I Guess I Made It

Hey guys,

I’ve been feeling like I should be more proud of myself. After all, I graduated high school against some pretty rough odds. Against the trauma, the PTSD.

And, I mean, I am proud…but it wasn’t like I had a choice in the matter? I guess there’s always been this understanding for me that of course I succeed, of course I perform (and to a high standard, too).

I haven’t thought about this in a while, actually: this idea that I was a “trophy daughter” to my dad. Something to be shown off at parties, polished and pretty. I guess what I learned from it might have been that my success isn’t my own. It’s a given, and a given for people to brag about to their friends, even when they had no hand in said success whatsoever.

But that’s so, so wrong.

Honestly? I think I kind of kicked butt, and I think I deserve the right to toot my own horn a little bit. I made it through all of high school with straight A’s all around, even when I was dealing with my PTSD, even when my dad was being a creep. And I think I should celebrate that a little more.

Peace,

Seren

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My Brain Is Weird

Hey guys,

So as you know, I’m starting college in the fall, which is both exciting and scary at the same time (something I’ve written about quite a bit).

I wanted to take a second and zoom in on some of the scary: asking for accommodations.

I’ve always been taught that it’s sort of weak to ask for help. I’m “not really mentally ill,” and besides, my worth is in my ability to pass. Pretend it’s not there, pretend it isn’t a problem. But it is. Yeah, I look normal some days. Yeah, you might be unable to notice when I’m having panic attacks. But that doesn’t invalidate it.

As my therapist says, I cope by “over-functioning”. Where some people would respond to stress by having problems focusing on studying and having their grades slip, I respond by hyper-focusing. This is to the point that I’ve had panic attacks over tests being handed back because I’m convinced that if I get a “poor” grade (not an A) it means I’m lazy.

I’ve never felt that I’m allowed to show that my brain is not typical. So accommodations, while they might not be there to keep my grades up, are a sort of permission slip to myself. It is okay to step out. It is okay to have a panic attack. It is okay to ask for help. It’s a way of someone else starting the conversation for me, of me being allowed to take the mask off. And that’s so worth it.

Peace,

Seren

This Story

Hey y’all,

Another poem in progress for you! (TW: mention of sexual abuse)


Everyone says that sexual abuse is this story

A little girl in a stained white dress

It’s this story of how he’d come into her room at night

 

I told myself that story, too.

It was easier that way, to make-believe good intentions where there were none

And brush off all the little nothings that combined into a terrifying something.

 

I mean, it’s innocent, right?

A thirteen-year-old girl sits on her father’s lap, his arms protectively around her thighs

He sleeps on the couch in her room, but he’s just tired, he didn’t mean anything by it.

 

It’s nothing.

This is what I tell myself

 

After I wake up from nightmares

When I tell myself I’m not scared

To sleep with the door unlocked at night.

 

After I sit, every time, in the seat facing the exit.

After they asked what happened

To me and I couldn’t explain it.

 

Does it count if all I can hold on to is groundless fear?

If I know he can’t get me yet

Let me check the door another time to be sure.

 

Does it count?

Let me check to make sure

Sure that I’m miserable enough, that I fit your narrative of how a survivor is supposed to act.

 

Sure that every time someone tells me “well, it could have been worse”

I feel like throwing up.

How do you get to define the validity of what I went through if you never lived through it?

 

How am I sure it counted?

It’s a voice in my head, maybe mine

Or maybe from the bazillionth time you told me to “just be grateful it wasn’t worse”

 

Just a few awkward conversations

Just unreasonable paranoia

It’s normal to change your clothes hiding behind your closet door, right?

 

It’s nothing

We say it’s nothing, we reassure ourselves

That it isn’t like the story.

 

We all believe in this story

But maybe it’s because choosing to believe in something else hurts too much.

Maybe if we tell ourselves this story, we’ll protect ourselves from knowing what really happened to us.


Peace,

Seren

I Am More Than Just This

Hey y’all,

So time to share a little story. I just finished my senior year of high school, and during my sophomore year I found out that I had OCD. This was both a relief and a huge stressor, because people simply didn’t get it. I could go on for ages about the ignorance and fear that led me into some pretty crappy situations, and honestly, that’s what I spent my junior year doing. I became a mental health activist, and that saved me for a while. But this year it’s become something else.

I am so much more than just this. I am not just my OCD, my depression, my history of trauma.

About a month ago, I was talking to one of my surrogate moms. I started telling her about how I’ve been questioning what my activism even means to me anymore, how I feel like it’s started to consume me. I sort of thought she’d brush it off, tell me it was fine. As you guys probably guessed, that’s not at all what happened. I said later (as a joke) that it was almost like an intervention (lol).

She was scared for me for the same reasons I was. I can’t just be “that OCD girl” forever. It’s important, and I know it is, but I can’t only be this anymore. I feel so conflicted about this: I still feel SO strongly about educating people about OCD and mental illness, but I just can’t do that. Especially without other things to do.

There is so much more to me than this. And in college, I’m ready to show it. I am not just my OCD, my depression, my history of trauma. I am my queerness. I am my poetry, the satisfaction of writing a good spoken word piece. I am someone who loves lifting weights and doing martial arts. There is so, so much to me, and I want to show it to the world.

Peace,

Seren

(Bio)family

Hi. It’s Father’s Day today, which is probably one of my most un-favorite days of the entire year (tldr my bio-dad has struggled with mental illness since I was young and because of this we don’t have a great relationship)

I was talking to my grandma recently, though, and I was realizing that even though I’m not super close with my bio-family, my chosen family kicks butt in a major way. My awesome sisters, who see good in me that I honestly cannot, and send me random cute things to cheer me up. My brother who is I think at this point a human teddy-bear.

And my chosen dad. My Tigger. My amazing beautiful human being who is, as I’ve said before, basically the human version of a golden retriever and also powered by caffeine.

I’m not sure if I’ll end up showing this to you guys because I’m uncomfortable showing how much of an UNAPOLOGETIC SAP I am (lol) but just putting this one out into the universe.

Happy Un-Fathers Day to me.

Peace,

Seren

Summer Goals Update (i guess)

Hey guys,

Just a little quickie today, updating on my summer projects –

  • French is going pretty well! I think I didn’t realize how much knowing Spanish would help, and I think I’ll probably be able to have basic conversations by the end of summer, which is pretty good.
  • Celloing has been…okay. To be honest, I should be practicing more than I am right now, but I’m heading off to music camp today and that should help some 🙂
  • Drawing’s been fun, though honestly I am so ridiculously insecure about it that I’m worried I’ll give up on it.

Yeah, that’s about it.

Peace,

Seren

I Am Not A Bad Person

I am a sap. I will admit this freely.

Part of this means I have what I think of as a “theme of the year,” a word or phrase that encapsulates how I’ve grown up or changed over the course of the year. This year, overly ambitious as always, I decided to call the year of learning to love myself.

No surprise to anyone (except maybe my overly optimistic and perfectly sweet friends) this didn’t happen…but something else did. Something that, honestly, I didn’t expect to come out of all this.

I grew up in a not-so-great household, where even if it wasn’t said, it was implied pretty often that I was a bad person. Not in those words, of course. Ditzy, clumsy, ignorant. Inconsiderate. Awkward. Hard to love.

I came into this year expecting to love myself, but I don’t yet. Here is what I do know, though. I am not a bad person. No matter what I do, no matter what names people call me. That’s something that goes right down to the core of who I am and it is never going to change.

Self-love isn’t something that will come easily to me, I know that, but I think this is a good step in the right direction. I’m proud of that. (Go me!)

Peace,

Seren