Thursday, August 27, 2015

Results of Gay Marriage

     Gay marriage passed on Friday June 26th. It is now two months later and I have shocking news. I'm not married to a gay woman.

      My marriage didn't dissolve. I didn't suddenly find myself attracted to women. The apocalypse didn't occur. The nation has not crumbled. Nobody spontaneously combusted. My husband didn't start frequenting gay bars and picking up men. He hasn't found himself disinterested in our marriage in favor of the company of men. In short, nothing changed.
     Here's what has happened. There are thousands of couples that, should they choose to pursue marriage, have the same rights I do. There are people that can sit at the bed side of their partner if they are injured or ill. People can distribute property upon their death appropriately. Mostly, people can finally be equal in the eyes of the law.

      Second step? Convincing the churches to recognize these beautiful unions so that the faithful can have equal marriages. Good luck with that, religion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Making Life, Making Friends: 5 Reasons Making Friends is Hard

     It has been almost a year since I've bothered to put anything here. I've been busy and I've been private. I've been an open book for so much of my life that I finally got far enough to need to close it. Recently, however, someone who means enough to me that I give their thoughts some weight suggested I write it out again. Which makes it really hard to decide where to start.

     I think it has become apparent that I have a focus on relationships and how we deal with them, but how much can you actually say about it? So I have a weird way to approach it. The most important thing I think I've done since the last time I wrote is to get a dog. His name is Huxley Maddox and he is the closest thing to perfection that I've ever known.
He is handsome and smart and perfect and everything I could have hoped for in a companion. He is always here for me and always happy to be in my arms. He's protective (although bad at it), loving, and empathetic to a fault. He also likes napping, which allows me to do things like write this blog with him in my lap. Basically, he seems to be exactly what a younger me would have thought was perfect in a friend. Yet, I've grown as any healthy person should. I know that friends should not necessarily be so simple. 
     Being in a new city where I know exactly no one makes it hard to find and enjoy friends. Everyone I know is someone I've met through my husband's new job. Making friends on my own is hard, and I've tried to figure out why. I'm generally a friendly person. I'm nice and kind and do all that I can to be the kind of person that I would like to know. These are just some of the reasons I've found that it is difficult for me to make a true and lasting friendship.

1. People are unpredictable.
Another lovely trait of human beings. They surprise you. Sometimes in a pleasant way, sometimes not so much. You can develop a relationship based mostly on what you give, and when it is time to reciprocate they may not be there. Or the opposite may happen. You may grow to know a person through the wonderful they do for you, but when it is time to help them they cannot accept your efforts.

2. Common interests are hard to find.
This may be where my pretension comes out, but it can be very hard to find things in common with another person. Sure, we have simple hobbies and can connect on that level, but I'm used to connecting with people on a deeper and more intellectual level. This is hard when I now live in Tennessee and see people with staunchly different views. 

3. Commitment is hard to create.
I'm 26, nearly 27. At this age we have the commitments we've chosen to keep, for the most part. A husband, children, careers, etc. Adding something new into the mix is hard for anyone, myself included.

4. I haven't settled down yet.
Yes, I'm married. Yes, I have a career. Yes, I've gotten my masters degree. Yes, I have a home to keep and things to take care of. All of these things are true, but I'm not finished. I have more to do in my life and I'm not ready to say I'm done, so my life will continue to change. When most other people are content in their lives it can be hard to keep up.

5. People are not what we want them to be. 
This is not to say that people are not great. They are wonderful! Still, people cannot be expected to give you what you give them, or be what you'd like or expect.

These things being said, I will be making more of an effort to accommodate new people into my life. I am trying to put down roots here, and part of that will be making friends. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Scariest Story I've Ever Lived

     I'm not one for story-type narration. It's never truly appealed to me. A while ago, however, I felt the need to. 
     To preface all of this, some of you know that I recently underwent surgery. Before that I'd been in a near constant pain for months, and the painkillers that I'd been prescribed really weren't even helping anymore. Things were pretty awful, but I wrote this gem a little bit before that point

     The happiest time in a young woman’s life, the months leading up to her wedding. She has visions of beauty. She can imagine the rest of her life starting on that day. She gets stressed, sure, but knows it will pass because she will become the misses to the man of her dreams. Life is changing in a good way and she can’t wait for what will come next.

      Then a pain. A pain deep inside of her. Like nothing she’s ever felt before. Her insides are tearing apart, they simply must be. Tylenol, Naproxen, Aspirin. Anything that she has. Nothing works. Nothing makes it go away. She’s afraid. This new, scary feeling with no discernible cause. What does does she do? The pain gets worse and she can’t move. She finds herself crying in bed. She tries holding her stomach, putting pressure on the area below her belly button, where it hurts the most. That hurts worse. This feeling, this strange new feeling, she has to find words for it. She has to be able to explain, but she can’t. She can only try to breathe between sobs.

     It’s a Saturday, so her doctor isn’t is in his office. Her fiancĂ© walks in to find her this way. He’s scared; he’s never seen her like this before. He’s seen her dramatic tears, he’s seen her in emotional pain, he’s seen her stressed, he’s even seen her in very real physical pain, but never anything like this. He tries to find out what’s going on, what happened. He has to do something, she can’t do it for herself. He calls the hospital where her doctor is often on call and begs them to tell him what to do. Their answers are not incredibly satisfying, but they do get him in touch with the doctor. The doctor tries to rescue, getting pain medications sent to the pharmacy as soon as possible, and scheduling an ultrasound for that very week to see if something had gone wrong.

      The couple struggles through the next few days. He has to help her get out of bed and around the house. She didn’t cook, she didn’t clean, she didn’t do the laundry. She wasn’t who he knew she was. The entire time she was afraid. She had a feeling they wouldn’t find a thing and there would be no way to fix this. She felt like she was in a battle with her body and it was winning. She couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just work together. Still, she would wait. Her faith in the doctor would not falter. He was a good man, a smart man, and more than capable as a doctor.

      The ultrasound day comes. The couple struggles into the office. The good doctor does a simple exam to make sure there’s nothing that he can see or feel to explain this. His exam brings her to tears from the pain it causes. He finds nothing new. She gets dressed again, every movement causing pangs of pain, and goes across the hall to have the ultrasound. The probe hurts as well. It pushes and pinches in what feel like the worse possible places. She watches the screen, assuming that he’s done the same. She sees the images that she’s seen before, from having ovarian cysts. Uterus- normal. Right ovary- normal. Left ovary- can’t see it… there it is. Normal. Nothing unusual. Nothing out of the ordinary with the exception of the tears she’s holding back. Everything as she expected. Nothing that she wanted.
She dresses again and they go back across the hall to meet with the doctor once again after he’s seen what she’s just seen- nothing. Waiting in the office she starts to cry. 

“I knew they find nothing. I knew we’d have no answers. I knew this would be a waste of time. Whatever this is, we don’t know. We have no idea what it is that’s taking away my life. No clue what’s making me feel such pain that I don’t know if I can keep going. What are we going to do?”

“Let’s wait for the doctor. He’ll have more information. We know he’s good, and he’ll be able to help us decide what we do next.” 

      He’s trying to be comforting in any way he can think of.

     The doctor comes in. He tells them what they know, there is no abnormality to be found here. They haven’t seen, felt, or heard anything that explains this. He does, however, have a theory. A theory he mentioned off the cuff months ago, but of course the couple never forgot it. Endometriosis. 

      Endometriosis. A disease that has no cure. A disease that can only be diagnosed with surgery. A disease that can rob a woman of her fertility. For a twenty-five year old young lady with what is supposed to be her whole life in front of her that can shake everything she knew. Pain that could never go away, even with treatments. Damage inside that can make you unable to have children, create a family. Damage that might only stop when you have a hysterectomy, removing every chance at becoming a mother. Even then, let over cells can multiply if they haven’t been removed, and the damage that has already been done to your body and nerves can continue to cause pain even after every treatment option has been exhausted. 
      The next step is discussed. Surgery, hormonal treatments, pelvic pain specialists, pain management. Her head is spinning. She can’t process this. She’s planning her wedding, getting ready to get married, having her fairy tale. This is like a second villain. Something standing in the way of the happiness she’s hoped for, the happiness he’s worked so hard for. She can barely understand what’s being said, so thankfully he takes the reigns.

“What would you do if it was your wife?”

“I would see the specialist. I would have him give an opinion before we do surgery and put you two through that.” A simple an honest answer from the trusted doctor.

      An appointment is set up with the pelvic pain specialist, and measures taken in the mean time. Changing birth control for hormonal therapy, increasing dosages of other medications that have been shown to help some women with this kind of pain. Follow up appointments to keep everyone informed. The earliest appointment with the pain specialist is seven weeks away. They just have to make it seven weeks. 

      That seven week point? It falls just seventeen days before their wedding. She will be meeting with bakers, florists, hairstylists, makeup artists, venue coordinators, seamstresses to make sure her dress fits between now and then. Or will she? They both remember that Saturday. The image of her writhing in pain, barely able to breathe is one that cannot leave their minds. How can she do all of these necessary things if that happens again? She’s strong, he knows it, but she doesn’t know if she’s that strong. The fear and the doubt fill them both, but they both try to keep strong faces. They have no choice but to go on.

And that was it. For a long time. Now there's been specialists and surgery and hopefully hope for the future again. I'll be recovering for a while, and I'm sure I'll share more once I see the doctor again. When I wrote this no one could tell me what was happening, nobody could promise me that it would get better, but worst of all nobody could tell me if what I was feeling was "normal." It can be different for every woman, making it nearly impossible to find out if you're right or just crazy. 

Through surgery they did find and endometriosis and remove it. I still don't know everything and I don't know if I will. Recovering from a "major" surgery drives me crazy with boredom. Once I have more information, and more specific information I plan to share what I can with whomever needs that information. Until then, I'm laid up for weeks! Laid up and bored.  

Thanks everyone for your support, sorry if this is how you're finding out. I didn't want people to worry or it to become a big focus in the time before our wedding. Either way, thanks to everyone who has helped me so far. I can't even imagine how I would have gotten through without all of the support. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Real Life

     It's been a while since I've written anything for this blog, but real life got in the way for a while. Since I last wrote I've gotten married, moved, made some major life decisions, and basically gone through a lot. It's been crazy and kept me busy, but that's real life.
     Life changes us and, if we're good enough, makes us grow. We learn about ourselves and others and can see things differently. I'm not saying that you wake up one day and decide that things are different, but if you never see the difference you're probably doing it wrong. This blog has been an amazing outlet for me to complain about absolute bullshit, and share some happier things. I can't think of something that would make me want to change a single entry, no matter how silly and trivial they might be. Even so, I think it might be time to let some more serious issues permeate this little vent. Each and every one of us has serious things going on every day, even if no one can see it, feel it, or hear it.

Today's interesting topic: Developing as an independent human being.
     We are all born into a life. We don't get to choose anything about it. We can't decide wether we will be born rich or poor, where we live, what color our skin is, how great our families are, what we'll look like... we get to make no decisions at that point. The dice roll and out comes a life.
     We don't get to start making decisions for ourselves for years. Maybe you chose your friends when you were first able to remember, but chances are they were friendships of proximity and convenience. I still remember watching the Spice Girls and playing Tomb Raider with one of my best friends as a little kid. She was awesome and her parents let her watch VH1, which I was never allowed to do. Her mom always had dinner on the table and her parents didn't fight in front of company. She was really tiny and had long brown hair (even though we haven't talked in years I'm pretty sure those things are still true). Her name was Kelley, and she lived just a few doors down from me. I may have chosen her as a friend out of other neighborhood kids, but our parents got along and she was close to my house, making play dates easy for everyone. Basically, I didn't really get to choose Kelley. She was there. That didn't make her any less cool to hang out with.
     When do you start making decisions for yourself? When you go to school? Maybe. Still, even in school you have your classes chosen for you until you're in high school. Your parents can fight for different classes or curriculum but you have no real level of control. By the time you start making decisions about your education most of us are already filled with the thoughts and values of our family of origin. Unless one of those values is independent thinking (something dangerous to instill in your kids) most of us will continue to do what we've always done and seen.
     After you turn 18? Some of us go to college, some of us go to work, some of us make some bad decisions and go to jail. Even those outcomes are seriously dependent on our family of origin. Maybe we love our families and want to stay with them forever, so we go to school or work close to them. This, kids, is how entire generations end up living in the same neighborhood forever. There isn't anything wrong with that as long as we learn somewhere along the way to make our own choices and see our world the way it actually is.
      Even once we gain independence from this family of origin we are very often still enmeshed with the people and places we came from. Most of us want our families to be proud of us, to care about us, and be there for us when we need them. These yearnings can cause us to tailor our decisions to what other people want rather than what we would truly like. Unfortunately there aren't many people who can be hands off and supportive, loving and separated. At a point most of us have to decide if we want the things that we've always had, the things that make us comfortable, or if we want to pursue our lives in the fashion we see fit.
     I hope that there is a way to strike a balance between these two things. It's a complicated dance that doesn't seem easy to learn or maintain. When you start to build the life you want you have to stay away from criticisms that aren't constructive. You've got to find faith in yourself and leave the doubts of others behind. We all have to figure out exactly what it is we want and filter out anything that would make that more difficult. Life is hard enough as it is, nobody needs naysayers following them the whole way.

At 25, with an MA, married, and about 700 miles between myself and my family of origin I still seek their approval and guidance, all while trying to live this life I'm building for myself and the family I'll have. I keep all of these things in mind and hope that I'll figure out the delicate dance to keep my family involved and happy while staying true to myself and the things I want out of life. It's complicated, but it's real life.

Also, hey look how married I am!
(Also real life.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Oh Hello, 2014!

     This year has been rung in by myself and Chris with champagne at home. No big parties, no crowds, no loud noises and no pageantry. This might seem unfortunate to some women but to me it was simply perfect. Our year will be filled with visits to see friends. We will have our own party to celebrate our marriage. There will be time for all of that this year and I wanted to start it the way I will start every year to come- in the arms of the man I love.
    As expected things are moving quickly. Today marks 68 days to our wedding. Being so close is surprisingly more exciting than stressful. Chris has been the most wonderful fiance, helping me at every step of the way. With his help I'm sure that we will have everything exactly as we would like it.
    We've met and booked a photographer, have selected our baker, my dress should be here within the next two weeks. I've got everything to go with it. We've got everything we need except for a florist, transportation, gifts and "Chris Things." I can only refer to it that way, because they have clearly become things that are out of my control. Thankfully I have full faith that he will be able to do anything that I  cannot.
     Outside of wedding things we've hit it off with another couple, and intend to go see them tonight. I've received a lovely gift from the pay it forward 2014 that my friend Erin helped me get into and started one of mine that will be going out. I'm slowly studying for the GREs so that I may be able to become Doctor Harris one day. I'm continuing in my personal therapy and making some progress, a huge relief since I've been at it for so very long. This week I've also gone on my first horse ride down here. I had a wonderful time and can't wait to go again!
    I know I usually have a point to make or something to complain about, but in this case I just figured a little update for friends that probably won't be hearing too much from me over the next 68 days since we'll be doing wedding things all the time! Wish me luck everyone, I'm sure it will be hectic, and before I know it I'll be looking down an aisle at the end of March!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Come with me, my love....

     I've been in Georgia for a while now, and just like being anywhere would it's helping me grow into the person I will be. Too many people let their growth stagnate once they've reached adulthood or achieved certain milestones and that's something I promised myself I never would. As human beings we should never stop growing or changing. We have to adapt and develop while keeping the things we're pleased with even if we feel "complete" and quite frankly, I've never met a person who has been completely happy with themselves that's ended their development.

     This one really isn't about me. It's about Chris. He's done some changing and some difficult staying the same. We came to Georgia to spend time with his family and be a part of it. We wanted to help his grandfather and do what we could to be a part of the life his family has here just like we did with my family. We both knew that this change would be difficult for me since I've had an irrational fear of anything below the Mason-Dixon line and have spent my whole life in the Philadelphia area with the exception of college, which I also spent in Pennsylvania.
    Chris, however, was ready for a change. Changing to be with his family made perfect sense. He has always had a deep seated care for his family, even from far away. This is a place that he's always felt like was his home. The place where he was born and the place he knew he could always come home to. So we came home for him.
    No matter what plans people make or how many different endings they can see things have a way of changing. Situations are rarely what we believe them to be when we see them. It is only when you're in these situations that you can see everything, experience everything, and make decisions about everything. It reminds me of a place I used to go often, a house on a hill across from a farm. This farm had fields and fields of whatever it was that they grew and a house that sat on top of the hill. I'd taken a photo of it to look at when I was away. The photograph couldn't capture the intricacy of the place's reality. Now I know this is true of almost everything.
    Without getting into too much detail, things here weren't exactly as they were portrayed to us before we came, or even when we first arrived. It has taken being here for some time to get a fuller picture. This new information comes with it's challenges. Reason dictates that we change our plans, goals, and objectives based on the new information we gain. There is only one problem with that reason. What if our original goals and objectives were to care for people that we care about? To become a part of what is, not change it to what we believe it could be? What if our main priority is simply to care about and learn about what has been in with a place or person so that we can take the things we have grown to love into ourselves so that we can carry them on to the rest of out lives? And what if the things we believed in were somehow threatened or endangered? What do we do then?
    Christopher has done an amazing job here. First with helping out in little ways that were appreciated, from cutting the grass to making sure the correct lights are on at night. He's grown in his own ways and that growth has helped him become a true man in the eyes of the man that he wanted to grow up to be. In becoming that man he's been able to become his friend as well. While this may seem small to so many it is so big. When you can become adult enough to transcend the relationship you've always known and valued and also become a friend to one of the most important people in your life you've reached a point that so many never do. I'd like to think that my mother and I developed into friends years ago, and knowing that I have her respect on that level with her being my model for adulthood means more than people can understand.
     Back from that tangent things here have changed a bit. It would be easy to abandon the goals and objectives that were originally held. This would be easier if it felt like no one around you held those same objectives, or had a pattern of behavior that seems easier than doing things the way we believe to be right. Even with this knowledge and the blatant behaviors of others my darling has remained strong in his conviction. He could have easily let go of his principles and gone with the flow of others. He could get up and leave whenever he pleased so that he doesn't have to witness events or behaviors that cause him discomfort, displeasure, or discontent. He could ignore the events around him and try to go on about his daily life, trying to keep it away while he worked towards the life goals that he's set out to achieve. All of this would be easier than continuing on, caring for people that we care about, becoming a part of what is, not change it to what we believe it could be, simply caring about and learning about what has been with a place or person so that we can take the things we have grown to love into ourselves so that we can carry them on to the rest of out lives.
     Chris carries on with these goals, with one addition: preservation. He continues to work towards the goals we've had and preserve the lifestyle and wellbeing of the people who have helped him become the man that he is, and will continue to be. The simple fact that he has been able to hold fast to the things that he cares for, and dedicate himself so fully, is absolutely heartwarming. It helps me to remember that I've chosen the man I will marry carefully, and for this I am grateful.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Georgia On My Mind

     It's been 3 months since my last blog entry, and 3 months since I left the lovely greater Philadelphia area. A lot has changed but the important things stay the same. My lovely brother-in-law to be got a long story about my relationship with Chris last night, and part of it had to do with this blog. He was interested so I guess I'm inspired even though I've just been writing on paper lately. Lets just call this one an update blog.
     I got to Georgia without event. The two day trip wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and my lovely kitty made it just fine. Thankfully my mother was kind enough to get us a pet friendly hotel room to break up the trip. The first thing that Chris fed me once we were deep enough south was Krystal's. For anyone who doesn't know they make these little steamed hamburgers. I don't like them but they're one of Chris's favorites.
     Everyone here has been very sweet to me, making sure that I have anything that I need. They've been helpful and caring, aiding in my search for local doctors of all types. When I came here a large part of it was to help me work on myself and get as healthy (body and brain) as possible so that I could be back to 100% at home and eventually at work again. We have finally found what I think will be everything I need as far as doctors go.
     Chris and I have made massive wedding progress. We have decided that we'll be getting married in the chapel that his grandparents, the only couple we know that stayed together, were married in back in the 1940s. We settled on a very small guest list of family and very close friends. We found a lovely place for our reception across the state line in Chattanooga. We made a super cute save the date and sent them out to our tiny guest list. My mom came to visit in the middle of this month and we found my dress in Atlanta. We still need fairly little things like a baker, my hair and makeup stylist, a florist, and choosing the invitations. Chris has been so helpful with all of this that I'm not remotely worried about getting them done. If for some reason you want to see more about our super sweet wedding you can check out our site here:
      Chris's family is doing fairly well, although I'm pretty self absorbed between finding doctors, getting a staph infection, and trying to get my head in order. Fairly recently Chris's mom has gone to stay with her boyfriend and his brother has come to stay at his granddad's house like us. Its wonderful to have the chance to be around and really get to know his family, especially with how much time he spent with mine.
      Some people ask me how or why I came here. They don't understand how a person can quit their job, leave their home, be away from their family and everything they've ever known. It's really really simple. It's Chris's turn to be there for his family. He spent years with me in Pennsylvania while I finished my degree and established my career. He helped to create Christmas and was there for birthdays. He acted as a part of my family and showed them that he would be good to me for the rest of our lives. Now it's time for the roles to change and me to take on getting to know families and do what I can to support him and help out. I've become a firm believer in the concept of taking turns and supporting each other evenly. It helps to avoid resentment and give each other what they need.

Long story short, I'm glad that I decided to come here. The slower place of life is a nice change, leaving work and taking a break was necessary. If anybody isn't sure if they should take a leap like this I think I'd tell them they should.