Thursday, November 10, 2016

You Have to Hear the Pain ~ Election Thoughts



I will begin this by sharing what I posted on my Facebook page with regards to who I voted for and why:

I was quite open about my intention to skip the presential ballot and just focus on the down ballot. But despite my numerous numerous numerous issues and concerns-
As an lgbt, feminist, sexual assault surviving woman who grew up in a border state playing with children from undocumented families, who has had Islamic friends and roommates, who cares very deeply about poverty, equality, POC, women's rights, and the love and respect deserving to all people-
I could NOT lay my head down tonight knowing I did not do everything I could to defeat someone who is a legitimate and real threat to myself, my friends, and so many people living in this country.
I do not for one second believe that she is going to do even 1/4 of what she says she will do, I do not believe she represents the kind of leader I really want, but I do believe that a Trump presidency is not one we will survive.
So, because of all of those reasons, I voted for Hillary Clinton. And despite all of the issues I have, I have no regrets in my decision.

I watched the election until around 11pm, before heading to bed. I woke up the next morning utterly devastated at the results. I spent most of the day crying and depressed, not because of a GOP president-elect, because we just gave the most powerful office in the world to someone who ran their entire platform on hate.

When we tell someone, "Hey, you can say whatever you want, be as racist, sexist, and misogynist as you want- and we will elect you president." what we inevitably tell the overtly racist is that they have the green light to be as vile as they so choose.

The door that has been opened is one that took us back 50 years. These are the some (and I mean some, please feel free to google, there's hundreds) of the reports for the 24 hours post-election.















Social media posts aren't enough for you? 

Okay, here's a list of articles regarding the various monstrosities which have been occurring: 




Now, beyond the fact that these things are horrific, my major problem is the criticism against the protesters. People are TERRIFIED- FOR GOOD REASON. 

This is the best way I can think to explain this....

You're walking down the street. Suddenly you are grabbed and thrown down. There are people all around, some who don't seem to see you even though you're screaming, some who apologize and say that they wouldn't do that. Then the attacker starts kicking and punching you. Then spitting on you. Repeatedly. And the same thing happens. Some pretend not to see or say "well at least he isn't kicking you now, it's just spitting" and there's others who again apologize but do nothing to actually help you.

Would you just continue to sit there and do nothing while being beat down and treated less than human repeatedly? Or would you get up and fight?
You don't get to determine how the victim defends themselves. That's why its called self defense.
So to everyone telling all the protestors and scared people to just love and stop the hate, remember that you're just blaming the victim for reacting to the situation you have ignored, defended, justified, and therefore been a part of.

Honestly though, Van Jones said it best on CNN. So I will leave you today with this. Regardless of where you stand politically, I would hope that you see these atrocities and demand that they cease. That you publicly align yourselves with marginalized people and show them that you are NOT going to just stand by, you will defend them, you will fight for them, and that you are with them. 


As Always, Leave me some comment love. :)



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

How You Can Help (If you want to)

So I have been asked by several people what they could do to help me in the current limbo situation I am in. Honestly, saying that I even NEED help feels uncomfortable for me still, so this is a really strange post for me to even put together.

However, since so many people have asked, I figured I would compile a small list of things people could do to help support me.

1. PLEASE subscribe to the blog, like me on social media, subscribe to my YouTube channel, click on the ads. All of those things will help me as I am trying to find an alternate source of cash through writing and sharing my journey.

2. Buy my books! If you are local, I have print copies available for $5 that I will sign for you. :)

3. If you are local and make a soup or casserole or pasta sauce or anything like that freezes well and could spare an extra serving- that helps me greatly! On bad days, cooking is nearly impossible so the ability to just heat something up makes all the difference in the world to me.

4. I have an Amazon wish list if you would like to send me something. There's a little bit of everything on it from medical and household stuff I need to a few fun things that just make me happy.

Here's the wishlist- http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/1JK1TLUWQ2QUB

5. Jaxson is absolutely my emotional support animal and the only thing that gets me through lonely bad days. If you would like to support me by supporting him, that would mean the world to me. I typically try to get him grain free dry food, but he does not have GI issues and switching brands or types is not an issue for him. So if you would like to donate any dry dog food for him, that would be greatly appreciated!


6. There are other things I could absolutely use if you have any of the following extra things around your house-



*Winter clothes or clothes in general (I wear a medium shirt unless juniors size then I will wear a large, a size 12 jeans, size medium leggings, 8.5 wide shoes, and size 36d bra) After losing so much weight and continuing to lose, I am down to just a few pieces of clothing that fits, and a whole bunch that doesn't. 
*King Size sheets, towels, and hand towels are very slim around here and always appreciated.


*Extension cords and surge protectors are in need. I have one extension cord I use for my phone charger and heating pads, and have to move the whole cord every time I move where I am so if you have an extra or two lying around, I would love it!


*Heating pads and heated blankets. I am pretty much constantly using my heating pad, and since I typically have multiple sources of pain, I am constantly adjusting where the pad is. So an extra pad or two or even a heated blanket would be absolutely amazing. 


*Walmart and Walgreen's gift cards to help pay for my prescriptions. Since I am uninsured, I have to pay roughly $100 a month (and probably more soon as it looks like I will be adding to my current regiment) just for my medications. I primarily get my prescriptions at Walmart but have one that is cheaper at Walgreen's. Gift cards to either of those places will be going directly to my medications.


*A spare DVD player and/or VCR. I currently have no regular home internet and just use my hotspot, and since my laptop is broken if I am working at the computer I can't also watch a dvd, which I am unable to use for my living room TV. If you have an extra in your garage, that would be awesome! :)


7. If you want to help to support me monetarily, I have a support button through PayPal on the sidebar of the blog now. I am probably most uncomfortable about this way of asking for help because I believe people have abused crowd funding and ask for money when they don't need it. I am in no way of the mindset that anyone owes me anything at all, but if you would like to contribute to me in this way, here is the link to this option:




How You Can Help


8. If you own a blog, business, online shop, or anything else and you would like to advertise here on the blog or through my other social influencer channels, please click the advertise link at the top of the blog. This helps me tremendously!

9. If you get a Sunday paper and are not a couponer, please send me your inserts! Those coupons are the difference between me having laundry detergent and personal care items and not. They also help me stretch my SNAP/food budget so I can stock up better and be more secure in having food. 


10. This is probably the most important to me. Emotional support! Leaving me comments and sending me messages offering support and kind words really does lift my whole day and makes me so happy. 


So, I hope this gave insight into the kind of support that someone could offer to me if they choose to. Kind words and sharing my blog and journey with others is by far the biggest thing that I ask for, but as you can see, any type of support that someone wants to offer I will graciously and humbly accept. 



As always, leave me some comment love. 


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thrifty Thursday ~ Coupon Apps (With Haul)


Okay, so if you read my post about living in poverty, you know that times are pretty tough around here these days. I've had a REALLY good two days (thankfully!) so yesterday was able to do some quick trip mystery shops (which I will post about soon!) so I had some cash for household stuff.

The ONLY way I can afford ANYTHING right now is with discounts and deals. Paying retail for literally anything is just not in the realm of possibility.

I *used* to be really into couponing once upon a time, so decided that while I can't go full extreme-coupon mode (it takes energy that many days I don't have) what I can do is try to find some simple ways for me to utilize coupons as often as possible with as little energy as possible.

There are three ways I have found to do this with three types of apps. Coupon apps, rebate apps, and rewards apps. Now, today, we are just going to be talking about coupon apps.

Using these apps does NOT require buying a Sunday paper or coupon inserts (which again, is not something I could even do right now!) and will load coupons directly onto your store loyalty cards that will come off automatically at the register.

The *primary* app that I use is "Flipp". What Flipp does is load coupons to your loyalty cards but also shows the weekly ads for every major and local retailer in your area. It will then automatically match it up to tell you where to get the best price for your coupons.


Now, one thing I will caution is that the "get it for" price is not ALWAYS accurate, so you need to actually click on it and check for yourself! For example, the cookies pictured above? The FD ad was showing the price AFTER the digital coupon, so there wasn't a second $1 off. Was still a great price and deal, but just make sure that you check yourself to save yourself the headache of getting to a store and noticing the wrong price. 

The other coupon app that I use *primarily* is the Krazy Coupon Lady. The big difference between KCL and Flipp is that KCL tells you the lowest prices you can get on specific products and exactly how to get them. Now, if you do get inserts from the paper and have those coupons building up, this app is even better for you because it will tell you exactly which insert to pull to get a bargain. If you don't (like me)- no worries! It will tell you where to get digital coupons and which rebate apps to stack with it. 


Another wildly popular coupon app, which I don't use nearly as much as I should, is the Cartwheel app from Target. Why do I not use this app like crazy? Because I don't shop at Target very often. However, if you do, you need to go check out the Cartwheel app because any Target coupons CAN be stacked with manufacturers coupons giving you double the savings. 

Here's the video of my haul:




Here's a breakdown of my deals:

Family Dollar-

Downy, $3.85 - $1 coupon = $2.85

Softsoap Hand Soap, $1-.50 coupon= .50

Dial bar soap (3 pack), $1.75-.25=$1.50

Dial bar soap (6 pack), $3.00-.50=$2.50

Dog Treats (2 bags), $2-$1=$1

Puffs Tissue, $2-.50=$1.50

Dial Hand Soap, $1.25-.25=$1

Cookies, $2.50-$1=$1.50

Mac and Cheese, $1.95-$1=.95

Chips, $1-.50=.50

Dollar General-

Herbal Essence Shampoo/Conditioner- $2.50(x2)-$2 (x2)= .50

Huggies Wipes, $1.85-.50=$1.35

Pampers Wipes, $2-.50= $1.50

Farm Fresh-

Tide Detergent, $2.99-$1=$1.99

Crystal Farms Cheese, $2.59-.55=$2.04

As always, leave me some comment love! 




Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Truth About Poverty


This post was fairly challenging for me to put together, because it admits the truth about my situation. It's still very hard for me to know that 18 months ago I was living a happily middle class life. The bills were paid, money was in savings, I lived in a nice neighborhood, drove a nice car, and went on vacations. I was not rich, but I was comfortable in my life as a suburban stay at home mom.

Had you of told me that such a short time later I would be where I am now, I would not have believed you. Don't misunderstand, I've been poor before, but as a hustler and a go-getter, I've always been okay. There were always ways for me to figure out a way to bring in extra cash or get what I needed.

I could have NEVER imagined that I would be unable to work in pretty much any fashion, that I would be unable to go back to school, or that I would be painfully (as in, physically in pain) standing in line at a food pantry because I was literally out of food.

Here I am, though, so I guess it's time to share the truth about living this way.

Due to my worsening health issues, I am in pain every single day. You can't see the pain that I'm in, and with exception of seeing me with my walker or in a motorized scooter at the store, I have what is called an "invisible disability". You can't see my pain. You can't see my bones and joints and muscles and the many things causing me pain.

Add to the fact that I am young, at only 29 years old, many people don't understand my poverty. I think there's this assumption by some that I am just trying to get a hand out or that I'm exaggerating my problems.

I can absolutely promise you that if I could go work at McDonald's right now, I would.

I currently have no income, which puts me into the extreme poverty category.

I am hoping to apply for disability, but because my divorce is not finalized, I'm not even able to do that yet because they will count my ex's income and he will be able to get my benefits upon my death even if we divorced a month later. (Isn't that the most absurd thing you've ever heard?)

I have just gotten accepted into the SNAP program (also known as food stamps) which will give me $190 on my EBT card for purchasing food. I was also just accepted into the general relief program, which will issue me a $90 check for the next 3 months with the hope that I will be accepted for disability at the end of those 3 months.

I am so beyond grateful for these two programs, but they unfortunately do not scratch the surface of my existing needs. Here are my current necessary monthly expenses:

Rent- $750
Utilities- $200
Car Payment- $270
Car Insurance- $250
Prescriptions- $125
Cell Phone- $60

This doesn't include credit card payments (which are currently in default), student loan payments (which are thankfully on a no income repayment right now), gas, food, toiletries, household supplies, dog food, vetting for Jaxson, lab work fees (which I currently owe about $1,500 for), or anything else.

I was beyond blessed that Boyfriend paid my rent and utilities this month, and is paying a majority of them for me next month. My roommate also just got a job and is going to be helping to contribute starting next month as well. Were it not for him, I would be disabled AND homeless right now.

I don't say any of this for anyone to feel sorry for me, I'm sharing this openly because I want people to understand the truth about poverty. It's fucking hard. This is NOT the life I want for myself. This is NOT the life I imagined for myself. And if I could fix my health problems and go back to working and being a contributing member of society again instead of begging any service agency who will listen for help, you can guarantee I would do that.

Another reason I shared all of this is because I want to be able to openly and freely share about the things I've learned and am doing to try and live a little bit better despite my circumstances.

It was extremely hard for me to be told that I'm living in poverty. Like I said, I've been poor plenty of times, but never so bad that I felt like I was literally on the edge of losing everything. This is where I am though, whether I want it or not. (And for the record, I don't know ANYONE who would WANT this.)

So, I hope this can shed light on what it's really like living this way, and lift some of the stigma that if you are poor you must be lazy too. I am HARDLY "entitled" and am grateful for every single thing that comes my way. This is not life forever, this is life for now.

As always, leave me some comment love. 



Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dear Evangelicals and Conservatives Supporting Trump

Photo Credit to ChristianityToday.com

Dear Evangelicals and Conservatives Supporting Trump,

Before we proceed, you need to understand that for many years, I was you. While my political and spiritual views are likely no longer aligned with you, I grew up in the church. I grew up evangelical, fundamentalist, and conservative. I was reciting Bible verses and pro-life rhetoric before most kids learned their alphabet. 

So I don't want you to read this letter and think that I don't understand you. I do. I understand you to your core. I understand the values you stand for. I understand the policies you support. I understand you, because for most of my life I was you. 

This is why I am URGING YOU to *stop* this unending support. 

I understand the lines that you say when you say that you aren't voting for a pastor, that you are more scared of her than you are of his debauchery. That our country is in a terrible position and we need change NOW. That you don't have another option. That God can work through anyone. That Jesus supported sinners. 

Stop.

Listen to me. 

If Jesus was sitting next to you, would you look Jesus in the face and tell him that on November 8th that you are supporting this person for the highest and most powerful office on the planet?

Would you look at your sons and your daughters in the face and tell them that you supported a man who has sexually assaulted women, insulted people of color, insulted the disabled, and stands for literally every possible value that Jesus teaches as wrong? 

You believe that your daughters deserve to be looked at in a predatory way at TEN YEARS OLD and had comments made to them about dating them in ten years? You believe that your daughters should hear that if they are not super model gorgeous that they will never be worthy in life? That their value is best when they are on their knees sexually pleasing men? You believe they should grabbed, groped, kissed, and violated but that it's okay because the assaulting party aligns with you politically? 

You believe that your sons should be able to say and do whatever they want and just write it off as being boys? You believe so little in the intelligence and character of men that you do not believe that they can control their own behavior and actions?

THAT is who you want as an example in the most powerful office in the world? 

Because if you vote for Donald Trump- THAT is what you are saying to your children and every child.

Stop saying that you don't have a choice. That not voting for Trump is a vote for her. If you believe, as you say you do, that God can work through anyone, then STEP BACK from this presidential election and focus your attention voting for congressional leaders who are living a lifestyle with the standards in which you believe so strongly. 

I have watched this entire election with disgust and upset. I support neither candidate and will not be voting for either of them. I will be focusing my attention on congressional candidates who support the progressive values that I believe in. So please note, I will likely be supporting candidates who are on the polar opposite spectrum of you, and yet I *still* urge you to lean your support in that direction. 

Just because I walked away from many of the things that you believe strongly in, does not mean that I no longer have morals or ethics or conscious and as I watch evangelical and conservative after the next sit on the news and on social media supporting this person that violates the core of values that I know all of you believe in, I internally weep for you. I internally weep for your girls and your boys who deserve so much more. 

The next four years are going to be a whirlwind regardless of who is elected, but I know that when I go to bed at night, I did not send the message to the kids of America, to our future, that I support either of these people, neither of which stands for the ethics that I believe in and I URGE you to do the same. 

Sincerely, 

A former Evangelical

************

As always, leave me some comment love. 



Saturday, October 15, 2016

Weekly Roundup ~ 10/15/16


This has been a pretty good week overall. I feel like I've been getting my productivity groove back and despite mostly "okay" days health wise, I feel like I got a lot accomplished regardless.

So here's a snapshot of my week! :)

Dating: Boyfriend bought me an adorable new stuffie dubbed "Puff" because he is a big green dragon to celebrate our 9 months of dating. I am trying to learn how to communicate my feelings better, but I feel like I made some progress in that area this week. Overall, still on cloud 9 with my favorite guy and couldn't imagine loving him any more. :) (Though fairly sure I'll have a hefty punishment heading my way if he sees the sleeping pic! Haha!)

Fur-Baby: Poor Jaxson is struggling with skin issues. He has a grass allergy and my yard has a major flea problem. Despite consistent treatment and products, my big baby has been biting and scratching like crazy. He got a bath this week which made him pretty unhappy with Mama. "Step Daddy" (boyfriend) suggested adding kelp meal to his food, so hoping we will see some progress soon! My good friend Sophia brought him a ginormous pork bone from the restaurant she works at which kept him busy for hours! Didn't stop him from the "poor sad dog" faces when she ordered food though. Hehe.

My Health: As I said above, I had mostly "okay" days this week. I define an "okay" day as a day that I am still in a pretty high level of pain, but it is not interfering with my ability to be ambulatory or mostly get around. I had 1 good day, which is the day I got most of the stuff done around the house that needed to be done- so I'm psyched about that! Only had two bad days, and one was only a bad day because the high pain was coupled with a massive headache which kept me mostly immobile. The opiate I take for pain is giving me some crazy side effects I have to talk to my doctor about. I take a SUPER low amount unless I am having a bad day, but I get the "itchies" like crazy and since I already have sensitive skin, something needs to be done. Boyfriend suggested Benadryl, but since that will knock me out completely, going to give it a shot as a treatment at night only. The other crazy side effect is the increased headaches and the bouts of insomnia. Now, not certain whether those are coming from the opiate or one of the other meds I'm on, but they are notable enough that they will also be brought up to my doctor. No appointments this week, but will probably be making up for it next week.

Things Keeping My Interest: The political poo storm of the multiple scandals this week have been keeping a lot of my attention. I've also been spending a lot of time reading and watching Pokemon Go training videos to improve my techniques. (#TeamMystic) I organized my Magic the Gathering cards and built a pretty sweet Merfolk deck for boyfriend, which he was really happy with. I watched the "Hotel" season of American Horror Story which made me quite the happy Princess. I just started reading "Stardust" and hope to have it finished with a review up soon. :)

New Stuff: Got some new floor cleaner that I haven't tried out yet, but plan to test out today. Its the Method brand almond oil mopping liquid. It smells delish and hoping it will shine up my old hardwood floors. :)

Food and Weight Loss: This week I've actually gone down a lot on the scale and I'm blaming it on the meds. My appetite has been really hit and miss and I'm growing increasingly concerned about potential metabolic damage. According to the scale I have gone down 15 pounds but I imagine that is going to yo yo a bit until I get my meds right. Not including the 15 pound loss I am at 138 pounds lost in two years. My food obsession this week has been zucchini. I've had zucchini tacos, broiled zucchini, zucchini with pasta....lots of zucchini this week. Hehe.

Memory of the Week: While laying in bed with Boyfriend Monday night thinking it was almost time for bed, he popped up and asked if I wanted to play Magic, which led to a 90 minute Magic duel complete with laughing and shameless competitiveness. Was just a really fun time and definitely my "memory of the week".

As always, leave me some comment love. 


Friday, October 14, 2016

My Products: Cosmetics


I've never been a big makeup girl, but over the last 6 months or so (probably because I've been stuck at home so much!) I've really starting getting into cosmetics. I would like to preface by saying that I am in NO WAY an expert in this field, and really just enjoy makeup for the fun of it.

However, I have gotten a pretty good routine down and thought I would share my routine as well as the products I use most in hopes that maybe there are others out there who are just starting out or don't really know where to start.


I was subscribed to Ipsy for about a year and between that and random clearance pickups, I've built a decent collection. (Comment if you'd like a video tour of the collection though!)

Okay, so STEP ONE! Make sure your face is clean. I didn't photograph it, but I typically use Biore Charcoal face wash. I get my face all nice and clean, then use a moisturizer. (I'll get to the moisturizer more in a second!)


Once that is done and you are ready to apply makeup-

USE A PRIMER! 

I cannot reiterate this enough. I spent too many years in high school and after using makeup to not understand why my face still seemed blotchy, why foundation looked terrible, and why my skin seemed so much worse. 

PRIMER. 

Primer basically preps your skin for makeup and gives you a more even tone. 

I've tried a few, and my personal favorite it the Almay Smart Shade primer. It's pretty inexpensive (about $9 on Amazon) and has lasted me for almost a year. 



These are the products I currently use most, though the lipstick and eye shadow can/does change depending on whether or not I'm actually leaving my house and the setting in which I am going to.

Note that there are two moisturizers there. I use both interchangeably and find both to be fine. I get dry patches under my eyes so a moisturizer is key, but I am not super particular on a brand.

I'm not actually particular on brand for a lot of things, real talk.

I lightly dab under my eyes with the true blend concealer stick, then use the tru blend mineral foundation powder. I do NOT typically use a liquid foundation. Personal preference. Then I typically use a bronzer, I like the Rimmel one pictured but will also use others as well.

Moving on to eyes, I found that "Dark N Sexy" pallet at the beauty store down the street. I like the dark purples and blacks, but again, will switch up the eye shadow depending on where I'm going. So I'll apply shadow (using a light base layer, a medium toned main shadow, and then "lining" with a lining brush with the darkest color- sometimes two dark colors!). Then I either apply winged eyeliner using a liquid OR totally skip top liner. I then use a black liner underneath my eyes (apparently this isn't a "thing" anymore- like I said, no expert, this is just what I do. And I rock it- so....fuck what's "in".) and finally finish with mascara. I have been LOVING this Hard Candy mascara that was a full size Ipsy product a while back, but I have several other brands that all do the job.


Now, I typically use matte lipstick, unless going somewhere bright and fun during the day in which case I MAY use a light gloss instead. I have a few different mattes, but I am a big fan of dark purple, dark red, and black. Cliche maybe, but I like it. :)

That's basically my "routine" in a nutshell. Hoped that this was maybe a little helpful for someone out there in the land of the internets, but if not- oh well I guess. Haha.

Here's a couple of shots with me in full makeup so you can get an idea of the "looks" that I usually go for. :)





As Always, leave me some comment love! 



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Five Things I've Learned: About Life With A Disability


I've been pretty silent on this page, and it's because SURPRISE! I'm dealing with another huge life change. While I have struggled with various health problems, including the primary one I am dealing with now (progressive scoliosis), for my entire life- those issues have never prevented me from living a fairly normal life.

Well, folks, that has changed.

My condition and the complications and multiple aspects of my disability is one that I am going to post about soon, but today I am opting to share the five things I've learned about life with a disability.

1. HAVING a disability is VERY different from CARING for someone disabled.

Those who have followed me for a while are aware that I was the very proud mama of children with varying disabilities. Fostering a total of about 50 kids in the four years I was a foster parent, I parented a number of children with varying disabilities from physical to emotional to psychological.

I thought that I was fully aware of life with a disability because I cared for and dealt with so many different types of doctors and specialists and situations in which gave me tools and snapshots into how much more challenging life is when you are differently abled.

Well, that's just not the case. When YOU are typically abled, you are able to adapt things for the person you are caring about that they would be unable to do on their own. While this may give you a glimpse into that world, it is very different from BEING in that world.

The internal emotional and psychological struggles with having a physical disability have been almost harder than the physical struggles I'm having. It is HORRIFYING to be taking a bath and have to call your boyfriend to come help you because you realize that you can't get up. The life changes of having to adapt your life to just flat out NOT being able to do the things that you have always been able to do are extremely hard and something that could take even the most positive person and bring them down.

2. The world is NOT made for differently-abled people. 

I have had to adapt everything in my life to just be able to get through a lot of days. Things like using the scooter at the grocery store, using a walker at my house, getting a special cushion for the car, getting a handicap pass for parking, and more. On not-great days, I do get out of the house, but always as a passenger in the car, and I have to take help with me to get out. It NEVER occurred to me how many stores don't have accessible options for someone who isn't able to walk well or walk for any period of time past a moment or two. 

Grocery stores are good about having scooters, but what about the dollar store, big lots, the pet store, a book store, etc? People don't realize how much something as simple as the option of a motorized scooter can actually determine whether or not you can even enter a store. 

Many stores and places do not have accessible aisles. Crowded buildings? I have to legitimately worry about someone accidentally bumping into me because the SLIGHTEST thing can put me down for as long as two weeks. Not having enough handicap parking spots? Means I usually have to skip the errand. Walking across a parking lot, even on a good day, can put me down. 

Steps, stairs, etc. are sometimes enough that I have to completely avoid places. 

The point is, while the world is certainly better than it used to be, the truth is- living independently with a physical disability shows you how challenging the world is when you can't physically do things that other people can do. 

3. People are dicks.

Don't get me wrong, this doesn't apply to all people. There are plenty of amazing and wonderful people in the world, which is going to be the next point I talk about in this post. But no, this applies to the fact that I REALLY didn't understand how many RUDE people are out there when you suddenly can't do what everyone else can do. 

I have been stared at, laughed at, knocked down, bumped into, and more- just doing something as simple as going to the grocery store. Now, don't get me wrong, the laughs have been few, and a few times I'm pretty sure it's because they thought I was just being "funny" riding around on the motorized scooter. I've pulled into the handicap spot at the store, assuming it's a day where I'm able to drive, and been gawked at. Usually this is just until I get out of the car and I'm seen moving slower than an average person. Assuming it's a very good day, and I'm able to walk normally, then I've been very gawked at. 

Just two days ago I was at the gas station getting coffee. I was already in moderate pain (which is every day) but was determined to continue having a "good" day. So I'm standing there, and some guy bumps into me, his elbow going right into my side, which knocked me sideways into the counter, causing INSTANT shooting pain. Did he say sorry? No. He glanced in my direction then kept walking. 

People have cut me off at the grocery store when I'm heading to a checkout line. 

I made a vet appointment for Jaxson and had to call to cancel because I was having a bad pain day and the boyfriend was unable to get to my house soon enough to take him for me. The receptionist who took the call said "Well I have back problems too, but I don't let it get me down. I just take my meds and keep it moving." What I WANTED to say, but didn't, (because of this amazing thing called manners) was "Awesome. I'm happy you have the option of doing that, and believe me if I was able to just pop a pill and feel better- my doctor, my boyfriend, and myself would all be much happier than we currently are with my condition."

Basically, I'm learning that the privilege that you have for having typical abilities is one that most people don't even recognize that they have. Sure, they may say or think "Thankfully I can walk" but they don't quite understand the depth of their privilege. 

4. You Learn Who Your Friends Are

I was in HARD denial in the beginning of this journey, but once I actually stopped isolating myself and began to express what was actually going on to my friends, I discovered very quickly how much those friends cared. People who had been friends, but not close friends, were suddenly stopping by with food and helping with my dog. One of my friends came over and cleaned my house when I wasn't able to even get up without help. Another got groceries for me. Another got the cushion that has helped me be able to drive on good days. 

It's extremely hard to admit out loud that things most people, including myself, took for granted, are suddenly challenging to impossible to do. 

Once you do that though, you realize how much love surrounds you that you maybe didn't even know was there. My friends, and absolutely my boyfriend, has shown me that I'm not alone- even when I think I am. 

5. The "System" to Help is a JOKE

This is definitely going to be a topic that I bring up more and more. I actually hope to do some filming for my youtube channel to just show the many, many, many hoops required to jump through seeking basic help for someone in my situation, to just many times be rejected or told that there is no help for me. 

There have been days I have made over 50 phone calls to various offices, organizations, and facilities trying to get help with issues facing me with my disability. I have started a day with a phone number or referral that I thought was positive, to just get jerked around and transferred around and end up in tears on the phone with operator number 14 just asking for someone to talk to me about my situation. 

Now, I am young, and I am intellectually capable. For the elderly or the intellectually challenged, I have NO CLUE how they even BEGIN to navigate the services and system supposedly designed to help. 

Many days it feels completely impossible. 

I think most Americans who have the privilege of typical abilities have absolutely no clue how challenging it is to get help. There's this ridiculous rhetoric that there are all these "entitlements" to people who have disabilities. This isn't true. While help DOES exist (I hear), getting through the door to GET that help is almost impossible. 



As always, leave me some comment love.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Grief Journal- Going Back to Where it Started



He was napping in our hotel room, so since I was so close, I decided- just go look Claire.

So in the car I got, driving the 22 minute stretch of highway 30, back to where it all began.

I hadn't been back to my childhood neighborhood since I moved when I was almost 11.

I turned on the street and just felt pulled back.

But as hard as I looked, and as hard as I tried, I wasn't looking and seeing the places where I built up childhood memories. I couldn't see the place where my dad and I went fishing, or where I had my first slumber party. I didn't see the yard where I caught endless amounts of bugs and snakes.

Nope- all I kept seeing playing in my head over and over again were memories that I'm not sure I was ready to feel at that moment. I saw the tree they tied me to, the field that was once covered in trees that they threw me down at, the little nook between two of their houses where they showed themselves to me the very first time.

Then the most surreal thing happened. I turned the car around and glanced over to one of their houses, and low and behold, he still lives there. Or his parents do. Either way, it was the closest I had been to him since I was 10 years old, so nearly 20 years ago.

I felt my breathing pick up and I turned to stare at the window of my childhood bedroom. I stared at that window for 10 minutes before I put the car in drive and left, this time never to return.

The thing is, I needed to drive there, and I needed to feel those things. I needed those memories to give me closure.

The truth is that I don't know who I would be if it weren't for my years there. I don't know who I would be without those memories. Would I still be me?

After my entire EVERYTHING fell apart last year, my therapist has been taking me further and further back into my past in our sessions. She believes that I needed to get to the core of my grief, because my grief was not over my big losses recently alone, but rather the culmination of loss throughout my life.

But opening the door to the hotel room and seeing him, my guy, the guy who less than 24 hours ago told me he loved me, I felt grounded.

I don't need that place. I don't need those memories. My home is with him, wherever we are, and I'm building new memories.

The many memories and losses may have made me who I am, but they don't define me.

Sometimes I may still cry, sometimes I may still feel it deep down- that pain that surpasses and blinds every other sense. My grief isn't over. But my grief controlling me is.

Even if I build it all up again and the universe decides to again tear it all away, even if forever isn't ever going to be my reality, these moments of happiness and the moments of happiness I had with my kids, they make the loss bearable. Because if it wasn't wonderful and amazing, I would have nothing to grieve at all.

So today, I say "fuck you" to my grief. To my past. To my memories. And I just take his hand and get ready for the next adventure- wherever it leads me.

As always, leave me some comment love. 


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Divorcing and Dating



The day that I met the guy I am currently seeing, (He is hereby dubbed "Mr. New Guy") I was 3 months into my legal separation, 4 months into the loss of my children, and 1 day before I had to walk into a courtroom and see the woman who did everything in her power to have my children taken from me. 

I was in no way shape or form looking for anyone. He was in no way shape or form looking for anyone. I made it uber clear that we could hang out, watch movies, but that I had no desire or expectations for more. 

Then he walked in the door. 

Then he started talking. 

Then we started sharing. 

The thoughts swirled around in my head in a confused peculiarity. 

Why is he being so nice to me?

Why do we have so much in common?

I've never met someone like this before. 

We stayed up all night just talking, sharing snippets of our lives, but I held back on sharing it. 

You know, it. How the hell do you look at someone who you JUST MET and say "Oh yeah, by the way, my entire life sort of just fell apart and it's been one nightmare after the next. Nice to meet you."

Around 6am, I finally told him that I had to be at court at 8am. 

He raised an eyebrow but not in judgement, just curiosity. 

I looked down and mumbled the briefest version of my story in the fastest way I could. 

He tilted my chin up, forcing me to look at him, shrugged one shoulder, and said,

"Do you think I'm here to judge you? We all have stories. And I will wait right here until you get back."

And he did. And then he came over again, and again, and again-

Now, five months later, he is such a huge part of my life that the thought of him suddenly not being in my life is something I can't even fathom. 

I said nothing about it except to my very very close inner circle. Why? Because in many ways, I was ashamed. 

Not of him, NEVER of him, just of saying "Yeah, I just got separated, but I'm dating, and I'm falling head over heels for this guy."

I also didn't want people to invalidate my very real feelings for him with comments about how it's a rebound, or it's just because he came along while I was vulnerable. 

I couldn't handle that. 

But a few weeks ago, I did it. I posted a selfie with him on Facebook and added a caption that made it pretty apparent that he wasn't just a friend. 

Something unexpected happened. 

The picture got a whole bunch of likes. I got comments from people supporting me and saying how happy I looked. 

Of course, one of my in laws had some very ugly things to say, but that was to be expected. 

You know, the story of my marriage ending is really nobody's business except for mine and Jeremy's. However, I will say this, and I think my friends who knew me prior the official separation knew this, which is why they supported Mr. New Guy from day one. 

When Jeremy and I decided to end our marriage, there was no possibility of reconciliation. I attempted to glue together the shattered pieces of our very broken relationship for a year before I said enough is enough. And when I did that, when I said I was done, after everything that happened, there was no going back. Not because I think he's the biggest scum on the planet, but because even when I am finally able to forgive him (and no, I'm not there yet), there are certain things that there are just no turning back from. The only reason we are not legally divorced yet is because the law requires a 12 month wait. Otherwise, it would have been legally done too. 

You can judge me, you can think I'm a horrible person, but I just don't care. 

When people tell me they don't believe in divorce, I very simply say "Neither did I until I was married."

At the end of the day, this is my life, and how I choose to live it is 100% my business. 

I share my business with the world because I want other people to know that their decisions are valid. That if you are going through something similar, do not let anyone tell you it's not okay. Nobody knows your story better than you. 

I'm not sitting here saying that I met my soul mate. That Mr. New Guy and I are going to be together "forever" because I don't know if I believe in that word anymore. None of my "forevers" have ever worked out for me. Right now I just know that he is everything I didn't even know I needed and I am enjoying every moment. 

And I have the right to embrace and enjoy life without condemnation for my choices- and so do you. So go live it.  

As always, leave me some comment love. <3


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

{Grief Journal} Baby Steps


At the urging of my therapist, I am going to be better at sharing my grief journey. Technically, this isn't exactly what she asked me to do, but I'm a stubborn bitch, and this is my compromise. As time goes on maybe I'll be able to do more.

I have had a lifetime of dealing with grief, but I freely admit that the grief of losing my children is the hardest thing I have had to come to terms with to date. And as I said, I'm a stubborn bitch, so actually going through the steps that I need to go through to heal is exceptionally hard for me.

Today I had a baby step breakthrough. I deleted all of the groups (with the exception of the ones for adoptees such as I) that I joined because of my kids. So, all of the adoption groups, fostering groups, special needs parenting groups...all gone.

This may not seem like a big deal, but similar to how you may go to a parents house and find their lost child's bedroom exactly the same 20 years later, that's sort of been my way of "coping". Just leaving things as is to keep me connected to them.

In reality it just keeps shoving the loss in my face making the process even harder on myself.

I vlogged my feelings about it here: (PLEASE excuse my hot mess self. Didn't even pretend to prep for this video because I wanted to share my raw thoughts.)


As always, leave me some comment love. <3



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Review of "Kink" Documentary


Whips. Chains. Screaming. Dungeons.

Sounds like something from a horror movie, no?

To the folks who work for Kink Studios, it's a typical day at the office.

"Kink", the documentary by Christina Voros and James Franco, delves into pornography from a different perspective than the typical social documentary might.

Kink Studios specialize in just what the name suggests- kink porn.

While one not well informed of the kinky lifestyle may assume this is a male dominated. anti-woman, perhaps even abusive segment of the pornography industry. Well, that person would be wrong.

Kink shows both men and women in submissive roles, and it shows the power in which those in the submissive (meaning the ones being hit, whipped, etc.) role hold in this field. An interview with one actress talked about how empowered she felt to know that she was in full control of the scene and had the ability to start and stop the scene as she needed to.

I think regardless of your opinion on kinky activities or even of pornography, you should check this one out. I found it enlightening, informative, and a refreshing take on an industry that is notorious for exploiting women.

"Kink" is on netflix. :)

As always, leave me some comment love! <3


 

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