Strange Things I Miss

Today happens to be a very POTSie day. Luckily, dizzy spells are much fewer and further between, but I hate when they decide to come around with a vengeance. I have been doing a new exercise protocol lately that is supposed to make me feel worse before I feel better, but I am optimistic about how much it could help me in the long run.*

Anyway, I am currently working on a post about what my POTS timeline has looked like, and the improvements I’ve made, as well as the things that are still different in my life post getting sick. It’s been so interesting for me to look back at different things I wrote throughout the years, but is great to have something tangible to look at regarding my life.

Certain things are becoming more normal, and I am pulling off looking like a normal human being like a pro. I have looked pretty normal since getting sick with POTS, since it’s an invisible illness, but I used to have to ask for help much more often. Now I think people around me often forget completely that anything is wrong with me! I hope one day this will be true. Despite being sick for over five years now, I will never stop hoping to get back to complete normalcy. I have a million different things I’m working on for the blog, so today I wanted to just touch on a few things that have been different for me the past half-decade.

1. I can’t enjoy taking showers. Sometimes I hop in a hot shower just because I am in pain and want something to release the tension in my muscles, but for the most part they’re just exhausting. I usually choose between washing my hair or shaving if I’m going to stand the whole time, and have to alternate between the two or rest quite a bit longer after I’m done. Does anyone actually find showers enjoyable? I can’t remember anymore; now they’re just exhausting.

2. I’m not very extroverted anymore. Before I got POTS, I was super extroverted. I was always around people and had an enormous circle of friends. Mentally, I still want to be doing a million things, but my body isn’t up to that. I feel tired and drained from doing too much, so I don’t go out nearly as much as I used to. When I do, it’s usually dinner or dessert with just one or a few friends, rather than hanging out in a giant group. When I first got sick I really couldn’t do anything other than try to stay optimistic, rest, and work as hard as possible to take care of my body so I could hopefully get better one day. I think some of my friends who weren’t around might have felt like I was neglecting our friendship, but in reality I just couldn’t function. I have lost touch with people I sometimes still miss. Getting sick really does show you who is going to be around for the long haul, and makes you see who has unconditional love for your friendship.

3. I miss writing for hours on end. My favorite thing in the world has always been writing, even back in elementary school or high school when writing wasn’t supposed to be fun. I always said English was my favorite subject, even when other kids would say “lunch,” “recess,” or “gym.” I loved learning more about our language and how to write things that people would enjoy reading. It’s difficult for me to sit at a computer and type for hours without feeling it after, and then being in a lot of pain for days after. I am very slowly working on endurance, and hope to be writing more and more.

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4. I miss being a helper. Before I got POTS I was independent and strong. I loved helping other people in any way I could, and was always there to do acts of service. There is nothing I hate more than having to swallow my pride and ask others for help. I’ve had to do that a lot the past few years, and it honestly doesn’t get much easier. I hate inconveniencing others, and I have a really hard time telling people I need something. I am still working on communicating better, but in the meantime I use my writing as an outlet.

5. I wish I could have my old dreams back. I dreamt of living in New York City as a magazine editor, and thought about how many lives I would change through my writing. I wanted to be able to support myself, pay my parents back for school, and afford my own life. I wanted to keep pushing myself and training for another half marathon, and I wanted to collect a million new skills from the new people I’d meet.

I have set new and more realistic goals, and am focusing on getting my body in shape so I can reach higher. Despite my life being much more complicated now, it’s also somehow become more simple. I realize how much I value the people who are in my life, and how important they are compared to everything else in the world. I’ve learned to appreciate the many blessings I do have, and how to live in the moment better. I still feel like I’m looking to find my purpose in the world, but I also trust God now more than ever to have better plans for me than I ever did for myself. I’m just trying to figure out what that is now.


*For any POTSies who are curious, I am doing the Levine protocol.

Slow To Anger

Back to Corinthians to begin wrapping up my favorite Bible verse. Here is where we left off,

“[Love] is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

Anger is an umbrella term for a bunch of other emotions we might not think about being in that category. Frustration, disappointment, and crankiness are a few feelings that can all be categorized under “anger.”

“Love is not easily angered” is a beautiful sentiment. I think as humans we feel things so deeply and often let our emotions control us, instead of the other way around. The easiest thing to do when we feel angry is to react. Anger is one of the most detectable feelings because it is often intense, and humans don’t always hold back when they are upset about something because it’s difficult to keep anger brewing inside until we can really evaluate the situation. Other feelings — such as love — has many different levels and outlets. Although people have different ways of expressing anger, it is often a feeling that is easily showcased and makes people around the angry person have strong reactions, too.

Anger is one of the most important emotions to learn to control. It is one of the few feelings that can lead to lasting damage if used incorrectly, and needs to be used in conjunction with wisdom and patience.

One of my favorite quotes is,

“Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.”

Google doesn’t seem to know who said this, but it’s so powerful. Sadly, people often say things they don’t mean — or intentionally try to hurt a loved one — when tensions are high and they are angry. The interesting thing about anger is that we often react because we want to see a specific outcome of a situation, however reacting before thinking about it doesn’t allow us the time to come up with the smartest plan of getting where we want to be.

Do you notice how the verse doesn’t say, “Love doesn’t anger,” rather it says, “Love is not easily angered.” I am no expert in semantics or theology, but I do think each word used in the Bible is crafted with a purpose. God knows that as humans we are going to get angry (heck, Jesus got angry when He was on earth, and things got crazy when he was mad), but He wants us to learn how to control our feelings and to remain calm and patient with others while we try to sort things out. Holding back anger for when it’s really necessary is wise because it shows an element of self-control, and it makes your anger actually mean something. Since Jesus was known as someone who was peaceful and kind, you knew He meant business when He turned the tables in the temple. If He was a hothead, He wouldn’t have been taken as seriously the few times He really showcased anger throughout the Bible. We should use our anger only when it’s really justified and when we really need to be heard, so that others can take us seriously when something does mean a lot to us.

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I’m not a huge Joel Olsteen fan, but he does have lots of nuggets of wisdom. When looking for a source of the quote above, I stumbled upon this, and had to add it to my post. Olsteen says,

“Be careful what you say. You can say something hurtful in ten seconds, but ten years later, the wounds are still there.”

This is so true. I don’t always remember every detail of my life, but something that seems to always stick is a hurtful word. Have you noticed that? This leads me to our next point. “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

Forgiving is the easy part for me, forgetting is a whole new beast. I have gotten hundreds of kind and encouraging comments on my blog the past three years, however I remember the two negative ones the most clearly. Friends and family are typically the most uplifting people in life, but when they say something unkind out of anger, it often gets taken to heart — after all, if someone who loves you so much thinks something negative about you, it must be true, right?

Words are such an important thing to monitor. I have found that a harmful word can sometimes hurt even more than physical pain, and there’s a reason people use one of the most vital organs in the body to represent love and heartbreak. When your heart hurts, it can be so hard to fix it completely. For this exact reason, it is so important to take time to think before reacting to a situation. Something said in anger can never be taken back, even though it can be forgiven.

Today’s lesson: I never want to damage a relationship or a loved one over something said when emotions were running high. In the same way my mom always tells me I should not make a big decision when I am not feeling well, I don’t believe it’s wise to always speak with someone at the first sign of anger. It never hurts to take time to reflect, think about why you are really mad, and then have a gentle conversation about the reasons why you feel the way you do. Communication is one of the most important things in a relationship, and pure anger often does not bode well for either party. Being slow to anger and able to forgive ensures a happier life for everyone, and allows us to get our true feelings across to others, rather than spewing hurtful things that may or may not be true. In the same way we aspire to love like Jesus does, I think it’s important to try to be angry the way He is, too.

 

Taking Note Of Red Flags

Today I want to touch on some red flags for those of you who might be wondering whether or not you’re in the right relationship. Often, odds are if you are wondering and continually have the gut feeling that you aren’t with the right person, you probably aren’t. Here are a few red flags that are often pushed aside or ignored:

  • Your significant other has drastically different priorities than you. For example, he values work much more heavily than relationships, and you think family should be the number one priority. Neither of you are necessarily “wrong,” however it is incredibly difficult to make a relationship like this work in the long run.
  • They always tell you one thing and do another. Actions speak louder than words, and if their behaviors don’t match up to what they’re telling you, move on to someone who stands by their words.

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  • Communication just doesn’t seem to be there. If your significant other doesn’t attempt to learn how to communicate with you, there are a lot of problems ahead for you as a couple. I do think men and women often communicate differently, as do people as individuals. It will take work and effort to learn how to effectively communicate, but if you feel like you never get through to your partner, find someone who can learn to effectively communicate with you.
  • If you feel like you need to post quotes and pictures on social media that will hopefully catch your significant other’s attention and make them think, reevaluate why you can’t bring up these points to him in person. A quote or two here and there are great for inspiration and expressing yourself,  but if he is constantly at the back of your mind when you post things like, “Sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” find a relationship where you feel appreciated and cared for.
  • Your partner should make you feel secure. If you consistently feel anxious about the  status of your relationship, reevaluate and ask yourself why. Work on any internal insecurities you might have, and communicate those with your partner. They should be willing and open to working on them with you. Love is patient and kind, and the right person for you will know you’re worth working through hardships with. No marriage is exempt from difficulties, and resilience will be a quality that can withstand the test of time.

If in doubt, make a mental note of the little red flags you notice in a relationship. Ask yourself whether your partner’s actions are something you are willing to live with or not. Yes, people can change and work on themselves, but dating is meant to give you data about someone.* Once you are in a committed marriage I do believe unless there is abuse or cheating it is so important to work on any problems to fix the relationship together, but why start off that relationship on the wrong foot? Any couple is going to have trials, but life and love is so much easier if you are both on the same page on what is important in life from the get-go.

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*One of my next posts is going to be all about how to efficiently collect data about a partner before deciding whether they are marriage material.

Texting Templates

Ask Krista


I swear I should have a job replying to people’s romantic interest’s texts. I love that my friends trust me with something as important as using words for communication, and I have become a pro to texting guys back. Today I decided to write about some of the most common kinds of messages my friends need help replying to and how I would answer them.


What do you text a guy after he tells you he had a nice time on a date and asks when he can take you out again, but you aren’t into him?

It’s important to be respectful but honest about your feelings so he can move on. Something simple like,

“Yeah, thanks so much for dinner, Steve, it was great meeting you. I actually don’t think things are going to work out for us, but good luck and I know there’s a great girl out there for ya!”

is perfect because it’s gracious, yet firm. If you try to be too nice you aren’t doing your date any favors because he might keep reading into your words and wondering whether he still has a chance with you. By saying something like, “Take care!” or, “Things aren’t going to work out with us,” you are making it crystal clear that he should move on and find someone more compatible.

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How should I reply if someone I met online wants to pick me up for a first date? I don’t feel comfortable riding in the car with a stranger.

Um, that’s because you’re smart! There are very few things that haven’t changed in your life since you were five, but the stranger danger factor still remains in place for a reason. I was always very jokey in my texts back to guys, so I would always say something like,

“Sorry, but I don’t know that you’re not a serial killer yet. Meet there at six?”

Any rendition of this is great, but hold your ground and don’t hop in the car with someone you can’t trust. I found out recently that one of my mom’s friends was hitchhiking when she was young and got in the car with Ted Bundy! She realized he was a dangerous guy when they stopped at a gas station and she saw a giant knife and rope under the backseat, but she didn’t know exactly who he was until she saw his face on the news later that week. YIKES! 


I had such a great time on a date, but the guy isn’t asking me out again! I’m tired of making smalltalk, and I don’t want to have another virtual pen pal. 

That makes complete sense. To find what you’re looking for when it comes to a relationship in online dating, you have to be quick to decide whether someone is looking for the same things as you. Dating can become exhausting really quickly, as there are so many different options and a lot of people who aren’t ready for a relationship or even to casually date on apps. If you went on a date with someone and aren’t getting asked to go on another but he keeps messaging you mindlessly, move on to the next person. If he realizes he wants to see you again when the texting thread dies off, great! You can make a decision on whether or not you want a second date then. In the meantime, there are so many other people who will be straightforward with their feelings and ask you out in a timely manner after your first date. Look for people like that who will be trusty and reliable.


What do you tell a guy who says something disrespectful to you?
Absolutely NOTHING. Block and delete that sucker! He doesn’t deserve your time or energy, and silence speaks volumes. You don’t need a clever response and it’s not your job to put him into his place — it’s your job to leave him and find someone who will treat you right. 


What do you think of my texts? Guys, how would you feel being on the receiving end of these messages? Girls, what would you do instead? Sound off in the comments!

Where Do I Begin with Dating?

Ask Krista


Hi Krista, how would you respond to someone who doesn’t know where to begin with dating? It’s a big, scary world, and there aren’t any manuals on starting at square one.

Oh my gosh, I loved this question so much that I wanted it to be the very first of my new “Ask Krista” series. So many people reach out with dating questions that I decided I need to start featuring the ones that I think might be more common and could help others.

The dating world is so big that it’s hard to figure out where to start and can feel overwhelming. Starting all the way at square one, I’d say you should first give yourself a mini pep talk. Or better yet, I’ll write one out for you.

Dating isn’t very different than any other interpersonal interaction you have with someone on any given day. It’s all about getting to know people on a deeper level and figuring out whether or not they’re someone you want to keep seeing. Don’t overthink it too much. Enjoy putting yourself out there and realize that there are so many people in this world that if a date goes poorly you’re just going to move on to the next person. You are unique and special in your own way, and someone out there is going to absolutely love you for that.

After you’ve given yourself a little push it’s time to figure out where exactly you want to start. There are apps, websites, and networking events that are all dedicated to finding love. It’s difficult to sift through the dozens of options, but it’s definitely not as daunting as it seems. My advice is to start small. Begin with one or two dating techniques. For example, choose two dating apps that seem to be good for you. You could do one swiping app like Bumble that is built for more casual dates, and add one profile app such as OK Cupid. I’d refrain from spending money on a site at least the first few weeks so you can just adjust to how the online dating world works, then you can better navigate the other sites with a little more ease.

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Be yourself online. Don’t worry about being “cool” or impressing your suitors; you’ll have more long-term success in the dating world if you don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. If you aren’t naturally witty or clever, don’t try to come off that way on your profile. One thing I noticed when I was dating was that everyone seemed to love camping and the outdoors. I haven’t been into that since I got sick with POTS, so I actually made a joke about how much I hated hiking and that didn’t know a lot about sports. Guys messaged me and thought my transparency was funny. I also met more people that I actually got along with since I was open about the fact I am not into hooking up, I am a Christian, and I have a natrually silly personality.

When you’re talking to people to go on dates with proceed with confidence and know that you are a great catch. Realize your worth and know that you are doing an amazing thing by putting yourself out there and trying to find love! You are brave, you are a catch, and you are doing your best to find the relationship you are looking for. At the end of the day as long as you are trying you are being productive in your dating life.

Lastly, don’t let the dating world get you down after one — or even a dozen — bad dates. The odds of you meeting someone to settle down with after just a few dates are so incredibly slim. If you really don’t hit it off with someone or do something to embarrass yourself (it happens to the best of us! See hereherehere, and here), just laugh at the situation and move on. You probably won’t have to see your date around again, so don’t even give it another thought!

The more you date the closer you are to finding someone who is right for you. In the meantime you will learn so many different things about yourself and other people. Just keep your heart and mind open, and don’t give up hope. Dating works differently for each individual and sometimes it takes people kissing a lot more frogs to find their Prince Charming than others. You can be excited and think about what you are working towards, but don’t forget to enjoy each day of your life. One day you’ll be married and settled down and might look back on your twenties as being one of the most confusing and lonely times, but you can also make it one of the most adventurous and freeing times of your life. Make the most of your youth while it’s still here, and create fun and beautiful stories to tell your spouse about later when you meet them. Good luck, and remember that persistence pays off.

You Aren’t Responsible for Your Ex’s Happiness

One of the questions I get asked the most is, “How do I stay friends with my ex?” My answer is simple enough to make one word: Don’t. 

Y’all know I’m all about spreading kindness in the world. I strongly believe you should leave every person better than you found them, and one of my favorite quotes from Taylor Swift is,

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

This is such a beautiful sentiment and I think making people’s hearts feel warm and fuzzy is such an amazing superpower we all have. One person you absolutely shouldn’t worry about making happy, though, is your ex. Whether you guys dated for 6 months or 6 years, there are very few circumstances where I think it’s healthy to remain friends with an ex once you’ve broken up.

Sometimes people argue that they think remaining friends is the “mature” thing to do, however, I think many often just an excuse to keep tabs on someone you once dated. As an adult it is so important to look out for your own mental health and wellbeing, and it’s rare that people end a relationship and one or both parties isn’t hurt by the breakup.

I’ve never stayed friends with anyone I dated. The way I see it, I already have enough friends, and there isn’t a place in my life for someone who was once romantically involved in my life. Furthermore, it saves the drama that could possibly come up when you find someone new. You don’t have to worry about your ex’s heart hurting, and you don’t have to make the special person in your life feel at all uncomfortable about a past.

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If I saw any of my exes now I wouldn’t have any sort of feelings — negative or positive — about them. Time heals the heart well, and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone in the world other than Robert. Still, though, I don’t have a need for any of my past relationships. I learned the lessons I needed to from each of them, and hopefully anyone who’s gone out with me can say the same with the confidence that I wasn’t the right person for them.

My advice to you if you’re wondering when to reach out to someone you broke up with is to choose to never text them. Choose to move forward in your life, cut ties completely, and to realize that there are bigger and better things ahead of you. Unless this person is absolutely the exception to the rule and you feel like you want to try one last time to make things work, realize that there is someone out there who you won’t have the same problems in the relationship as your ex with. You likely didn’t work for a reasonand there are so many other people in the world that you can now have room to find a person who will work beautifully with you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell you this will all be so easy. The first few days of a breakup are the hardest because you go from having someone in your every single day life to never talking again. Don’t use the excuse that you need to “be there for” your ex to talk them through your breakup, though. Block their number, delete them on all forms of social media, and cut ties in any way that you need to so that your heart can heal and you can have a new, healthy relationship one day. In the meantime, rely on friends and family to get you through your breakup and realize that your forever person is still out there — it just wasn’t your last boyfriend.

Quality Time

This is the last of my five Love Languages posts. If you missed the other ones, here they are:

And now it’s time for my favorite of the five — quality time!

Quality time has always been high on my priority list, but the past couple of years it’s really been bumped to the top. Doing a deployment with someone you love is one of the hardest things I can think of. There are so many reasons I find it difficult, but a big one is that you don’t get to spend very much quality time with them — for like, almost an entire year. This has given me a great appreciation for the time I get to spend with Robert now.

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Robert and I both have quality time as our #1 LL. We went to my first Red Sox game recently and it was one of the best days!

Make sure you are fully present when you are spending quality time with your partner. This means putting your phone away, not running through a checklist in your mind of things you need to do, and temporarily pushing aside any worries or concerns you might have in your life to live in the present with them. When you are using quality time as a love language with someone, the emphasis should be on the word qualityTime is something that you sometimes have to give to things you do and do not care about. You go to the doctors office because you have to make sure you stay healthy, and you give your time to your employers in return for a paycheck. Giving time to a loved one needs to be different. It should be offered as a caring gesture and given because you want to bond and grow closer to someone.

Here are a few ways you can incorporate quality time into your love life:

  • Run errands together. This is a big one, guys! Errands are an inevitable part of life, and they are something every single person will have to do, likely several times a week. Going on outings to get groceries together or running to the post office as a team are so important for your growth as a couple. You get quality time in the car together and time to chat and bond while you pick out what you want to have for dinner that week. Do not split up when you go shopping just to make things faster; stick together and find each item as a team so that you can experience life together. It may not be as fast that way, but it’s a whole lot more valuable.
  • Make time for regular date nights. No, ordering takeout and watching football doesn’t count unless that’s something you both genuinely enjoy doing. Go out into the world and try a new restaurant or explore a new town together. Quality time doesn’t usually care where you are, rather it focuses more on enjoying each other’s company fully. Exploring new places is an awesome way to learn new things about each other — no matter how long you’ve been together — and it forces you to keep up with your plans of having a set date night.
  • Don’t always choose television. I know it’s so easy to get sucked into the tube, especially after a long day at work. TV is a great way to relax, but it isn’t always going to fulfill the quality time aspect of your partner’s life. Make dinner together while singing along to Taylor Swift, or take your dog for a nice, long walk.
  • On the other hand, having a weekly TV show you tune into together is a great way to bond. That way you have something fun to talk about together and can giggle or scream at the TV when something unexpected happens. I love watching The Bachelor with Robert, and he likes watching football or basketball with me. We started watching Big Brother this season, which has been a really fun topic of conversation for both of us. We’ve loved cheering the same people on, and debating who would be a more exciting winner — Josh or Paul. Now that the season is over we are going to start watching The Office because Robert has never seen it and doesn’t think he likes it… That was a dealbreaker that I suppose I overlooked when we first started dating because of his witty charm and strikingly handsome looks. Now that we’ve been seeing each other for almost two years, I think we have to change this about him. Please leave comments of encouragement and excitement about The Office so that Robert can see that it’s everything you could ever want in a TV show and more.

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Quality time seems like it would be a simple love language to master, however if it’s not something that comes naturally to someone it can be difficult to understand how to use this LL properly. If there isn’t a genuine desire for a connection, being in the same room doesn’t really fill the emotional needs of the person who craves QT. If this isn’t a natural desire of your heart, the more you venture outside your box of usual activities, the more you might get excited about spending time with your significant other.

Figure out what your Love Language is today, and perhaps more important, what your partner’s Love Language is. It is absolutely a game changer in a relationship and can make your bond just that much closer.