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.

The Boudoir Experience

budiouphotoAs you may or may not know I signed up for yet another Boudoir Photo Shoot, even though I had done one early in the year. The photo shoot was so much fun, the pictures turned out great, and it turned out to not be a complete robbery of my wallet to get some of the professional pictures. All last month I was working out, walking, and eating a little more carefully in preparation of the Boudoir action I’d be getting.

I collected more little outfits to wear at discounted prices and made sure that they fit. Believe it or not as it came down closer to my photo shoot time I share with my coworkers I’d be getting it done. They were excited for me and so I buzzed with excitement when they day finally came.

This time I was going to try a traditional corset where someone ties you up so you can’t breathe, can’t move, and in general can’t think with it on. My husband instructed me to breathe in and out at the opportune time and of course I breathed out when I should have breathed in because he was trying to kill me. Those little strings pulled tighter and I wondered if the corset was giving me a bear hug I could never get out of. He kept on pulling and pulling obviously enjoying seeing me squirm in pain.

When he was all finished he had me try to bend over, I could barely accomplish this and had to bend at the right angle. My wonderful hubby then said it was too loose if I could bend over, so I ran away from him and stupidly drove myself to my photo shoot.

I nearly crashed into the car in front of me more times than I can count. I told myself to focus on the road but my mind kept on trying to find solutions to breathe better without pain. That corset choked my rib cage with a vengeance and I wondered how women did this when this piece of torture was a fashion necessity. This time for my cover up clothes I wore my little shirt dress that I love since I can’t imagine wearing the corset with jeans. Once I got to the location they sat me down (ouch!) and fancied up my hair and put on some smokey eye makeup plus some fake eyelashes.

This time I was so much more relaxed to be half-naked with another woman in the room who coincidentally had a camera with her. I could feel myself less guarded and also less hyper this time. The smiling and different looks came easier to me, and I was out of my head with being self-conscious. And not being self-conscious when you’ve spent your whole life being that way is definitely priceless.

Thinking of good comebacks after the fact

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you ever had someone say something to you and you really wish you had a comeback to give them right back? I had this recently happen to me and I will share it for an example:

Coworker: “Whoa! What happened to your hair?!”

Me: “I’ve been working… My hair gets fluffy when I work hard.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wish I had a better comeback and it always gets me the next day or even the next week for what to say. I also have this inner filter I try to keep on always because I don’t want to say something that would hurt someone’s feelings, even if that person is trying to rile me up. If a coworker looks especially nice a day that I work, I always make sure to tell them.

How a woman responds to a compliment is almost always, “uhhh… I look like crap today, are you blind??” so unfortunately even good comments have to be kept in check. I’ve learned the lesson of who will receive a compliment well, and who will make me feel like a dope for saying anything.

And, it’s okay to not say something nasty or smart as a comeback if you can’t think of anything to say in return until days later. Just laugh at the remarks and it’ll frustrate the person trying to put you down in that moment.

You say I’m an extrovert, nice try

IMG_0668It’s kind of funny that I suddenly got a kick to take personality tests and that every test is telling me I am an extremely strong extrovert. Like, I’m such an extrovert they rarely see people score that high in the extrovert category the results end up telling me. But, I kind of smile at that because I know that I am throwing the tests off.

I am the life of the party, and people tend to feel really comfortable being around me. I like to dance and I tend to talk a lot with ease. I mean look at my profession, I’m around people all of the time with massage! Yet, I am incredibly private, I feel uncomfortable talking about my personal life, and when I’m done with work the last thing I want to do is spend more time socializing. On the surface of things there seems to be no other category for me to go in but an extrovert with my loud and outgoing personality.

The tests just get that surface level of me, the side everyone sees when they meet me and when they think they know me. Luckily, I know myself better that when I need to recharge I do. And, when I feel like I’ve had enough of talking or being social I go back home to hang out in my bedroom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am a person known to break out in singing, dancing, I even ended up dancing on a kitchen counter at one party (I was encouraged to hop up on the counter, I tried to fight going up there, but it seemed like too much fun.) This seems to be in part to my not caring what people think of me, I am crazy, fun, and loud, you either take it or you can leave it.

When I was a child it was a different story, especially at family gatherings it was like a form of torture facing the holidays. I didn’t have anyone to talk to being the only girl, and the youngest, so I would find a quiet corner on Christmas eve year after year to read my book and wait for it to be over with. I wanted to sit at the adult table because I related to adults better even when I was very little. I’d always be that shy, reclusive kid and teenager, observing what was going on and studying people’s interactions.

There are very few people who meet me now and knew me way back when in school and they can’t quite believe I’m the same person. Then, it’s just as interesting to have people who have met me now and they can’t believe me to be anything but loud and you-see-what-you-get type of person. I may trick the personality quizzes, yet I can’t trick myself.

Cockroach Killer Extoardinaire

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A bug was harmed in the making of this post. Just not this one since it was outside in the safe zone

I’ve never had to deal with cockroaches before, count me lucky, or sheltered, but I know what they look like. My friend has that as one of her big fears, cockroaches she told me can fly, Sarah, seriously! This friend of mine also recently discovered that she has an intense fear of sink holes, which she just recently discovered and she said they can follow you and happen anywhere.

I am a bug person since the age of three I’ve had memories of grabbing ants (even fire ants, ouch) and putting them in my clear plastic purse. Crickets, grasshoppers, moths, caterpillars, rollie pollie bugs, about every bug you can think of I’d collect. As I’ve gotten older I still have an appreciation of all things creepy and crawly, yet, I’ve changed since I was a little girl. If a bug is invading my home I will most likely kill that bug with a vengeance, they will get especially annihilated if I caught them in my bed.

There is no love for bugs if they are found creeping around my home, though they can only wish that I have compassion the day I find them and I might try to let them outside. If they get caught in our home again I doubt I can find it in my bug loving heart not to crush them to pieces. My husband does not have my killer instincts and so we have taken on opposite roles to say the least. So, when my husband and I went to visit our little pet and he nearly fell over I thought he had hurt himself, which was not quite so.

He saw a cockroach, jumped onto the coach like a girl, and told me to take care of it. That bugger was huge, so I did the logical thing.

Me: “I’m going to get my killing boots, be right back.”
Husband: “Don’t leave me with it, come back here!”

I headed over to my closet on the opposite side of the apartment and searched for the perfect killing boots. I couldn’t find my favorite pair so I went with a high top type of boot after five minutes of searching, pulled up my pajama bottoms, and stomped on over. My husband was on the couch cowering, asking me why I’d left him for so long, he wouldn’t stop hiding on the couch. The cockroach was, of course, hiding as well.

I wasn’t going to be done until I killed it, so I searched around and was able to rush it out but I missed killing it and it darted under our couch.

Me: “We need to move the couch, it’s hiding, get up and help me move it.”
Husband: “What if it attacks me?! I don’t want it to attack me!”

It took quite a bit of convincing but he did move the couch and lo and behold… The cockroach was someplace else. I was on the hunt so I flipped over a pillow and found it, and went into killing mode. I may or may not have sworn while I was stomping it to death and did more than a double tap, more like a twenty tap to make sure it was dead. You gotta remember cockroaches can survive anything, and they are probably like zombies, you gotta make sure that head is off to really kill them.

We then volleyed back and forth who would throw away the dead bug, but I did the killing, so he can take care of the cleanup. My husband then informed if there was a zombie apocalypse that he would be able to handle it. I highly doubt that and know I would just need my killing boots to be able to take on some zombies.

I am not a normal newlywed

005When people hear that I am a newlywed they either mumble with, “that must be nice, wait 10 years them tell me how you feel,” or, “really?? you’re a newlywed?!” They then proceed to tell me how I’m destroying their dreams with reaction number two because I’m not their ideal of a newlywed. I’m not sure where their opinion grew from, probably from TV and movie depictions of newlyweds. Generally though movies never follow after the happily ever after ending.

Our wedding was the anti-wedding and I doubt I’d have it any other way, even though we were running late and playing catch up all day. The beginning of my husband and I’s married lives together couldn’t have been more of a difficult start to any marriage. We were not a story book happily ever after end, it was more of a how will we survive this first storm together?

I keep on hearing a lot of “you’re a newlywed, you should be more warm and feely!” The funny thing is that he and I are actually a rather warm, but mainly very funny, wife and husband combo. It’s just my coworkers react like it’s the end of the world because I’m a newlywed and I have sharing problems when it comes to sharing snacks and those little things. You should have seen their looks when I told them with some of my favorite work snacks I tend to hide them from my husband.

033You’d think it was the end of the world once they realized I’ve only been married for a year with my husband. Yet, what they don’t know is how many years we’ve been together besides that year of marriage. My husband sometimes hides snacks from me, and I totally get it when he does.

I say that one of my favorite things about our relationship is our humor, our ability to laugh at each other and ourselves. I loved from the moment I spoke to him (and I was attracted to him when I saw him too) that he could keep up with me in a conversation. That’s one of the things I needed the most when I was struggling looking for a job, with no friends and no family, was trying to learn to laugh again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur first year of marriage was one of the most difficult years of both our lives. There wasn’t a ‘happily ever after‘ attached to our wedding day, only a disconcerting question of how are we going to get through this storm? It wasn’t easy, but we are able to see the sky clearing and things look so much better now than ever before.

My middle finger hurts

140Imagine my surprise today when I woke up this morning and noticed that my middle fingers, right in the joint area, were aching every time I bent them. This perplexed me because my work day massaging the day before wasn’t too intense and I only had one deep tissue massage. Every time I wake up and something I need to massage is not working (my hands, my fingers, my wrists, etc.) it always makes me panic for how I’m going to work around it.

I of course wondered why it was mainly my middle fingers which were hurting me the most. All I could think of was that I may have been flipping someone off in my sleep, that’s all I could come up with. And I had to be intensely flipping them off in my sleep, because the joints were sore and I haven’t had my fingers hurt like that in a while. Or, who knows, maybe I was doing deep tissue frictioning on my pillow in my sleep, you never know.

So, when I walked into work I was less than enthused with my current predicament. One of my coworkers asked me what was up and I was honest that for some odd reason my middle fingers were aching. She immediately concluded that I must be angry, especially since it was the middle fingers that were bothering me. I told her I had a good day the day before, and she luckily offered to help me out.

My coworker is like a witch doctor because she seriously has magic hands and can make a certain area feel better with her voodoo magic. I knew she would be the one to help me at least dull the pain so I sat down, had a cup of coffee, and let her use her fairy dust on me.

We sat there while she held where the area was that was sore on my one middle finger, and then the other, and voila! it was totally feeling better. She says it was really nothing that she did but I don’t know any other person who can tune in like her and make something stop aching by just the tiniest bit of work. I’m convinced she is a magical handed voodoo priestess, but of course, she won’t admit it… yet.

Eating causes me pain

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Deceptively delicious…

The act of eating something generally causes your brain to signal a pleasure response, telling us that we did good finding food to eat for our survival. Even though we aren’t struggling to find food nowadays our brains aren’t hard-wired to feel any differently so eating is pleasurable and releases the happy feeling endorphin. My brain still says, “Good job for eating and surviving another day!” but my stomach doesn’t share in that sentiment.

I don’t know when it started hitting me when eating equaled pain but I believe it coincided with my teenage years and how I dealt with stress. For a long time I accepted how my stomach was a battlefield when food was added, since I always believed there was nothing I could do to remedy it. I would go for weeks, months, with intense stomach pain especially in periods of extreme stress.

022The pain I dealt with was eventually filed away in my brain with my tmj pain with my jaw. It was unwanted but impossible to avoid so I tried to numb myself to the discomfort I was experiencing. Their was no solution to my problem, so I’d resolved to ‘live with it.’

The solution happened with our move and my upheaval of everything I knew and did, and adapting to the life of a house wife. I gathered cook books, with no hopes of actually cooking something edible, and surprisingly not only cooked edible food but delicious food. Now I’m cooking five, sometimes six days, out of the week and my stomach has never felt better. Dinner and eating is something I look forward to, instead of dreading how I’d feel later.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABack where I used to live I ate out every single day of the week, I only ate one time out of the day, and when I didn’t eat out I’d eat frozen meals. I never once was taught how to cook anything from my mother, and my brother and I were set out into the world with no knowledge whatsoever how to make any food for ourselves. The only things I could make was grilled cheese, tomato soup, scrambled eggs, an omelet, minute rice, and that’s pretty much it. My brother still generally doesn’t cook and I only tried to out of a whim to evolve into a wife who could take care of her husband while she didn’t have a job.

I’d never would have guessed cooking for myself would reap so many benefits, that I’d love it as much as I do, and how much I’d miss my cooking on trips. Now when I eat and feel pain it’s because I have to eat out on vacations, and I need to be extremely careful what I eat or else I’m suffering again. It’s a relief to enjoy eating and especially to appreciate what I cook, but if I didn’t cook it, my stomach seems to revolt against it and it makes my traveling quite inconvenient when I chose wrong.

Why isn’t this a career?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnyone who has been reading this blog for a while may know about my profession which had started out as a job, and over the years evolved into a passion. This would be my profession as a massage therapist, which I did on a whim because it was one of the few careers I could enter without having to do math. I’ve never been one to dream of being something as a little kid, I never played the game of, “when I grow up I wanna be…

So many people who entered the same class as me ended up dropping out. How many, you might ask? Well, more than half the class dropped out and there were so few of us that we were told if anyone else dropped out our class couldn’t graduate.

My classmates that did complete the class and graduated didn’t get their massage licenses. From what I know and the times we checked up there wasn’t anyone who was practicing… Except for me.

I must admit getting a job in this career as a new therapist was one of the toughest things I went through. Completing massage school was equaling difficult, as noted by my fellow classmates quitting the program. I haven’t come across many therapists who consistently do this as a job fulltime. On that same note I haven’t come across massage therapists in this profession full-time for several years. It seems to be that thing you do on the side with another part-time job.

I know why this seems to be the case, massage is physically taxing, but in addition to that it is mentally exhausting at times. I’ve noticed since my move the clientele have been much more relaxed, calmer, and very polite to work with. It is a totally different clientele, and I really did love my clientele where I came from, but they are just so different. Performing deep tissue massage is now more of a rarity than a necessity, and my body is feeling so much better because of this.

lilypadGiving massage is my relaxation time, my quiet time, you could even say my time to mediate and clear my head of thoughts that keep on circulating in my head. I never imagined this career wold evolve into something I love, but I do truly enjoy it. There are many other people in my career who see this as a stepping stone, a sort of means to an end, for them to work toward the ‘dream‘ career they’ve been waiting for.

My family doesn’t believe I should look at my job as a career, something I will do for years and years. My mother wants me to get my bachelor degree… In what I have no clue and refuse to throw so much money out there without a clue of what I’m going after. My brother thinks this career is too taxing on me as well and has asked me what will I do for a job when I injure myself? My husband used to agree with them in the beginning when I’d come home exhausted physically and mentally. Luckily, he supports me with my decision and my passion in this career.

I have sometimes entertained the thought of what other passions I’d love to do as a career: marine biology, teaching in science, anything to do with science, insects, animals, becoming a vet, physical therapist, a massage instructor, and even the idea of becoming a nurse. There are options when I think about other stuff that holds my interest and I have always loved the excuse to learn more.

I have been doing this career for four years, and you’d think it’d get mundane and tedious, yet when I come to work I’m looking forward to it. I’d like to learn more styles of massage, different ways of doing it, and it’s just so much fun to see someone feeling better because of my work.