Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Knife in my back

I am not okay today. I am allowed to not be okay. Please stop trying to silence me and tell me it will be okay. I am allowed to feel like things are horrible and you don't get to take my voice away.

Why am I not okay? Because yesterday my country told me that they want a sexual assaulter to represent them.

By electing this man I re-live that horrible night in 2004 when my voice was taken away. Every time the soon to-be leader of my country speaks I am going to re-live that moment, because when I see that man; I see the man that assaulted me and tried to take my voice away. When I see my country's future leader I have to re-live all the shame, blame and trauma that I fought to pull myself through. I re-live the panic attacks and the breakdowns and the fear.  So no, it will not be okay. **I** am not okay today, and it may take a long time for me to be okay.

I want all my friends to understand my anger and hurt are NOT because my candidate lost. It's because that man won.

Re-living this though, it has caused a fire to burn within me I didn't know was there. I know now, what I didn't know then, that I have a voice and I have a right to be heard and I will be heard. 

To all my friends who have similar battles in your heart today because of this man- I will fight with you. I will stand with you, and I will do my best to protect you. Tell me how I can support you and I will.

But today, today I mourn. Today I cry. Today I let myself feel the hurt because tomorrow and for the next four years I will fight.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

That amazing thing I alluded to...

So the other week on Facebook I alluded to being a small part in a very wonderful thing. Now that I've taken some time to mull over it I think I can share a bit of my thoughts and feelings.

Sometimes, I get really down on the world. I think people are just selfish, unfeeling and cold. That no one cares much about anyone outside of their immediate small circle. I feel like I see it daily in the news, on Facebook and all around me. It breaks my heart. The other day I was reminded that I was wrong. Thank goodness.

To be honest (which if I can't be honest on my blog where the heck can I be) I have been incredibly depressed these last few months we've been in China. I'm lonely, (love ya Chad, but I'm an extrovert) I've been sick almost constantly and I just want to leave. I have been thinking about how the $760 plane change ticket might be worth it. A year is a long time to spend in a random Chinese town. Anyway, right at the depths of the depression someone named Ben posted in the Expats Facebook group for our city that they had a very weird request, but these two guys were in the area and they were looking for two girls to pose as their girlfriends because they were going to visit a friend from Vietnam (named M) who had been trafficked to a place nearby.

I thought, "how could I not help?" I had to be a part of that. As you know, I am very concerned with women's issues in the world. I think trafficking is one of the saddest things that happens in our world. You can read more of her story here but the short story is that she lived near the Vietnam-China boarder which is where Ben first met her. He got to know her and communicate with her in simple English a couple years ago. He later found out she was taken from her village and eventually "married" a Chinese man. His goal was to meet up with her and help her. However, because her "husband" is jealous he wanted girls to go with him so the husband didn't think Ben was a past lover or anything.

So I ended up going with Ben and his cameraman Moreno to meet up with M. It was, sadly, a very short meeting, but she was amazing. You know when you meet someone and they just light up your soul? M was that type of person. Even though she's been through so much she was so happy and smiling bright. Her face will forever be burned into my brain when I think of the word hope.

She has a child with her "husband" here in China and she has decided that even though it may mean leaving her she is ready to go back to Vietnam. It's obvious that it was Ben and Moreno's love that helped her make that difficult decision.

To just be a witness to these two men and see how much they cared about M. It was indescribable. They did so many things just to make sure she knew people cared and have helped her in so many ways. Their joy in finding her and being able to see her. It was amazing.

I still can't correctly put into words the feelings of the day, and I don't know if I ever will be able to, but to see the joy on everyone's faces during their reunion- that was amazing. I think people underestimate the power of love. Ben's love for M, and his distaste for the horrid situation we put others in helped make the world a little bit better. It was obvious that Ben's love for M kept her strong and helped support her through all of this.

It's powerful, the feeling that someone, somewhere cares about you and worries about you and thinks about you. I think it can help someone find strength even in the darkness.

To even be a small part (the smallest part in the world really) of this story fills me with joy. I look forward to the day when M is back in Vietnam with her family, starting her life over again with that radiant smile on her face.

Cheers to people in the world that care.

P.S. my depression has subsided a bit, and I think it's directly related to M and her spirit.

Monday, May 12, 2014

How I do Michelle style empathy

I am a very empathetic person. That sounds like a weird brag, "I am great at really feeling bad/sad/mad/happy for people", but I really am. I hate the idea that we can't brag about what we are good at in our society.

I say this, but I also make fun of Chad when he brags about being super smart... I'm also a hypocrite. But, really when I make fun of Chad I will admit it is because I am 100% jealous. Maybe like 110%. I have never dated a guy I considered smarter than me till Chad. (Sorry any exes out there reading this... but really why are you reading my blog you creep? I don't do friendly breakups so you are straight up trespassing on my life right now.) Alright now that they're gone- back to me...

So empathy. One of the ways I have learned to increase my empathy is to imagine myself in their shoes. Sounds easy right? Well I am an emotional roller coaster of a human so when I get in other people's shoes I get really upset if people aren't treating them kindly. 

For example, I never really understood trans-gender people (still can admit that it's a hard thing for me to grasp and I always worry about offending.) Anyway, didn't really get it. I mean I've been a tom boy and there are some out there that think I've been an insanely girlie girl (I do not count myself among that thought) but never have I thought- "I should have been born a boy". Unless, of course, I have to pee in the woods, then I wish I was, but just because I am no good at squatting. When that passes and I get free dessert from some waiter I am so glad I'm a girl.

Anyway, one day I was thinking about the current state of my hair. I made a simple developer error with the hair dye I brought to China and my hair is significantly close to my natural color and significantly farther from my preferred color.  Here's the thing, I truly believe I was meant to be a blonde. Most people are surprised to find out I'm not a natural blonde when I confess I am not. Even with horrible roots there is surprise. I was meant to be a blonde. Now, I am barely a blonde. And life doesn't feel right. I don't feel right. And one day I realized this must be a small small small comparison to how trans-gender people feel. They don't feel right in the sex they were born in. I get it, maybe I don't get it as much because hair is seriously more trivial than body, but I understand the feeling that your body doesn't display who you truly are.

So that's how I  build my empathy. 

So now, I feel I can relate to people addicted to drugs. (As with the blonde/trans-gender thing it will be to an n-th degree, but still), I have decided my addictive drug is Twilight movies. 

Here's the reason why. I know they are bad. I know they are no good for me, but I still can't stop. I sometimes get thinking, I would like to view one of the movies. And when I do, it's good for a bit. Then I realize that I am wasting my time and money on trash. I vow I won't do it again. I assume it will stick, then something happens and I think maybe I should watch them again. And I do. And I regret it. I vow to not do it again, then I hit another trigger, and I crave it again. It starts out innocently enough, for instance, this time all I was doing was looking for music videos to play for my Chinese students during break. I always try to find a somewhat popular, current song with a PG video. So I click around on YouTube and start watching music videos, and I come upon a song I love. I click and what is in the video but scenes from Twilight. Sigh. It's around me and I can't escape it. 

I need help.

Trigger warning: Twilight movie scenes are in this music video.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sometimes I care too much....

Sometimes I really think I care too much. It's a burden. Let's be honest we all have a friend on Facebook who we roll our eyes at when they post something about their pet thing. Maybe we get angry they post something AGAIN, maybe we laugh because they're posting something else. Maybe we just roll our eyes and unfollow them. I worry I am that person in all my friend's feed. My pet subject? Feminism. 

I really wish I didn't care so much. I think life would be so much easier. Sometimes I get so jealous of my apathetic friends. The ones who just don't see the injustice or just don't care. 

Sometimes it spews out past the general feminism issues into what (I hate that it is called this) some call "humanist" issues. When I see people being marginalized; I care. When I see people deciding to vilify someone because of their beliefs; I care. When I see someone post almost ANYTHING from Mr. X's blog; oh boy I care. (But really because his entire blog is one big straw man fallacy and people think it's the gospel) (Also I'm not telling you who because I don't want him to get ANY traffic from me.)

I will however encourage you to visit the site this gem came from. Dinosaur Comics

After getting so upset (AGAIN) I wonder what it's like to not care. I'm sure Chad would appreciate it since most my yelling gets directed at him. The thing is, it's not that I don't want to care, I do, I just don't want to care so much that hours late I'm still stemming (and end up yelling). So this isn't a plea to help me care less. 

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by my caring that I force myself to care less. I force myself to give up. To think that it doesn't matter. I won't be able to make one person change. That it's pointless and I should just accept that life will never be fair. But why should I? Why shouldn't I fight the good fight to get us a little closer to the ideal? Why is it such a horrible thing to want people to be kinder, less judgmental, more welcoming and open? That's why I care about women's issues or LGBT issues. (are their more letters now? I feel like the other day I saw like 5 more on the end. That was new for me) 

Heck I even care about the mommy wars stuff. I mean hypothetically I will have children one day. I am CERTAIN people will judge my parenting style, which I assume will be an odd mixture of a Tiger Mom, Hippie Mom and Pinterest Mom. (Are those real mom "types"? Should their be types?) So my kids will end up passing out organic granola at their 5th piano lesson of the week while inviting their friends to their insanely decked out St. Patrick's Day party.  It's gonna be an awesome life for _______ McCombs and ___________ McCombs. But your kid might not like it. I don't judge you, don't judge me. 

(Note: I try not to judge)

So sorry to my 3 readers if all my posts make you react like I mentioned in the first paragraph, about 50 topics ago. 

I think I need to find a job that is great for people who have seriously high levels of empathy. Preferably ones that don't require more school. If you have a genius idea let me know!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What I am truly thankful for

So our branch in church does this thing where there is an RS newsletter. It's so we feel more connected since there are many of us that live in a city by ourselves. I never really wanted to contribute to them, I don't know why, but since I visit teach the woman who is in charge of the newsletter when she asked me to write something I couldn't really say no. She asked me to write on the topic of what I am truly grateful for. While writing it I thought this would be a good thing to post on my blog since I haven't updated it in forever. So here it is! What I am truly grateful for: 

One of the biggest struggles I have is that I suffer from depression; both seasonal and, at times, a mildly crippling case of just general depression. It can get to be very overwhelming for me and leads me to retreat from life sometimes. So one thing I am truly thankful for is the friendships I have made with my family members and with friends I have made all around the world.
The hardest thing about this trial in my life is that it brings out someone who is the exact opposite of my normal self. I am usually a very social and outgoing person. I love being in a crowd and having a full calendar of things to do. When I get depressed it becomes a vicious cycle for me. I don’t want to go out, I don’t want to be around people and I struggle to get excited about anything; which only makes me more depressed.
It seems to me that the friends and family I have in my life have always just known the exact moment I need them and have always been there for me: a phone call or email from my brother to encourage me or check in on me, an invitation to go out to dinner from a friend to catch up, or someone just telling me they noticed they haven’t seen me around lately. It is like they can sense when I am struggling and know the perfect thing to help. I know this is not a coincidence. I know that I have had people placed in my life to help me through my trials who are in touch enough with the Spirit to know when they are needed.
I have also been blessed to have amazing in-laws. From people who know exactly what I am going through because of their own personal struggles to people who just love me unconditionally and support me when I’m down. They also raised an amazing son who just seems to know how to make me smile when I’m sad and how to get me out of a situation when I feel completely overwhelmed or that sometimes a trip to a tropical location in the middle of the winter is just what the doctor ordered.
I am truly blessed by the people the Lord has put into my life and the support he gives me through people who love me. I cannot list everyone here who has helped me in one way or another, but I am grateful for all the amazing people I know and can call my friends and family.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Rules of Dieting

Hi my name is Michelle and I have a very unhealthy relationship with food and dieting and the small amount of fat that resides on my mid section.

There is something empowering and depressing about this all at once. It's empowering because I recognize it and I can sometimes remember it and control my brain, but it's depressing because I'm sure it's something that will only be fixed by therapy and time and I don't want to put in the work. Also, as a MO it's really one of the few vices I get... and really there are worse vices.

As some of you know I was in the running to be on a infomercial. With it came food delivered to my door (no eating out of the box!) and 6 day a week, butt kicking bootcamp classes. The food was pretty yummy (although left me very hungry) and I really enjoyed the bootcamp after the first week of being so sore I could barely move.

But then things started going wrong. First, it was HARD to stay on track when people around me were eating such delicious things. Second, my life kinda sucked. Most social gatherings revolve around food so I knew I didn't have the will power to resist so I became a hermit. As most of you know I'm pretty social... so sitting inside all weekend being hungry isn't really something I enjoyed. So the way it broke down was I was at a job I hated so the week depressed me, then I was starving and locked inside my apartment so the weekends depressed me. I basically had nothing to do that would keep me happy.

Then we had visitors... and I was doing really well... I would steal the occasional thing from Chad's plate but mostly be okay... till we went to Indian food. Let me tell you- there is no diet friendly food at an Indian restaurant. I got the Okra cooked in tomatoes (green veggies are usually okay "cheat" items) but Chad got this Indian food feast and I couldn't resist. So I had bites here and there... but then I felt so guilty about it. So guilty in fact that I headed to the bathroom and attempted to do something I haven't in a long time... make myself throw up. That was the tipping point for me. I went back and after we split with our friends Chad and I talked about it and he asked me a great question, "What's the worst thing that will happen if you get cut?" and I realized that the worst thing would be that it would be a blow to my ego... but since I just spent 5 minutes in a small closet of a bathroom in an Indian restaurant trying to puke I really didn't have much of a ego left to salvage.

I am being very open here about the remnant of my eating disorder, don't worry this isn't a call for help or me dismissing how serious they are... I know they're serious.. I had one and obviously there are still some triggers. What I would love to hear about is from a girl who didn't have any sort of eating disorder (starving, puking, exercising obsessively, intense dieting) and would like to know how they were raised so I could replicate it... 

So, anyway, in a few days I got cut from the program and you know what I was HAPPY! I didn't have the stress anymore of feeling like I was starving all the time or not eating anything outside of the small amount of food they were sending me and I lost 11 lbs, gained some serious muscle and set up a habit of exercising. 

So all this jibber jabber is finally leading to this, the rules/mantras/beliefs I created for myself.

1. working out is the priority 
how many times do we cancel our workout to do something else? I do it too often.. And with stuff like this there is no excuse to not workout
2. one treat a day 
Honestly, this is the hardest thing for me... I have such a sweet tooth, but I decided I mean one processed sugar treat a day... so if I have a treat at lunch then an apple is okay after dinner 
3. fill up on veggies and protein
But eat some carbs- because they're yummy and when I don't I'm grumpy, but FILL up on the good stuff 
4. nothing is BAD somethings are just BETTER
This is so key for me... I use to eat a cupcake and then berate and hate myself for it because it's "bad" and I "shouldn't". Self hating does not make for a healthy lifestyle
5. Love your body however it comes-it does amazing things
It really does! I mean my body has climbed me up mountains, swam me around oceans, walked miles and miles and kept on going... 
6. The key is health and strength not torture and hate and unhealthy ideals
This is the most key thing I think. The big question here is "am I doing this because I want to be healthy and respect my body or am I doing this because I want to be skinny and "more attractive  in the worst sense

So there it is. The new Michelle mindset and how I'm going to live my life... I'm going to workout, I'm going to focus on eating things that are better for me, but not torturing myself if I eat something that isn't as good for me. I'm going to love myself more.

So if all that came out of that torturous bootcamp was this then I would say I didn't even fail- I did better than anyone, even myself, expected.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The book installments continue!

So as I ride the train and read I start thinking about the stories I would put in my book so I started making a list. So to hold me accountable for writing them at some point I will now give you the list of topics I want to write on... 

 Dating in general

Worst date in HS
 Worst date in college
 Worst date ever 

Best date in HS
 Best date in college
 Best date ever 

 First memory 
Worst nightmare
 Best day 
Scariest thing 
The day I found out I was chubby 

High School
 Day I realized I should just embrace me and not worry
 My group of friends
 How to decide what college to attend

The beautiful butterfly
 learning to love myself 
My roommates 
working in Logan UT 
The internship politicking 
Lost love

Adult life
First job
Law school dreams and destroyed
Botched Interview
My first little while at Disney
Turns out it wasn't forever
Bouncing back
Batman and Michelle, together forever
A full accounting of Chad and mine's relationship as it unfolded

Embracing my feminism
Bread winner
Newlywed life

That should keep me typing for a long while now... and just because I think Batman makes everyone's day better here's a picture of him!