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Posts tagged ‘personal’

Mental Health Awareness – Speaking Up.

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May is National Mental Health Awareness month. This is something that speaks to my soul very strongly because I struggle with mental health illnesses and so do many of my friends and family members. I, myself, have anxiety disorder, PTSD, bi-polar – type one, and OCD.

Growing up, I didn’t know what was going on inside my head. I thought something was wrong with me. I must be broken, defective. My moods changed without warning. My thoughts raced and I couldn’t get them to slow down. The littlest thing could set me off. I would cry and not always know why. I’d be extra motivated one day and then not at all the next. I was overly anxious and paranoid. I’d feel physically ill when things became too much to handle. No one understood, most especially myself. (I’m still dealing with these things, but I’m informed now and have the support system that makes dealing with all of this easier.)

On top of that, I was molested and physically abused by my mom’s ex, mentally abused and neglected by my father, and my mom retreated into herself, not knowing what to do or how to react, how to help me, especially when she needed help herself. I was placed into a foster home and went to a few and a group home within the span of a few years. I was hit on by one of my foster brothers in one of the homes to the point I ran away. Things weren’t great.

I wanted to die several times between my pre-teen years and even into my 30’s. I wrote notes, made preparations to leave those I loved, and kept it all to myself. Only those who knew me real well even had a glimpse of how much I struggled and even many who thought they knew me, they didn’t realize how much I was hurting. I either come off as really happy go lucky and people have no clue that I hurt at all or I’m the overly dramatic one, just seeking attention. I can be both and sometimes something entirely different.

Growing up, my issues and I were either ignored, treated like something to be shunned, or like everything was just some way of being noticed. Mental health illnesses and abuse are no laughing matter. They are also not things to be ignored or made light of.

I will always speak out about mental health illnesses, suicide prevention, and abuse. I didn’t always have support and in those times is when things were at their worst. Having that support now makes a huge difference. So, I want to reach out and tell all reading this, if you struggle, you don’t have to go through any of this alone.

There are 24 hour hotlines, shelters, and other resources. Also, I’m here to listen, if you feel comfortable coming to me. You do not have to deal with this alone. No one can live your life for you, but there are people out there who can be by your side as you try to push forward, heal, and get help.

If you see any warning signs, if you even suspect someone you know is hurting, please reach out. We may not always ask for help. Be the light for those who may feel lost in the dark and have forgotten there’s still hope…

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Bi-Polar Unmasked

 

Many don’t know or understand what living with a mental health illness or living with someone who has one is like. It’s definitely more recognized now than in years past and I’m thankful that more are taking this seriously. Mental health illnesses deserve acknowledging, being researched, funding for help, etc. From bi-polar to schizophrenia, doctors, scientists, and more are taking notice and working hard to help those of us that struggle with these seemingly invisible illnesses. Still, there are many out there who treat mental health illnesses as though they’re unimportant, made up, or those who have one are some sort of freak show. Being treated like what we live with isn’t a big deal or like we’re damaged goods gets old. It can be hurtful to be treated like what we live with is just something we can just snap out of at anytime.

Maybe if you eat better, surely it’s just a matter of diet. Maybe if you just willed yourself to overcome it. Maybe if you just get over yourself. Maybe you should just stop being so dramatic. Maybe if you prayed harder. Maybe if you did this or maybe if you did that. Gah!!!!!!

OR…..

You’re a total freak show. I can’t associate myself with someone so messed up. Your moods are just too all over the place. Your depression brings me down. Why are you so anxious all the time? Does it really matter if things are out of place? Why are you freaking out? Is there a reason you’re crying, again? How long has it been since you brushed your hair? I can’t be your friend, you’re just too high maintenance.

Unless you live with a mental health illness, you can’t truly understand how crippling it can be. How long has it been since I brushed my hair or showered? You know, I’m not sure. Why did I just spend money on things I don’t need? I felt a compulsion and couldn’t stop. Does it really matter if things are out of place? Yes. YES! If things are out of place, I feel an agitation I can’t put in check. I MUST have order. I MUST have things a certain way. I won’t rest until I do. Rest? I feel like staying in bed all day. I’m just exhausted. I feel so depressed. The tears won’t stop. I’m a failure and a freak. Why would anyone love me? I’ll just call in today, again. Mania sets in and now I’m crazy cleaning, extra irritable, and ultra hyper. I have such energy. What’s wrong with you? I don’t know. Why are you so touchy? I don’t know. Why are you snapping for no reason? I don’t know. Why are you crying, again? I don’t know. Why can’t you just snap out of it? I DON’T KNOW!!!!

Therapists, pyschologists, psychiatrists, and medications, oh my!!! Say that five times fast! Insults are hurled if we utilize these to get help. Can’t you deal with things without meds? Why do you need some shrink? You’re just weak. You’re just having a few bad days here and there, just suck it up. But then again, if we refuse to get that help, then we are wrong too. Clearly you need help, so why not get on medication to control your mood swings and stabilize yourself? You know, it’s not just about you, right? See a therapist, you need help. No matter what we do or don’t do, we’re failing in someone’s eyes.

It’s a daily struggle, on or off meds. Whether we see a mental health specialist or not, things are still hard sometimes. Fighting your mind isn’t an easy feat. You’re constantly torn. You try so hard to be “normal”. Why can’t I just be mentally stable? Why am I like this? Why?! Why is it so hard to maintain friendships? Why do people turn their backs on me? I know why. I wouldn’t want to deal with me either. I want to hold a regular job. I want to succeed. Eh. This job just wasn’t right for me. Maybe the next one? I want to be loved. I don’t deserve love. I can overcome anything. I am strong. I can beat this. I can’t do anything right. I’ll never amount to anything. I can’t beat this. My past stirs up awful memories. The nightmares leave me barely able to function. The past won’t beat me. I survived. I can survive anything. I am lonely, but I don’t want to leave the house. I want to make my dreams come true. I’ll fight to do just that. Well, maybe tomorrow. Up, up, up, and then crashing down, HARD.

I have bi-polar, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. I’ve been ridiculed, laughed at, treated like a freak, and pushed away, by many, including myself. Many can’t make sense of what goes on inside my head, least of all me. Growing up, I didn’t know what to make of what was going on inside my head. I just thought I was broken. As an adult, I got diagnosed with bi-polar first. The others followed behind that. I have been on many medications and seen many doctors. It’s been a fight the whole way, with or without that specialized help. One thing I’ve found that’s helped the most is a personal support system. They have made and continue to make a huge difference in getting through the really hard days. They deserve so much credit.

Those who live with people that have mental health illnesses should never be overlooked. They deal with our mood swings, meltdowns, odd behaviors, and more. They help us through. When we’re beyond reason, they just wait it out and deal with whatever we throw their way. If they themselves deal with mental health illnesses, that makes things even tougher. When you have more than one under one roof, it can be a challenge. My son and I both deal with them. Our relationship sure has been tested. Then there’s my husband, the stable one, trying to deal with us both. It’s not been easy for anyone. Somehow, he manages. Accepting us both hasn’t been easy, but I’m thankful he has. Since he’s entered our lives, there’s some semblance of stability. He deserves a thousand shout outs. As hard as it is to live with the actual illnesses, it’s plenty difficult living with those that do. So, thank you.

Things like cancer, MS, Cystic Fibrosis, and heart disease are major concerns and definitely deserve to be recognized, researched, have people fighting for cures, and to have people across the globe raising awareness for them. I find no issue with any of that, at all. I have had family members and friends face cancer, Type One Diabetes, heart disease, CF, Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and more. Some I love have even lost their lives to these. It’s not been easy watching people I love suffer. So I support causes that try to help them and others that live with or have lost their lives to such illnesses and diseases.

I just want to also raise awareness for people who live with mental health illnesses. What we go through is serious and deserves recognition too. So, here is bi-polar and such unmasked. Yes, the illnesses are in our minds, but only in the sense that’s what they effect. They stem from imbalances in our brains. They’re very real. If you know someone that lives with one, try showing compassion, patience, and love. I know we’re not easy to deal with, but we’re far more than the illnesses we live with.

I am not bi-polar. I’m not my illness. I have bi-polar. There’s a difference between being and having something. I refuse to let it define me. The mask is off. Here I stand, telling you about a part of myself. I hope you’ll learn something. Maybe it’ll help you with someone you know or maybe you are dealing with this yourself.  Either way, I hope this opens eyes and minds. Mental health is important. It starts with the mind, but it also effects physical health as well. A healthy mind and body go hand in hand. Having support instead of insults and ignorance is the first step to helping. Let’s all take one step forward today….

Adjust Your Sails

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After all the posts I’ve seen today where people are putting themselves down, feeling not good enough, feeling ugly, and just not doing well, I feel compelled to say this….

God doesn’t make ugly. He doesn’t make mistakes. He made you. You are not ugly. You are not a mistake. You are worthy of love. You are meant for great things. You are in fact beautiful. You are wonderful.

Today might be bad for you. Maybe this whole year has been hard so far. But. You are not the bad things happening. You are meant to rise above. It may take time. You may hurt for awhile. That’s awful, if that’s the case, but sometimes we have those times when things are hard. This WILL pass though. You can get through. You are NOT alone. You are NOT your past, mistakes, grief, hard times, or doubts. You are more than any illness or label. You are someone of value that is meant to do and be great things. Keep believing that, each day that you can and when you find you can’t, I can remind you.

Let’s adjust those sails, ladies and gents. These storms aren’t meant to drown us, even though sometimes it may feel that way. Sometimes we fall. Sometimes the waves threaten to overtake us and we’re gasping for air. Sometimes we lose battles with depression and other health issues. Sometimes our circumstances are bad. At the end of it, we find that we outlast the storm. The best part is, we don’t need to go it alone. 🙂

Day 21 and Beyond

 

FB_IMG_1543882138265How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

The world may never know…

 

Day zero: Insanity ensued.

Day one: Okay, let’s just take a moment to breathe.

Day two: Trying to process what has happened.

Day three: Uncertainty looms

Day four: A likely outcome awaits, but can’t quite reach it.

Day five: Snowed in. No answers yet.

Day six: Long drives, little sleep, what gives…

Day seven: A week now it’s been, any answers would be nice…

Day eight: Pay the piper day for a young man.

Day nine: Plans cancelled, day feels like a loss, but makes the best of it.

Day ten: Crickets chirp.

Day eleven: Honoring a great man that fought to break race barriers and end race wars.

Day twelve: Keep on driving….

Day thirteen: Work hard, get things done.

Day fourteen: We just want to know how to proceed. Driving gets tiresome.

Day fifteen: Still driving.

Day sixteen: Family day.

Day seventeen: Winter, feel free to go home…

Day eighteen: Day off, yet not quite.

Day nineteen: Answers at long last!!!!

Day twenty: Today, we work on moving forward.

Day twenty-one and beyond: We shall see where our paths take us…..

 

The world may not know exactly what our days ahead look like, I sure don’t. What I do know though is that they will be days filled with love. We’ll face hard times and struggle, I’m sure of that too. We will laugh and have great days. Life is full of ups and downs. Through them all, we’ll face them as a family. I’m looking forward to day 21 and beyond.

 

***picture taken at a wedding I shot in Manitowoc on September 29th, 2018***

We Didn’t Let Ourselves Go…

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To all of you who sometimes feel like being a parent has caused you to let your body/looks go, like you’re not the you that you were when you could just do as you pleased, or like you’re not sure who you are anymore….

You didn’t let yourself go, you let yourself grow.

Becoming a parent, at least for me, is sometimes very stressful, but it is also the most fulfilling and wonderful thing I’m able to do.

I don’t get all dolled up like the days of old, go out with friends several nights a week, plan my next grand adventure to who knows where, or think mostly of just myself and what I want. Is that sometimes depressing? Now and then, yes.

If I’m being completely honest, sometimes it’s hard watching my friends without kids have such “freedom” to go wherever and do whatever they want, well compared to me it feels that way sometimes. I can’t just go out on a Tuesday night for ladies night, drive to Colorado with my bestie just to meet her friends and do some sightseeing without worrying about what or who I’m leaving behind, or work on the music career I had hoped to have.

Well, I could, because life is a series of choices and many times when we say, “I didn’t have a choice.”, that’s not actually true. However, with one’s specific moral compass, we often feel like we didn’t have any other choice, because that other choice or choices weren’t something we could bring ourselves to do or we didn’t think we could live with the consequences.

Anyway, so I could do many things that I don’t, but I choose not to because it’s not just about me anymore. I have a husband and two children that are greatly effected by many of the choices I make. I gave up a lot for them and sometimes it is hard, but it’s so worth it. Being given the chance to raise these two kiddos and to be married to someone I consider one of my best friends, yes I have more than one best friend, are amazing blessings.

Do I ever feel like I let myself go? Sometimes. Currently, I’m sitting here in lounge wear with messy hair, feeling exhausted because I’ve been awake since 4:30am. I drove my son to Appleton in crappy weather so he could go to school and have been dealing with a cranky toddler all morning. I know I look tired and worn out. It’s worth it though, especially when my son and daughter give me hugs, tell me they love me, want to spend time with me, and make me feel what I do for them matters.

When I really think about it, I didn’t really give up on myself or my dreams and nor did I let myself go. I let myself grow. Becoming a mom has opened my heart, eyes, and way of thinking. It’s also helped me change how I live.

There’s zero shame in turning down countless invites to see local bands or to go out with friends. It is important to make time for yourself. It gives us a chance to rejuvenate, grow, learn, relax, remember what we love to do outside of being a parent or spouse, and so on. But, it’s also important to remember the life or lives we brought into the world and know that they need us. That is both humbling and empowering, knowing that we’re needed so much, needed to teach, guide, nurture, nurse, inspire, and love.

As they learn and grow, so do we. So, I will say it again, I didn’t and nor did you let yourself go. We’re allowing ourselves to grow.

 

***photo taken by me last winter***

Raw Truth

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A soul that simply wants love and peace struggles with so much sorrow, stress, and heartache thrown her way. She knows that life is never perfect, but sometimes wonders why it has to be this hard.

She smiles and laughs a lot. She knows there’s still so much to be grateful for. But in all honesty, sometimes those smiles and laughs aren’t fully genuine. Sometimes she just wants to keep people from worrying about her or seeing how bad things can be for her or her family.

Sometimes she is the epitome of selflessness, giving of her talents, things that she owns, or her time, whether she’s really in a position to do so or not. There are times where she’s instead this being of such selfishness, where she can’t see beyond her own pain, needs, or desires. There are times when she makes it all about her.

Right now, she’s not okay at all and if being completely honest, she hasn’t been for awhile. She’s feeling so overwhelmed. She lets a fraction of that show for some to see sometimes, but often keeps much of it to herself. She thinks many just don’t want to deal with her pain, insecurities, doubts, and mental health issues.

She feels things intensely, all things. If she’s scared, sad, angry, worried, jealous, anxious, or even happy, she REALLY feels it and not just her own feelings, but those around her too. If someone she knows is hurting or even really happy, she feels it like she’s going through whatever it is the other is dealing with. Only those like her begin to understand what that’s like, that it feels like a blessing many times, but can feel like a burden too, most especially when they’re struggling themselves. It’s not something they can just shut off either, this is why sometimes she distances herself from others, not because she doesn’t care, but because she feels too much all at once.

She loves God and believes in the power of love, mercy, and forgiveness. Yet sometimes she struggles in her own sin and finds it hard to fully let go and move on. Some wounds haven’t fully healed, though it’s been decades. She has prayed with such genuine desire to be free of the pain and lingering anger that lives buried within and somehow she still can’t fully let go. She’s let go enough to stop the daily nightmares and to allow some to be in her life, to feel a powerful love for them and an honest desire to see them happy, but the pain is still there.

She knows she can be her own worst enemy and harshest critic. Sometimes she is so cruel to herself. Sometimes she makes herself cry from the way she speaks in her own head. Sometimes she doubts the kind things people say. She grew up feeling alone, unwanted, ugly, and not worthy of being truly loved. It’s hard to overcome years of feeling this way, years of being told she’s nothing, and years of being ignored. She’s trying, every day, so very hard, she’s trying. God loves her and He also sent many into her life that love her too. Part of her knows she’s loved beyond measure and that there’s so much good beyond the flaws. Part of her still struggles with doubts sometimes and then she feels guilty for feeling that way…

When some people only contact her because they want something, she feels unappreciated and used, worst of all is when it’s family that make her feel so awful. How can she cut ties with people whom she loves and yet feels may not truly love her in return?

She’s moody, a pain to know and love sometimes, talks an awful lot, is what some consider to be too sensitive, and a bit neurotic at times. In all honesty, she’s not always easy to get along with. Yet, she’s also very kind, generous to a fault much of the time, funny, great to talk to, and loving. She may not always be easy to stay connected to or be friends with, but feels maybe she’s worth it if you stick around.

Pet peeves are a long list with this one, but she has gotten better with keeping some of those feelings to herself. She’s, perhaps irrationally, irritated by loud eaters, IM speech and most especially when people use zero punctuation marks to separate thoughts, rude drivers, disorganization, improper use of words like they’re, their, and there, using words that aren’t words like irregardless, people messaging her about business opportunities she has zero interest in, mass messages and texts, chain messages, when people put empty containers away instead of disposing of them, cleaning up after grown ups, finding toilet paper rolls that are put on, what she feels, is the wrong way, and the list goes on….

She wants to be seen and heard…..

She wants to be enough, for her husband, her children, others in her family, her friends, her clients, and so much so, for her God. She wants to be enough for herself too….

If she feels a certain way about something or someone, do not try to change her mind. She will respect your feelings and beliefs, but she would appreciate it if others do the same for her.

She has so many unfinished projects out there. She wants to get better at starting a book or gift for someone and actually finishing them.

Though she’s happy with the life God has given her, sometimes she wonders what it might be like if she had made some better choices. Then she feels guilty for feeling that way. Clearly, life has turned out the way it has for a reason and to get here, the things that happened needed to happen. Yet, sometimes that’s hard to accept.

She really dislikes extreme heat or cold. Though things like humidity and horrible wind chill bother her and she will complain about them, she can’t see herself living anywhere than her home state, at least for quite a long while. When people tell her to move if she hates the weather, she is annoyed because it isn’t really that simple. Her whole life has been rooted to one state. In her mind, one doesn’t simply uproot everything because the weather sometimes sucks. Family, friendship, and love are pretty good reasons to stay. Yes, she may whine about weather now and then, but in reality, she’s home right where she’s at and doesn’t want to leave anytime soon.

She is, as I’m sure anyone reading this can guess, me. I could say a lot more. I could open up the floodgates. If I do, if I go into more detail, say more of what haunts me, what makes me who I am, who I was, and who I want to be, I hope you’ll not think less of me for doing so.

I feel I’m complex and yet not so difficult to know. If you really want to know me though, be warned, as mentioned before, I’m a handful. I think, perhaps, that you may find the journey worth it though.

My PTSD stems from being emotionally neglected by my mom, sexually and physically abused by one of her boyfriends, being either neglected or treated like garbage by my dad, the things that happened in my foster homes, and being raped by someone I thought cared for me.

Some days, I feel okay. Some days, I think I’m mostly over what’s happened. I’ve mostly forgiven my mom. I love her more than I can say. Having her in my life means more than I can say. Her happiness is important to me. She is a gift from God. Some days though, something triggers painful memories and then I feel so angry that she wasn’t there for me when I needed her most, that she didn’t defend me, and that she left me to deal with what her, now, ex had done to me all on my own. She’s never really talked through this with me and she likely never will. I’m trying to accept that and most days, I’m okay with it. Some days are hard though, really hard.

My dad was so mean, outright mean, for so long. We have also made peace. He did apologize for hurting me and that means a lot to me. He knows he put me through so much and that I didn’t deserve it. Funny though, we don’t talk much. He’s locked up, so that’s part of it. Another part of it is that we just don’t have much to say to one another. We’re so different, in many ways. We have the same birthday and I can count, on one hand, how many times he’s wished me happy birthday. He’s not a sappy, saying I love you type and I very much am. It does hurt that we’ve never been close, even though I know a large part of that is because that’s just who he is. I long for a closeness, with him, and others I just don’t have. Sometimes I feel like I was born into the wrong family.

I know I burned bridges when I was young. I lied, stole, and caused so much mistrust when I was much younger. Some excuse it because of all I went through. Some never got over it, it seems. Some have gotten past it and know I’m not that person anymore. I do feel guilty sometimes still. I was hurt a lot, but I wasn’t innocent, free of hurting others either. I don’t feel that I deserved what happened to me anymore, but I also believe those I hurt didn’t deserve it either. I’m just glad that me died years ago and am grateful for those who either stuck by me or who let me back in when they saw that I’m different. (That’s why I often give many chances when I’m hurt, because others did that for me. I’m still learning when enough is enough though.)

I’m not okay and I’m not okay because of stuff going on with my son, things he’s dealing with at his dad’s, fighting to bring him home, money stuff, having several loved ones die in a few week’s time, a car accident, and trying to deal with it all at once. It feels like too much many days. I do keep pushing forward, one foot at a time, but some days it feels like I’m not going anywhere. Some days, I feel so lost and sometimes I’m so sick of acting like I’m happy when I’m not….

I look at my children and want more for them. I’m trying to be the good that I learned from my parents and not the bad. I know I have and will likely mess up again, but I’m going to keep trying, every day. I believe my kids know how much I love them and that they know I’ll always fight to give them a good life. Some days, I fear I’ll fail, but the fear never causes me to give up. I fall sometimes, but I always get back up and keep trying. I am that way with my hubby, my friends, family, and clients too. The day I stop trying is the day God decides I’m done.

Speaking of being done, I think this post is just about finished. I’ve not said it all, but then I don’t think I’ll be truly done for years to come. For now, I think this is enough. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I needed to free these thoughts, some of which I’ve written about before and I’m sure to again, and others maybe you’ve never seen before. All of which though, well, they were taking up needed space that I’d like to free up for other thoughts right now.

I’ve got clients to concentrate on, so that I can take the best photos I possibly can for them. I’ve got kiddos that need me to be alright. I’ve got a hubby that deserves a happier and healthier me more often. I’ve got a God and community to serve, to give my best to. So, with that, I’ll say au revoir, for now. Thanks, again, for spending this time with me. Until next time, much love and may you find a reason to smile as often as possible.

 

*photo taken by me at Regner Park, a couple of years ago.*

A Heavy Heart Opens Up

I am one who is known to talk a lot, but there are things, believe it or not, that I keep to myself. Sometimes I don’t know what to say or how to say it. Sometimes I am afraid to speak and other times, I just feel silly or ashamed for how I feel. Sometimes I don’t want to burden anyone with what’s going on. Either way, after awhile, it becomes too much.

I am fighting for my son. Many know this, but no one really knows how all of this has been effecting me. My son begged me to keep fighting for him, so that’s what I am doing. However, it has not been easy for me. Mentally and physically, it has been wearing me down. Between the fights with his dad and step-mom, a Guardian ad Litem who won’t return my calls and still hasn’t met my son when she was supposed to do so months ago, playing endless phone tag with my lawyer, my son breaking down and ending up in a behavioral health center, and so on, I have been stretched thin.

This struggle has been going on for years, but now it is all coming to a head. We finally have a court date, I am hoping that I will get placement back. It was supposed to be temporary placement, but that was 12 years ago. It’s really about time that it be returned to me. My son has been asking for this for years and I got tired of waiting for his dad to give this a chance. I did the right thing 12 years ago, made the sacrifice for my son’s well being. It’s time that his dad do the same thing. It really bothers me that he hasn’t been willing to at least try it out, that there’s always been an excuse. Our son has told him over and over that he’s unhappy there, that he wants to come stay with my husband and I for school, but his dad dug his heels in and has refused to budge, not even willing to do it on a trial basis.

After a huge blow out fight, we said we were going to find a way to work together and that since we simply can’t agree on placement, that the court will decide and whatever the court decides, we’ll make peace with it and make it work for our son. Our son said he would accept the decision and do the hard work that’s ahead of him to straighten his life out, no matter where he is. I hope he means it. He is a smart young man, one with a lot of talent, that could do so much. As angry as I have been with his dad, the truth of it is, right now, a lot of what’s been going on rests on his shoulders. He is 15 and knows better than to pull the things he has. There is no excuse for not turning in homework, stealing, telling tales, saying hurtful things to others, and so on. Unhappy or not, he knows what is expected of him and do his best to follow the rules. He has such lofty goals, ones he won’t accomplish if he doesn’t straighten his life out.

It is infuriating, all of it. For nearly 16 years, it’s been one battle after another. I just want peace. I want to be done fighting with my son’s dad and step-mom. I want my son to behave, not be perfect, as perfect doesn’t exist, but to turn things around, to do better than he has been. I want him to do his school work and not a half assed job, but really putting effort in. I want him to respect his teachers, peers, parents, step parents, and just others in general. I want this all to work out. I am so tired of crying, all of the misunderstandings, pleading to be heard, being ignored, not being fully included in on everything that goes on with my son, and the list goes on. My heart has been put through the wringer and I just want things to work out.

I am also dealing with grief that I haven’t been able to fully process. My grandma died at the end of January this year. She was my last living grandparent. I knew that I would take hers the hardest out of the four, as she was the one I was the closest to. I barely knew my dad’s parents, especially my grandpa, as I had only met my dad and his family when I was 10 and was 14 when he died. I hadn’t gotten to spend much time with him at all. The hardest part about losing him was regret from barely knowing him. Even though my one grandma lived for years after he died, I didn’t know her very well either. We spoke here and there, but I wasn’t really close to her. It really hurt when she died, but again, mostly out of regret from not knowing her as well as I should have. I did end up honoring her memory though, by naming my daughter partly after her. My mom’s dad and I used to be close, until I was about 11 and then things started going downhill. I was sad when he died, but it was mostly from missing what we’d had when I was a kid. My mom’s mom was a completely different story. She become a second mother to me when I was 17. She was someone I grew really close to. As a little kid, I was closer to Grandpa, but throughout my later teen years and adult life, it was her I’d grown super attached to.

My grandma took me in, more than once, when I needed somewhere to go. She let me live with her rent free, helped pay for my expenses many times, and yet still spoiled me by buying me and later my son random things because she knew we’d enjoy them. She let me use her car over and over when mine fell apart. She did so much more than all of that though. She listened to me countless times, whenever my son’s dad and I were fighting, when I would beg to see my son, when I was angry with my mom, upset with my dad, depressed, needed advice, or just wanted someone to talk to. We had so many inside jokes and often made up silly stories just because. I could confide in her anytime, about anything. I miss her, even watching QVC for hours with her. I miss her voice. I miss seeing her. And I feel so unbearably guilty for not being there more in the end. For so long, as she was aging and we could all see it, I took care of her. On my own, I took care of her, her home, her bills, and made sure everything was alright. After awhile, it got to be too much and we got help, only my grandma wasn’t happy about it. So, even after I moved out, I still went there daily to check in on her and be there for her. Eventually my uncle moved in and my role as caretaker ended. After that, I saw her less and less. At the end, I had barely seen or talked to her. I did try to call many times, but no one ever called back, not her or my uncle, but I feel like I could have tried harder. Knowing she was spending her last days in her room, barely doing anything, couldn’t even read anymore, it is a lot for me to handle. After all she did for me, I feel like I should have done more….

A little over two years ago, my friend Aimee died. That still hurts a lot, far worse than most deaths I have dealt with have. Only one hurts worse, my grandma. Aimee was my best friend for so long. The last few years she was alive, we weren’t as close, but we were still connected. She sang at my wedding three years ago, which still means so much to me. She never did meet my daughter though. She was in the hospital when my little girl was born and only immediate family was allowed to go see her. She had been in a coma, after surgery didn’t go well, was that way for awhile and then finally, she made it out of that and was recovering. Then one morning, I wake and look on Facebook, as usual, only to find out she’d died. No one saw it coming. She used to joke that she’d be lucky to make it to 30. She had a lot of health problems and had made many questionable choices, but somehow she made it through all of that. Then one day, she was gone. Some days, I forget she’s gone, sometimes I want to call her and then I remember. She touched my life in many ways. She inspired my writing, my music, and so much more. She helped me feel good about myself. She encouraged me, believed in me, and despite our issues here and there, was such a great friend. I miss her more than I can say. Some days are really hard, but I can only imagine how her family feels. She is missed so much….

I feel frustrated. I am trying so hard to build my business and some days, it feels like things are going well. I booked several weddings, events, family sessions, and more this year. I just got my business accredited by the BBB. Little by little, I am getting my name out there and it feels great. My clients are amazing and I love what I do. Capturing precious moments and then turning them into forever memories for others is a gift. Sometimes though, others make me feel awful. Now and then, I get a crazy client who tries to pull some shady stunt or another photographer trying to undermine me or steal my clients. I know it’s all a part of running your own business, but sometimes it can be difficult. I am making more than I thought I would be, but still not nearly enough to really feel like I am providing for my family. I know I am still growing my business and have a lot of learning to do, so I am trying to be more patient. Some days it can be difficult to keep perspective and stay positive.

Sometimes I feel like I am not good enough for my spouse or his family. Sometimes I feel like his family judges me. Sometimes I feel like he could have done better. I know I am a lot to handle and am thankful every day that he is by my side, that he loves me. He loves us, what we have, as a couple and a family. He is so good to my son and has sure put up with a lot. That man has so much patience and I am definitely one who requires a lot. I know I bring a lot to our relationship, that this is a two way thing. Some days I do feel like I am good for him. I keep him organized, on time, am the calendar, make him laugh and smile, help him raise our daughter, get him to eat better, and so on. I just come with so much baggage and sometimes I feel like it’s a bit much. No one has ever been outright mean to me, but sometimes the way some look at me or make me feel, I feel like maybe they wished he’d picked someone else. Paranoia set in, maybe, but either way, I hate how I feel sometimes. Sometimes I feel like he deserves more than I give, more than I am. I struggle with insecurities almost daily. I know many do, as we often our own worst critics. I am trying so hard to be kinder to myself. I am a work in progress.

I needed to get this all out, sometimes keeping things to myself or even partly to myself can be draining. I hope that anyone reading this got something from it. Maybe you’re in my shoes with parts of this, maybe you are grieving, feeling less than, or fighting for your child’s well being. Maybe you’re not in any of those situations, but are struggling in your own way. Whatever the case may be, I hope you find whatever you’re looking for, your peace, sense of worth, purpose, or some inspiration. I hope that you got something from this, that is why I share my thoughts, poetry, photography, feelings, and more. I share it so that those reading this will learn more about me, get inspired, leave comments, want to know more, become a friend, share words to inspire me, and to just connect. On that note, I wish you all a very good night, weekend, and here’s to our amazing community of artists. We write, draw, make music, and more. We create and share it with others. I love it here. Thank you for making me feel like a part of something.

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