Love And Pain

Pain and sickness are really difficult things to write about. Trying to describe things you’re feeling but  many people have never dealt with before is essentially attempting to put pen to paper about the way butterflies feel in the beginning of a relationship to someone who still has yet to experience it. You can use the right words, but they won’t really connect until they have something to relate it to.

For example, think about the way some of your first crushes felt, versus how actually being in love feels. They both have the same warm and fuzzy feelings as a base, but feel drastically different. That’s how I would compare temporary short-term pain, such as an injury or a broken bone,  to chronic, long-lasting pain. I’ve experienced both, and before getting sick I wouldn’t have had anything to draw from to compare to the new exhaustion chronic pain brings. You don’t ever get a break from chronic pain. Even when you can kind of ignore some of your problems on your good days, the bad days are right around the corner. I do a great job of not thinking too much about that when I am well, and I’ve gotten really good at living in the present when I can. Then, the bright side is that on bad days I know a good one just has to be right around the corner. Chronic pain is a vicious cycle, though, and wears you out to your core. Not only does everything hurt, but you also are always so incredibly tired from not being able to sleep. Whether your body is annoyed from being tense and having your muscles screaming at you all day long or your brain keeps you up thinking about the pain you’re feeling, you don’t get good rest. I don’t remember the last time I got in bed and just fell right asleep. It’s been years.

I’m constantly sending articles and trying to pull up scientific findings about my conditions to people I love because I want them to understand how I feel. God, I want to be understood. I hate feeling cranky because of my pain or having days where I can’t stand it anymore and just break down and cry. Granted, the latter are few and far between, but sometimes my body just can’t take anything else and needs some sort of outlet. Talking isn’t my best one because I want to help other people feel happy and good, so I don’t like to complain — or maybe I don’t know how to complain properly; I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. I love to write, but I don’t always have the strength, and frankly I don’t want to leave behind troves of essays on how much my body hurts.

I just don’t feel like anyone I’m incredibly close to has been in a situation quite like mine, and it’s minorly heartbreaking knowing that yes, I always have a shoulder to cry on, but I don’t have anyone who really gets it and can tell me that they know how I feel. That’s why I am motivated to write about my struggles. 

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Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want anyone I love and care about to ever understand chronic pain or any other kind of difficulties in life. One thing I’ve always been thankful for is that I’m the one with this problem. I would gladly take every pain away from the people I care about if it meant they didn’t ever need to face it themselves. Not only do I feel like God gave me a strong heart and will to keep pushing forward, but I think He gave me a beautifully optimistic outlook on things, and I’m really grateful for that. I think I’m handling the hurdles I’ve been thrown the best I possibly can, and I actually think that despite being a painfully average twentysomething, I am exceptional in accepting the negative things in life as a reality and then figuring out how they can turn into a blessing — or at the very least, something that doesn’t consume me. I have always said that I may have POTS, but POTS doesn’t have me. The same goes for my chronic widespread pain; it’s a big part of my life, but there’s no way in hell that chronic pain is going to take my entire life from me. I will count my blessings until the day I die, and today those are my loved ones, dogs, chocolate, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, and each and every one of you. 

Date Smarter, Not Harder

Dating is something I would definitely say I was super-good at. I’m not the best mathematician, I am terrible at remembering everything I learned in history class, and I don’t know anything about camping or surviving in the wilderness, but I’m really good with people and feelings.

Just because you’re great at feeling things and reading others, though, doesn’t mean dating will be easy. There are a million different things that go into this process, some of which is circumstantial and just plain luck. A big part of dating is being able to control your emotions and think logically. When you can sync your heart to your brain and make them work together, you become so incredibly efficient in weeding out the people who aren’t right for you while keeping around someone who might be a good fit to be your forever and always.

Getting into a healthy relationship is so much easier if you have the right tools and cut out the bad habits that are holding you back from meeting people. So if you feel like you’ve had a hard time dating and letting go of crush after crush, I am going to give you a little dose of tough love and list a few behaviors to give up for 2018.

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  1. Realize that most people are not the exception to the rule. Sure, sometimes a bad boy can make for a great husband, the guy who plays hard to get can be a good catch, or the one who ghosted you on Bumble only to message you five weeks later on OK Cupid actually did just make a little mistake, but for the most part you can take things at face value and trust your gut. Stop trying to force things or make a crummy situation less painful by telling yourself stories that justify bad behavior. There are too many fish in the sea to pardon the ones who aren’t swimming in the same direction as you!
  2. Cut out the commitmentphobes. If you’ve been “talking to someone” for months with no signs of settling down, stop waiting for them to change their mind about the status of your relationship. A guy will know if he likes you pretty soon after y’all have started dating and if he doesn’t see what a great catch you are it’s his loss. Don’t try to show him what he’s missing out on or try to create scenarios where he’ll begin to fall for you. Your time is absolutely valuable, so move on to find someone who will recognize your worth without even trying.
  3. Stop chasing after indecisive guys. If you’ve been seeing someone for a little bit and he is still conflicted about how he feels about you versus another prospect, make up his mind for him and let the other girl have him. You do not want to be with someone who can’t see your worth, and it’s not your job to make him miss you once you’re gone. Block him everywhere and get excited about eventually meeting a guy who only has eyes for you and can’t wait to try to steal your heart.
  4. Don’t settle for behaviors that don’t show you respect. Yuck! People who aren’t respectful of other humans make me feel sick. If he pressures you physically, exhibits any signs of emotional or physical abuse, or throws cruel words at you, get rid of him. I hate hearing people say that gentleman don’t still exist because they absolutely do. Look for role models in your family or friend circles and remind yourself of them when you’re feeling a little defeated in the dating world. Even though these are all platonic examples, they will be great partners for another girl one day, which means there are people out there for you, too.
  5. Steer clear of people who don’t have the same values as you. If you want to date someone who is the same religion as you, wants the same kind of family, and prioritizes the same important things in life, don’t date the guy who is a polar opposite. This is wasting time on both ends of the relationship and will only end in heartbreak. Unless he changes his views — which is unlikely (see #1) — your heart will either be crushed by a breakup or a deep sadness in the relationship. It’s worth holding out for someone who will be your partner in the important parts of life.

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If you give up these five little destructive thought processes I promise your dating life will become much more bearable and efficient. Getting rid of duds seems tough in theory, but when you know what you’re looking for it becomes quite a bit easier. I always like having logical and practical actions to follow in the dating world because it can be really easy to let your heart take over and run away with your brain. By having a certain standard set for yourself, you eliminate some of the unnecessary heartache that comes along with dating the wrong guy. This may not be the most romantic blog post in the world, but it is so, so important and is definitely some of the best advice I’ve given on here. Let me know what your biggest dating frustrations or victories are, and I’d love to write more about that in my next post!

The “We” Mentality

I love seeing women support one another and strongly believe the more we become each other’s cheerleaders, rather than competition, the greater an impact we can make on the world.

This is why I want to encourage each and every one of you to view your friends’ hearts as your own too. Instead of criticizing the girl who is smack dab in the middle of a really messy breakup, realize that she is trying her best and probably wants to get over her ex, it just takes hearts some time to heal when they’ve been torn apart. Open your arms to the women who need your help and come to you for advice. It isn’t always easy for people to spill their hearts to friends; be proud that you are someone who people can trust with their feelings, and be gentle with their heart.

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The “We” mentality says that we’re in this thing called life together. It views someone else’s struggles as our own, and their victories as ours too.

I remember so vividly when one of my best friends and her boyfriend broke up. My heart ached alongside hers, and I shed a few tears too. Not because I thought she lost someone irreplaceable, but because I knew exactly the way she felt, and wished I could take away the sharp pain from her. I’ve always said that in a close relationship only one person has to be strong at a time, though, and this was my turn to be strong for both of us. We talked every single day and I always offered an open heart, even when I was busy, because a heart is easier to heal when you have a friend who will help you put the pieces back together again.

On the other hand, I remember when my best friend got her dream job. I got the text and literally squealed out loud and did a happy dance alone in my room. She absolutely deserves the best things this world has to offer, and her new company is so lucky to have her on their team. We went out to celebrate over dessert, and I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw how excited she was. This wasn’t just good news for her — it was great news for me, too. I got to watch my bestie live out her dream only a few years after graduating from college. This is one of the moments in life that feels so incredibly perfect.

One of the best parts about celebrating in others’ success and joys is that you have so many opportunities every week to be excited. Even just seeing my friends post about engagements, babies, puppies, and new jobs on Facebook is exciting. I feel like a tiny piece of my heart gets to celebrate even with the most distant of friends when I see something happy happen online. Regardless of who it is, someone on the other side of the computer screen is filled with joy, and that makes me really happy too.

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Today’s lesson: There is no room for competitiveness and jealousy in a beautiful friendship. Pushing each other to do better is always a great thing, but when you’re constantly competing to be better than each other you miss out on so many opportunities for joy. Stop comparing, and start rejoicing in each other’s “wins” in life. Learn to love people with your whole heart, and realize that when you celebrate others, they will want to celebrate you, too. Life is hard enough as it is with all the things we can’t control; we’re all in this together, and the world would be such an incredible place if we all could learn to lift each other up every chance we get.

A Visit From The Fire Department

Oh my gosh, I have had such a crazy day already and it’s only 1 PM!

After a relaxing morning of writing a little and going for a walk since it’s like, above 70 degrees in February, I used the gas stove top to make a light lunch. It didn’t turn off, though, and kept clicking with little spurts of gas coming out. I went to the neighbors’ house to see if they knew what to do with no avail. So I called our gas company, who sent me to a contractor, who said they weren’t allowed to work with stove tops like ours anymore and sent me to the local fire department.

I was super embarrassed to call — especially because I went on a date with someone who works there once — but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! The people on the other end of the non-emergency fire line were incredibly nice and said that yes, they were the correct people to call for this kind of thing.

Macy and I waited outside for about ten minutes before the fire truck pulled up to our house.

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I didn’t have any time to put makeup on before leaving the house, so pulled the classic “hide behind a hat” move.

We heard the truck’s massive engine a full minute before it actually got to our house, and it was kind of hilarious to see all the neighbors lined up along the street, unashamed of being nosy to see what was going on.

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Three people came up to the house — two men and a woman — and it was actually really cool getting to watch them in action. They shut off the gas, told me that I should never do that myself, as I’m not trained to do so with this type of equipment, and said we needed an entire new gas stove top. Noted.

The female told me that it was really good I had called, and that women should certainly know how to take care of things around the house. It was actually really neat seeing how knowledgeable everyone was, and it inspired me to learn more about how to take care of minor problems in the home. I know my POTS prevents me from doing a lot of physical activities (And thinking altogether if I have brain fog or dizziness!), but I still think it is important to know what needs to be taken care of — even if I need to ask someone else to help me actually do it.

I waved goodbye to everyone as they drove off, and took a mental note to bake them all some goodies later this weekend to say “thank you” for coming over. People like that are really wonderful, as they essentially chose a job where they serve people all day long. Now I have to go take a nap, though, since sitting outside in the hot sun took a lot out of the POTSie in me. Have a great rest of your Thursday, friends!

Fall Date Prep

The air is crisp and it’s perfect sweater weather. I skip joyfully to my closet to select a top. My eyes graze past the dresses hung neatly on the left over to the warmer options. I pretend that I’m going to make a decision, even though my mind is already made up. I touch the new ballerina pink sweater I had purchased a few weeks prior and wonder whether that will be cozy enough for a night of movies and snuggling. I reach to the back of the closet where I had shoved my soft gray v-neck sweater. It pairs well with leggings and kicks, or jeans and ankle boots for an edgier look.

I smile as I slip into my trusty favorite. It’s only a matter of time until my date will pull up to my house in his truck. I hurry to the bathroom to put on my makeup. Taylor Swift is already blasting, and I feel fierce in my oversized sweater and Calvin’s. I am still not fully ready to go out, but right now I’m all about my girly music, makeup, and pretending to be a runway model. Nobody is there to watch, so I can kill it on the bathroom dance floor just like the rest of the Bad Blood squad on my iPhone screen. The best thing about getting ready is that you can be whoever you want to be, even if you have terrible dance moves like myself.

I try to do a sultry cat-eye like Taylor’s, but quickly realize I need to leave my runway fantasy a daydream. It looks a lot more like I had been in the boxing ring with Muhammad Ali and got two mismatched black eyes than the fun look I had been going for.

Makeup remover.

Much better. I hurry to reapply a light layer of foundation, skip the eyeliner all together and opt for a swipe of mascara on my upper and lower lashes. I recognize my inability to paint my face and decide against the brightly colored lipstick in my makeup bag. Tonight I’ll do a natural look which — for a new date — includes foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush, mascara, and a light pink shade of lipstick and liner to match… And to think guys sometimes think I’m not wearing makeup when I go with this look. Sigh, it takes a good 20 minutes to put all of this together! I’d at least like to be awarded a compliment for using my paint and brushes from Sephora so effectively.

The finishing touches are made — black jeans and a bracelet with my birthstone  surrounded by diamonds — and a new bright smile is added as the doorbell rings.

My heart skips a beat as I open the door, and I forget everything about the past hour of getting ready. The night is just beginning, and I get to spend the rest of it with my new favorite person.

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This is a decent example of how I would do a more natural look for a first date. Y’all can clearly tell I am wearing makeup, right?!

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