Friday, March 1, 2013

My Life in Phases: Phase 1



Good morning! Well it's a new month, and with the new month brings a new post with a new concept.  Talk about a lot of new, right?  Life is all about new changes, new times, new people, new experiences....I think you get the point.  You're only 14, but have you ever thought about where you'll be in 11 years when you're my age?  I know I did when I was younger.  I would find myself sitting there wondering what I would look like, what my job would be, what kind of friends I would have, if I would have a boyfriend or not, etc. . .  And now that I've reached 25, I can't help but wonder what life will be like when I hit 40.  I think it's just a part of growing up.

But while I often wonder what the future will be like, I also take the time to think about my past.  It's not good to dwell on and live in the past, but it is a good thing to be able to look back at it and learn from it.  I do this all the time.  I've definitely had my fair share of accomplishments and screw ups in the past, and if it weren't for both the positive and the negative, I would've never been where I am today.  It's kind of like I've lived my life in phases.  Let's talk about the first phase. . .

Phase 1: I would say this was from the time I was born until the time I was 12.  These were probably the most innocent, most child-like years of my life.  I spent my first six years living out in Eden with Mom, Dad and Chrysta.  I spent my weekends in Delaware with our grandparents (this was when my love for and addiction to coffee began).  I spent time with Mommom Ruark, too, but unfortnately due to my age at the time of her death I really don't remember much about her. Life was pretty simple back then.  The only traumas I had were busting my forehead open, breaking my collar bone and the horrible haircuts that Mom gave us back in the day.  This was a time when I almost met some of my dearest friends.  Megan and I became friends in the 3rd grade.  I met Emily, Jessica and Katy in kindergarten.  When we moved to Snow Hill in 1994, I met Andrew, Katie, Brittany and Michaela.  These were the good old days.

But with the good there is always bad.  I began to learn about loss, too.  Multiple cats that I owned were hit by cars.  Mommom Ruark, as I mentioned before, died when I was 8.  My best friend in elementary and middle school, Sam, moved the day you were born.  And oh yeah. . .you were born.  While I didn't lose you, the thought definitely crossed my  mind as you entered the world and had both of your lungs collapse.  But despite such great losses, Phase 1 of my life really wasn't all that bad.

So I challenge you to think about this a little.  I know you're only 14, but there has probably already been some dividing line in your life when you transitioned from one phase to another.  I will take a guess and say this transitioned happened when you entered the foster care system.  What have you learned from that transition so far?  I know Phase 2 of my life definitely wasn't easy, but I'll save that story for next time.

Keep your head up, girlie!



Friday, February 22, 2013

In the Spirit of Love



Last year for Valentine's Day I wrote myself a love letter, and I've decided to do it again.  This year I am at a completely different place as a person, and so I'm curious to see how I've changed.  I've decided not to read last year's letter until after I've written this one.  So here it goes...


Happy Valentine's Day! First, I want to say that I am proud of you.  At 25, you might not be were you always thought you would be, but honestly you hadn't really given it that much thought until recently.  You have made great strides in the last year.  You've really narrowed your sights on school, you've become even more dedicated and determined in your work, you've removed certain negative influences from your life (such as alcohol and certain people), and overall, you seem very focused on bettering yourself.  I am proud of you for that.

I must say, I love that you have found your happy, silly, positive outlook on life again.  Things are so much better now that you are smiling and laughing again.  You are more motivated, and you are opening your heart again.  Things are much better now that you have let that icy, cold wall around your heart melt away.  

I love that you never give up.  In fact, this is what I love most about you.  You have been through a lot of crap.  You have had points in your life when you thought you couldn't go on.  But you always found a way to look up.  You climbed your way back up when other people said you couldn't.  And most importantly, you found yourself again.

I love that you are humble, that you are generous and that you are open-minded.  You will be able to help many people with these traits.  Never give up on yourself or the people around you.  If you continue down the path you're currently on you will be able to do a lot of great things.

Keep your head up, girlie.



Thursday, January 31, 2013

Greet Them With a Smile



Let me tell you about this dude I met over the weekend.  For now, we'll call him Ted the $20 Dude.  This guy taught me another valuable lesson (or more like reminded me of a lesson), and I'm going to share that lesson with you.

Ted the $20 Dude was visiting where I work with his wife and daughter.  There was nothing that really stood out about Ted.  He was probably in his late 40s, had the typical "dad belly," and wanted a drink to calm his nerves after a long day.  So he came up to the bar and started talking to me.  I, being my normal self, listened and responded when appropriate.

Then Ted, after talking to me for a bit, told me about how his vacation wasn't going the greatest and that he always seemed to have "bad luck."  He thanked me for being nice to him.  And he told me multiple times that he'd bring me a cash tip the next day.  I didn't really expect him to, but I said "Okay, no problem" and continued to talk to him until he left the bar.

The next day Ted came back to the bar again.  I said hi, smiled and asked if his day was getting any better.  He told me a few things and then said "I told you I'd be back with this," and tossed a $20 bill on the counter.  He said thanks again.  He told me how much it meant to him that I was nice, and that he could tell it was a genuine part of my personality.  I thanked him again, and then went about my day.

So here's the lesson of this story: you never know who you'll meet and how your actions will affect them.  You may meet someone like Ted the $20 Dude who is having a rough day and simply needs someone to be kind to him.  It's like the Golden Rule says, "Treat others how you want to be treated."  Not only is it rewarding for the person, but it can be rewarding for you, too.  It is a great feeling to know that you helped someone to have a better day. 

So, I hope you take this to heart.  It may be cheesy but it's the truth.  Treat others with kindness and respect, and try to greet them with a smile.  You never know who you'll meet :)

Keep your head up girly!



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

You've Got a Friend in Me



As I lay here with my laptop in my lap, my new earbuds in my ears, and Jimmy Eat World's "23" playing on my computer, I find myself thinking of yet another thing to write about.  Gasp! Two posts in two days?! . . .yeah, I thought you might say that.  Sometimes the inspiration comes and goes, and other times it comes and it stays for a while.  It's all part of being a writer.  But anyway. . .

So today I had a whole day off with NO plans whatsoever.  For me, that is simply unheard of.  I spend most of my days at work, and when I'm not working, I spend most of my time in doctors' offices.  But today, I spent the day at home.  I cleaned my room (kind of).  I did the dishes.  I did some laundry.  Basically, I did fun adult stuff (okay, maybe not fun, but definitely adult chores.  Blah.).  But as the day went on I found myself getting antsy.  I'm still going stir crazy now.  But I've kind of given up on the fact that I won't be going anywhere today.  These kinds of days tend to put me in a mood.  I haven't had too many of them lately where I've been so busy, but today of course I came face to face with that mood.

As you and I have been talking about quite a bit lately, people change and friends grow apart or move as you get older.  Best friends become old friends, and new acquaintances become best friends. It's just a part of growing up.  I've had the same best friend for as long as I can remember.  She has been my rock, and she becomes more and more important to me as we grow older.  I truly cherish the fact that she and I have been able to make our friendship endure so many years of craziness and hardships.  She is a friend that I know I will keep forever.  Of course, I have other friends that I have known forever.  Unfortunately, for one reason or another, these friends have become distant and I don't get to see or talk to them as much as I'd like to.  And then there are the friends that you just have to let go of.  I've had a few of those, too.  They are always in your memories, and probably always will be in your heart, too, but for one reason or another you just can't stay friends with them.  And so tonight, as I sit here with nothing to do and no one to hang out with, I am reminded of how few true friends I am left with these days.

Now just because I am alone right now, it doesn't not mean that I am always alone, and this post is not meant to be a depressing one.  It is just what it is: the truth.  People grow up, they move away, they change, they find new friends, and you are left figuring out who to keep around and who to let go.  I hope you are always surrounded with great friends.  And I hope you realize that just because you may lose a friend or two as you get older, it doesn't necessarily say anything negative about you.  It is just a part of life.

I will always be your friend, even if you annoy the crap out of me! Keep your head up girly.



Monday, January 21, 2013

Choices, Choices, Choices



Yes, I know it's been a while.  That's not to say that I haven't thought about writing.  I have, trust me. But thinking about something and doing something are two completely different things.  Obviously, I didn't do anything.  But that was a choice I made, and here I am four months later finally choosing to bust something out.  Am I writing because I feel obligated to? Nah.  Am I writing because I missed it? A little.  Am I writing because I still want to leave me legacy and words of wisdom for you? Most definitely.  I may have slacked on this project for a while, but I think that subconsciously I was choosing not to write because, quite honestly, I didn't know what the heck was going on in my own life for quite some time.  And if I don't even know what I'm doing to myself and why I'm doing things, then how can I help you and tell you what to do? It's something to think about.

It is a new year, not only in a number sense, but in many other ways as well.  I am now 25, and have been for 13 days.  Each birthday starts another year for me.  It is also a new year for our country.  Today, on Martin Luther King, Jr Day, Barack Obama was sworn in for his second term as President of the United States.  Normally I would watch the inauguration (I'm a sucker for the speeches; what can I say, I love words), but today I was at work and without a TV, and so I could not watch it.  Of course, the first thing I did when I got home today was to find his speech on the internet and watched it.  Speeches like these always get me thinking.  And thus, here I am writing to you.

After listening to his speech, I was reminded of one major thing.  In America, we all have the opportunity to make choices. We get to make major choices, like voting for the president, picking what college we go to and naming our children when they are born.  Then we get to make smaller, every day choices as well.  Some of these choices could be like what clothing we wear for the day, how we do our hair, what to eat for dinner and what radio station we'll listen to on our way to work.  But just because these choices are smaller, it does not mean that they are any less important.

If I have learned anything from all of my shambles and celebrations over the last two years or so, it is that the choices we make as individuals mean everything.  Often, we take this freedom to choose for granted.  We don't think about what could happen as a result of our choice.  And when this happens, negativity can often find its way into our lives.  Trust me, I have learned the hard way more than one time in my adult life, and even as a teenager.  You must think before you make a choice.

But choices aren't always about materialistic things, either.  We make a choice in our attitudes every day.  We decide to look to at something as a positive thing, or we decide to be negative towards something.  Often in America, we hear of the daily battle between Republicans and Democrats.  Trust me, I'm not trying to make this political, I'm just using them as an example.  One would hope that as our leaders that they would look at a situation, and rather than seeing it as one side versus another, they would CHOOSE (there's that word again) to work together towards a common goal of bettering lives for the American people.  But unfortunately, more often times than not, individuals make the choice to let politics and power get in the way.  We as individuals tend to do the same thing in our own personal lives. Rather than choosing the well thought out, positive path, we choose what seems nice at the time only to find out later that it would end up costing us in one way or another.

As you get older, I hope you keep this lesson in mind.  Think about the choices you make.  They often end up defining who you are as a person, even if you don't necessarily intend for them to serve that purpose.  Your choices build your life, so I hope you make strong, good-minded ones so that your life may be a positive one.

Love you!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Know Yourself



Hey.  Today's lesson is about knowing yourself.  If there is any one thing that I think it is absolutely important to know, it is to know yourself.  I don't mean knowing your favorite color, knowing your favorite snack, or knowing what your favorite band is. . .any of your best friends should be able to tell you that.  When I say it is important for you to know yourself, I'm talking about the little things, and noticing what makes you "tick" and what doesn't.

Some things you'll figure out as you get older, but why not start now?  Notice things that make you happy, things that make you sad; notice if a certain situation makes you uncomfortable, or if a certain person makes your emotions go from one extreme to another.  Notice when your body feels healthy, and when it doesn't.  These things are important to know, and if you start noticing them earlier rather than later, you'll learn how to better deal with them.

I have always been very observant of myself and others.  Several teachers and adults have told me that I'm observant and "wise beyond my years," so to speak.  That's why I know something is up with me lately.  I don't feel like myself.  The things that normally make me smile, and even the things that normally make me sad, don't really affect me at the moment.  And my body. . . .well I feel like my body is waging a war against me. First it was the surgery seven months ago, now it's acid reflux, or my hip, or any of the other fifty gazillion things ailing me. But now that I've recognized those things, I can work on them.

You know what really bothers me, though? When you tell someone something about yourself and they say "Oh, you'll change your mind one day," or "That's silly...why would you say something like that about yourself?" Because I know myself, duh! This is another reason why it's important to know yourself. . .if you grow up letting other people tell you who and what you are, you'll never truly figure it out for yourself.

So. . .start today.  Know yourself, and learn who you are.  It'll make you a much better, stronger person!



Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Haven't Forgotten About You



Long time, no write! It's not that I've been slacking...I've been doing anything but, trust me. I worked my butt off this summer. . .three jobs, friends, and family to keep up with: that can take up quite a bit of time. That's not to say that I didn't lose focus, though.  As work started, and things got crazier, I lost my motivation.  I have that back now.

I have so many things that I could write to you about, especially after this summer. If there has been any time in my life that has tested my willpower, and my overall sense of self, this summer has been that time. And thank goodness I have not lost my will to write. I've said multiple times lately that I went to school for nothing, that my degree is doing me no good.  But then I get back on here and I remember why I love writing so much.  You've got to have something to keep you grounded, and this is one of those things for me.

So for now, I'll leave you with the promise of more letters.  And, the promise to tell the next part of your story.  Some stories do have happy endings, and so far it seems that yours is going to be one of them.  As always, keep your head up girlie!



PS- Good luck with your first day of high school tomorrow!