You Love Who You Love

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Happy Birthday to the love of my life! Seeing as how this is the first birthday he’s had while I’ve maintained this blog, I felt extremely compelled to give him a shout out on his special day…and because I know his eyes will eventually see this post!

Originally, I thought about using this space to gush about how great he is and how much I love him, but then I remembered you guys probably won’t find that as fulfilling as I do, and then we’ll both have wasted our time. So, instead, I’ve decided to discuss how we came to be, a bit of what we’ve gone through as a couple, and the idea of “soul mates.”

First, let me quickly explain a bit more about who I am and “my type.” Ever since I can remember, I’ve been crazy, weird, obnoxious, creative, and just plain different from everyone else I’ve ever met. I was picked on like a lot in elementary school, but the real struggle for me was that my peers and I had similar hopes and dreams, so I didn’t think I was that different. I also had (and still have) helicopter parents who made sure that I got everything I ever wanted. Back in the day, life was easy for me.  And, because I was like any other young girl, I wanted a Disney prince as my boyfriend. But, I quickly discovered that because I had crazy high expectations coupled with a ridiculous personality, my chances of finding this person were slim to none…until I met my boyfriend (we’ll call him “Matt” for the sake of this post). Matt was and is a class A gentlemen. He not only opens the doors for you, but he pays for dinner, always knows exactly the right thing to say, holds your hand, kisses you goodnight, and let’s just say he does everything perfectly. Sometimes, I freak out because I’ll be thinking and hoping that he’ll do something for me, and he’ll just do it! Men like to say that they’re not mind readers, but Matt definitely is one. I swear he came right out of a romantic comedy and into my life.

In terms of our relationship, our story is just as off the wall as my personality, but it’s a great one! We first met briefly in 2005. Matt had just started dating one of my best friends (we’ll call her “Ann”) at the time, but I didn’t truly get to know him until about a year later. The funny thing is, I didn’t like him when I first met him. I thought he was really cocky and aloof. But, once I got to know him a bit better, my opinion changed. We started hanging out more, and then, a terrible thing happened. Just before my 17th birthday, Matt broke up with Ann, leaving me in a very uncomfortable situation. Ann and I had known each other for years, but the truth was, I had formed a better friendship with Matt and liked being around him a lot more. That same year, I had actually gone through not one…but two breakups and he was there for me through it all, not Ann.

And, that’s when things got realllllly complicated. I began supporting Matt more than Ann through their breakup process, and Ann began accusing me of screwing around with Matt behind her back! Of course I wouldn’t do that! I was so furious with Ann that I completely shut her off, and because I was solely hanging out with Matt, he opened up more and showed me a side of him I’d never seen. I couldn’t believe that he was letting me in. Friends that I had known for 10 years had never opened up to me in this way, and I had only been good friends with Matt for less than a year. It felt like a huge compliment.

Fast forward a bit and Matt and I are “secretly” dating. I wanted to wait until Ann’s jets cooled a bit before going public. Well, we didn’t go “public” for a good year or two…and by that time, we were off to separate colleges.

We lasted separately for about 2 years and then we broke up…for about a year and a half. The time that we were separated was one of the weirdest times of my life. Some days I’d miss him so much I wouldn’t know what to do with myself, and other days I was so busy being me and doing everything I wanted to do, I didn’t know how life could get any better.  Ultimately, I worked hard to get Matt back because I realized once he was gone how much we’d (but mostly I’d) messed up. We basically broke up because we got lazy. We got sick and tired of doing the same old things together, and we were too lazy to come up with new stuff, so we quit.

The saying, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” was never more apparent to me then when I lost Matt for that year and a half. I realized that I had made a huge mistake and that there truly are no other guys like him. He’s too special, he’s one of a kind, and he’s perfect for me. When I was down and out growing up, thinking that no one would ever love me because I was “too weird,” he was there. He never judged me. Actually, he found me to be quite funny and entertaining. And, it turns out, he’s just as funny and entertaining, if not more.

I knew I had to fight to get Matt back because no one was ever going to sync with me as well as he did, and I wanted to turn things around. Personally, I don’t believe in soul mates. I certainly did when I was younger and it was pushed by the media, but I can’t anymore. With everyone getting married multiple times, or committing themselves to a variety of different relationships in their lifetime, I don’t think that there is such a thing. You love who you love, and sometimes it’s more than one person during a lifetime. I don’t believe in soul mates as much as I do in just “mates.” Yes, Matt is the one person that I want to be with for the rest of my life, but what if I died tomorrow? He’d have to move on and find someone else. I obviously wouldn’t be his soul mate if he was able to pick himself up and find someone else that he was just as compatible with.

However, in my case, I’ve always had this weird feeling like my deceased grandmother helped orchestrate our relationship. Her birthday falls on the same day as Matt’s and she passed away when I was 12. Somehow, in some weird way, I feel like she pushed him towards me and the fact that they share the same birthday is her way of reminding me that this was her doing. Because she couldn’t be here with me today, she thought she’d give me one of her birthday gifts.

So, do you believe in soul mates? Do you and your partner have a crazy good love story? Tell me! I wanna hear all about it!

Granny Smith – over and out

Special Treatment for Those with Special Needs?

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Now, before you think this post is going to be some hateful rant, calm yourself and read on. My brother was diagnosed in 1995 at the age of 3 with Autism, and I’ve been an advocate for the rights of special needs children ever since. However, about a week ago I found myself re-evaluating how I react to those with special needs.

Long story short, my brother has been participating in the Special Olympics for the past couple of years, and every year I try to attend his regional competition, which is located at one of our local high schools. This year, as my family and I sat down in the school’s cafeteria to relax before heading to the gym, a young, special needs athlete named Cole from one of the other teams walked up to our table, introduced himself, and started carrying on a conversation with me and my parents. Cole was hilarious, but at the same time he was very nosy and kept apologizing for asking questions. After awhile, he began to solely ask me personal questions, and it seemed he wanted to be friends (or something more) and know every detail of my life. I can’t lie, even though I spend a lot of my time around individuals with special needs, I was uncomfortable around Cole. Hell, I’m uncomfortable around all strangers! Finally, Cole’s dad realized that his son was talking our ears off and came over to our table to introduce himself and redirected his son to the gym.

The weird and sad part of all this was I felt a sense of relief and a burden lifted off my shoulders when he walked away. Phew, don’t have to deal with him again, I thought. But, I was actually wrong…Turns out, as luck would have it, Cole’s group ended up sitting next to my brothers, so I had to pass him on my way into the gym. Once Cole saw me, he immediately stood up and rushed to my side.

“How are you doing, ma’am?” he said as wrapped his arm around my shoulder.
“Great!” I said, mustering up every ounce of pep I had.
“Would you mind if I sat with you for awhile?” he proceeded.
“Um, I think we’re supposed to sit with our teams,” I replied.
“Well, I don’t have to sit with mine, that’s the point I’m trying to make,” he shot back.

Thankfully, before the moment got any more awkward, one of Cole’s coaches called him over to sit with his team. And, of course, the fun didn’t stop there. After the opening ceremonies, I noticed Cole coming over to my brother’s team. To avoid another uncomfortable encounter, I used my brother’s larger build as a barricade and hid behind him until Cole was finished talking to my brother’s teammates. Seriously, this kid would not let up. He seemed to be doing everything to try and get my attention.

And, of course, once I thought I was free of him, it turned out he was competing against my brother under the same division…that meant I was going to have to run into him again at the awards ceremony after the competition.

Flash forward to the awards ceremony and my brother took first place (of course he did, we’re related). So, after all of the pictures are taken and everyone disappears, Cole came running up to my family, and that’s when I decided to make a break for it. I grabbed my things and briskly walked down the hall to hide in the women’s restroom. Cole saw that I was busting my ass to getaway and yelled after me, “DON’T YOU WALK AWAY FROM ME YOUNG LADY!” And then..he proceeded to ask my dad what my name was. Of course, my father thought this whole thing was hilarious and told Cole…who ended up screaming my name down the hallway until I disappeared.

Just at the point where I thought I had gotten rid of him, I realized that the exit door was at the other end of the building, which meant I would have to walk past the cafeteria where I last saw Cole. After a few minutes, I stuck my head out of the bathroom only to find him talking to someone right outside of the cafeteria. Well, eventually Cole’s new found friend decided to head back towards the gym and get some popcorn, which prompted Cole to follow him. I realized then and there that it was now or never. I swiped up my stuff and RAN towards the exit. FREEDOM! I thought as I reached the parking lot. And as my family and I drove away, all I could think was, I’m safe now

As I reflect back on the day that I had with Cole at regionals, of course I feel awful, but I’ve realized that even if he didn’t have special needs, I would have treated him the same way. With this situation, I’m reminded of the VERY FEW TIMES I’ve ever been “hit on” at bars while I was in college by guys that I had absolutely no interest in getting to know. And, what did I do in those situations? I politely blew them off, just like I did with Cole. I had no interest in hanging out with Cole that day. I was there to watch my brother kick ass and take names. And, I have a boyfriend. I’m not looking for any more male companions. And, did Cole suffer? Of course not! Being the friendly guy that he is, when I wasn’t around him he ended up talking to so many more people who were willing to engage in a bit of a conversation with him.

Personally, I think there’s this argument out there that we have to treat individuals with special needs as a “special case,” or be nicer to them than we would someone who doesn’t have special needs because they “unfortunately can’t be normal functioning adults in today’s society.” And most days, I think that’s a bunch of crap. With all of the special needs individuals that I’ve gotten to know through my years of volunteering and meeting my brother’s friends, people with special needs don’t want to be treated as “special cases,” they want to be seen and treated as though they don’t have a disability. They want to be treated how we want to be treated…like a human being. So, if you’re not interested in forming a connection with them, don’t! They rather have a genuine connection than put up with something that is forced….and wow, what does that sound like? Hmmmm, how about something that everyone wants, no matter age, race, gender, etc. So, at the end of the day I’m not advocating for everyone to go out there and treat individuals with special needs like shit. Of course not! Treat them as they are, human beings, and form a genuine connection that the both of you will benefit from.

Granny Smith – over and out

Go Ahead, Celebrate!

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So, now that Valentine’s Day is long gone, I want to bring it back into the realm of conversation…I know, sorry! But, it’s not what you think! Give me a second to explain…

My birthday is August 14th, so Valentine’s Day is a big day for me because…it’s my half birthday. Check: If you’re not rolling on the floor laughing by now, what’s wrong with you? I can only imagine what all of you are thinking, who the hell celebrates their half birthday? Trust me friends, I didn’t come up with this; I was suckered into it by my mother when I was a little girl.

For as long as I can remember, every Valentine’s Day, my mother would sneak into my room before I woke up and leave a few small gifts, candy, a card, and a balloon. And, at the end of the day, my family and I would gather around the kitchen table and enjoy some cake! I was always reminded on February 14th that not only was it a national holiday, but I was exactly 6 months away from my birthday. Now, why did my mother constantly remind me that Valentine’s Day was also my “half birthday?” I secretly think that my mom has always wanted to share her birthday with a holiday and when that dream obviously did not work out in her favor, she hoped and prayed that one of her children, hell, even one of  her pets, would have a birthday on a holiday. When that didn’t work out, she studied the calendar and thought of the next best thing. I mean, we don’t celebrate anyone else’s half birthday in our house ….lucky me!

The point of all of this is that when I told my boyfriend about my family’s crazy Valentine’s Day tradition…he didn’t even flinch. Sure, he thought it was weird. But each Valentine’s Day he makes sure that he treats it like my second birthday. I receive half a cake, half a birthday card (tehehe), flowers, my favorite food, and most importantly, love. The crazy part about all of this is I hate Valentine’s Day and so does he. But, the dumb Hallmark holiday has actually brought us closer together because of my mother’s interesting calendar observation. We don’t look at February 14th as another stupid holiday, but a funny reason to have something to celebrate. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world because I get to celebrate two birthdays a year instead of one… and I don’t age twice!

In the end, everyone should have the opportunity to feel like they’re the most important person on the planet! And it doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s Day or just your birthday. It’s important to find someone in your life that wants you to feel amazing about who you are, what you believe in, and everything in between. The fact that my boyfriend picked up this ridiculous tradition of mine and ran with it means wonders, and I don’t have to cringe every time Valentine’s Day rolls around!

But, the main reason why I brought this up is because I want to hear from you guys! Is there anything that you significant other, family members, friends do for you that makes you feel special? Are there any holidays in particular that you love more than the rest because of an awesome tradition you have?  Let me know and be well!

Granny Smith – over and out

If You Were Going to Die at Midnight…

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In light of the last post I wrote, “Wanna Play 20 Questions?…Sort of…” I’ve decided that I’m going to pick a few of those questions and answer them in future blog posts..like this one!

Today’s question, “If you were going to die at midnight, what would you be doing at 11:45 p.m.?”

When thinking about this question, a million other ones came to mind…such as, “how far in advance do I know that I’m going to die at midnight on such and such a day?..24 hours? A week?” Because, if I knew far enough in advance, I’d be able to call people up, tell them how much they meant to me, and then plan the sickest farewell party EVER!!..But, what if I found out at 11 p.m. day of? You can’t exactly rally the troops together, go through your bucket list, or make a lot of phone calls.

But, if I had to decide what I would be doing at 11:45 p.m., regardless of how far in advance I knew I was going to be gone at midnight, I’d have to say that I’d keep it simple. I would want to be in my bedroom in my parent’s house. And, I’d want to be lying on my bed, because I LOVE my bed! Seated around me would be my parents, brother, and dog. In bed with me, holding on to me, would be my boyfriend. We would all be talking, reminiscing, and they would hopefully reassure me that the life I lived was a good one, and that everything was going to be ok.

Now, to be honest, I had to debate about this a bit. On one hand, I would want them there with me. But, on the other, would I really want them to see me die? Would I really want my boyfriend to be holding on to me as I took my last breath? That kind of stuff changes your LIFE. I’ve known many individuals that have seen a loved one on their last leg, and it’s not pretty. But, on the other hand, I wouldn’t want to be alone, and I wouldn’t want them to leave the room shortly beforehand knowing what I was going through on the other side of the door.

But, I guess what I’m really getting at is, there’s nothing sweeter in this world than family; and I have the absolute best. At the end of your life, it’s not going to be your possessions that you cling to, it’s going to be the people you love most. That’s why I’m such a huge advocate of work, life, balance. Yes, you have to fill your time here with something. But, if that something constantly causes you to miss out on time with the one’s you love most…is it really worth it? Because, at the end of your life, you’ll look back and think of everything you’ve ever wanted to do, and you’ll probably make a checklist, as in, “did I get to do this? Yes or No” and then move on. You’ll also probably wish that you were more vocal with your opinions, spent more time with family and friends, and that you didn’t work so hard.

Why do I know this? Because I’ve read different studies on what individuals greatest regrets were while they were on their deathbed. And the above are all of those are things the wished they could’ve clung on to while they were living. So, why wait? Apply what you want to do today, because as far as I’m concerned, there are no do-overs.

So, what would you be doing at 11:45 p.m. if you knew you were going to die at midnight?

Granny Smith – over and out

Negative

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This past week, I had one of those big “smack you in the face” karma moments…Let me explain.

Since I’ve known the definition of teen pregnancy, I’ve been completely against it. I was also against having sex before marriage for the longest time (and boy am I glad  that’s changed). In general, I’ve always frowned upon teenagers and even women in their early 20s getting pregnant. Seriously, just wrap your tool!

And with all of the TV shows nowadays like “16 and pregnant” and “Teen Mom,” young pregnancy has been glorified and presented as a “trend.” I actually heard a story a few years back about a girl that got pregnant at a young age just so that she could audition for “Teen Mom.” Needless to say, she didn’t get the part, and now she’s stuck playing mom without the cameras…what?

And, in my early college years, my roommates favorite TV show was, coincidently, “Teen Mom.” I recall watching it with her and commenting on how stupid all of those girls were. And to this day, my friends and I constantly pick on old classmates from our home town that got pregnant while we were away at school, or right after they graduated college.

So, never in a million years did I think that I would go to the doctor to get a blood pregnancy test. Yes, yes, yes, you might be utterly confused right now, but here’s the deal….I’ve noticed within this past month that my body has been going through some major changes. I’m seeing fat (particularly around my belly area) that has never been there before, and aunt flow hasn’t paid a visit since September. Needless to say, with the constant bloating and missed egg drop, I freaked out.  But, before I went to the doctor’s office, I took three home pregnancy tests within three weeks of each other..all negative. I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

Needles to say, the blood test also came back negative. But, I’ll never forget how the doctor’s office made me feel. Coincidently, my mother works at the clinic where I took the test, so registering at the front desk was a bit awkward. The day I took the test, I walked in and Martha was the only woman sitting behind the counter. Now, I knew Martha from the few times that I’ve come for an appointment with my mother, but I also knew that she never remembers who I am.

As I walked up to the counter and gave my last name, a bit of a smile crept across her face. You could tell she was thinking, “Oh, you’re her daughter, how nice.” But, as she opened my chart and saw why I was there, her smile faded. And the way she spoke to me changed. The minute she realized my situation..she wasn’t having it. “Are you in college, or are you employed,” she said with a snarky tone. “Employed..” I whispered. Then, she took down my information and told me to “JUST go downstairs!” I felt like I was in major trouble…like the teacher had caught me talking for the third time in class. I felt so ashamed. I felt like I wasn’t Marsha Brady anymore. I was imperfect because I thought I might be pregnant.

Even when the nurse called to tell me the test was negative, she said, “I’m assuming that’s what you wanted?” Yeesh, thanks for your concern, lady!

So, what did I learn from all of this? You can’t pick on someone if you haven’t been in their shoes. Again, NEVER EVER in a million years did I think I would take a blood pregnancy test. If you’ve ever been in this situation, even if you’re the man and it’s your girlfriend who thinks she’s pregnant, it’s by far one of the scariest times. So many questions run through your head. “If the test comes back positive, what do I do? How do I tell people? What are my next steps?” I mean, what if the girls on “16 and Pregnant” or “Teen Mom” just forgot to take their birth control one day? It happens! We all forget! I actually have a friend who took the morning after pill, and her boyfriend used a condom, and they STILL got pregnant. Not everything works…even if it’s 99.9% effective.

At the end of the day, I think I’m just getting fat because of my desk job…but I definitely know that I won’t be making fun of young moms anytime soon…good grief!

Granny Smith – over and out

I Do?

This past week at work, my boyfriend of 5 years was having a conversation with one of his coworkers about me and our relationship history. When his coworker found out how many years we’ve been together, she immediately asked him if he had plans to “put a ring on it” anytime soon. Thus, prompting me to dedicate this blog post to the topic of marriage.

Let’s back up for a moment to the day I graduated from college. After a beautiful day and a successful ceremony, I did what I usually do every night, and turned to facebook to wind down. Within that evening, and the days ahead, my newsfeed was flooded with relationship status updates. Were people breaking up? Of course not, my counterparts were getting engaged.

Now, because I can be a bit of a girly-girl, my initial reaction when I saw these changes were, awww, good for them! But, as I quickly looked over a few pictures of the happy couple, my thoughts turned to, wait! Stop! You’re making the biggest mistake of your life! And of course, we all know the statistics. They say that 50% of marriages nowadays end in divorce, and marriages are predicted to be even less successful when the two individuals getting married are younger than 27. So, why this sudden rush to the alter?

One of my biggest theories is societal and peer pressure. Think about it, when you’ve heard that someone has been together for more than three years, what’s your typical reaction? I know that I’m guilty of thinking, oh, they’re probably going to get married soon. And I’m sure that that’s the case for many other individuals. Another case in point, what if the individuals have been together for 8 years and STILL aren’t engaged; then what? I think many people’s first reaction is, jeeze, what are they waiting for?

But of course, there’s always the flip side. When you see those wedding pictures of individuals in their early 20’s on facebook, a lot of people’s first reaction is, what’s the need? Is she pregnant? They’re too young, they don’t know what they’re doing! This will end in divorce.

What I’ve come to notice, especially within the 20 something market, is that the topic of marriage releases a LOT of different emotions. For example, I bet that if I decided to change my facebook status from “in a relationship” to “engaged” tomorrow, my friends would post nothing but adoring comments like, “Congratulations!” or “Good for you,” or even, “Finally!” But, behind my back, I know they would say things like, “Why are they getting married now?” or, “Jeeze, not another engagement. Wasn’t there just three last week?” Why do I know this? Because it’s what my friends and I do too!

With 20 somethings, getting engaged is seen as more of a “trend” than an actual life milestone. It’s my personal opinion that a lot of millennials see marriage as something that you have to do if you’ve been together for a long time, or, just the “next step” after college. Personally, I don’t feel that people in their early 20s are ready for it. Yes, yes, I know that there are plenty of individuals out there who have gotten married in their early 20s, and they’re fine. But, it seems to me like there aren’t many people that fit that description anymore.

Basically, you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. If you don’t, people are going to think that you’re just “afraid of commitment,” or some more religious individuals might argue, that you “enjoy living in sin.” And, if you do, there are going to be plenty of people that will think that you’re just “jumping on the bandwagon” or “making another reckless decision” because you’re young.

Personally, I don’t care if I never get married. Would it be nice? Sure. But, I don’t think that I need a wedding ring and a joint bank account to prove that I love my boyfriend. I think that showing that I love him in some way every day, sticking by his side through thick and thin, and remaining faithful is enough.

I get that the topic of marriage is completely personal, just like your religious beliefs and your politics. There are plenty of people out there who have been together for years and have never married and are completely at peace, and then there are many others who have been married for 20 plus years and wouldn’t have it any other way, and unfortunately, there are some individuals who are on their fourth marriage and crossing their fingers.

All I’m saying is, when it comes to marriage, make sure that you decide to make that commitment because it’s what YOU want, not what everyone else wants for you.

Granny Smith – over and out

Breaking Up is Hard to do

Recently, one of my very best friends went through a terrible, unexpected breakup with her boyfriend of 2 years. The situation left her damaged and with more questions and emotions than a toddler.

Now, I’ve gone through breakups myself, and I know that the majority of others have as well. But, I’ve always wondered how other individuals deal with them. I remember reading in an article somewhere that some men are ok in the beginning and tend to get a bit crazy, and then reality sinks in and they become lonely and miss the other person. On the other hand, I’ve heard that most women tend to cry about it, get really upset for a certain period of time, and then they move on and get crazy.

I’m not saying this is the case for every male and female because breakups happen in plenty of different ways and for plenty of different reasons, but it’s just what I’ve heard.

But, no matter how harsh of a breakup you have, you need to figure out how you’re going to pick yourself up and dust yourself off.

So, what have I done for you? I’ve searched the internet to find the best ways to deal with a breakup!

You’re welcome:

  • Don’t fight your feelings – It’s normal to have lots of ups and downs, and feel many conflicting emotions, including anger, resentment, sadness, relief, fear, and confusion. It’s important to identify and acknowledge these feelings. While these emotions will often be painful, trying to suppress or ignore them will only prolong the grieving process.
  • Talk about how you’re feeling – Even if it is difficult for you to talk about your feelings with other people, it is very important to find a way to do so when you are grieving. Knowing that others are aware of your feelings will make you feel less alone with your pain and will help you heal. Journaling can also be a helpful outlet for your feelings.
  • Remember that moving on is the end goal – Expressing your feelings will liberate you in a way, but it is important not to dwell on the negative feelings or to over-analyze the situation. Getting stuck in hurtful feelings like blame, anger, and resentment will rob you of valuable energy and prevent you from healing and moving forward.
  • Remind yourself that you still have a future – When you commit to another person, you create many hopes and dreams. It’s hard to let these dreams go. As you grieve the loss of the future you once envisioned, be encouraged by the fact that new hopes and dreams will eventually replace your old ones.
  • Know the difference between a normal reaction to a breakup and depression – Grief can be paralyzing after a breakup, but after a while, the sadness begins to lift. Day by day, and little by little, you start moving on. However, if you don’t feel any forward momentum, you may be suffering from depression.

If you’re currently going through a breakup, or know someone who is, I hope this article helped!

Granny Smith – over and out