Holidaze: An Intro

I decided to pull out my ol’ keyboard and start this series to share a little bit of my world with you all. I love to write more than anything, I find it therapeutic and it helps the socially inept side of me connect with others but I let the monotony of a mostly isolated life take up my time. Think: work, tv, bed, repeat all from the same 750 square feet, day after day. I’m tired of it and I need to make an active effort to change the bad habits I’ve adopted over the last nine months.

‘Holidaze’ is a series about navigating the weird time we’re in these last few weeks as 2020 comes to a close. The holiday season meets a state of confusion right in the middle of a pandemic, or something like that. I hope you follow along if you’re into it and feel free to share with others!

The holiday’s are always so tricky for me. On one hand, this is the time of year that brings me a lot of heartache (more on that another time) and reminds me of how lonely I am. The holidays definitely weren’t made for the single ladies.

But, on another hand, I love every single second of it. I love getting together with family and friends. I love the quiet days in with the fireplace crackling, a cup of hot chocolate steaming, and a sappy Christmas movie. I love the holiday festivals and events. The gift exchanges and the cute cards and the unknown of what my sister-in-law will decide to make for Christmas dinner! I love the celebration of a New Year and the tradition of Advent. The season truly is a magical time.

Unfortunately, a lot of that isn’t happening this year. And the parts that are will be different and unusual. It’s uncharted territory for us all and I know I’m not the only one that is and will continue to struggle throughout this season both in the holiday spirit sense and in the ‘winter = situational depression’ sense.

This season, I hope to invite you into my weird little world a little bit. I hope to connect with people I haven’t had an opportunity to connect with in a long time and I hope to make it through this pandemic alive and healthy with each of you. I hope to remind myself of all the wonderful things this world has to offer, of the bittersweet memories of days past, and of the many blessings we have in life.

Thank you for reading! -Ori

Thirty-One

Thank you for all of the well wishes, calls, and messages yesterday! This years celebration was much more tame. I’d even dare to take celebration out of the mix completely and call it “just another day.” Though, it wasn’t just another day because I think birthdays are something special!

My 30th year wasn’t at all like I’d hoped it would be. I remember writing a similar post to this last year gushing about all the things in year #29 that made me feel so alive. (Read about it here because it’ll make you smile!) I miss that girl. The pre-pandemic, feeling-like-she-could-conquer-anything fearless soul of a woman. She is a hero to my present self and didn’t even realize it.

I’m sure I’ll elaborate on this more in my year end review but 2020 threw us all for a curveball, it wasn’t just me and it wasn’t just you. It wasn’t just the virus or the protests or the election or the fires. It was all of it, all at once, constantly. It was watching families and friendships disappear over DT vs JB, two old men that most of us will never meet. It was inserting COVID-19 into every single conversation instead of the weather. It was seeing how polar opposite people feel about the BLM movement, about the feminist movement, about equality. It was watching people you love lose their jobs, others getting sick, and even more having to postpone their lives because of these “trying times.” It’s really easy to focus on the shitty stuff of this year, it so is. And I’m not going to pretend this year hasn’t been crap because it kind of has been.

I’m beyond blessed to have been employed throughout this mess when so many people weren’t as fortunate. But it hasn’t been easy. I’m a single woman living alone and the majority of my social life revolved around the relationships I formed with people I see 8+ hours a day. That was taken away, gone, poof by transitioning to a work-from-home life. I hit a new type of low in my 30th year, even lower then when I went through the toughest year of my life. I often found myself sitting still watching the world spin around me with gushing love sentiments, beautiful marriages, and sweet babies cooing so far out of reach, it felt impossible. I started going to therapy for the first time ever this year.

I was sad A LOT, I am still sad a lot.

But that sadness, the frustration of the year, the dreams lost, the wtf is happening roadblocks that keep coming up.. I chose not to let it define my 30th year or my 2020. I think it’s really important to acknowledge the tough parts of life because we all fall into the trap of a filtered version especially on social media, myself included. But the good stuff has been really good too and if we all take time to truly evaluate our lives, I hope you have some good stuff to share too. And I hope that good stuff quite literally trumps all the things that made you sad.

In my 30th year, I traveled to Iceland solo, made it to Hawaii before the shutdowns began and learned how to snorkel. I celebrated my nieces 4th birthday by making cupcakes together and we painted pumpkins just a couple of weeks ago. She even learned how to spell my name without any help this year! #auntiewin I sent care packages to people and letters. I went on long hikes in area state parks, swung on swings for the first time in years, and called my grandma more than usual. I went tubing TWICE, joined a 16-week fitness boot camp, and (socially distantly) ran away to Montana for a week to find some quite in my very loud mind. I met incredible people from across the globe that may not have happened without a pandemic and one of my favorite people in the world (my brother) got married!

This year didn’t totally suck, it’s just really overshadowed by the dark clouds above us. I had to shift a lot of dreams in the way of cancelled trips and a limited social life but a lot of really fantastic moments filled my 30th year too. I know it’s not easy but there is a silver lining in an otherwise weird AF whirlwind and I hope you can see that. To quote the pre-pandemic, feeling-like-she-could-conquer-anything fearless soul of a woman from a year ago:

If you’ve made it this far in my ramble, I hope you’re living your best year yet and if you’re not, you deserve to be. If I’ve learned anything in life this far, I know that I was always the only person ever holding myself back from happiness. You have to choose it daily. I used to (and sometimes still do) let people determine my mood and my choices. Some days will suck but that doesn’t mean weeks or months or years have to. You’re more kickass than you give yourself credit for! Remember that.

Thank you again to every single person who wished me well yesterday! Thank you to my uncle who calls me and sings to me every single year, to my mom for a girls day on Sunday, to my birthday twin for sending me flowers. Thank you for lifting my spirits and for filling my heart with so much love. It’s incredible to see how we’ve had to adapt in a socially distant world but still have the ability to reach each other. Cheers to the next 365+ days and to health! God is good. ♥️

Is it weird that I’m re-gauging my ears at age 26? Whatever, don’t answer that.

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.”

Does Heaven Have DQ Ice Cream Cake?

Happy Friday. I had chosen not to write this week because I ran into an occurrence where I got really frustrated with someone. Bitching it out to my sounding board wasn’t working and the only thing that let me free my anger was to write about it; which I did. Writing my anger out is a good release for me especially when I am aware that I am overreacting over something so trivial because the paper doesn’t judge. Or really, the blank page on the screen doesn’t judge. But..I didn’t post it.

enhanced-7872-1395329299-5I didn’t post it because I knew it was hate. I don’t want to advertise hate. And I know that I would probably get some kind of hate in return. Karma, I suppose. On the other hand, I wanted to post it because I saw a picture about writing the truth (see right) and I agree completely with it. But the way the post was constructed was absolutely absurd and I really think that if I re-read it right now; I’d feel like a complete asshole.

At some point, when I’m ready, I plan on digging out my demons and letting people hear what I have to say in the most true and raw sense but this blog, right here..it’s not the place.

Today is one of my guardian angels birthdays. She was one of the happiest and funniest people I had ever known. Thinking back to earlier this week when I had written such an ill-tasted post; I’m so happy that I didn’t publicize it. Although the situation really irked me, I thought about a couple posts I’d written in my old blog about Aron when I found out about her death. I talked about finding the good in people like Aron did and accepting everyone for who they were instead of what they stood for. If you’d like to check either of them out, I’ll post them below.

IMG_5154Aron was a trooper. Literally and figuratively. She was everyone’s role model whether they realized it or not. Her smile, her attitude, everything – it lit up whichever room she walked into. It didn’t matter if you were gay, black, fat, or ugly; she’d make you feel welcome. All that outside superficial bullshit didn’t matter to her. Billy Joel knew what he was talking about when he said “only the good die young.” It’s true, it really really is. I could only hope that I could find the good in people like she did. That I didn’t judge so easily and that I wouldn’t have lingering anger towards others. At the very least, Aron’s death has thought us all to hug those we love a little tighter, keep in contact even when time passes, and open our hearts to everyone no matter what.

Happy birthday, Aron. We miss you.

Click below to read more about Aron and the effect she had on the lives of the people that were fortunate enough to know and love her:

We Shouldn’t Have To Say Goodbye Yet.
I Want To Be A Better Person.

I Love You More.

Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and emotions. It’s just how you choose to deal with them..

Through a hectic that shouldn’t have been hectic weekend, I’m finally home with my Tim Hortons hot chocolate. In the beginning of and actually most of the day I had such a negative point of view. I was being a Debbie Downer and let other people get to me when I should have really been enjoying time spent with the people I was with.

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Setting all that aside though, I was happily humbled by the once again realization that I am immensely blessed. I have the best family anyone could ever ask for. There are no words to describe how momentous of an impact my parents have made on my life. In a world of drug addicts, adultery, divorce, and hate; they managed to still bring up three awesome (if I do say so myself) kids. They filled our hearts up with love, our brains up with knowledge and our minds up to be open.

I was reminded today that although I’m not going to like everyone. I’m not going to accept everyones lifestyles and I’m not going to except everyones inconsiderate foolishness; that no matter what, I’ll always have a family. I’ll always be loved no matter what. And even though it just sounds silly, I’m not talking about the usual love. My parents don’t just love us kids because we are their offspring. We aren’t just three toads that they raised and threw off into the world. No matter where we are in our lives or how old we ever get – they will still care about us.

The sad thing is, I don’t think this is as common as I previously thought it was. I think there are a lot of people out there that hurry up and get the kids old enough to raise themselves and then they are set free without the support of what is right and what is wrong. Do they give up on parenthood? I don’t know, to each their own. What matters is that my parents never gave up.

We are now 24, 21, and 18. We all live completely different lives in different towns. We are all at different stages of our early adulthood. We pay our own bills (except the 18 year old who is still in school). We make our own decisions and we have our own viewpoints on every situation but the one thing we have in common is that our family, all 5 of us, matter to each other more than anything else in this entire..everything. More than the world can even handle.

So thank you mom and dad. Thank you for creating a good wholesome family structure. Thank you for showing us what love is. Thank you for staying home on Friday and Saturday nights. Thank you for picking me up drunk and grounding me for an entire summer. Thank you for teaching us lessons and for giving us the sex talk. Thank you for letting us make our own decisions. Thank you for being faithful. Thank you for being the best parents in the entire history of parents being parents because believe it or not, people would kill to have what we have. I love you all.

I can’t figure out how to embed a video into a post so here’s the link for the Flipagram I made with my favorite people in it: Family!

Strength Is Earned.

It’s rare when some single person somewhere on this planet can actually relate to that something going on in your life. As each day in my life goes by, I’m finding that I realize that more and more. It’s depressing really. Even if two people or an entire family are going through the same “something” each individual can’t possibly feel the same as the one next to them.

There are many times that I’ve wanted to, and sometimes I do call for a pity party. I just want someone to understand what I’m going through or expect someone to empathize with me when even I, myself have admitted to have a lack of said empathy. I find comfort in having someone to talk to but once I reflect on a conversation had or advice given, I often find myself in stuck in their shoes that don’t fit me. Why did they say what they said? Does it make sense? Sure, it might but why? They have no idea what is actually happening. What’s going on. What the situation actually is. How I really feel. They aren’t me, how could they?

For the sake of the privacy of those around me, I won’t go into personal details but I myself have been going through something for some time now. In a twisted, clouded way one might say that I signed up for it. I could have walked away from an inevitable hurdle too high for an Olympian to jump over but something deep inside my soul urged me to run toward it not away from it. The consequence in doing so has lead me down a path of putting off certain aspects of my life.

I’ve made a promise to myself though, specifically in the year that we are in. At the beginning of the New Year, I vowed to live my life and pursue even the smallest of dreams. Two very simple things that I’ve willingly put on the back burner for nearly two years. A lot of people don’t understand and anyone that I’ve met within these two years hasn’t had the opportunity to even understand because I don’t talk about it. Not that anyone might actually care but for arguments sake, lets just assume they do.

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I found out very early down this path that I chose that it does no good to release your emotions at the drop of a dime. It leads to “friends” and family’s free reign to run their mouths on a topic that they just don’t understand. Not only do we all not have the exact experiences as each other but we, as a human race, are quick to judge before the end of a sentence is even completed.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m going to try to give people more of a chance. I’m going to try to understand and try to truly empathize. I’m going to try to provide people with the strength that I have unknowingly built up. And even though I have no idea how each of you actually feel at any given moment in your life, I will be there. I will be there to listen and to build you up. I will be there to push, to tell it to you straight, and to be on your side. I will tell you that there actually is a light at the end of the tunnel even if that tunnel is fucking long.