Thursday, June 2

Thirty days of truth -- Day fourteen.

A hero that has let you down.

This is a tough one. So tough in fact, that it has taken me eleven and a half weeks to come up with an answer.... I don't have a hero. I'm not sure that I really ever had one. I've been thinking about it, and I honestly can't come up with anything. For my entire life, I have been an optimist, but I've always strived to look at things and situations realistically. Anytime I ever got my hopes up about anything as a child, they were crushed, and that has caused me to have low expectations of other people. I actually anticipate being let down. I wish that that wasn't true, but it is. What am I supposed to do?

Monday, February 14

Thirty days of truth -- Day thirteen.

A band or artist that has gotten you through a tough time.

Just so we're clear, yes.... I do know that the following post makes me a loser! :^) In 2007 I graduated from nursing school and everything was going as planned in my life. I got a job as a great hospital, I moved to a new city by myself where I didn't know many people, and I moved into a brand spankin' new condo. After a couple of months of training as a nurse, it was time to take my NCLEX (nursing licensure exam). Unfortunately I had failed it, and my life started to unravel. I lost my job as a result, and I depleted my savings account trying to pay for the brand new condo and other bills while I was unemployed and trying to find work in a bad economy.. I kept trying to pas that stupid exam, but after three failed attempts I decided that I was done with nursing and went back to school to become a teacher. No point sitting around to rot while I was trying to get a grip on my life, right?

So in the fall of 2008, I went back to school. I was a straight A student, as usual, but I wasn't enjoying school and I found out that I didn't really want to be a gym teacher. Sure I love fitness and I love teaching, but not for the rest of my life.. I decided that I was going to finish up the year and then try again to become a nurse because the only thing standing between me and my original goal was the test. I studied my butt off and I took a week long review class to refresh (the Hurst review). Two years out of school and out of the hospital, I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me to be able to pass that thing. I did the live review twice in two different cities, and then I did their online review five times. I was determined, and I had a plan.

Of course I had moments where I doubted myself. Would I be able to do it? Was this too ambitious after being away for so long? Did other people believe in me? I wasn't sure about any of those things, but this was what I wanted. While I was at those review classes, I felt alive again. I loved nursing school and I loved being in the hospital. I felt like I was back in the game and I was focused. Hearing and talking about nursing was great! It helped me prepare and it gave me hope.

To keep on subject, let's talk about the song that helped me through it. As embarrassing as it is, the artist that helped my through this tough time was Miley Cyrus. Yep, go ahead and start laughing.... I don't like her shows and most of the time I think her voice is annoying, but when I would hear her song "The Climb" on the radio, I felt like the words were coming from me. That is how I felt and those were my thoughts! Every time I heard that song I had renewed fear about the future, but also renewed determination. 

I still love this song, and I always sing along (unless someone is with me!). Here are the lyrics in case you've never heard it. =)

I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never reach it"

Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I'm not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on

'Cause there's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Somebody's gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

Keep on moving, keep climbing
Keep the faith, baby
It's all about, it's all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa 

Thirty days of truth -- Day twelve.

Something you never get compliments on.

I am a people pleaser. When someone asks me to do something, I do it because I feel obligated. I mean, who asks people to do stuff if they don't actually want them to do it? That is crazy. I usually put my needs and feelings last so that I can make someone happy, but sometimes it seems like no one notices, and I very rarely get complimented on my willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done or to keep people content.

When people come over, I make sure I have everything on hand that they could possibly want or need, and if I don't have it, I am really at the drop of a hat to go get it.. I want my friends to be comfortable when they come visit so that they will come visit again. When I'm hanging out with someone and we are trying to figure out what to do, I ask them first, because I want them to be happy. If they make no suggestion, I make mine. If they don't like mine, I will continue to offer suggestions until they find something that does appeal to them, even if I don't want to do it. I'm always going out of my way and doing things I don't want to do.

Part of me thinks that everyone should put others first. The golden rule, anyone? I treat others the way I want to be treated, even if I'm not treated nicely in return. Maybe this makes me an idiot. A lot of people take advantage of me, and I usually let them. I am good at confrontation, but I don't enjoy it. I don't like to make people feel bad, but at the same time, I don't want to be treated like dirt just because they know I'll do whatever is asked of me...

I guess I'm not sure why I don't get complimented on my willingness to ask "how high?" when people ask or tell me to jump. It's a strength and a weakness of mine, but I'm still trying to figure out which category to throw it in. Yes, I'm a team player and I'll pick up any shift that needs filling. Yes, I will do the dirty work because you're too lazy to do it yourself.... Hmmmm... Good and bad for sure.

I've never been very good at saying no. I have this voice in the back of my head that says "if you say no, no one will like you." That's sick, but it's the truth. So there you go..... I never get complimented on letting people treat me like a doormat. I never get complimented on my willingness to take charge and get things under control. I almost never get complimented on putting the needs of others ahead of my own.

Thirty days of truth -- Day eleven.

Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

My attitude. I don't get upset easily, I handle stress well and I tend to look at situations objectively. When I share a little glimpse into my past with people who know me, they are almost always shocked, and the common response is "I had no idea, you're so positive," or something along those lines. I know that I'm well adjusted. I know that dwelling on the past and the horrible things that have happened to me isn't going to get me anywhere. I'm a go-getter and I want success more than I want anything else. I have to look forward if I plan to get ahead in life...

When I'm overwhelmed and I get another obstacle thrown in my way, I usually think "this is temporary" and I get myself through it. There is no point in getting upset about things that aren't going to matter one hour, one day or one month from now. It's definitely not worth it to get mad or go ballistic about the things that I cannot control. Is getting another patient at work when I'm swamped really worth getting upset about? Is it going to impact my life? No. It might make things completely crazy, but it's not a big deal. It's going to be ok. I just need to do my job.

When I'm running late and I run into traffic, am I going to get there faster if I throw a fit? No. When someone is yelling at me about something I did (or didn't do), are they going to calm down and go away if I yell back? No. Things are a lot smoother when you aren't upset and don't let people get to you. People are dumb.. Just let them get their frustration out and move on. Why should I get upset just because they are upset? Maybe I am one of few that can sit quietly while someone is screaming at me and keep my cool, but I'm good with that. I know that letting them get under my skin isn't going to change anything and it's certainly not going to fix the thing they are screaming about.

Life is better when you have a positive attitude and can laugh about the little things. Everybody just needs to calm down, because this too shall pass. =)

Friday, February 11

Thirty days of truth -- Day ten.

Someone you need to let go of or wish you didn't know.

I can't really think of anyone in my life right now that I want to let go of, but I wish I didn't know and had never met my biological father.. If you didn't read my post about "someone who has made your life hell or treated you like crap," this would be a good time to do so. I'm not about to rewrite all of that to make my point!

Herbie is a selfish, rude, manipulative drug user who finds temporary happiness in hurting other people. He's miserable and takes it out on anyone and everyone who will listen to him. I have no idea when this started, because it was before I was born. He made my childhood miserable and though I've learned to forgive him, I still wish I had never met him.

I lived with my dad until I was about seven years old, and kept in contact with him until I was ten. I know how he was at that time and how he dealt with stress. Nothing about him was polite or considerate. His business was thriving because he put himself first and prided himself on a job well done. I know that he prioritized work and money above family and quality time.

I don't know from personal experience (obviously), but I would imagine that people who don't know one of their parents or lost one at a young age (due to relocation or death) at least have the luxury of imagining their mom or dad however they want to imagine them. If I had never met or known my dad, I could image him to be humble, kind and giving. I could imagine him to choose family game night with his children over going to the bar for drinks with a friend. I could imagine him hugging my mother and showering her with love instead of seeing him hit her and hearing her screams.

If I had never known my dad, I could have experienced my childhood as other children did: visits to the park, afternoons playing in the yard with my friends, playing games with my siblings in the living areas of the house laughing loudly and having a great time. Instead, I spent my childhood sneaking myself and my brothers out the back door to have the neighbor call 9-1-1 and hiding in the bedroom with my brothers when my dad came home drunk so that he wouldn't have to see or hear us. He would yell at my mother to keep us quiet and out of sight. He didn't love us.

I let my dad go a long time ago, but there is still that daydream of a happier childhood that didn't involve him or his poisonous words and actions... A childhood of laughter instead of fear. The truth is that I knew my father. He was a bad man, but I knew him. I suppose that those who didn't get the chance to know their father would envy me that fact even if my experience was a negative one. So, who's the lucky one? Me for knowing my dad or someone else for having the ability to daydream about meeting their dad? I'll never know.

Thursday, February 10

Thirty days of truth -- Day nine.

Someone you didn't want to let go of, but just drifted away.

It was actually hard for me to think of someone for this! I'm going to have to say my friend Tina. She's a really great person, but we never talk and I'm not really sure what happened. When I first moved into my last foster home (awkward sentence award!), I met Jenn and Tina, sisters who went to the church that my new parents went to. My foster mother (Pam) had warned their mom not to let them hang out with me because I was a "bad influence," but as it turned out, we met and were instant friends. The three of us were nearly inseparable, I spent a lot of nights at their house, and I alternated having them stay at my house. All day we were together and it was just a matter of who was staying the night where. It was sometimes hard to divvy up my time between sisters who were my best friends, but I think I made it work ok. I had a completely different relationship with each girl, but got along great with both of them.

The girls were home-schooled when I met them, but they soon transfered to the school I went to. That made it extra fun because I got to see them during the day and outside of school too. They transfered to the public school later on and Pam suspected that they were both doing drugs and having sex and God knows what else (Pam is intense, and tends to jump to conclusions and assume things without having all of the facts). Needless to say, she banned me from hanging out with either of "those girls." because now THEY were the bad influence..... It was ridiculous, like a lot of her other rules for me, but I obeyed because I was afraid of her. I lost touch with both of them, but never really rekindled the relationship with Tina. Jenn and I met again a couple of years later at a friend's soccer game, and BANG! Back to being BFFs and spending time together whenever possible.

Tina and I never really ran into each other after that.. We didn't have the same friends, and I didn't see her around town. I was in nursing school full time and I honestly didn't even think about looking her up. I found out later that she had moved to Grand Rapids, about four hours from where I lived. After nursing school, when I needed to take my boards to get my license, I had to go to Grand Rapids to take my test. Since I knew she lived there, I looked her up to see if I could stay with her. She said yes, I went and as soon as I got there, it was literally like no time had passed and we were able to pick our relationship up right where it had left off!! It was really great catching up and seeing how things were going in each other's lives.. I only stayed for one night, but we pledged to keep in touch and to not let it be five or six years before we saw each other again.

That was about four years ago and since then, I've seen her about five times. I saw her twice for exams, once for a seminar and her bachelorette party in the same trip, at her wedding, and once for a vacation in Michigan when my plane landed in Grand Rapids and I stayed the night. So five times in four years? Not such a good number, especially when you know that three of those times were back to back in a three month period. I don't like to use people, but it seems like every time I've seen her in the last ten years (other than her wedding) were because I had something going on in Grand Rapids and it was really convenient for me to stay with her. I love her a lot, but the friendship has basically of disintegrated over time.

I wish we were still close, but that's not the way it is. We never call, text or write and I'm not really sure what happened. I've never been good at keeping in touch, and maybe that's the case for her too. I've invited her to come visit whenever she wants to get away, but so far nothing has come of it. I feel bad that I seem to only see her when I have an ulterior motive, but the truth is that I'm trying to sneak in a visit to try and rekindle that relationship whenever I'm in the area. It's not about saving money... I could just as easily stay in a hotel.

I'm getting married soon, and I've invited her to stand in my wedding. Part of me feels obligated since I stood in hers, and part of me hopes it's a way to further try to rekindle this friendship. I miss hanging out with her, and every time we get together it's like no time has passed and we get along perfectly. I just wish there weren't a bazillion miles between us so that we could strengthen our bond, but this is all I can think of for now.

Thirty days of truth -- Day eight.

Someone who made your life hell or treated you like crap.

This one is easy to answer: Herbert (Herbie), my biological father. He beat my mother on a regular basis, and the police were at our house all the time to break up domestic disturbances. They would always send more than one officer when they were called because he got into fights with them and was always threatening to kill people. Whether or not he would ever kill someone is questionable, but he sure did make a lot of threats! I would have to sneak out the back door when I was in elementary school, little brothers in tow to go to the neighbor's house and have her call 9-1-1. Luckily she was patient and always helped. She also hung one of my dad's business shirts in the window with a big circle around it with a slash through it... She hated him.

I was a daddy's girl and I always thought that the problems with my parents were my mom's fault. Like she drove him to hit her or that she just wanted to ruin our lives by taking us away from him. My dad never hit me or my brothers, and would sometimes take me to his job sites with him (he owned a company that built houses, decks and docks with occasional random construction jobs). When I was ten, I remember my mom coming to pick us up from our dad's house, and I didn't want to go home with her. She told me that my dad didn't even love us and that if I didn't believe her, that I could go back inside and ask him myself. I did, and my dad told me that his company was more important to him than my brothers or I were. From that moment on, I wanted nothing to do with him, and have only spoken to him a few times since (all for legal issues).

After we moved out for good, I found a drawer of letters that he had written to my mom. I snuck them to my room and read them all. What he wrote was awful, and I started to see him for who he really was. I'm so sorry that I treated my mom the way that I did, and regret not listening to her and looking at our situation more objectively and making my own opinions instead of idolizing my daddy.... His rights were ultimately revoked and he couldn't see my brothers or I for visitation until we were over eighteen and out of the foster care system. One of my brothers got back in contact with him, but I haven't and I don't think that my other brother did either.

After I was placed in foster care around age eleven, I used to think "maybe my dad will go to court and fight for me... Maybe he loves me and has cleaned up his act." I wanted to believe that he had changed, and to give him a second chance. Nothing had changed though, and he made no effort to regain rights.. Part of me wishes I could go back and start over with a different dad. I sometimes wish that I had been adopted by a happy family who cared about the welfare of others, with a father figure who loved me like I deserved to be loved. Oh well, we can't have everything, now can we?

A couple of years ago my grandfather, Herbie's dad, died and left EVERYTHING he owned to me. He cut his two living children and my three siblings out of the will. I'm still not 100% sure why he gave it all to me, but he did. A few years before that, my dad almost lost his home to foreclosure from unpaid bills and was in jail, so couldn't do anything about it. He "quick deeded" the house to my grandpa with the verbal understanding that once my dad was out of jail, he would pay my grandpa back and get his home and the contents back. Well.... My grandpa never got the money and never let my dad back in to get his stuff....

Before my grandfather died, he changed the house into MY name. So, I now owned my dad's old house (where I lived until I was like seven years old), the land and all of it's contents. I sold the contents at a garage sale and I sold the house. My dad called my lawyer threatening to kill me (how smart is that?!) and took me to court over it (he lost). I got a PPO against him with the recorded call to my lawyer as evidence of the death threats, and he took me to court to fight it (he lost again). Needless to say, he is still an angry illogical person who thinks the world revolves around him. He tries to make it seem like everyone is out to get him, but they aren't. He is mentally unstable (I read his report from a psychologist's examination) and can't be trusted. He still makes death threats. He still manipulates people. He still blames me for some of the things that are wrong with his life, when they aren't my fault at all.

The good news it that this experience has made me who I am. I think everything happens for a reason, but I haven't figured out yet why this happened to me. Maybe I never will. Either way, he treated me, my mother and my siblings like crap, and has made our lives a lot less pleasant than they could have been. He stole the majority of my oldest brother's trust fund as well. He really is a bad person, as harsh as that sounds.. I've forgiven him for all of the grief and trauma he has caused me, and I do wish him well. I wish that he would get over himself, stop using drugs, go to therapy and start over with his life -- move somewhere new, restart his construction business, and make a positive reputation for himself.

I think we could all use a little therapy, and sometime soon I may enroll myself for some. I have a lot of unresolved anger and sadness as a direct result of how he has affected my life. I've been trying to sort through all of the baggage for a long time, but maybe it's time for some professional help.. Someone who can guide the progress and help me to dig a little deeper to the root of the problem and find some peace and restoration.