Monday, September 11, 2017

My Personal 9/11

Years ago thousands of innocent people lost their lives in senseless acts of violence.
Yet I'm fighting a battle raging within myself for my own life.
It sounds so petty and ridiculous but it's my reality.
Depression and suicide are emotional and mental terrorists invading hearts and minds and souls.
This is what I face daily: my heart, or what's left of it, hurts like hell, pulsating with a fierce, fiery, all-encompassing pain threatening to consume me. I bite back tears, trying desperately to swallow them whole. My soul feels heavy and I slump my tired shoulders down,
down

d
o
w
n

It's stupidly pathetic, but sometimes getting out of bed seems like an award-winning achievement.
Most days I feel empty, useless, and invisible. 
Yes. Most days are really tough.
They rip me wide open, leaving me naked and exhausted, shivering in the cold darkness. 
I want to give up and run far, f a r away or really, truly disappear because nothing makes sense. 
Lets honestly be honest, would you notice if I was gone? Would you care? Cause I feel like I'm slipping away. 
This isn't the declaration of "poor me". This is my haunting reality. 
You see, I feel like a burden on everyone who "loves" me or even takes a second to care. I feel guilty for living like a ghost and would give anything to trade places with the victims of the tragedy who lived meaningful lives that happened on that dark day. 

-excerpt from my journal 9/11/15


 I've overcome more than I ever imagined and am confronted to this day with the overwhelming reality that my depression, like the memories of that unfathomable September day, will never fully go away. It's something you can't run from or hide from or pretend it isn't there. I know this all too well. We're all fighting adversity and now more than even we need to increase our compassion towards each other. That's how we survive. Together. That's why it's called a support system. This world is getting darker and darker. It's easy to be filled with hatred and bitterness and cynicism. It's hard to care and choose love and feel the accompanying emotions... but it's the only thing that makes this world worth living. 
Stand united not divided.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Gift of Being Broken


He was born so I can live forever with my family & loved ones AND YOU CAN TO!
mormon.org


"Sometimes I just feel broken.
I look at my life and see all the ways I fall short--all the those things I said I'd do that I didn't, all the expectations I had for myself that I never fulfilled.  I see my weaknesses that I never fulfilled. I see my weaknesses and frustratingly human frailty and the way it's affected people negatively in my life.
I see my broken heartedness... and wonder sometimes if I'll even feel whole again.
There are many ways to feel broken--physically because of illness or injury; emotionally because of unfulfilled desires or loss of a relationship; mentally because of anxiety, depression, or other mental illness; or spiritually because of crippling doubts or crises of faith.
In the midst of all these, it can be easy to agonize over whether or not we can ever be acceptable to God or be of use in His kingdom because we're so human and broken.
However, God is good, and He has taught me a valuable lesson about being broken through my life's experiences.
BROKENNESS IS A GIFT
Why? Because our brokenness connects us to each other, and our brokenness brings us to Christ. It is by bringing our broken hearts to Him that we are made whole.
Sharing our brokenness brings meaning to our experiences, and the connection we make with others when we share our stories brings healing. Being broken is a gift, because when we are broken, we recognize the need for a Savior to make us whole.
There's a reason that the sacrifice Jesus asks of us is a 'broken heart and a contrite spirit'. A broken heart is one that is open to Him, that lets in His grace. He felt our pains and sorrows first, and by going through a little of what He went through, we feel his power in our lives.
It's been in moments like that when I feel most vulnerable and the most broken, that I have felt the Savior's love the strongest. He does not condemn me for my weakness or demand that I move faster; He stays by my side. Every time I take the sacrament, it reminds me that it's okay that I'm broken, because Jesus was broken too.
He is 'a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief', and with His stripes, I am healed.
I am grateful for the gift of being broken.
God has shown me that He loves me [and you] and uses me not in spite of the fact that I'm broken, but because of it. As Christ says in Ether 12:27, "And if men [or women] come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then I will make weak things become strong unto them."
No matter our weaknesses and shortcomings, with Him standing beside us, hand in hand with Him and with those we love, we are w h o l e."
-Ariel Szuch

Lovelies, I testify we are broken to be made stronger.

 The future holds everything for you.

 Decide to be happy and positive today. Decide to look for the good. Decide to listen and follow God.






We must be brave enough to show up as love in the face of hurt, as courage in the face of fear, and as compassion in the face of hate.
mormon.org

<W/L3
C

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Letter to my current self [from my future self 40 years from now]





Dear Young Adult Charley,
Everything you're struggling with and all of the trials you've endured have purpose, will help other people, and are preparing you for greatness and a brighter future than you could ever imagine.
I know it feels as if the pain you're feeling (physical and emotional) is never going to end.
I know it feels like depression is going to kill you.
That's a fear that haunts you.
It's healthy to be afraid once in a while--it means you've got something worth losing.
It's when your fears dictate your life that it becomes a problem.
BE F E A R L E S S
BE U N S T O P P A B L E
BE R E S I L I E N T
BE THE B A D A S S P R I N C E S S you are
Learn to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. 
Here's the thing about pain: pain demands to be felt.
Running, hiding, and trying to bury it will only make it worse. 
Feel the pain; process it; use positive coping skills and reach out to others to help you through it.
...
and then let it g o

You are stronger than it, than your depression, than anything.
Remember: Heavenly Father, hope, and faith are stronger than doubt and fear.

The biggest piece of advice I could give you is this: happiness comes from within.
Learn to love and accept yourself so the life you dreamed of can begin.
You already know how to treat others: with unfailing kindness, a forgiving heart, and LOVE. 
Now you need to treat yourself the way you treat everyone else.
Live your life for you.
Don't do what your parents want or your friends or anyone else.
Do what is right for Charley, what Charley wants, what Charley needs, and what makes Charley happy.

We are all broken to be rebuilt stronger.
Forgive yourself.
No one is perfect and mistakes help us grow.
Don't dwell on things you can't change and don't live in the past.
Focus on the here and now, mindfully, and making the best of the time you have and your future will be incredible.
You're still a beautiful princess.
Like my new Taylor Swift tattoo: "I hope you remember today is never too late to be brand new."
It's never too late to begin again.
One day your future husband will find you.
One day you will change the world.
Believe it.
<W/L3
Future You 














 "If you want to know what it's like to survive hell and still come out shining brighter than the sun, just look into the eyes of a woman who has survived intense damage and refused to allow it to destroy her softness."
-Nikita Gill

 Here is a girl with a head full of magical dreams, a heart full of wonder, and hands that will shape the world.

I feel a responsibility to do what's upstanding and right.

 She's got that whole purpose driven warrior badass princess save the world type thing.

And then you realize that thing you have been longing for is you.

 Born 10/14/1989

Act like a superhero [creating a life that has you waking up in giddy disbelief that you get to be you].

Letter to my younger self

Dear Little Charley,
     I couldn't be more proud of you. You're a princess who has every right to a beautiful life and you can have it if you never give up and work hard for it. Never stop dreaming and keep your hopes high. Don't worry about boys and love right now. Love is the ultimate goal BUT you don't get it by searching for it. Love will find you when the time is right. One day your prince will come and you'll get your fairy tale and it will be better than in the books you read, the movies and TV you watch, and even your wildest dreams because it will be real and yours.
     Until then, B E P A T I E N T!!! I know waiting is one of your least favorite things [top three without question].

Remember the 4 "W's" you and Aubrey made up: 
Waiting + Working + Wishing = Worth it.
I understand that the world would have you believe, and sometimes make you feel, that it isn't worth it.
I promise you it is MORE THAN WORTH IT.
Little princess, you're constantly wanting to grow up and yearning for a happy future so bright it would make the sun, stars, and moon jealous. You believe it will be an instant fix to your problems. You don't see that the only way to change your life is to change it yourself.
Change only comes from within.
You hold in your hands a gift with a timer.
This gift has irreplaceable, incomprehensible value and will influence the rest of your life--for better or worse--depending on how you choose to use it.
The gift is childhood.
Enjoy every moment you can. It's a time to discover who you are and what you want to be.
To play nightgames, have sleepovers, not worry about bills, death, tragedy, stress, and the realization of how brief time is, and make believe with your good friends like:
A U B R E Y 
you're oldest friend, older sister, and literal best friend forever.

G A B R I E L L E & A L E X I A
who were always there for me and brought sunshine into my growing years
 
B R O O K E
my partner in crime. she basically lived at my house in high school.

& countless more...
Don't ruin your relationship with Tyson Bradley (childhood crush haha. lived on the same street. we were in EVERY class together from elementary through middle school)
because you like him as more than a friend. 
Don't ruin the strong bond of friendship.
Although you siblings may annoy you now...
mchale.charley.christian.jordan
... be a good big sister.
McHale, Jordan, and Christian love and look up to you.
One day, they'll be among your best friends.

Be yourself because you're perfect in the way that you are, the way God created you.
You're beautiful.
Don't bring yourself down by comparing yourself to others; raise yourself up--no one can compare to you.
Choose the right & follow your virtue like the stars which provide light that overpowers the darkness and leads you home.
Hold onto the light whenever you're sad or hurting. 
It will strengthen you.
You're a star.
You never have to dim your brightness for anyone nor do you need to apologize for how bright you shine.
Y O U R L I G H T I S G O I N G T O C H A N G E T H E W O R L D.
<W/3 (With Love)
Future you, adult Charley
age 27.


 BFT forever.

sister love; there is NOTHING better than family.

 Friends may come & go but the memories are forever.

Oh Mathew (: 
"She saved the best of her for the heart that understood the worst of her."

 My dad. My dadager. The man who inspires me beyond measure or explanation.

 "Don't walk through your toughest day alone. We're in this together."

To the first love of my life who I will never forget.
"Decide to be happy and positive today. Decide to look for the good. Decide to listen and follow God."
-Al Fox Carraway



F O R E V E R Y O U N G

In the words of my favorite [Taylor Swift]
"Oh darling don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up. It could stay this simple. Don't grow up. No one's ever burned you. Nothing's ever left you scarred. And even though you want to. Just try to never grow up."