Reblog: Trauma Is Not Your Fault, But Healing Is Your Responsibility

I have two good friends who are going through different forms of trauma currently. Speaking with them over the past few weeks has brought a lot of tears, some laughs, and many memories of times I have wrestled with inner traumas myself. As has become common, I came across a blog post written by Brianna Wiest on Thought Catalog and her words touched several topics in conversations I’ve had with these two friends over the past month. (Sometimes I wonder if the Ever Listening Web has implanted my mind in order to bring these treasures to my world…)

The entire post rang true on so many different concepts, but I especially appreciated Brianna’s quote, “We are not meant to get through life unscathed. We are not meant to get to the finish line unscarred, clean and bored.” Though we go through Life hoping for things to be easy, can you imagine if every wish you ever wished or every dream you ever dreamed came to fruition? No challenges means no changes. No failings means no winnings. No tears means no lessons. There are difficulties in my past that I still regret, but they have also led me to become a stronger, wiser, and more conscientious woman — and isn’t that the goal for growing older? To me it is.

What happened to you was not your fault.

It was not something you asked for, it was not something you deserved.

What happened to you was not fair.

You were merely collateral damage on someone else’s warpath, an innocent bystander who got wrecked out of proximity.

We are all traumatized by life, some of us from egregious wrongdoings, others by unprocessed pain and sidelined emotions. No matter the source, we are all handed a play of cards, and sometimes, they are not a winning hand.

Yet what we cannot forget is that even when we are not at fault, healing in the aftermath will always fall on us — and instead of being burdened by this, we can actually learn to see it as a rare gift.

Healing is our responsibility because if it isn’t, an unfair circumstance becomes an unlived life.

Healing is our responsibility because unprocessed pain gets transferred to everyone around us, and we are not going to allow what someone else did to us to become what we do to those we love.

Healing is our responsibility because we have this one life, this single shot to do something important.

Healing is our responsibility because if we want our lives to be different, sitting and waiting for someone else to make them so will not actually change them. It will only make us dependent and bitter.

Healing is our responsibility because we have the power to heal ourselves, even if we have previously been led to believe we don’t.

Healing is our responsibility because we are uncomfortable, and discomfort almost always signals a place in life in which we are slated to rise up and transform.

Healing is our responsibility because every great person you deeply admire began with every odd against them, and learned their inner power was no match for the worst of what life could offer.

Healing is our responsibility because “healing” is actually not returning to how and who we were before, it is becoming someone we have never been — someone stronger, someone wiser, someone kinder.

When we heal, we step into the people we have always wanted to be. We are not only able to metabolize the pain, we are able to affect real change in our lives, in our families, and in our communities. We are able to pursue our dreams more freely. We are able to handle whatever life throws at us, because we are self-efficient and assured. We are more willing to dare, risk, and dream of broader horizons, ones we never thought we’d reach.

The thing is that when someone else does something wrong and it affects us, we often sit around waiting for them to take the pain away, as though they could come along and undo what has been done.

We fail to realize that in that hurt are the most important lessons of our lives, the fertile breeding ground upon which we can start to build everything we really want.

We are not meant to get through life unscathed.

We are not meant to get to the finish line unscarred, clean and bored.

Life hurts us all in different ways, but it is how we respond — and who we become — that determines whether a trauma becomes a tragedy, or the beginning of the story of how the victim became the hero.

Written by Brianna Wiest and updated November 3, 2019. Find the original post here.

I have two big regrets in my life. The first is not attending my alma mater straight from the beginning of my collegiate career, and thus losing a full-ride scholarship. The second is writing a blog post about one of my past relationships in a rage of emotions. Though I do not regret what I wrote, I regret allowing hate and hurt control my actions and ultimately casting a shadow on my character. I do not regret writing the post, but I regret publishing it.

With this in mind, I also believe healing must occur when we are at fault. Healing must happen to forgive one’s own actions, learn from one’s faults, and move forward with more care and kindness. Sometimes we lose control of our emotions, but it is our responsibility to clean up after the wreckage and assist with healing those who may have gotten in our way.

Both the victim and the warlord need healing to better the world.

All the best, my friends,

Gray Spaces & A Message Worth Hearing

“I don’t want to be alive, but I don’t want to end my life.”

A dear friend of mine published a post on her blog last night that I feel needs to be read by many people. She bravely opened up about her personal struggles and took the leap to share her innermost feelings with the world because she knows there is a poor stigma surrounding the topic of suicidal ideation. Her words are raw and courageous and so, so needed in today’s climate. There really isn’t much more I need to say… I could add no more substance to her beautiful words.

Also, please be aware this is a very sensitive topic and this is your trigger warning; please proceed when you’re ready.

With recent events this week, both nationally and personally, this has been on my mind a lot. Trigger warnings ahead as this is a very sensitive topic, but I am sick of the repercussions of it not being discussed. 

My experience with suicide is, unfortunately, like many others my age. For every year I was in high school, there was at least one student within the local school systems who committed suicide or attempted. There was a moment of silence over the PA system in the morning, and counseling offered to students who needed it. Chatter during lunches from those closest to the person about what happened and then, eventually, silence.

Diving deeper, one of these was a student I had been in touch with on and off throughout the years. As I’ve said, for years I have stuffed down my feelings and I am just now acknowledging the repercussions of doing so. At one point before this student committed suicide, we were having a casual conversation in which they acknowledged they were having a hard time. I said I understood that, and when they asked me the best way to handle it, I told them that I numbed myself to the pain until I could ignore it. It was not the right answer at all, and I know that now. At the time, I didn’t have any other solution to offer because it was the only solution I was functioning off of, though I was not functioning well. A little less than a year later, I logged on to Facebook to learn they had committed suicide. I’ve only ever told two people this.

Throughout middle school and high school, one of my closest friends suffered from depression and anxiety. As a result, they had more than one suicide attempt. Because we didn’t attend the same school district, I would often hear about the attempts and institutionalization from their mom or friends over text out of the blue. I sometimes had to relay information about the latest happenings in their life to their mom late at night because they felt so left out of their child’s life due to the mental trauma they were dealing with. I always struggled with sharing information like that. At 14 years old, it is very difficult to understand mental health, and at the time it was not something that I had much knowledge on. I wanted to serve as a confidant to my friend, but I also wanted to help their mom to understand the situation as best as possible. Apart from this, all I was doing was praying for my friend and her family. I believe prayer is a powerful thing, but that more can be done.

My sophomore year of high school, I was at my grandpa’s visitation when I checked my phone for the first time that afternoon. It was a text from my friend’s mom saying that my friend had swallowed multiple pills and was in the hospital due to another attempt. I remember sitting on a bench in the hall way. There were no tears this time. I was merely an etch-a-sketch shaken up with all thought collapsed. When my dad asked me what was wrong, I told him. He responded back by saying, “I know this is hard. Keep praying for her, but also know that one day they might be successful with it.” The thought tore me apart. I knew that my dad was not wishing for that to happen by any means, but more so speaking in terms of reality. I know I nodded, because it was a thought I had reminded myself every time they were unsuccessful, but what I wanted in that moment was to have a conversation that neither of us knew the script for.

My most recent experience happened later that year during world history. Instead of learning about Martin Luther and his 95 theses, I kept glancing at the words on my screen from my friend. They told me they had plans to attempt suicide that night. I felt my pulse in my thumbs as they hovered over the phone. My stomach now housed my beating heart, and it echoed the thumping rhythm of anxiety as I tried to maneuver a solution. In that moment, I contemplated so many outcomes: They’re just worked up, they don’t mean it. They’ll get home and change their mind. What if  their mom comes home, and finds them — again. What if it really works this time. My teacher broke my thought process, and divided us into groups to do our homework. With that I asked him to come into the hall, and rambled off what was happening through tears and a stuttering voice. As a result, I spent the afternoon in the guidance office talking to a counselor and calling my friend’s school to pull her out of class and send her home.

The days following resulted in a lot of emotions. Teachers and guidance counselors told me if I needed anything to let them know. I was overwhelmed by the thought of talking about it more than I had already. When I did talk to my friend next, I kept apologizing to them for telling someone because I felt guilty for it. I felt like I was making the decision for them to stay alive, when what I wanted was for them to want that for themselves.

Because these events and exposures to suicide all happened in a very short time frame, I never fully talked about them and as such they ended up stuffed down with my other feelings. For every time I hear about a suicide on the news, I thank God my one friend made it out alive after multiple attempts. But for all of those thoughts, there are equally as many moments I feel incredible guilt for the classmate I didn’t help, the one that reached out for help and in return heard the advice to ignore pain that I now understand couldn’t be ignored.

While I don’t believe it would change the overall situations, I do believe that had there been strides to discuss and normalize mental health conversations, I could have acted sooner in a more productive way in those situations. The point of this outlet is to discuss mental health, and more specifically mine. I have felt a tremendous weight lifted when I’ve heard others’ stories because they echo that I am not alone. For what it’s worth, here is my, “you are not alone” in the suicide conversation.

I have never checked yes on a suicide survey. This does not represent my truth. I am the type of person who doesn’t believe they could go through with harming themselves. However, I have let myself sit for days, sometimes even week long periods, in very unhealthy states of not wanting to be alive. I have sobbed and hyperventilated into blankets and pillows from morning to night. I have done it over the years and recently. However, recently, the thought transitioned.

I started to think to myself that if I were to die by a natural cause, I wouldn’t be disappointed because of the quality of my life at the moment. For some reason, this thought manifested into the idea of a car crash, which is usually caused more by fate and coincidences of circumstances than intention. For at least a week, I had the thought that if I got into a car accident and lived, I would know I am meant to be here still. It sat in the back of my mind as something that would give a clear answer, but something that likely wouldn’t happen.

For those of you that follow me on Facebook, you know I did get into a car accident. A week ago, my friend and I went out and as the night went on our plans changed. We originally weren’t going to go out for St. Paddy’s but because we’ve both been to very few parties in college, we decided to just for the entitlement to say we went. Originally only one of us was going to drink, but we both had a drink, so we Ubered home. Our first Uber cancelled on us, and we had a longer than usual wait for the second one. I got into the Uber and for the first time according to my memory, didn’t think to buckle because I was busy talking to the driver. Two minutes later I looked down at my seat belt and realized that. I reached over to put it on, and before I could, we were rear ended while stationary in traffic by a car that came in fast. I bounced forward and my head knocked back into the seat.

This was my first car crash, and my response was to get my friend and I back home and deal with my feelings about it later. It wasn’t until the next day that I started to question the timing of it. I believe that there are no coincidences in the way things happen. All of the plans that changed that night that led us to that specific Uber at that specific moment were not all just a coincidence. Regardless of your beliefs in God, good vibes, the Universe, what have you, something was proving to me I am meant to be alive right now.

In the days following the accident, I didn’t reference this to anyone. I didn’t want people to assume I was suicidal, I didn’t want to concern others. The reason for this is that suicide has always been such a black and white issue when it’s talked about. If you check yes to having suicidal thoughts, in my experience at least, you are treated as though you’ve attempted suicide already. There has never in my experience been a grey area where I would feel okay saying, “I don’t want to be alive, but I don’t want to end my life.” In my case, these thoughts exist every so often. I know for others, they are more frequent than that. In my case, I cry for a while and drag my feet into the next day. For others, they call a hotline.

This week, I decided to open up to my counselor and a few friends about this experience and these thoughts about the grey area. When they asked why I didn’t say something sooner, I explained that what I was saying felt like it should be kept hushed. They all reassured me that at one point or another, they’ve found themselves in the grey area too. My counselor even told me she used to take crying breaks during school for an hour, wash her face and continue on, because she wasn’t suicidal, but she wasn’t okay either.

It’s my belief that the grey area should still be identified as just as important, but separate from needing to be institutionalized for suicidal actions. Since this car accident, and since opening up in the last months whether it be in posts, or in conversations, I really do believe my mental health is improving, however, I am still in the grey area. There are days where I really do wish that I wasn’t here, because it is an exhausting thing to feel so vulnerable and open with others. It’s even more exhausting, because there are still plenty of people, myself included more times than not, who don’t know how to talk about these things. Everyone is stuck trying to say the right thing that they forget to say something. As someone who can see how many people are viewing their WordPress, the number of people who never say anything back is discouraging when you’re opening up this much.

I know this has been very long, and for those of you who stuck through, thank you. This is me doing my best to say something with what I know. Nationally, suicides are currently being linked to mass shootings. I understand that every case is different, and each is individually just as important in the conversation about mental health. I understand that there is unfortunately no way to prevent them from happening. But, I do strongly believing that it is okay to not be okay. And I know I want to live in a world where it doesn’t feel so wrong to admit that. I certainly don’t want to continue forward stuffing things down and encouraging it, which is why I shared all of this. For some of you, this may be a lot. Please understand the weight you feel reading this has been on my shoulders for a very long time, and I am sharing because in my moments where I feel alone, I would want to see something like this.

If you feel comfortable reaching out, and just want to say that you’ve felt in the grey area before, or do now, then please reach out. If this helped you, I’d be relieved to know because it took a lot to share it. Lastly, I still genuinely believe that there isn’t anything wrong with simply needing to hear that people care about you and are happy you are alive. It’s not so much a compliment as it is reassurance that your presence is acknowledged, and it works wonders in a difficult moment. So if you’ve read this far, and you’re happy I’m alive and pulling through, or you’re rooting for me, please let me know so I can thank you and see how much I have going for myself. You have no idea how much it means.

Written by Mikhayla Dunaj on March 27, 2019. Find the original post here.

I know from talks with the author that this topic truly has been weighing on her. So if you found a source of solace in her words, please reach out to her. I have been in a position similar to Mikhayla — I have never wanted to hurt myself, but have considered what it would mean to no longer be alive — and knowing others were or had been in the same thought-space as me made a world of difference. You do not have to go through anything alone.

Life is a complicated, trying mess, but we are in it together, friends.

(I love you, Mikhayla. Thank you for sharing this message and being vulnerable. You may never know how you have changed someone’s world with your words.)

Much love, friends,




On average, there are more than 128 suicides per day in the United States, attempted by people with and without known mental health conditions. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to find support during your time of crisis or be provided useful resources. Your call is ALWAYS free and confidential. 

Reblog: It Takes Losing What You Were Settling For To Remember What You Deserve

I think it’s a natural occurrence to look back on your life and marvel at the changes over the years. Though there may be some changes you would like to reroute to their original path, most changes have probably been for the better. It is normal to want to strive to be better and do better and become better in all areas of your life. Some may argue that is the very concept of humanity — to grow into our own perspective of better with every passing year.

With that in mind, I was perusing one of my favorite sites to pass the time and came across an article by Raina Naim who discusses how loss can change us for the better. If you’re someone who has been following my blog over the years, this is one of my key beliefs also. I am a firm believer that when you lose something it is only because something better is about to take it’s place. I know of a few friends out there who need to hear this message, and Raina says it beautifully…

It takes loss to make us realize what we deserve.

It takes heartbreak to make us realize the kind of love we want.

And it takes falling in love with the wrong person to make us realize who’s really right for us.

It takes losing what we had to realize that it wasn’t what we really wanted or needed. It takes losing things to realize that we can do better. We’re destined for greater things. We’re meant to be with better people. We don’t deserve pain. We don’t deserve to suffer. We don’t deserve to settle.

Many things in life make us settle for things we don’t deserve. Maybe it’s loneliness, maybe it’s a lack of self-love, maybe it’s peer pressure, maybe it’s family traditions. It can be a lot of things we’re unaware of doing but we’re just conditioned to be a certain way or do certain things that we frankly don’t know why we’re doing it or who we’re trying to please.

Which is why losing things is the best wake-up call. It’s the beginning of you transforming your life. It’s the beginning of your self-awareness and your soul-searching journey to unlearn everything you’ve ever been told and listen to your own voice.

It takes losing people to find yourself.

We sometimes eat lies when our hearts are hungry. We believe that mediocre things are the best. We hold on to people who don’t respect us. We tell ourselves the lies we want to hear as we bury the truth because we just don’t want to live that kind of reality. We don’t want to wait another month or another year. We don’t want to start over. We focus so much on what we want that we end up forgetting what we deserve.

We sometimes spend our lives fighting for people who only hurt us and disappoint us. We fight for people who don’t fight for us. We fight for people who break our hearts because we think we’ll never find that feeling again or this chemistry or this vibe again. But it’s only when you fight just as hard to let go that you realize you deserve more. You deserve better. You deserve someone who doesn’t break your heart and call it love.

It took me a few years to get over certain losses in my life but when I look back now, I realize that every loss brought me closer to finding myself. Every loss taught me what I truly deserved. Every loss reminded me that there’s something greater to be gained.

Written by Rania Naim on February 8, 2019. Find the original post here.

There is nothing better than losing some and gaining more, friends. Looking back, my life has been full of little losses than have resulted in my greatest blessings. Even the “big” losses grew bigger than have imagined! I would not trade any of my past tears, grief, or heartache for happy moments because they’ve brought me to where I am right now… and that’s a pretty amazing life to live now.

All the best,

Share Blog: Love What Matters

I am blessed to call some amazing women my closest friends. Playing off my last post on what and who is my Tribe, I felt it necessary to share this raw and inspiring story from one of my Pink Ladies, Katie, as it provides a beautiful testimony as to the characters of those in my Tribe.

Katie is one of those rare women who can take the worst situation and find the gem in its midst. Life happens to us all, and I know this girl has had a lot of lemons thrown her way lately. Yet having survived what some may say is the hardest battle of all — the battle for your own life — Katie persists with a smile on her face and overwhelming love in her heart. No matter what she is going through in her personal life, she makes time to check in on those she loves and be available for a chat or hug. For someone who could very easily choose to be selfish and focus on her own struggles, Katie will not allow anyone to feel sadness and pain alone. She is the very definition of a servant heart.

As I read through her inspiring testimony for the 65,245,897th time, I marvel at the determined, persistent, and optimistic woman I have in my Tribe. I could not be more humbled to have Katie call me her friend in return.

Please read her inspiring story here. (This story was originally submitted to Love What Matters by Katie Hess.

I love you, Katie, and all that you symbolize — you are more than my friend, you are a role model.

Savory Sundays: Goat Cheese Holiday Truffles

G and I had a great Thanksgiving break. We traveled down to Indy and spent the day with G’s family. Our brother and sister-in-law also came from Iowa with our four-month-old nephew, and we were both in heaven. We absolutely love that little turkey, and any text/Snapchat/minute we’re able to have with him is a treasure. There is quite a bit to be thankful for this year, but little Z is definitely at the top of our list.

Another big blessing this year is our new home. With all our in-progress improvements, we decided to host an intimate Friendsgiving and game night. I love hosting these kinds of parties, but could only handle a small gathering this year with everything else happening. So we asked four of our friends to join us in a night of great food and better fellowship — and our hopes were over-filled! I’ll share our full menu in a future post, but I have to share this new and awesome recipe with you, friends. It is the perfect holiday appetizer, and makes a great breakfast too — trust me, I’m munching on it right now as G and I enjoy our pre-church coffee. Mmmm…

This original recipe can be found on The Novice Chef, but I tweaked it a bit to my tastes — and I also chose to split the recipe into 12 truffles and a medium-sized cheeseball for our Friendsgiving. They will be a part of our future holiday celebrations for years to come because they are DELISH!

Goat Cheese Holiday Truffles

  • Servings: 16+ Truffles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

These festive truffles take little time and taste like Christmas. Help your taste buds celebrate the holidays with these tasty little treats.


  • 10 oz goat cheese
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp honey (or more, to taste)
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup Craisins
  • handful fresh parsley


  1. Beat goat cheese, cream cheese, cinnamon and honey until light and fluffy.
  2. Fold in 1/2 cup pecans and set aside.
  3. Toss remaining pecans, Craisins, and parsley on parchment paper.
  4. Scoop our cheese filling with a spoon, roll into a ball, and roll through pecan mixture until covered.
  5. OR Roll cheese filling into a large cheese ball, and roll through pecan mixture until covered.
  6. Continue with all truffles.
  7. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

You can serve these truffles with crackers, which also is easy to do as a giant cheeseball. Or you can serve the truffles on a toothpick — they are delicious just on their own!

Enjoy, friends!