Millennial Comfort

It is my firm belief that millennials just don’t know how to comfort each other. We are all going through a lot of the same sucky life situations, but we barely know how to cope, let alone comfort each other. Some of us are experiencing loss and grief while many others have never lost someone close to them, so there are plenty of our own generation that can’t sympathize and therefore don’t know how to provide comfort. What I see a lot of is those people simply backing away slowly when they see someone in pain and never coming back. I myself have been at both ends of the equation. I lost someone when I was young and no one had any clue how to help me. Friends have been touched by death and grief as adults and instead of getting in close and comforting them, I’m all hands off. I would be an ideal comforter since I’ve been through it myself, so why do I turn away? 

Older generations knew how to comfort. They would send you a card, bake you a casserole and come visit you at home. Of course it’s not a pleasant visit, but they were present. In that moment, I think what a lot of people want is someone to just be there. Even if that person just wants to go to sleep, I can’t imagine how comforting it would be to just have someone there while you slept so that you’re not alone. I’ve heard stories of this happening, and while they sleep, the visitor will straighten up the house, wash dishes, throw trash out, do small little things for them that will mean so much when they wake up and don’t have to worry about them. Grief brings depression and anxiety, and sometimes it’s all you can do to get out of bed. Those small things add up fast and soon you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. 

We need to step up for our fellow generation. Send a card, it will instantly make them smile and they will always remember that you did it. If you say you’re there any time, be there. Visit your friend at home when all they want to do is curl up on the couch and sleep. Don’t force them to get out if they don’t want to. It’s their grief, not yours. Just be there. 

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Cake

via Daily Prompt: Cake

Man, oh, man. Is there anything in the world more delicious than cake? For every celebration, event, or even for comfort, there is cake. I, being from Texas, am all too familiar with the act of bringing someone a homemade cake. Getting married? Cake. Funeral? Oh, bless your heart, I’ve made you my famous Heaven’s Light Chocolate Cake. Birthdays, breakups, baby showers, bridal showers, pride day, Tuesday. Cake!!!

Since my very first birthday and up until I was about 21, I got my cakes from the exact same bakery every single year. It was Bakey by George and it was absolutely, sinfully delicious. At the time, he was one of the last three remaining from-scratch bakeries in the DFW area and he was killing it. He still made every single cake and frosting by hand, from scratch every day. He even made my first wedding cake. Every cake from him was the most delicious I had ever had. The frosting was never sickly sweet, even if it was piled two inches thick. The cake was always perfectly fluffy, flaky, and moist all at once. It was just perfection. And none of the words were ever misspelled! There is just nothing that I dislike more than picking up a cake and finding that something is either misspelled, or grammatically incorrect.

When my former brother-in-law graduated with his Masters degree in Mathematics, we of course threw him a graduation party and had to have a cake. He expressed that he wanted a cookie cake, and so we obliged. We asked the lovely employees at Great American Cookie, Co. to write “Congratulations, Josh” on top of the cake, which, I guess they did. When we brought it in to the party and were getting ready to cut and serve it, we realized that it was most definitely spelled wrong. We opened the box and looked down to see “Congradulations Josh” staring back at us. Luckily, he didn’t notice at all. If it would have been Pi spelled out to twenty integers, he would have noticed any discrapancy immediately. The good news is that cake tastes the same, no matter how it looks on the outside, and once you eat it, it just won’t matter what it looked like anyway.

My Mother has recently taken up a hobby of making cakes and other confectionary deliciousness. I wouldn’t say hobby so much as I would say side-job. Everything she makes it absolutely fantastic! The cakes or cupcakes are always perfectly moist and don’t dry out for days. The frosting is the most perfect consistency and tastes like sweet, sugary heaven. The cookies are so wonderfully soft and chewy. The pies are just the right amount of gooey with the flakiest, butteriest crust. She even took a cake decorating class at a local craft store to improve her skills, and now not only does everything taste supremely delicious but it looks like it was decorated by a professional. I always get so proud when someone tastes something that she baked and then presses her to tell them what bakery she got it from. I smile to myself knowing that people think that she’s a gourmet, professional baker. People will always want to order something from her and sometimes she gets quite busy with orders. It started to wear on her physically and her back was just killing her, so she had to ease back on it. Now, she just only bakes when she wants to and when she feels up to it. I would hate for her side business to take over her life so much that she can’t do anything but lay on the couch in pain. That’s just no way to live.

I think that everyone really has some kind of cake related story since it’s such an important piece of any celebration, mile-stone or get-together. Cake really is one of the greatest treats on earth.

Just a Few Thoughts

Love- something everyone in the world wants, regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, religion or any other factor. It’s embedded in every genetic code to want to be loved by someone in some way. Where we all differ is in the way in which we want to be loved. Some want to be loved and revered like a god, some want to be loved at a distance. Whether you’re searching for that Edward and Bella Cullen love (no judgement) or something more along the lines of Lisa Simpson and Milhouse, I believe that you are entitled to that love. You have the right to look all over the world for it, and never settle for anything that does not align with your idea of love. Me being a fan of definitions, must first decide on what love looks like to me personally.

This is a concept that I’ve only recently embraced. When I was younger, my self confidence was entirely too low to even have a desire to develop my own concept of how I wanted to be loved. I simply accepted whatever came my way, which resulted in the disaster known as my first marriage. Again I say, love looks different to everyone and this is what it looks like to me. Don’t worry if you disagree, that’s perfectly fine and in fact, expected.

First and foremost, love must be trustworthy. Trust is HUGE to me, considering that it has been broken by every man to enter my life. To say I have trust issues is a grievous understatement, but the right relationship shouldn’t challenge those issues. Side note- when I discovered my ex’s cheating, we adopted a “radical honesty” policy, meaning that his internet access was taken away, all of his passwords were surrendered to me, his computer usage was to take place in my sight, and his phone was to be submitted for random inspection at a moment’s notice. I’m not saying that everyone can do this, but in extreme circumstances, if both parties are agreeable to it, it does wonders for rebuilding trust. Second, love must be honest as this goes hand in hand with trust, in my opinion. Love must be equal- no one should give more than they receive or receive more than they give. Each partner’s love bank must be equally filled daily. If I am putting someone above myself and pouring out my love daily for them in everything I do, I expect the same in return. Otherwise, eventually, my love bank will run dry and I will have nothing to give.

Love must be Biblical- 1 Corinthians 13 Biblical, to be exact. I am paraphrasing of course, but it must be patient if I am going through the turmoils of life. It must be kind, always, in all things, in every manner of speaking and in every action. It must not be envious of me or any other individual in my life. It must not be arrogant or full of self pride. It must not be rude towards me, those that are an important part of my life, or those that are encountered on a daily basis. It must not be irritable, causing me to walk on eggshells. It must harbor no resentment. It will not take pleasure in wrong-doing, and will always live and delight in truth and honesty. Together, we will bear all things that come our way, believe that anything is possible, hope without reservation or fear, and endure this life together.

Wow. You would think that with expectations like that, I would be pretty happy. The problem is that I still am completely incapable of asking for these things. Maybe I haven’t overcome as much of my self esteem issues as I thought I had. I won’t budge on the trust or honesty, so I at least have that going for me. The equality leaves something to be desired, though. Maybe I’m just not good at noticing when my love bank is being filled, or maybe I’m just not grateful enough. Perhaps my expectations are much too high, and I should never hope to find this kind of love. I need to be told that I am appreciated every day. I know that I should probably “just know,” but I still need to be told until I KNOW beyond any reasonable doubt. I know it’s not his job to tell me that I’m beautiful every day, or to make me feel beautiful because again, I should know this for myself, but I still need to hear it. I also know that kindness will not flow out of every single word or action, and I know that kindness cannot be forced, but it would be nice at least part of the time.

Again, it is a physical impossibility for me to ask these things of someone. I believe that it is also completely impossible to find these qualities in any other person. There is no such thing as a perfect person or perfect relationship. Hoping to find all of these qualities at one time in one person is like finding a unicorn. Until then, all anyone can do is work on possessing as many of these qualities in themselves in order to present a potential partner with your best self. As far as the love you accept into your life, that’s up to you.

Why Can’t I Sleep?

Why on earth does my brain decide that 1 or 2 AM is the perfect time for a blog post? I’m unsure, but either way, I’ve done it to myself yet again. I find that I am incapable of sleeping for all of the thoughts and words that beg to be poured out into a post.

Today is of particular significance to me because it is the anniversary of my grandfather’s death. 14 years to be exact. He passed away at about 6 AM after a long battle with cancer. It began in his lungs and through various treatments went into remission. After maybe a year of remission, it returned and was much more aggressive. It spread quickly to other organs and parts of his body until it finally consumed him. He was perfect through all of it, though. He complained little, if at all, no matter how excruciating the pain. He even continued to go to work every day until he absolutely couldn’t anymore. I witnessed his baptism a year after his first diagnosis. It was one of the happiest moments of my life because I knew what it meant for his soul. It gave me relief and comfort to know that I would see him again someday. The moment that his soul left his body, I could feel it. Even though no one had notified me yet and it was still about an hour before my alarm would go off for school, I woke up and cried because I just knew. It wasn’t long before there was a knock at our door- my Dad, to deliver the news.

Every year, I feel the same sadness all over again. You see, my grandfather and I were extremely close. He was the first person to hold me as a baby, besides my mother of course. I was the granddaughter that he had always wanted, and he loved me as though I was his child. I was quite possibly his whole world, and if you would have told me that he placed the sun, moon, and all of the stars in the sky, I would have believed you. Everything revolved around grandpa. His love was unconditional, unending, and strong. I can still remember a very specific moment when my parents were going through a divorce, there was so much anger surrounding me in my life, and he could tell. He knew it was affecting me and I was kind of acting out as such. I remember that he held me so close to him and said, “Hey, you know you’re always loved here.” Then I preceded to bawl my face off, because what else would you do in that moment?

I often wonder when I will get over this tragic event in my life, and wonder if it will ever get any easier. Other people have gone through far worse and don’t get as weepy and sentimental as I do. I also realize that death makes the living very selfish. Of course I’m glad for him because he is no longer suffering and his pain is gone. He has been set free from this mortal prison and is in paradise. So why do we get so sad? It’s our own selfishness. We miss having them around. For me, I know I miss having him around all the time. I miss seeing him every day and I sure miss talking to him. There have certainly been times when I just wish so bad that I could call him to see what he had to say about whatever I’ve been going through. I always wonder if he would still love me the same, and if he would be proud of who I am and what I’ve done with my life. I constantly agonize over what my last words to him were. Did he know just how much I love him? Most of all though, I miss that love. To be loved so unconditionally by someone who for thousands of reasons could have chosen not to is rare. To find that ever again is even more rare.

So here we are, 14 years later, still crying about the greatest man I have ever known. Grandpa, I love you, I miss you, and above all I thank you.

“Do not pity the dead, Harry, pity the living. And above all, pity those who live without love.”

-Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Together

How many times have I said that I’m going to get my life together this year? This month? Heck, this week. How many times have you said it? It’s something we’ve all said and will say over and over again, especially if you’re in that dreaded mid-twenty age range. Such a commonplace phrase, usually meant sarcastically, and yet it packs so much truth that it almost hurts. It’s like this- “Oh yeah, I’m going to get my life together this year, haha, sob sob sob, ha, sob…” and then just going completely deadpan because you have no idea how to get your life to what people call “gether.”

But I have a question for all the un-together people out there- what does having it all together even look like? The obvious answer is that it looks different to everyone depending on what they want out of life, blah blah blah. And that’s true! But isn’t the real problem as simple as not knowing what your own together is? Maybe. Shouldn’t you know the answer to that first so that you can come up with a clear plan of what you want in life and how you’re going to attain that? Probably. So then, that means that if you know exactly what you want and have a clear plan of action that you’ll own the secret formula to your togetherness? Hell no.

Example 1.1-

Objective- Own a home, be successful in my job, healthy marriage/relationship, healthy savings account balance, be debt free.

Plan of Action-

  • Use money earned from job to pay off debts, put unspent income to savings account.
  • Use money saved plus money earned to purchase home.
  • Stay faithful to current job and employer, invest self into work.
  • Maintain good communication in relationship, go to counseling when needed.

Ok, so this is a really rough outline. If this were an actual life plan, there would be a bulleted objective with a much more detailed plan of action with sub-bullets for days. Don’t judge, please. Generally speaking though, this looks decent. It’s clear and concise, even if it is a bit scant. Either way, life does not care about your plans. There is no magic equation to success. Perhaps your significant other is unfaithful, you get fired from your job and have to use that healthy savings account to live on, and then go into even more debt. Does that mean that you’ve failed? Absolutely not! The plan failed, not you. I mean, the failure feels pretty personal but you’re still not a failure. From this plan could be backup plans from A-ZZZ and every single one could fail horribly.

Are plans stupid? Kinda, but it’s still good to have at least some semblance of a plan so that you can guide your life in a particular direction. Just don’t be too discouraged when the plan fails, and be adaptable enough to pick yourself up and adjust your sights a little bit. Having a good attitude and being flexible is seriously half the battle. The fact is that getting your life together is a continual process, and you may never get there. I don’t know if anyone ever really does have it all together and have everything figured out, so it’s pointless to ever compare yourself to anyone else. Plan, try, fail, and plan again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Wounded

Relationships are hard. Everyone that has ever been in a relationship of any kind knows this to be true. Be it a friendship, a professional relationship between co-workers or bosses, a significant other or spouse, it took work from both parties. There were problems. There were moments when it was anything but easy and you or the other person wanted to bail. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, has had different experiences that shaped them and affected how they interact with others, and has their own set of baggage. So when two affected imperfect people come together in any way, there’s bound to be friction at some point. At some point, you both have to choose whether you want to work through it and find a way to interact with each other better or just end it. 

So, what happens when you stay in a toxic relationship longer than you know you should? What happens when it causes you emotional trauma and scarring? How do you move on? How can you even fathom entering into any kind of new relationship with someone new? At first, you don’t. You keep to yourself for a while and maybe surround yourself with supporting and comforting friends. You spend a lot of time assessing the damage from what happened to your emotions. Was it me? Was it him? Well, it was both. The truth is that you don’t deserve to be treated that way. No one does. Emotional abuse is still abuse and it can affect you for the rest of your life. It will affect how you act in new relationships. 

I heard it best explained to me like this: I was the one that got shot and he’s holding the gun. I have an open wound, I’m bleeding out, in pain, and I need assistance. And he needs help. Or punishment for his actions. In this case, he needs both of those things. Him apologizing doesn’t heal the bullet wound, only actions can patch it up. If those actions don’t take place, then I have to stitch it shut on my own and heal.  It takes time…lots of time. Eventually you start feeling normal again, more like yourself. I don’t know if I would say that you’re ever the same after being mortally wounded because a piece of you dies and will be absent for the rest of your life. I do believe that you return to being as much of yourself as you are able to be without that piece. 

Also, no one is allowed to tell you how to heal. Ever. Your healing process is your own, there is no wrong or right way to do it because no one else would want you telling them how to deal. If you need to stay at home and reorganize your closet and kitchen a thousand times, do it. If you need a sippy cup of wine every night, do it. I gave myself a deadline to be a hot mess, and then after that I would cut off all of my vices and deal with it for real. And that worked for me. I just needed to let it all out at first and get it out of my system so that I could organize my thoughts later. That may not make sense to anyone but me, but I didn’t want to become dependent on those vices and have them turn into habits that I couldn’t quit. Once I did, I felt better. I didn’t  judge myself for it or let anyone else judge me because they weren’t in my situation. I owned it, I dealt with it, and I moved on. 

Then the prospect for a new relationship entered my life, stage left. I was terrified. How do I not act like the wounded animal that I am with this new person? None of this was their fault, so I cannot make them pay for someone else’s mistakes. That’s completely unfair. But how do I keep this wound covered up? Again, you don’t. If you keep a wound covered for too long, it starts to smell. So you talk about it, lay it on the table so that they know how you’ve been hurt. If they care, they will listen and be very sensitive to your pain. Even so, it’s extremely hard not to act wounded. It’s hard to act tough, no matter how long it’s been. It’s important to be able to recognize that behavior in yourself and when you feel yourself cowering, instead you pick your head up and command yourself to be different. Demand that you react the way you know you should because they deserve it, rather than reacting the way you did to the one that hurt you. They’re different. It’s hard. Relationships are hard and no two are the same. When you find the one that’s worth it, you’ll realize that you aren’t forcing yourself to act right anymore, you’re doing it on your own. Success. 

Reflections

First and foremost, no matter what I’ve been through, I know above all else that I am very blessed. The only problems I’ve ever had are still considered “first world problems” by any standard. Also, there is no one that I would rather be other than myself. That being said, this year has been one of the hardest of my life. If I could name the year as a whole, it would be “This Can’t Possibly Get Any Worse, Oh Wait, Yes, It Can.” If I’m taking stock-

-I’ve been divorced because my ex-husband was unfaithful. That hurt.

-I tried dating and yes, was a “serial dater” there for a while when I was figuring out what I wanted and if this “jumping back in the pool” thing was really for me.

-I’ve been sexually assaulted. That hurt A LOT in many ways. It hurt because I already knew this person. I blamed myself entirely. I didn’t seek help because I assumed that they would tell me it was my fault. So I just sat on the couch and cried.

– I had to move apartments. I left the gorgeous, spacious apartment that I had with my ex because I couldn’t afford on my own what two people used to pay for. I unknowingly moved to the ghetto. I’m talking drug dealers, dirty syringes littering the parking lot, gun shots heard regularly, crime riddled, unsafe neighborhood ghetto. I was terrified.

-My car was stolen from my apartment while I was home. I couldn’t break the lease, even though I didn’t feel safe living there and it was full of crime. Luckily the car was found with relatively no damage and we were happy together again.

-My grandmother passed away. I wasn’t particularly close to her as an adult, but she did love me quite a bit. Loss is always sad, and seeing my Mother and her sister hurting so much tore me apart.

-I lost my job. I had been with the company for over three years, which in a millennial’s mind is a long tenure. It barely paid me enough to live on and the situation was steadily declining within the office, but it was comfortable and it was my job. I was fired, and then moved back home with Mom. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing considering the terrible neighborhood, but it did mean that I was giving up some freedom.

Now that I’ve cried all over my little pity party, I am extremely thankful for everything that I have. I still have my life, my health, my Mom, my fur babies (Zoey and Titas, both meow-meows), my friends, my oh-so-sweet boyfriend, and all the blessings of the Lord. There are some wonderful opportunities around the corner,  I know it. I have lots of job prospects and will soon be gainfully employed. I have time to work on my blog and my writing. I have decided that this is going to be the year to start my YouTube channel of makeup tutorials. I’ve been passionate about makeup since I was 14 but have been so scared to put myself on YouTube. But, if I can survive something as scary as getting a divorce and starting over, I can start my channel. I can accomplish one scary task a year until I become fearless. I hope that if you are reading this that you have a wonderful and blessed year. Change is hard, and growth hurts. That’s why they’re called growing pains. But you can make it. I hope you find happiness, peace, love, joy, contentment, and all the blessings that God can bestow on you. I hope that you tackle at least one scary thing in your life this year. I hope that you, too, can become fearless.

Cheers.