Liebster Award Nomination 2017 & My Nominees

Hello frenz and welcome back! This post is extra special and near & dear to my heart. I was nominated by the lovely Rena for the Liebster Award! For those of you who aren’t familiar with what that is, it’s an award for bloggers. No trophy involved, just recognition and support for your blog. It’s a big deal for me, because I’ve literally never been nominated for anything. I once won a 3rd place Track and Field award in elementary school, but that’s about the extent of my award winning abilities. If you haven’t, go check out Rena’s blog. She’s a cat loving personal blogger who writes about some pretty relatable stuff – plus she’s super sweet, so give her blog a read. Now, without further adieu, let’s get into this thing! 

Rena’s questions to me are as follows, with my answers. I hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about me!

1. What is your go-to dressed up outfit? Every time you want to look done up, what do you tend to do?
Well, let’s address the outfit portion — I usually where anything that I feel comfortable and confident in. It really depends on my mood. Sometimes I want to wear a dress, and other times leggings and a cute top can suffice as “dressed up”. Don’t judge — comfortable can also be dressy. As for what I do to look done up, I definitely gotta fill in these sparse brows and add a sharp as shit winged liner.

2. What is the last book you read?
I’m one of those people that read half a book and then put it down and start another one. I’m currently in the middle of reading three different books, but the actual last one would be Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult. This book caught my eye on Walmart’s book shelf AGES ago, mainly because it had Salem in the name. I hardly remember what it’s about but I know I really enjoyed it. Perhaps I’ll make it the fourth book in my ongoing reading frenzy.

3. Why did you choose the blog platform you are on?
Mainly because I wanted a site where I was able to gain followers straight from the platform. Plus, I’ve heard very good things about WordPress. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever transfer platforms. WordPress is where it’s at for me.

4. What is one goal you have accomplished this year that you are really proud of?
Finding what I want to do in life. It’s not so much of a goal I had, but I’m really happy that I found my calling this year. I know I want to write for a living, and in learning that, it’s completely changed my outlook on the future.

5. What hair product would you rather not live without?
Leave-in conditioner. My hair has a nice, natural texture to it. I can live without styling it, but I definitely need it to be hydrated so it doesn’t turn into broom bristles.

6. What methods do you use to plan your blog posts?
I take mental notes most of the time. I get an idea and outline it in my head. If it’s a more complicated post that requires research and planning, I free write on my phone just to get my ideas out. Then I paste it as a draft in WordPress, get on my laptop and paste it into a Word document for edit. 90% of the time, I plan and upload posts from my iPhone.

7. What is one beauty trend you’re afraid to try but really want to?
Bright colored hair. I once dyed my platinum blonde hair a non-permanent blue and it stained my hair. I spent countless nights bleaching my hair to get it out, leaving it dry and lifeless. I love the look of ombre’d colored hair and I would kill to have it, but I’m way too apprehensive due to a bad experience.

8. Do you prefer sweet or salty snacks?
It ultimately depends on my mood. Sometimes I have a hankering for chocolate that can only be satisfied by eating four bags of M&Ms. And then other times, I can eat 12 bags of potato chips like it’s nothing. I honestly don’t snack too often, but the type of snack I want is usually reliant on my mood.

9. What is one song you can’t stop listening to at the moment?
I don’t have one specific song as I do one specific artist. I went full 2006 emo kid and listened to My Chemical Romance for a month. Now I’m on a Melanie Martinez kick. I give it a few days until I’m jamming to Cannibal Corpse for weeks.

10. Do you have a favorite magazine and why?
I might be in my 20s, but I’m still a huge fan of Seventeen magazine. They have a lot of nice tips and trends — plus they always have vibrant colors which usually catch my eye. Their articles/stories are also very well written and their magazine is nicely put together.

11. What is one piece of advice you would give a first-time blogger?
Just do it. You might feel silly or like a noob, but the blogging community is extremely supportive of all types of blogs. I thought since I didn’t write about makeup or beauty that there wasn’t going to be a place for me in the blogging world, but the reactions to my posts are just the opposite. I have tons of blogger friends. I honestly have more online friends than I do in real life. Blogging is a commitment, but if you’re truly passionate about it, you will love every second of it. Just put yourself out there and go for it.

Now that you learned a little about me, it’s time for my nominations! Since Rena nominated me, I’ve been constantly thinking of who I want to nominate. There’s this rule about only nominating blogs with “200 followers or less”, but I feel weird about asking someone or creeping on their blog. So I’m going to nominate some of my favorite bloggers that really need some love and recognition.

Mystic Mogwai – I found this girl on Twitter and she’s so incredible. I love her style and her blog name is ingenious. She’s not one specific type of blogger, which is why I love her blog so much. She’s chatty and her blogs are fun to read!

Natural Hazards and More – This girl deserves so much recognition for her ongoing battle of informing the internet world on science. Her blogs are extremely important to the future of the planet.

Ditzy D Blog  – She writes about her self journey through anxiety and depression in such a beautifully honest way. Her blog deserves so much recognition.

The Emma Lifestyle – She’s a lifestyle blogger who writes about everything — from beauty products to book reviews to everyday life. She’s a sweetheart and I really enjoy her blog.

Howling Libraries – I really love book bloggers. Although I’m not currently too much of a reader, I enjoy reading book reviews. She writes really solid reviews, so why not go give her blog a read?

Black Tulip Beauty – And last, but certainly not least, is one of my FAVORITE beauty bloggers out there — mainly because she’s a total babe and I wish I could jack her style. She writes incredible product reviews and also has sunflower yellow hair!? She’s the total package when it comes to beauty bloggers.

Below are the questions for my nominees, if you choose to accept! Have fun!

1. If you could be any animal, which would you be? Why?

2. What is your holy grail beauty product and why?

3. What is the one thing you want most out of life?

4. How do you come up with ideas for blog posts?

5. Who is your biggest role model? Why?

6. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

7. What is your dream job?

8. Do you think you would survive in a zombie apocalypse? Why or why not?

9. What are you most confident about?

10. What’s your favorite movie and why?

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23 Things I’ve Learned in 23 Years

I’ve been on this planet for 23 years now. That’s 8,359 days and 201,480 hours. Within that time, I’ve learned some things about myself and my life, as most do when they grow older. Some things take a longer time to learn because you need to experience self growth, while others are learned in an instant. Below are 23 things I’ve learned in 23 years — things I wish I could tell younger me.

1. Perseverence is Key
Hard work really does pay off. Don’t give up.

2. Do What You Love
Even if it’s a hobby like painting yard gnomes, do it any chance you get. You deserve to have a joyous passion.

3. Blood Doesn’t Mean Family
It’s all about how you’re treated. My boyfriend’s family is more of mine than my own…because they treat me like family. See how that works? Don’t feel obligated to stick by someone just because of blood relation. You don’t need that negativity and stress in your life.

4. Nothing Lasts Forever
Whatever you’re going through, it won’t last forever. Keep pushing through the hard times and keep having good times. It all gets better.

5. Friends Come & Friends Go
Your best friend when your 15 might not be your best friend later in life. You might keep in touch and catch up once in a blue moon, but it might not ever be like it was. And that’s okay.

6. Less is More
I’ve been living on my own for three years, I’ve just now begun to realize how much stuff I actually own…and it’s driving me to insanity. Don’t clutter your space because you really want a turtle statue that you have no place for.

7. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Mentally prepare for events or things that make you anxious or scared. It makes the experience less traumatic.

8. Read
Read the newspaper. Read about current events. Read everything you can. Knowledge is power.

9. Drink in Moderation
Drinking way over your limit, being sick that night and/or the next morning, along with a headache and a craving for McDonald’s? No, thanks.

10. Wear Whatever You Want
Honestly, life is too short to care what someone else thinks.

11. Stop Comparing Yourself
You’re YOU for a reason — you don’t need to be like anyone else. Become comfortable with yourself. Self love shines through.

12. Exercise More
Relieve your stress and lose some weight in the process.

13. Challenge Yourself
Set goals for yourself and force yourself to get there. Future you will thank you. 

14. Follow Your Dreams
We all take a different path sometimes because we’re not 100% sure of what we want. But when you come to that great realization, chase that dream. You can do anything you set your mind to.

15. Stop Feeling Bad for Being Lost
So you don’t know where to go or what to do in life? Stop feeling bad for it. There are people who seemingly have it all that are just as lost as you are. 

16. Have a Backbone
Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t take shit from anyone.

18. Stop Eating Fast Food
Cooking is fun and you can choose what goes into your food. Fast food makes you feel like garbage. You don’t deserve to feel like garbage.

19. Be Yourself
Stay true to who you are. Don’t lose yourself in the mindless trends or the competitive nature of life.

20. Learn About Your Planet
Grow familiar with where you live and the nature surrounding you. Mother Earth is a beautiful planet. Take care of it.

21. Plan and Prioritize
Plan out everything and learn to prioritize your life. Routines and plans can save you from chaos.

22. Love
Fall in love. No matter what you think, you will be accepted by another human. Stop being scared of that.

23. Build Your Empire
No matter what you have set for your life, work and build it. Be a boss. 

Florida Nights: My First Time Traveling

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Hello, frenz! Long time no blog! It’s been a few days since I’ve arrived back to Almost 70 Degrees and Overcast, Pennsylvania. It’s always a bittersweet feeling to arrive home after a one-week vacation; you wish you could’ve stayed longer but, at the same time, you miss your boo and fur babies. Florida was an incredible experience. It was my first time being on an airplane (which caused a nervous breakdown all its own). It was my first ever vacation in another state and even away from home – other than the time I was 13 and went to Las Vegas, but that honestly shouldn’t even count. It was an incredible experience, even through the most frustrating of times. Let’s sort these out in categories, shall we?

THE INITIAL AIRPORT EXPERIENCE
I get really bad anxiety when I have to be somewhere at a certain time so you best believe I was planning out the trip to the airport and every little move I would make. I (obviously) psyched myself out because it wasn’t a terrible experience…at all. Granted the airport we flew out of was incredibly small, so it was easy to find the kiosks, security and the terminal. I even got fresh airport coffee, which I was looking forward to since we left at 3:30 in the morning. The more time that passed, the more nervous I became that there would be an issue with our bags or somehow the flight would be cancelled (hello irrational fear). As zones were called and I began boarding my very first aircraft, the nervous feelings subsided, as I had successfully navigated through my first airport. That’s a win for this girl!

THE FLIGHT TO ORLANDO, FL
Okay, so I had a minor freak out within my own head when the plane took off — mainly because it shot back like a rocket and I was glued to the back of my seat. To be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting other than the plane to blow up Final Destination style. Once we were at altitude, my nerves relaxed — until I had to pee. That was an experience all its own. First, I tried to open a closed stall (are they called stalls?) because I didn’t look around to see that there were, in fact, two potties in the same vicinity. I also couldn’t figure out how to get the water on to wash my hands, and soon couldn’t figure out how to turn it off. I wasn’t the whitest cloud in the sky that morning.

ARRIVAL IN ORLANDO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Arriving into sunny Orlando, Florida was incredible. Even looking down from the plane, it’s so clear how beautiful the Sunshine State is. The Orlando airport is international so it was massive in comparison to the one at home, in landmass and population. There was so much diversity in people, where they came from and where they were going. I was a confused mess when I finally had my feet on the ground — I didn’t know where to go or how to navigate this large and in-charge airport. Talk about a culture shock. Thankfully, everyone in Florida (unlike PA) are incredibly kind and helped us find the shuttle that would take us downstairs. From there, we were on our own to take elevators to ground transportation, which is where we thought we needed to be. It took us a good 20 minutes to figure out how to get outside. It turns out, my brother-in-law was at a different part of the airport looking for us. And so the shenanigans ensued.

Odd Fact: the buttons designating floor numbers in the elevators are labeled as cattle in the Orlando airport. Why?

ORLANDO, FL
So we didn’t actually stay in Orlando itself. My family lives about 20 minutes out of Orlando, and that’s where we spent the majority of our time. When we arrived, I was taken back by how hot it was. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think it was going to be like it is up North, but I wasn’t expecting to be a baked potato as soon as I stepped out the door. The heat was incredible. You couldn’t get in a car without your legs and back burning on the seats. You couldn’t lay out in the sun to get a tan without becoming a sweaty pile of goo. Needless to say, I spent the majority of my time in the pool.

We weren’t pool potatoes for long before we became beach potatoes. I, personally, have only seen the ocean on TV. I was taken back by how huge (and how hot) it actually was. Crystal blue water with white (hot!) sand — it wasn’t long until I grabbed the boogie board and attempted to catch some waves. The waves knocked me down more times than I could count…I obviously didn’t have my sea legs. I could’ve spent my entire life in the ocean. We collected seashells and I learned about crab and clam holes from a 10 year old. It was a magnificent way to spend the day…except for the sunburn. That could’ve stayed on the shore.

Since daytime is so hot in Florida, we decided to wait until evening on one Sunday to go play miniature golf, and after, laser tag. The golf course was a tropical pirate theme with two separate courses. The plant life and scenery was the epitome of a tropical vacation…and let’s talk about the amount of lizards! I so badly wanted to catch a baby lizard, but those suckers are fast! While the humidity was at an all time high (but it made my hair look good so whatevz), it was a breath of fresh air (literal air conditioning) when we went to WonderWorks to play laser tag. Yet another first checked off of my list, but I have to say, I wasn’t a fan, mostly because I sucked and my shirt kept falling down. First World Problems, I know.

The remaining days spent in Florida were poolside with bagels and coffee — also a three hour nap in the pool (hello crispy legs). The sun was relaxing and therapeutic to me — I wasn’t thinking of all the problems I had at home. I was living right in the moment without a care in the world. But, all good things eventually come to a screeching halt.

THE FINAL AIRPORT EXPERIENCE
Getting to the Orlando airport was a fucking nightmare. The rush hour traffic was at an all time high, with cars dodging other cars left and right. All I wanted to do was get to the airport and get on my plane because my anxiety was making me a flustered mess. The parking garage that my brother-in-law wanted to park in was full, so we spent a good 15 minutes driving around looking for a spot — meanwhile, I was having a panic attack about somehow missing my flight. We made it there at 6:00 and our ticket said we had to be through security by 6:27; I still wanted coffee and my sister needed to visit a gift shop — do you see why I was a hot mess? I later found out that we had more time than anticipated and I was a happy clam when I finally got my coffee…except when I threw it out in the security line because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to have it. RIP to my half full iced coffee. I still miss you.

HOME SWEET HOME!
It’s a weird feeling when you come back from vacation. It’s like you just lived this completely different life and then you’re back to where you started a week prior. Although I wish I could’ve stayed in Florida forever, I was ready to be home. It’s been five days since I’ve been home and I’m just now able to get my routine back. My days in Florida are becoming a fond memory.

All in all, it was a great experience. I don’t know if I would travel the world or be one of those “full-time travelers” after this experience. It’s too much of a pain in the ass to navigate airports and dodge that amount of people — it’s not my thing. It’s nice to have that place that’s “home” and I’m as happy as a clam to be back. I’m trying to get my blog and life back in order, so hang in there with me.

rl

Letting Go of Toxic Thoughts

toxic thoughts

We all have toxic or negative thoughts, whether it’s about ourselves, other people or something we don’t fancy doing. Sometimes these thoughts can overpower all of the positive ones, and as a result we’re left feeling mentally and emotionally drained. But how do we stop seeing the negative and start noticing the positive side to life? That’s where mind control comes in. No, not the type that David Blaine does on Las Vegas sidewalks; I’m talking about controlling our own minds to turn toxic thoughts into positive thoughts.

Sometimes I get overwhelming thoughts about myself. My mind makes me feel that I’m not good at anything and sometimes, it even goes as far as making me feel that the world would be better off without me. I’m a generally optimistic person, I just have a few issues with anxiety…so why do I feel this way? Negative or toxic thinking usually begins with a mistake I’ve made that I feel overly embarrassed for, and then it turns into thinking about everything I’ve ever done wrong. If you think like this too, there is a way to control it. You simply talk yourself out of it. It sounds crazy, I know, but it’s really that simple. Let yourself make a mistake. Acknowledge said mistake, learn how to do better next time, and move on. Don’t beat yourself up for it. You’re human. This is how you grow and become better. This is especially true if you’re a toxic thinker in relationships. Talk to your significant other about it. Sometimes their reassurance is all you need to convince yourself that it’s okay to be human. This goes hand in hand with perfectionism, which is a main player in my toxic thoughts.

“I want so bad to be perfect although I know perfect does not exist.”

Turning toxic thoughts into positive thoughts can be grueling when you’re not naturally an optimistic person, but sometimes that’s all it takes to turn your day around. It’s an old saying, but try to look on the bright side. Yeah, things might be hard at work or you’re having a crap day, but there’s always a positive. Spilled your coffee in your car? There’s a reason to buy that Starbucks coffee that you never get to have, and a reason to stop the procrastination of cleaning your car. Is your boss on your case really hard today? Remember that all days come to an end. It’s so easy to jump to toxic thinking when something bad happens. It’s easy to think that one disaster can ruin your whole day; but it can get better when you deal with a problem when it happens, and then move on. Deal with your emotions in the moment rather than letting them boil all day until the inevitable eruption.

Stop taking everything so personally. This is something I’ve struggled with and I am just now learning how to handle. I’m a people pleaser, especially when it comes to a loved one. If my boyfriend wakes up grumpy, I automatically assume it’s because of me. When he loses his temper at a video game, I get nervous because I don’t want him upset or mad at me. I’m familiar with the fact that it has nothing to do with me, but my toxic thoughts lead me to think that I did something wrong. If you’re like this too, stop it. Stop it right now. Not everything is a personal attack at you. Learn to understand the difference between a person who is grumpy at the world and a person who is grumpy at you. Walk away or ignore this behavior in your loved one to save yourself time and energy.

Sometimes we do have bad days where everything is happening all at once and we can’t help but become overwhelmed and frustrated. I’m not denying that days like this exist. I’m also not denying that anxiety and toxic thinking feed off of each other. What I do know is that you can talk yourself out of any emotion as long as you acknowledge it, deal with it and move forward. Your mind likes to play a lot of tricks on you. Start playing tricks back.

Until next time, XO.

[Photo Credit: Pixabay]

To the Man That Chose Me

Pixabay

There are so many words I could say to you, but let me just start here.

Thank you for staying loyal to me, especially in the first six months of our relationship when we were apart. You took the time to get to know the real me when no one else would. You texted and called me nonstop while you were gone. It was nice being thought of by you. You tried to make a surprise visit one weekend, but your car broke down halfway. You did it to make me smile and you still do. 

Thank you for being excited to see me when you came home. You spent countless nights at my apartment. You even showed up at 3:00 in the morning after a trip to Georgia, because you missed me. You don’t know how much that means. Thank you for not saying that you love me via text because you wanted it to be special. Thank you for saying it back, with a kiss to my forehead.

Thank you for moving in with me when I needed help paying my rent. You consistently paid (still do) for groceries and helped with my bills, even though you can barely pay your own. Thank you for building a life with me. I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side. 

Thank you for making me feel pretty every single day. Even when I wake up with dragon breath and makeup down my face, you still make me feel beautiful. Thank you for holding my hand, touching my butt and kissing me in public. It’s nice having you be proud to be seen with me. Thank you for not forcing me into things that I don’t want to do. You’re so gentle and kind. I’m grateful for that. 

Thank you for letting me be goofy, and thank you for being goofy with me. I’m most comfortable around you. You joke about my old man laugh and the faces I make, but I make jokes on you just as much. You appreciate my jokes, my thoughts and my opinions. You listen to me when I talk and remember things later; things I don’t even remember saying. You da real MVP. 

Thank you for being patient. When I come home in a fit of sadness because I had a bad day, you let me cry and get it out. And then you pick me right back up again. I know I’m not the easiest person to handle and I can sink into an anxiety attack at just about anything. Thank you for putting up with me. You’re always there when I need you to be. 

Thank you for communicating. We’re able to talk and solve our problems without fighting. You listen to me and you compromise. I don’t like fighting with you. Thank you for doing basic household chores, like vacuuming and scooping the litter box. I feel appreciated when you contribute.

Thank you for welcoming me into your family with open arms. I have a real family now thanks to you, and I love them just as much. Thank you for letting me hang out with you and your friends. I think they’re cool. I love how fun and protective you are. I’m safe when I’m with you. 

Thank you for loving me. Despite all my faults, you love me and I know you do. You call me your wife. You text me when you’re at work, just to say you miss me. You constantly tell me how much you’re in love with me. Thank you for appreciating me the way you do. Thank you for respecting me and supporting me, even if you don’t agree with why I’m doing something in the first place.

You make me want to be better and go further. I love you and everything about you, from your cynicism to your piercing hazel eyes. There’s no one on this earth I would rather call mine than you. There are a hundred other things I could say to you. These are just a few.

My Ex Boyfriend Ghosted Me for 2 Years

Pixabay

During my senior year of high school, I was in love with this boy that I had known for years and he made me the happiest I’d ever been up to that point. I thought our relationship was everything and more. But then one day, he disappeared, not to be heard from again, until two years later.

Google

2014. I was slumped on top of the beige, oversized chair in my parents living room with a smoke and a cup of joe. With a Toshiba laptop on the ottoman in front of me, I scrolled through Facebook with an early morning fog in my eyes until I heard, bing. Someone had sent me a message. I opened up the message folder and my heart fell out of my butt right then and there. It was a message from my ex-boyfriend, K. I was in a shocked frenzy reading the words over and over again that only read, “I’m sorry. Can we talk?”

2012. I had just gotten my driver’s license and my parents were letting me take their ’99 Grand Prix to see K at his dorm. I drove to him like I was in a NASCAR race. When I got there, I noticed something had switched in him. He wasn’t as affectionate and he barely said a word to me. I was tired from the drive and kept dozing off while watching a movie, and I kept getting the sense that he was upset with me. I was honestly too tired to really give a damn at that point. 

He had an RA meeting early the next morning, so it didn’t come as a surprise when I look up and he wasn’t there. I rolled over to the desk beside his bed to checked my phone, just then, as my mother was calling. She told me I needed to come home early because she needed to use the car. I waited for K to come back from his meeting to tell him that, sadly, I had to leave. He didn’t seem to care. He lied in his bed, completely turned off to the idea of me. So I kissed him on his cheek and said what now turned out to be my final goodbye

I walked out to my car confused and mixed up. I thought about it on the drive home and I decided to shoot him a text message when I arrived, so he knew I made it and was safe. He didn’t respond. I texted him time and time again for the next few days. I never got a response. 

A few days later it was March 7th and my 18th birthday. I was in the computer lab of my public high school. I was doing research on my senior paper when I heard bzz…bzz…bzz. My cell phone had vibrated. I slyly pulled it out of my pants pocket and saw it lit up with a text message from K that read, “happy birthday :)” I replied with the usual birthday thank you, and then added, “can we talk?” He said that we would meet up and discuss what happened between us one day, but that day never came. 

2014. The words — I’m sorry. Can we talk? — were becoming etched into my brain as I sat there, staring blankly at them on the screen. I nervously replied with a “yes” and my phone number, and soon enough, we began texting back and forth. He said the reason he left me in a bid of silence was because he loved me too much…and was scared. 

He loved me too much…and he was scared. It was a terrible excuse, especially after having two years to think of a plausible one. But I was naive and lonely enough to talk with just about anyone, so I let him right back into my life. 

We texted each other for a few weeks. My loneliness was calling all the shots, and I was falling right back in love with him…until he told me he wasn’t falling back in love with me. I felt like the most foolish of fools. It was a tough pill to swallow. 

I had become so comfortable in the memory of what we had been for the weeks that we’d been texting, that I let it cloud my better judgement. I knew I couldn’t force someone to be with me, no matter how much I wanted it. So I let him go, along with all the memories of us. 

2017. K and I are friends on Facebook. He occasionally likes a selfie and I seldomly like a status of his. We caught up with each other sometime in 2015. Since we both grew up a bit, we were able to talk it out. I don’t hold resentment towards him anymore. Our break up led me right to the man I’m going to marry. So forgive and forget, live and learn; right?

It’s Okay to Leave Your Toxic Family

Pixabay

Family; the people you go to for the utmost unconditional love and support. That’s like the basic principle of family. But there are some families that are toxic and dysfunctional and stressful and terrible. That’s the kind of family I had. I left them when I was 20 years old. 

To keep a long story short, my mom had Bipolar Disorder and had been addicted to pain pills for as long as I can remember, and my dad was a truck driver who was only home on weekends. Due to my mother’s addiction (and other underlying issues I’m not sure of), she would be physically and mentally abusive. On top of that, she was a compulsive liar and everything was about her and her health issues (pancreatitis, diabetes). It was a stressful time growing up. I never knew what kind of mood she would be in when I got home from school, if there was going to be a fight or if she had accused me of doing something in her head. She would be nice one minute and upset the next. She could really spew some evil words towards me. I never really understood her addiction as a child and I just went along with it. I thought it was normal. I thought all families acted that way and that all moms behave that way. 

When I was old enough, she would have me drive pills to her friends and pick up money. She once made up this crazy scenario that I stole her pills and sold them, all because she didn’t want my dad to know she was overtaking. She almost had me arrested over her lie. I was her scapegoat.

My sister got married in 2014. My mother showed up to her wedding late and hopped up on God knows what. The guests at the wedding took notice which, in turn, lead to my sister’s embarrassment. My sister stopped all contact with her that day. Due to the imaginary scenarios my mother created, I was soon kicked out because I told my sister she was high at the wedding. 

I tried to stay in contact with her even after I moved out because she was my mother, I loved her. But it soon became apparent that she only cared about her and her pills, and that my life really didn’t matter to her. She couldn’t be bothered to wish me a happy birthday or ask how my job was going, or even if I had a boyfriend. That’s when I  started to realize that her behavior wasn’t normal. The things that happened to me as a child were not normal or okay. So I left. I stopped all contact. 

It’s been three years since I left my parents’ home and I’ve learned so much about myself and the world. I’ve learned that I have anxiety and depression stemming from childhood trauma. I’ve learned how to cope with those feelings. 
Most importantly, I’ve learned that you don’t have to stay in a toxic family. It’s okay to get out and start your life anew. It’s your life. Live it how you see fit. Don’t feel bad because you got out. You’re a survivor. You’ve been through a lot, now it’s time to breathe. This doesn’t go without saying that it hasn’t been hard. I get sad when I see girls my age with their moms. I still get upset on holidays. 

But what’s funny is I spent all this time feeling sorry for myself, like I didn’t have a “family”, when I do. It might be unconventional, but I have people in my life who love me; people who have been there for me when my world has crumbled. It has taken me a long time to deal and work through my family issues, but I’m able to say today that I’m better, and it was no thanks to my parents. Family is who you make it. It shouldn’t be a label given away freely. It’s a label that should be earned.