Monday, January 5, 2015

Because sometimes you need to blog, even if it's been years.

You don’t use heroin, heroin uses you. People don’t get that. They really, really don’t. I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to battle a drug addiction so powerful that you can‘t control it no matter how much you try. There are people who will argue until they’re blue in the face that addiction isn't a disease, but those are the people who haven’t seen someone they love struggle. Those are the people who haven’t seen it suck every ounce of life out of someone who wants more than anything to embrace life. Those are the people who haven’t seen their loved ones sob until they can barely breathe because they can’t get a “handle” on their addiction. Those are the people who haven’t seen their loved ones lose everything they have. Those are the people who have never had to look into the eyes of one of their loved ones and see the hopelessness and despair that takes over.

My brother battled with addiction for over 15 years before it finally took it everything away from him because truly you don’t use heroin, it uses you. My brother was one of the strongest people I  have ever known. He loved big and he rarely angered. Looking at him you wouldn't have known the struggles he battled with on a day to day, hour to hour basis. His smile and wit took over a room, girls fawned over him, kids loved him, but none of that mattered. The drugs mattered. The drugs take over everything, they alienate you. The drugs take you from your family and friends. The drugs mute your dreams and goals. The drugs become who you are.

The people who don’t think drug addiction is a disease are the people who want to point fingers at other people for their short comings. Science has proven time and time again that there are undeniable differences in the brain of an addict to that of a quote on quote normal person. And I can state for a fact that my brother never wanted this life for himself. My brother never wanted to end up on a bathroom floor overdosed on heroin and have his eight year old son find him. My brother didn’t want to leave behind his son and daughter and have them grow up without their daddy. My brother didn’t want my mother to have to bury her first born. My brother didn’t want his siblings to have to grieve him before it was time. My brother didn’t want to leave this earth. My brother wanted to get his shit together and be a better person, but it was so much harder for him than it is for someone who doesn’t struggle with addiction. My brother had a million things he could have blamed for his decision to pick up a drug, but I can’t think of a time that I personally ever heard him blame anything.

Dan was my big brother and he wanted to protect me from the ugly that was in his life and he did a pretty good job with that. I wish now he wouldn’t have shielded me from the ugly things that were in his life; not because I think it would have changed anything, but because I think it would have changed us. I think it would have given us a chance to be closer, it would have given me a chance to know so much more about my brother than I did. I loved him so much, but I truly knew so little of him. It hurts to think how little I knew my brother that I shared a life with for 26  almost 27 years.

I find myself looking to my other brother to give me answers and it’s not fair. He is looking for answers as much as I am and I know he has none to give. But it doesn’t stop my desire to want answers. I want to know how he felt about life, love, being a dad, how he felt about his dad, my dad, our mother, my other siblings, myself, his time spent in Iraq, and anything else I could ever wonder about.  I just want to know everything that was ever a thought in his head. Somehow it seems like if I could know everything he ever thought, then I would be closer to him and less sad. I would be able to feel more complete, I would have all the answers I could ever want. I know that sounds silly because it’s not a possibility. I know my other brother doesn’t have the answers for me, I know my mom doesn’t have the answers for me, the only person that has the answers for me is gone. It’s not that I didn’t know my brother well because I did, just not well enough to feel satisfied.

For the majority of my life Dan was my way older brother that was beyond cool and I was just waiting for the time that the age gap wouldn’t matter so much and then when it came, I dropped the ball. I didn’t call as much as I should have, I didn’t involve myself as much as I should have, I didn’t do a lot of things that I should have. But that’s the thing about addiction, it alienates people and I let it. Now, I don’t want that confused with me saying I wish I would have turned a blind eye toward his addiction or been an enabler because that would just be silly of me, I’m just saying I wish I would have been more present in his life. He could have also been more present in my life and I could play the blame game, which I did for years. However, looking back now I wish I wouldn’t have wasted so much time saying, “well he doesn’t try either.” Because honestly what does that really matter? It doesn’t. Because now the future has been taken from us and there isn’t any going back and fixing things. My chance came and now it’s gone and I regret it more than words can express.

The feelings of grief come and go, just like people said they would. Some days or moments are unbearable and some days are just fine. The feeling has lessened already in the seven months he has been gone, but when they rush in like a tidal wave they’re still as strong as they were when they first hit. Sometimes it doesn’t feel real because I don’t think I have been able to allow myself to really feel the whole weight of it yet. For me it’s kind of like pouring out a bucket of water, you do it slowly at first because you don’t want to dump it out in one big pour and create a huge splash and a huge mess, so instead you pour it out a little at a time because it’s easier that way. It’s easier to feel it a little bit at a time rather than let it all rush in and feel it all at one time because if I did that I wouldn‘t be able to deal. Nighttime is the hardest for me because I am usually up by myself and my brain finally has a minute to shut off from mommy mode and switch into regular person mode and that’s when the thoughts creep in. That’s when the realization that my brother won’t be at another birthday party or family get together. That’s when the thoughts creep in that my niece and nephew have to face their world without a father. That’s when the thoughts creep in that I don’t know how my mother is standing on her two feet and not crumbling to pieces. That’s when the worry starts about my other brother and whether or not he’s coping with the lost of his best friend and brother. That’s when all the thoughts you could ever have creep in and take hold. And sometimes it’s suffocating and sometimes it’s refreshing, but I suppose both are good in their own way because sometimes you just have to get it out.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U if for unfinished.

It should be pretty obvious that I didn't make it through the challenge this year. It was just too much for me to cram into every day. I didn't have a plan in place or any kind of theme and it quickly became too overwhelming. I have learned my lesson with trying to wing the A-Z challenge... I just can't do it. However, I am okay with that! I am the mother of an extremely active 2 year old that wants to spend every waking minute having an adventure and I am happy to oblige... most of the time anyway. I want to make the most out of the time I have with him at home and use it to make memories that we will both remember for a long time to come. So if that means I couldn't finish the Blogging A-Z Challenge, then I am just going to have to be okay with it.

Just because I didn't make it through this year doesn't mean I won't try again next year. I really, really enjoy reading everyone's posts and I do truly love participating! It's very easy for me to put my blog on the back burner even though I wish it wasn't. That is one of the reasons I love the A-Z challenge, it forces me to blog! I guess forces isn't really the right word, but you know what I mean. I don't HAVE to blog and so when I am tired... I skip. And then 1 day quickly becomes 2, which turns into a week and then next thing I know it's been a month. I hate that and I wish I didn't let it happen. I have to just keep trying! -Or as Dory says, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.. what do we do, we swim, swim, swim!

The weather in Ohio for the last couple weeks has been all over the place. It's been hot, hot, hot and it's been cold, cold, cold. We have had adventures outside where we watch the semi's drive by and try to get them to beep and we have had adventures inside where we made moon sand. (8 cups of flour + 1 cup of baby oil) Our days have been full and filled with smiles!! (and maybe some tears, mostly mine because he is trying to cut naps out!) This past Sunday we had the local fire departments annual chicken dinner and Walter was in heaven because he got to check out all the fire trucks inside and out! He is one smart cookie... he impresses me everyday! I caught a glimpse of myself in him this weekend. He had to take 3 or 4 trips back to the trucks to check them out and slowly, but surely he took the reins and started showing all the other little kids around. That's definitely a mommy trait.

Good luck to the rest of you with the challenge... you're almost done! Keep up the good work :)

over & out

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jr. Nation

Jr. Nation is what the people of NASCAR respectively call Dale Earnhardt Jr's fan base. He has the best and biggest fan base every year! I dare you to tell me otherwise... haha. 10 years ago I would have never guessed you would be able to include me in that group, but I am proud to say you can!

I was friends with my husband's little brother in high school. I knew who my husband was, but we never really ran with the same group. He was a couple years older than me and his brother was a couple years younger than me. The girls I hung out with had adopted some younger girls into our group and therefore some younger guys got added as well. That's how I first met my brother-in-law. We became friends and stayed in touch when I left for college. When I moved back home before Christmas my sophomore year (due to being too homesick... I never saw that coming! haha) , BIL and I had made plans to catch up. I was in town because I had gone to a friend's baby shower and went over to his house after. Hubby still lived at home and he was there, also. He was in his room watching the Daytona 500 and I made some smart response when I walked past his bedroom about NASCAR being for hillbillies. We laugh about that now.

BIL and I made our way over to hubby's room and out of nowhere we started to hit it off. We all sat there and watched the Daytona 500 and I continued to bash him for being a NASCAR fan. Shortly after that encounter, we had scheduled our first "date". From there it was all downhill, I'm now one of the oddest NASCAR fans you will ever meet. I follow it closely and completely love it! So lesson learned... Don't knock it until you've tried it! :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"I" is for Intense...

I think you could use the word intense to describe me. Actually - I know you could because people have. I don't mean to be so intense, it just seems to come naturally to me. I am straight forward and too blunt more times than I care to admit. I haven't decided if I think it's an okay trait to have or not. I can't change it though, it's just who I am. I have accepted it and those around me who care about me seem to value it. People either love me or hate me ... there is no in-between. I have come to terms with that, I suppose. 

I was recently listening to The Nerdist Podcast and Dane Cook was the guest. If you've ever seen any of his stand up then you know intense is a word you could use to describe him as well. When he was talking about some of the truths he has come to recognize about himself, he said something that really hit home with me. He said he too was a person that people either loved or hated and that his father was the same way. He knew this about himself, so he over compensated when he walked into a room. He said he would walk in and steal the limelight without even meaning to, it just would happen in his attempt to try and make people like him - or at least prevent them from disliking him. I do that and I don't like it. He then concluded that with a statement something like, "I often felt like I would walk into a room and take it by storm because I didn't know any other way. And when I left I had a feeling that the room kind of relaxed again and people would say something like, 'okay now that that is over with, where were we?"

 I feel the same way about some of my own encounters. I leave knowing I was too intense or that I interrupted people one too many times. I know that I am loud and it can be very off putting. However, when I try to tone it down, it never works. I try to stay silent and be the wallflower, but I can't do it. If I stay silent too long I become very uncomfortable. Silence makes me uncomfortable. If no one is going to say anything, you can bet your butt I will. The way most people get nervous when they have to speak in front on people, I get nervous when no one is speaking. Why? I couldn't tell you. I haven't come to that self truth about myself yet. It's very weird to me. Some people are naturally the wallflower and some people just aren't. I'm just not. People who are wallflowers probably want the courage to speak up and take the center every once in awhile and people who are intense want to just relax and step back sometimes. I guess we are who we are in certain cases. The grass is always greener on the other side, huh? 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hakunu Matata

If any of you have a toddler then you know just how much you can watch the same movie over and over and over, AGAIN! Well, we have gone through this with quite a few movies, but one of the movies I never get tired of is The Lion King. I absolutely loved it as a kid, I loved it as I got older, and I love it as a mother.

One of my favorite scenes in the whole movie is when they sing Hakuna Matata... "Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase! Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze! It means no worries for the rest of your days. It's our problem free philosophy, Hakuna Matata." Actually... that is all it says in my Twitter description of myself. (which couldn't be further from the truth, but one can hope) If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that I stress out like it's my job and that I am constantly working on relaxing. It is always such a wonderful reminder whenever I watch this movie. And you couldn't ask for a better mantra to repeat in your head when you're feeling stressed or anxious. Also, how funny is it when Simba says, "Hakuna Matata?" And Pumba says, "yeah, it's our motto?" And then Simba says, "what's a motto?" And Timon pipes in with the kicker and says "Nothing, what's a motto with you?" hahahaha,  gets me every time!

Just remember... Hakuna Matata!!!


Monday, April 8, 2013

HBO's "Girls"

The HBO hit "Girl's" finished it's second season not too long ago. I remember when it was just getting ready to premiere and all the hype it was getting. My husband and I are avid HBO fans, so we of course DVR'd the first couple episodes. It took me all of about 5 seconds to decide I hated it and felt completely disconnected from the main girl, Hannah. I think we casually watched the first two episodes, but quickly stopped recording it and never really thought about it again.

Well, it got all sorts of awards this year and I saw the creator and star Lena Dunham accepting the awards and kind of felt the same way as I did when I watched the first episode. It was just something about her that mad me feel uneasy when I saw her. I was telling this to my Dad and Sister when they were over for coffee a couple weeks back and I completely offended my sister. Of the two of us, she is definitely the more image conscious or so I thought. Well, she hit the nail on the head of why I didn't like her. Lena is not your typical TV show star, she isn't even you're typical co-star. She has some odd tattoos in very visible places and they're quite large. She is a little over weight. She doesn't seem to slather on the make up. Her outfits on the show are less than flattering. She is just kind of frumpy and for some reason frumpy makes me feel uncomfortable. After realizing that I was basing my whole opinion of her on her looks, I felt pretty low. No longer will I let this be a truth about myself. I hate evening reading these words as I type them because it makes me feel disappointed in myself.

My sister has been singing this show's praises since she first saw it and promised me I would love it too, if I would only give it a chance. I am not normally one to buy into Hollywood's ideas of how an actress should look and I don't particularly like the media telling people how they should look either; I kind of felt embarrassed and I figured I owed this show (girl) another chance. And seriously -- I couldn't be happier that I did! The premise is a group of twenty something young women trying to make it on their own in Brooklyn. It's kind of like a prequel to Sex and the City. There is just something very raw about the show that makes you keep coming back for more. I think the frankness of the show is what turned me away at first. It didn't necessarily have the feel good fairy tale feel to it that we are all so used to when we turn on the ole' boob tube. Life isn't always pretty and it can be very trying and confusing at times... especially for young women. I love that the show is real and down to earth and shows people living life how it really is. They're not in some staged apartment that we're all supposed to pretend is a piece of crap - even though it clearly isn't... like in Friends. I mean seriously, that apartment was amazing and we ALL know! Ha! That surely wasn't real life. Anyway, the show digs deep and explores a lot of uncomfortable subjects and definitely isn't suitable for everyone and certainly not young children. It's an in your face kind of show, but isn't life kind of in your face everyday?

It's based on some of 26 year old Lena Dunham's real life experiences. I love that she not only writes the show, but that she stars in it and directs it occasionally. She is completely involved and has made herself very vulnerable by putting her life stories out there like that. She has turned her own life struggles into a TV show for the WHOLE world to view. That takes real courage. It says something about her and I truly appreciate her for that. One day I would like to think I have courage like that. I can't believe I almost didn't watch this show because she didn't look like she fit the bill for being the star of a show. That was very shallow of me and I am glad my sister called me out on it because otherwise I wouldn't have had to pleasure of enjoying this series. The old saying always seems to remain true, "You can't judge a book by it's cover."

P.S. I highly recommend this show, but I want to remind you that it is not a G rated show. After all, it is HBO so if you're not into that, then it's probably not going to be a good match for you. That is all.

Over & Out

"F" is for Fail

"F" is for fail because that is what I did this weekend. I failed to plan ahead, so therefore I fell behind in the challenge. If you read my "E" post, then you know that I was out of town this weekend. I thought I was going to have a lot more down time than I actually did, so I didn't write any posts in advance. (turns out that wasn't such a good idea... who would've thought?) I didn't have time on Saturday to blog and then Sunday I was tired from traveling and had one heck of a sore throat so I just sat it out like I was supposed to! I like to follow the rules, can't you tell? :) Now onto Monday - I didn't get home from work until about 10:45, which is later than expected and to top that off I had two people wanting to chat it up on the phone. With that all said and done I am barely going to get my  "F" post done by the time my "G" post is due... good thing I have a plan for that one. And good thing I failed on the "F" post, I couldn't ask for a better set up... haha!

Have you guys had a hard time getting any posts in on time this year? Is that why there is all this talk about themes and planning ahead... probably. Oh well, there is always next year! Thanks to everybody who has stopped by my blog so far, I will be trying to return the favor as quickly as possible! Keep up the good work!!!

"Don't be afraid to fail. Don't waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It's OK to fail. If you're not failing. you're not growing." 
-H. Stanley Judd

Over & Out