Monday, September 4, 2017
As we’ve been shopping for our upcoming 15th anniversary of coupledom - 13 years of marriage - we’ve been getting several variations of the same question lately: “do you have any advice on marriage”, “what’s the secret to staying married”, and “how did you stay married for so long?” People inquire like there is some magic answer to ensure the success of their own union. The truth is there is no heavily guarded secret to keeping a marriage together. You’re either in it 100% or you’re not in it at all. To love someone is work, plain and simple. It is a job that offers no monetary compensation, but if it is performed with everything you’re heart, mind, and soul has to give; the reward is beyond any measurable payback. There is no reason Brik and I sit here preparing to celebrate yet another anniversary together other than we have refused, still refuse, and will forever refuse to give up on each other. We do not have a perfect marriage. We have not made every decision right. We do not hope luck carries us through. We work, everyday, to put the other first. We think of the other in every decision we make. When I go to Wal-Mart I tell my spouse, I ask what he needs, and I hurry back to him because I didn’t get married to waste my time away in some chain department store avoiding my home. I married him because he is who I want to be with, every day, every night, and every second in between. He is my best friend, and even that is too lax of a word to describe his place in my life. I wake up and look for his eyes to meet mine; sometimes watching him like a new mother watches her newborn sleep. He wakes up and sits at the edge of the bed before gently waking me up with a simple shoulder rub and a sweet morning hello. It’s respect. It’s kindness. It’s love. The truth is; your life only repays you in the areas you nourish. If you nourish friendships, you will have ample buddies to spend your seconds with. If you nourish family, your will have many memories of mom, dad, brothers, sisters, and grandparents. If you nourish your profession, you will be successful at your job. If you nourish your connection with your spouse, you will have a love that lasts a lifetime - but everyday isn’t easy. If you’re getting married expecting your union to be a breeze, you might as well draft your divorce papers now. Nothing worth having in life comes without blood, sweat, and the occasional tear… NOTHING! The only reason we have awaken next to each other for the past 5,475 days is because there is no other option in our book; and we picked someone who understands this tiny truth to be the foundation of everything that is good in our life. The only real secret to our love: we picked well. We picked someone who shares the same goals. We picked someone who puts love before everything else. We picked someone who is willing to grow together instead of pulling apart when things get beyond tough. We picked someone who is able to see their own faults. We picked someone who puts “us” above everything else. We picked someone who trusts the truth will solve all. We picked someone who knows how to forgive. We picked someone who has fight. We picked someone who is able to redefine love as the stages of our life required something more than how we defined the word before. And we picked someone we simply couldn’t live without. There is no secret to love, or marriage, or happily ever after. There is no statistic that you’re determined to fit. There is no algorithm to ensure success. And there is no way to know what your future holds. But if you nurture what’s important, see the world and people for who they really are, and fight hand in hand for the common goals in both of your hearts – your love will carry on. This I know for sure. And I’m just thankful Brik and I picked so well 15 long years ago…
Thursday, October 20, 2016
It’s true, political candidates polarize this nation, but America has never seen anything like this political environment before. What we have witnessed unfold in the past 18 months can be described quite simply as disgraceful. I do not support all of Hillary’s ideas or life choices but I can’t in my right mind vote for a man whose mental instability is put proudly on display for all to see. When I hear Trump speak my insides literally coil up in revolt. My mind becomes clouded with hate, despair, fear, and an overall sense of dread. I used to believe this nation was built on integrity, values, ethics, morals, and an overwhelming desire to help those in need. But today I’m faced with a grim reality: Americans are selfish, they hide their true beliefs, and many are incredibly ugly inside. As Trump’s campaign gained steam, I began to notice ugliness seep from the foundation of this nation as his supporters not only dismissed his blatant bigoted, racist, and un-American remarks but actually started defending them. It is these people – the ones who defend him – that I can’t be friends with anymore. I don’t presume to tell anyone how to vote. That is an individual right that everyone has the duty of exercising. I understand there are fundamental Democrats and Republicans. I understand their vote. I don’t understand the people who defend indefensible actions and rantings. Those who believe Trump’s words on that hot mic were simply “locker room” talk are the same ones who felt Bill Cosby should have been tried for sexual assault just a few years back and the same ones who would exercise their 2nd amendment right if this behavior was toward their wife, daughter, mother, sister, or friend. Those who think his multi-million dollar businessman stature is exactly what Washington needs are the same ones who bitch and moan about wall-street running this nation. Um newsflash – you’re wanting to elect an actual wall-street developer to the highest office of this nation. How is this supposed to be a change for the better? Those who listen to Trump as he speaks of rounding up and deporting millions of foreingers with the same political flair and gusto as Stalin and Hitler are the same ones who condemn the holocaust and advocate for less government spending. How much do you think deporting 11.4 million people will cost the government? And newsflash – the last major bombing in America was done by an AMERICA...not an illegal immigrant. Look, I can live with different political views but those who defend Trump and his ways aren’t following him for his policies. If you listen hard to their reasons of support it is because Trump hates, because he discriminates, because he thinks women belong in the kitchen; it’s because they are afraid of change…not for it. Trump’s words – the ones that aren’t scripted or clarified by his political pundits – are words that could’ve been ripped straight from a time when rights were granted to no one but wealthy, white, males. His ideas, his fundamental core beliefs are that of oppression for those who disagree. He does not stand for unity. He does not share a desire to do good deeds in the world. He does not strive to make America a great nation. He strives to see his bank account larger, his name respected, and his legacy admired – how that helps his followers I’ve yet to understand. This year I am so sad to vote because I feel let down by the American people. I feel this nation is not my home anymore, like what I value is not valued by the masses. Sure I don’t love Clinton, hell I’m not even sure I like her, but at least I can respect her vision. At least I can see how her goals for this nation align with the beliefs of those who wrote and signed our Constitution. At least I feel she will try for forward progression – I can’t say that for Trump. But what makes me the saddest really has nothing to do with the actual election; it has to do with the core beliefs of so many Americans – the blatant hate they so proudly display leaves me disappointed in who we are as a nation…I thought we were better than this America! Apparently I was mistaken...
Friday, August 19, 2016
Friday, May 6, 2016
Dear Americans, I am writing today out of fear: fear of losing my health care, fear of how certain races and religions will react to maliciously being referred to as criminals by those whose job it is to protect their rights, fear of war, fear of the middle class becoming extinct, fear of unthinkable cruelties happening to good people due to ignorance and stupidity, but mostly I write to you today in response to a fear that frightens me to my core – a fear that hate will more than likely become the defining characteristic of who we are as Americans if we don’t open our eyes and put the values this great nation was built upon first. I want to preface this by saying I think every candidate running for office is intelligent. I believe they all want to better America. And I genuinely believe their followers do as well. I just feel some go about accomplishing this goal in better ways than others. With that said, I must confess – I am not a fan of Trump for President. Though I thoroughly enjoyed Celebrity Apprentice for many years; my like for his entertaining television persona did not transpire into a vote for his presidential campaign. His rantings and rhetoric directly contradict the respect I harbor inside of me for the people of this nation. I feel to better America we need a less hateful, more respectful, all inclusive, experienced leader. Trump is not that for me, and with this realization, Bernie got my vote. But I don’t write you today to persuade you to vote for Bernie. I don’t write you today to persuade you to vote for anyone, really. I’m writing you today to ask all of you frustrated voters, both democrat and republican alike, to not waste your vote? Voting is a right, a precious right that grants everyone a say in the issues that affect this nation. Yes, it is frustrating. Yes, it is confusing. And yes, at times, it seems totally unfair and stacked in someone’s favor – but it is still our right. I’d even go so far as to say it is our duty. But this year I’m hearing of so many who plan to simply throw away this priceless gift. This infuriates me, and let me tell you why. On February 3, 1870, after nearly 2.5% of this nation’s population was killed by their neighbors in the Civil War (a statistic that translates to nearly 7 million people if this war occurred today) – the constitution was amended to allow African Americans the right to vote.* But the battle to be heard continued despite this amendment. Skip ahead to August 18, 1920, when women were granted the right to cast a ballot legally, though they, too, were turned away by the men in control of politics.* These people fought hard – each and every one of them. Through beatings, rapes, torture, wrongful prosecution and death – the people fought on for what was right – and one thing is for sure: history books do not look favorably on those who took the side of discrimination and hate. In 1871, congress mandated that 74 National Cemeteries be constructed to entomb over 303,000 soldiers from the Civil War. Of those 303,356, not a single Confederate fighter was included.* But here we sit today, watching a man whose statements mimic those of the Confederacy by simply replacing a few derogatory words with Muslims or Mexicans or women - and people everywhere are hailing him as a savior. Umm, no! A savior brings people together instead of bullying them further apart. WAKE UP, PEOPLE! Now I know, I have no glimmer of hope of ever convincing die-hard Trump supporters of his danger to this nation and world, so to you, I’m not speaking. The Americans I am speaking to, the ones who feel disenfranchised from their own party - listen up: DON’T WASTE YOUR VOTE! Don’t spit on the tombs of those deceased by throwing away the right they gave their life to provide you. Instead, chose to honor them. Now I know this will be difficult for a Republican as crossing party lines to vote can be viewed internally as a fundamental contradiction of their convictions, but it isn’t always about your own personal values – it is about what is best for America. And this is a statement I want to scream at my fellow Democrats as I hear countless people refuse to support the Democratic nominee – who will almost certainly be Clinton – because they love Bernie so much. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the adoration for the Bern, I am in love with his message. It encompasses everything I believe in - he is inclusive of everyone, he is inspiring, smart, determined, fair, and totally down to earth - but he doesn’t have the numbers, unfortunately. He just doesn’t. These are the facts, but he and Clinton are more alike than different - words from both his and her own mouths. You don’t like Clinton. I understand that. But does the narcissistic, Charlie Sheen inspired catchphrase using, racist, hypocritical, hot-headed, unable to locate half of our enemies on a map, crybaby who blames everyone else for his problems, KKK endorsed, alienating, can’t finish a complete thought, lie spewing, never wrong, uncompromising, cheating, fraudulent, womanizing, cowardly, bully seem like the better choice? I think not! So do you honestly hate Clinton so much that you would rather see Trump, with all of his uniquely ugly values, as your President? If your answer is no, please act accordingly. Don’t get so butt hurt about your man loosing the nomination that you put America in Trump’s hazardous and dangerous care. Don’t look at Clinton’s inevitable general election run as a moment of defeat; instead, look at how Bernie has molded the future of this party. There is no doubt we are currently undergoing a political revolution on both sides. The youth speaking today are the voters whose values will mold our nation in the upcoming years. American values are definitely changing, the shift is palpable. No longer do the majority of people in this nation view coal as the energy ‘holy grail’; with world support, the field is shifting to less harmful ways to keep the lights on. No longer does religion define the meaning of marriage; more than half of the nation support love of all kinds among all genders. No longer are the days of legal discrimination acceptable; people are becoming more and more aware of social injustices and demanding change. No longer are the days of American’s living oppressed by the government; more and more the youth are exercising their voice by forcing Washington to process their disapproving vote. And though it is angering to see those who feel the popularity of their ideals slipping grab so desperately to a man whose political policies are circa 1860’s, it is a beautiful and mesmerizing sight to see America revolt against the political machine. It is almost inspiring to be a democrat in today’s political climate. For years I have watched politicians/people make decisions based solely on financial gain, or out of hate for another country’s population, or to simply benefit themselves - but today I can see America growing a heart. And for all of the hearts that have stopped beating in past wars, for all the families who have sacrificed on your behalf, for all the people who will call America home in the future – PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t waste this precious opportunity to be heard. If you’re a democrat, especially, PLEASE RISE ABOVE THE PERSONAL QUALMS YOU HAVE WITH CLINTON AND GO OUT AND USE YOUR VOICE!! Because, after all, it’s only a matter of time before we’re called upon to KEEP America great! And yo, Mr. Trump, contrary to what you say - there has never been a day that we weren’t… *statistics provided by PBS.com
Thursday, January 28, 2016
I am fully aware that what I am about to say is going to upset some people - but I need to say it. I am one who needs to vent when things are difficult in life but I don't like to bore others with my problems, so writing has become almost like a best friend to me. When I feel down, or overly happy, or just emotional for any reason - I tend to feel this overwhelming desire to put my feelings into words. I share them, only because I know from experience, how others can benefit from the inner workings of another's mind. How hearing someone else echo the dialogue repeating in their own head makes them feel less alone - but I do not pretend to believe my way is right for everyone. It is not. I have been dealing with feelings that let me know I need a change. Feelings that I have been ignoring since November. But recently, these feelings have become harder and harder to dismiss. I'm just going to come out and say it: I have been depressed. It seems this is a battle many are struggling with lately, and I have decided, I can't live like this. With repeated turmoil in my family, long hours at work, a lack of time devoted to just me and my hubby - I have fallen into a hole. A hole I thought I would crawl out of if only I gave myself time. Time is not what I needed. When I watched my mom struggle with this demon I was terrified. Scared that one day this monster would find me. It did. I entertained thoughts of ending my own life; though I never told anyone at the time - I was 18. Recently I have been questioning what is the point of my existence? What is the purpose of this life? I do not enjoy crying over these thoughts. When I scored my dream job I thought this would be it - it was - the end of me thinking being a writer would be the most amazing thing in the world. I learned there is a difference between just writing and conveying a meaningful message. I have been fighting to find my next step - caught between a place of complacency and fear. But with the start of a new year and the arrival of these not so wanted questions - I've decided fear is the best place to be. I have quit my job. Not because I am not good at it, not because I can't handle the stress - but because I am more important than a title. I am more valuable than a business card. I think about how difficult the next few months could be, I know I am taking a giant leap, but my happiness is worth the gamble. You see I can't wrap my mind around medication. I don't want to cloud out my emotions with 'happy pills.' I am a firm believer, though this does not ring true for everybody, that depression is a sign of needed change. I heeded the warning. I am making the change. And I am praying for the best. I feel so different than I did just 6 months ago, like something cosmic is pulling me away from what I thought life should be. I used to be scared of turning 35, now just 8 months away, I welcome the day. I think life is about taking chances. Learning from mistakes. Arriving in destinations that have never crossed your mind. I am a dreamer. I am a hopeless romantic. And I am a believer. I believe life has great things in store for me, so I'm going to keep taking it one step at a time.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
It is strange how life can change — how one moment everything seems perfect and the next everything blows up in your face. I’ve often sat and pondered how things could be different? How life could look so foreign even when it is my own? But this is time wasted. I am not that 23 year old bride anymore, my reality is different from what I’ve dreamt, but that doesn’t mean it is any less great. I’ve learned that the key to happiness is honesty. It is facing your fears and then spitting directly in their face. You can’t sit back and wonder what could be — you have to conquer what is. This is the untold reality of being human. There are people who will push you to be better, people who will like you so much they will fight others to obtain your affection. You must ignore their words. It is a trap. To find pleasure in others adoration is normal. It is expected. But you mustn’t let it define you. If you spend your life living in these obscured shadows of yourself, you most always will find misery. To live peacefully you must be true, you must be brave, and you must be willing to fail. To those who feel I am speaking hogwash, understand me — support feels great. But when you allow others to define you it becomes difficult to weed out the truth. You begin to lose a tiny bit of yourself. Nobody knows your inner thoughts. No one knows the pain your heart has had to heal. And no one can understand your soul other than you. Guard that like the treasure it is. It wasn’t given to you for others to figure out. It was entrusted to you by a man with a master plan. Honor Him. Trust Him. And define yourself with the miraculous truth of who you were meant to be. Because other people’s opinions don’t mean jack!