Wonderful Date

Craig is a wonderful romantic. Our babysitter is back in town now, and Craig designed a lovely date for us. We started off by going to this cute little French restaurant that we like in Old Colorado City. The cheese fondue with the wonderful French bread is to die for, and the cheesecake is sublime. After that Craig surprised me by taking me to the art gallery. He knows that’s my favorite place to be, that and the bookstore. So after we went to the art gallery he took me to a used bookstore I had never gone to before. Although I like ordering new books off of Amazon, or going to Barnes & Noble, used book stores are really cool because you can find some interesting things for good prices. He bought me four new books. One is called Unequal Childhoods, and it’s a sociology book profiling kids from different families and how they turn out differently based on upbringing and their place in society. Then he bought me The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and her other book The Golden Vein, or something like that. And then there’s a nice book with profiles of each woman in the Bible including those who are unnamed.

After that we went to a few stores to shop for some new glassware as some of mine has recently been broken. Unfortunately I didn’t find anything I liked so I’m probably going to have to try my luck online. But it was fun to go shopping with Craig just the same. I even got to run into Staples really quickly. I love office supply stores! They are just wonderful! All the organizers, pens, folders, special books, notebooks, Etc.

I feel so grateful to have a husband like Craig. He supports me in everything. He always shows that he loves, desires, and respects me. He surprises me with little gifts that I like. He goes out of his way to make me happy. When we moved to Colorado and I had a hard time because I was lonely and in a new environment, he went out of his way to create a home for me. He bought church pews for me to make the formal living room complete. He bought us a brand new bedroom set with all the features I could ever dream of. He bought me a vanity. He bought a shoe tree for the hall to keep our jackets and shoes in one place. He has bought me beautiful lamps and other things that really make me feel at home. Now he has bought me a new sofa as of last month. He bought me beautiful blue rugs for the floor. There’s more that I’m not even naming. He knew that I missed home and missed the wonderful little house that we built in North Carolina. So he went out of his way to make our home in Colorado perfect for me, and he has. I am so joyous in my home every way. I am so pleased with my lovely home. It makes me tremendously happy. It’s decorated how I want, and it’s comfortable for me and I think for the whole family. It has a lot of personality in it and no shortage of wonderful things. My husband is so good to me.

Our date was so nice. I’ve been having a hard time lately, which I have been fixing by taking a double dose of my meds. I was so grateful that I perked up enough to be able to go on a date. Craig always knows how to cheer me up. It’s wonderful that we’ve been married more than six years and honestly it’s still like we got married yesterday. The spark is still there. Sometimes literally. There’s a lot of static electricity around here, so when we kiss there’s usually a little bit of a zap. I still feel like a newlywed. We know each other better now, although we knew each other pretty well then. We’ve built a life together and had a child together and had so many experiences together. All of those things change a person. But we’ve grown together rather than apart, and I’m so grateful.

After going without dates for a while it felt really good to get back in the swing of things. Usually we try to go on dates at least fairly often, but with the Christmas holidays and then with our wonderful babysitter being gone for 2 weeks after that there just wasn’t really much time. Now we want to get back to our somewhat regular dates.

My handsome, loving, patient, kind man.

Does Weight Loss Make You Happy?

I am on Instagram more often than I should be. And everywhere I turn there is some girl posting before and after pictures. The before picture is usually of some cute chubby girl with her kids or even a very heavy girl smiling with her husband. The after photo shows a very slim girl, usually in very tight clothing or just a sports bra, talking about how wild her success has been. Most of the time they are selling weight loss products or coaching services. As you read their captions you will find that when they were fat they were absolutely miserable. They had no energy for themselves or their families. Their lives were unfulfilling. They were disappointments to themselves. They failed at everything in life. Then they started hitting the gym or buying special supplements or becoming a Beachbody Coach or what have you. Now their lives are valuable and worth living, they are better mothers to their children, they are no longer failures, and they are proud of themselves. They lost 25 or 50 or 100 lb and it’s the best thing they ever did.

As my weight fluctuates I question this narrative. I lost 50 lb last year. Let me tell you, it didn’t make me any happier. I got that brief zing of pride whenever I posted a picture of myself in a smaller dress. I suppose that when you live in a society that values thinness so highly it’s natural although not right to feel that little zing. From that perspective I understand all these girls posting their weight loss photos on Instagram. But my life has been no happier. The thing is, my life wasn’t miserable before. I was already a good mother with energy for my child. I do wish I was a more energetic person in general, but losing 50 lbs didn’t make me more energetic. I didn’t feel like a failure when I weighed over 200 lb. Not usually. And when I did have moments where maybe I looked over my life and felt like I could have done more or been doing more, it had nothing to do with the fact that I was fat. My life was extremely fulfilling. I had my family and my writing.

If losing 50 pounds was the best thing I’ve ever done, then maybe I really should reconsider my life and what I’ve done with it. After losing 50 lbs I can honestly say I’m the same person living the same life. If anything I have been less happy since losing the weight. Wearing smaller clothes is nice for sure. It gives you way more options when you go shopping, and what girl doesn’t want that? But all the good things in my life that were there before are still here, thank God, and the negative things are still here also. I don’t really feel proud of losing the weight. And in fact if it hadn’t been for all the societal pressure I felt to do it I never would have lost it. I was fine with myself and my husband was happy with me. And now that I have lost the weight I am under tremendous pressure to at least maintain it and honestly to lose more weight. It’s frustrating. I miss eating. This is not fun. I try to remember that the benefits outweigh the negatives, but sometimes they honestly don’t.

There is this pervasive stereotype about fat people that their lives revolve around food. Well I don’t speak for everybody obviously, but I can honestly tell you that when I was fat my life didn’t revolve around food at all. When I wanted it I had it and I just didn’t give it a second thought. I didn’t run around from hour to hour thinking about food. Since starting the diet however, food is all I think about. Part of this is simply because whenever you can’t have something or you’re not supposed to think about it, it’s automatically what you think about. Part of it’s because I have to go hungry. And when you’re hungry you think about food. And part of it is because maintaining a strict diet requires a lot of thought. You get up in the morning and want to reach for a granola bar. But then you have to think about the fact that you can’t and what will happen to you on the scale if you do. You sit down to have pizza for lunch with your husband and you can’t dig in. Instead you have to get on MyFitnessPal and calculate the number of calories from a slice of pizza and the number of calories from your drink and add that up and sit there and think about the fact that you won’t be able to have very much, or anything at all, for dinner once you have this pizza lunch with your husband. Your husband spends good money thinking up a nice date to a good restaurant and when you get there you have to focus on the salad or make sure you don’t eat more than a quarter or half of the food that you’re given. It’s disappointing because you want food and you’re supposed to be out having fun, and of course it’s an utter waste of money if you sit there pretending to be some natural waif and just leave the food on your plate. They don’t give you a discount for the uneaten food. The truth is, unless you’re one of those people who’s extremely athletic and loves the gym, and you genuinely love things like salad and yogurt, in order to lose weight you are going to have to think an awful lot about food. Especially to lose as much weight as I have. And realistically if you are one of those athletic, gym loving people who genuinely enjoys a plate of celery you probably wouldn’t be fat to begin with.

This is where maintaining your weight comes in. But seriously, it’s miserable. Maybe I need to give it more time. I don’t know. But I have not reached the point where I naturally only want one slice of pizza. Maybe this is a self control issue. I guess you could look at it that way. When I was younger and had an eating disorder I was very good at restricting calories. I had the problem I am currently having, which is that all I could think about was food, but I was so strict and regimented. And then later in my twenties when I healed at least somewhat I ate whatever I wanted. Moderation is not my strong suit with my personality. I just hate having to be so aware of what I eat. It takes up headspace. I would rather be thinking about art or poetry or even imagining outer space than thinking about the calorie content of a slice of toast. On top of that, between the meds I am on and some other medical issues and what have you, I have found that unless I keep at or very close to 1,000 calories a day I gain weight. I don’t even maintain weight. I actually gain weight. At first the payoff for this, smaller clothing, seemed worth the effort. But sometimes it just feels like a bunch of crap. If I can get to a point where eating very little is a natural state for me then maybe that will be different. But it hasn’t come yet and it has been months. I don’t want to be 80 years old and look back over my life and realize I spent 50% of my time thinking about what food I could or could not eat.

It doesn’t help that I never lost weight for myself, truly. I put on a dress that was too tight and I felt bad that it was too tight because I knew that I was already at a dress size that everybody and their brother would tell me I shouldn’t be. But since I was happy with my life and myself I didn’t honestly start my weight-loss journey, and everybody calls losing weight a journey for some reason, for myself. I did it so that other people would be okay with me. I did it so that other people would think I was attractive, although my husband already thought I was hot and thought the diet was pointless. I did it to avoid the judgment of family members and friends. I did it so that when I walk through the mall I could hold my head high because I would look much closer to what people considered conventionally attractive and socially acceptable. I am not on this so-called journey for me. If no other people in the world existed I really wouldn’t give a f*** what my dress size was. I do it for other people and that makes it much harder to stick with. It’s not something I enjoy or that I feel like I’m truly benefiting from. Like I said, wearing smaller clothes does make shopping way easier and way more fun. But I only buy clothing a few times a year. And if I explored more sites that have plus size clothing and I liked them, and other people wouldn’t give me a hard time or look at me like I’m some sort of alien, I really wouldn’t care. I’m giving up food that I like and giving a completely boring subject so much head space so that other people are okay with me. People that either should be okay with me anyway because in theory they should love me, or people I don’t even know. I am seriously concerned with what random men, and some very judgemental women, think about what I look like. I’m not banging any of them, obviously since I’m married and also attempting to try to follow the Bible, and yet I’m concerned with whether or not they think I look bangable. I’m trying to please a society that I know is twisted and that I tend to look down upon. Why do I care about what these people think? What have they done for me lately?

I am trying to stick with the diet for now. And even make improvements. It’s just really hard to do something when you’re not doing it for yourself. Even when you change something about yourself for someone you love it’s difficult. It’s a lot easier than doing it for people you don’t have a relationship with, but even when people do something to change themselves for someone they love it’s pretty hard. The best thing to give yourself good odds of succeeding in whatever it you’re trying to change is to care about it yourself. I’m trying to learn to care about it. At what point will this be something that I really want to do for myself? How do I get to a place where I’m doing this for me? What do I get out of this other than the approval of others? When do I reach a point where I enjoy this, or if I don’t enjoy it it becomes as natural as breathing? The only reason I care about being a smaller dress size is because I want the approval of other people. I’m afraid sometimes that to make this work for the long-term I’m going to have to find a reason to do it myself. But I cannot find one single significant thing, and only one minor thing, in my entire life that has been improved by this diet.

Ankle

Today I went to see the surgeon in Denver for his opinion. My doctor in Colorado Springs recommended that I do that since the problem with my ankle bone is uncommon and pretty severe. This doctor reiterated that the problem was severe, and that I would never have a normal joint again, but he gave me a brace to wear and the name of a special kind of shoe to buy. The doctor said that I may have no choice but to do surgery right now, and I definitely will not be able to avoid surgery in the future. However, every surgical option I have has a very low success rate. Sometimes people even get worse. And on top of that they are not permanent. There is nothing that can be done, from taking out a piece of bone from my hip and grafting it into my ankle bone, to finding me a cadaver match, to fusing the ankle and getting rid of the joint and the movement all together, that has a high likelihood of success. Of the three, fusing the joint and getting rid of it has the highest likelihood of success. However the downside is that when you do an ankle fusion you have a good chance of getting arthritis in your foot from having to use the middle of your foot too much. Then you can end up having to get your foot fused. If that happens you have no movement anymore. That’s not good. So he said that fusing the ankle should be a last resort.

He also said that a good section of my cartilage is pretty bad. My leg bone is also damaged and deteriorated. There’s evidence that the first surgeon in Virginia drilled into my leg bone for some reason. There is appears to be a drill hole going through the bone diagonally. He didn’t say that that’s what has caused my leg bone to be damaged. He wants to see the notes from that original surgery see what exactly was going on. But he cannot fathom why that drill hole is there. I doubt it’s exactly helpful, but we will see if there was a good reason for it. But part of the leg bone is damaged, and that connects to the cartilage that’s pretty much shot, and that connects to a damaged ankle bone actually missing a chunk of itself.

The doctor was very kind and patient and he also made it clear that it was my choice. If the bone proves to be infected I don’t know what I have to do. I have to get blood work done this week to determine that. If it’s infected that might throw a wrench in things. Beyond that he said that surgery is my choice and that I could give some thought into which kind of surgery I would want to do. I highly want to avoid surgery for as long as possible, so I’m going to be giving this brace a chance for a few weeks and get those special shoes. If there was an option for surgery that had good odds for success and would last at least a decent amount of time I honestly would prefer to just have surgery and get it over with. Suffer now to have my thirties and forties be pain free, or almost pain free, and be able to walk long distances like I used to and take the stairs without worrying. But since my chances are not good with any of these surgeries I don’t want to take that plunge if I don’t have to. If the brace and special shoes can give me enough relief for at least a couple of years, I would like to hold off. I really hope I will get some relief.

Starting 2019

The new year is here. I hope it will be a good one. A big focus for me in 2019 will be reading. I know that sounds silly since I read a fair bit anyway, but I want to make a conscious effort to dive in and really educate myself and stoke my imagination. How much can I learn this year?

Spending time with my husband is another major goal I have. I want to go on more dates. It isn’t that we don’t date; it is that we don’t date enough. Right now Craig is on a really awesome tour where he never deploys and seldom goes out of town. His hours allow him to be home with Angelica and I. I need to take advantage of this. His next tour could be a sea tour and he might be gone all the time. During the past few years before we came to Colorado I didn’t see Craig very much.

I want to rest and really focus on keeping my mental health strong. Bipolar is never easy, but by keeping my stress at a minimum, sleeping when I can, doing things that make me feel good, and asking for help when I need it, I can relieve some symptoms. When I am able to say yes to a social function I will, and when I feel like it is just too much I will say no. I do want to try and do more social things though. There are people I want to spend more time getting to know.

Welcome, 2019! I hope you will be good to me, and that I appreciate you. Time is such a gift.

Gratitude for my Attitude

Each season of my life, whether it be winter, summer, my twenties, my thirties, or homeschool life I have so much to thank God for. He has created a great world, and blessed me with the opportunity to enjoy so much of what the world has to offer.

-I am thankful for all the talented artists who make dazzling, cute, or unique things to look at or buy.

-I am grateful for my church and the little opportunities I have found to serve there.

-I am grateful for my Kindle. Although I can only buy a few paperback books at a time now due to space restrictions, I can have tons of books on my Kindle.

-I am extremely grateful for the good health of my family.

-I am grateful for Christmas

Just a few thoughts on my mind.

Customized Planner!

I’ve been dying to get a custom planner. So many of the planners advertised as being custom online really just mean you can add your name to the cover page or choose your background image. That’s nice but it really wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted a custom layout with very specific areas of accountability and goal setting. There was nothing on the market that really covered what I wanted. I wasn’t shocked since what I wanted is pretty specific and kind of a random combination of things, so I decided to try to see if someone makes custom layouts.

I found an awesome girl named Leah on Etsy who sells printable planner pages. I emailed her and she said that she would custom design something for me. I wanted to incorporate everything from daily creative goals to scripture study goals. I wanted some color on it. She took that information and design something perfect with every single category I was looking for lit up in rainbow colors like I asked.

Side A and side B. I am absolutely in love with this layout and I have printed a ton of pages already. I started on this planner this weekend and it’s making me really productive. I have every category of creative goal listed, and all my basic housework for the day with space to write in additional tasks that should be done. I can keep track of my mood and monitor my mental health. I list what I’m grateful for and that’s a great way to start the day. I have a space for specific things that I need to do during the day and overall goals such as dieting goals or certain attitudes I want to have or something like that. I’ve got space to keep track of scripture study and prayer. I’ve got a section for self-care to remind myself to slow down at least enough to do a couple of basic things to maintain my mood. I have a homeschool section where I can both set daily goals for what I want to cover with Angelica and keep records to record what actually happened in homeschool that day. Sometimes we end up covering subjects that I didn’t plan for or not covering things that I did plan for. So it’s dual parts planner and record keeper.

I really think this planner will make me more productive. With every kind of goal laid out and everything listed that I should be doing I really have a lot of inspiration to get working. Realistically since there are only 24 hours in the day, and since I don’t feel very well for some of those hours a lot of the time, there will probably be many days where I don’t meet every category in my creative goals list and do homeschool and clean the whole house Etc. But having these things written down reminds me to do things and gives me clear-cut goals to achieve. It provides me with inspiration, and if I am having a fantastic day I might actually get a lot of it done. It keeps me accountable. 

Sometimes I feel so dulled or tired or depressed that I stretch my mind to even think of things that I could do. I can’t think of things that I might enjoy doing and it’s hard to get up and do the things that I know I should. Having something in front of me that lists everything and with little spaces to be specific or to check off if I’ve done something might give me a push. Hopefully my faith section gives me the reminder I need to turn to God and get to know Him better even in times when I want to crawl into myself and slam the door shut.

This planner is absolutely perfect and now I need to start using it to make the most of my daily life. I’ve just begun my 30s and it’s time to be serious and productive. I want to do things that matter. I want to make a beautiful home for my husband, give my daughter a wonderful education, and spend my time doing things I love to do. No one knows how long they have.

Weight Loss and Maintenance

In July I wrote about painting my way skinny. I really fell off with that. I’m determined to start again. I want to fill my days with creativity and see if I can keep myself distracted. What I’m finding is that a lot of it is medication dependent. Some of these medications make me hungry. Really hungry. Worse, for the past few months I haven’t had a working med combination. I’m not sure what the connection is exactly, but when I was briefly on a medication regimen that worked perfectly the weight just fell off. Since my Bipolar medication burnt out it has been a steady downhill. My weight has stayed in the same five pound range. But I have no luck actually losing any weight. I have been stuck between 159 and 164 for months.

My goal is not actually to be skinny. I don’t really care about being skinny, my husband likes me as I am, I want to eat foods I actually like, and I don’t really want my weight to be a major focal point in my life like it was when I was younger. I would like to lose another 10 or 15 pounds though. I really need to make that happen. I need some sort of inspiration to get started again. Painting might be the answer or at least part of it. It’s something that keeps my hands busy and the paint is always in my laundry room studio. I’m not a great painter. I’m not even trying to be. But I could play with all those colors for hours and still not be tired. The colors, the textures, everything is great. I have no desire to learn how to paint a tree or a flower and especially not a person. All I want is color and line and texture.

What else can I use? I’m trying to keep peppermints around the house so if I want to taste something good and I want to have something in my mouth I can have something low calorie. I think that might help. I also need to drink more. I’m not sure how true this is but I have read that some of the time we think we are hungry we are actually thirsty, so when you feel hungry the first thing you should do is drink something. If you’re still hungry after that you probably actually need some food. But if you drink a big glass of water and you feel better then you just saved yourself a whole bunch of calories. I need to drink more, use peppermints, paint more often, and maybe find an additional outlet. I might go back to making random collages that combine different photos and paintings on my phone. They don’t look professional, and in fact look pretty crazy, but they’re enjoyable to make and I like the process of going through all sorts of photos to find my layers. More importantly, it’s something I can do while sitting on the sofa watching a show. A lot of the times when I’m eating or snacking it’s just something to do while I watch a TV show. Watching TV is not my favorite thing and I certainly don’t watch it all day, but there are a few shows I like and it’s not uncommon in the evening when I’m tired for me to sit down and watch a show. I need something else to do while I’m watching TV.

I’m setting goals and hopefully by writing them out like this I’m going to give myself a sense of accountability to actually achieve them.

Goals for my 30s

My 30th birthday was yesterday and it was fantastic. I am so grateful to my family and friends who made my day special. Now I want to set some goals, or at least try and write out my thoughts and get a sense of direction so that I can do that.

  1. I need to decide what to do with my writing. I’m going to try and figure that out this week. I write. I studied creative writing in college. I’ve been in magazines and have a chapbook published. What should I do in my 30s? More magazines? Hopefully try to get the chapbooks I’ve written in the past two years sent off to some potential publishers? Try to get a full length book published? Do I want to self publish? What do I need to do to feel satisfied with my 30s when I turn 40? Where do I need to be? 
  2. I want the wonderful magazine I edit to grow and to support more excellent writers. I get more pleasure out of reading the writing that comes into my inbox for the magazine than anyone knows. Not all of it is right for the magazine, either because it isn’t polished and ready or because the style or subject just doesn’t fit. But I’m grateful to read all of it, and it gives me a thrill to hit publish on a story or poem that I really like. I started the magazine at a decent pace and then put it aside for awhile because of health, hectic living, and travel. Now I’m back. I really want to build it up.
  3. I want to homeschool successfully. It is very important to me not to send Angelica to public school, and while we will consider private school, ideally we will give her her education at home. This fall has been the beginning of our homeschooling journey. But for the next decade (and beyond) school will be in earnest. It is my goal to give my daughter a personalized education suiting her interests and at a pace that works for her. I want her to enjoy learning as much as possible, and to develop the character and discipline to learn the things she needs to learn even when she doesn’t want to. My emphasis though is on tailoring everything to her interests and abilities. I don’t want her to have the mass produced, cookie cutter education of the public schools. I am making a commitment to making education a part of our daily lives, whether we are sitting down at the table formally with sums, or learning about ecosystems from a Netflix documentary, or about post modernism at the art museum. I want this to be interesting and organic for Angelica.
  4. Today I am committing to giving more of my time to learning something new. I love nonfiction books, coursera, edX, and MIT open courseware. I adore documentaries. But I’m not always focused. I want to make a more conscious effort to spend regular time absorbing new information. I recently bought a book about the history of syphilis and its effects on various historical figures. I’m also studying a book about the changing structure and politics of the family throughout the long middle ages.
  5. My 30s should be a decade of art. I paint a lot and I do digital collage. I’d like to branch off into other things too. I’m not an artist. I suck. But it’s therapeutic to creative visual art, and it renews my mind for my writing. Never be ashamed of being creative, whether the outcome of that creativity impresses other people or not. I like to share it because it is cathartic, but it’s for me – I don’t do it for other people.
  6. I want to travel. We’ve traveled this year and I want to do more.

I am going to keep thinking. I feel like I need more or different goals. Most of this is a continuation of or recommitment to things I already do. I feel like there should be something new in my 30s. I just like the life I have now though.

A Quiet, Snug Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving was lovely. Craig had to leave for work at 1 and didn’t get home until 10, so we had our meal in the morning. He made fresh cod for Angelica and I. For all of us he made saffron rice, seasoned potatoes, and biscuits. Everything was delicious! I am so grateful that I have a husband who is good at cooking and genuinely enjoys it. I loathe cooking and completely suck at it, so it is always good when we can compliment one another.

Soon after we ate, Craig had to get ready and go in to work. Angelica asked to play in the bathtub. She likes to do that sometimes – just get some toys in the bath and go play. She even wore her swimsuit instead of going in naked. I let her use my bathtub because there’s so much more space and it’s deeper and it is in a big bright room with a window. Angelica actually stayed in for about three hours. I kept coming in to check on her, and she wanted to stay in. I had to let water out and rewarm the bath several times. 

When she was done, I had already been hanging out in the craft room making moving collages (adhered nothing down except the washi tape of course) on scrapbook paper. Angelica and I started to work side by side in an explosion of ribbon, washi tape, tulle, and stickers. She used some holographic rainbow paper I had. I used some simple tie dye paper. Angelica really loves art supplies and gets so excited to pull out all these colorful, joyous things. I hope her love of creativity will blossom further as she gets older. 

After that we went downstairs and snacked and watched tv. I cleaned the kitchen intermittently throughout the day. It took me a few loads through the dishwasher to have everything ready. Even now, the next day, there’s some stuff that I need to wipe down out there. This morning has been spent relaxing as a family, plus doing some small housework tasks. G, our babysitter, is here now. I’d like to go out and go to the bookstore and some craft stores, especially craft stores, but I don’t know if I want to drive or shop on Black Friday.

Reviewing My Twenties

My twenties were insane. The highs were so high and the lows were so low. This past decade has given me so much to be grateful for.

In my 20s I:

-graduated college

-got married

-had a baby

-bought a home

-moved across the country to live in the magic that is Colorado.

-travelled out of the country for the first time

-got a chapbook published by one of my favorite presses

-experimented with new hobbies

-read too many books to count

I also:

-had several mental breakdowns. 

-got committed to inpatient twice

-had to go to outpatient day programs twice

-made suicide attempts

-had 6 surgeries and a bone infection

-Dealt with Craig’s deployments. Those were hard.

-Went from Bipolar 2 to Bipolar 1, a more severe type.

-developed anxiety 

The good stuff has been joyous, and the bad was fraught with misery, loneliness, and mental and physical pain.

I hit all my major milestones early in my twenties. I graduated from college in 2011, got married in 2012, and had my daughter in 2013. Got published in 2014 and bought my first house in 2015. The most beautiful moments in my life, at least the most beautiful moments that you can have happen while you are young, and the moments that will define your life, happened to me in five consecutive years in my early to mid twenties. I am so grateful for all the wonderful things that happened to me in those years. So many dreams came true, most importantly my dreams of having a husband to love and a child to love.

2016 had a lot of deployments. 2017 had a lot of health problems and some deployments. Health-wise the age of 29, 2018, has been mostly really good until recently – until I found out that I have to have my ankle bone removed. I moved to Colorado, which has been a transformative experience. At the same time I had to move very far from my family, which was a loss for both me and Angelica.

Laced through hardships and joys have been difficult mental problems that have gotten worse over the years rather than better. From suicidal lows to psychotic highs and everything in between. I try to make the most of the times I have where I am functional and able to get things done and enjoy them. But I regularly lose those abilities.

I’m still thinking about what to hope for in my thirties. I turn 30 on Saturday the 24th. I was born on Thanksgiving but will not be a Thanksgiving birthday this year. So many important dreams that I had have been realized: marriage, family, home. Other dreams have been quelched. They will not be realized, but as I change and grow I develop new dreams. I have to consider what those dreams are exactly, and how to achieve them.