Visiting Grandma

I did something that was very difficult today but has been on my mind a lot lately. I went and visited my grandma’s grave. I have never gone because I have not been ready to deal with it.

My grandma died in 2009. She was the first (and the only) person that has died in my life that I have ever cared about. It was a big shock when she died because she died in a car accident. Thinking about her has always been painful but as time has gone on, I have been able to talk about her as well as the cause of her death. Most of the time, I avoid thinking about her, which I feel is disrespectful and an act of forgetting but I do not want to deal with the tears and pain.

Today was not an easy task. Since I am staying at my parents’ for the holidays, I feel like I have to tell my parents where I am going (just another joy of being home). I knew that I could not voice what I was doing. Plus, it feels like there is a lot of gossip in my family and I did not want all that painful information being discussed often. So I waited until both of my parents went out and then quickly left.

It is about a fifteen minute trip there because it involves going out in the country. Since my dad is a farmer, I was so afraid that I would see him but thankfully I never did.

I left a red silk Christmas flower at the grave. I was reminded of the end scene in Phantom of the Opera when a red rose is left at the grave. However, that scene is all in black and white except for the flower.

I am glad that I did it. A lot of painful feelings were experienced but at least I did it. Like I said, it has been weighing on my mind lately.

Trying to Live

For so long, my parents sheltered me and it did more harm than good. I did not get to go out with friends in high school. I was confined to the house most days after school and on weekends. My life consisted of homework.

As a result, my parents taught me how to fear life. So when the time came to actually leave the house and live, I was afraid of doing simple things such as driving. I guess at some point, it no longer mattered. I became depressed for so long and life became a matter of survival, not actually living.

I am getting better and have made significant progress over the last several months. It is now time to live, not survive. At times though, it feels like my mom is trying to hold me back.

I went on a zoo sleepover in November. When I was telling my mom about it, I got a huge lecture about the weather for no reason. However, I also detected a hint of jealousy. I am planning on doing another zoo trip in March so I invited my mom. I got the snow lecture again so I guess I will plan on going alone.

Today, I invited her to take a trip to a large city because it has always been on my bucket list to go to Build a Bear Workshop and build a bear. Normally, when my family goes to the city for shopping, we do not go to this city. Instead, we got to a much smaller city. My mom refused to go with me because she did not want to drive in the city. I was driving though. I ended up going with one of my brothers.

I hate how my mom is trying to stop me from living. Life revolves around me though. Anxiety may hold me back at times, but no one else is going to do so.

Mandatory Christmas Gifts

All day, I have been watching my mom struggle to come up with gift ideas for the family gift exchange on Saturday. This is something new that the family is doing this year: A five dollar limit on a gift that can go to anyone in the family.

As soon as I heard about this new idea, I was not a fan. It seemed so impersonal to me. Right away, I spotted a problem: (and I am not trying to be greedy or self-centered or anything like that) My mom bought a tin of popcorn. I cannot eat popcorn because I have braces. Then, she bought a board game because my brothers needed a gift too. I live alone and the board game is impersonal as well.

It almost seems like gift giving has become an obligation. What happened to giving gifts to people because we want to? Gifts should be from the heart. Not only that, but I have an aunt and a cousin that will be critical no matter what the present might be (which will definitely not make me feel happy, especially since I am not a good gift giver anyway). Not only has gift giving become mandatory, but it has become a time to be ungrateful.

I never did buy a gift because I was not sure if I would even be around for the celebration. I probably won’t be but it did not stop me from looking up polite excuses, just in case because I have been feeling guilty, even though the celebration is several days away.  My aunt and cousin will talk if I choose not to participate as well. However, I really liked the excuse about how I am downsizing in my apartment.

As I watch my mom struggle to find gifts, it makes me thankful that I have made the decision not to participate. After all, Christmas is not about the stress, the obligation, or the ungratefulness.

Holiday Travel

I have been dreading the holidays since before Thanksgiving. I just find it very hard to go home. I had no idea when I would even come home for Christmas. School got out yesterday and I had made up my mind early on that I would not go home that day. I just could not decide between today and tomorrow.

I finally decided yesterday that I would go home today. I texted my parents and let them know. I also assured them that I was going to be watching the weather since I saw that their area was expecting a little snow. Plus, I was trying to avoid getting the frequent snow lecture.

It seems that I get the snow lecture whenever there is the slightest chance of snow, despite being an adult. I once got the snow lecture during either September and October because I had planned a little trip in November. Then, it did happen to snow the day before but the roads were absolutely perfect for my trip and I got the lecture when telling my mom about my trip!

Shortly after sending the text, my parents called. I honestly thought I was going to get the lecture. Surprisingly I didn’t. Then, as I was doing some packing this morning, my mom called. I was expecting the lecture. My mom called me to tell me that the forecast had changed and that they were actually getting a snowstorm.

I was actually a little upset about the call. I do not like being told what to do. But actually, this was probably the first snow lecture (and it was not even a lecture) that was necessary. And I guess I should be thankful for that.

But shortly after that, my mom called and told me what I could do for the day and that made me mad. I am an adult and can make my own decisions.

Are We There Yet? Book Review

Are We There Yet? By Michael Allen begins with the chaos that leads to the end of the world. People are dying. There is no food. Something needed to be done. A leader named Romanoff has been chosen to help. Things were not getting better though. Drought led to a loss of crops and famine.  Freshwater was ruined as a poisoned meteor (Wormwood) fell in. Locusts stung humans repeatedly and though these people wanted to die, they couldn’t. Romanoff died of a serious head wound but then later came back to life. He declared himself God and required people to get a mark on either their hand or forehead or else suffer the consequences. He also killed two people that were witnesses for God. After a few days though, the two witnesses went to Heaven. In the end, the people that were faithful to God went to spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus.

This book got to be a little long and difficult to read. While it focuses on the fascinating subject of the end of times, it is trying to be a novel when really it is a rewrite of the Book of Revelations. In fact, it seemed that chapters at a time were quoted in the book. There are only about two characters in this story and they only appear in the book a few times. The message is very clear though and gives a very important warning: Give your heart to the Lord or else spend eternity in hell. One must remain faithful during all trying times because the end of the world is coming.

BookLook Bloggers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Friending Students on Facebook

I got a surprise Facebook request the other day. It came from one of the students in the high school. I at least know who this girl is because I taught her brother. I have never spoken to the girl though. I always feel bad about turning down requests, especially if I know them. But since this girl is a student, I do not feel comfortable friending her.

I do not know if my school has a policy about adding students on Facebook, but I am not going to find out. I do not have anything to hide and I doubt the girl has anything to hide, but I am not going to find out. You just never know what will pop up.

Like I said, I feel bad about not friending her. Plus, I had some issues with her mom last year (not that she has anything to do with it). I have to do what is right though.

Finding Your Voice Book Review

Finding Your Voice by Natalie Grant takes the readers into her world as a professional singer with the intent of helping women use their voice, the most powerful instrument for a singer, for God. In order to glorify God with voice, Natalie Grant uses examples from her own life as well as references to popular stories in the Bible to help women grow in their faith in order to use their voice. In order to help women grow, it is important to believe that it is possible to do anything. God can work miracles. It is important though to have good health, focus on God, and not to let brokenness describe a life. During all of this, readers will have the information to work on finding a song of faith and hope in their lives.

Over all, Finding Your Voice was an interesting read. At times, the message is a little difficult to understand because Natalie Grant constantly refers to her career as a professional singer, which is not going to be the career for many of the readers. Therefore, the chapters got to be long. However, if music and singing are a passion, then this book is for you.

BookLook Bloggers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Failure

I am a failure. I am not good at anything. I used to think that I had a talent of writing but I was just fooling myself. Nobody will ever want to read what I write. I do not blame them. It is not high quality work. It is just writing from someone that is impersonating a writer.

I read this blog the other day and it was beautifully written. And when I compare it to my own blogs, I realize that mine cannot even compare. Not only are my words and phrases terrible, but I do not attract the traffic on my site to even make a difference.

Then, there is my freelance writing. I have gotten a few jobs but they have all ended. I feel like after people got an idea of how I write, they quickly dropped their contracts. And I have been struggling to find another job.

I feel like a failure in the freelance area of my writing after the one job refused to pay. I ended up only getting about ten dollars of the fifty they owed me. And after she refused to pay, her comments about my writing cut deep.

Then, there is always the dream I have had about being a published Christian writer. I am not sure who I am trying to fool. I am not any good. My ideas are weak and I struggle to develop the plot into a worthwhile read.

I am not good at writing and I am not good at anything. Why bother when there is nothing I can do.

Christmas Expectations

The holidays have been filling me with dread. I was dreading going home for Thanksgiving because it meant I would have to stay at my parents’ dirty house and pretend that I was having a blast. Somehow, I managed to have a good time but I did have to work hard to get past the filthiness and sharing space with other people.

I am dreading Christmas for the same reason. Actually, I am dreading it even more because it will mean being at home longer. To make matters worse, part of my family wants to celebrate on December 31st so it is not like I can even come back early.

The societal pressures of Christmas are not adding to the feelings though. I hate how gifts are an obligation in many cases. I have never been a gift giver. I prefer to have people tell me what they want.

I have to get gifts for ten students. That is definitely not easy because I do not want to spend much but I want to get them something that they will actually like. I ended up spending a dollar on each of them. I feel like a cheapskate but at the same time, I know they are getting something they will enjoy. I found them little Finding Nemo and Dorys. Then, I gave them a show-and-tell pass along with a pass for the prize box. Finally, they got a fake one thousand dollar bill. I know that they will be happy. However, when you think about how my friend spent nearly fifteen dollars on her four students, it makes me look really bad.

Then, there is the expectation of giving gifts to all the staff at school. Since there are four other teachers, one associate, and the secretary, that is six other people to think about. I finally just made some banana bread. Each person is only getting about four slices because I did not feel like making any more. Again, I feel cheap but I just do not feel like doing more.

Then, there is the family expectation to buy a five dollar gift for a random gift exchange. I do not want to participate because it seems so impersonal. However, I have family expectations to uphold. How will it look if I am the only one to participate? I am one to stand up for myself when I feel I am able. And maybe I should even though there are members of my family that will get angry and talk.

Surprisingly, family gifts were easy. I got the gifts for the important people in my life on my travels. I know that each person will be happy with their gifts.

Finally, there is the baking expectation. My friend wants me to participate in her cookie exchange which meant baking two dozen cookies. I would not ordinarily participate but since it is my friend and we never spend much time together, I want to be on her good side. It just adds to all of it though.

Christmas is about Jesus’ birth. And instead, people have turned it into something stressful. And it is just not worth it.

Is ADHD an Excuse?

As a teacher, it can be difficult teaching a student that has ADHD that is not taking medication. When they are unfocused or getting in trouble constantly, you feel like no other child is getting attention because you are too busy dealing with the one kid. I know some people are very against medicating kids. You can easily tell the ones that need it though.

I am not out to talk about the kids though. I want to talk about adults with ADHD. To me, ADHD is similar to depression and similar disorders. Anyone with these disorders has to find a way to deal with the struggles while trying to function in society. It is not easy. When my depression has me feeling down, it is hard to go about basic life and do simple things like brushing my teeth, washing dishes, or getting out of bed. Work is nearly impossible but I still somehow manage. (I know for some people though, it can be so severe that disability is needed; that is not everyone though).

I do not believe that ADHD should be an excuse for most adults either. Coping mechanisms need to be established so that they can contribute to society. I do not believe that it is an excuse to not take care of your children or to not pay bills or any of the other things that adults are expected to do.

If we all dig deep enough, we could all probably find excuses that could be used to stop us from participating in the real world. But then, there would be no society. As an adult, the excuses need to stop. It is time to grow up and be a responsible citizen. Sure, any disorder can slow a person temporarily or lead to mistakes. But it is only a small thing. In the end, we are expected to take care of ourselves.