when i was younger i ate borscht everyday, watched cartoons in russian, and talked in public spaces with my mom in russian as loud as i wanted - even if it was an embarrassing topic, not like anyone could understand! i learned english when i was 7 years old and my parents divorced and they both married americans. i was forced to stop speaking russian because i wasn't allowed to exclude or distance my english speaking step mom from the conversations i had in russian which she couldn't understand. i slowly started eating traditional ukrainians foods less, speaking russian less, interacting less with my once exclusive culture. (by the way just to not confuse anyone, i am 100% ukrainian. the reason why i speak russian and not ukrainian is because russian is one of the dominating languages in ukraine and almost everyone there speaks it. since russian is more universal than ukrainian, that is all i was taught at home. although of course i know little ukrainian.) it was all fading from my memory and fast, before i knew it i had to take a 3 minute brain break to remember how to say cucumber in russian. i have a lot of family in ukraine, my mom would often call on skype and pass me the phone to facetime my cousins across the world. I remember being jealous of their hand painted dolls they showed me on the glitchy video calls and telling them how infact all americans are NOT fat and eating burgers all day. for some reason they always said that lolol. another time i remember my cousin maria showing me the wild cherries they had growing by the road while i tried to show off the tiny little tomato plants we had in our backyard. it would always end with with maria being chased barefoot by the scolding neighbors telling her to get off the road though. i don't have contact with maria anymore. or half of my family in ukraine. my uncle is missing and my family is in makeshift bomb shelters. its basically these subways that citizens would take to work everyday, now shut down and packed full of hungry scared ukrainians. russia is bombing my family and my culture and i am here panicking in my nice warm safe room. i feel so so so guilty! why do i feel so bad?? i am safe and yet i somehow turn this situation about me. why did i have to be apart of the lucky family to move to the US. my family is dying and losing their freedom and yet i am crying, i can't help but to somehow feel like it is deep down my fault. on my dads side of the family we have cousins and aunts and uncles trapped in Mykolaiv, a large ukranian city with all borders blocked with russian tanks and soilders. they are trapped and they are scared. we are all scared. i never met them and now i have to accept that i never will. they tell stories over the phone about how the civilians there were taped to poles in the cities and beat in front of everyone naked in the cold. how there were dead bodies lining the streets. how they hear bombs in the sky and watch missiles fly over. i can't help but crumble down and bury my head into my knees and just cry. i am very thankful for the whole worlds support, they are sending supplies, but they will not help fight with ukraine. they will not save my family and all of the rest of innocent families trapped in ukraine. not only are my relatives dying now, but my ancestors that died during the holocaust have died twice. russia bombed Babyn Yar the holocaust site. it was the largest holocaust site in all of europe. over 30,000 ukrainian jews were buried there. i cant help but speculate this has to do something with the fact that Volodymyr Zelenskyy (ukrainian president) is jewish. i remember the day that russia declared full scale war i came home from school and my dad was pacing around the living room crying. i have never seen my dad cry. Russia declared full scale war on february 24, 2022 four days before my birthday. i remember on my birthday dinner my family was only discussing the ukraine situation. this is all they have discussed, i dont know if ive heard any topic other than that. im not going to lie i relapsed HAAAARD. not only did i spiral about turning 15, which in retrospect is nothing compared to the obvious issue at hand. i am really trying not to show that i'm struggling in school but it's really hard. heres some tips on how not to relapse and how to not self destruct and ruin all of the progress you made: drink tea, take a bath, smoke a cigarette. take a walk outside go DO SOMETHING. dont sit in your room that is where you will make the bad decisions. idk if my advice is the best though, i dont know if ive ever relapsed this hard in my life. like ever. ever. thanks for listening though, i love all of you. bye!