Who? Who? Doesn’t love an owl butterfly? 

I’m sure I can guess what you’re thinking. What exactly is an owl butterfly and why is it named so? Well above you’ll see one of my pictures of this big and beautiful butterfly. The owl part of the name is because of that gorgeous owl eye they have on their wings. What is the purpose of this eyespot? Well, it’s to either scare off predators that might eat it and it has the double advantage of directing their attention if they do attack away from their main body. If they are attacked they can still escape and live another day.

These butterflies are especially fascinating because they are crepuscular which basically means they come out in the twilight hours of dawn and dusk as opposed to being diurnal like most. This fascinated me because I’ve been studying butterflies since I was a little girl and actually worked at a butterfly garden when I was twelve years old. I’ve never come across any with that adaption and was wondering why when I came across them before that they were resting while the other species were feeding and breeding.

The movements when they fly will make you smile or even laugh, they flap their wings heavy and sound like a bat instead of light and soundless like most. I have never seen any move quite like them with the clearly audible beating of their wings. They will chase each other for short distances and then end up on a leaf where they stay motionless.  Their camouflage is so perfect especially if they are on a tree that they melt into the color of the bark except for their owl eye. 
Now here is an amazing picture I was able to take of the Owl and the more popular and well known blue morpho. They are related to each other but as I was discussing with an entymotologist that they are more ‘kissing cousins’ with their relation. The blue morpho is that stunning butterfly with blue irredescent wings that refract the light to produce the metallic blue we see.

I kept asking at the special event why their behavior is so different from other butterflies. Moths are generally nocturnal though there are some who bend the rules in this. The consensus was it might be an adaption to predators to evade being eaten. When I did some digging online it turns out that they are from one of the oldest genera on earth, Brassolis. Yet again their fascinating crepuscular/nocturnal behavior wasn’t explained so I guess it’s a secret the Owls will keep.

Life is never what you expect it to be

You would be amazed the changes one makes in their life when five or more years have passed. If you told me five years ago that I would have a not only decent relationship with my father, but forgive him, I’d laugh and say you were funny. And, the same could be said if my self now was able to talk to the girl five years ago I’d tell her the move miles and miles away from friends and family would be the best thing for her.

I read posts from my past on this blog and I’m amazed with the changes I’ve made. The posts about my husband and our then budding relationship especially make me smile. We are now married for three years and we have gone as a couple from me being without a job for more than a year, to him having the same problem. It’s put stress and strain on us, and we’ve lost some of our playfulness and are in a state of limbo with his job situation. I’m not sure if I’m staying here, if we will need to move, and I keep hoping that he will get the call for a great place to work at.

My husband and I got married and moved the same day to this place for his job and we couldn’t have guessed that his job would let go of him two years after the move. As a couple I feel like we just have had a hard time since we’ve said “I do” to each other. It seems like we are both not at our best points in our lives and so making each other a prioirity falls aside to just trying to survive everything.

We have fallen into the rituals of daily life, doing dishes, buying groceries, and keeping up with all of the mundane husband and wife duties. I appreciate it and I find comfort in it, yet there still isn’t the same little things we’d used to do for each other just because. The little gifts, love notes, and acts we used to do without thinking suddenly have to be reminded for the other to do. We spend a lot of time on electronics seeming to never make eye contact with the other person. He’s constantly looking for job listings, I’m unwinding from my day and wasting time while he job searches.

I have friends that filter in and out of my life. I hold onto some for a few months and then let them slip through my fingers and disappear into the void, while others fight to keep me in contact. I still try to see my friends back home when I visit and have made a few friends in this new place who I share bits and pieces of my life with. Life to me can and is easily lived without friends or people knowing you. Being a lone wolf is a part of who I am, though I can’t deny having people to care about is both wonderful, and frustrating at the same time. If I care enough to let someone in I will try to keep them but it’s all to easy to lapse into silence and not to seek others out.

My husband has never been out of a job for this long, and his last job he kept for fourteen years of his life. To say that this has been difficult on him is beyond an understatement and the whole thing puts a strain on everything. My heart goes out to him for his struggle, how he wants to provide but he can’t, and that we’re living off his retirement until it is completely gone.

This life isn’t what I’d expect it to be but I’d still chose it over staying where we were and never moving. It’s something that I feel like my old me would agree that this has helped me be me… fiercely independent, strong, and to try to have more of a capacity to love others. It’s hard, near impossible sometimes, yet I am definitely not the same person who first started writing this blog and nearly everything has changed.

The jury duty case that rocked my core

I can assume that anyone who has been called into jury duty might have the same reaction as me, “why did I get picked?? And why does it have to be on a day that I’m working?? And how did they ever find me?!” I was picked once before but that was when I was moving so I didn’t have to attend it because I was getting married and moving. So, to say the least I was not looking forward to it.

My husband, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of me. He enjoys jury duty and boasts all the time about the case he ended up hanging the jury on the verdict. He didn’t understand my apprehension, repeating over and over again, “it’s just jury duty!

I tried to come at it from a good angle but failed miserably. I arrived in the room where people were stacked upon people for the case. My assessment of everyone else was that they hadn’t quite packed like I had for it, I had my backpack, a book, my iPad, water, and snacks. The day before I had worn out my introverted self by dancing and going to a party so I was more than happy to lose myself in the book I had brought.

They started to call names and we all filtered into the room one by one. I kept saying to myself please don’t call my name, and I was almost in the clear… Until my name was the last one they called. There was a ton of us in there, and you couldn’t tell anything about the case.

The judge tried to get things rolling a little more light hearted, and I knew that this case was something big. Then, she ended up saying it, in a muffled voice, “aggravated sexual assault of a child (less than 6 years old).”

The reaction was immediate from all of us, but from me I felt like I had been run over by a bus. My heart started racing, my breathing changed, and my head kept on saying just not this, I can’t be here. They went into the explanation of sexual assault, and I saw one girl ahead of me on the verge of something. She was experiencing a reaction like me, and she was trying to fight it and was losing the battle.

Her hand shot up and in tears she said that she couldn’t do this case, that she had been molested by her uncle. I knew it from her face that she had a personal experience like me, and my heart went out to her. I just wanted to hug her, to take away that experience from her. Of course, I can’t, and then they ended up asking the question soon afterwards of who else had experienced a friend or family member that had been sexually abused.

There was a mother where her daughter had been molested all of her life without ever telling anyone. Another and another and another, so many stories, going row by row and people showing their jury numbers to be called upon. The girl who had experienced it herself raised her hand again, and then I knew I had to do it. I didn’t want to, certainly not in front of seventy other people, but I just felt sick, sad, upset, and most of all, angry.

I raised my number, was called upon, took a deep breath and stared down. I wanted to speak clearly because they were asking everyone telling their stories to repeat it since they couldn’t hear us. I was not going to repeat this again, and I told myself just don’t cry.

“Well…” I started, taking that one deep breath, “I have been sexually abused as a child, a teenager and adult.” The prosecutor asked me by whom, and I said I would never talk about it, but it’s been by multiple men in my life. They asked where, if it was the same area they had court, and I told them back where I used to live. My voice was cracking severely as I spoke, I couldn’t cover up the emotion pouring out from my body. I felt so raw, like I was completely exposed and naked to everyone.

All I kept on thinking about was this little girl, and when it first started with me. How there wasn’t anyone who believed me when I told them what had happened. The years I’ve spent trying to trick myself that I’m okay, and that this is just the past.

But, it didn’t feel like the past, it felt like the present and I couldn’t escape it. I sat through the entire jury duty, and the defense presented his case that the child could have lied about it. That she didn’t know the gravity of the situation. I felt the horrible feeling of not being believed for something so horrible myself, and how my entire life has had continuos molestation, sexual abuse, and then in my early twenties I was sexually assaulted. There wasn’t anyone who believed me when I told them about it, and then when I was sexually assaulted I was blamed for what had happened.

All I want is for this little girl to be okay, and for this to never happen to her again. I want her to be safe and protected, and I never want it to keep happening to her like it did with me. I just feel these overwhelming feelings of sorrow, grief, and most of all what I felt in that court room was anger.

Teaching myself how to forgive

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve never really been taught how to forgive, I’d hold on to grudges and I’d end up holding onto a lot of anger. The way I was taught was that the world was an untrustworthy place, everyone was out to get you, they were there to take advantage of you, or just plain hurt you. You should be prepared for said ‘screwing over’ by other people because it wasn’t a matter of if it was going to happen but when.

So, this is how I’ve lived for a very long time and as I became more and more aware of myself I realized living this way made me feel terrible. I’d hold onto all of this hopeless anger because I didn’t want to forgive, or especially forget, so I would eventually become it. Becoming the anger is something that eats you up inside, it consumes your every thought especially when you are around that said person who hurt you.

I remember saying so many times, “I will never forgive you for this, I can never forgive you for this!” The feeling of holding onto that is very memorable, how it twisted my guts in the worst possible way. There was no way to escape it, and there definitely wasn’t any way that I could forgive because they would just hurt me all over again. Over the years I’ve distanced myself from many people, though I allow time passing to do the work for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t know what it is about starting from scratch that made something click in me. I can be a good person at times, I can even be great, I can love, but I’m stopping myself from loving and I don’t think I’m fully living my life because I’m scared to. The not forgiving was eating me alive, making me literally sick from stress, and I was afraid to let people in. I’m not going to lie and say that I let everyone in now, that I’m not cautious, yet I am putting myself out there more with going out more in social situations.

Every time someone is nasty to me, or says something to upset me, I try my best to forgive them. My motto lately is that whatever they’re criticizing me for is what they really are unhappy with themselves. That other people’s unhappiness doesn’t mean it has to be rub off on me, especially with not forgiving them and holding a grudge against them.

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things for me to try to perform on a daily basis, but I know how holding on to that anger feels like… It just eats me away from the inside out.

The point where you love your body

0607111853I believe that women in particular can have a difficult time with loving their bodies, because I know I have personally had a very hard time with it since I first got a ‘body.’ As a little girl I was nothing but legs and height, and all I cared about was playing outside for as long as I could and doing boyish things with my brother. Puberty hit me at a really young age and I recall being thrown off by what was happening to me. My long, lean build was gone and I ballooned out in about every direction.

Of course, like any woman out there I was teased quite a bit and bullied a lot. The boys started noticing any girls who had ‘blossomed’ and so I covered myself in baggy clothes and hid it as best as I could. The worst teasing, unfortunately, came from my family because suddenly my metabolism was turned against me. I couldn’t just eat anything like I did as a kid and have it not show. My family thought they were helping me by pointing out my weight daily, but year after year of this on a constant basis deteriorated my perception of myself. I avoided mirrors like the plague and got used to hearing from my mother in particular that if I lost weight I’d be perfect. 

319919_1975714788888_1123630225_31682279_2101631656_nTurns out later that I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and this makes it difficult to lose weight, easy to gain, and your hormones are completely out of balance. Even when I was diagnosed and put on medication it didn’t help my weight, and I may have gained while I was on my medication. The symptoms it helped clear was cystic acne and it regulated my period so I wouldn’t go six months at a time without one.

To this day I always react to people bullying someone about their weight, even if the bully is that person. I make sure to say any good thing that crosses my mind, you look good today, etc. but I try to keep weight out of it. Lately I’ve been told that I look like I lost weight… and I know I haven’t. I just don’t need to lose any more especially since I am very content at how I am right now. I have never been as happy as I am about my body, especially because it just feels so much stronger. I had a set goal weight I wanted to go for at first, yet, I don’t care as much if I am at that exact weight or a few pounds above it because my body just feels good. It even shows in my career that I can give deeper massages that may have exhausted me if I did several in a row before and I don’t feel tired at all.

0907111815Through my journey I’ve had I have realized that finding love and appreciation for your body, and who you are, of course begins and ends within yourself. The kind of teasing and bullying I’ve been through for my weight is something I’d never wish upon any other woman or especially a child. Yet, I know as women we have to fight against not only what people say about how we look, or the media says, but also when we end up turning against ourselves as well.  To this day I don’t like it when people I don’t know tease me incessantly thinking they are funny and I will tell them every time to stop it. 

I am not one for resolutions or goals but I did have at least one this year that I will continue to love my body, treat it good, and maintain all the hard work I’ve done. I want to continue doing one of my passions I never thought I would have which is cooking 6-7 days out of the week. I’ve always been one to want to change little parts of me, my thighs, my stomach, and I’m learning to be content with what I’ve got. It’s a process continuing to love your body, especially when it seems like everyone is telling you that you need to fix any flaws that you have. I realize now my flaws are what make me… me, and that they can be the most beautiful thing about a person.

Is my introversion showing?

DSC00156As much as I can fool everyone else that I am an extrovert I just can’t do the same with myself, and you better believe I have tried. Sometimes you just know as a kid that being around with people drains you, and that you totally crave ‘me‘ time. I was always that quiet and shy kid who always loved to just be alone with herself and my imagination would just run wild. If I ever was sent to my room for being bad or whatever reason I would relish in the quiet time and bring out my toys to play with them.

The only thing that has changed about me is I know how to handle people to make them feel at ease. I know how to make them believe that I am an extrovert and being considered an extrovert seems to make people feel comfortable. I put a lot of energy into being outgoing, loud, and fun at work which is who I am, but I don’t have enough energy at the end of my work day to go out and be social. After a day where I push myself all I can think about is coming home to my husband and being quiet and just taking it easy.

005With my job you can have some down time and when there’s down time people expect me to be around other people. On certain days I can push myself to be social and interact, but sometimes, I just can’t and that is when I generally keep to myself. During these forced quiet times I think that my introversion is showing, and I try my best to not to let it show, yet I can’t deny when all I want to do is recharge in peace and quiet.  My profession of massage has me being with people all the time when I’m busy, and if I have a day when my clients want to talk during their session I can get particularly exhausted. Luckily, it tends to be unusual for a client that needs to talk during their massage and even more peculiar for there to be more than one in a day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve become quite accustomed to the declaration that I am crazy. Pretty much everyone says it and growing up as a kid who was always called strange and an oddball I’ve learned to wear it like a badge of honor. My favorite thing to say in response, though I have many, is You wish you could be this kind of crazy!” Even when I was younger the other kids would try to bully me about my strangeness, and my anti-social nature, and back then I would still take it as a part of myself. I was unique, extremely unusual, and there was really nothing wrong with who I was unless I wanted to believe them.

So, on days where I know my introversion is showing I just tell myself it is a part of me. I can dance, and be goofy, and be crazy without a second thought but when I come home it’s time to press that recharge button.

My attraction to dangerous things

cirqueplayI’m an adrenaline junkie since the age that I could do adrenaline inducing things. My father and I loved roller coasters, the higher, the faster, and the more loops and upside down stuff the better. Later on I was interested in more dangerous forms of horseback riding, and this included jumping where I would most likely end up falling off my horse. It didn’t stop me from pursuing jumping and I found a horse (my horse) who got a thrill out of it like I did. Her tail would go flying in the air, and she would take three jumps nearly in one stride no matter the height. It was some of the most exciting stuff jumping and a time where my mind would clear completely because all I could think of was the next jump and the course we needed to complete.

I’ve taken a break from my more dangerous forms of adrenaline and exchanged it for the excitement of Boudoir photo shoots instead. Still, there’s that part of me that has a bucket list of scary things I need to do. Recently I kayaked for the first time in my life in the ocean and that was a lot of fun for me to try and I’d do it again.

I’ve swam with sharks, Caribbean reef sharks in particular, and that was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Call me crazy but I’d love to meet great white sharks (in a cage just in case, of course) and also swim with whale sharks. I’d love to learn how to do scuba diving and get the opportunity to meet even more marine life and explore the bottom of the ocean instead of the top with snorkeling. I’d like to go white water rafting, and basically anything involved with water I want to do.

On land I want to go zip lining, and lately I’ve been tempted to buy something so I can go skydiving for the first time. I ran it by my husband about skydiving and he said to go for it so I might just get the thing to try out skydiving next time I see it. Any time I come across something new I always think in my head, “Hey, I could do that… I’m hoping to try out all of the things on my scary adrenaline list, even though it may take a while to complete.

How did I become a house wife?

151I don’t know quite what triggered it, besides our obvious move that we made over a year ago. I’ve always been a free spirit, very stubborn, and my husband was always the one trying to cook when he could and cleaning up after my messes. I hear some women talk about how we aren’t exactly as free as we think we are. This one lady who said these exact words said that we weren’t very free, we were only free to cook, clean, do laundry, and take care of the children. That men these days still don’t know how to help out and they are taught for us to take care of them… And essentially we become like their mothers. (Ew.)

This woman was also married for 36 years and recently had become divorced at the age of sixty. I thought of interjecting to say that my husband has always been a gentleman, opening doors for me, getting my coat, and he has always the one cleaning, cooking, he was even doing my laundry! I could tell she was very hurt by what happened to her, understandably so, and my unusual case with my husband probably wouldn’t be heard.

It was a strange situation with two service providers being in the room at once so I let the other gal answer any of her questions. Her freedom analysis of married women was interesting, but it isn’t the case for all women. I feel absolutely free with my husband, I have traveled more this year than any year in my life. He encourages me to go out with people if I want to, and if I do need him to clean I just need to remind him verbally to do it. Like most guys, dropping hints about dishes or cleaning will get me no where, yet telling him the exact thing I want from him will get him to definitely do it for me.

092I guess I felt more interested in this idea of freedom and us being there to take care of our husbands with cleaning, cooking, etc. because I’ve fell into the role of being like a house wife. Now, keep in mind I still work, I pick up days when my work asks me to, but I’ve even gotten my cooking times coordinated with when my husband might be coming home.

Dinner needs to be ready hopefully by the time he walks in the door, I will be finishing up with it so it is still warm for us when he walks in. I’ve basically taken over dishes duty since I am doing all of our cooking. I thought if I was ever at this stage where I’d consider myself a housewife I’d resent it very strongly. If you asked me a year ago that I’d be cooking complicated dishes almost every day of the week, doing dishes, and especially enjoying the cooking I’d of laughed at you… Very hard. When I visit my family they still don’t believe it, and I’d love to cook for them because it is one of my huge things of pride and discovery for me. My mother never really cooked for us, she really didn’t like it and since we never cooked at home there was not much for us to ever clean. The basics of how to cook was self-taught to myself by trial and error, and amazingly once I started cooking, there was this natural ability to make really tasty dishes.

Now the question of how I became a housewife I think is easiest to be explained by our move and my need to adapt and still feel important without a job. I wanted to be able to do something while I was job searching and though I assumed I wouldn’t be good at cooking, I still decided to give it a try. Now that I have a job the act of cooking, strangely enough, gives me a sort of stress relief after working even when my body is sore from massaging. I don’t know quite how I got to this point I’m at now… But I don’t mind being here.

Choosing strength over worry

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt feels like its been forever since my husband was notified about the news of his job ending at the end of the year. He has processed it far better than I have, and he has decided to take charge and do everything in his power to prepare to pick his next job. We are both worries, him and I, so I was surprised that he has been handling it as well as he has. My husband has been reading career books, and even has a huge file of the materials he’s accumulated.

All I could do in the beginning was be consumed by the worry, the worry of us running out of money, him not finding a job, so much adding up that at times I felt like I was under a rip current from all of my anxiety. I struggled to get back to normal, but I kept on getting thrown around in the strong current.

Just a week after the news I had a preplanned trip to travel with my brother on our first brother/sister adventure together and I think that this helped me to get back to myself. I laughed more than I had in what felt like years, and it definitely felt cathartic to let all of that pent-up negative energy out in the form of laughter. My brother and I had a great time together and though I came back still worried, I felt like I might be handling it better.

It’s amazing how different I am from when I first moved away from my family and friends, because if given a chance for my husband to take back a job where we used to live, I wouldn’t exactly jump at it. After all of this time I spent fighting our move here and wishing I could go back, I don’t wish for that now. It’s only after the fact and after I accepted our move that I realized the truth… That this move was a very good thing for the both of us. I’ve grown leaps and bounds, teaching myself to cook when before I would burn the water when I had boiling water on the stove and Id run away because I didn’t know what to do to fix it. There’s other things that I’ve grown in, and even my whole body has changed with my weight loss thanks to my dedication to cook and track what I eat.

I don’t want to blame things, people, or circumstances for what I’m going through or the emotions that I feel. Lately even though my husband’s job loss is scary and imminent, I feel like I’ve been even more loving to him and I’m leaning on him more. He asked me if I trusted him to get another job, to choose correctly for what he’d be doing or where we might be going. Normally I’d answer, “Sure, I trust you but I don’t trust the world out there” yet now I’m just answering with just “I trust you.” For all that he and I have been through since saying those simple words “I do.” a year ago when we got married we have faced challenges and we have also conquered them.

There’s the other stipulation of us moving again, and we could be moving many miles away, but even with that I accept it. Another move may be another opportunity for me to learn something new about myself. It will never be easy not to have anxiety about the unknown, yet I’m trying to train myself to pick hope and strength over worry.

Family isn’t just a word

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have an uncle and aunt who technically aren’t my aunt and uncle, yet I’ve always seen them that way. And, for a while now, I feel like I’ve been playing a childhood game where I can pretend that they are my family, even though we aren’t, because they’ve made me feel like family. These two people have made me feel special, and like I was important, since I was a little girl and I’d honestly hardly ever see them.

It wasn’t until the trip where my husband finally met them that I realized I wasn’t playing a childhood game of pretending. It was real, and not only did they call me their niece but they were also super proud of it. It was a unique and awesome concept, being able to show my husband some of my family that had adopted me in. We had so much fun spending time with them, a lot of laughs, and I appreciated the time we got to spend with them.

214Now, I will be traveling back to visit them with my brother, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. My brother has asked me since I was a teenager if I wanted to travel with him to visit my uncle and aunt and I’ve just never felt I could do it. There was the difficulty of getting the time off, not getting paid for taking the time off, getting someone to cover me, and the cost of the plane ticket on top of everything else. Yet, I feel like since my move my husband and I have made a year ago I am more daring, and luckily, have an easier time getting time off to travel. This trip was pre-planned before I found out my husband would be losing his job so it takes on a deeper level of being around family during this time.

My brother has always been someone I’ve looked to for guidance in really tough times, much more so than my mother or father. My mother likes to look at me for reassurance, and so does my father, so I’ve come to lean on my brother for our rare serious conversations. There may be no serious conversations, only fun, since I will be hanging out with him and my uncle and aunt. I haven’t been laughing very much lately, truly laughing, and with being a rather positive, funny, and upbeat person it’s been hitting me.

018And, of course since I am a happy go lucky type of person everyone around me is aware of the change if I don’t cover it up carefully or if I’m not busy I will just be thinking too much of the ‘what ifs.’ When I’m thinking intensely I am one of those people who frowns or looks slightly angry so I’ve been trying my best to be preoccupied which is easiest when I’m massaging.

I thought of canceling the trip to meet up with my brother where we’d spend the time with our aunt and uncle when I found out my husband is being furloughed. I told myself it wasn’t right to be traveling, to be on vacation, to be laughing, when something so serious is going on. My husband, of course, insisted that I go and that I needed it. Truth be told there’s been a number of years I have wished I could have traveled with my brother to visit our aunt and uncle, yet, I just couldn’t and now I have the chance to. I just got back from a trip and ended up getting sick from that so I’m trying to recuperate as best as I can.

I want to lean on family during this time of uncertainty and I am going to try my best to. I’m not the type of person to let people know what’s going on in my head, what I’m struggling with, but hopefully it will be a relief and what I need.


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