Recognize your Strength. My mom recognizes hers.

I have been honored and approved to share my mother’s story to the online world. There is not a stronger person who has overcome so much in their life than her that I personally know of. It will be a brief summary of her battles. But to start let me tell you a little bit about her. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio on May 24th, 1962. She loves food, movies, animals, her family, gardening, dream houses, and helping people. She also loves art and was an incredible artist in high school. My mother is caring, klutzy, and hilarious. She has a smile and eyes that light up a room. I have admired her and become attached to her since our eyes first met. Even as a little girl I always marveled at the mother I was given and how so many of my friends just didn’t have a mother that was as close to them. I talked to my mother about that. You can imagine my shock, when she revealed to me that she had not been very close with her mother from the beginning.

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My mother.

Her past is a tough one to swallow. My mother became close to my grandma when my mothers father died of cancer. My mother was the youngest of three. My uncle Roy was the middle child, and my aunt Zona is the oldest. My uncle was angry and scared. My aunt was much older and would disappear with friends. My mother was mute. She was shy and deathly afraid of everything. But nothing or no one scared my mother more, than her father. He was angry and loud, my mother told me. She was scared of what he would say. My mom tells me of vivid memories of them all at the dinner table and her father yelling at my uncle Roy as he cried. I can’t help but have this horrible reflection, seeing myself in my uncle’s place and my own father in my grandfathers place. That was however the dynamic of my mothers family. My mom says no one ever uttered their problems. They acted as if everything was okay all the time. Little did they know that life doesn’t work that way.

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My mother, my aunt Zona and her daughter Caryle, and my great grandmother.

My grandfather had an inoperable brain tumor. The last days of his life were my mothers fondest memories of him. He was quiet and content she said. She remembers getting out of the shower one day, towel wrapped around her, hair messy and wet. She looked up and he was sitting at the table looking at her with a sweet smile. One day when her father walked up to her school, a boy made fun of my mothers father because he was bald and frail. I can’t possibly comprehend such hate and ignorance. My grandfather died when my mother was eleven. After that my mother became close to my grandma. She went to college for a little while but dropped out to be with her mother. There was still so much fear instilled in my mother. Fear, only a father can help their child concur. That wasn’t the relationship they had though. It was the opposite. So while my mother was now free from what scared her most, she still had other fears she would concur on her own. It was overwhelming getting jobs and meeting guys. Their eyes were on my mother all the time. She was very beautiful. My mother met my sisters father David, in Ohio. They married and had my sister on April 15th, 1988. My mom was happy to have a child. But she was not happy with David. He didn’t make my mother feel independent, or that she had a mind of her own. My mother desperately wanted to find her voice. They moved to Texas. They divorced and shortly after my mother met my dad at Chilis.

My mom was a waitress and my dad was a cook. My father gave my mother the one thing she had never received; unconditional love. He was in aw of her and would tell her that. My mother simply wasn’t used to this affection. It made her uncomfortable but also empowered her and gave her confidence. Not long after my parents were married and they had me and than my little brother two years later after me. My father was born in Mexico on January 14th, 1966. He moved to Texas with his mom when he was still very young. My father lost his father when he was a teenager much like my mother. His mother became attached to him. When he met my mom and decided to settle with her, it didn’t please my grandmother. She didn’t want her son taken away from her.

My mother and my father.

But when my brother and I came into the picture, it was a proud time for everyone. We got older everyday, and it became evident that my grandmothers involvement in our lives was more than my mother wanted. Especially the dynamic between my grandmother and my father. They would talk in Spanish and my mother would automatically be kicked out of the conversation. This happened on all outings, even at home. This was the time my parents and my grandmother all began talking to Chris our therapist I mentioned many blogs ago. It wasn’t working. It almost destroyed my parents marriage.

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My mother, my sister, my grandma.

I won’t go into anymore detail of my grandmother. She did contribute to a lot of my pain and insecurities growing up. But she has good intention. Her flaws are that she is just selfish and ignorant. When my mom saw the pain my grandmother was causing me, and that she could do nothing about it she projected the guilt onto herself. Things were rocky for a while. Depression medications were prescribed and a lot of therapy sessions were made. When I was around nine, we received news that my uncle had been diagnosed with cancer. My parents both flew to Ohio where he was staying with my moms mother. My uncle was unrecognizable. He died at a young age of 43. Not much younger then his father when he died of cancer at 41.

 

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Me, my grandmother, my brother, and my sister.

It was a uncomprehending loss for my mother, my aunt, and my grandmother. It gave us all the opportunity to reconnect to family on my mothers side. For a while there would be no word. I think it was just because my mother was afraid of running into her painful past. But my mother has a wonderfully close relationship with her sister, my aunt Zona. I didn’t get to see my uncle as often as I would have liked. I barely even knew him. And to be honest I don’t think anyone really did except his longtime girlfriend Sue. He was mysterious and insecure and fragile but he was also kind and humorous. My aunt thinks my brother looks a lot like him in some pictures. My mom does too.

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My brother. Don’t they look similar?

Even though I only remember my moms mother from my childhood, the picture I have of her is all that matters. She was a tough little thing. She gave the hardest hugs and kisses. She had a contagious laugh. And she loved my siblings and me unconditionally like any grandmother would. She developed a stroke one year. Shortly after that my grandmother passed away. The funeral was so hard for my brother and I. It was the first time we had been to one for someone close to us. It was another opportunity for families to reconnect and bond. We shared memories of my grandmother. My memories and love of her come from the little girl in me who remembers. I hope those memories find her in heaven.

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My grandmother burping my brother while I’ll burp my doll Rachel.

My mother still takes her medications every night. She still tells me how much she loves me and is still the person I can go to for everything. I laugh with her. I can get a drink with her now. She is my best friend. But she isn’t just my mother. She is an incredible woman. She is intelligent and kind. She is attentive to people and things around her. She is so much more than what she knows and I tell her that. The losses in my mothers life though great, gave my mother the ultimate sense of her presence. And what I mean is that all her life when she felt like she was nothing, she was and is living. She has a mind and she has the strength and ability to grieve loss, and to break from her cage. She is finding that out more and more everyday. Every chance I get I remind her and so does my father and siblings. We want to share her beautiful worth with the world.

 

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Why can’t I say what I think? (Connector Post)

It’s a maddening occurrence. It can be as simple as getting your words jumbled and feeling tongue-tied, to not having those thoughts come out of your mouth at all. And you’re like, how does that happen?! I’m not stupid. Am I? If it was easy for us to articulate our thoughts, would we be as afraid of public speaking? And would writers be able to put their thoughts down on paper with ease and not worry about writers block? I want to understand this phenomenon. Two sites I visited helped shed some light on something that greatly impacts my self-esteem.

http://www.socialphobiaworld.com/difficulty-articulating-my-thoughts-and-talking-21661/

This site relies on feedback. Users can post questions and/or comments and are provided with helpful and supportive answers/comments. A lot of the comments do not provide an answer but all relate to the user. But it is something that could relate to social anxiety, personally for myself anyway.

http://lifestyle.allwomenstalk.com/easy-ways-to-become-more-verbally-articulate

This site provides the reader with 7 steps to overcome their inarticulacy. It too does not really present a reason as to why this occurrence happens. However the steps it provides does encourage one to think before they speak. It reminds me that we get caught up in the exchange and not the words were actually saying.

So while I didn’t find a solid answer, I did discover that a lot of people suffer from this and that there are ways of fixing it, or at least making it bearable. But if it is something you are really struggling with I encourage you to read these sites and look around the web for other helpful resources.

I’m more than my pain. (Advocate post)

Have you ever seen something like a word on a build board or even the time on your clock when you’ve woken up, and said it over and over in your head 100 times? Or have you tried to alternate from stepping on the lines of the sidewalk to avoiding them completely? Or what about needing to straighten crooked things around you, or cleaning up a mess? I could go on and on. OCD or (obsessive compulsive disorder) is a disorder that anyone can develop. It is very common but its intensity varies. OCD is a way the brain copes with anxiety and/or depression. My ticks range from the common ones I previously stated, to biting my nails, scratching/picking at my arms, and pulling out my hair. I developed a little bald spot at the beginning of the semester. In fact my anxiety was at an all time high this semester. I don’t handle change well, and many people with anxiety/depression will tell you the same. Transition/change is difficult for people like me because it takes us time to adjust and find comfort in a different environment. I know I’m sounding like a different species of animal but it takes a lot for us to make that step. It’s a difficult life dealing with anxiety/depression.

To summarize how mine works; usually when I think I have my shit together and something comes up and I start feeling overwhelmed by it, it’s so much so that it’s too much to bear. And because of this my mind tries to find a way out; recklessly. I become agitated and irritated easily with people. I even begin to shut people off. I second guess myself and feel paranoid and afraid. This is anxiety. And when the hell of that becomes too much the mind tries to find methods of comfort. OCD is the most prominent one. And when all of that is too much, and I just want to stop worrying and living in constant fear, I surrender and shut myself off. I feel numb and void, and it may seem like I don’t care, but I do, at least I really want to and I wish I could try. This is depression. All of these are connected to one another. And all require different methods of coping. It isn’t easy like I previously stated. The mind is so much more complex than we even understand, which is why anxiety/depression has the stigma it has. And I can promise you that anyone going through what I do would rather not. There are steps and methods a person like me can take to make life easier.

Two helpful sites I visited gave different ideas and insights:

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/transforming-panic-into-peace-3-steps-to-relieve-anxiety/ This site gives tips and methods for anxiety and depression. It is insightful and offers many uplifting reads. The blogs are well written in that they offer solutions to many impossible situations. If you feel stuck and/or distraught in your current situation visit the site.

http://sunnyspellsandscatteredshowers.org/depression/                                                            This blogger was ranked as number 1 in the greatest blogs for depression by the website Psych Central. She writes personal anecdotes and helps readers to understand and overcome their illness. It is filled with inspiring and encouraging reads for anyone needing help.

You do not have to settle with the way you are feeling. You have the right to get help and live a happy life free of irrational thinking. You are worth it. This is a lifelong battle for most people. And it can require medication, therapy, and self soothing tips as I’ve discussed. Sometimes one needs help. And it can make all the difference.

My top 10 films for a bad day.

The Princess Bride (1987)

The Princess Bride Poster

This is the ultimate movie for a rainy day so to speak. It is one of the most quoted and loved films today.

“Has it got sports?” “Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”

The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Big Lebowski Poster

The humor will leave you rolling. I can guarantee your day is not as bad as, The Dude’s. Maybe even make yourself a white Russian while you’re enjoying the film.

“The Dude abides.”

Tommy Boy (1995)

Tommy Boy Poster

I grew up with this film so there is that bias. But it seems to be the movie that everyone loves. Your sides will be hurting from Chris Farley’s physical comedy and David Spade’s dry humor. They are the best comedy duo since Laurel and Hardy in my opinion. You should see their other film together, Blacksheep which is just as good.

“Son of uh! That’s gonna leave of mark!”

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

10 Things I Hate About You Poster

I know a lot of people who veer away from romantic comedies; I am one of those people. But this movie doesn’t try to shove love in your face and instead presents a realistic and even more romantic scenario between two  misunderstood High school teens. It has a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Heath Ledger. You will be gushing! You’ll want to have wine and popcorn with this one. Good luck not finishing the bottle. And if you’re a 90’s kid like me you’ll be reminiscing over the style’s and especially the music. Don’t miss the 90’s anthem I want you to want me in the end!

“But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.”

Duck Soup (1933)

Duck Soup Poster

I hope this film gets you hooked on the Marx Brothers. From Groucho’s infamous one liners, Chico’s piano playing fingers, to Harpo’s silly, unspoken antics; you’ll be in stitches when you watch these guys.

“I got a good mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it.”

City Lights (1931)

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My favorite film of all time. Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp is an iconic silent film character. You will forget that it’s silent from how he engages you. You will laugh and may even cry. It is a touching film.

“Tomorrow the birds will sing.”

Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

Singin' in the Rain Poster

You’ll be dancing and you guessed it…singing with this one! And Gene Kelly’s classic scene where he is dancing in the rain with the umbrella is more amazing to watch when you realize he had the flu and a high fever when he did that scene! The film set the tone for future musical films and it’s no surprise when you see it.

“What do they think I am? Dumb or something? Why, I make more money than-than-than Calvin Coolidge! Put together!”

The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club Poster

If you watch any John Hughes film you wont be disappointed. It will bring you laughs and insight. You will be quoting the film for days.

“What if your dope was on fire?” “Impossible, sir. It’s in Johnson’s underwear.”

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Wizard of Oz Poster

Another film I grew up with. It continues to inspire me to this day. The best way to watch it is under the covers in your bed or on the couch. You’ll venture over the rainbow with Dorothy and Toto. It always makes me feel like a child again.

“Toto, I’ve a feeling were not in Kansas anymore.”

The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

The Emperor's New Groove Poster

There had to be a Disney movie on list. And honestly you could be content with watching any one you wanted. But considering this one is one of the only Disney films where a parent doesn’t get killed. I thought that was more positive. It is one of the more underrated Disney Films. It will have you laughing out loud.

“Pull the lever Kronk! Wrong Leverrrrr!!!”

All pictures courtesy of IMDB

 

My Spring in Gruene! (Filter post)

Gruene, Texas is the place to be! It is placed between San Antonio and New Braunfels. This little town is the perfect vacation getaway. The area is full of fun things to do. If you love food it is the perfect area to find some really good restaurants. One of my families favorite places is located on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. About every place you’ll see in Gruene and the New Braunfels area is filled with German style food as it is a heavily German immigrated area. And the Biergarten on the Riverwalk is the place you should not miss if you’re wanting some sausage, sour kraut, large pretzels, and even larger beer. The food is wonderful but so are the people, who make the place a magical experience.

Yum.

I’ll have Hofbrau please. Danke schoen!

This guy played his trumpet with an accordionist. They were great fun to talk to. My brother made sure the guy was taken care of. Beer cures the performance jitters.

Even more relaxing is Downtown Gruene. From boutiques, to their own vineyard, to antique shops, and restaurants overlooking the river; Downtown Gruene is beautiful and fulfilling. It a great tourist location with a lot to do. I suggest you book your hotel to this spot. You won’t be disappointed. Our adventures in San Antonio ended with a stop at Lucy’s Fried Chicken. Absolutely finger licking. Probably the best fried chicken you can get in San Antonio.

Visit their site and book it!

http://www.grueneriverinn.com/index.htm

My brother trying calf fries for the first time. They taste like chicken!

After our vacation in San Antonio it has been nice to relax at home and spend time with friends. I love to go out and have fun, but the truth is, I am a home body. Home is where the heart is after all.

My Friends. The ultimate cure.

My mother told me something that made a huge impact on how much my relationships with people in my life mean to me. She said that when my siblings and I or even my dad are emotionally/physically hurting, it tears her apart because we are all pieces of her heart walking around. And when we get hurt, she gets hurt too. While I know some of you may find that extreme, it is what I live by. And that is fine because like I addressed in my last blog; we all love differently! But I am like a mother to my friends. I take care of them and listen to them like my mother taught me to do. I am funny and encouraging and just love to have fun with my friends. They bring the best out of me and know me better than myself at times to be honest. They are my inner strength and constant support system and remind me that I’m more than my depression. So I think I should introduce you to some incredible people in my life.

My girls and I.

So when I was six and my family moved out of our apartment and into a real house and I had to start at a elementary school I was pretty scared. Luckily that very day when I met my music teacher I also met her twin children, Andrew and Brianna. Brianna and I were shy with each other at first but once I asked if she played Barbies the rest was history. We played together every day. We dressed up and rode our bikes and jumped on the trampoline and put on plays/musicals for our families and went to the park and played with our brothers. Oh the adventures could go on and on. But never would I realize just how long the real adventure would go on, and continues to go on today. No relationship in my life has ever been stronger. We over came so many struggles together. We grew up together and found ourselves in each other. We are so much a like it’s scary. One of our favorite things to do together is sing. Our voices become one, and it is magical. I have laughed till I’ve cried with her; our sense of humor is completely unique. We practically have our own language. I learned to trust and dream from her. She reminds me everyday of my talents I have to share with the world. She makes me feel confident and strong with myself. I found who I was because of her. I love her with all my heart. She goes to New York University. She will be graduating this semester in Psychology. She is the most incredibly smart, strong, wise beyond her years woman that I have ever known.

Doing what we do best.

Cuties.

Crazy about this girl.

My best friend of 18 years. To the rest of our lives!

In High school when I was in band I was the section leader of the Clarinets all four years. My Sophomore year I met Miranda. We had just finished dinner in the cafeteria before a Friday night football game and I was walking past the table where the Pit Crew sat. I heard a rather loud burp and turned to see a beautiful, sweet-faced girl give me a smile. “Wow. That’s impressive!” I laughed. We both laughed hysterically and I grabbed a soda and challenged her to a burping contest. Thus began a beautiful relationship. Miranda was a clarinet player and in my section but didn’t march that first year so she could be in pit. She excelled in her instrument all through High school. She made State three years in a row. A feet never made as often or as young by anyone at the school. Today she goes to A&M Commerce and is studying music. She’ll graduate next year. Band is nothing without the incredible friends you make. It is like a second family. You get up early every morning during marching season to learn your show and march in the hot Texas sun. You shed sweat, tears, and blood together. Needless to say it brought us closer. She would be clarinet section leader with me. It wasn’t just band that brought Miranda closer to me but actually what happened outside. Miranda was very fragile when I first met her. She had a very troubled past that she shared with me and I saw this vulnerable girl trusting me to open herself up to. From that day on I took her under my wing and “showed her the world” as Aladdin says. She opened up more and more over the months of getting to know her. We had lunch together and texted each other everyday. Soon after we were inseparable. Our summers were spent over each others houses constantly. We would have jam sessions where we would listen to music and dance. We would stay up late watching scary movies and wearing facial masks while eating crap. Our favorite is The Exorcist. We never get tired of watching 13 Going On 30 or watching her favorite Disney film The Little Mermaid. But our favorite movie to watch together is Moulin Rouge. When I’m with Miranda I feel free and happy to wear the skin I’m in. We joke that if we put my boobs and her butt together we would be the “perfect” woman. She is so loving and talented and passionate for music and life. She reminds me to have fun and be happy despite all insecurities.

After a performance the band went to Cici’s and got mustaches out of a vending machine.

Halloween.

Quite possibly my favorite picture of us.

Her  High school graduation (2013).

The story of me.

I was born on January 9th, 1993. I was a happy little pistol. My sister Emily who is my half sister (same mother) is five years older than me. In 1995, my chunk of a brother Ricky was born with a full head of hair. He and I would be the best of friends growing up.We were a happy family. But like all families we had our fair share of baggage. We practically defined the word miscommunication. My dad and I love differently than my mom and my siblings. Were open and like talking to the ones we love about things. They tend to not like to bring up painful subjects just because they don’t want to burden anyone with their problems. It’s not wrong, it’s just a different kind of love. People may learn differently or open themselves up to a new person at different times from others. Just like people love differently. It doesn’t make them wrong. It makes them individuals. Unfortunately, the way we handled things is where the problems would start, and where miscommunication would happen. And when it’d be too hard, there would be no communication. My word of advice to aspiring parents/families; always make your kids and family comfortable to talk about whatever the hell they want to talk about. Obviously there are times when a topic isn’t appropriate but when it is, never show disinterest. It shapes a child’s communication skills and overall confidence in their opinions. It’s what helps them find their voice! I know this.

Little me.

My mother and I at the Dallas Symphony Orcastra.

Since I was a baby I was attached to my mother. She was my everything. She was there to nurture me and listen to me. She encouraged me and inspired me. To this day she does. But she protected me too much at a young age. Even when there was nothing she needed to protect me from. I became scared, all the time. I was anxious, timid, and shy. I was confused of the world and people around me. The only thing that told me what the world was, was movies. Film shaped my understanding of the world. I marveled at characters strengths and especially the embrace of their weaknesses. It was a reminder that I wasn’t alone. Oh how I wished I could leave my life and enter these characters worlds. The laughs I’d share with Charlie Chaplin, the amazing advice I’d receive from Spencer Tracey, the songs I’d sing with Julie Andrews, the courage I’d learn from Andy Dufresne, and the adventures I’d experience with Frodo. All these worlds filled my heart and subconscious.Through elementary I would think of these worlds and these characters and even talk to them. Needless to say it concerned my teachers, peers, and family. I was in special ed till third grade. That was when I joined choir and cheer leading. I was able to apply myself and discover talents I didn’t know I had. I was able to socialize, and the voices got softer than they ever had. It was like a weight was being lifted from me. It was horrifying letting go of my mother, but slowly but surely I did. But where one strength is found, a weakness gets in your way. This is the way of life I’m sad to say. I was thin and active as a child, that is until I turned nine. My weight gain was beyond my control. Before I knew it, I was the only fourth grader already wearing a training bra. Words hurt. I don’t know how to make that anymore serious for a person to understand. I carry a lot of those words with me today. Sitting here as I type this it’s hard for me to hold back the tears from words that hurt me when I was nine, and I’m twenty-three. My weight was such a burden. I felt like it buried me alive and hid from people my talents and inner beauty that I knew to be true to my heart. It was so painful. Especially when you would see how people treated you differently. Yes I was shy and insecure but I could hear and make my own judgments and opinions and kids were just relentless with the way they would talk about me inches away. Only today do I understand that it wasn’t that they thought I was stupid, but that they knew they could say those things, and I wouldn’t do anything about it. I felt weak and alone. But who else could I go to but my mother. The person who was always there and encouraging me. The person who always listened and wanted to hear my thoughts. She reminded me that I did have a voice. Little did I know, my mother was fighting her own battles during my time of need. I remember as clear as day pulling at her arm as she lay in her bed. I pleaded with her to get up and play with me or even go to the store together. Anything! The sun was out but her room was dark. It was like that a lot. She just looked up at me, an expression on her face that I didn’t realize would not only impact me greatly but that I can relate to today; an expression of defeat. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t even question it. How does a child comprehend depression? The only thing that I got out of it was that I was losing her. And I needed to try harder. I needed to protect her and take care of her like she did for me. I suddenly took on the mother role. My anxiety and worries were at an all time high. I would have panic attacks if my siblings or my mother didn’t get home on time from school or work. It was miserable. I would call my mother frantically in tears and looking out the window. When she would arrive I would embrace her tightly and tremble. My family decided it was time for a therapist. Our family therapist Chris has been the ears and wisdom for my family since before I was born. I was just nine when I had my first session with her. My mother had taken my brother and I with her to her sessions when he was still in diapers and I was still sucking my thumb. It was my turn now and it scared me. But it intrigued me when this grown women wanted to hear what I had to say. I thought I would be lectured and/or judged. But she listened to me and helped me see things I didn’t see before. Now I am here to say that therapy isn’t for everyone, and I am very blessed to have an amazing therapist who I wish anyone needing therapy could have. After many sessions, the worries got softer until they weren’t there anymore. Chris told me that if I ever worried about something, I should write it down. I began writing a lot. In fourth grade it was brought to my attention by my peers, teacher, and even principle that I may have a huge talent in writing. This new found talent couldn’t have come at a better time. Imagination always came easy for me. It was such a natural thing that I didn’t realize just how great it was.That same year I decided to play basketball. It’s the tallest I would ever be in my life. My coach whom I had a huge crush on helped me come out of my shell. He taught me to be “aggressive” and to yank the ball out of players arms. So the day I did assert myself was the day I remember my coaches cheering and my team mates embracing me and me feeling like the strongest kid on that court.

My siblings, Emily and Ricky.

In intermediate school I declared I would become a writer when I grew up. Oh my, how exciting it was to announce something like that. I felt I really knew who I was for the first time. It gave me purpose. The friendships I created in the sixth grade with peers and teachers alike gave me the ultimate confidence. It was truly the greatest year of my life. For once I felt accepted and didn’t get truancy. Even though I was now at my heaviest, it wasn’t a focus because it was the year everyone acknowledged my strengths and not my weaknesses. And so I focused on them less. I remember being asked by my friends and teacher Ms. Pease (whom I will thank when I receive my Oscar) to share my stories. And the greatest part was that I didn’t just accept their requests but found myself raising my hand and asking to read on my own. It was the encouragement I had always needed. I didn’t want to leave that year. How could it get better than that? One of my closest friends would be moving away. We would all be apart.

Junior High was hell. In eighth grade, two of my closest and only friends decided they didn’t want to be a part of my life anymore. I know it was only because I had decided I didn’t want to be a part of theirs much earlier. When I got into Junior High all my friends had moved away and I lost a huge part of myself. I forgot who I was when I saw how guys looked at me and other girls. What happened to being loved and encouraged and practically being a celebrity among your peers to being laughed at by a bunch of basketball players as you walk by? The jokes and harassment was beyond repair. I found myself slowly succumbing. I pushed my closest friend away every time she wanted to be with me. I’d yell at my brother who would ask me to play. I was numb, almost drugged. I stayed on my computer all the time. And I missed school a lot. I was screaming in my head for someone to help. I remember thinking than and now that I never wanted to hurt anyone. I didn’t want to hurt. But people got angry when I tried to explain. My friends “invited” me over. They sat me down and had been whispering the whole time. They were incredibly hostile; barely looking at me. I felt the hot poison course through me. I wouldn’t wish a more debilitating feeling on my worst enemy than seeing your two greatest childhood friends look at you like a stranger. I wanted to leave. They said they had marked this day as my “intervention” because they thought I had depression. I was in utter disbelief. It was hurt that ran deep. Even today I feel how I haven’t fully accepted that it happened. They had nothing else to say to me so I asked for my dad to get me. My panic attacks were so bad that I was put on two inhalers. Why would no one help me? I felt so lost and betrayed. That’s when the irrational thinking started. I began obsessing. I wouldn’t be able to go a day without thinking how I would die. I realized that I wanted to die. Later that year I would audition for High school band. When I was in sixth grade, I picked up a clarinet for the first time. I wasn’t the best at first, but overtime I excelled. It was more than a hobby but something I could always rely on over the next six years. I could write a whole other blog over High school band. It was the most intimidating and difficult thing I’ve ever done. Making the marching band my Freshman year made me feel found again. I was a part of something bigger than myself. It would take me all through High school just to understand how positively the program would impact. It disciplined me mentally. It gave me responsibilities. It forced me to work among my peers. It inspired trust and created the most powerful friendships I have ever had.

My band director Mr. Lambert embracing the 2013 Seniors (My brothers Senior year).

On the bus after going to Cici’s for lunch after a performance. We saw a vending machine of mustaches and couldn’t pass it up.

Yes, I was a band nerd. I thank band, and my band director Mr. Lambert (who was so hard on me, and pushed me every day, because he knew my worth) for getting me through those High school days. They were not easy. I got truancy and had to go to court. I was having stomach pains and my body ached all the time. I never thought we would find out what it was. Little did I know that this illness had a name. It was depression. My Junior year I was horribly, verbally bullied by students in my science class. They would joke that I never spoke and said I was probably a psycho or sex fiend outside of class. When I missed a bunch of school I would be harassed as to why I had been gone for so long. Students spread a rumor that when I was out for month, I had really been in jail for selling drugs. People are so cruel. I found myself in a hole again. I felt like I was just constantly letting people down. I would leave school early in tears after the abuse from that class. One day, I couldn’t take anymore. I got on the road and stopped at a red light. I put one foot on my break, and one on the gas. I closed my eyes and counted to three. On three I would press the gas and zoom into on coming traffic to kill myself. I felt something take hold of me suddenly. It was the strangest sense of calm. I felt the most aware of my surroundings than ever before. I shook my head and sobbed the rest of the way home. I called Chris and told her what had happened and that’s when Prozac entered my life. I have since been on several other medications. They have helped me immensely, but they aren’t for everyone. After joining choir my Junior year I had more to focus on and look forward to. Before I knew it graduation was in view. My dad has admitted that for a while he thought I wouldn’t get there. I don’t blame him, I felt the same way. But I did graduate. I had also lost an incredible amount of weight by joining Weight Watchers. My confidence was at an all time high. That is until, I stepped into the real world.

My relationship with my father crumbled. I was scared and terrified of the world. Here I was, beautiful and so much going for me but, did I want people to notice me? Maybe that just sounded nice when I felt bad about my body, but now I was thin and dreading walking the street and people looking at me or worse, try to talk to me. I didn’t know what I was doing. I would lay in bed and only leave my room for food or to use the bathroom. My dad would come and try to talk to me. He would get angry even. In the moment it hurt, I know now that he was helpless and angry that he couldn’t help me. I didn’t know what could save me or if I could be saved. My suicidal thoughts came back. That was until my 2oth Birthday when my father surprised me with Hope. All I had to do was look down into those eyes and stare at that precious face to feel life again. She saved my life. And that’s why her name is so appropriate.

The night I got my dog Hope. Holding her on the couch for the first time.

I enrolled at Collin Community College. It was the best decision I could have made for myself. While I went I babysat for a little. I worked very hard. I had my moments where it was just too hard to make decisions. I was put on a second medication and I saw an instant change in myself. There was a time when I avoided my father altogether because he had always been the enforcer and I felt my worth was constantly reflected through his eyes. But our relationship is healthy now as is with my mother. I went to Quad C for three years and received my Associate of Arts. Soon after I was accepted into the University of Texas at Dallas. I never realized just how many ups and downs there are in life until I wrote this. I thought that was just some cheesy saying. But it is true. It has been a rocky road for me. It continues to be one, but somehow I’m finding my way through it. Today I’m pushing forward with my Major and working at Jimmy Johns in my home town of Wylie Texas (where nothing happens). I hope to be in California in the future and pursue my dream of writing and casting for film. If I’ve gotten anything out of this journey so far, it’s that one shouldn’t be afraid to be who they are. They shouldn’t be afraid to push themselves. Yes I have been hurt many times, by many people, most whom I love the most. But I wouldn’t change what happened to me, because it has given me an inner strength that I’m sure not many have. Don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t be who you are. Because whether others like it or not, we are individuals, and no one has the right to tell us how to feel or who to be. That belongs to us. No one else.

Me receiving my Associate of Arts.

My father and I after an elementary play. I had a solo.

My mother (my best friend) and I at orientation for UTD.

My key to happiness. Blog 1!

My morning began with me tossing and turning in my bed. I tried desperately to fall back asleep and dream of Tom Hiddleston (yum), but the fact that I had to pee so badly made me get up (the only reason I’d get up early in the morning besides Christmas or my birthday…sometimes the smell of freshly brewed coffee).

haha, not a morning person | Pictures and Quotes I Love | Pinterest

Or even later than that…

Mornings aren’t my thing. So when I can get up and shower and have time to put on makeup and have a cup of coffee, I feel an overall satisfaction to my day even if it ends horribly. After that I gun it to school. Trust me, if I was anywhere as assertive in real life as I am on the road, life would be more fulfilling. Granted I don’t flip someone the bird or curse a bunch of obscenities (road rage is killer). I’m sure people would think I was insane. My days are long. Finally a full time college student. It’s incredibly rewarding and intimidating. The campus is so large and beautiful.

The <b>University of Texas at Dallas</b>

I go to the University of Texas at Dallas. I’m majoring in Emerging Media and Communication (EMAC).

Sometimes  I ask myself if I’m really here or if I really deserve this. It’s hard to see yourself as a hardworking successful person when you were the opposite all through high school. But it’s something I have to pinch myself with and remind how much I’ve grown as a individual over the past five years. It’s really maddening to lose perspective, and if you’re like me and constantly obsessing over your life choices you lose it frequently. Even as I sit at a table on campus writing about this I think about how I want my day to go by fast, does that desire make me a lazy person? I think about how this semester will end and what my future semesters will be like, I think about how I will be in the future. Will I be any more confident? Will I be thin again? Will I be happy? Just a few of the things I think about and obsess over on a daily basis. The minute I get home at the end of the day is when I’m happiest. I cuddle next to my dog Hope with a glass of wine constantly at my side.

My three year chug chihuahua/pug Hope. I love this animal more than most people I know.

Its my vice I’m sorry to say. “Just one more glass”, is the biggest joke I tell to myself I’ve concluded. But with new medication I’ve learned to quit obsessing as much over these little worries. So what if I have that extra glass of wine or cake? I’ve learned to live unpredictably because life is unpredictable. All one can do is get up in the morning and push through the day. If you can make it home and feel that sense of calm and peace I think it’s a day well accomplished. Living with my parents can have its ups and downs but it’s nice to live with that support system. I’m also very lucky that they are my best friends. And the room next to me is my younger brother by two years. It’s really important for people like me to have people in their lives that they can trust.

Me and my beyond amazing family celebrating my 23rd Birthday at the Bavarian Grill doing what we do best. Left to right (Me, my mother looking scared, my dad looking scared, my silly brother, and my gorgeous sister).

My brother I would trust with anything. It’s a tough life having a mind like I do, but it’s also a deep blessing to be as at-tentative to things around me as much as I am. I’ve turned it into writing. It helps me clear a lot of those bad thoughts into something creative and thought provoking. I highly recommend writing or any type of creative outlet you desire to help release stress of all kinds. Once you do it you release what you didn’t realize was there and find it’s hard to stop. I’ll start writing a story that I didn’t think would get anywhere but I’m already at five pages. It’s like, where did that come from? And it’s really empowering. And it helps to have the people in my life that I do. Tonight I’ll be finishing a weekly marathon of Lord of the Rings with my brother. There is a lot of my future I’m uncertain of but I know tonight will provide me with wine, snacks, and a box of tissues. They’re little things. And that to me is the real key to happiness.

My brother and I at the premiere of The Hobbit Part 3: Battle of the Five Armies. Hardcore nerds.