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"Life always offers you a second chance, it's called tomorrow...the past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited, or erased...it can only be accepted."

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The advice I will never give my sister

I have had fifteen million ideas for blog posts in the recent days. Not that any of them have come even close to fruition. I actually had a BRILLIANT post in my head while I was trying to fall asleep two nights ago and I realized it was something that I had to write about.

Then I fell asleep...
...and completely forgot it the next day. 

So then I had a new idea. A post about my (no-so) little sister. 

My sister is about a decade younger than I am...and it has made seeing each other a real challenge. Especially after our father died there always seemed to be a real disconnect. I was trying to take care of myself and provide for my household...while she was enjoying school and twirling baton. It's been a hard gap to successfully bridge. 

She recently turned 15 (which is completely insane to me)...and we got together for brunch. Sunday brunch once every month/two months sometimes seems like the only way to see each other. Even when we have days planned...things always seem to come up at the last minute (typically on my part). But about a week ago we got together and ate, and then just hung out for a bit sitting in her driveway as I went to drop her off. 

Rarely does she ask too many questions about our father, and I can't blame her. The saying "ignorance is bliss" was said for a reason...it rings true quite frequently. Especially in stressful situations...and times when things are confusing...it's better to not know. It's better to not have specifics, and sometimes it's better to pretend like what you don't know isn't there. After all, isn't there the whole saying about "what they don't know can't hurt them"?

Anyways...as usual I reminded her during our conversation that if there's anything she ever wants to know...I will tell her. I will be honest, and I will explain anything that she wants to better understand. However I also warned her that there may be things that she will later wish she didn't know...and to tread carefully. 

She was quiet for a moment clearly thinking hard about something and it made me nervous. I didn't want to have to give upsetting information. I didn't want to shatter the good ideas she had about our father.

But what she asked surprised me. 

No dirty details.

No hard questions.

Just one simple request: to take her to the waterfall she had seen in my pictures, where I spread his ashes last year. The waterfall that I grew up traveling to with him.

I thought about trying to schedule a time soon that I could take her...when I realized that it was a Sunday...that neither of us had plans...and considering it's an Ohio spring...it was a lovely day. So I sent her inside for boots and junky clothes.

The next two hours were awesome. We climbed up and down massive cliffs. We tromped around in the river and (I) got soaked. We took pictures, sat on ledges, and just sat around. 

It was a gorgeous day. A day to reconnect, and remember why I really do love being the big sister.

 All we were doing that day was chasing a waterfall. But to us it seemed to be a lot more. 

A waterfall that has seen a lot of history...







And unlike any other girl from the 80's or 90's...
I will never tell my little sister to stop chasing waterfalls.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pretty much you need to read this...immediately

A friend posted this the other day...and I have a hard time putting into words just how awesome it is. And I'm not sure she even realizes how awesome.



My hard day is Father's Day obviously...but the range of emotions she discusses is spot on. She's clearly better adjusted than I am...as I still struggle with seeing others happy with their parents. But this is certainly a must read for everyone.



Like I said the other day...this ladies and gentlemen...is brave:



Pardon My Blonde: Mother's Day Minus Mother: As you all know, Mother’s Day is approaching. Since when is it almost the middle of April, let alone almost May? It may seem a little early ...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Apparently I'm going to grad school

It's officially my first semester out of school (in years)...and sure enough I can't wait to get back. I have been looking into MSW programs for months, as I've found that social work is quite clearly where I'm meant to be. And here we are...at the application process. I found the program that I want to pursue and it's perfect. Online and from a great local school. But then the page in the application about the essay comes up. I joke about how easy it will be...I can write for days! But let's be honest here...I'm terrified. 

In this blog I can write whatever I want, and whatever I feel. I don't have to be politically or grammatically correct. This blog is my safe space. 

But now I have to write an essay about why I would be a good fit for the university, and why I want to pursue a career in social work. 

Funny thing? I didn't even know I wanted a career in social work until about 3 weeks ago...

A professor of mine last year asked the class why we decided to major in psychology. I didn't answer as it was an 8pm class and I was probably close to passing out (full time work/full time school/being a fiance/step mom is exhausting). But some people did...saying things like "I want to study behavior" or "I want to work with children in a school." My teacher waited for more answers until someone said "to help people."

I smiled, as I too wanted to help people. Before I could second the other student's answer...my professor cut in laughing. He said that the idea of studying psychology to "help people" was naive. That psychology wasn't about helping people...but about studying the brain.

It threw me off. Here I was in my last semester of my undergrad career...and some man (that I really didn't like as an instructor) was telling me that I was naive for wanting to help people.

Now I get his point, in a way. But the fact is...I was working on my degree so that I could better understand the brain. So I could better understand the reasoning behind mental disorders such as PTSD and depression. And so that I could help people overcome those disorders. The disorders I have struggled so hard with. 

But now I was being told that I was naive for that. And that I had no perspective. That I needed to rethink my degree.

As many of you know, I didn't rethink my degree. But I did rethink my career path. I still want to work with addicts, PTSD patients, kids, and adults. I want to work with everyone.

And I do now. 

I work with the people in my county. The place I grew up. I work with kids, and their parents...to try and steer them to a better life. Some days I go to work and I am frustrated by what I see. But for the first time in my life...I can do something about those things. For the first time, I don't have to stand idly by and pray to myself that someone will help the child. I am the person that can help the child.

I am the person I wish my younger self had had. 

Cycles of abuse/neglect/poverty have the opportunity to start over at any time. With every generation. 

And I get to help with that. I get to help people. And as naive as that may be...I could not be happier with it. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Counting blessings

In today's edition...my blue eyes. Because when you grow up with a lunatic for a parent...God needs to give you something positive to remember them by.


I've been asked if my blue eyes are contacts, or photo editing. 

They're not :)



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I'm not going to hide because of something that someone else did. I have nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to be afraid of.

This article has been out for three years...meaning the blog has been public for that amount of time.

Three years ago was a big day for me. A day that I finally stopped hiding behind some stupid stigma of not being "allowed" to talk about what happened.

So here's to that article...even though that picture makes me look severely depressed.

http://www.news-herald.com/general-news/20120318/area-agencies-step-up-efforts-to-protect-children-from-domestic-violence-provide-healing-with-documents#photo1

It's not always easy. Talking about domestic violence, physical abuse, emotional abuse, or anything else of that nature is hell.

Pure and simple...it is hell.

If done in public- your words are judged, you are considered weak, you are told that your words are inappropriate or unprofessional.

In the eyes of most of the world:

You are lesser of a person for talking about what happened.

You are seeking attention.

You are bringing others "into your personal business."

You are less of a person.

You are a "complainer."

You don't deserve to talk about it because "you don't know what real pain is."

You are unfit to: do your job, take care of children, have a relationship, etc.

You are less of person because you went through the things that you did...

When in reality:

You could truly make a difference.

You have potential.

You have extreme compassion and love.

You choose to use what hurt you to help others.

You are a better person because of what happened.

You are determined.

You are strong enough to speak out about what happened.

You are a better worker, parent, and spouse because of your past.

You are a better person. Because you know what NOT to be.



You may be the child of domestic violence. You may be the wife, husband, or sibling. If you've seen it, dealt with it, or experienced it in any way...you have been affected by it. Don't be afraid to speak out about it, or seek help for it. There is no shame in needing or asking for help. There is no shame in being victimized.

Being victimized...does NOT make you a victim.

This world is full of creeps and dummies

I haven't in written in weeks...and I am a mess.

I am taking on way too much. The worries of finances, a new job, and all of the daily household needs. My insomnia seems to think this is an awesome time to pop back up and dance in my face. I mean most people can function on two hours of sleep right?

I went to the range yesterday to get myself in check. Just me and my gun. And honestly...I shot better than I ever have before. I hit bulls-eyes on targets that I would usually dance around. I was in tune with myself and my feelings. I was calm, collected, and "right on target" in so many ways.

But then I went today...and I couldn't have been more off. Sure, I hit center line for the most part. I was right where I needed to be...kind of. I hit dead center all over the target. Above the objective, below it...pretty much anywhere but where I wanted to be. Even Nick commented that he could see me anticipating the shot every single time. I was jumpy...I was over-sensitive...and hyper-aware of my surroundings. Clearly...it didn't go well.

I don't know what is with me lately. Quite frankly, I'm not sleeping. I'm having dreams of events that I haven't thought of in years. When I drive past somewhat unimportant places...I'm having flashbacks of memories that I'm not exactly fond of.

I'm frustrated...and I'm feeling victimized. Something that I'm not a fan of feeling. I am feeling like people are being hurtful for no honest reason. And that bothers me.

I just typed out an entire paragraph and deleted it because I'm censoring myself. Damn this blog being public. It's hard to keep yourself censored when you really want to let loose and be frustrated!

My lovely mother always taught me that life is hard, and that people suck. "This world is full of creeps and dummies." There are exceptions to those rules of course...but in reality it is your job in life to depend on yourself.

Be confident, be strong, and be dependent on yourself.

I need to focus on blessings right now, and remember that I don't know everything. All I can do when I feel like this is be myself.

Confident in myself and my abilities.

Strong against the constant fear and doubt that haunts me for no apparent reason.

Dependent on my own backbone...because even though it would be nice for someone to stand up for me...it typically isn't going to happen.

I can do this...whatever "this" is.

Stick with me here, as there is a lot coming when I find the words to explain it all. This just happens to be one of those nights where my mind is moving much faster than my fingers...



Thursday, February 26, 2015

I'm glad my parents got divorced

I know that someone is going to get all mad about this post and take it the wrong way...so let me preface it by saying I am NOT condoning divorce...nor am I encouraging people to give up on marriage.

That being said...

Here's something you don't hear very often: I'm glad my parents got divorced.

Most kids dream for years of their divorced parents getting back together and having that happy little "family". They get a picture in their head of this perfect life...a picture that is essentially unobtainable.

I never have that thought as a kid. Sure, I wanted my mom to fall head over heels for some rich guy that would be my new dad...but I never wanted my parents to get back together. Had my father been a good person, it may have different. As it stands however, I'm amazingly thankful that my mom had the courage and excuse my language...but the "balls" to get the hell out of that marriage.

I got married at 19. Not one of my finer moments in life.

I got married to someone that I wasn't happy with. Someone that lied and cheated for the first 3 years of our relationship. But little miss daddy issues over here was still determined to marry him. Shockingly enough, after about a year and half...the relationship imploded and lead to one very messy divorce.

Here's where my original post comes through. Had I grown up in a situation where my mother had stayed married to a horrible man (and I'm not comparing my ex husband to my father)...I wouldn't have had the strength to walk around from a bad situation. Had I watched my mother put up with unhappiness for my entire life...I would have settled for my own situation.

I wish I could have stayed married...and I wish my parents could have as well. But the reality is that in this society...not every marriage is destined to work. People rush relationships, they settle because they don't think they can ever have better, and they don't use their best judgment.

My parents rushed (my bad), my ex and I rushed...and it ended in disaster.

The night I decided I needed a divorce (I still remember where I was sitting at that moment), I was scared to tell my mother that I had failed at the thing she had disapproved of so vocally. I was terrified of being judged, hearing "I told you so," and of being stereotyped as just another stupid teen (which I was clearly).

I texted her that night and simply asked "when did you know you needed to get divorced?" Honestly, I don't remember her answer. All I remember was her telling me that it was okay, and that it didn't make me less of a person. She made me feel supported and strong...and capable of taking on the world. She unintentionally reassured me that I could truly "start over"...as clearly she had been able to do it (with a child might I add).

I don't always make good decisions. I'm influenced too often by the scars left from my father. But I'm lucky enough to have an imperfect family. A mom willing to admit defeat and get out of a bad situation. People surrounding me who believe in second chances and forgiveness.

I learned from my mistakes and I watched my mother grow from hers.