The Real Family Feud

Death is hard.  But death within your family can be even more difficult.

I lost my mom young, many people know this about me. Strangers that inquire about the tattoo on my shoulder quickly get the story and all of the love pours out of me. I don’t mind talking about my mom anymore, although I used to. Now, it’s more of a blessing to be able to fill the ears of anyone who will listen. I loved her so much, but in a very odd way I feel like I love her even more now.

With love and loss comes a very intense sense of possession. They don’t prepare you for this. (who are “they”? I certainly don’t know them, cause they didn’t prepare me for shit.)

I clung to her life through her stuff; her drivers license, her purses, rings, clothes… and yes even her socks. (Don’t ask… I was 14)

Several very momentous items were left to me. A gift from the grave I call them.

Her wedding dress, which to much dismay does not fit me and never will. I am 4+ inches taller than my mom and in a result also wider (thanks for the hips Mom). I can use the fabric, re-tailor it, completely remake it, but in the end I can’t actually wear her dress (assuming someone marries me someday).

Her rings and jewelry, several pieces I have to have resized, which is a New Years gift to myself… not a cheap one might I add, but I really want to wear her rings. She was a very decorative lady and all of her pieces meant something to her, specifically my grandmothers ring. I have always felt a connection to my grandma, although I never met her (she passed away before I could), but I remember seeing her presence in my dreams the day my mother died. She has always been with me, she was a huge part of my mother, and I want to carry them both with me.

Her Snowbabies collection, a curio cabinet full of snow covered babies in scenarios that are perpetually in winter. I have this in my living room… I hate winter, but I love those weird little figurines. There are plenty of other random little nick knacks in there as well. I don’t when, where, or why she had them, but I put them up as they stood for years (cue the creepy doll in the dark feeling).

I have a multitude of photos, albums, old coats, scarves and random little things that belong to her. Every piece means such an incredible amount to me. It might seem cryptic, but I feel her near me when I touch these things.

With all of these things comes tension between the family though. When mom died my dad had his sisters go through and clean out her closets, almost all of her clothes and shoes were removed and donated while I was gone one day. The few things I have left therefore are quite precious. You can imagine how furious 14 year old hormones can get when things change, let alone when things are gone. I screamed at him for what felt like an hour, hysterical that mom was gone, enraged that he would just “throw her away”… at least that’s how I saw it (I was a moody teen, so sue me).

Years passed, more of her things were purged, all us kids had moved out and started our lives. We figured it all out, right? Wrong… very wrong.

I posted a Facebook status (I get it, I’m a millennial… yada yada) yesterday about my tears at the jewelry store when I dropped off my mothers rings to be sized, it went like this:

“I’m pretty sure the guy that owns the jewelry store thinks I’m insane… I handed him a ring, said I wanted it sized and then started crying. Dropping off moms jewelry to size it to fit me was incredibly and unexpectedly emotional. #crazyringlady‬”

It garnered a multitude of likes and lovely, supportive comments like, “She would be so proud that you want to wear her ring lady”, “Hugs to you, your mom would have cried too”, and “What a complement to your Mom! She would love you to wear her jewels!”. I love what my mom can still do to people, even ones who never met her, she was such a loving lady.

But on the other hand, from my own brother, I received a nasty, hurtful message. “Thanks for reminding me this morning that I have nothing of moms and never will.” When I asked him, what of hers he would like, I get “It’s obvious you are already acting like you always do when this subject comes up about her or Grandpa”. (I have a couple dead animals and a ceramic cheetah from my grandpa… that’s it. I had a car for awhile from his will, but it broke down.)

I get where he is coming from to an extent, I am possessive of these things and I am never willing to part with them. They were left to me, they only make sense to be with me as I am the girl. But I didn’t realize he had “nothing”.

Bring on the real Family Feud!

I can argue till I am blue in the face how much each thing means to me and why I may have it instead of him, but at the end of the day he is still furious at me that he doesn’t have them. How do you battle that? How do you explain to your brother, someone you love dearly, that you will not give him these things. I would give him anything else of moms that I have, but not those things. It is not out of spite, it is not out of selfishness (ok.. maybe a little, but it’s from a good place), it is purely the connection these pieces give me to my mother. She has been gone for 13 years and we are still arguing about her “stuff”.

With a distance from here to Japan, I struggle to find ways to stay close to my brother and his little boy. I try to stay in touch, give him inside information to my life first, update him when family is in the hospital, anything to make him feel closer to us. But, in reality I have always had a feeling that he has tried to run from us since mom passed.

He joined the Marine Corps, an incredibly “holy shit I am proud of my brother!” moment. He lived in California during that time, so I flew to Cali my senior year of High school, Junior year college Spring Break (where he spent the week hitting on my roommate), Senior year Thanksgiving and after I graduated for a job interview (got the job, turned it down). Then he moved to Kentucky for awhile and after he broke his back, off to Japan he went. I sadly have not sprung for my passport, so for the last few years I have been held to seeing him when he comes home. All of this distance, I feel like I have tried, but to my middle brother it is never enough. Maybe I am not realizing that I need to do more. All of it possible.

My oldest brother and I do not have this same issue, he never yells at me about moms things, never brings me down, and we mutually visit each other as often as time permits. He also has a youngin so I try to visit as much as I can considering the closer proximity (couple cities away instead of a couple countries). We argue about scenarios that happened when we were kids and where we should meet for dinner, things that usually end up with us laughing more than actually fighting.

Death is weird in this way… I don’t know if my relationship with my middle brother will always be a fight or if we will someday just simply support each other (cause when he is supportive, he is my biggest fan, hands down). Maybe this is our relationship, hate you today, love you tomorrow, and round and round. Maybe it will get worse, maybe it will get better. I would be surprised if he read this even, cause then maybe we would be one step closer.

If he does read this, as you just have, I hope you all gather the same feeling about me. I love my mother, I love my father. Even when I am burning mad, I will always love my brothers. But at the end of it all, it’s not just stuff to me.

 

 

 

I am sorry bro if what I do hurts you, if what I have pains you to miss, I really do not mean to cause you this. If I could bring her back I would, if I could fill the hole I would. If I could duplicate what remains or detach myself from it, I would. I wish I could be there, I wish you were here.

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The Repeat Offender

You know what I am talking about, that ex… that ONE ex that can’t seem to leave it be. You finally feel like you have distanced yourself from the negative scenario that was that situation, only to have him pop his ugly head back in to your life at the most inopportune times. The repeat offender aka the ex boyfriend who repeatedly offends you.

The said relationship ended, you violently ended it about a year ago, not necessarily proud of all of actions, but you did what you thought would hurt him the way you were hurting. Tit for tat cause you were livid. You wash your hands of it and try to pick up the pieces that you might have left for the next guy. You spend the next few months dating and losing hope in humanity, let alone men, he tries to reach out at first but quickly quits because, in reality, he never cared as much as you. You have removed this person from all other avenues of connection that you might have left by now. Or so you think. You do your best to remove yourself, you do your best to move on.

You find someone, a good one, and you start down your path of happiness. Then BOOM! Text messages, phone calls, ridiculous attempts to reach out to you of “I need to explain”. Certain messages fall on deaf ears, some make it through… some make it through. Then you find yourself angry all over again! Furious at this person for what they did to you so long ago. “I was just coming to terms with this! Damn you!”

And the anger can never only affect you, noooo, that would be too easy. It seeps out of your pores and your friends and new happiness can sense it. You are irritable and frustrated and you are not even 100% why. You don’t love this person anymore cause the person you “loved” never existed. You don’t want to be with, let alone near this person, because their life practically disgusts you now. So why is this making you so angry? Why are you praying to see a photo of his happy face so you can spit on it?

Then it hits you… his attempt to reach out and explain completely negates the closure you thought you had back when you exploded in a fit of rage at the end of it all. He took away the one thing you had in your corner. He made you open a door you had long ago closed. It was only a door that you could open. You opened it for this bullshit??

Slam that damn door shut, smile, and get back to life.

 

He Put The Corn in Corny

Literally… He went for it, spelling out his desires in a cold yellow vegetable. But the sentiment, the thought, was anything but cold, and maybe melted this heart of mine just enough.

I have come to realize in my life the things we should run from and the things we should grasp on to for dear life. Many of these things I had twisted. I was running from good people and grasping on to my self preservation. I had loved so hard for so long that the constant torture and pain from ending that relationship was never over. Every time I let someone hurt me I felt his pain again. I longed for him instead of the one who just left. Loving was never truly loving, it was a temporary dissolve of emotion that I could utilize to hide my struggle. Because it was my fault after all, I left.

The bigger issue with this, you end up feeling bull dozed by all the bullshit you let in to you life. I allowed myself to have my self esteem destroyed by one, to feel like I deserved to watch another get married, to understand why another couldn’t just have me but needed more. I allowed these things to happen to me while I built walls and froze myself off to anything that could possibly be good for me.

With this, I was so far away from expecting this one to be anything more than a friend, I very literally laughed when someone brought to my attention that he was clearly trying to enter the race for my heart. No way, we are just friends, I have known him for over a year, there is no way… Then he showed up at my door with a dozen roses and a smile that I couldn’t ignore… Yep… He is trying for me. Shit.

Shit. Shit. Shit! Here we go. A truly good guy that I am obviously not ready for. I just went through a train wreck of scenarios. I am bitter. I don’t know what I want. This isn’t going to work. I’m going to hurt him.

Don’t kiss him! Whatever you do after this date, DON’T KISS HIM!

You kissed him… you’re an idiot.

O.K… just tell him the truth about you, you suck at this thing of dating and you will probably run away from him a couple times and he should go now before it gets serious… He should be the one to run away actually, physically run if possible, the sooner the better.

Why is he still standing here? I just told him I was bitter and didn’t know what I wanted and I would probably hurt him and he is still standing here… He is standing here telling me that it would be worth it, I would be worth it. He will give me the time to figure it out, but he wants this.

So he is crazy? Blind maybe? A masochist?! Or will I have another push over good guy that I train wreck… It’s been a few years since I have done this, I am due for one right?

Wrong…

What I was actually due for, was a solid person to invest their interest in me at the same magnitude that I invest. It was time for me to get out of my own way and let someone worthy in. It was time for the guy who wouldn’t give up, the guy who was just himself, the man that was so incredibly willing to possibly be crushed by me that would end up breaking this ridiculous trend of self destruction.

And even then, I continued to talk myself out of it until I came home on lunch one day. There he was, simply and unapologetically himself, standing next to a pizza and a Yankee candle with little pieces of corn arranged just right.

“Will you be my gf?”

And through my laughter, I would break the vicious cycle and allow in the Nice Guy.

Crashing Realization

As we continue to grow in maturity throughout our lives we come upon moments of weakness, lessons of learning and sometimes a crashing realization involving both. I came to one of these realizations the other day when I was under the assumption that things had not gone as planned for me, and I was hurting. I was reaching out so hard for happiness, but was I?

I had spent the better part of three months putting effort towards something I wanted. I was not receiving the reciprocation I had desired. It fell apart, and I was upset. But the harsh reality that fought it’s way to my very core was simply this:

I did this to myself…

I had sunk my brain in to something I knew was not going to work out to be anything more than what it was and immediately realized my demented self preserving and destructive behavior. It hit me like a mack truck blazing 80mph in to the cement wall that I place in front of my heart. As with every other scenario in my life (save one) I knew within a few days this wasn’t for me. But I went for it, made excuses to make it look like a good idea to pursue, then subsequently waited for it to implode. Either on my end or the other. This way, it will only hurt a little and for a short while. I won’t need to cry, I won’t need to hold on to this and wonder why, I won’t need to do anything more than skip away.

Because at the end of the day this is what I wanted…

 

 

Days Go By

It’s been a about a year.

I can still picture it, walking along the beach with you letting your words sink in to my brain like a drug wheeling me through emotions I didn’t want to feel. The things you said to me were so difficult to accept considering how jaded and broken I had felt for months prior. My stomach was twisting  as I tried not to listen to the words that flowed so smoothly from your lips but I couldn’t help but hear every syllable.

You were piecing me back together.

I ran in to the ocean to escape your kiss. I couldn’t bear the idea of falling for you then. But you followed me… why did you follow me? Why did you scoop me up only to deposit me on cloud 9 with the touch of your lips? Why did you hold me so tightly?

I got tangled up in you those next few months, losing track of everything I had wanted and longed for. Your words were painkillers restructuring my heart and allowing it to beat again. What I could not have prepared for though… as soon as I was intoxicated by you, you would leave.

Almost as swiftly and as cruel as you came, you would choose to no longer be the voice that promised me the world. For a while I couldn’t grasp it. Love tries everything to make it work right? You put in your all when you love, you do whatever you can and compromise and meet halfway and work together. Isn’t that how it works? But it became apparent very quickly that i was mistaken. You had not and would not try as hard as me.

What would become even more hard to handle is that you would not exert any effort to maintain the friendship you so dearly wanted to keep with me. You would call for advice, you wanted to vent, you even called for advice on girls you were dating… I ran around doing favors for you, answering every call. What did I get in return? An attempted seduction during my next visit, irrational words of struggling to not feel for me but reassuring me that there was no way we could ever work. Distance. Simply too much for you.

You must have failed to remember that I have an intensity for happiness. And draining from you was no longer bringing me anything but misery. I had realized your constant need and complete lack of reciprocity. I had grown out of the idea of loving you. But it was at that time you realized I was everything. You tried to come crashing back in with a bullshit request, and once again, was unable to stand beside your words and wants. You were a coward. And you lost me.

I stopped answering your calls, I stopped responding to your constant need for me. It drove you insane but I was unaware due to the simple fact that I had made the decision not to let your incessant needs overcome my desire for peace. Days flew by and I would not think of you, but I know you were thinking of me. I grew up and you grew stagnant. I moved on and so did you, but I left you behind whereas you will never get over this. You will live with this while I live on.

I No Longer Have Patience

I have been going through a lot of interesting transitional scenarios in my life currently. I had a friend of mine send me this quote by José Micard Teixeira. This quote was most recently mistaken for a Meryl Streep quote, I admire the woman, but need to credit the correct author.

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” 

 

This really hit home for me, and it brings to light a lot of things I have learned about myself over the years. Although I have always been strong and independent, I have always had an issue with cutting people out of my life who did not add anything to it. I hung on to old relationships, whether a lover or friend. I made excuses for old friends who were no longer the person I connected with. I made excuses for myself on why I had allowed to be treated in certain ways in love. I avoided the idea of severing communications with these people… because what if?

Over the last year I have gained confidence in the ideas of what happiness is to me and the people who add or subtract from it. I no longer have patience for things that hurt me, I no longer want to waste my time holding on to things that will never be, I lost the will to continuously try to please those that do not expel the same efforts in my direction.

I have become a pro at finding friendships in people that enlighten me, grow me, challenge me and bring an overall sense of trust and understanding in souls of amazing human beings. These people continue to push me towards a greater sense of myself and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I have a tendency to give with a ferocity that has yet to be met in love. I am not desperate, exact opposite; I am not looking to snatch up a husband by any means. I am simply looking for my…. well my dude I guess. I never really know how to describe what I want, because it’s easier to describe what you don’t want. I no longer have time for disrespect, I no longer tolerate laziness or bad habits that are harmful and/or disrespectful, I don’t have time to settle for anything less than what I deserve and I have decided to not waste my time with someone who does not deserve my time. I want a guy who desires, strives, laughs, enjoys and lives.

And he has to like animals.

 

Growing Up and Terrified

I came to a smacking realization the other day. I am not getting younger. I am not staying young. I am violently growing up this year.

Now to a lot of people 26 still sounds so young. But to me I am at a critical transition point of terrifying and wonderful.

This is all stemming from a large financial decision I made recently. I have officially started the process of buying a house. For the last 6 or so months I have been house hunting, made a few offers, but never really had the reality set in until just a few weeks ago.

My offer was accepted

Now I am in a whirlwind of gathering documentation for my mortgage, debating a down payment, awaiting appraisals, negotiating concessions, inspections, waiting… waiting…

The offer was accepted, inspections done, concessions agreed upon. Now I am full swing mortgage talk and down payment decisions made me realize just how terrified of my life I am. Am I really buying a house in a city? I hate the city. I am praying this is a good investment property. What if I meet someone? What if he has a house as well? That would make a moving in together decision insanely complicated. That’s a ridiculously preemptive thought. I should stay single. But I am not getting any younger and I would like to have kids before I am 40… before my dad passes. He is also not getting any younger. What if I lose my job? What if this, what if that, what about this?! So many questions and concerns and exhausting realizations about my life.

But then I realized a very beautiful fact… and it came sweeping in with all it’s glory.

Who gives a shit

Who cares that maybe I am buying a house somewhere that may or may not work out. I am buying a house that will allow two very good friends to rent cheaper, which helps me and helps them. I will have a yard for my dog and can update/fix/change the house any time and in any way that I want. I don’t have to deal with the bullshit apartment hassle I have been in the last few years. If I lose my job, I will get a new one, because I work my ass off and would do just that. Why am I even worried? I love my job! Why am I worried about what someone else has going on? If I meet someone amazing, I guess we will figure it out, because that’s what adults do, figure it out. I would absolutely love to have my dad be involved in my kids lives, but if he is not around when I finally get around to having them, well then there is a bigger reason that is out of my control. I need to keep living and loving him without thinking about him expiring before I have children.

Yes, I am growing up, constantly changing and maturing and getting older. I relish in the fact that I am in reality still so young. I have so many things to look forward to, so many experiences and so many lessons to learn. I have happiness and heartache in my future. Loss and new experiences. So many things that focusing on feeling old today is ridiculous.

Now excuse me while I go splash in mud puddles.

#LikeAGirl

Documentarian Lauren Greenfield and Always have teamed up to fight against the female stereotype, and show the negative effect it can have on a teen’s confidence.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/candacelowry/this-emotional-compaign-aims-revolutionizes-the-phrase-like

Greenfield conducted a social experiment by asking a group of women and men to do various things “like a girl.” Pre-teen girls were asked to do the same, and their reactions were incredibly moving.

We’ve all heard the phrase “like a girl” growing up, so why not change its negative stigma?

 

This documentary hits home, growing up in a house full of boys, losing your mother influence young and not knowing who and what it meant to be acting “like a girl”. This is empowering. We as women, girls, all ages and sizes need to stand up to the negative stigma!!!

Unexplainable

You told me once, “I honestly don’t know what it is that you see in me”. For the life of me I wish words could explain it. It happened the moment I saw you, way back when, the first time I saw you in that bar. You were like a magnet. I know you remember the staring, watching your every move, soaking up the motions as you seemed to float through the bar like a dream. I had to watch you walk out, struggling to accept the fact that I would never see you again. I am sure you can imagine my elation when I saw you return. You strategically placed yourself and watched me. Did you know I would muster up the courage to ask you to dance? Did you know that walking me to my car would land you a kiss? Electrifying that was, the way your lips mapped mine. I was such a kid back then, wanting to be whatever you wanted for just a chance at your heart. You were so shallow and heartless back then, thankfully, I would not have been worth it myself.

Years can pass between two people but not without change. I watched you open and warm to me as a friend. We cast aside all of our games and facades to simply be just that. Oh, what a mistake that was, for seeing you in your true light was intoxicating. I convinced myself time and again how poorly matched our personalities would always be, convinced myself you were never going to be perfect for me. But you kept slipping and showing me slivers of the real man under that harsh exterior you liked to play. Time and again you gave me reasons to walk away from you, time and again I tried to. I went sprinting in the opposite direction of you so many times… and when I grew tired of running, I hailed a cab that quickly brought me back to you. How corny that sounds even as I write it!

Isn’t it funny the games we play with our hearts? Trying to convince ourselves that what we feel is not real. Why do we do this? Why do we sabotage our thoughts and emotions with pessimism and insecurities? Is it the never ending let downs we have experienced? The heartache we are unwilling to feel again? Vulnerability?

Can you explain why you run away? I know why I do…

Ugh… Is That Really What I Look Like?!

Hide Your Face

When we were all young teens there was an endless slew of horrible things that happened to us. As a girl it was periods and puberty, zits, blackheads, gaining weight but no boobs, etc. I HATED my puberty acne more than anything because I have a nervous habit of picking at myself, so I made every break out worse! Ugh, I despised being a teen.

Now as a 26 year old woman… I STILL HATE ACNE! But it was so much simpler back then! I expected to break out once a month, puberty after all was a bitch. But now there are so many more reasons that cause acne in a woman it is hard to stay on top of it all. I will go months with a clear glowing face, but then the switch from Winter to Spring comes, my skin all over my body dries out and I am wearing lotion more. I also sit with my face in my hands at work. This happens and what do you have? BOOM! Pimples all over my chin! But it doesn’t stop there! You add chap stick in to that mix and now you have embarrassing pimples near your lip line that you just can’t handle because what do you look like when you pick and pick?? A herpes case! Ugh… THERE IS NO WINNING! I am dealing with this currently, ripping at my face enough that I look contagious! AWFUL! There is not enough makeup in the world to give a woman confidence during this time. Don’t even get me started on dating during this time frame… There is not enough time in the world to describe that agony. I wake up every morning with hope, make it to the bathroom to go “ugh… is this really what I look like today?” Now I have talked to my doctor about this, he laughed at me and said “stop touching your face so much! You’re bringing this on yourself!” Thanks Doc… guess I should just wear a sign that says “Don’t worry, it’s not herpes, I am just incapable of leaving my face alone.” … One day I will learn…

How about when you make even the slightest smallest change to your skin regime? Change a face wash? New cream? Forgot to wash your makeup off from the night before? Well now you are gambling with a 50/50 chance that your skin is going to rebel and destroy your world. Change your diet? Good luck! Do you have a new prescription? Change your birth control or stop using BC or start using BC? Dear Lord good luck to you especially! Hormones are still such a bitch.

I have a really good friend who is in my boat right now, just in a different area. She is experiencing what we call the bulls-eye. That god awful pimple that no one can seem to explain that erupts on your forehead, directly between the eyes… Might as well wear a sign about that as well! “Yea, I know you see it, please stop staring”. We have discussed this a lot recently and just can’t get over how incredibly embarrassed we both feel during this time. You want to cover it up with makeup? Enjoy that pimple being around twice as long! We KNOW that everyone goes through this to a certain extent, or to even a greater extent and trust me… I feel for you. I am very blessed to have a simple occasional episode, but damn, it is never less embarrassing than the last time.

I hope you were not looking for skin advice from this article because trust me I have tried it all. I don’t have a home remedy, no magic cure, no great advice. Maybe give myself advice on not being self destructive and letting it run its course. Might be over sooner than the damage I cause. All I am looking for is a “Here! Here!” “I have been there, keep on keeping on!” “Don’t we all hate acne” Etc. This post is meant for support for anyone and everyone who has a pimple or WHATEVER ruin their self esteem.

If you want advice… Wash your face.