When your family doesn’t want to see you

I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster that has mainly had stomach churning dips that are never ending. There’s been a move, my husband’s surgery, my husband still jobless two years later, and my brother getting engaged. I feel like I can’t fully exhale because something else is just looming to punch me in my stomach for good measure if I try to catch my breath.

There has been a plan to visit my family that got dashed because it was my idea when to see them because I could get cheap plane tickets. Now, I’m staying in the city so that I can explore it for the first time ever while they can either decide to see me, or not see me. Yesterday both my mother and my father told me to cancel my hotel, plane tickets, because what was the point of my trip? It’s a lot of money to waste on sightseeing and that they didn’t want me to come.

My emotions that were well tied up for awhile broke at the seams. I was angry, hurt, sad, and told them that my original plan was to see them and this was my last chance to do it. With my husband being out of a job for so long and his 401K officially used up my plan is to pick up every weekend to make the most money I can. This is my last chance to travel until a time I just can’t see right now. But, since they didn’t plan for me to come and this was my idea I have had them attack my plan time and time again. 

My mind teeter-totters on the edge of just doing what they say, yet my stubbornness fights against it. I have this weekend and two days off for this trip and I won’t get put on the schedule at the last second. And I want this trip for myself. I need it as a break from the relentless working and stressing loop I keep falling deeper down. But, unfortunately, I end up doubting myself as my family tries to get me to disengage from this vacation. It’s a negative feedback loop that keeps getting fed every time I talk to them.

I think I need this for my own sanity to travel and enjoy a city I love and coincidentally came from.

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.

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.

My husbands job is furloughed

If you asked me if I knew it was coming, honestly, I’d say I felt it and knew that this would be the outcome. I got back from a trip with my mom and something was slightly off about my husband and I could sense it but I thought I was crazy. He took me aside when we’d brought up my luggage and I met him in his room as he told me he had something to say. I immediately stated that didn’t sound good, yet I never imagined how serious it would be.

His job is being furloughed. After many lows and very little highs they are letting him go at the end of the year since they won’t need his position. Tears started streaming down my face and I started crying, he held me as I shook and sobbed in the bed together. My worst fear is for him to lose his job, because I’ve never made enough money for the both of us and not having money is one of my biggest fears and I know this. He is so specific with his field that its hard enough to place him in a job position, so very quickly my world crashed around me.

I’ve been blessed as a kid, teenager, and an adult, that my parents have only lost a job once that I remember, even though they fought about money every day. I’ve never had to face this before, though the year of me searching for a job once I moved definitely put a lot of fear in me of the reality of how difficult it can be to be hired.

My rational side of me says to calm down, that everything must happen for a reason. There is some plan with what happened, there is hopefully an opportunity, a better one, waiting for us at the end of this. If this opportunity is waiting for us, I keep questioning how long we will struggle for it, if we have the money to survive, pay bills, and have food on our table. I can’t even imagine if the opportunity of something better not being there because it is a dark road I do not want to look down, or travel. I was really hoping for things to level out, get easier at least, with my finding a job, yet it’s not meant to be.

If there is anything I have faith in its my husband and I. I love him, and through all of our trials and difficulties it just has to make us stronger. I guess this is the time in my life to struggle, to really struggle, and I’ve taught myself slowly but surely to lean on my husband more over the years. I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, every amazing, and crummy thing in our lives is there for us to grow, become stronger, or learn something new about us. So, it’s just been a lot to go through and I just have to trust my husband and hope this will lead us to a better path. I just don’t want there to be too many rocks, sticks, and obstacles for us to stumble over first.

When clothes are your lifelong enemy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou know those people you meet in life where their parents (mother) end up buying them all their clothes? If you haven’t met someone like that then meet me, I’ve been my mothers real life dress up doll for years. Why? Because, for one, it saved me money, but I think why it happened is because I passionately hate clothes and everything to do with clothes shopping.

Now, I’m on my own in a new place and things have changed. Plus, I have lost around 50 pounds since I moved, so I have the need to buy clothes. My clothes were so baggy on my body, especially jeans, that they were literally hanging off me. And I’m starting to learn something about myself and my life long battle against clothes shopping…

It may have been caused by years of shopping with my mother and bending to the clothes she liked and wanted to get. It doesn’t help your shopping experience when you are told if only you lost so much weight you would look okay. My lost weight happened because I made it happen, on my terms, and to help with my polycystic ovarian syndrome. It’s also nice to have yourself be your own stylist with what you like and want.

skinnyvsnotskinnyEven when I see her recently and I shopped once to get a couple of shirts and she would say how one would, “make me look skinny,” while another wouldn’t. I’ve heard so many times I can’t count how my stomach doesn’t work, the shirt isn’t baggy enough to hide it, or how my legs, my butt, just don’t look good. “If only you lost weight,” then I would be better.

So, when I finally set off on my own to get clothes that would fit my body better that hatred diminished as I tried on clothes that truly fit me. I didn’t get extra large clothes to hide my stomach, a size above what I needed, because I didn’t have that extra voice telling me to. And, though getting a hold on my style and how clothes look on my body is good, the money does add up. Luckily, my husband supports me with it and always encourages me that I am pretty to him no matter the weight, size, or how I feel. When I start feeling guilty about the money spent he just says clothes are a necessity, and he helps me feel better about it.

My discovery of an alliance with clothes is a surprise to me, and also such a new discovery. I’m developing my sense of style, a wardrobe that truly is me, while I try to find peace with myself. I am lucky enough to have a husband who reassures me every day and I know he has always loved my body.

The precursor to what people want

033It’s funny having an ‘exotic’ pet and gauging their reactions when you tell them you have a bunny. First, they think it’s a joke and start laughing and tell you how funny you are. Then, it kind of sets in that you aren’t laughing and have promptly gone to your phone to show off pictures of your pet like any pet owner might do. Yet, they don’t know how to react… Bunnies are supposed to be outside, can bite, and how could they ever supposed compare to owning a cat or a dog?

I had a horse before, but no one ever told me to work my way up to another animal. Having a horse was just as unusual, people tended to think that I kept her at my house or that I must have had a farm, both very untrue. So, I’m getting rather used to people’s remarks to my husbands and I with our first pet and people saying, “well, huh, that’s cute and a good starting point to getting a cat next, then a dog, and then maybe a baby!”

It’s not just our waiter we had who said this, I think both mine and my husbands mother are thinking the same thing, working up to having a baby. It’s like now that I am married that is the next line of conversation everyone seems to think is okay talking to me about, are you going to have a kid? I keep on getting asked it when I go back to my old work to visit and my mother has straight out said that this is good practice for baby making. And, I couldn’t be further away from any idea of having a child.

Though our little furry pet doesn’t help out with the bills she does help out with my sanity and taking care of makes me feel better about waiting for my husband to come home. With my last trip back home I’d normally stay longer, yet I couldn’t wait to get back to my bunny and my husband. Our unusual, exotic pet may be a precursor to many people, or a hilarious joke whenever I talk about her to people I don’t know. Personally, she has been just perfect for my lonely days at home.

Bring it on gobble gobble

I must be insane, or just plain crazy, or maybe a nice mixture of a little bit of both. I have both a turkey and a ham and I’m planning to cook them for thanksgiving for the first time in my life. Now, let’s not forget I have been adventurous in my house wife chef title and also rather surprisingly successful at cooking lately. I’ve made Cornish game hens, pork for the first time, steak, homemade baked French frites, and a wide number of unassisted dishes that have turned out rather delicious 99.9% of the time.

I’m getting cocky with all of my successes by myself, and having dinner ready on time for my husband when he comes in the door. We already have some favorite recipes I’m replicating week by week with tweaks that make it come out just as good or better. Yet, I just can’t help but to admit…

I am kind of scared of that turkey, and throw in that ham and I think I might be just asking for a holiday meltdown. I’m terrified to see if the turkey has defrosted and I have a sneaking suspicion it is stubbornly not going to defrost in time. Unlike my normal cooking expeditions where I don’t need any help I have made my husband promise to not leave me alone with cooking these two monster amounts of meat. He then kiddingly plays with me that he’ll help me… By pointing to the page on how to do it, which is not okay by me at all.

And, this is coming from the girl who successfully baked some homemade brownies for the first time in her life recently for my husband to bring in for his coworkers. This turkey has me terrified and why, oh why, did we have to get a ham too? Oh, wait, I know why! Because the ham was free with buying a turkey and why not double up stress and gobble it up too?

My husband and I are making new traditions, it’s the first time we are doing the holidays by ourselves. Normally my family goes to a restaurant thanksgiving day buffet and last year we did that and I got so severely sick I don’t know how I made it in to work. For someone who never really had a home cooked thanksgiving or Christmas meal I feel like my husband and I are making a really nice tradition even if the only family we have is us and our little bunny.

It’s the tradition of hopefully learning together to make a really great and somewhat traditional holiday meal. It’s hopefully a tradition of not going to the movie theater to have dinner on popcorn because that’s the only place that is open on thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s a day with some stress, but with the focus on being together and not creating more stress when there’s no reason to.

I miss my family, and will miss my husband’s family too over the holidays. Gifts will be sent by mail and I can’t think of a more stressful year than what me and my husband have been through with our move, his job change, and my job loss. But, I am thankful to have him, and our new little pet bunny, be my family for the holidays. And, I must say, he better be helping me with these giant pieces of meat because the thought of not cooking them completely might give me nightmares tonight!