The Last Post of 2019

I said I was going to post every Monday this month. I lied.

I don’t have a diary entry for this day, 10 years ago. The closest I have is for November 15th, 2009. I was in 9th grade, last year at the junior high. It’s vague, but I can tell that I am fighting with my new friends – my friends from the previous year had moved away. I am lonely, again. I talk about the boy that I was crushing hard on (so hard, omg he had such beautiful blue eyes). I was spending Friday nights chasing him around the high school football stadium, teasing each other in the rain, sharing candy under the bleachers. I was spending lunches in the library, up and down each aisle, often taking five or so books home each weekend to try to make it through until Monday when I could escape my very unhappy home life and come back to school.

I don’t think any year has been has hard as that year was. Winters are still very hard for me (aka, why I didn’t complete my goal for this month), but that winter in particular I had moved further away from the school. I was usually too scared to ask friends if they wanted to come over, and too scared to ask my parents to make the drive. The parents were fighting, often and loudly. I didn’t like my stepdad. I didn’t like my clothes. I didn’t like my classes. I didn’t like my friends. My skin issues are either healing or worse, I don’t really remember.

It breaks my heart to recognize the darkness I was in 10 years ago. To think of how sad and scared and lonely I was. The difference of then and now is night and day.

I am about to start my 2nd quarter at the big university that I always dreamed of. I have a best friend who has changed my life entirely. I have my own space. I have freedom to breathe and move and change and speak my mind. I have so much more to live for than day dreams and fairy tales. I have another disease, but I also have the means of dealing with it. It doesn’t prevent me from working towards my big goals.

I hope that in the next decade, I read through my bookshelf. I hope that I make time for my relationships. I hope that I travel further than I have before. I hope that I get to meet people whose lives are entirely different than my own. I hope my health chills out and gives my a couple years of a break, lol. I hope that I push myself creatively. I hope that I get better at being myself. I hope that take chances that are terrifying.

Thanks for taking the time to support me and this blog. This was a dream that 9th grade Raelee had but never really thought would happen. I am so grateful to have an outlet that reaches further than my diary’s pages.

I hope that the next decade gets even brighter and happier than this one did.

Til next year,


5 Personal Milestones from the 2010’s

We are on the eve of a new year, a new decade!

The 20’s are on their way which is absolutely insane. Who I am today is nowhere close to what I had pictured 10 years ago. Then I was on the eve of remission, and 10 years later I am once again, on the eve of remission, but for an entirely new disease.

This is also my 50th blog post!

When I started this blog, I really just wanted a place to talk about the health problems that I was going through. I had been forced to quit school, to quit my job, and essentially quit my social life until I was physically back in gear.

SO, in honor of the past decade, and in honor of my blog, I thought that I would partake in the Decade challenge, but with a Raelee twist – a blog post! I know, you’re shocked!

Here are 5 milestones that I reached over the decade:

Biggest Change:
I’m studying to be an archaeologist! 10 years ago, the idea was certainly appealing, but I was so focused on acting that I didn’t give academia much thought. Now I (finally) go to my dream school, working and studying to be a professional story teller – except not in front of a camera, and the story subjects are real (and dead).

Proudest Moment:
I came out as bisexual! I never could have predicted that I would fall in love with a woman, let alone be with her for nearly 5 years in my early 20’s. The summer I came out will be one that I will ALWAYS remember, and I am so happy for myself to have reached this point of self awareness. I live a safe and warm life with my ultimate best friend, who is also my partner, and my ride or die. 14 year old Raelee would NOT have predicted that in the least.

Bucket List Moment:
I went to Australia!! TWICE! I so, so, so wish that 14 year old Raelee could know that I do eventually make it out of the U.S. So many nights were spent fantasizing about travelling and meeting exciting people. I wish I could tell her about how awful the flight was, and how bad they are at making Mexican food, maybe that would calm her restlessness. But I also wish that I could tell her that she will spend days on the softest sand she’s ever felt, surrounded by a wonderful family.

Biggest Surprise: 
I got to star in my dream show! I was around 10 when my mom first let my borrow her copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and I couldn’t have predicted how much I would come to love that story. I still don’t know what it is, all I know is that I spent so many hours day dreaming about playing Kit in a movie someday. Little did I know that I would not only star as Kit in a stage production, but I would also win a nomination for it. I am so insanely grateful for the time I spent in theater, and for the opportunity to cross off a dream that I had no expectation to complete.

Biggest Lesson:
I will never have a chance to stop advocating for myself. 10 years ago I was living in a very unhappy household, and always felt on edge. I thought that once I left that environment that I wouldn’t have to fight for myself anymore, but the reality is that I will always have to fight for myself if I want to grow. Whether that is advocating for my own health against doctors who belittle my pain; or removing toxic people from my life because I know the damage they can cause. I will always have to fight for myself.

This decade has been so integral to who I am as a person – I can’t wait to see where I am in another 10 years… still in America? still sick? married? kids? 


Here is a link to last week‘s 2020 preparation post. See you next week!


All in a Phrase

I don’t know if you have thought about this quite yet, but the new year is just around the corner and not only is it the end of the year – but it is the end of a decade!? I have been feeling very nostalgic and reflective, so this is one of 4 posts that I have planned in honor of the forthcoming 2020. I will be posting every Monday, each with some relation to the new year or the previous 10 years.
I hope you enjoy!

For the past 10 years, I have given myself a phrase at the start of a new year.

Sometimes these are borrowed from someone else, like “who you know is who I am,” borrowed from a camp coworker in 2014, or the entire chorus of “Dancing Queen,” borrowed from ABBA the year I turned 17. Sometimes its simply a sentence, like this one is for the takings, or keep track of your jackets. These phrases are sometimes used more than once, in a row or they bounce around. It’s just a habit I picked up around the time I started (seriously) keeping a journal, and it seems to stick with me throughout the year better then when I make a list of resolutions.

The first couple years of college were cataloged under: Push Through The Fear. Depending on your memory and/or how much of my blog you have read, this might look familiar. It is the title of a blog post all about trying to deal with my major anxiety, and was an alternate title considered for this post that I wrote in honor of my time as an actor. It’s a phrase that was written all over my notebooks, diaries, tucked away in blog posts, doodled on note pages. It is one that has stuck around with me for a while, and for me it acts as a chapter title for that time in my life when my ultimate goal was just to get-through-the-anxiety of whatever I was facing. I just wanted to get better at pushing myself to do what I needed to do, and stop missing out on experiences or relationships. That phrase is what got me through my first day at college; it is what got me to audition for my first college show and later my first performance of said show. Push through the Fear was what ultimately encouraged me to come out and try to build a relationship with my now girlfriend of 4 years. It was with me along every terrifying step of those formative years.

When I got sick and had to essentially quit my life, Fear wasn’t what was holding me back anymore so that mantra quickly got replaced. The goal has no longer been push through the fear, but instead to “practice patience,” because patience takes practice and practice takes patience. It’s been the title of my blog, it’s been doodled on note pages, written and underlined in my journals – I wrote about it too. The goal for the past 2 years has been to focus on slowing myself down, practice bettering my negative traits, and to be patient with – not only the people around me – but also how long it takes to grow. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is Raelee. So as I waited for every test result, as I learned new jobs, tackled medical bills, dealt with germy airplanes, and navigated scary adult processes like renting my first apartment – Practice Patience was there along the way. Not a push to just do it, but a reminder that it is ok to take my time.

Regardless, setting up a phrase for myself has been a way of setting intentions and gathering up excitement and encouragement for a new year. In times of crisis or depression it is something that helps me focus and continue building resilience.

I can tell that it will be a new phrase for 2020. I can feel the adrenaline of a new year, the lightness of a fresh start, the energy of finishing a book and picking up the next one. But I don’t know what it is yet. I never really seek them out, it has always been something that happens organically. I guess we’ll just have to see.


Image description: The photo is of a pile of Raelee’s diaries, journals, and planners. Some of the books are open to certain pages, one on top has a quote from Ernest Hemingway “I am a writer of fiction and so I am a liar too and invent from that I’ve heard. I’m a liar. My excuse is that I make the truth as I invent it truer than it would be. That is what makes good writers or bad”; one entry says “I kissed a girl and I really liked it and now we’re dating, but she leaves for Australia in September and also keeps hanging out with a girl who likes her and now I’m getting jealous” Dated August 3rd [2015]. The pile also features a bunch of scraps, like a dried rose head, movie ticket stubs, confetti from a Taylor Swift concert, and some Polaroids.