The Great Debate

Are animal crackers cookies or crackers?

This is the question of the week in our household. I strongly believe they’re cookies — they’re sweet and more dessert-like than they are savory — and Robert thinks they’re crackers. Who knows his reasoning, other than the fact that there is the word “cracker” in the name. All other evidence points to cookie, but I digress.

We like to talk about our differing opinions, and sometimes we can even change each other’s minds. I used to think Poptarts were better than Toaster Strudels. I do stand by that for the strawberry flavor, but a cinnamon Strudel is literally one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It’s basically a mix of a warm, perfectly crispy fried donut with a gooey cinnamon roll filling. How can anything beat that?!

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I think it’s so important for people to keep an open mind and continue to grow throughout every stage in life. I have changed a lot in the matter of a few short years, and it’s crazy to think that some of the opinions I have now will be different after I gather even more information and experiences. I look back at my old social media sometimes and think it’s strange to see how much has changed over time. Sure, I have had some big life-altering events like getting sick with POTS, but I’ve also just grown up and matured as an adult human being. My thoughts at even just 22 years old were very different than they are now, six years later.

The thing with humans is that we are dynamic and ever-changing. We meet new people who challenge us, we collect different experiences, and any sort of trauma often drastically alters our view of the world. This is why I think it’s so important that we change the “cancel culture” we live in. Far too often, we see someone’s rise to fame or notoriety completely trashed because of something they tweeted or posted on Facebook nearly a decade ago. I could list dozens of examples of people who have fallen in the public eye, and I’m sure you can think of several too. One of the scariest things about being a human being is that we all make mistakes. Sometimes we make little ones that won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, other times we make huge life-altering mistakes that we wish every day we hadn’t. We make mistakes we can’t take back, and realize we’ve done something wrong by the lump in our throat and pit in our stomach.

Ultimately, the greatest gift we can give other people is love, and sometimes this is in the form of forgiveness. Our cancel culture is a lot more harmful than people really seem to recognize. It is based on hate, rather than understanding or trying to gently teach someone how they can grow. This is ironic when the person at fault is being completely ripped apart by people who are trying to preach tolerance because the truth is, we don’t have to agree with someone to still show them love and forgiveness. Love is often the most powerful way to change people’s minds and help them see that maybe they still have some growing to do. Martin Luther King Junior said it best,

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

There is a reason he is one of the most quoted people in American history. He was incredibly wise and someone who changed countless lives through exhibiting love in all that he did. He made peaceful protesting an art, and made an absolutely enormous impact on the world through his kindness and controlling his emotions well. He is someone who had every right to feel angry and frustrated and lash out, but he taught us that you can really get through to people by showing patience and love in your arguments.

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By living in a society based on canceling people who have made mistakes, we are essentially saying that unless someone is absolutely perfect, we will not accept them as worthy of having an opinion to share. This is problematic in so many ways. Not only does the cancel culture hurt people who have messed up, but it is ultimately scaring beautifully creative minds from sharing their talents and ideas with the world. Bright minds are now afraid to speak up because they know at one point or another that they don’t have a perfect past and have been wrong about something. In reality we all have, but it’s often a whole lot easier being critical of someone else than it is judging ourselves. It’s often merely a matter of who has unintentionally documented their mistakes on whether their career will thrive or completely tank before it even begins. There’s a difference between the past and present, and there is a difference between a one-time isolated incident, and being consistent in acting some kind of way. At the end of the day if we choose to hate every person for their uninformed past, we are going to miss out on some really amazing human beings. I hope we can move to a point where we can gently correct people, rather than tear them down with the insults and hatred that is so easily accessed with the invisibility of the Internet.

The Most Difficult Part About Forgiveness

One of the hardest things in the world is learning how to forgive yourself. At least for me it is.

You know when people proclaim, “I live with no regrets!” and you nod and are like, “Yeah, what this person is saying is so wise and great. I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done either. Ever.”

When I sit back and really think about it, though, I do have regrets in life. I have regrets that make me sick to my stomach and keep me up at night. I can easily forgive myself for any kind of mistakes I’ve made that affect my own life but when it comes to bringing my loved ones into the picture I have a really hard time cutting myself any sort of slack. I want the very best for the people I love, and I would do anything to make them happy. I kick myself whenever I do anything that hurts them, and would take any and every sort of pain life has to offer away from those I care about in an instant. Whenever I see someone I love hurting I wish my superpower could be taking pain away from others and giving it to myself instead. Even after knowing Robert only for a short time I knew with all my heart that I was glad I was sick instead of him. I know illness isn’t a realistic “Either/or” scenario, but I think about sickness a lot and am always relieved that I am the one with health problems, rather than someone I care about. Even after we had only been dating a few months I remember feeling like I wanted to be the one to protect his heart, and that I would do anything for this new, special person in my life — the exact same way I feel about my closest friends and entire family.

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Something I used to think about a lot was how I got POTS. Doctors haven’t been able to pinpoint a cause yet, as POTS has really only been studied since 1993 or so, and they need more information on it. One theory is that people can get sick with POTS after a traumatic event. My “event” happened to be a boy, and very constantly and consistently being stressed and weighed down in a relationship.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t regret worrying so much about someone who would later not even be a part of my life. In fact, I didn’t know it then, but I would later feel like I didn’t even know what real, deep, true love was until I found it for the first time in the passenger seat of a Ford pickup truck.

I have other regrets, though, that haunt me far more than my illness.

In the same relationship I didn’t stay true to myself — in a lot of ways. I gave up pieces of myself I held near and dear to my heart, all in hopes to avoid ever having to go through any sort of heartbreak. I didn’t think that I was strong enough to handle a breakup, and decided that all the pain my heart was feeling must just be “normal” in a relationship. I thought that love was supposed to hurt, and that men just didn’t care as much about having their partner be a part of their everyday life as women did. I thought that I must be crazy, clingy, and unreasonable for wanting a boyfriend who would be a significant part of my life. I thought the jitters I felt in my heart and stomach were butterflies, when they were really just anxiety. Little did I know way back then that I was already in the middle of a terrible heartbreak — one where I was losing myself completely.

There are things I changed in that relationship that I will never be able to get back. I wish with all my heart I could rewind time and do everything over again so I wouldn’t make the mistakes that I did, but clearly that’s impossible. My next-best tactic will have to be learning to forgive myself.

If I knew then what I do now, I would have ended things and stayed single for a few years until I met the person who would completely turn the way I felt about love upside down. I would have known that I wasn’t being treated right, that people should never pressure you to do anything you aren’t comfortable with, and I would have known that there are men who care about my heart so much that they will be able to put aside some of their own dreams for mine too.

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My heart still hurts often because of mistakes I can’t take back and the way they affect those I love. Sometimes I worry that I won’t ever be able to be fully loved by someone for forever with the baggage from my past.



Love is patient, love is kind.

This verse often plays in my head when I hear the word “love,” but something told me to dig deeper today. I Google “1 Corinthians 13,” as I don’t know the Bible well enough to recite the entire verse to myself verbatim. I skim until a small collection of words hit me and my heart drops into my stomach.

“LOVE KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS.”

I want to cry with relief.

God is speaking to me in a way I’ve never really felt before. I know Jesus came to this earth to die for my sins, and I know He forgives me, but for the first time in a long time I feel like I can forgive myself. I realize a real, true love can caress me gently and understand that just because I am scarred and imperfect doesn’t mean I am not worthy. Just because I made mistakes that really hurt in my past doesn’t mean my future can’t still be bright, healthy, and filled with the authentic love I have always wanted. Even though I can’t make everything right with the mistakes I have made in my life, I can look forward to creating a beautiful life with someone really special. The best thing I can do now is move on with my life and continue to look towards the bright future I have with someone who will be my forever and always, rather than dwell on the things that used to hurt me and tear me down. After all, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter who you have been with. All that matters is who you end up with.

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Dysautonomia International does not believe POTS is caused by stress or anxiety, so odds are it is not. Stress does very negatively affect the way I feel, though, which is why I now try to keep my life as stress-free as it can be.

Lessons Learned In Love

I’ve had my heart broken a few times and it always feels like a small piece of you goes away that will never heal. At first this seems discouraging. After all, I don’t want to lose any of myself in a relationship. Then I think about what I have gained.

I decided to make a list of what I’ve gained from my exes or even just people I casually dated. I encourage you to do the same, as it offers great wisdom with the way you want your future to look like.


My boyfriend in college taught me that I could completely open up to someone and be loved. He taught me that my flaws were okay, and showed me some of my strengths I didn’t even know existed. He also taught me a very important lesson on giving people a chance, and that a date is just that — a day on the calendar in which you make plans with someone to get to know him better. It doesn’t make you obligated to do anything after that.

The first guy I dated who turned into a jerk taught me that sometimes you can be great to someone who doesn’t deserve it, and that it isn’t always up to him to break things off when they become unfair. He taught me that I am so much stronger than I ever realized, and that just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean they have to be a part of your life. Through our unhealthiness, he taught me what a healthy relationship should look like. He also taught me to pay close attention to how a man treats his family — because that is likely the way he will treat his wife one day, too.

The first person I crushed on after a bad breakup taught me that I could feel butterflies around new people and that not everyone I like will like me back. He taught me that sometimes people are more interested in a chase than they are in a relationship, and he taught me that I needed to be more careful with my heart.

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One man I casually dated taught me that it’s so important to be with someone who you can have fun with just sitting on the couch, playing board games, or entertaining yourselves with music and conversation. He also taught me that you don’t have to have everything in common with a significant other, but it’s important to have some similar interests. I learned from our relationship that just because someone knows your heart and loves you for it doesn’t mean they’ll never hurt you. He taught me how quickly someone’s actions can change, and he taught me that I can respect myself enough to walk away as soon as someone treats me poorly. This was a big step up from where I began with dating.

My first deep and passionate love taught me that God often has different plans for you than you do for yourself. You can’t always control when or where you meet someone you’ll fall for, and you never know when an acquaintance might just turn into someone who changes your life forever. This man teaches me what it is like to be loved to your core and how to be selfless in a relationship. He doesn’t let a day go by without telling me how much he cares for me, but he also shows me this is true by making me a priority and spending time on me. He respects me, he loves me exactly the way I am, and he takes care of me, even when I don’t need him to. He has taught me what I want in a future spouse, and makes me want to be the kindest, most caring, and loving version of myself.

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Today’s lesson: None of your past was a waste of time. I have made so many mistakes that I sometimes wish I could take back, but they are what made me the person I am today. I am more empathetic, understanding, kind, and accepting because of what has happened in my life. When I really take the time to think about it, I wouldn’t change a thing; now I can write about things that have hurt me and I have done wrong so that others might escape from some of the pain I have endured in my own life. I also may not have the love in my life that I do today had my past not gone the way that it did, and I am infinitely thankful for that.

Words Have Power, Sweetheart

It’s crazy how much tone plays a role in communication.

I used to date someone who made me cringe every time he called me “sweetheart.” This made me kind of sad, as I thought the nickname was one of the cutest someone could own, but this particular person always called me that when I did something wrong. If I took a wrong turn because I misunderstood the GPS, he would yell, “Sweetheart!” in his flustered voice. He would then scold me about how it was going to take even longer to reach our destination now, and that I should pay closer attention to my girl Siri.

Most of the time this word would slip from his lips when he was scolding me for something minor. I don’t know what this person had against the word, but it was apparently something to use only in circumstances of utter frustration or mild rage.

Then I met someone new. He is kind and gentle and patient.

He calls me sweetheart all the time, but instead of barking it sharply at me, he sings the word happily, as it should be said. I am slowly getting used to the joy of getting lost and making an adventure of it, rather than my mistake turning into a fight, and I am still easily spooked when I have one of my lovely “blonde moments” that might inconvenience either of us. I’ve learned that my old love was not the norm, and that I wasn’t crazy for thinking he was overreacting. I definitely won’t let someone treat me poorly again when I make a mistake (I am only human after all), and I finally realize that someone I date doesn’t have to be cruel when I mess something up.

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Please learn from my mistakes. A large part of this blog was created in order to tell my funny stories to friends, but I also am so passionate about sharing some of the behaviors that I accepted in an emotionally abusive relationship so that others can recognize behaviors that are absolutely unhealthy if they ever are in a situation similar to my own. On the surface you don’t necessarily notice all the screwed up things that are going on, but when you dig deeper into what a healthy relationship should look like, an emotionally abusive relationship can become easier to recognize. If you have any doubts at all that your partner isn’t treating you right, (s)he very well may not be. Check out my older post about how I finally recognized that I wasn’t in a healthy relationship, and please seek help if you feel that you are not being treated fairly. There are so many amazing people in this world; don’t settle for someone who doesn’t treat you the way you would like your best friend to be treated in a relationship.


Here is one resource if you feel like you have any questions about whether your relationship is healthy. As I said before, if you think something isn’t right, trust your gut. Talk to someone you love and trust, or seek help if necessary. Or feel free to send me a message; I am definitely not an expert, but I will help you find one who can help you.

Letters To My Seventeen-Year-Old Self: Being Different Is Cool

Before I got sick I was hoping to move to New York City to turn my internship at Seventeen magazine into a full time job. Working at Seventeen was a dream job for me, as I absolutely love to write and feel like it is my calling to somehow share my experiences with teen girls in particular.

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This was my favorite cover we worked on during my time at Seventeen.

I think a big influence for this was my own high school experience. Looking back I realize how wildly insecure everyone was, and I remember struggling with my own image in so many different ways when I was that young. I have noticed my following with teenagers really growing lately, so I decided to start a new throwback segment dedicated to teens all about the advice I would give to seventeen-year-old me if I could go back in time.


Dear Krista,

I know you don’t particularly love high school and that you don’t feel like you fit in. You often feel invisible and like your presence doesn’t add anything to your school. Hang in there. High school hardly lasts forever; in fact, the 4 years you’ll spend there will seem so minuscule in the grand scheme of things. Despite what your best friend says, you’ll never regret not going to prom or missing a football game because you’d rather stay in and watch Netflix by yourself — and no, that doesn’t make you lame.

Now that I’m 25 and ten years (!!!) removed from my first year of high school, here are a few things I’ve learned.

The popular crowd doesn’t have it all figured out. I know they all seem like they’re having the time of their lives — some of them might be — but high school parties won’t play a role in the rest of your life. Most people don’t peak in high school, and that’s a good thing. You’ll have so much more to look forward to in life and won’t feel stuck wishing you could come back to this moment. Furthermore, high school popularity doesn’t translate to anything in the real world. Some of the popular kids will do amazing things with their lives, but others will feel lost and unsure of what their purpose in life is long after graduating. Stay true to yourself whether or not your peers love you for it. In the grand scheme of things, different is cool. Being different is what will help you get some kickass internships in college, and it is how you will learn to be content with your life even through the curve balls it throws at you.

You are young and innocent. No, not everyone has your best interest at heart, and there are plenty of people making decisions you never would have even known existed at your school. It’s okay that everyone tells you you’re “cute” instead of “hot,” and don’t feel bad when people whisper about things around you to preserve your innocence. Lots of people lose this far too early and can’t go back. You’ll make a few in your lifetime, but the most important thing is that you will learn from your mistakes. One day you might just write about them too, in order to save others from the heartache that you have been through.

In the meantime, have fun. Don’t worry about fitting in; keep prank calling Toys R’ Us asking for goofy violent Care Bear movies that don’t exist, dancing through the aisles in Walmart and laughing at people’s reactions, and TPing your best friends little sister at sleepovers. These are memories that you will cherish for years to come. Being cool is overrated, instead just be you.

Love,
Your 25-year-old self (Who, by the way, is still figuring out the way this thing called life works… I’m beginning to think adults don’t always know what the “right” thing to do is either)