Love And Pain

Pain and sickness are really difficult things to write about. Trying to describe things you’re feeling but  many people have never dealt with before is essentially attempting to put pen to paper about the way butterflies feel in the beginning of a relationship to someone who still has yet to experience it. You can use the right words, but they won’t really connect until they have something to relate it to.

For example, think about the way some of your first crushes felt, versus how actually being in love feels. They both have the same warm and fuzzy feelings as a base, but feel drastically different. That’s how I would compare temporary short-term pain, such as an injury or a broken bone,  to chronic, long-lasting pain. I’ve experienced both, and before getting sick I wouldn’t have had anything to draw from to compare to the new exhaustion chronic pain brings. You don’t ever get a break from chronic pain. Even when you can kind of ignore some of your problems on your good days, the bad days are right around the corner. I do a great job of not thinking too much about that when I am well, and I’ve gotten really good at living in the present when I can. Then, the bright side is that on bad days I know a good one just has to be right around the corner. Chronic pain is a vicious cycle, though, and wears you out to your core. Not only does everything hurt, but you also are always so incredibly tired from not being able to sleep. Whether your body is annoyed from being tense and having your muscles screaming at you all day long or your brain keeps you up thinking about the pain you’re feeling, you don’t get good rest. I don’t remember the last time I got in bed and just fell right asleep. It’s been years.

I’m constantly sending articles and trying to pull up scientific findings about my conditions to people I love because I want them to understand how I feel. God, I want to be understood. I hate feeling cranky because of my pain or having days where I can’t stand it anymore and just break down and cry. Granted, the latter are few and far between, but sometimes my body just can’t take anything else and needs some sort of outlet. Talking isn’t my best one because I want to help other people feel happy and good, so I don’t like to complain — or maybe I don’t know how to complain properly; I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. I love to write, but I don’t always have the strength, and frankly I don’t want to leave behind troves of essays on how much my body hurts.

I just don’t feel like anyone I’m incredibly close to has been in a situation quite like mine, and it’s minorly heartbreaking knowing that yes, I always have a shoulder to cry on, but I don’t have anyone who really gets it and can tell me that they know how I feel. That’s why I am motivated to write about my struggles. 

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Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want anyone I love and care about to ever understand chronic pain or any other kind of difficulties in life. One thing I’ve always been thankful for is that I’m the one with this problem. I would gladly take every pain away from the people I care about if it meant they didn’t ever need to face it themselves. Not only do I feel like God gave me a strong heart and will to keep pushing forward, but I think He gave me a beautifully optimistic outlook on things, and I’m really grateful for that. I think I’m handling the hurdles I’ve been thrown the best I possibly can, and I actually think that despite being a painfully average twentysomething, I am exceptional in accepting the negative things in life as a reality and then figuring out how they can turn into a blessing — or at the very least, something that doesn’t consume me. I have always said that I may have POTS, but POTS doesn’t have me. The same goes for my chronic widespread pain; it’s a big part of my life, but there’s no way in hell that chronic pain is going to take my entire life from me. I will count my blessings until the day I die, and today those are my loved ones, dogs, chocolate, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, and each and every one of you. 

Taylor Swift Is My Spirit Animal

I’ve never been able to relate to the whole spirit animal thing. I don’t think there’s really an animal that I can compare my personality to. I wish I could just make it simple and say a dog, but I don’t think anyone can really say that; dogs are just too good for us.

Taylor Swift is someone I can completely relate to in so many different ways, though, so I’ve adopted her as my spirit animal.

That’s such a funny sentence because if you look at her life compared to mine it couldn’t be more opposite. She is in the public eye and has 105 million followers on Instagram, compared to my account just scraping the surface of 1,000; far more people read the songs that journal her feelings than these blog posts. Taylor has all the money in the world to spend on whatever she wants, owns my dream apartment in Manhattan, and gets to utilize the best makeup artists in the world for anything from red carpet events to just going to the gym. She has celebrity BFFs and can meet whoever she wants, but her heart still beats like a normal human being’s. She still has the exact same feelings as us, and articulates them so darn well that you forget what her reality is. Love or hate her, you have to admit Taylor is the queen of feelings and can bring them out in our lives despite living in very different circumstances.

I listen to Taylor Swift to get inspiration for different blog posts and they help me bring back feelings when I need to describe how I felt at any given time in my life. If you asked me about any of my experiences, I could tell you which Taylor song I was obsessed with in any significant chapter of my life.

For my first breakup I listened to, “All Too Well” on repeat — mainly because I loved one of the last lines of the song. It reminded me that broken promises aren’t something that make for a lasting relationship, and even though the song didn’t sing the tune that I would fall in love again, I knew that there was something bigger and better to come. “Begin Again” was the song that offered hope that I would one day meet someone who loved me despite the hardships that life might throw our way, and that I might not actually know what true love is yet.

Meeting Robert and falling in love with him confirmed that to me, and “Enchanted” soon became my new favorite song. He doesn’t know it (Until now, that is), but sometimes when I feel like my heart is going to overflow with love I’ll dance around my room and sing it at the top of my lungs. I think about the countless times he picked me up before he went overseas and drove me to and from his little apartment in the city just to have a little bit of time together. I remember how I felt when he wondered aloud how he met someone so compatible to his own heart, and I remember thinking about how he didn’t know quite how strongly I felt about him because I had my guard up. I blushed when he told me how he felt, and I tried my best to bottle up the words, “I love you” that were just dying to spill out. I remember the day I couldn’t contain myself anymore and decided to tell him how I felt. There hasn’t been a day we haven’t said those three little words since.

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When we started doing long distance for his deployment, the song “Ours” really touched my heart. I remember driving to my favorite local coffee shop one day and pulling to the side of the road to cry when that song came on the radio, as it brought up so many of the delicate feelings I had been having since he left several months before. I still can’t watch the music video without tearing up a little.

The really difficult feelings from my past have disappeared, but I can still remember them all so well. My heart remembers feelings the same way minds keep track of numbers, dates, or formulas. I don’t try to; I’m just programmed to rely on my heart more than anything. This is why I want so badly to reach out and let other people know that the hard emotions that you want to forget will disappear one day and be a distant memory. I want to share my experiences about falling in love and caring deeply about people because that’s what makes life so worthwhile, and we can all have those kind of feelings in our lives if we’re willing to put ourselves out there and risk getting hurt. Love is the one thing in the world I think is worth risking everything for, and when you find the person who’s heart beats to the same rhythm as yours, all the pain and heartache from your past begins to disappear. 

Putting Pen To Paper

One reason I think my writing sometimes speaks to people is that I feel so deeply. I sometimes joke that my feelings are as strong as Taylor Swift’s, but I think creative people are often just wired like this.

When I posted my story about forgiveness the other day, my friend Kristie said something that resonated with me. She said that I know how to put words to feelings. This has actually been something that has scared me in the past because I do think I know how to put pen to paper and explain the way I feel about things. I’m not extraordinary at a lot of things, but I definitely know all about feelings. On top of that, I’m not so scared about what people think anymore that I have trouble posting my intimate thoughts.

So, why is this a scary combination? Because I’m afraid of what God has in store for me. Writing and openness is a gift, but it’s terrifying because I don’t want to go through the hardships it takes to relate to others. Now that I’ve been through some of the scary stuff — like depression and chronic illness — I love that I can share my stories to help others, but I want it to end there. I enjoy writing about love and exciting twentysomething things and want to do that instead of writing about the things that hurt. I don’t want to ever have to write about how heartbreaking a deployment is again. I don’t want to deal with illness or loss anymore, and I don’t want to ever hurt deep down to my core ever again.

I know life isn’t perfect and that we’re meant to hurt sometimes in this world. Some people have it harder than others, and often times life is absolutely not fair. There are ups and downs, and nobody in the world has a completely easy and constantly fulfilling life. We all struggle, whether it’s with something catastrophic or minor stresses. As long as you’re alive pain is inevitable, but the way we deal with it and use it to lift others up is what really matters. The message I really want to get across in this is that life and love is worth the pain we have to deal with. You always have someone who loves you (And if you don’t feel that way, please message me and I will absolutely be there for each and every one of you!), and you matter in this world.

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Today’s lesson: Your pain and heartache can be used for good. Sometimes you’ll never know why something bad happens to you, but other times you can look back and realize the purpose was to help you grow. Having a chronic illness has made me more empathetic, kind, and compassionate than I ever was before. Dealing with depression has given me new insight to how others might be hurting and makes me want to write about my past and my feelings to help others feel less alone — and to show that even the most heartbreaking of things can be overcome. I still don’t have everything all figured out, but I am trying to use my pain and heartache to connect with others and wrap my readers in a gentle, virtual hug. You may not know why you are struggling today, but please always keep fighting. You never know who you might be impacting with your life and what kind of incredible plans God has for your future.

Dear John,

Have you ever heard Taylor Swift’s song, Dear John?

It’s exhausting.

“Long were the nights when
My days once revolved around you.
Counting my footsteps,
Praying the floor won’t fall through — again.”

What makes people so blinded when it comes to love? I give myself an excuse for my first love, but I don’t have any other free passes I want to use. One thing I do firmly believe in is living life without regrets hanging over your head. There isn’t anything I can do about my past, but there sure is a lot I can do to make my future the way I want it to be.

I’ve made so many mistakes, but I’ve learned from them. This blog was created not only to share funny stories in hopes of connecting with my readers and making people laugh, but I was also inspired by my past experiences to share all of the knowledge I have collected about relationships along the way.

A major lesson I learned was that actions speak so much louder than words. You realize how crazy this is for an English student to say, right? Like, my entire job in graduate school is simply using a bunch of words.

It’s so true, though. I had a point in my life where I was so easily comforted by just a little bit of sweet talking. Empty promises rolled off his lips like sweet honey, and I was happy with anything I could get. It was these minuscule moments that mattered to me — I just wanted reassurance in the present that we would be okay. Even if it was just for the day.

Saying one thing and never having the actions to match is a wonderful way to be a master manipulator. Whether this is intentional behavior or one’s nature I’m not really certain, but I am sure that people like this do not make comfortable lovers. Your security is very short-lived and you’ll never be able to get off the roller coaster of emotions that come along with this kind of love. One second you feel high and on top of the world, the next you’re ready to throw up from the shooting adrenaline that is anxiety.

Imagine being on an enormous roller coaster for months. The first few times are fun, new, and exciting. You close your eyes and feel the wind brush against your skin for the first time; your heart is racing faster than it ever had before. You’re thrilled at this new experience and feel like you want to just keep spinning around and around — until you realize that the ride is making you sick. Suddenly you are so twisted about that you don’t know which way is up, and you want to get off… You’re so addicted to the high that is causing your pain, though, that you don’t want to get off. The thought of leaving this thing you once held so dear is terrifying — it’s even scarier knowing you can never get back on this ride again if you give it up. So you stay on and continue to get sicker every second you’re on the wild ride. You completely forget that there are other ones that may not be as much of a thrill, but would never in a million years make you so ill. Whether or not you ever choose to get off is up to you, but I ended up deciding that instead of so many fast ups and downs, I wanted to choose something that would gently hold me, make me feel comfortable, and rock me to sleep when I was tired, rather than constantly jerking me around.

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Today’s lesson: If someone truly cares, they will not only tell you, but show you with actions. If an English student is telling you that she believes actions speak louder than words, it’s probably true. There’s a reason sayings like this are cliche — it’s because they really are tried and true.

Military Love

Since I started dating someone in the Army I’ve been hyper-aware of military in the media and as a source of entertainment.

One thing I’ve found particularly interesting is the way deployment love is portrayed in music. I absolutely love writers and musicians because I think they can connect so deeply with my heart and soul. I love to write, but sometimes the way others put pen to paper explains even better the way I see the world — especially when that someone is Taylor Swift. 😉

Something music videos have made me notice, though, is how they happily skip through the way a deployment really feels. Sometimes the songs have a message in them about how difficult this kind of love is, but the overall vibe of the video is still,

  1. Military boyfriend gets orders to go overseas
  2. Girl (and sometimes guy) cries
  3. They write letters back and forth
  4. Then have a really heartwarming hello

This is beautiful, but I used to watch these videos and mainly just think about how sweet they were. I wanted a guy like that who would write me sweet love notes and stay with me, even when times were hard. I still want all of that, but this isn’t the way I want to have it. I want someone who is home with me and someone who will be in my everyday life. I don’t want to worry so much about a loved one’s safety, and those sweet “romantic moments” are great, but they really are moments instead of constants. The reality of a deployment is that you are doing 9 months of extremely difficult long distance. You don’t always know how your significant other is doing throughout the day and sometimes go days without speaking (Thank goodness for the Internet! I can’t even imagine what it must have been like even ten years ago). You pray your hardest that God will protect your loved one, but you also can’t help but be nervous anytime a strange number calls your phone or something terrible happens in the news.

People get divorced or decide they don’t want to stick around during a deployment. Infidelity happens a lot more often than you’d think on both ends, and sometimes either one or both parties think it is just easier to end the relationship than it is to go through something like this together.

Deployments are hard. I am so lucky I am doing one with my boyfriend while I am young and still live at home with family. Most of my friends are unmarried, so I have people to hang out with and offer comfort and support, and I don’t have a family that I have to raise on my own. I can’t even imagine what the next stage of a deployment would look like. My heart goes out to those who have to endure even harder circumstances than I do.

The first 30 seconds of this video made me so nauseous. I literally just stopped watching.

So although I do think these videos are beautiful (And guarantee a few tears), I don’t think they even scrape the surface of what a deployment looks like — in all fairness, how could you in three and a half minutes?

I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world, after all, if I wasn’t going through it right now I may have never met Robert and I love that we’ve been strong enough to go through this together towards the beginning of our relationship. I wouldn’t wish this experience on my worst enemy*, though. Deployments aren’t beautifully romantic every day; they are worrisome, lonely, and an enormous sacrifice.

God Bless America.

 


*You know who you are, worst enemy!!! Just kidding. I can’t think of anyone I know personally who I consider an “enemy,” but you get the idea.