Tag: husband

Is my life determined to be ironic at all times?

The things you care about matter. The things you enjoy and are passionate about are important because they are your passion.

Every time I turn around, I notice things about kids. I can’t stop thinking about it. I saw this trailer for a movie and I can’t wait to see it. It wrung my heart- it is exactly what I want to do.

Everyone wants to adopt a baby. No one wants to show a seven year old love. They all the want the little kids. I just want to foster a young boy, maybe brothers if we’re lucky. Will I ever have that?

My girlfriend asked me what that means for my relationship if my husband ultimately doesn’t want children. I both love and hate the idea. The present me loves it because he wishes to care for me and only me in the future. He doesn’t want to share my attention with children. He wants it to just be us.

I am both impatient with and understand the desire to wait to have children. We have time. It’s a life long commitment, and maybe we’re not there yet truthfully. Jake and I’s second anniversary rolled around recently and I get the feeling his feelings are cooled somewhat from times past. Our sex life isn’t the best, so therefore I am not as lovable.  One of my other girlfriends commented that my relationship relies entirely upon my pussy’s health. She wasn’t kidding. It sucks to know hard truths, but a true friend tells them. The bad thing is I’m not always healthy.

I am physically unavailable, and he is emotionally unavailable. We both struggle with some of the same problems but he seems determined to ignore those problems. I have a desire to work the 12 step program and have him participate, also. It’s therapeutic and perhaps we would gain closure in may ways, both together and separately. We both suffer from B.E.D. and we could understand our reasons why maybe if we worked together.

I had the audacity to make this suggestion and my husband resented it horribly. He hated to confront hard truths. He would rather not discuss that which he isn’t willing to examine more closely. The more detailed questions I asked, the more unsettled he became. That will teach me a lesson about trying to therapize my husband without his knowledge.  He does not place nice with others sometimes. He can be a mean, snapping bulldog from time to time. Quite vicious and unyielding. He would never raise a hand to me, but I can remember thinking the same thing about my mother.

Sometimes I ignore how my mother treated me in my past. Not living under the same roof makes me more forgiving. But in reading the book I am getting together, I can’t help but remember how alienated she made me feel. We used to fight and shout with each other. We shoved each other, I ran away from home. I lived out of my car to avoid her. I became an alcoholic without her love. Lost and yearning for a mother figure who didn’t try to make me look incompetent and stupid at every turn. Someone who valued me and wanted nothing from me.

My therapist made a poignant point to me one time. She said it made sense that I liked participating in my husband’s version of microscopic love. My fathers never paid me any attention, and now I had a man that was utterly interested in my every coming and going. I liked the attention to detail. I liked being controlled. I liked being paid strict attention, even when I chaffed against it. I tested his love. It reminds me of a favorite passage from my favorite book:

On the whole, this person with the sunburst on his boots remained cranky and disagreeable in his behavior toward the little blond runt. He realized it, too. Joe knew good and well he had become a pain in the neck, and what’s more he was none too concerned about it. But there was a reason for his unconcern; He was happy.

For the first time in his life, he felt himself released from the necessity of grinning and posturing and yearning for the attention of others. Nowadays he had, in the person of Ratso Rizzo, someone who needed his presence in an urgent, almost frantic way that was a balm to something in him that had long been exposed and enflamed and itching to be soothed. God alone knew how or why, but he had somehow actually stumbled upon a creature who seemed to worship him. Joe Buck had never before known such power and was therefore ill equipped to administer it. All he could do was taste it over and over again like a sugar starved child on a mountain of candy: cuss and frown and complain and bitch, and watch Ratso take it. For that is the way in which power is usually tasted; in the abuse of it. It was delicious and sickening and he couldn’t stop himself. The only thing the runt seemed to demand was the privilege of occupying whatever space he could find in the tall cowboy’s shadow. And casting such a shadow had become Joe Buck’s special pleasure. 

We made it through all the uncertainty. I became used to his law. We are both reflections of the other in many ways. We have dealt with similar things in our lives. He has cared for a physically disabled person in the past as I have. He has cared for and provided for younger siblings and girls especially. We both dealt with an addict parent in our lives. We have both dated addicts in our past and tried to help or change them. We have both suffered from codependency issues, and yet we jumped in feet first with each other anyway.

I read once, “You attract what you are, not what you want. So who are you being?”

Birds of a feather flock together.

Like begets liking.

I have realized that my past partners and I all had things in common. The over arching theme is depression and anxiety of some sort. I attract sad, anxious people because I am sad little monster living in a sick, sad world.

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Stranger and Stranger Still

My mother recently called me and informed me that one of her closest friends had committed suicide. She found out the day after it happened- just after the Fourth of July. We will call my mom’s friend Shirley* to protect her identity. A family friend called my mother and told her what happened.

Shirley and her family went to a party to celebrate the Fourth. Shirley was happily married with a son about to be married. His fiance was a blonde girl with two mixed children, a little girl and a little boy. They all lived together at Shirley’s house and the daughter followed Shirley around like a shadow.

It turned out to be a shadow that haunted her. Shirley lost a child twenty years ago. She had cared for and utterly adored a special needs little girl for eight years of her life before she regrettably passed. They say that she had been speaking about her deceased daughter more often lately. She was going through menopause and her mother said she suffered from depression.

Even so, no one expected what happened from her. There was an altercation between Shirley and another woman and they left the party. Everyone went back home. Shirley said she had to go to the bathroom, and asked the little daughter to stay in the living room with everyone else, she’d be right back.

She went down the hall to their bedroom. She collected a shotgun her son had gifted her and wordlessly carried it with her to the bathroom. No one noticed anything until they heard the shot.

Her body fell against the door. Her son had to hack at the door and break it to get to his mother. There was nothing they could do, no help to get. She was gone. Her mother-in-law and sister-in-law came to clean up the mess. Everyone was shocked and grief stricken.

My mother said it didn’t sound like her, she couldn’t believe it. I caught my mother in the throes of denial. She half way wondered if there could have been foul play. It was so utterly unlike Shirley to do this to her family. Her son was supposed to be wed the very next month. The family friend said that her husband was in shock and that her son was angry beyond belief. Who could blame him? My mother insightfully said, “But you know what? Being mad at her is probably what’s going to be what gets him through this.”

When we went to the Celebration for Her Life, I was touched by the amount of people gathered. There were well over a hundred people there. Her death touched so many people. Suicide robs everyone of you. It is so horrible. I know no one knows the pain she was in, but to see all her loved ones gathered makes you think about how you can’t take them for granted.

That’s what I was thinking as I sat next to my mother and squeezed her hand. But even as tears dripped down my face, they weren’t for Shirley. I was secretly terrified the same thing could happen to my own mother.  She lost her son. What if she broke one day, too?

Afterwards in the card, I even told her, “Don’t you dare ever do this to me.”

My summer has been saturated in death and mortality. So many griefs and shocks. My cousin passed away. We found out my Grandpa has cancer. My mother has been pressuring me to talk to my dad for her and I can’t bear the rejection of him not speaking to me. He can ignore her all he wants, but God forbid I try and he doesn’t. The fear of rejection is strong. I couldn’t find the words to tell her that.

My birthday was an affair to remember. The week leading up to it I was a bundle of raw nerves. All I could anticipate was based on past experience and generally my birthdays include crying at some point. Not Happy Tears. I lived in fear of my husband’s temper and belittling attitude and cried in dread of the day. I cried to my mother that I didn’t want to be alone with him because he’s so insensitive and I can be so fucking fragile.

Doesn’t sound like a happy marriage, does it? I have always struggled to get the respect I deserve. I actually specifically asked my husband to be nice to me on my birthday. I just said he always found a reason to yell at me on that day and it would be nice if he didn’t this year. He miraculously didn’t. He loves me, I know he was trying. I guess he actually listened for once.

After the debacle that was my birthday, we had another hurdle to jump as a family. Or so I thought. Toby’s birthday came so shortly after his passing, but we were all supposed to spend it together. It wouldn’t turn out that way.

On his birthday, I called my uncle and he informed me that my mother wasn’t invited anymore. His wife struggled with drug addiction in the past and now she had been found out again. She relapsed and blamed it on my mother. Yes, my mother had a part in it. But she was to blame also for imploding the family dynamic.

Now relationships are strained and we still haven’t all agreed to be in person yet. My mother and aunt had been healing old wounds before. My mother used to hate my aunt more than anyone and they were becoming friends over my cousin’s illness. Now that has been ruined again. My uncle is barely speaking to my mother. Rightfully so.

In tandem with this secret family drama, there is other family drama afoot. My Grandpa has the misfortune of getting diagnosed with cancer shortly after admitting to a life of lies with his wife.

My Grandpa cheated on her. She was willing to forgive him. Then she found out that some family members such as my mother were involved, and now my mother is a trigger in their relationship and she won’t let my Grandpa speak to my mother. He told my mother not to call or text him, he’d get in touch with her. It is heartbreaking what this woman is doing. He’s fucking dying and she’s cutting him off from his family. Her final, bitter revenge for ruining her life with a faithless man.

She’s right to be upset, but there’s a limit. They are bound to separate, it seems. She has been one of my Grandpa’s longest relationships. But he needs his family, and they need him, too. Everyone hates her even though Grandpa is the one that cheated. We live in a topsy turvy world.

To put the cherry on top, I finally had the courage to call an intervention helpline for my mother’s sake and was immediately discouraged. How could we ever pay for rehab? The answer is we can’t. I have to look harder for the answer but I feel so afraid. What if it doesn’t help? She doesn’t sound willing to go. So much effort in a doomed pursuit. I don’t know if I have it in me, and that makes me feel ashamed.

Welcome to my life.

Spirit Animals 101

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What is your spirit animal??

What an interesting question. I have been indulging in more spirituality as of late, and thought it would be fun to get into this. I was first inspired by a Harry Potter Hufflepuff pride page on facebook. They asked, “What is your patrnous?”

For those who don’t know, a patronus is a charm to protect again Dementors. Dementors are likened to depression and suck the joy out of any environment they are in, they are soul suckers. A patronus is a silver animal that protects witches and wizards and often has personal connotations. Patronus means “protector”, “guardian”, or simply “patron” in Latin, specifically reflecting the entire role that the Patronus Charm plays.

I originally thought my patronus could be a panda. They’re cute, they sleep and eat a lot like me. I looked up panda personality traits and that led to spirit animal quizzes. I thought I had a lot in common with the panda, but when I took the quiz I received the result of OWL. DUNDUNDUN.

I dislike Owls. My mother always hated them also because they are harbingers of death, the grim reaper of animals. Native Americans (and other cultures) believe that if an owl flies over your head, it heralds the news of a loved one dying. Plus, they are not cute animals in my opinion so I started looking for other quizzes to take. (Coincidentally, I did get panda on another test which pleased me.)

But in researching the quizzes, I found out more information about spirit animals. One website said to think about your dreams– which animal appears most frequently in your dreams? I was disheartened because when I thought about it, DOGS are the most frequent animals that visit my dreams but I never have positive connotations about them. The dogs are usually chasing me or biting me in some way so how could that be my spirit animal when I am being chased by them most often?

DOGS in dreams represent (according to dreammoods.com):

To see a dog in your dream symbolizes intuition, loyalty, generosity, protection, and fidelity. The dream suggests that your strong values and good intentions will enable you to go forward in the world and bring you success. The dream dog may also represent someone in your life who exhibits these qualities. Alternatively, to see a dog in your dream indicates a skill that you may have ignored or forgotten.

If the dog is vicious and/or growling, then it indicates some inner conflict within yourself. It may also indicate betrayal and untrustworthiness. To see a sick dog in your dream symbolizes a neglected friendship.

Also consider common notions associated with the word dog, such as loyalty (“man’s best friend”) and to be “treated like a dog”. Dreaming that you cannot get a dog off your back implies that you are not able to shake someone off your back. Perhaps they are being too overbearing or too dependent on you.

To hear barking in your dream suggests that you are annoying those around you with grumpiness and fussiness. The dream may also be analogous to your tendency of barking orders at people, instead of asking or talking kindly. Alternatively, barking refers to unhappy and disgruntled companions. To dream that a dog bites you on the leg suggests that you have lost your ability to balance aspects of your life. You may be hesitant in approaching a new situation or have no desire to move forward with your goals. Dreaming that a dog bites on the hand symbolizes disloyalty. To dream that someone is bitten by a dog indicates a betrayal. You feel that you have been wronged by this person. If the dog is barking ferociously, then it represents your habit of making demands on people and controlling situations around you. Are you “barking” too many orders? Alternatively, it could also indicate unfriendly companions.

If you are being guided by a dog, then it suggests that you are having difficulties in navigating out of a situation or problem. 

Jake asked me what kind of dog I usually see, but I couldn’t answer. It’s never the same type of dog necessarily. I just remember mutts, or no specific breed. My favorite dog is a Chocolate Labrador.

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But as I said, the dogs I see are never friendly. They’re not cute species, but like…. predatory or mean. Plus I am a cat person, not a dog person. I don’t even like dogs in particular, only little ones usually. And not even them usually…..

While researching patronuses, I did find some interesting information. A patronus is produced by thinking of your happiest memories- and a lot of the time, the patronus of a certain character usually had something to do with the person that they loved most. Hermione’s patronus is an otter which signifies she belongs with the Weasleys. Ron’s patronus is jack russell terrier which chases otters. Snape’s patrnous is a doe which was an illusion to the love of his life, Lily, whose patronus was also a doe (because her husband’s was a stag.) Tonks’ patronus turned into a wolf like creature because of her love for the werewolf Remus.

The person I love most is my husband, Jake. He doesn’t like dogs either, but his personality traits have often reminded me of a dog. Maybe that’s why I dream of them…. Ignoring the negative connotations of my dreams, if we go with the first paragraph about dogs in dreams, then all of those attributes can be contributed to Jake; Intuitive, Loyal, Generous, Faithful, Protector. He guards his space like a guard dog. He barks like a dog, he can be menacing so people stay away or don’t take advantage of him. He is an alpha male, an alpha dog. The leader of the pack. So maybe my patronus/spirit animal could be a dog….?

The owl’s characteristics did remind me of my Granny, though. She is the person I have loved the most in the entire world. She has been my moral compass and guiding factor for most decisions in my life; I ask myself, “What would Granny do/say?” When I need comfort, I still think of her. She was the best example of unconditional love I ever had the fortune to have in my life. I would not have associated her with an owl though. She was gentle, humble, and kind. She was generous and loyal to a fault. She could be likened to a dog maybe.

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Cats are my favorite animal, though. I’ve told Jake on multiple occasions that I should have been a cat/must have been a cat in a past life. That’s mainly because I am envious of how well taken care of and lazy they get to be. I am like a cat in that I like to be petted, fed, and loved. But I’m not independent or have no-cares like a cat either. Cats do show up in my dreams also, but not as often as dogs. And in my dreams, it’s usually the cats that I own now- the two tortoiseshell cats that love me and beg me for my attention.  (I have a 3rd cat but she’s an asshole and hates me.)

In reading about vision quests, it is something I would very much like to try. I feel so lost and culturally starved. I wish that I could be a better person, so I am praying more frequently than I ever have before. I wish to be something I am not. I perceive myself as someone whose burden of shame and guilt is very heavy.  Spirituality is very hard to get into, it is confronting my shadow self and I don’t perceive myself as strong enough to talk to my shadow self. I run from her. I hide from her. I distract myself so I won’t have to face her. I have taken away one false pleasure, but have not learned to indulge in my truest pleasure- knowing myself. I run from me. Therein lies the problem- we cannot escape ourselves, yet I always try.

Game of Thrones Fanfics: Sandor Ed.

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I do not know how to describe it, but I have this great longing for and identification that I share with the character Sandor Clegane, the Hound.

I live for fanfiction. I’ve been reading quite a lot of Games of Thrones fanfiction. My favorite pairing is SansaxSandor. I’ve been diversifying a little bit though lately and found some compelling dynamics.

The thing I admire about Sandor is he honestly is very complex. A troubled past, tough outside, vulnerable inside. I’ve read a few modern AU fics that I really identified with- In The Right Number, Sandor participates in a 12 step program and Elder Brother is his sponsor.

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I love Sandor. I love both modern AU and canon versions of him.

The Right Number by Hollandoodle

When a wrong number leads to a chance meeting, drama ensues. Heavy on texting. Sansa works at a children’s museum and Sandor is a knife maker. But hey, opposites attract, right?

He reminds me of my husband. Tough and used to standing up for other people. He is strong where others are weak. Sensible, knows what to do and how to protect. Good for emergencies, knowledgeable in all important ways a man should be.

Sandor has a rough side occasionally. Some people write more of his tougher Hound self, the self that died when Brienne bested him and Arya left him for dead. That was the Hound that Sansa knew, a man whose rage simmered beneath the surface. Good example:

To Steel by cornix

Sandor thinks himself a changed man when he leaves the Quiet Isle. In the Vale, Sansa is trying to adapt to her new life and second marriage.

Circumstance has forced them both to adapt to their surroundings, but will they be able to reconcile each other with the images they’ve formed in their minds?

 

Then finally, the story I am following currently;

Side Quest by Kittles123

Jaime Lannister has defected from the Crown and left his sister in order to fulfill his pledge to join the war against the undead. But the journey will not be as simple as it sounds. Jaime finds that the road north is paved with choices – and he will not be traveling alone. This story picks up right where season 7 left off.

 

How is married life treating you?

“Not very well, I’m afraid.”

But you’re not allowed to say that, are you?

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Jake and I have been having a heck of a time in the bedroom. It’s terrible and I just don’t know how to fix it. He regards me as a cold woman and won’t come onto me. He has claimed that I always refuse him, which is not necessarily the case.

I have to come onto him every time, no matter how foul his mood. It’s even worse when he rejects me. We both know I don’t want to do it, but if I don’t “milk him” then his aggression piles up on top of each other every day until he’s downright hostile towards me and the tension in the house could be cut with a knife. I regrettably told a girlfriend the other day, “I should probably be worried my husband knows how much a divorce costs.”

*hangs head in shame* It’s just not going well. We’re both depressed and getting in each other’s way. He wants me to clean house and I want him to leave him be. He doesn’t clean house either, so why don’t we help each other? No, he’d rather play his game which is his form of escape.

But what is he escaping? Me, Us? Are we so horrible? When was the last time we asked ourselves if we were truly happy? We don’t seem happy. He’s always mad at me. His temper is so short. He treats me poorly. I’ve cried to my mother more than I should have about our state of affairs.

Sex is one of the root causes. He says that his only stress release has been turned stressful by me. He no longer wants to even try and salvage our physical intimacy. He never tries to woo me. We barely act like we like each other.

We’ve come to take advantage of each other, and it’s a vicious cycle. He’s mad at me, I’m mad at him for being so emotionally unavailable and unforgiving. He pushes me away and I let him, frustrated and at a lose for what else I should do. I know he doesn’t want to push me away, and I don’t want that either, but he’s so damn prickly it’s like trying to comfort a cactus. How do I soothe his ire when it is directed at me so?

Get to Know Me Survey

  • What does your ideal day look like?
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    An afternoon spent outdoors, reading a book with nowhere to be.
  • What did you want to be when you were younger? A writer, songwriter. When I was really young I wanted to be a singer like Selena 😛
  • Who are you most inspired by? Why? I am inspired by my husband and his pragmatic view on life, and his loving nature. He’s went through a lot but he still helps those who are less fortunate.
  • Who would you love to meet? What would you ask? Harriett Tubman. I would just want to hear more about her experience working for the Union during the Civil War.
  • What habit would you most like to break? What habit would you most like to start?
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    Smoking would be a good habit to kick for my health. I would like to someday be the type of person who gets exhilarated at the thought of working out. (Currently, that is the not the case.)
  • Think of a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person? In my career, I have found myself thinking of my previous boss Latta lately. I want to be as good at my job as he was. He was a very supportive and cool boss. He got to know you, talked and joked with you, and bought you lunches- sent you on runs when you got stressed and needed to get away. More than anything, he trained you to do your job well so his would be less of a headache. He was an empathetic leader, rather than boss.Image result for leader boss
  • How do you like to relax? Relaxing with soft music and candlelight in the bathtub
  • When was the last time you did something you were afraid of? It was in my career. The last thing I was afraid to do was apply for the front office manager position a few months back. I was terrified because I didn’t really want all the stress that went with all the responsibilities. It worked out for me, because I didn’t get the position. My manager did not feel I was ready, and I hated to agree with her.
  • What are you most proud of? I am proud that my life doesn’t revolve around alcohol and getting fucked up, forgetting myself, anymore. I have moved past that urge and stage of my life, all because of my husband.
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  • What are you most afraid of? Probably being raped, or held up at gunpoint or a scenario where both of these events are likely i.e. the apocalypse or zombies
  • If life stopped today, what would you regret not doing? I would die regretting how things have become between my mother and my self. I can (and am) write a novel about the sorrow and disappointments that we’ve had together.
  • Who would you like to connect (or reconnect) with? Why? I miss my Grandpa. He has always supported me and loved me, even if he doesn’t know me that well. It’s not anyone’s fault, we’re both just busy and the whole family has fallen apart since Granny died.
  • What qualities do you admire in others? Creativity, quirkiness, outgoing behavior
  • What practical skills do you wish you had? I wish that I could master basic cooking and/or baking. Skills in the kitchen would be nice. I would also like to know how to clean and cook fish properly but never done that before.
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  • Imagine you’re in your 90s. What memories would you like to have? What stories do you want to tell? I would tell about the enormously successful life I’d had as a published author and screenwriter and all the money I earned; the nice house I lived in with all my foster children and loving husband.
  • What is your favorite book/movie/song? Why?
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    My favorite book in the entire world is Gone with the Wind. I am rereading it for the 8th year in a row as I do traditionally. These two characters were made for each other in a way that no other two people have ever been. The world that Mitchell created is so immersive and well-crafted. I loved how the characters went so well together and I absolutely loved the character of Melanie Wilkes. She reminded me of my grandma; a great lady. The way that Scarlett changed as the world changed around her was very gripping and hard to put down.
  • If you could make one change in the world, what would it be? I would take down Mcdonalds/discourage widespread commercialism for fast food restaurants/make America slimmer & healthier/make healthy food popular, fast, and easy to get
  • What do you love to do for, or give to others (not an object – something from you personally)? I like to give compliments to people.
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  • What excites you? Art and writing; geeky TV shows
  • What do you wish you did more of? I wish that I worked out more, and worked on my art/collages more often. I am much more creative than I have acted lately.
  • Pretend money is no object. What would you do? Buy a new house and hire a professional decorator to do the house. Build a tree house in the backyard. Get a bitchin’ car. Pay for my mother’s rehab. See a therapist regularly.
  • What area of your life, right now, makes you feel the best? The best section of my life right now is my marriage. My career has been in a rut, and my family life is dismal.
  • Which area makes you feel the worst? Why? The family life is bad, and it’s bad because none of us are putting in any effort. We never try to see each other anymore. We’re all “busy” and we don’t know each other anymore. Splintered, apart. Sad.
  • Let’s jump forward a year. What would you like to have achieved in the past year? I would like to secure a better paying job and tweak my career some. I am open to new avenues and exploring different options. I’d like to have a job that was monday through friday, sitting at a desk somewhere. Making a lot more money, sitting comfy. I want to have gotten rid of a substantial amount of our shared debt.
  • What piece of advice would you give to five year old you? Sixteen year old you? Twenty-one year old you? Right now?
    Five: “Don’t let everyone push you around, you deserve your own opinions just like anyone else.”
    Sixteen: “When Granny goes into surgery, spend more time with your mother. She’s scared and anxious and she just needs you around. Be more patient; go with her to the shops when she goes to look at plants. It doesn’t matter that you hate plants and find it boring. Don’t be an asshole and sit in the car reading manga ignoring her. She needs you, you’re going to be her only person. It feels weird and tense right now, but your rocky relationship with your mother is only going to get worse. She’s going to fail you someday, and you should concentrate on trying not to be so disappointed when it happens. Be strong.”
    Twenty-one: “You’re doing you, just fine! You’re going to look back on these days fondly. But for heaven’s fucking sake, when Joshua comes into your life with his poetry and artistic streak, don’t be tempted. He will ruin you, and there’s nothing beautiful about it. Don’t risk yourself on him. Get back together with Hakim immediately when he asks.” (A Great Regret of My Life)
    Now: “You need to care more about yourself, try harder. It takes effort to maintain a positive attitude, but you can’t afford to let your depression overwhelm you and take control of your life. You’re not your best when you’re depressed, so fight it. Pay attention. Be mindful.”
  • How do you want to be remembered in life? Someday, I want to be the kind of Mom my Granny was to me. I want to love some little light with all my might. I want to love them, praise them, and turn a blind eye to all their faults. I will build them up, make them loved and supported. I want to be the kind of mom that doesn’t have to scold you, the look of disappointment on her face is enough to make you feel ashamed. I want to raise good kids, whether they are my own or not. I just want to share my love and make the world a better place by raising children to be empathetic, kind adults.