As baby Austin approaches his second month of life, I am reflecting on some of the experiences I have had postpartum- the most useful items I have needed for myself and for baby. We had THREE baby showers, and between my and my husband’s family and friends, we were (thankfully) gifted soo many baby things! Every baby is different, but there are certainly things that have came in SUPER handy these past four weeks, and other items that I haven’t really needed to use (yet). I figured sharing my thoughts could some folks some time, and maybe money too.
Best Items for Mommy:
Tucks Witch Hazel Pads
Overnight Panties (aka adult diapers)
All of the items above were ABSOLUTE necessities in the first two weeks after birth. I delivered vaginally and suffered minor tearing (I only needed two stitches), and was in absolute agony going to the bathroom or moving around too much. Using the witch hazel pads+spray every time I went to the bathroom helped. I recommend the “panties” because frankly, you are going to be bleeding too much and be too sore and exhausted to change a pad every hour or so. (If you DO wear pads, CHANGE THEM THROUGHOUT THE DAY!) Wearing the “panties” helped me only need to change once or twice a day.
A good breast pump
If you are breastfeeding or pumping, a good pump set-up is so crucial. I currently have an electric pump from Medela which works well, but I am still figuring out ways to make it simpler. It truthfully is a very time consuming and exhausting process, so finding something that works and makes your life easier is priority. I am also currently looking into nursing bras so I can pump hands free, so I will update y’all on that. (Spending a few HOURS a day pumping boobie juice adds up and I realize I am just not using that time efficiently right now.)
Moisturizers for everything
But seriously. My skin and lips have been super dry since I gave birth. I also have much less time lately for a full beauty routine every day. The best thing I have done is keep lotion or butters (shea and cocoa) everywhere. Upstairs, downstairs, in my purse, in the car, even at my moms… It makes remembering to put on moisturizer easier. I also hope this helps to reduce the appearance of my stretch-marks over time…My entire pregnancy I used moisturizers almost every day, specifically always on my stomach hoping to steer clear of stretch marks. Unfortunately, I still developed quite a few on the center of my stomach around my belly-button during the third trimester of my pregnancy. Hiss boo.
Best Items for Baby:
Not being afraid to use formula
I am not able to produce enough breastmilk to feed Austin, so we supplement with formula. When I was in the hospital after birth, a lot of the nurses were very adamant on him breastfeeding exclusively. However, I realized that it would be impossible for me to sustain a pumping schedule for that… I also really find it difficult to transport breast milk whenever I am on the go with baby. Formula just makes life a lot easier, and I do not feel bad for doing what is best for both me and my baby.
ALL HAIL MYLICON, an absolute lifesaver on days when baby is especially fussy. Austin has been fine for the most part, but we have had days where he is very gassy and upset and won’t stop crying. Gassy meds work almost immediately and I can tell that they help little Austin a lot. I think they are sooo necessary for any newborn.
A bassinet (or something similar)
You need somewhere to put your baby (duh), but Jose and I did not realize that Austin’s actual crib was going to be basically unusable until he is at least a few months old. We have found that a portable crib or a bassinet is needed in order to stay sane. Baby needs a place to safely be put down and sleep, and parents need a way to catch a break every so often. The particular bassinet that we have actually has WHEELS so you can roll baby around with you (aka when you go to the bathroom), and holds extra diapers and clothes in the bottom for easy access.
Burp rags everywhere
Babies spit, cough, drool, cry, spill… they are literally helpless little mess humans until they get older. So yes, you will need LOTS of burp rags to put everywhere you can imagine. Bedroom, kitchen, livingroom, bathroom, bassinet, diaper bag, car, grandma’s house…you name it. Being caught in a mess of spit up with no towel is not a situation you wanna be in.
A sink bathtub. Omg.
My husband and I were gifted both sink bath tubs and bathtub seats to bathe baby in. We attempted bathing baby in the bathtub for the first few weeks until we finally got around to using the sink-style tub. The sink tubs are SO much easier, especially because baby Austin is so small and weak right now. Baby is confined to a smaller space and has less room to wiggle around, and the set-up and clean up is much easier because the tubs usually have a drain on them that you can unplug right in the sink.
We also have an use baby lotion, but pure coconut oil has helped Austin a lot with baby acne and dry skin. We use it on his face and body after every bath, and we keep it around so we can use it when we see more dry spots pop up. I have found that it absorbs super well into his skin, so there is no greasy residue.
Listen, I know some moms try to steer clear of pacifiers because getting babies to give them up can be very difficult. But Jose and I have chosen to use them because I literally think that baby would never stop crying without them. Austin calms down significantly when we give him a pacifier when he is fussy, and to me, it is better to have a calm and happy baby than to worry about weaning him off a pacie.
Overall, motherhood has been a lot of fun so far. A lot of my day is consumed with worrying, stress, and lack of sleep, but those seem like fair trade-offs for having such a beautiful little boy to love and raise.
As I write this, little baby Austin has been alive a whole 9 days! I wanted to document this amazing experience while the feelings and memories are still fresh on my mind.
Last September, Jose and I discovered that I was pregnant- not soon after, we found out our baby was a boy. My pregnancy was remarkably difficult, and I am so blessed to have had an outpour of support from all of our friends and family. Despite the 9-months of struggle, Austin is beyond worth it; I have never before felt so obsessed and in love with another creature.
I was induced into labor on the night of Tuesday May 4th. Jose and I checked into the hospital at 8pm alongside his sister Claudia. My mother later met up with us and took Claudia’s place in the labor room. My nurse in Labor and Delivery was lovely, and explained the process of induction to us very clearly. I was also opting in to get an epidural, and she was able to answer all my questions about that as well. She explained that depending on my level of dilation, they would start me with a dissolvable pill placed on my cervix that is used as a “ripening” agent to get the cervix soft and to begin the process of labor. After I became dilated at least 4 inches, she would be able to switch me to pitocin to start the harder, more intense contractions that speed up the process. The nurse also explained to me that most first time moms take a long time (usually over 12 hours) to fully dilate and push, so to be patient, and communicative of any pain and issues I was having. She checked my cervix (which was RIDICULOUSLY painful, by the way… they basically gotta stick their whole ass arm up you to feel for dilation), and told me I was not even dilated yet- so she placed the pill around 10pm and we began the “marathon” process of labor.
Within an hour and a half, I was having consistent, strong contractions every minute. My nurse had advised me that I could ask for an epidural at any point, so I called her in to let her know I needed one. My anesthesiologist came in shortly after to administer the dose, which was actually a relatively easy procedure. I felt a couple of pokes but otherwise there wasn’t a ton of pain like I imagined a needle in the spine might cause. The medication helped relieve my discomfort for about an hour, until I began feeling my contractions again and asked my nurse for help. She administered extra dosages to my epidural multiple times, but I was still in severe pain. My nurse checked my cervix again around 4am (a much easier experience now that I couldn’t feel the process), and I had dilated to about 3cm. She went ahead and called back the anesthesiologist who provided a different, stronger medication which ended up completely numbing me and allowing me to get a bit of rest. I felt MUCH better after this new dose, because before then I was nearly in tears with pain. My poor mother and Jose had to deal with me repeating “This is stupid!” over and over, as well as insisting that this would be Jose’s first and only child.
Around 6am my nurse returned to start my pitocin. She had literally plugged my IV up to the bag of medication when she mentioned that she wanted to check my cervix again… which thank goodness she did! She told me that I was already dilated FULLY to 10cm and she could literally feel my baby’s head! She told me to try my best to relax, as she needed to call my OBGYN for him to get to the hospital. I was so shocked- this meant that the entire process of labor took much less time than expected. I did not even start the pitocin before baby was down and ready to go. I immediately became incredibly nervous. For over 9 months I had created and carried my baby, felt him kick against my ribs and tummy, talked to him and sang to him, and finally it was time to meet him. I was really panicking, because something inside me still felt completely unprepared to hold and look at a little human I created. I was overwhelmed with hormones and emotions, none of which I really could process because within half an hour my doctor was in the labor room and it was time to PUSH!
My nurse and another labor nurse assisted my OBGYN. They lifted my (numb) legs into the holsters and explained to me that during my contractions, I would lift up the top of my body into a “curled” position and HOLD my breath for three rounds of a count of 10 seconds. During these round I needed to focus and “push” towards my booty area as best I could. My mom and Jose were by my bed behind me, and kept their excitement contained as best they could. They had a better view of what was going on than I did, and they told me as I pushed that they could see that baby had so much hair! I did about 5 of these breathing sets before baby was OUT with the assistance of forceps, and immediately he placed on my chest. He was alert but a bit blue because he had his umbilical cord wrapped twice around his neck. Jose cut his cord and the nurses immediately took him, as he had inhaled fluids which needed to be sucked out from his lungs. Baby Austin handled the situation very well, and after being examined was weighed in at 7lbs 4oz and 19 inches long. I was cleaned up and able to hold baby Austin again. We took lots of photos and were incredibly overjoyed. Claudia, cousin Angel, and Jose’s dad had stayed in the family room overnight awaiting his arrival and finally got to come in and see him! Everyone was overwhelmingly happy and in love with Austin. He was so sweet and calm, and did not cry or fuss at all. We all were very surprised that he looked so much like me! His blonde hair, light eyes and chubby cheeks were nearly identical to my baby photos. I almost felt sad that he didn’t look closer to Jose at birth, but honestly I am a bit happy to see that I did not spend all that time cookin him in my tummy for him to look nothing like me. I am sure that he will look a lot like Jose as he grows older.
Before I was moved into the delivery unit, a lactation nurse visited me and Austin to show me how to breastfeed. The nurses asked me what my preferred method of feeding him would be, and I explained I wanted to breastfeed if I was able; truthfully, the experience was difficult but I was told it would get better over time. I believe the nurses might have been a bit too biased towards breastfed-only, because once I was moved into delivery I continuously failed at getting Austin to feed yet none of my nurses suggested any other feeding alternatives during my two day stay. I was soo exhausted during my time at the hospital, as I was up almost non-stop trying to feed a crying and upset baby. None of the nurses (or the lactation nurses) could get him to latch even after multiple visits to our room. I attempted to manually extract colostrum/breastmilk to feed him, but it was a long and very painful process. My boobs were super sore and my nipples were raw from the baby chewing on them and angrily receiving no milk in the process. I finally was given some relief when one of the last nurses assigned to me suggested I feed him donor breast milk and attempt to pump my own milk instead of breastfeeding. I graciously agreed with her and had great success pumping milk, and Austin was finally a happier baby after being able to eat a sufficient amount.
Aside from breastfeeding issues, I was also exhausted because of the visitors coming and going. I am beyond grateful that so many (vaccinated and masked) folks wanted to come see my baby and congratulate me and Jose, but I was SO tired that staying awake enough to tend to baby and to visitors was a difficult balancing act. I found myself nodding off pretty often, and besides my mom staying with me I had little help. Jose of course was there with me, but unfortunately he still had to return to work the day after Austin was born. He was gone during the evenings and passed out when he returned, so although he was so sweet to still want to be present, I knew he was much too exhausted to fully assist until after his shifts for the week ended. It was a very tiring and difficult time for everyone, but finally we were discharged Friday afternoon. Jose and I left the hospital and drove to my mother’s house down the block, where I would stay for the weekend while he worked. My amazing mother had set up Austin’s bassinet and changing station, provided me with pads and other post-labor bathroom supplies, and had cooked us lunch all while waiting for our arrival. (I can not express how thankful I was (and AM) for my mother and family for all the fantastic care they provided me and Austin in our days after his arrival.) We all ate and got adjusted in the house, and I was able to FINALLY sleep after days without rest.
Since our first weekend home with Austin, Jose and I have continued to adjust to our new lives and schedules. We are both tired and anxious about having a new baby around, but overall we have been doing just fine caring for him and taking turns sleeping, feeding him, and changing diapers. Jose is so thrilled to be a dad and watching him enjoy Austin is a beautiful and heartwarming feeling. I adore them both so much and to see my beautiful son being doted on by his dad is absolutely precious. Despite having such a difficult pregnancy and exhausting labor experience, I do find it all to be more than worth it to have little Austin around. The intense love and admiration I have for him is beyond any emotion I have ever felt- it has come so naturally, so fluidly and so abundantly. I am so excited to continue growing alongside my son and husband, and to see what the future brings us.
If you weren’t able to tell, I have a bad habit of choosing terrible men. I have dated men on all sides of the abusive spectrum- from an ex that manipulated and gaslit me for years, to a dude who managed to put multiple holes in my apartment in just a few months of seeing him. None of these guys struck me as problematic at first, but their red flags only multiplied as time went on. It seemed like I attracted (or I guess was attracted to) men who were either emotionally unavailable, abusive, unstable, or some odd combination of.
When I met my husband, I was in a weird spot between swearing off men and dating one of my exes on and off. I was emotionally drained and struggling to to balance my emotional state with my job, finances, school, and personal endeavors. I wasn’t happy trying to make things work with my ex, my job was suffocating me, and my depression was making its way back to the front of my life. While I was still generally happy and made great efforts to do things that were healthy for me, I can’t lie and say that I wasn’t emotionally and physically straining myself. I’d go days without eating because depression made hunger a joke, and stomaching food was sickening. I had trouble sleeping, was basically never home because of all my obligations, and felt like I wanted more from life but didn’t know how to obtain it.
Despite all the craziness, befriending my husband Jose was the easiest and most natural processes I’ve ever experienced. As I have mentioned previously, I went to highschool with my husband’s cousin, and we ended up officially meeting through her and another highschool friend. We didn’t meet under circumstances to “date” or anything like that. We simply became instant friends after talking and getting to know each other. Jose was the easiest person to open up to, because unlike most every other guy in my life, he was incredibly kind and understanding. Not only that, but Jose NEVER made our friendship “weird” by trying to push boundaries. A lot of times, guys will try to “get to know” you or be your friend just to date you or try to sleep with you. Jose never, ever made me feel uncomfortable, nor did he ever make our friendship seem as if he was expecting more at any point. He genuinely just cared about me and my well being, and for the first time I truly felt appreciated and cared for by a guy without any stress on my end to act a certain way. (I am sure other women reading this will understand what I mean. It often is very difficult to actually be FRIENDS with a straight man, because of the tension of the guy trying to flirt or make moves on you. This never happened with Jose, because he was always incredibly respectful and genuine in his friendship.)
Being in a platonic friendship with Jose before dating and marrying him was also an amazing opportunity for me to observe his character. When you’re dating someone, there is reason for them to be on their “best behavior”. But because Jose and I were just friends, I was able to see just how caring and great of a person he was outside of a relationship. He was such a genuine and funny person, and always put others feelings and needs in consideration. He was so giving, sweet and caring towards his own circle of family and friends, as well as mine. His character was so different than that of many other men I knew. Jose was such a calm, stable force in my life much unlike the violent, angry and stressful presence of any other man I dated. It really reiterated the fact that not ALL men are assholes, and being around emotionally unavailable men really started becoming an absolute drag when I knew the closest male to me was already the best all-around.
I had to finally cut out my ex entirely before I allowed myself to consider being with Jose. The opportunity was there, but I felt like it was not fair for me to try to be with Jose when I was emotionally still caught up with my abusive past. But once I was completely separated from my ex in every aspect, my mindset and well-being drastically improved and I was able to see more clearly what I wanted in a partner. I realized that Jose was already my absolute best friend, the person I went to immediately with everything, and ultimately he was the only person I truly felt 100% comfortable with. I suddenly felt really silly, because it was so easy for me to see that Jose was the best person for me in every way. Why I spent/wasted soooo much time and energy on men who treated me terribly, I don’t know, but I guess I really had to learn the hard way before the universe aligned itself for things to fall into place with Jose. Truly, since I finally saw how dumb I had been and started prioritizing my health and peace, I have been so incredibly happy.
Jose and I kinda jumped from friends to dating-marriage-baby SUPER quickly. As in, a matter of months! In any other situation I would say that was asinine, but in our case it just made sense. Everything felt right and not rushed in any way. Another really great sign was the fact that ALL our friends and family supported us being together and getting married- there was never anyone telling us that we were “rushing”, moving too quickly, or that things wouldn’t work out. I think that all our friends and family adored us as individuals and even more so as a couple, and already saw how happy and committed we were. Even when we found out and announced I was pregnant, literally EVERYONE was overjoyed! We have been given so much support and love through our entire relationship, marriage, and pregnancy.
As we near the end of my pregnancy, I felt like writing about our relationship and marriage seemed appropriate. This pregnancy has been very difficult, with progesterone treatments through the first trimester and basically non-stop sickness since day one. I have been so weak and hormonal, super dizzy, and unable to hold much food down. I have tried to keep up as much as I can during the pandemic, in terms of both work and keeping up with basic chores, but it has been an extremely exhausting process. I am *so* lucky and blessed to have Jose with me, who has catered so much to my needs and has been the best support I could ask for. He has adored me through the entire process and has made the experience so much better. If it weren’t for him and his help, I don’t know how I would have made it through the past 38 weeks. At this point we are both SO ready for baby Austin to make his arrival! Jose is going to be the best dad ever. I feel so comforted and confident knowing my son will be raised with the most kind, well rounded, and caring man I know.
When their name is brought up, your friends groan and your family cringes. And, deep inside, you know that you’ve fantasized about rolling them over with a dump truck. Funny how a terrible, no good ex can make you and everyone in your life feel legitimate anger. A bad relationship takes a toll on our psyche and can leave you traumatized for months (or years) to come…
At least, this has been my experience. I definitely don’t think this type of “hatred” should be directed towards just any person or break-up. In my opinion, very few people actually deserve to be hated or outcasted. Most of the time people break up for completely logical reasons, like growing apart or moving far away from each other. Sometimes people have disagreements that can’t be looked past in a relationship. Whatever the reason, I find that many people seperate on relatively amicable terms and do not necessarily wish great misfortune for the other party. But what happens when a breakup is so bad, so harmful, so traumatic… that it makes you legitimately angry (or sad) to think about? In situations of abuse, domestic violence, cheating or lying, I can absolutely understand how a separation can leave someone feeling empty and emotionally restless.
Abusive relationships might leave the victim unsure about the future, their worth, or their sanity. Abusers have ways of gaslighting and manipulating their partners to feel crazy and insecure, and healing from this type of constant exploitation can be exhausting. I can not even begin to describe the pain that I experienced while cutting ties with my abuser, as well as trying to find closure and peace within myself. I understand the internal chaos that happens when trying to end a turbulent chapter in your life, and anger is a very normal part of the process.
If you have found yourself in a similar situation, it can be difficult to know what to do next. On one hand, being able to feel anger and rage towards a person who did you wrong can be a healthy thing- after all, knowing that this person took advantage of you and mistreated you is a hard reality to face. Especially if you tried to be the ‘bigger person’ in the relationship and always took the blunt force of their emotional or physical violence, it becomes a headache trying to understand how an abuser could live with themselves and their actions. Allowing yourself to feel anger towards this individual, instead of taking up for them or finding excuses for their behavior, can very much be therapeutic. For years I found ways to justify the abusive actions of my ex. I constantly was gaslit (and lying to myself) in order to forgive his disrespect and negligence. I could have proof that he was lying to me, yet still convince myself otherwise because of his manipulation and ability to make me feel terrible. After breaking away from his abusive cycle, I was able to see the entire relationship clearly for what it truly was! And naturally, I became absolutely irate. How dare another human so selfishly take advantage of another individual repeatedly and without remorse. And worse, why on earth would I set my standards so low to accept that type of treatment?
Anger can be a healthy emotion. Try not to suppress it, and instead find healthy outlets for it. I went through phases of talking to myself while I drove in my car, verbally reassuring myself that what I experienced was real and that I was allowed to feel angry over ‘x’ ‘y’ or ‘z’. I spoke to my therapist about my anger, and she suggested I started verbalizing or writing down all the things I wish I could say (or do!) to my ex. Obviously, it would be very unhealthy and probably illegal to put any of these ideas into action, and that was definitely not my therapist’s advice or my intentions. But just the act itself of getting rid of that build up energy and resentment was incredibly helpful. Crying, yelling, cursing, or whatever else I needed to do was okay. Allowing myself to finally be upset and stand up for myself retroactively was a very helpful aspect of my healing. However, anger over time can be an upsetting emotion to sit with. Especially when there is little you can *actually* do to avenge the situation, feeling angry and upset about your ex can be frustrating. This is when some hard work begins, and you have to figure out a way to find happiness and contentment even while your terrible ex is still out there living his/her life.
This is where therapy definitely assists. I know that speaking with a professional about my struggles and emotions was incredibly helpful in order for me to move past the amount of anger I held. However, I also think that an equally important aspect of healing comes from the actions you take moving forward, as well as the people you choose to surround yourself with. Your success and wellbeing should become your firstmost concern during your time of healing. You should try to envision your own happiness and contentment with any decisions you make during your healing. What would make you happiest in your life? Is it travelling? Returning to school? Quitting a job? Try to think critically about the areas in your life that are holding you back, or the things that bring you much more stress than joy. Remember it is okay to prioritize yourself for once.
Focus too on the folks that you keep in your circle. As painful as it might be, it may be critical to cut out people who bring out negative traits in you. If you’re trying to better yourself and your life, you might not want people around who constantly want to party, do drugs or stay out all night, for instance. You also might have to see who in your friend group truly supports you and will be there to help you when you are in need. Not all of your ‘friends’ will actually show up for you if it happens to be inconvenient for them! Try to not bother with people who are situational friends only, and instead focus on the people who truly love you and want to see you succeed. (These are probably the people who hated your ex long before you did, anyway!)
Life will go on, fortunately, without your ex. While there are times it seems that he or she still dominates your life, your emotional state, and your anger, time will pass and you can and will heal from the trauma you experienced. You are completely allowed to continue disliking your ex, and in some cases you don’t even have to forgive them in order to move on from your past (I honestly think forgiveness is too romanticized in our society, anyway). But just remember that YOUR healing and peace of mind is what is important. You must focus on what to do in order to feel your best and ultimately become a better version of yourself- which, to be fair, is much more difficult than it sounds. Stay as focused as you can, and make sure to allow yourself the care and love of a healthy support system along the way.
I hope this post is helpful for some. Let me know what you think.
I am out here and ready to fight…This ridiculous content running through my social media feeds is driving me insane.
I wrote about cognitive dissonance before on this blog, and this issue reminds me of the post. I say this because the crazy beliefs people in America hold right now are mounted on nothing more than bias. The majority of people sharing content, expressing their concerns, and outright rioting are placing their entire personalities on ideas that are usually FALSE. What is worse, is that these people are also completely unswayed by actual facts and instead propelled by the ignorance of other individuals or news outlets. I bang my head against the wall almost daily, crying WHY DO PEOPLE NOT FACT-CHECK?!
So today, I am writing about a phenomenon called confirmation bias. The term is used to explain people’s tendency to easily believe and adhere to information that better suits their own personal beliefs, and reject information that opposes their beliefs. For instance, if a person really loved waffles and found a Buzzfeed article suggesting that waffles were the best breakfast in America, they would probably be more inclined to share that information instead of a story that favors pancakes instead. This seems kinda logical, right? Who wouldn’t naturally lean towards the information that caters to their preference? The problems with confirmation bias lay within more complex topics. Sure, doting on your favorite food is an innocent behavior- but sharing articles with misinformation on politicians, racism, stocks, or even environmental issues is a bigger concern.
People are engulfed daily with news to process. We open Facebook to a madhouse of articles and shared posts. I can’t even tell you how many times a family member has posted gibberish about their least-favorite senator being a child-eating, Illumiti loving alien. There is literally *endless* information to be found online, and I honestly think it is dangerous when people instantly agree with the hooplah they see shared. No matter how untrue or misleading something might be, you can bet that people will absolutely eat it up if the information already leans towards what they personally believe.
This has been a problem since, well, forever. Ancient Greek historian Thucydides said humans “entrust to careless hope” what they wish to be true, and “thrust aside” what they don’t. Or take a look at early Catholicism or Christianity, where biblical texts were literally left out or edited to please whatever the ruling class wanted at the time. And did white people not convince themselves that black people were property, or even 3/5ths of a human, just to appease their own agendas and money making abilities? To put this all simply, I think humans just want to be “right”. They don’t quite care if it inconveniences people or completely neglects the morality or truths that oppose their views. Humans usually just want what will be easiest and most satisfactory for them at that particular time.
I am angry and frustrated because the increase of public unrest in our country has only been met with ignorance. With exception of a few politicians (hi, Bernie, I’m looking at you), the United States has really shown their ass when faced with high profile issues impacting the entire nation. Last year, citizens dealt with a whirlwind of chaos when the 2020 Covid pandemic hit; many government officials absolutely did not take the virus seriously, with our own President Trump not acting on the problem until months after he was notified. My lovely Texas governor, Greg Abbott, has repeatedly reopened the state despite the ridiculously high numbers of Covid cases. Both of these Republicans have failed citizens and heightened infection risks for millions- and why? Before shutdowns began in March of 2020, Trump was calling the Coronavirus “the Democrats’ new hoax“- mainly in relation to his (first) failed impeachment, and how that was obviously a Democratic hoax as well. This dismissive narrative fit perfectly with his predisposition to question authority, science, and invoke suspicion in his supporters so that they continued to trust him as their leader, and push aside any opposing views. Governor Abbott, in a way, had an easier time reopening a covid-ridden state because he and the majority of other Republicans have continuously agreed with Trump and his ridiculous statements- after all, since Covid isn’t even real, why should we shut down our economy and lose precious jobs and money?
Despite the science presented by experts, the dangers and warnings issued by the CDC, and thousands of people dying from the virus daily, there are still people in 2021 denying the pandemic and refusing to wear face coverings or social distance. The idea of trying to shut down any part of the country is met with criticism, despite it likely being the best method to reduce and potentially rid our country of the virus. Our country has been failed by our leaders, who have chosen to believe the (false) “facts” and policies that best align with their personal ideals and endeavors rather than the wellbeing of a nation. And to make matters worse, thousands of citizens have also fallen victim to confirmation bias because the views of their Republican leaders match their own problematic and selfish desires. Science and facts are extremely hard to accept when it is much easier to believe in a “hoax” and deflect socio-economic issues onto another party- especially now that Biden and Harris have taken over office.
Our American government is supposed to distinguish between the church and the state. We the people have the right to freedoms of speech and religion amongst other things, but when our country seems to rely heavily on bias of the people in charge these rights become confusing. On one hand, our government officials have the right to believe in things like Christianity- but what happens when these leaders begin to impose their own moral compass onto the people? Trump seemed to have no problem influencing his presidency with overtones of conservative “Christian” values, which typically translated into policies such as opposition of gay rights or limiting access to women’s healthcare. Of course, those that guzzled up every word Trump spewed were usually elated by these policies. His following typically were conservative, religious folk that did not want to alter their traditional mindsets. Instead of considering any progressive forms of leadership, they simply accepted his proposals without batting an eye- and seeing how the Senate was ruled by the Republican party at the time, Trump was able to accomplish quite a bit of destruction due to congress almost always voting in his favor. I bring these points up because the last four years of government have not been led with equality and the interest of the people in mind; Trump’s America has seen some of the worst examples of racism, hatred and negligence because people have gone along with policies that support bigotry and harm to our democracy. Greed, racism, and classism have been prevalent themes throughout the entirety of Trump’s regime. The concept of confirmation bias has been shown strongly throughout the past four years, to the point that families and friends have been torn apart due to people’s inability to fact check and perhaps put aside their religious or personal set of morals for the greater good of the nation.
I can only hope for a brighter future for the United States and the American people. The last few years, in my opinion, has really shed light on the cracks of our nation and democracy. It has brought out the worst in people,and exposed those with bad intentions and judgemental, often prejudice beliefs. While I understand that our nation’s problems are politically much more complex than the opinions I glossed over in this post, I intended to pinpoint just a small sector of issues that hurt our country. I also understand that people might take offense to the arguments I present. All of this just goes to show that there is so much more conversation that is needed in order to reshape and ideally equalize our nation. In a perfect America, we would not have political “extremes” of either party, nor would we make such a fuss over issues that are greatly civil rights or humanitarian concerns. I long for a democracy that truly favors the people, and that does not fall victim to logical fallacies more often than it believes in truths and science- I can only keep my fingers crossed that this reality happens within my lifetime.
As a native Texan, I am exposed to pro-gun propaganda on the daily. Logging on Facebook, I see friends and family posed with their ammo at a gun range, or next to a deer they hunted. Whether or not I agree with gun ownership does not matter (for the sake of this post). While I have personal opinions on the issue, I do understand that the 2nd Amendment guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. I also understand that there are plenty of normal, law-abiding people in the country that own guns with zero problems. The south accounts for the majority of registered gun owners in the United States, with the great state of Texas topping that list with over 800,000 registered owners. Folks love their guns, their rights to guns, and the accessibility to guns here in the south- and without fail, any effort to minimize these things is met with enormous uproar and disagreement.
On January 4th of this new year, Dallas congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee introduced bill H.R. 127 to the House of Representatives. This new bill proposes that all gun owners become licensed, and that certain ammunition would be prohibited to own. I learned about this new bill through social media, and saw the outrage and concern that many people expressed. I decided to do some research to see exactly what was happening, so that people can hopefully spread truthful information and not rumors.
All bills are available to the public online through Congress.gov. At the time of this post, however, not much information is available about the bill. Usually, the entirety of the text is viewable online- but, seeing how this bill was only introduced a week or so ago, the website might take some time to update. This provides the opportunity to dig into other bills on gun control.
For those that do not know how bills are passed into law, I will provide a brief and simplified explanation. (Alternatively, you can watch this groovy video from Schoolhouse Rock.): A bill is introduced to the House of Representatives. The House must vote on the bill, and if it receives the majority vote, is moves on to the Senate. The Senate votes on the bill, and if it passes then the bill is given to the President who then signs the bill to become law. So, to refute those who think the H.R. 127 bill is already being implemented, is actually has a long way to go before then!
Most bills around gun control and reform that have been passed by the House have largely been over turn by the Senate. Two bills from February 2019 that proposed background checks for gun owners is still sitting in the Senate, untouched! The likely reason for this lays within the party divisions of each legislative branch. Even during the Trump administration, the House of Representatives held a Democratic majority which contributed to the House’s ability to pass more progressive bills. However, the Senate has been Republican led until recently, which explains their inability to pass bills that conservative members disagree with. Now that the Senate is tied in party members (50 Democrat, 50 Republican), these types of bills might have a higher chance of being passed- especially with the help of new Senate President, Kamala Harris.
Let’s say that H.R. 127 is passed, signed into law, and implemented. What would this type of bill look like in action? Well, as of right now, only 8 states in the U.S. implement gun registration laws. If all 50 states were to implement this, there would be huge adjustments in current practices. Moreover, having all gun owners oblige to licensing laws would mean the time between gun-application and gun-ownership would extend greatly. Usually, gun licensing require applicants to be present at law enforcement agencies- not only that, but the acquisition and renewal of a gun license might require special training or classes that further delays applicants from legally owning firearms. While there are both benefits and consequences to these requirements, most opponents to gun-control laws are concerned most with infringement to their 2nd amendment rights; applying for a license, paying multiple fees, attending training, and registering a weapon creates multiple scenarios that could prevent certain people from accessing guns.
When more information on this bill becomes available, I will provide an updated post. Right now, lots of chaos is happening within the government and I am sure that there will be more important matters in the House and Senate hands at the moment (i.e. impeaching Trump!). I hope this post clearifies the H.R. 127 bill for those curious.
What are your thoughts on this bill? Are you a supporter of gun reform?
October, my birthday month, was relatively mellow. While I definitely wanted to find a way to celebrate my 23rd, I knew my options were limited because of the pandemic. It also doesn’t help that my birthday falls on Halloween, when most people would rather be at their own events than a birthday party. Jose, my family, and a handful of friends came over the weekend before my birthday to celebrate instead. We watched the Cowboys game (they lost), and cooked a seafood boil out on our patio. It was a sweet “party” even if it wasn’t as crazy as it could have been! But in reality, because I was pregnant I knew I couldn’t really party anyway.
The weekend of my birthday was spent in the east Texas countryside on a family friend’s ranch. They loaned the space out to my mother for a night so we could celebrate my birthday as well as her boyfriend’s, which was just a few days after mine. The place was huge and super fun, equipped with three fishing ponds stocked with fishies and 4-wheelers. We had a fun night and enjoyed chili dogs, cake, and the nice scenery. After leaving east Texas, Jose and I headed straight over to our friends Tracy and Jerry. They were taking us out to a reserved event with 80s music and a costume contest. The event was limited capacity, and attendees were required to actually purchase a table months in advance. The four of us had our own table in the back, and everyone was masked up. It was still a super fun time, and Jerry and Tracy actually were finalists in the costume contest!
The fillers of the month were eating lots of food, trying my best to keep it down (the baby made my life very difficult for many months lol), and praying that Trump didn’t win another election in this country.
We nestled into November very comfortably after Biden won against Trump. I cannot even explain the amount of relief after the election finally was over (of course, before the recounts and whatnot.) While I don’t agree with everything Biden did in his administration with Obama, I do think he is a much better fit for our country than Donald Trump. I have some faith that our country will restore a sense of justice, and assistance for the poor and middle class folk will be considered. I can only hope that Biden takes this pandemic (and the need for vaccinations and science) much more seriously than 45.
Jose and I spent some of our free time Christmas shopping, although a good portion of that was completed online. Jose was still working an insane amount of hours at Amazing (mandatory overtime due to Black Friday and Christmas), so I was home alone pretty often, or at my mother’s house with my sister. Madi and I planned a great deal on what we would be making for Thanksgiving, and deciding the best route to proceed because we knew seeing too many people for the holiday would be dangerous. We ended up inviting Jose’s dad and siblings over for the event, because we see them frequently anyway. My cousin Bailey also stopped by. Our family had made a ton of food- different casseroles, pulled pork, mashed potatoes, and way too many pies. Not to mention, Jose’s family brought over tamales and a huge zacahuil. I had never had a zacahuil before, and it ended up being a yummy and unique contribution to the usual Thanksgiving fare.
When Jose finally caught a break from work, he desperately wanted to travel out to Arkansas to see some of his family. I was extremely reluctant because, well, I was pregnant and throwing up all the time! But because I knew it was important to him, I eventually agreed and begrudgingly tagged along with Jose and Claudia on the 5 hour drive to Fayetteville. Of course, I complained the entire way, and in my defense I vomited the entire time we were there… In general, though, the little overnight trip was fun. We spent time out in nature, and Claudia took belated wedding photos of Jose and I in a beautiful church hidden in the woods. We also stopped along a few different viewpoints in the mountains, which was a very pretty sight with all of the fall colors in the trees. It would be fun to go again at some point, but I told Jose that I would be flying…
December began with my father and sister staying over my house. I had not seen my father in months, so it was great to catch up. We made perogies and played card games. Jose was still working overtime and didn’t get to stay over that night, because he works the overnight shift. He was exhausted all the time, and most of the time I saw him was either when he left for work or was asleep 😦
The second week in December, Jose and I attended a “friends” Thanksgiving two hours out at a lake house. (We all were negative for Covid before coming to the event.) We exchanged secret Santa gifts, ate a big meal together, and played games. The weather was freezing outside, but we also got to enjoy the outdoor firepit. Being the only pregnant (and sober) one there, I babysat while everyone else drank too much. It was fun to watch, and at least I had brought some sparkling cider with me.
Our anatomy scan for the baby went well during December, too! My mom was allowed to come into the ultrasound with me and she recorded the process of the tech scanning my belly and looking at the baby from all angles. I was so amazed how big the baby already was! He has visible bones, and is super active too. All of his measurements are normal, if not a little on the big side. My favorite part was receiving our ultrasound photos, one of which definitely shows the kid flicking us off.
Lots of animal related things happened throughout the month, too- besides our three cats being assholes (loving assholes), we stopped by the shelter to see an old 11 year old chonker named Mike. We were not planning for any more animals, but I saw Mike online and thought he was absolutely precious. We made a trip to the shelter and visited with him for half an hour, only to later discover that he was not suitable to live with any other animals, or small children- a double whammy for us with a baby on the way! Claudia’s dogs also had puppies, which are literally the cutest little creatures on Earth. The mommy dog, Zoe, had three boys and all of them are already claimed to loving homes. Safe to say it was sooo hard to not steal one!
For Christmas, we had an even smaller event than Thanksgiving. Jose and his dad came over to my mothers for Christmas Eve, and we all ate dinner together. The plan was for his dad and sister to return on Christmas day, but Claudia actually got into a bad car wreck on her way over to the house. She had to be sent to the ER for stitches on her face, which was super scary. We are all glad she is safe and okay, and as of writing this post she is actually back at work now. But whew, what a wild holiday. New Years, on the other hand, was calm as could be. Jose and I stayed at my mother’s house again with my sister to ring in the new year. We did face masks, then literally went to bed.
I appreciate anyone who has read all four (or any) parts of the series! I hope everyone has a much more enjoyable new year with more blessings, and far less stress. Although 2020 had some great moments, I am glad to be ushered into 2021.
As promised, the third installment of the series! You can catch part one here and part two here.
Jose and I really wanted to get out of the city, so we browsed some options to see where we could escape for a few days without being around a ton of people. Flights were still cheap, and Jose was adamant on returning to Denver because he had only been for our day trip with Eddy a few months back. We decided to take a flight to Colorado for a few days to explore the mountains.
We rented a Jeep for the trip, and used the car as a make-shift camping tent. It saved us some money on a hotel, and it ended up being a pretty fun (although uncomfy) experience. The Jeep took us all over the place. We ventured into the mountains to Panorama Point, an absolutely breathtaking trailhead near the city of Boulder. I had been before in November of 2019, when I first visited Colorado with my Southwest Airlines friends. I was adamant to go again, because the weather was now a bit warmer and the scenery was just as fantastic. We snapped lots of photos before adventuring on into the mountains. Along the way, Jose and I stopped and picked up some cool looking rocks to bring back to Texas with us- we were flying Southwest and each were able to bring two free check-in bags, so we figured we would use one for the rocks (which somehow ended up being 24lbs…)
Eventually, we found ourselves at a small little lake called Glacier Lake up in the mountains. I am pretty sure this was on private property of some sort, because the entire lake was lined with little cabins, kayaks, and trucks. We didn’t stay too long- even though we both brought swimsuits, the altitude made the lake SUPER cold! The view was gorgeous though, and the pictures were worth freezing for a bit. After leaving the little lake, we made our way back down the mountain- we made a few pit stops along the way to take more photos, including an amazing area of train tracks hidden in the Rockies. We also stopped in a little town on the way down to explore, but we did not stay super long because the sun was going down and the weather was only getting chillier.
Before settling in and sleeping, we stopped by a food truck and ate some delicious Mexican food curb-side. It was super cold out, but the food was good and it was fun to try a new place. Our final stop of the day was in Cherry Creek State Park near Aurora, where we stayed for the night. In the morning, we woke up early to see the sunrise and loved the view of the mountains from the state park. It was so fun to adventure locally and see all the beautiful sights- the state park also has lots of wildlife, namely Muskrats that are ADORABLE to watch burrow in the ground. The day was spent packing up our rocks (we ran to the store and got a box for them hehe), getting coffee at a cute Denver shop, and returning the rental Jeep before we headed to the airport.
We didn’t spend too much time back in Texas before our next adventure. The short time we were back home, we rode kayaks on the lake near my mother’s house. She had purchased four kayaks early in the year, and was super excited for us all the start using them. A few days after our kayaking outing, we boarded a plane again (mask and sanitizer on deck) and flew out to Atlanta, Georgia to celebrate my sister’s birthday. My sister, Madison, wanted to venture to Atlanta to see the world’s biggest aquarium. The Georgia Aquarium is home to some of the largest species alive, including whale sharks which she was particularly keen to see. I was actually shocked to see that Georgia was upholding Covid safety MUCH better than Texas. Even on the streets of downtown Atlanta, everyone wore masks. Any building we entered into was monitored for capacity, and some places (like the aquarium) checked everyone for temperatures before entry.
Our first day in Georgia was spent adventuring the walkable downtown Atlanta, finding food, and journeying to the famous Ponce City Market. We stopped at a liquor store in downtown to get some Crown and sprite for us all to share during our stay. (Surprisingly, my sister drank the majority of it. I am not really a drinker, so I don’t think I had any!) The second day there, we walked down half a mile to the aquarium. I was very impressed by the sheer size of the place. There were numerous exhibits, and all the tanks were absolutely giant. I usually am pretty against the idea of animals in captivity, but seeing how much SPACE these fish and animals had made me feel much better about their quality of life. I was so impressed by the variety of species the aquarium had! We stayed there for a few hours admiring the wildlife, and catching a dolphin show at the end. For Madison’s birthday dinner, we made reservations at a super cute home-style restaurant that had a seasonal menu. We ordered fried chicken, greens, and some delicious honey-glazed fried zucchini. The staff even packed Madison a to-go birthday dessert!
On our last day in Georgia, we made a few tourist-y stops before heading to the airport. The first stop was a small farmers market off the road-side. My mom was in search of Georgia peaches (duh), and some cute preserves that she could bring home for us and for her boyfriend to try. She found lots of goodies, including delicious peach marmalades, jams, and even some home-made peach bread. Of course, I also got some photos with peaches for the aesthetic. After this, we ventured to the famous Georgia Chick-Fil-A! I learned that Chick-Fil-A actually was originated in Georgia, and one of their original locations makes themselves especially unique by offering a “Hawaiian” themed menu. All the employees are dressed in Hawaiian shirts, and the menu is full of INSANE items like fish tacos, boba-tea lemonade, and even sweet potato waffle fries! It was an amazing experience to be able to order so many yummy treats at a Chick-Fil-A. As far as I am aware, this is the ONLY location that offers such delicacies, so my cravings will have to wait until our next trip to Atlanta!
The only other “trip” I experienced in July was a small day trip to a river in Oklahoma. Jose and his family used to frequent this hidden spot, and he wanted to take me to see it too. The place is called Little Niagra, and it is located close to Panther Falls in Oklahoma. The water was gorgeous and bright blue! As the same implies, there were also some nice little waterfalls around the river area, too. It was too cold for me to swim comfortably, but I still got in the water and had fun regardless. It was a great day trip (only an hour and half out from Dallas) and I would definitely go again.
August was another super slow month. It was mainly filled with redecorating our new living room on a budget. Jose and I shopped around in thrift stores that were open, as well as looking online. We were able to re-do the entire living room for a couple hundred bucks! I am a huge germ freak, and clean/sweep/etc kinda obsessively, so at first the idea of having used furniture freaked me out. However, I realized that LOTS of thrift stores have furniture that is practically new, or barely used! Especially with small items like tables, lamps, etc, thrifting really is the best way to go. I am pickier with larger items like couches, but we got really lucky on ours. We found a super cute vintage couch with velvety seats, in really good condition. We also stumbled upon a nearly-new daybed that we placed on the other side on the living room, which is now used as a giant comfy couch for guests (or, more often, the cats.) I really love how it has turned out, and we add to it here and there when we get the chance. The thrill of going thrifting and finding amazing steals is exhilarating… I’ve even thought of opening a thrift-flip side gig, just because of how fun it is. The next DIY in the house will probably be the bedroom, or the baby nursery. We spent lots of time at home visiting the kitties, and enjoying time together. The two of us adventured to the Dallas Farmers Market once or twice to get some fresh air and explore the city. Otherwise, we both kept a pretty low profile and just worked and slept.
The main “event” of August was probably attending my friend’s wedding. Blair and her wonderful husband TK have been together for a few years, and I was thrilled when they finally got engaged last year! They planned for a big and beautiful wedding, but of course Covid had other plans. The two decided to keep their wedding date in place, and offered masks and social distancing at their wedding- part of which was outdoors. I snapped a photo of myself in the bathroom without a mask, but if I was around any of the guests, everyone had on a face covering. The event ended up being a smaller but very nice celebration, and I am so happy for them! The two are really so sweet together and deserve the best.
The best thing that happened in September was returning (AGAIN) to Denver, with one of my besties, Magnolia! Magnolia and I actually graduated highschool together, and both went on to attend NYU. She is one of the most intelligent, witty, and sweetest humans I have ever met. Now that she has moved back to Texas from New York, I get to see her much more often which makes me so happy! We decided in September to take a little girls trip together. She had never been to Colorado and seeing how it is one of my favorite destinations, I was eager to show her around.
We flew out to Denver airport and got a rental car for the trip. (Magnolia and I found a super cute and cheap Air BnB in Aurora, too, which ended up being SUPER comfy!) Our trip was action packed and super busy. On our first day, we ventured about two hours out to see the gorgeous Garden of The Gods. The “Garden” is actually a giant nature preserve in Colorado Springs that is home to giant sandstone formations, walking trails, and even horseback ride tours. I honestly did not realize how HUGE this place was until we started our hike! Thank goodness we brought sunscreen and water, because we ended up out in the sun for many hours. Magnolia and I explored through different trail-heads, enjoying the gorgeous weather and the even better views (you can actually spot Pike’s Peak from certain areas in the reserve!) We snapped lots of photos, and exhausted ourselves climbing up and down natural rock formations and seeing all the massive structures around us.
After we finally made it back to our rental car, we headed back towards Aurora only to spot a massive, insanely beautiful rock formation along the highway. In true adventurer fashion, we made a quick pit stop off the roadside to inspect this great natural sight. We decided to hike up the formation, which seemed to already have a few carved out trails made by other curious passer bys.. Once we reached higher elevation, the view were immaculate. We spotted a cute little firepit, and stopped to take in the sights.
On our second day, Magnolia and I ventured through Lo-Do (downtown Denver) for a few hours. We explored a dispensary, and of course grabbed a Starbucks drink to enjoy the day with. After, we drove in to the Cherry Creek State Park that I had visited before. We actually discovered the designated swimming spot and beach in the park, and took advantage of the beautiful water and sights. From the park, you could see the peaks of the mountains around- it honestly looked like a Bob Ross painting. We enjoyed the weather (which was surprisingly not too chilly), and waded in the water for an hour or so. Before leaving the park, we researched some near-by food stops to pick up on our way back to the Air BnB. We decided on a delicious Mediterranean place called FelFel. We each ordered a plate to take home, which was SO yummy. As we ate in the Air BnB, we watched Netflix and relaxed. Before going to bed, we thought it would be fun to walk through the gorgeous neighborhood for a bit, and end the evening with some star-gazing on the Air BnB porch. The air, vibes, and scenery of Colorado is simply immaculate- the entire state is so inviting, warming and lovely. I have never had a bad experience in Denver!
On our final day in the state, Magnolia and I ventured to a hiking spot called North Table Mountain Park. We parked our car near the west trailhead, and started our last adventure of the trip. The slope up the trail was INTENSE! The elevation paired with the incline really had me exhausted before we even reached the top. However, once we reached flatter land, I was so glad we stuck to the path. The land was beautiful, full of giant formations and areas for rock climbers to practice. We explored the area, snapped photos, and continued upward to fully see the views of the nature trail. With mountain peaks all around us and clear blue skies, we took a snack and water break in the rocks before making our way back. Before we got far down, we spotted a natural crater! The area was marked off for viewers to enjoy and it appeared as if many rock climbers had made their way up and down the giant space. It was a surprise to see because nowhere did the internet or trail advertise such a natural beauty! We felt really lucky to have spotted it, because had we gone the opposite was down the trail, it would have been missed!
Our trip was relatively short, but super fun none-the-less. We both had a great time, social distancing and all. Once the world returns to a bit of normality, we both would love to go to Colorado again- although next time, we would be better prepared! In retrospect, we both should have brought better hiking gear (especially me, wearing old sneakers…), and carved out more time to explore the especially large trails such as the Garden of the Gods. This was just one trip of many, I am sure!
BOYYYYYYYY do I have a LOT to say on this topic. Now, let me preface this post by saying this: no, I am not trying to be hip and trendy and ~eXpOsE tOxIc PeOpLe ~ and beg you to ~ ReMoVe FrOM uR LiFe wHat DoEsnT SeRvE YoU ~ or some basic ish like that. The internet is already full of pity parties and sob stories about “toxic” friends, exes, etc. and I am not here to contribute to the fest. This post is not your typical Huffington Post read or Thought Catalog article… sorry to disappoint. 😦 I’m here to share some facts, some hard learned lessons, and some general info for people who may be struggling or have struggled in the past with difficult relationships.
I want to start by describing what a “toxic” person really is. I am including information provided by psychology based resources, as well as some anecdotal ideas.
I personally feel that toxicity is related to unresolved trauma or confliction within a person. If a person is not insightful about their emotions and emotional triggers, they are more likely to react in ways that could be problematic or manipulative towards other people. This could look like:
Youtalk to your friend about something hurtful they said to you. Instead of expressing empathy, the friend projects their own issues onto you and the situation, making you feel guilty for bringing up your hurt feelings, and perhaps causing YOU to apologize instead.
Your partner makes remarks about women, clearly expressing his interest and attraction to them. You ask him to consider your feelings when he does this, and he immediately responds with “Well, you should stop being so insecure!”
There are other ways to describe a toxic person or situation, obviously, but in these two scenarios it is very apparent that there are internal tribulations within your friend or partner. I want to remind people that this type of response to an issue (a immediately negative, harsh, and accusatory response) is NOT normal. An emotionally sound, empathetic individual will use listening skills to understand and communicate with another person they ‘care’ about. A person who instead responds in a reactive, manipulative way may be too blinded by their own issues to create a safe and productive space to communicate.
With this being said, “toxic” people are rarely insightful to their problematic behavior. Often, they use manipulative tactics to victimize themselves, deflect the issue, or otherwise find a way out of any blame or fault. These types of people are unreachable and unteachable- NO matter of persuasion can convince them that they are the “issue”. Toxic people like this usually have narcissistic qualities– a common denominator in many stories of abusive exes, parents, or friends. Note what I just said: abusive. The toxicity that these people bring is considered both emotionally and mentally abusive. While it is (unfortunately) common to grow accustomed to toxic, dysfunctional behavior, it is so incredibly important to understand that this type of abuse can actually result in emotional trauma. Experiencing ongoing, long-term toxic behavior can leave you feeling constantly on-edge, overly apologetic, and even untrusting and suspicious of people. It becomes an exhausting cycle, and can make you feel like you’re going insane.
Empathetic, emotionally intelligent humans have the capability to sympathize, reflect on their actions, and adjust their behaviors as needed. Toxic, abusive people lack this insight, and therefore are much less likely to think anything they are doing or saying is ‘wrong’. Without the ability to critically think about our own actions, it is virtually impossible to understand the impact we can have on other people. For toxic individuals, deflecting the blame and finding other people or things at which to point the finger is an easy opt-out. This is why being around toxic folk can be so emotionally, mentally, and even physically draining. Nothing can be their ‘fault’- it’s simply impossible! It becomes up to you to solve their problems, take the blame, over-explain yourself, and stress yourself out knowing that nothing you say or do can ever be enough for them.
I will give a few personal examples. I once dated a guy for a few months, years ago, who was genuinely a violent and toxic man. His toxicity grew exponentially as we were together; his ‘tick’ was this ridiculous and sexist idea that women and men couldn’t be platonic friends. Because of his extreme beliefs, he increasingly imposed his will on me and my lifestyle which included many completely platonic male peers. I was friendly with males from past jobs, from traveling, from highschool and even college. Obviously I did not need to explain myself to him, but because of his insistence I found myself more and more stressed out any time a male friend reached out to me, liked my photo, or commented on my post. The guy I was dating eventually became irate, screaming and throwing things (including my phone) and demanding I block every man I know, even my family. I consulted with my family, friends, and even my therapist about this absurd requirement and everyone agreed that it was possessive and toxic. When I confronted the guy about it, he turned the entire situation around on me, claiming that I was insensitive for not taking his feelings into account, and that I shouldn’t be talking about our ‘private issues’ to my outside circles. He claimed that if I would simply be ‘less slutty’ (apparently having friends makes you a hoe, PSA!). then he wouldn’t have needed to break my door, throw my stuff around, and cause a scene. I dumped this guy super quickly, but not without multiple back and forth arguments about how terrible of a person I was because I refused to give up speaking to my friends and my FATHER.
A different, long-term guy I dated was also incredibly toxic. He was a manipulator, a liar, a gaslighter, and an overall asshole. With no regard for anyone’s feelings but his own, he put not only me through hell but my family and friends as well. My own mother has cried because of things he has told her, or the ways he would toss my mental and emotional state around like it was nothing. At one point, he called my LGBTQ+ friend a slur because I chose to hang out with said friend instead of him. I wrote previously about how terribly he treated me when I experienced a miscarriage with him. Hell, at one point in our relationship he recklessly drove with me passenger side, nearly crashing us and telling me that he “wished a car would have hit my side”. Any time I tried to stand up for myself, he took it as a threat to his own ego and would either whimper and cry with the expectation of me apologizing and caving in to his manipulation, or he would victimize himself and yell and shout at me for making an issue in the first place. Although he lied, took, and finessed his way though our relationship, he was always the one being “hurt” or “mislead” in the end. All of his friends are under the impression that he has never done a wrong thing in his life- despite the loads of evidence of him lying about other women, amongst other things. If he didn’t have money, it was because “the world was out to get him”. If he experienced ANY repercussions for his actions (getting into car troubles, getting fired, etc), it was because of something *I* or someone else did. His reaction to EVERYTHING was anger- because, as I mentioned above, he had virtually no emotional IQ. His entire existence was based off blaming other people, taking advantage of others, and skidding through life while avoiding consequences. It was exhausting, and I literally am still in therapy because of the disastrous experience I had with his toxicity.
(I also want to note, that up until my husband, I was just incredibly notorious for choosing BAD partners and putting up with bullshit. So, while these folks definitely WERE toxic, it was also my fault for sticking around and trying to fix things.)
Many people I am close to have experienced toxic people in their life. Some of my friends have left abusive relationships, only to still struggle with the trauma left on them. I know some folks that are struggling right now during the holiday season because they stopped talking to their toxic family and are now alone. Let me not even get started on stories I have heard on social media. Tik-Tok, Twitter, and even Facebook has exposed so many truths and similarities that women (and men) face in toxic relationships. Again, narcissistic qualities are almost always present in the perpetrator. Inability to take accountability. Gaslighting. The list goes on, and seeing that other people have been victims to similar abuse makes me feel less alone in the issue. I have begun to see that this, unfortunately, is a common experience in modern dating, relationships, and dynamics between family and friends.
So… what is the point to this post? As the title suggests, I am emphasizing the fact that toxic humans usually will not change their behaviors unless THEY see the problem, accept it, and change it for themselves. No amount of love, sacrifice, or honesty on your behalf will convince them that they are problematic. Having children with a person will not make them change. Interventions with the person, ultimatums, and even leaving them will not convince them to change unless they want to. Even if they do see error in their ways, the getting up and fixing it (going to therapy, apologizing, taking accountability) is usually too scary, upsetting, and off-putting for these people. These people rarely want to make any changes to themselves or their lives before things are too late.
I hope that, for your own sake, you will understand the complexities of these toxic people and leave them be. It is not worth your mental or physical health to try to “fix” them. Your value and happiness is more important than waiting around for people who may never be who you want them to be! Lots of us have learned this lesson the hard way, and I encourage you to take our wisdom and save yourself time and suffering. This post is meant for education and awareness, not to expose or insult anyone. I just want to help people who might need it, if I can.
Hi friends! As promised, here is part 2 of my 2020 wrap-up. I hope you enjoy!
April was one of the slowest months I experienced in 2020. Places were shut down, and although some folks were taking advantage of the ridiculously cheap flights, I was nestled in my couch at home. My friend Kenzie was staying with me at the time, as her lease ended in April, and mine ended in May. To give her some time to look at places that would best fit her new needs (new job, new school), it was easier for her to crash at my place.
Most of our days were filled with snacks, the cats, and watching new T.V. shows. During this time, I watched the rest of Breaking Bad (which was absolutely fantastic), and dabbled in other shows I was interested in. To be honest, becoming interested in any television show or movie is difficult for me. I found myself resorting back to Jeopardy a lot, which is objectively my favorite show.
My friend Dalon stopped by a few times, as well as my friend Kase. Kenzie was always over (obviously), and so was Jose, so it was nice that we kinda isolated together and weren’t alone. To pass time, Jose and I started on a working out streak and would jog around my apartment complex multiple times a week. (I am a terrible runner, and running even half a mile takes me OUT).
One night, Jose’s sister Claudia took us back to their old apartment complex, where we tried to swim in one of the pools. It was way too cold, and I didn’t even have on proper swim gear anyway. At least we got pics for the gram, I guess.
MUCH more adventurous than the previous month, May started off on an excellent note with getting approved for a new townhome! I was soo ready to leave my old place. Although it was a fun and affordable little area, I made the mistake of not getting an apartment with laundry machines, PLUS I was on a third floor walk up. Grocery hauls were the worst, going out in rain or cold to have clean clothes was terrible, and my complex was notorious for towing cars- seriously, even *I* was towed from my own complex more than once. Screw that.
On the day that Jose and I were literally headed to drop off the security deposit to the leasing management, we found BABY KITTENS under a car in my complex parking lot!! We found four in total- two black kitties, a tabby, and a tuxedo. We searched around for the mommy cat, with no luck. While we were worried about where the mom cat could be, we were more worried about getting the babies out from under a car and inside away from the super hot Texas sun. We gathered all four of them up and rushed back upstairs and woke Kenzie up, who was once a vet tech. Safe to say we all fell in love!
We took the kitties to the vet, where they were examined and given de-worming treatment. The vet told us that the kittens were around 2 weeks old, and super fragile. We followed their instructions and bought kitten formula powder and bottles, and gave them a big box to sleep in with a heating pad. We all three took turns caring for the little ones, because they had to be fed every 2 hours around the clock. They were so young, that we had to help them go potty too- something usually momma cat does for them. It was very tiring but oh-so worth it. They were the most precious little things, and caring for them was an absolute joy. Seeing them grow (so fast!), play together, and start to adventure into big-kitty territory was sooo precious. After the kittens were old enough, my good friend Taylor adopted the Tuxedo baby and named him Jasper, while my other friend Calvin took the Tabby and named him Sora. We were left with the two black kitties, only one of which was a girl. I particularly loved her, who I named Rosie, because she was the runt of the group and very small.
Soon after we had found the kitties, Jose and I took a road trip to south Texas with his sister and their cousin, Angel. (We were able to organize Jose’s brother taking the cats for the time we were away, because Kenzie was working while we were gone.) Remember how I said I hate road trips? Yeah, this trip got me HELL-TO-THE-NO fucked UP. The trip ONE WAY from Dallas to McAllen is 9 hours, including minimal restroom breaks. I literally wanted to die the entire trip there (and back). I know, I’m the worst complainer alive probably, but I really did feel like it was that insufferable. Obviously being with Jose, Claudia, and Angel was super fun, but the act of sitting in a car for so long nearly made me cry. They claim it’s because I’m a white girl, which is probably a decent explanation…
Anyway, we left Dallas around 1am (I know, we are insane), and trekked through the night to our hotel on South Padre Island. Our plan was to stay there for two nights, enjoy the beach life, and travel the short distance over to McAllen area where their family and cousins live during our days there. The first day there, we napped for a bit in the morning before heading out to the beach- which, amazingly, was WALKING distance from our hotel. Jose and I stayed out there longer than Claudia and Angel, who left the beach after an hour or so in search of some fast food. I absolutely love the beach, so staying out for hours in the water is usually no problem for me! Luckily, Jose is the same, so we had lots of fun being outdoors with the beach very sparsely populated.
The only issue that occured from the beach was getting HELLA sunburnt. I reapplied sunscreen two or three times, but I guess my light skin was weak and couldn’t hold up a fight against Texas sun. Jose was burnt badly too, but his stubborn ass didn’t reapply sunscreen despite my efforts, so that one is on him… Sunburnt and hurting, we drove out to visit their family later that day. No one had been exposed to the virus and everyone had been wearing masks, so we felt safe seeing a few people at the time. His aunts fed us tamales and one of them graciously cut up some fresh aloe-vera plant for Jose and I to use on our skin. She also gifted us a plant to take home, which now is HUGE and resides outside in our backyard.
We slept at the hotel that night, then we headed home in the morning. It was really cool being so close to the Mexico border, so hopefully the next time I go down to south Texas I will have my passport and could maybe explore. (Also, whenever Covid is at rest…)
On May 15th, we moved into the new townhouse in a much better part of Dallas. It was a beautiful, 2 bed 2.5 bath house that was two stories! It also came equipped with a new washer and dryer setup. I love the location, and our gated community feels a lot safer compared to my previous apartment. Also, this location DOESN’T tow, so now my friends, family and I can rest in PEACE knowing none of our vehicles will be gone in the morning.
A while after moving into our new place, Rosie unfortunately passed away due to common kitten health problems. We did everything we could to save her, including multiple vet trips (and vet bills…) which proved to not help in the end. We buried her in our back yard, and planted a potted rose plant above her in memory. Instead of the other black kitten, Benito, going to a friend of ours, we decided to keep him for ourselves. He has grown up so much since summer-time, and is honestly a little asshole most days, but he keeps our household full of fun and entertains both us and Pocket and Princess.
June was an important time in history, with uproar around the world about the unjust murders of black men and women. Even my little, relatively conservative hometown in Texas had people who cared and wanted change to happen. The town hosted a peaceful protest, escorted by our city police that made a speech before the start of the protest/march. They discussed ways the department would be making changes and improving their training and expectations for their police officers, especially around the topic of police brutality and abuse of power. After the speakers, the protesters (including myself, Jose, and our friend Eddy) marched across a shut-down highway. We all stopped at the end of the street and sat in silence for seven minutes and forty six seconds, the same amount of time that officer Chauvin had his knee on the neck of George Floyd. It was a very pleasant protest experience, and I wish I had been able to attend more.
Later that month, Jose and I had a pool day with our friend Summer. It was super nice to be out in the sun, drinking beers and listening to music. We also grilled carne asada, and brought ingredients to make corn tortilla tacos for lunch. Just a few days after, we took a rendezvous trip down to Galveston Island just to get out of the city. We drove out in the middle of the night, so we arrived at the beachside in time to see the beautiful sunrise. We walked down the shore as the sunrose, with no one else on the beach except fishermen wading out in the water. We actually saw a small shark on the sand, which likely belonged to a fisherman! We stayed for one night at a cheap Air BnB, and got boba on our way back home to Dallas. If you can’t tell, both Jose and I are water signs and tend to be at peace around the ocean. Driving down to the beach is definitely our go-to move whenever we are depressed or sad.
The weekend of June 18th, my mom, sister and I took a special girls trip to Austin and Fredericksburg to celebrate life after my depression and suicide attempt. We drove into Fredericksburg on our first day, and explored the small little town and all it’s downtown shops. Despite the smaller crowds, the town has a super cool policy that allows folks to purchase alcohol and walk around the downtown square with it. So, my mom and I bought some beers and sipped on them while we explored. We stopped by a sweets store and munched on some goodies, and my sister and mother found some cute items at some boutiques. After the sun began to set, we got back in the car and headed out for our hotel in Austin.
The next morning, we rented out paddleboards at the Colorado River that goes through the heart of the city. I had paddleboarded before, but it was the first time for my mom and sister. We had a lot of fun on the water, of course with sunglasses and SPF in hand. The weather was beautiful, and the river cuts through some amazing scenery in Austin! Up the river are great views of the city and its architecture, while the other direction is filled with trees and greenery. My mom especially loves outdoor activities, and she was super happy that all three of us did this together.
After our paddleboard session, we stopped by a delicious food spot down the street for some yummy Tex-Mex fare. The city of Austin is known for it’s fantastic food scene, so this spot definitely did not disappoint. Afterwards, we walked around a little hidden market near the restaurant and all three got coffees at a hole-in-the-wall coffeeshop. We had a three hour ride ahead of us, so we left Austin relatively early so that we could get home with enough time to enjoy the evening that night. The trip was really fun, although relatively stressful because pairing my mother, sister, and I together in a car for too long kidna creates chaos. I love them though!