Safe or Sorry?

Hi Everyone!

Today’s topic is slightly uncomfortable even for me, and I rarely admit that I want to talk about going to get tested for STD’s. For most young women and men, it is an uncomfortable topic, but it shouldn’t be. Getting tested regularly is an exceptionally healthy habit, especially when starting a new relationship, or ending a relationship.

Society has made us believe it is something uncomfortable and weird, or something only “high risk” people should be doing. I once asked a nurse what high risk meant because she had told me I wasn’t in a high-risk group, I wanted to know exactly what she meant. She said it meant people who were sex workers, people from countries with higher rates of std’s, and drug addicts. I’m sure the list went on, but those were the main ones she pointed out.

The first time I went to go get tested, the nurse told me I really didn’t need to do a blood test because I wasn’t in a high-risk group. I thought about it for a minute and decided I still wanted to do it because I genuinely believe it is essential to know what’s going on inside my body and making sure I am healthy in all aspects in my life. I respect myself too much not to get tested. I felt like I had to persuade her that this was the right choice for me.

Here is the break down you guys, you should be practicing safe sex till you and your partner get tested. By safe sex I mean using condoms, especially if you have multiple partners! Even after getting tested it is important to practice being safe.

Why you should get tested:

1. Worrying about it is much worse than knowing.

2. It does not mean your spouse cheated. You can get std’s, and they can stay in your system without treatment for quite some time.

3. It is not time-consuming. It is quick and easy now.

4. Because respecting yourself and your partner will create a stronger relationship.

5. Sometimes there are no noticeable symptoms.

6. Because at some point you will have sex and it’s okay to play it safe.

7. You can choose to be healthy.

I have talked to my friends openly about getting tested, and I generally think the more open I am about what happens the more likely they are to make healthy life choices too. This topic should not be a taboo in society, since when did health become so embarrassing to talk about? This is 2019, young women can have sex and get tested, young men can have sex and get tested, it’s part of the natural cycle. Keeping this topic on the down low doesn’t help anyone at all. Pretending the younger generations won’t have sex is making an active choice to turn a blind eye. The only way to spread awareness is to talk openly about issues that are deemed shameful.

Dating Myself

Hi all!

In my last blog post, I briefly mentioned that I have been taking myself out a lot. I love having a certain amount of “me time,” and I have been making it a priority to take myself out without my boyfriend because I love independence. I see a lot of young ladies get into new relationships and totally absorb the other person into their life. To be honest, that is an incredibly deadly habit, I have no need to see someone every single day, and I hated when I didn’t have a choice. As a young lady or a young man, you can have the freedom to take yourself out, spoil yourself, have a day where it’s just you are shopping, in fact, it’s incredibly healthy.

I would never dream of taking myself out when I was any of my ex’s. They would accuse me of cheating or being with someone or doing something I wasn’t supposed to do. So, for a whole year, I cut out things that I really enjoyed. Like eating out alone, shopping alone, and watching movies alone. If I went shopping, I felt like I had to sneak it, I felt like I was doing something terrible, I couldn’t spend a whole day at my hair salon without being judged and accused, and it was toxic.

Now I am on a dating kick. I set one day aside for myself, I go out and shop by myself for hours, I go get my hair done for 6 hours and don’t have to worry about angry texts, I go to dinner and enjoy a five-course meal and two glasses of wine. I see movies and can enjoy every second of it without being interrupted.

It is incredibly important to put aside at least one day for yourself, and I know most of the young ladies who are reading this feel like they don’t have the opportunity. But you need to create opportunities for yourself, if you have kids and a husband, have your husband watch the kids for three hours if you feel like your boyfriend wouldn’t like this, then he may not be the man for you.

Dating yourself means:

1. You don’t have to compromise

2. You don’t have to face judgment on how much you spent on that one day

3. You learn how to be independent

Dating yourself is sexy as hell, and it should not stop even when you do date, someone. Learning to be active on your own is one of the most attractive things about anyone. Learning to make connections on your own is one of the best skills to have, and if a man or woman feels like dating yourself is wrong or unimportant, quite simply put, they are insecure, and you’re better off without.

When I started seeing this new guy, I made it perfectly clear, that I would want one day alone, to do what I need to be mentally healthy and prepare for the next week. I made it clear I will take myself out, and I will spoil myself because I can. Instead of judging me or telling me no, he said to me it was refreshing to find a lady who does indeed put herself. First, he encouraged me to go out and be who I want when I want. For that, I do believe he is one of the best men I have ever dated, he has already taught me 100x more than any ex ever has.

Loving myself, and dating myself, has never been easier.

Restaurant Review

Hello!

Lately, I have been spoiling myself and taking myself out, something I would never have dreamed of doing worried I would be accused of cheating. But I have decided every young lady should go out and enjoy time to herself. As it turns out, I love eating at a 5-star restaurant alone, watching a good movie alone and book shopping by myself, and my boyfriend loves that I can go out and spoil myself.

These past few weeks I have tried a few new restaurants, and if you are around the New England area, specifically Portsmouth I have a few recommendations and a few I would not recommend. At each restaurant, I like to order a few small plates and one big plate.

The very first restaurant I tried was called Poco’s located on Two Ceres Street in Portsmouth, it is a tiny Mexican place down behind my work, and my god they made some strong margaritas! Be careful when ordering from here because their portions are incredibly large, at the dinner, I ended up having avocado fries, nachos and a lobster avocado salad which was to die for. Overall this place was great for people watching, it near the waterfront and people love to go there on dates to enjoy some simple Mexican food with a lot of fresh lobster mixed in. I will give them a second chance because I heard the steak tips are to die for, and I haven’t had the chance to try them yet.

The second restaurant I recently tried was called River House, located on 53 Bow street in Portsmouth. This place wasn’t the best I have ever been. I had a glass of their house red wine, Sautéed mussels, a salmon burger, and strawberry cheesecake. The wine was delicious; unfortunately, it tasted like the salmon burger may have been packaged instead of freshly made. The mussels were delicious, and I would highly recommend trying them. The strawberry cheesecake didn’t seem to have any real strawberry on top which was highly disappointing, but it did taste like strawberry.

The last restaurant I tried was called Moxy located on 106 Penhallow street in Portsmouth. It looks like a little hole in the wall, but inside it’s finally decorated, a bar below and a dining area on top. Deep red walls and olive-green accent walls. This place serves smaller plates called tapas, and they recommend starting with three dishes; naturally I got four. I began with beets that were topped with olive oil, roasted sunflower seeds and a sunflower paste on the bottom, not only was it delicious but the presentation was terrific. I then ordered a Portsmouth rarebit which was a local favorite, it had anadama bread with beer cheese, apple, and onion on top. The food itself smelled heavenly and had a lovely crunch to each bite. The next thing I had was fried clams, and this came on a cute wooden platter, the presentation was excellent, and it tasted heavenly, served with Dijon mustard sauce underneath the shish kabob fried clams. The Last thing they brought out to me was an orange ricotta cake. Oh my it was delicious the texture was to die for, and the real orange peel on top of the cake was so zesty and vibrant I was incredibly happy with the service and food from Moxy.

The last place I want to mention isn’t a restaurant but a new bakery in Downtown Portsmouth. Our beloved coffee shop that was a staple in Portsmouth has closed, and many people are looking for a new café to get their sweets and treats from. Elephantine Bakery is located on 10 Commercial Alley, it is a little hole in the wall with a wall of windows on the corner of the alley. It has tables outside creating the perfect small space to chit chat with friends. They currently do not have a website with a menu, but they are working on it. They bake all sorts of bread, cookies, croissants, and marshmallow goodness. Admittedly I have not tried any drinks there, but I am looking forward to going and trying some of the new things they have. They even started making lunch sandwiches! I highly recommend stopping in to check it out also if it’s just to say hello to the employees, everyone has been incredibly friendly!

I am going to try a few more places in the near future,

1. Cava (another tapas restaurant) located on commercial alley in Portsmouth.

2. Oar House located on 55 Ceres street in Portsmouth.

3. The Wilder located on 174 Fleet street in Portsmouth.

4. STREET located on 801 Islington street in Portsmouth.

5. The Goat (for cocktails) Located on 142 Congress street in Portsmouth.

If you have any recommendations for anywhere round the New England area, I would love to hear them! It has been exciting meeting new people and experiencing new foods that I wouldn’t have tried on the West Coast.

Breaking Society.

Hello everyone!

The holidays have been super busy, and I have decided to keep you all updated on what’s been happening in my life.

I am currently on a social media/slash phone break. I realized instead of spending time with family, I was just making it LOOK like I was spending time with my family. I woke up one day and thought to myself, why the hell am I not really living life? Yes, I can take pictures but why do I need societies approval of what I’m doing every second of my life? Why do I feel like I have to share all of the best moments with thousands of strangers? Why can’t I cherish moments as they come? Why do I feel like I can’t connect with people in person?

Before now, I was never really allowed to take breaks from social media even though it’s mentally necessary sometimes. I realized, that right there should have been a deal breaker, instead of encouraging me to go against social norms my ex made it seem like it was a weird, and unhealthy thing to stop being on social media.

If I wasn’t on Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram, he would tell me I fell off the grid, or I was out doing shady shit, and in reality, I’m not that type of person at all he just never bothered to get to know me. He created a version of me in his head, and that was his truth of me, the truth he saw on those social media platforms. It was wrong, he was wrong about me, and I have decided to take a break by deactivating all my social media accounts. This has helped me find a better truth about myself that I really don’t need to prove to anyone else. In return this has helped REAL people in my everyday life get to know me. Instead of checking what I did today on Instagram they are forced to ask me how my day was.

It has been about a week of deleting everything, I still have Snapchat to talk to friends and family, and I have a home phone I have been using, and dang the whole thing is liberating. I have saved my time and money by doing this. I won’t have a phone bill for January, I have stopped talking and having utterly meaningless conversations with people, and more importantly, I have stopped comparing myself to unhealthy expectations of life.

I am currently seeing a man and getting to know him for him instead of checking everything he has ever posted, seeing every place he has ever been; instead, I am asking questions because this time I actually don’t know the answers. I have found that he is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met, and instead of “proving it” through social media, he shows it in person. At first this idea was totally odd and uncomfortable. Instead of me already knowing the answers about his day, I have to ask him questions, I get his real version of the day, there are no silly miscommunications over messages because we are talking. I can hear his voice, see his eyes, and I see him for him not for whatever he portrays on social media.

Every night I would get on my phone and compare myself to thinner ladies wishing I could be them, looking at their outfits that would never fit me, a beauty routine I could never afford, and a life I just could not live. I was living in a different world and sabotaging my own life without even realizing it. I felt like I needed more because I didn’t have what they had, I felt like I had to work double hard to make extra money to afford things the Instagram models shared on their feeds.

So instead of continuing a toxic habit, because it’s “normal,” I cut it all out. I finally said enough. NO, I will not sit in bed and compare myself to photoshopped girls on social media, I AM FUCKING BEAUTIFUL. NO, I will not chat with people online, I WILL CONNECT IN PERSON AND USE MY WORDS. I will smile at my own beautiful chaos in the REAL WORLD. I will live life without feeling the need to share my every move, and those who genuinely want to know can come to get coffee with me, they can stop by my store and visit me, they can come to my house and get to know me. Instead of appearing like an open person on social media, I have decided I WILL be an open person in real life. My actions will match the person I tried to portray myself as on my feed.

The life people create on Facebook and Instagram is not real. They try to put their best versions out there, but that’s not who they are, that’s not how they feel. If you place an Instagram influencer in a room full of real people,
#1 They probably won’t know how to connect.
#2 If they do connect it’s going to be with someone who has the right looks for selfies, they won’t actually share any spiritual connection.
#3 It is incredibly awkward not to know how to talk to people, and to only focus on an app.

I encourage people to take breaks from their toxic habits, be willing to change, take risks even if something small seems scary. Make an active choice and stick with it. I have more time on my hands, this doesn’t mean I can’t take pictures, it just means I finally have time to get my images printed and create a fantastic photo album. It doesn’t mean I can’t blog, it means I have to spread the news about my blog by talking to others in real life, it doesn’t mean I can’t get to know someone, it means I get to know someone for who they are in person. Instead of looking at all the reasons why you can’t, look at all the ways it can be good for you.

Lastly make sure whatever choice you choose, whatever habit you make or break, it’s one that will help you realize you’re worth everything the universe gives you, helps you realize that you are a fantastic individual, and helps you live your own real life. Make sure the choices your make help you move toward the person you are meant to be.

Sunshine Blogger Award!

Hello Everyone,

I have some amazing news to share, I have been nominated for my first Sunshine Blogger Award. Since I started blogging, I have always wondered how these awards work, and now I finally feel like I’m part of some inner circle when it comes to blogging.

I want to thank popsiclesociety for nominating me and will leave my list of nominations at the bottom of the page. How this award works is the blogger who chooses me gets to ask me any questions, I answer them, and then I nominate 5-11 other bloggers I think deserve this award too.
The sunshine blogger award goes to other bloggers who are creative, positive and inspiring!

The rules:

Thank the blogger who nominated you!

Use the “Blogger Sunshine Award” logo on your post and list the rules.

Answer the 11 questions that the selector asks of you.

Nominate 5-11 bloggers you want to give the award to.

Ask the following bloggers 11 questions of your own.

Q&A from popsiclesociety:

1. Do you think that we are alone in the universe?
I think this is a difficult first question, I don’t think we are the only living organisms in this entire universe, but I don’t know if there are other living beings that look and talk like us in outer space. I do believe somewhere there are bacteria and maybe even a type of plant waiting for us to find.

2. What makes you feel happy?

Simple things. My sisters’ freckles and gap-tooth grin, my dog wagging her tail and looking back at me, the smell of moms bacon sizzling on the frying pan. Walking through the town square smelling burned coffee on the crisp, chilly air. Looking up at the sky that’s always changing but always beautiful. I’m that person who stops to smell every flower even when it makes me sneeze or lays in the grass to look up at the clouds, I stare too long at someone I love because those are the things that make me happy. Not just one thing.

3. Do you smile every day?
Oh yes, I smile every day. My whole life is full of joy and laughter. I love joking and being sarcastic, and my family is like that too. My job is full of giggles so hard our tummy’s hurt, my home is filled with a child’s laughter and a dog barking.

4. Do you like traveling?
I love to travel. Well no I hate the traveling part, but I like to meet new people and experience new places. I love to eat different foods and see different colors and views of the world. I never really remember a place I have been, but I remember the colors I see. When I close my eyes and think of the places, I look at the colors that flash behind my eyes and those colors are what I am addicted to when I travel.

5. If you are a gentleman when was the last time you gave flowers to a lady and if you are a lady when was the last time you received flowers from a gentleman?
Why do I have to receive flowers from a man? I haven’t gotten flowers from a man or women in a very long time, my ex never gave me any even though I so badly wanted them, but I buy myself flowers and plants. Life is about the lens we choose to see through, the colors we want to look at, and I think having plants and flowers in your room really help start your day off good.

6. What motivates you to keep going every day?
I swear it’s the little things in life. My little sister, as annoying as she is, she is my biggest fan. I come home, and she calls my name and even when I had a long, brutal day I give her a hug and a kiss and I know I’m home safe ready to take on another day. It’s my dog whining for attention letting me know everyone supports me. They are what keeps me going in this chaotic world.

7. How do you keep up with your blog and your followers? Do you have enough time?
I feel like I never have enough time, I stay up late, wake and up early. Lately, I have been getting up working out, and then I’ll write and check my blog. Sometimes I focus more on the book I am writing than my actual blog, but lately, I have been finding a solid balance between work, reading, writing for me and writing for my blog. It’s been a challenge, but I am finally developing good habits for my writing and life in general.

8. Between becoming a cyborg or dying what would you choose?
I would choose to die. I truly believe when it’s somebodies time to go they know it, and they are ready for it. I mean this isn’t the case for some people, I know that there are horrible things that happen in this world and someone may not be ready to go, but I do think things happen for a reason and I think the universe has some chaotic plan that I am supposed to go along with.

9. Are you a curious person?
I would like to think so. I think things and ideas can be magical and I’m always to find out what magic makes them work.

10. What’s your favorite food?
I have this undying love for pita bread, vegetables, and hummus. I could eat this meal every single day of my life if I could.

11. Have you ever been to Antarctica?
No, I have not been to Antarctica, and I’m not sure I would want to go. There are a lot of rules there, and I wouldn’t want to ruin any habit for an animal accidentally.

The bloggers that I choose:

Sammytheauthor

Hunida

HajraTalat

A Dude Abikes

Layefa

Questions from me to you!

1. What is the story behind your blog name?

2. What is your blogs goal or mission statement?

3. What is your biggest pet peeve?

4. Do you have any routines throughout the day that help you write?

5. Daily, what small things inspire you?

6. What is something you fear the most in life?

7. If you had a choice between dying and living the same day over on repeat, which would you choose?

8. Would you rather be rich and super unhappy or poor and incredibly happy?

9. What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish this year?

10. What puts a smile on your face even when you’re in a foul mood?

11. What is something you would like to pass on to the next generation? (an idea, a skill, recipe, anything goes)

I am so excited to read your answers!

Workout Winter!

My latest workout routine,

Lately, I have been on a total health kick, this doesn’t just mean eating well, but it meant adjusting my workout routine too. I’ve become focused on health throughout my entire body, not one specific place. I think one of my last posts was miscommunicated and here is why.

I told my readers I wasn’t focused on diets, that was one of my goals this year, what I meant by that was I’m not going to focus on fad diets. Rather than starve myself for a week or only eating 100 calories every three hours, I am going to focus on good whole foods and count my calories. I want to make it clear, counting your calories and watching what you eat IS NOT A DIET IT’S A LIFESTYLE.

I have really focused on what I am eating and what makes me feel good. On the other side of the is the workouts I have been doing, and I’d like to share with you some of my favorite exercises!

1. Mountain Climbers

mountain-climbers
Mountain Climbers

2. Kettle-bell squats

kettlebell squats
Kettle Bell Squats

3. Planks

Planks
Planks

4. Russian Twists

russian twists
Russian Twists

5. Walking uphill on the treadmill for 40 minutes

better.jpg

I usually do this full workout routine on Sundays, Tuesday, and Thursdays. Then on Mondays and Wednesdays, I walk for 30 minutes uphill. It has been a lot of work staying motivated enough to do this fitness routine, but it has been worth it. I am starting to notice differences in my appearance and feeling more confident in my body. I realize I will never be model thin, but I will be able to be a good wait for my height and body type.

What are some of your motivation tips for staying on track? What are some of your favorite workouts?

Connections and Coffee

Having Coffee with me,

If we were to have coffee, I would take you to my little coffee corner shop, that has the best hazelnut coffee. We would stand in line, and you would notice that I get a ceramic mug instead of a to-go cup. I’d turn to you and tell you I enjoy sitting and tasting my coffee if the time is available. You would order behind me, and I would sneakily pay for both drinks, after-all I was the one who invited you.

I would go over to where the cream is and actively avoid it going straight for the low-calorie sweetener instead, you might tell me it’s terrible for me, I would nod my head like I am super concerned and yet still dump two packs into my mug with a smile.

If it were summer, I would insist on sitting outside, I would choose a table I could see the crosswalk and both nearest bars, and hopefully a table that would also allow me to see the front door. Id set my purse down and sit on the rickety chair immediately getting comfortable. You may struggle with the old chairs, and that’s okay they get time to get used to, they aren’t exactly meant for comfort.

I would give you a small smile and turn my attention to everyone around us. I would tilt my head and listen to the ongoing drunk conversations of desperate college girls. I would look at the newlyweds already drunk and arguing, I would judge the girls walking in stilettos on brick, and I would smile at the group of recovering alcoholics drinking coffee.

Finally, I would grab my mug, inhale deeply, close my eyes, and gulp down my bittersweet coffee. I’d open my eyes and look at you. I’d turn my attention to you and ask all the uncomfortable questions you don’t want to be asked. Why don’t you talk to your mother? What are your fears? Are you lonely? Do you unconsciously choose to be alone? Tell me what you believe that others don’t? What is something you want but your family is against? Why does your eye twitch, is it from too much coffee? Is it from stress? From this you would either walk away from me or be intrigued, you would also find out I can be just as open if I feel our connection.

You would ask me questions, and I would be open, but if I genuinely felt a connection, a spark of magic, I would have fun and joke around. I would tell you funny stories, you would see my sarcastic playful side, you would see unbound humor that can make some uncomfortable. You would see how passionate I am about life. I’ve always felt deeply, I’ve always felt emotions to the very core of my body. If we spark, we will ignite the earth with our friendship.

You would then realize, form the very first moment our eyes met I was judging you. Not in a wrong way, I was asking myself questions. Do I feel comfortable you? Can I laugh easily with you? Can I look into your eyes and see depth? Do I feel a sense of honesty from you? Do I see a passion, a spark within you? Depending on these answers, we may or may not have coffee again. It is not a win or fail test, it is me being able to decide for myself who I would like to be friends with.

Even if I never see you again, it was a pleasure to sit with you, it was a pleasure to observe others with you. Life is about connection, some connection is forced, and harsh, other relationships are easy and meant to be. I aim to have real connections with everyone if I don’t feel like we are meant for each other in some way I won’t try to force our relationship, and neither should you. At the end of our time, I would expect you to be as open and honest as I am.

In this world of grey, I try to make my emotions transparent, I genuinely try to be a good person, and I try to share my happiness with others. So, after drinking coffee, I would take my mug inside to the baristas, wave at them with a smile, walk back outside toward you. Give you a hug even if we don’t see each other again it was worth meeting someone new. At the end of it all, I would hope that you see there are still good people, and I would hope that you give more people a chance, trying to find the most real, most authentic connections possible.

My Favorite Bloggers!

Hello everyone!

Today I wanted to give a shout out to my favorite bloggers who inspire me daily. The blogs I try to read every day or any time they post because I love their writing, the tips they share, and the inspiration they give. Here is the list of blogs I read and keep up with, I kept it to a few though I try to read a lot more and try my hardest to keep up with all my followers and their vlogs as well.

1. Carrots ‘N’ Cake– This is my favorite to read when I need advice on food or exercises for a new workout routine. The writer (Tina) even includes images and videos that show you how to do each exercise and it really helps me stay motivated throughout the week to keep working out.

2. Olivia Rink– I first found this blog through Instagram and fell in love with her office space, I got so hooked on her home décor photos that I started reading her blog. She has everything from petite fashion, to fitness, to home décor. I am obviously in it for the home décor; her small apartment is to die for.

3. Honestly WTF– Is one of my favorites to read when I need a good DIY (Do It Yourself) project. The pictures are fun to look at, and one day I hope my blog can look as put together as this one.

4. Hanna Travels– I love this girl! She travels all over the world and has a true sense of herself. I would love to see the places she has been, and I aspire to be as carefree and courageous as her.

5. WhyToStop– First I love her blog name, she has everything from fitness tips, to style, to weight loss, and even advice on relationships. If you’re on WordPress often, check out her site, she has some excellent posts that may help you get through a difficult time.

6. The Diary Of Ellie– I love the style and theme of her WordPress blog, she is one of the blogs I read when I need new beauty ideas or skincare tips.

7. Damsel In Dior– I love the theme of her WordPress site, and I aspire to make my page look as clean and cut like hers. She has everything from lifestyle to fashion and beauty.

8. Nerd Fitness– This is one of the last blogs I try to keep up with. I love that they have advice that’s usable in every day normal lives and not just for super thin Instagram models.

There you have it folks, my shout outs to the blogs I read, and hope you all get a chance to check them out. Also feel free to comment your favorite blogs to read, I would love to check them out.

Goals For Fall And Beyond.

Hi Everyone,

This is officially my 30th blog post, and I couldn’t be prouder of myself. Two years ago, I never would have dreamed my blog would grow as big as it is today and I really want to say thank you to everyone who reads my posts, comments, and supports me.

Every year I like to make a list of goals that I want to focus on. Instead of doing this January 1st I love to do it in the fall right before it becomes winter. This way it helps me through the winter when I seem to get a little gloomy.

Last year, I honestly only accomplished a few of my goals where were:
Blogging more
Dieting
Volunteering
Attitude

I did most of this, in fact, I still volunteer once in a while at the local humane shelter, but honestly, I don’t feel like I took last years goals seriously. They were so cliché, and so basic that I didn’t really put thought into them. I was also just beginning to blog and trying to make it easy to read. I focused on the wrong things. This year I have come up with a new list that I actually want to focus on, stuff that I don’t care if anyone else agrees with because it’s for me not for them.

1. Be a little more selfish with my time. I deserve my time. I recently looked at a photo of myself and wished that I still looked like that. My mom said “Do you know how much time you spent making yourself look that good? Priorities change.” Yes, they do, but the thing is I still really want to feel good about myself, and I am learning to love myself. I am allowed to be selfish with my time and put effort into myself.

2. This year I will actively choose the lifestyle I want to live. I will not be dating men who tell me how I should live, I will not let my friends tell me what sort of lifestyle I should have. I will actively choose which direction I want my life to go.

3. I will read more. Recently I have been making excuses or prioritizing other things over something I enjoy. I always tell myself I am too tired to read, or a movie will be alright while I fall asleep. Well screw the excuses, I love to read, and I will read as much as I can, especially during these winter months.

4. This year I will not focus on dieting, I will focus on living my healthiest life. I hate diets I won’t stick to them, but if I focus on creating a healthier and happy environment, I am more likely to stick to it. I have been in the process of doing this, and now it’s time to make it my goal officially.

5. I will travel more. I have recently been on a few trips, and I love to travel. I like to talk to other people, I love to experience different cultures, and I love to eat delicious food. While I am young, while I live with my parents, I will make it a priority to travel. Why would I not take advantage? Why would I choose anything other than living life free?

6. I will start saving for retirement. Yes, I am young, no I probably don’t need to save right this second, but I know myself. If I don’t start now, I will wait till the last minute, rush, and stress myself out when I do retire.

7. I will finish the book I started writing. Anyone who is a writer knows sometimes it’s hard to start and finish a book, especially when it’s so close to your life. Before Aruba, I had this idea, a what-if-idea, and began playing scenes out in my head. I started thinking of my character before I even wrote her on paper, I got attached to her, and that’s when I started writing. First, for almost a month I worked on the outline. During that time, I kept asking myself if I was ever going to start writing or if it was just an idea. One day after I deemed the outline worthy, I started writing, and rewriting and writing more.

It’s super important to set attainable goals and set ones that you actually care about. Yes, I accomplished almost all my last year’s goals, but they didn’t mean much. I would have chosen many different goals last year had I really taken the time to think about things. Before setting your goals for this year take the time to think about who you are, what you want, and how attainable they are. Life is all about choices, so choose carefully what you focus on this upcoming year.

A Dead Dog.

I had this idea that I was going to write about my latest travels, and that it would keep me occupied from what is bothering me. The truth is I can’t think of much else besides what I’ve lost, and I don’t have enough tools to cope with my grief, but this is one way I can share my feelings. My followers have been great to me, I get encouraging emails, I feel like I can share on this platform without being judged harshly. I am about to share something that others may find disturbing, sad, and/or depressive. If you suffer from anxiety like me, or depression, I encourage you to skip this blog post, because it is sad and the last thing I want to do is trigger someone. That is not my intention. My true intention is to share my feelings, to find ways to cope, and to tell others being sad over loss is okay.

Wednesday night, my dad took my dog to the hospital. I was worried sick all day, as soon as I woke up I went to see my dog, who looked like he was in pain. I came down the stairs and kneeled by him, he wouldn’t move because he was in hurt. I put my hand on his head and he closed his eyes. I watched him for a good thirty minutes before I realized he was so uncomfortable, he couldn’t lay on his side, so he would sit up, he couldn’t put his head down, so he just stared at me. He stared at me with his usual sad eyes, but with less light. His usual dark orange-brown eyes seemed like they were lacking the orange tint they usually had. I grabbed a pillow and a blanket and wrapped him up as best as he could and took his final picture. Hoping he would come home from the vet better and happier.

Wednesday night, I saw my dog take his final breath. I’m still trying to sort it all out. I was hoping it was something easy to fix, maybe joint pain or the doggy flue… Anything would have been better. I wasn’t hoping for a miracle, but I was praying to God my dog would be okay. I’ve believed in him so far, how could he let me down now? Solar had a tumor, that was all over his belly and insides. This tumor caused internal bleeding, and the only thing we could do at this point was to put him down.

I knew it was his time before I would admit it to myself. I waited in the car for ten minutes before going into the vet because I just knew, I knew if it was bad enough for me to be at the vet that it was the end. In the car, I kept talking to my dog even though he was somewhere in the cement building. I kept saying “It will be okay boy, we will go home, and you and I will snuggle on the couch and we will be fine.” I knew none of it was true.

I walked into the building and made it right on time to hear the vet say herself, that we could keep him alive for a few more days doped up, or we could make it easy for him. If we are honest people who choose to keep their dog doped up for a few more days are just holding on to false hope. If we had done that my dog would be in pain, miserable and we would watch him suffer so we could have a few more hours with him. By the time she gave us the two options, my dad had put up an emotional wall, nodded his head and said he needed to be put down because he didn’t want my dog in pain anymore. I knew my dad was right, but in that minute, I couldn’t look at him. I felt betrayed and hurt. I kept thinking “How the fuck could we miss a tumor? How the hell are these are only two options?”

The vet walked us to a room with a brown leather couch, a padded rug, with brown tiles underneath, a salt lamp on the far end, two tables by each end of the sofa, a tissue box on both tables with two dimmed lights. Above the couch were pictures of happy dogs with little quotes in each picture. I hated those dogs, I looked at those dogs, and thought “You’re only happy because you’re alive.” By the salt lamps, there was a paper cup dispenser and a white dog bowl with a sink. Farther away from the sink, passed the salt lamp was a clear jar of doggy treats that my dog wouldn’t want.

It’s funny. In that room I thought of a therapist’s office, trying so hard to be a relaxing environment but where you face your fears. I was crying so hard in that room I didn’t think I would remember any details. But I remember everything. I remember everything in such detail I can’t sleep without having panic attacks in the middle of the night.

I was sitting farther away from the door, and my dad closest to the door. I was bawling by this time, using as many tissues as I could. Would the snot ever stop? I was focusing on breathing when my mom called, I picked up my almost dead phone and said hi. She asked me one question, and it was almost like a stab in my stomach. I felt like I would explode starting from my numb toes to the blonde roots in my hair.

“How is the old boy doing?” I couldn’t answer, and she already knew. I could hear her voice shake, this was her baby as much as he was mine. Then she started to try to distract herself, she was trying to make things better, telling me stories of how naughty he was. My dog was an asshole, but he lived his best life, and he makes a good story. All the naughty things he did still make me smile. I am currently bawling writing this, but I have a smile on my face because out of all the assholes in this world I truly believe he was the best of them.

My mom came in ten minutes later, she looked at me with a sideways head and started crying with me. She sat her purse down and sat between my dad and I. Next came in our dog. For our final goodbye. Even with pain pills, his body hurt. He couldn’t lay down right away. He sat uncomfortably and let us pet him. His ears were always the softest part of his body, and I couldn’t stop touching them because I knew I would miss his ears, and his eyes, and his freakishly big paws he never seemed to grow into. He came in, and we all decided it was time. My poor old man couldn’t even lay down with pain pills.

When he finally laid down, he put his head on my moms’ feet just like when he was a puppy. I wanted to think this was the right thing, but I felt like I was being murdered and murdering all at the same time. It was hard to accept my dog was in so much pain this was the only comfortable choice for him. Death hurts the living. I felt sharp pains all over my body. I looked down at my moms’ feet, and the only thing I could think of was “I’m so old now I don’t even care that she is wearing the thickest ankle socks with flats, I should have done that today.”

I stared at her feet for a long time till solar finally moved his head between his paws. He looked somewhat peaceful, he looked like a puppy, how he used to sit. I reached for his ears again, Solar didn’t budge, it’s funny every single day I would tell me dog he was naughty as hell and only sometimes a good boy. Wednesday night, I never once told him he was naughty, he was only my good boy in that moment. He will always be my good boy. Someone came in the room after lightly knocking. She was there to sign the paperwork which my dad did. Thank God because my mom and I couldn’t keep it together. He signed the papers.

The vet came in and laid down on the blanket they had set up for him she was criss-cross applesauce (yes, I still say this) and had three syringes. One pink one, one clear one and one semi-clear one. She looked up and told us the dogs usually go right to sleep. She grabbed the pink syringe, and I had to stop her I asked her what it was, and she said it was the one that would end his heartbeat. I wondered what the other two were and she said they were to flush. I wanted to know if I had to watch all the syringes go in his paw or just one.

It was just one, the Pepto-Bismol pink one with thick goo all the way full. She stuck it in his IV and said she would go slow because sometimes the dogs don’t like the feelings in their veins. Poor Solar was in so much pain he didn’t even budge, I expected him too. This asshole fought anyone who got near his paws, but he was just done. He had no more fight in him, and that’s how I knew it was over. If it weren’t his time, he would have tried to nip her, but he made no moved. His head between his paws, his ears on each arm, he was done. His last breath was halfway through the Pepto liquid, they didn’t really need the full dose, but I assume it was measured by how big he was. He just simply had no more fight left, and he went quickly. After the halfway point my mom looked away, my dad looked away, but I watched every drop of that pink liquid enter his body. The vet quickened the pace after she realized it was done. She took the syringe out and took out her stethoscope from her neck, she scooted closer to my dog to check his heart.

“His heart stopped.” She said
She told us to take as long as we needed, but my parents rushed me out. I patted his head one more time and walked out the door. I had tears pouring down my cheeks, and I knew the front desk ladies were looking at me. I was leaving without my dog.

I think that was the worst part, when you go to the hospital you hope for the best, I was hoping my dog would be okay, but instead, I left watching my dog die. I left my dog dead in the fake therapist office. I felt numb. In fact, I still feel numb emotionally.

Every inch of my body is pounding, my head is aching beyond any a a migraine I have ever felt, tears feel like bricks against my cheeks, and my breath feels short and raspy. I sleep and wake up exhausted, I eat, and it feels like it turned to lava in my stomach. I feel pricks on my elbows, and I feel bruised on my back. I wake up with my hands clenched, fingernail dents on my palms. My old man bear covered in tears and drool. You may be thinking it’s terrible or not okay to be going through this and I’m hear to tell you it’s normal.

Maybe not to this extent but when you lose something or someone, and you are grieving it is normal and okay to feel pain. It is normal to feel exhausted, It is normal to feel hurt. It is normal to not feel happy, society thinks you need to show everyone how happy you are ALL the time, fuck society. You are allowed to feel numb and hurt once in a while. I am drained from writing this, but I had to share. I don’t have a lot of coping skills when it comes to this sort of thing, and I could never share this in person. I can write, it’s something I am good at.

I want you all to take a minute and thank God for the pets he gave us, and then I want you all to go and be with your pets. I didn’t know my last snuggle would be a week ago, I work so much I feel like I missed his whole life. I focused on work, and I forgot to be with my family, I forgot to come home and snuggle my animals. If you’re not religious that’s okay, think your happiest thoughts and then go snuggle your animals, be with your family, at the end of the day that’s all you have.

If you’ve been through any kind of loss, I will pray for you tonight. If you find yourself sad and anxious, know you are not alone, and it is okay to feel things other than happiness. Anyone who has read this whole thing thank you. This wasn’t easy for me to write, I don’t want any “Sorry for your loss.” Comments, if you feel compelled to leave a comment, please tell me your best pet stories. I don’t care if it is 8 pages long, I would rather hear your best memories with your favorite animal than a sorry. I’m not sorry, this happened for a reason, and I will be happy again.