30 May 2011

Falling Apart.


Trying times

The times where Mother Nature comes and shoves a whole lot of reality in your face, in an attempt to test how strong you really are. I truly believe that a person can measure their inner strength in the worst of times. This has become my life as of late.

I have to be honest; it’s hard, it really is. To get out of bed and function every day. There are times when I can’t even muster up the energy to change out of my pajamas; and others when I can’t bring myself to stare at the same four walls another moment. All for problems which are out of my control.

My mother’s going through a rough time right now. After marrying young and being in a plethora of failed relationships, she’s struggling to find her image. At forty, she’s dealing with the same problems that I am; which is making it unbearable for me. Growing up, we were always so close…but at times, I find myself resenting her for being so selfish. In the times when I need her the most, I feel like she’s focused solely on herself and her problems. Ones, which I feel like she could have prevented, but because she was so complacent, she just let them happen anyway. I feel like she doesn’t comprehend that her decisions brought us to where we are today; and the fact that she won’t take responsibility for them makes it that much worse. My step-father is the same way. After a ten year relationship with my mother, I feel like he’s so wrapped up in being vindictive towards her, that he fails to see that it’s hurting our relationship as well. I can’t fathom in any way how two people can be so hateful towards one another, that they can’t just agree to disagree and walk away from it. More importantly, I can’t see how two people--who claim to “love” each other—can hurt each other so badly. It’s disheartening. And quite frankly, chips away at the faith I have in my own relationship.

On the other side, I have my in-laws and their struggle with alcoholism. I know it’s not my place to judge them, especially because it’s their life and their decisions that they have to live with, but that’s just it: we live with them. We share a tiny 1100-square foot home with two stubborn alcoholics. I call them “stubborn” because they refuse to admit that they have a problem. It’s the hardest thing to sit back and watch your family members do something so bad to themselves, but what hurts me the most is that it’s starting to take a toll on my two-year-old daughter and they don’t even have the capacity in their hearts to make a change for her well-being. I realize it’s an addiction, I do, I am nowhere near oblivious to the fact that it happens, but the Mama Wolf in me just feels like boiling over every time I hear them crack open a bottle. It’s gotten so terrible lately, that I hardly sleep anymore. I lag so much during the day because I hate living where I live. My heart sinks every time I have to yank my daughter out of her path to “Nana’s room”. She just doesn’t deserve it.

And I don’t think it’s fair to my husband, to come home after working ten hours a day, schooling for six, enduring an two-hour long drive, just to be riddled with slurred speech, endless phone calls and a very stressed out wife. It’s not our battle, so when it gets to the point where we’re fighting, something’s got to give. Many of you know that Papa and I virtually never fight. High school sweethearts, we were often criticized for being the “perfect couple” and endured a lot of hate from our friends who couldn’t make it work in their relationships. Fighting just isn’t us. Maybe a five-second spat here or there, but nothing serious. Nothing that would ever remotely come close to the big “D” word. Yet, here we are, throwing it around like it’s nothing. And for what? Everyone else’s issues? WHY?!

That’s why we’re trying to find a new path. We didn’t plan on having to cut our losses and move on, but it seems as though there’s no other way to get around it. I’m not sure if that means packing our stuff up, loading up the Vue and heading out on a whim or if it means that we’ll toughen up as much as possible, make ourselves scarce for the next three months; but I do know that something has to be done. Soon. Because I can’t sit back any longer and watch the days pass by, taking with it my faith and optimism. I just want to be happy again. Back to that place: a year ago. When Papa, Punky and I would wake up every morning, all smiles, ready to take on the world and make each moment count. So wrapped up in love, that hate couldn’t even be detected, even in the largest of amounts. Back to the day when we rolled around in the grass—carefree--knowing that things were going to be just fine. I know true and utter happiness is possible. I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it. I’ve loved it. But I just can’t seem to get back there. Not here. Not in this town. Not surrounded by so much negativity. I think that the best thing for me would be to take myself out of the equation entirely. I need to disappear; to stay focused on my little family and what truly matters most, them.

It’s really hard to express these feelings, since I try to keep them deep under wraps—because airing our dirty laundry is a big “no-no” in our relationship--but I feel like it’s essential for my own growth, to open up and be truthful. Because of that, I ask that you please don’t judge me. Trust me, I beat myself up enough as it is. What I do need is opinions. Insight from outside the box. I need to know that what I feel is normal. I need to know that I’m not alone in this. Because my shoulders are quickly giving out from all the weight.


17 May 2011

My Weight.

It’s a shame that it’s taken me so long to get around to posting my ‘In the Buff’ entries. I didn’t realize how hard it’d be to fully explain, in detail, the things that I don’t usually tell people, to the world. But I’m determined to get past all this insecurity nonsense and the wall that I’ve put up because of it. So here it is, simply, in the buff.

My biggest, ugliest problem that I have is being self-conscious about my weight. From the age of thirteen, I had always been 5’5” and no more than 115 pounds. That was it. I was always comfortable eating what I wanted to, never counting calories or worrying about bloating. I was so comfortable wearing a bikini, showing off my tiny little navel piercing lying atop my tiny little belly. I was always comfortable shopping, being able to feel sexy, in anything I wore. I was comfortable in my own skin, with who I was on the inside and out. Point is though, I was COMFORTABLE. Never once did I think that I’d be one who’d feel like the “fat chick” in a group.

When I got pregnant with Punky, my hormones turned on me. I went from being free-spirited to worrying constantly. I went from optimistic life-of-the-party to pessimistic Debbie Downer. I ruined all my friendships. I pushed everyone away. At one point, I even got so mad that Papa hadn’t cooked my dinner fast enough, that I chucked a half-frozen chicken nugget across the room! At times, I even hated being pregnant, because I spent so much time hating myself and how I was acting. When in reality, I couldn’t help the way I was feeling; no matter how much I tried. On top of that, Papa had just enlisted in the Army, about a month after we found out we were expecting. She wasn’t the reason he decided to join, but the money looked pretty handsome at that point. Within a month of signing, we found out he’d be heading out to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for basic training, for eight weeks. Two whole months. Sixty days. It was right around that time that we had just moved into our first place together, and being that neither of us were close to our families, the thought of him leaving me alone, pregnant, was the scariest thing imaginable. And on top of that, not even babysitting or growing up with three younger siblings could prepare me enough for the emotional ups and downs and terrifying “not-knowings” of being pregnant. I was all alone and freaked out. So I began to spiral out of control. I ate very unhealthy foods, I hardly ever cooked and didn’t take care of my body AT ALL.  I spent most of my time bored out of my mind, sleeping or watching ‘Meet the Fockers’ and ‘Nine Months’, over and over, crying because I had never felt more abandoned in my entire life.

When Bop finally came home, I was a hot mess. No, better yet, I was the product after the mess had cooled. Like a dried up candle, solid wax everywhere. Just a shell of my former self, I didn’t know what to do at that point. Things were hard, Papa couldn’t find a job, we ended up forfeiting our place, moved back in with his mother (and all of her alcoholic nonsense) and my parents wanted nothing to do with me or my pregnancy. Everything seemed to be falling apart and I stopped having faith in things. Because of my wild hormonal changes, Papa lost his motivation he worked hard for at Basic and we both began to change. Our diets were terrible, we didn’t have a lot of money and I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, feeling humungous and quite a bit lost. To top it all off, I was just about to break the two-hundred pound mark with my weight. I was mortified! With all the craziness over those last couple of months, I never really realized how bad my weight was getting and the fact that my obstetrician had been warning me about my blood pressure and stress level being so high. Nevertheless, I was determined to try my best to make it work—with all things associated with life.

After I delivered, I lost thirty-five pounds. Barely 160, I was happy to be (somewhat) close to a normal post-partum weight range. My hormones were still a little bit whacky, but things finally seemed to be getting back on track. That is, except for my MIL’s drinking problem and the relationship I had with my family. Being so new at parenting and not really having anybody to turn to, I made a lot of mistakes as a new-mom. Breastfeeding didn’t last long, I didn’t choose to not vaccinate like I wanted to, I didn’t do anything in my own way. I had so many questions about things, but nobody was there to give me an answer, just their own one-sided opinions. Because of that, I slowly slipped back into depression mode and began to lose myself---once again. Like with pregnancy, I felt alone, except for this time, people were only around when they wanted to shove their point of view down my throat. With that, my diet started to plunge again. My portions got bigger and I began to lose my problems in the bottom of an ice cream carton, just like I had when I was with child.

By January of 2009, I found myself back to tipping the scale at 200; this time, without a baby belly. I couldn’t believe I had gained almost fifty pounds---in two months. It’s like I had blown up overnight and not even noticed it! That July, Papa was set to ship out for Army AIT, so we decided to go ahead and tie the knot the day before he left. I told everyone I had chosen not to have a big, lavish wedding because of the time-constraint; when in all actuality, I was terrified of slipping into a white dress because of my size. Still though, I had to purchase a “formal dress” for the courthouse ceremony, which I wasn’t too thrilled about. Size 10’s didn’t fit. Size 12’s were out of the question. Size 14’s were tight. The only thing that’d button up were 15’s! My heart sank. I was so embarrassed and ashamed at who I’d become, that I had an emotional breakdown in the dressing room at Ross.

I was tired of looking in the mirror and seeing myself so unhappy. When in the world did I ever find it okay to miserable? Where did all this laziness come from?! That wasn’t me. Somehow, I managed to collect myself and got the hell out of there; promising myself that I wouldn’t buy another thing until I did something about it. We got married on June 30, 2009 and had a small reception (slash ‘Farewell Party’) at our house, with only close friends and family present. You won’t find many pictures of the event, because I didn’t take that many. I was so embarrassed of what I looked like, I BANISHED CAMERAS FROM MY BIG DAY. What a shame, really. The happiest day in my life and I have ONE photo of it. But that was how truly how bad it got for me. The next day, after Papa got on his plane, I asked my parents if they’d let me stay with them while he was gone for nine weeks. I had hoped it would help fix our relationship and help motivate me to be healthier and happier. Though it worked for a while, things didn’t last long enough to see any big changes. By that time, Papa’s mother had moved to Saint Petersburg to live with her fiancĂ©, so Punky and I moved back into her house. We spent the rest of the summer running around outside, power cleaning the house and sweating my toosh off! I made the decision to cut out everything from my diet, except for veggie burgers, fruit and salads (sans dressing) and I lost 16 pounds in two weeks. Alarming, I know, but armed with all this healthy food, Wii Fit (which definitely helped me!) and a determined-to-lose-weight mindset, nothing was gonna get in my way. After Papa got home, we worked hard, together and lost even more weight; plummeting down to 152 pounds---quite an accomplishment for me, to say the least.

Now, here we are, close to two years later, and I’m still in the same spot; flip-flopping from 155 to 160--back and forth.  But truth be told, I have waivered: bad habits have snuck their way into my life, busy schedules keep me from working out as much and because of it, yoga has made its way to the bottom of my “to-do” list and Wii Fit has collected dust atop my mantle. I’m not as centered and focused as I used to be and it’s quite disheartening. I want, so badly, to be back to where I was pre-pregnancy but just can’t seem to motivate myself to push past my weight loss plateau.

Despite the fact that I’ve come a long way both physically and emotionally since my pregnancy, I still can’t seem to shake the thought that I could still use improvement. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve always set such HIGH standards for myself or that I know in my heart that I CAN get there---whatever it is, I have to let go of it. I need to spend more time reveling in my accomplishments and less worried about what the scale says this week. I just miss being emotionally healthy and happy. And, with a little more work, I know I can get there. And then maybe the scale will follow suit.

Fingers crossed.

Our Little Garden

Did I mention we decided to grow a garden? 

With the rising price of food cost and my desperate need of a hobby, Papa and I decided to start planting, growing and maintaining a garden place. Not anything too big, considering the fact that we’ll be relocating cross-state in a few months, just something to help cure my throbbing green thumb I’ve had for quite some time. Our plans are to plant a modest garden on the ground below our window, since our window air conditioning units prevent us from making window planter boxes (which is definitely a dream of mine!)

Slowly, we’ve been picking different types of plants up from the market. We’ve got a rose bush, tulips, tomatoes, green peppers and other random things that I’m overly-ecstatic to begin planting! 

On top of the fact that I was looking to use my excessive amount of free time wisely, I also just enjoy getting dirty, knowing that I'm contributing a little bit more to helping mother nature thrive. With that, the silly things like recycling, weeding and composting seem a lot less tedious and a lot more necessary. Besides, I can't wait to feel the enjoyment of coming home to scrumptious curb appeal and a pat on the back for a job well done! 

Wish me luck and lots of happy planting!

16 May 2011

Skyscrapers and Hurdles

So sorry for the lack of posts lately. It's been super busy in our neck of the woods, I couldn't even begin to explain it all! With classes and nannying starting up again, plus a whole world of errands to run and a few family issues here and there; it's been enough to throw off even the most focused individuals. Needless to say, I'm back and ready to get back to bloggin' full time!

Meanwhile, Punky has taken initiative in learning how to do simple household chores, like loading/unloading the dishwasher (sans the knives and china!), sweeping, swiffering, dusting and (as shown here) vacuuming! She absolutely loves trying new things and I really adore the fact that she's willing to lend a helping hand! Plus, we've established a "reward" system, to where when she helps us do things, she gets something special at the end of the week. I know, it's a bit early for "chores and allowances"; but hey, if she's willing to participate, there's nothing wrong with giving a little token of our appreciation---right?

I'd also like to apologize for the poor quality of this photograph. I broke my DSLR, so I'm strictly working with an iPhone for the next few weeks. And while I can capture a masterpiece here and there, it's not quite the same. 

06 May 2011

Slow Down, Little Weed.

I’m still in shock as to how much this little girl has grown up over the past few weeks!

Just the beginning of April, I was nursing skinned knees and a dirty face every two and a half seconds. But now, it’s all about princess dresses, lipstick (which is actually clear lip gloss, but she doesn’t have to know that) and the newest addition…bras. Every time I go to dress her, she asks for a bra. “Mommy, I need this,” she says, “I have to hide my ta-tas!”
Um, heart attack much?! Not even three and she already understands the concept of modesty? This could be a good thing. Papa sure seems to think so. Of course, it’s a better alternative than stalking and/or beating up any of Kiri’s potential “seekers”…but you know.

05 May 2011

Beach hair and Incessant Laughter.

May I just say, with the utmost seriousness, that you know you’re a Florida girl when you have the most fun road tripping beach side, listening to old school Yellowcard with your lady friends. 

I swear. I don't know what it is about my friends and I. We just have so much fun, doing the most ridiculously normal things and always have so much to talk about for days/months afterwards. It's a shame I don't get to hang out with them as much as I'd like. But I guess that's what makes it so great. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Or, they're just too amazing for words. Call me biased, but I'll take the latter. 

Here are some of the photographs from our beach trip. This time, I didn't really get any of the actual water, seeing as to how I was wave jumping and power (fast-doggy) paddling from start to finish. But here are a few from our drive through a few Pinellas County beach towns. I'm gonna miss that knee-deep, emerald green Gulf water. 

And for that, I thank you, Madeira Beach.

03 May 2011

A Mama's Thoughts.

[Close your eyes, take a deep breath and write truly and honestly from the heart. No holds barred]

Is it wrong to completely, one hundred percent, envy my child; or any child for that matter? The innocence, purity, unconditional love and acceptance they possess is just, well, so amazing. We all push forward through life, so ready and willing to grow up, to attain things, all the while the time in life that we possess the most, in quality, is during our childhood. Such a funny thing we learn later on in life; just another thing most people, including me lately, take for granted in life. As I sit around staring at this little human, (I know that sounds so creepy BUT I mean it in the best of ways), I appreciate -so much- the gentle nature and wholeness she is made up of. Deep down inside, I wish that we adults (mostly ME) could have that same mentality. To live in a world where judgement doesn't exist, where your heart isn't weighed down by hate and idolization, where every little experience was welcomed with open arms and starry eyes. Why couldn't it be that way? Seriously.

Point is, I'm struggling; and I have been for a while. I've said it multiple times here and on my other blog. I have major, major identity issues. My childhood/teenhood was so strict, I was forced to have zero personality and absolutely no opinions whatsoever. I was unable to associate with anyone my age, unless it was at school; and even then, I was an honors student, so that time was devoted solely to schoolwork and volunteer activities. Other than that, I sat in my room. Year after year, missing all sorts of milestones, failing to experience things necessary to mature and unable to make a single mistake along the way. At eighteen years old, I graduated from high school and was thrust into adulthood without a clue as to what I should do or what was expected of me. I got a measly little part time job at a sandwich shop, I shared a place with a friend, I partied, I did stupid things, I had my fun. But only after a few months, I was SO bored with it. Clubbing and drinking and hanging out late lost it's lustre and I was worn down to the core. I had no desire to be that ignorant kid, it just wasn't "cool" to me anymore. Finally, after putting the relationship between Papa and I through the ringer time and time again, (my relationship issues stemmed from family issues, it's such a long story and I'll elaborate on it later), I decided to settle down. But even though I matured away from the hype, I still lacked experience on defining ME and who I am as a person. I didn't know. I still don't know entirely.

After two years of being wishy washy, and finally engaged by my nineteenth birthday (And need I remind you that Papa was only seventeen at the time), him and I were serious for only two months before I got pregnant. So I, someone struggling so deep with self-identity, despite being with a significant other so much younger, yet so much more well put-together, added the needs of another life into the mix. I read, I researched, I tried things, I pushed so hard to become a wonderful mother; and really, I am. I pat myself on the back for being the parent I am today. I have come a long way in the past two and a half years. Punky is a wonderful, brilliant, beautiful child and I couldn't be more impressed. But in trying to become the perfect mother, I left MY soul searching in the balance.

As parenting and I became more domesticated, I piled even more on top of it. With a husband in the military, his fast track towards attaining a degree AND a career, a daughter whom I devote every waking hour towards, my education, household chores, bills, anxiety, change and the worries that come along with it; I've stretched what little time I've had to focus on myself so thin, that sometimes I don't even notice it exists. There'll be days where Papa'll be off to school, Punky's with her grands and I lay on my bed, staring at the ceiling, wondering "What do I do with myself?" I don't have a true hobby, I don't really associate with many friends, surfing the internet has become a bore, my hands are so tired from scrubbing and chasing after a toddler that I just stay laying there....and I continue to stare at the ceiling; terrified to be alone with a person I don't know--myself.

Reading over my old Tumblr blog, I was appalled at some of the posts I made. To see the large jumps in personality and changes I made over such a short time...it really scared me and I almost lost a very dear friend over it for seeming "fake". I won't name the person, though I should, because [she's] a wonderful, gentle soul and [she] really opened my eyes that day. After receiving a series of texts from [her], I made my way through my blog's archives, embarassed, let down, thinking "How can I be fake when I have no idea who I even am?!" After explaining how desperately sorry I was for coming across as fake (which, after seeing it for myself, I could totally understand) and practically clogging [her] phone up with rants, explaining my life story, [she] (being the accepting and loving person she is) completely understood and we continue to be friends to this day.

But again, the issue of a lack of self-identity is hindering me from personal growth and relationships with others. And I hate, hate, hate that. Especially when I wasn't trying to be that way. I think that in the midst of my personal struggle, I try to relate myself to what people that inspire me enjoy, seeing if maybe that's something that'll make me happy as well. Which COULD be misconstrued as fake, all the while being the complete opposite. Thus, why I feel that it's one hundred percent necessary to share my struggle with others. And I'm learning that honesty truly is the best policy, because it prevents confusion, hurt and drama; even if it shows your flaws and imperfections to the world.

I wish the world would be as easy as just walking out onto the reading rug, kindergarten year and striking up conversation with the first person you plop down next to. No judgement, no boundaries, no fear. And that, right there, is what I intend to work for.

Truly. Honestly.