Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Addiction is an Unreliable Bitch

"What fascinates me about addiction and obsessive behavior is that people would choose an altered state of consciousness that's toxic and ostensibly destroys most aspects of your normal life, because for a brief moment you feel okay."-Moby
Addiction is an unreliable bitch, and that's just a fact of life. Often times, people are quick to put down those suffering from addiction, like it's something they can control. Be gentle with your tongue before you go pointing fingers, and look inward, because we're all addicted to something, some of us may be addicted to a few things. And we all think it's harmless.
Drugs: caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, weed, pills, exercising, even something as seemingly innocent as love. Once you get it, you get high off the attention, and only crave more. Love, arguably is the worst of them all- the gateway drug.
 In dealing with addiction, you're at the mercy of your own mind. That sage wisdom to "just snap out of it," doesn't work too well here, if ever. You're your own worst enemy, and no one can unravel you from the ropes you're entangled in, except yourself.

Something I've been blessed with this year is an abundance of empathy. Although I don't think I have ever lacked the quality, but just suffering from a lack of logic. Many people I have loved, and still do, have become monsters at the hands of addiction. I never quite understood why, so I foolishly blamed it on their own choices.
Loser. Get a grip. Get your life together. How sad.
These are things we all may have thought at some point or another about someone we know, or maybe even about ourselves.

I hope I'm not being misunderstood. I am no psychologist, but I am a professional thinker, which I often attribute to being one of my fatal flaws.

From what I understand, and have witnessed in relation to addiction, there are three thing which I believe to contribute to the root of addiction:

1. Safety- This is where the "Unreliable Bitch" part comes into play. Those suffering from some form of addiction whether is be alcohol, drugs, or the most potent-love, use it is as their safety net. In general, people do not want to deal with unpleasant things. If you have something that helps you to forget about life for a little while, whether it be minutes, hours, or days- you will probably welcome that thing with open arms. Whatever it is, it helps you deal with reality, which at times can be unbearably painful. Except, what is disguised as comfort to you, may be disguised as a disgrace to other people. While your addiction comforts you, it repels people away from you. You keep your addiction close, and people at a distance. The addiction serves as a wall that temporarily blocks out all things unpleasant, while potentially blocking out wonderful things as well. If you were truly happy, you wouldn't need an artificial drug to bring you to life. Rock bottom is a dark place, but only gets darker when you coat it with chemicals.

Addiction is rooted out of fear of having open eyes to the world in front of you. Whatever your scared of, dealing with it will be the most empowering feeling in the world. If you can get over your deepest fears, you can surely handle any challenge that comes your way. And you can. You just need to take the first step.

The fear of falling often blocks people from stepping out of their comfort zone. If you never leave your comfort zone, you are going to be stuck in that box forever. The only opportunities that will come to you will be other people's left overs. If you fall, get back up. If you fail, try again. If you loved, and got your heartbroken, love again.

Take a deep breath, and deal with your reality. Let down the walls, and let people in. If your scared, ask for help. If you're scared, you know you're alive.

2. Desperation- This is a fast paced world, and it's common for people to feel lonely. Everyone has their own routine, and sometimes you just don't feel as appreciated as you would like to. People may not be as comfortable with words as you wish they were, and attention may be divided.

A cry for help. Testing the water to see if someone reaches out with a life raft. Does someone care enough to stop you? Sure they do.

No matter what your situation may be, you will always have so many people who love and care about you. Open your eyes and your heart and accept their love.

If people are not reaching out to you, reach out to them. Before you go searching for validation in something artificial, look for validation inside yourself. You deserve to have happiness and you deserve to have love.

Most importantly, if you love someone who isn't treating you right, don't be scared to walk away. Being mistreated or under appreciated is something no one should ever get used to. Forced love is not love. Never settle for anyone and never lower your expectations just because the person that you love cannot meet them. Sometimes we fall in love with the idea of a person. This idea skews the reality of who they really are, ignoring their flaws, and putting them on a pedestal of our false expectations. Kick them off the pedestal, and one day your prince or princess will come along and take their rightful seat.

3. Control- Life is hectic. And that's fair, because it's that way for everyone. Don't think it is discriminating against you, giving you all of the world's problems. Many people search to control things like alcohol or food just to say they have total control over one aspect of their life. But, no. Life will not have that. Strict control often spirals desperately out of control, and you will not have hold of the reigns for very long.

Accept things for what they are. Do not over-react to things you cannot control. You cannot control other people's actions, the weather, the traffic, etc. Breathe. Accept it for what it is, and move past it.

This life will be full of bumps and curves, and that is the only guarantee you are promised. Roll with the punches, and adjust safely and accordingly.

If I misunderstood before, I apologize, but feel grateful that I have a better understanding now. Before you jump to conclusions and judgments, it is essential that you search to gain a deeper understanding of what may lye on the surface.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Love is the Driving Force for Everything in This World

In the past year, I lost the two people I was most scared to lose. I think terrified is a more accurate description.

Growing up, I never lost anyone close to me. Goldfish, sure. Distant cousins, maybe. But it never really hit me. I was never close enough to the loss that it affected my everyday life.

I always sympathized with friends who lost family members, because as I said, “I couldn’t imagine.”

It all happened in such a short amount of time. My world became a tornado. I never stopped spinning. My first loss was our childhood dog. I remembered coming home from pre-school and having her jump at my feet. I’ve never felt more excitement over anything. When it was time to put her out of her misery, although my mom warned me it would be painful, I re-assured her I needed to be there. Man’s best friend. She was there for me my whole life, she needed me now. I pet the spot behind her ear that always made her feel at ease, and she looked into my eyes as she laid her head to rest. I never thought I could feel more pain in my life. Boy was I wrong.

I remember crying to my therapist,

“My pop pop is very sick,” I said.

“He’s going in for open heart surgery. He’s the brave one, I’m not sure if I can handle it. I told him since I can’t be there, that he should think of me if he gets scared, and I will be right there holding his hand.”

The best phone call I have ever received was letting me know my pop pop made it through the surgery. 80 years old. What a fighter. The downside, was it was a downwards spiral from here. My pop pop lost his pep, he slowly gave up the fight, and the weight seemed to be melting off of him.

I’ve been calling everyday, and I would talk to him until he would decide that he would rather watch Judge Judy.

“Nobody seems to want me to go,” I said. “To visit, I mean. And, I’m not sure I would want to see him like this.”

“Well, would you be okay if you never saw him again?” the therapist asked me.

I spit the word, “no!” back at her before she even finished asking what I hope no one would ever ask. I booked my flight to Florida as soon as I got home. In this situation, sure it will be the hardest pain you’ve ever experienced in your life, but you need to experience it. My pop pop has been there for me for every bump I have ever experienced in my short 16 years of life, and I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to be there for him.

I sat by his bed for three days. The nurses would rub my back, and suggest I get some rest in my own bed. I was reluctant to leave his side, and a little bit pissed that they would even suggest it. We all held hands, and we all cried. We didn’t need to speak, because all of the words we needed to say, were silently spoken.

The nurses told us it wouldn’t be long, and said that we should tell him that it was okay to let go. I juggled the possibility in my mind of doing so, but somehow it didn’t seem right. But, I knew for his sake, it would be what was best.

I squeezed his hand and slowly spoke, “Pop, don’t be scared. I will take care of mom and nanny. I promise you. I love you and I miss you already.”

That night, I stayed up until 3:30 sitting next to my pop pop. “You should get some sleep sweetie,” said the nurse. I was too tired to argue.

7:03 June 30 was the worst wake up call I have ever gotten in my entire life.

“It’s time” my mom said.

We crowded around my pop pops bed arm in arm as he took his final breaths. We were all there as he received his wings, and made his way up to the pearly gates.

I spent a lot of time alone. Writing, reading, walking, and listening to music. I refused to think about it, because once I did, it was real, and he was gone.

My nanny woke me up one morning and told me she loved me. She believed that she was dying, and she didn’t want to fight anymore.

“You have to. You have to promise me,” I panicked.

I hugged her tight.

My nanny was a fighter. But, to the people who say you can’t die of a broken heart, I beg to differ. My nanny couldn’t see life without my pop pop. After 60 years of marriage, she was ready to follow him into the next phase of life.

Just shy of a year after I said good-bye to my pop pop, I said good-bye to my nanny.

Even though we were in different states, I feel the void everyday. When I achieve something great in my career or at school, I jump to the phone, and get an empty line. When I need advice, I hear my nanny’s voice, and see her wagging her finger at me. When I feel depressed, I hear her saying that I’m a young girl, and I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself. “Enjoy this life,” she always told me.

They say it gets easier, but it doesn’t. It’s been two years, and I haven’t stopped spinning. It’s been two years, and I haven’t sat down and really cried. Until now.

In short, what I’ve learned from my Nanny and Pop Pop:
-Life is too short not to enjoy every second of it
-Even if you think no one is on your side, your family always is.
-Cherish the people in your life.
-Cherish little moments.
-It may hurt, do it anyway
-Don’t have enemies- people have enough going on in their life, you don’t need to make it any harder for them.
-Tell the people that you love that you love them.
-Don’t speak with an ugly tongue. If you don’t like somebody, mind your business, but you still have to be nice.
-Love is the driving force for everything in this world. You’re either searching for it, fighting to keep it, or following it. Love with all of your heart whether it be endeavors you embark upon or people you encounter.
-There’s nothing more beautiful in this world than two people so deeply in love, that they couldn’t bear to see life without the other.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I’m fascinated by the concept of waves. I believe it is a beautiful metaphor to capture the essence of life.

We will always be in the water. When things are good, we float. The waves are light and seemingly pass right through us. However, in the blink of an eye, those gentle waters can get rough. You can be floating for years, and one wave comes along that is just too tall to drift over. That wave will crash over your head, and send you tumbling back to shore. But, even though you may get taken out time after time, the waters will calm again. You need to jump up, shake it off, and swim back out.

Last year, a family friend tragically took her own life. Although I did not know her well, I ached for her. I knew all too well the cycle that she was trapped in. She couldn't catch a break long enough to catch her breath, and get back to shore. She got caught in the waves, and kept on tumbling.

She gave up the fight, and they pulled her back home.

Within minutes of hearing the news, words poured out of me,   

“She was a beauty,
but she lived her life in the ocean.

The waves passed through her,
disabling her to see
the beauty lingering within her soul.

Multiple times she screamed in the face of the darkness,
"you can't win!"
And the waves pulled her under,
crashing over her head.

As they tried and tried,
she cried, and cried
because, no one could understand what it was like
to live in a cycle of waves merely half alive.

She had a laugh louder than life,
but when the waves emerged,
her strength didn't suffice.

The wave washed over her,
and she forgot how to swim.”   

If there is only one thing you need to know about life to be able to navigate the waters a little bit easier, I’d say it would be that life does not come with flotation devices. Overtime you begin to learn the time of the tides. They will crash. They will take you out. You will be sent back to shore, but you will get up again. When you see the wave come in, be prepared to duck under it, or get ready to ride it.

Rest in peace, angel. I hope you found the peace you were so desperately searching for.

Monday, July 14, 2014


At this point in our lives, I feel we are all at a crossroads. We’re at that age where we are still considered by some as too young to make any life-altering decisions, yet still old enough to know better.

The crossroad lays in the path of expectations set by others in society, and the path we’ve imagined for ourselves.

Do you do what is expected of you, in that order? Or do you risk taking the untraditional route to pave your own path? What if the cement you choose doesn’t set well? The only possibility to know the end results of each set path is in prediction. I think knowing indefinitely would take all of the fun out of the journey.

We’re at that age where we should be working to help pay for school, to make a living, and ultimately, stop begging our parents for money. Whether we choose to live at school, on our own, or with our parents is still up to us. We’re at that age where if our hearts are filled with wanderlust, it’s still ok to grab a backpack and a passport, and get lost. It’s not crazy to want to spend two weeks wandering around Rome, as it would be if you had a family. It’s ok to stay in your pajamas one day until two in the afternoon, and pretend like the real world isn’t waiting outside your bedroom door.

Before college, I struggled a lot. I knew what I wanted to do, but it seemed like everyone else I knew had a different vision for me. They wanted me to make a lot of money and they wanted me to live in a big house. I thought that was great in theory, but there’s a few flaws. First, I don’t care how much money I’m making, if I don’t get up and love what I’m doing. If I’m not passionate about it, it’s not worth it. Why would I work crazy hours to make money I would never have the time to enjoy?

I felt guilty that I didn’t fit the mold my parents had envisioned for me. No bends, twists, turns, or practice would have me fit that mold. I am not a science or math person, and I don’t understand equations or statistics. For me, I create the world in a way I understand. Whether I like it or not, words pour out of me. I describe situations to make them feel relatable for people. Words are my photographs. Words are my equations. Words help me form this crazy world into a formula I can understand. I am a writer by nature. If I am lucky enough to get to paint with prose for the rest of my life, I will be rich with passion and love for every endeavor I embark upon. I love what I do, and that is enough an explanation for me.

Now in the middle of college, the next question we get bombarded with is, “what’s next?” It’s terrifying. Society seems to want the name of the company that will hire you out of college, the social security number of your future husband, the receipts for all of the debt you need to start making payments on, and where you are going to live.

Currently I have three addresses: my mom’s house, my dad’s house, and my dorm at school. I have no idea where I am going to be living next year. Do I want to stay with one of my parents? Aren’t I a little old? I want to plant my own roots, to have a city in any state that I can call my home. I don’t know where that will be, and I’m working to accept the fact that I will have to figure it out when the time comes.

I’m not going to pretend like I’m an expert on something I’m not. Since we’re being honest, I’m terrified of the future. We grew up with the belief that “perfection” is the ultimate goal. Therefore, I’m scared of lack. I want a successful career, I want a love that lasts until the day I die, and I want a house with a big yard where I can plant my roots with my family, and run barefoot through the grass. Being organized helps me in every aspect of my life, but you cannot create a vision board for every course of your life.

Something that has always inspired me to take chances is my mother. She got a job out of high school, but when she was 40, she decided she wanted to do something more fulfilling. She went to college to study for a job she had always dreamed of doing. With determination and a lot of hours spent studying, she got her degree, and the job she wanted. My mother is the perfect example of even if you get what you love wrong the first time, you can always reverse and change directions.

I’m scared my plan will not go so according to plan. But, i’d rather be known as the girl who fell, than the girl who never jumped.

Be scared. Take chances. Change directions. Take the wrong job. Create your path, and take your time paving it.  Have fear, but jump anyway.