You’re Insecure, But That’s No Excuse

I haven’t forgotten about the 30 day blogging challenge.  I was just waiting for another Sunday Lists post to share the next topic.

This week’s list: 3 Things I Like About My Personality

3.) I like that I’m very sensitive.  There are times when I hate this because it can be a little embarrassing … I mean, I will actually start to tear up sometimes if I’m even just telling someone a story that I find moving in some way.  But I like that I feel things so deeply because I think it helps me relate to others a little more.

2.) I like that I’m driven.  I may not be exactly where I thought I’d be at the age of 29, but I work hard for the things I have.  I have very specific goals in mind relating to my career, buying a home, starting a family, etc., and I plan to achieve them.

1.) I like that I’m not afraid to be myself.  There are a lot of sides to my personality, but I’m never ashamed of any of them.  I tend to think that people will either like me or they won’t … So why waste time trying to get them to like someone I’m not?

If anyone feels like sharing, what are the 3 things you like best about your own personality?

I Strain My Eyes And Try To Tell The Difference Between Shooting Stars And Satellites

I wish I had something really awesome to write about for today’s 30 day blogging challenge topic … But I don’t.  Not really.  I’m going to try to make it work anyway.

This week’s topic: The Best Thing That Happened To Me This Week

Like I said, I wish I had a great story to share.  It would be awesome to be able to say, “My life is really exciting, so great things happen all the time!”  But … That’s not real life.  At least not mine.

This week has actually been particularly shitty because I’ve been sick.  I had a cough for about a week that was mostly just annoying.  Then, suddenly, I was sick.  Last Friday I started feeling worse, and the weekend basically consisted of me laying around on the couch, reading and watching TV (and coughing and blowing my nose).  I also had a fever on and off for four days.  Ugh.  I’m still sick, though I’m slowly starting to come out of my funk.  Very slowly.

Anyway, since I’ve been sick, I really haven’t done much.  I go to work, I come home, I read, I watch TV with Eric, I update my blog … And that’s about it.  I just haven’t had the energy to do anything else.  And since I haven’t done much, well … There’s nothing too exciting to share.

I realize this has turned into a rant about being sick.  I also realize no one really wants to read something like that.  So … Sorry.

Instead of making this entire post about how shitty it is to be sick, though, I’m going to end by sharing a few positive things (however small some might be).

I finished my fourth book of the year.  I still have a ton of catching up to do if I want to hit my goal of 50 this year, but it’s still progress!

Eric and I tried a new recipe on Saturday night.  Even though I felt like crap that day, I had fun cooking with my husband.  (Oh, and the recipe also turned out well.  I’ll be sharing it soon!)

And finally, the biggest piece of news.  I mentioned it in last Saturday’s post, but I’ll mention it again because it’s definitely the best thing that has happened in the recent past.  I was offered a new position within my current company last week!  I won’t start until later this month, but it’s a move I’m really looking forward to.  My new position comes with added responsibilities and a slight pay bump, which is always nice.  While I love my current coworkers and boss, I really felt like it was time for me to make a move in order to further my career.  I can’t wait to get started!

I Catch A Brief Reflection Of What You Could And Might Have Been

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.  What might surprise many people is that Eric and I don’t really celebrate this “holiday.”  Sure, in the past we’ve made homemade cards for one another or purchased small gifts … But this didn’t happen every year, and it was never something we made a huge deal over.

The reason I brought it up, though, is because this week’s 30 day blogging challenge topic is all about love.

This week’s topic: My Current Relationship

There are a lot of things I could say about my relationship with Eric, but I’ve decided that the story I want to share is the story of how we met and wound up together.

In May/June 2007, Eric and I both took a trip to China.  The trip was sponsored through a company called ISLP (International Scholar Laureate Program), and students and recent graduates throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Guam were invited to attend based on grades, extracurricular activities, etc.  Eric and I both happened to be invited (though oddly enough, he was originally invited to attend a different type of program and he actually requested to attend this one, which was focused on medicine).

Once we were there, we were put in the same small group.  I was so jet-lagged when we arrived that I don’t really remember much from the first day … It was pretty much an initial introduction to the program, breaking up into small groups, and then heading back to our hotel rooms for some much needed rest.

On the second night, however, I ended up running into Eric in the hotel lobby.  He was with another guy from the group and I was with a few of the girls.  We all decided we’d hang out together in the beer garden at the hotel, and Eric and I ended up talking quite a bit.  The first thing I noticed?  He remembered my name.

That probably sounds really ridiculous, but that first day was a blur.  The fact that he remembered my name made me feel special (I mean, I assume everyone else probably felt as exhausted and hazy as I did that first day).

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This is obviously not the greatest picture ever (he and I aren’t even sitting next to each other and my face is practically covered by the beer mug!), but it’s the first time the two of us were ever in a picture together.  Awww.  (By the way, if you don’t recognize us from other pictures, I’m the third person from the left and he’s in the red shirt second from the right.)  Personal photo.

After that night, Eric and I started spending a lot of time together.  We took charter busses through the cities we visited (though we flew from city to city), and he and I would always sit together and talk (in some cases we’d literally be talking for hours while we traveled to our next destination).  Time seemed to pass so quickly during those rides … I remember finding it so easy to talk to him and starting to realize that I was developing feelings for him.  My heart would beat a little faster when he would sit next to me, and it felt like a jolt of electricity through my body if our hands or legs would touch as we shifted in our seats.

It wasn’t until we’d made it to the second city (Xi’an) that he and I shared our first kiss.  It was a beautiful night … We’d been out together all evening.  We started off with a group of people from the trip, and then it was suddenly just the two of us under the stars.  I don’t even remember what prompted us to walk over and sit down on a bench, but when we did, he moved closer and then we were kissing.  It felt like the whole world had slipped away and it was just the two of us, together.  I hadn’t felt like that in a long time … It was amazing.

By the end of the trip, I remember wondering if the whole thing had just been a summer fling.  I kind of thought it had to be since we lived over 1,000 miles apart from one another.  I didn’t want it to end, and I remember crying over the thought of potentially never seeing him again.  I’d been in long distance relationships in the past, so I knew that while they were extremely difficult, I could handle it.  Eric had not, though, and I worried that I wouldn’t seem so appealing once reality set in and he realized we’d only be able to see each other once every few months or so.

I left it up to him on our last night together.  I was going on to Lhasa, Tibet, but he was heading back to Beijing and then back to his home in Nebraska.  I honestly don’t know how I managed to feel brave enough to ask him what he wanted.  I mean, I was still young (only 22!) and not that sure of myself.  I knew I’d be crushed if he didn’t want to at least try to make things work between us, but I also knew it would be hard to go from spending every day and night together to seeing each other only once in a while.

I’ll never forget that night.  Our conversation pretty much went like this:

Me: So … What do you want to do?

Eric: I want to be with you.

Me: Are you saying you want to be with me but feel like you can’t because we live so far apart?  Or are you saying you want to try to make this work and actually be boyfriend and girlfriend?

Eric: I’m saying that I want to try to make this work and be boyfriend and girlfriend.

Those may not have been our exact words (this did happen almost 7 years ago!), but that was basically what was said.  I just remember feeling relieved and excited that we were starting something real.  Unfortunately, I also felt a tremendous sense of heartache because I knew that in a few short hours we’d be separated and I had no idea when we’d see each other again.  (Thankfully I did see him not too long after … He flew to West Virginia to visit me in July, just a few weeks after I returned from Tibet.)

At the time, I felt like it could be the start of something really special.  I had no idea that nearly 6 and a half years later we’d be getting married!

I know I’m leaving out a lot of details, but I shared a lot in this post.  I feel so lucky to have met someone who makes me so happy.  I hope that everyone has the opportunity to experience this kind of love during their lifetime.

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I’ve been trying to reserve wedding pictures for Wedding Wednesday posts, but I couldn’t resist sharing this one.  (I’m not sure why it’s so small, though.  The original file is much larger on my computer, and I’ve tried editing it several times.  Maybe I can figure out how to fix this issue when I post more wedding pictures.)  This was one of the best parts of the reception … We were dancing crazily to “Sexy Back” (a special request just for Eric!), and I remember laughing more than I had in a while.  All of the stress just melted away, and it was just the two of us acting like silly kids.  Personal photo taken by Kelsey at Memrical.

I Was Feeling Sad, Can’t Help Looking Back …

As I’ve been going through the 30 day blogging challenge, I’ve realized that maybe I should have chosen a different challenge.  I mean, a lot of these topics could potentially spark some really interesting posts … For someone.  Unfortunately, I don’t always have a really unique or personal story to share that’s relevant to some of these topics.

Today, for instance, I’m supposed to share my thoughts on drugs and alcohol.  Well, here they are: I drink socially, and while some weeks I may have at least one drink every day (or almost every day), other times I won’t drink alcohol for a month or longer.  Over time I’ve learned my limits, and I’ve always tried to be pretty responsible (like staying with a friend if I’ve had too much to drive home).  I’ve never been into drugs of any kind because, to be honest, I was too scared to try them.  I would never want to become dependent on something or potentially ruin my life just because I wanted to experience a drug one time.

See?  Not that interesting.  I don’t have any “life lessons” to share or anything.  Sorry.

So, with that being said, I’ve decided (yet again) to do something a little different.  I probably can’t say I’ve completed the 30 day blogging challenge if I don’t write about each and every thing on the list (though I guess I’ve at least touched on each one so far), but oh well.  I can at least use the list for inspiration if I’m at a loss for a subject to write about.

Today I’ve decided to be brave and share another of my poems.  I haven’t shared any of my personal creative writing since October, so it seemed like something I should do.  I’m always nervous about sharing my work on this blog because most of it is extremely personal.  (Though, if I’m being completely honest, I’m also nervous about sharing it because the “What if it’s not good enough?” thought runs through my mind each time.)  I haven’t written any poetry in quite a while, and the reason is because I always felt I could write better when I was depressed.  Cliché. yes … But I honestly think the work I’m most proud of came out of a very dark place.

This isn’t one of my absolute favorite pieces, but after reading over it again this evening, I realized it was at least something I felt comfortable sharing on a public blog.  I’ve mentioned before that I’ve written a lot of my poetry in song format (though I’ve never attempted to put it to music), and this is yet another song lyric style poem.

“That Old House”

Written on 06-02-2006

From somewhere in the darkness she hears her name

A hopeful voice begging her to change

Too frightened to love, she stubbornly remains

Locked inside with her private shame

Behind the walls of that old house were secrets she’d never tell

Acidic memories burning her heart away

She’d spent years fighting the armies of her private hell

Knowing those ghosts will never fade

From somewhere on the other side she hears the rain

A background symphony for her pain

Too frightened to live, she stubbornly remains

Locked inside her hell another day

Behind the walls of that old house were secrets she’d never tell

Acidic memories burning her heart away

She’d spent years fighting the armies of her private hell

Knowing those ghosts will never fade

Cracked and peeling, the paint reminds her of herself

Once beautiful and bright, she’s become something else

Alone in her home, she’s not safe from her regrets

Chained to all the things she could never forget

Behind the walls of that old house were secrets she’d never tell

Acidic memories burning her heart away

She’d spent years fighting the armies of her private hell

Knowing those ghosts will never fade

You Are My Sweetest Downfall … I Loved You First

I’m sadly only on day 8 of the 30 day blogging challenge, but at least I’m sticking with it (even if I’m not doing it “correctly”).

This week’s topic: Something You’re Currently Worrying About

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a chronic worrier.  I can easily work myself up over seemingly nothing, and then stress and obsess about it for days … Or weeks … Or longer.

This is obviously not my best personality trait, but I can’t just ignore it.  It’s part of who I am.

So I’m going to be completely vulnerable and honest today and share my current biggest worry: I’m worried about having children.

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I’ll admit it … I don’t always find babies that cute.  The baby in this picture is adorable, though!  Image courtesy of http://www.sheknows.com.

This worry/fear is kind of unusual because it encompasses pretty much every aspect you can think of when it comes to that subject.  Finding the right time to try to conceive, actually getting pregnant, the pregnancy itself, taking care of myself during pregnancy, the delivery, any complications that may occur as a result of the birth, the overall cost during the pregnancy and delivery, caring for the baby, making the right choices for the baby’s overall health and well-being, being a good mother, the cost of daycare … Need I even list anything else?

I think I obsess over this for many reasons, but here’s the thing … I never really wanted kids.  While some people get these fears/doubts/concerns out of their system when they’re younger and figuring out their basic life plan, I never really did that because it wasn’t even something I considered as a possibility.  

Sometimes things change, though.  I mean, I also didn’t think I wanted to ever settle down and get married because it just didn’t interest me.  I wanted to be a completely independent woman with a successful career and life that was built all on my own.  But … I actually like being married.  It’s nice to know that this person you love so much unconditionally feels exactly the same and wants to share the ups and downs of life with you.  I don’t have to worry about facing the uncertainty of the future alone.  We can support and encourage one another and create wonderful memories from now until one of us dies.  (I realize that might sound a little morbid, but it’s just the truth.)

After much discussion and thought, I know I would eventually like to have at least one child.  Unfortunately, I’m no spring chicken.  I’ll be 30 this year (and I’m definitely not ready to ring in my third decade of life just yet!).  While I know many women are now having babies well into their 40s, I don’t want to do that.  I have a self-imposed timeline of age 35 … By that age, I would like to be completely finished having children.  That’s just me, though.

Obviously that doesn’t give me a ton of time … And the worry sets in.

I’ve shared a lot of very personal things in this post.  I’m a pretty open person in general, but sometimes I feel like discussing my fears and concerns regarding this topic (and all that it encompasses) is just a little too awkward.  For example, I’m sure it would be kind of weird to tell people (even close friends and family) when we’re trying to conceive.  I kind of doubt we’ll be sharing that with anyone, to be quite honest (unless maybe it’s done somewhat anonymously online).  So if there are issues … Well … We’ll be the only people who know about it.

But now I have to ask … If anyone reading this is willing to share, please comment about your own fears and concerns regarding having children.  I don’t see a lot of comments on this blog, but if there was ever a time I’d hope to have some responses, that time would be now.  I need to know that I’m not alone!  (And please also feel free to share any success stories.  How did you overcome your fears?)

Do You Harbor Sighs Or Spit In My Eye?

This week’s Tell All Thursday post is based on yet another of the 30 day blogging challenge topics.  (Side note: I feel like it’s going to take me forever to get through all of these topics.  On the bright side, I’ll have Tell All Thursday topics for the next couple of months or so!)

This topic is actually something I had some difficulty writing about because I struggled with how much I should divulge on a public blog.  

This week’s topic: My Opinion On Cheating

I’m going to be completely honest here … I’ve cheated in the past.  This isn’t something that everyone knows (though I told Eric about it near the beginning of our relationship).  I’m not going to say that it was completely justified or anything, but I was much younger (15 years old) and definitely not over the ex-boyfriend I cheated with.  I knew it was wrong at the time, but in the moment it oddly felt right.

The boyfriend I cheated on and I were not serious at all.  I mean, I guess it was somewhat serious for an early high school relationship (we spent most weekends together and I received a piece of jewelry from him as a gift for … My birthday, I think?).  But really … I was 15.  I didn’t know what I wanted out of life (for the most part anyway), and I wasn’t very invested in the relationship.

Again, this is not to say that I think what I did was okay.  It wasn’t.  I never came clean to him, so unless one of my friends told him I cheated, he never knew.  I’m not proud of the fact that I cheated … But that doesn’t change the fact that I did it.

I don’t excuse cheating, though.  If you’re not that into the relationship/the other person, just end it.  That’s what I should have done back then, but I was young and dumb and afraid of being single.  (Ahhh high school.)  I eventually broke up with the guy I cheated on, though it was difficult … He really didn’t want to let me go, so it went from “I want to break up” to “Okay, we’ll take a break from one another for a while” to “Seriously, we need to break up right now!”

As I’ve gotten older and further removed from that moment in time, I know that the old “once a cheater, always a cheater” saying isn’t always true.  I would never cheat on Eric.  Not only could I never hurt him in that way, but I also have absolutely no desire to be with anyone but him.  I married him for many reasons, but above all else, I married him because I love him.

So what do I think about cheating?  It’s really never okay.  I mean, regardless of how serious the relationship is, someone is bound to get hurt eventually.  So … Don’t do it.  As I said before, if you’re not into the other person anymore, just end it.  That’s the right thing to do.

Sweet Smell Of Sunshine … I Remember Sometimes

I’ll admit it … I really just want to write a bunch of stuff about the wedding right now.  It’s fresh in my mind, and a lot of our friends and family are still talking about the stuff they really liked.

But don’t worry, I’ll share other things as well.  After all, this is a random personal blog, not a wedding blog.

So today I’ll be continuing with the 30 day blogging challenge.  The topic today kind of goes along with wedding stuff since it’s about “the person you like,” so I can at least get a little (or maybe a lot?) mushy.  Unfortunately, I feel like this topic is very similar to others I have written about in the past … So I’ll be changing it up a bit.  The original topic was “the person you like and why you like them.”  I’ve changed it to:

This week’s topic: One Good Memory From Each Year Eric And I Have Been Together

2007: Our first road trip together.  We drove to Philadelphia in November and stayed in a really cool bed and breakfast (the rooms were more like little apartments, so no awkward sharing with other guests!).

2008: The first time we said “I love you.”  This happened on December 22 (yes, I remember the exact date!).  We’d already been together for a little over a year and a half, so I was starting to feel a little anxious about it … But it was worth the wait.

2009: I moved to Omaha in September so we could finally live in the same city.  This was a decision I struggled with for quite a while because I never thought I’d be the type of girl to move for a guy.  I have never once regretted coming here … It was definitely the right thing for our relationship (and I’ve made a lot of really amazing friends since the move).

2010: Going to Montreal in December.  The highlight of the trip for me was definitely the Alexisonfire concert, but we had a blast exploring the city.  It was cold and snowy, so we also spent a lot of time in our hotel room … It was so nice and relaxing!

2011: Moving in together in March.  This was obviously a huge step in our relationship, and we actually had a lot of fun apartment hunting together.

2012: Getting engaged on November 13.  It was amazing to realize that the person I loved so much loved me just as deeply and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

2013: Getting married on November 9.  (I think this one was pretty obvious.)  We’ve had a lot of ups and downs with wedding planning, couples coaching, and the other random stuff life threw at us … But there’s no doubt in my mind that we emerged a stronger, happier couple.

I kept the descriptions brief, but it was nice thinking back to each of these moments.  We’ve had many other great times together, but these stuck out in my mind as being especially important.

Hopefully in 6.5 more years I’ll have even more wonderful things to write about!