#TheUmbrellaAcademy

You had a toxic parent, too?

I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix this summer. I was especially pumped up for the newest season of “The Umbrella Academy” and gobbled down all ten episodes in one sitting the Friday it came out. The show is about a group of children who are born with super powers. They’re adopted by this billionaire who exploits the children and forces them to become vigilantes. The children grow up and have complex and complicated relationships with each other and their toxic adoptive father.

I can relate, being adopted by a toxic parent. It’s trauma that I’ve been unpacking for the last several months with the watchful guide of my therapist. My biological mother wasn’t fit to take care of me. She most likely drank while she was pregnant. I never knew my biological father. My adoptive mother didn’t want children but my adoptive father insisted that I stay in our family (my adoptive mother is my biological aunt). More trauma when my parents got divorced. It was really nasty, especially when it came to custody. I went to live with my mom when I was in high school and didn’t see my dad often. At that time, my mom get remarried to an abusive man. I can still remember them fighting. One night, I was watching television in the living room when my mom stormed out her bedroom, with her husband screaming her. She hopped in her car and drove away, leaving me. I ran down the block after her, sobbing. She eventually came back and apologized.

I want to say that I love my parents. I really do adore my family and am grateful for them. I know they did the best they could even though I was troubling. I was a difficult baby. I spent the first two years of my life in foster care before I was legally adopted. My parents don’t know exactly what happened during those two years but I was developmentally delayed in some areas (like sleeping. I shook a lot in my sleep, waking myself every couple hours. I continued to do so throughout my childhood and my teenage years and still occasionally do it now. I never can get a good full night’s rest). I had a speech disorder and refused to talk until I was about five years old (I still lisp every now and then). I couldn’t be alone when I was a toddler. I was mean to animals. Miraculously, though, I did well academically. I loved school. I felt my first sting of depression when I was eight years old. I slept a lot. I couldn’t keep friends. I kept to myself. I was awkward (still am). I lied a lot. I had severe abandonment issues due to my adoption (with my bio mom leaving me) and my parents’ divorce. I went puberty at a young age and was body shamed frequently. I started starving myself in middle school. Binging soon followed. I also begin self-mutilating then and had my first suicide attempt in my preteens. Despite all this, my parents continued to love me and support as best as they could.

I now know that a lot of trauma in my life has been either a direct action or inaction by my parents, biological and adoptive. I wasn’t held enough as an infant so I developed bonding and empathy issues. My body issues were caused by my mother’s shaming, which she received from her own mother. I know that some of my self-esteem issues come from my parents not saying that they believed in me enough. I rarely felt- and still don’t feel- enough in my family which has affected all of my romantic relationships and my professional life.

It’s taken a lot of time to get to the root of my issues and I’m so, so grateful for my therapist (the key to healing is finding the right kind of help!). It’s been a lot work, a lot of tears. I don’t blame my parents for everything wrong with me and my life- I certainly have made a lot of bad choices, choices today that I’m still trying to mend. Even today, I will make the choice of dealing with a toxic parent even though my siblings don’t. My mom can still be pretty narcissistic. But I remember that my mom is human and has been through a lot of trauma herself. I’ve forgiven her and do so every day. I remember to put up boundaries with her- I tell myself, this is my life now and this is the way that I’m living it.

I ask myself if I have children of my own day, will I be a good mother? I know that all parents screw up their kids in a way, some more than others. But still… Will I raise my children to be confident and kind, strong and successful? I like to think so. I hope to take the mistakes that my parents made with raising me and my sisters and give my children not only a happy childhood but a strong sense of self-worth. I want to show my kids that there is actually someone in the world who cares, cares deeply, and can provide for them all of their emotional and physical needs.

Have you grown up with a toxic parent, dear reader?

#Paula

Paula Fletcher was my mother’s best friend since they were in sixth grade. They grew up around the corner from each other in New Jersey and celebrated various life milestones together- she was the maid of honor at both of my mother’s weddings (to my father and then, her second husband). A couple of years back, I traveled to Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with Paula where we jammed out to the Purple Rain soundtrack and burned a turkey. The last conversation I had with her was back in April, asking her if she needed anything, any help through the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that she was fine and hoped that I was doing well in Austin. Paula recently died of heart failure. She was 58 years old.

I’ve been helping my mom sort through her funeral details. It’s been a challenge with COVID-19 but somehow, we’re making it work. Paula didn’t have much of a family life- my mom was considered her family, and Paula was never married. I asked Mom about this. Growing up, I remember Paula being around often but without a boyfriend or a partner. She said that Paula dated quite a lot but never found “the one.” She focused on her work and her friends. I’ve been thinking a lot about that these past few days, how Paula didn’t have a significant other in her life. She never seemed lonely. Paula had her friends, my mom especially. I can’t help but compare her story to my own- dating around but never settling on one person.

I’ve been floating in and out of relationships this year. My relationships lean more towards a sexual gratification which is great- it’s what I need, and I’m finding myself more alone during the hours that I’m not working. I’m really enjoying this alone time, catching up on books and painting. Perhaps I’m bitter from my last break-up but I struggle with seeing the purpose of a partner. I’m doing great without one. This time, being quarantined, has taught me that I am all-encompassing and I very much enjoy being alone. I don’t want to be with anyone.

What are the benefits of being partnered? Do the benefits of being single outweigh them? I think about Paula and her free spirit without the need to answer to anyone (although my inner feminist says that you don’t need to answer to a partner to begin with). She didn’t need permission or to check in with anyone. She didn’t have children. I asked my mom if Paula ever expressed desire to have kids and she said that she was fine being to the “cool aunt” to me and my siblings. I however, unlike Paula, aspire to have children. Lately, the only benefit that I can come up with to having a partner is to have someone to raise children with (I like to note that I do have several sperm donor options for when/if I choose to have a kid on my own). I have read the benefits of raising a child in a traditional mother/father household. But then again. I know of so many women who are raising bright and well adjusted kids alone, by themselves, as well as great people who were raised by a single parent.

As always, my thoughts eventually venture to death. I like to think that it would be nice to have someone hold my hand on my death bed but then I ask myself if it is the worst thing to die alone? Don’t we all die alone anyway? There are many benefits to being single (I know… I just Googled a bunch). I used to think worst thing in the world was being alone. So much so that I’d chase these awful relationships with awful men who destroyed me emotionally. I once heard that your 20s is when you make the mistakes and your 30s is when you learn the lessons from them. Now at the ripe age of 34, I’ve been reviewing such past mistakes of mine and I came to this conclusion: I’m really good at being single and I really enjoy it. Same as Paula.

Rest in peace, Paula. We miss you and will love you forever. And you, dear reader; even if you’re alone, I hope you don’t feel alone. Being single isn’t a curse- its a gift.

#FiveYearPlan

My little sister is pregnant and I’m having a hard time being happy for her. I have to admit that I’ve always been jealous of this particular sister. In high school, I was envious of how she was skinner than me, had a cute boyfriend and seemed to be known and loved by everyone. She eventually pursued a career that I thought about chasing myself, got married and resided in city that I have dreamed of living in. As I’ve gotten older, I sat with these feelings and learned where they came from (my own insecurities, unnecessary parental pressures and judgements, etc). These days, I’m wise enough to know that I can’t compare my life to anyone else’s but this news still hurts. I want that life. My life is supposed to look like that… but it doesn’t.

I’m still in the middle of job hunting and I spend each morning asking myself interview questions to prep. My “favorite” question (and note the quotation marks) is where do you see yourself in five years? As much as I practice the answer to this questions aloud, I still have no solid, concerete idea. If someone asked me this question in 2015, I would have never have thought, “I’d be in quarantine from COVID-19.” Although I can’t exactly see where I am, I can imagine the way I feel in 2025- I’m feeling supported and successful with my job. I’m happy and in love in a romantic relationship. I’m enjoying the comforts of my apartment, the companionship of friends and feeling mental and physically strong.

It’s halfway into the 2020 and I know that the majority of the world threw out their yearly plans with the rise of Coronavirus. I know that I have. I feel like I have thrown away most of my plans since arriving to Texas almost two years ago (ask me why I call Austin, “the curse”). I recently figured out while it is good to have plans and keep planning for the future (especially financially), life happens. Epidemics happen. Job loss happens. Break ups happen. Bullshit happens. And that’s okay. I had this exact plan of how I wanted things to develop this year. None of those plans came to fruition so I’m just letting all of that go. As much as I love planning every single detail of my life, I’m just going to be for a while.

I know what I will- one day- get the job I’m desperately seeking, that dreamy relationship, my future family, etc. It will most definitely won’t go the way I plan but I feel like I’m half way there to what I’m envisioning for myself- I’m here in Austin where there are a lot of opportunity and I have a solid group of friends here and around the globe. Regardless of what my life feels like it lacks, my life is full at the moment and it’s only going to feel fuller. I just need to relax, be patient and keep ever so slowly pushing forward.

How are you taking a step back, dear reader? Do you have a five year plan?

#UmAwkward

Does the holiday season make you feel like this tree?

It was my father’s 60th birthday this weekend so I flew home to celebrate with him and the rest of my family. He had a party which I attended but felt incredibly awkward at. Aside from my family members, I didn’t know anyone there. I’m not the person who enjoys small talk (because most of the time, it doesn’t feel genuine from either person). I don’t like groups bigger than three people (I have no idea why I was such a great public speaker in college). I just felt like I didn’t belong there. I awkwardly floated from room to room, listening in on conversations with people much more bubblier than me.

The holidays can be an awkward time. I’m Miss Martha-Stewart-I-Absolutely-Adore-Christmas, ready to bake cookies and sing Christmas song after Christmas song. Let’s spread that holiday cheer! But when it comes to parties with large groups, I rather be buried underneath my weighted blanket with my cat and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I know my anxiety stems from some self-esteem issues that I am working on (yes, I am interesting and can hold intelligent conversations. Yes, I am wanted at such gatherings and people do actually like me). Nevertheless and no matter the crowd, I get quiet and anxious. Social anxiety can be crippling but if you’re like me, there are some helpful tools you can use this holiday season:

  • Remember that you are allowed to say, NO. You don’t have to feel obligated to accept every invitation (this is one of the reasons why I continue to send Christmas cards. Sometimes, it’s easier to send kind words than to face others and speak them aloud).
  • I stay away from alcohol. Booze can help calm nerves but I have used alcohol as a crutch and it has always ended badly.
  • When I feel like my anxiety is spilling out through my ears, I do a lot of self-soothing. I try to mentally address each one of my fears and why I feel so anxious. I shut down my expectations of the night and tell myself that I’m doing the best that I can- and that is a good thing.
  • Smile, make eye contact and ask questions. If my journalism background has taught me anything, I learned that most people LOVE talking about themselves. Ask others about their holiday plans, what their kids are doing, what book they’re reading, whatever- and listen to what they’re excited to tell you about.
  • And if you’re in the throws of the party and are just feeling awful, leave. Be gracious with your goodbyes and hit the exit. No Irish good-byes here.

How do you survive the awkwardness of the holiday season, dear reader?

#Kiddlets

A couple of months ago, one of my best friends ended her engagement. The days after the split, we spent hours talking about the future- would she find love again? Would she ever have children? We’d sit in our favorite coffee shop, chugging down cold brew and tried to answer the aforementioned questions. I’d lighten the situation by saying, if she didn’t meet anyone by the time we were 35 years old, we could marry each other, figure out how to get pregnant and raise a family together. At first, she thought I was kidding but then considered my offer. We have the same values. We want the same thing out of life. We both want kids. So, why not? When we’re looking at marriage, we are told to marry our best friend. But what if our best friend is not our sexual partner? What if our best friend is just our best friend?

It was this IG post that got me thinking…

I’ve been reading some accounts of people who married their best friends, mostly in gay-straight relationships. They married each other because of convenience (health benefits and the like) and because they think that their partner is just an all-around awesome individual. Some have children with each other. All this leads me to relationships- they’re different. Every relationship is. I grew up thinking that only a man and woman could get married and have kids (of course, after I came out, I learned differently). The older I get, the more accepting I’ve become of different relationships, like ones of the polyamory variety and asexual ones. Relationship dynamics are different. Society is different. I love heteronormative relationships that don’t follow traditional gender roles. And with the older I get, the more I’ve let go- love is love, romantic or platonic. We should be with the ones we want to be with and live the way we want to live.

I want to start a family one day but man, dating is rough. The last couple of dates me and my friends have been on, the men explicitly expressed their desire not to have children (which is totally fine. You do you). But my friends and I know what we want out of life- to have a big, loving family in a two-parent home. So, if you have the option to get what you want (children), even if it is in a quote-unquote unconventional way, I say, “Why not do it?”

(And Elle- yes, I will have kids with you if we don’t find partners by the time we’re 35.)

Are you married to your best friend, dear reader?

#DepressionLessons

Dear depression,

Hi. I’m noticing you today. I hate you. I’ve never hated anything more in my life (well, except for math). I often wonder what my life would be without you (I imagine “better”). But even though you’re always leaving a bad taste in my mouth, you taught me a lot… So, I guess, in a weird and small way, thank you for your lessons…

1) Depression is never going to go away- and that’s okay. I have a chemical imbalance in my head. It sucks especially when the rest of my body is pretty healthy. I don’t get colds or sick very often. On long runs and bike rides, I don’t cramp. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. But this mess in my head… I’ve had it for all my 32 years on the planet and there is no end in sight. BUT it’s gets better. My depression will never go away but I get better every day tending to it. I take medication. I see my therapist. I make sure to get plenty of exercise. I don’t hermit and isolate myself. My depression will never go away but things don’t last forever– both good and bad times.  This too shall pass. Things ebb and flow. Keep on pushing through both the pain and the good stuff.

2) Things take work. Relationship. Dreams. Your mental health. If you want old habits to die, you have to put in the time. You have to take your medicine. You have to talk to your therapist (side note: finding a good therapist takes work. I’ve seen four different ones in the last six years. I finally have one that is actually helpful- shout out to Linda!). There are days where I don’t want to get out of bed. I’ll have zero motivation. But those are the days that I know I NEED TO GET OUT OF BED. Those are the days that I NEED TO PUSH MYSELF. For the longest time, I thought that happiness will come if you’re kind and generous. Though part of that is true the rest is bullshit. Happiness takes works.

3) No one is coming to save you. Not your family nor your parents. Not your doctors or your therapists. They may help but ultimately, your mental health is up to you. It’s up to you to treat, to manage. Your loved ones may push you in the right direction and give you stellar support but at the end of the day, you are on your own.

4) No one is coming to save you but having a pet will help. This one has perked me up and helped ease panic attacks on various occasions. There have been dark times when I wanted to end everything but then, I asked myself, “Who would take care of Hova?” She drives me crazy at times, meowing at 3am for her breakfast but she has also showed me unconditional love. I’m so grateful to have this puff ball in my life.

5) My greatest challenge is being mindful and living in the present- but I’m getting better at it. I feel best when I live in the moment. I know that about myself. Let me give you an example- two weekends ago, I biked though out Austin, Texas, enjoying the sunshine and stopping to take photos or to grab a quick drink (which is another lesson I learned, something that I should have paid attention to in high school health class- booze will make you feel worse. So, I now drink pretty infrequently. I’m all about those soda waters with a twist of lime). My mind was clear and I was happy. So, I try to focus on things like music and sunshine and

6) But remember to check in with yourself- OFTEN! I stare off into space often. But please know that when I do, I’m often checking in with myself. How am I feeling? What am I thinking? Do I feel safe and supported? So, I’ll stand in the middle of the market, asking myself how I’m feeling and if I’m hungry. After a tough work meeting, I’ll see if I need to cry or can I move on to the next project. I live in my head but in a good way- and all those things that I feel and question? They are completely valid. I don’t have to justify my feelings or defend them. I can feel whatever I need to feel.

7) Your adulthood is all about unlearning shit from your childhood. In order to be mentally stable, you’re going to have to reteach yourself A LOT. I learned bad habits from my parents. Yes, I love them dearly but they made me question a lot of things- like having a traditional marriage and beauty standards (i.e. skinny doesn’t equal pretty). With that said, my self-perceptions are often times wrong. I’m not ugly. I’m not stupid. People do care. Life is worth it.

8) You don’t have to be perfect. Fuck being perfect. And fuck thinking that you need a purpose. You are your purpose. You are enough.

What have you learned about mental health, dear reader? And you go, Mimi

#LosNinos

Teaching Grey the art of a mirror selfie, 2011.

When I lived in Brooklyn, I was a nanny for a little boy named Grey. He was obsessed with musicals and quickly became my adventure buddy- we explored the city together every day. His parents refused to take him on the subway so we rode it often together. We went to Rockaway Beach, Central Park, various museums, the animal shelter, the movies and different restaurants. My favorite days with him were spending wandering different neighborhoods, giving him piggyback rides and singing songs from Grease.

Although I liked my time with Grey and I was told that I was a decent nanny, something about that experience solidified my thought of not having kids. It’s still pretty taboo these days to admit that you don’t want children. I always hear, you’ll change your mind. You’re too young to understand. You’re missing out. No matter how valid your reasons are for not wanting kids, people will insist that it is in your best interest and the best interest of your community to raise a litter.

There are various reasons why I don’t want children. I don’t think I’d be a great mother. I don’t like the state of the world right now- bringing a child into it seems cruel. I’m not financially ready. I enjoy my alone time way too much (even time away from my beloved cat). I’ve seen what pregnancy does to the body and I quite happy with my current frame. I know that I could do what my parents did with me and adopt a child but then I think about serious things like mental health issues. Even with having biological children. I know exactly what I struggle with and don’t deny that I come from a family with plenty of genetics that I do not wish to pass down.

Don’t get me wrong- I like kids. I would become a nanny again in a heartbeat. For quite some time, I considered going back to university to get my teaching credentials (I’d teach elementary school, third or fourth grade). I always figured that I’d be the “cool aunt” or godmother, knowing that I’m to build my family in another way. I was once told that a family isn’t one without children- that’s a big lie. Having a family is incredibly important to me but there are so many ways to describe a family- I am one with my partner and my cat. My close friends are my family. Children are not required to achieve such status. Family is a feeling, not the number of offspring.

What are your thoughts about children, dear reader? Do you want them? Or not?

#36Questions (Part III)

How do we fall in love, dear reader? Can we really fall for someone by simply asking them a series questions?

This week, I thought hard about list of 36 Questions and how it’s used to open up hearts. The idea of falling in love is still a crazy one to me. It still feels so foreign despite the amount of times I have been in love, both the act of falling and the act of being in. As I continue dating, meeting individuals off Tinder, OkCupid and the billion other online dating apps I’m on, I wonder if I’m at the mercy of chemistry- and more importantly, fate. Sure, there are other factors that play, determining whether or not a relationship works. But the more I put myself out there, I’m finding that it is openness that makes people fall head over heels with each other. Physical attraction and common interests do help but once two souls connect emotionally, it takes a long time to split them up.

But what about falling in love with yourself? I recently read that falling in love is like doing drugs– you bounce between exhilaration, euphoria, increased energy, sleeplessness, trembling, a racing heart and accelerated breathing, etc. As I typed my answers to each question, I felt that drunk in love feeling with myself. The more I thought, the more I listened to myself, the more I felt connected- my brain introduced itself to my heart and they began to slow dance.

Vulnerability, Honesty. Falling in love takes an open and welcoming heart. With someone else and yourself.

So, to quote Cole Porter, let’s fall in love! Oh- future dates, be prepared. I will bust out the 36 Questions (well, maybe I’ll wait until our second date).

Set III

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “ Right now as I type, my cat, Hova, sits in my lap. so I’m going to make “we” statements about us. We like to snuggle and be held. We don’t like loud noises. We both get midnight munchies most evenings.

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “ I wish that I had someone with whom I could share random dances with me. Blame “La La Land.” Two years ago, I took ballroom dance lessons, adding swing dancing to my known foxtrot, waltzing and Latin dancing. Perhaps it’s my inner musical theater actress but ever since I saw Emma and Ryan boogie together on that lovely night, I want to put on a pair of wing-tipped shoes and dance with my potential lover out on a well-lit street corner.

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know. I have depression. I have anxiety. I don’t like big crowds and doing things like networking. But I push through and and I’m bettering myself. I do feel like I’m improving little by little every day.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met. (Going back to the sleepy cat on my lap) Hova, when you sleep, sometimes you sigh. It’s the sweetest sound in the world and fills my heart with so much love. I like to believe that you’re sighing with happiness which in return, makes me incredibly happy.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life. This happens a least once a month. I’ll be singing to myself in a seemingly empty bathroom. I do my business, leave the stall to wash my hands and there will be a woman staring at me, either in annoyance or awe. I need to learn that everyone doesn’t want to hear the soundtrack to “Dreamgirls” as they pee.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself? The last time I cried in front of someone was my mom- technically, we were on the phone with each other. That was three days ago. The last time I cried alone was yesterday morning (I hate being sick).

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already. I love my readers dearly. I receive really wonderful feedback and message from them. I’m grateful that people actually read my work! (And Hova, you are quite possibly the sweetest kitty in the world. You are definitely the best thing in my life at this moment.)

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about? I think death shouldn’t be joked with. But I joke about death all the time. I’m weird and morbid (but I like that about myself).

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet? I think I do a pretty good job of telling the people I love how much I adore and respect them. If I were to die tonight, I simply would want to die in the arms of a handsome man with Hova snuggling tightly between us.

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why? I still sleep with my childhood stuffed animal, this ratty pink Care Bear named Teddy. There is something so comforting about seeing Teddy sit on my pillow as I fall asleep each night. I would grab him and my high school yearbook, the one from senior year. I tuck my favorite photos and especially special cards and letters between the pages- I’d be devastated if I lost them.

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why? My dad. I don’t know how his death would affect me, which is a scary feeling.

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen. Right now, I’m in bed with a cold. Headache. Stuffy nose. Sinus pains. Sore throat. I need suggestions one what movie to watch (I just finished watching “Fargo” so something a little more upbeat is preferred) and what soup to eat!

#SoThisIsTheNewYear (Finding Purpose and Happiness)

This is about to get real, deal reader.

I think about death often. My death.

I want to preface this blog entry by writing that I’m not suicidal. If I am anything, I am reflective (although I do think about my funeral and what share of blue my body would turn without oxygen and bloody flow quite often). This death fascination has been especially strong the last couple of weeks, even during my happier moments.

Perhaps I have post-holiday depression. Maybe I need to have my antidepressant increased. I just feel nothing. Two days ago, I sat on the beach in Venice, CA- one of my most favorite places in the world- and I felt nothing. I had a great weekend, exploring, partying and meeting new people. But on that beach, even in moments before, I felt empty. On the plane ride home from Christmas, I sat with my seat leaning back, wishing that the plane would explode during midair. L’appel du vide– I’ve always had that feeling but as each day passes by, the feeling intensifies. I would never kill myself- it would kill my mom- but lately, I don’t feel like my life is worth it. I think about my cousin, Josh, who died two years ago in a terrible accident. He was a really good guy, extremely kind and grateful for his life- why couldn’t have God taken me instead of him?

I have a hard time feeling joy- that lasting moment of happiness that I feel like everyone around me has. They are happy all the time despite whatever they’re going through- they express that happiness physically and emotionally. Their lives aren’t perfect but they love them anyway.  For as long as I can remember, I thought it was my mental illness that kept that feeling away from me. I could never sustain that feeling. Even as a tween, I felt that overall sense of sadness all the time. I slept a lot- good chunks of my day- because of it. In college, one of my professors told me that I’m lazy. I replay that moment over and over in my head. I will never forget Paul’s words. Over Christmas, my father and step-mother called me a narcissist. My previous ex-boyfriend said the same thing. They all said that I don’t think about others and I don’t know my identity; that I chose to be miserable and have had a negative influencer in my life. What they all said they been weighing on my mind, as well as this song which features the lyric, “But people don’t really change.” I think about the times in the past when I tried to change my mindset into thinking happier thoughts or break bad habits. I would do really well for a week or two but then slip back into old ways. I don’t think in a sustainable way. All I do is want to sleep and be sad.

I don’t want to set a New Year’s resolution. Last year, I came up with a simple on: be happy. I was miserable most of it. Right now, I’m on deadline for one of the publications that I write for. I’m writing about spring cleaning your being- getting rid of life’s dead weight. I want to be able to push through this dead weight of my life and be a kinder, more empathetic, happier person by the year’s end. But I’m scared of fucking things up, scared of disappointing others and disappointing myself. I’ve been this way for most of my life- I don’t know what it feels like to be happy most of the time, how to be kinder to myself and others. I’m terrified to step out of my comfort zone. What if I can’t break these bad habits?

I feel like I can be happy when I figure out my purpose in my life. That is something that has been weighing me down. Despite my friends tell me to enjoy being single, I hate it. I’m eager to jump into something when I know that I shouldn’t. I love that feeling of being a girlfriend, though. However, I know that you shouldn’t base your happiness on your title or through another person. I think of how being a girlfriend, and then eventually a wife and a mother (especially being a mom) will give my life meaning. But why do I have to wait for someone to come in my life? Why can’t I find that purpose now? I do good things for my community. I have a great circle of friends who support me. So, how do I let the feeling of lappel du vide morph into something happier?

I’m writing this today with no intentions for you, dear reader, to feel sorry for me. I already feel enough pity for myself. I just want to be real with you and ultimately, myself.  I haven’t been great with being honest about myself and the way that I live my life. Most people read this and think that I’m pretty carefree. I’m not. But I want to be. I really do. So, this is my 2017 journey- to 1) find a reason- a good, solid reason to live, 2) ) figure out exactly who I am and 3) be a better person to others and put myself and their shoes.

Happy 2017, dear reader. Maybe your year be filled with all the good stuff you want and need in your life right now. Join me on this journey, won’t you?