Hello all who visit my blog, I unfortunately am no longer writing on this site for the time being. I have too many memories here and it saddens me to say but I have to leave this blog alone until those memories heal. I currently am writing at haliestudies.wordpress.com and my tumblr is haliestudies.tumblr.com and my personal tumblr is halieransom.tumblr.com. Thank you for your time here.
Today was Memorial Day. My family and I loaded up in my grandmother’s van and set out to decorate the final resting spots of our family members with little daisies and crosses. The pattern is the same every single year; beginning at the grandmother I had only known for three short years and ending at the uncle I never got to meet. My mother attempts to hide it, but it is obvious how much placing three dollar plastic daisies into Styrofoam on the ground means to her. My father is more difficult to figure out. For some bizarre reason, he feels the need to subtly give her a hard time about her desire to visit her mother’s grave every year. It seems as if Memorial Day is his ticket to recite the same Biblical phrases about how Grandma isn’t really in the ground, his brother Johnny isn’t really here, sort of phrases that we hear every year. After today, I begin to wonder if it is because he can’t handle the thoughts the cemetery enters into his brain. He’s a strong man, though, so that excuse seems unlikely.
It is generally Oklahoma-summertime-hot this time of year, but it was actually quite pleasant today. There was a slight breeze blowing through that even made me think to myself, “Why are cemeteries so darn peaceful and serene?” We go to Grandma’s grave, and I stand there, desperate to feel some sort of emotion, this woman is my grandmother after all, and my best friend and bringer-into-this-worlder’s mom. I feel little to nothing, and feel a tinge of disappointment. The most I feel is longing, and it is longing to feel something more, to have known her long enough to feel something more. My mom tries her best to make the grave site perfect, and wonders if reorganizing flowers that other family members have already left would be inappropriate. The pinks just don’t match, and they placed them right in front of the stone. I just nod, trying to get a grasp on what she really wants to do. Most likely, this is just another situation where my mom internally feels the need to achieve perfection and make everyone happy, even her dead, occasionally abusive mother. She is full of forgiveness and love, even when she has a right not to be. Things turned for the better between the two of them, then right when all was well, she died.
I stare blankly at my Grandmother’s grave still striving to feel something. Not much more comes but a longing to live in an earlier time. We walk to my father’s step-brother’s grave, and I feel something. I always feel something with Johnny. Johnny was, to put it bluntly, a little slow. A learning disability is what the politically correct would say he had. I have never met him. For some reason, I always feel sad when I go by his grave. Do not laugh when I say this, but his hair was the same reddish tone as mine, and for some reason that makes me feel more connected to the man who I have never met. Also, my Daddy cries every time he is mentioned. The dad who always feels the need to remind us on Memorial Day that they are just empty shells underneath the ground always cries. Granted, my father is a frequent crier, but this type of cry is different. It’s a painful cry, a cry full of regret.
My father could knock your teeth out in one swing if he felt the need existed. Most frequently, noses were broken for the cause of protecting Johnny from the cruelty that is school age kids or the same cruel kids pointing out the fact my Daddy had more holes in his shoes than money in his pocket. This is how I know the regret is real. The aftermath of a protector turned into the attacker.
My dad also goes on long rambles a lot. He must be where I get it. My dad talks a lot, but if you are listening intently you will really hear what he says. One day, Johnny was mentioned and he started on his ramble. If he is anything like me, he rambles worse when he is avoiding emotional confrontation whether it be within himself or external. He started on his talk, ended in tears, and let us all know something my mom had apparently already known. He would not say specifics, but there was one particular day that my dad had money stolen. On this particular day, was the first and last time he treated my Uncle Johnny poorly. My dad was one of eleven children. His mother, my Grandma, worked as a cook. Do the math, and you can see that they weren’t a wealthy bunch. Dad has a heaping amount of good qualities, and it’s debatable whether his temper is bad or good, but in this case it was a bad one. Apparently, if I remember correctly, the money was stolen, my Dad blamed Johnny, and my father’s temper took it out on Johnny in a brutal way. There are obviously some details missing from this story, but I’ll keep those out of this post. If I remember correctly, Johnny never took the money.
My father stood atop his brother’s grave today. I felt something. I felt something when I saw my Daddy cry. I felt something when I saw the regret pour through his silent tears into little pools that fell into the tired, delicate crevices that lined his face. You’ll stand up all day and speak of forgiveness on Sunday, Daddy, but I feel as if some of those tears would disagree that you’ve completely forgiven yourself. Maybe, you have. Maybe, you are just actually more human than you like to portray yourself to be. Maybe, the regret isn’t fully directed toward yourself, but to the lack of time Johnny had. Maybe, your regret is in place of a fourteen year old boy with a gun’s lack of regret or respect for human life.
I say all that to say this: I wanted so extremely bad to go run up behind my Daddy, wrap my arms around his neck, pat him on the shoulder, and say the words, “It’ll all be alright. He knows. He forgives. He’s happy. You were a good brother.” But, I didn’t do that. I stood, silent, swaying due a combination of the Oklahoma wind that started picking up and my own awkward inability to express my feelings of love to my own family. I feel that my love language is touch, and I am the first one to volunteer to receive a hug from anyone, but at home I instantly develop a sort of defensive, competitive, awkwardness. I am working on my ability to suck it up and tell the world how I really feel. My world being my family. The reason I am the way I am needs many, many more posts to fully describe in proper detail, so I will spare you the words in this one.
I will leave you with this. One day, my Daddy will be the one I lay the plastic daisies on. We don’t like to think about that, but it is inevitable. I don’t want to cry any regretful tears, so I am striving to be more open to giving and accepting love and affection. Even to those who may not deserve it. I challenge you to do the same. Happy Memorial Day.
Hello there everyone! I am trying to eat healthy AGAIN. I get on these random health kicks so hopefully one will stick soon. Today I was honestly craving fruit and salad, so that’s a plus I suppose. There is an adorable little deli that I go to on quite a regular basis that serves the YUMMIEST chicken avocado salad. I’m absolutely obsessed with adorable deli/bakery combos and this place is one of my favorites. There prices are awesome for the portion they give you, but they close at six every day, and it seems as if they are always closed when I’m craving my favorite salad!
I decided that it couldn’t be too terribly hard to make, gathered the ingredients at the store, and came home to make my version. Now, my version isn’t quite the same. I don’t have bacon on mine like the original, but that would be an easy fix if bacon is what your heart desires. I also didn’t put red onion on mine. There’s is definitely yummy, but my quick version was actually pretty darn delicious if you ask me. I love salad, but I rarely have a salad that just hits me and makes me say WOAH that was yummy! But this salad definitely did, and it is suuuuper simple. The salad is so simple that I really don’t even want to call it a recipe, but here is the recipe for my salad I had for dinner today. Hope you guys like it as much as I did!
Have any ideas of different toppings to add to the salad? Leave them in a comment below! (:❤
Halie’s Yummy Chicken Avocado Salad
One small avocado
Chicken breast pieces (I used the pre packaged one for quick and easy prep!)
Vinaigrette (I used the WishBone brand Romano Basil one. SO YUMMY.)
I mixed about two handfuls of romaine with one chunked avocado. The avocado was pretty small, but if you love avocado like me, I used the entire thing. I sprinkled about half a handful of feta on top, and sprinkled a little bit of garlic salt and pepper to taste. I just used a few pieces of chicken because I wanted to focus more on the veggies. I topped with two squirts of the yummiest vinaigrette ever and that was it! I will have to post a picture of the original salad for you guys when I get it again. to compare. I loved this salad so I hope you do too! It was actually quite yummy! Hope you enjoy! (:
Overcoming Struggles and the concept that Happy Endings might not be the only Good Endings: A Brief Overview of Why Halie is Happy is Halie is Happy.
Struggling with depression is well, a struggle. I know, I know what you’re thinking. Halie! I thought this blog is supposed to be a happy place! It is, it is! I promise! The blog is titled Halie is Happy for goodness sake! I suppose I should take a quick detour before things get slightly heavy in order to inform you all why this blog is titled Halie is Happy. If you already know why it is titled what it is, or you just don’t really care, (shame on you!😉 ) then you might want to skip down a few paragraphs to get to the intense stuff, because I have a feeling this post will be a long one.
I have had multiple previous blogs, journals and other writing outlets. I started college and became really busy really fast. I have always wanted to have a successful blog, but it is quite hard to do that when you are a busy college student. In the end, it was becoming more and more stressful to not write at all than it was to write every day. Writing, for those of us blessed with the writing bug, tends to be more along the lines of a spa date than a homework assignment or duty. I needed a blog, and the blog made me feel like something needed me. This blog is new, as you can see, so there are not too many entries on her just yet, but just the fact I have some place to write again makes Halie a happy girl. My other blogs had a kazillion different names. I usually over obsess on titles because I want my domain name to be just right.
When I chose to begin yet another writing outlet, I could not come up with a name. I wanted it to be special because I wanted this blog to be the one I stuck with. The name I chose I would be stuck with for quite some time. Then, Halie is Happy popped into my head. At first, I thought no way. That is so cheesy. People will think I was just trying to find some sort of word that would fit an alliteration theme with my first name. But, it started to sink in really why I was naming my blog Halie is Happy. I was calling things not as though they are, but what I wish them to be. Not that I was perpetually unhappy at the time or anything, but I definitely was not consistently happy. I chose Halie is Happy for my title as a sort of mantra to keep myself going. Every time I blog, I would be blogging for Halie is Happy. I know that it may seem a bit silly to some of you, but it was a way to remind myself that while I may be feeling distraught or struggling at the time, in the end, I am happy. I will be happy. I can be happy. There is more than sadness. Happiness is possible, reachable, attainable for me. Halie is happy.
As you can imagine from the back story of my name that I just informed you about, you can probably guess that I have struggled. You are correct, sir! I have struggled. Depression has been the dark shadow that I have been trying to escape from since around the time I was 14 years old. I cannot really explain what started the cycle that I have fought to overcome on and off over the past five or six years. Those who have blatantly obvious descriptions on why you started to fall into madness, I commend you. I do not envy you, but I commend you. Part of why depression is so downright maddening is due to fact that some days you are completely reduced to nothing but a gray puddle and you have absolutely no idea why.
I don’t really know what started it. Silly 14 year old girl things, a lot of instances where trust was broken, and a beginning of having an issue with trusting others and some pretty tough anger issues. I had so much emotion and anger pent up inside me that I did not even know really where it was coming from or how to get rid of it. I felt like screaming from the roof tops and letting everyone in on how I was feeling, but I never was able to get it out enough. Maybe years of talking to someone who sat in classrooms and reading textbooks will allow me to learn where that comes from some day. I think even in instances like this, we know where it comes from, we just cannot put it into words. We push things like this into that dark box inside our brain that just sits there like that box of Christmas ornaments we don’t feel like unpacking and putting away until we realize it has been a month since New Years. Just me with the Christmas laziness? Gotcha.
One day, my father was discussing me and said something along the lines of, “That’s Halie. Halie has always been a little more, eh, in touch with how she feels, and open with how she is feeling, and all of her emotions. That is why she writes that poetry and loves that stuff.” Hit it on the head, Daddy. I noticed over the years that I have always been a bit more sentimental than those around me. I have always been more emotionally open than others and I never understood why people have such a difficult time claiming their emotions when they aren’t as stable as they like them to be. When I am emotionally out of my comfort zone I acknowledge that. It is a part of me, and I deal with it. The second I feel something, I make sure that I feel it. I tackle it, I analyze it, I go through all the steps of truly feeling so that I can tell it goodbye eventually. Sure, some days I hate this, but in the end, I am thankful for my sensitivity. It makes me kinder and more understanding.
Perhaps that is partially what started it. Maybe my blessing of being open and sensitive (Beautiful traits to have, might I add, don’t let anyone tell you different.) made me more susceptible to depression and mental struggles. Maybe the fact that I analyze every teensy thing, every emotion that I’m feeling, or used to feel, has led me to let my feelings consume me. I am not sure. My struggle with emotions beginning to bottle up inside of me and consume me soon led to years of a use of that terrible coping mechanism called self-injury.
I could write a thousand posts on self injury, but in order to keep this post under a million pages, I will limit myself. When self-injury came to visit, a variety of horrible, saddening guests came along with it for the ride. When you open the door to harming yourself, you open the door to so many horrific things. First off, you open the door to destroying yourself, and the new endorphins your body begins to release starts telling you that destroying your own body is acceptable. Eventually, acceptable changes to absolutely necessary to survive. People in your life who have been there with you forever become uncomfortable with the marks on your arms and begin to fear you, avoid you, think you are absolutely insane, and leave you. Self-injury affects your day to day life in ways people could never imagine. Something so small begins to consume you and your life, those around you, and even the least serious of your relationships. Your ability to connect to reality begins to slowly fade, along with who you used to be. I battled back and forth with feelings of glorifying death. Hope is frail, but in order to stay alive you cling onto that frail piece as if it was your last lifeline. Hope is the rope keeping you from falling off the cliff, and even if that rope is thin, it is always better than no rope at all.
I am now almost twenty years old. (Better break out the wrinkle creams! My goodness time flies! D: ) I was self injury free for about 2.5 years, but due to recent circumstances have found myself struggling with urges on a more frequent basis. I found the organization To Write Love on Her Arms and they helped make my rope thicker. If any of you are struggling with anything I urge you to google them! I could tell you more details to my story of the struggle, but I will spare you for a bit. I have struggled. I have struggled hard. I have had days where I will be driving 80 miles an hour and a quick jerk of the wheel to the side of the road looks like a peaceful place to escape, and nights where I still cling to my pillow and let the flood of tears fall. Sometimes, the sadness is so overwhelming that I find myself short of breath, and all I want to do is go back to how it used to be, and never come out of it, even if how it used to be wasn’t the best either. Sometimes, the sadness is so bad I literally feel the need to throw up and I have to just hurt something. I embrace these moments the best I can and fight to grasp my rope again, and pull what strength I have inside of me out to the surface. I fight hard. I will never allow myself to become a victim. My struggles do not make me a weak person, contrary to the belief pattern of many in our society. My struggles make me strong because I have never allowed them to be bigger than the hope I have within me.
I believe we all have some part of struggle inside of us. That is why it is so, so important to be kind to others. We never fully know what lies underneath the shell people present to the world. My father always said, “Never compare yourself to others. You will do one of two things, and both are bad. 1. You will think you are better than they are. 2. You will think they are better than you.” I used to always compare my struggles with others’ and I thought mine were not important. I knew what horrific things happened to my precious, perfect mother growing up and it made me feel so, so guilty for being sad. Never do this to yourself. Never do this to others.
I have left out so many, many details, but as you can see I have dealt with a little. I tell you this, not at all for sympathy, but for this. Today, my friend asked me to begin writing my testimony for her book she wants to begin writing. (That’s her in our grumpy cat photo!) I thought about that. My first answer was a bit negative, “I’m not sure what mine would be at this point.”
She replied with, “Babe everyone’s testimony is an ongoing process. You certainly have a beautiful one. It’s just how God is working in our life. Through ups but mostly in the downs. Because that’s when we cling to him. Our testimonies are our life’s story.”
I pondered her question and response. In my humble opinion, one of my least favorite parts of depression is its unclear ending. I tire from the struggle. I tire from not knowing when these feelings will finally subside, when these unjustifiable urges will forever leave me, when happiness will forever outweigh sadness, misunderstanding and confusion, and when my rope is no longer needed because I will be standing safely on my two feet instead of clinging on to hope from the side of a cliff. I long sometimes impatiently for the day depression is forever behind me. On bad days, I wonder if it ever truly will be. I have learned to accept certain feelings, and try my best to remain hopeful. Still, it is exhausting sometimes. I crave a happy ending. I literally crave it at times. It is like I can taste it, I remember how I am like when I am not dealing with “active depression” and I crave it. I crave it so violently at times that all I can do is cry. I also feel for those around and near and dear to me because I want so bad to smother them with the vibrant happy girl I know that I can be!
When the word testimony entered my mind I though of a story of struggle that had a happy ending, and a happy closure. I wanted to help my friend have material to work with, I wanted to share the struggles and milestones that I have went through and achieved, but I was not entirely sure why anyone would want to hear about a girl who keeps hope alive but never has gotten to reach the light she sees at the end of the tunnel for longer than a few months.
Then, I started thinking that maybe that’s what they need to hear. Maybe, they need to hear that not all stories have found their happy ending yet. Maybe, happy endings aren’t what we should be focusing on. If we just dwell on what could be, we do not learn to appreciate the glimpses, however short they may be, of light that invade and overcome our darkness. At times, dwelling on the ending only makes the story more difficult to read. I am not saying to not be hopeful. If we do not have hope we have nothing. Hope is what allows us to continue, and pushes us to carry on. Hope is having faith of what will be. Hope is not the distraught feelings of yearning for what could be. Hope is the knowledge that our struggles do not make up everything of who we are. We are so much more than the hard times. We must never forget about those glimpses of light that come to us. Those pieces of light are who we are as well! When we dwell on the negative sides of what we are going through, we only are brought further down than where we even began.
So I leave you with this. Please never dwell so hard on your happy ending, that you forget about your daily happy endings. Never ever lose hope. Life is compiled of so many seasons. Rainstorms, even at their very,very destructive worst contain glimpses of beauty here and there. You are not worthless because of the depression filled state you may currently in. You can contribute so much. I often forget this. I know that to live without struggle would be wonderful and would feel so free. I know. I know it is hard. Trust me. I am not telling you that struggles are not hard. However, I have learned that I have to look for the little happy endings instead of dwelling on the final happy ending. Through that, you will find that the light comes around more often, and when the darkness strikes, find that person who hugs you the right way, and remain hopeful. If nobody else, I love you! Thank you for reading my ramble.
For those who aren’t aware, I am a multimedia journalism major at Oklahoma State University. This week’s project in one of my media classes is to create a multimedia slide show with audio and still photography. Hopefully, when when the two are combined together the images come alive in order to tell a story. This week, I interviewed and shot my friend Kevin Craig for the project! Kevin is a student at OSU who does super rad photography in his spare time. Check him and his work out here. Just thought I would share the UNEDITED (Besides the few I changed to b&w of course. I have not done any editing for lighting, quality, size, etc. Some of the photos just have basic filters thrown in there to spiff em up. Nothing major. Just wanted to get these up! The edited ones can be seen in my final project which I will post later!) photos that may make it into my project with you all from today. P.S. It was freeeeeezing. My fingers were frozen! Kept just repeating, don’t drop camera. don’t drop camera. (:
I have been beyond overwhelmed lately. I am not a photographer by any means, but I do love what I do, and it allows me to escape. When I can hide behind a camera, it’s almost like I enter an entire new world. Unfortunately, I still was actually in our reality. I was not in some other world despite the freeing feelings it gave me, and the girls who walked by on campus with me laying on the ground staring at grass or chasing squirrels thought I was quite odd! Haha! Oh well. I had just destroyed my exam (not in a good way.) and instead of losing it decided to take pictures of grass. Because I’m just that awesome. Here are a few pictures that I took that day! The squirrel is my favorite. -Halie