Fear.

I am scared.

I am scared.

I am scared.

I am not only scared, but I am also…
sick, numb, in fear, and shaken.
My heart aches.

Women. Latinos. Muslims. LGBTQ.
All these are people that Donald Trump has made violent remarks to.
I now find myself running through my mind,
lists of my Latino, Muslim and LGBTQ friends,
so that I can worry about them.

I want to sign off every text to my girlfriends,
“be safe out there”
because we now live in a country, where being a women is a mark.
You are now property, according to the next president of the free world.

The soon to be, most powerful man in the world,
has rape accusations against him.
I am terrified and disgusted that I would ever have to type those words.

What is more terrifying though,
is that HALF of America heard him say,
he can “grab a women by the pussy,”
that he wants to build a wall, a la, cold war style.
and that he wants an entire religious community to wear special insignia’s on their clothes. (Germany tried, it didn’t quite go to plan…)

They heard the pure hate, racism, xenophobia, and sexism,
and they said,
YES, Rule us.

He is terrifying.
But, what terrifies me more are the many people who overlooked his hate.

My country has allowed hate to fill us,
And they wonder why I have long said,
America is no longer the greatest nation.

I have long since told myself,
that I am strong, that I can not be vanquished, that I am of power.
It’s a different story then women are often told,
But I fear, now I am wrong.
The next president of the United States believes he has the right to my “pussy”,
simply because I am woman.

While I have never been the most patriotic American,
I have always been proud to be from a nation where I am not owned.
My “pussy” does not belong to anyone.
It does not belong to my father, until the day he gives me to a husband.
And it does not belong to a husband or boyfriend or fiancé, simply because we are together.
It has never belonged to anyone.
But now Donald Trump thinks it belongs to him.

So yes, I am afraid and I hurt.
and yes, I fear for every Muslim.
and yes, I fear for every LGBTQ person.
and yes, I fear for every Latino.
and yes, I fear for everyone woman.
And yes, I fear for the world.

donald trump election night.jpg

Advertisements

Crying for Brussels

This morning at 8 am local time,
Brussels, Belgium was attacked.
Bombs exploded at the airport and train stations.
13 are dead. Over 30 injured.

The world weeps for the Belgians.
Words like “senseless”, “crazy”, and “tragedy” are being thrown around.
Much like they were when Paris was attacked in November.

The world hurts.
We don’t understand this senseless violence
and these tragedies.

But the question I pose is,
Why don’t we ever weep for Turkey?
For Tunisia?
For Syria?
For all the non-European and American countries that face these same tragedies?

Is it race?
Religion?
What makes these people not worth our tears?

A Syrian is not synonymous with terrorist,
Much like American is not synonymous with “best in the world”.

Just Saturday, Istanbul, Turkey was attacked.
While thankfully, the death toll is smaller,
The impact of this event shouldn’t be.
Innocent people lost there lives.
That’s the only fact you need to know.
Not their nationality, race or religion,
But that they lost their lives.

For Brussels we have extensive news coverage,
tweets from around the world are pouring in,
And I’m waiting for it, but I assume a Facebook profile picture overlay is coming soon.
Where is that when it is other nations?

I’ve heard people say,
“Well they live in these areas, it’s common.”
But did they choose to live there?
NO.
The little kids that were born there are there because it’s all they know.
They’re children, much like you and I once were.
But what’s different for them is that a bomb exploding in their backyard is normal.
If that doesn’t make you want to weep, I don’t know what will.
Do you want to live in a world where a child thinks a bomb is normal?

“Well then why don’t they leave if it’s so bad?”, you say.
Well first off, leaving your home, everything you’ve ever known, your family, your language and your culture is absolutely not easy.
Second off, have you heard of a little thing called the Refugee Crisis that our world is currently facing?
Countries of free people are deciding that their lives and their right to a safe nation to live in is a bigger right than others.

This world has a lot of issues in it.
No one will deny that.
But it’s pretty bad that a radical group of people are attacking this world,
And then this world chooses which of those are important and which are not.
They’re all equally important, because they’re all human lives.

Because you are white,
Because you are Christian,
Because you are American or European,
You are no more important than another human.

Let’s stop weeping for specific cities,
and start weeping for our world.

brussels

Show me your home.

Take me home.
Show me your hometown.

Show me the woods you walked through on the way to grandma’s house.
Show me the place that used to be the ice cream parlor.
Show me the house you lived in when you found out your whole world was changing.

Introduce me to the family still around,
And tell me the reason you don’t like your uncle,
I promise I’ll hate him too.

Tell me how it hurt to leave this place,
And how it hurts every time you come back,
Because I promise I’ll understand the pain too.

Say hello to people who knew you when you were little and gave you lollipops,
And introduce them to me with a grin on your face, as you’re proud of who you are now.

Show me the places you broke the law with your best friends when you were teenagers,
and we were all just invincible,
because I swear I thought I was too.

Show me, point it out, tell me about it,
Do all of this,
But more than your words and the physical buildings,

I understand your hometown because the joy in your eyes when you hug your best friend after a year away,
or the sorrow in your eyes as you pass the house you learned to walk in and you remember the days as easier then.

Countries, Cultures, Languages, and Lives,
They’re different,
but in the end, we all have that place,
That for better or worse, is our hometown.

 

Our Orange can’t lose it’s brightness.

“I saw the news, I’m sorry about what happened in Stillwater”

That was what the text read that came through as I hooked onto wi-fi in a hostel in Dublin, Ireland.

Suddenly my mind was racing.
What had happened?!

I couldn’t finish typing “Stillwater” before Google gave me the results.
Tragedy had hit my forever orange home.

A woman, with demons we may never understand,
needed to numb her pain with alcohol,
And gave her pain to a community, a state, a family.

She drove into the crowd of a parade that marks the happiest weekend in the Bright Orange world.
Homecoming.

The moment I knew, my heart was pounding, tears were in my eyes, and my palms sweating.
At that moment the texts started rolling in, people asking me what I knew.

The problem was I didn’t know anything.
Where were my Littles?
Where were all my sisters?
What I knew was 4 cowboys had lost their lives, What I didn’t know was if those Cowboys were people I knew.

Frantically sending texts to everyone I knew,
while knowing game day service is spotty at best,
assurances of being physically ok began to come in.
I began to calm down.

But that’s just it, the Cowboy family was not mentally ok.
We were shaken, we were heartbroken, and we were tired of tragedy hitting us.

Those in Stillwater came together to cheer our team to another victory,
But Cowboys around the world sat near their phones waiting for more news updates.

We’ve been here before, tragedy has struck us before.
We always come out stronger.
A lot of people don’t understand what it means for a state university to be so tight,
But at Oklahoma State, we are a family, and it’s because of moments like these that make us that way.

Out of tragedy comes resilience and strength
and God’s Country, Stillwater, Oklahoma, sure has a lot of both.

Now we will pray for those still fighting,
we will pray for those families who lost love ones,
we will weep for lives lost,
and we will remember.

But also, through all of this, our Orange will shine bright.

I am one of the luckiest people in the world to have gone to Oklahoma State and to be a Cowboy forever.
And I was reminded of that in a little hostel in Dublin, Ireland, as I watched multiple countries news report on a town called Stillwater.

To Switzerland, to Germany, to Ireland, and all the places that reported the news,
Stillwater is just a small American town, with a university,
but to me, well, it’s home, and it’s going to survive this.

stillwater_strong-osu_twit

Auf Wiedersehen!

Please understand… I’ve been wanting to leave ever since I learned there were roads willing to take me anywhere I wanted to go.

Think of how many times in your life you’ve said goodbye.
You say it almost every day, right?
Some are for the night, you’ll see them tomorrow.
Some you say while fighting back tears, questioning when the next time you’ll see them.
And some, well some are never said, because you don’t know it’ll be the last time you see them.

I build goodbyes up in my head.
I crave close friendships, but reject goodbyes.
When I left Evergreen, I stood in the Miami airport with my new friend Megan,
and then we just walked away from each other.
That was the goodbye.

DSC00775

Leaving Stillwater, I simply walked away from my friends Sammi and Chelsea.
My roommate and I wouldn’t have hugged, but our moms made us.
We didn’t want goodbyes to mean anything,
because in today’s world, we are so connected, do they mean anything?

IMG_0975

But now I’m actually facing the largest goodbyes of my life.
Moving away from the home I’ve lived in since I was two years old,
and not to mention, the parents that raised me.
Saying goodbye to every friend I made for four years of college,
who I couldn’t go Christmas break without missing,
and I’m leaving my beloved home state, and my country.
Those are goodbyes that I don’t even know how to handle.

I am excited, that’s the problem.
I often get more excited for the next step,
and I forget to wrap up the end of the phase I’m in.

But some goodbyes are a little uglier.
When I left my first summer at Magic Sky,
I remember standing in the dining hall,
and Colleen and I bawling and holding each other,
Only for moments later, for me to continue the bawling in Super Nova with my program staff family.

DSC_0117

I remember watching our exchange student head back to Switzerland,
we watched from outside security at Will Rogers airport,
and we both cried.
And now 9 years later, I will board a plane in that exact airport, heading to the exact same country.

DIGITAL CAMERA

DIGITAL CAMERA

How do you say goodbye to everything and everyone you know,
for an entirely new life?
This is my dream being fulfilled, so I have no doubt in my mind, that when I board that plane in 20 days,
It is exactly where I want to be.
But an international move is not easy.

I recognize it’s called growing up,
and I recognize, it’s everything I want and need.
But I also know, relationships will strain, things will change, and milestones will happen.

I take solace in knowing I am not the first.
I am inspired and honored to join the ranks of some of the most beautifully brave women that have gone before me.
Jenine Addison, Kelsey Pelttari, Jessica Dyer.
These modern-day women paved a path,
and for different reasons, made new countries their homes.
They show me it can be done.

So when July 19 comes,
there will be pictures and hugs,
there may be tears,
and there better be cheese fries,
But I’ll board that plane with a smile
and ready to be back in a country that’s been welcoming me home since 2010.

But hey, don’t forget about me folks!

It is so hard to leave–until you leave. And then it’s the easiest goddamned thing in the world.
–John Green

“Call me true”

Let’s talk about Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner.

First things first, I’d like to introduce anyone reading to a few definitions.
These are simple things you can learn in an intro to sociology college course,
But I’m going to go over them quickly we are all on the same page.

SEX: Either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and many other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.

Oxford Dictionary

In even simpler terms this means your sex is visible as birth.
Your sex is determined by whether you have a penis or a vagina.
That, your reproductive functions, is the ONLY criteria of your sex.

GENDER: the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Your gender is in your behavior, your culture and your psychological traits.
That means your gender is in how you act, how you want to be presented as, and how you FEEL inside.
There is no physical determination of gender.

At this point, we all know the story.
Caitlyn Jenner was born Bruce Jenner, whose sex when born was male.
But from a young age Jenner says she knew she was truly a woman.
In her time as Bruce she wasn’t exactly unsuccessful.
She had a fulfilling career as an Olympic Gold Medalist, a true American hero.
Had three different marriages, and has a multitude of children and step-children.
All in all, you would see this life and believe that Jenner was happy.

But Jenner had a secret, and as we all learned officially in April,
Jenner felt,

“for all intents and purposes, yes, I am a woman”

What Caitlyn has done is being hailed as beautiful and heroic,
But really, we should just call it true.
She is finally being true to herself.
She had lived a lie for entirely too long.

Hopefully Jenner’s transition into her rightful body will be helpful to the trans community in our world.
To have someone so prominent, and someone hailed as an American hero,
go through such a public transition is scary, but it’s progress forward in this world.

I learned a long time ago that I was not going to discriminate on someone based on their sexual/gender identity,
Because until you have lived it, you don’t know.
And if you talk badly about this person, it really only reflects on your own closed mind.
And to live life with a closed mind is an awfully scary and ignorant way to live.

A lot of people have said things such as, “He’s making it up”
Are you serious?
Do you really believe someone would go through something so emotionally draining as this, “just for fun”?
Also you should know, years of therapy are required before someone can transition,
And that therapist must approve that they are not in fact “making it up”
So, maybe try doing some unbiased reading for once in your life. 

So I applaud Caitlyn Jenner for this raw and true moment in her life,
I know I am only one person, but if a lot of “one person’s” back Jenner,
Then together, we can be the change in this world we wish to see.

Also, as a Christian, if you’re spewing hate at Jenner, well then that’s an entire different blog post probably.
But here’s my word for the Christians…
Show love. Be like Jesus.
Pray for Jenner,
Not for her to “find his way,” or “stop sinning”
But that during this transition, and really her entire life,
that she may always be surrounded by loving people.

And as my parting word, be mindful of your speech.
Jenner has requested to be called Caitlyn, so use her name,
Jenner has also requested to be referred to with female pronouns, so use female pronouns.

imrs.php

Ode to OSU

How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?

How do you say goodbye to your life of four years?
How do you say thank you to it as well?

I entered this esteemed institution with lofty ambitions to be a lawyer,
three majors later I left this beautiful campus with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology,
and ready to see the world and change the world.

I came to campus ready to be the perfect sorority girl, dressed in my Lilly prints and Sperry’s, while also being overly obsessed with my Big and my Little.
I left this university rocking combat boots and the color black, but also still overly obsessed with my Big and my Little.

My four years at Oklahoma State weren’t just an education,
I gained all the cliché things; my bridesmaids, stories to tell my kids, and a degree.
But what people don’t see is all the laughs and small moments.

I can still remember moving into Booker Hall,
Eating pizza with my new roommate, Kristin, after our parents left, and thinking,
“Now what?”

The next four years was just a big “now what?”
From every moment in Booker to Tri Delta to the Gingerbread Flat,
we were laughing, making memories and becoming family.

I can never truly describe what my four years were like,
but I know that I became an entirely different person than who I was when I started.

Stillwater and OSU is where I came home to after every adventure;
In my time at OSU I visited 5 countries and visited 8 states.
I achieved my dreams, I met my bridesmaids, and I had the time of my life.

The big memories of course, are the ones in the photographs,
all the spring break trips, date parties, and football games,

but the memories that’ll keep me laughing for the rest of my life are the littler ones.
The late drives down back roads,
my famous party line: “I don’t give my number to strangers”,
the nights of chats late at night in Tri Delta or the floor of the Gingerbread Flat, all of the Netflix binges,
people being able to find me anywhere in Tri Delta, just by my laugh,
Drinking down the bad days, and lifting up the good ones (while still drinking…)
All the popcorn eaten while studying for statistics exams,
not sitting with Tri Delta sister at graduation, but still with sisters I’d found on my own,
All the bad professors (Ellefritz), and all the spectacular professors.
and all the hugs and support my sisters and best friends, who were one in the same, gave me these four years.

While I am beyond excited to live out my dream in Switzerland in only two short months,
I am sad, afraid and nervous to leave behind America’s Brightest Orange and the friendships made.

Oklahoma State University, you’re the best thing that’s ever been mine.

IMG_0103 IMG_0153 IMG_0198 IMG_0261 IMG_0328 IMG_0359 IMG_0572 IMG_0686 DSC00420 DSC00504 DSC00854 DSC00780 DSC_0763 DSC_0773 DSC_0108 DSC_0295 DSC_0597 DSC_0201 DSC01112 DSC_0013 DSC_0765 DSC01103 DSC01101 DSC_0382 DSC_0532 DSC_0081 DSC_0226 DSC_0197 DSC_0543 DSC_0874grad personality

“You’re a long way from home!”

That’s what everyone said to us when we said,
“Oh we’re from Oklahoma and Texas!”
The next question was often, “What are you doing up here?”
“SPRING BREAK!” we’d all say back enthusiastically.
Which was almost always greeted with confused stares.
And that’s how my senior spring break went.

For those of you who don’t know,
two of my sisters and I left Texas on Friday morning and headed to the weird city of Portland, Oregon.
Once there we ate a lot of good food.
Here’s looking at you Grilled Cheese Grill,
This place serves gourmet grilled cheeses out of a truck and you eat in an old school bus.
and had some of the best beer.
We went on a tour around the city, just about beer.
Which during, I managed to find, of course, the German-speaking brewer…
Proceeded to stumble over all my words ever…
Could hear Herr Wakemen crying in the background,
and could see Frau Schestokat and Herr Te Velde rolling their eyes.
We drove up to a mansion in the hills, just for the perfect view of the city… every day.
We left Portland twice, and ended up some weird places and some beautiful places.
Oregon City, Oregon: Home of the End of the Oregon Trail.
and Multnomah Falls, which is downright gorgeous.
A highlight of our time in Portland was seeing my amazing friend Jessie!
We met at camp over the summer and instantly thought the other one was super cool.
OH how great it was to hug her neck again after so many long months without my MSR girls!

Wednesday, right in the middle of Spring Break, we packed our bags and flew to Seattle, Washington.
Seattle is a city about coffee and airplanes, which are two things I definitely love.
Once in Seattle we continued our escapades of eating, and eating a lot.
Drinking, of course, took place daily.
I mean it is Spring Break after all.
We wandered through Pike Place Market day after day, and it was cool every time.
We were under impressed by the original Starbucks, but over impressed by the Starbucks Roastery.
Spent an entire day driving through Mt. Rainer National Park.
Walked through an underground city, which we knew of thanks to my Swiss host dad.
Took a free boat ride, even though I have an insane fear of water.
Walked around the museum of flight entirely too long for not having paid to be there…
And had Thirsty Thursday at the University of Washington,
Which we learned, Thirsty Thursday on the trusty strip in Stillwater, OK is far superior.

All in all, this trip was amazing.
Hanging out with two of my best friends,
In two really cool cities, in a region of the States none of us had ever been to.
It was such a great experience to have marking the upcoming end of my college education.

Lessons I took away from this trip:
(1) LAX is a weird ass airport–got stuck in a terminal for hours with only Burger King and Starbucks.
(2) You can get in and out of VooDoo Doughnuts in under 5 minutes, if you’re skilled.
(3) Portland is actually too weird for me, but Seattle, despite my fear of water, was somewhere I could see myself living.
(4) The South has way better manners, which I was reminded of every time a door wasn’t held for me.
(5) The Space Needle is overrated.
(6) Beer, friends, and exploring, will always be a few of my favorite things.

I’ll leave you with some real cool shots from the adventure, and the piece of advice of,
GO GO GO to the Pacific North West!

Pittock Mansion--Portland, Oregon.

Pittock Mansion–Portland, Oregon.

Cacao Drinking Chocolates--Portland, Oregon.

Cacao Drinking Chocolates–Portland, Oregon.

Ecliptic Brewing--Portland, Oregon.

Ecliptic Brewing–Portland, Oregon.

Rogue Ales--Portland, Oregon.

Rogue Ales–Portland, Oregon.

Mt. Rainier--Washington.

Mt. Rainier–Washington.

Seattle skyline--Seattle, Washington.

Seattle skyline–Seattle, Washington.

Pike Place Market--Seattle, Washington.

Pike Place Market–Seattle, Washington.

Starbucks Roastery--Seattle, Washington.

Starbucks Roastery–Seattle, Washington.

Space Needle and Chihuly exhibit--Seattle, Washington.

Space Needle and Chihuly exhibit–Seattle, Washington.

Free boat ride--Seattle, Washington

Free boat ride–Seattle, Washington

Fifty Shades of Condemned.

First things first, I am a Christian.
Born and raised Christian.
I’m not always as devout as I would like,
but I do regularly attend a weekly bible study,
and I am currently observing Lent.

Moving on,
The other day I did something terrible…
I saw the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.
My sophomore year I also did something terrible…
I read the first book in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.
Oh, and by terrible, I just mean it was really just a poor use of my time.
Both were poorly executed.

I do not feel bad that as a Christian I elected to watch this movie and read this book…
Though many people would like to throw stones at Christians for supporting it.

Here’s why I’m not fifty shades of condemned like all the radical internet Christians would like you to believe…

(1) People say “it’s porn”
I’m here to tell you, other books and movies have sex.
If you have never seen a movie or read a book with a sex scene,
WOW, I am not even sarcastically applauding you.
That’s dedication, because sex sells and it is constantly being thrown in our faces.
The first book I remember reading that had sex in it… I got from my middle school library.
So to say we cannot view/read Fifty Shades because of the sex, is a little far-fetched.

(2) “There’s a lot of nudity”
This is not even a spoiler alert when I say, people get naked in this movie.
Yup, it happens, you’re shocked, I know.
But really what we see the most are Ana Steele’s boobs.
Well, I’d be lying if I said those were the first boobs I’d ever seen.
Mostly because… I have my own.
Also because I lived in a sorority house once.
And because I was a dancer most of my life and everyone changes in front of everyone backstage.
And I’ve always been attending summer camp since I was 6, and we all change together in the one big room we live in.
They’re just boobs, even the most hardcore Christians were most likely attached to one at some point in their infancy. Sorry not sorry.

(3) “It makes girls want relationships like this”
Please, find me a girl, I’m begging you.
Like I haven’t met a single person who “wants” this.
And even if they do, who cares, does it affect you?
Hey Christians, I love you, you’re my people,
But this is why people don’t like us…
Because someone makes their own adult decision, and you get offended. 
Didn’t your parents ever tell you, “it’s none of your business?”
Or if you’re Kevin Labude’s daughter, “it’s none of your beeswax…”

(4) Yo bro, it’s just fiction. 
Calm down.
this is fiction.
Remember in elementary school when the librarian taught us the difference between fiction and non-fiction,
Or did you miss that day?
Looks like you did and now you’re making an ass of yourself over a fictional story…
Your elementary school librarian is not proud of you.
Yeah it’s a pretty intense fiction story,
But the real world is a million times worse…
I’ve read “I Have Lived a Thousand Years”, a story of a survival during the Holocaust,
and I have read “A Child Called It”, a book about the abuse of a small child who had to live in a basement and eat his own fecal matter.
Fifty Shades of Grey is just sex… Those books are the real problem.

So if you have never seen a movie or read a book with sex,
And you have never seen any nudity in your life,
Sure, go ahead, condemn me,
Tell me I have sinned,

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
John 8:7

But if you have seen a quick sex scene in a movie,
Or read that book where things got a little steamy once,
And one time you even saw a girls breasts,
Well then…

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Do not criticize others if you have similar weaknesses yourself.

So hey, maybe instead of getting outraged about what I spend $8 to watch,
Let’s get outraged about real problems in this world,
Like, oh I don’t know, actual abusive relationships instead of fictional ones?
Just an idea.

FiftyShadesOfGRey260114

Home isn’t a place; Home is you.

Recently I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful state of Tennessee.
Not only was I lucky enough to get to visit a nice state,
But I was also being reunited with 5 of the greatest people I’ve ever met.

In May of 2012 I moved into a tiny village in the mountains of Switzerland,
And met some of my best friends.

These girls are the kinds of friends who don’t know you at home,
But still know everything about you.
They can remember things like, “so that time at Theta Pond?”
And I can say, “What did Ruby do now?”
We weren’t there for these moments, or know these people, but we care for each other and keep up.

Two and a half years after coming home to America, there was a beautiful reunion.
Naomi, New Zealand; Heather, Tennessee; Libby, England; Heather, Canada; and Cate, Iowa.
The moment we were all back, was just like the moments before we all left Switzerland.

We automatically picked up where we had left off.
Laughing, playing questions, and cuddling.
We ate Barbecue, went to museums, hiked and drank.
It was like we had just picked up our lives in the tiny Swiss village and moved it to Nashville, TN.

Sometimes in life you just find people who understand you better than anyone else,
And that you feel so comfortable around to share anything with them.
And it’s amazing to find a large group of them.

Life is simply better with these girls.

DSC_0405