Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dear Shalyn of 2009

I wrote this as a Facebook note, but I think it also belongs on my blog. Sorry I haven't posted in forever. Life has been strange. More on that later. For now, a letter to my past self.

Dear Past Shalyn,

First off, people do not make notes on Facebook anymore, but this is probably the best way to reach circa 2009 Shalyn.
Second off, you are a perfect human being. You don't think so, but you are. You are the toughest, strongest, most beautiful person in the world. I know you look in the mirror and pick apart your flaws. I know you wish your acne would clear up long enough to take a decent profile picture. I know you wish you hadn't inherited Grandma's mousey brown hair. I know you think you're too fat. I know. Trust me, I know.
But I want you to take a second and look at yourself from a different perspective. What does your face look like when you smile? Not a 'posing for picture' smile, but a real, genuine smile. Like when one of your friends tells a joke and you can't stop laughing. Notice the way your lip curves. Notice the way your eyes crinkle. Notice the way your nose smooshes up. Notice your big, gummy smile. That smile is so uniquely you, and you would get so many compliments on it if you'd just show it off. I mean, you've got the straightest teeth anyone could ever get without having braces!
Next, look at your arms. I know you think they're flabby and kind of hairy and covered in all these stupid little moles. But again, think about them differently. Think about all the babies you've carried in them. Think of all the buckets of corn you carried out to the sheep. Think of the things you've lifted when people thought you couldn't. You are strong. Stronger than a lot of people think.
Now, look at your belly. It's kind of pudgy. It's soft, and smooth, and covered in stretch marks from where your hips grew too fast. It's pale from being covered all your life. That's okay. But you don't need to hide it. It's a really cute belly. You've got great hips and a distinct waist. Play that up instead of wearing XL t-shirts to cover it.
Look to your hair now. Look at how long and thick and full it is. I know you think it's an ugly color and that it waves weird, but you can change it to suit you if you'd like. Add some nice soft highlights, dye it red, dye it deep brown, dye it blonde, do whatever. Learn to straighten it, learn to curl it, learn to put it in a cute bun. You've been blessed with hair that grows ridiculously fast and full and shiny, and you get minimal split ends. Girls all over the world are begging for your hair. Love it.

Enough about looks. Let's move on to how incredibly tough you are.
You have not had it easy so far. Yes, people have had it much worse, but we're not talking about them. You have been through so much in your short life, and you will go through so much more. It will be hard, and a lot of times you'll want to quit. But if you keep going, things eventually get easier. When you weed out the negative people in your life and surround yourself with loving, caring people, things seem a lot better. When you start going to therapy regularly and take your medicine, things get even better. You are more than a chemical imbalance. And the fact that you have gotten so far with an untreated mental illness is just remarkable. You go girl.

I'm going to level with you. Things get worse before they get better. In fact, you almost die. You are left with permanent scars and constant pain. You have several mental breakdowns. You spend a lot of time crying in your room. You go to some really dark places. But you'll pull through. You'll go through rigorous physical therapy for months. You'll go to counseling every week for a long time. But most importantly, you come out on top because you are smart, and tough, and strong.

Your friend group will change a million times in the next 5 years or so, and probably more after that. But don't worry, your energy is not wasted on them. They are a very important piece of making you who you are. They are what teaches you infallible love and compassion. They teach you how to be a good friend. They teach you a lot of what not to do. Love them. Learn from them. Embrace them. You all need it.

You're going to fall in and out of love a lot. You fall in love easily and wholeheartedly. Never feel bad for telling someone you love them, if more people showed love, the world would be a much better place. You're often going to be the one who loves more, and that's okay. It's going to hurt like hell, but you're tough enough to take it. You're so good at loving. Keep doing it.

I know right now, and for much of the next 5 years, people aren't going to see how beautiful you are. Guys will walk right past you, girls will silently judge you, you will feel like crap. But you know what, screw them. You get hot, girl! Actually, nothing about you physically changes. But you learn to see the beauty in yourself, and that's what matters more than anything.

2015 Shalyn
A genuine Shalyn smile :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Googly Hair!!

I've been working on this post for over a month now. Life is so crazy busy!

I find myself constantly typing up these deep and meaningful things on social media, and deleting them before I could hit enter. I realized in the last few years that no one cares what I have to say to the world. I am just another person shouting into the void of the internet, wailing like an infant for attention. The universe is so big, and we all want it to pay attention to us, to make the world work in our favor, but the universe doesn't care. The universe is not in charge of putting two young lovers together any more than it is responsible for tearing them apart. It does not care about your existential crisis or your deadly illness. The universe just keeps doing its thing, and we are a side effect of the universe.

Of course I say this as I wipe buggers from the kid I'm watching's nose and shut the cabinet doors behind him.
This brings me to a good update! This summer I am a nanny for my best friend's older brother and sister-in-law. Andy and Tiffany have two adorable kids, 6 year old Eliana (Ellie) and 1 year old Kase. They make every day a lot of fun, a lot of work, and a lot louder than working at the store like I have the last two years. My days are spent wiping up messes, setting up sprinklers, and cleaning up the house after Ellie and the neighbor kids destroy it.

I'm taking summer classes. Well, I was. I dropped macroeconomics. Whatever in me said I could teach myself that stuff was crazy. I'm currently just taking Childhood through Adolescent Literature. So far we've read the Hunger Games books and Carbon Diaries 2015. They're all excellent books, but a novel a week on top of other things is just a lot to do.
School has always been a thing that overwhelms me. I can handle a lot, but apparently homework is not something I can handle. I get into this viscous cycle of sleeping when I'm stressed, then becoming stressed that I slept instead of dealing with the thing, then sleeping to cope with the things I need to do. Like I said, viscous cycle.

In other news, I've decided it's time to lose some weight. I'm the biggest I've ever been, and just all around unhappy about that. I have decided to try and lose 45 pounds by May 2015. It's a huge challenge for me, but I'm excited to start this journey. They always say, "Where would you be now if you started a year ago?" I'm tired of wondering this, it's time to find out!

Speaking of hair (I just picked this back up and reread the title), I have pink hair now! I went uptown to Janet at Janet's Family Hair Care and told her I wanted the brightest red she had.
First we bleached it

Then we colored it
And now it looks like this!
Which is a big change from this

So yeah. That's what's new with me and my life. 
Best Wishes!

Friday, June 27, 2014

I am alive!

Holy cow. It has been FOREVER since I last posted! I've been working on a blog post, but (and I even said this in that post) nothing I say seems to matter. But today I wrote something that I think might matter.
I found a scholarship from 1-800 Wheelchairs about overcoming adversity. My life has been a cakewalk compared to some people, but writing a 500 word poem about the last year of my life for money didn't sound too bad. I cranked this bad boy out as fast as my fingers could write, then tweaked it as I typed. I thought I'd try it out on you guys before I submit it. Any and all input is appreciated! Enjoy!

Crash by Shalyn Holloway

“I'm a good driver,” I tell him.
That's when I lose control
The car slides sideways,
Hits the concrete,
And sends me rolling.
My car rolls through the air and down the road
Caught by two trees
That save me from falling to my death.
My arm beneath me,
My car above me,
I scream for my life.
Help comes finally,
The Jaws of Life push the car from my lap.
My head is bleeding,
My arm lies limp,
Pain is everywhere.
But I'm alive.
The ambulance ride to the hospital,
15 miles away,
Is the longest ride of my life.
It's 3am,
And I just want sleep,
But they make me open my eyes.
They life-flight me to Lincoln,
Where my mom and dad meet me.
Somehow I never cried,
Not one tear.
I awake after surgery,
On a hospital bed.
“We shaved your head,” they say.
My arm is bionic,
My hip is cracked,
My head is bald,
But I'm alive.
Hour upon hour,
Day after day,
Week after week
Therapy is grueling.
Stretching, scraping, building muscles back.
My hand still limp
My nerves are damaged.
They only repair themselves,
A millimeter a day.
School is the last thing I want to do,
But I do it anyway.
I find out who my friends are,
The Peru Crew always by my side.
I begin to get better.
My hair grows,
My scars heal,
My bruises fade,
My hip mends.
I walk for the first time in months,
With tears in my eyes.
I get to loose the braces one by one
Until the doctor says I'm healed.
Back to school I go!
Bogged down with 21 credit hours,
As a freshman.
The load so intense,
I'm driven to tears daily.
But I'm alive.
I spend a lot of time wishing I wasn't.
But that's just the bipolar talking.
I make lists to remind me,
Just how precious life is.
I think of the crash,
And how I survived against the odds.
I should be dead,
But I'm alive.
I think of all the time I've put into getting better
And what a waste it would be if I gave up now.
I think of my family,
My friends,
My best friend, Jacob.
I decide life is worth it,
So I stick around
And I keep fighting.
Against myself,
Against my body,
Against the odds.
Because I am alive.
I dream of my future,
To keep me going forward.
I dream I'm on the East coast,
In a museum,
With my little family.
We go to the beach,
My toes wiggling in the water,
My husband by my side.
Because I am alive.

And I have overcome.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


     As I was just laying out in the sun, I can't help but think back to a few months ago when I couldn't even lay down comfortably with all my braces. I couldn't get dressed by myself, I couldn't shower by myself, I couldn't walk, I couldn't cook. It was awful. And I think of where I am today, brace free, jumping, cooking, typing, walking to class; I can't help but think of how blessed I am to be alive.
     I shouldn't be alive. I should have been crushed beneath my car. The blood clot between my skull and my scalp could have been on my brain. I could have gotten an infection in the shattered bones of my broken arm. I could have turned out a lot worse. For only expecting 80% of my function back, I currently have close to 90% of it back, and I gain a little more every week!
     I'm blessed to have the amazing friends that I have. The first week I was in the hospital, Andi, and Rich came up every night but one, each time bringing other friends of ours, Nichole, Dustin, and Chelsea. Jacob also made it a point to come see me as often as possible. Every day I received letters, cards, flowers, Facebook messages, or visitors wishing me nothing but the speediest of recoveries. My aunt and Grandma came up, my cousins took part of their honeymoon to come see me, my mom stayed with me every night, my dad came up every day after work with my little sister, even my brother called to check in on me. I had the most amazing support system I could have ever asked for.

     Not to mention the incredible swiftness of the Peru Volunteer Fire and Rescue team for getting me out from under my car and to the hospital as soon as they did, the skill of the pilot that life-flighted me to Lincoln, and the care of the doctors and nurses in the ER at both Auburn and Bryan LGH East, as well as the skill of the surgeons who operated on me.
     Of course I have many blessings not relating to my accident, too! I have amazing friends like Jacob, who I can talk to at any time about any thing. I have friends like Nichole and Andi who are always around for a good laugh. I have Rich, who is always there to cheer me up when I'm feeling down. I have Megan, who I can look to for advice and guidance, and also do fun crafty projects with. I have family like my grandma, who will always take me in and just let me sit when I need a moment, providing tea and cookies until my heart's content. I have my mom, who I can tell anything without fear of persecution or punishment (at first anyhow). I have my dad, who is always up for a crappy movie at any time of the day or night. I have my baby sister, Risa, who shows me what I'm like, and also how to maintain childlike innocence. I was raised in a wonderful community of people who support and care for each other. I went to a good high school and was part of a superior band and an excellent choir. I currently attend a lovely little school, where I have made some awesome friends and taken some great classes.
I've been incredibly blessed in the last year, to say the least. I've made great friends, went great places, and lived through incredible circumstances.
I can't wait to see what the next year has to bless me with!

Monday, February 3, 2014


First off, WOW! I just logged on to see I have 1400 page views! Thanks to all of you!

I'm currently in a speech class, and had to write an introductory speech for someone, but couldn't use any online sources. How, in today's world, can I do that? Do a speech about someone you know, of course! My grandpa passed away on January 5th, 2011, but I chose to do my speech on this amazing man anyhow. He was such a wonderful influence in my life, and I think of him often. He will forever be someone I strive to be like, and I hope I can be half as awesome as he. I only wish I had more time with him . . .

That being said, here is my speech introducing my grandpa, Robert "Bob" Holloway.
     Dedication is a quality everyone strives to achieve, and Robert “Bob” Holloway seems to have that quality down pat. I'm very proud to admit that Bob is my grandfather, and that he is a man dedicated to his work, his family, and the various clubs he has been a part of throughout his life.
     All his life, Bob always wanted nothing more than to be a farmer. He was an active member of both his 4-H club, and of Future Farmers of America all through high school. Once he graduated high school in 1962, he began his own farm, which eventually built up to a family corporation. When he first started, he farmed by day and worked at a local gas station by night to help make ends meet his daughter-in-law, Sheila, said in an interview. Together, he and his wife built their farm and raised hogs over the course of thirty years. At one time they had over 250 hogs on their hog farm, breeding, raising, and selling them. Picking up 220 pound hogs, turning them around, and sending them on their merry way can take a toll on a person's body, as evident by the many surgeries he had due to injuries sustained by this common activity on the farm.
     In 1989, at the age of 45 he let his son, Stacey, take over the family farm and went to Grand Island to pursue an education in law enforcement at the academy. Once he graduated, he joined the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department in Aurora, Nebraska as Chief Deputy, where he spent twenty years in the same office doing the same job until he retired in 2009, a feat not achieved by many. According to an interview with his daughter-in-law, he earned awards and accolades from many senior officials in the state of Nebraska throughout his twenty year career.
     Even after he turned over the farm to his son, he and his wife could still be found out in the fields in the evenings and on weekends, guiding and assisting his son through harvest, irrigation, and any other farm troubles he may come across. After he reached retirement, he helped out even more, always looking forward to another day on the farm.
     Bob married his high school sweetheart in 1964. His wife, Karen, told me in an interview that they met at school. “Aurora High School isn't very big, and it wasn't back then either,” she said. In 1965, they began their family with a son, Troy, my father, to be later followed by another son, Stacey, and a daughter, Candy. He was a wonderful father as his children grew up, taking them camping and helping them raise their own livestock, as well as leading their 4-H groups and being a FFA sponsor. As his children grew up and had children, his grandkids became his pride and joy and he passed on many of his own passions to them. From fishing and farming, to cars and camping. He always tries his best to make it to every activity, and is always loving and supportive of every choice we make.
     Bob started his first 4-H club before any of his kids were even old enough to join, leading instead kids from the surrounding and near by farms. In the 1970's he even got to take his group on a trip to Canada for a leadership camp.
     In addition to 4-H, he and his wife started the Hamilton County chapter of Junior Pork Producers to help encourage young people to continue raising hogs. They led this group for twenty years before the demand dwindled away and their group dissolved, but not before they set up a scholarship for Hamilton County teens and young adults looking to continue their education in agriculture and agribusiness that is still available today.
     Bob was also on the Hamilton County fair board, holding various positions throughout the years.
     Bob had many interests that didn't involve agriculture though! He loved cars and racing as well. In the mid to late 1960's he brought dirt track stock car racing to Hamilton County, co-owning a car with a friend of his, though he never drove it himself. Instead, he provided 'half time entertainment' of sorts as “Buckin' Bob” with his bobcat, picking up debris from the track and performing various tricks, his son, Troy, told me in an interview. He also started demolition derbies, which he did compete in in the number eleven car. Thankfully, he was never hurt in the derbies, but, “that was one of his stupid moments,” says his wife in an interview.
      To say the least, Bob is a hardworking man. He loves his family, he's dedicated to his job, and he loves sharing his interests and activities with others in the community.
     Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a warm welcome to Bob Holloway.

Rest in peace Grandpa. I know you're keeping a close eye on me. Love, Shalyn.

Friday, January 31, 2014


Lately, I haven't been feeling too creative, which is rough for me. So last night when words were coming, I rolled with it. Here they are for your viewing pleasures.

"3 am is for thoughts.
It's for late night snacks. 
It's for putting off homework. 
It's for remembering. 
It's for you."

"When I hear the 'plink',
I think of summer.
And when I think of summer,
I think of you."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

This post is more for me than anyone else, but I don't think many people read this so no one will mind.
This is my new year's resolutions for 2014:

  • Smile more
  • Work harder
  • Enjoy the moment
  • Tag all my Tumblr posts
  • Eat healthier
  • Ask how others are doing
  • Spend more time in museums
  • Drive safer/Buckle up
  • Draw/paint more
  • Tell others how I feel
  • Look hella cute all the time
  • Stop using internet terms in real life
  • More tea, less pop
  • Spend more time with friends and less online
  • Do homework/projects sooner
  • Actually do therapy
  • Remember medicines
  • Call people when I say I will
  • Call home more often
  • Take risks, but be smart
I know a lot of these are really vague, but that'll make them easier to accomplish. That's the hope at least. Some of these are going to be easier than others, but I think they're all doable!