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In the past month, I’ve been called many things: victim, coward, unhappy, patient, client, friend, a work in progress, hurt, a lost cause, boozy, strong willed, stubborn. Regardless of what label or category I get placed in, I’m Emma Welling and this is what my life has been in the past month.

February 28th, 2017. At 11pm, I found myself with a knife in hand talking to a campus police officer on the phone. “Emma, can you put the knife down, please?”. I had made about a dozen cuts on my stomach by the time the officer got ahold of me. “We’re dispatching the local police to your location, just hold tight, okay?”

At 11:30pm, two Ottawa County Sheriff Deputies knocked on the door. They patted me down and asked me what was going on. “I didn’t want to live anymore” They told me if I cooperated and let them take me to the hospital, then they wouldn’t have to cuff me. I obliged and Deputy Tim escorted me to the back of his police car. He apologized that due to protocol I wasn’t allowed to sit up front—he kept repeating that I wasn’t in trouble and nothing was going on my record, but I did have to sit in the back.

At midnight, March 1st, I was admitted to Holland hospital. Once they escorted me to a room, I met with a doctor and a social worker. It was at that point that I revealed the main reason why I tried to end my life: “I was raped 3 days ago,” I mentioned how a friend and I had been drinking, this friend convinced me to drive us to some guys apartment; there were other people already there. Some guy I didn’t know brought me into a bedroom, locked the door, and wouldn’t take my simple “No” as an answer. He used me and hurt me, and I felt alone and helpless. That mixed with failing all my classes in college left me feeling so empty and alone.

I spent nine restless hours in a room at Holland Hospital, while security stood guard outside my door since I was on suicide watch. At 9am, a few paramedics, lifted me onto a stretcher and wheeled me into an ambulance—I was off to the psych unit at Pine Rest. On the ride over, a very kind paramedic named Ryan talked to me about the events that brought me up to this point. He told me his heart hurt to hear that I was raped, that his wife works with people who have been through things like that, so he knows just how rough it can be. He encouraged me and told me no matter what it’s not my fault and that I should seek justice someday—if not for me then for the other girls that person could end up hurting too.

Around 12:30pm, I was officially in my assigned unit at Pine Rest and admitted as a patient. I was given a tour—albeit short—and was told how the schedule would look. Starting at 8am until 9pm, there would be either a meal or some sort of group therapy meeting every hour. I was told I had to go to at least four meetings. I went to most of the sessions simply because there was nothing else to do in the unit except sleep.

I met some really cool people who were going through extremely tough things like myself. It felt good to open up and talk to people who really get it and who have a unique quality of empathy. I made great friendships in the unit and they’re ongoing support and comradery helped my stay there be even more beneficial.

Once leaving the unit, I decided that being in college wasn’t the best choice. My case manager worked with me to help get a medical withdrawal. As of now, I’m no longer a student in college. While our society tells us that college is the only avenue, I believe I will truly be able to find myself in these months that I am taking off from school. While I hope to keep myself busy, I also desire to truly figure out the path that I need to be on in life.

I write all of this down today for one main reason. It’s not for your sympathy or your attention. It’s not even for me to learn to be vulnerable, because I already learned how to do that well in the unit. No, I’m choosing to write all of this because it makes me a human. Sometimes when I read others writing, I can’t always relate on a personal level with the one who penned it. I may connect with what they wrote about, but feeling like you know the person is a whole different level. I want to achieve that here because I want my writing to come out as if you asked me out for coffee and these were my responses to a topic or situation.
I have a lot on my heart that I want to write about in the future on this site; however, it will only make sense and have the power to connect with you if you understand where life has brought me up to this point. My story is an integral part of my writing and more than anything, I want that conveyed.

So, this is me; this is where life has brought me in the past month; and this is what I will tap into going forth from here.

I Moved…Again.

I Moved…Again.

 

It took me two months, but I’ve found my place. This transition into college was not extremely easy for me. I came in with confidence but found it slowly dwindling as I dealt with a living situation I was not prepared for: sharing a small space. I found that with one part of my life struggling—my living arrangement—all the other parts of my life started to struggle too, like my grades, attendance, and studying.

I found it hard to find a place that I could call my own; I felt like I had no personal space in the dorms. I tried finding a place somewhere else on campus: the library, a sitting area in an academic building, the arboretum. However, I always came up short. There was no place for me to claim as mine and that was the worst for me at night. Continue reading “I Moved…Again.”

Post Graduation Thoughts

Post Graduation Thoughts

Yesterday, I donned my white cap and gown, red stole, and silver magna cum laude cord. I had my name presented as I walked across the stage, shook a board member’s hand and received my diploma. I stood up with my fellow graduates and moved my tassel from right to the left, and exited Spring Lake High School for the last time in my life.

To put it lightly, high school was hard for me. Academically, I never had a problem. I breezed through the classes, maintaining a superior GPA with little to no studying and excellent test taking skills. I had my niche for English, and flourished in any class that had reading or writing involved. I made great relationships with teachers and other faculty members. But when it came to connecting with my peers, I never fared well.

Out of the nearly 200 students that graduated yesterday, I maintain contact with less than five of them. Although it is noted that I did graduated 7 months early, so life moves on and people change, I still returned for graduation with few connections. I never felt the need to have the most friends, be on the top of the food chain, or “run the school”, but coming from a place that prides itself on its small town, amicable community, I often felt disregarded.

I always felt ahead of the game in some ways; feeling more mature and prepared for the future than some of my peers. I left high school early to start college because I was ready—I realized that high school had nothing left to offer me. I was ready for a fresh start with new people and a new atmosphere. So far, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed that. But coming back to high school for graduation was something I wasn’t fully prepared for.

I had to return to the place that I associate with a lot of broken relationships, hurt, anxiety, and difficulty. I had to return to a sea of students so happy and high on life—something I already experienced more than half a year earlier. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited about graduation. I was looking forward to it. But coming back to the high school reminded me why I left—to find the real me with a new and fresh start.

I am grateful for the knowledge that I gained, for the few amazing relationships I have, and the teachers who inspired me daily. I am grateful that I could go to a high school that is passionate about college preparedness and exceeding expectations. I’m grateful for some of the acquaintances who could still muster kindness and humor, to make me feel welcomed at times when I felt pushed aside. I’m grateful that I made it to graduation day.

I went up to hug a friend after graduation and she said to me, “Who would have thought that we would make it through the worst 4 years of our lives?” That sums up high school for me. I had some wonderful times in high school, but my life was changing so much, and a lot happened to me and my family within those years, that it was hard to tackle maturing through life and dealing with the sometimes pettiness of high school–those years weren’t my best.

I made it through some of the worst years of my life and came out on top. I graduated early, got a head start on the rest of my life, and have cherished some of the memories that I will hold on to forever. I hesitate to say it’s been great Spring Lake High School, but in the end, I can accept that sometimes the good does outweigh the overwhelming amount of bad.

Graduation was something to check of the list of things to do—it was a loose end to tie up. In the midst of finishing my first semester of college, getting a job, and now officially graduating from high school, I’d say it has been a good 7 months. I look forward to plenty more in the future. And I wish everyone in the graduating class of 2016 all and only the best for your future.

Post-High School Life. 

It finally dawned on me this week that I will never have to go back to high school. I thought it would hit me November 26th—but what followed my finals was thanksgiving break. By the time it was the 30th and everyone went back to work and school, I felt like my vacation was extended. However, life likes to hit me in the face when I least expect it. It look as if my advanced planning was in shambles. One thing wasn’t going to work, then another and another. Eventually, I grew tired of my “fool-proof” plan. 
It was my expectation that the stress of high school would be gone once I finished. Much to my surprise, I felt more overwhelmed and stressed; I was entering the real world and nothing was going accordingly. Was I already going to fail at being a post-high schooler in the world? Niiiiiccceee, Emma. Reeeeeaaalll nice. 

Don’t worry though, there is hope for me! In one weekend, I went from pessimistic to optimistic. Every problem that went wrong with my plan, received a solution. I didn’t think I was going to be able to take online college classes before I start my freshman year at GVSU in the fall. I was informed that starting early would forfeit all my scholarships. 

But, this weekend, I received an email from MCC saying that as long as I had less than 30 credit hours from their online classes, my enrollment and scholarships for the fall ’16 semester at GVSU wouldn’t be affected at all! So this winter and/or spring I will take a few gen ed courses through MCC!

A few internship and shadowing opportunities for my interest in Speech-Language Pathology didn’t work out and I was left with no options to see what a SLP does on the job. But then, the admissions officer for the SLP program at GVSU, who just happens to go to my church, told me this weekend that she has set up some opportunities for me to shadow graduate students from GVSU and see on-site what it is like to be in speech path. 

I went from thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to write and that if I am being serious about my future and my career, writing wouldn’t be able to be a priority. Then, over the past two weeks, at least 5 individuals have asked me and encouraged me to pursue something with writing or English. They all told me that it would be wrong for me to put a stop to my writing. It was their words that gave me motivation to keep writing and honing my craft—who knows how far it will take me!

This week, I have finally realized that high school is in my past because a new plan has been created and it is one that I believe will lead me to success and clarity. I just wish I could have thought of it by myself in the first place!

So here’s to the future. To college classes, job shadowing, and more writing. I’m excited, nervous, and intrigued. But more than anything, I’m ready to go see what the world has for me and what I have for the world. 

Early-Onset Senioritis

Early-Onset Senioritis

I can now technically call myself a senior in high school. There is something powerful about that title. After all these years, we are finally on top; we finally run the school. However, it’s only the summer before my senior year begins and I already want it to be over. If I’m being honest, I’ve had the dreaded senioritis since I was a freshman. The moment I get into the building is the same moment I desire to get out.

Continue reading “Early-Onset Senioritis”