The Europe Tour

“Look at us. Running around, always rushed, always late. Guess that’s why they call it the ‘human race’. But sometimes, it slows down just enough for all the pieces to fall into place. Fate works its magic, and you’re connected. Every once in a while, amid all the randomness, something unexpected happens and it pushes us all forward. And the truth is, what I’m starting to think, what I’m starting to feel, is that maybe the ‘human race’ isn’t a race at all.”

Cape Cod Railroad.

Finally! A three-day weekend! I have not had three days strung together since Labor Day! Jack and I decided we would take a trip on the Cape Cod Railroad on Saturday. We had a Groupon for the event, which was supposed to be used over the summer, but we did not get to it. I was a bit worried about the train ride as I had heard all sorts of mixed reviews about it, but I decided to take the chance and go. We left on a rainy Saturday morning and drove to Hyannis, quite a ride from where we live. We had gone out the night before and purchased Trader Joe’s snacks and Arizona Iced Tea’s for the ride. When we arrived in the parking lot, it was still raining and we dashed into the building where the tickets were sold. I must admit, just standing there in the building, I contemplated turning around and going home. I am very glad I decided otherwise.

We boarded the train with about eighty other people and the train was relatively quite. We had a lot of room to ourselves and to my delight a baby sat a few rows down from us. She was quite taken with anyone who would smile and wave at her, and of course I could not refuse but to indulge her! She made the trip quite lovely. The scenery was also excellent. I love the Massachusetts landscape, and the train ride showcased the land in the most perfect way. We passed the Sandy Neck Dunes, which I have never seen before. We whisked by marshes and kettle ponds, cranberry bogs and rivers. The ride was moderated, so we learned some history of the Cape as well. 

The best part of the ride was sitting next to My Love watching the world roll by. He also played with my hair and rubbed my neck and played with my hands. His touch ignites every nerve and every sense. He knows the places on my body to touch now. He knows I love it when we are laying in bed and he rubs my back, or when he plays with my fingers, or when he runs his hands up my arms. The touch of an intimate partner, soul mate, lover and best friend is not like any other touch in the world. The feelings associated with a lover are so different it can be life changing. I love my partner so much, and this is only solidified when my body language correlates with the emotions I feel for him. Even when he rubs my feet, sings to me, cries with me, dances or laughs with me, things feel so different with him. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I know I have found my life partner. I can only hope I keep earning his love. 

After the train ride we went out to eat at Uno’s. My Love had a barbecue bacon cheddar burger with fries and I had deep dish mac n’ cheese (YES, IT WAS DELISH!). We retired to his house afterward and then made chocolate cookies and relaxed. Sunday we went to Emerald Square Mall and did some shopping, again relaxing at night. We always have a nice time together, filled with conversation and laughs. I truly do love him.

Friday night was fun as well. I did not have to go to work (score!) and took a long nap before going to My Love’s. Then we went to Trader Joe’s and went home to relax and watch Sleeping Beauty, and old favorite I had not watched in years. It made me feel like a little kid again! The weekend was fun and relaxing, just as it should be. 

An Evaluation of My Life.

October has arrived as smoothly as September departed. School thus far has been better than expected, although last week I hit my first bump in the road. I turned in a paper for my folklore class and the grade I received back was not up to my standards. I actually received a C+ on it (which would roughly be a 75%), but I have not scored less than an A on any paper I have passed in for this particular class. To say I was shocked is an understatement, but the teacher gave me a chance to revise it. I was not satisfied with the way she explained to me what she found dissatisfying on the paper, and I have chosen to instead rewrite the paper in my own style. I have a feeling that I will be much more satisfied with the paper if I write it the way I prefer. 

Other than that slight bump, my studies are going well, just as they should be. I have found that I am learning quite a bit this semester. I am of course in school to learn, not to earn grades. This is my philosophy about college, and thus far it has served me well. Work is also quite good, albeit busy. I enjoy what I do very much, and I find that it is very rewarding. I am working harder than I ever have to improve myself as a nanny. I no longer go to work in sweatpants (which became the norm last year and it was a real shame) but instead try to wear a dress or skirt everyday with jewelry and a nice top. I am improving my skills with the kids and learning what works for them in the disciplinary realm. I am reading up on informative articles about being a nanny and I am looking to take a first aid class very soon in order to keep up with the times. When I present myself to the children as well put together in my dress, well versed in my speaking, and overall having a calm and soothing attitude they react well to the things I have to say. 

My Love and I are also doing quite well. He is adjusting to his work and school schedule and we are more in love than ever before. We are communicating quite nicely and overall we work on our relationship a little bit each day. I have found that I am connecting with him on more levels than I ever could have imagined. We work well together. I am happy that we decided to give our relationship a try, I cannot imagine my life without him.

The past few years have been crazy, but I am happy to report that I am finally making peace with everything that has happened. My old demons are finally being laid to rest and I am moving forward into my future. This winter will mark a huge turning point in my life. I feel as if all of the monsters from my past are finally making their last trudge through my soul and will be dying off when the winter comes.

The winter has always been a mystery to me. I am not much of a fan of the cold, but I love watching the snow fall at night. I also enjoy shoveling (I know I will not be saying that for long!), and going out with kids in the snow. I want nothing more though for the winter to be a time of growth spiritually. I am excited for the cold winter months more so than I have been in a long time. The winter months are my time for hibernation, and I plan on using that time wisely! 

Another area of spiritual growth I have encountered is cleanliness. I have finally done some major cleaning in my room and there is a lot less clutter and much more cleanliness. I am a clean person, and I like my life to be the same. My car, my room, my school bag, my purse, I like to have all of it organized. It takes time to do these things, but I have found out being cleanly and organized is an achievable task! The bonus is it makes my life so much easier and well balanced. I of course have a few more things I am going to be doing in the upcoming weeks to continue on my cleanliness streak, but I am very satisfied in how far I have come. Not two years I ago I would have found keeping my car, room, and anything else for that matter clean impossible. Now, it is a standard in my life. I have achieved cleanliness and I love it, to say the least!

I am growing into the person I have wanted to become for so long. I recognized this a while ago, but I am just now seeing myself in a whole new light. I am the person I have always wanted to be! How many people have the ability to say that, to be at peace with themselves!? I love the things I have accomplished, no matter how small they may seem. I have worked tirelessly to get to this place and have been working on it, seemingly unknowingly, since I was a child. I never realized that I have been molding myself into what I see as the perfect version of myself. Now that I am here, I feel as if I can keep molding and perfecting myself. I know that at my age it is usually impossibly to be happy with yourself, but I like knowing I have broken those social barriers to do what I had to do to keep myself sane. I have changed my life for the better!

All is well. Worries come and go, but each day brings new discoveries and ideas. I am happy. 

Weekend Warrior.

I have become something like a weekend warrior! To start with, I have always feared weekends in a way. I know, that sounds crazy. But for me, weekends have always represented the best part of the whole week, the most fun and fulfilling time in seven short days. Unprecedented relaxation time. Time for me.

Now, however, I have found that week days, although sometimes difficult to meander through and a bit overwhelming, can be just as much fun as the weekends. I am beginning to manage my time in ways I never have before. For instance, I have been actually doing my homework the day it is assigned and before class. I am doing my absolute best to not fall behind in class, even though it is hard. I do as much homework during the week as I can, and then I leave the weekends for relaxation and procrastination. 

The only problem that I have encountered is that at some point, I began to hate weekends. I felt that all I wanted to do was lay in bed and not doing anything, because for the rest of the week I usually do not have much time to do that. I found myself not wanting to go anywhere on the weekends, I just wanted to stay home and watch the minutes tick by until the weekend was over. 

I began changing that when I went back to school. I have been making myself go out and do things on the weekends. A few weeks ago, my family and I went to King Richard’s Faire on a Sunday. I did not want to go because I knew that Sunday was my last day before the week started. I decided to go anyways, and I had a fantastic time. It was My Love’s first time going, and we saw many entertaining shows like the Tiger show, which showcased many rare tigers and animals from all over the world. We also saw the torture show, which involved a lovely and handsome young man doing fire-breathing tricks and sticking fish hooks in his eyes. We even saw the Mud Show, an annual favorite for us. Afterwards we sampled delicious clam chowder in bread bowls, turkey legs, and whoopie pies. We walked around and enjoyed the costumes and poked our heads into the many different shops. When my boyfriend and I left the fairgrounds for the day, we remarked about how we had forgotten all about going back to school on Monday. We laughed and admitted me needed to do things like go to King Richard’s so we could remove ourselves from the daily grind and spice things up. 

This past weekend we decided to again go out, this time to Jamestown and Newport, Rhode Island. We had tickets to ride the ferry across the bay, and considering we went so late in September, the weather felt like it was summer. We both dressed up quite nicely: I wore a low cut black dress and My Love wore jeans with a long sleeved button down shirt and he looked insanely good. We were a beautiful young couple enjoying our love and Newport.

We walked around Jamestown for a bit before our boat arrived and drank a delicious Toll house milkshake! When the boat arrived we climbed aboard and allowed the boat to rock us into a relaxed state. We docked at Ann St. Pier and walked around to look for a good place to eat. We finally came across a quaint Thai Cuisine restaurant. I ordered the Drunken Noodles, and My Love got the Pad Thai. Both meals were absolutely fantastic. We ate and drank iced coffee (also amazing) and discussed chopstick etiquette and my trip to China. I told My Love that I sometimes forget where I have traveled to, and it can be weird to talk about! Earlier in the day we had gotten into a fight, and as we drove to Jamestown we worked it out. A few hours later we were laughing, eating, and basking in each other like nothing had happened.

I must admit, the best part of the entire trip to Newport was when I took My Love to his first sex shop. When I lived in Europe, I became accustomed to sex shops and I now enjoy going into them occasionally. For My Love, it is a little different. He was fearful about what people would think if they saw him going into the shop, but I took him anyway. Once inside, he was nervous. I could tell he was not quite sure where to put his eyes. Eventually, he relaxed and started to look on his own for a bit. After we left, we talked about what we liked and did not like. It was another great opportunity for us to get to know each other and our desires, bringing us closer together as a couple. 

After strolling the streets of Newport we boarded the boat to go back to Jamestown. The ride back was fantastic. The sun was beginning to dip low and the sea sprayed our faces gently with water. As we cuddled on the back of the boat it felt as is we were in sync our feelings and emotions at the same time. I felt absorbed into his flesh and loved feeling his body next to mine. We cruised past different islands and under bridges, and overall had a remarkable time.

Doing this on the weekends, as I have found out, can be fun and invigorating. Going to King Richard’s and to Newport took my find off of work, school, cleaning, cooking, etc. and allowed me to just relax. My Love and I have tickets to take the Cape Cod Rail Road, and we are both very excited for another weekend adventure in each other’s arms. 

School & Work, I Fear You No More.

All my horrible fears about school and work have been abolished.

To begin, I was very fearful of going back to work after having two months off this summer. Of course, has many of you know, my first week back started with a horrible Monday, but did get better as the week went on. Now, I have completely changed my attitude towards work. On Tuesday, one of the children I nanny for had a complete meltdown. She challenged my authority on every level she could think of. She even went as far as to give me the “bird”. I hashed it out with her and refused to let her win. I used the tactics her parents use: do not back down. You have to get a little angry, although I must admit I never truly get angry with the kids. It is an ability I have had to harvest but I have found really does allow me to help them when they get upset. After Child Number One’s meltdown, I talked to her and told her I consider her much more of a grown-up than the younger kids. I leveled with her. We worked through it. I was able to reconcile with her because I really did not get angry. If I had gotten angry, my rationality would have flown right out of the window along with my dignity and my guidance. Getting angry with my little guys would never help the situation; I honestly think it would make the situation much more dangerous. I would get angry, and then I would not pay attention to what I am really supposed to be doing. If a crisis occurs, and I am angry and irrational, would I be able to protect the kids? I really do not want to find out, so I do not get mad in the first place. I would much rather always be level headed and calm than angry and frustrated.

Regardless, Tuesday’s breakdown was actually fantastic. I proved to myself, to Child Number One, and to her family that I am in charge and I can handle different situations. I also learned that I only want what is best for the kids, and if that is not me then so be it. But I also realized the things I used to get upset about after work, such as the kids getting angry with me or a chore not being done does not bother me anymore. I do not have the capacity to worry about every little thing, so I need to let go of what brings me down. I am happier and less anxious at work, and thus I can better do my job.

Things do not worry me so much anymore overall. I have found that I control my thoughts and my mind, and if I let negative thoughts fill my head, then I am in fact bringing negative energy to myself. I now tell myself, I have had enough of thinking about this. Think about something else. And I do! I am a much happier person now that I have started to work on controlling my mind.

School is also another area that I am controlling. Many times I have felt that I am not in control of my education. I have felt that I was at the mercy of my professors and advisors. I felt helpless and really did not like school. I have changed that. Now, I select classes and professors to fit my needs. I research the class to see if I really do need to take it, and I check the reviews of all of my professors. If I find it is not mandatory to take a class, I do not take it. If I find that a professor has horrible reviews, I do not take a class with them. Although once in a great while I may not be able to pick and choose classes or professors, thus far I have had no issues with it. I also control my class schedule. I choose when I actually want to take classes instead of just picking at random. 

And as far as homework goes, although I have little control over when that is assigned, I refuse to do homework on the weekends unless absolutely necessary. For example, this was the first weekend that I actually did homework. I have a presentation on Monday, so I did need to put the finishing touches on the presentation and study the speech a bit more. Otherwise, like I said, the weekends are my time to relax. 

I feel much better about the current school year than I ever have before. I am learning quite a bit, and I am continuously working on myself to become a better student. My studies truly have never been better, and I am already very excited for next semester when I will be back to a Tuesday/Thursday class schedule. So far, life seems to be back on track and going well! I hope the same applies to you and your life. 

Caffeine Pills.

I completed my first week of school (YAY!) without completely regretting my decision to continue working on my degree. It actually was quite a good week, but a lot of what made it good was my attitude and work ethic. I will let you in on a little secret: I value my personal time and I hate having it cluttered with school work. All my memories as a youth bring me back to long nights wasting away in front of a computer screen contemplating whether or not I could get my hands on caffeine pills. Actually, my debacle with caffeine pills is quite an interesting story and sums up nicely why I have changed my attitude about school and work in general.

I first heard about ‘caffeine pills’ in high school. I ran with the honors crowd in school, and most of my friends were overachievers. They would come into school and tell heart wrenching tales about how they were running on only two or three hours of sleep because they had been up all night studying and doing homework. I was always in awe of these people, I couldn’t believe how hard they worked! I wondered to myself whether or not I was working hard enough. When I began to take more advanced courses in high school, I too started staying up late doing homework. I actually felt that I was doing the right thing, staying up late and all. When I went into school the next morning, running on only two or three hours of sleep, I felt accomplished. Even when I was falling asleep in class because I was so tired, I still felt proud. It was not for quite some time that I noticed my method of staying up late and going into school exhausted actually hurt my studies.

Towards the end of my late nights in high school, I considered taking caffeine pills. It would help me when I was falling asleep in class after being up all night. At the time, I seriously contemplated it. I never thought about the implications on my health, I never really thought about my own well-being. I simply thought about how I needed to keep up with my friends and how I needed to be smart to get into a good college and keep up with my personal appearances. The straw that broke the camels back came after months of not getting enough sleep. My body was drained, my grades seemed to be slipping ever so slightly, and I found that I was getting sick all the time. One week I would have a cold, and the next week I would have the flu. I finally put two and two together, and realized that maybe I should get some sleep! After about a week of getting a decent nights sleep every night, I felt so much better. When I was feeling better, and I was of sound mind, I realized I was foolish to even attempt what I did.

Now, I have adopted a different method of dealing with school work. I have found that professors almost always assign more homework than necessary, and is usually “busy work”. Busy work is non-essential work imposed upon students to keep them, well, busy. I now find that I cannot do every single bit of homework assigned. I would be wasting away all of my time with homework if I tried doing it all. My new method for combating homework is to do as much of the important work as possible. I no longer do busy work assignments. Instead, I take that time to review the material I have learned and I move on. University, at least to me, is not about the grades. University is about what I learn. If all I do is stress about the homework I have not done yet, I will never learn. Stress is the ultimate evil. It traps a person, it prevents us from being free.

This weekend I am relaxing and not stressing over homework. It will get done at some point, but the weekends are for me to indulge in what I like. I woke up this morning, and then I went back to sleep. I was tired! The weekends are my time, I hope they are designed for your time as well. Take care of yourself. 

Looking Back.

I wrote a whole blog post tonight and the fucking thing deleted itself in seconds. Life is a bitch when you work hard on something and then it completely deletes itself. Oh well, I suppose.

Basically my wonderfully worded blog post talked about how I am getting nervous again to start school and start the work week tomorrow. I know that I get nervous because it is a lot of responsibility when I start these things again. I know it will all work out, and that I will get back into the grove of things, but I am still bothered by it. Then I remember Madrid.

Whenever I remember Madrid I wonder how I did it. I still cannot believe that I moved three thousand five hundred miles away, lived there for a year, travelled Europe during that time, and then came back home. Then I transferred universities, found a job, switched jobs, maintained a long-term relationship, and just worked hard. But I have found that after I came home from Madrid my life has not been as satisfying. I am sure this sounds obvious. How can one go from living such an amazing adventure to a regular and boring life? Well, it is possible. This year, however, I am setting out to live the lifestyle I lived in Madrid. I want to be satisfied with my life! I want to be happy to live again! 

When my post got deleted, I became so angry. Unfortunately, this is my reminder that this is life. It is hard, and it will not be fun at times. I will look for ways out, but then I will remember that I have been put on this earth for a reason. When I think back to Madrid, I also remember that I was a nervous wreck. I was a little more excited to try new things, but at the same time I was extremely nervous. I was anxious quite a bit, albeit not as much as I am now. My life in Madrid was completely different from my life now. It was the best time of my life. But I am hoping if I push my life forward and up I will again be satisfied. We shall see.

This post is not what I wanted it to be. The last was filled with happy memories and a bit more positivity. For anyone that may read these posts, I apologize. Better luck next time. And hopefully by then, I will have something positive to write about. Hopefully then I will be able to say I am doing better. 

Empowering Women.

Over the weekend while my family and I were camping in the Green Mountain Area of Vermont, I had a very interesting conversation with my sibling. I was getting dressed and was wearing a floor length black dress. The bust of the dress is tight but the dress flows at the legs. I asked my boyfriend, is this dress too sheer? Are you able to see my breasts through it?

Now, the reason I was asking him this question is because I have not worn a bra since September of last year. When I first told my boyfriend I would be giving up my chest contraptions, he was a little nervous about the whole thing. He asked many questions about my new transition. He wondered if it felt any different, and if I ever planned on wearing another bra again. I quickly realized that after a few days I would have no intentions of ever wanting to wear a bra again. My boyfriend became very comfortable with the idea quite rapidly. Now he has no qualms about my braless ways. Since I have gone braless, he and I have had many conversations about how ridiculous the idea of a bra really is. I have confided in my boyfriend completely about my new ways, but I have not talked to my family about it unless they inquired.
When I asked my love if the dress was too sheer, my sister overheard our conversation. She chimed in that it did not matter whether the dress was sheer or not because my bra would be the only thing showing. I promptly told her I was not wearing a bra. She was flabbergasted, to say the least. I told her I do not wear bras anymore. She asked about wearing them to work and school. I told her I have not put a bra on in almost a year.

After the conversation ended, I was happy my sister knew I did not wear bras. She is a bit self-conscious about her own body and I was elated that she now knew she did not have to wear a bra if she did not want to. In that moment I felt that I became a good role model for her to realize she too can be an empowered woman.

I have undergone many changes in my life that have helped me to realize I am more than my sex/gender. I have also realized that I am worth more than my looks. I hope other women begin to realize that they too can do what is right for them.

I am at the stage in my braless endeavors that I am ready to get rid of my bras. They currently sit in the top draw of my dresser taking up space. For months I feared I would need a bra when a special event came up. Let me tell you, I have gone to every family event, political event/rally, work, school, shopping and even when I gave a speech in front of a crowd with NO bra on. And it has been absolutely fantastic!

Beautiful August Weather.

As of late, the weather has been quite nice. New England summers tend to be scorching hot even through September, but these past few days of August have been quite a relief. The temperatures around Southeastern Massachusetts have been slightly cooler than normal, which makes for lovely drives with the windows down in the afternoon. There has also been a wonderful breeze, which allows me to open the windows instead of blasting the air conditioning. Even sitting out on my front porch or my boyfriend’s back deck to read and write have been wonderful.

I have been overcome with emotion as of late. I feel more exhausted and overrun than I do when I am busy with school and work. To be honest, some of my overacting emotions are being caused by my overacting mind. For the first time in a while I found that when I laid down to go to sleep my mind would not stop racing. I had to force myself to occupy my mind with thoughts of being in the ocean and swimming with manta rays. Usually, the ocean helps me to fall asleep if I think about it.

I must say, with everything that happened this summer, thus far I am very happy with how I spent it. I have done quite a bit! I have been reading and watching movies and catching up on television shows. I have gone to the beach and swam and hung out with friends. I went to New Hampshire and I will be going to Vermont and Cape Cod for vacations. I completed a CPR/AED training course for work and I have been making a list of goals for the upcoming work year. I have slept. I have had sex. I have enjoyed long conversations with family. I bought a new car, and I have been playing with the cats more often. I have gone out for ice cream and for walks around the neighborhood with my boyfriend. We have eaten pizza. I celebrated birthdays and kept up with the news. I cleaned my room a million times and did laundry. I donated blood and went to a pro-choice protest. I have been talking to friends that I rarely get a chance to talk to. My boyfriend and I have enjoyed trips to Starbucks to chat and enjoy tea. We took trips to New Bedford. We cried together. We laughed together. 

This summer has been very fun. One of my favorite weekends this summer was Fourth of July weekend. We started it off by attempting to see the Bristol, Rhode Island fireworks on Thursday, July 3. Unfortunately, about halfway to Bristol the sky grew very dark and the winds picked up. My boyfriend and I decided to turn around and get pizza instead. We headed home and ate while watching the Boston Pops with my sister. We also lit off sparklers and then eventually went to bed. On the Fourth of July my family and I went to my grandparent’s home by the bay. Although it was a rainy Fourth, we still had fun. We played games and ate amazing food. We even argued politics! 

On July 5 I joined my boyfriend and his family in a little trip to Plymouth. We walked around, went to Jenny Gris Mill and then we went to lunch at Isaac’s Restaurant. We even went out afterwards to get ice cream! Walking down by the water in Plymouth was absolutely fantastic. Hanging out with my boyfriend’s family really completed the day all around. That evening my boyfriend went to see the Fall River fireworks. For us, these fireworks are very special. About two weeks before my boyfriend and I started dating in 2012, we went to the Fall River fireworks. I remember that night as being one of the first nights I really felt a connection with him, even though I had know him for over three years at that point. He also agrees that that night brought us closer together. To make the occasion extraordinary, we had watched the fireworks on the U.S.S. Massachusetts, which is permanently docked in Battleship Cove in Fall River. Seeing the fireworks on the battleship was amazing, especially since it was a precursor to our relationship. Fast forward two years to July 5, 2014, and we were again sitting on the U.S.S. Massachusetts watching the fireworks go off. Our seats were absolutely fantastic and we were able to watch fireworks going off all around the harbor from the neighboring cities and towns. The night could not have been more perfect. 

On July 6 we went to the World Famous Freetown fireworks! We arrived and walked around for a bit until I sought out what I was looking for- turtle races. Yes, turtle races! The Fourth of July celebration in Freetown boasts turtle races, which basically consists of 3-4 turtles ‘racing’ to a number on a circular board. The first turtle to reach a number wins and whomever bet on said number also wins. Winning really was not the object for me. It was just fun to take part in the celebrations. We then took our seats and waited for the fireworks to start. Let me tell you now, I know why these fireworks are world famous. The location is fantastic as the fireworks are lit over a lake which is surrounded by woods. This made for fantastic acoustics. Also, the fireworks are light of in the pitch-black and the moon hovered directly where the fireworks where exploding in the sky. Lastly, the fireworks were so close to the audience! I was getting dizzy looking at the sky and seeing such spectacular displays being lit off so close. The fireworks were amazing and were well worth going to see.

The Fourth of July weekend is just a small excerpt from this summer. I definitely believe I have spent it well. I do look forward to going back to school and work, though. Hopefully, the rest of the summer goes smoothly and is the most fun part of the whole summer! 

Birthday Celebrations.

My birthday has come and gone. It seems that every year the same thing tends to happen: I get excited about my birthday, the day comes, and then it vanishes. I have found that no day passes faster than my birthday.

The day before my birthday my family and I got together to celebrate my birthday. We went to my grandparent’s house on the bay and enjoyed an afternoon of barbecue and cake. My grandparents always make such wonderful food, and my birthday celebration was no exception. They had even decorated the house for us and played birthday music when we came in. The highlight of the day was being able to go for a walk on the bay and watch a large white bird, which looked like a crane, hunt for fish in the shallows. I quite enjoyed the day with my family. 

On the actual day of my birthday I lounged around, took a shower, watched a movie, went to the mall with my sister to buy myself some birthday gifts and then had pizza and cake with my mom, dad, sister and boyfriend. They got me lovely gifts! I wanted new sheets and pillows for my bed and they got me just that. My boyfriend got some of my favorite movies on Blu ray and my sister picked me up my favorite candy from Trader Joe’s. That evening my boyfriend and I went out to Starbucks for tea and then drove to New Bedford. I was quite peeved with my boyfriend for not spending much time with my on my special day, but eventually I got over it. Sometimes, not everything is about me (even on my birthday!). Honestly, it was a very nice birthday, but next year I will be putting a little more thought into it. 

On Wednesday my boyfriend’s family also had a small cake for me (three cakes in the span of four days!). His brother and sister came over and it was fun to hang out with them. I always appreciate the effort they put into my birthday even though I am not blood related. 

Turning 20 was fun. I reflected on things and made it a point to relax, although usually when I make it a point to relax I really do not end up relaxing. The path ahead for the next year of my life looks rocky and I am hesitant to start walking down the path. But life waits for no one, so I must walk. 

Happy 20th Birthday, Alex.

Happy almost Birthday to myself! Glad to see that you made it to twenty. 

As a kid, I honestly believed that I would not live past high school. I simply could not envision life anywhere past seventeen. As you have realized, I did live past seventeen and the years since have been challenging but invigorating. 

Since my twentieth birthday is on Monday, I have decided to do some reflecting. I wrote a blog post this past New Year’s Eve and I talked about some of the goals I had for the upcoming year in that post. I often find myself going back to that post to see if I am keeping up with any of my New Year’s resolutions/goals. One of my goals was to look and dress nicer, maybe even wear more jewelry. I have done that. I even expanded my wardrobe a bit to include some better pieces of clothing. I plan on going shopping before school to get some more new clothes to keep myself looking fabulous. Another goal I had written down was to have one thousand dollars in my savings account and another four hundred in my checking account. I have not done this so far. At one point, I did have over a thousands dollars in my savings account, but then I had to buy a new car and a new air conditioner. I was laid off from my job and my savings dwindled. But, it is on the rise again! Finally!

What I am trying to say is that I do feel like so far I am working on bettering my life. I may not complete every goal I have set, and I may just give up entirely on working towards the goals I laid out at the beginning of the year for new ones. Either way, thus far I have improved myself.

I know when I look back on these blog posts I will be looking for hints that I was doing things right. I will pour through them to try and figure out where I was maybe going wrong. I hope that when I look back on this blog post I realize that I was working. I did improve myself. Here is exactly what I want to tell myself when I look back on this post:

Alex, stop worrying. You have not wasted your life or your time, and stop looking for confirmations that you are doing the right thing. The confirmations do not come. You, and only you, have to believe you are doing the right thing. Take the time to evaluate how you feel and what you think. You will be living with yourself for the rest of your life, so start loving yourself. I know you look back on these posts and reminiscence. Just remember that your past self really did have a good time, even though things were hard. Your past self, the nineteen year old Alex also wants you to know how much she really loves herself, but she needs you to keep working to grown that love. And past Alex really loves her boyfriend. Like, a lot. 

Future Alex, I know you look back at these times and only see the bad instead of all the good. Yes, you spent a lot of money on dumb things. You and Jack went out just yesterday and drove around New Bedford to get Little Caesar’s pizza and then ice cream at Amaro’s Bros. You guys loved it, and you love each other (actually, that cheesy bread from yesterday was fucking delicious. You absolutely loved it.) Spoil each other for a little while! Eat like crap but also eat delicious things and enjoy it! Enjoy sex and stop worrying about who will hear. I know you enjoy sex now, but bask in it while you and Jack are still rested up and not completely and overwhelmingly busy.

Also, as far as school goes, I hope you take it seriously but not too seriously. Work hard, but forget about what grades you earn and worry more about what you are learning. Make Political Science your heartfelt career because yes, you do love politics!

Future Alex, stop trying to predict the moves of other people. Yes, people are going to hurt you and ridicule you. But like past Alex said earlier, if you believe you are doing the right thing then nothing else matters. Mold your life the way you see fit. Do not let society mold you, mold society. Forget all of the things you are supposed to do and start doing the things you feel you must do. Marry your love when you want. Buy a house when you want. Watch a movie when you want. Eat when you want. Go outside when you want. Just be yourself, damn it!

Whatever happens to you Future Alex, never forget to have fun and live life! You only get one, so why spend it worrying like everyone else?

Okay Future Alex. I hope you have a fantastic twentieth birthday. And I hope you have a fantastic life.

Happy 20th, kid. 

Hey, Kid.

The following is a short piece I wrote. Whether it is a poem or short story does not matter. I wrote it for documentation and for expression of self. Enjoy.

"Hey, Kid.

I know things get tough, especially right now. But toughen up, kid! We have work to do! We gotta keep moving forward! Don’t we? 

Yes! Yes, kid! We need to keep going. We need to keep working. ‘Cause if we stop, we will be done for! Right, kid? Don’t you think, kid? 

Yes! Yes, kid! We need to keep going. We always keep going. Always have, always will. We go through bumps in the road, but the scenery sure is nice. I know things are tough, kid. But they will get better. Right, kid?

Yes! Yes, kid! Things will get better because we will keep working! We just need to ignore those horrible feelings we feel. Just don’t feel! Right, kid? You’ve done it before! You didn’t feel when you were living in the big city, I remember you saying! Oh, no? You never said that? I misheard. You actually dealt with your emotions when you were living in the big city? Did it work? It must have worked! Right, kid?

You know kid, I really should listen to you sometimes. But you are the bad part of me. Right, kid?

Do you think I should keep going? Or will I go crazy? What if I do give up? Kid?

I won’t give up, kid. I’ll do it your way for a bit and I will see where it takes me. Will you stay by my side, kid? Okay, if you can do that, I will keep going. It’ll be alright, kid.”

Patience & Persistence.

Lately, I have found myself being nervous and compromising. I fret over small things that should not be fretted over. Part of me believes I am simply emotionally drained from the turmoil that has been my life. My brain and body are shutting down slightly, ever so cautiously, to keep the entire system of Alex from collapsing into a pit of despair, self loathing and self pity (and yes, you can hate and feel bad for yourself at the same time, or at least I can!). Regardless, I am shutting myself down and preparing for more attacks from the world. Everyday I peer over the walls I have built around myself and I wait for the attacks to come. 

But the attacks do not come. Rather, what tries to permeate my barrier is love, and it is trying to enter my walls peacefully. I have a vision of myself during these times. I am standing on top of a castle, safely behind my walls. I am decked out in armor, just like any knight from the Middle Ages would be. My breastplate puffs out as I take steady breaths, waiting to give the order to fight. But the attacks do not come. I am standing on top of my castle waiting aimlessly for something- ANYTHING- to happen. But the attacks do not come. The soldiers who were supposed to protect me, my castle and my walls start to disperse. I am left alone to defend my fortress. But the attacks do not come. 

The first sign of action around my walls and fortress is coming from the bottom of the wall where the people I love are standing at the bottom. They are all dressed in ivory colored clothes. They wear flowers around their head like a crown. When they begin to touch the wall, I become defensive. They are not trying to hurt me, but I do not want them in my fortress. I thrown spears and arrows at them to stop them, but I am barely making a dent in their efforts. They begin to the crack the walls, and I retaliate even harder. The struggle continues until they have almost broken my wall and right before I finally hurt them with my defenses. Everything stops. I look down at the people I love, and they look up at me. We stay like this, still and unwavering. We do not move. 

My vision tells me what I already know. I am becoming defensive and weak, scarred and anxious. I am taking it out on the people I care about in fear that they will hurt me. I am bound in an epic struggle with them and with myself. It is misery. 

But then, the attack comes. 

One of the people in ivory steps out of the crowd with a riffle and blows a hole through my chest. As I lay dying, I question what I could have done differently. I begin to think I should have never trusted this person. After all, I knew how dangerous they were, this person. In the end, right before my final moment of life, I realize there was nothing I could have done to prevent such an attack, it would have come one way or another. 

I am dead. No blood courses through my veins and my thoughts diminish. My flesh turns cold to the touch and my body stiffens. My life has ended.

And then I wake up.

I sit up, as a matter of fact.

I wake up. I sit up, as a matter of fact. My bed is comfortable, even plushy. Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life” begins to play in my head. 

I am sitting up. In my bed. And I am awake. 

I Did It!

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. 

When Life Gets Difficult, It Really Is About The Little Things.

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.