Grad School

Almost a month ago I started grad school. To be completely honest with you, I was terrified. I wasn’t sure what to expect, let alone realize just how much of a time commitment I was making by going back to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love learning. Knowledge is power! But something was still bugging me.

I’m going to grad school to become a licensed marriage, family therapist and a licensed professional clinical counselor. I should be excited about this new career path, right? Yes and no. I was excited because I love back-to-school shopping, but I wasn’t for some unknown reason. It wasn’t until I had this pretty painful conversation with my psychotherapist that everything became clear.

I have had my fair share of friends that have passed away. Each one has  affected me to my core, and I’d be lying if I said otherwise. Each of my friends had made future plans, and while they are in a better place, I’m continuing on with my life. The plans we made will be unfinished plans. The different life events we planned on experiencing together will be ones that I will now experience without them. Realizing that sucks. Why do I get to keep on living? What makes me different?

Enter survivor’s guilt. Never in my life had I expected to lose three friends by the age of 23. This is the time when we are meant to be invincible, and yet their lives ended far too soon. Moving on is hard. We made to hang out, grow up, graduate, start families, and here I am (seemingly) alone.

With this newfound revelation of what has been going on inside my mind for the last several years, I’m trying to move on without guilt. I’m trying to keep the promises we made, because we promised to be more. We promised to make a difference. We promised to be there. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not easy now. I feel this knot welling up in my throat, and I just want to cry because I am still that young girl that lost some of her best friends.

If you have lost a friend to death or a circumstance out of your control, know that you’re not alone. I am here for you. I know the pain. We can get through this together. Take care, friends.

Lots of love and hugs,
Becky Espinoza

Still I’m Missing…

On most Wednesday nights, I go to my church’s young adults group called Ethos. The group is really great, and I’m starting to make really good friends. We started this series called Uphill: The Battle for the Abundant Life.

As we are going through this series, Charles, the Ethos pastor, was talking about how he likes to look at very successful people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc. He commented on how you can see the fruits of their labor, and one can even say that their lives have reached completion in a sense.

I begin to look at my life, and I know that I am nowhere near complete. There are so many things that I want to do with my life and time. And I mean, where to begin? Counselor, teacher, barista, photographer, writer, awesome girlfriend (some day… Jake suggested that, and more on that on my next post), and so much more.

I have already completed my undergrad career; I got accepted to my dream grad school, and yet I feel like I’m missing something.

I like to take a look at the broken parts of my life from time to time. Rarely is it for a pity party (although, ice cream helps), but it’s to see how despite the crappiest moments in my life, I’m not done and I won’t give up.

In my last post I shared lyrics from The Workday Release’s new album titled City Lights. Let me share once more from the song Damages.

“Don’t count me with the damages just yet; I know that I have fire left.”

I have the fire to do more with my relationships and myself. That drive, that passion comes from my Creator. It is the One who hung the stars that has stirred up the fire that is in my bones. The fire that urges me to be more, to love more, to live outside of myself, and to make a difference in someone’s life.

Maybe you have a fire within you. Maybe you have a passion for something that is crazy. Whatever it may be, I encourage you to pursue that passion and fire. You were created with a purpose. Live out your dreams. Live out your purpose. Know that I am rooting for you! Keep doing you!

Lots of love & hugs,
Becky

Broken

“I am damaged at best, like you’ve already figured out…
I’m falling apart, I’m barely breathing;
With a broken heart that’s still beating.
In the pain, there is healing;
In your name, I find meaning.
So I’m holdin’ on, I’m holdin’ on, I’m holdin’ on,
I’m barely holdin’ on to you”
Broken – Lifehouse

The last few days have been pretty emotional, with last night being the worst. It’s getting close to the anniversary of my really good friend’s death. And I’m getting sadder as the day approaches. And as much as his death impacted my life, that is not what made my night terrible. It’s not why I am broken.

Last night, my friend Alexander spoke in the high school service that I intern at. We had the ever awkward, the ever inevitable, and the ever “why do I have to be here?!” talk. The sex talk. While he was talking about how sex is more than just a physical act, he brought up how sexual abuse victims aren’t told, “Hey, get over it. It was just physical.” We realize that it affects them to the core. After he brought that up he spoke to the victims in the room.

“I want you to know, and the leaders want you to know that what happened to you wasn’t from God. It wasn’t your fault. It was an act of evil. That was Satan. You are not at fault. If you need someone to talk to, come talk to me or one of the leader.” As those words entered my ears, I felt my body shudder. I felt myself turning red. I felt my eyes get watery. I began to think on all the times I was abused. And I utterly felt  broken.

Alexander doesn’t know what happened. None of the leaders know. Sitting there, hearing the words that it wasn’t my fault hit me hard. For years I believed that I was at fault because they made me believe that. I believed that I deserved the abuse. This has affected me in every way, especially in my relationship with Taylor.

When I first met Taylor, I was dealing with one of my abusers being around. I told him what had happened, and I was afraid that he would look at me differently. I thought that he would see me as damaged goods. I figured that he wouldn’t even want to associate himself with me because of what happened to me.

I was dead wrong. After I told him what had happened, he saw me as a young woman with a lot of strength. He was amazed that I trusted him so much since men had abused me in many ways. And now, he even sees me as his future wife!

But the feelings of being broken come and go at times. I still struggle with it, and it might be something that I struggle with for the rest of my life. I can tell Taylor when these feelings come. He reminds me of who I am, what I mean to him and our families. I am loved. I am made whole in Christ. The love and support I have from him and my family will get me through this.

If you have been abused in any way, please talk to someone. Tell a family member. Tell your best friend. Find a counselor. You can even email me: bec.espinoza@gmail.com. Whatever has happened to you, please talk to someone, don’t go through it alone

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/  1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: https://www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline   1-800-656-HOPE(4673)
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: http://www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline-home  1-800-422-4453