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.”

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. 

Beginning of Summer.

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 lotSo 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. 

Those Feels!

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. 

Busy Week, Busy Life.

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. 

image

First Banana Split!

Time.

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! 

Blowout.

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.