Ebb and Flow

I spent a good deal of time this evening revisiting my past self. She’s saved here on this blog, in every word and every sentence a little bit of my soul was placed for all to who care to see.

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could go back in time and tell yourself that everything works out alright, even though it seems utterly hopeless in that moment? You are not alone. Hindsight can be a beautiful thing.

I am currently 21 years old, married, been working at a family-run daycare for a little over two years and am no longer going to school for anything that isn’t required by my job. If I could go back to my past self, even just a few years ago, I would in a heartbeat. I wrote a post about the struggles I was facing at the end of my year at CSU- that is the moment in my life I would go back to, if I could.

I would go back and hug that younger, sadder me and let her cry on my shoulder and then I would tell her: “You make it through. Your story doesn’t end here, you don’t become homeless and not even a year from now you meet the love of your life and start a whole new adventure you can’t even begin to imagine right now.”

As I sit here writing, I am marveling at the true, wondrous beauty of the complexity of life. We all experience life in a linear fashion, but sometimes we get a chance to look back and revisit where we were somewhere in our past and see how millions of excruciatingly small details led us to where we are at this very moment. The details so tiny that if even one had gone a different way, your entire life would be completely different. This post is the culmination of some of those moments.

Many of my friends are graduating this upcoming December and I find myself feeling more and more content with walking down an aisle towards my soulmate than walking down one to collect a piece of paper. I am so glad to have reached this outlook on life this evening, I really needed to know that everything gets better if you give it time.

Let me explain. A few weeks ago I was congratulating one of my husband’s oldest friends on a blog post he wrote about his work and as the conversation progressed this blog was brought up. Ever since, adding a new post has been on my mind but I haven’t found the right inspiration to actually write anything- until today.

Talking to that same friend, we were discussing the woes of our lives as they currently stand. Small things that won’t derail our entire existence but also don’t make getting out of bed in the mornings any easier. In the conversation, the phrase “ebb and flow” was used to describe the funk we both feel we are in and, reading over the ebbs recorded on this blog I felt the itching in my fingers to write about the flow that has since happened in my life.

So, here I am, coming around full circle to write a blog post for my future self to find one day and remember that life is truly made of the good and bad moments working together to paint a beautiful mural. Three years ago I was questioning my entire life and feeling lost as I tried to wrestle with what I wanted versus what I needed. Today, I’m watching Beauty and the Beast while I write a post and my heart is happy.

Yes, I’m experiencing another ebb in the course of my life; but I am more than content sitting here reminiscing about the beautiful flow that has brought me to this point. Right now, all the crap that has weighed me down seems a little less daunting- another flow will come and then another ebb, and Life. Will. Go. On. Beautifully.

Thanks, Ben.

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Love Is Not Enough

In recent weeks there have been several of my closest friends who have run into relationship problems and have sought my advice on what to do. All of them have professed the desire to be done with the incredible amount of bullshit that their significant others have been able to generate- and all have stayed.

The reasoning behind staying is a mystery to me. My friends will attempt to explain by saying silly things like “if we stop fighting then…” or “I don’t want it all to go to waste” and sometimes “but I love him/her”. None of these are plausible reasons to stay and gut it out. Not a single one of these utterances applies to living with another human being in a healthy and happy relationship.

My advice to all of them has been that love is NOT enough. Love does not pay your bills, quiet your hunger, put a roof over your head or quench your thirst. Love cannot look at your life and do something to mold it into the glorious dreams you have.

To be fair, love does quite a lot. While love cannot do all of the mundane and frankly, never-ending duties life requires; love can and does make the nuisances of life easier to bear. That, dear readers, is the sweet beauty of love.

So, when my wonderful, talented and beautiful friends come to me with tales of woe and misfortune stemming from a false idea of what love is doing in their lives I have zero qualms about telling them to end it and move forward. No one should sacrifice their mental and physical well-being for “love” simply because love does not ask for that kind of sacrifice. If the love you are experiencing is manifesting itself in fights and bitter tears or angry words hurled at slammed doors, my advice is to pack up and look for the kind of love that dries your tears and holds you when you’re at your weakest.

Love is not a substitute or an excuse for life! Love is a tool that makes everyday life more fulfilling and enjoyable because it allows you to shoulder the responsibilities you face with someone who is invested in helping you and not themselves. Love might not be enough but it is definitely a perk.

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My dearest Riz

Today is a sad, sad day. 

A few posts back I wrote about a man who was able to understand me in a way that nobody else had managed to in a very long time. His name was Laurence Rizzio and he was a wonderful, loving man. 

Today, the world lost a man who found a reason to love every single person he ever came across. He focused on how he could make us smile, or laugh just because he knew it would make our day a little bit better. I spent all of my free time sitting in his office, talking about life and her woes for the entirety of my senior year of high school. We could talk about anything, and I miss those discussions more than I could ever say.

He helped me through some of the most trying times of my life and I am deeply upset that I didn’t get the chance to repay his kindness in full. 

Rizzio was a lost soul. He was going through his own battles when we met, I think that’s part of the reason we got along so well. It never felt like there were 30+ years between us; we connected through our pain and it was a beautiful friendship. One of the many things he loved about me was my writing ability. 

This blog meant the world to Rizzio; he printed out every single post and had me sign them so he could hang them up in his office. He never failed to make me feel like I was doing something good in the world, even when all I felt like I was doing was creating more bullshit for myself to dig through. 

I would like to think that all our time spent together benefited him as well; but I don’t know if he ever knew just how much he meant to me. I barely graduated, I had pretty much given up on myself and I owe my walk to get my diploma entirely to Riz. He never let me beat myself up to the point that I couldn’t continue and I wish I had been able to say goodbye to the man I loved so much.

But he’s in a better place now. Wherever it is, I know he’ll make everyone smile and laugh and I know that he will continue to watch over the people he loved down here. Laugh on. Riz; laugh on. 

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The Conundrum of Higher Education

  We all know the feeling of intense excitement and nervousness that builds in our stomach from the moment our senior year of high school begins, for some it’s even sooner.  All throughout the year you are bursting with pent up energy just ITCHING to get away from high school and “be done”.  I was never really sure why that feeling came about because there are still at least four more years ahead of you called College.  Most of us don’t realize that college is still school and therefore requires effort; we push that logic to the back of our brains and instead focus on the fact that we will no longer be in high school and will be moving on to a place that is not high school.  

But, if you’re like me, when you race off to college expecting to have to work a little bit to make money and get back on that school-work grind and suddenly find yourself thrown into the equivalent of stormy seas complete with a raging battle for your time and brain power, it’s a bit overwhelming.  My first year of college is quickly coming to a close and I am currently facing the terrifying thought that it might also be my last.  This has sparked an interesting conversation within myself that questions the very basis of why I am here in the first place. 

If, in fact, this is my last semester of college, then I will have to deal with an array of emotions that even the thought of experiencing creates a huge ball of utter panic inside my chest.  What will I do without a degree?  My parents want me to move back in with them and get a job at the Embassy; granted, that IS an appealing option, but I left home for a reason.  To move back in would be to admit complete defeat and I’m not sure that failing out of college my first attempt constitutes complete defeat.  I also don’t have a car or a place to live currently (since I’m still serving time in the dorms) so I would have to sort that out, oh and to make matters worse, my job is an on campus job meaning that I would also be unemployed.  All of that would come crashing into reality in almost exactly a month from right now.  

However, if this is not my last semester of college and all of my hard work and stress comes to fruition and I manage to salvage my time here at CSU then, what?  I don’t currently have a major, I have an idea of what I want to do but that doesn’t always lead to a steady job later in life and since I’ll be up to my ears in debt after graduation I should really focus on getting a degree that will help me get a job, right?  Again I find myself wondering if that is the correct way to go about this whole higher education business.  The conundrum is: do you pick a major that will ultimately deposit you into a career you tolerate but that will put you on the fast track to paying off your loans OR do you pick a major you are passionate about that might not be the easiest way to find a job?  If you opt for the latter choice then what level of passion are you going to choose; absolutely adore or moderately passionate about the topic but have other interests in life outside of your career?  If I get to stay and pursue my future at such a high cost to both me and my family, I would love to say that I would pick the fast track to financial freedom but my heart wouldn’t be in it.  So, if I choose the path of most resistance, does that make me a bad person/student/daughter?  

These are the lovely thoughts that are rushing around my brain currently.  I don’t want my time to be up at CSU, I really like it here.  But something has got to give; if I stay I have to pick a major and I have to work incredibly hard to prove to the higher ups, and myself, that I belong here.  If I don’t then I have to decide what the hell I’m going to do with the small amount of cash and life experience I have up to this point.  Make no mistake, high school is a cake walk and college will be vastly different from what you believe school is like.  Don’t be like me and allow yourself to fall to the very lowest of your potential because you didn’t prepare yourself enough before you started this whole college adventure.  

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What Makes Important News?

What do we know about the world today?  What do we know of what happens in America today at this very moment?  We know what we are told.  But who decides what we need to know?  Ratings do; i.e. we as the audience members decide what we want to watch or read or hear.  However, what we consider to be important today has changed from what it once was.  We no longer have serious journalists, at least not in my opinion.

I’m not just referring to the celebrity news monopoly, although it is a serious offender of what the issue is today.  More people buy magazines, read articles online and follow celebrity social media accounts than follow the President of the United States’ doings.  For my part, I’m fairly certain I know more about Kim and Kanye’s tumultuous and silly relationship than I do American History, and believe me, I know my history.  Another example would be Miley Cyrus; her VMA performance was put on the same page of the news as the September 11, 2001 bombings.  Excuse my ignorance but when did she become as important as National disasters?!  People now see drama as being fun thanks to reality T.V.; no, thank you!

Personally, I would really appreciate seeing news that was based on informing the public instead of entertaining us.  A perfect example is the topic of gun violence.  Over the summer 46 people were shot and killed in a 72 hour period in Chicago, Illinois but the story was less publicized than the attack on the school in Connecticut.  The reason being because the ratings say that we would prefer to see stories about gun violence so horrible that the 46 people who died weren’t enough to get real coverage.  Violence is violence and it is the media’s job to report on what goes on in our country, not to judge which incident will gain them the most ratings.  The news originally began as a way to mass produce information for the public; it should return to that purpose once again.

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Inner Strength

“We know what we are, but not what we may be” – William Shakespeare

    This is my favorite quote of all time; it can mean so many things but the most profound, at least in my humble opinion, is that we do not believe in our own potential nearly as much as we should.  People nowadays automatically place themselves into a certain path of life and while that isn’t entirely a bad thing, it isn’t entirely a good one either.

As I have discussed several times before, it is common practice to insist that you could accomplish less in life than what you might actually be able to if you tried.  However, it is important to remember that what seems beyond your ability is only so because you believe it is; similarly, things only have power because you believe they do.   So instead of believing that something has the power to stop you from accomplishing anything you set your mind to, try to believe that it is you who has the power to do what you like with this life.

Life has a purpose, but that purpose you must decide for yourself.  Encourage yourself and challenge yourself to stretch beyond the limits you inadvertently set because, as Shakespeare so eloquently put, you never know what you can accomplish until you try. 

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Depression Hurts

Most people are lucky enough to never know the pain and the loneliness that walk hand-in-hand with the unfortunate occurrence of depression.  Those lucky individuals are also handicapped when it comes to understanding and sympathizing with those of us who find ourselves trapped in its clutches.  It’s a disease; it eats away at your happiness and it makes you feel like a worthless and unwanted waste of space.

It’s easy to believe that depression is a cover story for teenage angst or the fast lane for attention seekers; but in all honesty, depression is so much more.  There are many different types and, just like people, a unique experience comes with each.  To generalize depression is like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands; it is impossible to for a depressed person to fully describe what depression feels like because you can’t tell what you are feeling.  When asked you might respond by saying ‘tired’, ‘worn out’, ‘sad’ and other seemingly normal emotions.

Many people, including myself, have suffered from depression.  The emotional damage you put yourself through is incredibly difficult to move past; it is possible but it takes time.  If ever you come across someone who is depressed take the time to step into their shoes and see things from an utterly dark and desperate point of view.  We all want to feel loved and wanted in this life; I for one hope to never make any one feel as though they are not.

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