Me too.

I want to preface this by saying that some of the content within this post may be triggering.

If at any point during this post you are not able to read more or you can resonate in some way with what I am saying, I am here for you. Last week, I was in Green Dot training, which was lovely because I got to get away from the office and wear whatever I wanted. Yay! for sweats and hoodies. Anywho, I decided to participate in order to become more knowledgeable about Green Dot and power-based personal violence and Green Dot focuses on dating/domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault.

Last week, the facilitators had us share why we were there and in what ways we were connected to the work they are doing. More importantly, how were we connected to the work that we wanted to do and are doing. We remained anonymous through this activity and at different points throughout the training the facilitators read what people wrote out loud. I sat there thinking, “will they read what I wrote? I hope they do not read what I wrote, I hope they do read what I wrote.” I had a mix of thoughts as I was juggling a past situation(s) in my head. When I think about one particular situation it feels as if it was yesterday, but more time has passed than I would like to admit without me truly talking about it and other situations along the same lines.

Was I sexually assaulted? I did not like what was happening, but I was not able to bring myself to say no and I did not say yes either. “It was not the worst situation I have heard of so does that really count?” I am battling with being in this gray area and that is the very reason why I sit here in front of this computer screen telling you today. One too many people have been affected by a harmful choice that was made. Maybe as you are reading, what you wanted to keep locked away is now at the forefront of your mind. Maybe you were in an uncomfortable situation that is within the gray area that you brush any thoughts and emotions around it aside like I have. Whatever the situation I am here to tell you, I believe you. I am here to tell you that I see you and support you. I am also here to tell you there are resources. 1-800-799-7233 (National Domestic Violence Hotline), 1-800-656-4673 (National Sexual Assault Hotline), 1-800-273-8255 (Suicide Hotline).

“Why am I here? because I am still here.”

That is the first part of what I wrote down on a green piece of paper that day for the activity.

They Never Asked

Dear [Insert Name Here],
They took a part of you they did not ask for
Who did they think they were?
No, was foreign to them and if you did not have the ability to say no your body language that said “I am uncomfortable” somehow told them yes
They took a part of you they did not ask for but you are not broken
Your body is nothing less than a temple no matter how much they tried to strip you of your armor
It is not your fault
I repeat
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT
They took a part of you they did not ask for and it may feel lonely but you are not alone
They took a part of me and I never gave them permission
Did you know you could feel lifeless while being alive?
Did you know you could scream without being heard?
I became an object
Fighting to erase their images it is a connection I could not wash off
As I write this tears start to fall and I stare blankly
A feeling all too familiar, emptiness
They took a part of me they did not ask for but I am still here
They took a part of me they did not ask for and I have yet to face what happened because… well because it is easier to keep walking around putting tape over the missing pieces
They took a part of me they did not ask for and they will never know what it is like to live with this internal battle

They took a part of me they did not ask for

       and

I know

that I am

worthy of

                                                love.

Just Go: A quick “guide” on dating yourself

I enjoy being alone. I enjoy having my own space and the ability to be messy, sometimes. I sleep diagonally on my queen sized bed, fit for a queen, and switch from one pillow to the other at night. I am thinking I need to update to Rihanna status and get a California King bed, in due time. I enjoy the freedom that comes from being alone. I do know that I probably spend an unhealthy amount of time inside. Likewise, I am not sure how much is too much. I like wasting away my days on my couch watching movies and tv shows. By waste I mean with cleaning, showering, eating, using the bathroom, reading, laundry, writing, etc somewhere between being on the couch all day and sleeping. Being alone I am not void of my thoughts. Now, let me repeat, being alone I am not void of my thoughts. I allow myself time to process because I do not always get the time to do so during busy days.

I date myself too.

Right now you may be thinking, “she’s miserable” because I am now at the point of dating myself. I should probably tell you that I buy myself flowers too! Yes, I do think you should learn to be alone, be okay with hanging out with yourself, and be okay with taking yourself out on dates. If you are curious I do not go on dates with men. I do not go on dates with men because I currently have not had the opportunity. I am not lonely by any means but that does not mean that I do not feel lonely at times. Sure, I would love to have someone to talk to besides myself and have someone to share a meal with, but who doesn’t? if you are out there slide in my inbox, what is your secret? Slide in my inbox if you think I am cute too *wink *wink

Rihanna Wink

So where has this gotten me…

I am sure of myself

I am more comfortable in the Kimberlee Ward that you see today. I know until I am no longer here physically and roaming in another realm that I will be discovering myself. I am more confident in being weird and will most likely agree now without getting offended when you point out the obvious.

If my friend doesn’t follow through on that movie I invited them to, their loss!

My friend can miss out on the fun but I do not have to. Your friend can miss out on the fun but you do not have to. If someone sees me sitting alone in the theater, who cares? I am there to have a good time and enjoy doing something I love. I am not worried about what someone assumes about me because I am alone. This same concept applies when eating out too.

Tuning in

I am more aware of when I am not doing okay and can admit it. Remember the processing I was telling you about? well, I have recognized more times in this past year when I needed to let my pride go than ever before. Pride is a killer so let that Sh*t go! You will be better for it, I promise and I do not promise a lot. It is challenging to admit when you are wrong or when you could have done better. Being able to call that out allows you to grow. I am more physically, mentally, and emotionally aware of when I am not doing well too.

Prep for the future

One thing that is important to me and my relationships is that they are interdependent. When I have a partner I want to have the ability to be myself and be “us.” I want to have my own things and then have what we share. I do not want to be attached in a way that can be detrimental to the relationship. I know I have the tendency to get attached in that way and the onus is not solely on me as the issue of attachment in my case is relative. I like and love hard. A good friend of mine, Bria, said it perfectly, she said: “what I notice about you is that you go 0-100 for someone.” I do just that so maybe it was not necessarily an attachment but lack of appreciation for my efforts and thus I look at myself saying, “what did I do wrong.” Really it was a 90-10 relationship aka situationship that I should have gotten out before it started lol. However, my love language is quality time and I am also an introvert that could kick you out in a heartbeat, it’s complicated!

Go to that movie, go to that country, go to that restaurant, go and do whatever it is that you want to do and do it alone. I recognize this is easier said than done in some cases, but it provides a profound understanding and look into your life. If you want to be alone in your place for a couple more months before moving in with your partner to mentally prepare yourself then do so. My best friend said she would move in with me and the first thing I told her was that I was messy but really I do not know how to live with anyone right now. Me being quiet might be mistaken for having an attitude and I do not know if I am ready for that yet. Although, we are alike in that way so I do not think that would be a problem.

P.S. “guide” is in quotation marks in the title because there is no right way to begin being comfortable with being alone and comfortable with going out and doing things alone. I am talking about more than going to the grocery store and running errands.

Does Fear Have a Name?

There is fear and I want to know more about it. Why do I have this fear? does this fear have a name? Is it even fear or am I truly in a place that continues to stifle my creativity. I am in the middle of nowhere and reside in a place where I do not feel motivated. How do I stay motivated when I am in a place that does not feel motivating. Is it fear that I am not good enough? I have been telling myself these exact words, “I am capable, I am confident, I am worthy and so much more.” I know that this “more” rummaging inside of me is out there. I am not sure what that looks like, but I am trying to take steps forward. I am not sure if my steps forward are steps forward but I am doing something. Maybe the steps forward are steps I just do not know they are yet. I know I have more control than I think I have. How much control is it? Am I getting in my own way?

#QuestionsThatNeedAnswers …only I can answer them for myself.

Health Care or Lack Thereof: Listening to your body

Health Care or Lack Thereof: Listening to your body

Do you ever think about the worst case scenario? I think of it more often than I should. If it does not end up being the worst case scenario that does provide some relief. It is the worrier inside of me, which is not necessarily a good thing. For a period of time, I did not have health insurance. I would tell you a secret, but I do not want it to come back and haunt me. Having no insurance means I have formed a bad habit and that is not listening to my body when it is trying to tell me what’s up.

I just came from the dentist and I finally explained everything that I was worried about instead of going for my routine cleaning and bouncing. I let them know I have been dealing with some pain in my jaw for awhile. When it first manifested the pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t do anything let alone want to and would lay there with a heating pad against my neck. Because I felt the pain so intensely in my neck I assumed it was just my neck and started going to physical therapy. By this time I was on Medicaid because I would not even think about going to physical therapy having no insurance. I wouldn’t have been at the doctor’s office, to be frank.

Moving along two bottles of muscle relaxers later and a tube of something I cannot remember or pronounce I am sure and I am here. The pain subsided and it still shows up every day, but not as intense. Eventually, the pain came back full force shortly after I moved to Maryville. I decided to go to the doctors and made sure to think about everything I was going to say and not leave until I got an answer that made sense.

Rewind, before I decided to drop in and go I asked around first. I am in a small town, majority white people, and doctors are known for not treating their underrepresented patients fairly (some I should say). I ended up getting an answer that made more sense than what the previous doctor had told me and now I needed to find a dentist. Afraid to be treated unfairly I prolonged getting treatment (serious problem). Fast forward to today I went and got my answers.

Long story short its stress. It made sense considering when it first manifested I was depressed and trying to crawl towards the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio SAHE finish line. At one point getting out of bed was an accomplishment for me.

The lesson is to listen to your body when you can. The problem is that too many of us are not able to afford the proper health care when stress manifests itself in our bodies so intensely. On top of the money, I have to spend because I am grinding/clenching my teeth way too much I am also seeing a therapist/acupuncturist. Now I know that someone does not have to see an acupuncturist, but I am thankful I am getting sort of a 2 for 1 deal.

Another issue is that the medical industry needs to pay more attention to who they hire as nurses, doctors, etcetera and talk about how they can be more inclusive. I will add that we need to advocate for more underrepresented students that want to go into this field instead of bringing them down. It is not easy and we can do better at providing resources and supporting them. I know the conversation is happening somewhere, but more conversations and action need to take place. We have to pay the most for healthcare in the United States yet we have the shitiest healthcare (excuse my language).

In all of this just listen to your body when it is talking to you. Take the day off if you are able, go to bed earlier, workout, read, write, take yourself out (I do this all the time #IDATEMYSELF).

Love your body and be kind to it too.

P.S. my worst case scenario was that I would have to get braces as an adult and braces are expensive or that they were going to have to do something crazy to my jaw. Nope, just stress and a much less expensive but still expensive dentist bill.

**I do not have any rights to the picture used for this post.