1 Out Of 5 Stars, Would NOT Recommend 2020…

Well hello there!Capture

Long time, no see. Literally. Am I right?

Let’s see — the last blog post I did was in April, so, four months literally to the date. And no, I didn’t plan that, oddly.

*** Disclaimer: I started this post last Thursday with the intention of finishing it the same night and then I got sidetracked and then flash forward to now: Monday.

So, four months since my last post and well, not much has changed. I mean, we’re still in the middle of a, excuse my language — fucking — pandemic. Like, and at this point, I, and I assume like many other around the world, are FLIPPING OVER IT!

I mean, seriously. When my work transitioned us to working at home in March, never did I think in my wildest dreams that we would still be working from home until now, and, let alone until at least through the new year.

YUP.

You read that right, reader. My work has sent us official word that we will be working home until at least through Jan. 4, 2020.

Now, that could certainly change again as the time nears, and at this point, I can only hope it doesn’t.

Why?

Well, let me tell you why.

So, I have never been a huge public speaker (I mean, OK yeah, on some of my social media platforms more than others) on my “mental illness,” if you will. I know, I shouldn’t use quotes around that term as it is a very much real subject and simply thing countless people have/experience/live with.

I am one of them.

But, to be honest, and I don’t mean to be offensive when I say this — but, I don’t like that term. It’s probably because of the negative stigma still so very much associated with it, even though by now, 2020, I thought we would have made some progress as a society in terms of how we would view and treat those with mental illness — both treatment socially and medically.

Anyway, not my point. Yes, I do suffer from mental illness, though. I have depression and anxiety.

What? Me? No?

Yep. True. Not fake news.

Why?

Well, Jesus, I wish I knew WHY. The “why,” is what’s been increasingly getting to me during this pandemic. And well, let’s be honest, this pandemic and quarantine itself aren’t helping matters at all. They’ve both just made things worse, to be honest.

Which, brings me to why I decided to blog about it. Is this terrifying? Oh yeah, you know, only slightly!? But, I want to share this in hope it inspires other reading this to know it’s OK to not be OK sometimes. Whether you are someone who suffers from mental illness directly, or have someone in your life that does, or you just are otherwise going through a rough patch — it’s OK to seek help/support.

Believe me, after having become really honest with myself, I knew I had to share with other people so they don’t feel hopeless or defeated in their pursuit to get better.

“But Ana, everyone has bad days. You’ll get over it.”

Right. You would think depression is that easy, wouldn’t you? In fact, that’s a common misconception about depression specifically, is that an individual is just having a bad day and will only temporarily feel sad.

NOPE, WRONG!

During this pandemic, being quarantined with the rest of the world, my depression and anxiety told me I (and others who suffer from depression/anxiety/any other mental illness) had it the worst. No one would simply understand.

So what happened? Well, I literally began losing my marbles. I began to feel super isolated. Even though I was still able to see my parents, my one brother and dog, it didn’t make me feel better 100 percent.

I missed my sense of normalcy. I still do.

I began to dig myself into this imaginary rut/hole that I felt there wasn’t any escaping from. Mix this in with a long-distance, fairly new-ish relationship. I mean, could I really handle everything that I was forcing onto my plate? I didn’t think so.

So over the past few months I’ve thankfully still been able to continue therapy with my therapist through Zoom video chats and have gone to see my GP doctor a handful of times in hopes of finding a medication to balance my therapy in hope of both of them helping dig me out of this rut I felt myself falling further into.

Well, therapy has been great. I have been seeing my therapist for over a year now and I’ve grown to really like her. At first I was skeptical. Not because it was my first rodeo seeing a therapist, but, because I had my own misconceptions and stereotypes about therapists that made me cringe thinking of he/she asking, “And how does that make you feel?” There was no way I could handle that.

But, I gave her a chance and it’s definitely helped, but, it wasn’t enough. And that’s when she explained and a light bulb went off in my head that there is something wrong chemically in my brain. It was a silly conception to think at first — in fact, I shrugged it off, like, yeah, right, lady. OK.

Finally, though, I gave it more thought and realized she was right. I knew I was going to need something more than just therapy. Now granted, I had already been taking medication prior to and with therapy, but, it got to a point where it no longer felt like it was helping make things better. And then, like I said, enter in this quarantine in the middle of a pandemic and feeling isolated from the world, well, that’s when things really took a turn.

And again, I am sure there are some people reading this and will make it to the end and think, OK, yeah, I think you’re just being dramatic. And if you want to believe that, go ahead. I know not everyone buys into “mental illness” and health, but, like I said previously, I am hoping by sharing those post it will not only be therapeutic for me, but, also for others out there who are going through something similar.

Fast forward to now… I still struggle, absolutely. In fact, these past two weeks before my staycation at Ryan’s house, or, at the very beginning of it, I lost it. I truly felt like I had hit rock bottom.

I was terrified. I couldn’t wrap my mind and deal with why I felt so sad when I knew I have so much to be grateful for in life. It’s always a struggle between fighting to be happy while also realizing it’s perfectly normal to feel the way I do. Is it is ideal? Hell no. And to be quite frank, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

But, thankfully/luckily — I have an amazing support person — a support system, really. Seriously, though, major kudos go to Ryan — who, along the way, we have both learned to be even more patient and understanding when I get in one of those low moods.

I’ve shown my ugliest side to him — both metaphorically and literally. And his reaction and dealing with is it the definition of true love.

True love is partly what has helped me through this. Yes, of course, I have an infinite about of love from my family, but, they’re my family — it’s their job to love me. 😉 Kidding, sort of.

But, Ryan has a choice day in and day out to love me. And not once has he ever wavered. I have never met a more selfless, loving, caring, kind and patience man. I mean, I thought my past boyfriends were the bees knees, but, clearly I was wrong. I am and will forever be grateful to God or whatever other higher power is up there that led Ryan into my life. I can’t imagine showing my true, true self with anyone else.

Although I’ll be honest, that didn’t come easy. Even little things, like little quirks or whathaveyou, I did not want Ryan to be seeing/experiencing any of that. I mean, some things a significant other just does not need to know you do/say. LOL! But, over time, my guard lowered and I became more comfortable. I felt safe. Like I could be my true self and have that be enough–for the most part, anyway. (Remember, my mental illness tells me more often than not that I am not worthy of such a great love/relationship in my life.) I felt like I could say what was really weighing on my mind and tell him without needing to provide an explanation.

Of course, with my depression and anxiety, I so badly want to be able to explain it and the fact that I can’t, infuriates me to no end. He understands I can’t, and doesn’t expect me to explain, but, for someone who is on the receiver end of the illness and meh, maybe just a tad obsessive compulsive, can make me my own worst enemy.

My point in all of this is this: Let go of what others think of you. At the very least, speak up and speak out. Help end the stigma related to mental illness. If you are feeling sad or angry or even happy, really — share it. Reach out if you need help. Reach out even simply just to talk.

Will be it absolutely terrifying to do? Hell yes. But, look at me. Look at me blasting all my random thoughts in my head typed out into words and this time not on Twitter. (Because on yes, my Twitter account is just like an open diary to whomever wants to read it. But, also, again, because I am hoping maybe I can inspire others, even if only one person, to speak up and speak out; or just feel heard and know they’re not alone.) My family reads this–OK, maybe not every single person, but, I am sure some–strangers read this. My friends read this. I really don’t know who reads this but, if you are reading this and you either a) feel inspired, reach out and let me know. OR, if you need/want additional resources, my favorite is: 1-800-273-8255.

It’s OK to ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak.

I believe it’s so important to seek help when you need it, even when it can be scary. Why? Because I lost someone to suicide when I was younger and while she was an adult at the time, and I a child, to this day it still impacts me very much. I can’t help but wonder why such a kind, loving and beautiful soul had to be dealt the card of mental illness in life. I wonder why her mental illness had to consume her to the point where she felt there was no other way out other than to end her own life.

It happened long ago while I am now 30 years old today, I am and always will be an advocate for mental illness and suicide prevention. Especially since I myself have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, which are forms of mental illness. I want to be better. I want to do better. I don’t want my life to be defined by my actions as a result of my mental illness. I want to try and understand better so I can really believe people when they tell me it’s treatable and that there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.

So until next time… I will work on small victories of self-care, which is how I will try to cope with my mental illness of depression and anxiety. Whether it’s something silly but small and still a victory like — getting dressed and doing my hair and makeup for the day; going outside to mow my lawn while listening to my favorite music; karaoking while in the shower or during work (when I am not receiving or making outbound calls, of course); giving myself at least one compliment a day, or even week (baby steps)–self love–something I struggle with a lot; not taking a nap after work because I am so tired from who knows (depression, etc); journaling; etc. These may seem small and trivial, but, like my therapist and Ryan like to remind me — I have to start somewhere and find what works for me. Remember, everyone is different and so self-care for me may look totally different to the next person.

Tell me, what are you doing during this pandemic to show yourself self love and care? Do you have any recommendations for me that I may have overlooked and you think I could benefit from?

Let’s get the conversation going to help #EndTheStigma.

XOXO,

Ana

Every Day Is A Fresh Start…

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Hello, it’s me…

Remember me? It’s been over a year since I last published a blog post on here, and who knows since the last time I even visited my blog to make sure it wasn’t hacked or something and there weren’t embarrassing photos of me circulating on the internet.

Oh wait, that’s all of my pics. Ha. Kidding.

Well, so, where the hell do I even begin? The last blog post I talked about how I had handled the anniversary of my breakup with my previous boyfriend and how life was going at my latest job, Jackson National.

Flash forward to 2020… and here we are in the middle of a pandemic. The me a year ago could have never saw this pandemic. No one could have. But, back to that in a minute.

Let me first catch everyone up on what else happened in 2019 prior to shit hitting the fan in 2020. So, life happened as it was supposed to, I guess. Nothing too exciting that I at this very moment can think of. Part of it is, now that we are all on quarantine and I am working from home, all of the days are turning into one big blur. So, pardon me for not remembering all of 2019 now, lol, and for any spelling/grammar errors that may appear in this post. I’ll write now, edit later. Bear with me, too, I am writing this post being as basic can be with a glass of wine to the of my laptop.

Ah, yes, laptop. Why of course, yes, I do have a beautiful, brand spankin’ new desktop in my office in my HOME that I could certainly being utilizing, but, seeing as I spend 37.5 hours, sometimes more already outside of work, in that room and on that desktop, I figured I would set up shop in my kitchen at table on my old laptop, which is really only good now for Zooming with friends.

Anyway, 2019 highlights included… me turning 29, woo, last year of my 20s; the birth of my latest niece, Minah; celebration of my sister and cousin’s 45th birthdays up north, which, honestly, was probably the highlight of my year because it was THAT fun; holidays, etc… the usual. And obviously, totes more, and if I forgot anything else spectacular, I do apologize.

And… a new relationship bloomed! Whoa. Huh. What. Who? Me? Who would have thought? Yes. The start of what would become official Jan. 4, 2020. 😉 Yes, I decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and realize that what my family and friends have told me all along is that a) I do deserve someone great and will find said person and b) that I will find that person when the time is right.

Well, it turns out, I had found him back in 2016, when I started my job at The Argus-Press. Sports editor. Sat right across from him. But, we didn’t become official until much later. Too long of a story that I am sure my boyfriend does not care to have me re-hash on social media.

Anyway, let me tell you, my heart has been on a whole other level since such a great human being really made me realize that good guys do exist out there and that I am worthy of one. And man, without even trying or wanting to, he turned me into a big sap. A big puddle of mush that always gushes about him any chance I can get.

But hear me out, to each their own. For y’all that have followed me on this blog for awhile know that most of my blog posts have been about the demise of my previous relationship and the aftermath of it. It took me awhile, a long while, to get over him.

Looking back now, I feel silly I let myself feel so down about how and why things ended, but, everything happens for a reason for me, it ultimately did help that I let myself feel the grief, if you will, of saying goodbye to a relationship on someone I fell in love with once long ago.

Of course, now slightly older and feeling more wise, I to this day do not regret my past relationships. Did I contribute to us breaking up? Certainly. Honestly, I felt a lot of insecurity, some of which I still unfortunately feel today, that made me feel like I wasn’t worthy of the guy I was dating — even though, in hindsight, our relationship was often tumultuous and probably wasn’t the best slate for basing my relationships on moving forward.

But, again, not bashing my past relationship(s). I thank those men for teaching me that he wasn’t the one. And that I wasn’t the one for them. Was I hurt/devastated/angry/sad when we broke up? Oh, yes. But, as time has gone on, I’ve learned it takes much more effort to be mad and dislike or even hate someone than it does to simply forgive them and move on. So eventually, I did.

I forgave him. I forgave myself for acting the way I did, but also forgave myself for allowing myself to think that that’s who was meant for me.

Flash forward to this relationship… It’s going to sound so cliche, but, I really feel like the happiest girl in the world. And, here I am turning into a sap, yet again — or maybe it’s the red wine I’m finally feeling — haha — but, I do sometimes feel like it’s a dream because, how on Earth could I snag a man as wonderful as him?

I won’t bore you with the mushy details of why I think my boyfriend is all of that and a bag of chips, although, if you really want to know — go check out my Instagram — that’s where I post my occasional “boyfriend brags,” lol. Sorry, Ryan!

Moving along…

Back in November 2019 was my one year anniversary at Jackson and coming up in just a few weeks on May 4, 2020, (oh, May the Fourth be with me! LOL) will be my year and a half anniversary. It truly amazes me how fast my time has flown by at Jackson. I guess it’s true, time flies when you’re having fun. I really have enjoyed my time working at Jackson and becoming good friends with my coworkers. I am happy to be back working and living in my hometown, which brings me to latest update from 2020…

As of January 31, 2020, I became a first time homeowner. Can you believe it? Yes! I looked at houses for couple of months, not too many, but, then I finally found the one meant for me. And now, more so than ever, am I relieved my realtor was able to make magic happen and have me close when I did because otherwise, my house hunt would have been put on hold for who knows how long due to the current pandemic.

It was an interesting experience. I looked on Zillow a lot for houses within my price range and it seemed as soon as I found one I liked and texted my realtor that we were interested, the next day it was sold. It was crazy. But, at least I found one and closed one day and literally moved the next day. I still have long-term projects to work on — the main one being painting, with the help of my dad and grandpa, etc. when the stay at home order and lifted and things can return to normal — or, our new normal. My dad talked about remodeling my kitchen, but, my mom and I don’t hate it nor feel it needs it so, we’ll see if that is actually something that happens. I am also trying to find a new couch to buy for my living room that won’t cost me a freakin’ arm or a leg, as well as eventually a new coffee table and entertainment center for living room. Other items I would like longer down the road are to buy a day bed for my guest room and to finish the now partially-finished basement. I’m sure between now and who knows I’ll find other, smaller, but still important things I want to accomplish, but, truth be told, I’ve been successful in making my house feel like my home as much as I could so far.

Of course, being a homeowner comes with its own set of challenges, which, in all of my almost 30 years I haven’t had to deal with personally, lol. Like: mowing my lawn; shoveling snow in my driveway and sidewalk — woof; changing my address on my license; updating all of my mailing/billing addresses for banking info/credit card; myriad other things. It’s been a learning curve. And thankfully, I guess thankfully, the weather here has been so back and forth that I haven’t had to worry too much about mowing my lawn but, now we’re at a point where, well, I need to get myself a lawnmower ASAP. Baby steps. Also, if you know of any local lawn care places that can hook me up once the stay at home order is lifted, let your girl know. 😉

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Outside of work I’ve been watching TV, Netflix; Zooming with friends and family; drinking wine; napping; coloring; keeping my therapy appointments via telehealth, which has been detrimental to making sure I don’t lose my mind by being cooped up inside. No shame in sharing that and I believe more people should be more willing, if able to, give it try if needed. #MentalHealthMatters #MentalHealthAwareness

P.S. If you have any additional ideas outside of the ones I’ve posted above about how I can make sure to not lose my sanity during this time, leave a comment below. 🙂 Thanks in advance.

Anyway, until next time…

XO,

Anamaria

The first step to living the life you want is leaving the life you don’t want…

Happy New Year, readers!

We’re two days into 2019 and I thought with the kick off of a new year, I’d share some highlights of what I’ve been up to lately and my goals/resolutions of sorts that I have for this year.

So the last time I blogged was back in October, right before the one year anniversary of my breakup with my ex-boyfriend. It came and went as expected; I believe I went out the night of to distract myself and have fun. I tell ya, and I know I’ve said it countless times before, but I wouldn’t get through the tough times without my friends (OK, and of course, family, too).

Anyway, the day came and went and I always kept thinking about the day we broke up and the time we spent dating in the back of my mind every now and then, determined to finally get over him and the situation. Of course, like I’ve also said countless times before — that’s much easier said than done.

After that came and passed, I didn’t spend too much dwelling over it because, well, I had something very, very exciting to look forward to — a new full-time job! I was offered and accepted a position at Jackson National Life. The position is totally opposite of my former job as a reporter but let me tell you, I absolutely love it. I am so beyond happy and was absolutely thrilled to have been offered a position in my hometown, something that has always been my goal. Saturday marks two months since I started working there and I am so beyond eager and excited to see what the next 10 months (until my one year work anniversary) and beyond hold for me. I have a feeling it’s going to be great.

In addition to that, I spent my holidays with all my loved ones, family and friends — my friends and I did a friendgiving dinner and Christmas party gift exchange, which my cousin and his girlfriend — my best friend — were gracious enough to host at their house.

Soon enough the new year was here and right before it arrived, I met up with my ex-boyfriend.

*Cue the silence*

Yup.

We both got invited to a mutual friend’s going away party and before I knew it, we agreed to meet up beforehand for dinner.

Let me tell you how I felt…

Well, at first, I was honestly speechless. After having not seen each other for more than a year and barely talking on social media outside of that, I wasn’t sure how to feel about meeting up with an old flame.

Alright, so maybe I did. Honestly, albeit maybe even a bit (or a lot?) pathetically I had dreamed/imagined about what it would be like if we ever saw each other or hung out with one another. I tried my best not to give it too much thought, though, sort of, because based on the few conversations we had had it just didn’t seem like a likely scenario.

But, cue to the week before the party and we agreed to meet right before the party the day of. Honestly, I tried not to hold my breath because I just had this gut feeling tell me things would fall through. But, as the day of the party approached, he messaged me to ask if I still would like to get together. I did my best to play cool (lmao) and agreed. But what would we do — coffee, drinks, dinner?

I had already had a coffee shortly before we met up so we agreed on dinner. The next question was, though, where would we go? I being the indecisive person I am, let him decide and of course he just happened to pick my favorite restaurant. Not sure if he even knew that, but I was both thrilled and confused as to what, if anything, it meant. Although, based on how things went into the night and next day, I don’t think it meant much, if anything.

We agreed to meet at the restaurant and I arrived early, texting my friends I felt sick to my stomach. Why? What was I so nervous about? Oh, I don’t know because I was going to see my ex-boyfriend who I hadn’t seen in more than a year and didn’t end on the best terms with at the time. I really didn’t I think could do it. Yes, me, a grown ass woman (who deep down knows I don’t need a man and shouldn’t be freaking out over an old flame) was panicking about how things would go. How would we greet each other? What would we talk about? Would we even talk at all or simply sit there awkwardly and stare at each other?

As it turns out, you can’t let shit like that bother you. It went fine. And our greeting with a hug took me back to a good time when we used to date. I guess, yes, old feelings came flooding back but as I had told myself numerous times before and he made clear — we were just friends. Dinner went fine and smooth; us catching each other up on what the other has been up to over the past year. Even learned of a short-term girlfriend he had and honestly, I wasn’t bothered. The younger me would have been, as silly and ludicrous as it is, but as time has gone on, and what I remind myself of all the time — is that time does heal wounds. I was happy that he was happy.

Following dinner we rode to the going away party together and again, I still had those old feelings in the air, feeling both happy and sad at how much had changed since we first met and even started dating. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice, but as the night went on it felt like we could have been a couple, which threw me for a loop because I know realistically we can’t. And I was even more sure of that by the end of the night and New Year’s Eve.

It’s not to say I wouldn’t maybe date him again — or, that was my thought until Monday. Something about it being a new year and having had a chance to see him again after so long — made me more determined now than ever, to let him go. Maybe some day we can be friends or lovers again, but for now, I need and so badly want to focus on my exciting future both personally and professionally. I’m ready to give my all, my love, to a man who’s just as motivated to give the same back to me. Someone who is as certain about me as I am about them.

Remember ladies and men, know your worth and don’t let anyone treat you like you’re less than.

Anyway, something about the clock striking midnight had me feeling so excited, even more so than in years past. I don’t know exactly what it was, what my pinpoint was for my happiness and eagerness but I know one thing for sure, this year is going to be MY year. I have hope for this year that I’ll excel in my job, make new friends and meet new people to possibly date. Aaaaand eventually get around to actually working out in addition to eating healthier.

Life is too short to not take advantage of what it throws at us, good or bad. The bad times make us stronger and more appreciative and the good times are memories you’ll be able and want to cherish forever.

Who knows, too, maybe, just maybe my Mr. Right will appear in my life. Cheesy and cliche, I know. But at the same time — I think it’s about my time. I’ve been patient enough in waiting for love so bring it in 2019! LOL! Even if I don’t find Mr. Right this year, there is always next. And dating in the mean time should be fun. As Old Dominion sings…

“You gotta love like there’s no such thing as a broken heart.”

So no matter what your new solutions are, or whatever you’re letting go of and saying goodbye to in 2019, maintain the positive attitude that life will reward you with something new.

Until next time, readers…

XO,

Anamaria

Photography is the beauty of life captured…

Let me tell you something. Something random.

I love pictures. I love being both in front of and behind the camera.

Why?

Because pictures capture moments, memories. You capture people’s personalities, sometimes even a glimpse into a rare, not often seen side of said personality.

I love pictures because even though relationships among the people in those photos can change, those photos themselves never will. A picture is a treasure you can keep and cherish forever.

Every so often I find myself scrolling through my Facebook photos from previous years and I feel an array of emotions—mostly happiness—I get happy reminiscing about those certain moments I shared with my loved ones, family and friends. It’s almost like I can remember exactly how I felt in that particular moment and wishing I could experience some of those moments again, because they were so fun and wonderful.

For example, being with my best friends on St. Patrick’s Day last year. It was the first time in a long time the four of us had hung out. It was a bittersweet feeling; bitter knowing it would likely be a long time again before the four of us hung out again, but sweet in the sense that we got to hang out period that day.

Or the time I got see Sleeping Bear Dunes for my first time last May. I had only ever seen photos and to experience it myself, hiking to the top, was exhilarating, exciting.

The time with my two former coworkers at one of their weddings. How grateful and blessed I felt that day, having been invited to her special day when having known each other for only about a year but, feeling like it has been much longer.

My 27th birthday at the Crystal Bar. My favorite bar, my hometown bar. Celebrating turning a year older with my family, best friends and then boyfriend. My favorite photo from that night was one of me and my then boyfriend–it didn’t make social media, but it was of me having had one too many and leaning against him, both of us sitting in chairs and him with my plastic birthday crown on his head. It was such a silly picture but one that, despite how different things are between me and him now, makes me smile and laugh any time I see it. That was a good birthday, probably one of my favorites. The other two being my 21st and 25th. 🙂

Visiting my best friend/former college roomie in Nashville and us visiting Arrington Vineyards. The background was breathtaking, a shot of the entire vineyard behind us. How breathtaking that view is.

That time I made my then boyfriend ride a camel at the fair. I laugh whenever I see that picture because it was so random; he never had ridden a camel and I’m pretty certain the guy operating the camel rides thought we were children.

The picture of my grandpa and me at my nephew’s wedding all dolled up. It’s not very often we get pictures together, especially all dressed up.

And oh how that day was anxiety-ridden at first; knowing my first ex-boyfriend would be there, but I was proud of myself for being the bigger person and going over and talking to him briefly before the night was over. I thanked him for helping my grandma find her way about since she can’t see that well anymore.

Anyway…

The pictures of my niece and I meeting our favorite band, Simple Plan during their meet and greet. I love those pictures because it’s actual proof I got to meet them. LOL! They are such sweethearts/down to earth in real life. All the more reason to love them.

The picture of my best friend and me in front of the MSU rock on campus; it having been at least a year or close to it since we saw each other last. That day was so fun. I got to finally meet her boyfriend and she got to meet my (then) boyfriend.

The picture of my two best friends and me in front of the state capitol during Silver Bells. A tradition we had done so many times before.

That’s why I love pictures. Each picture represents a certain time and even though moving forward the people might change in them, the pictures themselves don’t.

I know phones and cameras can sometimes be a nuisance and that were told to focus more on the moment itself rather than trying to capture the “perfect moment” but sometimes, just sometimes, capturing a particular moment on camera can be just as great. Just look back on your past pictures. Remember how they made you feel. Remember the scenery, the smells, everything.

So here’s to another year, until next March, or whatever month I just happen to catch myself looking at pictures from the year before.

Until next time…

XO,

Anamaria

The adoption took time, the love arrived instantly…

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You may not know this but, I’m adopted.

In honor of November being National Adoption Awareness Month and Saturday being National Adoption Day, I thought I would share a bit about my own adoption story…

I was adopted when I was four months old from Guatemala.

I grew up in a home with five siblings—three brothers and two sisters.

Some times, although not all, people will see my family and me out in public and have this look about them that says, “They’re related?”

Going along with this, I more times than not get asked the same question individually, to which my answer is always ‘yes.’

But how? Their puzzled face reads.

Most of the time, especially to this day when I get asked, I just simply say yes and leave it at that. I don’t offer them the details of my whole life story.

It’s not that I am ashamed of being adopted by any means, but, there’s just some people who I simply don’t feel the need or want to share my story with, especially if and when I get the vibe that they’re being just nosy.

Being an adoptee is a great thing.

Not that being not adopted isn’t great, but I love, when I want to, being able to share my story with others, especially those around the world who may be contemplating adoption at some point in their life. I want to raise awareness about the option of adoption.

Being adopted can bring unsolicited advice and comments from time to time, most of which I can usually shrug off while, other times I think, “Why on Earth would someone ask me something like that?”

I’ve gotten the typical comments of “Your parents didn’t love you,” You weren’t wanted,” and other variations of the like.

Of course, at times, especially when I was younger, those words might have hurt. Now, as a grown woman, I practically laugh because for my biological parents, I’d say it was one of the most loving things they could do for me. I don’t know them, but I can only imagine that both my parents and other adoptee’s parents want what’s best for them, something to which they perhaps thought they couldn’t provide.

What my birth parents did was selfless. It was loving. It was likely the hardest decision they ever had to make.

Of course, this thought brings along the unsolicited question of: “Would you ever want to meet your birth parents?”

That’s a tricky one.

On one hand, yes, I have certainly thought about it, but from having my own conversations with family members and other adoptees outside of my family, it’s not at the top of my priority list.

My family now and which I grew up with, is my family. Now, naturally I am a curious person and have wondered a time or two if I have more siblings, and if my birth parents are even alive, but for the most part, other than to find out medical history, perhaps, I don’t have a burning desire to meet my birth parents.

Why?

Well, because like I said above, my family now is my family. And I personally just think it would be weird, awkward, uncomfortable. Now that doesn’t mean I have any issue with other adoptees seeking out their birth family but like I said, for me, it’s just never been a burning desire of mine. I will say this though, I do hope to one day travel to Guatemala and learn more about my culture.

Going back to what life was like growing up adopted…

Well, one particular incident is what led to my best friend and I becoming just that: best friends, to which we remain today all these years later—despite her moving away in the third grade, us going to different colleges and us now living three hours apart.

My best friend, like me, is adopted. So cool, right? But that’s obviously just one perk of her being my best friend.

In second grade, I can’t recall who the student was but a student was making fun of me for being adopted. At that age, looking back now, where do kids even come up with this stuff? Of course I was upset and my friend, my best friend Erin K., stood up right away and defended me. And since then, we’ve been inseparable.

While most of my life and memories have been positive and happy, there have been some far and few in between like that time in second grade.

Another one came via telephone a few years back, much older than I was in second grade. One of my mom’s “friends” (I say this loosely because, I don’t consider her the definition of a real friend but, that’s for another time, LOL) called our house. I answered and she immediately started talking to me as if she thought I was my mom. I quickly interrupted her and told her I wasn’t my mom, to her which her response was:

“You guys sound so much alike, which is weird since you two aren’t genetically related.”

My jaw dropped to the floor. I couldn’t believe someone, especially a grown adult who is supposedly my mom’s friend, would even think to say something like that and think it’s OK. She’s lucky I didn’t just hang up on her right then and there.

But, overall, like I said, being an adoptee has been awesome. I love that I have a diverse family because it makes me appreciate those different than me that much more.

I am the youngest of six kids. My two sisters are our parent’s biological children/Caucasian, while my brothers are adopted/from Korea. Talk about diversified. 🙂

Nowadays I find the look on people’s faces more funny than rude, and whenever people ask me where I’m from and I say, “Michigan,” for the sake of not having to divulge my entire back story, I get the puzzled look to which I respond by moving ahead in the conversation.

For the most people, people will let it be and let it go, while others question me and ask, “No, really? Where are you really from?” I just smile and say, That is where I’m from. 😉

So, if you’re someone out there reading this and didn’t know much or anything about adoption before and what it means for us adoptees to be adopted, I hope this opened your eyes. And I hope it inspires you to broaden your horizons and seek out other adoption stories in honor of #NationalAdoptionAwarenessMonth.

Until next time…

XO,

Anamaria

Count Your Blessings, Not Your Problems…

Hello, November.

‘Tis the season for eagerly awaiting turkey day sure to be full of lots turkey, of course, and all the fixings.

But of course the season, and this month in particular, is about more than just the good food that’s bound to come. It’s about being thankful.

Quotes About Change And Growth Diddy Quotes Puff Daddy Success | Diddy Quotes | Sean Combs Quotes
Quotes About Change And Growth Diddy Quotes Puff Daddy Success | Diddy Quotes | Sean Combs Quotes – Daily Quote
This year, right now, I am extremely thankful for the people in my life. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t have made the progress I have in just under a month after experiencing the end of a relationship I pictured for the long term.

It’s true, the saying, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” (And family, too.)

They are the ones who love you unconditionally, make you smile when you’re sad and make you cry from laughing so hard. They are the ones who, sometimes despite their best efforts to stop you from being sad, let you use their shoulder to cry on and ears to vent to. They are the ones who remind you that just because one bad experience happened to you, doesn’t mean you have a bad life.

No one said life was easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard, either. We have the power to choose our own happiness and you have to make a conscious decision to be just that, happy, every day. And that’s something I continue to work on.

If it weren’t for them, my family and friends, I wouldn’t be able to see clearly that all of my life’s experiences, whether good or bad, teach me a lesson. The good ones make me happy and give me just that, a happy experience to look back on, while the bad ones teach me how to do better for next time and that there’s something better out there waiting for me, for which I cannot wait.

Sure, I miss what was, and a part of me always will. We had good times and I’ll always cherish those. I don’t regret our relationship. He was a great guy, just not the right guy for me. I’ll always cherish our relationship as a whole, too, but I’ll also move on from it, to the next chapter of my life. This past relationship taught me a lot about myself and love. I can look back and be happy about the good times we did share but remind myself, there’s another special someone out there for me who is my Mr. Right.

So to my dear family and friends, thank you.

Thank you all, family and friends, for…

  • Allowing me to cry with non-waterproof mascara down my face on your shoulder.
  • Allowing me to vent about how I think my life sucks and it’s over but reassuring me that there are plenty more fish in the sea and a silver lining to this cloud.
  • To all the texts, Facebook and Snapchat messages checking in on me to make sure I am hanging in there, some from people I wouldn’t have expected.
  • (My two best friends) driving 45 minutes just to come see me and hang out with me the day after the break up because they knew I was a wreck.
  • (My best friend in Nashville) texting me right away asking how I was doing, because she is the testament to a true friend, one who despite hundreds of miles between us, can offer support even over iMessages, lol. 🙂
  • The women in my family: Reminding me of what I deserve and to never, ever settle — in any aspect of life, but especially relationships.
  • Continuing to lift me on those days where I can’t help but think I miss the idea of us but pointing out that some people just aren’t meant to be, and that’s OK.
  • Letting me be sad for the time being and then making sure I don’t stay in that rut and getting out there and having fun, living my life and meeting new people.
  • Most of all, just thank you for being here for me overall, not just during this tough time but through all my other tough times, as well as good times.

I recently bought this wooden sign that says:

“My friends have made the story of my life”

and that could not be more true. So to my friends and family, thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. I am on the mend and I feel good about life. I am eager to see what this new month and the upcoming new year has in store for me.

Perhaps when I am fully healed I can open my heart to love again, or at least the possibility of it. I’m excited to just do things that make me happy while also enjoying the company of my loved ones, for who I am so incredibly thankful for, this month, and every other day and month of the year.

Until next time…

XO,

Anamaria

Be kind, be thoughtful, be genuine, but most of all, be thankful…

still-life-07

I know I don’t say it enough but I have to say, I am extremely thankful to have the people I do in my life.

Whether it’s my family, best friends or acquaintances, they have proved to me in both good times and bad that I can rely on them, sometimes without me even reaching out to them first.

Reeling with a breakup is tough. I won’t be afraid to admit it that this one hurts like hell. And I know, I’m well aware I need to move on, and in time, I will.

I know I need to quit analyzing what went wrong because no matter how hard I try, it won’t ever make sense to me and I’ll likely never have a definitive answer, anyway. That’s the hard part. I hate not knowing things, the reasoning. Perhaps it’s part of my natural curiosity for things in general? Who knows…

For the longest time I never believed in “everything happens for a reason” but, as I got older, I realized that for me personally, it was the only way I could live my life. I had to believe there was a reason, even for the bad things, as to why they happened.

And I believe in it whole-heartedly now. While I may not know the answer now or ever, I must and do take comfort in knowing God must have something bigger up his sleeve for me.

I got to thinking the other day when talking with my cousin’s girlfriend about how her grandpa wants her to get married before he dies. It got me thinking to why I felt I was in such a rush to fall in love and get married and I realized that’s one of the reasons.

Of course, when I told this to my mom she said, and I of course agreed with her, that I couldn’t marry someone only for that fact. But, it definitely does play a big factor. On the other hand, I’ve wanted to fall in love and get married for as long as I can remember. I just love love. There is no simpler way for me to say it.

And while unfortunately I’ve dated frogs and haven’t found my prince yet, it was through those experiences that I learned what I will and won’t settle for when I do find true love and how thrilling and exciting it will be when I do find Mr. Right.

It also was through those experiences that I learned I do have true people in my life who I can lean on and whose shoulder I can cry on when my heart gets broken or for any other rough patch in life. People who will love me day in and day out and continue to do so no matter how many mistakes I make, or in this case, get my heartbroken and feel as though I’m not good enough.

Let me tell you, having a support system like I do is the greatest thing of all in life. I wouldn’t have made it through my past breakups, or other hardships in life, if it weren’t for my amazing friends, family and others who have gone out of their way to make sure they know I am always loved and cared for, and that my value doesn’t decrease just because of someone else’s inability to see it.

Sure, I roll my eyes — with a smile — when they tell me, because while as much as I don’t feel like I’m worth it when my heart and spirits get crushed, deep down I know it’s true, that I am loved.

Not only by them, but by God, too. I’m not a hugely religious person or anything but I do believe in God and ironically enough yesterday as I was driving back home I passed a church sign that said, “When all else fails, God loves you.”

It was a message that couldn’t have came at a better time for the situation I am dealing with right now. OK, so not all has failed me, like my mom pointed out, and that there are people beyond God who love me, but still, it was just both eerie and a nice reminder to know that I am not alone in feeling like this at the moment.

Like I said, in time I will get over this heartbreak. But it will take time. This I know.

It’s strange, though, while I am sad, I am also grateful for the experience because like I said above, it taught me what I will and will not settle for in the future. And like the quote goes,”It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”

So we didn’t work out? It sucks. But the people who end up being wrong for us end up leading us to the person who is right for us. And for that I am excited.

But my point of this particular post is, is that I couldn’t get through this without my friends and family. The ones who continue to lift me up a little more each day and remind me I am worthy of someone who loves me back just as I love them.

It wasn’t my last boyfriend and that’s OK. And again, I will be OK too, in time.

For now I will continue to grieve my breakup and focus on me and doing what makes me happy alone. And then one day when I am ready, I will get back in the dating game full-swing. Because whether anyone else believes it or not, I sure do, I will fall in love some day and have my “happily-ever-after.”

So my family and friends, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I truly can’t say it enough for I probably would never want to get out of bed because you know me, I like to be super dramatic and believe things are way worse than they actually are. But I know there are way worse things in the world than a breakup. My breakup wasn’t the first and it won’t be my or anyone’s last.

Remember, just because one person doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean no one else loves you. Hell, even a stranger might love you but you won’t know it until you meet that “perfect” stranger. 🙂

Until next time…

XO,

Ana

Tough times don’t last, tough people do…

Another one bites the dust…

Heartbreak. Sucks, doesn’t it?

I should know, I’m dealing with one right now. On the one hand, fortunately for only the second time, or, third, if you count the second heartbreak with the same person.

But regardless of how few or many times one has experienced heartbreak, it still hurts. For some, it might not hurt as much the more they experience it. But, for others, like myself, it feels like it gets harder.

Perhaps maybe it’s because I am expecting much more than I did when I was younger and so I have a lot more to lose. Or maybe I just feel and love too much. Perhaps that’s my downfall.

Then again, maybe it’s just not all me. In fact, it’s not all me. Just like it takes two people to sustain and maintain a relationship, it really does take two people to break it.

Despite this heartbreak, though, and the one before, I still do believe in love.

Yes, I am heartbroken, sad, angry, confused. A lot of things. But, ultimately, I know, like so many people tell me and have told me countless times before, there is the man of my dreams and meant for me out there somewhere. And one day, I’ll meet him.

Perhaps it could be him, the one who broke my heart now, again one day. I believe people can change and grow, and I also believe that two people who are truly meant to be will find a way to be together, if and when the time is right.

But perhaps it’s a different man completely, which is both exciting and scary. I know, it’ll happen when it’s meant to. That’s why I have vowed not to do any sort of dating for awhile.

Not only do I need sufficient time to heal, but I also just need and want to focus on myself. Find what makes me happy.

I’m willing and able to accept that I can’t put a time frame on when I’ll move on because it’s different for everyone and like I said above, I love and feel hard so this break up has affected me significantly.

I want to move on and be over him as soon as I can but I need to be realistic. Trying to force myself to just “get over him,” isn’t going to work. Trust me, I’ve tried the first time we broke up and the time before that when I broke up with my first boyfriend before him.

Perhaps for other women or even men themselves, they can move on in a pinch, which, in this case, if it’s the man well, how could it be so easy for him? Why is it so hard for me to move on? Perhaps he maybe hasn’t really moved on as quick as I think but copes with heartbreak differently than me.

And for that, I accept it. I love him and therefore I can accept that. I can accept people coping differently, or, even if he really did move on already. Why, because I felt that strongly about him that I can’t nor could ever find it in my heart to hate him.

I tried doing that with my first boyfriend and that did nothing for me, except made me angry and bitter for the better part of six years. It wasn’t until I got older and somehow wiser (lol) that I realized it takes too much energy to hate people. That’s not to say I’m not sad or angry that we broke up, but I know in time my heart will heal and I’ll be OK — I’ll move on. I wouldn’t want him to hate me and I don’t want to hate him.

Of course, every couple is different and some exes may hate their partner but that’s just not me, anymore. I know I truly love someone when I wish them well and only want what’s best for them. Of course, I have my moments of temporary setback where I get angry and think he doesn’t deserve happiness but then I snap back to reality and realize that isn’t fair and it takes too much energy to be mad. It sucks knowing you are no longer part of their happiness but, just the fact they’re happy in general should be enough to make you happy. Should be, anyway.

I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for former flames. Why? Because I’m not that kind of person not to. These people were a significant part of my life and while they no longer are, I will always at least have the memories, which makes me appreciative and grateful to have once had them a part of my life. If that makes sense? Basically, because I can’t hate them, again, no matter how badly they broke my heart.

Like the title of this blog posts says, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” So in time, like I said above, I will move on. I’ll be 100 percent happy myself and happy for him. But it will take just that: time.

I, nor should anyone else, expect me to snap out of the heartbreak like that. That’s not being realistic.

Thankfully, I have an incredible support system. The number of people who have texted me asking if I am OK is nothing short of amazing. I was reminded just how truly blessed I am to have the people in my life that I do. So, one person left my life? Doesn’t mean my life is over, it just means it’s time for the next chapter of it.

While I’m eager to find out what’s in store, I am going to just take it as it comes. Like I said, feel the hurt, anger, sadness and frustration and then eventually, gain the strength to move on.

I have good days where I don’t give it much thought and throw all of my energy into work (and, let’s be honest, watching TV, lol) and then not-so-good days where I cry, or can’t sleep at night because I’m wondering where I went wrong; and text him when I shouldn’t.

It’s a daily, habitual process. Every day when I get to work or wherever else I need/want to be I tell myself, “I got up, and showed up.”

I said that the other day and my brother asked me what I meant by it. I said, it means I didn’t let life (and its bad events) get me down. I rose again.”

It’s not an easy process going through a heartbreak. There’s no official manual that has a step-by-step of how to get over it. But usually, for a woman, it’s to cry, eat ice cream, go out with your girl friends, yell, sleep and find a hobby — which are all fabulous ideas, and most of which I’ve done so far. But then again, everyone is entitled to their own way on how they cope. That’s just how I am coping. There’s no right or wrong day to do so.

And that is why I must give a special shout out to two of my best friends who physically drove to my apartment to see me the day after my break up last week because they knew I was hurting. And they’ve continued to text me throughout the week because they know I still am hurting. I mean, who could ask for better friends? I certainly could not and I am and will forever be so grateful for them. I would not be able to make it through this heartbreak without them, my other friends, and especially my mom and family. So thank you, thank you all.

In the mean time, I’m going to try my best to find distractions, er, a hobby to keep me busy. Find something I enjoy to do that is not only a distraction but truly makes me happy.

If anyone has any helpful suggestions, leave a comment.

And remember, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”

Until next time…

XO,
Ana

Great things never came from comfort zones…

goals

Hey there!

March officially kicked off last week and with the spouts of warm, sunny weather we’ve had recently it’s gotten me really excited for the spring season and overall just new goals this month. I came across a fellow blogger’s post about goals for the month of March and decided to follow suit and do the same.

So here is what I hope to accomplish in order to break out of my usual comfort zone…

  1. Actually finish Bethenny Frankel’s book, I Suck At Relationships So You Don’t Have To
  2. Be more conscious of what I eat — not be so hardcore at counting calories that I set myself up for failure but, cutting back (hopefully) on pop and fast food. I recently have become addicted to pop again and with a vending machine at work that offers it, it’s easy to give in.
  3. Be happy. Simple. There’s always going to be negativity in the world but it’s up to us individually on how we react to it. We can’t let the negativity define us or make us bitter. We must allow it to make us better and rise above it. And that goes for things that happen to us personally or in general. And of course, if it’s something we can fix, then we should most definitely try.
  4. Understand and realize that not everything is as it seems. What I mean is that just because someone posts/presents a certain persona on social media doesn’t necessarily mean their life is as perfect as it may seem to you, the viewer. I for one often think this and then compare my life to theirs and feel like I am missing out on something but then I bring myself to reality and realize that while yes, people may have their own fantastic life, it may not always be perfect. And it’s totally acceptable to realize I too have a fantastic life, while not always perfect but, fulfilling, nonetheless.
  5. Give people chances — but, not too many. I am the type of woman who wears her heart on her sleeve and whether it’s my family, or your my friend or my significant other, I will care deeply for you. I may not always show or tell it, but, I love the people in my life more than anything else in the world. My family, for example, are people I would truly be lost without. And while I may not always tell them, I do love them and most definitely will always fight for them. But by giving chances I mean being open to the opportunities that present themselves to me, whatever it may be. Whether it’s saying ‘yes’ to someone asking me out on a date (after all, what do I have to lose?), writing a story I may not have a ton of interest or expertise in but be willing to learn, giving people a chance to redeem themselves after a mistake, but, also not letting them take advantage of me. I can and will only give people so many chances. And this month, and continuing in the future, I vow to myself to not let people take advantage of me in any way by giving them too many chances.
  6. Actually listen to what people are telling me and be actively engaged. I’ve noticed I tend to be hearing people but not always fully listening to the details and then later trying to piece together what exactly it was they were talking about. And this goes for both interviews for work and conversations among my family and friends.
  7. Smile. Sure, this may sound silly but people always say, ‘fake it until you make it?’ right? Well, even when times are chaotic or I’m going through something where I’m feeling sad or down, I am going to grin and bear it. After all, life is much too short to be spent down.
  8. Get moving more. Whether it’s something as simple/little as taking the stairs at my apartment or dancing to music while I’m getting ready for work or even putting my laundry away, I want to do my best to make sure I am moving more. After all, exercise gives us endorphins and endorphins make you happy. 😉
  9. Keep in touch with people better. Lately I’ve realized that I am not always the best at keeping in touch with loved ones, like my friends. I tend to get so wrapped in my love for my new job and my new apartment that I let other important aspects of my life, such as my friends (and family, too) fall to the way side. I vow to be better at texting my friends and asking them how life is.
  10. Lastly… My goal is to try and blog more!

What about you? What are YOUR goals for this month and the remainder of the year?

Leave me a comment!

Until next time…

XO,

Anamaria

Change is inevitable, progress is optional…

So, it’s been a minute since I’ve last blogged.

Okay, so it’s been two months but, I’ve busy with work, a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, my 26th birthday, patiently (okay, not so patiently waiting) for the arrival of my nephew, etc. etc.

Alright, so maybe I haven’t been that busy to where I couldn’t blog but let me tell you, sleep is my number two priority after work. LOL. When I am not working or busy with other commitments you can guarantee I am sleeping or watching ridiculous Lifetime Movie Network movies.

Anyway… Moving along.

So today actually marks the two month anniversary of when I moved into my apartment and then on Saturday it will have been two months since I started my first day at C-T. (That’s The Chronicle-Tribune for those of you who don’t know the abbreviation, lol, because I don’t feel like repeatedly typing it out)

Work has been a learning process–fun, cool, exciting. I still consider myself a rookie because coming in I felt a bit rusty. I had just finished up my internship at HOMTV and yes, I obviously studied journalism and got my degree in it and had my intern at WLNS, etc., but, being back in a print-focused atmosphere was something I was struggling to get a hold of again. Thankfully my co-workers and boss are awesome and have been helping me out along the way. I mean yeah I still have more to learn, and always will, I believe with any job it’s like that, and thankfully I’ve had great mentors along the way.

Of course, while I’m learning a lot and still getting to know the town of Marion, I wouldn’t be being completely honest if I said I didn’t have some challenges along the way. Like for example, after the Fourth of July holiday weekend when I was leaving my cottage to come back I got upset, and quite honestly, it was hard to say my “see you later’s” to my family. My mom saw it firsthand, and as any good mom, she told me everything would be okay. And deep down I knew it would be, but, at that exact moment I didn’t want to leave after having spent an incredible weekend with my whole immediate family, plus my uncle Steve.

Fast forward to this past weekend, and same thing happened. I know, it sounds pathetic, especially being 26-years-old–an adult–living on her own but, it did happen again and, I have no doubt it will happen again until I become more familiar with Marion and meeting friends and having people to hang out with instead of just constantly being by myself in my apartment when I get home from work. Anyway, this time it happened not while I was leaving from home in Michigan to my home here, but rather, leaving Nashville and coming back home to Indiana but wanting to make it all the way back to Michigan for just the night so I could finally meet my nephew Stone.

So Stone was born on Wednesday, July 27, 2016. My sister-in-law, Jamie, went to the hospital early Tuesday morning (like the middle of the night), and my mom called me at 6:30 a.m. to tell me she had so. Of course that was the morning I was scheduled to drive down to Nashville to stay with my old college roommate and friend, Kayla, and see my cousin’s new house and then spend the rest of the weekend celebrating the bride-to-be, Alison, and I was put in a tough spot. Part of me was dying to go home instead so I could be there when he was actually born but, the other part of me wanted to stick to my plan and go on to Nashville because I thought it would be rude if I didn’t. Plus, what ultimately made me choose Nashville over the birth of Stone was that I knew I wouldn’t get to celebrate Alison and her bachelorette party again, but, that Stone would and will always be there when I visit home next. It was still a tough decision for me and as soon as he was actually born and my mom sent me pictures I felt like I was immediately starting to regret making the trip down south. He was more beautiful and perfect than I could have ever imagined. Words couldn’t describe the feelings I had when I saw him (in picture form) for the first time. But, let’s just say I was at out shopping at the mall at the time and definitely started tearing up, in the baby clothes department, looking all kinds of pathetic. LOL.

Fast forward to Tuesday, two days ago, and when I found out I would get to leave early from work I knew I had to make the 2.5 hour drive home to see my nephew. Sure, I will be going home again tomorrow but, I seriously just couldn’t take it any longer. I drove home as fast as I could and when I got to my brother and sister-in-law’s house, I RAN to the front door. (And for those who know me, you know I don’t run for anything–I HATE running, lmao.) I open the door and see Jamie feeding Stone, and I am even more shocked and taken away at how precious, beautiful and perfect he really is. I called Jamie as I was leaving town to tell her I was coming home and wanted to see him and also warned her I would probably cry when I saw him. Thankfully I was able to hold my tears back but I kid you not, every time I look at a picture of him, and even yesterday when I was out shopping for groceries at Meijer but then “somehow” ended up in the baby boy clothes section, I started tearing up. LOL.

I’m sure some of you are probably wondering why I am so emotional over Stone and maybe even some of my family members are thinking back to when their babies were born and how I didn’t act like this. It’s not that I love any of my other nieces and nephews any less or anything like that–I will tell you now that being an aunt is my greatest “gig” yet and I’ve been lucky enough to be one since I was 2.5 years old. But with Stone, it is different. And I will tell you why…

My older brother Adam, is someone, who despite us literally fighting sometimes or him just being a natural big brother and picking on me from time to time in general, is someone I appreciate and look up to. I look up to all of my siblings, yes, and I love them all the same. But, for those of you who know Adam–you know he is, how do I put it? A bit “rough around the edges”, if you will. He’s not perfect by any means but, who is? No one. When he was growing up he wasn’t a horrible teenager but, he wasn’t an angel either. (Love you, Adam) And so of course when he and Jamie told the family at Christmas last year that they were expecting I lost it. Mind you, I had a few glasses of wine in me, lol, but, even to present day, I get emotional thinking about him as a dad. I guess to be honest there were some days, some moments where I thought, “Adam as a dad? Yeah right, not any time soon–more like not for a long time.” And, I think part of me thought this because I had always known him to be the one who likes to have fun, doing whatever it may be. But, after the news broke and time went on, I knew he and Jamie were going to be forced to “grow up” (not saying that they were careless/reckless or anything like that) or rather, “upgrade” to parent status. It was weird to think about, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t have doubts but, at the end of the day, I knew they would make great parents. Like any parents, I imagine (I can’t speak 100% because I myself am not a parent yet), they will make mistakes and deal with Stone acting out as he grows up and gets older but, that’s normal for any family with kids. Seeing Adam transition from the “having fun” guy to dad, is something that’s very sentimental to me. (If that’s the right word to use??) Not that I am not proud of Jamie, or my other siblings with kids, but, this is my big brother, Adam, we’re talking about. It’s just something that’s hard to explain without it coming out wrong so if you’re reading this and taking it the wrong way, I am sorry. It just is something different with Adam being a dad. Even just typing this is making me emotional.

At the end of the day, I love all of my nieces and nephews the same. I hate that they grow up so fast, though, which, is also part of the reason I think I am so obsessed and in love with Stone. That, and we haven’t had a baby boy since… Calvin, I believe, and he’ll be 10 (?) this year. REALLY?! It’s just crazy how fast time goes by and how quickly each one of them grows up. Even Annabelle, who will be 3-years-old in December (OMG, that just hit me… THREE?!), has grown up so fast right before my very eyes. And that’s not to say my nieces and nephews aren’t as fun when they grow up, but, their priorities shift as they get older just like mine did. My niece Madi has two daughters, is engaged… My nephew Drew is in college, has a job… My nephew Zach is a SENIOR in high school and will graduate next year… My niece, Gabi, will be fourteen, WHAT?!… My nephew Max will be THIRTEEN (I think, right? See, I myself am getting too old to remember everyone’s age, LOL) in December AND he now has his own cell phone. I texted him a couple times so far and one time when I texted him asking him if he was watching Big Brother he said “no” and then didn’t really say much to me after that so he must have been too tired to text me too 😦 LOL… My niece Amelia and nephew Calvin will both be 10 in November… My nieces Raelynn and Gigi will both start Kindergarten in the fall… And like I said earlier, Annabelle will be THREE in December. And then my niece, Ashlyn, and her girlfriend are both working and have a place of their own and then my nephew, Corey, and his fiancee have their own place too with their two kids and pets. I mean, they’re all grown up! This is partly why I freaked when I wasn’t there when Stone was born because I there for just about every other birth of my nieces and nephews and to not be able to be there for Stone tore me apart. Even now, living away, it’s hard because I know I don’t get to see him all the time like I did growing up with my other nieces and nephews.

I have to remind myself though that I don’t live that far and can always come home on a weekend if I don’t work, but, living away in general is still taking getting used to. My mom and dad assure me it will be fine, and I know deep down they’re right. It’s just going to take time.

Hopefully soon I will meet people to hang out with and stuff, but, even if not, it’s a part of the growing up process–just like my mom told me. I am an adult now and she said herself, I can do it. I’m thankful to have the best parents in the world who refuse to let me give up when times get tough. They believe in me enough to know that I can work past whatever it is that is thrown my way. So mom, dad–thank you both. Thank you to all of my family for giving me that push I needed to make the move to work my dream job and do what I love most.

I know there will always be challenges here and there in the future, in whatever aspect/stage of life, but, they’re always there behind me.

Until next time…

XO,

Ana