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Apples to Apples

Our local H-E-B Plus is great. They have everything I need (except for those egg bagels my husband likes for breakfast).

This particular H-E-B allows you to weigh your own produce, punch in the PLU code, and it prints out the price and barcode. It’s convenient because you know before going to the cash register exactly how much your fresh produce costs; nice for a budget-minded family.

Recently, we’ve been eating more fruits. My favorite thing in all the world (next to a chocolate cake donut) is a fresh honey-crisp apple with my breakfast. But honey-crisp are also one of the most expensive kinds of apples. I mean really- 4 pounds of apples costs me $10 and that’s only about 5-6 apples, not even enough for a full week of breakfast (*inner cheapskate screams*).

On a recent trip to the store, as I was bagging my apples, I said to my husband, “What’s stopping me from punching in the gala apple PLU code (more than $1 cheaper/pound) and putting the sticker on this bag.”

He shrugged and smiled a little at how cheap I am, but I answered the question for him- “Because I was raised right.” I said this with a sigh because I really wanted honey-crisp apples at gala apple prices.

He laughed at me and made prison jokes like, “What are you in for?”
“Oh, I just put the cheaper apple PLU code in at the grocery store.”
(I wheezed over this joke, people).

Honestly, I was raised right, but that’s not why I was honest with my apple PLU code.

I was honest because as all of this was happening, my belly was rubbing against the produce stand, and I thought to myself, “I need to do the right thing because I want my son to do the right thing.”

I have been gifted with this tiny human. It is my responsibility to raise him right; to instill in him honesty, integrity, and respect. If I am not doing the right thing, even over something as small as apples, I am not being the example that my son needs me to be.

There are a lot of things I want my son to be. So, so, so, so, SOOOO many things I want for him. One of the main things I wish for him is to be a genuinely good person.

This was a humorous, little three-minute (if that) exchange that taught me a big lesson. Apples, of all things, taught me a parenting lesson. I will always think twice and strive to be a better person for my son.

Dear Future Child:

On July 24, Bryan and I found out that we are expecting a precious baby.  Baby Savens is due in April of 2017! Since finding out there is a tiny human who needs me and who will one day be able to call me mommy, my world has changed. 

There are so many things that I want for my baby, but mostly, I pray that my baby will never grow up to feel the way I do. I pray he or she grows up knowing and accepting how unbelievably loved they are. I hope they grow to be a happy soul who brings joy to others. In fact, if it’s a girl (which I do have a feeling that it is), we are planning on naming her Maisie which means “child of light” because this sweet lemon-sized being has brought a light to my darkness. 
Here is your momma’s promise to you: 
Dear future child, 

If it’s 3a.m. and you find yourself in a world of complete despair, please do not turn to strangers on the internet for solace as I did. Please climb into my bed, and I will hold you until the demons sleep. 

If it’s Thursday morning, and you are too sad to move, I won’t force you. I will buy you ice cream and we will watch your favorite tv show, and I will remind you of your importance.

If you feel as if you have no purpose, I will remind you that you were created entirely with love, and every pain you feel, I feel too. 

When you’re sure you can’t go on anymore, I will tell you that when I was 16, I searched for peace in the compliments of men and a cold wire around my neck, but that 6 years later, when you were placed in my arms in the delivery room, I realized that you were why I had been holding on without realizing it. You saved me, do you realize how amazing that is?

So if you ever feel like grabbing that vodka bottle, put it down. If you feel like giving yourself to someone just to feel something, stop yourself. We will get in the car and drive until the sky turns magenta. I will show you how the sun rises every morning, and encourage you to rise too. 

Sweetheart, I refuse to be unaware of your sufferings. 

Love, mom. 

 

A Haunting

“do I eat breakfast

or starve myself

again? tonight

i will write my

suicide note,

but only in

my head.

tomorrow i

will wish

i was already

dead, and despite

all this i will still

get myself out of bed.”

I saw this quote earlier in the year. It’s stuck with me because it is me. It is me and it is over 350 million other people.

I am not depression; depression is not me. I am not depressed.

I have depression. And anxiety. 

This is not something I have shared with many people- in fact, I have shared it with only two.

I’ve kept my own personal hell to myself for many reasons:

  • I didn’t understand my own feelings, or lack thereof.

I was 15 the first time I can remember experiencing feelings of wanting to die.

  • I was afraid of judgement.

“What do you have to be depressed about? Your life is great!”

Isn’t that basically asking someone why they have asthma when they’re surrounded by air?

  • I was afraid my faith would be questioned.

“If you feel depressed, you should read your Bible more and pray to God about it. You wouldn’t be depressed if you had the joy of the Lord within you.”

I am still astonished every single day at the amount of people who don’t believe depression is a real mental illness.

  • I was afraid that no one would believe me.

“You’re just being dramatic.”

“You’re overreacting.”

“You don’t seem depressed.”

But you see, depression isn’t only at 3 a.m. when you’re alone and drowning in your own thoughts. It’s at 3 p.m. when you’re surrounded by friends or family and you’re half-way through a laugh. It swallows you up in your happiest moments, and it drowns you in terror when you should be crying with laughter.

These same people aren’t around when the panic sets in. When you are hyperventilating and the hideous streams of tears are flowing from your eyes for hours on end.

People can’t believe what they can’t see.

  • I was afraid of how people would react.

“Get over it.”

Someone very close to me told me this when I told him I have anxiety. It wasn’t a serious, sit-down talk so I don’t blame him for reacting that way. But with those three words, I fell back into the trap that is my own mind.

“Eat something.”

While I am notorious for being “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry), my anxiety is not because I haven’t eaten since breakfast.

See, they don’t understand why you react to things like you do. They don’t understand why you are the way you are. So you feel like you can’t just feel things or react to things without having an excuse…

“I’m tired.” or “I just haven’t eaten in a while.”

Depression is living in a body that fights to survive, with a mind that tries to die.

Most people wouldn’t question someone when they claim to be a victim of domestic violence. They’d be quick to offer help or guidance to the victim, or maybe even open their homes to them for a while.

But…. Depression is being in an abusive relationship with yourself and you can never, ever escape from it.

  • Depression is my companion.

This can be confusing…

A companion is defined as a person or animal with whom one spends a lot of time or with whom one travels.

Boy, have I spent a lot of time with depression. And man, have we traveled a long way together.

It’s hard to let go of the demons inside because at some point they were holding you when no one else would.

So, what is my experience living with depression?

Well it’s not always bad. Not at all. I’m not this gloomy, negative person walking around with a dark cloud over me wherever I go ready to rain on anyone and everyone’s parade.

I believe that is more along the lines of pessimism. 

However, I do have my moments. Sometimes, depression means not getting out of bed. For days. But that’s not always possible because you can’t call in to work or school “depressed” even when every fiber of your being aches in a way that words can’t describe.

Sometimes depression means that doing laundry is the most impressive thing you’ve done. All week.

Sometimes, it means laying on your bedroom floor for hours just staring at the ceiling because you cannot convince your body that it is capable of movement.

Sometimes, it means the only words you have to offer the world are, “I swear to God, I am trying.”

But having anxiety and depression together is unique… It’s almost like a paradox at times.

It’s a fear of failure with no urge to be productive.

It’s caring about everything, and nothing at all.

It’s feeling everything at once, but being paralyzingly numb.

People think depression is feeling sad.

And yes, sometimes it is, but it’s more. Most of the time, it’s feeling nothing. Some of the time is sadness. At other times, it’s self-loathing and guilt because… “What the hell is wrong with me?” and, “The people I love deserve better.” It’s hopelessness, it’s isolation, and it is so much more.

But even in the days and weeks that these “episodes” occur, life continues. Part of having depression is living with it. I have found the greatest comfort in knowing that I may have depression for the rest of my life, but it will not last forever.

“To love me is to love a haunted house… Darling, this love will not cure me, but it will turn all the lights on. It’s the kind of love that gives me goosebumps when you say to the ghosts, ‘if you’re staying, then you better make room.’ And we kiss against the walls that tonight are not shaking and we turn the music up and dance.” (brenna twohy)

It’s been 7 years since I met depression. I spent most of those years unaware of its salutation. I spent some of the years navigating its waters. And while I still get lost at times, I have found a steady path to travel for now.

I’m not a liar but Facebook sure is.

This, Is, Perfect.

Fieleke Front Porch

I have some confessions about pictures I pulled from my Facebook feed…

10441429_10101212735201074_8837878230440138483_n

In this picture, what you see ismy sweet Ru & I, snuggled up happy as can be. What you don’t see is that my best friend was in town visiting me taking care of me because I really hate it when Josh travels for work for a week and I have to hold down the fort with a 2 & 4 year old.

10653876_10101641558845054_8292084533120460732_n

In this picture, what you see are the cutest little girls ever with their beaming proud Momma. What you can’t see is that this was the day after our social worker told us it will probably be a long wait to adopt a baby, longer than we hoped, and I was still processing and grieving that news.

10959617_10101604449966544_6846384602493608323_nIn this picture, you obviously see my stud of a husband making me a really happy lady. But…

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Warning: Emotional Wreck, Deluded by a Sob Story

This post is meant to be completely blunt, and its thoughts may be scattered so bear with me.

Four years ago, at the ripe young age of 16, my life forever changed when I started dating a guy with bipolar disorder. (Oh no, here we go again).

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness) is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily tasks.

This definition makes me laugh, because to me, it doesn’t do the disease justice. So here is MY definition of bipolar disorder in one word: hell.

Let me set this straight: In no way, shape, or form do I blame this gentlemen for the actions done against and to me. I recognize that they were actions resulting from his uncontrolled disease.

My hell started off heavenly. It was a cute, sweet relationship, but that didn’t last long. Sure enough, the horrible insults and name-calling started, followed by the blame game and the threats. The emotional and mental abuse really cannot be put into words. I really have no better way to put it than this:

“Long were the nights when my days once revolved around you. Counting my footsteps, praying the floor won’t fall through again. My mother accused me of losing my mind, but I swore I was fine. You’d paint me a blue sky, and go back and turn it to rain. I lived in your chess game, but you changed the rules every day. Wondering which version of you I might get on the phone tonight… Maybe it’s me and my blind optimism to blame. Or maybe it’s you and your sick need to give love then take it away. And you’ll add my name to your long list of traitors who don’t understand, and I’ll look back and regret how I ignored when they said, ‘Run as fast as you can.’ You are an expert at sorry and keeping lines blurry, never impressed by me acing your tests. All the girls that you’ve run dry have tired, lifeless eyes ‘cause you burned them out…

(Here’s my favorite part)…

But I took your matches before fire could catch me, so don’t look now… I’m shining like fireworks over your sad, empty town.

I think this is one of the reasons why I love Taylor Swift so much, because honestly, if it wasn’t for this song, I would have no way of describing what I went through, and overcame.

Here’s the thing though. If I never went through this mental and emotional hell, I never would have ended up in Texas, and I never would have met my wonderful fiancé. So, I really got the good end of the deal!

But here’s the other thing. I live this situation over and over again each and every day. I don’t escape it because it is a part of me now. It’s made me who I am. It changed the entire course of my life. In 8 days, it will be 4 years since the day I received the text message that read:

“You are the reason I am killing myself. Bye.”

Those words will never, ever leave my mind. The terror and the sadness and the overwhelming helplessness will never go away when I think about that. In fact, that lump in my throat is back right now, and the tears are streaming down my face as I type this. No one should ever be blamed for another person taking their life. No one should have the responsibility of calling the police and begging for them to go stop a suicide that is being blamed on them. Especially not a 16 year old wide-eyed dreamer.

I don’t like that I will ever not hurt inside from that experience. While I am at peace and I can look back and embrace everything that happened, that pain will never go away. I’ve lived with it for the past 4 years so far, and there’s always that little sting. I truly don’t tell the story for “likes” or comments telling me that I’m brave.

I’m not brave.

He’s brave. As far as I know, he is still alive, and he faces that nightmare of a disease every single day.

I don’t face that. That’s not an actively present part of my life anymore.

I tell this story because it helps me. It helps me feel. It helps me make sense of all these things. It helps me to get things off of my shoulders, and it helps me to not feel imprisoned by it.
The reason I am telling this now, is because it’s never been used against be until today. I don’t care what people think, you can have any opinion you want. This story doesn’t make me special, it makes me real. This story isn’t a sob story to make people feel bad so that they will forget my errors. This story is my story. It’s a huge part of my life. It doesn’t make me deluded. And while I was an emotional wreck WHILE I was going through it, I certainly am very stable now, even as I relive it every day.

Everyone faces their own struggles, their own hells. This one was mine. I don’t talk about it because I think it makes me better than anyone, I talk about it because it helps me. I am 20 years old. I’ve been in a wonderful relationship for 3 and a half years now, and in 9 months and something days, we will be getting married. I have a 4.0 GPA in nursing school. I didn’t let hard times break me, so excuse me if I sound proud, but I will never apologize to anyone for being proud of where I am in life now.

I will not apologize for the things that make me who I am. I will not apologize for the way that I feel. I fully embrace every emotion, and do my best to consider how best to act upon them. You can take my name and throw it in the mud. You can think of me however minuscule as you want. You don’t have to like me. You don’t have to respect me. I don’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy, surprisingly. But I will not sit politely by and let you use this experience against me. I will not let you dim my light, and I will not let you win. I fought for every single piece of happiness that I have, and I won it.

But still, I relive it. Day in and day out. I will forever be in love with the words in Whiskey Lullaby that say, “The rumors flew, but nobody knew how much she blamed herself.”

Ramblings of a Stressed Out Mind

I turned 20 earlier in the year, and while most people wouldn’t think twice about that, it definitely freaked me out. Somewhat because thinking about having been on this earth for 20 years is totally weird to me, but mostly because I felt like I hadn’t experienced enough things when I was a teenager. And yea, I’ve technically been an adult for 2 years now, but now I’m not in my teens anymore. Weird stuff.

Now, I’m finishing up my first semester of nursing school, and about to register for my THIRD year of college. If I don’t fail any classes (Lord willing), I will graduate and have my nursing license next year (December 2015). SUPER WEIRD. Here I am writing 17 page care plans for patients, reading 300+ pages for one class, studying for 2 tests. I really shouldn’t even be writing this post, but what other time do I have to just do something I want? (Except for tonight because you best believe that I am going to see Divergent on opening day… Go read it if you haven’t). Anyway. My hair is in its natural, terrifying curly form because it just takes way too much time to tame this beast. Plus it’s super long which means it takes even longer, but I haven’t had TIME to get it cut…. Sigh.

I never ever thought this would be my life. They say that college is suppose the best years of your life, right? Well I suppose that’s true if you don’t care about your education and you just go out and have a good time every night instead… But still. I never thought that my wardrobe would be scrubs all day, sweatpants all night, and now, when I can wear REAL clothes, I get anxiety. I was never super stylish or anything before, but now I feel like I literally do not know how to dress myself. Nursing isn’t anything like I thought it would be. Sometimes when I’m really stressed out, the wind can blow in my face and I’ll start crying because I just can’t deal. (Its happened, haha!) As much as I want to quit, I can’t bring myself to doing that because (1) I’ve already invested so much of my time and life into this, and (2) it’s absolutely what I want.

I am one of the youngest in my class. Some people in there graduated high school before I was even born. A lot of them call me a “baby” and say, “how are you in nursing school already?” I know they don’t mean it in a malicious way, so I don’t let it bother me, but the whole time I’m thinking, “Well it’s because I always knew what I wanted to do, so I did it.”

This post does in fact have a point (which I haven’t figured out yet), but it is mostly me just rambling on about this hell they call nursing school. So bare with me, the end is near.

I think my point is that I’m a mess. Nothing and no one prepared me for this. No one CAN be prepared for this. I probably have my act together much more than I realize, but I constantly feel like I’m hanging on by a thread. In the midst of all the chaos, my advice would be to find time for yourself. Whether it’s going to a movie or Starbucks, just find something to keep you sane. Be selfish with your “me” time, because we don’t get much of it. I feel awful for putting other people on the back burner sometimes, but they literally cannot understand that I will lose my mind if I don’t do something for myself. I don’t want to turn 30 and look back at my 20’s and feel like I didn’t do anything in my life. Nursing school consumes you, and I’m just hoping to make it out alive with somewhat of a life, even if it is very small.

Nursing School Slogan: Learning to save other’s lives while struggling not to take your own.

TRUTH.

Also, I’m a mommy now to a 3 month of Border Collie/Black Mouth Cur named Maggie Mae. She’s beautiful and I love her. And yes, I do make sacrifices in my schedule to make sure she is loved and taken care of. Image

Disillusionment

I’m halfway through my first semester of nursing school, and the only word that comes to mind is “disillusionment.” 

I knew this journey would be hard, but I never expected it to be THIS hard. 

I really don’t think anyone could understand just HOW hard it is, unless you’re going through it or have already gone through it. I talk to people who aren’t in the field and they truly just cannot relate. I’ve come to cherish my fellow classmates as we’ve all become family. We’re in this together, encouraging and helping one another, and are there for each other through this whole process. No one understands us like we do. 

This was never meant to be easy. There are lives in our hands. REAL people with stories of their own relying on US not to mess up. There’s no greater responsibility. We’re all scared out of our minds, we’re all exhausted, and we all can’t wait until spring break (8 days away!!) 

My life has literally become a chaotic mess, as if it wasn’t messy enough already. And I would really love to know what sleep is, because right now, I have no clue. I truly admire the people in my class who have children they have to take care of on top of it all! I have prickly legs because shaving is definitely not a priority (TMI?). I have bags under my eyes because sleeping is definitely not a priority. My wardrobe consists of scrubs every day, and when I get home, it’s sweatpants. Why do my hair when I have to have it in a tight bun all day, every day. Why make plans when I literally have no time to do anything but survive. Why take up casual reading when I have 10 chapters to read this week for ONE class (10 isn’t even the most we’ve ever had to read). And if my fellow classmates haven’t considered becoming a stripper instead in these past 8 weeks, they’re lying 🙂 I literally know no boundaries because I’ve seen every single part of the external human body, and I can talk about vagina’s and penises freely because well… there’s just no embarrassment anymore. (I’m sorry if that’s awkward, it’s just the way it is!) I love Grey’s and Private Practice, but my goodness. Nursing school has ruined those shows for me because there is so much that is WRONG in them. 

But I had one of those moments the other day where I had complete clarity, and it hit me: I’m not doing this for me. I want to make a difference, not for me, but for everyone else. I want my patients’ lives to be bettered, even in the smallest way, because I went through hell for them to make it better.

I laugh at myself now because I used to think that the medical field was glamorous (thanks a lot, Grey’s Anatomy). I used to go over scenarios in my mind about what it would be like to do CPR and save the life of some random person if they should drop in the middle of the grocery store (LOL)… But really. I thought putting on those scrubs would empower me because people would look at me and think highly of me because of all the knowledge I had floating around in my head. But being a nurse isn’t about the glory. It’s not about the grades, and it’s not about the pay. No book in the world can teach us how to tell a parent that their child has died. No book can teach us how to deal with a three year old dying after we’ve been doing absolutely everything we can to save them. No book can teach us how to find dignity in giving a 90 year old veteran a bed bath when all that you’re picturing in your mind is him in his younger years fighting for our country. There’s no book that can teach you how to react when you evaluate a sociopath; no book to teach you how to feel when a 38 year old mother of three is dying of cancer.

The grades are important. Learning about the anus is much more important than I thought it would be. Following proper procedures and laws is VERY important, but what’s most important to me, is knowing that I’m doing the very best I can in order to better the lives of my patients. 

This is not what I thought it would be, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.Image