#IrmaGherd: My Dealings With a Super Storm

tumblr_inline_n094750FY41qid2nwGrowing up in Florida, hurricanes have always been a part of my life. Growing up in the Bradenton/Sarasota area, hurricanes have always tended to avoid us at the last minute (I personally like the legends of being on ancient Native American burial grounds protecting us). Hurricane Charley in 2004 was the only time I have ever felt as scared as I did about Irma, but I was 12 and it was a completely different experience. I’ve grown from being scared of losing my snow globes and American Girl dolls, to being scared of losing a roof over my head. So let’s go through my Irma timeline, as a way to cope for myself—selfishly, from start to finish. Through this storm I have experienced and witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

Sunday, September 3, 2017:

I requested this day off work right before my restaurant closed so I could help my friend Kaitlyn move into the open unit in my crappy lil house. Her house mom (long story) said to her to watch Irma closely because she told her our house was frail and if it’s coming here then Kaitlyn needs to go to their house from the storm. I remember I said “its almost 100 years old, so think of all it has survived.” I then text my dad:

Me: do we have any idea where Irma is going?

Dad: -insert nondescript generic photo hurricane path too early to really know a thing- And it looks like after Friday it may take a turn North but its too early to tell for sure.

Me: Hopefully it doesn’t come this way. Bc idk if my house would sustain a storm to this level.

I’m fine on Monday, nothing phases me of this storm. I hang out with my friends and we have a traumatic Sonic adventure. I know I’m scheduled to begin house sitting and pet sitting for my bosses the next morning so I go to bed.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017:

I wake up seeing posts all over on Facebook about places that don’t have water and how this storm could take out Florida. I still am remaining calm. I go to my bosses’ apartment and get situated. We talk about the storm a bit and I mention I’m going to go on a hunt to find water later just to be safe. They tell me to contact them if the storm becomes bad and they leave for Ireland. I then proceed to enjoy some puppy cuddles and decide to change to Bay News 9 to watch the weather reports on Irma. I get nervous. Two hours later I’m trying to find water and go to multiple stores including peculiar stores like Staples that people sometimes don’t realize sell water. Nothing. In Kmart, customers have bought every storage bin, every cooler, and every kind of water they sell. I’ve already been informed Publix, Walmart, and Winn Dixie are out. I start to panic. I have an anxiety attack in the parking lot and then go see my friend Sarah to make a hurricane prep list.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017:

This was the last night I slept. I found water this day, I felt secure, and the weatherman was saying it shouldn’t be bad for where I live. I was worried about my friends who were in a more direct line of the storms projected path, but it was also too soon to really tell. I calmed some of my out of state friends explaining to them that nothing bad will happen, and I hung out with some doggos. I had an excellent Benadryl nap, and life was fine.

Thursday, September 7, 2017:

My family decided that maybe staying home wasn’t the best idea, but we weren’t entirely sure yet. We spent the day hurricane proofing my parents neighbors yard since she lives part time in Illinois and did a little bit of work here and there on their house. At this point in time, I started watching the news around the clock and I stopped sleeping. I wanted to see every path update when it happened, and for anyone who follows storms, you know that the different paths are released at a staggered time that doesn’t really allow you to sleep. My squashed anxiety over hurricanes was back. I let my boss know we might be evacuating to Tampa but weren’t sure yet, but the animals would be fine to come with me because it was just a precautionary measure.

Friday, September 8, 2017:

I’m growing more nervous over the storm, but life will be okay. We are going to go to Tampa. My mom helps me pack my records up and some of the more important things I wouldn’t want to be destroyed at my apartment. We moved my TV and my piano away from windows just in case. I moved my plants away from windows just in case. I want us to get on the road that night, I had my car packed up with my hurricane food, my bottled fluids, and I had my backup batteries for my phone charged. I had clothes to last me a week. I had Orange Baby and my baby blanket packed up. I go to my parents’ house and my dad is saying he isn’t sure if he will go with because he still has too much to do. I push through the pain and finish their yard. Mind you, I still have a slight break remaining in my almost healed broken foot. I’m in excruciating pain but I don’t care. I want my family to stick together. I want us to get out of there. I don’t trust my house, I don’t trust the island, and I don’t want to deal with a storm alone.

Saturday, September 9, 2017:

The track that is released this morning terrifies me. My calm and collected weatherman, Denis Phillips is now worried for the area that is my home. When he’s worried, I’m worried. I wait until 7:20 in the morning before I finally decide it was late enough to call my mom. It’s coming right for us and it’s going to be intense. I’m in tears. The news is saying how it’s too late to leave. The whole state is virtually dry of gas. My dad calls me back a few minutes later and tells me I have to call my boss’s dad and have him take the animals because we needed to go far away and we didn’t know how long we would be gone. I’m no longer calling the shots in this scenario. He tells me I need to meet him at my apartment and that he’s on his way and has two suitcases for me. I can’t get ahold of my boss’s dad. So I call my boss. I’m trying to stay calm but calm was gone. I was scared. My dad didn’t think either of us would have a home after this storm passed. He told me we were going to try and make it to our house in Jersey. I can barely breathe; I’m overcome by fear and crippling anxiety. I get to the apartment and he tells me I need to pack as much of my apartment as possible. I had to pack smart. What can’t be replaced and what will I need to start my life over. Clothes are the most important he told me. Because I might need to interview for jobs, have clothes for jobs, and have clothes for an indefinite amount of time to wear. Then he tells me he’ll see me later. I whimper. In this moment of panic, I didn’t understand and comprehend that he also needed to go do the same thing I was doing in this moment. I realize this now, but in that moment I wanted my dad to hold my hand through the scariest time of my life. I’m almost done packing and my best friend since middle school and downstairs neighbor texted me to tell me that she’s evac packing as well and whoever finishes first to go to the others place. When I finished and we hugged in her living room, it felt like there was a possibility we could be hugging for the last time. I hadn’t told anyone yet, but if I lost everything, and I mean everything, I wasn’t coming home. I went and situated the animals I was pet sitting with there new temporary furry caregivers, and I went to my parents home to get the ball rolling in motion. We were already evacuating after the point where the news said it was too late. The house still had so much left to be done and my dad said that my mom and I should just go—he won’t be far behind. Panic. No. Don’t panic. Mom can’t see after dark so I agree. My mom and I go. We hit the traffic we have been seeing about on the news all week. My dad leaves over an hour after we did, it might have been close to two hours. Somehow he makes it beyond us in Ocala. We had difficulty finding gas, as did everyone, but we manage to all meet up at the same gas station. It’s sunset. We still have over six hours to go to get to our destination in South Carolina. Because of my mom’s night blindness, we ended up needing to find a place to stay after a bit more on the road. Thank God, and I mean really, the big guy upstairs is working for us here, we were right by the summer camp I used to work with. One phone call to my beloved camp mom, Miss. Sarah, and we had a place to safely stay for the night. True Christianity, a phone call late after dark, and I have a place to stay. I don’t sleep still, my third night of not sleeping, but I pray hard.

Sunday, September 10, 2017:

We wake up before dawn, we clean our room we stayed in at camp, and we leave a donation out of gratitude. As soon as the sun is up, we continue our journey to South Carolina. We have to drive through some of the worst weather I have ever driven through on our way out of the state in Jacksonville. They were being hit hard with a nor’easter that morning and a mix of the outer bits of this ginormous storm was already hitting the northern part of Florida. We are literally being chased out of Florida. The second we cross over the Florida/Georgia line, my heart nearly stops. I can breathe. We make it out of Georgia and into South Carolina. I finally have my appetite back… well somewhat, but enough that I finally can eat something. We make it to the cattle farm we are staying at until further notice and I feel relieved but I’m still obsessively checking all social media. I have so many loved ones who are waiting out the storm in boarded up homes or in shelters. I’m still so worried. We see new tracks. It’s looking like it might not be as bad as we thought, but anyone who knows storms, knows that these storms can change whenever and you should never feel false safety until it has fully passed. I’m safely out of the state, I know I will get some tropical storm level weather the following day in the area of South Carolina I am staying in, but I can live with that. I continue to pray that everyone is okay. I end up needing medicinal assistance to sleep that night, but before bed I text one of my oldest friends who’s family stayed on the island for the storm, it hasn’t been that bad. I fall asleep feeling hope.

Monday, September 11, 2017:

It’s my dad’s birthday; we wake up with word from most of our friends and family telling us how the storm wasn’t as bad as it could have been. How there still isn’t power but it should be fine all around. We wont know about my parents’ house for a little bit longer because the island is still closed. I’ve been awake for a couple hours now, I’m checking Snapchat to see the videos and the photos of the storm, and I see one from one of my downstairs neighbor. There is a tree collapsed on our home. I run and show my mom and then I cry. My home. My first house. Has a tree in it. I don’t know the severity of damage. I just know a tree fell. My dad says he’s going to drive home right then and there to try and get however much of my stuff as he can out of my home. I talk him out of this. The storm is still active and it’s his birthday. I want us to stay together as a family. I had to hold myself together to make sure he didn’t feel compelled to leave. Sarah calls me to tell me there’s a tree in our house but it looks like my unit could be fine to get my stuff out. I call Kaitlyn to let her know we have a tree in our house but that we can’t get upstairs until further notice. I break my six-week sobriety over lunch because: tree in my house. I consider not going home. We finally get word that my parents’ house is fine. My coworker who lies behind them had her son go and walk our property as well and send us photos and videos of how it looks. Before I fall asleep, I finally get word that my basically sister and her family down in Naples are okay. The worry I had all day for them is relieved. I sleep without medications.

Tuesday-Friday, September 12-15, 2017:

There isn’t a lot I can do at this point. My family every day monitors gas levels on our drive home and traffic. We need to make sure we can make it home in one go of things without getting stranded anywhere from running out of gas. So we decide to make the best of this. Our host family is by far the most amazing host family we could ever have. I get to go out on a 4wheeler and meet over forty cows. We bond. We enjoy country living. Nothing more we can do than make lemonade from lemons. Newberry, South Carolina stole a piece of all of our hearts.

Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Present:

I have to get a storage unit; I have to move all of my stuff out of my second story apartment that hasn’t been inspected for safety; I have to start over. Since doing all of this, I have gotten barely any to basically none shifts at my job. Literally starting over. I have no money. I have no home. I feel humbled and I feel broken. But I’m trying to remind myself every day that something good will come eventually. I have my family. I have my life. And I was able to get my belongings out of my apartment. I had amazing friends help me all throughout the week even though there are definitely better more exciting things they would have rather had done. I have cried, a lot. So many tears have shed. I have had countless mental breakdowns. I overcame losing my job that was my primary income and having to make the best of my secondary income and managed to stay up on of all of my bills without losing my house. Despite overcoming this major set back, a storm takes out my home. I have to fight with my landlord to get us our security deposits back. I have to face reality that I won’t be able to live alone anymore and that I don’t have anyone set in stone that can be my roommate. To say I feel like I hit rock bottom is an understatement. I have to believe everything is going to end up better than it was before even. I know this could have all been way worse. My heart breaks for all of the islands in the Caribbean. My heart breaks for the Collier and Lee county areas where I spent my college years because they took more damage than we did. But I can’t help but selfishly still ask why me. Why did I have to lose my home? Why do I have to find a new job so I can maybe have a shred of hope in finding a new home? Why do natural disasters have to happen in general?

I’m not writing this in hopes of gaining sympathy or anything like that. I’m writing this because I firmly believe that putting your feelings out there will help relieve your worries. I don’t have a therapist to talk to anymore, so that leaves my blog I share with my best friend. Everyone experienced this traumatic super storm differently. Everyone handles the storm aftermath of exhaustion differently. I think this storm broke everyone a little bit, and I think it’s healthy for us to talk about how it broke us. It’s important to be able to say, “hey, I’m going to be okay, but right now I don’t feel so okay.”

To anyone who extended your graciousness to me and my family before, during, and after this storm. From the bottom of my heart: thank you. Your goodness will forever hold a special place in my heart.
For my Caribbean neighbors and my fellow hurricane season effected states, I hope and pray that from here on out we get cut a break from these storms. I know it might not happen, but I still hope and pray.

Stay safe and stay dry my friends.

alex

 

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DAY 88/365

tumblr_inline_nb3h740cQe1snulowHi, Hello, Sorry. It’s been a minute. Whitney and I are crazy complicatedly busy. I’ve been moving, she has clinicals and a job and a puppy. Bear with us! (Rarrrr -that’s a bear growl thing…old camp jokes-). We love you, we miss you, we love our blog, we really do try! Moving on! We are just about one quarter (a little over 24%) of the way through the year 2017, and I decided I wanted to revisit my goals for the year. Not to change them or anything, just to have  a little status update on any progress I’m making. So, to refresh everyone’s memory, this is from my New Years Post:

Here we go… Like Whitney said. I may or may not achieve these.
(I’m okay with that.)

  1. Continue to learn as much as possible at my job to strengthen my resume.

  2. Continue to work towards (and maybe even obtain??) moving out on my own.

  3. Ride my new bicycle as regularly as possible.

  4. Clean out those clothes I hold on to hoping I’ll one day wear again when they aren’t even age appropriate anymore.

  5. Stop worrying so much what other people think about me.

  6. (I’m stealing one of Whitney’s and putting it in quotes because plagiarism scares me. Sorry!) “more self love, less self hate”

  7. Cut back to only 2 alarms instead of 3 in the morning.

So lets take a look at this.

  1. I got moved from one department to another department at my job, and I have definitely been learning something new all the time. I’ve began working on skills that make my resume look better. So I’d say I’m on the right track for this one.
  2. I moved out of my parents house!!!!! Check!
  3. Well… oh my gosh, I am so sorry Max and Sarah… I have only ridden my bike twice.
  4. I’ve cleaned out HUGE bags full of clothes, but still have more I need to purge. Especially with moving. So we will consider this on the right track.
  5. Lol. I’m cute for thinking I will fully obtain this goal. Don’t get me wrong, I have no shame in my game. I proudly fly my crazy train flag. But I still will always worry that someone isn’t really my friend, hates me on the DL, or will be secretly talking about me behind my back. I’m going to keep trying on this one though.
  6. This is a huge work in progress. I’m my own worst nightmare when it comes to criticism of myself.
  7. Welllll, as of this morning, I just had to add a 4th emergency in case I fall back to sleep alarm. So… baby steps.

Where are you at 88 days into the year? Have you been making progress? Or are you falling under the theory of January… February… oh and March, too… are simply trial months of the year? Let me know! I’d love to hear in the comments below. No shame in our game, right?

 

Peace&Blessings

alex

I Have High Functioning Anxiety/Panic Disorder

tumblr_inline_namymk27nv1snulowI’ve probably started typing and then deleted this post more times than I can even keep track of. It’s easy for me to click “share” on Facebook when someone posts a link to someone else’s post about their mental illness, but it’s a completely different story when I share my experience. I’m not trying to get a lot of shares, I’m not trying to gain support (I have a wonderful support system as is), and I’m not trying to make a point. I’m writing this more so for myself. It’s a lifestyle blog, this is part of my lifestyle. This will definitely be my most vulnerable post I have ever written.

It’s something I deal with every single moment of every single day of my life. You wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell by looking at me, hence the high functioning. But it’s there, constantly. While I face feeling anxious about pretty much everything, social situations are my biggest challenge I face. I over analyze, I blame myself for everything, and I assume people don’t want to be around me. If anyone, even my best friend, takes more than two minutes to respond to a text message, my throats begins to feel tight. I know, this doesn’t sound high functioning. It is. While I am feeling this way at all times, through behavioral therapy and determination I have reached a point where I am relatively successful of having my logical part of my brain silence the anxiety. Except, having the volume turned down doesn’t mean it goes away. Telling me to “stop overthinking” or “stop stressing” or “who cares let it go” is fine and dandy. Believe me, I appreciate your efforts in saying what you think will help. However, I need you to understand that what you’re saying means nothing. Anxiety and stress are two totally different concepts. I can be having a high anxiety day without any added stress just like I can have high stress days while having a relatively low anxiety day. Stress is something brought on by an outside source. Anxiety is never ending.

I remember my first panic attack like it happened yesterday. I was a senior in high school and we had a math test. My schedule had become much busier my senior year between IB, the drama program, and my part time job. I suffered a gnarly burn at work which complicated life, I was sick for almost a full semester, and I was going through major social circle changes. Despite all of this, I felt like I was still doing okay in school, nothing amazing, but okay. We were sitting down for the test, I don’t remember what the concepts were but I remember feeling like I had a good grasp on it, and then when the test actually began my mind went blank, I could no longer breathe, and then my vision blacked out. I never wrote down a single answer. It felt beyond trivial and teen angst filled to talk to my teacher after class and try and explain what happened, how I didn’t even know what happened. She responded instantly “You had a panic attack. Has this happened before?” While hearing her then explain to me what she believed I was going to was terrifying, because she said it would probably happen again, it was comforting to hear an explanation for the terrifying event I just experienced.

They would continue to happen periodically, some were worse and some weren’t as bad, throughout the rest of the year and my first two years of college. My parents began noticing areas I didn’t function as well with. I had crippling anxiety when it came time for me to get rid of anything I ever owned. ANYTHING. I couldn’t get rid of my 6th grade math assignment because what if one day I needed that again? You never know! (You do know. You won’t need it. But I couldn’t process that at the time.) My mom and dad finally decided that I should see somebody about all of this. Beginning in my junior year of college, I began seeing a therapist about once a week. It was weird at first. I didn’t feel like there was any huge trauma (I mean, there was, but I had the anxiety before that) I should be discussing that could be causing people to be concerned about my anxieties. I knew I didn’t want to be medicated, so eventually I figured out how to make this work. I learned a lot about myself. I learned that while the list of mental illnesses she began listing off over time seemed ridiculous, they were actually common and very intertwined with each other. Everything related back to how my brain responded to having Anxiety/Panic Disorder. We began working on ways to cope and self soothe. That term always sounds funny to me when used for reasons other than babies, but it’s what I had to learn how to do. Counting helps. You count to ten while inhaling slowly. You count down from ten while exhaling slowly. You repeat as many times as you need to before you’re calm. It’s easy to type out what to do. It’s harder to do it when you actively cannot breathe. Therapy helped. I was embarrassed for the longest time about going to therapy. I felt like it was something I should be ashamed of. I outgrew that. I think everyone should go to therapy at some point in their life because you learn a lot about yourself.

I don’t go to therapy anymore. I haven’t been to therapy since 2013. I still have some really bad days. Some of those really bad days actually last for a couple weeks where anything and everything makes me anxious. “Why didn’t my parents add an emoji? Are they mad at me? Quick think through everything you have said and done in the last 48 hours. Where did you mess up.” That’s what anxiety is like. I’m constantly replaying the last 48 hours, sometimes even the last week, of interactions I had with people to make sure I didn’t do something wrong. You wouldn’t think that by looking at me. I’m usually just sitting there, often times with the subtle curve of the corner of my mouth. I’m usually fidgeting, it keeps my mind from spinning into hyperspeed. The constant tucking of my hair behind my ears, the flicking of my fingers, the repeated opening and closing of the same three apps on my phone.

It’s hard for me to make friends sometimes, because I’m afraid of the no texting back. But I have the logic part of my brain. That gets louder all the time. Telling my anxiety to hush. Reminding me that it’s not always about me or something I did. Maybe mom or dad are busy and didn’t think to add a smiley face or maybe it’s because every message doesn’t need an emoji (like, wow, I don’t use emojis all the time, why should everyone else have to?). Sometimes people get busy and don’t answer texts, or life gets stressful and they stop answering texts. Do you know who does both of those things all the time? Me. You know what helps my anxiety the most? Talking about it. I used to be ashamed to talk about it because that’s what you’re supposed to do with mental illness. Keep it quiet. Don’t let anyone know. Keep up the charade that you’re “normal”. The stigma surrounding mental illness is something that absolutely needs to be stopped. I’m taking my step in doing my part by stopping it. This is my journey through anxiety/panic disorder. It’s not over, it never will be over, but I get better at coping with it every single day and I’m willing to be there are a handful of you out there who had absolutely no idea that I deal with this nonstop.

I’ve shared my story, now share yours. Feel welcome to leave comments below linking me to a post you’ve written about your own mental illness. Feel welcome to leave comments below sharing with me your story. Speak freely about what you face daily and stop the stigma. I have a mental illness but I’m functioning completely fine and I’m happy.

 

Peace & Blessings,

alex

 

P.S. check out or blog shop linked over in the side bar/menu to get your own Peace & Blessings gear. (or any other gear!)

Introducing the Alex & Whitney Store!

We are really rolling in 2017. So much so that we basically decided to open up a shop. “Wait, what? Don’t you already have an Etsy shop?”  Well, the Etsy shop and this blog simply share a name. Which is why we decided to change the name of our blog since Whitney’s Etsy shop and this blog have morphed into 2 entities. Since both Alex & Whitney contribute to this blog and it’s really about them fighting through the early stage of adulthood, what better name than Alex & Whitney!

The shop consists of mainly typography, featuring our favorite sayings. We may branch out of the business of “words” but for now, we hope you grab a shirt and have a laugh. So go ahead. Check out our shop! And share it with all your friends.

Alex&Whitney Blog Shop

 alex&whitney

2017 pt. II

Hi. Hello. Happy New Year as well!

tumblr_inline_nbahviK6Jl1snulowRegardless of having no actual obligations to post anything specific to this blog, because Whitney did a 2017 goals of sorts post, I feel ever so inclined to partake as well. Spoiler alert: I am terrible at sticking to any resolutions or goals (I typically do birthday resolutions) primarily because my priorities are constantly changing. I appreciate Whitney’s interpretation of me somehow keeping this blog “Active” even though I would hardly consider my postings active at all… more so few and far between. What can I say, life decided to life at me.

I spent the better part of 2016 going out, hanging out, staying out til the sun came up, and to put it quite frankly: getting drunk. I had never really partied much before and I finally decided to get that need to have fun out of my system and by September I decided I was ready to grow up and put my degree to use. I made applying for jobs in the legal field my priority. I was not going to get stuck in the serving cycle of not leaving because the money was too good to give up. God blessed me with two interviews for the three firms I submitted resumes to and I got the job at the second interview. This all took place over the course of a couple weeks and by October I was getting settled into an office. So now, with that taken care of, I feel as though setting some basic goals for this coming year is much more achievable.

Here we go… Like Whitney said. I may or may not achieve these.
(I’m okay with that.)

  1. Continue to learn as much as possible at my job to strengthen my resume.
  2. Continue to work towards (and maybe even obtain??) moving out on my own.
  3. Ride my new bicycle as regularly as possible.
  4. Clean out those clothes I hold on to hoping I’ll one day wear again when they aren’t even age appropriate anymore.
  5. Stop worrying so much what other people think about me.
  6. (I’m stealing one of Whitney’s and putting it in quotes because plagiarism scares me. Sorry!) “more self love, less self hate”
  7. Cut back to only 2 alarms instead of 3 in the morning.

Personally, I feel people tend to set unrealistic expectations with New Years Resolutions and then they beat themselves up for not obtaining them, or breaking them early on. I’m gonna work on this all year. Come December 31st I might realized I completely forgot about some of them, but hey, life isn’t over. I’m gonna keep focusing on my priorities as they adapt to where I’m at in life. The important part is to be happy with where you are, not with where you’ve been.

 

Peace and blessings.

alex

2017

Happy New Year!

I’ll admit, I’ve fallen short with my posts on this blog (shoutout to my person, my other half, Alex, for keeping this blog alive while I died a little during the past semester. Love you!) While one of my obvious goals for this new year is to post more, it also happens to be my last and most intense year of nursing school so I’m not making any promises. However, I still have a week left of vacation & I’m doing everything I can to update my Etsy shop (huge thanks to everyone who ordered something special this holiday season!), maintain this blog, & catch up on laundry…… SO HELLO! I’VE MISSED YOU GUYS.

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A new year means it’s time for me to sit down and lay out some goals to keep my life a little exciting. This past year, I’ve learned and accepted a lot of things about myself so 2017 means implementing those lessons and those revelations and making the most out of my life right now. 2017 also means that maybe I’ll actually finish the sweater I started, or maybe that blanket I started crocheting like 3 years ago… I, and I think the rest of the world, is just simply hoping 2017 brings much more joy and peace and love than 2016 did….

So here are some goals that I may or may not achieve this year:

  1. finish nursing school
  2. knit more, crochet more
  3. more self love, less self hate
  4. stop comparing myself to every instagram/etsy shop/blog persona

I started off this list with specifics but after 13 really specific and honestly, not really attainable goals, I decided to keep it simple. Thus I decided 2017 is going to be my “simple” year…. simplify my wardrobe, my etsy shop, my life. Enjoy life itself and not the stuff that crowds it. Stare at my puppy more and marvel at life and how big his little feet have gotten in just a few short weeks. Hug my fiance more and memorize his eyes, his lips, his hair. Forget the number of sales or achieving the ideal nursing preceptorship. Realize that God will open doors and shut them and it’s simply my job to go through the motions with meaning and love.

I hope everyone has a beautiful new year and I hope it’s not long before my next post. tumblr_inline_nbahwfy1Ex1snulow

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Wait It’s Christmas Already?!

tumblr_inline_nyihtj1jWr1t78dpp_500On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… nothing… because I’m single and don’t have a true love and if I weren’t I probably gave them no indication of what I want for Christmas. Bet I’m not alone here, either. It’s tricky being in your mid twenties with friends constantly texting you asking what you want for Christmas this year. You tell them you’ll give it some thought. Before you know it, a couple months have passed, you haven’t gotten back to them, and you realize wow when life is in limbo you don’t give much thought to what you want other people to buy you. If you are anything like me, which I know a lot of you will fall under this category. Asking people for gifts is incredibly awkward. I am always eternally thankful and full of blessed feelings whenever anyone buys or makes me a present, small or large, but there will always be a part of me that has a twinge of guilt because maybe I didn’t get them something or maybe I feel their gift is more extravagant even if it isn’t really. Or sometimes I’m just aware of their financial status at the moment and feel bad that they spent money on me even though they wanted to and I do the same as well. I love giving gifts, and I do love receiving them, I’m just incredibly awkward at the latter task. So here we go. A simple guide to buying gifts for someone in their mid-twenties–more specifically someone with similar interests and likes to me.

  1. Art – I love art, even though being in limbo means most of it goes undisplayed in a closet downstairs or leaned up against my walls around my room until I’m allowed to hang things up again. The cool part about buying or making art for someone like me, it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are artists I will pretty much love anything by (See: mabgraves or any print you can find by Dali) but I also like being exposed to anything aesthetically intriguing or pleasing. One of the coolest ways to buy art for an art lover while on a budget is going to thrift stores. You can find killer deals on beautiful pieces that are already framed!

  2. Cactus Anything – Okay this is totally me specific, so replace this title to make it applicable to others with “niche interest”. If you’ve met me, you know I love cactus ANYTHING. My room is full of clothing, plushes, figurines, art, and even salt and pepper shakers that are cactuses. Find your friends version of cactus in their life and you run with that.

  3. Music – Similarly to the art section up there (wow, because you know, music is art too so that makes sense… anyways) I love when people buy me music. I have a baby vinyl collection I started two years ago and love to see it flourish and grow. Best part about buying music for someone, most people are rather open to being exposed to something new. Even better part? Old used vinyl is far better quality than new presses (okay this is depending really on specifically when the pressing took place) and you can typically get used vinyl and thrift shops or record shops for quite the steal! If you are looking to spend good money on a significant other potentially, vnyl is a great monthly subscription box for someone looking to kickstart a vinyl collection. I sadly had to “pause” mine for a multitude of reasons.

  4. Clothes – Alright, remember when we were little and clothes were the drag gift that came with all the siq kewl toyz Santa brought you? Not so much anymore. It is the most practical gift and the struggle is real so none of us like spending money on clothes despite needing or wanting new clothes. Just make sure you either know the person’s sizes or keep that receipt since no store seems to be universal with the fit.

  5. Beauty/Spa Products – Lush literally ANYTHING will make pretty much any girl happy and even a large amount of guys happy because boy do you feel pampered whenever you use any of their products. However, another great gift is always buying some form of face masks or scrubs. Similarly to the music section, buying a significant other a subscription for a certain amount of time for the multitude of beauty boxes/skin care boxes is always a great way to express serious gratitude for their existence.

  6. DIY – I somehow missed the memo in regards to me vs pretty much all of my friends where I have little to none crafting skills of any sorts, but all of my friends are so talented whether it be knitting/crocheting (*cough* my co-owner and best friend), painting, baking, etc. So, personally, I LOVE when any of my friends gifts me something that is handmade.

  7. Books – I usually suggest people check with me before buying a book, just because I do own a lot of books and would hate for you to spend money on something I already own, however when it comes to reading, it is kind of like music and art–I’m always excited for new options!

Maybe this helps, maybe it doesn’t. What is important to remember with this upcoming gift giving holiday season (Christmas for me in this case) is that the actual present really isn’t what matters. Not at all. There doesn’t even need to be a present. It’s about spending time with loved ones (family and/or friends who are like family) and being joyous. If a gift is involved and it isn’t something you necessarily wanted or even like, who cares? Someone thought about you and loved you enough to get you something. Be gracious this season. Remember you are blessed. And always say thank you. Have a cozy holiday season for those who have a real winter, and for those Floridians out there, wow let’s hope we get some more cold fronts amiright?

Peace and blessings.

alex

True Beauty

Image result for true beauty quotes

Shout out to all our ladies (and gentlemen), ever have those off days where you don’t feel like yourself inside & out? Both of us definitely have those days, more so than not. We all have those days, but don’t worry. They will pass. Here are some quotes to make you realize that you are truly beautiful!

 

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.
– Audrey Hepburn

Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.
― Ellen DeGeneres

No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.
― Eleanor Roosevelt

There is in true beauty, as in courage, something which narrow souls cannot dare to admire.
William Congreve

Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are.
― Markus ZusakImage result for true beauty quotes

It’s [beauty] a kind of radiance. People who possess a true inner beauty, their eyes are a little brighter, their skin a little more dewy. They vibrate at a different frequency.
Cameron Diaz

There is more to feminine charm than just measurements. I don’t need a bedroom to prove my womanliness. I can convey just as much femininity, picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain.
– Audrey Hepburn

Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.
Sophia Loren

 

alex&whitney

Saying Goodbye

You may or may not know that I had a pug. He was my life. As my fiance said, “Whenever I think of you, he is there. He is a part of you. Without him, it is as if a piece of you is missing and can’t be found.” This past May I had to say goodbye. I had to say goodbye to my first puppy, my best friend, the love of my life for the past 15 years. My pug suffered from end stage kidney disease, arthritis, & blindness/deafness. We were able to control the arthritis. We were able to adjust for his blindness, his deafness. We could not stop his kidneys from failing. We chose to let him sleep forever to save him from the pain he was about to endure. One of the hardest things is to make that decision. When is it time to say goodbye? What if we are doing it too soon, too late?

I debated writing about this for a while because every time I think about him, tears well up and my chest tightens. I still have nights where I cry because he’s no longer there for pug snuggles. I cry when I make popcorn or cut carrots. I cry when I see anything pug or frankly, anything dog related. I cried when we covered the renal system in class. I even cried while trying to type this out, several times. However, as each day passes, I still miss him more than ever, but realizing the decision my family had to make benefited our beloved gets easier.

It happened so fast. Several months prior he was still playing, still begging for popcorn, still licking my face.Then we noticed his ribs, how skinny he had become, something we never realized until we looked, until we picked him up and realized how light he was getting. His arthritis was bad, we knew that. He was on medication. We increased the dosage. He still couldn’t walk past the front yard. He had an abscess in his tooth that caused his face to swell. He was too old for surgery, they said. He was in so much pain, we saw, we felt his pain. Then suddenly he wasn’t able to control his bladder.  At first we thought he might have forgotten where his litter box is since he’s blind now. We showed him his box, we cleaned up his accident, and we gave him lots of kisses. Everything started to build up and we saw his quality of life fade away. Once a pug full of energy, personality, life was now struggling to stand, struggling to live, but still everything we loved. We knew what we had to do if we truly loved him. If he was out in the wild, if this was real life, he wouldn’t have made it years ago. We were prolonging the inevitable and now we saw the pain in his face, in his spirit. We talked to vet. We came to a decision after a week of conversations, tears, and fact checks.

The day of was the most beautiful, the most heartbreaking. The sun was shining. There was no rain, as predicted. That morning he had the worse accident he ever had. He knew it too. We picked him up and we kissed him all over. We fed him breakfast, which he happily ate. We gave him a bit extra. Then he peed. He peed in his litter box. Something he hadn’t done in months. We all burst into tears. Was he getting better? Did he know? He has to be getting better. But we knew he wasn’t. His kidneys were basically gone. He knew that. So he let us hold him like when he was a puppy. We held him so tight, for so long. He fell asleep in our arms, letting us hold him for one last time, kiss his soy sauce smelling little head one last time. My parents took him to the vet so he could sleep forever. I chose to stay back, to let my parents who loved him so much be the ones to let him go. They are my rock. I walked around the forest and collected flowers. It was only a few minutes they were gone. Then they came back. And we said goodbye, under his favorite rock and the shade of a tree, forever protected by a stone my father engraved.

He never woke during the process. My mom held him the entire time. He was wrapped up in his frog blanket and the love for him surrounded him. He knew. He was okay. He was finally at peace and no longer in pain. No longer unable to walk without limping, unable to control himself, no longer unable to see or hear. He was free. Forever free. The one thing I learned was that they do not live for us. We live for them. Could we have waited another month, another year? Sure. But did we want him in more pain that he could handle? Unable to walk, unable to get up? Did we want to give him more and more pills? Did we want him to keep running into walls and stepping in his own pee? Never. Animals who love us will live for us. They won’t let go until we let go. It is hard to believe until you personally experience it but when we finally let go, we saw how he let go.

Sleep in forever peace my little pug. All the words and motions of this world will never truly express how much you were loved, still are loved, and will forever be loved.

 

 

 

Why Deleting My Tinder App Was The Best… Like… Ever

image1First and foremost… holy cow I am so sorry for it being a light year (I’m being dramatic) since I last posted anything. I know Whitney somewhat touched on the inactivity in her last post (that was her breaking our lull) however I still wanted to personally apologize as well. Welcome back our cozy comrades. Life gets the best of you sometimes, whether it is nursing school and night shifts, or waitressing while trying to get your mortgage license. (Key word: trying.) On top of that, we have home lives, pets, friends, and cactuses to tend to. (So man cactuses, so little time.) To sum it up… oops, very sorry, on to the important topics… like, Tinder! (Or as I always liked calling it “Tindahh”)

We all know about it, but we don’t all use it. Tinder. I’ve had the app essentially since it gained popularity. This is supposedly a dating app, but we all know most people use it to try and hook up. I’ve even met some pretty decent people on the app. Unfortunately, it is barely a dating app. The way Tinder tends to go down, you see someone cute, you swipe right, you get a match notification (quite often… I’m pretty sure guys swipe right way more than girls? I could be wrong; this could just be the group of guys I know), you talk for a few, and then you either meet or you stop talking all together. My personal favorite, however, was when I would see people I knew in real life. I always swiped right because I thought it was funny. Then I realized, this is quote frankly the shallowest concept. I’m no longer even considering this app as a way to meet people, I was typically just drunk and wanting to see if I could find people I already knew. Then I started meeting people the old fashioned way. In person, randomly, out and about… you know, organically.

Naturally being a girl in her early twenties, most of my fabulous ideas form over drinks with a friend. Let me relay this conversation for you. It’s short and sweet, I promise.

 

Sarah: “I think I should delete Tinder.”

Me: “meh if you want.”

Me: “I’ll do it.”

-I proceed to go to the page with said app and hold it down then click the little ‘x’-

Sarah: “Oh wow. You’re actually doing this right now.”

 

Thus ended my Tinder lifestyle. Granted, I did not actually delete my account, too time consuming for the in the moment situation I was in. Granted, Sarah backed out of deleting her Tinder and that it was mainly just an idea, but I finally did it. I had done it before, sure. Before it was always because I temporarily needed more space on my phone as opposed to doing it because I was done. About a week later I had a moment where we were talking about people from Tinder and I went to check my app to see how old they were and then I remembered. The app was gone. The best part is, I don’t care. I am so excited. I actually have a tiny belief that there could be hope for dating out there still. My confidence for talking to guys I never met or even ones I have met but only briefly is much higher. Not sure why, but it is. Plus, the added bonus to deleting tinder: you no longer get terrible conversation starters like the following (taken from the brilliant Instagram account @tindernightmares) “are you a sea lion because I can sea you lion in my bed later” “Happy Easter Jade. Would love to fertilise your eggs.” “You look like you could suck a good d!” and lastly “Wanna play Barbie? I’ll play Ken and you can be the box I come in”. Peace out Tinder. I’m no longer swiping right.

*above is a picture that accurately demonstrates how free I feel without this so called dating app*

I so solemnly swear that I’ll at least try and make an effort to post more often.

alex