A silly thing to be upset about turns into something else entirely

I’ve had the same trainer for like, a year now.  She’s wonderful.  I love her.  She gets me and she gets how I work.  She knows how to push me.  And she makes me laugh.

Today she told me that due to her heavy courseload this semester, she cannot train me anymore.

TO say that I was crushed would be barely scraping the surface.  I was crying.  Like a lot.  I feel like she broke up with me – even though I completely understand and I know that’s what she needed to do.  But still – I like her.  I like my time with her.  And now that’s not something I can do anymore.

So after I left her house today, I got in the car and cried.  But I wasn’t just crying about the fact that Lisa isn’t going to be my trainer.  I was crying about the stress from work, stress from things relating to my brother, the way that 21 didn’t come over on Sunday night even though he said he would.  I was crying out of the panic of getting ready to go on vacation when I don’t feel prepared.  I cried because it’s cold outside, the wind is howling and I just want to see some flowers.  I cried because when 21 invited me over for next Monday night, I stupidly told him that V-Day isn’t a big deal.  Because it’s not.  And now who knows what he thinks?

It’s so stupid.  But it’s something that I needed to do.  I needed to cry my eyes out in my car over nothing to realize that I’m stressed out but it will be over soon.

I’ll be on a beach in Mexico soon.  I’ll be in New Orleans even sooner.  The Dog Ball is this weekend and I can’t wait to get all dressed up.  I’m getting a haircut, which always makes me feel fabulous.  I’m going to buy V-Day cards for all my friends and nothing brings me more joy than to send them to my friends.  I might have some ice cream for dessert tonight, which would bring a smile to my face.  And if all else fails, at least tomorrow is Wednesday…which means the week is halfway over.  Thankfully.

Whoops

So remember when I was all “hey, I’m going to stop treading water at work because things have evened out and I’m going to get ahead and HEY I had that discussion with my manager and now know what I think I want to do?”

Remember?

Well, yesterday they informed us that starting Monday, half of our team is going to be on a new team that they just made up.  And the half of our team that is left does not include my manager or my manager’s manager.  Hell, I don’t even know if we HAVE a manager. 

But basically, my responsibilities – THE ONES I JUST GOT A HANDLE ON – are changing.  AGAIN.  AGAIN FOR THE 5TH TIME SINCE JULY.

So I’m a little annoyed.  and now this changes everything.  Like, the position that I think I wanted to work for is no longer in my grasp because they sort of put someone else in that position by creating this new team.  So it’s been taken away from me when I didn’t even really try. 

Now I’m back to the drawing board and back to trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing.

Reverb Day 24 – Everything’s okay

Prompt: Everything’s OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

The only moment that can serve as proof that everything is okay is the fact that moments keep on happening.  I keep on waking up and going to work and seeing my friends and having fun.  If things weren’t okay, that wouldn’t happen.

Stuff gets hard.  Times get tough.  But even when I was thinking that stuff couldn’t get worse, there would be a glimmer of hope.  I might laugh so hard at someone that I cried.  I might have lots of fun sitting on the couch all night with one of my friends.  I might meet a boy that amuses me, if only for a moment.

As long as moments, even if few and far between, keep on happening, that’s how I know it’s going to be okay.  As long as I get butterflies from seeing 21, I have friends that make me laugh and smile, I’ve got a family that might be insane, but they are still mine – things are going to be okay.

Everything else between those moments that’s good and wonderful?  that’s just a bonus

 

Reverb Day 21 – Past, Present and Future selves

Prompt: Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

It’s hard to imagine myself 5 years from now because I can’t even imagine myself tomorrow.  So.  here goes.

Hello Previous Self,

                It’s Future Self here.  And I know you wouldn’t expect to hear from me, but here I am.  Listen to what I have to say.  I know what’s what.

                Things may not have gone the way that you planned them, but in the end, everything will work out.  You know that you’re going to be able to settle down and have all the things you want.  You know that if you just work hard enough, you’ll have the life you imagined. 

                2011 is going to be good.  There’s no way it could be as bad as 2009 – am I right?!  You will make choices that might not be the best choices, but they will be what is best for you.  And no matter what, you’ll make it through this stuff.

                Keep your head up, previous self.  You can kick ass at whatever you want to do.  Keep on living your 25.2 dream.  Don’t forget who your friends are.  Remember to smile, even if you think you can’t.  And if all else fails, a vodka tonic will solve everything.

XOXO

Future Self

Dear 16 year old Self,

  Wow.  You are a trip.  You’re a little intense, a little weird and a lot crazy.  But here’s what you need to know – you’re going to make it.  Shit sucks now.  I know that.  You’re sad, you feel alone and you don’t know how you’re going to keep on putting one foot in front of the other.  Know this – you do.  You keep it up.  You’re going to make it through high school and through college.  And at times, you’re going to feel like you’re sinking.

In fact, you do sink.  You go under.  But you come back up for air. 

Smalltown Connecticut is going to get left behind when you go to school in Western New York.  You’re going to meet some fabulous people that you will be friends with for life.  You’re going to date some boys that are very very bad for you.  You’re going to date one that is going to come in and out of your life and destroy it every time.  It’s hard for me, as your 26 Year Old Self to allow that to happen.  But you have to.  You’ll learn from it.  You need to date and fall for this boy so that you can realize what good is.  And it’s not him. 

You’ll graduate.  You’ll work in retail.  You’ll realize that your dream of being on the radio might not work out.  But it will all be okay along the way.  You’ll make it.  You might not always take the easy path, but you bring a machete when you don’t.  You’ll fight with people you love.  You’ll spend lots of nights crying.  You’ll get sick and get better.  But you will make it to 26.

I know it doesn’t seem like it now.  I know you think that 16 is the end of the road.  But trust me, it’s really not.  Just hold on.  Keep doing it.  Keep living.  Because once you get older and things settle down, you’ll settle down.  You’ll find what you’re looking for.  You’ll find what you’re meant to do, who you’re meant to be with and how things are meant to go down.

Trust me, 16 Year Old Self.  You’ll be able to do this.  Sometimes you might not be better than okay – but you’re going to get out of this.  And in 10 years, you’ll look back and wonder how you nearly exploded and didn’t.

Just know that you do.  And you’re fabulous for it.

XOXO

26 Year Old Self

Who I Am when I’m not ridiculous

There’s a part of my life that I haven’t really blogged about ever.  There’s no real reason for that – but it’s just something that’s become so ingrained in Who I Am that I forget that it’s not how other people are. 
 
My brother Jamie has autism.  And while the statistics are now that 1 in 110 kids is diagnosed with autism, Jamie is 22.  He was diagnosed as being on the spectrum before anyone honestly knew what we were dealing with.  I’m not sure what life would be like for us now if any of the education surrounding autism was around when he was younger.  But he’s my brother.  I love him and he’s one of the best people that I know.
 
While life with Jamie is fabulous and wonderful, it isn’t all candy and unicorn farts.  He’s frustrating.  He has a hard time focusing, needs a lot of attention when he’s home and can get on your nerves.  And while I’d like to ride my high horse into I’m Better Than You Town, I can’t.  because sometimes, I get mad at him.  Sometimes I raise my voice and shout at him.  Sometimes we’re like a normal brother and sister.  Sometimes I can’t stand him being around.  When I get into a fight with someone and just want to be alone, he’s following me.  He’s trailing me, asking me what’s wrong, telling me not to be upset.
 
And you know what doesn’t help when you’re upset?  Someone who is telling you not to be upset.
 
So I can act all high and mighty about Jamie, but it’s not like that.  While I love him to death and honestly would do anything for him, sometimes I do wish that he was just…you know…normal. 
 
At the same time, I can’t imagine my life if Jamie wasn’t the way he is.  I can’t imagine having a Christmas where we didn’t talk about Santa because Santa still comes to our house.  I don’t know what it would be like to have a typical 22 year old brother – someone I could go out with, share drinks with, enjoy movies with.  That isn’t something I can wrap my brain around because it’s never been something I’ve considered. 
 
Now that I have a new job and I’ve been dating 21, there are so many people in my life that don’t know about Jamie.  And while he’s not a constant topic of discussion, I’ve had to talk about him.  I’ve been thinking of the ways to explain to someone that might not have any idea what Jamie is all about.  Over the years, it’s become easier because autism is so much more in the public eye than it was before.  But Jamie isn’t Rain Man.  Jamie isn’t profoundly autistic either.  So my explanation has to go further than “My brother has autism”.  I encourage people to ask questions because it’s very easy to want to know if Jamie has a magical counting power (he doesn’t), if he can speak (he’ll talk your ear off) and what he’s capable of (making me laugh by telling my mom that I’m being a dick). 

21 has been the most curious about Jamie and with a good reason.  21 has been carefully picking his words when he talks about Jamie in an attempt not to offend me.  The thing is, I’d rather him say what he thinks and be blantant about it than dance around the subject.  I know that he doesn’t know anything about autism.  I’m aware.  But he tries so hard not to step on my toes, not to make me feel like Jamie is someone to be ashamed of. 

For a long while I was ashamed of Jamie because I didn’t know any better.  I was 12 years old.  I was trying to fit in.  He didn’t help me fit into the mold of the community we lived in.  Jamie was not a part of the community.  So I hid him.  I didn’t invite my friends over to my house.  I never had sleepovers.  I didn’t say a lot about my family because I couldn’t find the words that I needed.  I thankfully found a friend or two that were understanding.  They were people that I could invite over that wouldn’t judge Jamie for the fact that sometimes, he doesn’t wear pants (sorry guys).  From there, I learned.  I found out what I needed to say and how to (for lack of a better phrase) prepare people for Jamie.  I learned that some people cannot be accepting.  I learned that some people are bound to be jerks.  And I learned that if someone doesn’t like Jamie or Jamie doesn’t like that someone?  They don’t need to be in my life. 
 
My mom sent me this email a while ago that was about siblings of people with autism.  It’s something that I’ve held on to because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it.  Posting it here is as good as anything, I suppose.  The email was about the strengths that siblings of people with autism have.
 
Perception. Having an autistic sibling means growing up alongside someone who sees the world in a unique, individual way – a way that is often different from the mainstream population. It also means living day-to-day with someone who behaves somewhat-to-very differently than the general population. The sibling without autism learns very early on that the world we live in is not black and white; there is not necessarily a right and wrong way to do all things. With solid parental guidance, siblings come to learn that individuality is not scary or wrong, but valued and beneficial to society. The neuro-typical siblings go into adult life with open minds and the ability to see the world from many views. Not only does this shape an individual with compassion, empathy, and acceptance of differences, but it also inspires innovation and creativity. The siblings can become real thinkers who see beyond face value, as well as diplomats who can navigate and reconcile conflicting points of view.
 
Perspective. Growing up with an autistic sibling means watching your sibling face each day with more courage and strength than most of us can fathom. Whether facing ridicule and cruelty from others or simply trying to get by in a world that was not built to accommodate their needs and way of thinking, kids with autism experience constant challenges. It’s difficult to witness this on a daily basis and not grow up with great perspective about what actually constitutes a problem. Granted, a pitfall of some siblings is to decide that their own real problems or feelings do not warrant attention or concern. However, with maturity and proper guidance from caring adults, the siblings can grow into adults who can balance experiencing their feelings with not overreacting to trivialities or falling prey to self-pity. This perspective allows them to remain calm during difficult situations, and to be thoughtful rather than reactionary.
 
Leadership. Siblings of autistic children often have to mature very early – arguably, earlier than should be required. By necessity, siblings often must assist their parents in helping, providing care, and teaching. These households can be chaotic, and siblings must develop a real inner strength to deal with the chaos, emotions, and frequent uncertainty. In families, siblings often collaborate – working on projects, carrying out chores, or playing together. Siblings often see each other’s capabilities and way of thinking from a different perspective than their parents or teachers. Whether older or younger, the non-autistic siblings naturally gravitate to leadership roles in the sibling relationship. They learn to stand up for their sibling to others, and advocate for their sibling’s potential to be seen and met with proper challenges for growth and success. Whereas some of this presents difficulty for some, in the end, it shapes strong adults with tremendous potential for leadership. They can grow into leaders who are comfortable navigating uncertainty and still delivering results; they become comfortable leading and motivating others, and they learn to see and foster the potential in those they lead. They see differences in working styles and ways of thinking as welcome attributes rather than frightening, difficult to manage, or unacceptable. The siblings become strong, compassionate leaders who are natural innovators, protectors, and advocates.
 
Courage. By necessity, growing up with an autistic sibling teaches a child to have the courage to stand out. Venturing into society with someone who does not necessarily conform or can have unfiltered reactions means there will be moments when the entire family stands out, whether they like it or not. For children and teenagers this can sometimes cause embarrassment. However, it is an important part of their development that will yield rewards their entire lives. It helps the siblings learn to be themselves and express their ideas, and not be swayed by the crowd. It helps them see public perception for what it is, and to know when to take or leave an outside judgment or opinion. A lifetime of developing strength and compassion provides the courage and pride to face the world head-on.
 
Creativity. Many of the other listed benefits have underlying tones of creativity, or produce creativity as a byproduct of the other attributes achieved. Siblings often have a unique way of communicating – sometimes even developing a shorthand or symbiotic relationship. Learning to communicate effectively with an autistic sibling takes a great deal of creativity. Autism manifests differently in each person, and there is a broad spectrum. However, communication and social awareness are almost always affected in some way. Siblings grow up learning how to organically communicate, reach, and connect with their sibling. Because those with autism often have unique and varied ways of thinking and seeing the world, their neuro-typical siblings often benefit from a very creative point of view. Simply being so intimately engaged with a person lacking the tools to temper individuality through conformity stretches the mind and creativity of a sibling. Many people with autism also have some extraordinary abilities. Not all are creative, but some do have creative talent, be it visual arts, music, writing, or simply expressing a worldview that is unique and insightful. An added benefit to creativity is when a sibling grows up in a house filled with this art. Even a non-creative interest exposes the siblings to aspects of the world that they would not normally delve into, and can feed creativity. If the siblings happens to share a creative interest, both or all the siblings’ creativity and awareness grows together. Some siblings even apply their creativity to solving scientific and sociological puzzles, including the puzzle of autism.

Reverb day 14 – Appreciation, I has it

Prompt: Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

One of the things that I’ve come to appreciate the most this past year is my friends. And yes, it’s so easy to say that. But honestly, they’ve been so supportive and lovely and tolerant of me. Even when I’ve been a terror. Which has been most every day. Dumbledore bless them.

I’ve been struggling this year with handling things in my life. For the most part, I have my stuff together, but every now and again, I would fall apart. I was a terrible bitch while I was looking for a job. Then I found a job filled with terrible girls. I would get into my car at night and cry because they were so mean (and I just admitted that. Hello, I’m a 14 year old girl). And my friends would tell me how mean the girls at work were and how stupid the girls are work were for not being friends with me. And the girls at work SHOULD have been friends with me because I HAVE ALL THE HOOKUPS AND THEY ARE DUMB.

Sorry. Tagent.

My close friends are my go to people when my shit is falling apart. They pick me up and save me from myself. When I’m panicking about nonsense, when I’m freaking out over something major or whether I’m just not in control of my life, they remind me to keep it together, no one is going to die and above all IT WILL BE OKAY.

I tell my friends very very often how lucky I am to have them. I tell them, willingly and openly, how much I love them. I end almost every conversation with my Alfred girls with how much I love and miss them all the time. I hug my friends. I tell them stupid things I wouldn’t tell anyone else. And I can’t thank them enough for all they did this year.

Maybe in 2011, I can return the favor.

Reverb Day 12 – Body movin’

Prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

Can I just say that I think this is a really..uh..dumb question? Like honestly. How do you even answer this? I got this question via email last night on my blackberry a little after midnight. I was standing in 21’s kitchen and I was making a weird confused face after reading the email. He was like “what is wrong with you?”

What’s wrong is this question.

Anyway. I don’t know if there’s really a good answer for this question. I did spend many afternoons this summer working with my personal trainer. She’s one of my most favorite people in the world. She knows how to push me and what to say to make me try harder.

For about 2 months, I was seeing her 3-4 times a week. She was having me do things that I never thought I’d be able to do. I could feel myself getting stronger, having more endurance and feeling more confident about myself. I can’t say the last time that I felt that good.

When Lisa was having me running sprints and doing jump jacks and planks and I could do it. WITHOUT BEING TOO WINDED AND DYING? That was an amazing feeling. Because that meant that everything I had been doing had paid off.

This summer flew by before I even knew it. But the way that my body developed and changed is something that I won’t soon forget.

And now? I’ve got ab muscles. They might be beneath a layer of protective karate fat, but they are THERE.

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