I’ve only seen LOTR once but this post is about a ring so.

He threw it in the bottom of the box as if it was a forgotten piece of trash, I wouldn’t have even known it was there if I wasn’t specifically searching for it. I had a cardboard box in front of me, full of books and memories sent to me from a boy I had cut off all ties with. At the very bottom of the box was a ring, my ring. I could feel the anger rising in me at the absolute carelessness, as if it didn’t matter at all if I got this ring back or not, he threw it into the box and was done. The anger boiled up inside of me as I picked up the ring. Anger turned to hurt then back to frustration until it finally spilled over into laughter. Of course he didn’t give a shit about this ring, of course he didn’t.

I remember giving him this ring, sitting in his car sharing all our fears and worries, a young idiot who wanted to show him that I cared and would always be there for him, more than any one has before. I slipped the ring off my finger and into his hand, a reminder of me to keep when we would go off to our separate schools hundreds of miles a part. I foolishly pictured him cherishing it, having people ask about it, I wanted the people around him to know who I was since I couldn’t be there to remind them. I wanted to be important, I was young and I was so very naive.

Now here it was, a couple of months later, saved from the bottom of a box. It’s a plain silver band with “strength” engraved on it, it was a gift from my mother on my sixteenth birthday. I was a moody, dramatic teenager and I use to scribble “strength” on the inner corner of my wrist, thinking I’d get it tattooed there someday but at sixteen I’d settle for a less permanent reminder, so my mom got me the ring. I had worn the ring on and off in high school until wearing it daily once I moved out for college. It stayed on my finger every day until I dropped it into the hand of a boy who could never love me.

Once I had my ring back, for reasons looking back I can only call dramatic, I started wearing it on a long chain around my neck instead of my finger. It’s visible in all my pictures from this time, dangling down past my chest, a signal of what I had just went through and all the things I lost and gained. It’s funny because the same would be true in just a couple of months when the ring would be removed from it’s chain and returned to my hand, another symbol of relationships lost and wisdom earned.

I was sitting in a cabin in the woods, on a retreat with people from the business fraternity I was in, talking to a guy from a college a couple towns away. He was cute, funny, and obviously into me. I was glowing from the attention I was being shown, ready to throw myself into flirting and forget about old hurts. I was toying with the ring around my neck when he asked me about it. I said it was from my mom and he replies, “oh so is she dead or something?”

Which first of all, who just asks if your parent is dead so casually like that? We were surrounded by people and he had just asked me if I experienced a massive loss. I was taken a back and said no, she was very much alive and he laughed. I looked down at my ring, laughing along, wondering what I was getting myself into. This exchange ended up being a good representation of the summer fling that would follow with this boy. He wanted to reach in, open me up and get all the dark spots and secrets from me, laughing as he did and always acting as if it was an easy casual thing to do. I was a riddle to be solved, a trophy to be won and then taken a part so he could keep what he liked for the future. I had something in me that he wanted for his future spouse, but not enough to keep him around. He would take what he wanted and then he would go.

I moved the ring back to my finger.

Five years later, the ring my mom gave me at sixteen still sits on the middle finger of my left hand. It’s scratched up and could use a good cleaning, the word strength is still visible but only if you know to look for it. It’s one of the only things I know I’ll never get rid of. I’m not a person who likes to keep things around. It’s easy for me to get rid of all the items of nostalgia people tend to keep,whether that be clothes, jewelry, letters or souvenirs, I tend to purge it all. And yet this ring has stayed with me for almost ten years now, a witness to all my life experiences. It’s been a steady constant, a weight on my hand reminding me I needed strength. Strength to survive high school, relationships, trauma, and changes, strength to remember where I come from and the people who will hold me up when I fall. Strength to accept and love myself, and to realize that the strength does not come from anywhere or anyone else but me. I don’t need to search for it, I’ve been strong all along.

 

~

This post is in a series from a project with my friend Rubi, we write about the same prompt every week so if you’re interested in seeing her take on “a physical thing that means a lot to you” then be sure to check out her blog HERE

If you can’t get enough of me follow me on INSTA and TWITTER

See you next week 🙂

We’re just trying to have a good time, college parties edition.

“Yeah, yall are going to have to move.”

I was JUST about to throw down some cards to get a game going when this dude came up to the group of girls I was with and shooed us away. We all sighed, picked up our drinks and shuffled against the wall trying to dodge the crowd in the hallway. The entire walk the dude was close on our heels making sure we cleared the area. It was Saturday night and I was at one of the worst parties I’d ever been to but in about an hour, that would change.

Back in college, my roommates and I were kind of known for how great our parties were. We had the trash can punch recipe down, the hue lights for decor and playlists and games ready to go. We would pool our money together to supply the party with alcohol, because you know broke college kids never brought their own, even if we clearly stated in the Facebook event to bring some. Our friend group was large thanks to the student org we were in but when other people threw parties, they never really measured up. We took pride in our parties, even if the night was drama filled or we ran out of alcohol, no one could tell us they didn’t have a good time.

So safe to say I was not impressed with the situation I found myself in on this Saturday night.

I don’t know what this guys problem was but he was on a mission to be the biggest douche bag in the room. He never stopped herding people into one small room, stopping any games from happening and giving glares at everyone with a drink in their hand. W were only there for about an hour when you could start to feel the annoyance vibrating through the house. So an executive decision was made. The party we were at happened to be in the same complex as mine so my roommates and I came to an agreement, we were hijacking this party and moving it to our house.

We spread the word to our friends to leave in groups every ten minutes or so, we didn’t want to seem like total assholes, and head on over to our place. It was time to turn the night around.

Once back inside our house we turned up the music, poured some shots and got the party started. As more people drifted over from the first party to ours I was determined for everyone to have a good time. As if I was Willy Wonka taking the kids through our chocolate factory, I was passing out drinks, facilitating body shots and checking to make sure the vibe was ten times better than what we experienced earlier.

Looking back I enjoyed this party so much because I was so happy and confident in my ability to turn people’s night around. We had been treated like shit for no reason at this one house and it just pissed me off enough to make sure everyone was going to have a good time at mine. Taking on the role of life of the party isn’t something I’d likely do these days but that night? I was living for it.

I miss the vibe of college parties. When we would throw ones just because we could, select a theme, make a Facebook event and invite everyone we knew. Sure there were some parties that ended in tears and drama but for the most part I always felt happy and in control at the parties we threw. Now that I’m in my mid twenties I know those type of last minute parties aren’t likely to happen ever again. It takes planning weeks in advance to meet up with close friends, and no one has the energy for cleaning up a house after a party that ended at 4 am. But I’m glad I have so many good party memories to look back on.

Especially this party, when I was carefree, confident and in control.


This has been the first post in a series I’m doing with my friend Rubi were we take one topic and both write about it. We’ll be both posting every Sunday so make sure to check out her blog along with mine to see our take on different prompts. This week’s theme was favorite college parties and you can read her post HERE.

 

Oh wait, I might have feelings for you. Coming Out – Part One.

We were sitting side by side on her small dorm bed watching Netflix. We had just gotten back from a house party where we knew no one and had left just as the cops showed up, a typical Saturday night for us. We were drunk and giggly and at some point had started holding hands. You know it wasn’t entirely unusual thing for us, we were both touchy affectionate drunks, always cuddling up with whoever was near and yet this time was different. I can’t remember what we were saying or even watching but I can see her face and feel her hand in mine when I lifted it up and rested it on my leg and thought, “Oh. Oh no.”

It was this moment that I finally admitted to myself that I had feelings for one of my best friends, and that maybe, I wasn’t as straight as I always claimed to be.

Claimed… but didn’t always believe but okay let’s rewind.

Before I was there, a freshman in college with a huge crush on her new best friend, I was a teen who buried any thought of liking girls. The knowing and the feelings would often hit me out of nowhere. A friend brushes her hands through my hair and I like it a little too much, or I learn of someone’s aunt or cousin that had come out and I think “Oh, I wish that were me.” Before I’d shake myself out of it and tell myself, “come on Kendyl you don’t like girls stop thinking you do” as if I could somehow control it.

I remember a time in middle school when I was at a friends house with a bunch of girls for a sleepover, we were playing truth or dare when one girl turned to our friend and said, “Sara*, I dare you to kiss Kendyl.” The feeling that went through me can only be called gay panic. Why were they choosing ME, could they tell? Could they see it on me, did I say or do anything that may have hinted it? Luckily, Sara mumbled something about not knowing me well enough and everyone laughed and moved on while I sat there in panicked silence.

Looking back at all the times I realized I was gay* and immediately shut it down makes me sad for young Kendyl. I wasn’t raised in a homophobic household, I had friends and family who had come out and yet the fear of liking girls was so strong that it took me until I was in college to finally take the first steps to accepting who I was.

So back to the dorm room. I had realized I had feelings for my friend but was in no way prepared to deal with those feelings. She was straight, as far as I knew, and I hadn’t even uttered the word “gay or bi” to myself yet. So I did what I had always done, bury the feelings and try to not let them show. The rest of my friendship with this girl was amazing at times, and extremely hurtful and confusing at others. I never admitted my feelings for her, instead was content for drunk hand holding or kisses until the time came for us to grow a part.

I wish I could say that after I realized my feelings for her that I happily came out of the closet but in reality that’s not what happened. I still had to have certain experiences and relationships before I could be comfortable with who I was but this crush? This crush was a step, and I’m thankful for it.

Happy Pride Month friends, I’ve been wanting to write about coming out for awhile now but haven’t figured out how so I decided to start here. This might be part one in a series or I might chicken out and never write about coming out again but I doubt that. 

*Name changed because who knows what people from middle school may be reading this

*I use gay, queer, and bi interchangeably some people may not agree but all three identities feel right and comfortable to me 

 

 

The year of 100 books.


– Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Throughout 2016 and in the months into 2017 I have said that 2016 was the worst year of my life. Even though there were bright spots of beauty and life that happened that year, it was also a year full of loneliness and trauma. Really, the only way I was able to deal with all that I was going through, was reading.

Books have always been a crutch of mine, a source of stability and escape that I’ve sought out ever since I was kid. My mom always nurtured my love for reading and never censored the content that I read, which looking back on, was a huge blessing. Growing up, my family moved around a lot and as cheesy as it sounds, I found my home in the books I read, and the characters I grew up with. There are books that I read as a middle schooler or high schooler that I’ll still reread today because it takes me back to a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Last year though, reading became a lifeline, or a drug. I had dropped out of college and moved home at the beginning of the year, after a traumatic death happened in my family. My mental health was the worst it had ever been, and I was really overcome with depression. It was a struggle to get out of bed every single morning, and as soon as I would get home from work I would crawl right back under the covers.

I was depressed and numb, and extremely lonely. So as always, I turned to books. I read with an intensity that I have never felt before. When I read, I became so enthralled in the world I was reading about that the characters were able to make me feel the full spectrum of emotions that was missing from my every day life. I would read in every spare moment, riding in the car, while eating, on breaks at work, and until I went to sleep. I filled every moment I had to myself with words, as if I was afraid to be alone with my own thoughts.

My go to genre was fantasy novels, worlds so unlike my own, with characters that had amazing powers and strength who would have to overcome ridiculous obstacles in order to survive. I love the “chosen one” concept, and romeo and juliet type love stories. I love warring kingdoms, and magical battles, I devoured it all.

There’s probably a conclusion  I could draw here about the strength of the characters I read giving me the strength to overcome my depression but that’s not really the conclusion I want to make.

Reading was the healthiest way I could escape my life. It was a door that was always open to me, and I don’t think I could’ve survived 2016 without walking through that door every day.

When I tell people that I’ve read 100 books in a single year, they’re so impressed and say things like “wow I wish I could read like you do, or had the time.” I usually say something like thanks, I love to read so it wasn’t a big deal. Really though, I want to tell those people that I hope you never get to the point that you need to escape your life as much as I needed to. I hope you can live with your thoughts without seeking someone else’s. I hope you can find strength in real friends, and not fictional ones.

But if you do get that point, let me know, I have plenty of book recommendations for you.

 

 

First Kiss, an explanation

The guy was blonde and he was definitely a fraternity pledge, which makes sense considering I was in a frat house, at a frat party, surrounded by frat dudes. I have no idea what his name was but I’m sure it was somewhere along the lines of a Jason, Matt, or Andrew. Actually typing the name Andrew seems right so maybe his name started with an A? It doesn’t matter, what matters is that this forgotten name blonde frat boy was my first kiss.

Romantic, I know.

I was 18 and a freshman in college, it was my first or second party EVER; my eye shadow was heavy and my flirt game was strong. I’d only had a couple of sips of alcohol before this so chugging four lokos with my roommate gave me enough confidence to conquer the world. Which was how I ended up in some random dudes room, sloppily making out with Andrew(?)

I don’t remember if the kiss was any good or not, considering I was drunk for the first time and also having my first lip to lip contact, I’m sure it was awful. The clearest thing from this encounter that I can remember is that my eyes were wide open and I was actively thinking “this is my first kiss, so this is what kissing is? oh his eyes are closed, my eyes should be closed too right? but how can I close them when this is my first kiss! I need to see what’s going on!”

I also was very aware that at any moment this boy could open his eyes and catch me staring at him and realize that this was my first kiss and he’d, god forbid, laugh at me. But that didn’t happen and luckily, nothing else did that night either. It wouldn’t be until later that I realize going off with a boy you just met while drunk is not always the smartest thing to do, no matter how cute and nice they seem. (But that’s a lesson for another day)

I ended up seeing that boy randomly around campus for the next couple of months and then promptly forgot everything about him until this moment when I really had to strain my memory to come up with an image for him.

I can picture my younger self being extremely disappointed in this story. I mean your first kiss is supposed to be memorable right? You should at least, remember the guys name! Well sorry younger Kendyl, but you should really stop putting a lot of stock into first experiences because they are almost always going to be very, very disappointing. (You really don’t want to know how losing your virginity goes, just get rid of any and all expectations now kid)

Really though, I wish I could tell my younger self that the first moments aren’t really going to matter, sometimes not even the last ones will. Milestones are relative, and you shouldn’t live life as if you’re checking things off of a list, because lists are boring and life isn’t always laid out neatly like that.

Sometimes your first kiss is in a loud frat house with a guy whose name might or might not be Andrew, and you probably couldn’t pick him out of lineup but that’s okay, because that first kiss led to many more memorable kisses and at the end of the day those are the ones that count.

Deleting

Looking around my room I can spot only three sentimental items that I keep out; a framed picture of my dad, a bottle of bonfire ash from my first college homecoming bonfire, and a necklace from my first communion (please don’t be fooled into thinking this is because of religious reasons, I had that necklace hanging from my rearview mirror all throughout high school and only think of that every time I see it.) I don’t keep birthday cards, ticket stubs, or letters, I donated all my shirts from high school and college, and I don’t own a single high school yearbook.

I’m not someone who’s afraid to get rid of things. Whenever I go through my old journals and see all the ripped out pages I don’t mourn the loss of my adolescent thoughts, I know teenage Kendyl needed to tear up those pages as much as she needed to write them.

And yet I have started and deleted a countless number of blogs, and this frustrates me. Blogs are different than personal journals. I actually want people to read this, even if I’m just shouting to the void I want my shout to echo and not be snuffed out by that big white delete button. I want to commit to writing, no matter how shitty, embarrassing or just straight up bad it is.

Even with the countless number of blogs out there I don’t want to feel ashamed to be writing mine. So, this is my promise in attempt number one that I will not delete this blog. I might lose the pictures of my dad, I might break the bottle of ashes, and I might drop my communion necklace somewhere to never be seen again but this blog will stay on the internet.

At least, I hope it will.