five years later…

I’m not even going to lie and try to pretend that this week has been easy. They say there are some things that you just shouldn’t share on the internet, and perhaps my week of breakdowns, crying in the car, and seeming inability to do anything constitutes one of those things. But this week marks not only my birthday, but the five year anniversary of my baby brother’s death. I wish I could say this week had been easy, and that I could look back on my younger self and tell her that time heals everything, and that after five years it’s never a debilitating pain anymore. But that’s not true.

I don’t know if this is going to help anyone else. I don’t know if anyone will care at all, but I know that five years ago it would have meant so much to me to know that someone else had been through what I was going through. That someone else knew what it was like to lose their little sibling. That someone knew what it was like to feel forgotten and alone, crying themselves to sleep at night, barely able to function through the grief. I would have given anything in the months that followed March 2017 to feel less alone.

The amount of anger that I felt at God was unfathomable. The isolation was unbearable. All of a sudden everything felt like too much and I felt as though I had nothing else to live for. Somehow as I cared for my constantly ill mother, and did my best to keep the household running while still keeping up with everything else in my life, I had managed to hinge my whole existence in the life of that little kid. I don’t know how to explain how much I gave up in the year proceeding that day. When you pour your whole being into the belief that you are helping create the best possible life for someone, and that is all ripped away in a second, what remains of the person you were before? How are you supposed to survive when the existence you had so carefully laid out for yourself is nothing but a shattered remnant? All I could do was pick up the pieces that were left and try to keep going. I was angry. So angry. At God, my family, at everyone who I felt should be supporting me but wasn’t. I couldn’t believe that a good God would let me break the way He had, letting people tell me that everything would be worth it in time, only to have him die in the end?

My mom was sick. My dad was working. And I was trying to pick up all the slack. In a matter of a couple of months I lost everything that I thought defined me as a person. My sports, church recognition, the friends that I had made on my basketball team, and my co-op classmate. All of a sudden I was all alone, and I had so many more responsibilities than I had ever had to deal with before. I got very depressed. I thought my life was worthless. That even the sum of my parts amounted to nothing.

But then there was my brother. The very one that I had spent the whole early part of my childhood diligently praying for, and this… It was just something I refused to do to him. I didn’t want him to grow up thinking that I hadn’t cared about him. I didn’t want him to grow up feeling the loneliness that had characterized my childhood. I wanted to be able to tell him how much I cared, and to be there for him no matter what. And I guess in some ways I was. All the way to the bitter end.

I held on because of the responsibility that I felt to be there for others, even when I didn’t think they really cared that much. Everyone told me that all the pain and all the heartache would be worth it when he was born. Oh how they ate their words. It’s incredible how most people tend to leave when your pain makes them uncomfortable. In my anger I found it impossible to find solace. Not in other people, and not in God. My pain consumed every part of my life. When the depression would subside I would be consumed with anxiety that made me unwilling to leave the house, or to interact with people. My parents, even in dealing with their own grief, did the best they could to help me, but I refused to be honest with them for the most part, and suffered in silence instead. I didn’t know how to deal with my feelings in a way that wasn’t just internalizing them and putting on a brave fact for the world. I didn’t want to be weak. I didn’t want to be struggling. I just wanted to not care.

Obviously I made it through, but being thirteen was the worst year of my life. And suffering in silence, the anger that I harbored towards everyone in my life, and my self hatred and survivors guilt made it nearly unbearable. I would like to just smile at this point and say that now that I’m older I’m all better, and that none of this stuff effects me anymore, but to be honest as I go through this week, I feel like such a fake. Sometimes my emotions feel so overwhelming, and I can’t even cope, and then other times I feel so cold and heartless. Like I don’t even care. Sometimes I can make myself believe that I’m past it. Like after five years it just doesn’t matter to my everyday life anymore. But then the feelings come. The gut punch, take you to your knees, soul wracking sobs, like nothing exists besides the pain in my chest, and the quiet insistent echo playing inside my head is the only thing that truly exists. And I feel guilty. I feel like somehow, in some twisted way that this is all my fault. Even though I couldn’t have changed it, or fixed it. Even though there’s nothing I could have done that would have saved him. He was just an innocent little kid. I’ve spent so much time wondering what’s so great about me that I deserved to live, and he didn’t.

That all being said, it does get better. I don’t feel that same constant ache of hopelessness so much anymore. And at some point I managed to make it through my anger at God. My guilt no longer negatively influences all of my decisions, and though I still cry and have bad days, those days aren’t every day anymore. As I write this I pray that finally sitting down and writing and just being honest, things that have felt so tedious and difficult for me since that time will bring me more healing. I know, that even through this God is very good to me. Even as the pain sucks me in, I know that I am stronger because of it. That even though I would give anything to bring my brother back I can’t, and I have learned to live with that truth for the most part. As for the guilt, I am working to let it drive me to do something that matters with my life. I want to let his life drive me to do the things that I know God has called me to do. Because if he isn’t around to do amazing things for himself, I want to make a positive impact in this world on his behalf. The pain is horrifying. The valley was deep. But even though all of that, somehow I now have a glimpse of peace, and for that I praise the Lord.

a letter to an older, wiser barista

I ran into you today. It’s been awhile, and I don’t know if you really remember me. And I don’t know that if you do remember me that those memories are fond ones. But I was glad to see you. I hope you’re doing well. I hope your adorable little kid is healthy and happy. I hope you feel closer now to God than you ever did before. I hope you know that you had an impact on me, because I think you deserve to have someone tell you that you make a difference in this world.

I hope you don’t remember me as a helpless klutz, because for all intents and purposes, that is exactly what I was my first couple of weeks at work. I’m thankful for your patience in teaching me everytime I go to make latte art, or make a frappe without having to carefully measure each ingredient while looking at a recipe guide. And I know you have a vendetta against lazy high schoolers, but I hope you didn’t consider me to be one of them. And I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you. Because even if you’ve completely forgotten who I am, I’m still thankful for everything I learned from you.

Sincerely,

a younger, less wise barista

20 things I’ve realized during high school (mainly about making friends and influencing people.)

(1) Sometimes people just don’t want to be friends, and that doesn’t always have anything to do with you. (aka, it’s a them problem, not a you problem)

(2) Just because people claim they care, doesn’t mean they do. But that doesn’t mean that no one ever cares. It’s better to live life and get hurt then to hurt others because you never trust people.

(3) Real friends won’t ridicule you for doing things that you aren’t good at. Say it with me: My friends will not make fun of me for trying new things, if people are making fun of me for trying to step outside of my comfort zone, those people are not my friends.

(4) Your best friends are the people who will go up to bat for you no matter what, but that means that you would go up to bat for them too. (it’s not a one way street my dudes.)

(5) Yeah, adults really have no idea what they’re talking about most of the time. (especially when it comes to teenaged behavior. )

(6) It’s fun to be random, but there’s nothing wrong with being a bit predictable sometimes. People might make fun of me for it occasionally, but hey, I know what I like.

(7) Being yourself might not always win you a lot of friends, but it will win you the friends that really matter. (at least, sometimes it will)

(8) Procrastination is bad, and every assignment matters.

(9) Sometimes the best place for you in life isn’t the place you currently are.

(10) Most people are at least a little bit two faced, and sometimes even the people you really care about will betray you. (just because you care doesn’t mean they do too.)

(11) There are certain things that I will in fact spend the big bucks on, and apparently novelty purses is one of them, lol (let’s be honest, spiderman was worth it.)

(12) Hiding your feelings is a mistake that will hurt your relationships, and it’s not worth it to hide your grievances until you hate someone.

(13) Apologize. When you mess up, take responsibility and deal with it.

(14) It’s important to remember to tell your friends and family how much you love and appreciate them.

(15) There’s no reason to apologize for being weird. I like the way I am, for the most part, and if other people don’t like me then that’s their personal issue.

(16) Getting a job is frightening, but having a job is a good thing.

(17) Shakespeare was way weirder than anyone warned me.

(18) Be nice. People will have more respect for you if you show basic human decency to everyone.

(19) Literally no drama is worth it, and I really do hate it as much as I thought I did.

(20) Don’t be judgmental, and always be there for your friends. If your friends can’t even trust you, then who do you have?

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, I hope to see you back sometime!

Signed, your friendly neighborhood blogger

chronic illness and such, take 2

This post is about my thoughts and feeling about trekking through life with chronic illness, and also about being ‘perfect’. For those of you who don’t know, when I was 13 I was diagnosed with sibo, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which is a form of Irritable Bowl Syndrome. I don’t like to talk about my weaknesses, and struggles. I want to think I’m independent enough to handle anything on my own, I’m not, and I try so hard to create the illusion of false perfection to protect myself. There are parts of life that will eat you alive if you try to conceal them by not talking about them. For me, this is one of them. I don’t talk to people without some reserve. I try to keep myself safe from other people’s opinions that way I guess. Sometimes I think I would rather metaphorically ‘follow my friends off a cliff’ than be honest about how I really feel. The things is, the longer I keep these ‘imperfections’ to myself the more of a toll it takes on me, and the more pressure I put on myself to continue performing as though everything is perfect, even when it’s not. I want to put this out there because I want other people to know that someone understands. Someone cares. And there is someone on your side. I always roll my eyes a little when people say that on social media. If I’ve never met you, how can I be cheering for you, understanding how you feel, caring about you, and be on your side? I don’t know how to explain it other than to say that I don’t know who you are, or what you believe, but I’m praying for you. And I hope that can be an encouragement to you. Also, feel free to reach out to me, I promise I don’t bite. (lol) This is me, trying my hardest to be truthful, and to put myself out there. Even if “being frank” like this is the equivalent of yelling it out in an empty field. I’m tired of ‘being perfect’. Because, I’m not, and I think that once I yell out my frank feelings in the middle of this empty field I’ll see that the truth is better than false perfection. Chronic Illness is a thing that some people will never understand. But to some extent, I do. This is my life too.

(If you want me to talk more about my experiences with sibo, or ‘being perfect’, or anything else I mentioned, just ask. )

Signed, your friendly neighborhood blogger.

reviewing every eyeshadow in my collection- intro

This… Is a big topic.

While the average makeup consumer may have a couple of eyeshadows, neutral, tame shades they wear everyday, I have a much different preference, and collection. My makeup collection is quite large, (Thanks YouTube), but I use and enjoy everything, especially my eyeshadows. I also don’t wear makeup in my everyday life outside of my house. For one thing, I’m not really allowed to, and for another thing I feel really self conscience when I wear makeup around groups of people who aren’t my immediate family or my best friends. While in my room I might feel all-powerful rocking some lavender lipstick, and a winged eyeliner, in the great outdoors I feel judged and uncomfortable in the lightest coverage foundation with some lip balm and mascara. Is it a bit weird? Yes, it’s definitely very odd. But that’s how I like to operate. My face is an easily washable canvas, and makeup gives me a low stress artistic outlet where I can express myself without fear of messing up beyond repair. All that being said, I was inspired to do this because sometimes I just want to see a review of a certain palette specifically before I decide whether to spend my money on it or not, and I don’t always decide I want to buy a palette right when it comes out, and I’m curious to see specific thoughts on that palette, and don’t want to sit through a whole ‘full face of first impressions’ or ‘speed reviews’ just for one eyeshadow palette. On the flip side sometimes I’ve had a palette for a while and I just want to see what other people think about it. Either way I think it will be a fun way to incorporate more makeup content onto my blog, which I’m excited about.

Thanks for reading! Signed, your friendly neighborhood blogger

the hardest part of foster care

I don’t think it’s much of a surprise that being involved with the foster system is hard. In every capacity it’s emotionally hard, and painful, whether you’re the social worker or judge, bio parents, foster parents, bio siblings who aren’t in the system, and especially as the kid who’s been ripped out of their life, out of everything they know and love, and forced to live with people who they may have never met before, who at least at the beginning they don’t love or care about. It’s nearly impossible to choose just one aspect of this whole awful system and say “This, this is the worst part.” because there is just so much awfulness involved in the foster system. There is the point where the kids realize that they don’t get to talk to their parents whenever they want to, or that they don’t get to go home in a couple of days. That their bio parents aren’t always going to call, and a lot of times, that is a choice that they have purposefully made. There’s the behavior after visits, the screaming and crying, and broken hearts. The kids who think that if they just act up enough that the state will give up on trying to make them live somewhere else, and will just give them back to their bio parents. The times when they don’t get to see their siblings… The nightmares, and the horrible traumatic memories playing over and over in the heads of these kids. The stories, the awful stories of what the lives of these kids were like before they were brought into the system, the trauma they’ve endured, and witnessed. Having to send the kids back to their bio families whenever the families aren’t ready, and you know that you are just sending them back into a situation they should never have had to deal with in the first place. It’s all hard. But it’s so, so worth it. To form lasting relationships, with kids, bio parents, social workers, and other foster families you meet along the way. There are days when life feels crazy out of control, and during those moments I wonder why we ever decided to do this. But then I realize, this life isn’t meant to be easy. It’s meant to be tough, and grueling, to make you question yourself, and what you believe. It’s meant to be easy. We’re meant to make a difference.

Signed, your friendly neighborhood blogger.

sooo… I painted some shoes

So my blogging friend Jasmin (thewriterofletters.wordpress.com you should go check her out!!!) did a post like this a little while ago where she showed how she painted butterflies on her high tops, and when I mentioned that I also like to paint shoes (I have really weird hobbies, I am aware.) she encouraged me to do a post of my own about the shoes I’ve done. It’s taken me awhile to get around to it, but here you go guys. I’m honestly not sure what possessed me to paint a pair of shoes that I spent weeks saving up for, and already liked, but I started with a pair of bright pink chucks which I bought a couple of years ago. I started painting them with gray polka dots, but three sides in I got distracted, so they’ve spent a long time collecting dust with no shoe laces in the back of my closet. I was really happy with how my little project was coming, and was all set to finish them, but when I came back around to them I no longer had the polka dot stencil I’d cut out and had been using, and I couldn’t remember what paint I’d used for the polka dots, so I improvised. Well… A whole radish load full of improvisation later these are the shoes I ended up with. I decided to do clouds because the painted side of the shoe ended up looking slightly like a sky-scape, and I love painted clouds, and when I started painting I just couldn’t stop. This is what the shoes looked like originally. They aren’t the shade I expected when I ordered them, and aren’t my favorite shade of pink, so I didn’t feel too bad covering up the color with paint.

I wish I would have taken some pictures as I was doing them, but honestly I didn’t think of it until I was done :(. I think these shoes turned out with a really ‘head in the clouds, daydreamer, artistic’ sort of vibe, and I really, really, like them.

If you would like to see a post about some of the other shoes that I’ve done, I would be glad to do it, but I’m not sure if it would be something anyone would actually want to read or not. Either way, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. If you did I would appreciate it if you would consider following this here blog, to see more content from me. You can also find me on insta, @not_molly_19. 

Signed, Your friendly neighborhood blogger.

a letter to bio parents

Hello Bio Parents. 

If you’re reading this I’m sure you’re curious about what I have to say to you. First I want to start off by saying that, as a bio kid in a foster family, I’ve met and interacted with a lot more of you then I otherwise would have, and I also have a different perspective of you then I did two years ago. And from the bottom of my heart, I want to say that I don’t hate you, in fact I actually love you. Because we’re both equally human. As much distaste as I might have for what you have done. As much as I might hold a grudge against you for a while. As much as I might be shocked, appalled, and saddened by the things you’ve done, and put your kids through. I might not love the person you’ve become, but I believe that everyone can change. At the moment your kids are put in foster care, I’m not proud of you. I hope that as far as your life is concerned this is the moment that everything changes for the better. That you find this moment to be the rock bottom that you needed in order to get your life turned around. I hope and pray that you take this opportunity to turn to God, but even if you don’t I pray that this is the last time, and you’ll never find yourself in this place again. I want to say that I’m proud of those of you who have stepped up, and have made a safe, loving, and healthy environment for your kids to come back to after you’ve completed your plan. But I’m also proud of those of you who have realised that you are never going to be able to take care of your kids the way they need to be taken care of, and have allowed them to be adopted by a family who can. Yes, I know that every story doesn’t, and never will turn out this black and white, and that’s okay. At the moment you are standing in the in-between space of success and failure, I hope you know that we, your kid’s foster family, are rooting for you to do the right thing. We want you to be able to succeed. We want the best thing possible for your kids. I just want to encourage you. We don’t want to be your enemy, we want to help you to do what’s right, and what’s best. We really do love you. We love you with the love of God. The love that he’s given us for those who might seem like our enemies for a while. And I pray that with time you’ll be able to see that clearly even if you can’t see it right now. 

With love, your friendly neighborhood blogger.

some truth

Over the past few months I feel like I’ve kind of been failing at life. I haven’t been doing as well at getting things done, I’m in a near perpetual state of dis-motivation. I’ve sat down and started so many posts, but I feel like I can’t get out the words I need to say. I’ve been out of the loop, and it feels like I’m standing to the side while life passes me by. I started prayer journaling, and I think it’s helping me work through some of the funk. I’m implementing habits, and trying different ways of going about the things I need to be doing, working towards getting  back to the place I want to be, but I’ve been very discouraged. I’ve been afraid to try hard to succeed, because I’m just so afraid to fail. I spent a couple months at the end of last year almost avoiding God. I think that was one of the first steps I took in this direction. At the beginning of 2020 I started praying and seeking God in my life again. He’s opening my eyes to the toxic mindset that I’ve been clinging to for the past 6 months. Showing me that I need to live my life and not be afraid to fail, that I need to stop dwelling on the past and letting it define who I am.  To do the things I need to do, and to keep the commitments I’ve made to others. I want to be able to be a positive example, to have such an undeniable witness that it’s impossible to look down on me because I am young. To not chicken out or take short-cuts because it seems like the easier way, or because I think that I can’t do the things I need to do. I don’t need to see the future to be able to give things my best shot in the present. It’s taken me a while to realise that, but the more I do my best. When I actually try and don’t spend more time weighing the possibility of failure than I spend working towards success, the closer I come to what I think is the right track. I don’t want to be afraid to fail just because I can’t see what’s coming. I have taken months to learn that the hard way, but I hope it will keep me on track in the future.

concerning caseworkers

The past couple of weeks I’ve been digging deeper into the world of DHS/CPS, caseworkers, placements, and adoptions, and the true horrors that the foster system marks for a cost of living project that I’m doing this semester for school, because I want to be a social worker after college. It has brought to my attention once again the blind eye that this world turns to the kids in the foster system. It has made me sad. The jobs of caseworkers are horrific, and yet they remain underpaid, and under recognized. The things they have to see and deal with as their job are horrific. 

Yes, I still believe that there are bad caseworkers, but I realize more deeply the numbness that comes with the months and years of daily being exposed to the suffering of children, and the forced separation of families. It makes me appreciate more the love and dedication of the social workers we’ve had during the past year. I just wanted to recognize the caseworkers I’ve had the privilege of meeting in my state, and briefly talk about social workers who work in the foster system and what they do. And I would like to recommend you share some encouragement with them to show you appreciate what they do. 

Thanks for taking a minute out of your day to read this post, please consider following this blog to see more from me if you’re not already

Signed, Your friendly neighborhood blogger