Something I am comfortable with…

If you’ve read my previous posts on my blog, you will probably have come to conclusion that I don’t have the closest relationship with my father. It’s not a terrible relationship, but it definitely has room for improvement; however, I think I have given up most hope for having the relationship with him that I really want.

To make a long story short, my father has expressed nothing but unconditional love for me and my sister throughout our lives, and I am most grateful for that. The main thing that bugs me the most about our relationship is that I feel it is very “surface level”.

I have a recent example:

My father has social media accounts where he voices his political opinions. There was one video where he mentioned that his 2 daughters were “flaming liberals”. There was another trend type video where parents say the one thing they wish were different about their children, and my father’s answer was agreeing with someone else that his girls are liberals as well. So, when I saw these videos, I couldn’t help but shake my head and laugh because while I do hold many liberal views, I do not hold solely liberal views. Any of my friends who know me and how I see the world, know this about me. My father clearly does not know me or my worldview.

The point of this blog post is that I think I have reached a point where I am content with having a surface level relationship with him. When we visit, he asks me how work is and I ask him if he’s talked to my grandmother recently. He asks how my fiancé is doing and I ask him how his new job is going as well. The only thing we have in common is a general enjoyment of going to the gun range and being equally concerned with my sister’s ever-changing life choices.

I used to really yearn for a deeper relationship with my dad, and I know that is what he wants as well, but with everything else in my life, and other factors, I just do not have the motivation or energy to put into this task, so I’ve become content with what it is. That’s all.

Halloweenies

Howdy. Time for an update, I suppose. I went back to therapy for a few weeks, but I’m done again; part of me feels like this round was a waste of time… some of it was helpful, yes, but in the past few sessions I was bored and that is normally a sign that I feel that I’ve gotten all the help I can.

In the meantime, I’ve been taking ASL lessons from a wonderful and funny human who is actually from my city, but they are currently studying in Korea. I learned the ASL alphabet when I was in elementary school (not in school, but from books I found on my own in library). A few years later, my sister was very close with a girl who was hard-of-hearing, so me and her learned more ASL then. Like many people, I was hooked on the show Switched at Birth and picked up what I could from the ASL used. When I joined AmeriCorps NCCC in 2018, I had a deaf supervisor and learned even more. Now, I believe I would like to be fluent in ASL and use it in my HR career.

Speaking of my career, I have also been considering getting my SHRM-CP certification. Because I have a Bachelor’s degree, plus 2.5 years of HR experience, I can take it next spring for about $475 (cheaper, if I do the “early-bird” option and if I become a member… which I have been considering doing anyway). I think I am going to take the certification in early May of next year; that will give me plenty of time to prepare.

I baked a carrot cake yesterday, and I’ve made one before, but this one did not turn out very good. Taste-wise, it is fine, but the density is that of a block of cheese. I slapped some icing on the top and ate it, but I will do better next time. I also made some flax cookies that are repeats, but those turned out bad as well. I hope that my next recipe, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, turns out better.

Choice.

6/24/2021 9:00AM

My friend, who I have previously written about, is currently in the ICU. I don’t actually know if he is dead or alive right now because the doctors were not too confident about him making it through the night.

My friend is an alcoholic and has been one for decades. His father died because of alcoholism and the complications of it as well, just a few years ago.

I was planning on visiting him in the hospital this morning, but his mother said not to come and that he doesn’t have long. She said that he does not know anything and that we should remember him as we always did. I am a little disappointed, but I understand her feelings.

6/24/2021 3:40PM

I had to leave my computer to go to my grandparents’ house for a bit. While I was there I got the phone call that my friend had passed away around noon.

While he was my friend, he was also somewhat of a father figure. I had actually bought him a Father’s Day Card, but he had already been admitted to the hospital by that time.

The title of the blog post is “Choice.” because one thing Todd, my friend, taught me was the most powerful thing in the world is choice- our ability as people to choose. I feel like I live by a similar saying, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” (Eleanor Roosevelt), so the addition of the power of choice seemed natural.

I will miss Todd, obviously, but I feel like I have been missing him for several months now. I got the phone call back in January first, when his roommate said his drinking was the worst its ever been. Every call after that was concerning the same and things did not improve.

I feel good about our last phone conversation, though. We spoke last on June 1, 2021 at 11:54am for 19 minutes and 10 seconds. I updated him on my life, and that I had graduated and that I was looking forward to him being able to see my house that I just bought with my fiancé. I told him that I loved him and that we would talk soon.

I do feel like I should have called more and visited more, but I am sure everyone feels that way. I don’t have regrets, I only wish that he had sought help sooner. I wanted him to be there for my wedding, and he said, “don’t worry, I’ll be there”, but I suppose now it will be in a different form.

I think his death saddens me because it was completely preventable. Alcoholism is no joke and it does kill. I also can’t imagine the things that went through his mind or heart to make him feel like alcohol was the answer and also that once it got too late, that he felt like he could not tell anyone. He lied about his alcoholism right up until the second to last visit. Then, he finally started referring to it a bit more.

Yes, I am sad, but I am also happy to know that his body is not in torment anymore. I am not sure what is after death, but I hope he enjoys himself. He’s got a brother and a father that crossed over before him, so there is that as well. I’m not much of a football fan, but I guess I will have to see a UGA game in his honor some time. Go dawgs!

Actually moving.

In my last post I explained how we were planning on moving out of our apartment early and moving into a rental house. I also posted updates sharing how we got denied for all of the houses we viewed. It seems that no one wants to rent to young adults with no kids and no pets, even though their combined incomes are more than enough to cover rent. That’s cool.

So we decided to buy a house.

It was a decision made in a matter of minutes. I was frustrated with the renting situation and several family members and also my bosses advised me to just buy a house.

So, yeah, we are actually buying a house. I am 24 and my fiancé is 26. I am relieved, excited, nervous, and so happy all at once. We will definitely be living off of rice and beans for a hot minute while we replenish our savings, but I think this decision was the right one.

We close on the house next Friday and we will start painting that day. We hope to move in on May 8th and close our lease here at the apartment on the 14th.

Alcoholism

I have a friend who is an alcoholic. I received a text from his roommate today letting me know that he is probably going to die in the next week or so and I should come down to say good-bye.

He is yellow, he is retaining fluid in his feet, he has a wet cough that may or may not already be pneumonia, and he can only keep down alcohol. He has not eaten an actual meal in months and he has maybe 1/2 cup of water per day. He pees once per day, if at all, and he showers about once per month. He weighs maybe 90 lbs. and is a chain smoker, but he’s even given that up for the most part.

I’ve known about his alcoholism from the first time I met him back in 2016. He has always had very strong tremors and he was open about his abuse of alcohol. He lost his dad and his brother in the span of a week, he was fired from his job about 8 or more months ago, and the pandemic increased the loneliness he was feeling, so I’m not surprised at where we currently are. He has also already had 2 strokes in the past year.

I’m feeling a lot of emotions. Sadness, anger, guilt, frustration, hope, disappointment, and so many more. I feel bad for his roommate who has been there cleaning up after him and keeping him alive this long. She says that she has seen end stage alcoholism before and that this is what it looks like, so I fully believe that his days are numbered.

I will probably drive down to my hometown tomorrow and say my good-byes in the form of “just checking in”. I’m not looking forward to it. If I am 100% honest, I don’t really want to see him in the state that he is in. And I don’t think he wants anyone seeing him in the state that he is in. It is uncomfortable for everyone, but I know I will also feel incredibly guilty if I don’t see him and then he dies later this week. We’ll see how it goes. My heart goes out to anyone going through this disease and those who have watched a love one go through it.

Moving Time!

Life has been a little crazy. Our lease does not end until November; however, we are moving out anyway because this apartment was not made to hold two people working from home. My office is currently in our bedroom, so I don’t have that nice work-life balance.

I have been wanting to break the lease for several months, but the cost of doing so was deterring me from following through. Well, a few nights ago, I was once again woken up at 1am by our downstairs neighbors having a brawl. It is bad enough that during the day there is noise and not enough space, but if I can’t even get a good night’s sleep then it is not for me.

We looked at a house we really like yesterday and we submitted an application. I really really really hope we are chosen because while the house needs some work, it is perfect for what we need it for right now. We would be looking to sign a lease for 2 years and then we plan on buying a house further south.

Fingers crossed we are chosen!!

Update: we were not chosen for this house

3/20/2021

We saw our 2nd house this morning and loved it. We applied for it and the property manager said we were a great fit. I got an email this evening and we were denied once again.

I have signed us up to view another house tomorrow around noon. Fingers crossed that we like it and that we have a chance.

4/23/2021

We ended up viewing a total of 3 rental houses and we were not successful in securing any of them.

Familial Reactions to Our Engagement

Charlene and I got engaged about one year ago and it has been almost 6 months since we told our friends and family about our engagement. I was going to write this blog post a few weeks after telling people, but I decided to wait until now. I think I will do this bullet point style:

  • Our friends: This is easy because they were all super excited and supportive. Neither of us were concerned about their reactions because we surround ourselves with friends who love us just as we are.
  • Her family:
    • Her twin was happy for her and supportive.
    • Her mother had doubts, not about me as a person, but about Charlene marrying the first person she has ever dated. I understood that concern, but I believe that she now sees that it is what she wants.
  • My family:
    • My sister was not surprised because I told her that I would marry Charlene mere weeks after we started dating and she was supportive and happy for me.
    • My mom, stepdad, step-grandma, and maternal grandmother were all very happy for us. They are all very supportive.
    • My dad’s dad (my papa) was congratulatory and sweet, but I know he has personal and religious views about gay people that I am not a fan of; I thought it was a nice gesture any way. I will say that more recently he referred to Charlene as my fiancé while we were eating dinner together and that meant the world to me.
    • My dad’s mom is ignoring that fact that we are engaged. I told her and she just pretended like I did not say anything. It was pretty surreal, but not surprising. It definitely hurts to have her deny my future wife as such, but she is old, set-in-her-ways, and I have accepted that we will never have the relationship that I want with her. The most annoying part of interacting with her is that she pretends like everything is normal and fine.
    • My dad is supportive of me as a person and what I want in life; he really likes Charlene and he loves me. However, he is not supportive of LGBTQ rights- marriage included. I think his views are due to religious beliefs, personal discomfort with gay people, general ignorance, and a tiny bit of politics (gay people shouldn’t have “special” or “extra” rights). It is annoying and sad, but I have also accepted that I will never have the relationship that I want with him. Even if he was on board with same-sex marriage, we still don’t communicate the way that I would like; active listening is not one of his strengths, unfortunately. I still love him of course.
    • My stepmom is supportive. I’m actually not 100% sure where she is at with LGBTQ things. I think she is a little confused, and I know she is a Christian, but I also know she would never say anything rude to my face. I think she is simply happy for us.
  • Our work colleagues were all very supportive, as we knew they would be. Charlene’s boss even gave us matching mugs for Christmas! So sweet!

First Impressions

My fiancé and I were talking about first impressions this morning. No, not our first impressions of each other, but of other people. We got on to this topic because we both have “friends” who complain to us about other friends, but then they hang out with each other anyway, despite not liking each other.

For me, first impressions are everything. It’s not even something I can help. If my first impression of you is not positive, I will hold that version of you in my head until I die. So, if my first impression of someone goes south, they will not be seeing me any further because if I can’t get around what I first thought of you (because of bad behavior, negative attitude, pushy, disrespectful, you name it, etc.) then there really is no need to involve you in my life any more.

My fiancé feels the same way. She decides right when she meets someone whether or not there will be a friendship or a pursuance of one.

Now, the topic that got us into this one: friends who willingly hang out with people they complain about. Now, that is truly beyond me. For example, I have one friend who I have not seen in a while for other reasons that constantly complains about one of her other friends. In fact, some of the things she has disclosed about this person’s behavior and actions is, in my opinion, manipulative and abusive. However, whenever I check social media, she is always hanging out with this “bestie”. If someone did to me what has been done to my friend, they’d be cut off immediately. I really just don’t get it.

I will say that I believe it is easier to cut of platonic friends in your life than it is romantic partners. I stayed with one very bad romantic partner for 1.5 years too long; however, I have always been able to remove unwanted platonic friends from my circle quite easily.

Anyway, that is the topic of discussion on this fine morning.

#civilwar2021

I think I celebrated my first week of 2021 too soon. Not even 7 days in and we’ve got #civilwar2021 trending on Twitter. The President of the United States is, once again, encouraging false claims of election fraud and poking the fire that is angry white men. He also just got his Twitter account locked for 12 hours, so I think that is pretty funny.

We all know that if this was a group of Black people, they would all already be dead, seriously injured, and arrested. White privilege is real and this is further proof for those who still don’t believe it exists (like most of those on my father’s side of my family). It’s frustrating and embarrassing for me, but deadly for many that I call my best friends.

Atlanta has been going through it’s own protests, so I’m checking the news every hour. I am grateful for two Democratic wins today because the Republican options were not desirable. Earlier today, there were pro-Trump supporters in Atlanta as well, so they escorted officials inside away into hiding for safety, especially as things in D.C. were heating up.

So many people jumped on this fraud train only after Trump started screaming about it. I don’t think they would have done this on their own. I just think it strange that those officeholders who have objected to Biden’s win have voiced absolutely no objection to their own wins, which all took place on the same day, on the same ballots, using the same election systems. Curious, isn’t it…

I will admit, I don’t have the slightest idea of how the next few weeks will go. More civil unrest? Probably. Protests? Likely. Civil war? I don’t know, man, but I suppose anything is possible, especially after going through the previous year. Nothing surprises me anymore and my body and mind are preparing for everything.

Stay safe, everyone, and please be kind to each other.