To Christy & Aly.

Disclaimer—This is related much more to my personal life than I usually care to share:

The past three years of my life have been a whirlwind, to say the least. There has been tragedy, depression, growth, decisions, love, heartbreak, self-discovery, laughter, & happiness. 

Your initial thought may be: Is this another one of those “comeback” stories everyone writes about?

The answer: no, this is not another “comeback” story, this is not just a simple story about my life, what I’ve been through, & ending with a cute little “happy-ending” bow on top. This is so much more than that to me.

If you know me, have seen my tattoos, or have read my blog in the past, it is pretty obvious that my mom passed away a few years ago (3 to be exact). I’m pretty open about it. I’m not sensitive about it, nor am I afraid to talk about it.

What I’ve noticed I do tend to shy away from, however, is the discussion of my family & home life currently. 

Why you ask? I don’t have an answer for you. I like to consider myself an open book, but the truth is, I’m not too sure if I am anymore. I’ve been much more closed off & guarded recently than I have ever been before. 

So why am I writing about this? What is the point? What am I trying to say?

Here goes.

Three years ago my mom past away suddenly. It was tragic. It was life altering. It was probably the darkest time in my life that I have experienced. 

But this isn’t about that. This is about someone else. 

Three years ago my mom past away suddenly. 

Last weekend I got the most amazing step-mom I could have asked for. 

Lets rewind to two years ago.

Sitting on the couch with my dad, he looks at me & he says, “I’m going on a date tonight.” I didn’t even know he was THINKING about dating, let alone talking to someone. So, I tell him okay, & that I would like to meet this woman at some point if he thinks that it is going somewhere. Spoiler alert: it went somewhere. After multiple dates (probably two or three) I said that I wanted to meet her. I did not realize that by saying that I would not be meeting my dads girlfriend, but I would be meeting my future step-mom—Christy. 

Fast forwarding to the present again, Christy & my dad had the most amazing wedding last weekend, where I was SUPPOSED to make a toast. 

Did I make a toast? Not the one I would have liked to have made. 

Leading up the wedding family members kept asking me if I had thought about what I was going to say. I never had an answer for them. I had sat down at my computer countless times to try & think of something to say, but as I said earlier, I shy away from the discussion of my family & home life currently. 

So it was time to make my toast at the wedding, I got up, & I spoke for approximately 20 seconds..maybe even less. I didn’t say anything heartfelt, funny, or sweet, I just congratulated by dad & Christy & I sat down. 

The truth is, I didn’t make a toast because I didn’t know how to put into words what I wanted to say. I didn’t know how to tell Christy how much she’s done for my dad & I. I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling. I was overwhelmed. 

But I think I finally know. 

To Christy, 

Thank you. Thank you for coming into our lives. Thank you for stepping into the role of a mother figure for me. Thank you for making my dad (Joe as I like to call him) the happiest I have ever seen him. Thank you for being you. I don’t think you have any idea how much you mean to me & I don’t know if you ever will, but I truly don’t know what I would do without you in our lives. You came into our lives at one of the darkest times & have been the brightest shining light for us. You are one of the funniest people I know, & also the most kindhearted & warm person I have ever met. 

Thank you. For everything. 

Another thing I haven’t mentioned? 

Christy has a daughter—Aly. 

Growing up as an only child, Aly was a culture shock, to say the least. 

And Aly has been THE best culture shock I have ever had. 

To Aly,

I honestly don’t know where to begin with you. Somehow, the fact that you are six years younger than me isn’t even slightly a factor. You’re my best friend. It’s amazing to me that knowing you only for two years, it seems like I’ve known you my entire life. You are the only person that I know I can trust to tell anything. I honestly didn’t know that I needed a sister before you came into my life, but I wouldn’t trade you for the world. Thank you, for being there for me, for being my best friend, & most importantly..for being my sister. 

I’m not one to ramble, nor I am one to really express my feelings about anything, but Christy & Aly have been the best thing to come into my life & I needed to share. I needed to express my gratitude & happiness for them, & I needed to finally make a toast to Christy & Joe.

Thank you for letting me ramble.

Congratulations Christy & Joe.

Your soul.

What essence within yourself correctly determines & expresses your thoughts, your emotions, your ambitions, & your morals?
What determines what makes you smile, laugh, cry, yawn, smirk, & frown?

These are all questions I have asked myself though the years whilst seeing the different personalities articulated within various human beings I have encountered.
Why are we who we are & what brought us to the point in which we are at now?
In this moment you are the oldest you have ever been, yet also the youngest you will ever be again with everything behind you, while also a whole world of experiences on the road ahead.
But why am I the way I am?
Why do certain things make me cheerful & delighted as opposed to other things that make me bitter or sorrowful, while these same things could have an opposite affect on another individual?

The simple answer—experiences.
The complex answer—your soul.

Experiences
The simple answer to the question of who you are & who you may become focuses directly on the experiences you have encountered throughout your past & the future experiences bound to occur.
The experiences you underwent as a child, no matter how minuscule, sculpt you into adulthood.
The experiences to come could possibly transform the person you are in the present.
The experiences we face within our lives shape us.
They shape our likes.
They shape our dislikes.
They shape our beliefs.
They shape our sense of humor.
They shape our sense of sadness.
They shape who we were, who we are, & who we are bound to become.

Your soul
The soul is defined as the spiritual, immaterial, & immortal part of a human being.
Your soul is the embodiment of your personality, the component making up the deepest parts of your identity. The element making you yourself.
Your soul was given to you by God, breathed into your body at the moment of your creation. According to Genesis 2:7, “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground & breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, & the man became a living creature”.
God formed man from the dust & the dirt present on the ground below our feet.
The man did not become himself until the breath of life, provided by God, was breathed into his body.
Your soul was given to you by God. Your soul was created & breathed into you by God, creating your own uniqueness, your own qualities, your own traits & personality.

The experiences, trials, & tribulations faced within one’s life do, in fact, shape our beliefs, feelings, & opinions, BUT God shaped your soul. God breathed life into you, creating the individual you are. God created your soul.
Your soul is what forms the opinions created throughout the experiences life throws at you.
Your soul is your personality.
Your soul is you.

Never forget that the traits that make you yourself were given to you by God, breathed into you by the Creator, to form your personality, your beliefs, & your dreams.
Never forget God made you unique.

Never forget God turned you into you.

xoxo

The lovely truth.

Has it just recently become a pattern for individuals to use dishonesty as a means to gain the respect & acceptance of others, or is this trend as old as time itself?
Did the families sailing on the Mayflower communicate with each other through deception in order to “fit in” amongst a crowd?
What about during the Civil War?
During the Roaring Twenties or the Great Depression?
Has “fitting in” been a constant struggle between humans forever?

The concept of “fitting in” & being “accepted” among groups and/or between individuals seems to be progressively becoming more of a challenge, while also simultaneously causing the undeniable detachment between the soul, the body, & the mind.
But why?
Why do people, made so unquestionably unique from one another, believe it to be a necessity to distort the reality of their personality enclosed within their mind & their soul to influence the opinion of those surrounding them?

The lovely truth? They don’t~plain & simple.

The truth is that throughout the years as trends have become “popular”, they have also simultaneously expired.
The truth is that your outfit probably won’t be considered “cute” in about a year.
The truth is that no one will exclude you for your taste in music.
The truth is that your tattoos don’t change the type of person you are.
The truth is that your unpopular opinion can be expressed.
The truth is that the clothes you wear don’t define who you are.
The truth is that where you live doesn’t define you.
The truth is that your past doesn’t define you.
The truth is lovely.

The truth is that recently it has become a struggle among communities to “fit in”, but humans were not made to fit in perfectly with one another.
People are becoming less & less prone to express themselves & their beliefs because of the fear of rejection.

This fear? It should not exist.

The fear of those closest to you rejecting you because of something so minuscule should not exist.
It has become so increasingly problematic to act, look, or dress slightly different from those surrounding us.
But why?
Why is this fear such an obstacle?

I entitled this post “the lovely truth”.
I did not entitle this post “the ugly truth”.
Why?
Because this truth is lovely.
This truth shows that the judgement you feel among others doesn’t matter.
This truth shows that you can feel free to express your opinions, dress how you want, have a crazy haircut.
This truth shows that as Christians, we should be building one another up, not taking away from someone who may seem different.

Do you want to know why they seem different? Because they are. No one is the same. God made everyone so uniquely intriguing & different no matter how hard you may look, you are never going to find someone who seems to “fit in”.

The lovely truth is that no one actually “fits in”.
The lovely truth is also that because no one “fits in”, everyone is in the same boat, on the same page, experiencing the same thing as you.

xoxo

From the daughter.

No matter the profession, no matter the wealth (or lack there of), no matter the social status, no matter the age, no matter the conditions, individuals struggle with psychological disorders each and every day.

Depression, anxiety, substance abuse, addiction, eating disorders, and countless other dangerous disorders prey on a community of individuals which have fallen victim to traumatic experiences, or simply have been diagnosed from adolescence.

Immeasurable numbers of these victims come forward to try to make a difference within society and while coming forward takes a strong act of courage, there are many unsung heroes related to the matter.

Who are these unnamed heroes?

The children.

The children raised by parents with psychological disorders.The children forced to experience their parent’s highs and lows, resulting in the seclusion from societal norms and companions.The children, not having an alternative, becoming independent and mature much younger than expected.

How do I know this?

I know this because I am that child. I was the child experiencing the highs and lows. I was the child being forced into seclusion. I was the child with independence and maturity. It was me. It IS me.

To the other children:

You are not alone. You do not have to seclude yourself from others, afraid that they may discover the secret hiding in your home. You are strong and you are independent. You are not at fault, this is a disease of the mind caused by nothing you could have prevented nor done. Do not be ashamed of your parent. Do not treat them differently. Love and cherish them unconditionally, because one day they may not be there to love you unconditionally in return.

To mom:

Thank you. Thank you for raising me to be the strong, independent, mature woman I have become. Thank you for supporting me, encouraging me, and loving me completely. I know now that I was not at fault and neither were you.

I miss you.

I will see you later.

From the daughter.

xoxo

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