2020’s never-ending surprises

Charlene and I were enjoying the company of some friends while roasting marshmallows last night when I got a phone call from my father. He informed me that my meemaw (grandma) was in the ER. Her rate was suspiciously low (35 bpm) and they did not know why.

She did not spend the night in the ER and she slept in her own bed last night. Everything seems to be okay today, but they will visit a cardiologist tomorrow if they can get an appointment.

The thought “it can’t get worse” has not crossed my mind in months- it’s 2020 and I expect each month to be worse than the last at this point. It’s just more of waiting on the enevitable doom each month; what does Satan have planned for me this month?

Other than the random bouts of unfortunate events, I suppose we’re still doing well. We just sold our dining room table, futon, and some Legos on FB Marketplace. My fiance got a new desk, so I am taking her old one. The dining room table hasn’t been used in months for its intended purpose and it is too large for this apartment anyway, so I decided to do away with it.

The rest of today will be spent on schoolwork and decluttering the area underneath our bed. I might step into the closet as well, but that might be a beast for another day..

2020 continues to suck.

Before I get into why 2020 is still the worst year ever, I want to say that I am actually fine. I would say that instead of being stuck in a pit of sadness, I am just in disbelief at how an already terrible year just defies all odds and continues to get worse and worse.

In my previous post, I mentioned my concern about a friend of mine who is an alcoholic. I also said that I hoped he would successfully detox at home and not repeat what happened in February of this year (a seizure).

Well, he had another seizure. He was taken to the hospital on Sunday and he is now (Tuesday) back at home continuing to self-detox. He isn’t out of the woods yet and there is still a chance that he will admit himself to a facility; however, I really don’t think he will. He is one of the most stubborn people I know. Anyway, that is one sucky thing.

The second sucky thing is that my fiancé’s grandmother just died. The grandmother lives in the Philippines, so she can’t be there for the funeral. This is the second family member she has lost this year. I lost a family member and a good friend this year as well, so this has been a record year.

One piece of good news is that my fiancé and I have decided that instead of renting and apartment next time we move, we will be renting a house. It’s a decision that is keeping me planning and excited, so I always think of that.

I think this is also a good time to mention that when I started to talk about “the woman I was seeing” back in August of last year, I named her Chelsea on this blog to protect her identity in case things didn’t work out; however, as you all know, we are now engaged and I think it is okay to tell you all her real name: Charlene. My fiancé’s name is Charlene. I had no idea that when I swiped right, I was swiping right on my future wife, but I’m so incredibly glad I did. I am also glad that she swiped back, haha. I look forward to documenting more of our adventures.

A Sprinkle of Disappointment

Today is Saturday and tomorrow is Sunday- the day that my lady and I were going to go camping; however, it is pouring outside with no signs of stopping, so it seems rather pointless to go now.

We’ve had a busy few weeks and I was really looking forward to a warm campfire and some smores. I’m thinking about going camping next weekend instead, but every week we push this, we risk freezing in the night.

Today was rather mentally and emotionally challenging. Last night I received a call from the roommate of a good friend of mine. This friend is an alcoholic and it’s not exactly a secret- everyone knows. Anyway, the past two months have been really bad and the roommate told me that my friend had a seizure back in February already. The doctor said if he had another that it could kill him.

My friend is convinced that he can detox himself because he’s done it before with success. Me and two other people drove to his house today to try and convince him to at least get evaluated and maybe get some medication to help him through the next [very critical] 72 hours. We were unsuccessful, as I knew we would be; however, it was important to me that we show up anyway just to show him that he does have a support system and that he is not alone.

When we left his house today, we left with the goal of checking in on him more, writing him letters, calling him, and visiting him. I’m the letter writer of the group, so I will try to do more of that and also set aside some time each week to call him. I hope that he is successful in his self-detox journey and I hope that if things go south that he able to get immediate help.

We’ll see what happens, I will keep you all updated.

Spooky Season is Upon Us!!!

Okay, let’s be real: 2020 has been the spookiest year yet; however, now the fun type of spookiness begins.

I LOVE OCTOBER! I LOVE FALL! I LOVE HALLOWEEN!

I have always been a huge fan of Halloween because I think witches are cool, I love making themed baked goods, and dressing up is always a good time. I just sent out an email to my coworkers letting them know that I am hosting a virtual bake off! I’m so pumped!

I’ve been trying to find black dresses at thrift stores, but I have had no luck. I also visited Goodwill in search of Halloween décor, but I failed in my mission. I just really don’t want to spend money on brand new items when there are so many homeless used ones.

This weekend, I will begin baking Halloween cookies and I will decorate them with my fiancé and best friend. We will also be dog-sitting for my grandma, but she is not food aggressive or interested in it all, so this should be fine.

I just found out that next semester (my final semester: WOOHOO!!!!) will most likely all be online again, just like this semester. As long as my classes are asynchronous I am perfectly fine with that.

Because me and my lady have been trying to lose weight, I’ve really been holding myself back in the baking area. We also go walking every evening and I think we will pick up jump roping or following workout videos again soon. We are flying to California for Christmas and I am going to meet her family for the first time (in person- I have met them many times virtually). We both want to look somewhat in shape and I would just love to fit back into my jeans again. That is all I ask. Screw abs, I just want my pants back!

My next weight and measurements check in is in about 4 weeks, so I will let ya’ll know then if we have managed to make any progress.

Surprise!

So, my girlfriend and I have been secretly engaged for over 6 months now. Surprise! For those of you who have read this blog from the beginning (about 1 year), you guys know how head over heels I was for her from the get-go. Well, that still hasn’t changed and after many many talks about us, our feelings, and our life together, we decided we might as well make it super official.

If you are anything like me, then your thoughts might look like this right now:

  • You are moving too fast.
  • Do you even know each other?
  • Don’t you think you should date a few years before committing to that?

Allow me to ease your minds a little. Again, if you have been reading this blog from the beginning, you would know that we moved in together after only knowing each other for about 3 months. Well, it is 1 year later and we are still quite content with each other and don’t plan on changing the living arrangement we have.

I can only speak for myself, but I will tell you what my lady has told me: She has been on dates before, yes, but they never progressed to anything. I am her first and her last relationship- by her own choice. She says that she never encouraged other people because they were not to her standard and she didn’t want to invest herself into something that didn’t feel totally right. Makes sense, in my opinion.

In the beginning I felt a bit of pressure because I wanted her first relationship to be AWESOME! I did not want to set a negative scene for her in regards to relationships in that case that we might not work out. I wanted to make sure that I always created a safe, open, and fun space to explore each other- emotionally and physically. Mostly, though, I just felt honored to be the person to see all of her reactions to these new experiences; I also felt incredibly special that she chose me to trust with her heart.

Now, on to me: I’ve dated 5 people before my fiance, and, clearly, all of those relationships failed. I can also pinpoint exactly what I didn’t like in each of them- the relationship itself or the person.

  • unresolved/untreated mental health issues
  • abusive family members –>abuse leaked into our relationship
  • poor finances
  • no goals/motivation in life
  • no desire to educate themselves about current events/important topics
  • my family and friends disliked some of them for various reasons
  • major political differences

Fast forward to now: With my fiance, there isn’t one thing that I would deem as reason enough to be dissatisfied in this relationship. Long story short: she’s got her shit together. We are both super organized people, we are open about our financials, and we communicate about everything- even if it is not a fun topic. It’s just not worth “sweeping under the rug” and “dealing with it later” because that’s how you build resentment.

I will write a separate post detailing my family and friends’ reactions; spoiler: they were not surprised.

I am super pumped to start this new chapter of engagement and even though it doesn’t really feel any different, every day is a great day when I’m with her, so here’s to many more of those!

My Alternator Has Bit the Dust

Tuesday started out as a pretty average day for me. My girlfriend and I worked out, she went to work to train a new person (we are still working 90% from home), and I started my work day from our dining table.

Sometime in the late morning I realized that we had completely forgotten to pick up the Filipino food that we ordered over the weekend from a local small business. I emailed them to ask if it was still available and also if I could pick it up later that day. They said 5:30pm would be a good time to come over.

5pm rolls around and I make my way to my vehicle. It’s about a 20 minute drive and my GPS has decided to take me through parts of town I didn’t know existed. I notice that my battery light is on. My battery is brand new and the light doesn’t mean that my battery is dying- it just means that the voltage isn’t where is should be and that it is not being charged correctly.

I make it to my destination and just in case the battery is completely drained, I decide to leave my car on while I run inside. I grab the food and I come back to my car, which is thankfully still running. However, then my radio shuts off. Now, my radio hasn’t been working 100% in years, so I thought this was just the natural next step for it. It was not. My gauges and lights also would not turn on. Finally, my car did not want to move forward.

Must be the alternator.

So, I called AAA and requested a tow truck. I was told it could take up to 50 minutes and I said, “Yes, that’s fine.” (It’s not like I really had a choice) I also called my girlfriend and asked her to pick me up. I thought the tow truck would arrive before her, but she beat it. We moved all of my stuff into her car and waited for the truck.

While we were waiting, the people we ordered food from came outside and asked us if we wanted to come in and eat. I said thanks, but no thanks, and my girlfriend said the same. They insisted. So, we went inside and were welcomed to a true feast. It turns out that they were hosting a dinner for all the small Filipino bakers and businesses in the area, so there was a TON of amazing food.

Well, 60 minutes passed and I called AAA again. They said they’re really backed up and that I was next on someone’s list.

Long story short, 4 hours pass before I see AAA. It is 10pm at this point. I am exhausted and I feel bad for staying at a stranger’s house for this long, although I must say that they were very hospitable and kind and did not make me feel bad.

I had plans to walk at the park and maybe cook and spend some time with my lady, but by the time we got home I was drained. I was also stressing out about the high possibility that I would need a new car sooner than I thought.

My car is a 2007 Mercury Mariner. It has 216,000 miles on it. I’ve had it for 7 years and my mother had it before me. It has been through A LOT. It has some engine damage, the paint job is whack, and it burns oil like a mofo. The radio hasn’t worked properly since I was in high school and all the seats in the car are stained (the backseat actually has a huge oil spill). I just think I’m coming to the end of the road with this one.

I’m excited to get a new-to-me car, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the biggest financial step I will have taken thus far in my life. I thought I had more time and that I would have had a higher paying job by this time. I’m trying not to freak out too much; I am working from home and all but one of my classes is online this semester, so that helps.

I’m going to make a spreadsheet with my car options and we’ll go from there.

Anxiety Update

I am writing about my anxiety in this post; however, I want to take a moment to speak about John Lewis. He served in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district for 33 years and he was a huge Civil Rights Leader.

“Lewis was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize in 1975, the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2001, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Spingarn Medal in 2002. In 2011 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”  (https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Lewis-American-civil-rights-leader-and-politician)

John Lewis was a phenomenally important human being to Black Americans, but also to the LGBTQ Community. There is no doubt that he changed our country’s history and left an incredible impact that I hope will continue to ripple for decades to come.

Now, the current President of the US made less than friendly remarks in regards to John Lewis in an interview on “Axios on HBO”. In fact, he declined to comment on John Lewis’ legacy and instead chose to talk about how Lewis never attended any of his State of the Union speeches or his inauguration.

I try not to get riled up about anything that Trump does anymore because it’s all embarrassing, but I couldn’t help but feel anger and disappointment that he had nothing nice to say about a man who changed so many people’s lives. Other members of the government- both Democratic and Republican- offered condolences and shared fond memories they had with and of John Lewis. Our President is embarrassing.

While I haven’t mentioned anxiety thus far, talking about the POTUS is a great seg-way because the current state of things in this country give me a great heap of nervous thoughts and concerns.

I would say that most of my anxiety right now stems from government related things and also my family. Most of my family here in the United States are pro-Trump and it’s no fun being with them when they start talking about politics. They always ask me a question or two and I have no desire to engage because I’m not here to change their minds- they are already made up. And, furthermore, they are not going to succeed in pulling me to their side. Political views aside, Donald Trump is just simply not a nice person.

Growing up, we are all told as children to share, be nice, use please and thank-you. We are told to keep our hands to ourselves and not to be mean or rude to others. We are taught to exercise patient and honesty. I remember singing a song in 3rd grade about holding hands with all the children in the world. We were taught to be inclusive and to show everyone kindness.

When I look at Donald Trump, I don’t see the things I mentioned above. I see a bully, I see someone who doesn’t have a filter or boundaries. I see someone who lacks empathy and control. I don’t see someone I can relate to, look up to, or support as a leader of this country.

As a woman, as a lesbian, as someone who’s physical bubble has been wrongly intruded upon, as a partner to an immigrant, as a daughter of an immigrant, and as a best friend of several immigrants, I cannot and will not, ever, support him.

I believe this is all I would like to say on this topic. I hope ya’ll have a great day, and, remember that there is a person running for president that doesn’t have any sexual assault allegations against them: Jo Jorgenson. Just sayin’.

My work pants don’t fit.

I recently tried on my work pants that I haven’t worn since February of this year. To my horror, I could barely close them and sitting was not an option. I have come to realize that I have gained too much weight this quarantine season and I need to lose it.

My girlfriend and I started incorporating more fruits and veggies into our diet about one month ago. We don’t really eat out, but I love to bake and my pastries and cookies became a substitute for fruits and veggies, so we inevitably gained weight. We also started walking at a local park last week. Lastly, today we started participating alongside a workout video; we will do this every morning at 7 AM for 30 days (there is one rest day per week).

The video above is the torture we have decided to put ourselves through. I currently weigh 141 pounds and I am by no means heavily overweight. I’m not looking to lose a certain number of pounds- I simply want to fit comfortably into my work pants again. I’ve gained 90% of this extra weight in my belly/waist area, so that’s the region I’m trying to make smaller (currently 36 inches). We’ll see how this goes.

My summer class (Corporate Finance) has come to an end and I passed with an A. School starts on August 24th and my 4 classes are all classified as “blended learning”. I have yet to discover what that will actually mean, but professors have until August 10th to let us know.

That’s all for now, folks.

My Sister

For those of you that don’t know, I have a younger sister. She will be 21 this July. We aren’t distant, but I wouldn’t say that we are super close either. We are definitely closer now than when we were young children, though. The fact that we can eat together or be in the same room is huge progress.

I’m not sure when our relationship improved, but it was definitely post high school (2015ish). I wasn’t an angry teenager anymore and she had matured enough for me to feel like she wasn’t a baby anymore.

My sister and I are very different. but I have noticed more similarities as we’ve gotten older. I have always been a super introvert, and while she has become one more as she’s gotten older, she used to be quite extroverted. I suspect that a depressed and emotionally exhausted extrovert might present as an introvert, though.

She’s currently living in Florida with another person she was recently in a long relationship with. I don’t think they’re good for each other. When I was in a questionable relationship I wished that my mom or my sister would have said something about what they saw and felt. I see my sister now in what I see as an unhealthy relationship and I try to tell her what I wish she would have told me: this isn’t good for you and you need to leave. Fortunately, she is temporarily moving back to GA in July. We’ll see what happens.

My sister had difficulty with our parents. It wasn’t entirely her fault. Personalities were all over the place and everyone was always yelling and not actually listening to one another. I tried to stay out of it and only interfered when I was fed up.

She struggled with making trustworthy friends and I disliked most of them because they ended up treating her like trash. She made some unwise decisions over the years and her life in general seemed reckless. I didn’t know how to help, so I just always tried to be there when she felt like talking. I also made sure not to contribute to any internal issues I felt she had: comparing herself to me and putting me on what seemed like an unattainable pedestal.

School was easy for me. School was not easy for her. I had great luck with friends. She did not. I never had any body image issues and I rarely got shit from family (other than the “you need to eat a sandwich” comments). I would say that she was made fun of and ridiculed for the way she looked by people we cared about. Even when I was at my most frustrated and angry with her, I refused to stoop so low as to make fun of her for the things she was most insecure about.

Anyway, the point of this post was to share Noah Cyrus’ new song:

I think this song resonates with things my own sister may have been feeling when she was growing up. As soon as I heard this song I thought of her.

I know I didn’t encourage the comparisons between me and her, but I still feel guilty. I wish things had been easier for her and I wish we were closer and I could’ve been more of a friend, but it is what it is. I can’t change the past, but I will try my best to be there for her when she moves back home.

It seems that I am struggling.

I was telling my partner yesterday how I felt like I clean the dishes all the time- several times a day even, yet the dirty dishes continue to exist. While I was trying to voice this frustration, I felt my throat get a little tighter and my eyes get a little more wet.

I would say that ever since starting therapy exactly one year ago, I have been more uncontrollably emotional. That sounds far more dramatic than it actually is. Basically, instead of bottling things up, my body just naturally releases any anxiety, fear, or frustration, and, sometimes it is in the form of crying.

In therapy I discussed my constant need to be doing something. At the time that I began seeing my therapist, I had just gotten out of a program that had my attention 24/7 with no breaks- no joke. I went from that to having ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO. It was crazy. And I felt like I was going a little crazy too.

I immediately started looking for a new place to live, a new job, and I made sure that my class schedule for the upcoming semester was desirable. In between all that I made my best efforts to visit all the family and friends I hadn’t been able to regularly see before, during my service year.

Things got overwhelming, my body panicked, and I relied on therapy to get me through it. My therapist and I hit a lot of topics and they are all documented on this blog; you’ll just need to scroll back to maybe June of 2019. It was a lot.

This quarantine has been really stressful for me in regards to my mental health. While I enjoy being inside and away from people, I also love going out with my partner and I really like going to work and feeling like I did something productive that day. I find putting on jeans exhausting, but I like the way I look in them and it boosts my self-confidence.

I haven’t had the need to put on jeans to go anywhere. I haven’t been able to see the people I care about as much as I’d like. I also haven’t been working as many hours at work and my duties have slightly changed since the lockdown. Things are different in the world, but the way I measure my success and productivity is the same as it’s always been. I think this time has shown me that that’s a possible issue.

I know that I am more than my accomplishments. I know that simply doing a load of laundry is a productive activity. I know that not all progress is immediately visible.

But it’s hard.

I have decently high standards for myself and I’ve really been working on cutting myself some slack over the last year. Sometimes, though, I do get impatient and annoyed with the lack of tangible progress.

Regarding work, my hours have been cut in half and I was supposed to start working officially full-time by this point. My upcoming summer class is a math class and I purposely chose an on-campus day/time because I learn this subject best that way (I suck at math, big time!). My partner and I had travel plans and those were, of course, cancelled. I was also looking forward to exploring Atlanta more and trying new bars and restaurants; my girlfriend and I even agreed on a weekly date night where we try out only new restaurants on a list we created.

I also don’t do well with unexpected change. I suppose I do adapt rather quickly and I always get through it okay, but the immediate effects are always scatterbrained thoughts and mild panic.

So, yeah, things have been harder than I thought they’d be. It’s all good, though. I have an amazing partner and the weather is beautiful and I still have lots of things to look forward to. I wish us all the best for the remainder of 2020 and I’m optimistic that things will take a turn for the better.