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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.

You’re Unforgettable.

I received an email this past weekend that was unexpected; it was from an individual who is a few years younger than me. I was still in high school when our paths crossed. She was in one of my last classes of HS. When I opened the email and started reading, I felt discouraged after reading the first sentence.

“You probably don’t remember me…”

I had to immediately stop reading–it broke my heart that someone could think that I’d forget her. Before I continued reading the remaining content of the email, I started a draft reply and made sure my opening sentence was, “Of course I remember you!” I appreciated and cherished the rest of her email, but that is beside the point I want to make right now.

This teenager who I only knew for twelve weeks; who I saw as outgoing, sweet, and genuine; who I respected and appreciated. This teenager who thought she was forgettable.

At first, I felt inadequate to empathize, because I’ve never thought about being forgotten. But then, I felt like I failed at truly showing this individual how much I appreciated her. It is a hard burden to carry, knowing that someone thinks you don’t remember them.

I cannot seem to let this concept go; it has opened my eyes and has shown my naïveté–something of which I never like to admit. But now that I’ve uncovered this, I cannot be silent about my reaction to hearing what this individual said.

There are people all around us who feel forgotten or forgettable.

I wish I could bottle up this feeling I get when I think deeply about it, so that you could experience it, too. It feels like everything stops and pauses for a brief millisecond–almost like your heart skips a beat. It is like that weird tingly feeling you get when you try holding your breath for a really long time. It feels like a mix of panic, confusion, remorse, even frustration. It’s like a spark igniting a flame within you that spreads through your entire body. It’s a passion to end the distress for those individuals who don’t feel remembered.

I may not know what the girl who emailed me feels like, but I do know that it won’t stop me from reassuring her of the truth that she is memorable.

To everyone who feels forgettable: you’re not. To everyone who feels lost in the shadows: you’re not. To everyone who feels ignored: you’re not.

I may not have the best memory in the world, but rest assured, my memory isn’t bad enough to forget a person. Every single person I meet leaves a lasting impression on my life–whether I’ve known them for an hour or for my whole life. It’s impossible for me to forget you, because you’re important to me. I care for everyone and that will never change.

I wish that I won’t have to receive another email, phone call, text, from a person in the past who is certain I don’t remember them. I am going to work so hard to make sure people know how much they will be remembered.

Each individual has something to offer up to you in life. You can take it or leave it. But you’ll never be forgotten.

You are not forgettable.

Believe it, it’s true.

 

 

The “Bail Out” Club.

The “Bail Out” Club.

People come into our lives for many reasons. Some teach us lessons. Some make us grow. Some encourage us and help us. And some come into our lives just to leave. These select few belong to what I refer to as The “Bail Out” Club.

I have been (un)fortunate enough to come into contact with many BOC members. Through knowing these people, I have cultivated the 5 major traits of a “Bail Out” Club member:

Continue reading “The “Bail Out” Club.”

Transparent. 

Transparent. 

The whole month of April went by in one foul sweep for my family. Every single day was spent in a hospital room. March 31, 2015 is a day that will forever been engrained into my mind. I received a phone call from one of my brothers saying I needed to get to the hospital—dad was in critical condition. Fast forward to today, after a month of recovering from a ruptured brain aneurysm—21 days in the ICU and 10 days at the #1 rehabilitation center in the United States—my dad is now in the next stage of his recovery: at home.

The last month of my family’s life has been exposed to hundreds if not thousands of people. Until this last month, I never truly understood what being “an open book” actually meant.

Continue reading “Transparent. “