On Grief:

Grief comes in waves. I’ve been told this multiple times over the last year. Grief is just a response to the loss of something grand. Many people focus on the emotional aspect, there is also a physical aspect to feeling grief. Since I try to ignore my emotions a majority of the time, that typically means I end up dealing with my emotions through via a physical ailment. Anyone who knows me knows that I constantly complain about headaches and stomach aches, and probably about 70% it is really just anxiety, and most recently grief manifesting in a physical form.
I’ve lost very important people in my life over the last three years. It started with my beloved grandfather, then my favorite professor/mentor, and most recently my mother. Additionally, other characters in my life such as an uncle, an aunt, a co-worker have also gone to hang out in another realm. Obviously, I was most affected by my mother’s death, but I now know I struggle with each persons passing just the same.
As much as I like to pretend and tell myself I was prepared for death, specifically the death of my mother- you can never truly prepare it. I had been a caregiver for my mother for as long as I can remember. It started out with simple assistance here and there and progressed to trading off care with the hospice nurse or my stepfather. I watched my mothers’ physical and mental health decline, and that is something I would not wish that on my worst enemy (as if I had any). Watching a very independent and strong-willed woman wilt away and yield to Parkinson’s, dementia and heart disease is not an enjoyable experience. (Additionally, neither is dealing with said woman’s unsupportive bipolar husband – twas a challenge on its own). I believe I started the grief process when I observed my mother finally gave up and give in to her poor health. She had a multitude of illness, but typically my mother lived on the island of denial and tried to be optimistic, until one day when she stopped looking on the bright side and saw her health for what it truly was, shit. When my mother began facing the loss of her father and then the loss of motor skills and memory – grief steered my mother down the road to giving up. While I grieve and mourn the loss of her (and others), I try to not to follow her path, and I try not to dwell on the things I can not change (past or present). Every day I learn something new in my relationship with grief.
As I said earlier, I always told myself that I was equipped for loss. I had handled the news of loved one’s deaths appropriately in the past (according to what I had seen on television and learned about in a sociology of death and dying course). But when that day finally came in regard to my mother passing, I felt simultaneously prepared and unprepared when I got that call. I don’t think I was as calm and stoic as I had always thought I would be. I was squeaky and had eyes full of tears, and these things still happen when I think too long about her. That is grief. It is a natural response to a major change in life.  Unfortunately, there is not a quick fix for grief. Try as I might, I have not found one. It just has to run its course, wave upon wave will keep hitting you until the wind finally settles and the tide is low, or something philosophical like that.

More on Grief:
Because I am a researcher at heart, I took to the databases to find articles about grief. I wanted to find out what was appropriate/concerning behavior, learn the difference between mourning and grieving, etc. I found just through a simple Google Scholar search that there is a lot of literature out there, a lot focuses on how to treat grief (i.e. Therapy). Some things I learned about grief – when facing a situation of great loss, you may have to go through the five stages of grief which include:  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance (visit grief.com for quick resources). To me, these stages are all pretty self-explanatory. But for a great representation of the five stages – watch the Scrubs episode “My Five Stages” . (Side note: Scrubs is one of my top all-time favorite shows, others include X-files and Futurama). There is a Scrubs episode for every mood/emotion and experience. Scrubs also happens to be a show that my mother and I would watch together. As for me and the stages, I personally don’t recall going through denial or bargaining. I like to face facts, and I’m not really religious so I don’t know who I would bargain with, maybe the universe? I can say I am currently somewhere in between depression and acceptance at this point in my life. I definitely experienced some (or a fuck ton of) anger, but not necessarily due to grief and loss, my anger was more directed at those around me who were being little shit heads. From the articles I have read, it is perfectly normal to bounce between the stages, revisiting some before truly accepting it. I assume that one day I will move on, and stay in that acceptance stage. Grief can last a lifetime, just try to know when to seek help, or just let others help when they offer. Remember to breathe and take it one moment at a time.  

How I’m coping:

I am active – I am into yoga and walking the pupper outside. – I also plan to get back in the gym soon, I’ve been very sporadic since the summer (duh).

I write – I have a guided journal that provides topics to write on.

I am into being creative – doodle, watercolor, and bake.

I stay emotionally/mentally active – I am apart of social and professional clubs, I volunteer to work a lot.

I am going back to school – Law School, I’m coming for you! #UNTDallas College of Law #2019

Best of luck to any of you who have gone through a period of grief. How did you cope?

If you haven’t had to grieve, best wishes to you that grief doesn’t find you any time soon.

Vulnerability

I recently heard that vulnerability is the key to success. But what about vulnerability in the workplace. What thoughts come to mind? How does that make you feel?
To me, Vulnerability is all about being open, feeling what you feel and letting other people see you for what and who you are in the moment.
I agree that it is easier said than done when it comes to being unrestricted and honest about your feelings, ideas, strengths, and weaknesses. I like to think I am like an open book. Ask me a question, and I will give you a truthful answer. While being honest is great, not everyone truly wants honesty. (And I will admit that I need to work on my delivery and timing, as well as my acceptance of honest feedback).
Being vulnerable in a workplace setting can be challenging. These are people that you simultaneously know and don’t know. I’m sure that we have all come up with ideas or have developed plans in our heads that seem AMAZING. We are so proud of our concept, and we can’t wait to share it with others because we essentially just solved everyone’s problem. Then you get to that meeting, and you say “Eureka, blah blah blah” to which your co-worker follows up with an “Um, nah.” It is devastating. How do you handle that? Do you try to restate your idea and provide your evidence for why it is a bomb ass idea, or do you shut down? Do you ask your co-worker for feedback on the subject, do you listen to the feedback, and explore a new path?
I don’t often share my ideas, because I’m terrified to be told they suck and I often (100%) internalize that shit. I can be honest with others all day long about their thoughts, I can coach another person down a better path, and reshape your thinking. I try to do this with a positive inflection, so others don’t internalize it. I’ve gotten a bit better over the years. Talking with my besties, or a coworker (who has a feedback delivery method that I can handle) at least helps me clean up my rough draft before I present it the masses (or the 12 other people in my department). I recently joined a new team at work, and I can’t say that I have any grand ideas yet. I am challenging myself that in this new workspace, I will be vulnerable, I will take thoughtful risks, and I will also take feedback to work through it/implement it. And if anyone is reading this – I challenge you to take thoughtful risks and be vulnerable and see if you are able to grow.
Be vulnerable my friends.

Supporting Actors

Did you know that if another person is succeeding, it doesn’t mean that you are losing?

People can be successful without anything being taken away from you. Everyone should want to kick ass at their job, do the best that they can, and you should want your co-workers to do the same. You shouldn’t compare someone’s successes to your own in an unhealthy manner.

Take pride and joy in seeing others you know killing it at work or school. You could use someone’s success to motivate yourself – in the sense of wanting to improve your employer’s reputation, teams production or recognition, and I think it is okay to even want to compare successes in the sense “they can do it, I can too” but I just never think it should be me v. them.

I’ve recently observed women in the workplace put each other down, for no real reason (apparent to me) other than jealousy over competency. Women in my workplace seem to not celebrate another woman’s successes, instead, they see it as a challenge, an undermining, or a slight against them.
This is so strange to me. I am not competitive, I want everyone to win, everyone to learn, and to grow. This could stem from being the youngest child, coming from a small school, who knows. I like co-op games, I like team sports (not that I can play any), I feel like just because someone is good at something, or even better at something than me, it takes nothing away from me. I am still me, I still have the same skills, personality traits, and blah blah blah. It really blows my mind when I hear people try to bring others down, point out flaws, or just plain talk shit about another person in an attempt to make themselves look better or more adequate. When I experience that type of person (which is more frequently recently), it leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes me hesitant to continue a relationship with them, personal or professional. Though I have no I have very little influence at my workplace and very little influence in the world in general, I just want to encourage others to encourage and celebrate others. And call people out if necessary, but recognize people, praise yourself. Remember when your coworker is successful, you are successful. I don’t know about you, but I like when everyone on my team is kicking ass and taking names.

Auntie Sara

I have been an aunt since the age of two. That is right, two years old. My siblings happen to be significantly older than me. I have nine biological nieces and nephews and additionally five step-nieces and nephews. There are a lot of children, of various ages in my life. I have no children, and I have never desired to have my own children. If my mother were alive, she would tell you I asked at the tender age of six “is it mandatory to have children when you grow up because if it isn’t, I’m not having any.” I have not changed my mind in the last twenty-something years. I am happy being child-free and being the aunt to everyone. I have plenty of friends I grew up with who did not share my sentiment for being child-free. I am an “auntie” to two of my childhood friends.

I started this post because this weekend, I was on auntie duty at my fictive nieces’ second birthday party, and it got me thinking about my title as Aunt.

I am happy with this title. I can make a positive impact on another’s life, but I don’t have all the responsibility and pressure on me to raise a productive member of society. Not to mention, I come from a long line of unhealthy genes, I do not want to pass that along. Auntie Sara suites me just fine. I don’t need anyone to call me mom.

But people often jest and asked when will my husband and I have a little one of our own. My reply is always – “we are not having children of our own, but in the future when we are stable, we may adopt an older child.” My husband agrees with the lifestyle of not having a child, though I am still unclear about his reasons. But when I meet someone new, and they ask this child baring question I explain my life choices, which by the way I choose to share my life choices, because if you want to be nosy and judgy, I’ll intentionally overshare with you and make you uncomfortable.
Nonetheless, I periodically come across someone who says I don’t genuinely mean I don’t want children, or I’m just young and confused. Well, I’m 30 (so not so young now am I?), and there is nothing to be confused about, and I sincerely mean it when I say most things, not having/wanting children being one of them.

There is always that one person who tells me I’m selfish for not wanting children. And to those I say, go fuck yourself. I feel it is selfish to bring someone into the world for my own shits and giggles, or my personal favorite – so that I have someone to take care of me when I am old. There are plenty of skilled nursing facilities out there that I will be able to afford since I likely won’t have children, I mean as long as you don’t count my student loans as my children.

I just wanted to share my two cents on my title as Auntie Sara. I love it, and I wouldn’t want another title. I want to share that I think it is inconsiderate to ask others about when they will start popping out children. In my case, I don’t want any, but in many other cases, there is a medical struggle as to why they haven’t procreated, even though they are desperately trying.

A little sociology for you – Since I choose to be childless/child-free, I technically live a diverse lifestyle according to modern social norms. But there has been a modest increase in childlessness in the U.S. There is about 16–17 percent of all United States women who will complete childbearing years without bearing children, and I am really striving to be one of them. And according to social statistics, economic considerations (student loans possibly) have contributed to the rise in child-free marriages. **

a new endeavor

Thanks for joining me on this new blogging adventure.
This first one will be rough, possibly dull, but I’m sure things will get better from here. My goal with this blog is just to get my thoughts out of my head and onto (symbolic) paper. I hope to post at least once a week, with 20 second movie review every other week or so.

A little about me:
I am (not) the most exciting person, but I do find my commentary on life to be very entertaining. I have an adorable cat and dog which I feel makes up for anything I lack.
In addition to my animals, I have a husband. He is a pretty cool dude, usually. As for the rest of my family – that a different post for a different day. In fact, I should probably just write a novel on them.
I work in higher education, need I say more?
I am an introvert by nature, but in my head I am very talkative, if that counts.
I enjoy pop culture, movies, art, science, animals, and binge-watching sitcoms and British crime dramas.
I’m planning on going to law school soon, that will be a real endeavor.

Thank you for stopping by.

As of March 2019:
Current Music on Repeat: Split between Khalid and The Struts
Current Read: My Own Words by RBG
Current Show: The Umbrella Academy