Seven – Memories

I haven’t wanted to write very much lately, but at the same time I’ve been writing more for myself than I have in months. So much has been going on lately and I’ve written six different blog posts that I didn’t feel were very good, or were far too personal to share. This is number seven, and I’m going to post the draft when my fingers are done playing on the keyboard.


I dyed my hair brown this weekend. Well, actually, my best friend who is the most talented hairstylist on planet earth dyed my hair for me, but my point being, I went from having a 29 year streak of being a blonde to turning into a brunette for the winter. I just needed a change and it was a semi-permanent hairstyle versus a very permanent tiny tattoo on my wrist, so the hair won by a landslide.

brunette.png
Hair and makeup both by Audrey!

Sometimes when I feel like life is getting away from me and I can’t control things that are happening, I will find little things I can do that offer choices. I love doing my makeup when I feel anxious, or going out and meeting new people. I love learning, cooking, or honing in on a new skill to keep my mind busy.

This year I have a lot on my plate. Some things are exciting, others are not so great, but 2020 is definitely setting itself up to be a whirlwind. I thought a lot about choosing a word for the year. The past 2 years I had the same word — “fearless.” The year before that I chose “strong.” It didn’t look like I chose a word in 2016, but if I were to have picked one at the end of 2015 for that year it would have been something along the lines of “giddy,” “bright,” or “beautiful,” because that was the year I really fell in love.


Maybe it’s because it’s my time of the month right now, but I’m feeling pretty nostalgic, so I am turning back the hands of time by reading some of the old blog posts I stumbled upon. Writing is a cool thing because you see just how much you change over time. I’ve kept journals ever since I could write. I have dozens of books filled with incredibly boring entry after entry like,

“Went to school today, then got BBQ chips and a Slurpee at 7-11 after. Great day!”

or,

“Went to Nicole’s birthday party and they gave me a hamster to keep! I’m not good at holding him, though, because his feet tickle my hands too much.”

These journals are some of the most boring reading material of all time, but they make me smile because I remember a lot of the feelings I had behind the entries. I highly recommend writing down things that are on your heart, because in the words of Andy Bernard, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

We spend so much freaking time wasting our lives worrying or putting off loving others because we are too busy with the unimportant details. Life is so short, and my biggest fear has always been not having enough time to show people how valuable they are, how loved they are, and how big of an impact they make on the world just by being here. I truly think that there are so many people in the world who feel confused or lonely, and I wish we could all just come together and realize how not-alone we really are.

Back to Andy Bernard, though. I am quite certain the good old days haven’t come and left for me, but the sentiment I like behind the statement is that you need to enjoy every single moment of life, because you never know when that chapter of the book will close for you, and everything left is just a memory.

Some of my old blog posts make me cry. I get to go back and read about the third date I went on with my now-husband. I can read about funny moments we had together and remember the way he looked when I knew he was falling for me. I can read about how free I felt getting over a breakup, how much my family and friends mean to me, and all the really silly things I’ve done just to make other people laugh. I can still remember the pain of deployment without having to read about it, but my body feels numb when I read about pulling to the side of the road to catch my breath after seeing a blue F-150 on the road on a particularly difficult day.


This year I want my word to be “present.” I struggle with anxiety, so this is not an easy word to choose, but I want to learn how to appreciate little things in the moments where I feel like I can’t breathe because my mind is a million miles away worrying about something else. I want to give the best parts of myself to the people I love, and I want to give myself the best version of me. This is going to be a year of finally learning the things I’ve been dying to do, it’s going to be the year of reading books that make me a more dynamic person, and I’m going to try my absolute best to enjoy even the littlest things in life instead of letting the little things get me down.


Thanks to my writing I will always be able to pull up a little visual of what it was like falling in love, and remind myself that you can never appreciate a moment too much because one day it will just be a memory. This year I want to have stories that are worth remembering, but even more than that I want to have beautiful feelings to write about — whether or not that will be on here.

Strange Things I Miss

Today happens to be a very POTSie day. Luckily, dizzy spells are much fewer and further between, but I hate when they decide to come around with a vengeance. I have been doing a new exercise protocol lately that is supposed to make me feel worse before I feel better, but I am optimistic about how much it could help me in the long run.*

Anyway, I am currently working on a post about what my POTS timeline has looked like, and the improvements I’ve made, as well as the things that are still different in my life post getting sick. It’s been so interesting for me to look back at different things I wrote throughout the years, but is great to have something tangible to look at regarding my life.

Certain things are becoming more normal, and I am pulling off looking like a normal human being like a pro. I have looked pretty normal since getting sick with POTS, since it’s an invisible illness, but I used to have to ask for help much more often. Now I think people around me often forget completely that anything is wrong with me! I hope one day this will be true. Despite being sick for over five years now, I will never stop hoping to get back to complete normalcy. I have a million different things I’m working on for the blog, so today I wanted to just touch on a few things that have been different for me the past half-decade.

1. I can’t enjoy taking showers. Sometimes I hop in a hot shower just because I am in pain and want something to release the tension in my muscles, but for the most part they’re just exhausting. I usually choose between washing my hair or shaving if I’m going to stand the whole time, and have to alternate between the two or rest quite a bit longer after I’m done. Does anyone actually find showers enjoyable? I can’t remember anymore; now they’re just exhausting.

2. I’m not very extroverted anymore. Before I got POTS, I was super extroverted. I was always around people and had an enormous circle of friends. Mentally, I still want to be doing a million things, but my body isn’t up to that. I feel tired and drained from doing too much, so I don’t go out nearly as much as I used to. When I do, it’s usually dinner or dessert with just one or a few friends, rather than hanging out in a giant group. When I first got sick I really couldn’t do anything other than try to stay optimistic, rest, and work as hard as possible to take care of my body so I could hopefully get better one day. I think some of my friends who weren’t around might have felt like I was neglecting our friendship, but in reality I just couldn’t function. I have lost touch with people I sometimes still miss. Getting sick really does show you who is going to be around for the long haul, and makes you see who has unconditional love for your friendship.

3. I miss writing for hours on end. My favorite thing in the world has always been writing, even back in elementary school or high school when writing wasn’t supposed to be fun. I always said English was my favorite subject, even when other kids would say “lunch,” “recess,” or “gym.” I loved learning more about our language and how to write things that people would enjoy reading. It’s difficult for me to sit at a computer and type for hours without feeling it after, and then being in a lot of pain for days after. I am very slowly working on endurance, and hope to be writing more and more.

typewriter.png

4. I miss being a helper. Before I got POTS I was independent and strong. I loved helping other people in any way I could, and was always there to do acts of service. There is nothing I hate more than having to swallow my pride and ask others for help. I’ve had to do that a lot the past few years, and it honestly doesn’t get much easier. I hate inconveniencing others, and I have a really hard time telling people I need something. I am still working on communicating better, but in the meantime I use my writing as an outlet.

5. I wish I could have my old dreams back. I dreamt of living in New York City as a magazine editor, and thought about how many lives I would change through my writing. I wanted to be able to support myself, pay my parents back for school, and afford my own life. I wanted to keep pushing myself and training for another half marathon, and I wanted to collect a million new skills from the new people I’d meet.

I have set new and more realistic goals, and am focusing on getting my body in shape so I can reach higher. Despite my life being much more complicated now, it’s also somehow become more simple. I realize how much I value the people who are in my life, and how important they are compared to everything else in the world. I’ve learned to appreciate the many blessings I do have, and how to live in the moment better. I still feel like I’m looking to find my purpose in the world, but I also trust God now more than ever to have better plans for me than I ever did for myself. I’m just trying to figure out what that is now.


*For any POTSies who are curious, I am doing the Levine protocol.

Heartbreak Works Itself Out

I have had a million different thoughts spinning in my head throughout the wedding planning process. I just got home from picking out my dress and finally sat to let it sink in that the first thing Robert will see me in as his wife is being created right now. All of the delicate details are being crafted for the one day I have dreamed about since I was a little girl, and I can’t wait to see the love of my life waiting at the end of the aisle for me. Writing that gives me chills.

Now that I’m home I’m listening to a few of our favorite songs and daydreaming about how amazing that day will be. One thought led to another, and I realized something kind of incredible about our story. Any heartbreak we’ve faced in the past worked out for the best. Oh my gosh, I cannot tell you how worth all of the pain it this is now. Humans are all the same, and we all face ups and downs in life. Adults know what heartbreak feels like, how hard it is to be rejected, how tiring dating around can be, and how incredible love is.

At 27 I don’t know everything, but I do know that even if your heart feels like it’s been completely shattered, it can be put back together again. I know that pain is often fleeting, as are lonely moments. I know that perfection doesn’t exist, but loving someone who is imperfect can be even more beautiful, and finally, I know that sometimes you may think you’ve lost someone you love, only to realize that you had absolutely no idea what love really is.

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 6.04.26 PM.png

All of our heartbreak and dead ends along the way have brought us together, and at the end of the day, it really does only matter who we end up with. I can remember vividly what it feels like to be heartbroken, but at the same time I don’t ever think about it anymore. I am in such a different chapter of my life that none of that will ever be a part of it again.

The reason I wanted to write all of this is that I know so many twenty-somethings are still figuring things out and some have given up on love or others because of a few bad experiences or terrible heartbreaks. I want to keep cheering you on — whether or not you are dating around — and offer myself as a reminder that circumstances in life change greatly. We sometimes have our crazy ups and downs, but I promise you it is all worthwhile and you are never truly alone, even if it feels that way. Whether you’re married, single, engaged, or have completely written off dating, just remember that heartbreak fades away and one day you might just be lucky enough to realize why things didn’t work out, even if at one point you had hoped they would. God might laugh at the things we think are best for ourselves, but ultimately He knows what is best for us and wants what’s best for us. If we are willing to let go of the things that aren’t right for us, we make room for the beautiful and wonderful things that are meant to come our way.

Never settle for someone just because they’re safe or familiar. Marry your best friend, your partner in crime, your ride or die. This doesn’t guarantee life will always be easy for the two of you, but it does mean that you can be absolutely certain that no matter what comes your way, you’ll have something that is constant and someone who will be there through thick and thin. In the meantime, if you haven’t found your person yet, embrace the single life and find other things to be joyful for. There are so many wonderful love stories in the world, and not all of them are built through romance. Cultivating beauty in other aspects of your life will make the love you find just that much richer when the timing is right. Hang in there, and remember that you are so loved. ❤

Full

First, I would like to start this blog post by saying “Hoppy Easter.” Macy is sitting in my lap right now and wanted me to include a cute animal pun.

macy.png

The change in weather in the DC area has been crazy lately. This is a huge annoyance because it’s made me more symptomatic. Fall has become my favorite season since the temperatures are typically pretty mild, and there doesn’t seem to be as much rain as there is in the springtime.

This summer will be my 5 year anniversary with POTS. Did you know that a 50 year anniversary is called a “golden anniversary?” I guess you’re typically supposed to get your significant other something made out of gold. My brain is a funny thing and works really quickly jumping from one subject to the next, so I somehow got to thinking about that and wondering if a 5 year anniversary had a name. After a quick meeting with Google, I found that silverware is the token gift for 5 years. I couldn’t help but grin since I often feel like I don’t have enough spoons throughout the week. This is a kind of cruel irony.

One of the hardest things about having a chronic illness is just the simple fact that life is more drastically unpredictable than the average human’s. You often hear someone with a chronic condition say that they are having a “good day” or a “bad day,” but either way it will pass and there will be another kind lined up and ready to take its place. POTS has taught me to really enjoy moments, especially when I get to do something out of the ordinary that might cause a lot of joy — and bring with it a lot of pain the next day.

I write about pain a lot more than I ever talk about it because I do want to enjoy my life and have the little moments that make life so beautiful. Regardless of feeling crappy right now, I want to remember that four years ago my life was being lived horizontally. I do feel really blessed that I can walk, sit upright, and enjoy so many amazing things that I do take for granted. A few years ago I couldn’t stand more than a minute at a time without fainting, and the only time I really left home was to go to the doctors office or to the gym for my daily recumbent bike routine.  The thing I find most interesting about this is that I have really fond memories even from way back then. The amazing part of being an optimist and looking at the glass half full is that I do remember how shitty I felt, but it isn’t at the forefront of my mind when I think about being 23 years old. I think about watching Top Chef with my mom and dreaming about being able to cook again one day. I remember making “Dunkaroos” with Goldfish and salt because I couldn’t figure out another way to eat enough, and I remember close friends coming over and sitting on the couch with me and telling me stories about what their life is like post college. I remember sitting with my passenger seat reclined as my dad drove me two miles down the road to do my gym workout, and the stories we would tell each other back and forth. I remember him telling me I would get better one day, and my mom playing “Would You Rather” with me when I couldn’t sleep at night. I still have the memory of lying down in the middle of the movie theater floor so I wouldn’t pass out while waiting in line for popcorn with friends, but I don’t remember the extreme nausea and dizziness from that episode anymore. Now it’s a kind of funny memory, and I wonder how there was a time I didn’t feel embarrassed to be the center of attention for something so out of the ordinary. In fact, I feel lucky that I get embarrassed about POTS things now. This means I am healing and major health complications are not a regular part of my day.

Tonight I am stiff, sore, and ready for sleep. My shoulders hurt from a long week and I am ready for the pain to subside so I can get a good night’s sleep. Instead of remembering this feeling a year from now, though, I know that I am going to remember what it was like going out on a fun double date and reminiscing through old college memories, rather than how badly my shoulders hurt or how tired I am of “working to get better.” I know that one day I will be a lot more normal because I am still making improvements, even if they sometimes feel small.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 11.43.54 PM.png

I don’t know whether looking at the glass half full is something you’re born with, or an outlook you develop, but I am so thankful that I have that ability in my life. I know sometimes it can be easy to feel frustrated or wonder why you got the short end of the stick in one way or another, but the way I see it is if a glass is half empty, it is because you enjoyed something from it, so there is something to be joyful for. Glasses are things that are meant to be filled and emptied, kind of in the same way that life sometimes has its ups and downs. We may not have the ability to control everything that happens in our lives, but we can learn to control our outlook, which is actually one of the most incredible and worthwhile things a person can do. Life isn’t always easy or fun, but there is always something to be joyful for — you just have to learn how to look for it.

What Is Micro Cheating?

Apparently this is a new phrase that has been coined because of the dozens of tiny behaviors that some people turn to so that they can still feel loyal, but have fulfillment in one way or another outside their romantic relationship.

Cheating is wrong. Always.

I consider cheating an absolutely unforgivable offense, but I know certain couples can get past it. What about micro cheating, though?

Any kind of serious flirting outside a relationship, having a desire to be physically or emotionally connected with someone who isn’t your partner and forming a special place in your heart for someone else all constitute for micro cheating. Here is an example given from The Skimm, 

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 12.47.55 PM.png

With the rise of social media, there are a million small components that go into relationships. I speculate that one of the reasons divorce is becoming more prominent could be due to riffs with social media and being so connected to the rest of the world. I keep hearing that social media sites are often cited in divorce court, as it gives another place for infidelity and a place for indiscretions to occur. There are endless options of people you can meet online, as well as the perfectly crafted images that come along with them. Whether it’s an irresistibly funny personality or beautifully enhanced photos, there are so many options for wandering minds and eyes to go to when a marriage feels like it’s failing.

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 12.57.24 PM 1.png

Sadly, I feel like this is only the beginning of using loopholes to seek attention outside a committed relationship. When you start going to outside sources for some sort of fulfillment, you are severely hurting the process to repair the broken pieces of your relationship. Every single couple in the world is going to have some sort of disagreement or problem at one time or another. In fact, the longer you are with someone, the bigger the chance is some sort of issue is going to come up. It’s just a fact of life that people are all unique and going to make different decisions and mistakes. Dealing with them openly and directly with your partner offer opportunities for growth and compromise in a relationship, and can ultimately actually strengthen it.


Relationships are interesting because there isn’t a lot that is completely black and white; a lot of topics are more of a grayscale. There are definitely things that one person may uncomfortable with that others find totally fine in a relationship, and vice versa. What’s most important is that your significant other cares enough to work through every little bump in the road together. If you feel like micro cheating is a part of your relationship, there is still hope to get back on track.

If you are the micro cheater, cut the person you cross the faint little lines with out of your social life. If this person is at work with you, keep things professional and don’t find little reasons to be alone with them. Reevaluate your relationship and ask yourself why you don’t feel fulfilled in the romantic department, and seek couples counseling if necessary. The other alternative is always breaking off the relationship if it isn’t the right one. I actually don’t believe every single person in the world is cut out for a monogamous relationship, and if you fit that category, don’t settle down or get in a relationship. There’s nothing wrong with being single, and you won’t hurt people who’s hearts are built for monogamy.

If your partner is the micro cheater, decide whether or not you are comfortable with the behaviors they exhibit that you thought of when you read this article and make sure you’ve communicated to your partner that you aren’t comfortable with the way they’re treating someone else. Once they’ve been made aware of the problem you should begin to feel more comfortable with the way things are being treated moving forward. They should always make your feelings valid and care about your heart, even if you perceive something wrong. It’s a big red flag if your significant other doesn’t take your concerns seriously. This doesn’t mean they’re cheating per se, but it does mean that they don’t feel like it’s their responsibility to help take care of your heart, and that’s not what a serious partnership is about.

Despite cheating — micro or otherwise — being a pretty prevalent part of today’s society, all hope is not lost. I know my own heart and that I can’t have any of the feelings that I do for Robert for anyone else, and that I would never consider straying from the wonderful partner in crime I’ve committed myself to. This gives me hope for anyone who feels stuck because I know there are other “Krista’s” out there who think the same way as I do. Robert is one of them, as are so many of my friends and family members. Don’t give up your dream of having someone who only has eyes for you just because of one crappy experience. There are people out there who would be so, so excited and lucky to get to love you, and only you, so please don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. 

How To Be There During A Deployment

Dear Soldier,

Take care of your partner back home.

Send them notes and letters; not just emails. We are so fortunate to live in a connected world, but there’s something extra special about a handwritten note that will not only make your SO’s day, but it will keep them going throughout the deployment. Those beautifully written cards will be referenced when they’re scared, missing you, and feel alone. Think about the reasons you love your partner in crime, and carve it into a piece of paper for them to treasure forever.

letters.png

Remember that this experience doesn’t just differ from couple to couple, but it also is very different for your partner than it is for you. There are different ways it’s harder on each of you. Be gentle and patient; they are likely trying their best to hold it together every single day you’re away.

Skype, Snapchat, and send pictures often. These, like the letters, are things your significant other will be waiting for. They’re the moments you can use to connect to one another and feel close. Nothing compares to having you home, but a picture is the closest thing to being there with one another since they get to see a little moment of your day.

I hope you’re getting lots and lots of care packages from home. You deserve them, especially since you are likely not in the nicest of living situations. Try to send a few packages back home to your loved ones, too. They certainly understand that you are overseas for a mission, but it also feels so great to feel cared about and knowing that your loved one is taking time away from their busy schedule to think about you.

Deployments are one of the most difficult things this life has to offer, but if you’re with the right person the heartache you feel during them is completely worth the joy of an entire lifetime. Stay safe, connect at any chance you get, and thank you for the sacrifices you are making. I know they’re not easy in so many different ways, and I am so proud to know so many people fighting for justice and equality.

Love,
An Army Girlfriend

You Aren’t Responsible for Your Ex’s Happiness

One of the questions I get asked the most is, “How do I stay friends with my ex?” My answer is simple enough to make one word: Don’t. 

Y’all know I’m all about spreading kindness in the world. I strongly believe you should leave every person better than you found them, and one of my favorite quotes from Taylor Swift is,

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

This is such a beautiful sentiment and I think making people’s hearts feel warm and fuzzy is such an amazing superpower we all have. One person you absolutely shouldn’t worry about making happy, though, is your ex. Whether you guys dated for 6 months or 6 years, there are very few circumstances where I think it’s healthy to remain friends with an ex once you’ve broken up.

Sometimes people argue that they think remaining friends is the “mature” thing to do, however, I think many often just an excuse to keep tabs on someone you once dated. As an adult it is so important to look out for your own mental health and wellbeing, and it’s rare that people end a relationship and one or both parties isn’t hurt by the breakup.

I’ve never stayed friends with anyone I dated. The way I see it, I already have enough friends, and there isn’t a place in my life for someone who was once romantically involved in my life. Furthermore, it saves the drama that could possibly come up when you find someone new. You don’t have to worry about your ex’s heart hurting, and you don’t have to make the special person in your life feel at all uncomfortable about a past.

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 11.47.46 AM.png

If I saw any of my exes now I wouldn’t have any sort of feelings — negative or positive — about them. Time heals the heart well, and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone in the world other than Robert. Still, though, I don’t have a need for any of my past relationships. I learned the lessons I needed to from each of them, and hopefully anyone who’s gone out with me can say the same with the confidence that I wasn’t the right person for them.

My advice to you if you’re wondering when to reach out to someone you broke up with is to choose to never text them. Choose to move forward in your life, cut ties completely, and to realize that there are bigger and better things ahead of you. Unless this person is absolutely the exception to the rule and you feel like you want to try one last time to make things work, realize that there is someone out there who you won’t have the same problems in the relationship as your ex with. You likely didn’t work for a reasonand there are so many other people in the world that you can now have room to find a person who will work beautifully with you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell you this will all be so easy. The first few days of a breakup are the hardest because you go from having someone in your every single day life to never talking again. Don’t use the excuse that you need to “be there for” your ex to talk them through your breakup, though. Block their number, delete them on all forms of social media, and cut ties in any way that you need to so that your heart can heal and you can have a new, healthy relationship one day. In the meantime, rely on friends and family to get you through your breakup and realize that your forever person is still out there — it just wasn’t your last boyfriend.