Election Day – An Unpopular Opinion?

Well, today is the day. It is once again election day. And once again, people are pushing for those who don’t normally vote to vote this time around. Now, here’s what may be an unpopular opinion. I wish people would stop. Now, don’t get me wrong, I, myself, will be voting tonight. However, do you really think that someone who hasn’t voted for however many elections is really going to vote this time because a bunch of  people told them to?

Here’s the honest to God truth. If I didn’t live with my grandmother who is big on voting and if marijuana legalization wasn’t on the ballot, I would not be voting tonight. If everyone in the world told me to vote, I wouldn’t care. Why would any person change their mind for a bunch of strangers just because they asked them to?

Now, don’t get me wrong. People should be educated on their voting rights. However, it’s what happens after election day to those who admit they didn’t vote. They are harassed. They are ridiculed. They are bullied as if we were all back in high school. Bullying someone isn’t going to make that person vote the next time around. It is, plain and simple, going to make them not want to vote even more just to spite those people.

Yes, people fought for the right for us to vote. I’m a woman, so I know that we had to fight even longer for the right. Does this change my mind about voting? Short answer, no. One thing about having the right and freedom to vote means we get to choose who we vote for and whether or not we use our vote . Now, not everyone who doesn’t vote stay home because they just don’t care. Some of us have our reasoning.

For example, when the presidential election happened it was the first year I was eligible to vote. I did vote. However, I considered not voting at all. I had people on both the democratic and the republican side screaming in my ears to vote for their party. I consider myself to be democratic overall, but I was not a fan of the democratic candidate. I, also, was definitely not a fan of the republican candidate. I was told that I had to choose one though. As a personal belief, I do not believe in voting for someone that I do not stand with just because I do not want the opposing side to win. In the end, though, I voted for the independent party because the candidate did stand for things I believed in.

Now back to my point of the day after the election. Even though I did vote, I was still harassed for not voting for one of the more popular parties. I was told that I had wasted my vote regardless of the fact that I did, indeed, vote. So, here’s what those people are actually trying to say when they belittle you for your decision on who you vote for or if you vote at all. They are mad at you because you didn’t vote for who they wanted. Most of the people who are “encouraging” others to vote are actually trying to “encourage” you to vote for their preferred candidate. I might be wrong, but I thought that voting was about standing up for your own beliefs and the candidate who most supports those beliefs.

So, if you’re someone who spends time encouraging others to vote, ask yourself this: If you knew that the next person you would convince to vote was going to vote for the candidate opposing the candidate YOU are going to vote for, would you still encourage them to vote? If the answer is no then, you’re not doing it for the right reasons. It is not YOUR right to push YOUR beliefs onto someone else. After all, voting was given as right so, we, the people, could make our voices heard IF we so choose.

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Birth Control Messed Up My Body

I used to be a normal 13 year old girl who had just started her period. An exciting time in a young girl’s life. However, you quickly begin to hate bleeding every month even if it’s just for a few days. The cramps are painful, the pads don’t seem to fit right, using tampons causes a build up of clots causing abdominal pain, and it can get messy. I only experienced what can be described as a “normal” period for a year before everything went to hell.

I was 14 and had just lost my virginity. I was immediately put on a regular birth control pill. Months later I was extremely uncomfortable. The doctor said that I had a yeast infection which she believed to have been caused by the pill. She recommended I try a different pill. Well, I’ve never had the best memory and I was already struggling to take my other medication regularly. I switched to the depo shot. I thought, this is great. I don’t have to remember to take a pill daily and I only need the shot every few months. However, soon another problem appeared.

My period didn’t stop. I bled every single day. I waited for it to stop, but soon a whole year had gone by and I still was bleeding every day! My mother had mentioned that this was often a normal side effect as she bled for 18 months straight on the depo before getting off of it. I went back to the doctor and we began to discuss other options. She wanted to try to address my problem of constant bleeding so, she recommended the Nexplanon (previously known as the Implanon,) an implant. She said that many young women didn’t bleed at all on it. Of course, this sounded wonderful to me. I agreed and the Nexplanon was implanted in my arm.

Things went great for the first month, but soon I began to bleed again. A month had gone by, I told my doctor and she told me to wait because sometimes this happens. A few months went by and I called again. I was still bleeding every day. Not only was I bleeding every day, but it was constantly heavy. I was changing my pads every 3 hours. Once again, she told me to wait it out and eventually it would stop.

Fast forward, a year later. I was still bleeding heavily every day. I called once more and she recommended I take a pill with the implant to try to balance things out. After being on the pill along with the implant for over a month, my grandmother started to notice my behavior changing. After reading the side effects of the pill, we learned that it was worsening the effects of my depression. I was advised to stop taking the pill immediately.

Another trip to the doctor and she recommends I start wearing an estrogen patch with the Nexplanon. At this point I’m desperate. It’s been two years and I had spent so much money on pads and tampons. I was in college with very little money and there was a point where I had to make the choice of buying more pads over getting dinner that day. I accepted the patches and wore them for months. Nothing changed. My period didn’t get any lighter and it certainly didn’t stop.

I had asked a few times to get the implant removed as I was miserable. The doctor insisted we keep it in because she didn’t want to waste the time it still had. I struggled to have normal sexual relationships with partners. Having to explain to each of them my problem of constant bleeding. In one relationship, we had to lay down a towel every time we were to have sex so that I wouldn’t bleed all over the bed. This made it harder to deal with my depression. I was already struggling to have a normal sex drive due to the antidepressants I was taking, but now I had to worry about having to explain to partners that I was on my period. That I was ALWAYS on my period.

The patches didn’t help either. The doctor continued to up the dosage of the patches, but nothing ever changed. I eventually stopped taking the patches, feeling like it was hopeless. This problem just made me more depressed. I kept asking the doctor if we should be worried about how much I was bleeding, but she told me I was fine. I went the full three years of the implant bleeding every day with an occasional day here and there where I didn’t bleed. Every day I didn’t bleed, I always got my hopes up thinking that it had finally ended. Only to be disappointed by my period returning the next day.

After three years of bleeding, it was finally time to take the implant out. I had no idea what I was going to do because while I didn’t want another one put in, I didn’t want to go without birth control. I went to planned parenthood to have it removed as I couldn’t get a hold of my doctor. I tried to ask questions about different kinds of birth controls because I felt as if I was running out of options. The doctor there answered very few of my questions and I was forced to either leave with no birth control or to pick something in that moment.

I chose one of the only options I had left, the NuvaRing. Instead of taking it out one week early every month to have my period, I was advised to wear it continually in my case. I’ve been on it for 4 months now. The first 2 months I didn’t bleed at all. It was wonderful. My sex life finally began to feel normal and I didn’t feel as depressed. Unfortunately, by the middle of month 3, I began to bleed again. Last week, I was advised to go to the emergency room as I couldn’t keep a tampon in for longer than 2 hours, my blood clots were considered to be very large, I bled so much that I had blood dripping down my legs, and I was feeling dizzy.

I get to the emergency room and they’re worried that I might be losing too much blood and that was why I was dizzy. They took some blood for testing. As I waited for the results, I found myself hoping they would find something wrong and tell me they could help me. The tests came back normal. I was told that this is just how my body is. I was told that even though I was bleeding a lot, my body was able to make enough blood cells to keep up with the amount I was losing. As for the dizziness, they believed I was becoming dehydrated from losing so much fluids.

I won’t lie. When they told me the news I wanted to cry my eyes out. I wanted them to tell me they could fix me, but instead I was sent home with the instruction to get tested for anemia often as this could be caused by my heavy bleeding. I knew this wasn’t normal because once upon a time I had a normal period that came once a month and only lasted a couple days. They mentioned that the hormones in the birth controls I had taken could be causing this. They recommended I look into getting a non-hormonal IUD. However, if you look at any birth control, they all have the same possible side effect of abnormal and heavier bleeding.

I spoke to my counselor about my issue because I was feeling miserable and she mentioned that some women’s bodies are not able to handle birth control. After all, birth control isn’t a normal thing our bodies experience. She said she knows many women who have to completely get off birth control because it affects their bodies too negatively. While I wish I could rid my body of these unnatural chemicals and completely get off birth control, it just isn’t realistic for anyone. My fiance and I are not ready for kids at this time and condoms are just too unreliable.

After this emotionally exhausting journey, I’m not sure the journey or the exhaustion has ended. I’ve decided to move forward with my only realistic option, getting a non-hormonal IUD. This is pretty much my last hope. But, I wanted to make this post for any other women out there who are struggling with this problem as well. It’s important to know that you’re not crazy. There is nothing wrong with you. This is a legitimate problem and your feelings are valid. My body is sensitive and birth control can be harsh to sensitive bodies. I may not have the answers I wanted, but I refuse to let doctors make me feel like I am the problem.

The Abuse

Rape #1

Aside from the occasional neglect and bruises from getting spanked with a spoon, I was raped. I was raped three times by three different men. The first time it happened, I was 14 years old, a freshman in high school, and it was a boyfriend who raped me. It happened in my own home, on my own bed and I froze. I couldn’t even get out the word no due the shock of what was happening. I reported it to my principal, the police were called and I was told that I did not have a case. The principal told my friends I was a liar and the guy told the whole school I had falsely accused him of rape. Everyone preferred to believe I had lied rather than believe he was a rapist. I was stuck going to school with him for three years and he made sure to make those three years hell.

Rape #2

I was 17 years old. The guy, my 24 year old ex boyfriend. I was told as a young child that I struggled to make friends because I was mature for my age. I grew up having older friends because I got along with them better. I met the guy at a convention and we just clicked. We didn’t even know how old each other were before catching feelings. I assumed that because he was older, he was more mature. Unfortunately, I learned that sometimes adults are the most immature people you will meet. We dated for a few months, but he got clingy and I became uncomfortable so I ended this. He guilt-ed me and emotionally blackmailed me into continuing the relationship for longer then I had wanted. We agreed to stay friends and even hung out quite a bit, but soon I felt unsafe in his company. He became obsessed with me. He began to stalk me. He showed up at my house in the middle of the night several times because I stopped responding to his text messages. One night, I was feeling extremely stressed and depressed. I hadn’t been drunk before, but I asked him to bring over some alcohol when I was home alone. I wasn’t sure how much alcohol it took to get someone drunk. We played a drinking game and after a few shots he said he didn’t want to drink anymore, but that we could keep playing the game and I could keep drinking. He watched me take 12 shots of Vodka in half an hour and because of how quickly I was drinking I didn’t feel the effects right away. The last thing I remember was him trying to kiss me. I pushed him away, but he continued. Then, I blacked out. I woke up in my bed the next morning with a faint memory of my mother tucking me into bed. I called her, the guy, and my sister in law (who had shown up that night) to figure out what had happened. He admitted to everything. He told me about how he proceeded to have sex with me knowing I was unaware of what was happening as I spoke nonsense to him. He said I threw up so he put my unconscious naked body in my bathtub full of cold water. My sister in law found us in the bathroom and called my mother. My brother came into the house and kicked the guy out. My mother said that for awhile they thought I might.That I was unresponsive and continued to repeat how cold I was. After bathing me, she put me to bed and that was the end of it. A part of me always knew that what he did to me was rape, but I had convinced myself that it was my fault and I would get in trouble for drinking. I never spoke about it again until I moved into my dorm at UW-Oshkosh and found out that the guy was moving to Oshkosh to be closer to me. One day someone confided in me about the time they were raped and I finally opened up about that night. They convinced me to open up to our CA at our dorms who had to call the housing director and she was forced to call the police as I had only been a minor at the time of the incident. I decided to press charges, but my assistant DA claimed I would never get him for rape and reassured me that going after him for sex with a minor was best. I didn’t believe her as a police had me call the guy on a recorded call and have him admit to that night. I had evidence of him admitting it and she still didn’t believe we could prove it. She ended up making a deal with him behind my back that if he pleaded guilty we would offer only 6 months in jail. She also left my case one week before sentencing. My new DA convinced me to make a statement and in my statement I revealed that I wanted no part of the deal that had been made behind my back. The judge honored my wishes and took the deal off the table. He got the max which unfortunately was only 9 months minus the time he spent in jail awaiting trial which was 4 months. He only received 5 months in jail. The judge made a statement at the end of the trial that he would have charged him with rape had my DA made those charges. I was furious. I felt like I had been failed by the DA’s office. But, what that judge said gave me a bit of relief to know that someone believed me and was on my side. The guy was supposed to receive 15 more months for breaking parole. His parole officer disappeared to somewhere else and he never received those extra 15 months.

Rape #3

Not too many know about this one. I never even bothered to report it as I had felt so let down and exhausted from the previous cases. I also blamed myself for awhile. I was 18 years old and dating. I met a guy who lived off campus and invited me to come over to get to know each other better. He picked me up and I met his roommate when we got to his apartment. Knowing that someone else was home actually made me feel safe for a moment. He said he wanted to chill in his room, but he wouldn’t let me turn the lights on. That’s when things got scary. He ushered me over to his bed and proceeded to try to caress my body. I told him I wasn’t interested. He continued to keep touching me. I tried to get off the bed, begging to turn on the lights. He was a lot bigger then me. He kept saying he just wanted to go a little further. I kept trying to pull away and tell him I didn’t want to, but he used his weight to overpower me and next thing I knew he was inside of me. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream, but nothing came out. When he was finished with me he told me back to my dorms. I ran upstairs and cried my eyes out away from all my friends. The guy messaged me asking to go out again. I was furious and proceeded to tell him what he had done to me. He simply apologized and asked if we could start over. That reaction sometimes makes me regret not going to the police because I knew he was dangerous thinking he could just apologize for what he had done to me. He continued to try to contact me for months until he finally gave up and left me alone. Sometimes I still consider reporting it, but at this point, it’s my word against his and the exhaustion and intense feelings from the last case never went away.

Conclusion

It took me years to seek help for the trauma I went through. I spent those years blaming myself and trying to pretend they never happened. Finally, my grandmother, the woman who raised me, told me she could see my suffering and insisted I talk to someone. I’m glad I took her advice because all I needed was for someone to help me see that even though I had put myself in risky situations, those men chose to rape me and that part was not my fault. I never used to understand why women didn’t come forward after being assaulted whether it was physical or sexual until I myself I was that position. The court cases take months and by the time they’re over you’re emotionally and physically exhausted.

The system isn’t always on your side. Had I been one year younger, the 24 year old would have qualified for 12 months in jail rather than 9 and had I been years younger, he would of qualified for much more time. I didn’t go to court as a 17 year old who got her older boyfriend in trouble for having sex with him. I was a 17 year old girl who chose to press charges after he took advantage of me. There are things I wish I could have done differently. Like, pushing to have rape charges pressed against him rather then sex with a minor charges. Or reporting the third guy immediately after it happened. However, I don’t want to live in the past. Especially one with so many horrible memories. I choose to not be a victim any longer, but to be a survivor and to continue to learn from my mistakes and become stronger from them. I can’t change what happened or the choices I made. I can choose to decide how I live after experience such events. I choose to use them to make me into a stronger person and to make better decisions in life. I am not a victim and I will not let anyone make me feel or tell me that I am. I’m a survivor and I choose what I want to do with my body. No one else.

About the Blogger

Thanks for joining me!

Hello,

My name is Faye, but my friends call me Fayla. I am 21 years old and I struggle with depression and anxiety.

I started out at UW-Oshkosh for my first year of college where I studied Psychology, Sociology, Geology, History,  and Theatre (volunteering to work in costumes at the campus theatre). Unfortunately, none of these subjects led to a set major. I spent my second year at a technical college where I studied Administration. I also lost interest in the subject. I, then, took a year off and became a Level Three on the Registry and worked at a nearby childcare facility. I loved the children and my job, but it also took a toll on my emotions making it hard to continue working there. After some small jobs, like working at Jimmy Johns, I ended up as a secretary at my current workplace.

Now, let’s take a moment to get to know my past because without the struggles I faced, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t have decided to start this blog. Later on, I will create a post digger deeper into each experiences I’ve gone through. Both good and bad.

My family.

I grew up in a broken family. I have eight siblings, but I am the only child from my mother and father. My father signed away his custody of me when I was 7 due to facing the judge after a drunk driving incident in which I was in the car. My mother has been fighting a losing battle with depression for many years and became unable to take care of most her children, resorting to abusive relationships and opioids. I have lived with my grandmother my entire life. Occasionally, staying with my mother at times when she found temporary housing. This sometimes led to me witnessing the fighting and abuse between her and her boyfriends. Often watching my mother encourage the men to hit her, leaving bruises and gashes. She always went back them though. It was as if she enjoyed the abuse. I eventually fell back into contact with my father. We’re still working at our relationship today, but he still feels like a stranger to me.

The abuse.

Aside from the occasional neglect and bruises from getting spanked with a spoon, I was raped. I was raped three times by three different men. The first time it happened, I was 14 years old, a freshman in high school, and it was a boyfriend who raped me. The second time I was 17 , black out drunk and an ex took advantage of me. The last time, I was 18, I went on a date with a boy and he forcibly overpowered me. All of them had different results, but I’ll talk about that in another post.

My mental illness.

I’ve always had anxiety. When I was in first grade I went sent home for throwing up every pajama day, crazy hair day, etc. because I got too anxious. I also endured a lot of bullying in middle school and high school. At first I was diagnosed with situational depression due to the bullying and family problems. Eventually, I was diagnosed with major and atypical depression as I harmed myself for the first time freshmen year of high school and began to consider suicide. After years of antidepressants, visits to the psychiatrist, and weekly counseling sessions, I was deemed to no longer have severe depression, but moderate. Some days are still hard and I often forget to take my medication for long periods of time. I always thought I could get better because that’s what my psychiatrist said until I found out that my depression was no longer considered situational. It’s when I go off my medication for these long periods that I’m forced to realize that it will never just “go away.”

“Stars can’t shine without darkness.” -Anonymous