This week has been a week of firsts! To start out with, I finally donated blood on Tuesday. For me, this is a huge accomplishment. Why? I hate needles. I cannot stand having them in my arm or wrist or any other part of my body. The pinching feeling of the needle entering my flesh bothers me to no end. So, when my sister repeatedly approached me about going and donating blood with her, I knew it was time to take the plunge and do it.
I have wanted to donate blood for a long time. My father has donated his blood and platelets for as long as I can remember, and I have always admired him for it. I also know that the need for blood is great, and there will always be a need for it. Donating my blood means I may save another person’s life. I am willing to conquer my fear of needles and spare some of my time to allow someone else to keep living their life.
My sister made the appointment for my blood donation. We each had an appointment at 11:15 a.m., but because she has donated before, and had less paperwork do to, she finished faster. I told everyone at the Red Cross Donation center just how nervous I was. I told the secretary, the nurse taking my blood, my sister, and anyone walking by me. Thankfully, everyone was kind and repeatedly asked me how I was doing and if I needed anything. The nurse that also took my blood was very patient. She allowed me to use the bathroom before we started, and was gentle the entire time. She took my blood pressure, checked my pulse, pricked my finger to check my iron levels (which were FANTASTIC, and she commented I was an excellent candidate to donate blood) and took my temperature. After I answered some questions she took me to the area where she would take the blood. It was not as bad as I thought it would be, and it was over quickly. I worried for nothing! However, that is usually how life is. We worry, and in the end our worries never even manifest themselves. I am excited to be a lifetime blood donor and to work on my fear of needless every time I donate.
I also became public about my struggles with PCOS. PCOS is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which is a medical condition that causes my hormones to be imbalanced (that is the quick explanation). I have always feared what people would say if they knew I had PCOS. I know now that I do not have to fear that. When I posted a status on Facebook this week about my PCOS, the response was all positive. Other women thanked me for putting myself out there, and they appreciated it. I even found out a lot of other women also have PCOS and struggle with it like I do. In the status I talked about how I have PCOS and I use birth control to treat it. I posted the status because of the recent Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision that allows companies/bosses to be able to decide whether or not they want to cover birth control and other contraceptives. What SCOTUS does not realize, and what these companies fighting to be able to choose whether or not they cover birth control do not realize is many women use birth control for other things besides contraception. Here is the status I posted:
'Birth control is not just for protecting against unwanted pregnancies. Birth control does so much more than that! I take birth control because if I didn't I would not have regular periods on my own. I have a condition called Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which causes a hormonal imbalance in my body. If I did not take birth control, I would have no period, my rates for different types of cancers would nearly double, I would have a much more difficult time controlling my emotions, and it would be so much more difficult for me to have a child in the future. Because I am now on birth control, my PCOS Specialist now considers me a treated patient. This is great news! If not for birth control, I wouldn't be treated.
So, when I hear that SCOTUS decides that my birth control should be regulated by someone else other than me, I do get really pissed off. This is something that could potentially save my life, especially since without it I am at risk for breast cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, diabetes, ETC. And I do believe that I should also have the freedom to choose when I want to have a child, and when I do not want to have a child. I absolutely consider the Supreme Court ruling to be anti-women, this is no “pro-life” move. This is about controlling a woman’s body, and nothing else. My body, my choice. Everyone else needs to stay out of my vagina.
One last thing. I know everyone has their different opinions about this, but I am putting my story out there because everyone needs to hear it. Everyone needs to understand that women of all ages must have the right to control their own bodies. Say what you would like, but your comments do not bother me. My fight for the pro-choice movement will continue to march on until the day I die. If you’re not with me, that is fine. I know where I stand, and I will not change my position.’
I feel good that I became public about my struggles with PCOS, and that I can now freely talk about it. I have nothing and no one to fear. PCOS and birth control do not define me. Being a woman does not define me. I decide what defines me, no one else. I feel as if I am moving forward in life. I hope to continue to do so.
Life has a tendency to get tricky. I have a tendency to want to go back in time to when things were ‘better’, even though I know in my heart no point in time is better than the next. My life has so many influences that change constantly, so what made one period in time great probably will not do so for the next. But, there are small things from an earlier part of my life that I do love revisiting. For example, Mac Miller’s album ‘Blue Slide Park’ brings back amazing memories and is very therapeutic when I am struggling to keep my sanity. It also gets my creativity flowing and my body moving. Certain books do the same thing. The book ‘Marley & Me’ by John Grogan also conjures up my youth and innocence just by reading a few sentences. Smells that I am used to such as one of my mother’s perfumes, which not only reminds me of her but of St. Petersburg, Florida. All of these small commodities remind me of happy moments and of huge dreams. I am reminded of friends that are no longer friends, and I am allow to escape reality.
On Monday I went to the beach with one of my friends, her brother, and his friend. I met her at her house and then we headed to Scussett beach. I was so happy I went and made time to be with her. I had not seen her in quite some time, and being with her brought me back to my senses. I met her when I was living in Madrid, and she is the closest to a twin that I have ever had. We are very similar people, but we are different in all the right ways.
She tells me the truth, no matter how brutal. Usually, she tells me what I need to hear, and today she did just that. We discussed anything we thought of, from tattoos to children. But she always gives me the same message every time I talk to her. She never just comes out and says this, but she always reminds me that life is worth living and that I need to live it. Live it and live it hard. This beautiful woman brings my head back to earth but also lets me daydream at the same time. I owe her a lot, more than she will ever know, but hopefully one day I will be able to tell her and show her.
Our day at the beach was relaxing. I have not been to Scussett in a long time, and it was amazing to sit, go in the freezing cold water, have something to eat, take in the sun and sand, and then rejoice in the glory of the Cape. Driving along the Cape Cod Canal and jamming to the radio is one simple pleasure that works wonders for the soul. Even now, as I write, hum, sing and listen to the works of Mac Miller, I feel good. Even though after the beach was not so pleasant, I still feel like I am able to work through it. One minute at a time, I will work on myself.
When I got home, my love and I went swimming in the pool. As you may be able to tell, I love the water and I would live in the ocean if I could. We were able to talk and relax in the water, and then later able to be close. Things with his family are tough. I do not wish to go into detail, but his family is in a bit of a rut, to say the least. Even so, I enjoyed his company and love. He makes me feel so special, and I know together we will conquer anything. Together we are one, and together we are fighters.
My lust for life is coming back. Albeit it is coming slowly, but at least I know it is on the way. My work ethic is skyrocketing. My social skills are coming back. My feelings are not so all over the place. I am trying to better myself and be happier. I am working on being respectful and patient. I am moving my goals forward and making new ones. For now, I see the future as bright. And it feels fantastic.
Mac Miller. Thank you. My beautiful Madrileña amiga, te amo. My love, thank you for moving me forward. For the small pleasures life occasionally dishes out, thanks, I appreciate the gifts.
What a busy week it was! I worked and got ready for my father’s fiftieth birthday, which was on Friday. I wanted to make it special but not overdue it. I decided to decorate the house with streamers, a banner, and a nice table cloth with matching plates and napkins. Jack and I picked up a cake and Disney Princess cupcakes (the cupcakes are a joke, last year we got him Justin Bieber cupcakes as a practical joke). We got cards and bought him a tablet as a present. Everyone was together for his birthday, including my father’s ‘extra kids’ meaning my sister and I’s boyfriends, who are becoming like sons to my dad, or so it seems. We were laughing and telling jokes as we cut the cake. Afterwards my sister, Jack and I all went to see the fireworks which were put on by the city. We got there just as they started, and although some of the fireworks were obscured by trees, they were still very nice. I love that it is summer.
On Saturday I lounged around before going out to eat for my father’s birthday. My grandparents along with my sister, her boyfriend, Jack and I all ate at a delicious Brazilian barbecue style restaurant. I was very surprised at how good it was, and I would quite like to go back! Afterwards Jack and I went back to his house for a good nights rest as Jack was not feeling too well. Sunday was basically another day to lounge, although I did get quite a bit done. Every summer I always have a huge list of things to do which includes catching up on all the books I have been putting off reading. I am currently watching ‘Orange Is The New Black’ and I am re-watching ‘The Walking Dead’ series along with re-reading the comic books. I also usually plan on doing the crafts I have not gotten to yet and I try to spend more time with family and friends. I also try to swim as much as I can. Swimming is one of my favorite activities, whether I am swimming in a pool, ocean, lake, etc. I absolutely love it. And the good thing is, I have been swimming a lot. So far, unlike past summers, I have actually been accomplishing all the things I want to do. I am quite happy about it! I enjoy feeling like the summer was not filled with just sleeping, although I have been enjoying more naps than ever! Two days in a row I have been able to nap, and that is a record!
I do have high expectations to keep myself on track so I do not go into the school year feeling as if I have not worked in months. I do my best to get up early in the morning (usually no later than seven) and keep up with my chores, along with reading as much as I can to keep the brain active. But I do consider the summer to be my selfish time of the year. I try to do what I cannot do throughout the rest of the year, whatever it may be.
I hope everyone else has an amazing summer. Hopefully I will have plenty of fun summer stories to tell throughout the season.
My little sister had her senior pictures taken yesterday.
I absolutely cannot believe that she will be a senior in high school next year. The moment became very surreal as the photographer began snapping pictures. He even had a cap and gown for her to put on, and that is when I truly knew she was not a little girl anymore. I shed a few tears, but they were tears of happiness. I know she will have so many opportunities in life, and it is exciting to see her start off on her journey to adulthood.
I will be ever vigilant about reminding my parents that this is their last child graduating high school. Both their kids will be in college and I will be graduating college the year after she graduates high school! I want them to really know this is it, so really enjoy these moments. And also, spend some money on her while you can!
Life is an ever progressive flow that will never stop. I used to think that the flow of life was a bad thing, but in all actuality it is a really, really good thing. Life moves forward, and it is nice that people do too. Watching my sister have her pictures taken and hearing her talk about all the things going on in her life is fantastic. I hope she really enjoys the moments to come.
I have quite a few plans for my sister for when she graduates. I am already planning her graduation gift! I hope to make her senior year of high school and the transition to college as special for her as it was for me.
If I were to offer advice to high school students that are soon to graduate, I would tell them my college experience. It was unconventional, crazy, fun, and wonderful. I wish more perspective college students knew that it is okay to tour fifteen colleges and never find the perfect one, or to know that it is okay if you transfer schools (like I did!). College is about finding yourself and where you belong in this world (or where you do not belong), and it should not be a time of stress. Enjoy this time, make some friends and share some memories. People will come and go, opportunities will turn into new paths, but we all have to realize it is just another step in our journey.
Good luck to those perspective college students out there now. I wish you happiness and adventure in your years to come.
This past week has been busy. Monday night my family including my dad, sister, boyfriend and his mom, attended a public forum in my hometown to address the drug problem it is experiencing. The Opiate Task Force organized the event and was the second one to take place in the city. Opiate use, especially the use of heroin, is on the rise and people are dying and overdosing from using. The point of the forum on Monday was to address the issue and see what we as a community could do to help addicts and their families. I felt it went extremely well and is finally lighting the spark that is needed to stop the drug epidemic in my city, the state of Massachusetts and in the rest of the U.S. It was also comforting to see so many politicians attending and it was good to see old friends.
Tuesday night my boyfriend and I along with his mother and sister attended a Learn to Cope meeting. Learn to Cope was founded by a distraught mother whose son was battling addiction. She had nowhere to turn for help and support, so she founded an organization to help families struggling to help their loved ones get clean. Family members can now attend Learn to Cope meetings where they are provided with advice and support to help them get through difficult times. The organization is also saving lives by providing free Narcan, a drug which can reverse an opiate overdose, to anyone who wants it. They also teach people how to properly administer it and what to do once it is administered. The meeting was excellent. An addict with two years clean came to visit and tell her story. She provided all in attendance with hope that their loved ones would eventually be clean and sober as well. She was a very bright young woman with a lot of advice. Afterwards, my boyfriend’s family and I all discussed the meeting. My brother-in-law is an addict, and we were talking about our feelings towards the whole situation. It was great to hear everyone talking and sharing their feelings. Afterwards we went to Friendly’s and I got my first banana split ever! It was pretty good!
On Wednesday night a close family friend was celebrating eighteen years of being clean and sober. I first went to see a chorus concert that the kids I nanny for were participating in. Elementary school concerts are very cute, and this one was no exception. I also enjoy spending time with my boss’s family, and it gives me a chance to get to know them. Once the concert was over I picked my love up and we went to the meeting. Seeing our friend celebrate his clean time was awesome, and I absolutely love getting to hear and see people celebrate such an amazing milestone. I was very lucky to be able to go and see it happen.
Thursday was not my best day. My clunker car finally called it quits, and in turn I had to as well. I knew the end was near, but I really love my Jeep Liberty. The car had too many problems to fix, and even if I did fix all the current problems I can only imagine how many more will arise in the future. As I watched a tow truck load my car onto it and drive away, I knew that was the last time I would see it on the road. I have made plans to sell it, and I am in the process of purchasing a new vehicle. All good things must come to an end, even if I do not want them to. I used and abused my car for as long as I could and it served me well. I am more than happy I had the experience with it, even if it did have not heat in cold New England winters.
It has been a busy few days, and shows no sign of stopping. But with only three weeks left of work before my two month vacation (I KNOW, I AM PUMPED!) I do not mind being so busy. I am also proud of myself for making a commitment to help be a part of the solution to the drug problem in my state. No addict should go through addiction alone, and neither should their families.
The future holds all the answers to my questions, and I find it is hard to stay in the moment. But these past few days of being busy have been surprisingly beneficial to keeping my mind in the moment. I will see what is to come.
First Banana Split!
Our world seems to revolve around the clock. I myself constantly look at the clock. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is figure out what time it is. Then, as I wake up, I check the clock every ten minutes or so to figure out if I am waking up fast enough. When I am doing work around the house, I check the clock at least three times while I am completing each task. I monitor the time leading up to when I need to leave for work, and when I get to work I practically stare at my phone making sure that I am on schedule. At night, I check the clock repeatedly to make sure I am falling asleep fast enough. My life revolves around ticking machines.
I try my best not to check the time to frequently, but it is very difficult! When I was a freshman in college, I was able to sleep whenever. I did not worry that I was going to bed too late. I woke up late on some days and extremely early on others. I enjoyed the dewy morning hours and the calm, dark nights. I am now lucky if I can stay up past eleven without getting cranky and mean, and if I wake up any later than eight in the morning I usually feel as if the day is wasted.
Watching the clock and perpetually checking the time make my day feel wasted, even if I accomplished what I needed to. One goal I have is to stop looking at the clock so much! I want to enjoy the day- no matter what time it is.
The morning for me is pleasant because it tends to be quiet. I also use the morning to complete work, read or do chores, so it is a time of productivity as well. The early afternoon signals work, but also siesta time! I try to relax between 1:45-3:30, even though I am at work. These hours tend to be quiet like the morning, but have so much life left to give the day. The late afternoon, which ends between eight and nine for me, triggers hunger and peace. The day is over, and I made it through. Time to celebrate with a hearty meal! Nighttime gives me the chance to review the day, catch up with my love, and finish any small tasks I missed during the day. The twilight hours mean sleep for me, but on rare occasions it may mean I have time to do whatever. I enjoy cleaning and cooking most during twilight hours while everyone sleeps. The eeriness of those hours coupled with mundane tasks electrifies my body and makes it sensitive to the energy flowing through the house.
Time is a reluctant lover. Sometimes it gives, and sometimes it takes. Time can cause feelings of dread and anguish, or cultivate feelings of satisfaction and rest. Balancing the relationship with time is delicate, and can be harmful to some, including myself. I find that if I make an attempt to use my time wisely, I can be satisfied. What do you love or hate about time? What feelings does it conjure up for you? Have you ever thought about your relationship with time? Even if you have not, we all live around the clock, one way or another. I truly believe it would be better if the world cared less about time and more about the moment at hand. Try living in the moment (as cliche as that sounds), it can be fun!
Fighting is not something I enjoy. I find that if I am upset, I can typically be upset and then forgive or apologize. However, there are now certain people in my life who break my trust over and over again. They hurt the people I love and I do begin to develop a serious hatred towards them. For a few days and even for a few weeks, my anger is acceptable to me. When I begin to harbor resentment and anger for more than a few months, I do find that it can begin to affect my health.
I have developed a few ways to now deal with these people, especially if I need to see them more than a few times a week. One of my first coping skills is to limit what information I am telling people about myself. The people that are negative and are breaking my trust know as little about me as possible. Albeit, I cannot completely cut them out of my life, nor would I want to, but I am more than justified when I stop giving them information about me they can use later against me.
I also limit my contact with these negative people, especially if they have set off my anger recently. I find that I cannot adequately control my words when I am freshly wounded, and the best way to avoid saying things I probably do not mean is to not be given the opportunity not to say them at all. I must stay away from the negative people until I am assured I have regained my piece of mind.
After I have limited what information I tell them, and I keep away from them for a few days, I begin to find I can readjust myself to the situation. I can again begin to be around the negative people, but I find that building a temporary emotional wall helps. I begin to see the person as incompetent of knowing how negative and hurtful they are. Thus, I resolve to treat them in a child-like manner. I will not begin full conversations with negative people; I will only speak a few sentences of positive exchanges. These positive exchanges usually consist of asking how work/school/family is, and if they have been up to anything new lately. I do not discuss what has made me upset, this comes later when I am fully ready to control my words and my anger.
Negativity bothers me. When I am angry, I know I am negative. But I also realize it is a part of my healing process. I resolve to be negative for a period of time, and then the negativity needs to stop.
The world is full of negative people and personalities. I encouraged everyone to find some positivity in every situation, if at all possible. Some situations have horrific outcomes regardless of whether someone is positive. If a situation can have a slightly less horrific outcome, try to make it so. Also, ease your mind to be less angry. When I feel the anger boil inside of me, I literally feel the anger inside of me. I feel my blood pressure rising, and I begin to increasingly more upset. I know this is far from healthy, and I am trying to fix it.
Lastly, I am beginning to read books about the many subjects I find people wish to argue about. I am tired of my opinions being trumped, and I am trying to be more educated on my opinions and work towards having a more developed argument. I will keep you updated on some of the books I am reading, such as “Nasty People” by Jay Carter, which helps people to deal with nasty people! Updates are coming soon, and hopefully I can keep my blood pressure down until then.
I advise you to stop sharing your dreams with people who try to hold you back, even if they’re your parents. Because, if you’re the kind of person who senses there’s something out there for you beyond whatever it is you’re expected to do - if you want to be EXTRA-ordinary - you will not get there by hanging around a bunch of people who tell you you’re not extraordinary. Instead, you will probably become as ordinary as they expect you to be.
Happy Friday friends.
Stop and smell the lilacs. (at Merchants of Green Coffee)