Birthday Blues…

I’m two weeks shy of turning 30 and to say this month has been an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement. I have been having the typical existential crisis of, “Oh my god, I’m 30!” You know how you used to think 30 was old and you’d be an adult by now? Let’s all take a moment to laugh at that please. I have been laughing, crying and all over the map with my feelings about this birthday. 29 was supposed to be my golden year and it was awful. It was one of the hardest years. Now saying that, I must also say that 29 had some of the greatest experiences of my life. I got to share so much with my niece. I went to Hawaii. I got my first house. But as I sit here writing this I am still wrestling with how to let go of my 20’s without feeling like I am missing something.

My twenties were a tough decade. You learn so much in your twenties. You learn how to drink responsibly, well hopefully, you do. You grow into being an adult. You learn hard lessons in love, work, and friendship. You learn about yourself and the person you are becoming. You’re supposed to have fun in your twenties, and while I had a lot of fun, I also had a lot of tough lessons. I thought I would accomplish big things. I’ve always had these big hopes and dreams for myself. I want to make something of myself. Make a difference. I thought I would be further along in my professional accomplishments. What I ended up getting from my 20’s was personal growth. Which is VERY important, but not something you can visualize. I’ve been feeling as if the only thing I truly managed to accomplish was surviving.
I survived surgery after surgery. I survived my heart-stopping. I survived feeling as if I had a death sentence, and the odds were stacked against me. I survived toxic relationships, platonic and romantic. I survived situational depression and anxiety. I survived all the tough shit thrown my way. So, the last few weeks as I’ve cried about not being where I wanted to be in life. I’ve done the ONE thing I always preach not to do. I have been comparing myself to others. To their accomplishments in their twenties, and I’ve felt like a total loser. I’ve cried about it to family and friends. They all had the same thing to say, “Stop being so hard on yourself. You had a much different set of challenges in your twenties. They weren’t typical.” I know, I know I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but sometimes it happens. I must be hard on myself to an extent, because if not, then I have no driving force to continue to better myself. I never want to be content. I always want to be the best version of myself.

On these days that I am harder on myself, which has been the whole month of June so far. I look for “signs” or words elsewhere to help me focus. Today I was feeling blah and decided to browse Instagram to distract myself. One of the accounts I follow for some daily inspiration and self-love popped up. And before we judge, everyone could use some daily self-love and inspiration.

There it was, right in front of me. On my screen is what I have been told, what I know deep down, but for some reason, it all just CLICKED today. Upon reading this, I felt the need to get it all out. I haven’t been writing despite many people encouraging me and begging me to write. With the way this year has been going, it has been hard to find inspiration or the desire to write. Well, not just this year but all of 29. My 29th birthday was a fun night and filled with so much love. I was beyond happy, but weeks into it…it went to shit. It started like this…

Lots of smiles and sake. Then somewhere along the way my heart happened, yet again. 6 months in looked a lot like this…

Oxygen, stress test, lots of lab work, many EKGs, many medications, and my sanity later. I not only dealt with physical anguish and limitations but emotional and mental distress. I went through a lot this year, more than open heart surgery and my pacemaker surgery. I dealt with more unknown than ever before. I made difficult decisions for my future regarding my health, and I’ve come to terms with there being no real answers. Ticking time bomb echoes in my head EVERY DAY! All of this made me take the next step into becoming the person I am meant to be. I am more grounded and comfortable with myself than EVER before. While I do still clearly have self-doubt and feel under accomplished, it is helping push me into my thirties with a strong desire to accomplish more than you know. While I am proud of myself for all I continue to overcome, because I have been given more than many people could handle, I plan on becoming some I can really be proud of.

I keep thinking back about so much I would change. I’ve written a lot lately, but haven’t been able to push publish. I’ve been reflecting on how I got here and how I did my best, I probably could’ve done better at times, but I did what I had the capability to do. I am still most likely going to cry during my birthday weekend, but I am ready for 30. I am embracing this new decade. I am ready for more. I am ready to forgive myself for my failures and take on new challenges. I’m ready to push publish.

Mainly, I am just ready to get out of town for a few days.

Failure…

Failure is not something “we” as a society openly talk about. If you’re anything like me though, then you have had moments where you’ve felt like a failure. I tend to compare my life to the life of my peers, THANK YOU social media. As a whole “we” do not get on Facebook or Instagram and post about the things we fail at. We post about our BIG moments. Picture perfect moments(that are usually scripted). Our accomplishments. Our failures are also BIG moments though. So why don’t we share them? I feel that we get so caught up in being perfect and appearing to have the perfect life that we become unimaginably hard on ourselves. I constantly say that I am my own worst critic because it is true. I tend to feel that everything I do isn’t enough or good enough. Hell, I thought I would be in a much different place in life at 29. I thought I would be a different person than I am, but my failures have shaped me to be this person.


I thought I would check all the boxes in my twenties. You know, do everything the way you’re “supposed’ to do it. I’d graduate high school and go to college. I’d get my degree and start my career. I’d meet the right person and fall in love. We’d buy a house, get married and start a family. Let’s all just take a moment to laugh at that, please! I have FAILED miserably at ALL of those “boxes”. While I can laugh at this I also struggle because I see my peers doing all of these things. Checking off these boxes in the “right” order. I find myself green with envy at times and other times I am not envious at all. That’s because I have realized that my failures were blessings. Realizing this has freed me of the weight of my failures that make my green side shine. My path is different than theirs and my timeline is my OWN. Finding this clarity and growing comfortable with it has happened because I openly talk about how I have failed at things. I laugh about it and I don’t hide it away. I don’t feel shame for failing at something anymore and neither should anyone else. So let’s talk about some of these failures.


I’ll stick to the “boxes” I failed to check off. I still don’t have a college degree! My first attempt at college was right after high school like the majority of people. 18 and so confused with adulthood, my heart was not in it. I had no idea who I was or what I wanted from my life. I had a hard time seeing past the day at hand. I took time off of school. I took the time to figure it out. I moved in with my sister(the best roommate ever) and we had our own little house and routine. I worked multiple jobs and took the time to think about my future. I realized what I wanted to do with my life and took my test to get into a nursing program. Passed with flying colors and nailed my interview. Now after 2 attempts I have had to retire that goal and that was not so much a failure because it is out of my control. That was because of a whole other demon I battle daily and will never truly have the upper hand on. I went back to school recently to work towards another dream of mine and my heart decides to stop. So once again I have not failed but had to put my health first. While overall it is a failure because I failed to check off that box, I know that I will continue to work on getting my degree. I will accomplish that goal and it will no longer be in the failure column. I will do it without rushing and sacrificing my health.


And on to another one…failed relationships or also know as relationshits. In my twenties, I had 2 serious relationships that, well failed. Clearly, I am not married or engaged. Now I see that them failing was them working out in my favor. Don’t get me wrong at the beginning of them I had those moments where I thought, “Maybe this is the one!” I really would love to have that beautiful 50-year marriage that everyone dreams about, but I sure am glad it hasn’t happened for me yet. My relationships failed for many reasons, some that were not my fault and some that were. While they aren’t my failures alone they are still failed relationships. The low points that came from it led me down a path that was HARD, but beautiful. I was/am on my path to finding myself without someone being attached to my existence. I have found how to set boundaries. To have personal growth I had to face hard truths. I started going to therapy (and I strongly believe everyone should at some point in their lives) to figure out how to set boundaries, identify toxic behaviors and to identify my insecurities. I have to actively work on these things and without failing I would not have been able to get this. I had to fail. While I may not be married or engaged like I thought I would be at 30 at least I didn’t marry the wrong person. I have had the opportunity to figure out exactly what I want in a partner and find my peace. Peace is something I never even knew I needed. I am now so comfortable alone that I refuse to disrupt this peace unless someone is absolutely worth it.


Obviously being alone means I have not been able to start a family, not that being married is the only way you can start a family, but you get my point. But being alone is not the only reason I haven’t popped out mini Madelyns. I really did think I would be a mom by now and that I would eventually have 4 kids. Now, this isn’t a technical failure on my part. For those that have read my blogs or know me, you know that I can not have kids. While that is not my fault, completely out of my control and I in no way shape or form caused this to happen. I still felt like I failed as a woman. Please, please spare me the whole, “just because you can’t have kids doesn’t mean you failed as a woman” or “having kids is not the only thing a woman can do” speech. I know bearing children and starting families aren’t the only thing a woman can do or the only thing that makes us a woman. Biologically, however, it sets us apart from men. We are given the ability to grow life inside of us and I have moments where I feel like a failure.


While I failed to check off those big boxes we’re told we must accomplish to be successful, I have also failed at many other things. I have failed at any and every fitness challenge I have set for myself. I am currently living at my parents for the 2nd time in 3 years. I have failed to hold myself accountable for the goals I have set for myself. I have failed by letting myself get discouraged because I see my peers’ lives progressing faster than mine and I have failed myself by not openly talking about the things and ways I have failed. Our hard moments in life tend to be kept secret and swept under the rug. We put up our “happy” pictures and filter our lives so they appear constantly perfect. I am guilty of it. I have deleted photos after a break up so people can’t go back and see where my relationship failed. I post updates of my health when things are going well and I post photos of a happier time while laying in bed struggling with depression. When you struggle with depression and you have those days when it takes everything to get you out of bed just to shower, you feel like you’re failing. I fail A LOT at things. I hate being bad at something. I get discouraged easily and I have cried endless tears because I feel so far behind sometimes. But I am realizing that it is okay that I have failed. It is okay I am not the person I thought I was supposed to be. It more than okay, to be honest, and accept the things I have fallen short on. It is okay because being open and honest about it has allowed for personal growth I did not know possible. It’s allowed me to be vulnerable and be thankful for my big moments that are good. I have been able to accept that my timeline is my own and however small my progress may look to someone else, it is still my progress. It is moving forward at the pace that is right for me.


I am not writing this to preach change upon others. I am writing this in hopes of being relatable. To let others know it is okay when you try something new and you suck at it. It okay to acknowledge your failures. It doesn’t make you seem less than it shows you have courage instead. It is okay that you haven’t checked off those boxes and it is okay if you aren’t the person you thought you would be at this point. Talk about your failures!!! It allows you to grow and to set new boundaries. It helps you see the good things that came from failing.

Mental health…

I’ve been in my own world lately. A world filled with doctors visits, medical testing, sleep deprivation, and anxiety. I’ve been working extremely hard at not letting myself spiral down a deep dark hole of depression. When I say working extremely hard I mean doing everything humanly possible to keep myself from completely shutting everyone out and becoming 300 pounds while binge watching everything I can stream on my TV. I haven’t been the most hands on version of myself when it comes to my relationships. I have not been the most attentive friend, sister, daughter or granddaughter. The balance between keeping myself from being consumed by my anxiety and being present is a tiresome battle.

For the last several months I’ve traveled to New Orleans, Nashville and Pensacola to see doctor after doctor. Trying to find some rhyme or reason to why my heart and oxygen seem to do whatever they want. For 13 months I’ve been dealing with trying to get a handle on my tachycardia and all that comes with it. I have requested referrals to see specialist. I have tirelessly fought to find a solution. Recently I discovered my oxygen levels like to dip down a little too low. Hence my recent photos with a nasal cannula or an oxygen pack strapped across me. Also you can notice my increasingly dark circles under my eyes. All of this has been consuming. Wholly consuming. Mind, body and soul. It’s taken EVERYTHING in me to maintain my sense of humor and to keep my head above water.

To all of you I keep sending photos like this to…you are welcome!

I constantly feel like I’m treading water. I have days where getting out of bed seems like the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I have days when making my bed is my biggest accomplishment. Most nights I toss and turn, stare at the ceiling, and mull over every possible scenario that the doctors could throw at me. I’ll be in a room of people and not be present. I get lost in my thoughts at times while having a conversation with someone I won’t have heard a word they said. I get tired of talking about it and feel like everyone is tired of hearing about it all. Mainly because I never have answers. I keep having to ask off of work for appointment after appointment. I’m afraid to ask off for a mental health day and I’m needing those more increasingly. Even when I am at work it’s hard to stay on task, my mind is always elsewhere.

For those of you that follow me on social media and see all of my self care posts it’s because I am struggling. It’s because I need to be reminded that depression and anxiety are normal. That I need to be told from time to time that it’s perfectly okay to not be okay. So I post it to remind myself and because I know that someone else might need to be reminded that they’re not the only one going through it.

Last time I wrote I had just been called a “ticking time bomb” by a doctor. I then waited days to hear from a team of doctors that they all agreed. That I was too complex of a case for them. I was consumed with anger and frustration. My mood has since turned into one of worry, fear, and doubt. My weight is fluctuating. I’m stressing so much my skin is breaking out. Some days I stare into the mirror and think, “what if this doctor can not do anything? What if I have only two extreme options? One that results in more side effects and ailments. Or one that could result in paralysis and relying solely on a battery to make my heart function?” What do I do then? Do I risk the extreme? Do I continue to fight and be “brave” or do I let go? Give up and live life like I am in fact a time bomb?” Do I do that whole “live life to the fullest” thing that we all say we will do? Live with no regrets. Stop waiting for my life to happen after I get well and just accept that at any moment my heart could stop beating. That my defibrillator could go off and revive me until one day it can’t. Do I risk it and fight or do I live my life until I succumb to ventricular fibrillation? Hence my aloofness as of late.

These questions are debilitating. They weigh heavy on my mind, my soul and my physical body. My sisters recently joked about why I take such long showers. They said I was contemplating life in the shower and well, they are right. I get lost in the hot water and steam. I imagine scenario after scenario and how I will handle them. But now I am doing that all the time not just in the shower. I’m fighting for answers and fighting depression. I constantly get told by friends and acquaintances how they admire my strength and grit. But I feel like such a fraud when complemented by them because I feel anything but strong. I put up a great facade of humor and strength, but I’m struggling to not cry constantly. Every time someone asks about my appointments, asks how I am doing, or every time a stranger stares at me toting around my oxygen. I needed to break my facade and show everyone that I am indeed struggling. I am fighting for my life right now. A life I want to live and I live that I have been greatly blessed in. I have a very dysfunctional family that I wouldn’t trade for the world. They’re my biggest support system and despite not always seeing eye to eye, they have NEVER let me be alone in anything I do. I’ve also managed to be blessed on the friend front. I have somehow managed to find some of the most amazing individuals who support and understand me. They check on me regularly and love me endlessly. I haven’t been the best or greatest friend lately and ultimately I know everyone will understand and accept it. Depression and anxiety are a hell of a beast.

The whole purpose of this post is to let others know that the taboo of discussing your depression and anxiety is not okay. Tell someone what you’re going through. Don’t put up a facade. I can not reiterate enough that it is OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY!!! Go to counseling and don’t be ashamed of it. When someone asks “are you okay” say no. This post was not for attention but for help. I want my words and my story to be read by someone who also has days where getting out of bed seems like the hardest thing they’ve ever had to do. I want them to know that being open and honest about struggling is perfectly normal. I want my story and my words to help. I want people to know what I am actually feeling and going through. That social norms and expectations set by society and social media are not how we have to live life. That it’s okay to feel sad and to try to get help for that. That by taking care of yourself you will let others down and you don’t owe anyone an explanation when that happens. For those of you that sometimes feel like giving up, don’t. Keep pushing. Keep trying. Find your meaning. Your soul satisfying moments and relish those. Keep fighting that deep dark spiral that is depression even when you feel like you can’t. Take mental health days and don’t feel guilty. Cry in the shower or on the bathroom floor. Feel it and learn to let it go. Continue to move forward even if it’s at the pace of the tortoise not the hare.

Suck it up, buttercup!

It’s only January 7th and I’m already seeing people discouraged about their New Years resolutions. Y’all, it has been a week. One week. One week does not define your whole year. The new year is seen as a fresh start, blank page, clean slate, whatever you want to call it. Most change does not happen in a week. Life altering changes are the ones that happen immediately. Pregnancy, getting fired, getting promoted, death, car accidents, winning the lottery, etc.. Those are the changes that are immediate. If you’re wanting to make changes this year you have to work at it EVERYDAY. Did you know it takes four weeks of doing something, consistently, for it to become a habit? My cardiologist gave me that bit of knowledge after I got my pacemaker and had to alter which ear I used to talk on my cell phone. A whole month for something to become a habit.

Instead of discouraging yourself after a week, why don’t you give yourself a break and continue trying? My new year certainly did not start the way I intended. I made some decisions that were out of character for me and I am trying to navigate my feelings toward that since it is not something that is normal for me. However, that is kind of what I wanted for this year in a really roundabout way. I ended 2018 with the intentions of taking 2019 to expand my horizons. To take chances, try new things, and to continue to better me.

2018 taught me a lot. It was a strange year and the last 8 weeks of it were incredibly difficult. I had multiple life-altering changes occur and I am bringing one of them with me into this clean slate. I have a lot of unknowns ahead of me. I will be dealing with who knows how many new diagnoses and whatever else my heart throws my way. I am going into this year fully aware this is happening and I am not getting discouraged. So why are you getting discouraged after a week?!

Continue to push through. Life gets hard and positive change does not come easy. I constantly have people telling me that I am strong, a badass, or they don’t know how I handle things. Want to know how? I refuse to give up. I continue to push through. I am still terrified to go to sleep and well, do anything for that matter. At any moment I could just flatline again, but I push through. I focus on what I can do and control. When things get tough and I get discouraged, because I do get discouraged, I think about it in the most literal way. There is nothing I can not do about what has already happened. It is what is and you have to accept it, even if you don’t want to. I can only focus on how I handle it and how I can change what I can.

I’m lucky because I got a second chance and most people do not. That is why I am embracing 2019 and growing at my own pace. I’ve set big goals for myself this year as I enter the last year of my twenties. I plan to travel as much as I can, to continue to work on my education, to move out of Destin(finally), to continue to recognize my toxic traits and work on changing them, maybe actually let another person in, and most of all to make something of this writing. I’m pretty sure my blog is awful, but all the support I get really means a lot as I push myself to improve. My biggest goal this year is to self publish my first book. I honestly don’t care if it sells. As long as I can say that I worked my ass off and accomplished it will be enough.

Your goals for this New Year aren’t going to happen with the snap of a finger. Don’t beat yourself up because you’ve already slipped up. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start over. You’ve got 51 more weeks. Take it from someone who constantly is getting knocked on their ass. I get 5 steps ahead only to be knocked back 3. It will be okay. You still have time to accomplish what matters most to you. My point here is DON’T GIVE UP AFTER ONE SET BACK!

Oh what a year…

As the year comes to an end and I’m getting ready for Christmas, I keep finding myself reflecting on how much happened this year. Did anyone else feel like January lasted 3 months and the rest of the year flew by in a matter of minutes? I know there are still a few weeks left until we enter 2019, but I plan on being busy. So now is my time to write.

As I entered 2018 I was in a strange place, personally not physically. I was living at home. Starting over and trying to heal and find me. My only intentions going into the new year were to fall back in love with myself and my life. I had been bitter, cynical and in an unhappy situation for far too long. No big “new year new me” bullshit. Just the realistic hope of moving on with my life.

2018 started for me in Port St Joe, Florida in a house that is no longer there. Golf cart rides, lots of champagne, sparklers on the beach, bonfires and me learning how to play poker with friends that helped make 2017 an interesting year. Hanging with these guys was the only way to ring in the new year. As this year closes it is safe to say I still have not mastered my poker face. I also still think that a New Years bonfire is the best way to spend NYE!

A whole hell of a lot happened in January. It felt like the longest damn month of the whole year. I found myself already getting angry because I was making the same mistakes as before. I kept thinking to myself, “What in the hell are you doing Madelyn?!” Maybe it was my Wednesday, Crestview lunch dates with Laurie that helped push me to realize that I didn’t need to lose sight of what I wanted this year to be or maybe it was the news that my Grandma Anne was taking a turn for the worst. Something happened at the end of January that put my ass in check and pushed me in the right direction, but I’m not exactly sure what. I also was told the news that my sweet sweet bestie, Lilly, was pregnant after years of trying. I had just had an appointment that delivered the news that 100% sealed my fate of never having my own children and hearing her tell me she was pregnant was one of the best things that could have happened.

Entering into February I had the chance to get out of town to celebrate my cousin and her fiancé. I gladly said, ”See ya, Destin.” That was some of the first one on one time I got to spend with my new brother Kyle. It was nice to talk about music, Star Wars, life and of course Devon’s driving 😂. While in Tampa my urge to ditch Destin started to get stronger. The restlessness that filled me on the ride back was almost unbearable. Coming home to find my grandmother had been told that there wasn’t much time left was almost too much for me to face. I found myself watching one of the most important people in my life welcoming my biggest fear and leave this earth as we entered March. The year was off to a terrible start and her death made me re-evaluate a lot in my life. I let go of the people and things that were holding me down and started to make plans to move forward the way I wanted.

March and April were filled with traveling. A bachelorette party in Orlando with tons of laughter. A road trip to DC and Virginia to celebrate two of my favorites getting married. All of the traveling, job switching, and new experiences made my restlessness grow, yet again. My urge to leave getting stronger and stronger each day. I finally registered for classes and decided to push myself to go back to school. To figure out a new path since nursing was a no go. I was working out again and beginning to feel like myself, finally. I had lost myself for someone else and I was still healing. I was becoming a better version of myself. I spent a lot of time with friends and my mom. I still wasn’t completely content with being alone. I celebrated my little sister turning 21, which made me feel incredibly old and helped her get over a breakup. There were some strong drinks, chocolate, chick flicks, nights in bed crying and laughing. As May started my stepdad and little sister were home for the summer and living at home was becoming harder and harder. My stress was at an all-time high. I was feeling suffocated. Summer was starting and my desire to be outside and never home was getting out of control. My cousin’s wedding and bachelorette trip came just in time. I was able to get away, relax and clear my head. I got to spend time in my favorite city and then spend a weekend with my dads family. Once again getting out of town only pushed me farther into restlessness. I was finally comfortable being alone and with my singledom. Over the past couple of months, I started writing more and putting myself out there. The words of encouragement were relieving. I finally felt like I found a new niche and felt determined to continue to see where it takes me. My decision to move was made and I started saving money.

I ended May driving through a tropical storm to spend Memorial Day in Tampa with my Jules. Ever since we met Memorial Day weekend in 2011 we have spent the holiday in the sun together. I was not about to let the tradition die. I received the best news when I got there, baby Fern would be arriving in December. My 7th memorial day spent with Julie was exactly what I needed. Sometimes you come across people that feed your soul in such a positive way and she is one of these people. Any time I get to spend with her I jump at the opportunity because she has a way of saying the right things when I need to hear them. Once again, getting out of town and clearing my head only made my desire to expand my horizons strengthen.

I welcomed my birth month with open arms. I was ready to say goodbye to 27 and dive into 28. Living at home was starting to get more and more stressful. There were too many people, personalities, and animals in a small space. My patience was nonexistent and my temper got the best of me. I am the kind of person that celebrates my birthday ALL month. Do some people find that annoying? Yes! Do I care? Ha, no! After one of my many celebrations, I came home and the littlest thing was the catalyst. I found myself at my breaking point. I’m not proud of it, but I screamed at my sister and stepdad. Lost my temper and called Devon. Devon is usually my voice of reason when I let my emotions get the best of me. She agreed that I needed to remove myself from the situation and environment I was in. So I made the move to get out of my moms and move in with a friend. I completely derailed my plans of moving at the end of the year. I had my 80s celebration and said goodbye Dani and Cj all the while being incredibly angry at myself. I found it hard to actually enjoy my birthday celebration and found myself reaching out to someone who only made things worse for me. My actual birthday weekend arrived and it wasn’t a weekend I was looking forward to at all. We finally had the service for my grandmother. I welcomed 28 and said my final goodbye. I was finally forced to face all of the emotions I swept under the rug when dealing with her death. Not being in the best place personally, I spent my entire birthday weekend crying myself to sleep. One of the most positive things to happen in June was Haley graduating nursing school. She had what can be considered the HARDEST 14 months of her life. She suffered significant losses and didn’t let them stop her. She studied hard and even in her most emotional moments kept her head up. Her strength, determination, and perseverance are definitely something to be admired. I’m beyond lucky to be able to call her my friend and being able to see her graduate brought me great joy in a time where I was feeling sorry for myself.

July and August flew by. I’m not sure anything productive even happened in those 8 weeks. I know I celebrated birthdays and pretty much-avoided responsibilities until school started. I did partake in a short 24-hour getaway to mobile with Haley. She took her nursing boards and passed like I knew she would. I signed a lease with Ashley. Committing myself to at least one more year here. It was a tough decision to make and I’m still not sure I made the right one. I promised myself I wouldn’t ring in 29 here, but I’m here until at least August 31st of 2019 now. I do have to give a huge shout out to all of those who helped us move. Also to Kim and Chris for letting me crash with them while I got moved in. I hope y’all are still laughing at me having to pee on the side of the house because I couldn’t get one of y’all to open the door 😂. I certainly am! By the way, I still need to get the dog apartment from you. The family did manage to pull off a surprise party for my grandmas 80th birthday. Spending time with them was definitely a highlight. I wish I remembered more from July and August. You would think it was me that got the concussion on the 4th of July not Alex 😂! Sorry Alex I had to, love ya mean it.

September was definitely eventful. I got moved into my place. School was in full swing. We had Lilly’s baby shower. With her due date approaching fast I sat down and wrote my first deeply emotional and vulnerable blog. I finally organized my feelings and wrote about my infertility. It was extremely humbling to have so many people share it, message me and thank me. I had no idea it would reach as many people as it did and it helped me see things in a new light. I finally was at peace with a future of not being a mom. Being a mom was something I had wanted to be my whole life. Now, after learning about my diagnosis, coping and healing from it, I can say that I am content with my infertility. Sometimes I still get sad but I understand that my life is meant to be different. I was still having a hard time with my commitment to stay another year here and I had not been out of town in a while. I was unfocused and feeling hopeless. I needed to get out and clear my head. I packed up for a weekend getaway to the Forgotten Coast in search of some mental clarity. I came back feeling refreshed and centered. September also brought a new opportunity on the job front. After a lot of delibertating, I decided to take it. 

It was now October, my FAVORITE month of the whole year! It was filled with celebrating Devon’s 35th birthday. Tiffany and Andrew got engaged, FINALLY! Lilly gave birth to Ellie and it was quite the event. Ellie and Lilly gave us all a scare and I am ever so grateful that they both are happy and healthy. Hurricane Michael hit, caused devastation and put school on hold for me. I had a much-needed break that would come back later to bite me in the ass. I spent the month being a complete basic pumpkin and Halloween loving white girl. Family football weekend was a blast despite losing the game. We left at half time and went to a bar. Devon and Kyle celebrated their first anniversary that weekend and were true sports. I spent Halloween with my best friend and her munchkins. We were a bat family. Her 4 year old told me my butt looked nice in my leggings and completely made my month. It was honestly a wonderful month. I was the happiest I had been in a while. I let my guard down and November reminded why I don’t relax. 

Then came November. Life was finally feeling right. I finally stopped holding my breath and relaxed. Then it happened. I didn’t derail my plans this time my health did. Every time I get 4 steps forward my heart knocks me 3 steps back. I spent the whole month feeling defeated. November was hard. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without my family. I’ve been scared and confused. All the doctors appointments, everyone driving me around, letting me vent and being an emotional crutch. I couldn’t be more thankful for my family. November was definitely the most challenging month of the year. I still don’t think I’ve completely wrapped my head around everything that happened. It wasn’t all awful. I got to celebrate baby boys. I had baby Bennett and baby Coles baby showers. Sweet Ophelia turned 1. Thanksgiving was great. I worked a solid 12 hours on Black Friday and the only reason I committed was because of Madison. My Herschey turned 7. I discovered my love for a night in with a onesie and face mask. I drank more water than I think I ever have and my dear friend Taylor asked me to be a part of her special day!

And now it’s December. Getting out of town, after I thought I was going to have to cancel my trip, was exactly what I needed. My time in New York was not long enough. Honestly, being in New York was the first time I’ve ever felt that comfortable in my own skin. Something about the City just felt right. I am so thankful for my hosts and being pointed in the right direction food wise and literally. Jesica is directionally challenged so having someone tell me to go left or straight was a HUGE help. I am so thankful Jes came with me. Her gypsy soul is undeniably similar to mine. Going to New York has definitely not helped my feeling of restlessness. My desire to get out of the worlds luckiest fishing village is at an all-time high. Half of me is tempted to sell everything I own and be irrational and move. The other half is rational and knows my life is filled with unknowns right now and I need to be responsible. I won’t pack my bags just yet. I’m going to finish these finals and papers. I’m going to shop for Christmas, way to wait until the last minute huh?! I’m going to welcome 2019 and hope that it’s a year of as much personal growth as 2018 has been.

So far December has been great. I’m slowly getting back into working out. I ran a mile and a half yesterday. I’m slowly accomplishing my mountain of homework. I finally am caught up on laundry. And I’m realizing just how much I’ve grown this year.

I owe a lot of my growth to my best friend Madison. I’m so proud of her. She works her butt off. She moms hard and she’s accepting help from her parents even when it hurts her pride. Being a single mom in school and working 40 hours is not easy. She’s grown so much this year and has pushed me to see qualities in myself I couldn’t see. Devon and Kyle who have made a point to include me in their big moments this first year of marriage. When I felt alone they both knew exactly what to say and do. My mom has been my rock. My safe place. She’s driven me crazy with her worrying. She’s made me laugh uncontrollably. My dad and stepmom have supported me without question and made sure I knew I would be okay when I thought I wouldn’t be. My aunts have all provided me with support and encouragement. My whole family has been a huge part of my personal growth.

I was asked to describe myself at the beginning of the year. As I answered the person stopped me. She told me I was describing myself based off of what I thought people wanted to hear. I couldn’t describe myself in the way I saw myself. It took me all year to finally be able to answer her question.

I, Madelyn, am first off a crier. I compartmentalize my emotions. It was something I mastered at a young age. I have an extremely hard time vocalizing and expressing my emotions to others. I cry when I’m happy, sad, anxious, angry, stressed, the list goes on. It’s one of the only ways I can let out my emotions. I am a music junkie. Not musically inclined at all, just obsessed with music. I’m constantly listening to music. Searching for new artists and songs. I listen to a little bit of EVERYTHING. I am the type of person that cries during certain songs. I am stubborn. I have a hard time believing in myself. I love hard. That doesn’t mean just in relationships. I love hard when it comes to friends and family. I will put others first and neglect to take care of myself because of this. I’m still learning how to say no. I stay alarmingly calm in stressful situations and this can be contributed to my health. I want to be every animals mom. I love animals and if I could I would rescue as many as I could. I now know what I will and will not put up within a relationship. I’ve had too much of my time wasted and I have too much to offer to be considered an afterthought. I believe in monogamy and casual dating is not for me. I am incredibly awkward. I rarely say the right thing at the right time. I constantly am putting my foot in my mouth. I’m working on holding myself accountable. If I want change then I have to be the change. I don’t think I will ever be a morning person. I am not healthy. I may never be. I am different medically and I’m learning to accept it. I laugh at my own jokes and use humor as a coping mechanism. I hate my body and I’m trying to learn to love it. I always want to eat, even if I just ate. And I finally love myself as a person again.

All year I’ve worked on figuring out who I am. 2018 has been a HUGE year for me. Being able to sit here and write about it has been a big step for me. To actually hit publish will be even bigger. Opening up and being vulnerable isn’t easy for me. I’m going into 2019 with the hope that I expand my horizons even more. I hope to welcome 29 and leave this town for my thirties. I hope to continue writing and finding my groove. I hope to keep an open mind and continue to grow into the best version of myself. I hope to finally tame these damn eyebrows and continue to feel comfortable in my own skin. I hope to learn how to say no and work on the right balance of selfish and selfless. I hope for more chances to travel. But most of all I hope for answers, that my heart will not throw me curveballs, and some stability medically.

After shock…

It has been exactly one month since my defibrillator went off and life has certainly changed. I have yet to feel 100% like myself, physically and mentally. Life is getting back to normal, but it is a new normal. It is filled with unknowns, upcoming doctors visits, medications and lots of restrictions.

When I wrote about the experience of my defibrillator going off I had yet to see my Electrophysiologist and Cardiologist. I had an idea of what had happened and I had expectations of what I was going to hear. I figured I had experienced some form of arrhythmia and my heart was beating too fast for too long, because this is something that happens often. I did not expect to hear that I was in a normal, healthy, regular rhythm and then I wasn’t. I went straight into ventricular fibrillation. No arrhythmia leading up to it. No intense physical activity. No medicine to cause it. My heart just decided to stop working correctly. To stop actually beating.

I always knew that this was a possibility. I’ve listened to the doctors intensely, I’ve done proper research, and I’ve paid attention to my body. It’s always been there in the back of my mind. This could happen, but you never think it will actually happen to you. I’ve been unlucky with my health, but I’ve also been lucky. Things could be much worse. I tell myself this all the time. When the doctor told me I went in v-fib for no particular rhyme or reason, I couldn’t wrap my head around. That experience I’ve previously described, where everything disappears around you. You can’t process any new information because your mind is still trying to comprehend that information you were told. Yeah, that happened upon hearing that.

I want answers. I want to know the reasons why. I want to know how to completely avoid getting brought back to life again because I don’t want my heart to just stop working. I am having a hard time accepting that my diagnosis does not have a cure, yet. It may never have a cure. I don’t want to “maintain” it. I want to fix it. It’s unbelievably frustrating. Next month I will be doing genetic testing to get more in-depth answers as to which specific form of Long QT syndrome I have. I’ll see a new specialist for a 2nd opinion. I’ll get a new pair of eyes to review everything and see if they have anything different to say. I’ll see if this new medicine is the right one. So far it’s worked better than anything else. It’s insanely expensive and breaks my face out. It is better than my heart not working right, so I can’t complain too much.

I’m trying to deal with the unknown, the frustration, and the seriousness of my situation with a light attitude. I keep cracking, what some may consider inappropriate, jokes about being in a dead sleep. Or how I can’t say yolo anymore. I have to find humor in this in order for me to cope. I’m still struggling to accept that I had a sudden cardiac death event and my defibrillator did its job. I have no words that can describe how glad I am that this machine, that I never wanted in my body, worked. The nightmares that I have had about me not waking up have been hard to shake. I try not to focus on all of this and continue to live life semi-normally. It’s hard. It’s hard to not be anxiety-ridden and terrified that at any moment it could happen again. It’s hard to not dwell on it. Sometimes I want to talk about it to process it and sometimes I don’t want it brought up at all. I want just a few hours where I can pretend that I’m normal, health-wise. We all know I’m not normal, I’m a bit peculiar. Haha!

The psychical stress this caused only lasted a few days. However, the emotional and mental stress is seeming to last indefinitely. I know some people may think, “So what you got shocked. People get shocked by defibrillators all the time.” To some, it may not be a big deal, but to me it is. I convinced myself that I was doing better and that I was fine. Nothing had happened and it probably never would. I convinced myself I was healthy and normal. I’m having to accept that I’m not. It’s a struggle for me. I’ve struggled my whole adult life with it. All I’ve ever wanted was to be healthy and normal. I don’t want to face the fact that I’m far from it.

Getting back into a routine has been difficult. I’ve had to rely on others for so much and I had to base my life off of someone else’s schedule. I’m finally able to drive myself around town again. I’m still supposed to take it easy on exercise. I’ve re-evaluated how I approach life now. I have a different outlook. I didn’t completely realize how precious our time on earth really was. Time is fleeting and I have now rearranged my priorities. Working my butt off and being successful will always be a goal but I will no longer let it consume me. I don’t care if others don’t understand why I choose to do something. Making memories and actually enjoying my life is now more important. All the stress doesn’t help me. I have far too much unknown with my health to not make the best of my time on earth. That is why I didn’t cancel my trip to New York despite all that’s happened in the last month. I may not have this opportunity present itself for me again. I do not know what is in store for me next month.

Life after the shock has been pretty much what I expected. It’s been a rude awakening and it’s caused my life to do a 180. I’ve grown in ways I didn’t expect. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last month. For me, it’s been the true definition of an aftershock. A smaller earthquake following the main shock of a large earthquake. My life is in disarray after working so hard to get my shit together.

The forgotten coast…

There is a special place in my heart for Franklin Country, Florida. It is in my blood, literally. My Grandfather, on my mother’s side, was born and raised in Carra Belle/ East Point. We had our, Hall family, family reunions at the East Point fire station for the majority of my life. For the better part of my life, my dad’s side of the family vacationed every summer in St. George Island. We would rent a beach house for a week. Spend our days in the sand and our nights playing cards. We would go into East point and Apalachicola for dinner out. Steal the salad dressing bottles after a little too much wine. Cough cough Aunt Kathy cough cough. My time spent in Franklin County as a child is among some of my fondest memories.

My dad’s side of the family is still trying to keep the memory alive. We spent Christmas in a beach house on St. George Island 3 years ago and this year we will be spending New Years there. Honestly, there is no place I would rather be for New Years than in Franklin County with my family.

This area is stuck in time, for the most part. Mom and pop businesses, small-town feel and some of the best damn seafood you will ever ingest. I instantly feel relaxed when I’m here. So recently, when I found myself off-kilter I chose to come here. I needed a reset.

It is officially Fall but Florida hasn’t picked up on that yet. By this time of year, I am itching for cold weather and to go camping. Since it has been 90-degree weather for weeks, I was a little hesitant to commit to camping. I am glad I committed. There is just something about waking up in a tent, having breakfast cooked over a campfire, throwing on your bathing suit and going swimming.

Camping is usually relaxing and a fairly smooth experience, but I wasn’t camping with the most prepared of company. In the words of my sister, ”Madelyn, I am a survivalist. I’m bringing my tent, stuff for smores and my pillow.” I called to ask her what I needed to bring 🙄🤦🏻‍♀️. I had to get all the small details in order, apparently. You know like food, bug spray, toilet paper, flashlights, etc.. which can be a little stressful last minute. Setting up my tent in the dark was also a challenge. My little sister isn’t the best flashlight holder. Once everything was said and done and we went to bed Friday night, it hit me. As I laid in my tent, listening to fires crack and crickets chirp, I felt relaxation wash over me. My shoulders released, my jaw unclenched, and stress lifted away. This was exactly what I needed.

We stayed at T.H. Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula state park. While it is in Cape San Blas and technically bay county, it was still close enough for us to bounce back and forth between Franklin and Bay county all day. We started our day out with me making breakfast burritos over a fire. They were damn good by the way. We ate and freshened ourselves up to set out on a hunt for coffee and to explore.

We hung out bayside while drinking our coffee and then decided to go all the way to the tip of the peninsula, to beach it on the gulf side. The path to the beach was gorgeous. White sand with big dunes. Seagrass and driftwood all about. Once you stepped off the path there was no one around. Just the gulf and the beach stretched out as far as you could see. The seclusion made it a million times better. I got in the water, reluctantly because I know the red tide is creeping its way up the coast. I’m not trying to add another medical ailment to my list. The water wasn’t emerald like I’m used to but it didn’t matter. I was still in the Gulf of Mexico and that is one of my happy places. On our way to the beach, we found where the nature trail started. We headed back to the campsite and switched out our flip flops for our tennis shoes then set off. We got 3/4 of the way through the nature trail and found it flooded out from recent rain. I certainly was not treading through a mosquito haven. So, we turned our butts around and walked back to the car to get ready to head to Apalachicola. Please keep in mind I don’t usually take this many damn photos, but I brought along my friend who dabbles in photography, when she’s not going to school, working full time and momming. I also had my little sister who said and I quote, ”Do it for the gram”, right before she used a bike rack as a ladder to climb a tree 😂. Needless to say, there are tons of pictures and we laughed a lot. I guess if I continue with this blogging thing I am going to have to get used to taking photos for documentation.

Driving into Apalachicola my second wave of relaxation of the weekend hit. We approached historic downtown and I got a little giddy. The trees with moss all around, the historic buildings mixed with old Florida bungalow style homes, and the view of the water. It’s gorgeous. I was grinning from ear to ear. This place makes me incredibly happy. Maybe it’s because time slows down here, people are nicer, and I experience a sense of calm. We spent the afternoon at Oyster City Brewery, eating at a cafe and in and out of shops.

It was early evening when we headed back to Cape San Blas. The sun was still shining but you could feel it shifting. I had the windows down and sunroof open. My friend Madison was asleep in the front seat, mouth open 😂, must’ve been a good nap. Since she was asleep I knew I could play the music I like that bores her(not everyone can have good taste in music😂). So my tunes were shuffling from Mumford & Sons, The Revivalists, Lord Huron and etc.. All was right in my world. With the Gulf on my left and St Joesph bay on my right, Hello my old heart by the Oh Hellos came on. As far as favorite songs go, this one definitely makes my top ten. Something about this song gives me all the feels. A good song will make you feel something and this one always hits me deep. At that moment as I sang along there it was. My moment of clarity. I came here this weekend to center myself, to regain personal balance, to relax and enjoy nature. Salt air circulating through my car and me singing along with conviction, I found my balance.

Have you ever felt like you’re on the cusp of something? You just know that things are changing and something is about to happen to or for you? Well, I have and I feel it now. I don’t know what it is or when it will happen, but something is brewing.

I do realize I need to slow down. I will not be taking as many classes next semester. I need to relish life’s little moments more. Continue to do more of what makes me happy and less of what makes others happy. I need to keep being vulnerable because it is humbling and a truly beautiful thing. Keep putting myself first. My nurturing nature is a great quality but I have to stop letting it harm my well being. I need to welcome the judgments of others but let them roll right off my back. I also realized with a real reflection, not personal reflection, that I need to get my eyebrows done. What kind of friends do I have? How could y’all not tell me they were looking such a mess?!

When you find yourself feeling off it is important you take the time to step back and reanalyze things. Removing yourself helps you look at things from a different perspective. I am so thankful that I had my little sister who is always down for an adventure, ready to pack up her tent and join me. As well as my best friend of 14 years able and willing to try something new and out of the ordinary for her. They were more than willing to help me and be a part of whatever it was I needed to do for myself. I have the best friends and family. The support I receive daily from you all means so much. Especially all the support when it comes to my writing. I’ve finally found my groove, my flow, with this blog. Please be prepared for much more to come as we enter my favorite month and time of year.

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 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.