That, I will not be. — February 13, 2017

That, I will not be.

So here’s the deal: it’s time for honesty. I am experiencing some real frustration right now. From where it came, I have no idea. But it’s here, and I will write until it goes away. This is me fully expressing how I feel in this moment.

The events of my life reflect that I am not a play-it-safe type of person. In anything I do, I risk it. I run far distances. I push past limits, and I let my curiosity lead me to new heights. I say things that could potentially present ideas. Even when I am scared, I’m still a little bit brave. I like those things about me. But when people make me out to be someone I’m not, that’s where I have an issue.

So many of my so-called “friends” have not been friends to me at all. When I commit myself to being someone’s friend, I’m there for them 24/7. I would give the shirt off my back if they needed it. However, not many would do that for me. Being someone’s friend is not something you do because you have to. You are someone’s friend simply because they add joy and goodness to your life. They serve as a support system for you, and you do the same for them. I feel like I don’t have that with most of my “friends”. 

Honestly, it crushes my spirit. I don’t need popularity or a lot of friends to be happy. I just want people in my life that actually care. And to some extent, I have that in a few people. But on the other hand, I have a bunch of fake people too. I’m not trying to be negative, but it is what it is. 

It is not hard for me to spot a fake. I’ve been dealing with fake people since middle school. Always being the last one to know about plans or sleepovers, etc. Or always being the one who logs onto social media and sees all the events that I wasn’t invited to, but magically all of  my “friends” were there.

Just because I’m in college, does not mean that this has stopped. It’s continued, just in a lesser sense. 

I deserve to be surrounded by people who strive for the same things as me. People who see the little things as big things. I deserve to be around people who are not trying to please the in-crowd by trying so desperately to be the next big thing. 

It’s cool to be kind, to be loyal, to be smart, to be real, to be loving, to be open-minded, to be joyful. 

To be calculated? To be mean? To be fake? That, I will not be. 

While we are searching. — November 17, 2016

While we are searching.

A dear girl that I know is missing–one that I met and got to know very well at the beginning of what has become an unexpected running journey for us both.

Kathy is a runner. She is now 16 and is in high school. However, when we met, she was just a little teeny tiny 12 year old and I was freshly 16.

My heart is truly hurting tonight because my friend is gone. No one can find her. Her family and her friends have been viciously searching for her back in my hometown. She was last seen on Monday at school, but no time after that.

I do not want to assume the worst, but this is not like Kathy to just disappear or go.

Kathy is a girl who has faced many trials, but she always manages to get back up and try again. She is loving and considerate. She puts others before herself. She is always there if you ever need her to be. She cheers loudly for everyone, but sometimes has a hard time cheering for herself. She is someone that loves to laugh and assume the best of others. She carries a sweet presence and is generally quiet.

I pray that God’s Will is done. Wherever Kathy is, whatever she may be doing, or whatever has already been done–let His love overcome all of the scary possibilities that could be at fault for Kathy’s absence. Bring her home.

While many back in my hometown are searching for her physically, I am searching for her in spirit. I am holding on to the hope that Kathy is safe. No matter what happens, Kathy is loved so deeply by her family and her friends. She is a brave girl and she is one of the first people that believed in me when I started running.

On the course, as we would pass each other in opposing directions, Kathy always said to me, “Good job, Sevyn!” And she would give me the biggest high five… In return I would say, “Keep going, Kathy! You are almost done!”

Right now, while we are searching for you… with a resounding beat, my heart and soul are screaming the same thing…”Keep going, Kathy! You are almost done!”

Dear Momma… — October 25, 2016

Dear Momma…

Dear Momma,

I am crushed.

I pray for you every day. I don’t know if you feel them or receive them, but they are for you. I just want to say that I love you, and as I think of you at this very moment, I begin to weep. My heart breaks more and more in the absence of your presence. Things are never the same because you aren’t around. You ignore my calls and you rarely text me. You only seem to show up in Facebook notifications. But it does not matter. We just need our mom; we want her back.

Wherever you are, whatever you may be doing, I pray that you find what you are looking for. I pray for your safety. I pray for your courage to come home. I pray that I can forgive you if you ever do come home.

Know that I am sad all the time. I am depressed. I am pissed off. I am unhappy. I am at a loss for an appetite. I am hurt. My little brothers are hurt, too. I need my mom. They need their mom. We do. And although we are all so mad at you for leaving us, we do love you. I love you. I know that whatever happens, God will take care of us.

Momma, we have been through the most together. There is no other human that knows me as well as you do. Please, just come back. If I could do it all over again with you, I would obey you. I would say, “I love you, too.” I would hug you. I would take pictures with you. I would clean my room. I would do my chores. I would be respectful. I would agree with you. I would let you embarrass me in front of my friends. I would go out to eat with you in a sit-down place (even though I hate sit-downs). I would sing with you. I would dress up with you. I would tell you my secrets. I would help you train for that half marathon you’ve always wanted to run. Just come back. Please, come back so we can do these things. Please.

I am so sorry that I was not there for you in the way that you needed me to be. I’m sorry I couldn’t be that little girl you’ve always wanted me to be. You thought I would take up cheerleading, and you thought I would love to dress up. You thought I would let you fix my hair. You thought I would tell you everything. You thought I would let you be my best friend. I’m sorry I couldn’t be that daughter for you. I really am sorry. If I could do it over again, I would be that girl. I would be that daughter who wholeheartedly appreciated her mom. I would just to have you back as my mom.

I am sorry for everything I did or did not do to keep you feeling loved. Know that you are loved by me, your sons, your mom, your family and your Heavenly Father. There is so much love that we all have for you. I hope you feel it, Momma. Where ever you are, keep fighting to see another moment. Keep laughing–you do that best. And keep living. If you find it in your heart to come home, do that too.

I love you.

Good bye, Reggie. — October 13, 2016

Good bye, Reggie.

I just got a text from my grandma saying that a family friend only has a few HOURS to live. Like, WHAT DO YOU MEAN??? A few fucking hours!!! I am devastated right now. I have not seen Reggie since the Spring. It is not fair.

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A throwback picture of Reggie.

Reggie, in these last few months, you really fought hard. You did. And all you wanted was to find your place in life. You have the biggest, brightest smile. And I am going to miss it. I am going to miss you and your presence. I’m going to miss the way that your laughter fills up a room–any room. I’m going to miss your energy. Your ability to laugh even when you were hurting. I am going to miss it all–everything about you. I’m sorry this is happening to you. I can’t believe it. You could sing with the best of them.

This hurts so badly. Why God. WHY. Reggie only ever wanted to serve You. He would sing the most beautiful songs with a beautiful BEAUTIFUL voice at church. He would cry out in desperation at Your name. God why. I don’t understand and probably never will. This just SUCKS. I won’t even get to see him in his last moments. And I won’t get to see him because he is in Kansas fighting to see another moment.

But thank you. Thank you for his life. And thank you for allowing me to somehow be in his for the last 9 years. It has truly been an honor and a privilege getting to know such a loving, funny, gifted man such as Reggie Robinson. He is so full of everything that is beautiful. Let me never forget him.

I will NEVER forget when you sang these words at church:

“You thought I was worth saving, so you came and changed my life. You thought I was worth keeping, so you cleaned me up inside. You thought I was to die for, so you sacrificed your life. So I can be free. So I can be whole. So I could tell everyone I know.”

And you did just that. You have fought the good fight. You told everyone about Jesus through song and through they way you have lived. Now you will be free to dance and sing like never before. I miss you already. I love you forever and ever, Reggie.

No matter what happens today or tomorrow, I will remember you.

 

Drake Yancey — October 11, 2016

Drake Yancey

I just found out that a 15 year old, named Drake Yancey, killed himself. He went to the high school that I just graduated from. My best friend was actually his mentor last year.

My heart fucking hurts. It hurts so badly. I’m devastated. My body has chills. I can’t even explain the timing of this, considering that this could’ve been me a few weeks ago. I just wish I could have talked to him. I wish someone, ANYONE could have talked to him. I wonder what his last words and thoughts were. I wonder were the last words he heard from someone.

I know that Drake went through a lot and he fought a lot of demons. (We all do and that is okay.) He was so kind. So adorable. So tiny. I so badly wish that someone could have reminded him that he was worth it. He is worthy of love and he is worthy of wonderful experiences. He served a purpose and he did make a difference. We all miss him. I barely knew him. But it doesn’t matter. He was a person and that’s all it takes for it to mean something.

He was bullied and taunted. He was told that he was an “at risk” delinquent. What the fuck does that mean? God, why… Please, make this stop.  Now he is gone and we can’t get him back. And it hurts. We can’t remind him that he is the light of the world. We can’t remind him that we love him and that we need him. It hurts. So young, so full of promise and a future. Ohhhh, it hurts.

Drake, I am sorry that this world became too much. I am sorry that you got to the point where you couldn’t hold on any longer. This was supposed to be a place to foster your hurts, your hopes and your dreams. I’m sorry that we didn’t do enough. I knew your name, but I didn’t know you. And I’m sorry. This world needed you. I’m sorry you didn’t feel its tuggings. I’m sorry that it didn’t hold you when you needed to be held. I’m sorry that we didn’t love you, when you needed to be loved. I’m sorry. This world will never be the same without you in it.

You must’ve been so tired and so scared. So ready to be elsewhere. I’m sorry we couldn’t save you when you needed saving.

Just know that I love you. And you matter.

Rest in peace, Drake Yancey. 

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This is a candid picture of my best friend, Garrett (in the orange), with Drake Yancey.

 

Thank You for every moment. — September 25, 2016

Thank You for every moment.

There is a song by Kari Jobe called “Healer”. And some of the first lines are, “You hold my every moment. You calm my raging seas. You walk with me through fire and heal all my disease.” I listen to this song often. This speaks to my heart.

Today, I just woke up with a thankful heart. Through it all, God has been so abundantly present in my every moment. And I cling to that. I find hope in His love and in His presence. I find joy and peace in His grace. There is no one that can do what He has done. He is answering prayers right now. He is doing a great work right now in every heart that seeks Him. I love Him. He is keeping me kept every second of my life. And I know that.

Through little moments, I am learning that life is now. I am living right now. And this moment is something that I have only while it is here. But when it is gone, it truly is gone. It is scary and it is weird to think about. But when I am living mindfully, it forces me to make every decision, every cry, every run, every meal, every breath count. Things happen to the best of them, and you just never know what’s to come. To be proactive in my own living is becoming important to me. It is becoming a factor in how I treat myself and other people. It keeps me open-minded and appreciative of every good thing there is.

I’m overwhelmed. The more and more that I think about every storm, every valley, every victory–my God was there. I made it to see a new moment, a new hour, a new day. He puts certain people in my path. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for Your GOODNESS. You are so good, so wonderful, so loving. You provide. You go before me. You stand with me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

 

Kai-my keeper — September 14, 2016

Kai-my keeper

Today, my brother Kai is 15 years old. He was born on September 14, 2001, a few days after 9/11. He is my younger, but oldest brother. Almost 6 feet tall. A freshman in high school. I haven’t seen much of him lately because he’s back at home and I’m here in college a few short hours away.

When I think about my childhood, I can remember Kai playing with me and my dolls. Not because he liked dolls, but simply because I demanded that he played with me. I demanded that he watched The Fox and The Hound, Barney, Rush Hour 2, and Big Clifford over and over again with me. He never said no, even when he did not want to do something. He was always the one making sacrifices for me at the early ages of three and four years old. We are 3.5 years apart in age. And he has always been kind, smart, funny, lovable, quiet, energetic.

I was not as good to him, though. I treated him badly growing up. I never put him before me. And I have guilt about that now. I know I was the bossy older sister (and in most ways, I still am). I went from being the only child, to having a little brother. It was something that I did not understand at the time. And I think I never accepted it. So as time passed, and I got older, I held a growing resentment towards my brother. He did nothing wrong to me ever. To this very day, I still do not understand why I felt this way about him. He showed me so much kindness. No matter how many fights I provoked or how many moments I presented a sense of entitlement. He embodied grace. And for that reason, he has taught me so much about life and about the treatment of other people at my expense.14344071_1406095572737176_8305341614570560529_n10556378_833928636658880_7075010557289441177_n11947424_877009105710904_2237493515181090964_n10580809_809082575810153_4915917062769054421_o

I love him to death and I hope he can forgive me for the times that I was not loving towards him when we were younger.

He is growing up and it is bittersweet. He will always be one of my greatest teachers. He is my keeper.Have a happy birthday, Kai. I hope you get everything you want out of life. If anyone deserves it, it’s you.

 

9/11 — September 11, 2016

9/11

On September 11, 2001, I was at Head Start, and only 3 years and 9 months old at the time. And I would be lying if I said I remembered this particular day because I do not remember it at all. But something in me wishes I were some years older at the time. Maybe if I could comprehend the moments of the actual day, I would have lived my life completely differently. Not to be vain, but to be the exact OPPOSITE. I feel like I wouldn’t have wasted so many moments living in vain if I could have felt what the entire nation felt so strongly on this day in 2001. I feel really sad when I think about all of the innocent people who lost their lives. They in no way deserved this. And it’s just a reminder that life is valuable.

It is the simplicity in day to day actions that matter. It is not materialistic. It’s not even something seen. But it is the things that are unseen that are meaningful. Experiences, memories, love, grace, kindness, courage, happiness, family, and friendships. These are the things that cannot give away. These are the things that last forever. Even after it’s all over, the history of how you lived and how you loved are what can guide other people to do great things bigger than themselves.

The older I get, the more I start to recognize that 9/11 was not just a moment in U.S. history. It is was much more. It is the ultimate reminder that we are to live in a way that honors our freedom and opportunities in this country. And we are to do everything with a mindful purpose. Nothing should be half-assed or taken for granted. All of those people who are no longer with us, did not get to go home. They did not get to see their loved ones for an official good bye. They didn’t all get to grow old. They didn’t all get to see their children or grandchildren grow up. Some never got to travel the world or run that first marathon. Some never got to be the best version of themselves that they wanted to become.

The bravery of those gone too soon, will always inspire me. They were so brave in the scariest of moments. They are the real ones. They are the heroes.

So, I am going to forget about the things that do not matter. Like my broken cell phone. It’s just a phone. Life is bigger than a phone. Life goes by so fast. There’s more to be done here. Capture every moment as if it is your last because you never know.

I personally choose to do better. I choose not to waste another moment over things so small that won’t even matter in the next few days.

Life is strangely beautiful even in times of tragedy. Let’s learn from the ones that had to be brave.

#NeverForget this day in history because the lives lost in 9/11 matter forever and always.