DJ Strong

     “How do you smile, when you don’t want to? How do you laugh when it’s easy to cry?” 

     I would like to share with you, a story that has completely touched my heart and soul, as I’m sure it has others as well. 

     Diweni Jituboh is a 15 year old girl who is inspiring in the most incredible ways. She’s beautiful and witty, and so beyond her years in intelligence. 

     I first heard about Diweni as I drove through town one night and saw all of these blue signs everywhere outside of the high school. I didn’t pay any attention to it until one night I saw all of my coworkers posting on Snapchat pictures in these blue and pink T-shirts. 

     What was going on? What big event had I missed that A.) We were allowed to wear something other than sweaty, black, uniforms, and B.) I wasn’t informed of.

      When my brother and mother arrived home that night, they were grinning ear to ear in their matching shirts, and I bombarded them with questions.

     My brother said that as he was walking into work that night, a woman in an SUV handed him a shirt and a bracelet and said “Put this on.” He was a little thrown off he said, as I would be too if a stranger threw me a shirt in the parking lot of my work. When he walked into the restaurant, he noticed that all of our coworkers were wearing the same, matching shirts. 

     He said that a girl who had “some big surgery” came into Cotton Patch to eat tonight, and it had been an amazing evening for everyone. 

(Picture taken from her CaringBridge)

     I’m not going to lie. I was angry that I missed it, and that I didn’t get to be apart of it and wear the cool shirts. Fortunately for me, my brother said I could have his shirt. But I had a question ringing in the back of my head as to who this girl was.

     I spent the next hours looking up the hashtags, #PRAYFORDIWENI and #DJStrong on every social media platform I own, and what I found changed my perspective on so many things about life and beauty and appreciation for the little things.

There’s a girl who grew up playing soccer. She could put David Beckham to shame. She’d like to win, but she’d rather inspire. She plays for the love of the game.

     Diweni lives, playing soccer. This game is her lifeline, and I understand what something like that means to a person. And she wasn’t just any old soccer player, this girl was good. One night during a game, Diweni sustained an injury with another player in her knee. She shook it off and finished the game, despite the throbbing in her knee. She went home, she iced it. No big deal. It would go away, right? Well, it didn’t. It didn’t go away. Diweni was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. That’s a lot to take in as a 14 year old girl. 

(Picture taken from her CaringBridge)

     Even with all of the bad news in her life so far, Diweni still maintains her happy persona and strives to smile. I give her mega props, because I know I would be an absolute wreck. I could never handle anything even remotely similar to this. 

 (Picture taken from her CaringBridge)

     Today, Diweni’s life will change, yet again, as she goes in to have a surgery that will remove her tumor from her knee and replace it. I write this blog in hopes that you will hear this young woman’s strong story, and keep her in your thoughts throughout your day today in the midst of what ever it is that you may be doing.

You’ve been through a lot, but there’s a fire you’ve got inside.

     You may not believe in religion or prayer, and that’s okay. Please just send her and her loved ones well wishes and positive vibes, as well as the doctors that will be surrounding her during the operation. 

     Dallas Children’s Hospital is one incredible place, I know in my heart that you are in good hands.

(Pictures taken from her CaringBridge)

      As for you, Diweni, if you happen to be reading this, I do hope you know that your story touched my heart and made me sit back and think about the things I tend to take for granted in my everyday life. Here I was, mad at the fact that I didn’t get a T-shirt, when I didn’t even stop to think what the cause was even about. I think you’re incredibly strong, and all together beautiful. This isn’t what your typical freshman year of high school is like. But hopefully your years will become easier and you will be allowed to enjoy the rest of your time as a teenager without having to worry about cancer. 

     I’d like to take the time to dedicate this song to you, and hope that you find time to hear it before your operation today. You truly are a force to be reckoned with. 

https://youtu.be/bMIYCofzhF0

I know you won’t ever stop, you’ll do more than walk, you’ll fly.

     Stay strong! Keep fighting!!
Until next time,
Tay❤
P.S. Here is the link to Diweni’s GoFundMe, if you are able to donate to her cause. If not, I encourage you to please share her story and her smile to your friends and family. She needs your thoughts. 

https://www.gofundme.com/no-one-fights-alone-djstrong 

(Screenshot of Diweni’s Twitter account)

To the One Struggling on Father’s Day

   “Father, I’m gonna say thank you, even if I don’t understand. Oh, you left us alone. I guess that made me who I am.” -Demi Lovato


    I know you feel like there are pieces of you chipping off every time you log on to social media and see yet another person happily posing with their father for the camera.

     I know you feel pure anger towards every kid who gets to run home today and hug their dad.

     I know you walk by the card section in Wal-Mart and glance at the display of Father’s Day cards, and feel so empty you just want to cry.

      Let’s not even mention looking at old photographs.

     Most of all, I know you feel so many emotions today, including hatred towards yourself on multiple levels. Hatred for being you. Hatred for blaming yourself for the way your father is. Hatred for not doing more. Or even hatred for hating others for their happiness towards their fathers.

     I want you to know you aren’t alone.

     I know how it feels to even dread waking up on this holiday, knowing what the day is to hold.

     Maybe your father is no longer in the picture. Maybe your father passed away tragically. Maybe you don’t even know who your father is. Or, maybe your father is too drunk to remember your name.

     Know that you aren’t alone today.

    We’re all struggling. Why were we dealt the handful of cards that left us with or without our father? Why couldn’t we have that father with the big smile, or that father who hugs too tight, or the father who plays piano?  

     Truth be told, we could wallow all day and wonder “why this, why that?” for the rest of eternity. We will never know why things happen the way that they do.

     You have every right to be mad, or sad, or whatever emotion you want to be. Buy a Father’s Day card. Rip it up. Scream. Do what you have to do.

     The little kid inside of you breaks every time you see someone walking down the street, hand in hand with their father. Because you don’t have that. And you want more than anything to just be able to open up your phone, dial him up and say “Daddy I love you.”

     You want him to say it back. 

     Some of us want him to mean it. To genuinely mean it. But we know he never will.

     Father’s Day is a difficult day for some of us, but we aren’t alone. 

     Rather than being bitter about it, today when I see a girl post a picture of herself and her father hugging and smiling on Facebook, I will try to like it this year. I will try to smile for her.

     I know that for every post out there with someone loving on their father, there is someone who hasn’t had to go through what we have without our fathers. And that sits well within my heart. 

     It’s okay if you can’t, though. It’s okay if today is too hard for you.

     I know what that’s like.

     We know.

     So to anyone struggling this Father’s Day, or any Father’s Day, or any day without a father, know you have plenty of people who feel like you. We feel the sadness, the anger. We know the resentment and the emptiness. We know the hardships. Truth be told, I don’t know if it gets easier. But I know for sure, as humans, we become stronger and we become better as a whole. So even if it doesn’t get better, we will.

     And I think that is enough.
Until next time,
Tay❤

Escaping on The World’s Longest Lazy River?!

Bucket List

       The past few weeks of my life have not been a breeze, I can tell you that much. Stress has been a key factor in my daily life, as well as with my family. We have been so overtaken with weight on our shoulders from life and the way it works sometimes. We really needed a get away, a time where we could just relax.

     This week was Amber’s 15th birthday, and as a surprise, we decided to take her to do something a little more adventurous than your typical dinner and dessert. Who needs 15 servers clapping simultaneously as your cheeks flush with embarrassment when you can spend all day floating in the sun on the world’s longest lazy river? 

     We really ended up killing two birds with one stone, as it was a present for Amber and a time for us all to unwind and just be at peace for a while, even if it was for a few hours.

     In the midst of June in Texas, it is a blazing sauna anywhere you go outdoors. What better way to combat those high temperatures than to spend it all day at a water park? What better way to escape your issues for a few hours than to float away from them, really?

     The night before Amber’s birthday, we finally revealed where we were taking her, and what our plan was for the day. 

     BSR Cable Park is located in the far back roads of Waco, Texas. We first found out about it after seeing one of our friends on Facebook share a post about it. My mom had been dying to go ever since. If you ever have the opportunity to go, I suggest you try it out, because it’s worth the drive. The location is definitely something that threw us off. Through our last few turns before the GPS dropped us off, we went down some sketchy looking back roads. Our initial thoughts were “Great, this place is going to be some POS dump people use to trap naive kids who jump at Facebook posts.” But it was the exact opposite!

     It is a large, gated, community in the back. Once you enter the gates, you can very well see how lovely it all looks. We had planned to do everything that day, including their renowned Royal Flush slide. 

 (Taken from bsrcablepark.com)

     Upon our arrival to the park, however, we came to realize that there was a little mix up in the prices stated on the website and the prices stated in front of our eyes. You pay for each thing you wish to do, but you only have to pay once. Once you pay for one thing, you get a bracelet that shows you can ride the Royal Flush or chill in the lazy river, etc., as much as you please. Because of the off prices from what our knowledge was, we did not have enough money to do both. It was kind of a bummer, but we all decided we would float the lazy river and just make the best of what we had. Besides, we were already there, two hours away. 

     Now, this lazy river was sort of amazing in my book. The first time we went through, it took us a whole hour to make it back to the starting point. Which, actually made me pretty anxious towards the middle of the river because I don’t like not knowing where I am, or how long I’ll be there for.  However, it was gorgeous and had such a clean aura.

     After floating for an hour, we got hungry. We didn’t want to leave the river though. Fortunately for us, at BSR they have these nifty devices you can bring along in the water with you. They have cooler floats! That’s right, a float for your cooler. It has handles on the sides, so while you’re relaxing in your tube, you can just hold on to it.

     We didn’t have a cooler, so we put all of our snacks and drinks into Andrew’s duffle bag and plopped it into the cooler float. Bam. Problem solved. We no longer were withering away. Andrew also decided to bring his Bluetooth speaker with him in the cooler float, so we had our jams as well.

     Just to lay in the float and relax, I felt the weight of the world roll off my shoulders for a moment. I didn’t have to think about anything other than being there with my family and enjoying my day, so that was really nice for a change. If I could take a day and go float the river every week, I think my stress would be better maintained.

     We ended up going around the lazy river 3 times, and then walking over to the pool they have around the Royal Flush. We were all exhausted at this point from the sun and the water. Our original plan was to stay in the park from when we got there at 1, to when the park closed at 7. But at 5:30, we were burned and wanted to go home and shower off the lake water.

     We don’t get many family days, or even days where we do out-of-routine things in general. It was so nice. Of course our problems were still there waiting for us when we got home, and they still lingered in the air as we enjoyed our day at BSR. 

     Sometimes you just have to get away. So go. It doesn’t have to be far. We only went 2 hours. You could go hiking 30 minutes from your driveway, or you could go on a summer road trip 18 hours away. If you’re overwhelmed and can’t seem to catch a break in life, go. Make a break for yourself that you deserve. We all need an escape sometimes. 

     Go.
Until next time,

Tay❤

The One Where We Stop a Child Predator

**Public disclaimer: these decisions I made were based solely on allegations I had seen reported on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and are written as to express the opinions of myself and my brother, not Royse City or anyone else associated with the premises of it. I feel as though my decisions were what were right, in case anything were to happen. This is just my truth, and my truth only. Things may be different to others. Enjoy.**

      You never think that it will happen to your town. Someone says “child predator” and everyone thinks movies and documentaries, never real life situations involving you or anyone you know. This past week, I felt as if I was living in a Criminal Minds episode. Where’s Spencer Reid when you really need him? 

     Royse City, Texas is an extremely small town where the most criminal thing to ever happen was a murder-suicide a while back. We aren’t very crime driven, but since we are so small, it is easy to know a newcomer when they appear. This past week, a strange vehicle was spotted and instantly talked about in a public group on Facebook after he was found in a kid’s park trying to lure children to his vehicle with stuffed animals he had lined in the inside of his car.

      My brother and I are apart of this Facebook group and instantly took notice of it. We were freaked out that it would, first of all, happen in our town, and second of all happen at all. The man was seen at our local Splash Pad water park, where dozens of kids play at everyday. It’s creepy. It sends shivers down my spine.

(The original posts we saw)


     A few days after this initial post was made, we had some running around to do. My brother, our friend Alexa, and I were caught in some traffic on the road that leads right by the Splash Pad. He had just made a remark about how relaxing the water looked trickling down on all of the kid’s backs. I look up and see the truck sitting there in the back of the parking lot almost instantly.

     “Oh my gosh…” I gasp. “That’s that truck, Andrew. That creep who lures kids with stuffed animals, that’s his truck is it not?”

      Andrew and Alexa proceed to squint to the distant Splash Pad. Neither of them can tell at this point, and traffic has us bumper-to-bumper at about 2 miles an hour. In the midst of their confusion and the slow traffic, I find the time to pull up the Facebook post and compare trucks. By the time I do, we have made it to the entrance, and Andrew and Alexa gasp in unison. Without hesitation, he slams on the breaks and whips in to the parking lot. 

     Sure enough, it is him. The truck. The license plate. He’s there, and in the flesh, just parked at the back of the parking lot. My heart starts racing and I feel sick. Sick in a way you never, ever want to feel.  

     He isn’t alone, however. There is a woman parked next to him, and she is sitting with him in his car.

      “Taylore..” Andrew says to me. And before he can even tell me to get out my phone, my camera app is pulled up.

 (Picture taken by me.)

    The woman doesn’t stay long. They talk for a while before she gets out of his truck, and pops her trunk open. And then he climbs out of his truck. And I go numb with fright. Andrew yells at me to take pictures, to take videos of him, but all I can do is just sit and watch him. 

     He is scary. He walks with a limp. The man opens his tailgate and removes a white trash bag filled with stuffed animals. He wearily walks to the lady’s car and stuffs the bag into her trunk, and goes to walk away, holding on to his back as he does. Before she closes it, he turns and snatches a teddy bear that is sticking out of the top of the bag and holds it like a child missing his mother. He grins. The man grins. 

     The woman drives away and the man climbs back into his truck.

     I want to be sick.

 (Picture taken by me.)

     It is a Tuesday afternoon in June in Texas, AKA it is blazing hot outside. The Splash Pad is swarming with children of all ages and their exhausted parents. That is the first thing I take note of upon my examination of the park itself. I’m too scared to look over at the red truck that sits to my left again.

     The second thing that catches my attention is the children running around on their own in the parking lot. They are in their swimsuits. Some of them old. Some of them as young as diaper ages. They are no adults within at least 20 yards from them. They keep running in between cars and disappearing from my sight, forcing my heart into my stomach every time that they do.  I find the courage to look at the man again and I look just in time to watch as he is lowering his passenger seat down to watch the children run around.

     “He’s watching them. Oh my god, he’s watching them.” Andrew says over and over again with his own choice of swears each time inserted wherever he likes. 

     I’m rocking back and forth with my head between my knees, trying to calm myself down enough to make an executive decision. “I know. I know. Just stop telling me that, okay? What should we do?”

     “I don’t know, take a baseball bat to his car?”

     We all know Andrew is smarter than that. 

     I sit up and breathe. “Like the post said, everyone has called the police hundreds of times. If we call, they will just come and tell us that he isn’t doing anything wrong by just sitting here. But he’s clearly watching them and enjoying his time by doing so.”

     “If he tries to approach one of these kids, you best bet I’m not staying in this car for one second.” Alexa then says.

     We sit in silence for the next few minutes, watching him and watching as the kids run around. I imagine if I were a parent sitting on one of the benches, watching their kid playing, not having a single clue that there was a child perpetrator just yards away from me, enjoying watching and seeing my child in their bathing suit. Thinking of the innocence in their minds absolutely killed me.

     “If I were one of those parents I would want to know. I would want someone to tell me.” I say.  “None of them have any idea that he is just sitting there.”

     “So what should we do?” 

     I unbuckle my seatbelt. “We have to go tell them. We can’t just have them sit there not knowing.” 

     “Okay, but you’re doing all of the talking, Miss I Have a Solution for Everything.” Andrew says, his eye still on the man.

     Within seconds, the three of us are out of the car and walking towards the Splash Pad. I feel his eyes burning on us as we do and I wonder if he knows that we know. We can’t decide who to start talking to, or how to start. I decide to pull up the Facebook post to make my life a lot easier., I approach a friendly looking woman sitting on one of the benches. 

     “Excuse me, ma’am. Do you have children playing here right now?” 

     She looks up at me and smiles. “Yes, I do.”

     I sit down next to her and explain the Facebook post and the suspicions on the man in the red truck sitting in the back of the parking lot as we speak. She gasps and looks for her child. When she finds her, she thanks me dearly and explains that she is actually the wife of the high school principal and that she comes here with her kids a lot. She says thank you about five more times and we walk to the next family.

     The sickening feeling started to go away with more people I reached out to. I talked to at least ten parents that day, each of them so relieved to know about it. Some of them left the park immediately. Here is the scariest part of it all:

     None of them knew.

     I no longer felt responsible for anything there at the park that day. If I had logged onto Facebook that night and seen a child had been abducted, I could never live with myself.

      As we are walking to our car, the man is watching us this time instead of the prancing little kids. I feel all of the hairs on my skin stand up and do a shake. Andrew can’t unlock the car fast enough it seems.  

     The man drives off, and before I know it, Andrew is following him. I’m shouting at him to stop, but he says he wants to make sure he never goes back to that park ever again. He follows him at a distance, but close enough to make sure he doesn’t decide to turn around and go back just because we are gone. The man goes to Denny’s and parks there.

     He hasn’t returned to the Splash Pad since.
     This whole situation could have turned out extremely different in multiple ways. I don’t encourage anyone to ever approach someone you think could be a child predator, or any predator at all for that matter. 

       On the other hand, if you feel in your gut that you need to do something about a situation that could possibly turn out badly, listen to what that feeling says. You feel it for a reason. 

       No offense to Andrew or Alexa, but I definitely would have preferred to work on this case with Spencer Reid instead. 

     Call me Detective Tay, I guess!
Until next time,

(Detective)Tay❤

Stop Blaming Yourself, Kid

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“You have suffered enough. It’s time that you won.”

I’ve recently dawned on such a discovery, after spending a lot of time placing blame on myself for things certainly out of my control. This discovery is that these things have not been my fault. I had no control on any of it. I’m far from perfect, I make mistakes, but I have to stop putting the weight of the world on my shoulders for no reason.

I spend so much of my precious time ragging on myself for these things. I blame myself for the slightest inconvenience. I hate myself for it. I have so much hatred for who and what I am that I can’t even stand to glance at a passing by at a mirror. But then I realize, this was not my fault. Other people and outside forces make me feel as if it is me to blame with their insecurities. However, in moments of revelation (and deep conversations with my family and my group message) I come to know that they are so wrong. So why? Why do I still feel the need to bend over backwards to make things right when they are the ones in the wrong here? Why do I feel elephants standing on my chest? Why do I always want to flip my mirror backwards so I don’t have to take one glance at myself?

This society makes it easy to take fault for things out of our control when we’ve been brought up in a generation where self-deprecation is almost vital as a teenager. When the kindness of our hearts overtakes the height of our egos, we jump at the opportunity to make sure the people we love never have to feel one ounce of negativity, even if that means taking the blame for things we shouldn’t have to.

We have to know what we’re worth. And no, that’s not me saying to not take responsibility for your wrong doings when you have messed up or hurt somebody else. Be real. Own up to your mistakes. But we must know right from wrong. Respect yourself enough to know when you are in the wrong, and to know when someone else is doing you wrong. People in this world are messed up. They can mess you up so easily if you aren’t careful. You are worth so much more than what you give yourself. I am worth more. We all are.

My support system is incredible. I’ve been blessed in life with some amazing humans, with hearts bigger than any I’ve ever seen before. We share in our struggles together, not quite understanding why we let people walk over us the way that we do, and then go and turn around the blame on ourselves. Nobody is kind anymore. Our world is filled with people who only care about themselves, and nothing else. I’m lucky enough to know the handful of people who actually still care about others. There is a downside to caring about people in a society that doesn’t care though, because no one will reciprocate anything back to you.

My motto has always been “Don’t be bitter, just be better.” 

When the world is screwed up, and people are just absolutely horrible to be around and you can’t understand, rise above them and just do better. Be better than them. In the long run, doing and being better will get you further anyways.

The world may be screwed up, but that does not mean that you are. You are not to blame for the things out of your control. So listen to me when I say you have to stop blaming yourself. Stop. Just because there is no one to blame, doesn’t mean you have to blame you. Just because you don’t want someone you love to feel bad, does not mean you have to blame you.

Stop blaming yourself, kid.

 

Until next time,

 

Tay

You Are Too Alive (Suicide Prevention)

You roll over in the morning, your eyes aflutter with distant dreams of the previous night. You breathe in your first breath of air into your lungs, readying them for the hours to come. And it is beautiful, whether you know it or not.

If you open your blinds, daylight falls through the slits and cracks and onto your face, warming your skin to the touch.  Beautiful without having to try.

As you go downstairs, your mother greets you with the same, lovely smile she has greeted you for years. Only, it seems to grow lovelier with her age. She wants to know how you slept. She wants to know if you believe that the test in 4th period will be easy, and you tell her of course because you can’t let her down. And she smiles and smiles, and she is beautiful.

At school, your friends greet you with their cynical commentary and obnoxious laughter, but you love every minute of it because without them school days would drag by. You see the way their smiles form in the depths of their cheeks and glide across their lips like it is the most natural way in the world. And they are beautiful, even in the times of gossip and sorrow.

Your favorite class period is spent in the auditorium, rambunctious chatter echoing through the acoustics and you fall more in love with the lights above your head every time you step in place. For one small moment you wish you didn’t have to spend any more time rehearsing the same damn lines over and over, but you couldn’t. you wouldn’t. trade the moment for anything in the world. Your monologue protrudes through the room, with beautiful written all over it.

And the hallways. Cramped and crowded and noisy and smells of puberty. Regardless, the carpet welcomes your steps, and people stop to wave hello to you, even when your hands are filled with binders and papers and note cards and snacks you forgot to put away at the bell. You walk it now with the routine of friends always by your side. And the hallway is beautiful in itself, because it knows all of your secrets. All of the jumping, stressing, running, rushing, sobbing, hollering, skipping, talking, scolding. It sees the parts of you that aren’t always beautiful.

Class never receives a dull moment when you consistently raise your hand. If you know that x equals a number, or that the inventor of electricity was a genius. Even on your worse days, they rely on you for answers that only you can begin. You’re beautiful. Class is beautiful. It is all beautiful.

You come home to a house smelling from top to bottom with scents of dinner. You sit down with your family. Dad who had a rough day. Mom who continues to smile. And your siblings who always crack down their inspiring comedies. And from third person you see everyone laughing and conversing on politics. From the inside you can’t wait to fall asleep, but on the outside it is beautiful.

You make it to your room and stuff yourself in with the thick comforter and thin sheets. They envelope you as if they were made to fit your weary body. And you sigh the sigh of relief and wondering. And as you turn off your lights, your mind, your body, your beauty radiates with excitement for awakening tomorrow morning.

But what if you didn’t?

What if you decided that whatever going through your mind had become enough for you to handle?

You didn’t roll over the next morning, because of the previous night’s endeavors. The fresh air in your lungs never was gifted to you, and the world loses some beauty.

You never stood up to open your blinds. Your skin remains cold, instead of warmed with the brilliance of the sun, and the world loses some beauty.

Your mother was smiling as she usually does. Humming to herself a song of great love. But she never heard your feet touch the wood of the floor this morning. So she goes to check on you. She never gets over what she finds. And her smile never returned, and the world loses some beauty.

At school, your friends wait for you. When you don’t show by the first sound of the bell, they figure that you had car trouble. You’ll be there soon. You’ll be back in time for lunch, for the latest gossip. You’ll be there. But you won’t be. And the world loses some beauty.

Your favorite class in the auditorium is silent, because now, your siblings have been removed from school for the day, and word has spread about the terrible thing you have done. And your director is hiding behind her desk. And the students arent rambunctious. They don’t dance. They don’t sing. They don’t laugh. They cry. They cry a lot.The lights are off, and the stage remains solemn. Other students are coming to this class to find the last piece of you that you left. They’re trying to piece it together.  But they can’t, and the world loses some beauty.

The hallways remain as cramped and crowded as they always are, but they are moving slowly. There are whispers about you from classmates who barely knew you. Is this true? They wouldn’t dare do such a thing. But you did. And your friends don’t walk the normal routine, because it is impossible to be normal anymore without you here. They picture at any moment for you to run around the corner and catch up with them, to skip and holler and converse. But you won’t be joining them. And the world loses some beauty.

Class is dull. Because rather than the smiling person who always sat, there is a desk that reeks of emptiness. Your teacher refuses to teach, because who else would raise their hand? And the world loses some beauty.

At home, there is no dinner. There is no table-talk. There is no smiling Mom. Your dad comes home early, and for the first time ever, he cries. He cries so hard. And the dogs wander about, wondering when you’re going to prance through the door. Your siblings don’t say anymore jokes, because they can’t comprehend that you’re gone. And the world loses some beauty.

Tonight, no one enters your room. They don’t want to remember. They want it locked up forever, your comforter becoming incredibly lonely with every passing day that you don’t return to envelope in. They miss you. And the world loses some beauty.
Live.

Because you are so alive. With the sun radiating onto your skin, or enjoying every moment your life has to offer. You should embrace everything life hands you, despite whether or not it is deemed as worthy of your appreciation. 

Don’t waste. 

Don’t take anything for granted, because one day it could very well be gone.

You were given this book of life to continue reading and writing, editing and loving. Just because a writer comes to a dead end, never does it mean that they must stop. You pave the rest of your path, and start from scratch.

Life is beautiful, if only you open your eyes to notice. 

So stay.

Finish writing the book of your life.

You are too alive to do anything different.
Until next time,

Tay❤

#stopthestigma #suicideawareness

Blogs, Not Vlogs

I royally suck, considering it has been over 2 months without me posting any of this, after I swore that I would.

After my 18th birthday, Michelle and I decided to take a short trip up to Colorado. Mainly to decorate with her parents for , but while we were there we decided to surprise people while we were there.

It didn’t really go as planned.

I explained to everyone that we were going to Colorado, and that I’m going to vlog about it. However, I am extremely camera shy and hated feeling as if I was talking to myself. I ended up being too embarrassed to “vlog.” I did, instead, take many videos that I could compile in one. 

I hope you enjoy me screwing up this “vlogging” and horrible camera angles. At least I tried, right?

Michelle picked me up early that morning, and we drove out to Little Elm, where her parents had been staying for the Thanksgiving holiday. When we got there, we moved over our things, hopped into her father’s truck and were on the road for the 12 hour trek to Woodland Park.

About 2 hours later, we stopped in Collinsville, an incredibly quaint town where some of Michelle’s family lives, to visit with them for a while.

Her family is loud and lovely, and if I could, I would sit in their kitchen drinking coffee with them every second of every day. 

As you can tell, Michelle is much more aquainted with the camera than me.

I’ve been on many a road trip with the Hilson family, and each time Michelle and I have the same assortment of road snacks and accessories. Without them, the 12 hour ride wouldn’t be as tolerable.

Checklist

  • Chex mix (cheesy flavor, or original for me.)
  • Chips, flavor depending on our moods.
  • Drinks, also depending on moods.
  • Blankets for naps.
  • Chargers
  • Books, depending on moods.
  • Dramamine, because both Michelle and I get car sick.
  • Tunes. Disney, alternative, screamo, sad music, rap, anything in between.

After waving goodbye and climbing back into the truck, we jetted off again.

Before leaving Texas, we stop at a steakhouse that was quite sketchy to say the least. But it wasn’t…all…bad!

After that, it was pretty dark, so I didn’t get many videos. We ended up arriving in Colorado super late that night. Michelle’s pets were there to greet us. Let me tell you, when you see a dog for the first time in a really long time, it is probably the best greeting in the world, no matter how tired you possibly are.

Michelle is exhausted if you can’t tell.

The next day, we were sick. Really sick. I felt so horrible, I didn’t take any videos. I barely got up, honestly. 

After a humidifier and some medicine, I woke up the day afterwards with some more pep in my step.

The Hilson family has had a tradition for Christmastime since before they moved to Colorado. They all go as a family and cut down a Christmas tree. I never had the pleasure of tagging along, but this time I did! It was freezing up on Rampart Range. I don’t know how anyone could possibly camp up there, let alone walk two steps. 

It was about 45 minutes of hiking. By hiking, I mean losing Ric and Michelle and debating on whether or not I should pee in a bush. Tresa and I eventually found Michelle, but Ric was still nowhere to be found, so we just kind of stood there and waited for him. 

I was completely turned around in this forest. For the record, I am not an outdoorsy person under any circumstances. My feet were soaked and my nose was running. How do the people of Colorado do this?! 

We found Ric, and most importantly, we found a tree. Now, this tree wasn’t the best tree on earth. It was skimpy, and sort of oddly fluffed. I’m one for taking a liking to things that don’t blend in, which is why I believe I loved this tree.

Michelle insisted that she cut it down by herself.

We traveled down the pass to the Springs, and shopped for decorations at Home Depot. Keep in mind how I said I was nothing short of a horrible cameraman, so excuse the awful movement.

(This video makes me laugh hard at Michelle’s face)

We decorated the tree when we got home, to the point that the tree looked as if it was glittering before our eyes.

At this point, I was pretty sad because our time was running short and I hadn’t seen anyone I was planning on seeing. However, after someone informed me of a choir concert happening that next evening, my hopes were once again high considering everyone participates in choir in Woodland Park. It was as if the universe was looking out for me!

These videos I actually talked to the camera, though I felt insane or something.

This video is literally 2 seconds long because my phone glitched out as I was walking over. But in case you can’t tell, that’s our friend John. It would have been a video of him saying “What are you doing here!?” He was completely thrown off.

(Excuse the shotty camera viewings. What a nice floor Woodland Park High School has.)

It was amazing. Seriously. If you ever want to meet incredible people, just go to Woodland Park.

Afterwards, we thought that people were going to change so we awkwardly stood out in the lobby. Then, we realized they were leaving so I turned into a chicken with its head cut off trying to say goodbye. 

“Hey do you know where John went?”

“Is Noelle back there?”

“If Noelle is back there, will you tell her we are leaving?”

*messages Savanna 10 times to find her.*

*calls Noelle a zillion times.*

“Did you see where Amanda went?”

It was totally a spur of the moment decision, hence why it was difficult to find anyone. In retrospect, we could have just told people we were there instead of trying to surprise them. But come on, that video is the best.

We later found Noelle in the parking lot about to leave, so we did get to say goodbye to her! 

Afterwards, our friend Olivia invited us to come stay with her that night, and she would drive us to the airport in the morning. It was bittersweet going back to Texas, as I missed my bed, but hated being away from people who meant a lot to me. Tresa and Ric are always the hardest goodbyes.

Liv most definitely cried.

We did reach a slight issue as we were getting ready to walk through airport security, though.

I once read that dermal piercing make security beepers go off, so I was definitely on edge. I also realized while waiting in line that my keys have a small thing of pepper spray on them, and wasn’t sure if it was considered a weapon. (Though it was on the list of what not to bring.)

After our flight, we went into our work and ate fried pickles.

Needless to say, we definitely enjoyed our trip.

In conclusion, however, I think I will just stick with my blog and my words, rather than my face and a camera.

Maybe I should also take a photography class?
Until next time,

Tay❤