No matter how much you mentally prepare for social media love bombing every February 14th, it still stings just about as hard as the nationwide cooldown that’s going on right now. If it’s not Minnesotans bragging about how low their “real feel” displays on whatever app they have downloaded than it’s a dramatized and amplified version of the love in everyone’s lives.
This letter is selfishly more of a therapeutic release for myself than anything but sadly, I know there are more people than just me sitting at home trying to find the balance of staying-off-social-media-for-your-mental-health but also subjecting oneself to the red-hearted vomit that floods your feeds and wanting to throw a pity party cursing every single box of chocolates and lovely bouquet of flowers.
Woof, that screams a run-on sentence.
Don’t get me wrong, the girl typing this is just as guilty of displaying an over-the-top geasture for all to see. But that girl then was a broken one. One who thought showing everyone how great things were going would somehow be a permentant display of the rose-colored glasses behind the screen; a mask if you will.
A girl who rarely felt good enough and year after year, begged for the absolute minimum from a damn man. A girl who genuinely thought she was put on this earth to show love but not receive it because that is what experience has taught her. A girl who knows she was meant to sit on the sidelines.
A girl who felt as if, and sometimes still feels as if, she must constantly evolve in the moment, like a chameleon. Changing and molding herself into the people she surrounded herself by because she wasn’t good enough as she was. Or so she thought.
That girl is more than just an old version of “me” and I think about that a lot. On quiet days when I haven’t opened my mouth to speak to another person, on the loneliest of days.. she comes to surface. It’s like the enemy verses the victor. Negative thoughts and reminders of how worthless she is ooze out at the most inconvenient times. And mindless scrolling to self-sabotage all the good she has in her life just spills over, it doesn’t help.
I saw a video the other day that described this so perfectly. In it, the narrator said: Her love fell down like rain droplets, even on the days she tried to stay dry.
This letter is to serve as both a distraction from the #FakeItTilYouMakeIt positivity that is trolling the socials I know you’re subjected to and as a reminder that you don’t have to be that version of yourself if you don’t want to be.
I don’t want to meet that girl ever again; the one who was convinced that she was both too much and not enough even though she was more than enough and never too much. The one who allowed the bar to be set so stupidly low; whose identity shifted out of fear of rejection.
It’s okay that today is a day filled to the brim with love all around you but not to you and it’s okay if today you’re the only person you say “I love you” to today. You deserve to feel the same love you give, you deserve to raise that damn bar further than you can reach, and you deserve to ooze kindness and self-compassion for yourself before anyone else.
One of my very favorite blessings in this world turns five in six days. I knew becoming an auntie was going to shift something in all our lives but I never could have imagined how much she’d change my entire world. And how much I want to change the world so hers isn’t as hard.
I cannot imagine a day where I don’t encourage her to strive for the absolute maximum of what she deserves. I can’t imagine allowing her to come down on herself so hard that she feels like she’s drowning. I can’t imagine her ever feeling unloved, unseen, or unheard.
If you’re hanging out all by your lonesome today trying to find the joy in everyone else’s love (like I am), you’re not alone. And honestly, you might not even be there (see paragraph two).
But, no matter how cliche it is, this too shall pass. We all have different reasons for why everything seems so difficult all the time and I think sometimes it’s always going to feel like you’re the only one going through it even though you aren’t. In a world claiming to be so accepting of uniqueness and vulnerability, we still shy away from it like it’s taboo or something; to feel sad and alone and tired.
I don’t know how to make everything better for everyone but Lord knows, if I could, I would. I don’t want to go through anymore pain in my life but I will and I don’t want my niece to bear witness to it one day either but she will. All that I can do, all that you can do, is face it ’til you make it.
To the lonely-hearted: You’ll get there, you’ll find a way. And if no one has told you yet today, Happy Valentine’s Day you beautiful, incredible soul of a human! I love you! <3
My grandma’s memory is failing her and all I want to do is go back in time to relive the moments I didn’t realize I’d come to cherish.
I’ve been struggling to find a way to write this post because I don’t know who will see it or how it’ll be received. I won’t be writing anything that isn’t true to how I feel but when writing about something as debilitating as dementia, it can be painful to read. So grandma, if you read this, I love you. We all love you.
I’m fortunate enough to have experienced the love of many grandma’s in my 31 years of life. For the first 11 years, I had two great-grandmas, two grandmas, and a step-grandma. All living. How incredible is that?
My paternal great-grandma, Agnes, passed away at the age of 87. For the last handful years of her life, she struggled with Alzheimer’s and ultimately lost that battle not remembering the people who loved her most.
That is my greatest fear, truly. To not remember.
I feel like I function off of love, don’t we all to some extent? To live a life of love to the best of our abilities all to have it come to an end so slowly taking the best memories you have with it? It sounds like a miserable, gut-wrenching, disaster.
I feel like I’m watching that happen to my grandma Darlene (Agnes’ daughter, my dad’s mom) right now. I was 11 when my great-grandma Aggie died. The memories I have of her are few but fond. I remember her entire house inside and out. I could sketch it out on graph paper right now if I wasn’t typing this. I remember the little “hiding spots” upstairs. I remember the view we saw if we came in the front door verses the back. I remember Halloween and laughter and heavy Norwegian accents.
My two favorite memories of her are the buttering of saltine crackers for a snack and her infamous phrase towards men with saggy pants asking if they had “dritt i buksa” (shit in the pants!).
I know I was there towards the end but I don’t remember it as clearly as the good times, which is probably okay. I was very young visiting her in the nursing home and I remember seeing my grandma (her daughter) upset. I don’t think I had any idea what was actually happening outside of an old women nearing the end of her time here on the physical Earth. Nothing more, nothing less.
But I now know it was so much more than that. To be loved by people you don’t recognize and to love someone who no longer knows you.
I don’t experience every day life with my grandma anymore and haven’t for well over 15 years but we do phone often. She’s nearly three hours north of here and still lives on her own in the same house she did when I went to school in Roseau. My brother Nick and I would walk to her house after school when it was nice out.
As with my great-grandma Aggie, some of my favorite memories are with my grandma Darlene. Good memories that I didn’t know were good at the time. She took pride in her garden, always a green thumb. When I was little, I just assumed gardening was easy and it took little to no energy. I found out the hard way what a joke that is when I grew up and had dabbled a bit in it myself. I’m more of a succulent gal thanks to my many failed attempts. Teach me your ways, gram.
Her rickety old swing set was another. There was nothing special about it other than it was there and so were we. I’m surprised we never swung so high that it tipped over. She’d sit at the picnic table or garden while we played. Us kids were in our own little world so much of the time and she was just there watching us enjoy life in such a blissful state. I wonder what she was thinking about during those moments.
She used to make us mac n’ cheese with hotdogs but not just regular ol’ cut up hot dogs, that’s boring. She’d cut them vertically almost to the end and spread them out like an octopus over the pile of cheesy noodles. It always made us giggle.
Grandma’s two favorite shows in life (or at least in the life I was a part of) were JAG and Jeopardy. The two J’s, so to speak. She was way better at Jeopardy than I was. I called her when Alex Trebek died last month and she’d said she hadn’t watched Jeopardy in years. I wonder when she stopped and why. I didn’t think to ask.
I’m sure I could go on for days about the things that riled grandma up or the ones that made her laugh. Just thinking about them makes my eyes swell because those moments are so far behind us and I’m afraid they are memories all my own, no longer shared by her.
A week or two ago, my grandma stayed here in Fargo with my aunt Krissy. They have a strenuous relationship and always have, I believe. It’s not difficult to see the strain. I’m fortunate enough not to know what that’s like. I can’t imagine having to sort through those types of feelings for a lifetime. But I see the hurdles they face in them both, my aunt and my grandma, or I try my best to.
My grandma wasn’t a perfect mom or grandma for that matter but who is, really? My mom recently put that into perspective when she said parents aren’t given a guidebook. They do their best with what they know or have and I try to remember that often especially when I feel put down.
I think my grandma has made comment on my weight every single time I’ve seen her throughout my life. It doesn’t sting any less now than it did when I was 8 years old. I think she’s developed tact over the years though, but maybe not. When I brought her to dinner a couple weeks back, I was telling her about the adventures I hope to go on in 2021 (pending the ‘rona of course). One of them being South Africa. On one hand, she was at a loss for words in admiration of the wanderlust spirit I have but on another hand, she was pre-emptively second-hand embarrassed for me. She made me promise that I wouldn’t travel anywhere else until I “lose a considerable amount of weight” and it breaks her heart to see me looking like I do. A promise I don’t know if I can keep, honestly. She also reminded me that it’ll be hard to find love if I look the way that I do, that it might have been better just to stay with “him” (my ex of nearly 10 years) because then I wouldn’t be alone.
I know all of that and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell myself those same things on a way-too-regular basis but I also know them to be falsities of another generation.
In moments like that, I struggle to keep the hurt feelings inside but I do. Because the affliction I see in her eyes less than two minutes later when she doesn’t know where she is is more painful than anything she’s ever said about my weight.
When she was here to visit for a week, I spent four evenings with her. We mostly reminisced about the good ol’ days of the 20th century. I asked how she met my grandpa; what kind of dates they went on and what he was like as a father in the early years. I asked about how her parents met, what her favorite memories were, and learned all about things I’d never bothered asking before.
I focused on the past because the present seems to cause so much distress in her mind. When we do circle back to the here-and-now, the tone in her voice changes from a lighthearted sparkle to one filled with melancholy and tears. She’s so weak and frail in those moments. She’s sometimes literally and figurately so lost in the present that it’s unbearable for her.
She knows it happening, her memory failing. I picture it the same way I pictured an accident I was in a few years back. I was going 60 on the interstate here in Fargo. Traffic slowed ahead of me, as did I, but the traffic slowed so abruptly that I didn’t have a chance to react in time. It all happened so fast and so slow in the same moment. It was terrifying.
That’s how I imagine my grandma feels when her memory lapses.
She’s back home now. My aunt brought her home two Saturday’s ago. At the time I didn’t know that the most painful of conversations were about to be had.
My grandma called me because she didn’t know who it was that delivered us pizza the evening before, here in Fargo. She didn’t know whose home we had been in with my cousins and brother surrounding the table and she didn’t know who brought her back to Roseau that day. It was Krissy, her daughter. She knew who Krissy was but didn’t recognize her in the flesh. She’d forgotten and it left her disoriented. She didn’t understand.
A couple months back she had called me asking to know who a couple of people were and it turns out one of them was my cousin Garrett. What followed that was a series of phone calls to me from her being in complete awe and totally perplexed as to how she could have forgotten who her own grandchild was.
That was the first time she verbalized to me that she was afraid. She’d gone through this with her mother, my great-grandma. She was nearly inaudible when she said she doesn’t want to forget my dad (her son) or me or Emma. She said doesn’t want anyone to see her lose her mind. She doesn’t want to tell her doctors. She wept when she told me she’s not ready for this.
I don’t think anyone is, grandma. I don’t think we can prepare for this.
She knows her memory is failing. It’s sporadic and random but it does seem to be more short term than long and I think that’s what makes it so much more heartbreaking, that she knows.
As someone I recently visited with said so perfectly: “It wouldn’t be 2020 if the last month wasn’t the hardest of them all.” Ouch, but true.
You might be wondering what this post has to do with my series. This post is the reason for my series; Holidaze. My grandma is currently in a daze, a state of confusion. A life of “everything seems to be fine” but then a blip occurs and it’s thrown off it’s axis.
I didn’t start this series to solely share a social-media filtered version of my seemingly perfect life because it’s so not that. I do admittingly try to focus on the good, try to only show the good but life isn’t always good. Sometimes all we want is a Wishenpoof wand to make it all better but they are in short supply this year. Everyone is trying them out on different things.
To close, I just want us all to remember where we came from, who we came from. Reflect on the parts of life that formed us into who we are today, recognize that they aren’t all going to be sunshine-y moments. The tough times shape us too. I want this to serve as a reminder to see beyond the pain that people may have caused you and try to address the pain that they have themselves. Dig deep to exhibit empathy to those you don’t understand.
I wish I could push pause and rewind on my grandma’s mind to the exact moment before her brain decided to stop working as hard. I wish I would preserve the memories for her to replay when she is feeling lost. I wish I could go back in time and prepare her heart before it was broken by the loss of a baby and ultimately a divorce. I wish I could have been there for her when she needed someone in her 80+ years of life because I see all of that now and I never had before. I just wish I could hug her and never let go.
I hope my grandma does have many years of life yet ahead of her and I hope we are able to contribute to it in the most positive of ways even if it’s from afar. I hope my niece Emma remembers her years after she’s gone and I hope she lives to see more great-grand babies of her own. I hope that I never lose the memories I have of her and I hope she finds comfort in knowing how immensely she is loved by me.
Thank you for reading. Go call your grandma (or someone you miss).
Edit: We did, in fact, swing so high the swing set tipped over! And on multiple occasions to boot. My brother’s memory has always exceeded mine. Thank you to Nick for fact-checking! :)
I never even once thought of the people I’d meet on this trip. I was like, “I’m a solo traveler within a group; everyone is going to be doing their own things.” It didn’t even occur to me that I might meet people and even more so, meet people that I could grow to adore in such a short time.
Just writing that makes my eyes swell up with tears. The people I met this week were just as incredible as Iceland is. I focused my writings a lot on the trip itself but haven’t included much about the people that I’ve met along the way; mostly for their privacy. I have some feel-good stories and many moments in my journal that I’ll keep for myself to remember them by and cherish forever. I don’t know if any of us will ever cross paths again in this life, but I hope we do. It makes my heart so warm knowing there are people in the world that have the same wanderlust spirit and taste for adventure that I do because it’s easy to forget that when surrounded by people with different desires.
G (Gunner, our tour guide) was absolutely incredible. She is so proud of her heritage and of her country. She’s kind and welcomes you warmly and she’s so consistent. She’s not “on” and you can’t see through her because she is 100% genuinely authentically incredible. There was an elderly couple on our trip that had been all over the world; 100+ countries in their time together. The last time they’d been to Iceland was 1966. My mom was one! While some of their travels over the years was for work; a lot of it was for adventure and pleasure, too. They said that our guide was one of the top 5 EVER. In the 50+ years of traveling, Gunner Rosdottir is in their top 5. Talk about a compliment and it doesn’t even do her near as much justice as she deserves.
Guys, I’m so proud of myself. Like, in the best possible way. I can’t even think about it without crying and all of these feels are the most wonderful kind.
I noticed on face book that people are posting what they looked like at the beginning of the decade and at the end; most of them glow-ups but honestly that’s only due to fashion. I reflected on this on my last jaunt of a flight home. Physically, I’m much heavier now than I was at the beginning of this decade; is that a glow-down? I’m sure I’ve learned how to do my makeup a bit better and I’ve hopefully upgraded my fashion game but so much more has changed internally for the better rather than externally.
My life is split up into a handful of segments and I don’t know if that’s normal or not. A decade ago, I was in the early years of what would become a rocky and tumultuous relationship. I was more insecure than I’d ever been in my life and thought that by loving someone harder, I could fix them. Seven years ago, I was forced to leave that relationship because my mom and brother moved me out in the middle of the night due to an explosive conversation they heard when I secretly dialed my moms number. That didn’t last. He was broken and I was the only one that could salvage what life he had left in him. Or so I thought.
He didn’t share the same sense of adventure that I had. So, five years ago, I took the first step into not waiting around anymore for my life to begin. I started traveling with my mom. I feel like my first trip with my mom, through reflection, was my first real step into gaining Independence from an abusive situation. It took me another three years before I finally left that broken relationship.
Two years ago, almost to the day, I left the man that I’d loved with every ounce of my being for nearly a decade; for my entire adult life. I don’t know if i’ll ever be able to love someone the way I did him ever again. I know I’m capable of love; I’m a lover by nature but he took a piece of me that I’ll never be able to give someone again. A love that was fueled by pain. A love that I’m not willing to go through or forfeit to anyone ever again. I want a love that will move mountains, not dig graves.
That same two years ago, I was so unbelievable lost and broken in the truest sense. I came to realize that I wasn’t a person. My entire being existed to make his life better. I didn’t have a sense of self because it died when I left. I wish I could have told that girl then what I’d be doing now. She never would have dreamed of visiting Ireland and Scotland in 2018. She never would have dared go on a solo trip to the North Shore in her home-state. She didn’t think she’d ever get to see the Grand Canyon and she never ever, in a millions years, would have guessed that she’d travel to Iceland alone. I wish I would have told that girl that she’ll get through the pain and immerse the cocoon of heartbreak stronger and more powerful than she could have ever dreamt. I’m so proud of the woman I’ve become. I’ve always been strong but I can’t get over just how strong I am. How I can do this life and do it well, all on my own.
I know that I frequently reference this period of my life; this relationship.. And while I’m not defined by it now, it did define my life and who I was in it for a third of my life. So, I think it’s okay to refer back to it because it will always be there and it’ll always be a stepping stone of chapters in my long life of book. I’m only 30. I have so many more pages to grow from.
Thank you, dear readers, for coming on this journey with me. I’ll leave you with a quote by an Icelandic Nobel Peace Prize winner. Our tour guide recited it to us on one of our magical days traveling through the land of fire and ice:
“Where the glacier meets the sky, the land ceases to be earthly, and the earth becomes one with the heavens; no sorrows live there anymore, and therefore joy is not necessary; beauty alone reigns there, beyond all demands.” – Halldór Laxness
Ahh, today we came home. A short trip but a wonderful assortment of memories that will last a lifetime. We visited the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame today. We were in a hurry before our flight so we didn’t take as much time as I’m sure is recommended but we came, we saw and we conquered. That’s what matters.
There are so many things I feel like I’ve left out. The airport and our nights on the town. The conversations we had and things we saw, the people we met. I’ll trust that my memory will hold onto those moments beyond the words that I haven’t typed. Right now, I’m exhausted but the good kind of exhausted, I suppose. I wanted to write because I haven’t written in so long. Going on trips makes me want to pick up my tablet and write everything I see. I miss writing.
I went on my first and second plane rides this week. I stayed in my first Airbnb. I saw so many beautiful things and have memories that will stay with me for years to come. I did all this with a wonderful, hilarious and kind human by my side. She puts up the toughest of fronts and she’d kill me if she ever reads this but I’m so grateful that she’s let me into her life and allows herself to let her guard down even if I have to pry it out of her. I don’t think she realizes how much this trip, this adventure, this friendship has meant to me. It’s so hard for me to let loose and relax but she makes me do it. Even though I tell myself that I have the spirit of a vagabond, I reluctantly have the mind of an organized spaz and it is so very difficult for me to stray from that.
So, if you’re reading this.. Tough as nails but secret softy, Alicia.. Thank you. Thank you for being my person this week and hopefully many more weeks to come. <3
I definitely cannot hang. My idea of a vacation and Alicia’s idea of a vacation are so far apart, they aren’t even funny. She sleeps until she wakes up, takes her time getting ready and would be cool avoiding most of the touristy spots. I, on the other hand, want to be up as soon as the suns first ray hits our faces, check out the agenda and see everything we can possibly see.
Juggling our completely opposite narratives was an act for the circus today but we managed and succeeded. Schwing! We slept the entire morning away. Apparently staying out until 3:30/4:00 AM is not something I can do on the reg. No way, Jose. Anyway, what happens in Cleveland stays in Cleveland.
We eventually got our butts in gear and packed our day with all the things. We hit up The Melt which will cure even the worst of hangovers. The Melt was featured on Man vs. Food and Diners, Dives, and Drive-Ins. You definitely get what you pay for and that in itself is even an understatement.
After a late lunch, we rushed to The Christmas Story House and toured that little block of cinematic history. I wished I’d rewatched the movie before our trip to have a more vivid recollection but it was still pretty sweet to see. We met an uncle/nephew combo, Matt and Tyler. Again, Alicia and her ability to meet people is just so foreign to me. We ended up exchanging numbers and met up with the duo later in the evening for cocktails and swapped traveling stories.
After the CSH, we decided to explore downtown Cleveland and news to us, it’s so easy to get around (aside from the damn bus lanes and lights). We didn’t realize how close everything was. We had walked around a bit the night before but if we’d just gone one street over, we would have been in a totally other, really cool, area. Lightbulb moment for sure.
We found the Worlds Largest Chandelier, walked around East 4th Street, were bombarded by a mob of graduates and made a pit stop to view Lake Erie. I’m surprised how much we were able to see in just a few hours but that’s what you get when you have two determined women making it a point to see all of the things.
Today, tonight.. all of it was something! Well yesterday was. I’m typing as if it were yesterday but I was ¾ of the way in the bag by the time the clock struck midnight..
Sunday, May 21 marks my first flight! The entire flying experience is brand new to me. No matter how much research I did and how many people I asked, I never felt at ease or like I’d gotten all my questions answered. I’ve never been afraid to fly. On the contrary, I’ve always dreamt of when I’ll get to fly. It’s just never been an option in my life until this point. We didn’t travel growing up and I’d never been afforded the opportunity until now.
But guess what? It’s a damn breeze. I could spend 45 minutes talking about every single step from the time we were dropped off in the airport to the second we got in the Cleveland Uber but I’ll spare you for now. If you’ve never flown and you’d like someone to actually tell you step-by-step what to expect, hit me up. I’d be delighted.
I do want to say though that I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a breeze it was. Maybe it’s because my personal item was basically empty and I did my research but i didn’t encounter any issues like i hear on the news. And guess the eff what? Beyond the security line, there’s a whole other world. At least in MSP there is. It’s like a damn mall. Restaurants, stores, you name it. Alicia tells me it’s not like this everywhere but it’s still pretty sweet.
The only issue I had with the flight was I felt a bit light-headed. I can’t decide if it’s because I looked down and out the window too soon or if it was the altitude. Either way, it was so surreal in the best sense. I’m sure typing this I have a weird giddy smile thinking about my first flight but so what! Better late then never!
I want to shorten this up because I’ll ramble for days.. The descent/landing is the best part in my opinion as a first time flyer. I love the feeling of heading straight for the ground at 300 miles an hour. I can’t wait to ride a rollercoaster. For real though, I could do that part all day.
After we (finally) got our Uber and headed to our FIRST ever (for the both of us) Airbnb, we took a nap. Because we are old folks.. But eventually, we got ready to take on the Cleveland night. We hit up Fan Fest for the Cavaliers vs Celtics NBA finals until we were rained out. We had hoped to scope out some celebrities but to no avail.
We ended up grabbing dinner at Winking Lizard in downtown Cleveland and walked over the City Tap for the bulk of our evening. I kind of felt like our night had started off slow. I couldn’t get into the grove of relaxing for some reason. But it ended up being a really great night.
Alicia and I have a unique relationship. We bicker a lot. Fight, whatever you want to call it.. But it’s all in good fun. She means so much to me and I consider her one of my very best friends. Even though we drive each other mad, she gets me and I get her. I wouldn’t change our dysfunctional love hate relationship for anything and tonight I felt a lot closer to her. We were able to just hang out and talk freely without the stress of life or our relationships or work in the background.
Another thing about Alicia that I should have known about by now is that she can talk to ANYONE. If it weren’t for her, I’d probably have sat in the corner sipping my colorful drink all night. I don’t know where she gets the confidence or language to talk to just about anyone. I suppose that’s what you’d classify as liquid courage. We met some cool people tonight and we stayed out way too late and had way too much fun tonight. Is that such a thing?
Do you know how many times the two of us have told people where we are going and how many times we’ve received the same “wtf” look? And how many times we’ve had to explain “wtf” we’re doing? Tickets were cheap, the Airbnb was cheap, adventure! Honestly, the second we booked the flight, we both looked at each other with the same “wtf” look we’d been getting for the past month.
I was up bright and early this morning. Up to this point in my life, I’d only been on vacations with family and Channing. I’ve never gone on a girls trip or gone anywhere for that matter with a friend. Historically, I’ve never been good with friends. I’ve just never been able to connect. I blame my social awkwardness. But that’s another story for another time. Anyway, up bright and early. Guess who wasn’t? A to the licia.
There are a lot of things different about this trip so far and it hasn’t even began. I’m a spaz planner. I like to know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, how I’m doing it. To the point where it’s obsessive. I’m talking Google Drive folders, spreadsheets, printed out reservations in a tidy trip labeled binder.. thatkind of spaz. With the exception of a condensed spreadsheet THAT I FORGOT IN MY CAR, I was plan-less.
We eventually hit the road and went to IKEA like every basic bitch would. I pulled a classic Ori.. filled my cart up to the brim and slowly but surely narrowed it down to six items. The cheapest of all the items of course. Whereas my shopaholic travel-mate, Alicia kept her load high and dry from the aisles stuffed with left behinds. Oh, I envy her ability to shop. It’s a problem that I need to deal with. Shop, damnit. Shop!
We were grateful enough to have landed a sweet place to stay thanks to Alicia’s college connections in life. We had dinner reservations at an italian place with her former roommate and they graciously let us crash the night in their beautiful suburbia home with a bombass deck. We didn’t sleep on the deck but we probs could have. It was cool. Tomorrow I fly!
Long time, no type. I’m fairly certain I’ve written that exact phrase before. What I’m about to write and the few posts following are a chronicled summary of the last few days. I didn’t have time (or energy) to write about my recent trip in real time so I’m pulling from the few notes I left myself. YES, I have a list of talking points in my list of lists..
About a month ago (maybe more), I was going through a weird mid-20’s thing. It wasn’t a crisis, probably more of a “damnit, I want to live more” type of a thing. After a lunch hour of complaining about everything, the men in our lives and thinking about life, my friend and co-worker sent me a chat asking if I wanted to go to Cleveland or Cincinnati. The flight was only $40 a seat each way..
Hold the door. YES! And the rest, as they say, is history.
We’re three days post-trip and I thought it’d be a great time to reflect on our vaca.. The last two days of our vacation really made me feel crappy about how the last part of our vacation went and on our way home I reflected rather poorly on the trip as a whole when I shouldn’t have.
I purposefully hadn’t planned a lot for the last couple of days because we were going to wing it a little. Turns out, I’m not the best at winging it. I feel like our moods had slowly but surely went downhill throughout the duration of our trip and it bummed me out. A lot. Mostly because I couldn’t fix it.
My mom’s always taught me that it’s a choice to be happy. You choose to wake up on the right side of the bed. I’ve agreed with that most of my life. But some days, optimism apparently is a fight for the fittest. Don’t get me wrong, the trip was good. I was surprised that Omaha was my favorite city and I want to return there to see more attractions that we didn’t get a chance to explore. I liked Kansas City too but I don’t think there is anything there calling my name.
Honestly, I probably had a rather negative outlook on the trip as a whole prior to even venturing that way. When I think of the mid-west (middle of the country), I don’t think of anything. I don’t think of water or mountains or beaches or buildings or beauty. I think of nothing, like actually nothing. Not in an “I hate America” type of way, just as a “No one has ever bragged about doing anything so how would I know what there is to do?” type of way. And the internet wasn’t much help.
There were loads of things to do all along our trip but most of them consisted of museums or events happening on days before or after we were there. You can only see so many museums before you get museumed out. Ya’ know?
Parasailing was very fun. I was so SO worried that I’d fall to my death not because I was scared of the adventure but because of my weight. And guess what? I didn’t. The harness held me and for that I’m elated. I did have a bit of an emotional breakdown after though. Although it was fun and I cannot wait to go parasailing again, I hated on myself so hard about the entire experience. I got winded going down and up the 65 steps there and back. The life-jacket was so small and tight on me that I felt as if I looked like a balloon being squeezed in the middle. I also wish I could have rode tandem. The typical way to go parasailing is two people at a time, side by side. Due to my weight, that wasn’t an option. I had so many emotions going through me by the time I got back to the car that I couldn’t even talk. I wanted to cry and scream and yell and shake myself thin. I’m so beyond grateful that I had the option to go parasailing when my weight often limits the things I can do. I only hope that the way I beat myself up that day helps me to find the motivation needed to make some serious changes.
Reflecting on the rest of the trip was rather bland. St. Louis was physically draining because of all the walking and the heat. It wasn’t much warmer in Missouri as it is in Minnesota but we spent a lot more time outside than we would on a typical 90 degree day up north and that took it’s toll on us.
For the most part, I’d like to think that we had fully intended on our trip being in high spirits the entire way and there were a lot of great moments, beautiful views, interesting things.. But it seemed to be overshadowed by the heat and tiredness and frustration.
What I learned throughout this trip though, is that my mom is still my bestie. We had moments that we just needed a minute but it was okay and we made it. I learned that I have energy to keep going even when I didn’t think it was possible. I learned that my thoughts about middle America are pretty much true.
I also learned that the only thing holding me back from being the adventurous self I know I am is my weight. There are so many things I’ve never ever done because I exceed the limit or am afraid I’ll break whatever it is. This is something I’ve been learning all my life and I really truly need to find the power within myself to overcome this.
And lastly, I learned that the words I type don’t 100% reflect how I felt about every single moment on our trip. Showing Channing all the photos I took and the souvenirs I got made me feel good. I was so excited to tell him all the things we did and where we went along with the ups and downs alike. It was a good trip even if I didn’t realize it at the time.
Most of all, I’m so very grateful to have my mom with me and in my life. I don’t know how I could possibly live my life as well as I do without her there with me every step of the way. So, if you’re reading this mom, thank you and I love you. <3
Day 6 was supposed to be our “spa” day but it didn’t happen quite as planned. Initially we were going to book massages and pedi’s but we decided a few days ago we’d be okay with passing on the massages this time around. No real reason, just weren’t into it.
So we figured we’d go swimming. I found a pond/swimming hole in Rochester online and it looked pretty nice so that’s where we were headed. We got a little sidetracked early on wanting to get blow up floaty things so we could just veg out on the water. Turns out the swimming hole was literally a gravel pit of a hole. It was a dud and it was dirty. Not like Detroit Lake dirty but like goose poop and seaweed clumps dirty. We were in and out in 10 minutes or less\. It took us longer to change into our swimwear than we were actually there. We didn’t even stick around to lounge on the beach.
We got to the hotel about an hour or so later and did go swimming in the pool at the hotel. It was okay.
On our last and final day we headed home. We stopped in Alexandria for lunch and it was delicious and then got pedicures at a nail spa in Fargo. Much needed.
Today marked the 2nd leg of our trip. Starting the day out, we were just a little over the halfway point miles wise. The rest of our trip including today was very loosely planned. I had some trouble being excited about planning a trip in the middle of the country so the next few days may be a boring read haha.
Our first stop was Springfield, IL, home of the one and only Honest Abe. Well, adult home. He was born in a log cabin somewhere else, they say. We went on a free tour and ERRMEGERD was the tour ranger a dull dog on cough syrup. B-O-R-I-N-G. He talked as if he memorized his tour speech word for word 65 years ago. His mouth droopy and his eyes mostly closed. Every room we went through in ol’ Abe’s house we were told that “..one boy died young. The family had planned to come back to their Springfield home after President Lincoln’s term in the office but he was assassinated and one of the sons died in the White House so they never did come back..” Word. For. Word. Over. And. Over. We couldn’t get out faster if we had tried.
We made another pit stop in Le Claire, IA where the American Pickers got their start. We visited the business hound while checking out the Antique Archeology shop(s). I was surprised at the small scale of stuff they had for how huge they’ve become. I’m wondering if their Nashville location is larger or maybe they sell as quick as they pick? It was neat anyway.
We also received word from the locals that Columbus’ Nina and Pinta replica ships were in town just down the road in Davenport. Turns out, they were! And in the very same place the Sailing Club was doing it’s thing! What! Wait, there’s more.. A Metlife sponsored blimp was flying around in the sky. So many things all in one place. It was visually refreshing.
We ended out our kind of odd day dining at the World’s Largest Truckstop on I-80 in Iowa and checking into our motel in Cedar Rapids awhile later. I came across the perfect quote to sum up today’s adventures:
“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block
Hello Heat Stroke! We woke up in quaint Pontoon Beach, IL right by the local fair or carnival.. Whatever you want to call it. Our agenda included the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, City Museum and the St. Louis Arch (obvs). I should preface the rest of this post before we get to it.. I’m writing today having had a few days pass. The night in question ended with me not wanting to move because I felt dog sick all over. #dehydrated
Our first stop for day 4 was the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. I’m not a beer connoisseur or even alcohol in general for that matter but the ABB was on TripAdvisor’s top places to see while in St. Louis so I figured we should give it a go. After today’s events, this was probably the best part of today. For me anyway.
We went on a complimentary Brewery Tour that included a trip through the Brewery grounds, a peek at the Clydesdale’s, and a walk-through their mashing and milling buildings. I’m just guessing those are the names of the buildings. One word while walking through this architectural beauty of a village.. Wow! Everything was dressed to the nines. The Clydesdale’s live more lavishly than I could ever dream of. We went into what I would call the “Beer Making Plant” and THAT was decked out too. Ivory and gold colored finishings and chandeliers.. The stair railings and the walls, the floor and the elevator.. Everything was created with design and elegance in mind. Remember, we’re in a brewery so this was odd to me. I had imagined us walking into a box of a production plant with slate colored concrete above, below, and beside us. Boy was I wrong.
If you’re a beer drinker you’d love that we received a free 8 oz beer at the beginning of our tour and another free 16 oz at the end of the tour. I was parched and don’t like the B so I got Mountain Dew at the Brewery. #Merica? The only thing that could have made this tour better is if we’d gotten to pet the Clydesdale’s.
We also hit up the City Museum. What. The. Fuck. There is no real way to explain this place. You just have to go but at the same time, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone. Ugh. The best way I can describe it is like this: The City Museum is every fantasy a child could possibly have come true while at the very same time every nightmare a parent could imagine. There were kids coming out of the walls and floors and ceilings. There are 5 or 6 floors I think. Trees, caves, slides, ropes, stairs. A school bus, ferris wheel, and airplane ON TOP of the roof that were all accessible. It’s a designing wonder of the modern world but holy for scary if you’re a parent to a child. There are little nooks and cranny’s that parents definitely cannot fit through and everything just..keeps..going.
Last but definitely not least was the Gateway to the West, the St. Louis Arch. We paid $20 (gross) to park and then had to walk what seemed like eternity finally getting to the Riverboat Cruise. It wasn’t worth it. Maybe if we weren’t dying from the humidity? I dunno. The Arch itself was cool. The little egg shaped pod you go up in was bigger than I imagined. Going to the top and seeing the city laid out was beautiful. I think the best time would have been in the evening after the sun had set but it was still pretty cool
I don’t know what it was about day 4. We were both so hot. My mom more so than I but it took a real toll on us. Over the last few days, we had walked more than we had anticipated. This was a lot of work and a big achievement for us super fit chicks. I really think the heat killed our moods even though we did try to be optimistic about the day. I don’t feel like it was any warmer than “home” a few weeks ago when it reached the mid-90’s but it just felt way more deadly. I suppose we were outside all day in comparison to working in an A/C building 8-5.
Overall, St. Louis was okay but I really don’t think I’d purposefully come back. I’d probably go to the Brewery again if Channing was along and the Arch because it’s the Arch but everything was under construction in and around the Arch. It wasn’t pretty and it was the same price as if it were all open. It wasn’t easily accessible and we had to climb a lot more than we felt was necessary. Being hot and tired takes a lot away from the fun and adventure. I suppose realists would tell us to get in shape then. Yeah, whatever.
I’m currently chilling at a Best Western somewhere in Illinois watching the Olympics Beach Volleyball event. (Wang and Yue vs. Walsh Jennings and Ross.) What stupid outfits. Do these women not have butt cracks? #lowridersforreal
We hit up three states today. At first I sat there thinking that Missouri isn’t anything to be excited about but then we arrived in the Ozarks area. We had planned to go parasailing at 10:30 this morning but it was postponed until 1 due to weather. My coworkers would be surprised to find out that I had no back up plan for this tragedy. #saywhat
We had lunch at a dimly lit tavern and strolled the Crayola colored buildings on the Bagnell Dam strip today. Grandpa’s Ice Cream shop was pretty good and I thought about getting Grandma’s fudge but didn’t.
We hiked down and then up again to go parasailing. It was both the highlight of the day and a nagging reminder that I can overcome my weight insecurities. I’ll have to post photos and video once we get home from our trip. I had a GoPro cam with me and one of the crew guys took pictures of our adventure. I guess my phone doesn’t have a spot to insert a mini SD card. (Laaaame.) I did leave the smiley face parachute with a battle wound though. Anyone who knows me, knows that I can’t balance worth shit. I totally biffed it getting off the parasail boat onto the weird bubble raft thing in the middle of the lake. For how much I’ve tripped this summer, I’m surprised my knee still works.
Anyway, I’m nearing the end of this ramble.. My advice to everyone reading is to go parasailing and wear sun screen even when it’s cloudy. Oh, and get a henna tattoo. I didn’t get a chance to get one but shoulda, coulda, woulda.
I hope to visit the Lake of the Ozarks region again. We only explored a sliver of this peace, love and definitely marijuana infused area somewhere in the middle of Missouri. Didn’t know the southern midwest could be so chill and support The Donald at the same time. Literally Trump cutouts and Vote For Trump buttons were everywhere.
My feet hurt because I’m a lazy pants most of the days of my life. And I’m tired. We were up and out by 6 this morning. “Uffda” as my grandma would say.
Today’s post is short. We spent the day in Kansas City, MO. I took a bunch of pictures I’ll probably never print like usual. Most of them are posted below but you can check me out on the Insta to see the rest @orianoelle.
P.S. I’m further south then yesterday. Already broke my own record. Boo ya.
Today officially marks an annual adventure.. A yearly trip with my mum. (I figure that’s what the English guy at our table tonight would have called his mother.) Last year we cut ground on our inaugural trip. My mom turned 50 in 20-15 and her resolution or goal of sorts was to see all 50 states before she dies at the minimum old age of 100. #gobigorgohome
I linked last year’s blog series to my Facebook page yesterday if you’re interested in what we did or where we went. I’m tip top typing away on my phone tonight so I won’t be helpfully linking you to it.
Anyway, today we booked it out of Fargo bright and sunshine-y early. We made a pit stop in Sioux Falls to check out Falls Park. My mom had never been before and I love anything having to do with water.. so yeah.
Next up was Omaha. Attention folks, I am officially further south then I’ve ever been! Smack dab in the midwest. Go me, woo! I do seriously feel cool about that though so I gave myself a pat on my sheltered life of a back.
We attended a dinner theater of sorts tonight. It was okay. I’d totally go to one again but I, for some reason, just couldn’t follow. Maybe I was over thinking the scenario or it just wasn’t what I was expecting? I loved that they had audience participation though, it made it exciting.
We also checked out Heartland of America Park. We wanted to go there to ride in a gondola thingamajig but ended up taking a stroll instead. This was probably the highlight of day one for me. Omaha has an enormous and beautiful riverfront, it just keeps going. Hearts on hearts, yes please. And apparently so do the Pokémon Go-ers. They. Were. Everywhere.
I can’t wait to come here again. We’ve been told by locals and visitors that we need to check out the Zoo. Apparently it’s been voted the best in the world or so the English guy at our table says.. We didn’t have time for it this time around but I’ll be back. Promise.
Music is a hard thing to write about mostly because it falls into the category of “no one understands it like you do.” Right? The way I interpret a track could be totally opposite of someone else. Well maybe not opposite, but just not the same. And sometimes you feel like you understand a song on the deepest possible level, to the point of actually feeling the words. But does anyone else feel the same? Maybe.
I’ve read a couple reviews so far on the Lukas Graham album that just dropped today. Mostly positive. YAS! I understand that not everyone will agree. Some will pull the “Never be as good as the Beetles” card in a weird positively passive aggressive way. Oh wait, they already did. First, so what? And second, how do you know? There’s no way to gauge an artists reach on day one of a release. How many people do you think doubted Elvis a few generations ago? Or Macklemore? Or Britney? No one knows how great someone will become, dream crusher.
I feel super connected to this album. I don’t know why. The first time I heard their single “7 Years,” I automatically was like “THIS. This is it.” I think I like the messaging and the down to earth feel I get when I listen to the tracks. They are relatable which isn’t unusual. But it’s a new relatable that I haven’t been able to feel in a long time. Mostly, I enjoy the genres that all fall within the album. It’s not just soul or hip-hop or pop. It’s all-encompassing. The background beats are easy to move to and each song has a different tone. The New York Times explained their style pretty well, I think. I’ve read about as much as I can about Lukas Graham and his band. The catch-all Wikipedia doesn’t have tons of background at this point in the bands career but it looks like I’m going to need to track down thier other releases because I just can’t get enough! There have also been numerous articles circulating since they started their U.S. promotions, which is totes awesome. I just wish they’d hit up North Dakota or Minnesota on the U.S. leg of their tour! #whereyouat
With that being said, I’m not going to analyze each track because I’ve always thought that everyone should form their own connection with artists’ music instead of being told what some blogger thinks it means or encourages you to feel a certain way. I do have to say that I really don’t have words for how many feels this album gives me. I’ve already danced, laughed, and cried. These tracks will be on repeat for months and years to come.
I rarely get my ass in gear and jump on an album the second it’s available but I did this time and I really needed it. I’ve been having a weird week. Lots of ups and downs but listening to this album however many times so far has brought me to a good spot for the end of the week and I’m glad about that. Happy April Fools day in a non-April Fools but still a feel-good way. If that makes sense.
You can buy Lukas Graham’s album on a slew of different platforms by clicking here. I can’t say that I have a favorite because they’re all so good but here’s one that you haven’t heard on the radio yet. #teardroponmyguitar Enjoy and thanks for reading!
I feel like my life kind of stopped sometime around age 20 & I fell into a rabbit hole not quite as awesome as Alice. I became a secluded social hobbit.
But about a year ago this time, I decided to start doing what I want with my life. I know that seems annoyingly cliché but I don’t know how else to describe it. Before then, no one was holding me back other than myself. I think a lot of people thought Channing was holding me back for years and they weren’t totally wrong I guess. But as me, who’s been through the 20-something life I’ve had, it was more me molding into his interests or disinterests when I should have been continuing to be my own person.
He never restricted anything in my life. Ever. He actually has always encouraged me to do whatever I want but for some reason I stalled out and was stuck in thin air. Stuck in my 20’s unable to move. Thinking I always needed to be right there, always available, revolve my life around him and only him. I was wrong.. and dumb.
Now, at age 26, I’m no longer naive about the situation I was in. A lot of the things that happened in our early relationship were inexcusable. I admit that a large part of me was probably too insecure to leave. Too scared of what might happen to him or that I may never find anyone again. Mostly because of my weight. For years, I don’t know if my love for him was the same as his for me. I doubt it. I chose to live a miserable few years, that’s true. I had a good support system and could have paved another path for my early 20’s but I didn’t. Ultimately, I chose not to. And I’m cool with that.
Two, three years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to say that. Say that I’m okay with how life is turning out. Up until relatively recently, I had always wondered all of the what-ifs. What if I stayed gone when my mom and brother moved me out? What if I continued on to a 4-year college after Northland? What if I moved far far away? What if I never would have met him that day at the fair?
I didn’t have any kind of epiphany. I just realized that I’m tired of worrying about it. I can’t change it. Anything that I didn’t do or felt like I couldn’t do at the time, I can do now. Just because my early 20’s are gone and I don’t have hardly any good memories or stories to tell doesn’t mean that my life is over. I’m 26 for God’s sake. Twenty fucking six!
So earlier, I said my way of thinking all changed about a year ago. Nothing crazy happened, I was just like “I’m going to do what I want” whether it’s by myself or not. I’m going to go to the store, I’m going to go for a walk, I’m going to look for a better city to live in. I’m going to travel and laugh and not apologize.
I didn’t go on some newly 21-year old crazy streak. I sought out a better future for us. We moved to Fargo, I was able to transfer within my company and turns out I’m now in a pretty awesome place professionally and financially. I’m doing something I like. We got a cat kid named Franklin. I traveled some of the Great Lakes blue with my mommy dearest. Don’t worry mom, I won’t say “mommy” again. Ugh, that word. I remember going to a grocery story one time, years ago and this teenager said “mommy.” Pretty sure I gagged. Rant over.
But you know what? Everyone survived. Channing came with me and supported me without a struggle. After years of being so reserved when it came to my relationship, scared to disagree or say something wrong; I was worried about nothing. Over the last year and even more, Channing has more than willingly made sacrifices to help me do or get what I want. He’s never even tried to veto me on them. He supports me.
Four or five years ago, this was a different story. For whatever reason, the Universe had some kind of pull to make everything fall into place the way it has. 20-15 was a good year for us, for me. And this year is going to be even better. Funny how much truth there is to the phrase “You’re the only one that can hold you back.”
Well! I’m so excited to finally say this…we’re going to Boston! I think we’re about 89% certain that it’s this year’s destination. Last year, my mom and I embarked on our inaugural mother-daughter vacation. We drove down to Madison and Chicago and then back up and around through Holland, Mackinaw City, Ashland, and Duluth.
It was so much fun and such an amazing experience. Not only did I get to spend quality time with my mom but we did things that neither of us had ever done. And most importantly, we started our journey of traveling. A dream we’ve both dreamt of for so long.
Why Boston? Well, we decided that now’s a better time than never to fly on an airplane. Something neither of us have ever done. My two reservations for never traveling via flight are my physical size and not knowing the process. One of which is probably a dumb reason. I feel like there are so many restrictions when flying and I never really have all the answers. I’m a super-planner. I need to know everything and when it’s not readily available, I have a mini-panic attack. What can we pack? What can’t we? Is luggage extra? What’s a carry-on? How much is that? What if I don’t fit in the seat? Do I have to buy two seats? What if the seat belt extender still isn’t big enough? Can I have a nail-clipper in my purse? What if my luggage is lost? Ect. Ridiculous, I know. But I’ve never been anywhere. Seriously.
Although last years trip was so worth while and totally amazing, we did do a lot of driving. Like 1800+ miles of driving. We’d be totally up for another long drive but we have been playing around with flying for awhile. It may cost more, transportation wise, but we wouldn’t have to be in a vehicle not experiencing the world for such a long duration.
After asking a few friends questions, doing a little research, and calling a couple of airlines – we decided amongst advice from our peers that a nonstop flight would be best for newbies like us. Fargo and Grand Forks don’t have a lot of destinations to choose from for a summer trip and we really want to go big or go home. So, why not look at MSP? There are a handful of nonstop destinations departing from MSP. One of the reasons we decided on Boston is because realistically, we know our spouses have no desire to ever tour the east coast/New England area. (Yet anyway.)
“Tomorrow’s life is too late. Live today.” -Marcus Valerius Martialis
So, we’re in the very early stages of planning this trip. We’re going to head east early to mid August of this year. Tourist information and travel brochures have been ordered! I’ve reached out to a few more people asking about their experience on sites like Expedia and Trivago. To anyone reading this that has been to Boston and the surrounding area, I’d love to hear what the best things to do are. The must-see’s, the go-to’s. Best modes of transportation, coolest unknowns. Are you overweight? We’d love to hear what your take on sizes, seats, seat belts are when flying. To anyone, what has your experience been with airfare and hotel packages on popular travel sites?
Thank you for reading and I can’t wait to start yet another year of sightseeing and living out my dreams!
Two and a half days later yet nearly 3 weeks early, Emma May Fast entered the world and changed the lives of more than she’ll ever know. On Saturday, February 20th at 2:15 in the afternoon I became an auntie for both the 1st time and the 4th time. I’ve been an aunt for over 7 years to three wonderful children on Channing’s side of the family and I love them just as much as ever. But when my Little Logan Sunshine of a brother became a daddy for the first time, I knew the world would never be the same.
Entering the ring at 7 pounds, 3 ounces and 19 ½ inches tall; this little southern bell namesake of a girl warmed so many hearts. I don’t even know how to explain all the feels I’d felt since hearing that they were pregnant to thinking about their future to the birth of their little girl.
As soon as she entered the world, all my fears and reservations vanished momentarily because I knew that everything was going to be okay. Logan is turning out to be such a stand-up man and he’s going to be a phenomenal father. He’s going to do whatever he needs to do to make sure that life is good for his little family and I couldn’t be more proud to be his sister.
The Day You Were Born
I had drove home on Thursday after work because you were supposed to enter this world that day little girl. But of course, you didn’t. You must get your stubbornness from your mom or auntie. I had to go back to work on Saturday morning and you still weren’t here but that’s okay. You must have needed to cook for a little longer. I got a text from your grandma Julie telling us that your mom was dilated to 8 or 9. I can’t remember now. At that very second, my boss was standing next to me and told me to “go!” I couldn’t believe it. I cried for some reason on my way to my apartment to pick up your uncle Channing (Well officially he’s my boyfriend at this point in time but I’m calling him your uncle.) I don’t know if I was happy or sad, probably scared of all the unknowns. You were early and your parents were young and my brother was being strong, too strong. Your mom wasn’t showing how much pain she was in last time I saw her and I’d never had a baby so I have no idea what she could possibly be going through. But I was elated at the very same time.
You’ll soon find out that you were the first on all sides. You’re the first grandbaby, niece, girl. Just like me!
You were born at 2:15 PM. At 2:15 PM, I was on I29 between Halstad and Hillsboro. I wonder if I’ll remember that 20 years from now. I hope so. We’re supposed to remember where we were when 9/11 happened so why is this life changing moment any different?
At that moment, you were born. My brother and his fiance became parents. My parents were now grandparents and grandparents were now great-grandparents. I feel like I’m seeing and realizing all of this stuff for the first time like I had no concept of it before. It’s weird.
I hope your great-grandparents live just as long and hopefully longer then mine did. It’s something I’ll always cherish. I remember my great-grandma (your great-great-grandma) Aggie’s house still like the back of my hand. I remember her buttered saltine crackers and her “funny” accent and her laugh. I remember my great-grandma (your great-great-grandma) Elsie’s letters and doilies. I remember her heart and her stories.
Anyway, we finally got to the hospital around 4 PM and only had to wait a few minutes with your grandma Julie before your dad came out. I lost it. It’s so hard to wrap my head around the fact that my baby brother is now a daddy. I know I keep repeating myself but I don’t know how else to explain it. Nothing in his life will ever be the same. His entire world has literally changed. For the better. Everything about this story, about you, is good. There will be times of doubt and uncertainty, times of turmoil and arguments will arise but good will always prevail. I believe that and I hope you do too.
Children learn more from what you are than what you teach. -W.E.B. Du Bois
Well, I suppose we’re nearing the end of this post. There are so many things I can’t wait to tell you about life and about your parents. I can’t wait to watch you grow, explore, and hear you laugh. I hope that you do everything you ever dream of doing, make friends, be kind and think for yourself. You’re already so awesome.
This is about a month delayed but it’s actually given me a hot minute to reflect. In case you couldn’t tell, the theme as of late is reflection.
I’ve officially entered the scary pre-midlife crisis of the late-20’s. Welp! A crossroads where excuses of immaturity aren’t accepted anymore and you are either married with kids or still chasing your hangovers at the bar every night.
I am neither.
I’m happily chillin’ with my cat Frank by my side, boyfriend watching the History Channel in the other room and the dishwasher just clicked off. Silence. I’m a homebody that looks forward to PJ’s and TV at the end of a day.
I’ve felt “stuck” for quite some time. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I think that I (we) have just been chasing so many meaningless things for so long that life passed by quicker than we expected.
At 26, I don’t have anything to show for my life. Really. In a non-pity party matter of speaking. I don’t have anything. I haven’t traveled the ocean blue. Well, except for my first big trip ever this year but that’s all part of what this next year will bring. I don’t have a family of my own yet or a ring on my finger. I don’t have a home or new furniture. I don’t have the successful weightloss story I thought I’d have by now. My job is just fine but it’s not what I’d always dreamt about.
But this is different than posts past. Remember, it’s about reflection. I’m content where I am. Too many years too late maybe, but I’ve finally accepted the past and the present. I’m okay with where my life is at. My health is something that I’ll have to continually work towards. Babies will come when it’s their and our time. A proposal will come when it’s right. Jobs, income, finances, homes, they’ll sort themselves out and I’m finally okay with it.
I didn’t have a light bulb moment. I was just tired of dwelling on the past. Thinking of all these “mistakes” I’d made in my short adult life. Going to college instead of making memories with my senior class, putting up with Channing’s shit, ditching friends, moving and moving and moving again, quitting and accepting jobs. For so long, I wondered “what if?” And honestly, I always will. I’m always going to be wondering “what if” but I’ve come to terms with the paths I’ve taken.
If everything hadn’t happened exactly as it had over the course of the last 26 years, I might not be as close as I am with my mom. I might not know a love as deep as the one I have. I might not be as accomplished as I am in my position at work or heck, I might not have developed the work ethic that I have. If the negatives that I worry about so much hadn’t happened I wouldn’t be who I am.
Who am I? I’m bright and thoughtful. I listen and I care. I am trustworthy and opinionated. I’m a realist and a tweeting millennial. I’m not interested in going out or having tons of friends. I know that I’m smarter than half the people that spent $35K on college. I’m a cat mom, a paperback book reader, a board game lover and a Minnesotan North Dakotan. I’m me and I’m okay with that.
I know that all of the things I want in my life will happen. The worst part about being the kind of person that makes a plan to make a plan is not being able to make a plan for life. Life happens the way it wants to happen, you can’t force it.
I don’t know what it is, maybe it was turning another year older but lately I’ve been reflecting on the last 7 years. I dwell a lot on the past and I’ve never really put it down on paper. I’m hoping that this will help me move on from things that have been holding me down. Accept the paths I’ve gone down and focus on the present and future rather than on things that I cannot change.
So, why the last 7 years? Well, it seems like I break my life up into segments. I think everyone does. Within each segment are more segments but the biggest segments from my life starting with the earliest are as follows:
Kindergarten: For some reason I don’t have memories from before Kindergarten. I remember getting in trouble kissing a boy and I remember reading time in Mrs. Guy’s class. Kindergarten through early elementary is the first segment of my life.
4th – 6th Grade: I’d been teased starting in 2nd grade. Well, that’s the first time I remember anyway. Grades 4-6 were the worst. Those were the years I faced the biggest, meanest assholes of my entire life. Those are the people who I’ve honestly never forgiven and it’s the part of me that I hate the most because every time I see them on FB or in person, I want to see their faces smashed into the cement. Even after all these years, I can’t get over it.
7th – 9th Grade: These were some of the best years with some of the best people I’d ever known.
9th Grade: I moved. This was hard for many reasons and 10th grade is a blur.
11th – 12th Grade: 11th was probably the best year of my life. Honestly. I know that sounds lame. High school? I had great friends, I met so many people, I had so much fun and did so many things. I loved it and I loved me. 12th grade, I enrolled in college so I was at NCTC instead of H.S. with my classmates. It was different but it was okay. I have regrets about my choice but at the same time, I had a lot of fun and met new people.
7/11/2008: The day I met Channing. This is the last big segment so far. I don’t think I’ll have another segment until I have a child.
With all that being said..back to reflection on the last 7 years. I’ve never fully reflected on this before but I think it’s time. Like I said, there are a lot of mini-segments in between and there isn’t enough room in the internet for me to write down everything that I’m thinking. This is an overview, I think. Here it goes..
My relationship has defined my entire adult life. Because of the choices I made and the paths I’ve taken, I’m not who I thought I’d ever be or where I thought I’d ever be.
Before I met Channing, I loved the world. I had dreams and aspirations to travel, to get out of here. I didn’t know what I was doing or what I was going to do next. I didn’t know if I was going to continue school or what I wanted to be when I grew up but I was open and outgoing. I was carefree and had friends.
But it all ended within a couple of years after our relationship began. This is going to sound like a song cliché but I’m a lover. I’m a lover and a forgiver. I’m not a fighter and I’m not mean. When I entered our relationship, my heart was wide open. I loved harder and deeper than I’ll ever love again. I loved him more ignorantly and careless as I am even capable of loving him or anyone else now.
Thinking about it, a lot of the pain that cycloned in our relationship was due to his depression and upbringing mixed with my insistence on making him better. Over the course of 4 years, he broke my heart. Slow enough for me to stay but fast enough that I couldn’t leave.
But, eventually I did. Honestly, I didn’t have a choice. My mom and brother moved me out. I was an emotional wreck leading up to and after that day and didn’t understand what was happening in my life. I was broken. Looking back at it over the years, it was the best thing that ever happened in our relationship.
After a few months of back and forth, we did get back together. I don’t know if we ever really broke up but we were back together. Things had changed, he had changed. It wasn’t easy, it’s never been easy. But once we got back together, parts of the old him were gone which was good. If the old him would have stayed, there would be no us.
That was a little over 3 years ago now. The year and a half following us getting back together was heart-crushingly painful for him. There were some things that happened during the lowest moments of his life that were irreversible.
We celebrated 7 years together in July of this year. Each year has gotten better. We love each other on a mutual standing. We listen and communicate, we argue, we cry and we laugh. Our life together isn’t toxic like it once was and I am proud of that but because of the last 7 years, my life and outlook on life has changed.
I know it would have changed regardless but I can’t help but wonder who I would have been if I wouldn’t have met him at the fair that day. Would my heart have been hurt so badly? Would I have ever grown a backbone? How would I view the world? Would I have loved so deeply and fought so hard? Would I have found someone else, gotten married, had children, and bought a house?
I think that’s why I always ask those questions because my life was so planned out before I met him and for so long, I put him 100% before myself. I love Channing. Looking at everything that has happened good and bad; I’m glad that he was the constant in my life. I’m glad that I’m not damaged goods and had to go through all these ups, downs, and starting overs with someone else. I’m glad that all of the memories from the last 7 years have him in them and we can walk down memory lane together.
We have a rare story. Most people would have stayed gone. Most people would have left long before. Most people wouldn’t have and honestly, shouldn’t have fought for “love.” But for some reason we did and it was worth it.
I guess I don’t know how to say what I intended on saying in this post. I want to clarify for anyone other than my mom reading this. (Because she knows most of the story.) The turmoil and stress and life we lived then wasn’t and didn’t have to do with physical abuse. I fully believe that it takes two to tango but I think a lot of our early years together had to do with me wanting to help him. To fix him. To make him feel loved when he didn’t want it. I fought so long because I could see what he was capable of being. I could see that he was a great person, a great man, a great companion. He just couldn’t see it himself. He endured a different life than I had. A life that, in my opinion, didn’t always have open and loving arms like I was raised with. Again, he never hurt me but mentally, emotionally, my heart was taped together for a long long time.
My mom has always made comment that you can’t fix a person. She’s been saying this long before I even knew what love is. I think I was in denial that this is what I was trying to do for so long but she was absolutely right. The only reason, I think, that we are okay, that we moved on, that we are together, that Channing is a great man today is because he wanted to change himself. He wanted a better future than past and he was willing to allow himself that gift.
I’ve wanted to log this down for a long time but never knew how. Re-reading through it, I didn’t get to say what I wanted to say because I don’t have words for it. The last 7 years were sad and I pray that my future children never have to put up with what I did. I forced myself to be stronger than I knew I was capable of and allowed myself to be unloved as a side effect. Even with that being said, I’m so thankful and grateful for who I have as my partner and in my future. Channing is the worst and greatest thing that has ever happened to me. And I, of course, am the best thing that ever happened to him. :)
I’m sure you’re not, but if you are, I love you and am very proud of who you have become as a man, as a partner, as an uncle. You are capable of moving mountains, your dreams matter, and I am so happy to know that you will be by my side no matter what the next path or curve or day brings.
Woah? It’s been a quick minute, huh? The last time I made my way to posting something was …. October 28th. Really? It’s December now. Where’d the best month of the year go?
A lot has happened. Well actually, not really. I live a blandish life so nothing really has happened. More of a reflection on things has happened if that makes sense. For the first time in seriously 2 or 3 months, I have no plans this weekend and it’s staying that way. I plan to catch up on my favorite TV shows, pick up a book, and get in some good ol’ fashioned writing. I do have to make 11 dozen cookies for a goodie exchange that I shouldn’t have agreed to but I shouldn’t have to leave my apartment all weekend. I’m. Staying. Put.
Some stuff that has gone down over the last 36 days are listed below. I have a few things up my sleeve that I’ll save for another post sometime over the weekend..
Birthday I turned 26 on the 9th of November. Welp! Have a I really entered my late-20’s? I’m not ready for this. I’ll dive into some 26 and the year to come stuff in another post but my birthday was okay. I took the day off from work to do some adult things like grocery shopping, scoping out Christmas gifts for my family, and hitting up the doctor for a checkup. 26 is going to be good.
New Job Hold your horses. I’m still with the same company I’ve been with for the last few years but I switched positions again. A good again. I was stressed out and frustrated for a number of reasons in the position that I had held. Luckily, I was offered a great opportunity and accepted my newest position. Some ignorant folk think of it as a demotion but I think of it as a “I don’t have to be in your negative energy filled space anymore.” Win-win for me.
GirlTime Getaways After my mom and I had attended this, I fully intended on writing a big long post about it but time has passed and now I don’t feel like it. Our experience with GirlTime Getaways was kind of a bummer. We got to do a lot of things and it was all inclusive. Overall, the money that we spent was probably financially worth it as it included snacks, souvenirs, lunch, hotel, and transportation. But the time wasn’t worth the money for me. I believe they squeezed in 12-15 stops in less than 48 hours…it wasn’t relaxing at all and far from enjoyable. Some of the stops were interesting, some a waste of time, and some just plain frustrating. Add 40 or so drunk obnoxious women to the mix? Uh, no.
2nd Job Something I’ll dig into a little further in this post but I acquired a 2nd job that begins in January. I needed to do this for a few different reasons. I’m excited to earn some extra money for a few months next year. I hope to make a friend or two along the way. That’d be coo.
Proximity Salon I recently paired up with my aunt to help promote her business and bring in more locals to Halstad. I volunteered to help where I could to get my foot in the door more in the terms of the marketing world. The struggles we face are finances. There is no room for advertising right now so it’s all good ol’ fashioned word of mouth and Facebook. I’m both excited and exhausted thinking about it. I really want to see her business flourish but I should have thought about it more before I offered to take on such a big commitment. With a new job, a 2nd job, Christmas, personal life, and everything else; I don’t feel like I have much time to really devote to it. I think I’ve made it clear that I’ll do what I can as this is being done in my free time and free of charge. It’s hard for clients to remember that though.
Finances Money, honey or lack there of it. Channing and I have had a few set backs over the last year. Many of which are our own fault. Over the last 12 months, we’ve moved twice. That means 2 U-Haul charges, 2 rent deposits, 2 first month’s rents. That also means new out of state license plates and new drivers licenses. We also had a traumatic experience with our dearest kitty Frankie that caused us to fork out nearly $700 that we didn’t have. We’ve gone home a lot more than usual. Now Christmas is almost here. I planned on being “cheap” spending $250 max on my family, friends, co-workers but now that I’m nearly done I’ve racked up over $430 worth of gifts under that tree. I’ll be buying the ham for Christmas and bringing things for the rest of the meal. I’ll also be hosting a baby shower in January for my brother and his girlfriend which we all know is going to cost a pretty penny. I know it’s life and I know everyone struggles but I need a financial break. How are we supposed to live our lives to the fullest if every penny earned is spent on things that don’t bring us joy?
Thanksgiving Turkey Day was nice. This was the first year that it was just our immediate family. No uncles, aunts or cousins. It was peaceful. I love them dearly but it was nice not to get into one of those political, we disagree because of religious reasons, arguments. Or whatever. Someone always gets offended. This year, for the most part I think, was pretty low-key and enjoyable.
Well, if you made it through, thanks. I just wanted to highlight a few things over the last month or so. We didn’t do anything for Halloween. Christmas decorations are up. I’m still working on my health. I’ve been a lot more positive over the last few weeks (another post) and I’m pretty excited for what the next month and year brings.
The last few weeks and maybe even the last month or two; I’ve been feeling awfully sluggish and very negative towards myself and others. A couple of weeks ago my mom mentioned a book she’d been reading: The Secret
I believe it focuses on getting what you want in life. If you say you want something or say you’re going to get something; it’ll happen. Think along the lines of “I will get lose weight.” “I will find the good in things.” “I will buy a house.” “I will be happy.”
I took her advice and have been using it as a form of meditation each morning this week. I’ve been going into our spare room which is clean and quiet. Channing is busy getting ready for work and I’m free from the Franks needy meows. I just take 2-5 minutes and sit there (or lay on the floor) and close my eyes. A few deep breaths in and out, and tell myself that I’m going to have a good day. I’m going to get healthy to both feel good and to have children one day, I’m going to be kind, and I’m going to get my finances in order so that I can buy the house of my dreams in the next couple of years.
I think of it as an informal prayer. I pray often and usually at night or on my way to work but this is something a little different. More like an affirmation to myself. To tell myself that “I got this!”
Obviously, this is new for me and everything that I will do or will achieve comes with me actually taking the steps to achieve those things. I know they aren’t going to happen just like that. I need to work towards the things I want. But taking just a few minutes in the morning to remind myself of the things I want makes my day just a bit brighter. I want to keep my needs/wants at the top of my priority list.
I’ve been on repeat a lot lately in case you haven’t noticed. Both in my blog and in my ears. Today’s ballad is Adele’s new single “Hello.” She dropped it today. It’s the first single off of her new album out on November 20th. I already know I’ll love this one just as much as her past albums. Give it a listen.
When I was 7, I wanted to be 8. When I was 8, I wanted to be 12. When I turned 12, I just wanted to be 18. Then after that I stopped wanting to be older. Now I’m ticking 16-24 boxes just to see if I can blag it! I feel like I’ve spent my whole life so far wishing it all away. Always wishing I was older, wishing I was somewhere else, wishing I could remember and I wishing I could forget too. Wishing I hadn’t ruined so many good things because I was scared or bored. Wishing I wasn’t so matter of fact all the time. Wishing I’d gotten to know my great grandmother more, and wishing I didn’t know myself so well, because it means I always know what’s going to happen in the end. Wishing I hadn’t cut my hair off, wishing I was 5’7”. Wishing I’d waited and wishing I’d hurried up as well.
My last record was a break-up record and if I had to label this one, I would call it a make-up record. I’m making up with myself. Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did. But I haven’t got time to hold on to the crumbs of my past like I used to. What’s done is done. Turning 25 was a turning point for me, slap bang in the middle of my 20s. Teetering on the edge of being an old adolescent and a fully-fledged adult, I made the decision to go into becoming who I’m going to be forever without a removal van full of my old junk. I miss everything about my past, the good and the bad, but only because it won’t come back. When I was in it, I wanted out! So typical. I’m on about being a teenager, sitting around and chatting sh— and not caring about the future because it didn’t matter like it does now. The ability to be flippant about everything and there be no consequences Even following and breaking rules… is better than making the rules.
25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realizing. And I’m sorry it took so long, but you know, life happened.
I’ve never been one to zone out but it’s the only thing that’s been getting me through these long and lonely days. Earbuds in all day with music going doesn’t make the days go by quite as fast as I wished they would. Is this what depression feels like?
I’ve always hated the word and the stigma that surrounds depression. I can’t stand the pity me bullshit blasted on social media. Everyone and their sister whining because of whatever crap happened to them this week. From baby daddy drama to no friends to being broke. It’s life, sweetie.
And now I’m here in this stupid spot of what the fuck am I feeling?
Call it ignorance but to those that go out seeking attention on social media (Facebook especially) looking for attention and people to feel bad for them; waiting for someone to just tell them that so and so is in the wrong, blah blah blah. I don’t buy it. I wouldn’t consider that depression. You’re just looking for attention.
Real depression. I know it’s sad and it’s personal. I feel like people who are truly depressed hold on to it as hard as they can. I feel like they keep it inside as long and as much as possible. How do I know that? Because I’m afraid that’s what’s happening to me.
I’m not suicidal. I don’t hate my life. I have a wonderful family. It’s none of that. Actually I talk about my feelings all the time. I vent to my mom, tell my boyfriend about my days, talk to our kitty, Frank. But this is something else. No matter how much I bitch or complain or look for the light at the end of the tunnel; I never find comfort.
It’s like a tired of everything feeling. I’m tired of work and the people at work. I’m tired of the small talk and the fakeness that everyone seems to carry so high in the air. I’m tired of driving and I’m tired of cooking supper. I’m tired of being the one that cares about everyone and the one that has it all together. I’m tired of having no friends and I’m tired of not wanting friends. I’m tired of how I look and my weight. I’m just exhausted. I want to stop everything. Stop working, stop paying bills, stop eating, stop talking. All I want to do is lay in bed and watch sad movies. I want to listen to music that makes me cry. All I want to do is for someone to hug me hard and tell me that it’ll be okay.
What will be okay? I don’t know. I don’t know what’s wrong.