The Greatest Song Ever.

I’m sitting in my designated writing spot and opening the Pandora app on my phone when it begins to play “Get Up” by my favorite band, Shinedown. It just so happens that I was thinking of what to write about. Well, this just gave me my answer. With all of the writing that I have been doing recently, I figured it was time to talk about my guys.
In case you don’t know about Shinedown, I’ll lay it out for you. They are a modern rock band that formed back in 2001, which is ironically the year that I was born. There are currently four members which consists of Brent (lead singer and songwriter), Zach (guitarist), Eric (bassist), and Barry (drummer). Brent and Barry are the only original members of the band, but that’s hardly important. In fact, it was shortly after Zach and Eric joined that the band started to change their toxic lifestyle (obviously to something better) and began to gain some popularity.
It was their first album made together (as the current four members) that was really special. Now, I think ALL of their music is amazing. I can’t say that I dislike a single song. I like both the ‘old’ and ‘new’ Shinedown. It was the album, “The Sound of Madness” that holds something truly remarkable in my eyes. They have the songs, “Second Chance”, which is a really heartfelt and popular song about Brent’s will to follow his dreams and others like “If You Only Knew” which was written when Brent found out that he was going to be a father.
But, of all songs that the band has composed, “The Crow and The Butterfly” is my favorite. This song was written from a dream that Brent had while the band was making the album. It is about a mother who loses her child and is learning to cope and eventually move on. What I love in this song is the symbolism, especially of the Crow and the Butterfly. The message is ultimately about life and death. Death, as the Crow, is always chasing life, as the Butterfly. So, in the song, the death of the mother’s son is what keeps holding her back from being free and moving on.
I like to consider myself as a very early fan of Shinedown. I remember “I Dare You” and “Second Chance” the most from early on, this is also thanks to my dad. He always loved rock music. It wasn’t until years later between Spotify and the radio, that I truly discovered them right around the time that their 5th album, “Threat to Survival” came out. For years, I’ve been watching them grow. This includes Youtube. I followed them when they were just shy of 200k followers, and now I see that they have well over a million. Wow. God I’m so proud of them.
I remember the first time that I heard my song, and yes I am referring to “The Crow and The Butterfly”. I sometimes like to think that song was made for me. I’ve personally experienced much loss in my short 19 years of life. Anyways, it quite literally was love at first sight. I was just getting to know more of their music when I came across the music video. I, no joke, was in tears and had chills down my spine when I heard it for the first time. God it was so beautiful. No other song has been able to have that kind of effect on me. It instantly became my favorite song. To this day, I still tend to have the same reaction when I hear it, and its status of favoritism hasn’t changed.
I’ve loved this song, and Shinedown, for years. Long before I even knew it, but especially since my early years of adolescence. It has gotten my through a lot and quite frankly, has saved my life. It has stopped me from making mistakes or doing something stupid. It has pulled me through the lowest points of my life. Most of all, I have also celebrated my happiest times of my life to it. When this song brings tears to my eyes, they are filled with all sorts of emotion, from sad to happy. When I’m feeling down and overwhelmed, it’s like the lullaby that I listen to that brings me back to contentment. When I’m angry, it calms and keeps me grounded. When I’m happy, it moves right with me.
Now, for those who have seen my tattoos, yes, my entire arm holds the meaning of this song. It has the Crow. It has the Butterfly. It also has the dandelions and the chorus and the cover of the very album on it. I’ve asked myself the same question countless times over the years. Yes, I have waited years for this tattoo, in fact, it’s the first one that I ever wanted. They say don’t meet your heroes or you’ll be disappointed. Well. I met them (only 3 of the 4, for good reason), and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. They were so humble and compassionate. I’ve seen them perform more than once and have been impressed every time. I’ve put so much thought into my tattoos, so it wasn’t even close to an impulsive decision. When I sat down and got inked, I knew that I was ready and honored to have these tattoos.
Shinedown has been there when I needed something, anything. When I was, and am, separated from my dad, their music offered the comfort and strength that I needed to keep fighting for him. Brent’s voice and words have, ironically, had the same effect on me as my dad’s words. That’s maybe why I have them on the same arm. They are both optimistic people despite the circumstances that they have had to live through. They have the power to inspire and motivate me to do great things. They both have been my biggest idols in my life.
I could keep going with this because my love for these guys and their music is just endless. Some of it is simply indescribable. But it is three in the morning and I think I’ve made a very clear point. I love Shinedown. I love their music. More than anyone will really know. Now, I know that everyone has their own personal favorites and won’t all say that Shinedown is awesome. And that’s okay. But for tonight, I simply wanted to express my gratitude towards the greatest song ever, by the best band ever, in my book.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling
Image may contain: 1 person, selfie, eyeglasses, phone, indoor and closeup
Image may contain: 1 person, closeup and indoor

PS. This last picture doesn’t have all of my latest ink, rather it was only used to show the other part of my Shinedown tattoo 🙂

Feeling Stuck In Place

I’m casually scrolling through social media, as I usually do, in the midst of boredom after a particularly long night at work. That’s when I come across what seems to be post after post of love birds exploring and celebrating their youth. I even think of that goofy meme where there’s a group of couples posing for the picture, and there’s that one oddball downing some alcohol, who is clearly single. I suddenly feel like that oddball. I’m caught facing the same repeated thought that has been circling my mind for well over a year: What am I doing? 

I’m constantly told that I have a bright future and that I will do amazing things. I often wonder to myself, when will people stop telling me that? After I’ve proved them wrong by taking the wrong path in life? Does this include having the life of the average Joe? So I land a stable job, buy a house, get married and have kids. Or on the contrary, I may or may not breed but could turn to substance abuse and self-degradation. Honestly, neither really sounds all that interesting to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have my own property and maybe find a special someone. But if you or anyone knows me, I’ve always been different from everyone else, and I thrive off of that. So, whatever it is I decide to do, my God I hope it’s exactly that. 

So trust me, I want to believe some of those people, really damn bad. But it’s hard to believe it when one has just experienced the things I have. Click the button below in case you (reader) are not aware of my more recent struggles in life.

I’m of course jealous of how happy and free these people seem to be as I begin to compare myself to them. So many of my old classmates moved away and found new love. I’m still in the same small town that I grew up in. Some of those couples have even engaged or got married. Holy Shit. I’m so far away from that. Some made many new friends as my social life struggles from past experiences. Frankly, I’ve never been a social butterfly, but I have yet to make some really good friends after my last toxic relationship. Speaking of, I’ve been single for my entire ‘adult’ life. Like, wow. I work a job that I have no passion for. Schooling is a mere joke at the moment, at least until I get some shit together again. All in all, I don’t feel that I have much to show for myself. 

So far, it shows that I’ve done nothing but allow myself to lead a life as a typical Joe having a midlife crisis. The sad part is that I’m not even 20 years old yet. Am I just wasting my youth away? 

I’d like to add that this pandemic really hasn’t helped anyone. 

So, the question is, what am I going to do about this? 

Gosh I’d love to do something I love across the country. Especially where it’s warm. So why not? What is really stopping me? 

I want to be around to see my father’s face again. I want a real chance to be there for my littlest brother. 

I love you, Stinker. 

The thoughts and feelings all conflict with one another that I constantly come to a blank. Nothing new happens. Well, what the hell. 

At the time being, I can’t see either of them, so maybe it’s time to say fuck it and find something new to write about, which brings me to my next statement. 

What do I want to do? 

Many things in fact. I have so many interests that it’s hard to choose which one to start with. From my heart, I’m speaking on behalf of my truest and deepest passions. 

I want to write a book. Many in fact. I love to write so much in fact that it is one of my deepest passions. It is something that transformed from just a coping method to what I’m determined to have as my life’s work. I want to draw and paint like I used to, so that one day I can turn beautiful pictures and art into a tattoo. I want my own business, and a tattoo shop comes right into mind. I want to teach line dancing, and maybe all sorts of dancing, in my own studio or venue. I want to promote health and fitness, whether it’s opening my own gym or creating and editing videos to post online for others to follow. I want to own a tree farm or orchard, so that I can allow myself and others to enjoy nature. I want to invest into real estate so that I can rent to those in need of a home, just like me throughout my life. I want to work in orthopedics so that I have more understanding in helping myself and others all while feeding into the fascination. I want to have my own hobby farm, where I can learn how to ride horses again, to share my teachings and go for trail rides in the forest. 

The list goes on. That is what I want to do. Starting is simply the hard part. I started writing these articles on this blog page in order to put towards my first book. A very idea that has been formulating in my head for months and really just shy of a year. Me writing right here, in my favorite chair in the house that I rent in my small town, is my start. 

I was reborn when I graduated highschool and therefore had to rediscover myself. 

My hope is to follow those dreams, or really any dream that I might have, with nothing short of dignity and passion. 

I’m going to follow my father’s advice with this one and take my time. I might not be jumping into a new relationship or leaving the state by tomorrow, but I’m still going to try my best to do what feels right. 

I was certainly antsy about all of those initial thoughts at the beginning of this post, but as I’m writing, I come back to who I really am and what’s really important to me. I might not look like much, but I’m grateful for what I do still have. And maybe some of those people were right, I think I really am going places. 

How low does rock bottom really go?

After totaling my beautiful truck and almost loosing my life last month, I would say that I’m at rock bottom. This isn’t even the tip of the ice berg. I had to fix my car’s tranny, do online schooling during the middle of a pandemic, got deathly ill from the very infamous virus, lost someone close to me, custody battles, hip injections that go terribly wrong, and then crashing my truck. A few weeks later, I also got a letter saying that I was kicked out of school, and able to reapply after some time. This doesn’t even begin to count for the debt I’m facing.

That is really the majority of it in a nutshell. After crashing the truck, I was miserable for the first week afterwards. I wished I was dead. To make things complicated, one of my friends becomes a new love interest which therefore distracts me. Unfortunately this very particular person has their own shit to work through.

Fast-forwarding to now, a month or so later, it turns out that this newly-found love interest isn’t exactly in the books at the moment. I’m left with these feelings of dread all over again. Lesson learned, ignoring or running away from your problems don’t make them go away.

A little heartbreak doesn’t exactly help the situation either.

Now, I haven’t exactly been able to sleep well since my crash. Everyday I feel like a walking zombie from just experiencing repeated nightmares the night, or I really should say early morning, before. It is constant torture. As someone with PTSD, I DO NOT handle trauma and extreme stress well. Might I add that my insurance doesn’t cover counseling, so that’s on standby.. I’m constantly waking up and feeling the suddenly brunt impact all over again. Or how terrified I was of the entire thing blowing up while being wedged underneath the overpass. I won’t even mention how truly terrible my driving has been, other than the fact that I shouldn’t be driving at all. Frankly, I don’t have a choice. Sometimes I really feel like I should’ve died on December 5th, 2020.

As I lay on my side in the bathtub, under a warm shower, tonight I am staring at a watery reflection yet again. There’s something about all of your life’s problems coming to mind while bathing that I don’t get. But it feels nice. It’s a peaceful moment in all of the chaos that we live in. There’s nothing else but you, your thoughts, and the warm water enveloping you.about:blankREPORT THIS AD

Of course my mind goes to the latest drama, which are the wonderful memories shared with this certain person, who had the power to (temporarily) take some of my pain away. I wonder, what the actual fuck? What the hell happened? To those memories, or to my life? How did I get this fucking low so early in life?

Not only do I feel like I should have normal working hip joints and a truck that still exists, but also having a normal college experience. What fucking world we live in. Jesus.

I know I can’t be the only one sick of this shit.

Anyways, as I sit here thinking, I’m wondering how far down rock bottom really goes. You’d think that it gets a little bit lower every time you visit (because that’s why it’s called bottom, right?). When someone gets so low in their life, that’s usually when they turn to something to ultimately numb the pain. It doesn’t surprise me why there are so many people out there who struggle with sobriety.

I’ve been 100% sober, in all substances (alcohol, weed, drugs, etc.) my entire life. Yes, I’m proud of it, but that’s honestly because I’ve been too damn traumatized to even think about wanting to touch any of it. So I live with the stress and the pain.

I’m afraid of how much lower my own rock bottom will go. Mind you, I have untreated PTSD at the moment. It’s scary. That’s why I’m writing about all of this, it helps me cope and my hope is that it will impact someone else, too, and in a positive way.

But I haven’t been wearing my seatbelt in the thoughts that if I do happen to crash again, that will be it for me. I really can’t handle anymore. This doesn’t mean that I’m deliberately getting into my car to drive recklessly. I haven’t been able to sleep decently in ages. I stopped eating regularly and actually it’s just enough to get me through work and the day without passing out. I’ve thought about self harm again, but no action has been made. I constantly think of death. Such a dark place..

I’m told it will get better, but I’m sure that it will get worse before that happens. I just don’t know how much more I can take. I’m trying to stay strong, I really am. I know that this isn’t me. I want to be there for my family. My little brother, Stinker. I want to see my dad again. I want to line dance again.about:blankREPORT THIS AD

Personally, I think we all need to stop living in fear.

For a while, it feels like I’ve been drowning. I need a breath of real and fresh air, especially without some stupid mask.

My hope is that despite how dark rock bottom is, that the light at the end of the tunnel really is what it will be like when I finally come back up to the surface.

I miss you Kim, but it turns out that I won’t be seeing you up there quite yet. Someday though, when it’s time. I love you.

Part of Who I Am.

I’m suddenly feeling very inspired and influenced again after watching Netflix halfway through the night. The particular film that had this affect on me is called, “The Lost Husband”. My own interpretation and summary of this movie is that this mother of two loses her husband from in the city, and moves out to the country. It has a very Hallmarkish feel to it because then of course she realizes that she’s happier living on this farm with her kids and falls in love again. It also turns out that this is where her roots came from.

I couldn’t help but to think of myself in this very moment of my life. I also recently discovered why I like to listen to all sorts of music. I grew up on all sorts of genres, which was mostly pop, rock, and country. I concluded that I listen to pop to feel good, rap to numb myself, rock to feel more (usually pain wise), and country to believe in more.

I’m going to focus on the country style. I go through “phases” between genres of music and ultimately ways of life. It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and enjoyed a country love song or even line danced, for good reasons. But I haven’t wanted to believe. In love, happiness, or peace. To put it simply, I’ve been in a dark place. Can you really blame me after almost dying twice? That might be a little dramatic but it was possible. Click the link below in case you are wondering what’s going on. Anyways, this movie made me remember a huge part of me that has yet again been put into the dark.

Lately, I’d been wanting to feel numb and if I wasn’t, I was probably completely loosing my shit to a damn good guitar solo.

In public school, I struggled with my identity. Not only are you pressured to know what you want to do for your life, but I had a hard time knowing who I was even in that point in my life. I knew I could wear a pair of cowgirl boots pretty well but could also rock the hell out of a band T-shirt. With being judged on every move I made, I showed myself off as nothing, really. I wore a lot of sweatshirts and leggings. I always felt the need to hide myself around everyone. Living past high school and on my own, I’ve come to accept myself as all of them. It just turns out that I have very diverse roots.

Thinking of this country side of me, I think a lot about grandma’s house and the happier parts of my childhood. I thought about how much I missed it. My childhood was abused and ripped away from me at an early age. I had to experience a lot of things that most children don’t go through, so I grew up pretty quickly, and harshly.

I missed grandma and grandpa’s house. I missed taking rides on the four wheelers and chasing Sammy (the family dog) around the back yard. I loved swimming in lakes and having bonfires. I missed big family gatherings, watching grandma’s line dancing, getting chased by the mean white rooster, climbing up the creaky and fairly dangerous attic in the barn, and most importantly, the horses. God I loved the horses. I miss riding horses so damn much.

After living through many of the traumatic and negatives things in my life, I’ve grown up knowing that my ultimate goal for myself is to learn to live in peace. In peace with what happened in the past, everything in the present and anything for the future. When I’m lucky enough to relive the things that I was blessed to experience as a kid, I’m at peace. I’m happy. I’m so god damn happy.

When I get to play pool to the good tunes of a juke box, go fishing, or dance with grandma, I get to be a kid again. When I think of my childhood, I often think of it as something that is long dead and gone. But these little things are what bring it back to life. It’s an extremely warm and comforting feeling for me. I’m surely determined to bring it back. That is what makes me happy and at peace.

If I ever had a family, I’d want my own children to experience more of what I did. I’d want to teach them how to fish, ride horse, and dance. Dancing only brightens life. Fishing always brought so much excitement. Riding horse has this indescribably happy feeling that always leaves you wanting more. I’d want to see horses at grandma’s house again. I’d want to grow a garden bigger than hers and drive the four wheelers on the trails, just like how she and grandpa did. I’d even have my own chickens. I actually really love chickens.

I miss that. I miss that part of me, the happier and peaceful me.

So, for the time being, I’m going to listen to some good old Alabama and maybe some Bellamy Brothers and be thankful for having this part of myself. To have lived through those blessings despite hardship after hardship as a child.

It’s a part of who I am.

Lowest Low

As I finish watching Netflix’s new movie,”After We Collided”, I felt the urge to write again (but maybe in a different style than I’m used to). Of course, if anyone has watched the movie (or series) they would know that you’re riding one hell of an emotional roller coaster in the romance series. 

After sitting through the feels, I decided to pick up my computer for the first time since bombing my college classes beyond repair. Can you really blame me? Trying to do online schooling during a global pandemic isn’t exactly ideal. I can confidently say that Covid fucked up my college experience. I haven’t even started expressing everything else turning my life upside down. (This would also explain my absense of writing..) 

It started with my 2006 Mazda 6 (aka Brandy) blowing its tranny and therefore being without a vehicle for a good chunk of time. It wasn’t long before I bought a 2007 Silverado 1500. I had one hell of a deal on it so I couldn’t possibly turn it down. I also fixed the tranny. After a couple of weeks, and within the same week, my little brother’s mom (who I’ve known for ages) goes to the hospital fighting for her life and I get deathly ill of Covid. These unfortunate occurrences did not have any correlation with each other. My little brother is just about parentless and court battles are being mentioned. I’m out of work for weeks and I live on my own, meaning that I pay my own bills. Shit just keeps stacking up. Tensions are high among family. Kim did eventually die after suffering for weeks in the hospital. I say fuck it and begin getting my next tattoo, which has played an important role in keeping me moving forward. I finally return to work when a couple of weeks later, I have steroid injections for the iliopsoas tendons in both of my hip joints. This leads to the worst panic attack of my entire existence (PTSD did play a role in the attack) which irritated my joints more. As if I couldn’t get a break, right? Oh, you just wait. 

Here is where shit gets interesting. This is where I wanted to start writing, until I realized that I needed to catch you up on every fucked up thing that has happened the last couple of months. Now that I have you in the know, remember when I mentioned PTSD? Yes I have that disorder and yes please keep this in mind for what I’m about to tell you. 

I’m going to introduce one of my best friends and we’ll call him “S” so that no one really needs to know exactly who I’m talking about. Please don’t try to be nosey, it doesn’t really help anyone. He helped me throughout the day of the injections. I’ll start with being excited about him picking me up that day (he also just got his snazzy car back from getting fixed after sitting a while). I was more looking forward to getting to talk with and see him after a minute rather than getting stabbed in my hips. He had just moved back home.

After arriving to the surgical hospital, he leaves for home (thanks to Covid, no visitors were allowed, and he was close by) to wait until I was done. The nurses begin helping me prep as if I actually was getting ready for surgery. I guess everyone preps the same, regardless of the kind of procedure. I really felt like I was put back into time when I had my two hip surgeries at 15 years old. The past was heavy on my mind. My nerves were gradually getting more on edge. I attempt to listen to the song,”The Crow and The Butterfly” in trying to calm my nerves, but was abruptly interupted with people prepping me and therefore bringing me to an OR room. 

My phone, which was playing the music, was taken away. It all looked too familiar. The X-ray screens and the cold metal table that I’d have to lay so unomfortably on. I’m trying to BS with the nurses as they finish prepping which do little to no good. I’m tense and cold and partially naked in front of strangers. The first injection takes me by surprise. The numbing medicine burned and I could feel a piercing sharpness throughout my tendon, as if I could suddenly pinpoint exactly where that tendon was in my joint. I bite back a scream and wince in utter pain. Holy shit this hurt. I even tried to sing “The Crow and The Butterfly” to help ease the torment, which fell short in effectiveness. For some reason it felt like I was being stabbed several times over and over in the same exact spot. A spot where I had so much pain just several years before. It all felt too familiar. Before I knew it, I’m thinking of my Arthrogram that I had years ago. Until this very moment, that was the most painful day of my life. The process was so similar. Instead of steroids, back then they had to use contrast. The doctor then began for my left hip, which was also my more painful hip. 

Tears were running down my face at the alarming rate in which I hardly felt. My body so tense that moving was forbidden. Sobs escape from my chest and up through my throat. Sobs that beg for the pain to just stop. These were the kind of sobs that I only escape in the comforts of my car during my darker days. 

I’m being wheeled back to my room when the symptoms begin. I could suddenly hear everything going on in the hospital 100x louder. The room felt uneasy. My tounge felt weird and an iron taste lingered. All goes to hell from here. Before I know it, 15 people are surrounding me and I’m out of control. I’m screaming and kicking while people are trying to restrain me and someone is trying to put an O2 mask on me. Several attempts for an IV were made until the third placement finally sedated me after a good half hour (or more) of pure attack. A stress induced panic attack. The first attack I’ve had in a long ass time. 

I’m happy and relieved to see S’s car pulled up at the entrance when being discharged. He is helpful in getting me settled into the car for the ride home. I’m dead tired. He helps me limp into the house. I make my place on the couch and he puts a movie on Netflix. “The Devil All The Time” to be specific. It’s a different kind of movie but one definitely worth watching. He stays to watch with me. It’s during this movie that the realization slaps me in the face. I’m drugged up and drained but I feel this more than anything good that I’ve felt in a long time. I’m into him. And not just ‘into’ because this has only happened once before. I’ve completely fallen for him. He’s always been there when I needed and never really let me down. He’s kinder and more understanding than anyone else I’ve connected with. 

Well shit. I’m laying there somewhat immobilized with these thoughts as we watch people die and shit. You’d have to watch the movie to understand. We finish off the night and we hug. S leaves before Anthony (my now ex roommate and ex friend) got home from work. I couldn’t stop thinking of him that night. Or that movie. 

I’m going completely stir crazy the entire next day. I have these newly found thoughts and feelings while being unable to escape my own mind. I don’t know what to do about it. My ex, who we will call “G”, starts to invade my mind. I usually drive to clear my thoughts. The discharge paperwork says to wait 24 hours before driving, without really going into many details. It’s just before midnight that I decide to go for a drive. 

I took my new truck out on the road because I missed it from driving my car a lot after getting it back. Plus it was easier to climb into my truck rather than bending down into my little car. So many thoughts are racing in circles in my mind. I like S a lot but I don’t want history to repeat itself like it did with G. I’m beating myself up over these repeating feelings so much that the nearby small towns weren’t far enough from home. I wanted to escape. I found myself in Eau Claire when my mind goes overboard. I’m thinking of Kim and how much I miss her. I miss my dad too. I miss Dohny, and my heart breaks for him. I’m thinking of the debt I’d be facing. I’m thinking of how fucked up my hip joints are and how I’m potentially facing surgeries. I’m thinking of how I failed my online classes and how much I hate this stupid virus. I’m so angry, confused and mostly depressed that not even a tear falls. I could feel my face lacking a lively expression. The call of the void is on my mind when I sit and wait for a train to pass or when I sit at a traffic light. 

I drive to exhaustion so I fill up with gas and begin to head home. I set the cruise and speed to get home faster while knowing that the sleepy feeling was growing stronger. I don’t even remember passing my designated rest stop. Before I know it, the glaring yellow reflection of a guard rail blinds my eyes when BOOM. I close my eyes. I know that I hit something. The first thought through my mind is that my truck is done. The second was a past accident with an ex boyfriend. I remembered the feeling of all that force hitting you. Force after force after force. I’m waiting for it to just stop. For a second, I open my eyes, and feel that I’m still moving, I see my ceiling lights hanging and flying, which are the only things illuminating my now smashed truck. The airbags went off. My things flying. BOOM! My eyes are closed again. I wait a couple seconds. The truck stopped. I open my eyes to see my ceiling right in my face and crouched down right in from of my steering wheel. The gas tank. I had no idea where I was or what I just hit, but there were a lot of threatening noises and I remembered filling my tank up with gas. I attempt to open the driver door, which fails. I begin to freak out, just for a second, before snapping back and turning off the ignition. The center console still flipped up and I begin to make my way out. I find my phone and call 911. As I wait for the ambulance, I see that I’m about 12 miles from home and under an overpass. I stare at my truck from a distance. My heart breaks deep beneath the shock and trauma. 

I was left with minor injuries. A minor concussion, bruised knee, chest pain (impact of seatbelt), cut up feet, and lost progress in my hip joints. After returning home, the anger and frustration set in. Pictures of the remains of my truck burned through my mind. People left and right were telling me how lucky I was to be alive. Guilt set in. (Survivor’s guilt is a symptom of PTSD) I became mean. I wished I was dead. I felt like I should’ve been dead. I constantly questioned why I wasn’t. I was unrecognizable. 

After another tattoo session several days later, a short road trip (that was previously planned before the crash) took place with S driving his car. I already got behind the wheel beforehand (which was a lot easier said than done) with the help of peers in order to try breaking my newly found fear of driving. 

I was so happy to see him. It felt like a break from the nightmare I was living as if it was a light at the end of a tunnel. He offered endless support and feedback that lifted my spirits. His kindness opened my eyes. I began to notice him more when I’d look into his eyes or watched the way he would drive. The connection kept growing. His somewhat shaggy hair and innocent laugh brightened my moods. I paid more attention to him and who he was. I couldn’t have felt more appreciative and grateful for it. I had no idea what to do next, but with him, I felt more alive than I had in a long time. The roadtrip that day with S is what brought me back to life after just being in the lowest point of my life. Lower than where I’ve ever been before. I arrived home that night with new memories and a warm smile on my face. Most of all, I came home feeling alive again with new hope. 

After writing for roughly three hours in the middle of the night and having some pages down, I’ve decided to leave this here as I don’t want to overdo anything, given that I actually have a 12 hour shift ahead of me soon, I’m going to end this on a good note. I can’t wait to get back into writing as things have started (fingers crossed) to slow down and I’m beginning to feel like myself again. I have a long way to go, but thanks not only (but mostly) to this special person, but also my family, friends, and peers, I am grateful to be here and I appreciate all of the support that I did recieve during this shitty time. 

Until I write again, Merry Christmas, Happy New Years, and drive safe.

Stranger’s Connection

Some details were left out to protect privacy and improve the quality of my post.


My short 4 hour shift at work begun at 2pm on a freezingly rainy day. My motivation was to make it through suppertime and then I’d be done for the day, that is after I’d do a crucial project for my Spanish grade to increase in my college classes.

The reasoning behind working the four hour is because I already pulled my 12 hour shift, and overtime hours, earlier that week in order to get by, this was to make sure that I’d pull my goal amount of hours (at this, one of my two jobs) of 24 hours per week.

After receiving my report from my fellow CNAs and nurses, I immediately begin to start my day to day duties in attempt to keep my antsy mind busy. I start with distributing nightwear to each of the residents’ rooms. After doing that, I being to walk to each resident to take their temperature with the forehead (no-touch) thermometer. As I walk into the new resident’s room, I see that there is a lady from therapy evaluating the resident. This resident recently came to the healthcare facility from the hospital, who I still barely knew.

I’m reaching over to the resident with the thermometer, with my left arm, and am turning to walk away when I hear:

” Oh my God, I love your tattoo. Take your time, that’s a really pretty saying.” the therapist says.

I take a second to realize that she is speaking to me and look down at my tattoo dedicated to my dad.

I smile underneath my overheated mask and reply with, “Oh thank you. It was really pretty when my dad would be able to actually say it to me. It was one of my favorite saying of his.”

“Is he gone?” she asks curiously.

I prepare myself for her reaction when I say that, “My dad’s in prison.”

“Oh yeah, so he’s not actually with you right now. How long does he have left?”

I was slightly startled by her seemingly casual response. I take a second to think of the year and how much time my dad has left to sit.

“About 8 years to go.”

“Oh so that’s some time yet. Is he around here?” she asks.

“Stanley.”

“Oh wow.” the therapist seemed surprised until she said, “My son is there and he has about 4-5 years to go.”

Now I was the surprised one.

“Oh really?”

“Yeah. He didn’t hurt anyone or commit murder, he just hurt himself.”

“Oh” I say sincerely. I could just about pinpoint exactly what he is in there for. “My dad was a drunk and went out driving on the last night of hunting season and ended up killing one hunter and disabling another. It was his 5th DWI.”

“Oh my God I’m so sorry, that is terrible for anyone to go through. I’ll be honest, no one really knows about this and your the only person I told about this to.”

“Were you ever at visitation?” I ask, wanting to know if I may have seen her during one of the very many times I used to be able to see my dad.

“No because this only happened a month or two ago. I haven’t had a chance to visit him, I guess there’s a paper that you fill out and send in for visitation?” her response surprised me yet again. She’s totally new to the process while I am standing there reflecting on what my reality has been like since I was 12 years old. I knew exactly what paper she was talking about.

“Oh yeah, that’s the visitation application. The inmate sends you one for you to fill out and return. It usually takes about 6-8 weeks to process.”

“Okay, and are you still able to see your dad?” she asks patiently.

“No, I haven’t seen my dad in almost 230 days. It’s no better than here (me referring to the healthcare facility where the elderly are unable to see family) so I haven’t seen my dad since March 10th.” I plead sadly.

“That really is too bad, with the virus and all.” she relies.

“It is.”

“And like I said, my coworkers and friends don’t know about this. As far as they know, he’s working down south.” she winks, and I chuckle, winking back. You’re a total stranger, except I’ll know it’s you with your tattoo {as she points to it from across the room} and you really only know me as being from therapy. It’s like we don’t know each other and yet we were still able to make a connection.”

I am smiling and nodding nervously when I say,” That’s right. Unfortunately when my dad’s accident happened, the whole town and everyone I knew, knew about what happened since he was a well-known guy. But you and I have something to relate to. Funny how the way of the world works.”

We chuckle as I prepare to leave the room.

“Well, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me” she says gratefully.

“It’s no problem, and thank you. Have a good day.” I turn to walk away to continue my work.

Her words have continued to spool in my mind since then. That conversation offered me a sense of comfort in knowing that I’m really not the only one with a relative serving time, especially during a global pandemic. I appreciated her compassion and understanding in my situation, given that it has really opened my eyes again. The reality of someone you love going to prison is a thought alone that you want to lock up in a cage. When my father’s accident happened, it was all over the news, so I didn’t get the pleasure of keeping it a secret. But more importantly, I was able to understand her pain.

I love and miss you dad.

Click below to learn more about my tattoo:

https://bigdreamsofasmalltowngirl.home.blog/2020/10/16/take-your-time-sweetheart/about:blank

Click below here to read some of my other posts:

“Take your time, sweetheart.”

The ink under my skin gives off an extra sensitive sensation whenever I brush my fingers down and around the tattoo. This is the first cold season with the black, gray, and red colors on my arm. Or really any color.

After my nightly showers I’d rub lotion deeply into my skin in hopes of keeping it moisturized until this same time the next day. Without the summer humidity, my skin is slightly more dried out when I wake up in the morning. Throughout the day the small burgundy hearts and black words would itch at me to no end. I usually can’t help but to scratch. I’d gently glide the opposite side of my nails against the inked skin to ensure I avoid breaking it open.

As a tick throughout the stresses of everyday, I often find myself caressing the new tattoo as a self soothing method, much like rocking back and forth in one’s chair. Whenever I need a reminder of what’s really important, I just have to look down.

The words, {“Take your time, sweetheart.” – Love Dad} are surrounded by a light gray and dotted infinity sign and a couple of hearts on the bottom corners of the tat on my left forearm.

Without being my original idea of a first tattoo, I made a fairly quick decision to get inked just a couple of days after father’s day. After being just over 100 days separated from my dad, thanks to a global pandemic, I really had time to appreciate what was so suddenly taken away from me. I miss my dad dearly and am waiting for the day to walk up and hug him again.

“Take your time.” is one of my dad’s more recent sayings that he’d relay to me during any of our many and weekly visits. His only opportunity of doing so nowadays are through a phone call. Whether I’d be really determined or motivated to achieve greatness to even trying to get out of bed at earlier times during the day, my dad would always tell me this. I didn’t truly realize the meaning of it until after being away from him for so long. It reminds me to live in the moment. These words have guided me through things as difficult as anxiety attacks and depressive episodes.

“-Love Dad” represents the letters sent to each other throughout the years. At times in my short life, this was our only way of communicating. Writing to my dad, whether directly or indirectly, has always allowed me to express anything that may have been on my mind.

“Sweetheart.” is my dad’s name for me. Throughout childhood he would most often times address me by that name. I leave that privilege only to my dad.

I was immediately in love with my decision after being tattooed. The words speak to me even without being able to see my dad. This tattoo offers me comfort and insight to the things that are happening around me in this crazy world. It represents my love for my dad and the importance to hold onto what really matters, and to me, that is the ones you love.

I am currently still keeping the tattoo a surprise for my dad. I will not tell him about it until I can personally show him, when I can hug him again.

It has been 220 days since being separated from my father that I love so dearly.

I love and miss you dearly, dad.


The day I got my first tattoo:

6-25-2020

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The Great Crash.

The abnormally warm autumn day went by so slow that the work day never seemed to end. I rush home after the dreadful closing shift to complete my homework for the night. My homework is an overwhelmingly large workload for the night so I get straight to work in hopes of having time to get online to play games with my friends. The internet is slow. The service and spotty. Nothing seemed to work right. My frustration begins to build as I attempt to push through. Eventually my patience is cut short and I join in on the game without finishing my work.

The game didn’t go as planned and my best friend kills my once somewhat neutral mood to outright destructive and angry. I attempt to finish my work. The due date is closing in and I can’t seem to type my answers fast enough. The internet still won’t work. Nothing was saving or uploading like it was supposed to! At this point, I’m frantic as this is my last straw to finish my assignments before giving up. Luckily I work all the way through the due date, only to have some of the assignments turned in.

This feeling is all too familiar. A set of events occur and I mishandle them to the point of being overwhelmed until it becomes disastrous and I stop caring.

My mind is put into autopilot mode, or as I like to call, initiate zombified human. There is a heavy fog that constantly surrounds me with the weight of a boulder on top of me. Twice as much mental effort is put into doing the simple activities of daily living. The negative thoughts and feelings begin to invade my conscience.

“This always happens every year.”

“You’re stuck in this never ending cycle of suffering”

“You can feel sorry for yourself so that you can beat yourself up for it.”

“You’re a fuck up.”

The thoughts stops me in my tracks and trap me. My next instinct is to run. I need to get away from the negativity and clear my head so I run to the car for a drive. I plug in music that I know only hurts my fragile mental state but continue on anyways.

I can feel the old wounds being opened up like a band aid being pulled off a fresh and open wound. I think of all the traumatic and regretful events throughout my life.

I begin to hate myself for not being perfect so I think about punishing myself. I feel like starving my poor body, running my own car into a building, slicing my skin open, screaming, but worst of all, sleeping. I never take it upon myself to do anything so terrible, given that I am alive and writing this post, have healthily glowing skin, and am more physically fit than I’ve ever been. Instead, warm tears trickle down my tired and sunken face. My skin is warm and sweaty. An unearthly sound escapes my chest as the pain of the past returns to my mind.

My dad is being taken away from me again. His face is swollen and bloody again. His hands are in cuffs again. I’m failing myself in school again. He comes to mind. He is with me again. He is dancing and singing with me again. He is hugging me through the worst of the pain again. My mind returns to the present. Then I realize that he is gone again. He. Does. Not. Exist. Anymore.

He is gone.

My dad is away.

Why am I here?

The thoughts swarm in my mind like a growing hurricane that is ready for destruction.

At my lowest, I think of my dad’s smiling face. His smiling face. My mom’s laughter. Driving my car to my favorite song. Playing games with my friends. My two gorgeous kitties playing. My little brothers whom I love with all my heart. My love for writing. My opportunities of school. My quiet love for others.

This stops me from taking detrimental action, every time.

My body is stiff and shaky as the parked car idles. My mind is at the low point of exhaustion. Tears after tears have fallen as the remains of the episode dwindle. My breathing is shaky and hands clammy. I put the car in drive and head home in a state of undead.

My heart beats but my mind infected with the darkness. It quite literally is as if I’ve been zombified.

This is the state that I tend to look forward to for the next six months or so, for the last seven years at the least.


Tonight was me ‘crashing’ into my cycle of yearly depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder to put it more professionally. It is a kind of depression that hits at the same of of the year which is often characterized with feeling depressed all day and most days, losing interests, having low energy, problems sleeping, apatite and weight changes, agitation, struggle focusing, feeling hopeless, worthless and guilty, and having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

This is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone or any soul. It is a special kind of suffering that is hard to break. It is a constant fight within your mind. You don’t feel like yourself during the time of darkness. For me, I suffer for about 6 months. This means that I don’t get to be my true self for half the year.

I still go to school, work, and see family and friends. The struggle is what catches up every once in a while.

With is, I know that I’m not alone.

For anyone reading this, when at your lowest points, think of the things you love, and be grateful. To not be here would prevent you from enjoying those enjoyments.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

1 down. Many more to go.

Today marks one year since my Daisy has been a part of my life. I feel so blessed to have her a part of my life, as I am hers.

In September of 2019, I lost a cat very close to me. She was one that I’d grown up with since I was just an infant/toddler. Distant family took her in and I’d visit from time to time. Unfortunately it wasn’t always like that. Me and Peanut had a connection that no other creature could understand. I got a call from my grandma on a warm and sunny day saying that Peanut was going to be put down. I hadn’t seen her in years. Before I had a chance to do anything about it, she was already gone and my heart was broken.

RIP Peanut 2002-2019

With this new pain and hole in my heart, I knew what I had to do.

I had just moved to a small city with my roommate, Anthony into an apartment that approved of pets. I wanted to do something in honor of Peanut’s memory and something that would have made her proud.

I wanted a cat that needed a second chance, so shortly after Peanut’s death, Anthony and I made a trip to the Humane Society.

“I really want a second chance cat, is that okay?” I ask Anthony.

What I meant about ‘second chance cat’, is one that was having a hard time getting adopted. I wanted one that I could have that deep connection with. After meeting with several fluffy sweethearts, the shelter then told us how there was only one cat that would fit into all of the requirements for both the shelter and the housing management.

We needed a cat that was declawed, over a year old, and fixed. That was when the worker brought in Daisy. She had Daisy held at an uncomfortable distance. At first glance this cat is stunningly beautiful. She has gorgeous and long hair. Her color is grey with tan and almost-black patches across her body. Her eyes are a beautiful and full golden green color. The worker sets her down and Daisy stands there with her fluffy tail between her back legs. I attempt to pet her, which lasts for a few seconds before she hisses and attempts to bite aggressively. She runs to the corner of the room. Anthony attempts to pet her after a moment and the same reaction occurs almost twice as fast.

I was terrified of her but I knew I wanted to know more.

“So what’s Daisy’s story?” I ask curiously.

“So this is her second time being here. Daisy is two and a half years old. She was brought in as a stray kitten and was adopted right away by a young couple. They had a young toddler that would torment and abuse her. The past owners also declawed her, even though you have to sign a contract saying that you wouldn’t because it is seen as inhumane. She was brought back a while ago and would have some visits but nothing would go past that because she’d be aggressive as she is now. She hasn’t even had one application.” She replied.

I was in absolute awe,”I have no idea what to even say. Can we have a few minutes alone with her?”

“Sure thing.” the worker leaves.

Daisy is still sitting silently in the corner when I say, “Anthony, this is the one.”

“I don’t know. She seems pretty aggressive. Do you want to maybe try one of the nicer kitties?” He says.

“Anthony this is our second chance cat. You heard the worker. Daisy has been here for a while and not one application. She’s been here too many times, for God’s sake, she was abused! Plus, you agreed for us to get a cat that really needed this. This is the only one that LSI will accept, plus we can’t declaw any cats.” I plead.

“Fine, I guess we can try for her.”

Days later, on September 20th, 2019, I signed the adoption papers and the payment is processed. Daisy was officially my cat.

For quite some time, Daisy still struggled with the agressive behaviors and I eventually moved away from Anthony. Most times it was just her and I. Not too long ago I decided to take in another cat so that Daisy had someone to play with while I’d be out of the house. Now days, I live with my Daisy and my newest, Gracie.

Daisy and I have become extremely attached. She still struggles with the aggressive behavior sometimes, especially around strangers and certain individuals, but has come so far in such a short amount of time.

Every morning I wake up to Daisy laying on me or licking my face (which is her own way of showing affection). She is a playful and goofy little girl that loves to be outside. She drinks from the faucet and loves pumpkin puree (which is really good for the digestive system!). Her favorite game to play is to chase my hand. In recent days she’s allowed me to pet her belly and lower back.

Without Daisy, I’d be lost. I still think of Peanut often, and when I do, I think back to the blessing that I have been able to offer Daisy, and the blessing that she is to me.

I look forward to many more wonderful years with my honey, Daisy. ❤️

My Honey ❤️
Daisy and Gracie… Goofy girls.
My first days with My Honey… how precious!
Rest in peace, beautiful girl. You’ll always be one of my favorite kitties. I know you’d be smiling down at me from kitty heaven.

Writing is in My Genes

Happy Mother’s Day! Today I am stuck working, as so is my mom. I had a day off work yesterday while my mom still had to work. For my day off, I figured I would call up the only grandmother I’m close to. She would be my dad’s mother and lives about 45 minutes from me. I wanted to see if she’d like to have me over for the afternoon. I was told while on the phone that she had some driving to do and that I was welcome to join if I wanted. I told her sure why not. It was around noon and I informed her that I’d be at her house at 1pm. Before my drive, I picked up a couple of Mother’s Day cards. I signed one for my grandma, and the other for my mom. In the card for my grandma, I also added how grateful I am of her and of the things she has done for me. I mentioned in the card that I listen to old country and will think of her. I put my country playlist on shuffle and took off. My car, which is a 2006 Mazda 6 (aka. Brandy), luckily has an aux cord that I can to to play music with from my phone.

I arrive at her house around roughly 12:57 pm. I made it just in time. My grandma is 67 years old and seems to move around better than I do. She’s already sitting in the driveway in her newer SUV and ready to go. We had to drive to Ladysmith and back, but in the meantime we would need to drop off my cousin, Anna, at a birthday party. Ladysmith is about a half hour drive from my grandma’s house. Arriving there, my grandma and I stopped for gas and got drinks. It was about 2pm and we need to wait until 3:30pm to pick up Anna’s mom, Julie, from work. Julie has recently got into trouble with authorities because she got herself into stuff she shouldn’t have, therefore she lost custody of Anna to my grandma and cannot drive.

While trying to burn time, my grandma and I stopped at her work to go onto the computer. My grandma was looking up how to do a new country line dance to teach her class. I’d say my grandma is very talented with it. About 3pm, we headed to the old thrift store where Julie was working.

While waiting, my grandma and I got onto the subject of writing. I told her how I love to write and am waiting to see if I get locally published in Eau Claire area. I told her about my writings and how I someday want to write an autobiography or even a memoir. She then started to tell me about how she loved to write too. My grandma would tell me that when she was my age, she moved to the cities and became a secretary for an electric company instead of going into journalism. Before then, she told me that she was even in the Ladysmith paper for writing about an institution in Flambeau, which is a town nearby Ladysmith. When she was telling me about this, I couldn’t help but to think of when my dad had mentioned something about it. My dad recently told me that he also enjoyed writing. He would tell me how he’d want to write a book about his life one day too. My grandma then went into talking about her mom and how she would have poetry published. After that, many more of my more distant cousins and relatives loved to write as well. I hardly knew any of this.

“So do you think writing is in my genetics?” I asked my grandma.

“That very well could be it and why you love writing. I think so.” She replies.

“Huh. That’s pretty cool. So do you think we have some ancestor that was really famous for writing?”

“I don’t know. I think it is pretty cool though.”

Julie finished up with work by the time our conversation had ended. We picked Anna and one of her friends up from the birthday party. My grandma stopped at the grocery store to pick up some hot dogs and chips for dinner. Once back at the house, I showed my grandma what I wrote for possibly being published.

I wrote a nonfiction short story about an extremely painful experience I had just a couple of years back. I would have excruciating pain in the front of my hip joints and was stuck living with that kind of pain throughout sports in high school while trying to find out what was going on. Months later I was diagnosed with Femoroacetabular Impingment, or FAI as abbreviated, with Labral Tears. This means that I had extra bone growth in my hip joints that was tearing the cartilage, called the labrum, which would cause much pain. I had to survive two hip surgeries with over a year of physical therapy. I wrote about how that kind of pain affected and changed me as a person.

“Wow. That’s really good. With very little error, your story was written very well and in good context. It has a good flow to it and you can understand what was going on.” My grandma explains after reading.

“Thanks grandma. Do you think it will get published?”

“I don’t know but you could get it.” She says confidently.

My grandma finally opened my card and gave me a big hug. She thanked me and set it up by one of her decorations on her kitchen counter. For dinner, the small group of us had hot dogs, cheese burgers, chips with dip, and pasta salad. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Later that afternoon, I brought Anna and her friend to go fishing in a nearby river. It was starting to get dark and was coming time for me to go home. I brought them back and gave my grandma a hug before leaving. She thanked me for coming and told me to drive safely.

On my way home, I replayed the events of the day in my mind. It felt good spending time with my grandma before Mother’s Day because I knew I missed her. My mind couldn’t help but to think back to writing. I felt amazed knowing that writing has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. I would say that writing is in my genes.