Growing up in my house
I have vivid memories of my childhood, only because they were so traumatic. I can remember nights when my mother would stand at the bottom of the stairs just screaming for no real reason. She was just drunk again. She drank every single night. She did not just drink every single night, she drank to the point of passing out every single night.
This is the life I lived from the time I was 10 years old until I finally moved out at the age of 20. I never knew when she would just go crazy and throw things at me or pull my hair or threaten me. I never knew what nights she would decide to keep me up until 3a.m although I had school or work in the morning. My life had always been very unpredictable.
Once, when I was a freshmen in high school I had this very large cut on my arm because my mom had thrown a remote at me the night before. Whenever I arrived at school the next day a few kids asked me what happened and I had to blame it on my sister because I was afraid to share the truth.
One of the most vivid memories I have of my mother is from one summer whenever I was in high school. I was at our town festival with a friend and my sister and we spotted our mom there. She was so drunk and I was mortified. It was always easy to tell when she was intoxicated because she would stumble and her eyes were glossed over and could not focus. Not only was she drunk though, she was in these old, worn out pajamas and she stuck out like a sore thumb. It was one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to me. I remember just running over to her and begging her to go home. The only way she would leave is if me and my sister would go with her.
She was always doing things like that. She did not want us to ever get too far away from her or leave her completely alone for very long. She relied on us, her children, to be her friends.
There was even a time when my mom was arrested for being intoxicated while caring for me and my siblings. I was only 10 or 11 at the time and I was still at a stage where I loved my mom so much that I did not think anything she was doing was wrong. She was only in jail for 2 weeks and then had to complete a weekend at a local rehab type program along with Alcohol Anonymous meetings. Unfortunately, she never took any of that very serious because in her mind she has never had a problem. In her mind she only drinks because it helps her sleep at night.
I often hid the truth from other people. I did not want the people in my life to know that my mom was an alcoholic who was verbally and physically abusive. I am not saying my mom ever beat the crap out of me or threw me down a flight of stairs, but no kid should ever have a bruise, cut, scar, or any marks from their parent. Parents are supposed to make you feel safe, not scared.
My mom told me and my siblings on several occasions that she had wished we weren’t alive or that we would all drop dead. She would tell us to go to hell or make other rude comments just to tear us down.
I would tell myself that a lot of the things that my mother was doing when I was growing up was only because she drank, but even whenever she was sober she still wasn’t like other moms. She did not love me and encourage me the way other moms did.
Growing up in constant fear that someone would figure out all of your secrets was very scary. Growing up thinking that the cops would show up at your house because your neighbors would hear the screaming and fighting is not something that any child should be concerned with. Growing up the way I did is not a way that any child should have to live.
As a result of being raised the way I was, I appreciate the normal life that I am able to live now. I can sleep at whatever time I want because no one keeps me awake. I can have friends over to my home any time I please because I no longer have to live in secrecy and shame. I appreciate some of the most basic things because I know how bad things really could be. I will never allow the way I grew up to become an excuse. I use it as motivation and always have.
I also still speak to my mom for anyone that is wondering. We don’t have the closest relationship, but I do not hold a grudge or any hostile feelings toward her. Life if life. Sometimes things happen to you and you cannot understand why.
Dream it, believe it, go for it
How does anyone ever know exactly what they want to do in life? Choosing a career in one of the most complicated and stressful things. Maybe that isn’t how it feels whenever you actually know what you want to do though, but having to choose a career because you feel pressured and just need to earn a living seems almost impossible.
I enjoy doing many things, none of which will ever be a high earning career though. I love to write and maybe eventually I will be able to make $50 here or $100 there, but the chance it will become reliable income is slim. I also love creating and designing new things to sell in my Etsy shop, but that will likely never be sufficient enough to suffice as an income.
I cannot imagine waking up in the morning, putting on a pair of dress pants and blouse, and going into an office for 8 hours. I however know people who love their jobs working in an office. They feel empowered and important whenever they put on their finest suit and are able to perform a big presentation in front of the senior executives at the company they work for.
There were times when I too dreamed of working at a big company, where I would wear nice clothes and feel important. There were times where I wanted to make tons and tons of money and I was basing a career solely off of salary. I disregarded all prior advice from people who had way more experience than I did and decided I did not need to love the career I was going into as long as it paid well.
Unfortunately, the closer and closer graduation became (Currently 25ish hours away still, with no plans to return) the more and more I wanted to run. I kick myself for spending 4 years at university, instead of spending those 4 years figuring out what I really wanted to do. I am however happy that I had a college experience and I did learn some valuable things about the business world.
I know people (I’m actually engaged to one) who started at the lowest spot available within a company and now they have a career they somewhat enjoy. They have a career that they care about because they are somewhat attached to the company they work for. If I started at a company with the intention of growing within the company at the age of 18, I may have gotten somewhere by now.
Here I am though… I am 23 and don’t have a damn clue where I am going or what comes next. I am living day by day and just seeing what is out there. I have big dreams and no clue how I will attain them, but I am going to keep pushing and keep trying.
What I am really trying to get across is that everyone figures out what they want at a different point. Some people know what they will be doing for the rest of their lives whenever they are in elementary school, others are just finishing college or beginning a brand new career at 50. It is never too late to chase your dream or make a change though. We all deserve to be happy or at least the opportunity to try to find happiness.
Year End Review
2016 was the year that I finally felt comfortable with who I am, where my life is currently at, and even where my life is going. In past years I always felt behind my peers or felt as though I was not doing enough. Sometimes I even felt like I was doing way too much, but this year everything seems to have perfectly aligned.
The year started out the same way every single year does, ball drops, happy new year, and by January 10th or so I, just like most people, forget the resolutions I was going to work on and basically forget that a new year just happened. I do not dwell on the things that I did not accomplish in the previous year, instead I just take life day by day.
Jon and I knew very early on in the year that we would be able to buy a house, so that was something very exciting that we had to look forward to. We started our search in early spring, but did not end up moving into our house until almost fall. We ended up putting offers in on 3 different houses, but now I am thankful the first two did not work out. The entire experience was very frustrating and nothing like I had imagined it would be.
By May we had learned my dad had stage 4 lung cancer. It was the most devastating news I have received in my entire life, to be honest. Knowing that one of your parents has a limited amount of time left with you is a hard to cope with. I have now watched my dad fight for months and months and he still remains hopeful and in good spirits.
Learning this terrible news about my dad is what pushed me into quitting smoking though. The day his cancer was staged was the last day that I was a smoker. I am now so thankful that I quit when I did.
Around this time is also when I created my own site just for writing. I no longer write on host sites like hubpages or blogspot like I had in the past. This site is 100% mine, therefore I can post whatever I want without any guidelines or restrictions.
My next venture was starting my own Etsy shop! This is the first time in my life that I have ever earned money while actually enjoying what I was doing so I already consider the company a success. My Etsy shop can be found at CreationsByNad for anyone who is wondering. I sell custom party decorations and invitations and home decor.
The next major change to occur this year was getting engaged. Jon and I had been together for a while and always had a good relationship, so I knew that eventually it would happen, but was not sure when. Knowing that in 2017 we will be officially married is something that I am looking forward to.
The last major change that occurred this year was the way I choose to take care of my body. I have never watched what I eat, exercised, or put any real thought into nourishing my body. This year, after quitting smoking, I decided it was time to take care of myself.
I started by obtaining a new hobby, running. Then I slowly cut out almost all junk food and eating out. Then I began doing real workouts to tone and build muscle. I even cut way down on how much coffee I drink every day. So far, these changes have done amazing things for me! Not just in my body's appearance, but in the way that I feel. I have so much more energy throughout the day.
When this year started I was renting a crappy house, with my boyfriend, working at a dead end job, unsure of where I was going. I was a smoker, I did not care for my body the way one should, and I did not have a clue what I was going to do next.
I do not have it all together or figured out, but I am finishing this year as a changed person. I am finishing this year in a position that I did not think I would be in last year at this time. I had several positive experiences and was actually able to build for myself. Overall, I am thankful for all the experiences and life lessons 2016 had to offer and I am excited to see what will happen in 2017.
Gilmore Girls Revival
I watched Gilmore Girls as a kid and teenager and it was my absolute favorite show for years and years. I had a deep connection to Rory and Lorelai because they had a mother daughter relationship just like one I always yearned for. They were best friends and almost sisters, yet Lorelai was always there to offer her wise insight and to guide her daughter the best she could.
I remember when Rory and Lorelai did not speak for months after Rory stole a boat with Logan or when Rory missed Lorelai’s graduation from business school because she went to visit Jesse. I cried when Lorelai and Luke broke up and when Rory graduated from Yale. It felt like Stars Hollow was my home, just as much as it was the home of the Gilmore girls.
This show has held nostalgic memories for me ever since the series finale almost ten years ago. Every time I watch it, it has the ability to put me in a good mood and take me back to a different time. This is why I, just like many others who loved the Gilmore Girls, were so excited when Netflix announced a Gilmore Girls revival.
The revival has been hyped for over a year and when trailers were first released I felt like a kid again. I felt like the show had never even ended and Stars Hallow was moving along for the last ten years, there just had not been cameras there to catch all of the action.
The closer and closer the premiere date became, the more and more excited many viewers also became, and soon the familiar phrase of “the last four words” surfaced again. Before watching I had no idea what the last four words could possibly be, but I was dying to find out! I will not spoil the final four words, but I will say that in my opinion they absolutely sucked!
As I began watching the revival and actually seeing many of the characters that were in the original series, my heart was so full. It was incredible to see all of these actors come together, almost ten years later, just to finish out a show the way it was always supposed to be (according to Palladino).
Kirk, Taylor, Mrs. Patty, Sookie, Michelle, Dean, Jesse, Logan, Lane…. Everyone was there! Spoiler, you finally see a shot of Lane’s dad.
However, I soon realized that a lot had to change in order for the show to make sense. Everyone was much older, Rory now 32! There are also things like wifi and social media and smart phones too, which changed certain aspects of the show.
The original Gilmore Girls was made in a much simpler time. It was a wholesome and happy show most of the time, with simple plot twists and characters that were rather predictable, but that was the lure of the show. It always made you laugh and feel good.
The revival tried to be wholesome and predictable too, but there were things missing… Rory was 32, therefore no longer a child and no longer needing approval from her mother. She is now sleeping with Logan, a man who is engaged. She has no real job, which means no real income, yet never seems to worry about money.
Rory has changed. Lorelai has changed. Luke has changed. Everyone has changed! Which is the problem with a revival that takes place 10 years after the final season aired. Viewers want to see the show at the same place where it left off, but that is not possible.
This revival was a disappointment! It was great to see all of the characters again and to be transported back to Stars Hallow, but the 4 episodes were scattered and seemed incomplete. The last four words were garbage and offered no closure. I almost wish a revival was never even created because it only tainted my Gilmore Girls nostalgia.
The last few months have had many, many ups. For starters, Jon and I got engaged! Two days before our fourth anniversary he popped the question in our living room on Monday afternoon (classic Jon). I was totally surprised and genuinely shocked because I had no idea that he was planning to propose. This was very, very exciting for us! We were officially engaged and eventually we would be married.
We have not put very much thought into a wedding, considering we are not in too big of a rush to get married. Eventually, a wedding of some sort will occur though, my name will change, and we’ll just be another married couple, which is fine by me.
The next major update is that I decided to create my very own Etsy shop! (search CreationsByNad on Etsy or go to etsy.com/shop/CreationsByNad to view my shop)
This is something I had wanted to do for a while, but I needed a push from my encouraging twin sister to actually do. So far, my shop seems to be doing well for a startup.
I have made over 50 different items, had a few sales, and each day I keep trying new things in an attempt to build a brand.
Lastly, after quitting smoking I realized how much I love food. Yes, we all love food, however I have never in my 23 years on this earth had to worry about what I eat because I have always been thin. However, when you eat the way I was (in a restaurant 2+ times a week and never even consider purchasing a vegetable) it doesn’t take long to figure out a change must be made.
By this point in time, I had been going running for over a month pretty regularly because I genuinely enjoyed it. I LIKED TO RUN! Which was very weird considering I had never once gone running for fun, nor did I think it would ever be an activity in which I would be fond of, but I did in fact enjoy it. When I was running, it was just me. No worries. No one else mattered. Not a damn thing was on my mind except running.
I began to see the amount of just terrible food I was consuming and decided that I did not quit smoking in order to live a long and healthy life, just to poison my body with over processed food. I am by no means an expert when it comes to eating clean, but I like to think I am on the right track. Some days I still eat pie or cookies, but most I try to nurture my body and preserve it so that it will remain in its best condition for as long as possible.
Many people who have been reading my posts since the beginning may be wondering about my dad and what is going on with his treatment and I’m not going to say too much except he is fighting as hard as he can! Chemo is very hard on the human body though, so he is tired and spends a lot of his free time just relaxing and enjoying his spare time. He always remains positive and hopeful though.
My feelings are my feelings
Sometimes, something or someone pisses me off so badly that I shake with anger. Occasionally, something makes me so happy that I cry with joy. Other times I become so sad that I weep uncontrollably. Some days things seem like a huge deal, while others I can just shrug them off. I listen to my emotions and react accordingly in order to keep my head and heart happy. Most people, from my experience, can also relate to all of these different emotions and reactions.
We are all only human and can only control so many things and the way we feel is not one of them. (I am not a psychiatrist or doctor or whatever you need to be in order to without a doubt know if that is indeed always true. So maybe there are in fact people who can control the way they feel, but I am not one of them. Nor are the people I have spoken to one of them. Maybe over time one can train their emotions. Who knows...) Yes, we can control our reactions to those feelings, but you cannot just ‘not feel’ something. When I am sad, I wish I could just shake it off and tell myself that I am happy and do not want to feel sad, but it doesn’t always work that way.
The one thing that can really spark my frustration is people who try to tell others how they should and should not feel. When I am upset and someone tells me that "it's not that big of a deal" or "I'm making a bigger deal out of something than I should", I wonder, how anyone could possibly know exactly how I feel in a specific moment? When something makes me anxious and I voice my concerns only to hear "you don't look anxious", I wonder, what exactly does anxiety look like? Do you live in my head and my heart? Do you feel emotions the way I do? Or love how I love? Are you secretly my clone? Because if not, how can you tell me what is and is not a big deal? Or how I should or should not feel?
When you feel strongly about something it is not okay for someone else to act like your feelings are irrelevant, because they are not. Your feelings matter, even if they are over dramatic or you are acting a little crazy, you feel what you feel.
I am guilty of thinking that my feelings do not matter. I am guilty of justifying my feelings to others, when I do not need to, nor should I have to. I often make excuses for my emotions or my reaction to those emotions. If I am upset and want to lay in bed all day, I cannot tell people that because we come from a culture where when asked “How are you?” most people respond with “good” or “fine” regardless of how they really are.
We are all guilty of conforming to the norm from time to time, instead of just expressing how we really feel. My new belief is that life is too short to deny yourself the freedom to just feel however it is that you want to feel and react to those feelings however you choose.
I often see a lot of girls on social media posting pictures with phrases that say “bones are for dogs” or “real men like curves”, which I just can’t seem to understand. How would you know what every single man likes? Men like all sorts of women, in every shape and every size. Just like woman like men in every shape and size.
Do girls only say this because they are so uncomfortable with their own body? Do they only feel good about themselves when they tear someone else down? Do they genuinely believe men don’t like skinny girls?
When did girls become so hateful toward each other? When did it become socially acceptable to tell someone that they do not deserve love because they look a certain way?
You need to love yourself! Love your curves or your bones. Your freckles. Your small boobs or your big ones. Your flat ass and your big eyes. The gap in your teeth or your crooked nose. Confidence in contagious. If YOU feel good about yourself, others will feel good about you too (although it does not really matter what other people think as long as you are genuinely happy).
There is no need to bring down other women in order to make yourself feel better. You can feel good about yourself simply by building other woman up. Pay it forward each and every day, as often as you can. Woman already deal with so much, it is unnecessary to tear each other down for things out of our control. Body shaming, whether it is shaming big or skinny girls, is never okay.
Men have always had the right idea though. They do not focus on comparing their appearance to other men or tearing down other men so they look better, so why do we? Is it jealousy? Is it envy? Maybe even hate? Who really knows…
What I do know is women need to learn how to love other women. Love their imperfections. Love their beauty. Love their talents. Love them for whoever they choose to be.
Today, and every day, I challenge you to compliment at least one woman. Whether you like her shoes or her lipstick, the way she sings or the way she dances, tell her! Today’s generation of women need to show future generations that being kind to one and other in a must! We each need to offer support and kindness to each other instead of hate.
"Your thoughts and your feelings create your life. It will always be that way. Guaranteed!"
The past few months I have had so many bad days. So many days that I woke up in a bad mood and throughout the day my mood never changed, nor did I attempt to change it. I was so sick of it though! I did not want to be in a mood daily for no real reason. I needed to find a way to lift my mood on days whenever I was feeling less than happy.
I desperately needed a change though because each of us only gets one life and we all need to spend as much of it being happy as we possibly can. Happiness is contagious and makes you feel so much better as a person. I looked into different books in the self-help genre. I hate that it is called self-help. They should be called positivity books or something more socially acceptable.
One of the books I ordered was The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I had also ordered 2 others but I chose to start reading this one first. At first the book seemed like bullshit. It was almost like a scam because it just seemed too good to be true. It was almost like the book was a sales pitch and someone was going to swoop in and try to sell you something. That is not the case though. There is nothing to buy, except the book of course, which I had picked up for $4.
The book starts by explaining the law of attraction. It is very simple, whatever you put into the universe through your thoughts will in turn be what you attract back to yourself. So if you are thinking negative and bad thoughts, eventually something negative and bad will happen to you. Likewise, if you are thinking positive and good thoughts, something good will happen to you. At first I was not buying into this… Then Byrne used the example of people who have a bad morning and the rest of their day is just total garbage. I can think back to a time when I woke up late, rushed to school or work, and just had a terrible day overall because I was in such a bad mood after having a bad morning. I can say that anytime I have ever woke up late I had a bad day. Any time that I woke up in the morning refreshed after a good night sleep, with plenty of time to get ready for my day, I had a good day. I suddenly began to believe in a lot of the concepts and principles mentioned in the book.
After a few days of reading I decided to practice a few of her techniques. One technique is to make a list of positive things that make you happy and feel loved, so that whenever you are having negative thoughts you can read through the list and make yourself feel better. Another one is focusing on the positives in every situation, like going to work or exercising. They really do work! If you want to have a good day, you can in fact have a good day. If you want to be a more positive person, with a better outlook on life, you can be whoever you want.
Even when I think of myself versus my boyfriend, Jon. I am more of a realist. I see the world for what it is. If I had to lean town optimist or pessimist, it would be pessimist. Jon, however, is an optimist. He is also one of the luckiest people I know. Maybe it is not really luck though. Maybe he brings these good things to himself through the frequency he emits.
Another concept Rhonda Byrne writes about is love. Love is one of the most powerful feelings we feel as humans. If we all could just have love for each other that alone would make us very happy, but then the law of attraction comes into play and the feelings and thoughts you possess will in turn come back to you, so you will also feel the love that you put out. It is literally a win, win, win situation.
Reading the principles in the beginning of this book and discovering many of the powerful passages makes me want to be a happier and kinder human being. Not only will I reap the rewards of maintaining this behavior, but so will the people who surround me. Everyone could be more positive and overall better people.
Now, do I believe that if I picture checks coming to me and pretend like I have wealth that I will suddenly come into money? No. Do I believe in everything in this book? No. And even if the stuff I do believe in does not make out the way the book claims, does it really matter? No. Because this book has given me something to believe in and that is exactly what I needed right now.
Give it up... for good!
I recently did something I thought I could not do. I did something that even if I just thought about doing it, it would stress me out. I did something that I never really wanted to, but always knew I should. I finally quit smoking.
I, just like many smokers, wanted to quit for a while, but always put it off. Just thinking about quitting and not having my pack of cigarettes to turn to whenever I was stressed, made me light up. I would tell myself I would first cut down to only a few cigarettes a day and then I would quit. This would momentarily appease my thought of quitting until I no longer had the willpower to do so.
After learning my dad had lung cancer as a result of smoking for the last forty years, there was no better time than the present. Quitting would never get any easier, nor would I ever really want to quit. This habit was essentially a death sentence and giving it up would be the best thing I could do for myself.
May 23rd at 5p.m. I smoked my final cigarette. I was originally only quitting in order to support my dad. Then it sunk in, in 30 years I could be the one who has cancer. I made up my mind, I was going to be a non-smoker from that moment forward, no matter how hard quitting would be, I would do it. I would do it for my health and my future.
It is indeed true what they say about the first 72 hours; they are absolute hell. All you seem to think about is cigarettes and all of the positive associations you may have with them. You tell yourself that one will not hurt and as long as you are trying that's what counts. Having one is giving in though! Do not let your cravings control you! They will soon enough go away for the most part.
As a smoker, your entire daily routine revolves around smoking. You plan out the next time you will be able to slip outside for a quick smoke break. Or the next time you will be able to take a break at work and catch a few puffs.
The harsh reality of smoking is that it is terrible for you! Not only is it bad for your health, but it is bad for your wallet. Smoking 1 pack a day that costs $6.25 a pack is roughly $2,300 a year. That is a very significant amount of money.
Being a smoker is easy. Being a smoker gives you a way to relieve your stress or easily entertain yourself. Smoking day after day and year after year makes you weak though. It forces you to miss moments with friends and family because you needed to take a break to catch a cigarette. It makes your mind constantly be consumed with figuring out the next moment you will be able to smoke.
My words of advice after quitting are to do it cold turkey. Throw away all of the cigarettes you have and tell yourself you will not buy more. Have your boyfriend or girlfriend, mom or dad, brother or sister, pretty much anyone you know, help you quit by offering encouragement through the really tough times where you cannot think of anything other than a cigarette. Download an app on your phone that will track your progress and look at it anytime a craving is strong and you are considering giving in. Go for a walk whenever you are really stressed or frustrated. Pick up a new hobby that will help keep your mind off of smoking.
Smoking is only killing you, remember that every time you light up. I smoked for years and ignored that fact the entire time. Hopefully at some point, every single smoker comes to this realization and can give up this horrible habit.
The Unpredictable Side of Life
Until two months ago I knew almost nothing about cancer. I obviously knew it killed people. I knew there was not a cure. I knew there were types of treatment like chemotherapy and radiation, or even surgery to remove the cancer, but that was the extent of my knowledge. I never thought I would have to worry about cancer. I never thought my family would have to deal with one of our own having cancer. I sure as hell never thought that at only twenty two years old I would have to think about the possibility that I will be losing one of my parents.
When my dad was first diagnosed and the cancer had not been staged, I had a lot of hope. I prayed that treatment could slow the cancer down for years and possibly cure him. I thought he would have a hopeful prognosis, because something this tragic could never happen to my family.
His first appointment at the cancer center informed us that his cancer was at least a stage 3a. This was not the best situation, but I knew it could be a lot worse. There was hope he could live quite a while longer with a good quality of life.
His second appointment, and after more testing, revealed that the cancer has spread to his bones, liver, both lungs, and brain. Radiation was no longer a treatment option, only chemotherapy. Surviving was not a word that came out of the doctor’s mouth when discussing treatment. The doctor was focusing on preserving quality of life and slowing the progression of the cancer. The goal is ultimately to keep my dad comfortable for as long as possible.
The doctor did not discuss length of time my dad had left, nor did we ask. We shook our heads as he spoke about the type of chemotherapy that would be used, where each spot of cancer was throughout his body, and what to expect in the coming week. I was trying to digest this news that seemed to have happened so suddenly…
Flashback to my nephew’s birthday in the beginning of March, my dad sat across from me in the restaurant and he seemed perfectly fine. We ate, joked, and laughed as a normal family does. Everything was fine as far as we knew. Now, three months later, we are all finding out he has stage 4 lung cancer. It just does not seem real.
This experience is making me see the harsh reality of life for the first time. None of us know how long we have on this earth. I assume most of us think we will live well after retirement and maybe even hit 100 years old. We work our entire adult lives in order to save and live out our golden years in comfort, yet that can be robbed of us without any warning. The memories, love we share, and experiences are what we look back at in order to feel complete. Live your life for the people in it, not the objects you own or money you have.