Thursday, May 25, 2017

Somethin' Different | Short Stories

For those who aren't aware, I'm working towards my bachelors degree in Literature and Writing. Finishing up my spring semester means tucking away all of the essays, poems, and stories I've produced, rather than taking tests or giving presentations. One piece of advice my creative writing professor gave us on our last session with him is to share our work, and not shy away from letting others read and enjoy it. In light of his wisdom, I've decided to do something a little different on my blog and post two of my stories that were a part of my final portfolio for creative writing. This is the same story from two different perspectives, a mother and her son. Enjoy! 

The Queen of the Dump
            July in Detroit reminded me of a visit to the dump with my grandfather. Back on one of the hottest days of 1975, he decided it would be the ideal time to rummage through the garbage and look for what he used to call “dirty gems.” To make those days seem less awful, he used to court me ‘The Queen of the Dump.’ All we walked away with that day was a broken bike he swore he would fix up for me.
Today, as Jimmy and I walk down Mack Ave., the pungent smell of hot trash still fills my head. I thought back to the days of my childhood, that old broken bike, and the times when grandfather made a dull world seem colorful. The smell of trash is all too nostalgic for me. In the midst of my daydream, I looked down to notice that my son’s hand was missing from mine. Immediately, there was a dulled buzz in my ears and my body broke into a cold sweat. Mack and Helen was no Hamptons; in this neighborhood the bums would trade the skin on their back for a little bit of crystal. Only someone who was seasoned in drug abuse could know the darkness of the area, quietly hidden behind liquor stores and a well maintained park. As I looked over my shoulder, I noticed his small frame kneeling in the gutter. The muscles in my body relaxed slightly.
“What’d you find baby?” I rubbed his head and got down to his level only to be met with a smell that couldn’t be forgotten: death.
“It’s a pup, mom. Must’ve gotten hit by a car or somethin’.” Jimmy reached out his hands to touch it and I instantly swatted at them. The hot sun made the carcass swell to twice its size. I could feel bile bubbling up my throat. Jimmy looked at me with confusion. He had just turned eight and, despite his intelligence, did not fully grasp the concept of death.
When my grandfather died, I promised myself I would never forgive God for taking him. Blew all my money on meth and could barely afford food, let alone birth control. When I got pregnant, Jimmy’s daddy told me to abort it or he would leave me. I walked away from him and never looked back -- got myself out of drugs and had a beautiful boy who reminds me of grandpa every day. A dirty gem, he would’ve called him.
“Let’s go baby. I think I hear the ice cream truck.” Jimmy looks up at me with my grandfather’s eyes. Those eyes were the light at the end of the tunnel. I squeeze his hand a little tighter.
“Momma, can we get a pup someday?”
“Sure baby,” I say and chuckle, “Only if he doesn’t look like that one.”
 Gutter Pup
            There’s this park down the street from my house with one of those slides that twirled instead of going straight. Mom says it’s not in the good area, but takes me anyways cause she doesn’t want to hear me whine. She also told me that since I was a good boy and got star student of my class, I might even get an ice cream.
            I usually like to go to the park barefoot. Momma says that today the sidewalk is so hot that you could cook an egg on it. I ask her if we can try it later and she tells me, “sure baby.” While momma is holding my hand walking me to the park, I notice a little pup in the gutter. I tug my hand away from hers and she keeps on walking. Momma likes to daydream.
            The pup has worms crawling out of its nose. I know that it’s dead because it’s not even panting. Momma comes up behind me and ruffles my hair. She asks me, “What’s that?” and then kneels down to look at the pup with me. I can tell that she thinks it’s kind of gross cause she wrinkles her nose up, but I feel like a detective.
            “It’s a pup mom,” I say to her as she wrinkles her nose all funny, “Must’ve gotten hit by a car or abandoned in the middle of the night.” CSI taught me that when something dies, it gets rigor mortis and its body starts to get real stiff. But the pup still looks so fluffy, there’s no way it could actually be hard. I reach out to touch it and mom slaps my hands away. She probably doesn’t want me to catch its germs.
            Momma grabs my hand and we start to walk away. I look back behind me one more time; I decide to call him ‘Gutter Pup.’ We could call him Gutter for short. All my school friends have stray cats for pets because they’re free and their food is cheaper, a dog is better cause it can play ball with me like a Pop might. Momma tells me stories about my dad and that he had to go away to live a better life. Sometimes I ask her why he didn’t take us and she just tells me that its better this way. I trust my momma, but I also know that there’s probably more that happened. She’ll tell me when she thinks I’m ready.
“Momma,” I say, “can we get a pup some day?” She looks down at me and smiles real big. I hear the chime of the ice cream truck in the distance and walk ahead of momma.
“Sure baby,” she laughs, “Only if he looks like that one.”

Monday, October 17, 2016

Maintaining A Lasting Relationship

Humans strive for a relationship that will last. Whether it is creating a professional bond with a boss, or creating an intimate bond with someone you care about, it is hard to argue that a community could thrive without relationships. The problem with modern relationships is the low priority of maintaining a healthy one. 

There was a time of my life when I struggled with security. A lot of the time I didn't realize that my inner struggles were not only affecting me, but also the people around me. I felt like I was a monster. I had people telling me I was crazy. I was irrational. I was a bitch. Why was it all my fault?

And then came the voice of reason: my mom. She took me to a church parking lot, held my hands, looked me in the eye and said to me, "Have you ever wondered if maybe it's someone else? Maybe it's not always you?" From then on, I began to view my relationships from a different perspective. One of the hardest things about keeping yourself healthy and sane is realizing that the strong connections you have with certain people aren't always beneficial. And while it's not always something we want to do, sometimes we have to detox the poisonous people from our lives. 

So I did. I lost some friends, a relationship ended, and I felt low. And I knew it would get better, but I never understood to what extent. I began to surround myself with people who were good for me. I created relationships with others who had the same beliefs as me, who shared the same interests, and with those relationships grew a newfound confidence. I had never felt so high in my life. I shared personal writing with my classmates, I talked about literature with my cute coworker, who has sense then become my perfect fit. 

But how is this all possible? If it's a two way street, how do we gain the ability to control the oncoming traffic? We don't. We find those who are willing to go with 'our' flow, and together we work to maintain stability. 

Personally, the thing I struggled with the most in relationships was jealousy. And whoever tells you that there's nothing wrong with a little bit of jealousy is wrong, and you should tell them that they're wrong. Jealousy is unforgiving; jealousy is mean, nasty, and it only makes things worse. Don't get me wrong, I still get jealous. Sometimes about things that are reasonable, but often times not. But the difference is I don't express those feelings in a negative way. An important aspect of a healthy relationship is security, and when you have it there's no need to worry about anyone else. Flirty girls will come and go, but you'll always be the one to tell your partner that their breath smells, or that their too grumpy for their own good that day. And guess what? They're going to love you anyways. 

With confidence and security comes communication. Because sometimes there are going to be silly things that bother you, but you should be able to talk about them. Sometimes as human beings we take our emotions out on others. To a certain extent, there is nothing wrong with this, as long as you communicate it. You snap, and then you follow with, "I didn't mean that. I just had a really awful day at work, but that has nothing to do with you and I'm sorry." I guarantee a healthy conversation will bring your stress levels down, and bring you closer to your partner. 

Above all, just have fun. While relationships are supposed to be a serious commitment, there are times when things don't need to be taken so seriously. Be yourself with each other, and simply enjoy each other's company. 

People are going to come and go. Some things aren't meant to last forever; some people aren't meant to be in your life. Instead of regretting the toxic relationships in my life, I instead see them as learning experiences. This person was put in my life to teach me a lesson, and now that their lesson is learned, they are no longer needed. Ultimately, just have fun in life. Find people that don't take anything too seriously. You should surround yourself with people who make you the best version of yourself. 

I'm inexperienced in life, and I'm still learning how most things work. But to the best of my ability, I will try to share with people the methods I used to become the happiest I've ever been. 

What do you do to create lasting relationships with people? What are your experiences with losing toxic people in your life? Let me know, and as always, thanks for reading. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Fall: In the Air, and In My Home

We step outside and the crisp air bites at us. The leaves on the trees are slowly making their descent to the sidewalks; the neighborhood children are seeing who can find the crunchiest one. For Southern Californians, 68 degree weather means we can officially break out the boots and sweaters. 
Yes, it's finally fall. 

Autumn is my favorite time of year, and whether it's the spiced cakes or the fall scented candles in every room, an itch for decorating takes me over. I've always loved decorating and moving into my own apartment has allowed me to embrace this hobby even more. But there's something about decorating for the holiday seasons that brings out a special joy. 

As a college student, I am always looking for ways to decorate on a budget. Today I will be showing you some of my purchases (and even DIY's) of my fall decorations. 

The Target "Dollar Spot" is my heaven. Not only are there cute and cheap decorations, (like these "BOO" letters for $3.00 or the copper ball lights for $5.00) but there are also other little bits and pieces that you never knew you needed. This is the first place I browse whenever I take a trip to Target, because you never know what you'll find in there. 

My favorite decorations of the year. I saw a picture of jars similar to this on Facebook and decided to make some of my own. I did two coats of paint, and then carved out the faces beforehand with a pencil. Super easy, cheap, and fun! I am looking forward to making Santa and his reindeer ;) 

I am obsessed with these mason jar tea light holders. They were only a dollar each at Michael's, and I'm debating going back and buying more. They are a nice edition to an area in your house that needs a little extra something, and my kitchen feels less bare with these in the corner. 

If you know me, you know that I am obsessed with candles. You can never have too many, and they add a homey feel to your place by the wonderful scents and relaxing lighting they put off. I splurged at Bath and Body Works and bought a few different scents this season. My favorites are Autumn and Flannel. I can't wait to start buying from their Christmas range!

Decorating is all about color scheme. If you want your house to feel more Autumnal, place lots of warm colors throughout (red, orange, yellow, and brown). I paired these pumpkins and candle cases with the perfect hardcover about Van Gogh. It's the little things that tie the entire room together! 

I hope everyone is having as much fun decorating for fall as I am. Next on my list is pumpkin carving and Halloween candy! Share pictures of your favorite decorations, or any cute DIY decorations you've attempted. Whether you're preparing for a snowy winter, or you're like me, simply excited to be able to turn the fireplace on, enjoy autumn while it's here. Try not to bust out the Christmas music and candles too early (November 1st should be fine.)

What are your essentials this fall? 

Have a lovely evening!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome | A Health Journey

It's been a while since I've posted anything. Juggling college, a job, and a social life has made it hard to squeeze enough time in to sit down and write. But it's something I love, and I deserve to make time  for myself to do it.

Blogger offers a feature where you can view how people found your blog posts. Now since most of my links are posted to my social media, the majority of my traffic comes from those websites (thanks for reading friends and family!) However, one of my posts is different. On my post regarding PLEVA (link here), I've noticed that lots of people have found my post by Googling things like "red bumps on leg" or simply just "PLEVA", and to me, that was really cool. Because in a way, I felt like my post was educating people. Maybe someone was trying find a diagnosis, or simply doing research on the disorder. Either way, it inspired me, so I decided to write another health post. This time about my heart.

Ever since I was little, I have always been the girl with the weird health issues. Cat scratch fever, highly allergic to only walnuts, you get the point. Off the wall. Add PLEVA to that list, and I thought that there couldn't possibly be anything else wrong with me. And then I got a diagnosis.

Abbreviated POTS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is a form of dysautonomia. The Dysautonomia International website describes it as, "a form of orthostatic intolerance that is associated with the presence of excessive tachycardia and many other symptoms upon standing." When I explain POTS to people, I describe it in simpler terms. Basically, my blood pools in my legs, making my body work extra hard to circulate blood throughout my body. And yes, this causes a lot more problems than you think it would. I'm going to copy and paste an excerpt from the Dysautonomia International website, and also list extra symptoms I suffer from. 

Significantly higher pulse than usual, and how I feel on days like that one.

"It is fairly common for POTS patients to have a drop in blood pressure upon standing, but some POTS patients have no change or even an increase in blood pressure upon standing.1 POTS patients often have hypovolemia (low blood volume) and high levels of plasma norepinephrine while standing, reflecting increased sympathetic nervous system activation. Approximately 50% of POTS patients have a small fiber neuropathy that impacts their sudomotor nerves. Many POTS patients also experience fatigue, headaches, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, exercise intolerance, nausea, diminished concentration, tremulousness (shaking), syncope (fainting), coldness or pain in the extremeties, chest pain and shortness of breath. Patients can develop a reddish purple color in the legs upon standing, believed to be caused by blood pooling or poor circulation." 

To add to that, sensitivity to light, pain in joints and muscles, constantly feeling awake and wired (inability to fall asleep), inability to sweat, sensitivity to caffeine, sensitivity to heat (no hot baths, showers, or jacuzzis), and so on, and so on. 

So in short, yeah, it kind of sucks. 

The worst part about this is I never knew I had it. Number one, because we always just thought it was kind of normal that I passed out at random times. And number two, because nobody really knew about POTS. 

So I went about my life having days where I just didn't feel like doing anything, where I would black out just from standing up, where I could feel my pulse in my temples, where I would have panic attacks and never know why, etc. And if it weren't for a completely humiliating day at school, I would still believe that all of these things I was feeling were just normal. 

It was a normal morning in anatomy class my senior year of high school. First class of the day, I sat down in my seat and ate my breakfast as we watched a video on a surgical procedure (spinal tap I believe?) Knowing that I possess a pretty weak stomach, I opted out on watching the film, and instead laid my head down on the desk because I already wasn't feeling very good that day. For the people reading who have never passed out before, usually before I do, my ears begin to ring and I start losing my vision. This began to happen. I tapped my friend on the arm and told him to get the teacher because I felt like I was going to pass out. A moment later I woke up on the ground, my teacher above me and the entire class staring at me. And I. was. mortified. The nurse came in and wheeled me out of the classroom in a wheelchair, and I was told that I wasn't cleared to go back to school until I went and got an EKG. Though the EKG told us everything was fine, my mom was not convinced. (We have a running joke in our family that my mom thinks she has her PhD, and can diagnose anyone with anything, which she kind of can.) 

So the research phase began. And she never really came across anything on the internet, instead our answers came from a personal experience. 

One day I got a text from my mom that my god mother was in the hospital, and they weren't really sure why. My mom assured me that everything was fine and that she would keep me updated, as lots of tests were being ran. Long story short, my god mother learned that she had POTS, and she told my mom that she thinks I have it too. 

And just like that, everything started to make sense. Well, kind of. 

We still had a lot of questions. How did this come about? Why did I have it? What even really was this disorder? Is it genetic? The only way we would find answers to these questions was through a specialist, and we found on of the best ones in the house. 

Dr. Thomas Ahern, a cardiologist based in Encinitas, California. Quoted from the Dysautonomia International: Medical Advisory Board, they write, "Dr. Ahern’s fascination with dysautonomia began in the 1990’s when he met a patient with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome who had already had two failed heart ablations. In 2009, he began to see an influx of patients with Dysautonomia. By 2012, Dr. Ahern’s office was seeing hundreds of patients with varying degrees of Dysautonomia." Ding, ding, ding! We found our doctor. 

We made an appointment with Dr. Ahern. I say we, because it was a father-daughter visit, as my dad faces some of the same health struggles as I do. We entered his office with questions, and left with very solid answers. 

We're sitting in our room, and in walks Dr. Ahern. Bright eyes and all smiles, he introduces himself to me, my dad, and my mom, and begins the interrogation. He started with my dad, asking standard questions, "how often do you pass out?","what happens when you do","do you experience brain fog" "do you suffer from light/sound sensitivity", etc. Then Dr. Ahern moved to me. I thought my dad had it tough, but Dr. Ahern was spouting all sorts of questions to me, some that I didn't think had anything to do with my heart. All in all, I'm thankful that he made the experience enjoyable, with lots of jokes and promises that the questions were almost done. 

He asked about anxiousness, to which I responded that I had. He asked about brain fog, about sensitivity to certain lighting, about my eating habits, and even about how bad of a hangover I get.
(Sorry family, but I am a college student.) Apparently my answers were correct, because he was very sure that I did indeed have POTS. With a diagnosis, I thought that was that, but it was only the beginning of my journey. 

Lots of tests were to be done. Dr. Ahern asked that I completed a 24 hour urine sample, that I scheduled a tilt table test (to which I gulped at the sound of), and that I get blood work done (to which I gulped even harder). All of this sounded scary, and I didn't want to do it. I remember the drive home from the doctors office telling my mom that this "stupid thing" didn't even affect me, and that I saw no point in getting tests done. Most of my saying this was because of how much I hated getting blood drawn. Also, a urine sample didn't sound very charming. And a tilt table test? Well that just sounded like medieval torture. To this day I'm not sure what exactly changed my mind about everything, but I began my round of tests. 

I survived the blood work, submitted my urine sample, and scheduled my tilt table test at Scripps in La Jolla. My dad had a tilt table test done before, so I went in kind of knowing what to expect. Basically, they lay you down on a table and strap you in, and you lay there for around ten minutes to bring your heart rate down. Then they slowly tilt the table up and record how your blood pressure and pulse changes, and how long it takes you to pass out. They are also supposed to hook you up to an IV, in case the test affects your body in a very wrong way, and they need to get fluid into you immediately. I happily declined the IV offer, and told the nurse I would take my chances. 

The test was interesting. You'll see in the image below that my blood pressure got down to 75/51. For those who aren't aware what good/bad/high/low blood pressure is, that is pretty darn low. While my body was going into hypotension because of this (dizziness, faintness, blacking out), you can see my pulse was at 101. Pretty typical in a POTS patient. These things caused my body to pass out. 

Photo on the top is me in the tilt table and my wonderful nurse, photo on the bottom is my heart rate and pulse after the table was tilted upward.

Dr. Ahern then came in the room and talked to me about the results. While most POTS patients actually do not pass out during the test, he was still sure that I had it. 

The frustrating thing about all of this is that right now, there isn't a whole lot you can do to fix it. There are things you can do to help it, like eating a high sodium diet, drinking lots of water, wearing compression socks/pants (I own a pair of the pants and we as a family call them my "happy pants" because of how great they make me feel), and even trying to treat it with antihistamines. But as of right now, no cure for the disorder. And while I do my best to tough it out, there are days when I can feel the debilitating symptoms of it all. Going camping in Mammoth and participating in amazing hikes, only to pass out and hit your head halfway through, or being so exhausted afterwards that you aren't even able to enjoy it is hard. Having people ask me why I'm so skinny but sound out of shape is hard. And yes, not wanting to enjoy a couple of beers with friends because you know how you will feel in the morning is very, very hard. But I'm a strong girl, and I know I can do it. 

So this is where the hope comes in. That maybe an aspiring cardiologist will come across this blog post and start doing research. Or start raising awareness. Or this post will simply help another POTS patient, giving them a little peak into my journey with the autoimmune disorder. 

Your health is so important. If you aren't feeling good, don't write it off as just a bad day. If you're having reoccurring symptoms of something that don't seem normal, go to the doctor. Do research. Get a diagnosis. Medicine is becoming more and more advanced, nobody deserves to not be living to their fullest and healthiest potential. 

If you have any questions, feel free to comment and ask! Would love to clear confusion or curiosity. 

Here's some links to various pages on POTS/Dr. Ahern/auto immune disorders:

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Opposite of Loneliness | Chat About the Book and Changing Lives

                                                                     photo credit to

Hello there,

It's been a while since I've posted on my blog. That being said, I still have been writing, just on paper instead of electronically. A while back I read the book "The Opposite of Loneliness" by Mariana Keegan and wrote down some thoughts about it in my journal. It has been a long time since I have been so moved by a piece of literature, so I thought I would share those feelings with you guys. 

"I'm writing this with so much emotion flooding through me that I hope I'll be able to organize my thoughts instead of producing a jumbled rant. 

People lie awake at night thinking. Thinking about their wrongdoings, thinking about other galaxies, if theres another planet out there like Earth, if fish go to heaven like humans do; if there even is a heaven. I know because I too lie awake wondering, wishing, thinking. Lately, however, I have a different thought. A singular, haunting thought that makes my throat dry and my mind feel as if it is being consumed by thousands of tiny gnats. 

Why are great people appreciated when they're already gone?

There are a thousand, million, trillion instances in which my thought is relevant. Some I am aware of, other I am not. I'm going to share two. 

I am a lover of Van Gogh. Not so much the artist Van Gogh, though wildly talented, I've always fancied him more as just a person. Just Vincent. Because of this fondness, I did my fair share of research on Vincent Van Gogh and confirmed what I kind of already knew- that he was plagued with depression. Not angsty teenage depression, not "I'll never find a job with this art degree" depression. Vincent Van Gogh had crippling, sickening, horrible depression. 

Without truly interpreting his artwork, you probably wouldn't know how sad this man was. Look at Irises, Starry Night, Sunflowers, some of his most famous works, and notice that theres a popular trend of color, texture, and life. But like the "big truck, small man" analogy, he too was overcompensating for something. 

So yeah, this guy was sad. And then he died. Some think his death was the man protecting a young boy with a malfunctioning gun, others believe it was due to a self inflicted gunshot wound. Art historians tend to stick to the latter, thought that could just be the romanticizing of mental illness. Nonetheless, he was gone. 

Van Gogh's artist breakthrough, the "AHA!" moment of his career began in 1888, and two years later he was dead. A man who once (or maybe many times) ate yellow paint to try and make his insides happy, a man who grew up with no love and only one friend, a sad man who deserved recognition, who deserved much more when he was alive... A man who changed the world. Why couldn't he of been there to witness that change? Cause sometimes life just works like that. 

Unaware of my debilitating, or better yet, incessant thoughts about under appreciation, I was recommended a book. Titled "The Opposite of Loneliness" professor Anne Feldman introduces us to the author, Mariana Keegan. Determined to keep literature alive, to find this nameless 'opposite of loneliness', Mariana began to write. And at 23, she too was gone. 

I didn't so much read her words. Instead it felt like she was there with me, chatting them over a cup of coffee. Two pages into her words, I was moved. As an instant New York Times bestseller, it seems like I wasn't the only one. 

We cannot laugh with Mariana Keegan, we cannot cry with her. All we can do is read her words and feel her impact, feeling that same feeling you get when you hear your favorite childhood song. That feeling when you look at the works of Van Gogh. Bittersweet, powerful, nostalgia. 

Perhaps people who are more intelligent and analytical can look into this theory. The theory that these things, art work, words, people, can change lives without physically being alive. Though all these tiny little legacies will live on in the hearts, minds, and conversations of the people they've touched, I'm determined to make a change. I'm determined to find my Vincent Van Gogh, my Mariana Keegan, my influencer, and tell them that they've changed a life.

So like every shitty writer, I'll end with a cliche. Life is so short, and so precious. So live like there really is no tomorrow."

I absolutely 100% recommend this book. It's a collection of short essays by Keegan, both fiction and non-fiction. 

As far as the life changing thing goes, I encourage you to go find someone who has made an impact on you, and let them know. I saw a post on Tumblr the other day, and if you know who wrote it let me know so I can give them credit, but it said a little something like this. 

"Today my anthropology professor said something really beautiful: "You all have a little bit of 'I want to change the world' in you, that's why you're here, in college. I want you to know that it's okay if you only change one person, and it's okay if that person is you."

Have a wonderful evening, and hope you're all enjoying this October weather as much as I am.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Doing What You Need, Not What You Want

Hello everybody,
Life has recently thrown some curve balls at me. I've been having a battle in my mind for the longest time, and believe me when I tell you that it was exhausting. In the end, I was forced to choose one of two paths- doing what I wanted to do, or doing what I needed to. 

The hardest decision you will have to make is the one that doesn't benefit you now. It's often difficult to think about what's going to be best for your future when you are enjoying something so much in your present. It's kind of like putting blinders on a horse. They can only see what's right in front of them, and not all the chaos that is happening everywhere else around them. You're blinded by your own happiness, and when you realize that what's making you happy might not be what's best for you, it. freaking. sucks. 

I'm a religious person, so I believe that God puts little tests in your life in order to teach you lessons down the road. As an almost nineteen year old, I think that I know it all when it reality, my life hasn't even really begun. And no matter how many times I deny this, I really don't have everything all figured out. 
(My mom is probably reading this and singing hallelujah)

So what do you do? How do you go about making a decision that you really don't want to? Making a decision that you know isn't going to make any sense, will hurt you, and potentially hurt many other people involved. You just have to do it. You do it when it's right. You can't ever force yourself to do something because someone else tells you to, otherwise you'll spend a long time wondering if you made the right choice, and feel a lot of regret. For a long time I thought this way, but when I really sat down and thought about it, there was a part of me that always knew what I did was right. It's a very mature and brave thing to do, so pat yourself on the back when all is said and done, because it takes a lot to put aside the instant gratification and think what is better for you in the long run. 

Then there's going to be the backlash. The regret, the hurt, the constant questioning of, "was that really something I should have done?" The answer is yes. If you were the one that initiated the idea, followed through with it, and walked away, then it was something you should have done. You have to trust your actions, and even if your heart and conscious feel like something isn't quite right, the little subconscious at the back of your mind is ultimately what made that decision for you. So trust yourself. 

You also have to tell yourself that sometimes things just weren't meant to be. Sometimes the cards just don't fall quite in the right spots, but again, all of these things are a learning experience. Living a life where everything occurred exactly how you wanted them to wouldn't teach you anything. 

If your tough decision is a break up, tell yourself things are going to be okay. Not every single person you date is going to be the right one because that just isn't realistic. Sometimes there are people that are just better off as friends, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with developing that relationship with an ex boyfriend or girlfriend with a little bit of time. If they truly care, they will understand that you are only doing what is best for the both of you. Eventually I am going to be with someone that I am going to spend the rest of my life with, and even start a family with. If there are signs a few months into your relationship that show things could be tough in the future, no matter how selfless of a person I am, I wouldn't let myself pursue a life with the wrong person. This would only result in looking back and wishing I would have listened to my intuition. Break ups are hard on both ends, but they're meant to happen in your life, and you will get through it.

If your tough decision is quitting a job or quitting school, tell yourself that you need to be doing what's making you happy. College is not for everyone. Sometimes things just work out and you end up with an amazing career that didn't require any schooling. If you are dropping out of school to pursue this career, then don't worry about what other people think, just feel lucky that you found your niche without worrying about student loans. If it is a job, you need to again, be thinking about your future. I read an article from the Huffington Post that listed all the different ways hating your job could ruin your health, and I firmly believe that it's true. It can make you unhappy, resulting in problems in your relationship, it can stress you out, leading to lowered immune system and even giving you a higher risk to serious disease. In short, make sure you're doing what you love. 

The list for these decisions could go on and on, and I am barely scraping the surface of some of these things. Bottom line, life is hard. It's full of tears and stress and worrying and thinking, but in the end you're going to look back on it and be thankful that you went through everything you did. Though I don't know when my time to go will be, I can take the average life span of an American girl and come to the conclusion that I haven't even lived half of my life. I still have many more things to experience, and I can't let not wanting to do something stop me from trying to create the best future I can for myself. 

Life is a road that many travel. There are going to be bumps, detours, flat tires, and loss along the way, but all you can do is fix those things and keep moving forward. I am so incredibly thankful for the people that have been with me through my hard times, and who have supported all my decisions, even when they weren't always the right ones. I am even more thankful for the ones that didn't stick around, but taught me valuable lessons as they left. You're going to meet a lot of temporary people through life, and you're also going to meet people that will be there forever. Don't grieve over the ones that have gone, just take what they taught you and apply it as you move forward. In the end, everything will fall into place. 

Until next time,
P.S. If anyone wants to fully read the article about jobs and your health, you can find it here
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