Balance…

Stability, steady, fairness, etc.. I could list the many definitions of balance for you, but i’m sure you all know what balance means. Are you aware of how important it is? Not in the sense of being able to stand yourself up straight. While that is important that is not the balance I am talking about. I’m talking about balance in your life. The balance with ourselves. Lately, I have found myself off balance. My actions contradicting my feelings, my wants and my needs.

I may have bit off more than I can chew. 15 credit hours, 2 jobs, sleep and any form of a social life…it’s a lot. I am constantly on the go. I like being busy, but I’m beginning to feel like I can’t breath. When I stop to breath, let my hair down and relax, I instantly regret it. I don’t have time to relax. I’m now a constant ball of stress. I haven’t been able to find a healthy balance. I enjoy the chaos that comes with my schedule, I can thrive in chaos, but it isn’t healthy. I am trying to find a balance for studying and sleeping. Sleeping is a lost art for me. It has been ever since I had my pacemaker implanted. However, as of late I am barely getting any sleep. I am watching video lectures and reading until 2-3am and dozing off. Only to wake up at 5:30 to get my day started. The amount of coffee I have been consuming is definitely going to make my cardiologist lecture me at my appointment next month. I need to prioritize my time better. I need to find the balance of getting this degree done quickly without sleep deprivation. Without wearing myself out. I suppose I could be writing my research paper instead of this blog, but I have to have a little fun. Right?

When it comes to being off balance it is not just my chaotic schedule and my need to be an overachiever. I am feeling VERY off kilter when it comes to my emotional needs. I have been thoroughly enjoying being single. Finding myself after a failed relationship. Having no one to answer to and being able to do what I want, when I want. There is something invigorating about being alone, but loneliness has started creeping in. That loneliness has pushed me to want to go out more, be constantly busy, to avoid being home alone. That is kind of hard to accomplish when you’re exhausted and have tons of homework. Yet, I keep finding myself out on the weekends attempting to be approachable and not awkward. All this putting myself out there and actually giving someone the time of day has made me realize a lot about myself. When I am actually interested in someone and want things to progress, I become a completely different person. I overthink EVERYTHING. I am quiet and become tactical. I plan out what I am going to say or how I am going to act. I become closed off and hesitant. I am terrified of rejection so I try to avoid any opportunity for it. I am not that person. I am talkative, fly by the seat of my pants, compassionate and typically carefree. So, why can’t I find a balance of being cautious and being myself? Why can’t I stop myself from putting up walls, being silent and unreadable? It makes it worse for myself, I know. Especially because if I don’t hear from them, I am too afraid to reach out. I know it was likely my fault because I wasn’t acting like myself. I beat myself up over it. Now, some guys just suck and your feelings are going to get hurt. Learning to recognize the difference in self sabotage and an asshole is important. I have to find the balance of letting someone in and still remaining cautious. I need to learn to not self sabotage. I need to learn how to keep my feelings and my self worth separate. That way I stop letting myself and others change how I view myself when my feelings get hurt.

Finding balance in every aspect of your life is tough. I strive to be the best version of myself daily. I have days where I’m judgmental more than I am accepting. I try to be the healthiest version of myself while being a sickly person. I try to eat healthier, but get swayed by my sweet tooth. All this Halloween candy does not help. I try to workout regularly, but I already don’t have enough time in the day. I also try to physically be balanced. I have bruises all over my body from my lack of coordination. If I can go one day without falling over, walking into something or not tripping over my own feet…it’ll be a damn miracle.

Is this what life is? Finding balance? Being serious but still trying to be fun. Does one ever accomplish a balanced life? Is there a way for me to balance making money, traveling, taking photos, having all the dogs I want, getting enough sleep, and having someone to share it all with? Is that unattainable? Feeling like what I want is unattainable is a huge reason I am taking a break from social media, this blogging doesn’t count. I found myself constantly comparing myself to my peers and looking at their picture perfect lives. Realizing how much time I spent comparing myself, getting myself feeling down, and making myself so readily available to anyone…it gets you out of balance.

It’s time to reset. I’m getting out of town this weekend. Clearing my head and coming back collected. Spending some quality time with nature and my other favorite Mads, besides myself. Finding my balance again, hopefully. Fingers crossed. Can’t wait to be in Apalachicola for the weekend.

Feeling a little sentimental…

The gem on the left popped up in my memories for today and I couldn’t help but laugh. Why? Well because I realized I took a selfie yesterday making the same face. However these pictures were taken under VERY different circumstances. 3 years ago I was riding in an ambulance trying not to lose my mind because my life was being derailed. Everything changed for me after that ambulance ride.

A device was permanently implanted in my body. The very thing I had been avoiding for years. I had to admit that I alone couldn’t beat my diagnosis. That I wasn’t physically strong enough to be able to get through life without the help of a machine. I was incredibly lucky my heart started to beat in a normal rhythm on its own that day. It terrifies me, still, to realize that I was that close to it just stopping for good. I was alone in that parking lot when my lightheaded fainting spell happened. I had been alone many times before when those happened. I know now the gravity of the those fainting spells and what it now means when I get the symptoms of them. I still live life in constant fear of going into V-tach and getting shocked.

Yet, here I am 3 years later taking a selfie on my best friends phone, for her to find at a later date, with the same goofy face. I have pushed through my whole life changing. Some days I completely forget that I am not quite physically capable as the people around me. Some days my heart reminds me that it’s not normal and I struggle to get through the day. I have days where I am angry because of all the heartache having a serious medical condition causes me. Sometimes I blatantly ignore it. They do say ignorance is bliss. But everyday I get through and it’s because I keep this goofy positive attitude.

I choose to be silly. I choose to be hopeful. I choose to trust that things will happen however they’re supposed to happen. I can’t control everything and I can’t believe Friday will mark 3 years with this hardware in my chest. It seems like yesterday and an eternity ago at the same time.

I’m sure people that know me get tired of hearing about it, but I don’t care. It’s an everyday battle and I’m allowed to be proud of myself for getting through it. I have tried so hard for my heart to not define me. I wanted to find a way to define myself and make my health be a small part of that person. My health is a big part of me and the harder I fight to sweep that aside it comes back hitting harder. I have realized I shouldn’t sweep it aside. I should let it define me and stop looking at it in such a negative light. People constantly tell me how strong I am for everything I’ve gone through. Hearing this makes me feel uncomfortable. Why? Because they haven’t seen my break downs. They haven’t seen the times I sobbed on the bathroom floor, cursing my heart, tired of being sore and sick. They haven’t been in the doctors office when I get bad news and experienced the drive home with me speechless and fighting back tears in front of my mom. You haven’t felt the struggle to not freak out, to not be scared, because everyone around you is trying to do the same. At times it’s exhausting to be strong, to be positive, to smile through it all. I am not always as strong as you all assume. I have felt like giving up on more than one occasion. Especially the days and weeks after that photo on the left was taken.

My pacemaker surgery hurt worse than my open heart surgery I had at 22. Hell sometimes I still get shooting pain in my muscle surrounding my ICD. Not everyone knows the nitty gritty details. Not everyone understands the mental impact it has on a person. I’ve spent hours in therapy sorting my feelings and figuring out how to process. To have people compliment me and tell me how strong I am is weird, because I know how dark the journey has been, but no matter how dark it has been I have found a way to push through. With sarcasm, with being silly, with ignorance and with love. I have never let it keep me down for long and I realize the importance of being able to reflect on that. The importance of being able to communicate the struggle and the victories. To show you guys that throughout it all, the physical and mental anguish, I never completely lost myself. I have still kept my ridiculously charming (Devon and Erin that description is for you 🤣) attitude. And for some reason I still continue taking goofy looking selfies when I should be being serious. I guess somethings never change.

I can’t help but laugh at myself and feel a sense of pride when I look at these photos. How lucky are you for knowing me?! 😂 How lucky am I to still be able to make that goofy face and look ridiculous in selfies? Because I came all too close to not being able to take either one of them. Here’s to just shy of 3 years since surgery #8 and here’s to hoping surgery #9 doesn’t happen anytime soon 🥂.

On a serious note can someone help me find out if there’s a punch card for these? Like, “hey I have had 10 can I get the next one free?” It’s get expensive y’all.

Am I sane? Probably not…

Yesterday as I was driving to Panama City, after work for my class, I was questioning my sanity. Why on earth did I do this to myself? Why am I working full time, taking 5 classes this semester, moving next week and trying to keep myself rested? How did I think this was possible?! While stopped at a red light I picked up my phone and was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I came across this post made by my mother… This post made everything click.

First of all- I was adorable.

B.) My eyebrows have been crazy from day one, apparently.

3.) I am doing this because of my mom.

No, not because she wants me to do it. I am doing it because of the person she has raised me to be. She raised me to be independent, strong, unique, and true to myself.

Karen let me try new things as a child and quit the things I didn’t like. Let me be creative and imaginative without judgement. Supported me with every decision even if she didn’t agree.

Now that I am an adult, although I don’t consider myself one and I won’t until I can properly fold a fitted sheet, she continues to play an active role in my decision making process. She will voice her opinion and let me form my decisions from there. We don’t always see eye to eye. She sometimes does not understand why I do what I do, but she still helps guide me in a positive direction.

As I found myself questioning my sanity I realized why I told myself I could do this. It’s because I can do it. Getting my degree in journalism and actually doing what I enjoy for a living is my main focus. So I signed up for 5 classes because I am determined, I am smart enough and I am going to hold myself accountable. And if all else fails I know that I have my mom and family to be there with support.

I may be pushing myself and sanity to the limit, but I will accomplish this goal. It is something I need to do for me. It is something I want more than anything. I’ll drive to Panama City twice a week, I’ll sacrifice hanging out with friends and I’ll do whatever else I need in order to do this as fast as I can. All the while I’ll know that my mom will look at that picture and always think, “Damn, Madelyn is adorable. No wonder she’s my favorite!” 😂😂😂 Sorry, it’s the truth guys!

In the next few months if you don’t hear from me, please check on me and don’t take it personal. Also if you see me and I’m looking like my sanity has gone out the window, just guide me in the right direction. The right direction will be towards the wine, in case you were wondering.

Am I being passive aggressive? Oh well…

Have you ever wanted to just scream bloody murder? At the top of your lungs? As loud as you can? You have a bunch of pent-up emotion that is starting to boil over and you need an outlet? Well, I am at this point. As I drove home yesterday I could feel it coming. I knew that wall was close and I was going to hit it head on. One little push and BOOM. My push arrived in the form of a text message today. As I sit writing this it is taking everything in me not burst at the seams.

 I have spread myself rather thin lately. Constantly on the go and busy to the point of not being able to completely focus. 90 to nothing all the time. My sleep patterns are so out of whack that my insomnia is in full swing. I watched about 5 hours worth of The Office last night and devoured a whole pint of ice cream. Productive right? (That halo top mint chip though…amazing!) My coworker asked me the other day why I always looked so tired. Well thanks buddy!  Now I know I look like shit. **Insert eye roll and crying face here** I have to STOP letting myself get like to this point. I may have some constant need to please everyone. I know, I can admit it, that is the first step, right? Admitting your problems. I need to learn to say NO! I feel obligated not to let others down, to be available for any social event, to be nice all the time. I am exhausted. I am not nice all the time. I don’t want to be. Over the past few months my need for self growth has strengthened. I’ve worked hard to shake old habits. To say no and stop doing things that don’t benefit my well-being.

I know who I am. I lost myself for a while. I became the girl I hated. The one who changes herself for someone else. Who puts someone (in my case a guy), that isn’t putting you first, before yourself. I wasn’t raised to act like that person. I have a BIG personality. I was raised to be independent. Not to be small in order to convenience someone else. After many forms of rejection throughout the course of my life I changed. Some where along the way I decided it was easier to please everyone than be rejected. Easier to change who I was than to be an inconvenience. Well pardon my french but, FUCK THAT! I am DONE.

I am not doing anything that I don’t want to do any longer. I am not going to apologize for it. I am not going to feel bad if someone doesn’t approve. In the end what matters is my well-being. I have to live with myself everyday. If I want to stay home instead of go out, I won’t let anyone guilt me into leaving the house. If I want to cut my hair off, i’ll do it even if someone likes it longer. If I don’t want to give someone my number or sleep with someone just because they show me attention, I won’t. Not because I am a prude. I am no saint or prude. I wanted to be a nurse, not much about the human body bothers me. I have also legitimately shown my chest to hundreds of people. I don’t have much modesty left at this point. I am not a delicate little girl when it comes to sex and the reality it plays in our everyday lives. However, it’s because I am not some girl who needs attention. Who needs to feel wanted. LADIES, STOP SPREADING YOUR LEGS LIKE BUTTER ON TOAST for the first person who shows you attention. Do you really want attention from someone who looks at you in that light? Someone who will ghost you for not sleeping with them? Or who will ghost you after you’ve slept with them? I can tell you which scenario will make you feel better about yourself in the long run. I can tell you from experience. I have been in both of these situations. Like I said, I am not a prude. However, I have learned that if it does not benefit my well-being then it is not worth my time.

Time is so precious. Why waste it? I have wasted so much time and set myself back. I am now working my ass off to make up for that. No, I do not have my shit together. It is kind of in organized piles. It is slowly getting to where it needs to be but, there is forward movement. Baby steps, right? For example things have gone my way lately, for the most part. Not romantically but at this point I am chalking that up to a loss. I am not even going to deal with a love life currently. I keep finding myself holding my breath. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Why? Why do I, we, feel like things can’t go our way? Life is allowed to go your way. Maybe if I keep saying it I will really believe it. Life is allowed to go my way. The only person responsible for my happiness and my decisions, is me. I am letting life work with me for a change. I am letting go of all the toxicity. I am making moves forward. I am working on a new degree. It is not easy. I will probably get defeated and in those moments I will need someone to bring wine and distract me. I am finally getting my own place after failing in a relationship and running home to my mom. I still sometimes need her to help with the deep wounds. Do we ever really grow out of that need?  I am doing things I want. I am not letting someone’s disapproval get in the way.

I want to experience so much and I have let others tell me no. I have let my health stop me. I have told myself I wasn’t good enough. Well I am good enough. I have a lot to offer, I am smart, and most of all I have a desire to learn, to grow and to try new things. So one of the first things I am doing for myself is taking my happy ass up to New York in December. I have always wanted to go see all the decor during the holiday season. To go to the museums, central park and Rockefeller center. But most of all to EAT everything I want to eat. My plane ticket is booked and I will be in New York City playing tourist with my cousin on December 1st. I am not letting myself get to the point of bursting at the seams anymore. Why, because it’s ridiculous. Also because when I over do it like this, I don’t take care of myself. Case in point…I am about to go to the ER because I am pretty positive I have pneumonia. Eh you live and you learn.

Next time you find yourself wanting to scream or throat punch someone, maybe I am just a little violent, take a step back. Is it good for your well-being to feel this way? NO! So re-analyze what is getting you to this point. Take care of yourself. Make yourself happy. Enjoy your life. Don’t let someone else make you feel bad about yourself. Most of the time it is their insecurities being reflected on to you.

Now I am finally going to respond to that text that pushed me over the edge. I am going to go to the doctor and then I am going to get mashed potatoes. Why? Because that is what I want to do.

A dogs last day…

This is a very special post for my best friend. Yesterday Eleanor and I were able to spend the day with our friends Justine and Trigger. Sweet Trigger has nasal cancer. Last year Justine and Joey got the news that Trig had cancer and they decided to fight it. They took him down to UF and he received treatment. Trigger was cancer free for a whole year before it creeped its way back in.

Justine asked me a couple weeks ago, “How do you know when it’s time?” That answer was not something I could give her. My only advice was to pay attention to him and he will let you know. Well the other day Justine sent me a text asking me to go with her on Sunday to the dog beach for Triggers, “Dogs last day.” So after brunch yesterday we put all our leftovers in a box and took them to Trig. I picked up my girl Eleanor and we loaded up to go to the beach.

I met this sweet boy the day Justine got him. I received a text from her saying, “I did a thing. I’m coming to see you at work.” I had no idea her “thing” was adopt a puppy, but a few hours later walking through harbor walk comes Justine and the cutest little puppy. He’s been Justine’s rock through many milestones in her life. One of the biggest is being her daughter Henley’s best friend. He’s been loyal, protective, kind, loving and most of all a good boy.

So it was only fitting that we spoiled him yesterday. He played in the water, ate like a king and got tons of love and snuggles. As I write my heartbreaks for their family. I can not even begin to imagine the pain you all are feeling. I love my dogs more than I could have ever imagined possible and can’t think of what a life without them would be like. Trigger lived a life full of love and will be able to drift off peacefully surrounded by those who love him most.

Thank you so much Justine for letting Eleanor and me be a part of Triggers last day. Everyone hug your fur babies a little tighter today. I know I sure will.

One of my favorite quotes I’ve come across about dogs is, “A dog may not be our whole life but we are theirs.” That’s something I try to remember when it comes to loving my fur babies.

Dating dilemmas…

How does one date exactly? The last time I was single for a long period of time was when I was 17-19 years old. See I have this thing where I believe in monogamy. Apparently that’s uncommon these days. I have spent all of my twenties in 2 very serious relationships. Now that I’ve been single for an extended period of time and I’ve gone through the healing process from heartache. I am finally feeling comfortable being alone. Don’t get me wrong I have my moments where I miss companionship or feel lonely, but I finally feel okay with being a single. I am comfortable with who I am and being alone. I know what I want from someone else. Getting to this point has made me realize that I am ready to date but what is dating now?

We’re living in a world where you have apps that you can make a profile to put your best pictures on and list what you consider your best attributes for others to decide if they want to give you the time of day or not. Majority of the time all that is for is to hook up. I feel like I have an old school outlook on dating because the thought of downloading tinder or going online to a dating site is the exact opposite of what I personally feel I should be doing. The whole casual sex thing is just not for me. I’m too old for all that nonsense and drama. I’m not trying to get any kind of STD. I’m not trying to get involved repeatedly with people who are emotionally unavailable.

So how does one date in a world where hooking up is the norm? I have watched my friends get rejected and I’ve listened to their stories of “I thought we had a good time and I haven’t heard from him.” There is this delicate balance of being available but not too available. The constant should I text them first? But you don’t want to because you don’t want to seem too needy. Why is it crazy to be interested and vocalize your interest? Why is there this game that has to be played? What happened to being open and honest about what you’re wanting? It’s exhausting 😩. If I’m paying you attention then I’m interested. Why can’t it be that simple?! Currently I can’t figure out the answer to any of these as I contemplate texting someone. 🤦🏻‍♀️

I get a little cynical when it comes to dating because of failed relationships and because of what I witness my friends go through. I think to myself, ” That is it! I’m never getting married. I’m comfortable alone and I’m going to become the crazy lady with a ton of dogs!” I lose faith in relationships because everyone seems to be so emotionally unavailable. Then my faith gets restored every time I’m around my sister and brother in law. I could not have hand picked someone better for my sister. Kyle constantly restores my faith in men and makes my cynicism fade away. I keep telling myself that there’s some one like Kyle out there for me. I’ll find a partner to compliment me in all the right ways one day. I keep getting told, “it happens when you least it expect it. Don’t go looking for it.” So I mind my own business and keep myself busy. Not actively looking for that someone. Then I have the same people telling me, “put yourself out there. Date.” Umm those statements seem to be conflicting if you ask me.

I have insecurities. I am human and I can not control it. They are there and I focus on them despite knowing I shouldn’t. Everyone has insecurities. I know majority of the time I’m the only one that notices mine but when you’re attracted to someone else, LORDDD! All I can think is “oh he’s going to think my nose is too big or my teeth aren’t straight enough or why does she have stretch marks on her thighs? It’s torture 🤦🏻‍♀️. Then there is baggage. Everyone has their own baggage they bring to the table. Mine typically makes guys run the opposite direction. I have heart failure. It’s A LOT to take on. It’s a lot to go through as a person. Knowing there will eventually be more surgery, that I can be completely fine and the next day everything can change. Plus I have a long list of other medical issues going on over here. I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to get involved with me because of all that. Hell I don’t want to be involved with all of it.

Dating is hard enough now days as it is and you add all my baggage to it…it’s damn near impossible. Plus I’m awkward. I’m an open honest person. I’m not one to control my facial expressions. You generally know what I’m thinking by looking at my face. I always put my foot in my mouth and say the wrong thing at the wrong time. So how do I date? Do I mind my own business and one day when I’m not expecting it that person stumbles into my life? Do I put myself out there? Do I listen to all this crap out there that says things like, “you’ve met your souls mate by the age of 21?” Why is this so dang difficult?!

Until I can figure it out you can find me cuddling with my dogs binge watching romantic comedies.

My 27th year…

As my 27th year comes to an end I am reflecting on everything I learned this past year. I experienced true heartbreak in 3 completely different forms. The first time was with a relationship ending. Love isn’t always easy and figuring out when to walk away is even harder. I learned a lot about myself this year because of this heart break. As hard as it is to admit I will forever be grateful for all the things that were brought to the surface with that break up. It made me grow in ways I wouldn’t have ever thought possible. It changed me and helped me find out new things I wanted from life.

The second form of heart break was on the medical end. I had two of my dreams in life taken away. While it is completely out of my control and I now am at peace with it, when receiving the news it was devastating. I am no stranger to medically devastating news but having to close the chapter on two of my dreams, one of which I had worked very hard at accomplishing, was a whole different kind of heart break. A feeling I will never be able to put into words.

And the last form was losing my Grandmother. I was able to say goodbye with the only words that could come to mind when she was passing. Naturally I thought of all the things I wish I would’ve said, but at the time “I love you” was what was right. I finally get to celebrate her life this weekend and it’s my last step in saying goodbye.

My year wasn’t just filled with heartbreak. I went a trips and made great memories. I spent quality time with my dogs. I grew closer to friends and released the toxicity that was in my life. I got to be involved in many celebrations of love. Finally being able to share my sisters wedding day with her was amazing. I watched a friend overcome many obstacles and preserve with her head held high. I have never been more proud to call her my friend. She’s the epitome of strength.

I learned how important honesty is and that it will be appreciated in the long run. I am not as afraid as I once was at trying new things. I realized I needed to love myself in order to be happy. Learning how to love myself was not easy but, I finally feel like myself and comfortable in my skin again. I grew a lot in my 27th year. It wasn’t my easiest year but it has been one of the most rewarding. And now I’m 6 minutes away at being one year closer to 30.