Beachside

Beachside

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Hello, My Name Is Anxiety.



Anxiety has been a significant part of my psyche for a long time now. In truth, I'll never know if I was naturally predisposed to anxiety or if all of it stemmed solely from the long term childhood sexual abuse I suffered. That's one of the impossible crises abuse presents in its aftermath - never really knowing who you would have been if you hadn't been abused as a child. But here I am, sifting through the pieces of myself and my past, putting back together what I can and diligently working to mend what someone else broke. 

The anxiety that was planted in me has roots that seem to weave and stretch through every fiber of my being. It's always there. Just there. Some days it's quiet and doesn't trip me up too badly. Other days, it's like cotton in my ears and mud in my eyes. I can barely function through it. It gets in the way of everything. Thanks to years of practice, I probably appear pretty normal on the outside, even to my husband who knows me better than anyone else. What he and others cannot hear, though, are the voices and compulsive urges in my mind, the ones telling me to rearrange the books on the coffee table 18 times in one day so they line up perfectly with the edge of the table, or to sweep the kitchen floor every 30 minutes, or to disinfectant the toilet every time I step foot in the bathroom. Ignoring the urges doesn't make them go away, in fact, it makes them louder and harder to ignore. They grow and grow until I can no longer maintain a normal outward appearance and I turn into a giant ball of OCD stress. I can't enjoy myself or my family, I can't relax or focus on anything but the intense, compulsive urges to clean, rearrange, and nitpick -- the urges to control everything around me. 

You see, abuse does a lot of really nasty things and one of those nasty things is that it robs the victim of two traits that are essential to our health and well-being: personal autonomy and independence. When those are taken away from us, and especially when it happens at a young age, it leaves us grasping for whatever control is left available. The remaining options are less than ideal and often a victim's grasping for control results in severe anxiety disorders, OCD, eating disorders, mental illness, and most tragically, suicide. 

I struggle with a decent handful of anxiety disorders across the spectrum and I can say one thing with absolute certainty: they are not to be taken lightly. Abuse damages its victims in deep and powerful ways and the last thing a victim or survivor needs to hear is that their struggle is ridiculous or irrational. If only we could tell ourselves the same thing and simply be done with the anxiety...what I wouldn't give! 

One time during a weekly therapy session, I told my therapist about some of my cleaning obsessions. I was embarrassed to bring up the issue but it had begun to inhibit my ability to function normally and I knew it was becoming a real problem. The therapist laughed at me and told me he wished he felt the same way so his house would be cleaner. He told me it didn't sound like a big deal and not to worry so much about it. His inability to actually listen to me and understand my struggle made me feel marginalized and I instantly regretted ever mentioning it. Later, after switching therapists (and once the problem became far more consuming) I'd be diagnosed with clinical Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, something I still have trouble wrapping my mind around and have sought relatively little help for, even though it presents itself on a daily basis. 

I've written about some of my other struggles with anxiety as a result of childhood sexual abuse. In this post I talk about panic attacks, and here I share what it's like to have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Part of me feels like I'm painting myself into The Crazy Corner, where people tilt their heads and look at me funny because Geez, she's so messed up. But the wise, strong-hearted part of me knows this is just real life. I didn't ask for these struggles, I didn't ask to be broken by abuse, but it happened and now I am bound and determined to be whole and happy and healed, and for me that means sharing. It means connecting with the millions of other people who are dealing with the same shit I am, day in and day out, because someone took their innocence and filled their lives with pain and suffering when all they wanted to do was be normal.  

Anxiety is with me when I wake up in the morning and it's with me when I lie down at night. It's with me when I make my children lunch, when I walk down the street, and when I make love to my husband. Some days it rules me and some days I get a swift upper cut in first thing in the morning and it hits the ground for a few hours (though if I'm blogging about it you can bet today I'm most likely on the receiving end of that punch). 

This isn't me offering you solutions for your own anxiety or telling you what self-help tactics work well for me when I'm blinded by mine. This is just me saying you're not alone. I'm a survivor, a mom, a wife, a musician, an abuse advocate, a customer service rep, an outdoors lover, and a woman who struggles with crippling anxiety. It's a part of my story just as your pain is a part of yours. 

My story is worthy of being told. So is yours. 



Monday, June 13, 2016

Are You Angry? That's Okay.



I used to hate hearing stories of my husband's teenaged years. I wanted to know about his past but hearing stories of high school, prom, dating, and all the other young adult experiences I had never known left me feeling empty and angry. 

Those years were taken from me, and even after the sexual abuse ended I'd still spend years being consumed by guilt, shame, secrecy, and trauma aftermath. 

When I was in my early twenties, newly married and pregnant with our first child, the weight of the abuse began to truly set in. I had finally turned to face some of my suffering instead of perpetually burying it and the result was a tidal wave of anger. I was angry with my abuser -- how dare he think my youth and my innocence were his for the taking? How dare he use me that way, with no regard for my own well-being and future? I would sit and think of all the terrible things I wanted to happen to him and all the awful things I would do to him if I had the opportunity; the ways I would make him suffer. I was soothed by thinking of him burning with pain.     

More than anything in the world, though, I wanted those years back that he took from me. I wanted to know who I would be if he hadn't destroyed me and poisoned me to the world. What would I would be like without this clawing, hissing anger inside me? Who would I be without crippling anxiety and depression? 

I wanted to sleep with the lights off and not have a panic attack. I wanted to look at myself in the mirror and not be consumed with self hatred. I wanted to stop the flashbacks and nightmares. I wanted to breathe deeply and love freely and slow my mind that couldn't ever seem to stop racing. I had been altered by him and it felt horribly unfair. No one asked my permission to harm me. My voice was taken away before I had even learned how to really use it and I was left with a silent scream that only I could hear. 

As I began to work through my PTSD and depression, I realized the anger I was consumed by was actually a healthy, normal part of healing from abuse. My kind therapist told me I was allowed to be angry. That in fact the anger I was feeling was an integral part of my grief process, and the sooner I recognized and embraced that, the sooner I'd be able to cope with its intensity and function through it. And yes, that's a lot harder than it sounds.

Another emotion that arrived early on in the abuse and settled in to stay was guilt. Victims find every possible reason in the world to feel guilty. During and after abuse, guilt becomes like a siamese twin. It takes serious, careful work to detach from it. Guilt became such a familiar part of me that it felt more comfortable than almost any other emotion. It ate away at me like an acid and I was addicted to its destruction. 

After the abuse ended, I felt guilty about everything. Guilty for being sad, guilty for being secretive, and later, guilty for being angry about it all...So naturally, when I finally came out about my abuse and was told by my church leaders that I was at least partially guilty for what happened, it fit me like a glove. Only this time, I didn't want to wear it. I knew enough to realize that shame and guilt were destroying me and keeping from being able to heal. I saw those accusations for what they were, secondary abuse, and I wasn't going to let myself be robbed of my voice another time. 

I should mention, I do think there are appropriate times to feel guilt and that it's not an emotion that should be entirely done away with. The problem with abuse, though, is that guilt is used as a tool by the abuser to continually disempower and dehumanize the victim. When you're made to believe that everything is your fault, you accept the abuse you're being subjected to because you don't think you deserve anything better. It's a cruel game and one not easily overcome. 

When we begin to understand abuse, it's easy to see why victims often experience extreme anger in the aftermath. In the same sense that we can't tell a victim the pace at which they should heal, we also can't condemn the wide range of emotions they'll experience in the process of healing. They all serve a purpose. 

Supporting victims of abuse as they heal takes great care and patience -- it's not an easy journey for anyone involved. At its highest points it's hopeful and rewarding, and at its lowest points it's heartbreaking and feels fruitless. It's not any wonder most people would prefer to look the other way and keep from getting their hands dirty, but the truth is there's profound beauty and connection in helping others, and it goes both ways. 

Victims cannot simply forget their suffering. When those around them forget, it feels like abandonment. It feels like we don't matter all over again.  

It's so important for victims of abuse to understand that the suffering they have experienced does not determine their worth. When someone chose to harm them, use them, abuse them, and discard them, it did not diminish their value and it didn't change the fact that they deserve love and healing the same as anyone else. 

Shaming victims must end. We must stop blaming, devaluing, abandoning, and judging those among us who have suffered so much. 

When victims take the risk of sharing their stories and revealing their pain, the only message they should be met with is this:

Do you need me? I am here. Do you feel guilty? You are not. Are you angry? That's okay. Are you breathing? Then you are worthy. 


















Friday, June 3, 2016

God Said No.



I am 12 years old. I am happy and free spirited. I laugh and talk loudly. I love my friends, music, and swimming in our pool. I dream of being on stage someday, singing for the world. My sky has no ceiling.  

I am 13 years old. My grandfather dies suddenly from a rapid cancer. I get my period for the first time in the airport on the way to his funeral. I don't want to grow up yet. 

I am 13 years old. I meet an older man from church and have my first big crush. He makes me feel special. One night, he touches my face and tells me I'm beautiful. He says he wishes he could see me in the mornings when I first wake up, when my hair is messy and my eyes are still tired. I think maybe I am falling in love with him. 

I am 14 years old. The man moves into our home to help remodel it. He tells me he loves me and makes me give him blow jobs. He takes my clothes off and fingers me. "Don't tell anyone. They won't understand." Often, I wake up in the middle of the night with him standing on my bed, looming over me. I am the object of his desires. The receptacle for his filthy fantasies. 

I am 15 years old. The man says he'll marry me soon. As soon as I'm legal. He calls me a slut. He says if I really love him I won't look at other men, I won't laugh loudly or smile too much. He handles me roughly and it excites him. "No one else will love you. You're too much trouble." He watches porn then comes to find me. I live for him, in the cage he has built around me. I am a prisoner in my own home. 

I am 16 years old. The man moves out of our home. He finds me occasionally. "Meet me in the car around the corner." He ejaculates on me and quickly leaves. This is our last encounter. I sit on the swing set down the hill from our home. I am numb. I am ruined by him. By his hate and his sex and his greed.

I cried for this man. He took from me. I lived for his approval. He took from me. I begged his forgiveness. He took from me. I gave him my future. He took from me. 

I ask God to let me die. Let me die for this man. 

God said no. Go and live. 


"She will break away

She will chase that morning sun

She will fly out of the darkness

She will break these chains of love

She will blossom into beauty

She will stand up tall and proud 

She can see past all the lies 

She has taken down the shroud

She will chase that morning sun."






















Friday, May 27, 2016

"When You See Her, You Will Be Amazed."





My body. 

Those two words present some difficulties for me. For a lot of years now I've been sifting through what childhood sexual abuse did to my relationship with my body, and it's not an easy topic for me to talk about or decipher. Lists on the effects of CSA can be found all over the Internet -- there's been a pretty massive amount of research conducted on this topic and I've always found it helpful to know that I'm not alone in my struggles; that for a victim of CSA I'm "normal," much as I hate using that word to describe the effects of something no person should ever experience.

What I've not found as easily accessible as the articles presenting research-based statistics are real life, candid accounts of what it's like to be a survivor of sexual abuse. They do exist and I've been grateful to stumble across the occasional account of, for instance, what it's like to try having a healthy relationship after sexual abuse, but they're hard to find.

In the spirit of healing through vulnerability and connection, I hope to help remedy that.

That being said, please raise your hand if you've ever heard of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Yeah, I didn't think so. Not many people have, and yet it's something that myriads of abuse survivors deal with on a daily basis. It's something I've battled since I was a teenager. It's weird and embarrassing and nobody really wants to talk about, which is why I'm about to. Honestly, BDD (that's what I'll refer to it as from here on out) is something I've wanted to talk about for years but have never found the courage to do so. Even talking to my husband about it always felt so exposing, but I've learned that we are never truly alone in any of our suffering and in order to find connection, someone has to be the first to speak up.

Technically speaking, BDD, "also known as Body Dysmorphia, is a mental illness that involves belief that one's own appearance is unusually defective, while one's thoughts about it are pervasive and intrusive, although the perceived flaw might be nonexistent."

In simpler terms, it means you look in the mirror and see something really hideous and undesirable looking back at you, and that perception can be so real and so intense that you obsess over it to the point that your quality of life may be effected in very prevalent ways.

Perhaps you can see why this would be difficult to discuss? I understand that by societal standards I am an attractive woman. How could I possibly explain my years-long struggle with BDD in a way that wouldn't make people scoff at me and walk away thinking I'm the most vain creature in existence? Well, it's important to understand that BDD has little to do with actual physical appearance and nearly everything to do with our perception of ourselves, and perception, of course, is a learned thing.

My perception of my body stems directly from the sexual abuse I suffered as a young girl. Let's unravel it a little bit:

When a child is told again and again "You are unworthy of love," that becomes part of her identity. Additionally, when a child's body is used for the sexual gratification of another person, she learns that she has no say over what happens to her body. That loss of control forces the child to disconnect from her body, especially during traumatic experiences. (In my case, my defense mechanism was to have out-of-body experiences. I'd mentally disconnect from my body and watch what was happening from across the room, usually from a corner of the ceiling.) I spent years disconnecting from my body. Rather than my mind and body being essentially one, they were at odds. I hated what was being done to me and I hated that my body responded to the sexual acts, whether or not I wanted it to. Through sexual abuse I learned to despise myself and my body.

Once the abuse had ended, my perception of myself was a tangled mess. I became extremely critical of my physical appearance and found every possible thing to hate about myself. I picked at my skin until I'd scab and scar, I incessantly shaved my entire body (except for my head), I spent hours each day worrying about how I looked. Eventually this turned into a constant obsession with my physical appearance and my weight. I developed anorexia which, over the next several years, would grow to consume my life. Pregnancy is a huge struggle for me and after my first two children were born I became more obsessed than ever with my appearance and weight. I'd frequently cancel activities and avoid leaving the house because I was so disgusted with the way I looked. I religiously restricted calories and punished myself with long, grueling workouts. Finding an outfit to wear often ended in me sobbing on the bedroom floor because of perceived imperfections on my body. BDD and anorexia were dark shadows over my daily life.

My husband's kind words of comfort meant little to me because they couldn't change what I saw every time I looked in the mirror. His love for me couldn't mute those words that replayed in my head every day.

Anorexia and BDD, combined with the other permeating effects of sexual abuse, nearly drove me to suicide on many occasions. Hope was not something I felt much of during the worst years.

So what does BDD look like for me now? I'm twenty eight years old; my sexual abuse ended nearly twelve years ago and I'm seven months pregnant with our fourth child. I still have BDD, but I'm learning how to live with it. I'm learning how to inject my own loving voice over the voices that tell me I'm disgusting and unloved. This is particularly hard and personal for me to share, but here's one of the practical ways I deal with BDD:

When I step out of the shower, before I look at myself in the mirror, I take a deep breath and I say to myself, "You are about to look at a strong and beautiful woman. Her body works wonderfully. She is full of life. She has strong legs and strong arms, and she is worthy of so much love. When you see her, you will be amazed. Are you ready?"

And then I look at myself in the mirror and on the good days, I see myself through eyes untainted by abuse and I believe those words. And I love that strong woman in the mirror.

Abuse literally changes the way we think. I can't know what my daily struggles would look like if I had never been abused and I certainly can't chalk every personal struggle up to the abuse I suffered, but understanding the effects of childhood sexual abuse is a vital step toward healing from our own wounds and also empathizing with others who are suffering.

Part of the reason I've been fearful of opening up about my battle with anorexia and BDD is that I don't want people to read my words and be left with the impression that I'm a sad, miserable, shell of a woman who hates herself and cries all day long. That couldn't be further from the truth. I was badly hurt, yes, and sometimes I am very sad and burdened with pain, but I am a vibrantly hopeful woman. I laugh and smile, I am positive and cheerful.

By the grace of Divine Love I am blessed to wake up each day, roll up my sleeves, and walk forward into more healing and light and love than I knew the day before. Without the deep connection and support I find through openly sharing my story, I know that would not be possible.

Thank you for seeing me in my most vulnerable place and for accepting me. Thank you for opening up in return and helping create a space where we can share our joys and our suffering with one another and be stronger because of it.

Thank for you being a warrior with me. 
















Friday, May 20, 2016

Love For The Long Haul

I didn't know what I needed back then. I didn't know how to ask for it. I knew people were whispering, I could feel their eyes on me. I remember sitting in church, week after week, wondering if that was the day someone would come and put their hand on my shoulder or ask me how I was doing, if I needed anything, or maybe if they could just give me a hug. It never happened. 
A few months after I'd gone public about the sexual abuse, I received a letter from a friend: a guy who was also friends with my abuser. He told me I should forgive my abuser and then look for the ways God was revealing sin in my own life. I felt angry and misunderstood. I threw his letter away. Over the years I've wondered if he ever regretted telling me that. Perhaps those words were easy for him to say and then forget, but they stayed with me. His words and so many others. Seared onto my heart.
I didn't know what I needed back then but now I know. I needed love, the kind that doesn't go hand-in-hand with judgment. I needed empathy and compassion. I needed people to be mindful of their words. I needed a community that understood abuse so they'd understand how to be there for me when I needed them. How to not look at me like the piece of refuse I felt I was. 
I needed the kind of love that would reach into my soul and begin to undo what my abuser had done to me. It's a kind of love that doesn't always know exactly what to say or do, but is committed to just being there. It's a kind of love that's in it for the long haul. 
Every victim is worthy of that love. Let's begin to learn how to give it to them, even, or perhaps especially, when they don't know how to ask for it. 



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

He's Still Here.




I dreamt about my abuser two nights ago. I wish they didn't still happen -- the dreams, but they do. And often.

The abuse ended 12 years ago and not a day goes by that I do not think of him. It's like he imprinted himself on my soul or in my psyche somehow. Maybe it's because of my age at the time of the abuse, 13-16 years old; such a formative time in my development. Or maybe it's because I was so deeply infatuated with him. He was my whole world, he held my heart and my trust in his hand and he broke me again and again. He poisoned me against myself, destroyed my sense of worth, demeaned me, controlled me, used me, and left me with little hope that my world could ever be whole again.

He inflicted so much pain on me and yet when it was over I missed him and wanted him back. The relationship between an abuser and his victim is a complex, beastly thing. There's a reason some women never leave and if they do, they often go right back. 

I've wondered a lot if it's "normal" to think about your abuser regularly and to feel as if he's still a part of you even once he's no longer in your life, and because not many people talk about this aspect of survivorhood I thought I'd write about some of my own experience with it. We need more candid talk about surviving abuse, and I know I can't be the only one who feels that way. So whether you're a survivor yourself, or currently a victim, or just someone who cares about these issues, I hope this post helps you to understand a little more about this complicated and shame-inducing corner of being a survivor.

What do I mean when I say my abuser is still a part of me? Let me tell you a little about it.  


  • I see his face in the face of strangers. On a regular basis I catch myself doing a double-take at complete strangers because something in his face reminds me of my abuser. Maybe it's his facial hair, the way he smiles, or his build. It used to catch me off guard, but anymore it almost seems routine -- just a part of life. 

  • I think of his name often. Since I began dating my husband, I've been terrified that I'm going to accidentally call him by my abuser's name, not because my husband reminds me of my abuser but perhaps because the only other person in my life that I was incredibly close with was my abuser. My husband seared himself on my heart through love and sacrifice and my abuser did the same, only through trauma and hateful words. 

  • I dream about him. Sometimes it's once a week, sometimes every night of the week. The dreams usually end with me waking up hyperventilating, shaking and sweating. Between flashbacks and the fear of him re-entering my life or me encountering him, my brain seems to have plenty of dream material. In most of my dreams, he acts as though he never did anything to harm me. He smiles and warmly greets me and doesn't seem to grasp how much he hurt me. Maybe the dreams will stop someday and maybe they won't. 

  • I'm reminded of him in every day experiences. He loved oldies. He loved Chet Baker. He loved hiking, Chacos, and anything from the Patagonia clothing company. He loved Spain. He added honey to recipes when he cooked and he preferred goat's milk. He's a person, after all, with likes and dislikes and I took stock of those. One day I'd be his wife, or so I thought. For years I was fixated on him and I'm still reminded of him in a dozen ways throughout any given day. Every time I hear The Beach Boys, he's standing beside me again. 

  • Sometimes I remember the things I liked about him. With abuse comes so much scarring. I battled hating him and being angry with him for years, and that comes back on occasion. For the most part when my abuser comes into my mind it stings. It's ugly and unwanted, but not always. What he did to me was criminal and sick but in my memory it wasn't all bad. He was tender and kind to me sometimes. I no longer use that to justify the abuse, as I once did, but it's still there and I still say that to myself sometimes, "it wasn't all bad." I think maybe this helps me to have compassion on him, to forgive him so I am not poisoned with hatred. 

There's more, of course, but I'll likely do this in stages. 

The abuse I experienced was more than just "a thing that happened." In many ways it shaped me. A huge piece of my story, it nearly killed me and then somewhere along the way I stopped letting it kill me and I started to heal. The abuse isn't where my journey ended but in a big way it is where my journey began. I left so many pieces of me in those years of my life and now I am reclaiming them, little by little. 

As I heal from every forced sexual favor, from every firm and controlling grip on my arm, from every time he told me I was unworthy of love, I take another step toward being the woman that little girl wanted to be before he tried to destroy her.  

Is he still here with me? Yes. 

Will he be with me forever? I don't know. 

Sometimes we survivors are powerful. We roar and howl and hold our heads high, eyes shining, hearts glowing, exuberant and moving forward at practically the speed of light. Other times, we wake up from a nightmare, shaking and crying and acutely aware of the fact that this process of healing really is a lifelong, painstaking one. 

But that doesn't mean we are not courageous. 



Monday, April 25, 2016

The Private Journal of an Abuse Victim




As a young girl, I journaled all the time. While I was being abused it was the only way I knew how to process my confused feelings. Over the years I have destroyed some of the journals I've come across but some are still around. I found one a few months ago and have been waiting for what felt like the right time to share some of the entries from it. 

Here on my blog I've written before (here, for instance) detailing what it's like for victims to be infatuated with their abusers, but I think these transcribed journal entries give a unique glimpse into the heart and mind of my 16 year old self. 

At the time I wrote them, I had already endured 2 years of sexual abuse. Jamin had met and groomed me, lived with our family, and moved out of our house by this time. The following entries were written as the interactions between Jamin and I began to come to a close. 

(In one of the entries I have blanked out the name of friend of mine who I had begun to develop feelings for after Jamin moved out of our house.)

~

10/14/2003

Things have been pretty rocky for the last few months. Jamin and my friendship has been faced with various difficulties and mistakes on both our parts have made things troublesome. He makes me feel like I'm not good enough for him and maybe for his standards I'm not. I try so, so hard for him and I know that I fall short but I am only human and I am only 16 years old! Lord, please smooth things out between us. A lack of communication throws yet another wrench into things and makes it so hard when we can rarely even speak to each other. Please help him to overcome or at least improve his jealousy problem. It's so hard on me, Lord. His anger and impatience with me constantly hurts me and scares me. I beg you to convict him of this sin. Help me not to be a hypocrite and to rebuild his trust by not being two-faced. Make me more Christ-like and help to me control my confused feelings about this whole situation. Show me how you would have me act and give me wisdom in daily decisions I must make...

...Please take the heavy weight of this day off my shoulders. Amen.  

Natalie G.

~

10/15/2003

Lord, I have been confused but I don't think I've ever been this confused. While Jamin distances himself from me, ______ spends so much time at our house (time that Jamin could be spending with me too) and he gives me friendship. Like a fool I betray Jamin's trust constantly and I don't flirt with _______ but I am definitely more friendly than Jamin would ever want me to be. I miss my dear, dear friend. His lack of affection and ignoring me hurts me so much. I miss you, Jamin. I want my Jamin back. I want ______ gone from my life forever. I want the life I have known for the last 2 years. Hard, troublesome, so painful but with those highlights that made it all worthwhile. Come back to me, my love. 

Lord, please sort out my confused and weary mind and feeling. Bring my best friend back to me? Forgive me for all my hypocrisy and deceit. Take it out of my heart. Heal this mess, God. Please, heal this. I love Jamin with all my heart and more. Please forgive us, strengthen our relationship with you and with each other. Help me to ignore ______ and just be cordial with him. Bless my sleep and bless Jamin's sleep. Take his jealous heart from him and please destroy that sinful horrible anger he has. 

Natalie G.

~

11/07/2003

It's been weeks since I've written. I love Jamin so dearly yet I feel like he does not love me in the same way. I give so much and try so hard for him but my efforts are not reciprocated. Tonight he came into my work and I was so happy to see him and I showed it, but he seemed unexcited to see me and he acted like he barely noticed me. I was crushed. He tells me I should give him attention in public because people will think of me as just a little girl but that if he does the same it will mar his reputation. So I give to him and receive no attention, or very little from him. It's hard and I don't like it. I'm so confused. Everything is so blurry and unsure. One minute I am crazy about him and the next minute he hurts me so much and I don't respect him like I did before. 

Maybe I'm just sick of being crazy about him when he's not crazy about me. I don't even know anymore. 

Also I don't know what's going on but I have developed some sort of stomach problems I guess from being constantly troubled and stressed. I am sick all the time and whenever I eat I get very sick. I don't know what's wrong with me. I have so much sin. 

Natalie G.

~

12/14/2003

At a time like this I am so tempted to scream at God and ask him "why?" Why he could make me hurt so horridly like this? Why he would take away my best friend? But no. Why is not the question. Why is because God's will is perfect and why is because I don't deserve any more than this, in fact I deserve less. I cannot ask God to make me happy. I can't beg to know my future. I do not deserve any happiness. I have a black stench in my heart. 

Natalie G.