The several feet of snow that we have is being slowly melted away.
A few days ago was the 2 year anniversary of my Grandma’s death.
My maternal uncle’s mother died yesterday.
February is now a very bad month for my cousins.
I went to bed earlier than I have been lately hoping to get up earlier… it didn’t work.
As I was willing myself to get out of bed I received a group text.
At first I thought that my abusive sister somehow got ahold of my new number and somehow got around the fact that I have her blocked because the names are listed in alphabetical order, but it was from my Dad.
My Dad sent a group text to me, my sister, my mom’s sister, and his mother.
He was letting us know that my Mom was currently in the ER with a suspected gall bladder infection.
She is alone because of Covid restrictions.
I cannot go and be with my Dad and brother because I am isolating as much as possible while I wait my turn for my vaccine.
I yelled the F word several times after reading the text, texted my Dad privately to be certain it wasn’t visible to my sister and then forced myself to get out of bed.
It was time for my afternoon meds. I grabbed two wrong medication organizers before finally grabbing the correct one and getting my meds in me.
I got my teeth brushed, pulled on a hoodie, got my glasses on and called my husband at work to inform him of the death in the family and that my Mom was in the ER.
I worried over the phone to my husband about the fact that my sister might now have my new number because she was part of the group text.
I needed breakfast.
I opened the wrong cabinet and tried to put my juice glass on my Keurig instead of my mug.
I eventually managed to get my juice in my juice glass, my coffee and creamer in my mug, and my milk and cereal in my bowl.
I ate breakfast and took care of some of my normal daily routines on my phone while eating.
I posted to Facebook about what is going on with my family.
I got another group text from my Dad letting us know that a cat scan ruled out a gall bladder infection. Mom has really bad reflux, still unsure why, but she should be coming home from the ER soon. He’ll update us when he knows more.
I texted my husband with the updated information. I told him that I am still worried about why her reflux is so bad all the time, but that right now the fact that the anniversary of her mother’s death is only a few days ago and the fact that there was just another death in the family might have something to do with it.
I wrote a comment on my Facebook post giving everyone updated information. (Minus my hypothesis as to what’s causing her current reflux issues.)
Now I’m sitting here writing this post because it’s #PepperDay and I didn’t know what else to write about.
I’m sitting here trying to find the motivation to get up and take the shower that I still need to take today.
I’m sorry that my posts have been such downers two months in a row now.
Long time readers of this blog will remember that this used to be a place where I would come to talk about big and challenging things that were happening in my life, or big and challenging things that had happened in my past.
And then I changed things up a bit, deleted some old posts due to some changes in life circumstances, hoping that they would no longer be relevant.
And then I stopped blogging altogether for a while, although I still considered myself a blogger.
Fair warning: This post is going to be a bit heavier than the sort of stuff I’ve written about for a while, but I’m hoping to keep it to a fairly short summary of my last 4 years (give or take).
4 years and 2 months ago in November the US election happened, and, although I am a fairly privileged white woman, I was terrified.
4 years and 1 month ago, 2 days after Christmas, my parents house burned down. An electric blanket that my Dad was asleep under caught on fire. My Dad was lucky to escape with only minor injuries.
4 years ago when the fire happened I still lived across the country from my parents. I spent all my time afterwards organizing things online to get them the help they needed, including creating a fundraiser.
4 years ago at the end of April my mother was finally given permission to let me know that my sister not only was pregnant, but had actually had the baby about 4 months earlier on Christmas day, 2 days before the fire. I had not been in contact with my sister for several years because she is abusive, but during the time that she was pregnant I had been trying to reestablish contact and give her another chance. I did not know that she was pregnant when I was reaching out to her. She never responded to my attempts to contact her. She could have told me she was pregnant, but instead I was the last person in our family to find out when my niece was already 4 months old.
4 years ago at the end of April I tentatively reestablish contact with my sister.
4 years ago in May my Grandfather suffered a major heart attack, had quadruple bypass surgery and was fitted with a pacemaker. He was then readmitted to the hospital later in the month because of an infection and has been in and out of the hospital over the last few years because his heart condition causes him breathing issues.
4 years ago in July my parents and my brother were able to move into their rebuilt house.
4 years ago in July my husband, Curtis, found out that the project that he’d been working with for almost 10 years was going to be moving to a different company and everyone would be losing their jobs by October. We had a choice for him to try to find another job within the company or take the severance package and try to find another job in Utah or move back to Connecticut. We ultimately decide to try to stay with the same company.
4 years ago in September Curtis started a work from home position within the same company.
4 years ago shortly before Christmas Curtis finds out that his new position is going away. This time there won’t even be a severance package. We have no choice but to move across the country to live with family. We set up a fundraiser to help us do that.
3 years ago in January we leave Utah and drive a U-Haul truck filled with all our belongings across the country to Connecticut. Along the way we spend one night with my sister and we meet her child for the first time.
3 years ago in January, 2 days after meeting my sister’s child for the first time we are driving through a blizzard in Ohio when I get a text from my sister. She informs me that she will be moving into the room at my parent’s house that was promised to us and tells us that we need to find somewhere else to stay. She is only supposed to stay a month.
3 years ago in January we arrive at my parent’s rebuilt house. We stay a week before having to move in with my in-law’s in a different part of the state.
3 years ago in February we realize that my sister is refusing to leave. We cannot stay long-term with my in-law’s because they rent an apartment. We move in with my Grandparent’s next door to my parents.
3 years ago in March Curtis finally found a job in Connecticut. He is working second shift.
3 years ago in June my sister finally moves out of my parents house. She had been abusive to everyone the entire time she was there. She moved in in January, was supposed to be gone by February but stayed for 6 months even though my parents wanted her to leave. She had a house that she could have moved back to at anytime while Curtis and I were homeless and staying with family who never planned on having us living with them.
3 years ago in June Curtis and I are finally able to move into the room that we were supposed to be living in since our move from Utah. My sister throws a fit when she finds out that we moved in.
2 years ago in February my Grandmother on my Mom’s side dies. She had been sick for a while and eventually slipped into a coma. My family had to make the decision to let her go because it’s what she would have wanted. My sister was around constantly and was abusive towards my mother who was losing her mother. I was unable to truly grieve of be a part of my grandmother’s funeral as I might have wanted to be because all my time was spent trying to deal with the trauma of my abusive sister making everything about her. I was overwhelmed.
2 years ago in February and March my sister finally leaves again and I help my Mom and Aunt clean out my Grandmother’s apartment.
2 years ago in April Curtis starts a new job. We go from going to bed at 5:30am to getting up at 5:30am.
2 years ago in September I self diagnosed myself as being autistic. My brother, who was living in the room right next to ours, had finally gotten his autism diagnosis in his mid 20s. He and I are polar opposites, he needs constant noise and is loud where I need quiet and am quiet myself, but when I realized that autism presents differently in everyone, everything finally made sense. I finally understood why living in such a loud house since we were able to move in was so traumatic for me, among other things.
1 year ago in January I finally start to get help for my extreme anxiety. I go on medication. I go through a few different people before finding the right fit. (Mainly someone who actually believes autism is a thing…) I am unable to continue talk therapy because it is too expensive, I am only able to continue to see the person who prescribes my meds.
1 year ago at the end of January my mother slips into a deep depression when the grief of losing her mother catches up with her. I am left to pick up the slack around the house. She seeks help, gets back on medications (this isn’t her first bout with depression) and is finally starting to feel like herself again when…
10 months ago in March the Pandemic hits. Life changes for everyone. My mom must wait longer before returning to work.
4 months ago in September my husband and I magically buy ourselves a condo during the middle of a pandemic. We become first time homeowners.
4 months ago in September I am no longer living at my parents house and can now officially cut my narcissistic abusive sister out of my life again.
2 months ago the election happens. There is much stress until the election is finally called.
1 month ago around Christmas my body and brain decide that now that we have our own place again I can start to process all the trauma of the last 4 years, starting with the house fire. I have been living in trauma for the last 4 years nonstop.
Just a couple of weeks ago there was domestic terrorism in Washington DC and I seriously began to doubt my brain’s sense of timing.
So, that is an abbreviated (believe it or not) rundown of all the serious things that happened over the last 4 years (give or take) and all of the trauma that I am trying to work through now.
I felt that you all deserved to know what was happening while I had disappeared from my blog. Hopefully my next #PepperDay🌶 post will be more lighthearted.
My husband and I have been living with family for over 2 1/2 years. We were planning on trying to find somewhere to rent, but there is nothing affordable in the state I live in. We started doing some research and realized that it might actually be cheaper on a month to month basis to buy.
A month or so ago we started looking. We saw some things we liked, but when we ran the numbers we realized that they were unaffordable.
So we lowered our budget even more and saw some single family homes that needed way more work than we wanted to deal with and some condos that were okay, but not quite what we wanted.
Then we saw a condo that was supposed to be a 1 bed 1 bath, but it turns out that the bedroom was about the size of a smaller walk-in closet. The owner claims that he fit a queen sized bed in there, but it seems to us that if you put a bed in there, it would be the only thing that would fit. You’d be crawling into bed as you walked through the door.
That’s okay though, because the living room area has an honest to goodness queen sized Murphy bed.
It’s basically a studio with a walk-in closet.
But, despite it’s size, I fell in love with it. It’s been beautifully redone and seems like just the right amount of size for my husband and I to restart our lives again.
And we can afford it.
So, a couple of days ago, late at night when we should have already been asleep we put in our very first ever offer on that condo. And just a few minutes later our realtor called us back and told us that she had good news. The sellers had already responded, and all they wanted was $500.00 more. We quickly accepted this counter offer and the paperwork has been signed.
Now we need to deal with the bank assessment and getting it inspected. So it’s not a done deal yet, but so far things are moving in the right direction.
As I wrote about a few days ago, 2 days after Christmas my parent’s house caught on fire. The fire was started in one of the bedrooms by an electric blanket and spread to the surrounding rooms. It took less 3 minutes from the time my dad woke up to fire on top of his feet to the fire being fully involved, but everyone made it out of the house safely. The fire department responded within 3 minutes but it took about an hour for them to get the fire under control. About half the house was gutted by fire and the rest suffered severe smoke and water damage. The house is currently uninhabitable.
The house was built by my great great grandfather after he immigrated from Italy. Including myself, 5 generations have lived in that house.
The house was insured, but with it being such an old house and with the damage being so significant the repairs and replacements of things that were lost is going to be very costly.
I have set up an online donation fund to help my parents be able to afford to rebuild the house right and make it a much safer place for them to live. No amount is too small to make a difference. If you can’t afford to donate right now, you can help by sharing the link to the donation fund or reblogging this post. Thank you.
Tuesday night was a very scary night. One of my Facebook friends alerted me to the fact that there was a fire reported near my parents house. I live all the way across the country, so I frantically called whatever numbers I could to try reach my parents and eventually reached them at my grandparent’s house next door.
It was my parents house that was on fire. My dad had gone to bed with the electric blanket on and woke up a couple hours later to find the foot of the bed on fire. He spent the night in the hospital for smoke inhalation and minor burns from trying to knock down the flames, but everyone made it out.
The fire spread from the bedroom to the surrounding rooms, and the firefighters had to knock down internal walls to fight the fire. Most of the windows are busted out and there are holes in the roof from venting the smoke and flames. The part of the house near the bedroom has been destroyed by the fire, and the rest of the house has severe smoke and water damage.
The house is uninhabitable.
My parents and brother are staying with my grandparents next door for now. The house is insured, so they have already started talking with the insurance company. Once they hear back from the insurance adjuster the rebuilding process will begin.
A few days ago on Facebook Ra was talking about how she wanted to write a post about loneliness and asked if any of us had written posts on the subject. I’m not sure if I have written a post about it before, but it got me thinking about the way I’ve got my life set up.
I started writing a post early yesterday morning but ended up trashing it. Then I read Holly’s post on the subject of loneliness and decided to give mine another try.
My husband and I live hundreds of miles away from all of our friends and family. We originally lived in Connecticut but moved all the way out to Utah a little more than 12 years ago. All of the friends that we’ve made out here have been through my husband’s work. Those friendships can be hard to keep up though because I don’t socialize. I’m 100% an introvert. We now literally live right across the street from where my husband and his co-workers/friends work and I have still yet to actually invite my husband’s coworker/ friend that I’ve made via Facebook over on her way home from work. It’s not that I don’t want to see her, but the thought of inviting someone over causes anxiety for me. The nice thing is that she can totally relate, because she deals with anxiety herself.
I do not have a job. I haven’t had a job since the beginning of my marriage almost 14 years ago. I’ve tried to work before, but it never ends well. My anxiety, bipolar disorder or panic disorder always end up causing me to leave all my jobs. I am extremely lucky that my husband is able to support us both.
So, I don’t socialize and I don’t work outside the home for the sake of my mental health, add to that that I also hate talking on the phone and that leaves social media, texting, email and interacting on blogs as my ways to connect with other people.
Only sometimes even that is too much. Sometimes I go full hermit mode and drop off the face of the earth for a while.
But none of this is loneliness, this is how I’ve set up my life to survive since I have not received treatment for any of my mental health issues for over a decade. And because I’m an introvert and generally don’t really like people. It may not look healthy to you, but I’m doing a hell of a lot better than I ever did on medications.
The loneliness comes in when I come back to social media or my blog and no one’s around anymore. The people who used to read and comment on my blog aren’t there anymore. I can’t blame them, I’m the one who went radio silence for months.
So I try to reach out to other bloggers, I make a conscious effort to actually comment on their posts instead of my usual “liking and lurking” but I feel awkward and like I don’t belong. I feel like an outsider among the blogging friends/family. I feel like no one actually wants me there, but they’re too polite to tell me that I just don’t fit in anymore because I’ve fallen into the blogging black hole one too many times.
It’s nothing that anyone says or does, and I know it’s all in my head. I’m just very socially awkward and never know how to go about the whole “making friends” thing.
Especially since on some level I feel like I don’t deserve any friends anyway, because I know I’m just going to disappear again in the future at some point.
This past weekend Curtis and I went through every item that we own.
Every. Single. Item.
We spent the entire weekend going through it all and deciding what we were keeping, what we were donating and what was trash. Our rule was if we aren’t actually using it or going to use it, we could not keep it. If it would only continue to be stored in a box and take up space that we aren’t going to have, there was no reason to keep it.
No matter what it was.
I kept repeating to myself that’s it’s all just stuff and if we don’t have an actual use for it we don’t need to keep it. Which led to some brutal decisions and emotional moments.
Curtis spent a lot of time building with Lego when he was growing up and had 4 boxes of original Lego from the 80’s that we had been lugging with us every time we’ve moved, including when we moved across the country from Connecticut to Utah. We’ve found somewhere to store them every time that we have moved, but this time we are moving into a much smaller apartment and just couldn’t figure out where we might have room to store them. Since they haven’t actually been used in years, after some discussion Curtis decided to go ahead and donate them. Which kind of broke my heart for him because I never expected him to decide to give them up.
We had already scanned all of our pictures, so all of our photo albums went in the trash. All of them, including our wedding albums. We never look at the physical pictures anyway, so it wasn’t all that hard of a decision, but I did feel kind of guilty about it. I’m just hoping that someone isn’t going to “rescue” them from the trash and try to return them to us. I felt like we should have included a note in the trash bag letting people know that they were thrown away on purpose because we made digital copies.
We took pictures of all of the things that we were not going to be able to keep so that it wasn’t like we were completely getting rid of them.
I kept one small doll that my great grandma made, but had to decide to donate a doll that my grandmother made and a doll that I helped my grandmother and aunt make because I simply will not have the space to store them.
I had to make the guilt inducing decision to throw away the cake topper that was used at both my wedding and my parent’s wedding because it was falling apart. The other cake topper that was used at our wedding, the utensils we used to cut our wedding cakes and the glasses that we used for the toasts at our wedding are all being donated.
All of our Halloween and Christmas decorations are being donated. I haven’t decorated in years and will have no space to store them. We took a picture of each individual decoration before sticking it in the donate pile.
All of my yarn and all of my beading supplies are being donated because they take up way too much space. Most of the artwork that we had done over the years that we were never likely to display anywhere again was gotten rid of or donated after we made absolutely that we got pictures of all of them.
There is a pile of stuff waiting to be donated in our garage that probably takes up about the same amount of floor space as the size of what our new living room will be. We have a picture of it, but it’s Curtis’ phone at work with him, so I can’t share it here.
It was a much more emotional project than I thought it would be, but overall I’m mostly just relieved to be getting rid of all of that stuff. We are much more likely to be able to fit in our new apartment now and the stuff that we are donating or that we trashed is all stuff that we will not have to pack into a moving truck. Which makes the thought of this move a lot less overwhelming.
When I started this blog a few years ago I didn’t start out as anonymous. I let people on Facebook know that I had a blog and had my posts automatically shared on Facebook when I posted them. But, to my knowledge, not many people I actually knew were reading my blog and I wanted to start writing about things that were going to be easier to write about if no one knew who I was, so I decided to unlink my blog from Facebook. I went completely anonymous. No photos of myself, no names, only vague references to where I lived.
And then as I made friends via my blog I slowly started to give out bits and pieces of information about who I was and where I lived. I let people know that I lived in Northern Utah, in the Salt Lake Valley. That before that I lived in a little town on the Connecticut shoreline where I grew up. I slowly started to post pictures of myself, first without showing my face and then no longer hiding my face. I even changed my user pic to an actual picture of me.
The one thing that I have not done is let people know my real name. But as I have made friends on here and have started to connect with them via my personal Facebook page I have realized that eventually some of my other friends and family are going to figure out that I have a blog. And while that used to worry me because I fear judgement from them for the opinions and life choices that I discuss on this blog, I find that I no longer care as much if they might disapprove. I will be 33 years old on the very last day of November. I have been married to my husband, Curtis, (also known as unremarkable man) for 13 years and living on the other side of the country from most of my friends and family for over 11 years. In other words, I’m grown ass woman, and while I will always appreciate input and support from my friends and family, their opinion on how I choose to live my life doesn’t really matter.
I don’t need anyone’s approval or permission to live my truth. And if anyone decides to voice their displeasure with my life choices, just know that one of my life choices is that I don’t need to have negativity in my life. You are allowed to have your opinions, but there is no reason why I need to hear about those opinions unless I have specifically asked for them.
My life choices are not up for debate.
I have recently come back to blogging after taking a break from it for almost a year. I spruced up my blog layout. And I have decided that I’m tired of hiding. This is my space to write about what I want, and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it.
I got a lot of positive feedback, along with some somewhat neutral, possibly negative feedback. A guy friend of mine commented that he’s “had that same haircut!” He happens to have long hair now, so my response was “And I’ve had your current hairstyle before!”
And then I got a message asking me if I was “doing alright” “because few women shave their heads.”
Which honestly pissed me off.
A woman deciding to shave her head is not a sign of mental illness.
Then my grandmother straight out asked me in a comment on my picture if I was fighting cancer.
To which I asked her if she seriously thought that I wouldn’t let everyone know that I was if that was what was going on.
Not every woman who shaves her head is sick. Some women shave their heads because they like the way they look with short hair.
I was then meant to feel guilty about my decision because “some women would do almost anything to have such beautiful hair.”
It’s not like I permanently cut off my hair. If I stop cutting it, it’ll grow back.
Also, I am in no way obligated to wear my hair long simply because other people find it pretty.
Think of it this way: My husband cuts his hair just as short as mine all the time and nobody cares. Because he’s a guy.
But when a woman, such as myself, decides to shave her head it’s a big deal and some people decide that she must be ill in some way (either physically or mentally) because “why would a woman shave her head?”
“Because she felt like it” is a perfectly acceptable answer to that question by the way.
There is absolutely no reason why a woman can’t style her hair any damn way she wants, including deciding to shave it all off. Women don’t need long hair to still be feminine.
And the only reason why it should be a big deal is because of how awesome she looks with her new hairstyle.
And if “bald is beautiful” is only true to you if that person has cut their hair off for health reasons, if you are offended by the thought of women shaving their heads simply because they want to, I suggest that you may never have really meant it in the first place. Other women who are healthy deciding to shave their heads in no way takes away from the courageousness of women who had less choice in the matter.
Women are beautiful. Period. Hair length has nothing to with it.