuff smells incredible and retails for $8.95, which is almost half of what I paid for the full box! I've been using it at night to help me get ready to wind down and go to bed, and it also sets the tone for yoga if you spritz a little on your mat. Cuccio also offers a mat cleaning spray, if you're in the market for that, but I was happy to just get a nice scent going before I started my practice.

2. Next up in the box was another Cuccio product, the Balancing Calming Chamomile Lotion! Like I said, I got the full size version of the product in the box, which retails for $8.95 as well. At this point I've almost recouped my full cost for the box, which is nuts, because I have four products left to talk about!

I loved this stuff. It not only smells amazing, it's incredibly moisturizing, and a little bit goes a long way! I'm using it at night to help me get into a calm and restful mood before I jump into bed. The smell of chamomile along with the lavender and cardamom from the room spray is perfect for cultivating a good bedtime routine. 

3. The next thing I saw was, of course, TEA! They were loosely scattered in the box, which was a cute idea! It gave off a confetti vibe, but infinitely better, because TEA OH MY GOD I LOVE TEA.

Yogi Calming Tea, to be precise! 

A box of this tea retails at $4.89, which officially put me over the line of what I paid vs. what I got! I was stoked about that, but even more stoked about putting the 'calming' tea to the test! This box seemed to be focused on relaxation, which I definitely need more of in my high-strung life. I brewed a cup, and I have to say, it definitely helps! I don't particularly like licorice, but when combined with lavender and lemongrass in this tea, I actually enjoyed it. I'm having a cup every night before bed, and it's going well with the new routine I'm creating.

4. The next edible item was a full-size bag of YumEarth Anti-Oxifruits Vitamin C Drops! I'm all for getting more vitamin C in my diet, because I have a pretty bleh immune system, and I opened these up expecting a semi-citrus-y lozenge... I was totally wrong.

Y'all... these are delicious. So delicious that I ate three upon opening the bag. They're pretty similar to those awesome Altoid Tangerine Sours, which I happen to be addicted to (and depressed about the cancellation of). These aren't your mama's gross healthy 'candy'. These things pack a punch, and at $3.50 per bag, they're a reasonable alternative to those overpriced gummies you end up shelling $20 for at CVS! Definitely plan on repurchasing these!

5. The thing that I ended up getting emotional over was the adorable String Of Wishes Buddha Card and Bracelet from A String of Wishes! 

This thing will run you about $10.00 with shipping if you live in the U.S., which stinks, but since I got it in the box and I'd already gotten more than what I paid for, it was essentially free for me! It struck a chord with me, because a dear friend of mine gave me one of these back in 2011, and I wore it till it literally fell off my arm. The wish came true, too, which I'm not banking on, but I'm hoping for anyway! The tiny charm is a Buddha head, which is cute, and I kept the card as well.

6. The last thing I got in my box was an awesome box of Yes, You cards from Compendium! 

Apart from awakening my inner designer with the precious packaging and font selection, this card collection, retailing at $9.95, was a real standout. The cards each have different messages, and the point of the tiny string-shut box is to carry them with you at all times and hand them out to friends or read one when you feel compelled to. I've already given a friend one, and I might just read one this morning since I'm feeling a little off my game. These were fun and interesting, and they provided a little pick-me-up that I wasn't expecting.


This first collection from Calmbox knocked it out of the park. As I said before, I WAS NOT PAID OR COMPENSATED IN ANY WAY FOR REVIEWING OR PURCHASING THIS PRODUCT. Like the only other thing I've reviewed here, this is just a really fantastic product that I was impressed by, and I think you should go check it out, and maybe subscribe for a month or two to see what you get!


Until I find something else awesome,

On healthcare, the ACA, and putting a face to the fight.

Bee ButlerComment

A lot of people have been talking about the repealing of Obamacare or the ACA (and yes, they ARE the same thing, so if you're gung-ho about chopping Obamacare but receive your insurance through the ACA, you are in for a WORLD of hurt), and the meaning of measures like the preexisting condition clause, so I have a story to tell you, because I am one of the people that clause protects.


Hi. My name is Bee, and I'm a 26-year-old woman living in the San Diego area. I have a job, a car payment, a family, a best friend, and I pay my taxes. I voted in the last election. I donate what little money I am able to towards charities and people who need it more than I do. I am not a selfish person, by most standards, and I would not ask for something I would not be willing to give myself, were I able.


In 2001, at age 11, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. In 2008, I was diagnosed with PTSD related to trauma and abuse. In 2016, I was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and vasovagal syncope stemming from stress. I was not born with any deformities or health problems. Every single thing that is wrong with me came from things that happened TO me. The diagnoses above are considered "preexisting conditions", and Republicans in the Senate have voted to make it so that I can never be insured again.


There are two options, outside of private insurance, for people like me, should this pass. The first is Medicaid, which is available only to those who fall below the poverty line (currently, EVEN WITH MY JOB, I fall below that line). That would be great, except 1) this is taking care away from people who are more poor than I am and need it more, 2) Those same Republicans voted to gut Medicaid, so there is not going to be much money allocated for it, and 3) Medicaid does not cover one of my heart medications. That medication is the one I need the most, because it lowers my heart rate from it's abnormal, POTS-related resting rate of 160 to something less deadly. So, I have a second option. It is called COBRA, and it is the health insurance offered to those who have applied and been rejected from all other health insurance options available to them due to things like preexisting conditions. COBRA, for me, would cost more than $3,500 a month, which is more than I MAKE in a month, and that would not cover the cost of medications (which are incredibly expensive) copays for doctor visits (which are also incredibly expensive) and does not go towards my deductible (which costs as much as a year at a private college).


In this situation, with the preexisting condition clause removed from my healthcare choices, I have less than a year to live. It could be less than a week, or a month, or even a day, because I am at risk for a heart attack AT ALL TIMES when I am not on my medication. On top of that, I am unable to meet the out-of-pocket costs for ER visits, so if I needed to be taken to the ER by an ambulance for a heart attack and was, in fact, revived and allowed to live, it would bankrupt me. And I would die homeless and alone, because zero dollars means zero food, shelter, AND zero medication, which was my problem in the first place.


It is very unfortunate that I am in the position I am in. I did not vote for the people who made this disgusting, life-destroying decision, and I have never voted for them or anyone like them in my life. I would gladly give half my paycheck to make sure my neighbors, family, friends, or even enemies were able to get healthcare. I would gladly pay a higher premium if I was able to do so, and I will be eventually, since a raise is in my future. I cannot understand why anyone would want to take away the opportunity for anyone else to get medical care that they need to live.


It breaks my heart (both figuratively and literally) to be in this place right now. Going into this year, I knew that my healthcare options were going to change, and I have been afraid. Now, it seems like it's just going to be a waiting game. If you disagree with what is happening and can see, just a little, from my story, that this measure will kill normal everyday people like me, please call your state legislators. Do not write or tweet or email them. Those things are easy to ignore. Blow up their phone lines and leave messages. They cannot get away from that. Make sure they know that you do not want them to remove this measure from the healthcare bill, even if the ACA is repealed.


I want to live. I don't understand why these people would so quickly kill me to save a few bucks.

Be That Person.

Bee ButlerComment

How blessed I am to have this body with which to pick fights,

to stare at in the mirror, criticizing, as it fluctuates, ebbs, and flows.


How unfairly lucky I am to grow another year older,

cursing the number as though it bears any real meaning.


How unbelievably gracious my God is, to give me yet another day,

a day that I will inevitably waste being petulant and disrespectful,

filling every precious second with ingratiated, foul-languaged speech,

when I could just silently be appreciating the fact that I am here.


I have a body, and it works.

I am another year older, and still free.

I have another sunrise and sunset to experience,

and I can fill those 24 hours in whatever way I please.


Why should I be so lucky, privileged, and rude as to spoil it with anything but laughter, appreciation, grace and gratitude? And if I do not, why on earth should I be given the same gift tomorrow?



There is so much more I could be doing with who I am and what I have. This beautiful clip was a stark reminder of that.


I hit a wall.

Bee ButlerComment

All day I have had "Sledgehammer" by Rihanna stuck in my head. Maybe this post will make more sense for you if you're listening to the song while you read, so click here and do that.

I am losing my battle right now.

These lyrics resonate. I hit a wall. I'm using all my strength to get out of this hole. I prayed that I would find myself.


I have to be totally honest.
My last job literally and completely broke me.

I left/was let go because the stress of that job caused a gastrointestinal issue AND put my heart over the edge. I walked out of that godforsaken building with ulcer symptoms and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, as well as vasovagal syncope. I left with two heart medications and a handful of GERD and anti-nausea medications. I spent several days in the hospital. Not the mental hospital, which might have made more sense, because at the end my doctors said, "This was 100% caused by stress. You need to get out of there and find something else, because this will kill you, and you are 26, and this is insane. I have only seen this condition in middle-age men with high profile jobs and COMBAT VETERANS."

I swear to God, I was told that. Verbatim.

I am NOT, in ANY WAY, comparing my stupid desk job to the very real and very dangerous work that our military does. I am saying, though, that my job triggered the PTSD I had managed to get to a dormant state, and my physical heart, blood vessels, valves, esophagus, stomach, and mind were irreparably damaged for having worked in that fucked up environment for a mere three months. I was physically ill. I baffled my (newly needed) cardiologist. We did a tilt-table test and she told me to sue the company. Shit was MESSED UP.

I'm about to walk into a new job on Monday, and I am terrified. Today I could not get out of bed. I lay here, paralyzed by depression, anxiety, and the thought that one more job like that last one triggering a heart attack before my thirtieth birthday. I eventually was able to sit up (at 3PM, mind you, for the first time all day) and take my meds and slowly right myself, but dear God, this is not how anyone should have to live.


I have battled severe depression which has been labeled "chronic depression", then "manic depression" (which is also commonly referred to as bipolar II, but that diagnosis has been taken back multiple times, so who knows?), and then made more complex with severe PTSD resulting in depressive episodes that physically confine me to a bed. Then, general anxiety disorder, then social anxiety, then, no, it's chronic anxiety that can only be treated with medication AND therapy, and then we dealt with the eating disorder and other shit going on. While all of these labels have been accompanied with stomach issues (nausea caused by anxiety is what got my eating disorder going, actually), I have NEVER had a heart condition. That job pushed me past a barrier I never imagined breaking through, and now I have to be careful of things that people my age shouldn't be thinking about. I got a fitbit, not to count my steps, but to track my heart rate. Consistently. 

When I lost that job, I lost my insurance, and one of my heart meds is no longer covered. I am off of it. I have to be careful when I move from lying to sitting and from sitting to standing. I have to be careful when I drive. I have to manage my panic attacks very carefully and try to head them off, because my heartrate will jump and my blood pressure will drop and I will lose consciousness.


I'm not doing well. I'm scared.
I have hit a wall.
But I am not giving up.

On 2017.

Bee ButlerComment

One of my biggest goals this year (note that I said GOAL and not RESOLUTION, but more on that in a minute) is to post with some regularity. I have so much to say and so much time to do so, and yet I find myself reaching for this space less and less, because I feel that my audience elsewhere is more responsive.

But this space isn't just for me.

I write here because I have a way with words. I have the ability to maintain an eloquent presence on the internet, and that comes in handy when my personal experiences coincide with stigmatized issues and events. I write here because I have been there, and maybe someone else will read it and feel a little bit less alone. 

I cut my teeth on Dooce and The Bloggess, both of whom I adore and feel personally attached to, because they wrote openly about their mental illness and somehow it made me more normal, more okay, and I realized that I could carve out my own little niche in the giant expanse that is the internet, and I could go there to rant and explain and explore.

So I will.

Right now I'm intentionally making changes in my daily life because I was and am unhappy with many things about myself and the way I went about existing. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but it's true. I have allowed my depression to warp itself out of control again, which has led to flakiness, unanswered calls, unresponsiveness to people who reached out to me, events missed, and days spent in bed. I have been unemployed for close to two months, and in that time I have accomplished basically nothing. I fell far from grace and got to a point where I was wondering if I could go back to old habits temporarily for comfort. I didn't do it, but I wanted to. I have been someone I am not proud of. I have been lazy and anxious and felt so very alone, and my alone-ness was caused by my failure to get out the door, which was caused by the depression of alone-ness, and so on and so on until a week had gone by and I had only seen the three people I live with and our dog.

That is not a way to live. 

The end of 2016 felt like a revival. I burned it in effigy and let myself celebrate the death of one of the worst years that has ever happened both to and around me. I heralded the new year with no expectations, except that anything would be better than what had come before. I made no resolutions. I wrote down no promises that I might break or rules that I might ignore. I saw no reason to do what I'd always done, because I wanted different results, and to do the former and expect the latter is the definition of insanity. Instead, I set about exploring some intentions, and I am pushing myself to do things with them.

I want to get out of debt. 
I want to graduate and start grad school.
I want to get my own place.
I want to go to the beach more often and explore the area I live in.
I want to find my way back to God and plug into a church.
I want to maintain my sobriety and strengthen my eating and exercise habits.
I want to get things off my chest and manage my health with less medication and more therapy.

I want to figure out what it means to be happy, and I want to get drunk on it.

None of those things will be accomplished perfectly, and some of them might not even be accomplished at all. Even if I don't make changes that reflect those desires, I have spoken them and made myself somewhat accountable. It is easier to do what you set out to do when people ask you if you're doing them.

Per usual, I'm pulling an unintended all-nighter, moving from January 2nd into January 3rd in one seamless internet binge. I'm listening to podcasts and audiobooks and catching up on my RSS feeds and scrolling through social media, grabbing onto little things that seem interesting. I can spend this time in a lazy twilight, and I won't be able to soon, so I'm enjoying it while I can. I'm writing here because I want to write more, and I've got the time to kill. 

I ended 2016 with a show at the Whisky (after four years of zero stage time) and a visit from my dad, which was beautiful and fun and a little bit nerve-wracking. I want to keep performing and tell the story of how my music dreams are unfolding, and I want to sit down and pour out a lot of the thoughts that have been floating around in my head. I'll get around to it when I'm less asleep and more coherent.

I welcome 2017 with open arms.
I'm glad you're here with me.

Until I've had a nap,

On the University of Minnesota.

Bee ButlerComment

(If you haven't read about the case, I would encourage you to do so here before reading this post, as you might be a little confused as to what I'm talking about.)


I have friends who have worked or currently work in the adult entertainment industry. I also have friends who are into BDSM and rape fantasies. I have spoken with them about this incident and gotten their various points of view, and I need to make something abundantly clear:


With that being said, because it's pretty clear that even in this day and age when people are fighting nonstop to give feminism a push towards becoming the norm, it's still everyone's opinion that every girl who drinks is asking for it, and every girl who has sex at all is a slut.

Obviously, because this started out consensually with one person, she was totally on board for men to line up OUTSIDE THE DOOR AND DOWN THE HALLWAY to take turns forcibly raping her until everybody had a chance to give it a go. I'm sure she was also SUPER cool with several of the men capturing parts of it on film with their cellphones and sending it to friends.

Then, because she was embarrassed that everyone knew what a slut she was, she went to the hospital and had a rape kit done then filed a police report to cover her tracks. Totally plausible, right?


The girl was in and out of consciousness and even if she wasn't screaming for them to stop, I'm pretty sure we outlined the "people who are blacked out can't consent to anything" rule with Brock freaking Turner's case. And, just so you know? LESS THAN HALF OF REPORTED RAPES EVER GO TO TRIAL, WHICH IS WHY SO FEW OF US EVER EVEN TELL ANYONE WE WERE RAPED IN THE FIRST PLACE. Nobody believes us, because, like I said above, clearly we were asking for it/changed our minds afterwards/don't want people to know we're sluts/some other misogynistic load of bullshit. The reason this case isn't going to trial is because the county prosecutor is a piece of shit who doesn't want to deal with yet another girl getting raped on campus, because while it happens to millions of girls on campuses across the country every year, it fucks up the football team's ability to play and win and get more money for the school to funnel back into its athletics program, so we should all just suck it up and stay quiet so the men can throw around a ball and get rings.

Most of these guys are up for expulsion. One is eligible for probation from the school, but it hasn't been decided. The other players threatened to sit out for the upcoming televised game, but they backed out, because there's already barely a team left and they realize that the school doesn't put up with that kind of bullshit and they're afraid of getting in trouble, too.

Good on you, University of Minnesota. Thank you for taking a stand and demanding justice when this happens on your campus. The county prosecutor, all ten of these men, and the jackasses who attempted to boycott can burn in hell.

I am so done with unpunished sexual assault right now. 
I bet the upcoming president gives them all medals of honor come January 21st.


Until the world gains some sense,

Am I REALLY About To Do This?

Bee Butler1 Comment

I guess I am.
Deep breath.


When I was 19 years old, I had an abortion.


This is 19-year-old me.
Let me set the stage.

When I was 18, I was engaged. I was also coming off of the most hellish experience of my life, having serious emotional issues, and I dropped out of college to move back home and try to win back my fiance after he dumped me. It did not work. I decided to go back to school (at ACU), and I was determined to have fun, to be normal, to not obsess over the relationship I had believed was "the one", and I packed up my car, drove to Abilene, and moved into my dorm room.

I was anorexic as ever, and I was on medication, as usual. And, the April before the '09-'10 school year started, I had my first alcoholic beverage at a party. It was a green apple Smirnoff Ice, and I legitimately got tipsy off of that one bottle. Following that, I continued to drink, and I was both scared and enthralled. By the time September rolled around, I was going to parties, seeing someone (sort of), and drinking on a regular basis. I made up for all the calories in alcohol by not eating. Because... yeah.

That fall, I had sex with someone I was casually seeing. I had NEVER done that before. The only sex I had had prior to that experience was with my fiance, whose virginity I took, and the rape that nearly destroyed me. I was also still reeling from the aftermath of the rape and my religious beliefs, and I was not really sure how I felt about all of it, but I knew I felt guilty deep down. The casual relationship ended, and I felt lost, but continued speaking to my ex and hoping he would love me again. Then, I met Spencer.

Spencer had NO relationship experience. He also had no clue how to even begin a relationship. I had to convince him that it was okay to not kiss me after several weeks, which ended with him kissing me, getting out of my car, and freaking out.

Spencer didn't want to be in a relationship for his own (hilarious and stupid) reason, but he changed his mind and we made it official, and I talked on the phone to his mom. We were cute kids. We were giddy and silly and unsure, but we were so happy. Then, someone from my past did a very fucked up thing.

A member of my previous church knew Spencer's dad and called him to let him know that, upon seeing that Spencer and I were in a relationship (which, how did you know that? Why were you stalking my facebook?), he felt it his duty to inform Spencer's parents that I was a crazy, horrible slut who had tried to ruin a boy's reputation two years earlier by "claiming he raped me".

He had, in fact, raped me, on multiple occasions. Nobody knew all the details, but word spreads fast in a church, and since I had basically disappeared (after being asked to leave to preserve everyone's dignity... long story. Later time), it was assumed that I had run off to continue having pre-marital sex like the whore I was, and that the boy I had accused of raping me was an innocent young man who had been brought down by my destructive ways.

Spencer's parents were concerned, and rightfully so, because they had no idea who I was or what had really happened. Things eventually settled, and we continued to date. We were giddy. He told me he loved me. I said it back. To this day, I maintain that I loved him because he was so unashamedly HIM, and he was a very sweet, funny, goofy, handsome young man. And, because we were together and my thoughts on sex had shifted, we began sleeping together.

Here is the part where I stand the fuck up for Spencer, who is a good person, treated me well, defended me on several occasions, and loved me to the best of his ability. NONE OF THIS was because Spencer didn't care about me, or because he was an asshole, or because he was somehow guilting me into something I didn't want to do.

Now that it's been established that I loved him and he loved me, let's just get to the point.

That Christmas, I flew out to Virginia to meet his family. I was having a blast. We played games and baked and I was so happy. Unfortunately, I was also still struggling with the aftermath of the rape, dealing poorly with my depression and yet to be diagnosed PTSD, and while there, all of us did copious amounts of drinking. At some point on that trip, Spencer and I had sex, and I got pregnant. I had no idea. Neither did he. Nobody knew, and I thought nothing of it, because we had been having sex for months and nothing had happened.

Then, later in December, I began feeling really weird. I was sick and couldn't get well. Remember, at this point, that I was severely anorexic, and getting sick was not out of the norm. 

Early January, pregnant with no clue, with my sweet friend who was also pregnant, but knew it and was planning to keep the baby.

Early January, pregnant with no clue, with my sweet friend who was also pregnant, but knew it and was planning to keep the baby.

We got back to school, and the sickness continued. Not morning sickness, mind you. I felt like I had the flu. I was going to parties and drinking and going to class, but I was in my own personal hell. Slowly, I began to miss class and have physical symptoms of something wrong in my uterus and/or tubes, and I started to get scared. At one point, I realized I might have an ovarian cyst, and I made an appointment at the local women's center. 

After a miserable up-the-shoot wanding to ultrasound my insides, the nurse said, "No, everything's fine, and your pregnancy seems to be coming  along just fine".

In that moment, I felt like I was going to die, and I actively considered walking out of that room and swallowing every pill in my dorm room.

I asked the woman what to do, told her my family would disown me and my school would expel me, and she told me she had been in my situation. She said I would be okay. I begged her to tell me where I could "fix the problem", and she directed me to Planned Parenthood.

I walked out of that room, into the waiting room where Spencer was sitting anxiously. He had missed class to come to this appointment, because we feared this could be cancer. He loved me. He was trying to help. I couldn't say a word to him, so I dragged him down to my car and broke the news... sort of. I told him the baby was already dead and that I had to go get it removed. He was terrified. He was hurting. I dropped him off at his dorm and went back to my own, and I began planning my next steps.

I googled how and where to get an abortion. I noticed that my local PP did not offer abortion services. I planned to drive three hours to Arlington to get an abortion at one of the few clinics that offered D&Cs. Out of fear and with desperation, I scheduled an appointment. Then, just to be safe, I scheduled one at the local PP as well. When I got there, they did another ultrasound, and we discovered that I was 8 weeks along. I sobbed. I nearly threw up. The nurse looked at me, full of sympathy. She told me quietly that they offered a pill that I could take that would terminate the pregnancy, because I wasn't very far along and could avoid the entire D&C mess. She told me I had to wait three days. I told her I was sure, scheduled the appointment, and went home.

I don't remember much about the next few days. I told my best friend and Spencer what was going on. Then, I began to have morning sickness. I stopped going to class. I dropped half of my classes. On the third day, I walked into the clinic, stone-faced and empty. I took the pill, went back to my dorm, grabbed towels and paper towels, and turned on my TV. Over the next few days, I went through the most unspeakably awful thing I had ever experienced. I felt like I was dying. It happened slowly, then all at once, and I felt like it would never end. My body twisted and ripped and everything came out of me, and I bled and sobbed and thought about killing myself. I didn't talk to Spencer. I didn't talk to anyone. Finally, when it ended just before Valentine's Day, I went back to class and saw Spencer for the first time. I told him it was finished and he kissed my forehead. I didn't know what to think. I had been raised to believe that what I had just done was murder, but it didn't feel like murder. It just felt like hurt and anger and fear.

Three days after Valentine's Day, in my own worst nightmare, unsure of how to keep going, but trying to be brave.

Three days after Valentine's Day, in my own worst nightmare, unsure of how to keep going, but trying to be brave.

As much as I cared about Spence, that was effectively the end of our relationship as I knew it. We stayed together for another year, but it felt different. I was messed up. My mind couldn't comprehend what had happened. I finally told my mother, and she accused me of murdering her first grandchild. Again, I debated killing myself.

That summer I was roofied at a party. I got alcohol poisoning and nearly died on a friend's couch. It was at that point that my partying turned into legitimate alcoholism. It got worse and worse, and I stopped drinking in March of this year because I had effectively destroyed my life. That summer was the turning point. That was when it started to go downhill.


Because I had that abortion, I was able to continue school. I realized that I needed to change my major, I went to therapy, I changed my medication, and most importantly, I did not kill myself. I was struggling, but I still had a relationship with my family and Spencer. I got a job, I made money, I tried to get myself back into normalcy.

I have PTSD related to that entire winter, which was compounded with the previously diagnosed PTSD from the rape. My eating disorder capitalized on that hellish time period, and I dragged myself into the depths for what I had done. Spencer and I broke up. I dated someone else. I drank myself into oblivion and dropped out of school to go to treatment. Again, I became pregnant, and this time I miscarried at six months. Since my period had already disappeared due to my worsening anorexia and newfound bulimia, I had no idea until I woke up one morning in the guest room of my ex's mom, bleeding out. I went to the ER and was told I had lost my baby. I didn't even know that I had one, and when they estimated the gestation, I wanted to die. I nearly bled to death that day. I had gone into labor that morning and then miscarried. My body didn't know what to do. A few weeks later, I was admitted to Monte Nido, and nothing was ever the same.


I do not regret what I did. I do not regret how it played out. I do not, for one second, think I would be better off having kept it or given it up for adoption. I believe with all of my heart that I made the right decision.

It was the most painful decision of my life, and I will never fully recover from it. It wasn't fun. It wasn't a joyful murder spree. I didn't do it out of spite or hatred or a political agenda. I did it because I was a scared teenager with no options and suicidal ideations. I did it so that I wouldn't die at my own hand. I did it because it was the right thing to do.


You can disagree with me all you want.
You can hate me for it.
It happened, though. And it happened because I had access to healthcare and help, and as much as you might think it was wrong, it saved me, and I owe Planned Parenthood my life for that.


I had to get this off my chest, because there is currently a war being waged on women in this country. They want to take away our options, our choice, our rights. They are banning abortions at 6 weeks, meaning I would have killed myself and destroyed so many lives in the process. If the Ohio law that just passed had been in place in Texas in 2010, I would be dead.

Think about that next time you feel like advocating for the closure of Planned Parenthood. Was an 8-week-old pregnancy more important than the life of a 19 year old? Is your moral and biblical agenda more just than my existence? Did my family deserve to lose their daughter, grandaughter, sister, niece? Are you so heartless that you can't see, just for one second, why I made that choice?


Spencer, if you read this, I am so sorry that I didn't communicate with you more during that time. You were really trying, and I blamed you for not being there when in reality, I couldn't let you be there, because I felt like I had ruined your life. I will always love you and appreciate you and all you did for me those years. I am eternally grateful for your love and friendship during that time and after, and I hope you can forgive me for all that happened in those two years.


Mom, if you read this, please know that I don't hate you for what you said in anger, and I love you more than you could ever know.
Dad, if you read this, I'm sorry for breaking your heart. I hope you understand.

There is so much more that I could say, but I think this is enough, and now that it's been said, some piece of me feels like I can breathe again.

By the way? That clinic was shut down by Greg Abbott's bill. 
This is why I advocate.
I am alive, and I have them to thank.