New Years With Nerds

If there’s anything I’ve noticed over the years it’s that true nerds are a different species. I suppose you could classify my boyfriend as a nerd, however, he has the social skills that most stereotypical nerds lack. I, of course, use the term ‘nerd’ endearingly. I adore many of the people who run in my boyfriend’s nerd gang. They’re beautiful souls, but we just don’t mesh.

I’m always reminded of this when I hang out with a lot of his friends at once. To give you an example of what it feels like when I’m with his group, imagine that you’re a middle class, white human living in New York, New York. All of as sudden, you’ve been transported to the heart of Mexico, and now you’re the minority. Sure, some people speak English, but pretend you’re in a city where their knowledge of English is bare minimum. See what I mean? I feel like I’m stuck with people who don’t speak my language, and no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to speak theirs. Sure, we know a few words, and we may have some similar values, but, the core of who we are is so different that we’ll never be able to figure each other out…unless one person becomes fluent in the other’s language.

For me, I’ve always struggled in the learning department. I’m not smart, and I will never claim to be knowledgeable in anything important. (Now, pop culture, that’s a different story). So, image me sitting at a table trying to insert myself into a conversation my man’s friends are having about nuclear energy and biomechanics. I’m lost. All I can do is say, “uh huh,” or “interesting.” Sometimes, I ask questions to try and better understand what they’re talking about, but half the time I can’t even remember what they were saying. I feel like I need a dictionary for every other word that comes out of their mouth.

Even when they’re drunk, they’re smarter than I am. They can play variations of chess and still win. (I’ve never played chess or checkers in my life. I tried to learn a few times as a kid and failed…miserably). What’s even worse is when they bring out the “fun” card games. Like ‘Smart Ass,’ for example. This game is all about reading clues from a card and trying to guess the person, place, or thing before everyone else does. And, you guessed it. When we played, I came in last. My brain just doesn’t operate on their level. It’s hard explaining the fact that I have a learning disability to a group of highly intelligent people who’ve never had an issue with comprehending information in their life, let alone people who have literally been made fun of for being able to comprehend said information so quickly and thoroughly.

I love that every soul on this Earth is different and unique, and I embrace other people’s cool. I was the weird kid growing up (and I still am), so I know what it’s like to not feel like you fit in or think that everyone around you doesn’t get you. I know what it’s like to have interests in things that other people don’t. I look forward to all of the different comments and perspectives that I receive from writing this blog (that’s one of the main reasons why I continue posting). So, ladies and gentlemen, my message is clear. Do you, and don’t forget to let your freak flag fly.

Granny Smith – over and out

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I Can’t Be The Only One

A lot of people state that they can’t remember their dreams. Well, 99.9% of the time, I can. And, usually, they’re pretty crazy. And, a lot of the time, they relate to what’s going on in my life.

For example, last night, I had a dream that me and one of my ex-boyfriends starting chatting it up like we were old friends. In dream land, a few days had gone by and we were hanging out like nothing had ever happened between us.

This dream shouldn’t weird me out, and it’s by no means scary, but the fact that it’s happened multiple times before does. It’s also happened regarding another ex that I haven’t spoken to in many years. And, every time it does happen, we’re the best of friends, always. No negativity.

I hate to admit it, but sometimes, my dreams will take me back to when me and one of my ex’s were together. It will literally catapult me back through time and take me to a scene that once existed.

I always wonder how these dreams start, and I think I know. All of the guys that I’ve ever dated I’ve been friends with first. So, naturally, we have a few mutual Facebook friends. Would it be wrong to say that I creep on them from time-to-time? Hell no, everyone creeps on their ex’s! Anyway, the night I had my dream about one of my ex-boyfriends was the night that I had found some recently tagged photos of him on Facebook. So, I’m starting to believe that there’s a bit of a reality-to-dream connection.

Now, this connection isn’t the worst thing in the world because I’ve found that in works in other ways every once in awhile. For example, I haven’t seen my boyfriend in over a week. Coincidentally, I was thinking about him and the past struggles of our relationship the other night, and viola; I ended up having a dream about us being together. The dream was simple. We were spending the day together cuddling and walking around town.

So, it got me thinking. Am I the only one this happens to? Am I the only one who looks at a picture before bed or thinks of a memory and then has a dream regarding whatever I saw/thought? My uncle actually consistently falls asleep with the television on, and he always ends up dreaming about the last thing he watched before falling asleep….which explains why he always has his bedroom TV on the golf channel.

I’m curious. Tell me your stories in the comments!

Autism Awareness

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If you don’t know already, the month of April is Autism Awareness Month here in the United States. And seeing how the month is almost over, I thought I’d dedicated this post to those individuals with Autism, my brother, specifically.

My brother was three years old when he was diagnosed, and my family’s life hasn’t been the same since. I can’t tell you how many countless hours my brother has spent with therapists working on his speech and cognitive ability and how many days he was in the Special Education room at our high school only for us to realize that he isn’t so different after all. He’s still a typical boy who has his own likes and dislikes, he just can’t express himself in the same way we can.

For years, my family has gotten stares and weird looks in public places when my brother has cried out, hummed, or even danced near complete strangers. Even tonight, we went to our local YMCA for a swim and a young boy (probably only about 10 or 12) told my brother to hand over the ball he was holding because he was supposed to use it to shoot hoops not hold it! Of course, I glared at the boy and flipped him the bird…in my mind. But, we carried on, business as usual.

When I was younger, I would get so embarrassed half the time because my brother would have to use the ladies room with my mom if my dad wasn’t around so that someone could help him in the bathroom. We even stopped going to church because my brother loves to laugh, hum, and cry out during inappropriate times. Whenever someone looks at him, all they can see is his age, so they’re completely confused as to why he’s behaving “in that way.” Nowadays, I don’t give as many shits. If he cries out, he cries out. If he decides to dance in the middle of the grocery isle, let him have at it (as long as he’s not in anyone’s way)!

I’m not saying that I’m completely fine with his outbursts and that they never embarrass me. Of course, I still get agitated with him every once in awhile. But he’s my brother, and that’s what siblings do. If anything, he’s made me more of a tolerant person. Yes, people mess up once, twice, three times even! But, because I live with a boy who constantly needs to be reminded to wash his hands after he uses the bathroom, or to take his shoes off before climbing into bed, I’ve never gotten into a heated/screaming match with anyone. No one has ever pissed me off that much…because, it takes A LOT for me to REALLY show my frustration.

Like my dad says, “everyone should have at least one disabled child so that they know what it’s really like.” And, I completely agree. There’s too many government officials trying to cut funding for those with disabilities and it brings me to near tears when I think about how much those with disabilities have already been shafted in life, how many limitations they have when it comes to things to do, places to go, or people who will take care of them, and now this? My father actually has a friend who works for the government and has a disabled daughter, and because of that, he makes sure that he knows every law and is able to fight that much harder for her rights. He’s actually helped a lot of families (mine included) knowledgeably advocate for their disabled child. And, never would he have become so involved if he didn’t have a daughter with a disability.

My brother and other individuals with disabilities that I have spent time with over the course of my life thus far have helped me get a better perspective on what really matters in life. Not only that, but they’ve also taught me how it’s important to treat individuals with the utmost respect, say what you feel, and do what makes you happy.

If you’ve never had the chance to spend time with an individual or individuals with a disability, I encourage you to volunteer for the Special Olympics, or for a disabled group home. Even if it’s just for an hour and only one time! Make some sort of interaction with these uniquely talented and special individuals, and I guarantee your life will change for the better.

Granny Smith – over and out

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