Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

A Surprise Reveal from Cora Carmack!

March 29, 2017 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

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From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack, comes the highly anticipated fourth standalone title in her Rusk University Series, ALL CLOSED OFF! A passionate story and journey, get ready to be mesmerized with Stella’s story! ALL CLOSED OFF is coming your way May 1, 2017!

 

 

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Cover Design and Photography by Kelsey Kukal-Keeton at K. Keeton Designs

ABOUT ALL CLOSED OFF (Releasing May 1, 2017):

Stella Santos is fine.

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same.

But none of that matters because she’s just fine.

For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t.

When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again.

Vulnerable.

 

 

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Don’t Miss All of Cora’s Standalone Rusk University Series Titles!

 

ALL LINED UP

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes

ALL BROKE DOWN

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ALL PLAYED OUT
Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes

 

 

 

Cora Carmack - author picAbout Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a twentysomething New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twentysomething characters. Raised in a small Texas town, she now lives in New York City and spends her time writing, traveling, and marathoning various TV shows on Netflix. She lives by one rule: embrace whatever the world throws at you and run with it (just not with scissors).

 

 

 

 

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Cora Carmack Goodreads

 

 

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Lessons I’ve Learned in 2016

December 31, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

2016 has been quite the year for me.

In so many ways, I am so relieved to say goodbye to this year. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve struggled. I’ve fallen. I’ve had a lot of days where getting out of bed is a struggle – but without these days, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Without these days, I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I did this year.

In order to say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017 – I wanted to take the time to do a blog post. I wanted to take the time to look back on the lessons I’ve learned and how they’ve carried me throughout the year. These are lessons that I know will continue to carry me into the new year and beyond.

  1. Self care – You guys know how hard I woke and how hard I push myself. I push myself too hard, all the time, and I ended up completely burned out. This year I wanted to take a different approach – and I did. It wasn’t easy, but I knew that with my health going downhill, I had to start practicing some self care. I had people remind me often to do so, in whatever way I could. I took a step back when I needed to. I took a hot bath to escape and relax when I needed to. Yes, there were even days where I slept as long (or as much) as I could in order to take care of myself. Self care is such an important aspect for everyone – if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you really can’t help others to your full potential.
  2. Letting go of things I cannot change – This year has been… interesting. I have learned this lesson and learned it hard and quick. This year I had to learn that letting go of things I cannot change is something I must do. I can’t change the toxic and at times crippling behavior of family. I cannot change the fact that I’ve been pulled around in all different directions since my parents divorce. I cannot change the fact that I am chronically ill. I cannot change the fact that some people I love dearly and have always been in my life will never change and will continue to be manipulative of others. I have to let this go – allowing this to continue will only hurt me in the long run. It took a lot of guts for me to say “Next Christmas, I am spending it at home quietly with my girlfriend and we won’t be running around all day.” … that took a lot of guts and a lot of tears, hurt and anger before that. I cannot change parts of my life, but I can let go of them and begin building my own life where my needs are taken care of and put first.
  3. Kindness – I cannot tell you how many times people have reached out to me this year. Whether it be donating what they could to the GoFundMe I had to create in order to survive an extended period of time off of work or people telling me they support me. Kindness has been a big theme for me in 2016. Even the kindness of strangers has pulled me through some of the hardest moments of my life. I’ve learned that I have an entire community behind my back. I’ve learned that there are people out there that I don’t even know that want the best for me. The kindness I’ve been shown this year has been amazing and I’ve worked hard to repay that kindness whenever and however I can.
  4. Advocating for my health – Let me tell you how hard it was the past year to find a doctor who was willing to listen to me and willing to help me. I went through several ER visits with no help, being sent home with pain medication and told there’s nothing they could do. I’ve gone to several doctors who flat out refused to help, listen and even treat me (one going as far as refusing to treat me because she thought I was overweight and didn’t need the help I needed to have a life). It was ultrasounds (vaginal and abdominal), days and nights curled up and crying in pain. It was appointment after appointment as I fought and learned how to advocate for myself and my health. Eventually, it all paid off when I met my current doctor. At the first visit, this doctor agreed to treat me and give me the surgery I needed to have any sort of quality of life. At the first visit. In August, I went in and had surgery and while it ended up being more extensive and severe than we had hoped, the end result has been amazing. My day to day pain is gone aside from some lingering tenderness. My periods are nowhere near as heavy and painful as they were. I am gaining my strength and energy back. I can work. I can keep up with my school work. I have a life again – and it’s all because I learned how to advocate for myself and my health.
  5. Finding my voice – If you know me, you know how shy I typically am. You know how quiet and hesitant I can be. This year, you may have noticed a change. I’ve found my voice. Whether that means I’m speaking up about my experiences with mental and/or chronic illness to calling out unacceptable behavior. It means I am standing up for what is right and using my voice for good. Finding my voice has made a difference in so many lives this year and to hear that someone has learned something from me is confirmation that finding my voice and using it has made a difference. It wasn’t an easy thing to do – but little by little, I found that voice. Day by day, I stood up and began to speak about my own struggles. Day by day, I began to advocate and fight for others. Day by day, I started to stand up against injustice and racism in a community I love so much. Is it scary? Hell yes, it is. I learned to speak up about abuse (and the abusers I’ve encountered). I’ve learned how to encourage healthy conversations with others. I’ve learned that while some people will never change, I can use my voice to make a difference. I’ve learned I can use my voice for good. I’ve learned that I can use my voice to help, inspire and encourage others. 2016 was only the start of finding my voice – and you can bet 2017 will keep this trend going.

2016 hasn’t been easy, but it has taught me several lessons – and I’ll be taking each of them into the new year with me.

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An Untold Story Never Heals: Surviving, Learning to Heal, Learning it’s Not My Fault

October 10, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

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trigger warning: this post will have discussion about sexual assault〉

The news coming out over the past couple of days has been overwhelming. It’s been triggering, it’s been overwhelming. It’s made me hurt, it’s made me angry and it’s made me think about experiences I’ve had over the years.

It isn’t something I ever talk about publicly. It’s terrifying to think about putting this out into the world. It’s scary to open up like this. I’ve seen hundreds of women sharing their stories.

It’s my turn to speak up.

It’s my turn to share.

It’s my turn to share these stories, hoping they will reach someone to needs to hear the words:

It is not your fault.

You are not alone.


I’m a kid, sitting in my front yard almost daily. I have a circle of neighborhood friends with me. We are outside playing games, playing with Barbies, or just hanging out. It’s been this way for years – ever since my parents would let me play outside on my own, and even before then – when they’d sit on the porch or do yard work. It’s a routine, especially on the weekends.

I crave this time with my friends.

The neighbor next door is standing against his truck, beer in hand. He’s there every day I’m outside with my friends, the majority of us all girls my age. I’m constantly aware of this eyes on me – locked on me. I’m constantly aware that he’s watching me, beer in hand, shirt off most of the time.

Deep down inside of me, even at a young age, I know what he’s thinking of. I know what he wants.

In middle school, I was out running around with my friends when he called me over to talk to him.

He told me he had something he wanted to show me.

I felt that instinct, the dread, the fear rise up inside of me and I told him no. I told him no twice. He kept pushing the subject, his front door was wide open, his wife was gone to work. He was standing in the doorway basically begging and luring me to come inside.

In a moment of panic, I told him no again, that I could hear a family member calling for me and I ran. I ran as fast as I can, and as far as I could.

I didn’t tell my parents about it for years.


I was in middle school and decided to take the 10-15 minute walk to Taco Bell with one of my best friends. She had lived across the street from me for her entire life and both of our parents were divorced. She was struggling, but I was always there for her. She was staying over and my dad had left me some extra money, so we decided to walk and get ourselves something to eat and bring it home.

On our way home, a group of older high school boys decided to follow us. A couple of them wouldn’t stop talking to us, asking if we would come to their house to party. They’d ask us repeatedly. They likely ask questions I don’t even remember. They were desperate, and desperate for two young girls.

They were too close to us, pressuring us, trying to intimidate us. I gave minimal information, didn’t talk much and neither did my friend. We were together, and I knew and had learned that it was always better to be with someone than on your own.

One of the guys eventually told the others to shut the fuck up and leave us alone.

They still pushed and prodded, but after what seemed like hours – we were finally closer to home and managed to slip away.

We both knew what awaited us had we gone with them.


In high school, I repeatedly had a guy grope me after school.

He kissed me when I didn’t want it. He grabbed my breasts. He stuck his hands up my shirt.

He ran his hands down the outside of his pants, I knew what he wanted.

He was a large part of my friendship circle of that time – and after that, I felt alone.

Almost everyone saw it happen.

No one did anything.

No one said anything.

After that, no one in the circle would talk to me, much less look at me. They were mad I wouldn’t get this asshole get what he wanted. They didn’t have to say it. I knew it.


I came out my sophomore year of high school.

A few years later, a family member began to make advances on me.

I didn’t realize it at first – we were spending more time together, more errands, and I needed that. I needed that support from my family.

It got worse.

He started to make advances and one night, he closed the door to my bedroom and sat on my bed.

That same sickening feeling came back.

The next day, he hugged me in the kitchen and I stood still, tense and flat out freaked out. He told me that I didn’t know what I wanted, he told me that I didn’t know who I was. He told me that I should “experiment” before making up my mind.

He completely disregarded who I was, and not just as family.

He wanted me in ways that I never thought would happen. He wanted me in ways that were never ever okay. He wanted me in ways that still to this day make me feel like throwing up.

My entire life broke at that moment and I locked myself in my bedroom, frantically asking a friend to come get me as I packed up my essentials.

It’s been sever years since then… but it’s left its scars. It’s left me feeling dirty. It’s left me feeling unwanted. It’s left me feeling like it was my fault. It’s left me doubting myself when it happened. It’s left a level of terror inside of me and that won’t go away.

My entire life that I knew shattered that day.


post3It takes a lot to stand up and talk about these stories. It takes a lot of strength. It takes a lot of bravery. It means confronting memories so many of us have tried to block out for years. It takes confronting emotions and feelings that bring us right back to when it happened.

I will admit that I am honestly terrified about sharing this with the world. I don’t talk about it. It’s something I try to forget as often as I can even though it’s still there, in the back of my mind.

I also know that by sharing my story, I can help women. I can show them that they aren’t alone. I can show them that they are loved and cared about.

I can show them that there are thousands and thousands of women who stand with each of us, knowing the pain and the fear we’ve endured.

Most off all, I want you to know: it is not your fault.

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Dare Me (A Nocte Novella) is Here!

October 3, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

When you find out one of your favorite authors is releasing a novella featuring of your favorite characters? You flail. And when she asks you to help spread the word, you say YES. Let me just tell you from the teasers I have seen, I cannot wait to read this!

If you haven’t read the NOCTE trilogy, read it! You’ll get a lot of Dare and Calla… and you’ll likely fall for them as much as I did. Promise.

Dare Me

 

Did you love Dare DuBray from the Nocte Trilogy? Did you love love love the story, but you wished there was some more steamy scenes?

Well, guess what?

Dare is back in Dare Me, a novella featuring he and Calla… and some steaminess to be had. 🙂

I hope you like it. No, I hope you love it. 🙂

It’s available exclusively on Amazon, and even better, if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read it for free. If not, no worries- Dare Me is only $.99 pennies. (And even if you don’t usually use Amazon for books, you can download the Kindle for PC, iPad or your phone for FREE to read!)

The hotshot novellas are the perfect length for a lunch hour or bedtime.

You can buy on Amazon here.

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They say she’s crazy.

She’s not.

They don’t know the truth.

She does. The problem is, she doesn’t always remember it.

But I do.

My name is Dare DuBray.

I’m in love with a girl who is is erratic and beautiful, and a little bit mad.

But that’s ok.

We’re all a little mad, aren’t we?

Love couple

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A Year Ago vs. A Year Later

July 28, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

erA year ago today, I walked out after an appointment I had such high hopes for. I had been referred to an obgyn within the practice where my primary care doctor is. I read the reviews about him, and I was hesitant, but I went.

I went with the support of my girlfriend.

I went with the support of my friends.

I went with the support of my parents.

I went with the support of my sister.

I went to this appointment with hope.

About ten minutes into the appointment, every thread of hope I was holding onto was gone.

Every hope I held onto was torn into shreds.

The day before, I had been in the emergency room, trying to make it another twenty four hours. I just had to hold onto this hope. I had to hold on. I told myself I had to.

When it became all too clear that this doctor was not going to help me in any way, I felt all this hope slip away.

He mentioned hysterectomy, but then refused to do the surgery. I was desperate for any relief. He said “yeah, we can do a hysterectomy, but I won’t do it.” He told me that I was “too young” and that the full hysterectomy would make my life worse. He told me that my breasts would sag because a hysterectomy would put my body into menopause.

He gave me no long term options. He threw a new prescription at me.

I walked into the hallway after the appointment, shaking, ready to break and asked him:

“Will you even consider doing a laparoscopy to treat endometriosis?”

His reply? “No, not at all.”

I walked out of that building with my sister, trying so hard to hold on. I was breaking down from the inside out.

No one cared. No one wanted to help me.

I was already passing time until the next time I had to go to the ER.

I was waiting for the moment where I passed out from bleeding so heavily for so long.

I was waiting for the next moment where the pain was so severe I threw up.

This had become my life.

I had been fighting for so long, and I didn’t want to live this way anymore.

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365 days later . . .

I am still fighting.

I am counting down the next two weeks until I go in for a laparoscopy.

I fought for an entire year to get to where I am now.

I’ve had to cancel plans. I’ve been in and out of the ER. I’ve had doctor after doctor tell me they can’t help me. I’ve had a doctor who called me fat, and basically put up roadblock after roadblock, making it clear she had no intention to give me a long term plan.

I’ve watched my entire quality of life slip away.

It’s gone.

With two weeks until surgery, it all still seems to surreal. It doesn’t seem like this is my life. It doesn’t seem like that I finally found a doctor who listened to me, who wants to help me live again. I sat on the exam table that morning, crying into a wad of tissue while she listened to me.

She gave me options.

She didn’t dismiss my pain and tell me that motrin and aleve would solve all the pain.

She listened. She cared.

With her and my surgical coordinator, I am getting ready for surgery.

I am exhausted. I’m in pain every single day. It has taken so much from me.

I’ve come an entire year with the support of my family, my friends. My girlfriend has been my number one support. She’s woken up to my texts when I can’t sleep because of the pain. She has seen me break down because of the pain. She has stood by my side when no one else was there.

She is the reason I am still standing tall today.

Without Molli, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

In two weeks, she will be be supporting me as I go into surgery. Something we have both been fighting for. When I couldn’t get up, she was there. On the nights I cried because of the pain, she was there. She even wrote a letter to my doctor, explaining how the disease has only gotten worse over the past year.

We are facing more than just surgery.

I am faced with over a month off. It wasn’t something we had expected. It wasn’t something we had planned. I know that I need this surgery, but I will admit that the thought of being off for that long is terrifying. I’m faced with the fact that I won’t be able to work. I’m faced with the fact that this will be a longer and harder recovery.

Yet, I found myself thinking today about what would have happened a year ago if someone had taken my pain seriously. I wonder about what kind of life I’d be living now. I wonder what my life would be like after having surgery before things got this bad.

I still need help. I still need support.

What may have happened a year ago may have changed things about where I am today.

I’ll never know.

In two weeks, I’ll wake up from surgery with a new outlook on life. I’ll wake up knowing that this surgery is happening. This surgery will help. I’ll walk through those hospital doors, knowing I fought long and hard for this day.

I’ll leave that hospital knowing I have a long, painful, exhausting and hard recovery ahead of me.

I still need your help. I still need your support. I am fighting daily.

Even if you cannot donate to the fund to help me get through being off work for so long, your support means the world to me. I can’t do this without you. Your love, support, encouragement helps. Even a dollar or five dollars helps. If you can’t donate, just knowing that I have your support is enough to keep me going for these next few weeks.

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I Need Your Help: Surgery Recovery

July 24, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

Some of you may know that I’m scheduled to undergo surgery on August 12 for Endometriosis. While it is going to be an outpatient procedure (unless they end up having to make a bigger incision), it is still going to require anywhere from 4-6 weeks off of work to recover.
 
This is not something I ever expected when I was given a choice of two August dates. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the situation. Not only that, but because of how poorly I am given the severity of the disease currently – it is going to be a longer and more difficult recovery than my first procedure in 2007.
I am the person who is always there for others. I have constantly and always put myself last. I drop everything to be there for others, even when I can barely take care of myself. I give, I love. I live to help, support and encourage others.
It is hard to even ask for help. It is not something I do often. Right now? I need your help. I really, really, need your help.
 
Within the last year, I have watched helplessly as this disease has stripped me of so many things.
 
I have had more and more days where I cannot get out of bed.
 

I can’t sleep.

I can’t eat when the pain is so severe.

I have missed countless days of work.

I have gotten behind on the school program I am in.

I have no social life.

I have no energy.
 
I have been in and out of the emergency room. I have been going to several doctors, and several appointments.
 
Even getting through a normal shift at work has become increasingly difficult.
 
I have no quality of life. None.
 
I have been fighting so hard, for so long. I have gotten to the point where I was ready to give up because I just kept getting worse, worse and worse. No one wanted to help me.
 
Instead, I am now going in for this surgery with a chance of having a brand new life where I can actually LIVE. It comes with a price of missing a month or more of work.
 
I need your help. support
 
I need your love. I need your support. I need your encouragement.
 
I’ve set up a gofundme page to help cover the unexpected costs of being off of work for a month or more. It will help make sure I can pay bills. It will help make sure I will have enough to eat. It will help make sure I can get whatever post op supplies I may end up needing that I don’t already have.
 
Even if you can’t donate, just sharing this and spreading the word will be a tremendous help. If you can’t donate, just knowing that you are here for me and support me is enough. I am so lucky to have you in my life and I am so thankful for anything you can do to help, financially or otherwise.
 
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An Open letter to the One Who Said We’d Never Make It

July 6, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

9ac0bd270c65191289a6d5f8a02658d3you said we would never make it.

you worked hard to undermine what relationship i had with your best friend and you actively pushed for us to break up, telling us that it wouldn’t work, that we were rushing into things.

you stood back as you lied and broke promises, turning what friendship i thought i had with you into a living hell. you didn’t speak to me for well over a year when you dragged me down into some drama i really had no part in.

you told my girlfriend i was horrible.

you told my girlfriend how passive aggressive i was, all while freely admitting that while you hadn’t uttered a single word to me, you were all to happy to stalk my social media to dig up dirt.

you promised time and time again that you would change, that things would be better. time and time again, we worked to believe that. time and time again, our belief that you would change shattered and it became more and more clear that you aren’t the person, much less friend, that we thought you were.

instead, you raced to spread your toxicity into our lives. you pushed for us to break up, disguising it as concern. you would tell my girl that i wasn’t worth the time, the distance. you told her that she was rushing into something we both knew was right and true.

but here’s the thing. . .

we are stronger than ever. we’ve come through our own challenges, standing beside each other. we’ve faced some brutal things throughout our lives well before we even knew each other. we faced backlash and hurtful words from those we loved the most.

we came through it on top. 24ba8ebd964de33ee930adfc5d607aea

we came through stronger than ever.

if anything, we’ve learned that we refuse to let that negativity into our lives. we’ve pushed it out, created safe and healthy spaces. we’ve made new, close and healthy relationships with those around us.

you said we’d never make it to the move – but in the next few weeks, it’s happening. you always doubted us, and tried to get under our skin, you tried so hard to make us second guess our entire lives together. you didn’t win.

in the end, when it came time to walk away – we knew that we had not only made the right choice, but we had made the best choice. you were never the friend you should have been. you were never the positive, open and caring person we thought you were. and that’s okay, it’s your life.

and in the end, we came out on top, stronger than ever, and ready to spend our lives together. time and time again, we will always come out on top, stronger and more in love.

i hope that in time, you find the same – that you will learn to love yourself and others. while you may not see any wrong in what you’ve done, i know that we are healthier, happier and stronger because of what we endured and walked away from.

we made it all the way to the top.

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How I Learned to Love Myself: Body Image, Self Love and more.

July 4, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

I wanted to take the time to share part of my journey so far. Today I’m talking about body image, how it has played a role in my life and the slow process of learning to love myself.

july4For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with body image, disordered eating and some mental illness that have all stuck with me in some way to form some pretty unhappy thoughts about my body. I’ve been diagnosed with type two diabetes and PCOS within months of each other. It’s been a rough road.

Most recently, I was seeing a new OBGYN to try and get some long term treatment for the severe endometriosis I am battling and advice on things I can continue to do dealing with PCOS and the issues I’m facing with it. It has been so bad in the last year and has sent me to the ER several times and left me with no help from a few medical professionals.

When I walked into the appointment, I was hopeful. My mom was with me for support and I left shaking – angry, upset and hurt. It started a downward spiral. The doctor I saw that morning flat out told me that I was fat, and she would do nothing to help me other than throw pills at me. She made it very clear she had no interest in helping me at all.

A few weeks later, I flew into Tennessee to visit my girlfriend and one afternoon while we are shopping I had a complete breakdown because I was so uncomfortable, but the outfits I loved just didn’t FEEL right. I went on and on about how this doctor had treated me, how it triggered a lot of horrible thoughts, had started a pattern of disordered eating.

I’m going to be completely honest – that entire situation with the doctor and what unfolded in the weeks following was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with. I was so unsure about my body, myself. I felt like a small, scared child unsure of what to do and the doctors words and treatment of me left me scarred and struggling.

For a while, I blocked it out. I was numb. I was upset. I was shocked. I was already uncomfortable in my own body. What that appointment left me with was a lot of hurt that surfaced again. I really struggled but I didn’t open up to people about the situation. I felt judged and looked down on enough with that single appointment.july2

When it all came floating to the surface, I had no choice but to face what happened. I had gone from someone who was constantly on the go, biking at least 20 miles a week for years to someone who had been in the ER several times in a year because of how severe the endometriosis had gotten.

Over the last year, I’ve become more comfortable in speaking out about my health. I’ve realized that by speaking out, I can help others. I can tell people how my life has changed. It’s also made me realize something huge. Something that within just a few days, has changed a lot of things for me.

My body is strong. It’s carried me this far already. It’s carried me through diagnosis after diagnosis. It’s carried me through some hard times growing up. It’s carried me even on the bad days where I can’t get out of bed.

I’ve started eating better. I’m doing some biking and walking. I’m not stepping onto that scale because it will only bring me back to where I was after the appointment. I’ve noticed small changes, small ones, but they are there.

I’m able to wear some of the pants I wasn’t able to wear a couple months ago, my shirts are feeling more comfortable. On the good days, I have more energy. I’m happier. I’m not looking at my body and thinking how much I hate this part or that part. I’m feeling more comfortable, and that is an amazing change for me.

I’m strong. I’m stronger than I realize and I have to thank my body for that. I have to take care of it. It’s carried me through a lot over the past year and I am thankful for that. It can carry me on the worst days.

While I’ve struggled with a positive body image, knowing that my body has carried me this far is enough to really think about doing the best I can to take care of my body and learn to love my body.july3

 

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Keep the Faith: How a PCOS Group Saved my Life

July 2, 2016 Katie A Chronic Illness, personal: health, Uncategorized 0 Comments

f85730b89d84c92fcefe4605d4a23549I was diagnosed with PCOS in September of 2015. It was eight months after I had been diagnosed with type two diabetes. Once again, I felt lost. I was scared. I was devastated. I felt like I was alone.

On top of all of that, I was told that becoming pregnant was something that would either not happen, or it would be very high risk (and the doctor who told me this, made it clear that it wasn’t the best option for me). Needless to say, by the time I got back into my car, I was a wreck.

For months, I had been staring at myself in the mirror – trying to figure out where this extra dark hair on my chin and neck were coming from. It was months of testing my blood sugar, taking medications and trying to hang in there.

I cried my entire way to work, cried at work and then cried even more when I got home from work. Eventually I calmed down and started searching for groups on Facebook. I was already in a few for chronic illnesses and spoonies, but now I needed to find a PCOS one that was right for me.

It was hard. There were so many of them. So freaking many.

A few hours later, I found myself reading up on a group called PCOS Positivity. I joined. I was hesitant to make that nerve wracking introduction post, but I did. I opened up and let these ladies into my life. I told them how lost I felt, how overwhelmed I was, that I wasn’t sure what to do, where to start or how to breathe through this new and scary diagnosis.

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In that group, I began to find myself. I had already been blogging about life and my health journey, but in this group, I was welcomed and I could share positive moments, welcome new members to the group, and grow into loving myself, encouraging others and seeing the love and positivity flourish in this group. I joined the group right in it’s infancy, and holy crap, we are now 6,000+ strong!

Let me tell you what this group has done for me:

The group has given me positive information about my diagnosis.

The group has welcomed me with open arms in one of the hardest times of my life (at that point in time, my life had become diagnosis after diagnosis).

The group challenged me to love myself, no matter how hard of a time I was having. These amazing ladies were always there for me.

I’ve met ladies I never would have met if I didn’t have this group, and so many of them have seen me at my worst, and my best.

I’ve seen the group grow, grow and grow some more. I’ve seen this group grow into a community of ladies who support each other, encourage each other and are there for each other.

I’ve seen how this group gathers around its members, spreading the love, opening up to the group about major life events or just when they really just need a friend.

I know that I am not alone in what this group has done for me. There’s thousands of us who call this group home, our family. There are thousands of us who found this group when they needed it. There are thousands of us who speak out about PCOS and raise awareness.

If I hadn’t found the group when I did, I don’t know where I would be today. It has had such an impact on my life and I’ve learned so much from it and the amazing ladies in the group. We’ve grown and grown and grown, we are entering a new phase and I cannot wait to continue to spread the love, positivity and inspiration that these ladies have given me.

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An Open Letter to Jeremy Camp: The Strength and Strain of Coming out

April 20, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

(for those who don’t know, I was a moderator for Jeremy Camp on his message board. He is a Christian musician and I loved being able to support him, his music, message and other members on the board. This open letter chronicles my coming out experience)

“Several years ago, I was one of the few in my area who would attend every local show you did here. I was there at the first show in Rancho Cordova when the power blew, I was at the shows at the huge church in Roseville. My brother and I went to the shows together, he even took photos at the show at UC DAVIS and hung with you and the crew backstage.

These years and moments were a huge part of my life. I worked tirelessly to promote you and the events, to attend them, to share the word and your music with others.

Not only that, but I was also a moderator on the message board. I loved it. I loved being there as an inspiration, a supportive person and to encourage others. I had late nights shutting down the spammers, I worked with other admins to dissolve drama. I shared my story, my testimony and my struggles.

I truly felt welcome, loved and supported there.

That all changed in an instant.

I started seeing so much hate on the board toward the LGBT community. It was shocking. Appalling. It blew my mind. For a group that felt called to love and support others, these members were doing the exact opposite of that. Instead of embracing everyone as Christ had, they turned their backs and spewed hateful words towards the community.

It was a personal blow.

For weeks and months I struggled with this. I spent nights crying, days trying to find a way to avoid the hate yet still be a moderator. I tried to show that love, compassion and acceptance Christ had. I was one of the few who did.

Eventually, it came to a breaking point. These members needed to see that a gay person was not some kind of monster. They needed to see that people of the community were normal, loving people who led normal lives and worked with so many in various communities.

As one of the main moderators in the Sisters in Christ board, I chose to come out as lesbian.

I couldn’t stand seeing the hate these members were spreading. They had to see they were damaging one of their own, hurting me down to the bones.

I knew that the post would be hard to swallow for many. I knew I’d likely face backlash from it. But Jeremy, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. They needed to know that I’m a normal girl who loves Christ, who loves encouraging and helping others.

I posted it, and shortly after, signed offline for the night – partly out of anxiety and because I’ve always struggled with chronic illness. I took a deep breath and knew that I had done what is best for me. I had to do this.

By morning… I woke and all hell had broken lose. While I had a few long time friends on the board supporting me, encouraging me and letting me know that while they didn’t agree with my “lifestyle”, they still cared about me.

Unfortunately, the bad outweighed the good.

Members of the message board started to harass me. I was threatened. I was told that because I was gay, I was going to go to hell. I was told that I could be stoned to death because I am gay.

Worse?

Worse was members of the admin and staff team lying to me. They told me they had sent an email explaining their stance and actions, but I never got that e-mail.

Even worse than that?

The main admin of the board, C (as we all knew him by), took to the general part of the forum and publicly humiliated me. The actions of the team made it very clear that I was never welcome on the board – the humiliation continued as members stalked me on forms of social media, sending me harassing messages. I had been publicly humiliated on a board with thousands of members…

All because of what I said. Yet, he (and others on the team) took that step to humiliate me. That? Jeremy, that’s what still stings the most. How is this showing Christ’s love? How is this loving others as He loved us? Jesus took the time and spent time with people no one else did… yet his followers, they did the exact opposite.

The situation came at a time where I was depressed. I was struggling and so much. The situation nearly pushed me to a suicide attempt. How was I supposed to feel like I am loved, cared about, and supportive when people who claim to show Christ’s love can act so cruelly?

It’s been several years now since this all happened… some days are better than others. Some are not. What remains is how hurt I am. It shows in the panic of coming out to others, to stepping foot into a church. It shows in the nights where I’m in bed crying.

What happened to me on the board should have never happened. The moderating team and admins should have treated me as a human being. Instead, I was lied to continuously about that “email”, I was publicly humiliated. I was stalked and harassed.

I am writing this because I need you to know what happened. I can’t get this closure without you knowing what happened. Maybe you already do, I’m sure you heard bits and pieces several years ago.. but I wanted you to hear it from me. I wanted you to know how hard this has been for me, that it hasn’t yet healed.

Since then, I have really struggled with my faith. I don’t feel welcome in a church. I’m scared to come out to people involved in church or the Christian music community. I still carry the weight and scars from the experience because people who claim to follow Christ quite literally made my life a living hell.

You may not even remember me, or even read this email, but I need to you know what happened, and how it has affected me over the last few years since it happened.”

Was this easy to share? No. In fact, I am anxious and terrified that some of these same people will come back into my life and start the same issues as they had when this situation first unfolded, but I also know that it is my time to speak up about this.

I won’t stay quiet anymore. I will speak up. I will encourage others. I will support others. If you are struggling with coming out and/or the aftermath? I am here and so are many others.

 

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