We All Thought 2017 was a Dumpster Fire, but We Hadn’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
By Kayleigh Peaker
I’m going to go ahead and say that 2018 has probably been the hardest year for me. I’d even say that 2017 and 2018 combined have been pretty rough overall. There has been a lot of change, a lot of loss, and challenges I’ve never experienced before. However, in spite of all the difficulty, I was able to accomplish several goals and begin to live my life on my terms. I’m ready for this next revolution around the sun, ready to let go, and ready for more adventure.
I know everyone deals with trials and tribulations throughout their lifetimes, but 2018 seems to have had a particular penchant for suffering. I feel like so many people around me have experienced incredible loss this year and although we’re all in this together, it doesn’t make it any easier to cope.
I’m heartbroken over several major events mainly occurring in the last six months of this year, and last year around this time I was heartbroken for different reasons. Although, if I’m being honest, I’ve been heartbroken for about 23 years. I feel like I am perpetually healing from a broken heart and it’s exhausting.
I’m a teacher and this year I changed school districts to try and salvage my love of teaching and education, but I was met with an even larger challenge to try and hold on to it. I’m still not sure what the future holds for me there. While I have begun to feel better about the situation, I will have to wait and see how the rest of the school year pans out.
I’ve also experienced a loss like I’ve never felt before. Of course, I have lost people in my past, but none so unexpected as this. I feel like grief has settled itself in my heart and there is no removing it.
In spite of all the challenges and tragedies that took place this year, I was able to start new projects, travel the world, and attempt to heal. This year, I was able to finalize the sale of my house and move home with my family. In hindsight, it was probably one of the best decisions I could have made for myself considering the events that would take place later this year. Another step I took toward healing this last year was to start seeing a therapist and I really feel like it is helping me manage my grief, depression, and anxiety much better than I have been able to in the past.
This year, I began building a women’s clothing business with my sister. It has been one of the scariest things to try, but we took the leap and are building something that is completely ours.
I traveled to New Hampshire to visit an old friend and see new sights up and down New England, which was awesome and one of those experiences where I’m reminded that even though I might not see certain people as much as I used to, we are still connected and can always be there for each other.
I also took a trip to Scotland and had one of the greatest experiences of my life. I saw so many beautiful places in one little corner of the world and made new friends who live all across the United States. I’ve always dreamt of seeing the world and I’ve really motivated myself to see more of it in the next few years. I’ve been making payments to take a trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji in 2020.
I took a significant break from theater that was completely necessary, but now that it’s been so long, I’m realizing how much I miss it and what a huge part of my life it was. I pitched a play to direct at a local theater and it was selected to go up next July. I cannot wait to begin the directing process for She Kills Monsters. It deals with grief among many other things, and I think the process could potentially be very cathartic and healing. At least I hope it will be.
There are always going to be hard things to deal with that we cannot control. Those things will overwhelm us and try to make us cynical, harsh, and protect our hearts, but a good friend posted a passage from Daring Greatly by Brené Brown reminding me that while these difficult things may occur, I have to continue putting myself out there and risk feeling pain and vulnerability to love and create.
So goodbye 2018. I’m ready to kick you to the curb.
Here’s to healing, being vulnerable, and taking risks in 2019.
By Khloe Bean
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words can never hurt me.” I call bullshit. After years of experience, words can, in fact, hurt like hell. Instead of parents, teachers, and elders in general continuing to perpetuate this ridiculous sing-song to our children, we need to tell the truth: Words hurt. Kids today live in a world where people are constantly accessible to one another through social media, texting, and a whole heap of other outlets. They live in a world where judgment and opinions shoot out of people's finger tips faster than they would even be able to say it out loud. Words are King - and the good, the bad and the ugly can be heard by millions in an instant.
Bullies or "Trolls" have always been around, but are vastly becoming an epidemic in today's society. Your pigtails aren't just being pulled on the playground anymore. And here’s a little secret that slaps you in the face when you enter adulthood: some people don’t grow out of it!
You know what worse than a mean kid? A mean adult.
I’m no stranger to bullying. Moving to a new town is rough for any child. However, when you move from an extremely isolated housing lease in the middle of an oilfield, to a bigger city on the wealthier side of town, it can be crippling. From my clothes, to my long hair, to my big buck-teeth and my general tom-boy nature, nothing was off limits. They didn’t throw sticks and stones, but they threw shade like it was a fastball aimed straight at my gut. This is where I was first introduced to my life-long enemy, The Mean Girl.
Don’t get me wrong, I had boys teasing me even more ruthlessly than the girls at times. But after waking up one summer morning and suddenly having boobs, that teasing promptly stopped. The Mean Girls, however, have never stopped. My Mean Girl has had many different faces over the years and her reasons for hating me have evolved over time. I’m finding out that for a lot of women, the bullying doesn’t stop after graduation like our teeny-bopper movies would have you think.
It’s insane to me that we live in a time where women around the world can watch as thousands march together to fight for our rights, yet we’re not even nice to one another in our everyday life. The movement of “women supporting women” is making headway, but for every uplifting post you see you can find just as much judgment located directly below in the comments. If we instead jumped to give grace and support to one another as fast as we jump to conclusions or spout judgment – that would be the true revolution.
No one ever tells you you’re still going to be cyber-bullied even after you graduate college. No one ever tells you grown women will text your boyfriend that you’re fat and ugly - even after you’re grown up enough to pay a mortgage. No one ever tells you that becoming a mother (and/or step-mother in my case) only gives them more material to tear you down and tell you how you’re doing it all wrong. Mean Girls never change. The only thing that can change is your reaction to them.
Instead of singing the nursery rhyme full of LIES every time I found myself crying into the glow of my phone, I found new words to live by:
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
By my own nature, I HATE when someone doesn't like me. It bothers me to my core. I hate when someone believes something about me that isn't true, or I can't convince them otherwise. I also hate confrontation to the point where I would literally vomit every time something hurtful would pop up on my phone, feed, or in my life in general. I would love to tell you that when I began folding this Eleanor Roosevelt quote into my life that everything changed. The clouds parted and that I no longer cared what people thought of me.
I still care.
However, now I am honest about who I am and I celebrate it. Most importantly, I know my own truth. If someone wants to waste their time hating you, or having negative thoughts, feelings, or opinions of you - that is a waste of their time - not yours. Stay your true North and do not let someone make you feel inferior. Know your faults, admit them, and be honest with yourself about who you truly are. But never apologize for the things you cannot change or for the shrewd opinions of the immortal Mean Girl.
I will continue to move forward in my life and spread kindness. I truly believe if you spread positivity and love, the universe gives it back to you. Will you still run into a few Mean Girls? Of course. Will it still hurt? Hell yes. But your attitude and recovery time in your new positive head space will heal your wounds much more quickly. You will start to feel sad FOR them, and not BECAUSE of them.
Their words WILL hurt me - but they will never have the power to change my truth - and that has made all the difference.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the LORD. 20On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. -Romans 12:17-21