"I'm Going to Carpe the Hell out of this Diem!"-Someone Really Smart

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Oh Darling,

I've always been the girl who felt so comfortable in her own skin. [That'll never last right?]. I got into college and all of the sudden I wasn't skinny enough, or pretty enough. I wasn't able to talk to boys, I wasn't popular enough to be invited to parties, or to have the boy walk me around town. I wasn't smart enough to get the best grades, or funny enough not to. Right??

High school and college, for girls specifically is a hostile environment to grow up in. Your hair has to be a certain way, your clothes have to come from the best stores, and if they're not a size 0 don't even bother. Doing good in school is looked down upon, and staying up late on the weekends is for popular people. And day after day we feel like WE ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH. All day every day, the Lord says YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH, YOU ARE PRETTY ENOUGH, the Lord says YES, but the world says NO.

We let these skewed perceptions seep from the glossy pages of a magazine into our brains where they sit, simmer, and eventually take over our every thought, action, and outlook on not only ourselves but the people around us. We stop eating, we bury ourselves in homework, we exercise until we can't move, and we cry. The person in the mirror is ugly, fat, unhealthy, so we force ourselves into the bathroom, and do what many before us have done in order to fit this perception of perfection. Pain takes over our every thought, to the point where nothing else can dull it out, so we turn to drugs, alcohol, or we inflict it on ourselves. As the knife hits our skin, the sting of the blood makes it's way out of the fresh incision and for that moment we forget the pain that our lives bring. Social pressures, religion, school, family, and friends added to the daily stress that LIFE itself brings each day. And when it's all said and done we look back on these acts of self inflicted pain and feel worse because of the WEAK people we must be. Right?

Each and every one of us has strengths. Whether that's saying one good thing about ourselves, or someone else each day. Or whether it's as simple as we brushed our teeth this morning. Every single one of us has strengths. Strengths aren't prizes. You don't need a calling in the church to be a good member of the church, you don't need to graduate with honors to be smart, and you don't need to win the nobel peace prize to do service. As individuals, the Lord has given us strengths, and weaknesses. These weaknesses aren't to level the playing field, or to prove to us that He is better than us. The Lord gives us the weaknesses to give us OPPORTUNITY. He opens up the door for us not only to have STRENGTH, but to get STRONGER. Every weakness he places in our lives is him giving us an opportunity to change. How will we rise to this challenge? Will we throw it away, and turn our backs on Him, on ourselves? Or will we take the challenge, and make our shortcomings, our strongest qualities?

Every single one of us have the opportunity to do something we ALL need help to do. We can change our way of thinking. Today, tell yourself YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Tell someone else. SHE IS BEAUTIFUL. Help someone. Not because you want to be thanked, but because you want them to feel loved! We all have these opportunities put in front of us, and I think I have been wasting a lot of them. The Lord puts so many doors wide open for me, but instead I choose to stay in the room I've always been in and refuse to venture out to the unknown. We are all special, and we all have strengths.

When we begin to see that the person next to us has a story, we will begin to change the way we see the world. We can invite love into our lives, not only by loving those around us but by loving ourselves. Love the fact that one boob is bigger than the other. Love the fact that Tan Fat looks better than White Fat. Love the fact that you can't control your eyebrow, and at the end of the day, love the fact that the Lord has given us the greatest blessing of all, LIFE. because we chose to come here. Not only were we strong before we came to Earth, but we were the STRONGEST. We chose to come to this world, at this time, and the Lord let us because HE KNOWS that we have the strength to survive what the world has prepared for us.

You are beautiful. There is someone out there who loves you, who thinks about you, and who is rooting you on. You have worth. You are smart, you are worthy, and you have so many strengths. Weaknesses are only an opportunity to strengthen what is already strong. YOU deserve to be here, YOU deserve to live. WE CAN DO THIS. We can live this life, we can love this life, and we can kick life's ass right back.

So all the bad feelings about yourself, about others, and about life?

Impossible is nothing. Change your thoughts, change the world. YOU ARE WORTH IT. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU HAVE PURPOSE. AND YOU... YOU HAVE STRENGTH.

Stay Classy, Kayla

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Families are Forever

The cold silk of the blanket covered my toddler body. I looked up and could see the red glow from the light shining through the opaque fabric that had been worn through. Butterflies fluttered through my tummy as I swung back and forth through the air in my makeshift hammock. My laughs cut through the air as I thought to myself "Nothing can beat this moment".At that very moment,flying through the air, I felt free. When the swinging ceased and the blanket fell at my feet I caught my breath and looked up to see my sister and her husband laughing at the joy I got from something as simple as being swung back and forth in a blanket. What I didn't know as that toddler, was that 15 years later, sitting in Hawaii I would look back at that moment and the butterflies would begin to flutter, not because of the swinging but because of the joy I feel when I think of my sister. A sister that could never truly leave no matter how many unspoken days went between us, a sister that was brought to me through the foster system. My sister, Jessica.

I was too young to remember all of the details of my childhood, but I do remember the days that I got to spend with my new foster sister. She was older than me, brown haired, and I looked up to her. The fact that the blood pumping through our veins had no identical dna was the least of my worries. At that very young age I learned the very important lesson that family could be any shape, size, race, religion, and could come from any walk of life.

Jessica was just like me, we were family, and where we came from had little influence on how I felt about her, or the fact that someone new was going to be living at my house. She quickly became my sister. I remember sitting on the edge of the bed, refusing to get dressed. Jessica would pick up my pants slip it over my leg, and stick her eye close to the end of the hole. As my foot went in the first leg she would screech as my toe poked her eye. I would laugh and laugh, and quickly proceed to let her dress me as long as I could continue to poke her eyes out. The fact that she was never blinded by my little toes and fingers wasn't important. My sister found a way to connect to me, she found a way to make me smile, and make me laugh. She would sing to me, dress me, watch movies with me, and brush my hair.

Time went on, she grew up, and she got married. She had beautiful kids, and our lives drifted apart. We didn't talk, we didn't have each others numbers, we didn't have each others facebooks. Somewhere, out there, one of my sisters was walking around, that bond never gone, but slowly forgotten.

I went to junior high, high school, and soon ended up in Hawaii. I quickly knew that I was supposed to be a social work major, not knowing why, not knowing how, just trusting that the Lord lead me to the place that I was supposed to be. One year later, today, I am sitting in a Child Welfare class learning about foster families. "Many foster families have a hard time accepting foster children as their own". my teacher explained. I raised my hand and told him that I had a foster sister, and she was my sister, she was my family. I thought about Jessica often, wondered where she was, who she is, how her kids are, but never once did I take that step to find her.

My teacher assigned a book to read, it was about a foster child, growing up in the system. He had a hard time fitting in and each family he went to refused to let him into their family. I couldn't put the book down, my eyelids were drooping so I found a stopping point and put my ipad away until morning. I laid in my bed restless wondering about Jessica and all we had been through together. The next morning, I looked her up on facebook. [thank you technology]. I decided to write her a message, telling her how much those memories meant to me, and to thank her for all she did for me. To remind her that we would always be sisters. The response I got was unexpected.

She had been following my blog, she was amazed at the people my sister and I had become, and she was so thankful for my message. I sat and cried as I read her message. I had my sister back. The days unspoken, the distance, the wondering, all of that didn't matter. Because at that moment, she was the sister that let me poke her eyes, and would swing me in the hammock. Her family is beautiful, she is an amazing mom, and she has made such an amazing life for herself.

I am so thankful for this gospel. I am thankful that the Lord knows what is right, and why it's right. I have seen the doors open as I continue to strive to do what is right for me, and I am so thankful for that. I am so lucky to have reconnected with such an amazing part of my life, and I am so excited to see what the future holds for the Atkin family, now that we are all back together again. We can build new memories, be apart of each others lives, and see what the Lord has in store for all of us now that we are ready for each other. I am so thankful for technology, and the opportunity I have to reach out to someone from my past that I never thought I would talk to or see ever again.

I look up, and the glow of the computer screen looks back at me as the tears run down my face. I chuckle through the tears at the recollection of my childhood memories. I smile to myself, as I read my sisters words, knowing that something so simple, could bring so much joy to my sister and me. My sister, jessica. Families are Forever.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

Today was another Lady Seasider Softball Game. The greatest feeling is being able to support those girls on and off the field. They have been so supportive to me with my decision to leave the team, and focus on other things and I don't think any of them know how grateful I am for that. There undeniable sense of comfort, and love that they have shown me is irreplaceable.

I woke up today knowing that I wouldn't be lacing up my cleats, but that I would show up and take pictures and cheer on my friends. The day started out as any other, I made breakfast, got ready, and headed over to the field. I think the moment it hit me was when I took my seat directly outside the dugout fence. The only time I have been on the outside of any softball fence is when I am watching a team, other than my own. I gritted my teeth and was genuinely happy to be out there watching my girls play the game that we ALL love. It was interesting, sitting and watching from outside the fence, seeing the way the cleats hit the bases, the ball hit the glove, and the bat hit the balls. I was in tune with what seemed to be every single sense I could possibly have. It's as if I was outside myself looking in on the game that I walked away from. I could see the way the wind had control over the dirt, the way the grass looked when the outfielders cleats dug into it and the way the mound looked as the pitcher took her position. Watching those girls put their helmets on was bitter sweet for me. I was so proud of them, for their hitting, their cheering, and the way they played in that game. But somewhere inside me I could feel a part of my heart twinge at the sight of the game, that I would probably never get back as a player.

The very girls that have made me feel so welcome on the field were now the force that kept me outside the fence, without even knowing it. They are so supportive, and so loving, and I am so thankful for each of them. I could tell that with every waking second I was slowly becoming more of a fan and less of a teammate. That feeling of not belonging quickly came over me as I walked out of the fence and towards my car. In that very moment I could feel the memories of all of the hours I have spent on the dirt quickly fade away with the dust I was leaving behind me as I walked. I fumbled with the keys to my car as I became more and more emotional, I finally got the door open and I felt my body sink into the hot leather that was my seat. My body began to shake and the sound of my tears filled my car, leaving me alone in an empty silence, with an empty heart. Does a tree that falls alone still make a sound? My mind wandered to all of the teammates I've had over the years and I wondered at that moment if maybe somewhere deep inside each one of them a little piece of them knew that those softball days were over. That all those days and nights, mornings, holidays, hours, minutes,and weekends we spent on the field were slowly dissipating into a time zone that we can never get back?

Now don't get me wrong, I chose to walk away. I made that choice and will stand by it until the day I died. However, the hurt of losing something that I have given so much to will never stop affecting me. I walked away in order to put myself in a position to better myself, and hopefully in the long run, make me happier. I know that I made the right choice, and that ultimately I will be better off, but right now it still hurts.

I feel as though a very part of me has been taken from me, and not yet replaced. I know that I've given up something I love in order to have it filled with something that will make me even better, but I guess my emotions are clouding that decision right now. I know that I made the right choice and I am happy, I guess right now the realization of losing something so important to me is setting in.

As we grow up we realize that we lose things that we never thought we would. High school football games, friends, our good figures, and our hair. We lose things like our desire to go out dancing, and our love for midnight showings. We lose so much that sometimes we feel like getting older is the worst thing that could ever happen to us. But one day it clicks. One day we realize that we lose those things so that new bigger and better things can come into our lives and make us who we are. We lose our letterman jackets, and our prom crowns, and gain wedding rings and a college education, all the while facing challenges that help us to learn and to grow day by day. The Lord challenges us because we are strong enough to handle it. Put away your life plan and open up your scriptures, read your patriarchal blessing because sometimes the Lord has something entirely different than what you have in mind. We lose our desire to make a plan, and gain the desire to follow the Lord and listen to his guidance. His willingness to stand by us in the worst of times is greater than any high school friendship, or relationship we could have had.

The days I feel like I have lost the most, are the days where I realize I HAVE the most. I've lost things that I love, but I have gained a knowledge and a testimony of this gospel that I never would have had without those trials. The days we feel like we don't have enough we need to realize we don't GIVE enough. There is always something more, something better, and WE CAN ACHIEVE IT, but first, we must turn our heads from the left to the right and stop looking behind us and start looking forward.

"Make a decision and stand by it, because your choices are all that you have". -a friend

"Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. he therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit".-Richard G. Scott

Friday, February 22, 2013

Losses and Gains

Sometimes we are faced with decisions that seem like life ending, but on the contrary, they are life CHANGING. Life is far from over, why live each day with no hope for tomorrow, with no hope for change? My entire life softball has been my everything. I remember standing in my backyard with a bucket of balls by my side, and a bat in my hand, and hitting until I couldn't hit anymore. That feeling I get when I kneel before a field, lacing up those cleats and buttoning my jersey is indescribable. I love everything about the game. I love the smell of the dirt when it gets watered down, and the feel of the freshly mowed grass beneath my cleats. I love the feeling of the raised laces on the ball against my fingertips, and the way my glove fits perfectly against MY hand. I love the sound the bat makes as the ball comes off of it, I love diving, the blood, and the sweat. I love the team, the coaches, and the feeling of coming back from behind to win a game. I love the feeling that I get as the crowd goes silent and all there is is a chalk line in front of me and a base waiting for me to reach. But most of all, I love the feeling of knowing I can be better than myself, that I can overcome trials, and struggles. It sounds so cliche, but softball has been more than a game to me. It has taught me to stand up for what I believe, to work hard, and to not care what others think. It has taught me that I can do better than myself, and be better than what I ever thought possible. Softball has brought me to Hawaii. Without the game that I love I never would have come out here. And now, softball is the last thing that matters to me. I see now that there are so many more important things in this life than a game. There is school, family, and friends. These things that I've learned has helped me realize that sometimes we have to let go of things that we love in order to get something better. Quitting has always had such a negative connotation in my mind. It always meant giving up, loser, someone who doesn't work hard enough, walking away. But I finally realized something. Sometimes quitting means giving up a bad situation, losing something that is hurting you more than it's helping you, working harder to be happy than to say you're not a quitter, and walking away from something that you love so much, but not enough to stay when you know it's hurting everything else. My entire life softball has been my everything, but now I realize that softball became something that was causing me more stress and problems than it was helping me. It used to be the one thing I could go to to get rid of all my worries, and now it has become what gives me all my worries. I could see how much softball was affecting my family and my school work. I finally realized that in two months it wasn't going to mean anything, not this way. Softball will always be a part of my life. I love the game more than anything, but it will be in my life on MY terms. I hope one day I can be a coach that everyone can look up to, that can not only teach them how to play the game, but teach them about life. I lose something that I love in order to gain a happier, healthier me and a me that can succeed in other things, besides the one thing I have focused on my entire life. I am so thankful for softball, it got me here to Hawaii, and it has taught me so much. But more importantly, I am so thankful for my family and friends who are always so supportive of me. Sometimes, we have to lose something we love to gain something greater.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Today I am thankful for people in my life who are there no matter what. I am thankful for supportive parents who never leave my side. They are the biggest support system in my life, and I am so thankful for that. My family is the best thing that has ever happened to me

When I became a social work major, I had this overwhelming feeling that It was exaclty what I was supposed to do. I have the hardest time opening up and sharing my feelings and emotions, but through this major I have been able to open up and share things that I never thought I would share. I see how important it is to share things that you have been holding in for years.

I am so thankful for friends, and family who are the biggest strength in my life. It is so freeing to have people next to me who want to listen, who make me feel like I am not alone.

My greatest desire in this social work major is that I can sit across from someone going through what I have, and being able to tell them that they are not alone. I wrote in my journal earlier "I hope that everyone that I come in contact with from now until the day I die feel as though they can share their deepest fears and secrets with me without fearing judgement, or the feeling like I am minimizing their feelings".

Every single feeling, every single person has a story. I have learned in the short time I have studied as a social worker, that the biggest smile on the face of someone could be hiding the deepest of internal hurt and pain.

I don't know if anyone even reads my blog. It's mostly for myself, to be able to let out the things that I am feeling. But I hope, that if by chance someone reads this post, that they know that they are not alone in anything that they are feeling. That even if they have been carrying something around with them for 15 years, that it is freeing to let it out and tell someone. That even if they feel like their problem and trials are not as important or as big as the person next to them, that their is no harm in a hug, or a good shoulder to cry in. I hope that everyone that I come in contact with knows that they can always come to me in anything. I don't care if we've never talked, I don't care if we've had a fight, or if you feel like I don't like you. If that's the case then it's my fault and my shortcomings that have made you feel that way. I hope that whoever is reading this knows, that you are not alone. That YOU matter. that YOUR trials MATTER. That you don't have to put on a happy face all the time. That there is someone there who wants to listen, who cares to listen, and who has been through things just like everyone else.

You are NEVER alone. We have each other. We have the strength of the world in our hands. The Lord is always here. The lord is the foundation of all that is good in this world. Turn to it. Turn to me.

We are never alone. For all of the people I have ever talked to. Thank you for your smiles, for your hellos, for your love. I am so thankful for everyone in my life who has made me who I am today. Who has made me feel like I can do anything. Thank you for being my friends, for my family. And for getting me through my trials each day.

You are never alone. WE are never alone. EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

rough livin

I'm so very lucky for these ladies. I came to school here at BYUH not knowing if I would ever find friends like the ones back home. But I am so lucky to say that I have. I am so lucky to say that the women who I want in my wedding are the lovely ladies who live with me here on this island. I am so lucky for the opportunity to meet such amazing people even an ocean away from home.

I had an amazing weekend with these girls. Girls who can make me laugh, who support me, who are here for me whenever I need them. These girls are my best friends. I am so thankful to live in such a beautiful place, surrounded by the beauty that the Lord blesses us with each day. Lanakai. The water is clearer than a swimming pool, and the air is sweet.

This is the HI life.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Letter To Me...

Dear Kayla, Stop stressing, you’re assignments are not due for a week, and that A you’re studying for is not going to make you a better friend, girlfriend, or wife.

Drink lots of water, and take care of your body. I know you are the girl who never gets hurt, but that will soon change. You will suffer injuries that you never thought you would. Your body needs to be strong, it needs to be strong so you can overcome the physical challenges that surgeries, and days off will have on it. Your mind needs to be strong, to overcome the “if’s, no’s, but’s, and maybe’s” that people will throw at you when you’re down. You need to be confident in your abilities and know that YOU can do anything that you want to do. But most of all, strengthen the muscle that matters most, the heart. Strengthen your heart so that It can take the negative, annoying, brutal challenges that you will go through. Teach it to love what’s important, and teach it to never doubt itself. You control YOU.

Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and stop crying about the fight you had because your friend said something behind your back. That’s life. Stop crying and turn around. See that? That’s your little sister crying because some boy broke her heart.. forget yourself and pick HER up, she’s going to need you, she’s going to need you and you better be there for her, because if you let her down..you let YOU down.

Those friends? Those friends won’t be here in a year or two, don’t worry you will all move on to bigger and better things. Learn from them, learn from them and teach them. Make each other better. Prepare yourself for new friendships, and open yourself up to people you never thought you would get along with. Stop disrespecting your mom, and stop yelling at dad. Hug them, and tell them how important they are to you, because in a few years you might be living far far away, and on those days where you wish you could just have a hug, they won’t be there. Your sisters will be your truest and closest friends, don’t waste another day fighting, yelling, and putting others in front of them. Family is everything, learn that now so you won’t have to later.

Do good in school, but don’t plan your future out perfectly. Trust in the Lord in everything you do, he will show you exactly where you need to be. Go to church, study the scriptures, and believe in what you’re being taught..because in a few years you don’t want to be playing catch up for all those times you didn’t go to seminary.

Softball, love the moments where the dirt gets in your mouth, and blood stains your uniform. Cherish the times you have on the road, and the people in the stands who spend countless hours cheering you on. Recognize the coaches you have, you have no idea how much they will truly influence and shape you in the future. Laugh with your team, get sunburned, laugh at your tanlines, and go for the extra base…because one day you will be wishing you could have all those summer days back again, for one more round. Love your teammates, they will be life long friends and you will all go your separate ways. But don’t you worry, those summer nights, and those long days will forever tie you to each other..with an inextricable bond of friendship, and love, and family.

Learn to love yourself Kayla, Learn to love those around you, and learn to love those you don’t understand. You have your family, the lord, and you might just meet a few pretty great friends over the years. Don’t forget how much they impact you each and every day.

Smile, your smile will be your strength, your light, everything that you do do with a smile, because you will see the importance of being positive. Staying positive. And seeing the good in the world.

And always remember….

You have a week to finish that assignment, so go out and goof off a little will ya?

See you soon,

The future you.